11-1-11 Meeting Minutes

**Tuesday’s GA began the important discussion of how we proceed after our time at the YWCA comes to an end.  Due to the small number of people who attended, consensus was taken on some points, to get the temperature of the group that was present, but it was agreed that many important issues were raised which require broader discussion.  The sense from the meeting on Tuesday was that discussion will continue on these issues on Friday.

Summary of Consensus Points:

  • Agreement to postpone finding a new camp site.  Agreement to use Al’s bookstore in the meantime (Glenwood Coffee and Books at Grove and Glenwood Streets).
  • Agreement to continue discussion of camping issues at Friday’s General Assembly.  (It was asked that it be emphasized that if you care about these issues, there will be more discussion, so please come on Friday 6:30-8:30.)
  • Agreement to continue the discussion of how to include homeless folks once the YWCA site is decamped.  Please bring proposals to Friday’s General Assembly.
  • Agreement that tomorrow will be clean up day at camp.  Please come volunteer any time before tomorrow’s march.
  • Agreement that December 10th is a tentative date for the Underemployment March, but also that the march group will take into account questions about the date, and come back to the group later.
  • Agreement to have a celebratory dance party Friday after the General Assembly.

 Minutes

Dates and times for meetings and events are in bold.
Needs for specific materials are underlined.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

There’s a group working on actions around foreclosures.

  • They met with a local housing advocate recently, who works with Guilford County Self Help.  They work with people to avoid foreclosure through loan modification.
  • The group also met with Jeff Thigpen, our Register of Deeds.  He’s working on something called the Robo-signing controversy.  He’s 1 of 2 Register of Deeds in the nation who’s working on suing banks over this convroversy.
  • The group recognizes that both of these folks/organizations are good at what they do.  And that we have heat, fire, and people power, so they’re working on what we can do to support them.
  • There’s a rally on the 11th at Bank of America on Green Valley.
  • Group is working with local housing advocate to find a family to work with, who is facing foreclosure, so that we can protest and work to stop the foreclosure.  There are already some people lined up.
  • Part of the idea is to build strategies that could be replicable around the nation.
  • Two meetings: Strategy Planning Thursday evening @ 8:00 pm at Al’s Bookstore
  • Also Tuesday morning @ 8:30 am at Spring Garden Bakery
  • Question about what Robo-signing is.
  • Answer: It’s a small part of the mortgage crisis.  Banks traded titles… There are examples where someone supposedly signed documents, but there are twenty different signatures that all look different.  So people aren’t actually signing the documents, and this is something that used to be a long process, but now they’re doing thousands of these per day.  So Jeff Thigpen is looking for a way to stop foreclosures through this.
  • Suggestion of an information pamphlet about robo-signing.  Response that that’s exactly what the group is talking about on Thursday evening.
  • Jane Parker and Will Shuford have experience with this stuff, but the group is also looking for folks that have finance backgrounds to do a teach-in.

The art team is meeting at 2:15 on Friday, at camp, to prep folks for the Zombie March. 

  • They will be doing zombie makeovers.  Please bring corporate clothes that can be torn up.  But the art team will also bring some, and will be bringing fake blood, etc.
  • The march is at 4 pm on Friday.  Walking down Summit to Greene, past Wells Fargo, down February One, stopping at Bank of America, have flyers to hand out.
  • Also the idea of eating money, eating deeds, having people dressed in cardboard houses running away from the zombies.
  • There will be credit union flyers to hand out with info.
  • Question about why zombies.
  • Answer: The idea is that corporate zombies are feeding on our resources.  It’s also in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, which has done similar things.
  • Also there’s been a news article about a foreclosure firm hosting parties where people dress up as homeless people—a reason to protest.

Credit union event being organized for November 5th  @ 1-3 pm. 

  • Host a credit union forum in the Nussbaum room at the Library.  Event about how can we move our money, what are the beneifts of credit unions.
  • Not a lot of response from credit unions so far, probably because they’re usually closed on Saturdays.  But the event will happen regardless.

Morning of November 5th @ 11 am there’s a MoveOn event at Bank of America to protest foreclosures.  They need help marshalling people, it would be great to get people out there.

Underemployment March

  • Meeting to discuss underemployment march @ 1:00 pm on Sunday, location TBA, tentatively Spring Garden Bakery (was going to be Green Bean, but because of recent controversy, going to move locations).
  • Proposal for March on December 10th.

Tomorrow is a march in support of the General Strike responding to police brutality at Occupy Oakland.  March starts at 5:30 in Governmental Plaza.  Will wind up here at the camp.

  • Dinner tomorrow after the march is a potluck.  Please bring food!!  Working groups will be meeting.
  • Leaflets printed up for tomorrow’s event.  Look like $100 bills, have a breakdown of wealth in the US, “Top 1% by the numbers” on the back.  There’s a PDF for these, and the message on the back can also be changed for future events.

Announcement that we really need help cleaning up the kitchen area.

 

PROPOSALS

  1. Al from Glenwood Coffee and Books has offered his site to be a central location for Occupy after we decamp from the YWCA.  His offer does not include camping or cooking, because he is not zoned for either.  He’s offering the group access to both the front and back rooms, from 9 am to 9 pm daily.  It’s warm there, and there’s coffee.
  2. We need to have the camp area cleaned, please come by tomorrow morning/afternoon and volunteer.  See Tina.  Let’s leave the area cleaner than we found it.
  3. The YWCA camp is closing Sunday at Noon.  Proposal that we wait on finding a next spot for camping, and give ourselves time to talk about what we’ve done well, and what our next steps are.
  4. December 10th as the date for the Underemployment march.
  5. Dance party on Friday after the GA to celebrate, to include a discussion of safety/consent.

 

DISCUSSION OF PROPOSALS

PROPOSALS #1 and #3 Discussion opened up for postponing any new camping site discussion.  (And discussion included proposal to use Al’s, since proposals were related.)

  • Suggestion that we do an action or event before decamping here, and that there’s a press release to the media about what we’re doing, so that people know it’s not over.
  • Many people in occupy have homes, it’s cold, people might not have insurance and can’t afford to get sick, so these are practical matters to consider in a discussion of camping.
  • Concern that we don’t want to undermine folks who are looking for next camping sites, but aren’t at this meeting, don’t want to undermine them by making decisions tonight.
  • We need some way of promoting ourselves, maybe a potluck at Al’s.
  • Decamping is not a retreat, we’ve had three weeks of continuous action, it’s been tremendous, but there’s also been a tremendous outpouring of energy.  There’s a next phase that we have to be prepared for.  We should have strategies and be intentional about our next step.

2 ideas to test for consensus:

  1. Postpone discussion until someone who’s been looking for new sites can come
  2. Postpone finding a new camping site until we can reflect and plan

Point of process:  Add that even if we decide we’re not ready to make a decision, we’re having the conversation.

Test for consensus on #1.

One down thumb: Why do we need to wait for someone?  If we agree to postpone finding a new camp site, do we need to wait for those who are looking for new sites?

Responses:

  • There was a guy on Friday who was bottomlining the search for new sites, and he had stated he wouldn’t be here tonight.
  • There’s a group working on new camp sites, and they’re meeting tomorrow at 2 pm.
  • The next GA is larger, more people will be there, more opportunity to give an opinion.
  • Support for the proposal to move back into Al’s, but awareness that a bunch of people aren’t here tonight.  Lots of people are at UNCG doing an event.

More discussion:

  • Idea that we could work toward a sense of the GA on this issue, which we could take into the next GA, aside from making any decisions.
  • Totally fine with that idea, but it’s also time sensitive.  Re-emphasize that we’re decentralized, so people could camp if they want to.  What’s great about Al’s is it gives us, like the encampment, a where and a when to meet.  So he’s offering us a middle ground.
  • Regrouping is not a bad word, it’s about what worked and what didn’t.  It takes time and money to run a camp.  We could have a smaller permanent encampment.
  • Question for clarification, is Al’s place being offered as a space for meetings?
  • Yeah, central place for meeting, also for sign making, storing tools, a completely open space.  Only reason we couldn’t do camping or cooking is the zoning.
  • Liking the idea of regrouping.  When we first started that first march was an action that brought in more people.
  • It’s great Al has made space available, maybe we could also do one GA per week in a different location, to make GAs more accessible.
  • We could do short actions and encampments, it’s really cold, and we need strategies to deal with that.  Is that the energy we want to use?  We don’t have Wall Street here.  They have a really distinct reason for camping.
  • We could camp for shorter times.  Hook up with other local occupy groups and camp with them, ways to build more solidarity with them.
  • Corporations and banks are praying for cold weather.  This is a strong movement with external activity, it’s hard to maintain that level of activity when trying to stay warm.  Making visible the process of foreclosing on people in December in the cold.
  • Idea of something US Uncut did, walking into Bank of Americas and handing out pamphlets to customers.
  • Having events, specific events.  It’s really hard to feed people.
  • Although liking the idea of camping, even if we’re not here, doing a bunch of stuff.  Maybe having a ride share network to get to future GAs.
  • We need to know if we have other places to camp.
  • Agreement to continue discussion on Friday.  (Consensus)
  • Postponing camp we are allowing to move forward.  Also consensus to use Al’s temporarily.  (BUT, there will be more discussion of this on Friday.)
  • Question, folks who are homeless, how will they be able to follow the movement after decamping?
  • Response, we’re decamping because we’re coordinating with the YWCA, and they have a Winter Emergency program for women, which is in cooperation with organizations like Urban Ministry, it’s important that they have this space be safe for them.
  • Folks who are using this space for shelter.  What about homeless folks who are occupying?  How are they going to keep up?
  • A lot of homeless people here who have questions, want to get involved, and enjoy camp life.  They have a lot of good things to offer.  Figuring out how to involve them in actions.  Assisting people who are homeless.  What do we need to do to get info to people who are homeless?
  • 2 things.  When we close down camp on Sunday, we’ll still be deciding what to do.  It’s a great point about homeless folks, and folks from Occupy are working with IRC, maybe that’s a way to keep people updated on next steps and how to plug in.
  • Movement to put this on the agenda for next meeting—continuing presence.
  • Maybe people can give rides to homeless folk.  We don’t want to leave people out.
  • Ways to communicate.  Flyers or info handed out at Center City Park or somewhere to communicate with homeless folks.  Some means of phsyically disseminating information.
  • Idea of other locations for GAs, maybe the IRC would be one, to directly involve homeless folks.
  • If we want a way to have a continued presence, folks have talked about getting tired and going home, homeless people don’t have that luxury.  And they specialize in that kind of tenacity.  They’re already occupying Greensboro.
  • Consensus approved to continue this discussion on Friday.  Bring proposals.

PROPOSAL #2, Camp cleanup.

  • Wednesday morning until end of march is cleaning time.  Please bring rakes and brooms.
  • Question:  When is trash day?
  • Movement to have a meeting about trash situation, can we take trash somewhere else.
  • Idea that we could go to Summit Station and ask about a dumpster.  Don’t put trash in library dumpsters that are near YWCA, we know that for sure we can’t do.
  • Bottom liner for trash cleanup tomorrow:  Maia  336-392-6059
  • Can everybody take a couple bags tonight.
  • Emphasize that at Friday’s GA we’re going to talk about these things—issues of camping/decamping, etc., so if you care about these issues, there will be more discussion, so please come.

PROPOSAL #4 December 10th for Underemployment March.

  • Happens to also be International Human Rights Day.
  • Is it a holiday?
  • Agreement that December 10th is a tentative date, but the march group will take these things into account.

PROPOSAL #5 Dance party.

  • Can we make it a cleaning party and a dance party?
  • Perhaps have a local band.
  • Security needs.
  • Police are around and know what’s going on.
  • We can just do it the same way we do all our other events, which is to assume good intent.
  • Julia will bottomline dance party: juliamkimmel@gmail.com.
  • Dance party needs speakers.
  • Question: We’re decamping Sunday at noon, so will GA still be here?
  • Response:  Yes, GA will be here after tent removal before noon, and Val’s revisioning session will be here too.
  • This was a great meeting, can we just clap for that?  There was applause.  Meeting closed.