General Assembly notes 10/21

Occupy Seattle General Assembly

  • Date/time: 2011-10-21 18:35
  • Location: Westlake Park
  • Minutes taken by: Phil Mocek
  • Audio archive: (available following day) http://www.archive.org/details/OccupySeattleGeneralAssembly2011-10-21

Facilitation Team

  • Facilitator: Michael, then Jake
  • Time keeper: Mike
  • Taking stack: Angie
  • Agenda: Russ

Campers

  • Shane
    • spent the night (kind of; left at 6:30 a.m.)
    • at about 2:30 – 3:15 the police turned off their lights
      • about 10pm nightly, they turn on lights to keep us awake
      • Reason? Maybe we won, maybe they got tired.
    • Other camper asked him to relay:
      • We have limited supplies
      • Getting outside donations, but depending mostly on generosity of the many
      • Some people are unclear about supply tent policies
        • Would be good for supply people to make it more clear what supplies are there for.
        • Some have opinion that they're kept there for an elite.
  • Rob
    • Returned this afternoon from Occupy Olympia
    • They're on fifth day
    • Happy to be back
  • Scott
    • Check
  • ? (wants to remain anonymous)
    • Here on behalf of humanity
    • Heard that Occupy Wall Street wants us to embrace some new world order
    • We're here to fight against totalitarian entity hell-bent on enslaving humanity
  • Danny
    • Lost his voice last night
    • Fourth night sleeping outside in cold without a blanket on the pavement
    • Has pneumonia, is very weak, feels sick
    • Is staying.
  • ?
    • Spent night in jail
    • Happy to do so because she was not afraid, and was able to clog up the system
    • Staying tonight, invites others to join
  • ?
    • Forming a non-movement caucus to discuss what an occupation is and how we can build a movement
  • ?
    • Just got out of the hospital for pneumonia and bronchitis
    • All need to stick together
  • ?
    • Originally came here with no idea what this was
    • Though some ideas seem extreme, agrees with general message, supports what's happening here
  • ?
    • Can we get funds for projects (e.g., outreach with fliers)
      • response: Outreach are working on flyers; will present for approval
  • Monica
    • First time here, but has been following on Internet
    • Brought food, blankets, socks, gloves, water, and encouragement

Working group announcements

  • time: 19:00

Steering Committee

  • Russ
    • came up with agenda; if you're not on it and wanted to be, understand that we have a very full agenda

Outreach Working Group

  • Andy
    • Sunday: Ballard Farmers Market
    • cafe meet and greet Fuel Coffee
    • need info re: connection between money and political system
      • send to OccupySeattleORD@gmail.com

Legal Working Group

  • Braydon
    • Have two options with regard to getting a bank account
      • Create Occupy Seattle entity
        • many sub-options here
      • Associate with existing organization
        • Occupy Wall Street did this
    • Legal is researching these options, will confer with lawyers, come back with proposal in three or four days

Tactical Working Group

  • Peter
    • Tactical, Outreach, Legal, Supply and others have rigorously explored and researched alternate locations to expand our occupancy
      • include privately-owned public locations, city-owned, and privately-owned community organizations
      • Please go speak to them if you have input

Morale Working Group

  • Mina
    • starting new group
    • dedicated to raising positivity and making people happy
    • will organize fun activities, work with other groups such as Information and Outreach
    • meet Saturday around noon outside of See's Candy
      • needs people with lots of energy and positivity who are dedicated
      • wearing stars

Supply and Storage

  • Alyssa
    • still has our money
    • have hot water in Westlake: 155 degrees
      • need marine batteries
        • ICT needs them also

Medical Working Group

  • Alyssa
    • workshops on Saturday and Sunday to keep us happy and healthy; see website for schedule

Media Working Group

  • Mark
    • Was reporter before he joined the occupation
    • May lose his job
      • Producer for NPR has already been fired for that reason
    • So far, occupation in Seattle has been very effective, non-violent, movement for change
    • Have had struggles with Mayor and Police Department, but should keep in mind that in the larger picture, small struggles within our group and with the authorities are small potatoes compared to suffering of other people on the planet.
      • We're here for people everywhere who are suffering everywhere
    • We've successfully occupied Westlake Park
    • Need to build numbers to build and be powerful

Peace and Safety Working Group

  • ?
    • Decision a few nights ago to cut off all police involvement has changed the game
    • Encourages people to respect decision. Please don't talk to cops, yell at them, work with them. Any is danger to our safety.
      • Puts large responsibility on Peace and Safety
      • Needs people to stay here or at City Hall Plaza for hours
    • Meeting tonight at Peace Tree (third tree from Pine Street)
    • Last night's meeting was cancelled.

People of Color Caucus

  • Maria
    • Not extremists, not here to separate the movement
    • This Saturday, rally at noon, march and rally at 2pm
    • Don't blame people at third and Pike for problems
    • Need to figure out how to include all communities

?

  • Nathan
    • heads Peace and Security at City Hall Plaza
    • Don't have work groups there because leaders here don't want duplicate groups
    • Lots of people
    • Seeks contact from Work group leaders 206-876-0067, OccupySeattleAtCityHall@gmail.com

?

  • Michal Dare
    • from City Hall Plaza
    • Now sleeping there
    • had become primary facilitator there
    • If you want good nights sleep with restrooms, running water, dozens of electrical outlets, police-free environment, place to leave your stuff and find it when you return, and no bongos, join him, then come back here.

Internet Communications Working Group

  • Stian
    • Have had a few problems with main website because main webmaster is hard to reach
    • Have set up support site at OccupyWA.org
      • Does not mean we're getting rid of OccupySeattle.org
    • Until things are set up:
      • If you have calendar event, send to OccupySeattleICT@gmail.com
        • In the subject, put "calendar item"
        • In body:
          • Event title
          • Location
          • Exact date and time
          • Details
    • Also working on mailing lists and email addresses
      • e.g., media@occupyseattle.org
      • Once we get this rolling, let us know and they'll help consolidate

Theatrical Working Group

  • Adam
    • 10pm tonight is first presentation, as soon as cop lights come on
    • also have 18×20" canvas board for hand puppets
    • have king size white sheet for full body improvisation
    • Anyone who wants to perform or watch, please do

Sanitation Working Group

  • Andrew
    • When you make a sign with paint, please wait for it to dry and keep it out of the rain
    • If you write on the ground, use chalk
    • Anyone thinking about or investigating places to relocate, please keep sanitation in mind
    • In Oakland, they picked a park with existing rat problem
    • Needs volunteers badly

Process and Facilitation Working Group

  • Jacob
    • Considering reducing the number of decision-making GA's, working on proposals
      • please provide input
    • Reminder: we voted last night to suspend proposals at tomorrow's GA to accommodate discussion: "Night of 1000 Actions"
    • can reach at ProcessAndFacilitation@gmail.com
      • all documents are at http://forum.occupyseattle.org
    • Meet daily, 4:30pm near Romax on east side of park

Food Working Group

  • Ginger
    • working on things to make food better
    • visited by Health Dept, who had good suggestions about serving us better
      • want to comply
        • in the interest of avoiding making people sick
    • needs help finding community and commercial licensed kitchens
      • don't suggest them, organize them
    • email OSFoodGroup@gmail.com
    • see http://forum.occupyseattle.org for more information
    • needs people to help with logistics
    • Wants to start campaign for restaurants who want to put up banners that say they support Occupy Seattle
      • could receive donations, then feed us on-site
    • Also wants help with outreach, organizing flash picnics
      • You and friends make lots of food, come down here, get to know people you haven't previously met

Arts and Entertainment Working Group

  • Organizing Occupy Halloween
    • hello corporate zombies, blood sucking bankers, sweatshop stiffs
    • Halloween weekend, Saturday from noon until 10pm
      • family-friendly costume extravaganza
      • costume competitions from noon until 6pm for children of all ages
    • Need food and musical acts

Sustainability Brigade Working Group

  • ?
    • if you have reusable cup, utensils, bowls, please bring
    • please reuse disposable items
    • nightly at 9pm, sort garbage, recycling, compost
    • would like to have bicycle generator

?

  • Jess from We are Change Seattle
    • concerning police brutality march tomorrow
      • have reason to believe good possibility that there will be agents inserted, intending to make violence and sideline
    • He and friend will document the march to ensure no violence is committed by agents who are not part of the protest
    • Keep eyes peeled for anything out-of-the-ordinary
    • Will not be silenced by those who attempt to make protest violent

Logistics Working Group

  • Doc
    • We're really tired because we've been working so hard
    • Needs help during the march tomorrow
    • We are setting global precedent
    • Needs help in Logistics because they will help keep march peaceful
    • Have contingency plans
      • When violent act starts, peaceful people will sit down, point, and say, "we're not a part of that; we're a peaceful group"
    • If you liked the march last Saturday, please help him soon

Outreach Working Group

  • Jamie
    • Today was free t-shirt day
    • have cool stencil
    • Bring shirts to Outreach at 4pm

Media

  • Aliana
    • November 2: CEO of Chase will be speaking at Sheraton
    • will relay information tomorrow and every day after
    • should have presence that day at Sheraton

Proposals

  • proposal: Have a facilitated assembly during the day for general discussion of topics for which minutes will be kept.
    • presenter: Jacob
    • source: Process and Facilitation
    • rationale: There are many people who wish to participate but cannot attend general assembly. They would like their voices heard. We would like to give them a space. When you walk by Westlake on days other than Saturday, we'd like people to see this going on, and wonder, "What is this? How can we be part?"
    • vote
      • time: 19:48
      • proposal passes
  • proposal: Open a club account — not a business account — at BECU tomorrow using federal tax ID Corey registered for Occupy Seattle today (unincorporated political association for banking purposes only).
    • restated: Open a club account with BECU as an unincorporated political association.
    • presenter: Corey
    • source: Corey
    • rationale: Will allow us to keep track of our money. Would have no bearing on our status as a legal entity. Registration for tax ID has not bearing on our future ability to incorporate as any other type of organization.
    • discussion:
      • Who will manage?
        • Corey: Not him, since he proposed it.
      • Since we decided not to work with police, what will happen if someone becomes signatory to the account and steals from us?
        • presenter: Think very hard about whom to nominate as signatories.
      • This is a much bigger conversation than we can have in one night. Despite the urgency to open an account. There are more creative ways to sustain the movement for the next week then to rush a decision that would have huge consequences on the whole Occupy Seattle movement. Finances are typically divisive. Spent a week at Occupy New York. Knows intimately how they're dealing with these issues, and it's difficult. Owe it to ourselves to have the integrity for due process.
        • presenter: Proposal would not require immediate relocation of our funds. Would not require immediate choice of who has access to the account, only put in place GA's approval of opening the account. Would allow us to establish Paypal account and accept funds, and to deposit checks in an emergency.
          • Still need process to figure out how to use them.
            • presenter: Would not be used until processes are voted on.
      • Is there a way to have the account only accessible when multiple people are at the bank? Like the "blow up the world" button?
        • presenter: Don't know. Good idea. Supports it.
        • If you're banking at BECU, can only take out money in person at Tukwilla or Everett. Other places, can only do it with ATM Card. BECU down the street does not have cash on hand.
      • Check references of people. Consider other credit unions.
        • presenter: Chose them because they've given us $25 for every person who divested their account and opened with them.
      • Money is power. Unaccounted-for money has caused many of the advertising concerns that plague our political system. We need to have those processes in place before we begin accepting donations from Paypal.
        • presenter: Will only be able to accept Paypal donations about three to four business days after the account opens. Can have our system in place before that's ready.
      • Is a tax auditor at Dept of Revenue, has BA in accounting. We need separation of duties. Person who does bookkeeping cannot have signing authority. Person who makes deposits will not be bookkeeper. Separate it so nobody can steal money. Need someone to audit the accounts monthly to ensure books jibe with bank accounts. That person should not be the bookkeeper. Is willing to audit the books if people want him to.
        • presenter: Auditor should audit weekly to keep tighter reigns.
      • Stian: Has been here since day one. We've had this discussion before. It doesn't go anywhere because we keep tabling it. We need to move forward. Let's not table it again.
      • Russ: We have a system in place for people to get involved. Legal has taken on Finance. If you're concerned, join.
        • presenter: Legal has not taken on finance, it keeps coming to us because we have no process. Let's do something soon to avoid questions of where the money is.
      • Before we have Paypal account, should think about Mastercard and Visa, whether we should do business with them. Should have discussion about whom to bank with.
        • presenter: Most people here do business with big businesses (mobile phone, credit card, etc.) Although we may be supporting a big business like Paypal, it helps us more to use them than it helps them to have us.
      • Jacob: Need to understand what the current system is like. It's a few people and a lock box. This is more concerning than a credit union. It sounds like we have at least one person who is willing to start financial workgroup to provide oversight and assuage our concerns.
      • Are we going to get physical copies of an auditor's report? How will he know what's going on with donated money?
        • presenter: Suggests auditor hand out physical reports, though printing too much paper is a concern. Suggests daily update on current balance of account.
      • Suggestion: In response to signatures and since withdrawals can only happen two places. Each person could "own" one digit of the PIN.
      • Braydon at Legal: Warns everyone who would be signatory that they could have personal liability for any lawsuit filed against the protest.
    • vote
      • time: 20:18
      • block
        • This is a can of worms that cannot be voted on in a general assembly like this. It is counter to the process of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Appropriate process is to form a Finance Working Group. They can meet quickly and bring proposal to the GA. Should be considered for more than a moment. Trajectory: Four days. It is reasonable to do this. Need to respect the process that is world-wide and not being reflected authentically here in Seattle. This is something everyone needs to feel good about, because what we represent is a new way to feel good about commerce, and we can do that.
        • discussion:
          • Issue that we have not thought this through might be misrepresented by only attending this conversation. Issue that we have not had process is misrepresented. How they do it in New York is irrelevant. We have proposal that was brought forward by a person. If we had a WG, it would come to us from a different person. It's well-thought, well-argued. Let's move.
          • We are non-hierarchical, and are in no way bound by what people in New York do.
          • Alyssa, Supply: Man who spoke earlier is more right than he knows. Has been in many of those discussions because Supply needs to buy stuff. Has been lots of discuss in Legal and Fundraising. Need to do something now. Can change it later.
          • From New York. Has friends at Ducatti Park. Doesn't care what they do there. This is ad-hoc. If it doesn't work, we can change it. If someone steals the money, I feel bad for them and the ditch they find themselves in.
        • vote
          • time: 20:28
          • count: 106 fore, 1 against
          • block overturned, proposal passes
  • proposal: Write a musical with trust that Theatrical will be true to the movement. They will take testimony from all groups, request artistic license to be drafter in next two weeks, edited the week thereafter, then performed by collective.
    • proposer: Shane
    • source: Theatrical
    • vote:
      • time: 20:33
  • proposal: Repeal the cop-free zone proposal that was passed on October 19.
    • rationale: states no police interaction, will be cop-free zone to best of our abilities. As man of color, favors sentiment. If police presence is deal breaker, then invites new, more specific proposal. Language can be easily heard as anti-cop. When someone hears that we do not talk to cops and we are cop-free-zone, will hear "anti-cop". If we're viewed as anti-cop, will not get support, but will lose it. Need more numbers. People are cold and tired. Need more people. Language is too vague, is dangerous. When you see a school teacher talking to a cop during. Encourages proposer to re-submit proposal with more specific language that will not be dangerously interpreted to go against principles of movement.
    • point of process: Proposal was made, much came from proposer, need to hear from general population. Respect the stack.
    • discussion:
      • Aliana, Media: Been here since day one. Upon passage of proposal, entire media committee struggled to understand the wording. Spent all day yesterday and last night trying to put a positive spin on that decision that was approved by supermajority. Believes as an individual that the proposal passed by supermajority and should not be voted on. Media WG came up with positive spin on wording, so if they're asked, they have several great responses.
      • Maria, member of PoC Caucus: It would be detrimental to re-vote on something that took us hours. Should move forward with finding way to achieve accountability internally. Police have harassed us, taken away her supplies, harassed her. Should not re-vote on issues supermajority has decided on.
      • Agrees with Maria's sentiment, but we don't have procedure for that. We've allowed people to make proposals that contradict previous ones.
      • Proposal the proposer read simply stated that to the best of our ability we would make Occupy Seattle a cop-free zone. Other statements about not talking to the cops came from proposer as being part of discussion. The proposer made point that to expand our numbers, we need to reverse the supermajority decision. If we are to expand our numbers and our cultural significance, we must embrace the interests of people of color
      • Police department here is still under investigation by the federal government. For those of you who are into the law and order thing, consider that we're awaiting a verdict.
      • Many people of color are not represented all across the country because they are institutionalized in jail. Tomorrow, we're marching against police brutality. Before the day we do this, we're going to repeal the no-police zone? People of color, still underrepresented in this movement, will not come if you're shaking hands with someone wearing a badge. In San Diego, PoC people walked out. He's in communication with them.
      • Russ: Apologizes for speaking out of turn earlier. Every person here, by his estimation, represents between 10 and 60 people. Some of them are online. They communicate with him and other people in the working groups. What they're hearing: why pass proposal we can't enforce? We are independent. Why have policy telling us what we can and cannot do? Makes us look like fools. With due to respect to people of color, who have real issues with persons of authority, please come up with proposal that is not dividing the group.
      • Supports the proposal from the PoC Caucus. Supports autonomy. Thinks proposal was to come up with basic underlying structures for our behavior. That's as yet undefined. Feels fear from people coming out as attempts to control. Should instead try to understand each other and respect each other's autonomy.
      • Thinks that we should consider the other proposal that passed with majority, under anti-oppression and accountability that says we won't call cops unless we're in imminent danger. Instead of revoking the previous proposal, let's have a group XXX
      • Not a moderate, but in this case, is. Has been here a couple weekends. Not an anarchist, not a socialist. Wants to keep in solidarity with everyone: grandparents, parents, people of colors, while people who have been here since the 1600s. Likes cops. They don't make him afraid. In the interest of safety, best way to interact with them is, "Yes, officer," "No, officer," or "I would like to speak with a lawyer before I talk to you." This is not radical or socialist. It is in the Constitution. A cop-free zone is a bad messaging issue.
      • Not interested in alienating the same police force who have kicked and beaten people here. More interested in addressing all the bad things police have done to people. If there's a grandmother in Lake Forest Park, but only if those kids will settle down, I don't care bout here.
      • Since coming here, has learned much from anarchist friends, learned to respect the idea of autonomy. Proposal bothered him because it read like legislation. Troubled by question of where to go from here. We don't have a judicial system. Don't have police. Favors this proposal, at least until we come up with better wording.
      • Hearing this argument day in and day out is annoying. Stands in complete solidarity with the People of Color Caucus. People need to open their minds. Some people have been able to say, "yes officer, no officer, I want to talk to my lawyer," but he has not. The people are not the badge. Stand against the badge. When they tear the badge off, he'll stand with them. Until then, doesn't want to hear this discussion any more. Wants to hear discussion about community. Cannot build that here when we have GA's with people coming in randomly, not living in the communal group, not learning from the group they've been so separated from.
    • vote
      • time: 21:10
      • motion fails

Announcements

  • time: 21:13
  • Alvina: The war in Iraq will be ending in December. President Obama said all troops will be pulling out. Doesn't know specifics, but looks good.
  • Maria: Tomorrow is day of solidarity. Many people will be joining us. Hip Hop Occupies will join us from 12:00 – 12:30
  • Erin: Has been on livestream a lot. Are people there who are very vested in this movement. Have begun how to build unity, particularly after last night's GA. One idea is to have a potluck, people bring something they're proud of.
  • Tomorrow, someone from Occupy Portland will be here from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., wants to talk with us, share ideas. Joanna is coordinating.
  • If anyone would like to meet after GA to discus how to establish system of checks and balances and keep an eye on our bank account, join him after GA.
  • Reminder: Need people to join Peace and Safety. Meet at Peace Tree after GA.
  • Police were created to enslave people who were trying to escape slavery.
  • Idea: This square is called Westlake. Westlake is a mall. Let's rename our park like they did in New York.
  • Just heard that war in Iraq is ending. We still have troops in Afghanistan; numbers have tripled since Obama took office. Is part of Iraq Veterans against the War. Please sign their pledge tomorrow.
  • Occupy Portland supports what is happening here, thanks us.
  • Was standing at south end of park when a proposal came up about how to interact with police. Coincidentally, fellow dressed a lot like him, but looked newer started mumbling to himself about the police. Walked over to talk to him, and when approached, pushed over and shouted racist slurs. Other people came, then the guy ran right into a group of police who heroically saved the day. Clear provocation, but we were not disrupted. The Stranger published letter today. People were passing things about negative attitude toward the police. Idea is that we're being manipulated. Tell everybody on livestream, everybody on the chat, on the forums, to get down here and check it out. Is this manipulation, or direct democracy? If they want to be heard, we're waiting for them.
  • Latest polls by corporate pollsters show majority of Americans support this movement. Support approaching 70%. Tea Party has 60% support for major demands. Within last 48 hours, Bank of America and Chase, who control 70 billion in investments have moved all those accounts into bank accounts supported by the FDIC. If they go bankrupt, the American taxpayers will be completely wiped out, because the FDIC only insures up to $250,000 per account. This is the way they shift their private bankruptcy to the public. Protester here last night filed complaint with police for selective enforcement of rules in the park. During the summer, hundreds of people lay out blankets in the park.
  • Lots of weekend warriors here. Please stay here overnight. Woman who wasn't doing anything wrong was carried off and nobody was there to record it.
  • Selective enforcement happened today, too. At 11:30, Sierra Club gave presentation, a good one. President of Sierra Club was given award recently. Parks Dept rep walked to MC, who had bullhorn, and asked if there was a permit. There was not. Parks said, okay, this time.
  • Exploitation is when a few deny the majority the right to be human.
  • We'll have discussion about whether to move. Consider that Seattle Central Community College is just eight blocks up the street. Last night, a woman was arrested here for sitting on a sleeping pad. We shouldn't stand for this. We need a buffer from police and city. College campus would be good, and SCCC is the best one for us. Lots of support there. Could spend this week building larger base of support. Idea is to have rally on Friday of students, faculty, and staff, then have tent raising ceremony, declare their campus occupied. We'll go up there to support, then Saturday, we take our tents up there and join them, have a speakout and a celebration. Build this movement with a safe location, and make this political again, instead of just basic survival. Occupy banks, corporate offices, union busting businesses. Carry out direct actions all over town. Scare city establishment. Send message to Wall Street.
  • Tonight around 6pm, watched someone get arrested for using chalk on the ground. Most ridiculous thing he's seen. Has seen police and city use increasingly stupid tactics over past few weeks. Through all that time, all the bad weather, we're still here, and he's proud of it. Congratulations to all of us.
  • If we have base camp at SCCC, would have to be at lawn and grassy area. Brick area is devoted to Sunday Farmers Market.

Adjourned 21:30

One Response to General Assembly notes 10/21

  • Laura H. says:

    “10pm tonight is first presentation, as soon as cop lights come on” That’s great! Your creativity just made my day!