Hi fam! We’re about to start the #OWS General Assembly at 60 Wall. Follow here, @LibertySqGA2, @LibertySqGA3, @LibertySqGA4, as ever! #NYCGA
Anthony and Yoni are our co-facilitators (Stairs for short). They’re explaining the process we use, which is a modified form of consensus.
Anthony reminds us about our hand signals, starting with the flutter-fingers, or “twinkles” we use to indicate feeling- up, middle, or down.
They remind us to use hand signals facing the facilitators, rather than each other. That goes also for points or process or information…
Point of process tells facilitators you’ve noticed we’ve deviated from the process and have a way to get back. Make a triangle w/ 2 hands.
Point of information is 1 finger in the air. Ravi is going to start w/ the Accounting Working Group reportback. #NYCGA #OWS
Ravi: “We’re doing weekly reportbacks at GA. If there’s stuff you’d like to know, we’ll bring it to you.” Account: $122,376,71.” CoH: $10k.
Total: $134k. Bail fund is at $89k, which means the general fund is down to $44, and we raised $1.5k today. 3 weeks til $0-day. #NYCGA #OWS
Next, Justin notes Charlotte’s Place is going through a transformation, is closed through April 8th, will seek to support #Occupy better.
There’s a silent unemployment line action that’s going to stretch from the Wall Street Bull to Union Sq, 8:14 to 8:28 AM, March 6th. #OWS
Before we start the proposals component of our agenda, Stairs reminds us of the “wrap it up” signal (rotate hands) & the block. #NYCGA #OWS
Yoni: “The process has 3 parts we go through; first we open a stack (queue) for clarifying questions” to make proposal more clear. #NYCGA
Cont’d: Next, we stack up Concerns, for folks’ issues w/ the proposal, and then we stack friendly amendments that can resolve concerns. #OWS
Finally, we check for consensus. If someone has a moral, ethical, or safety concern that’d force thm to leave the mvment, they can block.
If they block, they have a chance to suggest a modification to resolve their block. #NYCGA #OWS
OK, Zak and Sandy are the first proposers. “This proposal is basically to convert 1 GA per week to focus solely on discussion..” #NYCGA
Cont’d: “…substantive political discourse, and just change the process a little bit so that ppl can propose a relevant topic for…”#NYCGA
Cont’d: “…discussion, and do some breakout groups” so people “can get a little face-time,” and to “loosen” general contentiousness. #NYCGA
Sandy notes at the end, someone could suggest a topic for Saturday’s GA. You wouldn’t just “propose X, you’d have thought about how…”
Cont’d: “…it’d be structured and you could suggest some” ways to facilitate that conversation. At the end, “wouldn’t have arrived at..”
Cont’d: “…a decision, but we’d feel like we’d know each other a little better” and have some chance for dialogue as the park once offered.
Zak: “If the proposal was accepted, Sandy and I would suggest the first topic for the next Saturday GA,” would dedicate entire GA to that.
Cont’d: “There’s 2.5 hours allotted for 3 different breakout groups, and at the end of that, anyone could come and read their…” #NYCGA
Cont’d: “…proposal for the next week’s discussion,” and only requirement would be to sort of outline how long each section might need.
Zak: “So, next Saturday, the topic would be ‘Occupation as a Tactic for Social change,’” chosen to relate to #March17 day-long occupation…
Cont’d: …and the 6-month birthday of #OWS. Would discuss history of occupation, successes, challenges, 15-20min for setting next week.
CQ: “This sounds like an excellent idea; I don’t quite understand why it has to replace what we currently do for Saturday GA. Why not Sun?”
(Proposers will hear all questions and then answer.) Sage’s CQ is that this is why the spending freeze happened, to return the GA to convos.
Sage wants to know if they’re aware of Open Spaces and what SC seems to be transforming into. “Do you really think we can afford to give..”
Cont’d: “…another General Assembly on another night to this when we already have Open Spaces and Spokescouncil”, ongoing brunches. #NYCGA
CQ: “In the event of any kind of crisis, would this preclude the GA from bringing forth proposals?” Like an emergency proposal? #NYCGA #OWS
GA: “I was a little confused about how time would play out; would there be any room for other discussions at the same time?” #NYCGA #OWS
That was Darryl; he notes he likes the idea but wants it to happen even more than once a week. #NYCGA #OWS
CQ: “Tell more about breakout sessions?” OK, answers: “Why Saturday?” Lets it be an outreach tool. “RE: open spaces and spokes, that was…”
Cont’d: “…created as a reaction to inability of GA” to be a space for those conversations. Next, “Can we give another GA to this?” #NYCGA
As, cont’d: “There’d be no money proposals at Saturday GAs; in terms of emergencies, we’d be open to talking about that. And breakout…”
Cont’d: “…groups allow people to talk about things in small groups rather than in large groups,” used in GAs all the time. #NYCGA #OWS
Zak: “We chose not to read from the proopsal itself, but on http://t.co/OzXDORvv is the actual proposal, states specifically that if an…”
Cont’d: “…emergency proposal should arise, they can bring it to Facilitation,” & the body can decide whether it should replace discussion.
Cont’d: “RE: using other forums- the fact of the matter is the GA is the foundation of this movement, recognized as legit body…” #NYCGA
Cont’d: “…and people who are interested” can see it and see the values we’re concerned with and how we work. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “Plus, if we use breakouts, people can come in and have their voices heard” immediately. #NYCGA #OWS
This guy Corey, who disrupted a couple GAs ago, is here, standing in front of the proposers, talking over them. Sandy, Zak being very calm.
More CQs; Sandy and Zak modeling how to ignore a disrupter, continue the conversation. “How many ppl bottomline the discussions?” #NYCGA
Zak explains it depends on who proposes the discussion. Sandy: “Any group can come with a proposal about what they want to talk about.” #OWS
Zak: “We’ve noticed a lot of groups like PoCC have brought proposals to the GA for discussion as of late, such as the discussion about..”
Cont’d: “..hierarchy and resources.” That dude Corey is yelling, but walking away. Really, Sandy and Zak, cool as cucumbers. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “…perception is that the actual need is for discussion of proposals,” so buy-in happens prior to introduction to GA. #NYCGA #OWS
CQ: “I’m a facilitator for Think Tank, been trying to hold discussion space in movement; was 6 hours daily, now it’s M & F. My general…”
Cont’d: “Think Tank is already making a huge effort to provide that space and discussion tools.” A concern, I guess. #NYCGA #OWS
Sage: “It sounds like you’re advocating for a process,” suggests we use their process to discuss this proposal, bring it back next week.
Dalls’ Concern: “Think Tank’s been trying to do this; why don’t ppl just go to Think Tank?” And also, “you make a good pt about ppl having..
Cont’d: “..to work during the week. Only day I can come here and make the proposal is Saturday; why not do this on Sunday?” #NYCGA #OWS
Sandy: “I think a lot of groups are holding conversations; that’s great. I think a lot of serious convos could happen w/ ppl..” #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “…who don’t have time to go to other meetings or aren’t in working groups.” Sandy: “As we move forward to Spring, we may get…”
Cont’d: “…more ppl; we need to make GA functional again and able to have these larger conversations in order to absorb it.” #NYCGA #OWS
This way, she says, folks can refer new ppl to the Saturday GA, where they can participate without having existing stake in #OWS. #NYCGA
Concern: “I’d like to see a time scheduled for ppl to bring proposals” who have to work and may not have other access to GA agenda. #NYCGA
He suggests setting aside an hour so people can put forth proposals. #NYCGA #OWS
Next: “I’m not sure Saturday is the day for discussion,” but speaks to benefits of breakouts re: one-on-one interaction. #NYCGA #OWS
Next CQ/FA: “Have you talked to Vision/Goals, or other working groups that are discussion centric?” Suggests buy-in from them. #NYCGA #OWS
Next FA: “That you have a kind of follow-up after those proposals,” space for something more concrete can come out of it. #NYCG A#OWS
Stan’s 2 friendly amendments: “I think the GA has the ability to decide if it wants to hear a proposal or not on any given day,” would…
Cont’d: …like to have some kind of projectors or signs or writing. Someone notes that that’s against rules in 60 Wall. #NYCGA #OWS
Bob’s cncrn: “My cncrn is simple; we have trouble controlling the GA,” nods at Corey’s disruption. “We’re talking about a discussionary…”
Cont’d: “….GA where people are going to bring up a lot more topics,” might need more de-escalation help. #NYCGA #OWS
OK, responses to FA: Sandy notes that someone found 55% of all proposals were money; there’s still 2 GAs for proposals. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “Also, the precedent set is that emergency proposals would be accepted by the facilitation WG as they see appropriate.” #NYCGA #OWS
Zak notes that tho they had a plan for next week’s discussion, they’d be happy to cede it to Think Tank, if they’d like it. #NYCGA #OWS
Ravi notes that the concern isn’t about whether there’s enough GA time, but about access to proposal-eligible GA time. Sandy says any…
Cont’d: …proposal at this discussion-GA would need to be a very short period of time, like half an hour. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “And I don’t think there’s any cross-purposes happening from having conversations happening both outside and inside of GA.” #NYCGA
Yoni asks them to re-read the proposal w/ all FAs. “For Saturday to be a discussion-based GA, with topics also proposed for the next GA…”
Cont’d: “…and that there’s a space at the beginning for e-proposals that the body’d decide” to allow or not. #NYCGA #OWS
OK, moving forward to consensus. Stairs: “Are there any standasides?” 15. Sean: “We used to have 7 GAs; we’d have 2 now.” #NYCGA #OWS
Courtney will also speak to her standaside. “My feeling is this makes the other discussion spaces that exist somewhat redundant,” thinks…
Cont’d: “…we need to make proposal discussion” spaces, not for general discussions. And she says we’re filling our proposal time already.
Bob: “I think we need to take a good look at what situation this can cause;” what kind of interruptions to discussion will happen b/c of…
Stairs asks for blocks… there aren’t any. Anthony announces we just consensed w/ 15 standasides, which generates some consternation…
Marisa: “I would say if there are 15 standasides, that’s not a very meaningful consensus, even if no blocks.” Should revise proposal. #NYCGA
Cont’d: “Even tho technically it’s consensus, it’s not a meaningful one b/c ppl haven’t resolved their concerns.” #NYCGA #OWS
Sandy responds to some of the concerns, notes that she has talked to more than 30 ppl in diff WGs who feel discussions should happen in GA.
Zak notes that meaningful discussion tends to happen in small groups, and this would be hugely beneficial to that. Sandy notes GA can…
Cont’d: “…always try it, and if it doesn’t go back, we can try it.” Never tried it. “Might just be something worth trying.” #NYCGA #OWS
OK, Stairs rechecked again; 11 standasides and now 6 blocks, at least one due to high number of standasides. #NYCGA #OWS
Sage: “There are a lot of ppl working to make the GAs better,” encourages Facilitation to do more breakout groups and the GA to understand..
Cont’d: “…that at GA, we don’t necessarily have to come to decisions,” it’s “still a meaningful discussion.” Suggests a less direct…
Cont’d: …approach, by doing it on the fly, rather than set a “soft mandate.” Says tradition transitions towards “law” right now in #OWS.
Nick makes a friendly amendment that GA start at 5:00 for discussion, and then the proposals start at 7. #NYCGA #OWS
Proposers accepted an amendment to make it the Thursday GA that is discussion-based, instead of Saturday. #NYCGA #OWS
But we’re still looking at 2 blocks, moving to a 90% majority vote. 14 for, 9 against. No consensus. #NYCGA #OWS
Next proposal is about the Council of Elders and Tibet. “Tibet was invaded by China in 1950;” 1.5 mil have died since. “You cannot protest..
Cont’d: “…no one has any rights, and the whole country looks like Zuccotti Park did but on steroids.” A police state. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “The really inspiring thing is that people there are actually rising up,” using same tactics as Arab Spring. “The resistance in…”
Cont’d: “…Tibet is something we should support; it’s a worldwide revolution.” Justin notes it’s called the #TsampaRevolution. #NYCGA #OWS
Here’s the proposal, for a stment of solidarity for Tibetan uprising, the #TsampaRevolution & their March 10th actions: http://t.co/uMs1yhww
Bana’s CQ: “I like this, but what’s the point of saying “The Tibetan 99%”?” Justin notes that at this point, there’s more Chinese than…
Cont’d: …Tibetans in some places. “You have to speak Chinese and have certain background to get certain jobs.” Someone notes they… #OWS
Cont’d: “…re-educate the Tibetan people.” Bana hears where they’re coming from, still wants to take out 99% language so as not to co-opt..
Justin: “Hold on, let me check with the Tibetans in the room.” Quick conference, and then he says they accept the amendment. #NYCGA #OWS
Next concern is with shouting out the Dalai Lama, because it’s off-message with our no-leader status. Amendment accepted. #NYCGA #OWS
Stairs temp-checks moving to consensus. Looks very good! Any standasides? No. Blocks? No. Consensus! #OWS #NYCGA #TsampaRevolution
The Tibetan activist in attendance thanks us for being here, for supporting their freedom and fighting for ours. #NYCGA #OWS
OK, next proposal! Proposer: “I’m sorry for bringing this; I really consider this minutiae.” Wants to translate the Statement of Autonomy..
Cont’d: “There are 2 things that really need to be addressed, and I’d like them to be just done. B/c this is a really important document.”
Cont’d: “Basically, I would like what’s online to also state the date it was consensed upon!” It’s not there, “it’s a little thing.” #NYCGA
Cont’d: “Secondly, the first sentence…” wants to make a change. Yoni will read it. #NYCGA #OWS
Proposer: “The way it reads now: “We provide a forum for peaceful assembly of individuals to engage in participatory as opposed to…”
Cont’d: “…partisan debate, and democracy.” Doesn’t make sense to him; can’t translate it. “What I’d like to write is, ‘we provide a…”
Cont’d: “…forum for peaceful assembly of individuals to engage in participatory democracy, as opposed to partisan debate.” #NYCGA #OWS
No CQs, really, or concerns. Friendly amendment is to stop at “participatory democracy,” proposer accepts if there’s no objections. #NYCGA
Someone objects, suggests it would be best to fix grammar without re-workshopping meaning. “We’re drawing a contrast between what we do..”
Cont’d: “…and what happens in the wider system.” Suggests we keep it simple, don’t change meaning. #NYCGA #OWS
We straw-polled changing just the grammar, or also getting rid of “as opposed to partisan debate,” and the later got more. #NYCGA #OWS
So, the proposal will reword it as “We provide a forum for peaceful assembly of individuals to engage in participatory democracy.” #NYCGA
Three standasides; Tim says this is silly, we’re not taking the document in context and the statement is in regards to not being tied up…
Cont’d: …in partisan debate. “I don’t see why we’re making this change against the previous GA, seemingly on a whim.” #NYCGA #OWS
Sean says “I trust that GA; it was a big one.” Anthony checks for blocks… “There are no blocks; this proposal passes with 6 standasides.”
OK, the last proposal tonight: @missarahnicole presents the “Proposal to participate in a Nationwide United GA on March 17th.” #NYCGA #OWS
Proposer: “This proposal is being brought by Lucid Wilcox (@SynchronizeOWS). If you have any questions I can’t answer, he can.” #NYCGA #OWS
She reads the proposal, which begins: “This is a proposal for the #NYCGA requesting that they participate in a Nationwide UnitedGA…”#NYCGA
Cont’d: “…on March 17th, w/ the possibility of holding a Nationwide GA every 17th.” It’d work essentially through syncing up each GA.#OWS
Here’s the “Proposal to participate in a Nationwide UnitedGA on March 17th”: http://t.co/MDZ2xYMN #NYCGA #OWS
Justin’s CQ: “So, you brought this proposal earlier in the week, and it says here it was brought by Lucid Wilcox. Is that Lucas Wilcox?”#OWS
A: “Yes.” Justin clarifies so she’s bringing the proposal for him, she says yes. #NYCGA #OWS
Lady asks if they could consider changing the name; she says it could definitely be discussed at the first GA. #NYCGA #OWS
.@bana_be: “Why the 17th?” A: “Because it’s the anniversary date.” CQ: “Why national?” A: Want to provide platform for national issues…
Cont’d: …like port shutdowns, issues (the Tar sands is an example given in the proposal). #NYCGA #OWS
Next CQ asks if they’re working with #Interocc or Movement Building; shes says no, and the questioner suggests that would be best. #NYCGA
CQ: “How many GAs have been contacted, and how many have responded favorably to date?” A: “3: Nashville, Albany, and San Diego.” #NYCGA
CQ: “And how many have rejected it?” A: “I don’t know.” Justin: “You seem to have reason beyond what seems apparent to bring this…” #NYCGA
Cont’d: “…are you receiving benefits” for bringing this? “Why do you keep bringing this back?” A: “I’ve been doing this as a favor…”
Cont’d: “…& I really think we do need a national platform. It’s something I’ve felt was needed for awhile, & it seems like a good start.”
Nathan’s POI: “#interocc, DA, Movement Building all working on national structures,” notes that since March 17th is a day of action…#NYCGA
Cont’d: …the GA is likely to be poorly attended, as is usual on days of action. Next Concern notes that 17th isn’t always scheduled GA.
A: “This is only for March 17th, not for future months.” Next concern is about a system, process for getting issues to national GA. #NYCGA
Cont’d: “Also, how would process work? Would people block?” Sarah: “There’s no structure; would be figured out by all involved.” #NYCGA #OWS
OK, opening friendly amendment stack. Bana says she feels the idea of a nat’l GA is great, but doesn’t think it needs to be on 17th. #NYCGA
Cont’d: Bana’s friendly amendment is to change the date. But other #Occupys have agreed to do it on the 17th, so she can’t accept now. #OWS
Next FA is to make it any day “after” the 17th. She really can’t accept any amendments for Lucid tho, I think. #NYCGA #OWS
Hermes’ FA is to work together with #Occupy; next suggests it go forward w/ 1st 4 or 5 occupations to agree to test the concept. #NYCGA #OWS
Cont’d: “You just can’t do this overnight; I don’t see it happening. It’s too complicated.” #NYCGA #OWS
Sean’s FA is “hopefully a way to fix the fact we’re tripping on busy 17th.” “Perhaps this should be earlier in the day, 2pm, when lots..”
Cont’d: “…of ppl will be in the Park.” Someone notes that actually action will be away from the park until after 5. #NYCGA #OWS
Someone else suggests it happen earlier in the day, in order to avoid conflicting w/ our GA, but not too early, so Califolk can zzz. #NYCGA
.@missarahnicole responds: “I hear a lot of issues w/ the date, but I can’t change it b/c other occupys have agreed to do the 17th…”#NYCGA
Cont’d: “…but what I can do is hear your other thoughts for consideration,” could just be that #OWS doesn’t participate at 1st… #NYCGA
Cont’d: “…especially considering how busy your calendar is on that day.” OK, she’ll table the proposal. #NYCGA #OWS
We have one more proposal, but we’re gonna move to the park to finish it up. #NYCGA #OWS
The proposer didn’t make it to the park, so we’re closing w/ announcements. Sage big-ups Open Spaces and encourages ppl to go. #NYCGa
Courtney: We’re having a Think Tank discussion Monday at 6:30 at 60 Wall to discuss successes and challenges of #OWS. #NYCGA
Sean notes #NYCSC will be discussing budgeting this week, “so please come if you care about budgets.” #OWS
Dallas notes that Wylie, the lawyer, is looking for ppl who were arrested at 13th & 2nd on New Year’s for a possible civil suit. #NYCGA #OWS
And finally, two MayDay breakout groups are meeting in Tompkins square park tomorrow: Mutual Aid at 4 and Propaganda at 4:30. #OWS #NYCGA
OK, that’s it for GA tonight! Thanks for reading, fam. [Questions, comments, concerns, hit me up @DiceyTroop. -Ed.] #love #solidarity #OWS