NYCGA Minutes 11/4/2011

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Meeting Date/Time: 11/4/2011 / 7pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F):


[Facilitator introductions]

[review of hand signals]

Asher: Hello I’m Asher … 1500 harmonicas … it would be wonderful to make our breaths heard and give our presence here an audibilization.

F: I have an apology to you all. I didn’t say this. For continuity purposes we are going to keep all WGRBs and announcements till the end. Okay?


49.1.  Open Forum

49.2.  Working Group Report Backs (WGRBs)

49.3.  Announcements

49.1.  Open Forum

49.1.1.  New Speaker (NSp): I just want to provide some suggestions. What are we doing to put the international bankers out of business? We have power and the power that we have is to take our money out of the bank – take our money out of the stock markets because … we empower them … the resources to continue to fund presidencies, kings and queens, play both sides of the war[s?], … and impose taxes on the poor, the working poor, the middle class, while they continue to elevate their wealth and continue to divide countries …?, commit mayhem, create wars, and fund those wars. Thank you.

[Editorial note: technical problems, missed proposal concerning information table]
49.1.2.  NSp: … question about what we’re going to do. We have too many debts [?] from the park. Where can I go to find this answer?

49.1.3.  Charlotte: Hi, I’m Charlotte. … Many people say to me: down at OWS, they don’t have jobs, they don’t have careers, they don’t have ambition – they have nothing. I think we should find a way where we can say what we are … and end this crap.

F: Right now, since Doug is speaking, he takes off his facilitator cap and speaks as a regular person.

49.1.4.  Hi, I’m Doug. I’m from … I’m a twenty year international activist. … I have a concern I’d like to bring before you. My concern is our Constitution does not have any provision for direct participatory democracy. This is very concerning to me. Because our Founding Fathers … to the Continental Congress … and created a new nation. Now, since we have been disempowered, I think it’s high time that we took back our sovereign and inalienable right to real and authentic direct democracy and there is a movement already under way sponsored by the former governor of Alaska Mike Ravell [sp.?]. And you can review this at the website [???].us that shows us using something called first principles that we can utilize to do a national citizen’s initiative. I encourage you all to go to that website [..] and sign up if you agree with it.

F: Thank you, Doug. Right now I want to ask if there are any suggestions on how we can put our money into credit unions, as was brought up by [F didn’t remember name, said something unpronounceable].

49.1.5.  NSp: If we go on Google you can personally Google small banks and credit unions in your area and then do research, your own research on which banks … are most in accord with your own personal system of beliefs.

49.1.6.  NSp: Credit unions [are things you have ownership in…]. So one suggestion I have is to look at the dividends that are returned to [depositors]. [also check out a number of other criteria, which I didn’t get] … accessibility to minorities or to anyone else at lower interest rates.

F: Was that helpful? Does anyone want to be on stack for general things?

F: Any suggestions for what Charlotte said? To restate in less words, what are some ways that we can get other people to realize that we are not as small as so many of them think we are? Any suggestions?

49.1.7.  NSp: There is a group called Ambiguous Upsparkle that just formed that meets once a week. [People can tell their stories about why they got involved in OWS…. things will be published in the Huffington Post]

49.1.8.  NSp: We have a ceremony, a unity ceremony. Part of the ceremony: we go one by one, we say what we do, then we go to the next person, we videotape it and then we share it everywhere.

F: Any other suggestions?

49.1.9.  NSp: I am honored to say “thank you” for staying here in the cold. I see the problem that families can’t get involved because little kids can’t come here at 8 o’clock at night. My suggestion is to spread out, do Occupy Families, all over the city, in coffee houses …

F: Just for the record, we are occupying in all the boroughs of the city. … There is an Occupy Bronx, an Occupy Brooklyn, an Occupy Manhattan, Occupy …? There is also an Occupy Queens! [cheering] Any other suggestions on becoming more visible from a better stance?

49.1.10.  Rossi: I’m Rossi. Another thing everyone can do is recognize that the Occupy Movement is not something that must be done in one specific place. It’s something you take with you everywhere you go. Share it …

F: Thank you.

49.1.11.  Mitchell: My name is Mitchell. I’ve been talking with an old man who lives in Brooklyn who was the first person to develop solar energy in housing in NYC. We’ve been talking about how to create warmth using the sun here at OWS – so that people will not have to freeze at night. It would require a [new?] arrangement of many of the tents, but it looks very promising. If anyone would like to work with me on this, please talk to me.

F: So it seems that everyone’s giving announcements. And we haven’t gotten to that part yet. We’re still on ways to improve the GA. Just so you know. [laughter] Any more suggestions that people want to put on the Open Forum before we move on?

49.1.12.  NSp: Maybe post the subject of the GA during the day … allow filtration, maybe idea…

[from crowd: Is someone taking notes?]

F: I have taken notes.

49.1.13.  Warren: I have an idea – start midday news every corner by subway stations, whoever rides [?] make signs, spread it on those corners, like AM News or Metro News. [positive responses] Whatever goes on here, everyone sees it. We all have cell phones…

F: Just to clarify, Warren’s suggestion is that we maybe become more visible with a newspaper at subway stations [… other places… become visible] constantly. Rob is next, after him, we have two other voices who want to speak on ways we can improve our image.

49.1.14.  Rob: One of the things I have learned recently is that one of our greatest sources of power is exposure is power, and that’s why we’re down here. So I want to name a couple of names, earlier this evening I named international bankers, so I want you to know some names: the Rothschilds, Warburgs, … Oppenheimers. Put your money into gold!

49.1.15.  Jasmine: Hello.

F: Clarification, Jasmine has a concern and I misunderstood what she [meant earlier?]

49.1.15.  (Continued) Jasmine: Hello, I believe other resources in education that we need to be understood at the primal level of any conflict that is occurring is available to us, and the more we go out and get it, the more we can build, and the stronger our voice will be. Communication among ourselves is not enough. We need to study and do research like they do. Thank you.

F: If it’s okay, I would like to take off my facilitator hat for a second and speak on that. Is that okay?

49.1.16.  Facilitator-without-Facilitator-hat: I think it’s very important for this movement that you learn about other people. Your ignorance is no excuse. This country is not the greatest country in the world for no reason. It’s because there are great people, different races and colors and sexual orientations and we don’t care because they’re all great. … because tolerating people is not enough, we need to get to acceptance.

49.1.17.  Brian: I’m from Occupy Newark. My issue with OWS is that sometimes it seems as though some members of the group or the protests in general can’t substantiate their claims or goals with real information. It isn’t to say that you’re all stupid … because you’re not. But we should prioritize on disseminating information … so when we’re challenged we can retort with facts. I believe that is the only issue with OWS. If we can solve that, we can solve anything.

F: … There is a Visions and Goals working group working on that exact [problem?]

As a friendly reminder, we would like to keep these report backs to one minute. Thank you.

49.1.18.  Tim: Hello, I’m with Environmental Solidarity. As you may be aware, on Sunday, there is a large action in DC to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline of such disgrace, I need not mention it further. Unfortunately, you may not be aware, an attempt of co-option of the 99% has been made by the oil and natural gas industry. They have said that they have jobs for the 99% in this atrocity. We are formalizing a request for proposal for tomorrow [..] to distance ourselves from these groups. We are working in solidarity with the transit unions [more unions, including Canadian unions]. We don’t need the oil and gas unions. Up with the 99%! Down with oil and gas!

[announcement of report backs]


49.2.  WGRBs

49.2.1.  Han: I have two announcements or report backs. The first is about a new OWS working group support center. This is a pilot support center located at 50 Broadway that will be made available very soon to support office needs of various core operational groups. This pilot support center was created for core operational groups whose activities require consistent access to a secure office space [..] And we’ll also hopefully provide for more efficient communication for more working groups that are working in ad hoc spaces around the neighborhood. The working groups will be employing a transparent process to designate who within their working groups will have access to this space. There will be an additional formal announcement on so you can review the process by which the space will be allocated to various working groups. We’re trying to make sure that that process is democratic, transparent, and fair and we beg for your patience. Announcement #2. We have secured access to toilets [cheering] I should say 24/7 access to toilets. There are fliers being made right now with an explanation and a map so you can find these toilets and have access 24/7 to these sanitation facilities 24/7. Briefly, it’s […directions…], you’ll find three fresh Port-a-Potties for your comfort in a loading dock that is well-lit, safe and secure, with professional security at all times. Please spread the word, there’s no excuse to use anything else, that might make our neighbors think we are anything less than neighborly… [cheering]

49.2.2.  Dan from Comfort: The women need lady products. I’m sorry but I can’t buy them. Can you donate some? Thank you.

F: I think I know what he means. Are there any more WGRBs? This is the last call. At this time, we move to announcements, if you want to make an announcement, come down and put your name on stack. Once again, we are cold. We admit it. If you need a little more [time], we’ll be kind, but please try to keep it to a minute.


49.3.  Announcements

49.3.1.  Tim: I’m Tim from the working group Stop Stop and Frisk. Our WG is working toward stopping a racist policy that targets black and Hispanic [details about meeting tomorrow]. Find and talk to me for more info. Thank you.

49.3.2.  Barry: Two years ago, I filed for bankruptcy, not because I lost my job, not because I got sick, but because like these banks, I made bad decisions with money. Unlike these banks, I failed. I accepted responsibility for my mistakes. … And [because of it] I’m a better man. If anyone here is struggling with debt, or knows someone that is drowning in debt, please tell me them I’m bankrupt, I’m here, and I’m fine.

F: Last call to be put on stack for announcements.

49.3.3.  Jess: It’s my first time in NYC. I’m here from Occupy Des Moines Iowa. I’m here to invite you to action in the first-of-the-nation Caucus Occupation. I’d like to read you the first official statement issued by Occupy Des Moines. “In solidarity with OWS, Occupy Des Moines issues a call to action to all the nation. We are excited to announce a first-in-the-nation caucus occupation. [caucus events this winter will be occupied] …presidential nomination process, Iowa is obligated to set a new standard for discourse. For too long, corporations and corrupt politicians have dictated policy [..] on a global scale. Although corporations … have vast capital interests, every dollar … shall be countered by a voice, an individual part of the 99%. We demand our grievances no longer be ignored. Join us in Iowa from December 27 to January 3.

F: Everyone. We have 3 people left on stack. So I’m going to try to have us done within the next seven minutes or so. So please, if you can, give us seven more minutes of our time.

49.3.4.  Isaac Silver: I love the Revolution. I’m interested in forming a working group dedicated to Occupy May Day. [I’m going to ask you for two favors] If you’ve been involved in Direct Action, and you’ve already started to talk about May Day, please talk to me. … I’m going over to the Red Structure, I will be there for 15 minutes.

49.3.5.  Jerry: My name is Jerry Kahn [sp.?]. I live in Astoria Queens. We are having our first GA in Astoria next Saturday, Nov. 12, at 2pm, in Athens Square Park, near the statue of Athena and the other statue of Socrates. If you are interested, feel free to join us. But understand, our primary concern is occupying Astoria. Secondly, occupying the borough of Queens. I’m sure you all understand why we have to rank it that way. But you’re all welcome. Athens Square Park is one block south of the 30th avenue station on the N or the Q to Dettmire’s [sp.?] Boulevard. Talk to people who live in NY and get to know the subway station if you don’t [know you’re way around].

F: Last on stack.

49.3.6.  Lynn: Good evening. My name is Lynn Paramour [sp.?]. I’m a contributing editor at AlterNet. I have a special guest joining me here at 8:30. He’s Charles Ferguson, he’s the nation’s leading expert on financial corruption … I’ll be meeting him under the X at 8:30.

F: At this time, Jess forgot to tell us something about Iowa. The website was I know I said that was the last one, but we have a visitor from thousands of miles away, in Australia.

49.3.7.  Billy: … This movement is exponentially growing in Australia. When I go [catch my plane] I’ll go to Occupy Sydney then to Occupy Melbourne. … I hope to see you next year, running the government.

F: At this time I want to thank you for your enthusiasm, your energy, and for standing here in the cold. Please remember, it’s us who will move this country … General Assembly is over. Thank you so much. Good night.


[GA concluded at 8:05 pm]

4 Responses to “NYCGA Minutes 11/4/2011”

  1. Mark Reid

    Occupy Wall St needs an INFO CENTER / INTELLIGENCE system. I can’t just click donate money! It is not money. The ’Other ways to help’ button is not much use either. I need to speak to someone. The Occupation needs winterization. BUT AS IMPORTANT it needs someone always on duty (rotating shifts) who is ”In The Know”. People are going to have (or already have had) valuable things and information but no one to contact who can help! THAT is a problem! Leaderless does not have to mean info-center-less. I live in PA and I drive to Liberty Plaza one day a week (was there yesterday). Online or in the Plaza, there is a lack of ”Info Center” problem. If I am having it, then we can be sure that many others are too. And that would unfortunate for the movement. I would bring this issue up on stack at a GA but I always have my 3 children with me which makes that difficult. Sadly, I fear that this post may be an example of the need for what I am calling for with it, especially since this is the fifth time I have posted it. =( What about a challenge: OWS see if an info center is something needed, and if yes, and OWS creates one, I buy everyone -30° F sleeping bags? =) (No that is not a joke! And no it’s not a bribe but a challenge if OWS really does need something like that. One condition is that there is a spot for me one night a week lol). The opportunity window of what I can get closes in a day.

  2. jakedeg

    Mark! Good news. There IS an Info Center at the park and it has been running since the beginning. It is along the north side of the park under the big Info sign and all the bright flags and it is constantly staffed with a team of volunteers working as hard as they can to answer questions, direct people to the right groups, and general provide useful and accurate information.

  3. Mara

    There IS an info center, but I wouldn’t exactly say that they are in the know.