NYC OPERATIONAL SPOKES COUNCIL DAY 52
Meeting Date/Time: 11/7/2011 / 7:30pm EST
Location: 411 Pearl St, NYC, NY
Facilitators (F): Nicole and Ambrose
52.1. Group Introductions
52.2. Determining Operations Groups
Facilitation Support Team: Sully, Ethan, Zach, Rossi, Melanie, Naishiva Star, Bea, Daniel, Stefan
Announcement: Kitchen has brought 500 cupcakes to the meeting. [Cheers.]
Q: Are they vegan?
R: No. [Boos and cheers]
F: It’s now ten minutes to 8pm, this meeting will go to 10pm. We will get as much done as we can, but we won’t finish everything… we’re counting on everybody to be flexible, positive and support the process. So let’s start… Facilitators – Nicole and Ambrose. Facilitation Support Team: Sully, Ethan, Zach, Rossi, Melanie, Naishiva Star. One of the aforementioned is the time taker, some are stack takers… Bea – Process Support. Daniel – Door Greeter. Stefan – wandering. That’s the facilitation team for tonight.
F: Ambrose: How I’d like to start the meeting is take a minute – be aware of all the people around the planet who are engaged in this work, those right here in the community, our allies working with us, the amount of them is so much more than the people here (in this room)… be aware of people throughout history who are engaged in supporting what we’re doing. Look around, everyone in this room are your allies, trying to create a better world with you.
F: Nicole: It’s great to see everyone, be indoors, before we begin, we want to talk about how know amazing how every single group in this room is doing. We’re gonna go around, every group, say what you are, 5 words or less, tell us what you do with this movement.
52.1. Group Introductions
Signals: We run the radio.
Tech: We used to be internet.
Women Occupying Wall Street: Women’s caucus
Information: Information desk, etc.
Minutes: (you’re reading them right now!)
Worker Co-ops: Starting co-ops
Best Practices: Transparency
Sustainability: Composting, bike power, local food
Library: Free knowledge
Finance: Keep the money safe & accountable
Organization: Intergroup resources
Photo: Capturing your soul through images
Press: We talk to the press and help you talk to the press
Media: We produce media.
Design: We design flyers and posters, and make graphics for working groups.
Outreach: We field new volunteers and educate visitors how to appreciate OWS.
Anti-Racism & Allies
Occupy the Hood/POC Caucus: Bringing awareness in the hood
Archives: Preserving all of this
Comfort: Wassap y’all! We make everybody comfortable. [cheers]
Facilitation: We work to bring objective ambassadors to create direct democracy.
Security: Non-violence, mediation
Immigrants’ Rights: Telling the 1% we are human too.
Families: We try to make a safe space and connections for parents & children.
Medical: Medical, herbal & emotional care.
Screen Printing: T-shirts!
Legal: Use the law & fight the law – jail support & court support
WOW – Safe space & stuff for women & female identified….
F: Ambrose: I have an announcement, the Mainstream press cannot video record in here (it’s a school) – but our own internal press can do whatever (audio, visual, etc).
Arts & Culture: Make arts & stuff
Safer Spaces: Support & safety at camp.
Community Relations: We liaise with community groups, but have a strict policy of non-negotiation.
Town Planning: Plan the space
Sanitation: Direct action cleaning around the city- we clean up after you.
Direct Democracy: Work to get all voices heard.
Part Time: We send people to you (visitors & volunteers who want to help).
Strategy & Analysis: We collect information and reporting to analyze.
Direct Action: We kick ass.
Robin Hood: We help get your trillions back.
Training: Build power & skills in our movement.
Education & Empowerment: We organize teach-ins and education.
Architects: We make designs for temporary and permanent spaces.
Translation: We translate documents and real life.
Asemblea Espanol: [Spanish] We try to do the same as you without linguistic barrier.
SIS (Shipping, Inventory, and Storage): We hoard all the supplies.
Security: De-escalation, love, and respect.
Structure: We made all this happen.
Alternative Currencies: We try to create currency that reflects our values.
F: OWS could not be a movement without every single one of the groups here. [lots of applause]
F: We need a spokes for the Occupiers. Okay we got one… next…
F: Nicole: This is an operational spokes council – just because we may not decide you are an operational group doesn’t mean you’re not crucial – this is a very small operational spokes – you are so appreciated and you are important!
F: Ambrose: To be clear, this is an operational spokes council – there’s a Direct Action spokes council in the process being created, there is a movement spokes council.
52.2. Determining Operations Groups
F: Nicole: Tonight we are looking at what groups make sense in this narrow – in the conversations just about logistics and operations of OWS in Zuccotti park. In the proposal that went to the General Assembly, one group was already included and that’s the Occupiers! So, that group is a already a member of the operational spokes council.
F: Ambrose: There are probably a lot of people in this room who are smarter than we are and could’ve come up with a better process, but we’re moving forward with what we came up with. Our hope is to hear and give attention to every group in this room. We may not get to every group before 10, we came up with a way we think will allow every group be heard.
F: Proposal Readers: We will read the name of each group and short description that was on the registration form…
F: Nicole: Get your registration forms in!
F: Ambrose: The forms are being shuffled, going through one at a time. After each group is named and we read the description – check in with the people that are here that are in your group and find out if anybody feels like, “That just obviously is an operations group” or “Do we need to discuss this further?” This is just to streamline – we’re trying to separate the obvious ones out then go back through them quickly and then the ones we have questions or concerns about, we’ll go through them afterwards because they’ll take more time.
F: Nicole: We’re going to go through the whole list, every single one – then make two stacks. One needs to be talked about, the other is so obviously an operational group, it needs very little discussion. Then each stack will be scrambled.
F: Ambrose: The big question, if the group says we want to be considered an operational group- are they? The question is not, “Are they good people?” The question is, are they contributing to the logistics of the movement, they aren’t exclusive of anyone, they follow the principles of solidarity – must produce written […]
F: Nicole: Occupiers are defined as an operations group. some people are defined as a caucus. We’re not trying to decide how good of a caucus a group is. Not the validity, this is a group of people who have a shared experience of marginalization.
F: Ambrose: If your group thinks we need to discuss, raise your hand and we’ll know that group needs some discussion.
If there’s only one person in your group that has a question about that group – have an internal conversation and resolve within your group, So we don’t take the whole group’s time.
F: Nicole: We’re just sorting for order this time around. Does this one need discussion? A little? Lots?
F: These are groups who have identified themselves as a caucus.
First up:[unless otherwise noted, all speakers are facilitators, either reading from registration forms or trying to keep process on track].
52.2.1. Queering OWS: Active group, GLBTQ….
F: Does this need discussion? Keep these check-ins to like a minute or 30 seconds… [A lot of chatter amongst groups] We want to see hands – does this need more discussion? [No hands - goes in the 1st pile] On to the next.
52.2.2. WOW Womens Caucus: Not open for anyone to join. Women, LGBTQ people, exists to create safe space, empowerment. Female-bodied and female- identified […]
F: Check in… [there is a lot of noise in the room]
F: Let’s be clear again about the difference between a caucus and an operational group.
Operational Group – Contributes to OWS logistical, financial operations on a consistent basis.
Caucus -People/groups who are systematically marginalized on the basis of a shared oppression.
18.104.22.168. CQ: Finance: Are we going to talk about the fact that there are three different women’s’ caucuses? [hands go up to indicate discussion is needed]
52.2.3. People of Color Caucus: Open to anyone who identifies as a person of color, organized around the shared experience of racism.
[Checking in - waving… further discussion... 1st pile]
[Interruption regarding provisions for emergency spokescouncils]
52.2.4. Strong Women Rule working group – women are strong and they rule… they want to be a caucus – not a working group.
[lots of questions on that one]
52.2.5. Women Occupying Nations – Safe space group for women only, challenges economic injustice for women, participate in Direct Action to inspire change. So this is a WORKING GROUP – not a caucus…
Ambrose: This is not easy! We are forming the spokes council – from now on, every group is applying to be an operational group.
52.2.6. Town Planning: We address placement of material – regarding space use. [needs discussion]
52.2.7. Tea & Herbal Medicine: Brewing tea and tinctures for the people… [needs discussion]
52.2.8. Organization: Helps other groups increase their efficiency – overlapping groups, funneling resources, etc…. meet Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm, helps other groups, coordinating overlapping groups, developing not discriminating [...unclear]
52.2.9. Community Affairs & Relations: We help build positive relationships with our neighbors by opening communication with General Assembly, occupiers, local businesses…
Mic check! It’s getting chatty in here… It’s hard to hear.
52.2.10. Mediation: Non-violent Communications working group – meet at 60 Wall Street – provide daily trainings in Nonviolent Communication… mediation…. [He can't read the handwriting]. No need for discussion. Is it obvious?
F: Next…. wait…..
52.2.11. Design: Meets at 5pm at the big red sculpture. Anyone can join, designs graphics for the movement and for working groups. [positive response]
52.2.12. Movement Building: Tuesday & Thursday 2pm at 60 wall….currently building lines of communication between other occupations in other cities. Building emergency response team to assist with […]. They believe they are an operational group, building communication between NYC and the other occupations… [Needs discussion]
52.2.13. Information: Front desk. They meet 6pm Tuesday & Fridays – obviously operational. [positive]
52.2.14. Minutes: [positive] Does everyone know what Minutes does? Is it obviously an operational group?
52.2.15. Sanitation: Needs no discussion. [Positive. Sanitation jokingly raises their sign].
52.2.16. Shipping, Inventory, Storage: Picks up, stores, distributes supplies. [Lots of positive]
52.2.17. Asemblea en Espanol: Meets 9-11am. Translate everything to Spanish.
52.2.18. Architecture – Tuesday 6pm 60 Wall St. Provides sourcing, organizing, architectural needs [Hands up - needs discussion]
[lots of chatter]
52.2.19. Spirituality, Meditation: Provides access to yoga and other practices. [Needs discussion]
52.2.20. Training Working Group – Their main purpose is to build capacity of OWS through training […] skills, non-violence, contributes by producing content and putting on trainings. [needs discussion].
F: There are lots of different kinds of groups! Operational groups, movement groups, action groups, neighborhood groups.
52.2.21. Empowerment & Education: To coordinate teaching & learning opportunities connected with OWS, spreading knowledge of OWS to the world. Ongoing open forum series. [positive]
F: FYI – definition of Logistics is: “the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving people, facilities & supplies”
52.2.22. Anti-Racist Allies: Try to ally with other groups, anti-racism, anti-oppression. [needs discussion]
52.2.23. International Allies for Peace & Justice: Underrepresentation, multi cultural background or groups. [needs discussion]
F: We’re raising our signs of our groups if we feel we need to discuss more instead of raising hands now – twinkling if we are cool. Signs went up for this last one.
52.2.24. Translation Working Group: No discussion needed. [positive]
52.2.25. Town Planning: Survey of occupiers in tents, possible architectural redesign of square, flower beds… semi-permanent and permanent. [needs discussion]
52.2.26. Safer Spaces: [indecipherable]
52.2.27. Medical: No discussion needed. [positive]
52.2.28. Comfort: [positive]
F: MIC CHECK – everyone is hot and talking and loud!
PoP: Concern about direct democracy.
F: Temperature Check on hearing this process concern: [mixed, facilitation moves to hear the concern].
Georgia – I have a huge problem and concern with this process. Spokes isn’t taking into consideration the General Assembly. [Lots of hands down] …Supposedly we are in the process…facilitators are marginalizing us…
[People are shouting in favor of and against the concern. Mixed hands up and down].
Georgia: I think through the Spokes Council process the working groups become organizations…this puts us in a vulnerable and difficult position. What we do we need to show it with our actions in the street, actions in the square. We show through actions, we don’t need to prove ourselves with each other in here…
F: Nicole: If there are Working Groups here who feel they’d be better served by leaving, they are free to do so. We’re going to keep going with the process we have… ”
F: Wait – question of clarification
CQ: F: Ambrose: Are you hoping to disband the spokes council?
Georgia: I’m not here to disturb the process – I just want everyone to think very hard. Are we organizational members…but action in the square…the city. We are being marginalized by the facilitators. We need to take our actions out of here to the streets.
[Everyone wants to get back on track.]
[Back to the process. Lots of folks very worked up. Nicole & Ambrose trying to bring it back together]
F: Are we ready? OK…
52.2.29. Sustainability: Recycling, compost, supplies, solutions for energy, efficiency. [positive]
52.2.30. De-escalation or Security: [Nonviolent Communication/Mediation has sign up for discussion]
52.2.31. Immigrant Workers Rights Solidarity Group: [needs discussion]
52.2.32. Signals – We provide public wireless access. We provide communication between security, media, and other groups. [needs discussion]
52.2.33. Press & Public Relations: [needs discussion]
F: Speaking of press, there’s been a call out asking for the press in the room to “identify yourselves!” – Village Voice. New York Times. [boos from the crowd] [discussion about transparency, it is agreed that the press can stay]
52.2.34. Screen Printing Guild: Designs and prints shirts and posters for outreach and working groups. [positive]
52.2.35. Agriculture: Will provide food to offsite kitchens, work with occupations to teach and educate [needs discussion]
52.2.36. Strong Women Rules Working Group: Meets regularly somewhere, TBA. The group will deal with women’s issues and get them involved by putting them to work in the working groups, going back to school, help them get their dream job – child, single mother issues, rape….. [lots of signs up]…. not a duplicate, … this one is a working group wanting to be operational… Lots will need to be discussed….
52.2.37. Tech Ops: Meet Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday (?) at 6pm at 60 Wall Street. We make the websites go, make the tech go. [positive]
52.2.38. Best Practices: Tuesday 6pm – common commercialization for individual working groups. [unclear, needs discussion]
F: Ambrose: Every piece of process will be brought up before…
NSp: In the future, will facilitation be taking a step back?”
F: Yes. [positive fingers]
52.2.39. Direct Action: [positive]
52.2.40. Part Time: Meets 7days a week, 5-6pm by the library. Provide an Information table to facilitate volunteers, visitors, … [needs discussion]
52.2.41. Legal: Jail support, legal communications…. Meets sundays at 6:30 at 60 Wall Street. [positive
52.2.42. Kitchen: Food. [positive]
52.2.43. Finance: Deals with the money. [positive]
52.2.44. Occupy Dignity: Focused on reaching out to homeless and undeserved in the community, provides support for their urgent needs, streamlines support for homeless needs…. [needs discussion]
52.2.45. People’s Library: [positive, cheering]
52.2.46. Worker Co-ops: Facilitating needs of groups, business into coops, creating new solidarity & economy… [unclear, needs discussion]
F: Only four more groups!
52.2.47. Archives: Have been collecting visual, audio, written, ephemera related to the movement since the beginning.
52.2.48. Families and Parents: Meet Saturdays, making it logistically possible for families to be involved in the movement…creating safe space for children.
52.2.49. Facilitation: Meets at 4pm at 60 Wall Street every day. Exists to support direct democracy, accountable unbiased process, spokes council, etc. as requested by the General Assembly.
52.2.50. Media: Tuesday and Thursday at 60 Wall Street.
F: Nicole: Somehow, there are working group forms missing. Some haven’t been read yet.
52.2.51. Strategy Analysis: [unclear, needs discussion]
52.2.52. Alternative Currency: Meets at noon on Fridays at Charlotte’s Place. Developing alternative currency for camp and within the movement to ease access to resources. [needs discussion]
F: Nicole: Apparently, some people circled “Movement groups” on the form, this is an Operational groups meeting…. we’re just going to go through them all. Ok we have some we missed. We’re going to work through them now.
52.2.53. Direct Democracy Working Group: They meet every Wednesday after General Assembly at the red structure. Demand direct democracy because this is a historical moment: We are revolutionizing politics. Everyone is invited to participate.
F: There could be a movement group spokes council, but it hasn’t been formed. The spokescouncil is a tool that anyone can use. This one has been empowered by the General Assembly. Anyone can create a spokes council.
52.2.54. Outreach: [Positive]
52.2.55. Structure: Enables horizontal process and maximizes participation in the General Assembly, spokes councils, other forms and other tools. We meet at 6pm at 60 Wall Street every day. [Needs discussion]
52.2.56. Strategy and Analysis: Gathering Information Desk about the movement from various sources to be gathered, analyzed and spread to other groups to be further analyzed. [Lots of signs up. Needs discussion]
52.2.57. Stop Stop & Frisk: We’re on the streets coordinating events. [Needs Discussion.]
F: Ambrose: We have 15 working groups and caucuses that no one felt the need to discuss… we’re hoping to just go through the list and twinkle and be finished with that much. If nobody has concerns, that means that this group has consensus and they have a seat at this particular spokes council.
People of Color Caucus: [Approved]
Queering OWS: [Approved]
Community Affairs/Relations: [Approved]
F: Look how productive we’re being.
Town Planning: [Needs discussion]
Shipping Inventory & Storage: [Approved]
Minutes: [Needs discussion- Comfort]
Tech Ops: [Approved]
F: Ambrose: That’s quite a few groups we’ve approved tonight. We got a lot done.
F: Wednesday is going to be even harder to process than tonight. If you have concerns with the process, want to help or want to know more, please come to Structure working group, 6PM at 60 Wall Street.
Groups going forward will be the only groups… the only proposals that can vote.
[Some strongly object to this information. The group is beginning to disperse.]
F: Okay, this Wednesday we’ll continue going through working groups… maybe get through to some proposals. We did a lot of work today…we all worked together and got a lot of work done. Find someone in your group who can go to the structure meeting…. the movement is the General Assembly. This is purely operational. See you all Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Leave your cardboard signs here so we can reuse them. We did a lot of work – thank you everybody.
F: Nicole: Let’s end with a unity clap. [Unity clap.]
Announcement: I’m visiting from Occupy Reno and I thought it might be helpful if all the approved went to one side, then on other side any who wasn’t approved, then get together and talk and think about possibly working together, it’ll decrease the length of discussions in the future if we can work together and consolidate.
F: Let’s make sure we clean up after ourselves.
Announcement: I want to thank Facilitation, they did a great job. This needs to be said before everyone leaves. This Spokes Council was empowered by the General Assembly to make decisions on operational concerns – I’m concerned with vocabulary of people using “Movement groups”. The Spokes was created to free up the General Assembly so that the…All movement groups should go through the General Assembly after we get through the spokes. It’s really the right place for non-logistical decisions and conversations.
F: It took a lot for us to put this together, lets stay and help and clean up after ourselves.
Meeting Adjourned 10PM.