Day 21 – 7pm General Assembly Minutes

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Occupy Chicago – 7pm GA Minutes
Date/Time:
 10/13/11, 7pm – met at Jackson & LaSalle and began march to 500 Congress in front of Horse statue, 7:30 – GA began
Location: 500 W Congress in front of Horse Statue
Attendance Count:  100 heads

Votes Taken (See Proposals Voted Section for details):
PASSED – Relocation Occupation on Saturday, no opposed (Update: We will keep current HQ in front of The Federal Reserve Bank)
BLOCKED – Never endorse other groups, majority opposed
TROWN OUT – Continue to be nonpartisan, already established & poor wording
PASSED – Continue to represent the 99%, no opposed

 

Committee Announcements:

  • Safety:  there have been people coming and being disrespectful.  If they keep coming we need to make sure to let everyone know that they need to leave immediately.
  • Education:  there is a schedule of teach-ins and discussions online, as well as printed copies on-site. There is a teach-in tomorrow at 4pm about discussing the Illusion of the Free Market and Rise of the Police State at corner of Lasalle and Jackson.
  • Neighborhood Outreach: talk to outreach, check out the Facebook page, or email here if interested in spreading the movement in your neighborhood.
  • Outreach:  a coalition organizing the Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 20th at 6pm, has offered for Occupy Chicago (OC) to attend the pre-event press conference at 5:30pm outside the venue and to have a representative speak at meeting for 1 min. then they are encouraging everyone to join OC at the Fed following the meeting. –vote tomorrow
  • Tech/Media:  if you are a committee and would like to post content on the website outside of the forums, your comm. needs a couple of posting reps.
  • Safety/Legal:  Legal training minutes that were approved by Jerry have been added to the Secretariat-Legal Training forum.
  • Press & Outreach met to discuss Reddit and the OC lack of presence, Alex is now posting a lot to win over Chicago subreddit. Help by sending Alex video/photos to upload.

Emergency Announcement:
Bloomberg is trying to kick OWS out of the park tomorrow AM. Please have a moment of reflection at the GA tonight for NYC because at 7am the NYPD will attempt to clear Liberty Plaza and we don’t plan to leave. Call 212.new.york if you would like to tell Bloomberg to allow them to stay

General Announcements:

  • Don’t go to Pacific Garden Mission (shelter), we have been told it is unsafe so need investigate it further.
  • Sat. Oct. 15thGlobal Occupy Day – no specific events planned, talk to people around you after GA to brainstorm ideas for actions and events for Sat. Come with proposals tomorrow.
    • there is a facebook event that encourages people to come to the Fed by 6:30pm and people to dress-up (fancy, not costume) then march at 7pm to Congress & Michigan. RSVP on facebook and invite friends.
  • Occupy the Hood all over the nation, on Sat., Oct. 15th at noon Occupy the Hood – Chicago will kickoff at Jackson & LaSalle! This is not a separate movement, just focusing on neighborhoods.
  • GA structure – working on a format similar to what we have now but touched up. Printed copies passed out, if you have suggestions write them down and get to the Secretariat so we can solidify.
  • Important that we also address environmental issues. One to start with is Stopping the Keystone Excel Pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada to Houston, Texas [refineries in IL] through the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest in the US. This Fri. a group is delivering petitions to Obama’s headquarters asking him to stop the pipeline. They will depart from the Fed at 2:30pm if you would like to join.
  • Milwaukee is starting their movement this weekend, so Max is going down to represent Chicago and offer support.
  • Sara is going to Rockfort, IL on Sat. to offer support, give her any suggestions you have for them.

Proposals announced to be voted on tomorrow:

  • Direct action plan to stop the 1% from owning all the wealth, while getting congress to change legal legislation is important, but it is also important to do it directly. Low-level economic warfare against 1% by pulling money out of banks and stop giving money to large corps that are guilty.
    Stack:
    • on the US treasury website there is an address where you can send your money to the government. Recruit the wealthy to send their money back.
    • Nov. 5th Bank Transfer Day – everyone takes there money out of the banks to transfer to a local bank or credit union. The FB event already has over [35,000] attendees
    • Friendly amendment requested that we form a Direct Action Committee
  • suggested improvement to occupation movement:
    1.  Due to this countries history of racial oppression, the continued racism. Must fight against left colorblindness, institutional and systematic, as central to how a society functions. In order to stop oppression and the divide of working class people, we must work to destroy white supremacy.
    2.  We need a concrete political demand. Spoke to people on the street about the idea of cancelling all debt, and people in debt like this idea (student loans, mortgages, medical bills, evicted…). Propose that OC take on a clear political demand, everything we do from now on moves towards the political goal of canceling all debt. Call for the renewal of the tradition of Jubilee. Then use Jubilee as a symbol of our movement.
    Stack:
    • Clear political demands should be shared among rest of the movement
    • America’s economy is based on debt, at a microeconomics level banks practice creating money out of nothing and at a macroeconomic level the govt. borrows money from everywhere. “Money as Debt” video gives an overview, on education forum  or here
    • Have a problem with putting everything into one political issue because makes us vulnerable. Even if we were choose to, this issue is not all encompassing. People will view it as entitled as they don’t understand what this generation is dealing with (finish college with huge debt then no decent jobs). Cutting down on lobbyists, ending revolving door policy and campaign finance reform should be the focus
    • If we eradicate the debt today it will be back tomorrow. W need to address the systematic problems and not just work on symptoms.
    • We criticize banks for taking risks and having us pay for that risk. If we demand the cancellation of all debt, they will throw in our face that we’re asking them to cover all our risks.
    • Thursday, Oct 20th, 5:15pm there is a discussion facilitated by a student group the Anti-capitalist Coalition student group of DePaul University who have been researching a mass debt cancellation movement.
    • To the people who say debt cancellation is a demand of someone who has privilege is only half right. It is also a privilege to be offered debt in the first place. Not everyone gets that opportunity. Employment is tied to higher education, so student debt is a working class issue because it means access to employment. Common interest and talking about a major transfer of wealth from banks to the people
    • The Federal Reserve notes are not backed by hard currency, except by nickel. It really upsets bankers when you demand your money in nickles (due to the value) and is a way to sabotage the banks.

Proposals voted on tonight:

  • Housing  (PASSED, unanimously to move on Sat.)
    In conjunction with the Global Occupy Day and in solidarity with OWS, we propose to find a permanent home this Saturday (10/15). We’ve been working on many of the logistical issues reaching out to various organizations to back us up, talked to lawyers and figured out how to increase our chances of not being removed. We have a list of several options with pros & cons and the idea is to have several locations in mind, both public and private. If we are removed from one (or blocked at arrival), we march to the next.
    Stack:
    • We should purchase a lot then get pallets, hay, clay other materials from farms as they are not using them in the winter for insulation. Suggested that an empty for sale lot downtown is like $3k, then $40/month
    • Feel it is time to make a move. There are organizations that will give us tents, send out to mailing lists of 10k of people in Chicago to increase or numbers, showing support
    • So glad we’re talking about this, time for Chicago to standup. We will continue to be complacent with police, but we have to demand we have a place to occupy. Should not have more than 1 location as spreads the group too thin and easier to single people out
    • Legal advise was that we may get better results from those who support us instead of those who may support us after the fact. Political disaster if we don’t get somewhere that we have support for.
    • This isn’t about where we go but when. We can look into other location options and open to them all. But we must occupy.
    • Bold plan and like that there are back of locations as not relying on others to support us. While nice to be given things, we are here to take back our country and cannot rely on those who cheated us.
    • Let everyone know who has been waiting and hoping for us to stake a place like NY, LA, Boston, San Fransisco and all over the world that have successfully done this too.
    • Make diverse with families, religious people, organizations…  and bring everyone to the Fed at 7pm.
  • Endorsement  (BLOCKED, no count but large majority opposed)
    OC will no longer endorse any groups or actions outside of the global occupy movement.
    Stack
    • Not working with unions or other organizations is harsh, while there is a danger of being co-opted we should discuss what circumstances we should accept help & support. Total block is harsh.
    • Friendly amendment requested to change to “will not not endorse politicians”
    • The unions support us so we should also endorse and support the unions, laborers and other workers in Chicago. OWS grew substantially when the unions joined the cause
    • General discussion:  many more occupiers who were also union members got up and spoke about the insult it would cause to not include these workers in solidarity of the movement. By being in support of each other, doesn’t mean they will try to co-opt and shift the agenda of the group. Other view shared was that while we should support the workers, the top people are many unions are just as bad as the banksters and trying to keep those workers from things like health care and decent wages… It is suggested by multiple people, that we consider each group individually and make informed decisions on our level of support based on the practices of said organization, but even for the poorly run one’s we still are there for the individual members.
  • Nonpartisan  (Proposal was thrown out, it is already clearly established we are nonpartisan at the beginning of each GA & poor wording of the proposal)
    OC in line will other occupy movements will be nonpartisan
    Stack
    • General discussion was that people were unclear of the wording and why it would be up for discussion because it is one of the primary established parameters of the movement, alongside nonviolence.
  • Represent the 99%  (no opposed)
    OC with all other occupy movements will continue to represent the 99%
    no stack on this issue [many individually said this is already our overall goal]

[Note that for the "Endorsement Proposal" there were very passionate, well vocalized opinions about why we should welcome the support and offer back support to other organizations, as well as people who wanted us to think about the systematic problems in many unions. Unfortunately due to torrential downpour, I could not use a computer or paper to take notes for the remainder of the meeting. I apologize for this situation, but would like to applaud OC because everyone stayed through the rain and continued to speak their mind on these issues. That is devotion and how we made it 21 days, and will remain a lot longer than that.]