Minutes + To-Do List from Monday’s EWSG Meeting (01-30-12)

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Environmentalist Solidarity WG at OWS / 01-30-12 / Monday Meeting Minutes + To-Do List

Facilitation: Pete

Minutes: Russell

  1. Reactions to and reflection on the Eco-Summit
    1. Robert:  I have a thought that it would be great to see it build to be a much bigger summit (like at Earth Summit).
    2. Pete:  The new cluster is the result of the summit—especially the result of the summit’s breakout session.  It will meet Saturday and will (at least, as was suggested) use occupytheearth.net.
      1.                                       i.     Robert:  I have concerns about that (which should be brought up on Saturday.)  Ted now has a part-time job and he’s the only one who knows that system and it’s kind of complicated.  I’m not sure that that can be kept up.
    3. The undemocratic nature by which the breakout group (soon to be a cluster) at the Summit arose
      1.                                       i.     Enthusiastic consensus that there were unnacceptable exclusivities and self-selecting behaviors at work in the choice to have the breakout conversation upstairs during the presentations (instead of after)
        1. Russell:  Patrick professes that the only reason he had us go upstairs was that in his judgement there wasn’t going to be enough time to have that conversation afterwards.
        2. Chris:  Voting is really important (and the transparency that that requires) and knowing who’s doing the organizing.
          1. Chris:  If you don’t know who’s doing the organizing, that doesn’t mean the organizing isn’t getting done, it means: someone’s doing it and you/we don’t know who or how.
    4. Chris and Tom:  The environmental movement shouldn’t be fractured, and it’s the system that’s the problem (not each individual issue that activists are fighting, which are of course symptoms), and we really need to build a broad movement.
      1.                                       i.     Chris:  Taking the long view helps, which is to say realizing that it takes years and decades to do the kind of movement building that leads to actual significant wins/gains.  Tactics have to change (in reaction to repression from the state), including openness to adjustment of communication and work patterns.  We have to watch for state infiltration and other divisive/repressive tactics.
        1. Shanti:  In permaculture, they have an interesting communication/work philosophy which is: first relationships, then the work.  That’s knowledge I have from sustainability trainings.
      2.                                     ii.     Tom:  The longstanding environmental NGOs that are single-issue make organizing the Green Left harder.  They’re a drag on our work and our radicalism.

————————————disruption, completely out-of-process———————————–

Shanti and a man in a uniform (who works at 60 Wall) argue over the focus of his gaze and the interruption he may or may not be causing.  And it doesn’t end there (but to help the flow of this document, I will omit the later disruptions from the minutes).

—————————————–back to being on-agenda:———————————————

  1. John:  I thought overall the Summit was energizing and encouraging.  I also want to make sure things are (small “d”) democratic.  In my backgound we do this by voting.  The culture at OWS is not very democratic, and we have to make it so.
  2. Eco-Cluster (first meeting is Saturday)
    1. Robert:  One of the things that should be in the conversation on Saturday is a statement or acknowldgement of what this WG stands for.
    2. Chris:  One dichotomy that I hear about in terms of the Cluster is that there is a difference between solutions and direct actions, where “solutions” means concrete things that we are doing to make a more sustainable city or whatever and “direct actions” means those protest activities that confront the power structure and demand structural change.  These two things don’t have to be counterposed, and we should be involved in the actions that find their overlapping space, such as a solution that we initiate collectively (not just an individual-lifestyle basis) that challenges the power structure.
  3. Valentine’s Day Action (5pm, Liberty Square, February 14)
    1. On Valentine’s Day, we want to do a valentine drop at a Bank of America.  We want to tell BofA that we want them to stop foreclosing on people’s homes and stop foreclosing on the planet and that we want out of this abusive relationship.
    2. Pete:  I’ve opened up an email thread (on the gmail side of things) for planning the Valentine’s Day Action.
    3. Melanie:  I can ask Occupy Melbourne if they want to do a solidarity action or something
    4. Pete:  I can still do the outreach to 350/Bill McKibben.
    5. Shanti:  We should be offering a solution in place of BofA, like from alternative banking.
      1.                                       i.     [Informal consensus:]  The “alternative/solution” piece can be in material that we give out at the action but not in the flyer.  The flyer needs to be out now.
    6. Chris:  We should all wear blue.
    7. Pete:  My plan was that we would have speakers (the Reverend and his choir will sing and preach), and then we’d go to the nearest BofA, and one by one we’d go in line to the tellers and give them Valentines.
      1.                                       i.     Pete will figure out how late that BofA is open.
    8. Echo:  I’ve got people who are ready to do things creatively, and take up several hours.  We could do movement games in the park (whichever park we choose).  Washington Square would allow us to connect to the bed-in that will be going on.  The people I know will put in work to make some of this stuff happen.  All I need do is sound the call.  I can bottom-line the whole plan.
      1.                                       i.     Echo:  I was thinking of a collective bank statement burning.  We should be torching BofA, not the planet.  Maybe a “trade circle.”  A big banner naming the banks’ investements in ecological destructions would be good too.  These things shouldn’t start any later than 2pm.  RAN’s “automated truth telling machine” was amazing and successful too, and I am interested in doing that.  I would need help; BofA has over 130 ATMs in Manhattan.  Who can help me by coming with me to DA on Thursday?
        1. Echo:  Bring me your resources and intest and energy and I’ll catalyze it, put it with others’, and make it happen.
    9. [Informal consensus:]  The smarter thing would be to make use of the people at the bed-in / do this at Washington Square.  Also that there should be some sense of climax (performative, theatrical, etc.) before we leave the park and go to a BofA.
  4. Monsanto
    1. There is an anti-Monsanto action tomorrow at 9am at Foley Square.
      1.                                       i.     Shanti will find the details of the event and send them to Pete who will forward them to us all.
        1. Shanti will also send us the Food Democracy Now petition.
    2. Robert:  I wanted to say that I learned about how the principal ingredient in Round Up works.  It’s not directly damaging to the plant but changes its mineral composition of the plant, which opens it up to pathogens and the other things that kill it.  I thought that was interesting and if you know anything about chemistry you could learn/know more that what I held on to.
      1.                                       i.     Robert:  We should also know more about alternatives to agrochemical weed management.
  5. Robert re. WG communications
    1. Robert:  I have activated the blog of this WG from the GA site.
      1.                                       i.     We should think about how we want to use that.
  6. Left Forum
    1. Pete:  I was consensed to be the rep of this WG at the Left Forum.  It will be a panel on “OWS and the environment,” featuring me, a person from 350, that one person who wrote that article on Occupy and the climate, and a professor whose name I can’t remember.
  7. Fukushima
    1. Chris has upcoming speaker-type events.  He’ll send out the details.
      1.                                       i.     Center for Remembering and Sharing (Friday-February 10 at 7:30)
      2.                                     ii.     Pace University (March 8)
        1. of course March 11is the March 11 NYC Action against nuclear power by Todos Somos Japan
      3.                                    iii.     Left Forum (on a panel with Todos Somos Japan and SDIPN) on imperial geopolitics and the environment
  8. Announcements
    1. Pete:  Education and Empowerment put out a statement.  It has a topic for “environmental stewardship.”  He’ll send it out via Google Group for our review.
    2. Russell:  I have been emailing Ellen just a bit and I can report that a new WG at Occupy SF is starting up called Eco-Justice.  Ellen will be in it and was looking for such a group, so that’s great.  They’re first meeting is Thursday.


To-do list (where possible, with a reference number to where this came up in the minutes)


  • The whole WG should ensure that these things get brought up on Saturday:
    • Is occupytheearth.net really the right medium for our intra-Cluster communications? (1bi)
    • ensuring democracy and transparency in and around the Cluster (1c, 1e)
    • a statement or acknowledgement of what this WG stands for (2a)
  • The whole WG will think about whether we want to have a color to wear (all of us), like blue, on Valentine’s Day (3f)
  • The whole WG will think about how we should really know more about alternative weed management (that is, alternatives to agrochemical weed management) (4bi)
  • The whole WG will think about how we would like to use the blog on the GA site (5ai)
  • Pete will send out to us all the Education and Empowerment statement that has a topic for “environmental stewardship” (8a)
  • The whole WG should keep it in mind that we should/could collaborate with Ellen and the new Occupy SF Eco-Justice WG (8b)
  • ALL will figure out if they want to be in the email thread for planning Valentine’s Day, and tell Pete if they want to (3b)
  • Echo will bottom-line Valentine’s Day (this entails a lot; see above) (3h)
  • Melanie will collaborate with Occupy Melbourne re. Valentine’s Day (3c)
  • Pete will do the outreach to 350/Bill McKibben (3d)
  • Echo will bottom-line Valentine’s Day (this entails a lot; see above) (3h)
  • Shanti and Pete will disseminate information to us all re. details of the Monsanto action (4ai)
  • Shanti will share with us all the Food Democracy Now petition (4ai1)

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