NYC General Assembly Minutes 1/7/2012

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NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 111

Date/Time: 1/7/2012, 7pm

Location: Liberty Square

Facilitators (F): Sully and ?

Taking Stack: Dan

Minutes: Carrie

 

AGENDA

Working Group Reportbacks

Occupy Tampa Budget Proposal

Spending Freeze Proposal

Emergency Proposal from Nan: Housing Group Point People

Announcements

[Review of hand signals]

WORKING GROUP REPORTBACKS

None

AGENDA ITEM 1: Occupy Tampa Budget Proposal

Billy: When I got arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, it was like, “Game on.” And then after the eviction, after N17, I went back to my hometown of Tampa, Florida, for two weeks to find it had a small and very fierce occupation. I took part in a couple actions. They disrupted a Romney fundraiser, at which I was forcibly thrown outdoors. They also had an action targeting an accounting firm that bundles millions of dollars through PACs and super PACs, pointing out what’s really wrong with campaign finance. They have also done two protests against NDAA—one at Obama campaign headquarters and another as street theater. They are also planning on disrupting the Florida primaries on 1/31.

Proposal: They’ve been hassled, harassed, and had the largest civil disobedience arrest in Florida history, while trying to get an occupation going. They had a lot of people arrested. They used all their money on bail. They’ve had their equipment and food confiscated more than once by the police. Now someone has stepped forward and gave them use of a private/public space and signed over at the full right to use it 24/7 as long as they want. So they have a park, tents, kitchen and medical tent. They are preparing for the Republican National Convention this summer, and many of them were here on New Year’s Eve and helped me knock down the barricades. They want to invite anyone who wants to go there to camp under a palm tree for the winter for as long as they want to be involved. Anyone in working groups there is welcome to their tents and food. But in order have a big primaries action, they need to replenish money lost on bail and having everything confiscated. They’ve been doing fundraisers. They had one, a musicians fundraiser, that yielded $300. They made $100 today at a yard sale. But it is not nearly enough for 1/31 in a city where they threaten to revoke bail and hold you in jail for three months till your arraignment for trespassing charges. So my proposal would provide them with $2,000, with $1,500 specifically for bail and any equipment they need to make their occupation solid. Then $500 for transportation for anyone with housing issues here in New York who might want to get there.

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS

CQ: What would be the means of transportation?

A: If it’s one or two people, Expedia has $99 JetBlue flights. If it’s more, I have a court date in Tampa on 2/6. We could rent a van, I’ll drive it.

CQ: Is $2,000 enough? Florida is my home state. I will support this. My question is, if the $2,000 is not enough, will you come back to GA and ask for more?

A: No, because I don’t think we need to pay for everything for anybody. I think it’s important we see occupations in other parts of country where activism is not the norm. In places like Tampa, it’s important to support them, but they need to raise their own money. Do I think $2,000 is enough for 1/31? Yes. Because unlike the last time they were arrested, they now, just in the last two days, have the National Lawyers Guild in Tampa and I think that makes a huge difference.

CQ: Listening to you guys, I went into a house, an abandoned building. They locked me up. They locked my [wheel]chair up and they locked my assistant up. The first charge was burglary,  the second charge was trespassing …

POP: Does this relate?

POI: The space he’s referring to [the Tampa occupation] has been approved for occupation as of now indefinitely. It’s a safer place to occupy.

CQ: The $500 for occupiers to travel there—is that a set amount or up to?

A: It’s not even per, it’s total.

CQ: I’m from Occupy Tampa. I know that as people get arrested, the bail goes up. Over half of those arrested at Tampa so far will have their court dates finished before the direct action on the 31st, which means bail will go down.

CONCERNS/FAs

FA: I just want to make clear that I support this proposal. My FA is that the money given to Tampa would be able to be given back to the NYCGA, as bail money is given back after the arraignments because I know that bail is only temporary.

[missing text, discussion of whether to require some of the bail money be returned]

A: On December 1 they didn’t have enough money to bail everyone out, so they had to use bondsmen, so they don’t get the money back. That may happen again.

C: The concern I have is has there been consensus by the [Tampa] GA asking OWS for this?

A: No. But more than 40 people e-mailed me to say they really want to do this on the 31st and I’m the only one they know in New York who can help.

FA: Since we have passed $100,000 for bail, why don’t you take that money from the bail fund? The reason for, when that bail money was talked about, there was  an FA that …

POI: I’m with Jail Support. Though Accounting brought the bail proposal, I was present for it. That FA was turned down.

C: It seems like my recollection is we recently gave $25,000 to Occupy Oakland, but it may have actually been more people from OWS than people from Occupy Oakland on the proposal team. And then after the proposal was made, I remember other members of OWS informing me that Occupy Oakland did not reach consensus from their GA when this subject came up and I felt it was little out of process. I support giving money to other occupations. But it seems to me like it makes sense if the GA would have consensed upon it in Tampa, I’d feel better about it. Is that possible?

POI: Accounting: We usually don’t vote on these, but as a point of information, in Accounting, before we cut checks we need to have GA minutes or a vid of the GA where this was being proposed. [at the outside occupation's GA]

[some cross talk, discussion of calling Tampa]

POP: I thought the concern that Accounting and I were raising is I want to see their GA pass it officially, not a phone call to someone who says they support it.

F: Am I seeing an FA that we only give out this money if the Tampa GA passes it?

Accounting: You have accepted the FA from Facilitation?

F: And have the NYCGA vote on the amendment. … Am  I correct in that?

A: Yes. If this passes, you would not cut a check unless I can give you minutes from the Tampa GA?

Accounting: We usually don’t do it this way …

[cross talk]

F: I’d like to take 15 seconds of no talking.

[15 seconds of no talking]

F:  At this point I’ll ask the proposer to restate the proposal.

Billy: I am proposing that we provide $2,000 total, $1,500 for to be used for DA and bail, and another $500 to be used for transportation for anyone who wants to get there and it won’t be used at all if no one wants to get there. That $1,500 for bail cannot be released unless there’s consensus from the Tampa GA, sent in Minutes form to Accounting.

POI: And the $500?

A: Yes, and that $500 of the bail money will come back to NYCGA after the court date.

F: I’d like to take a temperature check on how we feel about this proposal.

[a large amount of uptwinkles]

F: Do we have any stand asides?

[3]

F: Are there any blocks?

POP: What’s a stand aside?

F: Stand aside means you don’t agree with this proposal and you’d prefer we didn’t pass it, but you are willing to stand back and allow the group to do what it wants to do.

F: The stand asides have requested to speak.

Stand aside: It seems like a humble amount of money. I support it, I just think it’s a reasonable process that other GAs consense on asking for money before they bring it to us. I’m concerned we are giving money to people who haven’t asked for it.

F: Are there any blocks?

[none]

F: Given that there were no blocks and only a few stand asides, this proposal has reached consensus.

AGENDA ITEM 2: Spending Freeze Proposal

Proposer: Jason: I have a proposal to freeze all spending of the Occupy Wall Street fund. What I would like for this proposal is that we spend 15 to 20 minutes to have breakout group discussion so that we can listen to each other and talk to each other about this proposal. I was told that I should check in with all of you to see if that was friendly.

F: Maybe first you should explain the proposal.

Jason: Let me state the whole proposal. I passed out some proposal forms that have the detailed proposal. If there are extras and you have read it, please pass them around. The basic of the proposal is we would freeze all spending until we have another occupation. And this does not include the bail fund. My reasons for this proposal are many. One reason is that in planning 9/17, we wanted to create a public space for dialogue on the crisis, and my worry is we spend every GA and Spokes Council talking about financial proposals. We never talk to each other about why we are here, about actions we can all plan together, about our goals for this movement. Another reason is that we are running out of money—quickly. And before we do that, maybe we should step back and decide what we want to really do with this money. Another reason is that I don’t want to depend on economic capital for this movement. In my opinion, successful movements are based on human capital and social capital. And economic capital is a good thing on the side to support people’s movements. There are more detailed explanations in my written-out proposal. And I’m sure you all have really great ideas on why this is a good proposal or why this is a bad proposal. So I would like to have breakout discussions so we can talk to each other and listen to each other on this proposal.

[Minutes-taker’s note: This is the text of the written-out proposal, which is not available online:

Proposal:

Freeze all future spending from the OWS general fund till we get another encampment. This does not include the $99,999.99 fund set aside for bail.

Possible friendly amendments:

- one-month freeze period to understand what we want to do with money

- Spending freeze till we created a comprehensive OWS budget, not just for projects and working groups

Reasons why I am making this proposal:

-The original intention of OWS was to create a public space for open dialog around the crisis. My and other’s intention for GA was to have a space where people could plan unified actions around solving or bringing attention to the crisis, as well as finding unity around messaging and goals for the movement. My worry is that since the influx of donations, much of the GA’s time is spent on proposal on how to spend the money.

-OWS has never been equipped to deal with homelessness. It is true that it was naïve to create defended occupied space to talk about economic exploitation and not deal with the reality of homelessness, but still we were never able and still are not able to deal with the overwhelming problem. Our goal was simply to bring light to the situation. I believe we should advocate for radial self-reliance over the charity model.

- In my mind, the majority of donations came in to support our occupation of Liberty Square so we could create that space for assembly promised in our Constitution, but non-existent in New York City. As we no longer have that space, I think it is a mistake to continue spending the funds gifted for the operations of our camp from hard-working people.

- Again, from my perspective, people’s movements have never succeeded based on economic capital. People’s movements rely on social capital and people capital. We cannot rely on economic capital if we want this movement to be a real success. We should be able to get everything we need through in-kind donations and through volunteer energy. If we cannot do it, then maybe we were too quick to call it a movement.]

F: Temp check: How do people feel about doing breakout groups in groups of about 8ish?

[mostly positive]

[breakout groups discuss for 15 minutes]

F: Perhaps breakout groups can choose a person to do a quick reportback to the group before the consensus process. Is that friendly?

[uptwinkles]

REPORTBACKS

Breakout group 1: Some people felt they wanted to freeze the funds but we need to focus on our own resources from within. Some people wanted to freeze the funds until the springtime. Some people didn’t want to freeze the funds because people would be hungry, homeless, and would return to their homes and not be supporting OWS.

Breakout group 2: In my group we talked about three points. One point we talked about: We do not want to harm Housing, Medical, Food, or Comfort because people who live in those churches and then kick them out, that’s wrong. People without food, medical, comfort, showers so forth, we think that is wrong if we freeze … Also we should freeze the money for bail.

Breakout group 3: My group has the same concerns. Kitchen, Comfort, Housing are vital operational needs but we also know we are running out of money. We don’t want to run out of money but we don’t want people to suffer. We have an FA where that the people making the proposal will be happy but no one will suffer.

Breakout group 4: My group was very mixed. We had some say they’d give away all the money and some don’t want to at all … We had several people who are staying at churches who are actually interested in freezing the accounts. We also had one of the people from Accounting give us some info. That info didn’t change the makeup of the group. We also didn’t come to a real agreement but we did have a couple of ideas that might be FAs.

Breakout group 5: Our group reached consensus that we are in support of part of the proposal. We agree that too much conversation about money has taken focus off large movement discussions. It’s been a long time since we’ve had breakout groups. We feel there are vital services people are depending on and we need to phase those out gradually—we can’t freeze spending. We thought, let’s come up with a way we can freeze some things but not essential services. We thought that this was too complicated for one breakout group and one GA. There needs to be a community-wide discussion. That being said, we think one solution is to have some GAs be only about financial matters. But we think this is beyond the scope of one GA.

Breakout group 6: The only consensus we reached was we didn’t think one total freeze was a good idea. There are lots of operating groups that need money, food, housing. However, we realized we need to become more resourceful as a community, start Dumpster-diving, make our own clothes, stop relying on buying coffee at McDonald’s and using these corporations. Not that I don’t support taking money from Accounting, because that money wasn’t just given to use because we were in a park, it was given to us … . We suggest certain WGs not have their funds frozen but cut back gradually and have a budget in place, so Kitchen can become more Dumpster-diving savvy, make clothes …

Breakout group 7: The way I feel about the money is, I was here on the first day and there was no money and for the first month it was a beautiful place … and when there was no money, I didn’t receive money from OWS and now that there is money, I still don’t … . I am homeless, I live on somebody’s floor, so the idea some of us are privileged and some aren’t …

[interrupted]

Sage: Everyone that was here and remembers what it was like before there was money wants it to be like that again. The idea we can’t operate as a group without money is wrong. To me it feels like … if we have zero, we know how much we have …

[questions about if this is an individual or group reportback]

Breakout group 8: We are in support of this proposal. We would like the focus of the GAs to be more substantive and topical, rather than just repeated finance proposals … we do have an FA that this proposal go into effect one week from today …

POP: Bring that up at that time in process.

Breakout group 9: As an artist, I have been scrounging materials all my life. I finally get some funding to be able to make some art for the movement. That said, I could also see this working in a modified way.

F: How much time do we want to keep working on this? There were a lot of different ideas but also a lot of FAs. Do we want to go through the process to see if there’s a proposal that could maybe go through consensus process. Can I get a temp check on further discussing this proposal?

[mixed]

F: We are going to re-do that test. How many don’t want to talk about this further?

[a few]

F: How many want to talk about it for 15 more minutes? How about 10 minutes?

[many positive]

F: Okay, that’s what we are going to do.

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS

CQ: As someone who’s been arrested three times now, do you intend on freezing the money for bail?

A: No, it’s in my proposal that no.

CQ: Since we already gave that money for bail money, if people come and ask for more bail money, are you going to give it to them?

A: My proposal does not address that.

Q: Since there’s not a lot of people here, is it possible that we could table it for a week, so that more people can find out about it.?

F: That’s not a CQ about the proposal.

CQ: If this proposal were to pass, afterward if we had a GA where someone made a proposal requesting money, and it passed, would this proposal stand to make the proposal void. Like, how would be go about that?

A: I would say that GAs wouldn’t hear money proposals anymore and only hear non-money proposals.

CQ: Do you link more money to doing more occupations?

A: No.

CQ: Would this affect the Spokes Council in any way?

A: Yes, this would affect the Spokes in the way that they would also not be able to spend money.

CQ: Why to argue with police, why to get arrested, why to spend the money when you can get apartment, when you can get nice warm home? And that money someone give to make your life …

F: It sounds to me like you are making a comment about this community. Right now we are seeking questions just about this proposal.

CQ: Based on my understanding of the proposal that passed the GA to create the Spokes Council, I am not convinced a proposal at the GA can revoke the power of the Spokes Council to make financial decisions.

A: I guess my response this is the fund is the NYCGA fund and the NYCGA is deciding to freeze the fund.

CQ: How long will the freeze last?

A: In this proposal I say that it is until we have a reoccupation, but I am open to the FA of one month.

CONCERNS/FAs

C: If we freeze all of funds, the people dependent on funds may resort to some sort of resources to get by that may result in arrest. My friendly amendment is if we freeze funds, it be frozen except for Food, Housing, Medical, or what if we split our funds in half and reserve half for a new occupation and the other half for operational things?

[discussion with Facilitation and proposer about if he wants to address concerns as they come up]

Proposer: I want to hear all the concerns and then deal with them collectively.

C: For the WGs who get $100 a day and whose work fills in the cracks between the major WGs—such as Kitchen, Housing, Transportation, SIS and Comfort, and Legal or any other big ones I don’t know about—including my own working group, Restricted Diets, so if the $100 a day is effected, I’m gonna have to go back to negotiating with Kitchen, which is very emotionally stressful for me, and I can’t imagine the amount of stress that I go through just dealing with Kitchen being multiplied by all the other WGs who don’t want to deal with Housing, Transportation, … We’re gonna have to go through all the groups and see if they are operational … We have resources here: a lot of social workers, helping with food stamps … I have been allowed to sleep on the floor of people who are part of OWS but I didn’t feel comfortable because I don’t know them that well. … So I feel like if we freeze funds, we need to find a way to be accountable and share experiences helping each other get food stamps but if we … My concern is that without an FA that is just as powerful as the law of no spending, if we don’t make a law of forced sharing, we are just going to not spend and not share. If you are going to make a law that says “no spending,” you also need to make a law that says “forced sharing.”

C: OWS Works: We would like to see petty cash gotten rid of and instead of groups having to come to GA or Spokes with actual budgets saying this is what we would like to spend our money on … I think getting rid of the petty cash process would allow us to do what you want to do.

POI: From an Accounting perspective, we generally spend between $2,000 and $3,000 a day on petty cash, so it is significant.

C: We are for the spirit of this proposal. Any amendment we would suggest would change the proposal altogether, so we would just like you to table this and make this a more comprehensive proposal.

FA: Instead of one month, go for two weeks because housing is now paid for for two weeks, so housing would not be affected, food would not be affected so much, but I am so in your camp, Ravi, about the $100 petty cash, so I’d love to add that. Also the amendment of having some GAs be for money and some being not for money, so it’s not every single night about money.

C: I am not a regular occupier, so it’s hard for me to take part in this discussion, so I feel like WGs that are making proposals more regularly should take an honest look at themselves and see if they really need to be spending what they are spending.

FA: I would like you to include a way to look for new ways to get money, meaning financing in the ways we can find. To eliminate all that is not necessary. And also to have transparency and to have books for the WGs that can be reconciled with Accounting and have them online.

C: If the point of this proposal is we can talk about things other than money at GA, we can easily solve that problem by just having designated time, like you talk about money for first half hour or alternating days … It would be easy to solve.

C: We are becoming dependent on money but it doesn’t address ways we can become self-sustainable. This movement started with no money and became a huge movement in two months. My friendly amendment is don’t freeze but … Also with petty cash, I think a lot of it is no accountability. I know personally a lot of money has been spent on bars and cigarettes and other things. … I think WGs should propose budgets weekly. And that GAs not always be about money … Maybe we should have one or two a week, max, that are about money. And all come up with ways we can become self-sustainable …The money would be flowing in if we were all out there doing outreach, volunteering, community service. I think the community would know we are still here. A lot of people think this movement died when the park was taken. We need to think about ways to make the movement visible to the public and … make it so people aren’t afraid to donate because I think they don’t know where the money goes. And I don’t agree with freezing the bail money.

C: This strikes me as harsh and drastic … I think we need to phase things in so that people have a chance to prepare; otherwise we have a mass exodus, everyone leaving. My friendly amendment: There’s a sharing of info of how to retain resources because a lot of us know that and a lot don’t.

C: This is too complicated to be fixed tonight. A lot of real problems and solutions have been expressed. I have a blocking concern and about four or five other people do too.

FA: Housing, Medic, Food, Comfort … because people rely on those things so  … One other thing is that WGs start doing their own fundraising. Use the skills they have. That’s what my group is doing now. So that way we can create more skills … and then we come together we have a fundraising day and raise money and bring money back.

C/FA: I understand this is complicated but I feel it would be unfortunate if after all this we don’t reach some kind of agreement. We think this should go into effect in one week and it would give WGs time to come with a budget and present to GA and people would be able to come en masse, and it would be a one-month-long spending freeze, so that maybe next week bring it back and in that time WGs would be informed and could come with budgets. Aside from the fact this is complicated, I think that’s something various people in this … would support.

C: This proposal is not necessary. If the GA doesn’t want to spend money then they shouldn’t spend money. If there’s a proposal to spend $500, don’t pass that proposal. My second concern is there’s a major loophole. I’m concerned it will be exploited. It is that this proposal doesn’t affect the bail fund. What might result is that instead of spending money from the general account, people will ask for money from the bail fund for non-bail purposes. I don’t want people to bring proposals to raid the bail fund.

POI: Accounting: Of course the GA can always consense to undo the bail fund, but the Accounting understanding at this point is it is a fund for bail.

F: Straw poll on whether we want to hear this tonight and try to consense on it, or if the proposer should table it and try to incorporate the FAs? Wait, okay, the proposer is going to table it.

Proposer: Jason: I am going to take one week and I hope you come talk to me and help me shape this so … serves the movement and not just the money. I will bring this back next Saturday. Please come talk to me.

AGENDA ITEM 3: Emergency Proposal from Nan about Housing

F: An emergency proposal is one that has an immediate external deadline that was not knowable.

Nan: The proposal that I brought was an incident that happened and certain groups did not properly address it or handle it. When we had the park, we had an 18-year-old who got raped. She was drug raped. That individual who raped the 18-year-old raped five other girls in this park. My group dealt with rape victims in the park and still does. We have a court date for the 18-year-old in February. She doesn’t live in this city but she comes here. She was occupying one of the churches. The person that raped her also got out of jail. He was in jail for 30 days, paid $50,000 and he went to the same church the victim was. Keep in mind that victim worked with us and we had a restraining order against that guy. The victim voiced her concern to let them know she didn’t feel safe in that place because of this gentleman. Rather than calling me or other women’s working groups, Housing took it upon themselves to have a jury of about 15 and more people between the victim and the gentleman. And they asked for both them to basically give details out. That’s a concern to us as women, and this is an emergency proposal. The GA needs to come together to protect each other, especially women, gays, lesbians, all together. We are here together to make a movement to become one. We have been targeted by police, outsiders, we don’t want to keep being victimized by rapists. My proposal’s emergency the reason is because we have a court date, we have the court system involved, DA is involved, and that person and about the rape that happened was disclosed to certain people. They could come after us or the church, we need to figure it out, we need to figure out what we are going to do. What I would ask is to have a breakout session, come back to me or come back together to figure out how we are going to work this out. Because we are dealing with a system that doesn’t like us very much. This is very serious.

POP: What is the proposal?

A: The proposal is this: I would like a breakout session to figure out what we are going to do about the situation that took place and it was brought to the Spokes Council. We felt like it wasn’t properly addressed, so we need to address it tonight.

POI: Last night at Spokes Council, we decided to enforce that we ask the people who were asked to leave the park, three of them, because of being accused of sex assault and regular assault, not to come back to our meetings, even though we don’t live in the park. And SC consensed.

Nan: It was not three rapers, it was a total of nine guys in the park.

Q: I heard before the meeting that the point people for Housing refused to remove the person from the church, so is the issue not to allow these people not just to come to meetings but to be housed and so to hold Housing accountable and make sure they are not housed?

F: SC consensed that those people are not allowed in the community, including places people are housed.

POI: What Spokes consensed to was that these people would not be allowed into space until  the Community Agreement is finalized.

Nan: There were nine people and we need to have something in place …

POI: Based on something I heard today, the point people from Housing were trying to claim that the GA did not consense that this person was kicked out.

Nan: That’s why I’m here.

POP: I heard a proposal to have a breakout discussion and then whether people will be banned … so there’s no proposal.

Nan: We will break out and then we will vote on it.

F: There’s a rule in the GA that proposals are supposed to be posted for 24 hours unless it’s an emergency … So we can do the breakouts and come back but if we want to do a proposal, we have to do a check to see if this is an emergency.

POI: The two point people in Housing, Jeff and Jason who have been handling more of the responsibility  and choosing who gets onto the list for housing or not, never in GA did we have a discussion about who was kicked out. … When I was in the park and was assaulted, I talked to the cops and made fliers and everyone knew that he wasn’t welcome here. … I don’t think we need to go through GA to decide that rapists are not … If we are going to have a discussion here, it should be about how to hold the point people for Housing accountable.

CQ: Since these people are known to be offenders, can we not just let the churches know that these people are not safe people to have there?

Nan: They knew, but the point people just decided to ignore it.

F: Temp check on whether this is an emergency proposal?

[really mixed]

F: I want to do 10 seconds of silence because these are hard things to talk about and I know for me it triggers a lot.

[10 seconds]

F: What isn’t clear to me right now is what the GA’s role in this is, because it sounds like there’s a lot of work to do outside this meeting unless there’s … What is the proposal?

Nan: The point people for housing, consense on asking them to step down. … [Nan gets emotional about the person who was raped ... we take a second]

F: Can I get a temp check on if we think this is an emergency proposal?

[mostly positive]

Q: When we are saying people have raped people … one thing about the system the way it is now, we just want know about that …

Q: Are we having breakout groups?

F: No

Q: How would you like us to enforce making them step down? How do we make sure that is implemented?

A: WOW and Safer Spaces will make that happen. I brought that concern last night to Jeff that he should step down and he said I didn’t have that power.

Q: Would the GA say to them that you are simply not allowed to be the …

A: … [missing]

Q: I spent an hour at the church … and talked to a person …being penalized before the legal system.

POI/POP: Yesterday the SC, which is a decision-making body, said no one who has been kicked out of this park … I was one of the 5 people who kicked him out, he was a rapist, … the discussion now is not whether or not he is kicked out. We don’t do convictions, … we finished this discussion …

F: I want us to not try to dig so much into what happened but …

Q: If there is a restraining order …

Q: Are those people here ?

POI: I was in Housing and we asked Jeff and Jason to step down and they did take vacations … I was willing to come back to Housing if Jeff was removed and I think Zack might also. There are people who are willing to come back to Housing if these problems are alleviated. …

Q: I don’t think it matters. If we need to make a list perhaps that Jeff should be removed from …

Q: I’d like us to clarify that if the GA comes to a decision about this that the GA is allowed to enforce that? That we don’t need WGs … that it goes into minutes, that the GA is empowered to enforce this?

A: Once GA consenses to that, it goes.

Q: How does the proposer expect us to consense on this when we are only getting one side of the story? And is there any precedent for the GA asking WG point people to step down?

F: The first part of that sounds like a concern, and should be brought up then. As far as the second question, no.

Q: Have we talked to Legal? And can we add a friendly amendment that they are banned from meetings?

POI: This is an emergency proposal … There has been a rape trial held in the church by Jeff and he’s probably not here because he is making deals with the church.

Q: How come since we have drummers that we have the drummers do something for housing …

[Facilitation deals with person making off-process remarks]

Q: Last night you requested of Housing to find housing for this person, I just wanted to clarify that now you are asking them to leave?

A: Last night I was not a spoke, my spoke made that request but we are not talking about the guy but Jeff and Jason.

Q: Is this about Jeff and Jason or just Jeff?

A: Both

Q: By what authority do these two individuals hold their existing positions with regard to housing?And the basis for that question is, if their authority is self-created, then they have no authority. I don’t understand—who appointed them or what?

A: They appointed themselves as authority and they don’t want to back out. So I need the GA to say, hey, we are a community, we are not going to tolerate it and we are not going to let people be raped.

CONCERNS/FAs

C: I think that this may be a necessary conversation, but I really do have a blocking concern that we not have trials in absentia. Nan, how would you feel if on a night that you are not here, you are asked to leave? I think that this should be tabled until a time when they can be here.

FA: This FA is not going to be simple that you can just do it as I say because ultimately you have to decide if you like it or not. I think this problem is endemic to the systems we are setting up. Whoever we put in this position is going to get these complaints leveled against them. Whoever you put there is going to be another Jeff. We should say we acknowledge that centralization of authority or responsibility ends with people becoming exhausted and abusive, so we need as a community to instead of knocking people down a position, provide them a support structure of assistance so they can step down and when they are ready to step back up they … don’t have to hold on to their authority. … This is a volunteer movement and in a volunteer movement when someone comes and says, “I might be able to do your job better than you,” the response should be “Thank god!” and step back. So my FA is we set up a system to support a person to step down and not do that job again but still have a voice in how that job gets done.

A: No. Amendment not accepted.

FA: I was the one who was going to come here and do this to ask the GA to ask Jeff and Jason to step down. I have thought about it and I chose not to do it for a couple reasons. I am not sure about it, but my FA is 1) WG autonomy is an important thing. The GA is the ultimate authority but I don’t think the GA has the authority to remove someone. I also don’t think this GA is trying anyone. Jeff knew I was coming here. No one has the right to be here and be heard. My FA is we say this behavior is unacceptable and the both of you step back and allow someone who has wanted to do this, can do so.

A: Accepted.

FA: Might it not be more appropriate to ignore them and ask the church …

FA: What we do should be communicated to the churches what our decision is.

A: We did voice that at Spokes Council.

C: If we do not ask Jeff and possibly Jason to step down because we feel their behavior goes against OWS, I worry they will continue to abuse the roles they self-appointed themselves.

POP: That is not a concern.

FA: If Jeff and Jason do step down, the Housing WG will become an equally distributed group, that it is a group effort the way it was designed in the beginning, and I think it will allow more people to join Housing because it seemed there were a few individuals doing everything. The Housing WG be reformed and the responsibilities be re-designated.

A: Accepted

FA: 1)That Jeff and Jason not just be asked to step down but be told they have no authority and are no longer heads of that WG. 2) That anyone who assaults anyone at OWS be banned. 3) That anyone who abuses their power … or … be taken from that position. Also, that we realize that this is the most we can do by law.

A: Accept 1st and 3rd amendment.

[discussion between Facilitation and Nan to clarify]

C/FA: Anything that relates to sexual assault or rape has to be given a lot of attention immediately. Already these issues are days, weeks, months too late to be dealt with in the best way so it has to be dealt with now. However, Jeff, Jason I haven’t met them but from what I hear they sound like psychopaths, sociopaths … [disruptions over using language like that]. My proposal is that they be held accountable for enabling this rapist/sex assaulter be allowed to remain where they are.

Q: By removing those two people right away are we going to break the chain of command or if they could slowly step down and give other duties to people?

A: [from earlier FA proposer] My proposal that was accepted is that the GA as a body say it’s unacceptable, we don’t want you there. We are not forcing them to step down, but …

C: If we ask them to step down they may not, so I recommend a new point person be recommended to be taking those roles and they recognize the Housing group is a horizontal group but the point person is not in charge.

A: Accepted.

C: This infringes on WG autonomy. Last week I brought a proposal to ask WGs to stop WG meeting during GA and there was a lot of response that people didn’t want o step on WG autonomy. So we are asking the Housing WG to reorganize. My FA is to table this and allow the housing WG to work this out on their own.

A: Not accepted.

POI: The Housing WG has already asked Jeff to step back multiple times and it’s been tabled by Jeff himself. Multiple people asked us to go to the GA.

C: My concern is that the proposer of this yesterday insisted that Housing find a place for this person to stay. I am concerned that whoever is put in this position is …

C: My concern is about precedent, My FA is there be some mechanism that if people are kicked out there be an appeal process.

POP: That is outside this proposal.

C: If Jeff and Jason have any GA-granted power, it’s the ability to communicate with the churches in order … so I see GA as having plenty of power to appoint someone else as the point person between the GA, which is dispensing the funds, and Housing, which is receiving it.

POI: Jeff is not the financial point person for Housing. He just deals with the 86th St. church.

POI: The funding does not come from here; it was passed by Spokes last night.

C: As a male involved in OWS, it is easy to vilify … I’m not comparing it to anyone else’s experience but saying a person is the problem shows a lack of … . It seems like it’s very intelligent to villainaize a person because it’s … But Jeff and Jason, I know if you talk to them they will invite you to talk to the pastors and you can find out what they know. … I know that I have disagreements with them but I know they say, “Come meet this person, come do the job I’m doing” because I know I don’t want to do that. This villainizing a person and calling a person a problem when it’s obviously a cultural and systemic problem is very cutting and I don’t trust it.

F: That’s the end of stack on concerns and friendly amendments. Can the proposer restate the proposal?

Nan: The GA recommends to the Housing group that Jeff and Jason be removed from their point-person positions. The GA expresses its support for the Housing WG functioning on a horizontal basis with no elevated leaders within the group and that there’s an expectation that any change of point person will be communicated to the churches.

POI: Also that the GA highly recommends that Lauren be appointed as point person.

POI: Lauren: I said I would be willing to come back to the Housing WG and I would be willing to come back and recruit several others.

Nan: Okay, the FA is withdrawn. And whoever becomes the point person is going to take the Minutes to the church and let them know what happened.

F: Temp check on how we feel about this?

[pretty positive]

F: Are there any stand asides?

[12]

F: We are going to hear from any stand asides who want to express their position.

Standaside 1: The only thing I have a problem with is they are not here.

Standaside 2: Why do we have to have Housing and who are the people who are affected by the housing and how many of the people that are affected by the housing are here?

F: Based on that number of stand asides in this group, it appears we do not have consensus here.

[some crosstalk]

F: Are they any blocks?

[4]

F: [asks proposer] Do you want to try for modified consensus?

Nan: Yes, because this is an emergency.

F: We are now going to hear from the blocks.

Block 1: Because this infringes on WG autonomy.

POI: You are presenting a falsehood. We are not removing anyone. The GA is simply saying we recommend you step down.

BLock: Still holds.

Block 2: Because what kind of people … . How many people are housed at 86th street? [100] What kind of people are these? People without houses? How many of those are here right now? [people raise hands] About three? Also, it’s my understanding that  …

[crosstalk]

Block 3: The reason I’m blocking is this problem is not a person but a system, so instead we have a system that holds people accountable that all of us understand. … This proposal does not solve the problem, as I see it. I see it as opportunistic and I don’t think it solves the problem.

[some commotion]

F: I would like to take 15 seconds of silence.

[15 seconds of silence]

Block 3, cont’d: Neither of them are here. It’s in absentia. I think that’s bogus. We need a grievance process. I know Eric from Mediation has come up with one, but so far they have been a dead working group. I’ve had my share of issues with how Jeff goes about his business but he does a fair amount of work and the reason he’s not here is he is doing work at 86th St. … The person should be here to defend themselves in these situations.

Block 4: When Yoni put forth a proposal to ban you, Nan, I stepped up to say it was inappropriate. This is the same principle. We can’t do this as a movement. We need to do this as process. Last night WOW accused about this I asked Sean from Town Planning when the Community Agreements would come to GA. This is a situation that needs to be addressed by the Community Agreements but we don’t have them yet. Fundamentally, I would never let what ‘s happening here, happen to you. I wouldn’t let anyone recommend to interfere with a WG.

POI: Housing has been trying to deal with this for a week. Housing cannot remove Jeff because he won’t respect our process. This is our attempt to get help from the GA. … All we are asking is the GA support democracy within this group.

Nan: I hear your concern and I respect that you stand up for me. What I feel is how Jeff and Jason, they knew my WG was about rape victims. They knew that girl got raped. And it hurts me for her to have to relive that again. I feel … and I … for him to continue to be head of Housing … it hurts me. I have to make the decision … and …

[Break while Facilitation speaks with Nan]

F: We are now going to test for modified consensus. I will ask if you are in favor or opposed. We will require you to raise your hand. Stand asides and blocks do not count. This is a whole new proposal.

[23 in favor, 9 opposed]

F: This proposal does not have modified consensus.

Nan: Monday, 3:30 60 Wall, Housing meeting. We will make this an agenda item.

Sage: Thank you, even though it was intense. We celebrate when we have consensus. I am going to celebrate even when we don’t.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Pachamama Alliance: Invitation from the Pachamama Alliance. They work to preserve the tropical rainforest and create a new global vision of equity and sustainability for all. We happen to have two facilitators from this organization visiting New York City this weekend. They will offer a presentation on Monday at noon at 60 Wall Street. I invite you to come if you would like to address: What will it take to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling human presence on this planet?

Tim: I’m part of a team that live tweets all of these meetings. It’s really fun! You probably have to be able to type fast. We are having our first meeting in like months. I’d love if you came so that I don’t have to do this every day. We’ll meet Sunday, 60 Wall at 6.

Tom: 1) Occupy Language got started through poets and writers and is already connected in various ways and it’s … just north of Houston on the 26th between 5 and 8. There will be open mic, no facilitation and people will be invited to participate. 2) Occupy Staten Island is growing by leaps and bounds. We have meetings every week. Saturday afternoons at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. Find out more, ask me.

Goldie: We are doing a radio show and we are working on a segment of who we are and why we occupy. So if anyone has any good stuff they want to tell me I would love to record you. Right now I want to record you saying, “Why occupy? We occupy!” [GA: “WHY OCCUPY? WE OCCUPY!”] GET UP GET UP GET UP, GET UP GET UP!

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