GA Minutes Sun Jan 01 2012
Community Church of Boston
January 1, 2012
Facilitator - Bil Smith
Stack Assistant - Carolyn Magid
Whiteboard - Jorge
Minutes - Matt
Taken from GA_Minutes_Jan_1_2012.txt
(Bil does welcome announcement, asks for and introduces first-timers, demonstrates hand signals, gesticulates)
Material, Spiritual, Class and Gender Warfare: I'm Carlos Gonzalez, I've just formed the Material, Spiritual, Class and Gender Warfare WG. We will meet...
HQ - Rachel: Having a meeting Monday, tomorrow at 4pm at E5. We're talking about finding indoor spaces for Occupy Boston. We've done a lot of great work already. This is not the "Argue About Squatting WG."
Media - Gunner: Everyone have a good time last night? See the photo essay on the blog. Media meeting is at E5. Upload photos to Flickr. We also need writers. If you care about something in particular and know something about it, get in touch and write about it or come to meetings. Gunner@occupyboston.org
Faith & spirituality - Marty: First meeting of 2012 Sunday at 2pm, January 8. Still looking for space. Kicking off first phase of post-Dewey Spirituality.
Occpuy the Farms - Marty: Got firstname.lastname@example.org, which is sweet, we're on the wiki. Interested in talking about occupying the food supply. Get out in the farm a weekend or a week. We'll be out with local farmers in Western Mass. We'll let you know when the first meeting is.
Ideas - Ariel: Ideas has a permanent meeting space. 38 Ash Street. Wednesdays at 6 and also on Saturdays.
Winterization - Eric: Winterization got $2000 in emergency funds. We're going to be picking up things in preparation for a very cold weekend. See Logistics if you need these things.
FAWG - Greg: Figured we need to open this box that has 2011 money, because now it's 2012. Help me count the cash over here. We meet Mon and Wed at 6-8. Tomorrow we're at Panera, 450 Boylston.
Occupy Barcelona: People are not very motivated, so it's very nice to be here, you bring so much encouragement to my city, thank you.
Rachel: I wanted to remind everybody about the Community gathering tom 7 - 9:30 here (CCB). We were talking it up at the Commons last night. We expect a broad and great discussion about Citizens United and corporate personhood. There will be outside speakers, should be a good time. Also, it's free.
Bil: Anyone who was at the 3rd anniversary pillow fight and lost a pillow, see (Patty in the front row).
(Bil explains proposals and consensus process)
(Quorum check from audience.
Jorge takes count and announces we have 48 in attendance (@5:35).
Assembly reaches consensus that we had quorum.)
(2 proposers already prioritized give short summaries of their proposals: Noah and Eric)
(Carolyn explains prioritization process for other proposals)
Peace, Nobel and Other Prizes WG - Carlos:…2012 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. We want to see if the General Assembly can approve a list of individuals oar organizations wanted , including ours (for nomination).
FAWG: I want to propose that we stop paying for people traveling. This is part of a proposal already passed, and I want to stop paying for that.
(Bil checks for GAs choice on prioritization, FAWG will go first.)
Eric Martin: This proposal is to amend the Mutual Aid proposal as passed on December 20. This new proposal will supersede the old proposal, to make sure as many people as possible can get aid and that the money is not depleted too quickly.
(Eric reads proposal)
(Bil asks for Clarifying Questions and points of information)
CQ: Is the original $5000 the max? Is $5000 the startup fund which will then be expanded? The concept of the $5000 is to have the initial money to get this started? It will be sustained by a dedicated mutual aid system?
CQ: Are the poeple who are going to be seeking these funds all people at Dewey Square?
A: Yes, people must be active members.
CQ: This whole funding thing is for an emergency gap-filling thing in the month of January?
CQ: Did we already own these Trac Phones?
A: No, we will have to buy new Trac phones.
CQ: When this proposal was first brought it was for $5000 through end of March. When it reached consensus, the time frame was shortened.
A: Yeah, it was $5000 then length of time was shortened. After running census, $5000 was not enough for 3 months. $5000 was made available for this month for emergency situation. After this first month of looking for using Mutual Aid support hopeful members can find other kinds of support outside OB.
CQ; Is it your understanding mutual aid button will remain on OB website for indeterminate amount of time?
A: We can take it down at end of January. WePay Button language is not specified here.
CQ: How will you keep records?
A: Biggest expenses will be done through the working groups. $700 disbursed so far is on record as far as to whom it went, etc.
POI: Money that's been spent on travel is now at $3325. Since eviction we've taken in $1,840. I don't have total for weekly stipend disbursements, I'm guessing it's another $2000. Since eviction we've then spent close to $6000. Probably $7000 or $8000 set aside from general fund that we can't touch.
Eric: $5000 for this proposal has already been set aside.
CQ: Part about winter gear is not in this proposal, is that b/c logistics feels it has enough?
A: It's cold as hell, per the earlier proposal to set aside money for winter stuff, so we can disburse money for those purposes now. Trash bags, thermals, wool socks, rubber boots will be bought, let us know if you need it.
CQ: Implementation of spending this money appears first come first serve.
A: I couldn't think of a good way to organize who gets the money. Hopefully if folks are in need of these items they'll be letting the mutual aid and FAWG know about it.
(@6:00, 50 people in attendance, per Jorge's count)
(Break into small groups for discussion. Bil explains what this proposal is about.)
Greg: Why can't we change the amount in this proposal and thus change the original proposal?
Eric: We can.
(Bil asks for concerns and objections.)
Lydia: I feel as though Occupy is in a dire financial situation. This is a little indirect, but I feel as though we need to be looking at all our expenditures in a sustainable way. We need to treat the money we have as for extraordinary and permanent things. My understanding is that we replace the $5000 startup with our own mutual aid. If we aren't willing to sustain this kind of mutual aid ourselves I don't think we should be doing it.
Greg: Concern I'll mention now is raising WG weekly stipend from $100 to $145. I'm actually going to propose this week we lower that in FAWG.
Lydia: Other concern is feeling that problem of us as a community and some people needing assistance in permanent or semi-permanet way. I want to make clear what the limits on the assistance are, e.g. that we can pay someone's rent next month, it can cause amazing feeling of betrayal or disillusionment for some people
Concern: Suppose person is part of Occupy but not part of WG. Since that person is not part of WG he will not have allies who will support him. What happens to those individuals who are not part of a WG but are still part of Occupy.
Concern: I'm not listed with any specific WG but I want to be as active as possible, but I can't because I don't have any resources.
Concern: I think Occupy needs to put more pressure on the state to provide where Occupy can't.
(Bil asks for Statements of Support)
SS: Money's already out there, basically we're saying you can't spend it now.
ss; I'm in strong support. A lot of work obviously went into this. Since this is something that would, like Alex said, if we don't have this we have a much weaker proposal standing.
SS: I like that proposal reduces complexity and some of the decisions that have to be made right now with the distribution of money. There are limits, which in some sense is rough, but we don't have to make decisions for people on who gets what and for what.
ss: I like this proposal because a number of my concerns have been addressed. It respects limitation. The notion of housing people specifically with OB funds is a very positive thing, b/c reality has reared its ugly head in this thing. Hopefully we can do this quickly and get some of these items in to the hands of the people who need them quickly. Government support can take forever to come along. I've never been eligible for food stamps, so there are funny things about the law that's why I support it.
SS: Great someone's taking the iniitiave to try to firm this up. I support this because it gives us some guidelines on how to spend the money.
SS: I think this proposal will help us to understand where this money is being spent in a more structured way.
SS: I agree with a lot of what has already been said. As far as seeing what people have been asking for the most, it minimizes the risk for abuse. It's definitely a great step-up and supersedes the previously passed proposal.
(Bil moves GA into amendments)
Amendments: I say we replace Trac with Straight Talk phones, it's by minutes no contracts, $35 for 30 days of 4000 minutes.
Amendment: I want to amend this proposal to drop it down to $3000, because Winterization has already put aside money for clothing. second I want to amend cell phone assistance, Google voicemail is free for those with computers, we can look for donated cell phones, I may have some in my organization. I think we should ask our partners to see if we can come up with any more. Lastly, I want to see if weekly passes are as efficient as just buying a monthly pass if we know folks will be using them every week.
Eric: $15/week, $60/month for a T pass, we can save money if we do this the right way, losing a $60 T pass is a bigger deal.
Amendment: I would support reducing allocation to working groups, so I would like to amend that part of this proposal. Could you just say we're going to allocate a certain amount of money per week for T passes?
Amendment goes on: If a working group is paying for T passes, money for that should come out of fund for T passes.
(Alex clarifies proposed amendment)
Amendment continues: If allocation for working groups is mixed up in this, it will be a problem.
(Alex clarifies again)
(Bil asks Lydia speak directly to Eric to clarify her amendment)
Amendment: Emphasize more that this is a temporary arrangement. Maybe say you'll (end proposal) January 29 or $5000 whichever comes first. To manage our members' expectations.
Amendment: mutual Aid WG announces at every GA how much they have dispersed.
Amendment: In first week, whatever amount allocated and names of beneficiaries should be made openly available so we know who is getting what.
amendment: I would like to amend that this proposal remove any WG involvement but that of MAWG. I'd like to reduce amount from $5000 to $1750 and have it just address T passes. My amendment is $1750
Amendment: I'd like to see the application change for requesting this. I'd like to see that people that are asking for money belong to an existing WG, not one that just came up and hasn't had a meeting yet. I do have a problem with this being open to everybody. Anybody can ask for a T pass. We got to put some language in there that limits where it's going to. I have a question I hope someone can answer, can I ask a question? How many WGs are getting $100/week?
Greg: it varies from week to week, some weeks 5, some weeks 10 to 15.
Eric: Can you repeat your amendment?
Amendment continues: I would like to see that people belong to existing established working groups, not just joining a new group that hasn't even met yet.
Amendment: my amendment is similar. seems intent in fourth paragraph is to make sure participants were active at Dewey Square. Sponsors should also be active participants at Dewey Square.
Amendment: As far as sustainability, making back money used for this purpose, I'd like language that expresses there will be media effort, other support to say we have this and we need to bring in more for this purpose. Invoke ideas like we still have people in the cold who could use support of the community.
Amendment: $1750 to be spent by Jan 29, second part of this amendment is that based on what's come in on Mutual Aid button we have a reality check and reevaluate the proposal on the 29th, this proposal will be based on how much has come in since then.
Amendment: I'd like to withdraw my amendment and support amendment to have whole thing handled through MAWG.
Amendment: Seeing that we have a budget, I would like MAWG to be able to make some executive decisions and be able to look at our finances from week to week and look back at our finances ourselves.
Amendment: I withdraw my amendment to support $1750 for T passes only.
(Eric wants clarification on desire for T passes only)
Amendment continues: because there are other places to get these other resources. Person doesn't have permanent address would be my other amendment.
Amendment: I'm supporting T passes (in my earlier amendment) because these people are active members of OB and need to be able to attend meetings.
Amendment: (didn't hear)
B: I have a question about the process. I haven't heard amendments withdrawn before. Does that matter?
Bil: (heavily edited) No.
(Bil announces Eric will be considering amendments.)
FAWG announcement from Greg: There's lots of financial info available now on the wiki. Profit/Loss and balance sheets will be available. Profit/Loss statements who this much was spent on food, this much on transportation, doesn't show to which WGs it went. Just go to FAWG wiki page, you'll see links to financial info page. Reason it took so long is that we need more people, there are only a couple of us doing the books. FAWG was just avoiding doing that bookkeeping. So we sat down and recreated that history.
Aria: I have 2 fun announcements (Creative Arts and Subversive Actions). Keep Jan 30 in your mind, guerrilla theater, a projector, email email@example.com. Wherever Community Gathering is January 30, CASA will be hosting it. Does anyone have dogs? Shelby is the leader of the Occupy movement, elected by Occupy Denver when the mayor asked for someone to speak to as a rep. We're gathering people who have dogs for the Citizens United forum to wear signs that say I'm more of a person than a corporation.
Lydia: I've been up at night worrying about occupy and money, unsustainability, as well as horizontal democracy. Money is power, and if we don't have a horizontal money policy we will be controlled by funders. Money has to do with do-it-yourself and autonomy, and I come from the art world and pharmaceutical companies. When orgs fund you they do so for you to fund their mission. When they give you an office, you become part of their labor supply. The funding problems are more dramatic than they sound. In-kind donations were also coming in at Dewey. More like $120,000 in our first month looking at it this way. Income is dropping as expenditures rise. I'd love to see us look at big chunk of money that we got as a one-time extraordinary thing. We maybe shouldn't spend it in an ongoing way. In order for us to be able to do this, we know how much we have to pay, we need to make a budget, we need to do a census of who we are and what our disposable income is. I would also like to see us passing the hat to pay for meeting rent. My other concern is that we create some kind of group called collective intelligence, a holistic group, we have no real process for self-reflection, looking at our ethics and how our ethics translate into the process and as a system. We have a bunch of flaming on the internet. Collective intelligence would gather concerns now broken up into working groups, ethical issues, etc.
(Glenn compliments Lydia on her loud, clear voice)
Cherie: Point of information, article on Huffington Post, if you're a nonprofit someone might donate their home to you. I need to make an announcement because tomorrow I need a place to sleep, I talk about my brother, he has addiction problems. I need to get him into MassHealth, he's been doing this on his own, he became addicted after he got shot and he's been on Vicodin. If you can help, let me know…For someone with deep emotional problems, he's…I'm offended that anyone would call our use of Mutual Aid money as fraud. There were people living in the camp, what do you think they wanted us to do with that money? They support this movement and the idea behind us and think we'll do good and think hard and struggle with how to help individuals. I think there are people in this movement who can help more with our houseless individuals than they do. I tried to do this proposal to be equal, to help everyone, people with income also get shorted when they need help. I wanted to be able to help everyone. I saw this Google doc and it was a bunch of garbage b/c it was people who wanted to nitpick. It's not too much to ask people to stay part of a movement. When we find out people are homeless or have been unemployed or that they have substance abuse problems, we pull the rug out from under them. I know a couple of them are trying to work on their personal problems. If not for OB, some would not have the courage to go through detox. This movement gave them the power to fix themselves. This nitpicking says you don't care that there are people who have found themselves again. People get shit on in society. I don't want people to bastardize my proposal, b/c people don't recognize the necessity and the need.
POI: Proposal is now property of the GA.
(Bil tries to explain to Cherie that everyone's struggling with this.)
Noah: On New Year's we put a projector unit on a rolling dolly, we projected for over two hours. Had a screen at one time of about 30 ft wide. Gave out buttons, had some people dancing. I want to continue to do this. I also want to continue to generate original content. Miley Cyrus's video. Liberty Walk was fun to project. the fake Lego commercial. So yeah, we want to make some content. Dana and I and some other people are contacts, we don't have a WG or anything. Video clips, an idea for footage, doesn't need to be video can also be static, if you have footage, we got to plan a meeting, announce it at next GA or something, get something together.
Glenn: Not a WG?
NOAH: I don't know, Mobile Projector WG.
Glenn: Is there a meeting at some time?
?: Sounds more like an autonomous action.
Aria: Feb 12 national day of action, bring mobile projector.
(43 in attendance at 7:05)
Noah: i want to think also about having bigger GAs, having satellite GAs, for me it's really to start thinking about what if we have a Boston-area general assembly, have spokes at the meeting who are in direct communication with the general assembly, that's scalable, we can have some general assemblies that are national, I'd like to hear people's input.
Zoe: Question for Noah, if we have a national GA, we send delegates, doesn't that embody democratic centralization (against which we're fighting?)
Noah: I don't think so, seems like it would be productive to have people at a central location communicating with the…
Alex: Want to talk a little about depression. Depression runs in my family. Watched my mom deal with it, my little sister. Is part of an endless cycle. I was on Twitter talking about way we treat each other, suggested someone could commit suicide if we gang up on someone, I was told that was ridiculous. For someone to tell me that suicide in this community is ridiculous, it's not. We have got to start treating each other better. You never know what somebody's going through. You do't know how much a hey or a kind word can be important. You don't get to go, oh this person said this, I realize in person he'll come back and apologize to me, sometimes you don't see people for a long time. If we truly are here to build a better community, we have a responsibility to ourselves to be better individuals. One thing I try personally to always do is go back and wind things up at least. Go back, check on somebody, explain, be calm. Maybe they won't understand, but it's a hell of a lot better trying than just leaving it as it is. For each one of us it's different. Starts as apathy, becomes withdrawal and self-loathing. I can smile. When you see a far-away look in someone's eye, do something about it. I'll talk about this again on Tuesday, because we won't be better yet.
Gunner: I think issue that's come up quite a bit is homelessness. What are the facts and the statistics? I work with this. Do you want me to put together a workshop with some of the people who work on this? If there's something you would like to see in this workshop, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Proposal comes back to GA)
Eric: one concern is that we're in dire financial straits, but we've already committed this money. This is temporary proposal to help people who most relied on encampment at Dewey Square. I did lower it to $4400 total. $5000 is a workable number and responds to census. $1750 isn't viable. Leaving it at $4400 based on original kind of arbitrary $5000. One of the things is that we have MAWG manage everything. FAWG already has oversight practices in place. This also kind of looks at what other occupations are doing and how they distribute their funds. I would say right now it's been two people distributing money rather than the WGs. Procedures that FAWG has implemented allows for more accountability and oversight in the way things are spent. I'm happy to help out FAWG in their efforts. Didn't what to include language about $5000 as startup for things going into fund, because this is temporary for an emergency situation. Didn't want accountability practices to actually name people, don't think that's fair. I'll include language that we're going to ask the media working group that they help promote this. Also include language talking about existing working groups. Not really sure how that will be enforced. Included the language just to have it there…I talked about existing WGs and if you were active in the encampment. There's kind of an honor system when signing people up, sponsoring things, try not sponsor someone if you don't believe in it. Oh yeah and we're trying to limit this to those in need without requiring an income check. Same sort of honor system about asking people not to ask for things if they don't need it. We're kind of implementing the same sort of honor system with this. We're asking that those seeking aid are actually in need of that kind of assistance and not just putting money in their pocket. We'll go through the language and read the amendments that I did add. (Eric reads amended proposal)…Instead of going with TracFones, which aren't a very good deal according to POI, there was an amend to not include that, we'll include that so instead of 20 cell phones I reduced it to 10, included Straight Talk cell phones which seemed like a better deal. that's about it.
(Bil takes temp check on Eric reading exact changes. No support for this. Greg asks for clarification on T pass provision. States what he thinks it is)
Eric: Separate $45 fund for each working group, to the limit of $375 per week total, equal to 25 T passes.
Greg: More efficient to buy monthly T passes?
Eric: I explained this, (explains how weekly passes are better for our purposes)
POI: With a monthly T pass, you can take receipt to Downtown Crossing and get reimbursement for lost T passes.
Eric: I'm gonna leave this as it is.
Lydia: WePay funds will go into General Fund to replace $5000 allocated for Mutual Aid purposes, up to $5000?
Eric: Yes, will add up to $4400, that is.
CQ: Are you reducing amount?
Eric: Reducing overall amount b/c of $2000 we'd forgotten about in previous proposal. Mix of amendment that was suggested and Emergency Winterization Proposal funds.
CQ: If we don't pass this, total stays $5000 rather than $4400?
POI: I wanted to suggest MAWG do this b/c FAWG is doing a lot of other work. FAWG needs help. If MAWG handles, FAWG gives MAWG $500, $200, it's a lot easier for FAWG.
Eric: I wanted to include going through FAWG because FAWG has accountability practices in place, and MAWG is not equipped to do the same on its own. I go to FAWG meetings, I've been doing that, but other folks haven't been coming back. That idea came from an Occupy Wall Street idea where they were going through Working Groups and folks who were active members in those working groups and things like that and going through the regular standards that FAWG has implemented, making sure those people have done …
POI continues: I've seen authorization form, are you doing away with those? WG will just use standard cash disbursement form?
Eric: I didn't get application made, someone can write 2-page essay if it has all details we can hand out funds just like that. I think application can be improved, a few things can be adjusted in it. Folks can make request to the working group…
CQ; is there any vetting that working group will be doing, without MAWG doing it?
Eric: I guess there's none, so maybe we need an amendment for this. I don't know how people feel about that. Regarding specifically the T passes.
CQ: When is the Mutual Aid WePay button gonna be up?
Eric: I've heard there's a button up already, I'd like to say ASAP, I want it up ASAP.
POI: Person has been identified who designs the buttons, email will be sent out to that person.
Eric: Maybe someone else could take care of that because I don't have computer access at the moment.
Eric: this is not to nitpick the original proposal, it's not lowering the original amount, not attacking one person, it's to make this more accountable and workable
Eric: …people who are in MAWG, some of them are seeking access to the funds, not a lot of people of privilege working in MAWG. You do need someone else to go through the procedure for you.
(Concern expressed, point of process noted)
CQ: How easy would it be for MAWG to use the existing form?
Eric: We'd like to continue to use that also to improve that form. Didn't have time.
POI: (can't hear) If individuals with Occupy who are under your roofs use their food stamps, it could ease burden on Occupy.
Eric: I feel Occupy Boston will seek to match efforts people have committed to physical occupations and the working groups.
POI: I get $200 in food stamps so if I go and stay with someone I can fill their fridge.
(Bil moves GA to concerns)
Concern: My whole sense of the reality of this proposal is that it's a finger in the dyke. Fact that you're moving a lot of responsibility for managing money to WG level concerns me. I felt more comfortable having MAWG doing this, with forms, knowing the people. This proposal now has that lack of oversight. Even with that oversight, it's still a first-come first-serve thing. Those WGs that know how to work the system will be able to beat out those that don't.
Concern: My problem with this is that…they had a problem with asking people to provide for the household. I'm having to provide food for people who are staying with me. Now that I'm getting opportunity to be repaid for some of that food, I'm being told the money for food I've given is not available. makes no sense to give $25 in gift cards to the people who are staying there…
Concern: I think people are understanding that there is already a proposal that passed, that already allocated money…
Concern: If this doesn't pass, I have an application form that needs to be changed, because the language in it is too ambiguous.
(Bil asks for statements of support)
SS: We've all gone back and forth about how this money is going out and how we're going to control it. This is a band-aid, it's not perfect, but it's better, we're moving in the right direction.
SS: I support this proposal for the reasons that have already been expressed by all the other people that support this proposal, my concern is that we've already promised $5000 and now we're lowering that money. This is a very carefully worked out proposal, but it only covers a few weeks. I think we should support it on the basis that we should commit to a few weeks.
SS: I support Eric and Bobbi and everybody who put this together. I trust MAWG to put together a good vetting system. I also just want to say I hope we'll all be encouraged to donate to this fund.
SS: I support this because if we don't pass this now, if someone blocks it, we've already spent $700 in 9 days, and we won't get to talk about this until after Tuesday because Sarah's proposal will come up.
Eric: When I brought this proposal the first time, only $20 had been spent, since there's been $700 spent b/c I didn't get to propose at GA.
SS: Old saying is that perfect is enemy of the good, you've got something good here, let's support and move on it.
(Bil asks for Amendments)
Amendments: That MAWG manages oversight of this money.
Amendment: Mine's half-baked. Use both MAWG and WG for beginning.
Amendment: WGs have to use form MAWG was already using. That this be made available to the WGs for T passes and cell phoone requisitions.
Bobbi: We need to redesign the form too.
Amendment: That housing and food assistance is separated. Are they mutually exclusive?
Bobbi: Can ask for food assistance for themselves.
Eric: Just to clarify, folks can get Occupy housing and food assistance or clarify that they can get both?
Amendment: Building off earlier amendment, have MAWG give forms to the WG and have MAWG collect forms and be documentarian and archivist of all these things, basically be FAWG but for MAWG.
Eric: So individual submits in writing to their WG and MAWG reviews that?
Bobbi: I have a problem with this already, with having someone fill out a form with one WG and then going to another WG to ask for money.
Amendment continues: Not actually be an arbiter, just collect these forms from the WGs (to document how money is begin spent).
Amendment: That someone not be able to ask for 3 T passes from three different WGs in same week.
Amendment: That MAWG gets these forms weekly from WGs.
(Proposer gets time to incorporate amendments)
Greg: FAWG would like to do a financial presentation. All the CGs are booked. Could we maybe do it during a GA? Yo? I'll bring it to FAWG tomorrow and we'll figure it out. (Temp check is hot)
John Murphy: Is anyone going to the Occupy NH primaries? (Some will go, if there's a car)
Gunner:…(about Occupy NH)
Anne:…(about Occupy NH)
NOAH:…(about Occupy NH) Check out Occupy NH on the wiki, occupy NH will have a schedule of events. On OUR wiki.
(41 people in attendance @ 8:09)
Greg: Indoor locations: wondering temp check do you want store front, housing, storage, central location. What do you want? Is it good idea?
Audience: Hot temp check
Carolyn: Should be something brought to GA. Need better information flow. Should be part of a larger strategy. Let's discuss as big group.
Eric Reads Amendments:
1. Member seeking support request to WG and MAWG will do forms.
2. Those individuals receiving food money can help defray costs of household with stipend.
(Bil explains blocks, reads new block definition)
(Ask for blocks: No blocks)
(Move to consensus: Proposal passes.)
(Assembly takes a break)
Noah: This proposal is to reduce number of GAs to 2. GAS will be held on Thursday and Sunday nights…Saturday night would be an unscheduled time for people to do things in lieu of having a GA. Justification: We would still have a central location for Tuesday nights, where people can meet and work on signs and silk-screening, make tiny tents, go to non-Occupy meetings, etc. I'm deeply concerned we've become through our GA an introspective thing. We're spending way too much time talking about community issues. We need to prioritize some time. 20 hours a week are not being spent on outward activities. I recognize GA proposals could be Outreach-oriented if we just wrote them. Autonomous actions are generally not proposed. Proposing them, though, is a waste of time, not the best way to do it, when you have a hammer like a GA, everything looks like a nail. If we had time to coordinate on action-based things that are not a GA, that would be productive. I think GAs are probably not the most productive thing we could be doing. Discussions about strategy are all crammed in on non-GA times. We need more time. I love GAs, but they expand with all the time you give them. We need time for democracy, but we need time for other things too.
(Bil calls for CQs)
CQ: Would churches allow us to use their space for other things?
Noah: Different churches allow different things. Room at Emmanuel is a decent multipurpose space. Community church has allowed us to do this. CGs are not General Assemblies. I think we can find space.
CQ: Is there something specific your proposal is saying we agree to do or have or say on Tuesday nights?
Noah: Yes, we would continue to meet on Tuesday nights, but not as a General Assembly. It would be a space where working groups, affinity groups, etc. can come but not to work on a project. Anything can happen as long as it's outward-focused. My attempt at this is to say Tuesday nights will be set aside for things that are meant to increase "the size, visibility and impact of the movement."
CQ continues: Are you proposing something regular or that we leave it open for groups to do something?
Noah: Sat night is open, Tues would be regular.
Marty: Shifting to outward focus, how does it play into the proposal?
Noah: Tuesday is action-oriented rather than a discussion. Decentralized strategy meetings are effective.
CQ: Is anything in there requiring actions actually happen?
Noah: Please offer an amendment.
POI: The GA does what the assembly wants. If it lasts 5 hours, that's because the assembly wants it. Bring other proposals if you want the GA to do different things. CGs do not pull anything near the numbers that the GA does.
CQ: You want people to come and work on Occupy but in a holistic way?
Noah: It would be a time for people to work together on their own things. It's an assembly and a working meeting.
(Request to read part about Tuesday meetings again. It's read.)
CQ: So it doesn't need to be stuff happening at the meeting, it can be Direct Actions out in the streets.
(Request for facilitation to clarify night's agenda other than this proposal)
CQ: Will there be advance notice of what's going on Tuesdays and Saturdays?
POI: We've yet to have a General Assembly at which no proposals come up. The backlog will never be cleaned out.
POI: Quick math, you're gonna double the rolling-over proposals. There are people who can't find it in their schedules to come to any of four GAs now scheduled.
(question about how late we have this space, until 10:30 according to some)
CQ: Is it your expectation that DA, InterOccupy, other groups will take advantage of that night? Is your intention that this would grab a larger part of the community?
Noah: Yes, it would give people space to do more outward-focused activities.
Noah: I'm most interested in concerns at this point, if we could move onto them.
(Bil says we'll get to them)
CQ: I'm curious if there's anything in the proposal that would structurally bring us together? Would it make Tuesday a ghost town at Emmanuel, or is there something structural in this proposal that makes us come together as a community?
Noah: There's nothing structural, it assumes the desire of the community to get together and work on outward-oriented action-based stuff.
(Bil asks if we should break out into small groups, no desire for this)
POI: The space at Arlington St Church could be used for other things.
(Bil asks for concerns)
Concern: Eliminating 2 GAs would make the other GAs unproductive. Maybe we can eliminate 1.
Concern: We're not doing a good enough job to get things out there as a Media group, for someone concerned with us not making it well-enough known what we're doing to the larger public, I think GAs are the easiest way to be public and welcome people. As a working person, it's good to be able to go to a GA and take a breath.
Concern: I think we need more GAs because we have too many proposals. I think reducing GAs would be self-destructive.
Concern: My concern is that, while I agree with the sentiment for outreach and expansion, it's important to acknowledge that we haven't even gotten to the new proposals tonight, these are just roll-over proposals, if we eliminate 2 of 4 there are time-sensitive proposals that won't get addressed.
Concern: Without Dewey, people crave to be getting together. Those 4 opportunities are our opportunities to get together as a large community. Just like CG night on Monday, you can't assume people will come just because we have that space. If you make it an outward-looking meeting, we might see the numbers we get at CGs. I think the CGs address that need for outward-looking meetings. We cut down 7 to 4 so WGs could meet and they are not meeting every day.
Concern: I'm concerned this proposal assumes people will take it amongst themselves to do things. We cut down from 7 to 4 times a week assuming people would use the time to have productive discussions, but nothing happened in terms of productive discussions. People have to go and make these things happen. I guess there's a discussion set up for one day, but if it's up to people again to make something happen on their own…
Concern: I think the GA is not the place to be having discussions about a proposal. I think the GA functions as outreach. If I knew someone who wanted to get involved, I'd tell them to come to a GA. I'd rather we take a GA and make it into something else, have the same function as a meeting that an outside person could attend as an intro.
Concern: I'm concerned that people understand where we are in time and consider this proposal at another point in time. It's already been pointed out we don't have a camp anymore and this is helping us stay together. There's an element of mourning for some people. If people feel there's a sense of a loss of momentum, that was destined to happen in the wide majority of scenarios for this to happen for this movement. There's only one scenario that would keep momentum through the winter would be some massive infusion of new resources, more volunteers. We have to deal with the harshness of winter, and that's going to take energy. We are dealing with problems that weren't dealt with at Dewey, and we should be taking care of them now.
Concern: There's a reason inward stuff is happening, stuff bubbling up from within, it needs to be balanced, and things will happen organically. I think the community needs this. The CGs were about the same thing. the opportunity already exists in this form. I think you've identified a need, I don't think this proposal meets this need at the moment. I suggest you go through the Priority Proposal Process, and get some feedback on this.
(Bil asks Noah if he'd like to continue with concerns, Noah suggests he go another 15 minutes taking concerns, support and amendments, audience feedback suggests he table it, not table it, temp check is good on continuing with process for a while longer)
Concern: We have proposals that are not getting through GA because of lack of time.
Concern: I would agree about Sat night, but Tues is an important GA night because people are coming from work. 2/week is not enough.
Concern: I'm concerned about the open-endedness of a space where people get together. I like idea that if it was something strategy-based and we're going to talk about banks on Tues night and everyone can come together it would be good, so I support that end of it, but I'm concerned about a lack of a structure, an agenda.
Concern: My concern is that there's a perfectly good Friday night for this sort of thing. My concern is that many people won't attend. Only interested groups will attend. If people come from the burbs and hear us talking about certain things, it's just what we do, some inward-looking some outward-looking. Cutting down on nights if we have proposals that don't need workshopping in the GA. My concern is that opening up Sat or another night for GA just won't accomplish what you want.
Concern: If this proposal does get vetted more, I would propose Saturday get dropped.
(Bil asks for Statements of Support)
SS: I think we need to continue to evolve and analyze, be critical of our process, and this is a step in that direction.
SS: I support the idea, I wish we could focus GAs more on actions and forward-thinking. I'm not sure eliminating GAs is the answer though. We should be thinking more glabally instead of locally.
(Bil asks for amendments)
Amendment: When we started at GA we were doing 2/day, we got to 7/week, we're now at 4, so I think we should just get rid of GAs. Maybe do 1. Or let's do GA through email.
Amendment: My amendment would be that you cut it down to eliminating only one of the two GAs, either Saturday or Sunday, keep Tuesday because it's a popular GA day, make whatever day you do eliminate into a strategy discussion, it scares me to just leave an open space, maybe an action following that discussion.
Amendment: I like idea behind it about actions and outreach, it's cold we've missed people at marches, I would suggest instead of getting rid of a GA, have one GA/week entirely focused on outward actions, so those proposals come up and we keep the gravity of the GA.
Amendment: If we do cut it down to three, cut out Sunday.
Amendment: If we're talking about efficiency, we need to have the WG announcements typed up during GA so we don't need to spend an hour on announcements. Rather than eliminating a GA, I think we should radically restructure one GA. We can change it, so that on that one day/week we can make sure every active WG is there…to have a night that we can be sure that we have people from all the spinoffs of Occupy Boston, use open space technology to allow for organic discussions of what we're doing, what we can do, we can have groups with representatives from different WGs drafting proposals or figuring out things they can do autonomously.
Noah: You want this outside the queue for rollovers?
Amendment: Call it something like a political action assembly rather than a general assembly. We wouldn't waste time on language, because it would be about actions. We would have a stack, not doing proposals but coordinating actions and activities.
Noah: Open space technology does this.
POI: Facilitation should spend time talking about how we would do this, who would do this.
Amendment: Facilitation has been talking about having GAs on a Sunday night be outside central Boston, my amendment would be do this really highly structured open tech thing on Friday nights.
Amendment: In this proposal, I would add that it does have a structure, I was working on one that would allow people to get feedback and in this space wouldn't have to have people doing that. Just to have it in the proposal that this would be a structured meeting.
(Noah announces he's tabling his proposal for now, wants to know why Sunday is the night proposed to get rid of GA, response is that it's a night of the weekend back)
POI: More than half of the recorded proposals we've passed are inward-looking, like 50 of 80.
Question: Weren't there more outward-looking proposals at the beginning? (Nawww…) Maybe we should do more of that.
POI: Not only eliminating GAs, but structured GAs I like or any kind of action.
Greg: Previous proposal to spend money on travel for OB members to other occupations passed. We've taken in $1840 since eviction. We just passed a proposal on Mutual Aid for $4400. I propose we stop paying for travel to other occupations.
(Lots of twinkling)
CQ: Is there anyone out there who traveled without money to return?
A: We bought round trip tickets.
CQ: Would you want to start this up again at some point?
A: No, not until we're in a better situation financially at least.
POI: There are a lot of sights that people want to see that are Occupy-related.
(Bil asks for concerns or objections, none)
(Bil asks for statements of support)
SS: Strong statement of support, we should drop things like this until we have a budget.
SS: I support this because I've seen people selling their tickets.
SS: I support this because I think people should stay here and be working in Boston.
SS: I support this and hope we'll keep this in mind when we have other proposals for short-term expenditures.
(Bil asks for amendments)
Amendment: Maybe we leave it open in case we find out someone is out somewhere and was planning on getting reimbursed, that they can get back if they need to get back.
Amendment: I had already bought tickets for the 10th, to go to DC for a court date. I support this, but I want to know if I can still get those tickets to go to my court date.
(Greg restates his proposal with amendment for two round-trip tickets for person attending court date and his friend, effective tomorrow morning)
(Bil asks for blocks, no blocks, asks for consensus)
Carlos Gonzalez: …The GA may decide to nominate…I would like to see Ron Paul with the Nobel Peace Prize…we should do something about it. I nominate Ron Paul. We can defuse this…we keep dying…He wants all these people back. ..He promised that if he's elected, he wants to see the troops back by 2015.
(Call for quorum check, we have quorum, decision is to take clarifying questions first)
CQ: Why would we want to legitimize the Nobel Peace Prize?
POI: Alfred Nobel invented TNT. Nobel Peace Prize was his way of trying to undo that. As we saw last year with Obama winning, I don't want to prioritize working on this.
CQ: I've been to 4 or 5 meetings, where you've brought up Ron Paul. Are you working on his campaign?
A: I hate war, I went to Vietnam and fought and came back alive. I feel it's for profits, moneymaking, that's it.
CQ continues; What is your connection to the Ron Paul campaign?
A: He's the messiah, he's like Jesus Christ…
CQ: What has Ron Paul done to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?
A: He proposed to cut the military budget…
CQ: I know of emails that reveal Ron Paul may have some homophobic inclinations, I'm not sure how peaceful that is.
A: He'll be commander-in-chief…
POI: Ron Paul's representative of a system we're fighting against. Obama made promises he didn't keep. If I don't get a peace prize, he shouldn't get a Peace Prize.
(Bil asks for concerns)
Concern:…I have serious concerns about Ron Paul, which is against my beliefs, would make me leave this movement, he's come out as homophobic, I don't think it's appropriate for us to be supporting a candidate who does not support the people in this movement, I will block this.
Concern: We passed a proposal stating we were independent of outside orgs.
(Bil asks for Statements of Support)
SS: I support this because it is creative, and he is the only American politician talking about dismantling the American empire. this is not an endorsement of the candidate, it is a creative way of endorsing one aspect of his platform that we agree with.
Carlos: We can include an amendment that…
(Bil asks for amendments)
Amendment: I like the idea of nominating someone for a Nobel Peace Prize, but I'd like to substitute "John Ford" for "Ron Paul."
Amendment: I think we should change it to "Occupy."
Amendment: I would not consider Ron Paul but actual people who have been able to do real things in war-torn areas. I think 3 women just shared the Nobel Peace Prize and they're from an area where it's a very hard thing for a woman to do what they did.
Amendment: I would amend we nominate Bradley Manning.
Amendment: I would suggest the fruit-stand guy in Tunisia who set himself on fire.
Amendment: Why don't we make our own award, the "Occupy Peace Prize"?
Carlos: Boston is going to go, when there's nuclear war with the Russians and the Chinese, Ron Paul is the only guy who has power if he gets elected to stop this war…
(Bil tells Carlos his options)
Carlos: We better start building something for survival, we better start preparing for survival, if Ron Paul is not elected, we need at least to be 100 people to survive the war, we've seen the Stone Age, we've seen the movies, we need to be able to start again, there's all this oppression, people are afraid to die…
(Bil asks Carlos to restate)
Carlos: We either nominate Ron Paul or begin preparing for survival.
(Bil asks for blocks)
Block: I didn't join this movement to nominate a candidate, by nominating one for the Nobel Peace Prize we send the message we're nominating a candidate…I block this.
(Block is principled)
(Proposal is tabled by block)
Greg: I want it public knowledge Patty and Jorge have been doing a lot of work at Community Church, we should help them finish cleaning up here.