GA Minutes – Sunday 15th January 2012
MLK Day General Assembly Sunday 15th January 2012
Event: General Assembly
Location: Steps of St Paul’s
Facilitator: Muna and Arun
Weather: Clear sunny blue sky, but cold (about 5C).
Discussion topic: Quote from Martin Luther King.
Facilitator: [Introduces GA. Explains hand signals.] In the general assembly we discuss things together. We are going to be discussing a quote from Martin Luther King. We are going to be breaking into discussion groups of about 10 people for about 15 minutes. It’s an open and creative discussion, after the groups we all come back together and feedback so everybody can hear everything.
“The question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist we will be. Will be extremist for hate or love. Will be extremist for preservation of justice or extension of justice. The entire world is in need of creative extremists.”
Discussion group topics:
1. What is extremism?
2. What types of extremists are there?
3. Do you think you are an extremist?
[breaks into discussion groups]
Facilitator: So let’s hear the discussion group feedback….
Group 1: Extremism depends on your political view. It can be used as a positive word. In media it is used as a frightening word. Martin Luther King was seen as extremist because going on a march was extremist thing to do. When elements in a demonstration went violent the media exaggerated them. We need to defend people against the extremism of the police and the state. August riots exposed problems of racism sexism and marginalisation of young people.
Group 2: What does it mean? Extremism is being at the edge of the norm. What we’re doing here, in tents, is quite extreme. In terms of what we’re saying is fairly normal. In reference to Martin Luther King quote, it’s an extreme love, a normal reaction to an extreme situation. Got lots of inequality. What we’re talking about needs to be normal, but that’s what we’re doing. So we’re creative extremists.
Group 3: So much has been spoken about him being fantastic in civil rights movement, and speech I Am A Dream, but he was also peace activist, against the war, still relevant, many people who went to Vietnam. were killed and if that voice hadn’t been silenced then perhaps less people would have been killed in that war.
Reads quote “…. is love”.
Shoutout: Policies of government are extreme. People like may like to support two events: parliament sq 10.30 arrive at 9.30. Also against welfare reform bill, disability bill, protest with 40 people last week, another next Tuesday 1-3pm outside House of Lords. They voted against certain aspects of Welfare Reform Bill. We need to keep fighting it.
Facilitator: Any more comments about this discussion?
Comment: Ghandi was described as a terrorist by the British. It’s about where people want to position you. Some might want to position you on the outside. The 1% is like the cream on the milk that’s controlling the whole. That’s not just. So the real extremists are the people who are controlling everything. The 1% are economic extremists. The economy should be redistributed, so the economy moves towards the centre. We know violence is not good, but to call somebody who is violent an extremist could be misleading.
Facilitator: Would like to close GA on that note. Thanks for staying around I know it’s been cold. Let’s continue this discussion. We’ve had lots of dialogue, lots of music, its been great. Thank you.
[applause and cheers]