Nonviolent Caucus Guiding Principles

Categories: Nonviolent Caucus

The agreed upon purpose of Occupy Oakland Nonviolent Caucus (OONV)  is as follows:

Consensus decision 2/2/12—1st general meeting

It is NOT the purpose of the group to pass NV resolution for all of #OO, but determine what tactics we will engage in to be strategic about a specific goal, and plan actions from there. Also agree not to turn in others to police or try to be “peace police” or to try to enforce NV in others.

This covenant was the basis for founding of OONV.  Without this agreement, many of the original members,  who have done the vast majority of organizing since then,  would not have participated and still feel an ethical responsibility to resist any efforts to change this principle.

OONV is open to all who are in support of, and willing to abide by the group’s agreements. Principles of common courtesy and consideration would suggest that individuals who join a group with established purpose and principles do so because they support those covenants and guiding principles.

For those interesting in participating in OONV, please see below for a summary of the group’s process and guiding principles.

Process summary for OONV

1. Non members may attend and participate in OONV meetings, in a respectful manner, as defined by our guiding principles (copied below.).  However they are are not allowed to participate in decision making unless they are members (have attended at least two previous meetings.)

2. The proposal to change the principles will come up for discussion only on June 14.  It will not come up for consensus because it was posted on June 10, not the seven days in advance required.  So June 14 will be simply a discussion of the proposal and a decision about where to go next.

3. If the proposal is brought back to the group for consensus, it will not be until the June 28th meeting.

4. If the proposal does not achieve 100% consensus at the June 28th meeting, it will be deferred to the July 5th meeting, with hopes that the disagreements can be worked through in the meantime.

5. If consensus is not reached at the July 5 meeting, a supermajority of 90% would be required to pass it.


Our approved decision making process and guiding principles are attached here for reference.

Approved.  100% consensus achieved.(2/16/12)


Our basic decision making process will be consensus, however if consensus cannot be achieved, a proposal can be passed by a supermajority of 90% at the next meeting.  Anyone can participate in the meeting, however only members (who have attended at least two prior meetings)  can to block consensus.  There will also be a phased in requirement for training in nonviolence in order to block consensus.  As the size of the group grows beyond 25 active members (member is defined in this proposal as being able to block consensus) the organizing structure and decision making will evolve toward the Spokes Council model as developed by OWS.

  • Decision 100% consensus on advance notice.  Clarification of decision on 2/23
  • will clarify details in proposal next time, including specifics if any exceptions to rule for more urgent decisions. 
  • Rules Consensed at 3/8/2012 meeting
  • post on line at with email notification to group at least 7 days in advance of the meeting at which the proposal will be presented at for consensus. 
  • Strongly consider requesting time on the agenda at the meeting prior to the meeting when consensus will be sought. Especially if the proposal might be controversial.  This will allow notification, feedback, and discussion before consensus called for. 
  • Proposal to be result of collaboration by at least 3 members (who have attended at least 2 Nonviolent Caucus meetings)  and those collaborating individuals will be named on the submitted proopsal. 
  • This will save time and effort of the group by ensuring that each proposal has support of more than one person.
  • Exceptions: “Emergency” decisions that require a time sensitive decision about an action or response to an unforseen event.  In this case required posting will be shortened.  However 90% consensus from the group is required to elevate the proposal to an emergency proposal and exempt it from posting requirements.Strutural proopsals pertaining to the way the group operates will NOT be considered emergencies. Emergency proposals will require 100% consensus to be approved.

Consensus decision 3/8/2012—5th general meeting

We recognize that our methods must be consistent with the change we wish to see, and that the path and methods are as important as the goal. Thus we commit to a process that is thoughtful, radically inclusive, and honors each individual. We commit to remaining respectful of people who approach struggle from a different viewpoint. We agree to attempt to maintain a sense of both curiosity and humility in the face of disagreement, remembering that no one person or group has all of the right answers, while remaining true to ourselves as well. 

We recognize the importance of taking the long view whenever possible, with consideration that the struggle will likely continue for years, decades or longer. Thus we commit to taking the time needed to achieve true consensus, within our caucus, to the extent it is possible. While we may not always agree on everything, we do agree to listen to each other, and look for common ground. We commit to placing the good of the movement above personal preferences, and agree to block consensus only for the good of the greater cause, and not because of personal preferences.

We value the unity and strength that comes from being open to divergent opinions from all communities. Thus we commit to a model of involvement and decision making that invites the voices of those who have been historically oppressed and marginalized.


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