Group Meeting Minutes, 8 Jan 2012

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Working Group Name:            OWS Works

Meeting  Date/Time:              January 8, 2012/1:15PM

Location:                                 60 Wall Street Atrium

Meeting #:                               6

Attendees:                               Ravi, Anthony, Patty, Jason & Christine


6.1.1                Getting Started


Ravi is facilitating; Anthony has minutes.


6.1.2                Agenda


Report backs on 86th St., situation with former point person and CiviCRM database.


Discussion of the Info/ComHub WG restructuring proposal, how it ties into what OWS Works does and how we can best use this reorganization to collect accurate information so that we can connect people to the movement.


Outreach wants to set up an event on Saturdays for OWS newbies.


Update on a bunch of projects at or around 86th Street.


Justin (Stone-Diaz) may join us; he has expressed interest in merging Part-Time with OWS Works


If time permits, we will have a breakout on how best to gather info on needs for other WGs.


6.2.1                WG Name Change


Christine explains that we used to be OWS Volunteer Services but there were reservations about the connotations. We came to consensus on changing the name to OWS Works.


Ravi points out that it’s an homage to the New Deal. Also, community response has been very positive.


6.3.1                MetroCard/Housing Point People for OWS Works


Any WGs that want to get Metrocards or find housing for WG members needs to have point persons in order to get these resources.


Christine:         I am currently the point person but I would prefer not to be. I think Adam might be interested in doing but it’s the same deal with being on both sides of the desk.


Ravi:                I’ll do it for this week but I would really rather not. I feel responsibility needs to be diffused.


Christine:         What about Phoebe?


6.3.2                Office


Ravi:                That’d be great. Also, while we are on the subject: do we need any other point people? Any WG that uses the office has to have two key holders from the group. (Ravi and Christine are key holders for now.)


The office is a space donated to OWS through UFT. The sponsor is anonymous and works through an affinity group. There’s a two hour office meeting once a week.


Christine points out that she is a key holder because she lives nearby. So if anyone needs access to the office they can call her and she can come down to let them in.


6.4.1                Situation with former OWS Volunteer Services point person


Ravi                 Do people have questions about what happened with Alex? (No one does.)


6.5.1                CiviCRM.


Ravi:                I started at OWS working with TechOps. Working on this has been a bridge project for me. Tech people are great but they get easily distracted by shiny things and feature options. For example: I just found out this week that TechOps didn’t really check in to what they wanted from the system.


There’s a question about what CiviCRM is– an open source, web based constituency relationship management program.


Jason notes that he used it in Atlanta.


Ravi:                Yeah, it’s great. The NYS Senate uses it. I’ve talked to the people who helped them set it up. They have agreed to sit down with us and walk us through the setup. In fact, the January 16th CiviCRM meet-up will focus entirely on OWS. There are essentially two people who created the software—one of them is going to Skype in to talk with us from the meet-up. Also, the CiviCRM source code programmers are donating ten (10) hours to OWS whenever we need it.


Christine:         Unless there’s a serious reason not to, I’d like to start using the pilot program we were given.


Ravi:                It’s minimally functional.


Christine:         We can e-mail, say: people who live in NYC…


Ravi:                Sure, but the data is going to need to be reformatted. When we get our system set up we’ll send out an e-mail to everyone saying we need updated information. I think it’s going to good, we have a plan now.


Christine:         Something I’ve been working on doing is inputting stuff from the park. We should use that to send an email that says something like: at one point you said you were interested, is that still the case?


Ravi:                We have a basic sort of form already set up for CiviCRM./Do you want to talk about the [Info/ComHub WG restructuring] proposal. (To Christine.)


Christine:         When I first started I worked for Info. One of the big things with Info was how WGs got formed. Now there are 137 groups—some are no longer active. So we decided to look for four key elements to determine what groups are still active.

1.) Is there contact info posted for the group

2.) Do they have at least one open meeting in the area every week,

3.) Do they post minutes from these meetings where at least five members in attendance. (To clarify: a group like Accounting has two meetings every week: one open, one closed.  One of those two meetings must have at least five members.

4.) WGs have to function in accordance with the Principles of Solidarity. (You can’t be the Violent Revolution WG, for example.)


Ravi:                Yeah… we’re going to have to talk to Class Warfare about that…


Christine:         They’ll have to go to GA. (Christine fiddles with her laptop.) I entered info about all WGs into a spreadsheet and then separated them into four categories: groups that are already doing everything they need to in order to be WGs, WGs that are basically fine, WGs that needs some help getting on track, and WGs that are probably not really WGs. We are going to check in with everyone, of course. But I also feel there’s a need for something that isn’t a WG. For example: Education and Revolution have awesome resources, but they aren’t necessarily a WG. They don’t really need an open meeting and posted minutes.


Ravi:                I think this is an issue for ComHub. This proposal will help them out; but they are going to need our help. In order for us to send volunteers places, we need to know which WGs are functioning. And as I said Comhub has asked for our help. Maybe today or tomorrow we can send out an email.


Christine:         It’s mostly going to be about deciding what to do with the last two categories. We need to divide this list up and then approach people in these groups to see how we can help them by emphasizing the importance of open meetings and attendance. And during that convo, we have an amazing opportunity to find out if they need volunteers.


Patty:               This will help people find out what WGs are doing so they can know what they are getting into.


Christine:         When I get to some place with internet I will send [spreadsheet] to the listserve.


Ravi:                Can you send it to ComHub as well as the listserve. Cool. Movin’ on through.


6.6.1                Outreach OWS Orientation


Ravi:                Leah, wasn’t able to get here, she apologizes. The idea is once or twice a week (Saturday around lunch or Wednesday evening) we’ll have a meeting about what’s going on either here or in the park). A lot of people show up without having read our Principles of Solidarity, Declaration of Occupation or Statement of Autonomy. But if we had an orientation that started at say 6pm on a Wednesday, we could have an intro cover that basics, have occupiers there for them to interact with then split into groups and take them to GA. Maybe it should be on Tuesday or Thursday, though.


Patty:               I think that sounds fun. I’ve had people come up to me and be glad to get to know me.


Ravi:                If you hang out here and look friendly, people approach you and ask are you with OWS, what’s going on? Outreach is putting together a flyer with Occupy Design. What I’m really involved in is talking about this; OWS Works should be involved in helping to ensure we have really cool occupiers [at these orientations]. The black trench coat wearing anarchists need friends when they show up at these things. Same for middle class folks. We need a diversity of people. Talk from personal experience. Like I’m Jason and I’m interested in process, I’m passionate about this.


Christine:         I think ComHub needs to be involved with this. And we need to make sure we are hooking people up with things that interest them.


Ravi:                As you are in other working groups, please let people know this is going on. Especially, of lately we’ve gotten away from consensus process. I don’t know if it’s worth it—this is com hub project—reminding people of consensus.


Jason:               Sully and I are redoing the consensus stuff from Sept-ish. We wanted to make it easy for people to get.


Ravi:                Let me know if I can help with the web stuff.


Jason:               We just want to get it all together. We’ll probably take the old one down and replace it with the new one.


Christine:         I feel it’s really important.


Ravi:                Put link to Revised Consensus information as soon as it’s available. Please keep me informed.


Patty:               How long do the direct democracy meetings last?


Jason:               They start at around 5:40 and last about 45 minutes.


Ravi:                Can I just say: this is a really nice productive meeting? We’re a half-an-hour through. And we’re getting a lot done. I’m glad we’re getting this into minutes. So that people can find out what we’re up do.


6.7.1                Project at West Park


Christine:         We need to find a way to get the occupiers plugged in. Occupiers will try to show up at meetings and all roles will already be assigned. Even if someone is showing up just for housing, this is a great radicalization opportunity. [The problem is] WG’s aren’t necessarily the best point to get people plugged. So I’m looking around for easy, minor time commitment projects to get people together and chatting. Another thing with that, people are going to have to be in a working group to access Metrocards and housing. [OWS Works] will give you productive stuff to work on. This is a good intro group.


Anthony mentions that a lot of people are talking about how we never really have a chance to get to know each other. Some of the SCs that have been soapboxes have been really great. Perhaps we should consider working to implement something like that in OWS Works.


Jason:               Facilitation has been toying with the way we do our meetings.


Ravi:                Like Soapbox.


Jason:               We’ve had a couple of spokes like that. People seem to like those.


Ravi:                That’ll be really excellent.


Christine:         And also getting to know each other working on a project


Ravi:                It’s an icebreaker.


Christine:         Let’s do something that doesn’t require all of our brainpower so we can talk.


Patty:               I want to do that: I’m a crafty camp counselor.


Christine:         This is all an excuse for me to get back to making art.


Ravi mentions that the East New York foreclosure occupation is not expanding because the people involved really want others to retake their own properties. She suggests that we work toward having Direct Democracy trainings up at 86th Street.


6.8.1                Action Items


Ravi:                Christine is going to send out the list of various WGs to reach out to.  I’m going to keep people updated on Outreach orientation. Our first one should be next Saturday, if people wanna come in and be a part of it. In terms of the West Park thing, if there’s going to be a daily action. Christine is going to be spending some time up there.


Christine:         If we get people at the churches lined up, is there a daily action for them lined up to do?


Ravi:                We are going to need to set that up. That’s why the WG project is so tied to this.


Patty:               Then we could put a banner on the website.


Christine:         Kitchen was talking about doing a march every day at lunch. I think that’s that a good idea.


Patty:               We saw 30 people off Time Square and people were clutching their children.


Christine:         We used to march every day.


Ravi:                You march, sing some songs and talk to your friends. That’s an action item. A lot of the people don’t have computers of phones.


Christine:         Is there Wi-fi [at 86th Street].


Jason:               There’s Wi-fi.


Ravi:                I think things they need up there are white boards to write things on and then calendars. And then maybe we have a shared doc and someone takes responsibility to check that doc and update people at the church. Our goal is to have an action every day. If there’s a strike going on, work in a community garden. There are so many actions we can do. J12.


Patty:               What’s J12?


Ravi:                State of the city address from Bloomberg. It’s gonna be a big event.


Extremely hard to keep up with conversation because it’s all over the place at this point: topics range from using spokes space for crafting to further explanation of J12 actions.

Meeting adjourned.

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