From:   Sarah Page <pagescster@gmail.com>
Sent time:   Tuesday, November 08, 2011 2:27:35 PM
To:   september17 <september17@googlegroups.com>
Subject:   SPAM-MED: [september17discuss] Re: Fwd: Article by an OWS participant re: Spokes Council etc.
 

Are you saying that everywhere the article says 90% it should say 96%?

Just curious. Gosh these numbers get really confusing!

 

On Nov 8, 1:10 pm, Gabriel Johnson <gabj...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Clarification: A 96% majority. (Incidentally, one that I'm proud to have

> been a part of.)

>

> --glj

>

>

>

> On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 1:40 PM, Sarah <pagescs...@gmail.com> wrote:

>

> > ---------- Forwarded message ----------

> > From: Sarah <pagescs...@gmail.com>

> > Date: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 9:48 AM

> > Subject: Article by an OWS participant re: Spokes Council etc.

> > To: occupyfdsf@googlegroups.com, occupysf-web@googlegroups.com,

> > Revolutionary Poets Brigade listserv <revolution...@outofour.com>

>

> >  This article was sent to me by someone for consideration and I am

> > passing it along to you for yours...

>

> > Regards,

> > Sarah

>

> >  A Chill Descends On Occupy Wall Street; "The Leaders of the allegedly

> > Leaderless Movement"

>

> > by Fritz Tucker

>

> > Global Research <http://www.globalresearch.ca/>, November 4, 2011

> > Countercurrents.org <http://countercurrents.org/>

>

> > **

>

> > On Sunday, October 23, a meeting was held at 60 Wall Street. Six leaders

> > discussed what to do with the half-million dollars that had been donated to

> > their organization, since, in their estimation, the organization was

> > incapable of making sound financial decisions. The proposed solution was

> > not to spend the money educating their co-workers or stimulating more

> > active participation by improving the organization’s structures and

> > tactics. Instead, those present discussed how they could commandeer the

> > $500,000 for their new, more exclusive organization. No, this was not the

> > meeting of any traditional influence on Wall Street. These were six of the

> > leaders of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

>

> > Occupy Wall Street’s Structure Working Group (WG) has created a new

> > organization called the Spokes Council. “Teach-ins” were held to workshop

> > and promote the Spokes Council throughout the week of October 22-28. I

> > attended the teach-in on Sunday the 23rd.

>

> > According to Marisa Holmes, one of the most outspoken and influential

> > leaders of OWS, the NYC-GA started receiving donations from around the

> > world when OWS began on September 17. Because the NYC-GA was not an

> > official organization, and therefore could not legally receive thousands of

> > dollars in donations, the nonprofit Alliance for Global Justice helped OWS

> > create Friends of Liberty Plaza, which receives tax-free donations for OWS.

> > Since then, Friends of Liberty Plaza has received over $500,000. Until

> > October 28, anybody who wanted to receive more than $100 from Friends of

> > Liberty Plaza had to go through the often arduous modified consensus

> > process (90% majority) of the NYC-GA—which, despite its well-documented

> > inefficiencies, granted $25,740 to the Media WG for live-stream equipment

> > on October 12, and $1,400 to the Food and Medical WGs for herbal tonics on

> > October 18.

>

> > At the teach-in, Ms. Holmes maintained that while the NYC-GA is the “de

> > facto” mechanism for distributing funds, it has no right to do so, even

> > though she acknowledged that most donors were likely under the impression

> > that the NYC-GA was the only organization with access to these funds. Two

> > other leaders of the teach-in, Daniel and Adash, concurred with Holmes.

>

> > Ms. Holmes also stated at the teach-in that five people in the Finance WG

> > have access to the $500,000 raised by Friends of Liberty Plaza. When Suresh

> > Fernando, the man taking notes, asked who these people are, the leaders of

> > the Structure WG nervously laughed and said that it was hard to keep track

> > of the “constantly fluctuating” heads of the Finance WG. Mr. Fernando made

> > at least four increasingly explicit requests for the names. Each request

> > was turned down by the giggling, equivocating leaders.

>

> > The leaders of the Structure WG eventually regained control of the

> > teach-in. They said that they too were unhappy with the Finance WG’s

> > monopoly over OWS’s funds, which is why they wanted to create the Spokes

> > Council. What upset them more, however, was the inefficient and fickle

> > General Assembly. A major point of the discussion was whether the Spokes

> > Council and the NYC-GA should have access to the funds, or just the Spokes

> > Council.

>

> > Daniel, a tall, red-bearded, white twenty-something—one of the six leaders

> > of the teach-in—said that the NYC-GA needed to be completely defunded

> > because those with “no stake” in the Occupy Wall Street movement shouldn’t

> > have a say in how the money was spent. When I asked him whether everybody

> > in the 99% had a stake in the movement, he said that only those occupying

> > or working in Zuccotti Park did. I pointed out that since the General

> > Assembly took place in Zuccotti Park, everybody who participated was an

> > occupier. He responded with a long rant about how Zuccotti Park is filled

> > with “tourists,” “free-loaders” and “crackheads” and suggested a solution

> > that the even NYPD has not yet attempted: Daniel said that he’d like to

> > take a fire-hose and clear out the entire encampment, adding hopefully that

> > only the “real” activists would come back.

>

> > The main obstacle to the creation of the Spokes Council was that the

> > NYC-GA had already voted against it four times. One audience member

> > observed that no organization would vote to relinquish its power. Some of

> > the strongest proponents of the Spokes Council responded that they had

> > taken this into account, and were planning on creating the Spokes Council

> > regardless of whether the NYC-GA accepted the proposal. They claimed that,

> > in the interests of non-hierarchy, neither the Spokes Council nor the

> > General Assembly should have power over the other.

>

> > In the minutes of the teach-in on Saturday the 22nd, the leaders recognize

> > that usurping power from the NYC-GA might make people uncomfortable. The

> > Structure WG’s eventual proposal was to keep the General Assembly alive and

> > functioning while the Spokes Council “gets on its feet.” Working Groups

> > could still technically get funding through the NYC-GA, but the “GA may

> > stop making those kinds of decisions because people [will] stop going… To

> > officially take power away isn’t necessary,” especially because the NYC-GA

> > works on the consensus model. A small group of people aiming to

> > delegitimize the NYC-GA could easily attend each session merely to block

> > every proposal. According to a member of the Demands WG, this is already

> > occurring in several Working Groups.

>

> > To placate the rest of OWS, the Structure WG amended their original

> > proposal and gave the NYC-GA power to dissolve the Spokes Council. This

> > amendment is irrelevant, however, given the 90% majority requirement in the

> > NYC-GA, and the ability of members of the Spokes Council to vote in the

> > NYC-GA.

>

> > *The “Spokes Council”*

>

> > The newly formed Spokes Council claims to adhere to the “statement of

> > principles” adopted by the New York City General Assembly, including

> > “direct-democracy, non-hierarchy, participation, and inclusion.” The Spokes

> > Council differs from the NYC-GA, however, in three main respects: the

> > Spokes Council has the power to exclude new groups that don’t receive a 90%

> > majority vote for admission; in the NYC-GA, everybody technically has the

> > right to speak, whereas in the Spokes Council each Working Group has a

> > spokesperson, who can be recalled only by a 90% majority; and the NYC-GA

> > allows one vote per person, whereas the Spokes Council operates more

> > indirectly, granting each Working Group one vote.

>

> > When I pointed out the contradictions these differences present to the

> > Council’s stated principles, the leaders of Sunday’s teach-in insisted that

> > the Spokes Council was the most participatory, democratic organization

> > possible—the same slogan they repeated last month about the General

> > Assembly. I felt like I was watching a local production of Animal Farm.

>

> > I’ve attended two mock Spokes Councils in the past month. At the Spokes

> > Council in Washington Square Park on October 15, the unelected facilitators

> > set the agenda: Occupy Washington Square Park. Then they set the terms of

> > debate, breaking the group into three circles: those who wanted to occupy

> > and possibly get arrested, those who wanted there to be an occupation and

> > would assist those being arrested, and those who wanted to build the

> > movement in other ways. I went with the third group.

>

> > The facilitators told each group to elect a facilitator, a note-taker, and

> > a spokesperson who would read the notes from each group’s meeting. Almost

> > immediately, one of the members of the OWS inner-circle asked my group if

> > anybody had a problem if she facilitated. Nobody objected, so she was

> > “elected.” Although she was in the one group that opposed occupying

> > Washington Square Park, she lectured us about the need to occupy public

> > parks.

>

> > I was vocal in my group, arguing that the fundamental problem in our

> > hierarchical, bureaucratic society is the lack of a truly democratic,

> > dialogic way of relating to one another—not that public parks close at

> > midnight. I repeated the arguments I had raised in previous General

> > Assemblies, concluding that OWS’ main goal should be to develop dialogic,

> > democratic methods in the occupied areas, and to extend this way of life

> > into every home, workplace and school, and in local, regional, national and

> > international bodies.

>

> > My advocacy for radical democracy wasn’t particularly popular. Ironically,

> > the predominantly middle-class, white men leading the movement claim that

> > their hostility to democracy is in the interest of “protecting minorities,”

> > referring to oppressed genders, races, classes, ages, and nations. Far from

> > being “minorities,” these people make up the majority of the world’s

> > population; the worldwide outcry for democracy vitiates the paternalistic

> > notion that the oppressed need “protection.”

>

> > The discussion turned to which locations the movement should occupy,

> > ignoring the question of whether occupation

>

> ...

>

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