NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY # 78
Date/Time: 12/3/2011 / 7:15 pm
Location: Liberty Park
Facilitators (F): Christina, Brett
Stack: Alejandro. Vibe support: Nicholas. Minutes: Antonia
78.1. Working Group Report Backs
78.2. Agenda Items (Volunteer Services budget proposal, Housing proposal, Tech Ops proposal, Direct Democracy proposal, Gilbert announcement)
F: Tonight we have a slightly different agenda to get us started. I’d like to bring up Patrick from the meditation working group to tell you about this agenda item.
Patrick: Good evening. My name is Patrick and I’m part of the Meditation working group. Today all over the country, meditation working groups are participating in nine minutes of silence. The purpose of nine minutes of silence is for inner nourishment. So we’d like to propose to start the meeting tonight with nine minutes of silence. Thank you.
F: Mic check. Are there any concerns?
?: I feel that general assemblies take long enough already. Taking this time at the beginning might exacerbate that.
?: Can you explain the intention a little more?
Patrick: So to explain the intention a little bit more, the nine minutes of silence is a grounding exercise to get everybody on the same page energetically and intentionally not just for tonight, but for the rest of the occupation moving forward in the coming weeks. Thank you.
F: Are there any outstanding serious concerns with taking nine minutes for the meditation?
F: Ok, I don’t see any serious outstanding concerns. So meditation…here we go!
Patrick: So I have some chimes and a watch. Nine minutes is going to be broken up into three parts, and I’ll ring the chimes at the start of each section. Here we go. So for the first part, I’d like to ask everybody to be silent. Take this three minutes to contemplate the past: all of the causes and actions that have led you to this point for three minutes. You can think about what brought you to this movement and what brought you here tonight.
Patrick: For the next three minutes of silence, I’m going to ring the chimes and we’re going to forget all contemplations and relax and rest together for three minutes. During the next three minutes you can just listen to the sound in the park and feel the sensations in the park, you can listen to your body breathing, anything that feels like resting and not striving for what we’re going to do next.
Patrick: For the last three minutes, you can think about how you would like to see our actions together come to be. You can include an aspiration for nonviolence and peaceful demonstration. Final three minutes now.
Patrick: Where do you see yourself as part of this occupation a week from now? Or a month from now? Or a year from now?
Patrick: I’d like to end by reading the end of this dedication and I’d like to turn on the mic if possible.
Patrick: I’d like to read this dedication to close the nine minutes of silence. May all beings come to know peace and may our social system come to know justice. May our path lead us to realize these goals for the benefit of all. Thank you.
F: Thank you Meditation. And now I would like to set the table for tonight’s assembly. We’ll begin with working group report backs. Each working group has two minutes to give us information about what they’ve been up to. After that, we will move on to the agenda. That includes a budget proposal from housing, a budget proposal from Volunteer Services, a budget proposal from Tech Ops, a budget proposal from Direct Democracy and a budget proposal from Eric; information about a statement that would like our solidarity from the Constitution working group; and then an extended announcement from Gilbert. After that, we will move on to announcements. We’ll remind you again later, but announcements are one minute of factual information about upcoming events, new working groups, etc. They’re not statements of opinion. That is for soapbox, which is unfacilitated and after the GA.
F: So real quick we’re going to go through the hand signals. Fingers up means I agree or I consent. Fingers in the middle means I’m unsure or I’m on the fence. Finger down means I don’t consent but I’m not going to leave the movement if the proposal passes. Finger up is a point of information, this is used when you have a factual piece of information about the proposal that we’re discussing. It should be a fact to everyone. This is a clarifying question. It is used when you have a question about the proposal that we’re discussing and not about some other unclear issue not pertaining to the proposal. This means wrap it up. We use this with great compassion. It’s used to signify that whoever is speaking has made their point and should be concise in consideration of the time allotted. This is a block. This means that you have a serious moral ethical safety or philosophical concern about what is being discussed and that your concern is for the movement at large. If it’s an individual’s safety, moral or ethical concern, please try and make sure that those are addressed in the period that we allot for concerns. This is a point of process: a point of process is used when someone has broken from the process that we have agreed upon and it is used to remind someone that they are off process. However, if you have a point of process (POP), we ask that you wait for stack takers to acknowledge you and that you don’t interrupt someone when they are speaking.
F: Before we open stack for working group report backs, we’d like to give you a little information about how we use stack.
Stack: Hi! We like to use something called progressive stack. It is meant to garner as many different voices as possible. So if someone has spoken a lot, and someone else hasn’t, they are going to be moved ahead of that person. Step up step back is another tool that we use. It’s meant to encourage us to step up if we haven’t spoken and we have something to share but to step back if you’ve spoken already. If you wait you often find that someone else is thinking the same thing! They’re just waiting for an opportunity to share that. Also this means speak up! So if you can’t hear us or whoever is speaking, let them known and they’ll speak up, we hope.
F: Now we’d like to open stack for working group report backs. If there are working groups that would like to share what they’ve been up to, see Alejandro. Just raise your hand and we’ll come get your name!
78.1. Working Group Report Backs
Stack: First on stack: Labor.
78.1.1. Labor: We have a group of international visitors from the labor movement around the world and they each will speak to you briefly.
[EDGAR FROM SINALTRAINAL STARTS SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
220.127.116.11. I‘m Susana! I’m going to translate. This is Edgar, he is from SINALTRAINAL, the food and beverage workers union in Columbia. “I have come to stand in solidarity with your movement because we in our movement have experienced 4000 assassinations on trade union members over the last 45 years. We are also ready to fight back. Thank you for having us.”
18.104.22.168. Good evening! My name is Pablo de la Rosa. I come from the DR. I represent the workers from … text missing…and we come here in solidarity with all of you in your struggle. Thank you.
22.214.171.124. My name is Ali and I’m from Morocco. We are the ODT and we represent workers in Morocco. We came here and we have brothers and sisters that arrived to say hello and congratulate your movement. The movement of the 99 percent against the 1 percent. The peaceful movement for social justice and workers rights. We wish that you achieve all your goals and achieve social justice in America.
126.96.36.199. My name is Jean-Michel Dupiere. I represent the workers in the service and TEXT MISSING department. We are really happy to participate in this GA. We support your movement. We also fight tin France against the 1 percent. In Europe too there’s a lot of people mobilizing against the one percent. And it’s really important that the working class around the world work together. That all the people are conscious of this problem work together to achieve social justice. And together we will build a better world. Thank you! Merci!
Stack: Next on stack: Volunteer Services.
78.1.2. Volunteer Services: Hi I’m Alex! Volunteer Services is doing great things in Harlem to benefit the 101 different working groups of OWS NYC. This new facility in Harlem will hold full time volunteers to coordinate all the different volunteers of all the numerous events of OWS. For Thanksgiving Day, we had 85 volunteers to feed 1500 people in this park. Thank you very much.
Stack: Next on stack: Translation
78.1.3. Hello! I’m Susan from Translation. We have over 160 translators. We have translated the declaration of the occupation of NYC into 26 different languages. You can find these translations on the NYCGA website. Our new project is translating videos with subtitles so that videos can be seen all over the world and in New York’s foreign language communities. We always need more people. If you can translate into another language, please join us! Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on the website. Thank you!
Stack: Next on stack: Wellness
78.1.4. Wellness: Hello everybody! I would like to thank all the visiting groups and all the volunteers and the translators and everybody who has arrived tonight. Everybody who has donated their time to this movement for all the past and future to come. I’d also like to thank everybody for taking part in the nine minutes of silence. We’ve introduced three to five minutes of grounding right before the Spokes Councils the past 2 meetings to great success! They helped the meeting progress more peacefully and more efficiently. We hope that you allow us to continue to help ground the beginning of meetings to help make everybody’s process more friendly and more uplifting. Thank you.
Stack: Last on stack: Arts and Culture.
78.1.5. Arts and Culture: Hi I’m Anthony. I’m not part of the A & C working group but I’ll be reporting back about Occupy Broadway! Occupy Broadway started last night at 6pm and it went on till today at 6pm. We had a great time over there, a lot of great performances, great parts from everyone and for those of you who attended, thank you for very much!
Stack: Oops last on stack: Tech ops.
78.1.6. Tech Ops: Greetings! We are Tech Ops, AKA Internet working group. One of our projects is CBCRM. This is a super fancy tool to send out email blasts to replace the inefficient use of google groups and other commercial listserv services. Our biggest challenge is to find people in other working groups who will be trained in using cbcrm. There’s a lot more I could talk about but that’s the most important message for tonight.
?: How do we do that?!
78.1.5. (continued) The website nycga.net has a group called Tech Ops. If you go there you will find information about upcoming CBCRM trainings.
?: Hello everyone. … has asked me to inform the body that if you are cold, there’s things to keep you warm on the outside of the fence that they won’t allow into the park. So if you need anything, please see sparrow over here. Thank you!
78.2. Agenda Items
F: Time for agenda! The way that this process works: A group will present their proposal and we will then open stack for clarifying questions, then concerns, then friendly amendments. The purpose of all that is to help build towards a proposal that everyone feels comfortable concensing on. You don’t have to love it, but you’re ok that it exists. Our first proposal comes from Housing. Are they here?
F: We’re going to hold one moment to make sure we have Housing here so we’ll go to Volunteer Services for their budget proposal.
78.2.1. Volunteer Services (VS) Budget Proposal
188.8.131.52. VS: Hello everyone, I’m Alex once again. Volunteer Services in Harlem is requesting a budget of $2000 to purchase technology needs: flooring, tiles, two doors, and other things that we need to make this basement into working space, which is 900 sq feet. Once this facility is open, it will serve the entire needs of all working group and volunteers for OWS.
It will serve the purpose of Volunteer Service for OWS NYC.
F: Before we move on to clarifying questions, we’ve allotted twenty minutes for this discussion. Do we feel that that’s an appropriate amount of time? Good fingers. We’ll now open stack for clarifying questions. Put your hand up and Alejandro will find you.
184.108.40.206. Clarifying Questions (CQ)
220.127.116.11.1. CQ: Hi, is it $2000 and are we paying rent?
VS: No; Lois who is here on site is the building owner who has donated this space completely free. So that being said, we need to build it out and finish it!
18.104.22.168.2. CQ (Nicholas): Hello. Have you attempted to procure the building materials through donations or reused materials in any way and if not, can we address those needs and use those resources for more technology?
VS: As of last week, VS has visited Build It Green NYC, Home Depot, and other viable resources to get what we could with the limited funding that we have to actually make this work. So to answer that question, yes.
22.214.171.124.3. CQ (Allan): Hello, my name is Allan and I’m with studentloanjustice.org. There’s a freshman congressman from MI named Hanson Clark who’s going to reintroduce the student borrower bill of rights, this will return nominally bankruptcy protections for both private and federal loans. In other words, all student loans. I will be soapboxing on this later perhaps making a funding request, possibly.
F: I saw some points of process (PoPs). Thanks Allan. I think though right now we are still on clarifying questions regarding the VS proposal. But we’re about to move on to concerns, cause I don’t see any more questions.
F: Anthony is on stack.
126.96.36.199.4. I just wanted to ask that you said that you needed the money for other things and I would like to know what the other things are.
VS: One of our desks broke this afternoon from driving from Build It Green, and there are other expenses such as telephone installations, through verizon, and other technology needs that must be met for the services to work in the basement.
188.8.131.52.5. CQ (Robert): Two part question: what are the hours of the facility going to be? And are you intending to house anybody in this space?
VS: VS has had diligent conversations with the building owner, Lois. She has exercised her option as the building owner to voice her concerns and opinions with not housing anybody in this working space. There are two direct action contacts who are available on the 24-hour basis who can handle all emergency volunteer needs. The hours of operation in this facility will be roughly from 9am to 7pm with all calls after that being actually directed to the two on call emergency points. Thank you.
F: Before we move on to open stack for concerns, we’re looking for two volunteers who would be willing to watch the bags of some of our occupiers who would like to come in to make the housing proposal. If you’d be willing to watch their bags, just go around to talk to them. Thank you.
F: Maybe first raise your hand so we can give you their names and vice versa.
F: We’ll now open stack on concerns. If you have a concern, please raise your hand.
First on stack: Anthony.
184.108.40.206.1. I’m wondering that you’re saying [TEXT MISSING] and that your hours will be from nine to seven. At the same time, OWS housing at 60 Wall Street is open from 9am to about 9:45. So how would this organization benefit more from 60 Wall Street?
VS: As a point of information, I think the housing issue within the Harlem location needs clarification. There will be no housing in this VS facility in Harlem. The space is utilized to meet the needs of one hundred one different working groups that are in need of volunteers on a continuous basis from our database of over three hundred volunteers. To clarify once again: this is not a facility for housing in Harlem. Further requests can be made of the building owner, who is on site right now. Thank you.
220.127.116.11.2. CQ: Will this be reintegrating the communication hub office? Or replacing it?
VS: As a matter of clarification, it will not. The essential concept of VS at the Harlem location is to field all incoming requests for volunteers through the Harlem location. Meaning that we will actually create out of our database of over three hundred volunteers in helping them volunteer their time to the different working group and events of OWS. Point being: the communications hub at 50 Broadway is essentially that. It does not offer any services to VS. Nor are the two interconnected in any way.
F: This is a reminder that we are in the concerns portion of this show! Raise your hand if you have a concern.
Next on stack: Susan
18.104.22.168.3. Mic check. I’m wondering if some of the expenses you explained are really necessary to make the space functional as opposed to nicer. Could you address that?
VS: Absolutely. The space as it currently stands is completely unfinished. It’s concrete, sanded down walls, and light fixtures are pretty much inside the roofing itself. Therefore what we’re asking for is at best minimal to the needs that will be met out of that location on a full time basis. We are not installing any high tech gadgets to appease our personal needs. Therefore, as it stands right now, we have completely unfinished basement space that is not workable whatsoever without this request.
22.214.171.124.4. CQ: I heard that there was a proposal recently approved for $8,000 for tools that would be used for renovating spaces. So perhaps there needs to be communication with them about what they can supply to this.
F: The next portion of this is friendly amendments (FA). We are doing concerns but I think we can let this go.
VS: Point of information (PoI) I did not see that proposal. The things that we need to acquire, no other working group as. They don’t have floor tiles, they don’t have dry wall, they don’t have sheet rock, they don’t have joint compound in 5-gallon drums. These are things that need to be purchased. Thank you.
F: Before we move on, if people could move in. There’s a lot of space up front and it would be easier to hear, and we would all stay warm.
F: I’m closing stack. We will now open stack for friendly amendments. These are suggestions that would alleviate your concerns and help us move towards consensus on the proposal. Stack is now open.
126.96.36.199. Friendly Amendments
F: Can I see all hands at once?
First on stack: Liza
188.8.131.52.1. Liza: I would like to propose that you create a spreadsheet with all the things that you will need and that you will be buying so that we can see the materials that you’re spending on.
PoI: That info is readily available on the website.
184.108.40.206.2. FA: I would like to suggest that you reach out to direct action to ask how they can contribute to your needs in renovating the space. Such as: I would like to suggest also that you consider being open to hosting some of the people working in communication hub cause I’ve heard they’re overcrowded.
PoI: VS being at 50 Broadway on a more full time basis has had conversations with Direct Action and Building Movement in which we discovered that the supplies we need to finish this basement are not available through those groups. Therefore, we outsourced it to Build It Green NYC. I was there today to take a look at all the different recycled products they have. To address the second suggestion: although Communications Hub is working very diligently with the support they have, it has very little to do with VS because their Communications Hub has to be trained in many different ways with many different software systems. The infrastructure that they have seems to be working rather well. Should they need more volunteers, they will contact me directly to offset their needs.
F: One more person on stack but we’ve reached our twenty minutes. We’re fairly far along. Would we agree to another five minutes to try to finish this out? Can I get a temperature check on that? That looks pretty good, thank you.
Next on stack: Susan.
220.127.116.11.3. Susan: Since it’s a lot of money, and there are a lot of questions, I wonder if you would consider inviting anybody who wants to come see the space and repropose at the next GA.
PoI: VS is an integral part of NYCGA and OWS. We’re in crunch time. We have a deadline of the second week of December to have this place up and running. With the items that we have received through donation, which haven’t been that much, we have people working there now with the very little we have. That being said, if the space were to be completed by the second week of December, we plan on having everybody there. Thank you.
Next on stack: Gabriel.
18.104.22.168.4. Gabriel: I think that you could take this opportunity to both provide free training and to create small businesses and jobs for members of this movement. So I would like to ask you both to look for volunteers who can do this type of work at a professional level of quality who will work with people who have very little experience to train them and in the future, to possibly to do the same sort of work both within the movement for our projects and outside of the movement.
VS: I think that’s a great idea! And I really believe we can make it happen and I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen with the resources that I personally have. Thank you.
F: Real quick: while I appreciate your enthusiasm, that was an opinion, not a PoI. PoI’s are factual statements, just so we’re on the same page
Next on stack with a question is Gwen.
22.214.171.124.5. Sorry he didn’t see my hand the first time. I would like more clarification. Can you tell us where this place is? Is it in east or west Harlem? Can you tell us if it’s a residence? And did somebody allow you to take this space or is it being squatted?
PoI: With my many experiences in the park, I had one very concerned citizen in NYC call me by the name of Lois Penny. Lois volunteered to host occupiers in her home in these cold winter days. On further communication with Lois, she invited me to take a look at her basement and volunteered all of that space herself, and donated that space to VS, which is huge. This location is in west Harlem at 138th and Broadway. We’re tearing apart that basement right now. We’re turning it into VS that are going to serve so many greater needs. Thank you.
126.96.36.199.5. (continued) CQ: How many square feet is this?
VS: We’re at about 1000 sq feet.
188.8.131.52.6. CQ: I work in construction and it sounds to me that $2,000 is eminently reasonable for doing what is necessary. And I support the proposal.
F: We saw some PoPs. Because while we all great info from that, that was a question, and right now we’re trying to acquire friendly amendments.
F: Please raise you hand if you want to offer a friendly amendment to this proposal to be added to the final proposal and keep in mind the proposer can decide whether the amendment will be accepted as friendly. So raise your hands and Alejandro will take your name.
Next on stack: Jay.
184.108.40.206.7. Jay: Do you have a contract for a period of time after it’s finished?
F: So we have a PoP. That’s not a friendly amendment, that’s a question.
PoI: I am working right now with the building owner to secure an agreement for a year and as it stands right now, our relationship together is right here. We’re on the same page people.
F: Before we move on, we have at least three more people on stack. We’ve passed our five minutes. How do people feel about going another five minutes?
F: If everyone could participate in this temperature check, it will help us gauge the assembly.
F: It looks pretty mixed. So what we’d like to do is close stack, let those people on stack be heard, and then go from there.
Next on stack: Tim
220.127.116.11.8. Tim: I’d like to propose a friendly amendment that we add to the proposal and officially thank the owner for being so awesome.
PoI: Lois can you please raise your hand?
Next on stack: Mark
18.104.22.168.9. Hello. I am from Pennsylvania and I come here once a week and I have a hundred and twenty bathtubs. I can donate a large number of them, they’re all nice, they’re from France. Thank you!
F: Ok that was it for stack.
F: At this point since it was mixed on if we wanted to keep discussion going, we’d like to do a temperature check just to see how we feel about the proposal in its current state. But first we’ll ask the proposer to restate it with any accepted friendly amendments.
PoI: All of the friendly amendments as well as the thank you to Lois, the bathtubs, all the questions and concerns…I’m there with all of you and open and willing to accept personal responsibility.
F: Are there any blocks against this proposal? There are no blocks. We have reached consensus! Thank you everyone!
F: Before we move on to our next agenda, Sage wanted to let you know that if you are hungry and have a restricted diet, we have some food we would like to share with you. So see Sage in the orange.
F: The next item on our agenda is a budget request from housing. Housing! Please come to the front! You’re on the agenda next.
F: Mic check. Housing, Housing, please come to the GA! Also let’s move in so we can have some collective warmth. And before we begin, we’ve set twenty minutes for this discussion. Does that feel like an appropriate amount of time?
F: We will ask for more time when we get to the twenty minutes.
F: Thank you for your patience. We’ll be right with you.
78.2.2. Housing Proposal
22.214.171.124. Hi everyone I am Lauren from Housing. This proposal involves saving two of the churches that we have been using to house all lot of occupiers, we are still tirelessly working on other churches, other housing options and more importantly, permanent solutions to this occupation. I’m going to read the proposal now. Housing needs a total of $2,800 to pay churches in park slope and on 86th street for housing occupiers from Sunday, which is tomorrow, through Saturday the 10th. The location in park slope costs $100 per night and this is in utilities. And St. Paul and Andrew on 86th street charges $300 per night for utilities. The total amount needed to reimburse both churches for the week noted above is $2,800. So this will allow us as housing to buy time to come up with better solutions. I understand that this is not a good solution in the long run. But again like I said at the last GA, we are still in crisis mode. So it’s open to discussion.
F: We’ll now open stack for clarifying questions to better understand this proposal.
126.96.36.199. Clarifying Questions
First on stack: Mark.
188.8.131.52.1. I’m Mark, why are people not staying outside in tents somewhere?
PoI: There are some tenting options. Right now we have Occupy Newark, which is in its infancy stage of forming. They’re trying to recruit people to go out there with tents and start occupying. But getting tents is difficult. Also the Floyd bonnet camp site offers camping, however it’s $20 a night, for 6 people. Beyond that, there are privately owned spaces, like this park in the city, but we run the risk of being raided like we did here at liberty plaza.
F: This is an important discussion to be had, it’s bigger than this specific proposal. If we can keep the discussion now to the proposal at hand.
Next on stack: Dallas.
184.108.40.206.2. I’d just like to clarify: is St. Paul and Andrew housing three times as many occupiers? Because it sounds like you said they charge three times as much for utilities!
Housing: That’s a good question. I have been trying to find out the capacity at 86th street. I will let you know the united Methodist in park slope holds thirty. I know that 86th street holds a lot more than thirty. That’s all I know.
?: We have a PoI: I’m familiar with St. Paul and Andrews; they are old and not a wealthy congregation. It makes perfect sense that the utilities there would be more expensive.
Next on stack: Liza
220.127.116.11.3. This proposal is only from Sunday till Saturday. So if you don’t find more housing, you would have to come back for more money?
Housing: Not necessarily. I can’t give away too much information, but I have several scouts that have been scouring the city for buildings that are potential places for permanent occupancy. I am also collaborating with picture the homeless, operation for occupation, and other leads, such as squatting, which I don’t like that term, cause of the eyes and ears, but know that we continue to work tirelessly all day to come up with a better solution. Again I’m trying to buy us time to do that.
F: I have eight people on stack. I’d like to close stack now.
Next on stack: Gabriel
18.104.22.168.4. I would like to know what exactly it is we’re paying for. I would like a thorough accounting of how much utilities were before we started staying at the churches and how much they are now as a form of proof that this is actually the cost that the church is incurring from us being there. Because if it’s not, then we’re either paying rent, or we’re paying for all of their utilities.
Housing: If the GA would like I will go to these churches myself, first thing tomorrow, and have them give me that information. I would be willing to make a friendly amendment to have this proposal delayed till the next GA so that we can collect that information. However, I think we need to have good faith in these churches who are acting in solidarity with OWS that they would not try to cheat or lie or steal from us. I want you to decide.
PoP: We are still on clarifying questions, and friendly amendments come after concerns, which will come next.
PoP: Sometimes we can unite concerns and clarifying questions just so that we can actually function to communicate instead of wondering if we’re speaking at the right time because if you have a clarifying question, it might be motivated by a concern and if you have a concern, you may have some ideas on how to alleviate that concern with a question that might clarify things.
F: I think that’s a very valid point. I can end my commentary there. I would say Sage that we do it this way, cause this could go on forever and this allows us to do this in a timely manner. That said, we often do take questions after concerns. So it kind of already happens.
Next on stack: Will.
22.214.171.124.5. My question is what’s the estimated time line for something that you can do to make this problem with housing less strained?
Housing; Well, we have a number of outlets that can help in this problem. However, creating a permanent solution requires us claiming spaces that allow us to occupy permanently. We can get permission from a landlord, we can earn rights after thirty days if you receive mail. You can also have the spaces donated. You can also go in to foreclosed spaces, fix ’em up, and take a chance. We are looking into all these options. Like I said we have a lot of leads, but if I had something concrete, you’d be there tonight! I am working tirelessly this week to make something concrete for you.
F: We ask that if you have concerns or questions about the larger housing issue, to please speak with them afterwards to find when housing meets. Right now we need to focus on the proposal at hand, which has a very specific timeline and budgetary needs.
Next on stack: Kevin.
126.96.36.199.6. My question has already been answered.
Next on stack: Nicholas.
188.8.131.52.7. My question is why are these churches suddenly asking us to pay their utilities?
Housing: Because we are occupying there night after night and they are trying to keep us warm. They keep the water running, they have electricity available, so that is why.
Next on stack: Steven.
184.108.40.206.8. I’ve stayed at the church at 86th street, and at first they were very open to occupiers, and then they proposed curfews, and then you had to been on a list, and then it was only…so if we’re going to stay to be there, and you go late at night, and …[TEXT MISSING]
Housing: One of the issues raised at 86th street was people’s conduct at the church. Churches have rules. They have a right to enforce those rules. Form what I’ve been told, there are some isolated incidents at the church. I will tell you my contact Jason was involved in housing has taken over somewhat there to stop people from being turned away. The list: we have a point person named Garrett at the housing hotlines. I can provide his number for you after this proposal if you’d like.
?: It’s for the majority of the people though, people who don’t have phones, who aren’t here right now…I’m concerned about them.
Housing: I understand, that’s part of the problem. Networking since the eviction has been the most difficult part. I have been working off of word of mouth on the street level and searching for people. I make myself available at 60 wall street everyday. I suggest that as you see occupiers in need, encourage them to get there. I gave out 150 metro cards to occupiers so they can get themselves and others all around the city. Contact a friend with a phone, ask to borrow a phone, I will make this number available right now: we have to work together to spread that number around.
Next on stack: Demetrius.
220.127.116.11.9. Apparently that gentleman over there said what I wanted to say.
Next on stack: Sage.
18.104.22.168.10. My concern is for the most optimized use of our funds. However, I’m not against helping out the churches with finances as long as the interactions that we have are honest. I’m wondering…my concern is this: it seems that we have a lot of places to sleep, and a lot of quote unquote occupiers who are occupying these places. And then when I hear Kitchen talk, it seems we have a lot of food going all around the city, feeding all these people. And it seems from my perspective, that people are being fed and housed in order to stay away from wall street. So I’m concerned as to who we are feeding and who we are sheltering, not because I want to choose who eats and who doesn’t, I just want to know if we are OWS and if we’re not OWS, then what is the overall goal that housing is working towards to support.
Housing: I would like to remind this GA that the housing crisis we face is not just about OWS. People living without a home is a global crisis. And before the occupation was evicted, we welcomed all walks of life. Picture the homeless had their own tent here. We have many organizations who are our allies to try to fight help the homeless crisis in this country. We as housing want to solve the housing crisis in general. Obviously our occupiers are important to us and we consider them a priority along with any homeless individuals who need shelter and want to be a part of this movement. They are the 99 percent. So it’s not fair for us to start pointing fingers at who’s more deserving of a home at the end of a night. It’s cold out here and we are trying to shelter everyone who comes to us. These churches are some of our leads to help some of the problem.
F: Mic check. We’re out of time. I’d like to get a temperature check on extending the time for this discussion by ten minutes. If everyone could participate, it helps us know how we all feel. Temperature check on moving forward with this proposal with another ten minutes.
Sage: I’m wondering how are you going to take this question and make yourself seem like the complete opposite of what you are. Cause that’s just what happened. Talking…
[MIC CHECK ARGUEMTNS]
PoP: Right now we are discussing a specific proposal and that prop is for $2,800 to continue to pay the church in park slope and on 86th street, utilities they’re requesting, so that occupiers can continue to stay there from Sunday to Saturday.
?: Mic check.
F: There’s a situation arising in the park. This discussion needs to continue but we need to be aware of our surroundings, our interactions with the police.
PoI: The GA has never consensed on a quorum, the GA is made up of whoever is there at that moment. So while we acknowledge there are other situations, we must continue with the agenda.
[TALKING, COMMOTION. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PARK]
F: How about we Mic check the GA cause it sounds like someone has chosen to sit down and if they’ve chosen to sit down, they have actually made a choice that the NYPD disagree with that choice…and take action but I don’t think standing and surrounding and staring is going to help so let’s Mic check and ask them to come back?
F: Anybody who wants to come back to the GA, please do because we can’t stop the process for too much longer.
?: We have an individual who is doing a direct action. We are here to occupy. And that is the process to be respected!
F: Please come closer to continue with the proposal from Housing.
PoI: To address the claims of Sage, I would like to reiterate a couple of facts: we just got some money to purchase one week long metro cards for occupy to be able to get to these churches. It was quite a bit of money. If the churches no longer take us in, that will go to waste. I would also like to state that I am one of those people that doesn’t have a home and I am here taking part in the GA, so I am still along with everyone else that’s here occupying Wall Street.
F: As we said a few minutes ago, we’ve reached our time allotment and so we’re going to take a straw poll to see if we would like to continue this discussion. In a straw poll, we will ask if you do want to continue, raise your hand. Then we’ll ask if you don’t want to raise your hand, to continue the discussion. If you’d like to continue the discussion, please raise your hand.
F: There were fourteen people who would like to continue this discussion. Who would not like to continue this discussion?
F: Nine people said they would not like to continue this, that it’s pretty mixed, how about if we did five minutes, combine concerns with the proposed amendment?
F: Anybody who wants to get on stack with the concerns or FA’s, raise your hand, so Alejandro can take your name.
22.214.171.124. Concerns and Friendly Amendments
Next on stack: Liza
126.96.36.199.1. I would like to present a friendly amendment. I believe that the housing crisis of OWS is serious and would like to present a friendly amendment that the budget be increased to $5,600 to cover two weeks.
Housing: My only concern on the FA is that there’s less of a chance of the proposal passing.
188.8.131.52.1. (continued) Let me amend my FA: I want to increase the budget to $5,600 for two weeks. If in the second week, there’s alternative housing, and there’s no need for that money, give it back to Finance.
Housing: I think that’s an excellent amendment to the amendment. We accept the FA!
Next on stack: Steven.
184.108.40.206.2. I would like there to be an agreement with the churches that it will remain open since we’re paying to be there and it won’t change tomorrow that you have to be on a list like it has in the past. That it remain open to everyone abiding by the churches rules. And that the rumor that you can’t go there goes away!
Next on stack: Danny.
220.127.116.11.3. My FA is that if this passes tonight you guys do not ask for any more money cause you’ll have found something permanent by the time it’s over.
Next on stack: Gabriel.
18.104.22.168.4. I would like to ask that you get the documentation that I requested earlier and bring it tomorrow because we have to set the example of accountability and transparency that we are asking from America and the rest of the world.
PoI: The church has not been running their heat over night, therefore their past utilities bills won’t match to what they are now.
PoI: I will go to these churches myself and find out what their books look like. If I had more info to give you, I would
22.214.171.124.4. (continued) I’ll amend my amendment then to say that if at a later date, when they do get their bill, it shows that in fact, we were not imposing the additional costs which it has been claimed that we are that the church will then return the difference.
Housing: When I go to these churches tomorrow, I will find out if they will agree to that. They have to be willing to provide you with that information which they may not be obligated to provide.
126.96.36.199.4. (continued) Are we waiting tomorrow to vote then?
Housing: No, it has to be today.
Next on stack: Mark.
188.8.131.52.5. I’m Mark. I have an invention for housing outside. It’s warmer than a tent, it’s clear so please don’t worry about what we’re doing inside, and it’s only about 4 dollars per occupier. And I’ll donate some large number of them. And I’m going to be building it and I’d like to ask for some helpers.
Housing: This is for the GA. Talk to Mark if you’re interested in helping.
F: I have two more people on stack, then I’d like to close stack.
Next on stack: Nicholas.
184.108.40.206.6. Can we use this money towards their utilities to also buy renewable energy credits from the utilities companies…if they offer that service. If we’re paying an electricity bill, we can insist that all of that electricity comes from a renewable resource.
PoI: It doesn’t work like that in NYC, it depends on your geographical location.
Last on stack: Steven.
220.127.116.11.7. We should use that as leverage to extend the morning sleeping hours cause a lot of people don’t get there till late…I believe. We should try to ask to extend morning sleeping hours.
Housing: That’s something that we can do, we already agreed to your amendment to follow the churches rules, but if the church states that those are the curfews and they don’t budge, I can’t change that.
?: Since we’re paying, we should try to push it further!
?: Landlord law…we will enter into a landlord tenant contract with the church if we start living there.
Housing: We are paying the churches so that we are allowed to occupy one more week or two weeks without getting turned away because they can’t afford us. This is nothing to do with landlord tenant laws. We have been staying in this church as guests. That is what we’re trying to do: stay as guests.
PoI: Homeless housing usually is paid by the city or the state. Those costs that they’re covering come out of a budget paid by our taxes. Bloomberg has slashed the homeless budget almost 75 percent. So this money would cover homeless occupiers because not the city nor the state will be paying for it.
F: There are no more people on stack. We are well over our time but we’ve come this far, so we’d like to see how people feel about this proposal. We’ll have it briefly restated, including friendly amendments.
18.104.22.168. Housing: The proposal as I understand it now is we are asking for double what we originally asked which was $5,600 dollars total unless by the end of the second week, that money was not used, whatever is leftover will be returned to finance. As well as the church on 86th street and at park slope, we’ll take in all occupiers under the agreement that we respect their rules and whatever curfews they enforce and we respect the space. We will also look into records that indicate any costs that we do not create. And also factor in that difference. That is only if the churches allow us that information.
?: MIC CHECK
F: We’ve heard the proposal plus the amendments. If everyone could sit down, it would be much easier to read a temperature check. And they have accepted the FA’s stated, including that they will do this tomorrow morning when the churches answer their phones. So can we get a temperature check on this proposal?
F: Are there any blocks?
F: We have at least one block. We have two.
F: Can you please state your block?
22.214.171.124.1. Even though I live in one of these places and I will be evicting myself, I cannot support a system or general assembly which does not hold itself to accountability and transparency standards, which it is asking others to hold themselves to. So it’s an ethical block.
Housing: I am trying to be with Zach here as transparent as humanly possible. These churches have been generous enough to allow us to stay there thus far without asking for a dime. They are only asking that we help them out the way they are helping us. If we lose these churches, these are 2 more options we don’t have. Our options are limited. I agree these simple solutions over a week’s time are not the greatest, but it’s all we have. I still offer to talk to anybody who has better solutions after this meeting.
Next on stack: Sage.
126.96.36.199.2. Can someone do time so I don’t go over a minute? My block is because I have never felt safe at these churches for sanitary reasons because people have slept really close together, the air was hot and humid, I’ve heard about things happening at shelters without accountability and I didn’t feel that our community was mature or ready enough or has a history of holding ourselves accountable or holding individuals accountable for their actions, including excluding who’s at the door and when they are asked why they gave someone a hard time, giving that person an easy time when they make a count.
PoI: A block is not supposed to come from an individual but from the group…in the interest of all the people of the movement.
F: Housing will respond to that block.
Housing: I must start first by reminding everyone that for almost two months we lived happily in a park under the stars among the pigeons and I tried single-handedly sometimes to clean the whole park and one person’s personal concern with sanitation issues never stopped him from coming through that park every day. If it’s hot in there, it’s cause the heat’s on. If it’s humid, it’s cause our bodies release moisture through our breath. If you can’t sleep next to someone, you don’t have to go to that church. This church is available for those who want to go to that church and those who want to benefit from sleeping among their brother and sisters who can’t help keep them warm.
F: One more block. Let’s please remember that we’re a large diverse community and this proposal is trying to address a need. Let’s try to keep personal opinions out of this discussion.
188.8.131.52.3. Danny: My block is that this is not a solution. If we need housing, we should find housing. This proposal needs to have a time limit. Asking for money after two weeks or after one week is not ok because it sets the precedent that we can continue to ask for more money and have no solution.
Housing: I would just like to say if you feel that way and we actually do end up having to come back, which I hope we don’t have to, block it that time cause right now this is a crisis that needs to be solved tonight.
PoI: I have a gentleman here from the 86th street church. I would ask the GA permission for him to speak.
Church Rep: Everybody’s probably heard about me. My name is Andre. I’ve been at the 86 street church since it opened. There’s been a problem with a lot of people coming in there, stealing, doing drugs, having sex, smoking in the courtyard, drinking, leaving bottles in the sanctuary. Its come to a point where they put a limit for who they want in there and how many people they will allow each night. A lot of people probably look at me like I’m a d***head because I’m the one who has to turn people away. But like a few people here, I can verify I’m only doing what the pastor asked. A list was complied that I had no input in. The names were put on the list and the only thing I could do was admit who was on the list. Lauren can verify; she’s called me to allow people in…I agreed and they get there and get turned away. If anybody has any questions, I’m wiling to answer.
?: I would like to ask you when people come to that church outside your list and you have spots available, will you turn them away?
Andre: Yes we will and that is not my call. The list is the list. If a name is not on the list, they will not allow you in. The procedure for getting on the list is completely unknown. I am adding people secretly and they’re being removed. I’ve tried to let people in and people are turned away the next morning because the caretaker of the church doesn’t recognize the face, and then I’m the one who’s got to take the heat. He can verify that.
?: If people have specific questions about the process at the church on 86th street, we ask that they be addressed to the side.
[NO’S AND ARGUING]
PoI: I mentioned earlier that for the housing hotlines, we have a new point person. The previous point person had a death in the family. That point person is now Garret aka Alaska. He is making himself readily available to put all of you on the list.
?: Tonight the church that people have been turned away from is closed. There’s a church on 86TH and Amsterdam that are allowing people in up until twelve o’clock. You are allowed to go there …and they are trying to make it long term. If anyone’s familiar, it’s only two blocks away from the other church.
?: Hello my name is Anthony. I don’t sleep at the churches. I sleep at McDonalds. I don’t go to my house, I live in queens. I feel that if these guys won’t drop their blocks, I will not come back to the park and do anything else with this movement.
?: I second that!
F: Housing has agreed to table this proposal until tomorrow’s GA and they’re going to come back tomorrow with information from the churches, but right now they are asking that people with blocks and concerns step to the side with Andre from 86th street and with housing so everybody can talk and they can make the proposal stronger by addressing everyone’s concerns. But please step to the side with housing if you have concerns.
F: Ok can we get a temp check on moving to modified consensus?
F: Everybody utilize the people’s mic.
F: Before we move to modified consensus we will give the three blocks an opportunity to offer friendly amendments and to remove their blocks.
?: There comes a time when someone’s incompetence can no longer be believed and it’s no longer a matter of doing a bad job of a good thing, but a good job of a bad thing. This is why we need community and accountability. It hurts my heart…when myself or someone else is seen as a troublemaker before anybody gives a comprehensive account of what is going on. This is a consistent pattern that has gone on at OWS. It is obvious that people are upset that they have to give a count. The guy that was at the door seemed perfectly comfortable letting us all know what was going on over there and I think that we all felt enriched by his account. If there were more of that kind of thing going on at every level of ows, then I wouldn’t mind giving forth my approval funding a project that hasn’t worked before going forward into the future because we would have accountability and we would be able to see and contribute and collaborate to make the process work in the future. But the way it’s set up now, I don’t think it’s really ready to continue getting funding.
F: Are you maintaining your block?
Housing: I would like to say that Housing as a group does, to the best of their ability, a very good thing. That is a necessity in this movement right now. If we do not get you housing, you can’t march, can’t go to meetings, we do not fail as a group…
[Yelling, cursing, etc.]
?: I wasn’t’ finished, I was rudely interrupted. I’d like to speak. It is not Housing’s fault that there are occupiers that went to 86th street and conducted themselves in a way that all of us would consider inappropriate. The church is still willing to open their doors to us. We should be grateful that they’re still willing at all. I want you to give me a chance to prove that we deserve to be let in again.
F: If you have a friendly amendment, that would make you release your block…
?: In addition to the one I already requested, I request that the point person for Housing step down and be replaced with someone actually in the housing system. That’s point one. Point two is I request that this whole list system be abolished because the list system to get on it involves a two minute phone call with someone you’ve never met, who never meets you, and giving them your phone number and telling them your homeless, when that could be done at the church, and it’s resulting in people being turned away without improving accountability of the people who live there…
Housing: This is a little disheartening to hear some of the comments. I was in court on Wednesday for getting arrested at Times Square. The woman speaking for Housing was also there. To make these demands that people step down because of something that is out of their control, especially when only three out of however many people that are here seem like they’re not on board with the proposal, is ridiculous. We’ve wasted at least thirty minutes listening to personal concerns. I think she as well as everyone else at Housing is doing the best she can. I’ll end on this: when we take the next vote on the proposal, although I’m aware we want unanimous consent, but when ninety-nine percent of us are on board, that should be fine.
F: I saw several POP’s because right now we’re supposed to be hearing from the people blocking and not opinions for or against this proposal.
F: We’re going to let the last block speak.
?: As my friendly amendment was already rejected, I’ve had the opportunity to voice my concerns, I would like to hold my block cause I don’t want anybody to…though I disagree, I would rather the group decide without me in this regard, I have to say we move to modified consensus or a majority vote, regardless of the fact that it sets a dangerous precedent.
F: We propose to move to modified consensus.
F: We’ve been at this topic for a while, and it’s important. Energies are high. Let’s bring it back together. If everyone could please sit. The way we’re going to do this is we will see who is not supportive of this proposal, then we will take a count…
[Arguing from one guy]
F: Can we please see a show of hands of everybody that wants to vote for and against this proposal? And we’re going to come around and count your hands off. So keep your hands up till one of us acknowledges you directly.
[Arguing let the Facilitators do their job!]
F: Please remember we are all human we are all trying to help and do the best we can. I know emotions are high right now and if we can all just take a breath to get to a place where things aren’t so tense inside, I’d appreciate it.
?: Again go to picturethehomeless.org. We are the leaders in this housing issue and we support the housing here at OWS…
F: I’d like to see a show of hands of people who are not in support of this proposal. I see four hands.
F: There are fifty-one people that wanted to participate, four people that didn’t like it. Therefore this passes by modified consensus.
[Cheers and applause!]
Housing: In closing, I would like to say on behalf of Housing, we are dedicating every ounce of our energy and time to come back with a permanent solution to our housing crisis. I encourage every one of you to help housing with whatever you have. Ask your neighbors, ask your friends, log on facebook, help us please. Thank you so much!
F: That got a little tense. Thank you for your patience. We’re doing important work here tonight and we are by no means done. I’ve got at least two more budget proposals. We’ll get through tit together!
Next up: Tech Ops.
78.2.3. Tech Ops Proposal
F: Tech ops would like to present a proposal.
184.108.40.206. Tech ops: Hello! I hope this is easier to approve or reject. To make that possible, I handed out a printed version at Spokes Council yesterday and today at the beginning of the GA. If you haven’t read it, pick one up right here. I hope that saves us time. We would like to hold a training day at Pace University on December 18th. This will give us ten hours, ten classrooms, for five hundred people. The classroom space is very nice. Visual, audio, wifi. Working groups will be able to use that space to train their own teams. Communication cluster is desperate for this training space. Working groups have said they want to use this space as well.
220.127.116.11. (continued) A lot of people want to use this space. Having many training sessions in the same space on the same day is beneficial. We are getting a 70 percent discount on the space. We are asking for $5,000 dollars. This covers approximately 1/3 of the total cost. We are going to raise the rest without coming back to the GA.
F: That’s the proposal. We’ll now open stack for clarifying questions. Please raise your hands.
18.104.22.168. Clarifying Questions
First on stack: Scott.
22.214.171.124.1. How many workshops are you planning to schedule for the day?
Tech ops: Between 40 and 60, depending on how we divide the space up during the day.
Next on stack: Tim.
126.96.36.199.2. I’m here. How do individuals or working groups sign up to use the tech ops training?
Tech ops: If this proposal is passed, tech ops will set up a website to apply to run a workshop to register for workshops and to make the process itself transparent.
F: Any other clarifying questions?
F: Ok that’s it. We will now open stack for concerns. Are there any concerns?
F: We are now closing stack on concerns.
F: If there were no concerns, if you want to make this proposal even better, we’ll now open stack for friendly amendments.
188.8.131.52. Friendly Amendments
184.108.40.206.1. FA: Would you consider doing a range voting experiment in order to select which workshop should be included in overall training day?
Tech Ops: I would consider it, however in order to be transparent, I feel that that’s a request for the group who plans the training day, so I’m saying no while supporting that we do it.
220.127.116.11.2. FA (Liza): My friendly amendment is that we reserve a portion of the day for a conference model, meaning that when people get to Pace University, we set up a portion of the workshops right there on site, and we open up the process for open space.
Tech ops: The word on conference is in the proposal. And we intend to use it.
F: So stack is closed on friendly amendments. We’ll ask the proposer to briefly restate the proposal.
18.104.22.168. Tech Ops: Tech ops and the Communications Cluster is asking for $5,000 for about 1/3 of the cost of 10 classrooms for 10 hours at Pace University on December 18th.
F: Can we get a temp check on this proposal? That looks pretty good. Are there any blocks on this proposal? It doesn’t seem that we have any blocks. The temp check was good. I think we have consensus!
F: Ok we now have a budget proposal from Eric. Is Eric here? It doesn’t look like Eric’s here. So next we’re moving to a budget proposal from direct democracy. Doug from Direct Democracy!
78.2.4. Direct Democracy (DD) Budget Proposal
22.214.171.124. I’m Captain Douggers! I come to you from western Mass. Both my folks are from Brooklyn originally. I grew up an hour away in Jersey but I consider NYC to be my home. I’ve been here seven weeks, I was here the night of the horrible ice storm. The last seven years, I’ve been living in western mass, mostly homeless, doing advocacy work for the homeless, and other disenfranchised people since 1986, I’ve been an international activist going around the globe when I can to fight the good fight for people everywhere who are being hurt and harmed by a very corrupt international capitalist system. So tonight I come to you with a proposal that our US constitution does not have any language to empower us at the national level using a direct majority vote to pass laws of our own choosing. I feel very strongly that it’s high time we use the OWS movement nationally and worldwide to step up and go get us some. So here’s my proposal: there’s an organization that’s been at work about twelve years called the Democracy Foundation. They’ve been working to get the attention of a majority of Americans to go online and sign on to a proposal that says we can have direct voting democracy if enough of us sign the proposal. Now that’s a difficult situation because it requires one more than the majority of people who voted in the last national election for president. So that would be sixty million plus one. The only way that we can do that is to hire a really excellent professional internet company that knows how to take our vote on the internet and make it go viral. So we’ve been in discussion with a number of companies who have the ability to get ten million Americans to sign on the to website, to take this campaign virally. It’s not easy to do but now is the time because we’ve never had it and if we’re going to make significant changes to a corrupt economic system, we have to have the ability to vote directly. So here’s my proposal: we’ve taken a look at a large number of internet companies and we’ve refined it down to the 9 that we feel are best, but it’s going to take some time to get a proposal from each one of them and have a chance to sit down and talk to them. So we haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet. This entire effort will cost about $250,000 and will take three years. What we’re asking from the GA is to give us ten percent, which is $25,000, which can take us through the six to twelve months. So we can garner votes, and get this going, and take it virally, so at last, we can have direct voting democracy.
F: Now we’re going to open this up for clarifying questions. So we all know we’ve allotted twenty minutes for this discussion and at the end of that twenty, we’ll check in to see how we feel.
First on stack: Dallas
126.96.36.199. Clarifying Questions
188.8.131.52.1. So you say you have your short list of nine companies. Can we hear it?
DD: Sure! Let me go get the proposal.
F: I have five people on stack. Any other hands?
DD: I do have extra copies of the proposal. The request was to read the nine internet companies that we are currently considering. They are: Millennium Comm, Rip Tide Comm. Inc, Domasamo Goldstein, New Business Inquiries, Rethink Group, Metrics Marketing, Ocean Media, Karmasnack, Sprout Headquarters. Those are nine out of about sixty we’ve selected so far but we’re open to considering more. So if you have some, please give them to us. We’re going to spend the next month receiving proposals from them and choosing the best one from the marketing internet company that best convinces us that they can get ten million American people to sign onto this proposal on the internet.
PoI (Gabriel): I’m working primarily with the Alternative Banking Group. We’re working on creating an ideal bank which will work through a system of direct democracy. We plan on creating a webpage which will function like this. I don’t intend to ask the GA for any money. I intend to create this by soliciting volunteers, raising funds internally within the group, and soliciting grants. So I believe that we could probably help make this happen without $250,000 and utilizing resources within OWS.
DD: Thank you for that offer, Gabriel. I don’t see how an alternative banking system would be the same as a direct majority vote of the American people to be able to pass a few laws each year of their own choosing, which we’ve never had the opportunity to do in 224 years of US history. And I say with the OWS movement nationally and globally now’s the time to step up and do that.
Next on stack: Lily.
184.108.40.206.2. I’m trying to understand how this would work and how it would be inclusive of people who don’t have the same privileges you and I do, who don’t have access to computers or internet, and I’d like clarification on that before I would consent to all that money.
DD: Thank you for your question. It’s an excellent one. I share the same concern and this is how it would be handled. Besides making this available for people to go the website which is nationalintiivate4d.ud. We’re also making available all over the U.S. and OWS write a written ballot initiative that people can read and sign on to and be included. If you can think of any other ways, we can be more inclusive to represent the disenfranchised, I’d be happy to hear it and incorporate it. Thank you.
Next on stack: Mattias.
220.127.116.11.3. Can you clarify for what you’re proposing to work that would have to be an amendment to the U.S. constitution? Which to me seems an extremely unlikely event.
DD: Thank you. I share your concerns, it certainly won’t be easy, but real direct democracy, as we’re discovering at the GA, is often not so easy. That is not a good reason to go forth with what we need to do at this time in evolution. And direct voting democracy is the next step in democracy, let’s step up and take it.
Next on stack: Jason.
18.104.22.168.4. Under the question what is the national intuitive for democracy, in the third sentence, it says if a majority of Americans voted in favor, they would automatically become law in reference to laws that people would vote on through this system. I’m wondering how those laws would be enforced.
DD: Once we had one more than sixty million people, it would be clear to everyone in America as well as congress and all three branches of government, and our state, that the time is now for thirty-four states to call a convention to decide on and possibly ratify a new law and that new law would say that if a majority of people vote on something they want each year, at least a minimum of three laws each year, and a majority voted in favor, then those three laws would pass. That’s direct voting democracy. That’s what we need, that’s what we want, now is the time.
Next on stack: Gilbert.
22.214.171.124.5. Why do people think that Occupy New York is some kind of a fountain of money to take from?
PoP: That doesn’t address directly the proposal.
Mic check. We have a quick announcement: This is health related mic check. Myself and a few others happen to be very ill and on antibiotics. Some of us today who are really sick slept at 60 Wall Street and haven’t gotten a chance to eat or drink anything yet because we’ve been asleep and haven’t been able to wake up. If anyone has any way to help us get food or drink, it’d be much appreciated. We were going to try to go to McDonald’s.
F: Thank you for taking the time to address some immediate needs. Now back to stack.
Next on stack: Nathan.
126.96.36.199.6. What was the process through which these internet companies were chosen and have you vetted at all who their major clients are and if those clients are in line with the greater beliefs of the occupy community?
DD: Excellent question. I called on some people with internet marketing skills to help me out (cause I didn’t have those skills) to take a look at a broad base of internet marketing companies and those are the ones they came up with. I’m open to adding to that list. If anyone knows a marketing company who they feel would be excellent, please let me know. I have not had a chance yet because I want to make sure I take a good amount of time to vet each one to make sure that they have the excellent qualification and proven capability to get us ten million votes.
Next on stack: Eric.
188.8.131.52.7. To clarify the strategy that you’ve laid forth: If I understand, you’d like to spend $250,000 to gain sixty million signatures on petition online or otherwise and it says that that would then pass direct democracy into law, that gaining that many signatures would pass direct democracy into law…are you stating that gaining sixty million signatures would change American constitution, as it seems to imply in your proposal or as you mentioned before, in reference to that gentleman’s comment that that would just create an atmosphere of inevitability with state legislature, would rush to change the constitution.
DD: Thank you for your question. I understand the confusion. This is the way it would work: once we have one more than sixty million voters, who in effect are agreeing and voting for it, we would then put a lot of pressure on the states to convene a constitutional convention to get a law passed that says in the future that we the people by the sovereign right invested in us, as a majority, could henceforth vote on three laws of our choosing each year, and if a majority passes, in favor of those, they would automatically become law. That’s how it would work.
F: Before we continue with stack, we have gone over our twenty minutes. There are four people still on stack. It does seem that there are a lot of concerns. So I’d like to take a temperature check to see if people want to continue having this discussion now, also acknowledging that those four people won’t be heard.
F: That looks not good. I was asking if people wanted to continue the discussions. It was overwhelmingly down. I would ask if those who are interested in this topic please see Doug, get information about when they meet, or how to get in contact so this can continue outside the GA.
F; So at this point, we’re going to move on. Our last official agenda item is an announcement from Gilbert. We’re going to give him a little more time than our usual announcements because it was initially supposed to be a proposal. But out of the kindness of his heart, he has decided to just make it an announcement.
F: After Gilbert, we’ll open stack for one minute announcements.
78.2.5. Gilbert’s Announcement
184.108.40.206. Good evening I’m Gil from the Alliance Group, Liberation of the People, which is a group of social scientists who study among other things the sickness of people who wield economic power. I’m also here tonight on behalf of the Co-op group. Ever since the psychotic conduct of Bloomberg and the one percent, our movement has been fortified in ways that are not necessarily seen. It’s coming like tsunamis. There are many different expressions and tonight I’d like to speak about two very quickly. One is just to mention housing as permanence residence, not only for those who have been displaced, but all of the OWS activities who would like to live in group style residences with other activists. This is our ideal, our aim. We can get there more quickly if there is less fighting among us. The point I would like to speak about tonight in relation to coop and myself is work. The need for us to become self employed in small working groups, three, four or five people, working together for ourselves and this way, our time is ours for our activity endeavors. And we would have a certain financial base a personal one, for each one. This will fortify us. It’s very good for our own psychological dignity to carry our own weight. It’s also good for the movement as whole so that we don’t have to go to finance for everything. I have thirty years experience in working with the problems that come up in working with group style residences. As well as how to organize your own company quickly. So I would like to invite anyone who is interested in becoming self-employed, especially in small groups of people, to contact me and then we work together with the coop group to get started. I promise you, it’s obvious, this will resolves many problems. Also as other occupation cities copy us in having residences for our activists and having places to work, our self-employment, this will facilitate the exchange that we have between cities because we’ll have places to stay and work to support ourselves. You get the picture. Also with time we can boycott those corporate entities that exploit humanity in favor of the work that we will be doing, which will be the ninety-nine percent because let me speak for all of us for a second, because we insist in living in a more just society of truth, of beauty, of goodness, here on our earth. This earth does not belong to a small group of cowards, who are violent, a little bunch of a**holes. This earth, our lives, our work, everything is ours. I would like to say the creator of the universe is a very humble being and he has identified himself with and he is participating in and is a part of our movement, the ninety-ninth percent. I would like to distribute in writing what I just said, and our telephone number.
F: While those are going around, I think we can open stack for announcements.
First on stack: Mark.
78.3.1. I’m Mark and I’ve got a somewhat….TEXT MISSING. The department of homeland security, like them right, they protect our country, what they do… there’s clear evidence to me that the Department of Homeland Security comes to visit us…I think it’s appropriate for us to ask for a reason why.
F: A reminder: we use the announcement section to disseminate factual information about new working groups that are forming, of coming events, actions, meeting times, etc. This is an important issue that’s more appropriate for the soapbox.
Next on stack: Patrick.
78.3.2. Hello again. I led the meditation grounding exercise earlier, I would like to request that if anybody would like to offer their opinions and thoughts about that exercise to meet me right after the GA over by the kitchen to offer your feedback and that’s all. Thank you.
Next on stack: Kevin.
78.3.3. I want to read something really quick because if you want to change the constitution, it’s written very clearly how to do it. Article 5 of the Constitution. “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” My time’s up, that’s how you change the constitution!
Next on stack: Liza.
78.3.4. Mic check. Hello I’ve been involved in OWS as a part timer since day one. I’ve seen the growth and doubt, one thing that has been on my mind is the process of submitting proposals to the GA, especially proposals asking for money of large quantities and proposals that have to do with OWS agreeing to support a movement…a proposal: I’m proposing to the facilitation group to ask that all proposals spend two weeks on the forums for people to discuss before they’re brought to the GA, so that any questions and concerns can be first worked out online by the community before coming to the GA. Hopefully it’ll shorten the amount of time that we discuss things here. So look for it tomorrow at the facilitation forum.
Next on stack: Joseph.
F: We’re closing stack.
78.3.5. Mic check. I would like to say this summer we can have everything that we need given to us by making our enemies surrender without a fight, without a shot being fired. I need you all to assist me in helping to make history. The media portrays black men as pimps and murderers, crack dealers, rapists, but in every city we can amass one hundred thousand black men, that’s five million black men in the streets, every major intersection and every major street we can make the government listen because historically they fear the Moors. Remember Spain. Guarantee the government will step down cause THEY know what can happen if they don’t, believe me.
F: I believe that was the last person on stack. That was the end of announcements. We’d like to remind everybody that every night following the GA, we have a period called soap box where anyone can speak or dance or do an interpretive art piece or whatever they want to do during soap box. We encourage everyone to stick around!
F: Facilitation meets every day at 4:00 at 60 Wall Street and anybody can come and do what we’re doing here. We really need more people so please come. And a special announcement: Tuesday, December 6th is the day of action in east New York to reclaim a foreclosed home for the family. Facilitation will be meeting there in the streets with the community. We hope that other working groups do the same or join Facilitation for that day. We won’t be at 60 Wall Street. Thank you everybody!