INVITATION TO OWMA GA
The planning is complete, we’ve asked for your suggestions, so now it is time to invite you to an Occupy Western Mass General Assembly, being hosted by Occupy Franklin County.
Date: September 22 (a Saturday)
Place: Arts Space, 15 Mill Street, Greenfield, MA
This will be a time for celebration, thought, and sharing of ideas on a wide range of topics central to our work. This GA is an opportunity for all of us to gather together and celebrate the anniversary of the Occupy Movement, and to inform and energize each other by sharing our experiences and ideas. Lunch (lasagna and salad) will be provided, and also feel fre to bring your own food. We really hope you can attend as a way to amplify the momentum of Occupy here in western Massachusetts and beyond.
If you have any questions, or still want to make suggestions regarding stories, poems, and discussion topics, please contact/send these to Joshua Epstein at Joshepst@yahoo.com
The agenda for the event is being provided below.
See you at the GA!
September 22, at the Arts Space in Greenfield
Starting at 10 AM
I SIGN IN, MEET AND GREET (30 MINUTES)
II WELCOME AND EXPLANATION OF MEETING
III POEMS, STORIES, AND ABIT OF MUSIC(25 minutes)(30 MINUTES)
IV REPORTS FROM OCCUPY GROUPS (30 MINUTES)
V PRESENTATION OF GA DISCUSSION TOPICS (30 MINUTES)
VI LUNCH BREAK (45 minutes)
VII INTEREST GROUP DISCUSSIONS (40 MINUTES)
VIII REPORT BACK FROM INTEREST GROUPS (25 MINUTES)
IX DISCUSSION OF FUTURE OWMA ACTIVITIES, NEEDS, AND FUNCTIONS (45 MINUTES)
MORE MUSIC, CELEBRATION, AND FAREWELL (60 MINUTES)
As we’ve stated, a work group of Occupy Franklin County has been making plans to host an Occupy Western Mass GA in September. We’d like to share our plans and invite input as we put this together. So in this spirit, attached is our draft agenda and proposed dates for the GA. We’d be interested in any ideas you would like to give us as the planing comes together. We will also be providing additional information as the time grows closer.Sincerely,
Joshua Epstein, ofc owma hosting work groupThe Occupy Western Mass General Assembly (OWMaGA) was held on Saturday, March 10, 1-4pm, in the auditorium (Room 102) of Thompson Hall at University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Minutes were taken on the fly and they are here. Keith streamed the 3-hour gathering and it is archived here.
To help with communications, an announcement list https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/occupywesternmassga has been created to send out information about the March 10 GA. You can subscribe to this list by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The email subject line from this list starts with [OWMaGA]. Up to the March 10 GA this list was used just by Occupy Amherst, which iplanned and facilitated the GA. For a more general and interactive discussion of Occupy Western Mass GA there is a corresponding Google Group which you can join by going to its website: http://groups.google.com/group/owmaga . The subject line from this list starts with [owmaga].
===========================================Minutes of the March 10 GA were taken as the meeting went on, and here they are:
- WHO IS IN THE ROOM?
- Facilitators: Susan, Jared, Jean
- Introduce where people are coming from
- Franklin county: 1/month GA. Foreclosure, banks, education.
- Berkshires: Great Barrington and other towns, GA 1/week. Educational events, national actions around corporate personhood, local actions.
- Occupy Northern Berkshires: North Adams, constitutional amendment work.
- Occupy Northampton: forum / discussion with city council announcement.
- Occupy Holyoke: Lyman Terrace public housing resistance to demolishment Look at hush.fluxmass.org and comment.
- Occupy Holyoke Community College (HCC): walkout against consolidation, working on sustainability, race discrimination, housing.
- Occupy Hampshire College: campus-specific issues, transparency of administration, job security for faculty, financial aid and diversity.
- Occupy Umass: try to build and get more people to show up. Health center funding.
- West Hampton: wants to form Occupy group
- Springfield: last meeting dropped off, but AFL-CIO offered room. Haven’t had GA since December, but getting ready for march on housing and loan issues.
- Occupy Amherst: information picket in front of Bank of America, meeting regularly Wed.
- Unaffiliated: Hadley. Greenfield Community College group of students working on Vermont Yankee, Cola-Cola off campus, other issues. Northamton working with OWS – radical mental health/psych survivor groups. South Hadley – Occupy the Airwaves looking for more help. Diane Wilson from Gulf Coast – Occupy the Machine. Hadley. Rose from OWS – May Day actions – immigrant rights groups doing May Day activities along with OWS. General Strike. Pioneer Valley Local First – where our money is in banks in the Pioneer Valley, moving money to credit unions. Occupy the Courts – in Springfield, actions around Citizens United, Move To Amend. Music Netowork, social changes issues through music and Raging Grannies group.
- Stack ends.
- Meeting for 3 hours, until 4:15.
- Ground rules- temperature check
- Hand signals…. , agree, disagree, point of process Clarifying question, wrap it up, respect the house, point of information, speak up
- WESTERN MASS VISIONING
- DREAM BIG!
- Diversity that reflects demographics- age, race, class
- Relationship of OWMA to local groups
- Vt Yankee… some issues might be more divisive than others
- Need to coordinate boycotts
- Strengths in balancing…. having a permanent presence somewhere to act as clearinghouse
- Physical occupations, solidarity with all race/class
- Building community, supporting one another
- Transportation made available
- Occupy farm movement
- Need for jobs, what children really need from the education system… have to deal with poverty issues in children
- Post capitalism
- Technology- jean sharp study group-Kill price Anderson act, commitment to non violence
- Inclusive- all communities, mutual support, rotate meeting place, common or singular website
- Join groups together
- More people, more actions, more media
- Robust local occupy groups, power in what the GA does should be in local WG’s,
- No money economy, jobs
- Look at unifying issues to help overcome stigma of occupy
- Ending the collusion between corporations and regulators, forcing candidates to engage in the issues
- Radicalize u-mass student body
- Thursday 15th- 7 pm campus Center 165 Speaker Gamelyn Oduardo- led strike at U. of Puerto Rico
- KEY AND EMERGING ISSUES
- Group break out- discuss
- Open stack
- Are we rehashing what we just did? This is intended to be about issues, not vision.
- Kelley – consolidation of community colleges, work force development.
- Diane - Amendment 28. Overturn Citizens United decision.
- Jamison – May 1st general strike. Demonstrate who controls the economy.
- Daria – who the 99% are, being the demographics of the movement.
- Moggie – free community public meeting space.
- Jean – shutting down Vermont Yankee and other nuclear plants.
- Close Mount Tom power plant.
- Roger – 28th Amendment, carrying resolutions to our own towns.
- Ben – abolish student debt, end prison-industrial complex, avoid poltical co-optation.
- - Toxic incinerators in Western Mass.
- Gary – Criminal justice, incarceration, Mass 3-strikes law
- Kristin – G.E. cleaning up Hoositonic River
- Dan – convention, Philadelphic
- - ending corporate rule
- Arnold – improving the image of the whole Occupy movment, statement of principles
- full unemployment
- Amy – holding colleges accountable with regard to their communities, civil liberties and surveillance
- Rose – concentration of wealth, redistribution to poorer communities
- Josh – Baystate Health is evil empire, support nurses
- Francis – rents too high, wages too low
- corporatization of Umass, biomass plant at Umass, protesting is now illegal
- John – free trade agreements, shipping jobs overseas. Kohl-Morgan (which is now part of L-3 Communications).
- Allison – how communities and students can support each other in organizing.
- criminalization of poverty and homelessness, taking over empty spaces.
- Rich – funding communities, not war.
- Alternative economies, post-capitalism.
- Move your Money campaign.
- Tina – debunking conservative lies in media, war against women’s health.
- Joshua – demonstrations in DC this spring.
- Jacob – taking up issues of people who are marginalized, climate change.
- Nancy – austerity forced on towns, local taxes.
- Dan – criminal justice, prison-industrial complex, climate organizing.
- Patrick – tax the rich, unionizing, worker co-ops.
- Replacing large food industries and creating more sustainable ones.
- College/student issues
- Poverty, homelessness
- Nuclear Power, Toxic Everything
- Environmental Justice/Climate Justice?
- Corporate Created Climate Change
- Prison industrial complex, Criminal justice, three strikes
- 99% Convention/Electoral Process
- 6. a. Civil Liberties
- 7. Alternative economie
- 8. Regional Labor Issues
- 9. Western MA GA/Local/Regional
- 6. a. Civil Liberties
- May Day
- Decided to stay till 4:30.
- Should working groups keep going?
- Do we need Occupy Western Mass?
- 1. Student / colleges group
- Ask community member to look at structural issues around studenthood and participation. Want to give back to community. Community college consolidation will be in 2013 budget unless we can change this… email@example.com
- 2. POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS logistic issues that keep people from coming to events- transportation, childcare, food ect… should be addressed.. location of meetings APRIL 2nd demonstration in Springfield
- How can we support these ongoing efforts?
- 3. Corporate environmental responsibility- embody larger issues of occupy- race and empowerment… support amongst different groups for events
- 4. criminal incarceration- age, race, class intersect here… 3 strikes law can be so devastating if enacted
- we can endorse opposition to the bill
- march15th rally at the state house, Boston
- on occupyamherst.com, there is contact info Blackstonian.com
- 5. electoral politics
- 6. Corporate Rule: relates to everything- corporate agenda over people/ ecological agenda
- 28th amendment to constitution, local resolutions, contact local representatives..
- 6a. civil liberties: without civil liberties, occupy space wouldn’t exist, our rights get abused
- ACLU- good resource as well as technology and frontier- EFF
- 7. alternative economies: not to be dependant on the $ system… need for the commons- farm, housing, working arrangements.. Valley time trade- good but more for non-essentials… Work towards getting together a fund for worker co-ops and for purchasing common space… work on getting rid of local/federal regulations that impede on our “social rights”- ability to keep livestock- give away food
- moving $ from corp. banks to local credit unions that support local economies
- 8. Labor: occupy can take up local issues…. Move towards unionizing
- 9. organizing WMAGA- benefits of working at regional level…actions that come up that seem incompatible, decision making clarifications, working to maximize local autonomy and creativity
- need for one central website where all events, working groups are posted
- Transparency and communication working group
- 10. MAY DAY: National day… MAY day holiday- local/ regional events in the morning… Creating event on the Amherst common in the afternoon
- 1. 3 strikes- supported
- 2. April 2nd- supported- proposal for individual occupy groups to provide funds for transportation to the April 2nd event
- 3. VT Yankee- supported
- 4. civil liberties- yes we like them
- 5. Corporate personhood-
- 6. May Day- we empower working group-
- (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- St Patrick DAy parade in Boston on the 18th- peaceful parade
- Announcement be made about video taping at the beginning of meetings
- Poster pasting campaign- contact Lovis
- Mock evacuation tomorrow Brattleboro
- This sat at 17th.. to support baystate nurses, 11 am greenfield common
- 22nd Brattleboro common occupy entergy 11 am
- Northampton: Action meeting on 28th Amendment organizing at Media Education Foundation, Northampton from 7-9 on March 21
- April 2 March and Rally Springfield
- End Criminalization of Homelessness and Poverty
- Meet Wed nt at Arise in Springfield
- April 5 @7 pm Occupy Hampshire-Franklin Event at Greenfield College. With Professor Freidman from UMass