GA Minutes Tue Sep 03 2013

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Minutes for 3 September 2013


Location: Community Church
Time: 7:10 - 9:20pm
16 people present
Facilitator: Bil
Note taker: Steve


We decided to disburse all of the money in Occupy Boston's credit union accounts.

Assuming we got the math right, this breaks down as follows:

  • $4294 for the street medics
  • $908 for strike debt
  • $2000 for the food truck (see below)
  • $1000 for Bobbi's Urban Pioneering proposal (see below)
  • $492 for Food Not Bombs
  • $492 for E5


Linda. I'm hoping we can try to aim for a 9:00 ending time, to keep things moving. We'll check at 8:30 to see if we want to continue. Carlos. Economic inequality working group . . . (couldn't really hear what he was saying).

Bobbi. I'm going to be getting an apartment, and I'll be able to launch my affinity group to help the homeless. I can use everyone's help with this.

Sebla. Sep. 20th at 6-8pm. The movie "Shift Change" is showing at the Democracy Center. It's about cooperatives and worker-owned businesses.

Sasha. A group of street medics have formed a group called Mask. We're having a potluch from 3-5pm this Saturday at Democracy center. Check in with us if you want more details.

Patrick. has meetings on Monday, from 7-9pm at E5. If you want to be a part of station.

Carolyn. Strike debt is alive and well. We're close to finishing a script for a video called "The true story of student debt". It's been hugely education for us, getting us up to speed on debt and student debt. We'll have a meeting coming up soon, in September sometime. Ask Steve if you'd like to get on our mailing list. There was a Google hangout with other strike debt groups across country; working on collaborating with one another.

Linda. There is planning going on for 3rd anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on Septembe r 17th. There's stuff going on, and things you can check out online. There've been some conversations about folks going down to NYC.

Several people in the room are interested in going to NYC for S17.

Bil. I've been in contact with Community Oriented Police Service (COPS); they've been contracted to study police in protest movements. They've contracted with American University. They're looking input from people who dealt with police. One goal is to write manual for the police to use when dealing with non-violent protesters. If they're giving advice to cops, then I want to be involved.

Ruby. Bread and Puppets will be here for two weeks: the last week in January and first week in February. If you can make it, it's well worth seeing. They're open to volunteers (i.e., participating in the circus). They're very inspiring to work with. Email Mary Curtin <> if you'd like to participate. In past, they've been at Boston Center for the Arts; not completely sure whether it will be the same place this year.

Honk Festival. There will be 25-30 marching bands all over Davis Square. There's a March from Davis sq to Harvard sq for Octoberfest.


Energy Exodus (Linda). Organized by a coalition of groups. There was a 60-70 mile walk from Brayton Point to Fall River (site of the proposed Cape Wind project). The Vermont Yankee plant is being closed down. Between 40-80 people attended each day. Wonderful group of people. http: //

I also went with the NAACP to DC on the 24th. There were a few occupy-related faces in the crowd. Reports say 10's of thousands of people attended the event. The speakers were unexciting. There was only one woman speaker. Lot of interesting stuff going on in the crowd - people tabling and talking about some really radical shit. That more interesting than what was going on in the front.

NatGat (Bil). I attended NatGat. The largest size of crowd was 90 people. Superb people - speakers included Jill Stein and Bill Moyers. They have no street lights in Benton Harbor anymore because the emergency managers took out the bulbs and sold them. With regards to march, after the '63 march, MLK said "three little girls got killed in Alabama nobody went down with him". I've brought a bunch of pictures from Natgat.

VFP National Convention (Maurice). Went to VFP national convention in Madison, WI. They're working on some resolutions. Got to sing along at capital in Madison. I took video of the event and put it up on YouTube. Solidarity Forever is a copyrighted song; I got a copyright infringement notice from YouTube, and had to replace the audio. CD Baby owns the rights to Solidarity Forever; I have to deal with them. This isn't the first time I've been given infringement notices like this. Also went to a couple of workshops. Saw Brian Wilson (who lost his legs by sitting on railroad tracks to block a defense shipment).

No War in Syria (Steve). I went to the No War In Syria rally last Saturday. 200 people showed up, from all across the political spectrum. Lots of speakers. After the rally, we marched around Beacon hill. Went to Secretary Kerry's house and knocked on his door, then went to Faneuil Hall.


Last GA's Disbursement proposal. During the last GA, we decided to put $500 of Occupy Boston funds in reserve, and donate the rest of the money to different groups. That proposal has a one-GA settling-in period. If people want to amend it tonight, then we can do so.

Steve distributes a one-page summary of Occupy Boston finances. Joe and Sebla distribute a proposal for a food truck. Copies of handouts: Ga-handouts-20130903.pdf.

Dana. At the last GA, we were concerned that GA was loosing quorum. We wanted to do something with the money before we were down to a very small number of people; too few to make significant financial decisions. We wanted the money to go to groups making positive social change. One constraint on this: we previously passed a proposal that money proposals would have a one GA waiting period, so that people could come to the next GA and voice their concerns.

Linda. We also wanted to distribute the money to people who had connections with Occupy Boston. Do people wish to revisit this proposal? Yes. We'll use the discussion model. Linda reads proposal text from

Patrick. I saw the post from Last GA, and that's why I'm here. I got the impressions that this was the divestiture of Occupy Boston funds, and I wanted to come down on behalf of OBR.

Carolyn. From what I see here, someone held thousands of dollars, and disbursed all of that money outside of Occupy Boston processes. I find that very disappointing.

Carolyn. Did we give previous amounts to radio and the Occupier.

Yes. Around $2400 for each - or something like that.

Bobbi. For the past few years, I've been trying to do something with the homeless. It's been practically impossible to launch anything. I'm now in a position to take lemons and make lemonade, and I'd like to have some funding to get this project off the ground. I want to get a houseless bill of rights. Homelessness is being outlawed in several states. Feeding homeless is illegal in some states. I'll need to rent a hall, and I'll need help in getting this together. I'd like $1000 to do this. I want to build a bridge between people that are homeless and people that are not. Educating people does cost some money. When I handled mutual aid, everything was documented in Google docs; this is the first time I'm asking for anything, and it's my baby. The project is called "urban pioneers". I'm not getting federal money, so I'm not bound by the restrictions that come with federal money. I can do good work, and I want to get an affinity group started. I have models for taking over foreclosed properties. The homeless population is not shrinking.

Dana. Doing some quick math: if we took the money from E5 and Food not Bombs, that would fund the food truck and Bobbi's proposal. I support both of those projects; they both sound good to me.

Sebla. We got a truck. We want to do food for street people and homeless people. The city told us Kendall Square and Western Ave. We'll work with food not bombs. We need money to repair the truck at Good news garage. We want to sustain this for the long haul. This money will pay for the repair. The rest of money can come from crowd funding.

Joe. We're trying to find a way to make food distribution a self-sustaining thing. We want to get contributions, and voluntary labor. We'd like to establish something where we can give food to anyone who's hungry. The emphasis will be on providing good food. Insurance will cost $2000/year. We'll need other sources over the long haul.

Carolyn. How will the sustaining part work? Some people will pay for food, and that covers costs for those that can't? What about the hiring part?

Joe. Some will be determined by donations. Anyone can have free food if they are homeless and/or out of work. We'll charge people who can afford it; not to make a profit, but to sustain the effort.

Patrick. It sounds like (a restaurant - missed the name). It's a place downtown. They give free food, and people donate labor. You'll be doing this, but with a food truck. Joe. If we had free food and labor, then the more we could give away, and easier it would be for us to maintain.

Linda. I'm for supporting both of these projects. They're both in the early stages. Bobby is kind of working alone. And you've got us. Both Sebla and Bobbi have been long-standing, hard-working members of our community. I'd like to support them. We're not going to know very much in detail about how this will work. I was curious who was involved with the food truck.

Sebla. Yes. We have other people involved; many of them are unemployed or underemployed. The money we're asking for will help us fix the truck, so that it passes inspection. We'll have to get crowd funding anyway.

Bobbi. I have a question. There was some talk about having homeless people be laborers, in order to eat. Is that still on the table?

Joe. In hiring, we'll give preference to people who are homeless, or who don't have a job. We're not sure what we'll be able to pay, but we hope to pay a living wage.

Carolyn. Do people have to work in order to get food.

Joe. No.

Maurice. How many people do you plan to hire?

Sebla and Joe. We have to get the truck fixed first. We'd like to serve five days a week. We'll be a non-profit. We can try to serve areas outside of Kendall square.

Sasha. Your situation is shockingly similar to the medics. But your project will involve a lot more financial work. Have you done any budgeting, or have an idea of what big picture looks like?

Joe. We'll need to have capital going through the operation, so that we can reach something sustainable.

Sebla. We're not just giving handouts. People who can afford will pay. We haven't done a full budget yet.

Bobbi. Do you have any models of something like this being done, aside from the restaurant that Patrick mentioned? Is this a for-profit? I'm confused a little bit.

Sebla. It's not for profit.

Joe. We want to offer good healthy food to homeless people.

Dana. I feel that Bobbi's and the food truck proposals are gambles in a sense. You don't have a demonstrated history of how much this will cost. On other hand, E5 is an established organization with a track record. So there's a tradeoff. But I still support taking the E5 and Food Not Bombs amounts, and putting that towards the food truck. The people trying to do these things are coming from our community, and they're trying to help the homeless. I like the idea of saying yes to these allocations. Maybe we can come to consensus on that?

Jose. I'd like to get some clarification. Are there representation here from street medics? (yes) From E5? (no) From Strike Debt? (yes) From Food not Bombs? (yes). I've seen people take money and use it for personal gain. People who donated this money did work, and then donated their money to us. In representation of people who provided this money, I think we've spent money in ways that were not well invested. I propose we reduce the amount of money, so that people understand that Occupy Movement is not just about giving money. Our best resource is us. We don't need the same values of capitalism. Greatest ideas don't require so much money. Not saying projects don't deserve money. There are people who are dying, who don't have basic access to health. We can do more with this money.

Dana. That's what I just proposed; reducing money to E5 and Food Not Bombs, so that we can help Bobbi, Sebla, and Joe.

Bobbi. I did mutual aid, and handled a lot of money. I accounted for every last penny of it. I plan to do the same going forward. I've been working on these things for years, getting donations on my own. Having some funding will make it easier for me to get funding from Harvard University. I'll account for the money to the last penny.

Lily. As the only person here who's worked with Food Not Bombs, I'd like to advocate that they get some amount of money. I feel that people trying to finance trucks need more money than Food Not Bombs. I'd like Food Not Bombs to get a reduced amount, but not zero.

Carolyn. This proposal has been put on the web, so E5 and Food Not Bombs probably know about it. What will they say if we decide not to give them anything?

Linda. E5 and Food Not Bombs didn't ask for money. We wanted to give them something, because they've supported us from day one. We'd like to support them. Plus, Steve and I want to get our names off the accounts.

Steve. I'd propose not holding $500 in reserve, and throwing it into the pool. Both of us want to have our names off the account - if we donate all the money, then we can close the credit union accounts.

Sebla. It would be nice to hold some money on reserve. It's 8:35. We agree to continue the discussion for 15 minutes.

Dana: How about $4k for the street medics, $908.90 for strike debt, $2k for the food truck, and $1k for Bobbi. We could give $390 to Food Not Bombs and $390 to E5. If we follows Steve proposal, we could give $640/each to Food Not Bombs and E5.

How do people feel about keeping $500 in reserve for operating expenses?

Linda. We started from nothing. If we want to do something, we can find a way. We can pass the hat for meetings.

Jose. It's very practical to put the $500 into the split. How do people feel about giving the $500 away? Positive reaction, with one downtwinkle.

Linda. I feel better about giving all the money away. Starting fresh just seems better to me. Joe. I think we should have a bank account.

Steve. But no one here wants the responsibility of holding onto the money. If someone wants to (say) create a WePay button, they can go ahead and set one up.

Patrick. I appreciate the fact the these two people have kept the money for OB. I also appreciate people who come to GAs. I understand why they want to be divested from OB. I understand what Joe's saying. I thought Linda's thought was positive. We started with nothing in Dewey. If we need things, we can ask for them. That's how it all started. People donated materials, and donated money. In order to have an ongoing thing, we need a rebirth of sorts. Starting over fresh is one of the most intelligent ideas I've heard in a long time.

Linda. I'm excited about the possibility of giving the money away. And there's S17 coming up. And, people are talking about doing something for S30. There are ways that OB is still alive. I feel energized about having a fresh start, a clean slate. I think this will be healthy for the community too, besides being healthy for us. There's responsibility in holding the money, but there's implicit power, whether it's exercised or not.

Dana. Since the people shouldering responsibility are psyched about putting the money to good use ... If we wanted to raise some money, I think we could, if the project were really important.

Ruby. I've been looking at financial needs for the medic's truck. There's a truck that needs a certain amount of repair to become a mobile clinic, and to work with the homeless. There's a certain threshold that we really need, in order to get the truck fixed and in our possession. It's a specific amount. I'd like to advocate for the amount initially set aside for the medics. We (medics) have no other funding. If we have the truck, it will be easier to get funding for supplies, permits, and getting the truck on the road.

Jose. I definitely support idea of $4k for medics. In consideration, if there's a plan for paying for people to go to NYC, I'd be interested. 100% support Food Not Bombs. We're also nearing the 15 minutes. I think that Linda and Steve deserve recognition.

It's 9:00pm. Let's go for another 15 minutes.

Maurice. I'm sitting here, and there's really no accountability. Who benefits? This remains to be a question. I've seen Food Not Bombs everywhere. They're doing things that are accountable. People have pet projects, which is fine, but I see no results from them. For example, I don't know how much effort went into Hurricane Sandy. And then there's strike debt. Very noble, but what are the results? So, where is this money going? There's no accountability, and there won't be anyone to report to. I suggest we take the last $500 and have a party; a wake for occupy.

Bil. I've gone over expenses over the last two years. My personal experience is that money was used responsibly, for the purpose that was intended. Lily. Food Not Bombs always needs money, but they're not trying to start a project. I think $300 would be a good point.

Sebla. Ruby - you say you have this truck. Sounds like you're in the same position that we are. How much do you need for operations?

Sasha. We owe $4k to an anonymous donor. Once we pay the donor, we can take possession of the truck. We'll still need to get it inspected, get the truck insured, fixed, maintained, and so fourth. The $4k would enable us to pay off our anonymous donor, and we'd be extremely grateful for that.

Linda. There are 20 people working with street medic groups. We've been having regular meetings.

Dana restates his proposal:

  • $4294 for the street medics
  • $908 for strike debt
  • $2000 for the food truck
  • $1000 for Bobbi's Urban Pioneering proposal
  • $242 + $250 = $492 for Food Not Bombs
  • $242 + $250 = $492 for E5

How do people feel about this? Uptwinkles with one stand-aside. Joe blocks.

We decide to switch to the full consensus model.

We have 75% in favor. Proposal passes.

Follow-up Announcements

Lily. Food Not Bombs isn't hurting for money, but we are hurting for a place to cook. If people know of any houses or community spaces that would host us for cooking, please let us know.

Do people feel like getting together in the future? Yes -- let's work it out on the community forum.