Progressive stack

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A progressive stack is a technique designed to ensure that people from marginalized groups get a greater chance to speak.[1] It is sometimes an introduction to, or stepping stone to, consensus decision-making in which simple majorities have less power.

The theory behind the progressive stack is to counteract the notion that people who are part of the majority or dominant culture are generally encouraged to express themselves, while people from minority or non-dominant groups are mostly silenced or ignored. In practice, "majority culture" is typically interpreted by progressive stack practitioners to mean white or male or young adult, while non-dominant groups include women, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, non-white people, and very young or older people.[2][3]

The "stack" in the Occupy movement is the list of speakers who are commenting on proposals or asking questions in public meetings. Anyone can request to be added to the stack. In meetings that don't use the progressive stack, people speak in the order they were added to the queue. In meetings that use the progressive stack, people from non-dominant groups are sometimes allowed to speak before people from dominant groups, by facilitators, or stack-keepers, urging speakers to "step forward, or step back" based on which racial, age, or gender group they belong to.[4]

The progressive stack concept is controversial inside the Occupy movement, and has been criticized as forced equality, racist, sexist, and unfair.[5] It was adopted for Occupy Wall Street, but not for all Occupy locations.[6][7]


  1. ^ Penny, Laurie (16 October 2011). "Protest By Consensus". New Statesman. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Mott, Meg (8 November 2011). "Wicca roots". Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Quattrochi, Gina (November 9, 2011). "When the System Itself is the Problem: Trans women anarchists share Occupy Wall Street message". Gay City News. Archived from the original on 9 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Seltzer, Sarah (29 October 2011). "Where Are the Women at Occupy Wall Street?". The Nation. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Hinkle, A. Barton. "OWS protesters have strange ideas about fairness". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Mott, Meg (8 November 2011). "Wicca roots". Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Swain, Molly (27 October 2011). "Three Days Occupying Wall Street". The McGill Daily. Retrieved 11 November 2011.