End Spending Freeze

This proposal is to do simply this: end the spending freeze.

For reference, the Spending Freeze was passed at the General Assembly on 1/14/12, brought forward by Jason Amahdi and consented to by a group of 50 or so Occupiers at the end of the GA. Here is its original text:

Proposal:

Freeze all future spending from the OWS general fund till we get anotherencampment.
This does not include the fund set aside for bail.

Possible friendly amendments:

one month freeze period to understand what we want to do with money
spending freeze till we create a comprehensive OWS budget, not just for
projects and working groups

Reasons why I am making this proposal:

The original intention of OWS was to create a public space for open dialog
around the crisis. My and others intention for GA was to have a space where
people could plan unified actions around solving or bringing attention to the
crisis as well as finding unity around messaging and goals for the movement.
My worry is that since the influx of donations, much of the GA’s time is spent
on proposals on how to spend the money.

OWS has never been equipped to deal with homelessness. It is true that
it was naïve to create defended occupied space to talk about economic
exploitation and not deal with the reality of homelessness, but still we were
never able and still are not able to deal with the overwhelming problem. Our
goal was simply to bring light to the situation. I believe we should advocate
for radical self-reliance over the charity model.

In my mind, the majority of the donations came in to support our occupation
of Liberty Square so we could create that space for assembly promised in
our constitution, but non-existent in New York City. As we no longer have
that space, I think it is a mistake to continue spending the funds gifted for the operations of our camp from hard working people.

Again, from my perspective, people’s movements have never succeeded
based on economic capital. People’s movements rely on social capital
and people capital. We cannot rely on economic capital if we want this
movement to be a real success. We should be able to everything we need
through in-kind donations and through volunteer energy. If we cannot do it,
then maybe we were too quick to call it a movement.

***

The proposal was accepted with friendly amendments, to allow six recurring budgetary items to still receive funding – medical expenses, housing expenses, metrocard expenses, facilitation space rental expenses, kitchen expenses, and tech expenses for electronic infrastructure (such as the NYCGA.net website). Additionally, the opportunity for the Housing and Metrocard proposals (then scheduled to lapse in two weeks) was allowed to seek new budgets, which occurred at the Spokes Council over the following two weeks, and a financial assembly was called for to get our finances in order.

Audio of the GA exists, and is available here, for any references: http://www.archive.org/details/Nycga1142012

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