Occupy Vancouver decision making processes

Reposted from: http://occupyvancouver.com/admin/uploads/OVGADecisionMaking_001.pdf

Occupy Vancouver Decision Making Processes (as of November 2nd, 2011)

GA Process (maximum 2 hours unless consensus on extending)
5 minutes before GA someone on the facilitation team will request that anyone willing to translate or interpret identify themselves.
1. Recognition that we are on unceded Coast Salish Territory and reading of Statement of Unity
2. Ask for those who need translation or interpretation to gather together into their respective language groups
3. Introduction of facilitation team and explanation of their roles
4. Presentation of hand signals and brief explanation of our 90/10 consensus model in the GA
5. Information from committees, WGs and individuals. The formation of new WGs can be announced here.
(no discussion!)
6. 30 second activity break/silence
7. New proposals from committees and WGs presented explained (Clarifications OK, but no discussion!)

These will be posted at the info booth and on the internet, to be voted on at a later GA (ideally the next one). If a WG or committee has reached consensus that the proposal is an emergency and must be voted on that evening, the proposal can be fast tracked and sent to the following process (step 8).  If there are individual proposals the 10 minutes maximum may be taken to hear those proposals.

8. Proposals from previous GA discussed and voted upon. The facilitation team will have set a time limit depending on the nature of the discussion. Once the time limit is up, the GA votes.

TWO minute maximum per person during the discussion period.*

Those who are making the proposal are first to speak. If there is a disagreement within the committee or WG (i.e. when there are competing proposals), they explain their disagreements to frame the following discussion. People who want to add something to the arguments are called upon to speak.

9. Open mic (ONLY the open mic can extend past the two hour limit – no proposals or decision making can take
place after 2 hours)  Only if people have the time and energy

If 90% or more want to go to open mic then the GA can continue.
 TWO minute maximum for anybody who wants to talk.
 If folks have proposals, these must first go through a WG or committee and follow the process described.
 The creation of new work groups can be announced during this time.
 If somebody has an issue or proposal they want to develop they can call for other interested
folks to join them.
 People physically line up in some designated area in order to take their two minutes on the mic.

Proposal Path

1) Committees
• Committees will discuss issues and when they have an action they want to take they will formulate a proposal to
bring to the GA. Committees must reach full consensus (100%) on a proposal or if there are two/three
roughly equally supported options, and the committee does not want to compromise and reach consensus,
they can bring two/three competing proposals to the GA to be decided between. If there are competing
proposals, the chosen proposal is sent back to the committee to be fleshed out if needed, and presented to
a later GA.

• GA

1. Committees and WGs present new proposals (not to be voted on at this GA). People may ask for clarifications
on but not discuss the proposal.
2. Proposals from the previous GA are re-proposed and voted upon. If:

• Full consensus (100%)

o Proposal approved

• Less than 10% disagreement

o The proposal is discussed (with a time limit set by the facilitation team)
 Minimum 10 minutes, unless those who disagree identify that they no longer disagree before 10
minutes pass. 2 minute maximum per person*
 The group will hear from those who disagree first, then from those who would like to respond.
 Each point should be heard, not necessarily each person.

o After the discussion the GA Votes again
 If there are still fewer than 10% disagreeing, the proposal is approved.
 If there is more than 10% disagreement, the proposal is sent back to the committee and to be
discussed, modified if need be, and represented at a later GA

• Those who disagree must go to the next committee meeting (or send a representative,
written statement, email etc or request an alternate time to meet with the committee – the
committee is obligated to meet with a person if this is requested of them) if they want their
disagreement addressed. If nobody who disagrees does so, the proposal is automatically
approved and this is announced at the next GA. If the committee or WG that made the
proposal is for some reason impossible to contact, those with complaints can log their
complaint at the info booth as an official recognition of their attempt to find them – in this
case, it cannot pass automatically. • More than 10% disagreement

o The proposal is sent back to the committee or WG and will be discussed again and represented at
a later GA
o Those who disagree must go to the next committee meeting (or send a representative, written
statement, email etc or request an alternate time to meet with the committee – the committee is
obligated to meet with a person if this is requested of them) so they can help the committee to
rework the proposal and re-present it at a later GA.

• Blocks

o 1 blocker
 The blocker is allowed to voice their concerns/suggestions (they cannot propose an
alternate proposal on the spot. They are attempting to convince at least one other person
to side with them and at least vote against the proposal), then the GA votes again.
 If the vote is the same, with full agreement and one blocker, the proposal is passed.
 If the vote count changes, the procedure for the new amount of disagreements proceeds
as above.

o 2 or more blockers
 Each reason for blocking is allowed to be presented
 Proposal is automatically sent back to committee or WG
 Those who block must go to the next committee meeting (or send a representative or
written statement or request an alternate time to meet with the committee – the committee
is obligated to meet with a person if this is requested of them) so they can help the
committee to rework the proposal or form a new one and present something at a later GA.


Groups of people who meet regularly to discuss issues around organization of the general assembly and
the organization of the space (i.e. Media, legal, facilitation, etc). There should be a core group of people
who attend the committee regularly, but all meetings are open to all people. It is recommended that folks
who have been in a group for a while rotate out while others rotate in (not mandatory)

Work Groups (WG)
Groups of people (minimum two people) who meet as many times as needed in order to discuss issues not
concerning organization necessarily, but rather discussing issues such as political demands, planning a
march, or restructuring something as needed. The difference between work groups and committees is that
WG come together and disband as needed, whereas committees are permanent groups. WGs can be
impromptu at any time, and can run meetings for as long or short as wanted.

General Assembly (GA)
A space of coordination in which WG, committees and independent folks come together to discuss with one

NEEDED (six or seven people total): facilitator, stacker, timer, minute taker, and two or three people who
are there for general support. They are in charge of dealing with individuals who are repeatedly
interrupting, who come late and need something explained, etc. These people will also be available to
anybody who has self identified barriers to speaking in groups (such as anxiety or language) who wants
support on stage or wants to send a representative to the mic on their behalf**
GA Committee (GAC) meetings will be held so the facilitation team can be chosen, and the agenda to be
formed based on the existing proposals from the previous day etc.

Special Assemblies
GAs focused on a specific issue only – nothing other than this issue will be discussed. These can be
scheduled during regular GA meeting times, or at another time. This decision is to be made at a prior GA.

A statement outlining action, brought before the GA to be approved before it is acted upon. All actions
carried out on behalf of Occupy Vancouver (OV), either externally such as marches and direct action*** or
internally such as finances or restructuring of the physical space, must go through the proposal process.
Parts of a proposal that must be presented
1) Why this proposal?
2) What is the proposal?
3) What are the objectives?
4) What are the advantages and disadvantages/risks?

* While there is a two minute maximum on these discussions, anyone who requests more time based on their personal need
(such as English not being their first language, or that they have some other barrier to public speaking or formulating thoughts)
will be allotted a 4 minute maximum. It is up to the facilitator and timer to assure that people are not abusing this exception. If
someone has not requested a time extension but is clearly having difficulties getting their ideas out, it is at the facilitator’s and
timer’s discretion to allow them to continue – we must trust in our facilitation team to carry this out appropriately. However, it is
all of our responsibilities to respect each other’s use of time and attempt to formulate clear and coherent statements before
going to the mic.

** The people can act as a second party in the formation of a WG group, if somebody needs immediate help organizing their
thoughts into a coherent proposal.

*** Not all direct action can or needs to be endorsed by OV as a whole. Only those actions coming out of mandated committees
or those actions that wish to be endorsed by OV (i.e. to be placed on the official OV website) must follow the proposal process.

Reposted from: http://occupyvancouver.com/admin/uploads/OVGADecisionMaking_001.pdf


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Categories: Key Statements, Movement Documents, Process


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