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process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:32 pm
by tree
Passed at 11/30/11 General Assembly


In order to make best use of our decision-making options, we hereby agree to the following refinements in our process.

A. When considering a decision, we first attempt to reach a full consensus. Full consensus means that the entire group stands in unity with the decision.

Consensus is a cooperative process in which group members develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. The consensus method relies on people being willing to truly honor each other’s ideas, feelings, needs, and concerns, so that the greater group wisdom may emerge. By choosing to use consensus as our primary decision-making method, we recognize that we are pledging to do the hard, patient work of bringing our best selves forward and listening from the heart.

After discussion takes place and the facilitator calls for a test for consensus, participants have the following options:
1. Agreement:
"I support this proposal." (Hand sign = twinkling)
2. Consent with Reservations: "I basically support this proposal, and I have some reservations about it." (Proposed hand sign = arms up high with palms parallel to the ground facing down.)
3. Blocking: "I deeply believe this proposal would be deeply detrimental to Occupy Eugene, either because it goes against our fundamental principles or because I’m convinced it would lead to a disastrous outcome for our movement." (Hand sign = arms crossed) In order to protect against inappropriate use of blocking, the group has the option to evaluate blocks: if 75% of the group believes that a block is being applied inappropriately, then the block is invalidated. This power must be used carefully in order to avoid simply overruling those we disagree with.
4. Stand Aside: "I have major concerns with the proposal, and agree to stand aside and let the group proceed with it." (Hand sign = thumbs sideways)
5. Abstain: "I choose not to participate in the making of this decision." (No hand sign—abstention is signified by nonparticipation.)

If there is a test for consensus and no one blocks, stands aside, or has reservations, the group is clearly in unity. If there is a test for consensus and anyone blocks, stands aside, or consents with reservations, the group will pause and listen carefully to the concerns expressed, in order to consider the possibility of modifying the proposal. At any point thereafter in that discussion, there may be a second test for consensus. At the second test, proposals may pass by consensus as long as there is no more than one block and no more than two stand asides. So if two people block, or if three people stand aside, then we are not yet in unity. In that case, we will attempt to work with the concerns in an effort to either resolve them and/or modify the proposal in order to arrive at an outcome that all present believe serves well. Facilitators at that point are encouraged to employ means such as small group breakout discussions, direct reflective listening to those holding concerns, and other respectful process tools.

B. If a proposal addressing a particular issue has been brought to three GA’s and unity has not been reached, then following the test for consensus at the third GA a fallback vote may be invoked.
Exceptions to this rule, to invoke the fallback vote at the first or second GA, may be made in cases of urgent need, as determined by 75% of the group agreeing that is necessary (most likely when needed to address external events and deadlines).

C. If the voting fallback is invoked, participants have the following options:
1. Yes:
"I support this proposal." (Hand sign = twinkling)
2. No: "I do not support this proposal." (Hand sign = thumbs down)
3. Abstain: "I choose not to participate in the making of this decision." (No hand sign—abstention is signified by nonparticipation)

In the event of a vote, 90% Yes is sufficient to pass the proposal. At the counting of a vote, Yes counts in favor, No counts against, and those who abstain are not included in the total.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:15 pm
by Seeker
Hi Tree,

Thanks for your hard work in getting this done! I have two comments/suggestions.

The first one is if the proposal goes to a voting process, how are the people who stand aside or abstain be counted in the group total--i.e. when deciding if 90% consensus has been achieved will abstentions and stand asides be counted or not? I.E. if there are 24 people present and two people stand aside/abstain and two people block, will the two blocks be counted as 2 out of 24 or 2 out of 22, or 2 out of 24?

Lastly, I would hope that we could agree on some type of time limit to voting process so that we don't end up voting in the cold and dark and 10:30 at night like we have done in the past.


Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:10 pm
by tree
Hi Seeker,

Gosh, a major intention of this proposal was to deal with that whole question about who gets counted when, so that's unfortunate that apparently it still isn't clear! What i was trying to express is that at the point the fallback is invoked, then a vote is taken and counted, and yes's count in favor, no's count against, and abstains are not counted as part of the total in any way. Whoever blocked or stood aside or whatever during the consensus phase, that is no longer applied. So in your example, if a vote were taken and 24 people were present and 20 said yes and 2 said no and 2 abstained, then the proposal would pass with 20 out of 22 saying yes. I will revise the draft to make this more clear, thank you for pointing it out.

As for a time limit on reaching a decision, i am honestly not sure what the best answer is on that, so i did not include it in this proposal. There is already so much pressure and demand to get the floor at many GAs, i worry that putting a time limit would only increase that. Sometimes it is better to reach a decision at 10:30pm than to put it off until another time, either because the decision may be urgently needed or because it can be hard to start over again with a bunch of people who weren't present for the first discussion.



Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:29 pm
by kokomojo
Thank You Tree! Thanks for the Clarity! I think a lot of dialogue online will allow more and more clarity for those of us who can get lost during the discussions about process. I do love good process and I think your document is a great contribution. An assessment of whether there is 90% consensus can look like a vote but it is not, It is merely an assessment used to determine whether a vote needs to be taken. Is that accurate? I appreciate the voting question that came up right away. Thanks.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am
by tree

Sorry, i'm not sure i quite understand what you are saying/asking. In this proposal (which passed at tonight's GA, with the amendments/edits reflected above), there is in fact an option for an actual 90% vote. There is no longer any such thing in our process as "90% consensus," to me that was always a counter-intuitive creature. We either have consensus (defined as no more than 1 block and no more than 2 stand asides) or failing that after 3 tries, we have the option for a vote by 90%.



Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:34 pm
by CJ Myers
Tree, I'm a HUGE fan of this proposal and was happy to be at the GA last night when it was presented and passed. Thanks for your hard work.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:57 pm
by Warren Weisman
No doubt the consensus process is the best decision-making process, but I don't think it's compatible with OE's present "community organizer structure" of a GA and soviets. Especially if by some miracle the movement was to ever have a couple hundred people at a GA again or by some even greater miracle were to expand to include the general public and include mainstream people with vastly divergent views. The general public is not going to adopt OE's decision-making process, OE is going to have to adopt the general public's decision-making process.

Broken into smaller groups, informal 'cofs' of friends and family do not need to even formally vote on anything, as they would be largely of the same mind (or else we wouldn't be hanging around with them.) Every individual within temporary 'artels' like the campers and homeless at W/J Park could opt in or opt out of decisions made by other groups, giving everyone the freedom to not be included in decisions they disagree with. Obviously, the bad ideas---like moving to Alton Baker---would have no participation, rather than everyone getting volunteered to follow like lemmings off the cliff. Everyone has a basic right to disagree with decisions made by others and to vote with their feet to not be part of something without leaving the movement entirely.

Even in artels consensus would be easier to achieve because you are dealing with small enough groups to where actual debate and discussion can take place. I disagree with any kind of 90% or minus-one fall-back, for the simple matter it is human nature to do what is most convenient. As Confucius said, 'All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.' We have been making the easy choices for at least the past three generations and now have nothing but hard, unpopular decisions to make. The people who claim to be prepared to make hard decisions and sacrifice vastly outnumber those who really are or are already making them. The inherent flaw in any majority rule system is it is so damn easy to just ignore those people.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:55 pm
by JerryB
If we ever get around to asking the opinion of the general community, then consensus will not work.

There are probably hundreds of people in the community who agree with OE, for every one that has ever attended a committee or GA meeting. Why can't they have input? Isn't the movement supposed to be democratic and inclusive?

We should be collecting thousands of email addresses and recruiting people and all of them should be polled. Why should their opinions be less important than those who attend GA's?

Consensus only works for small groups or for very simple ideas that everyone can agree on. For larger groups and complex ideas, there should be a simple majority vote to determine if an action needs to be taken. If yes there should be at least three proposals made, and then preference voting used to determine the best proposal. For many options instant runnoff voting could be used.

We need to form a model that can be used in business and in government. We need ideas like Participatory Budgets, that take the power away from the 1% and move closer towards direct democracy, but that actually have some small chance of being implemented. Make it work locally and then expand.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:55 am
by Ross
One of the things I am beginning to see is that our forum(s) is becoming an Assembly of itself. No talking sticks necessary. Everybody can participate and be heard. many occupy sites have been shut down, and possibly the website becomes the most efficient way to carry on. Still gathering as frequently as necessary, at a reasonable time and place to involve as many as possible. Iceland, population under a half million was able to successfully crowd source the people in the writing of their New Democratically Constructed Constitution. possibly we can begin such efforts in preparation of our own nations evolving democracy.
Consensus is by far the best approach. Also the most difficult and it will require much trial and error to be achieved, even at a local level, little loan state wide, nationally and globally.
How could we actually initiate a forum driven assembly process? Any interest in this? Any ideas?

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:15 pm
by JerryB
I like the idea of crowdsourcing. The way Iceland did their new Constitution is that they first chose 25 citizens. I believe they tried to get talented folk that had been recommended by many others. Then these 25 solicited comments from the internet and something like 1000 people responded with something like 1600 comments. The 25 people went through all of the comments and compiled and organized everything.

So how would that work for OE? First we need to form a committee willing to poll the community. (Communications?) We should poll the community on what should be our vision of where we want to go and then we need to form goals that will move us towards our visions.

Collective visioning had a 1 page vision statement draft that Luke was going to submit to the GA. Then a 4 page letter to the Mayor and Council was voted on by the GA and labeled the OE vision statement. Don't know what happened to the 1 page draft we had been working on. (See the Collective Visioning forum - Working Area: Collective Statement ) We had also started on goals.

Anyway we should use something like that as a starting point and send it out to the 1000 emails we have of supporters. We should solicit responses from the community and see what goals we should pursue and where we should go from here.

A questionnaire with about 20 goals with lots of room for "Other Ideas" would be good to send out, (Similar to the questionnaire used at the Oct. 14th GA) and then everyone should use preference voting or instant runnoff voting to determine which of those many ideas had the highest priorities from the most people. (If 20 possibilities give 20 to the one you like the most 19 to your second choice etc. the ones with the most points are the highest priority)

Do we have a computer program that would count up ballets like that?


Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:34 pm
by Oliveber
Tree, I'm a HUGE fan of this proposal and was happy to be at the GA last night when it was presented and passed. Thanks for your hard work.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:08 am
by spider ... 20Tips.pdf

I though that it would be germane to share this guide with you from ROP.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:02 pm
by Ross
while OE has much to gain from both our physical meetings, we have made great progress within the development of a digitally based forum. This can and should be something that Occupy Oregon can initiate and develop. To have monthly meetings, would be great. Meetings could last for three days. First day agenda, (announcements and proposals) Second day - Discussions - Third day finalizing and coming to consensus on proposals.

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:53 am
by a protester
What is the point of meetings, when NOTHING CHANGES?
What is the point of having committees to deal with every problem, when foreclosures, homelessness, and joblessness INCREASE?
This petty thinking is sabotaging us, and benefiting Wall St. because it's a DIVIDE AND CONQUER strategy that's killing us.

Why did bankers write fraudulent loans? They KNEW they'd never be prosecuted.
Why not? The 'Federal Reserve' is a PRIVATE CORPORATION. They control this country, and us, because they control the money.

Here's the situation: The dam is leaking, but instead of looking for it, you're all running around in circles, each with a cup full of water, wondering what to do next.
We can't fix the leak because the people won't stop long enough to wonder if there even IS a leak.

First, protest, inform the public and the media (which I've tried to do, but they're controlled or scared to speak the truth).
Tell the WHAT THE FED IS, and what to do.
I've already explained it at:
What happened to 'End the Fed' ? viewtopic.php?f=32&t=1440

This is the only way to get the public to join us -- by educating them about the 'Fed' and the fact that they're in terrible financial danger, and that the U.S. is absolutely in trouble.
Until we do that, they'll continue to think that who they vote for will make a difference. How is that possible since it doesn't seem to be making the big changes that need to happen.
For example: I've complained elsewhere about Glass-Steigle not being brought back, and I warned that it's because they're going to do it again. Well, now I've read that the bankers are again writing fraudulent loans. IT WILL NEVER END until the people force it to. They can't do that if they don't KNOW. Protesters can't tell them if THEY DON'T KNOW. Has Occupy been sabotaged by Wall St. bankers?

Re: process proposal, revised

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:16 pm
by Oliveber
Thanks for your hard work in getting this done! I have two comments/suggestions.