General Assembly Minutes 12 NOV 2011 (7 PM)

Main Facilitator: Joe. Stack: Kyle.  Minutes: Nichole.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

PROCESS: Introduction to Consensus

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

PROCESS: Special Format

  • It was asked that some time be spent doing free discussion before we begin the usual process.

SPECIAL DISCUSSION

DISCUSSION: Related to the move to the IMC

  • Organizational Development & Strategic Visioning: the point of this committee is to develop actionable proposals. This group meets twice a week – Thursday at 5.30pm & Saturday at 2pm are the next two meetings (more concrete times will happen later). Starts with collectively creating an agenda; minutes will be posted on the occupycarbondale.org site under the tab for working groups/committees. Minutes will also be on the Google groups, Facebook, & a physical copy will appear in the IMC.
  • Perhaps have a board in the IMC that lists who is in what committees, who can be contacted for different issues or to be added to the Google groups?
  • Reminder that everyone is welcome to join any committee.
  • We constantly come up against new questions. How do we actively as new activists fight back & connect that to the movement as it began? We need to continue to connect to these [economic] issues, in terms of how they are going to play out in Southern Illinois.
  • Anyone in the Google groups can invite any other person to join.
  • Perhaps we should pass around a sign-in at the beginning of any GA for folks who are new who might be interested in joining the Google group to participate in those conversations.
  • Form small groups meetings to take place at the IMC, about how this space can be used as a winter headquarters in order to keep building activist connections. Some things that have been suggested:
    – art shows
    – music shows (diy, local)
    – free laundry service
    – skills swaps / teach-ins with the general aim of weaning ourselves off corporations
    – make a more substantial kitchen
    – info swap / book store, publishing our own material
    – free store
    – radio show
    – open mics
    – what would it mean for this to be a safe space? critically reflecting on the ways we communicate with one another, engaging in anti-oppression work.
  •  We should put a lot of time, energy, & effort into the Organizational Development & Strategic Visioning committee; we need to be strategic about how we continue to channel energy into specific activities towards our goals.
  • American Voices still claimed to be an ally of our movement in the paper, even though we rejected the proposal to let them co-sponsor an event. What if we, as a group, aligned/attached ourselves with local businesses/organizations?
  • Re: Faculty strike; the faculty is now curious about Occupy Carbondale. There is some rich possibility here.
  • Reading groups? Study groups? Speakers’ Bureau? How do we go out, to  keep from being isolated? We can both invite people in, work on our own public speaking, and volunteer to go speak about Occupy Carbondale. Suggested that we have a roster of folks willing to speak.
  • Missing from Strategic Visioning: rallies, marches, and direct actions we can’t forget these.
  • What kinds of things allow people who wouldn’t come to a GA to feel connected to the movement, to recognize skills that may be of help to the movement? One way to connect to students may be to have a table on campus once every two weeks or something, encouraging students to start or move bank accounts to local credit unions. Start focusing on solutions, and driving  people towards them.
  • Re: creatively connecting to what’s going on in Southern Illinois: we can’t keep ourselves isolated from the people. We need to connect to the desires of the people: the unemployed, exploited students, etc. The intellectual and creative power is here.
  • There are two modes to demonstration: attack & support. We can mobilize support for those things that we do believe in. We don’t have to always be on the attack.
  • It’s really important we keep our focus on the world, what’s going on. “We’ve already caught all the fish, a tiny group of people stole those fish, now we gotta fight to get our fish back.” Not helping people, but joining with them. Solidarity, not charity. For instance, we could demand the prices of textbooks be lowered; we could look up whose houses are being foreclosed on.
  • There are have been some talk about trying to organize an undergraduate student strike in the Spring to address the huge increases in student fees. This might be an issue we could help to organize around, create a push-back on campus, & get people involved on campus.
  • We could concretely start creating new economies here, such as land trusts, having people buy houses to create a new housing situation, etc. Sarah has suggestions of model for how this stuff works.
  • We need to listen to their concerns, but not necessarily unite with all their answers. We need to teach the people how & why the system works, that this isn’t their individual fight, but a systemic issue.
  • Women & children are the most deeply effected in economic issues.
  • Have we already started to identify organizations that we may be able to assist/take action with? Women’s Center, Good Samaritan, Boys & Girls Club
  • Jason has been in contact with Good Samaritan through Occupy Hunger; there are both short & long term goals. The Good Samaritan food pantry is in desparate need of food. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we can help organize & facilitate, mobilize. We can help them do what they are already doing. We can build a network of people who provide, such as local farmers.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Occupy Hunger went to the Farmer’s Market 2 weekends in a row. We collected $75 & a bunch of food last weekend, which was donated to Good Samaritan and Feed My Sheep. Today, we collectd almost $200.
  • There is a black & silver tripod belonging to Nichole & her partner that was loaned to the group for media stuff. It has gone missing. Please return if found!
  • There is a power bill; it runs from $30 to $60 a month & it is more expensive in the winter.
  • If you had things at the campus location, you should come to the IMC to collect anything that is a personal item (or it might become collective property).

PROPOSALS

PROPOSAL: Clarify the process in order to limit the power of any single person from dominating the group. Propose that we agree to take this under consideration, and move to change/clarify/refine process rules by the end of November.

  • RESPONSE: Withdrawn; will be taken to a committee

PROPOSAL:  Reduce GAs to twice a week, Saturday at 1pm & Wednesday at 7pm.

  • RESPONSE: Consensus; must be approved at the next GA

PROPOSAL: Rescind the GA rule in which any change to GA structure must reach consensus at two consecutive GAs.

  • RESPONSE: Withdrawn

PROPOSAL: Use some of our funds to invest in our own hosted website so as to better archive all of our videos & photos.

  • RESPONSE: Withdrawn for further research regarding server space

PROPOSAL: Thursday, Nov. 17th is the National Day of Action declared by Occupy Wall St. Proposal would organize a protest for that day for 4.30pm at the Federal building. This should go to the Organizational Development & Strategic Visioning after the GA to be planned.

  • RESPONSE: Consensus

PROPOSAL: Adjourn

  • RESPONSE: Consensus

SUMMARY OF CONSENSUS

  • General Assemblies will now occur twice a week, Saturday at 1pm & Wednesday at 7pm (this proposal was approved at the 7 pm GA on 11/12/11 and the 11 am GA on 11/13/11).

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