G.A. Meeting Minutes 12/11/11

GA @ Al’s bookstore
1206 Grove Street, Greensboro, NC 27403
Sunday, 12/11/11 4-6pm


Maria facilitated, and John took stack.

Approx. 30 participants


For discussion:
# Michael – the upcoming Left Forum at Pace University in New York
# Al – the inclusion of an intermission halfway through GAs
# Al – that active working groups have a responsibility to update Occupy Greensboro on their progress on Sundays.
# Mo – connecting with groups outside of Occupy Greensboro for actions [this topic was tabled for next meeting]

No Proposals

No Announcements

 Proposals that reached consensus:

We reached consensus that:
Active working groups have a responsibility to send a representative to give a “report-back” to Occupy Greensboro at each Sunday GA. These report-backs are not to be time-consuming run-downs, but are meant to promote face-to-face engagements, and facilitate the process of adding new members to working groups.

We agreed that a short intermission each hour allowing for informal conversations wih neighbors is a good idea.

Notetaker: Tom Burwell – tom123b@gmail.com


Discussion about working group “report-backs”

# Tom – asked what does physical presence of working group member accomplish that an e-mail update to be read out by the faciliator does not?”
# Ed – face-to-face allows for question and answers, higher level of engagement, and for social interaction
# Andrew – a lot of communication gets lost through the filter of e-mail

# Mo – suggests a friendly amendment that working groups meet immediately before or after GAs in which multiple members are present

# Ed – cites two examples in which communication has been an issue. 1) someone representing Occupy Greensboro attended a videoconference involving a state-wide coalition, which the Occupy Greensboro GA had not been told about. 2) there was a recent discussion involving the role of media in the Occupy movement, which the GA was not told about
# Michael – having report-backs at GAs helps the rest of the group stay plugged-in to what’s going on
# Mo # Andrew # Susan – ask about repercussions for working groups that don’t give report-backs or don’t show up
# Trish – more a community building measure–meant as encouragement, not punishment
# Mark – discussion mediated by the internet is not the same as community
# Todd – lack of engagement with the group can lead to disunity
# Jim – the warmth of sharing provides energy to the group

We pass consensus that “Active working groups have a responsibility to send a representative to give a “report-back” to Occupy Greensboro at each Sunday GA. These report-backs are not to be time-consuming run-downs, but are meant to promote face-to-face engagements, and facilitate the process of adding new members to working groups.”


We pass the People’s Bank. Dave and Ed explain that we use donations to pay Al $50 a week for providing us with the space for GAs.


Discussion about the Left Forum in March @ Pace University in New York

# Michael – The Left Forum is a three day event, diverse group of activists, union-workers, political ideologies, academics, etc.
– the theme this year is “Occupy the System: Confronting Global Capitalism”
– what does the group think about sending a “Greensboro Panel” to inform and enlighten others about what Occupy is like in the south.

# Ed – should Occupy Greensboro align itself with an event specifically labeled “left”? Would the panel be giving a descriptive account of Occupy Greensboro or are we discussing the possibility of it speaking on behalf of Occupy Greensboro?
# Michael – The panel would give a descriptive account. The purpose is to spread information, not necessarily form allegiances.
# Trish – the goal of the forum is to create change to the system, which is the same goal as Occupy. The forum could lead to informative discussions with people from different political views. Promoting healthy communication can only help the goals of Occupy.
# Dave – Occupy should be moving past right-left divisions
# Michael responding to # Marie – One person would present information at the conference. A group could work to create a presentation.
# Ed – we should be open to discussion about corrupt centralized governments. We should be ready to do damage control explaining why Occupy would be at a “Left” forum. There is a need to stay grounded in reality.
# Tiffany – Affiliations within Occupy can be seen as spiralling out from individuals. Most individuals can tell why they themselves occupy. It would be a good exercise to finish the statement “Occupy Greensboro occupies because ______.”
# Al – Do we have the right to be spokespeople for other occupiers? There is a difference between “This is what I think we’re doing” vs. “This is what we are doing.” Occupy has no spokespeople and no message.
# Michael – The panel is about building community. The group at occupy has built caring for one another. We have to have trust in each other to represent the community we have built. If we can’t tell people what we’re doing, then what are we doing it for?
# Emily – How can a single person be inclusive of everyone? What process do we have for selecting someone?
# Michael – speakers words would be products of the Occupy process.
# Mo – Some groups have drafted Declarations through consensus. Is it possible to consent to each part of a presentation? People could explicitly state they are “reporting back from Occupy Greensboro, and do not represent Occupy Greensboro.”
# Andrew – maybe we could approach the forum with the attitude “this is a description of Occupy Greensboro. It’s incomplete. Question us as individuals about the rest.”
# Trish – we should make sure the group is representative and trust in people’s good intent. “These are four people from the GA. Four others would have a completely different view.”


Reflection on the meeting

# John – better job not repeating what others already said. Still room for improvement
# Trish – better job keeping on stack
# Michael – great meeting. building relationships and feeling much closer to the group.
# Eric – thumbs up for propane heater!
# Todd – child care? would support paid child-care. Could be a way to get funds to someone who needs them
# Al – wonderful meeting. we missed the boat on child-care. It is an absolute necessity.
# Mark – face-to-face communication shows the civil discussion is possible!
# Christine – info about the next really really free market? Does someone have a list of people iwth usable skills in the group?
# Tiffany – intermission worked well. What other steps can we take to increase opportunities for “moments of connection”?
# Dave – what other less official events can we have during the week?
# Michael – meeting to discuss the Left Forum next Sunday 12/18 6pm-7pm, the hour immediately following GA
# Jim – get people to sign up for the instant communication list!
# Andrew – Tuesday 12/13 at 5:30pm continue the GA Process discussion.

Next Meeting:

Mo’s discussion item about connecting with groups outside of Occupy Greensboro for actions is to be discussed first on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting is at 6:30pm and the facilitation team is:
Mark – facilitator
Todd – stack
Lori – notes