Occupy Denver General Assembly

The General Assembly meets in Lincoln Park at the Capital at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights.

On March 13, 2012, the Occupy Denver General Assembly voted to move to a consensus model that requires 90% approval for any proposal to pass.

Below you’ll find an outline of how GAs are organized and run. Please read through! If you wish to facilitate a GA or learn more about the consensus process we use, please read the 11-page 2012 Occupy Denver General Assembly Facilitation Booklet (also available as in OpenDocument .odt format).

General Flow

General Assembly flows in this order:

  • Begin with introduction of process (at 7pm)
  • Brief announcements
  • Proposal discussion and voting (ending no later than 8:15pm, unless a time extension is decided upon by the group)
  • Breakout groups
  • Reconvene as a whole group for brief break-out summaries, any final announcements and farewell (at 8:45pm)
    • Anyone can bring a rough proposal topic or general discussion topic for a break-out group. These are announced after proposals are completed, and people can choose which break-out group to join for discussion and/or planning
    • Topics can be rough drafts of future proposals, planning or input sessions for future actions/events, or general discussion about topics relevant to the movement
    • Breakout groups will be given a 5-minute warning by the facilitator at 8:40pm. Groups should discuss next steps in this time, if they have not already done so.
  • The GA will reconvene at 8:45pm for report-backs and/or next steps from each break-out group
    • Examples of next steps: gathering contact information, any further meeting details, and, if ready, a written draft proposal, a list of responsibilities that will need to be bottom-lined, and resources needed

Why use this Break-out Structure…

  • Small group discussions are more conducive for the brainstorming, planning, and logistical stages of proposals than the previous set up, which only allowed the whole group to discuss proposals or issues
  • Using break-out groups to work through early stages of proposals enables proposals to come to GA more prepared and with more people behind them
  • Splitting the GA time into announcements, proposals, and breakout groups will encourage more efficient use of time, as we will not have a full 1 1/2 hours for discussion of proposals
  • Break-out groups also put more focus on developing working groups that take on the responsibilities of bottom-lining the events or projects
  • Break-out group discussions about more general topics provide a great space for newcomers to dialogue and get involved

Next Steps, or, How it will be implemented…

  • The new procedure will be posted to the website for all to see
  • Facilitator trainings will be held for more folk to become familiar with the process and step up to facilitate this process
  • The new structure will be explained by facilitators at the first few GAs that use this structure


How to get a proposal on the agenda:
In order to get a proposal for Occupy Denver on the agenda one should show up by 6:45 when the facilitator for the night will make a call out for agenda items and announcements. Proposals are best if backed by at least a few people.  Some nights, if there is a large number of agenda items, we are unable to go through them all and table the remaining ones for a following night.


Hand Signals!
In order to communicate non-verbally and unilaterally we use hand signals!

Hand raised: if you have something to say
Raised Finger: Point of information – provides statements of fact related to previous stack item
- Raised “C”: Clarifying question – asks a question directly related to previous stack item
Triangle hands: Point of order – stay on topic, issue from outside
Rolling hands: You have made your point, respectfully move on
Spirit fingers: I like this!
Downward spirit fingers: I disagree or do not like this
Peace fingers Respect each other, intense emotions casing problems


Different Roles at GA:
These are the roles served at GA to keep the process orderly and productive (Anyone can play these roles, just come to a facilitator training!):


Facilitator: moderates the meeting, keeps people on point, is not the leader, serves as a neutral party for the sack of the group
Stack-keeper: keeps track of who would like to speak, ideally of different gender than facilitator
Note taker: takes notes, makes specific note of resolutions passed items tabled
Time keeper: cheeks in with time when people are going over or when needed
Vibes Watcher: pays attention to intense emotional or other factors affecting the meeting, intervenes with disruptions within the group.


Thanks so much for reading and educating yourself on our process. Please come and be a part of your Direct Democracy!