General Assembly Minutes 10.24.11

Categories: Announcements, Open Mic

Approximate head count:  200

Facilitator: [Requests for translation, smoking section, lawyer's guild #] Tonight, we’re squeezed tighter together so we can be more engaged. Show respect for people speaking. Mess ups happen on stage because only a few facilitators are trying to facilitate.

There are no proposals tonight, so no explanation of modified consensus needed. Is there anyone new here tonight? [between 5 and 10 people raise hand, people clap for them]

Forum topic: How do we move forward in terms of protecting the camp, increasing numbers and creating a more effective movement?

Break into groups

[Groups reconvene and many speakers line up to report back and share their thoughts on the forum topic. Speakers are numbered to differentiate.]

1) Our immediate response should be cop blocking. Only three people are on security at night. We need more people, people on bikes and skateboards. We need back up – otherwise the security people on the front line get grabbed, arrested and get felony charges. Send e-mails and show people Occupy Oakland so more get involved.

2) Our plan should be to go and check in on unoccupied housing in West and East Oakland – we should place kitchens there and talk to people.

3) The agenda for meetings should be posted online. There should be a waiting period for proposals and they should be posted in the camp and online before being voted on at the GA. Invite other groups and organizations to join us.

4) We need a sober assessment of what our forces are and are capable of, and what the enemy’s forces are and are capable of. We can’t physically win the fight with cops. Instead, concede that outcome and decide how to lose. How do you want to be perceived by the community, the cops, by yourself? [Lots of shout outs from the audience re: negativity. reminder of the "one mic" rule] Security is the rear guard, but we need people and a centralized plan. there is a lot of prejudice against a centralized movement but they can make decisions in a flash when needed.

5) I have a hard time speaking in public due to my experience as a woman, as a person of color and as a queer person. The system keeps women, people of color and queer people silent, but here is a place to speak! We need to focus on commonalities. Language is important – if we can unify and be creative, better for us. This isn’t just about campers. We all have different forms of contributing. You can come and go and that’s okay. You can go home and wash your ass -really, it’s okay! [Tons of laughter and applause from crowd.]

6) Many people aren’t burning out yet, but they will. Affinity groups are an answer to that. For example, I have four people in my house. Some go to Occupy Oakland and some stay home some nights, but someone always knows what is going on and can inform the rest. We need to have lives or we’re fucked now and post revolution! Take care of ourselves, too.

7) Peace, peace! East Oakland – we don’t give a fuck. But that’s not useful. I am a person of faith. Faith community should be involved. Black churches were the backbone of the civil rights movement. All, believers and not, need to be involved, not just white anarchists. Talk to people in black churches and they think the protesters are all white, dirty, and on drugs. Draft a letter to churches and send to GA as a proposal. (Meeting by right side lightpost in ampitheater after GA.)

8 )  37% of country supports occupation but that stat could be flipped in Oakland. I’m from Funktown and everyone there is in support. People are sick of corporations running everything. People see a beginning here. Three of us went out to a truckyard in Oakland and got great support from the truckers. We should be going door to door, to workplaces – we need a mass workers march and rally. i’ve been pro-union, but they have been running to fail recently. we want their support but we can’t let them run this movement. union members are looking for real agitators again.

9) To protect camp in the case of a raid, we need something simple – utilize the media right outside the camp right now. the whole world is watching. Protect the camp by showing up.

10) Reiterating support for “kittens action” – groups of people fanning out into the public and talking to people in front of supermarkets and at busstops. Talks about effectiveness of “baby steps,” where people will take progressively larger and larger actions if they start small.

11) Agrees with the notion of liberating foreclosed/vacant housing. Part of Take Back the Land movement, which provides housing to people who have been foreclosed on. Mostly black and brown people are targeted by foreclosures. West Oakland is predominantly black and has strong labor roots because the residents were originally brought here by the port. If you’re going to liberate foreclosed homes, do research, find owner and call them and see if they are willing to have your help. Don’t just squat. Lots of squatters communities exclude black and brown people when they are squatting in predominantly black and brown communities. We can’t alienate people who aren’t like us – not mentally ill, queer, emotionally ill – even wingnuts are people. revolution is not romantic. anarchy can be a system. one note – people on probation shouldn’t be here during a raid. not everyone can be here, consequences are far different. don’t get your third strike!

Facilitator: Five more people to speak. new timers should make contact with these speakers to get involved!

12) This is not just about camp and campers. we need to defend OG Plaza but think beyond that. in 1946 abuse of strikers led to outrage that led to general strike. 2006, a teacher’s strike/campout was raided and it made people outraged. so even if the camp is raided, it will be a catalyst.

13) We need to grow communities – we should have after school tutorial programs. occupy wall street has 300k and we have shit. we want an rv to start an actual clinic. we should have crews of occupiers on buses creating free fare zones. real political action needed. only four GAs a week is stupid… if the facilitators are burned out, that falls on all of us! GA is a political tool. if we need facilitors i’ll facilitate every night. we’re good at infrastructure but not outreach. we tried to fix that by have political meetings from 1-5pm everyday, but no one went.

if you live in north oakland or west oakland, etc. and meet others here in your neighborhood, get those people’s #s and organize neighborhood assemblies and bring proposals to this GA.

14) Non-violent way of life is for courageous people. [Reads an excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King speech - Letter from a Birmingham Jail]

15) I love you, Occupy Oakland! For everyone here, there are 50 to 60 people who support you but are busy working 2-3 jobs. I’m homeless and went back to Piedmont and Grand and said I had been at Occupy Oak, and it made me a celebrity.

US media is trying to shame people – you can have a movement in Tahir Square, but not in Times Square! You are genuine. I’m 63 and have never seen anything like this, not even after Kent. don’t let people down!

16) Occupy more spaces, more diverse spaces. not just pretty parks, but banks, federal reserve. down for housing liberation and i have experience. meet by the coffee station after the GA.

17) Non-camping supporter, marvelous to see what has been built. Oakland is flagship of Bay Area occupy movements! How to keep safe in case of a raid – those who are not campers can send messages to Quan and city admin. this comm should not be reluctant to talk to city if it keeps this camp here 24/7.

18) I saw the Indigenous Grandmothers speak. their message was pertinent – violence in self defense vs violence as a people’s movement. if people’ movement uses it, we lose. violence is a trick. decisions we make now will affect seven generations. this land is sacred. question how we “occupy” and instead “decolonize.” break the separation between peoples and be proud to be a human being.

19) I’m part of Food Not Bombs. Can we get support from churches? Yes, 1st congregational at 27th and Harrison . They have opened their kitchens to Occupy. We can use their big stoves. FNB cooks there every Tuesday. Invite everyone here to come and we’ll put you to work!

20) I’m a big supporter who can’t always be here. Have more organized committees and have them use notebooks. sign people up, invite them – get people to sign up for committees after the GA! it is time to expand and have a mobile occupation in addition to the camp. develop some propaganda. they are saying we’re dirty and violent, but these problems have always existed in oakland and this space is more peaceful and more clean than many parts of city. we can show them how these problems get solved!

21) In case of a potential police raid, it is important to keep in mind that this is not the end, but beginning. but, i have a strong feeling we can keep this spot. cops come in every night with 12 of them and then run away. bloomberg tried to end NYC camp – there were 300,000 calls within hours. call jean quan! this is BS!

22) I am an angel of the lord. he loves you. i am here today, formerly homeless, from foster care, survived rape, etc. after faith, i learned peace. nothing else matters. we are the 99%. why are we not winning? i came out tonight to show God’s love.

23) I’ve observed the collective state of people downtown on broadway and telegraph for years. they have looked happier since the beginning of our occupation. there is a ripple effect – this spreads!

24) How do we make camp more accessible? Reach out to orgs who have experience with issues that many of the 99% have, such as drug addiction, mental illness, etc. Get training on how to deal with these issues.

25) Words have power. “Go Home” might just defend our camp.

Facilitator: I’m taking off my facilitator hat for a second. Lots of people are showing up, saying their piece and leaving. Stay and listen! If you’re unhappy with process, work to change it!

Committee announcements:

Safer spaces – working on trauma support and safety concerns. it’s a huge challenge due to flexing population and crisis escalation. we’re trying the best we can to help folks. we’re also generating an anti-oppression framework to deal with what’s happening at camp.

there is a 3pm workshop [missed day?] – a meeting for all people interested in a consent policy and sexual harassment training. [sorry lots of commotion going on during this speaker]

Security: Defend the camp, but if on probation, probably shouldn’t participate. if defense doesn’t work, stay in streets and retake OG plaza. if we’re dispersed and all goes to hell, we’ll meet at 4pm on the steps of the oakland library at 14th and madison. we need people on the outside of the police lines, too. they are surrounded. can’t go for total violence with people watching from all sides. stay in the streets until 4pm, then meet at 14th and madison.

Education committee: we’re meeting wednesday, oct 22nd at 3:15pm at 14th and broadway. we’ll march up to a rally at mosswood park at 4:15pm, and from there go up to Oakland Tech high and attend the school board meeting at 5pm. they want to shut down five schools.

Best defense is a good offense. please show support for parents. pass out fliers.

Women/Trans/Queer Caucus: Sexual Harassment statement [got pieces but not whole thing, please get text from them!] Do not comment, catcall, whistle, touch without permission. do not expect women to do your work – we are not servants! do not go into tents or invite people into your tent in a harassing manner, do not ask whether someone is a man or a woman. No means no. this is important because people are leaving the camp due to this behavior. stop it

Open Forum Committee: meets at 7pm on non- GA days. we are also mixed on open forum replacing GA meetings. we are also meeting at 6:45pm tomorrow (tuesday)

Raheim Brown Free School – Check out the schedule on the web. encourage people to sign up to teach workshops. write rbfreeschool@gmail.com with information.

Media: submit photos/video at tent.  also ask for advice on how to deal with the media. ask media you see wandering around to check in with the tent. if you threaten media, you threaten the movement. let media team know about any media harassment of campers. they will be meeting after subcommittee announcements by the media tent.

Body-Mind-Soul Healing: has their own tent where they can be found, but they also meet officially from 4-5pm daily. we are a new committee and will meet for first time tomorrow.

Coordinating Committee: All subcommittees please send reps to meet with coordinating committee daily at 5pm on monday, wednesday and friday!

Notetaker:  James.  Apologies for the delay.

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2 Responses to “General Assembly Minutes 10.24.11”

  1. a_small_voice

    sorry, JAMES, or ALEX, whomever took notes. join up on Facebook. thanks.