General Assembly Process Proposal - Draft
Asit stands, the GA consensus-making process is in danger of evolvinginto an overly complex, rigid, majoritarian voting process that leaves little room for quieter voices to be heard. This proposal is an attempt to replace this process with one that makes room for each and every member of the GA to contribute their ideas, while still keeping the GAs running as efficiently as possible. It is inspired by both CT Butler’s Consensus for Cities of 100,000and the OWS Structure Working Group’s “spokescouncil” proposal.
Theprocess of introductions, working group announcements, and individual announcements is left unchanged. The following process details how proposals will be considered by the GA.
1. Presentation: The individual or working group will read aloud their proposal and provide written copies as current guidelines state.
2. Clarification: The floor will be open to the general assembly for anyone to ask questions of clarification and offer points of information.
3. Small Group Discussion: The facilitators will divide the GA into groups of approximately 4 - 8people. If possible, the presenters will sit among the small groups. These groups will discuss the proposal for about 15 minutes. Groups are encouraged to go around in a circle and allow every member to speak using a “round stack.” Facilitators will be present to help the groups stay focused. The small groups will come to one of the following:
Consensus - Thegroup agrees that passing the proposal is in the best interests of Occupy Boston. They voice objections or concerns raised in theirdiscussion.
No Consensus - The group is unable to reach consensus on the proposal or any potential amendments.
Amended Consensus - The group reaches consensus on the proposal with amendments..
4. General Assembly Regrouping:
Eachsmall group designates an individual to present their consensus forthem to the GA. These individuals are not decision-makers. They are responsible for presenting the diversity of their group’s views, and canbe recalled at any time. First,GA will hear from groups that have reached consensus, then, from thosethat have not reached consensus, and finally, from those that have an amended consensus. Facilitators will encourage discussion across the groups and can check for consensus if one is apparent. If not, facilitators can call for a return to Small Group Discussions, with thecycle to be repeated as long as the GA requires to reach consensus.
5. Check for Consensus:
Beforemoving on to voting, the facilitators will explain and ask for blocks.The rules for blocks remain unchanged; a 75% vote is needed to ensure a block is defense of the community’s principles and 10% is needed to confirm it. If there are no blocks, the facilitators can ask the generalassembly for a formal consensus with a show of hands.
Thisproposal should be considered a working draft and is open to revision.n particular, facilitator roles will need to be revised, and it is suggested that the facilitator introduction be modified to clarify thefollowing points:
- The role of the General Assembly is to represent Occupy Boston as a whole and define its relationship with the greater Occupy movement, as well as make important financial and legal decisions related to the movement
- Theg oal of the GA should be to pass any and all proposals presented to it; all members should cooperate to improve them and make them more inclusive of their needs
- Any proposal presented to the GA does not belong to its proposers, but rather to the GA as a whole. The proposal process is a peaceful, cooperative, and safe environment
- Proposals (and blocks) should be considered within the context of the community’s stated values and goals.