Formalizing the structure of the General Assembly would be beneficial for the process of setting up for long-term Occupation. To this end, several people have consulted to develop the "Customs" document that is linked above. "Customs" refers to the usual code of conduct that Members of the General Assembly follow while gathered.
There are several key features included:
- It breaks down the GAs themselves into three "types" - Outreach/Education, Action, and Voting.
This responds directly to repeated calls by the GA to start offering regular discussion forums and workshops, by including them directly as "New Business" for the GA once a week. Similarly, deferring votes to allow for adequate time for more people to get informed has been expressed as a concern. Voting less frequently would allow us time to make more of an "issue" out of contentious votes, attracting new membership.
- The Officers of the GA (Chair and Secretary) are ex officio - meaning, they are asked to abstain from voting during the course of all GAs.
This is a common practice with groups who follow regular rules of order. It reflects that the Chair and the Secretary have special privilege as Officers of the GA itself, and makes them accountable, and adds transparency to the process. This feature is likely to cause contention, and is open for amendments. Should there be rules for tie-breaking (arguable, since Consensus matters)? And should an Officer be able to vote at all?
- Parking Lots and Swarming
The Parking Lot is where the good ideas can find the right support. Find a physical space and a virtual space to use for your Occupation - the Parking Lot. The more people, the better!
Swarming is a concept that came up in some of the earlier Assemblies. Check the link for more about the idea.