GA Minutes Sun Feb 17 2013
Minutes for 17 Feb 2013
Location: Community Church
Time: 4:00 - 6:30pm
Note taker: Steve
We had a debriefing discussion about the last GA
We passed a proposal to terminate our monthly contract with Clear (for wireless hotspots). Clear has pay-as-you-go plans; we'll reactivate the hotspots on an as-needed basis. We'll also take steps to ensure community access to equipment purchased by Occupy Boston.
We passed a proposal to reserve $3000 to cover recurring expenses for the next few months.
We'll dedicate the next GA to a discussion of post-dewey square accomplishments, and what we'd like to do in the future. We'll try to bring in as many working groups as possible.
Approximately 10 attending.
Radio (Sarah). Radio thanks us for the kind help. Now we can pay our rent, and E5 thanks you too. We're taking a hiatus for radio camp, to fix admin, tech, and promotion issues. We invite everyone to a party on Sat 2/23 7-11p at E5. It's an open house, with music, dancing. Get to meet the hosts. Starting on 2/24 for two weeks, we'll be doing a series of workshops on radio, podcast, blogging.
On 2/24 noon-6pm - teach people how to broadcast over the internet, and how to start a radio show. We'll have more workshops during the week, from 7-9pm.
Linda. On Feb 21st, there's an event called Saggy pants is not a crime. Stop criminalizing our youth. Oppose the idea that youth with saggy pants should be arrested for indecent exposure. There are groups of people who are trying to convince police that youth with saggy pants should be arrested. The event's taking place at the Codman Square Health Center, 637 Washington St, Dorchester 2/21. 7pm. There are flyers on the table.
OBIT (Steve). We're cleaning up some of our hosting resources, with the goal of scaling back from a $100/month hosting package to one that's $200/year. We've gone through and disabled some unused web sites. We're planning to go through our list of mailing lists and hosted email accounts, and remove those that aren't being used. A year ago, we had over 1000 visitors/day, and now we have around 150/day. Based on traffic, a more inexpensive package seems to make sense.
(Pause for introductions)
Strike Debt (Rich). Tue 2/26 at Community Church. 6:30 food, 7:00 pm program. George Caffentzis speaking about debt resisters. He's one of the big strike debt people in NYC.
Strike Debt (Rich). We have an event on Sat. April 6th 2-5pm at the Middle East. We have three bands, there should be food, and presentations about debt. We're looking for people to talk about personal experiences with debt. We'll have a lawyer and a Debt Collector talking about what your rights are. There will also be a discussion of next steps, future actions.
Veterans for Peace (Bob). VFP. St. Patricks day parade. March 17th. Line up at D Street and West Broadway. Marshall at 2pm, start marching at 3pm. This year, the police will leave the main barricades up, and the street sweepers will follow us.
This should be the last year with two separate parades. First year we had 500 people, last year we had 2500. We're expecting 3500 this year. We have seven divisions. Show people that we're not going to put up with bigotry and hatred any longer. We have at least two bands, maybe four high schools, a trolley, bread and puppets. Should be a whopper of a time.
Kendra Mass pirates are holding a crypto party at E5 3pm on Feb 23.
Linda. There will be a big AIPAC action in DC on Mar 2-5. There's more information on code pink's web site. See "Five Broken Cameras" (a new documentary) for more on AIPAC.
Debrief of Last General Assembly
We decide to have a debriefing discussion about the last GA.
Kendra. I apologize for the screaming at last GA.
Bob. I realize that there are several people that are still pending trial. Are we still holding onto the funds for the NLG?
Linda. All of the charges were dropped. But we did give the $5611 (remaining legal funds) to the NLG. There are civil actions pending.
Kendra. I talked with Ursula. There are still legal (civil) cases, and NLG still needs money to defend them.
Linda. I think that's a good point. Money was given under one set of circumstances. What does it mean now that set of circumstances have changed? I had a conversation with Ursula about what they have, what they're doing, and what they need for money. They've paid a lot out of their own pockets. I didn't hear any real details when this was presented at our last GA; only broad statements. I think a lot of that was money already spent, and I think they're entitled. They really were ready to go to trial with these cases.
Bob. It wasn't so much a question of money or the legal funds. I had to leave because of the discussion after that.
Carolyn. How do you handle someone that's totally off the wall, like the proposer was. I didn't see any way to reign him in, aside from waiting for his friends to reign him in. I was glad that you did what you did (threatening to women). There were two distressing moments for me. Allie blasted off and walked out. I can't remember what the other thing was. Many people came up to me afterwards, and said this wasn't what they intended. But I think many people came with an agenda, and that agenda was to finish off Occupy Boston.
Linda. I don't think we should target people who aren't here.
Rich. I disagree. They seem happy enough to talk about us when we're not around.
Sara. I do want to speak to the point of having a serious disruption. We have incidents where people are filmed, and sometimes the film doesn't tell the whole story. (A few people were unaware that the last GA was being videotaped, and were surprised by it.) It's the facilitators role to do the best they can. If facilitator can't handle the situation, and we can't help them, then we should end the meeting.
Linda. I got really angry at the end, because I thought that anger was the only thing the proposer would understand. The proposer has done this a number of times. My response was to put up information about One Billion Rising and other events. I felt terrible that that's what it took to stop him. I was glad I was able to meet that sickening energy. We could talk longer about individual dynamics, and things other people could have done differently or better. Part of the facilitator's job should be to keep discussion under control, and people in the room should support the facilitator.
Steve. I wish I had turned my chair around and faced the wall. As an act of protest, when things started getting out of hand.
Bob. I think that's an excellent idea. What I wanted to say, no one ever won anyone to their side through argument. Argument only creates animosity. The more than we can keep hot-headed people under control, the better chance you have at coming to agreement. Once stuff gets out of hand, you won't get anywhere.
Linda. Bullies don't respond well to civility, and we've knuckled under to bullies in other times and places. They've subverted things. I'm glad I did what I did. I would have felt really sad if I did nothing.
Sara. I'm glad you said "bully". People shouldn't be allowed to come in an exhibit bullying behavior. That's why I'm here today.
We have four proposals tonight.
- Kendra. Discontinue hot-spot subscriptions, and return OB equipment that's not being used for Occupy activities.
- Steve. I'd like to have a discussion about elected positions within Occupy Groups.
- Carolyn. Set-aside funds for operating expenses, and low-cost actions.
- Carolyn. Set aside discussion time to evaluate contributions of OB since camp, and to establish future directions. (Most likely a series of several discussions).
We take questions, to see what stays in the bucket.
Question: Where are the hotspots now?
Linda has one. Rene has the rest. Supposedly one is lost.
Question: Are there purposes for these hotspots that this proposal would interfere with?
The hotspots were used for livestreaming, and we haven't done very much of that in last few months. We reactivated some accounts for S17 streaming, but the police were blocking the streams.
I think the equipment should be returned. People are holding equipment, and say that money doesn't matter. If money doesn't matter, then the equipment should be returned.
There was some livestreaming in Chicago (G8?).
In your proposal, would equipment be put into rotation for those who need it?
We have to discuss that. But I'd like to see people have broader access to the equipment. The hotspots are pay-as-you-go. We could easily turn them off, and then reactivate them for events.
Steve. I withdraw my proposal. People have brought more important things for discussion.
Question: How many months were you thinking?
I was thinking of six months, but we did three for radio. I don't have the numbers, and we'd have to fill in the blanks. The idea was to have expense funding for a given number of months.
So, we'd be budgeting, so that we're saving money, in order to have it for actions.
We should always look for ways to cut expenses, in order to have that money for other things, projects that we want to do, etc.
Space rental (for Community Church) is 15 or 30 dollars a meeting (depending on size).
We discuss current monthly expenses, which are (approximately):
- $100/month Mayfirst
- $200/month (clear)
- $45/month quickbooks
- $168/month Extraspace
- $100/month for food during events
- $160/month for meeting space
Roughly $765/month total
Are we trying to clean the storage space out?
Yes. There's enough room in the log house to store everything, and we can do that. We just need to pick a time to move, and then get a few people together to do it.
Perhaps we can donate some of the tents, camping equipment, etc. Perhaps we could put out a call to people to hold onto different items. Or sell certain items.
We intend to pare down the operating budget.
I'd like to take this proposal out of the bucket.
Proposal 3 comes out of the bucket.
(Discussion about Media mac).
Carolyn re-iterates the proposal.
Next GA is the first Tuesday in March, March 5th.
Proposal 4 comes out of the bucket.
Proposal 1 passes in the bucket.
Set aside money for operating expenses and low budget actions
We'll use the discussion process.
Our current monthly expenses are around $765/month. How long can we fund that for?
After the last GA, we had around $3500 left.
I'd propose we set aside $3500 for operating expenses, and future actions. Money collected via hat passing would be added to that amount.
What about petty cash/discretionary kinds of things?
The dollar amount isn't so important, I mainly wanted us to have operating expenses set aside.
I think it's great that we're trying to budget over a period of time.
I'll suggest $3000, plus the amount that's collected by hat passes.
Discussions of Post-Dewey Accomplishments
After the last GA, it seemed like we needed to do two things: (1) to have money for operating expenses, and (2) to be able to speak to what we've done. We need to make a case for ourselves. From there, we can choose to incorporate other things. And it would be good thing to talk about something aside from money.
Yes, it would be good to hear what WG's are doing.
(New Proposal, added by Joe.)
I'd like us to begin a discussion about whether we should begin an effort to raise money. Before we go out of business, we should talk about this. Could be through events, or grants.
Could this synthesize with the next GA? We're not an organization, we're a movement. But money pays the bills.
Series fundraising might be an idea.
I've had some communications with David from Radio, re: the fiscal sponsorship. Radio is interested in fundraising and grants, and they're interested in being able to accept tax deductible contributions.
I talked with Brian miller at UFE. Joe's been working on some of the fiscal sponsorship documents.
It's prep work that would facilitate fundraising.
If we don't fund-raise, what are the expectations that money will magically fall into our laps?
I think we need something more concrete. I'd be happy if we did a temperature check about fundraising. We're just a small group; we can't speak for everyone, but we can speak for ourselves.
I think an abstract proposal isn't that helpful. Having a concrete idea of what someone wants to do would be easier for people to respond to. I'm open to the idea of people just doing it, regardless of whether the GA vets it.
Maybe a fundraising working group?
Sure. We've had every other kind of working group.
I have a preference for growth by attraction, rather than growth by promotion. It's a different philosophy. It's a principle of 12-step programs, if growth by attraction. People like to see progress.
Occupation was alive at the encampments. It spoke to a lot of people, and money poured in at around the rate of $1000/day.
(Note taker misses part of this discussion).
GA ends at around 6:30 pm.