WG/InterOccupy Communications/Minutes/01132012

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InterOccupy Communications Meeting Notes - Fri Jan 13 2012

Present: Bobby, David, Wayne, Tess, Maymay (SF), Farhad, Bill, Ian, Ben, Some guy in a Guy Fawkes mask

Bobby was the facilitator. Farhad was the notetaker.


(1) Announcements

(2) Introductions

(3) Collaborating with the Inreach WG (Ben)

(4) Report on Mass Occupy (David & Wayne)

(5) InterOccupy.org "Committees of Correspondence" Conference Call (Bobby)

(6) Brainstorming around what constitutes "Relevant Info" (Farhad)

(7) Interview with the Boston Occupier (Ian)

(8) Housekeeping

(9) Action Items

I. Announcements

Bobby: The contact list on InterOccupy.org -- which is maintained by Occupy Philadelphia -- and the OWS COMHUB contact list are going to be merged.

Bill: My book has been printed! It chronicles the history of Occupy Boston to date. (Everybody looks at the book.)

David: "Occupy the Burbs" (not the official name -- Newton, Needham, Natick, etc.) will having its first meeting on January 22 from 3-5 pm at the First Unitarian Society in Newton (Washington Street Newton, Massachusetts 02465). Contact Eileen Kurkoski (eileenfoto@verizon.net) for details. David will forward the announcement email to the OBIO list.

II. Introductions

Bobby, David, Wayne, Tess, Maymay (SF), Farhad, Bill, Ian, Ben, Some guy in a Guy Fawkes mask

III. Collaborating with the Inreach WG

Ben: Inreach is collecting data from all the different working groups. Contact information, where they meet, when they meet, what they're working on, etc. It's a comprehensive database for everything Occupy Boston.

I'm here because we're a communication project, and this is a communication project. It would be good to have collaboration between both working groups, especially for things that are upcoming e.g. Occupy the T. We're going to want to communicate with all the local Occupys to organize around MBTA price raises.

Farhad: There are some local contacts in the main OBIO database. Also: John Murphy has a lot of Facebook contacts.

Bobby: I'll enter my contacts into the main database as well.

IV. Report on Mass Occupy

Wayne: There were introductions and talk about what different groups are doing. There were about two dozen different groups represented. Full room. About 50 people present.

The second part of the meeting started with proposals about what the group would do. E.g. International Women's day, May 1st General Strike, MLK Day, something in Salem talking about Citizen's United. Events in the future around which we could do some organizing.

Rather than adopt any one particular proposal... we decided to have another meeting. Getting agreement on that was not easy. We agreed that on February 18 there's going to be a Massachusetts wide Occupy General Assembly. There's going to be an organizing meeting for that on January 28 at Encuentro 5.

That's the biggest part, but we did agree to three working groups: Outreach, Media, and Jobs -- although Jobs is not listed in the notes that I have.

There was a motion to make election day a holiday. We sort of agreed to move the General Assemblies around to different communities. February 18 is going Boston Teacher's Union meeting hall in Dorchester.

David: We talked about a lot of good stuff, and the only thing we decided on was to have another meeting.

Occupy Salem is definitely doing stuff around Citizen's United/Move to Amend type stuff.

Wayne: There were two dozen different groups who were doing something. Either visibility -- e.g. standing in a certain spot with signs, talking to people, handing out leaflets -- holding general assemblies, planning actions.

Tess: I'm in Ideas, and we're planning having Town Halls in different communities. We're thinking of having them start by focusing around specific issues, maybe having them move on to GA-style gatherings with proposals.

Wayne: I did see some friction between Occupy Boston and the Mass Occupy group. Im not sure what was happening, but it would be good to facilitate better communications. There was a little bit of confusion as to who is responsible for facilitating communication between all the various occupations in the area. This meeting (OBIO) is good for keeping in touch with Occupy Boston, but it's not clear how we keep in touch with each other.

Bobby: That's something that I've been working on. Getting a contact person for each occupation. That way it's not just a random Facebook posting or a posting on a website.

Farhad: We talked about doing a weekly review of all the various GAs and other events, but we don't always have the information at our fingertips. John Murphy knows all this stuff. We need a John Liaison. (Bobby volunteers to be John Liaison.)

Maymay: I found out about this meeting from the Google calendar, and then I talked to Tess about it. I've been working on iCal feeds. I have regional calendar feeds that I can turn on and off as I travel around the country. Facebook also exports to iCal. I've written up a tutorial on it. (Editor's note: http://bit.ly/xH5sWu) This relies on somebody somewhere creating an event on Facebook or a Google calendar.

V. InterOccupy.org "Committees of Correspondence" Conference Call

(Editor's note: this is Bobby's email to the OBIO list plus his comments at the meeting itself.)

Bobby's Email:

Approx 12 people on the call including myself, most were unaffiliated with a wg within their occupation and relatively new to the whole process; others had vague or obscure wg titles like C from Sacramento: "International things", or Johanna from NY: "Occupy Animals". There were 2-3 interoccupy or coc (Committee of Correspondence) folks on the call, including myself.

Larry from Philly facilitated, I just called him for input on this email, but got voicemail. Was a brief intro on the historical relevance of the "Committees of Correspondence" founding fathers type stuff, but boils down to a call to tighten up interoccupy by creating an internal directory of trusted contacts with open accountability to our respective GAs.

That's all I gleaned from the call, I'll admit, I left early. Sorry!

Bobby: Philly wants to communicate with everybody else. Build a nationwide inreach.

Tammy from OWS was on the call, and she's somebody who seems very connected.

Eric from Occupy Edinborogh was in NH.

VI. Brainstorming around what constitutes "Relevant Info"

Farhad: I was thinking that we could do some brainstorming about what kind of info we want to be collecting about other occupations. Ultimately it's all interesting, but we might want to prioritize some things. For example, we might be really interested to hear about how other large occupations who got evicted have handled the transition. E.g. do they have a central meeting and working location, are they looking for one if they don't, etc.

Tess: Thinking of the breakdown in GAs lately. How they structure their GAs. Do they do spokes with outside regional areas? Basically: How do they structure their governing bodies?

Bobby: I've heard conflicting stories about OWS and their GAs.

Farhad: The rule of thumb seems to be that nobody's doing any better than we are, and we're not doing any better than anybody else. There are some differences, though -- e.g. the difference in interactions with community organizations. We're not nearly as connected as some of the other big occupations.

Wayne: Of the various occupies, do you have a historian or archivist or somebody who's collecting information? At some point, that's going to become important.

The other thing is that it'd be nice to have info on other occupations like when you see a map with hotels that shows what they have -- e.g. a pool or gym or whatever. A map of occupations would indicate if they have a medical tent, legal group, etc.

Maymay: Are you familiar with Melissa Gira Grant's work with the Meta Library work at OWS? They're not only rebuilding the library, but also using it as an archival space. I can get you in touch with her.

Farhad: I've been meaning to ask about the Occupy Austin Info Scribes. Their name suggests that they might be doing something similar.

Ian: One thing I've been interested in is what other groups the Occupys have been collaborating with. In Occupy Somerville there's Save our Somerville. Occupy Boston is working with City Life now. What are the organizations that Occupy was built on, and what are the organizations that Occupy is working with?

Wayne: Does the Ideas working group know of similar groups at other occupations?

Tess: I'm not entirely sure, as we're not totally sure what we're doing right now. We're shifting our focus, so it's hard to say.

Farhad: OWS has Think Tank, which is sort of similar to what I think Ideas was doing at one point. I believe Philly has a similar group, but I can't recall the name.

VII. Interview with the Boston Occupier

Farhad and Bobby will be main contacts for Ian.

Ian: I'm interested in how people are connecting the dots, building a movement, etc.

VIII. Housekeeping

Meeting Space

Bobby: I have a contact number, email, name -- will email. Still unsure of the scheduling protocol.

Tess: Noah might be a good person to talk to.

Contact at BCNC. Alex Chan 617 635 5129 alex.chan@bcnc.net


Maymay will send collected contact info to Farhad who will add it to the OBIO contact list.

IX. Action Items

(1) Calendar (Bobby)

(2) John Liaison (Bobby)

(3) The new issue of the Occupier will be out next Wednesday -- we need copies for OWS Road Trip (Farhad)

(4) Web Form for archive submission (Farhad)