NYCGA Minutes 11/1/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Meeting Date/Time: 11/1/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Kelly, Stephan, Kim


Sully on Stack. Kim time keeper. Jason Stack Greeter



46.1.  Agenda Items (Internet Working Group Proposal

46.2.  Working Group Report Backs (WGRBs)

46.3.  Announcements

Process Review/Opening Comments from Facilitation (F)

Announcement: On September 29th occupying Zuccotti park, Liberty Park, came to consensus on a document called the declaration of the occupation of New York City. It is the only declaration that has reached consensus to this point. We have made many friends using this document.  It’s been blasted out to occupations all over the world. It was read by Keith Olberman live. Sparrow Media, a NFP, independent public relations group, through grassroots funding, came up with this really beautiful pamphlet and printed ten thousand copies of the declaration on their own dime. It’s really beautiful. These copies were meant for you to keep for a long time, sort of a collectors addition…not to get too nerded out. We have a bunch of boxes feel free to take one take five take ten and hand them out to people at work, in your hood, people who want to know what we are all about and are too lazy to use Google. We love you and thank you!

F: I’m sorry about the tents, I’ll try to project to the sides, maybe we can all congregate down here.

F: Hello! We are gonna start the General Assembly (GA). As a reminder, in our GA we use progressive stack which means I reserve the right to bump up people of traditionally marginalized communities and those that haven’t spoken in the speaking order. When stack opens, Jason will run around and get your names

F: Alright, to begin with Id like to announce that the facilitation working group meets every day at 4pm at 60 Wall Street you are all invited to come at 5:45 daily facilitation training. You should come! Take part in this because we should all be facilitating. I’ll go over the hand signals that we use to communicate without yelling. This, hands in the air wiggling, you feel good or you agree. It’s clapping in sign language for real. Hands in the middle means you are on the fence… agree with some but not with all. Hands down means you are not happy and you don’t agree. This is a Point of Information (POI). POI is information pertinent to what has just been discussed. For example I say the cops are over there. But sully knows that the cops are actually over there. He would raise his hand, F would notice his POI and acknowledge him and he’d say the cops are over there. This is a Clarifying Question (CQ). It’s not the same as a general question on which we open stack for. It’s used when the point being addressed seems ambiguous and needs further clarification for people to be able to form a thought around. Point of Process (POP), this is used when the process we are following has been derailed. You can hold it up and F will acknowledge, POP is not a place for thoughts of opinions, just to keep the process moving forward, which is what F does.

F: This is wrap it up sign, use kindly. When the point has been made, we do this to let the person talking know they can wrap it up.

F: This is a block. It is used during the consensus process. If it looks like we are coming to consensus, we might ask for blocks against that proposal or decision. A block is a very powerful thing used for ethical moral and safety concerns.

F: This is raising your hand, what you want to do to get on stack. The stack taker will jot down your name, and maybe an article of cloths you are wearing.


46.1.  Agenda Items

46.1.1.  Internet Working Group Proposal

F: I would like to start the GA with the proposal from the Internet working group, but first I’d like to quickly note how a proposal gets to the GA. We accept proposals with a 24 hour process period which is posted online at The 24 hour period allows for folks to review and comment on proposals that will be addressed at the GA. However, we do have emergency proposals, which are time sensitive that was unforeseen and unplanned. With this in mind, I’d like to point out a it of info about the proposal tonight. It was submitted at 3am online, posted at 11am this morning. However, it is time sensitive in nature because the GA is our assembly, everyone’s assembly, I’d like to have internet make the proposal and get a temp check to see if we can continue. (Facilitation goes over temp check process)  Mic Check! I’m Drew from internet. We would like to propose tonight the purchase for the use of all of us. It is time sensitive because the person who owns it desperately wants to sell it and will sell it to anybody but we have put a stop on that for the day. I realize that this is a weird situation, but we would rather that you own it than say the Koch brothers. The amount is $8,000. Just so everyone knows, we are about to take a temp check, not on the proposal, but on having it being addressed now based on the time situation.

F: (temp check mixed)  Clarifying Questions

F: Ok, what I’d like to do is open it up about the time concerns with this issue. Please express concerns, stack is open

PoC: This is to discuss the proposal being spoke about tonight right?

Response: Correct, just to address the proposal tonight.

F: While taking stack, I’d like to fill everyone in that after the agenda we will move to working group report backs and general announcements  Where is the money coming from, and how much is in that place?

PoP: We will flush this out, so we all know, we are taking stack to make sure we are cool with addressing this proposal period.

F: We are taking a temp check because it falls in a grey area of the 24 advance notice for agenda items. The 24 hour period was consented on last week.  I’m concerned that without the review period, we won’t have a chance to properly review the proposal and I’m curious what the Internet working group thinks the odds are that it will be purchased by someone else by tomorrow given that it hasn’t been purchased before now.

Response: The reason that this is time sensitive is quite serendipitous. We came to the conclusion that we needed to purchase a web domain such as this one very recently, and also very recently, a gentleman in Florida who had the ownership of this domain put it online for sale. So it has not been up online all this time unbought.  I’m Jake from the internet working group I spoke with the seller for several hours last night on the phone. He is very desperate to sell this domain because of his current financial situation. If we do not move to buy this domain ourselves he will pursue selling it to other people.

F: Another temperate check about discussing this proposal tonight? (temp check positive)

F: What it looks to me is that we can begin this discussion. I’d like to open stack for CQ about this proposal.  Internet: The outward facing site that people believe represents this park is not in the GA’s control. The occupy wall st sites are run in solidarity by an affinity group and also Adbusters, two separate site. The internet working group feels that it is very important to have an outward facing site that is accountable to people here in the General Assembly. is a lovely tool for the intercommunication. We feel is a wonderful platform to outwardly express what’s going on.  Internet: This proposal has been seen by Finance and they support it as an investment in the future of this movement and this occupation. We cannot understate the importance of protection of our online identity. This means everything to this movement and this occupation. For some of you, who are not as familiar with domain name pricing, allow me to offer a point of reference. 1 hour ago I received a phone call from a trademark attorney. One of her clients wanted to sell us the domain name for $150,000. In that context, I ask that you recognize that $8,000 is not a high price for this domain name.

One last thing, this domain will be legally owned by the unincorporated organization known as Occupy Wall St. and will not belong to a single individual, but all of us collectively.

F: So now stack for CQ is open, I have a few names on stack already, Stacy will be first, Alex, Zellig, and Jeff are on stack.  Stacy: I have a couple questions, the first is. Who exactly currently owns this domain and how and when did they purchase it?

Response: Internet: I can address this. The owner is a gentleman named Mark R. Elsis. He is a former NY’er and lives currently in Florida. For 35 years he has been buying domain names and generally using them for progressive purposes. He bought this domain name months ago at the beginning of this movement. Until now, nothing has been developed there. It leads to a blank white page.  My other question is, is there an alternative website that we could purchase that would be cheaper and equally representative because there are a lot of domains that could exist. I want to make sure that we are purchasing the most cost effective site.

Response: It’s a balancing act between the power of the name and the price. At a certain point you’ll have to trust the judgment and our intention to do what’s best for the movement. We have considered many other options which would be equally high profile, they are currently controlled by affinity groups or Adbusters. There is one other domain name that could be used and we hope to acquire this one for little or no cost. These domains will work together to form the outward facing web presence of this occupation.  Alex: I have a couple clarifications. So is not owned by us?

Response: Correct  Alex: Is $8,000 the price he is asking for or our counter offer.

Response: The price he was asking was $10000, last night I negotiated, lowering it to $8,000 plus an immediate 10% deposit which I put on my personal card last night so he would take the domain off the market and so we would have a chance to present this proposal tonight.  Alex: Is it under your personal opinion that this is the best solution to our problem?

Response: Yes.  Zellig: My ? is who is the affinity group and why won’t Adbusters and the affinity groups give the control of the other websites to us for free?

Response: I’ve been told that we are running a little off topic but the short answer is that both the affinity group and Adbusters have a different view of where they want the website to go. As some background the internet working group has had many mediated conversations with the affinity group.

F: Next up Jeff.  Jeff: Can you discuss whether you sought other offers other than the $150,000?

Response: Allow me to clarify, we are not suggesting that we purchase for $150,000. That was to provide perspective for the worth of  Jeff: Do you have other references for prices that would fit your purpose?

Response: in addition to the traffic it generates is worth well over $150,000.  Jeff: What is your point of reference for that price?

Response: Our discussion with our affinity group disclosed what they thought it was worth.  Jeff: Have you sought other owners of websites to see if you would like to buy theirs instead to see what their price would be?

Response: As mentioned earlier, there is one other domain that we would also like to discuss with the owner, which we hope to get for very cheap or free because of the owners solidarity with the movement. All other domains we see as sufficiently high profile are controlled by the affinity group or Adbusters.  Michael: I just wonder did you look into other top level domains like .us, .info, etc.?

Response: I t is our belief that net is our best option to be sufficiently high profile and to exist to our existing site and another domain that we hope to develop in the future,

F: Next up, Lawrence.  Lawrence: My question relates to the name under which this will be registered. I agree with the need to secure our online identity, the existing convention flowing from is this entity is the NYC General Assembly, and thats not the name under which this is being registered. Please illuminate the process by which it will be named.

Response: We had nothing to do with the formation of that entity. It was offered to us by the financial working group. We do believe that this GA and this occupation in Liberty Plaza should be represented by the term occupy Wall Street, because we are so close to OWS. We have also had many people from other occupations have conveyed their confusion that doesn’t represent this occupation in an official capacity.

F: We would like to close stack. Next up Katie.  Katie: My question is similar to my previous one. Can we just get some idea what $8,000 means to us? What is the percentage of what we have etc.

Response: Today financed released a report of all the money garnished over the past time. It’s on our website under bulletin. Is there someone from Finance that can quickly address this question?

F: Based on finances release at last Friday GA, I can address this with very rough numbers. So far the GA general fund has raised somewhere above $450,000. We have spent somewhere around $60,000.

F: Next up Tim!  Tim: It was my understanding that the PR working group runs Is that not true?

Response: Members of the affinity group work in PR. There is solidarity between the website, the affinity group, the GA, and the working groups.  Tim: So are we sure that we are all agreed that is the term we should use to refer to this occupation or the whole movement. Do we risk co-opting the movement ourselves by continuing to call ourselves Occupy Wall Street?

PoP from F: That was not a CQ that was a concern. We will open the floor for concerns soon

F: Speaking of which, we have closed the stack, next is Rocky.  Rocky: How can we incorporate a 501c-3 which will give us a .org website?

Response: .org websites are not available, and the question of whether or not we are a 501c-3 is not under our jurisdiction.

PoI from Finance: We have fiscal sponsorship for a 501c-3, we could get it, but other people already beat us to it.

PoI from Internet: There is no relationship between being a 501c-3 and registering a .org. Anyone at all can get a .org website  Concerns

F: We are now opening stack for concerns. If you want to get on stack, raise your hand

Internet: To respond to the previous concern, we don’t get to choose how people describe what we are doing. Anecdotal info from the Internet working groups shows that people from other occupations view the term “Occupy Wall Street” as referring to us here. They have also said that they see what we do here as the thought leadership of the movement. How we use that, whether we co-opt anything, isn’t determined by what domain name we have, but by how we act as a group in solidarity with all the other individuals across the world.

F: First on stack, B.  B: When you said that there was another website domain, correct me if I’m wrong, but $150,000,000…

Response: The other domain was quoted at $150,000.  B: Is that from them being able to advertise, and, if …would you guys be opposed to advertise to reimburse the $8,000, for companies that we support?

Response: We would only do that with the consensus of the GA, a strong presence means that our donation link gets clicked on, which means that’s where our money comes from. It could be argued that a strong forward facing website will create donations greater than what we are asking for in a matter of minutes

F: Are there any more concerns, I would like to close stack? (no more)  Daniel: My concern, just to address it to the assembly, in the past when dealing with money, there has been a lot of concern over who our money is going to. It sounds to me that we are giving $8,000 to someone who purchased the domain name simply to profit off of our movement. If he is really willing to help our movement, I don’t see why he bought it and is now demanding $8,000 from us so that we may use it

Response: It is entirely possible that this gentleman has pretended to be in solidarity, pretended to be in economic strife, just for money. However he is offering it to us when he could get much more for it.  Adam: About 6 years ago a group I was involved with purchased a domain called .org .com and .net were already taken, but we got a lot of media attention, and we put our less favorable domain out through all of our media. If you go to google and look up freegan, you will find If you do a good job promoting your site, it doesn’t matter what letters are after the …

F: Stack is now closed for concerns. Internet wants to respond.

Response: Internet: I hear your concern, and we hope to get as many high profile domains to point to this site as possible We should point out that if we do not buy it, someone could buy this domain to use against us.

F: We have about ten minutes left to discuss this topic in total, keep that in mind. With that in mind, I’d like to open up stack for quick friendly amendments.  Friendly Amendments

F: Friendly Amendments (FA).  Can we amend the proposal to address the issue of if we ever address the issue of nomenclature of the movement that we allow that site to be open for other uses in the future, potentially movement wide issues.

Response: As the domain will be owned by the GA, they can do with it, you can do with it, what you wish.

Interruption from GkM from Picture the Homeless: I’d like to say that “Picture the Homeless” is and if you want to connect with Picture the Homeless, then do so.

F: Thanks for the announcement, but thats not related to the proposal being discussed.

F: I’d like to close stack for FA.  I’d like to suggest, maybe this in alternate proposal actually, that before we consider buying this domain, we test for consensus whether that as a GA, requesting the other website from the affinity group, asking if the affinity group would give us the domain name in good faith. That may be different coming form the GA as opposed to coming from the internet working group.

PoI: On Saturday at the GA we proposed almost the same proposal with the same language…it was rejected. After mediated conversation with the affinity group, we agreed that this would be the best step.

F: With that in mind I would like to begin the process of testing for consensus

F: Please restate the proposal first.

Internet: The internet working group would like $8,000 to purchase a domain on behalf of the NYC GA.

F: Can we get a temperature check? (mostly positive, a few negative and neutral)

F: So we have a few sad hands and some neutral. Are there concerns from those people that have not been addressed?  Concerns  Is the idea to get all of the OWS domains, to prevent people from coopting our message by registering those domains in bad faith?

Response: Our objective is to have an outward facing site that people understand that is owned, operated and accountable to the NYCGA  Do we have any occupy wall street domains?

Response: No.  Can we get an OWS domain that doesn’t $8000, for example, a .info or a hyphenated domain?

Response: It may very well be possible that we could, however, this is a unique opportunity, and also, those other domains could very well cost money.

Thank you.  I’m still concerned that there’s more going on here than I quite understand. If the PR team is using, even if it doesn’t own it, why are we competing with them and using the same name, when there are arguably better names for this GA?

Response: The outside world, for a large part, when they hear OWS, they think of this protest here in Liberty Plaza. The first line on the OWS wikipedia page says that the OWS movement is an ongoing protest here. To your second point, the affinity group would like to use their website for broader movements, news, and stuff. They are not accountable, and do not have to do anything that we’d ask them to. A good for instance, is the principles of solidarity. They would not post those on the website, even though it was consensed on by the GA. We feel that it’s best to let them do their thing in solidarity and that us, to have a place to put official outward-facing news, information, etc.

F: Time check: our time is up to discuss this topic. We’re going to move on to blocks.

F: Temperature check on this proposal. (mostly positive, similar to previous temp check)

F: Are there any blocks to this proposal?  Blocks

F: One block. Please speak to your block.  I feel that we should have a different name and this should be called the Real Party. We’re not the Democrat Party, we’re not the Republican party, we’re not the Tea Party.

F: PoP: Right now we’re talking about buying a domain name for OWS. What you’re suggesting is probably a different proposal entirely.

F: Are you retaining your block?

Response: No.  Consensus

F: we have reached consensus! [cheers and applause]



46.2.  Working Group Report Backs (WGRB)

F: We’re moving on to WGRBs. If you’re in a working group and you’d like to report back, please come over here and get on stack. Mic check!

46.2.1.  Call to Action and Sparrow Project. My name is Andy, and I work with the group called the Sparrow Project. Were a grassroots PR and creative agency, and we took it upon ourselves to publish 10000 copies of your Declaration and give it to you to use however you like. We have also been in communication with the call to action working group and the people’s library. We hope to get more texts consensed upon by the GA to compose an OWS Reader. We have 10,000 copies of the Declaration that you guys wrote, right here. Please take them home with you and give them out in the streets or anywhere that’s pertinent. We crowd-sourced and crowd-funded for this ourselves, and our next goal is to do 100,000 copies and mail them to cities coast to coast and around the world. But we need your help. If you guys have twitter accounts or any other kind of social media you can tweet or mention Thank you.

F: next up: trade justice, on deck is info, followed by radio.

46.2.2.  Trade Justice: Hi I’m the grim reaper. Tomorrow is day of the dead. I invite you to join me as I dance with congress member Michael Grim at his office tomorrow. Over 3000 union workers have been killed in Colombia since 1986. 104 people were killed in the first 10 months of the current Colombian president’s term. On day of the dead we will mourn the victims of human rights atrocities in Colombia, and denounce representative Grim for agreeing to free trade please join us I have flyers

F: Next up info, on deck, radio.

46.2.3.  Info: Hi! At Info, we’re assembling a packet to be distributed to all groups, after the spokes council meeting to give basic guidelines and resources for organizing and maintaining your working group. This will include guides on facilitation, printing, setting a budget, outreaching, coordinating with Info, and all sorts of outer things. If you’re in a working group and you have information that you think would be useful for other groups to know, please send us an email with that info to owsinfodeck@gmail, and we’ll collaborate, and consolidate into this document.

F: Next up: radio.

46.2.4.  Radio: mic check! I’m Danny. A group of us have been working really hard to try to get a radio station up and running in the square. So our current plan is as follows. Phase 1 will be more of an informational thing, for example, broadcasting GA over FM and distributing hand receivers amongst the crowd, hopefully to facilitate a healthier conversation. Phase 2 will be more content oriented, where we will invite members of the occupation or the world to submit content to us to broadcast on a continuous basis. How do you guys feel about broadcasting GA over FM? [positive] Good that’s what we were hoping. or hit us up on Twitter @owsradio. Thank you.

F: I have no one else on stack for WGRBs. …oh wait.

46.2.5.  Arts and Culture: I have something to say from Arts and Culture. There is an action for Thursday called Occupy Museums. We are bringing the conversation about economic injustice to cultural institutions and museums. Also on Thursday we’ll meet right here at 2:30, and we’ll go to the museum of natural history in the David Koch dinosaur wing and there we’ll discuss David Koch’s history of philanthropy, giving money to the tea party, Citizens United, and …global warming and… we’ll discuss this among the bones of dinosaurs. We don’t want to go extinct like those dinosaurs. Red cube at 2:30 and we’ll start there. The museum of natural history has a “suggested donation.” you can pay with one penny or you can give ten million dollars and have your name on the dinosaurs. You make the decision yourself.

F: Next up: queer caucus

46.2.6.  Queer Caucus: hey guys! So the Queer Caucus has been doing really amazingly. We have…. on Facebook, 600 on our email list. This was in response to homophobia, transphobia, and sexism. Coming up we have two cool events. On Sunday the sixth we’re going to have …to make ribbons for Aids Day. We’re having a trans awareness day on the 13th called Transform the Occupation from 4-6pm right here. thank you!

F: Stack is now closed for WGRBS

Interrupting question: ….so why do we have a group of people who believe they are fighting for a cause?

Response: We are!

F: Next up, Daniel

46.2.7.  Mobile Occupation Working Group: Hello my name is Daniel, i’m from the mobile occupation working group. We are individuals from many different working groups planning a bus tour down the east coast to visit other occupations. This will be for the purposes of sharing information, initiatives, and best practices between OWS and other occupations. This is also about mobile outreach and solidarity. For more information, visit We will be meeting on Wednesday at 11AM at 60 Wall Street. Thank you!

F: Announcements

46.3.  Announcements

F: Next up: Jay.

46.3.1.  Hey everybody, speaking of bus tours, we have an awesome field trip on Thursday. We will be taking a bus down to dc. The nurse’s union is paying for it, so it’s completely free, and it’s to protest the G20 specifically for a financial transaction tax. So if you’re interested in going, it’s 6AM from right here to around 7:30, and the nurses really want to fill up the bus. I have to go to another meeting so please meet me within the next five minutes in the library to sign up, thank you.

F: Next up reverend Ralph.

46.3.2 Mic check! My name is reverend Ralph. I’m not just a reverend, I also help in the kitchen to bring food here, to help feed the people. What I’ve been doing the last couple of days is Occupy Letterman. He let me share the sidewalk and he even let me put up posters that represent us, on Times Square! I also over the weekend got a letter from President Obama that wanted to know my views. My views are also your views, so I’m going to use this moment to ask Obama to come here to talk to us. [cheers and applause] I don’t know if he’s going to come, but I’m going to try!

F: Next up: Lawrence.

46.3.3.  Hey everybody! Last week we started up the free society working group, which is for organizers dedicated to organizing a society outside of this park based on these values here. Not much to report back yet, but it was a great conversation. Next conversation tomorrow 2PM by the red thing, facing this way. Join me! It’ll be fun. Build a new society.

F: Last call for announcements.

46.3.4.  Hi my name is Talia, shalom! We’re from Tel Aviv! We came here to say hi because we support you and everyone else in all the tents everywhere in the world. Thank you.

F: To the best of my knowledge there are no more announcements. Oh. Yes.

46.3.5.  Mic check. I’m trying to form a functional working group. The purpose of this working group would be to help those in need in cold weather, in the event of an emergency we’ll be able to evacuate them to free clinics and homeless shelters. We’re calling the group the St. Bernards. We’ll be traveling through ice and rain to make sure the …is kept in check meet me at the retaining wall church and cedar right after this meeting thank you.

PoI from Medical: For the last announcement it would be prudent to have communication with the medical team.

Response: We are working on it, thank you.

F: Any final announcements? No? With the power vested in me I pronounce the GA over. Soapbox begins.

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