GA Minutes: 12.4.11

Categories: GA Minutes, General Assembly

Oakland General Assembly

Date 12/4/11

Approximate Start Time: 2:20 pm

Approximate Head Count: 350

Notes: by A.


F: At the general assembly we try to facilitate a direct democratic facilitation process.  (Reviews hand signals) Smokers, for today, please stay to the rear.  For legal support contact: 415-285-1011.  Write this number on your body or memorize it.  For text updates, text BAYACTION to 41411.  Practice respect by refraining from interrupting others when they are speaking.


I. Welcome

II. Welcome Announcements

III. Agenda Overview

IV. FORUM QUESTION December 4:What does Occupy mean to you?

V.  Reports from Committees, Sub-committees & Caucuses

VI. Overview of Process

VII. Proposals

1. Emergency Proposal: Support the rally and protest against AIPAC on December 5

2. Emergency Proposal: Occupy Oakland Tribune Finance Proposal

3. Emergency Proposal: Change name to “Decolonize Oakland

4. Proposal to hold a General Assembly at every major action.

5. Rent Strike

6. Straw Poll for whether to use people’s mic vs amplified sound at the beginning of GA

7. Buy Local Proposal

8. Endorsement of 99 faces

9. Kittens Action

10. Hold GA at OPD

VIII. Action Announcements

IX. General Announcements


F: Please discuss: What does “occupy” mean to you?

Point of Process: (I communicated with a crowd advocate, asking for the forum question to change to “What does decolonize, occupy, and liberate Oakland mean to you?” so that the question isn’t loaded.)  

F: We’re going to change this topic.  Please discuss: What does this movement mean to you?

  • The historical context of “occupy” doesn’t fit with the goals of this movement.
  • Newer people who are just discovering that they are oppressed need to respect the work and presence of those who have already been in the struggle.
  • People are responding to what we are doing, not to our name.  They are excited about the larger connection to the national movement.
  • As a daughter of Texas and as a single mom, I think we should stay in keeping with ancestors and elders to rename the space.
  • We, the congregation of First Christian Church of Oakland,  advocate that this movement be renamed Decolonize Oakland.  We would also advocate for CoExist in Oakland, to embrace all people.
  • The original intent was to occupy the seat of power.
  • The term occupy is racist.  In these movements across the country, few people of color are involved.  We have this opportunity to step up.
  • The history of Wall Street is built on the colonization of the indigenous people, and the slavery of Africans on the land.  The seats of power are within us – we do not need to use the same paradigm of “taking seats of power.”

F: Many people are speaking about a proposal in queue, and are not speaking about the topic, “What does this movement mean to you?”  Please make your comments about the topic.

  • This must be divine timing.  We did talk about the forum topic.  We accept the concept of “occupy” but we think that it’s time for a change that will reflect everyone’s histories and voices.
  • In our group, some people liked the term “occupy” because it’s a good brand and it connects to OWS.  We agree that all people’s voices should be heard, but we don’t know how to make decolonize, liberate, and occupy meld together as one.  Some people in our group preferred “liberate” than “decolonize” because “de-“ sounds negative.
  • This is an opportunity to hold corrupt systems accountable and to protest people who are vulnerable in these systems.

F: Let’s take a straw poll: who would like to vote on this now and go back to our process with the remainder of the queue? We will hear the proposal now; Since many people have already spoken, we will hold brief  Clarifying Questions and Pros and Cons.

Point of Process: Are these people going to stay after this vote?  I think people should stay and be involved after the vote.

F: We ask everyone to stay and hear proposals, just as you would like your proposal to be heard.

  1. Proposal to Change the Name From “Occupy Oakland” to “Decolonize Oakland.”: We want to include our many communities.  We want to open our movement to greater participation, including our Native communities.  We will continue this work, whether or not we rebuild the encampment.  We intend on continuing to decolonize this movement in words and in deeds.

Clarifying Questions

  • How are we as one movement going to stay together against people who want to keep the name Occupy? – A: Other occupies have done this action.
  • Is the proposal simply to change the name, or is there more than that? A: We acknowledge that changing the name does not address the deeper issues of decolonization.  It’s not just about the name, but about deeds.
  • What about logistics with the web/posters? A: This would be flexible and would depend on the capacity of the participants.  There is an existing decolonize Oakland website.  We would like to work in unison with organizers to see how we can work in parallel.
  • How will we connect people’s identification from Occupy to Decolonize if they aren’t here very often? A: (not answered)
  • How will the 99% going to feel included with a word like “decolonize?”  I would like to give a friendly amendment – what about the word “transform?” A: (not answered) Decolonize is not a place on the map.  We are joined in struggle across the country.  We are working in Oakland to decolonize everything.
  • What has the effect of the name change had on participation in other cities that have taken this action? A: (I did not hear the answer)
  • My only question is a matter of timing.  Decolonization runs deep.  It will take understanding. A: A: (not answered)

 F: Let’s see who would like to go straight to the vote?  Who would like to go to pros and cons?  We could try hearing 2 pros and 2 cons.  It seems like many people would like to speak.  We will hear as many as we can.


  • I am in support of this proposal as a white person.  I stand in solidarity with all people in the movement.
  • We need to support this proposal on the principle of people who are left out of this movement.
  • We need to acknowledge that some of us have white privilege. As  Jewish person, I cannot support Palestinian people in a movement named “Occupy.”
  • We will only be weakened when using the language of our oppressors.
  • The divisiveness here today is a symptom of colonization.  We need to listen to those who are most affected.  Let’s do it.
  • This language shows how colonized our minds are.  Let’s change the status quo.
  • I will vote yes on this if the people behind the proposal put their lives into increasing the movement.
  • I do not want to fly on the coattails of imperialism.
  • People can understand that we are a part of the global movement, just like “Arab Spring” or “Los Indignados.”
  • One way that violence is perpetuated is through language.
  • This issue is not just about indigenous people.  It’s about recognizing the history of the shoulders we stand on.
  • This proposal has pushed the envelope of this conversation.  It has made you uncomfortable – welcome to my world.  This emergency has been on hold for over 500 years.  We are more than a brand.
  • Let’s occupy, decolonize, and liberate this.


  • Feelings are more important than words.  Words change.  Occupy is used throughout the movement, so we should keep that word.
  • We have broken the process by allowing an emergency proposal to be heard that is not an emergency.  We have also allowed proposers to speak for 10 minutes.  I am an occupant.  I live here.  I’m not stating an opinion about the name change.  We have not had time to develop this conversation.

F: This speaker pointed out something important.  This group and the FWG did not follow the process. We are still working on what constitutes something as an emergency proposal.

(We continued with pros and cons)

  • “Occupy” is more strongly connected with the movement.
  • I want to occupy all the space that is due to me.  Whether the word is occupy or liberate is used, I want an active, forward thinking word.
  • I think that movement will change its name, but “decolonization” is divisive.
  • We need to research this again before we can make a reasonable decision.  The questions asked during clarifying questions were answered by rereading the proposal we had already heard.


(This proposal was announced as an action announcement because there was no time to present the proposal as planned on the agenda)

  • We propose that Occupy Oakland support the rally and protest against AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – on Monday night December 5. Occupy Oakland can support this rally/protest against the 1% by encouraging participation and sending strong contingent. Rally starts at 5:30 pm in front of the Marriott Hotel, 11th and Broadway, Oakland.

Vote Results:


YES: 198


NO: 91

(After some cheering, much confusion and agitation ensued.  Several people started chanting “Decolonize Oakland” for about five minutes.)


(This was said in the midst of the crowd with the People’s Mic, not within the GA process). No matter how you voted, please realize something. Everyone has a place here.  We all need to recognize the power of this conversation.  We want people to come out and be part of Occupy Oakland.  Figure out what you want.  Start listening to the people!  Be about it!  I love you all!!

(Another voice…partially muffled – I couldn’t hear everything amidst arguing and people have side conversation). We might  hold our own GA.  Stay connected with us.  We have more work ahead of us.


  • Occupy Legal is having a meeting at the Ella Baker Center at 5pm.
  • I decided to table my proposal today so that we could finish the conversation about the Decolonize proposal.  My proposal is to decide whether or not to have a GA when we have a major action, like the Port Closure.  Another idea was to have GA’s involving proposals on Sundays and Saturdays.
  • Please meet with us if you identify as feminist, female, or queer.  We’ll discuss actions for the Port Shut Down.
  • Children’s Village: We would like to have the village support this assembly.  If you are available, contact us by email:
  • PoC/QPoC: 14th and Franklin meeting to debrief this meeting ASAP.
  • SF State Occupy: Welcome, come on in!
  • I’m looking for people to teach classes.  We need anti oppression class!
  • Who would like to meet tomorrow to debrief today’s conversation?  We will actively examine white privilege.  Come to The Hold Out, Monday night, at 6:30.  23rd and San Pablo.  Spread the word.
  • Anti Repression: Next Date for support, Monday 8:30am, at 12th and Fallon. – Eric Bernard is the only person currently in jail.  57 arraignments this week at 9am, M/T/W at the 7th and Washington courthouse.  Email  We meet Tues at noon at SF Pizza.
  • Events:  occupyoaklandeventscommittee – FB page.  We can support you run events in your own neighborhoods.
  • Occupy The Hood: We meet on Tues at 7:30 at The House of Music on 420 14th and Bway.  If you want to plug in or if you need support, come on in.
  • Press conference regarding Johannes Meserle’s record: Wed, 9am, at Bart Headquarters.
  • West Coast Port Shut Down:  We meet every night there is a GA at 5pm.
  • Foreclosure Defense: On December 6th, Rally at 18th and Adeline, Little Bobby Hutton Park, 3:30pm. Contact:  Text HOUSINGOO to 41411 for text updates.
  • If you’d like, collect acorns with me that have fallen from the tree.
  • Facilitation Committee: We meet at 12 noon on days we have GA.  Thank you for your patience.


  5:43  pm


2 Responses to “GA Minutes: 12.4.11”

  1. amalia

    Greetings to all from (Un)Occupy Albuqueque, As you know I can only speak for myself not all of (Un)Occupy. My deepest respect to all who are brave enough to have this discussion. We here in Burque are surrounded by 19 pueblos and are part of one of the largest indigenous-held land bases in the U.S. with that said how could we here move forward without addressing the work occupy? It took many hours of discussion. We came with decolonize first but folk felt like that would disconnect us from the national movement, at this point (Un)Occupy was offered. It is not the changing of a name that brings division, it is when we carry forward colonization that brings division. I have worked for change all of my life and this time I felt at my end if there could be no consensus around shared leadership between people of color and their white allies then what is the point ! On that day we choose to live the world we are fighting for . Like all of you we have a dream of shared power between people of color, our white allies and all who struggle and we have the audacity act on that dream !
    Go well my friends, go well, Amalia

  2. Natworks

    On tabled proposal to change name to decolonize.
    The movement has the ability to capture the mainstream. We must be very strategic if we hope to do that. I believe that the movement has most of it’s mainstream support because people associate it with the potential to end corporate control of government, to close the revolving door, to end corporate personhood, to end lobbying, and to end fraudulent and unfair bank practices. These are the most important aspects of the movement to me. I believe we must hold on to and prioritize these goals. By changing our name to decolonize I believe that we abandon those associations. Now I know how much it sucks to make a decision based on getting support from the mainstream some of whom haven’t even showed up to participate, but we may be dependent on them deciding to get involved to have the biggest impact. That being said, if a separate group formed, calling itself decolonize oakland, with many of the same participants as the occupy movement I would support that group. If that group planned an action in solidarity with indigenous people I would personally submit a proposal and or vote to pass a proposal for occupy to participate in that action. I do not support that group in co-opting the occupy movement. I see them as necessarily separate. Occupy movement attracts support from a wide variety of people and that support will continue to grow if the original associations with income inequality and taking action against unfair banking practices are consistent. Similarly the decolonize movement is most powerful when not diluted by the %99 Vs. %1 discussion.