General Assembly – Friday 4th May 2012

 

Steps of St Pauls – 7:00pm Weather – Unseasonably bitter and cold

Facilitation – Liz / Vica Note taker – Jack

Proposals for consensus / discussion

1. Proposal for May Funding. – PASSED WITH AMMENDMENT

2. Request for travel expenses. – BLOCKED

3. Proposal to clarify objections, amendments, blocks. – DISCUSSED

4. Proposal for post-ratification of GAs. – DISCUSSED

5. Proposal to not hold an Occupy London GA on 12th May. – PASSED WITH AMMENDMENT

Copies of the Safer Spaces Policy were handed out at the start of the assembly. The facilitation team explained that the assembly was going to abide by the policy. Should anyone breach the SSP, they would first be given a warning by the facilitation team (any attendee of the assembly can notify the facilitation team of SSP breaches). If the same individual breached SSP again, they would be asked to leave the assembly. If they refuse to physically leave, they are to take no further part in the decision making at that assembly. The assembly agreed to operate under this practice.

Proposal 1. Proposal for May Funding.

Request for funding for Occupy May 12th & 15th actions (submitted by Vica)

Breakdown

Posters: 150
Flyers and map for the day: £400
Stickers for targets: 150
Caution Occupy tape: 150

Total: £850

 

Clarification / Objections

 

Tom – How much tape will you be able to afford? Can I use some of it for actions?

 

Response – Lots of it! Of course you can use some.

 

Tim – How many maps to be produced? Why A3 and full colour?

 

Response – Exact Numbers not known, but at least a few hundred. Corpwatch gave us so much great information we felt we had to publicise it.

 

[discussion about formatting and design issues. Mention of ecological impact of document printing]

 

[Discussion surrounding an additional funding of £100 for use in more helium filled tents. Assembly agreed to test for consensus on initial amount then discuss the additional spending.]

 

TEST FOR CONSENSUS – CONSENSUS achieved – No Stand-asides.

 

£850 granted to Occupy May WG.

 

[discussion surrounding additional £100.]

 

TEST FOR CONSENSUS – CONSENSUS achieved – No Stand-asides.

 

£100 additional funding granted to Occupy May WG.

 

Proposal 2 - Request for travel expenses

 

Finance request – £216 travel expenses

 

Amount is to cover outstanding amount from £380 which was the cost of travelling to Edinburgh for outreach and joining post play panel discussion at Traverse Theatre after the play Demos partly about Occupy London (minutes from december meeting) Saskia John and Phil all went, John as co author, Saskia as panellist and Phil with suitcase full of OT’s to give away. I would have liked to submit a proposal beforehand but unfortunately by the time we found out about it and were confirmed free performance tickets there was less than a week before the event. Also there was no apparent process for finance at the time. Due to the short timing involoved we were unable to purchase advance tickets. Saskia paid for the tickets and the play writer offered some money to John to cover his expenses. John has kindly used his entire contribution to help to cover the outstanding amount. I do have tickets and can print out e receipt as proof of purchase. We felt this was an important outreach opportunity and felt our time in Scotland was well spent. For the record this is the first expenses I have ever applied for, having covered all my own costs to date including travel to Sheffield conference.

 

Clarification / Objections

Pete / Mel – This request seems a little out of nowhere. This trip wasn’t discussed a GA. It seems a fait accompli. It’s a bit too much with our current funds and there seems to be an assumption of reimbursement.

 

Tom – This is an egregious request.

 

Tiff – It was a personal choice to attend, no-one was asked to go by Occupy London.

 

Tim – Find this request uncomfortable. The Traverse Theatre should have paid.

 

TEST FOR CONSENSUS – Proposal BLOCKED – 2 People Block.

 

Proposal 3 – Proposal to clarify objections, amendments, blocks – Presented for discussion

Proposal to clarify what an objection an amendment or a block are when used in consensus

There is a need to distinguish between an objection which is specific to the proposal being made (and is subject to a consensus that can be modified from 100% to any lesser proportion eg 80/20%) and a block which is in effect a veto. A block should properly be used maybe only once in the time you are in a group if a proposal is made that is in conflict with the core statements of the group such that it would cause you to feel that you would have to leave the group if the proposal was accepted. These core statements would be publicly available ones – in our case the initial statement and those made by the WGs and also the SSP statements.(not some subjective view of what the group is)

When disagreements remain at the level of objections difficult situations can be managed by deciding on different levels of consensus. Blocks like vetos make a democratic situation undemocratic (like the UN)

Amendments should only be allowed if the change is quite small eg only one element in a proposal changed or only a change of 10-20% in financial request. This is a matter of judgement but the way amendments should be treated should err on the side of caution. If anybody expresses any doubt at all (ie one person should be sufficient for this to happen) then it should be re-proposed to give people the chance to re-assess the proposal.

 

DISCUSSION POINTS

 

There is no mention of a minimum size for an assembly, this would seem related to me. Should we discuss Quorums?

Blocks are not secure from agitators, destructive mindsets and Aps

 

Blocks are an important part of decision making. They should be considered the start of the next stage in the “life” of a proposal.

 

We should have more facilitation workshops to help people become more familiar with Process.

 

If more people don’t like the proposal, it’s not carried.

 

[postive discussion follows, group seems keen on the proposals points]

 

TEMPERATURE CHECK – To continue discussing and working on this proposal with Tim to return to a GA at a later stage. – VERY WARMLY RECEIVED

 

Proposal 4 – Proposal for post-ratification of GAs – Presented for discussion

GA decisions in meetings to be ratified the following week.

“All decisions and payments etc must be ratified by a GA a week later following the original proposal before  decisions or payments can be acted upon. (excepting in situations of  emergency such as evictions, imminent police action etc )”.

This would allow for the the process in the GA to be examined calmly to see if the procedure was correct via video and written minutes.

Statements can be looked at to see if they have  basis in fact (obviously there is room for differences I am referring here to gross  inaccuracies) This would encourage people to make more responsible  statements as they would know they would be subject to scrutiny.

There would be more time to gauge if a block was correctly made and if the meeting took place within the SSP guidelines. Amendments could be examined to see if it  did not distort or exceed the proposal beyond it  original intention.

New minutes could then be submitted, if necessary with suitable  addenda. These would be collated by the facilitators to the meeting on the basis of objections made (all objections to be made publicly  available before the GA ratifying the minutes).

These would then be submitted to the GA,with a different facilitator(s) which then would form the basis of the ratification so payments and  decisions could be carried out.

(This may only be considered necessary for GAs concerning finance.)

 

DISCUSSION POINTS

 

Speed up the ratification time-line. A week is too long to wait.

 

Could be useful for binary choice decisions, but less so for consensus on lengthy statements.

 

Consensus isn’t the only game in town

 

A smaller commission / council could be better suited for this ratification rather than a full GA.

 

Standard practice in organisational meetings to ratify the previous meetings minutes. There should be a deadline like this involved anyway.

 

Should the GA be making any decisions at all?

 

TEMPERATURE CHECK – To continue discussing and working on this proposal with Tim to return to a GA at a later stage. – MODERATELY WARMLY RECEIVED

 

Proposal 5 – Occupy London General Assembly to not take place on Sat 12th May.

 

[ Discussion about merits of proposal, it's necessity so as not to coincide with M12 events. Some discussion about overall suitability of Saturday 2pm assemblies. Some discussion about trickiness of not communicating and someone turning up to put on quasi autonomous GA. ]

 

Proposal amended to read -

 

The Occupy London General Assembly will take place on Saturday 12th May. However it will be themed around the M12 events and will only perform the function of providing discussion space. No proposals for consensus will be scheduled into this Assembly (They can instead be scheduled into Friday 11th May GA or the next weekend)

 

 

TEST FOR CONSENSUS – CONSENSUS achieved – No Stand-asides.

 

 
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