Day 25 – 7pm General Assembly Minutes

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Occupy Chicago – 7pm GA Minutes
Date/Time:
 10/17/11, 7pm – met at Jackson & LaSalle and began march to The Horse, 7:20pm – GA began
Location:  The Horse Statue at Congress & Michigan
Attendance Count:  170

Votes Taken (See Proposals Voted for details):
BLOCKED – Meeting with Mayor’s Office
PASSED – Reply to Mayor’s Office Meeting Request

Committee Announcements:

  • External Collaboration/Internal Coordination – two new committees that will work together to facilitate conversation and growth. External collaboration focuses on working with outside groups (including other occupations, unions, coalitions…) that already openly support OC, as many groups have experience and resources to offer besides numbers at marches. Internal coordination will help facilitate open communication between committees. Wearing YELLOW armband
  • Safety/Security – nonviolent, no drugs/alcohol, bigotry of any type is not tolerated. If you bring large drums/signs to GA, please bring back to the Fed.
    We were donated small bags if you need something to store personal belongings in, go to info area at the Fed. We were also donated a few prepaid cell phones, this will help people stay in touch those on-site. Security will have them.
  • Direct Action – Danielle is the point person, contact email to join should be posted soon. They met after to discuss what the primary function of the group would be.
  • Research - would like to develop a wiki and work with other Occupies
  • Arts & Rec – meet at the Fed after GA to talk strategy. Taylor started a Deviant Arts account for OC, let him know if you have any original artwork inspired by the movement to submit. Can also email arts@occupychi.org for joining or submissions.
  • Legal – working to find legal representation for all arrested. Send your name, phone, email and state residency status to legal@occupychi.org Note that a term to the i-bail is that you cannot leave IL, so if have to cross state line get in touch with our legal team or a lawyer.
  • Spirituality – newly formed and will focus on 2 things
    1. Contextualize our work in spiritual and religious language and reach out to spiritual and religious organizations
    2. Wear armbands noting “Clergy” for anyone who seeks spiritual well being on the street, could include leading mediation, yoga or even prayer gatherings.
    -They also have a Sukkah at the occupation tonight. It is a mobile tent that represents the half way point between slavery and liberation in the Jewish history. They wandered in the desert for 40 years, even though they could have gotten through in a matter of months. America today is like the lost Jews because for decades our society has been wandering and not taking the direct path.
  • Outreach – a rep was with Occupy Rockford for their start, and Tea Party members showed up in counter protest. Important to support other occupations, especially in the region.
    A rep was at the first meeting for Occupy Milwaukee this weekend. They had 3,000 on their march on Saturday and 18 sleeping there. Helped with forming process through a 5 hour GA, but now they are structured and ready!
    6 churches in a coalition on the South Side want to support OC. A group is meeting with them on Sunday to present what OC is all about and how to work together. Get in touch with outreach@occupychi.org if you are interested in helping with flyers or speaking.
  • Photo/Video – we’ll add your OC photos & videos to the website!
  • Education – changed the schedule of teach-ins around this weekend to accommodate a speaker. See website for details.

General Announcement:

  • Wall Street Journal has an article about OWS (mentioning Chicago) that is worth reading. While there is some accurate info, their “goal” listed is incorrect. We should focus on fine tuning the existing government by stopping infiltration not dismantling it.
  • As this is a new movement, there are not currently “sources” available online. So several occupiers decided to take on the task of creating said sources by working with teachers, students, sociologists… Collect raw data of the makeup of the movement and such.
  • Occupy the Hood is having an organizational meeting at 6pm tomorrow at 55 Garfield (red line) if you would like to join.
  • See “99″ about getting a color-coded by committee armband
  • We were invited by the Alderman of District 2 to discuss OC. Showed up with 75 people (during 5pm march today), and were not allowed to enter the building. The Alderman came outside and used the media presence for his gain and not open to talking. He said that while he supports free speech, he also agrees staying in park was illegal. He has open office hours every Monday 3-6pm, so we can go back next week…
  • There is discomfort felt by some in this movement because of race. We need to confront actively including moderators, committee reps…
    [Consensus to form stack on issue because important]:
    • Sick of polarized views and does not like a group defining what “bigotry” means. Should be open discussion based on opinions.
    •  All one race, the human race
    • Treat with respect, but also not finger point without objective discussion as turns into a witch hunt
    • Need to stop and think about what you say
    • You don’t need to think, just act with love for everyone
    • No room for bigotry, should win over those who do with ideas. We are in a segregated city and need to support the causes and injustices of the minorities (immigrants, African Americans…)
    • Race is invented to divide us
    • Everyone is here to make a change. We are the 99%. You have to mean that and show each other more love. Don’t look down as we’re doing the right thing.

Emergency Proposal for Voting:

  • Meeting at 5pm Tues. with Mayor’s Staff  (BLOCKED – split vote)
    After hearing the story last night… (A supporter who called the Mayor’s office about not arresting the Occupiers on Saturday night, and finally got through to someone who acted sympathetic to the cause and said to call back) …we called today and after many, many attempts got through to someone who immediately transferred us to voicemail. We got a call back from the 1st Deputy of Chief of Rahm Emanuel, who said she had no idea who Occupy Chicago was but there were calls flooding the phones for last 2 days and haven’t been able to make out going calls! We were asked to attend a meeting at the Mayor’s office with a 3-5 reps for 5-10 minutes tomorrow at 5pm to talk about moving forward.
    Stack:
    • Original caller: suggests that we demand an occupation in a public forum and open communications
    • good idea and most important part of meeting is to address: what are you willing to give us? If nothing, we’ll continue to march with thousands through the street and grow stronger.
    • 2nd invitation in 2 days by a city official, this is because we have the power to get thousands marching in 48 hours. Should say they have to come down to talk to all of us.
    • Before we rush into negativity and on their terms, make sure we’re ready. We can get organized and go when we want, not shift to their terms. We are strong and they can come to us. Need demands set and ready when we go. We want to crash into the G8/NATO conference in the spring, but they want us handled and gone by then.
    • We have a set format for other organizations, so the city should be up held to same process. We tell them what and where we want.
    • Demand charges dropped and our tents back.
    • should communicate with the city and handle a place to occupy and focus on getting arrested for more important reasons like protesting Bank of America, CitiGroup, Chase…
    • If we go threre it seems like we concede, but can work it to our advantage. Don’t let them set the agenda like time frame… Charges should be dropped because matter of 1st Amendment. Go in and scare them.
    • Rahm want movement to not exist, That’s why Sat. happened. This is an opportunity to movilize with all support including unions, coalitions… and if he won’t let us occupy, we’ll occupy his office. No negotiations.
    • Occupation is not going where they told us to
    • This is a meeting not negotiations. We can find out what they are thinking with hundreds supporting on the streets. We can stop guessing. Need to formally talk about what they say.
    • Shouldn’t go in thinking of Rahm as the enemy. Take their invitation to instead invite them to our GA.
    • Mayor is 1% and he looks down and says “ewww”
    • He is scared, called back within 2 hours. Let’s not rush into it and lose fear. They have a large enough room for our GA at City Council. Tell them 5pm doesn’t work for us, we can do 7pm there.
    • Not good to go in ready for battle, both groups need more info
    • Any meeting is too son as we don’t know what to say/ask for. Everyone should put forth proposals tomorrow about it and vote. Then meet later. [Presenter added tomorrow is the only time the Mayor's office can meet this week]
    • If we make Rahm speak at GA, the earliest should be Thursday. Then if we don’t like what he says, we occupy by next day.
    • Don’t agree this is only chance for a meeting. 175 people chose to get arrested and the city can’t deal with that. Not a concession to meet, but should do it at a good date for us.
    • Says he can stand behind the NY Doctrine when getting arrested, but not about camping. It’s about change. We don’t have to play by their rules. We know what is right. Going to his office plays their game and not going to get anything accomplished. Need to keep talking to people and grow.
    • Rahm will never speak at GA. If we don’t take the meeting we lose an opportunity. If they don’t cooperate with us then take City Hall.
    • Should take because we do have demands: 1. drop charges  2. Don’t do it again. Let him respond and make him look like a jerk
    • Public relation opportunity because if they tell us something then doesn’t act on it, they lied. If we don’t do this, not sure how we will stay sustainable. People want to know what to demand.
    • Disagree with PR statement, as today our PR was co-opted by the Alderman. They should apologize for arresting and drop charges before we agree to meet with the mayor’s office.
    • This is getting stronger, we don’t need them or to make demands. Happening globally. Keep doing what we’re doing and make them look bad for arresting us.
    • Finding a new home is urgent because it is effecting ability to grow and organize. Meeting could help make it possible to hear what other side is thinking. They might not know how powerful we are.
    • Set up meeting for Thursday, and have a call-to-action for everyone to stand outside. Say we are going to occupy tonight and give list of our options. I they don’t give us one of those places, we will do it anyway.
    • Power is defining alternatives. We don’t need them, we need us.
    • They aren’t afraid but should be. There is a lot of violence that could be released by the city, so info from them could be good when we’re on the line.
    • We aren’t afraid of their violence, we will remain and remain peaceful.
    • Use opportunity to issue demands
    • Country tries to give us a narrow window of what they’re okay with with protesting and practicing 1st Amendment (locations, time window…), just like giving us a short meeting at less than a day’s notice for a small group. They don’t want us to prepare.
    • If we don’t go, everyone should call Rahm to ask him to come to GA.
      Attending this meeting was BLOCKED
      There was a second motion to vote on how OC should respond to the request, after a few adjustments a formal statement was PASSED with only 1 opposed

There was a motion to extend the meeting until 9:30pm to deal with the time sensitive decision. All proposals for voting and presentations on the agenda were tabled until tomorrow night.

Tabled Items for future GA include: