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Conflict Resolution by Paul LaVack

Conflict- A serious disagreement or argument.


For most people, this word brings up negative connotations but is does not always have to be so. Conflict can also be a change agent. and it can also provide an opportunity for growth. A lot depends on how we handle disagreement. We are often more interested in defending our position like an army in battle than looking out for our best interest. If we are more interested in “winning” than resolving the problem, the disagreement is all the more likely to deepen. Carried to the extreme conflicts become intractable. The on going dispute between Israel and Palestine is a good example. I think the key is de-escalation. Here are some tips that work well for me.


1. I take ownership of what I say by using “I” statements. “Let me be sure if I understand you…”

“I don’t understand. Can you explain it another way for me?”

“This is how I see it…”

“I can try to explain it another way…”


2. Try to avoid “you” statements. This puts the other person on the defensive making them more angry and aggressive in their responses. “You don’t understand…”

“You are wrong…”

“You don’t follow directions…”

“You don’t listen…”


Say the statements in 1 and 2 out loud and think about how they “feel”.


3. Acknowledge what the other person is saying. This is not so hard and let’s the other person know you are really listening. Reflect back to the person what they are saying. “Le me be sure I understand you…”. This gives them a chance to hear themselves and clarify what they are saying.


4. Focus on the issue and not the people. To put it another way, be hard on the problem and not each other. Work together to identify the real cause of the conflict. Often, what starts off as something seemingly trivial masks the real issue at hand. For example, my wife gets angry with me for spending a little money on something we do not need. It turns out she is worried what will happen to us if I lose my job.


5. The relationship. What do I value most; winning an argument or preserving the relationship? There are times when it obvious maintaining a positive relationship with someone is more important than “winning”. I think this applies not just to those we are close to but to others we come into contact with day to day. Even when we disagree, using “I” statements, avoiding “you…” acknowledging what I’m being told and focusing on the issue will go a long way to building better relationships now and for the future.

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

On Sept. 17, 2011 a movement began that could change the world. On that day in New York City a group made up of diverse elements came together to Occupy Wall Street in protest of stifling economic inequality in the United States. Under the banner of We are the 99%, peoples of all races and backgrounds began a movement to address the greed and corruption in our society that has led us to a point of economic stagnation and joblessness for millions of Americans. Since the group first occupied Zuccoti Park on Sept. 17, solidarity movements have sprouted in cities across America. At first only about 2,000 people converged on Lower Manhattan after several months of planning by groups such as Adbusters, NYC General Assembly, US Day of Rage and others. In response to heavy handed and at times brutal suppression techniques by NYPD officers, particularly the corralling and macing of peaceful female protesters was caught on camera, unity movements began to form. On Oct. 3 about 700 protesters in a peaceful march were herded onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge and then arrested en masse by police. In response, on Oct. 6 about 15,000 people in NYC marched in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The movement is a leaderless objection to the corruption of the influence of money on our political process, represented in part by the lack of repercussion among the captains of the economy for the financial collapse of 2008.

Proposed List of Demands

We are the 99 Percent

Bloomberg Article

Posted on September 30, 2011 by NYCGA

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

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