Minutes from Oct 22 Teach-In

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Minutes starting at 2:40

Occuiers have their own spoke.  People who aren’t living there and aren’t in a working group don’t have representation.

Layout on the paper is syndicational… Segregation of groups.
*People might get fired if they’re identified by the media as involved in the spokes council.
*If we claim to represent people then we should open up a call around structure to everyone.

Marrissa
*Been involved in this a lot.
*You absolutely can jump between different group but for the spokes council you will have to chose.
*The design encourages people to rotate
*concerning segregation, there will always be intersectionality between different forms of marginalizations.
*Clusters enable people to be in many more categories.
*Everything is based on voluntary participationb.

Lisa
*We have to yunderstand we’re not just building structures, we’l building culture.
*We need to get experiential.
*Let’s start practicing the spokes council without any authority.

>People have discussed starting a spokes council model.

Ketchup
*The mistrust about creating a hierarchy is misplaced.  Spokes councils were created by anarchists – and they don’t like hierarchy.
*There are really large projects we could get done but we don’t have the ability to work and coordinate.  Right now a single working group can’t get enough support to do bigger projects.
*Let’s play with this – it’s worth trying.

*If you’re willing to throw a proposal away then you should also be willing to ammend it.
*Lots of ammendments were ignored last night.
*You can implement the spokes council model without anyone’s permission.  They just won’t have the ability to the access funds.

Marrissa
*We’ve taken many ammendments.
*Right now working groups are getting money from finance in a hap-hazard way without much accountability.
*We took the ammendment to give the ability to dissolve the council to the GA.

This isn’t intended to be a structure working group meeting to ammend the proposal.

New Stack for suggestions about how to structure this discussion/an agenda.

*How can we make this more clear for people?
*I want to find a way to present this so people understand it.

Devin
*I want to find a way to present this so people understand it.

Max
*I want to find a way to present this so people understand it.

Suresh
*Can we make a really clearly defined problem statement?

*I would like to see the structure group facilitate an audit of all the possible models.
*We should investigate other ideas.

Alex
*What is the purpose of the GA?
*Propose the GA as the place for the general will, action and thought of the movement.
*Spokes as catalysts or enables of that wilol./

*I would like for us to formalize the idea of a having a table where the structure group explains the model.
*Lets consider this as a possible solution to authority.

*If someone wants to have their voice heard they can do that.
*If this is about finance, does anyone know what’s happening with finance?

Facilitator
*Possible agenda items
**Proposal to the structure working group to outline and explore other possible sturctures.
***Concerning with the proposal that could be solved through ammendments.
**Proposal to rewrite proposal and make it more clear.
**Clarifying language of ammendment to be added concerning GA’s relationship to the spokes council, including finances, scope of representation.

Marissa
*We want to have the proposal available to the public days before the vote is made.

*We should use a blog or something that makes ammendment proposals more transparently.

Suresh
*I’m trying to have a conversation about the problems the spokes council is trying to solve.

Alex
*we should be problem solving oriented

Ketchup
*We don’t have to make any decisions but I think it’d be useful for us to discuss possible ammendments.

Devin
*Documentation or it didn’t happened.

Adash
*We could have done a better job with documentation, but so are all the other groups.

>>Enter NYTimes reporter and subsequent debate about whether or not we want him included.
>>He was asked to leave.

Begin: audio of structure working group presenting the history of the proposal

*Interntional activists have models that haven’t been presented

*I thought spokes council would be more operational.
*My sense is that the GA will be the space for the movement building and the spokes council will be operational.
*There are gray areas that I’m unclear about.

Ketchup
*If ammendements can’t be made for the next few days I fear people will block.

Evan
*What is the nature of decisions being made?
*Are we talking about policy and agenda; our values…?
*I’m not clear beyond allocations of resources.

Alex
*I agree with Evan’s point.
*This is about ‘legitimacy jurisdication.’
*It’s crazy to have the GA do everything.

*I see a cultural movement but I also see an issue with orientation.
*I’m from Occupy Indiana and I can see there’s a huge culutral movement and issue movement.
*It’s very challenging to deal with both.
*People are rallying behind banking criticism etc, not behind drum circles, etc.

*Is there a model to solve these problems?

*Yes, in Europe there are many.

Amash
*We need to focus on having accessibility of the document before it’s brought before the GA.
*The focus of decisions should be the logistics of the occupation – effect multiple working groups.
*If GA’s were released from logistical decisions etc, we could have more participation.

Ketchup
*It’s be great if information was accessible about the ammendements and why or why not they were considered/passed/rejected, etc.

 

Overlappying occupations; physical space-park, workgroups, greater NY, occupy movement-global—what responsibilities//decisions for each group…  including occupiers in park that aren’t in workgroups.

 

Adash-who is involved in decisions?  Those most affected by those decisions.  We can involve other people, but specific groups need their own forum.  Spokes council-budgetary/logistic

GA:  Wide declarations/political discussions…

 

Eric-how to discuss distributions of resources- using technology/open sourcing regarding decision-making.

 

Marisa-What category of alternative currencies should we fall into…

 

Adash- the groups can present proposals.

 

Arnold-what is happening in Zucotti park must find it’s boundaries.  This can be a template, but has to be adjusted for other occupy movements.  Is this intended to be just for Zucotti, or to be applied to other groups…

 

?-There has to be a priority to get money out of the door…

Maybe you want to pass this proposal in a simpler form to get things going.

 

Marisa-Long term, yes all the movements should be in communication.   This model could become a federated…

 

Finding a mode for talking about amendments will serve future discussions. Constitutional forms, analyzing current content…restructure the current form to allow for easier amending…

 

Ideas for the language regarding the General Assembly and the Spokes Council relationship:

-GA can recind power to any body at any time.

Clarification; the GA does not have explicit powers.

-who/what is the final arbiter of deisions?  I argue that the GA should be the final arbiter…

 

A suggestion; reverse the words on the proposal so that the meaning is clearer.

 

What does transparency look like?

 

Daniel-What order do decisions happen in?  The GA necessarily has the power to dissolve the Spokes Council.  If they form independently, then one doesn’t have the power to dissolve the other.

 

Eric-not necessarily

 

In service to the greater movement;  Getting the work groups to be more functional in relation to the larger movement…reporting back to the GA.

 

Performative contradiction-tyranny of the majority.  If we decide that the council and GA are equal/neighbors, one shouldn’t be allowed to dissolve the other.  We have to Do something.

 

Finance needs support to correct their disfunctionality—so they know who to go to.

 

Luckily we’ve had good people.

 

Balance between the GA / Spokes….non-hierarchy, principles of the movment.  Accountable to “the people”.

 

Potentially helpful:  A document similar to the spokes council describing  the GA.  Continuing to link the two bodies for facilitation

 

Not deciding decisions in emergency style…having more advance preparation—agenda items…

 

Might make people more comfortable if they don’t think the GA will be stripped of financial decision making powers—later once the spokes council gets on its feet.

 

Adash-perception that SC is an elite group.  Rather it’s work groups and occupiers.  These are the goups:

Donors, users of donations, receivers.  And those not involved.

 

Donors are donating not exclusively to support Zuccoti square, but the larger movement.

 

Zephyr- possible solutions:

SC-Financial decisions

Reporting-weekly

Loose consensis or larger concensis

 

Marissa—If people are involved in thematic groups and are contributing, they could partner with a WG on a project and get funding.  They can take proposals that don’t require funding to the GA (declarations, demands).  We don’t want to fund the RCP.  No money to interest areas or parties.

 

Daniel—Likes the idea of allowing the GA to be empowered to continue to make budgetary decisions, and letting people mostly go to the spokescouncil but allowing for the option to go to the GA.  GA may stop making those kinds of decisions because people stop going, but it exists as a possibility.  To officially take that power away isn’t necessary if the only reason is that there’s a better way to do it.

 

Clarification—the GA does not have that power, it’s just defacto how it’s been happening.

 

Adash—we talked about that, the idea of an amendment that SC would make decisions up to $10,000.  Structure felt if anything it should be the other way around.  Not an issue of effectiveness but responsibility.  His impression is that one of the most effective arguments for trying to get money is first to state how much money we have, then everybody gets excited.  Or to state, the laundry truck is already here.  If we leave that open, effective prudent decision making would happen more often in SC, and anyone who thinks they would get shut down there would go to GA, and rally the crowd.  Those types of things were the concerns.

 

Jared—Finance committee controls the money?  Will SC now have power the GA never has?

 

Marissa—It’s not a figment, it’s defacto.

 

Jared—Who does have power over finance?  Until you figure out how to make it function (here from LA)

 

Marissa—Finance has financial power.

 

Evan—–Imagine a place online where project proposals, regardless of working groups and how many are involved, then we can look at budgeting on a project to project basis.  They are posted where everybody can see them.  Once we figure out eligibility, the budgetary issue can be much more spread out so everybody can see.  Open Source is working on it.  Actively developing a website for gifts and wishes, look for skills and resources.  Need x amount of money to pay for things they can’t cover.  Let SC deal with logistical.

 

Kokomo guy—Looking forward to us figuring out our government, because then we can figure out a national government.  We are the center of the movement, Kokomo is looking to us.

 

Daniel—As far as GA having defacto power over finance, GA has come to consensus on making financial decisions that way, which would make it legit.  Just because it’s not written on a piece of paper, it should be in the minutes.

 

Adash—Speaking to Kokomo Joe, I understand where you’re coming from.  There’s a big sentiment in Liberty Plaza that we’re not about specific demands.  He came here for a particular kind of protest, but he hasn’t been marching because his protest is in showing there is a workable alternative to our government.  His protest is how we run our local government, show it can work in different ways.  If that’s all Joe sees, that’s enough.  It’s about autonomy and self-government, hard to learn for those waiting and watching.

 

Lady—What happened last night was chaotic, sixteen people blocked something that 300+ others found good, and is a living, changing document.  If you have support for this, it will change.  For sixteen people to block 300+ people three weeks into the process seems undemocratic.  A 9/10 vote would have passed the proposal through yesterday, but that didn’t happen.  She has found that to propose a proposal of such a grand scale at a 7PM meeting where everyone will be new is chaotic.  To propose any details more than a page, and doesn’t have imagery is chaotic.  To propose any details that don’t give hand gestures, rules, assigning a larger image so that people could get it on their own—and you’re not dictating that this has to be done in this order in this way… just give the people the tools they need to survive.  Winter is NOW.  We need to get budgets passed, and this will not happen in the GA.  Arts people don’t understand words, but everyone understand pictures.  If we work as a group to keep the name and function of the general assembly for the next week while we assess this model, that can be done.  People don’t want to change the name of the GA, this is what’s been happening since day one, why is this changing?  It’s confusing.  And every time you meet with this people, they’ll be new, and they’ll never come to structure work group because they don’t have time.

 

Alex—The beauty of this is for local occupations to find local solutions.  Must find bottom up solutions.  On Lady’s point, he prefers the spokesmodel even though he blocked it.  There is a huge philosophical discussion that goes beyond narrow street activism to bring the big picture.  Also recognizes that NY is the biggest hub, but it shouldn’t be because that’s hierarchical.  Understands that the moment you create a framework, you also cling to it.  So it’s harder for them to think outside of that box.  Hence the importance of slowing down the process despite winter.  Thanks to structure people for making it Wednesday.

 

Adash—It should be considered that sometimes when we use the consensus model it can be reactive instead of revolutionary, for right or wrong.  Things get passed by consensus with high turnover.  Wasn’t here when the GA model was decided upon.  How many of us would come to consensus on this model?  It is reactive to say that we already have the GA, how many people would have given happy fingers if we had proposed GA remains the consensus making body?

 

Marissa—We came to consensus on creating the GA, but it was a totally different body of people, and that continues.

 

Sam—In reference to last night’s GA, he thinks it hasn’t been perfected yet we’re scrapping it.  Hasn’t seen once yet a working group put together a proposal that’s thought out and structured.  They are last minute, etc.  Is it possible to somehow work with the GA to perfect it?  Last night while he agrees in part with the proposal, because it’s ridiculous to get things done, and he doesn’t think we’re discussing laundry in this movement, but the way they presented it sucked.  If it’s put out there on the website, get people involved and informed (last night was the first he’d heard of it) and to ask to make a decision that fast, it didn’t seem fair.  He would have been a seventeenth block if it seemed necessary.  They have the right idea, but it needs to be fine-tuned.  He’s put a lot of time into this, so he wants a lot more structure.

 

Christina—this is a lot for two pages, wants only one page.  Pictoral suggestions are good, have a large white board or projection that we could put up every night.  That would be helpful.  In terms of implementation timeline, no matter whether or not we feel we should or shouldn’t be the center of the movement, people in other cities see us as that. If we decide to slow the process down and not have an expedited trial period of this, we should at least have a message that says we’re working on this, we encourage you to send in suggestions and try it out.  It’s extremely important that something happen.

 

Lady—would agree about everything.  Would also agree about everything Sam said, except that the idea that arts and culture is a group that really doesn’t understand that it needs funding.  We like doing art, we’re not interested in finance.  She’s one of the artists that can do both, it’s just the way she works on her projects that she always just has enough, and that’s good for her.  When she comes and says winter is coming, we need funding to get all these ideas about the projections, that is something arts and graphic design would be on board with, but there’s no way to facilitate that going in.  Artists come in on a daily basis looking for things to do, but she has nowhere to put them.  There’s this movement, but it’s being blocked in so many different forms that what we have to understand is that visual is the most important thing when it comes to a movement this big, because it’s happening all over the world in different languages.  People are not going to read this dense proposal in different languages.  Who will translate?  Arts, visual.  People need the hand gestures, they need to know that, they need to know the blocks.  Let them do with it what they will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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