There were a lot of new folks at today’s meeting, in fact, the majority of people there had not been to a PER meeting before, I think. Thanks everyone for coming out! I facilitated and took notes/minutes. Apologies for any mistakes or misspellings. Unfortunately, my notes cannot do our discussion justice. Bear with me.
Stefan kept time and Brian took stack. Since there were so many new people, we began with a round of intros from everyone there, and then I provided some background information about the group and the various subgroups.
There were three items on the agenda: 1) an item on gerrymandering, 2) an item regarding process, 3) and an item regarding the People Before Parties document re: GA strategy. As no on was present to advocate for items 1 and 2, the floor was opened to other agenda items. Four were suggested: 1) suggestions for electoral reform from Javier, 2) a discussion of Citizens United and a constitutional amendment to override it suggested by Elana, 3) an announcement/discussion of a city council bill that would extend voting rights to legal residents of NYC from David, and 4) a quick presentation and discussion of the Mike Check campaign by Jordan.
AGENDA ITEM #1: What to do with the People Before Parties document? How should we bring it to the GA? What should we do with it next?
I provided a quick overview of the document (new participants were not necessarily familiar with it), and opened discussion.
• Support for bringing the document to the GA on multiple occasions. • Suggestion that it be slimmed down, and made more visually appealing, provided with graphic aids. • Suggestion: submit it for break out discussion at a Saturday GA. • But what is the plan if it were to pass through the GA? • After bringing it to the GA, we should allow time to incorporate feedback into the text. • Teach-ins could be held about themes inherent to the document, speakers invited. • Three part plan/strategy: 1) bring it to GA for break out discussion, 2) hold an open forum on it, announced at GA, 3) Take it to next GA for possible consensus. • It could also be introduced in Interocc communications. • Skepticism regarding the possibility that it could pass at GA. • Who is the document addressed to? • Pace Univ. Dec 18th, space reservations. • Teach-in’s could be held over conference calls, need not be in person. • What happens if doc passes GA? • What about media strategy? How to interact with media or craft media strategy?
Proposal tabled for further discussion.
AGENDA ITEM #2: Javier’s presentation and discussion of electoral reform ideas: increase the size of the US House to 758 reps [PAGING CASEY ;-)], alternative voting methods, redistricting reform (end Gerrymandering, also: see Gerrymandering THE MOVIE). Discussion opened.
• Potential problem with, or public resistance to the idea of expanding government. Response: see apportionment.us. • Relation to Robert Steele? Influenced by Bob. • Proposal: Separate “vision from meat and potatoes.” • What are longer range, broader goals to move beyond the two-party system? • What about actually drafting legislation? • Javier will provide more info in the forum.
AGENDA ITEM #3: Elana’s presentation regarding Citizens’ United, delineation of the problem, solution in the form of a Constitutional Amendment to override Citizens United [PAGING JESSE], identification of newly introduced amendments (the Deutsch amendment?), movement to end corporation personhood.
• There are (newly) existing bills/groups/etc. that support OWS’s goals. We should support them, work with them. • A constitutional amendment is difficult, what can be done short of an amendment? • Lots of movement in this regard, Dylan Rattigan separation of business and state. • Check out the Con/Con subgroup.
AGENDA ITEM #4: David’s announcement and presentation regarding voting rights for legal residents of NYC. There are bills pending in the NYC Council that would extend voting rights to legal residents. There are upcoming actions on this issue. David will provide further info at the forum.
AGENDA ITEM #5: Mike Check for Public office, presentation by Jordan. Description of the Mike Check for Public Office proposal that has been discussed in the forum (i.e. write-in Mike Check as protest vote on ballots). Reference to relevant document in our docs section here. None of the Above as alternative to Mike Check. Demonstrate lack of consent, opposition. Discussion opened.
• Voting is our only way to participate. OWS has had big impact thus far. There are some good pols out there (ex. Bernie Sanders), who are worth supporting. There should be real alternatives. • Rocky Anderson, former mayor in Utah, announced candidacy for president under the Justice Party. • How can we endorse without alienating people? • Mounting insurgent political campaign is important. • A write-in vote for Mike Check is forfeiting your vote. • We should encourage people to vote for actually existing alternatives to the Democrats and Republicans. [PAGING THE 99% CANDIDATES GROUP, i.e. ZACH].
We eventually ran out of time and meeting was adjourned. But a good time was had by all. Discussion continued informally outside for some time.