A very dedicated occupier, @SynchronizeOWS, has proposed that occupy groups around the country (or globally) hold a United General Assembly on the 17th of March, the 6-month birthday of our movement, where unified issues would be discussed. This is appealing for many reasons, not least of which is that the 17th may be one of Occupy Austin’s biggest general assemblies ever, coming as it does at the end of a major march through Austin & SXSW.
My proposal is as follows:
At 7pm Central on March 17, 2012, as part of the regularly scheduled General Assembly, Occupy Austin will participate in the United General Assembly event (#UnitedGA on Twitter).
In preparation for this event, we ask the webteam to add a UnitedGA blog page to our site. In the general assemblies leading up to March 17, Occupy Austin will propose and attempt to reach consensus on a topic of discussion for the UnitedGA. This proposal will be placed on the UnitedGA section of our website. We encourage other participating occupations to follow suit.
At our March 17 assembly, after fielding normal local proposals, we will hold a discussion of our United GA topic and any others suggested by other #UnitedGA occupations. It will be at the discretion of the assembly whether we wish to discuss each topic, or to combine overlapping topics, such as multiple discussions of corporate personhood, into one topic.
The assembly will discuss each UnitedGA topic, with the discussion tweeted and added to our minutes as well as the United GA part of our website. Occupy Austin, and other participating assemblies, are encouraged to make a list of suggested solutions or actions related to each topic. If the assembly wishes, it may choose to issue a formal statement about the occupation’s view on a specific topic, issue, or action which will also be added to our website.
The United General Assembly is not intended to speak for the global Occupy movement as a whole, or even for all the participating assemblies. It is simply an opportunity to create a shared discussion among many occupations at once. All occupiers are encouraged to follow the discussions from other occupations as well as their own.
If the event is successful, and if the assembly consents, future United General Assemblies will occur on or near the 17th of every month.
This version of the proposal addresses concerns that the original proposal fielded by @SynchronizeOWS was not written in consensus language, takes away from the localized nature of each occupation, or attempts to speak for Occupy Wall Street as a whole. This also lays the groundwork for future, more technologically-oriented ideas like the Federated GA, while making easy use of existing technologies like Twitter & WordPress.
I will bring this proposal for discussion and feedback at tonight’s general assembly (7pm at Austin City Hall Plaza), and then if the temperature seems favorable I will bring it again on Monday at 7pm as a formal proposal.
Update: I brought this proposal to tonight’s meeting (we had an informal discussion instead of a formal General Assembly) and got the suggestion that we should also propose solutions or actions relating to each topic. This was well received and I hope to bring it to the general assembly as a formal proposal on Monday — the 10 or so people in attendance tonight said they would support it, and Monday’s GA should have a quorum. Additionally, we have learned that both Occupy Nashville and Occupy San Diego have adopted the United GA proposal.
Correction: The earlier version of the proposal suggested @SynchronizeOWS was a member of the Cyber99 — those who occupy primarily through the Internet. @SynchronizeOWS has actually dedicated many hours of hard work to on the ground, in person occupation. I apologize for the error.
Update: This was passed by the Occupy Austin General Assembly on March 5, 2012. See the new OA UnitedGA webpage.