I do not have the energy to discuss everything that happened tonight, but here are some notes.
There was some questions at the start of the meeting about what people were told at the door (people were asked to limit their group to 3 members or less due to space contraints. Those who couldn’t fit were asked to wait. That said, a big group from WOW went in and no one asked us not to. Many who were asked to wait were then invited in). Facilitation took these questions offline with a group from Media.
Process resumed. Community Alliance was discussed and then consented upon as an Ops Group.
WOW was next up. Ally, our Spoke, got up and started reading our form. She got as far as reading out our name.
Then, a man from Media (or it may have been Press) got up while Ally was in the middle of talking, took the mic from her, and began talking out of process. He began saying that the Spokes Council meeting was invalid due to people being told initially that only three people could come. Then someone yelled back at him, and shortly the whole process then disintegrated completely.
We raised concerns with facilitation, who decided to address this issue/dispute first (there was shouting and process had disintegrated) and then WOW would speak as soon as this was resolved.
We did ultimately get on stack, and Mel B very accurately and eloquently described how ironic it was that in the middle of the Women’s Caucus’s speech we were interrupted by a white male who grabbed the mic and began to very aggressively disrupt process. I am not doing her words justice so hopefully someone will be able to summarize it better than me.
Towards the end of the meeting, some groups announced that they were leaving because either they thought the meeting was invalid or was no longer productive. OWS en Espanol was on of those groups. After that, the majority of the WOW Caucus decided to leave, including the Spoke. Nothing really happened in the meeting after that, there were a few more people on stack but process had broken down.
There was one emergency announcement at the very end that Occupy Portland was at risk of being kicked out tonight.
A comical/unbelievable/maddening thing that happened afterwards was that this man, I believe his name is Jacob, who interrupted us, came up to our group and wanted to talk. Tabatha, one of the members present, talked with him. He told her that while he recognized that he had interrupted us and that he was using white privilege, he was using his white privilege to speak on behalf of marginalized voices, and that we as women should respect what he was trying to do. [YES, HE REALLY SAID THIS]. That said, he didn’t want us to take it as a personal thing that he interrupted us, it was bad timing. It seemed like he was coming over to receive absolution from us. Tabatha just stared at him silently, and no absolution was given. Tabatha told him that we had just spent an hour and a half listening to his views, and we were done listening to him for the night, that it was a closed issue. He said it was not a closed issue, and Tabatha just stared at him some more.
It was an ugly, ugly meeting and I think some will contest the validity of Community Alliance making the Spokes Council, and we will likely have to re-consent on Community Alliance at Monday’s Spokes Council.
I do feel strongly that the tearing of the mic from ALly’s hand by a disrupter should be addressed in a statement by WOW. It was out of line. I don’t care if you agree or disagree with whether the meeting tonight is valid, it is not OK to forcibly take the mic from someone’s hand once they have begun to speak.
Many of us went for drinks/soda after to just de-escalate, and that was productive.
Also, here is a nice LOLCAT to describe the overall feeling tonight: