NYCGA Minutes 11/2/2011

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NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 47

Meeting Date/Time: 11/2/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Daniel, Melanie

Stack taker: Jason; Keeping time: Brett; Minutes: Carrie

 

Agenda
47.1.  Working group report-backs
47.2.  Announcements
47.3.  Report-back from Trade Justice

Process Review/Opening Comments from Facilitation (F): The Spokes Council meeting that was originally scheduled for tonight will not be happening. The first Spokes Council meeting is currently scheduled for Friday. Is anyone here from the Structure group that has more information on that meeting? No. We should know at tomorrow’s GA all the specifics of the location and the time.

Tonight we don’t have an agenda. In other words, there are no proposals in front of the GA. However, we will be taking working group report-backs, after which we will go on to announcements. So for this meeting, because there’s a lot of obstacles [tents in front of stairs], everyone should try to help out and make sure everyone can hear. Thank you. Also, if you do speak, try to use only a few words at a time, so the human mic, which you are all a part of, can work properly.

Before we open stack for report-backs, I’d like to go through some of the hand signals that will be important tonight. I won’t go over hand signals that only relate to proposals, because we won’t be going over any tonight. Point of Information (POI): Finger pointing up, is for if you have information relevant to what’s being discussed. Clarifying Question (CQ): Hand in a “C” symbol, is for if you want something to be clarified that’s being discussed. Point of Process (POP): Fingers in a triangle, is for if you think there’s been a disruption to our approved process that you’d like to point out.

 

47.1.  Working Group/Caucus Report Backs

F: We are opening stack for report-backs from working groups and caucuses.

POC: These are working groups that are already established. If there is a working group that needs to make a report-back, please see our stack taker Jason.

47.1.1.  Constitution. Hi, I’m Bob. And I’m Judith. Thank you for all you are doing. The Constitution working group of Occupy Wall Street has produced the following statement of beliefs, as a platform for recommending future actions to solve our grievances, including bailouts, corporate personhood, war, unsound money, and public debt. The Constitution working group asks that these beliefs now be considered by all people in and out of the Occupy movement, ponder these, and make known your approval. This statement of beliefs is now posted on www.occupytheconstitution.org. Go there! Study it! Signify your approval. We have copies. We’ll be over here by the structure. The government needs to hear from millions of us, united in purpose and spirit. We are the people of America. We are the people of America. And we are free. We are free. And we are free. We will give you six of these beliefs now … oh, okay, our time is up! Meet us at the structure.

47.1.2.  Free Society. As you know, Free Society gathers organizers working to build a society based on these values outside of the park for our daily lives, for ALL our lives. So, as you know there’s lots of things going on on the 5th. But we decided to add one: At 5 o’clock you can join us at our usual meeting spot, the red structure, and we’ll have our usual meeting at the Staten Island Ferry. Anybody can join us toward that most exciting borough, Staten Island, and we’ll check neat things out when we get there. The 5th at 5. Over there. It’ll be fun!  And every other day, at 2 at the same place, until we find a better one.

47.1.3.  Direct Action. Hi, I’m GD from Direct Action. We’re really busy these days. There’s lots of exciting things coming up, too many to tell you about right here, but I’ll tell you about one. Tomorrow at 10am right here, there is a mock trial of Goldman Sachs with such dignitaries from the left as Cornel West and Chris Hedges. It’s gonna be great. Other than that, we have lots of trainings going on— there’s one every day that meets under the Red Cube at 1. Our meetings are at 2pm, Monday through Friday. They’ve been moving around a lot, I wish I could tell you where.

F: We are closing stack on working group report-backs.

47.1.4.  Occupy Dublin. Hello from Dublin! I bring you a message of solidarity. Our arms are linked. We stand shoulder to shoulder across the Atlantic Ocean, across borders, in spite of resistance; we stand for justice and hope. We will lead the world to a better place. We can do this. The Occupy movement has given us belief in our own power. We stand for justice, equality, and people. For too long we have stood on the sidelines as our planet has been ravaged, as too many have too much and too many too little. Our message is simple: We are the 99% and now is our time.

47.1.5.  Facilitation. I’m taking of my Facilitation hat to put my other Facilitation hat on. The Facilitation working group meets at 4 pm every day at 60 Wall Street to discuss facilitating. We desperate need more input. Please come to these meetings. We also have teach-ins on the consensus process at 5:30 every day at 60 Wall Street. If you are unfamiliar with or would like more training in the consensus process, please come to these trainings. If you are familiar with it, please volunteer to teach. Also, this Saturday, at the Facilitation meeting at 4, we are specifically outreaching to the Women’s caucus, the People of Color caucus, the Queer caucus, other caucuses I don’t know about, and other voices who feel underrepresented in the Facilitation working group. Please come this Saturday so we can work on solutions to make it more inviting.

 

47.2.  Announcements

F: We are now opening stack for announcements. An announcement is a call to action, a statement about a meeting place, not a soapbox. We have a place for that, it’s called the Soapbox, it happens right here, after the GA. So if it’s some information that people here need to know, please share it.

47.2.1.  Michelle: Hi, I’m with Anti-Frickin’-Fracking, from Occupy Hudson Valley. We need you all to come to a hearing coming up of the Delaware River Basin Commission. It’s vital for those of you who value clean water to attend this hearing. On Monday Nov. 21, five people are going to take a vote that can change the course of our lives forever. They are the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, plus our own president Obama represented by the Army Corps of Engineers. If only 100 or 200 of us show up, the Delaware River Basin Commission will presume that we’re all in favor. We need a few thousand to stand to defeat the gas companies and let them know that we won’t stand for their lies any longer. There are over 30 buses leaving from all over the region. You can get more information here:http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/index.sjs?distributed_event_key=647  I’m also looking to connect with the anti-fracking people at Occupy Wall Street. Okay, we can do this! No frickin’ fracking! Thank you.

47.2.2.  Ben: Thank you for your anti-fracking work. Second, the working to Occupy the Polls and Elected Office had its first meeting. The group will be teaching 99-percenters to run for office, run your own candidates, and support people you like … [rest of Ben’s announcement missing]

47.2.3.  Georgia:  I’m announcing and asking for your approval of a new working group whose name is Direct Democracy. I’m going to read its proposal: “Direct democracy” is used to describe the process and the unique character of our movement. But we haven’t had any time to create substantive thoughts in that direction. The flux and intensities of events …

POP: This is not an announcement, this is a proposal. Therefore, it should be on the agenda with all the other proposals.

POI: Working groups have never needed an approval from the GA.

Response: I am not seeking an approval. I am making an announcement about this new group and telling you about it and telling you where we are going to meet.

F: As a reminder, we ask you keep announcements to one minute.

Response: Can I ask for a few minutes more?

F: Can I get a temperature check for allowing Georgia a few extra minutes to talk about this announcement?

[mostly positive]

CQ: The clarifying question is, how many minutes?

Response: One more minute.

F: It looks to me like we’re okay with that.

47.2.4.  Georgia:  What we create here in this square and in many other squares around the world is not just an ephemeral experiment but what today is the birth of direct political participation, passion for social engagement and happiness, passion for direct involvement by the common. It is clear that political representatives are not anymore capable to create the political circumstances and to make decisions on our account. It is obvious that they make decisions for the benefit of the 1%. The Direct Democracy working group invites everyone to direct the participation process and allow its further continuation and growth. Direct democracy takes democracy out of the corporate office and economic negotiations and political elites and brings it back to our lives and engagements through [unintelligible]….. We will expand our political process together. We’re going to meet at 9 pm after the GA for our first meeting. Thank you.

POC: We neglected to explain the hand movement that many of us just witnessed [rolling hands] means we get what you’re saying, we appreciate it, please just get there. Also, as a reminder, we’d very much appreciate limiting the announcements to 1 minute and making your speeches as concise as possible. Thank you.

47.2.4.  CQ: Isn’t there already a Direct Democracy working group?

F: There may be, I don’t know. Is anyone here privy to that information?

Response: As far as I know there is no Direct Democracy working group and that’s why we created one.

POI: There is a direct democracy training that happens every night at 5:30 as part of the Facilitation meeting. We would love for you to come to one of those trainings. Any of you. All of you! The training happens at 60 Wall Street in the Atrium every night at 5:30. Thank you.

F: We are now closing stack for announcements.

47.2.5.  Eric: Hi, there will be a meeting of a new working group, the Water group, to discuss the issues regarding our water supply in the park and to determine solutions to these issues. This is vital to our survival in the park. The meeting is at 11 at the Blarney Stone, three blocks south of the park on Trinity, on the left.

47.2.5.  CQ: Can I suggest the Water working group be a subgroup of the Kitchen?

Response: It was determined that we need a separate group through meetings between Sanitation, Sustainability, and the Kitchen.

47.2.6.  Laura, from the Consciousness group: The very first Occupy Wall Street women’s circle will be this Friday from 7pm to 9:30pm. It will be held in a safe indoor space fifteen minutes from here. Meet at the red thingy between 6:15 and 6:30 to travel there together. Look for Melody.

POI: There are numerous women’s groups who’ve met numerous times and meet numerous times throughout the week and there’s a Safer Spaces working group that helps women find safe places in the park. Thought that was important.

47.2.7.  Holly: I’m here on behalf of Occupy Palm Bay Florida, and I just wanted to tell you seeing you all here fills me with hope and that you’re so beautiful. Also, my state has had one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the country, so what you do here represents us. Thank you for doing this.

47.2.8.  Patrick from the Press group: I’m not actually speaking for Press tonight. I’m making an announcement about mediation about the occurrences of last night. Last night the Internet working group went to GA with a proposal that was passed for $8,000 in order to buy the domain occupywallstreet.net. I and others have problems with the way this was accomplished. I won’t get into them now. If you have issues, please find me and we will set up a mediation. I am almost always at the Press table or someone there will be able to reach me.

47.2.9.  Ray: Please support the fight against animal abuse. Join the anti-fur demonstration this Saturday from noon to 4 at the headquarters of Intermix at 125 Fifth Avenue between 19th and 20th.

47.2.10.  Doug: I’m an international activist and an independent journalist coming to you from Western Massachusetts. I’ve noticed that one of the most salient questions on everyone’s mind, consciously and unconsciously, is where will the Occupy Wall Street movement go from here. And I’m suggesting one of the answers we might provide people when we’re speaking with common sense, good logic, and sound intelligence, is we might tell people we ‘re all here to eventually effect needed and drastic fundamental, root-cause economic and political change.

47.2.11.  Ben: Speaking to the drastic political change, today six senators introduced a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision made by the Supreme Court. For those who don’t know, Citizens United allows unlimited corporate funds into our elections. I urge all of you to let your senators know that they should support this amendment. I believe Occupy Wall Street has given the normally spineless Democrats the cover they need to take bold action.

 

47.3.    Report Back from Trade Justice

47.3.1.  Belated report-back from Trade Justice:

47.3.1.1.  Today, we and our allies had a demonstration for Day of the Dead at the office of Representative Michael Grimm, who voted for the Colombia and Panama and South Korea free trade agreements. We brought “Grimm reapers,” and had Grimm dance with the reaper as we read the names of the 104 Columbian civilians who have been assassinated by Colombian security forces and government-lined paramilitaries in the first ten months of President Santos’s first term. We brought shipping boxes, as metaphor for thousands of US jobs lost. Since workers will lose their jobs, we wanted Grimm to volunteer to be the first one, so the boxes we brought had shipments to sweatshops in China and Vietnam, which is where the jobs are going to be going as a result of these agreements. His staff did not accept the boxes but they did take our info. If you want to know how to get involved, talk to me, Adam: ows@tradejustice.net.

F: That’s the end of the report-backs, announcements, and the end of the GA. However, we have a treat brought to us by the Raging Grannies. They are going to sing. You are welcome to join in or not, it’s up to you. After will be the People’s Soapbox where you can make speeches of a more opinionated nature.

The Raging Grannies are in over sixty cities across the U.S. and Canada. We came to say we love you. We’ve been waiting for you for over thirty years. The first song is: “Good News, Occupy Wall Street is a-Comin’” followed by “Solidarity Forever.”

Adjourned 8 pm.

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