About the General Assembly
WHAT IS AN OCCUPY LONDON GENERAL ASSEMBLY?
The General Assembly (GA) is a gathering of people committed to discussing issues and making decisions based upon a collective agreement or “consensus”. Anyone can participate in an Occupy London General Assembly and everyone’s voice is equally important. The more people become involved in our debates, the stronger and more representative the results of the discussions will be.
When we had Occupy camps in central London we often held General Assemblies twice a day. Now that those involved in the Occupy movement in London are more dispersed, our assemblies are sporadic – they happen if someone wants to discuss a particular topic, or if someone makes a proposal for people to consider, debate and decide upon.
Occupy groups often use hand signals which are simply a way to communicate in large groups without shouting. The signals are explained at the beginning of assemblies – no one will force you to use them but you might find them surprisingly useful (and not too embarrassing, once you get into it).
A facilitator guides the General Assembly through an agenda created at a planning meeting. The planning meeting is usually held one hour before the GA, and is open for anyone to attend, to contribute or observe.
So that people have time to think about the issues and decisions that are coming up, discussion topics and proposals are ideally scheduled in advance, although if there is an urgent proposal it will sometimes be included at the planning meeting.
If you’d like to suggest a discussion topic or make a proposal, you can do so by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Occupy London wants to operate and conduct our discussions in a safe, non-oppressive space that is welcoming, engaging and supportive. To this end we have a few ‘rules’ about behaviour (aka The Safer Space Policy). This policy is based on respect, consideration, non-violence and avoidance of discrimination.
If you’re interested in developing an assembly in your own area, you might also find useful Occupy London’s Toolkit for Occupy Everywhere which was produced for a day of action on December 15th 2011. There is also a wiki containing a number of templates that you could use.