NYCGA Minutes 10/4/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Meeting Date/Time: 10/4/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators: Amanda, Brie


Facilitator (F): 100 transport workers refuse to bring protestors to jail, and are filing a restraining order against the NYPD!

F: Are there any concerns regarding Amanda and Bre as facilitators for this general assembly?

GA Response: No!

F: We’d like to begin by introducing the process. The consensus process is one that tries to include every voice. This is a modified consensus, so to pass any proposals, they need 9/10 majority. The hand signals are as follows: Wavey fingers upwards—I agree. Wavey fingers in the middle—I’m on the fence. Wavey fingers downward—I don’t like it. Triangle fingers—Point of process. If we’re not following the process, you hold that up silently after whoever is speaking has completed speaking, we will call on you, and you can explain why the process was being violated. Finger point—Point of information. You use this when you have a piece of factual information to add to whatever is being said. This is not for opinions! Finger point up and down—I can’t hear you, speak up. Block—When we have a proposal, we try to reach consensus. If you block that means you have a moral or ethical concern with whatever is being proposed. A block is very serious. If we can still reach 9/10 majority, even with your block, you are choosing to walk away. We don’t want anyone to walk away, so we will do our best to address all blocks. Circular fingers—Wrap it up, we got your point already.

F: So I’ve been hearing a lot of frustrations, and a lot of concerns about what we can do as individuals, acting in solidarity. But I think it’s important to pat all ourselves on the back and remember how hard this is, and that we are making something beautiful. I would like to say a quote from a poet, Andrew Gibson, who says: “We must create. It is the only thing louder than destruction!” So keep that in mind when things get hard, because this is how a democracy works!



18.1.  Action Item (Labor March Discussion)

18.2.  Working Group Report Backs

18.3.  Announcements


F: Tonight we will be starting with the agenda. Are there any concerns with that process?

GA Question: Do you folks mean that we’ll be going directly to agenda points instead of working group report backs?

F: The order will be the agenda (which is discussing the event tomorrow), the second point will be working group report backs, the third will be announcements. In addition, we would like to announce that Occupier Meetings are held every day at 10:30AM. Those meetings are regarding concerns about this physical space. And they’re held here.

F: This is Chris. He will be taking stack. If we open stack, raise your hand, and he will acknowledge you, and then he will call on you when it is time for you to speak. Let’s make two paths for people to come up and get on stack. Stack is a list of who is speaking. We use a system of progressive stack. So those from traditionally marginalized backgrounds or those who have not spoken will be moved up. This does not mean we want to silence anyone, we want to encourage those voices that are not often heard to speak up!

F: Tomorrow’s GA will cover transparency and general openness in participation in Occupy Wall Street. There have been a lot of concerns recently about transparency, openness, and ease of participation. These are mostly organizational problems, so we need everyone to help with organization.

F: Right now, we’re testing for layers. If you can’t hear me, raise your hand. Can the outer row choose six people to turn around and project their voice backwards so everyone can hear?

F: This is Meagan—she will be conducting so everyone can hear. This is Jason, and he is stack greeter.

Jason—I will talk to you and prepare you to speak before you speak, so you know.

F: We’d like to start the agenda, so anyone who wants to speak on what’s happening tomorrow, please line up to get on stack. We’d like to have Direct Action, Stuart Applebom, and other labor reps, come up to speak about tomorrow’s march.


18.1.  Agenda Items

18.1.1.  Discussion on Labor March  Chris—I want to let you know what’s going on tomorrow from our perspective. At about 3PM, whoever is here in the square, we will be marching to Foley Square to meet up with this labor rally. Labor will be facilitating the rally. After the rally there will be a permanent march back here to Liberty Square. After that we’re going to have speakers from Labor as well as from our movement meet right about here. While all this is going on, there is going to be a ton of student walk-outs! Students from NYU, the New School, and all around the CUNY system are walking out of their classes in solidarity with us. Some will be going to the rally, some will be coming straight here, but either way, tomorrow will be the biggest day, in terms of numbers, by far, that our movement has seen to date!  Stuart Applebom—President of NY’s Retail Workers’ Union. And I’m here in solidarity. Yesterday I was in Detroit speaking to a convention of all unions in the state of Michigan. When I told the union members that I would be here with you today, they started cheering! We need to form an alliance. We need to form an alliance with labor. We need to work together and to learn from each other and to support each other. I urge you to support workers’ needs. I urge you to support living wages and workers’ rights. And I have a message for Mike Bloomburg—If your police department ever over-reacts again, like it did last Saturday, stifling dissent, and limiting free speech, New Yorkers will not tolerate it! We will be joining the march tomorrow with New York’s labor unions. Together we can revitalize a progressive movement in New York and across the country. We are with you! Thank you!

F: We want to hear all your voices, but we need to keep it limited to about one minute. Thank you!  Jackie—There are so many unions supporting us that I will not remember them all! I’m a spokesperson for our labor, support, and outreach working group. My name is Jackie. Our group is growing, but luckily, one of the biggest unions is going to offer us space to meet in. We now have about sixty people relating to this working group, so the unions that have supported us are the transit workers, the hospital workers, the Nation Nurses Unions, District 37 all-city Workers, and their international union. We’re also being supported by other national unions, the steel workers, the Communication Workers of America, the phone workers, PSC CUNY Faculty and Staff of City University. We’re also being supported by Building Maintenance Workers, 32BJSEIU, and the International Labor Union of North America, the Writers’ Guild, and the UFT which organized the march for tomorrow, and the IWW. There are more! Tomorrow!

F: For those on stack, if you can keep announcements and focus on the action tomorrow, we would greatly appreciate it. There will be plenty of time for announcements later. Thank you! Additionally, after the announcements that are factual at the end of the G.A., there will be a soapbox. This is time to say whatever you want. Also after, Jeff Mangum from Neutral Milk Hotel will be performing.

F: Just to clarify, we’re getting stack now for factual information or questions about the event tomorrow. Any other announcements will come later. Thank you!

18.1.2.  Clarifying Questions (CQ) and Points of Information (PoP)  Hello, my name is Rose, I’m here with the United Auto Workers Union, or the UAW. We’re here to say that we are endorsing the Occupy Wall Street movement. We are mobilizing hundreds of people, hopefully thousands. We’ve been phone banking all day today, and we’ll be doing it tomorrow. We’re meeting at Lafayette and Worth St to meet you at Foley Sq.

F: There was a point of process. Would you like to speak?

Point of Process (PoP): Why are announcements occurring at this part of the agenda?

F: We have said the agenda during the facilitation meeting, which happens at 4PM every day by the steps. Everyone is invited. The point on the agenda today was the event tomorrow. So announcements now are about the event tomorrow.  Hello! I’m Austin! I’m with Align. We are the NYC chapter of Jobs with Justice. We support you! We love you! We endorse you, and we are part of the May 12 Coalition that put 20,000 people on Wall Street a little while ago. We are so excited to see what you’re doing. And we want your help with tomorrow. Thousands of people are coming, but we want more, so we are holding a Tweet-out. What’s a Tweet-out? I’ll tell you! Go on Twitter. Use the hashtag #99problems. So that the 99% can tell Wall Street what we think is FUCKED. OK? Every union and community organization in our coalition is doing this, too. Join us, and we will build a buzz that everyone will here. Right now 2,000 people have RSVP’ed to come. Help us, and we’ll have 5,000!

F: We are closing stack. Is that OK? Yes. If you would like to be put on stack about the action tomorrow, please come here. After this, is it OK to close stack? Yes.  Hello people. Tomorrow will be a very important day for us, and I’ve written a small piece. The people’s revolution, government for the people, and by the people, in the mainstream media, there is a resounding assertion that we have no common ground, goal, or agenda. And that is not true! Because there is a unifying aspect between us all. What unites us is our desire to see change, and not just change in the banks in Wall Street, but change in the system. For the betterment and amelioration of all people. All nations and this earth. The bottom line is that the people want government that is for the people and by the people, and I would like to take this moment to remind the people here, and watching on Livestream tonight, of the foundation of American legislation, the Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed with their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…. I propose that tomorrow with the thousands that will be in attendance, we not just take on Wall Street and the banks, but we stand together in solidarity, and in the solid rock of brotherhood, we challenge America to its very principal of democracy, and ensure that we uphold its legislation, government for the people and by the people, is what we are here to claim. We the people of America will claim just that.

F: I appreciate the bravery and strong voices that participate in the assembly. We want to hear you, but we do have an agenda. So if you could please try and keep your speaking to one minute, it would be much appreciated for everyone here! Remember, there’s a soapbox after! You can talk for as long as you want.

CQ: Hello! My name’s Michael! I’m a little confused—on the flyers for tomorrow it says meet at City Hall and march here. Now I’m hearing “march here, and march to Foley Sq.” What’s the truth?

Response: Tomorrow there’s a new plan to march from here at 3PM to Foley Sq. At Foley Sq, at 4:30, we’ll all together march back here, and have a big ol’ party!

Stack (S): Stack is now closed.

PoI: It says on the flyer that it’s 4:30 at City Hall. City Hall is not Foley Sq. City Hall is on Park Row, between Park Row and Broadway. Which is right?

Response: We apologize for all the confusion! Originally we thought 4:30 at City Hall. Now we’re hearing 4:30 at Foley Sq.

Does anyone know the cross streets of Foley Sq.? Worth and Center! If anyone has questions about this, we’re writing this information on this white board. Come up afterwards and find it here.

F: Whoever changed the location from City Hall to Foley Sq., or knows who changed it, can you come up here please?

Response: Foley Sq. is only two blocks north of City Hall! And it seems like a better place to congregate.

CQ: A question for Direct Action—I’m really excited about the march. But one thing that makes this different is that we’ve done some civil disobedience. Maybe we’ll do that some other time, but I’m wondering if any organized civil disobedience is planned as part of the march? Thank you!

Response: Questions and concerns will be addressed after. I apologize for any delays.

Response: Direct Action never plans anything that could put participants in jeopardy. But we respect diversity of tactics, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the whole group. Don’t give the NYPD what they want!

F: Hearing test. Could we have a people’s mic right here?


18.2.  Working Group Report Backs

18.2.1.  Speak Easy Caucus—Meeting at 11PM by the library. The caucus is for a broad spectrum of individuals from female-bodied people who identify as women to male-bodied people who do not strictly identify as men. It is to help empower voices that have been stepped on by others. 11PM by the library!

18.2.2.  Security—Brian. Tomorrow’s a big day for security. We’re going to present a proposal in the morning to contract an actual security firm. No charge, completely volunteer. We will train our volunteers to properly handle any situations, especially between us and the NYPD. We also started a new communication tool, four codes. 1red means blood, 2blue means fight, 3green means drugs, 4white means thief.

18.2.3.  Jesse—Info. Standing here now I want to thank all the groups that have registered their information with us. If you have not, you don’t exist! So please see us! If you don’t have a nametag representing your group, you don’t exist! I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me looking for Safer Spaces or Security, for any group, it’s important that we connect.

GA comment: The red cross and other symbols identifying on arms are pretty much the same thing as nametags.

F: Please do not hijack the people’s mic! Be respectful!

18.2.4.  Outreach—Emma. You are all outreach! Right now we need neighborhood and community organizers. After G.A., if you fall into that category, please go to outreach. It’s right over there! There’s a sign that says “Outreach.” We also need students to go to outreach, afterwards! There is going to be a student meeting on Friday. Time TBD. We also need people to distribute flyers for tomorrow’s march to go to outreach after G.A. All of these things concern the flyers for tomorrow’s march. We also could really use a computer donated to us. If you have any resources like that, also go to outreach. So basically, everyone should go to Outreach after G.A.!

POI: If anyone works for a nonprofit that is registered for materials for the arts, they have computers!

18.2.5.  Town Planning—Basic nightly announcements. We promised the vendors we would not interrupt the people walking through the park who are their customers. So our consensus is that nobody sleeps, and no objects will be placed between the two rows of trees down the center of the park. Quiet hours 11PM-8AM. Quiet talking in the front, no talking in the sleeping area. Stay out of the flower beds, please!

PoI: At last night’s G.A. we reached consensus that quiet hours would now begin at 10PM. The people’s mic, if needed, may be used until 11PM.

18.2.6.  Direct Action—Hello! I’m Josh! I’m with Direct Action! As you know, tomorrow’s going to be huge. We’re going to need a lot of volunteers to help us keep the march together. If you would like to be one of those volunteers, find me after this, and sign up! I will be under the red structure. Also we would like to clarify that the march will be organized at 3PM in that general area. Thank you!

18.2.7.  Media—It is up to us to tell our story. If you have any footage you would like to contribute to the community, please go to the media center and give it to post-production. Thank you! For people that don’t know, the media center is the space with the red umbrella.

18.2.8.  Facilitation—All day all week! Facilitation has two meetings every day, except tomorrow, cause who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow? These meetings meet at 4PM and 5:30PM. First meeting—facilitation working group, meetings at the bottom of the park. Second meeting—intro to direct democratic process, 5:30, same place. Who’s new here? Welcome! If you want to know how this process works, and how to empower yourself within it, 5:30 is the meeting for you. If you’ve gone to that meeting, or been to a bunch of these assemblies, then maybe the 4PM working group is the place for you! Thanks!

PoI: Just today, the meeting was moved, and it was hard to figure out where you were. So in the future, let us know!

Response: At the tree, at the bottom of the hill.

F: Now closing stack. We will open stack for informational announcements.

F: Please remember, soapbox comes after the G.A. Informational announcements will be kept to one minute.

PoI: Before we move on, is there a group that can report on general needs of the occupiers?

Response: Thank you for your question. That was not really a point of information, but Comfort, Kitchen, or Medical could help you address that concern.

18.2.9.  Arts & Culture—Rachel. We’re happy to announce we’ve been given an opportunity for a public exhibition in the historic JP Morgan building, directly across from the NY Stock Exchange. This will be on Saturday. The curator of the space is taking submissions. It’s a broad open call, but they’re due on Thursday at midnight. Email for questions and more information. We meet also every day at 6PM at the bottom corner of the park by the circle.

CQ: What was that email again?

Response: It’s written down on the board up here.

18.2.10.  Jason—I just want to raise people’s spirits. First thing, if people could keep aisle-ways but come closer. Second thing, I want to lead a quick chant.


18.3.  Announcements

18.3.1.  Chris—I have an announcement on Pat’s behalf. She lost her walking stick. It is a wooden stick with a leather strap. If you find it, bring it to her at the Outreach center. Thank you!

18.3.2.  Global Block—My name is George Martinez. I am from Brooklyn, NY. I am the US Cultural Ambassador of Hip Hop for the State Department. I just got back from Columbia, celebrating hip hop diplomacy for six weeks, and I get back to my city to see this great sight of real Americans taking over what is already ours! I represent the Global Block, which means we change the world one block at a time. We will be with you tomorrow. We are the streets, this is our America, in solidarity always.

F: I know that everyone has a lot to share. Please remember to try and keep it to one minute! And after there will be a soapbox!

18.3.3  Melanie—A young woman named Amber has lost a purple wallet. It has all her money and her I.D. She needs her I.D. to get to school tomorrow at 6AM. If you find her wallet please return it to the media center under the red umbrella!

18.3.4.  Underground Party—My name is Eric, I’m from the Underground Party. I’m here to talk about taking over government. Whether your goal is dismantling it or crafting new regulations, we need to elect our own. I will be out here talking about this all week, come see me!

F: We are closing stack. Any other announcements, please come to the front now!

18.3.5.  Osiris—Peace! My name is Osiris and I’m with Rev Fit. The organization provides free fitness classes to the community. The idea is to improve the health of the community, while demanding community change. The point is, I wanted to offer the services to occupiers on Wall Street. If Saturday at 5PM is fine with everyone, I will be here. If the time doesn’t work, we can work it out. We’ve been announcing the marches to all our classes, and we will be here tomorrow.

18.3.6.  Dawn—I got catcalled earlier by four male comrades in the sleeping area. I understand there are a lot of attractive people here, but sexual harassment is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! Respect each other! This is a SAFE PLACE FOR EVERYONE. I love you!

F: Everyone who is on stack will speak. But now stack is closed. Thank you!

18.3.7.  Dorje—We now have three recycling and compost buckets by garbage cans. At the east, west, and south gates. Soon they will be at every garbage can. We can be the change we want to see in this world. Thanks for recycling!

18.3.8.  White Hat—I’m White Hat. Shortly after the general assembly, we’ll set a projector and a screen with thoughts that you provide and also, if anyone has pictures of other Occupies, bring them on a USB and we’ll show them. Thank you!

18.3.9.  Rara—I have a very important issue to encourage empowerment. We must dedicate a moment every day we’re here to build awareness on issues here. We are all here with strong beliefs, but some people are shy, have social anxiety, have passive personalities, and feel they will be judged if they speak up. We must not let that happen here. I would like to build awareness on that and dedicate to it every day—although we are quiet, we have a voice, too! But the more aggressive, dominant people are overshadowing some voices or lack-of. We all must be heard! I just learned you could use coaching as a resource. Those that have strong voices already, use it on subways, tell your friends and everyone!

18.3.10.  Elliot—Today sixty-three faculty from the New School have issued a statement in support with our occupation! They are also in support of a contingent of New School students who will be walking out and joining our march tomorrow. I have been asked to read this statement of solidarity: “We, faculty members of the New School, would like to express our solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. We support its demand for real democracy, and its denunciation of the effects of the economic crisis, on the conditions of life for millions of people around the world. We strongly disagree with political and economic measures against the crisis, based on the reduction of public spending and cuts to public services. We condemn the exclusive and unnecessary use of force by the NYPD that resulted in the arrests of seven hundred people marching in a peaceful and nonviolent demonstration. It is inconceivable that New York, the city known for a tradition of free and independent thinking, should be governed like a police state.” Thank you!

F: There are five minutes left, and fifteen people! Please try and be short. If you’re willing to step down and reserve your announcement for the soapbox, that would be great!

18.3.11.  Jerry—I’m with the War Resistors’ League. Friday is the tenth anniversary of the start of the Afgan War. There is a demo in Time Square at noon held by Military Families Against the War. I want to ask the general assembly to consider filling Time Square on Friday at noon! There is a huge pedestrian plaza that can easily hold 10,000 people. Consider it, and let’s discuss it tomorrow!

18.3.12.  Jason—Tomorrow from 11 to 2, we will have as guests Josh Silver, creator of the Democracy Fund, and Lawrence Lessing, who created Creative Commons.

18.3.13.  Kristine—From Comfort. If you’re occupying Liberty Plaza and you need to shower, come now to Comfort and schedule it.

18.3.14.  Ketchup—This Sunday at 1PM Chris Hedges will be doing a teach-in on his book, Death of the Liberal Class. He’ll be bringing copies.

18.3.15.  Artists for Amsterdam—Wall Street is happening in my front yard. All over the world, I invite groups of people to lie down, to look into the sky, in silence, for thirty minutes. I visited sixteen countries. Is the general assembly interested? I want to announce next Thursday 1PM, Silent Sky Project here.

18.3.16.  Rob—Many of the 700 people who were arrested did not choose to be arrested. They thought what they were doing was OK, and the NYPD told people in the front, “do not advance on the road.” There was miscommunication between both sides. Our movement is going to go on a long time. It would be a good idea for us to be able to get along with the cops. I am having a meeting a meeting across the street at the corner of men’s warehouse to discuss forming a police relations working group, right after G.A.

PoI: A police liaison group will work in direct disagreement with a consensus that came from the general assembly to not have a police liaison.

Rob—May I respond to the block?

Clarification—This was not a block. It was only a point of information. If we would like to bring the idea of a police liaison to Liberty Square, that must come in the form of a proposal to be put on the agenda and consented upon by the entire G.A. Since we have already consented that we do not want a police liaison, I encourage this working group to present their agenda item to the G.A.

Rob—We’ll meet and present it as a proposal.

18.3.17.  Anthony—G’day! I’m Anthony! I’m with the meditation flash mob. You may have seen us meditating last Wednesday and last Saturday before the big march. A meditation flash mob has been planned for tomorrow at 3:30PM over there. If meditating is your thing, come and join us!

PoP: The meditation group at 3:30 conflicts with the march at 3PM.

Response—You will have to choose.

18.3.18.  Brian—Occupy Wall Street now has a Google Plus Account. Please join!

18.3.19.  Tomorrow there will be lawyers from the National Lawyers’ Guild who are coming here to give Know Your Rights training. They will be here at 3:30, and they’re going to stay all day. You can recognize them by their bright green hats.

18.3.20.  Ronnie—I represent the project to create an Occupy Wall Street video game! Please contact me in front of the library after G.A. We need artists, we need sound designers, we need game testers, programmers, and game designers. That is all, thank you!

18.3.21.  Echo—At last night’s general assembly, I made a call for an altar. A number of people answered that call. A specific location has not been chosen. What I see is threefold. We are clearly witnessing a true revolution, which will take many forms, including providing a lasting alternative to the current system, and to replacing money and establishing world citizenship. In the meantime I propose we embrace tomorrow’s march to include the Fed. In addition I have spoken with the National Lawyers Guild. Anyone who would be interested in helping to draft on the ground here, an executive order which we would then present for legalese and improvement. Please see me.

18.3.22.  Sunny—In response to a request for a Gray Water System to ecologically process the dirty kitchen water, a group of us have a system ready to bring here tomorrow. We are asking if this is still a need. (Yes!)

18.3.23.  Leonard—For those who have not heard me speak before, I am from Bakersville, California. I came 3,000 miles to make a proposal. I would like to form a group to discuss and implement a financial plan to increase the opportunity for people to get jobs, reduce the foreclosure rate, end the federal deficit. For those that are interested in wanting to improve the economy, we will hold a meeting tonight right here, after the General Assembly. Thank you!

F: Unity clap. Start slow, go faster. OW OW!

F: Time for Soapbox, followed by an intimate performance by Jeff Mangum.

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