NYC OPERATIONAL SPOKES COUNCIL DAY 131
Audio Recording of Spokes Council Meeting
Location: Quakers Meeting House at 110 Schemerhorn St. Brooklyn, New York
Facilitators: Daniel and Danielle
Minutes: David Buccola & Jose
Working Group Reportbacks (7:46): Infohub, Archives, Outreach, DAP, Library, Arts and Culture, Activist Legal, Town Planning, Sanitation
Proposal: Budget for Housing (21:00) passed in a modified form. Friendly Amendment to remove three violent people from Park Slope Church accepted. And Friendly Amendment to only extend housing funding for one additional week past January 27, 2012 at Park Slope. Metrocard proposal aspect separated from original proposal but reached consensus.
Meeting Starts: 7:50pm (5:49)
Working Group Reportbacks (7:46)
Infohub: Took over OccupyWallSt.org email.
Archives: They got a donation of hard drives.
Outreach: Good couple of weeks. Every Wednesday at 1:00pm at 60 Wall Street to help pass out flyers, buttons, etc.
DAP: They have broken their own strike and painted on the bus that went to Boston
Library: Action: Book Bomb Tuscon.
Arts & Culture: Ice-cream social is being moved.
Facilitation: Spending freeze has been resolved with Spokes Council
Activist Legal: They are working on possible civil rights litigation, challenging the City and Brookfield on legal grounds. (15:53) Communal Property claims from the night of the raid. Around Brookfield rules in the park. And around the disorderly conduct violations that are used to silence activism. Meet regularly. Any questions come talk to them.
Town Planning: Is involved with any spaces where people are; squatting situations. They are also trying to keep inventory of stuff. We got our military tents back!
Sanitation: We are working on fixing up abandoned properties. Tomorrow picture the homeless has compiled a huge list they are releasing tomorrow which they claim 1/3 of which could house all the homeless in New York City. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Budget presented by Jeff & Uri (21:00)
Budget Proposal for Housing Working Group (WG)
The Housing WG is requesting funds for a two week period (14 days) from the 14.Jan to the 27.Jan inclusively to pay various items to include:
– Utilities reimbursements at West Park Presbyterian $1050 /week ($150 /night)
– Utilities reimbursements at Park Slope United Methodist $490 /week ($70 /night)
– Pre-paid phone reimbursements for three $75 /week ($25 /person)
liaisons/point people (Pk.slp, Wst.Prk, Hsing.Htln)
– Sanitation, cleaning supplies and various needed hardware $300 /week
– Miscellaneous items (office supplies, transport, etc.) $85 /week
Total: $2000 /week ( x 2 )
The Housing WG is requesting an ongoing recurring budget to cover the costs of the Park Slope housing site beyond the scope of the current two week period with the following stipulations and costs:
– The community at the Park Slope site abide by all resolutions consensed by the Occupy
Wall Street community at large (ie. General Assembly, Spokes Council).
– The recurring budget must be renewed via proposal every four (4) weeks it is effective.
– The budget only be effective for as long as that community is active and in agreement
with the landlord on site (Park Slope United Methodist Church)
– Utilities reimbursements $490 /week ($70 /night)
– Pre-paid phone reimbursements for one site liason and $50 /week ($25 /person)
one Housing Hotline PP
– Sanitation, cleaning supplies and various needed hardware $100 /week
– Miscellaneous items (office supplies, transport, etc.) $60 /week
Total: $700 /week
The Housing WG is requesting a continuation of funds for $29 weekly unlimited NYC MTA metrocards. Funds were previously allocated for the purchase of 115 cards per week on a recurring basis, with the accepted amendment to return to this body to reevaluate that request. We feel with the current spending freeze, and an overall streamlining of the acquistion process through one central body there is a greater need. Therefore we are requesting an augmentation of 5 cards, for a total 120 cards per week which will require $3480 in funds. The previously established process for distribution and requirements for access will remain the same.
Total: $3,480 /week
Clarifying Questions (28:00)
Does this proposal fall under the agreement with housing?
Brett from facilitation believes it is within the agreement but admits he’s not an expert.
Breaking for 6 minutes to discuss with Spokes about clarifying questons (30:35)
Outreach: Do we know what percentage of people staying in Park Slop[e are in WGs or are active in the movement.
Yuri from Housing: About half of the people there are participating in WGs. Several of us have been encouraging people to get into trainings to the Park Slope community and so far we’ve been met with a lot of resistance.
DAP: Every WG gets 7 metro cards?
We have a quota based on how many WG are signed up with Housing and how many Metro cards we get to purchase.
DAP: What happens with Metro cards left over?
Jeff: The first time we logged how many metro cards were left with Accounting, and left them with Accounting before asking for them back for the next week. We need people to sign up and we need a clean signature so they’re readable.
POC: The 14 day period ends two days from here so is this sort of a ‘back pay’ request?
Jeff: Correct and for an exit strategy that will end this weekend.
POC: We didn’t understand what the pre-paid phone item is and why?
Jeff: We have a number that people call to contact us and it is how we talk to people for their first time. We do not buy phone time for everybody in the group, only for people involved in the Housing hotline. There are three of these people.
POC: This is a lot of money. So, over $400 for utilities reimbursement.
Jeff: Gas for heating and cooking. $70 per night. It is pre-negotiated with the church.
POC: Regarding the metro cards, that is a lot of money. What are these 120 metro cards being used on a daily basis?
Jeff: The metro cards are unrelated to housing. There is an explicit agreement that people who receive them are participants in WGs.
Library: I was at the Monday spokes at West Park. My understanding is that because we were reimbursing Housing for dispersals. My understanding is that this does not adhere to the friendly amendment.
Jeff: It does. But Housing is responsible to the relationship between the people being housed and the churches, not paying for beyond this two week period or for food and other necessities.
Espanol: Why not choose monthly metro cards rather than weekly metro cards?
Jeff: Sometimes people lose their metro cards and weekly losses are much less. Also, bcuz it is a very transient movement, and people are often coming and going, we feel like it makes sense to offer them to people on a weekly basis.
AntiRacism: It’s an ongoing, recurring budget… for ever? When is it no longer ongoing?
Jeff: It specifically says the recurring budget must be renewed every four weeks.
AntiRacism: If this is the last proposal that you are allowed to bring during the spending freeze, what will you do in four weeks?
Jeff: I think it was believed the spending freeze would not go on that long. Part of the spending freeze proposal was that there would be a financial assembly meeting with each working group present. We would argue that we can continue to bring recurring budgets every four weeks, though.
AntiRacism: The metro cards do not say recurring, so does that mean that they will not be recurring?
Jeff: This is a reevaluation of where we already stand, and we think this is recurring but are asking for five more.
Outreach: Is the individual who engaged in violence at the Brecht Forum spokes still allowed in the housing communities?
Yuri from housing: From my knowledge and understanding, the church has to abide by the main body of #OccupyWallStreet. (lots of talking around before the question is re-asked).. Yes, he is, as by the pastor, not by #OccupyWallStreet.
Sage: So does this budget have something for the people who are going to be asked to leave the churches that are displacing them?
Jeff: We are considering getting people bus tickets to leave to other occupations. (Minutes taker cackles) We have been funding Occupy Newark and that is a cheap ride away. They have been constantly asking for more people. We’ve had a request from New Haven. (sage asks clarifier) It is not in the proposal. But we would like to add an amendment to ask for bus money and if occupiers in the churches don’t wanna use it, we will return the money to ##OccupyWallStreet.
Sage: Is there any way to get people who are active in WGs to stick around? And while I think requiring WG involvement is dehumanizing but I still think it should be encouraged and required because it helps build communities and accountability, et. al.
Jeff: We’ve been trying…
Minutes: When we talk about WGs, is that the newly sorta pruned down list or is that the 140 often nonexistant ones?
Jeff: The pruning is in effect, and we are doing that based on this new list.
WomenOWS: There was supposed to be a mediation b/n mediation, WOWS and Housing in a past friendly amendment.
Jeff: We changed our meeting schedule and we had not been able to give people in our group enough notice and mediation had told us there was not enough participation and we had thought that had been on the other side [WOWS’].
AntiRacist: We just want to acknowledge that the POC caucus took an emergency proposal that POC was concerned of power relations b/n Housing and the rest of #OccupyWallStreet, and especially Jeff, who speaks very often in Spokes and GAs. And that we would like to see other people step up to learn public speaking skills and see other representation from Housing.
TechOps: My concern is that presently the only way that we can document that people are active in the movement is by participation in WGs. My concern is that some people in the Housing WG have been trying to figure out other methods and some other people are not giving that idea space to grow.
Jeff: One possibility brought was time banking but we found that unwieldy. And we are good at setting up bunks, but we’re not good at time banking and other ideas.
TechOps: Friendly amendment to come.
West Park: We are concerned about the Spokes on Monday that we are going to leave that church despite that the pastor would allow us to stay. And we would like the number of metro cards increased to 150.
Jeff: We’d like to see a temperature check. (lots of down twinkles) We would not like to continue it, but we would suggest that if you guys could become a self-funding autonous group, that would make sense to us.
Media: Serious concern with paying Park Slope. There are several individuals that are staying there creating a violent and unsage environment, and I sleep there and have to sleep near violation. I don’t think the pastor feels like he can deal with these individuals. This is a blocking concern because it will continue to get worse.
Yuri: We want to wait till Town Planning speaks.
Facilitation: Our concern is-
Facilitators: We think before we go on, we want to hold what just happened for a minute. Now we would like top clarify this issue, and then jump to Town Planning to continue this discussion.
Media: There’s a guy named Will in this movement who last Wednesday stole a transit card, flipped a table for of food, and then he returned to the church because even tho it was decided that he would have to leave, the pastor allowed him to. He threatened to murder too. On Sunday Will got in a fight with Felix, who when he was held was hit by Will, who then exited to pick up a brick. He is not the only violent offender, and not all of the violence and abuse is physical. Some of it is verbal. I feel like we should be able to deal with this. The pastor looks to us to deal with these situations.
Town Planning: One amendment is to directly address these offenders and to not let any funding go thru until that happens, and the second is to figure out an exit strategy. One amendment is that Will, Nan and Michael leave or funding be cut to that site. The other is that we fund housing for month of February 50 occupiers who are active in WGs.
Yuri: I myself broughty this up to the Park Slope community. Everybody at that church gets met with that abuse, not just as an occupier. Including myself. I personally agree with this. I have been trying to let them know that if disruptiuon does not stop they have to leave. We would like to accept that first friendly amendment. Conditional funding if those three people leave the space.
Clarification: Telling them that they must leave before Thursday night (today is Wednesday).
Media: Will this apply to people who are violent in the future.
Jeff: The second amendment about an exit strategy toward housing only 50 people who are active in WGs, I don’t feel that Housing feels empowered to do so. The pastor has expressed that he expects the community to leave by this weekend.
Town Planning: We get to all decide that if we are allowed to stay in that church passed this weekend, we would continue funding for 50 occupiers who are active in WGs.
[Temp Check: mostly down twinkles]
WomensOWS: We applaud the amendment to end the violence in Park Slope. We echo AntiRacistAllies concerns about Jeff stepping back, and we have concerns about long still held problems at West Park, and we are uncomfortable with the idea of ‘occupiers’ only being used to refer to people sleeping in the churches when we are all indeed ‘occupiers’.
Outreach: My blocking concern is that having had experience with violent people, I don’t see that having the space open after the violent people are kicked out. That is not okay. We would want a screening process for people staying at #OccupyWallStreet spaces.
Jeff: (patronizing tone) Agreed. We just had an issue. We all came together on Monday night at Park Slope and we asked Will to leave and violence broke out again. But the truth is that the violence is endemic to other aspects of the movement.
Facilitators: We are urgning everyone, and particularly Jeff, to keep your comments shorter.
POC: We have not had a full definition of violence, since we have only heard one example. We would like a more specific definition if there is a possibility that we will be kicking people out. The other amendment is that we feel like the third part of the proposal, about the metrocards, be a separate proposal. The final concern that this is an ongoing and indefinite proposal, and we worry about the sustainability. This should be part of a broader, movement-wide discussion of strategy.
Media: I’m not sure how to define violence w/o naming names. Michael got in a violent altercation and it took 8 people to take him out. As far as Will goes, Sumumba was there so you can ask him. As for Nan, we have footage of her doing so and of Will hitting somebody on my media team.
Facilitator: I think the question is not just obvious forms of violence, but moving forward what are other examples.
POC: We want a very specific definition, bcuz we understand what is being said but we would like to know what it will mean.
Ravi yells out. Sage cracks a joke “Hello, banana phone.”
Espanol: With respect to violence. Violence is one of the easiest things to register. It hurts. It hurts your body, your mind or your soul. Bcuz we want to create a movement that is not being inclusive. I understand that my liberty ends where your liberty ends. If I transgress your liberty, then I am being violent.
Archives: I am very concerned about the length that we are spending for Housing. This has gone beyond the length oif the occupation. Every single space has become violent and abusive, and we would like to see something beyond dependency, like the
Minutes: Firstly, we support what AntiRacism Allies said. Our second is that Housing simply give the metro cards to the WGs to disperse the power from Housing.
Housing: We have a concern with that about accountability. We have a system of scanning the cards, and we have established a process of accountability that we feel should remain in place. We just think another group should take care of it.
Sage: I’ve asked for tact from the almighty, and I haven’t gotten it, but I will try by speaking low. I have a concern that we are suggesting that the funds be cut if people are not told to leave. I myself have tackled someone when I asked for help, without calm, and was not helped. Anytime requirements are asked of us we don’t abide, for example the spending freeze, nobody showed up to the financial meeting. This is passively aggressively violent bcuz it’s a violation of trust. I totally support that amendment but only if we make a stipulation that we will create a grievance commission about who is willing to be held accountable and who is not, and who has been pushed to the edge and who has not been.
Facilitator: This Friday at Open Space, a group of people is going to convene a circle to discuss creating a grievance process. That’s at 235 West 23rd St, Unity Hall, at 6pm to 10pm.
Library: I have a blocking concern too. Bring it. I’m unemployed and can’t pay my rent, so call me elitist. We are not capable of fixing homelessness and mental illness in NYC. This is putting a bandaid on a hemorraheg. My friendly amendment is that we pay for the end of this week except for people who are active in the movement.
DAP: Can you let Stack tell who is next?
DAP: Oh. Echo the concern that Jeff is always facilitating these discussions. We are asking him to step back and others to step up.
Occupiers: I understand you can’t house all of NYC’s homeless. Most of the people attacking housing people were not occupiers, they were people who came down to the park or joined after. I would like to see more emphasis on getting people housed get situated before we just drop them.
Another Occupier: I just want to note that my Spoke has not spoken for me. I slept in the park, and this spoke did not represent me.
Restate the proposal?
Jeff: the proposals, and we’re not funding anyone past this weekend so we cut the second part. Restated: We are asking for housing for 14 days including $4000 for the two weeks, we’re cutting part two, so we are only paying what is already owed.
Stand asides? Five- Safer Spaces and TechOps (?) and Deescalation and Arts & Culture and WOWS and AntiRacismAllies
Facilitators: We forgot to let you confer with your groups and people are confused.
Testing for consensus on first proposal to pay what is owed
Stand Asides? Arts&Culture. Only one.
Blocks? POC and AntiRacismAllies and Deescalation.
Jeff: Two week period that ends in two days. Pay what we owe and to not pay any further housing.
Facilitators: The three blocks are over the second part, of not paying for any further housing.
POC: Friendly amendment that we pay for two weeks grace period but only at Park Slope. And the second part is that this is stipulated based on there be a grievance process created.
Deescalation: We’d propose that there be a workshop. (accepted)
Jeff: We would do it but with the amendment that those three people are removed from the premises. We would end funding at West Park community. We’d ask for $700 per week for transition for Park Slope community. And we’d have that two week grace period, we’re going to only fund if those three people are removed. (confusion) And we will try to help build this grievance procedure.
Library: How about just one week?
Blocks turned to stand asides. Zero blocks.
Facilitators: Any stand asides for the Metro card proposal.
How many stand asides? 5.