1/23/12 GA Minutes

Occupy Chicago General Assembly

23 January 2012

The Space


Moderator: Sam

Stack:  Timmy

Notes:  Keri


Committee Announcements


*Seth gets a little burned by a radiator (watch out!)


Organization, Seth:

People are saying this committee should make loans for what happens at Cermak.  I don’t know.  I don’t think this should be run by one committee, everyone should be involved.  Arts and Rec has been talking about painting that’s great, Legal is here Housing’s job isn’t done, they should maintain what we have as a working space not just an empty room.  Organization will help other groups communicate, how can we do this, who can help us do this.  We will think about what we need, chairs, boards for presentations, we can help you get them.

All the set up shouldn’t get done by Organization because that is hat was done in the past ad it didn’t work and people said we didn’t do a good enough job and they were right because we shouldn’t have been doing it by ourselves.

We all need to be involved and all committees represented here should communicate.  Email us or if you have my number or if you don’t get it, basically, Organizational committee won’t take this on by ourselves.  We did this with Grace, and we did a good job considering but we should all do this together.


Housing, Josh:

Meeting tomorrow at 5pm downstairs, we are not focusing on finding other spaces and leading up to April 7 and May 19.


DA, Josh:

Meeting tomorrow at 7pm


Arts and Rec, Justin:

New collective, occupy Chicago Rebel Art Collective, launch Feb 24 at Wicker park Art Center.  Contact AnR to be a part of music, painting, writing, any and all art.


Social media, Keilah

If you are on SM, we need more people if you have access to FB or Twitter, follow protocol!


Calls for Assistance



Let’s make a library, contact me, let’s get books!



Tomorrow we are going to go to Grace and the storage unit and pick stuff up, I have all day free except 3 to 4, so get at me.



I have a truck and a bad left arm, we need more help.  Stuff from Grace and the unit we will get tomorrow.  We can put the stuff we know we don’t have on the donations list and have a drive.



Regarding library books:  we have many in storage and I have listed them by title.

Storage:  Everything was inventoried by Seth and I, don’t make me cry, keep it organized, maintain the hard work we did.



We filmed a documentary, Bailout, we want to set up a screening and teach in. We can use any help to get as many people as possible we feel it is a powerful educational tool.  Contact Sean@endlesseye.org





Occupy needs to be represented at meeting tomorrow, not just city officials and lawyers, wanted to talk to legal, CLDC, but it’s a last minute thing. We started to prepare for natog8 in August, before Occupy, and you all have been keeping us on the hustle, seat of the pants preparation.  No complaints, we are happy you came along.  Forgiveness for short notice.

Can you send one or two people (yes) 3:30 at People’s Law Office 1180 N. Milwaukee, Division St stop off Blue Line.  Brad Tomson will be there.


Temp check on us being there.


Temp check passes.


Amendment:  Can we produce a written report?


Yes we can (CLDC rep)



Lawyers meeting that night, but you don’t need to go to that.




Any issue that you want us to bring up?


Proposal about Chicago Principals

There has been fighting, snitching, finger pointing, left the movement less powerful than it would have been otherwise.  Basically what would happen is that all these groups that are coming to these summits are struggling against a common enemy (G8, etc.), groups use different tactics, may not believe in another’s tactics.

Leftists group nonviolent pacifist protesting (example).

Another group (example) who is NOT nonviolent, want to break ATMs.

In the past during the protest in St. Paul during last Republican Convention this was used. Before this, groups who are fighting in the same struggle were denouncing each other and telling the police on either on the basis of tactics and getting each other into trouble.

Two groups doing different things might have anger and incriminations and a divided left that shouldn’t be divided in the struggle against that common enemy.

These groups will allow time and space between actions so that their actions wont interferes with one another so that a peaceful protest wont be swallowed in a violent action as well as no snitching because you don’t agree.

It is endorsing a variety of tactics.  We are fighting against a common enemy but we don’t want the actions to make people get arrested who don’t want to.


  1. actions endorsed
  2. separations of time or space
  3. debates and criticisms will stay internal to movement
  4. oppose state repression of dissent

CANG8 is already for it.  We want to have a conference about this so we are going to bring it up on Saturday.


?is this the correct language?


Discussion about whether or not it is


May have been changed to say all actions will not harm others.



I support the language the way it was.


*reading of “updated” language

Chicago Principles
• Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social, economic and
environmental justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in a diversity of tactics and plans of
action but are committed to treating each other with respect and working towards a common goal of peace and
• As we plan our actions and tactics, we will take care to maintain appropriate separations of time and space
between divergent tactics.
• We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption, limiting our action
to “free speech zones,” and violence, or attempts to divide our movement through the conscious creation of
divisions regarding tactics, organization, strategies, and alliances.
• Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of
fellow activists and events.



Guy who was there:  I was cautious about being peaceful and non-violent because police, CIA uses violent tactics so we should be cautious, are there provocateurs, if there is someone in there who is doing something violent who is putting others in danger do we stand back or do we do something to prevent them.  Not cooperate with law enforcement, is it the ethical or moral thing to do?



I support though I will abstain as usual because I put this on the agenda for Kieran. It’s not up to us to change it, a lot of people have signed on it’s been used for large summits, it’s been changed, they are the Chicago principals, they have already been agreed to and there can be no amendments we have to adopt or not adopt.

Among our principals is non-violence, so we don’t need to worry about how the proposal addresses that.  It is just that we are not going to plan actions so others get caught up in them and we aren’t going to denounce those who use other tactics than we do and we won’t endorse violence because we don’t endorse that.  We all struggle together.



Adopting new principals will be important if we are going to work with other groups because it gives us legitimacy and gives other groups more reason to work with us, no toe stepping.  Bullshit on moral obligation to snitch.



Nothing preventing us from modifying if we want to it wouldn’t carry the exact same meaning but it would still align us.  I liked the first version better you can commit to non violence if your actions are against those who are doing different things and in the same struggle it’s a hindrance.

In DC we struggled on the steps with what we are doing we shouldn’t alienate others by putting in language in that might offend others if we are already said we are nonviolent.



Original language or we would adopt Occupy principals rather that those that others have already chosen to support we offer space for all groups not just one that align with exactly our views, our space is a positive working area to work for goals



Ryan:  first reading was from Rep. Ntnl. Convention, the current language is from the second reading



We support violent and nonviolent action?



NO!  Just don’t snitch.


…ok, we just support diversity of tactics, we support?



Language is not that we support, it just that we don’t snitch and you keep us out of it.


…those people who communicate with us who doesn’t want to mess up what Occupy is doing, where two people put a blockade in a same location, etc, we want to avoid this, lets make it clear, we ourselves are committed to nonviolent action, look at NDAA we can’t tap dance around it, we kinda, uh well we, ……they will find a way…..I respect what Occupy built.


*another reading of the updated principals



Bad move not to accept, it will not look very good for us to throw a bratty Occupy Chicago tantrum


Slogan Lady:

If we are going to subscribe to this we need to be clear about what we are going to say if someone who was violent comes up to us what are we going to say when reporter comes up to us…



You say whatever you want to those people, speak for yourself as a member of the occupation, if someone does do something stupid, from the street it is not an official statement of OC, it is just from a member of the occupation, press and web will have official.



That wont matter to the general public, the media is biased they will slant in a negative way, if my mom read something bad, she would take it in a bad way someone who would otherwise be sympathetic who read it in the media will take it bad


Direct response:

If we adopt these principals we can talk, but first we need to talk about whether or not to adopt the proposals.



I’m ok with that.



I trust the press committee to take our principles and these principles into account, we can have a big meeting about what to say and big talking points the press committee knows how to allude the traps set by unfriendly reporters to make us sound like crazy or bad people or to denounce something you don’t really want to denounce.

I know what I would say, though. I’d say I’m also out here protesting, if I agreed with those tactics I’d be out there using those tactics instead of in here with you Mr. Reporter or Ms. Reporter whoever you may be. The people who engaged in violence were protesting a system that keeps hundreds of millions, some might say billions of people oppressed, keeping economic justice form spreading. If you want me to condemn people for using violent tactics against a system that has made millions homeless in the last three years, well, I think the people we are protesting are worse.


Black hat guy:

People who are organizing would like to see it go smoothly the media wants to look for anyting they can to not talk aobut the real issues and the violence in the street so they can distort the message so they can build antipathy across the public, they have the masses they will take it and flip it in another direction and if you are tying to organize a peaceful protest in another way and you want to have this action and someone else interferes and does something aggressive.


Lots of Direct Responses made very quickly


…if principle is violated what will stance be on us responding to the media, would you still then just say that’s ok in the media and not condemn


Lady in Tan:

Clarification?  2nd principle.  I’m on the street, time-space principle, real life?  Though I’m all for it…If I’m standing against someone violent, what is the deal?



Pdf from anti war protests in 2003 and arrangement was menu in a map to decide where to be and when so people can know. 



Shouldn’t be chasing the public and worrying about the media we have to do our own thing.  Fuck that with worrying about the media we are trying to move things along publicly, so we just have to do our thing.



If we spend our time planning our actions around what the media will do we will get nothing done.



Expecting individuals to adhere to our message is restricting free speech and I stand strongly against and I agree in our charter we say non violent and I am but our charter alienates anarchists and the such so curtailing free speech will do this more, so aside from media reactions we cant curb what people say to the media.

2nd, a time-place and map that makes it theatrics and you can’t really know how far or meaningful a DA will go before it happens. OC can remain nonviolent through its principles, if you maps out nonviolent from violent the police know where to go.



On violence factor:  outside of other groups, there will be 1000;s people some acting violently, blame thrown around, this can keep people from saying Occupy did it, and this is covering our ass because it creates, if nothing else, solidarity with everyone else, they are taking it seriously we can work in a coalition and keep people from blaming us.

Media WILL blame us, we need allies, so we don’t take blame.



Yeah, I think that most of this is not actually about our media presence; it’s about building alliances with our allies, we are opening the door to you saying we won’t be dicks. We aren’t maintaining media control we just get allies.


Great Dreads Again:

Condemn violence, I recommend that, because those people don’t give a dam they are gonna do it anyways because they thing informants are all here so you can forget that, they want to know where you are gonna do what you are gonna go they know politics they know that.

Don’t worry about that, trust me!



More productive to sign on than to ignore it because so many have already done it, we know these people are going to come, we are a non violent movement.



Even if we devoted ourselves entirely to preventing violence at NATO/G8, we would fail, because if people wanna come here and be violent, they will. That is not our role, we are not the activism police, we are activists, if we pass this on Friday, we will know.

I hope I am not a part of the violence, passing this will help to ensure I don’t get swept up into a massive riot.


Red Coat Guy (name unknown to note taker):

Respect everybody’s property.  Purses, iPhones, laptops, don’t step on anybodies property.



General Announcements



Housing:  I talked to Scott, its cold in here, he is in the next couple of days going to hook up the radiator and seal the windows, these radiators are cool….



They are hot!


….ok, well he’s going to make them functioning at the top of their ability, it should be warm in here soon in the next couple of days.

Meeting is tomorrow for housing, 501, 5pm

We need maybe a Cermak committee, for scheduling, questions, other locations, contact me?

Thanks to whoever replaced the lights!  We are getting the rest.


Ahern (aforementioned dread guy):

Feb 24 -29, non violent DA boot camp, last day for sign up is 25th, in Florida, blockade training, NAVY seal Activist training, climbing, media messaging, different groups, do we have any climbers?

Boot camp is free, but we can maybe get sponsorship for travel.


Alyssa and Mark:

We got back today from DC, Keilah and Dave and Tony were there, basically we were obligated per the proposal to bring back a report, the best way is to produce a written report, we are working on it now, we will present it sometime soon.

There was a breakout group discussing events happening all over the country Keilah has list, she needs help emailing it out, if anyone wants it, we are going to get a mass email out.


Black hat guy:

I’m organizing a conference on Sat. Feb 4th, “Not Guilty, A conference to abolish the racial complex (??) we want activists from all these groups to hear from jury association which can impact the law in the government.  Campaign to vote “not guilty” to stop convicting non violent criminals and we can get people out of prison to impact the military-industrial complex.  Networking.  Organizations.  Art Show.  Music.  Multikulti.  Come.  6:30 to 9:30.



Question?  Who saw David O get arrested?  Hand up.  Did you all write to him?  Jossshhhh??  Do it.  Our brother in non-violent arms is facing a felony charge that is total bull and we need to help him.


GA:  “up in arms, rrrarrgh, eww, booooo”


Write your statements!!


Whooooose dirrty?




Issues in past with little in fighting arguments, splits, I wanna say don’t worry, we are doing pretty well……in DC they have it not as good as we do.  J



We have this new space now and it is incredible and all I had hoped for and a bit of upkeep is needed so it’s a fixer upper and the building manager will do their part and we will do our and we will work out a system to not rely on a few people with keys everything is coming along the first GA was Friday, and its now Monday, in the meantime the #1 thing we need is people!!

People!  We have the space, it’s cool, once it is up and running it is gonna be the coolest place to be in Chicago and I hope that our numbers go up from where they are now we need this to be a center for dissonance keep coming!

GA started at 7:30, it was supposed to start at 7.



  1. On what Alyssa said….I’ve seen this everywhere, there is an issue between camping life and life btw facilitator and those who come to GA
  2. I started my own livestream, ustream.tv/channel/occupiechicago



I’m gonna exercise my 1st amendment right to speak, but I know Mark will do it for me afterwards!



Chicago is in my experience in DC, Chicago is in a unique position, other movements are being evicted or moving indoors for winter, creating divisions, conflicts are early stages of things we have already gone through, we need to outreach to other cities, we can share information, maintaining a spot, as we all meet other people we should talk to others.

Biggest rift in the movement is people occupying with physical presence and others are behind the scenes and this is the major theme in all the movement.  We should think about that.

Gen announcement:  Occupy Reading Group.  Contact Mark.  Choice is up to the group and all this, but whatever the group wants.


Library and Reading Group Coordination power!


Man (name unknown to note taker):

This will be interesting.  This guy talks about people suffering from being evicted, I am going through a battle, a judge wont grant you a jury if he doesn’t want to if it is less than 750,000 he can just do a bench trial, if you want a jury trial you have to file a jury demand before the case is called if you don’t you cannot go up to the judge and say hey I want a jury, because he will deny it, they handle a lot of eviction cases per day its not like criminal court, just to let you know.



*demands birthday support  ;)

wants to show off her super cute sister Occupy sweatshirt.

I Occupy for

My rights

Your rights

Your future


Shout outs to Keilah’s sister!



Journal of Ordinary Thoughts in library poetry short stories, essays on a theme or whatever we want to write, they have books out every season, we can join them or start one, it would be nice to check on it under JOT online, see if you are interested, we discuss and write….my Greek facilitator is so good they have one in many libraries, ours is in Albany Park Community Center on Fridays at 10am.



So we got this place we got Cermak. I’m wondering, I’m having, there’s half of us a quarter of us a third of us whatever you know what I’m saying - when we gonna open up for work you know when is this gonna be open for committee work, speeches? I thought we weren’t gonna have to be on the street working on committees or GA.


There’s a schedule



Morning to evening?



Key situation is not figured out yet?



Is this not one organization, someone can have the day from here until the evening.



It’s complicated.  Tomorrow we are getting keypads.



Cool, cool.



So who has keypad number?



We are now on Soapbox.



I need a ride.



Squeeze in



Motion to dismiss




Monday, January 23, 2012 - 7:30pm