GA Notes – Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011
Facilitator: Erica, Stacker: Derek, Note taker: Maria B.
Earl introduced himself as a first time attender.
Sayrah: Dr. Bruce Trigg From Physicians for _____and NM Protectins has endorsed (un) Occupy Albuquerque
Earl: Candidate for US Senate Valdez supports (un)Occupy Albuquerque. He may be asking for signatures for petition against corporate greed.
Michael: Has been videoing the teach-ins and has posted them on www.occupyalbuquerque.org
Kiya: Action this Tuesday (Nov.15). Meet at the amphitheater at Bridge and Isleta at 5PM. We will walk to La Plazitas Institute at 831 Isleta. There is a gathering there at 6PM. Bring sage, tobacco, food and clothing.
Henry: As of 5PM last night Denver was evicted for the 3rd time, and an eviction was attempted in Portland. This only reinforces my own commitment to the movement.
Sebastian: Would like to offer a few days a week of high school General Assemblies. This is a steps toward school/worker strikes. Hopefully 10 students. Time to be announced. Please give his number to any youth who might like to participate.
Bill: This Thursday (Nov. 17) is an AFL-CIO National Day of Action. Move On and Occupy Wall Street are joined together against corporate greed. Albuquerque Move On has called an action at Yale Park. UPDATE: The action has been moved to 3 p.m. at the Paseo del Norte bridge – gather at the southern on/off ramps to I-25 from Paseo del Norte, NW.
Erica: Ben Hansen is working on a newsletter – he is looking for court dates stemming from Oct 25th arrests. Contact Ben to write something.
Erica: Sat. 11/19 Spike will be having a non-violence training and crowd control at Robinson Park at 11AM
___?___: Excited because there will be a General Assembly in her own neighborhood Thurs. 11/17 6-8PM Saw Mill Lofts
Cynthia: Taos has a cry for help. Police went to a bar, had all patrons take a breathalizer test, found 1 that blew higher than legal limit. Arrested bar staff. Taos is asking for support around this abuse of power by police.
Working Groups reports:
Sayrah: Meets every Wed. @ 6:30-7:30 at El Mezquite Market San Pedro and Central.
We would like some GA feedback on a proposed action Tues. Nov. 22nd at the courthouse where they are auctioning off houses. Our action would be a street theater of auctioning off people’s dreams and then march to a home that is being foreclosed/evicted. We are partnering with United South Broadway.
Auction off the courthouse itself
Teach-in on foreclosure is requested
Proposed action: CONSENSUS
Cynthia: Action for Dec. 3rd 12 noon meet at Alvarado Transportation Center march to Civic Plaza ending at Robinson Park for “No Genetically Engineered Chili.” She has been flyering downtown and talking to restaurants. Anyone who wants to have a table with food at Robinson Park can set it up at 11 – 11:30 there ahead of action. She is working on a Spanish translation of the flyer.
Hershe: We have forums now available linked to the working groups page on the website. Check them out – www.unoccupyabq.org.
Henry: We need medical supplies. Visit Facebook site named Burque Black Cross Medic Team for list of needs.
Report back from 11.11.11 Robinson Park gathering
Erica: Beautiful, new faces, good energy and feeling. Positive feedback, sign holding and lots of honking…clear that there is need for further education. Next time more talking with local businesses would be good ahead of time…Online feedback: Questions about encampment plans…”what happened to the “occupy” part?”
Henry: Java Joe’s is supportive but don’t count on direct support. SWOP is good with Robinson Park space.
Jenn: Was concerned with comments made by “Legalize Living” on facebook that said they felt that the event at Robinson Park was just a “party” and not concerned with issues of the 99%. She was concerned about the negative piggy backing.
Jenn: Our friend Loren was arrested around 11 AM at Robinson Park. To her knowledge he is still in jail for allegedly disrupting the peace. Question: Was there any solidarity given? Answer: No one saw it happen. What do we do? Santosh: We use the bail money collected and the bail support group will be activated.
Christian: The event was colorful, community based, poets, musicians. Great success, different aspects of the community was present- even the police who were present were positive.
Kiya: Was there follow up with new folks? Sign up sheet or other? She heard from friends that live nearby that trash was left behind. In the film industry they let neighborhood know plans ahead of time…we should have same policy.
• Nov. 17th National Day of Action- 10 mins.
• Strife/ Split- 30 mins.
• Encampment How+When+Where
Agenda Item 1 – Nov. 17th Action
UPDATE: The action has been moved to 3 p.m. at the Paseo del Norte bridge – gather at the southern on/off ramps to I-25 from Paseo del Norte, NW.
Erika: Move On has already called for members to arrive here at Yale Park 4:30 PM. Question: What are they going to be doing?
Elaine: read e-mail – deficit reductions are what congress and the Super Committee are about not creating jobs, they want to protect the 1% not the 99%. They will hold events at places where cuts are proposed.
Bill: I propose that (un) occupy Albuquerque fully endorse this event. Union organizations will show up- we should “own” this event along with Occupy Wall St.
Sayrah: We need to contact AFL_CIO and Move On to coordinate.
Sebastian: Thursday we will be in the same place at the same time. How do we approach this? What is our message? We need to articulate our approach to this National Day of Action.
__?__: Is it an event or follow-up?
Laura: What is our event message? Who is our liaison?
Erica: Should we come earlier than 4:30 PM? We need to get a facebook event page and media.
Caro: I will be liason. Elaine and Erika as well.
Henry: That is the same date as my court date.
Proposal: (un)Occupy Albqueque endorses the AFL-CIO Nov. 17 action.
Hershe: Can we agree to be in “solidarity” with it instead of “endorsing” it? Endorsing has too much of an institutional/organizational ring to it.
We are in solidarity with AFL-CIO Nov. 17 action. CONSENSUS
Sebastian: Tuesday is an Action Working Group meeting. Let’s make signs for the action then.
Agenda Item 2 – Strife/Split
Jason (red sweatshirt): I grew up dirt poor. I fought with my cousins. We are here to do the work. We are still family even if we fight.
Ray: We’ve had personal agendas we are supposed to be an agenda-less movement. We need to steer away from pitfalls. Powers want us to split apart. We need awareness of what we are doing. When race was brought up we lost many people. It was divisive. We need to stay together.
Hershe: I agree with Ray – we are stronger together. But race did not divide us – race is not separate from corporate greed and Wall Street. It was disregard of our consensus/group process and mistrust that divided us. We were unified in the process. We had 85 people at that GA in early Oct. and 76 of us wanted to change the name. We were cohesive and it was beautiful. Consensus and our group process is our salvation. People need to tell the truth about what’s happened to the process.
Michael: Many here support both (un)Occupy and Occupy. Friday’s event showed solidarity from both groups. There were more than 100 folks present at the 11.11.11 event. Occupy Albuquerque will continue to make moves. We want to know how Occupy Albuquerque and (un)Occupy Albuquerque will work together.
Amalia: Clarify: Are there 2 groups?
Peter: (Direct response) At the Nov. 4th GA, 11.11.11. Occupy Albuquerque announced that they were an affinity group.
Andy: Michael referred to (un)Occupy as a small group. I have been here the whole time. That is not true.
Henry: (Direct response) The name change did come to consensus but the people who didn’t want the name change stood aside under duress.
Enrique: I am not able to be here often but I trust that these things are done with my interests represented. When we first started the name was Occupy Burque and it got changed to Albuquerque because some people wanted it that way. I preferred Burque because of my cultural understanding of Albuquerque, but I went with the group.
Cynthia: I have been here about a month. There are good hearted, intelligent people on both sides. This name thing has divided us. I hope that by the time of the Chili event we will be more united. This needs to be settled before more big events happen.
Ray: The name change was blocked. There was not consensus.
Santhosh: The discussion was deferred 2 weeks and everyone had plenty of time to know the name change meeting was taking place. We had one block – Michael and he became a stand aside. We had consensus on the name change.
Laura: Don’t be fooled, people, the 99% is just as split as we are. We are trying to work out these differences. Albuquerque can be a consciousness changing entity. When we consensed to change our name it was one of the BEST decisions ever done here. Folks who didn’t like it are re-grouping and trying to change consensus. A group of white people are trying to take over.
Emotional reactions/CHAOS ensue
Enrique: There is a lot of truth in having to face this hard stuff. How do we deal as a group when we hit bumps as a group. We need to face it together. We all deal with these things : Classism, homophobia, sexism, racism. If we don’t deal with it, we will not move on.
Kiya: Being present in this takes courage. Issues of privilege come to us with or without our choice – on many levels. There have been 500 years of struggle. It takes courage to confront the power dynamics in this country. We must unlearn this stuff. If you get triggered/challenged – self check. There is much to learn from these feelings.
Summer: The name change is perhaps THE most important change to happen. Our community is confronting big issues. We are making alliances.
Derek: It can be very hard to confront white supremacy. Ownership is a European idea. Everyday I must work on being an ally- everyday I must check my privilege. In our very first GA we decided on 100% consensus and anti-oppression politics. I need to know if there are two groups, I need clarity on this. Michael was a stand aside in the name change consensus. If there was duress then at any point the folks who didn’t want the name change could have brought it up again. Are there two groups?
Erica: Not intended to be 2 groups – 1 group was not totally on board, they felt excluded, and weren’t feeling the solidarity.
Racelle: I am new here. I come from a biracial family – Black and White and have struggled with oppression and privilege all my life. I’ve had many incidents of being oppressed here and then when I traveled outside of the US I felt the privilege of being American. I am from NYC and I’m not used to many Native folks. I need to educate myself about Native issues. We have to find common goals. I would like to hear why (un)Occupy was chosen. I think the 2 groups should pick representatives and hash it out.
Paula: I have been observing, not participating in these conversations. And I have been hearing both sides. When I heard about the changing the name to (un)Occupy, I thought what a great compromise – it had “occupy” for those who wanted the NYC connection, but it honored the concerns about colonization. I was at Occupy Baltimore last week and carried a sign that said (un)Occupy Albuquerque and I received compliments.
Paul: I’ve been to a few of these events. I have been unaware of these divides. We are very young. This is counter productive.
Sayrah: The media has responded well to (un)Occupy Albuquerque. I need to hear from the occupy group – are you doing things outside of this GA? I need to hear more about your feelings of exclusion.
Bill: This is about institutionalized racism, not personal racism. Capitalism is both a racist and classist system – not one over the other. We cannot separate them. My goal is to overturn the whole system. Mortgage brokers target all working class folks including white folks but Black and Latino are historically targeted more. Keep the institutional analysis. Talk is limiting, but action is where we learn these things. Neighborhoods have been redlined – targeted by racist institutions. People in those institutions are exploiting their white privilege.
Amalia: Sayrah is right if there is an Occupy group, call it out but I also want to stand with Laura in that it’s about whiteness. Some were unhappy with the name change – it didn’t work for them, I get that. But now they are not working with process. Folks walked away. This is about trust. Even now when I see these people, I want to be connected. If that means that we have two different groups, okay. If that group wants to have 90% consensus instead of 100%, that’s okay.
Caro: The truth is we are not separate. We are connected. We are one body even it part of us is injured. Even with a broken leg, we must learn to walk. We must do this work together. When trust is made, when medicine is laid down, the break is a colonist act. It is a colonist act to make back door deals. I urge us to work on our stuff. If we cannot make change here in our group, how can we do it out in the world?
Jason (red sweatshirt): Get over our racism, people say. We all want to create something but not all of us will agree. I am not afraid of White people or police. We want the banker’s heads not each others’. This is petty.
Jason (not red sweatshirt): This movement is about action and solidarity for a better future. We must not make judgment calls about individuals.
Henry: The issue is with name “occupy.” That’s what has caused this schism. There is an Occupy Belfast event even though it is occupied by the British. And Occupy Palestine. The word has other connotations, so why the stigma? Can’t we reclaim it?
Time check- go 20-30 more minutes. 1 stand aside, no blocks. CONSENSUS to continue the discussion.
Andy: Institutional racism is the focus. I’m disappointed to see my White brothers and sisters flip out at the mention of White privilege. A great example of how to discuss these issues is immigration policy. They make undocumented folks into brown slaves for corporations. Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law was written by a consortium of the prison industry to fill prisons with brown people. We need to learn about and stand against institutional racism. The places that race/class/privilege intersect are where we need to focus. My White brothers and sisters need to admit that you have been on the receiving end of White privilege. We need to formalize that there are two groups or hear everyone agree that we are unified under one name.
Liza: To say that race shouldn’t be an issue and the movement should be about action – is a good sentiment and I’m sure, said with good intention but the point is to get educated about why social movements that do not deeply address racism/sexism/classism have not been successful. The voices of those at the bottom need to be at the center of the struggle.
Hershe: If we are going to all work together, we need to be committed to this PROCESS. If we are going to move forward, we need to be upfront, honest, and clear about what has happened.
Michael: Twice I have been pointed out and called a racist and I’m not even White. My family is Sicilian, I grew up on welfare, and I was in prison. My family was oppressed for 30 years. I would agree that the Occupy group is white. I have been persecuted, called racist, excluded, kicked out of the media group – I come here as an Occupy and (un)Occupy supporter.
Peter: I am White and I am Sicilian. I understand where you’re coming from Michael, Sicilians have been oppressed, but when we check the box, we are White. The occupy group has not held to the process. I have not heard anyone called a racist.
Dawn: I am Scottish/Irish/Breton- we have been oppressed forever. I understand both positive and negative aspects of the word. There has been a division. My facebook page was not acceptable to some- this problem has been worked on. This is the first time for some of us to come together. I felt trust issues, too. I felt excluded. I was called a racist. We cannot disregard our grievances we are doing this work together right now. Even occupy/(un)occupy groups might just be okay. This a development. We can have different voices and show our actions are together. I have felt the brunt of negativity- but also some positivity, too.
Earl: This movement involves many views- there must be a point where we all come together. Warning – the powers that be benefit from this group splintering.
Cynthia: It feels like we are being judged by the color of our skin. My father is Cuban, my mother is a blonde orphan and heroin addict. You see me as a woman with privilege. In 1993 in Alabama, a Black man was treated like a slave by the owners of a Flea Market. Are we saying that NM has been more oppressed? There are many people who have been oppressed.
Elaine: The consensus process is our greatest thing. Without it we have nothing. We must honor it. Even if we are not in agreement, we must honor the process. We must honor that we are bringing our best. We cannot split. NM has the highest percent of the 1% living here! We are 49th in the nation for Education + Poverty. Colonization is not history, it is current- as homes are taken from Latinos and other people of color. Homeless folks here at Yale Park have been majority Native. Yes we are leading the way on this issue by the name change. Don’t separate.
1. Andy: Temperature Read: Straw poll every GA this week- keep track of which name (un)Occupy or Occupy each individual wants and report the results at the GA next Sunday.
2. Hershe: We all operate under (un)Occupy Albuquerque and dismantle all other names, web and facebooks. Start a new (un)Occupy facebook.
3. Ray: We have as many names and as many websites as we want.
4. Michael: (un)Occupy Albuquerque should fall under Occupy Albuquerque as a working group because they are acting outside of solidarity.
5. Erika + Cynthia’s proposals united into one:
We have two separate groups, but one GA. We do actions together and have a Cooperative Action and Solidarity Organization Group to solve issues of multiple websites, planning, URL’s.
6. Santhosh: If we have 2 groups then I propose we go to Decolonize Albuquerque.
7. Amalia: Two separate groups with two separate GAs. Try to work together on actions and review the system in 1 month.
Straw Polls were taken on the seven proposals and three emerge as keepers to be posted and thought about for consensus on Sunday, Nov. 20th at 12:30PM
1. Have only (un)Occupy Albuquerque – dismantle all other names, websites, and facebook pages. Start a new (un)Occupy facebook page.
2. Two separate groups, one GA- do actions together and have a Cooperative Action and Solidarity Organization group to solve issues of multiple websites, planning, URLs, etc.
3. Two separate groups, two separate GA’s and try to work together on actions. To be reviewed in 1 month.
Ray: The two groups are dug in. It’s okay but problematic. Need to have working group- trust has been broken. How can we move forward to bring group together?
Kiya: Philadelphia too has problems – we need a working group to talk about White privilege. We need a White Allies group. This is a lifetime of work. We could use a fishbowl model where in an inner circle, some speak about their experiences others witness from the outer circle. It is the beauty of the intersection of privilege and oppression and we learn about each other. We should break into small groups.
Derrick: We should take a few days to get the word out about these proposals – wait a few days. This conversation (Strife/split) was mentioned 4 days ago on Wed. past.
Hershe: Our process is Direct Democracy and that means that we have to be here for the process. It is our responsibility to show up here with one another.
Raceal: This has already been voted on thee times. This is just a way to keep from doing actions – just voting on semantics. What difference does a vote make, if people want to act outside consensus, they will.
CLARIFICATION: This (separate groups) has not been voted on before.
Santhosh: Even if we have consensus it will be brought back as not consensus. There is no group solidarity. [something about whiteness]
Michael: (to Santhosh) “Fuck you!”
Chaos ensues. Michael leaves the group.
Summer: It is very hard to be at GAs.
Elaine: Let’s take the week to discuss the proposals.
Cynthia: It will give us time to make informed comments.
Hershe: If we are not going to consider consensus on these proposals today, when are we? Our GAs this week are tomorrow, Thursday or Friday.
Dawn: Many folks online cannot come, some are disabled, and are not able to voice their concerns at GA. We need a way to include them.
Cisco: If these folks are not able to attend it is not our responsibility to bring their concerns forward.
Amalia: We have spent three Sundays – 4-6 hours at a time. Those of us here hold the concerns of others in our hearts when consensus is made.
Agreement to consider consensu on the proposals at next Sunday’s GA – Nov. 20th at 12:30