Notes from the
General Assembly (GA) Meeting
Spencer Plaza, Wilmington
a new global justice movement to confront a global crisis.
Meeting started: 1902 hr
On Saturday we’re having the Cash Mob. Meet here at 1 pm. We’re going to 9th St. Book Shop. See flyer.
The weekly rallies for Wilmington and Newark have been cancelled for the holidays. They’ll resume the following week, Jan 4 and 6, respectively.
Next bank actions on Jan 7 and Jan 14, BofA and Wells Fargo.
On Jan 10, Occupy Dover is “welcoming” back the Delaware Legislature!
(That’s the same day as the Sheriff Sale here.)
Has the committee considered going back to Carney and Carper? Yes, e.g., actions outside of their offices. Andy has been trying to get a meeting with Carper.
We’ll meet an hour before each bank action to make signs, it’s very fun.
We’re having a teach-in at Hanover Church Jan 11 … We have a home theater available to screen movies.
We have to make signs for the Cash Mob. Meet at the site at noon before the action. Saturday.
Our hanukiah (menorah) will be lit on the site tomorrow at 6:15 pm.
There was a request for feedback. The committee is researching working with Peoples Settlement.
Status of the treasury? Do we have a list of who’s on the Financial Committee? Yes. Everything’s in the security log book. The log book is in the security tent.
We’re all appreciative of all the efforts everyone is making. A concern is that there’s an appearance of exclusion, we need to have a transition of information, channels of communication, as we grow and the committees develop.
If people want to do something, just do it.
It’s difficult for outside groups to coordinate with us because of our decentralized structure. Sometimes that means that individuals have to act as go-betweens.
So much has been going on that people may be delegating things, and it’s not healthy for the horizontal democracy.
The other issue is, the GAs are very important for facilitating communication.
Let’s put out ideas about how we’d do this.
If you’re going to a meeting for one purpose and a different issue comes up then pass it on.
If the people you’re meeting with raises a subject that should be addressed by someone in a committee you’re not on, please ask the person to contact the people on the appropriate committee.
Some things get discussed in committees that don’t come up otherwise, we should focus on the Sheriff’s Sale.
For finances, we’ve set up a security program but we haven’t done much else. Not a penny (except Dwayne bought a cup of coffee) has been spent, all the money is accounted for. We’ve had about 4 offers from nonprofits to be our fiscal sponsor but we haven’t done anything. Also we’ve been having outreach to local churches who ask us what we need, we tell them everything we need, including funding. When we were looking for an inside venue for the GA they offered the hall and then also we mentioned we need a sponsor. It was an offer relayed to Crystal/Meshal. So the Finance committee should investigate Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice, or whoever, and bring it to the GA when ready.
After the GA there’ll be a meeting.
We started a Facebook page. Anyone who wants to be involved let Jen, Stev, Akiva know.
We attended a local meetup in Valley Forge, mostly people from Pennsylvania GAs were there, but also there was one from North Carolina. The purpose was to explore how we can coordinate better, e.g., using the Spokescouncil model, or more networking.
OWS hosted a visioning un-conference in New York. It was mostly a Wall St. thing but there was a section for inter-Occupy communications, for the Web site, interoccupy.org, laying the tracks for GAs to easily support and communicate with each other. When the tracks are in place the GAs will be able to communicate with other sites easily.
Was Occupy LA shooting down the interoccupy idea? There’s a lot of concern that people will try to be representatives rather than be messengers, no reason to re-create the existing governmental system we are presently suffering with, but there’s a lot of interest in getting together and sharing, but not to make decisions, which should always be made on a local level. GAs can elect a representative, but that’s different. Everyone is welcome to participate, see Steve, or Mike.
Proposal 1) We are proposing that we hold GA inside at the Peoples Settlement, Wednesdays, 7-9 pm, starting Jan. 4.
[location was given] There’s a big parking lot, walkable from site. Open to GAs other nights as well.
Darlene Battle is from Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice, DSEJ would be our sponsor.
These are great people.
Potluck dinner before this GA? I don’t know. There is a cafeteria in the buildings. They have kitchen facilities but they may not be available.
When does it start? Jan. 4.
Set up and clean up? Can we get in before 7? Probably, we’d need to coordinate with Darlene, but we would need to get out promptly at 9.
Amendments to Proposal 1
Straw Poll: unanimous in favor.
Binding Vote: unanimous in favor.
Proposal 1 passed.
Proposal 2) We are proposing that we incorporate the block signal into our GA process. Seconded.
This is a very serious thing. When at the end of the process if the proposal affects you so strongly you’d leave the group if it passed. So that the blocking is not abused, excessive blockers get addressed outside of the group. The reason for it is to empower everybody, that nobody is excluded. It makes the process a little longer but it’s worth it.
Any proposal about how the block process would be run? When get to Binding Vote and something is about to pass that you disagree with you throw up a block, which has to be addressed in order for the proposal to go through.
Say that the blocker can not be assuaged, would the proposal not go forward? It would undo the supermajority rule. Things could only pass with complete consensus?
Why now, and not initially? Most of the time the block gives more voice to less reasonable people, the concern is that it just empowers people to interfere arbitrarily.
What would be addressed in a block that wouldn’t have been addressed during the process? When we’ve had dissenting votes but sufficient votes to pass the proposal then the dissenting votes get ignored.
Does it give a voice to unreasonable people? Yes, but this helps us bring everyone at the GA along.
I realize this was tabled from before but we don’t have enough people here tonight to decide now. Perhaps a better time to vote on this would be during our first indoor assembly.
It has been shown that blocking de-powers the non-aggressive people.
The possibility of not getting anything done at all, say people who don’t have the Occupy’s interests at heart.
Bring the studies on we need to research this. It’s a difficult area.
OWS has had the block since the beginning and gets things done. We’ll lose people because of the tabling.
That’s a logical fallacy, maybe OWS is working because of it or despite it. It’s no evidence for or against.
Also the consideration of slowing the process down, people do exercise their voice here, I’m concerned that we’re de-emphasizing that.
I watched it work, the rest of the group hasn’t. The system itself does not take care of this problem, the blocking process would totally hang up the process so with the possibility of blocking the group finds ways to take care of it. It works to address the deeper issues.
I’m concerned you’re looking for 100 pct agreement on every vote.
Blocking will not allow those who are marginalized to speak more but it will allow people to abuse the system.
Amendments to Proposal 2
Amendment 1) To table the proposal for one month for research. Seconded.
Factual Information for Amendment 1
Anything that is adopted can always be changed.
Clarifying Questions for Amendment 1
After a month would there be a guarantee that we’d address it, or would it go on another month?
Is a month from tonight a Wednesday? Change the amendment to the Wednesday.
Do you have in mind a process to ensure that a month from now we’re not in the same place we are now?
Isn’t a month a long time, people would forget about it?
Is this just to stall it? No, this is a pretty deep political science issue and it needs careful consideration.
Concerns for Amendment 1
About the way we’re handling difficult issues by pushing them back. We could infinitely do this. Though I agree we should bring a lot more to the table for this idea.
A month is a very long time and we may be setting a precedent to delay things. But we should think about it, less than a month. Wednesday may not be the best day to do this, we should focus those days on more outside issues.
We had a week already to do research, how good will our questions be a month from now? A month is too long.
Would you consider a tabling of less than a month? Yes, two weeks. Jan. 11.
If we try for a bigger indoor GA meeting and we spend a lot of time on this we’ll drive people away.
Restate Amendment 1: Table the proposition until GA of Jan. 12, Thursday.
Straw Poll for Amendment 1: in favor, 5; opposed, 4.
Break for 5 minutes to discuss the amendment in small groups.
Straw Poll for Amendment 1: in favor, 2; opposed, 9.
Is this consensus? Guidelines provide no guidance. Broke out into discussion groups again.
Straw Poll for Amendment 1: in favor, 1; opposed, 10.
Binding Vote for Amendment 1: in favor to table, 1; opposed, 10.
Amendment 1 did not pass.
Proposal 2 to include the blocking signal into the GA procedure was restated.
Straw Poll for Proposal 2: in favor, 3; opposed, 8.
There is no consensus to support the proposition.
Will break-out be useful?
Proposal 2 was withdrawn.
Proposal 3) We are proposing that amendments can only be accepted or rejected only by the proposer. Seconded.
It speeds proposals along.
Is this in line with Roberts Rules of Order? No.
There is no opportunity for discussion about an amendment? No, but an amendment to address concerns can be made.
Questions or concerns from the GA would not be brought in? This is where the block comes in.
Would it make sense instead to have all amendments proposed and have the proposer accept/reject and then have the GA review with questions, etc.? The facilitator can always bring the group into questions, concerns, so the answer is kind of yes.
Could we incorporate seconding amendments into this? The intention is to make the process faster.
Restate the proposal: To change the amendment process so amendments are accepted or rejected by the proposer.
A proposal to the GA belongs to the GA, where it is collectively worked on. This ignores that.
We can do this within our system. The proposer can always withdraw the proposal.
How is this going to still protect the voice of the minority, who may like the proposal and not the amendment?
Without this we’ll continue to abuse the system by postponing things too much because of how long the process takes.
This will hurt democracy by creating a process allowing people to ignore people’s voices.
That concern is confusing the brainstorming processes and passing proposals.
Our best decision making is done as a group and that comes out of the amendment process. It’s not ideal but it’s not broken.
Amendments to Proposal 3
Amendment 1) During the amendment process the proposer can adopt new ideas that come from the floor. But keep the existing amendment process too for the not-accepted ones.
Any amendment the proposer accepts can be incorporated into the proposal? Yes. The rejected amendments would be subject to the existing process? Yes.
Concerns for the rejected of the amendments can still be addressed? No.
Amendments incorporated into the proposal makes it a new proposal.
The facilitator’s role is to make sure the amendments are relevant.
There is nothing in the process to bring in expert information. The voice of the minority may not be heard.
Re-statement of Amendment 1: The proposer can accept amendments as friendly that would not have to be deliberated on. The ones not accepted would go through the regular process.
Straw Poll for Amendment 1: in favor, 8; opposed, 2.
2 minute break-out.
Proposal 3 was withdrawn.
If you have any Occupy Supply requests please see Brandi tonight.
Meeting adjourned: 2110 hr