Resistance/Expansion Proposal Heads for Friday Vote

Posted on November 10, 2011 by


The General Assembly (GA) crafted a proposal Wednesday evening to stay at Dilworth Plaza (People’s Plaza), expand to the Municipal Services Building Plaza (Thomas Paine Plaza), and make demands on City Hall. The proposal will go up for a vote on Friday.

The proposal reads as follows:

Occupy Philadelphia will stay at Dilworth Plaza at the anticipated “start of the Dilworth Plaza construction.” We also intend to expand to Tomas Paine Plaza . If this proposal is adopted Occupy Philadelphia will issue a public statement and a list of demands.

Occupy Philly has slowly been working its way toward a decision about how to handle a $50 million construction project at Dilworth that was slated to begin November 15, 2011. However, the date for construction is unknown.

The discussion, which began last Friday with a proposal from the Radical Caucus, has taken place over four days. See the timeline for details. After three days of brainstorming, the GA took last night to use three Spectrograms to vet the ideas. Each Spectrogram focused on either staying, moving, or expanding.

A Spectrogram is a way of dividing a group into smaller groups, and can be used to clarify issues as well as to make decisions. Moving did not receive a clear majority; staying, however, did. Additionally, the GA was less sure about expansion. The results of this exercise were presented this evening.

Facilitators were clear that the GA’s mission was simply to craft a proposal. Since resistance received a clear majority, it would be included in the proposal. The GA needed to determine whether expansion would be an option, and if chosen, what the location would be.

The GA broke into smaller groups twice, one when deciding about expansion and the second to determine where the expansion would take place. Throughout the process, many Occupiers expressed concerns about obtaining another permit, splitting the group, the perceptions of resisting, and the needs of the homeless.

Additionally, many felt the construction project had been an accomplishment by disabled activists, and some also felt that unions needed to participate in the project.

Concerns were raised Thursday about the decision-making process. At least one person raised concerns about the use of Spectrograms at the Coordinating Committee (CoCo). Another person introduced a new proposal on behalf of the Environmental Group.

This proposal stated that Occupy Philly would move from the People’s Plaza to Thomas Paine Plaza. The representative said members of the Environmental Group felt that moving would be in the best interest of the sustainable projects at Occupy. An amendment was added that the second proposal would be introduced on a conditional basis if the first proposal failed.

Following several verbal disruptions from an Occupier during the CoCo meeting over the proposal and whether it could even be introduced, CoCo members chose to take the issue to the GA. Members of the GA sent it back to CoCo after almost an hour and half of discussion.

Ultimately, the GA will vote on the proposal on Friday, November 11, 2011 at 7 p.m. Facilitators pointed out that if Occupiers disagreed with the proposal, they could either vote it down or add friendly amendments.

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