Exclusion Principle

“There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another. This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical” – Emma Goldman
“There are going to be times when we can’t wait for somebody. Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus. If you’re on the bus, and you get left behind, then you’ll find it again. If you’re off the bus in the first place — then it won’t make a damn.” – Ken Kesey
“Revolution that divests itself of ethical values thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, and oppression for the future society” – Emma Goldman

Occupy Wall Street is founded upon the Principles of Solidarity, which can be found here: http://www.nycga.net/resources/principles-of-solidarity/

Additionally, we are founded upon the Statement of Autonomy, which can be found here:
http://www.nycga.net/resources/statement-of-autonomy/

One quote in particular from the Statement of Autonomy is highly relevant to the question of whether this all-encompassing movement can or should exclude individuals:
“Those seeking to capitalize on this movement or undermine it by appropriating its message or symbols are not a part of Occupy Wall Street.”

The General Assembly should stand empowered to sever ties with those who do not follow the Principles of Solidarity, the Statement of Autonomy, or other standards of behavior that have been agreed upon.

Continued participation in Occupy Wall Street, as a movement, confers benefits. An individual whom the General Assembly proposes to exclude from the Movement via direct and transparent participatory democracy, based on their adherence to the standards of conduct that define a member as part of OWS, thus loses access to these benefits. They include, but are not limited to:

  • The ability to be present and claim space to live in and sleep in for any physical Occupation we may possess, now or in the future;

  • The ability to access Occupy Wall Street funds and resources, such as metrocards, housing access, *@nycga.net email accounts, food, clothing, and similar supplies;

  • The ability to join Working Groups or Caucuses, and participate in OWS discussions;

  • The ability to attend General Assembly, Spokes Council, working group meetings, or other forms of decision-making bodies and be placed on stack;

  • The ability to draft proposals to be heard by working groups or the General Assembly;

  • Access to bail funds for any arrests they may be subject to at Occupy Wall Street marches or events and commissary funds for jail stays of over seven days;

  • And the ability to state to the outside world, and those within the Occupy Wall Street movement, “I am a member of Occupy Wall Street.”

This is the standard that any such proposal the General Assembly brings forward should seek to meet, before excluding anyone: be it for failure to uphold the Principles of Solidarity, or failure act in keeping with the Statement of Autonomy, or the failure to abide by any other community agreement, action agreement or code of conduct as yet forthcoming, efforts must be made to heal the breach and repair the harm if such repair is possible. Refusing to repair such harms to individuals or to the community as a whole by the airing of grievances and making of amends via the transformative justice processes, when they are in place, shall be recognized strictly in proportion to the offense to our standards and our ideals – no one shall be asked to leave the Movement for tripping and falling on someone, then having it called ‘assault,’ for these are the tactics already being used against us and we shall not use them against each other.

Actions taken by an individual shall be seen to be against the Movement as a whole only if they are grievous in nature, or both harmful and systemically repetitive. The line in the sand between the individual and the Occupy Wall Street movement is drawn by that individual themselves, by their failure to abide by our standards of behavior or community agreements which have achieved consensus in the General Assembly, and a proposal to the General Assembly to formally recognize that an individual stands outside of Occupy Wall Street by their own choice and their own actions should abide by that decision on their part and ratify it lest the individual continue to harm those within the Movement or the Movement as a whole via their actions.

The mechanism Occupy Wall Street can apply to enforce this separation is simple: for access to resources, we offer none; for access to ourselves, our time, and our systems, we agree to shun the individual as a whole body rather than continue to interact.

Revision History:

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