Occupy Chi GA 12.14.11

 

Occupy Chi GA 12.14.11

 

Intros

 

Committee Announcements

Housing: We voted to approve a location for winter HQ. We’ve been working to finalize the lease, met today with our lawyer. Just to keep everyone informed, we’ll have more than one lease signer because we need to prove income and this will help avoid keeping liability (which will be minimal) on any one person. We’re working to sign the lease asap and will keep you informed as we go. This Saturday, GA will include a discussion about what we need to be ready to move indoors. Please discuss this in committees and bring your input.

 

Direct action: Today at city hall we held interviews for new mayors! If you want to help with actions like these, join us for meetings at 3 on Sundays at mcdonalds at madison and wells. 

 

Education:

Today’s event was sparsely attended. Upcoming events will include a screening of The People Speak an adaptation of Howard Zinn’s the People’s History of the US. Come out!

 

Secretariat:

This Saturday we’ll discuss not only our future home but also our old home at Jackson and Lassalle to talk about what we’ll do with that space in the future. We should move GA to the Board of Trade plaza on Sat to include ppl who stay at HQ and don’t come to GA.

 

Arts and Rec:

Saturday will be section 2 of Keep your kids organized! We have a ton of great stuff planned. But we need more occupiers there to engage with people and gain their ideas and support. Saturday 1-4 at the Think Tank, north of Irving Park and Ashland.

Also, our email address has just started working. Finally, we’re working on a house-warming party for our new hq. If you can donate art to help, come talk to us. We’re also trying to collect media to go out on our twitter. Email us your stuff!

 

Research:

We need more people! This Sat at noon on top floor of Harold Washington library. Please come! We can help to articulate and expand the stands of this movement.

 

Finance:

We still need people to help with administrative tasks.

 

Last week we passed a t-shirt proposal but the person bottom-lining it is sick, so we need to gather nput online or to me, Lora.

 

Skills training on saturday at 3 for conflict resolution at Depaul.

 

Arts and rec:

Friday, Dec 23 the occupy players are putting on a play at Grant Park. There will be a march there at 2 from HQ and the play will start at 3. The play will be broadcast on Christmas eve but please come see it in person.

 

Occupy Rogers Park:

We’re inviting everyone for a GA on Sunday night. It won’t be official. It’ll be a whole day of events. The GA will be at Living Water community church, 6800 N Ashland at 7 PM.

 

 

 

Calls for Assistance:

 

A few days ago I told a story about the summit of nobel peace laureats coming to Chicago and Rahm is their host! If you want to help me research and plan an action, come see me.

 

Community service project in uptown. The info is on the OC website. This would mean serving meals, distributing clothes and the like.

 

Weeks ago members of the board of trade threw on us applications for work at mcdonalds. Ironically, they also enacted automatic trading which will cause many traders to be laid off. We should take action! I have a few ideas but I’d like to hear yours. This reflects the inevitable destruction of anyone who works within the capitalist system, and we should broadcast that message. Talk to Mike to help out.

 

The CME and CBOE are waiting for a bill to pass to give them 371 billion dollars in taxpayer money. We need someone to bottom-line organizing something around this.

 

 

Five minute break. 

 

 

Proposal presentations

 

 

Occupy my heart:

This is the play happening on the 23rd. the proposal is to have a march and rally on the way to play. This is to avoid any controversy about whether it’s an official OC action.

 

Town Hall discussion

Explanation:

The occupy movement nationwide has faced down massive police violence as camps have been raided and cleared from coast to coast. In many cities, valiant efforts to reclaim camps have continued to be turned back by major mobilizations of police. The movement is now transitioning toward new forms of protest and organization, with momentum growing around a variety of struggles from fighting foreclosures, to taking the occupy movement onto campuses, to organizing to shut down the west coast ports on Monday, Dec 12.

 

Meanwhile, increasingly vocal politicians and pundits are calling on occupiers to turn their energy toward the 2012 elections, and hoping the courageous, outspoken, united resistance we've shown in the streets will dissipate. Nonetheless, the occupy movement has had an enormous impact on politics nationwide, and beginning to accrue small victories in various cities and states.

 

Now that we in Chicago have a new home, we should use it to come together and discuss the challenges and successes we've seen so far, and where we want to move next. Occupy Chicago is already deeply involved in a variety of critical projects on city campuses, defending unions, organizing in the south side against police brutality, defending our civil liberties and stand up for Occupy arrestees, and organizing to stop school closures and turnaround just to name a few. We should bring together the news and ideas from each of these projects and discuss what more we want to take on in the coming months.

 

Proposal:

When our lease is signed and we're ready to start having GA indoors, we'll organizing a collective discussion of our next steps. We'll publicize this discussion to try to involve as many as possible of all those who've been arrested with us, marched with us, stood in the rain and the cold with us and shown us their sparkle fingers. It won't be a formal presentation but rather an open conversation for us all to have a chance to reflect, brainstorm and plot our next moves.

 

 

All about Eves  

I’m proposing we cancel GA on Christmas eve and New Years Eve. We can hold parties instead but formal GA’s won’t make sense.

 

 

Proposals for votes:

 

Support for rally of hyatt workers:

 

There’s been a 2 year struggle for contract and Hyatt has made no concessions. But Hyatt workers have been organizing and fighting back. Now Hyatt demands they end their boycott or lose their healthcare! They’re taking action to reject this choice tomorrow at 3 PM. We’ll rally at HQ at 2:30 and march to the Hyatt.

 

The proposal is to march to this action as a group. It’s tomorrow. This is also the hotel connected to the McCormick place where Nato and G8 will be held.

 

 

 

Condemnation of NDAA:

The rumors are that Obama will sign this bill!

"Occupy Chicago strongly condemns the National Defense Authorization Act. We firmly believes that if this bill is signed into law it will lead to unfair trials and indefinite detentions without charge or trial by the military. This expands and codifies tactics from the War on Terror of illegal detentions condemned by international law and our own constitution.

Occupy Chicago opposes indefinite detention, military commissions and torture.   We demand that President Obama veto any version of this bill that contains detention provisions that would violate human rights and undermine the rule of law."

 

We all know what this is about: expanding the repression we’ve already seen. Obama is supporting this in order to keep Guantanamo bay prison running. He’s not going to budge on this. Whether you think he stands for the 99% or not, he will defend this bill.

 

This isn’t just about us, but everyone who speaks out about injustice in this society. Will we be able to stand up for our rights if this passes? Do we really need this kind of “national defense”??

 

I’m not going to defend the NDAA, just point out that indefinite detention is already happening to a lot of people, particularly immigrants. We need to be clear we’re not just against the indefinite detention they explicitly say they’re undertaking. We should say that the entire criminal justice system is sick.

 

Obvoiusly we have no freedom if this bill passes. We need to act!

 

There will be no friendly amendments accepted for this proposal.

 

 

Occupy the Hood and Chicago Anti-eviction Campaign

 

Proposal to fund reclaimed homes. As part of the national day of action to reclaim foreclosed homes, we reclaimed a vacant home on Throop street. While vacant, the building we vandalized and stripped of pipes and furnace. We’re cleaning up this property to help move in a homeless mother and her children.

 

This fits with the heart of the occupy movement. Across the country, occupy groups have teamed up with housing activists to generate funding and support for reclaiming homes.

 

We’re asking for your financial support. It would be used to finish the rehab and repairs. We’re requesting $2000 for copper pipes, pvc pipes, dry wall, and other small materials.

 

To clarify, ths would be an appropriation, meaning authorizing money directly for a specific use. Money only gets dispersed to stores once the least expensive materials have been identified.

 

We need to hurry both to get in before our financial funders go on vacation and before the weather gets too cold to do the work.

 

Everyone deserves a place to call home. For many this is still a distant goal. 1 in 4 homeowners are currently underwater on their mortgages.

 

Find out more at occupyourhomes.org. There’s also a list of similar organizations. There are pdfs on the website of exact estimates from suppliers.

 

 

 

I think this sounds lovely. I have 2 questions: are there other organizations giving money as well? And who is providing the labor? Is that an expense? And could someone from donations explain how this will effect our full funding?

            All labor is being donated, much by certified laborers. We’re also getting donated materials.

            Presenter says this will be 7-8% of the existing OC funds. But not confirmed by donations committee.

 

I support this, but have a few concerns. We’re getting on our own two feet now and will have some expenses soon. We’re best at organizing, not providing money, so I’d be more in favor of trying to help to build a fundraiser which could be more effective anyway. That’s just an idea. Interested to here other people’s thoughts. But this is so important and we should support it in some way.

We need to get this work done before it get’s to cold and pipes could freeze. Also, we waited til after the Dec 6th day of action to show that Occupy Chicago is way behind the curve on these projects nationally. Every other city is giving funding directly from their coffers.

 

This is such a worthy cause! But I still have to stack against it because of legal issues. The bank will foreclose sooner or later and we’ll have bought them a nice furnace. We’ve already allocated 28,000 of our 30,000 dollars and we’re committed to funding civil liberties defense for arrestees. We can’t spend more money until we have more money.

That’s all well-taken. But on the south and west side, we’re having a hard time convincing people to support OC for reasons like this. People think OC isn’t doing anything that impacts their lives. There are probably a lot more people waiting to donate and would donate more when they hear it’s going to this.

 

I think giving this money would be a way to get more attention and support for what CAEC is doing. I think the money could be re-raised quickly. The housing money allocated is for now through may, but we’ll have time to re-raise that money as we go, especially if we’re doing concrete important things like this.

 

We have to stop talkig about solidarity and start being in solidarity. Let’s do this.

 

I like that you’re doing this, but I don’t think we should do this. We should do a fundraiser for you. We have too many of our own expenses and we need to take care of our own bills first. If money buys supporters or solidarity, we don’t need that kind of support. That’s not what we’re here for. But we should definitely help you organize to raise this money. We don’t even know what all our expenses are going to be.

 

I’m Toussaint and I’m with the CAEC and wanted to clarify the legal status. This home is not currently in foreclosure. The bank decided the house was in too poor of a condition to reclaim. The home owner is asking us to buy out the mortgage and we might try to turn it into an organizing space. The support of the owner gives us cover. Part of the reason for the urgency is that there’s more problems with the police and the bank (which came and boarded up the house only after we took it over) about this property than any other we’re working on.

 

I’m JR from CAEC. I came here weeks ago to see what you’re up to. Chicago has been lagging, but we’ve been arguing to people for solidarity with OC. We have to prove in practice that we’re carrying through on that solidarity. OWS has given money for this kind of project as have occupiers in Atlanta and elsewhere nationally. If it wasn’t a rush, we wouldn’t have come to you at all. Only two OC people came to our action on Dec 6. We need to be about action, not words, so we can tell people nationally that Occupy Chicago does support us. We want to be able to say that OC is on board.

 

I think this is great. I’ve done similar projects. But I’m concerned that this is jumping straight to money. Can we distinguish only the most immediate needs? We also have connections to organized labor which could fund much greater support and help us directly access supplies. We should look into all the possibilities before we jump in.

            Given how long it took you to decide on a housing location, I don’t trust that that process would be fast enough. The most urgent piece is the furnace which is $930 but that may be an overestimate. We’re working on bringing it down to $700-800.

 

I stand in strong support of this. This is the right kind of use of our funds. In response to the idea that the bank will be getting our furnace, think of the press that would come with the bank foreclosing on an occupied house.

 

This will be about 17% of our existing funds as far as I know. The allocated money is also being offset by a private benefactor. So we have more funds available than you’d think. I do have a concern with the definition of appropriation in your proposal. We’re not a legislature. That’s no reason to hold up the proposal but that language should be changed. Also, for tools that will be bought for this, who will end up owning those?

            The CAEC will use them for two other houses we’re looking to reclaim next.

 

About the idea of organizing a fund raiser: let’s start generating some ideas and get moving if we’re going to do that and not just say we’re going to. We also need to make sure to follow through on this, not give false hope. I also like the idea of reaching out to labor. Let’s have a day of labor where lots of people can come help work on the house.

 

If we fix up this house, will that make the bank try to take it back?

A foreclosure in Chicago takes about 7-8 months without resistance, but it could take years. It wouldn’t become the bank’s property for at least two years.


The current donations status: We don’t yet have a full budget. There have been a lot of proposals already that haven’t been budgeted. We won’t know the cost of defending arrestees yet. Without a budget established yet, we don’t know if we have this money or not. We need to work on our own budget immediately so we can make this kind of decision. I don’t know what to do about this. We appreciate you being here. But we’re just not in a position to make this decision yet.

 

I believe that if we help people, our donations will grow. We shouldn’t worry about $2000.

 

 

 

 

Conflict resolution proposal:

 

Read the full proposal here: http://occupychi.org/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=530

 

We value diverse input and recognize that conflict is inevitable, sometimes productive in challenging divisions, and sometimes counter-productive and needing outside help.

 

We aim to promote a culture of nonviolence and help mediate disputes. There have been rare times when a violent conflict requires someone be removed physically and we need a process for dealing with this so that everyone can feel safe here.

 

We don’t believe in punishment, just see our criminal justice system. We want restorative justice to hold people accountable to the collective movement.

 

3 types of intervention:

 

  1. we’ll act as a resource to anyone seeking us out
  2. we’ll intervene in specific conflicts through a peace council
  3. in cases of immediate violence, we may ask people to leave the event or the movement.

 

We’ll maintain a help line. When we mediate, we’ll work with all sides and remain neutral. We’ll hold trainings on conflict resolution techniques.

 

Will statements made to security be kept confidential?

            Yes

 

I haven’t gotten to look at all the details. Because this is so important, could we have this vote on a weekend so more people can participate?

            Temp check on this: mixed

            This has been on the website and waiting for a vote for weeks. But this is the first time it’s been stacked on.

 

What is meant by asking to temporarily leave the movement? Can they participate in any aspect of the movement? Online too? Is this explicit in the proposal?

            Yes yes and yes.

What is the enforcement of this? That could get uncool?

           

 

I mostly support this but would rather wait til more people can vote and I think it needs to give more latitude to peacekeeping to deal with more minor incidents.

 

One particular concern: up to now there have been no proposals that determine how other committees will operate and this sets that precedent. Committee autonomy is important. So far each committee determines their own methods.

 

I worry that we’re overcomplicating how to deal with individuals. I think it’s simple that we should ban people who are violent or totally counter-productive. In the past, our problem has been not moving fast enough to deal with real, immediate problems.

 

In my experience, the individuals who’ve created conflicts have raised varyng issues and that’s why having multiple strategies is important. This committee is providing a key service to us all and has been under-appreciated. People should read the proposal and take it seriously. People should go to trainings to understand the work better.

 

 The spirit of this proposal is great. It’s based on coming together to solve our problems. We should expect to have fewer conflicts and we grow and strengthen our shared projects. But can someone clarify the cases where police have been called in to deal with individuals and how we’ll deal with that in the future. We need to protect one another against the intervention of police and the criminal justice system.

 

 

 

Voting:

 

NDAA condemnation:

Opposed: 0

In Favor: all

Passes!

 

Hyatt workers support action:

Opposed: 0

In Favor: all

Passes!

 

CAEC and Occupy the Hood:

(Clarifications: This is a one-time request, not a permanent relationship. We welcome future joint fund-raising.)

Opposed: 3

In Favor:  35

Passes!

 

Conflict Resolution Committee proposal:

Tabled until Friday

 

 

Emergency announcement:

Just got an email from signon.org. They blasted out that Rahm has asked to raise the fines for resisting arrests to $2000 and strengthen enforcement against curfew violations. He says it’s about safety. We say it’s about our freedom to speak out.

Call the mayor’s office. To call the mayor’s office directly, call:

Call your alderman as well.

 

 

General announcements:

CAEC wants to thank everyone for your support. I’m personally going to be trying to build up occupy our homes and I’ve gotten your input on how to take this citywide. There are over 100,000 abandoned homes in this city. We’re going to take them all back!

 

I went to and AFSC training yesterday on nonviolence and they’ve offered to help us organize one for the movement.

 

About the increase in fines for resisting arrests. I heard it was going from $500 to $1000. Some members of the CAEC were arrested in spring for blocking an eviction on this charge. This would be a permanent change. This charge is used to justify harassing and arresting people of color on a regular basis. We need to take action to stop this from getting onto the books.

 

 

Soapboxing:

I wanted to report what happened at the board of ed meeting today. We were in line at 4 am to speak and some people slept out over night. One after another people mic checked against school closures and turnarounds, and the board fled! People decided to hold the meeting themselves so people could speak out against charters and the destruction of public ed. Then the board came back and listened to their own speakers, 75% or so of whom were for charters and turnarounds. The board thanked each one for their comments. This is manipulation. This was a blunder on the board’s part because the press only stayed long enough to hear the people speak!

 

Resisting arrest is a bogus charge used as an excuse to arrest and overcharge people. We need to stand up to this.

 

My two-month anniversary with OC was last week and I was in Oakland! I want to tell you all the story of what it was like at a future GA.

 

Since we don’t yet have a camp or indoor space, let’s start asking churches and other places for a space to house people protesting NATO and G8 in the spring. We should just shut down NATO and G8 so they can’t meet in the spring.

 

We don’t need an indoor space. We can shut down the ports, so we can do anything.

 

Adjourned.

Date: 

Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 6:15pm