NYCGA Minutes 11/20/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Date / Time: Sunday 11/20/2011 / 7:00pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Jeff and Jason
Stack Taker: Alexandra; Time Keeper: Brett; Minutes: Dara


65.1.  Working Group Report Backs and Announcements

65.2.  Agenda Items (Vision and Goals Proposal, Arts and Culture Proposal, GA Meeting Time and Space Proposal, Mobile Occupation Proposal)

65.3.  Announcements

F: I would like to make a note before we begin. It is not our general practice here to have two white men co-facilitating, but we want to make it clear to everyone that is how the circumstances have presented itself tonight.

Sage: I don’t identify as white but I could pass for it when I feel like for a short time until I talk and then I just pass as crazy and I can take off my hat and see that I am Puerto Rican and I can co-facilitate tonight.

F: Temp check for Sage joining the co-facilitation team.

Crn: Rachel: There is too much emphasis on diversity of superficial characteristics when what really matters is that facilitators are trained and committed to impartiality.

F: Do we have any additional concerns?

Alejandro: In response to Rachel, I don’t think that we have to sacrifice competence in the search for diversity.

F: I had volunteered earlier this evening to facilitate. I welcome participation by other individuals. Temp check on the participation of Sage at this GA.

F: Temp Check? Looks good. Just spoke with Sage and we would like to suggest that I deal with the intro of this meeting and then Sage and Jeff will proceed through the agenda items. Temp check. [positive]

65.1.  Working Group report-backs and Announcements:

65.1.1.  Trade Justice: Hi, I’m Adam. There are tens of thousands in Korea taking to the streets and being shot by water canons for trying to stop a free trade agreement with the United States that will make it illegal to regulate Wall Street and outsource 150,000 US jobs, mostly to sweat shops in China. I am passing out fliers for a day of action here in NY protesting at the Korean consulate at noon at 45th Street between 1st and 2nd Ave. Here are fliers. I will send them around. Also here are the petitions to the president of South Korea asking him to stop abusing protesters and not pass this terrible free trade agreement.

F: Since that was more of an announcement and I don’t think Adam minds because I’ve known him for 100 years. If there are any other activist groups to be fair, you can also speak now by getting on stack. We will allocate one minute per announcement. Adam is also part of the Trade Justice working group. These announcements are for specific actions within movement. After the agenda we will have soapbox for any issues people want addressed.

F: If anyone here is working on something by themselves but has not yet formed a working group I just had an idea. If you want to get up now and let us know what you’re working on we can also afford to allocate 1 minute to that.

F: Next on stack we have Dana from Animal Issues.

65.1.2.  Dana: People have voiced concerns about things that may have happened to animals living in the park during the raid. If you know anything about this or know anyone who does, email We have people who want to investigate this.

F: Before we go any further, can I ask the people in front to sit down or move to the side. Mic check.

F: Throughout this season if you’re coming down to GA at Liberty Park feel free to pick up a little cardboard so you can sit on it. We have space up here, come and sit.

F: Next on stack: Lynn from Film Festival.

65.1.3.  Lynn: Hello everyone, I’m Lynn Fisher and I’m the art director of Mass Transit Street Theater and Video. Tomorrow is the first annual Buck Flows Here film festival. Celebrates young film makers who are exploring issues of social justice and community resilience. I have free passes – 40 for the 10am show, 60 for the 12pm show. Its at the Bronx Museum. If you want a pass, they are for 4 or 6 people.

Q: when will we see the 99% documentary?

65.1.4.  Bill and Pen from Occupy Baltimore: Pen from Occupy Baltimore. We heard about your struggles and hard work. Occupy Baltimore wants to say thanks for the hard work. I want to tell you about our occupation. Tents are still up, still strong. We had a protest on the bridge showing how badly these bridges are collapsing and we had another protest about education.

Bill: It’s very nice to be here with OWS. I think one of the reasons why we haven’t lost our tents in Baltimore is that we had a little success with about 6 of the major unions representing many unions in Baltimore putting out a position statement to the mayor that they support us and do not want any police intervention. I’m a teacher and we got our union committee to also write up a statement in support. I’m a communist and member of the progressive labor party and those of us think the way to overcome the 1% is a revolution. Thank you and keep strong.

F: We have closed stack for announcements.

65.1.5.  Rachel from Occupy Student Debt: Hi everyone. Raise your hand if you have student loans. It is predatory. Banks and collections profit from defaults. In a time of high unemployment this is a crisis. I’m not going to tell you more about this issue right now, to save time, because there is a lot online. Go to the Nation’s website. Read our article on Occupy Student Loan Debt. Tomorrow we are having a campaign launch, which includes a debt strike. When we get one million signatures then people will stop paying their loans until these arrangements are no longer predatory. Here tomorrow at 1:30pm we will kick off with a press conference. We need bodies. Then at 3:30 join us in solidarity with Occupy CUNY at Madison Square Park for a rally against tuition hikes. CUNY was a tuition free institution for the working class. My father went there and he got a great education and became middle class. Now it costs to attend. 5:30 tomorrow at Baruch College there is an open forum in front of trustees about tuition hikes.

Q: Will the petition be online?


65.1.6.  Barry: From Ft. Lauderdale Occupy – On Dec 9 and 10, the 22 or so groups of Occupy in Florida will have a statewide GA in Orlando, please join if appropriate. For those of you who it’s a little brisk and chilly here, we could use more bodies in sunny Ft. Lauderdale. We would love to share our home, food and sunshine with you.

65.1.7.  Lopey: Hi I am forming an affinity group called Direct Action Tasers. Activists who are also artists, including painters, print artists, and graffiti. The group’s purpose is to interface with other working groups such as Outreach, Direct Action, and Arts and Culture, and any other groups who need artists, such as Environmental Solidarity. So if you are interested in joining, then email

65.1.8.  Yosef: from Occupy Paris. You are all making me very happy. I bring a message of solidarity from my new home and brothers and sisters and let there be light. Just kidding. From the City of Light there are people occupying La Défense, which is the financial district of Paris. There are also people occupying dozens of cities around France. However, there is some bad news: the people of La Défense have been dealing with severe repression. Each time they build a structure the police come in and tear it down. There has also been violence against the 12 people currently sleeping there. Everybody here deserves a lot of credit for not getting disillusioned, which I think is the biggest risk. For that reason, I also like the fact that everyone is thinking rather short term and focusing on things we can do now. I’d also like to give a couple of plugs, then sit down and talk individually. We need a financial transactions tax. We need to break up the mega banks right away. We need to think about a corporate personhood amendment and make it happen and change the financial bonus system. Love you all.

65.1.8.  Gwen: I’m here to ask if tomorrow morning you could come down to 100 Center Street at 9:30am to Part F to support Tim Slay. He is an occupier. About a week ago, he got into an altercation. Not physical but he used poor language. He said he wanted to throw molotov cocktail. I am a cosmetic girl and would not like to have my lashes blown off, but I support free speech for this young man. He is looking at 25 years in prison. The way they want to indict him is under the Patriot Act as a terrorist. He is black and you know we put a lot of black people in prison to fortify Wall Street. Whether you agree or not, for the sake of free speech come and support our friend. Understand that young men sometimes do not use right words. It is forgivable. Also I would like to ask about a working group. Public School 109 in East Harlem was saved 11 years before an illegal demolition by yours truly, but now they are looking to turn it into a luxury apartment house. We would like to keep it in the system as public school. We need to Occupy Public School 109 to preserve it as a school. If you are interested in working on this project please see me. We need you.

F: Sage: I have to step down as facilitator. Don’t know how to say because of the way it flows. Facilitators have to be impartial and I am going to step down.

F: To finish this agenda Jason will help co-facilitate. I appreciate Sage very much but I know that Sage is very passionate and he often makes very good contributions to discussion that we as facilitators do not make.

65.2.  Agenda Items

65.2.1.  Proposal from Vision and Goals:

Lea: Hi, I am Lea.

F: Just before they start. [We have an] initial time frame of 20 minutes for this proposal. I’ve got four groups.  Lea: Hi again. My name is Lea. I am going to let you know who we are. We are the Vision and Goals working group. The purpose is to create a long-term, comprehensive vision of what we would like our future to look like and how we can shape that future. What we are giving out is a preliminary document of a vision statement of Occupy Wall Street. This is only the vision portion. we have not yet gotten to the goals aspect. [We are] passing these around to you because [it is] critical for inclusivity and transparency to get your input. [There are] lots of brilliant minds here and we need to put you to work. Read this and really consider this. It feels very important to let the world know that we have a vision. We would like to read you our proposal: “We envision: [1] a truly free democratic and just society; [2] where we the people come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] Where the people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making for their community; [4] Where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces, specifically unchecked corporate power and unjust government; [6] where all institutions work to benefit all, not just a privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs, but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value meeting human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] Where we work together to protect the global environment and all species to ensure that life on earth is sustainable so that future generations will have safe and clean air, water, and food supplies.”

We would like to publish [this] on [the] website as [our] official vision. Are there extra copies floating around?

F: We will now open stack for clarifying questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: [missing material]

R: We had a document worked on by 200 people that had visions, goals, and actions jumbled. We thought it would be better to have the vision first, [then] to set the goals to reach that vision. It is the future world that we envision that we are writing down first. The goals help us to get there and the actions are what we take to achieve the goals.

PoP: A lot of people cannot hear. We encourage everyone to be a part of the human mic.

R: I also want to say to answer your question that this document was developed with a sense of urgency. There were a number of documents submitted. This is only a preliminary document. Even if we achieve consensus tonight we will go back and work on this further and possibly restructure and include other things, like goals, that are missing. [The] vision statement is [the] first step, and goals will be the next step.  CQ: Gerry: Thank you for this excellent document. But I am curious to know if a vision statement can also include a clearer recognition of the ugly fact of political power which is demonstrated by the fact that seven days ago we were surrounded by tents and beautiful exhibitions. Occupy Wall Street Village. Can this vision statement deal with in a realistic way the difficulties that this movement will have with people who are in power and have no desire to see this vision implemented?

R: I think we agree in principle and I think we do already have that message, but reread point 5: Secure civil and human rights for all. That’s as specific as we want to get for a vision statement.

F: [It] sounded like [the] last two statements were more concerns rather than clarifying questions, so we just want to ask people to stick to clarifying questions about what you’re being asked, then move forward to concerns.  CQ: Greg: What I am wondering is since the heading only specifies OWS as the issuer of this statement, can we expect that each individual occupation – do we expect that each individual occupation will issue [its] own statement, or will follow along with this statement?

R: No. Every occupation is an autonomous thing. We can give our vision as we consent upon. They can take it or leave it and have their own or not. Other occupations [are] working on their own and we have drawn inspiration [from them] and we hope they will draw inspiration from us.

F: Just to let everyone know out of 20 minutes we have about 3 left. We may need to extend a little bit and I’ll ask you for that. Just to keep it in mind. We will now open stack for concerns.  Concerns  Crn: Mark: When do we get stuff like free money?

F: When we use the human mic we need to speak in small groups of words. Helps us be more concise and helps the mic work better.  Crn: Rachel: I am going to be [as] honest with you as I can and please trust that I’m being loving. When I read this I check out because it is so broad and idealistic. There are two ways I think you could make this better. 1. An introduction with some language about how fucked up stuff really is. Stating that you know that this is stating some really flowery solutions and be ready for lofty ideas. 2. Switch out some language that I would locate as the triggers of the flowery ideas and make some more realist type of people check [them] out. “Grow and flourish as humans,” pretty much [the] whole number 9. I’m an environmentalist but even I roll my eyes a little at statement 9.

R: About [an] introduction, we have that, which is the list of grievances that came out at the beginning of OWS. Second issue: if you think that you can write it better then please join our forum and group and contribute.

F: [I] need to say we have reached 20 minutes on this topic. [We’d like to] take [a] temp check on extending this discussion for an additional 10 minutes. [Positive]

R: If we can’t dream in a vision statement then where can we dream?  Crn: Adam: Hi. I have two concerns. The first is, look around this GA. This is about the size of some larger working group meetings. It would be inappropriate to decide on visions with about 70 people here. 2: Fundamentally I question the process of a small group coming to us and telling us what our visions are. I think it is good to have vision, but better to have [a] working group to facilitate [a] process where all [are] included in expressing [the] vision of [the] movement. Then have [the] working group synthesize that into language. I have that concern because I have spoken to people who have attended [the] meetings and said that they found those meetings marginalizing and had real concerns about issues of privilege and disempowerment. I vitally think that we need an accountable process for delivering our goals and I do not think a subgroup is that process.

F: Before she responds I remind you that we have one minute for concerns and responses. [This is a] large group and everyone wants to speak. We need to be concise.

R: You raised a lot of issues that concern me. I feel very strongly in [an] open process. We have tried very hard to create that open process. Part of that is coming here. If people think [of] ways to make [the process] more inclusive then I strongly encourage you to come help us do that.

[New Sp] R: This is our second time in front of the GA. We do invite feedback for our next round. Also [we] would like to say that the statement put before you today was inspired by feedback we received. Went through point by point, and [the] points in our statement correspond almost exactly with [the] points from [our] previous visit here. [We] did not create [this] in a vacuum.

[New Sp] R: The issues about inclusion are being addressed. Tomorrow at [the] working group meeting, we are making best practices for maintaining legitimacy and integrity of process. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect everyone to work on everything. [The] working group is open to everyone who wants to come and submit feedback.

F: [We have] four minutes to continue this discussion. Two more people on stack. [I would like to] close stack. I would like to say that [the] GA is the governing body to make decisions. Work group are smaller bodies to be productive.  Crn: Greg: I think there is a question ahead of the vision statement and if it were to be answered we could look at other models. What sort of entity is this and does it need a vision statement? Use examples of other entities for language. Less flowery language.

F: PoP: Please stick to stack and avoid cross talk, so that everyone can hear our conversations.

R: We were charged by [the] GA to develop this vision. The question you raised has been asked and answered. We are here in response to you.

F: We must stay on stack. This decision is for the group to be made. [We] need to take [a] temp check to extend another 10 minutes. We have four more proposals. [We] need to be more concise.

F: We are going to take a temp check of whether you like this proposal or dislike this proposal. That looks very positive, but not consensus. Before we have consensus, I must ask if [there are] any blocks. Blocks are very serious must be based on a moral or safety concern, not a dislike.

PoP: Before we move on to blocks or consensus we should see if anyone has any friendly amendments.

F: Open stack for friendly amendments. [The presenters of the proposal] have [the] choice to accept or not. I propose five minutes for friendly amendments.

F: We have a suggestion to table this proposal. In response to your response it would seem to be fairly negative about continuing this discussion right now. We will ask [the] proposers if they are open to tabling it for the sake of the progression of [the] meeting.

F: We are going to continue this process an additional five minutes to hear friendly amendments. Please get on stack.  Friendly Amendments  FA: Colette: I think you did a great job with the document but I thought we may consider adding something about people in our society who have more contributing more. Would you be open to that concept?

R: We are not going to accept the friendly amendment. We feel it is partially addressed by 8 and feel it’s more of a goal than a vision. We are concerned about the Robin Hood concept.  FA: Lopey: Hi. I have a friendly amendment. Something that addresses the issue of racism.

F: Let’s come back and let her present her amendment. (continued) Lopey: Free of institutional racism sanctioned by corporations.

F: [The] working group now will decide if [they] want to accept [this] amendment. As you may be experiencing, sometimes this process is tedious, so we ask for your patience and respect. It is worth it in the end. While we are waiting, those of you [who] have not taken Direct Democracy training, which in Facilitations view very important, it is every day at 5:30pm at 60 Wall Street. [It] takes about an hour and will change your life.

F: Does anyone know a good song we could sing?

R: We accept that friendly amendment. We need time to figure out how to word the inclusion of the concept of racism in our vision.

F: We have expired our five minute extension for this topic. We have still four people on stack, but no more time to hear them. I would like a temp check on extending time to hear their voices as opposed to moving forward. Temp check on additional ten minutes. Six more on stack. We have the choice that we can move forward with consensus stands. If you feel we have not heard enough voices, then [you] decide [we are] not ready to pass this proposal, at which point we will table [it] for [a] later GA. If [you] feel ready to move forward, we can also have a temp check on this document beforehand. I just need a temp check on whether we need 10 more minutes to hear six more people for friendly amendments. That is very mixed. According to process we need to move forward without hearing additional voices. That being said the next step is to take a temp check on [the] proposal as it stands. If you feel we have not heard enough voices you do not have to consent and then the document will be tabled. That is the process. So now we are going to have presenters briefly restate a summary of the proposal which would include friendly amendments.  Vision and Goals: Declaration of our vision of the world we hope to create to those who do not understand what we are about so they can better understand us and see that maybe we are working on things they want us to do and can even maybe come and join us.

F: [We] remind [you] that this is a living document. If you would like to make corrections and further additions, join them at their regular meeting time to make contributions. Now I will move forward with our process. I would like [to take a] temp check about passing this proposal as it stands. [Temperature check.]  That is not consensus. Therefore we cannot move forward to passing this document as it stands. We can ask our proposers to table this proposal until they have time to receive more feedback.

Vision and Goals: I want to say that we invite people. Tomorrow at 5:30 pm [come] to our meeting. Write comments and hand it back. They are changing [the] schedule so that won’t be [the] regular schedule.

F: [We] will have to continue with our process. I hope this group will return to the next GA. [We] must move to next item.

65.2.2.  Proposal from Arts and Culture:  Arts and Culture: Hi everyone. I have a much simpler proposal I hope. It is for Arts and Culture to print 2,200 copies of a poster that we have designed of the Declaration of the Occupation. I am going to pass out the proposal. Take a look and share. We will do 2,000 regular prints and a small limited edition of 200 first edition. These printings will be produced by volunteers who were moved by the image. There are an overwhelming number of people wanting copies of this image to put at their school, office and/or occupation. The printing will cost less than 40 cents each and 1.25 for limited edition. To buy the print there will be a sliding scale pay whatever you think is appropriate. Pretty sure we will make money off this. Just need GA to front the money.

F: [We are now opening stack for] clarifying questions.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Carly: What is the sum total you want?

R: $2272.94  CQ: Rachel: How will they be shipped?

R: [We are] working with [a] print lab who are also doing mass distribution, to have a centralized system for shipping around the country, and also do distributing at Zuccotti and marches and sympathetic institutions who are agreeing to sell [them] with all [the] profits [going] to us. Arts and Culture will do own consensus process around distribution but [we] don’t think that [the] details of that need to come to [the] GA.

F: [We’d like to] close stack and move forward with concerns. If [you] have a concern, get on stack.  Concerns  Crn: [My concern is] that some small portion of printed papers [should] be made available free to re-post around or to hand out.

R: That is part of our plan. They will be totally donation based and so a lot will be free.

F: [We’d like to] close stack for concerns. Open[ing] stack for friendly amendments. If you would like to propose an addition to this proposal now, you may speak. I do not see anyone for friendly amendments, so now we will close stack on friendly amendments. So now we will move to a temp check. We would normally have the proposer make a brief restatement of this proposal but since it has been so short [I] think it is okay. Now, temp check on proposal. Looks pretty good. Before we move to consensus are there any blocks? Remember blocks are based on moral and ethical and safety concerns. Any blocks? [none]  Consensus is reached.

65.2.3.  Proposal regarding GA Schedule and Meeting Space  Proposal: OWS shall immediately reinstate daily GA meetings. In addition, the Town Planning WG is hereby empowered to designate and maintain an appropriate meeting space in the vicinity of the steps on the Broadway side of Zuccotti Park. This meeting space will be kept permanently clear of tents and all other personal and common belongings such that we, the people, can easily, quickly and safely gather there to hear, and be heard by, each other.

F: [We are now opening stack for] clarifying questions and concerns.  Clarifying Questions and Concerns  Crn: [I am] concerned [that] this goes against [the] spokes [council] proposal. [My] concern [is] that people who are in spokes need to be at Gas, and feel that this will create further division in our movement when what we need is more unity.
R: This is a terrific point. It is not my desire to affect the spokes council proposal in any way, and if you have a thought about [a] friendly amendment we definitely want to hear it. Divisions did begin blossoming after [the] creation of [the] spokes [council], and many people, including me, feel we do not have equal voice in [the] spokes [council]. This is my opinion and it informs my proposal.
PoI: Anyone here is welcome to join the spokes [council], regardless of whether you are currently in a working group or not. Everyone is welcome at the spokes council. Everyone ought to consider joining a working group and consider taking an active role in the movement.

F: Spokes is an open body to observe. To participate, you must be in a working group or caucus. You are open to join any working group and caucus but if [you are] not in [a] WG, by [your] own decision, then you may only observe. The days for spokes council are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

F: Additional POI: [I was] at [the] last spokes council meeting. The spokes council as a body has not been assembled. When [there were] lots of unforeseen events, many people [who were] not part of working groups were given opportunities to be part of breakout groups.

F: [It is a] difficult idea, [there are] meant to be, in theory, multiple spokes councils. At this moment there are not multiple spokes councils.  CQ: The proposal that founded the spokes council, did it found an operational spokes council for different purposes?

R: F: The original proposal did not specify the number or type of spokes. In theory we could have only one.  Crn: Tim: Many of my concerns were just addressed, although I still feel that since working groups are where most of the work in the occupation is done, I question the idea that folks not participating are entitled to a secondary voice at the same time as spokes. Most of the most committed people in this movement will be at spokes. They need to be able to attend all GAs. Someone else asked me to raise [the] concern that this proposal obliges working groups to do more work than they have consented.

R: I do not understand [the] last point yet. But if [I] understand [your] earlier point, I am on three working groups, but none are represented on spokes council. [I am] open to [a] friendly amendment to adjust [the] timing of [the] meetings on days when they could coincide; however, I am concerned that as a member of these working groups not represented in [the] operational spokes council, my voice is not being heard.

F: In essence of time, [we are] closing stack for concerns. [We] remind [you] that we have a set time to discuss this proposal. [We] need to ask [the] entire group for more time to discuss this now. Would we like to have ten more minutes to discuss [this proposal]. [Positive] That looks good.  Crn: Alexander: Sorry I’m talking so much, but not a lot of us [are] here. My concern is that this proposal actually serves to silence anyone who participates in the spokes council, because decisions are being made here when people have to go to [a] spokes council meeting. [There is] no current conflict with [the] GA. Everyone can go to every decision making meeting. [We are] going to fall apart without [the] dedication of the working groups.

PoI: When [the] spokes [council was] originally made, it was meant to be [for] operational groups. In light of recent events, groups that are not strictly operational are being included.  Crn: Charlie: I am concerned that this proposal is so multifaceted that it will take so many friendly amendments to reach consensus that I think it is best to table this and rework [it] so we do not have to spend time on friendly amendments.

R: I would like to hear some of the friendly amendments and see how far we get. It is a very short paragraph. [There is] only a little that I am interested in.  Crn: David: It seems to me that there are two working groups, Facilitation and Structure, that put a lot of effort into planning and working out the GA and it seems to me, before a decision is made about increasing the number of Gas, that we have input from Facilitation and Structure.

R: This was submitted to Facilitation at least two days ago. I am willing to table [it] after we hear [some] friendly amendments, and bring it back at a nearby GA.

F: If your concern has already been voiced you may yield.  Crn: Joey: [I have a] serious safety concern in that Facilitation is spread so thin that not only is a collapse of [the] GA due to weak facilitation demoralizing, it can result in [a] violent altercation.

PoI: [A] comment was made that this was submitted to Facilitation. When submitted to GA, Facilitation does not vet that proposal, so there is a difference between a proposal being submitted.  Crn: Trish: We need the GA seven days a week. The GA is more important to this movement than any other entity. The GA needs only one or two tweaks to make the spokes [council] irrelevant.

PoP: [That is] not a concern.

F: If [you are] concerned about [the] proposal you may say so. If you feel great then you may consent.  Crn: Devon: When [the] spokes [council was] proposed [the proposal] came with [a] sheet of paper [which] came with [a] very organized information distribution plan. [A] proposal to delegitimize [the] spokes council should go through a similarly rigorous process of dissemination. Ways that this can be done is reaching out to [the] press and post[ing] on Printing out paper and handing it to people more than 24 hours in advance. I see a lot of people but I have seen five to ten times more over conversation about instituting [the] spokes council. In such turbulent times[…]creates is more problematic than it might be worth right now.  CQ: I am looking at tasks that [the] spokes council is empowered with. It says decisions related to the logistical operation of Occupy Wall Street. Number 2 –

Sage: I have to step back in because there is a disruption about a stolen bag and now someone is worried that their language is not up to snuff. Language is up to the person who speaks. We can figure out how to understand her. Our GA is feeling disenfranchised by this GA. (continued) Number 2: Budgets and expenditures. 3. addition or subtraction of operation groups and caucuses to the spokes council. They would have the power to delete or include you in the process. Amendments to the functioning of the spokes council after the power of the GA whatever that means. Now because of our illegal eviction the first two mentions are very gray but has to do with our budget and money. Until today we have no transparency or accountability. If they were up and running why isn’t something posted in Finance for 200 something groups. [We] do not need [the] spokes [council]. [It is] very disenfranchising.

PoP: [The] beginning [of what you said] was [a] point of information, and then [it became] opinion.

PoI: The reason that Finance has not put that up is because they were in jail.

F: Stack is closed. Before we move forward I must ask [the] group for additional time for discussion. How does [the] group feel about ten more minutes for additional concerns and friendly amendments. Does not look positive. As Facilitation, the process declares that we move forward with a temp check on this proposal or [the] option to table [it] for a later GA.

PoP: I think this group is small enough to not repeat. [Let’s] stop [using the] human mic.

F: Consensus on using normal voices. [We will now] take [a] temp check on consensus about not moving forward. First he has [the] option to table [the proposal].

R: I would like to table [the proposal]. I am not looking to delegitimize spokes council, but we in movement groups feel we have lost our voice. I am happy to table this proposal.

F: [We will] leave this open to a future GA. He can rework [the proposal] and come back. Proposals are very specific. Sometimes [there are] strong passions and they are not best discussed in GA; [they are] best discussed at soapboxes or [in] working groups.

65.2.4.  Proposal from Mobile Occupation  Charlie: [I have] been here from week one[…]Mobile occupations[…]need to connect with other occupations[…]East Coast occupation bus tour[…]We have a bus that runs on vegetable oil. You will see [the] budget on [the] back. [We] meet tomorrow at 2:00pm. [Our website is] [We are] asking [the] GA for $14,500 for [a] bus tour to drive down [the] East Coast. [We are] working with Outreach and Movement Building. [We want to] start communicating with different cities[…]Based on feedback[…] [Our] intention is for skill sharing and information sharing to build up communication structures within occupations. We think [it is] important, and feedback is highly supported by everyone we have talked to. Help [us] take [it] to the next level. We did [a] scouting mission with Philly and there was a positive response.

[Editor’s note: The minute taker was unable to finish the minutes for this GA due to technical difficulties. For your convenience, the live tweet record of the rest of this GA, which includes a Mobile Occupation proposal and a Don’t Occupy Wal-Mart on Black Friday emergency proposal, can be found in the Minutes working group page under “Docs”. Please note that the live tweets are not done by the Minutes working group and we are not responsible for their content. Live tweets are tweeted and compiled by @DiceyTroop, and the full live tweet record for this GA can be found here.]

14 Responses to “NYCGA Minutes 11/20/2011”

  1. Charlie

    The state of and Lack of minutes here are a disgrace and should never happen again…is someone recording the audio of the GA’s? wouldn’t that help? where is the media & live stream?

    on another note – the tweet record is AMAZING. can we have it posted on for every GA and spokes?

    • Ows Minutes


      Please feel free to send us a laptop with a 5-hour battery life, that would help our minute-takers immensely. Or, if you or anyone you know has professional typing/stenography skills, please send them our way.

      Beyond that, please keep in mind that our minute takers are not professional minute takers; they are volunteers working in very adverse conditions (rain, cold, lack of electricity, physical exhaustion, etc.). Some of them are or have been in jail because of the recent upheaval at Zuccotti Park.

      We welcome helpful suggestions and constructive feedback, and yes we are working on getting audio recording equipment to improve the process. But please keep in mind that our minute takers are human beings, with feelings, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we do our utmost to get the minutes to you.

      And yes, the tweet record IS amazing! Agreed! 😉 If @DiceyTroop wants to post his tweets on the website, we would be more than happy to offer our Group Docs as a forum for that. Perhaps we can both suggest it to him…


      • jakedeg

        In Tech Ops, we’re working on a solution to browsing all social media (including live tweets). Coming soon, we hope.

    • Dallas

      I hope I’m not asking about a solution that has already failed to gain consensus for some reason… but we only have to deal with laws against amplification, not against mics and/or handsets and headsets. It’s probably feasible to get hi-fidelity audio by setting up a voice chat/con-call/Talkshoe etc. and passing around two barebones mobile phones (maybe up to 5 to keep things flowing at a large GA) that are dialed into a recorded con-call. Hypothetically ( ;-p ) it should be pretty rare to need to mic more than 2 speakers simultaneously.

      Also, am I the only attendee that noticed a man taking video of at least the last half of this GA from right in the middle of the gathered assembly? I thought he *was* taking the minutes! Did you at least hit him up to borrow or dupe the footage for our records? Just wondering, not trying to be a pain.

      BTW, Thx for helping make GAs happen… We all have some sense of just how much of a mess things might become without some folks patient enough to sit through 6 hour meetings and take a gang of shit for insisting that people wait their turn to speak and stick to the topic.

    • dicey troop

      Hi! Thanks for your kind words about the tweet record. I should note that it’s not just me but also @heratylaw and @jopauca and @unronic who have been contributing to @LibertySqGA.

      That said, the minutes team works crazy hard. If you’re not here in New York to help take minutes, you should probably be nicer to them. Thanks Charlie.

  2. Charlie

    The Minutes are more complete and transparent if you include the live tweet record herein, rather than simply have a link to a separate doc. The rest of the minutes do not simply deal with one proposal, but also a proposal to launch a DON’T BUY ANYTHING from Walmart on Black Friday campaign. For fairness, can you please include what information is available.

    There is nothing personal, and I appreciate everyone’s efforts wholeheartedly. However, we cannot allow General Assembly minutes to be incomplete as that doesn’t allow people who couldn’t be there to have access to the movement. If this is our governing body, and there are proposals and decisions being made by it that affect everyone involved, it should be easier (or at the very least possible) to find out what proposals were presented, whether they passed consensus, (and what proposals are coming up). If this information isn’t accessible, the movement will not be accessible and inclusive.

    • Ows Minutes

      Thank you for bringing the Don’t Occupy Wal-Mart proposal to our attention; the editor’s note has been updated accordingly.

      The Minutes team feels it would be inappropriate, for a multitude of reasons, to post as official minutes material that was not taken by our team. The Live Tweet team provides an enormous service with the live tweets, and we are grateful to be able to direct people to the tweets as backup. However, the purpose, style, and methods of the Live Tweet team are different from those of the Minutes team. We are a resource for each other and for the public, while still retaining independent identities.

      I think we agree about the importance of minutes for transparency and for a written record of GA decisions; otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing this job!

    • dicey troop

      Oh, this is much better. Thanks for rephrasing. Still, I’d say they have enormous “uptime”, in tech parlance…

      Also keep in mind, the Liberty Square General Assembly is not the movement’s GA, it’s just Liberty Square’s General Assembly. There is no movement general assembly; to influence the movement, start your own GA!

  3. Charlie

    Where are minutes from Monday’s Spokes Council?
    How can we reduce the lag in minutes being posted? It seems like if minutes are taken during the meeting they could be posted without much delay. If this is not the case, the live tweet record can be posted faster and this should take precedence. Since we agree in the importance of accurate record keeping and timely posting, how is Minutes addressing this?

  4. Zoë

    Hey Charlie,

    I feel your frustration, because as a distance-occupier I also wanted the minutes to be up immediately every day. So, I volunteered to help out, and for the last month or so I’ve been helping in editing and formatting every set of minutes. I had no idea before I started helping the amount of work the NYC-Minutes group does to produce these minutes.

    For example, often the minutes-takers themselves do all they can to get verbatim minutes; they then self-edit and try to corroborate their record with written materials available at the meeting itself; then they send their minutes to the Minutes admin folks, who further edit, format and splice various minutes materials together; finally, someone posts the finalized minutes. Because this process takes awhile, sometimes we post raw minutes earlier, but they have still gone through at least the first three steps of the process.

    And not surprisingly, since GAs and SCs generally go on for hours and hours, all of this is not done immediately. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Minutes are pages and pages long. They take hours to compile, more hours to edit, and more hours to combine to make complete documents. And every single person helping make the process happen is a volunteer.

    Also, the Livetweets aren’t tweeted OR compiled by Minutes, it’s done (very kindly!) by someone else, who then posts the links, usually in bunches, in the Minutes forum. Because Minutes is understaffed and a full-time load of work, the group has not volunteered to take on compiling and posting the Livetweets.

    Perhaps this is something you’d like to volunteer to do, in order to help others like us get ahold of the records quicker? Come get involved with Minutes, help make us faster!


  5. Steve Cross

    First of all, those who are trying to keep the minutes need to be congratulated on the difficult job they are undertaking and success in doing it.

    That said, I’d have a major suggestion for you. At any meeting of any type, there are two things going on: (1) things done; and (2) things said. “Minutes” should usually be restricted to the first: things done. The purpose is to keep good track of decisions actually made. Unless someone is a trained stenographer, it is almost impossible to keep a good record of “things said.” And, it always leads to charges that what is said in the minutes is not a faithful representation of what was said.

    The GA needs to adopt a resolution that:

    (1) It’s minutes will only contain a record of “things done.”

    (2) To find out what is said, people should be referred to either audio or video recordings of the meetings.

    Once that’s done, the job will be a lot easier and the minutes much more accurate. And those who want to see there words immortalized can go to the recordings for that.

    • dicey troop

      Interesting idea. And we’ve also got the livetweets, which are close to a record of “What was said,” and are not stamped with the “minutes” tag for exactly the reasons you state above. If minutes wanted to re-orient towards this, I certainly would support them in doing so. If not, though, I support them continuing to put in all the amazing effort they’ve been putting in so far, if they want to!

  6. dicey troop

    This conspiracy theory is pretty far from being grounded in any kind of documented proof.

    Here’s a line from that article:

    “aside from one signed letter from Mahmoud El-Sawy at the Horeyya Coalition, there appears to be no direct and confirmed communication from Egypt to the General Assembly.”

    Yes… ASIDE FROM THAT GUY, there’s no direct and confirmed communication. Huh? That sentence is a penny to the tracks of your thought train, and it’ll derail you if you don’t take care when passing over it.

    I appreciate that this article gives OWS the benefit of the doubt, rather than being all accusatory. That said, there are many in Egypt who legitimately want to give the elections a go. There are also many that consider them a sham. It’s not for Americans to project that onto Egypt.

    And that’s why the trip was cancelled. Not due to co-option fears. And let’s also note that at no point during the three following times this trip was raised at General Assembly, after the proposal was already consensed upon, was this theory raised as one of the many reasons people had reservations about the plan. Nor was this theory mentioned by any of the Egyptians and Egyptian-Americans who came to express concern (or, in some cases, support) for the plan.