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View Diary: OWS Occupy Atlanta on John Lewis (24 comments)

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  •  Occupy Atlanta has issued this release: (19+ / 0-)

    For immediate release
    Occupy Atlanta Media Committee

    Today Occupy Atlanta General Assembly unanimously agreed to invite Congressman John Lewis to come and speak.

    Occupy groups are governed by procedural rules that allow them to function in chaotic circumstances and to exercise participatory democracy in a large group. These rules are based on the principle of absolute equality and each voice being heard.

    Anyone may come and speak to or participate in a General Assembly. There is a set order which includes a point where the floor is opened for comments. Anyone present may put their name on the “stack” as it is called and speak. It might seem a simple thing to break the order, but in a large crowd where everyone is supposed to get a chance to be heard, deviating from it quickly causes chaos. Each deviation encourages the next until no conversation can be maintained.

    All of the speakers who have attended a General Assembly in New York have followed this process. Occupy Atlanta is unaware of any exceptions. Congressman Lewis, who attended Occupy Atlanta’s 5th General Assembly on October 7, is familiar with consensus from his days as a civil rights leader but was unable to stay long enough to allow the process to unfold due to prior commitments.


    We hope that explaining our process will go a long way towards preventing any future problems or misunderstandings so that we do not inadvertently give offense to those whose voices and knowledge we would very much like to hear. We are dismayed that anything we have done would seem to show disrespect for a man whom many of us revere, and apologize to everyone who was hurt or angered by our actions.

    Via OccupyWeb.

    •  Willa and ATLBikerDude, thanks for making this (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exlrrp, Bronxist, Jane Lew, boadicea, Dancun74

      crystal clear. My distrust of the corporate media and growing admiration for #OWS (and the associated local actions) led me to expect something like this.

      I do have a procedural question: How does this movement allow the equivalent of an "open microphone" without falling prey to those who might wish to purposely use the opportunity to distract or spread dissent? (If possible please explain or point me toward written comments rather than providing video links: especially in active crowd scenes the audio can be so hard to make out).

      It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

      by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 04:21:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To clarify: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA, Bronxist

        I don't understand how consensus can be arrived at if each person can effectively veto? Can the objections of one or two people overrule the wishes of everyone else? If the equivalent of "unanimous consent" is required for every decision won't the result be a lot of inertia?

        It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

        by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 05:17:20 AM PDT

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        •  Concensus is a procedure that is used (5+ / 0-)

          by Quakers in their business meetings.

          It does not mean that that everyone agrees. It does mean that you try as hard as possible toward that goal. All concerns are heard and are dealt with. Often the result is much better than any one person could have dreamed of.

          People are asked to stand aside if their objection is not a serious one. Most time people will stand aside with group pressure unless the objection is a moral one.

          What it does is make everyone in the group responsible for the end product. There is a skill to it. People who have experience in it become excellent  negotiators and problem solvers. It makes you think.

          It is messy, time consuming. and it puts a premium on patience. Occasionally big decisions take years. Literally.

          My husband was  a member of the Friends Meeting at Dartmouth College in the 1960s. They met in the basement of one of the College buildings.

          I nonmember offered to give the Meeting a large home on
          the finest street in town in memory of a woman Friend who had died. Included with the gift was a large sum of money for maintenance of the property. There were no strings attached.

          The discussions about accepting the gift went on for two years. One couple was adamantly against the gift and would not stand aside. They did not want the meeting to be encumbered by property. It was not the simple way to live; it complicated life...on and on. It was brought up at every monthly meeting to the point that it was embarrassing.

          The solution...the couple went away on vacation and the gift was approved.

          I understand that they later agreed that  accepting the gift had been a good thing.

          One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

          by Jane Lew on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 06:32:21 AM PDT

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          •  Very helpful, Jane, sometimes words are used in (0+ / 0-)

            non-standard ways (e.g. "meta" on Daily Kos), and one assuming standard usage will misunderstand much.

            This is what I consider to be a "normal" definition of consensus.

            I think it would be unwise not to recognize the intensity of ill-will on the right, with not all of it coming from the 1%, either. If none have tried to obstruct or distract OWS, well that comes as a relief.

            I am stuck in "the old ways" of exaggerated polarization. While I share the goals of OWS this is yet another example where I can be a supporter, but need to do so as a learner.

            It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

            by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 02:50:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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