Ground Rules and Assumptions

➡️ Effective ground rules help:

  • Encourage respectful listening;
  • Increase participation and the sharing of ideas and perspectives;
  • Promote openness to points of view and increase learning;
  • Prevent conflict and misunderstanding;
  • Manage problems before and as they occur; and
  • Build trust and a sense of safety among group participants.


Ground Rules:

  • Acknowledge your values and visions but be ready to have them challenged. Assume good intentions in others. Exercise respect and compassion in challenging others’ ideas. Agreeing to disagree is perfectly fine and encouraged. 
  • Be open to diverse perspectives and identities. Strive to understand the experiences and viewpoints of others.  Take responsibility for the intent and impact of your words. Personal attacks, harassment, and microaggressions are the opposite of respecting differences and will not be tolerated.


  • Step up, step back. Everyone is encouraged to participate. If you have already voiced your ideas, let others have an opportunity. It is always OK to "pass" if you are asked to share a comment. Be respectful of introverts – and of silence. When you speak, be brief and to the point.


  • Consider your position. Think consciously of your social positions, allowing us to work across our gender, age, education, class, race, sexuality, and other identities in ways that are supportive. Notice whose voices and perspectives are present and those that are absent.  


  • Practice listening.


  • One person speaks at a time. Pay attention to the person speaking. If you think you will forget an idea that comes to mind, write it down.


  • Self-Care; if it will help, take a breath (or two) before responding.


  • Do your best to understand the pros and cons of every option, not just those you prefer. Ask questions to seek clarification when you don't understand the meaning of someone's comments. This is a public discussion, not a debate. It's OK to disagree with points of view.


  • We all make mistakes / Give each other the benefit of the doubt / if you’re offended, consider some options


  • Use “I” statements when speaking.


  • Be accountable — if you say you will do something, do it



  • The USA is not now, nor has it ever been a functioning democracy.
  • The United States was founded on stolen land and built using stolen labor from enslaved people.
  • Any movement that wants to actually create a new world must create new institutions (including new legal institutions) that meet people's needs without destroying the planet that we depend upon for life itself.
  • The constitution or ground rules of any community or country at its best reflects its collective inspirations and aspirations of the people governed by them. It defines the legal framework of how people structure their society -- politically, economically, and socially. Moreover, constitutions are moral or ethical documents -- designating what is right and wrong -- with profound implications on literally every aspect of the lives of people, their communities, country and the natural world.
  • The U.S. Constitution and individual State's Constitution should be renewed, rewritten or scrapped and either replaced or abandoned to account for new generations, aspirations and circumstances, and should exist as a living document which reflects the challenges and opportunities of the times and is responsive to the needs and demands of the living generations. [it seems to me that we need to state an assumption the 
  • All just options are on the table, but so are all sacrosanct presumptions, such as the continuation of tripartite government, the perpetuation of national union, the involuntary inclusion of communities in the makeup of states, coercive taxation to support inhumane and life-threatening policies, such as discrimination against groups mechanized and militarized police, privatization of public lands and institutions such as education, banking, health care, retirement, insurance, and overall the supremacy of rights in property over rights in people and in non-human communities.  
    • Independent, diverse, powerful and inclusive peoples' movements are essential to expand justice and create a livable world.
    • Exponential growth on a finite planet is impossible over the long run - and we are now living at the end of the long run.


  • We oppose oppression against all people in all forms. This includes LGBTQAI2S+ people and sex workers. This is not a space for TERFS (trans-exclusionary “radical feminists”) or SWERFS (sex worker-exclusionary “radical feminists”). 


  • "Reparations should be paid to descendants of Indigenous and enslaved people. Such funds, like funding for other essential human and physical needs, can be created debt-free by the government.
  • Western civilization culture and institutions have prioritized property rights over those of people and those necessary to ensure a livable world.
  • War destroys. People should have the right to opt out of coerced taxation to fund industrial scale war – and other atrocities.
  • The authentic involvement of youth is essential in movement work.
  • We are living in a long transition period characterized by stochastic political, economic, and ecological crises – altogether, a conjunctural period. This means the system – our political, economic, and ecological world system – will change. There will be a new system with new logics and eventually, a new equilibrium. The question thus becomes: What kind of system do we want and how do we get there? In the United States, the 20th century compact between organized labor, the state, and capital is no longer an alternative; this takes social democracy “off the table.” State socialism is already off the table and corporate capitalism is increasingly rejected. Globally, the climate crisis and the hastening of technological revolutions are two additional drivers of system change, and these drivers condition the possibilities for next system initiatives.
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