NYCGA Minutes 10/21/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.

NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 35

Meeting Date/Time: 10/21/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Lady, Amin
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.

The facilitation team meets at 4pm every day at 60 Wall Street. Everyone is invited.

AGENDA

35.1.  Action Items (Emergency Proposal from Comfort, Proposal from Structure, Proposal from Outreach, Proposal from Occupy Central Park, Proposal from Arts & Culture)

35.2.  Announcements

35.1.  Agenda Items

35.1.1.  Emergency Proposal from Comfort
35.1.1.1.  “We’re going to hire a truck and take the laundry and wash it ourselves. But we have to pay for the truck. We need $3,000 now! There are a lot of mothers here tonight. Let’s show them we can do our own laundry! “ We have an emergency agenda item. It has to do with laundry. It rained, and now we have a lot of laundry that needs to be washed, and we need to deal with it now. There is someone that we’re going to put up in time to describe the proposal. I was involved in talking to people, and we decided, before we get to the agenda, that we have this be the first agenda item to be discussed.
A few days ago, we had a lot of rain. All of the rain created a lot of wet laundry. You can see it on the other side of the plaza. It’s a mountain of wet laundry!!! Nobody wants to wash it! Several people have volunteered to assume this enormous burden for the second time. In the future, we’re going to find a better way of doing this. For right now, we need money! We’re going to hire a truck and take the laundry and wash it ourselves. But we have to pay for the truck. We need $3,000 now! There are a lot of mothers here tonight. Let’s show them we can do our own laundry! One more thing, the money is also for the machines, but we are washing the laundry – we just need a lot of quarters. We also need 15 volunteers to help load the trucks and wash the laundry. If you can help, go to the giant pile of laundry. It’s very easy to find. Thank you very much!!!!
F: In the interim, I will also clarify that we use something called progressive stack. By progressive stack we mean a process by which stack-takers are empowered to elevate certain traditionally marginalized voices, or voices that we have not heard from. Additionally, we encourage the process of Step Up, Step Back. If you’ve been talking a lot, try to step back. If you haven’t said much, please try to step up. We’d like to hear from everyone.
35.1.1.2.  Clarifying Questions

35.1.1.2.1.  My question is, is the money we are releasing from the general OWS fund, or are we trying to raise that money right now?
Response: The answer is: Both! We are desperate! This has to be done! The money we are collecting now is not going to go very far, but thank you so much for giving it. This will happen again, so we will have laundry money for the future as well.
35.1.1.2.2.  You said you were trying to come up with a plan for the future. When do you think you’ll have that?
Response: I am not personally coming up with a plan. A Laundry working group has been proposed. Nobody wants to organize it and nobody wants to be on it. This is a collective problem that we all have to find a solution to together.
35.1.1.2.3.  Clearly we don’t want all of those resources going mildew-y and being ruined. But we also don’t want this to continue happening. We need to put into place a process that will make sure that the next time it rains, people take personal responsibility.
F: Thank you. But that was a deviation from process. At the moment, we’re only fielding questions. There will be time for concerns and friendly amendments. For purposes of the process, please allow facilitators only to do mic check. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Leo. He is keeping time. Please keep your questions to one minute. We have a lot of stuff to do tonight.
35.1.1.2.4.  My question is why did Finance take so long to give money to Comfort for the laundry?
Response: That’s a great question. Comfort isn’t doing this. They can’t do this. Several people are doing this on their own because no one else will or can..
35.1.1.2.5.  I believe the question was is the truck the most economical option?

Response: To be honest, I don’t know. We don’t have any other options.
Point of Information (PoI): This gentleman here has just kindly offered to let us use his truck! cheers For free! cheers
Response: We will have two trucks. One important point: he’s not paying to do the laundry. We still have to pay for that..
35.1.1.2.6.  How does a new free truck affect the overall cost, and is it now lower?
Response: So, I sat in on the conversation, which was happening in a very urgent manner. I understood that the truck and the driver were recommended by a union that is in solidarity with OWS. I also understood from the driver that his fee to your question was five hundred dollars. The individuals that are taking the lead with dealing with this issue are estimating last time we did this it cost us 5000 dollars. This time were taking the laundry out of Manhattan. Last time they used two services. I don’t know where it went! This time were using one service. It’s going to Inwood. It’s going to take 5 trips, and 6 or more hours to do everything.
35.1.1.2.7.  My concern is that if this is a repeat problem. If this is a repeat problem it might be wise for us to reconsider how we can use these resources. It might be easier to mobilize a lot of people around doing a direct action that involves Wall Street’s doing laundry, and getting the state to pay for it.

35.1.1.2.8.  Have you considered promising the laundry all our future business if they will pick up and give us a discount?
Response: Let me clarify: we are doing the laundry with many, many quarters. The service we’re paying for, in addition to the truck, is simply to use the machines.
35.1.1.2.9.  Abdullah one: I thought they were buying the machines with 3,000 dollars. You will get from me one day to hold your laundry. Let’s do this again you will get one day of my time to haul your laundry to the Laundromat.
Response: Let me just say from the bottom of my heart for that offer. We may need that in the future, but we need to do this right now. The laundry has been sitting around for two days already. We’re already having to load it onto the truck.
Point of process (PoP): over here. We have yet to hear the people presenting the proposal telling us the exact amended amount that they’re asking for now that the truck and driver have been graciously provided by our comrade over here.
Response: As I mentioned, this is an emergency. We are unable to use this gentleman’s services tonight. As in right now. As in, it’s happening right now over there. I also want to remind everyone that the laundry belongs to everybody. It’s our collective responsibility, and we’re trying to do something about it. In the future, we hope we’ll be better prepared.
35.1.1.2.10.  It sounds like the truck is already here and we already committed to this action. How are we proposing this after already committing to it?
Response: That’s a very good point. You may be right. I am just a messenger. The people who are doing this took action. They asked me to make this proposal. If the proposal is not accepted, I honestly don’t know what they were planning to do. It was a crisis, so they acted.
F: Thank you. We have a lot of allies and a lot of them have trucks. Next time I propose that we reach out to them, to save our money.
35.1.1.3.  TEST FOR CONSENSUS: ACHIEVED
F: Thank you very much! I think that this is an achievement that we all share collectively. Please visit the library!
[Editor’s Note: The next three paragraphs seem out of place, but not sure where they should go. The original note-taker may have copy & pasted or something?]

I have a question about this proposal. I’m wondering, given the raised issues that have been brought up repeatedly about this movement, what we plan to do to make sure that the spokes council is not overwhelmingly white and male?
At the very beginning of this process, we spoke about two things: respecting each other, and respecting the process. And the reason we do that is so we can have all voices heard. And I hear your concerns, and I highlighted how as a society we’re divided along many lines. And race is one of them.
Back to what we’re talking about. In this space, more than anywhere else I can imagine, we can talk about race. We can talk to each other about the discrimination we do every day to each other. The only reason I’m doing this right now, and I’m stepping out and I’m really not fitting in the process is because I don’t want this movement to be misunderstood. This movement is what we can make it. And I don’t want to silence a voice, just because I’m a facilitator, without explaining what I’m doing. We have a process so we can address all these things. But we have agenda items that we must stick to, so collectively we can make decisions, and we can propel this movement to change our reality. Now we have another agenda item.
35.1.2.  Structure Proposal

35.1.2.1.  Hi I’m Marissa, I’m from the Structure working group. As was stated, we have been meeting for two weeks or so now. We have had many discussions about how to improve this process. We want to keep the participatory, horizontal, and directly democratic nature of this movement. However, a lot of our working groups are having difficulty communicating and coordinating, so we suggested in a proposal last night that we adopt a spokes council model. Many of you here had an opportunity to review this proposal. We broke out into small groups and took all of your wonderful suggestions. We synthesized these suggestions and amended the proposal.

Many of you voiced concerns about the lack of GA time in the schedule. In the new proposal, the GA will meet four times a week: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Another concern was that it was unclear how clusters would form out of existing groups. Therefore, we created a charter process for clusters. So now, working groups and caucuses will bring their charters directly to their clusters. Those clusters will then bring those charters to the spokes council for approval. And each cluster will receive one spoke at the spokes council. There were also concerns about disagreements within clusters. Some of you asked how to mediate disagreements. The new proposal suggests that a spoke must reflect all sentiments within a cluster, even if they differ! There was also a concern that we would limit the types of caucus clusters. In the new proposal, we are not limiting it. So we compromised by asking caucuses to self-organize into clusters, but clarified that only clusters will have spokes, and the spokes council will not micromanage these or any other clusters. We recognize that thematic groups were not adequately addressed in last night’s proposal. In the new proposal, we clarified that thematic groups will not have a charter, but they also do not have spokes in the spokes council. They will be autonomous, and be able to bring forth proposals to the GA. Our intention was to not limit the plurality of voices or kinds of political discussions. If a thematic group wants to bring a proposal to the spokes council, they can work with the appropriate cluster. For example, Alternative Economies may be considered a thematic group, but it would make sense for them to work with Finance on projects for the Occupation.

The spokes council model that we’re proposing is a confederated direct democracy. It allows us to keep our culture, but to also make logistical and financial decisions for OWS. An example of such a decision would be how to do laundry. The spokes council will not speak for the Occupation as a whole. It will continue to hold political debates. Many of you expressed an interest in spokes councils, but wanted to know more about how they would work in practice. We are not reinventing the wheel. Literally. Other movements have used this structure. Tonight, we’re going to hear from some of those movements.
One of those movements was the anti-globalization movement. The spokes council was used for many years all over the world. In the United States, in Chiapas, Mexico, and in India. We use spokes councils to plan giant actions and to make directly democratic decisions in confederations across the continent. This model was also used very effectively in China during the time of Tiananmen Square. Is the gentleman from Tiananmen Square here? Chang Yung?
If he comes later this evening, and people are interested in talking to him, we will point him out. He was here last evening, and wanted to present to all of you. We would also like to introduce Bobby, who is from Sanitation.
35.1.2.1.2.  Hey everyone! I’m Bobby! I clean the park every day! Last week we were facing an eviction problem, largely based on issued of sanitation. Sanitation brought to the GA a proposal earlier in the week to purchase storage containers. It passed with amendments. The containers had to be Fair Trade. They had to be bought on Craigslist. That was impossible. The GA is beautiful. I used be a sailor. This movement is our democratic ship. The GA is at the helm. But we need rigging and sails so we don’t crash on the rocks! If the sails suck, we can get different sails. Love you guys!
35.1.2.1.3.  Direct Action WORKING GROUP: I don’t have a speech. The other day, in Direct Action, we consented as a working group that we’re in support of the spokes council model, and that it would help us work. Direct Action likes the spokes council model.
35.1.2.1.4.  Before we hear from any speakers, or any people who have clarifying questions, we’re going to take the next five minutes to review this proposal. Copies of this proposal have been circulating. The underlines are the amendments from last night’s suggestions.

Point of Process (PoP): Could we have more proposals circulating to the back? (And to the front!)
So just a reminder, we’re taking five minutes to make sure everyone got a chance to look over the proposal. Also, while more copies circulate, it has been brought to my attention that the Laundry crew needs ten volunteers to help with Laundry. If you could kindly volunteer, because we all need laundry done, please make your way back to the heaping pile of laundry. Also, feel free to share your copies of the proposal. It could be a great way to make a friend. If you have a friend that you’re standing next to that is holding a sheet of paper, please pass the next one on. If you don’t have a friend, make one.

[proposal is available online at www.nycga.net/spokes-council]
The five minutes are over. Do the people feel that we need more time?
GA: WEEKS!
For purposes of tonight, do people feel like we need more time before we move on to questions? If you’re in favor of more time now do this [spirit fingers], if you’re not, do this [down fingers].
Mic check! So we’re seeing a lot this [negative fingers} so we’re going to go on to address clarifying questions. But first: a brief announcement from Direct Action.
Direct Action Announcement: Hello brothers and sisters! Maybe you haven’t heard yet: tonight there’s a midnight occupation. For 35 days we have occupied this square. We’re not leaving! Tonight we occupy Columbus Circle. [cheers] At 9:30 pm, we meet at this red structure and start with a subway party. We will take the one train from Rector Street to 96th street at 10:30 pm. We meet Pete Seeger. Tell Seeger and others to march and sing together from 95th and Broadway to Columbus circle. At midnight tonight we occupy the circle. Pete Seeger may be 92 years old but he hasn’t forgot what it means to fight for social justice. This will be fun, we will sing, we will show this messed up system what it means to be beautiful. 9:30 pm at the red structure. Thank you.
35.1.2.2.  Questions

35.1.2.2.1.  My name is Nan. I’m with several groups in this movement. I stand with these people and the people of America. I wish to make concern with this new amendment. I find there’s a lot of fault and not fair for everybody. My question is: how this amendment will affect those individuals that find themselves victims on their different working groups because of this amendment.
Response: Many of us are in different working groups and caucuses. During the spokes council, you can either choose to sit with just one or to get up and move. We will create the space so it’s easy to find the different clusters, which will also help you to join a new one. {agreement spirit fingers}.
35.1.2.2.2.  My question is concern about segregation. For example: Occupy the Hood was started to combat and discuss the severe economic injustice in specific communities. Shortly thereafter, the People of Color Caucus was formed. People in Occupy the Hood want to represent themselves. So how would that work?
Response: Answering both of her questions: first about Occupy the Hood. I speak with Malik (of Occupy the Hood) often. This would be a completely different occupation that OWS has no bearing over. As for the caucuses, they will have their own cluster to address issues where they feel their voices were marginalized. I am a member of the People of Color caucus and am in full support of the spokes council. [cheers] Thank you.
35.1.2.2.3.  My question was why thematic groups are specifically excluded from having their own spokes and clusters. Information about how members of thematic groups can join working groups does not answer that question.
Response: We are not excluding thematic groups from being part of the greater Occupy movement. We are very excited about all the ideas coming out of Occupy Wall Street. We want to encourage many, many ideas. We did not want to create another council to limit thematic groups. We also wanted to be clear that the working group spokes council would deal with logistical and financial decisions. We also were responding to your concern voiced last night about declarations and statements that are idea-based, that represent us as a whole, not having to go through the spokes council, as we originally proposed. So thematic groups will bring their ideas directly to the GA.
35.1.2.2.4.  It says in the proposal that in two week’s time, the GA will review the spokes council. How will that look and specifically if at that time, we are divided over whether to keep the council, will it be dissolved? Or will we need a consensus to dissolve it?

Response: To be clear: if the GA should decide by consensus to dissolve the spokes council in two weeks, the spokes council will be dissolved. To answer further, you are correct. Our concern with requiring to consent to form the spokes council again is that it takes many days to bring this proposal forward and the people in our midst change so dramatically, which is an amazing thing, that in two weeks, we’ll have to explain it over many days again. [spirit fingers, positive]
35.1.2.2.5.  Can you guarantee that the well-publicized in-door location for the next spokes council won’t require the occupiers to pay $2.25 each way to get there and back?
Response: We agree. It has to be in walking distance..
35.1.2.2.6.  Hi! It says in the proposal a cluster can recall their spoke at any time if they are failing to adequately reflect the will of the cluster. I have a concern what will happen if the spoke has already made decisions, and the cluster decides that was not the reflection of their will. Will there be a process to rescind the decision?
Response: Your question is a good one. The members of the clusters will be in attendance and if a proposal is so big and important that it needs to go back to the working groups, a cluster can propose that at any time. This spokes council is not perfect. It will require that we build trust with each other. But for many of us, that is the point of being in a movement. You will be able to recall your spoke, but our hope is that you will be able to communicate well with your spoke.
35.1.2.2.7.  Love and respect. Hey guys. Will you, that are bringing forth this proposal, which we all want to get with if we understand it, take five days, do some time in the park with us, instead of in separate, secluded offices, and discuss it with each group within the park? This is where the occupation is happening. Kitchen, medic, security, etc. Will you do face time? Thank you! Love!
Response: That is also a very important concern. To be clear: this proposal came out of open GA discussions, discussions that were public and announced at three GA’s and this whole week. We’ve been going to the coordinators meeting to explain the proposal and ask the working groups if they want us to come to their groups to describe the proposal in person. Many of them requested that we do so, and we described the proposal in person. It sounds as though security did not get that opportunity. We’d be happy to talk with you.
35.1.2.2.8.  Because kitchen, medic, security has real time jobs to do, we may not hear the GA. Lots of people deal in our areas all day, all night. So the question remains: will you do face time until the park is satisfied that they are being discussed with? Since you are proposing this, it should be vetted well for obvious reasons.
Response: Although very pertinent, and this process needs time, we must stick with the process. For now, we’d like to take more clarifying questions. If you all cannot come to any agreement tonight, like any proposal, we will have to table it. We have been trying to reach all of you for three weeks. It has been difficult, and we are sorry.
Point of Information (PoI): This proposal was workshopped over a half dozen times in six different meetings of over a hundred people. It was brought to two different GA’s. This has been the most transparent proposal we’ve ever had.
35.1.2.2.9.  Hi I’m Stephanie! The proposal says working groups have the autonomy to make decisions relevant to their own needs, composition, or operation. My question is: can the GA override this autonomy if an issue arises about the operation in a group that the GA does not feel is being run in a way that reflects our values?
Response: That is a complicated question because you are asking also about the GA. Our proposal is about the spokes council. (text missing) It is this community that will have to decide the jurisdiction of the GA.
35.1.2.2.10.  The proposal states that the spokes council approves the charters of working groups and caucuses. Those are the entities that vote on the spokes council and make all financial decisions. That makes the spokes council self-selecting. {agreement} Does that not concentrate power?
Response: To clarify: working groups and caucuses would produce charters for their clusters. Those clusters would produce charters for the spokes council. This body, the GA, is bringing into being the spokes council so working groups are not creating the spokes council.
Response: Can I clarify further? Last night there were many groups that voiced your concern. So the proposal was amended. This is confusing, we’re sorry. An example: If there is an Arts and Culture cluster that has got a spoke on the spokes council, new arts working groups can just go to that cluster and join the cluster. We would like those clusters to have the ability to have some autonomy. So if a working group is extremely disruptive, we would like the clusters to have the ability to address this. Again this requires trust. There is no system that is perfect. But in response to your concern: we are decentralizing the power.
The spokes council would be approving charters from the clusters. Working group clusters and caucus clusters. They would not be micromanaging the individual working groups or caucuses. The power resides in working groups in caucuses, not in the council. The council has no power to act autonomously.
35.1.2.2.11.  Are affinity groups the same as thematic groups?
Response: Affinity groups are not specifically addressed in this proposal. Traditionally, historically, affinity groups are based on trust and political affinity. Thematic groups that are addressed in this proposal operate as forums for education and discussions around particular topics for issue areas. They are not the same as affinity groups. Particularly, they will be open for new members..
PoI: Direct action works has a hob and invites all affinity groups who would like to partake in direct action to be a part of the Direct Action cluster. Please!
35.1.2.3.  Concerns
35.1.2.3.1.  Hi I’m Anna. I’m concerned about the pitfalls of modified consensus in the spokes council system. Depending on the number of clusters, a decision could be made without the support of the entire cluster or more. This could potentially drown out the voice of a caucus cluster representing marginalized people, not to mention individuals marginalized within the cluster.
Response: In response: each cluster, both working group clusters and caucus clusters, would have one spoke each on the spokes council. I’m hearing a second generation. I don’ think that’s necessary. Thank you. So working group spokes would have to work with the caucus spokes to reach consensus in the council so they would not drown out the caucuses. In this system, caucuses are very empowered. Not only do they have all the power of working groups, but they also have the additional power within their clusters to block proposals that the spokes council is working on if they feel it relates specifically to their area of system marginalization. In addition, we are using modified consensus of 9/10ths in this proposal because that is the culture of this GA and we didn’t feel like we should take the license to change that. At a later date, either the GA or the spokes council can decide to move to full consensus. But we can decide that later.
35.1.2.3.2.  I have many concerns. I believe that this proposal is being rushed. No matter how much we are told that it has been discussed, it remains unclear. As such, I plan to propose two amendments. One would be that the GA would have the power to dissolve the spokes council at any time via consensus. The other is that the GA would periodically, perhaps every two weeks, have to re-ratify the spokes council via consensus.
Response: Thank you for your concern. We have been meeting for 3 weeks now discussing this proposal. We’ve workshopped it to death. We sought input from working groups, from the GA’s, and we’d love to continue the conversation. Ideas around process are open to ideas. In response to the two amendments: they can’t be considered friendly because we would do this constantly. We would never have time to discuss the larger questions, political questions, of OWS and the larger occupy movement. We don’t want to just have meetings.
PoI: Not every working group can bring the proposals that they want to the GA in a timely manner. Obviously we’ve lost well over a hundred people tonight. It’s a long process.
35.1.2.3.3.  I’m concerned because I’m confused. I was given a piece of paper for the first time today two hours ago. I was here yesterday. I gave feedback, now I have this paper. I’m still confused, and so are other people. Can’t we take a little bit more time, have a table permanently here, staffed by the structure group who knows what they’re talking about, so we can explain and iterate how this process will work? So less than ten percent of people are confused?
Response: Our concern is that if we table it till Monday, you all may not be here and it will start all over again.
35.1.2.3.4.  I am concerned that we are not doing all that we can to prevent the problem of self-selectivity in the spokes council. Towards that end, if the only grounds on which a cluster may legitimately exclude a working group is there disruptive behavior, then I think that should be specified in the proposal. But if a cluster may exclude a working group because the cluster views that group’s work as not sufficiently logistical, or beneficial, then the spokes council starts to seem to me like a self-selecting body. And I think that’s a problem.
Response: At the moment, we have like 50 working groups. We don’t know what they’re doing. We don’t have transparency. We don’t have communication. Why? Because these groups are coming to the GA. They don’t see the GA as an effective decision-making body for day-to-day concerns. This spokes council would force these groups to be transparency in public, meet in public, make their decisions in public, so we’d all have a better idea of what’s going on and how to plug in.
35.1.2.3.5.  Good evening. I got a ton of concerns. I know I don’t have time. It sounds like this is a hierarchy, maybe I’m misinformed. When it gets colder, and the GA is not as large, will the council supersede the GA? And will the GA become marginalized?
Response: Just to be clear: this spokes council model is not a hierarchy. It decentralizes power. It gives power to working groups and caucuses. It would never supersede the GA. It does different work than the GA. The spoke council would deal with logistical and financial decisions, whereas the GA would deal with larger political questions about OWS and the greater movement.
35.1.2.3.6.  I’m Isaac. It is very concerning to me that the proposers will not accept a friendly amendment to state that the GA can dissolve the SC [spokes council, referred to as SC in this text from here on] with consensus. That is alarming.
Response: The friendly amendment was that we review the SC every two weeks. We had a discussion earlier about this very proposal. I think many of us think it’s a good idea. [[Minutes note: there are a couple of sentences missing]] Our concern is that the SC could be dissolved by people who don’t have this movement’s interests at heart. That is our concern. What if we make a friendly amendment…I’m screwing up sorry…that if someone wanted to dissolve the SC, we come up with a process where there’s adequate time for everyone to come and speak for or against it. And then go through a process.
35.1.2.3.7.  Hello. I’m Andrew. My concern with this proposal is that if it does not pass very soon, the winter and the additional stress on our already stressed infrastructure (as was displayed with laundry tonight), will crumble.
35.1.2.3.8.  My concern is about invisible leaders. I had raised a concern a couple weeks ago that people in the Women’s caucus and the People of Color Caucus and society at large in the media were feeling that this movement was being represented by predominantly men who are not of color. I brought it to a couple working groups and ever since then, I have been bullied and attacked by a few individuals in facilitation. My concern is that there is not enough content in this proposal considering the importance of diversity. Thank you.
Response: That is an excellent concern. The language in the proposal around diversity…. The People of Color caucus helped to draft that language in their own structure sub-committee and it came back to us. In addition, the desire behind the proposal came out of a desire to empower marginalized voices. The caucuses have more power to make unilateral decisions than any of the other working groups. It was obvious to us that the GA has not been a particularly welcoming space for marginalized voices. We have done our best in facilitation to make this better. The SC model we hope will improves this.

35.1.2.3.9.  I have a concern that we’re not giving enough trust in our process to believe that the people who have worked long and hard on this proposal have the best interests of our movement at heart. I would encourage everybody to trust more. Thank you.
F: Lady will step down temporarily from stack taker to participate in this discussion.
35.1.2.3.10.  My concern…my name is Lady…my concern is that many people not only do not trust others, but they do not trust themselves. They are working against each other because they do not know themselves. They are working against each other because they limit themselves. They limit this movement. It is important to move forward in this process. This is an evolution. This is not a revolution. With every revolution, there is war. We do not want a war. What we want is to get each and every point across because it’s not about Occupy Wall Street. It’s about the individual ideas that everyone has come with.
35.1.2.3.11.  My concern is that we just had the new amendment and five minutes is not enough to review the proposal. And I would like for us to have more time to read it. To review it before we make any decisions.
35.1.2.3.12.  I’m the right David. It was proposed yesterday that the SC was to be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The GA was supposed to be on Saturdays and Sundays. On Tuesday and Thursday nights were to be cultural nights where we had musical events and such. I think that was a great idea, and I don’t want to lose that. So maybe we can narrow that down to one night a week.
Response: We agree with you. Our problem was: many people didn’t. So we decided to leave it to the GA. Outside of this proposal if the GA wants to take down their nights, you can decide that here. It was just confusing the proposal. We’ll support you!
35.1.2.3.13.  My concern is regarding the decision to place financial decisions with the SC. In light of this, I will read a quote from Amschel Rothschild: give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws. We need to find a way to have everybody participate individually in financial decisions. And in fact, we do have the means of communication to do so.
Response: In the existing system, with the GA, we have working groups like finance that operate autonomously. There’s no check that works on their power. Financial decisions require much deliberation. They also require that people know the day-to-day operations of the working groups that keep the occupation going. The SC model made of working groups would be the most effective body because they will know how things are operating. They will be able to check each other and keep financial decisions transparent. Also: this body will be open to observation whereas now, working groups don’t have one meeting time other than the coordination meeting (that is public). Let me clarify further: one of the reasons behind the SC having decision making power over finances is that budgets need to be made and debated in an open way. Where everybody can see all the money, where it’s going, and talk about it. And that can’t happen very well in the GA and so the SC, which is completely open, is a space for that conversation to happen.
PoI: Just really quick: I’m from finance. We have been begging for something like a SC, specifically because working groups don’t want to spend five hours trying to get money…or when they need money, in a timely manner, can’t get it through the GA. So everything they just said is what we’ve been begging for for three weeks. On top of that, I think you’ll notice here that while this is a great forum for concerns, it sometimes has some trouble with synthesizing ideas. If you put money in the picture, it gets even harder. I know, I’ve tried to pass budgets through the GA.
PoI: Real quick: anyone can join a working group. So anyone can make a decision about money.
I just want to add to the comment that was just raised: yes all working groups are open. Also: if people join working groups, they will be more active, more directly participatory in this process. They will know more about how things are operating than if they just show up at the GA. An SC will make it easier for people to know how to join a working group.
Additionally, I noticed that in the SC proposal there is a section for a spoke for occupiers who live here even if they don’t belong to a working group.
35.1.2.3.14.  I have a couple of concerns. My first concern is about our ability to facilitate small group meetings. And when I say small groups, I mean the clusters…there could be like 50 people. I’m wondering if there’s going to be lots of training in facilitation that’s not just GA facilitation, but encourages discussion and consensus building within the clusters. My other concern is about enforcement. Within the GA, we’ve already had the problem that we make decisions here and they can’t be binding on the rest of the community. Because some people just weren’t here. I think the same problem will happen with the SC and I’m wondering how we’re gonna deal with that.
Response: Let me speak to that. Your first point is excellent, as is your second one. Not every member of every cluster needs to show up at the SC. Instead, clusters can meet independently, come to consensus, send…[text missing]. They don’t need to come to consensus at the SC.
35.2.30 One very different part of this proposal based on your feedback is that if a group is in a cluster, and they can’t get their cluster to consent to their proposal, their spokesperson will still bring their proposal to the SC. We thought this was a good idea. We definitely know that facilitation is an ongoing challenge and we hope to continue facilitation training and also to train many of you to facilitate SC. It’s easier than facilitating GA’s.
PoI: At the facilitation meeting today, a number of us consensed upon establishing a table on the premises of Zuccotti Park that would be manned for 9 hours to train any person in facilitation at any time that they are available. We haven’t totally figured it out yet but it should be up and running early next week.
35.1.2.3.15.  My concern is that GA will have no financial power if the SC is empowered as the proposal stands now.
Response: Just to be clear: all of you here tonight could join working groups or caucuses. You can be part of the new SC. The spokes in the SC have no power in and of themselves. They rotate every meeting. Ideally, everyone would be a spoke. This is a way to decentralize power and encourage active participation so that all of you can contribute more than you are today.
The SC is also more transparent. We want it on livestream. We want every decision and every budget on the website after every meeting. This is explicitly outlined in the proposal that all minutes will be posted on nycga.cc.
35.1.2.3.16.  First I apologize: I’ve spoken a lot. But this issue is really big and there are a lot of concerns and everyone needs to get all of their concerns addressed. I personally have many, and I’m sure many of you do as well. My first concern is that it appears that the people proposing the SC are attempting to limit and take away the power of the GA with saying you can always join a working group. It wouldn’t be necessary to say that if they would allow GA to retain the power that they have and share it with the SC. The GA does not have to give up the power to make budgets to also allow the SC to. My time is up, I have a lot more concerns.
F: How does everyone feel about hearing the rest of his concerns? [agreement fingers]
35.1.2.3.16.  (Continued) Working group charters being made in the clusters and clustered charters being made in the SC, it’s been said before is self-selecting. These charters could be made in the GA. If thematic groups and individuals not residing in the park are excluded because they do not need to be represented by the logistical concerns dealt with by the SC, why is it that caucuses do need to be there? Caucuses and individuals need to be able to be in the same place.
Response: The reason we have caucuses and not thematic groups is because thematic groups are generally formed based on opinion. Really important opinions. There’s a difference between having a great idea and being a marginalized group. We definitely want to create a space to elevate the voices of marginalized groups. There are many thematic groups that through their ideas do work. Like the alternative economy group. They are creating a conference, this then is work. So many thematic works would then become working groups. But while they are in the realm of ideas, they are not a working group. This is a fluid process. When they start doing work that is to the benefit of all, they then would propose themselves to an appropriate cluster. Our hope is that people in this movement are not exclusionary and if one cluster got exclusionary, other clusters would have a problem with it. We hope the majority of you would help us all maintain a democratic ethic of the SC. But yes, if we all decide to be fascists, it could be really bad. We’re going to work on creating a SC that helps educate us and make us more democratic through the process of participation and dialogue. Also this proposal is a living document. It can be added to, amended, we can talk about it, add addendums…join the structure working group. It’s an open group.
35.1.2.3.17.  Clarifying question: You just described a process whereby a thematic group might become a working group, which I found confusing, cause it is my understanding that all thematic groups do work, it’s just that the working groups in the SC do work that is specific to the occupation logistics. Organizing a conference is not that kind of work. Is that correct?
Response: If a group wanted to become a working group or a caucus, they would submit a charter to a cluster. For example: the alternative economies group. If they intend to become a working group, they’d submit a charter to say, finance and those clusters would decide whether they were a valid group. We’re not saying that they would or would not because we don’t have a charter in front of us. We want to leave that up to the clusters so that we’re not micromanaging.
35.1.2.4.  Friendly Amendments

F:   I would like to say that I personally trust that the working group is attempting to act in the best interest of all of us here. I also understand that this is a super duper confusing proposal. Two suggestions: on the one hand, we could table this tonight, come back another night, and find a way to demonstrate the difference between the GA model down and the SC model across so that we would understand better. Alternatively, I’d ask of the group if they would consider implementing a two week time limit if we approve the proposal tonight, such that the proposal expires unless the GA chooses to renew it. Thank you.
F: We are going to hear all of the friendly amendments and then the structure working group will address them.
35.1.2.4.1.  Hi I’m Sully. I propose the proposal be explicit that the GA can still pass financial proposals even though the spokes would also be empowered to make financial proposals.
35.1.2.4.2.  I propose that in this plan, that neither the GA nor the SC will have the right to sanction a working group before they have had the opportunity to respond to allegations that have been made against them. I am part of the demands working group, and there were false statements made against the group at the GA assembly that members of the Demands working group spoke to the press in the name of the whole Occupy Wall Street.
PoP: We’re only stopping you because I see a lot of point of processes. Your voice is important, we all want to hear what you have to say, but we must respect the process so we can respect each other. Right now we are addressing friendly amendments for this proposal. If you have a friendly amendment for this proposal, we can only suggest that you frontload your statement with that friendly amendment. If you could please restate your friendly amendment, it will be taken down for consideration. This has been going on for a long time and flourishes, while expanding detail, are not a luxury we can afford at this time.
35.1.2.4.3.  My friendly amendment is that neither the GA nor the SC has the right to sanction a working group before they have had an opportunity to respond to the allegations that have been made against them. An example of the problem is what was done to the demands working group.
F: Thank you for that friendly amendment.
35.1.2.4.4.  I have a couple friendly amendments. The first one has to do with ratification of the charters. Mainly that it would be nice if the charters were not permanent and had some kind of refresh mechanism. I’m a little worried that clusters determine those charters. We’re capable of determining those charters. Another amendment: feedback loops between GA and SC. There’s nothing like checks and balances here, it’s weird. Also: it’d be good if the SC had to deal with smaller amounts of money. Perhaps the GA deals with large amounts of money?
35.1.2.4.5.  Hi! My friendly amendment is that in the places where autonomy is mentioned, it specifies autonomy within the SC and that in the relationship to GA, there is something about the GA’s jurisdiction, so that it is clear that it can still make decisions regarding operations, or some kind of amendments if necessary. Was that clear?
Response: GA part wasn’t clear.
35.1.2.4.5.  (Continued) I’ll try to clarify. It feels like there should be some clarification about the GA’s relationship to the SC and that it should have the authority to amend the SC. Does that make sense? It’s related to the checks and balances issue that the other guy said.
35.1.2.4.6.  Hello I am going to break point of process. I would like to warn everyone that this is very similar to a process that we are here to get out of. It is bureaucratic, it is micromanaging, and I don’t like it. I also do not like groups, because they are a direct road to classicism. Thank you.
F: I want to remind everyone that the process of direct democracy is difficult. And we’re all learning it. And we need to be patient with each other. And I made mistakes, and we all make mistakes. But part of what we’re doing in this square is building solidarity and so, let’s try to respect the process, and respect each other.
35.1.2.4.7.  I propose that we amend the proposal to specify that for now, the only legitimate reason for a working group to be denied a charter, or to have the charter revoked, is because of disruptive behavior, and depend upon our democratic ethos and trust to prevent those who should not be participating as working groups in the SC from doing so. With the understanding that if this doesn’t work out and things get too congested or crazy, or log jammed in the SC, it could come back and request more power to exclude working groups.
F: Stack is now closed for friendly amendments.
35.1.2.4.8.  I propose to amend the proposal to include a provision that would allow the GA to dissolve the SC at a meeting of the GA that has been announced 48 hours in advance.
I have a second amendment that the GA should from time to time have to reach an affirmative consensus in order to keep the SC in power.
35.1.2.4.9.  Breakout groups work great. Why don’t we just turn the GA into an SC thing?
35.1.2.4.10.  Sage: My friendly amendment is if we have an SC, we need to form sleep work group so that whether or not members of our sleeping population have a work group, their needs are represented at the SC. And that spoke will be responsible for relaying that information back to the people who sleep here. The other friendly amendment is that wherever these meetings take place, they should always be able to be protested somehow. So that no matter what we do, we never become hypocritical asking the world to accept our protests while we internally only accept those people who behave the way we want to.
35.1.2.4.11.  I apologize for speaking twice. I have a quick friendly amendment that we bring back the Tuesday and Thursday cultural events. I just think that’s great.
Response: Like last night, many of these suggestions are good. There’s also a lot of repetition. And we heard it. What we’d like to propose is two friendly amendments: one is that the GA will have power to dissolve the SC. We would like there to be one week notice for it to be announced in the GA, in the SC, and on the web so that we aren’t caught by surprise and people can address it and have adequate time to prepare. How do people like that amendment?
The second amendment is that we agree that language should be the basis for excluding a working group, or if they exhibit disruptive behavior.
Point of Clarification PoC): who would determine what disruptive is?
Response: All of these details we will have to determine together. There is not a way we could write a whole law on all of the different ways someone can be disruptive. It will have to be, again, a moment of trust for us to figure it out together. If a working group felt wronged, they could bring it to the SC. All of these details we will continue to figure out as a community. Again, this is a living document. If anyone has suggestions, they can always join a structure working group. Also I think there’s some confusion between the SC and the GA. Everyone who’s here tonight and on future nights is in the GA and could also be a part of the SC. Also campers, people who don’t necessarily belong to a working group but who stay here, have their own spoke on the SC. You have to understand the very simple picture on your printout does not show that.
It is written in your proposal in the picture from the web, it’s written there that the occupiers have a spoke. Also I want to be clear that this is not about creating a hierarchy or centralizing power. This is about destroying implicit hierarchies that exist due to the lack of structure!!!
F: Can we get a temperature check on how we feel about passing this proposal? Are there any blocks?
35.1.2.5.  Five blocks
F: What we did was we heard the proposal, then we heard concerns, and those concerns were addressed. And then we asked for friendly amendments, and then the structure working group accepted two friendly amendments. And now they’re asking this body to pass the proposal in your hand. Temperature check says people feel good. So we move to consensus. And when we move to consensus, we’re counting blocks. When we see those blocks, the structure group will decide how to proceed…Those who make the block will have to explain their position. Once that process is over, we’ll move to see whether there’s consensus. If there is no consensus, we could move to modified consensus, which is a 9/10th’s vote. However, after counting the blocks, that is for the structure working group to decide. They may decide to table it. That’s where we’re at. So we move to consensus. Those who are blocking, make your block visible.
F: There is a question to clarify what a block means. A block is like a veto. A veto is made in very serious extenuating circumstances. It is when there is a moral, ethical, safety concern with the proposal. It’s extremely serious. It means you feel in danger or find that the proposal is totally reprehensible.
PoI: The way I understand it is that the block and the concern is not just individual to the person doing the block, but is a concern for the whole group.
So now we will see if the group doing the proposal would like to hear the blocks.
F: We just spoke to the Structure working group. The Structure working group has been notified that in this body there are seven blocks. And they were asked if they would like to hear the blocks. And their response was, if that concern has not already been stated in clear terms, please explain your blocks. So now we will hear from the people who have a block. If you have a block in the back please come up. [counting blocks] 15 blocks
35.1.2.5.1.  My blocked concern is how many people are here right now voting on this. There’s a whole population over there right now that is not here, that this decision directly affects. I have other concerns just as serious that I’ll leave for later.
35.1.2.5.2.  This document was just given to us five hours ago. I have an ethical problem with the process in which a document is given to us which we don’t have time to review. We need at least a few days with the final document.
35.1.2.5.3.  I feel that the Structure working group didn’t put enough effort to make a public call to find another system besides this one and reach out to the people at universities or place an offer on the website for people to bring another proposal.
35.1.2.5.4.  Hi. I just think we need more time to think about this. It’s a very big change.
35.1.2.5.5.  What I believe is we do not need that new system. What we need to do is to work hard to make the GA a better system for everybody because the GA is the body of everybody here. We do not need another system, because Rome was not built in one day.
35.1.2.5.6.  I have serious moral and ethical concerns with this proposal. I really don’t think it really puts the concern of diversity at the top. I also have a concern with invisible leaders who are misusing their roles and bullying people they don’t like. I’m concerned that the SC model will disenfranchise voters that are members of certain groups, and some groups are larger than other groups, and yet they will have only one vote, and I think that will spell out inequality.
PoP: can we please not use misrepresentative language. We have no voters, we don’t vote.
35.1.2.5.7.  My concern is with the working groups, the way they’ve been functioning already. Anything that strengthens these working groups, whether the spokes revolve around the groups or not, as long as we keep on being addicted to centralization, we’ll keep on forming lockups and keeping a dependency on people who make themselves too vital. So unless we develop a culture that will digest the people who don’t make themselves a part of this process into the process, I don’t want to support anything that will solidify the hold that the workgroup culture already has.
35.1.2.5.8.  I have a concern that the lack of democracy under the present structure, as exemplified by the attack on the demands working group with unsubstantiated claims that the group was not allowed to defend themselves but nonetheless were punished. If we don’t deal with the anti-democratic structure we have now, it will simply be replicated in this new structure.
35.1.2.5.9.  I blocked because questions, concerns, friendly amendments: Stack was closed on all of those, and was not opened after it was closed. There were concerns and amendments that were not voiced. There were concerns that were voiced that haven’t been addressed, and concerns that were addressed that haven’t been resolved. There were many concerns brought up, the working group accepted only two of them. …. I don’t believe there is meaningful consensus. I believe a lot of people didn’t block because of the emphasis put on not blocking by facilitation in the past and just wanting to get this done with tonight.
35.1.2.5.10.  I blocked because I view the general assembly as the initial legitimate voice of this movement. And what this proposal wants to do is change that, and not allow the general assembly to continue in that role. Specifically financially, but also in some other roles, and I feel that’s a mistake. I feel that both groups can play those roles.
35.1.2.5.11.  Mic check. I really love SC’s and I don’t have a concern that I don’t think can’t be addressed. While I am still worried that this proposal will disenfranchise people who come to cluster groups, get fedup with crappy process, and just give up. I’m willing to give it a try but I do think that the finance question needs to be addressed. For the sole reason that the SC will only meet 3 times a week. Almost every night, we have financial proposals coming to the GA. If we need to spend money, that working group might not want to wait until the next SC. That’s all.
35.1.2.5.12.  Although I agree with formation of caucuses, I have a problem with creating clusters based on not the work produced, but race gender and gender identity. I don’t want to divide us based on these things when we’re trying to make decisions.
35.1.2.5.13.  I have watched a lot of people walk away from this meeting. I think that we should respect the people who aren’t here and have this discussion longer than just tonight. I personally am swayed by a lot of what’s been proposed tonight. I would like to hear alternative proposals.
35.1.2.5.14.  We are about to pass a proposal that would change the entire structure of our protest with maybe 200 people. I know you guys have worked really hard on this and I really like a lot of what you’re doing but you have told us too many times that details will be worked out later. And you have asked us too many times to take things on faith. You say you have workshopped this to death, but look how many amendments you yourself made just from last night. We all want the same thing here. We have all been working together. We have all sacrificed a lot of time. And we are about to change the system without hundreds of voices being heard, without hundreds of voices even being consulted. For that reason alone, I urge that we vote this down. This structure working group should have a few days of teaching and take some suggestions. I think it will be passed overwhelmingly in just a few days.
35.1.2.5.15.  I voiced most of my concerns earlier. Otherwise, I would like to encourage a global perspective. Are we seriously asking the globe to assign themselves to a group in order to accomplish direct democracy? And then expect them to have autonomy? We need to learn how to represent ourselves and teach others how to do this also. There are many other concerns, the main one is that GA itself needs more work. Let’s spend our time perfecting what we already have specifically by going back to the original description of the GA model, which has not been followed here. Thank you.
35.1.2.5.16.  I would like to propose that this group engages the proper legal and PR representation to speak and direct the group forward.
35.1.2.5.17.  I really respect the work of the structure working group. I really believe though that we also need to discuss that the Spokes model implicitly also determines that the function of the GA will necessarily be changed. I would suggest that with the proposal of the spokes, discussions are held about the purpose of the GA, which in my view should be more political and the spokes, for example, should be about enabling decisions made on the GA. We are a political body. Let that voice be heard at the spokes and everywhere else.
F: We are done with hearing from those who blocked. I just want to remind everyone before I turn it back to the working structure group that direct democracy is hard work, and a work in progress. It’s almost 12:00 am. This is amazing.

F: In the same vein, direct democracy is a difficult process that we are all learning. It has been brought to facilitation’s attention that what just happened was a lot of negativity. And to be fair, I’m going to leave it to you, there was a suggestion that we should open the floor very briefly for those who want to endorse this proposal. Can we get a temperature check on how this GA feels? Ultimately it is your decision and the power that is given to facilitation comes only through you. If you want to modify this process, please make your feelings known.
F: Just a reminder: if people would like to speak in favor of the proposal, we could open it up for five minutes. Ten minutes. How do people feel about that?
35.1.2.6.  Structure WG: Thanks for your suggestions. Obviously we don’t want to go forward right now with this many serious concerns. We have a lot of trepidation that this will be endless. We have hope, however, in the process of democracy. We need you to stick with us though and commit to coming back. Please stick with this. All of you in working groups, keep coming to the GA. We want to take your suggestions and host teach-ins for the next 5 days. At 2:00 in the afternoon. And if people come to us with concerns, and need to add an additional time, we’d be happy to do it. You can find us at 2:00 pm at the other occupation sight at 60 wall st, 2:00 pm. Our hope would then be to come back on Wednesday to the GA. Between now and then, we will add the two friendly amendments and we will also try to look into the budgetary amendments. So the proposal on Wednesday might look slightly different. Is that ok? We will try to do it by the end of the weekend so you can see the proposal in the next 3 days. Our hope is that people who have serious concerns can come to us with constructive ideas because we can use help. How does that sound?
It would also be great for you to come to those workshops so you can teach workshops and get this idea of SC’s understood by many more. And if you have an alternative idea, you are welcome to work on your own proposal. This is just our proposal.
35.1.2.6.1.  How do you propose if you come back next Wednesday and there’s a critical mass of new faces saying we haven’t seen this before, how are you going to hold the line?
Response: You guys will hold the line! So get educated! Those of you who had blocks, we would love to get your email addresses if you’re comfortable, so that we can all dialogue.
PoI: As a point of information, there are many people here who have been voicing that this has been approachable and accessible up until this point. Those voices are not necessarily listened to or trusted. What’s to say the same thing won’t happen next week?
I think I want to, as facilitation, get another temperature check from you if you would like to hear from some people in support of this proposal. I say this because we’re not going to vote on it. It’s clear. And we have a path forwards. But it may make sense for those who wish to speak to have 10 minutes to do so. How do you feel about that? [A fair number of agree fingers]

Structure WG: If you want to send us information, we can post on the site, you can email.
F:I know we’re fatigued and I think this is an amazing conversation. We still have other items on the agenda, so this is the part that we’ve been talking about. There’s a process that we adore, that’s empowering to everyone. But it’s becoming a bit unworkable.
PoC:  I don’t feel like it’s the place of the facilitator to speak in favor of the proposal.
PoC: I wasn’t speaking in favor of the proposal, I’m trying to move this forward. This is a movement, and it’s a movement that’s growing. We’re here to move things forward. Please keep in mind we do not just have one more proposal. We have a number of budgetary proposals remaining on the agenda for tonight. They are time sensitive, so they must happen tonight. We have about four.
If you want to email the structure group, the email address is: owsstructure@gmail.com
F: Part of the concern that we have is we’re not supposed to be loud. We have quiet hours for the neighbors around us and it starts at 11:00 pm and we’re in violation of that almost an hour. And there are children here who are probably trying to sleep. So the question is, as a body, what should we do?
PoC: My group divine feminine was supposed to meet at 10:00 pm. That didn’t happen. If people interested in that discussion group could meet me now at the cube, we could decide a time to meet tomorrow. I’m concerned because they keep getting derailed by long GA’s.
35.1.2.7.  Proposal Tabled
35.1.3.  Outreach Proposal

35.1.3.1.  I’m with Outreach and we have an organizer’s brunch on Sunday. We need funding for food. 1,000 dollars. We also have printing needs. Everyone has printing needs. We would like to open an account at Apple. It’s a local business down the street. If we open up an account there, we will have easy access to printed material. 50,000 flyers a week. We would need $2000 a week to start up the account. We have an organizer’s brunch on Sunday, which we need food for. And we need to order the food tomorrow morning. So we need $1,000 to do so. That is from finance, and has been written off.
35.1.3.2.  Clarifying Questions

35.1.3.2.1.  What is it?
Response: It’s a community organizer’s brunch. We’re organizing different community leaders to get involved as a whole in the Occupy Wall Street movement. We’re providing a forum for them to get together and speak about their issues.
35.1.3.2.2.  How did you determine the amount of funding you need? And have you got a response from community leaders that you wish to discuss with? How do you know how many will be in attendance?
Response: We’ve sent out an RSVP and we have about 200 people confirmed to come. The list is on ga.loudfeed.org. This is the second one. But that also has to do with our printing budget because if we had that, we could have flyers to inform everyone about upcoming events.
35.1.3.2.3.  Second part of my question: $2,000 for paper?
Response: Yes.
F: I’m now closing stack for clarifying questions.
35.1.3.2.4.  Explain how this went through finance?
Response: We presented it to finance and they’ve ok’d it.
F: Stack is now closed for concerns. How do we feel about this proposal? Do people feel comfortable to move towards consensus?
35.1.3.2.5.  35.3.5 Q: Can you give us about 10 examples of these groups who are coming?
Response: No, I can’t. It’s a very long list and I wasn’t directly involved with organizing the brunch. I’m here as a messenger from outreach. If you want the list, you can email us at ows.outreach@gmail.com.
Response: There is one group who is here. My name is Eddy, I’m part of OWS, I’m also part of a campaign called Police reform organizing project. We’re combating systemic NYPD abuses.
F: I would like to get a temperature check about the proposal? Can we move to consensus? Consensus: Are there any blocks?

35.1.3.3.  We have consensus. ACHIEVED.
35.1.4.  Occupy Central Park Proposal

35.1.4.1 Hey everyone! I’m here representing Occupy Central Park. It will be a three-day gathering, 11/11/11. I am here because we need funding to make stickers. We have the design ready, but need $2,000 to make 92,000 stickers. It’s a lot but we need it. We’ll send them all around the world. The faster we have them, the more people will know, and the bigger and better it will be.
35.1.4.2.  Clarifying Questions

35.1.4.2.1.  Why three days?
Response: It will be like a fair where people get together to exchange ideas about building a better future. It will also protect us from the cops and would not be a good winter home. We are thinking about the long-term and we will talk about that.
35.1.4.2.2.  We’d like to know if this is civil disobedience.
Response: We are the people and we are not getting a permit. It’s a peoples’ park, meant and built for that. It’s the only place in the city where a large amount of people can gather.
35.1.4.2.3.  Are you committing civil disobedience by staying overnight? Please make sure folks know.
Response: We are breaking the law and we will be telling people the risks. We’re hoping lots of folks will show up, and our message will show the cops that we are trying to gather peacefully and in an orderly way.
35.1.4.2.4.  Why do you believe that printing 92,000 stickers is the most effective way of getting the word out about this event?
Response: We are using all available resources. The internet is free. The stickers are high quality, waterproof, and a one-time expense. We want to have as many as possible so we don’t have to order them again.
35.1.4.2.5.  Is this a whole different occupation, or a project of this one?
Response: It’s a next step forward. We feel the park is at max capacity. New people can’t join our family and create unnecessary chaos in trying to get things done. That’s why this is a three-day event, with folks from all around the country and the world.
35.1.4.2.6.  What are the stickers made of?
Response: Vinyl. I am not a sticker genius, but they are waterproof and tough.
35.1.4.2.7.  92,000 is a lot of stickers.
Response: We are using every medium possible to get our message out there. Stickers are very efficient because they are like flyers that people keep around and keep the message flowing. This event will take place in a few weeks, but is in its baby stages. Stickers are an efficient way to communicate.
35.1.4.2.8.  To move to central park is huge and excellent, and I think in fairness to all the new people, a lot of whom have not been here… People who came here knew they could sleep here and not be arrested. You should think about saying that staying in central park may get you arrested.
Response: That’s why we want to make this known as widely as possible, so people know the risks and we know what actions the cops are likely to take. We are going to send info to papers, etc., saying we know its illegal but we believe we have the right.
35.1.4.2.9.  I just hope that after you have worked that out, you put on the stickers the final decision, so people who find the stickers will not have followed the whole decision making process.
Response: It’s pretty simple. Occupy Central Park, arts festival, 11/11/11, occupycentralpark.org
35.1.4.2.10.  Since it won’t be on the sticker, make it prominent on the website.
Response: We hear your concern and we will do that.
35.1.4.2.11.  There are way too few people here to make decisions on this topic, especially because it can wait. It’s important but it can wait.
Response: We’ve been waiting 5 days, and if people don’t want to stay here, I can’t force them.
F: We need to move forward. I have repeatedly asked to be mindful of folks who still want to hear.
35.1.4.2.12.  It’s very important to understand that we cannot change the government overnight, or the nature of OWS. Until there is an ethical solution to the sticker problem (oil) let’s let the stickers pass. It’s a movement, but I can understand as an artist that every material I use is toxic, including oil paints.
35.1.4.2.13.  There is a great alternative to using stickers that anyone can do, called wheat paste, many people use it, its awesome, you can make it in the kitchen.
Response: The thing is, we are using wheat paste, but would need 30,000 wheat pasters.
F: Temp check: we are trying to get $2000 to get 92,000 waterproof occupy central park stickers. Mixed. We’re very split, about a third each way.
35.1.4.3.  Concerns

F: The people that don’t like it, can you please say your concerns? If I were to spend $1000, would that be ok? There is room for friendly amendments
35.1.4.3.1.  I would suggest that folks who don’t know the process, is not an artist, doesn’t know how to make stickers, define this project. If you don’t understand what this project is and don’t understand what it is to create the stickers, why are you speaking?
35.1.4.4.  Friendly Amendments

F: Amendments please?
35.1.4.4.1.  Move forward with stickers.
35.1.4.4.2.  Simply that we drastically curb the amount of stickers. Only because I feel that 92,000 is an astronomical amount of stickers, and $2000 is a lot of money.
Response: The only reason we had thought of making so many was so we wouldn’t have to order again. But if you guys are fine with just doing $1000, I would be fine.
35.1.4.4.3.  I’d like to have a group look into an alternative way of sending stickers, not in the real world, through email blasts, things like that.
Response: We are working on every possible way to get this event out physically and virally.
35.1.4.4.4.  An alternative to leaving something in the world, physically environmentally
Response: We are not putting them on nature, but on things that destroy the environment. We will be conscious to not destroy private property, or things that we would disturb. It’s the best way to get the message out there, put the message on laptops or guitars, not just graffiti.
35.1.4.4.5.  I am a hiker and backpacker, subscribe to the principle of leave no trace.
Response: If you want to have no trace…
F: This gentleman has a proposal, let’s move on.
35.1.4.4.6.  This coat was discarded. My shoes were purchased. Before I went to art school, I ran a nuclear reactor. Before that, I designed buildings. I care about how things are put into the world. I’d like to see us clean up graffiti stickers, before, during and after this event, to offset graffiti stickers.
Response: Accepted.
35.1.4.5.  Our original proposal was to get $2,000 worth of stickers made, 92000 stickers, we have cut that in half. We will add the sticker offset, tell people to be conscious about what they do with them, but I can’t control anyone’s choice. We will do sticker removal.
F: Temp Check: good
Test for Consensus: block.
35.1.4.6.  Blocks

F: We hear this person, explain the block. A block is made in extreme circumstances, and is serious. Once this person explains the block, the presenter will address, then we will see if we have consensus.
35.1.4.6.1.  Leaving litter is counter-productive and gets in the way of our message.
Response: We feel that it is most important to get folks to this event, so we can fix the world, by having these events. We’ve heard an explanation
F: Consensus: 9/10 over a block. Often the person who’s compelled to block, makes that choice, knowing that they may have to leave the movement. However, we can move to modified consensus, or a 9/10 vote. The block retains its dignity, but we reach an action item.

35.1.4.7.  PROPOSAL PASSED AT 9/10
If you guys are concerned or have ideas, come to the meeting at 7:30 pm at 60 Wall Street. Everyone is welcome.
35.1.5.  Arts and Culture Proposal

35.1.5.1 Thank you for staying. You will be very happy you did. I’m the master of degrees, an unemployed superhero. I fight for justice. It’s a long, tiring fight. Let’s find those moments in which to rejoice, celebrate. On behalf of Arts and Culture, I will tell you of a secret plan. NYC has the largest public Halloween parade. We came up with a plan to hijack it. Then the organizers got wind, and invited us. We are now an official part of the largest Halloween parade in the world. We have 8 days to put on an amazing demo of what this movement is made of. Corporate zombies, puppets, bands. What we’re lacking are the funds. We want to do a really good job. Last year, 60,000 people were present, so this year, the whole world is watching. We want $3,000, plus what we’ve raised, in order to pull this off.
35.1.5.2.  Clarifying Questions

35.1.5.2.1.  Can you please outline what you will be spending money on?
Response: There are 10 large puppets, banners, materials, for all groups that want to participate. We also want funds for costumes and more. We want to plan for a best-case scenario just in case everybody shows up.
35.1.5.2.2.  I like your idea. It’s great. I’d like to promote it. What’s the link?
Response: occupyhalloween.org Facebook it, tweet it, tell your friends.
35.1.5.2.3.  Our kickstarter fund raised $650 for puppets.
35.1.5.2.4.  Is there any organization that has registered itself as a nonprofit? I ask because there’s an organization called Materials for the Arts. They have a warehouse. They would donate large amounts of materials.
Response: We’ve been there, we like it.
Interruption from Occupier.
F: I apologize for straying from process, trying to to balance process with other needs and act in solidarity.
35.1.5.2.5.  I’m Lauren. I’m with sustainability. Where are you getting the fabric, etc., and what’s happening afterwards? We want to reduce things from the waste stream. ‘
Response: After I got involved with Arts and Culture, I got involved in the project. I will reuse the costumes. The stuff we’re making will last, not go to landfill. The puppets will last though many actions.
Response: We are creating our own section of the parade with our own stuff. We’re inviting bands and other groups. The invite is extended to everyone.
35.1.5.2.6.  On the creative side, are you taking ideas of what kind of act you will do?
Response: There are two events currently planned. One is the evening parade. People can come with whatever they want, but we want folks to think of this as a message opportunity. The morning event is in formation, and might be a direct action. We’re thinking superheroes vs. Wall Street at a location we don’t want to announce yet. You’re invited as a hero or villain.
F: No concerns. Temp Check: Good
35.1.5.3. Consensus: Achieved.

35.2.  Announcements

35.2.1.  Hello, sorry to take your time. We got back from Stop Stop and Frisk. Thirty-three people arrested, 31 released. Two still being held for political reasons. One is a member of people’s patrol, which patrols the police to try to stop them from performing illegal actions. They were trying to do this, he was arrested, and has not been released. The other was a speaker, who said that his mother taught him to fear the police. He teaches kids, tells them to be aware of things. There’s a movement to end Stop Stop and Frisk. There will be a planning meeting at St Mary’s church, 186th Street.
Tomorrow there may be a march in the morning to Center precinct where those men are being held.
35.2.2.  Sorry, one last announcement (I’ve been waiting six hours…). Charlie Rangel is a congressional representative who came down here and said he supported OWS. Then he went to Washington DC and voted for a trade bill that would make it illegal to regulate Wall Street. We’re having an action Tuesday, meeting here at the red thing at 10:45 am, going to his office in Harlem. The state office building at 163 West 125th St. The march is to show that he does NOT represent the 99%!
F: Adjourned!
(Meeting adjourned at 2:20AM)

2 Responses to “NYCGA Minutes 10/21/2011”

  1. Anne

    Why isn’t there a budget for repeating items such as laundry?
    Each working group should come up with a budget via a process determined by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee should review the budgets and revise as necessary. Then a final budget for OWS/NYCGA should be presented to the General Assembly for approval. The budget should be either a monthly, a quarterly, or an annual budget. This is how most organizations, governments, etc. do things so hours per week are not spent arguing about money without any actual information/facts about why the money is needed, for what etc. These things should be in the budget requests submitted by the working groups to Finance. Finance can then do the necessary fact-checking and recommend approval/disapproval to the GA. The FINAL budget requests will be approved/disapproved by the GA but if we trust the Finance Committee in most cases the discussion will be minimal. Again this is how most organizations do things because it works.