From:   Doug Singsen <>
Sent time:   Friday, October 28, 2011 12:48:44 PM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Structure Proposal GA Tonight

In basically every social movement that has ever happened, organizations have issued demands or statements, which some or all of the movement supports. No movement ever agrees on everything across the board, but that doesn't stop movements as a whole from moving forward. Discussing and formulating demands has always been one of the most politically important activities that movements do and one of the key parts of their evolution and development.


On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 2:35 PM, rob hollander <> wrote:
Jackie --
I fully agree 100% that certain practical matters, like financing, should be dealt with by a structure. The GA should identify those practical needs -- like financing, the one you mention -- and limit the structure to those. Anything like goals, demands, character of the group, should be left out of a structure of that type.

You are quite right that there is now an organizational element in OWS and a social movement element. What I'm suggesting is that a movement shouldn't, and probably can't, be led by the organizational element. The two, at some point, should be distinguished and recognized as distinct. Then the organization -- and there could be more than one, even many -- should move forward with means that are more efficient. But the GA ought to remain as it is to continue as the spirit of the social movement (imo).

In part I'm expressing my worry that a too decision-structured OWS will end up issuing a program. I think that will invite division -- splinters, internal criticism -- and external condemnation, and compel participants to waste effort defending the program, creating even more division.

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 12:50 PM, Jackie DiSalvo <> wrote:


I love the GA, but I don’t know how many you have attended. I brought my women’s group last Friday, and after sitting through a 40 + minute discussion on what to pay to rent a truck, they were turned off and left saying they, very active women, could never afford to function that way. Not many of our hard working Labor Group members attend GAs as they are now. The analysis by the Spanish occupiers of why their GA, which was great in the early stages, eventually failed points to the same problems we have tried to address. They said boredom, disempowerment and dilemmas rising from the consensus method caused people to leave (see Doug Singsen’s post Thursday 9:40).  I think the new structure will make the GAs more participatory when it comes to important decisions.


From: [] On Behalf Of rob hollander
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Structure Proposal GA Tonight


The beauty of a GA is that anyone can speak. It affords an admittedly limited but yet fully equal enfranchisement and empowerment. So far, OWS, using a GA, has been successful, I venture to say, way beyond anyone's imagination. You are about to fix something that has empirically worked. If it is dysfunctional, do not assume that's a problem. Study OWS's success first before assuming it needs repair.

The purpose of a structure is to make decisions. That's assuming that OWS is an organization. Well, in August, it was: an organization designed to create a social movement.

It succeeded: OWS is now a social movement, not an organization. Social movements don't make decisions.

Organizations within a social movement make decisions for themselves. That's what OWS should allow to flourish. But to imagine that some structure should call itself OWS and make decisions for OWS is, well, to coopt the movement. This structure is a coopting of a social movement.

I find great wisdom in the GA. I find this spokes structure at best counterproductive, at worst, divisive, disempowering and a threat to the local effort.

Once a structure makes decisions easy, there will be too many decisions and many will be mistakes. Where OWS needs such quick practical decisions like financing, OWS ought to set up structure for those, but only for those.

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:17 AM, Jon Good <> wrote:

This is SUCH a better proposal than the one initially brought to the GA last week!


On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM, Marisa Holmes <> wrote:

Hi everyone!

I'm in the structure working group. 

For the last 3-4 weeks we've been meeting to discuss

the coordination and communication problems in OWS. 

The result is the following proposal:

Tonight, we will be presenting at the GA. 

Please come.

We need this.


In solidarity, 



Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009

Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009