Finance meeting minutes: 11/18/11 5:50 PM

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Finance 11/11/11 5:50pm

In Attendance:

Susan, Darrell, Gaylen, Kevin, Alexandra, Charlie, Justin, Sparo, Trish, Katie

Susan brought a budget proposal form along with a completed sample. Katie would like it to be emailed to her so she can post it online.

S: Facilitation said they needed money for a white board. There was an issue knowing who to give the money to. Susan came up with a new form for working groups to designate point people for finance.

S: Debit cards are a whole different issue. Go to freelancetaxation.com and look at the article about receipts and debit cards. We have terrible success in collecting receipts. Debit card purchases don’t create receipts. We work on cash and reimbursements. Working groups may have totally different needs now that we’ve been evicted.

[Gaylen arrives]

G: Had to bail people out.

A: How do you get people involved? Had a hard time plugging in.

G: First wanted to bring people in via desk at park. No desk left. We’ll see how it comes back together. Easy way for people to get introduced to forms and protocol. The more people we get the easier it’ll be for us to place people.

A: You have an office?

G: 50 broadway, yeah. But we’ve done done work from home via email. With open meetings I wanted to get more in touch with people about the greater movement. Trying to figure out a way to get a budgetary process at the moment. 3-5 of us working on that. Going to bring that to spokes council. What may end up happening is well work on that next week and tren bring in more and more groups as we progress. First time we’ve had a larger group deciding where’d money goes.

S: What about the hundreds dollar thing? Who’s gonna get the money? Before we set up this big budgetary thing we need to sort that out. What do we do now? Working groups aren’t collecting petty cash.

G: Everyone wants to know where there money is. We’ve been in crisis mode just putting out fires.

S: We have to think globally and meet needs of the movement.

G: We have immediate needs like getting people out of jail.

S: Everyone has been working all day long. I think they’re terrific. But we need to do both.

G: Thank you. Well see what happens. Spokes council is a shit show right now.

S: Let’s have ask them how we move on.

J: Everything’s on hold because we don’t have a centralized table according to Danielle. Where can we set up a table?

A: What about the office?

J: We would get kicked out. Too much traffic.

D: There aren’t that many people asking for money.

S: You haven’t been there in a while. There are a lot of people.

G: We literally couldn’t get money until today because our signatories were locked up.

J: They were targeted.

C: Ask alternative finance group about alternatives.

S: The problem is if we had unlimited funds, oversight wouldn’t be important, but we have so many needs. How do we maintain oversight? If the IRS doesn’t like how this is being done were all fucked. Forgive me if I’m bring rude.

C: We’d be getting more money if we weren’t hoarding it.

J: We’re not hoarding. We should change our name to accounting.

D: The process is convoluted. There aren’t enough people going all the way through the process. I know it’s not being hoarded but people don’t know how to get it.

J: Getting more people involved will change the perception. We need people to do outreach. It’s not a structural problem.

S: Spokes isn’t a council yet.

K: You guys are accounting right now. I’m guessing we can’t afford $100 a day. Accounting and finance could be different groups. Noes the time to start putting together groups. I’m more of a finance guy than an accounting guy. Thats what I want to help with. There’s a transparency group maybe they can help. I don’t want to…

J: S.I.S. is getting raided by the Fire Department. Gotta go.

G: Tracking money. Is that even right? We spend a lot of time with people who don’t like our answers so we keep trying to rephrase the question. There are a lot of things we haven’t been able to do. We’re not going to figure everything out today. The raid on the park has been a blessing because we’ve been able to sit down and write documents. We need more people involved in creating policies and procedutres. That’s what we have now.

S: Money dispensing and per diems.

G: $100 was totally arbitrary. Over $100 goes to GA. Now we have a concept that everybody gets $100 a day.

J: What about transporting people?

G: How many times gave I told you there are safety concerns with the bus?

K: Are you bring reimbursed? You need a policy.

Katie: Hey everyone, can we not talk over each other? It makes it hard for me to take minutes.

S: Right now leaving aside miles, he needs x and we have 2 people per working group. How do we get those 2 people the money?

A: Why can’t we still sit in the park?

S: With the cold and rain?

A: I don’t mind.

G: We talked about your specific thing and then legal got involved. We have to get to spokes soon.

G: I’m still getting push back.

A: Before you leave we need to talk about money for Canada?

G: Bree was working on it.

[interruptions]

T: how much money do we have?

[shouting]

[Katie has to leave, the following notes were taken by Kevin]

A couple of people looking for finance group. The people who have been in finance for any time have left to go to spokes.

Lots of yelling over each other.

Sparo has concern for comfort getting funds for underwear and deodorant. And that they are on their last bucket of socks.

She stressed people need to be taken care of.

Sparo also has a proposal for supplies and housing that she would like help from finance putting together. Kevin volunteered to meet with her to begin putting it together.

Someone asks how much money we have and another answers we have 454000.

The group then adjourned to go to spokes.

13 Responses to “Finance meeting minutes: 11/18/11 5:50 PM”

  1. odd ah

    G.A. Egyptian proposal 11/19/11> I am disappointed with OWS movement buildings decision tonight to follow through on spending $29,000 sending multiple people to Egypt for a weekend despite the urgent needs of our currently displaced OWS comrades here in New York and our dire need for people power and resources to repair, rebuild and stabilize our fractured OWS movement here in New York and the U.S.
I feel extremely disillusioned with the G.A and facilitation process which took place tonight; there was tonight, and has been a clear and vocal opposition to this proposals budget and motivations since its approval became public knowledge. Tonight this opposition was voiced, a female Egyptian activist urged people to not go to Egypt at this time, stating that it would better serve the movement to take care of our own, and have Egyptian solidarity marches here in the states, she left at midnight. Some people stayed till 1 am debating the issue of postponing the trip to Egypt, cancel it or buy tickets for Nov., 25th, finally in the end, when only 50 people remained, a vote was called at 1 am; 21 votes were counted as being in favor of postponing the trip (and a possible renegotiation of funding) and 17 opposed to postponement…Now one would think 21 votes would be the deciding factor, but not in the G.A facilitators eyes- it was the 17 votes which prevailed, the tickets would be bought! Perhaps, I am undereducated, but I truly do not understand this counting method or voting logic. I feel the situation was manipulated to the favor of a few members’ desires in movement building. I sincerely believe and feel the decision to spend $29,000 sending 20 people to Egypt for a weekend when these resources are needed here and NOW is an act of self indulgence and reeks of the pervasive American attitude of privilege before good conscience and right action. Despite the fact that I was active in Egyptian solidarity marches here in the states and do support the international vision for liberation I stand firm in my Block on this particular Egyptian trip Proposal!
**Block: one has very strong moral or ethical reservations about the proposal and will consider leaving the movement if it passes.

  2. Susan Wells

    I listened to the entire GA last night, and for the first time since the beginning of this movement, I was appalled by the actions that took place. A plan to send 20 people to Egypt made by a select few members at last night’s GA had the chat on occupynyc exploding with voices saying, “NO!” I felt you were all too tired to make such an important decision. I also felt like I was watching congress–a few speaking for all, and getting funds issued without the majority knowing it was going on.

    There are already banks and deceptive media spending millions to smear the movement, and OWS did it all by itself at last night’s GA. Very disappointed in this rash decision.

    The NYCGA just suffered a setback and it feels to me that it is getting distracted. We have to keep focus on the US right now. Going off to police another country’s election is either an example of what we are against, or it is the selfish desire of a few members to take a vacation in Egypt.

    The poor fellow with probably the most important item to present–a vision statement–never even got heard. I guess he’ll have to rewrite to include policing foreign elections to the vision now?

    At 62, I felt I’ve been waiting for this movement my whole life, only to see it co-opted from within. Foolish decisions made in a state of exhaustion by a minority! I’m saddened, dispirited and frankly, disgusted.

  3. quinn

    To clarify: Nobody at last night’s General Assembly made a proposal to send people to Egypt.

    The approval of the Movement Building’s proposal to send ppl to Egypt happened at the General Assembly approximately 10 days ago.

    Last night was a proposal to NOT send ppl to Egypt. Since last night’s proposal was not passed, that means that ppl are going to Egypt, pursuant to the proposal that was passed about 10 days ago.

    Please feel free to visit http://j.mp/OWSfGA to review proposals that will be brought before the General Assembly. Please bring your voice to General Assembly. It is at 7pm on Saturday, Sunday, Tues, & Thursday.

    Thank you.

  4. odd ah

    quinn, I have been in this since Sept 17th, and personally I want to walk, but I am trying to not do that! The letter should have passed! If you read my letter which is based on having been there the entire evening, perhaps you will understand why i say this;at one point early in the evenings discussion, it was made to seem like the Egypt trip was being tabled till a later date, and then after many people who opposed or questioned the trip and supported sending the letter left for the evening, the facilitators chose to let the discussion continue. It was, in all, a very convoluted 4 hour long process. Basically, it was all lip service, they want what they want, and no matter who objects, they will get it.
    Regarding the approval for $29,000 of 10 days ago, this is a whole other issue – I have spoken with many people at OWS who had no idea that movement building had submitted this proposal and made this request until after it was passed- there was a total lack of transparency. After much reflection i feel there are still many valid reasons to support and stand in solidarity with the movement, but there needs to be a new requirement for proposals seeking funding in excess of $10,000,perhaps one should be required to submit a ‘chain email proposal stating the date of GA submission at least 2 weeks before submission, unless one can show need for emergency aide.

  5. Susan Wells

    I agree. And no proposal should be brought up for a vote when most the the GA is absent. Seems only people who wanted to send people to Egypt *now* were there to vote. Not only is that not transparent, it flies in the face of everything we are against. It feels the same to me as the corruption in Congress…just a few deciding for the whole based on the deciders’ desires, not those of the people. I support the movement, but at this point in time with the NYCGA having no home base, I do *not* support sending people to Egypt. I am clear out in California, with no money to go to NY, but I have been a strong supporter, and feel that those folks who have donated, who were on the occupynyc chat during the entire GA should have had their voices heard. Several times the moderator stopped the chat asking Lorenzo to bring the concerns of the chatters before the GA, but he was not watching the chat, so the mods requests were ignored. It should have been clear to everyone what was being proposed. Having listened and watched via the livestream the whole time, I was not clear at all what the proposal was about, and it appears many in the GA were also confused. It’s not a good time to go to Egypt, for many reasons. I regret that such a decision was made without forethought about what it would mean to the movement at this vulnerable stage. What it’s done for me is make me wary and distrustful of anyone making proposals asking for money, and made me decide not to donate another dime of my limited resources to a movement that makes such frivolous decisions.

    • odd ah

      On 11/19/11> a letter was presented at the GA in favor of postponement of the trip to Egypt (it had been previouslly approved in a rushed and non transparent manner). THe letter of postponement should have passed, the trip should have been postponed or cancelled!>there was a lack of clear communication when it came time to decide if the trip would be postponed or not. Additionally, at one point early in the evenings discussion, it was made to seem like the Egypt trip was being tabled till a later date, and then after many people who opposed or questioned the trip left the G.A for the evening, the facilitators chose to let the discussion continue. It was, in all, a very convoluted 4 hour long process.I stand in solidarity with Egypt,but, I have spoken with too many people who were not even aware that the group Movement building was considering this 3 day trip and had submitted a proposal for and been approved for $29,000( thie trip could be done on half that amount, not that it should at this time)
      excerpt for 11/19/11 lettered responce>>>
I feel extremely disillusioned with the G.A and facilitation process which took place tonight; there was tonight, and has been a clear and vocal opposition to this proposals budget and motivations since its approval became public knowledge. Tonight this opposition was voiced, a female Egyptian activist urged people to not go to Egypt at this time, stating that it would better serve the movement to take care of our own, and have Egyptian solidarity marches here in the states, she left at midnight. Some people stayed till 1 am debating the issue of postponing the trip to Egypt, cancel it or buy tickets for Nov., 25th, finally in the end, when only 50 people remained, a vote was called at 1 am; 21 votes were counted as being in favor of postponing the trip (and a possible renegotiation of funding) and 17 opposed to postponement…Now one would think 21 votes would be the deciding factor, but not in the G.A facilitators eyes- it was the 17 votes which prevailed, the tickets would be bought! Perhaps, I am undereducated, but I truly do not understand this counting method or voting logic. I feel the situation was manipulated to the favor of a few members’ desires in movement building.

  6. Lopi

    I was present at both GA’s. The first one where the Original Proposal for the Egypt trip was presented and consented upon and the train wreck of a GA on Saturday where some well meaning people from movement building working group presented a way to reverse the earlier decision to spend the money on sending 20 people to Egypt to witness parliamentary elections.

    At first I was in favor of the Egypt trip, but everything changed since then. Everything. The protests in Tahrir have gotten worse, 11 people dead, the brutality they face over there is ten fold what we face here. We’ve been evicted and are becoming fractured by a vicious rumor mill, random drunk people, mentally and emotionally disturbed individuals and infiltration from agitators. Also, the movement in Egypt is fractured, I think we need to be cautious who we align with. Perhaps sending one or two people on a recon mission first would be more wise. We don’t know what we are getting into and there is so much more need for support here in nyc.

    The lack of consensus supporting the Egypt Trip is enormous. If the group who originally proposed the Egypt trip were interested in true solidarity, not only with Egyptian protesters, but within our OWN community, they would, in good faith, cancel the trip. Their insistence upon following a 9/10′s consensus model, which is optional, in face of such contention is disturbing to me.

    I have watched and participated in many many GA’s. I have seen beautifully prepared proposals fail to reach a true consensus at the GA many times. I have watched bullshit blocks put down great proposals. I have watched these proposers, behaving impeccably, decline the 9/10′s vote option, preferring instead to go back to the drawing board and come back with a reworked proposal that everyone can feel good about. This is how we keep unity.

    The Egypt Trip ought to be postponed. There is way too much contention surrounding this trip. Many Many people do not want this to take place. If you are in favor of the trip, would you really want to run over the people who are against it?
    Or would you want to negotiate with your comradicals and find a place we can unify?

    Also, about the rumor mill. Rumors are allegations that are not based on fact. They are based on hearsay.
    The best way to deal with “he said, she said” is to go to the source and straight up ask them point blank to their face.
    If you have a problem with any other person or group of people, instead of talking to everyone else about it, why not go directly to the people you are gossiping about and try to resolve your differences? Gossiping and spreading rumors does not encourage resolution or unity, it only causes more division.

    If you have an issue with someone, grow a pair and talk to them to their face in the spirit of discourse instead of spreading rumors.

    • Matthew

      I am posting this on this page as well in order to make sure that everybody involved in the decision-making process has an opportunity to read it.

      Best,

      Matthew

      —-

      Hello to all from the Movement Building group and all other relevant groups,

      Thank you all for your amazing work over the past few weeks, as well as for the solidarity you’ve shown with the Egyptians.

      We were involved in co-organizing the proposal for the Egypt delegation, along with Maria Dayton and others on the Egyptian side.

      Below, you’ll find a response to some of the concerns that have been raised about the trip, both internally and externally. I would appreciate if you could bring this information up at the upcoming meetings.

      Main points include the following:

      1) This project has been independently organized; despite the rumors, none of us work for any governmental organizations. Any notions that a Capitol Hill constituency or ‘government agent’ is selling this project are 100% incorrect.

      2) A substantial number of Egyptian groups have asked us to go there, including April 6 organizer Ahmed Maher and activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz – both of whom recently came to speak at Occupy Wall Street themselves – as well as representatives from the Ibn Khaldun Center Monitoring Coalition and the Horya Center for Human Rights Studies among others. In addition, a number of notable progressives in this country have shown support for this delegation, including Noam Chomsky and Juan Cole as well as many Occupiers across the country. We can make these statements of support freely available.

      3) The intent of this delegation is MUCH more broad than simply observing elections. In fact, it involves laying a foundation for prolonged and concrete solidarity between the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring. The Occupy movement is concerned with social ills that are far more systemic than simply local grievances. These social ills are transnational in scope, often involving multiple interlinked countries at once. In our pursuit of social change, we have to try to avoid the insularity, suspicions, and nationalistic ‘let’s-help-our-country-first’ mantras that have been part of the status quo in the past. In fact, there is a great need these days to ‘re-occupy diplomacy,’ as status-quo diplomatic efforts between countries and cultures have become dominated by the concerns of the 1%. If we want to be seen as a legitimate voice in efforts against global injustice, we need a firm stance that we will stick our necks out for the 99% abroad as well. In the wake of the recent attacks on Tahrir Square, these concerns are ever more relevant and urgent.

      4) We think that the financial and logistical details of this project are flexible. We propose the following:

      -The Egyptian elections consist of three ‘stages’ (Nov 28, Dec 14, and Jan 3). We propose that we initiate our two-week trip to Egypt beginning roughly mid- to late December and coming back home in early January. Before leaving for Cairo, we would initiate a series of conference calls with multiple Egyptian activist groups from across the political spectrum – including Egyptian groups who initially argued against us serving as election monitors – in order to plan an itinerary of relevant important groups to meet with as well as necessary common goals to discuss. That way, we will minimize individuals on either side of the Atlantic who would feel shut out of the process.

      -We believe that the election-observation component of the trip should still be present for at least one of the election days, but that it should also be optional, only for those who wish to participate. Keep in mind that none of us wish to intentionally or unintentionally legitimize an election with is laden with corruption. However, there is certainly an argument to be made (including among many Egyptians) that election observation efforts could play a valuable watchdog role. In addition, this is a critical time for Egypt – currently regarded as a possible benchmark for future revolutions in the region – and we need to show as much concrete solidarity with them as we can.

      Thank you again for all your hard work, and I hope that we can continue this conversation. We have spent a lot of effort (on our own time and our own dime) to make this project a reality, and we sincerely hope that it is able to succeed.

      Respectfully,

      Matthew Naim Abdullah, participant in the October 2011 Freedom Plaza and Occupy San Diego protests

      Ruby Amatulla, director of Muslims for Peace, Justice, and Progress

  7. JZ

    This should be brought up at multiple GAs. The “Movement Building” group should respect the GA process as a long term process and not as ONE NIGHT then hold “open forums” at the Atrium because there was such a backlash.

    GAs are open forums. This proposal should respectfully be removed and re-proposed to multiple GAs, period. This has become a mess which has divided people. The fact that it has divided people is evidence that it is not consensus. One GA of a small number of people is not consensus. This proposal is a disrespect to the idea and practice of consensus.

    And I am tired of reading posts that tell people that a proposal was online for 24 hours and that they need to show up at a GA (one GA) if they want to have a say as if busy lives are supposed to revolve around showing up to one GA if someone has a disagreement or block. I simply cannot show up to any GA I want after a proposal has been online for 24 hours. That is not a real expectation for anyone! And just because a proposal is online does not mean enough people will become aware of it. There needs to be a way to let more people know about upcoming proposals.

    @Lopi — Thank you!

    • Punky

      Upcoming Proposals, Online GA’s, and possibly an online voting system! This movement is just way too big now, and EVERYONE should be given the right to vote on important issues! Only counting votes by fellow members who are able to actually attend is just not working anymore!