Minutes from Movement Building Meeting 1-10-12

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Minutes/Notes from mb meeting TuesdayMovement Building Notes: 1/10/12

Ezer will facilitate. No dissension.


DA STRATEGY – visions and goals event: Tammy says there was a six month strategy session, talking about what went well in 2011, what they want to see happen, and we pulled out some themes from that. Lots of breakouts. Themes: shutting things down, services, foreclosure/homes, education. Tammy noted to them that we can only “shut things down” if we coordinate. Someone talked about narrowing down events for the spring.

Ezer – It really seemed like people were there to get stuff done. I went to foreclosure breakout, and everyone really seemed to want to work. No big disruptors.

Tammy – our perspective is respected there. I felt respected.

Gary – I suggested to DA that they get an InterOcc update. I’ll be facilitating a future meeting, will make sure it happens.

INTERNATIONAL – Ezer – teach in on tear-gas, our own neighborhoods, corporations, how it all fits in. Tie it in to a week of actions for Egypt. Tie OWS to Arab Spring, intl activists. Need approval to take two days of Movement Building’s allowance for doing the teach-in at 56 Walker. Need to pay for the space. Because we’re not a WG yet, but a subgroup of movement building. We can split the invoice. So is that ok? Temp check on that: all twinkles.


Tammy: from Jan 25 – end of Feb. Boston, Albany, Rochester, Ithaca, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia. Organized through InterOcc calls (initiated by OWS DA and other workers). Tammy is bottom-lining Albany. Nate is a bottom-liner for Philly. Proposal still hasn’t gotten up to the GA yet, so the big budget will be cut. The programming is a variety: skillshares, teaching, joint direct actions, welcome dinners, outreach events. Albany is really excited to have OWS there to help them with their local outreach. DA, Facilitation, Media, Movement Building, others, all been involved. Most important for this report back is that there are three spaces allotted for movement building. Five week trip, no one person on for more than two weeks. The bus will be entirely OWS folks. There will be a support bus, most likely. There’s a survey for people who would be involved. I’ve pushed and insisted we could use Movement Building’s for InterOcc folks, though it will be all OWS folks. Gary, Michael H, Michael Levitan, (& Larry & Nate from Philly), all expressed interest in spending some time on the bus, potentially. Watch for the survey. Tammy will send to all. What they want to know before allotting spots is figuring out the logistics of when we WANT to go, CAN go, etc.

National Gathering Process Proposal (from Philly) –

Larry: A bit of background on 99% Declaration: Philly unanimously decided that we didn’t support it. But after HuffPost and 99D started really blasting around 99 D news, we realized we needed to figure out how to democratically plan a national gathering that actually comes out of the movement, and around which the movement might feasibly rally. So Philly’s GA (from a Committee of Correspondence proposal) sanctioned a National Working Group that would organize on InterOccupy calls. Ideas can be formulated there, proposals developed, and all of the proposals are to be brought back to local GAs, including proposals for Date, Time, Place, etc.

Michael L: So this is going to happen in Philly?

Nate: No, we’re open to it though. Our GA has said specifically that we would only host a gathering at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4th, 2012, if it was planned democratically and approved by multiple GAs. In the new proposal we say “a preponderance” of GAs must approve it before it can be considered “National,” because we still have no idea just how many GAs there actually are in this country. But we would be open to doing in Kansas, or wherever.

Larry: We like the idea of doing it in Philly, but it’s not about us.

Michael L: Why just American?

Nate: We considered that point very much, and it was the most controversial part of the proposal in the Philly GA. We thought that it would be presumptuous to suggest holding an “International Gathering” anywhere in the United States, and I personally don’t rule an international gathering out at some point in the future. I would love international gatherings, or online global gatherings, but I just don’t think we have the technical capacity right now to really plan anything at that level. We have, with InterOccupy, the tools at our disposal to start a National Working Group that uses the same kind of participatory, direct democratic practices we use at our GAs and in our Working Groups. So we can plan things democratically at the national level already, but Maestro, which InterOcc uses, forces people to dial a US phone number to get on the calls, so that discriminates against international people.

Sumumba – I think people are really getting the idea that 99% Dec isn’t quite movement. It’s taken some time, but we’re getting there. Hopefully by July 4th everyone here at OWS will be on the same page.

JackRabbit- I like that, that suggesting international is presumptuous at this point. We don’t have the ability to really do anything for people in the rest of the world right now, because we’re still organizing ourselves. And I will happily bring the Philly proposal to the GA.

Tammy – Maybe the first point of the working group call is: what’s the goal of doing this. Process is important, but talk goals first. Can we see a show of hands, who might want to be on the call? 6 hands.

Jack Rabbit: So do we need to take this to a GA?

Tammy: I really appreciate being brought into a process that is totally deliberative, and I agree that we need to get to goals very quickly. If we go to GA and they don’t approve, we could screw ourselves.

Jack Rabbit: We could consense around it in Movement Building first, then bring it to some other WGs first, before we bring it to GA. Second thing, the reason we want to bring it to the GA is that we want to have a conversation about a National Gathering. It’s that we really need to talk, GA to GA, and we’re willing to get involved in that conversation. One of the things we could consider, maybe, is once we’ve got 10 GAs consented to the discussion: ok, time for us to make decisions about this gathering. Critical mass. Finally, I think that it is totally a great idea to actually have a skeleton framework, if nobody else wants to agree to do anything, that we’ll just do this. I think people will get on board. Starting with “we’re willing to host” is absolutely appropriate. Even stating some goals, general goals, and this is totally open, is a good way to be consistent with the movement.

Gary: This is basically to ratify how build the process. Not like DC’s, just declaring that this is what’s happening. I much prefer the way this is going. I think it’s great that we’re having this non-top-down heavy thing. I like the way this is coming out. As to whether this passes the first time at GA, you can always bring it back. I really like the way this is formulated. I think Movt Building should jump on it.

Ezer – Modest. Realistic. I think MB should consense around it. These DA strategy sessions are a good way to bring it out. I don’t think we need a GA to consense around it, before the call. It’ll still work.

Nate: FYI, we did announce it already to the DA strategy session yesterday here in New York, and everybody seemed excited about the idea. No nay-sayers either.

Michael B: I think it’s actually a good idea to wait, and not try to rush it to the GA. I think it might look like you’re trying to get the powerful people behind you if we have NYC on it first. It should come to New York the same way it comes to every other GA, so New York doesn’t have a leg up on the first call or anything.

Tammy: Committees of Correspondence will be useful in spreading this idea, and in bringing it to GAs.

Nate: We in the Philly C.o.C. intend to take any proposals duly passed by other GAs for our consideration to our GA. We feel like that’s one of our main duties as a Committee of Correspondence.

Ezer: So I have a proposal – That movement Building will get behind this, but not bring it to GA yet. We will get on the calls(AMENDMENT: and give report-backs about what Mvt Bldg is doing on this). Twinkles all around. Consensus.

Michael: What day do we present it then: MLK Day?

Jack Rabbit: Maybe Thursday? We can decide later.


Sumumba: J15-16, Erin Black is bottom-lining. And Russell Simmons, Steve Earle, Patti Smith, all confirmed, at Riverside Church on the 15th, 7pm. I think it could be considered a mvt bldg event. 45th anniversary of MLK’s speech against Vietnam. I’ll have more to report on Thursday. She’s been doing a lot of work on traveling to neighborhoods. I’ve been doing a lot of that too, of course. Tonight I’m going to Jersey City. Ok if we use some of our allowance for food (Dunkin Donuts)? That’s where GA is in Jersey City.

Ezer: Does that blur the Outreach / Mvt Building?

Sumumba: Maybe. But, it’s movement building for sure. Also working on Occupy The Shelters (meets informally in Bronx… another meeting this Saturday… trying to get people to understand the conditions of the shelters… Nate will put Sumumba in touch with some Philly people doing the same). Unrelated, we are very close to consensing around a visions/goals statement, in that WG. [DRAFT COPY DISTRIBUTED] More Movement Building members should be coming to the face to face meetings Sumumba is having with neighborhood GAs. Leaving the homeless shelter on Friday. My birthday’s on Thursday (24, 20 years straight!)

Tammy: Totally cool to use Mvt Building funds to travel. I had no idea it was happening. I was confused.

Sumumba: Jan 16th members of the POC are doing a march that starts at African burial ground.

Gary: Is this Occupy the Jobs related?

Sumumba: No, I don’t think so. The way this happens on the 16th, they’re not all happening at the same time, so we’re trying to get this all together. We got the money for the Riverside thing at least (at a crazy spokes).

JR: Consensus around Sumumba traveling around neighborhoods? When are you planning to go? Where?

Sumumba: Between now and Thursday nothing, I’ll be here, but after that all over the city and NJ. But I’ll always report where I’m going.

Nate: So we going to come to consensus on this, as Jackrabbit requests?

Ezer: Yeah, lets… (all hands up). Consensus.

NEEDS/GOALS of Movt Building (report back & discussion):
Tammy: We did a brainstorm on the needs of the movement, and what mvt building should be doing. What we came up with is the list of themes here:
ID folks to go to National & International Forums
Intl/natl CoC contact
Bring national (AMENDED: MOVEMENT) perspective to OWS
Reach out to connect to existing movements
National & Regional gatherings
Inreach about InterOcc
DA spokes
Assisting National mobilizations
Network travelers
Interocc Calendar – National & Intl dates
Assisting National actions
Connecting to remote Occupiers
Maintaining Relationships

Tammy: The three big ones Ezer and I discussed are delineating the Mvt Building core, bigger cluster, and something national (like InterOcc, but not necessarily).

A Social Forum in Brazil recently asked us who to fund to come to a thematic social forum. They would pay. So how do we find two people to go? Spend a week debating it?

Jackrabbit: Change “national” in list to “movement,” because it’s about how do the actions you take effect the entire movement.

Tammy: and it’s also what we’re hearing on the calls, what’s being talked about around the country.

Ezer: These are a blueprint for us to strategize going forward about what we do.

Tammy: Inreach about InterOcc is important: getting people to know what services are available to people across the movement.

JR: Having presence at DA/Spokes. (clarification of point on list)

Larry: InterOcc newsletter is something we’re talking about. Because we have access to so much information, we could facilitate putting it together.

???? [un-introduced onlooker]: Are you also talking about getting working groups together? Because there’s a lot of duplication.

Nate: We do that as the CoC in Philly. Like if we see two groups doing the same thing, and we presume they don’t know each other is working on that, we try to connect them.

Michael B: There is an “Organization WG” that is trying to do this.

?????: Great.

Michael L: Wanted to point people to TheHomefront.co, about getting homebound Occupiers into the movement, and more involved. Justin Levinson is working on it.

Tammy: Anything else?

Michael L: Workshops, seminars, events.

The second part:

Michael: I think we should take a bigger role in expanding the conversation on a National Level.

Ezer: Maybe everyone puts three stars on the list, and adds it to the list, so we can find out our priorities.

Greg: Clarification: a larger cluster, what do you mean? bring in other working groups? (Tammy: yeah, how to pull in DA, expand national conversation, etc)

Larry: We just did this in Philly, formed a communication cluster, to help divide responsibilities.

Tammy: I don’t think the idea here is that we throw any of these ideas away, but let’s use this to prioritize, figure out what we do first.


JR: Why doesn’t MB have a website

Joanne: We need to expand to middle America so we can advance

Ezer: We have consensus to start Thursday with the Needs that MB can fulfill

JR: “I will facilitate the next meeting”

Tammy: I;ll try to write what InterOcc has for Thursday

Michael L: Can we synthesize all this info?

Ezer: What other action items do we need for Thursday? Can we do 6?

Gary: There is a march on that day which is really important. The transportation union is debating how to react to a contract so we need to show them our support.

JR: I will take the sheet, write it up, and send it out to the list

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