Day 46 - 7pm General Assembly Minutes

Date/Time:  11/7/11, 7pm
Location:  Congress & Michigan, met under eaves of Roosevelt University due to rain
Attendance Count: 
Moderator:  Josh, Stack: Dave, Timekeeper:  Michael, Notetaker: Karen
Meda Present:  Mexico City asks us to chant “Occupy Pilsen” for viewers in Mexico


COMMITTEE ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Housing - Mark: After a committee meeting, the state of things right now is that we’re working on how to survive winter… If you want to be part of the housing discussion, you can join the housing committee.” The next meeting is Wed. after GA, where they will discuss establishing permanent offices for the winter. 24/7 out door occupation “will most likely be suspended for the winter” but General Assemblies, direct actions and other Occupy events and functions will continue. Community service will be enhanced as part of community outreach. We plan on building and expanding cultural activities, offsite movement, art meetings and discussion to help “sell occupy chicago over the winter.” The Wednesday meeting will also look at results of research into various locations. [housing@occupychi.org]
  • Organizational - Taylor: To all arrestees from the 2nd arrest, if your stuff is at grace place, please come up to me after GA and describe it, to get it back.” The stuff confiscated by the police during 1st round arrestees is wet and possibly broken. Half is stored at Grace Place half at “some woman’s house.” The Organizational committee is working on inventorying supplies in storage. They also plan to replace the color-coded armbands with lanyards and laminated nametags.
    Direct respsonse - Abel: The woman with the stuff is a nice lady named Nancy, Abel has her contact informoation. It’s with her because there was no place to put it at Grace, so she volunteered to keep it in her garage.
  • Civil Liberties Defense - Kristy: group of arrestees and supporters from the two Saturdays.” “If you would like to work with us regarding your court cases talk to me.” “We are making spreadsheets of court dates and times as well as decisions regarding how we are going to contest the charges. Because I don’t know if you heard, but they impeded our first amendment rights.”
    Austin - starting a spreadsheet on who’s doing what in terms of pleas, trial, etc. Find him if you need to be added.
  • Spiritual Affairs - Lucki: “Tomorrow after the 1:30 GA, Spiritual Affairs committee is going to gather in the plaza for our meeting. Depending on the weather, we’ll probably move it to someplace dry.” In addition, “we are interested in starting 12-step meetings for the occupy movement. Unfortunately, I appear to be the only member on the committee who’s qualified to run one. So I need a couple of other people with at least a year of recovery to see me at Lasalle and Jackson” sometime this week to volunteer.
    Sam A: Buddhist peace fellowship and [????] to hold group meditations with us every Tuesday at HQ at 4:30pm
  • Conflict Resolution - Rebecca: had their first official meeting. They are “setting up structures so that conflicts in our movement” can be resolved peacefully, offering “mediation services for committees and members of occupy Chicago who think that this would be helpful to them.” E-mail conflict@occupychi.org, but “if you email us please don’t provide names and other identifying information for confidentiality reasons.”
  • Arts & Rec. - Jerry: passing along an idea to do thanksgiving food drives/soup kitchen work
    Trina: Bill Turk is writing an OC xmas character about a banker who loses his job and falls in love with a protester! To help arts@occupychi.org
  • Outreach, Arts & Rec and Direct Action - Trina: “There’s a plan for some political theater, possibly bread and puppet style… think 10 foot puppets… the unawesome part of this is we have like a week” to plan it, contact Arts and Rec committee to help out, their email now works: arts@occupychi.org.
  • Direct Action - Mark: On Nov. 14th “at the University of Chicago, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Paulson… are going to be coming to speak. We would like to prevent them from being able to do so, just like we did with Scott Walker.” Get in touch with Direct Action [directaction@occupychi.org]
    Nov. 17th is a National Day of Action, Stand Up Chicago has been planning some big actions. DAC have too, we may shut down a bridge. “For those who don’t like the fact that were talking about suspending the physical occupation in the winter…Our main priority is to have the office.” But this is not the only plan, some squatters are looking into taking over some foreclosed properties.
  • Visual Media - James: if you want to help create, edit or distribute visual media, or have photos and videos, e-mail media@occupychi.org, please put “Media” in the subject line
    Joe: “We are meeting after the GA on Wed. “how to make and utilize visual media effectively” and how to make more.
  • Ally Cats, Outreach - James: the Alley Cats, “our sweet bike gang,” are planning regular rides every Friday or Saturday.
  • Diversity Committee - James: is getting up off ground, to help talk to James.
  • The Committee Boards are finished!!!!
  • [speaker & committee unknown] - “over one thousand people from Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Occupy Chicago and some other groups… marched downtown because they are angry… about cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This ended with a peaceful disruption of traffic that by the videos looked pretty badass.” Fifty people were detained, including one protester who was one hundred years old and five who were in wheelchairs.
  • Donations - Abel: We have raised $17,000 in online donations, all unspent. “We’re working on a proposal that will allow us to spend that money” legally. To this end, Donations has scheduled a meeting tomorrow with a lawyer to draft a proposal. The finalized proposal brought to GA for a vote, this is planned for this Thursday. Donations encourages all committees to work on budgets, so that when a proposal is approved, we can get spending. Donations is not addressing problems with cash donations, those are handled by organization. The cash donation box has been missing since last week. There is no formal process for accepting cash donations right now. Peter should report on this, he’s been doing bookkeeping.
    • [FORMAT BROKEN FOR Q&A]
      Q: “Why is organization handling cash donations”
      A: “Because online donations is more important and more complex and we only have resources to deal with those situations. The cash that was coming from the ground, the process for that was not formalized, it evolved. It started with people giving money to individuals.” The first donations box was vandalized. People began giving money to individuals and “organization put a box to control the situation.” This box has been stolen.
      Point of Clarification - Taylor: To request funds, just fill out a form, get two people on two separate committees other than your own to sign it, and bring a copy of the receipt and change back to the O.
      Q: Since three boxes have been stolen, should we continue taking cash donations? How much do we have in cash, do we have guidelines for spending it?
      A: Taylor: “I believe we have a couple thousand dollars.”  Abel: If you want to help, join the Donations team and make a proposal for handling cash donations. Email donations@occupychi.org. Donations next meeting will be announced on Tuesday.


PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE VOTING

  • Operation: Winter Building and Chicago Spring - STACK & VOTING ON WEDNESDAY 11/9
    Josh: The beauty and the success of the Occupy Movement lies in the overwhelming ability of each Occupation to adapt and thrive its own given circumstances. Other cities have been able to set up large encampments from which their infrastructure has grown, while in Chicago, we have been forced to maintain mobility in the face of an unbending government and police force under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. However, the denial by our government to respect our first amendment rights is nothing in comparison to the fast- approaching and ultimate hurdle to the growth and success of the movement in Chicago: the brutal Chicago winter.
    This proposal is called Operation: Winter Building Chicago Spring, and is composed of two separate, but equally vital components that address how Occupy Chicago can maintain visibility and notoriety through the winter and emerge as a huge success this spring. The main concept of the proposal is aimed at capitalizing on Chicago's strength: that this is a city of neighborhoods, with people of all different walks of life who support us. This proposal aims to engage the WHOLE city of Chicago, by embracing the mobility of our movement, building support through community outreach, and planning ahead to a date in the spring when we can utilize the full force of the people of Chicago to make a global day of action.
    1) Winter Building: In order to survive as a movement, we must continue to build our support throughout the City of Chicago by truly representing the message of Occupy Chicago, which is to help the 99%. In order to do this, we must reach out to all of the neighborhoods in Chicago, mobilizing actions in different neighborhoods every day. We can do this through community service, outreach, and Direct Action flying squads, all supported through social media. This will not only serve the people of Chicago, but aims to inspire individuals who don’t have the time to commit to the movement 24/7, who can easily take two-three hours shifts out of their week to dedicate to this movement in a smaller action with a real and concrete result! If every day for the next five months, we could have 30 people do three hours of community, that would be approximately 13,500 hours over the winter. Community service efforts would include but in no way be limited to: The Greater  Chicago Food Depository, preventing home foreclosures across Chicago, building parks (weather permitting), delivering clean / dry clothing to homeless, coordinating with Occupy The Hood. This list is not comprehensive and can grow as opportunities present themselves, and as more noble causes come to the attention of Occupy Chicago.
    The goal is to help those that the 1% have forgotten and break down the barriers between the north, south, and west sides of our city. The Occupy movement is about building family and community, and these efforts would truly aid. In the process we will amass support from our communities, truly uniting people from different social and economic groups across Chicago, which will remain in their memories in the spring when we need numbers to stand strong against the city. In addition, Direct Action squads will regularly perform smaller actions that will be directed against large corporations and banks. This, in combination with community outreach will create an important and meaningful message for the world. The winter is deadly, but it cannot kill an idea.
    2) 2012 Chicago Spring: This is the second part of our proposal and answers the question: What is all of this momentum and support that we are building over the winter going towards? We would like to pick a definitive date in early spring, which will we begin publicizing NOW with a massive awareness campaign. On this day, we will rally tens of thousands of our supporters at once, to emerge in FORCE and establish a permanent encampment. Our largest events have been those that we have planned ahead of time. Months of planning can make all the difference. Rahm Emanuel has shown a preference towards using the police force to suppress Chicago rallies, and to directly combat his tactics, we propose using strength in numbers. With a definitive date to plan for and raise awareness beginning NOW, unions will have time to mobilize and bus in their members from across the state and country, other occupations will have time to organize rallies in their native cities and ample time to plan to support us in person. We will have time to organize and allocate our resources effectively, and we can use social media, community outreach, and civil disobedience as an effective means of getting the word out over the next several months. With correct planning, we can come out with numbers so large that the city and state can neither ignore nor remove the occupation. Our proposed date is Saturday, April 7, 2012.
  • Direct Action:  Action at Henry Paulson/Condoleezza Rice Conference (11/14)
    Presented by Larrissa:  See full proposal in the forum
    Point of Clarification - only University of Chicago students only can get into the talk.


PROPOSALS VOTED ON TONIGHT

  • Civil Liberties Defense: Official Statement Regarding Arrests - VOTE PASSED (0 opposed, 3 abstain)
    Kristy: creating a political media strategy to contest the charges.
    On the mornings of October 16th and the 23rd, 305 peaceful protesters were arrested in Grant Park. They were charged with violating a Chicago Parks ordinance which designates that the park closes at 11 pm. For this violation, they were loaded into police wagons and kept overnight in a city jail- some not released until nightfall on the following day. Most were denied phone calls and food and at least two were denied access to necessary medicine. These arrests were not in the interest of “public safety,” as the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office claim. These arrests were political. They demonstrate the mayor’s fear of dissent, his commitment to preserving the status quo, and to limiting the First Amendment rights of Chicagoans to peaceably speak and assemble. We are the 99%. We refuse, any longer, to accept the status quo. We refuse devastating cuts to libraries, schools, and public safety nets. We refuse to be the scapegoats for the financial crisis. We refuse to stand by while the poor and middle-class are kicked out of their homes, those peaceably assembled are thrown in jail, and fraudulent lenders walk free.[i] We refuse to attach ourselves to systems of government and finance we know to be corrupt and instead, choose to align ourselves with a vision for a better tomorrow. We refuse to just pack up and go home. Our First Amendment rights do not end at 11 pm. Support our demand that the city of Chicago drop the charges brought against those arrested in Grant Park and end its ridiculous campaign to limit the free speech of the residents of this city. The peaceful Occupy Chicago protest must be allowed to continue, free of harassment, as so many other cities have done for Occupy movements across the country. We demand a site where we can visibly and publicly voice our grievances 24/7
    • Stack:
      • should it include a call for a permanent home including shelter?
        Direct Response: deliberately vague, Mark agrees.
      • Josh says the main point of CLDC
    • VOTE PASSED (0 opposed, 3 abstain)


UPCOMING EVENT TEMP CHECKS, NO VOTE NEEDED

  • Arts & Rec, Sat., Nov. 12 for concert under The Horse, 4-7pm - POSITIVE TEMP CHECK
    Alex: featuring BBU, FM Supreme, Chris Delaresh, kevin kobol to bring these political artists’ followers out to Occupy. These are artists that are different and about the movement and a better world. “Music and art by and for the 99%”
    • Stack:
      • MARK: Do you need funding?
        Direct Response - NO, all donations!!!
      • Trina: Does this need a GA vote? There is precedent that events that are fun and not major issue related don’t need vote?”
        DIrect Response - Mark: if there’s no funding or civil disobedience, it doesn’t need a vote.
      • Sam A: we should not vote on this, but allow people to do what they want to do!
      • James: most of these guys are my friends and they are really really awesome” they talk about social issues
      • Greg: Arts & rec comm. Found a gallery place for events (Doxy Lounge)
    • Temp check was strongly positive, so no vote and committee is moving forward with planning
  • Direct Action, Nov. 11th Veteran Memorial Speak Out & March
    Steve: OC join the Veterans for Peace, IVAW and AVAW for a memorial and speak out by veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and the “Global War on Terror” at the Veterans Memorial at 11am. There will be a march at 12pm to OC headquarters at Jackson & LaSalle. Silent March and Candlelight Vigil at Veteran’s Memorial Silent march will leave Jackson & LaSalle at 5:45pm to the Veteran’s Memorial on Wacker Drive at State Street. Once there, people will be encouraged to say a few words or read a favorite poem or song. We will march to GA at Congress & Michigan at 7pm.
    • Stack:
      • MARK: no personal problem but he’s unclear about the word “spiritually” thinks it might confuse/bother atheists
        Point of Clarification: “ethereal.. in the spirit of our philosophies. ”
      • Keilah: really likes this idea, emphasizes that participants stay appropriate and relevant.
      • Josh: emphasizes that we should be honoring vets not co-opting their event.
      • Lucki: Friendly Amendment? Gather at HQ at 5:45 silent march to the Veteran's Memorial instead of gathering there.
    • Temp check taken: VERY POSITIVE

[15 minute break]


GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Visitors from Occupy Des Moines: Rahm coming to DES Moines for $4k a plate fundraiser. Occupy Des Moines to show up!
    In solidarity with OWS movement, we are peacefully and indefinitely occupying Stewart Square at E 14th & Grand per our 1st Amendment rights under the US Constitution.
    ODSM is strong, has a full encampment (portopottys and everything)
  • Sarah: trying to get a resolution passed in Springfield to support 1st Amendment rights of occupiers. CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE!
  • Lynette – “I’m sad that we don’t have a home,” so she’s offering her home to have new member welcome parties biweekly. FIRST WELCOME PARTY THIS SATURDAY
  • Joe: going to Occupy Oakland/Occupy SF and wants help prepare a statement in solidarity to bring to them.
  • Josh – Occupy the Hood and Occupy the Barrio!!!! Get more involved with them, we need to reach out to them!


SOAPBOX

  • “I love America and I love occupy and really what I’m all looking for in the morning, they could be dead bodies, mannekins… and maybe a megaphone and fliers”
  • Trina: reading Lemony Snicket's statement [link with text and more Occupy Writers]
  • Josh: reading paragraph anon law professor. Saying “we are right, the system is fucked up and it’s up to us to fix it” Disappointed in police aren’t sending donuts and coffee anymore. How come they’re arresting grannies.
  • Nevian: was arrested because she was refused to move breakfast cart. NO ONE STOOD WITH HER, she got ticketed, arrested, and dislocated her wrist. Cops gave her 3 pieces of bread and no water over the course of 9 hours. Don’t expect cops to be nice
  • Sam: we need more people staying with the occupation late at night and early morning when the cops come and hassle us. 3AM-10:30AM especially. Suggestion to write a proposal for signup sheets for night sheets.
  • Nevian: please be careful, not everyone out there is our friend. KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN. If you see or hear something suspicious, talk to security asap.
  • “It’s very important to occupy the financial canyon… I know its not easy maintaining a nighttime presence…” but at the very minimum we need to maintain a presence during rush hour.
  • John: “I love America and it puts a smile on my face to see so many people here fighting for what's right for America and the world... Action is the food that gives us power.”
  • Wynne:– chair of the Haymarket Young Communist League in Chi. Arrested on 23rd. Concerned about CLDC, because civil liberties are not our primary cause. “I’m personally not that upset that I spent a few hours in jail, I knew that was going to happen… we need to stay focused on the 12 main points.
    Point of Clarification – CLDC is fundraising for itself not planning on taking from donations and if they did, they’d write a proposal and bring it to GA.

MEETING ADJOURNED

Date: 

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 5:00pm