Oakland police moved in on Occupy Oakland's tent city early Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, forcing protesters to leave at Frank Ogawa Plaza (photo courtesy of J.P. Dobrin).
The Occupy movement has portrayed itself as a model of self-government. There are no leaders to impose their will. Assemblies meet and make decisions based on consensus.
Local officials in California dealing with the movement say negotiations are difficult because no one is in charge. And no one is in charge because of the group's insistence on reaching consensus.
A rule in the Occupy LA camp requires a 90 percent vote of the protestors' assembly to do anything.
As it happens, supermajorities and consensus are at the heart of the state of California's difficulties in governing itself and managing its budget. In supermajority systems, a small minority can frustrate the will of the majority.
One would think that Occupy would understand that, given its rhetoric about the 1 percent having too much power as opposed to the 99 percent.
But in its self-governance, Occupy has modeled itself after the kind of system it says it's against.
If Occupy doesn't want to end up like the state, the movement and its members might think about adopting the principle of majority rules.