Biannual General Assembly

Catalyst Social Centre is organised by a Federation of Collectives. As part of the Catalyst’s Federation’s organisational structure, the Federation will hold a public general assembly meeting every 6 months that anyone is welcome to attend – for new, current and future users of Catalyst.


What is a general assembly?

A process for horizontal decision making where power is shared by a large group of people through a facilitated group discussion. At a general assembly people make decisions directly without elected representatives as proxies. They often emply conensus or modified consensus decision making and use hand signals to encourage mass participation. The ‘Spanish Indignados’ and ‘Occupy’ are two recent large street based movements that used general assemblys to great effect with the tool has been attributed to their popularity. 

Why is the Catalyst General Assembly a thing?

When Catalyst was landing on its decision making structure in 2022, people discussed different proposals. One popular proposal was the ‘Federation’ structure which has been adopted. Another utilized regular General Assemblies as a major place for decisions making. It was agreed there were benefits and drawbacks of each proposal; for example, the Federation model being more time effective but less accessible to participation, and the General Assembly based model being more open to new people but potentially poorly attended and capacity draining. Therefore, the proposals  were somewhat sythesized by including General Assemblys in the process of deciding things at Catalyst within the overarching Federation of Collectives model that is currently used.    

How does the Catalyst General Assembly actually make decisions?

According to the ‘Organization Structure document’ created by users of Catalyst, every 6 month there is a to be a General Assembly that is open to any user of the space new or old, for topics including: recapping/celebrating what been happening, making suggestions for future projects or collectives, reviewing how decisions are being made, critiques, conflicts and anything else. Rather than the General Assembly coming to consensus and immediately enshrining proposals that come out of these discussions, they are to be temperature tested for levels of enthusiasm/support. The proposals with associated enthusiasm levels will then be presented to the Federation at a ‘Special Federation Meeting’ for Federation memebers to decide on. Weight is to be given to the proposals popularity at the recent General Assembly. The timing, process, and communication around this Special Federation meeting is outlined in the ‘Organization Structure’ document.  

The Biannual General Assembly will address the following topics:
– information about collectives involved in Catalyst
– celebration of the work that’s been happening
– suggestions for new events, projects and collectives
– discussions about Catalyst’s future
– critiques and concerns about Catalyst
– review of Catalyst’s current organisational structure

Catalyst’s next Biannual General Assembly will begin from 5.30pm on 17th March 2023.