GA Minutes: 11.18.11

Categories: GA Minutes, General Assembly

Oakland General Assembly


Arrival Time:  6:43 (I arrived in the middle of the committee announcements)

Approximate Head Count: 300

(F in bolded text: messages from the facilitator/s)



  • Labor Committee: I’m John and I was a part of the proposal for the march coming up on Saturday.  I’m sorry to say that the organization of the march has been such that many voices have been silenced.  In my opinion it has been co-opted by the Democratic Party.  I regret how the march will turn out.

F: While your voice is important, I want to point out that you are not part of the committee that organized the march.  I recognize that you are in the labor committee.  You have not been asked by the march organization committee to represent the group today.

  • Labor Committee: We are still going to have the march, contrary to rumors that have been going around about small business opposition.  We’ll march from 14th and Bway to Lakeview School.
  • Finance: The city has asked for the portapotties to be removed.  We still have a donation box that is secure here.  We meet T/TH at 6pm, at SF Pizza on 15th and Bway.  We raised $21,000 dollars.  $3,000 is from Longhaul.  We are in the process of setting up a credit union.  We ask that committees who have spent money out of pocket contact us and use our new process by Sunday.
  • Children’s Village: We were going to meet today, but it was tabled due to other circumstances happening in the movement.  Please join us at our next meeting.  Send an email to for more info.
  • I’m reporting back on a general meeting that was held on the 16th, last Wednesday.  Concerns that were discussed were: a policy was set that police would not be welcome at the assembly in uniform, there was an unwelcoming vibe set by certain committees (ex. When the kitchen was set up after the raid, the kitchen requested things from finance and it was never provided), core group of people are taking a leadership role and are becoming the face of the movement in the media, format of the GA is flawed (proposals need to be brought up earlier) and hand signs are ambiguous.  Tomorrow at  noon we will meet here (at the amphitheater ???).

F: Taking more than three minutes to give a report back is not showing respect or equality when you are asking for all voices to be heard.

  • Raheim Brown Free School:  We want to set up libraries in several places, offer workshops, etc.: email
  • Community Plug in:
  • Facilitation: We’ve been working on revamping the GA process.  We’ve created several working groups for making things clearer, and we’ve also posted web content on the main OO site.  We have drafted a new process for collective decision making and amendments.  In order for a proposal to be amended the threshold for approval is 70%.
  • Reclamation: We meet M/W/F at 5pm.
  • Block Defense Group: We are here to protect tenants and homeowners facing foreclosures or evictions.   We wish to help people occupy foreclosed buildings and to help families.
  • Events: We’ve made a change to scheduling.  We meet at 4:30 on M/F at the Brown Couch Café on Webster.  We want to host events all over Oakland in different locations.  If you are planning events, please let us know.  Gerald will be holding a history class about black liberation at 5pm on Monday.


F: If you are a new to the GA, please be observant of the practices we already have in place.  Please have patience and respect the process.


PROPOSALS (7:00 pm)

  • We have cultivated a modified consensus making process. (Explains)
  • Submit proposals to, or submit in person on paper.  Three or more people must endorse a proposal and be present during its presentation to the GA.
  • This is how we run the GA (explains process, hand signals, vote count, etc).
  • We’ve made some changes to the amendment process: If the proposal fails (threshold at 70% approval), at least one friendly amendment must be accepted.  Then it may pass only with 90% approval after a second vote.

F: Tonight we have two emergency proposals.  The first regards coordination on the West Coast to shut down the ports.  The second regards a discussion regarding the GA process and how to improve it.  We will take a straw poll to see if we need to move the emergency proposals up in the queue.



F: Who feels that the Port Shut Down Proposal is an emergency?  We do not have 90% approval, so that proposal will stay in the queue as #5.  Who believes the GA Process Proposal is an emergency? We do not have 90% approval, so it will not be moved up in the queue.

1. Rescind Decision to Occupy 19th and Telegraph: 201 people have signed a petition regarding the 11/16/11 decision to set up a new camp at 19th and Telegraph.  The impacted individuals were not in attendance during the vote.  The proposed location is next to a school, parents and teachers were not contacted, the residents in the area were not contacted, and the lot is already earmarked for a federally funded sculpture garden and community park. We recommend that OO remain responsive to community interests, and create a committee to thoroughly research locations to set up encampments.

  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • Is this a direct attack to invalidate the votes of those who voted earlier? – No.
    • How was it brought forth?  Why does it have priority over other proposals? – The facilitators agreed that this is an emergency, and it will be occurring tomorrow.  It’s very controversial in the community, and it needs to be rectified.
    • Are the people who are bringing this proposal part of the committee? (no answer)
    • Is this two things we are voting on, or is this just to rescind the vote? (no answer)
    • Are you against any occupation? – No.
    • Why can’t we have more time to be informed? (no answer)

F: This is not a clarifying question.

  • Where are we going to occupy if we can’t occupy that area? (no answer)

F: (In response to assembly member who shouted, “What about the questions that were unanswered?”) If they did not answer all of your questions, then please let that guide your vote. We only allow time for two minutes for the proposers to respond.

  • Pros
    •  This will be a public relations disaster if the space is occupied.
    •  Childhood is a state of grace.  Please consider the effect on the children.  Their voices and their parents’ voices need to be heard.
    • I’m here with two students from OSA.  I want you to reconsider this for their sake.
    • Here are some statements my students wrote: “OSA is my home,” “OO puts Oakland on the map, and I support this movement,” “OO shouldn’t give up its power – it should go ahead an reoccupy the plaza.”
    • Con
      • It’s an either or…I’m against this proposal until there is another option presented.  We are not against children here – We have had a Children’s Village.
      • This is a manipulative move.  If you don’t want tear gas, then you need to take it to the police and attend their meetings.
      • Your children are already in the crossfire, if they are in danger of being in a school that will be closed down.
      • This proposal subverts the GA process.  We can’t go against something we have already voted on.
      • As a former OSA student, I remember being the only one who walked in in opposition to the war.  I felt very unsupported in taking political action.  We can show these kids that something alternatives exist out there.
      • Since when do we talk to anyone or ask permission for anything?  It’s good to talk to the community, but we go where we want to go.



Yes: 165

Abstained: 49

No:  126



2. Black Friday Proposal: We propose that on November 25th, we support the boycott of corporate stores and patronize local businesses.  This would include active shopping at small business shops, pickets at bog box stores, and leaving credit cards at home.


  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • What kind of picket: informational or a blocking type of picket? – Informational picket.
    • Would this include guerilla theater and flash mobs, as has already been discussed at other GA’s? – We are in contact with people who are developing those actions.
    • What about the poor people who have to shop at Target or WalMart because that is what they can afford? – We agree that this is a concern.
    • Will there be a committee to plan this further? – (no answer)
    • Why participate in capitalism?  Are you aware that the occupy movement was started by Adbusters, a magazine that a anti-consumerism? – This action would help the 99%.  It’s intention isn’t to promote capitalism but to support the community.
    • What are the concrete actions? – Pickets at big box stores.
    • Which businesses in Oakland?  Any business? (no answer)
    • Will this divide people if they want to participate in different kinds of actions? (no answer)
    • Pros
      •  City Grill is offering a 10% discount for people in the movement!
      • This is another way to outreach to small businesses.
      • We should boycott big box stores – they are the 1%.
      • Oakland Grown is a consortium of small businesses – they are thinking along the lines of promoting local shopping in Oakland.
      • Cons
        • We don’t know if these businesses treat their workers well.
        • What about local businesses like Clorox?
        • We should stick to a complete boycott and buy nothing.
        • Indigenous groups traditionally protest the shopping centers in Emeryville that are built on shellmounds.  We should connect with the organizers that are already doing something in response to Black Friday.



Yes: 122


No:  22



  • Make an action item for each thing we can agree upon.
  • It should be “Buy NOTHING, but if you must shop, shop locally.”


RESTATEMENT: We propose that on November 25th, we support the boycott of corporate stores and patronize local businesses.  This would include not purchasing anything in recognition of “Buy Nothing Day,” active shopping at small business shops, pickets at bog box stores, and leaving credit cards at home.




Yes: 124


No: 19


F: It has been brought to my attention that there is another emergency proposal on the table.  However, I now realize that there was an error earlier taking liberty to vote upon deciding whether or not a proposal is an emergency.


Temperature Check: Who thinks that a facilitator has the liberty to ask the GA to vote upon what constitutes an emergency proposal?  Who disagrees?  It seems as though most people agree that the facilitator does not have the liberty to ask the assembly to vote upon whether or not a proposal is an emergency proposal.  The remaining proposals will maintain their current queue status, and one will not be placed in front of the other as an emergency proposal.


3. West Coast Port Shut Down: We propose that we maintain and continue to show solidarity with the Longshoremen of Longview, Washington, in efforts to stop the EGT.  We propose that we shut down the port of Oakland on December 12th in coordination with other occupations along the West Coast.  Shut down actions may extended for multiple days.   

  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • What are the plans to communicate with everyone at the port? – We didn’t know that the truckers would be blockaded.  Truckers are not unionized.  There was no adequate communication with them last time, but this time it can be different.
    • Pros
      •  We need this challenge.  This can keep the movement alive.
      • The ILWU has helped many people and has struggled for social justice.
      • Our work is not done.  An opening has been made for the people of color in Oakland.
      • Con
        • None



Yes: 204


No:  0


4. Occupy Oscar Grant Plaza: We should retake the plaza tomorrow, November 19th.

  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • Are there provisions for the wetness of the soil? – (no answer)
    • What about supplies?  How will they be shared if a new camp is being set up at 19th and Telegraph? – We can work with it as we go – we’ll find a way.
    • Pros
      •  We should come back, but we shouldn’t broadcast it here.  We should not let the cops know when.
      • We need to hold down our fort.
      • We have to get stronger and more organized, and then make a comeback.
      • Con
        • Supplies will be stretched too thin.
        • This would take place just hours from now.
        • This is a divisive move, considering that we’ve decided to set up at a new site tomorrow.
        • We should decide together what to do at the new site.


78.6% Approval: THIS PROPOSAL HAS BEEN TABLED WITHOUT AMENDMENTS (the proposers declined friendly amendments)

Yes: 70

Abstained: 61

No: 19



  • Language Access: Language minorities need access.  It has been especially difficult because decisions are made at the last minute.  Please consider those who have language barriers to overcome.
  • Running Wolf and Anonymous would like someone to occupy the space under the tree.  You can pitch a tent or just be there near the space.  Show support…
  • If you have a house, think about whether or not you should vote regarding camp at the plaza.  Some of us do not have houses – this affects us when you vote.
  • I would like to create a community center for those who are suffering eviction or foreclosure.  Contact me if you’d like to work on this.




10:20 pm.




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