Community Assembly, 7/7/2012

Occupy Wall Street Assembly, Saturday July 7, 2012

Location: Liberty Park
Facilitators: Lisa, Dan
Minutes: Mischa

•    Upcoming Actions
•    Working Group Reports
•    New Faces and Places to Spend the Night
•    September 17th
•    Values-Based Consensus
•    Accounting
•    Points for GA Next Week

•    Upcoming Actions

See also:
Sunday July 8, 11 A.M. – 7 P.M.: Occupy Town Square Bushwick, Maria Hernandez Park. There will be teach-ins, discussions and the opportunity to relate more to the communities of the city. The event will be mostly bilingual because of the large Latino community in Bushwick.
Sunday July 8, 12 A.M.: Demonstration against Mitt Romney fund raisers. There will be a barbeque in the Hamptons, for which free buses leave from Union Square at noon. There was a registration, but it is still possible to just show up.
Every Monday 9 A.M and Friday 3.30 P.M.: Weekly Marches on Wall Street. Monday morning bell and Friday afternoon closing, starting this Monday and Friday.
Daily, 11 A.M. – 7 P.M., Occupy Union Square, at the Ghandi statue:  There will be a daily Occupation of Union Square, trying to get the community involved in conversations. The park is open between eleven and seven, and there will be many things going on during this time.

•    Working Groups
People from different working groups are present: Politics and Electoral Reform, Voters Occupy, Facilitation, Liberty Square, Restore the Justice, and Visions and Goals. Occupy Faith and Occupy Catholics are also present.
Restore the Justice has been working with consensus-based decision making since the 60s, see or see them on Google Groups.

•    New Faces and Places to Spend the Night
There are several new faces at the GA, from Occupy El Paso, Oackland, San Francisco, and the Netherlands. Some of them will be in NY for a longer time.
Some of them are looking for a place to sleep, or at least to drop their bag. This brings up the more general issue of places to sleep for Occupiers. Some people quit their job to work for Occupy. You need full-time Occupiers to do the work, and there should be some way to finance them. There were several people who walked away from OWS because of their finances, which is a shame. Naturally, we are not a homeless shelter, but some people do a lot for the movement and deserve support. We do not want to be like the 1% with the money we have.
There are 40 spaces available in Brooklyn through Occupy Catholics, it is possible to contact them or Lisa. If the accounting can be arranged better (see point 6) we could do much more for our homeless members. If Occupiers need a place to sleep they can say so in the GA’s, and everybody there will try to do what they can.

•    September 17th
September 17th is our anniversary, and should be a date to work towards in many of our actions in the next two months. On Twitter a lot is already being said about this day being an Occupy Wall Street event. We exchanged many ideas for actions and manifestations on this day. Three important points found general agreement in the GA:
•    Our actions on September 17th should be about and around the banks and financial institutions.
•    It is very important to start communicating well between the different working- and facilitative groups in the coming months, to ensure as much cooperation as possible. There are already several groups (thinking about) organizing events on this day.
•    September 17th cannot come out of nowhere. We need to organize series of actions leading up to and climaxing on this date.
Some more concrete ideas were proposed, that can be further discussed in the next meetings. Many of these can already be done in smaller forms on earlier dates, with a big climax on September 17th:
•    Taking Liberty Park back
•    Organize a symposium, with speakers like Noam Chomsky
•    Having bank costumes, to ‘Chase the Bank’
•    Incorporate the four presidents that got assassinated because they wanted to change the financial system: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy.
•    Incorporate the anniversary of the Constitution
•    Aim at Citizens United
•    Aiming more at the proletariat than at the banks: empowering communities. Put pressure on legislation by going to the communities: things can change with the elections. Try not to scare people, but to expand to give a sign for the elections: ‘beware of the social movement we are creating’.
•    Red Monday culminates on September 17th: town criers at every financial institution, to tell the protesters what this bank has down. Demonstrations in front of mid-town banks and Time Square and confront customers: try to make the banks lose their customers.

Occupy’s from many places will be involved. Affinity groups can raise funds, and should have as much place in the events as working groups. In the next meetings we have to discuss what will be our message for September 17th, together with all these other groups.
The People’s Picket will be a large event on September 17th, hoping to mobilize thousands of protesters. See:
See also they want to send out a message and make a collective sound: “People Before Profit” . T-shirts can be bought at this website.

•    Values-Based Consensus
Many people present feel that the idea of values-based consensus fits very well with what we do, and would help to improve our GAs and decision-making process. In the GA next week  it will be decided whether values based consensus will be officially used for our decision making process. Reach out to as many people as possible to be present for this decision!
During this GA there will be some education about values based consensus by its affinity group. It is recommended that everybody read C.T. Lawrence Butler’s On Conflict and Consensus, which should be an easy read but would still be of great help as a guideline for us. Many feel that we should adopt this scheme, to get rid of the frequent voting procedure and practice consensus for real. The GA earlier adapted values based consensus in April, but it was not worked out or used further.
See also:

•    Accounting
Our accounting must be straightened out, there have been many problems before and money has been lost. We could house all the homeless members of our movement if this money can be retrieved or better organized in the future (see point three on places to spend the night).
A working group is made for accounting. They will try to retrieve what was lost but it will be difficult to find the people who signed the checks. They will report on their first activities in the GA next week.

•    Points for GA Next Week

•    Decide on whether we are going to adopt values based consensus
•    A report on accounting
•    Further crystallize our plans for September 17th

Thanks GA, and everyone try to get as many people present at the General Assembly next week for these important decisions and points of discussion!

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