Full Minutes of OccupyLSX GA 7pm 9 November 2011

 

Welcome and Introductions to the evening’s proceedings

The facilitator expressed Occupy London Stock Exchange’s solidarity with the student march and said how delighted we are to have you all here.

The facilitator went through process hand signals

It was explained that tonight’s General Assembly (G.A) is for political discussion

Working groups will feedback and anybody can start one

The facilitator ran through the agenda.

Themes for upcoming meetings

The facilitator asked the GA for consensus on proposed themes for upcoming meetings:

• The Energy Equity and Environment (E.E.E) group have a statement they would like adopted by the GA as part of our initial statement. They would like to hold a debate and gather support for this statement (below in green). Process proposed Thursday for this discussion.

• The state of our Democracy – and in particular Labour Leader Ed Milibands comments that: ‘We cannot leave it to the protesters to lead this debate’. Process proposed Friday for this discussion

There was a discussion and it was agreed to swap around as many students here for only 24 hours and democracy is a key theme. The EEE group supported the environment debate taking place on Friday.

Feedback from Finsbury square

Reports back working groups

Feedback from student and electrician protest and March

First feedback

Joe gave an update on the student and electricians demonstrations and reported that the electricians were kettled by police with dogs – and therefore prevented joining the student demo.

He went on to report that the Student march was cut into three parts by the police.

There were reports that the rear third was attacked in new Fetter Lane. Joe reported that legal and medical assistance was unable to reach them. He reported that was a ‘reverse’ kettle

Joe said that he had heard reports that the electricians got a good kicking.

Second feedback

Trafalgar square was Occupied by tents for about 45 mins then removed by the police. The operation was not pleasant, and was recorded on camera. At least two people were arrested and at least one was taken to Kilburn Police station; the other person’s whereabouts are unknown. Kilburn’s telephone number was given out and people encouraged to phone.

Third feedback

Update from ‘sparks’ demonstration. This took place as electricians have been threatened with 30% pay cut. Feedback was from a nurse who attended out of solidarity. At end of demonstration, when the Sparks reached Blackfriars, they decided to join students. The march had been peaceful, however they were kettled by police and prevented from leaving to, and when protestors did try and break free protestors were attacked. But not quite a ‘kicking’. But we were prevented by police from joining students; we were not allowed to go on the student demo. Our democratic right to protest was curtailed. The speaker said I have never, in all my 50 years, seen such aggressive policing.

Fourth feedback

Update from student. He reported that 99 per cent of people on the march were peaceful. We were blocked off for over 20mins by police, dogs and horses. They were blocking our way and pushing started eventually from rear protestors. Unfortunately it did get violent from some people dressed in black and I got hit. He appealed to everybody to keep it peaceful.

Fifth feedback

I was one of guys that got arrested at Parliament, and therefore couldn’t join because of bail conditions. The police kettled the demo and then released the people into Finsbury. We were surrounded by police and helicopter above. It was very intimidating, however thankfully still peaceful. A group is heading down to Kilburn to give support to arrestee.

I would like to thanks people for supporters yesterday outside the police station when I was being held – it kept me going. I did a blog showing appreciation for the people waiting outside. Long live the Occupation!

Announcements from other Occupations

Birmingham is going strong and have a list of 700 people giving backup! Fantastic support!

Updates from working groups

Outreach

John from Outreach said they are connecting with other groups and occupations. A National conference is planned. Please get involved.

Kitchen

Kitchen staff spoke about late night hunger pains, and asked people to note they are open from 8 to twelve. Tranquillity can help, but after 12 the kitchen is closed. There was an incident where people were harassed; please respect the team.

The facilitator explained ‘Tranquillity’ are our own peacekeepers who provide security and help us look after each other.

Press and media team

The media team noted that the policy group for the Corporation of London got consensus from the General Assembly for three points demanding the City of London:

1 Publish full, year by year breakdowns of the City Cash account;
future and historic

2 Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of
Information Act

3 Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of banking and financial
industries, since the 2008 financial crash

The Guardian reported on this; but misrepresented our statement. They
quoted other sources that did not go to the General Assembly and had
not reached consensus. The media team said we need to be transparent.
We will be publishing all our minutes.

Response: ‘The article said if our demands were met we would leave. But
that does not represent our views and has let us down’.

The Media team explaining the press team contacted the Guardian and
they have agreed a correction

Response: There was a misrepresentation that that anonymous is Occupy.
This is false, anonymous can join Occupy, as can many groups, but we
are not synonymous.

Response: apparently we are meeting with lord mayor – who knew about
that!!

Environment Equity and Energy group

EEE member reported that the Guardian said that with in 6 years we will
reach potentially catastrophic climate change

Join our group: 5pm Wednesday and Sunday Ye Olde London pub, Ludgate
Hill

As announced they will be a debate on Friday on incorporating this
additional point into our statement. Please support us to include
this:

The present unjust and exploitative economic system pollutes our land,
sea and air, is causing massive loss of natural species and
environments, and is accelerating humanity towards irreversible global
warming. We call upon individuals, organisations and governments to co-
create a positive, sustainable economic system that benefits present
and future generations.

Finance group

We are will be getting an accountant and posting all accounts online.
We meet every day at Starbucks from 2 – 3pm. Please come down if you
have a request.

This is the process

Up to £10 can be given out by information

Up to £150 can be authorised by finance

Over £150 needs the authority of the General Assembly

Tea tent

The Tea tent will be closed at midnight to keep the noise down as
people need to sleep.

Reponses – about herbal tea being needed in the middle of the night

The facilitator requested this was resolved by the team.


Corporation of London – threat of eviction and discussion on legal
position

The facilitator introduced the item by suggesting we hear the legal
advice and then break into discussion groups to consider.

The legal advisor was introduced.

He explained that as many will be aware on Wednesday last week we met
with the City of London and discussed two points; however they then
followed this with an entire page of demands!

The legal team has taken advice from our Solicitors and they advise we
consider responding to the first two points raised at the meeting, but
that the longer page can be disregarded.

The first point is that the City of London has requested that we leave
by 31 December, and said if we do agree to this go they may start
proceedings for blocking the highway immediately.

The second point is the size of our camp.

The legal team advice is that they would recommend a reasonable counter
response as soon as possible to the first tow points (leaving by the 31
December and size of camp)

One ‘reasonable’ counter response could be to agree to leave by 31
December, and we could also use the tape guidelines that the camp
itself set down when established in the first week.

We need decide what to do.

St Paul’s position means they have to make extra efforts to be
reasonable.

The legal team advised making a counter offer in order to get legal
aid. This is because we need to show reasonable efforts to negotiate
and a counter offer is part of this process.

However if we think we can raise the £100,000 odd needed to launch a
legal defence then we could disregard this advice.

It is good tactics to make a counter offer that is reasonable.

Response: Could we push past 31 December? The legal team advised that
longer than two months is exceptional.

Response: St Pauls is part of a big occupation across the globe. These
our many homeless people home. Fight for right to be heard! Not
negotiate!

Response: The Corporation meet behind closed doors, and none have been
elected by the people! If the bank stop paying bonuses – then we might
consider going!

On points of clarification – all the points made before responses in order to hear all
of them.

Clarification: Where is the full list of demands? Legal team advised
these are published.

Response – We want forewarning. This was discussed on Friday. Told it
that it would go to process first and then announced before coming back
to General Assembly. The Friday group decided not to make a decision.
Why ate we talking about it again?

The facilitator checked: Do we get into discussion groups? Or carry on
with General Assembly? Carry on; not move into discussion grips

The facilitator asked the legal advisor to speak again:

I am conveying the solicitor’s advice; which is to make a counter
offer. This will give more time.

Response: If we want to be here as long as possible – we need to take
legal advice to protect this camp. Not confuse our sentiments with the
need to consider our legal position

Response: I have spoken to lawyer- we are required to make our legal
position known this and come to a decision tonight

Response: I don’t understand why we are this advice which is being:
presented in biased way as does not fit on with the reality of an
‘occupation’. Brain Haw fought for his right to stay in Parliament
Square and stayed there for 10 years.

Response: Counter offer of a year! Nice round number

Response: Is this GA representative? We need Finsbury Park? And all the
camp educated

Response: Would like to make counter offer – buy more time! If we do
make one it should be that the Corporation become democratic and stop
being a tax haven.

Response: Have you ever heard of an occupation that decides to leave!
If they decide to evict there will be Christians protecting us with
prayer! Look what happen to Oakland – attacked by police, general
strike. If we make a counter offer it should be something outrageous;
that they meet our demands. This occupation is here to fight
injustice.

Response: this is the second time we are speaking in general assembly
about this. They have asked us to clear the highway. We rejected this
twice in the GA. But we need to record that.

Response: If some people get tired they shouldn’t move to end
occupation.

Response: First we need clarification on who owns this land. Is the
City trying to play games: for example cause a fight about downsizing?
We need to think about perception? Clear advice about who owns land and
what would happen if we did not make offer

Response: We are a world wide occupation! This GA is sovereign. We can
choose what we say. Do we need to make shrewd counter offer- we are a
horizontal movement, but one with brains! What we need to do is make 3
requests. One should address world banks.

Response: Think the question is the wrong one. Did the Egyptians ask to
stay? Did the Tahir get permission to occupy? Did Greece? We should be
talking about workers and movements combining, that is what the
occupation should be discussing.

Response: Should we talk about what would it take for us to go? What
would it for us to go? We have a legal conundrum – do we take the legal
advice or stuff the lawyers?

Response: We have the three demands already for the City of London:

1 Publish full, year by year breakdowns of the City Cash account;
future and historic

2 Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of
Information Act

3 Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of banking and finance
industries, since the 2008 financial crash

Response: Corporate media is distorted- however they have Achilles
heels – run by humans and they stereotype us so. We should use this
process to make a counter offer to the Corporation of London that is
reasonable, but they will never agree to

Clarification: I would like to know who owns the land.

Legal advice was read out:

We’re not 100% sure who owns the land, the raised area the GA is taking
place on is owned by the Cathedral, and surrounding areas to my left
(towards Paternoster) we think is a combination of the Cathedral, CoL,
and the crow but there may be more parties involved, and we continue to
research it.

The corporation’s legal argument is based on obstruction of the
highway. The entirety of the land with disputed ownership we understand
as being a designated public highway, so the highways authority – in
this case the CoL, is the body responsible for upholding the highways
act. Recent case law has demonstrated that the level of disruption is
often not a key factor when deciding whether to clear the highway or
not.

Response: we should work with the law but there is more than just
‘statute’, there is also common law. We are bigger than just blocking
the highway!

Proposal – we as declare us a sovereign body; that means they have to
recognize our standing in law.

Response: The city of London have phrased there threat of eviction
around as blocking the Highway. However there willingness to wait until
December 31 surely that shows we are not blocking the Highway. Can we
use that as a legal argument?

Response: We need to stay ahead of the agenda. There may come a time
for us to go to our local communities – or start occupying hospitals,
services. We need to decide when to go.

Response: We are we negotiate with a body that can’t give us what we
need! Ending tuition fees, etc

Response: We have said we can achieve so much in 2 months. But if we
say we are going – we will not be an occupation – we will be a camp.
Instead of making a counter offer we instead call on others to join
us.

Response: This occupation is here and at Finsbury square. We have to
take action! We can do this independently; even outside of occupation.
We have this power.

Legal advice: We can come back to this in two days. The general
Assembly can then decide if it will make a counter offer (or not) on
Friday.

The facilitator checked back with the General Assembly if they were
ready to break out into discussion groups. They were.

There was a break and then the discussion groups fed back:

Group one

Very important not to mention any end point. We need the full written
disclosure to read. Wait until Friday. Look at representing ourselves
as sovereign body

Group two

We should not settle for just demands related to Corporation of London
– we are bigger than that. We need to expand our proposals. We had a
wide range of people here and who have got our message- we need to get
out there to mosques, temple, work places.

Group three

Any counter offer should be about the three democratic demands
agreed

By GA – but that should not been seen to limit our movement. We need
clarification on land ownership

Group four

Give an open statement rather than direct liaison. Also are we going to
be here on the blessing of the Corporation of London?!

We should not be afraid of eviction- can still meet here and can

Galvanise support. There were differing views; one was to make a should
make a counter proposal with wider demands

Group five

We should do nothing that compromises our right to be here. Our
reasonableness is our starting point – we have not blocked the highway.
The police are blocking Paternoster square right now- we can use this.
The Judge point of view is important. For our counter offer – go with
the 3 points agreed by GA for Corporation of London. The Corporation
should come under democratic control of parliament. We have public
support – let us have public poll on whether we leave!

Group six We should published the minutes and sending that to them.

Give the three demands as a counter offer.

Group seven

Give the counter offer of three demands to galvanise support.

If they do evict us then what’s to stop us coming back for sanctuary on
church land?

The discussion then moved back into assembly

The facilitator read out our initial statement

Over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s, #occupylsx collectively

agreed the initial statement. Like all forms of direct democracy, the

statement will always be a work in progress and used as a basis for

further discussion and debate.

1. The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust.

We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.

2. We are of all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations,

sexualities dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together with

occupations all over the world.

3. We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis.

4. We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable. We

demand an end to global tax injustice and our democracy representing

corporations instead of the people.

5. We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries

they regulate.

6. We support the strike on the 30th November and the student action

on the 9th November, and actions to defend our health services,

welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing.

7. We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The

world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet,

not the military, corporate profits or the rich.

8. We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an

end to the actions of our government and others in causing this

oppression.

9. This is what democracy looks like. Come and join us!

There was an open discussion and response to group feedback

Response: We can’t let down the people who are relying on us – we are
not frightened of eviction – we call on others to support us.

Responses don’t focus too much on legal aid. Don’t give date to leave.
More time is needed. Discuss more on Saturday – we must not push into
making a decision to fast.

Response: The ramifications before May not made clear in previous
discussions. We are not Occupy St Pauls – we are Occupying London – but
location is important. We need to ask uncomfortable questions – would we prefer to stick it out here and risk violent eviction?

Response: We should get legal team – to look at ‘Sovereign’ and can we
meet as ‘art exhibition’ – will that change our legal status?

Response: Legal will look at minutes and come back with proposal
tomorrow General Assembly at 7 pm.

A proposal was made:

Feeling of General Assembly not to make counter offer but call on
support of the people

Block – if there is a proposal it goes to process first.

Response: We want a vote on it tonight – so we don’t keep discussing
the same issue

Facilitator took temperature check – this is going back to process

Shout outs

Info: If you find yourself with a perception dollar – monetarist
activist workshop at 4 pm Finsbury square

Info: Come to info tent now to join Shelter

Call to action: – we need change not reform. Government of this country
is led by war criminals. Police should be arresting rather than
snuffing democracies.

Info: Health and Safety group- last few days been chilly! Need to make
preparations for flood, rain, cold. Need practical skills, come and
find us.

Info: Disparity in local sphere and international, we need to come
together 3pm meeting to make a more cohesive movement.

Info: Corporate Greed group Friday 3pm info tent

Update: UkUncut is targeting civil servant who let off Goldman Sachs and
Vodafone. Went to conference for support to tax evaders and gave them a card and some bubbly.

Info: 4 pm Starbucks social media group

Info: Film Pilger 12 pm Westminster tomorrow

Call to action: Support Arrestees at Kilburn and Finsbury

Info: Mass meditation gathering at 6 pm steps tomorrow and Friday 11 am
11/11/2011

Info: Climate justice conference Saturday 12 November

 
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