Minutes + To-Do List from Monday’s Meeting (02-13-12)

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Environmental Solidarity WG at OWS / 02-13-12 / Monday Meeting Minutes + To-Do List

Facilitation: Pete

Minutes: Russell L.

  1. Quick Announcements (Pre-Agenda)
    1. Chris:  The action I spoke of as being in development a week ago now has a location.  Riverside Church at 5pm on Sunday-March 4.  [See the minutes from the 02-06-12 meeting.]  It involves a delegation from Japan, building momentum up to the anniversary of Fukushima.
    2. Donna:  Join me at our New York City Friends of Clearwater meetings!  There’s one this Friday night.  83 Christmas St.
    3. The Forum on the Commons is this Thursday through Saturday.  That is an event for having wide-ranging/thinking dialogue about the commons and public space and duties to it and freedoms relating to it.  Someone named Melanie maybe is organizing the environmental part, and Shanti is involved.  There’s still space if you want to do a workshop.  Contact info is on the flyer.
  2. Introductions
  3. Reactions to and reflections on the recent Eco-Cluster meeting (this past Saturday)
    1. Russell:  Most of the meeting was spent dealing with internal structure, particularly North’s proposal.  The other part of the meeting was dedicated to the breaking news about KXL and the emergency action being planned at Sen. Schumer’s office.
      1.                                       i.     Tomorrow at noon at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza will be a 350.org (and many others) action against Chuck Schumer because he is brokering the deal to pass the Senate plan to approve the KXL Pipeline in the transportation bill. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is at 47th St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.
    2. There was a stack problem and an unease about speaking up / getting in, because the same people spoke over and over again.  This was Luna’s concern, but the problem was not too extreme.
    3. Chris:  Two key questions are getting ignored:
      1.                                       i.     We’re not having the conversations about our politics.  We’re not talking about what we think of the situation (in the world) and how the situation arose.
      2.                                     ii.     How do we enlarge the group?  If we turn inward and have conversations about how we structure ourselves we will necessarily neglect the actions we could take to get more people into the Cluster and the movement.  And that’s critical.
    4. Shanti:  There’s a number of people involved in the Cluster who have been going through badcommunication lately, so they are reacting to that by trying to super specific on structure.
      1.                                       i.     Shanti:  Not everyone is coming from that background/experience of bad communication, so at times, to some, the structure conversations seem to make no sense.
    5. Facilitator:  Everyone read North’s proposal by Friday.
    6. Shanti:  We need to focus on what we need to get done in terms of what brought us here.
    7. [a couple of people:]  We can’t have (two and three…) more meetings of this Cluster only talking about its own structure.
  4. Planning tomorrow
    1. Pete:  I want there to be an “eco-train” of protesters (taking the Subway) after the KXL action to Washington Square Park for our anti-BofA activities.
      1.                                       i.     Russell L.:  I am going to the KXL action and will lead the eco-train.
    2. Pete:  Take pictures tomorrow!  RAN has this thing on their Web site where if you take pictures of anti-BofA actions you can send them to an email address and they post them.  I will share with you all that email address.
    3. Updates from Eco:
      1.                                       i.     we’re limited to 5 tables, so we will do what we can and try to create a strong presence with only five (like some structure of them)
      2.                                     ii.     no tents
      3.                                    iii.     we’ve got all of Garibaldi Square from 1-5pm
      4.                                    iv.     the OWS dinner was moved (for us, basically).  It will be at the steps of Judson Church, right across from WSP
      5.                                     v.     the bed-in will be in the fountain
      6.                                    vi.     There will be a healing space, a massage table, a trade circle.
        1. Eco:  I will have to do some running around between the different things going on, so I could use more point people for some of these activities.  I’ve got some point people but need more.
        2.                                  vii.     rain/snow in the evening is a 40% probability, but we should be good in the afternoon.
        3.                                 viii.     we need garbage bags!
        4.                                    ix.     remember that the kiss-in is at Times Square
    4. Chris:  do we as a WG officially support/endorse the KXL action?  I ask because liberal organizations (like 350.org) go both ways with Obama.  They act like his base at some times and then think of themselves as the people who need to pressure him and criticize him at other times.  Are we like that?  Are we going to be like that with Schumer tomorrow?
      1.                                       i.     [Consensus:]  This WG formally supports the emergency Schumer/KXL action tomorrow.  (But, no, we’re not “like that” with Schumer tomorrow.)
      2.                                     ii.     Pete:  We should have structures in place as a WG for dealing with emergency actions like this in the future re. whether we want to endorse/support them.  Like an emergency teleconference vote or something.  That’s something to think more about.
        1. Johanna:  There’s a WordPress template that shows an emergency phone number.
    5. We still need chants and chant leaders.
    6. Joel of the National Lawyers Guild is on board for tomorrow.
    7. We are not any farther on getting livestream presence.
    8. (We are not any farther on getting our action on the home page of occupywallst.org, though we put out the call.)
    9. Pete has plotted the route for the march.
  5. Ecosocialist Horizons (Quincy and Joel)
    1. Quincy Saul and Joel Kovel, the noted ecosocialist and author (of The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World), of Ecosocialist Horizons are here.
    2. Ecosocialist Horizons is a new group to promote ecosocialism and organize and agitate for the post-capitalist future.  It is a 501c3, which has its problems.
    3. They were at Durban, South Africa, which was a gathering of the countries on how to destroy the world in the most politically correct way possible.
      1.                                       i.     We did the civil society thing and promoted ecosocialism.
    4. We’ve been in and out of OWS and have bounced around different groups looking for a serious way in.  It looks like we’ve found one in this WG.
    5. We’re connected to the ecosocialist network but are not the same.
    6. We don’t think (or don’t know yet) that we’re going to go to Rio.
      1.                                       i.     Robert:  I know that Occupy Earth Summit is going to try to have civil society status at Rio.  [Of course, they’ll go whether or not they get it.]

—-a broader conversation, prompted by remarks by Joel, about where to devote our energies—–

Chris:  I think we have to operate on two different tracks.  Coming with new models (to slow climate change and to be stronger organizationally) + collective action against capitalism.  I think it’s best when we recognize that we’re anticapitalist activists. [Twinkling.]

Richard:  I am looking forward to the summer, because that when a lot is going to come together.  mid-August will be Occupalooza.

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

  1. The Wild Party
    1. Eco:  I have a project which is the Wild Party, which is a strategic rebranding of the environmental movement.  It’s think-tanky but is also a nonpolitical political party and a nonreligious religious party.
      1.                                       i.     Eco:  There are two aspects: the war on war, and the building of the society that will last.
  2. Tim:
    1. I want to say something about the broader discussion just had and about the prospects of socialism.  To me, capitalism kinda says Earth is a pie and a ruling class takes more for itself and represses the efforts of others to get bigger pieces.  And to me, socialism says Earth is a pie and we divide it up evenly among all humans.
      1.                                       i.     I just don’t see Earth as a pie.  And I don’t see socialism as being understanding of the truth that the planet is made up of trillions of autonomous beings.  We don’t own Earth, we’re just among the beings.
        1. Pete:  Maybe what this WG ought to do is have a friendly debate between Tim’s vision and the (authentically) socialist vision.
        2. Johanna:  The entire answer is wrapped up in how we treat animals.
        3.                                     ii.     Also, it’s “Earth,” not “the Earth.”  Let’s not alienate ourselves from our mother by the separation of an article.  Besides, we never say “the Mars.”
    2. Gibson
      1.                                       i.     I’ve finally been able to connect with the lead group on the Lacey Act amendments.  We’re in an overall discussion of how we deal with what Gibson is doing and how we deal with the music industry.  Thing is, my ideas it seems might not be the best thing.
      2.                                     ii.     The general/new idea is this:  have a mass campaign for people to give up their Gibson guitars.  Create a fund to buy out people’s Gibson guitars (the money is so that they can go buy a guitar from a local, sustainable operation).  Gather the given-up Gibson guitars and have a bonfire.
        1. [audible negative reaction]
        2. That’s the reaction we’re going for.  Something that could become an icon/image for this movement, for its boldness.
        3.                                    iii.     We should still do an action a NYC Guitar Center, and I’ll be moving forward with that.  Talk more on Friday.
  3. Changing the time this WG meets
    1. [Consensus:]  The Monday meetings will begin at 6 now (and end at 7:30).  (Friday meetings don’t budge.)
  4. Announcements
    1. Donna:  Re. fracking, there is a movement to test the radon in our kitchens.  Get a kit (the Sane Energy Project will give one to you).  Install it.  It will give a baseline radon reading so that if fracked gas/chemicals get in your water many years later, you can prove that the radon wasn’t there already.
      1.                                       i.     Donna:  At our Clearwater meeting on Friday, we will have a pickup center for the kits.  email me at donna@nycfriendsofclearwater.org.
    2. Pete:  Brian Jones (radical educator) is coming to 56 Walker St. to talk about racism in the education system. https://www.facebook.com/events/346835512015741/
    3. Chris:  I will be talking at an event on Tuesday-February 28 at the Commons in Brooklyn.  It’s called “Planet over Profit:  What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism.”  7pm at 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.
    4. Eco:  There is anti-nuclear walk/pilgrimmage from NY to NJ that will include Indian Point and Toms River.  We should participate at least where it goes through NYC.
    5. Eco:  The printmaking people made a special blue valentine bandana for us tomorrow
    6. Pete:  99 for Earth meets at 7:30 here tomorrow night.
    7. Pete.:  The radical reading group will be reading Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster’s What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism.  The first discussion will be a week from today (February 20).  If you want in, get the book and make sure you have read the first chapter by then.
    8. Chris:  Get Socialist Worker newspaper from me for $1.  Then you’ll really know what (authentic) socialism is about.


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


  • ALL will read North’s proposal for Cluster structure (4e)
  • Russell L. will lead the eco-train tomorrow (4ai)
  • Russell L. will see about providing a whiteboard for tomorrow at WSP
  • Pete will share with the WG the email address of RAN where you can send your pics from the BofA action (4b)
  • The whole WG will think about whether we want to have structures in place as a WG for dealing with emergency actions in the future re. whether we want to endorse/support them (4dii)
  • The whole WG that will be at the BofA action tomorrow will fill out the role of chantwriters and chantleaders (4e)
  • The whole WG will recognize that Mike Sandmel’s phone number is 617-710-7000.  He’s doing general logistics for the KXL piece tomorrow.
  • The whole WG will remember that Friday’s agenda should include Gibson stuff, particularly moving forward with an action at a Guitar Center (7biii)

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