Future of Occupy
The Future of Occupy monthly gatherings have ceased for the forseeable future!
This is how they were advertised:
The Future of Occupy gatherings are a full day of vision, strategy and/or training held once a month usually on a Sunday from around noon till 6pm.
Occupy London activists have identified a need for Occupy London to have meetings indoors (!) to nut out strategy , learn more about how to be effective activists and deepen our bonds in a physical space to inspire trust and reliability.
These meetings, also known as our Strategy Meetings can include but are not limited to strategy discussion, educational workshops on topics such as the Global Commons, Non Violent Communication, Website training, presentations from guests from outside campaigns and more.
The gatherings are open to all and are a great way to find out whats going on and how you can get involved in this exciting global movement. So please do not be shy!
What happened to the Future of Occupy Meetings?
The Future of Occupy (FoO) meetings ceased because the gatherings, which were transparent, open to all and well advertised, resolved to introduce a different decision making model in Occupy. This was blocked at the first GA in over a year, ironically initiated by the FoO group themselves. The participants of FoO who truly, madly, deeply believed that a move away from the current decision making model is utterly necessary for the advancement of Occupy (after 7 months of meeting and three months of hot internal debate on this one issue) lost the will to continue active participation in FoO, after every avenue was exhausted to pass their “3GA Model” .
The bitter disappointment needs to be healed.
By October 2013, when FoO had its first meeting, Occupy had been somewhat dormant from up to a year. Although the Economics and the EEE working groups had kept meeting; the website was still being maintained; the contacts with the press were still being responded to; the Frien Barnet Occupy crew had reaped some success - Occupy as a whole was not meeting. FoO addressed this hole in our movement and re-energized many occupiers into believing in the power of Occupy again.
A bit of background:
The decision making model of Occupy has always been via the one General Assembly. One GA deals with all decisions. Working groups need approval from this one GA which more often than not is conducted in the street. It is imperative to our Occupy’s indentity that anyone can participate. When a proposal is introduced consensus needs to be reached. Anyone has the right to block a decision if they think that it goes againt the ethos of Occupy. The ethos of Occupy is open to wide interpretation by many, which includes their own personal ideologies at times. This leaves Occupy extremely vulnerable to having each progressive idea blocked and indeed that does happen so often that people avoid the GA entirely and do whatever they like and instead of calling something Occupy London, they simply say Occupy. The blockers are expected to attend the working groups from which the proposals have originated and when this happens the ‘system’ works beautifully, but more often than not the blocker makes little effort to attend, and the proposal is postponed by what could be described as uncommitted members of the movement. This leads to disappointment and disillusionment depending on hard it was to come up with the proposal in the first place.
This decision making model reflected what was being used in Occupy Wall Street and although far from perfect, it is a reasonable model in giving everyone a voice in the moments of an impromptu vast public protest were protesters have set and camp and as fate would have it , the camp life extends to days, then weeks, then months. Vast flaws became apparent as the weeks went by but it was too difficult to address them at the time of an occupation. However 2 years later, FoO tried.
The 3GA model was a work in progress that FoO wanted to try. It separated decision making power into three separate open meetings (GA’s). These would be held when called, when needed, or systematically once every 3 months. We were yet to feel which one would be most appropriate.
Two of these meetings were to be held back to back – the 1)Internal House Keeping/Business meeting and the 2)Strategy Meeting. The Internal Meeting or Internal GA (1) would be where matters such as finance, the website, press contacts were discussed. These topics are notoriously avoided by most activists and bog down big assemblies because most people are not interested. The Strategy meetings (2) were to be held directly after on the same day. Here engaged activists in Occupy would meet and do pretty much what is described above in the orignal advertising. The other GA is the Public GA (3) . Although anyone could come to any of the last two meetings, the public GA would be more designed to deal with members of the public who for the most part come to GA’s to show support, be informed, and consider whether to join. All us occupiers have been approached at some stage by individuals voicing a want to get involved and yet not really knowing how. In these public GAs we would have done our best to encourage participation and facilitate becoming involved.
This 3GA Model was blocked. The reasons given at the GA was because it lacked transparency and that all the desicions would now be being made by a few people instead of the majority. The block was considered invalid because the meetings are open to all to join but the question on whether the blocks were valid or not was fought bitterly on line and in the end FoO felt that we could not change Occupy’s decision making model without the blessing of all active Occupiers.
What ironically did start happening since the first GA in over a year is that some Occupiers less invested in the 3GA model became motivated to conduct GA’s regularly since. Since March 2014 there has been a GA at least once every 6 weeks. However 6 months later the same old issues are raising their heads again. There is little strategy, no real bonding is occurring at these meetings, and they are do not captivate the public’s interest because too much is discussed to too many people who are not interested in everything.
Let it be noted that the people who had an issue with the 3GA model were (for the most part) people who did not live in London and who had never attended a FoO meeting and whose only particpation in Occupy is through online communication and there were 2 people who had attended FoO meetings who ‘stood aside”.
Currently the activists who were involved in the FoO meetings are still involved in Occupy and are awaiting a moment when the time is right to advance Occupy into a space where it can grow and develop. For now this has been compromised.
Written by Polly Tikkle and not approved by the GA!
FUTURE OF OCCUPY RELATED ARTICLES
FUTURE OF OCCUPY COLLECTIVE MEETINGS MINUTES