GA Minutes – Friday 27th January 2012
Event: General Assembly
Location: Steps of St Paul’s
Weather: Few degrees above freezing. No wind. Stars in the sky. Crescent moon.
Date: 27 January 2012
Facilitator: Welcome to the general assembly. I know there is a lot of tension.
[explanation of hand signals]
Reads initial statement…
[disruption - physical threat to facilitator]
Facilitator: Let’s continue. We are going to start with some announcements about actions, and a couple of points from John (Legal).
Legal: We’re still on appeal. Appeal papers are presented to appeal judge. If appeal judge decides there is no appeal, there will a few days before Corporation will act against the camp.
The court has the authority. Court has ordered that nothing will happen before 31st January.
Comment: What about the building and the armed police?
Legal: The building was taken, but there is a law about foreign ownership which means armed police can respond. Need to be careful about having a negative impact on the good work we are doing. Buildings are not being taken by GA ratification. Being on the steps is where global awareness has been raised. I wish the other groups well but they are not part of Occupy London.
Facilitator: [Introduces Jamie...]
Jamie: We had eight Occupiers at the school in Bishop’s Stortford. Teacher said this was the best thing we’ve had in the school. The students were riveted. We’ve set up a Facebook page for this. Citizenship class. Had an assembly and break out groups. Had brilliant ideas, talking about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), bailing out the banks… It was our first one, it will become a lot better. It’s not easy to do it well, so there are workshop which you should come to if you want to join in. Am really honoured to be here.
Facilitator: Message of support from Brazil. Also action at Davos. There are actions happening all over the world.
Em: We have an activity about what people want to do after the eviction. The idea is, we are going to ask a number of questions.
Simon: I have been speaking to group of people who felt very strongly that GA process doesn’t reflect their way. I respect the aggravation but we have to respect each other. We should have an open mic at the end. We should try to refrain from aggression to each other as much as we possibly can.
Got talking in a workshop yesterday about “spectral lines”. Want to get agreement that you’re cool with me doing this.
It’s a series of questions about what we do post-eviction. Where you move determines what you want to do.
First question: who would be interested in a new space for rest and relaxation, which is not a political Occupy camp. If you are interested in resting up, please move to the right. No, up to the columns. No to the guy wearing a white jacket.
[critical mass arrives - 7.55pm]
[critical mass departs - 8.15pm]
Facilitator: Thanks for critical mass for all your support.
Ruth: [something about the environment]
[minute taker got interrupted]
Vica: Please make sure you personal contact details of people you know, because you might not have too many changes.
[change to human mic]
Simon: This is a small exercise to work out what people want to do after an eviction. We have five questions.
First question: who would be interested in setting up a rest space just to chill out for a week or two after the eviction? If you like that idea, walk this way. Before you do that there are other options.
Second option: immediately set up new front line Occupy site in a public location immediately after eviction.
Third option: we set up another political occupy after a little break.
Fourth question: whether we want to keep meeting at St Paul’s for a general assembly.
Fifth question: who wants to be part of an eco-village.
These things are not mutually exclusive, you can do more than one.
[various discussion and hand raising]
Joey: It’s being run by fascists!
Simon: Thanks I’ve done the exercise. It’s an open mic. [abandons exercise]
Venus: Show your love for Joey by helping him out with the recycling.
[Sister Ruth hugs Joe]
Matt: I just want to make something clear in everybody’s mind. Eviction is not a defeat. We all know why we’re here. There is an incredible amount of injustice. We have gathered an incredible amount of information and we must send it out in to the world. To all the people who are in a panic about the eviction, there is nothing to fear. We are going to carry on.
Chezza: I’ve found some lovely people here. Let’s just party the weekend away.
Facilitator: We are busking this, but getting through some difficult.
Ruth: Following on from Simon’s comments. Questions about what we do during an eviction. Please raise your hands if you are ready for non-violent resistance? [ten hands] Would you personallyt be willing to be arrested? [fewer people] Do you have a tent that belongs to you, would you be prepared to risk loosing your tent? [handful]
Simon: [interruption] [something happening...] 5.30-7pm
Comment: We need to think about respecting everybody else. We’re all human beings, everybody is special. We need to connect with ourselves and then connect with everybody else and create a community. We are shining example of peace and love. Haven’t got everything right, but we have to make sure the seeds we have sown grow into a beautiful flower.
Comment: I’m an Occupier. I agree with everything that chap just said. There are a few points to report from Next Steps WG. Meeting in tent. 10-12 people in meeting. Was straight after “reality check” meeting. Talked about things we didn’t get right. We haven’t changed and laws. Wee haven’t make any new laws. I’m here to change unjust laws. Land value… Some important bits like legal and finance has let us down. It’s aspects like this which need to be ratified before this ends. We need good directions to follow. Criticisms against facilitators are valid. We need to manage our own affairs, get things in order before we leave. We can stay here and have our general assemblies, discuss our concerns and find remedies. Encourage people to support facilitators. Thank you.
Comment: Hopefully we can take appeal to European court. Banks over there are complicit in genocide. Maybe we could identify individual companies and try to take them down. Temperature check. [applause]
Flo: Hello conscientious people. When they come to evict we can just do drumming, poetry, dance, so we can all be together. It looks like we have better things to do. Also will mean
Comment: We are from Exeter Occupy. Just came up to say hi and skill share. We are being evicted at the moment but have a new site, a building. Have had great support from legal people from Occupy London. [applause]
Max: We are going to win! And the person who is going to help is Gandhi! If you want a leaflet come over and get one. We will win.
Facilitator: Occupy Sheffield are being taken to court for trespass.
That’s the end of the GA. We have Ed Cox to perform. Whitey wasn’t able to come because he’s a bit ill today.
Occupy is changing the world and so will we continue. Solidarity!
[music from Ed Cox]