General Assembly – 31st March 2012
General Assembly 31st March 2012
A very blustery, cold day
Facilitator – Simon Minutes – Jack
Simon – First, a finance proposal
Proposal – £370 to Finsbury Square, £100 to Lime-house
Test for Consensus
2 stand asides – [request by the people standing aside, to have them registered]
CONSENSUS REACHED – no further tests
[request for an explanation of the stand asides]
Ben – I want to stand aside because I don’t understand the process being followed. I want to stand aside because of this. I won’t block because I can see the group want this money granted.
Simon – OK, more agenda items. 2 discussion topics, and one further finance discussion
First discussion item -
Julie – Proposal – to go into break out groups and consider these questions.
What does the name Occupy London mean / suggest to you?
Would it be helpful to map common processes. Setting out how Occupy makes decisions
Would it be helpful to set out current principles?
Would it be helpful to develop better practices and processes?
Should we develop a written constitution?
Peter – The very general first question should be divorced from the process issues.
Mike – This is a waste of time as a discussion.
? – What would be the outcome of the discussion
Simon – no real outcome, just a chance to form ideas. Three questions?
Jamie – May 1 May 12 May 15. Why are we not talking about this. We should be addressing violence. We answered the first question posed on Oct 15th.
Fanny – We will head to this discussion about May. We felt it was important to find these things to plan for May, to find a common message. The GA planning meeting felt it was important to discuss.
Tammy – Can everyone here. I put it to each of you that in the end it doesn’t matter what we’re called. Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.
Anon – I think since we got married, we should be discussing the surnames. This is a very important discussion even if we don’t have it now.
Peter – Can we focus this discussion. It is too wide currently and will take too long.
? – Occupy is a global thing
Lee – I suggest we focus on finance as this has produced the biggest schism.
Simon- Finance is a proposal for discussion later. Can we hear from Julie.
Julie – Look then at our 4 principles and examine them? How they might relate to finance? Do we need to create a written constitution?
Anon – the best map is based around camps. The imperial nature of Occupy London should be dropped.
Charlie – All camps have their different meanings and what they do. Each site is specific. If we look at camps everywhere, they carve their own way of fighting the systems. The original idea was to take land and discuss how they wanted to fight the system. But we ALL fight for the same reasons, the same movement. With autonomy people can move forward.
Ben – I want it recorded that people did not want to discuss the name, than all the points we just had were about the name!
BREAK OUT DISCUSSION
Started with the question, do we have agreed shared values? We looked at the initial statement and we felt we still share the desire to changes . But we felt that a written formal constitution wasn’t a good way to do this. Ideas and concepts sharing are far better.
We then moved onto the name issue. We had quite a good understanding that there’s no need for fragmentation. We can all be Occupy London. It is a beautiful idea. But in practice, how do we reconcile autonomous structures within the group. There is a need. Cooperative model could be worth looking at
Steve mentioned that real democracy has an idea to set up a commission regarding the recent problems we’ve had . Some thought it would consume too much energy. Then there was the idea of a constitution. Where there are lot of communication problems, then a constitution would solve these. Some also said this would require a lot of energy. There was the discussion about WGs that are perceived as having too much power/ The need to vote members into these was discussed. There are problems with voting as well. Another advantage is that in UK we do have a constitution, just an unwritten one.
A discussion about the degrees of coherence and centralisation. Camps should have more autonomy then they do. To not tie them down. we came together to fight the same issues. If a constitution is to be drawn up could start with the most contentious issues. Some thought a full constitution would then be unnecessary . This could be done collaboratively
on a personal not. WELCOME BACK to some original occupier
we talked about communication. We used the idea of a sunflower and G8 in Edinburgh. Where we bring each barrio together that have had their own affinity groups. These barrios came together at a large meeting with spokespeople from the camps and affinity groups . WE suggested a weekly meeting where all of our camps could come together and allow each to be represented.
Lot of people in camps need face to face. Some of the people we work with can’t afford to always be here. We DO need a mechanism to involve those people.
We also talked about the issue of FS, people were talking about a lack of welcoming there and others affirmed this was being addressed.
The idea that if there was a constitution for every camp. Also, involving the army, and veterans. Many revolutionary movements have used these resources. The decision making at the moment appears to be hierarchical, so a flower arrangement could work better.
Why do we need a constitution? For outside people, so they know how to get involved and have a commoner understanding. Someone said about the ideological splits and how to address these. There was a lot of support about our anti corporate stance. Many reaffirmed the sentiments of the common statement.
Simon – two more topics remaining. A May planning topic and a finance one. Ronan, can you present the may planning issue.
Steve [suggests this feedback goes back to real democracy working group to work these issues.]
We meet Mondays.
? – after such a healthy discussion it would be a shame to lose this.
Jamie – great idea, so many meetings do not get followed up . Can real democracy, continually feedback.
? – can people feed this to the Finsbury Square site.
? – someone should take this responsibility .
Tammy – I see people on groupspaces that live at Finsbury. Can they do this?
Proposal – Steve – have a named individual responsibility for this.
Fanny – Okay, MAY. This isn’t however exactly about planning may. That meeting is after this GA in Ye Old London. This is about messaging this discussion. We are looking for the GA to input.
Ronan – When we say messages we mean, e.g. So what is Occupy LODNON? [answer is what we're trying to find] That is the aim of this. So there are two areas… if you are asked that question we want to find a group answer to that.
What is Occupy London?
Why is Occupy London for you?
So this feedback will really help us build a message. We want to build a one page document, so people doing interviews and chats, can inform themselves of the common themes
Simon – restates questions.
Sarah – Love the idea, but would want consensus on this as it is effectively a statement.
GROUP FEEDFACK – 2nd TOPIC
What is Occupy London?
- Confusing. It means so many things to so many people. Each person had an idea.
- To create a society based on well being and not profits.
- Every individual input for a fair just and harmonious world
- A world based on finite resource and infinite growth is embarrassing
Why get involved?
- If you do nothing, nothing will change
- to get your voice heard
- need to keep Occupy London more appealing
- Open the window, have a look
- I wasn’t born to feed a corporation
Discussed the importance of education. Lets try and get people back into helping the 99%
What is Occupy London?
- as a Londoner, occupy London… I feel a sense of shame being here. Things happen here that are not allowed anywhere. We’d have had no collapse without lax laws in London.
- It’s about people in the city using the system to generate profit for the sake of profit.
- The human race is being held back by this.
Occupy London should be a beacon to the rest of the country and world that if we can stand up to these powerful institutions so can you.
Why should people join?
- People are waking up, but the majority are still asleep .
- To give a sense of community pride again. Humans are amazing. It’s been stifled
- People have different motives under r the banner of corporate greed.
There was another point, I’m always asked what t occupy is about. A lot of things under one umbrella.
I am not just a cat, I am a fat catastrophic
austerity burgers, I’m loving it!
- a lot covered by initial statement.
- One thing extra is about exposing the flaws of the current system.
- Occupy shows the alternative that is possible, it gives us a united voice of dissent
- challenge economic injustice. Privatisation
May do, May happen, Spring Break, Blooming Bank, Spring Up, Time for a Spring Clean.
By being complacent, you are complicit.
- We thought, simply – Occupy for a fairer world, it encompasses eco, environmental issues, political
Ronan – so the feedback just given, what we’ll do, we’ll collate it. We’ll put it out and find maximum resonance.
Urgent proposal from Sarah
Sarah – this is rushed idea. We are encouraging many people to Lime-house for a party! It is alcohol free, completely. This is simply because of the issues around alcohol. A large Muslim group in the area and they will not join us if we allow it.
Can we decide that intimidation, violence, spitting, abuse of process and all -isms are NOT acceptable. This has been happening with NO consequence. What I would like to see today is that anyone who comes to Lime-house today stands today with us and that we circle anyone who does this and remove them fro the site. A soft kettling. If this works today, we will develop into a full SS proposal. I nearly went yesterday, and I know I am not alone.
If we cannot protect our own, we are nothing.
We need to ban from site, anyone who makes it unsafe to do occupy London business. If you are willing to do this come stand with us now.
[most people stand with Sarah, a couple stay sitting]
? [this seems a little vague still, we need concrete proposal ]
Sarah – yes. We need to do this by consensus, but not now. Today. We do this.
Tammy – we should use Lime-house this afternoon to test this. We shouldn’t fight aggression with aggression. Sure there are contributing factors. But action must be taken, We can’t just tut and shake our heads. We don’t have to be nasty to do this It can be loving. The majority here have just shown they find this behaviour unacceptable.
A majority here are demanding action.
Sarah – So everyone coming to Lime-house could hopefully bring some food. Soft kettle any naughtiness.
Simon – [reminds people that the GA is still going!]
I’m here as a faith group. Occupy is simply people and places. Faith groups have been a part of moral reasoning for years. In order for occupy to represent the 99% we’re going to need to engage these faith groups. These faith groups are also going to have to open their doors
Saturday 12pm RcoJ we’re having a meeting.
I ask for your assistance in spreading this.
[Discusses a future Pilgrimage to Canterbury with events along the way.
[My laptop packs up. I inform the GA then slink to the back of the crowd.]
minutes end. Meeting continues.