Meeting minutes, January 8

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Demands:

Group decides to have an informal meeting.

Susan: Encourages people to go to Spokes council. We have freedom to go to Spokes until the 20th, and then afterwards they will be coming by the “certify” and qualify groups. Make sure that we are represented there. Gave report back about Wednesday’s Spokes.

Steven: explained why folks at Spokes did not like Demands.

Eric: I disagree. I looked at what other Occupies. There are problem here that exist in NY that are different than the rest of the movement. The rest of the movement isn’t using the same procedure. Boston- 75%. In order to block, 75% have to say it’s a legitimate block. New Brunswick- majority. I’ve also been looking at political groups of the faction we’re dealing with. Dave Graeber. This faction is an enclave society. They seek to withdraw from society, create uptopian enclaves. That has deep roots in this country’s history. That’s not what the vast majority of occupy is about. Opposition to demands locally, not reflected in the rest of the movement, not change society, but to withdraw from it. To go forward, it’s better for people to participate in planning actions. National mayday is an opportunity for people to discuss demands in the form of slogans, in the context of national actions, which i hope won’t just be a one day.

Eric: this is a half announcement. I’ll talk about this more in demands. In terms of uniting actions and solutions- this Wednesday, 5:30- meeting to plan nationwide May Day action. Proposal consensed by Occupy LA GA to have a nation wide action on May 1 behind specific demands. It’s all under discussions. Anyone- if this list is set up, i can send it someone at this list as soon as it’s made.

Michael: May Day happened in the United States. Every other country celebrates that as international workers’ day.

Eric: Everywhere else, it’s a legal holiday. In US, May Day, 2012, it’s a working day. We’re calling for them to be on the streets. It’s a strike. It takes a lot of preparation. It’s clearly an action. It has to have to demands.

Steven: I would say that I agree- it would be wonderful if we participated in marches and actions. It is important to realize what we’re dealing with in this particular occupation. The “withdrawal” types – they are our problems. This visions and goals statement- this might be the way to go forward. I was reading through this- I see a lot of phrases that sit well with the demands we’re working on. If this eventually passes through the GA, that would make it easier for this group to quote this document. We can refer to this document, and then say “here are the rights being violated.”

Itzak: First of all, I’ve been to two visions and goals meetings. It is a victim of the system. It refuses to develop documents in a rational way. They have a draft. They get input at four different directions. GA’s, website, another one… four of them. There is no way to synthesize them. We spend 15-20 minutes on democratically discussing every element. I don’t know if it will ever be finished. Spokescouncil is not an abstraction. The 20th of the month, when the new structure will come in. Tool number one- put very strict term limits on participants. If you were a spoke for any group- you can not be a spoke again for another 7 days. Everyone is encouraged to be a spoke. This is supposed to be our executive board. If we intend to go to Spokes, it has to be a different person every time, and that person can come.

Susan: gives a short report back from Spokes.

Alan: I don’t care how the demands group works on this. I think the idea of seeking consensus is what’s killing everyone. The founders categorized how this should be functioned. On Dec. 31, Obama signed the NDAA. Some subgroup listed that this is a treasonous act. What name do we wish to put on our tombstones. The constitution has been destroyed. The level of discourse here is nauseating. You’ll go nowhere. The president of the US right now could lock anyone of us up here for any amount of time. Through block ops private military or military. What are you going to do about it today. We are going to deal with that. In Britain, Occupy folks have been listed as potential terrorists. I’ve brought three articles- they’re all in their own way linking Weimar Germany here and Adolf Hitler. The president insisted that he be given that power and the authority. What are you going to do about that. There’s been no substantive action on that. Are you going to go along with it. Does the constitution mean anything.

Susan: We all agree with you, but we need to consider how the OWS has it’s own structure and rules.

Elena: Disagrees.

Eric: This is an intergroup meeting to plan an action for May 1. I also go to the Labor Outreach Committee. They are reorienting away from Spokes and GA. It’s not a lot of money. People are talking about getting inter-group actions together. Occupy is now a Global Movement. It’s about getting things done. I don’t think we have to deal with this faction. I think people are going to ignore them, and do organizing that needs to be done. I think our group should be a part of that. I intend to go these meetings. I think we’ve done good work which we have to distribute better. Need a list on the website of the demands that we’ve agreed on. I don’t think actions will go through the Spokes or the GA. I don’t think the GA here is a decision making body.

Steven: If you want to leave Occupy, I would not disagree. I wonder why I waste my fucking time. I feel like you have to deal. I haven’t seen any good political alternative.

Chris: We can’t give up our decision making process as decisions. Since I’ve occupied on the first day. Why are doing 90%? Outside of the procedural things- why are we giving up right to act to a collective? Why are we giving that up?

Lee: 99% wants change. But Occupy is a small fraction. If you can’t work within that small fraction. If you want to leave the group to do that stuff, I support you on all that stuff. But we can’t say “We’re demands working group in Occupy and we want this even without support of the movement.” We need to work to find out why we’re a hated group. That means our group has not done its job. We need to address that. If we can’t be effective in our own movement, we can’t capture anyone else. That means nothing will happen. The status quo in the US political system needs a lot of change.

Chris: I was here on the first time.

Eric: First of all, I am not talking about leaving this movement. I don’t know what we agree on- I hope we that all individuals have equal worth. There were more people at the last Labor Outreach committee than the GA that we attended in December. There are 10s of 1000 involved in the movement. Those who are involved in the GA and Spokes are just a small minority. It’s not right to say that if you disagree with that tiny faction, than you have to leave the movement. You can take action in the name of the movement, you don’t need the approval of the 30-50 people because they have the time to sit in meetings. Not a direct comparison. 1905 revolution in Russian was initiated by a Tsarist agent. Didn’t give him any rights. It is imperative for people to stay as part of this movement. If some parts of this movement aren’t functional we create other institutions are not functional. I don’t have a prescription for that. If people are engaged in intergroup- if that can possibly be a way to move forward, that’s good. We have to find ways to move forward in this movement, whose institutions change.

Itzak: 50% of the spokes council is as much of the 50% of the Senate in the 18th Century. The people over there was completely unrepresentative of the work groups that I’m a part of. The attitudes vary. We are all stuck with the foundational system that someone handed down from Sinai. The point is that things happen that don’t have spokes or GA approval, because they are political correct, they are put on the front page of the NYCGA page. On NYE, there was a call for a demonstration against prisons. Why? That’s because several anarchists in the world are in prison, and OWS lent its front page. The call against NDAA was not approved by any GA or anybody. Not every by a working group.

Lee: The NDAA got approval from a working group.

Itzak: If you are on the side of the angels, what do you need to the GA for? There is not a uniform standard for who is naturally part of “us” and who is here as tolerated guests.

Alvin: with the exception of Susan, concurred or acknowledged what I said about the situation- the discussion about saving the movement. You need to think about saving your asses. They’re on the line. Not the movement. Each individual here. This is what can happen to us now. The constitution of the US has been ripped up. Right now. Obama is moving towards dictatorship. The historical precedent is everywhere. A lot of like minded people are saying these things similarly. I understand that, you’re still not dealing with the subject matter. I understand why. It’s frightening. It’s terrifying. This is soap opera stuff. The theatre that we’re on is not a soap opera. It’s a tragedy unfolding before us. What am I prepared to do? Truth will set you free. It might also get your ass shot. It’s a frightening thing. What’s the repercussions? Why should I work with spokes? Why should I work with the insane.

Lee: I understand your complaint. What do you suggest instead of working with the movement.

Alvin: We formed a group. It’s our job, our responsibility, to place our demands forward. You place it to the GA. You can take the demands everywhere. The demands group came to a consensus- Jobs for All. Then he ran with it. He went to different groups and different hoops.

Michael: The NDAA has passed, a lot of stuff on the internet. People learn like dogs. The longer it goes by, people don’t discuss it. This is a game changer. They’re looking for people for institutional- a nice name. It’s a game changer.

Itzak: How do we function within OWS? It is possible when you recognize some of the constraints and fictions. The question is- what are we for? I do not know – the NDAA. From what I recall Obama signed it reluctantly. From what I read. The point is- when you present me such catastrophic scenarios, most are not credible in my eyes. We see the system very differently. Do we view the Democratic Party as bad or will bring Hitler-like system on the US? I do not believe it. I do not believe that we are going to mobilize people against the bad parts of this legislation by saying that Fascism is upon us.

Eric: In terms of JFA being accepted by various people. It was accepted by the LA GA. It’s a list of slogan proposed for the May Day. It is a question not of just going to the GA but going to any action oriented group to get these demands that we’ve consensed on. I want to respond on detention. It’s a terrible things. Two contexts. It’s exactly what immigrants have faced for the past 30 years. So welcome to this world. If we’re going to get effective protests against this law- uniting that there should not be detention of anyone. Legalization for all. Second- this is not the first indefinite detention act. McCarren Act. They implemented a list of 100,000 people who were individuals to be detained if the president declared a national emergency. That law was never used. The fact these laws are on the books does not mean we will get a knock on the door. In McCarthy period, the terror was real. It was important that we identify these laws and protests against them. We should not be terrified of them. Their passing and implementation are two different things.

Chris: but what is the situation by which it would be used. If the situation was to change the laws on the books, if the situation changed, they could throw you in. They could start a war, they could say that people are disruptive. You don’t know what will happen after that. I don’t want to talk about it in a way that seems frightening. What did people do during the McCarthy era that ended the era?

Alvin: You do have a different situation. The entire global financial situation is about to collapse. We’re a hairs breath away. We haven’t been through this before. The global financial situation, which brought us here in the first place- you can get a chain reaction of banks. The world has never seen anything like this situations. Yes, similarities, but look at the whole picture. There is every reason to be terrified. The fear is justified. This is not the McCarthy era. This is 1933 Weimar Germany.

Michael: Again, there was a fascist take over attempted. The bankers arranged for it to happen. Nothing happened. This is not uncommon. Warships are on their way to Iran. A lot of posturing going on. A gulf of Tonkin could happen anytime. America has dabbled in Iranian politics in 1952. to let it pass without a response- this is treasonous. Those who voted against it- they were not upholding the constitution.

 

Announcement: Tomorrow at noon- teach in given by the Pachamama alliance- preservation of the rainforest and global view of sustainability. They will give a teach in on transformation. Noon, at 60 Wall. The facilitators were here this weekend- they will come here before they fly out.


Susan: When can we end?

Consensus on 8:15.

Can we start Sunday meetings at 7? Consensus.

Sunday meeting, once a week, for the rest of January.

 

Eric: How about a formal quorum? The other logistical question- at the moment I’m the only moderator on the website.

Susan: I’m moderator, you’re administrator.

 

Eric: I do think we should put prominently on the website- we should put the demands we’ve adopted.

Itzak: We’ve adopted JFA, corporate personhood.

Peter: rights, economic security, public funding for elections

Susan: I will send out a message on the Yahoo group based on demands adopted.

 

Lee: one thing I’ve seen in the past- our five demands- they’re the consensus of people’s opinions. Everyone who consensed on things, they may have read things. We aren’t putting supportive information. We need to say- we’ve done the work, we’ve stood up to defend our positions. We get together for 2 hours, we discuss things, there needs to be more going on. We could use Tuesday- subgroups could get together to say- what are we going to do when we’re not together. It’s not convincing to put out a 2 line to 20 line statement. That’s sort of my suggestion of our Tuesday. Alvin brought these three articles. That’s great. We need more of that. We can have a whole things put together that says here’s how we put together this decisions.

Eric: ON the website there is a “sticky forum” topic. They don’t disappear. You can’t do that with documents. They’re sort of a mess. We could set it up so we have an over all sticky document- list of demands. And a sticky forum topic for each of the demands in which we list or post sources or information. Anyone could go to our forum and go to “protect our rights” and it would show various documents.

Lee: That would help.

Chris: What documents? The constitution?

Susan: Open sourced- you could put in any documents you want?

Eric; Not enough people are visiting the forum. The forum is set up by the GA’s tech ops sub committee. We have no control. It has threads. The threads are simply in the order of most active. It becomes totally scrambled. This way you could have 5-6 sticky ones that will always be at the top. Those threads, one thread per demand, would be at the top. We could encourage- we can’t control the post- we could encourage people to post documents/documentation supporting these.

Itzak: the documents section- we can post things there too.

Eric: we can’t control the order. The last post is on the top.

Itzak: I will repost to move the key documents on the top.

Lee: I will make a proposal. Everyone here look at the forum and think about how we’re interacting on line and we make a proposal for a solution on how to use it.

Eric: Forum side- do we have consensus on the sticky threads. (positive temp check).

I do urge people to go this May Day meeting. One very good way to deal with NDAA is to make it one of the slogans- end all detentions without trial- that includes all immigrants and the NDAA that threaten detention. I think if you have mass actions behind these demands, that’s going to make it more difficult.  

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