For newcomers at the 11/18 GA (or any other)

Categories: Announcements, Discussion, Open Mic

If you know people who are coming to the General Assembly for the first time tonight, & do not consider themselves part of Occupy Oakland, please join me in asking them to keep these questions in mind (repost if you agree):

“Am I voting on what I want to see Occupy Oakland do?
Or am I voting for what I want to participate in with Occupy Oakland?”

If newcomers are not interested in any future participation with Occupy Oakland, & have come out just to give input this once, please join me in asking them to encouraging them to join the discussions, but to stand aside for the votes  & to respect the collective decision making process by voting “stand aside.”

Edited 11/21 to clarify.

I don’t have a litmus test of who “should” vote.  I’m not suggesting excluding anyone, or devaluing anyone’s vote.  I’m not suggesting interrogating anyone.  What I’m hoping is that everyone who comes to a GA decides to continue participating in some way. 


I am suggesting that people who don’t consider themselves part of OO, & aren’t going to join OO in anyway, should vote “stand aside,” because they have made their own decision to disclude themselves from the group. 









21 Responses to “For newcomers at the 11/18 GA (or any other)”

  1. think!

    I think this is a good idea. It certainly would make for a more inclusive process, allowing thousands more of the 99% to be represented and have a voice in this movement.

  2. Simcha

    I agree. This would be a step in the right direction. If I can’t make it to every GA at 6pm, and I can’t make it to every action, should I be denied a voice and a vote? If I can’t make it at 6pm because of my work and I want to propose a 7pm start but I can’t make the proposal because I’m not able to be there at 6pm, how does my voice get heard.

  3. mizpat

    then i propose that individual attendees make their own individual decisions NOT to stand aside if they feel strongly about the issue. for instance, there are lots and lots of people who can’t make it to the ga’s who would vote for a commitment to nonviolence proposal. but under your proposal, if the proposer coordinated supporters to show up on the night a nonviolence proposal was presented and voted on, all of those supporters would be “encouraged” to “stand aside” and not vote because, for the reasons think! outlined and many more, they are unable to participate in person on a regular basis. hmmm.

    i like the neighborhood idea, which someone else posted somewhere and said the ga had already approved it but nothing has been done yet to develop these neighborhood gatherings (ga’s? councils? can’t remember what the poster called them).

    either way you look at it, the current process where people can only vote in person and only at this one and only ga – even without this new proposal only if they intend to “participate” further – is inherently flawed if the movement is to grow. it’s a nice demonstration of participatory direct democracy, but it needs to be taken to the next level.

    moveon’s online voting process might be a model, where people meet in person in their neighborhoods and break into small facilitated groups to discuss and vote on a common agenda, and then the votes are submitted and tallied online. it’s still flawed, but at least that would allow more people to participate than the current process, and everyone could vote, which is as it should be.

  4. think!

    Thanks for your edits and your clarification… but most of all, thanks for listening.

  5. think!

    I, too, used the word “exclusionary” and found the post directly on the #OO website open forum. It did sound exclusionary the way it was first written, but your edits have corrected that impression. Thank you for listening.

  6. Writer

    For the record, I found this post by clicking on the discussion page. I never saw a facebook about it.

    your original sounded that way. so glad it is clarified.

  7. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    Simcha, I’m inclined to agree with you, although that would require much more focused meetings because it’s hard for anyone to stay until the end now.

    I think the way to make that happen would be to bring a proposal to the GA.

    In the mean time, for what it’s worth, GAs often don’t get going until 6:15 or 6:30, & are mostly announcements & reports until 7.

  8. Simcha

    It would help me greatly if General Assemblies started at 7:00pm on weekdays. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Those who work on weekdays (with 9ish to 5ish schedules) and must commute need enough time after work to make it to the General Assembly. Just pushing the time back one hour may make the meetings more accessible and inclusive.

  9. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    I’m pretty relaxed.

    GA Meetings are generally in the plaza, 6pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.

    Emergency meetings sometimes get called & announced through the front page here, twitter, fb… depending…

    I’m curious about what you think is the crust, what are the crumbs, & what would be the filling?
    Also, what’s the oven?

  10. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    I’ve edited to try to clarify. I do think that someone who doesn’t participate in OO at all, but has an opinion about what OO should do, should be encouraged to either include themselves into the collective, or acknowledge that they’ve discluded themselves & stand aside.

    I don’t think people should be interrogated or challenged about this–just encouraged to do their own self-reflection.

    &, personally, I do vote “stand aside” pretty often, mostly when I disagree with the proposal but am not going to be involved either way. The garden proposal, for example.

    Voting “stand aside” is a personal decision, just like being on stack to speak & giving up my place when someone else addresses my issue first (something else I have done). I think there’s reflective questions that people can use to make their own decisions. That’s the individual burden of making direct democracy work.

    Unfortunately, discussion about those questions (especially online) can be read as passive aggressive preaching, & that seems to be what’s happened here.

  11. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    I am curious as to how you found this post. The multiple people using the word “exclusion,” when my post is all about encouraging people to reflect & include themselves makes me wonder if someone posted this to facebook & “framed it” the way you are talking about.

    Either way, I’ve edited it to clarify. I’m really talking about personal investment/inclusion in OO, not intent to join in direct action. & just for the record, I’m not a billionaire but I’m definitely involved in the direct action of tax payments & expenditures, so I’d definitely vote for them paying a more progressive share.

  12. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    I am not saying any of those things, & frankly I resent your going off on a rhetorical rant.

    It’s possible that the confusion is about who I mean by “newcomer,” so I’ve edited the post to clarify.

    Please re-read it & consider laying aside your assumptions. I am also against elitist hierarchy, & nothing I have said is about exclusion.

  13. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    First, I would love to think that my post had that much influence, but I doubt it.
    Second, the vote of the night with the most stand-asides was for the reconsideration of 19th & Tel, & it was 165 Y, 49 A, 126 N. Even if every “stand aside” had been a yes, the resolution wouldn’t have passed.
    & for the record, I voted for the resolution. If my advice to newcomers had made a difference, it would have been against my “side.”

    The vote for the Port action was 204 Y, 2 A, 0 N.
    What’s telling to me there is that of the 340 people who voted on 19th & Tel, more than 100 left right afterwards. I hope all of those people consider themselves part of OO, & just had other things to do.
    Realistically, though, the challenge of consensus decision making in an open group like OO is how to include all comers, & also discourage “ballot stuffing” by people who don’t consider themselves part of the collective.

    The vote tallies are here:

  14. think!

    Mister Double You, With all due respect, your post sounds like we should only vote if we are able to take direct action on a particular proposal.

    You said to ask ourselves, “Am I voting on what I want to see Occupy Oakland do?” And then you implied that this is not a legitimate reason to vote.

    As supporters and members of Occupy Oakland, we can vote on “what we want to see #OO do,” because what Occupy Oakland does represents us. ALL OF US. Not just those working on a particular action or committee.

    Thanks for your passion and especially for your respectful tone. This makes for a productive conversation.

  15. twistedchick

    The 204 to 0 vote, which happened last night is not democracy and now I see the how it may have occurred after reading this post. From excluding perspectives, a portion of OccupyOaklanders suffer from narrow tunnel vision and group think.

    This posting should be taken down along with the small minded mentality it espouses.

  16. Winstanley

    All of this again points out the need to expand toward neighborhood assemblies, conducted at a time and place that more local people can get to. This idea has been proposed and accepted, let’s get moving on it.

  17. stephen weber

    Relax guys.

    Both of you need to work on the crust before arguing the bread crumbs. Neither the post nor the reply told me where the meeting is, or the time..

  18. The Kids call me Mister Double You

    Please re-read my post & check your assumptions. You have completely misinterpreted me.
    I am PRO-involvement of all those groups, PRO-discussion & PRO-voting for everyone invested/participating.

    & “Stand aside” is a vote, with an important meaning. I am not dictating to anyone how they should vote. I am recommending questions for how newcomers with no intention of ongoing involvement should decide whether to vote “stand aside.”

    I am encouraging everyone to come out & join the discussion if they can, & communicate in other ways if they can’t.

    I am not suggesting rules about who gets to vote.

    I am encouraging people who are not planning to stay involved past tonight to use the “stand aside” vote, because that’s what it’s for.

    I use that vote myself for things that I disagree with, but won’t be involved with either way.

    I hope that newcomers come, vote, & stay involved.

    I also think there should be better ways to include active, committed participants who can’t make it to the meetings.

    Thanks for your response & passion.

  19. Writer

    I disagree with Mr. Kids,

    That is exclusionary and undemocratic as the other poster stated above., So I won’t repeat that idea.

    We want Billionairesses to pay taxes on their Billions but if everyone but them else steps aside on the vote, no progress will be made.

    Your idea has not been the way it has been, but you frame it like it has been. .

  20. OaklandMatt

    we should try to develop a proposal to make it more inclusive man…I’m a teacher and a graduate student, so I share your concerns, but I admit I can’t think of a good alternative right away. Besides, I think it still works pretty well, just look at the new site idea, already there is a proposal to rescind it and its #1 on the agenda. I think tonight’s meeting will bring out lots of concerned folks ready to participate. That being said, we should keep striving for perfection and more inclusion!

  21. think!

    THIS IS EXCLUSIONARY. Who gets excluded? Those who can’t possibly attend all the meetings:

    -families with young children
    -the elderly
    -the disabled
    -single mothers
    -those whose grueling work schedules won’t permit it.

    Are you saying their vote is less valuable than yours? You call that a democracy? There is a reason why the consensus of the Occupy Movement at large is that everyone in the 99% gets a vote. It’s because we are trying to avoid an elitist hierarchy, which is what we will get if you exclude hard working people who can’t attend in the way you see fit. WE ARE THE 99% means all of us, not just those with time to go to meetings. Remember, whatever actions #OO takes represents EVERYONE in the 99% Oakland Community, not just those who attend every meeting.