General Assembly notes 10/24

Occupy Seattle General Assembly

  • Date/time: 2011-10-24 18:43
  • Location: Westlake Park
  • Minutes taken by: Phil Mocek
  • Audio archive: http://www.archive.org/details/OccupySeattleGeneralAssembly2011-10-24

Facilitation Team

  • Process mover: Allana
  • Taking stack: Kristin and Michael
  • Time keeper: Gabriel
  • Agenda keeper: Carol

Guest Speaker

  • Jesse from Occupy Wall Street
    • When you are confronted by the media or police, be mindful that you are a representative of each of your brothers and sisters. Have their best intentions in the back of your mind. Some feel righteous anger because they’ve been wronged. But the way we win is through peace. Powers that oppose us expect violence. They are only prepared for violence, and have no clue how to deal with a peaceful occupation. They call this a class war. You and I know we’re losing this war. We need to fight back with peace in our hearts and love and compassion. Advice: Act with peace in your heart and police your own so police have no reason to be involved. If you see violence, sexism, etc., be an objector. If you see something wrong, step forward, arms out. If people violate our principles, they should not be allowed to participate. This is a peaceful occupation of a public space. This is our space, and we’re taking it back — peacefully. Please share with everyone, at work, and place of worship, place of commerce, place of power, that this is a peaceful occupation by the people, representing the people whether they’re in New York, Boston, Wisconsin, or Seattle. We come to you in peace. We come to you in love. We invite you to join us.

Camper Check-in

  • Maria
    • Has done food and stuff since day one. Has noticed that when she tries to have food for other occupiers over night, things turned up missing or were blatantly stolen in front of her face. Needs more security, more eyes. Please help.
    • Needs more eyes on things. Is sick and tired of watching Parks Dept taking piles of donations away before people can use them. So, of you plan on staying over, please utilize every donation you can so she doesn’t have to explain to Parks staff that piles of things are hers.
  • Lana
    • Would like a space to talk to other campers that is a little quieter than GA. If you’re staying over night and want to compare notes, let’s talk. Seattle’s best after GA.
  • Danny
    • Was camping here for five days last week. Contracted bronchitus, had to take two-day vacation. Fortunately, is still here. Will remain here until Occupy Seattle and Occupy Wall Street have their demands met. Join us. Understands if you can’t make it all the time, but at least show up once, in the name of solidarity. The cough drops are awesome.
  • ?
    • Has been cold. Was not here last night because he saw that it was 38 degrees last night. Bundle up or you’ll get hypothermia.
  • ?
    • Thanks everyone for coming. Hopes everyone goes back to homes and communities and does as much outreach as possible.
  • ?
    • Some of her friends were here, drove three hours. Were kicked by someone here. Was completely uncalled for and doesn’t want to see it again.

Working group announcements

  • time: 19:08

Tactical Working Group

  • Zach
    • WG has been working hard on short- and long-term options for expansion of occupation. Will bring proposal regarding best short-term options to Wednesday’s GA.
      • Please join them if you have ideas to contribute
      • Meet 3pm, 9pm, and Westlake food court

Demands Working Group

  • Emily
    • WG is working on proposal for demands. Justin spoke briefly about it last night.
    • Demand: City of Seattle take our money out of big banks.
    • meeting tomorrow 4pm by See’s Candy

Sanitation Committee

  • Andrew
    • Everyone doing well. Square is very clean. Clean enough to eat off of. Don’t do that.

Animal Rights and Environmentalism Working Group

    • As industries profit off exploitation of all beings, human and non-human, and the destruction of our environment
    • AR&E WG works to expose those hidden practices and offer solutions that benefit all beings and the Earth in which we all live in.
    • Meet weekly, Mondays at 5:30 near See’s Candies.
    • find contact info on website under Demands tab
      • email OSAREWG@gmail.com

Learning and Self-education Work Group

  • Jasmine
    • meeting Weds 8pm at Turf
    • want to have a way to easily communicate what teach-ins are going on, so if you plan to teach one, go to Information booth and leave a note
    • This Saturday will be day of visioning. They’ll send notices as widely as possible, will have people bring three-part drawings: What’s wrong with society, what they think could come out of occupation, and what their vision is. Then at 3pm, will go sit by pictures and start talking to people next to us, really listen, not be afraid of difficult stories, stories of oppression, discrimination, and other difficult topics.
    • email OSEnvision@gmail.com

Storage Committee

  • Alyssa
    • still has our money, please vote to to put them in the bank account
      • nearly $1000
    • will be cold tonight, so giving cold weather supplies to medical
    • phone doesn’t ring enough. If you need supplies, call. Don’t have time to run all over City Hall and Westlake.
      • 206-892-8136, 206-501-5715
    • needs
      • hand warmers
      • blankets
      • hot meals
    • thank you to Aerospace Machinist Union Lodge 571 for donation TODO: check number

Outreach Working Group

  • Andy
    • yesterday, did program at Ballard Farmers Market
      • people wanted to come down here, but want a reason, want events and things going on, not just meetings
    • meet every day at 4pm and after GA in front of Sephora
    • getting money into the bank would be good; have been paying individually for flyers
    • if you have events, get them on the calendar to give people a reason to come

Arts and Entertainment Working Group

  • Ariana
    • have events planned
      • Wednesday: have two well-known DJ’s spinning here from 6-9pm
      • if direct action is to occur, please have it while people are here. Is important to capture interest of those who wouldn’t otherwise be interested.
    • On 15th at big march, dressed up as Lady Liberty in chains. Image was on front page of Sunday paper.
    • first official meeting was today at 4pm
    • have group on Facebook, will announce events on forum

Media Working Group

  • Aliana
    • Have mission statement. It’s on the website. Encourages other WGs to have mission statement. Helps Media understand the cohesiveness of the movement.
    • Meet daily 4pm in front of See’s Candies (this includes weekends)
    • If you have an event that needs to be advertised, Media will do it for you. See her or any WG member. They wear green armbands.
    • Email address is listed on the website. Can send message about your event to that address.

Fundraising Working Group

  • Fred
    • has check for $1000, not made out to Occupy Seattle because the person who wrote it trusts him, wrote it to him.
    • Lots of people want to give money but don’t trust him so much. Need bank account so they can write checks so we can have money to help move campaign forward.
    • other needs:
      • Have benefit coming up, planning more. If familiar with organizing, publicizing musical concerts, or would like to be familiar with it, get in touch.
      • people to help sell signs
        • spoke with people at Labor Temple today. Unions are interested. Need to build contacts and make sales.

Process and Facilitation Working Group

  • Shawn
    • Have noticed, as everyone likely has, that the block is a little bit glitchy, as is the proposal process. Are working on it. Not easiest thing
    • Meet daily, 4:30pm under Romax sign
    • email ProcessAndFacilitation@gmail.com
    • will likely bring proposals tonight
      • limit number of decision-making GAs to four per week starting next week
      • proposals must be announced 24 hours in advance of GA presentation

Legal Working Group

  • Alex
    • Nobody has been arrested lately, so not worrying about defense now.
    • Next Sunday, location TBA, will meet to discuss legal offense.

Hip Hop Occupies Working Group

  • Arless
    • Have over 21 partners nationally (organizations and other occupations)
    • To get on the email list, HipHopOccupies@gmail.com
    • website http://HipHopOccupies.com

White Anti-Racist Caucus

  • Allana
    • called on to do education about language of occupation as relates to indigenous communities
    • caucus held daily 5:30pm to have conversation

Logistics Working Group

  • Doc
    • insurgencies run today (you know who you are) will never know his staff because they are sworn to secrecy
    • needs:
      • disposable mobile phones
      • people willing to be arrested

misc

  • Andrew
    • November 5 is coming up: Bank Divestment Day.
      • Should start planning now
      • He put something on the calendar for tomorrow night to start talking
        • response: Tactical is working on that.
        • response: Outreach is working on that. 4pm daily and after GA
  • Art Mitchell and Joey
    • Need help with collecting evidence and testimonies from Saturday’s arrests
    • If you were there, meet by fountain

Morale Working Group

  • Danny
    • duty is to keep spirits up
    • need activities and participants to help keep morale up
      • is convinced that this movement will succeed
      • your positive energy will help make it real
      • don’t need to be a member of Morale to help cheer us up

Proposals

  • time: 19:41
  • proposal: Begin a mass occupation at Seattle Central Community College on Saturday with tents, to prepare for it all week, and to keep occupying SCCC until we vote to do otherwise.

    • presenter: Matt and Jordan
    • background: Last night, passed by overwhelming majority, then was blocked. Will explain what happened, how has been adjusted. Will vote on the rest if the main proposal passes.
      *rationale:

      • Safety cannot be guaranteed by the law anywhere.
        • If authorities want us out, will try to get us out. It’s an occupation. Taking back public space through struggle.
      • Will be easier to defend ourselves if we can win broad public support.
      • Pressuring the Mayor is very difficult, and not working well.
      • At SCCC, with huge base of support, can put massive pressure on campus president. Flyering and campaigning is ongoing.
      • Commuter students will be more likely to participate if they can camp out on campus.
      • President has already claimed we’ll disrupt education. We know occupation is an educational experience.
      • SCCC is even more visible than Westlake.
      • Westlake dies nightly, empowering police. On Broadway, will always be visible, and will draw support from the community.
      • Many students of color and working class students will have an opportunity to join, as will LGBTQI community.
      • Not giving up on downtown. Not a retreat. GA’s still here unless voted otherwise.
      • Stop wasting time rebuilding every night, and go on the offensive.
    • sketch of action plan: Proposed schedule: 5pm march Saturday from here to Central. 6:30pm speak-out without proposals at Central. Halloween party starting at 8pm. Tent raising ceremony 8:30.
    • How to carry it out:
      • Create Occupy Seattle Central Community College committee to meet daily for everyone who wants to move. Workgroups can join and collaborate. Medical, Legal, Peace and Safety may feel overwhelmed, so propose they hold trainings later this week. Media and Internet teams would announce this tonight, call for volunteers later this week. Are not leaders, not trying to take over. Work groups are not leaders, either. If we want this occupation to last, vote for this and take lead yourselves to make this happen. Learned at Westlake.
    • discussion:
      • Sarah – Has been student at UW and eastern. If you do not have student ID and step foot on campus, can be arrested for trespassing.
        • area occupying is regarded as public space; plaza area on south end
      • Sarah – if the president of the school decides to make an example of us, could be arrested.
      • ? – If we all worry about every little thing we could get arrested for, would not have an occupation. Thinks everyone here opposes 23% tuition hikes, shutting down daycare center at SCCC, and is tired from being here all night.
      • ? – Are suggesting that entire local movement move from City Hall Plaza and from Westlake Park to move to SCCC? Part of argument being made is contingent upon massive faculty and student body support. What proof and reassurance have they that support exists?
        • First part: not part of this proposal tonight. Could be decided after we decide on this. Second part: Is student there, others are here as well. Walk-outs that happened involved largest contingent from SCCC.
      • ? – Noticed that over the past week, only thing keeping us together is a meeting. Wants community that doesn’t center on a meeting.
      • ? – Was concern raised about actual proof that we have active support at Seattle Central. As faculty member and someone who has attended since very first GA, will address. True, no written promise from students, faculty, and staff. SCCC has long, radical history of having supported radical movements. Only reason we have not yet conducted massive outreach at SCCC, is wants GA to approve. Have several students ready to hit the ground and conduct outreach at SCCC.
      • ? – Agrees that we need to do something because we’re getting murderized here. What happens if this idea of moving to place where we’re not getting murderized, we go to SCCC and face same opposition? What will happen if we get creamed there like we’re getting creamed here. No guarantee from president that he’ll support us there. We’re cold and hungry.
        • There’s no guarantee. Might face opposition. This is an occupation. It’s illegal. That’s the nature of it.
      • ? – Mentioned having discussions with Tactical and other working groups. Can we hear from Tactical and proposers about content of discussions.
        • Calling for formation of open committee. Have put word out. Wants to work with other groups.
      • ? – Best defense is to mobilize. Proved this two Saturdays ago when with our mass occupation, police had to back down. SCCC would give us large base from which to mobilize. This Saturday is decisive. Should leverage large number of people.
      • Duff – From October 1, our first Saturday here at Westlake, has been arguing passionately to stay here. Changed mind. Now supports proposal to move to SCCC. We no longer have an occupation here. Salutes those who are still camping here, but do not have enough overnighters for this occupation. Chances of occupation are greater at SCCC than here. We are occupation, illegal, guerrilla warriors. Meld into city at SCCC.
      • ? – This is hasty. We have not allowed workgroups to weigh in. People here have illogical emotional attachment to going to SCCC. Is not wed to any proposal, but wed to XXX
        • No other location has safety that buffer that is entire community we can tap into, that is not in banks, downtown shopping center. We’ll go up there and join with the people. Not hasty. If Tactical didn’t get it, haven’t been listening. All a work group is is a group that does stuff. Instead of saying this is emotional, Tactical should explain why this doesn’t meet their criteria.
      • Liam – Was one of the people who initiated walkout at SCCC. Had 300 students. Had support of teachers, students, staff. Have plans to get signatures every day this week from students, workers, teachers on campus to show support. Already have editorial in New City Collegiate. Meeting with president and student council to make case for why this is good. Will be unstoppable if we go where there’s large support. Our weakest time is during the day when students are there to support us.
      • ? – It is grass. That many people on grass will screw up the grass. Question for faculty member: Said several people ready to work with us. Please define “several”.
        • Did not say that several faculty members are ready. Said what Liam clarified about SCCC students, that they’re ready to carry this out. Re grass: plaza like this, and can use tarps and palates to protect grass.
      • ? – Student debt crisis is next mortgage crisis. Logical step is to move toward student involvement. Dream has always been alive for those of us who are students.
      • ? – Young people are always looking for a purpose. This is a great purpose, and young people are already there. We can always move if it doesn’t work out. Let’s check it out, and if it sucks, we’ll pick somewhere else.
      • ? – We should be clear, as others have said, that there are no guarantees. However, this is an extremely well-discussed, well though out, detailed plan. Idea that this is emotional or not well-planned seems to be coming from Tactical, with whom he met. Seems that they don’t have a plant, but long checklist, discussion, and lack of tactics. We have tactics. We know this will work. Need students, faculty, staff, surrounding community. Let’s have a great Halloween party.
      • ? – Stands here as rep of overnight community. Before this was in opposition to going go Central. Now supports it.
    • vote
      • time 20:22
        • blocks (2)
          • Corey, Legal – Likes lots about idea of moving. This goes against fundamental principles of this protest. As we speak in this park, we have a legal right to be here. Multiple federal courts have upheld that right against the same laws City is trying to enforce against us being here. If we move to SCCC, no matter what has been said, it is not a location we have legal right to set foot upon. Without invitation, it’s illegal. Would become an unlawful protest. Here, we are lawful protest. One of the fundamental principles of Occupy Seattle is taking part in lawful and peaceful protest. Have legal right to be here. Can continue to fight that battle. Can win that battle. Legal precedent supports this. No legal right to be on SCCC property, which is reserved for students. It’s not an open space at which we have right to speak or protest. Looking at severe consequences.
          • discussion:
            • ? – We don’t have principles, so doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If it’s legal, why are cops arresting us?
              • They’re doing it unconstitutionally. This is a public space to which we have a right. We do not have that at SCCC.
            • ? – It may be legal during the day, but is not at night. Overnight, people endure constant harassment from police regardless of Constitution.
              • Understands concerns. We have legal recourse to those police actions. Will not have legal recourse at SCCC. Has been here every night after 10pm, knows what the cops are doing.
            • ? – Block is to be used in violation of core principles against core principles of Occupy Wall Street. Brining up practical issues, not principles. Duty of work groups is to work these out before bringing to general assembly.
              • Has already explained that XXX
            • ? – Occupy Wall Street is an illegal occupation.
            • ? – Legal recourse could take years.
          • vote
            • time: 20:38
            • 108 for, 26 oppose
            • Block overridden, proposal passes
  • proposal: Action at Chase Bank noon Saturday, before they close.

    • presenter: Dan, who helped create Occupy Seattle Labor Caucus
    • rationale:
      • Want to draw more people to Occupy Seattle. Focusing on banks will do this.
      • Don’t intend to have mass arrests, but to draw media attention.
      • want action to provide mass and material support for Occupy Seattle
      • Union leadership wants to see GA approval of this action.
      • If this works, could lead to long and fruitful relationship with unions.
    • discussion:
      • Will send link to website. Banks borrowed our money, did not pay interest back, not loaning money back to us, but buying American T-bonds and earning money on the money we gave them.
      • Our money is not ours, it’s loaned to us by Federal Reserve bank.
    • vote
      • time 20:53
      • proposal passes unanimously
  • proposal: Proposals must be publicly announced the day before they’re brought to vote, in a facilitated assembly, maybe lunch assembly, maybe evening assembly

    • restated: all proposals will be brought to facilitated discussion minimum of one day prior to vote
    • presenter: Shawn
    • source:
    • rationale:
      • Trying to force consensus is XXX. Hopefully this will open up time for other stuff.
      • Proposals are a bad time to bring emergency things.
    • discussion:
      • ? – What about emergency proposals?
        • If we allowed, we’d have 12 emergency proposals each day. If this makes you uncomfortable, come talk to us.
      • ? – We should think three times before we speak. Often people do not. Can think three times about what to say in a 24-hour period.
      • ? – Why go somewhere we’re not welcome?
        • We already voted on that.
      • ? – Loves this. Would like to see proposals posted for 24 hours so we don’t have to hear them through the grapevine.
        • Additional proposal will be brought that will stipulate this.
      • ? – Need exact language prior day, or just general idea?
        • Will soon have method to help people polish their proposals during that period.
    • vote
      • 21:02
      • proposal passes
  • proposal: There will be four decision-making GAs per week, on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Other GAs, held nightly or as desired will be for discussion, refinement, and debate of proposals, among other things.

    • presenter: Jacob
    • source: Process and Facilitation
    • rationale:
      • Discussion GAs are important. Want to make space for that.
      • Ties in with proposals being made day in advance.
    • discussion:
      • Would it be possible to make exception for emergency proposals on discussion night?
        • Have discussed some process to do that. Problem is defining emergency. May be important to some but not to others.
      • Wants to encourage inclusivity. Likes this. Has anyone spoken to religious groups about voting on Sundays?
        • No. Part of the decision of days was to strike balance of availability. Some can’t come on weekdays, others can’t be here on weekends.
      • Would proposals need to be made on certain nights?
        • No. Will now have facilitated discussion GAs during the day.
    • vote:
      • time: 21:12
      • proposal passes

Announcements

  • Liam
    • Have plan for SCCC organizing.
    • Join at atrium any day this week from 8:50am to 2pm to collect petition signatures.
    • 3:30pm, every day, anyone who wants to work with their club, come meet.
  • ?
    • is student at SCCC
    • teachers frequently provide opportunities to talk about Occupy Seattle
  • ?
    • Twice people Have people from occupation twice who got on bus, handed out fake bus passes, and encouraged people to ride for free. To participate, keep ear out for “mob a bus”.
  • ?
    • UW student, organizing teach-ins
    • have suggestions for professors, send them to SJWissmer at aol.com
  • ?
    • Has been gone a few days, loves all of us. Will figure way to get wicked prizes for Halloween costume contests.
  • ?
    • Sanitation needs another volunteer now.
  • ?
    • No proposal failed tonight. Good job.
  • ?
    • Thanks for good GA which did not lead him to walk away in frustration.
  • ?
    • Another bank action — this one an occupation — is in the works for next week.
      • meet after GA to discuss
  • Shawn
    • For productive further discussion: We don’t know what our fundamental principles are. Finding them through debate and blocks.
    • Regarding emergency proposals: GA’s are great for deciding policy, but not good place to decide at last minute about actions. Need to think a lot about how we read the policy and the proposals we’ve already brought, an proposals we’re going to bring, so when we have emergency, can act on what we’ve already decided when we have time for deliberation.
  • Doc
    • Have contingency groups going to banks with these people. Needs help.
  • ?
    • Had second proposal for SCCC, but facilitators suggested did not need to propose, could just go with it. But in interest of consensus building, will read times again. Any known time conflicts?
      • 5:00pm – march from Westlake park to SCCC
      • 6:30pm – speakout at central (like GA without decisions)
      • 8:00pm – Halloween party
      • 8:30pm – tent raising
    • in other cities are sometimes calling non-voting GAs general gatherings
  • Ross Grimshaw
    • is grad student at University of Washington
    • helping organize Chase bank action
      • needs support of undergrads at UW and other schools
  • poster and handbill for mass occupation and Halloween party will be posted to Faceobok and website tonight

Adjourned 21:29

4 Responses to General Assembly notes 10/24

  • Bradford B. Morrison says:

    Friends;
    I am looking forward very much to the next few days and weeks of developments. Maybe I am just an over-excited 64 year who feels like he is entering his “second” childhood (actually young adulthood) but THINGS ARE LOOKIN’ GOOD!!!

    Let’s stay real strong, and grow much bigger, and occupy Westlake Park AND SCCC , and CITY HALL too (or maybe not…too much thievery by local tricky drug-addled crackheads from park 2 blocks away at 3rd and Jefferson)? Anyway, time will tell; and remember, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, the SUN will RISE IN THE EAST TOMORROW, as it has been doing for about 4 billion years now (according to astronomers and other scientists).

    I just want to tell everyone that I LOVE YOU ALL, and THIS TIME, if it takes 5, 10, 25, or 100 years, WE ARE GONNA CHANGE THIS OLD WORLD FOR THE BETTER with BIG, BIG, CHANGES!!! YES!!!

    Thanks for listening
    PEACE and LOVE
    Loudmouth Karaoke Brad

  • Geoff Occupy Briggs says:

    I’m impressed by the clear arguments presented and decisive vote of the GA to set up a base at SCCC. I hope everyone can help move and join in the fun this weekend.

  • Laura H. says:

    I read “Have people from occupation twice who got on bus, handed out fake bus passes, and encouraged people to ride for free. To participate, keep ear out for “mob a bus”.”

    Why would you want to do this? Public transportation is our friend, not our enemy. King County Metro is having enough trouble getting enough funding to keep busses on the road without encouraging people to ride for free.

  • Boboh7 says:

    Hello all you courageous, good hearted and clueless folks,

    Reading your list of activities/departments is most distressing because it completely lacks any evidence that any of you understand how the banks have acquired the power to create the present disaster that is our national and world economy.

    If you want to correct this sad situation there is fortunately a very simple way to begin:

    You MUST read Ellen H. Brown’s book, “Web of Debt”, from cover to cover, preferably the 4th Edition published February 2010.

    I think you are mostly all intelligent educated people and that you will understand that book easily and it will open your eyes to a new world of understanding of what you CAN DO to correct the present disastrous situation.

    And you will quickly understand too why a long list of other-directed actions will simply be a colossal waste of time and effort and end in failure.

    Namaste’