GA Minutes Sat Oct 15 2011

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GA Sun Oct 15th 2011

Source:

Summary

The GA passed a proposal from the Finance Working re:accountable and transparent finance system for Occupy Boston. TBA on Finance Working Group's page.

Outreach: We are seeking 100 supporters to join eviction blockade with City LIfe / Vida Urbana this Monday. Monday 10/17, there will be an eviction blockade and rally at a home that is being foreclosed on in Malden. Contact: Katie (katie.gradowski@gmail.com) or with Nicole at the direct action.

Tech: There is now a new "I'm being arrested" App for download. Check Tech Working Group site for info.


Detailed Minutes

Oct 15 2011 Evening General Assembly

((This is not a 100% transcription - it was a chilly, chaotic night, I'm sorry!! The notation (?) indicates my being unable to hear/see/type fast enough to figure out what's being said -Anna))


GA announcement, facilitators: Several thousand people in Yemen have died, over two hundred children in Syria have died. We are here in solidarity with them, so as we prepare to do what we need to do, let's take a moment of silence to appreciate what they have to do.

Facilitator: Good evening everybody before we start I'm gonna take a moment to explain this process.

GA is a time and place for Occupy Boston announcements and proposal, to exercise horizontal democracy to ensure that each voice is heard. By following our process we preserve horizontal democracy and set an example for how our world can operate peacefully. I invite the members of the GA to be as nonviolent in their communication as we are in all of our group actions. Can I ask everyone to move forward and sit down to make room for more people. We also are looking for a Mr. Cormier, we believe he has lost something. Come speak to a facilitator. We here at Occupy Boston also have working groups, I'm going to talk about them. A working group works on solutions on problems together, with other occupiers refining a proposal in a working group consensus process results in better proposals that are easier for the GA to work on and bring to consensus as a whole.

I'd like to invite the community to participate in facilitation. Our meeting times: Mon-Fri at 5pm, sat and sun at 4pm, located at Federal Reserve plaza, across Atlantic Ave from media tent. Facilitators Tyler, Ivy, Stack manager: Rich. Floor managers (names not given). Process manager: Alison. Notetaker: Anna

Soon the notes will be posted hard copy in the library!

Facilitator, Tyler: I'd also like to make announcement, if you are not speaking or part of fac team, join crowd over there.

Point of Process: ask people if they need translation. Some general assemblies have started to use them.

Ivy: I'm going to review the agenda. We start with working group announcements, then individual announcements, working group announcements, individual proposals, individual stack.

Tyler: now for hand signals (explanation of hand signals)

Ivy: does anybody know where the mixer for sound equipment is?

Somebody: allegedly the mixer before the PA was borrowed for music performances, if we don't have mixer we can't hear mike. If anybody has any information. Come to facilitation or media. (works)

Ivy: I'm going to review how stack works. If you have something to add, raise your hand to be recognized (review of stack process)

Working Group Announcements

Legal: if you are drinking or doing any form of drugs, believe me I understand, but don't do it here we are not in a position. Do not speak to the cops.

Women's caucus: we had our first meeting today, multiple generations represented. We talked about safety for women and childcare, we talked about ideas. The next meeting Tuesday 5:30pm

Zinn group (Gill): Im working with Howard Zinn memorial lectures. (Website). We've had two successful teach-ins. We have Noam Chomsky coming this Wednesday 6:15. Bring your questions, I'll put you on the list. We're associated with the Free Speech University although I'm hoping we will

Finance (Stephanie): we're discussing ways to do accountability and transparency of donations. We're presenting a proposal today. Talking about 3 options about organizing Occupy Boston financially: getting a fiscal sponsor, becoming a 51c3 incorporated entity, or becoming an unincorporated third entity (...?)Email occupybostonfinance@gmail.com

Library (Anna): There will be a paper archive of GA Assembly minutes and accepted proposals as well proposed statements of purpose for public consideration.

Ideas (Monica): What is the idea working group? A few days we delivered a proposal to create a statement of purpose. The ideas working group comes out of this. People keep asking us what does ob want? And we want to apply consensus to answering these questions. What do we believe? What do we value? Go to occupyboston.wikispaces.com we want you to put your tweet-size ideas out there, dump your ideas into a 'bank' - go to the library tent where we have a board for ideas - we are applying techniques for large groups of data analysis. We are talking with the wiki spp group.

Tech (Ross): tech team announcement - we welcome more women hackers. Also, there is now a new app: "I'm being arrested" an app that allows you to text several different people at once when you are being arrested. Finally, if anybody needs secure webhosting for your project, there is secure webhosting to be had from us. May1st.org/joinus - free membership.

Outreach: we've had conversations with community groups in the area. Yesterday we were approached by people from citylife vita urbana about an eviction blockade taking place on Monday 12. How can we show support without making it about us? From both sides (community groups and Occupy Boston). Get in touch with Nicole.

Clarifying Q: where is the blockade happening?

Outreach: Malden. It is Coordinated with Direct Action. Where does the outreach working group meets? At 6pm at the outreach tent (?). We have one meeting once a week at the info desk on Friday at 6. There will be a rally in front of the house being foreclose. Talk to direct action about exact address.

Food (Bee (?)): thanks so much for eating our food, we're overwhelmed with food. Immediate concern is dishes. If you can do them now, head back to the food tent. We are continually looking for people to help cook and host cooking at your house. Talk to Dan the Bagelman or Derek or anybody else in the kitchen tent. Ask restaurants to donate food. We need more fruit, apples are awesome. Want to know how you can help with food: what would you want if you were here? Make sure you label food, some people have dietary restriction. We need garbage bags, lights. We need people to take food home, we have too much.

Students working group: concern coming from Massboston students but also from others about some of the marches we are doing. We have marches that don't follow routes, this is a problem because we have undocumented workers and students from working class, and people need to have a heads up that they might be entering into illegal action.

Point of process: we can't process the concern, this needs to be in indiv announcements .

Students group: we are going to form a working group to figure out this issue.

Logistics (Nathan): we don't have any space in our logistics tent. There is a lot of personal stuff in our tent and we don't know whose it is.

Medical: please wash your hands, don't rub your eyes. Instead of shaking hands, just do the fist pump, this is solidarity fist pump right here. Ask a food attendant about allergies.

Free school (Eden): Free school is a collection of over 100 educators and growing. We have a new website, on Monday you'll be able to sign up with your email, put content there - books, ideas, websites. We need people - to be here Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - be a greeter, tell people about who we are. We also need space, right now we are at the bright orange sign. We want to have a corner spot by the info table.

(couldn't hear who this was): Tomorrow is world food day, also known as million against Monsanto. At the end of morning GA, rolling schedule & people's mike, we are going to start a circle, a teach-in (revolutionary action, urban growing, how we can create a food share, we are going to have a food share, local organic food, and then we will do an action, have an urban gardener talk).

Faith and Spirituality (Marney): come share space at the meditation tent, share your blessing. We have people storing stuff there, but it's crowding people, please get your stuff. 3pm interfaith worship, also at 3pm there's a global synchronized meditation, 5pm gentle yoga, 5:30 UU Vespers service. We are looking for more folks to take care of the space. And we've got 5 carloads of yogis and we're doing a mayan meditation later tonight.

Media: we have a charging tent! Blue, next to the food tent.

Research (Sasha): we have 25 people from 5 different occupy camps (boston, los angeles...) around the country working together. This is co-research, we are participating in the movement, producing data analysis of all the tweets, compiling info to counter the stuff people are making up. Lots of information on our website.

Individual Announcements

Samani (?): I want to talk to you about people who have been victims of American foreign policy - yemen, morocco, Afghanistan. There is now a secret prison, 8000 victims, in morocco, supported by American govt. it is our job to say: we have not forgotten about you, it is our job to stop these abuses....

Facilitation (Tyler): indiv announcements need to be one-minute long

(another anti-war announcement, difficult to make out...)

Sherry: I've been here for some time now, there are a lot of homeless living in this community. Iamhomelessgirl.com will tell you everything about what I am trying to do. There are at least two dozen homeless people working here, and they are safe here, so help them out. I'm collecting donations!

Savani (?): after the arrests, I decided to get involved, decided to write emails asking for support from artists. Two statements of support so far. (reads artist statements - Tom Otterness, sculptor)

Shay: I'm a visitor from iowa city, the GA of the occupation there has approved me to talk to various occupation movements, so I'll be coming around to talk to you guys.

Erik: starting Monday we'll have yoga at 1:30pm in the open, in front of the info tent.

Nick: some people are letting their spirit be affected by the agents around this camp. Let them be here, we are transparent, we are doing the right thing. We are not here to hide. Take a picture of people - especially the people who seem to be acting like agents, especially people who seem like they are here to plant things.

John: internalize what it means to leave an area better than you arrived at it.

Proposals

Facilitation: We will ask for clarifying questions, then points of information, then strong objections and concerns, then we will take friendly amendments

Finance: copies of our proposal are passed around. Here is what some of what has gone into this proposal: it arises out of finance working group, we worked with Occupy Wall Street finance group. What we've come with is not meant to be final but a first step.

(reads proposal - see website when it is finalized)

Email account: occupybostonfinance@gmail.com. If this proposal passes, working group will reach out to all the working groups to communicate.

Clarifying Q: is there an exception for emergency jail funds?

Finance: yes, there are several funds collected by OB. My understanding is that these are already-allocated funds. Finance will still do the accounting for this, but it's an exception.

Clarifying Q: are there any other special cases?

Finance: I think there will be an amendment about special cases.

Clarifyin Q: where do we find out if our group is on your list?

Finance: Tara is collecting this.

(Information Qs, strong support...)

Amendments: I propose raising the 100 limit to 250, having fliers printed to have GA approval every time would make things go much slower

Amendment 2; I propose that an additional paragraph go in, saying what you said earlier about the specific targeted funds.

Amendment 3: I think that information should move quickly too maybe that could be a separate amendment.

Amendment 4: I propose food tent should have much more autonomy than this allows. This proposal will greatly inhibit our ability to provide food.

Amendment 5: I would like to see the minutes of the finance working group meetings posted on the wiki or in the media tent or library in the spirit of transparency.

Amendment 6: I would like to propose that all financers from all groups pass through finance committee, this is essential to ensure complete transparency. If we have such a committee, it would be good enough to pass an audit. It sounds corporate, but we want transparency.

Amendment 7; the needs of the food tent should be dealt with by a petty cash allotment. So that the food tent would give all their donations to the finance committee, but a daily cash fund would be given for ad-hoc food expenses.

(Stalling, waiting. Then there is an exercise and spiritual service....)

Interference: (waving anarchist flag etc) the facilitators have been dictatorial etc (see live stream!)

Facilitation (Michael): we want as many people as possible to facilitate in the facilitation of this process. We would be very happy to have 50 facilitators. We currently have 7-8.

Interference guy: rather than tell people that they don't have a point of process, why don't you just let people talk

Somebody: why are we divided? That's what corporations want, to divide us

(chaos)

Facilitator: the facilitators have a constantly evolving process. Our floor managers don't want to silence you, they want to give you the proper place to speak.

Finance: accepting amendment to have public finance minutes, that bail funds will be separate, food donations will be separate . temperature check on amendment to increase limit to 250. There are 6600$ onsite (not including bail or food), and online also. Money is continually donated. I think we will keep the limit at 100.

(reads finance proposal again, with amendments)

Clarifying Q: where do we keep this money?

Finance: for security reasons, I would rather not say on the mic

Clarifying Q: how can someone see records of dispersal announcements (...?)

(me having a hard time figuring out what's going on because of people standing in front of me)

Clarifying Q: when the proposal says "approve"- can the finance group *deny* requests for under 100, or does every working group get 100?

Finance: form has to be filled out. They check with logistics that item does not already exist.

Point of info: I believe we have 14 working groups, unless there is a working group that does not have a contact.

Somebody: It's 15.

Point of info: I have determined that the amount Occupy Boston has collected on wepay.com is 11,841$.

Support: I think it's important to keep the cap at 100 so that we don't overspend.

Support 2: i'm from North Carolina and this is the first time I've seen the occupy movement. I am truly happier than I've ever been in my entire life.

Support 3: I happen to be a bookkeeper, and I think if we can account for all of our cash in and cash out, we'll draw 10 times as much in donation.

Support 4: I support this for one other reason. Other groups that need money over 100 can propose it in a GA.

Support 5: I just want to thank the finance working group for their hard work

Support 6: I think that you're doing at least as good a job as those people over there (points to Fed Reserve)

Ivy: amendments now

Amendment 1: I think that the record of money in and money out and record spending should be posted on the website.

Amendment 2: I think that fliers shouldn't need approval from the GA, so we don't have to do this every time.

Amend 3: I propose that we stay with the 100 cap and then we petition any increases for the pricelist

Amend 4: I propose that if a donor wants to give to a certain work group, that we facilitate it.

Amend 5: I propose that there be an e-donation that each working group must request, for the specified request. Before people request money, they request the item from an e-donation list, to seek funds for the item.

Amendment 6: I propose that the previous amendment is not taken into consideration, because it would take too long.

Amendment 7: I propose a biweekly evaluation of this actual process to determine whether or not it's working.

Finance: bail funds and food is already separate. Logistics is working out the e-donation list. Finance working group will make donation lists publicly available.

(reads proposal again, with added amendments - see wiki)

Revised finance proposal passed

Logistics (Nathan) : I propose 40 bucks per day for laundry.

Clarifying Q: does that mean anyone can give their laundry to logistics?

Logistics: this is just for blankets etc if they are wet.

Clarifying Q; does this roll over if there's extra?

Logistics: how about we say it's just 40/day and doesn't roll over.

Clarifying Q: didn't the last proposal cover this sort of thing?

Log: yeah, this is use of general funds not logistics funds

Clarifying Q: will there be a cap to this allotted amount on a weekly basis

Log; no 40/day is a cap.

Process Q: do we have quorum?

Process Q: If we decide that we don't have a quorum, is there a way to still hear at least a brief list of what was left on the agenda.

(We have quorum!!)

More Clarifying Qs about laundry money

Process point: we need to have these questions in our morning GA, not evening. How we do our laundry has nothing to do with our movement.

Tech proposal

Tech (Ross): for both security and political reasons, occupy IT suggests that all working groups remove their communications from google groups, and move to occupyboston.org.

Cq: I don't disagree, I'd like to know why

Tech: reason 1 - security. (I think the second reason is also roughly:security -Anna)

Clarifying Q: how will the new email addresses work with mobile devices e.g. androids, blackberries...

Tech: they work well for me on my android.

Clarifying Q: does this email provider automatically encrypt all email communications

Tech: everything they store will be encrypted.

Strong objections or concerns - none

Amendment: I would suggest that we have one day of looking how it's implemented and works, so that we can decide how it might work for us

Amendment 2: I'd like to make sure that everyone switches their email to this system. I propose you set a date by which everyone switches.

Amendment 3: I propose that we use the same ending whether it's .com or .org for main website as for emails.

Amendment 4: website is .com, so I propose that we make the email .com like she said.

Amendment 5: I propose that we switch both website and email to .org because we are not commercial

Ross takes note of this. It appears we no longer have quorum. Ross will present a revised proposal in the next GA.