NYC General Assembly 3/24/2012
[Note: There was no minutes-taker at this GA. The text below was compiled by the facilitator and live-tweeter from the live tweets and recollections. The Minutes Working Group cannot independently verify the accuracy and comprehensiveness of these minutes.]
Location: 60 Wall Street, then Liberty Square, then 100 Williams St.
Facilitation Team: Sean McKeown, Justin Stone-Diaz co-facilitating, Ray taking stack.
Timekeeper not used. Vibes checker not used.
No livestreamer present. Audio recording device not made available.
It is noted at the beginning of the meeting that both co-facilitators had hoped to present proposals that evening; the group agrees to allow each to step down in turn in order to present their
proposals, and Stan Williams will replace them halfway through to conclude the facilitation of the GA.
Christine does an Accounting reportback. Finances currently frozen, with $12,150 available for GA use, $74,000 presently in the bail fund, $15,500 used on bail this past week. Since the start of the bail fund we’ve paid out $26,000, received back $970. Notes that the bail fund can also cover court fees, if any have not been paid yet or have been paid and you still have a receipt, contact accounting via email at email@example.com.
Camille does a Jail Support and Legal WG reportback. Seven people arrested last night, seven more today. Please help with Jail Support at 100 Centre Street if you can. 774-257-4697 is the Jail Support hotline number.
Justin has a Housing reportback. Justin requests that people stay over at Union Square whenever possible; midnight to 4am seems to be the real problem time. People have been staying up all night to look after each other, but can use a lot of help. If you can give an Occupier even one night in your home, it makes a world of difference to catch up on sleep, stay warm, get a shower and maybe do some laundry. Justin also discusses the need for metrocards and bike coalition to receive funding, to keep the occupation mobile at Union Square.
Proposal #1 – Reaffirmation of a Principle of Solidarity
Presented by Steve from COOLS. Requests two statements be consented upon: 1., that we reaffirm our nonviolent stance in the Principles of Solidarity to include thrown projectiles of significant
weight, and 2., that in so doing we also note that Occupy Oakland faces the most severe repression by police activity of any Occupation, and that we stand in solidarity with Oakland rather than
judge them. Proposal is originally given twenty minutes; at the conclusion of twenty minutes we are in the middle of concerns and friendly amendments. A new amendment requesting clarification
that nonviolent “thrown objects” like glitter-bombing not be ruled out of our acceptable tactics, and the group begins to break apart at the question of whether or not throwing anything can be
considered appropriate given the inability to determine what is being thrown, necessarily, when seen on-camera. Group consents to finish stack on concerns and friendly amendments regardless of
time, and is asked for more time at the conclusion of this stack to ask whether they are comfortable moving forward with the consensus process. Group consents to give the proposal more time and
continue; the proposal is repeated with all of its currently-accepted friendly amendments. Stand-asides are asked for, and three stand-asides are noted, and allowed to speak to their stand-aside;
each covers previous concerns that cannot be easily addressed. Blocks are asked for, and two blocks occur; when asked for friendly amendments that would remove their block, a brief discussion is
had to come up with the proper form of clarification for proper language for the statement, and results in one block being removed to being in favor of the proposal, one block reverting to a
personal stand-aside. The proposal is then repeated again with all of its currently-accepted friendly amendments; three stand-asides are noted, all for the prior reasons stated, and one block now
occurs based on the group refusing to accept an amendment not to throw anything at all, not even harmless items for comical effect; no friendly amendment is offered to remove this block.
Modified consensus is asked for, and four people are noted as against the proposal with 32 total people present; passage of this proposal is thus a mathematical impossibility. 14 people vote in favor of the proposal, and consensus is not reached.
(http://www.nycga.net/2012/03/24/union-square-general-assembly-affinity-group/)Presented by Justin Stone-Diaz. It is noted that there were three planned-for co-presenters, two of whom are in jail and one of whom is in the hospital at present, to note the seriousness of the
discussion about to be had. Clarifying questions focus on the nature of affinity groups, and why consent is being asked for given that it is not needed. Discussion threatens to break down around
the fact that Kitchen has autonomously decided to feed Union Square and Union Square only; no food is being distributed at Liberty Square or 60 Wall Street after the first two or three days of the
occupation of Union Square based on the fact that food was being wasted. Anger continues to develop despite explanations and clarifications that this group is not a separate group and the point of
this proposal is to note that the Union Square GA is a subgroup of the NYCGA, not a separate entity, and wishes to focus on the physical occupation of that space rather than recreate a second
series of Working Groups and structures needed to make a separate GA instead of continue as part of the same community with full continuity. Proposal moves forward past clarifying questions and
concerns, moves to stand-asides and blocks as the group feels comfortable moving forward with the consensus process. Stand-asides are asked for, and four stand-asides are registered, two of which
become blocks as they speak to their stand-asides. When blocks are asked for, there are a large number of blocks (7 or eight) and rather than continue through hearing these blocks and continuing this
discussion, the proposal is tabled.Facilitation takes some time to try and return the group to a balanced, calm center as Stan asks for the consent of the group to facilitate the remainder of the GA.
Proposal #3 – No Dollar Left Behind (Financial Proposal)
Presented by Sean McKeown. Proposal begins at 9pm, discussion is only able to get through clarifying questions before the atrium closes. Stan asks group for consent to move the GA to Liberty
Square; group consents, and as a whole unit moves to the park. The proposer states that he feels the clarifying question process was rushed by the press to finish quickly, and requests that a new
stack for clarifying questions be opened so that these can be addressed more fully. It is noted that it is beginning to rain, and the group asks facilitation to move to 100 Williams Street and
take advantage of prior GA’s “rain location” rather than have the discussion in the cold and wet. The group consents to move as a whole unit and does so. Clarifying questions are asked again on a
new stack, and halfway through the stack Sean notes that this might be best answered by leaving the strictures of stack and process aside for the moment, and the clarifying questions stack becomes
a breakout group discussion stack instead in order to more fully address concerns and answer questions. Process threatens to break down, and group tempers threaten to become heated, but after
nearly an hour of discussion in this breakout group capacity, with new individuals coming late to the GA and joining the discussion, an appropriate framework for moving forward is reached and the
consensus process re-starts. Clarifying questions are completed, then a stack is opened for concerns and friendly amendments, and in this process a group of four individuals is nominated to
bottom-line the distribution of metrocards based on their prior experience doing so (Stan and Katherine) and their interest in providing fair oversight (Cynthia and Trish). The group feels
comfortable moving forward with the consensus process, and stand-asides are asked for; one stand-aside is noted. Blocks are asked for, and there are no blocks; consensus is reached with one stand-aside out of approximately a dozen still present at the GA.