General Assembly notes 11/01

Occupy Seattle General Assembly

  • Date/time: 2011-11-01 19:35
  • Location: Westlake Park
  • Minutes taken by: Phil Mocek
  • Audio archive: http://www.archive.org/details/OccupySeattleGeneralAssembly2011-11-01

Facilitation Team

  • Process mover: Shawn
  • Agenda: Jesse
  • Taking stack: Joshua
  • Time keeper: Evonne

Campers

  • David – Has been lots of partying that breaks the agreement between us and Seattle Central. That could cause us to lose our camp quickly.
  • Devon – Usually keeps track of what happens at camp at night. Has usually been good, but have been a few petty and childish conflicts. Has otherwise been a great experience.
  • Elvina – Being at the occupation is sometimes tiresome, but can't think of a better way to spend her time, money, and energy
  • Alisha – Day one of the new location (Seattle Central): Was told she'd be provided with tent and warm blankets. That didn't happen. Instead, she slept on cold ground. Asked for help from people nearby. They didn't help. Woke up at 4:30 a.m., in the rain, and received help from Medical. Seeks ride to Occupy Los Angeles, halfway there, or maybe to Wall Street in New York. Needs to reach Wall Street by November 23.
  • Taylor – Visiting Seattle from Montana. Appreciates that everyone has been very kind to him.
  • Nicole – Has been saddened by seeing fellow campers consider securing a campsite a huge victory. The work has barely begun. Need to encourage fellow campers that this will be a long, hard, battle, and that we cannot relax, because that's what our adversaries expect us to do. We should encourage campers to come to Westlake Park as long as that's where our GA is held.
  • Albert – Has been here since day one. Spent lots of time at Federal Building, more at Westlake Park. Last weekend, moving to SCCC was beautiful. Since then, has come to Westlake. Today, he was the only one here. Seems odd.
  • Devon – Will have to be compassionate to get people who do not want to work much to find passion for and put effort into this movement.
  • Elvina – Agrees that it is concerning to see loss of motivation. Portland, LA, Honolulu (which just started), all do spontaneous marches, continually building morale, without GA consent, independently. If we want something done, instead of bringing it up at the GA, just do it. Suggests everyone marching to Westlake tomorrow. If nobody is here, the City one. Doesn't want to feel that we spent so much time arguing, sleeping in the cold, for nothing. Need to re-take this place.

Working group announcements

time: 19:55

Direct Action Working Group

  • Jennifer – discussed daily marches 5pm, to Westlake Park, through financial district, with signs, noisemakers

Peace and Safety Working Group

  • David
    • Have three deescalation trainings scheduled at Seattle Central:
      • Friday 4pm
      • Sunday 1pm
      • Tuesday 7-9pm by someone with 20 years of experience
    • Is essential for P&S members to attend these trainings
    • 10pm meeting tonight at SCCC at tent across from Information
    • Have immediate, important concerns
      • drinking and other things happening
        • known to the college
        • we'll lose our space if we don't turn it around rapidly
        • no alcohol or other drugs allowed on the property
          • P&S need help
        • had to apologize to students and faculty about this

Tactical Working Group

  • Zach
    • At today's meeting, began discussion of issues of civility (or lack thereof) at GA. Are working toward suggestions, possibly proposal, to sort out these problems.
    • Inter-team communication role: Encouraging more people to attend nightly 9pm meeting (SCCC, in grass by monsters) to discuss rolls, responsibilities of working groups. Started last night, went well. Don't need to be on working group to attend.

Legal Working Group

  • Corey
    • If have questions about legality or potential consequences of activities or potential activities, Legal are here to answer them.

Sanitation Working Group Committee

  • Jackson
    • Things going well at SCCC. Many people cleaning up after themselves and others.
    • We produce lots of waste, but have no set place to put it.
    • Please use alternatives to port-a-potties. They fill fast and are expensive to empty.
    • Seeking volunteers.

Information Working Group

  • Timber
    • Need volunteers. Only have 2-3 people all week long.
    • We know as much as he does, more if we have space-age mobile phones. Please help.

Money in Politics Working Group

  • Craig
    • New WG
    • Meet Sundays 3pm, in front of See's Candies at Westlake Park
      • Will probably meet there, then move to first floor of Convention Center
    • We have U.S. Congress for sale. The 1% have been buying Congress.
      • Effects every issue: tuition cost, environment, jobs, labor rights
      • Must change it. Will change it.
      • Discussing strategies for serious, authentic, change

Finance Working Group

  • Ted
    • WG doesn't really exist yet
    • Needs people who have access to bank account and funds being raised to come together to make a plan, then bring it to the GA.
    • Maria from kitchen requests

Internet Communications Working Group

  • Danica
    • Need more volunteers
      • contact OccupySeattleICT@gmail.com or talk to Danica

Announcements of Future Proposals

  • none

Proposals

  • time: 20:11
  • proposal: Occupy Seattle is a non-violent protest. We will not engage in violence unless in defense of ourselves or others. Unsolicited or un-instigated acts of violence are not what we stand for, because our mission is strong enough and our words are strong enough to stand on their own. Create a two-strike policy. First violation would result in request to leave for the night. Second to leave permanently.
    • restated: 1) Occupy Seattle is a non-violent movement. We will only engage in violence if in self-defense or defense of others. Then, it is violence, not intelligence. Multiple courts have ruled that words of hatred, words associated with bigotry or racism are violent in themselves. This proposal is not about whether we should allow people who focus a movement or people around an idea of bigotry or racism.
    • restated: We are a non-violent movement. We intend to create a conflict resolution board that will lead to another proposal. For the time being, if anyone is the aggressor of a violent action, they will be remove with minimal force for the rest of the day to maintain safety, until the GA decides.
    • restated: Occupy Seattle will be officially a non-violent movement. We don't tolerate people who are violent toward others, whether members or non-members. If someone is violent, he or she will be removed from the camp and allowed to discuss the situation later. And right now to propose a resolution in the future about a conflict resolution.
    • intends for it to be used when a member is violent toward another
    • presenter: Corey
    • discussion
      • Allana – Punitive justice doesn't work. Doesn't acknowledge messiness of movement. When we react by defending ourselves, we're merely products of that system. Role of Peace and Safety and Legal, and the whole community, is to engage survivors.
      • ? – If doesn't change nature of movement, no need to debate this. Any action can be construed as non-violent. Doesn't want tribunal to decide where on violent to non-violent someone's action lies.
      • Mitch – Opposes because it would give P&S more laws to arbitrarily enforce based on their mood swings. Last night, P&S guy picked fight, took it out, got beaten, then came back and claimed assault.
      • Bob – Is conflicted about the proposal. Needs another amendment, one that Patricia will soon raise. Concerned that when there are no procedures in place, we're allowing behavior such as sexual predation, thievery, and violence, to run amok, affecting safety of camp and movement at large.
      • ? – Requests clarification. What is violence? What is self defense or defense of others? How to enforce?
        • requester: SD is protecting yourself against violence of others. Defending other is same but violence toward someone else. Wants us to unify behind non-violent message. He can't be here if it's not a non-violent movement.
      • Elvina – Tolerance for violence is unfair and inhumane. Doesn't envision society in which someone can harass her, demean her, get physical with her, and be slapped on the wrist or admonished. Wants society in which she can feel safe. Fact is that rape victims, PTSD, say they cannot be here because people insist on being violent. Father was violent. Rapists were violent. Everyone around her seems to be violent. If this movement shows no regard for this suffering, she wants no part of it.
      • ? – Cannot stop violence. It's a violent world. There are wolves and rapists, people who will hit each other. All we can do is try to exclude that kind of behavior. We have no way to make regulations or police it without it turning into "this".
      • Patricia – Concern with two strikes rule is that it will turn into he said, she said, and there's no real process, both sides won't get heard. Tonight, we're not ready to create a dispute resolution system. Suggests putting forth a stop-gap measure until we establish dispute resolution process.
        • requester: XXX continue asking the potential aggressor to leave for the night and welcome back later to sort things out
      • ? – Two suggestions 1) change "non-violence" to "direct physical aggression". Captures more of what most of us consider violence. Non-violence can be interpreted many ways. 2) Instead of two strikes and you're out, how about two strikes and a few counseling sessions instead.
        • requester: intent is important
      • point of process: hearing that we need more discussion; suggests creating working group, discussing outside
      • point of process: we adopted statement of non-violence at last GA at federal building
    • vote
      • time: 20:44
      • 6 counters average: 41 favor, 27 oppose
      • blocks:
        • This proposal is evidence that most of our minds are operating in binary, colonial way. Blocking is not endorsing violence. Must aspire for nonviolence. Should empower everyone to employ all tactics necessary to ensure that rapists, oppressors, and everyone in between feel unwelcome to hurt people. Violates fundamental principles by alienating survivors. Is slippery slope to authoritarian movement, and is not transparent. Threatening to leave movement is manipulative tactic. Everyone has freedom to come and go as he or she pleases.
        • One fundamental principle is equality. Concerned that enforcement of this proposal could not be done equally. People will use biases and prejudices they don't even know they have.
        • discussion:
          • Nicole – Heard about the block to discourage rapists and other aggressors from being part of the group. What about the encouragement of families to be part of this group. Brings daughter to GA, but would never bring her to camp. What about fundamental principle to include 99%. Doesn't know what to think about two strikes, but feels that to grow movement, need a statement about being nonviolent.
          • Alyssa – Addressing point of threatening to walk: It's not about pressuring us; it's about ethics required by legal profession.
          • Danica – We're not a police force. Proposal violates principle of autonomy. Doesn't want oppression in camp. But there have been violent actions, still undefined by proposal, doesn't think it's okay for people to be excluded
          • ? – People who really care about camp safety should spend nights and days at the camp in stead of passing legislation. Don't create another 10 commandments.
          • ? – Is no way to stop or prevent violence. Question is who is being violent, to whom it's directed, and how. If intend to stop one person's violence, generally will do it violently. If we call ourselves nonviolent, meaningless. Nonviolence is not lack of violence. Pacifism is refusal to act on violence. He does not identify with term nonviolence or pacifism. Doesn't think he's the only one. Violates core principles because it is alienating to many members of the 99%. Blocking this does not make the camp any less safe for families or for anyone else. Following through with this proposal would make camp less safe because would make people less willing to act to stop violence.
        • vote:
          • time: 21:07
          • uphold block: 42; overturn block: 19
          • block stands; proposal fails
  • proposal: Tomorrow Thursday, or Friday, General Assembly moves from Westlake Park to Seattle Central Community College
    • restated: We will have all general assemblies at Seattle Central Community College, starting with this Friday's.
    • presenter: ?
    • rationale:
      • since we moved to SCCC, numbers have dwindled
      • most places, GA is held at occupation
    • discussion:
      • ? – We were discussing keeping GA and voting down at Westlake, then take things from discussion twice weekly to cover and summarize basic points discussed during GA so people who did not have chance to attend don't have excuse of not knowing what's going on. This will allow to know what's going on and to come down here to vote and talk about it.
      • ? – Friendly amendment: move weekdays to SCCC, have weekend GAs here. This would facilitate outreach in the neighborhood.
        • accepted
        • rejected (tourists here on weekend)
      • ? – Friendly amendment: Move on Friday. (Proposal was not specific.)
        • accepted
      • ? – Two groups are forming: Hang out at SCCC, work at Westlake. Should push people to be involved.
      • ? – Originally, was said we'd keep things at Westlake after move to SCCC. If we hold onto Westlake by coming here for GAs, create weird body of people who come out for GA. Don't want to be beaurocratic managers. We're at SCCC now. Let's take this change into consideration.
      • ? – Note that if meeting runs late — particularly 7:30 GAs — would violate our good neighbor agreement.
      • Albert – Earlier agreement, when we discussed move to SCCC, was to keep presence at Westlake. Today, he spoke to people who had never been to OS. They asked what's going on. If he had not been here, they wouldn't have learned this. Suggests that if we move GA, we have constant presence here for outreach.
      • Sus – Thinks we need to have meetings at SCCC nightly that are for the issues of the camp. Camp assemblies, not general assemblies. Assemblies that make policies for the camp. Assemblies that address the problems with the camp. Believes they can create good proposals to bring to a GA twice weekly. We could have GA two or three times weekly at Westlake. Issues of the camp cannot dominate everything of Occupy Seattle.
      • ? – One person said if we keep meetings here it will encourage people to come down and be involved. One issue is that people cannot or feel that they cannot come down if they have belongings set up there. They don't want to leave them for police, security, or others. Regarding the split being people hanging out vs. working. It is abundantly clear that people are working, and they are part of the movement.
      • ? – Supports moving all GAs to SCCC. Thinks risk of overriding voices as expressed is inverse of potential. We would send stronger message by occupying a bank or take the streets regardless of where we camp.
      • ? – Favors. If becomes problematic due to problems with school, could move across street to Cal Anderson Park.
      • ? – We previously passed proposal that during daytime, we'd march from SCCC to Westlake Park, have GAs here, then march back with banners and posters to camp site.
      • ? – Favors. On weekends, there's only one decision making GA: Sunday. Last Sunday, attendance was small. What about previous concern that a move of the GA, conflicting with our statement to SCCC administration, would be problematic?
      • vote:
        • time: 21:40
        • favor: 30, oppose: 5
        • block
          • fundamental principle violated: We decided through long, contentious process that we'd continue Occupy Seattle with public presence here at Westlake Park, in solidarity with Wall Street, remaining in the public eye. Only agreed to the move with keeping GAs here. Feels that the process to which we agreed has been co-opted.
          • discussion
            • Was under the impression that all votes, proposals, other things we decide on, are non-binding. Given current circumstances, doesn't see why we can't change where we have GA.
            • Have tarps and tents at SCCC; good for upcoming raining.
            • People have been free to come down here for last three days.
            • Block did not address OS's fundamental, core, principles.
          • vote:
            • time: 21:47
            • block overturned; proposal passes
  • proposal: We endorse plan in works for Occupy Black Friday
    • presenter: Joanna
    • rationale:
      • Event will happen regardless. Need endorsement of GA to make publicity, get on radio, etc., as an Occupy Seattle event
      • On day after Thanksgiving, people go shopping to make themselves happy. This is an invitation to forgo the shopping frenzy and participate in creativity and joyous things that cannot be bought or sold.
      • [note: not announced publicly, but will be state-wide Wal-Mart protest that day as well]
    • vote
      • time: 21:52
      • proposal passes unanimously
  • proposal: Before every meeting, we will read the following equality statement: FIXME: insert statement
    • rationale: hopes we're all coming here as equals; thinks this represents core of why we're here
    • presenter: Ted
    • point of process: wasn't on the Web
      • others weren't either
    • discussion:
      • ? – agrees generally, but has some problems with some of the semantics; can't rubber-stamp statement as-is
        • response: willing to remove offensive part
      • Phil – supports sentiment, but it took five minutes to read without people's microphone. Reading before GA is not right action.
      • ? – supports sentiment, but suggests boiling down to ten points or so
      • Shawn – Could take even more than 10 minutes. Potential problems with politics of one person delivering statement. Should make wording available for all to see.
        • response: don't read it with people's microphone
          • that introduces another problem
      • Brad – Be careful. We have big group with diverse opinions. Likes sentiment — not offending each other. Need to discuss when we're offending or overstepping boundaries. To make blanket statements about how we are to behave interferes with people's free speech.
    • proposal withdrawn

Emergency Announcement

  • Zach, Tactical
    • fellow Tacical just informed him that one of the fascists came back, removed shirt to expose swastika. People are watching now. Tonight's Tactical meeting cancelled.

Announcements

  • Shakina, the chai lady. Has probably served you tea if you've been anywhere at Occupy Seattle before 8am. She and husband are sufi ministers in an organization that recognizes that all religions lead to the same divine unfolding. New group is forming as ally to OS. After consulting with a few team leaders from OS, an interfaith group of clergy are beginning organizing faith community to fully support the occupy movement. Including a half-dozen religions and seek to include more. Hope to set up ongoing presence as Occcupy Chaplains. Acquiring and will soon erect tent at SCCC. Purpose is to be present. Will train clergy who wish to prepare themselves. Will offer service noon tomorrow at Plymouth Church, 6th & Union, music, poetry, more, in solidarity with strike in Oakland, violence against elsewhere, 3000 arrests, and first death at Occupy sight (Poet, dead of natural causes at Occupy Oakland). Will explore peace that moves us to civil disobedience. In addition, more events ongoing, such as church potlucks, invitations to come talk, faith groups visiting Occupy site together. Next steps: ministers starting classes. Anticipate other activities will emerge. Bring congregations into dialoge with police, move congregations financial assets out of banks, open churches as resource centers. OccupyChaplains@gmail.com and on Facebook.
  • John – check out Alisha Fisher's website http://alishafisher.com/ if interested in her project to create a costume based on all the occupations for presentation in New York
  • ? – Public Citizen is democratic group since 1970's. Having webinar about Citizen's United November 9. Hopes we can participate somehow.
  • Shawn – Encourages those watching livestream to participate in person if they can. Maybe get e-mails of working groups and send them ideas.

Adjourned 22:14

5 Responses to General Assembly notes 11/01

  • IHEARTCAPITALISM says:

    your movement is going strong. NOT! HAHA. Like I said, all you will be soon is another Wikepedia page entry. Congratulations.

  • John M. says:

    http://alishafisher.com/
    This is the correct site for Alisha above. She is working on a project traveling to many Occupy sites and gathering materials to create costume to be presented at OWS in NYC. Please contact her if you are interested.

  • KennSpace says:

    The Corporate Occupation of the United States

    Our corporate controlled government (through corporate lobbying and election funding ) is out of the peoples control. People want government control back. Makes sense to me… I feel US corporate capitalism (corporatism) is a type of economic fascism: To have a corporate being where the chain of command eventually muddles all responsibility to any human being. These corporate beings are running your life and controlling your government. (Enough to really make an individual mad and protest.) The corporate being does not exist, and when it comes to face it’s corporate responsibility, it is a piece of paper. That is plain and simply wrong. Restore capitalism to individual responsible chains of command, or this struggle will be lost.

    Please Sign the petition to amend the Constitution for revoking corporate personhood at:

    movetoamend.org

    January 20, 2012 – Move to Amend Occupies the Courts!
    Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark this
    notorious date — Occupy the Courts — a one day occupation
    on Friday January 20, 2012, of the Federal Courts, including
    the Supreme Court of the United States and as many of the
    89 U.S. District Court Buildings as we can. Inspired by Dr. Cornell
    West, who was arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court last
    month, Move to Amend will lead the charge on the judiciary which
    created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.

    http://open.salon.com/blog/kennspace/2011/10/28/corporate_occupation_of_the_united_states_1

  • KennSpace says:

    The Corporate Occupation of the United States

    Our corporate controlled government (through corporate lobbying and election funding ) is out of the peoples control. People want government control back. Makes sense to me… I feel US corporate capitalism (corporatism) is a type of economic fascism: To have a corporate being where the chain of command eventually muddles all responsibility to any human being. These corporate beings are running your life and controlling your government. (Enough to really make an individual mad and protest.) The corporate being does not exist, and when it comes to face it’s corporate responsibility, it is a piece of paper. That is plain and simply wrong. Restore capitalism to individual responsible chains of command, or this struggle will be lost.

    Please Sign the petition to amend the Constitution for revoking corporate personhood at:

    movetoamend.org

    January 20, 2012 – Move to Amend Occupies the Courts!
    Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark this
    notorious date — Occupy the Courts — a one day occupation
    on Friday January 20, 2012, of the Federal Courts, including
    the Supreme Court of the United States and as many of the
    89 U.S. District Court Buildings as we can. Inspired by Dr. Cornell
    West, who was arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court last
    month, Move to Amend will lead the charge on the judiciary which
    created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.

    http://open.salon.com/blog/kennspace/2011/10/28/corporate_occupation_of_the_united_states_1