Meeting Minutes: General Meeting – 10/13/11

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OWS Working Group for Alternative Economies: 10/13/11.

Jose: There’s a tutorial tonight for working groups to register online and be able to post on the website. Kenneth says he can go. 19 beaver St. Brendan can help w. any slow down.

Jose: Are we registered as a working group?

Who can make an announcement at the GA about our working group?

Jose is going to make an announcement at GA that we are a working group.

What about coordination w. the other working groups that are similar?

Dan : Went to alternative currencies working group last night. They wanted to focus SOLELY on alternative currencies and nothing else. Also permabank. They want to focus only on that purpose, only on alternative currencies.

Robert: Suggests that we NOT work on issues of other “overlapping” groups. Those groups are Permabank and Alt. currencies. We don’t want to overlap.

Caroline: has contact for Permabank.

Robert: contact for Alternative currencies.

Next order of bus: Setting up a table/booth/stand—how do ppl feel?

Brendan: Don’t know what’s involved in getting a table or booth.

Jose: Talk to Town Planning RE: layout of the park. Shipping may have stuff in storage that they can give to us to set up the table/booth.

Chey: Can someone take responsibility for town planning? ROBERT will get in contact w. them.

Michael: can provide a table if need be when that time comes. ANNIE will pass on Michael’s info to the group.

Robert: Will be in touch with ppl on setting up table AFTER eviction potential passes and folks are sure that Occupation will be continuing. We’re assuming it will continue indefinitely.

Videos: LES video on 25th anniversary. About credit unions. Will be filming Mon/Tues morning. Chey will keep everyone updated about that video.

Robert: Next video project?: Video/mini-doc about folks TRYING to move their money out of big banks and the hurdles/obstacles they encountered with that.

Jose: Announcement: There’s a mass march on banks 11 am Sat. Liberty Square, flash mob at Chase/Wells Fargo. Not sure if it’s actually to take money out. Maybe just direct action

Whats the purpose of our films?


Several legistlators supported community activsits in taking their money out of chase manhattan bank. There’s a video on a social networking site. My state assembly person was immediately ….housing foreclosures, because these are mainly house owners… in st. louis, a gentleman said “hey I was just made aware of the history of bank of America, and im taking my money out” he was one of several hundred individuals that made a  run on st. louis bank and there was a swat team there… there’s a video we could look at

Chey: the point was that the banks made it incredibly hard to move your money, so making people aware that you are going to have to get committed to it and facebook doesn’t tell you about that. Lets work with direct action and also media.

Dan: it might also be helpful, whether we do it or someone else, lets think about this through a “how to” lens…you need to be persistent.

Is it really that hard? I haven’t closed an account recently, and it wasn’t that hard

There might be a daily limit

Are we talking about closing an account in cash? Is there a difference?

Hold on, we are getting out of order

Annie: my understanding about the video about how difficult it is to get your money out of the bank, was that it’s also about putting it IN to alternative systems (credit unions, etc)

People can look at it and say “I’m going to do the same thing”

I was just going to say that we are spending a lot of tiem on this, if people are interested, lets forma  sub-committee. I am happy to help with that

I wanted to focus on the activity that took place in St. Louis, because the question is: is it really that diffiocult to get your money out of the bank? Is it more difficult than getting a swat team with an automatic weapon in your face? What a better person to interview that the person who did something with divesting your money and… if there’s testimony, let’s take it right to a legislator who is now chair of the committee.

Jose: point of information. We can ask media for help with video, media would be good for this.

Dan: my technical question is: you said doing a call… something like that would make a lot of sense for a lot of these… can we figure out doing calls in between meetings, to spread out the time in between meetings with calls.

Chey: Do you want to take the lead on the video and start a thread? I will start a doodle and we will coordinate (not me) but I want to move on…

What beyond videos do we want to do? How can we encourage people moving their money from big to small?

Brendan: If its on our agenda, to give ideas for where we would like people to move their money… we (the working world) have been thinking of giving funds that are used for worker cooperative investment. If Elizabeth wants to talk about credit unions…

Are we thinking about literature, teach-ins, or what else? We want to get information to people, how do we do that?

Cheyenna: there s a lot of work going on in this area…there’s fliers, if we can talk to the other working groups, let’s not re-invent the wheel. I don’t think we know yet how we should be supporting until we …see the work?

Is it possible to send out a bill of rights (compatible with the culture of this campaign) to people who have money in these banks, so you know your legislative rights…. Like a financial bill of rights.

I’ve seen these things on the internet.

Is it compatible with the campaign to pass this kind of information out?

That assumes… we don’t know how difficult it is to take your money out. Maybe there’s a limit where the bank will resist, but maybe the rainy day fund folks can move their money.

Some banks are afraid of a run on the banks… even if I had a million dollars, that would be a concern… but if there’s a run from the banks, there’s going to be a swat team. But you are still entitled to your money.

Annie: I just need to draw a process point, I don’t think this group was set up to talk about how to move your money out of a credit union, let’s try to move on. Anyone who wants to do a video on that, cheyenna will begin coordinating that.

Dan: the power in the group is in alternative economics, than alternative finance. Most of us don’t have a lot of cash in the banks… lets talk about how to harness the power we have, and the organizations that need help in the city, lets’ work on that.

Divestiture campaign….?

A google mat of alt financial institutions in NYC. I know you guys have already done that, is there anything we can do beyond that?

Chey: we need to add housing to the map, so reach out to us if you want to do that. Actaully, the “and beyond” is interesting… how can we make this available to the larger group? It’s open source, it’s all google, I’d like to know how people can make visible the alt.

Annie: SolNYC made the map, you can get in touch with SolNYC if you want to know more.

Trying to find concrete and legitimate ways to connect inside outside ways that connects to the movement at liberty plaza and doesn’t feel alienating.

Segway into “How do we strengthen Solidarity Enterprises” and bring them into the occupy conversation? A lot of you know people from solidarity enterprises, can you invite them to link sectors (kitchen needing food) to solidarity food enterprises in NYC… invite speakers from a solidarity food enterprise to connect and have direct conversation with the kitchen working group.

Ethan: I have a related point… a mainstream news source said that there were thousands and thousands of dollars spent… there’s lots of money that is going into the community right now, we need people to know what already exists in NYC. Lets reimagine the occupywallstreet map with NYC at large solidarity enterprises… how can they do business with enterprises in NYC at large?

Caroline: OWS map linked to NYC map of solidarity food enterprises…getting ppl to donate food thru solidarity food enterprises. She wants to help on that.

Cheyenna: Larger concern about connecting OWS money into the solidarity economy. Having speakers is one way to do it. But let’s try to be intentional about it. Once you start engaging with allies, you need to be very thoughtful about how it plays out. Instead of racing through this right now, I’d like us to pull time aside to be very strategic about how to plug our allies in. I just don’t want to fuck it up, let’s be strategic. Gender/class/immigration issues.

Dan: Confused about the map. What I don’t understand is why we can’t just introduce it to the kitchen folks. What’s the hang up around giving them contact info to the folks doing this? Why are people so defensive about this?

Chey: I don’t want to set anyone up to fail. These are really different animals. Occupation vs. what folks have been doing out in their communities.

Dan: Just to clarify—are you talking about people providing services in communities, producing, etc? Providing goods on the market? Why not be in touch with them?

Ethan: We can enable some of that market to interact with OccupyWallSt. Enormous potential.

Annie: We all want to support these solidarity economy markets. Let’s just do education around the issues in bringing them into the space.

Brendan: It makes sense that relationships should be preserved, and that the networking should happen in a way that is going to bring people in rather than alienate them. It’d be terrible to have people put time into something, like a teach-in, and then come down here and find things a mess and have the whole thing fall flat. That would hurt the effort.

Ifa: Have we identified the components of an alternative economy? Let’s film the teach-ins to show ppl what’s possible and what’s out there. I went down the Commons, and learned a lot about worker co-ops. IF that info is distributed, individuals will be brought up to speed about what coops are and what their purpose is.

Robert: First step to linking these things. Why fear of solidarity enterprises? Maybe we should reach out to Occupation organizers first, to see if they’re into the mutualism idea, and if they’re positive, we can invite the practitioners in. First, look at different groups and needs of occupation and plug in the holes. Let’s start with food—kitchen working group. What are your needs? Here’s what we want to do . How can we coordinate to support solidarity enterprises and bring them into this? ROBERT will reach out to kitchen working group. Are they already doing work in this vein.

Cheyenna: Does it make sense now to do an education sub-committee? Been talking to solidarity economy practitioners, ETHAN will coordinate education sub-committee.

Robert: 2 subcommittees now. Film sub-committee, and education sub-committee. Send it out to the list so we can start to get that rolling. Should we establish a separate sub-committee . Maybe also a LIASON subcommittee? DAN is willing to spearhead the LIASING subcommittee. Dan will start the group…maybe MUTUALISM subcommittee? Each leader will be continuing conversations.

-also the mapping subcommittee? Robert and other grad students want to help improve this map. Whatever grad students are doing, please plug into education sub-committee. There’s a lot of potential for deepening the maps. It may become its own sub-committee.

Caroline: 2 things we can do. Media: getting the map out there. Also we need print more copies of the big map. Also smaller copies of the small map. We just need some money to make that happen.

Jose: Keep receipts of everything we do, we may be re-imbursed.

Robert: Neighborhood solidarity economies tour—separate conversation thru education committee.

*Next: How to link in participatory budgeting, in tangible ways, into OWS?

Kenneth: Best way to link it up is the potential to use money w.i participatory budgeting process. Connection is democratic—democratic process to decide where the $$ goes, solidarity enterprises are democratic in nature!!! A few challenges: how to deal w. districts that don’t have solidarity enterprises? But a way to plug it into OWS: get ppl to make proposals to get money moved from public districts into solidarity economies.

Caroline: Lets plug it into map, show where participatory budgeting is already happening in the city.

Dan: This seems to be a part of a larger policy discussion.

Robert: This plugs into education/mapping/democratic process. Organizing theme of democracy. Maybe having ppl write down email address/what council district they’re a part of, building network of ppl in each district?

Kenneth: We already HAVE that network. We just need the community involved! Ppl creating budgets.

What’s the subcommittee for PB?

Cheyenna: I think it should be an organizing subcommittee. It’s about organizing ppl into these activities. Not about policy.

Dan: A lot of policy ideas that require organizing. Are all other ideas off the table at this point? What about other legistlative policies around new economic visions?

Ifa: What about the alternative currencies? Already a group working on that.

Robert: THREE SUBCOMMITTEES. 1) Organizing: video on bank transfer 2) Education: Sol econ and tabling/alt. econs/ part. budgeting getting the word out there. 3) Mutualism. (liasing w. OWS folks)  [[4) Mapping?? May be subsumed by another.]]

Wrap up: We’re going to go thru OWS website to set up our working group. Kenneth is going.

We’re going to ask for a table/booth. Wait til after potential eviction.

Jose to make announcement at GA tonight. We’re a working group, leave info.

Cheyenna: Second video: putting it into organizing subcommittee. She’ll be in touch w. media ppl at SolNYC.

Mututalism: Needs to start w. outreach to occupation rather than outreach to solidarity economy. ROBERT will reach out to kitchen. DAN is going to info, find out about other OWS working groups we can work with.

Robert: Happy to continue facilitating. Will continue talking to all the ppl.

NEXT MEETING: Sunday at 4 pm. ROB WILL SEND OUT ANNONCEMENT EMAIL. 4 pm. Meeting at Bean and Bean is a back up plan. Robert will talk to Sergio about the Atrium. Will send out an update.

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