GA Minutes Sat Feb 25 2012

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Occupy Boston General Assembly Minutes

Saturday, February 25, 2012, 5 PM

Community Church of Boston

Facilitators: Matt and ??

Note Takers: Charlotte and Tim

Discussion about how Thursday's GA Ended

Getting a late start on notes. facil talking about confusion re: possibility of a 3rd round of ammendments at last thursday's GA. the proposal from thursday is tabled until the proposer comes to GA- they are not here right now. Facil would like permission from GA to use their best judgement in situations like this as to whether to break process. if proposer shows up tonight we will have a conversation about whether to continue that proposal tonight. This discussion is now tabled.

Working Group Announcements

Occupy UMASS: occupy spring break, march 15-18, we'll be outside. next week we'll be making a proposal asking for use of kitchen tent. teach-ins, etc

queer DA: clothing swap! bring your old clothes. maybe we'll screen print some. also glitter. date forthcoming but wanted to see if you're interested. POI: are you a wg? (yes) then your acronym is QDAWG.

Occupy the T (via Rene): going well, meet friday 6-8 at SEIU and at SAA sunday nights 5pm community church.

Tactical (via Rene): meets at remingtons 9pm wednesday

Logistics: work party tomorrow all day at a private house email

Spokes: meets right after SAA at 8-8:30ish to plan for action on March 17th. spokes council is when several wg's/affinity groups

Secret wg: i practice good security culture. maybe there are things you want to do, or are planning, that shouldn't be shared online. i'm making this announcement to remind you that. ex: don't post the route of a march. don't give out identifying or contact info about other members.

Emma/Child care: available monday night for decolonize community gathering, email me

Chess: we're not toning it down, playing chess, not scattergories! also we want to host a game night community gathering. 4pm 27 yarmouth st #3.

Safer spaces: working on community agreements. will present one on march 6th at GA. meetings saturday E5 2-3:30.

Individual Announcements

Occupy Worcester: Feb 29th "shut down the corporations" day. wednesday 8am protest pfizer research facility in groton, CT

Allie: zuzu at the Middle East tonight at 11pm tonight! come dance with us!

Nick: open house April 2nd. wg's contact nbokron@gmail.

Mike: i work with election defense alliance organization. since 2000 we've been looking at what's going on in the US about electronic manipulation of our votes. i came here tonight to ask you to get involved with us. corporations have taken over our vote counting systems. our voting systems are not secure. 97% of our ballots were counted unobservedly by optical scan equipment. we have no access to memory cards, paper ballots- we can't get to it, politicians can't get to it. why not? Suggestion from Rene: come to SAA at 5pm here tomorrow, people come to plan action.

Franklin: seeking individual donations to cover application fee to college, $25

Occupy the food supply (Ellen): feb 27 is occupy the food supply day, boston doesn't have anything planned. Come to SAA tomorrow night to plan.

Allie (later): Priority process proposal to denounce American-style democracy tonight!

Order of Proposals

Women's Caucus- all proposers tonight have agreed they can go first. will temp check for proposals 2-4

proposal: looking for endorsement of F29 action in CT (occupy pfizer)

Proposal: formal process for standasides, people who don't want to vote in a count

Proposal: shut down GA business except announcements until we shut down two banks. i'll go last

FAWG rollover proposal will be 2nd.

order: womens caucus, FAWG, occupy worcester (pfizer action), standasides, shut down GA

Proposal: Women's GA (Women's Caucus)

background: international womens day established spring of 1911 in germany. march 8th. day to celebrate women and women's issues. at the time they were fighting for voting rights. As women of OB we feel it is very important to celebrate this day as not many in US know about this day. Even though one day isn't enough, this is an opportunity to focus our agenda on women's issues. we propose GA that night be focused on women's issues, organized by women's caucus and affiliated groups.


CQ: why during a GA?

A: march 8th is a GA night. also, hard to fit in another day for a meeting. also, often when we have women's issue focused event people who feel less comfortable don't come. GA generates a big crowd.

CQ: are you proposing a strategic action assembly? or a typical GA but only proposals dealing with womens issues will be discussed

A: intended to be an evening to look at various aspects of women's issues. we don't envision a regular GA. Sort of like the MLK focused GA

CQ: women's caucus would do facilitating? what role, if any will facilitation play?

A: we would like women to facilitate. if there are women in facilitation who want to do this that would be great. also we are just starting to envision this. we don't want a situation where the women are sitting in the back and men are talking.However, all are welcome to join the conversation

Breakout Groups


S: a lot of people wish there were more spaces for conversation. lately we've taken time to change up GA to respond to needs of different groups and the community has responded well

S: it's nice to have people other than facil bring GA one night

S: this is a long time coming and i'm excited to see WC together and doing stuff

S: i think we can use this to draw people in

S: support this and hope you can outreach to other groups

S: doesn't seem clear yet what the thing is, but i trust WC to figure it out

S: love the idea of calling attention to a united effort by women to improve certain issues


C: think it's great and necessary but concern is taking over GA. GA is too structured & process issues to do what you're trying to do, which should be more free-flowing. I think GA keeps some people away, if it were a special night just for that.

POI: they are asking for permission to disband the structure of GA for that night to have a free-flowing conversation.

WC: yes. this has happened in the past (anti-oppression, MLK day, etc)

CQ: is it your intention to have announcements?

A: haven't thought about that yet. could be that we give 30 min for business/announcements. we haven't talked about it and we invite everyone to work with us to plan it.

C: this proposal is addressing time, on march 8th we'll use GA time. i've heard many process concerns. concern is that this will be restricted by process related amendments.

C: frame it to not make those of us who do the job invisible. There are many excellent female facilitators


A: list in proposal areas where womens issues will be addressed

A: allow announcements at the beginning

A: you will announce when you are planning to have planning meetings

A: clarify that you are asking to suspend GA process

Amended Proposal:

Amended proposal is read. Regular GA process will be suspended on March 8, except that evening will begun with 30 minutes of announcements as usual.


Anna: I think there is a 7-9 slot at E5 on Fridays if you want it.


Jay: I support this proposal and I think we need to do more things like this.

Concerns, Amendments, Blocks:



Appears to be unanimous support!

The proposal passes.

Proposal: Participatory Budgeting (Rene)

This proposal addresses dwindling financial resources and lack of a budget. The participatory budgeting WG proposes to spend 15 minutes of Tuesday's GA for a discussion about how to transition into a process that reflects participatory democracy.


Q: You said 15 minutes, right?

A: Yes.

Q: How do we do things now?

A: Currently, the person who convinces everyone that their idea is best is the one who gets the money. I have been involved in proposals that spend $20,000. This is a more democratic way.

Q: I really don't understand what the new process is.

A: That's what the 15 minutes is about. Participatory budgeting is a huge topic. It's a process for us all to create a budget together. We want to budget two or three months in advance.

Charlotte: We would consent to using this process after the 15 minute presentation?

A: No, we want to start a regular meeting time to discuss this. We need an initial educational presentation.

Anna: There are whole groups that don't have access to the budget or find it too complicated. Are you going to do special outreach to these groups?

A: Yes.

Carolyn: I wonder if we can allocate a little more time than 15 minutes.

A: We don't want to take up too much time and bore people.

Jay: We tried to ratify temp checks and it took like an hour. We should be cognizant of that when asking for only 15 minutes.

A: Cool.

Q: The 15 minutes is just from this one GA, or each GA will have some part devoted to participatory budgeting?

A: That would be ideal, but this is just a one-time brief education.

Q: Will there be PowerPoint?

A: Very likely, yes.

Q: Is 15 minutes how much you feel like you need?

A: We would love to take up 4 hours, but 15 minutes is enough for the basics.

Charlotte: At a past GA when someone wanted 15 minutes, we decided we could temp check it.

A: We want the slot guaranteed, because we will be bringing equipment.

[temp check fails for breakout groups]


Bill: I think this is wonderful, let us all say we trust you and not amend or change anything.


Ellen: I am concerned that 15 minutes is not enough.


Ellen: I amend that you take 15 minutes for the presentation and we use 45 minutes for discussion.

Charlotte: I amend that the PowerPoint be available online.

Carolyn: 15 minutes presentation, 15 minutes discussion.

[various temp checks on how long discussion should be after presentation]

Amended proposal:

15 minutes presentation, 15 minutes discussion.

Questions/Information, Supports, Concerns, Amendments, Blocks:



Consensus, proposal passes!

Proposal: Shut Down the Corporations Day (Brian of Occupy Worchester)

My proposal is that Occupy Boston endorses / issues a statement of solitarity for Feb 29 Shut Down the Corporations Day in Groton, Connecticutt. 8:00 in the morning on Wednesday, meeting at Eastern Point Beach Park in Groton. Look it up at Occupy Hartford. This has already been endorsed by other Occupies.


Joe: What is the action going to be?

A: We are protesting outside the Pfizer facility. We have demanded of Pfizer that they remove themselves from ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and stop supporting them.

POI: There is a Pfizer building in Cambridge if anyone is interested.

A: You are more than welcome to do actions of your own and spread the word.

POI: There are other actions planned by OB for the 29th. Details haven't been released yet.


Ellen: I think it's great that you're doing us, I don't think we address Big Pharma enough. I think Big Pharma affects people even more than the big banks. Power to you.


C: While I support protesting Pfizer, there are other objections we have to that corporation. You seem to be singling out a single issue.

Amendments, Blocks:



>= 75%, proposal passes!

Proposal: Funding for Decolonize to Liberate (presentation only)

Quorum has been lost. No decisions can be made, proposals can only be presented, not voted on.

A community meeting of Decolonize to Liberate is happening on Monday night. We stand in solidarity with indigenous people and support indigenous issues. Colonization is the commodification of life, which is the root cause of what we're all protesting. We're gathering on Monday night to discuss these issues.

Our proposal is that the Decolonize to Liberate Working Group (meeting since October 8, 2011) will receive no more than $400 reimbursement from the OB General Fund to cover travel expenses (receipts provided) for speakers and special guests (as determined by the Working Group) to attend the 2/27 Community Gathering, hosted by the Working Group.

[At this point the laptop being used to record the minutes had to be returned, so the record breaks off here. GA ended not long afterward, following some discussion of this proposal.]

Individual Stack (from earlier)

Bill: I have books, find me. Also if you lost your gloves, find me

Brandon: please don't have side conversations, it's distracting and disrespectful

Allie: I think there's a misconception about what a GA is. I think any time we come together is a GA. The idea of a GA is the community coming together, rather than this particular stilted process that we follow. Talk to me at:

Charlotte: Health and wellness - come and talk to me: