bergey: Motorcycle carburator, partly disassembled to show jets (Default)

I've been to several really good meetings this week, and several frustrating ones. When the group is large, and new people join all the time, the structure of the meeting matters a lot more than it does at housemeetings I've been at. Structures that I never found that useful suddenly seem necessary:

  • Having a neutral facilitator. Not all the time, but certainly when the debate gets heated.
  • Having an agenda. Meetings go so well when we agree which problems we're trying to solve, and don't bring up other issues. Someday maybe we'll announce agendas ahead of time so that people can decide how important it is to attend---but I suspect that's an advanced skill.
  • Separating brainstorming from debate. This is the flip side of the last point. I always found this kind of brainstorming a bit annoying, because I think it's the discussion of ideas that inspires new ideas. But if we're going to have time that's closed to new ideas, it probably makes sense to have time that is open for anyone to bring ideas and not be shot down.

Working on winterization, the tension between inclusivity and sharing my expertise is really interesting. Preliminary evidence suggests I'm not doing a good job at resolving these. Debating everything in big groups and never delegating obviously agravates the problem, as does the tight deadline of cold weather.

bergey: Motorcycle carburator, partly disassembled to show jets (Default)

Two days ago this time I was sitting in General Assembly in Dewey Sq. A couple of hours later I was linking arms with friends and strangers, waiting for the police to arrive. The police were coming to remove us from the Greenway, a small piece of park half a block from the one occupied by tents for the last week and a half.

It was never clear whether we were to be removed from both spaces or only from the Greenway. We divided ourselves evenly between the two spaces, about 200 people to each. I ended up in the older encampment, which in the end the police left alone.

This is what we looked like. And this.

The was a hectic hour between the GA consensus to stay on the Greenway and non-violently accept arrest, and organized into lines. I moved tents, and yelled at people, and passed out my sharpies to get the National Lawyers Guild number onto as many arms as possible. After that, things got very quiet.

Waiting for the cops is a strange feeling. It's a little like being in a car crash, the moment when I realize that I'm not in control anymore, and I just need to hold on until I stop moving, and then take stock. Only Monday night, it went on for three hours.

Around 3 the police vehicles left, with 141 of our number, although we didn't get that count until they were all released. The garbage trucks drove off, with the tents, signs, and assorted belongings of the folks camped on the Greenway. As people spending the night settled into groups to debrief, we collected some trash and headed back to Somerville.

I'll be back in Dewey Square tomorrow to participate in the Logistics Commitee, and to attend the GA. I'll be writing more about what I'm doing and why in the coming days. If you're local, and you haven't been down; if you're waiting for someone to show you around, or you have questions, drop me a line.


bergey: Motorcycle carburator, partly disassembled to show jets (Default)

September 2013

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