NYC OPERATIONAL SPOKES COUNCIL DAY 112
Date/Time: 1/6/2012, 7:30 pm
Location: Park West Presbyterian Church
Facilitators (F): Nicole, Zach
Working Group Report Backs
Housing Budget Proposal
[SPOKES INTRODUCE THEMSELVES]
Negesti from WOW: I’m Negesti from the WOW Caucus. We want to make a statement really quick. We would like to have a meeting with female-identified people and our allies about something that’s happening in this space involving a person who’s been accused of sexual assault in the park and we don’t want to stop the meeting but we would like to ask that the meeting doesn’t consense upon any proposals until we come back. We’re hoping this will be quick, and we want to do it outside of this exact space, but maybe downstairs. So we’re going to do that now.
Nicole (F): And let me just give a little background. Any caucus can convene at any time to meet or discuss issues or things that are really pertinent. They can also forestall any proposals that might be on the table. So that caucus is going to convene, and we thought we’d go around and do working group report backs while that was happening, and then take it from there. Does that sound good?
Negesti: Is there anyone that’s interested in coming with us? Great. We’re going to be downstairs.
Nicole (F): If you go and you’re spoking, we’ll give you a chance later on to give a report back, so don’t worry about it.
Nicole (F): So we’re going to open stack for working group report backs. If there’s anyone that needs to talk to anyone else in the room, go ahead.
WORKING GROUP REPORT BACKS
Shawn from Translation: I just wanted to add translation to the agenda for next time to confirm our status as an operational working group. That’s all.
Point of information: Anyone else that shows up is an operational group until the 20th, at which point…the decision on how it’s going to work as it pertains to the Dec 20th proposal that passed about what working groups are…
F: I can speak to this. Right now we’re in a middle period, we’ll phase it in on the 20th, this proposal that was passed by Info. We can fill you in on that at some point. Tonight and until the 20th anyone who shows up and has a spoke for a week is a working group.
SC: On Monday it was determined that working groups were going to proceed, the SC was going to proceed to continue its process and that after the 20th, new groups would then be addressed. Am I confused?
F: I believe so. My understanding is until the 20th, anybody is a spoke who comes in with a cardboard sign. Starting on the 20th, we have a more stringent criteria for working groups that will apply to all working groups.
SC: I’d be happy to speak to this. The proposal passed on December 20th in GA to help define what working groups are. It will go into effect after a 30 day grace period on January 20th. We decided on Monday at SC that we’d put off any decisions about how to induct new groups into spokes until after the 20th when we have a more clear picture of which groups exist. So any decisions about whether or not someone’s a working group will be talked about after the 20th. Until then, anyone who comes to this meeting is welcome to act as a spoke. So I would suggest that you come by on the 20th and talk about being an operations group.
F: Did that answer all questions? Awesome. Next on stack?
Think tank: We’re trying to do mobile think tanks. We’ve been setting up conversations in various public spaces. We had one Friday in the Staten Island Ferry terminal. We would love presence there if possible because we are trying to get as many new members involved as possible but unless there’s a big group of people to initially start the conversation, it doesn’t really look like anything, it just looks like people having a chat because we can’t really hold up signs unless we get a permit. We have got certain ways around that but if we can get…tomorrow we’re going to be meeting at 2 pm in Times Square and we’re going to try and set up a think tank there. Also on Sunday we’ll be on the steps of the Met at 2:00 pm. If anyone can come up to get a conversation going, that’d be great.
SC: Is this information on the website?
Think tank: Yes!
Steve/Library: Quick factual information: Library still exists and is in operation. We show up to as many actions as possible with books. Just today we collected hundreds and hundreds of new books that we moved from Brooklyn to SIS. We collected more books today than were recovered after the raid on Liberty Park. We’re still going strong, and people still support us. Thank you for your support!
Zoe: We had a great minutes working group meeting yesterday. We talked about recruiting. If you like to type, or want to transcribe from home, please come see us.
Ronnie: This is a report back from Outreach. We’re going through some interesting transformations. We have an Outreach cluster now because we understand that everybody in this movement does outreach, whether you think so or not. We are gathering together, if you want to know more, please contact me. Also: though I’ve been a harpy about this: Printing printing printing. We have a printing budget. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Soon we’re working with tech ops to migrate that to an NYCGA address which will likely be email@example.com. That will be announced on the website. Keep in mind there’s printing for working groups and the only requirement is you send a request through your NYCGA email address.
Media: Media is also going through a transformation. It hasn’t been totally approved yet but we passed a proposal yesterday to reorganize our structure. So our weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 6 pm will be divided into subgroups. Already livestream and photo have been meeting as subgroups, but also we’re having a video/editorial content subgroup meeting during that time. Our general meetings will be Thursday at 6:00 pm at 60 Wall Street. We’ve begun to work more closely with PR in order to really work on messaging and getting things out through the news cycle more quickly. So we believe that this restructuring will help us do that. So if you or anyone you know wants to plug in to media, please let them know this is the way it’ll go. Thanks
Gilbert/Where Workers Are Owners: We’re a very well supported affinity group working to help ows’ers who need work. We recognize that the economic sector is the sickest sector in society. I have experience organizing group self-employment: how to get work for ourselves quickly. We found an office space finally on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, it’s a very nice space. Anyone interested in working in this kind of way for yourselves, let me know. This is going to marginalize the 1%. This is a substantial part of the revolution, working for ourselves. Anyone who wants to work in this way, contact me and sign up. Thank you.
Tech: Tech is hopefully going to present a super awesome budget proposal tonight to fund different services that we think that ya’ll will be interested in having. We’re also continuing work on a mass emailing system which would essentially mean that all the groups with shared lists of email addresses… you can do one to many email blasts (say you have some sort of event in Times Square tomorrow, you could do a mass emailing to people signed up), so this is a service we’ll begin offering soon. If you’d be interested in developing the policy around how it will be viewed (because it’s a very powerful tool), speaking as OWS, we need a very strong policy. If you want to help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
F: Any more report backs? Alright. While WOW is still convening downstairs, we can at least talk about what’s on the agenda without coming to consensus. We can start the process of going through them without getting to consensus.
F: There was a proposal which was half way through but we ran out of time on Wednesday from outreach about having people pass to ban bar [?] from future Spokes Councils. It was consensed by the group that we restart that proposal now. The other proposal is from housing, tech, and then media if we have time.
F: If we don’t have anything else to do, any other ideas? Can I get a temperature check on moving forward.
F: Outreach is suggesting it postpones temporarily because one person he wants to propose with is with the caucus. Should we move to housing?
HOUSING BUDGET PROPOSAL
Housing: Hello I’m Will! This is my first time doing a proposal. I have copies here if anyone wants to see it.
[SPOKE READS PROPOSAL FROM HOUSING]
Housing: We’re asking the SC for $3,680 in subsidies to pay Park Slope Methodist Church and the West Park Presbyterian Church. This will also include the three unpaid days, and one extra night we stayed at Saint Paul Saint Andrew church. This money will be used to pay for two weeks at Park Slope, four days at West Park, and four nights at SPSA. This time around, we’re asking for less money because we have one foot out the door at SPSA, which costs the most per night. Park Slope is still holding together and that has not changed as far as I know. For Park Slope, the cost is $70/night, coming to about $490/week. Since we’re asking for two weeks, it comes to about $980. That pretty much is for heat, hot water, shelter, for up to (and sometimes exceeding) 30 people a night regularly. For West Park the housing is more about $50/night, which covers heat, hot water and shelter. We’re only paying for four days this week, and on a per night basis inclusively next week depending on if we’re staying on. I’m still not entirely sure. I’ve been slightly out the loop with West Park. It’s going to be $150/night January 4th to the 13th inclusively, which comes to $1500. If we get kicked out, we’ll give the money right back to accounting. Hopefully we’ll stay! For Saint Paul & Saint Andrew, we overstayed by one night (we had to). We’ll have to pay up till January 3rd, this pays for heat, hot water, shelter, security and clean up. That comes up to $300/night, for four nights, so $1200. So $980 + $1200 + $1500 equals $3,680. It’s pretty straightforward. I’m wonderful at public speaking.
F: Ok so that’s a proposal. We’re going to break into spokes now, discuss with our groups, see if we have any clarifying questions. We’re going to have about two minutes.
F: So we’re going to get stack with our questions. Raise your sign if you have a question.
Town planning: It is correct that someone named Tonye was staying at the church these past few weeks?
Housing: I’m not sure.
F: Also if you are spoking right now and weren’t at the beginning of the meeting, can you get on record with minutes.
Library: Are you doing just questions now?
F: Yes just clarifying questions.
Media: Some of us would like to know a little more about the people living in these places and whether they’re members of other working groups.
Housing: Some of them are, though some of them are freeloading, for lack of a better word. I don’t see any of them here right now. Only about maybe half a dozen to a dozen are literally just staying at the church, eating our food, and stealing our stuff.
Tech ops: How many people are we housing between the three locations?
Housing: At SPSA, 90 to 96 people. At Park slope, 30 plus, normally 30, but sometimes more.
Tech ops: So about 120 people give or take.
Tech ops: So that’s for two churches from the 4th to the 13th. That’s the timeline for housing about 120 people? That’s what we’re asking.
Housing: We need to pay SPCA for four days still. From the 30th up till today, and from there on to the 13th we’re paying for 120 people.
Tech ops: For about 13 days between two places we’re paying approx. $3600 to house 120 people.
Housing: [JEFF STEPS IN] For 14 days we’ve been housing 120 people at park slope and here at the church.
F: Ok no one’s left on stack. In your groups did you talk about concerns? Should we break back out? No? So let’s open stack for concerns then right now.
Library: Thank you for your proposal. I’ve been getting a lot of information about how our finances are starting to dwindle. Before we decide as a group on whether to dispense thousands of dollars, wouldn’t it make sense to know how much money we’re dealing with at every meeting? I would personally like to know how much money we have. Second: Library is curious about how long you guys are planning to house people in churches and if it’s meant to go on indefinitely. While we support what you’re saying in spirit, it sounds like it might be too costly. It doesn’t sound like it’s entirely what OWS is about, just housing people.
Point of information: According to this email, yesterday we had $290,558 then somebody gave us $25,000 last night. So we have $300,000, out of that $100,000 has been set aside by GA proposal for bail. So we have about $215,000. After that, there’s probably going to be some accounting and bookkeeping expenses down the line and eventually paying tax. So let’s say we have $100,000 or $150,000?
Library: So we should behave as if we have $150,000?
Accounting: Yes we’re going to have to come together in the future and allocate.
Point of information/tech ops: For the record: to keep this current situation up for 90 days would only cost $21,600. It’s $2/a day per person for 90 days. It’s relatively inexpensive is what we’re trying to say. For NYC, it’s remarkable.
Media: Our concerns are identical to the Library’s. While we agree in spirit with the proposal, it seems like under the current circumstances, it might be an unsustainable future for the movement. Especially given the fact that not everyone is not necessarily involved.
Media: We’re concerned with the overall sustainability with this type of measure, especially given the information about how some people are “freeloading.”
CQ: Didn’t we pass a measure that says people in housing from a certain day forward have to be in working groups?
Housing: That was in the last proposal for housing and we require a FA to add to this or to another proposal to actually make that ratified.
F: There’s been a request from library that you speak to the concern of library.
Housing: Can you explain in one sentence?
Library: How long do you expect to house people in churches?
Housing: Until we find a warehouse or a place big enough to couch surf.
Library: So indefinitely.
Housing: Until we find something better. About 3 months.
Point of information: This is an international and national movement, so 40% of people who stay here are from out of state.
Point of Process: I think the entire group could speak while delivering a proposal like this.
F: We were uncertain about what to do so let’s take a temperature check on whether to do that and let it happen.
F: Ok so we’re going to break SC a bit and do that.
Tech ops: Our concern is the formatting of the proposal. We would like to see a breakdown that’s a little more like cost per person, per night, per space. More structure to the proposal. We’d be happy to help you guys out. As a friendly amendment: We would like to see a more structured way of bringing proposals so we can project costs of housing. I know it’s very up in the air. But just so we can expect twice a month, we’re housing this many people, we could add into that what library brought up: we’re housing this many people, a percentage of which are in working groups. Just for transparency’s sake. And we’d be happy to assist you in making a format. We would not block if you wouldn’t accept the amendment.
Housing: Yes we accept!
Point of information: Based on the proposal, it’d be $6500 for a full month going forward.
Tech ops: For one month?
Housing: It would end up being less cause we’re using a lower rate going forward. It will be cheaper in the next few weeks.
Tech Ops: Sure that’s not our concern. Our concern is presenting these proposals in a straightforward matter.
Strong Women Rules: Will you guys be coming back to SC for more money for rent, and how do you propose to get these funds from elsewhere?
Housing: These spaces are donated spaces. We do not pay rent. We pay utilities for hot water, gas and electricity. The money was for cleaning. All of these are utility reimbursements. There has been talk of fundraising but at this moment, we don’t have it.
F: We’re going to close stack now.
Council of elders: Is it possible to consolidate to one location?
Housing: No we’re at capacity here at the church. Park slope is 30 people.
F: We wanted to allocate a half hour on this and we’re close to the end and we can’t move to anything until WOW comes back.
Facilitation: Jason: We had a few different things. We’d like to see the use of this space as a means to coordinate our budgets so that when budget proposal comes up, groups can communicate with each other. So when we’re asking how much money we have, that’d be already in the room. So we don’t have to reeducate our selves about them when a budget proposal comes up. The two questions we have are: it’s our understanding that if you are going to raise funds for yourselves, then you have to be an affinity group. Then if you’re a working group, that doesn’t come out of the big pot. Just cause we’ve heard people say that if housing is doing fundraising and it seems that the way the policy is now…even if they were to, that it’d have to go to the big pot, to come back have the SC, and then go back. So that’s a concern. The two questions: are those utilities the full utilities for the building or a portion? Have there been efforts to seek other venues for housing. Ok obviously. Can you speak to how that’s one and how we’ve gotten to a place where it’s me personally…this is a charitable thing to do and the purpose of OWS is to address the root causes of these issues and not be a charity because that doesn’t solve it, although I do support helping our people.
Housing: Yes the housing working group has spent a lot of time in pursuit of additional spaces to house people in. We have a separate group. We have been involved in private buildings. We’ve done that a couple of times. Mostly churches because they’re large. We’ve pursued schools and buildings and tents. We’ve also looked at renting or leasing spaces but the cost is astronomical. So yes there has been a search for spaces. We are not social services. We see ourselves as extremely functional in this organization, and that is housing people who wish to be involved when they arrive. People from all over have a fixed place to meet. In this community, at least half of the people here were not living in NY before. We see ourselves not only as a model for how to build communities, but a space where we can service to intake people coming in and getting them involved in the movement. In a previous proposal we had a FA suggesting that we have people sign up through working groups. There’s a mechanism in place through daily action where people can get involved. This proposal was not written with that FA in it, but of course we accept friendly amendments. Other than that, that’s how we function. It simply is an intake mechanism for how to get people educated.
F: I’d now like to freeze this proposal and hear from Negesti.
WOW: We met downstairs and had a discussion. There was an individual who was accused of sexual assault in the park. One of the only people who was asked to leave the park and not return. This individual then returned to the churches, and was allowed to stay there, and was at least here for some time last night and then he decided to leave. We felt very unsafe to have this individual in the space where we are meeting. So we would like to ask the SC for two things: to stand behind us in asking the community that sleep here to have this individual not participate in OWS until the community agreement that safer spaces is working on is ratified. That community agreement has in it a process for which we will deal with people who have been accused of abuse, and how we can help them and bring them back into our community. This is not just for one individual, but for all individuals who were asked to leave the space by the community. I would like the community to stand behind the decision that we made in the park as far as individuals who were aggressive or violent in any way and were asked to leave.
F: So that’s a proposal and we’re going to do it right now. Do we need to repeat it? Yes? Ok.
WOW: We are asking the SC to stand behind us in asking the communities that stay in this church to ask this individual and I believe two others to not come back to our community until the community agreement that safer spaces is working on (that has information on how to deal with these individuals) is ratified and those individuals can go through that process.
F: We’re going to break out into groups and discuss. We’re going to take about five minutes.
F: Mic check. We’re going to come back together. We’re going to open up stack.
Point of information: We do have information on this. What is confirmed is that there is currently a restraining order against the accused person.
WOW: Before we get to clarifying questions, I have a specific clause in the safer spaces agreement. The clause: those who have committed harm in this space may be asked to leave until the harm has been addressed. We will work with organizations who work with individuals with addiction or violence.
Minutes: We have three questions. What is the enforcement policy if someone’s identified as fitting that criteria? What’s the enforcement of keeping them out of this space?
WOW: Is de-escalation here? Safer spaces has copies of this agreement. We would like to refer to de-escalation and their experience. We’re only talking about individuals who have been asked to leave, and who have a restraining order.
Minutes: The second is who is it that’s determining, I don’t want to say a list, who identifies these people specifically?
Point of information: I can identify this individual conclusively.
F: Please no side conversations.
WOW: We are specifically talking about individuals who have already been asked to leave. This community knows who those individuals are. It wouldn’t be a list created by a larger group of people.
SC: It would need to be shared with housing if we’re going to ask them to enforce it.
F: We’re going to respect spokes now.
Point of information: Order of protection and not a restraining order.
Housing: Housing is very concerned about that since a few nights ago we housed one of these individuals without knowing about them. We were just wondering: is there possibly a list of these people, so housing could know and other working groups could know?
WOW: De-escalation has that list. It shouldn’t be a long list, just a few people.
WOW: My understanding is that there were people in housing who did know this individual and knew that he was arrested.
Point of information: There was an order of protection but as of now, there is a restraining order.
F: Also the food is ready, so if you want to make your way to it, go ahead.
Think tank: Was there a consensus process about the decision to ban this individual?
Point of information: We had him arrested. At the time, it was covered by the fact that he was arrested. We still don’t have a means or process to deal with this.
Point of information: I want folks to know that it’s very important to enforce the restraining order if it’s not followed. It can be nullified otherwise.
Tech ops: We’re concerned about decisions being made about individuals that aren’t documented, that are brought to the group after the fact. We just wanted to put that out there as a concern. When we say a group of people agreed, that’s something that must be documented and shared. What’s the time frame for when the community agreement comes into place?
Safer spaces: It would need to go through GA, it could be quick, it could be long. It’s a long document. Other occupys who have done this have taken a week at GA’s just crossing off things they don’t like.
Tech ops: So we’re discussing a stopgap between when this document is presented and now.
Archives: Are there feet? Just because he has restraining order doesn’t mean he can’t be around.
WOW: We don’t know the specifics of the restraining order. We know there’s a legal document.
Archives: I actually have a restraining order out on someone in the movement. As long as I don’t approach him, and he doesn’t approach me, it’s fine.
Point of information: The person who has the restraining order should give out copies. Restraining orders can include distances, or spaces, or telephone. The only way that you’re going to know how to help this person is if they give you copies.
Point of information: It is stated that they cannot be in the same space of one another.
WOW: We are not taking a stance on the individual’s’ innocence or guilt. We are just asking the community to make us feel safe. We are not asking for a trial.
CQ: Does OWS own this location now?
CQ: Are there three individuals or one?
WOW: We are currently speaking about one individual who stayed at the church but there were three individuals who have already been asked to leave.
CQ: If there’s a restraining order against him and this is a private space, ultimately what does the church feel about that and I feel like this is out of our hands. It’s not up to us cause it’s not our space. I don’t see what the issue is if we have a restraining order.
WOW: It’s an individual restraining order and not a movement thing. We’re asking this movement to take a stance and stand behind this regardless of the space we’re in.
F: We’re opening stack for concerns.
Library: I feel out of my depth because I’m not sure you want to pass this proposal to try to handle spaces in general. Now that we don’t have the park anymore, I don’t feel qualified to pass proposals on how to deal with people. It makes me feel unconformable for this group to decide how to do safety.
WOW: We’re bringing it to SC because the group is now meeting HERE. It’s a possibility that women here would have to run into him and talk to him HERE.
Facilitation: Our concern was that if we do not make this statement, this victim will be excluded from participating in this space. We think there should be more discussion.
Strong Women Rules: Because there are two living spaces, instead of kicking this individual out, we suggest he go to the other living space instead of the one presently here.
WOW: We don’t accept that proposal because there are women sleeping in these spaces. It’s a serious issue and we don’t feel comfortable saying it’s ok to be here, and not here.
F: That’s the last friendly amendment. I’d like to take a temperature check among only spokes on whether we need to confer. Let’s take two minutes to confer.
F: I’d like to take a temperature check moving towards consensus on this proposal.
LOTS OF RAISED SIGNS
F: I’d like to ask if there are any blocks.
[NO BLOCKS MADE]
F: We’ve got consensus on this proposal.
F: I’d like to jump right back into housing. We were at the end of concerns.
WOW: Sorry somebody just brought something to our attention. I just want to clarify that sexual assaults do not happen only to women and what we did was for the whole community. It was raised by women.
F: We were at the end of concerns. We’ll go straight to your clarifying questions after restating the proposal.
Housing: Money for the three churches.
Gilbert/ Where Workers Are Owners: One is functioning: it’s very interesting to see these groups self-employment co-ops that are taking place. They give us permanence. The other one is housing: I’m concerned about this. There are many of us here who would like to live in our own residence as activists. There are thousands of foreclosed houses in New York. Should we be occupying these homes?
Housing: Please help housing as much as you’d like! We would love the help!
Point of information: I don’t know what the legal situation is here in NY but as far as I know, NY state has landlord tenant laws. If you want to make this into a landlord tenant issue, go ahead and do it.
FA: I have two friendly amendments. The first is that for any cases in the future where someone has been charged with a crime by members of OWS, that we not offer this individual housing. Related to this, if we are having a consensus meeting amongst people who are presently sleeping at the church, where this is discussed amongst the group present I would amend and request that that individual not be present while this discussion is happening. Many would take that as an intimidation tactic and would not speak out.
Housing: Housing does not feel empowered to exclude anybody from the movement based on things that we ourselves cannot verify. We respect decisions made by the GA, and if those things are documented and presented to housing, we will enforce them. Since no list or minutes were presented that were made by the GA that would exclude anybody, we were unable to do so. But yes going forward we welcome documentation. Again on the idea that we exclude anyone who’s been accused of a crime: that has occurred a number of times and again I’m just going to reiterate that housing does not feel empowered to exclude people based on movement issues; it must be done at the GA and the GA must provide documentation.
SC: It is my understanding that when the community sleeping here decided whether this individual would be able to stay with them here, the individual was present at that meeting and participated. I would ask in the future if this occurred that such individuals not be present to persuade their case as they may intimidate others.
Housing: The individual was not present at the discussion; we did so intentionally. The community itself consensed that he be able to present his own case, since he was already present in the community at the time these accusations were brought to the community. Meaning he was already inside the community and it seemed unfair to ask anyone to leave based on an accusation that they themselves could not report inside the community. Had it been brought to the attention that he had been excluded from the movement as a whole, then that might have been a separate case. But since we felt we were making this decision for our community based on something that had not been decided by OWS as a whole, the community made the decision to allow him to present his case, and then leave afterwards, and not answer additional questions that were not consensed upon.
Women Occupying Wall Street: Our concern is that this was not necessarily a safe space that was created and we ask that you include safer places in these kinds of discussions. That’s our FA.
Housing: We were emphatically told that Safer Spaces would not be participating in our meeting. We were given an ultimatum unless we made changes in our process. We asked for mediation, they offered for mediation, which has not been followed up. We would invite safer places in the capacity that they are willing to serve as a number of other teams in the safety cluster that are absolutely important….We are concerned with the viability that comes from a cohesive unit inside of these spaces and we feel that we’re not getting the full participation by these groups. So absolutely. If safer places is offering their help, we want it.
F: We’re going to close stack at this time. Next on stack is Strong Women Rules.
Strong Women Rules: Our FA is that housing find a place for this individual; it doesn’t have to be with any other females or any other occupiers but this individual is still part of this movement. Let me reword it; this is still an individual that needs housing.
F: We are not responding verbally to this; we have a process that allows us to hear each other. We don’t need to scream out.
Point of information: What Jeff was saying about how Safer spaces was not going to deal with housing was NOT safer spaces. It was a working group called support, and that was one part of the safety cluster. Don’t call it safer spaces.
Mediation: My understanding is that mediation is still open. As far as I know, nobody has declined mediation with housing.
Housing: We spoke to the individual again and expressed the concerns of the community. The individual decided it would be best to leave the community. We spent half an hour trying to find him, because he is a human being regardless of what happened, housing and shelter. We tried to find him an alternative but not inside the movement. It was independent and outside of our facilities. Some place for him to go. We can’t make a decision on what’s happened. That’s not our right to do so. So we tried to find some alternative.
Point of information: This individual has been out on bail for a month, he only showed up a week ago and clearly has the means of supporting himself independent of OWS.
F: Hey hey. We’re going to go back to stack for friendly amendments.
Housing: To clarify: we made an attempt to find something for this individual but not inside this movement.
F: I want to remind everyone that we’re discussing the budget proposal from housing. Right? So let’s get back to that. Any more friendly amendments?
FA: Think Tank: Our friendly amendment is that for somebody to stay in housing, they would have to be signed off by a working group. That there be some system in place to do that.
Housing: Yes we accept that.
PoP: I don’t know that as a community that works on consensus we can make a decision with two or three people talking to make decisions that will affect housing across the board. Making an FA that continues between three people.
F: Only spokes can talk.
Housing: Jason you can come up here if you want.
F: We’re way over time limit on this proposal. Can we try and stay on track? I invited people from housing here to convene about an hour ago. If that clears everything up, I hope we can move on with friendly amendments.
Direct action: I have a friendly amendment to put the process in order that people have to be in a working group to stay in a church, unless they are coming from out of state. I personally witnessed people cooking heroin in bathrooms and because they’re behind a stall…my perspective is that if you can’t maintain a working group for a couple of weeks, my perspective is that you should at least be contributing to the movement in some way. 10-15% don’t work during the day and use the resources at night.
PoP: This person is speaking as spoke of our group (Direct Action), but didn’t discuss it with us at all.
F: Do you accept or reject that FA?
Housing: Can you repeat it?
Direct Action: People staying at the residences that OWS provides must be in a working group to stay there.
Point of information: Movement wide decisions should be made at GA, not SC.
F: Let’s come back together.
FA: GSD: We want to ask the body to empower housing to make the decision with its members on if they want to exclude someone based on safety concerns. There are overnight shelters where this individual can go. That would be my FA. If we have to take this to the GA, that’s fine. But there’s a safety concern that’s very serious.
F: Just to clarify, we are on to the housing proposal. We passed the WOW one.
Stack: That’s the end of stack and we’re out of time.
F: Stack is closed.
Housing: We have no way of enforcing it. We just don’t feel comfortable enforcing it. We find housing, we don’t decide on excluding people.
F: We’re passed friendly amendments. Can I get a temperature check on moving towards consensus?
F: Let’s restate with friendly amendments.
Housing: We’re asking for 3,680 dollars for three churches, we’re staying at two right now. I have two friendly amendments to make sure that it’s more structured the next time we bring a request to include cost per night, per day, per occupant so we give a better idea of how much we’re spending per person. The second friendly amendment is that we require individuals who use housing to be authorized by a working group.
F: Temperature check among spokes?
WOW: There was another FA that going forward anyone who is arrested be not allowed to have housing.
WOW: And for Safer Spaces to be involved…
Housing: We accept safer spaces involvement in our community, absolutely. We said we’d enforce any decisions made by the GA about excluding people because we said we didn’t feel empowered to make those decisions ourselves.
PoP: It was already stated that the FA that was stated needs to go to the GA in order to be accepted.
F: There’s been a PoP raised that the friendly amendment to only have the members of working groups housed be moved to the GA. The implication is that that’s a movement wide decision. That FA that was accepted belongs in the GA and is not empowered by the group. It’d have to be a separate proposal at the GA.
Housing: I think this group has been empowered by the GA to make these decisions on budgetary concerns, and that decision simply refers to a budgetary request from this body.
CQ: The people who are in the housing: are they in working groups and are they occupiers?
Housing: Housing is a working group and I’d argue we’re all occupiers.
F: Ok so we’re done with friendly amendments. Temperature check…
Point of information: Since we are dealing with people coming from other occupations to stay here, we believe that that is a movement decision and not an internal decision because we’re dealing with outside people coming to stay.
Point of information from accounting: When SC was made, it was for financial and logistic purposes. The way we have used this is that any time we’ve spent finances for our group, it’s always included other people who have come in. So if you say other people are coming in and using our resources makes it movement wide, we don’t understand how it would be possible for anything to be financially logistical without it being movement wide.
Housing: We’re not trying to exclude people. We want people to be here, we want people to participate. My friend Will came here two weeks ago from Connecticut. He asked to get involved, now look at what he’s doing! I don’t know about movement wide or anything else, but I know something’s working.
PoP: I thought we were moving towards consensus and it seems like we’re opening up another stack.
Housing: I wanted to clarify: there’s been a concern that the FA isn’t valid because it isn’t movement wide. I don’t understand that it’s not movement wide because it seems to be attached to a budgetary proposal and it seems to be a stipulation on how we can use resources. Whether you’re for or against the FA, I think we just want clarification on if that is the case. I want to respect the fact that some people are requesting this. I’d hate to decline them because of a concern that’s brought up and I don’t know the basis of it.
F: This seems to be a bigger argument about what it means to add something that could be perceived as movement based to what is already a budgetary proposal. So adding this component could make it a bigger decision. This seems to be the tension we’re talking about. We’re through the process on this one. I would ask if that’s still a concern for you to vote the way you feel it is. So if you feel it’s bigger than what can be voted here, do that. That’s my recommendation. Can I get a temperature check on even moving to a temperature check?
[LAUGHS AND UP TWINKLES]
Facilitation/point of information: We do believe that when we’re dealing with housing people here that that is internal because we’re dealing with people in this physical space, we’re not dealing with other occupations and telling them how to do things.
F: So temperature check on moving towards consensus.
F: Looks mostly good. There was a request from stand asides on this issue.
Facilitation: We don’t want to block this proposal because it’s in support of people who need housing. We would like to stand aside because we’d like to see longer-term solutions. We would like to align people who need services with organizations. We don’t see it as the primary mission of our movement. Our goal should be to help each other and occupy space.
Accounting: Accounting stands aside on financial matters.
Library: Library stands aside.
Media: We’re standing aside for the same reasons.
F: Are there any blocks?
WOW: Our block is twofold: one the proposer made a statement that said they’d make proposals passed by GA. This body passed a proposal that affects housing directly. We are also blocking because we are concerned about housing’s decision-making processes about who stays in the churches. We feel that needs to be addressed.
F: Is there any amendment you could suggest?
WOW: Our friendly amendments are that housing agree to enforce the proposals that the SC just passed and that housing build a safer spaces process that they go through to house people. With those amendments we would remove our block.
Housing: Up until 6 or 7 weeks ago, safer spaces were invited into our space. They gave us an ultimatum that was outside of spokes and outside of GA. It was that they would not be involved. Absolutely you are asked. And it was always that way.
F: A reminder: We don’t interrupt with hand signals.
Housing: We accepted that amendment previously: safer spaces is involved in our community. We also accepted the amendment that we would accept what the GA proposed.
WOW: Can you accept what we passed in the SC?
Housing: The previous amendments only included GA, so we will accept also SC approved.
F: Do you remove your block?
WOW: So Wow is going to lift their block and move to a stand aside. We are concerned about members of housing expressing sexism towards women in this movement and their concerns. We are standing aside but we are stating our concern. And when a male individual just sighs at us, at the proposer, this exemplifies our concern. Our second concern is that you guys really try to work it out with safer spaces cause we are really concerned that the housing environment right now is not a safe space for women. We are standing aside, it took us a long time to do that.
[HOUSING REACTS AND LOTS OF COMMOTION]
F: Before we continue, I want to say that oppression happens in the margins and it’s not always clear to certain parties and we need to respect when people feel this way.
F: Let’s just try to hear each other. Let’s not make accusations.
Point of information from WOW: There were about five or so women who approached housing last night and he blew them off until two men spoke to him about it.
Housing: That’s a point of information?
LOTS OF COMMOTION
F: We’re going to inhale on three.
F: Are there any more blocks?
WOW: We’re reinstating our block because of the response that we got.
Archives: I want to stand aside.
De-escalation: I’d like for this to pass but I have to block it because I’d like the financial part of it to pass, but not the other issues we’re having. I’d like to pay for the churches and make sure that everybody has a place to stay but the decision making for throwing people out, I’d like that to be done collectively or done another time. If we could just pass that financial part, that’s great, if not, I have to block.
Housing: At no point ever did housing say that we were going to throw people out. The FA that we accepted we assumed to encourage people to be involved in the movement. We never said we’d kick people out. It’s not about exclusion.
De-escalation: What happens if people are not in a working group yet? Why can’t we just pass the financial part?
Anti-racist allies: We want to pass the financial portion but we disagree with the FA. This movement is about helping people. Homeless people should not be excluded.
Housing: For the last six or seen weeks, one of the most difficult things was to go from the street and into these church spaces. It is more difficult than SC or GA, than everything we do. To try to figure out a safe, drug free space that pleases the pastors. To deal with 120 people, how it can be movement oriented. We have never been able to rely on anyone because it doesn’t work at SC, it doesn’t work at 60 Wall Street, or the GA, we have had to do it ourselves. We are trying to figure out how to get everyone who walks into these doors to get involved. You have always been invited. (speaking to WOW). We were told that if we didn’t do it your way, you’d walk away. The pastors walked away. What is going on here? Where are the women in this movement? We have a pastor that loves us. Come on down, add to our community. Not as overseers. What is going on here? We have a wonderful community. IT’s about the most peaceful chill space I’ve seen in OWS. Come on down.
De-escalation: Is it possible to pass the financial part of this bill and have a conversation later?
Housing: To address that is difficult. Jeff and I discuss that all the time. We discuss how difficult it is for people dealing with drug addiction to come to this space. Jeff wants to do it quicker, I want to do it slower, we all try to deal with it.
De-escalation: We need to make this decision in the community.
F: I’m sensing a lot of disagreement in the housing working group.
PoP: We’re confused about what is happening right now. We wanted to ask the facilitation team.
F: What’s happening is housing working group had a lot of discontent and weren’t unified in how to approach this proposal. So they were conferring about how to divide this proposal.
Housing: Seeing all the animosity here is very terrifying. All the anger is wonderful. I love all this attention I’m getting. I feel love and hate towards me. I’d like to state one thing and one thing alone: since there are so many issues in housing that are non budget related we think they should be addressed by another proposal. We would like to go ahead with just a budgetary proposal tonight and move to consensus. Can I get a temperature check on this?
[Up twinkles and cheers]
F: What happened was that housing accepted the friendly amendment that came from that block. So right now the proposal that’s on the table is only the budgetary aspect.
LOTS OF COMMOTION
F: That proposal got a strong reaction from WOW. I would like to give them a chance to speak.
WOW: In order for us to move forward with this, and this will mean that we’re standing aside, there needs to be a specific date set within the next week (before the week is over) for mediation process between all the parties that have been saying that this is an alternate reality that is presented here. There are people all over who have offered their help and we want their help to be accepted humbly, not with ultimatums given to the people who are giving their time.
WOW: We were to appoint in the process when we had all of these friendly amendments that the community clearly needs about people being in working groups, about accepting the resolution that was passed in spokes. Can we please first test for consensus with all of the friendly amendments that were accepted and if the consensus process fails, then split it into two proposals. We are willing to step aside if there’s some sort of mediation process and remove our block…with the friendly amendments that were accepted before and we feel like our really important to our community. If consensus fails, you can always go back to dividing it. But can you please try this first.
Media: If we move towards this consensus on the proposal plus the friendly amendments that were agreed upon earlier, we will remove our stand aside and we will vote for the budgetary proposal with the friendly amendments.
Library: We agree with media on that. Library will support the proposal if the amendments are attached.
F: We’re coming back together. Can I say that we’re not going to get anywhere if we keep stoking the fire. I would like people who don’t have housing to get housing. It’s almost 10:00 pm so this meeting’s almost done. Can we figure out a way to make this work right now?
F: Can you restate your proposal with the amendments please?
Housing: Housing is requesting a sum of $3,680 to pay for two weeks of time in park slope in Brooklyn, and in two different spaces here at 86th. It’s $300 a night for SPSA for four nights (where we’ve already moved out of). It’s $150 a night for here at West Park where we’ll remain for 10 nights. In this location we’re paying for $70/night for 14 nights in Park Slope. Friendly amendments accepted: that we restructure the proposal next time we bring it to be more accountable, to have cost per person, per night. We accepted a proposal that all people who are staying in the space are part of a working group.
WILL FROM HOUSING OBJECTS TO THIS
LOTS OF COMMOTION
F: We’re going to move through this proposal as it is stated right now. If there are issues, they will move through process.
Housing: We accepted a proposal we’d abide decisions made by GA and SC. Those were the four friendly amendments.
WOW: The other one had to do with mediation between…
F: Ok so that was it.
F: Can I see groups who would like to stand aside? Ok four stand asides. Are there any blocks? Three.
WOW: Our block is removable by a promise that before the end of this week, meaning before next Friday, there be a specific meeting held including at least one member of WOW, at least one member of safer spaces, at least one member of mediation, and at least one member of the safety cluster groups, and that there be mediation between the housing group and those groups so that in the future, people are, excuse me I’m talking to you, can you please listen? (Directed at members of Housing). We want to make sure that in the future, if help is being offered by such groups, that it is accepted as help and not as overseeing because no one’s trying to oversee anyone.
Housing: We accept a sit down from mediation.
WOW: In that case we’ll stand aside.
F: Ok 5 stand asides.
De-escalation: I would be willing to remove my block. We should pass the financial portion and then choose how we’ll go about the other stuff. We can later decide on how you remove people and all that stuff.
Housing: There was nothing in our proposal about power or removing people. If you could clarify what we can do to remove your block.
De-escalation: The friendly amendment that people have to be in working groups.
F: This is not about taking away all the amendments, just one accepted friendly amendment that had to do with members of housing having to be in working groups.
Housing: At this point housing sees we cannot move forward with the friendly amendment that requires people being in working groups. So if we can’t move forward with the amendment, then obviously we’ll decline the amendment and see if the group would pass it without that amendment in place.
F: Not doing that would mean a stand aside in terms of media, think tank, library.
F: We have no blocks and eight stand asides. Let’s get a count of everyone. We have consensus cause there are no blocks. Clarification: it’s the money aspect, plus having mediation with groups, accepting anything from GA and SC, and more detailed reports.
Media: I apologize that this is out of process but I would like to know how many working groups are going for the proposal.
Think tank: I would be willing to remove my stand aside if…
F: I appreciate that but it’s already passed because there aren’t any blocks.
Point of information: We don’t vote, we consense and come to an agreement.
F: We’re ending. We were going to stop at 10:00 pm-ish. We did some work today and it was really productive. We can’t leave here thinking we haven’t made progress.
Media: My understanding is that there were more stand asides than positive votes. Please correct me if I’m wrong: if everyone steps aside and there are no blocks, do we have consensus? How many working groups are here tonight?
Minutes: There are 32 working groups here tonight.
F: I want to end this meeting on a good note. I’d like everyone to hang around and coordinate. If you want to meet up with someone else to work.