NYCGA Minutes 11/10/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Date / Time: Thursday 10/11/2011 / 7:00pm EST

Location: Zuccotti Park, NY, NY

Facilitators: Brie, Zach


Stack Keeper: Joel; Stack Reader: Shazz; Time Keeper: Eileen; Minute Taker: Stephanie

[Facilitator introductions]

[Review of progressive stack]

[Review of hand signals]

[Review of modified consensus process]


55.1.  Agenda Items (Occupy the Holiday Proposal, Brooklyn Occupy the Block Emergency Proposal, Movement Building Proposal, Archives Proposal, Principles of Solidarity Proposal,  Call to Action Proposal, Fire Safety Concerns, Direct Action Event Proposal, Direct Action Defense Discussion, Occupy Within Proposal)

55.2.  Working Group Report Backs and Announcements

F: Also, it’s going to rain tonight perhaps, 40% chance at 9pm. We have a long agenda tonight, and I’d like to take you through it real quickly to give you a sense of how much time everything is going to take.

New F: We’d also like to address the idea of Step Up Step Back. This means if you’ve grown up having parents and a community that taught you to always voice your opinions, it is your responsibility to step back. If you’ve grown up learning that your voice was not important, it is your responsibility to step forward. We must help each other in stepping up and stepping back.

[same F continues to list the agenda items:]

The first item is Occupy the Holiday. We suggest ten minutes. The second item is an emergency proposal about Brooklyn Occupy the Block, we suggest fifteen minutes. The third item is Movement Building: A trip to Egypt. We suggest twenty minutes. Archives: we suggest ten minutes. Principles of Solidarity: we suggest twenty minutes. Call to Action: we suggest twenty minutes. Concern about fire safety: we suggest fifteen minutes. Direct Action on November 17th: We suggest fifteen minutes. Direct Action regarding the defense of the park: we suggest fifteen minutes. Occupy Within: we suggest ten minutes. That will be two and a half hours, if we can keep it concise.

New F: After which, if there is still time, we will have WGRBs and Announcements. Quiet hours start at 11PM, so we have to be done around 11. Additionally, we want to say that the process of the GA can be modified. This is done by bringing proposals to the GA and having them passed by consensus. Thank you.

New F: First up is Occupy the Holiday. Come on up, please!


55.1.  Agenda Items

55.1.1.  Occupy the Holiday Proposal  Occupy the Holiday: Hi everyone, I’m Kara. I’m here to talk about poverty and kids this holiday season. One in five children are living below the poverty line. This is unacceptable. This season, I would like to see us work with Toys for Tots, whose sole purpose is to make sure that all kids have a happy holiday season. Toys for Tots was started by Marines, and they’re happy to have our support. What I’m asking for is a small fund, $350 to get basic boxes, bells, things of that nature and teams on the ground in five spots in the city – we like being on the ground anyway – to bring this issue to the front for people in the city. That’s really all I have to say, I hope we can kick Scrooges’ asses here, and I’m open to questions…

F: We will now open stack for questions, so come talk to our stack greeter and get yourself on stack!

New F: We will first open stack for questions, these are CQs. We will next open stack for concerns. Any concerns you have with the proposal will be voiced at this time. Finally, we will take FAs. Then we will take a temperature check to see how the group feels about moving toward testing for consensus. At this point, if the temperature check looks good, we’ll move to checking for blocks. If there are no blocks, it is consensus. If there are blocks, we’ll move to the procedure I outlined before [modified consensus process]. Any questions?

New F: No questions.

New F: I will now open stack for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: Audacio: I am concerned that Toys for Tots encourages consumerism in children. You do not need toys to be happy. We need love.

R: I agree, but kids all want a little joy, and they’re not necessarily being conditioned, as all of us were not. We don’t have to give just toys, we can get books, we can get educational toys, we can make sure all toys are American made, we can encourage these things.  Crn: I concur with the last speaker, I am very concerned having a grandchild and this whole business of consumerism and perpetuating the myth that we need toys for joy. I am also concerned with your last comment to the extent that we should buy American. We’re a global world now, we were always a global world, and we need to think in global terms.

R: That’s fair. I don’t have a response for that because I don’t disagree.  Crn: Rob: I have one other concern. I sort of agree with the previous speaker’s point. All the jobs for manufacturing those toys are being shipped overseas. So if we’re getting American toys, we’re getting American jobs.

R: I don’t have an answer because I don’t think we can ask people to donate solely one type of gift. We can encourage charity that is in line with our belief system, but we can’t require this to be solely our specific belief system. I think it’s bigger than that.

F: [closing stack for concerns]

Next on stack: Isa. On deck: Max.  Crn: Isa: Hello! My concern, including consumerism, is the religious aspect of the holidays. There are other religions celebrating, so not only does this take away from our primary purpose, but it also opens up the movement to attack from the outside because we’re aligning with one religion over another.

R: I would say we could choose to get donations and give them to several organizations as an alternative. I spoke of Toys for Tots for two reasons: first, it is fairly universally recognized and supported for the philosophy it stands for, which is helping those who need.

Stack: Next on stack: Max.  Crn: Max: I just want to say that toys don’t have to be made by a big company, and there’s nothing wrong with helping a child have a fun holiday season. The gifts could be encouraged to be given, or rather purchased, from local merchants and craftsmen. People of many faiths celebrate the holiday season, so it doesn’t have to be overtly religious.

Next on stack: Patrick  Crn: Patrick: Hi. I wanted to know about the $350. Is it being used principally for the collection process, or more to go out and buy particular books and toys?

R: It would be used for the collection process. I touched base with Toys for Tots to see if they would welcome our help and what they would need from us. They said they are short on supplies for collection. It would be for boxes, some bells, some armbands that say OWS so that we can modestly identify ourselves. And that’s about it. The breakdown is on the proposal on the nycga website.  Crn: Charlene: I was going to suggest that maybe Toys for Tots can take a minor role in OWS and take a major role by funneling this project to the Occupies in the outer boroughs and letting them get involved in their communities by giving toys or doing that kind of thing.

F: We are now at time limit. If you would like to extend our time for this topic by five minutes, please twinkle your fingers. [mostly middle and negative] It looks mixed, so we won’t extend the time.

CQ: Can the proposal be restated?

R: The proposal is to mobilize OWS and a fund of $350 to get ourselves on the ground and raising funds for children this holiday season.

F: Temperature check on this proposal? [mostly positive]

New F: We’d now like to move for check for blocks? Are there any blocks? [no blocks] The proposal passes!  Consensus.

PoP: What about stand-asides?

F: Stand-asides are not typically a part of the GA process. They have been employed in the SC model, but this is different.

New F: Next up we would like to call the emergency proposal, Brooklyn Occupy the Block.

New F: This was given to us, the Facilitation team, as an emergency proposal, which means that they do not post it 24 hours in advance, so we’d like to ask the GA for its permission to hear this emergency proposal.

55.1.2.  Brookly Occupy the Block Proposal  Brooklyn Occupy the Block: I’m Leo. I’m Helen. I”m Samantha. I’m Robert. We’re representing the Brooklyn GA tonight, and we’re asking for $670 to fund the Occupy Your Block weekend starting Saturday. On this weekend, we’ve planned a rally and marches, eight teach-ins, and something like four direct actions on Sunday, a community lunch, and some more teach-ins on Sunday, and a GA. This is in cooperation with OWS Outreach, which is promoting the Occupy Your Block weekend. We are anticipating hundreds and even more people. And this funding is an emergency because it’s on Saturday. We’ve already started incurring costs for it, and some of those have to do with issues that have arisen from negotiating with the city, so that our event is safe for people in Brooklyn who will have concerns about a police presence or violating the law.

F: The criteria for an emergency proposal is it must be time-sensitive. It must also involve an external deadline previously unknowable. We’d like to ask the presenter to explain why this is an emergency proposal.  (Continued) Brooklyn Occupy the Block: So the needs coming out of negotiating with the city are part of what makes this an emergency, so that families can come and feel safe. Also, we have been in communication with the Outreach OWS working group for three weeks about holding this event. We thought that we would be able to get funds from the Outreach funds for Occupy Your Block. Yesterday we were informed that we would have to bring this to this GA in order to get funding. We did not realize this. That’s why we’re here tonight.

F: I’d like to ask for a temperature check on whether this GA would like to discuss this proposal. [positive]

New F: Looks pretty positive. We will hear this proposal. We will now open stack for questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Jeff: I would like to know, if you’ve been speaking with OWS Outreach work group for three weeks, why you only learned you would have to come to GA yesterday?

R: We were under the understanding that we would be able to get a portion of the money that the GA had approved for Occupy Your Block.

F: Are there any more questions?  CQ: Charlene: I’m wondering which communities in Brooklyn will be participating. As we all know, Brooklyn is huge.

R: We’ve been trying our best to connect with Occupy Sunset Park, Occupy Beth-Stuyvesant, Occupy Brownsville, and the list goes on. We’ve also been trying to do massive outreach to organizations, … and residents who work in many different neighborhoods. I’m sure some neighborhoods won’t be represented as much as we want them to be, but we hope on Saturday and Sunday to continue the conversations about how to improve that problem.

F: We’d like to close stack. If you’ve got a question or a statement, please get on stack now.  CQ: Pete from Finance: It kind of disturbs me that you guys did not sit down and properly budget the funds for this event. This is a conversation that should’ve happened three weeks ago. Otherwise, it would not be an emergency.

R: The nature of GAs in the outer boroughs is that the relationship to this GA is still developing and being defined, and that’s been a struggle, and it’s been very imperfect so far, but that is the reality. (Continued) Pete: Basically, if you know that is the case, why didn’t you ask for funds earlier?
R: Our liaisons in Outreach had suggested that we would be able to get funding through them. We are sorry we did not come to Finance earlier, we did not realize we needed to do that.

F: Now I would like to open for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: Rosario: I would like to ask as well as voice my concerns as I do not understand how the funds will be employed.

R: A chunk of it will go to porto potties. In getting permission to use the space that we are, we are required to provide porto potties and a couple other things. We are also going to spend money on the community lunch, which we are also lucky to have help from the Kitchen here. I have about twenty copies of the full budget, if twenty of you want it right now. Raise your hand if you’d like a budget.

F: Stack is now closed.  Crn: Jeff: I would like to say that I agree with the principles of this proposal, but I am concerned with the great number of groups coming to GA asking for funds when there are other processes to get financial support, and this is an emergency form.

R: The Brooklyn GA has not yet had an opportunity to do fundraising. We currently have $6. We are asking for this money because this is a tremendous outreach opportunity so we can build our numbers in Brooklyn and begin to become self-sustaining and support ourselves.

PoI: What’s the OWS budget?

F: I’m sorry but that’s not immediately relevant to the proposal at hand. If you’d like you can talk to the people at Finance, many of which are here and would be happy to fill you in. I’d like to next ask for FAs. I’ll now open stack.  Friendly Amendments (FA)  FA: I’d like to propose a FA that you borrow money for the porto potties and the action, fundraise that day, and pay the money back. [mixed response from crowd]

PoI: In the declaration passed by this GA we offer all the resources at our disposal.

F: At this point they get to decide if they want to accept the amendment.

R: We’d love it if in the future, GAs in other neighborhoods in Brooklyn could come to the Occupy Brooklyn GA and ask for help with other funds. But right now we don’t accept this FA because… we want to focus on creating a space for productive ….actions which is still in the very early stages in this GA.  FA: Eric: I strongly believe they deserve the funds they require, and I believe a more powerful way to secure these funds is through an online kickstarter campaign to popularize Occupy Brooklyn, popularize the event, and secure this very reasonable amount of money, and if for any reason that were to fail, that GA has them covered anyways.

F: Before we continue, I’d like to remind everybody that we’re over time for this agenda item. We have another seven proposals.

PoP: We are now accepting FAs, not discussions.

R: That’s a great idea for the future for Brooklyn. We’ve already been taking actions on the assumption that we had funding at hand, and we think it’s a reasonable amount to ask for tonight.

F: Just a reminder, we’re over time on this issue, let’s keep it short. Thank you.  FA: Luke: Hi! The money that we have in the GA fund was not that hard to raise. We’ve also not done active fundraising in over a month. Would you guys would be okay with taking $1500 and making things a little bit easier on yourselves?

R: Yeah!

F: PoP: We had this situation at last week’s GA, and what we decided is because this is an emergency proposal, we should decide on the requested amount of funds. If they’d like to request more funds later, they can fill out a proposal and go through the normal channels. [positive response]  FA: Hi. I’m Ryan. My FA is that we give the funds now, with the caveat that future funds to be raised will be dealt with in cooperation with the Finance working group, as we have done fundraising with other GAs in the past.

R: We discussed in Brooklyn our disappointment that we’ve had to do it this way. There’s a strong desire in Brooklyn to not have to take this approach in the future. This is a learning process… In other words we accept that.  FA: Nicole: I would like to present the FA that we give this money to the Brooklyn GA with the caveat that they must return here and ask for more money to kickstart the Brooklyn GA. OWS IS the Brooklyn GA! We support them, and the issues of the Brooklyn community are central to the issues of OWS. We are not hoarding money from them! We need to be extremely supportive! That was a bit of opinion, but I’m done.

F: PoP: That was not a FA. Stack was open for FAs. We would now like to take a temperature check on this proposal. Can we first restate in like two lines this proposal?  Brooklyn Occupy the Block: The proposal is to receive $670 to fund our Occupy Your Block weekend.

F: Temperature check. [positive] Looks pretty good. We’re building to consensus. Are there any blocks? [no blocks] The proposal passes.  Consensus.

New F: It’s now 8PM. We’ve been here for one hour. There’s someone at the very end of this agenda that really wants to have their chance. The next agenda item is Movement Building: A trip to Egypt. We hope twenty minutes will suffice.

New F: while we’re waiting for the Movement group, anyone who can move closer, occupy the stairs that are being vacated. Do it now so we can settle in for a while. Thank you.

New F: I get to do vibe-check too! How’s the vibe right now? Not too cold, not too hot, anybody hungry? I think there’s food back there…

55.1.3.  Movement Building Proposal  Movement Building: Hi! My name’s Maria, and I represent the Coalition of Egyptian Civil Society Monitors, and they have made a request of OWS to help them monitor the elections. So I’m going to read to you two letters from different coalitions and from two individuals who came here, …..who are the founders and leaders of the April 6 movement, one of the main drivers of the Egyptian Revolution. [Reading from letter. Will fill in the rest of the content soon.] …Egyptians are very proud to have been the inspiration for your movement, and we wish you the best of luck in achieving your goals. In the spirit of international solidarity, we would like to invite OWS to send a delegate to Egypt and to observe the first step in our ……we hope this election will constitute not only the beginning of a genuine democratic government, but through your involvement, the first significant …dedicated to the universal ideals of freedom, human rights and social justice.” So I think I won’t read the next letter. Essentially what they want is, like it was stated in the letter, that we send a delegation and put out on our networks a request for participation. This is very important because these elections will be the first since the transition, and they will define who gets to write the constitution. So we are requesting for 20 people to go to Egypt on November 25th, which will cost $29,000, and this will include transportation, hostel accommodations, and airfare. We will be putting a call-out through all the working groups to send us three representatives who will be candidates and eventually decided upon by the Egyptian Coalition, who will go to Egypt to represent OWS and help them monitor these democratic elections. One more thing, we will also be putting the call-out to all of our caucuses.

F: We will now open stack for any questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: My question is that obviously with something this big, there are a lot of logistical issues. Is there a way for everyone to see all the logistics in detail online?

R: Currently there are several websites which detail the proposals from the different coalitions. We can add more information if people want to see it. However, there is a training program on the 26th and 27th where all the logistics have already been decided and that we would just tap into. So what I’m saying is that we will not be creating a program, we will be tapping into a program that’s already been created and worked on for a long time.  [same CQ]: I just wanted to clarify, I meant in regards to how the $29,000 would be used.

R: I can break it down for you now, or it’s also on under the proposal. We budgeted $1200 for each airfare ticket, $50 for food and transport, and $20 for accommodations. This will not be a fun trip, it will be very high-risk, but I think it’s worth it.

F: Closing stack for questions  CQ: Hi. I would like to know which international organizations and which governmental organizations are you cooperating with, if at all?

R: Do you mean the Egyptian coalitions, or the Occupy movement? (Continued) I mean for example is the UN involved, is the US State Department involved, etc.

R: So these coalitions, some of them are funded by international coalitions and governments, but the majority are by grassroots initiatives that involve 50,000 volunteers from across Egypt. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights, …April 6, the Egyptian Democracy Academy and the [word undecipherable]…Coalition.  CQ: I would like to know what is the criteria required for volunteers, and how are they being chosen? For example, if somebody wanted to go, how do they get to go?

R: There is a defined list that was developed with the Egyptian Coalitions that’s quite detailed and that will be distributed to each working group. Like, having Middle Eastern experience, experience with social movements, experience with media, experience in high risk environments, language skills like Arabic, direct action experience… but we want the committees to use their best judgment… If you’d like to pay your own way anyone can go. It’s an open invitation, this is unprecedented. There’s never been a… devoted to democracy and human rights, in the Middle East or elsewhere.

F: We had twenty minutes, we’re now at ten, but we just started CQs.  CQ:Pete: I have one question, have you talked to Legal or other people in the legal community about legal protection for people who go?

R: Yes we have, not the legal for OWS, but other people in the human rights community, specifically with Occupy DC, and we were told because it’s a social movement and we are going as individuals, there is no liability because there’s no organizational greater affiliation. (Continued) Pete: That’s not really what I meant. I’m talking about what happens if people who go end up in jail?

R: that’s an easier question. We have extensive networks, it’s something many of us have worked on for years. We can adapt the program for OWS so everyone feels comfortable, but there will definitely be a program in place and there are a million options. Being an American in Egypt will afford us many privileges, since we deal arms with them! And it will be the first time it will be a group of Americans standing in front of them and protesting the use of arms against democracy…  CQ: My one concern is easily remediable. I just want a guarantee that everything that we do in Egypt as a delegation will be through nonviolence. [lots of positive response]

R: That’s a very easy answer. All the people we are working with are dedicated 100% to nonviolence and to the ideals of nonviolent civil resistance, which is the heart of the revolution.

F: We would like to close stack. We would like to open stack for FAs.  Friendly Amendments  FA: Hi, I would like to propose, since you checked with a legal team that was not OWS, just for our benefit, and our information, that you check with our legal team before everybody leaves.

R: The only concern that I have is that the elections are in two weeks, and we want to ensure that as many people get to go as possible, and the cheaper the plane tickets, the more people get to go, so that would be my only concern.

R: Do you want us to check with them or just brief them? (Continued) I’m not sure I understand what the distinction is.

R: One is asking for advice, and one is making them aware of a situation. Also, Legal is one of the working groups that we will be reaching out to, so they will be made well aware.

F: Stack is now closed. They would like to accept this FA. So now we will move to a temperature check on this proposal. Can I ask the group to concisely restate the proposal with the FA?  Movement Building: The proposal is to respond to the request of the Egyptian opposition to act as monitor for the November parliamentary elections, and inform Legal of what we’re doing,

F: Can we get a temperature check on this proposal? [positive] Looks good. We are building consensus. We would now like to ask for any blocks.  Blocks  Block: I don’t believe there are enough people here to form a GA, but that’s just my opinion.

F: PoP: Blocks must relate to the proposal. There is also no stipulation as to the number of people that constitutes a GA.

F: Are there any other blocks? [none] Do you retract your block? [he left] The proposal passes.  Consensus.

New F: Maybe we’ll all have you out of here by ten o’clock! Next up is Archives.


F: While we appreciate that everyone has a voice, we are here mostly to make sure that process is upheld in hearing those voices. We have time for any one of these things, like objections, at the end of the night in the Soapbox. Please respect this delegate. Thank you.

55.1.4.  Archives Proposal  Archives: Hi! So we’re from Archives, and I want you to look at this sign, just for a second. [holds up a colorful handmade sign] Let me show you the other side! [shows the other side] This sign was collected by the Archives working group over five weeks ago. We already have at least 300 signs that represent the diversity of perspectives and the real creativity of our movement. And we are asking for some funds to continue preserving our history for our children, for our future.

Archives [new presenter]: The proposed amount that we are asking for is $3,940. This money is for a secure storage space for all the material we are collecting, like these signs, transportation of the signs, archival equipment such as a scanner and printer, an external hard drive, an archival digital camera, and additional archival supplies.

Archives [new speaker]: We are also collecting an oral history project which features interviews with people like you, and people like them [indicates the rest of the park] – us – and media like digital images and video collected by the Media team.

F: We now open stack for any questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: My question is, are you working with to ensure that the public has access to everything you preserve?

R: We have contacts with the, and we will work with them to make those digital images and video available to the public.

F: Next on stack: Jose.  CQ: Jose: I was just wondering if you’ve considered, to supply your project and a lot of the things in your budget could be donated, have you tried to look for options of donations? I have a hard drive if you want.

F: I’d like to close stack.

New F: Next on stack: Jeff. Stack is now closed.

R: We recognize the importance of saving money by taking donations. Unfortunately, taking donations from any of the archival institutions may possibly expose us to transparency concerns about who has ownership of our materials. We want to ensure that WE are supporting our own archives, and not privileging some other institution  rather than ourselves.  CQ: I would like to know the physical location that you are proposing to store the archives.

R: It’s at Manhattan Mini Storage at 161 Barrack Street.

F: Last on stack: Matt.  Matt: Are you aware that the NYU Tamiment Library has a project going to archive the movement? Perhaps you could consider working with them, although I don’t know very many specifics about it.

R: In my mind, we covered that by talking about the problem of privileging other institutions to what is our history. But we know people in Tamiment, and we think it’s great that they’re collecting as well.

F: We would now like to open stack for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: I’m concerned that there hasn’t been a distinction made between privileging other institutions and accepting donations. In my mind, if someone gives you something like a hard drive, with full intention that they will never get it back, that seems like a more cost-effective way to get what we need.

R: We will accept any donations that anybody has of these types of materials, but we do need to have a budget to start to go forward with this project, which is already underway.

F: Next on stack: Lopi. I’d like to close stack after this question.

[Lopi doesn't have a question.]

F: My mistake. Rachel.  Crn: Rachel: My concern is related. While I understand that co-optation is an issue, I feel I need more evidence that you are trying to work with other organizations in not being redundant of archiving what they’re doing, even though I recognize it’s important that we have a say in how things are archived.

R: So I recognize the concern about redundancy, but it’s actually important that we are redundant, for archival purposes! The more copies of these things that we can collect the more likely that our movement will be well-represented in the historical record. [positive response]

F: Just a reminder that we’re on time for these things, and we’ve reached our time. We don’t want to keep people all night.

New F: Last on stack: Dale.  Crn: Dale: My concern is that maybe it would be cheaper if you just moved – the space is like 150 square feet that you want to rent, right? Could you just use a piece of SIS? That’s Shipping, Inventory, and Storage?

R: Our archives are currently held at SIS, but we’re filling up and we need another space, one that’s secure and accessible to our archival team. So the amount we’ve allocated is for the largest possible space, but it’s just an estimate of how much we would want for that. The excess funds, if we chose something smaller, could be used for other archival materials or something like that.

R [different speaker]: We also have a lot of other signs stored in our apartments. Not all of it is at SIS, and we want to have it in one location that’s big enough.

F: We would now like to open stack for FAs.

R: We would like, if it’s okay, that we don’t take any FAs on this proposal because we would want to clear those with all of our archival working group before accepting them, and they’re not here right now.

F: We will move to a temperature check on this proposal. [mixed]

New F: It looks pretty mixed. We’re not moving towards consensus, and it’s starting to rain. I felt a few drops. How are we doing on time?
New F: We’re almost four minutes over.

New F: We would like to open stack for more questions on this proposal. If we cannot build consensus, the proposal will ask to be tabled.  Further Questions/Comments  NSp:Ryan: I just want to suggest we take FAs and then table it.

F: I’d like to suggest we give this five more minutes. Can I get a temperature check? [positive, middle] Mostly positive, but let’s try to be brief.  NSp: I understand that you’re not empowered by your group to accept FAs, but it might be beneficial to hear them, record them in some fashion, take them to your group, and see if your group can consent on them.

F: How does the group feel about giving them FAs and then tabling the proposal? Temperature check? [mostly positive]  NSp: Nina: While I think that archiving our movement is extremely important, I feel and I get a sense that we would like to see you reach out to other organizations, places or people that would not ask for anything in return, in return for the help that they could possibly provide, for storage and space and other materials.

F: Next on stack: Ryan. I’d like to close stack after that.  Ryan: I echo Nina’s sentiment. In the past, when a working group has not been fully present, the presenting group has set a time for a future meeting, that members of the GA were not aware of that group, to be involved in the conversation. I’d like to propose that Archives gives this GA a future day of meeting so that everyone can be involved in figuring this out.

F: Stack is closed. Next is Eric.  CQ: Eric: My question is, can you bring your whole group on a future day so we can discuss this and approve it, or not? [mixed response from crowd]

F: Last on stack is Jeff.  CQ: Jeff: The money you have requested is for your budget. If you are to accept donations for your budgeted needs, what will you do with the money that we give you that you no longer need?

R: This budget is a startup budget. It only includes a few months of rent for that secure space, and it only includes materials that we need right now. Anything that we receive in donation only further helps us. So the money that we need is right now.

R: Also, our meetings are at 6:00pm on Sundays at the Atrium. Anyone can come. The Atrium is at 60 Wall Street.

F: Time keeper says we’ve gone way over, and that we gave them amendments, and that we’re moving on.

New F: I’d like to take a temperature check to see if we’re moving towards consensus.

New F: I’d like to take a temperature check on tabling this proposal. Looks pretty positive.

New F: Next up: Principles of Solidarity. About the tents in the park. Twenty minutes we budgeted. We’ll see if we can keep it brief.

New F: We have some seating, and if anybody needs to get comfortable, we’re still tucked in for a while. Be comfortable.

55.1.5.  Principles of Solidarity Proposal  Principles of Solidarity: Hi, good evening everyone. I’m here to propose an extension of the stop-gap emergency proposal approved two days ago, which expired tonight, until Sunday. And this time extension has the approval also of Town Planning, with the exception of a single dissenting. [side discussion] With one person at Town planning who has concerns, rather. [side discussion]

F: PoP: Let’s let him state the proposal, then we can deal with questions and concerns afterwards.

[side discussion]

New F: He’s still presenting. We’ll be patient. (Continued) Principles of Solidarity: Chaim: The stop gap measure approved two days ago was designed to stop the upset of occupiers when large communal tents were going up. In the past two days, the new policy has had great success, and the new Comfort tent went up without issue. Solidarity was also working today with Security, Fire Department, and Communications on their new tent, using this policy, and it went very well. Hence, I ask for the extension until Sunday. Town Planning did not agree to an indefinite extension, which we wanted. The second part of the proposal which was not mentioned on the website, due to a new experiment that happened in Solidarity tent: Solidarity has the old Medical tent and those people sleeping in the tent have agreed to this experiment, which is that those who are sleeping there now collapse their tents or collapse what they’re sleeping on when they wake up. That the tent will be used for community day purposes related to Solidarity. And we are in the stage of getting folding chairs. We already have a folding table, and we’re also trying to get a blackboard and whatnot, equipment to get it going. Finally, so I’m asking for a FA in the amount that the GA thinks is suitable, so we can get multi-layered hammocks for other easy bedding, and any other necessary equipment to easily pull this off, as a role model for the future usage of similar space.

PoP: It seems to me that this proposal, with no judgment on it whatsoever, will be better suited for the operational SC in which occupiers have a spoke.

PoP: The OSC is an excellent body for deciding exactly this kind of issue. However, it is a very slow process to set that up, and we have no idea when it will be up and running, and in the mean time we have to decide these issues here in the GA.

PoP: First, I’m unclear as to the propriety of a proposer making an FA on his own proposal. But secondly, it’s definitely a different proposal.

R: I’m new to this, even though it’s my third time speaking. I didn’t know if I could just add to the proposal, so I thought of requesting a FA, just to gauge if this wanted to be done. But if not, ….

F: So we would like to take a temperature check on entertaining the FA as part of the same proposal? [negative, mixed]

PoP: Leo: I’m Leo from the Facilitation working group. The 24-hour feedback period that all proposals go through was passed by consensus in the GA. As a member of the Facilitation working group, I think it’s a PoP to change a proposal after that 24-hour feedback period. And so, I don’t think we should take a temperature check on entertaining this FA. I think we should go forward with the proposal as it was put on the website, and invite you to come back to a future GA with that other proposal. [positive response]

F: So we would now like to open stack for questions on the initial proposal as it was written on the NYCGA website.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: I would just like a CQ because I wasn’t here two days ago. What exactly was the stop gap measure in detail, or as much as you can give?

R: Briefly, in order to stop the sometimes traumatic displacement of persons, the GA empowered occupiers with individual blocking rights if they didn’t want to move.  [same CQ]: And you’re asking for an extension of that until Sunday?

R: Yes, until Sunday.

F: Next on stack: Charlie. I’d like to close stack after that.

New F: I’d like to remind the GA that we budgeted 20 minutes for that. We’re about 12, and we just started.  Charlie: My question was already asked.

F: Are there any more questions?  CQ: How has the enforcement of this proposal gone so far?

F: I’d like to close stack.

R: It went quite well, as has been reported to me, that I know of one person who used his rights, but in a manner that I did not hear of, caused disturbance to the greater community.

F: Last on stack is Jeff.  CQ: Jeff: Hi, I’m Jeff. I’m with Town Planning. I think that this is an extremely important issue. I personally, as well as Town Planning, do not have an answer to the issue that we are addressing. I do not feel that we’re going to be able to answer the big question at this GA. However, this issue regards the idea that people are entitled to the space within the park, contrary to the idea that the community as a whole owns this space. We have a concern for fire exits, for safety purposes, for living quarters, for large tents, for weather protection. We are asking the larger community to consider these issues in contrast to individual occupants’ desire to remain in their single spaces. I do not know the answer; I ask you for the answer.

F: Just for clarification: A piece of the proposal that could not be addressed tonight – bad weather, lot of items – was breakout groups to discuss solutions. So while that can’t happen, there is a meeting that Chaim would like to tell you about, coupled with the 72 hour stop gap that he is asking for again.

Chaim: There is a meeting scheduled tomorrow at the Atrium, 60 Wall Street, 2:00 pm. Those who cannot make it can email me or leave messages through Solidarity group. Furthermore, the experiment was designed to figure out these issues, and I am for a proper balance of community and individual usage. We’re Solidarity!

F: We have four more minutes to keep on agenda if possible.

PoI: [I would be violating process, I want to speak in support of this.]

F: Up next is concerns.  Concerns  Crn: I have a specific concern regarding the proposal. Actually, more than one. One being, a number of the occupants will not be able to attend the meeting at the Atrium. Two, the occupants I refer to, that are most affected by the proposal and the proposed use of the tent, are at the lower end of Zuccotti Park, where most of the issues regarding putting up tents are located. What are you doing to resolve relationships with that side of the park?

R: A lot! Solidarity tent is located in the heart of this community, and we’re on good relations with our neighbors, trying to get them to be more interested, for one, in what goes on here, and also the experiment that I talked about, to make them recognize that those who live in the tent can vacate in daytime, and they’re still back at night. That community lost a lot of faith in the general community because of how it was so victimized. So Solidarity’s job is to build up that faith again with them so they won’t be disenfranchised.

F: Next on stack is Ryan. I’d like to close stack after that.

New F: I just noticed the time. Twenty minutes. That’s about what we budgeted.  Crn: Ryan: My concern is what happens if this proposal does not pass? We are in a gray area right now, with the SC where occupiers have a voice is not yet set up. I don’t think that three days is an unreasonable amount of time to ask for, to let individuals keep their space until a plan is devised. I want people to understand that a lot of occupiers are not here right now, so if we allow this to expire, we are effectively taking away their voice, for they have a proper voice in Spokes.

R: May I just quickly respond. I do recognize that this proposal still allows community tents to go up so long as an alternative space is found for the displaced.

F: Stack is closed, no one else is on stack.

New F: Now it’s time for FAs. Stack is now open. [none]

New F: Stack is now closed.

New F: I’d like to take a temperature check on this proposal. [positive] Looks pretty good, we’re moving toward consensus. Any blocks? [no blocks] This proposal passes. [cheers and applause]  Consensus.

New F: While we’re waiting for Fire Safety, a little clarification. Questions and concerns have their spot. The gentleman over there talking earlier didn’t bring his stuff in at the right time. We are interested in everyone’s voice, and we’re still upholding a process. It also helps if everyone keeps their questions brief and in short bursts. Everyone also has one minute. I’m going to start waving my little red flag when time’s running out. Settle in on the stairs, get comfortable, and we’ll keep rolling on. Thanks for your patience.

55.1.6.  Call to Action Proposal  Call to Action: Hi everyone! We are the Call to Action working group. Our last document was the Declaration of the Occupation of NYC, which you can find on our website, We have somewhat irregular meetings, but we’re open to anyone joining up, our group on the website, Call to Action.

Call to Action [new presenter]: We drafted, in cooperation with the fellows over at Arts and Culture, another statement that we’d like to be ratified by this GA, and it is basically a statement of autonomy. If anybody doesn’t have one that would like one, raise your hand and Eric will get you one. So what I’m going to do is read the statement and then move to going through the consensus process. [reading the statement]

“Statement of Autonomy: Occupy Wall Street is a people’s movement. It is party-less, leaderless, by the people and for the people. It is not a business, a political party, an advertising campaign or a brand. It is not for sale. We welcome all, who in good faith, act to end corruption and corporate influence in government, and who petition for a redress of grievances through non-violence. We provide a forum for peaceful assembly of individuals to engage in participatory as opposed to partisan debate and democracy. We welcome dissent.

Any statement or declaration not released through the General Assembly and made public online at should be considered independent of Occupy Wall Street.

We wish to clarify that Occupy Wall Street is not and never has been affiliated with any established political party, candidate or organization. Our only affiliation is with the people who want to end the entanglement of big business and government.

The people who are working together to create this movement are its sole and mutual caretakers. If you have chosen to devote resources to building this movement, especially your time and labor, then it is yours.

Any organization is welcome to support us with the knowledge that doing so will mean questioning your own institutional frameworks of work and hierarchy and integrating our principles into your modes of action. SPEAK WITH US. NOT FOR US.

Occupy Wall Street values collective resources, dignity, integrity, and autonomy above money. We do not make endorsements. All donations are accepted anonymously and are transparently allocated via consensus by the General Assembly or the Operational Spokes Council.

We acknowledge the existence of professional activists who work to make our world a better place. If you are representing, or being compensated by an independent source while participating in our process, please disclose your affiliation at the outset. Those seeking to capitalize on this movement or undermine it by appropriating its message or symbols are not a part of Occupy Wall Street.

We stand in solidarity. We are Occupy Wall Street.” [end reading]

Call to Action: So I guess I’d like to ask the facilitators to move toward the consensus building process.

F: We would like to open stack for questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Rachel: Hi. I’m really in support of this. But my question is whether there is a process in place to help institutional leadership implementing the checking of their hierarchical process necessary for the type of engagement you propose in this document.
R: What we meant by the questioning of your hierarchy is to get your organization or institution in alignment with the Principles of Solidarity. So as of now we do not have a set list of steps that institutions can take.

F: Are there any more questions? I’d like to close stack. Two more on stack.  CQ: Alex: I just have a quick question, or I guess it’s a CQ. This is going to be representing the movement in which way?

R: This document is simply a statement from the GA to the public, the same way the Principles were and the Declaration. Not higher or lower. (Continued) Alex: To rephrase my question, where is this going to posted to represent this?

R: This will go on our website, as well as to the Press and Media teams to release it to their networks as they see fit, as being representative of being ratified by the GA, if that were to happen.  CQ: Hello. I assume that the proposal is not something that we are deciding to endorse, since in the verbiage it says we don’t endorse things. I just want to be clear what Call to Action is doing as far as the decision that we’re making. Are we deciding to publish? What was the thing that we did, when we did the Principles of Solidarity, since that’s what you claim that you are doing now?

R: We took the same process when we did the Declaration. We brought it to GA, we took amendments, and then we brought it back and got it consensed. The fact that it says we don’t make endorsements is actually ironic, but we are you, so you are endorsing us. We want to make sure that a statement that is released as a unified voice for you and me and for…has consensus that we do not endorse organizations, political parties, and that likewise we do not want them to take advantage of our movement. Not yesterday, not today, and not tomorrow, and that is in fact what we are asking for here today.

[NSp]: I feel like the question wasn’t answered. This would be a seeking to publish the document and that only, as published by the GA.

F: We would now like to open stack for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: Nicole: So I like the idea of this, I think it’s really great. One of my only things is that to say, to specify that the purpose of why we are all here is to end corruption and corporate influence in government, while I think it might actually be accurate, hasn’t been consensed upon, and is a bit leading. Also I believe that the GA does publicly endorse statements like this, that are created internally. I wouldn’t want us to not be able to do that.

R: As a FA, would it ease your concern if we changed the language, I believe you’re talking about the 1st paragraph? And the 3rd paragraph.

R: My FA would be for the 3rd paragraph at this moment in time, not discounting future FAs for the 1st. Would it ease your concerns if we wrote “our only affiliation is with the people occupying Zuccotti Park” or “Liberty Park” or rather “With the people”, period? With your permission I’d like to circle that language as a possible future FA so that we can get the best word choice in there, but notating that that language has to be changed?  Crn: Tim: I have several concerns. My first concern is that we have endorsed and stood in solidarity with several organizations, irrespective of their ties to political parties, candidates, or whoever. My second concern is that GA has already consensed on a statement asserting that anything we haven’t consensed on does not represent the GA. That seems sufficient, given that we may hear future endorsements, requests, etc. I don’t see the purpose of ruling out future actions not yet presented to this GA.

R: To speak to the concern, …such as the Longshoreman’s Union, Verizon, and the teamsters at Southeby’s, does not constitute an endorsement, it’s standing in solidarity. To speak to your second concern, I can tell you that many of our opponents are using the lack of specificity in saying that we don’t endorse candidates, campaigns, and organizations, as a tool against us, and will continue to do so.

F: Time check: We have less than five minutes allotted for this issue.

New F: I’d like to close stack after this question from Alex.  Crn: Alex: Please take my criticism in the kindest of ways. I don’t think it’s that well-written. I’ve read things along these lines that I find represent us better. Taking that into account, if you want to make changes…as previously stated, I think they need to be changed and then brought back, because to have only a vague understanding of what you’re changing it to, changes everything. So I would move that it is brought back at a different time when it is revised.

R: I understand your concern and your criticism. I would like to ask you, do you plan on attending the future meeting in which it is re-written?

Alex: I will.

R: In that case, I understand. If you give me about a minute or maybe 30 seconds to confer with the group to decide on what we want to do, it would be greatly appreciated.

F: Temperature check on taking one minute? [positive]

R: So after conferring with our group, we feel that we would like to move forward with consensus because the FA that was proposed is a deletion of language, and we are not aware of the GA passing any other messages, so I guess we can move towards FAs, and if our brother here wants to block, we’ll see him there.

F: Stack is closed, there’s one more on stack.

F: We now open stack for FAs.  Friendly Amendments  FA: I take issue with, in paragraph one, the words “who in good faith act to end corruption and corporate influence in government and.” I also take issue with the words in paragraph 3, “in the entanglement of big business in government.” I suggest those words be removed.

R: Nicole raised that concern and we put it to the group that those words be taken out earlier, so we accept.  FA: Rachel: My concern relates to my question from earlier. I think it’s really important that if we pass a document like this, we have a plan of action for how to positively engage institutions. So my amendment is that as a group you commit to…and as a person who comes to your group sometimes I’ll come to your group and help.

R: We accept.  FA: Nicole: I just want to suggest that after the language ”we do not make endorsements”, you specify that we can still endorse things that come from within, for example if Vision and Goals ever got something together that we all agreed on, we would be able to put forth and endorse it as a group.

PoI: In the event of something like that, it would actually be called an adoption. So if other GAs put forth something we like, as we have in the past, we’ve adopted them to this GA, and that would still be in effect.

Nicole: So what if we…by saying that we don’t make external endorsements?

[same PoI speaker]: I think it’s still the same issue. “Endorsements” is a political word by nature, and I think that her confusion is something that…because we are involved in the process…

Nicole: What if it was an action that was brought to the GA, it wouldn’t be an adoption because everyone wouldn’t be doing it? It wouldn’t be adoption, but we might still want to endorse it.

R: That’s related to our brother’s concern about endorsements in the past…I think that is a statement of support or standing in solidarity, not an endorsement…

F: We still have 45 minutes left on the agenda and the good folks from Direct Action would like to get their chance too. We’re all getting wet, let’s keep our comments concise.

New F: Stack is closed, Tim is last on stack.  FA: Tim: I felt like earlier I may have been too direct, because I like what you’re doing and I think the purpose is totally sensible. However, I don’t feel comfortable prescribing the decisions of future GAs. My FA is that the document be rephrased to state that we have not endorsed, rather than speaking to what we might do in the future.

R: So if I understand your FA, rather than stating “we do not make endorsements” we say “we have not made endorsements”?

Tim: Yes.

R: Okay.

[loud sirens and traffic noise]

F: Reminder, human mic is very important! …Speak over trucks and marchers so the conversation is open and transparent, thanks for your help in that.

New F: So now we’d like to get a temperature check on this proposal. Please restate the proposal.

55.1.7.  Call to Action: The proposal is to publish the document we read earlier, with the FA of the deletion of language in the 1st and 3rd paragraphs, by Nicole, and the brother’s name I don’t know, and to change the language ”we do not make endorsements” to “we have not made endorsements”, and that this document will go on the NYCGA website, and that we will work towards making a plan to get organizations to get in line with our principles to go along with this document.

F: So can I get a temperature check on moving towards consensus on this proposal? [positive]

New F: It looks good. So seeing such, we’d like to ask if there are any blocks. [no blocks]

We have consensus! – Wait -

NSp: I don’t want to block, I just want to make aware that if you’re doing what you said about putting this on Media then this will be representing us. And I really think that if this is going to be representing us as a whole, it should be revised and brought back.

R: So in the future that would be known as a stand-aside, and we appreciate your criticisms and your willingness to stand aside. Thank you.

R [different presenter]: But also, similar to the Declaration that’s passed in GA and then re-written to be more eloquent in some ways, it’s a possibility to do the same.

F: I’d like to ask again if there are any blocks. [no blocks]

New F: This proposal is passed!

55.1.8.  Consensus.

R: Thank you very much.

F: Next up is Fire Safety. We’ve budgeted fifteen minutes, but we’re already over time.

New F: We have four more agenda items. A good thing to keep in mind, so while we formulate our questions and concerns we make sure they’re not redundant and that they’re concise. Thank you.

Mic check!

F: Do we have Fire Safety here? [not here]

New F: Next up: Direct Action: Park Defense. [DA: Park Defense wants to let DA: November 17th go first]

F: Next up: Direct Action: November 17th.

55.1.7.  Direct Action Event Proposal  Direct Action: November 17th: Jordan: One week from today we are going to shut down Wall Street! We are going to stop the opening bell at the stock exchange and in its place we are going to ring the people’s bell! And it will be awesome! And we will create a massive carnival that will demonstrate the beautiful world we are creating together. We need your help. We are asking for the funds to…monuments and training…these monuments will cover the themes of things that Wall Street has trampled on, including access to affordable housing, access to a decent education, safe and healthy food, accessible health care, and sustainable environmental practices. Specifically we are asking for the following: $800 for vehicle rental to transport all these materials. $700 to rent a space to do the trainings as well as make the art. $2000 for art supplies, including canvas, paint, sculpture materials, and other art supplies. $500 for costumes. $200 for tools, and $800 for street communication systems on the day of the 17th.

F: Opening stack for CQs.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Rachel: Have you worked with Arts and Culture to see if any of the supplies can be donated by avenues they’re using?

R: The answer is yes! And what we’re asking for is in addition to that.  CQ: Hi. I’m a bit concerned about the amount going towards art supplies. It’s a huge amount. As well as costumes, because one of our biggest criticisms is being a spectacle rather than a movement, and while I love art and creativity, I think this is our day to really show our militancy.

R: So our response is that we agree that it’s important to show our militancy. When we were coming up with this we looked to our comrades who thew down in Seattle in 1999. The way that went down is that they were really militant and they were also beautiful. They had lots of costumes, they had well-designed props…that attracts people and makes our message easier to communicate. That is why we are asking for this money.

F: Next on stack: Tony. I’d like to close stack after this.  CQ: Tony: My question has to do with communications equipment. I see that the NYPD sets up a roadblock as a communications check. Have you looked into what they’re checking for, and will the communications gear you want come into conflict with what is allowed past that checkpoint?

R: We’re going to confer real quick.

F: Just so you know, stack is now closed, with one more on stack.

R: To respond, the person running the com [communication] station will be offsite, and the coms equipment is a small radio that we will be able to move with freely. Does that answer your question?

Tony: Yes.

R: I want to clarify that part of the reason that art supplies is so expensive is that some of the things we will be buying include wood and metal, which is more expensive than paint or other commonly understood art supplies.

F: Clarification, we have two left on stack. Christina first please.  CQ: Christina: What are the costumes going to look like? Because if we look like Wall Street people, I think that would be pretty funny.

R: That’s a really good question, but the questions right now, as I understand it, should pertain specifically to the budget request. If you want to help plan the event, definitely go to the Direct Action working group to hash all that out.  CQ: Kevin: It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what’s going into this. Can you elaborate with how you came up with such round numbers?

R: That’s a good question. The reason why the numbers are rounded and not hyper specific is because a lot of these things are being planned right now. For instance, tonight during this GA we had a big meeting that was also a training to get people involved. I’m not sure how many people were there. We’re planning on having somewhere between two and three thousand people show up at this thing. That’s based upon the organizing we’ve done in the community of New York as well as with our partners in the labor movement, and with other Occupies. In the next week we’re going to build and make all this stuff. We want to have enough money to supply all the costumes and all the art needs to the different affinity groups that are going to kick ass on November 17th. The money that is left over is going to go back to the GA.

F: We will now open stack for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: What is the goal?

R: That’s a great question. We have a couple goals. One of our goals is to stop the morning bell. Another one of our goals is to demonstrate the beautiful world that we all want to create, in the epicenter of the forces that are destroying us. Another one of our goals is to build our capacity as a movement and appeal to more communities that are not currently involved in OWS.

F: Are there any more concerns? We’re going to close stack on concerns.

New F: We’d like to open stack on FAs.  Friendly Amendments  FA: Rachel: I’d like you to formalize what you said earlier about this being a maximum, and commit to avenues for finding materials for free or cheaper than this.

R: We’re also organizing in the next few days with everyone that’s helped plan this action to do a scavenger hunt around the boroughs that we live, to find anything that we can use for art supplies for this action.

F: I’d like to close stack. First is Hermes.  FA: Hermes: I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to all the materials after this is over. Are they going to be used to help further the movement, or are they going to be thrown away in rampant consumerism?

R: Excellent question. We are not going to throw these things away when we’re done. In a separate thing, Direct Action is interested in having a space where we can store all of our stuff so in the coming months, as we do more badass actions, we will have a growing supply of badass things to do these things with. In the mean time we have friends in different boroughs were all this stuff is going to go hide until we can use it again.

PoP: That was not exactly a FA.

F: Stack is closed on FAs.

New F: So now we would like to move to a temperature check on this proposal. Can we have you restate the proposal, with the FA?  Direct Action: November 17th: We want five grand to make a bunch of art supplies, or rather to make a bunch of art, and to do a bunch of trainings for the 17th. We’re going to keep everything that we make for the future. We’re going to do everything we can to get everything we can for free. The money we don’t use we’ll give back.

F: Temperature check: Looks good.

New F: We’re moving toward consensus. Any blocks? [none]

New F: No blocks.

New F: We have consensus.  Consensus.

R: Thank you guys!

R [different presenter]: One more thing – I’m going to pass around this piece of paper. If you want training in nonviolent direct action, or you want to make art so we can throw down on the 17th, put your email on here very clearly.

F: Temperature check! It’s 10:00pm.

New F: We got Direct Action, and unless Fire [Safety] turns up, that’ll be the last proposal.

New F: Correction, we may have another one. [groans from the crowd] Hold tight, we’ll let you know. I’m going to go find Fire [Safety].

55.1.8.  Direct Action Defense Proposal  Direct Action: Park Defense: Zach: Hi, I’m Zach with Direct Action and Expansion, and we have a proposal for you today to make $2000 worth of funds available to expand and fortify the existing park defense strategy. Really quickly, Park Defense was started about a week and a half ago in response to the fact that when the police and fire department came to confiscate our generators, we had no plan in place to defend this park in the case of an eviction. Since that time, Park Defense has been established, and we have an emergency response team in place that is prepared to lock down in the event of an eviction. This will buy us time to mobilize support, allow for a massive media presence, and hopefully stay the hand of the police in attempting to evict. With the last proposal that Park Defense made, we were able to purchase materials and a large 11×11 foot military tent at the West end of the park. There are currently ten people every night in that tent, prepared to lock down. We’re also currently working in collaboration with Community Watch to make that team available for emergency situations between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am. This proposal would allow us to increase the capacity of that tent to allow for sixteen people to be there every night, instead of ten. We intend to build a loft. We’ve had building space donated to us to build the loft. We’re also having building materials donated, but we need more. We also want to have the space well-lit, and we need electricity. We’re coordinating with Sustainability. We’re also communicating with the tent next door to expand Park Defense to include that tent and have thirty-two people every night, thoroughly trained in park defense, in order that we can defend one another and the park as a whole! That’s the proposal.

F: We’d like to open stack for any questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Tell me more about this loft.

R: It’s seven feet by eleven feet. It’s made of plywood and 2x4s. We have people experienced in construction and architecture to build a safe structure that will provide a sleeping space…support beams along the side, it will fit flush with the sides of the tent and allow for four feet of walking room.

F: We will now open stack for concerns. Any concerns?  Concerns  Crn: Without getting into the details of the entire defense plan, can you state that the entire plan emphasizes nonviolent resistance?
R: Absolutely.

F: Any more concerns?

New F: Yes.  Crn: So we’re standing all here right, and there’s a lot of cops. So what do we do? Do we just sit here, and let them stand there?

F: PoP: These concerns are addressing issues germane to this proposal.

[same speaker]: What’s upsetting about this situation…[side discussion]

F: So, we would like to move to open stack for FAs. Seeing none.  Friendly Amendments  FA: I would like to see Direct Action taking active -

[sirens and side conversations]

Direct Action: Mic check! In the meantime, does anyone have that email sheet I passed around?

F: We’ve got it.

New F: Mic check!

New F: We’re going to bring the GA back here. We’re going to try to sit down now for everybody who can. Thank you. Facilitators are back here. We’re waiting on one more question, as soon as the siren’s gone. Thanks for your patience. So if you would, please restate your FA. (Continued) FA: My friendly amendment is that Direct Action takes immediate movement to collect more recruits to Direct Action to continue this movement.

R: Direct Action meetings are open and they’re held weekdays at 2:00 pm at 60 Wall Street. We just today -

R [different presenter]: I have the schedule, I will pass it around for you.

R [first presenter]: We’ve just recently restructured, and so we’ve changed some of the meeting times. As part of the Park Defense team, we are also training people in park defense. That will be made available in Direct Action meetings. We encourage you to come.

F: So now, since there are no more FAs, we would like to move to a temperature check on this proposal . Can we have Direct Action please concisely restate the proposal.  Direct Action: Park Defense: We request $2000 to expand and fortify the existing park defense strategy.

F: Temperature check. Looks good.

New F: We are building consensus.

New F: Are there any blocking concerns?

New F: Seeing none.

New F: This proposal passes! [cheers and clapping]  Consensus.

New F: We would like to call Fire Safety to the floor.

55.1.9.  Fire Safety Proposal  Fire Safety: Hi everybody, my name’s Justin and I work in the Media team and I’m also part of the new Fire Safety working group. We have a proposal called the Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan, and I’m going to pass out some copies of it and talk it over with you in the hopes of passing it. I don’t have a copy for everybody so please try to share. As many of you know, our generators were seized without justification about two weeks ago, and since then we’ve been told that there are health and safety hazards here at camp. Regardless of your personal opinions or mine, or whether that’s true, many people believe that showing that we have plans to keep this space safe from fire and other hazards would be a good step to ensuring the safety and sustainability of our encampment. So I’ve laid out with our groups a bunch of action steps that we can take to bring power back to this space, but in a safer way. I’ll just read through them, and follow along if you have a sheet. [reading from document]

#1: Establish an OWS fire department called the People’s Firehouse, in honor of all the firehouses that Mike Bloomberg has closed, staffed by trained experts with NY state fire certification, and housed in a tent in the park.

#2: Buy a safety container to hold the five-gallon gas tanks and to be housed offsite in an indoor location.

#3: Limit the handling of gasoline, biodiesel and other flammable liquids to individuals trained in their careful use, and have a designated trained person on hand at all times to refill the generators.

#4: Offer training in the handling of these materials to anyone wishing to learn, and certify this training internally with live practice drills before allowing assistance within the People’s Firehouse.

#5: Ensure that generators that are used are twenty feet from tents or other structures within the park, and they’re protected from other passersby and residents.  As far as the code requires.

#6: Clear areas around the generators of cardboard, plastic and other flammable materials.

#7, and I think this one is very important: Open up paths of egress for safe, timely exit from the park in case of emergencies.

#8: Strategically place fire extinguishers around the camp. Someone suggested that these fire extinguishers be placed at the base of trees so people know where they are.

#9: Create a volunteer firefighters’ group to join the People’s Firehouse.

#10: Hold regular teach-ins to train people in emergency preparation.

#11: Ensure that tarps and tents coming here are made of flame-retardant materials. (struck)

#12: Communicate this plan to the world, the mayor’s office, and other interested parties.

#13, finally: Have an interim plan to continue powering the Media center and other vital work spaces during the enactment of this plan.

F: We are now opening stack for CQs.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Do we have as part of this plan a plan to relocate if a real bad fire were to occur? Is there a meeting place outside the park where people would know to gather and to look for loved ones that they care about?

R: [No, not at present.]  CQ: Stephanie: [Is it your intention to have the Firehouse tent remain open to the public, or are you planning to limit the space to people in the Firefighters group?]

R: People who are interested in joining and training could come into the Firehouse. Also it would be a place for [people who want information about fire safety].

F: [Closing stack for CQs. Any concerns?]  Concerns  Crn: Stephanie: [I am concerned about any operating space being limited to only the people working in it. I think that all the spaces in the park need to be open to the public for socializing, mingling, as long as they are not disrupting the work being done in the area. This park is very small.]

R: I guess I could address that concern briefly. The two people who are currently setting up the Firehouse could be suggested to make the Firehouse available as a more open space, as long as the understanding is that the people in the Firehouse are assisting the Firehouse in running it. (Continued) Stephanie: I would say, “as long as the people in the Firehouse are not disrupting the work of the Firehouse.”

F: Any other concerns?  Crn: Stephanie: [I am concerned that in putting up the tent, there will be conflict with other people's tents being displaced.]

R: The tent for the Firehouse is already in place, and was it was consulted with Town Planning, and [the people inhabiting that area] helped us make a space.

PoI: This tent is next to Sustainability.

F: I’d like to close stack for concerns.

New F: We are now opening stack for FAs.  Friendly Amendments  FA: I see that it says the generators must be twenty feet from any tent, when there is administrative code that clarifies a radius of ten feet from flammable material for any tent. I would like to propose a FA to align this piece of the proposal with the relevant administrative code, which I have with me.

R: I do know that the National Lawyer’s Guild was supposed to release a memo today informing us of the relevant code.

Amender: It’s fine as stated, as long as we corroborate [the proposal with the code]. [Accepted]

F: Any other FAs?  FA: Stephanie: I have two FAs. [The first is that, unless a future GA decides otherwise, the Firehouse tent will remain open to the general public, as long as people are not being disruptive of the work.] Do you want to respond to that first or do you want to hear the second one?

R: [I'll respond to that one. I accept, with the understanding that disrupting the work is up to the discretion of the people working.]  FA: Stephanie: [My second FA is to remove the line that says, “Ensure that tarps and tents coming here are made of flame-retardant materials,” because I think we need to accept any donations we get. I wouldn't want to see us refusing tents because they're not flame-retardant.]

R: [I accept, with the caveat that there will be no fires in non-flame-retardant tents, and that non flame-retardant tents will be placed far away from the generators.]

[side comment – what about cigarettes?]

R: [I don't mean cigarettes, I mean open flame. No bonfires in tents!]

F: I’d like to close stack on FAs.  FA: One amendment. I did not hear a mention of ash trays, which seems like a very obvious fire source.

R: I would respond that this document reflects the work towards bringing generators back. The People’s Firehouse working group may propose further proposals in the future. Perhaps one of those could address ash trays as a legitimate fire concern.

F: So in the interest of building consensus, I’d like to move to taking a temperature check on this proposal. Justin, please restate the proposal, with FAs, as quickly and concisely as possible.  Justin [reading from document]:

#1: Establish a People’s Firehouse staffed by trained experts with NY state fire certification.

#2: Buy a safety container to hold the fuel.

#3: Limit the handling of flammable liquids to individuals trained in their careful use.

#4: Offer training in the handling of these materials to anyone who wants it.

#5: Ensure that generators that are used are as far as the code requires from tents or other structures within the park.

#6: Clear areas around the generators flammable materials.

#7: Open up paths of egress for for exiting the park.

#8: Strategically place fire extinguishers around the camp.

#9: Create a volunteer firefighters’ group to join the People’s Firehouse.

#10: Hold regular teach-ins about fire training and emergency preparation.

[“Ensure that tarps and tents coming here are made of flame-retardant materials” has been struck.]

#11: Communicate this plan to the mayor’s office and the FDNY.

#12, finally: Have an interim plan for powering the Media center while we’re enacting this plan.

F: Were all the FAs included?

Stephanie: For #1: “Establish a People’s Firehouse…” With the understanding that it is to remain available as public space, to anyone who is not disrupting the work of the Firehouse.

R: Yes.

F: Temperature check on this proposal. [positive] Any blocks? [none] The proposal passes!  Consensus.

New F: Last item on the agenda is Occupy Within. Are they still here? [no] We invite them back to another GA on another night. Wonderful patience. We appreciate you being here!

New F: This GA is now closed. We’d like to end with a unity clap. Oh, first, are there any WGRBs or Announcement?


55.2.  Working Group Report Backs and Announcements

NSp: I have an announcement.

F: We’d like to open stack for announcements. We’ll put WGRBs and Announcements in the same thing.

55.2.1.  Katie: Hi, I’m Katie! Occupy Queens is having its first GA tomorrow, Friday, November 11, from 7:00 to10:00 pm at the Dewey Center of Jackson Heights, 3607 77th Street. Visit for more information! We would like to have speakers from Direct Democracy, Outreach, Facilitation, and Direct Action. I’ll be by the red thing, contact me if you can speak. Thank you.

55.2.2.  NSp: There will be a supported by Veterans Support OWS concert from 1:00 to 5:00 pm tomorrow at Foley Square. Joan Baez will be playing, Michael Moore will be there, and Sergeant Thomas, who had something to do with Union Square. Thank you.

[CQ, indistinct]

R: I do not know if it’s a march or purely a concert, but it is supported by Veterans Who Support OWS. Foley Square is just down Broadway.

PoI: It previously was going to be held at Central Park and then it was going to be held at Washington Square. So tell fellow occupiers it has been moved.

F: Any more announcements?

55.2.3.  New F: I have a garbage bag! I’m passing it around.

New F: Any more announcements?
55.2.4.  NSp: Tomorrow night at 11:11 pm in the southeast corner of Central Park there will be a multi-faith prayer circle. We will be praying until dawn. If anyone wants to come and pray and then leave when the police ask them to, they are very welcome. If anyone wants to come and pray and help us hold Central Park, they are even more welcome! Thank you.

F: Any more announcements? [none]

New F: Seeing none, we’d like to end this GA with a unity clap. This means we start out slow and get faster. [unity clap]

[GA concludes 10:40 pm]

9 Responses to “NYCGA Minutes 11/10/2011”

  1. Jemma

    I have a problem with the whole ‘step up step back’ idea. Yes, I am one of those fortunate people who has been encouraged to speak up throughout their lives. And I would not give that right up to anyone else. If I was there I probably would have put up a block sign just for that. How do you guys realistically expect to spread this movement when you guys are pushing a division where there shouldn’t be. What is your goal? To get rid of corruption? To promote equality? What? If it is to get rid of corruption then work on that. If equality is part of the picture than be fair. And it isn’t fair to everyone and doesn’t prove your case by deciding that those traditionally marginalized and ignored need a bigger say. All that is- is the same thing but in reverse.

  2. Zoë


    How is it unfair to ask people who have always been encouraged to speak up to personally think about whether or not they could see if anyone else, who may have a harder time with speaking up, to do so? Step up Step back isn’t a policing action. It’s a request to self-assess. I’m the same as you, in that I’ve always been encouraged to speak up.. and I generally do. But it’s fascinating, not to mention useful, to sometimes NOT speak up and see what others have to say. I don’t feel slighted or marginalized by this suggestion. And no one judges anyone else, from what I can tell. It’s purely a reminder to self-assess. Not an attempt to marginalize anyone.

    For me, in fact… it’s a reminder that I’m not the only one with ideas and thoughts and things to say. It wouldn’t kill me to ‘step back’ now and then and it wouldn’t hurt traditionally marginalized people to ‘step up’. So… where’s the unfairness?!

    • Jemma

      The unfairness comes from the fact is that if we really want to create a fair and just society- suggesting to people that maybe they should not offer the opinion because they have always been allowed to is wrong. If we want equality than we should treat people as such with the respect and dignity they deserve and not come up with silly policies/suggestions/self assesing such ‘Step Up Step Back’. And one more thing just because I don’t want to ‘Step Back’ doesn’t mean I don’t want others to ‘Step up’- but if I have something to say I will say it.

      • Luke BigJohn

        If we want a fair and just society we can simply submit and vote proposals on line. No need to speak up or step down. We just need to be better organized. also for the movements goals we certainly need to prioritize since it will take 50 years (at least) to fix all the wrongs of this world. Then again let’s prioritize with a referendum (highest expression of democracy). I personally don’t care if we decide to end first the feds or to stop corruption or the end wars or to expropriate the 1%. They are all good ideas, let’s just begin somewhere. Please!

  3. JZ

    $29,000 passed to fly people to Egypt?! Time to over-turn this. Their should be outrage expressed against this. How many people total enabled this to pass?

    Also see this Egyptian reaction

    This provides evidence that the GA process is severely flawed and mass scrutiny should begin to swell towards improving a process that can waste a massive amount of precious funds (let’s over-turn this).

  4. jarret wolfman

    re: egypt

    i’m just curious how ” a delegate” turned into ” a delegation.” how did they come up with the number 20?

    apparently there is no quorum for the ga. maybe that’s something we should address.

    as for the negative reaction from some in egypt, it sounds like the they are dealing with the same divisions between those who want to work within the system to bring about needed change now and those who want to destroy the system and start fresh. i’m not sure how to resolve this conflict. i’d like to believe that we are all working toward the same goals and that we would all support one another’s methods even if we don’t particularly agree with them.

    is there even a process for overturning a proposal that’s been passed by the ga? they’ve probably already spent the money.

  5. jarret wolfman

    also, re: the accumulation of power by certain individuals and the disaffection of others who feel marginalized

    the simple fact of being in a position over a length of time (seniority), even if unofficial, is a sort of power. it may be subtle but it’s real. and it’s not democratic.

    the ga needs term limits. people need to rotate out of positions of power (facilitation, finance, etc.) on a regular basis. someone proposed three months.

    spread the word.

    • Luke BigJohn

      Being a leader, it is ok. There are people with more motivation, more charisma and more ideas. The democracy is that anyone has one vote. Then the real power is how to control the way the people think to influence their vote. The elite does it today through the information and entertainment industry. The real fight is not against the 1% but is against the 99% which accept the ruling of a self-empowered class. What you call corruption is the stock market, the regulation they created to make even more money. The whole banking system s a fraud made of lending, interests, debts, bankruptcy, etc. Still today people don’t see it because they have been brainwashed to believe this is the best system, it is the way it is, that capitalism and consumerism and freedom form a sort of divine trinity in the all mighty american dream! How brainless you need to be to fall at your demise? I hope that things get worse quickly so that people wake up from the american nightmare and start thinking .