Notes from (Un)Occupy Albuquerque General Assembly
April 1, 2012, Yale Park
submitted by Sayrah
Two guests participated in today’s General Assembly: one from Occupy San Diego and one from Occupy Wall Street NYC labor working group.
· The Occupy Caravan that was scheduled to stop in Albuquerque on Tues April 3rd has postponed their trip due to lack of funds. They may arrive in a month. Summer and Natalie are the point people and will keep us posted.
· Occupy Walk USA, a group walking from California to Occupy Wall Street, will stop in Albuquerque around May 15th. Our guest from Occupy San Diego will keep us posted via Thomas.
Working Group Report Backs:
· The Mock Wall at UNM will be on display from April 16-20th at UNM Smith Plaza. A working group within (Un)Occupy Abq created a design which incorporates both the Israeli apartheid wall’s impact on Palestine and the US/Mexico border wall. The working group will announce days to build the wall so we can all participate. There will be teach-ins as part of the Mock Wall and Amnesty International will hold a vigil Wed April 18th.
· The May Day Coalition met last Wed March 28th at Encuentro. This meeting was even larger than the first, with more participants from (Un)Occupy Abq, the Anti-Capitalist Working Group, La Raza Unida, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, Encuentro, and an activist from Occupy Taos. Each group agreed to meet internally to discuss goals of May Day marches, events, etc then meet together again on Wed April 4th to coordinate. Members of El Centro expressed concerns if a strike is called by (Un)Occupy Abq in coordination with the OWS strike. Rachel explained that in 2006, immigrants did have a national strike and many lost their jobs but they felt they had the support of thousands and it had an impact on stopping the Sensbrenner bill. They raise questions about calling a strike now if there are not clear demands and not large enough support to risk losing their jobs or having an impact.
Everyone agreed at the coalition meeting and at today’s GA that we want to coordinate actions and be unified in talking points and actions. We discussed the need to show the link between capitalism and immigration, both as a root cause of immigration and as an exploiter of immigrants.
We discussed calling a strike and different ways it could be done, such as no shopping or a student walk out. The guest from Occupy Wall Street explained that there are many events happening on May 1st in NYC but that the unions could not support a general strike. OWS agreed to have a unity march that was safe enough for immigrants to participate in and that did not use the word strike.
Sayrah explained that El Centro plans to apply for a city permit for their march, happening on May 1st at 5:30pm. The permit will keep it legal so that immigrants do not risk arrest and possible deportation. El Centro will meet this Tues to plan out the march and report back to the coalition meeting on Wed.
Thomas reported that at the Anti-Capitalist Working Group meeting yesterday, they discussed the May 1st march and felt using the word strike loosely was not a good idea and reduced the power of it.
Bill, union organizer, said that the unions cannot legally support a general strike and proposed that we not use the word at all because it takes away the power of what a strike actually is, as has been used around the world.
Decision: The group consensed not to call a strike on May 1st but instead to encourage boycotts and possibly organize a student walk out at UNM. There was discussion about how to involved graduate students and especially undergraduate students on May 1st.
There was discussion about making the clear connection between capitalism and immigration, such as trade agreements, wage theft, etc. This could be done at the event through speakers talking points and possibly a pamphlet.
We discussed visuals such as wearing masks to protect the identity of immigrants and to show solidarity with those who feel targeted.
We discussed the route of the march. One suggestion was to have it start at UNM to involved students. We also discussed picking a target for the end of the march that would be a corporation that exploits immigrants, such as those who commit wage theft or the corporations who profit from detaining immigrants. We definitely want to hear more from El Centro about their plans for the march.
Discussion on Working Groups from Thursday’s GA was re-visited. There was a proposal at the last GA to identify which working groups are still active.
Decision: the GA consensed today that this Thursday we will have a special GA to specifically talk about the organizational structure of (Un) Occupy Albuquerque. The topics will include removing defunct working groups from our website and discovering which working groups still exists. Finding ways to encourage inter-working group communication. Finding ways to encourage working groups to report back to the GA. And ensuring that there will be a regular GA that will meet to talk about how we organize ourselves. This GA is intended to focus on our internal organization and everyone who has an organizational point to make should attend. Additionally, since a major part of this GA is trying to find which working groups are defunct and may need to be reorganized or dissolved any one who is part of a functioning working group should attend.