| AFFINITY GROUPS |
One way we can build a more resilient occupation movement is to form
affinity groups. A network of committed groups of people that know and
trust one another can be stronger and more prepared then a collection of
individuals trying to work as one occupation.
An affinity group is made up of a small group of trusted friends or
co-workers that share values or interests. Most affinity groups have
between 5 to 15 participants. They make decisions as a group using the
consensus process. Your affinity group could have a focus in support of
the occupation. One affinity group may be united around providing
medical support, another may be active in the kitchen, anther affinity
group may focus on sanitation or be dedicated to keeping the grounds
clean and another might design posters and other publications, play
music together or organize puppet shows at the occupation. Others may
work with legal support or help develop strategy or logistics. Each
affinity group could also have more personal interests that bind them
such as a love of a type of music or historical period. Maybe you know
everyone in your affinity group because you attended the same school or
lived in the same area of town.
The affinity group structure has a long history in helping promote
change. We organized into affinity groups when we organized to stop the
nuclear power industry in the 1970s and 80s. Some affinity groups would
meet once a week to make decisions. Several participants would agree to
risk arrest during protests while others would agree to remain free to
provide support. The support people would be prepared to water house
plants, walk dogs and call the family and employers of those arrested.
They would also help the lawyers keep track of the affinity group
members as they move through the jail and court system.
The longer you work as an affinity group the more confident you will be
that your participation in the occupations will be safe and effective.
Your affinity group might prepare by running or biking together to
maintain physical strength. affinity groups may bond by reading the same
book and discussing it much as one would do in a book club. Some
affinity groups do yoga or ti chi together, go on hikes, bike rides or
play soccer as a group.
Once your affinity group is formed you may send tow or three members to
the general assembly to join the discussion. If the general assemblies
are more of a spokes council made up of a few people from every affinity
group it may be possible to form deeper proposals.
More on affinity groups
Starhawk on affinity groups
P.O. Box 424, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
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