By Brian Douglas
This week’s reading discussion will be based on the essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman, and will be led by one of our regular attendees. The discussion will focus on the “Formal and Informal Structures” and “Political Impotence” sections of the text. If you don’t have time to read the essay in its entirety, you can skim through those passages.
I’m excited to hear the group’s take on this topic, as it is one we shall have to deal with as we grow and begin to plan any direct actions. We do not have a formal process for deciding on issues, or a mandate that people participate beyond showing up to General Assemblies. The goal is to have people step up and share the responsibility of maintaining an ongoing local presence for the Occupy movement, but also to make the Occupy movement aware of our local issues and concerns. As we move towards that goal, the dream of a “leaderless” or totally “horizontal” movement has to give way to the reality of getting things done. As the primary “digital facilitator” for Occupy Bushwick, I have become a gatekeeper for what gets broadcast to the group and the outside world via the OccupyBKGA Twitter feed in addition to what I post here and on OccupyBK.org. Recognizing this, I have made every effort to collect feedback from the other GA attendees on any decisions I make regarding setting meeting times, distributing flyers, or anything else that did not go thru an official consensus process.
This reading should elicit some good conversations about how we can grant people the authority to be helpful and accomplish tasks, while still having a formal structure in place to make sure that the group continually approves of how that authority has been used. It’s essentially taking on the root cause of frustration with our current government: responsiveness and accountability.
Please join us tonight at 7pm at Brooklyn Fire Proof.