GA Minutes Sat Apr 28 2012

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Minutes for 28 April 2012

Details

Location: Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St.
Time: 5--9pm
Note taker: Brett, with edits by Mike O., and wiki translation by Steve R.
Facilitation: Allie B.

Summary

Working Group Announcements

Ideas

Meeting Wed. 5/2 7-9PM Outdoor Location TBD - check out wiki page for details. Discussing what should OB do in the next 3-6 months

FAWG – Financial Accountability

OB community work session to address FAWG is confirmed for Sunday, May 6 1-4PM at Oak Church in Jamaica Plain 1 block from Green St. T Station on the Orange Line See FAWG wiki page for a list of issues to be discussed.

Safer Spaces

Meetings Saturdays 2-4PM
Encuentro 5
UNITE-HERE Building
33 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02111

Discussing GA reform and protocol for instances of harm.

OB Radio

Radio is very active almost every day of week
Meets every Monday and Friday 7-9PM
Meets every Wednesday 6-8PM
Encuentro 5

Doing podcasts soon

Facilitation

General Assembly Schedule

5/1 – Cancelled in favor of May Day Actions
5/3 – Boston Common Soldiers and Sailors Monument 7:00PM -10:30PM
5/5 – Wake Up the Earth Festival Southwest Corridor Park Jamaica Plain 5:00PM
5/12 – GA at Community Church which includes a presentation by Professor Gary Epstein of UMass Amherst and Professor Jim Campen of UMass Boston

Queer DA

Making banners, planning May 1 activities, marching in the anti-capitalist march to make it a queer anti-capitalist march

INDIVIDUAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Matt H.

Security guards union at MFA being busted and replaced with non-unionized workers. They have rallies to protest on Saturday mornings/ afternoons. On Tuesday 5/1 at 6PM, the union will have a meeting at the Morino building at the Northeastern Univ. campus.

Alex I.

Come talk sports on OB Radio with me

Bill L.

Having an OB party 2 wednesdays from today at a friend's art gallery.

Allie B.

United against War on Women Rally - was boring and plugged democrats. Occupy had a banner there and a few occupiers.

MFA workers union rally - a lot of fun, yelling and chanting and bands. Sang every verse of Solidarity Forever (MFA funded by Raytheon, Bank of America and State Street Corp.). Satan is not OB leader because Chairman Meow has already been elected.

Consent Bucket Items: None

Agenda Item: Justin's Discussion Prompt

Need: Coalescing around values, tactics, strategies and goals Proposal: To use the new decision making process to discuss a list of tactics, goals, critiques, demands and values.

Principles/Values

  • We are a movement rooted in the principles of horizontal democracy, mutual aid, egalitarianism, anti-oppression, and direct action.
  • We feel a duty to exercise our rights of free speech and assembly to demand the implementation of the will of the people and alteration of our governing structures so that such a circumstance will not arise in the future.

Goals'

  • We seek to create a society in which the needs of all come before the profits of the few.
  • we believe in a fundamentally different society, This is not Utopian. It is realistic and evidence based.
  • This movement tries to unite "the 99%" who feel that this is wrong, and to create a society of the 100% where people have control over their own lives.

Leadership/Process:

  • Our movement is without a formal leadership structure in order to foster an environment where individuals can act as leaders when they are best prepared to do so and so that we do not reproduce the power inequalities that plague our society.

Assertions

  • We believe that Democracy can only exist in a society where importance of equality, access to information and education, and unrestricted freedom of speech and expression are prioritized.
  • We reject the idea that violence is just rocks and bullets; it is also an affliction that is expressed in language and institutions that fail to consider the dignity of human life.
  • Knowledge is our most valuable commons…
  • Our systems of governance and economics have lead to a situation in which the lives of the multitudes are controlled by an elite few. In an unequal society such as ours where wealth is equal to political speech, the interests of the wealthy few will drown out the concerns of the people and monopolize the power of the state.
  • It is known to us that the history of progress, with respect to governance, is measured in degrees from despotism toward horizontal participatory democracy.
  • We believe that the most pragmatic means of removing the systemic corruption from our republican structure is to allow for more voices to be heard and accounted for in decision making processes throughout all levels of society.

Criticisms:

  • Our government, as shown by the forceful repression of peaceful protesters across the country, has lost track of the meaning of free speech.
  • Capitalism leads to the concentration of wealth over generations and the creation of an entrenched ruling class and a permanent underclass.
  • The extension of personhood to corporations magnifies these wealth inequalities and further subjugates the will of the people.
  • The ideal of Democracy, for practical reasons, has been diluted to accommodate the expediency with which a nation state must govern to be effective, however this expediency is gained at the cost of potential corruption.
  • In our own republic the ruling political class has become ineffective at implementing the will of the people, and at worst has become a lever, a mere tool, for the ruling capitalist class to guide the mechanisms of social progress to benefit the elite at a disproportionate level.

Tactics:

  • This collusion has driven us and many, many, more into the streets to exercise our right to free speech and assembly in order to express our dissatisfaction with this situation.
  • Occupy Boston does not seek to harm anyone, but in fact works to bring an end to systems of structural violence that harm us all. We will pursue this with whatever means are effective and accessible to us.
  • We will continue to exercise our right to demand alteration of the corrupt and coercive structures which hold great power over the circumstance of our lives until those representatives who are in a position of power have regained the trust that is needed in their attempts to govern in good faith and on behalf of those whom they represent.

Demands:

  • We demand, by the rights granted to us as citizens and by the recognition that it is from our hands which the power to govern is granted, movement toward the ideal of horizontal participatory democracy throughout all governing structures in all levels of our society. So let it be known that we demand democracy for ourselves and the liberation of all human beings, and we do not consent to the power granted to those who govern us now.


Small Group Report Backs

Group 1:

  • Systemic corruption is a constant and not unique to today.
  • This document is meant to clarify OB’s mission with the election approaching.
  • This document emphasizes "voices" rather than movement building.
  • This document needs to say more about civil rights and the women's movement.
  • OB should have demands.
  • Some statements are reflective of current conversations in OB. How would fresh eyes see this document?
  • This statement needs more of a narrative to it and not just bullet points.
  • DNA of current system is itself corrupt and unfixable.
  • Who is the target of this document?
  • "Capitalism" is not a good word to use to articulate about our movement.
  • We should describe this movement by describing how current trends today go against the values of the 99%.
  • Use "corporate liberalism" (SDS)
  • This document should have positive values stated.

Group 2:

  • Should we adopt this whole document? It’s big.
  • Conversation about demands is important. How can we convey demands?
  • We shouldn't have a hierarchy of demands.
  • The word equality is used in vague terms instead of listing race, gender, sexuality, etc…
  • What is capitalism? Free vs. Fair markets
  • Oppression concerning race, class, sex, disability, age
  • Language around capitalism, violence, equality

Discussion/ Thunderdome

  • Documents like this are not good outreach tools and are, through their academic language, detached from the "average person" who related to issues like these on more down-to-earth terms and issues.
  • This is a valid effort to discuss this statement because things like this help us convey what we stand for. ALSO, we shouldn't put this in each and every email list because that will be a disaster.
  • Documents like this are useful but inaccessible to broad public. I'd like to see us pass smaller statements
  • I'm not sure it’s valuable of us to try to pass values together because they mean different things to different people. That’s why I want to talk about what we’re about by highlighting how today’s system contradicts our values
  • Need to translate our principles into an agenda for change. We should work on making this important academic language less academic and more accessible for other audiences
  • In the status quo, transparency and privacy are important and clear. You should see everything government does - transparency. Privacy - what the government is not allowed to know about you. When people exercise power over others, that should be transparent.
  • We are a small and ambitious group and this document would comprise one piece of our overall goals. It is a bit academic.
  • This document should be more accessible. Occupy endorsing socialism would not advance socialism at all, but would render occupy irrelevant. In the spring we need to make sure occupy grows, we need more newcomers. We need three new people for every usual person.
  • As a professor, I translate from academia to human. The SDS document sold 60,000 copies and was very academic. It had incredible outreach and was academic language. This is a exciting opportunity to identify what were doing here.
  • This reveals an unconscious and unintentional audience that wasn't thought through from the anti-oppressive mindset. We keep doing this, not thinking about who will be reading this. This says nothing to the impoverished, oppressed people at the bottom of the 99%. It is a difficult task to bring this to that place. My voice is not being taken in, and voices are being pushed out on a daily basis.
  • This document is indicative of what’s going on in the occupy movement, leaving out the most oppressed people out, who are in turn leaving the movement entirely.
  • I would like us to talk more about tactics and demands. I do want us to be a movement that makes demands. We are a movement that makes demands. We need demands that come out of all the liberation struggles as part of our demands. Our goals are not just economic but liberatory in the broadest sense. We can't do this through online dialogue. It won't work.
  • I have a lot of bad poetry on this sheet. I grew up in a southern Baptist church, 100% white with one woman of color. These documents are parallel to chants on a march. People will have many different reactions. People who see this come from many different backgrounds and sets of knowledge and experience. I really, in the grand scheme of things don't know shit about shit.
  • I have dealt with race my entire life. There are a lot of things here that do apply to people of all races. The idea that any part of OB is exclusive is ridiculous. The people of color WG is itself exclusive.
  • I grew up in a southern Baptist church of all black people with one white woman. We had a pastor that could start talking about anything and bring it back to religion and how it relates to Jesus. Accessibility comes in different ways for different people. I’ve dealt with race for so long in so many ways, and I said I'm going to stop living "as a black man" and just "as a person". That changed how I felt. It didn't change how the world felt. I feel there are not more people of color because we haven't done a great job of outreach and because we're not meeting people half way in communication ideas. We're in a bubble. This community is a bubble. We need to find a way to connect with more people. This document is relatable to people of all colors. If we don't start becoming more multicultural, we could be in trouble.
  • The idea here was to have a discussion which would allow us to get together around specific ideas and move towards specific things. We haven't been internal in the sense of deciding what we all believe in and what we're going to do.
  • We need to figure out how to use this document in the same of different form to more forward with the discussion.