NYCGA Minutes 12/4/2011

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, General Assembly Minutes.


Date/Time: 12/4/2011 / 7pm

Location: Liberty Plaza


Time Keeper: Alex; Stack Taker: Habiba; Minutes: Dara


79.1.  Working Group Report Backs

79.2.  Emergency Proposals (Occupy Atlanta, Western Massachusetts)

79.3.  Agenda Items (OWS Constitution Working Group Proposal, Vision & Goals Breakout Group, Church Heating Proposal, SOPA Proposal, Amendment to the Edmonton proposal, Alternative Banking Discussion, Occupy Farms Proposal, Occupy 477 Budget Proposal, Spokes Council Assembly and Temporary Authorization Proposal)

79.4.  Announcements


F: Nathan

F: Danny

F: Yes there are two men co facilitating tonight. At facilitation we try to be as diverse as possible. This is a voluntary position and tonight there happens to be two men. We apologize and love you as well.

Habiba – stack

Alex – Time


79.1.  Working Group Report Backs

F: We will be using the people’s mic. We would like to start with working group report backs, then emergency proposals, and then submitted proposals posted on in the last twenty-four hours, and finally announcements and then open it up for soapbox.

F: Before we begin let’s do a review of hand signals. Review of hand signals.

[Did not capture the review verbatim]

Concern: With regards to a block how many people to block a proposal?

F: The way the process works, if there is one block it then falls on facilitation to try to come to an agreement between proposer and blocker. If that agreement cannot be reached we move to a modified consensus, we move from consensus to voting. If 9/10ths agrees to pass then it passes and theoretically you walk from the movement.

79.1.1.  Comfort Station: Hi everybody how are you doing today? Awesome. First of all we would like to thank you for supporting our proposal on Thanksgiving day. We are pleased to report that we have submitted a weekly finance report which will be made available online: We are on twitter at Comfort Station. We have office hours from 3pm to 7pm during the day and on weekends we do not have a set schedule because SIS has just changed their hours. We will keep you informed. We do not have a computer so we apologize for the delay that it takes us to post our minute meetings and our finance reports. We are also looking for volunteers to help us do cop watch for the occupiers who occupy the park all night long. If you would like to volunteer –

79.1.2.  Occupy 477 Harlem: Reporting back the past week we have proceeded to get rid of all the bed bugs. This is great news. Secondly we have fully working wifi and also two offices set up. We are asking for anyone with experience in construction or home improvement to come and speak to me for further projects.

F: Comfort station asked to add if you want to attend their meeting it will happen at their office behind you at 6:30 on Monday.

79.1.3.  Housing: We had a very productive meeting today with housing. at this point we have enough room for everybody in our current housing but these sites are only temporary. We now have an intake questionnaire, which allows access to those who are currently not on the list. Joe at 86th and Broadway has been let go from his position as nightly doorman. We are developing roving info stations. These people are coordinating with the main info WG to get info to those who need it about housing. We are still organizing future sites. If you have any questions please come to our daily meetings at 4:30pm at 60 Wall Street .We also meet on Sunday at noon. The phone number to get a space at 86th and Broadway and Park Slope is 916.538.1466. Any questions go see Lauren.

F: I feel like if we all moved in a little we could not use mic and make go quicker.

79.1.4.  Adam from Trade Justice: Over the last month or so we had a whole bunch of actions targeting the proposed trade agreement with Korea [I did not capture this report very well]. Monday we will be interviewed on a Korean podcast and they are excited to hear about our activities and OWS in general. We will post more information on the web at We are trying to schedule a meeting to get more people involved and learn more about trade justice and globalization.


79.2.  Emergency Proposals

F: Emergency Proposal

79.2.1.  Occupy Atlanta Emergency Proposal

F: Emergency Proposal from Occupy Atlanta to gain funds for bail  Occupy Atlanta (Jason): Atlanta is attempting to retake park tonight and there is no money in the bail fund. They wanted to get $1500 for legal fund.

F: Emergency proposals are not posted online and we need to decide whether to continue with consensus process on this proposal. Temp check to continue: [positive].

Jason: To note, Occupy Atlanta came to consensus on Wednesday to formally request this money but because I haven’t had any money to get back out here to GA, I haven’t been able to bring this proposal.

F: Now to consensus process. Clarifying questions.  Clarifying Questions (CQ)  CQ: Who will be receiving the money?

Response: Occupy Atlanta legal fund. They have all the information all ready to send to finance. We have people from national legal guild. The general fund is not allowed to give money to the legal fund or any other entity.  CQ: How many people plan on trying to occupy the park?

Response: Seventy-five people.  CQ: How much does it typically cost to bail someone out?

Response: Around 300 to 500 dollars if they are not awarded a signature bond which allows them to be released on own recognizance.  CQ: Does Atlanta have money in its general fund that they could be using?

Response: Yes but no money in the legal fund.  Concerns  C: Explain why no money in the general fund can be used for legal.

Response from Shawn: The general fund money is taken as 501 c3 tax deductible money, which cannot be used for legal purposes because it is tax deductible. Legal needs to get 501c4 money, which is not tax deductible. They currently do not have any money for bail.

Trish: So you do have 501c3 designation and is there no way for you to tap any other source because we put ourselves in the position of financially bailing all the Occupies in the nation out of jail in the country. I would suggest that you tap or attempt to tap another resource.

Shawn: I can give you their answer. They are asking many occupations for assistance in this, which is why they aren’t here right now to ask themselves. They are also trying to get money through donations. They weren’t sure that would work before they got arrested today so they asked us to help.

Trish: This will be a deep dark hole for our finance treasury. We don’t know how deep it will go. We don’t know the bails involved. We don’t know the charges that may be attributed to the occupiers. Let’s give this some serious thought.

F: Is there a monetary limit you are asking for?

Response: We are only asking for $1500 to defray legal costs.

Tiga: We all formed a part with each other. United we stand divided we fall. I just joined occupy Newark. They have same problems. I hope that every occupant learns from the mistakes and hope that everyone knows whatever color and background we are going to accept you and everyone has flaws. We are not perfect.

PoP: That is not a concern related to this proposal

CQ: Is Atlanta trying to get 501c4 status as well?

Response: It was being worked on at the time I left but I have no current update for that.

Shawn: They currently have their legal fund, which is 501c4, however that account is currently tapped. They need money very quickly for bail. They are probably getting arrested right now. They need it probably by Tuesday and they said they would have no problem trying to return at a later point, but they cant say that right now or else they would be exchanging money between two accounts and that is not allowed.

Trish: My question is when occupiers went in to risk their liberty knowing there was no funds was this a foreseeable matter?

Response: I would have to say yes. They haven’t gone in yet they have been trying since Tuesday.

PoI: Atlanta has a city ordinance that closes all city parks at 11pm. Occupy Atlanta is trying to exploit a technicality in the municipal code and that action is set for tonight.

F: we are in concerns portion closing stack after next concern. Moving on to amendments.  C: Why tonight versus tomorrow? I am concerned they could do this tomorrow.

Response: We wanted to do this earlier but I haven’t been able to make it back.  My concern is that Atlanta could do the action tomorrow.  Friendly Amendments (FA)  FA: I would amend that there be a limitation and that better planning goes into future actions.

Response: I do not have the power to accept. I can relay the message. I will add on that message but it should not be a requirement.

F: Okay so a stipulation of this proposal being approved will be to express to Occupy Atlanta that in the future they need to present these requests with more advance notice.  I would like to amend the amendment in the event that they do not have more time to give us advance notice that we need more specific details about the cause of the urgency.

Response: Accepted.  Trish: My friendly amendment is that occupy Atlanta sets a cap on how many people are to be arrested doing an activity like this. There are plenty of planning and forethoughts and just to be arrested for publicity is a valid issue but it should be with forethought.

Response: I can only relay the message.

PoI: When they were asked on Tuesday, they said that their average arrest was ten to twenty per action. This requested amount of money isn’t working with the expectation of more than twenty arrests.

F: We are close to time allotted for this proposal. Open up for five minutes more. Positive.

F: After done with amendment we will close stack.

GA: I think that it is problematic for NY general assembly to put restrictions on other general assemblies. We get money from around the world and we have to be open for other people’s processes. I am sorry I am out of order.  FA: I have a friendly amendment. This movement is about building trust and not micromanaging each other. We should send a message with this money that we express our heartfelt solidarity to occupy Atlanta.

Response: Accept.  I have an amendment in the spirit of the previous friendly amendment that we strike the language from the original amendment because I find it paternalistic and micro managing.

Response: Okay.

F: I will be quite honest as facilitation I am not sure how to address this issue. Both of these amendments are opposites of each other and it seems confusing to accept both so the proposer would like to take temp check about each one. I believe that the first said something like this -to have better planning on future actions need more advanced notice. The second expressed heartfelt solidarity and moved to strike the language of the first amendment because it was paternalistic and micromanaging. Temp check is positive on second amendment.

Proposer: In the spirit of future practicality can we convey a message of heartfelt solidarity with a future warning of notice for our own general details?

F:  I Feel like we are going back and forth and we had a positive temp check on the heartfelt solidarity. Let’s move to temp check on the proposal. Please restate.  We are asking for $1500 dollars to cover arrests tonight during occupy Atlanta’s attempt to reoccupy the park. The money will be sent with a message of heartfelt solidarity.

F: Really positive. No blocks. We have consensus.

79.2.2.  Western Massachusetts Emergency Proposal

F: Our next emergency proposal is one that we had tabled at last GA because we ran out of time. Is it okay if this presenter who has to go back to western mass tomorrow make proposal tonight? Temp check [positive]  Doug: I am Captain Douggers from western mass. I’ve been here 7 weeks and I’ve really enjoyed being with you new Yorkers and everyone from around the world here at OWS. What id like to do is briefly introduce this resolution and tell you what the proposal is. In 1787 the majority of ‘we the people’ from thirteen states sent their representatives to a continental convention to see if they wanted to ratify a new US constitution and create a new nation called America and they did that. Unfortunately there is no language in the constitution to empower ‘we the people’ to make amendments or pass laws of our own choosing. Since both our economic and political systems are horrendously corrupt we feel the time has come to pass some laws or an amendment that would give ‘we the people’ direct voting democracy, so we’ve been working on a proposition that will work this way:

If a large number of millions go online to the website that we have set up which is people can sign on to a national citizens initiative and in effect vote for it. If we get 1 more than the majority of people who voted in last election, which was 60 million plus one then we would have a majority of Americans who are voting for and saying that we want direct voting democracy at national and federal level.

I am Proposing tonight to the GA at OWS NYC that we move ahead with this plan that our board of directors, the democracy foundation has been working on for 10 years on which 12000 Americans have already signed on and voted for.

Our campaign calls for the hiring of an outstanding Internet marketing company. We have reviewed a number of them and selected 9 whom we feel could do an excellent job of helping us garner 10 million voters online. We feel that if we can get 10 million voters to sign on this will give us enough energy to reach 60 million plus one voters. Once we have the 60 million plus one we will have unprecedented strength to demand that congress pass an amendment giving us the right to vote and amend constitution at least once a year or to vote on 3 laws of our choosing at the federal and national level each year. This campaign will cost 250,000. It is our expectation that it will take between 3 and 5 years.

We are asking the GA to give 10% down, which is $25000 to launch the campaign. Also we are asking OWS to move into unity and solidarity with us to show the people of America that we have the total support and backing of OWS.

The other thing is that if congress refuses, we will demand that 34 states call a constitutional convention to ratify the law to give us direct voting democracy. We feel it is important to pursue this in order to bring about radical and route-cause change to our economic and political systems, which are so corrupt.

F: I think it will be useful to state in one sentence so that everyone knows what they would be consenting to.

Doug: Our democracy foundation is proposing and asking the OWS GA for 25,000 dollars to help us launch a national ballet initiative campaign, which will give us an opportunity to hire a marketing/internet company to get us 10 million American voters online.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: You stated earlier that the plan has been in development for 10 years. At that website or somewhere on the web is there a location to read full details of the plan?

Response: – all info is there and you will be given an opportunity to sign on and vote for it.  CQ: since this organization exists outside ows my question is are you asking for funding from any other occupations or any other organizations?

Response: At this time since ive been here 7 weeks embedded in the OWS nyc. I am only making the proposal to NYC. But that is a good suggestion and I will look into it and follow up on.  Robert: We know what is in it for you but what is in it for OWS?

Response: Thank you for the opportunity. Actually that is an excellent question. We feel very strongly that we are aligned with OWS and that because OWS has come to 1300 towns and cities in America and many countries around the world that now is the time to align ourselves with this movement together as one to move forward and seize the day to step up and take real direct voting democracy for all of us.  Chenelle: The constitution states a process to amend the constitution. Does this proposal have anything to do with that process?

Response: It definitely does. It’s our belief that once Americans have shown with a majority vote that they are in favor of direct voting democracy this will give the energy and fortitude we need to put pressure on congress or 2/3rds of states to get an amendment ratified and that’s what we aim to do.  Wolf: My question is have you exhausted every other alternative such as a kick start campaign or any other fundraiser since this is a sizable amount of money asking for.

Response: Our campaign efforts will be focused on raising 225000 dollars which is the balance of the money needed to complete this campaign. That’s where we feel our campaign efforts should be at this time and that’s why we need your help to get this launched nationally and worldwide.  Oren: In spirit of OWS many people take action to support the movement without monetary compensation. What efforts have you taken to reach people who are willing to work for free?

Response: This campaign absolutely requires professional specialized marketing expertise. It cannot be done and won’t be successful without it.  Sati: In California and in other places they do have direct democracy and many activists like us are not very happy with it and you are asking for 25000. People with wrong motives can outspend you and get other similar proposals passed.

Response: To provide clarity I think what he is asking is about state ballot initiatives in which people have not been happy with outcome. That is one problem and the other is that a large well-funded org could out fund you and steal your campaign and get something passed that you don’t want.

Twenty-four states to date have passed state ballot initiatives. Most of these states are happy. The problem in CA is that they went and passed prop. Thirteen a long time ago, which now prevents them from raising property taxes so now they have a huge billion dollar state debt. On the other question yes it is true that an org could come in and spend all kinds of money and co-opt the movement and get something else passed. What I say is that we have never tried direct voting democracy at national and federal levels and this is the time to give it a try because we have so much corruption in our economic and political systems.

F: We have one minute left on this proposal and we are still on clarifying questions. Temp check on extending.

F: It does not look positive on extending.

F: No consensus on extending proposal.

Doug: Thank you, good luck.

F: Before we move on why don’t we take a temp check on how we feel about the proposal.

F: Overwhelmingly negative.

F: Those were two emergency proposals. Now we will go to regular proposals.


79.3.  Agenda Items

F: The Constitution Working Group has some documentation. This proposal will get 30 minutes of GA time.

79.3.1.  Constitution Working Group Proposal  Hi, I’m Bob and I’m Judith and we are the OWS Constitution working group. On November 2nd we presented a statement of beliefs of a platform of future actions. We ask you to go to and sign that platform. Many people have done so. We also distributed copies here that night. Tonight we present the next steps for your consideration. We are seeking the solidarity of OWS on this proposal. We are Suggesting a 1 week period for review so you don’t have to know everything tonight. We submit for your review and approval 7 First Amendment petitions to remedy violations of our constitution.

Why is this important for you? Devastating America’s economy and pauperizing we the people. None of us would be here tonight if our elected officials had obeyed the rule of law. We have been tracking this and can show you the proof. We the people have the unalienable right to hold the government accountable. This right to hold the government accountable is guaranteed by the  1st amendment and by every single state constitution.

This proposal is the peaceful and legal way we can hold government accountable to the rest of the constitution. This right has been forgotten by the people to the pleasure of government but no more. If government does not respond to our petitions we have the right to peaceably enforce our rights. Individuals and small groups cannot prevail. We need millions of people to support the petitions to pressure government to listen and respond, to put the ultimate power back in ‘we the people’ where it was meant to reside in the first place. Each petition in this packet addresses a major violation of the constitution. It gives a factual account of the violation. Each petition gives instructions to government on how to stop the violation and give relief to the people. These petitions are legal and professional documents worthy of the free people of America.

Here is a summary of each petition:

Unconstitutional bailouts of corporations and foreign countries. No authority in the constitution for government to give public funds to private entities or foreign countries.

Unconstitutional federal reserve system. No authority for privately owned central bank

Unconstitutional money and monetary policy – our current debt based, fiat monetary system is prohibited by the US constitution.

Unconstitutional public debt – We the free people of America are only responsibility for constitutionally valid debt.

Public Education and the Constitution. There is woefully inadequate public education by our states. No system of public education in America should be devoid of instruction on the history, meaning , effect and significance of the principles, restrictions and prohibitions of the supreme law of the land, our state and federal constitutions. No system of public education in America should ever withhold knowledge from you regarding popular sovereignty and your natural and inalienable rights.

Unconstitutional Counting of Votes in Secret. The FREE People of America have a constitutionally guaranteed Right to know their votes are being accurately counted without special, expert knowledge, a Right that is violated by electronic voting systems.

War Powers. We the people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to an executive branch that does not apply the armed forces of the US in hostilities overseas without the approval and authorization of our representatives in congress. We also have a right to a foreign policy that does not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, taking sides and causing people to direct hostilities at Americans

We submitted this proposal for a one week period of review. It is posted on the NYCGA website. Please read the handout. We will be handing out copies tomorrow, including at Spokes Council. We will have teach-ins on the petitions tomorrow at 2pm at 60 wall St. We will report back on Tuesday to announce more sessions during the week and when we come back to GA next weekend then we can discuss.

Here is what will happen if you agree on these petitions. The final petitions will be posted on our website. we will reach out to all in and out of occupy movement for their support. We need 5% of Americas’ population to sign the petitions. We would like to do this by Jan 20th 2012. If successful they will be served on the president and every member of congress and state legislatures. We believe that civic education without civic action is for not, and action without civic education is for not.

To secure a response from government to ensure voices are heard, the petitions set a 40 day period for the government to respond. These petitions do not address all the problems, but if these alone were addressed it would cause a huge shift and set our country back on a positive course. We need everyone. Time is of the essence in America. Please remember that the constitution is not a menu. It cannot defend itself. Our elected officials have been ignoring the constitution. The government is not going to defend it. Corporate America, nor corporate media is going to defend it.

Our State and Federal Constitutions will not be defended unless We, the Free People of America defend it. I am voice of the constitution and I am free. In Jefferson’s words “The People are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our Liberties.”

The packets define each of the seven petitions in detail.  You are hearing an executive summary right now.

F: Because of nature of the proposal we are going to move forward.

79.3.2.  Proposal from Tech Ops

Sage: Restricted Diet working group, come see me before you leave tonight.

F: The process we follow here is very important to make sure we all respect each other. Thank you Sage for your announcement, but it was out of order.  Tech: I guess we will use the people’s mic. So I’m here to present and hopefully get consensus on a statement expressing our opposition to the stop online piracy act and the protect IP act. to technologists these are being called the black list acts. They give government the ability to restrict access to content on the internet using the process of DNS take down. Temp check on reading statement. Mixed. I will summarize it.

The first paragraph says that the passage of these legislations would cross a line of moral sanity from beyond which it would be difficult to return. It begs our legislatures, or rather beseeches them to prevent it from passing.

The second paragraph describes the legislations and talks about their problems, including overly broad language, low burdens of proof, and  high potential for collateral damage. These bills would affect more than just the supposedly infringing content.

The third paragraph talks about outside groups who are also against the bill, including google and facebook who are not really our friend, but have still come out in opposition.

The fourth paragraph talks about the importance of digital networks in this movement and in our hope for future. They help us to be more interconnected now and give us the ability to fight a global struggle.

The fifth paragraph essentially is a reiteration of the first paragraph and states that these bills must not become law.

F: Open up CQ and again the proposer is seeking your consensus about endorsing this statement.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Where would you post it?

Response: NYCGA.Net although if they wanted to post it as well that would be great  CQ: Is there anything in there that addresses the issue of whether the people ought to trust this government to make decisions over where or whether the small amount of pirated content should justify giving up these major rights of freedom we share on the internet.

Response: Essentially that is the gist of the statement. If I may read one portion that speaks to that. “We recognize the critical importance of free and open internet… “  CQ: You have established the current bill that is about to be passed. There are a couple of other things I feel that are currently going on and have been going on that are just as important as this. Is there a way to put those things together into this proposal?

Response: This statement was drafted by a team of people around the country and originally it was four times this long and it mentioned the national defense authorization act, Patriot Act, restoring Glass Steigal, and other list of grievances. We shortened it and took those out because we hope other groups besides the Tech group will address.  CQ: I should be more specific in terms of my concerns with this because its about internet and free speech and the fact that it is has been and is being used as a surveillance mechanism and my question is that I think it fits in here.

F: This sounds more pertinent for friendly amendments.

Sage: If it’s okay I’d like to not use mic check. When I first came to OWS I found a lot of people who had different focuses and different points of view. OWS and GA was open forum. I’m not concerned with what you are saying but with how NYC GA has become and that you need to already have the approval of the GA before you present anything at GA.

PoP: This is highly unrelated to this proposal.

Tech Response: I hear you Sage, I think that I have a lot of things that I want to say that I don’t need this body. I want to speak with our voice and I need our consent to do that and that the people who happen to be here tonight can approve it.

PoP: We are stuck in a back and forth and there is a stack. This is not a clarifying question and not the time.  CQ: I totally support any and all action to prevent the passage of these bills. My question is are you proposing that we simply issue a statement or are you prescribing a petitioning or action to mobilize.

Response: This is to issue a statement. As an individual I encourage you to sign the petition already on the web [he did not give address]. It already has 800,000 signatures.  Nan: Question I agree with everything here. If it passes what is the next step how are you going to let us know what is going on. How are you going to monitor to keep us informed?

Tech: Great questions. Nan perhaps during friendly amendments you could propose an amendment to empower tech to modify the website to track key pieces of legislation. Maybe not even just these bills, although that seems outside scoop.  Concerns  C: I am concerned that in the language you might also want to address the idea of intellectual property all together. It’s not an amendment but I want to hear if you are into it.

Response: The original draft had 3 sections. Free knowledge, free culture, free society and under free culture we railed against current IP regime. It ended up on the etherpad floor as you might say. Yes our system of IP is super messed up, but we wanted to keep this brief and maybe next week we will talk about IP.  Robert: I would like to see more specific examples of why this legislation is so heinous to flush the statement out.

Response: The problem we ran into is that the problems with the legislation come off as super technical, so we weren’t sure how to balance that. But it looks like we are going to get some friendly amendments that ask us to rework things. And maybe you can propose one that asks for more detail on the acts and if it passes it will be as if you are saying we trust the Tech group to make those changes and you are good to go.

F: Let’s move on to amendments.  Amendments  Oren: Simple amendment. I only ask that we change beseeching to demanding. We demand our public servants to prevent passage.

Response: I want to accept that but we would be issuing a demand.  now as an individual I would be fine with demanding, there is no single demand that I would rather seek, but there has been resistance to using that language as part of the movement. But, if you overwhelmingly feel we should use the word demand… then maybe?

Temp check on using word demand: Negative.

Response: We will not be accepting the amendment.

F: Out of time for this. Five minute extension. Temp Check – positive.  Lisa: This is couched within the first amendment. Because this is an obvious attempt to thwart our ability to get knowledge. Is there a way to couch this so it is not a technical thing but couched within the first amendment and bill of rights?

Response: Look at the end of paragraph 4 – It is not just speech, but assembly and privacy.  Lisa: I would like to really bring out the surveillance that has been going on and couch it all together.

Response: Accepted with gusto.  Chenelle: if this passes I want to see you work with press and any other outlet we have so that we get this proposal out and it be very well known that OWS nycga is against these two proposed laws.

Response: Two things. First, accepted. Second, we are hoping Tuesday night to have a press conference in which we would announce this and hopefully bring the freedom tower back here. The freedom tower is a wifi tower we built and can be used in peer to peer networks that we own and control cooperatively.  Stefano: My proposed amendment is that in issuing this statement we specify that it must include links to direct action and existing petitions and that we ask tech and internet to disseminate it as widely as possible on all websites and social media accounts we control aggressively with gusto.

Response: Accepted with exuberance.  Robert: Before the last paragraph, add 3 bullet points and have each bullet describe  how privacy, assembly or speech rights are under attack.

Response: Is it okay if we did it as text and not as bullets? Yes. Accepted.  FA: I suggest deleting the term moral sanity from the text in paragraph 1. It is not sensible to include terms like this, which allow others to dismiss statements like this. Find something more measured to make the point.

F: Close stack for amendments.

Nan: Make sure that you add my amendment.  Lisa: My friendly amendment is that you make it more clinical and less emotional/ more factual. It’s so hideous you don’t need it the emotional language.

Response: The terms you are using are ambiguous so I don’t want to accept. But, I will share the link to our etherpad where we have drafted the statement and you can come help edit.

F: We are really out of time so let’s take temp check on consensus. Any blocks. Consensus is reached.

79.3.3.  Occupy Harlem 477 Proposal Budget Proposal  Hi, my name is Ian and I am here representing Occupy Harlem 477. The rest of my group could not be here. We had hoped upon emailing this proposal on Friday and we would have been on stack yesterday. It did not work out. My team and queen mother are in Washington on outreach. I am here on behalf of the construction part of the proposal. In light of the rest of group not being here, I only want to ask for the sum of money allocated in our budget for repairs and construction which was $600 dollars. But also I would like to ask for an additional $1400 dollar due to new projects being implemented such as bunks to better facilitate our housing. The bunks will double our ability to house people from 6 to 15 people. We are also building desks and another part of the proposal was for technology that is not going to be included in this part, but we will be building desks and shelves for the technology. That is my proposal. We are asking for $2000 in total.  Clarifying Questions  CQ: Has this proposal been discussed with Finance or at spokes council?

Response: Yes we have been on the agenda for awhile. There have been many emergency proposals that have been suggested through the course of OWS history. One example was the boiler. Our repairs on occupy 477 are well documented and transparent. If you want to check on expenditures we invite you to visit us.  Nan: My question is simple. I know that you guys house six to fifteen people. We have people here who need housing. Are we allowed to send people there to sleep over? We should be able to do that since we are supporting you. Only fairness.

Response: Occupy 477 always has the policy that any occupier in need of housing can come. But, due to limitations of being one apartment in a building we are limited to how many we can house. This money will further our ability to house more people.  Nan: You mentioned about construction.  What will it be?

Response: The construction would be in the form of bunks. Also there is a list of violations that need to be repaired to be in compliance with NYC law. Further there is flooring that needs to be replaced in a room where a severely handicapped person lives that is also where the money is going.  Stefano: In addition to the plans that you’ve specified is this money potentially going toward future unforeseen plans or strictly plans you know you need?

Response: It is for current plans but we do not know severity of some of the plans.  CQ: How many people living there now?

Response: Approximately eight people full time. It varies between eight and twelve.  Concerns  Why can’t kitchen get food to these places?

Response: We have a deal in place with kitchen where they allocate funds for our own cooking. We receive funds from kitchen.  I have been staying at 86th street and there has been no food from kitchen.

PoI: Kitchen had picked four people to basically allocate money to them and it is up to those people to pay for food and give it to you. Bring your concern to the next kitchen meeting. Everyone who is sleeping at that church has a point person from Kitchen.  I have a concern. I think that we all miss one very important detail in any movement with finances. A lot of people don’t have jobs and people disagree on spending. I feel that in terms of spending two quick things can happen for instance when teaching how to live outside, instead of spending 1600 to teach 50 people see if you can get a price for each person that will add to less than 1600 and there will be more money left. I feel that with every proposal that should be done to save money. This summer 4th of July we have an opening to have our voices heard. We need all of you to assist me in organizing and amassing Mhat media thought can’t happen, 100,000 healthy black men in streets to show that we can do it.

F: We are not here to lead but to support the process. Please express PoP if you have a concern about process being violated.  Gabriel: my concern is that this is an opportunity to also provide free education and possibly create businesses and jobs for individuals in the movement. We need to always take the jobs idea into account that we have that opportunity whenever we are doing things that can be used for this purpose.

Response: I have been working in the home improvement and construction field for 12 years and my first experience was participating in the gentrification of Harlem and this is an opportunity to fix that.  I have amassed a crew of OWS people to do the work. Im also offering an opportunity to learn a skill. I will train anyone and we will take on anyone.  C: I think its really awesome what you are doing in Harlem. My concern is basically about accountability and transparency. How can the rest of the GA know that what money requested for is being used exactly as what it is being requested for.

Response: Come visit. You can track our progress. Also we will provide receipts for all materials.

F: Just because we reach consensus on the funds to be allocated. Money doesn’t fall out of sky. Finance has to release the funds and they do not do this without receipts.  Nan: Where is livestream?

PoP: Outside realm of current proposal.  Friendly Amendments  My proposed amendment is that if it turns out that the work can be done with less that we include a provision or excess funds to be returned.

Response: Yes, amendment accepted. Another part and big reason is that we are setting up headquarters. We intend to expand.  This is going along with what already doing which I think is awesome by getting OWS people to learn a new trade. Could you send people to the shelters and ask if other OWS people want to join in.

Amendment accepted.  My amendment is that people who work on OWS construction be paid.

Response: Not able to do that Sir. We would have to set ourselves up as a company.

F: Let’s take a temp check on this proposal.

F: Temp Check – Positive. Consensus Reached.

Everyone is invited to come up and visit. It is one big community.

79.3.4.  Visions and Goals Breakout: 10 minutes  This is not a proposal as such. To give you a little background. Vision and Goals started over a month ago. We came to the GA and collected feedback on a blueprint document. The idea was that this is the third spoken voice of our movement in a series that began with principals of solidarity and another document I am forgetting just now. We spent time after our October GA visit, an entire month in the kitchen, working up this document. We have spent a lot of time burning ourselves on the stove and we want you to take a look and give us feedback. This is the first night of five nights we will be at the GA presenting. At the end of which we may have a successful document that represents your vision. As you are looking at your vision statement since we are visions and goals and if you have goals that would work nicely with what is going on here please write them done. With your blessing we would like you to break up into groups take a look at the document.

F: Just to clarify we are not trying to reach consensus on this tonight. Ten minute breakout group session to talk about what is on the document and write down suggestions and thoughts.

F: Small enough group to break out on own.

?: I don’t think it’s realistic to have a discussion on visions of goals in 8 minutes.

V&G: We would like to hear what ever feedback you have. We don’t want to overburden you with a heavy session. Need to hear from more of you over a longer period of time.

F: Right now he would like to collect all of your notes and he would like your attention.

V&G: We would love to have your copies back with notes and invite you to visit us online at visions and goals. You will find a sticky that is this document. In addition we meet at 60 wall at 5:30 on Wednesdays. We have been working on ths for a couple months now and trying to get this sucker out. We want your feedback and input but please keep it short and to the topic unless you have something brand new to bring up. No manifestos right now.

F: Next is proposal from alternative banking

[Not using people’s mic so hard to capture everything]

79.3.5.  Alternative Banking Proposal  The alternative banking group was founded 10 weeks ago and we have been meeting to discuss. 1. What would be better system 2. What are the reforms through legislation that are needed? The group has divided into these two subgroups. I am here representing the first subgroup, interested in what an ideal bank would look like. We have spent some time teasing this out in our group. We have developed a list of characteristics and attributes that we want banks to embody. The idea of this is to produce a document to create models of better banking, then implement and construct an alternative bank. We are lucky to have the expertise and knowledge of current and former bankers, former SEC officials, economists and also ignorant enthusiasts like me. We would like to share a copy of our document.

None of these features is new, and many are already evident in credit unions, community banks and “mutuals”.  But our purpose is to imagine something that might have a broader reach and impact – that might transform the banking system, and thus, by its example and through its operations, potentially create an economy that is fairer, more inclusive, democratically managed and stable. We do not have a singular design to impose. We hope the values will spread widely from concepts and other people will take inspiration and turn them  into reality.

The characteristics we have developed are as follows:

Democratic – all customers would own the bank, and have an equal say in its governance, regardless of the amount of money in their accounts.  Employees – or rather partners – might be co-owners of the bank, forming a co-operative.

Accessible – the bank’s services would be accessible to all, and in particular the poor, who are often excluded from today’s banking system, thus making them vulnerable, for instance, to predatory lending.  Ideally, the bank would be available to anyone in the country, and perhaps one day, the world.

Stable – the bank would eschew the risky practices of the for-profit banks that have damaged the world economy (affecting particularly the poor) and perpetuate systemic risk.  Instead, it would operate in a way to minimize risk, for instance by mutualising all its liabilities in a manner suggested in Laurence Kotlikoff’s concept of “Limited Purpose Banking”.

F: Limit the side conversations and give fire truck just a minute and we can successfully continue without peoples mic. Interest of expediting time let’s use peoples mic.

Non-profit – the bank would be run for the benefit of its customers and employees.  Any profit would be returned to customers in the form of cheaper loans or other services, or pro bono services – such as interest-free loans – for those in dire need.  Without the need to generate profits or maintain a high stock price, the bank could offer more competitive services than the for-profit banks, thereby contributing to the next characteristic.

Competitive – the bank would offer services to individuals and businesses that would be as good as or better than those offered by for-profit banks.  This objective is plausible if the bank is non-profit, and has a “light” infrastructure, perhaps by essentially operating as a “clearing house” to match lenders and borrowers (similar but not identical to “peer-to-peer” services).  We also note the abysmal quality of current banking services in the US, in contrast for example to those offered in many European countries.

Transparent – the opacity and unintelligibility (even to those working in finance) of the financial system have contributed to the “credit crunch” collapse.  The operations of this bank would by contrast be wholly transparent, thus again helping minimize any risk caused by its operations.

Equal – no partner or employee in the bank would be paid more than a certain multiple of the lowest-paid worker, for instance no more than eight or five times that number.  In this way, the bank would promote greater equality and would encourage this characteristic in the economy more widely.  This would also contribute to the competitiveness of the bank.

This is a political as well as financial project. The purpose in designing and setting up an alternative bank would be to propagate these principles. We can alter the DNA of the economy by embodying these principles and change the current system. Any institution we set up would be replicable and could be set up by anyone using a simple design. That is the list of attributes we have developed. We’ve been discussing thoroughly and have reached consensus in our group. If you have suggestions or comments on this list, we would like to hear them and particularly attributes we have missed. If there is not enough time to discuss these issues tonight then come to our meeting.  Tuesday evening at 7pm in a nice warm office.

F: Being that we are not going to go through the full process, we will open it up for discussion and feedback.

Alt. Banking: We are Present on alternative banking  Clarifying Questions  CQ: What is medium of exchange – what currency are you suggesting?

Response: We haven’t gotten to that yet. We are planning a joint meeting with alternative currency group.

F: Three more questions. The working group meeting is a better place for in depth comments.

Response: Also you can write comments on our handout or go to or google group with more in depth commentary.  What is the address where you meet?

Response: 45 East 20th St. 6th floor 7pm on Tuesday.  In your opinion how long would it take for such an institution to become operable.

Response: One of the interesting things is if you need a legal institution maybe utilize a trust system and that might allow us to circumvent the lengthy legislation process, including maybe developing a national credit union. We want to think about the model and get it right. But there is also a considerable sense that we need to work quickly.

F: Thank you. Please go to the alternative banking group. Subgroup on new banking system meets on Tuesday. Subgroup looking at reform meets at Sunday 3pm at SIPA – don’t know room. 14th Floor.

F: Up next a proposal from accounting.

F: No representative from accounting here.

79.3.6.  Spokes Council Assembly and Temporary Authorization Proposal  Sean: Anyone at spokes recently could agree that it is not quite complete and cannot decide to spend money. My proposal reads as follows. While the Spokes Council as an assembled body is authorized by the General Assembly very specifically to make financial decisions of an operational nature, until the process of assembly is completed the authorization of the General Assembly is necessary for the Spokes Council to make any financial decisions.  This proposal is to request that authorization on a temporary basis for the 12/5, 12/7, and 12/9 Spokes Councils, as well as set a protocol and timetable for the completion of the assembly of the Operational Spokes Council.

It is my hope that proposals currently going through the development process will lead to the operational spokes being completely formed and able to make its own budgetary decisions. For this week’s Spokes only, we ask GA to empower the spokes in its current form up we ask the General Assembly to empower the Spokes Council in its current intermediary form to make up to $5,000 in financial decisions each day, strictly for operational costs pertinent to the emergency state of the Occupy movement and the needs of its Occupiers, such as housing, food supply, transportation and similar needs that are presently being underserviced.  Clarifying Questions  Nan: I attend spokes council a lot of times when spokes council when spokes was passing the GA did not give spokes my question to you is where in paper when in process that the GA says spokes council has permission to make decisions on behalf of GA. I want to see GA.

Response: As far as I understand the final proposal passed which brought spokes into existence. It is on the nycga website as it passed. When assembled the spokes council will be able to make financial decisions specifically of an operational nature.  Stefano: if I can remember my question now. Half a second. I believe I understand what you are trying to empower the spokes to do. But it appears to me that the implicit point is to disempower it from other things.

Sean: When completed the spokes will be able to do this already. There are other proposals to push to completion. When raided we stopped. In meantime we have needs to fulfill.  Nan: My question those things that you listed housing. Brought to GA brought to spokes and we blocked. This is a no-no.

F: PoP not a clarifying question.

Nan: Blocked on Friday because spokes does not currently possess permission now asking for.

Nan: Spokes formed when we have park and we don’t. Spokes is not legal.

Nan: [Yelling] We are in park and we have occupiers.

F: This is a discussion that has background. Let’s focus on the current proposal on the table. For Spokes to make decisions this week.

F: We would like to restate the proposal to make it crystal clear.

F: Let’s keep within our community agreements.

[Yelling from Nan about blocking the current proposal]

F: Sean, we would like to have you given the opportunity to restate this proposal to ensure everyone is clear.

Sean: I will paraphrase: what I am asking is for permission for the as yet unformed to completion spokes to hear proposals and make financial decisions regarding housing food transportation and similar needs that are presently being underserved for occupiers in this community.

[Yelling about blocking the current proposal]

F: After concerns we will move forward to friendly amendments. Then take temp check. At that time you will have opportunity to express a block, which is a morally ethically or safety concern so dire that you feel uncomfortable staying in the movement.

F: Everyone here is a member of the GA. The process as it exists right now does not require a quorum number. There are enough people here right now. Until a proposal has been presented to modify this process we will continue with agreements that are accepted by this community.

?: Who on council who will be making those decisions?

?: I think if everyone keeps quiet I don’t have to yell. In Philly there is more togetherness they stand righteously. I just walked in and being an occupier I think we need more of an abundance of people. If we can bring this back tomorrow we can have a better decision.

Sean: Problem is that tomorrow is a Spokes meeting.  Morally, even though you say this must be done tomorrow we can wait. As family in Philly it means family. We have broken up into little groups and this is not acceptable. There is not enough people to make a decision about finance.

F: This is a valid concern, but we are still in clarifying questions.

Anthony: I just walked in and I want to find out what proposal is about.

Sean: What I’m asking for is for the GA to give permission to spokes council in its present state in a limited capacity for a limited time to make budgetary decisions for things of immediate concern, needs that we are not currently doing a good job of meeting.  Sage: How do you think your proposal will help with some of the problems with funding that we have already seen in the past with working groups not having access to their allotment of 100 dollars a day to people wanting to start working group to access the GA unless one or two days in advance for those who get access and can’t find minimum five people on unspecified date to get on agenda to have their working group ratified. This has to do with one human having their plans funded. Could you explain back to us how your proposal will help with funding people’s dreams and their hopes and anything they might want to accomplish?

Sean: This has a twin at spokes tomorrow in addition to one facilitation is putting forward that would cause spokes to completely form and allow working groups to be ratified and receive their funding. The proposal tonight would be to take no longer than a week and get shit done. It would allow us to address concerns we need to get ahead of before we stick our heads up our asses.  Nan: those two proposals you guys brought to GA and we blocked because the written on that proposal was not right just or fair and also 86th street church treats people badly kick people out. They have a waiting list and spokes council without consent from GA. They got building at 56 Walker. I am one of the people who blocked and they have no right to make decisions.

Sean: I am not with Housing or Facilitation and I just want stuff to work right now. The proposals you are talking about will still be blocked for the same reasons you do not see fit. I do not want a block simply on the statement that Spokes should not spend a dime. There will be things that are worth passing. There are a lot of options for housing. There is a backlog and given the state of the spokes council, not a lot of days to pass. Anyone can attend spokes.

Nan [interrupting]: spokes is an illegal working body. The GA can dispose spokes to dispel. Let’s vote now.

Sean: There is already a proposal to dissolve spokes. In the rules set forth when Spokes was established the GA can call for the dissolution.

F: We are out of time on this proposal. The GA makes these decisions.

F: We had twenty minutes allotted to this conversation. The body was negative on extending. We are moving onto the next proposal. This conversation will not continue in the general assembly.

[Yelling about not being able to speak] all I wanted to say is that there is a major disconnect because the spokes is not coming here and not hanging out. They are by themselves in their meetings.

F: This is not going to be discussed in this body right now. Let’s shake off the bad energy.

F: Accounting proposal [not present to make proposal]

F: Occupy Farms Proposal [not present to make proposal]

F: Unless they are here we will move forward to announcements. Would anyone like to get on stack for announcements?


79.4.  Announcements

79.4.1.  Gilbert: Quick announcement as I have been following the housing situation there is a complication many legal issues for residence of displaced. Hopefully those who are displaced. Hopefully there will be residences for OWS activists. Already people occupying foreclosed properties. We need the courage to do this and it’s the only solution to do so. Need courage to occupy buildings that have been stolen by banks. Take back what is ours. Other cities already doing.

79.4.2.  Anthony: Hi guys I want to report that DC did not get raided. The police came back and arrested some people, but not raided. The whole thing about spokes making decisions or not. We have a process to make proposals. Those who don’t want spokes should write a proposal and get it in. All we have left is the process. Try to make an amendment to spokes if you have a problem with it. Maybe we should have it here. We are all a family and we should try not to bicker with each other. If we don’t like it then we can make a proposal to dissolve it.  We have a process let’s follow it.

79.4.3.  Gary: I’m sure everyone has seen me by now. I distribute the Shana daily. I hold up a red flag. 45 minutes ago I was told that I was banned from 60 Wall Street by the authorities. At one point I was attacked because I was a communist. A lot of people don’t like me and what I believe in but fact that I am being banned at 60 Wall Street. I need to bring this to your attention because not trifling matter. First they came for trade unionists so I didn’t do anything and then they came for me and there was no one left. I challenge you to actually do something.

79.4.4.  Nan: Strong women rules working group we are now in solidarity with Newark NJ and would like to have support and help. Catch path train to Newark and go to Military Park on Broadway. They need help with supplies and food.

79.4.5.  Nicolas: I wish this was a bit bigger but it’s a big action on 12/8 from Foley to city hall. We have to make it big. We are going to ask Bloomberg for his resignation. At 4 pm starting at Foley Square to City Hall.

79.4.6.  John: Elizabeth Warren running in Mass you should check her out. She supports OWS.

79.4.7. Stefano:  The facilitation proposal process has caused confusion. Im the point of contact to work out the confusion in the proposal process. We need to formalize the process so that they get here in a more detailed form and some of the concerns are worked out ahead of time. I am going to make a proposal about how to make the proposal process easier for bringing proposals.

F: The Tuesday Facilitation meeting will not be held at 60 Wall. Taking part in direct action in East New York. The address is being withheld but can get info from direct action group.

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