General Assembly Nov. 7, 2011
Facilitator: Ben, Note taker: Hershe
Camp Agreements, Consensus briefing
Lila will set up the (un)Occupy INFO BOOTH at Yale Park every day this week from 11- 5. She has signs for street walking. Bring flyers, banners or signs and join in!
Kate is working on an 99% Story action/event to set up events at Libraries, Community Centers, and Senior Centers for people to tell their 99% stories and to comment or ask questions about the (un)Occupy movement in Albuquerque, the country, and across the world.
Desi: Teach-ins are happening at UNM from 11-2:30 this Wednesday and Thursday.
Henry: the medical supplies have gone missing and we need more.
Ben has been working with the Albuquerque Solidarity Network on behalf of a woman who lost her wages. We’re involved in an action this Thursday. Meet at Yale Park at 9 a.m.
Sebastian: Does anybody know where are sign-making supplies ended up after the arrests?
Christian announced that the 11.11.11 Occupy Everywhere worldwide event this Friday at Robinson Park is going to be really colorful and impactful with lots of great local bands and Azteca and African dancers.
Jason: CNM campus needs our support.
Hershe: Tomorrow is the Ride the BUS/STRIKE up a Conversation on the city buses. Meet downtown at the Alvarado Transit Center at 3:30! Details on the website www.unoccupyabq.org.
Thomas: We consensed on a new working group at Sunday’s GA. We The People will begin working on the constitutional amendment re: corporate personhood.
Sebastian: As agreed upon at Sunday’s GA, Ilse sent a letter to Pres. Schmidly’s office clarifying our stance on individuals who take it upon themselves to take unilateral actions outside of group process.
Working Group reports
Kate: Foreclosure – we’re having an action 8 a.m. – noon on Nov. 22 at the Wells Fargo boardroom. We’re going to auction off the American dream.
Will: Labor – we’re forging relationships with 45 unions who represent over 45,000 people in New Mexico. We’re meeting tonight after the GA at Satellite.
Hershe: Digital Media – we met this afternoon and are building out the website. We now have a “Today’s Haps” feature on the front page that lists all events, meetings and actions each day. If you want to help out or have info. that needs posting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John: Please post Working Group reps and meeting times on the website.
1. GA meeting on Tuesday nights instead of Action brainstorming
2. Move or stay at Yale Park
3. Acting outside of consensus process
4. Carolina adds “Number of GAs each week” to the agenda.
Brief discussion and quick decision to combine agenda items 1 and 4.
Agenda Item 1– GA Meetings
Carolina: Let’s have GAs three days a week – M W F and spend the other 4 days meeting with Working Groups, doing Teach-Ins, and educating ourselves. We need time to plan actions and to meet with each other. We are in this for the long haul, we need to pace ourselves. As it is, people get upset because they can’t be at every GA and then decisions are made they don’t agree with and they come back and are unhappy.
Thomas: How about T W Th instead?
John: If we went to 3 GAs a week, how long would we meet?
Carolina: 90 minutes – 2 hours.
Andy 1: What days are traditional the largest meetings?
Will: If we narrow down days we meet, we’ll be leaving people out. It is important to have GAs daily so that as many people as possible can be here and we have last minute announcements every night that are important.
Alan: What about Sundays?
Carolina: Sundays could be Special Issue GAs.
Amalia: I like the idea, it encourages us to move out into Working Groups.
Thomas: I think Mondays and Tuesdays have been big meetings but we have less people as the week goes on and we’re busy with actions.
Jason: If people are upset to miss meetings, they can use the buddy system and have someone fill them in on what happened.
***Breaking News: GPSA RESOLUTION in Support of (un)Occupy Albuquerque’s right to be on UNM campus PASSED!!! And they asked that we be invited to be here 24/7.***
Sebastian: I like the 3 days a week proposal. Our Working Groups are the skeleton, but I’m concerned about not having meetings at the end of the week and having to wait until Monday. We’ve got so much happening on weekends, I think we need meetings before them.
Carolina: While it is exciting to participate in direct democracy and have our voices finally heard and empowered, GAs are not the movement – actions and relationship building are. Let’s keep that in mind.
Kate: Having time to brainstorm is important. What about meeting Su M and Th F? But I suggest we don’t try to decide this today, let’s just let it put out there and let it circulate for a day or two.
Hershe: Yes, I was going to propose four days instead of 3. We’ve been GAing 6 days a week, so that seems like a good compromise. And I want to respect what Will said about not being able to make some nights so wanting more options. I also think we should consider that part of our desire to have more time to be in Working Groups and action planning is due to having so few hours here since we were arrested 2 weeks ago. When we had time to be here with each other all day, the GAs didn’t have to be the only time we came together. The other drawback with only 3 days of GAs is that not everybody is in a Working Group and GA is their only time to be here.
Will: We’ve already been trimmed down by UNM, I don’t think we should reduce our time anymore.
Carolina: Clarification – we’d still be here each night, just not in GAs.
Adam: What if we made some GAs discussion-only and others decision-making so people would try not to miss the decision-making ones. The we could build up during the week to the really special GA.
Thomas: I don’t think we should limit the GA in that way. But Sundays could be special issue GAs.
Jason: GAs are like huddles.
Andy: But if big decisions fall on a particular day and someone can’t make that particular day ever, that would be unfair. There are reason this shouldn’t be decided now.
Ben: Having only one big day to make decisions doesn’t work for me – I can’t come on Sundays, I visit my grandma every Sunday.
Carolina: Limiting our voices to one special, day is not good. This proposal is supposed to be a way to become more inclusive.
Sebastian: If we had more time for working groups, we’d have more time to hash out things before GAs.
Hershe: It feels like we’ve heard all different views and now we’re repeating ourselves – can we consider consensus?
Lauren: We need to be 24/7 before we talk about cutting back on GAs. This is how people get involved.
Amalia: I want to be clear that what we’re talking about is trust. It’s going to take a whole lot of trust if we’re going to do this.
John: I suggest we make Sundays the special meeting for 3 months and then switch it every 3 months to a different day.
Josh: Planning for what we want to happen three months out is premature.
Ben: Let’s hear the proposal.
Thomas: GAs on Su M Th and F.
Sebastian: With working groups and Teach-Ins the other 3 days.
Hershe: With nothing about one day being more special than another.
Agreed. The proposal will go back on the Agenda for another GA.
Agenda Item 2 – Move or stay at Yale Park
Thomas: A proposal came up a couple days ago that we move to Robinson Park.
Hershe: Clarification – it wasn’t a proposal, it was an affinity group that came to the GA last Friday and said they were going to occupy Robinson Park this Friday after the 11.11.11 action and we were welcome to join them.
Amalia: I’m interested in holding our ground here. But why not have two encampments? That’s fine with me.
Andy 1: But the group down there should stay in contact.
Chad: Let’s occupy places all around the city and have a central GA once a week.
Josh: I thought we had already decided to be here and keep looking at other options. If we can be here 24/7, let’s do it.
Thomas: Splitting into two groups is [inaudible]. I want to keep the decision making unified so we can be in solidarity.
Chad: There are thousands of GAs in solidarity around the world, so why not here?
Andy 2: We are going to have people at all levels – local, state, national – do we want to go through all those levels?
[Name?]: We have to see if these occupations take hold. Let’s not worry about it until it happens.
Andy 1: I think a lot about space. This movement was galvanized because we were a large presence. We need to be together in big numbers.
Ben: Each community should be empowered to hold their own GAs – that’s where were headed – the people organizing to govern themselves and their communities.
Santhosh: Historically, it is difficult to get large numbers of people show up in the streets in Albuquerque. There is a lot of us/them talk – we already have two camps and two websites – that is the elephant in the room.
[Name?]: Having GAs in two places won’t be a problem as long as they’re not at the same time so people can go to both.
End of discussion for now
Agenda Item 3 – Acting outside of consensus process
Amalia: We’ve been working from consensus and this woman stepped outside of that and we need to make a statement on behalf of (un)Occupy Albuquerque that this happened outside of our process and it is not okay.
Sebastian: Ilse did send a statement today to President Schmidly’s office to that affect, but what are we going to do when these things come up again? We need fact checkers.
Amalia: It concerns me when things do not go through consensus. We need a statement that says nobody acts on behalf of the group without going through the consensus process.
Carolina: I’m trusting all of you in this work. When things like this happen, it breaks my trust. People who act like outside of the group and our consensus process are either stuck in their individualistic need for control and are dangerous or they are suspect – is it their intention to disrupt us and this movement?
Thomas: It wasn’t just that she acted “outside of consensus,” she directly contradicted our consensus process. We never speak on behalf of others unless so empowered by the group.
Jason: We need to have a template to address this.
Sebastian: We need to designate some people that the administration and city officials can come to for clarification if someone unknown approaches them.
Santhosh: We had that – Ilse, Desi and Les.
Anita: This is a lesson for us, and an opportunity to reclaim our consensus process. Her letter was blatant, but there have been other underminings of our process. GA decisions need to be taken seriously and respected. If people have concerns about the process or decisions, they need to show up and talk about it with the group, not talk shit on the internet.
Jason: The UNM police know me – I can talk with them if we need to designate someone.
Santhosh: The beautiful thing about our process is that if you disagree with a decision, you can always bring it back to another GA.
Sebastian: Proposal: The Media Working Group can block sending something out that hasn’t come to the GA for approval.
Amalia: I think I need a day or two to think this through before deciding – that seems like a big step.
Carolina: I suggest that Christian and Erica of the Facilitation working group come up with a document/plan to deal with this issue and bring it back to the GA for us to discuss.
Thomas: I don’t know that we need to send it to a working group – I think it can be a simple proposal/statement about not violating the GAs ability to function.
Andy: We’re not prohibiting anyone from calling anybody else.
Hershe: I think we handled the whole thing really well. We have done a fantastic job of letting people know who we are and how we operate. People from the outside know we don’t have spokespeople or “leaders.” They know we make decisions as a group with consensus. And we didn’t over-react when this letter came to the surface. Let’s commend ourselves!
Proposal: The Facilitation working group will draft a unilateral statement/best way to deal with people who act outside of GA process and bring it back to the GA for discussion and to post on the website so that at a GA in a few days we bring it back for consensus consideration.
Amalia: I still think I need to think this over before I can consense on that proposal.
Anita: I need some clarification. I want to know that this Facilitation working group works for this GA – (un)Occupy and not for Occupy. We need to make sure these lines are clear.
Thomas: There is overlap in the Facilitation working group but we can keep it clean.
Anita: No, that Facilitation working group was consensed on by this GA to be working for us. If that is not what it is then it needs to be dismantled and a new group of people put in place. We are not looking for a favor from an outside group.
Thomas: We could give it to the Media working group to draft.