GA Minutes Sat Mar 24 2012

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WG Announcements

OBIT

  • Brandon: I have lots of announcements!
  • OBIT is hosting a wiki teaching/training session at 2:30 on Sunday at e5. If you want some help figuring out the wiki you should come!
  • OBIT's community gathering is coming up on Monday! It's going to be super awesome and everybody should come!
  • OBIT is developing a new website to replace the not-so-great groups.occupyboston.org. Our development model is one that depends on user feedback, so it'd be great if people could sign on and use the ultra-pre-alpha site at http://v2dev.groups.occupyboston.org
  • Unreleated to OBIT: e5 is asking people to stop using the emergency exit on the 5th floor. They're getting in trouble for it.

Safer Spaces

  • Anna: we had a great joint meeting with Tactical and a bunch of other stuff at the Common. We talked about how, if we occupy again, what we want to be like as a community. We talked about logistics, and values. We also had a meeting earlier today with medics, and we're bringing a joint proposal tonight from both groups. The proposal includes talking about the next occuption. Our working group meetings are at 2 on Saturdays, usually at e5. We also do a lot of joint meetings and sometimes come to other groups. The idea behind the group is to think about how to make community spaces for OB. We're working on things like how the community might respond to hard, to various issues, conflicts between groups & individuals, and how we remain a community in physical space. I also have copies of the Statement to Challenge Oppression if anybody wants one.

Inreach

  • Bil: A year ago I was expecting to get married and was going to get kids, so I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to be dead relatively soon. So I've been thinking about how we can get stuff done relatively soon. So I've been pushy because that's the only way I know how to get things done. I've got fliers for the open house which is a week and two days from how (on the 2nd) at St. Paul's. As part of the Open House we are expecting:
    • To have a short opening, introductory, session
    • To have working groups introduce themselves
    • Open mingling
  • We also think it would be good if people could have something to take away from the open house, so we're working on producing a small OB handbook.

Occupy MBTA

  • Ridgley: Occupy the T will be having a lot of leafleting next week. You can go to the website to sign up, or let me know if you're not on the list. We have meetings at 5PM at SCIU on West St. 6-8PM, on Fridays. April 4th is a rally at the State House from 3 until we decide to leave. Please join in.

Radio

  • Alex: Radio needs producers! Radio meets MWF (7-9 on MF), (6-8 W), Monday & Wed. at e5, Friday at City Place. It's sad that we're not producing more content because we need more people to help!
  • Question: What's your show going to be?
  • Alex: It's going to be a sports show!

Screen Printing / Signs

  • Jay: Screen printing was on the common the other day! We had a confrontation with police because we didn't have any of the several permits we need. Particularly doing street art together and distributing it. I have video of them arguing with eachother trying to figure out how to kick us out. We want to do more hang outs in parks and stuff. Keep your eye on twitter and facebook to figure out when.

Individual Announcements

  • Sasha: I love you guys. YES! magazine is on "Ending Corporate Rule". Check it out, it's full of cool stuff.
  • Joe: I have something that maybe evolve into a proposal in a while. This is the issue of tactical diversity. We think that more folks should be aware of the discussions and debates that have happened so far. This document was originally Terra's, but we've been working on it. People thought it was saying that we're totally antiviolence, but we've put in some definitions to help clear up any misconceptions. People should look at it and comment on it. I'll pass it out and put it up on the internet. When it finally comes up as a proposal we don't want it to be devisive. My email address is cc2manj@verizon.net.
  • Alex: OK, so we were in the multimedia meeting last night and a few of our more professional folks we like "man, we really need interns". It started as a joke, but then we had a conversation. There are people with serious expertise who are willing to teach people, and are willing to go to university and figure out how to get them college credits. For now people can contact ingrammi6@gmail.com.

Proposals

There are two proposals on stack:

  • Safer Spaces / Medics
    • The proposal is for Sat the 30th to take up the GA to talk about what we bring to the public space that we Occcupy (with a special eye towards the 1st). Medics would do a presentation about basic protester health & safety. It's be a community discussion.
  • Tactical
    • We're requesting the release of the 14,000 dollar earmark created a while ago to procure supplies needed for a potential Occupation
  • Tactical let's Safer Spaces go first.

Safer Spaces Proposal

  • Anna, Sasha, Jessie, Charlette
  • We are proposing a community discussion and presentation (probably half & half). This would be a different sort of version of the discussion that happened on the Cambridge Common grass Friday afternoon. The focus is two questions: 1) when we come to a public space what do we bring into it with us, values & logistics and 2) what do we want to look like when we come into that space. (The agenda is totally worked out yet.) We want everybody to take part in the discussion even if they're not going to participate in the action.
  • We want to have a presentation covering what medics do, what happens when you call a medic, how to work in a buddy system, affinity group safety, weather safety, police & arrest safety, post action self care, myths & facts that are floating around, Q&A.
  • Just to be clear the proposal is specifically about taking up the whole time of the Saturday (30th) GA, the night before the action on the 1st.

Clarifying Questions & Points of Information

  • CC: when you say the full GA do you mean no announcements?
  • A: Somebody should make an ammendment about that.
  • CC: why did you decide to do this Saturday and not Thursday, which would give more lead time going into these big events?
  • A: We're reaching out to groups to see if they could bring in some celebration type plans and make sure they can show up at the community discussion. So the idea was for there to be more time to do that communication. Also it gives medics more time to prepare something.
  • CC: is this something that you would prefer to do indoors for this or is outdoors OK?
  • A: weather permitting it shouldn't be a problem to be outside. We're not planning on doing any super secret security culture relevant stuff.
  • CC: are we talking about preparing for occupations?
  • A: The medics are tactically neutral, so we just want to educate people about protester safety. We want to make sure that these spaces are filled safely and with the right kind of community if they do arise. People are going to want to reoccupy in the Spring. The point of this GA will not be to plan an occupation.
  • CC: is one thing that's going to be addressed that some people can't be at Dewey?
  • A: it wasn't planned yet, but I don't see why it shouldn't be on the agenda.
  • CC: are you looking for some kind of general agreement or guidelines, or just generally airing different points of view?
  • A:

5 minute break-out sessions

Statements of Support

  • SS: I just think that in general this is a good idea. We'll be occupying all different kinds of spaces where it's good for us to reherse and talk about how we can have a group that works well together.
  • SS: I think both of these conversations are great conversations that need to happen. In some ways I think you can't really have enough time to talk about either of them. Life is a battlefield and being an activist, it's really a battlefield.
  • SS: I think that this is great, it will help us come together, and solidify our values as a community which is something that we haven't given enough attention to as a whole.
  • SS: I think that also that we should be ready to be able to be welcoming and giving a positive message about our values are.

Statements of Concern

  • SC: I'm concerned that part of the discussion that's about values is waiting until the day before. I'll have an amendment.
  • SC: I believe that both these conversations can't have enough time. It'd do a great service to both of them if they'd happen at separate times.
  • SC: My concern is that I didn't ask a CC before. My concern is that I don't understand how the discussion that you're proposing is different than the other discussion we've had that's created these other documents (like the one passed on the 6th).
  • A: We're talking about gathering in a physical space. The anti-oppression stuff is a broader thing. This is also specifically looking towards April 1st and the kinds of actions that might happen in the Spring. The meeting we had on Friday turned into a conversation about logistics, but we want to talk more about values.
  • SC: I'm concerned that we're going to spend a whole GA talking about this proposal.
  • SC: The proposal in itself seems to be good and not objectionable, but this won't necessarily help make occupies more helpful, I think that's a distinct separate thing.i

Amendments

  • A: I amend that we dedicate that we dedicate both Thurday & Saturday to this.
  • A: I amend that announcements not be obliterated
  • A: I think that it's important because there's so many upcoming events that we allow announcements.
  • A: I'd also like to split these discussions to have the Safer Spaces portion on Thurs, and the Medics stuff on Sat.
  • A: I amend that we include a workshop on sunday, since we have several hours on sunday between the march & GA.
  • A: That we see if legal is around and see if they want to jump in.
  • A: That we keep announcements to 30 minutes.
  • A: I think the values thing is so important that we should do it right before the big event. I think if it's on saturday it gives us more time to let people know, and I think legal & medics should be on sunday as a workshop.

Proposers Consider Amendments (Individual Stack)

  • Alex: Hey everybody! First I want to say perfect is not the enemy of good. At best it's like the best, older, brother of good. So, that has nothing to do with what else I want to say. Sometimes I get angry, and sometimes I do not express my anger in a constructive. Sometimes I yell and curse and storm out. I should do a better job to avoid that when I can, but it's tough, beacuse you grow up in this world in a certain environment, and everybody manifests their emotions differently. Folks should take a look inside and ask 'how do my emotions manifest themselves?'. Sometimes it's OK to get angry, curse, and storm out, and sometimes it's just not cool. I want the 99% to tell me when I'm having a reaction that's not cool to them.
  • Bil: Within the inreach group we were seeing if we could put anything out on local community television, and this is what we've got at the moment. [Plays video]
  • John: April 1st is around the corner, and there's food & music at noon, satirical march at 1, GA at 5:30. All this is happening at Dewey. Bring food to share cause there's going to be plenty of people there. April 1st is also a national call to action about homeless awareness.

Representing the Proposal

  • That was a lot of contradictory amendments. We're going to ask for all of Saturday's GA in add an hour for Thursday.
  • We decided that since both groups are fundamentally concerned with the wellness of the community that it makes sense to keep the two things together on one day.
  • If the medic's presentation is Sunday it doesn't give protestors enough time to prepare.
  • We decided not to take all of Thurs & Sat. because we know there's stuff other groups want to do.
  • On Thursday for that hour, we're hoping for it to be entirely value specific.

Clarifying Questions & Points of Information

  • CC: Are you having announcements on Saturday?
  • A: Yes.
  • CC: You mentioned you'd be doing something on Sunday, when/where will that be?
  • A: We don't know yet.
  • CC: Will I be clear enough on Thursday to decide if Sunday is going to be a family friendly activity.
  • A (from the assembly): All the stuff that's planned for during the day is going to be family friendly, but police are already preparing.

Another break-out session

  • NOPE

Statements of Support

  • SS: I support the amended proposal because I think the added time on Thursday is a good opportunity to talk 'big picture' stuff before we get into specifics on Saturday. Plus people have been asking for more discussion time during GA.

Statements of Concern

  • SC: I'm a little concerned that a one hour discussion of values on Thursday isn't enough to get into any real depth.
  • SC: I'm concerned that the disjointed conversations have now becomre more disjointed in the amended proposal. I feel they'd be better served in separate conversations.

Amendments

  • A: I'd like to make Thursday 2 hours.
  • A: Is there a way to begin a conversation now in advance of Thursday? Perhaps online.
  • A: It seems like everybody is focusing on April 1st being the end-all-be-all, so I think there should also be a feedback session at some point after April 1st.

Revisiting the Proposal

  • We're concerned about monopolizing GA considering that there are other proposals coming up that the GA would like to consider. So we're going to not amend the proposal further. The feedback thing is a great idea, but I'm not going to put it in this proposal.

Blocks

  • NOPE

Consensus

  • This proposal passes.

Tactical Proposal

  • The tactical working group proposes the release of the $14,000 earmarked for future occupations.
  • Background: about a month and a half back we proposed that we put aside $14k for logistics stuff for a possible future occupation.

Clarifying Questions & Points of Information

  • CC: can you read the proposal again?
  • A: [reads the proposal again]
  • CC: I thought the language of the previous proposal said that the money would be automatically released after March 1.
  • A: We understood it as saying we couldn't ask for the funds before March 1, but we'd still have to ask after.
  • CC: I thought it was $7000
  • A: It originally was, but amendments bumped it up to $14k.
  • CC: What's the current budget estimate for OB
  • A (from GA): arround $60k.
  • CC: Does releasing the funds mean tactical can spend it however it wants, or just that the money is now available?
  • A: We've developed a based budget, but we want this money to be able to purchase supplies necessary for actions happen very quickly.
  • PI: This $14k isn't in the general fund any more and can't go back to the general fund with GA approval.
  • PI: You realize that your proposal says "you're releasing the funds", meaning "those funds will no longer be earmarked", not that you can go ahead and spend it.
  • CC: Are you saying that once you have the $14k, a working group could come up and ask, then you'd give it to them?
  • A: I believe it has to go through the GA first.
  • PI: If WGs want to spend money they have to go to GA.
  • PI: FAWG estimated that Dewey cost us $14k.
  • CC: I'm confused about the original proposal, I thought it just said we wouldn't spend it on anything else, not that it was earmarked.
  • [re-reads original proposal]
  • CC: In the absence of security culture, 'release' means that tactical goes to FAWG and recieves the money.
  • A (from GA): When Tactical spends the money, receipts will be saved and published after those items are used.
  • CC: If we give our approval to this, any WG can come to you and ask for the money, and dispense the funds without going in front of GA.
  • A: Not really. We want to be prepared for if/when the GA says "lets do this". Our goal is that when the GA approves an occupation we're ready to go.
  • PI: People gave us that money for occupation not hoarding. Also, this group is basicially logistics and DA together.
  • CC: I'd like more clarification about what has to go before GA before spending.
  • A: Anything that is beyond an individual action would require the approval of the GA.
  • CC: Are there things anticipated on April 1st defined as "full on occupation"
  • A: Tactical doesn't plan actions, we offer logistics & supplies. When the GA says 'Occupy' we'll give 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down'. We'd like to give 'thumbs up' if that time comes.
  • CC: Will we need additional space for more stuff?
  • A: No, our current storage unit should be able to accomodate it.
  • CC: Tactical comprises several working groups? What's up with that?
  • A: We share members with several different WGs.
  • CC: There's no actual budget attached to this proposal, right?
  • A: No, we have a rough idea, but it's hard to anticipate what the future holds.

Break-Out Discussions

Statements of Support

  • SS: I think the people bringing the proposals are trying in good faith to support the thing OB was founded to take part in.

Statements of Concern

  • SC: I'm concerned that there wasn't any outreach done about the proposal when it came up. We are all aware that there are a lot of people that don't attend GA. There are several WGs who aren't aware that they have access to this money to do actions. I'm worried that we've created another structure of money that's not accessible to them. By releasing right now we're making immediately right now to people who understand how to access it, but there are lots of people to whom it's not accessible because they don't about it. We should postpone until more groups are aware it exists.
  • SC: I also agree that we're being asked to do something that a lot more people than are here at GA should be apporiving of, so I think this is not the way we should go. I think this is not really good democratic process to have this GA approve this thing. I think there is a gigantic issue here about accountability. I think we're giving too much autonomy to folks to purchase things other than tents and generators here. I think this is a gigantic mistake.
  • SC: My concern is that we had this discussion already when we passed this proposal. The funny thing is there weren't a lot of questions asked that night, and we allotted $14k to Tactical to spend how they wanted. I'm concerned we're now rethinking that proposal which already passed, which we can't do.
  • SC: I'm concerned we're concerned too much on money. We should be stockpiling supplies, not money.
  • SC: Not every thinks we should do an occupation. This sort of assumes the decision has already been made to do an occupation.
  • SC: Some people also thinks all these supplies will be confiscated in one day and we've lost $14k.
  • SC: Nothing is built into the wording to say how the money is going to be spent. It's not clear to me whether people from Tactical are going to be approaching the GA with that info.
  • PI: I remember that GA, and when Rene brought up the proposal, it was a time when it was cold, money was dwindling, and the heart of the proposal was that "when the Spring comes, we can do stuff."
  • SC: The bank WG is in the process of getting together. If we were planning on Occupying BoA, we could just come to you and get supplies? But then what about security culture.
  • SC: I understand that the basic principle was proved in another GA, and it was a well intended one, I don't think this one is similarly well intended. I think this is a big deal that should have been promoted as a big deal.
  • SC: I'm concerned about it being a large sum of money with relatively discresionary spending. If it were a smaller amount of money it'd be ok. I'm also concerned about the hoarding thing. I understand why we'd want to have all the tents, but I don't want to have them and not use them.
  • SC: I feel like we need to take a minute and re-remember what we're doing for a second. I feel like many of these concerns have to do with the first proposal, not this proposal.
  • SC: The concern I have is that it feels like people think this was a secret proposal, but Tactical is an open group.
  • SC: We made an agreement as a GA to give tactical this money. I'm hearing concerns about the amount of money. Now is not the time to raise concerns of that, because we've already come to that discussion. Tactical had a meeting yesterday, and a lot of the things they're planning on buying is not *just* for full-time occupation. It also includes things like seats & canopies, which could be used for other types of occupation.
  • SC: There seems to be some idea of stockpiling, or having things in reserve, yet there's not even a tentative budget attachment to this.

Amendments

  • A: I amend that $7k or $10k is dispersed right now, and we keep the rest for later. The other thing is to put in a few things to say we have the intention to spend this on things like sleeping bags, emergency blankets, tents, so we have a tentative list of things which we might spend the money on.
  • A: My amendment is that you attach a tentative budget, and perhaps there is a difference of $1k between that and the actual amount you spend, you be required to come to GA.
  • A: Is there some way to write an amendment that say we don't keep more than X dollars worth of stuff in inventory.
  • A: I would like to amend this proposal to also include tents for working groups like People of Color and Decolonize

Proposers Consider their Amendments (Individual Stack)

  • Dennis: I sent an email around to a few groups I'm in about a workshop next weekend about non-violent communication.
  • Jeremy: I'm from Occupy Adele in S. Australia. I'm on leave from work, and have decided that in my time off I'd come to America and go from Occupy to Occupy. If anyone wants to talk to me on issues or anything like that. I don't know how long I'll be here. Probably a night or a couple days.

Stating the amended proposal

  • The Tactical working group proposes the release of the $14k earmarked to Tactical for future occupations. This money can only be spent for materials directly related or needed for an occupation. These materials will include items such as tents, easy-ups, chairs, electrical supplies, and logistical materials. If more than $1,000 is needed for anything listed above, tactical will come before the GA for approval before spending.

Clarifying Questions & Points of Information

  • CC: Does this mean that the only thing that needs to come back to GA is things that deviate from the listed categories?
  • A: Yes.
  • CC: Is there any provision which says that if you don't spend it all it will come back?
  • A: Yes, that's in the previous proposal.

Break-Out Groups

  • NOPE

Statements of Support

  • SS: I strongly support this. I think you really listened to concerns and tried to impliment them.
  • SS: I just want to say that these are the folks who at Dewey had the most organization and were always the most together. These are the people who kept all of our money safe in a lock box when Media couldn't keep a few cell phones safe.
  • SS: I support this because we already allowed this, and now we're just releasing the funds. In the beginning I was skeptical, but Tactical has open meetings and they're very open with what they want to buy.
  • SS: I support this because I was in the common the other day during silk screening and threw up a canopy with "Occupy Boston" on it, and it really got people in the common excited.
  • SS: I support this because we need to be outside and in the public eye.
  • SS: I support this because being outdoors will action and occupations will allow us to fundraise more effectively.
  • SS: I support this, in the beginning I was rather skeptical, but part of what I think we're doing is build a community which increases trust.
  • SS: I support this proposal because I'm very proud that the GA worked with the proposers to produce a proposal which is so maleable, and will allow us to be ready for many eventualities.
  • SS: I support this proposal because I really want to go shopping.
  • SS: I support this proposal because it's now just about the money but it's about political capital and humans working on projects.
  • SS: I support this with similar reasons because spending this money and being prepared shows us how serious we are.


Statements of Concern

  • SC: This is a little both of support & concern. I think it's OK and let's go ahead with it. I just hope that the decision about a hypothetical "full-on occupation" is one that made very carefully in the future.
  • SC: I still have my concern that other's might not feel like these funds are accessible to them. I think that when we got this money we should have gone and gotten a lot more input from other groups. I just hope that not just the people who come to GA know about this, and that you try to make it available to groups who are in the margins of OB.
  • SC: I'd like to second that last one. I think there's an issue that democracy is about more than "lets have a vote with the people who show up to GA". I don't know what the structure would be or how, but more people should feel like they have consent.

Amendments

  • NOPE

Blocks

  • NOPE

Consensus

  • This proposal passes.

Individual Stack

  • Noah: April 4 is a national day of action for transportation. We're going to put together a view tomorrow. 11AM, Park Street Station, Green Line Outbound platform. We'll have at least two DSLR cameras, mic-checks, etc. If you have any Occupy screenprinted stuff wear those. We'll probably go for a couple hours.
  • Patty: I'm gonna do this on individual stack because when people start leaving nobody listens. When we leave we have to take the garbage out and chairs need to get folded.
  • Ethan: Hi, I'm Ethan, I'm from Alabama and like fart jokes. I want to ride an Ostrich. I love everybody and get nervous in front of clouds. We can't begin to actually move forward as a movent if we're still working in the contructs of capitalism, in the sense of, if we come together as a body to talk about money and don't talk about what money means to us we end up protecting it as much as a bank CEO. I think we all felt that, but I love the place that we got to. We also need to realize that when we look around the room there are a lot of people not represented here.
  • David: I know somebody did a call to make a puppet for the Charlie puppet. I need some people that know how to make a sew to make a suit for that puppet. I'll make another announcement on Tuesday. I saw Ocupemos El Barrio, and they're meeting against the S2061 at the Social Center in E. Boston on March 31. 68 Central Sq. E. Boston.
  • Glenn: I think we need to have the discussion about whether to reoccupy or not. Not only is it a bad idea to give the police targets, I think it would be a good idea to take targets away from the police. If we just had spontaneous gathers at Dewey rather than a full occupation it would really disincentivize the police. It's important to see the police at the hand at the end of the arm at the shoulder. That is, there's people pushing their buttons.