WG/Strategies/Anti-Oppression/Minutes/Nov 5 2011

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Anti-Oppression Home

Anti-Oppression Working Group

November 5, 2011

5:00-7:30pm  Encuentro5


  • Check in
  • Intro
  • Choosing direction
  • Pair/share
  • Come back (revise focus groups)
  • Breakout into focus groups
  • Report back
  • Oops, ouches and celebration
  • Next meeting


  1. Check in – name and number for how you’re feeling on a scale of 1 – 10
  2. Brief review of ground rules
    1. Step up/step back
    2. Both/and
    3. Don’t shame, blame, or attack
    4. Room for disagreement  - oops, ouch, what’s up with that
    5. Can use hand signals
    6. Use I statements  - speak for yourself
    7. Active listening
    8. Progressive stack
    9. Give 30 seconds for people to think ever 20 minutes
    10. Diversity of structuring meeting so that different learning and thinking styles have space in the meeting
  3. Intro
  4. Past meetings have held tension between long term vision and immediate action.  Focus groups proposed:
    1. Long term
    2. Near term
    3. Group self care
    4. Others
  5. Share with person next to you – how does it sound?  Is there a group missing?
  6. Reflections on focus group ideas:
    1. In earlier meeting idea was that this would be a meta group responding to needs of other working groups, within the encampment and Occupy Boston, not that we’d have our own separate long term and short term goals. Wanted to bring the memory of this, without being wedded to it.  In past meetings have had space for reports from other working groups. 
    2. Zoe – response – the working group check ins have taken the majority of the meetings in the past, and we’ve lost people and energy as the meetings went on.  The report backs are important.  This agenda is structured as part of her wanting outcomes. 
    3. Bhavin – we can also a lot time on the agenda to talk about working group report backs.  Susie – we need some way of getting what’s happening on the ground at OB into what’s happening here. 
    4. Perhaps it could be a separate working group.
    5. Unclear if breakout group would be the best way.
    6. People who have important information can bring that info to the focus group their in.
    7. Assembly idea has a different status than the other focus groups.   Assembly is powerful idea and would like to have on the floor before we break out.  Explanation of general assembly idea – perhaps it shouldn’t be called this – perhaps freedom assembly – use names of what we’re for not what we’re against.  Get groups of traditionally oppressed people and allies to talk about a structure to approach things in the future.  There are a LOT of working groups targeting different forms of oppression.  Having a concerted direction and hearing the ideas of the different groups would be fascinating. There are 7 different groups.  Ally ones are predominantly white and male bodied.  Katie – transparency meeting is talking about bringing together offsite and on site groups.  Would love to have this group be related to working groups but also and with individuals who are onsite but not in working groups.  Something to be aware of.
      1. Lot of interest around the idea; let’s have a focus group on it.
      2. Clarifying question: it fits into long term/near term?
      3. Danielle from immigration forum asked for assistance; this is example of near term, other needs expressed by folks on camp. 
      4. Rename the near/long term by what is going to be talked about in them. Narrow focus groups?
      5. Let’s just try with the focus groups as they are; modify as needed.  30 min

Reports Back from Focus groups

  1. Long term group: Our work is to contextualize Occupy Boston, in the history of movements, as well as what people on the ground are saying where they think they are and the history that are creating.  Making a way of talking about it with anti oppression language.
    1. How we think different short term actions should happen. We want to see things that are responsive.
    2. Want work to be proactive, have own analysis, not be waiting to hear.
    3. Want our work to be reflective.
    4. Responsive, proactive, and reflective.  This framework could be modeled in other working groups. 
    5. The assumption that an anti-oppression group is to make the space ‘look’ more diverse is limiting and not accurate.
    6. When you set up the program, you set up structures that are institutionalized and less inclusive.
    7. Our actions, responsive and proactive, need to be diversified. Not assuming all of our actions are around a frame of education.  Modeling, coalition development, etc..,
    8. Opposing the idea of Occupy exceptionalism – The idea that occupies are unique and a new thing.  Though there are emergent ways of organizing coming out of the space, it’s not above reflection and critique, and it’s not an exception to other forms.  It’s not exceptionally unique.
    9. We have a NEED for elders to help us contextualize this work!
      1. Angelee - Ideas about how to do it more, for another time
  2. SHORT TERM report back
    1. How do we fit ourselves into an Occupy Boston Summit that might be in the works?
    2. There’s a need for immediate work: participating in existing working groups and at camp.  Priorities: direct action, security, and facilitation.  Idea of having buddies or affinity groups for doing this or other things.   Angela: formation of onsite women’s campers caucus – looking for presence from folks.   (Also, women’s caucus is forming a women’s only tent – duplicative?)
      1. There’s a power basis in some key groups. 
      2. Desire to identify what groups we’re already in, and what groups we can be in .
      3. Immigration reached out to us; need to be responsive.
    3. Idea of having a freedom assembly/summit.
    4. Acknowledgement of tension between on camp/off camp, and of race/class tensions on site that need help.

Time check – it’s 7:00

  1. Can we support the immigration group?
    1. Email drafted; Ester can send it on behalf of the group.   [Was this decided?  Unclear]
  2. Who can do what???
    1. Can’t sign up yet; need to know more about when groups are meeting, and to check in with potential buddy about how to step in to it.  Possible that a group of interest meets at a time that can’t go to.
    2. What groups are we already involved, or willing to.    Attending, meaning – have attended in the last 2 weeks.
    3. Concern about mental framework of ‘teaching’ working groups; response that that’s there are different ways, and it’s not about ‘teaching,’ it’s about joining, understanding the culture.  People from these groups have asked to be in them. 

Existing groups we know of, and who is part of the various groups?  (Part of a group is defined as having been to a meeting in the last 2 weeks)

  • Facilitation – Angela, Maureen
  • Food – Susi   (note, doesn’t have a mtg, but needs it)
  • Free school
  • Logistics
  • Multi media
  • Media – meets Wed 11/9 at 7:00
  • Finance
  • IT
  • Outreach – ester, Katie, Bergey, Susan
  • Volunteers
  • Winterization - Bergey
  • Direct Action
  • Ideas – angela
  • Occupy Boston Globe
  • Signs
  • Speakers
  • Spirituality
  • Safety – every weekday @ 4:00
  • Energy - Bergey
  • Legal – Ester, Chris, Carl
  • Transparency - Angela
  • Strategy (SPP) - Susi
  • Social - Maureen
  • Women’s Campers - Angela
  • Library – Susie H
  • Immigration – Ester, Lisa, Susan  (note, hasn’t met yet, but folks are active in Ocupemos el barrio)
  • POC – Bhavin, Chris, Carl
  • Queer Trans – Angela, CB
  • Women’s Caucus – Susie H, Angela, Ester, Maureen, Katie, Susan
  • Expansion
  • Students
  • Community Orgs
  • Community Wellness/mediation
  • Medics

Who can facilitate next time?  - Ester.    Lisa will check schedule.   

Who can find an alternative space?   - Bhavin

Can someone send out an email to the group saying meeting is next Saturday 5 – 7:30?