General Assembly: December 2, 2011

General Assembly Friday 12/2/2011
Glenwood Coffee and Books
6:30-8:30 pm (Approximately–started and ended a little late)

Facilitator: Tiffany Holland
Whiteboard notes: Andrew
Stack taker: Jeremy
Timekeeper: Mark Spitzer
No childcare provided

Agenda:

  • Go over ground rules
  • Announcements
  • Working group report backs
  • Proposals:
    • NCAE boycott of Art Pope’s businesses
    • Working group against death penalty
    • Civil liberties day of action
    • Direct action “mini-series” (aka mini-conference)
  • Discussion points
    • Port solidarity
    • large physical calendar
    • agreeing to minutes at end of meeting

Announcements:

  • Cakalak Thunder coming on Sunday but late because of a gig.
  • Rapid communication: Jim D. (artteacher33@yahoo.com) handed out forms to get more contact information
  • GA process discussion on Sunday (12/4) at 3 pm at Glenwood Coffee and Books
  • Unemployment/underemployment march will be December 10th at 11:30 am. Will march from the downtown library to government plaza.  The march will include unions, immigrant justice activists, and will have both Spanish and Sign Language interpreters.  They are looking for people to provide rides for folks who don’t have transportation.  (Contact Amanda at ajhuber89@gmail.com)
  • Mo and Dave sat in on Charlotte’s General Assembly. They still have a camp, and probably won’t be evicted anytime soon. They have a good relationship with the recently elected city council. It was good to see other ways people run GAs.
  • Education and enrichment working group (which is not just teach-ins) is looking for ways to have meetings and sessions where people are as well as at Al’s. The next meeting of the working group is at 12:30 on Tuesday at Glenwood Coffee and Books.
  • Foreclosure working group is having a call-in on Tuesday, December 6th at 3 pm. Calling Roy Cooper’s office against agreement that would let banks mostly off the hook. Scripts will be available at Glenwood Coffee and Books. This will be combined with a robot-building party to protest robosigning. Will be fun.
  • Also Foreclosure Working Group meeting at Howard Coble’s office at 11 am on Thursday, December 8th.
  • Jean and Julia went to a rally in Charlotte for temporary protection from deportation for those who could have been eligible for the Dream Act if it had passed. The rally focused on telling stories to humanize what is going on. The rally was organized by El Cambio and United for the Dream. Very relevant to Occupy Greensboro, since immigrants are suffering a lot from unemployment.
  • The Democrazine wants submissions. They can be political, but don’t have to be. Not sure about color capability, so submit in black and white if possible. Next meeting at 4 pm on Tuesday, December 6 at Al’s.
  • Duke Energy working group meeting Saturday, December 3 at 5:30 pm. A group went to the public hearing, where Duke Power folks were jerks.
  • Mo will create a big physical calendar, which she hopes people will use at Al’s. Jean will donate a whiteboard.
  • There is an El Cambio congress in Yadkinville on December 17-18 at the Days Inn. It will include telling your story workshops. Contact Jean R or Julia K for information.
  • There is a benefit show at the Blind Tiger and sponsored by Natty Greene’s OGSO on Wednesday, December 7–big line up, will probably bring in a thousand dollars for OGSO. All ages show, lots of different cool bands (Max brought two flyers, and this information is posted on Facebook). $5 entry, $2 drinks. They need people to help cook hot dogs and veggie dogs. Art group offered to help. Dave offered to copy flyers and bottom-line an info table at the event. Ed is going to talk about the movement at the event. Contact Max S, maxwellasilver@gmail.com.

Proposals:

  • Dave R made a proposal for Occupy Greensboro to express solidarity with the NCAE boycott of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. businesses. These businesses are run by Art Pope, who spends a lot of money trying to undermine, among other things, public education. There was a lot of discussion, including about how to implement the boycott, and whether the press release should use the phrase “extreme right-wing candidates,” whether most people see vouchers as harmful or not, and how we can provide help and education to those who would shop at these stores otherwise. Someone noted that it is okay to start small sometimes. Others suggested that Occupy Greensboro is bigger than this boycott. Many noted that teachers are under attack and could use our support. Someone suggested that, beyond the effect of the boycott itself, we should think about the effect on the teachers of knowing that we are on their side. And that teachers have supported OWS. In the end, people agreed that, while the implementation ideas noted were good ideas, this particular boycott is a boycott organized by the NCAE (an affiliate of the National Education Association, and the closest thing North Carolina has to a labor union for teachers), not by Occupy Greensboro. We don’t know NCAE’s plans for implementation yet. So for now express support, and if people want to do more, they can.
  • Trish K proposed that we form a working group to organize a march against the death penalty. The Racial Justice Act is about to be repealed. The death penalty mainly punishes the poor. During the discussion, someone mentioned that People of Faith Against the Death Penalty is about to call for a complete moratorium of the death penalty, and that OGSO should reach out to them right away if this proposal passes. Someone also said that it is important to do this as Occupy, even though we need to work with other activists. The proposal passed.
  • Trish K also made a proposal to endorse the coordination of a national day of action to defend civil liberties. There was discussion about whether this needed endorsement. Many points were made about our ability to work with activists everywhere, and someone noted that we are as much Occupy Everywhere as Occupy Greensboro. Others suggested that the proposal made sense if the goal was to be able to tell this national group that they could count on support from people in Greensboro. After much discussion, came to consensus to pass the proposal.
  • Valerie W proposes what she called a “direct action mini-series.” This would have multiple steps, including a long teach-in (she estimated 4-8 hours) on the history of direct action and existing knowledge about direct action strategies, a self-evaluation of what OGSO has accomplished so far (about 4-8 hours), and strategizing about direct actions we can do based on visioning sessions we’ve had (4-8 hours). This would include prioritizing and analyzing our current plans for direct action. There were many voices of support. Someone mentioned that her friend from NY was coming down around Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and could do a mini teach-in on New York’s direct action training and planning. Suggestions were made to keep the mini-series accessible to newcomers and those who can’t devote the whole day. Maybe a conference on MLK weekend. Maybe a march that weekend, too.  Suggestion was raised for this to be a working group. Val said she would find a time for a working group to meet and would post it.

Proposals that reached consensus:

  • Occupy Greensboro will support the NCAE boycott of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. Dave read the relevant press release aloud at the meeting.
  • There will be a working group to organize a march to abolish the death penalty.

Notetaker contact info: Maria R rosmarster@gmail.com

Final announcements

  • There is a Bank of America shareholder meeting on May 6 in Charlotte.  People are already thinking about how to target this meeting. The first planning meeting will be December 8 from 11-12:30 in Charlotte. If you are interested, contact Elena E, 919-413-1276.
  • Trish and Jim are planning to work on a proposal to do something in solidarity with port closures. Trish has a list from Longview and Tacoma of things people who don’t live near a port can do, which can form a starting point for that discussion.
  • During reflection, much appreciation was offered for all the hard work everyone is doing.

Next Meeting:

In the parking lot of ideas were: 
–economic alternatives to discount stores
–education on economic dynamics of discount stores
–cooperatives
–“boycott everything”
–more clarity on GA process for endorsing going ahead with an idea before it is fully hashed out
–question of autonomy versus risk of degenerating into individualism

Next meeting:
–Trish will facilitate
–Mo will keep stack
–Andrew will take notes