NYC Operational Spokes Council Minutes 11/28/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Spokes Council Minutes.


Date/Time: 11/28/2011 / 7:30pm


Facilitators (F): Brie, Jason

Stack Takers: Karen, Calvin; Vibes: Bill; Scribe: Sully.


[Note: This meeting ended in disorder. These minutes reflect this.]



73.1.  Introduction / Community Agreements

73.2.  Announcements

F: First off, we have a couple journalists. If anyone has concerns raise your hand this time. Are there any concerns with those people who have their hands raised – keep the cameras off this area.
?: Isn’t this supposed to be transparent?


F: Mic check.

F: We’re now asking if anyone has concerns with journalists being in the room. We’d like to hear these concerns very briefly. Please raise your sign.

[lots of chatter]


F: Can we hear the first concern about journalists? Sage…

F: Mic check.

F: I would like to explain the format of this meeting.

[“We are non-violent” being yelled.]


F: For people who have concerns or announcements concerning their Working Group, such as the announcement that Sage would like to make, there will be time for announcements once this process is started. If we could please sit down I would greatly appreciate that.

PoP: Can we have ten minutes to air grievances?

F: Can we please hear the first concern with the journalists being in the room?

F: Mic Check

?: So at the first spokes we agreed that media would not be allowed. That’s our concern.

?: Now regarding: security this is being broadcast over live feed so it’s all transparent anyway. I would like to continue this meeting without… disruption from beings who have no respect…

F: As a compromise we would like to say that anyone on this back wall can be photographed. I apologize if that makes you uncomfortable – should we take time to move around?


73.1.  Introduction / Community Agreements

F: So first we’d like to go thru hand signals.

(hand signals reviewed)

F: We’d also like to re-articulate the process of step up step back. This means if you grew up in a family that told you you should always speak because your voice is very important, you should step back.  If you grew up in a family or a society where you were told that your voice is not important…step up…please help those people to step up.

Clarifying Question (CQ): Is that what step up step back means? I thought this is about people who are marginalized? Is this our way of saying it now?

F:(Brie clarifies…) step up step back is about voices that are marginalized… (etc.)

PoP: I want to have a time – there are major grievances of those on OWS. People of Color… (interruption)

F: This spokes council is a work in progress and I would like to articulate the process that has happened so far.  Basically we wanted to create an empowered Spokes Council. It’s a different format of discussion of the General Assembly. To be able to do that, we started with a meeting that was in spokes council format that would discuss the creation of each spoke. Because we got raided that process was put on hold.

F: Tonight we’d like to start with announcements, can we do two breakout groups?

F:  We have a PoI to clarify that caucuses are created to be able to table the process at any time their caucus feels the discussion calls for it…

F:  We’d like to start with announcements. Our stack takers will open stack for announcements. At this time you are welcome to voice grievances with the OWS movement, however we’d like to keep these announcements and grievances to two minutes, each announcement to two minutes.

PoP: Are we doing report backs?

mic check

F: I have a request to go over community agreements.

F: Meeting agreements are right here: Listen and don’t interrupt, WAIT: Why Am I Talking, Stay on process, Be respectful, No shouting people down, Rotate spokes, No name calling, Only spokes speak to full group.

Mic Check

F: We need two more stack takers in addition to the two we already have.

F: Can I get two volunteers?

PoP: The media is still here and I don’t remember coming to an agreement on that.

PoI: The original proposal made clear that these are open meetings….brought up at first spokes council…

PoP: The only people that knew we were having a meeting is people with internet access so it wasn’t open to everyone because it wasn’t announced.


73.2.  Announcements

F: We’d like to start announcements, grievances or report backs… they need to be short.

F: First on stack is Abe.

73.2.1.  Abe: Can every one hear me?

mic chek

73.2.1.  Abe: OWS is facing some huge issues. Namely that of marginalizing people who are typically marginalized in greater society. In my … I think we need to give these people who have these issues a voice at the beginning of each meeting…

F: Next on stack is Justin.

73.2.2.  Justin: Mic check. My name is Justin. I’d like to make an announcement that Liberty Square … we’ve started Liberty Square general assembly. Right now as we have spokes here, there is a powerless general assembly happening now. This has been happening since spokes council began. Good news is this is the model. The idea is we moved into this space as an occupation army… things have changed… we’ve moved back in as an occupation.  We will be at Charlottes place every day from noon to six while we discuss what this means. As of January 1st, 2012, we’d like to start running the powerless general assembly again – we have a donation 80k to start over. We are building a community that can begin within the future structure… no one has returned to Liberty Plaza to help us. Join us at Charlottes place …

mic check

?: Adding to what Justin said – when we have a general assembly it will be in the center of the park. (Zuccotti)

PoI: Um I don’t know what the hell that was but –

F: Direct response: … get on stack….

mic check

F: This process only works if everybody agrees to it. If people constantly come up off stack we’re never going to finish the things we have to attend to. If you have something to say get on stack – if not we can always talk later.

F: Next on stack is Tech.

73.2.3.  Tech: Tech would like to announce we’ve launched Collaboratively write notes, that’s there for y’all to use. And as a concern, (interrupted)

?:  My brothers & sisters are starving every day – they are drunks… I’m fucking serious. WTF is this. [Can’t understand what she’s saying]

Sage: Have you considered if your family is exactly where they want to be?

mic check

F: Next on stack – Tech – Drew start talking.

73.2.4.  Drew: I’m going to step back…

Next on stack – Security [Community Alliance].

mic check

73.2.5.  Security: I have an announcement about security. Community Alliance is no longer Security. They have removed themselves from the equation. De-escalation is still OWS, we take care of whatever churches… we are still us…. there is no lapse in security. There is no park to secure; there is a movement to secure. Get my phone number; all de-escalation security must go through me, so that everybody knows…

F: …we are closing stack. Next on stack SIS

73.2.6.  SIS: I have made a working form, it’s called SIS direct. This can be provided for working group & houses, …people been coming to me or emailing me… bringing us information, they need some documentation from the working group… they’ve been coming each day what they’ve needed each day…

F: mic check – stack is now closed.

F: Next up, Occupiers.

F: Vibes checker… let’s talk without being defensive or aggressive. Let’s listen attentively to everyone within the process. To set the place for that let’s take ten seconds of silence right now.


F: Next on stack; mobile occupation.

73.2.7.  Mobile Occupation: Hi, I’m Kelly and I was a marcher and organizer who left on Nov. 9th to march to DC. [Cheers & applause] We did a lot of outreach, mobile occupation. And a bus tour…. the ball is kind of rolling now on marches and outreach and taking all this outside of occupations and urban environments. so hopefully there will be a time when Charlie and the green bus group can talk about their ideas… part of this general outreach.

F: Next on stack is Direct Action.

73.2.8.  Direct Action (George): Direct Action has two actions to announce both on Nov. 30th. In the morning at 6:30 we’d like you to gather at Madison sq. park. There’s a defense contractors conference we’re trying to interrupt. Later in the day Obama will be in town. He’s trying raise money, we’re going to (stop that too)… meet at 4:30 at Central Park…… We have flyers.. . also, DA is concerned with the individualization of power that is happening with SIS. We feel that Casper should not be the sole one with access to the SIS email and this direct line to SIS.

CQ: Where in central park are you meeting?

DA: The SW corner, Columbus Circle

73.2.9.  Outreach: I’m Kara with Outreach. We have flyers, newspapers, we need to go out with clipboards, get people to sign up, spread the word. It would be awesome if everyone could go out as a team, email or we can get together after the meeting.

73.2.10.  Wellness: Hi everyone, my name is Adriana. I’m representing Wellness. I could probably also talk loudly…proposed umbrella group – yoga,… daily meditations as mind.. Take it down a notch. Been talking to occupation in Berkley and SF, proposing that December 3 General Assembly start with nine minutes of pure silence because there has been a lot of division between our speech… if we can’t within this group, this movement stands no chance. So I propose the General Assembly the December 3rd, begin with nine minutes of pure silence.

F: Next on stack is Medical.

73.2.11.  Medical: I’m going to talk real loud like this. I just got in from Philly today and the raid that was supposed happen last night went smoothly for us and not so smooth for the Philly PD – … we locked arms, encircled the camp…. just because they didn’t get evicted last night, they still need support… they need help – tensions are running high in this room and it’s really hot, if you need to step outside, don’t want to treat any of you for passing out… stay zen.

F: Occupy Philly [stepped out, moved to later on stack]

F: Occupiers.

F: Next is Support.

73.2.12.  Support: Mic check. My name is Amby. I don’t have a lot of voice so I have to use the mic. Support has been active in the church shelters and jail support… we’re also available for individuals in the movement, the way to get in touch…

73.2.13.  Legal: Hi everyone, my names Matt. I’m on Legal. We have two short announcements. Tomorrow, Tuesday at 6pm at 60 Wall we have a jail support meeting. We have a big day of action coming up -…if you want to help please come to 60 Wall tomorrow at 6pm. Second announcement: happening at the General Assembly tomorrow… synopsis, alright … most of you know there was  a lawsuit filed the morning of the raid… to ask the court to stop the eviction & to challenge the new rules put in by Brookfield… this lawsuit was filed on behalf of the individuals.. led by Allen Levine.. His legal team is asking that we authorize them to go forward with this specific litigation.. he’s here, intro…

Allen: Good evening everybody. I’ve been practicing as a civil rights lawyer for a fair matter of years. We met a judge at about 5pm the night of the raid… That is still pending in state court.. a group of us are speaking about a further litigation .. to protect the right of everyone at Zucotti park, may stay in this court or go to another… to reestablish the right of the occupiers can …stay there 24/7. I can’t assure you about the outcome of the lawsuit. I can assure that with your cooperation, the mission of the OWS… goals.. can be …

The president of NLG in NYC Gideon Oliver, [applause] and the other is a lawyer & political activist ______ Ackmod?

F: Next on stack, Sparkle.

73.2.14.  Sparkle: My name is Sparkle, I do not represent a specific working group, however I am part of some of the hardest working people who are there at Zucotti Park every day representing & supporting our movement. I have some very serious concerns…about what Finance is doing to support and aid those who need support and aid the most. I have a lot of concerns, myself and many others – since the raid – have been suffering. Sometimes, we don’t have places to sleep, if we’re lucky we get to crash in churches. For those of us who are not so lucky, I still see occupiers sleeping on the subways and the streets. The churches where we sleep is far from the park… car fare is desperately needed. We had it… now we do not… we have occupiers who are so committed to get to Zucotti…beating the fare to actually do it. Regarding food, I’m understanding that more attempts are being made to deliver food everywhere there are occupiers, however it seems to be coming just a little bit late. What I would like to know is, what is in the works, from Finance and from those who are in the position of unilateral power to support those who may not be in a working group but are working as hard.. I would like that answer.

73.2.15.  Organized Labor (Trish): I made contact with labor unions, I will get back to you when we have something in writing.

73.2.16.  Anti-Oppression (Toni Cochran): One of the things we’re working on … oppression within our movement… necessary to move forward as a movement … fighting government infiltration… sponsored by Pepsi…

73.2.17.  Occupy Philly: Alright guys, my name is Michael. I came from Occupy Philly we had our occupy implode on two levels. We did get evicted. I am the only one there who has been arrested twice – … other people are scouting out other occupiers… you guys are going through the second implosion that our camp went through, people got divided… we had a document we had working groups and occupiers signs… 6 people blocked it, clear-cut divide … it went to a very nasty point and everything imploded. ..I’d hate to see that happen here… everyone is here for the same reason. the movement should be called “we want to save the world..” …..tell me how to save this if you hold the one true perspective. so even … if you do this or this [hand signals] or you mic check over them, they feel de-motivated… all issues should be tackled… until we figure this out it’s going nowhere very fast, it’s schools, it’s war, its… with the mob mentality, no is going to express… what’s the priority here, being right or making most people happy? We are unhappy. find… when Philly had their implosion and they mic checked over me – …when … do you want me to finish?…when you are repeating what someone is saying you have no time to process what’s being said… the whole concept has been wrong since day one – there is no leader – fuck that.. Find your issue and lead.

Sage: These claps are insincere.

Philly:  Everyone wants to hide everything and… fuck that – expose your problems…

F: Would you like him to continue?

Sage: He literally just said he doesn’t want anyone to mic check – and now you are doing it in his favor… are you fucking ludicrous?

[Lots of talk]

F: Listen up, nearly everybody in this room would like to finish hearing him speak – please make it as short and to the point as possible.

73.2.17. (continued) Occupy Philly: Another issue we ran into at our occupy … as soon you start speaking… everybody matters period. You can’t exclude anybody… this is my system, you have the option to get your voice heard, no you find your way to be heard. You have to be something more than you have ever been before if you want to… change the world…. of course alterations need to be made. The civil rights movement was like fifty years ago…fifty years… why did Martin Luther King get murdered? Because he brought in Asians, gays, … people whenever people start bringing people in ……I’m sorry I’ll wrap it up.


F: Several occupiers, Anthony Stefano, Paul, & Aaron.

73.2.18.  Anthony: Hi, my name is Anthony. I am here to make awareness of we’re trying to get into the national park in Brooklyn. It’s the only national park here where you can sleep, eat, cook and use the facilities. Winter is coming. We have a lot of children sleeping in … it cost $20 a day, but for six people splitting $20 a day… we’re trying to open a bank account and you’ll know … where the money… people will freeze, people are hungry, people need to go get medical treatment… there are people who occupy this every day…hungry cold and they’re still there… they’re fighting for everybody’s rights… I have people staying at my father’s house… Italy France, ..It’s important we raise enough money to go to this national park, we need teepees… we can set up a medical tent…  use the facilities… stand up, come on dude – library. just stand up…Charlie stand up, see this girl right here, she’s there every day.

PoP: We have a spokes that’s spoking for the occupiers, so I don’t know what this is… we can do this outside of the …

?: Facilitators! Can you facilitate!

F: Mic check. We’d like to finish announcements, but I’d like to believe I can treat everyone here like adults. You have two minutes…

F: Times’ up!

F: Next on stack.

?: He’s a marginalized voice, he’s trying to get something out, I want to hear them speak.

F: Next on stack is Media – mic check.

F: Mic check – three seconds of silence. [phone rings]

73.2.19.  Media: Our unity scares the one percent. Ok, that’s why they’re trying to disrupt things on the street, they disrupt us in here when we try to …. loud and inconsiderate… time energy commitment serious issues of racism marginalized.. evolution back in revolution… [some missed due to the rate of speech] .. They’re not going to wear a cop uniform and say I’m here to fuck up this meeting but that’s what they’re going to do… look at Egypt…


73.2.20.  Solidarity (Nan): Hi everybody. Well I’m making it brief. I would like to say thank you for everyone here… welcome occupy 447… I’m going to step back and let caucus “-ism”.

-ism: [another marginalized group]

F: Next on stack – Occupy Harlem.

73.2.21.  Occupy 477: Harlem says hello, we would like to support the -ism caucus.. We’re … Evon Marovich spoke and met with 3 leaders of our group… leaders introduce yourselves…

F: Next on stack. Comfort, Sparrow.

Sparrow: Wassap y’all.

PoI: Direct Action has no idea who those people are – “same logo” none of us have a logo.

F: Mic check – Point of Information is pertinent relevant information to what the speaker is saying.

73.2.22.  Sparrow: I’m here with people from Comfort. Can everybody hear me? Comfort has, we had a moment after the raid. I personally lost everything, a few things dear to me… we’re back on board but we’re trying to provide y’all services… 3 to 7 every day, in the morning.. Shower location a point of confusion, i don’t know who to send the calendar too.. I’ve been asked by the people, that the spokes be held in the park once a week, ..they don’t know where it is they want to be a part of the process… someone gave me the number for doing a survey for metro cards… I lost it. I was also given… I lose slips of paper… whoever wants to see about doing a transportation working group… we also need to have a special discussion about some people in the park with special needs… I try to get a hotel, Finance refused…. special needs people who need a place to go… getting a foot disease… we have got to take care of all the occupiers…also – we need beds, we need beds, we need beds… and body oil for people… please read our blog…

F: Next on stack Occupiers with Restrictive Diets.

73.2.23.  Occupiers with Restrictive Diets (Sage): I’m sage, I’ve already talked a whole bunch, I’ve had time to rest. I’ll sound more sane. If you could record this level of speech and know me as this. I’m captain low blood sugar. I’m sort of scared of anti-oppression, my natural… why can’t you live in my shade? I take up a lot of space… that’s a metaphor… I just want to be concise… I want to acknowledge how much time I’ve taken out of your process… I was told by Kitchen that my Working Group was officiated… I was then told that was actually not true, I would have to accept less money because I was not a part of the process. All I’m asking for is that as long as I am here, that I can eat like you. I’m not going to talk about money or food. I can’t deal without… I cannot function in your system. I refuse to do so.  I refuse to hurt myself by trying.

73.2.24.  Finance: I’m Justin, I’m here to remind you that Finance does not decide where the money goes. The General Assembly does… the working groups know where the money is going… Sage is working very hard, got a … passed to get metrocards…

F: Next on stack is Occupy Youth.

73.2.25.  Occupy Youth: Hi everybody, my name is Jesus. On behalf of Occupy Youth… we go to lower income communities… community groups, youths… at the moment, I got here from Miami and everyone is here screaming about money – not here for metrocards and cupcakes… there are … I’m here to support the people who… homelessness is a major issue here… to prove my loyalty I have made myself homeless for the next forty days in a …promo. I would love any other groups who can get involved with the youth… so we can further discuss… NYCGA group.

73.2.26.  Kitchen: Hi everyone. My name is Joshua… ice and I are willing to get yelled at outside spokes council. We’re facing a lot of issues, problems, as we have been for a lot of weeks. We’re trying to address what Sparkle brought us… trying to feed people, being pulled into different directions… some of our donations have dried up…we’re trying to move out of emergency mode and into a …mode… if anyone would like to help… meeting Sunday at 3pm Tuesday & Thursday at 8pm at 60 Wall. I can address sages issue…. if anyone would like to hear it… (sage… I was called forth). We can talk about that after the meeting. (Nan.. why not now?) Kitchen is trying to decentralize so we can support other occupations in Far Rockaway. Trying to move forward and a lot of people are really upset..

Sage:.Whoever controls the food controls this movement.

Nan: This need to be addressed tonight.

Sage: A lot of people disagree.

F: Mic check, we have a PoI.

?: My name is Justin. … about how to go about trying to help food decentralizing, the community relations committee… beginning to work with more street carts and … closer to other occupations…

CQ: The gentlemen over there says that you can get stuff on the NYCGA website …so that’s a resource…

PoI: …


Sage: Can someone please explain to nan how she can meet her needs…

F: Mic check… five times

F: Can I just say I’m really disappointed with the people in this room right now, we all know the process, …

F: Mic check – don’t blow up, settle down, we have one more on stack… then we can move on.

?: I’m Uncle Bob I started to … I went to the Kitchen today, I’m going to be at the meeting tomorrow night… Justin you might want to be at the meetingg tomorrow. Thank you.

Nan:  [Yelling]

Mic check…

F: Before I call last on stack… time and place…we want to have a special airing of grievances… 4pm on Wednesday…

[Nan and Sage yelling]

Mic Check

F: If you would like to have a conversation…

Nan: [Ongoing yelling]

Mic check – If you’d like to talk about the kitchen, go outside.

F: We need to take control of the meeting as facilitators….Nan… Nan… you are not being helpful to the group right now.

Nan: How dare you, how dare you…. etc. we are having this discussion now.


F: Mic check. If you would like this meeting to continue… please sit down and be quiet for ten seconds. That will show your support starting now.

[too much happening at once]

Rabbi: Nan, don’t let them get rid of you!

F:  We have a community grievance meeting. Those people who do not agree with the meeting process… should not be at this meeting. Remove yourself and continue outside.

F: MIC CHECK we have one more person on stack for announcements. The last group is Tech..

F: If everyone is speaking, no one is being heard.

73.2.27.  Tech: Hello everyone… I’ve got one boring announcement. On the website, there’s a bunch of information that is inaccurate. We would really like to make this information accurate. That’s why the communication cluster has been formed and we’re passing around a proposal we’d like to get passed at the General Assembly on Saturday. If you don’t have Internet please be sure to get a copy of this.  This group raised concern about Direct Action… you guys jumped to conclusions. A very simple explanation as why a fist represents direct action on the website. One of the designers picked the fist. .. It’s jumping to conclusions and… there’s an assumption that Kitchen is fucking people over. There’s an assumption that people who [yelling] … are here to disrupt us… one here is perfect. Let me explain how shit gets done right now. We, the privileged elite. I know someone’s phone number. I call them. It gets shit done. It’s not transparent. I want desperately want this organization… get this shit (together)?… been with this since August just please we can assume good faith of each other. We have a broken system we’re moving into a system already broken… this is not perfect. This is not perfect, it’s nowhere near, but it’s way better than…

CQ: We may not know that we are involved… that fist that has been chosen, it’s a very specific fist that was actually designed by the CIA….

F: MIC CHECK. I would like to remind everyone of the agreements that we as a community agreed to. We agreed to listen and not interfere. We agreed to wait. We agree to stay on process, we agree to be respectful, we agree not to shout people down, we agree to rotate spokes, we agree to not name call, we agree that only spokes speak for the whole group. So thus we would like to address…

?: Ok, we agreed to stay on process but there are some times when the process does not serve the work that needs to be done. The minds of many can be eased quite quickly if Kitchen answers Nan’s question. It can be done easily…

Rabbi: [yelling, too fast to catch]

Nan: My question is, why is it that Kitchen seems in my eyes that they’re playing favor that some people get to eat while others do not get to eat, because they’re not part of the…group, they are not fortunate as we are, why is it Kitchen… supposed to be the center of the movement why is that Kitchen is pick and choosing. Kitchen has no … i would like to know, Kitchen leaders… basically they say you are feeding these kind of people and not these kind of people.

F: We agree that one person will speak at a time…

[Rabbi still talking]

[Sage is singing]

?: Nan, are you asking why there is not a schedule that Kitchen is following or are you essentially accusing them of playing favoritism?

Nan: Not accusing Kitchen playing favoritism, I was with kitchen when they were doing their shit… they made a decision, they voted, so that people will be eating while those who cannot to afford to have a working or those not part of a working group would have a priority not to eat.

?: Are you saying that Kitchen made an agreement?

?: I stayed at rockaway from 8 – 12… told food would be arriving… someone showed up at 1am with ..Wendy’s… I got up at 9 and wanted a bowl of cereal… at 10 some people put food in a private office.. Could not eat until everyone got up.

Kitchen: We’d like to answer. Kitchen is trying to feed people with what we can or with what we have. We always don’t have the finances or the food. Or the volunteers or the drivers or the kitchens to get food to the people. if you want to be a help in the process you can be a part of the kitchen.

?: i know people who have volunteered for kitchen…

Nan: You did not answer question. You went around in circle. You did not tell me what I want to hear.

?: We not each other’s enemy. We are one community. We need to learn to work together so we can bring down the current system. If we fight each other… we’re not going to get anywhere….

?: …can we please proceed with the process?!

F: It is now 9:30pm and we have to leave this space.

?: I would like to hear….

[Calling the meeting, too many voices]

F: Mic check – let’s end in unity …we will take….

F: One more announcement – we are having an emergency meeting at Zucotti park to address the issue of people interrupting this process and trying to get people heard.

Sage: Who is facilitating that?

?: Mic check. I want you all to acknowledge that Facilitation left because…..

?: No, no, we have facilitation. We stopped…


[Note: This meeting ended in disorder. These minutes reflect this.]

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