Day 28 – 10/20/2011 – 7pm General Assembly Minutes

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

Votes Taken (See Proposals Voted for details):
PASSED – Occupation of the Horse on Saturday’s Action

 

PROPOSALS:

Direct Action Committee proposes direct action on Saturday. PASSES for Horse. Similar in purpose to last Saturday with necessary logistical changes. First we will vote to see if it is acceptable to vote on a final location by simple majority rather than supermajority. If passed, then we vote on each location individually. The location with the least votes will be our emergency back-up location. Several possible occupation sites were analyzed and narrowed down based on criteria of 1) Visibility and 2) Possibility of Success. The two sites selected for consideration are the Horse at 500 S Michigan and the Thompson Center (State of Illinois Building). Here are the pros & cons of each site:

Horse (high visibility, good terrain with no grass, stage & stairs, symbolic, well known to supporters, identical spot adjacent if expansion required, near Roosevelt University which has cameras to ensure surveillance and safety)

Thompson Center (high visibility, potential to occupy both front and periphery of building, accessible, room to grow, constant video surveillance)

Stack:

  • Flyers were developed for this action by Kyle from Outreach. Please distribute to people who are not OC regulars.
  • Moderator: We’re voting to pass the proposal. If passed, we will then do a majority vote between the two options. First we must pass proposal by supermajority, then we do a simple majority to determine the location. I don’t think we can permanently occupy Thompson Center.
  • There are only about 150 people tonight. 3 million Chicagoans are relying on our vote. I support both the Thomspon Center & Daley Plaza. Daley Plaza may be a little larger.
  • Daley highly visible, but photoed property and thus cause photoed arrest. Weekend activites in Daley Plaza would interfere, plus issue of it being federal property.
  • Q: Is Daley Plaza larger than Horse? A: Yes, larger.
  • Horse won’t be long-term. Gov. Quinn may be sympathetic in conversation about Thompson Center. No curfew so we can’t be arrested for that. Possible to get written permission for Horse if state decides they don’t want us at Thompson.

Don’t occupy the Horse & get arrested. This shames our CPD union employees, who are part of the 99%. Not in our best interest to get arrested. This curfew does not break our 1st Amendment rights. Arrests only serve us for one day. We need to talk longer about finding a place without risk of arrest.

  • I looked up the ordinance people allegedly violated. The max fine $500 citation. We cannot afford 200 people x $500. This is a problem with the Horse. I believe Daley Plaza is county property managed by MB Real Estate. There have been bad experiences with MB Real Estate requiring millions of dollars of insurance for events. I strongly recommend the State of Illinois building. It has wonderful eaves. Served us well last night.
  • Horse has bad vibes as I almost got arrested there. Better to be on state property, as no curfew, in full view public. I do not want arrests.
  • Horse sticks out most to me. Space for expansion to Millennium Park to north, Grant Park to south/southeast. Thompson or Daley would have us boxed in. If in open space, works to our advantage. Speaking as person who got arrested, Horse has good vibes. People know about us because of last Sat. events. Police won’t be able to arrest the thousands of people that will show up this Sat. In order for that to happen, we need to get word out.
  • For the Horse. If we keep persisting, we will event occupy this place.
  • In addition, this space historically significant. We can follow Abby Hoffman’s footsteps in 1968 & make it happen again.
  • If millions can fit by the Horse for Lollapalooza, we can fit more people in Grant Park
  • How can we vote on occupying the Horse again without knowing the mayor’s stance? Now we’re actually trying to negotiate.

Point of Order: Our stance is to not negotiate till the mayor drops all charges against those arrested.

  • In favor of Horse. They can’t use excuse that we might destroy the sculpture like at Thompson Center. Here we’re not blocking any doorways.
  • Point of this weekend is not to get arrested. This is not a press move. Intent is to occupy. Contacts with unions have promised us upwords of 15,000 people. The intention is not to get arrested. Consider where you want to live.

Some Union marchers from Jobs with Justice arrived to join our GA. Stack continues.

  • We need room to grow. Thompson will get full really quick. Also, lots of permanent events planned there. I’m not worried about us getting kicked off due to our numbers, but don’t want to upset those who have events planned. Would like to see us expand to take over Grant Park.
  • Disagree with logic of arrest fear, as we will have 15,000 people and there is not enough room at Thompson. We can take whatever we want, should take over Grant Park. This place is our home. We’re not going to give it up or fear arrest.
  • I was arrested Sat. I’m not afraid of arrest. But I think should be smarter than to get arrested again. City is making money off of arrests. If court imposes max fine, when proceedings over, the city will have made $87,500, much more than many of us see in year. I have no inclination to line city’s pockets. We should occupy Thompson. Close the gap, scare them.

Clarification that action has been approved and will happen Saturday. Vote is to determine the location.

  • Clarify that concerns of curfews at Thompson Center is non-issue. There is probably a list of 10 different ordinances that police can use to arrest us. But that’s okay cause we’ll have 15,000 people. For those concerned whether or not we’ll be able to keep the location, we’ve already been organizing people to take shifts every day to make sure we’ll have enough people there.
  • Thompson Center is a nice location but the fact that it’s public property won’t matter when there will be thousands of people on it. Horse has almost perfect visibility, not only from Roosevelt but from the skyline.
  • I support Thompson Center based on meteorlogical reasoning. Bad weather last night decimated our numbers. Shelter is very important issue in this city in the upcoming season. We need some barriers from 60mph winds and other phenomena. If this space can somehow be bargained for, I would move to re-occupy Horse for increasing numbers.
  • Favor Thompson Center but as someone who was arrested, I don’t care if we get arrested again. This is not about risk of arrest. We don’t make bold changes without risking arrest. Thompson Center is situated right outside Rahm Emanuel’s window. We should be clear that Rahm is here because he’s doing the bidding of the 1% and I think we need to target him. Thompson is at the heart of state & city government. Although Horse is visible & historic, most peop who come here do so while amusing themselves. But Thompson is right in middle of business.
  • In favor of Thompson, it’s a temporary fix to not get arrested until we get more people for the Horse. In order to get the Horse, I feel we must organize more and get more people from facebook to come here. We have over 20,000 people on facebook and we should get them down here.
  • In favor of Thompson. My lawyer friend suggested it before anything else because there are no parks & recreation ordinances. Also I am worried that 175 people can’t get arrested again because they might get 30 days in jail. Unless we have another 200+ people willing to get arrested, we might not make that great of a showing. If we can convince 2000 people to sit here and risk getting arrested, then we can take the Horse. If not, we should change it up and try the Thompson Center.

Motion to Extend to finish the Stack, seconded.

  • Thompson Center. When telling friends of last Sat. action a lot seemed confused and didn’t feel like we made a real statement. I don’t agree; we made statement about our free speech. We should make a bigger statement, trying to shove free speech down the throat of our government. Thompson Center is better for that. Even if we vote for Horse, it would be ludicrous not to go by Thompson & let Quinn know what we think.
  • Re: Thompson, lots of traffic passes by, lots of workers in that building. What are the goals of permanent occupation? Do we plan on sticking it out through winter? If so, we must consider expansion. The Occupy camp in Boston is beautiful. Their movement has developed infrastructure. With that, their movement can only inevitably grow. Camp in Boston doubled in 1 hour. Problem is they were confined to one square. Extension of their camp resulted in arrests. I think we should definitely consider taking parks back over. We need to challenge the curfew law.
  • Direct Action Committee: No matter what we choose, our second choice will be our emergency back up. We will have contingency plan. This will happen no matter what.
  • I am a retired IL state emp. Gov Quinn is on our side to support state workers and human needs. Therefore I vote for Thompson Center.
  • There is no great change without great sacrifice. Our strategy should be fluid and not based on an either/or proposition. When we have the numbers, then we occupy the Horse. If we don’t, then we go Thompson. We must sustain ourselves and act as stressor on society.
  • Occupy Wall Street is sitting on a private space. I’ve been spending a lot of nights in front of the Fed. We don’t have the needed numbers. Last night there were maybe 5 people. If we acquire Thompson Center by force, we’re going to be just 5 people at night who have to confront police. That is not fair. Occupy Wall Street is offering us financial support to get a private space. We also have donations to get private space. We’re spending a lot of effort to get a space by force. We’re not spending as much effort to get a space legally and strategically. I ask everybody to help me get a private space strategically.
  • I had the privelege to be arrested Sat. In paddy wagon, it was my understanding that we would be coming back to the Horse to occupy. In paddy wagon, we had a conversation that we need to take some attention to Rahm Emanuel. Based on that, we talked about a major demonstration at the Thompson Center. Regardless of what happens with the occupation, that absolutely needs to happen. Also I think occupation of Thompson is a really bad idea. We need to be aware that winter is going to be brutal. We need a space like Horse where we can make some kind of structure. Naïve to assume that that place will be Thompson.
  • I am 77-years-old. 40 years ago when in college I was active in civil rights. I would go to class, then picket. We also chained ourselves to radiators so we couldn’t be dragged off. Professors would bail us out. Nothing bad happened to me. So don’t be afraid of arrests. If you have something to stand for it has a cost. Also, Horse is really open space. It’s a wind tunnel. If movement grows, we need to have places where we can get warm. Thompson Center is a better choice, plus it’s in the heart of business district. This puts pressure on all bankers surrounding it.
  • A ship in the harbor is safe but that’s not what ships are built for. We have a difference in numbers, public relations, and have a legal message. In Occupy Cincinatti there is the beginning of a federal judge ruling. Cincinatti is also facing public property with curfews. Difference is our police force did not begin with citations like theirs, they just brought us to jail. Cincinatti was offered 2 spaces by their city. They said no. Then they sued. We haven’t yet sued the city nor been offered spaces. I haven’t drawn conclusion on this. If we have an abundance of options & twice as many people and we have a 50/50 split tonight, why not take both spaces?
  • At Freedom Plaza in D.C., Veterans for Peace & other groups still hold the plaza. I will be with our group where ever we  choose to hold.
  • Zuccotti Park in New York was not given to Occupy Wall Street; they took it and this was not liked. They are trying to get them out there. This is Occupy Chicago, not Rent Out Chicago. Occupations are imposed. We should impose ourselves. Horse is blatant act of defiance. They told us we can’t be here. We should come back with 10,000 friends and do this again! In the case of this movement, we should keep forces concentrated in one place cause it looks scary!

Reading of except from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech from 1968. “Now we’re going to march again, and we’ve got to march again, in order to put the issue where it is supposed to be – and force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God’s children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. That’s the issue. And we’ve got to say to the nation: we know how it’s coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory!”

Moderator: Last time I checked, there is no curfew on speaking how you feel. There is no reason we can’t exercise our 1st Amend rights after 11pm. I don’t understand why a public park closes at 11pm. As taxpayers, none of us had that in mind. It’s land, should be available to us any time. Take the Horse!

Proposal to vote if we will decide the selection of which site for Sat, based on a simple majority vote.

3 OPPOSED. VOTE PASSES.

Now we choose between sites with a simple majority. Whatever comes in second will be our back up contingency plan.

Thompson: 67

Horse: Way over 67.

HORSE passes. THOMPSON is back up.

We will start marching from Jackson/LaSalle at 6:30 on Saturday. Also, bring tents. We will move out at 7pm. If we have a 1000 people willing to sit here with tents, they won’t be able to move us.

Also, bring sleeping bags and warm clothes! I know you all have Facebooks, Twitters, Blogs, and  big mouths. However you spread the word, we must spread it! We only had two days to advertise last Saturday; we have a little more time now and can get several thousands out here.

Also, plan on staying. To do that, make yourself at home. Bring things to cook with, a shelter, stuff to read. We’re not going anywhere! We have support from the strongest/largest unions in the state. WE WILL TAKE THE HORSE.

COMMITTEE ANOUNCEMENTS:

Legal: Those arrested: Meeting Sat 1:30-3pm Grace Place. Bring paperwork, attorney if you have one. Spread word to any lawyers you know & invite. This is where you will get strategic info about our campaign to have all our charges dropped. If you can’t make it Sat. or need to leave state before court date, or if you have a court date coming up in the next week, please call our legal hotline anytime 24/7.             773-309-1198      . Now there is also formation of a Civil Liberties Campagin Committee. We’re going to be at the front of the campaign to drop all charges. Sat. at 3pm, after legal meeting there is a teach-in w/ Dr. John Carlos & Dave Zirin to talk about resistance in 1968 Olympics and how we can take lessons from the human rights struggle & implement them today. Also, Tariq Ali will speak about Arab Spring Oct. 27 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. Free, 7pm, all literature at event is 30% off for occupiers.

Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. We work in communities to help keep people in their homes who are being threatened with being put out. Tomorrow at 12:30 we would like to meet by Occupy Chicago with a family that’s being put out of their home, march a couple blocks to the offices of the bank that now owns their home to force bank to renegotiate their mortgage. We’ll be at 125 S LaSalle at 12:30 and will be going over to the offices of Bank of New York Mellen, world’s leading financial sevices management company for high income earners.

Medical: Lots of peop Sat, medics & peacekeepers will be overtaxed. If anybody would like to join safety & peacekeeping, we need you. Meeting 11:30am on Satuday. CPD is more than likely not going to be as nice to us this time. It is still very important that we will be at bare minimum cordial to them. Attitude gets you no where. Smile or at least don’t give them attitude.

Social Media/Tech: Over 20,000 people want us to take the horse. We have good news for them. Financial donations amazing, over $14,000 most likely going to support our occupation. On Sat. we already have over 25 confirmed major news sources covering us. The world will be watching. Remember that we are representing the 99%. We are representing the people at the city of Chicago. We did a great job last time. Let’s do it even better!

National Nurses United is going to be setting up an official medic tent where ever we occupy! Will continue to support our medic staff and be on call 24/7.

Occupy The Hood: Reason for this project is to reach out to neighborhoods that might have been left out as a result of our outreach efforts. Many neighborhoods on south & west sides in particular don’t have resoruces to come out to occupy every day. This campaign will go to these neighborhoods and find out the issues that affect these neighborhoods, organize around issues, then connect to larger issues that we’re all fighting for here at OC. This way we can make sure all of Chicago is involved. So those interested, there is a meeting this Sat 9am-12pm at Harold Washington Library, 6th Floor.

Research: Do research yourselves about camping in cold weather. Long underwear! Extra socks! Garbage bags, food water, be smart & safe this weekend and every weekend after as we occ the Horse.

Outreach: Community outreach advocates for people who can’t be here, but we can’t always wait for permission from people at the top for our projects. If you want to plan event, go ahead and do it. We have resources, occommunityoutreach@gmail.com, Occupy Chi Outreach facebook page for people & resources. Sat. brunchtime at Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park to try and get people down here later in day. If you have popular neighborhood brunch place, go there Sat AM and tell people what they’re doing. Heartland at 10ish, will put info on facebook. Also, on Weds. Oct. 26 there is a rally Jackson & LaSalle, a mass mobilization to stop corporate greed.

Arts & Rec: Meeting at Horse on Monday 6pm for all interested.

  • Teach-in at 3pm tomorrow at Jackson & LaSalle on Police Brutality, Mass Incarceration, & Criminalization of a Greneration. Cold truth about war on crime & our responsibility to resist. Truth & history of epidemic of police brutality & whole web of criminalization of the youth. We’ll tackle the justifications for this like war on drugs, gangs, personal responsibility, post-racial US. What we can do to challenge the situation where youth of color are demonized and locked down in a new Jim Crow so instead they can be part of fighting for a radically different future.

Direct Action: For those interested in the Bank of America Boycott action: Tomorrow at 12pm an affiliate group called U.S. Uncut, many of whom visit our events, are having a protest outside BoA at 2 S Michigan Ave. These people been protesting BoA for a while, have lots of experience. Anyone who wants to help with our action should come down to get a taste of what that’s like. Info posted on the forums.

Student Outreach: We should have bi-weekly meetings to get students organizing on campus.

Photo/Video: We need help building  a user-friendly website for people to post photos & videos. Talk to the committee if you can assist.

EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT: One of our comrades was arrested at HQ during the GA. One of the individuals at HQ was banging on drums. Police said to stop drumming. He talked back and they threw him in a car. Some people are headed over to State & 18th right now. I think we should show some solidarity. Cops have left HQ. One of us being arrested is bad, especially alone. We have someone calling National Lawyers Guild for assessment.

EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT: General Counsel from CPD called multiple committee members yesterday asking for a meeting. Those members called a lawyer and unilaterally set up meeting. When it received more attention, they decided to cancel that meeting. General Counsel of the CPD would like to meet with representatives of OC to discuss safety & security on Sat. This is possibly just a ploy to try to get info on us. We don’t know. It is really important to discuss whether or not we will have people meet with them.

Stack on Emergency Announcement:

  • Lawyers can be very tricky. No doubt that general council of CPD will want to be very, very tricky. I propose that we send our lawyers who won’t be fooled by their trickery such as Jerry Boyle to talk to this lawyer.
  • If CPD lawyers want to talk, representativess should not be sent since we are all representatives. They can come make their points here.
  • On Sat. night we’re going to be asking our friends and allies to call CPD to tell them not to arrest us. CPD, if we reject this meeting, will be easily able to say “OC won’t even meet with us.” We don’t need to negotiate with them. We can tell them what we want. They need to drop all charges and not arrest us. That’s all we need to stay. Let’s pick their brains and make it easy on our allies who will be calling in to help us on Sat. night.
  • In response to meeting with CPD, have to think tactically. Whoever we send in will be denoted as leaders of our group by the CPD as they are people we send with confidence. They are going to assume these are people who are frequently active in OC. Making these people known is dangerous to themselves & our group. We have to be really careful. We’re fighting a war.
  • We already have a position on negotiation: it doesn’t happen until charges are dropped. That being said, we can send our lawyers. We do not have to send any number of us who are not legally trained and that they can pressure. I don’t want to sit across from any of their lawyers. I propose that we send our legal reps to legally represent us in front of the cops’ lawyers.
  • I want to say no. This is just a ploy to get info on us. That arrest last week was step 1. It’s a police strategy. Their goal is to break the occupation. Before this action on Sat., we should not meet with CPD counsel.
  • Fundamentally disagree with the idea we should not meet with our opposition. Not meeting limits our options. This is an opportunity for us to gather info & intel before our action on Sat. They don’t need to gather info on us. We’re open and public about what we’re doing. They’re ther ones being secret. We’re the ones who need to gather info. We don’t need to be sitting scared that somehow if we go into a meeting room with them, we lose some kind of strategic advantage. Send our lawyers to talk with theirs and at absolute worst they will refuse to budge and say they’re going to arrest us, which is where we’re at now anyway.
  • In favor of sending our lawyers. There is a long sordid history of police intervention in radical movements like Cointelpro & many other campaigns. Make it clear who is authorized to speak in our name & who isn’t. A few lawyers of our choosing will be assigned to meet with the CPD. Make it clear to CPD representatives who are here tonight & press what OC’s position is. Friendly Amendment, temp check to see if we want to vote on this or to proceed with sending legal reps of our choosing.
  • I am familiar with the CPD. However we choose to deal with this issue, we should remember the main factors. Although we have officers that may believe support what we are doing, they still have the same agenda. If we so choose to have this meeting, let’s remember what we are trying to do & keep in mind what they are trying to do. Protect the foundation of what we believe in.
  • General Counsel isn’t actually the decision maker. They just counsel with the head of the police department and the head can choose whether or not to listen to the counsel. Likely neither we nor they will get much info from one another. Our lawyer is a pretty tricky guy who does not come to our Gas and will not have much info to give CPD. It doesn’t matter if he gives them info accidentally.
  • A movement without leaders where we’re encouraged to each have our own voice where told we should speak to whoever we choose should allow people to talk to police if they so choose. I don’t want to discourage others who may feel they have something to lend to this. I don’t know our attorneys so can’t say that I want them to go represent us or not.
  • If we have our lawyer represent us, how about we send message: where we go to occupy and when we’ll be there. That’s already public information. We can see how they respond.
  • Does anyone here feel like going in front of the police and claming to be  a representative of this movement? There is a reason we are sending our lawyers; cause none of us want to go do this. Even if we did, we’d probably end up saying something stupid & getting the group in a bunch of trouble. Dealing with the cops’ lawyers is probably 100 times harder than the cops themselves. If anyone has issues with our lawyers representing us to CPD, remember our lawyers will be helping us at our court dates. We all voted to agree they would represent us on legal issues; it’s already established policy. Let’s send them in.
  • In an enclosed meeting with ANY city official, we must remember that if we choose to send someone it should be our right to record the entirety of the meeting so that everybody is privy to the info being disclosed. If they do not like that, they need to come here & do what we’re doing right now.

Temp Check: Positive for sending our lawyers to meet with CPD General Counsel

We’re going to send our legal reps to deal with theirs and hopefully record the meeting.

GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Thank you for being here. We voted to keep occupying 24/7. I’ve been out here through the night every night since Sat. Often we dwindle down to 2-3 people at the end of the night. I understand it’s cold and most people have jobs/school, but any time you can, please come out in the night.
  • This is amazing! We are people with power! We can make a change! Our numbers do make a difference! Let’s keep it up! Millions before us persecuted but kept doing it. I am willing to freeze for what I believe in and I know you are too!
  • If you were here last Sat, you know all our things got taken. There were probably 20-30 tents never used, blankets & personal items inside. It is my understanding that Stand Up Chicago has evidence receipts for these things. Also understanding that we don’t have any tents right now, it might be in our best interests to get those tents back!
  • On the Tents: I’ve got a truck. I’m going to the place where the tents are and grabbing them. I could use help! Meet at 11:30 tomorrow at Jackson/LaSalle. If you want to come and you have a truck or SUV, meet then.
  • Pick up your trash please!
  • Jerry from National Lawyers Guild just confirmed he will represent us in meeting with the CPD General Counsel.
  • Meeting adjourned.