Subject: Re: [Interocc] [NYCGA-IWG] US National Communications Links - Update
From: Christian Smith-Socaris
Date: Sun, 06 Nov 2011 16:26:03 -0500
To: Occupy Austin <>, internet working group <>,

It would be great to know who I'm talking to.

Response below.

On 11/05/2011 02:12 AM, Occupy Austin wrote:
The way in which the national working groups popped up from local GA's was from the national conference calls.  Individuals from local occupations were requesting these be created.  These are essentially working groups called for by individuals across the nation, these folks wanted to communicate on specific topics such as finance and facilitating and decided to create a space for that. 
Creating a space for communication is very different than having a national working group.  I'm trying to figure out which it is.
Working groups autonomously create themselves in Austin, and if there is support for the idea then it gains members. 
Yeah, but to have a WG recognized by the GA, so that is ACCOUNTABLE, requires the concensing of the GA.  People can work together for the movement outside that consent, but not in the name of the GA or the occupation.
For me this is mainly going to be essential for information sharing and some strategy in terms of local camp logistics.  I certainly think that any decision making based on proposals that come from these national level talks can only get any power from local GA approval. 
But you're putting the cart before the horse.  If people start "national" working groups, then everyone who wants to work on those issues will be feel they have to be part of that group or they will be marginalized.  Power comes with the structure as much as the other way around.  This is a problem the movement recognizes in the society, why are you ignoring it in this context?

My suggestion is that if you want to create national working groups for the movement you get consensus in individual GAs beforehand including specific language about the role of these groups and how they relate to the individual GAs. Then those "national" groups can represent or work for that federation of GAs that recognize them.  That would be the horizontal way to do it.


On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 10:44 PM, Christian Smith-Socaris <> wrote:
Stephen, I don't think you actually get what Charles' concern is here.  As I understand him (and please correct me if I'm off base Charles) It isn't some "scary 'nationalizing' tendency"!  It is the fact that "national" working groups as described below are not arising in any bottom-up way.  The whole idea of the GAs is to have a grassroots system for public decision-making and accountability for the movement; creating national working groups out of thin air would appear to be in direct contravention of that idea and therefore against the spirit of the movement.

This is a serious matter!  It isn't about anarchy or its alternatives, or between order and chaos.  It is about what is this movement and why do I have any reason to participate in systems which are in no way accountable to me?  Lack of accountability in our systems of self-governance is a core problem the GA is illustrating and making an alternative too.  Self-appointed "national" working groups do not keep with this principal and are clearly not derived from any local practice of members of the movement.


ps: "order arises for free out of systems on the edge of chaos" is wrong.  Complexity and adaptivity are what arise for free out of such systems.

On 11/03/2011 10:29 PM, Stephen Duplantier wrote:
Charles' point is well taken. The dynamic balance between just enough blessed an-archy (in the formal sense) and the maybe-necessary, but also somewhat scary "nationalizing" tendency is delicate. Even an-archists can be organized. And order arises for free out of systems on the edge of chaos.

This is a good discussion to have--how to balance an easy-to-watch (and control) by regressive counter-revolutionary forces national organization vs. liquid, hive-mind, decentralized and amorphous structure. Time to invent a new way...

Stephen Duplantier

On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Charles Lenchner <> wrote:
I don't understand the relationship between all this, and the organic coming
together of representatives of specific working groups. Am I the only one
who feels that a top down process is being facilitated into existence?

Where can I vote against having a national working group? Did I miss that

Who 'decides' what forms and communication tools end up being used? Why
should they be 'created' as opposed to 'vetted and decided upon by local
occupation working groups on an individual basis'? Who designates any given
solution as being 'national'?

The message is being sent out that if local Working Groups want some kind of
solution, they should approach particular parties. How is this vetted? Which
occupations or Working Groups have gone through a process of approving any
of it?

I realize my questions come across as possibly contentious or rhetorical. It
could be that there ARE answers to these questions, and I am missing them in
all the traffic. If so - please do post some of them.

I know that decisions made in the Working Groups I belong to are made by the
folks in the room, within the contest of the Occupy Wall Street effort. But
when something declares itself to be national, like a list, I want to know:
were all the possible stakeholders involved in a position to affirm or deny
that designation, or am I free to work with a buddy in San Fran and decide
on the spot to have a 'national occupy marching bands list' and project the
idea that all the other local occupy marching bands suddenly have motive to
join my list?

My concern is - I don't want there to be any kind of address for 'national'
occupy movement stuff. It represents a kind of power or leadership that is
unaccountable. If and when something 'national' emerges, I want it created
by and accountable to some formal structure agreed to by a consensus or near
consensus of all the General Assemblies, not by whoever jumped first to
build the right email lists with the proper language. Otherwise, it just
feels 'co-opty' for lack of a better word.

It's confusing....

With good intentions,

Charles Lenchner

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Global
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 8:54 PM
Subject: [NYCGA-IWG] [Interocc] US National Communications Links - Update

Hey Everyone

I want you all to know that we are getting closer to having a comprehensive
list of National Working groups that people can join.  This list will
including forms for voting for the meeting times and getting on the email
lists/online communication tools, for each National Working group. They are
all optional and open.

We are currently in the process of helping create the forms and
communication tools for all the National Working groups that have been
requested.  But we are sure that there are other national working groups
that exist that we don't know about, so do tell us, and also groups that
people want created but but need help getting started.  So tell us what your
local working groups need and if they would like to connect with other local
working groups working on the same issues.

Here is the link for the current list of National Working Groups Contact and
Meeting Forms (this will be more complete in the next few days so please
check back soon)

On that list are links to the email lists for people interested in getting
mass updates about the movement on your email.  Currently there are three
National General Email Lists.  So if you aren't on one of those, you may
want to join so you continue to receive updates.

There is also a link to Global Communications information for people
interested in that.

Our goal is to help schedule and support communication for the people who
are interested in Inter-Communication Working groups.

We are also looking for volunteers to help set these meetings up, so if you
are interested in helping with "repetitive computer tasks", do let us know,
cause we could use your help.  There are only 3 of us working on this list
right now, but thats better than just one.  If you want to volunteer, please
submit the number of hours you can committee to the next few days/week, and
your available schedule.

So let us know what you need, and we will do our best to help.


Jay Blas Jacob Cabrera
(415) 323-5833

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