NYCGA Minutes 10/13/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Meeting Date/Time: 10/13/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F):


27.1.  Working Group Report Backs

27.2.  Agenda Items

F: Tonight’s assembly in light of recent events will be curtailed, so we’re asking working groups to give report-back that are pertinent to the issue. Also, we will not be doing announcements, but we encourage you to give your personal announcements during soapbox at the end of the GA. I will now give a quick intro to process. Before that I will give you the schedule of this GA. We will have working group report-backs relative to time-sensitive issues. Then we will have an agenda item in relation to the drumming. The reason this meeting is time-sensitive is that there is still a lot of cleaning to do. Please wait for sanitation to guide us through this cleaning. We’re going to make this place look GOOD!

F: Here are the hand signals that we use to express ourselves at GA. Fingers up means I agree with what is being said. Fingers in the middle means I’m not sure how I feel about what’s being said. Fingers down means I feel bad, I disagree with what is being said. Fingers rolling is a request to wrap it up. It means we get what you’re saying and you’re using more words than you need. We ask that use this compassionately. Fingers in a triangle means Point of Process. Means what is being said does not follow the process. For example, the working group report-backs we hear tonight should only be about topics relevant to time-sensitive issues. One finger up means Point of Information. It means I have factual information that will directly clarify the question or being concern being stated. The final hand signal is a very severe hand signal. Arms crossed is a block. This means that you have a severe ethical or safety concern with what is being said. If you are willing to walk away from this movement if what is being discussed, such as a proposal, is passed. Again, this is a very severe signal. At this point, we will begin the working group report-backs. But before that, someone’s going to come up and give a ten-second speech. The march that just left before has asked that we enforce this. We are trying to deliver our signatures. If you would like to reinforce we will meet on Cedar behind the food stand.


27.1.  Working Group Report Backs

F: First working group report-back will be from Legal. Could we possibly make some aisles for people to walk along?

27.1.1.  Legal announcement has two parts: first, take care of each other! Solidarity! We recommend everyone has a buddy or friend who knows where you are all the time. And keeping in touch with Legal if necessary. The Legal number in case of arrest or you see an arrest and you get that name of the person arrested 212-679-6018. We will have lawyers from the Professional Lawyers’ Guild available. The other announcement: Is that the lawyers will file a letter with Bloomsfield stating our First Amendment right to be here. It also states in strong language that Bloomsfield needs to show legal cause before bringing police into the plaza. That would mean going to court. I have copies of the letter. Our union friends and other community groups are supporting this letter in solidarity.

F: Hey guys! How you feeling? The next report-back is from sanitation.

27.1.2.  Hi guys, I’m Max! Sanitation. We have immediate need for tons of volunteers. If you have arms to move anything, go to Sanitation right now. It is 30 feet this way. [West Side of Plaza] …..Do it now. Thank you. If you would like to help after GA, we need your help then too, but we a lot right now. Two things: Cleanup. We’ve been doing it all day. We’re stepping it up after the GA. If you’re here, I expect you to clean. As I said earlier, it’s not a mandate, but it’s not an option. We gotta make this place shine! I’m going to eat off the ground, and if it’s dirty I’m gonna die! It’s on you! Applause

Second thing: Tonight is the ironically titled “trial run”. An even bigger effort …tomorrow morning, starting at 6AM. We’re cleaning this place hard. We know there’s a group of people coming for us, and I don’t know what they look like, and I don’t know what they’re gonna do but I know what I’m gonna do: I’m going to do the same thing I’ve been doing. I’m going to clean this place. I’m going to live here!

F: Hey guys! How you feeling?! Next report back, is Medical.

27.1.3.  I’m Shawn the medic. I have some exciting news. Tomorrow morning, we will all be getting a mobile first-aid station. It will be staffed by some of the best doctors and nurses from around the country. [applause]

Hi Guys!! How y’all doing? The next report back will be Mediation

27.1.4.  I’m __ from Mediation. I call on you. We want to create a strong peaceful image and get as much support as possible to protect us from eviction. Therefore, we will organize and need you for a vigil all night here at Broadway and Liberty Square. We will pass around these glowing sticks, please light them, please stay here, and please tell all your friends to come here. Thank you.

F: Hi Y’all!! I have to change that word to make sure I was including everyone. So, hi y’all, how y’all feeling?! The next report back is from Direct Action.

27.1.5.  Hey, we’re Direct Action. Tomorrow’s cleaning plan seems a lot like an eviction plan. This is the same tactic that was used to evict occupations in Texas, in Barcelona, and in Bloombergville. Fuck that shit! We will resist!! [cheers] To remove us from this park. By our good graces, we will allow the park to be re-cleaned by Brookfield in thirds. We will hold no less than 2/3 of our park at all times. [cheers] Direct Action will be coordinating two lines of non-violent resistance. That divide the park in thirds. These lines themselves have high arrestability-levels. People who are prepared to defend our home, to defend our community in this manner need to come to a 9:30 meeting starting @ the Red Cube and moving off-site. Tonight, one representative from each Working Group MUST come to this meeting. Everyone can and should have a role in defending our community. We have identified needs and roles with various levels of arrestability, so everyone can be involved defending our home. All of you should come to this meeting. We implore everyone who does not plan to simply abandon our park tomorrow to come to this meeting and learn how you can get involved on all arrestability levels. We have word that the cops might come as early as 4am. So let’s all stay the fuck up tonight. This is our home! This is our community! This is our revolution!! [all kindsa cheers]

F: The next report back is from Sustainability.

I have a time-sensitive announcement in an hour. There still things that need to be brought over by sanitation. If we can have volunteers, meet there immediately before it closes.

27.1.6.  From Sustainability. Hi everybody, my name is Lauren. I’m from the Sustainability working group. We’re a group of activistic designers, professionals and architects. We have degrees in sustainability. We want to collaborate with other groups about sustainability efforts here. In case of eviction, we are here to help you with resources available to help ….. and providing occupiers with ways of finding shelter by giving alternative solutions. We will be meeting tomorrow at 5:30 at the Plaza at Trinity and Rector across from Blarney Stone. You can contact us at The sustainability of our occupation here directly impacts the sustainability of our movement. Thank you.

[indistinct] …storage We have a truck …[indistinct].. at the comfort station. She’s wearing a bright orange jacket.

F: Next up: Internet. The disruption is a report that the police are about to tow a truck with our stuff in it. Where is the driver? It’s a white moving truck on the corner. We need him right now! Find the driver of the truck!

F: Mic check mic check mic check

We’re handling the situation as fast as possible. We need volunteers to bring stuff to the truck. The driver is on his way right now.

F: And now back to Internet.

27.1.7.  Hello everyone. I’m Drew, with Internet. We are holding a training session for work groups on how to use the new GA website. We request one representative from each work group to meet at the red structure at 9:15 tonight. Our new website – YOUR new website, OUR new website – will be live online tomorrow morning.

F: Hey Y’all, still feeling good? The next report-back is from Archives.

27.1.8.  Do you see this? [holding a sign] This is one of our signs. This is our voice. This will be trashed if we are not careful. Bring anything you want to save for your future – for everybody’s future – to the storage facility immediately. Thank you!

27.1.9.  Our last announcement – our second to last announcement – is from Chris. Your spirit of unity that I’m observing tonight is truly inspirational. If anybody out there thinks they can kick us out of this park, they’re gonna learn something! The spirit of unity propose that we adopt a color. If we take the colors of the American flag, red, white, blue, mix them together, we get light purple. Because this movement is not anti-American, it is ultra-American! ….we can stop this by all wearing a little purple. My mom can wear purple when she’s buying groceries. If anyone wants one of these armbands, I’d love to give one to you. Thank you.

F: Let’s do this over there!

Mic check! Will someone from Legal please go to the truck? The drivers need you NOW!

F: And now, Media report-back.

27.1.10.  Hello everyone! We are the world’s eyes! …So you know right now 4,000 people are watching this. They are with us too. Tonight all the media will be here to make sure the world is watching. Our love to all of you!

I’m from October 15 Planning Working group. For those of you who don’t know, this Saturday is the largest mobilization globally! We are connected with the Arab Spring, with what’s being planned in Greece, in Spain, and other places around the world. We have protests being planned and have been scheduled. You can find that information on our website The protests are leaving from Washington Square Park and Union Square and Liberty Square and other undisclosed locations and are converging at Times Square! The details are on the website and there are flyers.

F: So now, we’re done with Announcements, with working group report-backs.


27.2.  Agenda Items

F: The only Agenda Item is a proposal in regard to the drummers presented by Town Planning​, Facilitation, and the Manhattan Community.

27.2.1.  Hey everybody! What a wild day! Someone said this proposal is just about drums. It’s about so much more than just that. It’s about a response to an attack on our community. It’s about a compromise with the greater community we live in. And finally, it’s about how to make our space a symbol for the global revolution that we in New York are such an important part of. I started my day off getting ready for this attack. Three hours ago, I was at a press conference. Scott Stringer​, the president of the Manhattan Borough, absolutely backed up Occupy Wall Street!!!!! Question after question, about this being a private property, about issues within our community, Scott responded overwhelmingly, saying that above all, the protection of our First Amendment rights to keep our home come before any other moves by Mayor Bloomberg​! The community board has asked one small request. Time Out.

F: We have a time-sensitive issue from Sanitation right now. Sanitation wants to make sure everyone knows that the storage space at 52 Broadway closes at 9PM. So if you have things that need to be stored there, it takes about seven minutes to walk there from here. That way [down Broadway] so please get your things and take them there. Don’t take anyone else’s things, but we’d really like not to have any excess stuff in the park tomorrow morning.

Now back to the proposal.

27.2.1.  (Continued) The community board of Manhattan, who has supported us every step of the way, now has come to us with a small compromise that will actually help us to organize our home. Here is our request: that drum circles (not singular drums) basically anything that’s really loud be curtailed to two hours. These hours should come between 11AM and 5PM. This will give us a chance to organize the musical community within Liberty Square to have smaller, more intimate acts, acoustic shows, vocal performances, and all of the above. …A representative of OWS stay on-site 24/7. So that if anyone from the Manhattan community has a request for OWS, that that can be taken. So one more time, the proposal is that drumming be limited to two hours per day between 11AM and 5PM and that a representative is here to take requests from the Manhattan Community. Thank you so much.  We will start this process with clarifying questions. If you have a clarifying question, please come give your name to the stack keeper. We want to keep this question space to ten minutes so we will try to close stack as soon as possible. Stack is now open for clarifying questions. After clarifying questions, there will be time for concerns. Does anybody have any questions?

Mic check!  Who is a representative of OWS, I thought we are ALL representatives!

The clarifying question is who is a representative of OWS? This man said something amazing. That we’re all representatives of OWS. This person will just take requests and bring them back to the working group coordination meetings so we can quickly solve problems.

F: Are there any more clarifying questions about the proposal? Right now we are taking stack.  My question is, how are we going to understand and agree upon which two hours that the drummers will drum?

The drummers can choose any two hours between 11AM and 5PM if they want. Stack is now closed for clarifying questions.  We will now open stack for concerns.  My concern is that the drummers may entirely disregard decisions made by this Assembly.

This is very possible, so we must consent as a community to give ourselves the ability to ..a compromise to the drummers.  I can’t help thinking that we must resist any attempt to peel away support by fragmenting our community. If we go along with their attempts to curtail the freedom of the drummers who will they come for next? And will we as a community agree to adhere to that next attack or will we draw the line then? Should we not draw the line now?

I think it’s very important to talk about we express ourselves. The word “they” was used many times. To show that this request has come from someone outside our community. From someone oppressing our community. This is not the case. These people represent not the Wall Street Bankers, who live far too high up to hear the drums. It’s mostly old ladies, kids who need to go to school, and people who need to get to work. This is not a threat to our community. It’s a compromise within our community.  I am very happy to be here. As a representative of the older generation I feel inspired by the great moral values and the aspirations for a different world. Like each one of you here, I am also concerned about making the world a different place. I do not think though that the way to go about doing is by making friends with …the very elements of government that you are against..[indistinct] ..Your representatives [indistinct]..government …our President at every level of government, including City government. I think that it is important for this movement to friends with the working class. …

F: MIC CHECK MIC CHECK. Just a reminder, this is a time for concerns that are directly relevant to this proposal. There is time afterwards to express personal opinions at the Soapbox. Before we continue with concerns, we have time-sensitive announcement. Mic check!

F: What we need at 52 Broadway is about 20-30 people to help unload the next truck of goods from OWS. Thank you.  I have two concerns. Anna came with a very important concern, something I struggled with today, Scott Stringer and the Manhattan Community Board are a governing body. They must have some connection in different ways to forces that we may resist. That being said, no matter what happens tonight, whether we pass this proposal or not, Scott Stringer and the Manhattan Community Board promised OWS that they would be here at 5AM to resist this eviction! Only with that promise would I have come to you with this proposal. Mic check!

F: We have 5 more concerns about the drum proposal.

Firstly, the drums are a way for people to find us. More importantly, though my enthusiasm by that last statement, tomorrow we are fighting for our freedom and for the flagship of this movement. We can use a boost in morale. I would like an amendment that this be enacted later if at all. Again, this amendment is a very important one. From two…they do attract people. One of the minuses though of having them go twelve hours a day is that it drowns out teaching, presentations, and overall the kind of educational political discourse that we’re trying to foster here in this space. Drums will still be allowed to lead marches, and when the police try to kick us out, and if we need energy and strength in that moment, they will be here for that too.  My concern …meanwhile a serious concern is that we stand here, all of us, breathing toxic fumes from the buses, the planes, the coal plants, the air pollution that is causing cancer…the drumming is nothing compared to this

Point of Process (PoP): My concern is that the hours might feel marginalizing to working drummers.

Great point, Nina. Working drummers who want to come at night and give small performances, intimate performances, are welcome. Again, we’re talking about drumcircles.

F: That is the end of the concerns. We have a time-sensitive announcement.

Mic check! We need to move the painted truck on Cedar Street. So we can park our truck and fill it with our stuff. As far as I know, the owner of the truck is Dallas. Please spread the word that we need to move this painted truck on Cedar Street. Thank you.  Stack is now closed for concerns. We have one friendly amendment.  I’ll agree in support as a community to respect our neighbors, and also that it’s important not to drown out the teachings. But drums are really cool, and when people get off work, seeing a bunch of people playing drums is really cool. So I propose that we tilt the hours so that people getting off work can join us too.

Okay two things. Working drummers are perfectly welcome after 5PM, just as long as they’re not really loud. The second thing, in the interest of compromise, and the fact that everything we do at OWS is a work in progress, and can be brought before the GA again, to deal with problems that come about, the drummers are perfectly welcome to come back at a later GA and request that their time slot be pushed back farther back into the evening.

F: Mic check! We have now exhausted all clarifying questions and all concerns. Can I now see how people are feeling about this proposal? To recap, the proposal says that drums will be limited to two hours between 11AM and 5PM and that a representative of OWS be on site 24/7 to take questions and concerns from the Manhattan Community. How do we feel about this proposal? [Positive temperature check]  There is a block. Just to remind you, a block is a severe hand signal. Someone has a block, which means that he has a severe ethical or safety concern with this proposal. Please voice the reason for your block.  I think that we should at least have drums for more than two hours a day because the people who walk by will stop and enjoy the music we have to offer. What I propose is that we have it at least 4 hours a day.

Mic check! We are always with solidarity. Remember that. So one more time, drum circles for two hours. Other drums any time, other music any time until 10PM. That’s quiet hours. And again, this man and the rest of the drummers are empowered to come back to us, to come back to the community if they feel that this proposal is unjust. Any two hours between 11AM and 5PM.

F: The man has decided to hold his block. Let us respect him. Are there any other blocks? [no blocks]

F: So now let us see how you feel about this proposal with your hands. [Mostly Positive] [one Boo.]

F: When there is a block which has been kept, we move to modified consensus, which means that if nine-tenths of this GA consents on this proposal, then we have consensus. Given that there is one block, it’s clear that we have nine-tenths consensus.

F: Final temperature check [more than 90% positive] [one Boo]

F: We have one final block. We ask that he respects the reason for his block.  I think the two hours is not enough because as we attract people to come and watch us, more people want to join and play. Therefore I think it’s fair that we make it more than two hours so that we can keep the people happy.

F: So we have two blocks now, and two very good points.

We have a PoP. What he has said is not a block but a concern.

I have a concern too. Those are both concerns. And while concerns are legitimate and should be recognized, tomorrow is the turning point. Let me correct myself: 12AM tonight until tomorrow is the turning point of this movement. If we can vote on this proposal, right now or after that point, I say we get on with this proposal and then decide what we’re doing.

F: Temperature check on this proposal. [Positive] So it seems that we have consensus! [Applause]

F: Thank you very much for your patience in this process. It is slow. Real slow. But we have heard the voices of the Assembly. We have one final time-sensitive announcement.

Mic check! As part of our strategy to hold this space, and build our revolution, we are working with the Legal team to file an injunction to prevent our eviction tomorrow. We have a great Legal team. We need plaintiffs! Those plaintiffs should be living here. We need five volunteers immediately to have identification and are comfortable playing this role. We will have to go off-site and perhaps work all night. If you can be those five plaintiffs, meet me. My name is Han, at the structure immediately. Thank you.

Mic check! Hey y’all, how y’all feeling? [Positive, applause] Guess what? The GA is adjourned! Right now Soapbox commences.

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