Notes from the
General Assembly (GA) Meeting
Spencer Plaza, Wilmington
a new global justice movement
to confront a global crisis.
Meeting started: 1900 hr
Next Tuesday is the Sheriff’s Sale at which we will be mic-checking and singing. Every one who is able to attend please do so, meeting at Spencer Plaza at 9am.
This Saturday we will be doing an action at Bank of America, the Greenville branch. They are open 9am-1pm so it will be around then.
January 14th will be an action joined with the Coalition Against the Death Penalty to protest the imminent execution of Gattis.
The Newark and Wilmington Rally’s resume this week, Wednesday in Wilmington at 4:30pm on Delaware Ave., and Newark on Fridays at 4:00pm on Main Street.
We’re continuing to arrange meetings with Carper, Coons, and Carney. Once they are obtained they will be brought to demands to discuss what to bring to the meetings.
Concern regarding the use of the word “merge” involving the Coalition. It was discussed that we would not bring other groups and “merge” with them. There is no actual merging, they are their own group and they just want Occupy Delaware to have a presence.
We are working with the Delaware Chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty on an action, to be determined, Jan. 14.
Jan. 7: BoA foreclosure action.
Jan. 10: Sheriff’s Sale action.
Jan. 14: Wells Fargo foreclosure action.
Met with Rev. Livingston and Hannah Bonner–she fed us for Thanksgiving. Talked about doing an event on the 16th. There will be speakers. They are interested in having at least three speakers — Get ahold of Arts if you’re interested. It is called Occupy the Dream: Promoting MLKs Dream Through the Occupy Movement. [ref., ref., ref.]. They’ve offered us to come worship at their church, the Perfected Life Church at the PAL Center around the last Sunday in January and at the Mother African Union Church on 9th and Franklin on an early Sunday in February. They’re also interested in getting involved in Occupy the Hood [and ref., ref.] and are interested in merging everything together. They are interested in the Pell Grant issue and are looking at 100 billion dollars from Wall Street to strengthen neighborhoods and are looking for community banks that are benefiting from their communities to give back. Interested in the seed (?) program.
Long-term kitchen volunteers are needed to open the kitchen, otherwise we’ll have no kitchen for the winter.
Still trying to coordinate with SSAMs for use of their kitchen. We are supposed to be there tomorrow but it’s been difficult to get in contact with the Church liason. The Church expressed the desire to have a group of people to help with cleaning up the kitchen when it’s used.
We are trying to address all the things that are happening to try to put out a press release to focus around the action with the churches and also we want to put out a newsletter or mailing to people we have on a list — perhaps people who have come to GAs — to inform them on things going on.
On Thursday, 7pm-8pm, there will be a remembrance on the war in Iraq at Hanover Church.
Question to Media — Does it write letters to the editor?
No. Part of the media committee handles the website and media also handles the press releases.
Question to Media — Would Media work to write the editor to address the commonly rude letters?
Maybe Media will. They would like to have a media meeting to bring that up and brainstorm things to write but everyone is allowed to write on their own.
There will be a meeting after Wednesday’s GA.
There was a Facilitation Committee meeting. Facilitators help set the agenda of GAs and move the process.
1st Proposal – Establish what is consensus.
2nd Proposal – 10 people is the minimum amount of people to be able to vote and pass on proposals.
3rd Proposal – Change meeting styles and weekly schedule similar to Occupy Portland.
Proposal 1: Establish What is Consensus.
This proposal is to define consensus for the consensus test section of our
current process. It is currently undefined and this is to propose that
consensus will be 90%.
On the 90% consensus, does that have any effect on the end result of 2/3rd
majority if two rounds of attempting to consensus fails?
No, it does not. Ideally we strive for 90%
Just curious as to what we know about what other Occupies are doing? What number are others using?
They are using 90%. Wall Street does, Los Angeles does. Majority use 90%. We have a super-majority which is 2/3rds passed, like Occupy Philadelphia. With various consensus models, 90% is a common percentage.
Could you elaborate further? Is this to remove 2/3rds majority vote?
No, this is to specifically find a percentage for consensus — which would
be 90%. This is just to make it clear and consistent.
So after the 90% passes, does this go to 2/3rds type voting?
No, this doesn’t change our process. 2/3rds would only happy (super
majority) if the GA fails to gain consensus after two consensus tests.
What will we do with odd group sizes?
Round up? Regardless, the percentage would be either above or below 90%
and to gain consensus it would have to be 90% or above to pass.
So in effect what we’re saying is we would like people to agree with 90%
but if they don’t we still accept 2/3rds?
General Assembly consensus test is 90%.
Proposal 2: This is to propose a minimum quorum of 10 people if there are to be something passed at the General Assembly.
This is to avoid any proposals passing in small groups and anyone missing
out when important decisions are being made.
When this was first discussed earlier or when it was first announced, is it
10 bodies or 10 voting people since facilitators are unable to vote
(includes stack takers and time keepers)?
It is asking for 10 people able to vote, which would require more than 10.
There is usually 10 people at our General Assemblies. Hopefully, with our
indoor assemblies, our numbers will grow and this will be easier to obtain
and bring up again.
Well, on the previous proposal there wasn’t 10 people?
Yes but the proposal hasn’t been passed yet.
Question regarding individuals abstaining; Is it going to be taken in to
consideration? While we look around, we can look to see we have enough for 10 people to vote but what happens when someone abstains?
When someone abstains they are basically saying they accept the proposal.
Still, if there are only 10 people voting and only six vote but four
abstain, the consensus ( 90%) is unable to be obtained. The GA would have to either move to a super majority or get the rest of them to vote to gain consensus.
From the scenario presented, if we have 10 people in a GA, if 9 out of 10
people vote for it — which includes for votes and abstained votes, that is
considered still 90%?
That is what can be assumed but it could potentially cause issue.
People who abstain are not voting against a proposal, they perhaps do not
have a strong enough opinion on if a proposal passes or not. It’s standing
Are you concluding that abstaining is being interpreted as voting for a
If you have 100 people and one person votes for a proposal and then
everyone else abstains, that means no one else particularly cares. It works
the same way as one person votes against a proposal and everyone else
abstains. It’s that people don’t care.
Do we have a clear consensus if only one person out of 10 votes for or
against a proposal and then 9 other people are abstaining?
Yes. It would rarely happen but it would work that way since nine people
are basically accepting the “removal of their vote” due to their
indifference on the proposal at hand.
This is the largest GA we’ve had in weeks. I’m concerned we’re not going to see the numbers even though we’re inside. If we have a GA every day, I’m afraid we won’t make numbers. 10 is amazing but we just don’t have those numbers and I am concerned we will get nothing done if this passes.
Can you clarify on your concern?
I am just concerned that we will not make numbers. I have no way to fix it
but if we do not make numbers we will do nothing.
I am concerned that if we pass an agenda proposal that if we use the same
guidelines for different committees that it will deal with the same issue
– that there will not be enough to have the numbers since, like the “camp
issues” which deal with the people who live and sleep on site, there is not
a large amount of people who would be involved in the camp decision making.
Information for above concern — if we have an agenda and have only a few
days for actual GAs and “funnel” people in to the GAs due to it not being
every night, it may raise our numbers.
I just am concerned because there seems to be an issue of “what is Occupy Delaware” and what is the GA process of Wilmington, Delaware? Are they the same or are they different? If they are different, we need to address what is different between them.
There has been small discussion regarding the potential of just people who
live on site talk amongst themselves. Like a camp committee.
I am concerned that someone may try to pass something with the small number of people that may not actually be of the voice of Occupy Delaware.
1st Amendment: If this passes, this minimum number will not be pushed on to camp issues because we may never get enough to vote on anything.
Questions: This could potentially be addressed by having a separate
meeting. Like a “people who live here” meeting, that could be separate from
Yes, this is just to make sure that this doesn’t pass for the smaller
committees as it may directly effect the ability for things to get done.
Could this be addressed with implementing emergency GA procedures where you would require less then that for consensus? Since most things can be brought to agreement with people who are there and even the committees to get things done themselves. If there is something that clearly needs to be brought to a GA, could we make some phone calls and call an emergency general assembly to have people there to vote on?
Yes but if we wait for 10 people we would accomplish nothing.
Instead of Emergency GA, maybe there should be a “camp community meeting” every night between the people who stay over night and/or live there?
— Point of Process — this is being brought up by multiple people; the
forming of another committee or meeting for camp life and it should be
brought up as its own amendment.
Factual Information — This is just for the main, large GA (I.E. the indoor
one on Wednesday) not the regular general assemblies that happen regularly.
What is the difference between THE General Assembly and A general assembly, which is used in any application (like committee meetings). ‘The” is specifically talking about the General Assembly that has been made in
Wouldn’t it be practical to treat the campers like other committees?
Committees are empowered.
The minimum for a General Assembly to pass any proposals is 10 people able to vote.
Proposal: The Portland GA Structures and Process Proposal to Change and mix meeting styles and types.
*Rationale for the Proposal:*
Making sure that our meeting structures and styles are truly meeting the
needs of our new and growing movement is important and will require ongoing evolution. Many factors including: decreased participation, less dynamic discussions, facilitator capacity, weather and the holiday season leads us to believe that this is an appropriate time for some changes.
Other occupations nationwide are having similar problems and are working to make changes that will facilitate more space for open discussion,
connection and affinity building, instead of process heavy, decision making
meetings that sometimes stifle new ideas that need a more open space to
foster. In light of this, this proposes to change the mix of different
meeting types and styles. This will not change the time and frequency of
meetings. What will change is what happens during the meetings.
* Please keep in mind that this will be an ongoing process. It will
continue to look at the big picture questions about how to meet the needs
of our movement through process. This proposal is designed to meet the
immediate needs that have come up, in a timely fashion, with more to come
as both our process and our movement evolves.
- MON – Agenda Setting, Proposal Announcement and Discussion Meeting
(proposals and agendas will then be posted online for the Thur and Sat
- TUE – Movement Building Open Forum (Unconference / Open Space style meeting for flexible and purposeful group conversations, work group work and cross-pollination of people and ideas
- WED – Open Night (A good night for other important meetings or a day
of rest in the weekly cycle)
- THU – Spokes Council ( As it has been )
- FRI – Cultural Events (Different events at different venues well
suited to the occasion)
- SAT – General Assembly (As it has been)
- SUN – Feather Circle (Idea Discussion Circle with a process well
suited to working through challenging items that are “stuck”).
We voted to have an indoor GA on Wednesdays.
Peoples settlement also said that Saturdays would be okay as well.
We haven’t had GAs on Saturday in a while since we haven’t had enough
people to actually have one.
Have you considered that having a General Assembly on a Saturday would
alienate the youth who may not be willing to give up a Saturday?
The proposal would hope to have the GA in the early afternoon so that
people may have the evenings to do what they need to do / want.
Is this set in stone one we vote on it — the schedule? If it doesn’t work
would we fix it?
Semper Gumbie. If it doesn’t work we’ll fix it.
Aren’t we saying that Wednesday is the day we’re trying to assemble the
largest group with the help of an indoor group?
What we’re eventually doing is having big meeting days on both Wednesday and Saturday. They both would be held in GA style processes. Wednesday is committee and Saturday is decision-making.
Would this be effective immediately?
I have a concern about GAs on Saturday. I like the concept but I think we
need to tweak the days better. I don’t think GAs on Saturdays with the way
our group has worked would work. I think we should do two GAs a week to
slowly move people in to GAs on Saturday.
In essence, there would be two GAs a week.
— Point of Process — This sounds like an amendment
My concern is there is not enough to entice people to show up on Saturday
– even free food.
We’ve had big Saturdays before. Factually, we are looking to appeal to
people who haven’t been coming.
Any other concerns?
I am concerned that we aren’t using full advantage of tools like polls and
surveys, like asking which would be best for a GA.
I am looking at the Calendar of things coming up. Instead of having a GA
tomorrow and the 11th, having them on Saturdays.
I am concerned that if we don’t put emphasis on Saturday also, that even
though we understand where our numbers are now, we may be missing a lot of voices. One, tons of people don’t feel comfortable coming in to Wilmington after dark. Two, a lot of people are off on Saturdays. If we don’t attempt to focus on Saturdays, we may be missing out on voices.
1st Amendment: I would like to propose GAs on Wednesday and Saturday. We could still do committee work on Wednesday as well as the GA.
2nd Amendment: I propose we have the main GA on Wednesday and committee building is on Saturday.
What’s your solution to now mixing up the entire structure of the weekly
schedule? Instead of giving people from Monday until Saturday to know what is brought up at the GA, they now only have Monday to Wednesday.
You understand we originally had 5 days to have a proposal announced until we voted on it and now we’d only have 2?
Yes, but things can be changed if needed. I feel we should cater to when
people show up right now, which is Wednesday.
In the original proposal Wednesday was a free day so why shouldn’t we have two GAs?
No, it was open night or committee meetings.
How do you intend to remedy not having a “fix-it” day right after the GA?
That is why the “feather circle” is held on Sunday, the day right after the
The main reason is because we are attempting to cater to the day that most
people show up — Wednesday.
If we don’t shift it all to work in the same linear cycle as the initial
proposal then this proposal will be withdrawn.
The proposal, as it is initially done, one thing leads to another then
leads to another. What stops us from, in a sense, from withdrawing the
amendment, the proposal being withdrawn — at least its specifics, and then
coming up with a new proposal structuring a linear pattern, like specified
in the original, to keep the cycle?
There needs to be more discussion on this proposal.
The proposal has been withdrawn.
This Saturday, after the action, there will be an “unconference” or
“feather circle” meeting to help discuss and work out issues concerning
Demands – Meeting tomorrow after the GA.
Actions – Meeting tomorrow after the GA as well.
Facilitation – Meeting tomorrow at 6pm, before the GA at the Peoples
Please spread the word about the inside GA. There is a Facebook event,
please share it. It is indoors! It’s two blocks down 8th street from
Meeting adjourned: 2030 hr