ni co lu nicolu at chutelibre.org
Tue Jul 13 05:21:27 CEST 2004


I was supposed to work with nina on an explanation of the various words and
meeting techniques that needs to be explained (plenary, affinity groups,
spoke's council, consensus, facilitation, handsigns...) but I couldn't do
much computer work since quite a while and our communication got kind of
cut. So if she doesn't have enough time to do it, I'll send a compilation of
all these explanations myself in the next days.

I wanted this proposal to be more detailed but as we're already totally late
with this proposal I wanted to make sure to offer at least a basis of debate
on the list before to leave so that it can be collectively completed in the
next days. 

We also wanted to give a general overview of the pga structures and latest
internal debates in the network and try to define a first list of questions
and issues that people would have debate and decide about. I'll try to do a
first proposal about it before to leave.

Following the london's meeting report, I would propose that we have a
meeting to decide on all this on 19th or 20th of august so to make sure that
we can add it in the final practical guide. 

Please give quick feedbacks to this.

bisous / nicolu


Discussions were really interesting, but we didn't reach a final decision
(one of the reason being that all these pga things about plenary or not ?,
spokes councils, small groups, consensus decision making, pga structures
problematics, and other marvelous creatures were quite new to some people
from belgrade and others and that they wanted more time for explanations and
thinking about it).

nicolu at no-log.org made an attempt to regroup some of the ideas and to
formulate a proposal. It was decided that skrati at yahoo.com and
nicolu at no-log.org would rework on this proposal and add to it explanations
about the various terms used and detail a bit more the issues that would
have to be discussed about the pga network.This document should include the
issues that need to be decided upon, in a clear manner that explains the
political implications and main arguments. It would also need to be

A collective decision about the decision making structure will then be taken
the week before with both people from belgrade and other people coming in
advance to help with the organisation.


CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING is when everybody in a group has the same power to
decide and that you try to debate until you find a common agreement about a
project or a common solution to a problem, instead of taking a decision by a

A PLENARY is when everybody meet in the same room and try to take decision

A SPOKES COUNCIL is when various groups meet in the same space. They stay
together as a group (the division into group can be made following affinity
criterias or not). A problem, or situation, or project on which people have
to decide is first explained to everybody at the same time so that everybody
share the same informations. If proposals have been made by the various
groups before the spokes council, they are also presented to everybody.

Then the various groups meet together on a limited time to try to find
proposals and consensus.

After the time is passed they all send a delegate in the center of the space
to report about their proposals and consensus.

The various delegates have then a limited time to try to find a common
consensus between all proposals 

They then go back to their group to report and see if this consensus can be
agreed on by their group.

These various steps are repeated until a common consensus between each group
is found.
Following the same process and alternate times between group meetings and
delegates meetings, the various groups then have to make sure that people
are found to endorse the various tasks needed to make the consensus work.
The delegates don't have to be the same people during the whole spokes
council process.


It would be better to agree on clear decision making structures before the
conference. These decision making structures concern various situations and
various issues :

a) for logistics and organization just before and during the conference.
General decisions, links between the various workings groups, ways to open
it to new people...

b) for discussions about the pga network future, structures and evolutions
and the decision that have to be taken about it. It concerns for example
(and not only) : - the various lists - the pga website - the organisation of
the next conference - any other project that we would collectively decide to
organize as pga - links with other continental pga - decision about which
collective will be the next convenor - feedbacks and future of the
infopoints structures - feedback on this conference organizational process
and thoughts about the next one - strategic debate about the aim and future
of the pga network (one of the question thrown at the dijon's winter pga
meeting being if pga was only an networking tool for the anti-authoritarian
anticapitalist movement through infopoints, conferences, website and lists
or a network that could also endorse actions and campaings in the name of

c) for emergency collective decisions that could need to be taken during the


I try to give here a feedback about the discussions we had n these issues at
the last london international preparatory meeting and then a proposal.

a ) decision making about the logistic and organization of the conferences.
Debate : Regarding the logistical/organization decisions the week before and
during the conference, some wanted to keep it under the responsibility of a
small coordination group (as it was done in leiden) in order not to have too
many daily meetings with too many people and not to loose to much time.
Others wanted to find a way to make it a bit more open and participative.
Some also thought that during the conference it would be really important
and useful to have a system of daily morning plenary (even quit short) in
order to all see each other and exchange directly important informations,
others thought it would be useless, tiring and an inadequate way to share
informations and moreover, to take decisions.

Proposal :

As many important decisions and guidelines got debated and decided during
the preparation process, the logistic just before and during the conference
shouldn't create too many important new debates. But it still has to be
organized, coordinated, open to new people involvement and able to deal with
unexpected situation that will surely make new debates arise.  

The proposal would be that the various organization/logistic groups (see the
flowchart for details) could have regular open and announced meetings
whenever they feel the need to in order to involve new people and to make it
work.  Obviously, some groups will need to meet a lot more during the
preparation week, some others more during the conference period.

There could also be a coordination group meeting everyday, open to delegates
of the various organization/logistic groups (which doesn't mean that
delegates of every working groups have to be present all the time on this
daily meetings, but just when they want to or feel the need to). This daily
meetings would aim at coordinating the work and taking decisions when it
can't be taken by a working group itself or directly between two groups in
agreement with the various consensus coming from the organization process.

This system could be kept during the week of the conference with, in
addition, a small morning / breakfast plenary (something like 30 minutes)
just to exchange important informations and calls (and not as a decisional

We should remember that if we want all this not to be too heavy and to take
too much time, we should give enough autonomy to the various working groups
and have most of the tasks dealt by this small groups.

b) decisions making about the pga structures

debate : Regarding the discussions and decisions about the pga network, we
decided to find something else than a group of "specialist" meeting during
one week and a big decisional plenary at the end as it happened in leiden
(it was in my opinion a quite interesting experience but also to many
people's opinion quite frustrating and not accurate to take decisions with
400 people). 

If we want to make this network work, everybody feeling involved should take
interest and participate by one way or another to its structures and the
decisions made about it. The idea would be to have it more participative and
involving more people during the time of the conference than in leiden and
to find something better than a plenary to take complicated decisions with a
few hundred people.

Proposal : There could be a specific time and various specific spaces
everyday for something like eight group of people to meet.  People could
choose between groups that would be more affinity based and other regrouping
people that don't know each other or people that are not part of the same
networks or collectives. To make it an available time for many people to
join, it would be better if we don't have too many other events of the
program happening at the same time of the day. These meetings should be
limited in time (something like one hour and an half for example). These
meetings should always be opened for new people to join. The various groups
should try to do daily reports about the main debates and proposals they
have and make it available to the other groups.

They should try to compile a final report of their discussions and proposals
before the 27th in the evening and make it available to every participants
to the conference (maybe through the newspaper).

Then there should be a final spokes council of these 8 groups (always with
the possibility for new people to join) on the morning or the afternoon of
the 28th in order to find consensus between the various proposals and also
to make sure that we have people/collectives that will take responsibility
for the various tasks

c) decision making structure on emergency situations
It concerns the eventuality of emergency situations/complicated general
problems or big political decisions that can not be easily handle by
existing working groups/coordination team within the frame of consensus made
during the preparation process. 

It could concern from a state repression on the conference to big tensions
arising inside, or a common pga statement that would have to be made on
whatever problematic situation, or if important consensus made on the
organization would appear practically unworkable ...) 

It could be dealt with by first having a small plenary to give everybody
common informations and then by having a spokes council to deal with it and
find a common agreement. 

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