GA Minutes: 11.20.11

Categories: GA Minutes, General Assembly

Oakland General Assembly


Start Time:  6:30 

Approximate Head Count: 200

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





  1. Forum
  2. Committees/Subcommittees/Caucus Report Backs
  3. Proposals (1. Endorsement of 99 Faces; 2. Property Damage  3. Action Agreements)
  4. Action Announcements and General Announcements


FORUM (6:45)

F: The past 36 hours showed the strength and vibrancy of this growing movement.  What were the highs and lows about the last day and a half, and what does this tell us about moving forward?  Please discuss in groups of ten to twenty.


  • Highs: Lakeview march, fence came down, new faces and big population came out, good to have an encampment, people are resilient and motivated, we saved some of our own supplies before the police could take them, positive energy all around, we had lots of visibility on Saturday
  • Lows: We look bad in the press because of the police, loss of equipment, too much focus on location of camp, campers are separate from GA, mixed views about the Telegraph encampment, the weather was bad, we lost the truck, we weren’t inclusive of all community voices
  • Ideas: We need to coordinate future occupations better; We need to reach out to small businesses; We need to improve the neighborhoods we camp out in; We need to combat bad press; We need to focus on banks; We need more foreclosure action – we can fix up blighted homes and fix them up and provide services; Rather than occupying public space, we could camp in front of foreclosed homes so we can fight the banks, not the city; We need to have a clear message and stay united; We need to look at other cities and see what best practices we could use
  • My proposal was supposed to be heard at this GA.  This is what I was told at the last meeting.  It is not on the agenda.  I want to call attention to the fact that my proposal has been swept under the rug (to revamp the GA process).
  • I didn’t like how the GA went last time.  Someone brought an emergency proposal here last time, and it got voted on.  As a woman of color, I want to speak about this.  I was taken aback when a white woman made an emergency proposal when my people (of color) are under emergency all the time.  And…what does occupation really mean?


  • West Coast Port Shut Down Assembly: We meet M/W/F/Sun at 5pm.  We are organizing the port shut down for December 12th
  • Labor: We met with librarians to talk about library closures.  We had our march on Saturday and collected contacts from the crowd.  Contact:
  • POC: We meet on T/Th/Sun at 6:30 on 14th and Franklin.  We were blessed to have Cornell West talk to us. 
  • Finance: T/Th at 6pm at SF Pizza.  We need help doing the work!  We can receive donation of supplies through shipping.
  • We met at the library to discuss how to get people involved in assemblies in their neighborhoods and at the GA.  Sunday, 4pm we will meet.  More info:
  • Legal: Our lawyer Mike Seagal is defending us and trying to get our sound truck back and get our towing fee waived.  The ACLU tried to get a temporary restraining order against the OPD, but it did not go through because the OPD claimed that there were no physical actions taken against us since the first incident.  Arrestee meeting coming up December 4th.
  • Plug in: We want to assist in making a mural in the community in the Hoover District in West Oakland.  Contact us:
  • Raheim Brown Free School:  Join us!
  • Library: 23rd and Telegraph and 14th and Webster are new locations for books.  We meet Sunday at 4pm at the Brown Couch Café.  Contact us:
  • Anti Repression Solidarity: We meet at noon on Tuesdays at SF Pizza.  We need people to help us with jail and court support.  We coordinate bail funds for people who need to get out of jail.  There are 4 arraignments this Wednesday at 9am at 7th and Washington, in Dept. 107.  There are more on Monday the 28th, the 30th, and several more in December.  Email us:
  • Community Plug in:
  • Facilitation: We meet at 12 noon when there is a GA.  Contact:  We talked about accessibility, training, etc.  Join us!
  • Local Business Outreach:  We have a party on Friday noon – 6pm for local business support.
  • Reclamation: We compile resources about occupying space.  We have a website:  We meet at the plaza when there is a GA at 5pm.
  • Housing: Tuesday, 6pm we have a training. Contact us:
  • Kitchen: We will provide food on GA nights.  If you want to bring food, coordinate with us.  Contact: oocommunitygarden@gmail, with kitchen in the subject line.
  • Gardening: We planted several plants and raised over $600 for the new garden. It was dismantled today.  We have soil remaining, but we  need more.   Contact: oocommunitygarden@gmail.
  • Events: We meet T/W/Th/Sun at 1pm at the Brown Couch Café, and M/F at (???).  We have an entire day dedicated to decolonizing Oakland along with a feast this Thursday at 5:30.
  • Black Friday: We will meet regarding consumerism at big box stores, and encouraging people to shop local.  We will meet Tuesdays, 6pm, under the trees, otherwise in case of rain, we meet at SF Pizza.
  • Interfaith: There is an elders council forming.  They are coming here tonight at 9pm.  They will walk to the Unitarian at 14th and Castro.

PROPOSALS (7:50 pm)

F: 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). 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.  If it seems like a vote is likely to go through. We will take a straw poll to see if people are ready to go straight to voting without discussion.


1. Endorsement of 99 Faces: No one there to present the proposal.


2. Disavowal of Property Damage:  No one there to present the proposal.


3. Action Agreements: We believe in a diversity of participants in this movement.  We make agreements about how to take actions together.  We are not here to talk about the validity of actions – we are here just to communicate to build trust and support of our actions.  We agree not to physically assault people except in the case of self defense or bodily defense of others, we agree not to engage in destruction of property, and we not do not deem measures taken to physically secure space as property destruction or damage. We recognize that individuals who take part in other actions are acting autonomously and not in the name of our movement.

Clarifying Questions and Answers

  • Who is the name of OO? (Not answered)
  • Is this a way to make it a nonviolent movement? (Not answered)
  • How would we communicate that a certain action was autonomous?– We are not preventing any actions.
  • The longshoremen might be impacted because they might be involved in principled destruction of property. How would this be addressed? -That’s their action, but it’s not part of what we would decide.
  • If someone were arrested for an action, would OO support them? – The GA could decide.
  • Is this inclusive of types of actions we would do? – We are not preventing actions.
  • What about building barricades? – It’s part of occupying, so that’s not a type of destruction.
  • Are corporations included in the businesses we are advocating for? – (Not answered)
  • Pros
    •  This will help clarify things for people who are confused.
    • We need to outreach to our communities.
    • Any time we can make a statement about nonviolence we should do it.  If you need to act autonomously, go ahead and do it.
    • Community members of the city do not support those who seem to be undoing the movement.
    • This proposal says that actions should represent the movement, and I stand by that.
    • Cons
      • This does not include labor actions, which might include property destruction.
      • This isn’t radically inclusive.
      • Legal support was not addressed.
      • This leaves room for people to be publicly denounced.
      • This could leave room for people to be physically hurt.  I wouldn’t want this to turn into a witch-hunt.  Also, I wouldn’t want people to have to wait for something to be voted upon at the GA while they are in jail.
      • You want to talk about property destruction – they slashed our tents.  This proposal is irrelevant to our narrative.
      • This is just something that will divide us.  We have already voted on things like this – why do it again?
      • I like this proposal, but we need to include something that says we will not hurt our comrades.
      • This says what we don’t do – it should say what we do.
      • Spray painting might be included – but it could be seen as art.
      • The proposal is too wordy.
      • Let’s not divide ourselves or worry about media image.
      • Response
        • Many of the cons were based on a misunderstanding of the proposal.  Our numbers are declining.  I noticed on the stack that many were of a certain demographic – more voices need to be heard.  This proposal doesn’t denounce anyone.  The word violence wasn’t in this proposal at all.


Yes: 65

Abstained: 15

No:  118



  • Runningwolf needs support.  Please camp with him.
  • No one has come with proposals about where we reoccupy, so on the fly we thought maybe people could come with some emergency proposals to the GA tomorrow, or maybe we should do it now, since we only had one proposal tonight.

F: Should we have an emergency proposal now?  Maybe we should take a straw poll?

POP: Point of process, emergency proposals cannot be brought up at the GA like this.  Please follow the process.

  • My proposal was not heard as I stated earlier, and I demand to be heard.  It was submitted in time for the previous GA we had, and it is now being swept under the rug.  This is the proposal:
    • We demand checks and balances and transparency in supply donations, online donations, payables and receivables: all should be posted online immediately.
    • We need a GA that has a dialogue, and we need open forum outside of GA. Have Sunday GA’s earlier in the day so more people can attend.
    • Revamp the facilitation committee completely.
    • We need to address proposals first, have the proposals come on a first come first serve basis, all proposals must be heard and should not have to go through a committee first.  Proposals need to be limited to five minutes.  All proposals should be amendable, and should be posted online beforehand online so that people can read them and be aware of them. We need room for emergency proposals.
    • We need more use of the people’s mic.

F: Let’s do a straw poll.  Who would like to vote upon this proposal now?  Based on the number of hands, we will continue with announcements.

  • School Board Action: (I did not hear the details)
  • Foreclosure action: please get involved! (I did not hear the details)
  • Friday, Black Friday Action in Emeryville: 12 noon – 3pm: Protest shopping on this day and protest the fact that these shopping centers are on sacred burial ground.
  • Please be careful about the police officers you talk to who seem like they are friendly and are on our side.  One particular officer who was involved in police brutality and shot and killed three people in Oakland was seen chatting with people at the Telegraph encampment.
  • There’s a lot of sexist talk going on from people who talk about women and children needing to be protected.  Women do not need protection; they can be militant and are not always of a nonviolent stance.
  • It bothers me when someone speaks for everyone of a marginalized group.  It’s paternalistic.  In our proposal, not once did we mention protecting a certain group of people.  I made the comment that grandmothers and mothers would be feel safe to join actions in our movement if we agreed upon the types of actions that spring from the movement.
  • Join the facilitation working group if you have a problem with the process.  Do not rush the stage and force a change in the process.




9:10 pm.




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