OL General Assembly 14 Feb 2015, Parliament Square
An Occupy London GA took place on Parliament Square Saturday 14th February at 7.30pm.
About 70-80 people were in attendance on a chilly, damp evening.
Liz B. facilitated and Ben was looking after the stack.
The Occupy Democracy Safer Space Policy was read out and hand signals were explained and demonstrated.
There was one proposal put forward by Peter Dombi:
In line with its Statement of Autonomy, Occupy London is unable to support or endorse any established political parties. However with the forthcoming general election, it is recognised that certain political parties have policies that are more in line with Occupy’s aims than others, even though none of them seek the systemic change that Occupy sees as essential.
Therefore it is proposed that:
‘In the run-up to the general election, Occupy should highlight those policies in political parties’ manifestos, and statements by individual candidates, that are in line with our aims, and those which aren’t, with the hope of giving some assistance to those supporters of Occupy who wish to exercise their democratic right to vote.’
Peter clarified the proposal saying its intention was to enable occupiers to use social media and websites to highlight manifesto policies which were in line with Occupy London statements. He gave fracking as an example, saying that if this proposal passed, occupiers could point out that “XXX party opposes fracking in their manifesto”. This would not make it ok to say “therefore vote for XXX party”. Consequently the social media sites would need to be monitored and any transgressions removed.
The proposal was then opened up for discussion. George B. wanted to emphasise the difference between decisions made by Occupy London and those made by Occupy Democracy (this seemed to mainly rest on the fact that Occupy London works on a consensus model which allows a single block to prevent a proposal, although with processes for resolving blocks in place, whereas Occupy Democracy decisions can go ahead with 70% agreement).
Michael Gold said that as he was standing for the Green Party he would support the proposal whilst acknowledging his bias.
There was then a major disruption when a number of police barged into the crowd in order to arrest one individual.
The assembly agreed to continue on the same spot, rather than moving off the grass of the square.
A legal observer made a technical point reminding occupiers that anyone who was arrested should give their name and the name of the police station to which they were being taken to a legal observer, so that support could be offered.
Michael Gold completed his address to the assembly and the facilitator asked if anyone else wished to speak. Since no-one did, a temperature check was called for. There was a very warm reception to the proposal so the facilitator asked if there was active consensus. This was overwhelmingly positive with no objections. So the proposal was passed.
There is a livestream of the GA here: http://bambuser.com/v/5286188
(Thanks to the livestreamer, who was arrested shortly after the assembly closed, apparently for standing on the grass of the square – along with numerous others who were not arrested.)