General Assembly notes 10/13

Minutes Prepared By: Danica Humphries

New Process and Facilitation Additional Guidelines

1. Be sure to consider your proposal before coming before the General Assembly. Many ideas can be worked through on your own or with friends!
2. There is no more hand signal for direct response. There is no C-signal for clarification, there is no more Pointer-Signal for Point of Information. Instead, if you have something to say, there is one signal: Raise Your Hand. Nothing jumps stack.
3. Blocking Procedure: When there are several people blocking, they must all meet and decide if their blocking points are the same or if they have different points. They have five minutes to decide amongst themselves on one spokesperson or a few spokespeople (if there are more than one viewpoints) to speak for them. The spokesperson or spokespeople will have 2 minutes to present. After that, there will be 3 minutes of discussion. Then the proposal will be revoted on and required to pass by a 4/5 majority.
4. Amendments and changes to proposals: Once passed, or after passing again after a block, amendments may only be introduced at the following General Assembly.

Q: Can amendments be made before the proposal goes to vote?
A: Yes. This is for proposals that have passed or have been re-passed after a block.

5. An elevated stage gives power. Stage = Too Much Power.
6. We need more people to learn the tasks of facilitation to fulfill the mandate that facilitators rotate consistently.

PROPOSALS:

Topic: Westlake and City Hall

First Proposal: Occupying Westlake and City Hall are two options and we can support both. Individually, we have autonomy to make our own decisions but we need to show solidarity with all members and where they wish to occupy.

Discussion:
1. I fully back this statement. City Hall can be a place of safety for those who don’t want to risk arrest.
2. I fully back this proposal. We all should be doing what is right in our eyes. The General Assembly should never decide what we do as individuals.

3.
Question: Yesterday, we voted for Occupy Seattle to stay at Westlake indefinitely. Individuals have the opportunity to go to City Hall. We also said that people who do not want to risk arrest at Westlake still have options not to get arrested while occupying Westlake. What is your proposal actually calling for?

Answer: The reason for this proposal is because there is division about these absolute statements. It is for reiteration that we all have a choice.

Question: To clarify, you are not trying to overturn the GA decision of yesterday?
Answer: No.

4. Point of Process: Was the decision yesterday made by the GA or by the Emergency General Assembly?
Answer: The General Assembly

5. We are individuals and the whole point of this movement is respect each other’s rights. However, it’s important for the GA to recognize at this moment it could be divisive shift in our momentum if we move to City Hall. Why should we put faith in the mayor, the establishment, and the Seattle Police Department, when they have shown their true colors? The mayor said there was no assurance that we wouldn’t be arrested there. Let’s all agree to make Saturday a roaring success.

6. This proposal talks of solidarity and about personal freedom which is what this movement talks about. Let me remind you that last night at the General Assembly we decided that Saturday we will have a mass re-occupation of Westlake. Let me remind you that the mayor may say we are “safe at City Hall” but the County Jail is just 2 blocks away. The SWAT is just 1 block away.

7. The General Assembly can never mandate individual actions. What’s really at stake is resources. Where will legal and medical be? Where will our clothes and blankets and supplies be? Where is media going to be? It’s a lot riskier to stay here at Westlake, but we are putting them in danger and undermining the occupation of Westlake and also undermining the mass re-occupation of Westlake if we leave. We should be here. This is our main occupation, individuals can go over to City Hall.

8.
Q: Let me ask you this question. Has any other city occupied more than one place?
A: (from the crowd) Yes!

9. Individuals have the choice and the support of everyone if they choose to stay at Westlake. We have a permit for Food and Medical to stay here so that is not an issue.

10. This movement is enduring but winter is coming. I am too old to sleep on wet concrete. If we stay here we exclude people like me. Also, occupying City Hall, we can set up a tent and stay in solidarity with all of you.

11. We agreed on 2 proposals last night. The first is virtually identical to this new proposal, the question is now of resources. We should vote that we amend the proposal to explicitly state where the resources stand. Our movement is too small to hold multiple locations. Other places have group many times larger. But our goal is to build a mass reoccupation with tents at Westlake on Saturday.

12. I understand concern that yesterday we agreed to stay here. Everyone has been informed that we are staying here indefinitely. If we move everyone, it shows that we are not serious and not ready or prepared for winter.

Clarification: What has been added and emphasized is the need for solidarity, we should vote for this language to be added on.

Amendment to the Proposal:
Occupying Westlake and City Hall are two options and we as a movement can support both.

MOTION: PROPOSAL PASSED

-Emergency Announcement-
Over the past days we’ve had many problems with hypothermia. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to treat people with these issues. We should make sure we have some medical members at both locations.

Second Proposal:

Topic: Hearing from the Occupiers during General Assembly

Idea: The Process and Facilitation group would like to propose that each GA have a designated time to hearing from those who are here occupying 24/7/ the overnighters. Many people are feeling unheard. It will function as an informative speak-out.

Proposal: We take 20 minutes at the beginning of each GA to hear from the overnight occupiers about what they need, and what their objections are, etc.

Discussion:

Question: It’s a good idea. I want to make sure we are really careful about time. Will the time be strictly enforced?
Answer: We are all timekeepers. They will have 20 minutes.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENDS

Due to police presence and possible confrontation with fellow occupiers, who were erecting a structure, the GA left to attend to the situation at hand.

After the situation resolved, further discussion followed about issues of progressive stack, race, and the need for a stronger community that respects and listens. Much emphasis was placed upon taking personal responsibility to make sure each person is hearing all voices and not excluding others based on age, gender, race, etc. There have been problems in many Occupied cities where the needs and concerns of people of color, the elderly and the young, women, and LGBTQ have not been addressed. Repeatedly the discussion stated that Occupy Seattle needs to be all inclusive, that each person should stand in solidarity, and that we all must figure out ways to address these issues and help each other.

2 Responses to General Assembly notes 10/13

  • jessemulert says:

    Does proposal 1 serve a purpose?

    The original: Occupying Westlake and City Hall are two options and we can support both. Individually, we have autonomy to make our own decisions but we need to show solidarity with all members and where they wish to occupy.
    The amendment: Occupying Westlake and City Hall are two options and we can support both.

    So is the amendment simply to remove the second sentence?

    If so, again, what purpose does this serve? No actual process or action is being described, no stance which advances a discussion is being taken. I can only read this two ways, either saying “Divisiveness caused by lack of consensus on this issue doesn’t need to exist, these don’t need to be mutually exclusive”, or “We choose to ignore that this issue is divisive, for now we will have our cake and eat it, too.” In each case, this seems to boil down to little more than a non-committal moralle booster. This is basically what “solidarity” has come to mean lately. Furthermore, no one seems interested in actually determining the truth value of the statement “we can occupy both”. We can barely occupy one, just imagine the difficulties which will arise from splitting resources, communications, population size, etc.

    So to sum it all up, (1) I’m concerned that we are passing meaningless proposals which just further entrench our lack of momentum, and (2) I’m concerned that these statements may be creating a non-existant truth we want desperately to believe in, setting ourselves up for difficult reality check.

    • gilbazoid says:

      I agree. I think the proposals regarding location need to be more concrete and specific so we don’t (a) waste time waffling about on the issues and (b) the discussion doesn’t keep getting de-railed into a free for all.

      For instance, voting to show solidarity is vague and logistically meaningless. On the other hand, voting about where supply, food and medical will be located is a concrete decision.