GA Minutes Tue Feb 14 2012

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OCCUPY BOSTON GENERAL ASSEMBLY - FEBRUARY 14TH, 2012

Source: GA_Minutes_Feb_14_2012.txt

WORKING GROUP ANNOUNCEMENTS

OBIT Made a survey online regarding better ways to strengthen communication within working groups, feeling that mailing lists aren't enough. roots.occupyboston.org/

OB Radio OB Radio would like to build a sound studio at E5 and they are asking for the following donations: sheet rock, 2/4s, screws, caulking, foam, yoga mats, and monetary donations through WePay, which you can find on the OB Radio Facebook page or on OccupyBoston.org

Banks WG Next meeting is tomorrow the 16th at E5, 7:30pm. They will be organizing an upcoming teach-in on April 14th. This Friday, meeting regarding Occupy the T actions at SEIU, West St., at 6pm.

Logistics Still working hard at the Logistics house. They need your help, if you're interested in cleaning and moving, contact logistics@occupyboston.org. Usually there's food.

Spaces Meeting Friday at E5 at 6pm. Come by if you're interested in developing an indoor space for Occupy Boston.

Queer DA Meeting every Friday at City Place at 8:30pm. Looking to organize an action for March 4th.

Facilitation

Meets every Tuesday and Thursday, at 5:30pm, and every Saturday at 3:30pm, before General Assemblies. There is also a meeting on Wednesday, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, and on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm at City Place.

Also, the next General Assembly will be at the Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street at 7pm.

An exploratory spokescouncil meeting will be held after the Strategic Action Assembly on Sunday at 8:30pm. They'll be preparing plans for actions on March 17th (#M17).

Upcoming Community Gatherings:

Facilitation: Monday the 20th, at 6pm in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Decolonize to Liberate: Monday the 27th, at 6pm in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Finally, everyone is encouraged to join the Facilitation Working Group! :D


INDIVIDUAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

(Pre-Proposals)

There's a tentative rally in the works to support people dealing with ongoing court proceedings regarding the two OB raids. At 9pm, the New Shardon Street Courthouse, (?WHAT DAY?)

Meeting to coordinate non-violent action plans for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Tentative time, on Saturday the 18th. So far, the time may be between 3pm and nightfall? (?not sure I heard right?)

Eli He just watched 'The Take', a documentary about the Argentinian Co-Op movement, and he's researching cooperative economics. He encourages you to read Storefront Revolution, about 1970s Minnesota, coming after the civil rights movement and the anti-war movements as there are a lot of parallels.

Murphy: Meeting on (?Friday?) at 9pm at Remington's regarding action on February 25th for Occupy Against Service Cuts and Fare Hikes.

Anna: Occupy Harvard, research librarians are facing layoffs as well as clerical workers in order to ÒrestructureÓ the library. It's a targeted occupation at the library, cafŽ, and hangout area. There will be GAs, Think Tanks, and Teach-Ins. They'd like to do a joint assembly with OB. Lamont is supposed to be open to the public, please come!

Julie: The occupier issue 5 is being printed tomorrow! There is a big exposŽ at E5 and tomorrow at 2pm they'll have 15,000 papers so they need bodies to distribute them to 15,000 readers. BTW, they've had better success rates with passing out papers while riding the train, rather than outside the T stops.

Eli: It's Mayor Bloomberg's birthday.

Siham: We're heading down to DC again, we've got 15 people signed up, wondering if there's anyone else that wants to come. We're leaving Saturday and coming back on Wednesday.

Marty: Regarding the first proposal about the funds for the Greenway Restoration, he believes that money should be used for the Mutual Aid proposal. While he supports the Media working group, the ultimate decision should be in the hands of the General Assembly.

Noah: MassOccupy GA at Boston Teachers Union Hall on Saturday at 12-4pm. It'd be great if a lot of OBers could make it. They're trying to expand GA's and bring the Massachusetts occupies together.

The last action assembly was great, and we'd like to make a video of musicians doing the Charlie on the T song. Anyone know of a places with better acoustics?

There is a book you can order! There's words in it, but there are lots of color photos of the occupation at Dewey. You only need to cover the production and publishing cost.


PROPOSAL REGARDING REDIRECTING FUNDS FOR GREENWAY RESTORATION

The proposal is to redistribute the funds from the Greenway Restoration fund to the Occupy Boston general fund.

Their lack of transparency was an issue when they asked the city to remove OB.

Supporters of Occupy Boston worked very hard cleaning the square for two days.

The greenway has recently come under fire for misusing their funds.

There's a little over $5,000 in this fund.

They will ask the donors if they would approve of repurposing the money that they donated to the Greenway Restoration fund for the general fund.


CLARIFYING QUESTIONS AND POINTS OF INFORMATION

CQ: If it's a financial repurposing issue, have you consulted FAWG?

A: They felt it was a conflict of interest. She feels it would open up much needed money, so she's doing it on her own.

CQ: Have you approached anyone from Media?

A: No, only FAWG.

CQ: Is this proposal requiring anyone to contact someone?

A: We need to contact FAWG.

POI: FAWG does not intend to decide where the money goes, just to keep count of it.

POI: We just sent Valentines Day greetings to all WePay donors, so we do have their contact information.

POI: The proposer wondered if this idea was big enough to bring to GA, but thinks that it is important, as it is politically relevant to Occupy.

POI: FAWG Charter also covers that FAWG can advise toward responsible spending. (?did I hear that right?)

POI: We might need a different method of contacting the donors. It might cost some money, (?something about a cap on e-mails that can be reached?)

POI: The question of what to do with the greenway restoration money has been brought up to the Media WG many times. This is political and the decision we make regarding the money will garner publicity that is both for AND against OB.

POI: The behavior of the Greenway Association has also been called into question by the media too, though.

S.O.S.

Repurposing it for something related to OB is always good.

Whether the donors say yes or no, we can release a press statement to the Greenway.

Great opportunity for publicity.

It's a way to get involved in the community again.

S.O.C.

This issue gets a lot of attention. ÒHow are we going to pay the greenway back for all the damage?Ó It would be a challenging issue for us and there's concern that it'll put a lot of urgent work on the Media WG.

Doesn't think the greenway deserves our money but the Media WG has fielded a lot of questions about this issue.

Suggests that the proposer table the and work with the Media WG on it.

This is a PR move and it should be discussed in the Media working group. It might be a losing battle, so we have to do the work and be prepared so it isn't.

They have an endowment, they don't need our money. They're full of shit. If we don't do something about it, we're just in the hands of the people who are against us. We'll lose people if we keep playing with power and acting like the 1%.

We had an agreement to help them, and we have to consider what it means to break that agreement legally.

This proposal has been withdrawn to be worked on further.


MUTUAL AID PROPOSAL

It's important for low income members of OB to get around.

Requestees must have signatures from members of two working groups willing to sponsor the recipient.

T passes will be available before, during and after the GAs.

This proposal will approve 25 Weekly T Passes and cost $375 per week maximum.

This proposal will begin after (?Saturday's GA?) and expire April 1st.


CLARIFYING QUESTIONS AND POINTS OF INFORMATION

CQ: Have you considered the price breaks that are offered with buying monthly passes?

A: Yes.

CQ: Is this targeted towards a limited number of occupiers?

POI: I am very homeless and very poor, and, yes, this would be helpful for me.

CQ: Can we provide some insight on what specifically was passed in the last Mutual Aid Working Group (MAWG) proposal?

POI: A good amount was spent in a month in base Mutual Aid. There is a need whether you see it anymore or not.

CQ: Are there any instances of abuse in the MAWG system?

A: That's why we'll get the T passes before, during and after each GA and they're only weekly passes. No currency will be exchanged.

CQ: Who will buy the passes?

A: MAWG.

CQ: Is there going to be a form they can use? And how will you keep track of them?

A: Yes there is a form and we will staple receipts to it.

CQ: How did you come to the figure of 25 T passes per week.

A: Based on how many people use the Mutual Aid support.

POI: FAWG is still waiting for money back from MAWG from something previous. (?Didn't catch what?)


SOS:

It's great that we have people from all the different social groups involved in OB and we want them to stay involved. This isn't asking much and it will help a lot.

We don't want to lose people in the movement because they can't participate.

Strong support from someone who has been housing occupiers since eviction.

Mutual Aid is more than just handing out T passes.

It's not only a privilege to have this diversity, it's crucial.

There's such a power balance regarding money, we should just get rid of it.

It's not even a lot of money.

I haven't been able to get to some of the GA's recently, and this would absolutely help remedy this.


SOC:

While its great to always work on the honor system, people abuse the hell out of it.

After the first MAWG proposal, someone made a WePay button for it, and it never made it to the website and it has made about $5 so far, so maybe it would be worth looking into putting the fund back up.

A past proposal once asked for help paying court fees for a non-Occupy related thing, but for a trusted member of the community. There were a lot of individuals within the community who were willing to contribute. We need to get creative and use our organizing potential because we have people who are willing to help and that's more important than dollars.

I'm not sure that there is the same need for this now as there was a month and a half ago.

It's important to build policy that includes accountability and to make sure that corruption and abuse don't happen.

We've seen a drop in attendance, and although it might have something to do with our members being unable to get here, it has much more to do with fading attention and interest.


SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS

Future requests and needs should be brought to FAWG first, before the GA.

The possibility of system abuse needs to be addressed. Worried people will sell their T passes when they get them?

It's $20 per month for seniors/disabled riders. I think that they could acquire these passes and get reimbursed with a receipt.

Any way to include MAWG telling the GA how many people are being helped by Mutual Aid funds?

Could the money from the previous proposal be allocated to MAWG before any other proposal?

I would like this aid available during the Action Assembly as well as the GA's.


AMENDMENTS ADDED

Revisit a WePay button on the website for a Mutual Aid fund.

MAWG will cooperate with FAWG.

Any extra money will carry over to the next week.

MAWG will keep track of the receipts in order to provide regular transparency regarding how the aid is being spent and in order to make sure every recipient receives one pass per week.


BLOCKS

None

CONSENSUS

This proposal passes!


PROPOSAL REQUESTING FUNDS FOR AN ACTION IN WASHINGTON D.C.

This is a time-sensitive proposal, so it is being pushed forward.

This proposal requests funds for an action taking place in Washington D.C. this week. It's been discussed and okayed with Direct Action in Boston, D.C. Direct Action, and the ACLU.

CQ: How much can you tell us about the action without breaking security culture.

A: I'd rather not say anything except that it is an action in D.C. happening between Saturday and Wednesday.

CQ: Have you asked any organizations to donate supplies or transportation?

A: I asked my Mosque if they would provide a van and they refused.

CQ: Is it an excluded event?

A: If you want to come, you can.

POI: When the DC proposal passed a while ago, they allocated $1300 for two 15- passenger vans.

CQ: Have you asked whether the participants have the means to make their own way down to DC?

A: We've asked around and everybody is broke.

SOS:

We need to stand in solidarity with DC.

People pay us to protest, basically. When was the last time OB had an action?

We're here to make a big noise and bring awareness to our causes.

The media will be down there.


SOC:

We're not paid to protest anything. I think some people donate to us, not just to protest, but to build a movement and change the world. I can't see how this ties into the larger occupy movement.

This is a proposal happening in DC, and I understand why, but we're in Boston and the way this movement is set up is there are different localities that come together.

I remember the proposal from a little while ago regarding traveling to DC, but this proposal feels more hastily organized.

We're not going to have as much stuff happening in summer if we keep spending money on non-local actions with unspecific intentions.

We need to fundraise.

Regarding the two previous trips to NH and then to DC, this has been a little bit of a financial black hole. We may have no money down the line.

We're broke.

Coming up with a large sum of money that isn't part of regular expenditures. I would rather see what the money will be spent on. If there are essential supplies that you need, just asking for a sum isn't enough information.


SOC Continued

The larger Occupy community may not be able to get involved in the action because of how secret the actions are. It's understandable, but it would be nice to get full involvement.

If someone we didn't know and trust as well as this proposer, do you think that we'd still go for this proposal?

We didn't get much accurate feedback over how much the last action really did, and I'm worried it might not have as much of an effect as we'd like.

I've seen transparency and accountability fail several times. We're not sure how much was spent, what it was used on, etc. We need a financial precedent particularly around actions.

With a push for fundraising, I think that this action could be enhanced. Fundraising itself, raises publicity about the event and gets people excited about it.


SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS

There be one seat on the bus for a member of the Media WG so that there's someone to publicize this action in Boston and hopefully nationally.

Ask participants if they can support themselves.

Provide information regarding everything, specifically, what the money will be spent on ahead of time. And then provide feedback, and information on how much was spent.

One more seat for the livestream team.


MORE INFORMATION REGARDING THE ACTION FROM THE PROPOSER

We may have a history of actions that didn't go right. I don't know why I have to be related to that, because this is my proposal and my action and I have all the costs here. Why are we talking about expenditures when the action is more important. I assure you that Occupy Boston will be in the front row of this action.

It's sensitive, it's for peace and solidarity. It cooperates with previous proposals regarding our message and messages of solidarity with other movements.

Gas and Van, Supplies, Parking, Unforseen Fees are on the budget. Anything not spent will be returned.

This is in solidarity with an action in California and Wall Street, so it is a national day of action.

We would love to have Media and Livestreaming with us, we just didn't know how to go about that, because it will bring the news of the action home. We'll be back with reports, pictures, the live stream and the stories of the occupiers.

POI: Without the budget on the last trip, it wouldn't have been possible for all those people to go down and the action probably wouldn't have happened.


SOS Round Two:

This proposal is very well thought out.

SOC Round Two:

Actions like this need to come to GA sooner so we can discuss it more.

This is a very self-selected group; there's no opportunity for anyone else in the community to learn about the action or participate.

I'm concerned that if it's not well advertised, then it gives others the impression that we are a small, shrinking group. And that's dangerous.

This could backfire onto Occupy Boston.


SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS

I suggest that this proposal be tabled and fundraising be organized for the action.

BLOCKS

This is actually something I would leave the movement over. I think that it would be very irresponsible for GA to pass this.

There was no opportunity given to anyone else who would have liked to participate in this action. We don't know much at all about what this action is. I understand the need for security but I'm concerned putting our money behind something that might backfire. It would be a bad use of funds and I believe that some people might stop donating to the movement over this, because I think they'll see it as irresponsible.

Any action we take that doesn't have a strong showing, is compromising to the movement and makes it look like the movement is shrinking, which would endanger the movement.

PROPOSAL BLOCKED


I'm sorry for anything I didn't catch!