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Space WG Meeting Rough Minutes (mostly unedited) - 02/10/12

  • A bit of history of this group:
    • Trying to figure out what kind of space we wanted to have Struggling to find a name/identity The incarnations are big community meetings People wanted housing as a priority/ community center, Housing Crisis, Housing Cooperative WG Were looking at spaces in the past. Talking to Brokers, NO! was the typical response, 3 weeks ago efforts were exhausted. Unless we tell brokers the concept of the building layout, there will not be any space through the brokers. Took 3 weeks to figure out what needs will be met, A draft has been written If we want occupy endorsement we must take it to GA
  • Did issue of individual who signs lease get resolved, how does the fact that an unbindable entity such as occupy boston can have a lease? Which person has the lease in their name,
    • UFE United for a fair Economy There are certain conditions that must be met in order for OB and UFE
    • Third Sector – you would have - NO
    • Haymarket People’s Fund? Fiscal sponsorship was requested of them and they said no.
    • Mass Global Action/ offer is still there, OB would have access to e5
  • MGA had said that they were willing to move but that 60 days is not sufficient notice to other orgs. E5 idea/ Democracy Ctr. Mt Auburn St. Cambridge Will be revisited later
  • The sequence of going with the draft that has been worked on may lead to unforeseen philosophical and poitical questions later on.
  • Should we go with the draft that Monica and Greg have worked on?
  • How do we address GA?
  • 15 min on philosophical discussion:
    • addressing GA – Angela loves the idea of us getting a space at participatory budgeting meeting, chemistry of WG is absolutely essential. There is precident for co-operative economic groups getting spaces We have to have infrastructure for a physical space, should we create a space with the money we have when the infrastructure is based on what we have now? Homogeneous groups are harder to diversify. No early efforts to go to GA with proposals for space.
    • Occupy employees idea got negative reviews among the group. Does this movement want us to move forward IN THIS WAY?
    • WERE talking about something that takes up a consistant amount of large sums of money. Do we have the wherewithal to make it.
    • Coffee shop? One singal cooperative group?
    • 501c3? Really wary of becoming a non profit. Wary of BoDirectors Wary of colluding with other orgs’ We SHOULD get seed capital
  • Monica and Ravi read their document:
    • Formalization of Brainstorming. Organizing What of inaction? Diversity of Tactics seems to only apply to certain tactics.
    • Employers are required to provide Health insurance which is very expensive.
    • Sketch of sustainable justice and democracy
    • WG’S answered a probe about what they had done and what their intentions were.
    • This document brings together the aspirations of those WG’s
    • This is meant as something to send to people outside of the OB circle and the Space WG
    • A permanent indoor location to include and represent the various grassroots elements around the city.
    • This would be a partially sustained through series of semi-market activities including but not limited to a bookstore and coffee shop. We would remain egalitarian in our organizational structure.
    • Prototype a new type of business model that has space for art, performance, exhibit, books, speakers and teach ins, ‘The Center’ as it would be called, sustainable eating, café, and expects to be economically self sufficient within a year, Large group assemblies, Free Public Education, Job skills Creation, addressing issues of inequality requires us to address issues of race, homelessness, oppression etc
  • What will be the organizational structure?
  • Who WILL Actually run the organization?
  • Circle group discussion:
    • A lot of liability with regard to this space, there are certain jobs that require ‘skill’, can things still be horizontal where
    • The organization has to be well run, could still be specialized with certain skills and skill dissemination where people are trained?
    • How can we sell a product that is inferior to our competitors where we do not have the buying power that other corporations have?
    • ANS- We offer things that our competitors don’t offer.
    • Most coffee shops close @ 8 or 9pm, we could also close later,
    • A lot more stuff would be going on besides coffee, ie sustainable eating
    • Talk to other independent coffee shops and venues that are isomorphic to ours.
    • If the focus is back on becoming a legal entity we will lose a lot of supporters.
    • How can we create institutions that work in a manner that satisfies us ethically?
    • Can we have multiple tactics/ Was Dewey Sq. a tactic?
    • We need sales tax reg. if we are not willing to become a legal entity then our business components are neg.
    • Who actually gets to work at ‘The Center’? In a space like this what will we become when decisions have to be made for the bottom line? Don’t want fundraising and profit to become central.
    • Can we form a legal collective?
    • Can we retain our radical/revolutionary values while working within a legal framework? There s a relationship between ‘The Center’ and the OB movement,
    • Do we take an autonomous action, outside the OB movement?
    • What about collective ownership of what we have?
    • If ob doesn’t become a legal entity then do we have relationships with legal entities? Do we need a physical base of ops at all? Is this a separate entity to play the game given the fact that we are forced to become legal in order to get a location?
    • Do we manufacture Tents?
    • What other business enclaves can we create, run and can benefit the movement at large?
    • Café 939 is a coffee shop and performance space is run by the students collectively. Can we use that as an example? A lot of people will leave and a lot of people will join?
    • Vertical Integration? Contrary to horizontal integration.
    • There are models overseas that have done what we are trying to do on a greater scale.
    • Just because we are running businesses doesn’t mean we have to be vertically integrated. We can still adopt anarcho-principles in our practices There is an occupy cooperative movement in NYC and it is beginning to be successful. We have to deal with the possibility that we will be targeted; violently.
    • What size parameters will we need?
    • Keep in contact with united for a fair economy?
    • How do we deal with the fact that racism and classism is endemic in our assembly with such egalitarian ideas spoken by a group of mostly Caucasians?

Next meeting: 02/17/11 6pm e5