GA Minutes Sun Oct 09 2011
Sun Oct 9, 2011, Evening
NOTE: This is not a 100% word for word transcription, but represents a good faith attempt to render the meaning and spirit of what was said. There are occasional comments from the transcriber and editor to explain the meaning of what was said.
Wiki-Editors Note: We are working on providing a quick-read summary and the overall minutes of the General Assembly. If you can do this, please help.
Tonight's GA will have transcription! We could use one or two volunteers to make sure we don't screw this up. Come on over.
Facilitator One: We are the 99% and this is our General Assembly! Tonight's facilitators are Diana and Casey. (applause)
Casey: For anybody - we have a lot of first-timers coming in every day: The GA is a decision-making body that uses consensus. Our definition is: "a process of non-violent conflict resolution. The expression of concern and conflicting ideas is valuable and important."
(perhaps the transcriber can't keep up with a real mic - people's mike is slower)
Diana: Hopefully you're getting a feeling of what this is all about. We're introducing our team.
(Julian, Sarah, Ryan, Theresa, Brian, Will, Anastasia and Greg introduce themselves. Beth on ASL translation.)
Casey: If you have a proposal, see a floor manager. This will all make sense soon if you're totally lost right now.
Diana: Our process manager likes to make sure everything's going by process. They like to give us an update if we go a bit off-rails, and bring things back.
Casey: We're going to go through Working Group announcements. Then we'll go through signs.
(call for Working Groups) (point of process - signs first) (transcribing gestures is impossible)
Clarification: If you make a block and the resolution is passed and you stay, are your blocks valid past then?
Diana: We don't make that judgment.
Process Manager (PM): A block is something an individual puts up as their belief that whatever is being proposed is so detrimental that they would leave the movement if the proposal was passed. It doesn't force them to leave.
Audience: My response to that is that the definition of a block makes it clear that you are so opposed that you would leave. I am not saying that you have to leave if the proposition is passed, however, it is a serious problem that can happen in the democratic process if someone continues to block in that way their vote is ten votes, not an equal vote. Therefore it is important that if someone throws up a block and it passes that their blocks in the future are no longer valid.
PM: Point of process - we can't make that decision right now, but if you feel strongly about it you can make a proposal later.
Point of Process from audience: Nobody here is voting. We're doing consensus.
(further explanation of consensus procedures)
Audience: One time when someone blocks the group can vote whether or not they care if that person leaves. In the consensus process I feel like you're generally expected --
Casey: When you have something to say - stand up, mic check, be loud. We want everyone to hear you.
Audience: People are generally expected in a consensus process, if it's going to work, to embrace the ethic that an injury to one is an injury to all. So blocks need to be taken seriously, but at the same time, the group CAN vote to allow the person to leave. If the people can vote for something that someone blocks it's not the end of the whole democratic process.
(Casey explains mic-check. Hooray for crowdsourcing voice amplification!)
(transcriber asks for names)
Dennis: Every time consensus is explained there's a different definition of what a block means. Historically-- (someone shouts that he is not heard and is escorted off by OB security/safety)
Diana explains the idea of stack - the list of who has an announcement, proposal, etc.
Dennis: Historically, blocking expressed the idea that this proposal violates the principles of the group. And that therefore nothing can proceed until we discuss and resolve those differences. It did not mean that if you do this "I" will leave. I would like discussion and clarification of how we want to handle that.
Casey: We need that to be discussed at the facilitator's meeting.
Dennis: It's been discussed there.
Greg: The topic of block - we're looking at it closely, we talk about it every day. The Facilitation committee spends hours every day talking about this. Please join us. As far as Dennis' point - we're working on a proposal to bring to the assembly on how a GA can run. In the meanwhile we're going through steps, getting a feel, creating and adjusting. That said, how we're dealing with them at the moment is the following: "You feel so strongly opposed to this thing that it will cause damage or harm to an individual or the movement. We don't have a mission statement yet, or written principles, we can't have a block against the organization because we haven't decided that yet. So right now it's damage to someone or something that will cause you to leave." For a block to carry, 10% have to agree with the block.
Audience: If you agree with a block, is that a block"? Because if you agree with a block that's a simple dissent. Also earlier it was said blocks were used to open up discussion, but if the original proposal after an open discussion is passed after your block then it seems to me that you felt so strongly that you would leave.
PM: We just discussed how we are working on this process. We don't have an answer to that question right now. If you'd like to be part of the answer, join us at the Facilitation committee.
Diana: If you want to talk, please talk to a Floor Manager first.
Audience: When is facilitation meeting?
Casey: 4 o'clock every day, across the street near the Federal Reserve building.
Theresa: The facilitation meeting is at 5 Mon-Fri and 4 Sat/Sun.
Casey: Thank you.
Diana: This is what democracy actually looks like. (cheers)
Audience: Is there a way and a time for expressing concerns that are not blocks?
Diana: Yes, there is. We're going to explain process!
(hand signals are recapped)
Diana/Casey: First clarifications, then points of information/interest, then we take objections, then we will take support. Support is NOT directed towards objections, but towards the proposal overall. Then we will move into amendments.
Casey: Let's kick this off and get into working group announcements. Talk to Anastasia if you want to be on the list.
- OccupyResearch (Jeff and Patrick): We created a new working group meeting tomorrow at 5:30. We're a group of scholars, activists, academics, researchers. We want to reflect on things and talk about collaborative projects. this group is not just in Boston. We're interested in communication tools and structures and researching that and helping come up with proposals and strategies.
One of the things we're working on over the next couple of days is a survey we hope to spread to other Occupations that lets us know more about you. Survey is voluntary, you can tell your story to a camera if you like. We have two documentary filmmakers who are getting footage. We know a lot of you are using cameras and it's sometimes indiscreet. We respond well to being waved off or even cursing. Come on by!
Casey: Next is Community Safety.
Safety (Scott): Good evening! We're the Community Safety Watch Group. Safety stuff for you and everyone: No open flames in the tents. No smoking in tents. Watch your step - we've straightened out Main Street but be careful anyways. If you're here in a tent, please keep your tent area policed - there's a designated trash area by the food tent, put your trash in the bags there and we'll take care of the rest. No open food in your tent. We have critters around and they have the munchies too. If you're building a tent we have materials you can use, but we ask you put things back where you got them when you're done. Our volunteers wear yellow "safety" armbands in daylight and yellow safety vests at night.
We mean it about no open flames or smoking in the tents, because if you're on fire we have to jump in and put you out.
Thanks for keeping things quiet at night. If you're entertaining, we love this, but please stop at midnight. (crowd approval)
We have a new bike rack! (cheers) If you have a bike, you're welcome to lock it on that fence they've got out there, or put a sign on it.
We need volunteers. If you want to help people feel safe, come see me.
There's a lot of signs in the bushes and food being left there. Please don't do this. Put it in the trash and we'll all be happier. If no one told you they loved you - I love you.
Casey: Any more? Yes, food!
Safety: About the tents - if you have something valuable in your tent, this is a community and we all have a problem with thievery. Put your valuables in your backpack. If you wonder who's in a tent, ask at Logistics and they might know. Tell Logistics who's in YOUR tent. Thank you.
Food (Michelle): Thanks for all the donations! You're keeping this going. Secondly, Food Not Bombs is heavily involved and we've had a lot of questions about volunteering for them. Come ask us at the food tent.
- salad dressing (preferably vegan)
- a big coffee maker 100 cup or so
- hand sanitizer
- MORE VOLUNTEERS.
If you're interested in getting food, getting water, or preparing food, talk to Dan the Bagel Man or Derek, who are usually at the food tent.
Diana: We came to a consensus a while back: Please keep smoking off to the side. It's safer (fire) and healthier (some of us have asthma). We try to keep this space clear - if you're sitting on the grass please move back a little bit.
Food Safety (Richard): It's my birthday! (singing) (more singing) (we should start a choir)
An outbreak of a foodborne disease could shut this whole thing down. I have some experience in this and I'd like to form a food safety committee to ensure everyone's health. Logistics has my contact information. This is important, let's address it soon. (applause)
Casey: Thanks! Next is...
Point of Information: Consensus on the smoking thing - smoking on the sidewalk, not off to the side.
Diana: Next is Allies Against Racism, after is the Queer/Trans Caucus.
Allies Against Racism: We don't feel the statement of solidarity is being upheld in practice. We'd like to create a safer space for people of color. If you'd like to help, please come and find us. We'd like to make next Friday's GA focused on anti-oppression. (applause)
Diana: Strategies, Proposals & Positions (SP&P) is on deck.
Queer/Trans Caucus (Reed): Good evening everyone! We had our third meeting tonight. Unfortunately we've heard of several events at camp that were really not-okay - men intimidating women, making unwanted sexual advances at various genders, white folks intimidating black folks, and we don't think that's okay. (applause)
We'd like to start a pledge to not commit, condone, or remain silent when witnessing threatening or oppressive language or when there is any sort of act of aggression. We're also looking to recruit more allies - it's hard to fight back when you're being marginalized, and sometimes it's nice to have some people with privilege to help.
There's a lot of oppression and we don't all feel totally safe here and we'd like to change that. The more of us that are here and represented the more we're like the 99%. (applause) Check out our tent at K11. We have stickers and reading material.
Casey: Everyone. Show your support for your working groups! If you like what they say, show it! (hand applause)
Diana: Also, this (shows GA hand signal for demonstrating support) is really great for showing support. ASL applause is silent and we can still hear them talk. Next is SP&P, Media/Outreach on deck.
SP&P (Dave): Strategy, Proposals and Positions. We'd like to coordinate people to write proposals for GA to tell folks what we're about and what we all agree on. We meet at 10pm at the Gandhi statue normally, but the next few days will be a bit weird - if you're still interested have discussions on you're own or show up then and there and have your own meetings! We won't have anything official until Tuesday, but please feel free to work on your own.
Casey: Media is next, Outreach on deck.
Media (Alex): If you haven't heard, the NYT has had a shift in editorial policy - 2 strong editorials that say we're right but that the powers that be aren't listening. Let's make them listen. Marissa, our protest chaplain was on CNN's Belief blog, which is cool. The Boston media has gotten negative. Mayor Menino asserts time is running out and the city is losing patience.
There might be more direct police action - a word of caution, please keep in mind that arrests are usually political and not based on legalities. Be very cautious going forward and if you can't be arrested keep that in mind. Take lessons from the Legal group and Eye-Flushing training from Medical in case pepper spray happens.
Media needs volunteers to coordinate needs and news and such. We need a lot of volunteers. Wiki link is on www.occupyboston.com. Thanks. (applause)
Diana: Outreach is next, Legal on deck.
Outreach (Christine): Looking for volunteers - we're near the entrance of Dewey Square near the Farmer's Market. We have nightly meetings but we know you're busy. We had a meeting today and we realized a main challenge is trying to engage with diverse communities. We had a two hour conversation about this and realized we need to get on this immediately to keep growing the movement. We're forming an anti-oppression group and we're going to organize training groups to address these issues - race, orientation, environmental issues - first meeting is at Thursday at 6pm. We hope you all join, we think this is really important.
Diana: Working groups out there, if you have proposals please see Anastasia. We'd love more!
Casey: Legal is up. Facilitators are on-deck, but we're already up here.
Legal: Speaking of getting arrested. (laughter) If it happens, call the National Lawyer's Guild at 617-227-7335. Write this number on your arm with a sharpie. The cops will take your cell phone. The legal tent says legal on it and is in between Food and Outreach. Volunteer there. Also we have Arrestee Intake forms for you to fill out if you think you might be arrested. We can help you if you need us to tell housemates to feed your cat, or tell the cops to give you your medication... if you think you'd be treated especially badly by the cops due to social/economic status please fill one out.
There's a march tomorrow and we need lots of legal observers. If you've had training and want to pitch in swing by around noon and pick up a green hat. Thanks.
Casey: Thanks! Next is... us. (Facilitators)
Facilitators (Greg): Three things: Can I ask sound/media turn the speakers up a bit? That'd be great. Two, we meet M-F 5pm on stone benches in front of the Fed, 4pm on weekends. Third, there's no block police. If you block something and it's overridden, this is an honor system. It's on you to leave or not - we are NOT going to kick you out.
Casey: Next is Occupy Boston Globe.
Occupy Boston Globe: I lost my voice, sorry. Look for the Beale Street sign. OBG is a new thing we're making, a newspaper for Occupy Boston. We're crowdsourcing content but have a lot of trained journalists. We're going to start a free press tent. A lot of people are talking about things and want to contribute things, we want to offer a venue for people to come in and write and print things and distribute them. We'll host documentaries and such. We'll have our own tent soon but right now we are in with Media.
Arts & Culture (Greg - a different one): We have a lot of musicians who want to support us and this is great. We have a band tomorrow which is an all-female African/Carribbean soul band. Come out!
Casey: There's plenty of room to come up and sit on this lovely ground here. I encourage you to take a friend and sit down and engage in a conversation. Standing is kind of uncomfortable!
Diana: That's it for Working Groups. Next is proposals from Working Groups, but there are none tonight. Next is individual proposals.
(recap of gestures and process)
Audience Point of Process: We agreed we would go through the consensus process twice. If after the second consensus we are not able to reach consensus we would then move to an indirect consensus process.
Facilitator Greg: If the assembly cannot reach consensus after two rounds we will move to indirect consensus. If we get there facilitation will explain.
Diana: First Independent proposal from Dan. Dan, where are you?
Casey: We can't find Dan. Boffett (?) and group are next.
Boffett: Our proposal first, reasons afterwards. "Occupy Boston Friday Oct 14 meeting (this Friday) is to be an anti-racism anti-oppression dedicated assembly coordinated by working groups." There are multiple groups working to coordinate smaller trainings, we believe the entire GA needs to prioritize this as a shared responsibility. Also this would let us authentically outreach in a credible and respectful manner. This would make real the two statements we've issued so far. Finally, as we all unintentionally participate in oppressive behavior we need to take our large community gathering to facilitate our collective learning. We need to build a model of the world we dream of.
Diana: Clarifying questions?
Facilitator Greg: Does that mean if this goes through that on that day and time no other proposals will be presented?
Stephanie: Which Working Groups and how would they coordinate?
Group: 1) a group announced there will be folks getting together to be allies to work around this, there are experts in our communities who've done a lot of work. Whoever is interested in this can make a Working Group to participate. These are good people to talk to: Carl Williams,Jude, Stacia, Jason.
Audience: If this goes through can we still bring up other topics unrelated to oppression (on Friday)?
Group: If there's time, yes. We assume there won't be time, though. We think we need the time to be dedicated to this conversation. It's a lifelong conversation but we want to help start it.
Facilitator Greg: Have you figured out or do you expect it will be figured out later what that evening will look like?
Group: That will be figured out between now and Friday.
Audience: October 15 is International Solidarity with the Occupy Movement. What is Boston's response? We need to plan for that, to be a part of that group.
Group: I think that's a different question. I think this is important enough and plays into national/international struggles that we're working on.
Yanik: Is this a general discussion or are there concrete proposals you want to be discussed on Friday? If it is a discussion, what form do you see the GA taking? The current structure doesn't seem like it would facilitate a general discussion.
Group: The idea is this would be an opportunity for a collective education space. It will change the structure and what facilitation looks like. It won't look like this. There are ways to make workshops work at this size - what it will look like will be organic to this community. It's about doing it all together in this space with everybody.
Audience: Will the GA process be eliminated for that night?
Group: Modified or eliminated is up for debate. I imagine the group that would come together would propose something. We'd hope to jump into a facilitated anti-racism anti-oppression workshop.
Audience Point of Information: I'm in the Facilitation Working Group and I speak for all of us that we're willing to participate in the creation of this process and that we would love to help facilitate this meeting.
Audience Point of Information: It was asked earlier how we would set this up, and as a member of Allies Against Racism in conjunction with our other members we will work together with these very experienced folks to try to create a wonderful experience for all of you.
Audience Point of Information: The Queer/Trans Caucus we would be pumped to work on this and also I've heard some mutterings about maybe having a Women's Caucus? Yeah.
Diana: Objections/Concerns? (looks like no)
Audience Concerns: This could set a precedent for different interest groups taking place of a General Assembly.
Facilitator Greg Point of Process: Any Working Group or individual can make a proposal any time they're ready to bring it to General Assembly.
Casey: Any other objections/concerns? No? We move on to strong statements of support for the proposal.
Audience: I strongly support this. What you're not seeing is the people who are leaving because of race/class/gender issues. A lot of us are privileged. Privilege binds us, this will help us open our eyes.
Audience: I strongly support this proposal because racism and classism is the #1 way of keeping us oppressed. When we're united the rulers will shake in their boots.
Facilitator Greg: As a privileged member of the 99% I can't wait to attend.
Audience: I want to call our attention to an invisible group of people who are the undocumented people among us who are getting more and more pressure and persecution (???) and I want to say that I hope that they will become visible in that General Assembly.
Audience Point of Process: I totally agree this seems more like an amendment.
Audience: Movements have been brought down countless times because their members could not work out these issues. If we don't work these issues out now at the beginning we're destined to fail.
Audience: I think that by having this we can take the first steps to actually being more inclusive.
Audience: In addition to these reasons, also I think each and every one of us can benefit from learning these skills of fighting oppression in all its forms every day.
Audience: I feel that we should empower those who have been disempowered by the powers that be.
Audience: Can my sister jump the stack?
Diana: I think we're done with that can we move to amendments?
Audience: The divisive voice of this group is reflected in the press when we forget there are millions of homeless people in this country. Thousands in Boston alone. When someone talks about their privilege or that this whole group is from privilege they are creating a division and scaring people away. It is beyond race or sexual orientation and we have to acknowledge it. I invited homeless here and I want them to feel welcome - watch your language.
Diana: Amendments? If you have one early, you can talk to a floor manager early.
Diana: Any amendments? Any?
(request from audience to re-hear proposal)
Group: "Occupy Boston's Friday Oct 14 GA is to be a dedicated anti-racism anti-oppression GA coordinated by Working Groups."
Diana: This is a nice quiet lull to think about the proposal.
(grade school jokes are told - they are not dirty - "What's brown and sticky - a stick!")
Audience Amendment: I love your proposal is there any way we can amend this to another day? As someone who is focused on connecting us with the international/national occupations could we have it the day before or after?
Audience Amendment: Can we add a piece that states a commitment to including members of underprivileged communities as central to the planning process for this GA and not just relying on allies of the oppressed to plan it.
Diana: First we do amendments, then the proposers reconsider and either explain how they meet objections or amend their proposal or table it for later or withdraw it entirely. Any more amendments.
Audience: I love the idea I just want to make sure that the General Assembly process doesn't get totally nuked and paved.
(Process Manager Point of Process): We're voting on would put the GA as it typically runs to the side for one night only. The next night it would be back to typical GA.)
Audience, cont: So most of GA would be moved to the side - I would like it if individual proposals could still be made.
Audience Amendment: I think it's important that we add a Free Speech Clause so we make sure that we don't use offensive language but balance that with letting everyone share their thoughts.
Audience Amendment: I'd like to include a time for Working Group announcements in this proposed GA, maybe with a time limit.
Diana: Looks like no more amendments. Now the proposers can deliberate and get back to us.
Group: A different day - we desire to do this ASAP, Friday is as soon as we could do it timing-wise. Also this training workshop time, let us not have an imagination that this is the end of the work, it's just a part of it. One of the things that's really exciting about doing it on Friday is that people don't work on the weekend, and people can talk about it all weekend. We know it's not perfect timing but that's our desire. We're willing to include the amendment about folks from historically oppressed identities/experiences in the proposal. We feel there are two GAs in the day and are specifically asking for the 7pm GA. We hope you make announcements at other times.
New proposal: "Occupy Boston's Friday Oct 14 7pm GA is to be an anti-racism anti-oppression GA coordinated by Working Groups that include people from historically oppressed communities."
Audience Clarifies: Is there a plan if the police come in and this camp before then, what is our response regarding meeting?
Group: We can't answer that, but we have more people then they have police and don't plan on that happening.
Audience Clarifies: Sorry if this is a little grammar nerd, but as I currently understand the new proposal, any Working Groups that include people from historically oppressed communities would be involved in coordinating. Are you creating a new working group that would organize this GA in concert with Facilitation or are there other groups that would also be involved?
Group: We intend to involve everyone interested in helping, which would effectively create another Working Groups. That group could evolve into a long term group, which would be great, but for now it's ad-hoc for Friday's meeting.
Audience Point of Information: I think people are a little confused. International day of Solidarity is on the 15th, not the 14th. There is no conflict here.
Audience Point of Information: October 15 there is an event scheduled here on this part of the Greenway. As a group we haven't decided what we're going to do.
Audience Point of Prcess: That's irrelevant to the 14th.
Audience Point of Information, cont: At a GA at some point this week we have to make a plan as far as what we're going to do for the 15th. My concern is that what if part of our plan
PM PoP: (can't hear)
Casey: Strong concerns or objections?
Audience: I think this discussion is vital to this space. Not everyone can attend on Friday. Can we videotape the meeting and post it online so those who can't be here physically can participate? (applause)
Diana: Anybody else?
Audience: I think this is all a very great idea and I support it, but I am slightly concerned about using the GA time
Facilitator Greg Point of Process: This part of the evening is for strong concerns. It may be semantics, but you said slightly.
Audience: When do I express slight concerns?
F. Greg: We don't have a process for slight concerns.
Audience: Can I call it a "concern"? Well, it is strong. I do think we should have this at the next GA. But be mindful to not take up GAs overall because that is our process. If we don't have that how can we make decisions like the one we need to make about the 15th.
Diana: Any other strong concerns or objections?
Audience Amendment: I believe this is as important as a GA but that since they are both equally important they need to be separate. Perhaps we could set this up after GA ends on the 14th.
(moderate audience disapproval)
Audience Amendment: Add in the phrase that, instead of "coordinated by working groups" it says "coordinated by an ad hoc working group, with involvement of historically oppressed groups, working groups and caucuses. This ad hoc working group will work with Facilitation and with other interested Working Groups and caucuses to develop an appropriate process for this and only this GA."
Audience Amendment: I propose that it possibly be held right before the GA from 6-7 instead of replacing it. I feel like this gentleman does have a point that this might set a bad precedent for hijacking GAs and making them something they're not - they're a consensus process not a lecture/discussion.
Process Manager Point of Process: This proposal is not a hijacking of our GA it is a consensus being taken by everyone here giving their consent to address this issue.
Audience: I agree - poor choice of wording - but my view is that the GA may not be the best venue for this. So I propose before the GA.
Audience Amendment: I think this is a great idea, I am concerned that the 15th is an important date, I'd like to ask for a small chunk of the GA be devoted to rallying folks for the following day - 15 minutes would be sufficient. Let folks know what's happening on Saturday and the importance of everyone's participation on that day, but not to undermine the importance of the issue of oppression in this struggle.
Audience Amendment: I believe that both issues of the GA and this process individually are equally important. What would be much stronger together is that Friday's GA be themed to what everyone essentially wants because ideally while this is an issue, the issue of oppression, we are all collectively trying to find a way to work through such issues and remain stronger as a whole. By breaking everything up we might as well be outside of these four small walls we have outside this garden.
Audience Amendment: I think that the topic of the GA is directly related to and impacted by the day of Solidarity on the 15th. We can tie the two together to make it even more impactful.
Audience Amendment: I believe that by understanding racism, sexism, classism, and gender discrimination we can help to understand one another better and become a stronger community.
Audience Amendment: I propose we move that things would happen in a regular GA to the proposed 15 minute time after the anti-oppression training.
Audience Amendment: I suggest that we trust that this ad-hoc group is equally as invested in the success of the events on the 15th as everyone else.
I propose that the group add language to that effect so we don't have to take away time to address their overall investment in the movement.
Audience Amendment: I propose that because both keeping the GA whole and the awareness training are of both extreme importance that we have an extended GA on Friday from 6-10. That should give us enough time to have a small GA and then plenty of time for awareness.
Audience Amendment: I would like to propose the amendment that we regard this proposal as a transforming event that is absolutely fundamental to everything that we will do after that event. And in recognition of that transformation we will carry it forward on the 15th so that when we join the international community in solidarity we can do so proudly by announcing that we have begun to address the issues of oppression and racism.
Audience Amendment: Because of the high percieved importance of the 15th with the global solidarity and an event that's scheduled to be here as well the 14th is a very important GA. Is there any support to move the proposed event to the 13th?
Group: We've addressed that - no.
Audience Amendment: Last Tuesday I had proposed an amendment that on October 11 there would be a coming out for equality and justice to highlight all the oppressions that the LGBT communities face. I wanted to welcome the working group to this past proposal that slotted a part of the GA time for the discussion so all of the GA could learn.
Casey: Now our working group gets some time to think.
Group: Video is awesome, but we need to not tape people who can't be taped - if they're in the closet, on probation and can't be here, if they're undocumented, etc. We need to be very careful of that. About timing, we're not doing it before or after the GA we're not having an extended GA. We like the long wording from Stephanie, but need to look back at the transcript for it exactly. Yes, we will add including 15 min at the end. It's important to have a concrete closing and an invitation for ongoing work to be done, but after that is 15 min for planning for Saturday. That's important. We'll add that to the changes that were made earlier. We accept those two amendments. Our understanding is that the 15 min are not about planning but will be a call-out for folks to go.
Diana: Any blocks? (demonstration of gesture)
Audience block: I want to address this amendment where we're speaking of censoring the videos that we're taking internally. If we come out here and we are present we need to document our--
Point of Process: This is not a block to the proposal itself - there was no decision that videos would be censored, just something to consider while planning.
(block withdrawn, cheering)
Casey: Any more blocks? No? Alright! Who here can live with this? This looks pretty good. Everyone needs to vote. Put your hands way up high or way down low.
Diana: Make your voice heard. This looks like a consensus to me, does it look like a consensus to you?!
Diana: Next up is Dan.
Dan: Hello, folks. I'm here tonight because I think we have to think about how we're all activists, or most of us are, and tomorrow night for a half-hour I'd like to talk about what it means to be an activist and how we can reach out to others. Being an activist is a key thing, and I'd like to talk about it tomorrow night so we can become stronger activists.
I'd like to hear what people think about taking a half an hour tomorrow to talk about this.
Casey: Points of clarification. Floor managers?
Audience Clarification: My question is when do you propose this happen? During the GA?
Dan: Yes. I think it will make the GA stronger, together, all of us.
Audience Clarification: What form would this take - one big group discussion or a bunch of smaller groups?
Dan: I think we're strong enough, most of us, to talk about it as a (large) group for a half-hour to feel how we are. This will build our time here and make us all stronger.
Casey: There's a lot of space up front. Move up. I feel like I'm on an island! No more clarifications? Okay, points of information? Please find a Floor Manager if you have one. Are there none? (pause) Okay,objections or strong concerns?
Audience Concern: I want to be careful about projecting the activist role on everybody here. If we want to include the 99%, clearly they're not all activists.
Audience Concern: While I think this is a valid discussion to have, I am concerned about the length of time - it may not seem all that long, it represents a lot of the GA.
Audience Concern: I think activism is better discussed in smaller groups.
Audience Concern: That kind of soul-searching conversation does not seem like it could occur in this kind of structure. It seems to me that would be more appropriate for that to be an open-invite meeting of its own.
Audience Concern: I agree with the previous concern.
Casey: Any more concerns/objections? Going once, twice... no? Next, amendments. (audience: "support!") Oh, right. Support.
Audience Support: Tomorrow there's going to be a large march of college students many of which have never participated in this sort of action myself included. Would you be interested in commencing the conversation on activism following--
Point of Process: This sounds like an amendment.
Audience Support cont'd: I support you anyways.
Audience Support: As someone who's never protested before, and if we want to have the appeal that we want to have, I think there's going to be others like me who are staying the night tonight and General Assembly is the best time to get out that message. Especially if the word arrest is being thrown around.
(the traffic supports us with honking)
Casey: Amendments? Floor Managers?
Audience Amendment: To address the concerns about taking over the GA as well as forcing people to be activists when they might not be interested in that, I suggest we move this discussion to half an hour before tomorrow's GA which would garner just as much interest as the GA yet not be required to participate in it.
Dan: I think the last one sounded fine. I disagree with some of you, though - to even come here is an act, makes you an activist. To wake up in the morning is an act, makes you an activist. We're all activists in one way or another, talking about this will make us stronger. A half-hour before the GA is fine if we all agree.
Casey: Any clarifications?
(request to restate)
Dan: To have a half-hour before tomorrow's GA to discuss what it is to be an activist in this community, on this planet, in this country.
Audience Point of Process: We don't need to vote on this as a GA. It's a half-hour outside the GA.
Casey: Do we all agree? Everyone vote. Keep 'em up or down. This is a temperature check. Okay, that looked good. Should we move on? Yes. This will happen 30 minutes before the GA tomorrow. Be there with Dan.
Diana: Thanks for joining us and keeping energy up. This is what democracy looks like. Do we have quorum? (temperature is taken) It looks like we have no consensus.
Anastasia: Sorry. I'm the process annoying person. Now that there is no consensus that we have a quorum we cannot entertain any more proposals. We do have three proposals on deck. These proposals will be moved to tomorrow's stack and will be entertained. They will be moved to tomorrow's evening. If you can't make it tomorrow you'll have to come back and make a proposal when we have a quorum. Now we'll move to the individual stack, which is still open. You'll get to talk for two minutes about anything you want.
(binding portion of meeting ENDS)
Diana: Stephanie is up, and Eddy.
Stephanie: I met Eddy yesterday and today he wrote out a statement and asked me to read it. "Hello, I am Eddy. Please listen, I feel embarrassed to talk about my SSI (Social Security Supplemental Income). It is not right. I was getting my SSI $538.00 (transcriber assumes this means per month) But why did Massachusetts cut down? I'm sad, don't have enough for rent in the city. Now I get $409.00. My two kids are living with my brother, which makes me vey happy. But I am upset! Legal rights - I should have more SSI, enough to meet my goal to have my own place, to have a good positive future. Why not, when some people are so rich. Not fair. That is my point. Thank You."
Gerrit: I'm here because of corporate greed. Because of Citizens United. Because of corporate personhood, because of accountability for Wall Street and corporate banking. the Fed has bailed out the Central Bank of Libya, Deutsch Bank, the Arab Banking Corporation, the Mexican Central Bank, Credit Suisse, ??? Development Bank, and the Bavaria (?) Development Bank. A lot of those aren't American companies.
Wall Street executives are making more money now than they were before the crisis. Are you? Or are you losing homes and jobs! They also bailed out Toyota, Mitsubishi, BMW, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Honda with taxpayer money.
I'm not here for special interest groups - many of these are worthy causes - but what do they have to do with the corporations that are screwing you? I wanted to make a vote that all our statements must directly pertain to corporate responsibility.
Marybeth: This is kind of a group announcement. The Faith and Spirituality group is trying to get organized. We have a workshop tomorrow at 9pm on Labyrinth Spirituality. Also we're trying to build together a group of people who are interested in caring for and being in the space - a lot of people enjoy our space but we'd like a continuous unbroken meditative/prayerful presence. Tomorrow after the morning GA Marty will lead that conversation. Occupy Boston Faith & Spirituality is on Facebook.
Joseph (speaking through Anastasia): I believe New York and Boston should protest together and speak our peace. There are a lot of New Yorkers here supporting Boston. I spoke to a lot of people from Boston that told me to pack my tent and go back to NYC because I'm not from Boston. I should have the right to speak my piece. New Yorkers are here to support Boston, so we should both agree on the same issues we have here in New York. We should work together and we will solve our problems.
(Vagner plays acoustic guitar and sings impressively well - - lyrics in Spanish - song is Viva Zapatistas - the crowd sings along with the chorus - it's awesome, you had to be there)
Sasha: Hi! I'm with an organization called Get Equal. We're a coalition-based group working to address all of the oppressions and inequalities that LGBT people face. Last Tuesday I put forth a proposal to have part of the GA be a coming out for equality and justice as this Tuesday is National Coming Out Day. I realized afterwards that I never solidified a time and I'd like to start it at 6pm. I'll put up a proposal to see if it can go forward until 7:30 or 8 into the GA. It's not just for LGBT people - come forward and talk about any injustice or inequality you've experienced.
Casey: Where is Kevin? I feel like I'm in Home Alone.
Jude: Hi! We want to make sure folks know to come to us to give us their names for planning the Friday GA (Jude is from the group that submitted the earlier proposal to have the Friday GA focus on oppression). If you're not technically oriented you don't have to email us, give us a name and the best way to communicate with you. We'll figure it out. We'll meet here somewhere tomorrow at noon. Look for us.
Diana: Where are you, Rob? Now I feel like the mother. Rob with Justice in Palestine? No? Next is Theresa.
Theresa: Okay, so, I haven't said anything about corporate personhood because I'm trying to figure out how to best introduce the topic. We're all affected by the way corporations have infiltrated the government, all throughout the United States. I'm trying to put together a proposal to demand a constitutional convention to ban corporate personhood, to ban them from donating to campaigns and such. Please come to me and tell me what issues you're here for personally so that we can come up with one or two specific demands that we can actually accomplish.
Brian: Does anybody know who Cindy Sheehan is? Ok, cool. For those who don't, she camped out in Crawford, Texas in front of George W. Bush's ranch when she lost her son Casey in Iraq. She occupied outside his ranch and got a lot of support. She's become a very passionate and outspoken mother of a killed soldier and is going to come next Sunday Oct 16 and talk to us here, hopefully before GA. She's making a special trip up from NYC to be here with us. We need to raise funds to get her a ticket back to Sacramento, it'll be about $325 and we've raised $100. I'm not going to pass a hat right now - wait, here's a cup. I'll pass this cup.
Beth: Good evening everyone! I'm here because of the banks, because they make 40% of the profit in the US right now. They don't make it off the rich, they make it off the poor, off women, off people of color, off anyone they think they can get away with it. If they made it off the rich, the rich could do something about it. I think we can do something about it too! It's predominantly white straight rich men from privileged backgrounds getting away with this bullshit. I'm here with all of you to make sure that it stops. That requires us being different from them.
We're already different from them - we listen to each other, don't step on each other, don't abandon our families or ask others to do so. We all participate in getting things done. That's why these social issues are part of dismantling the banking apparatus that runs our nation.
Jackie: I'm here to talk a little bit about respect. I think it's contradictory to declare that we're the 99% together in solidarity and then disrespect each other when we voice opinions. We don't agree on everything and this is right and healthy and I promote discussions. We must recognize and appreciate that we all have different life experiences and can't always understand where everyone's coming from and that attempts to contrast are sometimes harmful. I ask that you don't boo everyone you disagree with - don't simply wait for your turn to speak - listen to those you disagree with and be respectful to everyone.
Noah: I was going to present a proposal tonight that I think is ready but is still open to suggestions regarding the adoption of Statements of Purpose. I'd like to make a transparent process for adopting these, an online gallery (the Occupy Boston wiki) where these can be posted and commented on as well as a copy up here on the wall that we can comment on. We can collate the comments and then eventually vote on things after everyone gets to look at them. I think this is important to a lot of us and to the movement.
The piecemeal approach is the weaker approach and I think this is a better way. Please come by and help, we can make this happen. Come by the Media tent.
Ethan: This is just an observation about us and who we are as a community. I noticed during the discussion about Friday's event that there seemed to be a lot of people who had a hard time letting go of this space where we can all just speak whenever we want to. I noticed that a lot of the people - it's hard to tell because a lot of privilege and oppression is invisible - but it seemed like a lot of them had privileged identities like being white and male or having money, and I wanted to invite, if you're feeling like you're having a hard time letting go of the normal GA space, maybe that's a clue of just how much that anti-racism anti-oppression space is needed. If you're one of those people maybe you're one of the people who's most needed on Friday and I encourage you to come.
John: I noticed we've had a lot of food thrown out every night, and maybe we should distribute it to the homeless. This would be symbolic and would see people help to trust us and maybe the city would appreciate it too. Peace on earth, goodwill towards men. Is anyone willing to help me distribute this food and talk to people?
Yanik: First, thanks to Beth who does ASL translation and the transcriber, can we applaud for them?
(applause) It's been three hours and the transcriber is still at it.
I'm here on behalf of a friend - he suggests that to get proposals at a GA that we ask at least ten people in a Working Group for all proposals.
He intends to propose this at the next GA, that it be required.
Strategies, Proposals, and Positions (SPP) please contact Noah because he's working on similar things and please own your wiki page and start updating it. Thank you.
Diana: If you're going to have a side conversation please move away from the GA area. Thanks.
Dan: I just found out there's live music right here from 5-7. Folks who want to talk about activism - we're going to try again on Thursday. 6:30, before the GA.
Sherrie: I'm still trying to organize my group for the homeless - I wanted to make the guy who made us aware about food going wasted, yes, he's right, maybe we don't reach out to these people enough. I had to respond to a statement because there are overwhelming majority of youth here who are college students, as an adult going to college costs you your opportunity to have a job or a home. When you're of privilege and don't spend much time here and don't experience homelessness, when you shower and sleep in a bed and you come here and talk and forget to talk about homelessness, when we talk about all the disenfranchised people we talk about minorities and women but never about the homeless.
I didn't become homeless because I did something really wrong, I've only been homeless since August and it's not enough experience, but I'm a political person and want to give them a voice. I feel like they're not being thought about or talked about. The first people to get cut are the homeless. The first thing the city cuts is transportation. If you really want to donate, give a 7-day linkpass to the homeless here - they need a way to get to shelters. Raise money for the homeless to get around and make sure that we bring clothes and stuff, and stuff that fits. The stuff that's in the (donations) tent now doesn't work (she mentions it's American Apparel), doesn't fit - they'll take your stuff and sell it, that's how it goes.
I feel like when we talk about issues at the GA that we take forever on one subject and we can never get to this one. As I said earlier when I get angry, we should watch our language when there are people here of the homeless community or you'll turn them away. Many of them have been turned away.
Don't misstep. You're not doing it on purpose but they think you are.
Pat: I just got off the train, I was down in Freedom Plaza in DC since last Wednesday. I coordinate Veterans for Peace. You're having a big effect. Yesterday 500 of us walked to the Smithsonian in DC and they had a display of drones. We dropped a 30 foot banner and they pepper sprayed and only one person was arrested but 50 people got sprayed.
There are a thousand people in Freedom Plaza right now. Where we were we couldn't have tents, but people are vowing to stay there even though their permit expires tomorrow. I wanted to bring a message of solidarity - we're with you, you're with them. We're together and we're going to win, because we're bringing together all the movements - labor, peace, social justice, jobs - and you represent all of those things. We all thank you.
This is happening all over the country. Thank you, namaste, you're all beautiful.
William: I just wanted to say that I've been listening to people speak up here and I've noticed that no one has thanked our facilitators yet. They've been up here for three and a half hours doing an excellent job.
Secondly, I came down to Occupy Wall Street from upstate NY this weekend and there are people up there - traditionally very conservative working-class communities, right-wing people, even though no one's working there any more. A couple of the guys I came down with were unemployed, one of them spent his last $50 on bus fare to get down to Occupy Wall Street. They thought it was that important. Turns out he didn't need to spend that, the movement has moved up there. Plattsburg and Sarinac Lake, two small conservative towns in northern NY, will be occupied before the end of October. (cheering)
Diana: That's the end of individual stack. That means this GA is over. We want to thank you - YOU ALL ARE AWESOME! (cheering) There's now open mic.