Facilitation and ad-hoc proposal team call, 6/7/12, 6 PM
06/07/2012 in Facilitation WG
Check-ins: Heather, Colin, John, Sue, Margaret, Yeshua (for first 10 min), Dell (at 6:25)
Proposal (rework as amendments consensed upon by those on the call):
Occupy Central Vermont will hold General Assemblies once each month, with other events, actions, and/or activities on other Saturdays of the month. The work of Occupy Central Vermont will be largely carried out by Working Groups. Working Groups can call for a General Assembly and contact the Facilitation Working Group to organize that event at any time when necessary. The next decision-making General Assembly will be on Saturday, 7/7, followed by General Assemblies on the first Saturday of each month (either in Montpelier or at Pop-Up location). Per Occupy Central Vermont process, proposals to change this schedule can be made at any time. The schedule will come up for review at the September General Assembly.
Tentative monthly schedule (order depends on the needs of the assembly / WGs. Saturdays are consistent, though time of day may vary, and will be announced on the email list and by other means including flyers)
- General Assembly (Decision making) facilitated by the Facilitation Working Group
- Working Group time and/or Operations facilitated by Direct Action Working Group
- Educational/Teach-in/Discussion-based assembly facilitated by Education & Empowerment
- Working Group time and/or Alternative Social Gathering, facilitation to be rotated
Some standing questions:
- How do the regularly scheduled monthly GAs match up with the pop-ups? If they are during the pop-ups, should there be regularly scheduled GAs in Montpelier? If they are not during the pop-ups, who will facilitate the GAs during the pop-ups?
- Will DAWG facilitate one of the Montpelier non-GA assemblies?
- If a lot of new people, maybe hold off on this proposal? Might turn people off, if we’re not on same page together.
- Go around and say what issues are now:
- Margaret — Totally convinced that we should do 1 GA / month which is facilitated, decision-making, and during the pop-up if possible, whenever that is, and then have the WG-focused assemblies by DAWG, E&E. I am willing to facilitate some sort of gathering on the other week, for 1 month to start, and hopefully someone else would do the other months. Problem is burn out, and need for more variety, experimentation, move forward.
- Sue — Problem with having GA only at popup; not best place for contentious issues. Feels strongly that something happening on Saturdays from 3-5 is important. Happy with revisiting in September. Willing to go along.
- Heather — This is a scheduling proposal that could be innocuous, but side issues have come up — tensions that I wasn’t aware of people having (maybe them either). Surprising/discouraging, but shows how much work there is to be done for us/the left to be strategic and work together. Unfortunate that this has kept this proposal from happening, because the intention was to reinvigorate the group: some people don’t want to go to meetings every week; the intent was, as Margaret said, to add more variety and experiment with other ways of being involved. Also meant to address capacity – hard to do basic work, hard to implement new ideas. Let’s do this one thing really well, and then branch out as we get more interest and energy. Also concerned about Facilitation – idea of people getting credit for the other work they are doing/not stepping up to facilitation. Facilitation is hard – meeting every week; sometimes those calls have been long, though we are now down to less time than the GA itself, but still a lot of work. Not just the calls and planning, but maintaining focus on the big picture.
- John — New to Facilitation. Not what I want to do but stepping up. Biggest issue is declining attendance. We need to get out there more – addressing the issues of the day that are relevant to the broader public. Don’t just want to do something, want to do something that is effective. Need working groups to do effective things. Facilitation can’t run the whole thing. Can’t make up an agenda every week without having WGs bring items. Internal procedure is meant to get us out publicly. Have to deliberate and find ways to be effective.
- Colin — Doesn’t have very much to add, appreciate what people have been saying. Do people need to be refreshed on what the language is now. Any questions about the language?
- Dell – Wonder if we will get our regular people at those pop-ups, also it would be easier if we knew what saturday instead of an arbitrary date. Alternative amendment was to have a GA in Montpelier on 1st saturday, if not the same day as pop-up, then people organizing the pop-up will deal with facilitation on those days.
- John — Yes, supports in Montpelier, or at pop-up, if on the same day.
- Dell — what about the strategy/vision group (it’s in limbo); that topic took on new meaning in last few weeks.
- Margaret — maybe it’s something we could have at the alternative social gathering.
- John — keeping stack for these alt-assemblies is still important, brainstorm about strategy together. Also, taking actions and getting feedback on those actions, then re-calibrating if necessary.
- Sue — if we have GA on first saturday, then do citizen’s action first.
- Heather — I want to encourage these ideas to keep getting out there, because this is how we get back on track and move forward after this proposal is passed. Can we get back to the proposal? Keep language about first Saturday for GAs. Leave time flexible so that we might choose to do GA at noon, after Citizens’ Bank is Closing protest.
- John — Or 1pm, after Farmers’ Market. Should be more flexible. Identifiable location and rough time, but doesn’t have to be exactly the same every week. Some discretion on the time of day, doesn’t have to be a rigid time, nor have we actually decided that 3-5 is it always.
- Heather — Or, for other assemblies, might need it to be dark to show films or something.
- Dell — need to get the word out if different times; be good to have a permanent visible place to have consistent postings.
- Colin — this is a good point and was talked about in the old Outreach group; something that each of the other group and individuals need to figure out in terms of what and how.
- Heather — If Facilitation gets a breather, some of us may be able to work on outreach.
- Dell — Inclined to go with first Saturday GA. If pop-up, whoever is organizing can decide what to do. Might not need to be decision-making GA.
- John — Or time to talk with people in towns about their issues.
- Margaret — We’re like a Fall planting, blooming in the Spring. We got nervous about the pop-ups when attendance at the meetings dwindled. Pop-ups are like our coming out; we’re more exposed as just Occupy organizing the events. I’m grateful that people had their meltdowns before we started. I feel like I know people better now, that deeper sharing has happened inadvertently. I think this is going to be a good summer for us.
- Dell — I appreciated at the last GA that one of the things that happened is that we now have a core group of committed people. I really appreciate that about the people who are willing to come. A deep heart-connection.
- Sue — should we check with others who couldn’t be on the call?
- Heather — I left messages with Jay and Brian. I asked them to call me. Would be helpful if others reach out as well. Think we should post these minutes soon so people can comment there. If there are any bad feelings, we should know about it ahead of time. People are scared to air their dirty laundry, but it’s kind of what Occupy is all about. Exposing the issues that are confronting us. We can’t be afraid of GAs during popups; direct democracy is messy. We need to be doing this much more. Too much fracturing is part of the broader issue we’re facing in society; we need to keep talking it out. Encourage people to bring story objects for the grounding exercise of the GA – object that represents the way you or your family/friends/community are affected by the economic/political/environmental crisis.
- Dell — what are we supposed to bring? Problem is that I don’t feel like I’m in crisis.
- Heather — I didn’t either when I did it at SoliSchool. For the first time, I’m making livable wage and life seems pretty good, but not always this way. Had to think back.
- Sue — we also can tell story of our community, which is what spoke to me.
- Margaret — or your family members
- Heather — yes, idea is that we are all personally connected to the crisis and affected by it, but rarely talk about it with each other.
- Heather — One more question, and I hate to leave things on a dour subject after such a great call, but I wonder if people could think about how to address the worry about “co-option” by other organizations or affinities, because this has come up in Occupy groups around the country, and has pushed people away in other parts of VT. Issue we need to address if we are going to build a movement.
- John — Ties in with strategy conversation. Let’s explore that then.