Subject: Re: [Interocc] [NYCGA-IWG] US National Communications Links - Update
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2011 13:34:09 -0800
To: Devin Balkind
CC: Lauren Byers <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>

I totally agree!

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 7, 2011, at 10:53 AM, Devin Balkind <> wrote:

I don't think 'merging' calls is preferable or possible.  First, I've been on a number of calls and it seems to me only 5-8 people/hour can effectively and productively communicate in a conference call environment.   Even if we had a 'representative' of each occupation (self defined?) on a call, I think the idea of representing the 'whole' movement is problematic.

Instead of focusing on communications for communication's sake, I think it's be more productive for occupations to collaborate with each other on projects.  It's easier said than done - especially when we there's a constant crisis going on at our occupation and I'm sure yours as well.  OWS is going to dispatch a veggie oil bus in the next month down the East coast as a test to see if we can organize a bus network in our region.  This will require lots of interoccupation communication for logistic, instead of political reasons.  Our technology group is also working on a bunch of tech related proijects that should go live this week.  More here:

Are your occupations collaborating on projects with other occupations?  If so, please share!

On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM, Lauren Byers <> wrote:
Hey Everyone,

First you all say, that so far we have been transparent and democratic, however, everyone is saying we will become non-transparent and undemocratic. DEMOCRACY is created through struggle, not instantly created. We cannot fear organization and structure if we want to see this movement sustain itself and grow, and not only grow, but make change in our society. IF we are divided as a nation, we will fall; and that is exactly what the ruling class is expecting us to do, because we are all a bunch of "anarchists" that can't have organization or structure. Accountability is possible through our communication; if it doesn't show through all of these conversations, I don't what does. We are all on the same page about having a bottom-up democratic communication system, the question remains how do we do it.

 I have a few suggestions as to how to establish a foundation of democratic communication; that I feel is holding us back from moving forward at all.

1.  Defining our goals are for national communication, and whether or not we should be "national," or "international"
 Everyone negotiating and deciding what we are and are not in these email loops is UNDEMOCRATIC. However, it's NOT undemocratic trying to establish a national communication system that would strengthen the movement, and PURELY a communication system. There are contradictions in all of your arguments about democracy, and the best way to handle this comes down to addressing these questions on our calls, so that the nation is deciding these larger questions...NOT the few of you.

2.  since we are only in contact with 200 occupy movements I think another focus we need to have is MERGING ALL CALLS so that we can represent AT LEAST the majority of the occupy movements going on around the country. This would allow us to make more decisions democratically, and bottom-up. If we do not merge calls, there is going to be a continuous battle over the fact that we are not representing the WHOLE movement; how can we ever move forward with anything if we do not represent the majority?

EVERY ONE of these email loops has been running up against these issues mentioned above. If we do not handle them first, then you are right, we will be undemocratic. But if we join forces with all calls and establish how we define ourselves, than we CAN make real change and make it democratic.

And I say this sincerely, but I do warn you all, if these issues are not addressed, people will think we are top-down, people will get frustrated with the constant emails about the same damn thing, and we will not succeed in making any change in our country, or around the world. ISOLATED movements will fall, whether or not you want to admit it or not; its is HISTORICALLY proven.


On Sun, Nov 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM, Walt Roberts <> wrote:
Hello All,

I appreciate Tammy's characterization of what we are doing, and clarification that these calls are not creating "national" working groups.  Providing a useful forum / means for connecting is what we are about and we need to use language that makes that clear.

It sure is great being part of this. 

If you have a few minutes check out these two videos.  Nice support for Occupy from Roger Waters.  Seems like these are relatively fresh uploads.  It will be fun to see how the "view" numbers go up over the next week or so.  This kind of message, from this kind of celebrity, going viral though the new media channels may help the tides turn (see second video).  Indeed. Enjoy.  Walt

On Sun, Nov 6, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Tamara Shapiro <> wrote:
Hi Folks,

I apologize for chiming in late here.  I am way behind on my e-mail.  I share Charles' concerns about national working group feeling top down and I am actually equally concerned about many of the "national" working groups on this list. 

However, I am working on the Monday night 10 PM EST inter occupation calls and I'd like to explain the attempts we are making to ensure the bottom-up, democratic process we value on the ground in Zucotti Park and across the country is maintained.

At OWS we have a movement building working group.  We are GA sanctioned, public and transparent.  We called for the first Monday night call as we realized there was a very real need to be communicating with each other.  We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 60 wall st for any of you new yorkers out there who would like to join.

The movement building group so far has basically been a channel for communication.  Requests from other occupies have been coming our way and we have been forwarding these requests to the right folks her in NY.  In addition we have been able to connect folks in NY who need to be in touch with the right folks across the country.

On our first Monday night call we broke up into breakout groups and asked folks to discuss why we should be communicating.  There was quite a lot of agreement about why.  The second one we discussed how.  On the call this Monday we will discuss national actions and more specific themed breakout groups for media, facilitation, tech, direct action and emerging occupations.  You can register for the call here:

We are very clear that these calls are not national ga's of any sort.  They are simply for national communication.  And themed calls that come out of this call are not national working groups.  They are simply attempting to increase communication between working groups on the ground across the country.

Anyone can join the calls, but folks on the call have encouraged other occupations to also form official movement building, committees of correspondence or interoccupy working groups.  So far I know at least NY, Philly, Boston and Detroit all have working groups of this nature, and probably many more.  In addition, anyone can join the planning call for the Monday night calls.  These planning calls are Thursday at 10 PM. 

As I mentioned I share concerns about the idea of national working groups, but I do believe our process has been bottom up, open, democratic and transparent and I believe vitally important.

Charles and everyone else, I hope at least our call speaks to some of your concerns.  I would be happy to continue the discussion,. 

In Solidarity,

On Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM, STEPHEN RUIZ <> wrote:

There is nothing to reinvent everyone, Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else. Occupy is starting to have a bad taste, such a waste of useful energy! Lack of accountability in our government! Start at the top, grassroots are already trunks created by our founders, if you don't like it then then let's change it , start with the EPA, choking us to poverty, get rid of it. 
How about growing food for fuel, how's that working out, give me a break! Corn will feed the world not power it! Dreamworlds are not solutions!
Stop the dreamworld, change legislation with the power of your vote and let's be the example for others to follow! 

On Nov 3, 2011, at 8:11 PM, Jacob Russell <> wrote:

I share your concerns. Philly_Occupytogether Working Group is at the early stages of planing, and hosting,  a regional conference (not an assembly) to discuss exactly this kind of concern. How do we grow and not lose our democratic character?

If you're interested in attending such a conference, let us know, and we'll keep in touch and let you know as things develop.

--Jacob Spirit Stick

On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 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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