Vision & Goals minutes, 11-22-2011

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Minutes for 11-21-2011

Scribe: Ross Wolfe

Facilitator: Leah

Timekeeper: Isaac Silver

Stack-keeper: Michael

Agenda Items:

1. New proposed meeting time (5 min.)

2. Amy from Outreach’s proposal (10 min.)

3. Chat about the GA (12 min.)

4. Rich’s document (2 min.)

5. Feedback on GA proposal (2 min.)

6. Mission Statement (10 min.)

7. Proposal for “best practices” (10 min.)

8. Tech committee (10 min.)

1. New proposed meeting time

Patrick reads proposal as it appears on the site

Sundays 12-3pm

Wednesdays 5:30-7:30pm

Thursday 5:30-7:30pm (discussion only; no voting)


Does this work for everyone?


Seems to overlap with GA & the Spokescouncil

Zosera seconds this sentiment; feels that the Sunday meeting is too early

Friendly amendments

Zosera recommends weekdays only 5:30-7:00pm and starting Sundays beginning at 2pm

Leah wants to amend the document because of the People of Color caucus on Sundays at 3pm

Zosera accepts 12:00-3:00pm for Sundays in light of Leah’s request

Zosera thinks that requiring 48 hours in advance for agenda items is excessive

Raul doesn’t like the proposal; causes burnout (rejected)

Patrick addresses this point by saying that the working group is burning the members out

Leah tries to second Patrick’s sentiments

(Patrick is gone for a moment)

Zosera suggests only requiring 24 hours in advance posted online for agenda items on voting days (accepted)

Consensus vote

Majority consented, some so-sos



2. Amy from Outreach’s proposal

Leah: Amy wanted a very brief statement for 12 midnight tonight describing the group’s Mission Statement, meeting times, etc.

This info will then be distributed amongst other groups

Need volunteers from other groups


Zosera is unclear about what this proposal is about


Michael: Put down whatever version of the Document is the latest and be ready to discuss them


Iosif, if the proposal is for the General Assembly, I support it getting feedback.  I am concerned that we make clear that the Document is provisional?

Michael is concerned about the number of volunteers needed; we probably don’t need that many

Leah responds that she’s not sure if there is a limit on the volunteers

Temperature check on drafting a statement

Now (a few negatives)

Later, i.e. after the meeting (unanimously affirmative)

3. Chat about the GA

Open discussion on GA feedback

Rich: I’ve always been a Joe Montana fan.  Short memory when it comes to failures.  Throw an interception, go for a touchdown next time.  Give the proposal out for feedback 2-3 GAs in advance to get ideas.  Talks about the disclamations on the Principles of Solidarity statement; suggests using something similar.

Michael: The night before our proposals there was this long marathon on sending money to monitor the elections in Egypt.  6 Friendly Amendments were left unheard.  Seconds Rich’s idea.

Patrick: When you think about it, there was about a month between the appearances at the GA.  We want to do a breakout session the next time we go to the GA.

Yosef (Иосиф?): Liked what I heard at the GA last night.  As a psychologist, I am interested in the process and the interactions.  Worried about the confrontational mentality underlying the relation between V&G group and the GA.

Raul: I don’t think we are incorporating people who in the past really deserve to be part of this document.  Before we try to reinvent the wheel, let’s see what wheel was already invented.

Zosera: It’s funny that you should say we have an “Us vs. Them” dynamic.  There is also an “Us vs. Us” dynamic.  We need the document to be more radical.  Our group, compared with OWS at large, is far more conservative.  This document is inadequate to our historical moment.  The great historical figures we have mentioned would be spinning in their graves.  Welfare state or capitalism is dead.

Isaac: As dire as our situation is, we are totally succeeding.  We have changed the dialogue of the conversation.  We have made huge strides and people are still trying to figure us out.  We have months.

Rich: I thought it became confrontational when the man with the beard started questioning the constitution of our group and how we ran things, and asked if we even had a right to be there.  Could you tell us how to handle that next time?

Leah: I don’t think that the person who challenged us was just tasking us to live up to the standards of the GA.  I am not sure about the timeframe.  Sometimes feels like we have months, sometimes not.

Yosef: What is the difference between this statement and the Declaration of Grievances? Better to get something out that’s right, not necessarily right now.  Also, why only an amendment about racism? Why not sexism? Classism? Etc.? Think about the GA as kind of a research project.

4. Rich’s proposal

(Rich passes out response to last night’s GA process)

Changed “preliminary” to “living” document

Split some of the ideas into a new organization

5. Nancy from Occupy Oakland’s feedback

Nancy: Thought we were doing better with our more hard-Left stance

We pulled back to the more bland centrist vision, which does not resonate

We should call out the perpetrators of the current crisis

6. Mission Statement

Patrick: After last meeting’s discussion, we came up with this.

(Patrick reads mission statement)

Patrick doesn’t have complete transcript of the Mission Statement, but talked about trying to use every available means to collect ideas, and then went over the Iroquois peace principles: Peace, unity, and carrying a good message

Zosera: Point of information that there was another proposed Mission Statement, perhaps we should wait until we have this other proposal

Discussion and Suggestions

Zosera: Change “specific actions” to “specific goals.”  Also, I don’t like the idea of “Unity.”  Perhaps “Solidarity”?

Patrick and others seem to agree.

Иосиф: I agree that “Solidarity” is better than “Unity.”  With “unity,” I think about fascist societies.  Also, how far does our vision extend into the future? Please specify timeframe?

Leah responds that we are thinking very long term.

Raul thinks that the document should aim to be timeless, speaking to the past, present, and future.

Rich suggests “for generations to come.”

7. Best practices

Zosera: We need to ensure the legitimacy and integrity of the process.  We need to be able to roughly define some set of guidelines for the practices involved in the process.  Obviously, we cannot account for every contingency, but we should still try and come up with something.  Oh yes, and I also forgot, the perception last night was that our group was very exclusive and alienating.  We need to be more inclusive.


Иосиф: Takes a lot of time, but we should try and collect as much input as possible.

Patrick: We should put this up on the website to collect more people’s visions.

Sati: I like this idea of researching what people want, and looking at a wealth of people’s responses.

Zosera: I also agree that there should have a widespread “visioning” day at the park, to perhaps have different working groups take ten-fifteen minutes on this idea of each group’s vision.

Raul: We should also have a suggestion box.  Perhaps limit five words per vision, and incorporate them.  Just simplify things.

Rich: We have a huge tent here.  We have reformers like me, and some radical revolutionaries like you.

Nancy: Taking this all back to the idea of volunteers gathering this information.  I like the idea of having all these other ideas coming in.  It will make people see that we have been open.

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