12.29.11 Minutes

Posted by & filed under .

TradeJustice NY Metro / OWS Trade Justice Working Group
12/29/11  Joint Meeting * Winter Garden Atrium
AGENDA
1. Introductory Items
- Choose Facilitator. 
- Choose Notetaker.
- Choose timekeeper.
- Welcome and Intros.
2. Old Business
– check online spreadsheet
3. Political Action
- 2012 Plan of Action (see below)
- accountability actions targeting the NY metro area elected officials  who voted for the South Korea, Panama, and Colombia Free Trade
Agreements.
- making fair trade an issue in the 2012 elections
4. Outreach and Education within OWS
- Organizing teach-ins on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 9 country  free trade agreement current in negotiations.
- outreach to OWS Working Groups – Labor, Direct Action, Global Democracy, Healthcare for the 99%, OWS en Espanol, Environmental
Solidarity, Animal Issues, Occupy Big Food, OWS Sustainability Food Working Group, Food Sustainability Affinity Group, others?
5. Role in OWS
-proposal from Global Democracy Alliance working group member for merger 
of groups. 
- establishing a financial officer.
MINUTES
1. INTRODUCTORY ITEMS
- Curtis will facilitate
- Ruth and Adam will take notes.
- No timekeeper set.
- Welcome and Intros.
Present: Curtis, Phil, Adam, Gloria, Whitney, Lorraine, Ruth, Arckii
(Darryl tried to call in, but the conference call system didn't connect him)
2. OLD BUSINESS
Adam will post unfinished tasks from October meetings to Googledocs spreadsheet.
3. 2012 PLAN OF ACTIONPolitical Action:
what the next step should be?
Curtis reads the 2012 Plan of Action written by Sukjong Hong based on our October 14
th
 morning meeting discussion:
“2012 Action Plan as of October 14th
Congress just passed three free trade agreements for the 1%, deals which are guaranteed to enrich the transnational corporations and extractive
industries that have already trampled on worker rights, human dignity and ecosystems for so long, and making it near-illegal to regulate Wall
Street or to hold the financial industry accountable for their practices. These trade agreements effectively outsource at least 214,000 American
jobs at a time when the prospects for employment for the 25 million unemployed in this country are bleaker than ever, and they also provide a
tax haven for corporations and narco-traffickers, plunder the natural resources of indigenous peoples, and source cheap, non-unionized labor
for corporations.
Across the coalition, we find the passage of these three trade agreements to be a major blow to the working people and environmental futures
of both the United States and each of the respective countries, South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The US trade model, based on NAFTA, has
clearly proven to be destructive to the lives and habitats of people across North America, decimating decent jobs across the United States and
impoverishing millions of Mexican farmers. These trade agreements will only prove to have tragic consequences for the majority of people and
for the future of our planet. 
In the immediate future: 
First of all, in the immediate period following the votes, over the next week, we are asking everyone to call both Obama and their own
legislators to let their views be known based on how their representatives voted. We know that the votes were conducted quickly, without much
fanfare or public debate, and they took place a year before the 2012 elections so that voters will forget - but we want them to know we will not
forget. Obama broke his promise as a presidential candidate to review and repeal the NAFTA trade model and his own opposition to the USColombia trade deal because of human rights issues.
People can see how their elected representatives in the Senate voted here

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00161#position

And for the House of Representatives here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll783.xml
In terms of grassroots action, we see that over the long-term and especially over the next year, we will need to continue to do public education
and media work about trade, and embed trade issues in broader movements so that people truly understand how these agreements affect their
everyday lives, whether it is relation to jobs, the environment, access to affordable medicines, or the regulation of Wall Street. As part of the
Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice working group, we will keep connecting trade agreements to the demands and political consciousness of the
movement as a whole.
We will continue to do media work that keeps the free trade issue in the spotlight. Overall, we found coverage of the trade agreements in
mainstream media to be abysmal and largely absent, or skewed towards business interests only, and we also found that progressive media
needed to make this more of a spotlighted, central issue than it has. US trade policy has been an invisible killer for far too long and we need to
push the media to educate and inform the American public better about its implications.
We are still in discussion over the following, but US corporate interests are steaming ahead to continue for more free trade agreements,
including the Trans-Pacific Partnership which includes Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam, along
with one between the US and the European Union, as well as with India. 
We are also going to keep monitoring how the trade agreements in Korea, Colombia and Panama are impacting people’s lives, and
documenting how the resistance to trade agreement measures are dealt with by governments, especially in cases where violent repression is
used. Many of the organizations in Trade Justice metro are in solidarity with people’s movements in South Korea, Panama and Colombia, and
will be transmitting those updates and calls for action, when necessary, to the public and to our allies.”
It's decided that for the immediate future three thing should done:  
-accountability actions targeting the NY metro area elected officials  who voted for the South Korea, Panama, and Colombia Free Trade
Agreements, and make calls to Obama.
-Bring up fair trade as an issue in the 2012 election to OWS
-Bring up TPP to OWS
4. OUTREACH AND EDUCATION WITHIN AND OUTSIDE OWS
- Teach-ins about TPP. Public Citizen wants to coordinate TPP teach-ins for March.  We'd like to do teach-ins earlier so that we can prepare for
an action at the same time as the San Diego TPP meeting.
- Adam: Trade justice is not in the radar of OWS therefore the urgent need to do teach-ins.
Curtis: Where do we do teach-ins.....at colleges? Does OWS have any connections to groups we can reach to do the teach-ins?  Find campusgroups concerned about relevant issues – environment, democracy, animal rights, etc.
Phil: participated in workshop at 61 Broadway 3 weeks ago. Had a crowd of 75-80 people. Organizers composed of many different groups,
many in the audience were general OWS people. The topic was about immigrant issues.  
Curtis: Do we feel that we need to reach other OWS groups?
Phil: OWS understands issues other than trade issues. It would be important to link trade to their own issues. We can also reach out for other
groups outside OWS such as colleges as Curtis said.
Adam: OWS is generally focused on the symptoms and not on structural issues. 
Phil:What groups can we reach?
Adam:  Labor, Direct Action, Global Democracy, Healthcare for the 99%, OWS en Espanol, Environmental Solidarity, Animal Issues, Occupy
Big Food, OWS Sustainability Food Working Group, Food Sustainability Affinity Group, others?
Curtis: we need to create a pitch
Phil: We need a different pitch for each group
(Someone can fill in the following, I'm missing notes here)
Adam: suggests a one day conference......pitch working groups separately tying trade to their own issue.
Curtis: suggests no more than 2 minutes for group to express their issues.
Phil: be part of their concern so we can plug in ours. Invite groups to the table.
(Missing notes here)
Adam: OWS is turned off by protesting politicians due to the belief that by acknowledging one politician we are acknowledging that they are
all different when that is not the case. They think they are all the same.
Curtis: That is wrong, they are not all the same
Discussion on Turner's action and Adam on the New York Post follows.
Ruth: pitch to reach out other groups, letting them know we have something in common, tell them what we are doing and see if there is an
opportunity to work together.
Adam: what do we have to offer....try to pitch the TPP as the focal point but around issues of mutual interest with the purpose of mobilizing a
TPP action for March.
Teach-ins should be done 1)in OWS, 2)outside OWS
Phil: develop a theme around trade agreements demonstrating how the 1% is imposing their will.
Adam: It is important to notice what not to do, which is jump from crisis to crisis from one FTA to another FTA without executing any action
towards bringing political consequences upon politicians who support these FTA's
Gloria: There are floods in many parts of Colombia right now. How are these trade agreements going to take effects in the midst of these
natural disasters? A lot of the infrastructure in the capital has been destroyed.
Ruth: Besides, the killings of unionists continue
Adam: As people continue to be killed in Colombia we should also have "body count actions" such as......funerals and vigils
Adam reads email about more killing in Colombia....specifically about the killing of the leader of an association for the rights of displaced
people in Colombia.
Phil: What do we want to do after this meeting?
1) reach out to other groups
2)Send representatives to their meetings to link the TPP to their issues
3)mobilize action in MarchAdam: political action against politicians......OWS not interested in politicians
Ruth: we should not focus on OWS only.
Curtis:
-Should we target particular politicians?
-Focus on Pascrell or Rothman?
-What about Staten Island?
Adam: What about sending letters to the media expressing the fact "they are doing it again".......I also think considering having a one issue
candidate to bring out the trade issue, get publicity and generate news coverage can be a good idea.
Phil: OWS won't support that
Ruth: Do we have to focus on OWS only?
Adam: No
Curtis: We need OWS to draw more people.
Arckii: OWS in Espanol promoted their event by coming to Spokescouncil three times a week and were able to get a good crowd for their
event. You need to reach out to the spokescouncel to sell out your activities.
We need to outreach to the other OWS groups ASAP about organizing an action around the San Diego TPP meeting so that we can develop a
strategy together.   Most groups do not know anything about it. We need to have educational meetings.
Curtis: So we can do two things
-send representatives to their meetings to tie their issues to ours, or
-have educational meetings.
Adam: What kind of educational meeting?
Phil: both groups participate doing the presentation and both join the educational meeting.
Adam: us and one group, or us and all groups?
Ruth: One by one?
Adam: Public Citizen will do the teach-in in March. Need to pitch the planning of the teaching and pitch the dates? There are three formats we
can use.
1)Panel discussion with a fifteen minutes per group and issue and plan the strategy for action in March.
2)Separate events sponsored by us and each group such as: health; labor, environment.....at different dates.... different times.
3)A day long event in one location. One hour on TPP and Labor, one hour on TPP and the environment... and building towards action in March.
Phil: If its just us educating how the TPP affects groups issues, I don't think groups will be interested.
Gloria: If we organize workshops about issues related to trade and we invite other groups who can be focused on their own issues but can also
learn about our own and then take those issues that are of common interest and then work together, they most likely accept that. We can do this
with different groups.
(Missing notes here)
Adam: We can ask groups in advance to be given ten minutes to speak at their meetings.  Then we can present on how TPP affects their issue
and invite them to send a rep to a joint planning meeting around a March TPP action and one or more educational events leading up to it.  
Phil: looking towards doing a joint event....towards building the March event.
Tasks: To research the 5 page list of OWS working groups and make a list of what groups are the most adequate to reach out for our TPP
educational campaign and Action in March.
Arckii: page 1Phil:     page 2
Ruth:    page 3
Adam:  page 4
Gloria:  page 5
Send Gloria link of OWS site to gcristflorez@yahoo.com so she can review working groups.
5. ROLE IN OWS
TradeJustice was invited to attend Global Democracy Alliance working group. They are focused on a tear gas export campaign at the moment.
An individual in Global Democracy Alliance suggested we should merge. Should we merge?
Curtis: No
Phil: OWS call themselves Global Justice, for example, but it doesn't have a focus on trade. I think we can tie trade into it.
Curtis: The world is colonized by corporations and trade is at the center of what goes on in the world.
Adam reads email from Global Democracy group member suggesting merging with Trade Justice:
“adam,
i am very interested in making trade a key issue of this group. is there any reason why we shouldn't just merge? i believe you said your group
wasn't meeting regularly? or at least, the idea of working closely together, even if we formally have different names, is important, i think.
i've been thinking about how we can made trade justice an issue that occupy might take on as once of its flagship actions. the december 6th
action on foreclosures was meant to sort of launch phase 2 of the movement. i feel like an issue on international trade could signal a third
phase, if we planned it right and brought in enough people. it can continue the narrative of the people against corporate rule, from Wall Street,
to the Banks in general, to the international trade organizations. We could wrap it into a story of home-owner debt, student debt, to debt in the
global south. if we could think of a really good target date or event or issue, we could bring the idea to the Direct Action work group and get
them to put it on their calendar and help organize towards it. What do you think?
best, 
Leah”
Curtis: We should focus on trade and the other groups can focus on their own stuff. Merging is putting together too  many things - OWS has a
different perception of what they want. We can use trade as a frame by which to draw out the connection with these other groups ...everything
comes full circle to trade.
Gloria: I think we shouldn't merge but we should make the effort to work together with the other groups because that is the only way we can
become stronger. If we want to get justice we first need to work together and learn from each other.
Curtis: there's a need to link trade to their issues and show that trade is the systemic root of the problem.
Adam: By the way, we need to select a financial officer. Ruth and I have been already working on that.
Consensus was that Ruth and Adam should both be the financial officers.

Comments are closed.