Notes from emergency Egypt meeting 11-13-11 4pm sunday

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Egypt Meeting agenda


1.What we are going to do

2.How to communicate to GA

3.Press strategy


What we are going to do


Lets discuss our concerns

Lets open stack about concerns



This is a shadow government in Egypt and it is possible that we are legitimizing that.  We have 2 Tarhir Sq groups who are saying this should not happen.

Our connections are consensus driven, and we are not clear about groups that invited us.


We should hold off on receiving the funding until things are clarified, and possibly postpone this for later invitation.


We received the letter from Harriya.  And, we were invited by Esma verbally who visited OWS in person a few weeks ago.


It  has become clear that we have every reason not to go.  There was a second letter from Asma that is unclear.


We have received conflicting signals from different groups in Egypt, and feel that given that we should likely not send delegates.


The issue here is to find out who Maria was liaisoningthrough.  We assume April 6th, not we are questioning that given the new letters that we have received.

If it is indeed April 6th, then we should simply wait for elections to be over, and continue building the bridge of communication with them.


Question for Maria:  We are concerned about all the bodies in Egypt.  We are no longer clear as to who sent the various letters to us.


We also have concerns about the new letter from “Comrades from Cairo” as we do not know who they are.  The original letter of solidarity


We should also talk about the US empire.  Many people at OWS are not comfortable with sending us there.  We may be seen as legitimizing the elections.  Better safe than sorry.  Lets just not send people and vet this issue further.


There are also other pieces of information…


Becky has expressed deep concerns about groups in Egypt not accepting us over there.


However, we have received a signed letter from Ahmed Maher


Clearly there is an amorphous nature to the letters


If Ahmed has sent us a signed letter requesting us to come, that should trump all of these other unconfirmed letters.  Of course there will be opposition to a political expedition, we should expect that.


We responded to the time sensitive nature of this proposal, and answered this request quickly.  We would rather take time to ensure that we honor the OWS process and perhaps send fewer people.


What we can learn from April 6 is that this is about building a powerful movement, and it doesn’t matter when we send people.  The election is so fraught.  Risks of sending people are huge and risks of not sending are minimal.


There are risks on both sides of this.  PR risk of us legitimizing the election.  But, monitors go to elections to monitor them when they may be corrupt.  WE were going to protect peoples’ lives.  If we don’t go, more people could die at these elections.  So, we are comparing our own political risk with the risk of Egyptians lives.


However, peoples lives being on the line is often an excuse to send people into a situation for bad reasons.


This would be the first act of international solidarity we are taking, this is tricky.  I feel like I made a mistake by not looking deeply enough at this and this being the first act of international solidarity.  If we don’t send a delegation for this election, we can still send a delegation after in order to build lines of solidarity with April 6th.



block was thrown at ga because he didn’t believe there were enough people present


Egypt is a representative democracy


Why is an American coming to us as opposed to an Egyptian re: maria


Michael reads letter from Ahmed Maher-documenting the invitation.


Temperature check


keep proposal as is


cancel the trip


go but not for the elections, send a delegation after taking more time


rethink objectives and numbers of people on this trip











Andy-what more info could we ask for to certify this trip?


possibility of getting co-opted


you’ve been asked by an amazing political organization


So do we just not monitor elections?


NOTE: tammy is an awesome facilitator!


Joel- asks for conference call


Maria clarifies monitoring is not the most essential part of this trip. we can act in another capacity.  The word civil in Arabic means anti-military, hence embedded within the term civil societies and standing in solidarity with that means that we are in solidarity with anti-military government.  We are there to support civilian monitoring—NEVER was it said that we would monitor the elections.


Abe expresses concerns that the intent was to the monitor and is concerned with cultural imperialism. Proposes we open the proposal to friendly ammendments and dialogue.  The dialogue will occur within movement building groups.




a letter from ahmed being made public


translate letter about coalition purpose, sighting


conference call


Tammy’s proposal

1. open forum for all to express their concerns

2. wait till Friday to buy tickets

3. ideally bring it back to the GA with whatever friendly amendments  we have; but we need to make those amendments

4. informational campaign both within ows and for outside media


Michael- concerned with OWS and solidarity within the movement i.e. the point of movement buidling.  Is concerned about alienating the rest of OWS. Are we servicing the letter of the process-it passed the ga or the spirit—we see all around that people are not happy with it and so we are going to re-address the issue?


April 6- key players.  Tammy we know some of the essential players are represented in the coalition, but what about some of the other essential players.


Maria- in terms of delaying…. Shows the power of occupy.  People are already going nuts without an official word.



Questions about going through process correctly?  It did.  Don’t want to endanger the process just for redress.  PR- we are smeared all of the time.  Why is everyone so concerned about an angle that is being put upon us by a corrupt regime?


Maria is concerned if we reopen process that we will be subverted by members of the Egyptian embassy i.e. get played



Not cultural imperialism as we were invited

Add to the proposal checking in with other groups so we know that we are not a part of factioning off their movement more


Process questions-

Can people bring up a proposal to block the proposal that has already been passed?

In order to get something added to the agenda it has to be through a working group.  Point of process- abe had not gained consensus through a working group for emergency agenda item.

Can you amend a proposal without it going through consensus again?

No, but if it doesn’t pass the original proposal stands.


Asshole gets bored and walks away


Abe- go to Egypt.  We need to be very careful about why we’re going how many people are going.  There are other ways to achieve those goals.  For example, live stream can train via skype.  Establish our goals.  Let’s be efficient. Go to the ga tonight to start the dialogue.  We have heard a lot of concerns.  Keeping it in a small group is a problem and looks like it isn’t transparent.


Joel- we need to conference call and update the ga tonight.  We need a more deliberative process.  We have gotten communiqués we need to worry about where those communiqués are coming from .   afraid we will become symbols of the American empire.


Maria wants to have 45 emails read.


Abe wants to know about proposal.  Andy says he would block.  Temperature check on just having an announcement.


Tammy asks abe to request her facilitation.


Abe asks to put the issue on the agenda to open the dialogue.


What do we do at the GA tonight.


Proposal: Anouncement toinight at GA that we will be pursuing further dialogue.  


Maria – I have 45 letters of solidarity from people in Egypt.


Point is people in this movement have concerns, and we need to address. We need to make an announcement about how to move forward.


So we will make an announcement



There are considerations beyond process.


hold off buying tickets till Saturday


before then we collect more of our info so that we explain the story


solidarity info-how and why we were invited, by whom




have an open forum—dialogue where people can express their concerns. Let everyone at that discussion know they are welcome at the movement building meeting.


check with other voices involved in the Egyptian revolution


make it clear we as movement building may add friendly ammendments, but if it doesn’t pass then the original proposal stands—this meeting is open to all


make announcement at ga tonight re: this


have groups continue with the nominating processuntil Thursday night 9pm


notify where to send email


abe wants to know of the dialogue can generate consensus at the end to generate friendly amendments


person comes expressing major security issues.  Concerned protocol- should have been a discussion for weeks and had teach ins.


Tammy reads the proposal.  Tries to get through meeting.

(note taker had to leave – notes continued to be taken and we have not received them yet for input)

One Response to “Notes from emergency Egypt meeting 11-13-11 4pm sunday”

  1. JZ

    I find it disconcerting that this document reveals no interest expressed in verifying a NYC consensus around the proposal that was passed by having around 30 people attend the GA (allegedly, can someone tell us all the actual number of people that attended the GA that night?).

    The documents shows that there is more concern with Egyptian views about this proposal for $29,000 than for those in NYC, nevermind the rest of America. I guess OWS funds are supposed to support global projects? What are we, the CIA?

    The fact that this proposal passed shows that we have a a lot of work to do to create a efficient/responsible way of allocating funds fairly through “genuine” consensus, not treating the GA & Finance as an open wallet.

    Your ideas on how to gain consensus need to “go back to the drawing board.”