NYC Operational Spokes Council 02/06/2012 (Minutes)

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Spokes Council Minutes.


Location: Riverside Church

Facilitation: Negesti, Emma

Time Keeper: Corey

Stack: Sean

Minutes: Molly o.

Report Backs (15.07) Minutes, Accounting, Occupy Farms, Infohub, Occupy Town Square

Proposal: (24.00) Proposal to Discuss Grievance Council/Procedure/Formation as a Community  This proposal was tabled for future discussion.

Discussion: (1.14.03) Medics WG Budget Report-Back.  Medics Working Group, as mandated by their budgetary proposal which was passed through the GA on 12/15/12, reported on their spending and asked for feedback from the group on their desires to 1) receive Metrocards and 2) Receive their money monthly, rather than weekly.

Proposal: (1.43.26)  Defining “Operations Groups” for the NYC Operational Spokes Council This proposal was tabled for future discussion.

Discussion: (1.49.00) Discussion of Violence and Non-Violence in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Announcements: (none)

Full Minutes:

F: I think this is a good time for the people who want to address this room from the space.

Carol: Hi everybody, I’m Carol..we’re the missions and social justice WG, we work with the MLK K15 Ocupy Wall Street PRogram, and we made arrangements for you to get your space here, I’ve been asked to say remember you’re in a church, no big time squabbles we’re at your beck and call…if you should have any concerns or any need thats hew can help you with…we can make things happen.

Peoples Kitchen arrives, Facilitation proposes a ten-minute break after making agenda — temp check, looks good.

POI Lopi:  I think I would like to put it out to the grow, thinking about this topic…violent vs. non-violent and what we are as a movement….seems like an emergency…WBAF announced on air that this is not a non-violent movement…would like to have a discussion

F opens stack for Agenda Items

Medics: Passed a budget through the GA a month ago….part of passing that was a Report-back….so we’d like to do that tonight….work towards, for next spooks, having a new budget passed….it can come out of a bigger budgeting discussion.

Minutes: Minutes would like to do a WG report-back to keep you updated on whats going on in minutes…it’s very important…and we’re probable gonna be announcing this at every SC and GA.

F: Temp heck on having actual report-backs.

Consensus on that.

F: so then the conversation about violence v.s non violence….as a conversation……

F: I see a lot of up-twinkle but a lot of down twinkle as well…

F: Proposal to put it at the end of the Angenda….mostly down twinkles

[?] thinks that it’s tremendously important…not quite as important as the rest of the process…important conversation for OWS to have ….wouldn’t put it in a business meeting…which is what we’re here for

F: Putting the Medics conversation on the agenda…if we have time for it… do you feel about hearing a report back from medics on the budget….looks mostly good…..

F: Do we need announcements?

F: Can we start doing report backs while people get food …

WG Report-Backs [15.07]

Minutes: The Minutes Working Group has made some changes to the way we do things in order to better serve the needs of the GA, the Spokes Council, and all working groups. In the spirit of transparency we want to make this known to the GA and Spokes Council. In the past, the Minutes WG has tried to create verbatim transcriptions of every meeting. This is a lot of work, and has meant that there has often been a significant delay in minutes being posted to, which causes operational difficulties for working groups and makes us a less transparent movement than we want to be. At one of our recent meetings, we decided that our focus will be on taking minutes, which are by definition a summary of the process and decisions of a meeting. We recognize that transcripts have a great deal of value, and with support from Tech Ops and others, are working with volunteers around the country to continue creating transcripts for all the meetings. Our goal is to have minutes of every meeting posted online 24 hours after the end of the meeting.

We are also making audio recordings of all GA and Spokes Council meetings, and are now uploading those recordings to the Internet Archive and linking them to the minutes of the same meeting.
If anyone is interested in seeing what these changes look like you can take a look at the Spokes Council minutes from January 23, 2012. As we solidify this process and the formatting template we are using we look forward to helping other working groups adopt a more uniform process for taking minutes. We remain committed to providing an open, honest an accurate accounting of all GA and Spokes Council meetings. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at or by phone at 917-830-5315. You are also invited to join us at our weekly meetings on Thursdays at 6:00pm at 60 Wall Street.

Accounting: Working on Budget process…hopefully will have something to present to move conversation forward on Wednesday….

Occupy Farms: We’ve been sending people to farms…Just sent 5 people to a farm that will feed the movement…need volunteers…if you have farming, construction, animal husbandry experience…sending people to Echoes farm, outside NYC…have military tents…have a lot of work to do…for a week or a month working outside the city.

Info Hub: Outreach effort…making quarter flyers for all the give to street teams….so when people ask about groups we can give them flyers with specific weekly meetings….finding out when working groups’ weekly informational meetings is….in talks with Comhub and infobub….merged after the eviction….info hub is forming Occupy Information…just getting info from the WG to the people….having a meeting on Thursday that will be the last for the combined group….occupy info is mostly on park info and the street teams…

Occupy Town Square: outreach is having another Occupy Town Square….This weekend, Saturday February 11, at west park press park..Washington Square Park was amazing….having teach-ins, art activity…spread the word, show up, have a good time…if you have anything you want to present get in touch or come talk to me [Ravi]….from about 1 to 5…check the website….orientations are now happening, sat noon at 60 wall, send your friends….

Proposal to Discuss Grievance Council/Procedures/Formation as a Community (24.00)

Proposer asks if its okay not in Spokes format, group does not consence.

About 7-8 Minutes for each set of stack, 30 minutes for the proposal total.

Clarifying Questions (32.45)

Kitchen: Two questions….What will the grievance council address?   What if we spend three weeks talking about it and have no idea what to do?

A: First question: The questions were…just a suggestion.  Second question: We have a frozen budget anyway…we could really take our time…if at the end of the three weeks we can decide then what we want to do…its much nicer for us to be able to discuss it as a community

DA: Were Safer Spaces involved in a discussion about the grievance council?

A: At least one or two members of Safer Spaces have been aware of this proposal…and we’ve been talking about it in Women Occupying Wall Street as well…especially in the Open Spaces meetings

DA: The proposal was written up by WOW, Right?

A: It was written up by the community to address grievance council as a group, rather than outside.

DA: Who was the author?

A: I wrote it….and spoke to WOW about it…and it developed.

Direct Action Painters (DAP): We were wondering why we don’t talk about this every Friday night when it’s supposed to be happening?

A: This will not replace that….the proposal is to do this in addition…so then it can be meshed with meetings on Fridays….

DAP: Why do you feel we need to spend time at our meetings doing this…rather than create a meeting specifically for that?

A: We’ve spent a lot of time in our meetings….dealing with emotional outburst that happen anyway…personally…if all of us are always being asked to meet about business and serious stuff…there’s no space for anyone to have any emotion about anything….i think its turning us into automatons…

F: Closing Stack

Picture the Homeless: What is the objective…what is the end result of this thing you’re trying to accomplish?

A: One I don’t intend for this to dismiss the way spokes works….I intend it to be a part of spokes….one hour out  of that three hours will be spend discussing this.  Ultimately, if we do come up with a grievance council…I think coming up with it as a community will feel better than a bunch of different groups bringing it here.

Safer Spaces: Have there been discussions with a safer spaces or POC about having the roundtable discussion more than every Friday?

A: To clarify….don’t want to have a grievance council every day….i’m asking us to address this every time we meet until we’ve come up with a model we can use.

Minutes: What exactly is the difference between a grievance council and open spaces?

A: The different the way I envision it, the way this proposal envisioned it, would be that we would not be waiting to meet just once a week, but we’d do it every day…And that we wouldn’t be required to go to the open spaces meeting…instead of asking us to attend another meeting….or another google group…that we can do it here, that we can discuss that concept here, with input from what happens in open spaces….the two working together.

Accounting: Which groups exist currently to discuss grievances between individuals or groups in this movements?

POI: Sage: I’m interacting with mediation…there’s Safer spaces….an then there’s three or four cultural traditions that people bring…there’s gossip, there’s isolation….there’s shaming…and that’s what we use instead of a transparent grieving process.

POI: Medics: The open spaces every other Friday has been acting as a grievance process…and on other Fridays mediation and safer spaces have been having grievance councils…

POI: Ravi: Caucuses are places where people can also deal with grievances.

Proposer: If there is a functional grievance circle happening, why does no-one in the community know about it….the majority of the community doesn’t seem to know about it?

Facilitation: Suggests tabling the proposal and further coordinating with other groups.

Proposer: No..has been to the Friday meetings….the last time there was something worked on it was the community agreement…it took three months for the community agreements come to us…we still not have come to an agreement….community does not have buy-in…needs buy-in….let’s all contribute, even us who can’t be there on Fridays.

WOW: Where this came from….is that we talked for three months about community agreements….and they’re still not sorted out….so the idea was to bring this issue to our official bodies…to make sure that the entire community is involved in the discussion….they seemed like planning session..if the grievance council is ready to go….if you guys are presenting that on Wednesday.  If Safer Spaces is ready to bring grievances for discussion….we feel we need to discuss it as a community.

POI: I went to the Open Spaces meeting, and the Grievance Council planning meeting….theyr’e still in the planning stages.

Medics: This is like a radically different way of doing things for everyone in the community…it takes time…instead of divergent tracks of this happening….would suggest you integrate into the work that is happening.

A: I still have to clarify, we’re not replacing, we’re adding.

Proposer will not table.

POP: Sage: We don’t have enough time to take everyone on stack in the time allotted.

POP: I agreed to 30 min of discussion on this, and I’d like you to check in with this group about changing the agreement.

F: Can we get a temp check on taking ten more minutes…[doesn’t look good]

Proposers decide to table their proposals, after conferring with Safer Spaces.

Medis Report-Back on GA Budget Allocation (1.14.03)

Medics: My name is Jose…on December 15ht we brought our weekly budget to the GA, for $1,100…One of the friendly amendments we accepted that night was to report-back after 4 weeks…We’re late but we did a general outline of costs, money for supplies, spaces. It’s available to, past proposals from 12/15…If you would like to see our accounting info it’s on our riseup page you can also find that link on our NYCGA medics page…Spent 75% of our total budget in the last 6 or 7 weeks…Some changes we’d like to make to budgeting process…We don’t have access to the metrocards because we mentioned transportation in our budget….also would like to ask for money in a lump sum….and continue to give updates once a month…will balance with accounting…at the start or the end of every month.

F: Sounded like there were a couple different things…..want to open stack for Qs, then go through the proposal process….and have them consense on them giving you your budget once a month?

Medics: We want feedback…not the formal proposal process.

Giving 15 minutes for stack

Stack: (1.22.43)

Kitchen: Seems like you spent a lot of money on transportation, outside of metro card….Would it be helpful to you if there was a working group with cheaper, reliable transportation, on an on-call basis?

A: Definitely.  Big costs for us…moving groups of medics to mobilizations or DC, in Ithica….it would be very helpful if there were groups who might have…other transport methods…usually emergency transport when taxis work best for us….when someone needs immediate care.

DA: If you could go through some of the ideas or needs….could you go over it again?

A: Food…convergence space…loft, apartment where we could cook, provide medical care, sleep….transport to big events….mass-mobilization of ten people per weekend.

DA: Are these things you were thinking of adding on for a bigger budget, or giving the OK for what you used?

A: If we got these things it would lessen the amount of money we would need to take.

Structure: Since you’re dealing with food a lot, is there away you could got to Costco or Sams..since we give out metro cards what’s preventing you from taking those metro cards? Since we have lost the office space and SIS, how is that affecting you?

A: We operate a first aide station…at Charlottes Place, 12-6pm, Monday-Fri… supplies there…We buy as much as we can in bulk…dumpster as much as we can.

F: After next speaker like to close stack.

DAP: If people want to donate food, where should they give it?

A: E-mail us at OWS medics (at)

Medics: It would be helpful for the medics if we could start to access metro cards through the larger metro card distribution process….thinking about putting that in this next budget proposal….would like to receive a monthly budget, a month at a time…don’t want to come re-approve the budget every month….but would do a similar presentation….get feedback from working groups, coordinate…

Open Stack for Feedback: [1:39}

Town Planning: Budget for the future needs to be properly re-submitted….like more explicit explanation for what transportation budget involves….would like if it wasn’t 4,000 cash-in-hand.

Outreach: In our movement, people come and go, having such a large sum of money once a month….doesnt seem like a good idea in the context in which our movement works….maybe bi-weekly at most…

A: Biggest concern is that there are often large expenses that come not very regularly…this use it or lose it type of budget…might work bi-weekly, if the group would pass that…that’s our money…and if we didn’t get a receipt in by five pm that day…we may have more bigger expenses later that week.  Doesn’t have to be that we withdraw that money…just that whatever budget we get is a monthly amount, even if cut out in small chunks.

Defining “Operations Groups” for the Spokes Council (1:43:26)

POI: Your mentioned that there’s no oversight….

A: I’m not talking about 100 a day

POI: There no longer is 100 a day

Open stack for Clarifying Questions: (1.46.02)

Medics: There would be working groups in here that are not operational groups?

POP: Housing: How long is this gonna go?

A: It’s 9:30, we have to be out of the space by ten.  I propose that we end this at 9:55.  [temp check not good]

POP: DAP: At the beginning….we had twinkled up and down for what we wanted to discuss….one was the topic of topics of violence v. non-violence…just wanted to bring that up.

Proposer Tables their Proposal, having just talked to someone who would do it better.

DAP: (1:49.05).Was listening to WBAI and some of our members made statements….and made the argument on-air…that OWS is not a non-violent movement….what they said, they used the declaration as an example…which does state ‘we peaceably gathered’…was only applicable to liberty sq park.  Also, if you look on the NYCGA website, under the statement of autonomy, it clearly states…”occupy wall st is a peaceful movement…..we welcome all who, in good faith, petition a redress of grievances through non-violence…”

F: Suggest that we do ten minutes of smaller group discussions.  (temp check is mixed- will discuss it as one group)

Lopi: I would like people to consider the importance of framing this discussion….in terms of strategy, and what gets the best results…and we’re not talking about being violent as individuals in our own lives…..also we should define what is non-violent, what is violence?  In my estimation it’s causing physical bodily harm to another human being…..

Goes to Stack

DA: Would like to state..never in GA has it passed….that the words ‘we are a non-violent movement’ have been condensed upon….visions and goals statement blocked given that it happened….the statements that were made, weren’t about it being a violent movement….or a non-violent movement….jut because we don’t use nonviolence, the tactics that work for us.  Would be hypocritical….for us to say non-violence is the only way in a global movement…

Town Planning: From the principles of solidarity: “we constintue ourselves as autonomous human beings…”

Class War: I’m certainly anti-violent….I feel like this discussion has been going on for weeks now….I think it’s interesting that people treat non-violence and violence as very clear cut things, and they’re not …..So I’m not gonna take a position…is property damage?  Is throwing tear gas canisters?  These are the conversations we’re going to need to be having….distinction between pacifism or non-violence.

Solidarity: I hear what you’re saying…I agree, that’s something that needs to be discussed…I think hat Lopi was trying to say was…how are we defining this?  I think she’s saying that… solidarity we had this discussion today…what happens when people are throwing beer bottles and canisters at the cop’s heads….there’s self-defense and there’s inciting physical violence. there is a line.

F Closes stack.

Think Tank: If we said we might not be nonviolent, people would stop supporting us.

WOW: I think if we don’t make it clear, and we continue to chant things like ‘ we are a non-violent movement’ and have people thinking in solidarity….would not feel grateful if you are throwing stuff….if you wanna be violent, don’t make yourself pretend you’re a part of a movement that’s non-violent

DAP: There’s a narrative…that the FEDS, that the people who want to crush us want us to step into…

Accounting: Just speaking for myself. I see two fundamental problems with this conversation..we need to decide at least for the purpose of that conversation how we’re defining these terms….How much do you stand with Occupy Wall Street, how much to you stand with other people?

Facilitation: For decades people have had this argument…the last ten years it’s been ‘diversity of tactics’…i think ‘diversity of tactics,’ really, means honestly, light property damage.  Want to caution people, knowing a lot of us have a lot of friends who are in prison for talking about property damage, and there are people in OWS there are people who have multiple years of in jail for this.

Outreach: I think it was last week…Aaron read Emma Goldman. It would be awesome if while we have a finance freeze we could talk about this….bringing up as a disuccion point at a meeting. Come and join us! Lets have these discussions.

OWS en español: I’m also the only person in my group here today… Latin America we have plenty first-hand experience with violence. violence is not romantic. violence is violence.  it’s not movie-like, it’s not cute.  My father was arrested three days after the coup in chile.  He was tortured today.  That is violence.  That hurts.  There is nothing mistakable about violence.  That effected me, it effected my family, it affected my country. It put us in a situation of terror.  Nonviolence, on the other hand, it’s for evolution, for transformation, for a better world.

Anti-racism allies: I think that violence begets more violence.  It may have to turn to violence….we need more people on-board.

Medics: i hope when we have this discussion, unless we were on this march, you’re accepting as the framing…as someone who was there, there’s not a group of people at OWS who think throwing bottles at cops heads is a good idea.

Safer Spaces: As history has shown, despite wanting to be a nonviolent movement, we have been a violent movement….like, these councils are very violent.

Structure:  I started with this movement under the idea that we are a non-violent movement.

End of Stack, Facilitation Closes meeting.




2 Responses to “NYC Operational Spokes Council 02/06/2012 (Minutes)”

  1. Lopi

    Hi Minutes. Thanks for all of your tireless work. And thanks for not going on strike.
    I just read through the minutes from spokes the other night and you omitted some things and got some things wrong that were pretty crucial to the discussion. For example. the woman from OWS in espanol told us that not only did they torture her Dad, but he was murdered. It was an intense moment. I think its almost disrespectful of her story to omit that. I am sure you didn’t do it intentionally, but please add that? I was really moved by her story.
    There is more, tons more that you left out. I get that you cant write every word people say, but maybe try to be more diligent about really important things people say? Like the example above?
    thanks again and as always thanks for listening