Meeting minutes, 1/29/12

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1/29/12

 

Demands:

Elena agrees to be a co-facilitator.

Vivek: as cofacilitator

Jay: last meeting we agreed to endorse the people’s organization for process daily picket.  I clarified to Lee that it was in our name.  I made the flyer.  The directions are on there from NY. It is easy if you take the Path from WTC.  One stop to Penn Station Newark.  If you get it at the other one, you cross over to Journal Square.

Jessi: Is this posted on the Demands page?

Jay: I’ll post it in the email list serve.  Afterwards people could go to a restaurant afterwards.

 

Jessica: Impeach Obama

Susan: report back on Demands not being on the NYCGA webpage.

Jessi: articulation of demands

Jake: Visions statement was voted down at the last GA with people saying it wasn’t radical enough and I wanted to discuss if Demands could help out in helping to articular a more radical set of vision

Susan S: organizing a teach in

Jay: Discussion about the email list.

 

Elena: Impeach Obama: 15 minute

NYCGA: 10

Artciulation: 15

Jake: 10

Teachin: 15

Jay: 5

 

Stack opens for Impeachment Obama

Vivek: Washington post editorial.  In discussing impeaching Obama- it’s not about mere policy disagreement but impeachable act.  I will focus on constitution- high crimes and misdemeanors.  The focus is constitutional violations either from previous administrations or perpetuated.  The main prongs are the Libyan war and drones in Pakistan.  Violated war powers act. Killing US citizens he has violated Due Process.  The final main point- national defense authorization act signed into law indefinite detention.  A key constitutional right.

Jessi: What are you proposing

Vivek: a demand supporting article for proposal.

Jake; I agree with all these criticism for Obama.  I don’t know what role OWS and the Demands working group would play.  I would support that you talk to the DA to support direct action at the DNC to attract attention to the issue. I don’t think their will be support for this in the movement.

Susan: How will we deal with the fact they don’t like us and the GA doesn’t like demands.

Susan S.: I think this is a waste of time.  It’s not going to go anywhere.  There are many productive things.  I agree with Jake.  We need to move on.  Obama is a figure head.  No one tried to impeach Bush.  No one heard about it.  Let’s go in a productive and constructive direction. Let’s pick our issues and there’s so much to do.  It gets me very upset to hear about impeaching Obama.  He’s our first African American president and I’m very proud.  I think he’s doing the best he can.  I have no desire to put his ass in the fire, ever.

Robert: I want to add one item to the impeachment list- abuse of signing statement- Obama is going beyond what Bush did to take the decision making power out of everyone else except the executive.  Signing statements takes away the opportunity- instead of vetoing the NDAA, he did a signing statement.  These signing statements create opportunity for legislative to act like this.  The argument that this is not going anywhere- we’re in a presidential election where people are disgusted with Republicans.  Not going after Obama give the Republican much more leeway to make assholes of themsleves.  I think we shouldn’t be so timid.

Jessica: One of the things I found that is disturbing.  I am African American.  There is pride to this, but he is still the president  The emotional attachment is not what we should be thinking about as citizens.  What is this president doing.  What is his agenda, what is his vision for the citizens of America.  That is how the other side wins.  We are so caught up that we don’t want to take this person down.  This is not a person, this the presidency.  If he is doing high crimes and misdemeanors, personally, then we have to address that as citizens.  This presidency no longer works for the citizens of the united States.  We need to find someone citizen oriented.

Finn: i think to impeach Obama or to demand it from here and from OWS is productive because if we do it, and Congressman see there is support for people among the people, they have already thought about impeaching him.  If they see people support it, some brave Congressmen will follow through.

Jay: I agree- Obama, his predecessor, they should be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors.  Who’s gonna replace him.  There are bad Democrat.  This demand thinks we have a bad leader and we have to replace.  What we need is to build a movement, around demands that speak to the pressing needs of the working class.  I agree with the indictment but I don’t think

Jess: i sympathize with all the feelings.  Capitalism is totally intertwined with our gov’t.  It’s naive to think a Congressman will support an impeach Obama movement to help people.  It will be for a despicable reason.  I think it’s naive, not productive.

Alvin: Let’s use King’s words: (reads a quote).

Elena: Follows up with another Dr. King statement- judge a man not by the color of his skin but the content of his character.  It’s always a lesser evil.  We should base this on what our constitution says.  He has violated several acts of our Constitution.  If this was Bush, how would you finish.

Itzak: regarding legality of impeachment.  I’d like to hear two reputable lawyers discuss the issue.  The fact that the guy has a law degree doesn’t mean much.  I want recognized lawyers on each side to discuss it and then I’ll make up my mind.  The legal issue for impeachment don’t persuade me.  You have policy issues you disagree with the president.  They are not criminal.  Next I want to know – i have been around this group for several – i recognize Alvin and Elena.  If there is an outside organization pushing for it – are you an independent person or a group.  Or are you part an organization that seeks to impeach Obama.

Lee: the question is whether or not the reasons you want to pursue impeach will appeal the 99%.  These are not the reason.  Grover Norquist said that if they don’t extend Bush tax cuts, then we’ll impeach Obama.  People will jump on board this idea not because of the illegal activity.

Jessica: Clarifying question: are you saying that you think the underlying thing will be racism.

Lee: No.  There is a percentage of the country which views him in a negative light.  They call him all sorts of things- socialist, communist, they are against their interests plain and simple.  They are strong movement of people.  That’s what they believe.  If you pursue this, they won’t get on board which what you’re saying is wrong, they just want to get him out.

Vivek: I appreciate the concerns of people that this will be coopted by the right.  I don’t view this as a single issue, we need to reclaim a critical voice against Obama as part of a progressive agenda.  As a way to prevent cooptation is have this as part a progressive agenda.  We should consider the article of impeachment on the merits.  I propose we see this as a plank in our broader platform.

Elena: Susan is next

Susan K: We longer have a presence on ows website

The person in charge of administration is very busy

Susan S: We should care.  We believe in the movement and believe in the process.  We need a mission statement.  I suggest we look at Jess’s missions statement.

Itzak: We care.  It’s a principled issue.  Exposure. Communication.  We should care.  I have two questions- why have we been kicked off.  Who are the people have the power to kick groups off without much review.  Third if Eric is not interested, someone should mind the store.  Let’s fix it.

Jake: we had a mission statement and process that we endorsed.  We haven’t followed the process.  We haven’t registered it.  I guess this document has good policy platform points.  Do we choose between two mission statements?  We need to pick something.  I propose is to task someone to use the one we already voted one.

Lee: did any one here to speak to anyone about this.  Does Walter’s statement -it seemed like a process rather than mission statement.

Jake: It had a preamble that had a mission statement.

Jess: Clarifying question: that statement and process was passed by the Demands Working group.  What happened?

Jake: There was some disagreement on implementation.  The net effect is that dropped it rather than follow it.

Susan S.: Does anyone know where it is.   Can we pull it out and send it to tech ops.

Robert: Was that accepted accepted by the GA.  Have we been accepted?

Susan S: All we have to do is send it?

Susan K: I don’t know.

Susan K: we need a point person.

Susan S.: I agree to be the point person. (Temp check is positive).

 

(Here, Susan K leaves and Susan S. took over minutes):

 

Susan S: I suggest holding teach-ins, as were done in the 60s. We could pull in people we respect, academics and journalists and other people. It could bring lots of publicity and could function as education on the issues.

Robert: does it have to be experts?

Jess C.: it can different kinds of people.

Lee: if it isn’t a demand, should we be talking about it?

Jessica: we don’t need a demand to have a teach-in.

Elena: we’ll vote on doing it or not. Will it be yes or no?

Jess C: We can all come up with topics.
Vote: yes

Agenda item: Articulation of Demands

Jess C.: my thought is, the horse is out of the barn. There are lots of organizations with lots of demands. What we could do is focus on those demands in solidarity. We can do things the DA wouldn’t do, but the demands are already out there.

Jay: That’s the whole idea behind an endorsement of the JFA. I encourage folks to come out [to Newark]. We need to participate in Occupy LA’s May Day demands. If this group is of any use, we should get into the movement.

Sati: it’s good to somehow put our approach behind those demands. But he or she should be able to propose a demand as well.

Robert: We are part of this movement and we’ve been told not to develop demands. We’re told we’re not legit. Lots of demands are out there, but none are realizable when you have a president in there like Obama.

Jess C: You can’t build a movement around impeaching Obama. It takes a social movement to create social justice.

Susan S: I agree with what Jess said about the importance of building a movement. Why don’t we discuss how to get in touch with people who’ve come out with good demands?

Lee: We have to work on what’s acceptable to the 99%. A lot of things being talked about here won’t go. People won’t want to impeach Obama. Can we do campaign finance reform?

Sati: we shouldn’t start with kicking him [Obama] out. Go for electoral reform rather than impeaching him. In India the left collaborated with the right to bring down the middle, and the right became more powerful. To impeach Obama may be helping the right.

Jessica: this group has not looked into what the presidency entails. He is supposed to uphold constitutional principles. Obama doesn’t stop wars because he upholds the same principles as Bush. Why do we assume he’d have to be replaced by someone in the democratic party? Why can’t we find someone else out there? We don’t have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

Alvin: If you’re a citizen it is your duty to speak up. You’re all playing the role of willful cowards. You’re copping out. You have butts in the air and your heads in the ground.

Jess C: I don’t like your name-calling.

Itzhak: Many people here see things differently than I do. The issue is Jess’s proposal, but we’ve moved to discussing impeach Obama. This is a divisive issue. Let’s drop it.

Sati: you might get people better than Obama, but you won’t get Kucinich.

Jessica: if Obama’s in there, no one else can come forward.

Agenda item: report on Visions and Goals presenting to the GA

Itzhak: we came to a consensus, but the GA opposed it. It was tabled. We will present a revise at the Feb. 4 GA. Polarizing issues and hard-core anarchists who go to extremes to block. End Corporate Personhoodet.al. passed as resolution. Come to the GA.

Lee: If we want to be part of OWS, we have to win them over. We didn’t create bonds with other groups.

Jay: you’re out of order.

Elena: The GA is self appointed. They’re boneheads. We can take them over and become the new GA.

2 Responses to “Meeting minutes, 1/29/12”

  1. David Gilbert

    OWS Needs Direction! 10 Core Ideas All OWS Members Can Rally Around

    1. A constitutional amendment reversing the Supreme Court’s bizarre rulings that under the First Amendment money is speech and corporations are people.

    2. Real campaign finance reform with public financing of federal elections.

    3. End gerrymandering by politicians and turn over redistricting to citizen committees.

    4. Reduce financial risks to society by breaking up the biggest banks. Reenact Glass-Steagall. Abolish credit default swaps. Derivatives must be traded on transparent exchanges. Ban “flash” trading.

    5. A ten-year federal program that creates over 30 million jobs rebuilding America that includes new infrastructure, a new national power grid and clean energy initiatives. Pay for it by taxing all Wall St. financial transactions at 1% raises $400 billion a year.

    6. To create a living wage will require generous tax credits for low earners, a higher minimum wage, and guaranteed health care so that wages are not consumed by medical costs. Pay for it by ending the war in Afghanistan and reducing military spending.

    7. Create a progressive federal tax code where the marginal tax rate is raised to 50 percent on income between $500,000 and $5 million, 60 percent on income between $5 million and $15 million, and 70 percent on income over $15 million. There should be a 2 percent annual surtax on all fortunes over $7 million. The estate tax should be 55 percent and kicks in after $5 million. Capital gains should be taxed at 35 percent. End the home mortgage deduction on first homes over $1 million. End the home mortgage deduction on all second homes. Corporations should be taxed by a variable amount based on the percentage of their payroll going to US workers. Eliminate corporate loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies, end offshore tax haven abuse.

    8. Create better schools by properly compensating effective teachers. We should draw teachers from the top 10 percent of college graduates. Teachers should study education at government expense and receive strong professional support throughout their careers. Advocate universal prekindergarten, full-day kindergarten and extending the school day and school year.

    9. Protect the environment by STRICTLY enforcing the Clean Air Act.

    10. Enhance personal freedoms by repealing the Patriot Act.

    • Ashley J Seiter

      All good goals. I would advise including the NDAA with item 10. Universal Healthcare needs it’s own category, instead of being included in living wages. I would include the systemic dismantling of the health insurance industry, but slowly and in stages, so those jobs can be transferred to other industries or into the new government healthcare program.

      How did you come up with those tax percentages in item 7? They seem fair. Any considerations for those who are billionaires?

      In item 9, I advise including the FRAC Act to force the oil and gas industry to adhere to the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act and close the Haliiburton Loophole. Also, the immediate withdrawal of leases of Public Lands from those industries back to the People. We were not allowed to vote in giving those lands over to drilling by private companies in the first place. It was a giant landgrab by the most polluting industries in the world, and we need to put a stop to that.

      Also for item 9, what about a program to help communities in building infrastucture for sustainable systems. A massive grant program to help communities purchase, install, and operate solar and wind energy grids, new water systems, water treatment (like constructed wetlands), recycling and waste removal, as well as establishing organic agricultural areas. Focusing attention on infrastructure at the local level reduces reliance on the fossil fuels, water supply, and food demand, and applied over all the states, can make a big impact nationwide.

      All and all, an excellent start! ;)