Occupy Long Beach

we are the 99%

General Assembly Process

Long Beach General Assembly Agenda Template
{Anyone} Mic-Check Call to Assembly: Welcome!
If this is your first meeting, welcome! Please listen and learn how
General Assemblies work; it's very different from what most of us are
used to. Join in the conversation. We ask that you please hold
questions relating to non-agenda items until the end when there will
be time for general questions and discussion. We also invite you to
join any of our committees. You can do that when we break up into our
committee meetings later on.
{Discussion Moderator} Introduce Facilitation team or request
volunteers if needed
discussion moderator
・ helps group focus on agenda; process moderator
・ reminds group of process protocol; stacks
・ queue up questions and
encourage equal participation; secretary
・ records minutes;
peacekeepers
・ watch group's mood and intervene if things get too
heated
{Discussion Moderator} Review Consensus and General Assembly (GA).
{Suggested wording below, feel free to use your own.}
Consensus: We are using a Consensus process to make group decisions.
It is a messy process and it can take a very long time. But it is very
empowering. We encourage you to stay with the process. When we do get
consensus on a difficult proposal it is a time of celebration.
Consensus:
i.Way to make decisions by including everyone who has a stake in the
decision and giving each an equal voice
ii. We don't vote, we work together creatively to come to a fair decision
iii. Consensus means to seek overwhelming agreement; we've reached
consensus when everyone affected can live with the final decision
General Assembly: The General Assembly is a meeting where the group
works together to discuss proposed actions, and to make decisions
using consensus. The Assembly looks for the best arguments to take a
decision that reflects every opinion – not positions at odds with each
other as what happens when votes are taken. An Assembly should not be
centered on an ideological discourse; instead it should deal with
practical questions: What do we need? How can we get it? The Assembly
is based on free association – if you are not in agreement with what
has been decided, you are not obliged to carry it out. Every person is
free to do what they wish – the Assembly tries to produce collective
intelligence, and shared lines of thought and action.
{Process Moderator} Explain GA process (hand signals, proposal
discussions, stacking questions):
Hand signals: -Agree/Applause – wave both hands above head
- Disagree – wave one hand in front of face
- Repetitive or rambling comments – arms raised, hands circling each other
- Taking too much time – arms up, bring forearms back and forth
- Process point – hold up triangle with hands (not used to jump the stack)
- Off-topic – hold up T or “time-out” sign with hands
- Hard Block – arms form X above head
a) hard block is used to state that you feel this proposal would
undermine the group or the movement
b) it is not based on personal preference but on general principles of
the group such as peaceful action, horizontal organization, equality
and non-partisanship.
Proposal discussion steps: Proposals should answer the questions what,
why and how. If proposal is underdeveloped, please bring it to the
appropriate committee. After a proposal is presented, stacks will
begin to take questions and comments. The steps of discussion are the
3 C's: Clarification (questions to clarify proposal only), Concerns
(questions/comments, concerns or disagreements with proposal), and
then Consensus (resolving the concerns and looking to reach
consensus.) Out of respect for everyone's time and to give everyone a
chance to speak, statements, comments, and questions are limited to
two minutes. Please watch the moderator or stacks for the signal to
“wrap it up”.
Stacks: used to ensure all questions/comments are addressed instead of
overlooked. The stacker will acknowledge the question/comment, assign
place in line, and let people know the turns to speak. When there is a
debate, we'll limit each round of stacks to 5 speakers disagreeing
with proposal and 5 speakers in favor.
{D. Moderator} Read remaining Agenda items out loud; ask for any
important topics that need to be added. Reiterate that we have
scheduled time for additional questions and concerns after the
committee meetings.
{Note-taker} Summarize consensuses reached in previous GA.
{D. Moderator} Start discussion on topics of the day's meeting.
Committee reports (non-proposals)
Committee proposals. Discussion of proposals. (Quick reminder of
proposal process if needed – answer what, why and how. 3 C's –
clarification, concerns, consensus).
{D. Moderator} Introduce committees (briefly, updates and
announcements can come later):
Committee Breakouts
Reconvene
Announcements
Individual Proposals
Questions/Concerns
Conclusion/Comments on the day's process and group mood.
Group Hug!

 

Consensus Process

 

The Consensus Process

 

 I. Consensus

 A.  What?

 i. Make decisions by including everyone who has a stake in the decision and giving each an equal voice

 ii. We don't vote, we work together creatively to come to a fair decision

 iii. Consensus means to seek overwhelming agreement; we've reached consensus when everyone affected can live with the final decision

 B.   Why?

 i. True democracy: Most fair way to get everyone's input and address everyone's concerns

 ii. Collaborative – not about winning or losing

 iii. Consensus leads to the best decisions

 C.  How?

 i. Requires equality, mutual respect, and peaceful discussion

 ii. Process oriented not goal oriented – requires patience and effort; consensus cannot be rushed, avoid deadlines

 iii. Practice active listening skills and assertiveness

 iv. Accept conflict and disagreement as a natural part of the process to get better decisions

 

 II. Process Details

 A.  Facilitation Team (discussion moderators, process moderators, stacks, note takers, peacekeepers/caretakers)

 i. Discussion Moderators – help keep discussion moving, keeps group focused on agenda items, ensures group addresses issues one at a time, summarizes discussions to ensure clarity

 ii. Process Moderators – remind everyone of group's protocol, ensures that important steps in the process are not ignored

 iii. Stacks – make sure everyone speaks in turn, discourage interruptions, try to encourage active participation by all, try to discourage domination by one or a few individuals

 iv. Note Takers – keep written record of minutes of G.A. Meetings, read out previous consensuses

 v. Peacekeepers/Caretakers – watch group's mood and intervene if discussion gets too heated, communicate with disruptive or domineering individuals on the side if necessary

 vi. Timekeepers – remind speakers of established time limits

 vii. Everyone – every group member can fill these roles and it is important to rotate these roles frequently; every individual needs to consciously seek group sharing of power

 B.   Hand Signals – Used for easier and more efficient group communication

 i. Agree/Applause – wave both hands above head

 ii. Disagree – wave one hand in front of face

 iii. Repetitive or rambling comments – arms raised, hands circling each other

 iv. Time Limit – arms up, bring forearms back and forth

 v. Process point – hold up triangle with hands (this should not be a way for people to jump the stack and start talking)

 vi. Hard Block – arms form X above head

 a)    hard block is used to state that you feel this proposal would undermine the group or the movement

 b)    it is not based on personal preference but on general principles of the group (such as peaceful action, horizontal power structure, equality and non-partisanship)

 C.   Discussing Proposals or Issues (see flowchart) – (3C’s Clarification, Concerns, Consensus)

 i. Statement of Proposal or Issue (Briefly Answer What and Why)

 a)    What is the specific action you want the group to take? Or What is the issue you feel the group should address?

 b)    Why do you want the group to take this action? Or Why do you believe the issue is important to the group?

 c)    Give time for thinking by not asking for a vote immediately

 ii. Clarification

 a)    Group asks questions to clarify proposal

 b)    Please hold off on discussion until clarification questions are settled

 iii. Open Discussion/Brainstorming

 a)    Discussion of concerns or suggestions for improving proposal

 b)    For committee proposals, it is best to allow the spokesperson to respond to concerns one at a time.

 c)    If the discussion becomes a debate, discuss one option at a time and it's recommended to only stack 5 speakers with concerns about that option and then 5 to address those concerns during each round of discussion

 iv. Summarize Concerns - After each round:

 a)    List the unresolved concerns

 b)    Group related concerns

 c)    Get clear understanding of these concerns

 v. Resolve Concerns

 a)    Address each group of related concerns

 b)    Once all concerns addressed, seek consensus

 c)    Restate and discuss remaining concerns

 vi. Final Decision

 a)    Once all concerns are addressed, ask for consensus

 b)    After consensus is reached, clearly restate final decision

 c)    If consensus not reached after 2 rounds, present group with options:

ñ  hold another round of discussion

ñ  break into smaller discussion groups

ñ  postpone discussion to a later time or date 

ñ  send proposal to a committee to discuss and rework it

ñ  declare proposal blocked

 D.  Guidelines for General Discussion

 i. Mutual Respect – It is essential for the success of this process that everyone shows respect for each other. We show respect by allowing a speaker to be free of interruptions and by allowing the stacks to announce turns to speak.

 ii. Stacks – The stack will try to ensure everyone gets a turn to speak by looking for hands and announcing the order of speakers.

 iii. Time Limits – Out of respect for everyone's time and to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak, we ask that individuals limit a point of discussion to 2 minutes. The stacks will use hand signals to let people know they are out of time.

 iv. Equal Participation and Power Sharing – For a consensus process to work, we all need to share the mic; Please allow people whose voices are not heard as often to speak first. If you notice that you've been speaking a lot, step back and give others a chance.

 v. Non-decision discussions/ideological debates – GA's main purpose is to make decisions; however, there may be issues that people feel need to be discussed with the entire group. We can set aside a time and date to have those discussions during GA.

 

 III. Committees

 A.  General Assembly Delegates Authority

 i. General Assembly has the final say in all decisions affecting the group

 ii. However once the group becomes very large there is not enough time for the GA to discuss every detail of every decision

 iii. The General Assembly can authorize a working committee to carry out specific responsibilities

 iv. Questions, comments or proposals related to the tasks of a committee should first be directed to that committee before being brought to GA so as to save time and avoid overwhelming the GA

 B.   Powers and Responsibilities of the Working Committees

 i. Working committees follow the same consensus based process as the GA

 ii. Anyone can attend a working committee's daily meetings

 iii. The working committee is only delegated authority to handle the details of specific tasks which are clearly stated by the General Assembly

 iv. The committees report on their progress to the General Assembly

 v. At any time, the GA can request a discussion and review of any decisions made by a committee.

 C.   List of Committees (new committees may be created by GA when needed)

 i. Actions – responsible for planning and coordinating actions

 ii. Finance – responsible for fund-raising and building a transparent and accountable process for handling group funds

 iii. Arts – responsible for making signs, planning workshops, entertainment, and learning events

 iv. Peacekeepers – responsible for diffusing situations before police get involved.

 v. Medical – responsible for providing first aid and other medical services

 vi. Logistics – responsible for supporting daily needs of the group including food, sanitation, and coordination

 vii. Outreach – responsible for letting the wider community know about our movement

 viii. Media – responsible for press releases, social media presence, audio-video documentation, and our website

 ix. Facilitation – responsible for supporting consensus process in General Assemblies, creating agendas, and encouraging equal participation

 x. Legal – responsible for providing information on matters of law

 


 

 

G.A. Notes from 10/22/11

Nov 1st & 2nd - Action team proposed making Dia de los muertos 
altars/installations. Art committee asks for donations of paints, 
paper/magazines for collages repping "Death of American dream," death 
of jobs,""death of soldiers," etc. 

New committee: Ryan is spearheading a new Permaculture committee. 
Location off-site that is already available & ready to use will be 
used to grow food. 

Art committee proposed doing a Flash mob/theater of oppressed-style 
event choreographed by Xiomara. Details to come. 

Oct 29 - zombie walk. Action team & Art committee both proposed 
getting involved. we will make signs for zombies to wear around their 
necks such as "Starving student," "Lost my house & killed myself," 
"Death by bank"... 

Education team proposed having a debate next Saturday - needs 
volunteers. see Jonah for more info or to sign-up. 

Nov. 16 - possible action at chancellor's office for Refund California. 

Entertainment committee announced having Pato Banton (international 
reggae star) next Sunday at 4pm. 

Entertainment Needs to propose pushing back or  cancelling GA for next 
Saturday. La Samba drums & dancers are available for 6 pm performance.