Meeting of Political and Electoral Reform Group November 10, 2011
60 Wall Street, 8 p.m.
Attendance: Tim, John Jaye, Sam, Stefan, Scott, Casey, Jesse, Zach, Patrick, Tyrone, Dan, David, Cary(Kerry?), Justin, Michael, Dan, Matt, Anne, Jackrabbit
Sam reviewed process guidelines for meetings.
Scott reported on the Process sub-group, which is developing a structure for membership and decisions. The group is working on integrating feedback and clarifying language. Stefan reported that the sub-group has come up with a formula to determine what constitutes a quorum. It allows for a fluid definition of quorum based on an average of meeting attendance from recent meetings. Please check the website for the draft document this sub-group has developed.
Jesse discussed outreach and asked for ideas. He proposed a flyer that folds into thirds. Anne suggested articles for the Occupied Wall Street Journal. Casey suggested use of Twitter and Facebook.
Jackrabbit read a revised Mission Statement and we reached consensus on it, while allowing for minor editing changes.
Jackrabbit announced the formation of a sub-group to provide research support for Direct Action. Contact Jackrabbit if you want to be part of this sub-group.
Tim announced that there is an email address for the group and he and Jackrabbit receive the emails. Inquiries are increasing and we are receiving inquiries from media. Tim raised the question of whether we need a policy on how to respond to media inquiries. Jackrabbit stated he would start a forum topic to continue discussion on this topic. In the meeting’s discussion, John Jaye suggested compiling a list of people willing to speak to media, Stefan suggested guidelines for speaking with media, Sam suggested putting reporters’ questions to the group while Anne suggested reporters’ deadlines would likely make this not feasible, Anne suggested that media spokespeople only state factual information and not their personal opinions, Jackrabbit stated other groups have done group interviews with reporters, Scott suggested tape recording interviews with media and someone noted the Media group does training on working with media.
John Jaye presented a statement that would serve as a demand for Occupy Wall Street, emphasizing combating corporate greed, along with a Venn diagram that showed how compromise could be reached between people with competing ideas about what demands would look like. He asked for consensus on the statement. Jackrabbit suggested demands will develop organically out of OWS. Anne said the statement seemed vague and would only prompt more questions. Zach suggested speaking to the Demands group. Sam suggested a list of demands gives opponents ammunition to attack OWS and a general statement can’t encompass everyone’s demands. Scott suggested using the Venn diagram as a tool for resolving conflictual visions. Jesse said he was pretty sure similar statements had already been made by NYCGA. Dan disagreed with the statement, saying that rather than demanding solutions we should be creating them. Patrick said that statements of some kind were needed for the general public. Matt agreed, saying many people were unsure what OWS stands for. Jackrabbit suggested it is possible to make statements that are not “demands.” Zach suggested asking people to take responsibility for making demands is more powerful than OWS making demands. No consensus was reached.
Zach presented his proposal for supporting “99 percent candidates.” He asked for consensus on the document and noted he is leaving for Oregon tomorrow. The proposal was discussed. Someone questioned whether candidates who have better-funded opponents would be viable. Zach said there is value to campaigns even if they are not successful. Anne stated that Congress does try to reach consensus, but their consensus decisions are often bad. Jesse wanted more clarity on the project. Zach said the project is under development but will have a website, will engage different Occupations and groups and possibly recruit candidates. Tim noted that OWS does not endorse candidates. We agreed to table the proposal for now and since Zach is leaving town several people agreed to re-submit the proposal at future meetings. Zach agreed to continue to work with the group via email.
Michael made a proposal for a statement advocating public funding of campaigns. Most people agreed with the general principle but requested a more specific proposal. Tabled until Sunday.
Tim announced that he will hold a public teach-in on the suggested electoral reforms document the group approved, on Sunday at 5 p.m., after our meeting.
Meeting adjourned shortly before 10 p.m.