Spokes Councils: an effort to improve Occupy’s decision making


At the end of  October, as a response to the multiple challenges faced by the General Assemblies, Occupy Wall Street adopted the Spokes Councils, which have continued to run in conjunction with the GAs. They have the role of bringing together various working groups in order to hammer out the day-to-day logistical decisions of the occupations, whilst leaving the GAs free for overarching decisions of broader political import. It’s an interesting concept, explained fully in this post, which could be considered by Occupy movements worldwide that feel the GAs are too slow in reaching consensus.
The Spokes Council model, however is not without its own potential problems. They can have a tendency to represent those who have time to be present rather than the voices of the many. Whilst GAs retain the power to make decisions related to the direction of the movement there are dangers of creating teams of “those in charge” leaving a majority of supporters feeling marginalised.
Another challenge is that this concentrated form of decision making, in the hands of smaller groups of individuals, leaves occupations open to a greater exposure of being co-opted or infiltrated by external forces. This has apparently already happened in Washington DC where a direct action committee that was granted autonomy to approve or reject actions on its own ended up in a partnership with Moveon, linked to the Democrat party.

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Categories: Activism, General Assemblies, Movement Documents, Process

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