updates. ahh/ugh!, process!

12 Oct

First, I’ll start off with the banal– the wonders of earplugs! I’d never before used them. I’m amazed and shocked that I  had another night of sound sleep what with all the action around me, the atmosphere, after all, reminds me of Barrington Hall.

General Assembly. Occupy San Diego

Updates
Some of the updates from last night’s GA:

300-500 people have been fed each day. And the City Health Inspector gave said the outdoor kitchen was ok from a sanitation perspective.

There is a plan currently to have a day of “Occupy Everywhere,” a day of solidarity marches on all the local college campuses October 20th.

Other news

People continue to report having positive interactions with police- thus far- and that some even have heard the police say they support this initiative.

I was witness to a fight almost taking place between people who happened to be at the Plaza but from what I can see are not really part of the occupation. It was really upsetting as one of the parties was claiming to have  machete on his person…

 

Quote of the day

Overheard: One temporarily homeless man exclaimed: “Why are they called socialists if they’re so f***ing anti-social?!” He explained that he had a hard time with the socialists really being pushy with their opinions and  not embracing a message of unity. As a homeless person he explained that the occupation made it safer for homeless people to sleep now in the Plaza. Before, he said, the police would whisk one away for sleeping in the Plaza.

Safety and Security

I finally was able to speak to one of the people on the Safety Committee (which previously was the Security Committee) to see how my concerns about public drunkenness, smoking pot, and noise might be addressed. I am not on site all the time– just spending the  night there- so I am not privy to everything that is happening here. It turns out a few nights ago when these questions were brought up in the General Assembly a small but vocal group made it impossible to even address these issues- they would simply shout down, boo, and toss papers. This same group, I was told, is also actively engaging the police and is pointing to different people at Occupy San Diego and saying that so-and-so might be belligerent. In other words, they are creating the conditions for confrontation. So, there is no deliberative body, no entity right now to attend to the safety and security of the occupiers. And, the General Assembly currently cannot attend to a basic human need- personal safety and security.This has me wondering how effective- if at all- is/can the GA be right now as a collective decison-making body.

This situation leaves me very pessimistic. Whatever community there is at OSD is very fragile.

I’m going on a meditation retreat on Friday and will be back Monday. I plan on convening a number of dynamically facilitated conversations next week to engage the different voices on security. How can we speak as one voice on anything if we can’t attend to our own safety?

Demands

I was able to track down the convenors  of the Demands and Objectives Committee, tasked with putting together a shared list of demands. After talking with them for a few minutes about the problem with the idea of demands, they agreed to rename it the Vision and Goals Committee.

Process Committee

The Process Committee meets twice a day. It spent a total of six hours yesterday on process matters and I was able to attend for about an hour yesterday and a little over an hour today. They are receptive to new ideas, but with the fluidity and transient quality of the whole community, the multiple roles that many activists are juggling, unfamiliarity with facilitation in general and consensus decision-making in particular, occasional unwillingness to listen- and there are other challenges, too!- it hasn’t been a very encouraging scene thus far. We spent over an hour just setting the agenda. I had to leave in the middle of this process. K can barely follow the discussion, perhaps I’ll be able to in time! Tomorrow I’m going to propose a modified form of Open Space Technology just for our Process Committee. People do acknowledge the value in working concurrently on multiple topics. We’ll see what comes from this.

Apparently people on the committee were happy with yesterday’s GA meeting. I wonder, however, if what we saw yesterday was an elaborate rearrangement of the chairs on the Titanic. If the space has been closed by a minority to discuss a central matter- attending to personal safety and security- how effective can GA be?

Don’t get me wrong- folks are really trying hard!

And if anyone wants to help me think through how I might be able to support the work of the Process Committee right now, give me a holler! The whole space is a vortex of energy. I continue to try to be mindful of how it uses my energy and not get burnt out. I’m amazed at those people who have been there the whole time.

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