General Assembly (GA) Notes, Nov. 2, 2011
Minutes taker: Cameron Clark
Two police officers dropped by at around 6:05pm and inspected the porta-potty now prominently located in the middle of De La Guerra Plaza, including the permit attached to the door, and spoke with several occupiers. Marshall stated later during the GA that the police believe there is something incorrect about the permit and plan to remove it at 7am. The police left around 6:15pm.
Nearly an hour of the GA (7:30-8:30pm) was devoted to a heated discussion regarding the process by which resolutions are introduced and passed by the GA. The existing process is that individuals or affinity groups can propose resolutions to the Synthesis committee, which then refines them and introduces them to the GA for approval. Several people present expressed frustration with this apparently slow, tedious and opaque process (some went so far as to call it an intentional sabotage of progress), especially as it could be difficult to track down or attend a Synthesis committee meeting. It was suggested that resolutions could be introduced directly to the GA for approval. A resolution was put forward that the GA should be able to consider and vote its support for simple, straightforward resolutions without referring them to Synthesis. Initially there was one block, but this was later rescinded, and the motion passed. The group also seemed to agree (but did officially vote on) the idea that more complex, nuanced or wordy statements should continue to be referred to Synthesis. Four resolutions were submitted for a vote:
- Occupy Santa Barbara calls for an end to Corporate Personhood.
- Occupy Santa Barbara calls for an end to all current and perpetual wars.
- Occupy Santa Barbara calls for an end to U.S. Empire.
Passed unanimously, with the stipulation that this should be followed by an explanatory paragraph describing the following topics, and should be referred to Synthesis for wording.
Occupy Santa Barbara calls for the dismantling of all corporate monopolies.
- System of military bases, including the number of worldwide bases maintained by the U.S.
- Dictatorships, installed or supported by the U.S., involving great suffering and bloodshed.
- System of economic exploitation for the benefit of the 1%, which imposes dire economic suffering.
Passed unanimously. Suggested that we follow this with an explanatory paragraph describing the Sherman Anti-Trust laws which are not being fully enforced, and this should probably be referred to Synthesis for wording.
Occupy Santa Barbara calls for the Federal Reserve to stop paying off government to accommodate Wall Street.
Committee Reports (6:15-7:15pm):
- Lauren participated in a call today with other Occupy groups (her 2nd). She recorded and re-played a portion for us. Of interest was a person on the call who identified himself as Josh Cramer from Santa Barbara and referred to a series of Occupy projects and/or working groups he was engaged in with others. Nobody present seems to know who this is, and it seems he’s not affiliated with the existing Occupy Santa Barbara. (The caller did mention something about working for a company that makes teleconferencing software—Citrix?)
- Suggest investigating OccupyCafe.org as a tool for conference calls and communications with other Occupy groups.
- The Isla Vista Occupation movement seems to be coming together.
- A Harvard Econ class today walked out in solidarity with the Occupy Movement.
- Ben, an occupier, was arrested at 8am this morning and was incarcerated for 8 hours.
- Marshall: A lawyer named Frank who lives in Camarillo and has experience in getting permits for parks & public recreation spaces has offered to help us.
- Marshall: The OccupySB group has 4 lawyers who are willing to defend the group and challenge the citations and arrests made so far. Preferably all complaints & citations should be consolidated and brought to these lawyers. For those already arrested or cited, there is an arraignment at the Superior Courthouse (on Figueroa St.) on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8am, and anybody who can should attend to show support.
- There is a meeting with attorney Joe Allen on Thursday (Nov. 3). There is a meeting with attorney Robert Landheer at the same time regarding citations received. It was not clear if these were somehow the same or separate meetings.
- Justin: A group bearing a banner went to Bank of America and protested today, handing out flyers to passersby.
- Fire Penguin: UCSB “Channels” paper today ran an encouraging article about the Occupy Movement (which speciifically mentioned the efforts of Fire Penguin).
- Kate: Though attempts were made, the Occupy group has not been able to coordinate with any existing groups to arrange activities for this month’s First Thursday Art Walk on Nov. 3.
- The Occupy group will nonetheless have an art project station at De La Guerra Plaza and will encourage passersby to create: cardboard houses decorated with a collage of magazine cut-outs and other art (which could be used as donation boxes or to hold literature); painted gourds (which can be used as noisemakers); prayer flags; buttons; etc. Kate has graciously donated many of the materials for these projects.
- Everybody is encouraged to attend the weekly city council meetings at City Hall (2pm every Tuesday, excluding 11/7), and specifically to meet prior to the meetings at 1:30pm to coordinate our message.
- Josh Tremmer from the SB Time Bank will give a talk about the concept of time banks at De La Guerra Plaza on Thursday (Nov. 3) at 4:30pm and again on Saturday (Nov. 5) after the protest.
- Reminder that we have retained a permit for a full month to have a table at 801 State Street at which we can pass out literature and talk with passersby about the Occupy movement & goals. Some of the allowed hours: Thu-Fri, 2-5pm; Sat-Sun, Noon-Sunset. Tony will be manning the table this weekend but could use at least one other person to assist; the table should ideally always have two occupiers present. Suggested that when manning this table, we should do our best to avoid confrontations or arguments with people who might try to engage us in such, but instead to speak briefly and politely with as many people as possible.
- Encourage everybody to post videos and other occupy-related information to their Facebook pages to reach out to their networks.
- Occupy Los Angeles is connecting and coordinating with Occupy Seattle.
- Brian has acquired an RV, presently at Goleta Motors. He is offering the use of it for storage, toilet, etc., to Occupy SB. However, the RV has some apparently minor mechincal issues and he needs help from anybody able to get it running so he can bring it downtown.
- Suggestion was made that Brian might eventually be reimbursed partially or completely for the $2000 purchase price, but Marshall stated that the finance committee is presently in negotiations with the Fund for SB and not presently able to spend money until this is finished, but that this issue could be referred to the finance committee for consideration.
- Marshall: met with Geoff Green from the Fund for Santa Barbara on Monday. The Fund is willing to put Occupy SB under its non-profit umbrella and host a bank account through which we can run all financial expenditures and contributions (which would presumably be tax-deductible). We have a bookkeeper, Lindsey, who is tracking all income and expenses. No money will be spent “off-books”.
- There was a broken mirror at De La Guerra Plaza for a couple of days, which Brook eventually cleaned up.
Brook: wants to create a film interviewing individuals about why they occupy.
Briefly discussed video release forms, but otherwise postponed by Brook for later discussion.
Cameron: wants to confirm that “direct response” hand signal can be used to request clarification or repeating, not just factual corrections; or create a new hand signal for these if necessary.
Group seemed to indicate that direct response could in fact be used for these things, but this issue was not formally addressed during the GA.
Cameron: wants to discuss a list of grievances and/or goals that could be put on a small flyer as an introduction to Occupy SB, and wants to discuss the process by which resolutions are passed by the group.
Cameron asked to combine this item with Chris’ below.
Tony: requested that Chris speak again about debt-based currency.
Postponed by Tony for later discussion.
Tony: requested that Zach speak about genetically-engineered foods.
Postponed by Tony for later discussion.
Chris: proposed introducing a resolution supporting reinstatement of the separation of investment vs. commercial banking (Glass-Steagall). Wants to discuss the process by which resolutions are passed by the group.
Discussion of agenda items (7:30-8:35pm): see Highlights above