NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 37
Meeting Date/Time: 10/23/2011 / 7pm EST
Location: Liberty Plaza
Facilitators (F): Daniele, Leo, Christina, Larry
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. 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.
37.1. Working Group Report Backs
37.2. Agenda Items (Discussion of Statement from Visions and Goals Working Group)
F: This may sound like a lot of rules, what we are trying to do with the GA is to create a space where every voice can be heard. At this point we will proceed with the GA. We will start with working group report backs. This is a time for working groups to report back on progress they’ve made, discussions they’re having, and projects they’re working on. The next item is a breakout discussion for the working group Visions and Goals. Finally, we will have time for announcements where individuals can come up and give info on things such as future events. Announcements are not the time for personal opinions. After GA is over we will open up the space for soap box which anyone can give a mic check and express all the personal opinions they want. So stack is now open for report back with Christina.
37.1. Working Group Report Backs
37.1.1. Hi I’m Kelly. I’m from the working group called Principals and Solidarity Consolidation. My purpose is to briefly inform you of the document that has been in the works since the 2nd day of the occupation. On the 2nd day, facilitation proposed we break out into groups. At that time there were 5 to a group, 10 of them, all of them were tasked with writing a short list of reasons why they were here and provide solid ground on which to stand. After this task was completed, working groups reported back. There was another group that formed called Consolidation. We took this info and found like themes and looked at the multiple perspectives and we synthesized them into a document. We brought this document to the GA and broke out into group. Groups wrote comments. We took those papers back and synthesized them into another draft. THIS draft. … Our group has grown and so has the content we’ve been receiving. We are overwhelmed. I am here tonight to introduce this document. This is a living document and is not completed. This was consensed upon on September 23rd. It is online. On the agenda, we are going to have a break out to complete the document…Look online at the document, and if you’re curious about this process and the future of where we’re going talk to me after the GA. Lastly, we have multiple drafts that we will distribute tomorrow or set up on a table tomorrow where they will be accessible or you can find it online at nycga.net/resources/principles-of-solidarity. Talk to me afterwards. Thanks, Kelly.
37.1.2. I’m from Arts and Culture. We came up with an idea to occupy open mics and on Tuesday nights at the theater under St Marks is Penny’s open mic. We should go there and do whatever you want. Sing, dance, comedy, theater, tell stories. Get the message out. We should have a space arranged by tomorrow. We have been invited to participate in the Halloween parade. We had plans to occupy it but they found out and invited us. If you want to find out more go to occupyhalloween.org. Thank you.
37.1.3. Hello my name is Carn, with the Alternative Banking working group. Our goal is to explore, and if we can, establish an alternative banking system. We have been meeting by email. We are now migrating to the nycga.net site so all of our announcements and papers will be there. Tomorrow, we will put up the minutes from our last meeting where we concluded we would focus on: formulating necessary reform and imagining ….and if necessary implementing a much better banking system….We welcome everyone. Please come join our group.
37.1.4. Hi my name is Laura, and I’m also English but were not related. As part of the working group we want to form the Occupy Wall St Women’s circle. Structures that have dominated our world for centuries are beginning to crumble…This is not a space to express our pain but a place to create and collaborate. To allow a new positive vision of the world. If you want to be involved come and see me at the red structure between 9 and 9:30 or whenever the GA is over. Or listen out for future announcements.
Point of Information (PoI): there is a women’s group of women occupying Wall St. I think right now they meet Sundays and Mondays at 60 Wall St. Check info.
37.1.5. I love what that women just said, women have a lot to offer. My name is Ashley and I’m a member of WOW, which stands for Women Occupying Wall St.
I’m Alexis we meet on Sundays at 4pm. We start at the red structure and go elsewhere. We meet at Monday at 4pm. You can also find us at nycga.net look for the group WOW. A couple things we’re working on is ironing out our mission statements. We are planning… to highlight hardships that women face due to economic inequalities. At 9:30 we will be here after the GA.
37.1.6. I’m Anthony with Direct Action. Direct Action meets at 2 weekdays in the cemetery at the church. We function on a decentralized structure. If you have ideas you can bring them and we’ll talk. Direct Action will like to suggest we don’t chant “whose streets? Our streets” on the sidewalk. If you’re going to chant you should be in the streets. Also, we would like to remind you we support a diversity of tactics.
37.1.7. Hi, I’m with Community Relations. Our mission is to promote positive relations with local businesses, employees, residents and tourists and try to represent their concerns to the GA. We do not negotiate or make promises.
F: I just want to remind people that this is a space for conversations that are relevant to the entire GA. If you have specific question for a working group I’d encourage you to talk directly to them afterwards. Do we have clarifying question?
Clarifying question: is it true that this is a political-less movement and therefore needs to include the drummers?
F: I think this can be addressed outside of the GA.
Response: I have a direct response: we have drummers in the Community Relations work group. I believe you are one.
Clarifying question: just a quick one, are they angry or are they tolerating us well?
Response: There was a community board meeting a few days ago where many residents voiced their support and some voiced concerns with two issues. One was sanitation. People have been urinating and defecating in the neighborhood. Another was the drumming. The community board was under the impression drumming would be limited to 2 hours a day and that has not been the case.
37.1.8. Hello everyone I’m Ted with Light Source. Light Source is a low profit entity creating tools for the movement. First project is to create the largest conversation on November 11 2011. We are united a bunch of open source… all people’s assemblies to participate regarding open sources for the future. The largest conversation in human history. Meet me, red cube after GA. Lots of fun.
Clarifying question: I have 2 concerns, one that can be addressed and one that cannot. First, Ted is sponsored by IBM. Second, what is low profit?
Response: I can answer both questions, there’s a point of information though.
PoI: the first question was not a question.
Response: I can answer that concern.
F: Just quickly to be clean on the process, we usually do not have time for clarifying questions or concerns during working group report backs. That’s our bad as facilitators and it’s important that these that have been aired are dealt with quickly.
Response: Low profit allows a company to be not for profit and for profit at the same time by recycling their profits into community projects. You aim for zero profits. Come meet me at the cube.
37.2. AGENDA ITEMS
37.2.1. Hi, a bunch of us have been working on creating an open dialogue at the GA among the OWS community and the rest of the world to develop visions and goals for the OWS movement. Today we’re going to go over what we have been discussing. Some history: this doc has been drafted with over 200 people’s input. This has come about from the demand for demands. There are no demands in this, that didn’t really fly. So what we have is something we’d like to give to you in the form of a break out session and have a dialogue and then incorporate it into this fine doc. What we have here is a very consolidated version of that document. We could read it out. And we will give it out in break out groups. So the concept of break out groups is that you can have a more fluid discussion. One person will take notes, we are providing blank paper with points on them that relate to the doc so your discussion can be further organized.
Right now the facilitators will help us break out into groups, 15-20 people per. This is obviously an inexact science. For now please find a group and we’ll get to you with these documents. We’ll let you speak in that group for 20 minutes and then we’ll ask that a representative from each group come up and gives a report of what you discussed…. Speak aggressively, make your voices heard. We encourage you to go around your groups and say your name and try to focus on these goals and get something for each goal.
37.2.2. Group Discussion Points
18.104.22.168. Sara: Hi, I’m Sara. Our group had 2 concerns. One, we were confused about the vision versus demands. What is the purpose of this document? And who is its audience? Second, we were concerned about the language. It was difficult to understand. We felt overwhelmed. We want it to be focused, passionate, and easy to understand. On the process we wanted to have read the document beforehand. It is so wordy. It was difficult to understand and to reflect on in such a short time.
22.214.171.124. Craig: hi, this document is not accessible to everyone. It’s written in language that is hard to understand….Point 2, too similar to point 1 and needs more specification. Point 3: too similar to 1 and 2. Point 4: we need to foster digital relationships.
126.96.36.199. Hannah: would like to see a document like this that takes as a starting point the idea of personal reasonability. That’s first. Second, our group expressed discomfort with the implication that technology can solve all of our problems. Third, our group is concerned about multiple documents with overlapping agendas. For example what is the relation with this document and the declarations? Is there a way to create a consolidated document? Also we are concerned with the overly academic tone of the document. Next, while as our group understands this is a shortened version of the document, we felt divorced from actions and specific visions, this can feel empty… Many other movements have run into the same barriers. Capitalism, market, the economy, we imagine these to be the focus of our movement.
188.8.131.52. Christian: to be simple we just had an additional vision to add. The vision would be the need to explicitly call out an end to patriarchal racist classism.
184.108.40.206. Boots: our group discussed ways to better develop the consensus based process just like break out groups like this. We also want simpler language. It’s getting cold. We also better consolidate online spaces and the public private spaces like the atrium and Trump Tower.
220.127.116.11. Larisa: we have specific points. 1: we wanted to clarify democracy versus consensus based… By striking democracy for decision making. 2: we wanted to add studying current and historical context to this point. 3: we like harmony, we don’t understand it though. 4: we want to separate emotional spaces to be above everything. For physical spaces we want to emphasis utilizing public spaces. For all FLO: these are redundant and need more workshopping.
18.104.22.168. Eric: our group looked at each point one by one to see if we agree overall with its message and tried to find issues or ways we could clarify each point. 1: we felt that the world and its occupations are looking to OSW as a president and are highly connection by the internet…2: we were not sure what harmony and nature meant. There were some concerns that it might mean a complete dedication to lack of industrialization and technology. 3: we agreed there should be no centralized financial system. We should also look to new forms of exchange… 6: we felt that we should decentralize control of media. Local ownership of media but not at expense of global connection. 7: need definition. 8: Historically blind. Needs definitions.
22.214.171.124. Dorje: 1: a nationwide gathering of bodies. Online forum like a wiki would be the most important. 3: most important was to promote the value of economic equality. 4: we should establish peace and green economy as subjects in new educations. Also to teach direct democracy. 5: we thought we definitely need to note this. But our leaders won’t let us do this. We need something like state power for our movement. Among the original points that we came up with was that we need to return land to wronged indigenous communities.
126.96.36.199. Patrick: overall points: some of these could be consolidated. Fourth grade language only. Some were more policy, others were cultural principals. Policy was stronger… 1: more pragmatic. 2: how do we balance progress with responsible practices? We thought about disincentives when pass environmental… We wondered about 0 growth economy. 3: mixed. 4: not mixed and the focus would remain on education. 5 we like. 6: we liked. 7: real vague. 8: focus on nonviolence was better and clearer. Peace spread outward from the individual. 9: some is human nature and may not be eliminated. Force should be on eliminating it from government. The use of non-negative language would be better. Adding the idea of celebrating. 10: similar to 9, but the respect for…differences is useful to note. 11: added by us: electoral reform tied into a lot of points and should be noted.
188.8.131.52. Laura: 1: some voiced concern that this contradicts our … movement to decentralize power. We loved point 2. 6: some were concerned with the word “truth.” Should be replaced with the idea that media should represent a diversity of interpretations and we should have more media accountability. 7: we wondered who defined human rights. 8: we wondered about self-defense? Is this ok? How do we address violence from the state? 9: we should replace “past” with “past, present and future.” 10: confusion. Are we hoping to promote harmony btw existing value system or supersede them? Also this document does not address the problem of representation.
F: We are now going to do announcements.
37.3.1. Rachel with Arts and Culture: I’ve been working with a large group of artists who erected large safe signage for all major working groups. We were given a donation for this purpose. The project was a rush request and we have logistical problems. The banners are under redesign. The materials are around the park. We’d like to ask that the materials be returned to all the working groups.
37.3.2. Audrey: I’m part of a group called Anti-Racism Allies. Soon we’ll come to you with more info about what we do. In the means time we are hosting along with the People of Color working group a program on Tuesday called “the full 99 percent.” We will have 2 facilitators, both women of color, to come and host discussions starting a 1pm this Tuesday. The first discussion will be multiracial. The second discussion will be for folk who identify as white and who want to talk about the privileges they hold in the space. The final gathering will be multiracial again and will be a cultural share. It is 1pm to 9:30pm all day.
37.3.3. Catherine: first, Legal meets tomorrow at 6pm at the legal table. Second, we are starting a community watch to help make people in the park to feel safer. People who are interested in helping out should meet at the medic tent at 10pm to touch base with others who will be keeping an eye on things.
37.3.4. The Divine Feminine discussion group meets basically now at 9:30 on Sundays by the red cube but since WOW, a very related group, is going to meet basically now at the red structure we’re going to combine. These groups exist so we can empower ourselves. Also the Structure working group is holding teach-ins on the spokes council model at the Atrium daily 2pm every Wednesday. 60 Wall St.
37.3.5. Alexis: there’s a new group, tentatively called Occupy the SEC. There is a new proposed regulation on the Volcker Rule. There is period of public comments where only the banks have been commenting. The period ends January 13th. A group wants to discuss making individual comments about the Volcker Rule. We would not represent OWS. If you are interested it’s a 300 page document. But we welcome you to join us in perusing through it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
37.3.6. John: Hi, I’m from Stop Stop and Frisk. This past Friday myself and 34 others were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. Many OWS supporters were involved. Today we had a meeting about our next action.…Tomorrow night at 9pm we will be having a meeting under red thing about our next action. Please be there. Thanks
37.3.7. Elanna: Hi, I’m from a new group called Summer of Solutions. This group responds to the challenges that brought us here by creating tangible common based solution to build a just and sustainable economy in NYC. We will plan and implement solutions to be launched summer 2012 partnering with community organizations, urban farms, energy efficient co-ops, youth summer camps. We’re having a vision session on Wednesday at 6pm in the atrium of 60 Wall St. Please email email@example.com
37.3.8. Josh: Hi I am a reporter with Mother Jones magazine. We are a national progressive political magazine. I am writing a book about OWS. If you’ve never been an activist until you discovered OWS, especially if you lost your job or suffered some economic hardship, I want to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
37.3.9. Serena: I have an announcement about healthcare. On Wednesday October 26th we are having a march against the health car industry and the insurance industry. At 4:30pm we are marching around 1 liberty plaza., across the street. We will then march to Blue Cross Blue Shield 5th avenue and 16th St. Then at 6pm to St Vincent’s.
37.3.10. Abe: I found a red notebook next to the church, does anyone know someone who lost it?
37.3.11. Adam: with Trade Justice. Today the action against Charlie Rangel on Tuesday was endorsed by the Harlem Tenants Council and Harlem Fight Back. And Rev. Earl Copercamp also … now have a new flyer… Charles Rangel sold us out to Wall Street by supporting the Korea and Panama free trade agreement. He’s also contributing to the massive expansion of factory farms.
37.3.12. Brent: I’m with Living Theater. We will be performing a protest piece called “7 Meditations on Political Sadomasochism” at Harold square at 5pm on Saturday Oct 29th. And every Saturday after that until they start listening!
37.3.13. Jason: I’m from Outdoor survival. This is for occupiers specifically. Tomorrow at 11am at the red cube we will be giving demonstrations in turning tarps into water safe shelters.
37.3.14. Camille: we have been working on a 3-day festival in Central Park on 11/11/11. Just came from a meeting. We need to get more numbers involved. We are meeting tomorrow at 3pm at 60 Wall St. Look for the Occupy Central Park signs. We really need people who have been involved with working groups here.