GA Minutes: 1.4.12

Categories: GA Minutes

Oakland General Assembly

Date: 1/4/12

Approximate Start Time: 6:20PM

Approximate Head Count: 130


(Facilitators moved the GA to 14th and Broadway to support the individuals holding down the vigil)




F: Each person will have about a minute and a half to report back on their group (or their own) thoughts.

  • MIC CHECK! Peace Oakland and our human family around the globe. My name is Angel Love and I am an Oakland Resident. I would like to first say, that I believe in our young people. I respect their wisdom. I do hear their cry. And I am here to support them as well as issues at large. Long before I saw Occupy Oakland here, downtown Oakland, I saw our young people. I would see them just hanging out, and I continued to see that. I see a great need to provide safe places for them to socialize without being harassed by police and other business owners. I do see a lot of positive changes taking place here in Oakland. More and more I see young people getting more opportunities to excel. I feel we can do more. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk down any given street in deep East Oakland or other poor communities in Oakland and see fruit stands, clothing stores, banks that actually lend to the people in those communities. I love our young people, I am not afraid of them. I feel we should focus a lot of our attention and our resources in these communities in Oakland and around the globe. Some folks say there isn’t any money. Yet I see buildings being put up every day. As I do support Occupy Oakland, I do not want it to be looked on as a separate group. I want us all to be in this great movement to improve life for all together. I would like to see us all embrace other ways to make a positive change as well. I would like to see us walk arm in arm down those so-called ‘dangerous’ areas in our communities.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is Frank and I’m a journalist. I’m coming to you after Rose Parade with messages of solidarity and hope. What I saw from that movement was a coming together of many different interests from many different places. From an outside observer, it seems there is positive change en-masse. There are movements coming together from different locations and collaborating for increased impact. I would encourage you all to further your ties with different occupy communities. Seeing the Occupy Rose Parade and the hundreds if not thousands in attendance, and the messages of support from those in the crowd, I can see the momentum is still going. So I appreciate you all being here, and I encourage you all to keep working because it’s working. Thank You.
  • Unable to work out what this individual is saying.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is Chloe. I am a student. And I’m a feminist. And I support Occupy. Today I represent my group of activists here and students worldwide. My group today talked about a variety of issues. One, the idea that a physical presence is really important. Two, that the idea of occupying a foreclosed home is powerful but one needs to be careful as a whole because we don’t want to divide (not in the physical sense but in the sense of the movement). We don’t want the splitting of the people to different locations to diminish the solidarity of the people existing here. Three, that we need to fight the repression of this movement because it still stands STRONG! Thank you.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is Patrick. Thank you all for being here. My group talked about four main points. One, that we’re still here, so please support this beautiful village, it is 24/7, it is under direct, the permit’s been revoked. We’re not going anywhere. Second point, we had a gentleman from Occupy the Hood. He was telling us how important it is to combat non-violence. We also talked about the committees we were part of and how important it is to join a committee. Last point we talked about how important it is to support OakFoSho.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is Glen. I am a small business owner in Oakland (for a store) called Ancient Ways. I support Occupy Oakland> All of us who work there support Occupy Oakland. In the small group I was in just now, we had a few questions, but not a whole lot of answers. The first was a good one. What next? Well we mentioned the building occupation and that that would be the one pretty soon. The next question that arose was, how long do we expect to be in that building. I don’t have any real expectations of holding that building or losing that building. I have a dream for that building and we all have that dream that the abandoned building to be for all of us people to use for helping our needs. We also asked how safe would it be to be in that building. One person mentioned that she wouldn’t put her children in there in a childcare. (interruption) They’re for us. I said in my group that I can’t really afford to get arrested at this time so I would want to be on the outside and help. But farther than that we don’t know. That’s okay, because another possibility is that circumstances can direct our actions. If the banks fail. Again. Or if a war is declared on Iran. If any other things happen locally, we will pop up like whack-a-mole.
  • Hi I’m CJ and my group covered a lot of these things and it really brings something out that we should all notice. We are at the point in this movement where “I don’t know” is no longer an acceptable option. The fact of the matter is a lot of us don’t have homes. For a lot of us, this vigil is where we are. This is what we have. While it’s great that we’re planning for this building occupation, that’s still 24 days where the people like me are going to be sleeping in the cold. We can’t accept undecided opinions. We need to figure out action. Tonight. And I would ask that none of you leave until you have figured out something concrete that we can use to move this movement forward. I would suggest thinking about education, getting our message out to everyone who can benefit from it. But beyond that I’m only one person, we need to figure this out together and we need to do it now.
  • My name is Joey, I correspond to and distribute Revolution Newspaper. We have an important article calling for mass action against the suppression of the Occupy movement. I think we have to keep a few things in mind. When we’re talking about the 99 percent we’re talking worldwide. Last year, even the bourgeois media had to call it the year of the protestor. All across the middle east, in Spain, in Greece, in London, millions of people came out. And fought. Tenaciously. With persistence and spirit. We have to keep that up. We can’t let the suppression of this movement to stand. It was Jean Quan who said the suppression of Occupy was coordinated with Homeland Security. They can’t stand occupy being an alternative to their zombies from their bourgeois elections. I mean look at that shit. Santorum. Romney. Those other brain dead fuckers. Which represent the same. So let’s think about the stakes. What’s called for. What’s needed. Is a day of mass action all across the country in the thousands of cities that took up occupy to put us once more in the media throughout the world. There’s a lot at stake for the people of humanity. We got to keep the initiative.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is … and we talked a few things in our circle. First, we want to publicize the city’s harassment and call for our right to assemble to be respected. We have phones, we should call the city. If we have the means, we should attend council meetings. Two, publicize the vigil with various groups. Churches. Mosques. Synagogues. Local Communities to come out for an hour or two, to see for themselves what we are about. We can pass out information when they attend. Three, separate the vigil area from the sleeping area. We do not want to give an excuse for the city to raid the vigil. We want the vigil to be a vigil. Also, speaking only for myself, I would like to see more of an American Indian presence. Not only that, but all groups of people who feel they need to be heard. Thank you.
  • MIC CHECK! My name is Tess. In my group we had people from the children’s village and with the interfaith tent and we were talking about how good it feels to have the commune back together with the tree-sit there and the interfaith tent there and the vigil here and how beautiful last night was with children running around and someone playing the violin and people all together. The police came by today and asked if, when the interfaith tent was still up if they had a permit, and they aid “yes I do, it’s the US constitution”.
  • F: There is one last speaker, then we’ll move on to report-backs from Committees, Sub-Committees, Workgroups, and Caucuses.
  • I spoke with some of your homies before GA about the next coming events. So if I’m making an event and I need some things, I can either do them myself or get people to do them for me. I think my doing them myself is something we need to come to more often. For example, I wanted to cook today and the meeting somehow fell apart. Luckily I met Robin Hood at Whole Foods. For example, if we want to hold down this spot, it’s up to me to stay for as long as I can, but then when I leave and I meet someone in the elevator, I’m like HEY MAN YOU’RE BEAUTIFULTHERE’S A LOT HAPPENING IN THE WORLD HERE’S LIKE FIVE-THOUSAND THINGS. (Hellicopter) Something about synchronicity. Everything that I do is very important but only if everything that everyone does is very important. We have more potential than we realize. ALL IT TAKES IS A SLAP IN THE FACE (SLAPS HIS OWN FACE), SHIT. FOCUSED. LOOK AROUND, I’M BEAUTIFUL, SO ARE YOU, THANKS.



F: I forgot to read something, it’s important. But it relates to announcements. “The bulk of the work we do does not happen in the General Assembly. It happens in various committees that report back to the GA. Everyone participating in Occupy Oakland should be part of at least one committee. Before committee announcements, we have an emergency announcement.

Emergency Announcement: I have a request. Some of you may know that a lot of our comrades got grabbed up on Friday and it’s been a harrowing week. They suffered at the hands of the police both out here, on the way to jail, and especially in jail. Most of them are out now. Thank God and the Universe. A couple of them are having a real hard time tonight and would do much better if someone who is a saint could give them a spot or a couch or a bed or somewhere they can lay down or a shower so they don’t have to be on the streets tonight. It’d be greatly appreciated. Come see me.


  • Events: My name’s Leo and I’m with the events committee! There are a few events this week as well as the big ones. Friday, Occupy Art Murmur, Sierk, and LBL will have a presence at Occupy. Sunday 12-5 there’ll be workshops at 19yth and telegraph that Occupy Patriarchy is organizing. Check it out. On top of all this, e-mail and get involved because we (and mainly I) need help and it’d be awesome. Peace.
  • Occupy Patriarchy: We want to say something about the event on Sunday. It’s Oakland Queer and Feminist Occupy and it’s leading up to a larger occupation, a building occupation. There’ll be workshops ranging from self-defense to occupying buildings 101. There’ll be food, music, fun stuff for kids, and you’re invited. Sunday, 12-5PM 19th and Telegraph. More information at
  • Oak Tree: Hi I’m Molly, and I’m here to give you an Oak Tree update. Because of the impact that the tree has had, we want to convince the city to do away with the lawn and plan a smarter, more beautiful landscape that’s not so water-loving and is compatible with the Oak Tree. If you want to be involved, we’ll be meeting on Saturday at 1PM> We’ll be throwing around ideas, our wildest dreams, what we want our plaza to be, but thinking about the oak tree. If you see the sprinklers on, call the city and videotape it. We have not gotten confirmation that the sprinklers are off. Saturday at 1PM near the tree.
  • Anti-Repression: I’m Lalei with the anti-repression committee. As you all know last week we suffered a wave of arrests and ten of our comrades spent four nights in jail. The DA never filed any charges yesterday and we were able to get eight of our comrades out of jail last night. Two of them still remain, Alex and Momo, and we’re trying to find out what we can do. Also, this coming Monday is the court hearing for Khali at 9AM, Pleasanton court house department 701. Please come and help us with your support. If you can offer rides or if you need a ride please come see me. Free Khali, Free Mo mo, Free Alex.
  • Theatre Group: Hi everybody, I am CJ and I am forming a new committee tonight. I personally have a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Performance. As you can tell, my voice is somewhat powerful. I am interested in teaching people both public speaking and getting across yuour point, and improvised acting which I’ll use to educate our populous. So if you are interested in street-theatre, mobile teach-ins, and in being fucking active, please talk to me tonight so we can figure out when to meet and when we can do rehearsals. Thank you, I’ll be right here tonight.
  • Oscar Grant Committee: Hello, my name is Gerald and I’m with the Oscar Grant committee. We were discussing the possibility of filing a complaint with the city’s civilian review board on behalf of this Occupation. But this requires your agreement. I’d like people to think about it, discuss it, and if you’re interested I think we’re going to put a proposal for it through the GA to make it our join policy. I have no illusions in any of these bourgeois institutions But I don’t think it’s good to let them abuse us many times illegally according to their own laws and not respond. We can respond and I think we should. Talk to me later about this.
  • F: As you all know, we’re doing proposals after, there are a couple of emergency ones, so make sure to stick around so we don’t lose quorum. We’re currently straddling it.
  • Children’s Village: Hello everybody, my name is Samsara and I’m with Oakland Children’s Village, and the Parents and Allies committee. We haven’t been with you. The village hasn’t been here, but we’ve been with you in spirit. Because we can’t trust our city government to behave in a legal fashion, our little ones haven’t been hgere. SO I would like to stand here and say SHAME ON YOU. There should be no reason why the Children’s Village can’t be standing right there (points to park). We want you to know that actions are being planned. Actions involving our tree, and actions to support our comrades in jail. If you would like to help us, please contact us, e-mail is Long live the Oakland Commune!
  • Boycott Workgroup: Hi  my name is Rick. The GA on Monday, I brought up on Monday that a few of us have been talking about, which are some large, mass boycotts of companies/corporations that are the largest political contributors and drawing a line from those corporations to the politicians so that everyone in the entire 99 percent can see what’s going on and can actually do something about it. So we’re starting a working group. First meeting will be next Sunday at 1PM at SF Pizza, they’ll be called the Groundhog boycotts because we’ll start them on Groundhog day and run them every single day until something changes. So if anyone is interested in recreating the Groundhog day movie, if you’re interested in joining the committee please come to the first meeting at 1PM at SFPizza on Sunday. Bring your ideas.
  • Occupy the Courts: Hi my name is … and I’ll be talking about a new working group called Occupy the Courts. This is in conjunction with the national move to amend movement about ending corporate personhood and repealing Citizens United. We meet every Wednesday at 3PM in front of the Rising Loafer at the north side of the plaza and we are having an action here in Oakland that will go to San Francisco on January 20th at 8AM until 11AM at 14th and Clay. You will see these flyers. We hope you can attend. This will be part of Move to Amend, a national day of action, the two year anniversary of Citizens United passing. We will have a sign making and general brainstorming at noon on Saturday on the plaza. So we hope you can attend and give Oakland a voice and move to amend.
  • 5 Ideas Conference: Hello Everyone, later today we’ll be discussing a proposal to endorse THIS event. I’ll pass out information so that you have it before the proposal comes up.
  • Labor Solidarity Committee: Hi I’m from the OO Labor Solidarity Committee and we’ve been very busy. There are several local actions being planned including Licorice Workers in Union City. Also Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, workers have been locked out for two years. They’ve come to us and asked for our support. Stay tuned for those two. Of course, we’re organizing a caravan for Longview Washington to support the ILWU and Local 21 to prevent the first ship loaded with scab labor by EGT. We don’t know the date, we know it’ll be mid-to-late January or early February and will likely be a 5-day trip. We have sign up forms which I’ll be passing around and I hope you’ll all come to Washington.
  • I’m here to remind us that we agreed to support this vigil at the plaza and having meetings at places where it costs money to sit instead of having the meetings here at the plaza keeps some people from meetings and keeps all the people from the plaza. Please quit scheduling meetings at other places. Please schedule your meetings here at the plaza.
  • My name is Owen and I occasionally work with the Facilitation Committee. We could really use more help. We staff the GAs. The GAs would happen without us, but they are a lot smoother with us. As you know, we’ve been working on a Holiday Schedule. Welcome back to the GA happens Sunday. From then on, it’ll be our regular Schedule. MWF 6PM, 2PM Sunday. Facilitation meets at the north end of the plaza to prepare for the GAs at noon MWF and at 4PM on Saturdays. Please get involved. Another way to get involved, or submit a proposal, is to e-mail us at
  • F: Next we’ll take proposals. A quick overview of the process. Finance proposals don’t have pros and cons, but for other proposals we do. We work on a consensus basis to its 90 percent or more it passes. If a non-finance proposal gets 70 percent or more we open it up for friendly amendments. First proposers.
  • Announcement: To add to the Labor Solidarity announcement. There is an immediate need to support the picket line for the Licorice Workers in Union City, particularly evening shifts and graveyard shifts. If anyone is interested in that (they’ve been striking since December 5th) I can plug you into that.



Proposer: We need Tim from finance to give a quick brief of finances.

 Emergency Finance Proposal for the Building Occupation/Move-in Assembly which is requesting $3300, $2000 for printing, $300 for sound truck, $1000 for misc supplies such as cleaning/coordinating/securing the building.

 Proposer: Since then we’ve been in touch with finance and it seems like we have much less money in all of Occupy Oakland than we thought is going to give a brief run-down of the situation.

Finance: So Finance Committee cannot recommend disbursement of this $3000. Obviously it’s the GA’s decision but let me give you some numbers of where we are. I can tell you these numbers are publically available at You can review the spreadsheets at the website. Right now we can estimate that we have $3846.72 available. Let me explain how the numbers break down. So we have $14,280 that is dedicated for bail funds only. That money cannot be spent on anything else. We also have allocated $9,000 for the very successful West Coast Port Shutdown day. We are still reimbursing people from that money. But we promised we’d reimburse these people so we have to do that. That leaves us only the $3846.72. Frankly, we spend most of our money these days on food and bail and we spend a lot more than we take in. So if people want us to fundraise, or if individual event groups wants to fundraise for their events, the finance committee recommends that we do that ASAP.

Clarifying Questions:

  • Q. I have a question about the money situation, uh we have fundraised at the Grand Lake Theatre which I heard was around $6000. Also, Occupy Wall Street had given us a large amount ($30,000).
    • (from Finance) I can say this, that money from OWS was earmarked for two things, one is bail, and the other is the Longview Port Shutdown. We’re still waiting for that group to propose their budget so that we can be given funds for that.
    • As far as the Grand Lake fundraiser, to my knowledge we have not received that and the accounting is not finished for that.

Proposer: In light of this information, how do people feel about amending the request to $1000 for now, and then doing a big fundraiser specifically for this event and requesting more once we get the grand lake money in. So, basically, I’m at a little bit of a loss, as I’m amending this as its going on and if anyone else wants to jump up with any ideas, I’m open.

Vote Results:


YES: 55


NO: 12

Proposer: We’re going to re-think this and we’re going to have another proposal on Sunday now that we know the financial situation better.

  1. Emergency Proposal to accept assistance in finding a building or commercial space to rent for an Occupy Oakland center space, or to utilize however Occupy Oakland sees fit

 Proposer: Off the Grid foundation has offered Occupy Oakland and 4 other occupations to lease a building for us, and pay rent for us. This a building or commercial space that we can use as an Occupy Social center. I need to get the okay from everyone that we want this kind of assistance so that we can proceed in finding this space. Details will come, I have a simple right up. If anyone wants to look at it after. Off the Grid subsidizes organic farmers and gives grants to farmers and people who are doing sustainable living projects. They decided to give 5 occupies a chance to have a stable space and they want to fund us. But they need GA approval before we can proceed.

Clarifying Questions:

  • Is this in addition to the Move-In day action.
    • It is completely separate from that although I think both are valid and important. I also don’t want whatever building we open to pull away from what we have here. I want it to be another branch in helping what we’re holding here and to help expand whatever we’re doing anywhere.
  • Will this space include gardening space.
    • Yes. I just want to say that everyone’s making a choice together on what space we take so I imagine we’ll get a committee of 10 or 15 people to help plan this where we’ll have a constant dialogue with everyone else involved in the occupy movement. I can answer from my own personal standpoint but that can shift depending on our needs.
  • Will there hopefully be a legal kitchen?
    • Yes, but that’s to be decided.
  • Will this be a place to live?
    • No, but that’s to be decided.
  • Will there be alcohol allowed?
    • No, but that’s to be decided.
  • What would be timing…what would be the earliest that this branch will open?
    • No idea, but in the next couple of weeks.
  • Who is going to be responsible for the building that we take as far as having keys, as far as when the city inevitably harasses us. That kind of responsibility.
    • Clarifying the proposal, do we want assistance from Off the Grid in establishing and being funded to having a community space. Could be a building or commercial space.
  • Proposer: So the concerns are valid, but we can dialogue about this during committees. I imagine there’ll be a group of 10 or 15 people (a committee) that will take full responsibility in managing the building and keeping it a protected, space, and productive place.
  • Is off the grid aware of move-in day and would that change anything?
    • They aren’t aware, I have barely been able to talk to them, but the two are separate.
  • Who is going to be paying bills/water etc.
    • I imagine that they will.

Constructive Suggestions

  • I suggest we definitely vote yes. We need a place to organize and get away from OPD harassment. If they  arrest (cite) us for reading poetry while riding a bike, then this place is not good for organizing all the time. I’m all for having committee meetings here but we need a steady space to be. Thank you.
  • I have a constructive suggestion. I think there are too many things that are unclear about this proposal like who this organization actually is, what they’ll actually be paying for, where the building is, how they would take liability for people planning illegal activities in a rented space etc. I think we really need a space but I also think we need more information before being able to vote on this proposal.
  • My constructive suggestion is that you vote for this. Yes. Because they’re already aware of the occupation movement being entirely illegal. So we have two spaces in being secure.
  • I support this for all the reasons already stated, I really wanna go steady with the space, I really wanna get out from under the threat of OPD fucking with us so that we can’t get anything else done. I would suggest that the proposers note all the questions and concerns that have come up tonight as the basis of the work to be addressed by the committee. I would also suggest that these questions (within reason) in response to this foundation to find out if there are strings that they might attach to their gift.
  • I think everyone should be in support of this given our financial status, we can use all the help we can get. We shouldn’t cut our allies before we get them.
  • Firstly, whoever pays the piper always winds up calling the tune. Secondly, this committee could wind up with more power than intended because of the nature of the power of the purse to become the focus of legislative action and I mean action within which is what is currently the role of this GA. We may find that as in many organizations which have some kind of executive or steering committee that this assembly may become a mere rubber stamp or advisory body. This was come to the end of what we stood for and came together for. Thirdly, we should not back down from the necessary struggle with the OPD in which we shall ultimately be successful.
  • My constructive suggestion is to confirm that once these details have been worked out, the proposal will be brought back to the general assembly. My understanding is that this is just an approval to begin exploring the issue. I would urge to support this exploration. We will need a safe-space when we run out of money to bail people out of jail. We need a place to organize. Please let’s support an investigation into this option. Thank you.
  • A lot has already been said. I want to echo what Spence said. I want to note what we are all doing here and doing right now. Every time we struggle with the police, we get stronger, and that is what the occupation is about. If we do it, let’s have an office space but stay out here and keep doing this shit, it’s working. One final thing, I’ll never call it a constructive suggestion. It is a CON.

F: Proposers will now read their proposal, keeping in mind that all proposals are living documents.

 Proposers: All the concerns are valid, we obviously need to know more information. I’ll get back to everyone so we can continue. Basic proposal is to pursue this option and get details.

Vote Results:


YES: 70


NO: 6

F: Reminder that we return to regular schedule this Sunday, 2PM. Facilitation meets 4PM Saturday to prepare for that.



  • We’re going to be voting on Sunday to endorse the 5 Ideas Conference. Even if we never get to vote, the event will still be happening and we would love to see you there. To tell you a bit about the event, organizers from around the occupies around the bay area are working on bringing all who want to participate into a research-rich space of art supplies, food, tables, etc. to work on 5 ideas that will be selected on the day of the event. The process of selecting them will be transparent and democratic. Small groups will present their ideas and put them on paper on the walls. Folks will get post-its to comment on them and stickers to vote on which ones they like. The most promising ideas we’ll work on the day of to pull them off and launch them for the spring. There’s a lot more information on line and on these flyers so pick one up. You can get involved with making this awesome. We ask that people RSVP because we’re providing food, childcare, and potentially carpooling but we need to know who is coming in order to do that. Flyer: E-mail:
  • This coming Friday evening and also on sat5urday afternboon, we’ll be discussing four articles from the book that’s called “This changes everythning: Occupy Wall Street and the 99 Percent Movement”. I put these four articles on a URL that’s on this flyer. If you want hard copies, buy them off me (since I paid for printing). The articles can be found here: The articles we’ll be looking at (which can be found here are:
    • 1 — How Occupy Wall Street Changes Everything, by Sarah van Gelder
    • 2 — Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything, by Sarah van Gelder, David Korten, and Steve Piersanti
    • 3 — What Can Stop the One Percent?, by Naomi Klein  [[Note: In the book “This Changes Everything” this essay is entitled “The Most Important Thing in the World”]]
    • 4 — 10 Ways to Support the Occupy Movement, by Sarah van Gelder
    • This coming Sunday at 10AM on whichever side of the plaza we’re not using at that time a Christian Service will be set and the sacrament of holy communion will be celebrated. Anyone desiring to be baptized should make themselves known to me (Svend) tonight so I may begin assessing you for baptism.
    • I just wanted everyone to know again that if you are interested in street theatre, being a better public speaker, or improvised action, talk to me tonight so we can get this shit working.
    • Last announcement, this is my first time co-facilitating so I would like feedback (Owen).
    • Can we get a Hey Tree People, Thank You form the crowd? (Spence)
    • So I am here to make a quick request on behalf of the entire plaza. We are here to hold the light every night every day. We need to have a literal light. We need candles. Please bring candles. Thank you.
    • Once again my name is Frank and I am a journalist in this movement. If you have anything to say or any ideas for solutions, come see me. I would love to hear them so I can put out information that you all want to read. Thank you come see me. E-mail me

F: If there are no more announcements, thank you for staying, have a goodnight.



8:40  pm


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