General Assembly notes 11/04

Occupy Seattle General Assembly

  • Date/time: 2011-11-04 18:40
  • Location: Seattle Central Community College
  • Minutes taken by: Phil Mocek
  • Audio archive: http://www.archive.org/details/OccupySeattleGeneralAssembly2011-11-04

Facilitation Team

  • FIXME: review audio

  • Facilitator:

  • Agenda:
  • Process mover:
  • Taking stack:
  • Time keeper:

Campers

  • Mohawk
    • FIXME: review audio
  • ?
    • Online, read "Parents fear OccupySeattle too close to day care"
      • KIRO-TV reports some parents considering moving their kids due to what they're seeing from protesters (spoking pot and drinking)
      • some classes being held inside
      • OccupySeattle says they're being good neighbors
    • suggests that we adopt zero-tolerance policy regarding use of alcohol and other drugs
    • we're being disrespectful to people who donate and trust us
  • ?
    • would like to engage campers more
    • many are using place to sleep
    • recommends we move GA to middle of camp so they'll hear us
    • wants campers to be another category for progressive stack
      • has seen people who don't sleep overnight show up when convenient, then take leadership
      • dislikes being awoken by someone who doesn't camp here after working at camp, sleeping a couple hours
  • ?
    • Camped at Westlake before coming here
    • Was hushed at GA yesterday
    • Walked by a group congregating in discussion, was told to leave the group when he was there only to listen. They said they didn't want the distraction. Asked how his listening was a distraction.
  • Tabitha
    • Has been camping with OccupySeattle for almost a month (and not camping and not sleeping)
    • Is excited by progress here, but feels we're being held back
    • It's unfair to those who are here for a revolution, not a party
    • People talk about not finding a vein, about how they like to smoke crack
      • Smells are in our camp. People using other people's tents for drug use.
      • Amount of alcohol in camp is disgusting. We're paying to recycle lots of hard alcohol and beer bottles.
    • Select few may ruin it for everyone
      • not just
      • not part of this cause
    • Until people can come back and participate, don't need them here
    • Need social services
    • Doesn't believe in targeting
    • Saw two kids, 14 years old, who spent the night
      • As an adult, feels it necessary for us to take accountability for these children
    • Should stop being wishy-washy and take responsibility
    • This is a safety issue for all of us
  • ?
    • Users of alcohol are belligerent, don't want to hear complaints, only to drink
    • Told a few people not to be so open with their drinking
      • They fought back, said it's none of his business
      • Looked around for security, but there was none
    • Drug dealers find shelter here
      • will tell others to come get it here
    • Heard college employee ask someone where she could buy some cannabis
      • person pointed her toward a tent
  • ?
    • Has copies of statements previously passed by GA that have fallen out of everyone's attention. Will distribute them.
      • Occupy Seattle Anti-oppression and accountability principles
      • Declaration of Decolonize / Occupy Seattle
  • Michelle
    • first time speaking
    • is a medic
    • is collecting donations so she can set up Red Cross training for first aid and CPR so medics can help out anytime
      • if class doesn't work out, will donate to Occupy Seattle general fund
  • Bob
    • transitional announcement
      • from faculty who welcomed us resolutely, without whose help we would not be here
      • they are highly disturbed about reports we're all hearing
      • wanting to make it crystal clear that they will not be able to back us if behavior that has been going on continues
      • this is warning in black and white; not open to debate
      • if we don't change behavior, we'll be looking for another home
      • expect proposal later dealing with how to solve this problem and support it
  • ?
    • is from Idaho
    • someone stole his truck nine days ago
    • stumbled into us at Westlake, cold, no money, no credit cards
    • was given blankets, food, and cigarettes
    • likes to drink
    • felt drinking in his tent was better than doing so on the street
    • was wrong; no resentment, no hard feelings or ill will
    • was never out of control
    • is here to help until he gets back to Idaho
    • suggests making signs that say no drugs, no alcohol, and post them prominently to let community know we don't condone this, regardless of what they hear
  • Mike

    • Nickelsville's structure master
    • this is what they do, not what we should do:
      • Every camper is registered
      • Every tent is numbered
      • Every tent is mapped
      • Every camper who does not have a head position (elected) does two security shits per week
        • Everyone does an equal amount of work
  • GA moves

Working group announcements

Food Working Group

  • Ginger
    • phasing out use of disposable utensils and
    • after one week, you must provide your own vessel
  • Emily
    • kitchen orientation Saturday 10am, meet outside kitchen if you'd like to volunteer
      • crew will meet at 8:30
    • if you see dirty dishes, are welcome to wash them

Sanitation Working Group

  • Andrew
    • please put your stuff in the right bins
      • losing signs; if you find them missing, notify him
    • please, please, please, don't put trash in port-a-potties; it costs extra to fish it out

Fundraising Working Group

  • Fred
    • good things happening in Greenwood
    • invited to Greenwood Art Walk
    • need stores and coffee houses that would be interested in selling our yard signs
      • if there's a place you know of where they know you as a customer, let him know and he'll provide more info

Medical Working Group

  • Mohawk
    • nearly froze last night
    • recommends after GA we distribute coats we have in storage

Morale Working Group

  • Akila
    • having exciting events tomorrow at Westlake
        • candy for cool people
    • very excited to present the first mannequin and manicures event
    • Nina and she will bring Anne Taylor mannequin to begin

Legal Working Group

  • Corey
    • everyone who was arrested Wednesday was unable to get through
      • has been remedied; can now call from King County Jail
    • working on proposal to determine how to use pro-bono and financial resources for bail and bond
      • for now, need to have some idea of what Legal should do when we need to make decisions
      • Can bring to emergency GA, or let Legal can have discretion until that proposal
        • temperature check: which preferred

Peace and Safety Working Group

  • ?
    • working with Tactical to restructure WG
    • working to establish conflict mediation body, which is essentially a judicial body
      • this proposal will take effect as soon as it passes
      • rationale: address serious issue
    • this college has done something very few spaces in this country have done for Occupy Movement
      • they realize they're part of the 99 percent
      • gave us this space
      • let's not let our stupidity cause us to lose it
      • this is not Burning Man
      • this is not the back alley of a Phish show
    • if you're just here to party, please leave
    • space should be reserved to launch actions against the ruling class
    • doesn't want a few drunks and drug users ruin the last best hope of the working class
  • David
    • we are responsible for integrity of camp
    • we're on verge of losing camp if our behaviors don't change immediately
    • need everyone's help because WG is in process of restructuring
    • if you see someone breaking agreement with school, particularly with alcohol and other drugs, please say something
    • if WG asks for help, please help
    • when they find someone drinking, etc., have had success with one person addressing, lots of people supporting behind, allowing lots of space
    • should be no alcohol or other drugs tonight
    • first de-escalation training was tonight
      • encourages participation in future trainings
  • Sharla
    • Sunday 1:45pm, meet here, will walk together to off-site indoor space, then start at 2pm
    • Tuesday 7pm, meet here for 2-hour de-escalation training taught by CEO of Roots Shelter; trainings reputed to be excellent
      • please be on time

Sustainability Brigade Working Group

  • Tabitha
    • tonight, after GA, will meet at Bauhaus Coffee to discuss
      • plan of action for guerrilla composting,
      • solar panels that are coming
      • guerrilla gardening
    • new trash and recycling service
      • have service picking these up. Must use bags they provided. Pick up is at bottom of steps at Harvard nightly by 7pm
    • Sunday 3pm at the tent, will have garbage and recycling workshop
    • reuse everything: cups, plates, utensils. Stop throwing everything in the garbage.

Media Working Group

  • Alliana
    • have some new recruits
      • one is excellent press release writer and has lots of experience
    • purpose of Media WG is to paint this movement in positive light
      • alcohol and drug use does not help us do this
      • need help doing so

Facilitation and Process Working Group

  • Michael
    • biggest GA he's seen in a week, sees old faces and new
    • GAs take time, listening, debate, thinking
    • are good for large decisions that affect us, but not for emergencies
    • if you have suggestions about how to facilitate better, please join

Demands Working Group

  • Justin
    • City Council was set to vote on something similar to our demand
      • rescheduled, date TBA
      • will notify so people can come out in force
    • moved from outside See's Candies to Convention Center, still 4pm
    • thinking of working with the Getting Money Out of Politics group
    • working on large series of demands based on information gathered from all of us
    • meeting Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays

November 5 Bank Transfer Day Working Group

  • Zach
    • had mini-action today, got five Bank of America and Chase customers to go pull their money out in small groups
    • at 11:00am tomorrow: big action at Westlake
    • at 12:30, march will leave to got to various credit unions to sign people up

Learning Working Group

  • Norm
    • organizing de-escalation skills workshop
      • tomorrow 1pm at SCCC

Action Announcements

  • Bernie
    • with his friend James, will get more people to protest illegal foreclosures at County Courthouse on doorsteps where they do auctions
      • had 20 people in past, had five today
      • made noise, were able to do auctions, though
      • need more people
      • Fridays 10am – noon, County Courthouse, 500 4th Ave
    • his friend, Tiananmen Square survivor, suggests busing to Olympia
    • November 11 is Veterans' Day
      • don't need to be veteran to march with veteran
  • ?
    • teaching yoga tomorrow at 9am
  • Jane
    • please join every Friday morning to protest illegal housing foreclosures
    • must organize, know what we want, what our agenda is, be united, go to Olympia, and force changes to the law
    • banks should serve people, not foreclose on their houses
    • suggests marching in Olympia one day at date on which we all decide
  • Furtree
    • is recovering alcoholic
    • needs our support
    • alcoholics need each other to carry each other
    • would like to meet others Saturday 4pm in front of Medical
  • Josh
    • works in kitchen
    • carries a guitar, doesn't hear much music or liveliness
    • if you have an instrument or can sing, please bring some liveliness to camp
  • ?
    • Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Project
      • started as community housing project
      • but every year, rent increases
    • no rent control in Washington State, so rents keep increasing
    • in New York and California, there is rent control
    • idea was floated in WA 40 years ago, but no changes have come
    • about 10 years ago, related issues were raised, but it died
    • many of us here are homeless because we can't afford rent because there's no rent control
  • Shawn
    • just cycled here from Canada with friend Emily
    • want to facilitate activity with music and creativity to remind participants how precious and unique they are
      • meet after GA to discuss

Proposals

  • time: 19:54
  • proposal: peace enforcement team be established as mandated security, be trained and identified as members of team, have voluntary membership. Nobody will be admitted as a member before training. Working as cohesive until that represents diversity of Occupy Seattle. Supporting as non-participatory members of rallies and demonstrations. Will be held accountable for incident log book, watch roster,
    • restated: camp safety team be established as mandated security, trained and identified as members of this team. Membership is voluntary. No one will be permitted to be functioning member of team prior to proper training and member training for term of membership. FIXME: review audio
    • presenter: Josh, Sharla, and Henry
    • rationale:
      • address security problems
    • details:
      • purpose of log book is to pass information among members across shift changes. Will be written in a way it can't be used against us. Will be destroyed after short period of time (possibly 7 days).
      • adaptable situational protocol is a changeable, adjustable, work in progress
    • discussion:
      • Analyssa – strongly opposes; similar to police system we have now
        • response: does not get rid of individuals and affinity groups; please offer suggestions for improvement
      • ? – regarding #4: Doesn't think there should be anything fluid or adaptable with this proposal. Needs to be concrete.
        • response:
      • Gen – Opposes. Adamantly refrained from adopting non-violence statement. To talk about principles we've adopted being enforced, the people proposing should have more thorough understanding of principles adopted. Seems very bureaucratic. Won't put safety to vote or bureaucracy, but act on it like he hopes everyone else would. Thinks this recreates a policing model. Very easily could empower police to crack down on us, if for instance, we have records of illegal things happening that they could get their hands on. Endangers not only individuals recorded but entire encampment. Police could subpoena documents, or if we had them laying around without serious security, an undercover agent could walk in and take them. If plan is to destroy records, why have them in firs place. Just talk to people. Should be building community, getting to know each other and supporting each other. Doesn't include policing each other and putting each other in danger. If you want to destroy records, do it preemptively.
      • ? – This isn't a police force. Police are not controlled by any democratic body. Police are authorized to get into your house with warrant. This just designates a few people to handle difficult situations. Nothing in this proposal prevents people from defending themselves. Just putting a few point people, faces we already know, in the position to help the community. Doesn't matter if we call them that or not. The college will not listen to us if we say we had a conscious change. If we say we created a new enforcement strategy, they'll hear that. This is a little bureaucratic, but the college is very bureaucratic. We can take this to them to get them to hesitate before kicking us out. Believes that log book should be replaced by people talking. Supports proposal aside from log book.
      • proposers solicit amendment regarding log book
        • proposed
        • amended
        • amendment: no log book
      • ? – Reminds us that historically, creating an enforcement has diffused collective efforts to enforce. So maybe people don't accept the conscious change, but reality is that she knows that when police are taking care of things, she closes her tent and minds her business. Doesn't want to live in such a camp. People have already taken responsibility like Minute Men. Cops killed that. Believes unintended consequences will come from this well-intended proposal.
      • ? – Was going to speak strongly against log book. Now supports proposal. Thinks it's important to have a group like this, one, preferably with better name, democratically held accountable to this body. Even though we need to work on details of how to keep camp safe, this is a step forward. We cannot have written records, whether it's official log book or not. Those would be a huge weapon in the hands of the college president and police. Need to hold group accountable to us and not keep written records. Later could add right to recall people in the group who do not uphold code of conduct being established. Major problem already. Let's not repeat it.
      • clarification: code of conduct is for members of the team. GA will would be well off to devise separate code of conduct for all of Occupy Seattle.
      • ? – Supports. What we've done so far has been chaotic and just caused more problems. If we don't adopt this, we'll lose our space. Let's have faith in ourselves and avoid that.
      • Tabitha – Heard that at Nickelsville, whole encampment is responsible for doing security duty. Likes that idea. Empowers everyone, would help us all be trained for dealing with tense situations, not only at camp but at protests. Should reformulate to be not just volunteers but everyone, who takes courses. Does not like the enforcement part of proposal. Enforcement seems harsh. Makes her think of police. Thinks needs to be concrete consequences for violation of guidelines. Currently we only acknowledge SCCC's policy. Should have policy to deal with issues in more concrete way. Is okay with removing someone for a day.
        • response: regarding consequences: this group would not be involved. Would be another group made up of many people, to determine consequences. Adaptability is critical in security situations to adapt to, for example, new police tactics or outside threats. Should not become rigid security group.
      • ? – People sometimes use marijuana medicinally and should not be punished. FIXME: review audio for second point
        • response: need to address situations in a safe way, so people will undergo peaceful mediation training.
      • ? – Last week has been a test for everyone. When faced with chaos, will we build police force or create a new world? People are angry and don't know where to put their energy. Last night, common response when witnessing conflict was to ignore it. If this passes, people need to stop doing that; don't let the point people take care of our problems like the police have conditioned us to look to them.
      • ? – Supported this until the word 'trust' came up. Nobody in the community should put trust in select individuals rather than in the community as a whole. If elite group is trusted, trust won't be given to rest of community.
      • ? – Two incidents tonight affect his feelings about the proposal. Spoke with visitor from Occupy Olympia. Asked about Peace and Safety at their camp. Each night from dusk to dawn, they have patrols by P&S committee wearing orange vests. Said it's quite effective. Just now, when we were moving from plaza to this location, came across man with beer can in his hand, drinking his beer. Asked him respectfully if he was drinking beer. Responded affirmatively. Asked if he knew we were discussing right then all the problems with drug and alcohol use. He said he has right to drink wherever he wants and that he wants to drink walking down the street. Invited the man to drink off-camp. Had polite conversation. Without clear cut policy, did not feel comfortable taking conversation further. This action caused him to walk to sidewalk where he likely finished his beer. These two incidents affected his feeling about the proposal. Inclined to to support, but is concerned about adjudicative body. Sounds bureaucratic, as if we're modeling police system we're battling to dismantle. Common sense alternative is for P&S committee to be responsible directly to general assembly after GA has specific guidelines.
        • response: attended adjudicative committee meeting. Work in progress. Deals with people who enter, act violently or steal our property. Would take group of peers and have them make decision so peace and safety are not judge and jury. Wants to deal with flaws in existing structure.
      • Bob – Strongly supports. Each of us must be responsible. If we are, work of committee will be minimal. Unfortunately, what we have not demonstrated ability to do this. Need to look at the old and see what we can bring with us. Let's not just burn it all down, just burn what's bad and bring the good. Ultimately, this bad stuff will wither away. But not soon.
      • ? – Favorite quote: If world is to be saved, will not be saved with old minds and new programs, will be new minds and no programs.
      • proposer: adjudication body: they're willing to remove that
        • we're proposing this to avoid getting kicked out
        • people are getting hight in camp and stealing things
      • amendment: no adjudicative body to be created
      • amendment: named Peace Empowerment
      • ? – Supports this but feels the community needs to be involved. Peace empowerment should be up to all of us. Everyone should be directly involved. Good for now to have volunteers, but would like to see us transition to form of peace and empowerment that empowers all of us.
      • Ted – Understands people's concerns about this coming off as some elite talk force. It won't be. Concerned about slightest possibility of creating police force.
        • Suggests that GA at any time when deciding that group should not for any reason continue to exist, GA can recall it instantly.
          • response: Agrees. If GA ever wants to do so, should do so.
      • Albert – Correction to earlier statement: At first GA, at federal building, and we adopted solidarity with Wall Street.
      • ? – came down tonight to find out if we'd take action on this. Many people won't get involved if we do not.
      • ? – Doesn't see this as creating police force. Police are not drawn from community, unarmed, using just their wits, accountable to community. If someone messes up, won't be smoke filled room full of rich old white dudes, but will be accountable to us.
      • Shawn – Sounds great as long as we all remember our responsibility to take a shift and support others during their shifts. Essential to have people focused specifically on safety certain times, not distracted. Also essential to have training for people before they participate. Just like with any WG, if GA grows unhappy, can pull it. Suggests we call it Camp Safety because it's less pretentious. Mab
      • Rhiannon – Has been around since beginning. Please consider basic necessities like port-a-potties, donations of medical supplies, food, coats, etc. What will people do if this is no longer provided? Let's turn this around.
      • ? – This is not elementary school. Why does he feel we're choosing class president? Proposal establishes false pretense of predisposition that supports an order of capitalistic hierarchy that OS is already against as collective of open-minded and free-thinking individuals. Can do this with alliant conscious of everyone. Should not even flirt with the thought.
      • Matt – Nothing in the wording states anything about enforcing nonviolence. If this passes, cannot be used to impose on others what nonviolence means, or their own pacifist religious beliefs. State cannot be smashed in one week. If we leave it to wither on its own, it won't. We need to activly make that happen.
        • proposed amendment: specifically state that security is everyone's responsibility and we're free to organize in affinity groups to keep each other safe.
          • amendment accepted
        • proposed amendment: say that new WG will not operate when we're engaged in struggle in general. In other words, this will only operate to keep camp security. When trying to devise tactics in front of, say, chase bank, this group will not dictate tactics.
          • response: What if on #5, proposer strikes direct actions?
          • direct action added not so we can interfere, specifically says not participate, just stand with you as observers and to be extra eyes in those situations
          • amendment accepted
      • ? – Supports. Feels it is important, despite feelings of dislike for authority to need a unified response. When neo-Nazis entered Saturday, some wanted to do nothing, some slept, some wanted to chant and yell, some wanted to beat them. Prefers nonviolence but believes we should be unified to deal with all enemies, including real cops we may need to face.
      • ? – Suggests we make this a duty, and that everyone must participate.
      • ? – Let's train everyone so everyone knows how to do this.
      • vote
        • time: 21:15
        • proposal passes

Announcements

  • Zach – In Oakland, another Iraq Veteran was beaten by police
    • was held 18 hours without medical treatment
    • has ruptured spleen
    • was walking by himself not even part of protest
    • police officers told him to go away
    • he asked why, cops hit him in arms, legs, back, four officers tackled him
  • Shawn, Process and Facilitation
    • mandate was for rotation; not rotating much
    • please get involved
  • ? – Do we still need palates? Has business with access to many surplus palates.
  • ? – Addressing statement made at GA saying we don't have internal code of conduct. In fact we have at least two. One is Declaration of Decolonize / Occupy Seattle. Other is Occupy Seattle Anti-oppression and Accountability Principles.
  • ? – Reports from two meetings:
    • Labor Caucus meeting
      • Most labor union members are extremely supporting of the OWS movement nationally and of ours in Seattle.
        • Sensitive to not wanting to co-opt the movement in any way but provide supplies and political support in whatever way we decide democratically.
        • Faculty union has same attitude.
    • SCCC Faculty meeting
      • 24-hour teach-in on Wednesday as part of national day of teach ins. Want this to be educational moment for occupiers and students.
    • We should seriously consider taking up political actions like we do against banks but for massive budget cuts of social services at federal and state level. Everyone struggling under brunt of these cuts can effectively support each other.
  • Tabitha – Have been in contact with SCCC president et al. Having this meeting weekly on Tuesdays. If interested in sitting in or learning more about what happens, talk to her, Joshua, Bob Barnes, Alyssa in Supply or others who attended. Meeting was pretty casual. President was very pleased and impressed by amount of organization. We're doing a good job, working out kinks. Will get better.
  • Justin – If anyone knows students from UW, Seattle University, Cornish, Antioch, other community colleges, let him know (get in touch with Demands WG).

Adjourned 21:28