Occupy Wall Street: How Movement Stays Organized

Daniel Depaula explains protesters' nightly General Assembly to MTV News.

The demonstrators of Occupy Wall Street have made Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park their home for the foreseeable future, and they haven’t ignored setting ground rules.

Establishing an infrastructure in the park — now dubbed Liberty Park — was one of the demonstrators’ top priorities, ensuring everyone would have access to basic and essential resources. Many, if not all, of those decisions are reached at the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is held every night at roughly 7 p.m., and everyone is invited to contribute. MTV News caught up with Daniel Depaula, one the facilitators of the GA, earlier this week. He explained how his group — the facilitation group — sets the evening’s agenda based on proposals and then presents them to the assembly.

“We’re not really there to decide whether things are good or not,” Depaula explained. “We are simply there just to make sure that the people proposing are aware of how the process works. So they don’t run into any surprises once it goes to the assembly.

“There are really no leaders or anyone with any power that anyone else doesn’t have,” he added. “Decisions are made autonomously by individuals or by groups, and larger issues are just brought to the assembly and discussed among everyone.”

What’s even more interesting is how the proposals are pitched. The demonstrators at Occupy Wall Street aren’t allowed to have megaphones, because they would cause too much noise pollution in the area, so they are forced to shout their proposal to the crowd, which then echoes the proposal for those further away. The massive game of telephone allows everyone to be involved in the decisions, and they’re instructed at the beginning of the assembly how to respond (hands in the air if they agree, hands straight ahead of them if they’re unsure, and hands downwards if they disagree).

On Monday night’s agenda: Whether to buy storage bins to maintain organization and cleanliness in the park. As the demonstration attracts more people, more waste is produced, so they want to keep things tidy. The group has a donation pool of money, but of course they have to vote first.

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