How the Occupy Movement's General Assembly Works

Agree or disagree with their concept and tactics, the Occupy protests are gaining momentum, and are going to be around, and growing, whether you, me or Goldman Sachs approves of them.  So I think it's important that people know what their process is.  It's really rather fascinating. Those familiar with open source software communities will recognize the ideas of Consensus, Consent, Stand asides, Objections, Block, etc. The video is long, but it really is worth viewing in its entirety, to fully grasp what works and doesn't.

Please see my discussion following the video.


And so…

Those familiar with democracy will recognize the problems of holding such assemblies on a city, state, or national level. You'd need "representatives" to attend them. And dang it all, those are so hard to appoint by consensus in some accountable way. It's been tried. Many times.

Thus, GAs, as they are known, useful on small scales for some kinds of actions or ordinances (like that one above), are lovely exercises in what we might call, a pre-representative democracy.

In practical usage, those often lead to the need for some form of representative democracy, often called a republic.  You remember those, right? They're kinda like the United States of America before someone broke it.

As things progress…

I will be blogging more of these concept posts as this movement gains steam. I was a skeptic, then a skeptical believer, and now I am a skeptical critic interested in helping the people of America, and the #OWS expression of rage, to find constructive missions and goals that might dovetail with the larger republic in which we are all pretty invested. Then it will either influence our debates and future, or perish into history as just another footnote of fail by those who felt it easy to casually change a system that was designed to resist change—no matter how much it needs to. I sincerely hope it will be the former.

@shoq: IN THE END, contempt doesn't make laws, and rage won't govern nations. The final frontier must be @OccupyCongress. #ows #p2 #tcot

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