NYC GENERAL ASSEMLY DAY 72
Date/Time: 11/27/2011 / 7pm
Location: Liberty Park
Facilitators (F): Jose, Tanya
Stack – Jodi; Time – Garrett ; Greeter – Negesti; Minutes – Dara
72.1. Working Group Report Backs
72.2. Agenda Items (Chaz’s “Buy In, Buy Out” proposal; Values Discussion)
72.4. Feedback for Facilitation
F: We would like to ask if this general assembly would like to empower this team to facilitate this GA. I would like to ask for a temp check. That means if you feel good about something you can show by twinkling your fingers up. If not so sure twinkle medium. If you don’t want this then twinkle fingers down. Can I ask to see a temp check about us facilitating? Positive.
F: Wonderful, it looks like this group would like us to facilitate. Does anyone have concerns?
F: Wonderful. About hand signals. I would ask that people only twinkle when facilitators ask for a temp check. Please do not do it in response to peoples comments. We have found that it can be difficult for people to feel comfortable speaking when people are twinkling while speaking. Can we agree? Yes.
F: Ask everyone to sit down and make small alley way.
F: Working group (WG) report backs are for information sharing relevant to this group about your WG activities. If you have an announcement then there will be time after the agenda items.
F: The items for agenda tonight.
1. Proposal from Chaz entitled “Buy Out, Buy In.” Is Chaz here. Yes. The other proposal is from Volunteer services. Anyone from VS here? (no one answered)
F: Let’s begin with working group report backs.
72.1. Working Group Report Backs
72.1.1. Chris: I want to report that the behavior in these churches that we are dealing with. I am part of Security WG and we need to behave ourselves as if you were in your own home. Would you pee or spit on the floor? We are trying to establish some place warm for us to be in for the winter. The movement does not stop because it gets cold. We have to identify ourselves by our behavior and if we react stupidly in these churches we will lose these churches. That’s it.
72.1.2. Sage: Occupiers with restricted diets working group. That means that I have been forced to start a working group just so that I can eat and forced to take on other peoples responsibilities because Kitchen is monopolizing feeding services. I would like my WG to be ratified by this body. What I do in restricted diets working group was initially I didn’t have a budget and still officially I don’t have one but what I would do when we had a camp I had a bucket. My motivation is twofold. One was to ask as many as could so that I could get donations so that illegitimate buckets with drugs and alcohol or money not going to park would make it into my bucket. My second motivation was to ask as many people as possible if the food they were serving in the park would make them sick, if they had allergies or any religious reasons for not eating and to take those people to whole foods which is a 5 minute walk and then have breakfast with them and buy them a days’ worth of rations and give 15 dollar gift card or 10 dollar. All together it costs 30 per person, which I took out of my bucket. Just as note, none of the money was accounted for. I walked by video game store everyday and no one would have known if I spent. I was operating outside of the community with no encouragement.
[Disruption in park. Excuse us we are having a GA. If anything you need then let us know. ]
F: Mic Check. You can have your questions answered at Spokes Council.
72.1.2. (continued) Sage: We all disagree on a lot of things but one thing we do agree on is that before we get kicked out of Whole Foods we will just walk out. If you want to disturb this group here please id yourself so that we can ask you not to disrupt this group. Thank you.
Sage: Mic check. Thank you. Without any communal help I had to control myself and make sure that money went back into my community. No one else asked people if they were gluten free or kosher or Halal and the Finance working group and Kitchen and security would actually harass anyone else that I gave my bucket to but they wouldn’t harass me because I was of one mind so I am asking this body to ratify my working group and if any of you have food restrictions please step up to help serve community. I don t want to be central. I just want a budget.
F: Do we have any other WG report backs. Please step forward.
72.1.3. Jackie: My name is Jackie. I am with the Labor WG. We have been asked by nyc labor council to join them on Thursday 12/1 at 4pm. In a march from 31st street to Union Square. It is not very common for the central labor committee to engage in this kind of action. They have been inspired by ows. And I think that it’s a very good thing that they want us to join them. The labor group has endorsed this march. We have also decided that after the group reaches union square we will lead a further march down to liberty plaza and here we would like to have a speak out with workers from different unions and people from ows addressing the struggles that they are involved in. There will be leaflets to distribute by Tuesday. If there is anyone here from direct action I would like to speak to them. Thanks.
72.1.4. Jason: You don’t have to mic check. Mic check. We are here for the animals. We are not an official working group. We don’t take funding. Our main goal is so animals can have a voice here and be well taken care of while they are here. I realize not everyone I work with is super PC. And we have been considered a little bit rowdy but these are real life problems that we are trying to better ourselves on. I think if we had the support from everyone here we would flourish so much better. And the welfare of the animals and the people that work with the animals would have a better quality of life as an alternative to the things you are against. Thank you.
Stack: Close stack for working group report backs.
72.1.5. Wikileaks truck: Hello, I am Clark with the Wikileaks truck working group. I just wanted to announce tonight occupy Newark is camping in military park in Newark. It is a simple path ride away. If you want to camp please join us. I can take two. Second announcement. I would like to get temp check — I have caught someone stealing from movement and I am not sure that person should stay with the movement or if we should try to help him out. I would like to get temp on if a proposal should be written on whether he should be kicked out.
F: Let me step in and clarify that this is the time for WG report backs. This is an important concern and I will try to connect you with processes we have for discussing this type of issue.
72.1.6. Hydro: Hi I am Hydro the people’s hero. So you already know. I am not a working group but myself and my ninjas would like to be a working group I am asking the people to ratify this situation. Can I get a temp check. Now I would like to report that I am highly upset at the conduct of the people of OWS. People should not be stealing from your brothers. People should be sharing and should not be selfish. This movement is about peace love unity respect and responsibility. Last thing. Thank everybody for helping the peoples hero group. I would ask that we be ratified. Can I please get a temp check. What I am going to do for the people is help everybody anyway that I can so that we can do for the rest of the world and the movement.
F: I just want to clarify that we are doing working group report backs. If you have announcements to make please make those at the end of this GA.
72.1.7. Outreach: Roni: now more than ever, outreach is crucial to growing this movement. So I want to announce that we are having a big meeting at 60 wall st. on Monday at 6:30pm. if you are interested in growing the movement please attend.
F: Thanks to everyone who reported. It seems we need to clarify the difference between WG report backs and announcements before the next GA. Thank you for your patience.
F: We are now on to agenda items.
72.2. Agenda Items
72.2.1. Proposal from Chaz – Buy Out Buy In
F: Let’s give him five minutes, then I offer we break into small groups to discuss. We are not trying to make a decision on this proposal tonight.
F: I also ask that a ground rule be that only the people empowered by this group to facilitate do mic checks. We have a team that would love to hear any feedback just raise your hand and someone from facilitation will come over to hear your concern. Thank you.
220.127.116.11. Chaz: My proposal is entitled “Buy Out, Buy In.” On November 15 the city of NYC forcefully and possibly illegally evicted OWS encampment in Zucotti park and since then the OWS organization has experienced the following difficulties – feeding, housing and clothing occupiers who now do not live in a central location. Providing transportation and information and the democratic allocation of resources at the movements’ disposal. Articulating an articulate mission statement in light of eviction. I Propose that individuals commonly known as OWS divide funds among occupiers who can prove to a reasonable degree that they physically occupied for at least a week prior to the physical eviction. It is the peoples fund to do with what they wish. I will table this in order to gather feedback and bring back to the GA in one week from today on 12/4 at which time I will seek consensus to pass a buy out buy in. This one week can also be used to discuss this proposal, as well as set a cutoff date for how much of the donations to include, also verification for all the occupiers who were their before the eviction and friendly amendments. Lets talk and discuss later this week and hopefully the occupiers get paid.
F: I would offer that if this group is interested in talking about this issue that we break into small groups to discuss this. I would like to see a temp check on how people feel about discussing.
F: There may be some positive temp, but not an overwhelming interest in discussing tonight. I would suggest that if you are interested in discussing this further then you find other interested people and connect with Chaz to further that discussion.
Point of Process (PoP): I put a POP in and it vanished.
F: Is there anyone here from volunteer services? No.
72.2.2. Values Breakout Discussion
F: So, we have reached the end of our agenda. It is 7:46 and we still have time for announcements. I would also offer and hear feedback on the possibility of spending some time discussing the shared values that this group of people might have. Those values can be very useful in the development of consensus decision making process. If we can try to begin to identify the values that we share, it can be very helpful to providing some form to this community. So I would offer that we spend thirty minutes breaking into small groups and discussing values. A way we could do that is by, in those groups, having one person take notes. They would create a list with two sides. One would say needs. The other would say wants. On the needs side you would put down values you need to stay in this movement. These would be values that if they were not represented you would leave this movement. On the other side labeled wants you put values that would want to have, but not necessarily so important that you would leave if they were not included. Then gather back as large group and start to list out what values this group needs.
F: So to begin this process, I suggest that we count off up to the number 12.
Q: Can you give an example of some values?
F: Anyone have values sheet? Before we start counting I will share a couple different values. Cooperation, trust, respect, nonviolence, chaos, compassion, tenacity, joy, freedom, openness. I hope this helps you have an understanding of possible values. Lets begin by counting off – we are counting up to 12. Lets start on the left.
F: People have suggested that we just organically form into groups of eight. Any process is fine. How about we cluster around each of these trees and form a group of eight. If you have more than eight in group, then go to another tree. We will give time check at fifteen minutes, five minutes and one minute. We will have facilitators walking around to help with any problems in your discussion. Formulating values that each of these small groups need and want. Please have someone write down these needs and wants and report those back in thirty minutes. Thank you.
F: It looks like everyone is ready. If you have a point person please have them come to the front. Please sit unless you are a point person for one of the groups. We would like to start report backs. If your group has a value that they heard reported from another group, please cross it off your list to stop the repetition. Thank you.
18.104.22.168. James: I will just read them out loud: inclusivity, cooperation, transparency, communication, listening, mutual respect, equality, self accountability, maintaining positive ideas, love, understanding, real concerns, evolution – as in a recognition that movements change.
22.214.171.124. Alex: we focused on the needs, not the wants so I will read all of them: non-violence, horizontalism, justice, high morale, taking the time to pause and reflect as opposed to expediency, respect for the process and philanthropy.
126.96.36.199. Emma: we had several that have already been mentioned. For needs, we said humanity, education, continuity, mutual support, sharing information and knowledge and progress, accountability, awareness raising, leading by example, responsibility, tolerance. For wants we said community, to feel safe, guidance veganism.
188.8.131.52. Bonna: I have crossed out several that were said. Some of our needs were other groups’ wants and some of our wants were other groups’ needs. Our main need was solidarity and we felt that many other values connected to solidarity. The values that connected were unity, respect, having a safe space, respecting the vision of the movement, communication, efficiency, patience, humility, step up – step back, resolve and fortitude, reciprocity and community love and hope, integrity honesty, flexibility. Our wants were fun, food, and ensuring people are free from deprivation, engaging the broader community, passion, dedication and commitment, and physical occupation.
184.108.40.206. Abby: I only have a few that weren’t said. Cooperation, creativity, shared knowledge and inclusiveness.
220.127.116.11. Suzanne: a lot of mine were also said. Our needs are listening, free speech, transparency across the board, good physical and emotional boundaries, movement sustainability, compassion, cooperation, mutual respect, universal understanding of the process. Our wants are legality, abundance, creativity, job unity, play, curiosity, awareness of interdependence, shared vision, the long view or also our historical relevance, feeling comfortable with ambiguity, community consciousness, recognition that means are end and journey is the goal
18.104.22.168. Jesus: These are just some needs and wants that I feel all groups should have intertwined with their needs and wants. if I repeat it is unintentional. Understanding, compassion, commitment, feeling commitment is really important, loyalty to the movement, and we want trust so that no one can be stealing if you are hungry and open your mouth and say something. Someone please help someone get something to eat if you are hungry. Unity, experience, wisdom and knowledge sharing.
22.214.171.124. Michael: perseverance – if we are gonna win it gotta stick with it until the end.
Stack: That’s it for group report backs.
F: Mic Check - next up is announcements.
72.3.1. John: I want to see solidarity by the twinkle of your fingers. Alright how many people are having solidarity with the GA? Twinkle your fingers. How many have solidarity with spokes? Twinkle. How many people have solidarity with Finance? How many do not have solidarity with Finance. [Yelling going on ] I want to get a consensus for one member of Finance and one member of spokes council to always attend a GA meeting. I think Finance should publicize any financial spending that deals with donation consensus. Thank you.
Point of Interest (PoI): Finance publishes their donations online. They are transparent.
PoI – She said that Finance posts info about monies and treasury audits and all bank accounts online. That is not true and if it is true only a few people have access to that program. There are over 200 members of Finance and yet they cannot open that portal to let them see the business of Finance.
F: It sounds like there are some important concerns about Finance. I would encourage anyone interested in talking about this to go to the next open Finance meeting. The next meeting will be on Friday at 5:30pm at 60 Wall St. I would also suggest that people continue to have this conversation tonight if necessary, but that we do this after the GA and that we allow the people on stack to make announcements to have their time. I see some clarifying questions we are not going to take any at this time.
[Screaming from one individual about lack of financial transparency – holding up meeting.]
F: Mic Check – the reason we do not in general take clarifying questions for announcements is because it takes time away from other announcements. This has nothing to do with the nature of the question being asked. These are important issues. Financial transparency is hugely important. Please talk to Suzanne to ask questions. If you would like to talk after the GA, I encourage anyone who wants to know more to stick around and have that conversation.
F: The job of facilitation is difficult please assume that the people facilitating are doing their best to act in good faith and not attempting to silence people. Can we please continue with stack for announcements?
72.3.2. Jesus: Hi everybody my announcement is to introduce a proposal from occupy the youth. Because I feel that the knowledge, wisdom and experience of all occupy associated movements should bridge the gap to the youth to further the movement.
72.3.3. Ben: Hi everybody, on Wednesday evening president Obama is coming to NYC for the sole purpose of raising money from the one percent for his reelection. This will be the first time that Obama will be in town since OWS began. I believe it is important for OWS to be there. The purpose is to demonstrate against a system that not only encourages bribery of our public officials, but requires it! To be clear, this demonstration is a non-partisan demonstration not-for-or-against any individual, but against a corrupt system of financing our politics. The plan is to meet in central park – the south west corner – at Columbus circle and from there to march to the presidential fundraiser at 53rd and 7th. The exact times are still somewhat up in the air so stay tuned. We plan to march at roughly 5pm but that may change so please stay tuned.
F: Before we continue with further announcements, I would just like to request that people stay until the end to help us evaluate our facilitation process, give us feedback on what worked and what did not work. Please offer suggestions on how we may better facilitate this GA for all of you.
F: I would like to close stack for announcements.
72.3.4. Lad: We have been here for almost two months and we have learned a few things. Our scarcest resource like all movements is courage and the vast majority of our courage comes from one group. They are also the same group that has the vast majority of our stamina. The vast majority of our emotional intellect and the vast majority of our ferocity. They are our ladies. I learned a thing from the Egyptian revolution on feb 2nd – bloody Wednesday when 200 people died in a single evening defending Tahir square from 5000 of Mubarack’s thugs. What saved our ass was our ladies. They were the scouts that warned us; they were our eyes and healers and; they were what we were fighting for. We are all a little frustrated right now the same old thing has not been working so I propose that we try something new. We put the ladies in charge. We will be having our first ever meeting. Marching to battery park city 7pm tomorrow night. We will meet at the mcdonalds. The first of our many actions to come. No male is allowed to speak unless addressed first by a lady. I hope to see a strong lady there and I will keep my big mouth shut. Waid working group [Not sure on name of the group]
72.3.5. Jason: Hi I’m Jason from Occupy Atlanta. I have 2 quick things. I forgot to say thank you yesterday at the GA. We received a clear hot spot from OWS to do our live stream. I appreciate it guys. 2nd – I received an emergency text from the bottom liner meeting. There is a bill being proposed in the senate to be voted Monday or Tuesday. The bill will give this president and every future president the power to order the military to pick up or imprison without charge or trial civilians everywhere. This is against what we believe. We are asking that we pause our actions and come in solidarity to fight this bill. Can we have support?
PoI: Something titled Rex 84 and it gives president exact power this person speaks of. This bill was passed in 1984. Look it up. It gives FEMA the power to create internment camps in the country and gives the government power to bring strong military presence and detain any American or non American that they feel possesses a threat to national security. This bill exists already. Rex 84 – look it up please.
72.3.6. Wikileaks truck: Just to announce again – occupy Newark is camping tonight. In military park. Just 5 blocks from Newark penn station, which you can reach on the path train down here.
72.3.7. Doodles: I just came from a meeting of a health organization. I just came from this meeting and we are talking about how to improve health in this organization. I am giving my minute to this man in green coat. My name is Jeffrey Smith and Ive been an activist in nyc for the last 40 years. Your movement is the most significant movement in the last 50 years. It’s the truth. What you need to do however is follow what I call Jeff Smiths’ law number 2. Look, jump up and down on the arm of giant they will just flick you off but if you do it on his eyeball. Focus effort on existing nerve centers. They don’t want you to touch or have public knowledge about what they are doing. Find where the bildaberg meetings are. Focus on the eyeball of the giant.
72.3.8. James: James and I are with the healthcare for the 99% working group. We have an event, a rally/ march this Sunday 12/4 in favor of health access for the 99% for insurance access to care and access to everything else that promotes health from education to safe neighborhoods to healthy foods. We are here to invite all of you to join us. We will begin at 11am at louise nebelson plaza on Williams and Liberty street and we will be marching to this park after we stop by the dept. of health near foley square for everyone to share their health and healthcare stories. I will hand out flyers with all the details. This march is not just about healthcare and health specific problems, but also a show of solidarity by the health professions in support of the general movement. Also, we will have a lot of freshmen marchers so we would really appreciate some seasoned marchers so these people do not become intimidated and will join this movement.
72.3.9. Timber: First I want to apologize for being mean and I take that back. I came here tonight and saw something I have never seen before a GA broken up in groups. It looked funny to me and I located facilitatation and I asked the facilitator what was being discussed. I had never seen this before. I have seen this in spokes council but not in GA. Why was the GA breaking up into clusters? I asked what the issues were. He tells me values. What kind of values. Each one of these groups are talking about values. Values for them and the movement? I said hey this is too much. Your neck is on the line. It is too late. I went to a cluster and asked what they were talking about. We are speaking about wants and needs. What? Wants and needs, what you are supposed to be talking about values? People in a position of influence directing us away from a process that may be important.
F: Two PoPs we need to identify. As much as I would love to hear her speak this is not an announcement there is a time after announcements where you can say things like this. [Woman continues to yell and others in the crowd yelling to let her speak]
F: How does this group feel about letting this presentation continue now or the other option would be to ask that this presentation, that this persons voice be expressed during soapbox.
F: She will have thirty more seconds to finish speech.
Timber: I apologize for being mean. I love you all. Do not be duped or defrauded. You are rich and have money. Demand your money. Don’t be a sucker.
72.3.10. Kevin: Hi everybody, my name is Kevin. I have been here about a week and I have been trying to do some things, which have fallen apart since eviction. The biggest thing is talk to the local homeless population and find out what they need. It seems to me that they are the ones who lost the most in being evicted. A lot of them are sleeping in alleys. I have a bed and you probably have a bed. Now when I ask them what they need they tell me socks or shoes, a jacket. Something very easy, something we have a pile of. I don’t know if you have tried to get something from SIS but I have now for 3 days and it’s impossible unless you go through the right working groups and the right working groups do not give a fuck about the homeless. That is not to say that there are not people in those groups who want to help, but comfort, Kitchen and Finance are not paying attention to the homeless and frankly I think this should change. Please go to those groups and make them help.
PoI: I have been one of the heads of the Kitchen since it started. We have been hijacked by a lot of people who do not have sympathy or vision for this movement nor the occupancy. I had a meeting earlier today with Kitchen who basically told me that they do not care about the people in this movement unless you are a working group or their friends. They are not obligated to feed you guys. I am proposing to create Our Kitchen. Occupy our Kitchen. If you want to join, then you are welcome to do so. Go to 56 walker street near Canal.
72.3.11. Shawna: Tomorrow night is an excellent education opportunity to learn about consensus from the man who founded Food not Bombs – CT Butler. He has been teaching and studying consensus for 30 years. I think we can learn a lot from him. I encourage you to go and tell your friends. It will take place from 5:30 to 7pm at 56 Walker Street. Thank you.
72.3.12. John: Hey guys, I humbly request that after this GA meeting we stay here and also request that livestream stays and we express all our concerns in these peoples meetings with the GA.
72.3.13. Mark: Hello everybody I want to say two words. It is Important to pay attention to what was being said about Rex 1984. Police state. Making decisions on peoples life like if parents were bad like if they had run in with law so take their kids from ages. The patriot act and all that stuff is part of the tyranny.
F: I want to remind people there is a space for soapbox. This is about sharing of info that is necessary like marches, meetings or gatherings or specific requests to make of this group. Please make your announcement in 2 minutes. If you want to talk about politics please do so during soapbox.
72.3.14. Jordan: I came here from Occupy Philadelphia. I love the people and it became my home however they took my home here and tonight they will take occupy Philadelphia. We wont have anything left soon. They are targeting us.
72.3.15. Melvin: My name is Melvin and I did Occupy the Highway NY to DC. I see a lot of division in this movement. I see the spokes council has more power than the GA. I see that if we intend to make it we have to be unified and get rid of spokes council. That’s what I see. This GA has no power. The Spokes council has more power than the GA.
F: Are people comfortable with thirty seconds for a housing announcement?
72.3.16. Nan: For those of you who are looking for a place to sleep, The Baxtor place that is located 160 Beach St. in far rockaway Queens. If you want directions please comes see me.
72.3.17. F: Another announcement is that on Tuesday in the GA there will be a proposal to dissolve the spokes council this has been announced at past 4 Gas. One of the requirements of this proposal is that it be announced for a week in every council.
F: I want to open up a chance for feedback on facilitation tonight if people have comments, concerns and suggestions, maybe we can take five minutes to hear that feedback.
72.4. Feedback for Facilitation
72.4.1. OWS depends on its facilitation teams to operate the GAs and Spokes councils in an orderly way so that we can get things done. Please honor this rather tremendous responsibility. Tonight seemed more like whoever got to shoot loudest drove the meetings wherever you wanted.
72.4.2. Nan: I think you guys did a wonderful job tonight. You guys deserve an applause.
72.4.3. Calvin: I have been coming out here for two weeks and you should be very proud of yourselves. Since we started this movement we are talking about income and unemployment and stopped talking about cuts and we are only 2 months old. Give yourself a round of applause. Give the facilitators a round of applause. It is not easy to lead or as they say herd cats. We have to work together. We only have each other. There will always be something that you do not like about any organization. You have to be mature and understanding and patient. This movement will continue, this movement will grow. This movement will overcome and we will get our country back.
72.4.3. Jason: I think the facilitators are great. They could be more assertive and make more PoP. They could work on focusing the conversation more, asking people to cut out side conversations. I facilitate in Atlanta and we deal with the same issues and we need help from the GA to agree to actually follow facilitators.
72.4.4. Alisha: My feedback is respect, that’s it.
72.4.5. Timbor: All you white males and people of color and facilitation means facilitate good or bad. I’ve seen facilitators facilitate very good. In WG seen them behave like censorship chiefs. They surround you when you have the floor to speak. They change the direction and flow of the conversation. Facilitation is needed but facilitating should be just that and not censorship. It’s not just me. I could give you 100 names because I take names to back up what I say. Same with Finance. It’s not just me.
72.4.6. John: I have a solution to this problem that we have a GA meeting. At every GA meeting we should have a Q&A at the end of every GA. Everyone should have a voice and be heard. At the end of every GA meeting there should be a mandatory GA meeting without interruptions.
F: At this time we are closing. Thank you. It’s time for soapbox.