EWG Minutes Friday 2nd May 2014
EWG meeting on Friday 2nd May 2014 – minutes
Schlacke, Tim, Bharat, Steve, Phillip, Mary, John, Clive
1. Themed meetings on Friday need outcomes? If we want to cover a subject such as truth, it needs a reading group with serious preparation. Maybe a separate reading group? SWOT analysis complete – decision making within Occupy? Unexpected intensity (and length) of the SWOT analysis means we’ve got a lot to get through. EWG – systemic analysis and campaigning. What happens next Friday? Will be handled before the end of the meeting. Little Book of Solutions? Needs work to establish. Occupy Wronga – good action – focus. Symbolic action – what are the targets? St Paul’s walk – root out usury. Read a paragraph from the book called the Levellers – Robert Lockyer killed by the firing squad – following day his body was carried out in a procession. Essence of journey City to Westminster where the laws are made. We haven’t occupied Westminster.
Future of Occupy meetings – activism v. systemic change. Wronga day very powerful with speeches from David Graeber and David Dewhurst.
Strengths – authorities are frightened of Occupy – don’t know what we’re about and what we want. Know there is a problem with the economic system but don’t know how to transition out of it. Corporations (financial industry). Community cohesion – sustained at St Paul’s for 5 months. Unity. Resilience. Can’t find senior officers within 45mins of demonstrations in the City and West End. In courts the cases against protesters collapse. Police seem incapable of responding to current protests. We know the answers – they’ve been around for years. Occupy democratic model is looked to by others. Occupy has global reach.
Weaknesses – EWG can’t agree on anything. Lack of strategy, tactics or manifesto. Disagreement. Infiltration – not significant if you believe in what you’re doing. Armed struggle v non-violent protest creates two pragmatisms – infiltration is more a danger if armed struggle is contemplated. Failure to actualise ideas.
Opportunities – physical proximity to City of London and City of Westminster to organise actions. Aim for businesses and corporations – target the system through consumer activism – making them (brands and corporations) toxic. As cracks appear in the system, opportunities will arise. Most people know something is wrong and we know how to put things right – can provide positive alternatives. Re-energised left is looking to Occupy – our democratic potential from which they learn. GA legitimises Occupy. We can be fearless on the basis on non-violence. Using the law – fiduciary responsibility to hold governments and corporations to account. Network within Occupy can be used to practice alternative economic models. We can expose and challenge the invisibility of power. eg. WDM investigation into food trading and HFT – listed of all the meetings showing collusion between the City and government.
Protecting the commons. Emerging collaborative commons – zero marginal cost is now destabilising corporations- the beast is consuming itself. Impotent because of inability to police subversion of “intellectual property” technology drives its destruction . We can be prosumers of information, energy, transport networks – alternatives to commercial solutions. The only (capitalist) means to resist is to monopolise. Read Joshua Rifkin The Collaborative Commons. Draw borders around the commons. Productivity doesn’t mena producing a profit. Kenyan bean farms are a land grab, stealing the commons. Delineate and protect the emerging and traditional commons, recapturing those which have already been stolen.
Threats – lack of focus on what we’re trying to achieve. Big business perceived as a bigger threat than unions (according to a recent poll)
Occupy is in a similar position to the TUC – general strike in 1925 – what do you want? (Baldwin asked) – didn’t know. Illusion of economic recovery has created an atmosphere of complacency.
Fear of ourselves. The economic system will collapse before we have a coherent response or WWIII.
Mitigation, Alternatives, Protest – we need to build more alternative models: currencies etc.
Is there sufficient transparency of the connections between politics and business?
Reading group and activist/action group. We should publish something. Recalibrate the economic discussion.
Opportunities to be discussed and prioritised next week:
1. Authorities are frightened and Occupy’s proximity to the City and Westminster 2. Aim at businesses/corporations
3. Opportunities as cracks arise – many people are aware the system is crumbling 4. Other groups looking to Occupy as democratic model
5. Fiduciary duty
6. Put alternative ideas into practice
7. Draw attention to collusion between government and corporations 8. Delineate and protect the emerging and existing commons
9. Publish Little Book of Ideas
10. Reading group
Narrow the perspective to differentiate between Occupy and EWG.