General Assembly Minutes 02 NOV 2011 (5:30 PM)

Minutes: Treesong.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

PROCESS: Introduction to Consensus

  • The main facilitator explained our consensus decision-making process.

PROCESS: Special Format

  • It was proposed earlier that tonight’s General Assembly be modified in form to allow for group discussion of our plans for the winter using the stack process to facilitate the discussion. Those present at the General Assembly agreed to continue with this plan. Therefore, the Proposals section was replaced by a Special Discussion section. While there was the potential for other proposals to arise, there were no proposals other than the proposal to adjourn. The discussion was followed by the previously overlooked Announcements section.

SPECIAL DISCUSSION

DISCUSSION: Winter is Coming

  • It’s impossible to summarize an hour or more of discussion with a few bullet points. However, those present at this General Assembly wanted to pass on some form of overview of what was discussed. Therefore, the following is a list of some [but not all] of the points of discussion.
  • Winterization Plan: The current plan for winter proposed by the Winterization Committee is to use the Big Muddy IMC community space [known simply as “The IMC” or “The Space”] as an indoor headquarters. Other additional plans are possible, including various proposals for how to maintain a visible and active public presence during hazardous weather conditions. Work on these additional proposals is ongoing, but the general idea of establishing the IMC as a winter headquarters was almost [but not quite] unanimously supported by those present.
  • There will be a march from the occupation site to the IMC on Sunday for a potluck and/or clean-up day.
  • The SIUC strike is not the only focus of Occupy Carbondale. This has always been the case, but establishing an off-campus headquarters will help clarify this.
  • Gaia House is still open and welcoming to Occupy Carbondale. There is ongoing discussion between the two groups to ensure that Occupy Carbondale knows and respects the needs of the Gaia House space, but this is a friendly and supportive discussion. The idea of a winter headquarters at the IMC came about for reasons unrelated to Gaia House.
  • The IMC would be a dedicated space for Occupy Carbondale. This would allow us to do things that we can’t do in a shared space.
  • The IMC has proximity to the Town Square.
  • Someone raised concerns about security in the neighborhood that the IMC is in. Those with experience at the IMC and in the neighborhood in question argued that there are far less security concerns there than at the current occupation site. There was broad agreement on this point.
  • Occupy Carbondale can still can be active elsewhere. The idea of an indoor winter headquarters does not preclude the idea of an outdoor occupation site or other indoor or outdoor activities.
  • Someone expressed concern that creating an indoor headquarters will lead us to lose focus on our goals and become less active. Others responded that focusing entirely on battling with the cold would also lead us to lose focus and become less active. Vigilance is required either way.
  • The time spent indoors during the winter can be a time for personal growth and growth as a movement. Teaching, workshops, etc., will be productive movement-building activities even in those times that we spend indoors. This will better prepare us for community outreach.
  • There was some brief discussion of how to modify our General Assembly schedule to include less General Assemblies without excluding anyone with a restrictive schedule. This was set aside in favor of the night’s focus on winterization.
  • Would maintaining a presence on our current site after creating this winter headquarters lead us to spread ourselves too thin?
  • If we don’t have a 24/7 occupation at a single location, we will still be doing visible public events like marches, rallies, and mini/temporary occupations.
  • There are many was to do public outreach, not just marches etc.
  • Part of what is capturing the imagination of people with their eye on Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Carbondale is the public spectacle. That public spectacle has already been achieved. Now, we need to develop more community organizing angles as well as innovative ways of maintaining that public attention on the issue of corporate takeover of our democracy.
  • For our local circumstances, mini-occupations may be a more tactical approach than 24/7 occupations. We can march to a location related to our goals, occupy public space there for an hour/day/etc., then march to another location at another time. This is an option to consider when discussing our plans to maintain a highly visible outdoor presence throughout the winter. Rather than a large number of people in a set location, we may opt for a smaller number of people moving between numerous locations.
  • There was almost [but not entirely] unanimous support for the idea of the IMC as a winter headquarters. However, not everyone was able to attend this meeting, so not all views on the matter are known. This will probably be formulated as a formal proposal soon, so people with concerns about the IMC as a winter headquarters are encouraged to keep talking to other people in Occupy Carbondale and attend future General Assemblies [or pass on your concern to those attending].

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Be attentive to who we are and how we interact with community groups and businesses. If you are speaking to anyone in the community in an Occupy Carbondale capacity, be sure to be respectful of others, even if you disagree with them or if they do not express support for Occupy Carbondale.
  • Voices for Truth is meeting tomorrow [Thursday] at 6 p.m. at Spinoni’s. They invite us to learn more about them.
  • We are being heard on the national level. There was recently an executive order relevant to Occupy Wall Street claims. There is also now a proposed Constitutional amendment to reverse the effects of Citizens United.
  • There is vegan chili available across the street after the meeting.
  • There is a march and rally starting at 4 p.m. tomorrow in support of the unions on campus. The start time is too early for some working people, but the march and rally will be ongoing to accommodate those with later availability and maintain a presence for a longer period.