#OccupyLSX – General Assembly Minutes: 10/11/2011 1pm

 

WORKING GROUP REPORTS

Outreach WG:

We have ordered 10,000 leaflets and 1,000 badges, which are yet to arrive.

We are arranging a national meeting of Occupy networks, anti-cuts groups and UK Uncut to discuss organising the resistance to austerity. We will be liaising with Shelter and Logistics to offer them accommodation, and will be proposing a travel budget later in this General Assembly.

Process WG:
A new Working Group has been proposed to help the camp deal with expected bad weather. Process decided they should meet people already working with Shelter, first aid, health and safety to see what common concerns there are, before a proposal is made to the General Assembly.

Minutes aren’t getting up onto the web. People on the web aren’t seeing what’s happening here. We would like one person mandated with note taking to write down, at a minimum, a note of proposals and whether they reach consensus. They could check back at the end of the meeting to clarify which decisions were made. Decisions would then be put on the web.

There has also been a call for proposed discussion topics and proposals for consideration at a General Assembly to go on a whiteboard with the phone number of the proposer, so they can be considered in planning GAs.

Press WG:
We would like to continue discussion that was aborted last night, regarding information reported in the Guardian that we did not issue, including 5 demands and that we might leave the site if the demands are met.

We want to follow this up and get a proper retraction in the Guardian – not just an item in a correction column but a full response. Please meet at 2.30pm in the Info Tent to liaise with the Press WG on this.

Tent City University WG:

We have at least one workshop and lecture every day, we have a table in front of the Info Tent with details of these for all to see.

We need volunteers to help us facilitate these workshops and help keep the tent clean. Please get in touch. I love you, you’re great, thank you! [Warmth]

Livestream WG:

Proposal to spend £1000 on equipment for live stream.

Concerns raised that this is over 10 per cent of camp’s money.

Proposers: We will go to finance group and reflect what’s happened.

We want to train people to help us with the Livestream. There are different levels of involvement and expertise needed to help, and we want to set up a rota for certain priority tasks.

Does everyone agree that we should livestream GAs? [Warm]
Do you agree that we should livestream different Working Groups? [Tepid]

> Surely this is up to the people who would be viewing it, not the people here?
< We have been talking to people online about this. They want to see the GAs, they want to see Tent City. This is what they have reflected back already.

Our meetings are informal – just turn up and help, and we will discuss on an ad hoc basis. We’ll let you know if anything more regular happens.

PROPOSALS

1. Creation of a tented area for the Process WG to display information, to enable people to put proposals forward, see the status of, and review proposals to be put to the GA.

Info tent raised as an alternative. Direct response that the info tent is too busy.

Do you agree that we need a space for Process? [Warmth]. Do you agree we should talk to the library about using their space? [Warmth]

2. The allocation of £500 of camp funds to a ‘travel budget’ to help representatives from other Occupy and anti-cuts movements to attend a national coordination meeting at St Pauls on the weekend of the 19th/20th November 2011.

We want a travel pool available of up to £500 from the camp funds, on top of a pool that we can all contribute to, to pay for these representatives to travel to St Paul’s. We don’t want to say to people that money is a block to this meeting happening.

Can we have a temperature check? [Very Warm]. Are there any blocks or stand asides? [No]. Passed.

3. Endorsement of ’10 commitments’  Occupy LSX could make regarding the camp here, in order to become a model of that which we would like to see in wider society.

We can’t tell others what to do until we’ve agreed what to do ourselves.

> Is this political?
< It’s political and it’s not political.

> It would be better to read out your commitments now, and come back to them at this evening’s General Assembly, than to hear them for the first time and decide on them now. [Warm]

OK. Let’s listen, think, and discuss this again at 7pm.

The proposed 10 commitments are:

1 – The camp aims to provide for the basic human needs and to nurture the best qualities of humanity (such as cooperation, compassion and creativity).
2 – Individuals and groups within the camp have responsibility to the camp as a whole.
3 – Individuals and groups within the camp take responsibility for caring for the environment of the camp, and the wider environment.
4 – The camp strives to achieve the best possible balance between the needs and rights of individuals.
5 – All members of the group undertake to respect each other and to respect members of the public, church, local businesses and others with whom we come into contact.
6 – The camp is committed to achieving real democracy, in which every voice matters.
7 – Decisions at the camp are informed by knowledge, hence the camp provides and encourages education, research and skill-shares.
8 – Individuals and groups within the camp agree to work transparently and to act with honesty and integrity.
9 – Processes and decision making within the camp are not interfered with by religious or political extremism.
10 – The camp aims to be a just, fair and equal society.

These were written in a working group of 2 people – that’s all it takes to change the world!
[Proposal deferred]

4. Sending an invitation to the inhabitants of Downing Street to take part in a General Assembly at St Pauls.

?> How do we feel about opening a dialogue with Downing Street? [Warm]
[Block]> The government have been slashing everyone’s living standards, causing 1000’s of deaths in this country and abroad. We can’t have a sensible dialogue; they’re answerable to the banks.

> Perhaps we should create a working group to decide and discuss what we would mention and discuss. This would not take so much time in the GA up, when there’s not much time available to discuss it. [Tepid]

?> Should we send a letter to invite the prime minister to attend a General Assembly and to see how this place rolls? [Warm]

This idea will be given to a working group, the details of which will be advertised in the Info Tent.

5. Morning meeting to decide what site jobs need to be done each day, followed by a meeting to let visiting volunteers know what they can help with.

> When do we have time for this?
< 10-10.30am at breakfast, in the space outside the kitchen. Then at 11am a logistics communication could ask people to do things for that day.

If there are no blocks then I shall go about organising it.

6. Liaising with legal team regarding forfeiting of rights granted under articles 10 and 11 of EU Human Right Convention as a possible consequence of inadvertently entering into contractual agreement with outside parties.

One of the top judges in the country, the master of rolls, reckons that our presence here is protected by articles 10 and 11 of the EU Human Rights Convention.

Therefore, it’s important that we avoid unnecessary contractual agreement with the Corporation of London and the Church. This is why it’s important our liaison with them goes on via solicitors, so that we don’t give our rights away unintended.

Does this make sense? [Warm]

> Please liaise with the legal team on this specific point of law. I believe you are right about as soon as you enter a contractual agreement. We are here on common law, everything else is statutory. Be careful not to enter into a contract when you don’t know it. If a policeman asks you ‘do you understand’, he asks if you stands under his authority. If he asks, you should answer ‘no’.

?> Should we chase the legality of this matter with the legal team? [Consensus]

7. Creation of a Discipline Working Group.

In the past half hour someone has stolen the donations box from the tea tent. People have been entering in the night, which is why we close it to stop people trashing our infrastructure. We have started to identify people who are on this camp who are not contributing to the camp. This is not just the homeless. We want to start naming and shaming. We want them to justify their actions to all of us as democratic people.

> If you were really hungry, and you thought the only way to get food was to grab the donations pot… naming and shaming is not to be done lightly.

> Wouldn’t this be the equivalent of doing a public trial? Do we need a working group?

?> Should we start a working group to look at discipline? [Warm]

This gentleman at the front has volunteered to start the working group.

8. Addition of 17 foot diameter ‘women-only’ yurt to the camp.

A group of women want to bring in a 17 foot wide yurt to the the St Paul’s campsite. It’s warm enough to withstand hurricanes and snowstorms. The idea is for a women’s only safe space, only for women. If you’re even slightly unsure about whether you’re a woman, you’re not eligible. It will be quite big, and will require about 10 tents being adjusted. Temperature check? Lukewarm, 2 people are uncomfortable.

The Yurt Working Group will discuss this further – if you’re uncomfortable about this idea please come and discuss it with them.

> I’ve been here for a few weeks. There have been young women arriving who felt uncomfortable and unsure. This would be a welcome addition for women on camp who feel vulnerable sleeping on the streets of London at night. I know some people don’t feel safe.

9. Work to provide more online interaction with GAs and WGs.

Similar to a previous proposal for Process today – let’s have an online form for people to submit ideas for proposals, so that we can collect them, and have a register to track them online.

> This could include Working Group discussions Can WGs be centralised on the website too, with each one registering what’s going on?

> I’ve been trying to get communications between people onsite and online working better. It’s very complicated because we can’t all have access to the website. If this is a concern of yours, please come to a meeting in front of Starbucks at 4pm.

> It would be good to track what Working Groups there are, where they meet, how to interact with them.

> Due to disability I couldn’t get to St Paul’s – I would like their to be a way for online people to interact with the General Assembly.

?> Should we work to allow people on the internet to interact with the GA? [Consensus]

> This proposal has been discussed before. Issues with what kind of participant, who mediates, who moderates have cropped up. We’re interested in exploring the idea, but we have not made a definite decision to do it.

> Having been only able to interact online so far, the livestream group have posted a list of statements on Pirate Pad online, where our proposals from people here come at the moment. Already this process has started. We need to continue and expand this process. David Cameron could come online as Mickey Mouse and filibuster our proposals, that is, talk shit to stop the point from being discussed. There’s an issue there: online proposals mustn’t snare up regular and ongoing proposals.

SHOUT OUTS

> People who live at this camp should feel free to talk to the media that comes down here, and not feel they have to wait for some ‘special people’ to come and talk with them. We don’t have a spokesperson – this is a direct democracy. Please make it clear that you are speaking for yourself, and not on behalf of the rest of us – you are an individual voice, not the voice of the camp – you are part of Occupy London, but do not speak on it’s behalf.

> A meeting to discuss onsite issues such as drunkenness, security, personal responsibility etc. will take place on Sunday at 12 noon at the First Aid Tent.

> We are starting a Corporations Working Group, our first meeting is at 3pm tomorrow outside the Info Tent. All welcome, especially those with expertise.

> A Strategy Working Group meeting will take place at 3pm today outside the kitchen to pull together disparate strands of media, tech, outreach and direct action. We need to direct our focus, and start to progress and evolve.

> We will be having a respectful silent march to acknowledge 11/11 tomorrow. Meeting at 10am, we will drop into meditation at 11am for 11 minutes. We will then begin a silent march / walking meditation past parliament, Buckingham Palace, and end at a tree circle in Green Park. No demands, no protest. Just a walk for its own sake.

> Don’t be afraid to stand up and volunteer for tasks  you’ve never done – stand up outside your comfort zone and get involved. [Warm]

> Don’t underestimate the power of  individual, spontaneous action – yesterday I spontaneously start shouting ‘the police protect the 1%’ and it went down a treat on Regent Street.

>  I nearly launched a board game in WH Smith, but the banks pulled the plug. I’ve lost my home, they ruined my life and they have to be answerable to it! [‘Beat The Bankers World’ URL available in Info Tent]

> Jesus said love everyone as you love yourself. We have to forgive.

> Everyone should be entitled to free food, accommodation, travel and energy. The governments of the world secretly signed up to this and we will be receiving it next year.

> Anyone seen my tobacco?

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