General Assembly Best Practices

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Tips and tricks for running our monthly General Assembly.

Prep beforehand

Roles and agenda generally decided at the organizing meeting immediately preceding the GA:

Roles: Decide on who will have these roles:

  • Greeters: 2 people who will connect with newcomers. 1 will greet people as they arrive, 1 will stay after to do the post-meeting thingie
  • Facilitators: 2 people who will help the group through its process and move through the meeting agenda
  • Stack taker: 1 person who will make a list of people in order to speak

Agenda: Develop agenda, including what breakouts will happen. Breakouts can be regular working groups or ad hoc/specific projects/discussions.

MIOP also preps the booklet and newsreel:

Booklet: Gather working group report backs for printed booklet; integrate into booklet; print booklet

Newsreel: Make it?

What to Bring

These materials should be brought to the GA; MIOP (?) generally bottomlines this:

  • Printed booklets
  • Banners
  • Blank sign up sheets
  • Pens, black marker
  • Pins, t-shirts, flyers
  • Tape

Set up

Some people should arrive around 6 to set up for the GA:

  • Write and put up signs with 10th floor and/or arrows directing people to GA on front door of building and in hallways on 10th floor
  • Hang banners along walls
  • Set up projector and computer and run news reel
  • Set up place to host orientation for a smaller group (i.e. back office)
  • Move desks out of the way, set up at least 50 chairs in an open circle; place a printed booklet on each chair
  • Set up mic and sound check
  • Write up summarized/high-level agenda on white board
  • Set out merch (t-shirts, stickers, flyers, sign up sheets) on table on right

The facilitators should touch base with different working groups as they arrive to see if each will give a reportback. Knowing this ahead of time will avoid confusion and awkwardness during this part of the agenda.

Pre-meeting Orientation (6:30-7)

MIOP runs the pre-meeting orientation for newcomers, covering topics such as:

  • What is MACC? How does MACC work?
  • Working groups
  • How to get on Discord

GA Agenda (7-8:30)

The GA should start at or about 7. Two facilitators should take turns talking through various agenda points.

  1. Welcome
    1. MACC - The Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council is an organization based on the guiding principles of horizontalism, anti-oppression, mutual aid, direct democracy, and direct action. We seek to strengthen and support New York City’s anarchist movement through coordination of existing and emerging projects.
    2. General Assembly
      1. Role: the MACC GA is a monthly meeting open to all anarchists to generate and coordinate citywide statements or actions for the anarchist movement. Welcome!
      2. Safer space policy: MACC has this policy as a positive, pro-active, preventative step towards making our community space safer. The policy encourages people to monitor themselves. In brief, MACC will not tolerate sexual violence, other violence, sleazy/predatory behavior, or any of the isms/oppressive behavior here at the GA or in any parts of MACC.
      3. Accessibility: we use the mics to ensure everyone can hear. We know they can be a bit formal and uncomfortable to use, but we believe it is most important that everyone can fully participate.
      4. Press: No members of the press may report on this meeting without our consent. If you are doing that, raise your hand and we will all boo you.
    3. Facilitators - Give your names. Explain the role of facilitator, which is “to help to guide the group through its own process.”
    4. Terms - a few of the most commonly used terms you may hear tonight:
      1. Working groups - groups of humans engaged in concrete tasks around building the MACC organization and the anarchist movements in NYC. Check out your booklet for more info.
      2. MEA - MACC Emergency Action. One of MACC’s working groups, which  coordinates and participates in street demos and actions.
      3. Discord - tech tool we use to discuss MEA actions, share memes, and more
      4. Organizing meeting - where we plan the GA and make organizational decisions for MACC. Open to anyone who has gone to a GA.
    5. Agenda is written out here. Does anyone have anything to add?
    6. After the meeting, join us to socialize at ___ bar.
  2. Working group and event report backs
    1. For full report backs, see booklet.
    2. If you want to get involved with a working group, contact info is on website. Also sign up sheets in the back.
    3. If you want to start your own working group, do it!
    4. [Report backs from working groups and events]
  3. Break-outs
    1. Breakouts: describe each break out, assign each break out to a different corner of the room, give a time limit. [Breakouts]
    2. (At the end of time, return to large circle.) Pass the bag - funds collected by MACC are used to support working group initiatives, make propaganda, support infrastructure (like our website), and support folks in emergencies. Suggest $10 per person; if you can give more, you’re helping to cover someone who can’t.
    3. [Report backs on breakouts]
  4. Announcements
    1. If people have announcements about upcoming events or other initiatives relevant to anarchists, share them now!
    2. [Announcements]
  5. Wrap-up
    1. Congrats on making it through the GA. Now you’re not “new” anymore! If this was your first GA and you didn’t go to the orientation before the GA, and/or you are not currently involved in a working group, and/or you have questions about what to do next, _____ will be hanging back to give next steps and answer questions.
    2. To reiterate, join a working group!
    3. Also everyone is invited to the next organizing meeting. The info of when and where it will be is available ----?
    4. Also join Discord somehow ---?
    5. Also come socialize and drink at ___ bar

Post-meeting greeter

One greeter will hang out afterward to touch base with new folks or folks with questions to discuss:

  • Ask people if they’ve met each other already
  • Re-do introductions, touching on what brought you here
  • Ask who found projects or working groups that they want to get involved with
  • Encourage them to consider starting their own projects if they don’t have anything they wanna jump on
  • Ask them if they have any questions about MACC
  • Tell them about my “new-ness” and how MACC doesn’t want people to feel “new”
  • Ask for feedback on the GA as an entry point
  • Encourage everyone to mingle, both at Verso and the bar