"Conflict is inevitable, combat is optional."
To insure the safety and security of organizers we need a dedicated team to help us practice justice between ourselves in this planning effort.
If someone feels unsafe or insulted or oppressed they can take it to these ppl who will seek resolution and restoration of trust.
Confidential compassionate and caring people who would wish to serve the NatGat in this way. Matt Hilyer from the GuitArmy was awesome on the Safety the first year in Philly on the ground. We could have online people who seek to "nip it in the bud" so the whole group doesn't get caught up in drama and frees people psychologically and time wise to do this important work
I will ask Matt to share his experience on the first NatGat Safety Team.
Sea Sun 11 May 2014 3:33PM
We had a security team for about a month in Sacramento until "hell broke loose". We negotiated with the police, and maintained medical care. I also did a peaceful resolution committee, and there was an active Nonviolent Communications Working Group.
Tricia Sun 11 May 2014 4:56PM
"Safety" is a relative term. What one person thinks is no big deal can be a trigger for someone else. So, "principles" or standards of acceptable behavior are not particularly helpful in a group like this.
Each situation and individual and personal dynamic is different so having persons on call to help clear up confusions and enlighten understanding between us will be very helpful.
Justin Sun 11 May 2014 8:44PM
We might reach out to existing groups & individuals who have worked with De Escalation, Safety & Self Care in Occupy before.
We might invite folks to create little videos with ideas & tips for general Occupy community as well.. Be neat to hear folks like Matt, Casper & Brendan B speak on the subject.
All solid folks with grace & solid understanding of safety tactics.
Sally G Sun 11 May 2014 8:47PM
@justin2 can you invite Casper and Brendan to this group? I think Tricia is inviting Matt.
Also, just for you—an image! Found this on a mural in Trenton, it was the name of my Editorial Services business when I was freelancing.
Cal Sun 11 May 2014 11:20PM
I've been asked by Tricia to consider joining the Safety Group. If this involves me staying available for long periods of time during the gathering, I'd say no. I plan to do one or more teach-ins, presentations, conversations, and would probably step up to facilitate/co-facilitate one of the GAs. I also like to stay in a place of overview.
OTOH, Lisa Fithian and I were the co-faciltators of a resolution of a highly charged matter involving a TS woman who was feeling harassed by a man (who was fixated on getting to know her) at the sanctuary on the Quaker grounds. While a bunch of men removed the man, forceably but no physical injury, whatsoever, at the park where the gathering was held, the next day the man kept approaching the woman. (His sidekick wanted justince for his friend, and another man wanted the matter brought to a GA, when only about 15 out of 450 people there even know about this.) My job was to keep this away from the main organizers who had many many things to manage. I talked with Lisa F and she and I came up with a structured conversation for the two of them (each of whom could bring a comrade).
I would be available to be pulled in "on call", as needed, to (a) help diffuse a charged situation, (b) create space for an injured or offended party to be able to be heard safely, (c) facilitate a conversation between conflicting parties, or (d) deal with something that involves racism.
FYI, when shouting matches broke out at Oakland GA's, so loud that even the entire facilitation team of 8 people shouting "mic check" in sync could not even be heard, there were other male faciliators who tried to control one or other of the triggerers, whereas I just let it run for a few minutes, sensing the group dynamic energy, looking for a moment to intervene. (In Oakland, there was so much pent-up rage that the most cathartic things to do was to let it run for 3 or 4 or 5 minutes, and it would start to settle just enough to be able to intervene.)
Cal Sun 11 May 2014 11:21PM
(sorry, the incident I described happened at the first NatGat in Philly)
Jackie Mon 12 May 2014 12:13AM
@cal does your offer include online?
I think this discussion is specifically geared to having an online safety group for planners so that if there are conflicts like the past 10 days, they can "have online people who seek to “nip it in the bud” so the whole group doesn’t get caught up in drama and frees people psychologically and time wise to do this important work"
Cal Mon 12 May 2014 3:40AM
Sure, I'm up for stepping into that role as needed. Likely someone would have to "come get me", as I may not be following an particular conversation. But to me, this is more difficult to do online, especially when we have no agreements about how we participate or be with each other. (In the other groups or communities I'm in where we're doing online communication, once an interaction goes awry enough, it's time to take it onto a phone call.)
Tricia Mon 12 May 2014 10:25AM
I think there should be at least 3 people., Cal, someone else who monitors the boards closely and someone who knows Occupy process well. Having two others to consult with to keep the Safety Team from getting caught in the Vortex. A conference call or Google hangout might be the good first steps and maybe all that's needed
Sea Mon 12 May 2014 3:04PM
Do we need a separate "Security and Legal Team"? Or should the Safety Team include that. Our legal needs haven't been vetted by the GA. Instead, the GA makes decisions and then various lawyers have done things that tend to help us. However if we planned our legallity with a lawyer who would act according to our decisions, I think we would gain a lot of strength that we have lacked so far in Sacramento.
Sally G asked if we knew a lawyer that would work for us? Well, apparently we obviously don't. I think we are moving into new areas of law that current bar association accrediting procedures can't encompass. There will be legal confrontations which, without a lawyer at hand, will be decided by other means.
Tricia Mon 12 May 2014 10:21PM
I guess by " getting caught in the vortex" I mean getting burnt out or caught up in drama
Cal Mon 12 May 2014 11:36PM
I appreciate the idea of having a team, and I often enjoy co-facilitating with someone who complements what I bring. (Lisa Fithian and I teamed up very well at the first NatGat in Philly when we needed to deal with an erupting situation. Also, almost all our Oakland GAs were co-facilitated.)
That said, I'm a professionally trained facilitator, trainer, and workshop conductor - been doing these for about a dozen years, and I have a large set of things in my "bag". I've had to facilitate in some very challenging situations. (I prefer taking on the tough ones. Others can take on things that are easier to facilitate smoothly.) I almost never get flustered (and if I am, I say I am), and I don't get caught up in drama (don't have a lot of interest or time for it). I've even successfully facilitated processes where I was the target! As a Jungian, I sense a lot more (in people and in groups) than most facilitators.
I've also coached and trained many facilitators,. (I'm thinking about holding a facilitation training for InterOcc calls, like the ones we have on Wednesdays. It's one thing to train someone on the Maestro technology and protocols, quite another to be able to facilitate a group and the individuals in the group.)
Sea Mon 12 May 2014 11:57PM
Cal. I think there will be conflict between those thinking that if we're "safe" then further "clowning" should be allowed, and those thinking that certain enforceable protocols need to be in place. It is an issue in Sacramento. Will you facilitate that?
Cal Tue 13 May 2014 1:46AM
Whatever is needed, I'll help with.
Are you talking about during the gathering? (I ask because it was clarified that we're talking about online interactions here, not when we're all physically together.)
Also, if you would define "clowning" a bit, that would be helpful.
Cal Tue 13 May 2014 1:55AM
FYI, I'm not big on laws, protocols, enforcement, etc. To me, these often just create more pushback, disturbance, unrest, flaming, etc. I much prefer principles, agreements and guidelines. It's much easier to get people to respond when you let them know they aren't in alignment with a principle, or aren't keeping one of the agreements, or operating outside the guidelines.
It makes all the difference if you can be clear about exactly how they are doing that.)
As an example, telling someone that they are eing "disruptive" may make sense to everyone but the person who is being told that. The person may genuinely be trying to be helpful, but doesn't know how to interact well with others or with groups, so telling them their attempt to help is disruptive usually leads to anger and deflection of the feedback. Giving them clear feedback about what exactly they do/did or say/said that was disruptive is much better that just saying "you're being disruptive", because when it comes down to it, that's an interpretation that's yours/ours, not what they actually did. (People who are under the influence of a mind- or mood-altering substance, are mentally unbalanced, or aren't lucid need to be interacted with differently -- and may be outside of my abilities -- but I'm talking about people whose mind is basically intact, and just don't appear to be playing well with others.)
If it turns out to be useful, I have also absorbed some processes that are effective when people are physically violent -- one of the techniques can bring someone to relative calm in less than 5 minutes (used in men's work when someone is doing personal growth work suddenly get triggered into anger/rage. (The first time I saw it done a decade ago, the man shifted in 30 seconds!)
Sea Tue 13 May 2014 2:31AM
I'm interested in that 30 second recovery. I've heard of a way to cure schizophrenia in 2 days. Merely by hugging the person for 48 hours.
As we move closer to the weekend, then, maybe people would self identify themselves if they think that they want facilitation of certain conflicts which constantly occur with Occupy. By looking now, we could also identify the people-ideas-principles-protocols that are involved in the conflict.
I've just identified myself as wanting facilitation about the constant conflicts that happen in a GA.
Cal Tue 13 May 2014 3:49AM
Well, we've started identifying ideas-principles-protocols, in the form of the participation guidelines (which are fairly close to principles).
Cal Tue 13 May 2014 3:52AM
First, I'd like to get clear about whether we're talking about conflicts, etc., that arise here in this online group (which is what I was told this is the scope of this discussion). or about things to be dealt with during the gathering itself.
Second, can you describe some of the conflicts that happen in a GA. (I imagine that it's may vary in different Occupys.)
Sea Tue 13 May 2014 7:15AM
Here's what I suggest we do. To maintain safety and security, the safety-security-legal team will foresee conflicts. So if we foresee a conflict either before the natgat or at the natgat, a facilitator will be sought. I'll package the conflicts so that what may appear confusing can be handled directly by having only a few actual facilitation events.
People should report needs for facilitation now, before the natgat. I have requested facilitation as you can see above. Since the security-safety-legal team will learn of the conflicts, it shouldn't be hard to arrange appropriate times for facilitation. I think there will be facilitators besides yourself.
Sea Fri 16 May 2014 4:38AM
I hope facilitators will come to Sacramento as early as possible. Could we have continual facilitation sessions? Internally amongst Occupiers. Also between ourselves, and the police and the officials.
Poll Created Fri 16 May 2014 12:38PM
Create an Online and On The Ground Safety Team Closed Mon 19 May 2014 12:07PM
Green light! We have Cal and Bradley in Barstow on board to assist us in staying safe in our online working relationships. On-the-ground Safety Team needs dedicated members for encampment safety in Sacramento.
Nominate and invite skilled facilitators to nip problems online in the bud and create harmony on the ground if things get hairy.
Engage at least 3 people for the team by next month. Cal is one so we need two more.
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
||Agree||100.0%||4||JC CM S|
4 of 7 people have voted (57%)
Sun 18 May 2014 3:08PM
No matter what you need this, not for someone to talk to cops but for an Occupier to have an outlet if they are having troubles or being harassed to the point of oppresssion
Sun 18 May 2014 3:09PM
I would volunteer, but my negotiation training and experience is to get the persons to the "willing chair" IE to get them in agreement, not in conflict resolution.
I would change the word "facilitators" to "persons".
Sally G Sat 17 May 2014 3:06PM
I am confused with the term “facilitators”; is this about a safety team or meeting facilitators? If the former, can we find another word so that folks like me do not get confused?
Sea Sun 18 May 2014 6:24PM
My statement just above that reads: "I hope facilitators will come to Sacramento as early as possible. Could we have continual facilitation sessions? Internally amongst Occupiers. Also between ourselves, and the police and the officials."
I intended it to mean that in a forceful gathering like we are planning in Sacramento, there will be moles, saboteurs, and "black boxes". In general we have to have a team to prevent them from preventing us. Security personnel, persons to sit on a "Peaceful Resolution Committee", facilitators of GAs and other impromptu decisions, agreements on solidarity, and knowledgeable use of the Block, all mean the same thing to me.
We dealt with them all 2011-2012 in Sacramento haphazardly. This time we can't be hasty or haphazard. This is the essence of what Cal said the ethnic groups want us to do. Control things, so that we can control ourselves. Then we can "get it together" to undo the economic anarchy that goes by the name Wall Stret, and Washington, abetted by Hollywood and Madison Avenue.
Those five things are imposing desolation on our world because of white privileged anarchy. Such works against the interests of genuine pr principled "Anarchists" and "Socialists".
White (mostly male) privilege is what disrupts our gatherings, It goes by the name "horizontal or vertical" decision making.
[deactivated account] Sun 18 May 2014 9:05PM
I volunteer to help on the ground is Sacramento; have diverse experience in emergency & disaster response, as a no cal firefighter, on Sacramento Ambulance, swift water rescue tech & white water tour guide, 6week nps law enforcement acadamy, and 10 years as a dirt bike emt park ranger. College and work training as a manager in peronnel, conflict resolution and EEO counselor for 5 years. Been between crazied white guys in ties screaming at each other, and the wild crazy things that go on out in the desert at night. Show me what.
Julia Clark Mon 19 May 2014 2:11PM
One thing to look out in crowd control is "pockets"
Pockets are where the flow of foot traffic can become stagnant. And that can lend toward rancid behavior A pocket can develop in an ally way, a courtyard, even a restaurant or bar. It can be a natural or manufactured exploit. It can be a good guy or bad guy exploit.
Pockets usually happen in a high number small area, or in a average number, large area, fast moving crowd.
I do not foresee either of those with the numbers and space planned.
But if by chance if one develops, There needs to be a plan because bad guy or good guy, they are always a dynamic guy.
Sea Mon 2 Jun 2014 1:59AM
Water cools and refreshes and cleans and will make our families, children and those not engaged in strong action, both welcomed, included and safe.
Julia Clark · Sun 11 May 2014 11:30AM
Good idea, because I feel very threatened by cough cough and as someone relearning life ( including who I was, who I am, read, write, walk, talk, etc...) after catastrophic medical event. I do not think sneeze is compassionate enough.