Minutes of GA 3/14/12
Facilitators: Susan Rice and Ben Grosscup
Time-keeper: Susan R
Introduction (Susan R)
-review self-check meeting guidelines (from W.Mass GA)
1. Tone and Body Language
2. Stay on topic/make concise statements
3. Step up, step back
4. No offense/defense
5. Respect the role of the facilitator
6. We’re in this together
Some members had to leave early so the order of the agenda was discussed. In the end we all decided to shorten each agenda item from 30 minutes to 20.
o March 19th Remember Fukushima Potluck & Community Sharing/Discussion at Mt Toby Friends Meetinghouse 5-8:30pm
o Lobby against 3 Strikes Bill in Boston March 15
o March 15 save our homes rally Springfield and Amherst 4 pm
o Occupy Discussion group- this Sunday, March 18 3-5
o March 23-25 United National Antiwar Coalition conference in Stamford Hilton Hotel, CT UNACpeace.org
1. Debrief March 10 — W.Mass GA
Roger gives feedback from evaluation cards
o the introductions created immediate community
o loved the guidelines
o where was the food?
o unclear whether W.Mass GA was making decisions
o clarify decision making process if needed
o list working groups on wmass occupy website
o mutual respect exemplified by facilitators
o hand signals
o more concise, efficient and organized meeting
o announce at the beginning that we are being filmed
o process failed at times
o grouping discussions break-out groups could have been better coordinated
o meet in a circle (hampshire have facilities that allow for that)
o avoid repetitions
o unclear where/who/what the next W.Mass GA will be
o Not very accessible (bathrooms)
o Couple people left frustrated, many said great job!
Discussion/reflection (organized in +/^ plus/deltas which is positives and needed improvements)
What new opportunities have opened up by having that meeting?
+ built solidarity community
+ people interested in alternative economies connected
+ understanding our areas activists and organizations and where the energy is
+ WG on May 1st is formed!
+ cohesion around citizens united, many occupies and individuals were interested and organizing
+ Discovering other people in occupies with mutual interests
+ Labor working group
+ Solidarity building and springfield support
+ Meet and greet was great but might not have built ongoing connections
+ collective energy!
^ Let’s continue this collective energy!
^ People of color not in attendance
^ mix up the usual ways to organize
^ who is going to organize face-to-face meetings to hash out how to organize/strategize
^ Supporting labor; going to springfield, bay state nurses labor conflict
^ enable people to get to events- transportation, childcare, food
^ Finish unionization of students/universities- Amherst/UMass unions can offer base of support
^ Take some action to create interoccupy group
- How do 8 names and contact info lead to action?
- How do we strategically identify places to organize as a group to mutually strengthen and focus our efforts?
- How does OA want to position itself to other W.Mass Occupies especially in terms of planning events in-between large events and W.Mass GAs?
- What would it mean for OA to organize May Day?
2. Major actions
Thursday, March 22nd Rally to Shut Down Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Brattleboro 11AM Meet at Commons march to Entergy Corp.
- anyone can participate (you don’t need to be in an affinity group to participate)
- Civil Disobedience training isn’t required
- Could be a visible OA presence help our group?
- There will be people displaying false solutions to nuclear power in theatrical ways (costumes, puppets, signs, you name it!) (Wear green if you want to!)
- We can express solidarity and outreach by having signs and flyers
- OA meet at 10:45am at Gazeebo in Brattleboro commons- bring your signs and flyers!
- Ben will be point person for carpooling email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beth will bring flyers
April 2nd National Day of Action to defend the right to exist
Demonstration on Housing and Poverty in Springfield
- Outreach- publicize demonstration at homeless shelters, food pantries, Food not Bombs in our area
- Organize transportation
- Need flyer for OA to distribute with local contact info for transportation
- Could flyer for May Day
- Ad-hoc WG to organize our group and community
- Ben, Beth (flyer), Liana, Susan T, Amy
May 1st International Workers Day- Amy rep. from May Day WG
- Where should it be held?
- Conference call for interoccupy- next one in a couple weeks
- Jobs with Justice are having a 7pm play on the origins of International Workers Day
- Script available if we want it
- Amy’s vision- have a march through Amherst and pick targets to stop and speak-out in front of- Bank of America, Town Hall, TD North, UMass then convene on common
- Have it end in with food, music, and lots of celebration
- Maybe have other occupies convene just for the celebration part after they have had their marches in their own towns
- Immigration rights day- maydayunited.org
- We could be a support group for other W.Mass occupies and/or we could generate our own events
- OA have our own identity and relative independence
- Email AMY to get on WG email@example.com
- Ben asked, “How much time do we want to spent at our GA discussing organizational planning?
- Susan asked for a temp check- support for May Day was all around
3. Working Group relationship to Occupy Amherst GA
Deb’s proposal- need substantive conversations in GA for work to be done outside GA in working groups
- Proposals for creating a WG would include: title, purpose, rationale, activities, launch date
- Shallow discussions lead to shallow support
- Have the proposal brought to the GA the week before making a decision about it
- written and announced
- Let’s all read the emails about proposals!
- GA could discuss visionary political strategy if the WG did more work
- Facilitators could have equalized voices better
(lots of people left early)
Tabled Amy’s proposal
Tabled Deb’s proposal with one amendment to decide upon next week
4. Mission Statement
- principles of solidarity from OWS were helpful to reflect upon again
- mission statement shouldn’t include specific issues, instead help us create general cohesion
- keeps getting in our way to make actions clear
- W.Mass GA did bring cohesion
Liana will facilitate next week and Don will be gone for 2 weeks, Beth won’t be there next week