General Assembly Minutes 2011-12-09

Agenda

Roles, respect check, donations, agenda approval – 5 minutes
Welcome, consensus review – 5 minutes (+1:30)
Announcements – 5 minutes
Other Occupy news – 5 minutes
Occupy Gainesville news – 10 minutes
Deep breath – 1 minute
Working and affinity group reports and proposals – 15 minutes (+8)
General proposals – 5 minutes
Monster Mash break – 5 minutes
Open discussion, occupiers’ choice – 5 minutes
Open floor – 10 minutes (+5)
Announcements and appreciation – 5 minutes
Party down

Roles

Facilitators – Dan, John B.
Vibe checker – Karrie
Stack keeper – Evie
Time checker – Mariah
Note taker – Walton
Guide/greeter – Coral

Announcements

Willie will miss us; he’s leaving for Jacksonville tomorrow, and will be at Shands starting 20 December. He’ll be in contact with Jen and Lars.

Josie’s anthropological film is nearing completion, and she has consent forms for everyone to sign. There will be a public viewing on Friday, 16 Dec., between 10:00 AM and noon. More details forthcoming.

A passerby told us that we’re awesome.

There is no breakfast planned for tomorrow.

Other Occupy news

Someone posted on Reddit claiming to be a 1%er who admires the work that Occupy is doing. S/he has offered to donate $10 to the movement for everyone who “likes” her/his post, with no cap on the amount. As of last week, about 1200 people had “liked” the post.

In New York, a group of Occupy Ninjas took to the streets of Manhattan with barrier tape reading “Occupy” and “Foreclosed”, decorating banks, ATMs, etc. It is awesome; google “Occupy Ninjas” to find the video.

In LA, Move to Amend, working with Occupy, fostered a unanimous decision by the city council to end corporate rule (differentiating corporate personhood from real-live, flesh-and-blood people personhood) in the city. They are the 20th city to accomplish this.

Occupy Gainesville news

Our local Move to Amend (as in “amend the constitution”) group met on Wednesday, and they will meet again on Wednesday at 4:00 PM at the Civic Media Center. They are dedicated to the death of corporate personhood and the preservation of real people’s rights. There is a group page on Facebook if you’d like to get involved.

This morning, a breakfast friend from the Quakers brought some bagels, but there was no one on the plaza to eat them. The day before, only one occupier was present to receive breakfast and unload the truck, both of which were a little awkward. We are decreasing in numbers, sometimes to the point of non-presence.

We had one occupier today: our plant, Poly. There was an empty dish next to it; we believe it was taking donations on our behalf. Poly couldn’t make it to GA tonight, otherwise it would have been nominated to facilitate; hopefully, it hasn’t been arrested.

We have several members in Orlando, occupying the Florida People’s Convention. We hope to hear from them tonight and/or tomorrow with an update on the group page or the forums.

Several of our regular sleepers have also embarked on a roadtrip, starting in Tampa and then to Orlando, with a final goal of being in Washington DC on 17 January for Occupy Congress. We need a few hearty souls to take up their role as sleepers.

Working and affinity group reports and proposals

Food & Comfort, via Jen

The group is feeling challenged; numbers are decreasing, and the group members need a break.

There was some discussion on how we should handle this issue. We provisionally decided that we need to have a discussion on the forums regarding this situation, and to develop some short-term plans (i.e., for the coming week) over the next two days. In this coming week, we’ll devote more time to figuring out our long-term F&C plans.

Greet the City Commission, via Zot

Here are the dates and times for the next round of meetings with our local elected officials:

Thursday, 10 January, 9:30 AM: Susan Bottcher
Thursday, 10 January, 10:00 AM: Jeanna Mastrodicasa
Thursday, 10 January, 10:30 AM: Randy Wells
Thursday, 10 January, 1:00 PM: Craig Lowe (mayor)
Tuesday, 17 January, 3:30 PM: Todd Chase
Tuesday, 17 January, 4:00 PM: Thomas Hawkins
Monday, 23 January, 3:30 PM: Scherwin Henry

Discussion will touch on various issues, not just our presence on the plaza.

Process, via Walton

Proposal: devote tomorrow’s GA to Food & Comfort; discuss the problems, find solutions.
The proposal was withdrawn; instead, tomorrow’s Process meeting will incorporate F&C, and other important issues, into tomorrow night’s GA agenda. Get in touch with Walton before 5:30 tomorrow, and/or come to the meeting tomorrow at 5:30.

General proposals

Proposal (passes): Josie’s anthropological film about OG will be put on our calendar, and get a publicity bump on our website.
There will also be an advanced viewing for anyone who’s interested; details to come.

Open discussion

While there was some talk of discussing F&C issues in this time, the discussion instead came to focus on weekend logistics. Here is a summary of what we decided:

John will drop off our banner and some sleeping supplies tonight, and some signs for tomorrow’s RXTX action. These supplies will be duly taken care of by generous volunteers. We will not set up tomorrow, but John will return on Sunday so we can have a strong presence for the Barter Day.

“Homework” question: Where is this movement going? How will we change and develop?

Open floor

Julie needs some help promoting Rockupy. There are some flyers available, and you can get the document from the Facebook page if you want to print your own.

Evie wants to start a Women’s Affinity group devoted to the role and situation of women in Occupy and the world at large.

After Tuesday’s GA, Karrie felt that the group was divided over the language used in the proposed amendment. This isn’t what we’re all about; OWS called to us to unite and reclaim our land and our country, not to divide ourselves from one another over semantic debates. She remembered 12 October, and all the love and community she felt, and how everyone came together to make our voices heard. She wants that feeling back, and is afraid that the guideline debates are tearing us apart. She hopes that everyone can be responsible adults and speak honestly with one another, and reminds us that OG is here to bring about change for everyone.

John F. arrived at the plaza this morning, and no one was here. Danny showed up, so the two of them went and cleaned Michelle’s garage. If we’re going to heed Karrie’s imperative, we have to stop relying on the sleepers. He feels that the sleepers and the others that come to GA are being divided, a trend echoed across the nation. We need to change our occupation tactics and not expect the sleepers to take care of the day-to-day logistics and heavy lifting. He hopes that the non-sleeper GA attendees will become more involved, engender cohesiveness, and increase focus. He suggests that a major focus that can reunite us is ending corporate personhood.

Jen sees the key to success in taking care of the basics first, but feels that in doing so, other important skills and needs have fallen by the wayside. She admires Zot for many reasons, but tonight specifically for being the last woman standing in our Library. We need volunteers to sit at the table and talk to people on OG’s behalf (an intersection with Outreach, and Education & Empowerment). She hopes we can set a sort of academic calendar, so even if community members can’t come out and join us, they can at least be educating themselves with some good books. If we can help them become more aware, perhaps they’ll come out and take a more active role.

Lisa reminded us that there are other forms of activism than marching, like engaging the government in conversation by contacting elected officials.

Willie has been on the plaza almost 24 hours a day since 15 October. He never committed to a working group, just helped wherever he saw a group in need. He would like to see us reestablish our presence on the corner to attract attention for OG. Enthusiasm has dropped since we abandoned that presence, and many beneficial participants no longer attend GA. Something is unbalanced; we must figure out what it is, bring back the love; that is the essence of the movement.

Ilene: we need new ways of occupying, and of advertising our presence.
On an astrological note, Mercury is still retrograde. It goes direct on the 13th. There will be a full moon tomorrow, and an eclipse. She reminds us that there’s a lot of planetary activity, which we are affected by, but which will be shifting soon.

Julie: If you’re stressed, why not occupy a hot tub? It’s especially great with chocolate.

Announcements & appreciation

Sunday is our next Barter Day! Bring your goods, services, and talents; no federal money required, and there will be an all-day potluck.

Tonight, there is a WGOT benefit at Durty Nelly’s. (They’re the folks who’ve let us borrow the white tent.)

Jen brought her telescope for us to enjoy after GA.

Karrie appreciates our plant, Poly, who occupied the plaza all day and tried to get donations for us. We’re not sure where it is, but if you see it, take it home, give it some love and plenty of sunshine.

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