GA Minutes: 11.9.11

Categories: GA Minutes, General Assembly

Oakland General Assembly


Arrival Time:  6:00

Approximate Head Count: 700

WELCOME (6:15 pm)

This is the General Assembly.  It is based on Participatory Democracy.  This is how it works (description read regarding participation, the assembly, committees, etc).  This is who will do each role tonight (reads off who will facilitate, keep time, take stack, and be crowd advocates).  This is where you may sit if you want to smoke.  Practice respect.


  1. Welcome
  2. Committee Report Backs
  3. Forum
  4. Proposals – Egyptian Solidarity, Tactics, Destructive Actions, Building Occupations
  5. Action/General Announcements


  • UCB Emergency Announcements: Tent city/Occupation set up.  Students formed a barricade of people around the encampment when police forces arrived.  At least five were arrested; one student was beaten.  Police left the scene and students took the space again.
  • Outreach: We want to do a teach-in.  We meet 5:00 pm Friday at 12th Street BART.
  • Anarchist Caucus: We will meet at 4pm by the northside of the plaza.
  • Gardening:  We need starter plants and pots!  We want to grow leafy greens and other veggies that grow well in cold weather.
  • Sanitation: Thank you for cleaning up after yourselves and making the camp look better.
  • Reclamation: (???)
  • Occupy Oakland Plugin Committee: You can get involved in local actions around Oakland to better the community:  Contact
  • Solidarity Committee: 6:30 Tuesday, we meet near 14th at Bway.
  • Safer Spaces: We are currently organizing mental health providers to help at the camp.  We meet Thursdays at 5pm.
  • Library: We received several books on our wishlist.  We need bookshelves.  We meet tomorrow on Thursday at 5pm to talk about ideas.
  • Events: Tomorrow is the one month birthday party.  We will have a ceremony at 5pm.  We’ll have open mic, breakout session, slideshow, music, and dancing.  Bring cake!
  • Supply team: We have move next to the medical center.  Our meetings are daily at 3pm.  We need tents and blankets.
  • Web: We encourage the public to use the discussion forum.  We need volunteers to help respond to emails.  We meet Sundays at 1pm on the steps.  Check out the site!
  • Woodchip committee: We need woodchips!
  • Sound committee: This is how you use a mic: (demonstrates).  We need a power amp of about 1,500 watts.
  • Finance: The $20,000 arrived by the end of day today.  It was put into a Wells Fargo account.  We have an NLG lawyer named Brad Hodach who is transferring the money to Bank of Alameda (tomorrow???).  Money that has been spent on camp needs has been agreed upon during camp meetings.  That clarity was asked for just now.  We meet T/Th/F at 6pm next to Tully’s.  Contact us:
  • QPOC/POC Committee: (???)
  • Media:
  • Medic: Emergency hotline – 510-712-8129

FORUM (7:30 pm)

OO is receiving a lot of money and supplies.  We can begin spending this money if use the collective decision making process.  We seek transparency in sharing and reporting information.  We realize that to do active fundraising and spending, we have to have dialogue:

1.    Where do we want to go from here?

2.    How will we be sustainable?

Turn and talk to each other in groups. 

  • We talked about the spokes-council model that is now being used in OWS.  It would allow us to coordinate better so we could equitably use our resources.
  • Finances should be transparent, perhaps on the web.

Resources can be used for community outreach.  We talked about buying the things we need so that we can do the projects we want without outside help.  Sustainability includes inclusiveness.  We want to bring services to the people out there, and invite everyone in Oakland to come to this movement.

We could support the community through microloans.

  • Local businesses not be destroyed.  We need to support the businesses though outreach.  We have to stop the violence and be the better people.
  • Committees should be able to petition for money and it should be transparent.  Maybe it could happen on the web.
  • We think we should support people in jail, boost camp morale, buy food locally and grow our own food, have emergency funds for if/when camp gets torn down, build occupations, provide support for the reclamations committee, etc.
  • We should bus people to Sacramento where the laws are being passed, lobbying, corporate corruption, and so forth.  We could effect change there.

We want to remind people on stack that the forum topic includes fundraising.

  • We want to know what the budget is!  We think that donations are important.  We also need to consider that winter is coming.
  • Fundraise – person to person, in organizing teams, door to door.  Occupy abandoned buildings in a creative way with planning.
  • Watch who is donating and why – we don’t want to be co-opted.



Be aware that at any moment arrests could occur.  If for any reason there is a raid and the camp is disbanded, we will reconvene the next day at the Main Branch of the Oakland Public Library at 4pm.

PROPOSALS (7:40 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). Facilitators have the discretion to structure the process as needed based on the type of proposal that is on the table, the general attitudes of the assembly, and the number of attendants at the GA.
  • We will post information online, along with past resolutions.
  1. Egyptian Solidarity: Sat. Nov. 12th: Given that our Egyptian counterparts marched in solidarity with the movement in Oakland, we must respond in kind and show solidarity through a letter (letter was presented to the assembly).  Secondly, we propose a rally at 4pm on Saturday, then a march at 5pm.
  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • Are there any Arab activist groups involved in the planning of this action? – We are working on contacting those groups.
    • Pros
      •  They supported us, and we haven’t experienced the brutalization that we have.  Oakland and Cairo are one hand.
      • We can stand strong – we can do this!
      • As a representative of an Arab activist group, I know we would be willing to work with you and to help organize this event.
      • Cons
        • There will be folks in town from Egypt on Saturday speaking at Berkeley, and I think they should be invited into this space for deep collaboration.
        • I’m worried about the timing of this march.  There are a lot of other things going on as well, plus we might get raided soon.
        • Response
          • This will be a short march – it won’t be too far from the encampment.  We’ll try to work out logistics with Berkeley as best as we can.

 Break into groups of twenty.  Elect someone to take your votes (approve, abstain, disapprove).  Allow that person to report your votes to the crowd advocates.


98% Approval:

Yes: 667

No:  8

Abstain:  58

 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT (Portuguese-English translation)

We’ve come from the movement in Brazil and we support you!  We are a movement of families, peasants, and landless people who had the courage to take land not being used that was needed by the people.  We took other spaces, such as the spaces of the mind, through university training and study.  Workers in the cities are occupying empty space as well.  We support you.  We are listening to your decisions.  The word “occupy” is a key word for the campesinos and the workers.  You know what to do:  we come here to offer you hugs and solidarity.  There is power in numbers:  Victory for us all!

  1. Diversity of Tactics: This movement is composed of many individuals.  Black Bloc tactics may be employed in different ways.  We propose that we recognize that we are part of a global movement.  We know that actions can strengthen or weaken our goals.  We urge individuals employing Black Bloc tactics to use self-restraint and forethought.  We urge Black Bloc members not to destroy local businesses.  We encourage all individuals who are engaged in non-violence to continue to do so.
  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • What is a more relevant example of using Black Bloc? What is a good time to use these tactics?- Making a circle around Lake Merrit for a cause might be an example.
    • What do you define as a local business? – We want to respect local business owners, but this remains to be determined.  We want to be respectful to our neighbors.
    • What do you define as property destruction?  What do you define as violence? What would be a violent protest?– It’s subjective, but we are talking about breaking windows, graffiti, and defacement.
    • What does “all inclusive” mean? –  This refers to people of all kinds.
    • Does this mean we would move forward peacefully from this point on?
    • Is the proposal an implicit agreement to use of violence in the movement? – No, it is not.
    • What happens if people don’t comply with this? – We are responsible for our own behavior.  Just know that your actions reflect on the movement.
    • Is it violent to restrain people employing these tactics or to ask them to unmask? – We do not endorse this in our proposal. We think it might be a good idea to unmask people or to stop them.  (Stated by two different presenters).
  • Pros
    • Why did Gandhi make the choices he made?  We can take a look at other radical non-violent groups.
    • It’s hard for me to defend people who antagonize police or break windows.
    • This does not end well and it does not further the movement.
    • I appreciated the beginning of the proposal – there was some listening involved.
    • White privilege informs the tactics used here, and we need to examine that.  Some people can afford to employ any tactic and can afford to go to jail.  Others are more vulnerable.
    • Vandalism and violence are not inclusive, because it makes the space unsafe for some people.
    • Cons
      • There are contradictions in this proposal.  We can’t analyze how actions will unfold when you are on the ground.
      • Proposals like these are happening too soon.  We need to have these conversations in our communities.
      • Anarchists aren’t always violent. It just depends on how you use the tactics.
      • I can’t understand the proposal – it isn’t clearly written.
      • We can’t start policing tactics that people want to take.
      • We can’t pass this proposal because we haven’t defined violence for ourselves.
      • I would like to see this tabled until it is further defined.
      • We need to talk about tactics in context of the goals we all have.
      • People should be able to express themselves how they need to.
      • When you exclude tactics you exclude people.



Yes: 112

No:  559

Abstain:  148

3      Destructive Actions: We withdraw this proposal from the agenda because we want to unify right now.  Our situation is tenuous.  While this conversation is important, we want to maintain our focus.  When the threat of removal by the authorities passes, we will propose that we do not want to employ tactics that bring on police presence at the encampment.

 4. Building Occupation Action: (An anonymous group is planning this action.  Others are presenting this on their behalf).  We propose that we march from the plaza to occupy a building together.  We would be acting upon a resolution supporting reclamations, passed on 10/31/11.

  • Clarifying Questions and Answers
    • Does this proposal mean that if the police come, they will incite violence? – I don’t think there are plans for violence or nonviolence.
    • Who owns the building? – We don’t know.
    • Are you fighting with people against foreclosures? – We have been in contact with people who are working on this.
    • What is the capacity of the building? – We don’t know.
    • Do we have a key to the building?-  We don’t know.
    • Pros
      • We need to expand this occupation.
      • This is the direction we need to move in.
      • I live in Oakland, and Oaklanders I know support this action.
      • Let’s do it, but make it a much, much larger action with thousands of people.
      • People in other movements have done this successfully.
      • We have the right to reclaim tax dollars for the people through this action.
      • It might be better to do this in the day so it can be visible to everyone.
      • Cons
      • As an Oakland resident, I ask you to look for a space with the help of someone in the community.  You can rent a space without taking it over.
        • We can try to rent a space for a nominal fee now that we have funds.
        • It’s a tactical mistake to do it as OO.  Do it autonomously.
        • This might divide our energies.
        • This doesn’t seem as though you’ve consulted the people at this camp.
        • There needs to be a tighter, more focused plan regarding what to do when the police arrive.  It’s too vague for us to preemptively endorse.
        • We don’t need a clandestine operation to do this.  We can plan in a strategic manner and just do it.



Yes: 258

No:  144

Abstain:  126


  • Occupy Berkeley is currently being invaded by police.  (9:56 pm)
  • 12 noon meeting about ideas in the movement.  Meet me here tomorrow.
  • If anyone needs a ride to Berkeley, I have two seats.
  • I have three spots in my car if you want a ride to Berkeley.
  • Rally Tuesday, 12 noon- 1pm. Nov. 15th, at 1515 Clay Street.  We are rallying against the state trigger cuts.  These cuts affect: children, the elderly, and the disabled.
  • Thursday, Nov. 10th, 6pm-8pm– open meeting at Fox Theater hosted by Phil Tagami, a businessman in Oakland.  The purpose of this meeting is to shut-down OO.  Who can step up and organize an action?  This man was quoted as saying that he “kept protesters at bay with a shotgun.”  Be careful.  Give everyone a chance to speak before carrying through any disruptive actions you choose to employ.
  • Occupy SF wedding – Check on FB.
  • 11:00pm tonight: candlelight vigil symbolic of taking a stand to protect this camp.  This is led by an interfaith group that organized after the last police assault.
  • They want to occupy Iran.  Take action to prevent the invasion of Iran.
  • The Finance Committee will present a proposal for spending allocation based on OWS system. This will be available for review on Friday at the Info Tent.
  • Email to support college students in moving their money out of the big banks and into credit unions.
  • Teach-in at Berkeley featuring a film, speakers from Tunisia, Egpyt, and Palestine.  March with us from Berkeley to the plaza.
  • I’m a community member and supporter from East Oakland.  I spoke to the council last week about how proud I was of this movement’s peaceful actions.  We are threatened from those within our camp and outside of the camp.  We can’t put this movement at risk.  I propose an autonomous group that will protect against property destruction, fires, vandalism, and bodily harm.  If you want to join us, meet with us on the steps now.
  • Backpack found in portapotty area.  Blue binder also found.


10:13 pm (There were more announcements but I left at this point.)





Comments are closed.