m of care – jan 22

hey, come to our reading group 
The Democracy Project by @davidgraeber 
about consensus. 
@macc_nyc  (Morisa Holms is with us) 
Meeting ID: 604 596 7588
Passcode: CITY

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nikadubrovsky/status/1352707415372931076


notes/quotes (marisa holmes – @dancingintheST – hosting it.. part of occupy/book – the democracy project (p 131, 422, ..) – if not noted otherwise it’s marisa talking):

the democracy project was really the occupy book

david is trying to break down teh myth of the us as a democracy.. ie: founding fathers didn’t even wanting a democracy.. wanted something more top down.. they were challenged by uprisings..

(today on ch 4) – how change happens ie: how consensus works et al

to be asked the same question 12 times (during occupy).. for press et al.. book writing helped w that.. he tries to address in this q&a.. first 20 pages.. ie: violence, paradox of sovereignty – only after violence.. et al

book around principles.. at some pt whoever is gathered together has to come up w some kind of principles.. then how to maintain them w/no mech of coercion.. the only way is thru training/practices.. so that it’s so embedded in culture can’t do anything else..

isn’t that coercion?

then how to defend spaces from bad characters.. so i’ll leave it at that and we can talk about some of those strategies

for me occupy.. changed my life.. filled w a lot of possibility.. but there are questions that continue to come up..t

i’m not very good at formal presentations.. i’d rather have a discussion.. so what we all think

what process do you have here..

q – rob l: wonder about occupy experience from very beginning? did it bring on everyone.. ? it’s the speed that gets me here

a – david describes pretty well in beginning of book.. so have a sense there.. (then she goes in to describing it herself)

q: anca: is there anything that changes over time w process.. or is it just that over time things settle..

a: what’s your experience.. does time heal all wounds.. ?

q: nika: w this experiment want to put something together that didn’t acquire any approval.. problem starts when can’t do anything when have to get approval first.. no problem if can do whatever you want.. so used this process for project (documentary on how all diff people/places make decisions)

huge.. have to be (all of us or it won’t work) that free..

nika: so for me what i learned from david/this-ch.. the whole social system we live in makes us work in this hierarchical architect.. so need to make diff architect.. need to work in small groups.. make decisions there.. and only bring to big group if a very defined purpose.. t

ie: as infra

nika: looks to me very clear/simple.. almost like an instruction

tj: pre this.. we explored in our m of c decision making group.. albert says 3 types of dm: 1\ consensus 2\ voting 3\ fiat (stalin)

decision making is unmooring us law

tj: what we found is that if scarcity.. have to have leaders.. if have abundance. then can have fiat (everyone do whatever they want).. from what i see m of c has gone away from scarcity.. by saying.. how can we reframe this to have abundance so we can do whatever we want and fluidly

matt: yeah.. don’t bring things to consensus unless you need to .. we have tendency.. ‘what does everybody think about this’.. doesn’t matter.. no need to get full group approval.. just do your thing.. (his ie of planning a meeting)

yeah.. i would just say in case of mtg times.. it’s more a poll than a vote.. people go w options or not.. just more efficient.. but people still have a say.. no one coerced into doing anything

clare: i was also in the (dm) group.. and using alt to adversarial logic.. ie: using more story.. and shared-narrative in small groups and bring back to large..

much easier if starting w smaller group.. rather than open call and then trying to develop consensus.. we did have a mission statement drafted in occupy.. in beginning by about 40 people.. they were the most committed.. willing to put in the time.. so they were in more agreement.. knowing why you’re there.. what motivates you.. makes it easier to work things out

on narratives.. we tried to create counter narratives.. ie: media cluster model w diff ways of disseminating info.. working well w getting an audience.. hard to get something out if just internal

also just day to day thru trainings.. there was a shared process.. repeating ‘we are here for.. ; the 1%; et al’

clare: i meant something diff .. diversity of how people speak ie: people who speak thru stories..

yeah.. it was a collab space so there wasn’t this point, counter point debate.. it was .. we’re all in this together.. we’re going to work it out together

yes.. people lived in the park.. that’s true.. it was kind of crazy

matt: on diff between voting and consensus.. way i was finally able to see.. voting is about finding the agreement.. consensus is about understanding the disagreement.. is that a reasonable summary of it

that’s an interesting summary for sure.. there are plurality of opinions.. that’s part of consensus

nika: yeah.. for me.. consensus is a process in which no one is forced to do what they don’t want to do.. so no violence.. but can only make consensus decisions when in urgent times.. but if trying to get consensus of ie: 100 people if going to paint blue/red.. that’s the wrong mech .. it should be some urgent reason to make decision

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

yeah.. also in this ch david brought up madagascar and how they never had permanent, formal institutions.. ie: never a standing council/assembly.. they’d come together when there was a need

ie: curiosity over decision making

outsiders kept trying to impose (organization/leaders/long meetings) and malagasy’s kept breaking it down.. so that was good to be reminded of

on the creativity of occupy – yeah.. the process was never set in stone.. very fluid space.. so something frustrating.. but just beautiful.. whatever was there is what happened from dancing to fighting to debating.. all that could be maintained simultaneously in the space.. so energetic.. community space.. embraced diversity of tactics..

diversity of tactics isn’t just a question of violence and non violence.. it’s about holding space for all the forms of expression and ways that people relate to each other.. and that’s just what we did.. t

begs a mech/means to undo our hierarchical listening

nika: yeah.. 10 yrs after occupy.. would be great to come up with some infra that would work in small and large groups (paraphrase)..t


imagine if we

yeah.. the question of what to do now .. 10 yrs later.. is a big one

vassily: consensus but at a more global level .. has anybody come up w a better terms for this dm process

better term for dm is killing us.. let go

ie: curiosity over decision making

simona: spinoza calls it (?) word meaning ‘coming together’.. refers to union of forces.. basically what’s common to everybody.. common conditions/goals

dennis: in 60s and 70s debate about consensus vs disensus


matt: on whether we should use term democracy or not.. since so many misuse it.. same w consensus

i guess questions of strategy

matt: i like democracy personally.. because form us.. they say.. yes democracy and ready to talk.. if you say anarchy.. they say.. no..

nika: democracy will soon have same bad name as communism..

simona: consensus is about you can vote w feet.. so can get out.. something you must have if everybody is free.. but act collectively at global level.. need collective power that goes thru institutions.. i don’t know how to collect a power great enough to contest ie: google, amazon.. w/o institutions to back it.. so our enemy takes good care of taking hold of govt/institutions.. because it counts.. it is decided how to finance ie: banks or ubi.. how do you get democratic power able to tackle banks, amazon..

simona: ie: italy take food/commodity by bike.. how can you enforce rights w/o govt?.. to me democracy is about being able to enforce banks et al.. my question is how to at global level..

nika: that’s a political position.. about vioelnce

simona: not about violence.. how can you get enough force to tackle w big co’s that buy/sell you your water.. how do people control those institutions.. it’s true democracy is not a good name in this moment.. but because it failed to take control.. we have lost control

yeah.. there’s a question for me about relationships of institution to org violence of some form.. because institution doesn’t have (ie: of the 6th) .. strange that there’s a belief in the institution as separate from the violence.. ie: 1000s of troupes to fortify the institution.. so i think it is still a question about violence..

nika: separate question 1\ how to org inside on day to day 2\ how to deal w violence that orgs you.. basically don’t need to destroy amazon because amazon is not there.. create alt institutions to amazon.. answer.. they have a diff language.. aren’t saying amazon is bad.. (just creating new)

tj: organizing is like building a team.. so many books on managing not many on counter.. so yes.. question is how to do this on global level.. i think we should look to practice of organizing..

ie: 2 convers as infra

tj: lit david wrote on consensus was to remove a mental block.. i think we can move past that.. i think most (of us) understand consensus.. so i think we can move elsewhere

anca: via gabi from chile.. initial small groups had own processes .. but was important in the mean time to deal w big issues.. ei: ubi, no bombs.. was disappointing/compromising.. but in end.. helped?.. so how do we do both

how to ensure that whoever negotiates for you in some formal capacity.. doesn’t compromise you.. is it possible.. what’s it based on

more than likely based on not even going there.. a legit alt way that makes all this irrelevant

matt: i appreciate org group to get something done.. but my interp of arab spring and egypt.. grass roots org ing to push new constitution but elites step in .. who are well org’d and co opt that.. so question.. how can we have a well org’d version of ourselves that’s ready to take jump on those opps when they come.. w/o becoming our own B party

have to make something that everyone already craves

ie: imagine if we

simona: like diem

nika: i suggest we rename the words.. win public opinion.. we have to .. occupy successful because rearranging the discourse.. real power was power of imagination.. not how we build an institutions but build content and spread it out

ie: idiosyncratic jargon ness

there were a lot of people who tried to raise money and have like occupy offices.. connected to unions et al.. ie: move-on.. et al.. it became a real problem.. there was an incentive to leave the park.. ie: they could have mtg in office space and not even engage w rabble/drummers.. raised a class distinction.. so.. was better to be evicted (like nika just said)

steve: if right now the moment we’re in is a conjunctural moment.. david is able to id those moments.. one word he uses a lot if jubilee.. who doesn’t like a jubilee.. it offers something i think people can quickly associate w good feelings and relief.. so marisa.. curious to hear about the work now that you’re doing

right idea.. something everybody already craves.. but have to go deeper than something dealing with (or something that doesn’t completely do away with) money/debt (any form of measuring/accounting)

seems like a lot of people love jubilees which is great.. the work i’ve been doing the last 5 yrs.. mac (assembly working group structure like occupy).. in lead up to trumps inauguration et al.. that was main reason we came together.. in the face of this threat.. then since pandemic.. a lot of focus on mutual aid.. there’s a library of things (sharing tools et al).. housing org.. mental help.. blm..

but i have to say.. the positive space created in occupy and that david rep’d has been hard to maintain.. so recently i’ve been going thru old occupy footage and channel some of that energy.. we’ve been talking about at mac a care space.. (m of care ness).. asking each other how we can care for each other..

that’s why we need a completely diff org ie: curiosity over decision making

decision making is unmooring us law

i think there’s a lot learned in occupy that can be reapplied on a larger scale

film on occupy – on vimeo – will share that

vassily: feb 5 lse group on same book..




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