Space 02/17/12

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Greg, Rachel, Monica, Dan C, Robin, Jorge, Eli, Ravi

Agenda:
Greg's Proposal
Research
Space WG email list

Greg:
Wrote the proposal
Talk of fundraising in air
If we're going to fundraise for an occupy location, need GA blessing
A lot of energy around this collectively run business, need to know sooner rather than later whether GA give its blessing 
Thought it was hot shit was tactical did asking for 14k set aside
One thing the donors would like, not only did OB consent to it, they also put up their own money
I think it's a good time, not sure if Space does
A very rough draft
Grab bits and pieces for the introduction
Is it time? Do we have the time conversation now?
And if we do think its the right time, I'd love to do the priority thing before we get to GA

Rachel:
If people have specific questions for greg, start with that, then move into discussion either about going to GA as a concept or the specfics of the proposal, allow greg time to answer people's questions
I will very lightly faciltiate

Jorge:
Participatory budget is going to bring a proposal Tuesday (bring WG in, get buy-in to go to the budget workshop)
Are we both doing a proposal and a chunk a time?

Greg:
Best possible outcome is what I wrote, but there's a place that has enough room and space that...

Rachel:
What are you looking for to get out of passing this proposal?

Greg:
Yay what a great idea to have an indoor location with all these things
Hoping to get 10-15k general fund to throw into the overall kitty, not that wedded to it
The blessings of the assembly, the GA actually approves this

Rachel:
What I read in your proposal, is an operationally fragmented space: there's a space and a separate thing that is a coffee shop / business?

Greg:
I think, the big point that hasn't been discussed, I'm still in the mindsight that this can be done together (autonomous group / OB)

Rachel:
Practical worries: getting permission from OB to raise $$ for one thing but not the other (the not business side)
At odds with some folk's vision that the business is the whole thing / that it's not separate

Greg:
Maybe unconciously I wrote it to push the dialogue to have that conversation
My starting point: that it's an OB space, not a collective space, the collective as integral to its gestalt, branding, ect., but its not that legal entity, but its still an OB space
We get a third party to sign the lease, no one entity is 

Rachel:
The vision is of the entire space
OB does not own part of the space, the vision is about creating a space that furthers the building of our movement, provides space for all of the OB activites of the greater movement
I find it really problematic to think about OB operating space

Greg:
Working groups can't use the space?

Rachel:
They definitely can. 
I don't believe that a WG or two can operate a permnament space

Greg:
Don't think OB can operate or has a capacity to play a role in managing a space?

Rachel:
No, gonna let other people talk

Monica:
How would OB operate this space?

Greg:
Would have to figure that out. Now, we have arrangements with churches, use e5
Autonomously, collectively, we operate. That same skill set

Monica:
I can see how this works for a community space, I'm having trouble understanding your vision to adminstrating a space

Liam:
The relationship to the churches is as tenants, not as managers. That's what we've been talking about and saying. There's a certain legal liability framework, that OB is not ready for, as tenants. 

Monica:
I'm hearing a vision.

Greg:
We lean on another nonprofit to assume the legal entity and adminstrative burdens. 

Rachel:
What if it was the same relationship but with the business instead of a third party nonprofit. 

Rachel:
The collective has a vision for a space, not just a cafe

Greg:

Eli:
Thinks operationally, the vision of the operation side of this, is going to be a detriment for the fundraising for the space. It's incredibly challenging to sell funders - who is the ultimate team and decision-maker behind this apsce
It's an incredible challenge: Funders want to see a team. They want to see who's assembled, who is going to do the fundraising. Especially if we don't want to enter into a renter's trap. Especially if we can raise so much money as to avoid the renters trap entirely.
 
 
Biggest concern about Greg's proposal is that it sets up OB as reliable to pay rent. Let's put this on a dedicated team, rather than on OB. Even is not a legal entity, the assembled team will be struggling around how can we make this business successful, how can we lower rent.  The non-profit world tends to be limited around obtaining resources / limited resources. OB is not around money at all - does not want to see relationship change. This is our space, if we need to protect the space, then our concern will become limited - tunnel vision.

Robin: Agreesa with Monica, Eli, Rachel that understanding from end of last week's meeting is that the Collective would be an autonomous group of people, spin-off from OB Spaces WG, that it would be a completely separate entity from OB, and while we can certainly let GA know of this project, it does not mean we need GA's approval.

Rachel: The Collective - who is actually on the team - depends on who is already interested, and people outside this particular circle (of tonight's meeting} - is yet to be determined.

Greg:  Doesn't see OB having anything to do with being incorporated.  Still thinking about the original space idea - wanting to make sure that OB's presence is prominent in the Collective's center/space. OB would be paying share via donations box, other tenants would be paying. People in finance OB who would like us to become a 501C-3, and Greg is opposed to this idea.

Liam: One of our most beautiful tactics in OB is a moral approach to looking at law; so we respect some laws and we completely disregard other laws if we think they are not moral, or if free speech trumps. Response to Jorge: Affinity groups have to be organic, where people trust each other. The Affinity Group of which Liam is a part, is figuring out which people we want to work with.

Eli: We're on same page about not wanting OB to incorporate. What organizational structure is going to set us up for success?  With regard to revenue generated? Doesn't think that splitting up the collective so that various groups own different space is the best way to go. No lines in the sand. Important to not set ourselves up for infighting, territorialism. We need one body; not more than one legal entity. Would love for an OB working ghroup to take this on, but doesn't think it's condusive to setting up fundiraiding and a business.  Definition of a working group is that it's open, meeting to meeting. A business cannot work this way - no one should be allowed to just enter in and have a decision-making authority.  Affinity groups are exciting.  We start small to fundraise and to get the work going.  Eventually it's going to grow - there will be a lot of rrom to get involved and become part of the Collective as it builds.

Greg: Maybe hasn't thought enough about how the building would be managed if my model goes through. How that all gets managed would certainly be a challenge. The ideas just put through, didn't realize that the Collective would manage the whole building (thought just wanted to create a really cool business).  Just didn't see it before tonight.  Changes thinking - understandings model discussed tonight - group can act autonomously with the groupd of people involved. It's the largess of the Collective, that in a sense, welcomes OB in.  We have been born of you, OB, we love our mother so much, please come live with us.

Eli: Well, it's symbiotic. Both OB and the Collective business rely on each other. Collectives, to be successful, need to be rooted in community, and our community is OB.

Rachel: To me, it's not even about sucess depends on OB being a part of it. It's that the entire purpose of this Collective is to build a movement, and so it's not that it's this mutually benefecial symbiotic thing.  All of us are working to build a movement. Structurally the way this space is envisioned.  There's more of OB inherently to the space if it is structured as a cooperative space than it is if we have another organzation which is our landlord.

Greg: Do you see a need to go before GA with anything, if it were to go this way?

Liam: Thinks there is definitely a time, once things start to materialize - that's when it's time to invite the community to flow into the space.

Eli: That doesn't mean we can't have conversations about this.

Rachel: Tell fundraisers the truth: We met at OB, the reason we have the vision of this Collective space is by having come together at OB, but not an OB project in and of itself.

Liam: People that really understand some of the difficulties of the OB movement understand that the Collective is in the service of OB, but with its own structure.

Monica: What's quite critical, our affinity group hopes for a positive relationship to be fostered between Collective and OB. This can be fostered by going for input from OB - when the time is ready, we can go to GA and announce that we are of you, that we're wanting you to 

Liam: Thinks we're coming to a point where we discuss what the Space WG does next.

Greg: If there's an affiinity group and that passion to get this project done, is there still a place for the Space working group to exist - is there a purpose?

Eli: I think if the affinity group is going to be making operational decisions, it has to be separate from Space WG. There's probably a place still for Space - so many different types of spaces potentially for OB. Facilitating such conversations. It's incredibly important to be transparent throughout process, from beginning to end. Our vision is around movement building - my goal isn't to have just a business.  Wants to build a successful center that will grow OB and other movements.  We're indebted to OB. OB is the seed that can still grow further and has to ghrow further if it is going to be successful.

Rachel: I think we can liberate ourselves as a Space WG from being solely about this thing we've been talking about all meeting. One of the cool things that comes out of not being the entity that handles Collective entity, is that there are all kinds of conversations throughout OB regarding space.  For example, having converstation with Tactical, or with folks who are talking about doing housing work. Folks who have a broader scope, and be able to told all those converstaions about the different space endeavors going on.

Monica: Adds to Rachel's comments, Greg outlined earlier that one of the things OB is doing well is fostering relationships with organizations where we meet; the Space WG might be able to take some of this work over. Would love it if some entity within OB would interface with Collective affinity group to figure out the best relationship between Collective and OB.

Liam: Would love Rachel's ideas to coalesce into a working group. Wants to remind us that the Space WG is a body that has been receiving constant CPR. How will it continue without all the energy from the people who will be spending their time resources on the Collective affinity group?

Jorge: I think, by nature, affiinity groups are opaque - not transparent. They don't have to report back to anyone. Maybe the best thing to do is for the affinity group that has formed - wants to stress I want to see the Collective happen - is for the affinity group to do what they need to do (why even have these discussions at Space WG meetings?). Why connect yourselves to what you're going to have to get flack from eventually about transparency. Why not untether yourselves? The sooner the better. Space WG could be just one of the defunct groups that exists on our wiki page.

Monica; What you said, Jorge, makes me want to put out: The propriety of a person being in both FAWG and fundraising. What to do with the Space WG might be a converstaion I would feel comfortable being a part of. I would feel a conflict of interest.

Eli: It's no one's desire to stop a working group. If people want to continue the work of Space WG, they should. I personally don't see the conflict of interest right now, I have shifted a lot of my focus in OB to this because it enegerizes me personally, doing a lot of research. Still wants to be involved in OB. Wants to make sure the relationships stay intact. Never been in an affinity group before. Wants to feel can be a part of OB and do work separately in an affinity group.

Jorge: Didn't mean lack of transparency in affinity ghroup is a negative way.

Rachel: There are so many ways to organize affinity groups.  There is no one type.  We have this conception of what affinity group means, but in fact, an affinity group has a seed that can change dramatically over time in relation to the needs of the movement. Affinity groups can mean so many things - we shouldn't make assumptions about what it means in this context.

Dan: If it's problemative to use the term affinity group, would it be better to not use that term?

Rachel: No, because I think the Collective is exactly what it is (an affinity group) - and thinks there's a lot of power in this model.

Monica: Conflict, etc. are part of what happens when decisive actions take place.

Liam: I think there's a lot for the Space WG to do after the Collective gets ready to be opened and how it's liaisoning with the movement.  Thinks there's going to be a huge gap where Space WG is trying to find its mission, who is coming here any more? No one is saying to shut down the WG, but it might become empty for a while.

Jorge: If I understand this the way I do, it seems pointless for Greg to come up with this proposal at this time.

Greg: Agrees, does not think this proposal should be brought to GA.

Jorge: When you try to put affinity groups model into our template, the transparency piece doesn't fit. That being said, I don't mean this as a negative. Thinks it's best for Collective affinity group to get going with its business as soon as possible.

Greg: Realizes more than before, and now doesn't want to move forward with my proposal to GA.

Rachel: We need to do the work with people who've been part of this longer conversation; what do we do with this?

Greg: GA doesn't need to be part of business planning. Had thought my proposal was about getting the go-ahead to raise funds.

Eli: It's inappropriate to fundraise in name of OB without consent from OB. In what name does Occupier Boston fundraise?

Monica: The OB Globe, as it was then known, after a long process, reduced its proposal to asking GA to endorse [its project]. It was clear that it was not governed by OB. Exactly how that relationship was brokered appears ambiguous.  
What seems to be happening to these things, is there left a bit ambiguous at first. We're going to go do this thing - you cool with that? We'll figure it out as we go along.

Greg: If there were an OB fundraising working group that really exists at the moment, I wonder if the affinity group would approach the fundraising WG, if it wanted the help of the WG would come to the [fundraising] WG. Then the members of the fundraising WG would converse with the affinity group and decide if it wants to take it on with the affinity group. 

Rachel: Seems to me this is like saying if we're not going to get GA to approve this, we cannot go to a WG for stuff.

Monica: Individuals can certainly get involved. 

Gre: Just like there's been certain thresholds that this WG has reached in its lifetime, feels another has been reached tonight. The affinity group folks in the room saying we don't really need the GA's approval. Hopefully the minutes will reflect the fact that the Collective affinity group will move forward autonomously, including doing its own fundraising.  A lot of people didn't understand that this is what's going on. Not everyone is on the sae page about this.

Rachel: Agrees with what Greg said. The part of it that's tough for me to sit with is thinking about how I came to wanting to be a part of this endeavor and the way it's been framed in this meeting. Has said before the inute this endeavor alienates us from OB community whatsoever I don't want to be part of this affinity group. The only reason I'm interested in this space is that I feel it furthers the growth of this movement. Feels this movement has such a long fight ahead. The role we can play in OB is to offer a kind of sanctuary for that fight to incubate, and to sustain it, and to have a space to have converstaions what that means, have a space to stage radical options. Believes strongly in structure and operationally of the affinity group because believes this is how it'll get done. Doesn't believe in it because wants to have meetings behind closed doors. It's to get the project done.

Greg: I know I've gotten heat form people in OB for being involved in Spaces and about this WG not being transparent enough, so I really feel it's on Spaces and/or affinity group to say here's what's going on, so that everybody knows.

Liam: I think, addressing Greg's concern, one of the things we agreed to do in Space WG is to report back to GA about what's going on. We need to give some kind of summary about the shift that's occurred. Thinks it's a WG announcement.

Ravi: If project goes forward without consent/awarement of community (OB), we'll have a problem. We want opinions, they will be heard, at the very least.

Monica: Offering a corrective to earlier comments on OB Occupier/OB Globe. The Boston Occupier made an announcement that people asked bunches of Qs about. They did not make a proposal. This is corroborated by my notes and by Matt Hacker's notes.

Eli: I started to get involved with Boston Occupier. Thinks that on September 30, when the media group was starting to form: We should create this newspaper... The people really into the idea bubbled off from the group, and continued to be very involved in what whas going on in OB iteself. They were no more or less involved in OB than anyone else was, I think.

Greg: Can accept Liam's thought that it's a Spaces WG announcement (to make at GA).

Eli: Extent of annoucements from Spaces WG has happened at every GA over last 2 weeks - that we are working on indoor space; not specifically that an affinity group is apparently forming.

Greg: Doesn't think there was clarity from last week's Spaces WG that the affinity group for Collective would be it's one piece (not that OB would be another piece).

Monica: Today has given us a great opportunity to clarify that Collective affinity group would be autonomous from OB GA.

Eli: We should make a listserve announcement about this, and that Space WG should make an announcement at GA as well.

Greg: Will craft email to the Spaces WG listserve.

Ravi: Will craft and announce what's going on with affinity group at GA (next Tuesday) - might be Greg or Ravi.