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Occupy Carbondale General Assembly

Wednesday, October 12   |   5:30 pm    | Gaia House Interfaith Center

Occupy Carbondale is growing and building momentum! Our first planning meeting had about 50 people and our first demonstration had about 70 or 80 people. Now it’s time to hold our own General Assembly! Join us as we decide what course this newly emerging movement of true democracy will take as we Occupy Carbondale!

Vigil with the Peace Coalition

Occupy Carbondale and the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois held a joint vigil/demonstration on Saturday, October 8th from noon until about 2 pm. There were about 70 or 80 people in attendance with signs, a new Occupy Carbondale banner, drums, and plenty of discussion and planning of local actions in the coming weeks.

Meeting Minutes, 05 October 2011

Agenda

  • Introduction: What is Occupy Wall Street? What is Occupy Carbondale?
  • Occupy Wall Street and Occupy STL
  • Local Events
  • Solidarity With Other Local Campaigns

Meeting Minutes

We didn’t designate a notetaker, so these minutes are a loose summary primarily based on memory.

Discussion

After going around the circle and introducing ourselves, we started with discussion of Occupy STL. Several people who have been to St. Louis since the start of Occupy STL spoke about their experiences, describing what their demonstration was like, their group structure/process, interactions with police/passersby, etc.

Since this was our first meeting, our facilitator mostly just “kept stack”, meaning that he kept track of who wished to speak and called on them in the order in which they raised their hands. Topics discussed included:

  • Support work for Occupy STL
  • Support for the four unions at SIUC that have authorized strike
  • Someone expressed concern about idealizing modern unions as they are not always in fact organizations that serve the interests of the workers. Several other speakers addressed these concerns with discussion of the details of the potential local strike.
  • Graduate Assistants United is having one last bargaining meeting with the administration on October 14 in a final effort to avoid a strike. Occupy Carbondale supporters are encouraged to support GAU.
  • Support for local campaign to retire coal plant at SIUC: People in general seemed supportive of this campaign, but the discussion lead elsewhere without a proposal/vote on this issue.
  • General Assembly / Occupation (GA)
  • GA: Possible days, venues, logistics
  • GA: Ensuring that we are ready before declaring a day/venue
  • GA: Sharing personal stories (Local “We Are The 99%”)
  • GA: Exploring and sharing creative/positive vision (what we are for vs against)
  • GA: While some focus will be on developing demands related to the overall Occupy Wall Street / Occupy Together movement, other topics with relevance to our community will also be discussed. The purpose of a General Assembly is to practice direct democracy, so any topic related to our common interests is open to discussion and decision-making.

Decisions

We made several decisions:

  • Occupy Carbondale will have a presence at the peace vigil on this coming Saturday, October 8 at noon at the Town Square Pavilion. Everyone is encourage to attend to show support for Occupy Carbondale and engage in further networking in preparation for a General Assembly.
  • Occupy Carbondale supports the faculty, graduate assistants, and staff of SIUC in their effort to secure a fair contract and to strike if necessary.
  • Occupy Carbondale will have our next planning meeting next Wednesday, October 12, at 5:30 pm at Gaia House. The time was changed to 5:30 pm to accommodate the protest and press conference on campus in support of the unions.

Action Items for Next Meeting

We have several points to consider and/or act on between now and our next planning meeting:
  • General Assembly Location: After some discussion of logistics, the two proposed locations for a General Assembly are Town Square Pavilion and Gaia House. At the next meeting, we will discuss (and possibly decide) which location we will be using.
  • Committees: We have formed several committees. Even though we haven’t chosen a time/place for the General Assembly yet, committees are encouraged to start preparation. Outreach, Media, Food, Cleaning, Safety, Supply, Medical, Facilitation, and Legal.
  • Occupy STL: Several members expressed an intent to do Occupy STL support work, but there may not be a committee yet, and we may want to form one. We will discuss this via Facebook/email since it needs to be acted on prior to our next planning meeting.
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Why Occupy Carbondale?

Note: The following is not an official statement of the General Assembly of Occupy Carbondale. It is simply a reflection piece that was written during the effort to start the occupation.

As the spirit of Occupy Wall Street spreads across America and the world, we who are among the 99% of people at the “bottom” of the economic and political power structure in this country have decided to bring this movement to our town. We call Occupy Wall Street a demonstration rather than a protest because the New York City General Assembly is demonstrating a popular example of what a genuinely democratic decision-making process looks like. Through this process, they have released their first official statement and are currently developing a proposed list of Demands for Congress.

Occupy Carbondale is a local manifestation of this national and global spirit of freedom and direct democracy.

In our pursuit of wealth and our lack of participation in our own democracy, we have allowed transnational corporations and other private interests to corrupt and overtake our democratic process. We are the 99% who were promised the American Dream in exchange for our hard work and our support of a system controlled by the 1% above us. But our loyalty and dedication was betrayed as economic elites and our supposed representatives worked hand in hand to sell our financial security, our personal freedoms, our political power, and our future to the highest bidder.

The time has come for us to resist the alliance of Big Corporations and Big Government. The time has come for us to resist the erosion of our freedoms and corruption of our democracy. The time has come for us to reclaim our freedom and our democracy by gathering together in public places to hold General Assemblies and talk to our fellow community members and fellow Americans about the solutions to our many economic, political, and ecological problems. The time has come for us to Occupy Carbondale, acting nonviolently and cooperatively to create better lives for ourselves and a better future for everyone.

Occupy Carbondale Planning Meeting

Wednesday, October 5   |   5 pm to 7 pm   | Gaia House Interfaith Center

Agenda

  1. Introduction [What is Occupy Carbondale?]
  2. Supporting Occupy Wall St & Occupy STL
  3. Local Events
  4. Solidarity with Local Campaigns [Strikes at SIUC, Beyond Coal]

Description

The ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration is capturing the imagination of the entire nation. We are the 99% who have had our lives turned upside down and our futures stolen by the 1% who have bought and sold our public officials for the sake of private profit. Occupy Wall Street is uniting a growing diversity of individuals, groups, and movements into a call for true freedom and democracy in our country.

Not all of us, however, can travel to NYC to join the occupation. Therefore, people in cities across America are organizing their own events to share in this spirit of grassroots democracy. Now, the Occupy Together movement is coming to Carbondale!

This planning meeting is the first official Occupy Carbondale event. Everyone who lives in Southern Illinois and supports Occupy Wall Street is invited. Here’s what’s on the agenda:

* Introduction: What is Occupy Wall Street? What is Occupy Carbondale? Everyone who comes will already have some idea, but this discussion will help ensure we’re on the same page. This will include highlights of the latest news from Occupy Wall Street and Occupy STL [St. Louis].

* Occupy Wall Street and Occupy STL: What can we do to support the national and regional events? Some people have already gone to the first Occupy STL event on October 1. One of the two main tasks (so far) of Occupy Carbondale is to support people who are going up to the St. Louis events.

* Local Events: What does Occupy Carbondale look like? We don’t have a big financial district like Wall Street in our town, so we’re going to have to decide when and how to demonstrate our rejection of corporate/governmental corruption and our embrace of real democracy. We would like to hold a General Assembly like the one at Occupy Wall Street somewhere here in Carbondale within the next week or two.

* Solidarity With Other Local Campaigns: The rise of Occupy Carbondale comes at a turbulent time in Carbondale. Four of SIUC’s unions may go on strike soon. Also, SIUC students are leading a massive campaign to close down the coal plant on campus. Both issues have economic impacts that tie back to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. What do we plan to do about them?

Please join us at this meeting to share your thoughts, hear the words of your fellow community members, and join in a democratic process to actually do something about the problems we face as a community, region, and nation. If you’re unable to make it, please share your thoughts here online, pass on the word to your friends, and join us at the Occupy Carbondale General Assembly, date and time TBA.