letter regarding GA

Categories: Reflections

i posted on the occupy website earlier regarding some critiques i had about GA.  i spoke with one of last night’s facilitators .  she was really receptive and helpful in explaining things.
i noticed that sunday’s GA had fewer facilitators and a bit of a different structure.  i don’t know if my feedback helped at all, but i appreciated the change.  i hope others did too.
i have a concern about a general air of respect and a need for equity on the mic.  i liked how there were sign-holders and timers to let people know if they were using up all of their time.  that was really effective in keeping things moving along.  however, there were some moments in which the time-keeper lapsed and let certain people speak longer than others.  while nearly everyone who approached the mic was given their due, whether they rambled or stayed on topic, i noticed that for one man in particular, he was cut off quickly.  the time keeper and the person working with him started shouting at him, saying that he had used sexual expletives with one of them at some other occasion.
just as a jumping off point, i want to voice a concern with you about issues of equity.  sure, the time keeper and his assistant were upset with that particular speaker for an earlier transgression, but he should have been given his due like everyone else.  i’m concerned that certain people are being shouted down by the audience, and that this behavior is okayed or even encouraged by people who are acting in leadership roles on the stage (not finn, per se, but others).  some people are getting opportunities to use the mic again and again, while others are not.  i just wonder how fair this is?  one speaker was given 4 minutes to speak (i timed it) while others had 90 seconds.  again, i ask about fairness.
i’ve noticed that someone from the crowd takes notes for the group for GA during different nights – where are these minutes?  i don’t see them posted on FB nor on the occupy site.  are there copies at the info tent?
you might be wondering – well, here this person is with all the critiques, why can’t she come to the meeting?  well, the thing is that i cannot attend any daytime meetings on weekdays.
i’d love to have a virtual discussion via email about this at your earliest convenience.  for the sake of transparency, i am also going to post this email online on the occupy site and perhaps on the FB site.

2 Responses to “letter regarding GA”

  1. a_small_voice

    hi there, thank you so much for responding regarding my letter. my concern about time keeping was not directed toward giving people extra time for translation…this regarded other instances (in the past) of people (english speakers) being given less time or more time.

    i’ve had those moments where i found my mind wandering a bit, but still – everyone is due their time no matter your thoughts about what they are saying. otherwise, the process is bullshit and there is no reason for us to comply with the social contract of sitting there for 2 hours and going along with the program. i find myself now shouting out of turn sometimes because i am starting to distrust the process. i don’t want to be that way, but if y’all aint gonna uphold the precious process, it makes me not care to do so either.

  2. enceladus

    This is a response to a_small_voice:
    I’ve been timekeeper at the GA and I found it sometimes important to “bend the rules”. I did so of my own will without consulting anyone, which I felt somewhat guilty about, but I still believe it was the right thing to do. Once I gave a speaker over 4 min during a time everyone else got 1min 30 sec because they were translating to Spanish and they were continuing to present relevant information. If someone has important information to share I think they should be able to share it all, and my personal opinion is that it is much more important than just someone speaking their mind. There of course should be and is room for that after every GA. My concern, and I’ve seen this happening, is that people will get tired of attending GA’s because the majority of the time is given to speakers without new thoughts or direction, thus boring everyone to death. Attend a GA and tell me honestly you weren’t bored through 2/3’s of it. Come when you get off work, chances are it will still be going on. Everyone should have a voice but if their voice bogs down rather than furthers the movement then it loses it’s impact and our respect.