On Sunday afternoon, Occupy Wall Street-Martha’s Vineyard held its first general assembly at Howes House in West Tisbury.
The purpose of the assembly was to refine ideas generated by a previous meeting at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center and introduce Islanders to the so-called circle process, which is designed to encourage “high quality listening and a safe supportive space for all of us to share ideas,” as Chris Riger explained it. A central part of the process, Chris told the group, is the use of hand signals “to keep vocal traffic down and give our feedback quietly.”
The technique allowed a lot of discussion in a short time, and as ideas for promoting change both local and national surfaced, they were recorded on a blackboard. They ranged from overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which prohibits government from limiting spending on political campaigns by corporations and unions, to working with local town government to promote more transparency and citizen involvement.
The next step will be to form working groups of Islanders to move objectives like these forward. A new Web site (occupymv.com/) will allow supporters to refine their ideas before bringing them to the next general assembly, to be held at Howes House on Feb. 19 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.