GA Minutes Thu Jan 19 2012
Occupy Boston GA--January 19th, 2012
Head count at 7:40: 64 8:34: 70
Begin with a poem: “Low Road”
Explanation of hand signals and process
We have announcements and proposals (1 rollover)
Working Group Announcements
- Last Tuesday, a number of people from OB went to Everett with signs and successfully stopped an auction
- Investors showed up, decided price was too high, OB chased them down the street anyhow
- Another on Monday in Malden--talk to Katie, there will be notice
- January 30th--City Life and Mass United wants to work w/ OB to organize another underwater protest
- People getting together communicating about getting a Mission Statement together and holding regular meetings
- Meeting Saturday afternoon
- Saturday at 1pm--starting process of writing protocols for “Safety without Tents”
- Have been dealing w/ immediate Safety concerns, now working on process
- 40 of us did a visioning activity w/ Linda Stout last Saturday
- 2 water bottles were left behind
- Next meeting Feb 26 3pm Friend’s Meeting House--5 Longfellow Park, Harvard Square
- Planning for Community Meeting March 19th
- March 17th--Bayard Rustin’s birthday--gay activist, mentor to MLK Jr
- Program for community meeting deals w/ birthday
- Planning to be at GAs so you can return books you have, can check out books
- Idea to work on reading list--almost done, will have it by next week
- Would believe it is to your best interest and best interest of OB to attend FAWG’s presentation at GA on Thursday, Jan 26th
- Bringing all up to speed on 2011 financials; intro to proposed budget for 2012
- Will run around 90 minutes
- We have a donation box in the back--goal passed at last GA--make donation box pay for our rent so we are self-sustaining
- costs 80 dollars for rent
- Q from Bob: Is anyone going to protest against Boston Herald
- Bob, can you hold the question for later?
- Tomorrow and Saturday are big events
- 12:30-1:30 protest outside of courthouse
- Friday--4-8 St Paul’s Cathedral
- Saturday--10-4 at Suffolk
- New issue out!--15,000 papers
- Going to start circulating tonight--take a stack, put them out in community in places people will take them
- People have sent in pictures of people they see reading it on the T
- Tom--star distributor--gave out 2,000 copies!
- Next meeting--Sunday, 3pm, City Place Food Court
- planning for Issue 5
- Starting a subscription service
- subscription form inside paper
- Fundraising push
- Now web submission forms for putting events on calendar, changing/removing events, and doing blog posts/press releases
- More forms will be up later
- 2 Busloads of people from OWS showing up next Friday
- Democracy Center in Harvard Square--dance party 9-1 (ish)
- Need volunteers!
- Find Farhad, Stephanie, or anyone in Inter-Occupy
Spaces--Monica and John
- We want to be able to host dance parties!
- We need our own “Democracy Center”--space for GAs, office space, parties, cafe, etc
- If you are part of a WG, you got a letter from Monica last Monday
- Includes 7 questions--we need to convince landlords
- Need to tell them about accomplishments
- Respond to the letter, please!
- Q from Linda: will you propose to GA about space?
- A: Yes--watch for priority proposal
- Next meeting: 6pm next Friday (27th) at E5
People of Color--Brian
- Had an MLK meeting--it was great
- Next year--big event (maybe a big performer!)
- Before event, determined to put planet back on path, make it snow
- It snowed!
- Possibly Bob Marley tribute in the future
- Next meeting--3pm E5 Sunday
Zinn Memorial Lecture Series
- This Friday, E5 6-8
- Panel: From Occupy to Worker’s Control”
- Speaking about workers controlling means of production
- Meeting Monday, Jan 23rd--27 Yarmouth St, 4pm
- Everyone welcome
- FWG talks about meeting, process
- Meet Tues-Fri at 5pm at City Place
- Sat, Sun--3pm
- Check website for meeting updates
- Everyone welcome--don’t have to be up front
Grow the Movement
- Yesterday evening, first official meeting
- Fruitful conversation about how we envision growing the movement, skills we bring to
- table, broad convo about strategy
- Focusing on community building and neighborhood outreach
- Next meeting--Sunday--will have conversation, do visioning
- Need more involved!
- Sunday--5pm, Community Church
Ocupamos el Bario
- Tomorrow, 6:30 at the Y, right off Airport Station
- Working on number of projects, including petition to stop deportations
- City Life
- Wednesdays 28 Parrish St
- They let us Occupy the meetings--last meeting, only one occupier (from DC...)
- David--we need more people to show up!
Faith and Spirituality
- Reading about cruise ship tragedy off coast of Italy
- We of the Occupy movement are deeply moved by this tragedy and send our love,
- compassion, and prayers
- Peace to all
Martin. Occupy Belfast has been occupying a bank for 3 days, 20 hours Cleaned up, made livable space, gotten a great deal of support from community
Breakout comment from Mike--where are we going now? If we stick together, we can do something
We went from Financial District to small church, where now?
Facilitation: Thank you for raising question, everyone should keep it in mind, but lets get you on Individual Stack
A week from Saturday, first of many Movement for the Movement sessions--come together and explore non-verbal communication in all permutations
Dance, stretching, outward communication and inward communication
Saturday, mid-day--still working on space, will send info out far and wide
Don’t have to bring anything
Another World Is Possible notebook--What does that world look like? Feel free to look through, read, add your own ideas
We just went to DC!
Showed video from Occupy Congress--videos, pictures, description of trip
Marching on Congress, huge GA
Some Congresspeople WERE there, even if not, got in to the empty offices
Marched to Supreme Court, Occupied the steps!
Mic checked the First Amendment
Chanted outside White House--”Hey Obama, come on out, we’ve got some things to talk about!”
Is Mike still here?--You’ll like this!
Found a piece of paper in stuff from a few days before end of camp
man had a bunch of cars, town came in, took them
Has 9 acres, wants as many people as possible to come in and Occupy
Contact Devon for info!
(Edit: Devon asked that contact info be published:
16 Junkins Rd
Also Devon--setting up Urban Farming WG
- Take indoor space, high-efficiency indoor farming
- Food for us, food for community!
- Push design out to world and be a model
- POI: 3 groups! All should work together!
- Martin: POI: official term--hydrophonic
- Will be providing childcare at this weekend’s GAs
- If anyone knows about the space, please contact her
- Any questions--get in touch!
Q: Do we need separate space?
A: No, but if youger, may be better (ie, toddlers who need to sleep)
Greg: Pastor here is ok w/ childcare, side room is available here
Brian Egypt Demonstration on Saturday in Copley Square to commemorate 1st anniversary of Egyptian Revolution--2pm
- Asking for bullhorns
- Ask Logistics
- Important that we support this--this movement has had a huge impact on us and
- the whole world
- Our government is sending money and aid to Egyptian gov to
- help crush the revolution
- Upcoming proposal to make proposals belong to GA
- When it is proposed, proposal belongs to GA, not individual
- Avoid giving dictatorial power to individuals
- Proposals are better when they incorporate vast insight and wisdom community
- has to offer
- Watch for priority process proposal
- Sorry for miscommunication about today’s meeting!
Lucius (name? Sorry!) An Occupier--not necessarily Boston, but at all Occupations
- Came back from DC with us
- Thank you, Boston!
- Occupiers help each other--helped me get here, will help each other
- in the future
Thank you for endorsing May 1 Global Strike!
“An end to war and jobs for all!”--...wording needs to be fixed
- Tara asked me to bring overhead projector for Screen Printers Guild
- Who is supposed to receive it?
- Figured it out
Quick cheer for Tarsands Pipeline being put off!
30 seconds of breathing, noticing how marvelous everyone is!
Coming back now
Bill is taking us through process
First--Facilitation needs more people participating! but, for now, lets do this
Description of process and hand signals
We have one rollover proposal from FAWG and 2 new proposals
Temperature checking new proposals
Daniel: We adopt an Occupy Boston Statement of Leadership
Ricky: Sihan charged $150 for Public Defender, propose we help her
Deciding order w/ temp check:
Rollover proposal from FAWG:
When we last gathered, discussed this, got halfway through
We will read original proposal:
Freezing WG weekly stipend until March 6th
Rationale: Post-Dewey, donations have slowed
Hoping to have budget process completed by March 6th--until then asking for freeze
Will bring new proposal to March 6th GA
In first round, many amendments -during interim, GA will not entertain significant outlay of cash for location/space FAWG doesn’t make decisions about HOW to spend money or what to spend on
Didn’t adopt that amendment
-6 others about keeping money open for action
Because cash donations have declined while expenses have risen since eviction from Dewey Square, FAWG proposes weekly WG stipends be temporarily suspended except for $2000 set aside for actions. After budget process, FAWG will bring new proposal to March 6th GA
Actions defined: rallies, marches, speak-outs, etc. Action money not spent on travel
Q: WGs can access stipend only from action?
POI: Doesn’t stop individuals for coming to GA
POI: Other Occupies have enacted freezes
OWS has freeze on ALL MONIES
Q: For lawyers?
A: No money set aside for lawyers
Q: Will this make that much of an impact?
A: WG stipends were probably 20-30% of money that went out in January
There are over 70 WGs--not all ask every week, but they could
minimum, we will probably save about $6000
Q: Does this affect Mutual Aid?
A: That was separate, set aside, not in danger of running out that stops being available Jan 29th
Q: Didn’t hear anything that would prevent WG from asking for $2000
A: Didn’t change policy that WGs may ask for UP TO $100 a week
WGs can access the $2000 by $100 at a time
Q: Why March 6th? Who came up with it?
A: We were hoping after budget discussion, people would have better understanding;
March 6th is a little under 6 weeks after discussion--first Tuesday in March--gives
us time to process and get through budgeting process
It is an end date for FAWG to be able to come back to GA
Freeze ends on Marc 6th unless action taken
Feel free to make an amendment about date
FAWG has been talking about this date for a while now with GA
End date forces us to come back after analysis and re-evaluate weekly stipends
Q: What is the biggest draw on our accounts? Why take from WGs?
A: As a committee, we went back and forth on recommendation
Looking at numbers, concerned (worst-case) w/ running out of money
We are in favor of WGs fundraising for themselves
Biggest drain on accounts comes from proposals
During discussion, some wanted complete freeze, some wanted
partial, some wanted WGs
The freeze is on automatic availability (w/ reservation of $2000 set aside)
Nothing stopping WGs coming to GA to ask
Q: Should we just freeze travel expenses?
A: We didn’t want to put a damper on actions
We don’t want to step on GA’s toes--people can still come to GA to ask for $
Greg passed out worksheet from last GA
POI: Financial statements are posted on wiki
Q: (feeling belligerent, people tense) (same as before)--What is the biggest expenditure? Why can’t you tell us?
A: Worksheet answers, bank statements on wiki, all expenditures posted
Coming back now
-I want to see a more detailed statement--disbursed funds should be readily available
Accounting has not been as efficient/accountable as it should be
need something with charts, etc--for transparency
-I don’t know how many groups are taking the stipend or how this will limit them (FAWG: we have not heard discussions from groups feeling threatened/deprived)
Lydia--the main point is so long as there’s been a proliferation of WGs, we’re taking on a potential unlimited liability--signing on to unlimited expenditures--$50,000 doesn’t go so far in that scenario. We as a GA doesn’t have an overall sense of our finance (we will soon with presentation)
Eric--When first joined the movement, couldn’t believe we were blindly giving out stipends
That is what 1% does--using money w/out visibility
(name?)--WGs can still get money for action, so not impeding
We are hemhorraging money--this helps that w/out stopping action
Alex--no-brainer, simple, see no possible downside. If you need money, can go through GA. If don’t need it, why spending?
Martin--think it’s wise to have a budget. Understand concerns, but not having this could lead to more misuse of money. This will show WGs are being responsible with funds.
John--proposal will show movement how to be responsible, teach each individual and WG about financials, show importance of funds and fundraising. Also, to make change, have to hit in the wallet. This is hitting us in the wallet. We have turned into a paper-pushing movement--too little direct action. Hopefully, this will increase chances of the movement becoming a movement again.
(name)--we ask for fiscal responsibility/accountability--impose it on ourselves
-freeze starts in a week’s time--give people time to get receipts together or plan ahead for events they are planning on stipend for
-required receipts for anything over $20
POI: we have required receipts from WGs--we have transparency
-Martin--go off Ellen’s amendment
-create account (like Kickstarter, but a different site that he knows) for WGs
-no money spent until we do 5 more actions in the streets
Allowing proposers to work with Amendments
Lydia--I have a lot of stickers to put on Time’s Protester of the year, but wrong size or can’t
peel--would be great to pass out
Cloth banners are at E5
Mike--Just want to say that I went through everything OB has gone through (like eviction). How
can we make 60 of us be heard to make something happen? What do we do from this point on?
Quick mention--donation box is in the back
Back to proposal
Explanation before reading: we liked the amendment about notice, would like to give until Sunday (with email sent out tonight) to notify that they will have a request
Liked the amendment for no money until action in the streets
Q: Are you including that last point? So, people can’t have money until we have actions?
John’s explanation--people donated money thinking we would make change,
not push papers
This church should be filled
We need to take to the streets
Did we understand new proposal? Do we need to hear it again? Yes
Amended proposal: Because donations have declined while expenses have climbed, propose temporary freeze on WG stipends (w/ $2000 set aside for actions). 5 actions will occur before $2000 will be spent. We will email all WGs tonight to give them notice. They have until Sunday to notify FAWG of impending monetary requests. This temporary freeze is in place until March 6th, when we will revisit.
Actions are defined as rallies, protests, marches, etc. Action money not used for trvel
Q: We need to do actions to access money for actions?
POI: we have a lot of resources
POI: events this weekend (like Citizens United) count--calling for actions, not “in the streets”
POI: Already have 2 actions coming up
Q: Explain when the deadline for actions is? What is March 6th deadline?
A: March 6th is still end date for proposal; 5 actions just need to occur before utilize $2000
Q: Maybe people are so upset because amendment about actions change heart of proposal?
POI: There are a lot of actions planned soon, so not a huge change but may still feel like big change to proposal
Q: If no travel, does that mean mobile brigade will not be funded?
A: No--just talking about weekly WG stipends. $2000 set-aside funds not used on travel
Q: Can still request money for travel?
A: Yes, people can still come to GA to ask for money
Explaining process of blocking
Are there any blocks? No
Can you live with this proposal? >75% say yes
POI: Actions: Anti-MBTA--Monday at noon, statehouse; Monday, Malden, protesting auction; Citizens United; Protest at court tomorrow...a lot of actions planned within the next few days
Facilitation calling for recognition that people may have different ideas of social justice work, action, etc--please stay respectful of others’ actions and ideas
Also, noticing people are leaving--please stick around
Take a breath
I propose that Occupy Boston looks out for their own. Sihan has been a big influence, has helped to house Occupiers, does a lot for the movement. Needs $150 for public defender. I propose we help.
Q: Was she arrested for OB action?
Q: What was she arrested for?
Wasn’t something like rape, robbery, etc. It’s personal. I’m not comfortable disclosing.
Q: Has she asked for reimbursement for housing, etc?
POI: Had to deal with FBI comiong to her house
Q: Aren’t public defenders provided by state? What is nature of fee?
A: Not sure specifically, but facing a fee
POI: Court fees, not necessarily defender
Ricky--this covers fees for process
Q: She has housed Occupiers for free?
POI: She could ask for up to $100
Proposer--She is not asking for this money. Proposing to give her money.
PoP--Alex: We are talking out of turn and having side conversations too much. Please focus on process
Q: is this the custody thing still?
A: Think it’s a separate matter
POI: Proposer is not comfortable with disclosing
POI: Part of custody thing was about her bringing child to GA
POI: We are being livestreamed/liveTweeted--please think about what you say about
Q: Is she eligible for money for housing people? Is there a reason we can’t just give her the money she’s eligible for?
A: She doesn’t want to accept money for housing people.
Q: Why are we setting this precedent?
A: This is separate from those funds.
POI: I don’t think this proposal is only about this idividual, but a show of solidarity
Q: Will she even accept this money?
A: She will accept it through this process
POI: I’ve heard her say she won’t accept money for housing because she is not agreeing to house Occupiers to make money--doing it out of kindness of her heart.
Q: Is the money being disbursed through FAWG or somewhere else?
A: bringing it to GA to decide
POI: If this doesn’t pass, there is nothing stopping us from opening a collection
Q: How much money would she be owed at this point for housing if she had accepted?
PoP: Information not relevant to proposal
Facilitation: We obviously connect with and support Sihan. This process deals with this specific proposal.
Q: Is this Nasim’s (spelling? Sorry!) mother?
Facilitation Mic Check--$100 from individuals has already been raised!
Proposer is tabling proposal
Facilitation--worth pausing to notice flexibility, lots of ways to support one another
"Occupy Boston is not a leaderless movement, but a movement of leaders. it is every member's responsibility to build, shape, and develop the movement for the better." Adopt Statement of Leadership
We have an open, horizontal structure; want people to feel empowered to step forward, take leadership
We aren't just a loose connection of people, but connection of people who want to get things done
We are not leaderless, we are all leaders
Q: Does this revise the Statement of Autonomy?
A: yes, changed "leaderless" to "non-hierarchical"
Rachel--I have a lot of strong concerns
-Monday was MLK Day--we talked a bout how that event made us feel about Occupy
-My first thought--I miss visionary leadership--we need visionary leadership
-simply saying we are all leaders will not identify the Dr. Kings among us.
-we need to think for ourselves about what our role/place in the movement is
-I worry about passing something that should be empowering, but is homogenizing
-I worry about saying we've done this work before it's been done
Tamerleigh--by saying we are all leaders, does that give an opening for people to stand up and say they are a leader/speak for Occupy Boston
Matt H. --passing a statement that we are all leaders undermines the idea that we are leaders--it's words without actions
-Exactly what we would do if we were not leaders
Lydia--I have a problem with trying to exert leadership improperly in Occupy Boston
(name)--Excited for this--we need to distinguish between good and bad leadership
-We've conflated bad behavior with leadership, so our idea of what leadership is has tainted the idea of leadership for us--this is a good model of shared leadership
-We're not leaderless, we're leader-full
Zoe--I am against hierarchy, but there is a difference between good leaders and bad leaders
see need for taking charge (people can trade off that role) vs. feel need to control
We're going to make our own leaders
Facilitation--7 more statements. Now or later? Now.
Alex--Statements that it's ironic to pass this before we ARE leaders
-We have ethics we can refer to that infiltrate language and actions
-We can perpetuate this pattern of implementing things that infiltrate and make a difference
Trisha--love this conversation
Support this proposal
-by saying we all are or strive to be leaders doesn't mean individuals can speak for us
-difference between leadership and ruling
-there may be some better at different aspects of leadership, but everyone has the
power to lead
matt c--been an anarchist for a long time
-tis movement has taught me to redefine leadership for myself
-owning our own leadership can be very powerful
-make leadership mean what we want, not what they want
We've run out of time. This proposal will carry over to the next GA.
Final check-in. What did you appreciate about tonight's meeting?
-really appreciate FAWG and am in awe of their work
-really appreciate new flavor of facilitation brought tonight
-appreciated that or freaked out by someone was breaking process…but making sense
-appreciated that we came to an alternative arrangement for a proposal that was proving a little difficult. That is how consensus should work.
-appreciate process of learning to listen to each other
-liked hearing people speak who hadn't really been heard before
Closing with a quote from Howard Zinn.