10.18.11 Afternoon Meeting Minutes

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OWS  Trade Justice Working Group

10/18/11
2:30PM Call

In Attendance:

Adam Weissman - Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
Ruth Santana - Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
John Maher - Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
Wendy Scher - Global Justice for Animals and the Environment

Bernie McAleer - Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Steve Berliner – Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador & School of the Americas Watch

Ira Stern -  International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Curtis - American Jobs Alliance
Alex Penley  - Penley Global Law
Sherry Kane - Workers United

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Agenda

1. Letters to the Editor/Op-Eds
2. Letters to Elected Officials
3. Action Planning

What districts do people live in?

Steve - Crowley
Ira- Rothman - works in Rothman, lives in Pascrell
Curtis - Maloney / close to Velazquez
Ruth- Maloney
Wendy - Velazquez
John- Rangel constituent
Bernie - Rangel
Adam - Rothman/Maloney
Sherry - Rangel?

Alex - can speak to people at Left Forum about media list
Curtis – Bacon’s media directory online — good on weeklies, not all the contacts in them.
Can export into Excel spreadsheet.
Alex can work with Curtis.

Letters and Op-Eds.

Alex and Curtis – in spreadsheet of who voted for just Panama. Panama has a lot dirt on who voted for it. Have snoops look into it.

Curtis – Leo Hindery (New America Foundation) opponent of all trade deals — insignificant factor – some people got a pass on Panama.

Written op-eds, can freely lift copy or take inspiration at will.

Rangel – Alex P
Rothman – Ira
Pallone – Ira
Maloney – Ruth

Adam - Would workers United do an Op-ed? Sherry will check.

Ira – Bill Pascrell – send Ira a link for that (info on how he voted, what we want from him).
Alex - send link for Pascrell constituent letter.
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Letters to Elected Officials

Adam – two letters
Alex - three letters
Ruth – doesn’t think we can ignore
Adam – so long as we don’t thank them for any plus vote
Alex – Damn them more for split votes.
Wendy – agrees with three letters – mention election?
Adam – avoid electioneering - will write first draft
Ruth – will work with Adam
Wendy – will work with Adam and Ruth
Alex – edits
Adam – then circulate for final comments

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Actions and Outreach

Ira — bring Rothman to the Central Labor Council. Or pull together a planning meeting of unionists. Will confirm if want to bring in community groups or bring in separate.

Adam — Camp Rothman – Temporary Wall Street style occupation of Bergen County Municipal Complex lawn.

Alex – innovative idea.

Adam – Would people in Occupy movements be okay with temporary occupation?

Alex — not about wall Street movement — camp-ins, something people would be very apt to say, these are the type of things we want to see anyway.

Curtis – go after Reps, what’s the goal?

Alex – idea is can’t get away with it — whether can’t get elected again, companies owe us a couple favors, overall I’d say the idea is y’all are going down. Killing jobs in the US amongst other things. A lot of us don’t have jobs and this isn’t the same world that a lot of us grew up in. Basically we need them held accountable. To make a long point short — either your life will become hell and you’ll go to your office or your life will be hell and you will be voted out.

Adam: labor energy for public accountability?

Sherry: would have to check with some folks.

Curtis: if there are any targets, e.g. Peter King — on labor’s targets list in the next cycle an opportunity to soften them early — if going after someone next August or Sept to take them out. if get to to the blackboard early — job shifter who doesn’t care about Americans, who voted for crafty NAFTA deals. Rangel or Crowley not on target lists. Machinists, SEIU have target lists spending money on in next election cycle. Understand that not all orgs can do that because of their tax status.

Adam: GOP double-edged sword. They will vote for FTAs no matter what, but they are the only ones who we can potentially tackle.

Curtis: We can scare pro-free Dems by going after  trade GOP.

Alex: Agrees with Curtis.

Curtis: No one is going to spend money to get rid of Crowley or Rangel. But GOPer…

Alex: have to reach point where…

Curtis: has to run.

John: Targeting — wherever we can get the most media coverage. Must shape and position ourselves for the future (waiting to see if Korea is fait accompli).

Wendy: strong constituent base is a good idea. Not sure if how that factors into things about constituent base — not sure how that matches with who voted for most agreements.

Sherry: should let everyone know that we are unhappy. They won’t particularly care until election season.

Ruth: think about it carefully and analyze which way to strategize it. Not sure how to go about it.

Sherry: will try to find out what some of the larger unions will do in terms of the election — not decided at the moment.

Alex: within that friend who was disgruntled citizen close to NY and NJ — will see what dirt he can come up with. Likes to grumble directly and talk to them. Good Snooper.

Adam: labor press conf?

Sherry: probably won’t do much about the election cycle until it is closer. Bigger, more heavy hitters.

Adam: anything from labor would be great.

Adam: some action now while the issue is still fresh or do we want to spend more time developing strategy first.

Wendy: what kind of action?

Alex: Need to know what the action will be. Doesn’t have overall statement of everything before action idea.

Timecheck: Sherry and Alex need to leave soon. Ruth has another 20 minutes. Wendy flexible.

Next Meeting:

Sherry: Phone

Alex and Ruth Agree.

Most people can’t be on 8:30PM

John: 4 is the latest.
Sherry: 4 is the latest and in office.
ALex:  no latest time.

Next check-in?

John: one week, do tasks.
Alex: feels comfortable with people in 8:30 call developing action plan and acting upon immediately.
Sherry: that’s fine.
John: prefers a defined internal and accountability of effort. Meeting in incremental segments is a waste of time, but should meet incrementally.
Adam: News cycle on action after vote.
Wendy: something should be decided within the next day.
John: will have private off-line discussion to set tone for what he is doing. John wishes us all well.
Alex: still on the table — immediate action is elemental. Shouldn’t stick to the old formats.
Adam: follow-up meeting?
Alex: contact by email
Sherry: Agrees
Wendy: Email hard for decision making. Hopes successive meetings will be concrete and emails concrete. People send successive questions that don’t get answered.

Action Brainstorm:

Alex – will give action final thought. if we attach the one who is supposed to be the most progressive – who’s aide was “shocked” when we said he was for the agreements. Something Occupy Wall Street would be helped by. Trying to get more into disenfranchised areas. Might be good to go from heart of the beast into Jersey.

Sherry: Will do check-ins on different people and what they are willing to do.

Action Brainstorm:

Ruth: depends on who can help. Theater needs people who can commit. Be careful with what we do. Seems to be kind of a problem.

Wendy: Traditional tactics seem so stale. Like how much response has a press conference on this issue gotten in the past?

Adam: Labor press conf got some press 6 years ago on CAFTA. We got press when tied into Occupy Wall Street.

Ruth: Good idea to get publicity. Not effective without publicity to let people know how Congressmembers voted.

Wendy: Press conference. Doesn’t want to do same kind of protest that we did before.

Adam: Rangel. Firing of Rangel might engage occupy wall street. Korea trade agreement 159,000 workers fired. Volunteer to be first worker fired because of trade agreement.

Ruth: Firing something people would easily relate to– psychological states. Would take getting Occupy Wall Street people to participate.

Wendy: Hard to get to people out of downtown - as with our action last week.

Adam: Day before they were on 93rd Street

Wendy: could be good, means we decided on Rangel.

Adam: Advantages of Maloney. Free Trade Moving Crew. Pass out pink slips. Maloney — has richest parts of city. Middle class hoods. Housing projects in her districts. Messaging.

Ruth: How get people to participate directly? FLyer in district? Action in poor neighborhood directed to her? People in Upper East Side won’t care much. If bring message to people in poor areas of district more practical. Or both.

Adam: Very positive response outside Maloney’s office.

Ruth: Those are the people who will vote.

Adam: People got it, too.

Ruth: Analyze carefully to get people to get people to vote her out of office. Something to consider.

Adam: Says Ruth should run a Dem primary challenge.  No power to influence.

Ruth: If there is a Congressperson and the numbers of the people voting are dwindling down will make you worried about what is going to happen thing.

Adam: Would be nice to see someone pull 5% in a Democratic primary.

Ruth: Needs to be consequences. Why you did this or that? No consequences. Just noise. Short memory span. People go back to business as usual. Something that is going to have effect on them in the long term.

Adam: Rangel – cannot be stopped. Facing censure got reelected. Occupy Wall Street interesting for media — but poses a problem around predominantly white group going to Harlem and saying the represent the 99% and that Rangel doesn’t. Our coalition doesn’t have that problem as much, but if we pull in OWS, that can be an issue. Rangel issues not Maloney issues, but no Occupy Wall Street connection.

Ruth: Probably have an action as soon as possible — if we wait longer it will not be relevant.

Adam: Crowley will bring more Colombians because he voted for Colombia FTA and many Colombians live in his district, but less likely to bring media or Occupy Wall Street. Grimm — media? Not in Bensonhurst. Staten Island advance. Get Occupy Wall Street to Grimm office.

Wendy: Office near ferry?

Adam: Presumably right by Boro Hall. Can we get people to Occupy the ferry?

Wendy: Pirates.

Adam: Drummers.

Wendy: Nothing they do doesn’t have drums.

Adam: Grim Reaper — voted for FTA with country that killed 51 unionists last year. Better chance of getting people from Staten Island to Harlem?

Wendy: Yes.

Adam: Will cops stop people from getting on the ferry?

Wendy: Doesn’t know.

Adam: Talk to Alex or John. Can we do more than one action? Plug into OWS Direct Action working group. Turner is interesting because he is new and has news buzz, but he is far out geographically.

Wendy: Inclined to vote for people who aren’t that entrenched, people who stand a chance of being voted out. Turner may be one of those.

Adam: Might just be redistricted out of existence. Probably the most vulnerable, even more than Grimm.

Wendy: If Turner is way out, people won’t go, unless you have a solid constituent base of Colombians or Koreans or unions right there.

Adam: Of two minds on Republicans, vulnerable, but if get rid of Republican with trade as an issue, I don’t think that sends a message to Dems who see themselves as invincible. They’ll only get nervous when a trade vote hurts another Dem. Other action idea. Die-in.

Wendy: Doesn’t like Maloney – likes Rangel or Grimm.

Adam: We are very well prepared to do a Grimm action — we have a ton of Grimm Reaper constumes. Might need to replace the ribbons. Or not. Maching Occupy Wall Streeters, drums in the very. Outreach at Occupy Wall Street in Grim Reaper Costumes. Not ideal because it keeps focus on Colombia, which is what Dems want. But also unionist killings in Panama, bird flu and Korea FTA – death related issues.

Wendy: Jobs argument is arguable, whereas these aren’t. Can’t deflect these arguments as easily (disease, unionist killings). More concrete.

Wendy: Likes Rangel and Grimm.

Adam: Would like to keep Maloney in the mix. If we do action and then she votes for FTA and then we don’t come back it looks weak.

Wendy: But if we go back to Maloney’s office and do the same thing that didn’t get her to vote against the FTA before…

Adam: Need to do something bigger and stronger.

Wendy: Hard to do something much bigger there with such a small space and grouchy neighbors — ballet school, bar. Harder to do larger action. And not sure how to do larger action because people won’t come up to go there.

Adam: Getting people there problem with any of them.

Wendy: Grimm might be easier than the other two.

Adam: Ferry is free and can march people right to it, but also a bottleneck if cops stop you.

Adam: You know what is perfect day to do this?

Wendy: Halloween.

Adam: Day of the Dead. Rangel action next week and Day of the Dead action the following week? That would be beautiful so long as the messaging doesn’t get lost.

Press release headline “Grim Reapers Haunt Congressman Grimm for Voting for Deadly Colombia, Korea, Panama Trade Deals on Day of the Dead

Wendy: Use ”surround” instead of ”haunt.”

Adam: I kind of like haunt.

Wendy: Leave some decision making for the 8:30 call. Not sure if she will be on that call.

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