Strategy Meeting 22.2.14
Present : Mark W, Inka, Simon, Julie T, George, Maria, Tim F , Steve B, John S, Brazilian guy, Areef, Economics lady, David, maybe others?
2 newcomers – Areef and Simon (both male)
Late comer – Chris from Oxford
Later comer – Earthian
Latest (at the end) Vica
Facilitator – George first half /// Maria second half
Minute Taker – Inka (MT)
These minutes have been written a little like a script. In some cases I wrote down phrases verbatim in other cases I paraphrased.
For conclusion of the day please flip to the last two pages.
Whether the meeting should be live streamed or not.
Julie is pushing for it to be livestreamed. Inka ,Obi, George Areef Steve engage in debate.
We livestream until someone asks not to be.
Julie is not happy about this.
2) Introductions . Two new faces
On the board is written
Speaking as the 99%
Danger with clashing values
The source of our power is to get to grips with our shared values.
How do we utilise these shared values when we communicate with the wider community who may not necessarily share our values.
These values can be divisive.
Values can be co opted.
The problem with building alliances across different sections of the society.
How to manage it.
What we are talking about is
Cultural hegemony = authority infecting society with its own agenda which then becomes the cultural norm to think this way..
One of the aims of cultural hegemony is that people cannot see it. (like a fish cannot see the sea)
Graeber’s argument is that the neo liberal sector attacked anything that proposed alternatives. The first being education.
The idea is to shut down thinking and any kind of vision.
Kiera (woman in wheel chair at The Bank Of Ideas Event) gave a fantastic talk .. talk about how education is an expected part of people’s lives. No longer does one learn from a small responsibility job and then get skilled : people are expected to have a degree for the small responsibility job (to start)
Teachers are finding it hard to encourage kids to learn because they are so turned off to learn because what is being offered to them in the “real world” is not worth studying for.
This is a value thing.
The elite are very against any attack on it cultural hegemony.
The sensitivity of the cultural hegemony is that everything goes smoothly. Life must always be ‘business as usual”
Like the London clean ups after every big strike march ?
Bill Moyers on the role of values.
We may think that if we show people our values…. Everyone will agree but Tim is not sure.
TINA (There Is No Alternative)is very powerful and fear plays a part on our values and belief systems.
The discussion of values is incredibly important.
We need to think about how values are constructed so that we can learn how to debate them with the wider community. This is a tool to better our challenge of their values
Tim looks to the board and explains each title in more detail
Eg:we are born egotists, we are born competitiveness, we are individualists, we are forever in competition – survival of the fittest in nature becomes our basis of our economic system.
Work is healthy for you. If you do not work you are lazy. Tim thinks work is a social construct. Pre capitalist society workers worked for as long as they could to extract what they needed.
Ethics craft is a calling. Internalising the effort ….. you love to do it (so we will not pay you that much for it)…
Explanations an explanation of the way the world is becomes a belief
Perceptions – a perception becomes a belief
Orientation seemed to be more about personality types. Like whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.
Needs can’t be co opted – food , water, shelter
Manfred Neef = 9 needs of human beings. Not hegemony economics
See Hand out 1
See Hand out 2
Human scale of development – Pyramid of needs.
End of Talk
Only note taken from discussion was :
Maslow made up his hierarchy. Its bizarre that it is used. He did not do any empirical work.
PART 2 after lunch
The three MONTHLY meetings
Over the last 5 months members of Occupy have been meeting in an open meeting called the Strategy Meeting – The Future of Occupy to discuss what the name implies and in these meetings it was decided that the best way forward was to have three meetings every few months.
Internal Business Meeting
The above are not working groups but collective meetings.
Decisions would be reached in these meetings and there was an expectation that such decisions would by Occupy London decisions and would be accepted as such.
People on line had a problem with this and asked for this to be decided upon again at the next strategy meeting (ie this one)
The following are the minutes from Discussion 2 about the above concept being re decided upon.
“We do not want to get to a position that because you cannot go to a meeting you cannot have a say”. – speaker unknown.
This is the general grievance of people who are never come to meetings – the occupy on line coommunity. Control and say without physical participation is an expectation many have. Many of the people who called for this to be re discussed could not turn up.
There is frustration that after a meeting , decisions that have been made can be vetoed by people who are not going to meetings.
He supports separate meetings and that decision can be made in them.
Outreach meeting –
Internal business meeting
Chris from Oxford
Occupy was about consensus
He likes the working group structure
Fundamental problem with consensus.
It allows veto by anybody about anything
Bias towards the status quo.
One email by anybody can wreck a whole working process
Occupy Slovania “if you want to do something and you feel that it is in the spirit of Occupy just go ahead and do it… if someone has a problem… then they can say so after. = Permissive process.
Once a month internal affairs meeting is a good idea
Since losing St Paul’s we have a problem with public continuity.
Once a month public outreach meeting.. is a good idea
A default 70% (suggestion of voting) as an alternative to consensus…particularly when decisions cannot be reached.
We do not employ unanimous consensus.
Banter ensues Tim George Julie – yes we do – no we don’t – not fully settled
You can only block a proposal if it goes against the fundamental values of the group as the group sees it.
Fundamental values to be found in the initial statement
Everyone who blocks believes they are doing so with the best intentions towards the fundamental values of occupy.
There is a problem with consensus.
The US people who developed it, say that it is not used in the proper way it was designed for.
We are mishmashing the two topics of
2)three meetings and
we should free talk for a while.
People do what they want anyway whether they get permission or not.. that is what happens anyway
When we have been at our most functional is when we have been at our most permissive.
I like the simplicity of once a month
We have not had a GA for years! [factually incorrect]
Its too cold..
Idea for proposal – from now identified as Idea 1 :
One monthly meeting divided in two parts …. Internal and strategy . Two autonomous meetings one the same day once a month.
Email writers have not got any power to vetoe…so there is no discussion.
If someone is very ill and wants to participate in the meeting they should be allowed to.
Bottle neck of power in the process group with Idea 1.
The process group has the power to figure out what is spoken about
There is something very useful about the GA
I have worked in large companies.
What they do is on a board they say who is who.
Who is the general manager here?
Big laugh from everyone
Areef suggests that Mark is (seriouslu)
Bigger laugh from everyone
I have more time than once a month.
We should get back to the objectives. (campaigns)
IDEA 1 : good idea
I think the decision to do that needs to be done in this meeting.
We should not be define ourselves by the past.
“I think this is what St pauls’ is about ……” is an obsolete dialogue.
We should suggest the ideas…. that work that make sense.
To the email crew “ after 3 months of discussion we came to a certain place…it was not a coup” It was thoughtful. Responsible. And practical.
Banter between Chris and Mark …
Occupy vs the Arms Fair…. Was names as such in stead of Occupy London vs The Arms Fair to avoid having to go through the GA. Practical solutions to untenable process is to ditch the Occupy London name.
- StopTTIP group did not want o be associated with Occupy although Occupy formed it because they did not want to be tied down to the process.
- If people want our support for their campaigns I am happy about that.
during the camp : it was easy because there was a GA every day , then twice a week in the space we were living in.
Occupy only makes sense if we agree to do something together.
Not in favour of lots of disconnected campaigns.
We had some fantastic GAs and some were not.
EG economics working had a great idea and then the GA stopped it from happening.
This consensus modal… is flawed.
@john : GA should not be power over,
It should be a colloborative spaces
The past was not that glorious.
Big laugh from some (in agreeance)
As the months went by in the camp, I watched the numbers drop and drop… people got mightily impatient.. with the hurdle that everyone has to agree to every activity.
Blue Eye experiment. (reference to teacher in the 60s dividing the class into students with blue eyes and brown eyes and from one day to the next alternatively treating one colour significantly more positive seeing the results).
great film called Blue Eyes
Fly on the wall documentary making at its best
Because we set up this distrustful intention
The tyranny of struturelessness recognised in the 1800’s (?)
Occupy was set up ignoring that.
What we need is an organic reality were people are encouraged to act spontaneously . Time and time again … people blocked for reasons they felt passionately about.
I think we need to make distinctions
See livestream 3rd clip at the
17minute mark for George’s rave.
MT could not summarie. Too many good points
You have no structure.
There should be a decision making committee
Mission : what is occupy now?
The majority of people outside of here think that you are just a website..
Time is very valuable.
Otherwise people will disappear one by one
People should work together @John.. I agree
“if you cannot see we can get away with it”
what is critical is trust.
If we do not have trust.. we don’t productively go forward
Using an analogy “it is important that the right arm knows what the left arm is doing” but I do not need to know what you are doing.
Because I trust you.
Trustworthiness is a need – for our species.
I do not see any problem in us having an argument.
The nature of the way of the world is light against dark.
Milton: Who overcomes by force overcomes but half his foe.
Fundamentally we said that we were campaigners against economic injustice – big call.
At the moment we have Fracking we have TTIP.
One meeting better than three maybe.
@Steve : I do want to know what the other group is doing
we need an action/s and/or event/s to bring together all these separate occupy groups together.
Remember the stuff that happened before Occupy ..
Westminsiter bridge meeting.
Julie : UK uncut did that
Obi: Uk uncut – other groups
“you can walk on that path if it does not go against the values”
the permissive path.
I think it is important that I know what other people are doing. When all these separate groups joined in a Frankenstein type of group.
Steve walks like Frankenstein around the room – very convincingly
MT random note… Frankenstein is a Jewish name
@george : The block’s interpretation is terribly over simplified
The block had to be argued.
Reminds us of financier
Reminds of us the time when the blocker had to discuss with the group.
My mind idea would then be with yours @george… about the 70% ..
This puts the GA in a whole different light.
Nobody would then be afraid of the GA.
If you want to do something then do it.
If you can tell the GA about it do it.
We have turned this around 180%.
It’s a safe guard.
People can suggest things this way
A stop gap protection.
@John you are right about the bring everyone together events
That is not in contradiction.
PLEASE I BEG you that we don’t discuss this at the GA.
Mark PLEADs with people to recognise that we agree to the proposals here and not again at the GA
PROPOSAL 1 = Idea 1 of Julie
- strategy meeting + internal
I could be sitting in a meeting that is “occupy re born”
And that to me ….. MT cannot stay focused on the explanation strongly enough to pick up any relevant points. Much was said , little was understood – sorry
We have solid temperature check – hot
We need to clarify that the decision making of this meeting has the power of a GA
This is a fundamental shift.
We need to clarify that this meeting cannot change the initial statement
Defined as different
He reads Liz’s point of view
The Proposal is finally voted upon.
Two meetings a month to be held back to back once a month. The meetings will be referred to as The Strategy Meeting and The Internal Affairs/Business meetings
Strategy decision making power to be extended to the strategy meeting/ assembly/GA (call it what you will)
Internal decision making power to be extended to the internal business meeting/assembly/GA (call it what you will)
Everyone is in favour except:
Chris and Earthian who block
John Sinha abstains
Reason for blocking
Earthian – felt it in his heart that it was wrong to make decisions in any meeting that is not advertised as a GA…
Chris – Minute taker could not decipher meaning from a long talk about why he was blocking – honestly.
Much is said by both blockers but MT’s (inka) understanding of it is that the distilled reasoning of the blockers is that they believe the meeting should be called a GA and it should be public – despite the strategy combine internal meeting being public. Hard to follow. Meeting must be called a GA.
Those for the proposal :
The block is seen by most others in the room as fundamentalist (occupy) bible bashing only relevant to the future of Occupy in a destructive manner that chokes the motivation and creativity out of activist occupiers to advance Occupy into a more vibrant and refreshing and workable format.
Another factor is that the active activists who front up to meetings are aware of how many people are actually motivated to come to these decision making meetings so doubling up on meetings calling one Strategy and the other a GA seemed more about semantics than anything real , concrete and worthy of more of their time.
The blockers feel that they are saving the integrity and meaning of Occupy and consider the original ideology of reaching decisions in a meeting called the GA, as an untouchable procedure, fundamental to the Occupy movement.
Many points raised by the blockers about transparency and openness are shown to be unsubstantiated because the Strategy Meetings and the Internal Business meetings will be (as they have always been) open for anyone to join and advertised as such.
The problem seems to be holistically about the name of the meeting. Both the Strategy meeting and potential GA would be advertised in the same way, so advertising is not the issue.
When asked if they wanted to keep their blocks after all was said , the blockers kept up their blocks
To hold a meeting and call it a GA on Friday the 28th and to propose the Proposal 1 there and seek consensus
This meeting will be advertised as a GA in accordance to rules (that Vica pointed out, where never agreed upon in a GA)
Decision not to have the proposal delivered at the March the 1st GA that is already advertised is in an effort to appease as many people as possible and acknowledge the time already spent discussing the advantages and disadvantages of Proposal 1.
Chris and Earthian agree this is a good idea.
Points to be noted for such a manoeuvre:
- Meeting lasted 6 hours.
- This topic had been discussed for the 3rd one of these meetings.
- Members who go to these meetings and engage in this gruelling discussion are exhausted, frustrated.
- This specific meeting was called for the on liners [factually incorrect] who had a problem with the initial consensus reached decision at the last strategy meeting in reference to a very similar proposal and yet mostly did not turn up.
- In an effort not to re iterate all the advantages and disadvantages of Proposal 1 to a potentially wide open crowd of people with the kind of knowledge of Occupy that new comer Areef poignantly showed us, the decision to call the GA on Friday was taken.
All are welcome.