First Spokes Council Notes

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 Spokes Council notes from Sunday and Monday February 12-13, 2012


Notes: Martin, Greg, Glenn
Convened: 8:40pm
Adjourned 1:15am


What is the relationship of Spokes to GA? Does it replace GA?

     No, Spokes is not a replacement for GA.

    Spokes is under the authority of GA

    Spokes can help flesh out proposals that GA wants to send down to them.

    Spokes would only have the authority to do what working groups could do on their  own w/o GA approval.


Time spent on the Structure of  Spokescouncil. – see link on the Spokescouncil wiki page

Folks introduced themselves and stated WGs they belong  to.
WGs represented:  DA   Chateau   Ideas   Occupy to Sustain   Logistics   Media   Anti –Oppression   FAWG Facilitation   Students    Safety   Feminist Caucus

Discussion ensues about how to break down into groups for the “test process” and what the topic of the “test process” will be.

Party at Dewey. -  “On April 1, to mark the launch of American Spring,  we propose  to have an OB party at Dewey Square.”

Overview of Consensus – see the wiki 

Spokes Discussion of Values of Consensus






Spokes: john dan jen randy rene angela marty greg patti , student w blue hat, devon , Sarah.

Discussing the principles of consensus

Principle that you have to vote is active participation.

Stand aside: not participate, but not interfere.

Angela: pt of info: anti-oppression group has a new guideline: no screens, phones, computers, &c.

Alison: fishbowl talking, everybody else only watching.

Ang: is anybody tweeting? No longer comfortable being in meetings where people are tweeting. It’s also about respecting confidentiality.

Dan: I want to clarify what standing aside meant: we’ve talked about it.

Greg: bringing us back to the stack taker with the principle being that we needed consensus that we need a stacktaker.

            Do we need a stacktaker who is outside the fishbowl?

            Can we consent on talking among ourselves and not have a stacktaker


Dan: we could try that.

Greg: Are we ok with making this a public event, tweeting etc?

Angela: Not personally, nor is my working group consenting to be in meetings that have tweeting etc. I do not want people tweeting.

Greg: You’re bringing a way of being that anti-oppression has and asking that spokecouncil adopt it.

Angela: I am simply sharing that that’s what we are doing.

Dan: How about we ask respectfully that people not tweet, etc, in the interest of making a safer space for all involved?

John Murphy: Is that…

Angela: I don’t know enough about what people don’t like.

Marty: it would be ok to have livestream, no way to edit .

Angela: Thank you.

Marty: Same thing goes for a Twitter account that is owned by OB because it has to fall within certain guidelines, whereas my accounts don’t have guidelines. Trying to fill in what Angela’s trying to say. Notes are acceptable, but editorial comments are not.

Jen: What about transparency though? I believe some people in Ideas have a concern about transparency, that meetings need to be open.

Angela: That’s why Martin’s tweak of what I said helped. It’s anything that somebody could put their own twist on.

Sarah: People have the right to express their opinions and make them public. I want to bring up that we are assuming good faith. If we find out later that would be a different story. That is one of our principles.

Rene: It’s been 20 minutes. Take another 10 minutes?

Marty: My work group is working on an e-mail. Is it possible to finish?

Jen: I would like to bring up the point that we don’t have much time and we need to decide what we’re going to do.

Greg: Patience principle

Dan: In the interest of self-empowerment, would it be ok to ask that people not tweet?

Sara: People don’t all have access to livestream. I follow on twitter. People should not be editorializing anyway. So it’s important to be involved.

Marty: We should not editorialize official accounts, but I think that given what Angela is addressing, that the anti-oppression group has mentioned this.

Sara: are you speaking for the anti-oppression working group?

Marty: I am trying to help clarify what Angela was saying.

Sara: You should speak for your working group.

Greg: We’re not here expressing personal opinions, we’re speaking for our working groups.

Marty: I did what Sara asked, and I did ask the working group, and I was told that I could speak on that. I think, given how Twitter has been used a while back, because there has been so much breach of trust,


…. Cross talk


[Marty and Robin]

Greg: [somebody?] very clearly said, if you’re not a spoke, you are free to rotate as you choose.

Angela: For anti-oppression, as well as other working groups that I could support. I experienced that as one of the dynamics, of power plays of switching, so that one could switch to another group to have influence there.

Sara: Who hasn’t spoken yet?

Blue hat: Angela, you said you weren’t actually proposing this; I think this is part of the principle of consensus.

Angela: Because I was asked a question. I still don’t want to say it’s a proposal….

Blue hat: If somebody tweets or uses a screen, we can’t tell them not to.

Greg: Can I amend? I would say nobody in the fishbowl have a screen.

Patti: We favor transparency, not sure if it’s appropriate to tweet out, because it’s supposed to be a discussion within the fishbowl, not outward.

Dan: If people want to speak, they should offer statements to the group.

Rene: The rest of my group hasn’t read Principles of Consensus. We can still have a productive conversation.

Angela: Clarify, …

Rene: I brought up about screens, saying before we get to this, can we clarify? I agree with you about that, but I was not bringing it up as a proposal. I think that part of what Marty is trying to do is name the elephants in the room.

 Greg: I hear anti-oppression, but I acknowledge that you did not intend to bring it into that conversation. I know that there have been lots of ouches in the past, but at this point I am assuming good faith. We need more time as a working group to talk about this.

Maybe active participation and even equal access to power.            All the time, people are expressing their opinions.

Greg: How am I doing?

Glenn: You’re doing fine.

Sarah: … In terms of meetings like this where it’s only the spokes that are empowered, coming from a feminist background, where we give voice to people who aren’t empowered, …

John: People go for a cigarette and tweet. Taking a break and tweeting. I was taking a break, and I started commenting on Twitter. Just commenting how we use Twitter, it doesn’t show transparency. Throwing a blanket statement, saying that we can’t do that isn’t transparency.

Allison: [how we learn uses of principles]. Haven’t really focused on principles. Do we want to give this fishbowl more time because it’s critical to going forward. If we had the ability to talk for 6 hours, but we don’t have that. Do we want to go back to the principles themselves? Do we want to stay in the fishbowl?

Sarah: We need to know how spokes works.

Allison: do we want to keep the fishbowl going? I am seeing consensus, so we’ve consented that we want to keep going w this fishbowl conversation, so before we go on to the next question, I think because we’re such a small group, when somebody moves, it seems more powerful.

John: spokes can switch.

Allison: if your group thinks you need to step back, you have to. Every model we’ve looked at does it this way, so we will, unless we decide to change.

Rene: If one person, or do they have to have consensus?

Allison: Technically, it would be up to each working group. Not sure we have that detail worked out at the moment. The question is if we’re going to continue. Do you have a point of information?

Marty: there is more than one working group, that seek in order to move forward without trust, if somebody says that I don’t feel I can trust this, …

Jay: So far I have been in contact with three different spokes. I feel that it went unnoticed. To address Rene’s point about recalling a spoke, the individuals in the group would have to consent.

Jay: Say one out of 80 said that their spoke isn’t representing the group, or you might need full consensus.

Allison: We’ve noticed some dominant voices.

Patti: This is the only thing that I see that is a problem, for example, this group is having a conversation. We need to figure that out. Maybe only note-taking, or take breaks.

Tess: In regard to how working groups should decide, or if they should decide if they should pull somebody out, I feel like one person should be able to pull a spoke, but should not replace the spoke, somebdy else should replace the spoke?

Greg: When we come back to the fishbowl, my suggestion is that that could be a conversation.

Allison: Anti-oppression is coming with a point that they want to explore, and the working groups should take that back and discuss it. One other thought on the thing about the working groups, if Jay is part of three groups, those groups are suppose to rep him. I’m on three groups; some are on eighteen groups.

Marty: I’m trying to figure out what [….] I still to go back to what I was saying in support of what anti-oppression was saying, if we’re still not addressing elephants in the rooms. I didn’t notice Jay moving around, but him pointing it out reminded me that people told me about the entire spokes process. The folks that, for lack of a better word, are organizing this, are the same ones who have been boycotting the GAs.

Anthony: Ouch! Ouch!


Patti: I don’t get this.

Angela: Yes, you do.

Patti: If this is a fishbowl, the people outside aren’t suppose to talk.

Allison: But we didn’t officially move back to the fishbowl.

Sarah: This point that you brought up, I don’t believe is relevant to this group right now. It’s outside of the scope of the spokes meeting tonight.

Angela: I need to …

John: Ouch!

Marty: That was coordinated.

John: That was my working group.

Angela: When I hear you say, Sarah, that this should not be part of this, I’m hearing that there has not been enough clearing of the air, all the way back to Dewey, about things that went down. I hope you know me well enough… I have seen things, I can’t pretend that I am just stepping into this, I can’t ignore Sarah, if we don’t do this now, we are going to build on unhealed scars. I have seen this. I myself have broken some commitments and seen others do it, too. And anti-oppression is very concerned about this, the continued pattern of oppressive behavior and lack of good faith. So that’s my “ouch”.

John: The ouch that I have is in relation to Martin’s statements as part of D.A. is that stuff coming from media, some folks participated in the walkout, none missed a single GA and were involved in the planning of spokes, there were no misgivings and there’s been a lack of good faith, for that stuff to come from, media, speaking for folks from DA. I was part of the walkout. I was involved in planning spokes, and I was at every GA. I feel that that’s a serious lack of trust, that there would be questioning of people’s motives. This was set up for planning action. There’s a lot of mistrust going around.

Tess: I have two very quick points: it would be a good idea if there’s another person from Media.

Marty: Robin feels that I am not speaking on behalf of Media.

Allison: Could we formalize this idea that only note-passing could happen? We do have a challenge that people feel that they aren’t represented. Do we want to formalize the note-passing approach?

Patti: I don’t think it’s always going to be the right communication tool. Maybe we need a word for a timeout for talking with my working group. Whatever, whether a hand signal, etc.

Angela: (to Greg)I want you to join Anti-oppression.

Patti: does everyone agree that that should happen?

Jay: [A T sign] would be a good signal.

Greg: When somebody uses the signal, should everybody stop till they have had their conversation?

Jay: I do feel it’s distracting.

Tess: You can definitely try whispering quietly, common sense; you may need a break.

Rene: Well, in my working group, we work very well with technology, we could chat on our computers. We’ve seen lack of understanding how technology could strengthen our movement. You suggested no screens. I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my working group.

Anthony: We have an “ouch”. Regarding the notion of not being able to come to a spokescouncil in good faith, we don’t have that criterion for GA, so why does that apply to spokescouncil?

Allison: the “ouch” for me wasn’t that I didn’t think that we should have that conversation, the “ouch” for me was that that topic was going to be brought up. The “ouch” was limited to the idea that when there was a walkout, and at different times groups have walked away for different reasons, whatever the reasons are, I have not seen another instance of somebody trying to get a working group going, and saying that I can’t engage this because I have seen other things going on that haven’t been addressed. If we do that here, let’s do it every place. As though spokes are the only ones responsible for what’s going down. That laid all the weight of all the OB dynamics on the people who got together to address the problem. The original group was half and half of people who were boycotting GA. They put aside their hurts to do this. They were looking for creative outlets instead.

            The elephants are in every room, so it feels really hurtful that we’re the only group that gets that.

Rene: When the New York people were here, they said that GA was where we aired grievances. This seems like a good forum for it.

Greg: I think that’s great as long as the working groups are behind having these conversations.

B: I think that there are working groups that are not directly involved. I didn’t know that that was going to happen.

Jay: Stepping out a little bit as Direct Action. I’m speaking as a spoke but not directly as a spoke for D.A. This hasn’t been planned by D.A  There’s a plan for speaking about these concerns, coming at the next GA.


Tess: That seems like a point of information that you knew. You don’t need your whole working group to let you say this.

Jay: Just an open discussion, Wednesday, CityPlace, at 6:00. We discussed this yesterday. See who shows up, and get the ball rolling from there.

Rene: It’s 10:42.

Jay: My group says that it was on the calendar.

Jorge: Are you inviting particular players?

Jay: Everybody is invited.

Greg: We think it’s good to have these discussions.

Tess: Since we’re nearing 11, should we take time to debrief?

Allison: Some might not have been prepared but we’ve had about fifty come through spokes working groups. As a group here, we can decide where to go. We have to decide how we feel about having another group. This particular spokescouncil has a deadline.

Rene: Without a stack I found myself unable to speak a lot. I think we should use a stack next time.

Jorge: I wanted to say we at 6 is a bad time,. So may gropus meteing at that time.

            One thing that was really  funky really uncomf, is whispering in sbs ear, and sb moving, fraught w intrigue, obviously we nd a bigger space, I thnk even notes cd b distracting.

Sara: space thinks

Robin: want to explain why I moved. When I was sitting in the femininst grop, I felt that marty wasn’t speaking for the media WG

Sara: Worry about good faith. Besides the morality, w’out good faith, w’ll just keep going back and forth, so we have to leave this stuff at the door.

Dan:  we need sb to take stack. when I sat in the ctr of the circl, people who wanted to speak, got to speak a lot. Otherws didn’t.  Like fbowl. Looks like a good format to work in.

Allison: like that format to. Gets closer to enabling dialogue.  I will say that we all need to consider our own prerceptions the filters we look through. When sb moves, how y see that person determines how y see that move, which all comes from what has happened in the past.  Would like to commit to finding ways to deal with the past and go forward too.

Marty:  echo what Jorge said, but also what Allison said, would prefer not to leave issues at the door, air out little by little, but limit that and say now we’ll take a step forward. The only way to regain trust, must do st to regain trust [Jorge bike example]. Instead of trying to roll over and actually try and deal w it, I thinkg we sh do both

Angela: I came in to this mtg, i9 was lking forward to seing what was evolve. I ve been in movements. I will ge bvy hnest, when I saw sara, Anthony, I then had to register, oh I have a a lot of unresolved feelings that the 3 of y bring up for me. When I mentioned this, I saw eyes rolling, stuff that makes my heart sick and my stomack sink, so I reverted to old feelings. I have tried, the whole time I’ve been here, in OB, to get covs about the dyn of oppre, and this mtg tonight did not give me any faith that we are moving on this at all. I was so hurt by some of the thnkgs that went down.  I been a feminest since 1968, and this isn’t how we tried to act. We acted much worse. I’m really baffled and geuinely confused about who we are in this movement right now, and I will say, as a always say, we’re only 4 months old, and this is going to work out.

Robin: I just want to say that I didn’t appreciate that Angela turned around and yelled at me for talking to marty

Allison: if we were to turn to the principles you can speak if they were speaking to an act. We try to avoid

Patti: at next mtg, fbowl pick a facil to do stack, etc.

 Jorge: ows warned us that if we didn’t work on this issue, it wd turn to a shit strom.


Discussion of whether to stay.


Allison: we have a current dynamic. A lot of energy flying in this romm right now. We have people in here crying. We need to acknowledge emotional state of being. Is the way to go to just keep talking? Or to just close the mtg? I don have a n ans, but there must be a better way, to have closure, even if it’s not all resolved. Take a moment to be quiet, and then maybe people could quietly suggest some thoughts.

John: I ll go. I’m sick of all this lk, we just kp going and goin and goni. We need to spend this time, going back. This whole momvment neds to debrief. Until we all ack that, we’ll just have these probs,a dnthe whole mvmvnt will just crumble,. We ned to go to GA as a spokescouncil and say that we have these problemss. Once we admit that, we can open our hearts and discuss thes problems.  What zoned me out was “the spokes council is against GA”, so we need to go to the root of the problems. This is what the movement about, addressing problemss of the govt. we need to address our problems.

Patti: can we not do this on livestream?

 Allison: we’re a consensus-based group. if we have anybody here who is not comfortable with livestream, then we should not do it.

 Jay: if sb asks me to stop, I will.

 Patti: on the one hand you’re right, if nobody’s watching…

 Jay: there are 8.

 Patti: I didn’t mean to be the center of attention

 Glenn: Maybe she’s changing her mind

 Patti: actually I am kind of changing my mind.

 Dan:  just for transparency’s sake, sb on the live stre suggested we keep livestreaming.

 Patti I did not intend for lack of transparency

 Jay: consensus for ending the meeting.


            Livestream is now off.


B a couple of us really need to go.





[Mtg is over?]