Movement Building Working Group Meeting
January 12, 2012
6pm @ 60 Wall
Fill out the survey if you want to go; leaving the 25th, continues through late February.
Office is Closed
DOB closes it on complaints; only Accounting is using it now.
Office WG is dealing with this.
Tammy to get minutes to Samumba.
Morning coordinating meetings Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Someone should go.
Spokes: WGs must have minutes on web, announced meetings on NYCGA.net, at least 5 people, mission statement.
KOBI WILL TAKE ON POSTING OUR MINUTES, GETTING OUR TIMES ON NYCGA.NET; FROM NOW ON, SEND ALL MB MINUTES TO KOBI FOR POSTING.
2) Movement Building: WG Priorities & Role
-Reportback: A few meetings ago, created a list of needs MB can fulfill; last meeting, prioritized some of them. Thought about having three structures, small meetings, cluster, national non-InterOcc group.
-We reread the existing list. (See email for list.) Question: What is “bringing movement perspective to OWS?”
-By being on a liot of national calls, knowing what’s going on across the movement and in many
occupations, bringing that back to OWS.
-What is “expand conversation on national level?”
-Reaching out to other national organizations, making sure there’s communication between all
occupies on a national level.
-We wrote additional thoughts on MB priorities, roles, needs we can fulfill on individual pieces of paper.
-Three MB subgroups: international / national / local, each with smaller subsubgroups to
-Articulate the long-term intellectual vision for the movement; communicate this to America;
especially this spring; an intellectual vision of what DA is doing.
-Develop institutions into a cooperative, interdependent, yet independent. Each level hdas a
point person; smallest groups of eight. Allows for autonomous actions. Focus on building long-
term, permanent, unique institutions: eg., soviets / workers councils, etc.
-Small group meeting once a week. Bigger cluster meeting every other week (cluster included
other WGs). Connecting internal OWS people to rest of world; vice-versa. Brilliance is not to
coordinate but connecting people and not dictating.
-Think beyond ourselves; not just build our own institutions, but activate already existing
institutions. Must recognize some orgs have hierarchical structures. Thinking strategically
about which groups to reach out to and how. Resources for local groups to also reach out to
institutions in their areas.
-MB knows what’s going on in the different WGs; connecting to other occupies nationally;
internationally. Help with outreach to remote occupies.
-Import best propaganda / signs / ideas / models from other occupies to NYCGA; vice-versa.
-Expand notion of what the movement is: should be able to be a part of occupy through an
organization they’re already a part of. Start a network to unite CBOs, faith communities,
occupies, students, etc. Doesn’t have to “live” in Occupy structure.
-Go after empire, works toward the ideal of collective liberation. Our strength is already
facilitating conversation between different parties.
-A lot we’re all on the same page about not sure if local / national / international is not the way to break it down.
-Think of as a netwoek, not local / national / international hierarchy.
-Virtue of local / national / international structure: people know who’s bottomlining what.
-InterOcc could handle international work; seems appropriate for New York not to monopolize international work, should be across the movement. Subgroup model hasn’t worked in MB in the past; stuff didn’t get done in some cases. If we’re creating networks AND internally bringing movement perspective, that would be good though it’s two different roles.
-What about reaching out beyond OWS or Occupies?
-Outreach to targeted groups and then also general PR, doorknocking, etc. One is more like Outreach WG, the other maybe we can do.
-Outreach WG is very NYC focused: we can bring national perspective.
-DA is so powerful, but we don’t effectively communicate, spring actions are gonna be seen as a bunch of crazy people doing their crazy thing.
-What other ways are there to break it down?
-There are, for example, people who want to work on a student-debt strike—but don’t know how. We could fill that gap, help them to communicate with other occupies, ally groups, etc.
-We could try to move to a project model: people working on particular projects as opposed to breaking it down local / national / international.
-ComSub is doing a calendar for New York; is anyone doing this nationally?
-Some people in MB have wanted to articulate a vision, been frustrated by process and did it autonomously. Many waited to follow process too.
-Possible way to break it down, with most of the tasks on the list grouping into these categories: Coordinating occupies nationally; reaching out to rest of world; bringing movement perspective to OWS.
-Don’t think about distinction as being non-OWS; need to broaden definition of what’s OWS.
-Yes, but don’t forget that we have to group these concrete tasks in some way.
-Risk for social movements is becoming too disperse; MB can be the messaging group,
the theory group, the vision group.
-DA spokes is happening this month; that is this conversation about the agenda,
vision. We need to be talking about what we’ll see there.
-In attempting to do this in the past, massive pushback.
-We need to think about how our actions are going to land with different
constituencies for OUTREACH purposes; bring these perspectives to actions and
-Start building these connections to other groups; then people will come to us
for them/ and we gain respect in the movement. e.g., reach out to
-The way to do this is to work through existing WGs specific to those
issues and InterOcc.
-Outreach can go wrong; there are wrong ways to do it. Need to have orientations on
how to do outreach, and things to think through when you’re planning outreach:
thinking about diversity; how you’re reporting back; etc.
-Institutionalize knowledge of how OWS does this sort of thing; documentation.
-TEMP. CHECK: break it down, with most of the tasks on the list grouping into these categories: Coordinating occupies nationally; reaching out to other constituencies and non-OWS groups that already exist (to build connections, not to approach them for one-off actions); bringing national movement perspective to OWS. Have people from core group to bottonmlione pieces, coming together in small groups, building cluster. All these things should be driven by us but not monopolized by us; we also need the rest of the movement to get them done; if we bring it to spokes without bottomliners, it will fall apart.
-(international work, newsletter, InterOcc calendar should belong in InterOcc)
-You’re proposing to break down the work this way?
-Conversation continued; no explicit consensus…
Movement Building connects individuals and working groups to Occupy Wall Street and to the rest of the world; we connect the rest of the world to Working Groups and individuals. First, we do this by participating in national coordination of the Occupy Movement. We also reach out to existing groups that are not yet engaged in the Occupy Movement; we focus largely on groups outside of New York City and on the regional, national, and international levels. Finally, we provide a national movement perspective, based on conditions and trends in other occupations, to the NYCGA and to Occupy Wall Street in New York City.
-JOEL WILL SEND OVER LIST.
-Needs to be a consciousness of a movement. We should put this forumationl on the Web for more feedback.
-It’s not about the mission statement; it’s about how we organize the work. Still haven’t resolved the way to break down the work.
-Let’s think through a hypothetical, practical project that we want to do. Think through new projects, take stock of what we already do, let structure emerge from there.
-This has already happened, spinning off RevTalks, Global Justice, etc. That’s why we need an
MB cluster structure—need also t have a space for new ideas, for new projects.
-A question of what comes first: Projects or structure to achieve those projects? Also a
question of already existing tasks and list not being lost.
-InterOcc is one piece of the big puzzle. We’re connecting people; BUT WHY? What does
it mean to be a movement? We need to start talking about this.
-Look at national gatherings, for example. The idea came from Philly.
-Last meeting: the first call for the national gathering is Tuesday at 9pm.
-Okay, so taking that as an example, how would we perform our tasks?
-Going to WGs to announce this; outside of OWS, can we our ought we
bring them to the national gathering conversation.
-MB can also bring a movement consciousness to the national gathering; a
visioning exercise; bringing in lecturers (veterans of DNC 1968 on what not to
do, for example).
-To achieve all of this was why the following structure was already proposed:
Coordinating occupies nationally; reaching out to other constituencies and non-OWS
groups that already exist (to build connections, not to approach them for one-off
actions); bringing national movement perspective to OWS.
-We’re not going to broaden the movement with this work, necessarily: we’ve already shifted the narrative, now what are we going to do with that? Need to be engaging on issues that matter to people and to groups that already exist; don’t devolve into single-issue group, of course; bring systemic analysis.
-Right. Need a movement that sets the scene for the single issues to be heard in a way they’ve
never been heard before. That’s what makes Occupy so powerful.
-Victories are important. Concrete victories.
-Example: if or how we should reach out beyond OWS for national gathering.
-Right, but MB should also be helping to actually plan logistics of national gathering.
-We need to be able to shape the material we’ve been handed on a silver platter over the last
year into a message.
-Yeah, but how will the work get done?
-Only thinking about structure is bloodless; if we start with projects and let structure
will emerge, people will be able to grasp and enjoy and contribute to the work.
-Another approach to breaking down the work: What are our criteria for a good project? Then, starting projects that meet those criteria. This is what has done for actions.
-Shouldn’t throw out the work we’ve done on priorities over the last few meetings.
-Some of these are abstract, not projects.
-Get to the content; not just build the infrastructure.
-People would come with ideas for projects (but we’re doing some consistent things
throughout), evaluate whether they fit our criteria, we say how we can help, then we
break out into a cluster with a spokescouncil
-Breaking it down by project didn’t work at MB in the past; we have some core
responsibilities that need to get done.
-These are not mutually exclusive, actually.
-Idea of outreach is to set already existing bodies into motion; not to guide them or use their
capacities—build permanent relationships about what their constituency needs, not just to
invite them to marches.
-Project idea, for example: Caravan tour from West to East to national gathering, just an
-The way we approach projects could be still predominantly inreach: hear about a national
march, bring it to DA, bring it to PR, etc.
-Good for MB because people will see us hustle for their project, but we don’t have to
actually administer the project, we’re just the internal messenger.
-Movement Building as a switchboard—“you know who you should talk to? This person.”
-Do we have consensus at least on this structure? Weekly MB meetings; MB cluster with other WGs and our spinoffs (Global Justice, RevTalks), and a non-InterOcc national crew?
-Loose consensus, not yet decided; conversation continues…
-We need to remember that this is real work about real people lives and we need to think less about structure and just do it.
-Projects should be able to come to us with a timeline for achieving it.
-Haven’t been actually reporting to GA and other WGs.
-That’s why we need to have a cluster; efficient inreach AND bringing new projects to the cluster and
breaking down tasks in that cluster to get it done.
-Trouble is people are just coming to Tammy, and not to MB. DA has sort of figured this out with
its clear criteria, spokes, and agenda set in advance: you have to go to the DA spokes with a clear
proposal, then break outs to get it done if opeople are down.
-Maybe it makes sense to step back and try to model that at a smaller level, using projects that are already here. Start to do the inreach for a cluster.
-Proposal for agenda of next meeting: Take list of tasks and projects from last few meetings, talk about projects we want to do, and then to inreach for the cluster meeting based on those projects—this cluster space would be billed as a space for WGs and groups to propose movement-wide projects and ask for help with those projects, particularly reaching out to new constituencies.
-Also, present draft mission statement. Discuss how work is progressing on tasks / projects
we’re already doing. Decide projects for first cluster. Strategize how to get cluster together.
-Cluster could only be one structure—remember we can also just connect people to people.
-Like the idea of reportbacks on what’s going on with all our projects.
-Publish a report at end of cluster meeting about what’s going on with our work.
Meeting adjourned at 8:20pm; try to get here at 6pm next time.