NYCGA Minutes 10/19/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Meeting Date/Time: 10/19/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Luke, Catherine, Casey, Sully


Process Review/Opening Comments: Facilitators are not leaders, they are only here to help facilitate the process of the meeting. They are always looking for new facilitators, and especially encourage anyone from an underrepresented minority to join them. Review of hand signals and definitions. Establishing additional generations of People’s Mic if needed. We take progressive stack. This means that speakers who do not usually get the chance to be heard. If anyone can interpret in sign language, please come up.

Agenda Items: We just spent 10 minutes on intro to the process. We have three agenda items. A proposal from Outreach, Discussion item from Visions & Goals, Statement to be ratified by the We Will Not Be Co-Opted working group., and Proposal from Sanitation.



33.1.  Agenda Items

33.2.  Working Group Report Backs

33.3.  Announcements


33.1.  Agenda Items

33.1.1.  Outreach Working Group Proposal for Budget  We are proposing a $3,000–$4,000 a week budget as standing budget for the printing needs of OWS. Big Apple Printers is offering us printing at 4 cents a copy. Based on our printing needs, we anticipate a printing load of 8,000–10,000 copies a week. We are also in conversations with friendly unions who have volunteered free printing for large print jobs. We’ll get it done free when possible.  Clarifying Questions (CQ’s)  How many copies a week did you say? 8,000 to 10,000 copies of what?

Response: These copies are fliers and forms, generally, whatever working groups have to print each week.  Will the services of Big Apple Printing be available to individual members of this collective for personal printing needs?
Response: No, this is solely for working groups that have printing needs, so we can make room in their budgets. If you have a personal printing need that you think is relevant to the group, we suggest you form a working group.  Will this cut into the food, comfort, or sanitation budgets?
Response: We have spoken to Finance. They asked us to proceed to the GA to approve the budget. It’s my understanding the other groups have already done their budgets, so they’re good.  How did you come up with the current number of copies made? And do you see that growing?
Response: The current estimate of copies was based on Outreach’s copy production, which has already collaborated with a lot of groups. It’s also based on Info’s copies, copies given to us from other groups. It is an estimate. Hopefully it’s accurate. It seems to be. Contingency: We can propose a budget amendment through this process, as needed. C: This is a mix of a concern and a question. If there are proposed 8,000–10,000 at a rate of 4 cents per copy, wouldn’t that equal a budget of $400?
Response: I’m not sure. I didn’t personally crunch these numbers. I believe the figure is accurate. I apologize for my math.
F: That’s a very good point. I might suggest you bring this back to your group for discussion.

Response: Outreach is spending $4,000 week for their copies. If you add everyone together, it will be more. Maybe the numbers are off, but it is based on our recent levels of printing. We already went through Finance with this budget. They crunched the numbers themselves. I’m confident on the dollar figure, but the number of copies is apparently inaccurate. This is urgently needed and they are offering a good deal, and it’s better than each working group going to Staples when we could be giving business to an independent copier.
F: Financial lack of clarity in the proposal. We suggest you return to Finance Working Group.  Tabled  We hadn’t factored in the numbers of copies of the other working groups. This proposal of $3,000–$4,000 serves as a ceiling for all the groups’ printing. We are linking the account to the 501(c)(3) so no transactions are going through this working group. All print jobs will be paid as they are made, and anything left over in the budget remains in the general budget.  Concerns  Is there an itemized list of expenses available?
Response: Yes! We’ll be publishing it online but the itemized list right now has one thing that says “printing.” No other costs.  How do you determine which working groups get how many copies?
Response: It’s determined by working groups submitting prints, telling us how many to make, and we make them! It’s up to you. There’s a workflow process in coordination with of all these groups, where you can submit your ideas, get design help if you need it, and we send the project to print.  Is there a limit for each working group? Or just an overall limit?
Response: Right now there are no limits; the overall limit is simply the budget ceiling of $4,000. Given the numbers that were crunched, I hope we don’t get to that ceiling. I don’t think it will happen.
F: I asked for concerns, so if you are concerned about this proposal, reasons we shouldn’t adopt this, this is the time for concerns.  Is that independent printer a union shop? And is that an issue?
Response: I believe it is. I don’t have the information on me. If we want to revisit that, we can. We are always looking for the best shop possible. We shopped around a lot. If we find a better one, we’ll go to that one. Right now we just have a lot of printing to do.
F: Stack is closed.
F: We can’t close stack for concerns. Concerns must be addressed, but ONLY concerns.  My concern is that having a printer for all the working groups to use and creating a budget for printing are two separate things. What this does, as far as I can tell, is increase the budgets available to working groups who do a lot of printing, where working groups that don’t print won’t benefit.
F: That concern is noted. Any more concerns?  I’m concerned it would fly against the ideals of our movement to be doing our printing in a shop that doesn’t pay a living wage.
F: As facilitator, let me ask a question. Where do we do our printing now?

Response: Right now, I believe that where you do your printing is up to each working group—sometimes Staples, Big Apple, or elsewhere. For Information, we’ve used Big Apple before, sometimes we’ve had to use Staples. If we could at least not support Staples! And I believe the shop is union. I’m sorry I don’t know. I’ll get more information.
F: Concerns?  Hi I’m Adara. I’m concerned with where the money is going to continue to come from.
F: Noted. Okay, so we have two concerns, possibly three. Can we address them?
a) The wages of the print shop people. (
b) The amount of money that will be continually available. (
c) Providing a budget allows a greater budget for specific working groups over others. (
As I understand it, you believe printing costs should come out of individual working group budgets.

Can anyone speak to that concern?
Response: My understanding is that this is to disburden those working groups that are throwing a lot of their money into printing when they could be doing other useful things. So this proposal would actually be more fair to all the groups. I’m not part of this proposal, but it seems fair to me.
F: Can anyone else offer resolutions?
Response: It also seems that with this proposal, we will be getting a discounted rate on ALL printing. For those working groups who do not use printing, they might at some other time or currently have some budget needs for something else that other groups would not need and in that case they could bring their proposal to the GA.
F: Does anyone still hold this concern? Let’s move on to next concern.  It would behoove us to do a little local research on where we can find a quick-fix print shop here that’s owned by a family business and talk to our newfound allies about where they do their large-scale printing.
Response: AMENDMENT to the proposal! We will only use a union print shop. If this one is nonunion, we won’t use it. That may change the finances of this proposal. I would suggest we go with this, and work toward that, because right now we’re using Staples.  I’m concerned with where the money will continue to come from. Does anyone have any answers?
F: Is there someone from Finance here?
Response: I’m not from Finance, but I do know that we have received over $300,000 in donations. I’d encourage us to continue looking at the rate we’re spending money, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to be a pressing concern.  I want to understand, do all print jobs under this proposal go through this shop?
Response: All print jobs may not necessarily go through this shop. If we get union or other printing for free or can coordinate with The Occupied Wall Street Journal, we’ll try to save as much money as we can. The ceiling is just a weekly limit. We won’t be taking money out, it’s only per print job.  I want to know about really timely, emergency print jobs: Can we get it done anywhere?
Response: This printing agreement is nonbinding. It’s a tool we are offering to the community. If you want to print somewhere else, good.  CONSENSUS TEST: Achieved!

33.1.2.  Visions and Goals Discussion Visions & Goals representative: Hello to the people of Occupy Wall Street! We’re here to introduce and invite you to an ongoing project of the Visions & Goals working group. We see Occupy Wall Street as much greater than a protest. It is a movement that has awakened the entire nation and now gives us a unique opportunity to revise our relationship to the world in which we live. We come from all walks of life and from our own campaigns and political struggles. There is an ongoing discussion and much public inquiry about the presentation of demands for Occupy Wall Street. We would like to clarify that we see Visions & Goals as a different focus from demands and tactics, though the two are interrelated. The purpose of the Visions & Goals project is to create a long-term, comprehensive vision of what we would like our future to look like and how we can shape that future. We are here right now to invite you all to work with us in this process. In order to be a true reflection of the movement, we want our process to involve everyone’s input.
We have a draft of a document that has been worked on for almost a month, contributed to by over 200 people. We would like to open the process even further, so that everyone can participate. We welcome all to the Visions & Goals dialogue, which will take place every day at noon, gathering at the Red Cube. Please check with the Info desk if the group has moved. There are other ways to get involved. Other groups are working on ways to collect ideas, both at Liberty Park and on the Internet. We welcome any suggestions on how to improve this collaborative process and make it accessible to as many people as possible. We’d like to gather input from all the other working groups, especially the input of people marginalized by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or socioeconomic level. Please join us tomorrow at noon at the Red Cube for further dialogue. With your involvement, our group can be empowered to reach for collective goals.  Clarifying Questions  Hi, I may be wrong about this, but I feel the occupiers, i.e., the people who sleep here and hold down the park every night, might not have their voices heard because they’re too tired cleaning and holding down the park in general. Would it be possible to have someone from your group go around to the occupiers and ask them in person one by one instead of having them come to your group? I don’t want this to seem like favoritism, it’s just a reality of living in the park. How does everyone feel?
Response: We are definitely planning on doing that. There’s also a Think Tank that’s working on this.
Comment: I’m Lou, I’m working with Think Tank to do a real survey to see what people think about this effort. Thank you.  Hi, I’m Liza. Question: Are you working with the technology groups so they make sure that in building the websites and the wikis, your project and this survey are served so people who are not here can contribute?
Response: That is one of our major goals, and was part of the process for creating the document that we have at this point. Our group was born out of the Open Source group, so we are excited to work with them on this process.  Hi, I’m Liza. Question: Are you working with the technology groups so they make sure that in building the websites and the wikis, your project and this survey are served so people who are not here can contribute?
Response: That is one of our major goals, and was part of the process for creating the document that we have at this point. Our group was born out of the Open Source group, so we are excited to work with them on this process.  I’m wondering if there’s a large objection to changing the timing of the daily meeting to after business hours so people like me who have a fucking day job can contribute to the process as equally as those so dedicated to the revolution that you don’t have a day job.
Response: There’s no objection. We decided we’d have the meetings at noon for the first week and then work with people to develop a schedule to get alternate times on different days. The noon time is just a beginning.  Hi, last night I found out that we have a Demands group. I’ve been meaning to say this, that I think the word “demands” is for terrorist groups. We should be working on solutions, as in the Open Source group, Visions & Goals, and in this group. I’d love to propose that we stop making demands. It has failed us the last 100 years.
Point of Information (PoI): Very early on, this General Assembly agreed that we would make no demands. So before demands are made, that agreement would have to be examined.

33.1.3.  We Will Not Be Co-opted Working Group Proposal  This is the statement we are asking you to consent upon: “The Democratic and Republican parties do not represent the people because they’ve been bought and corrupted by Wall Street, and the occupation does not support their candidates. In collusion with both parties, the top 1% has profited at the expense of everyone else. We have moved beyond false hopes and submission to eloquent speeches and populist manipulation. We rely on cooperation and solidarity to imagine and create the changes needed for a sustainable world. From diverse multicultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual backgrounds, and from different walks of life, we have begun to unite on common ground to oust the global financial powers that have bought our government and who hold us hostage to their greed.”
We Will Not Be Co-Opted representative: The mainstream corporate media is trying to dismiss this movement. They are constructing a narrative that we are the puppets of the Democratic Party. The Tea Party was co-opted by the Republican Party; we will not be co-opted by the Democratic Party.
The statement we’ve written hopes to ensure that the Democratic Party or the Republican Party cannot use our movement to drive votes and money to the 2012 campaigns on behalf of the same people who are already committing crimes against us.
F: Temperature check! Negatives? Yes.  Clarifying Questions  My question is about voting. Does this mean we are encouraged to not vote? Because if we are, I have a problem with that.
Response: We are in no way discouraging people from voting and we didn’t enter that into the statement.  What is this statement going to be used for? Who do you plan to give it to and are you going to claim it represents consensus by the GA?
Response: The point of this item is for the GA of people occupying Wall Street to come to a consensus about whether this statement represents us. If we have consensus on this statement, then it becomes a representation of the beliefs of this GA. I think. The question of to whom this statement will be given is everyone—the media, the Internet, my grandma, and President Obama.  Does only mentioning the Democratic and Republican parties mean that this General Assembly might support other parties?
Response: Currently there are two dominant political parties that are on the payroll of Wall Street. They want to dismiss us and we won’t let that happen. That’s why we’re focusing on them. There are more involved questions that can be dealt with at a later date.  In what way is your statement materially different from the Principles of Solidarity and the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City? It seems to me that your statement is quite similar aside from being addressed to those two parties.
Response: What we propose, from the input from many people involved in those principles, is that this is in solidarity with those, with the exception of pointing out that we will not be co-opted from the two Wall Street political parties. I hope that answers your question.  Concerns  To be clear, we are in a very good position. Never in my life has a political party been trying to co-opt my agenda! We’re doing very well. We’re reframing the discussion, like certain groups on the other side have been doing for 40 years. If we want 99% to be with us, that includes a lot of people who, for their own reasons, have determined it’s important to engage the political parties that exist. This includes a lot of effective communities. I don’t think now is the time to put up barriers to potential allies. I think now’s the time to kick Wall Street’s ass, to do it a lot, and to co-opt them. Because right now we ARE co-opting them. But I don’t think we should officially endorse any party.  My concern is we only have one government, one system, so if we reject parties, we cannot participate.  I love this statement; however, I am concerned about the language, which seems kind of negative and aggressive, and so I feel that this statement would benefit from further workshopping with more people.  My understanding is that movements can be co-opted or lost in three ways. The first is to die out. That’s not gonna happen. The second is for a party to take over a movement. The third is what happened in May 1968, when the entire system recoiled and found ways to invigorate itself. My concern is this does not address May 1968 and what happened to that movement.  My concern is that we have left out language regarding voting and therefore some people may see this as a call to prevent people from voting, to ask people not to vote. And that could backfire rather badly.
F: It seems as if many people have major reservations with this statement. Temperature check? *mostly negative or on the fence* In light of that it seems appropriate to table the statement for the moment. I would ask that this working group workshop this statement further and bring it back to the GA at later date. There will be an announcement in the announcement section about how you can participate in this process.  NO CONSENSUS. PROPOSAL TABLED.
33.1.4.  Sanitation Proposal  Sanitation representative: This proposal is to allocate $5,000 to storage bins so they won’t decide tomorrow to kick us out of the park. It includes 500 bins at $10 dollars a bin.  Clarifying Questions  What is the purpose of the bins?
Response: The purpose is so that people can put personal belongings in a dry space so that we save money on laundry and don’t have wet sleeping bags and stuff all over the park.  What happened to all the bins we purchased not that long ago?
Response: They were so successful they are being used everywhere. We need more.  What does keeping things dry have to do with Sanitation?
Response: If things get wet and start rotting, Sanitation has to clean them up.  Has the Community Board made a specific complaint about wet things and debris?
Response: They have three complaints: hygiene, maintenance, and noise violations. So yes.  Have you thought about using construction bags, the heaviest duty garbage bag there is?
Response: The issue with this is you can’t stack things in bags because they don’t stay in a pile.  My concern is a point of process that I had earlier about how emergency agenda items get onto the agenda.
F: I understand. I’m drafting a proposal about emergency items, since there is no process for emergency proposals at this time.  I’m concerned with the characterization—that this anti-consumerist movement has been presented, in stark terms, the need to purchase $5,000 worth of plastic bins or face eviction.
F: Noted.  I’m concerned that it will be another crisis next week, someone else could try to kick us out, and that purchasing these bins will not actually affect the decision of the Community Board.
F: Noted. It seems that people are less concerned about the substance of this proposal and more concerned about the timing.
F: Temperature check on that statement? Noncommittal.
Response: I just think that the Community Board issue is just part of this and what the gentleman earlier mentioned about the people living here being uncomfortable is a very real reason to get these bins. It has nothing to do with the Community Board.  I have a concern that regardless of the bins, people are cold and this could derail our movement. We should buy rain gear.
F: This is not the time for that concern.  TEST FOR CONSENSUS. Consensus Achieved

33.2. Working Group Report Backs

33.2.1.  Art & Culture: The NYC Halloween Parade has asked us to become part of the parade! We need donations for puppets, and we’re planning a marching band. You can contact us at Let us know how you can help.
33.2.2.  Direct Action: Today Direct Action had a second meeting of a new working subgroup that functions as a vessel through which different groups can network to plan direct action.
33.2.3.  Labor: Labor has endorsed three actions for this week. Tomorrow at 1:30 pm there is a rally at Sotheby’s for locked-out Teamsters. It’s at York Ave. and 72nd St. Or you can get here at 1 pm and there will be a bus. Also tomorrow at 2 pm here at Liberty Plaza, there will be representatives from Walmart who will be doing a teach-in. They are coming from other parts of the country. After, there will be an action outside Walmart’s office. Friday at 4:30, Verizon workers will be having strike rally. We’ll meet at 140 West St. and march up Broadway and rally at Verizon Wireless.
33.2.4.  Medical: As you know, we’ve gotten a lot of union support. One of our nurses’ unions is circulating nationally a petition that they will give to the mayor to allow us to use tents and the appropriate things inside them to stay dry, warm, and be here all winter! Also, the NYPD is barely tolerating the medical tent. With other people setting up tents, we are pushing a little too hard on their good graces. They could come in and tear down all the tents at any time. Please consider that, if you have a tent up or are planning to put a tent up, that you may be putting our clinic in a little bit of jeopardy.
33.2.5.  Divine Feminine: Tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Divine Feminine discussion group for female-bodied and female-identified individuals. There’s like 600 copies of the schedule at Info if you’re interested. It’s either at 1 pm or 4 pm, or maybe not. It’s at the Red Cube. Hope to see you there.
33.2.6.  Facilitation: We met today and realized that we need more people in Facilitation. We meet every day at 4. Come join us!
33.2.7.  Finance: We’ve been working to get funds out easier. We need rain gear and sleeping bags. Temperature check on emergency spending powers? If there’s an emergency, can a group of two or three people go out and spend without having to ask at GA or spokes council?
Point of process (PoP): None of this would be binding.

33.3.  Announcements

33.3.1.  Direct Action and Healthcare are holding a march on October 26 starting at the park to fight insurance companies.
33.3.2.  Tomorrow at 6 pm the local Community Council is meeting to discuss their desire to take away the rights of the drummers of Occupy Wall Street. This is problematic because the majority should never take away the rights of minority in a pure democracy. People in the Facilitation group have not been being neutral on this issue. They’ve been promoting anti-drumming sentiment. Drumming is a sign of protest, and for us to allow the 1% to influence the Community Council to do away with drumming is an oxymoron to what is going on. Since this is an emergency and is happening tomorrow, I ask as many people as possible to come to the Community Council tomorrow. We’ll meet here at 5 and go there together.

I would like to express a very important opinion of historical fact about drumming, Wall Street, and Occupy Wall Street’s connection to it. The very wall that we’re screaming about was built by slaves, and indentured servants and slaves were sold were the Exchange stands now. So we all need to meet at the Community Council and express that the drums are important and represent oppressed people.
33.3.3.  I’m from the Community Relations working group. We have been formulating our strategy for a Community Board meeting that’s happening tomorrow night. I’ve been empowered by the working group to represent us at the meeting. Our plan is to communicate to the Community Board, not negotiate with the Community Board, but to bring their concerns to my working group and to the GA. Our basic plan: If they put forth a proposal that threatens our ability to stay here, we will vigorously defend the actions that we have taken to address their legitimate concerns. However, if they put forth a proposal that simply encourages us to abide by certain rules, that we are already working on, that we are making progress on, then our plan is to say thank you, we hear you, we’re going to do our best, and take this back to GA. That sound okay? *positive feedback*
Objection: You’re not a drummer
Response: I will not be representing the drummers, I will be representing the Community Relations working group, and that is all, which has been empowered to have a dialogue with the Community Board and local residents in order to be better neighbors. We don’t negotiate, we don’t make promises, we serve as a conduit of communication and advocates for being better neighbors. We invite everyone to attend our working group. The next meeting is Friday at 6 pm, 60 Wall Street atrium. The Community Board meeting is at 250 Broadway. We should meet right before 6 pm. It’s open to community residents.
Someone in crowd: We live here!
F: Point of clarification: The Community Relations working group was created and given empowerment to represent Occupy Wall Street with the community residents and local businesses. And so, they’ll be representing what has been agreed upon by the GA.
Drummer: I think it’s problematic that the majority is representing the minority. You should bring drummers with you.
Response: There are drummers on the Community Relations working group.
F: One more announcement. … Two more.
33.3.4.  Tomorrow at 5 pm, Direct Action is leading our march to a public hearing that deals with the frack pipeline that being built in the West Village right now without the consent of New Yorkers. This is the last hearing before the issue is closed. Be here at 5 pm. We’re marching to the West Village for a hearing at a school on 11th Street. Meet right here at the tripod.
33.3.5.  I’m from the Trade Justice working group. On Friday, President Obama will sign trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea to outsource jobs to sweatshops. If you want to get involved, call the White House comment line tomorrow: (202) 456-1111 Tell Obama to veto these trade agreements.
F: GA adjourned at 9:20.

F: The People’s Soapbox will be open after the General Assembly. This is a chance for anybody to speak their opinions, political views, or anything else they would like to share. Announcements are for factual information only.

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