SOMETIMES IT JUST HAS TO BE ABOUT THE PROCESS!
As much as I hate to say it, sometimes it has to be about the process! Last night there was a stampede and a feeding frenzy, and I was surrounded, yelled at and attacked, on a very personal level. I have been saying for a while that the Camp has degenerated into bullying, but I never dared think that I would end-up being one of the first victims.
It was a simple thing, to break into small groups to discuss a controversial proposal or not, my point of Process was simple, the Facilitator was TELLING the group to do something, without the GROUP agreeing to doing that. A very direct and straightforward point of process, the Facilitator is not supposed to DICTATE a course of action for the group, ('now, we will break into small groups'), but is supposed to facilitate the group agreeing to a course of action, ('I suggest it might be useful to break into groups to discuss this Proposal, maybe we could come to consense on using the small group format?') When I brought up a Point of Order that the group was being dictated to in its course of action, I was immediately surround by several people I have never seen before and yelled at, belittled and attacked.
Right then and there the Consensus Process of OccupySF broke down. When a Point of Order is raised we are supposed to address the Point of Order, not surround the person making the point of order and yell at them. This is NO WAY to make sure that the quietest voice in the room is heard, this is Bullying, plain and simple. AND I WAS BULLIED AND STREAM-ROLLED!
In order for consensus to work the Process must be followed, people are not supposed to be bullied into agreement, and shouted down, but empowered. This is not what happened at the GA last night, my Point of Order was NEVER ADDRESSED, and instead it became an Attack Fest, on a very personal level! Then I had to stand on the MORAL GROUND that the PROCESS WAS NOT UPHELD, therefore no consensus could be reached. I asked the Proposal be tabled for the Night, and my proposal for tabling the Proposal was not even heard, instead people yelled at me and belittled me and demanded I explain what I didn’t like about the proposal.
For some reason NO ONE could hear that MY ISSUE was that we were being dictated to, (YOU WILL), instead a suggestion, (how about WE), of a format to be used for the discussion, and then consense on using a particular format for that discussion.
Instead of addressing my concerns and Point of Order, as should have been done, a straw-poll taken about people who wanted to break into groups and who did not, and the split of the poll was about 50/50.
There definitely WAS NOT CONSENSUS on using the small group format for this Proposal, instead of recognizing that there was not concensus on using this format and just open a stack to discuss the Proposal in the LARGE GROUP format, which has always been done before, the Facilitator grabbed a Megaphone and ORDERED PEOPLE to break into small groups to discuss the proposal, NEVER DISCUSSING my Point of Order, or Concensing on my Point of Order, just overriding and steam-rolling into the action that she wanted, by using amplified sound sound to out YELL me, and my concerns, exactly what use of the Peple's Mike is supposed to address!
Following the CONCENSUS PROCESS is very important, ESPECIALLY when the proposal being put forth would fundamentally CHANGE THE PROCESS that we have been using and change how proposals would be brought to the General Assembly.
The terrible part is, I never would have blocked the proposal, if MY VOICE HAD BEEN HEARD, and my POINT OF PROCESS had been addressed. While there were things about the new proposal that scared me and issues that could have been addressed, we never got that far because the BLOW-HORN was used to squelch my voice, and a yelling and encircling tactic was used, (very police like!), to make sure I could not speak.
Yes, I was getting pissed off, who wouldn’t when you are being yelled at and belittled and surrounded by an angry mob. But I did keep to my moral objection to the fact that the process had been hijacked by a FACILITATOR WITH A MEGAPHONE, the group was ORDERED TO BREAK INTO SMALL DISCUSSION GROUPS, and by circumventing the Occupy Process a great many people got pissed off and left the meeting all together, LEAVING ME ALONE to face the unruly mob.
In the end about 10 other people joined my block of the proposal, about 6 of them “blocking on the grounds that the Process was not followed", and they also did not like the way I was treated, and how my point of Order was addressed.
FUNNY THING IS …
My first two votes in the Straw man Polls was to stand aside on this proposal, though I have some serious issues with the Proposal, I also recognize that the current system needs some tweaks, and in order to find a better way, we are going to have to try to MANY DIFFERENT THINGS, and if this Proposal did not fix things, we could try something else, the WONDERFUL thing about the Occupy movement is how fluid it is.
MY MORAL OBJECT IS …
You don’t try to fix a broken process by strong arming people, surrounding them and shouting at them. You fix a broken process by transparently using the agreed upon process to implement changes to improve it. Consensus is not about giving orders, it is about getting agreement!
Our current societal system barks orders at us constantly, and we see the mess that has gotten us into! Now we are supposed to be trying new forms of government, and when we don’t get what we want we aren't supposed to fall back to authoritarian Methods.
SOMETIMES IT HAS TO BE ABOUT THE JOURNEY, NOT ABOUT THE END RESULT!
AN OPEN APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE THAT WALKED AWAY!
I feel I would be amiss if I did not invite the people that were at the meeting last night to PLEASE COME BACK. Last night IS NOT how the Process is supposed to work, or HAS been working for that matter.
I also want to add that I have for many, many year have worked with organizations that use consensus and I have seen it work, and work well! Last night was NOT representative of how GAs have been going, but does show how pervasive the DISRESPECT of other has gotten. It started simply enough with the disregard of the agreed upon smoking areas, and now has grow to disregarding the whole process.
Maybe this is an example of the "Broken Window Theory". It is a slippery slope, that is for sure!
8:58 AM PT: I would like to add that I truly understand that not everyone knows how Consensus works, but I believe everyone does understand RESPECT, and in no society is it OK to yell at a dissenter, or attack someone on a personal level for their strongly held beliefs. This does not fall under Consensus, but basic civility, and no governmental process can work unless there is mutual respect.
10:34 PM PT: I posted the exact text of the Proposal that was put forth that would have created a Super Working Group to VETO proposals before they get to the GA. I published a point by point Consensus response to the proposal to hand out in case Ki Won Koon handed out his proposal again, but he did not show back up at the General Assembly tonight.
Only ONE person came up and said they were glad that I returned to the GA tonight.
the first man that yelled at me last night tried to facilitate the meeting tonight, I blocked his facilitation on the Moral Ground that he disrespected me, and the Consensus process yesterday, bullied me, and I did not feel comfortable with him facilitating. Some kid tried to tell me I could not Block a facilitator, I told him I could block any consensus process, and I was blocking his facilitation as he lead the bullying and feeding frenzy that occurred the previous night.
I will continue to block him facilitating, and I will now go to the Work Groups he participates in to see how he interacts with people.
The proposal was not put forth again. At the end of the GA tonight they were having a discussion about last night discussion, I stayed through the proposals and then left!