GA minutes 5/16/12

Please post all general assembly meeting minutes here. Arrange them by Year, Month and Day (e.g., Minutes GA 10/20/2011).

GA minutes 5/16/12

Postby Tree Knowlton » Fri May 18, 2012 9:00 pm

General Assembly 5/15/12

Facilitating: Lauren Regan

Minutes: Helen Shepard

1. 60 second committee reports

a. Actions: Minutes are up. Actions consensed that Occupy Outpost is officially endorsed. July 4 action: Walk in Butte to Butte with coffin representing death of American dream. Other future actions: Wal-mart action (date unknown) needs 40 people for nonarrestable fun. Bank of America protests and themes: bikinis, bras, condoms, etc.

b. May 24-28, Winamawintu tribe in Shasta area has called for solidarity in war dance against forest service. Preserve sacred sites! Vans will be going down: first come first serve, rental costs will be split evently. $100 has been donated already. The tribe will feed everyone, but bring camping gear. We really need peace keepers, legal observers and medics. Occupation next to river, trying to shut down last 400 yards. Bring inflatables of all varieties to join dozens of indigenous canoes. Action here on 4th of July as well.

c. Fed Up: Discussion centered around bad attendance. Does anybody care anymore? “We need support, goddammit!” Bring food, bring support, occupy public space, this is officially endorsed by occupy. Non-confrontational. Outreach needed to other organizations. Don’t lose this opportunity for visibility and outreach.

d. Homeless solutions and support: (Village Committee): Progress on planning and design of village. Future members are included in planning process. (501(c)3 committee) Process is underway to get legal tax exempt status for said village.

e. Foreclosures: County budget hearing is 4:45 on Thursday. Property registration system is costing the county an estimated 7million over past five years. Go to the Fed to make signs beforehand.

2. Brainstorming Strategy (Fergus): Share a few words on the following:

a. Desired (What is it you really want out of occupy?)

i. “Become our new government”

ii. Reaction to capitalism

iii. Model organizational structure for businesses and governments everywhere

iv. Build a mass movement

v. World undomination

vi. Greatly enhanced community resilience

vii. Universal compassion and empathy

viii. Tangible, achievable goals

ix. Understanding and development of solidarity

b. What we’re doing right

i. It’s all-encompassing

ii. Medical

iii. Foreclosure committee

iv. Homelessness

v. Egalitarian/democratic

vi. Giving people hope!

vii. We care about each other

viii. Combining experienced activists and new people

ix. Functioning committees (especially library, media, newsletter, communications)

x. Inspiring and enabling people

xi. Creating opportunities for total change

c. What needs improvement

i. Some people want to be single-minded

ii. We need to learn to listen more and be more patient

iii. Not organized enough to be emulated

iv. Recruit new members and don’t burn them out

v. Get over low self esteem

vi. Care about each other!

vii. Networking

viii. Social maturity, mental and emotional health

ix. Apprenticeship program: talented people get burned out and everything falls apart

3. Small work groups re: campaigns

*Can any of the proposals be merged?

*Roughly half of people know which proposal they would vote for now.

I’m taking notes on the people who are “undecided” about which proposal to choose:

*”I really don’t care which proposal we choose, I just want to get this over with”

*”Even though I’m working on one proposal in particular, I’m not attached to it as OE’s primary campaign. I feel increasingly disconnected from OE as a whole because I spend all my time on homelessness solutions. I strongly support the foreclosure committee and I think the work on the bank should continue.”

*Potential merger would be “Housing is a human right”, which merges Bank of America, Foreclosures and Homelessness. There would be different subcommittees. This seems to be assuming only one proposal would be chosen.

*Is Community Bill of Rights representative of OE as a whole? Yes, this relates directly to initial goals. No, this has a short-term endgame. OE is a statement, a powerful statement. This is too small a view. I want events, rallies, public attention. I want direct engagement. The economy is corrupt and crashing, it doesn’t work for people. It needs to raise the bar and raise the discourse in every possible opportunity. I can’t believe the capstone project went through!

*When OE started, I thought it was finally an opportunity for wide-spectrum involvement that could not be marginalized. It gave legitimacy to the demand for change. Some cohesiveness to national movement must be present. Large amount of humans must be involved, whichever campaign it is. We must be unified with other Occupy movements around the country.

*Emotional charge seems larger: with foreclosures, bank of America and homelessness. Homelessness solutions takes up all my time, but that’s different from “Where do I want to see OE go?”

*Do we want to focus on large change (which seems less attainable) or small fixes (which aren’t changing the system, just fixing the leftover problems)

*Bank of America has potential to be a national campaign. But is it within the realm of OE to create change?

--If we move a million in Eugene, and they move ten million in NYC, . . .

--So BoA closes. What then?

--It either gets bought out or bailed out

--What is OWS’s goal here? (Unknown)

*Cooperative OE: Helps plug people in to what they want to do, schedule times. In traditional cooperatives, everybody shares the work. At OE, a few people are doing the majority of the work. This is maybe not a national campaign, but a restructuring of ideas

--How would this work without it being a dictatorship? (It is actually a reworking of how we schedule time, such that we can assist people who want to help during certain times. Streamline process of getting involved)

--Create new committee to schedule and recruit people

--This isn’t a campaign, but rather developing a structure to support the campaigns.

--OE should develop a way to schedule people to volunteer online

--We want a more cooperative ethic, more than just a way to schedule people

--Need list of tasks that are accessible by all, so they can see what needs doing when, sign up to do it, and then check it off

*Whatever there’s a big pool of energy around, I’m there!

Recap of “Merging” group: Foreclosures and banks can merge; community bill of rights is a smaller part of this. Common theme: Canvass community to see what issue is important to them.

4. Proposal advocacy

a. Health Care for All (Ruth): We are known here for our work with the homeless and with the banks. I think the three can work together and merge. Health care for all is talking about two initiatives. We have 45 organizations state-wide, with a population as high as 50,000 people. One initiative is single-payer, the other is a constitutional amendment saying that health care is a human right. 60% or more of foreclosures occur because of the cost of health care, even though 80% of those people have health insurance (these days that’s no guarantee). I’d like this organization to be a part of the state-wide coalition. It’s good for people to be known that we are involved in a coalition such as this. We can work on this while we do other things. What if every Occupy group in Oregon came on board?

i. If so many organizations are involved, why should OE adopt this as its primary campaign? (Since so many groups are involved, they would help support us in our other endeavors)

b. Bank of America: What about a community developed bank (mix between credit union and community fund). Microenterprise by community-funded entrepreneurial support. On the one hand, we tear down the old structure, on the other, we encourage people to move money to more democratic forms of banking.

i. This campaign is more directly involved with OWS.

ii. Don’t think that specific tactics that are currently drawn out are the final or only ways to accomplish the goal.

iii. Having been out to BofA recently, we really seem to be wearing them down. The consistency of returning is good, customers are beginning to engage with us. I see a lot of power in growing this effort.

c. Foreclosures (Reid): This is our best chance to be out in public screaming at the top of our lungs and being really active. A lot of different opportunities for protest: banks, evictions protests. Everybody in this town is affected one way or another by this issue. We can build community, build the movement. This touches on bank corruption in a large degree, also touches on health care corruption and problems, and touches on homelessness. With every person we work with, we can find stories that connect us to the core issue that OWS focuses on. A lot of opportunity to empower the community. Almost every week, there are new people coming and asking for help. Nobody else in town is offering this type of health. Great way to help community and involve activists.

i. What are your thoughts on the mergers? (Some people in the group do want to merge with other campaigns, but I personally don’t until I know what that’s going to look like. Even though we have new home owners come, our community membership isn’t growing at exponential rate. If we take on another campaign, we need to grow more strategically and step by step. However, all the work we do leverages a lot of committee work. There are lots of ways to organically combine Occupy effort.)

d. Homeless Village (Joe): You all saw what the occupy camp here was all about. When Occupy had its camp, crime in downtown went down about 99%. A new camp would solve police problems. Eugene police make twice as many arrests per capita as other cities in Oregon. EPD is harassing homeless to get them to go away, but they have nowhere to go. We have an opportunity to change that entire mindset, and show community there is a better way. Then we build community support to move all our issues forward. If we have a camp open by October 1, that’s a major victory. It will be noticed that there are less homeless sleeping downtown. This would help our community enormously and help the people we worked with while our camp was open.

i. Q: If we solve the homeless issue, will the other issues go away? A: No, jobs are still going to China, wealth is still concentrating. So many people die from lack of health care, etc. But if we solve something visible in the community, in a reasonable timeframe, then we have power, we have success. We can say, “Hey, our solution works. Why don’t you listen to our other ideas?” And then we can talk about all of these issues with this community engagement.

ii. Q: How will we do press and outreach? Most people sneer at homeless and don’t like them. A: This campaign has a series of threats that need to be done in parallel. Press releases, guest editorials, speakers in community (rotary club, neighborhood groups, churches, etc.)

iii. Q: We heard from Ann that homeless task force is forming a nonprofit, a coalition. Would OE just be a coalition member as opposed to running this whole thing? A: Yes, exactly.

e. Community Bill of Rights (Jerry): We are defined by what we do. We’ve been doing a lot of good stuff. But, not everyone is in favor of helping the homeless. What we need to do is to go out to the community and bring everyone into the effort. We need to define what Occupy is about, and right now nobody knows what we’re about. This is what we can say we’re about. If we’re going out knocking door-to-door, some people will not be interested in foreclosures or homeless. But if you go down the list, you can find one issue that they care about. This is an easily modified template. This can be the framework that defines Occupy. We can use it as a recruiting tool and unify everything. The short term goal is something concrete that we can take to other organizations to ask them to take to city councils. We already have training set up to do this, why not take advantage of it?

i. Q: Do you know of any case where a community bill of rights has been passed, and where corporations have given way to what’s in it implicitly, or challenged it in court and lost? A: Paul Cienfuegos talked about Pennsylvania. They tried to stop fracking, and they did it through rights-based ordinances. They put languages in theirs that said nobody can do fracking in their community.

f. Cooperatively Restructuring Occupy (John): An anecdote from the park blocks: I had to turn away dozens of people who wanted to volunteer because we didn’t have the means to plug people in. We have gotten better at this for certain things, especially certain committees. But as a whole, OE is a bewildering network. This is not so much a campaign, but a potential framework for actualizing the campaigns. If we’re recruiting people, the simpler we make it for people, the better. One idea is a task list with very specific items. “We need this done by this time. Can somebody pick this up, do research on this specific organization, do this specific thing?” We don’t want to tell everybody what to do. We want a group of people together researching the software that is out there. People can input “I’m available at this time” or “I’m happy to do this thing”. We’re happy to take this off the campaign list, because it’s not a real campaign. But we want to stay in touch with whichever campaigns are chosen, and really work on how to plug people in. We could also have a framework to input their specific issues. Hundreds of people have tried to help, but couldn’t because it was too convoluted. It took me all of park blocks just to realize who was supposed to be knowing what. It’s ok at 6 months in to still be a little confused, but 6 months from now, we need to be better organized.

i. So this is not a proposal, but rather a tactic that would assist any campaign? A: Exactly.

5. Open discussion re: campaign proposals

*Anyone who spends much time downtown, I’ve noticed a sharp decline in our interactions with police ever since our meetings with Occupy the Trees. Whatever we do, we have to be more aware with our interactions with the police. Whether we want it or not, this is a campaign that has found us.

--This is a tactic that could be part of a goal of any chosen campaign.

*I’d like to see three campaigns: Foreclosure, Bank of America, Homelessness. These groups aren’t going to stop doing what they’re doing.

*Can we find a way to incorporate those 3 things into something larger, united?

*Whatever campaigns we’re working on, we need to bring them to the Fed.

*I think Occupy is about economic inequality. All three of these issues reflect this. Banks are the structure of what causes the inequalities. Foreclosures and homelessness are the face of the consequences of these things. This movement is about the economic inequities.

*If I’m going to buy into a campaign fully, I need to hear something about the root level. It’s not enough to say we’re going to take our money in the economic that exists and put it over here. I want to change the structure of the economic system! If that campaign can be worked on to come up with strategies that worked toward doing that, it would have my total support. Maybe part of the B of A campaign is ongoing education and strategy sessions to get at what the roots are.

*A lot of the discussion comes down to “We have an Occupy face at the Fed and we need people there. We need people to come to this protest, we need people to come to this event.” We’re always trying to get people to go to our events. We need to change our focus. The campaign should be for us to get out and talk to people who will not come to our events. I don’t even think we’ll get 1,000 people at the Fed, and that’s less than 1% of Eugene. We need to get out and talk to the rest of the 99% that aren’t coming to our events.

*I want to go to the root issue. We have another financial meltdown likely. If we had a group that simply dealt with root cause of money problems, we could figure out how to teach ourselves and each other to talk about the upcoming meltdown so we could be watching for it. I think we should have an alternative currency. Consult with Madelyn for more info.

*People are competing for their thing to be the thing. This is a problem. Let’s do them all!

*How can we be the point of a spear instead of the blunt end of the stick? We are doing so much all the time, we aren’t focused.

*Due to our lack of unity, we’ve turned ourselves into a service organization because it’s something the committees can do. We’re very good at it, but it’s not our primary function: protest. We need to be realistic: continue with what we’re doing, pick up our study of the consensus process (or find something that actually works to unite us), and over the next six months, start now what our next six month project will be, and pledge to each other that sometime in the next six months, we’ll launch a true protest campaign.

*Make the alternative easy for people. You have to provide people with means to get out of Bank of America without missing a beat. People are often too lazy to educate themselves. I’m here from New York because I thought this was the epicenter of counter-culture on the West coast today. Occupy action needs to be more concrete. If you can say, we took this person off the street, look at them before and now after, even the most conservative people have to take note.

6. Straw poll: Allocate your beans in the buckets.

a. Bank of America: 24 beans

b. Homeless Solutions: 35 beans

c. Foreclosures: 38 beans

d. Health Care for all: 7 beans

e. Community Bill of Rights: 21 beans

f. ALL of the above: 35 beans

*Those who wanted “all of the above” likely put all six beans in there, does this make it fair?

*Test for consensus to drop Health Care for All as OE’s strategic campaign. 1 block: This is the effort that has the most energy. OE should align completely with it. 3 stand asides, 1 consent with reservation:

Can’t we include it in the Community Bill of Rights?

We should join the coalition before we drop this as a strategy.

So much energy has been put into this, it would be an affront to drop it completely. (Consent with reservation)

These numbers to me say that we have a lot of energy in various places and we shouldn’t drop any of them.

*Since this was a straw vote, can’t we just leave the results alone, please?

7. Announcements

a. Undoing Privilege and Racism workshop this Saturday 10am-3pm. It’s at the Network Charter School. Must sign up: contact Jean.

b. Medical students receiving training this Sunday at Occupy Medical, 12pm-4pm Sunday. Free haircuts!

c. Whiteaker Community garage sale this Sunday, 9ish-3ish. Fundraisers throughout the neighborhood.

d. Occupation Education: Media. Journalism professor from the UO will be educating us, along with our own Michael Carrigan. The next week will be about Avoiding Burnout. Mary B, who is not burned out, will be continuing education of some sort on Wednesday evenings.

e. Library needs donations to give away at protest site.

f. Conversations on Alternative Economics in June, July, August. Talk to John Abbe for more info.

g. Frog Fest May 22-25: Camping on Salmon Creek Rd. You can catch the Diamond Express bus. Email Louisa:

h. Rural Occupy organizing near Klamath. Talk to Jamil, Lauren R. or Michael C. for more info.

i. St. Vincent dePaul is willing to donate space to OE. We just need to contact Terry and let the organization know how much space we need.

j. Ronny: Can we consense to using our OE food to feed people at the Fed?

*Discussion about whether or not OE has officially endorsed the “Occupy Outpost”

*Should Big John have final say about what happens to the food that has been donated to OE?

*We’d like the Outpost to make a proposal for the GA[/list]
Tree Knowlton
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