Empowerment and Education WG – Sunday Feb 5th 2012 – Minutes

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Date: 2/5/2012



Empowerment and Education (E&E) – Working Group of Occupy Wall Street (OWS)

Next Meeting: 12noon-1:30pm, Atrium of 60 Wall

In attendance: Chris, Joe, Reka, Alys, Darragh, Dave

Facilitator: Dave

Minutes: Joe

Action Items:

  1. Contact the various sub-groups (OccU, Student Debt, Making Worlds, Open Forum? Think Tank?) and discuss the possibility of dissolving E&E, and having each sub-group become its own Working Group (Everyone)
  2. Make contact with the Right to Education Coalition to discuss possibility of forming an Education cluster.   (Joe)
  3. For the Occupy Town Square on Saturday, Feb 11: organize a teach-in or discussion about the merits of the “non-violence” position vs the merits of the “diversity of tactics” position.
  4. For the Occupy Town Square on Sunday, Feb 26th: start planning classes.


  1. “We should actively look into and discuss with the sub-groups the possibility of E &E dissolving and the sub-groups becoming their own Working Groups.”  CONSENSUS

Other items discussed:

Possibility of dissolving E & E

We discussed this at some length.  Some points that were made:

  • We all love E & E .It serves as a useful umbrella group for the groups under it, offering both a point of entry for newcomers and a communication hub for sharing info.
  • All the groups under it (okay mostly OccU, Student Debt, and Forum on the Commons) are going strong.  But very few people from the sub-groups have been turning up to the E &E meetings.
  • This has made it very difficult to get a quorum some days.  It has also meant that all the burden of running the WG, posting minutes, organizing meetings etc has fallen on just one of the members.  Not cool!
  • If no-one comes to the meetings, then we’ll have to let the central hub go, and the WGs will have to stand on their own.
  • The possibility was raised of keeping E&E alive by just declaring the first ten minutes of each Occu, Student Debt, or making Worlds meeting an E&E meeting, rotating between them, or similar.
  • Some of our decisions here may depend on whether other WGs are interested in forming a larger Education Cluster.

Report backs

  • Occupy University is going strong, building for its preliminary launch on March 1st and real main launch on or around May 1st.  Much is being done and folks are very excited.
  • Occupy Student Debt Campaign is going strong.  They’ve shifted focus from getting folks to sign the pledge, which is a happening a bit slowly, to raising awareness about the debt issue, which is going really well.
  • GA this week was a bit problematic, with frequent interruptions.
  • E & E did a great job contributing to the Occupy Town Squarein Washington Square Park on the weekend; some very hard working members of our group managed to pull together, at very short notice, all of the following:
    • a manned info table (okay, a corner of the People’s library table);
    • awesome flyers introducing folks to OccU, Occ Student Debt, and the Forum on the Commons.
    • A free radical walking tour of the Washington square park area
    • A free 15-minute teach-in on the history of protest songs.

We are  a bit afraid that we’re preaching to the choir, sometimes, want to be even more organized for next time.

Upcoming Occupy Town Squares

  • The next Occupy Town Square is this Saturday, Feb 11th, from 2pm onwards, at West Park Presbyterian Church, W86th st and Amsterdam.’
    • We’re trying to have a presence there – come along and help out!
    • In particular, we’re trying to organize a teach-in or discussion about an issue that has come up a lot recently, in relation to events in Oakland: the question of whether we’re purely a “non-violent” movement, or whether we acknowledge a “diversity of tactics.”
    • Our efforts here are hampered a little by the fact that this is on at the same time as the OccU meeting, limiting our numbers.
  •   The following Occupy Town Square is on Sunday Feb 26th, in Thomson square park.
    • We’re planning to run a bunch of teach-ins/classes there; details to be determined.

Making Worlds: A Forum on the Commons

This great event is coming up from Feb 16-18th, and we’ll be involved.

Class on Participatory Community Engagement

A professor from the New School has asked us whether someone from our WG could come and speak about Occupy to her class.  The class is on “Participatory Community Engagement”, and looks pretty good; the group was happy to have a member or two go and participate.  This is on Fri 17th from 4-5; email the list for more details.

An idea for a great activity to do at some stage:

A class or discussion on banned books, or a read-in of  banned books, in conjunction with the people’s Library.


Next Meeting: 12noon-1:30pm, Atrium of 60 Wall


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