In Defense of the General Assembly

This started off as a comment over at Howie’s place, but I’ve reworked it for here.

Maybe it was reading this after a more successful General Assembly. Maybe the fact that I’ve never been to a GA where it rained. Maybe, I’m just an optimistic person. But I don’t think the General Assembly is “Robert’s Rules if Robert had, say, just ingested a pound of ecstasy.”

First off, I’ve been to plenty of Democratic Party and local government things with Robert’s rules of order or modified versions of them and occasionally, they just don’t flow smoothly. People will work very hard to get 50%+1 or 2/3+1, and then there will often be a large group with hurt feelings on the losing side. So, there is an advantage with letting everyone be heard and with trying to find consensus. It’s trying to do something that Robert’s rules don’t do, and it’s so far been fairly successful in a way that the GA probably wouldn’t have been if, for some reason, they’d adopted Robert’s.

Another upside is that it makes the proposals better. The proposal that passed on Monday night was more clear than the one Dominic saw lose earlier. It answered (some) concerns, and it was more forward looking.

The down side is that it took several days and a lot of time to make a decision. Hearing from everyone can be tough. It can be taxing on the vocal chords with the People’s Mic, and as Winter comes, it’ll be more rainy and colder than before, and time at the GA, no matter where it is, will be more valuable. So, while it isn’t a process I endorse for everything, I think it has been good for Occupy Seattle.


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    The down side is that it took several days and a lot of time to make a decision.

    Is this really a downside or maybe it just takes a lot of time and work to do good work?