From:   Jon Good <>
Sent time:   Tuesday, November 08, 2011 2:36:49 PM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Re: Fwd: Article by an OWS participant re: Spokes Council etc.

I'm saying that the article quotes people out of context, lies by omission, and misrepresents the GA as well as the Spokes Council.

Not part of the "inner circle",


On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 4:27 PM, Sarah Page <> wrote:
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 <> 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 <> wrote:
> > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> > From: Sarah <>
> > Date: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 9:48 AM
> > Subject: Article by an OWS participant re: Spokes Council etc.
> > To:,,
> > Revolutionary Poets Brigade listserv <>
> >  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 <>, November 4, 2011
> > <>
> > **
> > 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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