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Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Consensus at Occupy Wall Street

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There Is No Hierarchy

The Occupy Wall Street movement has an organizational structure that is based on consensus building. The protesters at Zuccotti Park use a horizontally based decision making process.

This is a most interesting aspect of the movement -- everyone's voice is heard and respected.

"We amplify each others voices so we can hear one another. There is no hierarchy." says one participant in this video.

"Because it is not top down, it can take much more time, but in the end the decision being voted on is so much stronger because everyone has worked out all the little kinks to come up with the best thing that everyone can support together." says another.

"It's messy and it's complicated and it's slow sometimes, but you have to be willing to take that on."

The New York City General Assembly is Occupy Wall Street's main decision-making body. At its meetings the various OWS committees discuss their thoughts and needs, and the meetings are open to the public for both attendance and speaking. From their minutes:

"We abide by two important principles. The first is that we take progressive stack. This means the stack taker will reorder the list of people who want to speak by prioritizing traditionally marginalized voices. The second principle is a self-imposed principle called step-up, step-back. Take note of the privilege in your life and if you have been traditionally encouraged to make your voice heard in society, we invite you to step back, and if you have been traditionally discouraged from making your voice heard, we invite you to step up."

It will be fascinating to see what influence this may have on our society going forward.

--Bibi Farber