GA Minutes Week 15 - Jan 8 (2/2)

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Five minute break.

Matt (facilitator) announced that other proposers had negotiated the order of the proposals to allow Anastasia to present her proposal first.

Anastasis read her proposal: (please check with her for exact wording)

People, predominantly women, have been verbally and physically attacked at Occupy Boston. Occupy Boston will not tolerate verbal or physical threats or acts of sexual violence or sexual harassment against any individual. Occupy Boston will create a protocol within one month to immediately respond to these acts.

Martin: Restorative Justice group has already scheduled a meeting at Suffolk with the Restorative Justice center there.

Carlos: Ask for volunteers from Occupy Boston to provide people with the sex they need. Occupy Boston supplies free food, free clothes, etc.

Next followed five-minute breakout groups to discuss the proposal.

Matt asked for concerns

Not sure who this was: Proposal does not address the safety concerns raised in the previous proposal.

Monica R.: One month is not enough time to put together a nuanced proposal.

?: Wants protocol connected to a specific group or groups.

Matt asked for statements of support.

?: As a community, we need to make a strong stand against sexual violence and threats. This will start the process.

?: This should be about all violence (not just sexual violence) and all inappropriate behavior

?: We need to make a strong statement that we do not support violence after defeating the prior proposal.

Jason: This proposal will make people feel more safe.

Carolyn: An earlier version of the defeated proposal had a part about behavior, and that was the part she had originally supported.

Brian: It's important that this proposal takes a clear stand that we do not tolerate sexual assault. This proposal is important in repairing the damage to our community that resulted from the defeat of the previous proposal, for healing and welcoming people back in. It's also essential to take control of the narrative that could possibly result from the defeat of the prior proposal, ie Occupy Boston tolerates sexual offenders, etc.

Martin: Important to create a climate of safety

Cherie: If we can shun and ban an embezzler like Paul Carnes...

Paul: Should be all threats, not just sexual ones

Mabel: Could include some transformative perspective--how is this culture going to rely on some form of transformation?

Anna: I support the part about sexual offenders and the need to keep it specifically about sexual abuse.

Proposed amendments

?: "and assure the safety of all members of our community"

Matt: "regardless of class, gender, gender identity, or skin color"

Dennis: "in the wake of a proposal that elicited sharp disagreement...bring together relevant working groups on both sides of this"

Martin: would like to specify the restorative justice group as part of the groups that are working on this..."Occupy Bston will be vigilant to create some kind of culture of safety...If someone actually commits a crime and is convicted of it, that person will not be welcome into the group."

Anna: "The proposal is meant to start a discussion and an invitation to many groups"

Mabel: "a working protocol"

Patricia: "working on a way to prevent the threats"

Monica R: "two months"

Andrew: Could we include preamble of earlier proposal?

Ariel: "urgent"

Monica P: This movement has only existed for three months. We can get stuff done in two weeks!

Justin: ASAP

Martin: Use the word "priority"

Anastasia worked on incorporating amendments. Individual stack.

Jorge: Apologizes for "outrageous way I behaved earlier." Have had 110 proposals, none had gone to a third round of the process. He thought taking a temp check was inadequate to change protocol, didn't realize we were not going towards a third round. Plans not to facilitate for ? weeks in order to regain the trust of the GA.

Dennis: Encourages all of us to give feedback about the consensus process. If it isn't working for us, it's not set in stone, we (as a group) can change it.

Patty: Those of us who stayed stayed for a reason. Hopes that everyone who stayed reaches out to everyone who left.

Rachel: We should "not let anything that happens at a GA" determine our feelings about Occupy Boston. The decisions mean absolutely nothing except for what we go out and do. She will be holding meeting for people to process feelings about safety in the community at 4:30 PM at E5, Monday January 9th.

Martin: He comes from Texas, execution happy state, legal system ruled by money, ICE--there's no way to solve any of our individual problems, no way at all, without solving all the other ones. "how to create interconnected solutions to all the interconnected problems,"

Matt--horizontal democracy--we need to be able to disagree with each other. Everyone still sitting here was personally insulted.

Greg--Unfortunate that the model we have doesn't allow us to be open to amendments.

Anastasia returns with text of amended proposal.

(insert text here)

Clarifying questions:

Monica R: What is "emotional violence?"

Anastasia: Could be physically taunting someone, even if not actually touching. Mimes someone standing an inch away from someone else and following them.

Monica R: What happens with this protocol? Is it approved by the GA?

Anastasia: Good question. Yes, it would come as a proposal and need to be approved by the GA.

Concerns:

Teresa: Concerned that it does not mention any specific groups that will undertake creating this protocol.

Rachel: Concerned about the input of the people who are missing.

Supports:

Matt: Glad it includes "harassment" because he experienced this at Dewey.

Martin: We don't want to rely on US law which we all agree is deeply flawed. We're going to a different source--consult with anti-oppression group.

Rachel: What matters is what happens after the GA "work has to happen."

Alicia: Proposal offers "seeds of continuing dialogue."

Alex: Wish this had come up and been approved in the first days of the occupation.

Anastasia will include her email address and listserv for members of the OB community who want to participate in creating the protocol.

No blocks. Anastasia's proposal condemning violence at OB passes.

Matt announces next proposal, Noah's proposal about replacing one GA a week with an action meeting using Open Space technology, try this for two weeks.

Alex: Point of process--do we have a quorum?

Alex I.--It's no set amount. That means do you feel you have enough people, enough diversity, enough people from different parts of the community, to speak for Occupy Boston?

Daniel: We can take a quorum check for each proposal we deal with. Whenever we're working on a proposal, we can see...

Matt: That's not how we understood it.

Greg: This is how we did it.

Alex I: When we didn't have quorum, we always left.

Matt: Changed the idea of quorum to be on a proposal basis.

Greg: There were some instances at Dewey, when we had a quorum check and left right after announcements, usually in inclement weather.

Patricia: We're missing a large portion of the group--

Matt: Do we have quorum?

53 people in the room.

Room votes that this does not constitute a quorum.

Alex: Needs point of clarification. Would we go on to the next proposal and see if we have quorum on it?

Daniel: It's never worked that way. Once you've lost quorum, you've lost quorum. You can't get it back.

Noah, Ariel, Ravi, and Marty have constituted themselves as a work group Strategic Political Action Assembly. They ask the group if they are willing to help workshop the proposal about replacing the Saturday GA with an action meeting, going through clarifying questions, concerns and amendments. Temp check in the affirmative.

Explanation/description of the rationale for the proposal:

Ariel: A lot of people are looking to engage with OB in an outward-based way--bring a spark that they have to Occupy Boston. As a recent member of the mis-named "Ideas" group, she finds people bring them ideas for actions, and while Ideas doesn't really deal with this, she finds she has no place to tell them they can go.

Marty: We need to avoid stagnation of our process, evolve tactics and strategies, cross-pollinate--a lot goes on outside the GA that we don't even know about. Open Space Technology has been used a lot by "transition town" communities that are trying to respond to the crises of peak oil and climate change.

Clarifying questions:

?: Why take away a GA, and not just add this on another day of the week?

Ariel: Temp check, do we want to hear more of a sample of what such a meeting would be like? Affirmative.

Ariel: Meeting will begin and end with an assembly where we'll hear back from actions. To avoid stereotyped political arguments based on longstanding philosophical differences, all political discussions will be linked to actions. There will be two kinds of proposals--"sparks" two minute proposals, an issue or event that's coming up--it basically says we should do something about this, and "propositions"--an idea for an action that's more developed. These will not be discussed, but people can ask clarifying questions.

People will offer their sparks and propositions, go through the lists, and ask for a show of hands for interest. Most popular ones will be held, others can hold theirs or drop them, knowing there may not be much interest. The number of proposals to be discussed will be 4-8, in two blocks of disucssions.

Jimi: Noticed that they are ditching the weekend GA. For people who work during the week, or week nights, weekend GAs are the only ones they can make.

Ariel: Originally, they'd picked Tuesday. Would like a temp check on what day GA to drop.

?: People came because they wanted to sign on to some cause.

?: What is "open space technology."

Marty: allows an organic fluid movement throughout. "Law of two feet" if you're not learning something or contributing, move to another group. Basically normalizes the act of moving in and out of a conversation. We will just be hosting discussions and seeing what comes from them.

?: What is the logic of taking one GA away? Why not just add it on top?

Matt: Why the "law of two feet?" Different people have different learning styles--what if some people are slower?

Marty: This is an integral part of an open space technology. It does not compel you to leave a conversation if it's still interesting to you.

Noah: It doesn't have to just be talk, there will be visual ways of learning as well, ample paper. There could even be video.

Andrew: How do you compare and contrast this to the Monday Community Nights? Why not try it at a Community Night?

Ravi: To create a culture of action, where people come back.

Ariel: No community nights free till March, and there's an actual urgency, people who want to get involved.

Jorge: What's wrong with Sunday from 12-3 for this?

Ariel: She thinks there is really no other time, Monday is Community Night, Wednesday tons of work groups meet, also Friday evening has a lot of work group meetings.

Ridgely: We need to develop campaigns, actions and strategies.

Noah: Campaigns that are currently existing, like Citizens' United...this is going to be an environment where you can discuss the formation of campaigns.

Ridgely: sees Citizens United as an "action,"--we need larger campaigns like "getting $ out of politics."

Jessie: New to OB, this is his first GA. One thing he'd like to see is a place where a newcomer can get some kind of orientation to all of OB. Is there a place like that?

Ariel: There isn't a place yet, but this would be.

Martin: You're not trying to replace the GA. GA makes decisions, but we're currently having a GA without decisions

Ariel: It doesn't mean we're replacing GA in our hearts.

Marty: We could call this GA.

Bob: This time of year is an excellent time to plan for--March--getting things going again on the outside. March, April, at the latest--we will be back out in the streets and a lot of people will be moving with us.

Ariel: (process question) Can we do concerns and amendments at the same time?

Matt: If we've been using GA to mean a certain thing, it means that.

Jorge: We've passed 66 proposals, and only 18 of them were outward looking.

Noah: We need a new kind of assembly. What kinds of outward looking things can GA do? It can fund things. It can make statements of solidarity. Four GAs a week is stifling our ability to look out.

Carolyn: Our outward proposals were solidarity proposals. All action stuff got relegated to groups.

Noah: If everybody's interested in the same thing, open space technology can become one big meeting.

Monica P: Could Sparks and Propositions come in ahead of time?

Noah: That would not be part of the proposal?

Jorge: Do you forsee any other traditional OB GAs being cut in the near future?

Noah: Working on a proposal to merge one GA a week with other GAs in Massachusetts.

Concerns:

Daniel: Concerned that GAs are important and hold the movement together. Suggests they look at which day the Ga is least well attended, thinks it's Sunday.

Jorge: Tuesday is traditionally the best attended GA.

Jen: Not sure if she'd want to be doing this once per week, more like "once per year."

Dennis: "Open Space Technology"--the phrase confuses people.

Bill: Don't change the structure, just go out and do it, don't make a big proposal.

Monica P: Love to do this on the night we have the greatest number of NEW people attending GAs. This work is more important than the internal legislative work we do at GAs.

Tess: Make the trial period maybe a bit longer.

Jorge: Would like to see a better argument for getting rid of a GA. People come to GAs, 30-40 come to every single one. Nobody is required to stay for four or five hours,people come and go. Suggests an amendment to have this Friday night, Saturday from 12-3, or Sunday from 12-3. We do need to be counting newcomers.

?: Strike the "must" from "follow the law of two feet"

Jorge: Community gatherings have been our least well-attended events.

protest from various assembled

Jorge: Citizens United was the exception. That had 150 people.

Therese: She can only come to weekend GAs, is interested in action strategies.

Monica R: Could groups actually work on actions during the meeting?

Noah: Groups could actually do the action during the meeting time!

Andrew: This could be an opportunity for newcomers to come and see the working groups in action. Why don't we do two things at once--also have it be an Open House? First community gathering was great!

Jessie: (newcomer, first meeting at OB) This is exactly what I want!

Matt: Statement of support on NOT hanging out our dirty laundry for newcomers.

Caroline: Totally changed her mind about this--desperate to have more actions, has interested friends but hasn't felt comfortable bringing people to GAs.

Matt: Since being in DC has gotten a taste for more actions.

Jorge: Strongly support this proposal. Wrong about Community gatherings being not well attended. The first one had 192. The second had 66.

Mabel: Maybe this action GA should have an educational pamphlet--what is an action?

Martin: Has urgent announcement.

Matt: You can't wait till the end of this proposal discussion?

Martin: He has posted Anastasia's passed proposal to the OB Facebook page and it was deleted. Also various Twitter posts about it have been deleted. He has researched who has been doing this and thinks he knows.

Matt: Not appropriate to continue discussion of this, let's finish up discussion of the proposal.

Ridgely: Concerned about whether this is a strategy that will unify us.

Noah: In the case of each action, ask "How does this relate to the 99%?"

Glenn: I have a question, a concern, a statement of support, and an amendment. Do we have data on new people? Concern: People come once and never come back. Support: This sounds really good. Amendment: Let's try a hybrid GA, with one proposal, and the rest this SPAA jazz.

SPAA members thank GA for their willingness to stay and workshop the proposal. Various folks decide not to take individual stack.