Occupy Denver develops democratic process, suspends first member

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Last night's 7 p.m. Occupy Denver general assembly proved to be an important one as the group further develops its own democratic system, but it was likely the movement's most aggressive and divisive yet. In it, several issues about the group's financial structure came to a head, with one member being suspended from all of her group duties and identified as an agent provocateur.

In a group as large and diverse as Occupy Denver, outlying voices of derision are an unavoidable issue. The general assembly procedure's committee is currently drafting a document that would guide the group through future conflict resolution. However, last night's meeting demanded a solution before that process is finished. The three-hour-long meeting was openly compared to the Salem witch trials and an episode of Survivor during the collective's attempts to squash infighting.

The issue behind last night's meeting was twofold: A numerous protesters have raised concern about the way donations are tracked, recorded and handled inside the group -- a process that, though loosely organized, has remained functional. These anxieties have provoked proposals to tax the group's funds, among others. There's also the impending creation of a treasury committee devoted entirely to managing these funds in the future. Because the Thunderdome -- the kitchen -- has established itself as a separate entity, the committee will deal with general funds given to the larger organization.

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Jenn Wohletz
One of last Sunday's Occupy Denver general assemblies in Civic Center Park.
"We are supposed to be inclusive, and I worry that a few of us appear to be making the decisions for all of us," volunteer Rob Piper said in one of the meeting's earliest statements. "We must decide whether we are a circle jerk or a social fucking movement."

The night's second impassioned debate stemmed from the continued involvement of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, whose constituents serve as medics, cooks and the legal team for Occupy Denver. (It is important to note that the DABC is almost singlehandedly responsible for bailing the group's arrestees out of jail.)

A full-fledged Twitter war has resulted from sentiments opposing the DABC, with public accusations made that the group is mismanaging its bail funds. Even more important is the idea that the public discourse will separate a group so devoted to solidarity into competing factions.

"Correction: The DABC doesn't have funds," jokes Catherine Keffer, a supporter of DABC and an integral member of Occupy Denver's legal team. "The jail has funds."

The movement to restructure the group's finances in a way that draws skepticism about the DABC has so far been led by a protester named Molly (no last name, but her Twitter handle is outrage_molly), who has come out in opposition to anarchists in general. "Let's hold a GA for true action Sunday at 3pm," she tweeted from her public account. "All anarchists will either be in jail or asleep after rioting."

"If it wasn't for the DABC, most of your asses would still be in jail," says Barbara Cohen, a board member for the Colorado National Lawyers Guild. "There's no place in this organization for people like that."


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12 comments
WillToAction
WillToAction

There is a real story here if Westword or Kelsey were willing to investigate.

This article states, "It is important to note that the DABC is almost singlehandedly responsible for bailing the group's arrestees out of jail."

Where the linked article states, "Occupy Denver group is collecting funds to go toward the total bail requirements, and $500 was raised last night in preparation."

This article dismisses the financial undertones of what is going on at Occupy Denver.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"It is important to note that the DABC is almost highhandedly responsible for bailing the group's arrestees out of jail." -- Kelsey, to do something high-handedly is to do so "using power or authority without considering the feelings of others" (C.O.E.D.) -- you meant "single-handedly", i.e. "done without help from anyone else" (Ibid).

Kelsey W.
Kelsey W.

Thanks, Robert! Don't know how that was mixed up, but it's fixed.

Julius
Julius

THIS IS DEMOCRACY!!!!

Kcm2
Kcm2

Please check: "It is important to note that the DABC is almost highhandedly responsible for bailing the group's arrestees out of jail." I think you mean single handedly.

Rico
Rico

Yawn - Didn't these people go home yet? How are they going to vote if they have no address to get their ballots at?

Useful fools make excellent tools.

MountainLyin
MountainLyin

Last night's GA was a marathon of personal whining with not one pertinent issue being discussed.  And unfortunately, there ARE provocateurs within that have different agendasthan the majority of us.  Hopefully tonight something meaningful will result, and Saturdaythe streets will be filled with the 99%!     OCCUPY DENVER!!!  

Cubuff
Cubuff

Hey Occupy Denver,The esteemed President of the University of Colorado is giving annual salary increases to everyone employeed within its system, other than state classified employees. Sate classified employees will receive a taxable one time only 3% incentive increase, if they qualify, for October. Thank President Benson for this token and bow to his corporate like annual salary increase, not one month, for his benefactors.

TO:      CU-Boulder faculty and staff FROM:    Office of the Chancellor SENDER:  Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor DATE:    October 21, 2011 SUBJECT: Salary Increases for CU-Boulder Faculty and Staff  Dear faculty and staff: Last week at my State of the Campus Address, I emphasized the importance of our faculty and staff, who have worked extremely hard to ensure that CU-Boulder continues to offer excellent value to our students and to the state of Colorado. With that performance in mind, I am pleased to join President Benson in informing you that classified staff who achieved a rating of 2 (meetingexpectations) or 3 (exceeding expectations) during the last performance management cycle that ended March 31, 2011 will receive a one-time, 3% non-base building incentive award.  This special one-time incentive award will be reflected in the October 31, 2011 pay advice.  Additional information about this incentive can be found at http://hr.colorado.edu/Directo... In addition, eligible CU-Boulder faculty and professional exempt staff have received a merit increase this year. This increase was derived from an overall 3% merit pool, which was allocated based upon individual performance. This salary increase will also be reflected in the October 31, 2011 pay advice. I want to express my personal gratitude to the faculty and staff of CU-Boulder.Your hard work and combined efforts continue to elevate CU-Boulder's quality and excellence despite shrinking state support and resources. You inspire our students, our alumni, our donors and stakeholders, and your faith, vision and idealism make a vital difference in Colorado, the nation and the world. Thank you for all you do for CU-Boulder, Philip P. DiStefano, ChancellorUniversity of Colorado Boulder 

JJ
JJ

Dear Occupy Denver,Stop with the over use of the word "provocateur," It makes the rest of us who support you look like paranoid extremists. Some people fuck up or have their own agenda, and it is nothing more than that.Judge individuals by their actions and deal with them accordingly not by their political affiliations, anarchist or otherwise. If people or organizations are there to help and support, they are one of us. Just reading Molly's twitter offended me, and I am not even an anarchist.You may think the rest of us do not have a dog in this fight, but we do. We are counting on you to make this work. This movement is too strong to be taken down by external forces, and you are going to be your worst enemy, which will make you our enemy.

Eric-NotMyTribe
Eric-NotMyTribe

JJ, you say you have a dog in this fight, yet you're counting on Occupy Denver to make this work. It's only going to work if YOU participate. If your involvement remains only passive, threatening to be our enemy is also meaningless.

JJ
JJ

Oh give me a break Eric this is the type of speak I am referring to. Nobody is making threats. If Occupy Denver turns on itself and implodes due to divisions, then it becomes an enemy to the movement at large. Some of us can't be out there all the time, we may only be able to drop off donations, or come on the weekend marches. So yes we do count on the rest of those who can, and the fighting that happens in between at the twice daily GAs is not of concern to us unless this thing falls apart, which can easily happen if people are turned on for their political affiliations. In other words, it is time for OD to grow up. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong post, JJ. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

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