Day 26 – 7pm General Assembly Minutes

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Occupy Chicago – 7pm GA Minutes
Date/Time:
 10/18/11, 7pm – met at Jackson & LaSalle and began march to The Horse, 7:21pm – GA began
Location:  The Horse Statue at Congress & Michigan

Votes Taken (See Proposals Voted for details):
PASSED – Attendance and Representative Speaker at Saturday, Oct. 22nd Rally Against Police Brutality (Both 1PM & 6PM events), March & Occupation of Public Space on Saturday Oct. 22nd, Direct Action & Boycott of Bank of America on Nov. 5th

Committee Announcements:

  • Secretariat: Occupy Chicago People of Color working group formed. You don’t have to come from any particular background to join. The goal is to promote all of our diverse backgrounds, but especially those people of color on the South and West Side. Also, a meeting will be soon held for those arrested on the fifteenth. We are trying to get this under way soon, as our first court date is on Sunday.
  • Safety & Security: If police approach HQ, please do not be hostile toward them. Consult a police liaison and let them assist you.
  • Outreach: Move the Money Chicago is a city-wide town hall meeting on Thurs., Oct 20th, at 6pm. Press conference at 5:30. Located 77 West Washington. Congressional Representatives in attendance. We will have a speaker, Joshua. We want as many people possible to attend. Contact Outreach for more information. Also, we need to start providing community service. There will be a proposal on this tonight. Let’s get our brains working, figure out how to give back to community.
  • Drumming Subcommittee: Thanks to the bucket brigade who kept everyone going. We have created an email drummersoccupchicago@gmail.com. We need more drummers and drum sticks. If you bring a bucket to the horse, take it back to HQ or have friend take it back. When people are chanting, works best if we stop drumming. Drum to get attention, chant to tell how we feel. When drummers hear people chanting, cut out for a minute, then keep drumming.
  • Research: Will meet on Thurs after GA. If you want to join meet with us then. Also can email occupychiresearch@googlegroups.com. Please let us know if want to share anything with us. We wanted to create a wiki page but found one already out there. We are not sure who is sponsoring or moderating it so let us know if you have been working on it.
  • Labor: Meeting Wednesday at Grace Place at 637 S Dearborn. Everyone should attend, especially anyone in unions. All city departments are rallying at end of month to protest Rahm Emanuel’s budget cuts. Hopefully they will join us.
  • Internal Coordination/External Collaboration: Please contact us or anyone with a yellow armband if you are a member of any committee. Need info so we can direct people to proper committee. Also please wear your armbands. See 99 if you need armbands. If in multiple committees, just wear your primary one.
  • Donations: We’re trying to solve donation-related problems without having control of the funds. If you wish to join, e-mail donations@occupychi.org.
  • Arts & Rec: Meet with 99 to give fabric or other donations materials for the woman who makes our armbands.
  • Social Media: There are a fair amount of questions online about who made the decision to occupy on the Oct 15thaction and how and by what process the decision was made. Any information to issue a statement would be appreciated. 

General Announcements:

  • Book recommendation on banks and financial crisis: Thirteen Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak.
  • Wednesday at 3PM there will be a Non-Violent Direct Action teach-in with Bill Ayers at the Board of Trade Plaza.

Proposals:

○    Attendance and Representative Speaker at Saturday, Oct. 22nd Rally Against Police Brutality (Both 1PM & 6PM events). Each event voted on separately, both PASSED. On Oct 22nd at 1PM, there is a rally at the Thompson Center followed by a march through the Loop. Proposal asks that Occupy Chicago send a representative to speak at the rally. At 6PM, the rally will move to the International Association of Chiefs of Police gala at the Hilton at Balbo & Michigan.

Stack:

○    Great proposal, however 6pm event may be issue as may interfere with GA and direct action proposed that day.  We should attend 1pm rally but not 6pm as would cause conflict with major action.

○    Love movement and action, but feel we are still a small group and that distracting ourselves with things not on our grievence list and should stay focused with super-clear message. Press may find confusing if we act all over place.

○    Fighting police brutality hardly peripheral concern in Chicago. If we want to diversify movement and stand up for something especially people of color, important to stand up against police brutality.

○    All of us could very easily be at other end of police brutality depending how our movement goes.

○    Would be good to at least go to the 1PM event. We’re fighting financial oppression but police oppression- not necessarily from every cop – is still highly relevant.

○    Brutality is a strong word. Our movement hasn’t really been affected by police actions but now we do owe $26,000 to city due to arrests and thus we should associate ourselves with this struggle.

○    Should be individual decision to get involved in these events, not necessarily endorsed by Occupy Chicago but something we do if our hearts move us to do so.

○    On brutality and Occupy movements, this is a chance to stand in solidarity with other Occupy cities. Just cause we haven’t been maced yet doesn’t mean that’s not waiting for us. We should look at where we live, an incredibly racist city, cops going into colored communities & raping women. Our city feels police violence, kids are afraid to walk home after school due to racial profiling. We should be talking about violence and endorse the 1PM action. Talk about the rest of the events going on that day and see how these rallies fit.

○    Occupy the Hood reaches out to communities of color. We need a diversity of people in our movement and not limit ourselves to the current list of demands since people from all walks of life have different grievences. Cops have been part of the 99% but we need to be clear about who’s on our side. Oppose police brutality cause police defend the 1%.

○    This would be a great opportunity to encourage people at the rally to come to Occupy Chicago’s 6PM event that day.

○    Original Callers: People from poor communities don’t come to rallies because they are taught they have no rights. While leafletting on the south side, I saw police bring 4 SUVS and tell people not to take the leaflets and to get off the sidewalk. Some kids took leaflets anyway. But I wanted to make point some communities don’t feel they have rights

○    We are very fortunate for our good relations with CPD. CPD are part of 99% but there is another element that has to be addressed.

○    I will be against police brutality whether it directly affects us or not. Should stand in solidarity with other Occupy movements that have experienced brutality.

For attending 1PM event: PASSED, 1 opposed

For attending 6PM event: PASSED

○    March & Occupation of Public Space on Saturday Oct. 22nd PASSED. Proposed by Direct Action Committee. Similar action to Oct. 15th occupation of the Horse Statue at Congress & Michigan, however, exact time, destination, and tactics will be left open for time being. If approved, will open discussion on how to improve on last week’s action and finalize a proposal to be voted on Wednesday or Thursday.

Stack:

○    Whether or not we decide to occupy on Saturday, everybody should know labor meeting went well this morning. SEIU, Unite Here, Jobs With Justice, Stand Up Chicago, CFL, slew of union people are insisting on our right to assemble 24/7. Unions will have their people march with us on Saturday. Whether we encourage these people to join us in action against Emanuel’s curfew on free speech is up to us. Over the next two weeks, this Saturday will be when we have the largest amount of support.

○    The labor groups are willing to bring full busses of people in. Wednesday we can specifically discuss tactics to give the labor groups enough time to organize & coordinate busses/trailers for folks to come out. We can discuss logistics and how to prevent police blockading prematurely, discuss logistics. Wednesday should not be closed door meeting.

○    We shouldn’t announce where we occupy. Amendment to trust Direct Action Committee to come up with a plan & not publicly broadcast it. This avoids police blockading. Also, we should work to bring everyone up from the police brutality action.

Original Callers accepts friendly amendment. Crowd shows good temperature check.

○    We used a lot of people able to get arrested on Oct 15th. We will have higher turnout with the unions but how many are willing to get arrested? Won’t look good if we have only 30 people guarding tents. Should wait to hear from Rahm.

○    Need to keep in mind we have a lot more people than just those present at GA. Need to get word out that this is happening. Not about where we occupy but some way to meet up with group for those who work late. If we want support, we need to give some idea on how people can find us when we choose to take a space in order to get highest turnout possible.

○    Original Caller: I’m experienced in direct action organizing, done about 50 actions that lead to successes. Almost all major banks stopped funding mountaintop removal through direct action. We need to have a plan. Organization for our marathon began 30 days in advance. Arrests are precious. We want arrests to bring in some type of awareness to a particular issue. People getting arrested too many times back-to-back can be called a public threat and lead to Patriot Act issues. Need to have a lot more time to plan than 3-4 days.

○    Our goal is to get a place to occupy. If we’re going to have arrests, we are going to need to keep going in the trenches. We should know how many Unions/Facebook/Twitter people showed up for arrests last Saturday and utilize that.

○    Original Caller: There was a lockbox action in an intersection that blocked traffic for 2-3 hrs, resulting in $8000 fine. We must plan in advance for people actually choosing to get arrested so can stagger out those arrests.

Facilitator reminds everyone that if someone in stack expresses your sentiments, to please remove yourself from stack line for the sake of time.

○    Original Caller: Proposal to wait on this action. Need a lot more planning. Does want to open up floor to more training. Arrests are precious, we must make them worthwhile. Be more organized to make something for impactful for our cause.

○    We need to show persistence. Not try to get arrests but we need to show we are serious and willing to continue.

○    I think it’s essential that we have a presence on Saturday. The world is watching us. Arrest is a risk; if too big risk, see to it you do not get arrested, but remember we assemble here cause want a voice. Arrests come from forces trying to break us up. We need to show our own force.

○    Dank the Tank from WGTR internet radio has been broadcasting all events, good and bad, on Occupy Chicago. Will report to many people as honestly as he can. E-mail dankthetank@wgtr.com if you have an arrest story.

○    There has been lots of expressed concerned regarding those already arrested. Regardless, many more unions & teachers and many more of us may or may not be willing to be arrested. We don’t have to be jeopardized if can’t afford to be arrested again. If you have to leave the action, don’t feel bad about it, but if you can afford to stay, do it.

○    We should take advantage of current momentum. We should occupy a space until demands are met. We publicly as GA should not meet with the mayor until he agrees to drop charges. “Give us a space or we’ll keep getting in your hair.” A petition is going around labor unions asking them to ask mayor to drop charges. Mayor wants us to back down. We can publicly tell supporters what we are putting on the line and ask what they are willing to put on the line with us.

○    This weekend is a good time for the action as Occupy Chicago will have been going on one month. Important for us to recognize lots of tension between CPD and mayor, nothing to do with us, but affects how we will be treated by both institutions. Three police departments were closed, 72 firefighter dispatcher jobs cut, and CPD is taking a stand against Emanuel on this issue. Right now we have pressure on our side. Though not ideal to have only a couple days to plan, once in middle of guerilla campaign like this, timing will never be ideal. We need to sacrifice time to maintain momentum.

○    We need to prioritize, GA keeps getting distracted by little issues. Space to occupy is top priority. We need to act now.

○    I was arrested on Saturday. I understand the bond we were released on, that violating that bond is a crime in and of itself. If arrested again, we can be held in county until court date. Want to make it clear those who want to get involved who are on bond should know. Heard this from a lawyer.

○    I have a court date and don’t plan on getting arrested again but do plan on being in this action. There are many roles to play that don’t involve going to jail. If we do this right, we should not get arrested. We should have enough force to take spot & police can’t kick us out. Last time was about publicity, this time actually about holding a spot. Should be prepared for arrests but if we do this right, they should not happen again.

Vote to participate in this action on Saturday.

VOTE PASSES. 8 opposed.

Time-Sensitive Announcement: Fox News will be taking footage at 9PM during GA. Official stance from Press Liaison is that Fox News will misrepresent us regardless of what we do. Press will let them know we are not interested in an interview. Press suggests that if Fox will present us as enemies, then individuals should decline to speak with them. However, individuals may act at their discretion.

Temperature Check: In favor of not speaking with Fox News.

Proposal

○    Direct Action & Boycott of Bank of America on Nov. 5th. PASSED. Proposal has been online for some time, however changing date from Black Friday to Bank Transfer Day.

Point of Order:

○    People have been arrested a lot at bank actions lately and told they cannot be both a protestor and a customer.

Original Caller: It is not enough to call on Congress to end bank influence over government, direct action is required. Violence would be counterproductive. We must break the power and drain finances of this bank system. There are too many targets to take on at once. We must place our focus on critical part of the enemy & break into its weak part. Big banks have a shameful use of offshore labor to avoid paying single cent of taxes following the bank bailouts, also abuse of customers & workers. Boycott shall begin on Bank Transfer Day until they change their practices or we drive them into bankruptcy.

Stack:

○    Bank of America is currently donating $3.4M to coal power, contributing to environmental damages.

○    We should eradicate Bank of America then go to Chase next, then Wells Fargo. We have lots of knowledge on shutting banks down through picketing.

○    80% of foreclosed homes split evenly among the big banks so we should not just highlight one of them.

○    Quick note on Bank Transfer Day, all interested should go to findacreditunion.com, start talking to a local credit union now as it takes a few days to get set up with one.

○    Bank of America is a great bank to make an example of. This will send a message to rest of the big banks that this is what we can do to you as a public.

○    Most of us here don’t have much wealth, so organizing and protesting is where our greatest power lies. Questions: How will we organize this event? Does it address the foreclosures that result from the banks or can we add that to the event purpose?

○    Original Caller: For organizing: Take out all our funds from Bank of America. Encourage a boycott of their facilities. We can post people outside the banks from open to close. Can notify unions and other Occupy movements in order to make these events nationwide. On foreclosure: Considered including mortgage issue but wants event demands to be specific & broad in appeal. “Pay your taxes and stop lobbying” are very simple demands everyone can get behind.

○    All for protests against big banks but believes blocking doors and customers and going inside and badmouthing the banks goes against the deeper values of Occupy such as respect and unity. We want support.

○    Remind everyone that even if you don’t have a Bank of America account, using their ATMs gives financial support to the bank and to boycott these as well.

○    Anonymous is calling for action against not just Bank of America but Chase and all other big banks.

○    Organized run on reserve banking institutions is something to pursue much as possible. There was a bank run in St Louis in August to remove all funds which was prevented by SWAT and police, preventing customers from getting in the bank. Plan for this event, it won’t be walk in park. There will probably be police presence at any large-scale bank run.

○    Consider that cities, counties, and local government are largest depositors to these banks. We should apply pressure to local government to put funds in places with better business practices. Chase handles all our property taxes in Chicago, they are using the funds for other nefarious deeds.

○    Original Caller: Will discuss action with the Direct Action committee. Encourage individuals to close BoA accounts.

VOTE PASSES, 6 opposed.

General Announcements:

○    A blind woman sent a letter to Occupy Chicago. Our group completely blocks the sidewalks and it is hard for people who can’t see to move through. Loud drumming makes it difficult to hear traffic which is dangerous. Consider working with this person for her safety.

○    The city does not want Occupy Chicago to be around by the NATO/G8 Summit. We need to pressure the city to allow us to continue, petition going around to organize occupation of city hall on October 26th. Petition asks for guaranteed permits to assemble and march peacefully in May and for police to stop threatening us with mass arrests. Also, wants mayor to meet and negotiate with us.

○    Call the mayor at 311 to invite him to our GA.

○    We need to find more organziations, companies, and grocery stores to donate to us for the winter. If you know anyone working at a food place, talk to them.

○    Always try to make friends with everyone you meet. This is how we can grow our movement.

○    The new Volunteer Committee will be collecting names & phone #s to join. Providing service can raise support from other communities, particularly marginalized communities who need food, shelter, clothing, etc. Also it is good to teach children of our cause.

○    Roosevelt University sent us a bill for the defaced door from last Saturday. We will reimburse them. Also, should make sure such vandalism never happens again.

○    Contact the Aldermen in all 50 wards to support Occupy Chicago in order to pressure Rahm Emanuel.

○    There will be a Direct Action meeting immediately following tonight’s GA.

○    Attorneys are in communication with action organizers for legality information. Currently there is a petition going around having lots of people call the mayor to allow us free speech 24/7. Check chicagoanswer.net for more info.

○    Arts & Rec committee suggested doing intermissions of street theater and improve during GAs. Contact arts@occupychi.org to get involved. Temp Check: In Favor.

○    Lots of activists are already planning for the G8 Summit in May. We should keep this in our heads. We can strategize to squash provocateurs right away. We can make the event historically non-violent. Also, proposing workshop on how to handle press.

○    Reminder that Occupy Chicago People of Color group is meeting after GA. Also, meeting with those arrested on Saturday to discuss a planned meeting with our lawyers.

○    Reminder to those in committees to get their armbands. Int. Coord/Ext. Collab. Needs to know who is in what committee.

○    There is a UIC Campus Outreach event happening. See Outreach for details.

Movement to adjourn. Seconded.