Future of Occupy

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People's Assembly on the Future of Occupy

June 1, 2012

Livestream footage here

Meeting Notes:

Begins at Group report backs around 7:45.

Group 1: spoke a lot about what we love about occupy.  What we love is that we have the audacity to yell about our ideas, to take over space, and reimagine ur mode of interaction.  We wish we could become a mass movement for resistant to oppression.
We could have an anti war analysis, Econ analysis, addressing reoccupation, addressing demands, exercising our people authority and people power, being better at clear, concise, communication, direct action opportunities.
3 people being charged with terrorism in solitary with bail of a million.  When we had arrests in Boston we did jail solidarity and ailed them out, so we talked about how to bring attention to this important issue.

Group 2, Jamie reporter.
We talked about having more of a physical presene, some felt that Dewey would be unfeasible, but bank sleepovers coordinated in the same night, or even having info tables to recruit people and get the info out, the message about occupy, stuff to attract people like water.  Also to have a campaign to appeal to people.  And another idea was to rebuild the community to what it wS so that we have the presene of people, occupiers interacting daily.  So along those lines we have a semi occupation every Saturday for freedom of thought, a space for freedom to gather, teaching people to fish instead of giving them fish.

Allie interjects: it's important to twinkle rather than clapping because applause silences people.  Please twinkle.

Group 3, mike Kostigen.

We talked about cool stuff.  We talked about two way community conduits where we go to communities and creating a spae for them to come to us.  We need a space.  We need to be anti oppressive.  Focus on action.  Being involved in community efforts, figuring out what our focus in Boston should be.  In Dewey we focused on a national symbol, let's focus on sthg that is a Boston symbol.

Group 4, Lisa.  20 people in her group.
Ppl were positive and felt like this was a lull, felt that we chose to be leaderless and everyone is responsible and should be empowered to be leaders.  Question about work groups and affinity groups.  Need one or several main focuses to help rally everyone and help us do outreach.  Ppl felt it was important to have good relations with community groups and respet their wisdom and work with them and partner.  Mostly a focus not on reoccupation but maybe flying reoccupations, an afternoon in a spot or outreach on the T.  That's it.

Group 5, Dan.
Our group started sad.  We used these words.  Uncertain, passing, dispersed, ebbs, fear, disappointed.  Now no more sad.  Because there were happy ideas.  We talked about outreach and the need to connect with each other and find existing orgs that hae infrastructure built up...we saw this with the T fight.  Thousands of people came out.  We discussed the changes sine the fall.  Occupy got press as a form of street theater.  So now we need t o decide whether we want more street theater or more grassroots.  Do we always need press? Some discussion about focusing on big single actions.  Many ppl will come out for big actions, many people aren't sure which action IS the big action.  Clear commas to outside world is necessary.  Lastly engaging who we want to engage.  We talked about who we want to engage, we previously engaged the homeless population and activated them and got them engaged in real work.  People need that.

Group member adds: egarding the medias and how they look at us, they are putting whatever spin they want on us.  That's being broadcast and misunderstood.  And we're getting the wrong idea about our own selves.  We need to take the helm of our own message and make sure they get it right.

Auditor: create our own media.

Group 5: Daniel Chavez reporting only half the group got to talk.
We lost some visibility.  Used the word fractured a lot, too much faction infighting,  not open and outward enough, too much focus with our insular community and wgs.  We also recognize that we have had some exhilarating successes, and the movement nationally has had some great successes.  And there are OB groups reaching out to community orgs.  Long term is important, occupy has always been an amorphous group of people talking about what they are angry about and what they want to change.  The media, conspiring to ignore us,  trying to make the amazing beautiful and militant people here invisible.  So we shouldn't be afraid, we shouldn't close our hearts to different people, ideas, and immunities.  In the short term a lot of people said we should be doing engaging, attn grabbing events, not just marches.  We should call out and protest 1% institutions with targeted fun and big actions.  Need masses of people in streets to protest together against business as usual and stand up and fight back,  in the long term we are in for a long summer.  Remember tahrir took 10 years.  We should continue to protest but also continue to build an altnative society.  Neighborhood canvassing.  Model enter world with community actions like gardens an participatory budgeting.  Ideals of mutual aid nd egalitarianism that we are founded on.  Struggle against elite domination is a long term struggle but we are in it for the long run.

Theresa facilitator: how do we feel about what just happened? Proposed next step: two more breakout sessions.  First to do long term goals.  The second, short term goals.

Why not both at once? Asks joe r.

Terra, strategic planner, responds that you need to do them separately.  To determiner short term you need long term.  To determine tactics you need short terms.  Long term goals should be easy to determine,  if we spend a short amt of time on that and do it short term goals should be easier.  Bc we will then be able to ask whether our short term goals are part of our long term goals and if not we can drop them out.  Also when you get to tactics, if tactics don't apply to short term and then long term goals, don't talk about them, it makes it easier.

Temp check on this suggestion.

Allie: I want to point out...i don't want to get stuck into a particular conception of how to move forward bc I think what is beautiful is spontaneously generating actions.  But I still want to move forward so this isn't a block.

Person: can we go over what else may be on he agenda tonight?

Theresa fac: there is no agenda.  We need to figure out together what the agenda is as we go.

Joe R. my concern about two breakouts instead of one is that some ppl who are here now might leave before the second, so my cq is not for he facilitator but for you.  I am planning to stay all night as long as it takes.  How many of you are staying for at least another hour.

Ariel is going to go through gender pronouns.

Ariel.  I'm just going to remind everyone we should be cognizant about respecting the pronouns people choose.  I choose female pronouns.  Wen talking to someone else you may want to ask rather than assuming they match their body gender.

Linda: I share allies concern about breaking out into small groups.

(conversations requested to shut up)

Linda. That in fact illustrates part of my concern.  We are used to small groups.  That's about the only way we are together these days.  I would really like to have a conversation and hear everybody who is here.  And really ask for people not to have side conversations or if they are going to have them go far far away.

Theresa fac.  There is no agenda.  We can do breakouts, we can have a stack where people who want to speak can come up and say what they need to say.  Does anyone else have alternatie suggestions?

Rene.  Temp check on a stack and if that doesn't go well then check small groups?

Fac calls for temp check.

Temp checking procedural options.

Concern. Allison.  We already experienced disappointment abut not being able to speak.  So my concern is if we stay in one large group we really can't give everyone here an opportunity to speak because we will quickly run out of time. And for people to feel an opportunity to participate, breaking int osmall groups to speak might be a good thing.

POI. (Joe?) If we break int osmall groups no one gets to speak to everyone.

Terra has an idea.  We do the small groups and have a dissenters line, if you feel like your spokesperson doesn't include your voice you get in the dissenters line.

Who wants to says thing tonight...show of hands?

Theresa: what if we break out and also form an individual stack?

What I'm hearing is we need breakouts.

Theresa: most positive temp check we have ha has been on setting up individual stack.  Therefore I propose we start a stack and if at some point we think reakouts are needed we can make that decision at that point.

Temp check is positive.

Procedures are happening.

Theresa: I'm really really excited about this meeting and I appreciate your patience as we work it out.


Hans: short term tactics for summer, it's important to get s large group to form theatrical actions for summer, both positive and also as we discussed in a way that will call out 1%ers.  I propose get into group's and start planning these actions and promoting them.

Allie: I think when I heard report backs...we need something to converge and coalesce around,  but I think we need an intentional method to make decisions about what we coalesce around.  So there's the problem about people coming out to decide on big actions...GA existed but wasn't perceived as a place to make decisions about actions.  I also think we need to make decisions about intentionality around anti oppression.  Speaking up here is a privileged position for me...we need intentionality in how we go about things.  Breakout groups are part of that.  We need to keep an intentional framework in mind.

Terra: I will not be happy until healthy food water and air are a right, basic shelter and education is a right, basic education.  Need to get rid of corporate person hood and need caps on executive salaries.

Joe: we are the 99% was powerful.  There are differ interpretations of this.  People are arguing for more tax fairness.  The long term goal I want is that there is no one percent, that we make that structurally impossible.  We need to abolish and get beyond capitalism.  I'd like us to get more Lear about system change.  Want to overthrow this economic system.  Long range goal for me.  Means not .... Strategic implication of anti capitalism and government overthrow vs reform.  Need to mobilize people who have enough at stake that they come with us.

Mike Kostigen : as your friendly neighborhood anarchist I feel like I need to pound the drum of building communities to take care of one another.  And I along the way we can smash the state, cool.

Mike T: long term goals of occupy are vague but we should work toward them, more free and egalitarian and just society, I will be satisfied if we hae that.  How is moe complicated.  I think we need economic reform, not so much political reform.  Need prevent elite minority from controlling the means of production.  Should work with organized labor...unions, collectives, worker coops.  Move our money days have moved dollars from big banks into credit unions, we should do that, and we need to moe a direction where workers can have control over their productive lives.  Govt corruption and govt itself is a symptom of a disease, the mode of production we are currently employing.

Noah: I think we need to get organized.  GAs are fantastic and Weser in Quebec how they're powerful.  They voted to strike usin horizontal democracy and that's fregging great.  But if we need to get stuff done we need affinity groups, I like affinity groups, we need to get things done.  We have a big task in bringing down the state and capitalism.  So this summer we have a global struggle against austerity, in Boston this needs to congeal.  June 16 rally against austerity in all its forms.  July 1 MBta fare increases...organize resistance.  Sept 17, one year OWS. Organize massive caravan, actually occupy wall street.  Get organized, dig in, don't fall victim to lazy liberal thinking.

Theresa fac: Dewey square grass! (literal grass)

Hermes: from OWS visiting.  I just need to say that the future of occupy is very bright.  Lots we do not know because the occupy movement is deep, the are many layers and some of us do not know, so we need to know it. Based on this knowledge we will know the right thing to do so let's get informed.  But this cannot be said in public.  I was here two weeks t eying to get in touch with you and am going back tomorrow.  Get informed about occupy in all it's dept.  the future is bright, the victory is ours, stay tuned.

Nicole.  My long term goal with occupy is to destroy the systems around us and build up new ones.  One of the amazing things occupy showed me is that these disparate movements from labor to feminism to economics can converge into one cause the struggle is one.  Part of my long term goal is to unite these further,  occupy falls into a trap of being focused solely on these key issues.  But...you can't assume that corporate personhood and strengthening the middle class are things I care about.  My short term goals are to create a movement that principles include all of us and include room for all these analyses and act on these to bring actions that benefit us all.

Morbid.  Many of you know my goals since i started are to make sure the word never leaves anyone behind again.  The world itself is a beautiful place and we need to prove that we don't have to leave anyone behind.  Everyone has a purpose and everyone is an equal.  And the thing is we need to carry the worlds burdens s our own and ring up everyone by creating true equality for all.  And by doing that we state that no one and nothing is left behind which means capitalism can never work.  So we carry each other and we bring this beautiful movement into sight.

Doug. I remember once the truth you could only whisper because no one wanted to hear,  it's deeper than the fed or corporate personhood.  We proclaim a truth through occupy that the system is sick and in reformable.  Wars.  Aid to apartheid govts.  (not using mic check,  so fast!) capitalism is built on the labor of us who enrich the 1%, and it cannot be reformed, it must be destroyed.  That is what I am fighting for.

Lisa.  I'm goal oriented and we were supposed to talk about long term goals that we could organize on.  Overturning citizens united, maybe do it from the state up.  Anti militarism focus.  General toning down of military structure and it's economy.  Better distribution of resources.  Getting people's voices heard.

Angela. Last night I promised not to say anything tonight.  I feel compelled for the same reasons I usually do.  As I was sitting here wondering why I was feeling so uncomfortable someone I have known through occupy since the start whisper in my ear and said "one of my goals is that the number of women and poc is equal to the number of white men." and I said that back in Dewey.  We're not doing anything wrong.  But for those of us where liberation politics and anti oppression are important I keep not hearing us. I saw more people of color in my small group than I've seen in six months o occupy.  Let's stop for a moment and decide how we are going to change this shit as part of what we are doing.

Jose. Long term goal.  I am hearing people wanting change in the system.  Six months ago...minimum wage needs to be 15 dollars per hour, it's a shame that people are working for 7 dollars per hour, need to raise it so we can get justice.  And if we can do this...occupy a park.  I am inspired for you and I want you to think that this is our chance, this is our time, and it is a shame for many people who should be here.  I heard a long time ago I have a dream but I don't see black and Latino people here.  I know immigration is going too make more race and we the occupy movement can be the only voice for these people.

Theresa: temp check, we're about halfway through stack and we have been doing this for about 45 minutes.  Tmp check on continuing this.

People are not participating in the temp check.

Suggestion by Karissa to close the stack for long term and break into groups for short term.

Were going to be strict on time, 60 seconds per.

John Ford.  We have talked about how the system is fucked up and bs and how fucked up are we as a society and as individuals.  Why is it mostly white men? What are we doing wrong, what is society doing wrong, and how can we change it, bc otherwise we are just begging the system to change and tell us how to be. We need to create the New institutions, food coop, free library.  Engage each other and change each other rather than trying to change the system.

Mark Rizzo.  These movements take a lot of time and we are not a culture that values direct action, but Americans have a beautiful history of da.  We aren't given the eight hour day an weekends by congress, we went out and fought for it through resistance in the streets.  That is the people's power.  Tis is something that occupy has shown me is powerful again.  Making big large statements.

Linda.  One long term goal not yet addressed is that I would like to see OB make the children our primary focus,  they are the ones if things are going well for them it will go well for all of us.  Children's march.  Way to bring together ppl from all walks of life and all neighborhoods.  I hope we can become a community where we treat each other how we would treat a child.  Listen deeply.  Airtime is a non renewable resource.  White men need to step bak an identify allies to nurture as leaders in our community.

Drake. During occupy there has been state repression of any attempt at resistance or revolutionary thinking and I hope that can be a point to build authority in the 99%. Prison industrial complex, immigration.  I hope we can think...2.3 mil locked up, the results of incarceration, incl denial of rights and services we are otherwise talking about like housing and employment and education.

Karissa.  There is a lot of talk about systems. And what really is happening is that there are many systems...political, Economic, prison.  These are symptoms of a more fundamental problem, nobody feels represented by our govt.  we can say that to people and they believe us.  Congress is ate remarkable 15% low.  Ideas, rev of ideas, ideas change things.

Rita. I'm happy we are planning.  This is an opportunity. global movement.  Long term I want to see global action and solidarity and communication.v we need to interact with live steam, show them we are marching with them.  Partner.  World social forum, occupy it.  Can occupy everywhere.  That number and solidarity is what is going to make the change.  We need to partner domestically, indigenous nations and communities of color.  Stand with people protecting forests.  Need to make it loud. Petition sites.  Long term goal needs to develop our solidarity.

Jamie: I take it that some members of the assembly feel that all forms of power are bad and that it is best to haven equal society.  But I argue that is not the goal. There are some forms of hierarchy, accountable to the people they are meant to serve, can be useful and necessary.  General assembly would not work for running a power plant bc doesn't have the decision making it needs.  Goal of a social democratic state like western Europe.  Universal fits of healthcare, food, shelter, meaningful employment, education, living social wage guaranteed.

Theresa on stack. My long term goal mic checking.  That human beings remember what it is to be a human being. To figure out where food comes from, and how corporations have messed that all up.  Goal that we learn to relate to one another despite our differences which we currently allow to divide us,  we need to be open to all ideas and perspectives and listen to people we don't like and don't agree with and increase our understanding.

Rene. Raise your hand if you were at Dewey. Raise you r hand if you never were (three ppl). Piece of advice.  A pen and a pad of paper and like write stuff down.  Look at the person next to you, see how beautiful they are.  Write their number down.  Ge some coffee and find people you identify with.  And the goal. Change ourselves in regards to this,  social vice of greed that has plagued humanity, and the most clever sociopaths get to run the world.  And it begins with changing ourselves.

No mic chek.

Dana.  Long term sustainability important to take care of each other.  We are getting burned out.  Moral outrage and anger too much.  Another motive is love.  For us to be sustainable we need to take care of each other and not talk shit on twitter.

Brian b and sage.
Brian. I've been with OB since October and we have said he same things over again, long term goal of creating a new society using new food growing tech, shelters, different ways of living.  We can make our own society to come. As they other one falls.
Sage. Human beings living up to what we can really be.  Native Americans and different ways of thinking of land ownership and relating to each other, seeing trinkets colonists gave them and laughing.
Swarming occupation.  Built a prototype occupod.  Get excited about this, tilt now it's Just us in our driveways.  Swarming, more flexible.r like bees, whatever. You can live inside the occupod as well. Let's escape our stupid modernity.

Katherine. Hi! We have four or fewer years to curb our carbon before we are locked into catastrophic changes, floods, droughts, etc, worse than what we are already seeing.  This is a social justice issue because people who are losing their homes and are at greatest risk are the people who are most economically vulnerable.  How to divest from our entanglement with fossil fuel and inest in our local economies.  Solar power.  Windmills.  Coops.

Joe C. A goal for occupy.  To take steps toward becoming a powerful mass movement like we saw in other countries.  I would like to come to occupy meetings where people have never been to Dewey, where they heard he message. We can't do anything until we get a fucklot bigger. A very concrete issue is unemployment,  I'm a history teacher and there are unemployment marches in the late 19th century, something we could do.

Stack is done!

Theresa fac: now we will break into small group of 10-12 people.

Terra suggests 6-8.

No voting on this, 6-8 people.

Temp check on 20 minutes.

Breakouts: short term goals.

(some process discussion)

Theresa fac: goal is to come up with short term goals.  Do we want tactics too?

Allie: we need next steps!  Can we come to consensus on at least one next step?

This is presented for temp check.

There are problems temp checking because people are talking together in little pairs and groups informally.

Temp check is positive and we go into small groups.

It's 9:36 and people are now in groups.

It's 10:02

Danny reporting for group 1:
Improve our decision making methods, bring traditionally disenfranchised people out who might be alienated or intimidated, have a once monthly event, recruit, actions with measurable outcomes, sharpen our message and narrative, come up with more focused anti oppressive tactics, reopening physical occupation, collabs with local groups, events focused on new people.

Steve reporting:
Central location, daytime thing, don't have to worry about police harassment bc it's a daytime thing, same spot every day all day, other ideas include roving locations, skill sharing, recognizable uniform so we look like an army

Joe r reporting: our group had ideas like guerilla information, pastin an pestering, visible catchy signs, promoting information about wealth inequality.  Proposal in last couple minutes, vowed that we would lead this action, a weekly outreach party, weekend afternoon outreach spanning across the city.  Creative guerilla outreach, old fashioned door knocking, getting people's concerns, back to basics organizing, do it in teams with social quality. Start ASAP.

John Murphy reporting: need a 24/7 legal physical presence.  Should b here 7 a til 11 pm.  Should have a regular time when they can come and see occupis and share resources, food and clothes and books, Saturday occupations 12-6 on Boston common.  Meant to start tomorrow but won't.  Come here, bring a blanket and let the numbers grow.

Eden reporting: quite a few outlying occupiers who talked about communication, calendar needs used, those kinds of things like what murph is talking about will need to be on the calendar.  Long term actions too, sept 17, sept 30. Action planning.  Website that is more interactive.  One monthly highly promoted thing.  Clean up, calendar, what working groups are really happening.  How do occupy Quincy, occupyhingham, etc find us?

That's all for report backs.

Allie proposes: nobody 2012 campaign, voting for nobody.  Persuade people to reject existing system. Like campaign posters.

Person proposes: lots of people have scheduled a r regularly scheduled gathering,

Nelson: start daytime occupation here every Saturday (or every day?), beginning next Saturday.

Rene: anyone who isn't normally doing this stuff raise your hand and say you will get the word out

Theresa: proposes spending a day making a yearlong strategic plan.

Dana: there is an actual action planning, targeting banks, meets weds at 6:30 in Copley.  (describes options for planning, incl bread and puppet theater)

Yes, we are taking notes!

Theresa: proposal to start occupation nextsatuday...

Oh, but it's pride!

Proposed: Next Sunday, a daytime occupation begins on Boston common.  Every day.  At least one person.

Joe: group commitment to once weekly, rather than one daily?

Is it oppressive and non inclusive?

(this is being discussed)

Person: observation: why didn't we talk about this once a week idea EARLIER? Lots of people are already gone,  this is frustrating,

Allie: this process has been flying by the seat of our pants, we tried to not use usual GA process because we think maybe it alienates people.  We had these high level conversations and now people feel pressured to make a decision now, and we don't yet need to make that decision.  I wouldn't feel like any proposal would feel like consensus, I think we need to talk about the movement.  We need to have a meeting debriefing this meeting too.

Eden: come to saa at Sunday at 5.

Terra: let's adjourn and--

Mike k. As the person to call for this the idea was for this to be the first of several meetings, talk about the debates.  Nelson and my proposal...come back next Friday at 7pm and lets discuss this again.

Allie: another night other than Friday?

Joe: continuity is allowed if we do it the same day as this week.

Mike: does Thursday work for people?

Person: Friday! (can't hear)

Mike: temp check on Friday? We can also make a plan for Sunday reoccupation.

Person: publicize this shit!

Mike: Friday at 7! Next Sunday all day while we are here beginning at 11!

You all rock! It's 10:40.

Announcements will not be transcribed.

Strategic Planning Notes June 1