GA Minutes Mon Oct 17 2011

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GA Mon Oct 17th 2011 Evening



-GA ratifies Tech Working Group (OBIT)'s proposal towards security measure:

"For both security and political reasons, the Occupy Boston Information Technology (OBIT) Working Group proposes that all working groups move off of Google Groups and onto mailing lists hosted by May First/People Link. In addition, and for the same reasons, we propose using our own domain——for working-group email addresses. This transfer should occur by November 1, with training and support supplied by OBIT."

-Finance Working Group announces formation of the Finance Accountability Group, meetings open to all
-Noam Chomsky will speak on Wednesday Oct 19 at 6:15 before GA.
-Direct Action in planning for an event on National Police Brutality Day, Saturday.
-Free School University events (see their events calendar on
-Labor event [needs to be edited]
-Individual Proposal of a "Declaration of Occupation" presented to GA, retracted for further work.
--Individual Proposal Roadmap to Horizontal Democracy and Economic Justice.

Detailed Minutes

Noah: The agenda is as follows -- working announcements, individual announcements, Working Group proposals, individual proposals.

Facilitators – Noah and Alison

Stack - Dan

Process Monitor – Anastasia

Site Monitor – Mike

Floor aides – Michele,

Timekeeper – somebody in GA

New process tonight: everybody in GA facilitates. Pair off after every proposal and discuss, do you have a 1)Clarifying question, 2) point of process, 3)point of information, 4)strong support, 5)friendly amendment, 6)objection/concern, 7)block.

Alison: [reads Facilitation’s new statement]

Noah: proposals (Working and Individuals) need to be written. If there is a conflict, please all diffuse it together – no contact, but please be there, in the space, to diffuse risk of physical confrontation. Our core value is to be peaceful. [goes over hand signals] Join the online discussion, email us at

Food (Dan): volunteer, if you are living here, sleeping here, help us out. Go to restaurants outside the Tent City and ask them to donate cooked food.

Finance (Erik): We have great news. OB has raised over 30,000. With all of that money, we must make sure that all that money is accounted for and expenditures are transparent. That is why the Financial Accountability Group has been formed. This group is not here to decide how money is spent, that’s for GA. In the interest of transparency and accountability, the FAG will be opening a credit union account tomorrow. This will make sure that OB-raised money is secure. One more announcement: Financial Accountability Group is open to all individuals. We will conduct our meetings in a fishbowl format, so that they run efficiently.

Bee: a fishbowl meeting operates this way: there’s an inner circle at which the meeting is made. Second circle: listeners of the inner circle. The inner circ operates meeting, outside circle listens and voices concerns and questions at a time determined by inner circ. It’s not a decision-making body. We suggest that other groups adopt this format.

Labor (Jason): Boycotting workshop. Unite Here effectively boycotted their employer for 20million dollars. Attend this first event of a series. Next week we will talk about how to organize your workplace.

Ideas (Monica): we have a notepad in the library for your brainstormed ideas about what are our core values, that we all agree on. You can email And use

Free Speech University (Joe): Noam Chomsky will be speaking Wednesday at 6:15 here before GA. Gary Luke from Tufts U is coming on Thursday at 6pm. Vijay Prashad, The People’s History of the Third World – Sunday 3:30 in the park. is our website, all events are there. We also welcome your ideas for speakers, if

Manchester Occupy is asking for solidarity and support, if you’re near

Organizational Structures: We’re having a meeting at 9pm on organizational structure at the Media tent. So if you are very experienced on horizontal democracy, we need you. We need you experienced types.

Free School University (Eden): Our huge orange board lists the events we are having. [link to F School events]. We are working on a website, if anybody wants to add educational content available to all occupys in the country, please see me (Eden)

Direct Action (Skeet): This Saturday is national police brutality day. In light of that day and the context of this movement with evictions happening, etc, we are going to go on an all-out show of solidarity. We’ll hammer out the details soon and put it up on Facebook and Twitter.

FSU (Danielle): [see Free School University page on]

Individual Announcements

Person: I’m looking for a group of people to talk to about an open house here.


Noah: goes over the new protocol (see Noah’s intro)

Cq: this means we will set aside 3-5 after every proposal?


Cq: is the end goal to consent to a message? What is the point of these proposals?

Noah: proposals for logistics of the camp are for morning GAs.

OccupyBoston IT: we are OBIT. Our proposal is, for both security and political reasons, OBIT proposes that all working groups move off google groups and onto Mayfirst/People Link. In additional we propose using our email hosted from, OBIT will guide everybody through doing this. We hope these moves will happen by Nov 1.

Discussion 3-5 minutes.

Cq: how is this system more secure than a google group.

OBIT: If for some reason there was a government seizure and request for the data, it would take them 6 months to 6 years to decrypt everything [??unclear]. Mayfirst would never shut down our site, we don’t know what google would do, but we know what happened with wikileaks – the entire domain was shut down by the major domain server.

Cq: Could someone clarify what the google groups are being used for presently

OBIT: I know that I’m on the legal team also, and we use it for internal communication between ourselves. We would work with each working group to move them to Mayfirst.

OBIT: is the oldest web organization in the country, they have a long history of working with labor unions and progressive organizations.

Cq: will this work with a calendar, as good as google’s?

OBIT: this is not a call to use a different calendar…

Cq: if gmail users interact with doesn’t that defeat the purpose of security?

OBIT: it makes it more difficult for government. We will do a teach-in with Free School or Free Speech School.

Point of fact: google does a lot of data lining and then uses it to sell you things, and then that money goes to fewer people than contributing

Point of fact: google sponsored the republican debates.

Point of fact: Marlboro sponsors lots of things, and nobody up there will tell you what those are.

[No Strong objections]

Amendment 1: I suggest that we see more screen shots and demonstration versions of the new proposed application. I am concerned about the degree of efficiency with the proposal, I want proof that it works.

Amendment 2: would it be possible for working groups to communicate with google groups and for a transition time, so as not to lose subscribers.

Noah: now they will take time to reconsider and re-propose. Let’s sing a song or something.

[Somebody comes up to the mike and sings a song in Spanish, people’s-mike-style.]

OBIT: we’re going to keep the proposal as it is now. We’ll work on the transitional time before Nov 1. We’re also asking for female members! Let me restate the proposal [reads]

Block: I don’t like blocking, but I think this is important. We need to be able to communicate rapidly at occupy boston, I don’t know yet, we don’t know yet, how well the mayfirst addresses work on mobile platform. We don’t know how fast they are compared to google. We don’t know how well they integrate with calendar, twitter, youtube, wordpress and other stuff we use. We want to be able to communicate quickly in the event of another situation like evening of Columbus Day.

Noah: we should give them a chance to respond.

OBIT: [starts… to]

Anastasia: no, no responses. We’re going to take statements if this is a principled block. A principled block is not a strong objection or a concern. It’s a question of whether we would leave the movement if this happens. But we are going to vote on whether

Greg: Anastasia it’s my understanding that 10% needs to agree whether this is a principled block.

Noah: we did not have a principled block, so we don’t have to do the 10% consensus.

Logistics (Renee): the info tent was a structure that we built and the greenway isn’t cool with it. Personally, I think we could do better, so we’ve come to agreement with the Greenway that if we buy a garage tent, it will be better, more structurally sound. We need approval for an unspecified amount for this tent. 600-700. That’s the proposal.

OBIT: I don’t know what will happen

Cq: do you understand why the Greenway wants this structure to come down when there are so many other structures here?

OBIT: not sure, there are others pissed off about it. It’s possibly a safety concern – police, city, etc.

Cq: [missed it]

OBIT; that was a dialogue that happened earlier today and we came up with this solution and it’s cool.

Cq: did you get it in writing?

OBIT: no

CQ: what is to prevent them from using this as a way of challenging other structures?

OBIT: that’s a good concern in general. But this is a pressing one, we need to do something by noon.

Cq: are we sure that this is coming from Greenway?

OBIT: yes.

CQ: What if we didn’t do this?

OBIT: The only thing I can guess is that we would compromise the entire camp, if this were to happen.

Cq: what prompted the thing to be built in the first place.

OBIT: as far as I know, it was just built, which is pretty cool.

CQ: is there any other ground, besides security or safety?

OBIT: it’s going exactly where the tent is now.

CQ: can logistics do without a tent?

OBIT: it’s info’s

CQ: how come we have to spend so much money?

OBIT: I’m here on behalf of the info table as well. Their needs are for a large tent. I can’t say more.

CQ: if we are going to spend so much money, can we make sure to winterize it?

OBIT: absolutely. We don’t know exactly how much we have to spend, but not as much as 700. It would be easier to insulate this commercialized tent than any other.

CQ: What size?

OBIT: Currently the info tent is 15x16, something around there.

Objection 1: I object to any organization dictating how we run our occupation. If we could get something in writing, that would create a basis. Otherwise it seems like an empty threat and we shouldn’t be in the habit of consenting to what outside organizations say just because they are angry.

Objection 2: [there is a reiteration…]

Noah: we are not taking reiterations, only differing statements please, for the sake of time.

Support: there are times when it is reasonable to take outside advice, and I think the goodwill will be well-worth the 700.

Support 2: I think that a big tent that is structurally sound will attract outsiders and inform even more people

Support 3: I want just everyone to remember we need to pick our battles.

Support 4: I spent two weeks in NY. This is my second GA in Boston. I was really surprised to see tents. Our information booth is an umbrella that is not water-proof.

Support 5: I support this and I think the record of this meeting will hold the city accountable.

Support 6: I support this, but we should do it on our timeline, not there.

Support 7: I expect that the Finance Working Group will be able to keep everything transparent.

Amendment 1: I support the purchase of a tent very similar to the library.

Amendment 2: I would like to suggest that the city put into writing what it wants us to and why and what it is prepared to respect in return.

Noah: we will come back to this proposal

Individual proposals

Skeet S: we are proposing a declaration of occupation. We attempted to ratify the Wall Street Declaration of Occupation but there were blocks, so instead we’ve attempted to write our own. I felt empowered to try my hand in writing this proposal. We wrote this document using the discussion on wikispaces. Etc. This is a proposed unity statement or statement of occupation of Occupy Boston.

Joe Ramsey: [reads proposal]

Clarifying questions

Is it assumed that a unified declaration is needed, and why

Response- yes, clarify position in media, statement of why we are here,

2. is this doc solely for occupy Boston

Yes…. If an conglomerate occupation statement is made later, that will be determined at a later date.

3. question about formation of a working group

Collective authors can be problematic, but idea formation working groups beneficial.

4. Urgent announcement

Low on blankets…..spend money on blankets…. Approved

5. Why was the language of the elite used in the statement…legal style - No good reason

- Attempt to tap into style of other documents i.e. The Dec of independence

No Points of information

Strong concerns or objections

  • Excited about this movement because it seems like a process of becoming, lack of definition is the most interesting and provocative part. Concerned about narrowing the possibilities with a unifying statement.
  • missed it
  • give proper time for people not present to review the doc….give it a day
  • really cool, and well written doc, but would prefer a declaration without author or two….more reflective of movement
  • George Washington, first president…….fell apart
  • concern about the process..would like to see inclusive process
  • Go to women, students, and ethnic populations, see what they would like to see
  • Believe that this declaration is not inclusive of everyone, because vague language
  • it would be appropriate to translate this document.


  1. Need to stand for something
  2. I feel that a short concise statement is needed at this time
  3. Strongly support making aims clear, need assemblies on every level, conclude a statement for this community. Will help build momentum. Lets pass something like this soon.
  4. Biggest criticism of OB is that there is no clear reason why we are clear, gives impression that we are clueless, releasing this statement is what we need to do right now
  5. Despite concern approve of general terms used


  1. two tiered amendment, put into this document that it is an introductory declaration, and that it should be a living document.
  2. the “the corrupt ……… a popular and participatory response” should be shortened because it is uninclusive
  3. propose general revision to more general language
  4. this amendment would send a strong message to the elite..we believe that debt is simply a transfer of money from the the elite….cancel student debt
  5. like the idea of appealing to broader community.. should use more explicit language
  6. echoes what has been said. Needs to be made less then 400 words, and uses language that does not require a college education, echo need to not group all marginalized groups…

-Response: investigation did occur

Temp check on support for this doc being adopted sooner rather then later…with ammendments made.

…… is Here for two reasons

Made people think she was lying

Need not purposely try to deceive you that the statement she made came from new york

Her statement is a vision of where we are going

A road map to horizontal democracy

Read mission statement –“ give birth to something new”

Sustainable peace time economy

Earths ecosystems are healthy

Voices of the 99% are heard


Check out on paper and wiki… temp check… to be read presently… decided not now.