NYC General Assembly 1/26/2012 (Minutes)

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NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 132

Audio Recording of the General Assembly

Location: Liberty Park, moved to 60 Wall Street due to rain

Facilitators: Anthony, Jack

Stack: Lady

Minutes: Lauren

Working Group Report Backs: None

Proposal: Breakout groups to speak about violence that happened on Tuesday report backs on that disruption

Proposal: Proposal for the formation of Global Justice working group: Consensus

Proposal: Food Justice: Consensus

Proposal: Occupy your workplace: Consensus with three Friendly Amendments:

1. Provide legal education and legal counsel for example NLG

2. Target Management in addition to workers

3. Worker ownership and collective control is part of the working groups objective

Proposal: Facilitation: Consensus with the Friendly Amendment that there be only one less GA per week with the new schedule being GA Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Proposal #6: Visions and Goals: Proposed breakout session, Tabled due to lack of time

Announcements: GSD Affinity Group, Angelo with Safer Spaces, Christina on behalf of Open Spaces, Structure, Visions and Goals, OWS Trade Justice, Mediation and NVC, Political Action and Impact, Zach, Food Justice working group

CQ: does any one know how to get a hold of Comhub to let them know we moved indoors?

Yes, taken care of

F: The general assembly has come back to order

Report backs on violence

F: Next agenda item

Global Justice to become a working group

We, the Global Justice working group, are requesting to be added to the agenda of the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street on January 26th, 2012 in order to present our statement and to seek consensus as an official Working Group. Our group of approximately forty members is composed of many activists from other working groups as well as community activists and others participating in Occupy for the first time. We have held open meetings every Saturday since December 3rd, all of which have achieved and surpassed a quorum of five. We have also already had numerous sub-group meetings and have a very active google-group email forum while we build our own website. Last Thursday, January 19th, we prepared and hosted a teach-in on the use of American-made Tear Gas to suppress protest from Cairo to Oakland, in anticipation of the first anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution (today Jan 25!). This teach-in had a great turn-out, filling the house at 56 Walker Street.

Below is the statement that we consented to as a short description for the NYCGA website, which we would read aloud to the General Assembly. Please let us know if this is sufficient and please share any concerns, questions, tips, or information to help us prepare for any issues that may arise.

The Global Justice WG aims to build solidarity and coordination between OWS and movements for social justice around the world. We seek to raise public awareness about the impact of U.S. military, economic and strategic policy, domestically and internationally; to build relationships with social movements across borders; and to organize direct actions challenging prevailing power structures that put profit above all else. By shedding light on the ties between profit and exploitation in the global system, we aspire to help build an international mass movement for political and economic justice.

CQ: Is your group affiliated with the global justice group in Washington DC where our donations filter through?

No

CQ: Is there a reason this needs to be its own working group instead of a subcommittee of another group

Yes: this grew out of movement building …this working group grew out of a reflection within the movement building working group…international movement building …the movement building group doesn’t have the capacity to take on these issues…we considered being a subgroup and consented by movement building to be its own group

F: No FA, we are going to move towards consensus, are there any stand asides?

F: Stand asides? No stand asides

F: Any blocks? No blocks

F: Temperature check [Positive] Consensus!

F: Next is Food Justice group to become an official OWS working group

Food Justice: Subgroup from sustainability, we already function as a working group and we would like to be recognized as such:

The FOOD JUSTICE SUBGROUP (OWS Sustainability) wishes to apply to become a full-fledged working group.

The name of the group will remain FOOD JUSTICE.

The MISSION STATEMENT is as follows:

The Food Justice Working Group of OWS works to strengthen, empower and promote bioregional solidarity within the OWS movement by:

1.            Promoting and Supporting local-farm to kitchen relationships;

2.            Encouraging and facilitating dialogue, education and direct action on the issues of sustainable food production, food justice, food sovereignty and corporate control in our local, regional, national and global food systems;

3.            Incorporating the principles of food justice and self-sufficiency into the everyday practices of Occupy Wall Street.

The Food Justice group can be reached via EMAIL at owsfood@gmail.com. The CONTACT PEOPLE are Paula Winograd and Vevlyn Wright.

The Food Justice working group will be based in NEW YORK.

The Food Justice working group will meet at least ONCE A WEEK and will take MINUTES, which will be POSTEDat www.nycga.net

PoI:  2pm on Saturday there will be an eco meeting at Judson Memorial Church

No FA, No Stand asides, No Blocks

F: Consensus!

Food Justice meets every Friday 7pm at 60 Wall Street

Occupy York Workplace

We just started a working group called Occupy Your Workplace. Our mission statement is “We want to occupy our workplaces. We want to help you occupy yours”. The goal of the group is to encourage workers/occupiers to hold democratic assemblies within their workplaces as a way of organizing the unorganized. The email for the group is occupyyourworkplace@gmail.com. We have had 3 meetings so far and would like to become an official working group of OWS. The meetings are held every Sunday from 5pm-7pm @ 60 Wall Street. The members so far come from the Labor Outreach Committee, Immigrant Workers’ Justice Working Group and the Rank and File Subcommittee of the LOC

CQ: Is possible to loose your job if you participate in occupy your workplace

Yes, that is why it is up to the individual to occupy to the level that they feel comfortable

CQ: Does this help with people find jobs or just people that are currently employed?

This group if for people who are already working and trying to establish their rights there is another group that works with the unemployed

C: This doesn’t seems revolutionary

…Its not up to me to tell workers what to do its pu to them, but I agree it needs to be revolutionary

FA: We incorporate as part of our charter to have volunteer lawyers as a back up, make a relationship with volunteer lawyers.

Accepted

More of a suggestion: Explore a forum to get more energy before jumping into  Before you start taking launch right away, do strategy first and then jump into getting in contact with workers. Not just strategizing but educating each other on the options, to try and not put people at risk but make informed decisions.

That is what we are doing.

F: Standasides: 3

1: If someone gets fired what assistance ware we are going to

PoI I think that was addressed with the legal amendment, which was accepted.

Restate:

We seek to occupy our workplaces and want to encourage people to occupy theirs with legal advice

Stand asides: 4

1: it seemed like at first it was about bringing the principles into their workplaces, but now it sounds like more emphasis on organizing and we should be in solidarity with the union and this maybe duplicating their work.  This is not our place

we are encouraging self organizing

2. I do not see the benefit of the working group, personally I would like to see more days of action like occupy your workspace day

3. I’m concerned about the strategy behind the working group

Blocks: Your target is misplaced, you need to target the shark not the little fish, you should go from top down not the bottom up

Is there anything that can be done?

You should target the CEOs

GA: I don’t believe in the validity of your block

They are tying to give workers the tools to organize

F: We don’t have what they have in DC and Freedom plaza where the community can address the validity of the block

PoI: This came up as a proposal and it did not pass so we can not address that

F: Do you want to keep your block or change it to a friendly amendment?

My FA is to target the big boss not the family

FA Accepted

There are no blocks

Please restate with FA:

We seek to occupy our workplaces we want to encourage people to occupy there’s we believe in legal education and we will supply some kind of legal back up and contact with the legal working group and we want to target bosses. Worker ownership and collective control is part of our objective

How are you going to target the bosses? We are not tactically committed at this point and at this point we don’t want to make specific commitments on the tactics we want to tell them how to do that but we don’t want to make decisions for them …the way you empower people in the workplaces

Does their answer to your block let you drop it?

I will give them a chance

Result: Consensus

F: Next: Restructuring the GA

We had accepted one FA we would move from 4 to 3 GA’s Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays there is nothing more to the proposal than that…if we could have fewer decisions focused meetings we could accomplish more

This proposal from the Facilitation Working Group seeks to reduce the number of scheduled NYCGA General Assembly meetings per week. A nearly identical proposal will be brought to the Spokes  Council for a reduction of its weekly meetings.

GA’s represent, to many, the opportunity to be involved in the direct democracy we value and to connect to OWS itself. These meetings are oriented toward decision-making. Our greater purpose might be served with fewer meetings oriented toward decision-making. The vitality of the General Assembly is essential to the strengthening of OWS.  The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen the GA.

There are alternatives that might strengthen our movement. These include ‘open space’ meetings for discussion, connection and community-building.  By reducing the number of movement-wide, decision-oriented meetings we seek to create room for these alternatives to develop.

For people with limited time, fewer meetings allow them to set aside the necessary time per week to attend a GA. Cutting back on meetings wouldn’t just allow involved OWS participants to go to fewer meetings it would allow working families an easier avenue to involvement. Fewer meetings will address another concern: an increase in participation strengthens the quorum.  Fewer meetings will also allow development and preparation of proposals before they are brought to the GA. Facilitation teams would also benefit greatly as they would have more time to prepare.

We believe that the Portland model has great merit and that the conditions it attempts to address are similar to ours. However we propose a simple reduction in weekly meetings from 7 to 4. We propose that the GA meet twice a week (Tues, Saturday) rather than 4 times and that the Spokes Council meet twice a week (Monday & Thursday) rather than 3 times.

We propose acknowledgement that any General Assembly is empowered to call additional meetings or further reduce scheduled meetings, as needed, by consensus.

CQ: is there a plan for the other nights?

There are things that are already happening, open spaces meeting every other Friday.  Facilitation doesn’t want to build that into this proposal we want to leave it up to the community.

CQ: did I hear you say you wanted to open up space by limiting the GA?

We want to create time in peoples calendar for space for something other than proposal based meetings

CQ: For those open days would a person have to bring proposal

Facilitation has nothing to do with setting the calendar or setting events, we have a limited job. We are hoping for an organic growth. We would like to see what happens with space in the schedule

CQ: We have a lot of groups this is the only opportunity for a group to submit a proposal

I recognize that there is a portion of the written proposal, which acknowledges that this body always has the option to reduce or add the GA as needed.

C: I am concerned that part of this proposal be part of this proposal be some sort of outreach to task everybody in the community to come up with activities for this free space? Could this be added to the proposal.  Appeal to the community to propose to try to create those things, not just it would be nice if it would happen. I think its an important part of the proposal

I feel like that work is being done, they are already being created, I don’t think it needs to be amended.

C: My concern is the GA is the only OWS body that is open and accessible to every leave and every occupiers and streak holder and it being available 4 days a week makes it accessible for those who cant make t the other days, if we go to three days and open up and extra day for whatever may be can the extra day be dictated by the GA for what it will be. So the occupiers wont be left without anything to do

The GA is beautifully designed to do that

C: I put a proposal in on Monday and I never go on the site, I have a proposal and it hasn’t gotten on the site

Can we talk after the meeting?

C: Having one of the GA during the week earlier in the day , especially in the winter I have felt excluded coming to meetings because of the weather …I watch the twitter feeds and livestream I feel I have had no voice because I have been physically unable to get there , at least one GA on the weekend so it more accessible for people like me I have heard other people address this. Can we make this a FA?

PoI: that was declined at the last GA

PoI: We discovered that was not helpful bc it only allowed people to come in the very months of winter we discovered that later, our bad

Marsha, did you have a time to move to on Saturday? 2 pm

F: Its up to facilitation to accept of reject

I am under the impression that this is about the days not the times, but she can make a FA about the time

This is coming from a working group and what was agreed upon in our working group was the number of days and we don’t think that 3 people can make the decision for our working group.

We reject that FA.

CQ: Don’t we have a GA on Saturday, they want to lower the amount from 4 to 3.  Tuesday Thursday and Saturday

C: I don’t want to open a can or worms, we think it’s a good idea to get off part of the calendar, we hope this space will open up conversations, I agree with the time concerns, would facilitation consider tacking on the FA whenever the temp is below 50 degrees or during inclement weather can we hold GA’s at 60 wall street

FA: 50 degrees, and not raining sleeting and snowing then we can hold it in the park

What time is the temp taken?

We like the idea as facilitation we think that is a proposal that deserves a good amount of attention and details that need to be fleshed out, maybe structure would like to work on that and bring it at another time.

Restated:  Reduction from 4 days to three days and those days are Tuesday Thursday and Saturday

FA: 2 parts Stay with 4 days and leave the GA to decide on the 4th night or go to three nights and that 4th night will be under the GA’s jurisdiction

If you think about who the GA is, it is all of and I do not think that it needs to be stated. If we clear the day good things will happen that will strengthen the GA

FA Rejected

FA: Would the sundown issues be cleared up by doing it on Sunday?

At the last GA we did a series of straw polls and this was the feedback when we tabled so this is what we brought back

FA: Can we do the straw poll for proposals too?

F: That is not related to the proposal

I think that deserves more attention that what we can give it right now.

Restated with FA: The proposal is to reduce the GA’s schedule from 4 to three and the days we would keep to are Tuesday Thursday and Saturday

Temp check: Positive

Stand asides: None

Blocks: None

Consensus!

Announcements

1.6 million acres, this mission is to save the forest 300-500 per week to raise funds to purchase the land to turn it into protected forest if you are interested I have the phone number.  They are holding interviews. 29th street between 7th and 8th Talk to Zach

Political Action and Impact we are meeting tomorrow at 6pm occupying physical political space 6pm Friday 60 wall street

The mediation and NVC working group is changing the mediators have created an autonomous working group although we have served well we believe we can serve the group better as an autonomous group We will be better able to practice as mediators without compromising the principles of mediation.

Adam Occupy Wall Street Trade justice next week the transpacific partnership will be meeting in  9 country free trade agreement actions organized in San Diego and LA where they are taking …protesting outside Pfizer Wednesday at noon line of three people see no evil speak no veil pose. Negotiations have agreed to not release the transcripts of the negotiation for four years…. Behind them dead bodies, then CEO of Pfizer 42nd street between 2nd and 3rd Transpacific Partnership to make it sound less intimidating.

Patrick from Visions and Goals: If you don’t have the VG …we are handing these out if you have thoughts mark it up hand it back this is not written by anyone person it is written by everyone of us

Structural validation of blocks GA indoors Structure meets Friday 5:30 here in the atrium

Christina: Facilitation, but not on behalf open space event tomorrow night 6pm 235 west 23rd street kitchen will provide food open space is where you can come talk about what you want open conversation you can move from conversation to conversation doors close around 9:30 or 102nd floor

Angelo: Safer spaces going to the open space forum perfect opportunity to talk about think tank and open discussion

Occupy farms going gout to scope out urban farming lost we can occupy lot and figure out what we want this Sunday we are going to kick so ass.

GSD affinity group meets everyday here at 4pm at the Atrium

Mary: Meeting for Catholics Saturday at 60 wall street

Food Justice working group meets every Friday at 7pm at 60 Wall Street

That’s it! Thank you GA

 

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