NYC General Assembly Transcript 12/24/2011

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NEW YORK CITY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2011
DAY 99

Transcript: Shawn

Stairs: MIC CHECK! Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah Everybody! I would like to give a special shootout to the Occupiers! They’ve been hanging out int this place, keeping the torch.
Let’s heal, let’s acknowledge one another, and be glad that we’re together her tonight.

Justin: My name is Justin, and I’d like to help get this General Assembly going. But it is dependent on each and every person here taking one step to participate. So decide for yourself how you’re participating.

Aaron: OK! I want to do something a little different tonight. Instead of doing this (downtwinkles) which is negative, lets just do this (Uptwinkles). It’s Christmas Eve, let’s be positive.

(Disagreement) It’s just a suggestion.

The First Agenda item is the Unsettling Occupation.

Mic Check! My name is Lauren, but there are lots of Laurens, so folks call me LJ.

You can call me Dee!

This Thursday, December 29th, we want to gather for a commemoration of the Massacre of Wounded Knee. We seek to initiate an open dialogue with indigenous American to raise local & national awareness of current struggles & recognize the injustice and inequalities we all face in the light of colonialism. the gathering on Thursday will feature an amazing group of individuals. We have two activists and educators named Janice & Jake joining us from Pine Ridge in S where the unemployment rate is approzimately. 85-90%. We are very icky to be working w an organization in NY called MAERINDA that supports native ppl in NEw York. We are also featuring and activist named Ghost Horse and our very good friend Fire Wolf, our friend Emelda and an amazing 81 yr old radical feminist activist performance artists named Gloria who is gonna blow your mind. the vent will take place Thursday at Irondale in Brooklyn. We’re gonna have an important conversation about the meaning of occupation, and how we can be more inclusive, more just, and more radical in our love in & our actions. So tonight we are asking for some money to make this righteous event happen. On this sheet that we handed out, it has our budget, with the total of $2,687. If it’s okay, i can read you the breakdown is.

$1,107 for a flight from Rapid City, SD to New York for JAke Little, nationally recognized american indian activist, but does not have the funds to join us on his own.
$130 to hook JAke up with a Metrocard and a car. He’s staying with our friend Chris Hedges in New Jersey.
$500 for the space at Irondale for 6 hours. They are giving us a super discounted rate that is only covering their electricity and their cleanup staff.
$400 for Art materials for Gloria, so she can blow our minds
$50 for Gloria to get here because she’s 81 and walks with a cane
$500 candles & art materials so we can gather in the park and commemorate the losses of lives at Wounded Knee n 1890 and to make a commitment within OWS to support ongoing native struggles and for natives and non-natives to come together as allies and for usual to love each other and fight together.

Stack open for Clarifying Questions:

Justin: Which WG is presenting this, and what does this group do on a regular basis to achieve the goals of this proposal?

A : the Direct Action Working Group, and this action is the beginning of a relationship between the subgroup in DA and AMERINDA which we develop both small scale and mass actions in 2012.

Justin: My question still remains. You say you’re from DA, but this sounds like something for indigenous/ Native American concerns. Are there ways you could achieve these goals without flying people in for people to come occupy when our own occupiers don’t even come to the park? That’s all i got.

LJ: We all care very much about each other and about the loss of our space here at Liberty Square and we think it is important to think about occupation in many different ways. Because occupying physical spaces is considered to be violent fort mammy people who live on land that was already occupied by force. So we feel this is an important discussion to have at a time where our movement is redefining itself beyond beyond the confines of literal spaces. So about JAke Little coming in from SD, we feel that this is an important step for connecting what is the mother movement here at Wall Street with other movements across the country and to start a national dialogue about how we can be more radical in thinking about occupations and reaching people who do not want to join us because they feel occupying spaces is violent to them because we are not addressing theses issues of colonialism.

Justin: Thank you, but none ofmy questions have been answered, but you are not being cear.

LJ: Maybe we could talk afterwards?

Next on sac: Have you looked for any sponsors or had any fundraisers?

Dee: the answer is no. We have not had much time to put this together.

LJ: I would like to explain. JAnice Richards, who isa very important activist is going to be here , so we wanted t put something together in her honor. Everything else necessary for the event has been donated in-kind.

Next on stack:

Alexis: What’s the capacity at Irondale

LJ: About 300-350

Justin: A few questions: why did you wait until this close to the date? why did you not consult w Arts & Culture to save on art supplies from your budget.

LJ: I did not know we could get art supplies… We have been planing this for a couple weeks, there were number of variable that we didn’t feel we could present until things were definite. the plane ticket has already been purchased by a very understanding supporter, but who also has credit card debt and would very much like to be reimbursed.

Next on stack,

Q: What is the reason this is time sensitive?

A: It is the anniversary of the Wounded KNee Massacre

Stairs: Stack is closed.

Q: My question is hat type of promotional materials have you been outing out? Essentially, what kind of advertising have you done up until this point?

A: We have gotten the world out on the websites for AMERINDA and on the radio show Ghost Horse who is also going to have her activist friends on his upcoming radio show this week for more promotion. WE have sent email blasts to interested organizations about the event and for materials and the OWS and NYCGA website are with the appropriate parties as we speak.

Q: Trish: Is this clarification or friendly amendments? Have you reached out to our native american working group who has been occupying here since September 17th? Have you gotten any feedback?

A: I did not know that working group existed. Are you talking about the Native American Indian Movement? Yes, we have…

Trish: He has something to say, and I am giving my my.. my.. point.

Stairs: I want to make sure everybody;s okay with that.

Joseph: This is a solemn memorial and respect toward our ancestors, we should keep it as such and dignified. We shouldn’t have any personality contests, so let’s continue on and do this…

Stairs: Can we agree to 10 minutes for concerns?

Stack is open for concerns.

? I am concerned that this even is too hasty. There are indigenous people here who weren’t contacted. This is topic is really specific. I believe we have current structures in place against other groups of people who are facing the same indignities that occurred at Wounded kNee but are occurring in a different context. I think that this event is a great idea, but in the future, there be consideration given to parallel events from the past and the current.

L: We agree with you, in the future, we will do events that connect parallel experiences between groups of people across the past and the present.

Next on stack: Nan: I think if OWS did not support this movement, it would be the wrong thing to do. My concern is that the Native Americans, whatever tribe they came from, this is their land. We are walking their land. We are eating their food. We are in solidarity with you guys. and we want solidarity with Occupy Wall sTreet. Im really concerned with those people who will try to fuck this up, we really need it.

Stack is closed.

Stack is open for Friendly Amendments.

Sparrow:I would like to mend the bill to contact arts and culture to get the needed supplies, and if they don’t have Them, they should be able to purchase what they don’t have in stock. Also , I don’t know how i would do this, but if you could amend your proposal so that Occupy Theatre could do a 10 minute piece on the parallel experiences of people.

J: We accept the Arts & Culture amendment and commit to return any money not spent on resources we need. the second part i don’t feel that i can answer right now because this event has happened in collaboration with al of those on the program and i can not spek for them and would have to ask them how they feel about having another performance, but I can ask them

Sparrow: I feel it would be great if occupiers could be part of the event and it’s a great idea that you will be checking in with Arts & culture.

Nan: I would like some kind of card where people can sign write their thoughts as occupiers, as OWS to say thank you, we appreciate you, we’re on board with you and we know your history, we are walking with you as you walk with us, and people sign that card.

Shawn: I have a friendly amendment, I lived on Pine Ridge for a month, and I feel that that ype of gesture would not be appreciated. IT’s patronizing.

LJ: In keeping with what Shawn said, I suggest we have a card for everyone at the event, that we do not address everyone at Pine Ridge, but we address thjose that we do know personally.

Proposers will re-read the proposal.

We propose a gathering on December 29th, which is the 121st anniversary oft he massacre at Wounded KNee. the goals of the event are to listen to native voices. By listening, OWS can move toward a radical unsettling of occupation in vision and in action and build a movement that is more expansive and more loving and more just. the other goals are to ask how OWS can support ongoing native struggles locally and nationally and to organize at the center of power. This event will also pave a path toward meaningful reciprocity between AMERINDA and new york. We will also mobilize the media attention we have been receiving and redistribute it to community underserved by mainstream media to expose the injustices of natives residing in urban communities. We will check with arts and culture to see which art supplies we can receive without paying anything. We will also have a card which a ll our occupiers can sign and express their feelings for our friends coming in from pine ridge.

Temperature check?

That looks like a consensus!

Someone: You didn’t ask for any blocks…

Diego: Sorry! It’s christmas eve! I assumed no one was going to block it. How silly of me! are there any blocks?

No blocks.

We hope to see you all thursday at 5:30 at Irondale! I love you all!

MIC CHECK!

Lauren has an announcement:

Lauren: Does anybody have Charlie’s number from Sustainability?

NEXT PRPOSAL

To prohibit working groups from meeting during GAs and Spokes Council.

Jason: General Assembly is the hereof our movement. IT is where we exercise direct democracy. There are times when we leave hundreds of people at 60 wall street….

Shawn: Could you use people’s mic?

Jason: the proposal is to prohibit working groups from holding meetings during general assembly and during spokes council These are the processes where we exercise direct democracy. If they’re not here, they are not participating. We need them.

Diego: Can we consense on 10 minutes for clarifying questions?

David: Hi! I have two quick questions: Are you part of a working group, and how would you plan to enforce this proposal?

A: First, I’m part of many working groups. but I’m bringing this as an individual. Second, I plan to enforce it through the General Assembly.

Q: Participation in the assemblies we’ve created without participation, we can’t get anything done. It’s also important to workshop proposals like these with the people that are affected. So my question is, what type of workshopping was done the people that this proposals affects?

A: I personally haven’t dine much. But, NYCGA council has already gone around to working groups to request that these meetings stop happening.

Trish: Your proposal if it passed would mean no working group meetings would go past 7:00.

Q: Sparrow: Have you considered the possibility that prohibition is a very violent word, and perhaps and alternative terminology that wasn’t compulsory could be used in its stead?

A: I did consider that, I used the word”prohibited” because it is compulsory.

Q: Nan: Since you guys want to do this, what about Kitchen who feeds people in the evening around 6:30 or 7:00?

A: I think kitchen’s pretty reasonable. They’re here at General Assembly! So if you want to eat, come to general assembly.

Q: Sparrow: So since prohibition is going to be a part of the terminology, have you considered that every group is autonomous and can send a rep to the meetings while they’re having their meetings or doing their business?

A: It did cross my mind. But at the same time i would like to have more than a rep. I think we as movement need all the people we can get.

Stairs: I would like to point out we only have 2 minutes left.

Q: Trish: I have reached out to Kitchen. WE are working on serving hot meals at 60 Wall St before 5:00 so that we can attend GA. If not possible, we will have pizza.

Q: Nan: I think this is a great thing as we do need more people in GA. But, my question is Sparrow has basically said something about the working groups have meetings during those hours. MY question to you is not everybody can make it on time because people are working. You have to take it into consideration some meetings start late and some groups probably aren’t going to do it.

Stairs: Now we’re going to go to some concerns. Can we set aside 10 minutes for concerns?

Stack is open for concerns.

Yoni: My conern, under the current system, that would mean we could never meet after 7, and most people have jobs before 7. Perhaps we could work a system where we enforce this only part of the days.

A: To respond to your concern, that sounds more like a FA. I have a job, and I need to get off work to get here. I do my best. Im not always on time. I feel that. But at the same time, this movement gotta keep moving. Otherwise, the work you’re doing might not be worth as much.

PoI: Justin S: When we designed this in the beginning that on the weekends, people who aren’t full time occupiers could participate on Saturdays and Sundays.

?: My concern is groups need time to change their meetings. I didn’t hear anything in your proposals about a grace period, so that’s my concern.

A: That again sounds like a FA. if we can amend it to begging this the second week of January.

Justin: I’m very concerned for 2 reasons: there are many people who want participate but view the GA as an dysfunctional body. 7:00 for the rest of the evening is a long period of time. This would violate working groups’ autonomy.

A: That is a great point. WGs are autonomous, but I feel if they were truly down with the movement, they’d be down here. I also feel if we had more pope here there would be less disruptions.

John: I’d lie to reiterate I think it’s really important the concern that this brother has which is participation. Without it, we can’t get anything done. I also share the concern that was just raised which is an erosion of autonomy. People need to be given the choice where they want to be at certain times. With this principle in mind of being able to make your own choices i am concerned that this kind of proposals is kind of babying people.

Justin: My concern is that we marginalize through design. This proposal is trying to change that.

Trish: I understood this proposal was not focused on working groups not meeting. the proposal is focused on working not meeting after 7:00 on nights of GA and Spokes. Individuals who are at meetings who would not be at GA is the heart of the movement. Nothing happens unless there is GA participation. More than 3 dozen people than 200 people that are at 60 Wall eating and getting Metrocards.

PoI: in 2012 we are going to start having GAs on Mondays, wednesdays and Fridays at the same time as GAs. Facilitation has planned to start having Monday Wednesday Friday GAs

Someone: That’s not true!

PoI: Stephen: That is not a fact.

Tim: Hi! I really love this proposal, I’ve been thinking that we should do this for a while, but my idea of it was that the GA ask peep to focus on coming to GA. I think prohibition, as Sparrow said, is untenable and kind of forceful and ultimately people will ignore it, while a reasonable and friendly request would be taken in good faith and possibly heeded. So that’s what I think.

Stack has ended.

We;re going to move on to Friendly Amendments.

Let’s open stack on Friendly Amendments.

Trish: My friendly amendment, that’s right, is that this proposal addresses the general assembly rather than spokes, because the general assembly is the heart of the movement. Proposals are brought to the genera assembly. WE support the occupiers with shelter, food, and transportation. We ask the occupiers to support the general assembly to commit to one two general assemblies on their own. They can make the decision, if not, General Assembly will the decision for Them.

Stephen: My FA is that this proposal apply to GAs on tuesday thursday and saturday.

A: I can take that.

Next on stack: Yoni: My FA is very similar, except on Saturday and Sunday, people have the whole day open so they should be at the GA, but on the weekdays, it’s not as easy. There is no point of having a GA if there’s no one to take proposals for the GA.

Proposer: Can you clarify that?

Yoni: they have to come on weekends, and two days during the week.

Diego: My FA is that we implement this once we establish someplace inside for GAs, and not before. Because people will just go inside because its too cold. And they’ll have excuses to chat, and call it a meeting.

Proposer: I would like to decline that Friendly Amendment. But i accepted the FA to implement it January 15th, And we should be inside by then.

Shawn: My friendly amendment. is to change the language in this proposal from “prohibit” to “suggest”.

A: I’ve seen this pass at other occupations, and it’s helped out a lot. And we really need it.

Tim: Hi! I strongly feel that because we operate on consensus, which is a collective for m of consenting, telling people what they can and cant do at a certain time is kind of an oxymoron. We’re asking them to be here and consent to things without their consent, so please change the language to make it a request, to appeal to our principles and the GA, and please don’t make me block this proposal because it tells people what to do.

A: If people aren’t here to vote, they clearly don’t care to vote and see what going on. I personally feel very disrespected that people don’t give half a care to come out to GA and participate in our direct democracy. I don’t want to make you block this, but like you said, we can’t make people do anything.

Nan: What I would like to see, I agree with this proposal by the way, i would like to have one day focus on proposals regarding finance budgeting and money.

A: To respond to your FA, i do not have any type of power to facilitate that type of request. but we can always bring is as a proposal.

PoI: There is a proposal being circulated that addresses what she just said.

Sparrow: I believe that we should amend this proposal at another location for about a week so we can work on the language so that the language is not so violent. Abig portion of the movement has been pushing this idea of non-violent communication, nd the parameters of this proposals are very violent. I think if everybody showed up to meetings, shit would get down.

A: I am willing to adjust the language to say that general assembly formally requests all irking groups and or caucuses and affinity groups and anyone else who claims to be involved in OWS to stop all meetings during General Assembly.

Stack is closed.

Restated:
That GA formally requests that all working groups caucuses and affinity groups associated with Occupy Wall Street do not meet during the times of General Assembly. If passed, this will not be initiated until January 15h. This extends for meeting times to not apply to Sunday.

Stack is closed.

Are there any blocks?

3 blocks:

John: My block is because one of our core principles is that of respecting individual autonomy. While the language was changed, I still think that this proposal is in opposition to one of these core principles.

Shawn: This proposal directly violates the principles of autonomy.

A: I’ve never heard of the principles of autonomy, but solidarity oversteps autonomy.

Nicholas: my block is moral, ethical, as well as safety. You’re saying direct democracy. But you are saying you are forcing people to attend these meetings.

Dwayne: This is stopping WGs from meeting at at time which may be the best time for them to meet. i don’t think it should be up to the GA to decide when a group of individuals to get together.

Stack has ended.

Time has run out.

The proposer has refused to table.

Moving to consensus.

Are there any blocks?

6 blocks.

Proposal does not pass.

General Assembly ends.

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