GA Minutes – 7pm 24 January 2012

 

Working Group Feedback

Communication w.g.

Specifically about eviction. The most important thing to do now is to get the contacts of all the friends you got to make here. Make sure you know how to contact them in the future. Also, take responsibility on you to make sure that the information is flowing. Spread the word. Much quicker if you take responsibility and send this info out.
Use of mobile phone the day of the eviction. You have to be thinking of how you want to use your phone the day of the eviction. Two sides to this. If you’re arrested, your phone will be taken from you most probably. So first of all make sure you have your contact details written down on paper and in safe places. You might also want to be cancelling most of your numbers off your phone. But don’t worry too much about this. You might also consider not bringing the phone at all. My personal opinion, it’s much more important being able to communicate. Also, remember to have a minimum amount (of money) on the phone.
Max: there’s apparently a small possibility mobiles may not work on the day of eviction.
Mark: the occupylsx twitter page is incredibly important during the time of eviction. There’s the ability to send out an outbound text message to follow a twitter account, receive unlimited amount of twitter texts. Will be in the library Thursday 1-3pm, Finsbury square 3:30-4:30pm. Will leave the how-to page at kitchen and info tent. This is just to receive inbound information – it’s free. Works for phones that don’t have a data plan. SMS is a very reliable way to receive inbound information.

Direct action w.g.

Most of the meeting earlier today was in regards to the eviction. Main points covered: potentially changing the structure of the tents when we think an eviction is likely. At the moment, it’s very easy for the police, e.g. clear pathways (for health and safety reasons). Be aware of signals of the police arriving, we should start getting tip-offs before they arrive. We need as many as possible legal observers, trained first-aid. Workshops for both are coming, we’ll let you know re specific times and dates.

Thursday 2pm, we’re meeting outside TCU and we’re having a workshop of non-violent passive resistance to an eviction situation. So come along!

Friday 3-4pm in TCU, song-class for making songs we can all sing together, bring in the good vibes. Make our own songs.

Occupy LA – came here before in November. We have a bail policy that follows Oakland’s bail policy. In US, we need certain information to get people out of jail, track them, e.g. date of birth etc. Do you have a list of people who are willing to be arrested? What is your bail policy?

The police here bail you for free. If you get arrested, they have to either release you after 24-hours (unless it’s terrorism), take you to court immediately or pay you for free. In terms of being arrested, we have GBC. They’ll be on it for the eviction, they have a hotline.

Ronan – clarification. The type of bust card we’ll have here for eviction will be different to your standard bust card, i.e. usual demonstration event. Mathew has been working with the lawyers. In advance of anything happening, this information will be publicised all over the camp, on websites etc. It will be widely available.

Em – have you been talking to Liz about the peaceful resistance workshops?

We need to communicate better with other working groups related to the eviction.

Max – Make sure you’ve told as many people as you can which category you want to be in (want to be arrested, willing to be arrested, prefer not to be arrested).

I don’t understand exactly why people will be getting arrested. The police are here to remove the tents but not the people.

There’s a huge spectrum of different people who want to do different things and have different views of how eviction will go. In legal terms, you will be in contempt of court if you prevent your tent from being removed. Come along to our legal workshop when we do them.

Quite a few people on site that are homeless and don’t have access to mobile phones If you’re arrested, you need an address to be bailed to. What’s the situation for that? What’s the situation for them?

People who have tried to give St Paul’s and Finsbury square as an address have been described as no fixed address and held for longer.

Ronan – can I suggest that questions like this are held back when Mathew from legal is here.

Max – logistic side of any eviction. Update on eviction protection, this is looking at in the event of an eviction protecting persons, property and the cause. Starting with property first, the main thing is looking for those items that could be used for future occupations (category 1 stuff, e.g. solar panels, books and files, tech tent). In terms of timing, time is not before the 31st. In preparation, within your working groups start to think about what are the valuable things you don’t want to be seized. We’re putting these things in storage. List of external storage is building up. If anybody has any offers of space spaces, let me know. In terms of large tents, the owners of TCU and info tent have said that they would like them back. Whether it would be useful for us to have a big space, waiting around for something to happen, can I get a temperature check?

[Takes temperature check, mildly positive response]. If we do find that we loose TCU, we’ll look for another space.

Re homeless, the CoLC will be providing a safe space/alternative accommodation for homeless people to use. Fill in the forms. The indications I get, is that Finsbury square is pretty much full.

Ruth – we can make a case that by being here we are making a case against discrimination etc., and that by taking us away they are shirking this duty. People around the UK and the world will be affected by the police taking the tents down. Show them up for not having taking into account vulnerabilities etc. into account. I don’t know if we have enough copies for everyone. You don’t have to put down your real name.

Max – on timing, the questionnaire, talks about a meeting taking place on the 31st. From that basically, the idea is to get it [the form] in before the end of this week.

The CoLC has no obligation to house anybody, unless they can prove that they’ve been here for 6 months.

I would strongly advise anyone to not fill out this form. Think about what you’re doing.

Laura – this is not the time for discussion.

There have already been several meetings talking about evictions. This is a report back from working groups. Those concerned with the legality of the eviction, wait for Matthew.

Anon – firstly, the form has to be in by the 25th. Secondly, I need to know if I have a bag on my back is it a rucksack (camping equipment) or my bag?

Max – ask Mathew.

Next steps w.g.

Max has already reported on what has been decided on the logistics eviction w.g. Next steps w.g. Several other things came up. 78 people have participated over the last 6 meetings. Kurt will read the proposals we discussed.

Kurt – reality check working group. [starts talking about managers taking over the occupy movement]

There is a concern as to who is the working groups or is it just that anyone who passes by can decide that I’m setting up a working group. The next steps w.g. is concentrating, identify people not managing meetings but make themselves accessible. Maybe less than 20 w.g. would be enough.

We should occupy fields and parks. [leaves]

EEE group
We had a strategy weekend. The three things we want connection between environment, democracy and economics. One of the key things we’re going to do is start a consultation exercise to engage the 99%, rather than be insular. Which connects with the idea before of having different occupies. Fuel poverty weekend next weekend, we’re organising events.
5th February, climate justice workshop with George Monbiot 2-4pm, location TBD. We’ve agreed on a statement of Durban, recognising earth rights. Connecting with a campaign Paula Higgins on ecoside which she’s trying to put down to United Nations as new crime against humanity. Next meeting: every Wednesday and Saturday 5pm.

Ronan – Bank of Ideas potential eviction update. The situation is that there’s a possession order in place, it will come in 2pm tomorrow. So from now, all of events taking place at BoI are postponed. [reads out press statement]

Ruth – it would be particularly useful at this time, if they (people from BoI) slept here. Numbers would obviously help, if people came back to St Paul’s at this particular moment.

Info w.g.
We’ve got a fantastic little book of every working group we’ve had. Please come and update with your details. Also, please come and tell us what you’re doing.

Occupy for Mayor of London w.g.

Bit of a contentious subject, still process in making. Idea is to have a platform have Occupy in politics. The GA consensus is the mayor of London. 8pm Bank of Ideas (tonight). Are also on groupspaces.

Technical point (outside disruption): do we have any members of tranquility here?

From my understanding of initial statement, I don’t see the compatibility between political office and occupy undertaking.

It’s meant to be a protest vote. The point is, they’re not running to win. They’re running as a protest candidate. The idea is, instead of not voting anything, you’re voting something, it makes for more publicity for the movement.

Jack – did you get consensus at GE?

I think they did at Bank of Ideas. They tried to get a proposal to a GA here, it kept getting pushed back, GAs not happening.

Inka – on groupspaces, there’s been an almost unanimous rejection of the idea. Also, I feel insulted by this working group’s direction because Occupy is specifically not a political party. You say you’re going for the protester vote, just keep Occupy out of it. Don’t poison occupy.

You should really look and see at who and what is using Occupy. You’ll never be able to hold a word. It does have particular connotations with a particular protest movement but it’s being used all over the place.

Laura – this is not a space for discussion. Needs to happen somewhere else.

Inka – if a working group, this is a new problem as far as I’m concerned, this is probably the first example we have

Tina – has this working group been officially endorsed by GA?

Ruth – do you and the other people at the working group, do you accept that if there is no consensus in the GA here, you cannot use the name occupy in any mayoral campaign?

Vica – this meeting is about working groups sharing information. We also invited people having discussion groups at the moment. It’s important that we’re aware of what’s going on.

This clearly needs to have a GA in its own right. We need to cut off the discussion here now until this GA happens.

Kurt – our management team needs to be replaced by a facilitation team. Congratulations, you’re very good managers, you squash everything.

Internal communications w.g.
We’ve been focusing a bit on the online part at the moment. There are three new things that have happened. One, there’s a mailing list. I need one person from outreach to get in touch with me so outreach can send out mails to this list. There are currently around 2,200 people. Will be used to send out a newsletter and summary of news. Outreach might want to use it to sent out calls for action. Used it already to call people to court on day of judgment. This is the kind of mailing list you’d tell your friends and family about.
We have groupspaces (occupylondon+announcements@groupspaces.org). This is a one-way mailing system. If you’re sick of receiving 300 e-mails a day and prefer just to know what the working groups are doing, just unsubscribe from occupylondon groupspaces make sure you’re on occupylondon+announcements.
Finally, there’s been someone who’s been working really hard on improving the website.
Current address: social.occupylegal.org.uk
Will be transferred to occupylsx.org once tested.
It’s somewhere between occupylsx.org (press releases), another place where every w.g. can have its own spaces, pages etc., own profile page etc., has different levels. Before we make it public we’d like to test it and have more people use it. Please start using it as soon as possible.

Inka – who has done this work?

Vica – James Varnham

Controversy about the way the occupy brand name may be assumed for other purposes. Are there any discussions taking place about how one could go about copyrighting the brand? Is anyone taking title over the brand?

The oldest occupation is in Ireland. We’re willing to take everyone to court about it.

TCU/education w.g.
We’re taking stock of all the talks that have taken part here, there’s been over 200. In terms of next steps, with TCU the question is do we set up tent somewhere else, do we do pop-up (teach-out model). People have several ideas about space, people etc. Concretely now, the main thing now, it would be great to have a teach-out, have something in the pipeline if an eviction happens, maybe wrap it up with some direct action. How to educate ourselves about the issues we care about? Learn how to disagree with each other constructively, is one of the biggest challenges we have, but can turn into one of our biggest strengths. The pedagogy.

Saturday 3pm, meeting in TCU and education w.g. There’s a campaign and action Saturday morning, which is to help a primary school that’s being taken over, I think that starts at 12pm. The education group and outreach are doing on Friday this big event, going into a secondary school. There’s lots of positivity, lots of people approaching us.

Sara – make sure it’s not just white, male, academics.

Em – are things continuing here (TCU) over the weekend?

Ruth – a bit confused about this, that people who want this tent back. It would be really important if some of them (people who talked at TCU) wrote public letters of support with us, preferably as soon as possible.

Shelter w.g.

Earthian – different people are approaching me and asking me different questions, Question is, if we are going to be evicted, the marquee that we’re using for the kitchen or the women’s dome, they want to move it to Finsbury square, or individuals are approaching me and saying can I buy this tent for 10 pounds? Personally, I can’t deal with these questions.

Em – clarification. I’ve been trying to find out who the owners are of the tents and what they want to do with them.

Max – no plans as far as I know to sell any stuff. If there’s property that might be useful to future occupations, try and prevent it from being trashed.

Inka – my question is, for the people who want to peacefully resist, has anything been discussed in terms of getting the tents a little bit more cohesive, we should be moving the tents together, shouldn’t we?

Earthian – DA w.g. meeting, they were trying to say that we would like to reorganise the camp, so we’re more protected. But I didn’t answer at the time how we’re going to do that. We’ve done downsizing of the camp etc. and individuals weren’t happy about it. We don’t have much time and I’d like to discuss it at GA.

Laura – this is becoming a discussion.

Arun – Not to dismiss this conversation, there’s a GA planned this week, specifically for eviction. There’s a pigeon hole at the info tent for suggestions. I think it’s either Thursday or Friday.

Vica – Important that the groups that have been working on it communicate as much as possible before the GA.

Finance w.g.
Em – Next finance GA wll be next Tuesday as long as we’re not being evicted at the time. If we’ve already been evicted, it’ll be in Finsbury square. If we’re in the process of being evicted, we’ll get info out by any means possible.

Ruth – one provision that we could make, one decision, is that we’ll hold a GA here the day after any eviction 7pm, if an eviction happens.

Em – don’t know how long it’ll take once we’ve done the paperwork for them to give us the account, but we’re very very close.

Occupied Times
Em – Next issue will be the 10th issue. Everyone on OT has been working ridiculously hard. We hope it’ll continue past eviction, it’s a way of keeping the message spreading. Slightly overworked and understaffed. At the moment there aren’t regular meeting times because everyone is so stretched. It’s more a question of contacting me or anyone else

How is the paper going to be distributed after eviction?

Em – my view is it’ll happen at Finsbury Square that’ll become a hub of Occupy London. The idea is also to have volunteers handing the

Sara – When’s the deadline for submitting?

Em – Deadline is midnight Thursday for the following week’s edition.

Ruth – we shouldn’t assume that we’re not going to be sitting here happily in our tents in two or three weeks’ time. We’re appealing, it might go to European court of appeal.

Outreach w.g.

Tina – speaker training this week, tomorrow or Thursday, times to be announced. Please join!

Tomorrow 5pm Egyptian embassy, one-year anniversary of start of Egyptian revolution.

National day of action organised by climate camp. Warm ups this weekend.

Em – also on Saturday, a big event with known bands and PA and speakers and poetry. It’s for the right to protest. Also One Love event (Friday night), aimed at a slightly younger audience. It depends on Andy bringing his sound system, the Friday event. The Saturday one, is planned whatever. Both of them are about trying to make use about potentially what might be our last weekend here. But also our first weekend when we’re really, really not allowed to be here, really in defiance of the City of London.

I don’t come here too often, I’m wondering if someone is making a documentary of this stuff, it’s inspiring stuff but you need to document it properly.

Ruth – we can’t talk about the last weekend and the next 3-4 days. We’re going to carry on with what we’re doing. We might all want to rest. Take a rest and come back here at St Paul’s, our home.

What are you doing about the vicinity of the people in the area? How is this helping the local people?

Laura – shall we first finish with the working groups?

Reality check w.g.
Kurt – Determines whether the expectations of occupiers meet or conform to the reality. It also acts as a point of providing points that the next steps w.g. can take up if they so wish. This group found in their last meeting that TCU, finance group (Em’s et al., people who demonstrate exemplary commitment), Occupied Times (so much work, it seems like it’s coming from twenty people) and the website (always up to date, up to minute) far exceeded their expectations, and there was considerable gratitude expressed by the occupiers at that meeting. Also found that the GA meetings, particularly the management team that manages this meeting, fell far short of expectations, to the point that they realised that actually the GA has no decision-making powers at all other than those deemed appropriate by the management team. There was no such thing as a facilitator.

Meets on a daily basis at 2-3pm here at TCU.

Anon – did the collective silence while you were talking meet with your expectations?

Kurt – I’ve already made the point

Anon – like over the top of other people, it’s really quite annoying when other people do that.

Jack – Are you liaising with the process group and long-term GA planning group

Transport w.g.
Has developed an empathy for the wheelchair user workshop which it wishes to present to the London bus companies and bus drivers in those companies to help those bus drivers develop empathy for the wheelchair user and provide an exemplary service for wheelchair users in London.

Democracy w.g.

Basically it met yesterday. Has 3 core aims: critique of current parliamentary system, come up with an alternative and explain how that is going to be made possible. Tying in with that, there’s a meeting here tomorrow between 4-5 pm called Occupy Local Communities. The idea of this is to basically work as a group to work out how we can go into local communities or your own community in order to establish peoples’ assemblies where people can form this alternative democracy or go into a neighbourhood you’ve never been into before, so we who have had the occupation experience, can feel empowered and confident and carry out something.

Uses open forum tag of real democracy.

I’m in the pretending to be in a working group working group. Can you be involved in meetings without being in a working group?

Inka – this is not an ordinary general assembly. It’s a meeting for working groups.

Article here from Evening Standard which might make the outreach people happy. City demo school to teach pupils. [reads out article]

Nature first w.g.
There was meant to be a talk last week, got double-booked so didn’t take place. I’ll try to rearrange for this talk to take place. Talks about nature having a voice and that we need to consider nature. Let me start again. Mother earth is a living entity. It’s basically specifying that we need to also consider the voice of mother earth. We make our decisions. Aims: educate people about the true facts of capitalism. Not just what we perceive but what really is. Second, people who have certain gifts but don’t understand how to use these gifts. There are reasons why I’m speaking like this. It’s not coming out in a coherent matter.

Is there a significant difference between you and the EEE group?

The EEE group talks about energy environment and equity. This group speaks about mother nature. The basic premise is the fact that we as a society, even the green activists, do not understands how far we are away from what really needs to be done on this planet. Things are a lot worse than anybody realises. Nature will do what needs to be done.

Sara – Can we try to finish the meeting?

Kurt, Gary and myself, we came from three different working groups, we merged to work on the common issue which each working group was discussing. I’ve asked the question already, the proposal we intend to make to the GA is, we believe from our discussion that if two or three working groups deal with the same context matter, you may be addressing different topics but it would make it easier for occupiers. Objective is to facilitate the number of booking meeting GA etc.

[basically, if two or more working groups can merge – please do so]

Laura – This is becoming a discussion.

Shout-outs

Sara – welfare reform bill. Vigil tomorrow at 1pm outside Parliament.

Tina – SQUASH are looking for support especially for religious groups for the legislation currently at House of Lords against private squatting. Please contact outreach@occupylsx.org for contacts or so that we can put you directly in touch with SQUASH.

Earthian – for those staying with us, come to me and we’ll see if we can accommodate you. If you’re staying with us for longer than a week, we can accommodate you for longer than a week.

Jim – One appeal has already gone in, I’ve spent the day looking into second appeal. The reason we’ve got the extra 4 days, is the document you hold in your hands that came in from City of London. That’s why it’s important to fill as many of these in as possible, it might lead to further action. The Corporation of London have a statutory duty to carry out an assessment if people are to be made homeless. In chapter 55 of the judgment they mentioned homelessness in November and December. We might be able to get an extra two weeks.

 
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