GA Minutes Thu Mar 29 2012

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WG Announcements

  • Inreach: The open house is coming up. It'll be awesome!
  • Safer Spaces: We're going to be talking tonight and saturday night during GAs about values and what we bring to spaces we Occupy. Medics will also present on Saturday to give a presentation on protestor health and safety.
  • Occupy MBTA: April 4th at the State House! If you have any connections to any organizations we might not know about please get in touch with us. We want this to be a big day with lots of people there.
  • Veterans for Peace: I just want to thank everybody for the St. Patty's Day peace parade. The year before there were about 500 people. This year we had about 1700. So thanks! I hope to see you all tomorrow at Copley at 6PM for the Palestine march.
  • Icarus Project: Meeting Sunday, 1PM at City Place
  • Thompson Island: Meeting tomorrow at 6PM.
    • CC: Is this either or, or, both and?
    • A: Both!
  • 99% Spring: There were 120 trainers trained last week. There are dozens of trainings coming up over the next weeks to put people into actions and to connect with eachother. It's been an interesting way for the MoveOn folks to interact with the SCIU and union folks. Go online and check it out if you're interested.
    • CC: What are they training people for?
    • A: There's a piece of it about economy, and people sharing stories. Who broke the economy? There are also sections about nonviolent direct action, how to think about it strategicly.
  • Faciliation: We meet at City Place every night there's a GA, starting two hours before the GA. We're having at least one more longer form meeting April 11 at City Place at 5PM. There's no obligation to attend the whole meeting. It'd be great if people could come and give input.

Individual Announcements

  • Brandon: Please keep side conversations in check so I can take effective notes.
  • Patrick: Monday is the chess meeting, 4PM, 27 Yarmouth St, Apt #3 in Back Bay.

Thankful Thursday

  • I'm thankful for the activity and passion surrounding public transportation. I'm thankful they unchained the gates in OWS and let 100s of people in. And I'm thankful for all the work that's being done here in Boston.
  • I feel greatful for the acceptance I feel within Occupy Boston.
  • Vegetables are really good, especially if you cook them by themselves with a couple spices. I'm thankful that I'm aware that some of them are genetically modified. I'm thankful that my boyfriend will be in town this weekend and you'll see him around. I'm thankful that we still have oxygen around.
  • I'm thankful for Ethan because he always makes me laugh. I'm also thankful for the Veterans for Peace for inviting us to take part in that parade, even if we had to wait around for a few hours, which is indicitive of how the system treats folks who don't agree.
    • I'd just like to let you know that VFP backs Occupy Boston 100%, and whatever we're in we're proud to have OB come and join us.
  • I'm grateful for the breadth of response to Trayvon Martin's murder, and how something that just could have disappeared has rippled and rippled and rippled et cetera.
  • I'm really thankful because Occupy gave me a reason to stop drinking.
  • I just recently moved with a bunch of people who are related to Occupy, and I'm a lot happier and more satisfied. I'm just so happy that I met these people and I'm having some new experiences. Thanks.
  • I'm from Copenhagen and thought I would drop in, and I'm happy to be here!

Safer Spaces Discussion

[Anna & Matt facilitating]

  • Anna: I love these Thursday GAs because they're a little smaller.
  • Anna: I think it'd be good if we could introduce ourselves first. [Everybody does so].
  • Anna: We only have an hour, do we have somebody timing?
    • Ethan: yup.
  • Anna: We want to talk a bit first about the resources that we have, just in general. We also then want to talk about how we're bringing that to A1 and the actions at Dewey. [Passes around statement of commitment to challenge oppression]. This is the statement we passed previously, it's sort of a values statement. One of the things we should talk about is 'how do we make sure thats there even when we gather outdoors and when we have a large group?'. We've been collaborating with other groups. We've been working with medics, woman's caucuss, etc. We're also going to start working on protocols for how does the community address the situation when a disruption occurs. We had those in Dewey but they were reactionay, so we want to come up with version 2.0 with a more principled response. I'll also say that even though we don't have those things in place, we've still been coordinating a response to situations that have happened since Dewey, like finding mediation, etc. If you ask us to help you with something like that, we can connect you.
  • Matt: Maybe we should go ahead and introduce what we know about A1.
    • Anna: At noon, along with free food will be faith & spirituality. Sarcastic march at 1. At 3PM queer DA will be doing a clothing swap, so bring all sorts of things you don't want. At 4:30 there will be an open stack, and at 5:30 there will be a GA. At 8:00 there will be the second meeting of the DA reboot. The first DA reboot meeting was yesterday.
  • Anna: Since we have a small group we probably don't want to do breakout groups, right?
    • [Cold temp check]
  • Anna: I prepared a few questions. People can suggest more if they want.
    1. "How do we maintain that space?"
    2. "How do we handle uncertainty while maintaining solidarity with eachother? Nobody knows what will happen at Dewey."
  • Joseph: What I heard is there's a rumor going around that it's supposed to be a joke to go to Dewey Square come April First. That doesn't sound very funny to me. So I need to know if this is a joke, because if it is, then it needs to come out into the open.
    • Linda: I'm grateful for you stating your concern & question. It seems to me really appropriate that it comes right after the question "how can we be together the 1st". What I understood Anna to say, and what I understood from other people is that people don't know what's going to happen on Sunday, and there's going to be people with lots of different expecations. That's what camp was like too.
    • Ridgely: I just wanted to say that I think April 1st was picked because it's April Fools Day, and that's a day that we celebrate fun and jokes, and we don't take things to seriously. That's a day were we celebrate the unexpected. I think the joke is to play a joke on the police system because they don't know whats going to happen either.
    • Rich: My understanding is that it started as a joke, but it's evolved into something else where people are planning actions. So far as I know there's no decision on an Occupation. What I've heard is that if people come with tents they'll be encouraged to not set them up, at least until after GA.
    • Jesse James: I remember how passionate we were in Dewey Square, and I think that it's going to take more time to recapture that passion. As much as I'd like to go back to Dewey I think we need to wait.
    • Zoey: One think I think we're forgetting is that a lot of people who aren't at this meeting is that a lot of people who live in other states are going to be coming down to the event on Sunday, and there is an expectation that something big is going to happen. If it's strategically beneficial to set up camp at Dewey then let's do that, if it isn't then we should respect that and hold out. If we do set up an encampment we have to expect that a lot of the people who the group considers undesirable are going to come back as well. We could just end up dealing with community issues, and do we want that as a movement?
    • Cathy: To the question that you raised about welcoming and making the April 1st experience one which people feel like they can participate in: at Dewey we had the welcoming tent to welcome new people and invite them in, recognizing that it's an unexpected afternoon. This is sort of the beginning of a regenerative process, there really is time for that to unfold. Should it end up with people getting arrested right away there won't be much time for that to regenerate.
    • Joseph: I like the input that I'm hearing, but there is still an issue that has to be addressed with this GA. We have to come to some understanding. Is this going to backfire? The mayor stated that if we put up any tents anywhere we're going to get beat-down and arrested. Is this what we're going to expect on Sunday? Is it worth going through this agravation as a joke? No.
    • Anna: I'm getting some signal that people want to move on and hear some other people think, so I'm going to close the stack here after the next couple think.
    • Ethan: When we don't know what's going to happen the natural human reaction is to speculate. So when we continually talk about what we don't know that breeds more speculation and not-knowing. So I think it's potentially healthier to embrace the unknown and plan for it in individual ways. If we are all knowing what we're going to do, what we're going to do in affinity groups, what we're going to do in larger groups, and we plan for that, that's going to be the best way to handle that.
  • Anna: How do we maintain 'Take Back Dewey' as a space of celebration?
    • Alex: I like the idea of a welcoming community. I also think it would be a good idea if people there could speak out about what happened the first time they came to Dewey Square. If the welcoming community could show people where different parts of camp were. So that way our history isn't some oppressive thing that they're not part of.
    • Bil: CC: As far as I know there isn't much of the way in planning for A1 yet? As far as I know there isn't anyone actually doing anything?
      • Anna: hang on, we just read the schedule.
      • Ethan: there's a facebook group setup with a schedule of what's going on, and people are organizing these things.
      • Alex: There is also an ironic march happening at 1, there is a group organizing it.
      • Anna: QDA is doing the clothing swap. A guy from F&S is doing the sacred space thing. I'm not sure who's organizing the open mic, but I don't know if anybody needs to.
      • Linda: There's also a livestream training in the afternoon.
      • Somebody said the library would be there.
      • We're also hoping that there will be games.
        • CC: The question is are there people actually organizing it?
        • A: I thought there were.
  • Angela: What I've not understood yet, how does anybody access the people who are planning this? How come it hasn't been more transparent? That's making me very nervous.
    • John: I created this event in January, and brought the proposal to Feb. Then after that during the SAA meetings people decided to start planning for the day. All we settled on was lunch at noon and the satire march.
    • Linda: POI: I think that this has been a problem: the communication of community events. And now we have the [Daily] Digest is back, and I think thats going to serve this function going forward.
    • John: Livestream, F&S, QDA, all just jumped on board. I just went to GA and asked to have the GA there. It's WGs or Affinity Groups just doing what they want.
  • Ethan: I think what we're seeing here is that there's still a lot of uncertainty, and that's a barrier of getting to the first question.
    • Anna: should we switch the questions?
    • Ethan: to me this started out as an April Fools thing, and then other people said "that's really cool, let's do something", and then it did become something where people realized "oh, this is becoming bigger than intended." Part of me is OK with that and part of me is wary of that.
  • Angela: I think that one of things that is the rub for me, is how do we more forward with A1, or any other day or aspect of a particular thing is that there should be a way for people to access information about it. What I'd like to see for that day is that some group of people be designated as some kind of coordination body, so everybody isn't just standing together wondering "well, what do we do now?" This confusion is when ichyness and unsettledness, and especially if somebody hasn't bee there before tension surfaces. And I also don't know how we're going to deal with other people doing spontaneous actions that may or may not fit in with some people's notions of celebration or secure space where people don't have to worry about police bashing our heads in. So if there's any way that between now and Sunday for us to have our arms around what is happening, and somebody who people can go to if they have questions or contributions.
  • Patty: with respect to a day of celebration, I'm not interested with being in New York and fighting with police. I know that people are planning on doing shit and I hope that they do it autonomously so that we don't have to run away. I'm worried about the people who can't be in Dewey and how we can incorporate them in. There's plenty of room on the Fed side to set things up. I'd like to do sparklers on the Fed side. I'd like to get to the sparklers before somebody puts a tent down and forces everybody to get arrested or run away.
  • Dan: I guess I was just going to suggest bracing uncertainty, because tactically whatever happens that day, uncertainty is going to be one of our greatest allies.
  • Bob: They way I'm looking at this is this is what's going to happen: we're going to have a bunch of people down there looking to have a good time. There might be a few people looking to put up tents, which would irritate police. In my opinion, if we stick to the bricks and stay off the grass we can make the police looks like fools for being down there for nothing. We can still have a good party time. The reason I say this is because I sat in on a police meeting related to the parade, somebody said when they reviewed the tape on Oct. 11, one Lieutenant said "we really blew it", because they attacked a woman wearing an American flag. And after that BPD backed off a bit. We're trying to attract people to us, not drive them away. When I go into Dewey or S. Station there is a part of my heart that gets tugged on. We're there to show people that we are honestly there for them. We can do this. We can have the sparklers and we can do everything else and there'll be a million cops standing around collecting a big paycheck scratching their heads saying "what're we doing here."
  • Linda: I think that uncertainly is really key to how we celebrate. It's going to be uncertain and that is a blessing, because that's how we'll grow. But I think if we can stay in tune with eachother that'd be great. Oct. 10th and 11th we did do that. That action was started by an autonomous action and a GA of several hundred people came to unity about that. And that was mostly spontaneous. So I think we have a track record of doing things well. But I really like the idea of info tables, one on Dewey and one across the street. We can have donation boxes as a source of revenue for us. That can be a place where the welcomers are stationed or working out of. Joseph has his very stong opinion about what he wanted to see happen and I think people are goinhg to have very strong opinions, and I just hope that we can be kind to eachother and open hearted about whatever does occur. There may very well be people who have intentions to do things which are plivery provocative, and that's live. We can talk about having folks ready to act as mediators to be ready to facilitate some kind of conversation about these things.
  • I have to say that I'm troubled by the idea of people using this opportunity to provoke. That's news to me. 1. I think that April Fools Day is not just one day. We've worked hard with a lot of allies for A4, and if we screw up on Sunday it's really going to hurt our efforts planning A4. That's what we're always running into, a few people jeopardizing the whole movement. I think this is what we need to focus on, how much autonomy do we allow. The sillier we look and the more we're willing to play games and do fun things, with all the police around, that's an incredible media event, and will attract more people to the open house and A4. I'm really concerned now about it being jeopardized.
  • John: Sparklers are illegal in MA. Maybe we shouldn't bring them. I was one of 4 who carried the first tent over to the new camp in October, which I still feel guilty about On A1 I'm going to go around and make sure people don't set up tents. We're going to see a bunch of new faces and have a big PR campaign. I'll be there all day trying to make sure that shit goes well. We're the veterans of the movement, and when new faces show up what do we do? Talk to people, find out what brought them here. That's what we really need to start working on. The other thing is, if a thousand people show up and want to reoccupy, it has to go to GA. But if the media is there questioning why we're taking back Dewey: "we're here, we're always going to be here, this is the people's park". We should also try to tie it into the MBTA.
  • Dennis: I just checked the weather and it said 46 degrees and chance of rain. I liked one of the things Cathy said, that if people are organized in small groups, affinity groups, it would be one way for people to deal with uncertainty. I don't know if this is feasible for Sunday, but I think that along with the info tents it would be good to have a way of getting people together with other new people for the day to hang out. I'd like it to be a fun day with games. But this day has been presented as "come and do what you want", and I don't want to see occupiers yelling at other occupiers or some occupiers talking to the press and saying "they're not with us" would be worse than having people arrested or having people leave because of arrests.
  • Jack: Some time a group of people should go down to the Constitution and read it out to Charlestown.
    • Bob: just for the record I carry one of these around all the time [holds up copy of constitution] and I can and have quoted it to the police.
  • Anna: I want to pause a moment in the stack and make sure that people who don't usually speak up in these spaces have a chance to speak up and get on stack.
  • Glenn: Other people have said what I was going to say so I pass.
  • Rich: I was just going to say that the notion of different affinity groups or whoever just coming in and doing what they want to do is sort of floating around as an unnamed group. And my knowledge of such unnamed groups is not what their aiming at, at this point in time. That there is fairly a large agreement to discourage people setting up tents. And I guess I disagree with Dennis about letting everybody do what everybody wants to do because if somebody sets up a tent next to me at 1:30 I autonomously get my head bashed in. I'd personally like to say we welcome people but this is not where we're looking for provocation.
  • Patrick: I'll do a thankful Thursday if I can but in and do it at the wrong time. As we plan what's going to be happening and what to anticpate coming up on Sunday, I can't help but think about last September when I first went to Dewey Square. I'd heard about it and I went down, and it was very cool. But when I went to Dewey I met all these people, Ron Paul people, the end the Fed people, and I met all these people from different walks of life and I was reassured that I'm not alone. It's about community. If we can use this opportunity to help build our movement and tell people that they're not alone. I'm thankful for all the that and all of you.
  • Matt: I was just going to offer an unexpert opinion on uncertainty: I think the best thing we can do is make sure we're talking to eachother. The term affinity group gets thrown around too much, but I think we've discussed some kind of vision for what we want A1 to be, look around and notice who's here, and know what our vision is, so we can be around to help eachother out on Sunday. It would be good for these people to stay in communication.
  • Zoey: As far as people putting up tents: I want to through something out there about the pedagogy of the oppresed: a person who is on the oppressed end of the spectrum will intrinsicly look to earn the respect of their oppressors. This enforcing of some kind of policing policy, if somebody puts up a tent next to me, I'm not going to stop them, because I'm homeless right now and many of the people I know who want to reoccupy are homeless. The fact is that most of the people who want to reoccupy are people who have incentive to reoccupy. I want to throw something out there and I want input: in NH what I decided to do is go to the park there and sleep in the camp. They acted like the police to us. Anytime we enforce their rules because we're afraid of what they're going to do we end up getting something we don't want. So I say if you want to throw down a tent, and if the cops come and say to leave, I'll just take them with me, I know some other place we can go.
  • Carolyn: Pass.
  • Rich: Who is likely to put up tents. There are two types, people who want a place to stay and people who want to be provacative. If you want to put up a tent do it after 2:00. There may be 2,000 people or 3,000 people in which case we would need a metaphor or mabe a metafive. There should be an info tent <call for consensus>. John has a canvas and misc. supplies. Dan: Point of info. We are getting buttons from storage. Ethan: People doing info tent joined up with some other working groups and Ethan will look for supplies by reaching out to them.
  • Alex: Point of logistics at the end; On the topic of solidarity. We need things arround us like bubbles, for the effect. Alex is annoyed that he keeps getting flyers.
  • Anonymus: Do we want to bring tables into Dewey? How are we going to use the tables that are already there?
  • Paty: We could make copies of the declaration of occupation for info.
  • Caroline: I will buy bubbles. When my kids were young we had gaint buble makers. Is anyone brining food?
  • Misc: Radical gardening at Dewey; discuss. Direct Action is meeting after the 5:30 GA.
  • Anonymus: Someone will be telling the history of Dewey. They will be using History as something positive. I will have a badage that says, "Ask me about Dewey" or "Who is Dewey"?
  • Anonymus 2: Does anyone have flags that could have "Dewey" on it?
  • Dennis: We still have a projector to project on to the wall <chatter>.
  • Alex: Point of info about batteries. We have a battery pack at logistics with two external plugs. It is mobile. Let's use it.
  • Rigley: I think it would be great if someone would dress up as Ghandi?
  • Moderator: Someone should send an e-mail to Antonia to come be a human statue
  • Ethan: Caroline has talked about bubbles. John notes that there will be things such as chalk. John: Signs is brining the same things as new years. A baner, chalk, posters, markers, silk screns (depending on the weather)
  • Moderator: I will bring flowers and seeds and a giant pack of the anti-opression statement.
  • Angela: I will bring an outdoor game, with two goals. A toss game
  • Ethan: I will bring a kite.
  • Misc: Let's get pictures of a bunch of the old Dewey stuff so Ethan can do tours.
Lightening up is really imporant,
  • Moderator: Giant inflatable toy..
  • Caroline: If dewey is someway occupied it would be a good idea to do stuff across the street.
  • Ethan: Point of info: there was rope at Dewey square after a march a couple of weeks ago. At the end of a march we were on the grass at Dewey square, I was threated with arrest, and afterwards I went back and checked and saw that there are no signs to warn against arrest. They removed the roped off area. I recommend anyone who hasn't been to Dewey, go there.
  • John: Anyone who can make copies of the "We are the 99%" flyer should.
  • Misc: Postive response
  • Alex: I'm not going on April 1st. Due to an arrestability issue.
  • Matt: If you are looking for things to do there will be Yoga and a knitting circle. Don't worry too much about me. I don't feel too bad about people who can't go to Dewey. That should be a concern.
  • Angela: I like to advocate that anytime we need public space, we reclaim and decolonize Christopher Columbus park.

The End