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Occupy Greensboro Supports The Saving American Democracy Amendment; Seeks to Overturn Citizens United

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 19, 2012

Contact: press@occupygreensboro.org

On February 12, the General Assembly of Occupy Greensboro reached consensus on a proposal to endorse the Saving American Democracy Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Mark Begich of Alaska. Member signatures and addresses were collected for letters being sent to North Carolina’s Senators and Congressman representing local districts. On February 17, letters were mailed to Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, and Congress members Howard Coble, Brad Miller and Mel Watt. A sample letter follows:

– – – – –

Dear Congress member,

On February 12, the people of Occupy Greensboro reached consensus in support of 112th CONGRESS, 1st Session, S. J. RES. 33, commonly known as The Saving American Democracy Amendment, which was sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Mark Begich of Alaska. We support this effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, to deny the existence of corporate personhood, and to fully enable legislative bodies to regulate campaign contributions. Clearly, this is not the end of the discussion on these issues, but passing this amendment would be an important visible step to remove the distorting and corrupting effects that corporate contributions have on both our electoral and legislative processes. We hope you will join us and place your support behind this initiative.

We support the efforts of those Members of Congress and Senators who truly work on behalf of the 99%. The members of Occupy Greensboro wish you a successful and productive session and thank you for your work representing the people of North Carolina.

Respectfully,
Signatures

General Assembly: February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Facilitator: Valerie
Notes: Dave
Stack: Donya

Valerie reminds us that we used to be more clear and intentional about the Ground Rules. We clearly went over the GR’s.

Agenda

  • Ground Rules:
    Assume good intent of everyone;
    We don’t talk over each other;
    Step Up/Step Up;
    Try not to restate what others have said if you agree with it.;
    Remember this is a work in process. By committing to it and providing positive feedback, we will refine it.;
    If someone experiences oppressive language or behavior, please bring it up so we can deal with it then. This space is committed to being a supportive one.;
    Hand signals are gone over.

Announcements

  • Website: In process. and will be online soon.
  • Graphic Design-focused Facebook page is online.
  • Finance Working Group needs to clarify reimbursement procedures
  • There may be funding for Occupy Organizers available from some Unions. Interested people directed to Facebook group.
  • OGSO Banner was discussed briefly.
  • Energy Working Group meeting tomorrow may be postponed.

Proposals

  • Participatory Budgeting at City Council: OGSO’s Tuesday GA will begin at 7pm. Carpool to City Council will leave GC&B at 5pm. The GA has not yet heard a proposal to endorse PB. This time change is only to allow those interested in PB to be able to be at City Council. CONSENSED
  • Support work Greenpeace and other groups are doing around Duke Energy: Greenpeace’s letter to Duke Energy will be posted to the OGSO Website. TABLED – Letter can go up on the Facebook Group.

Discussions

  • Outreach
  • Long-term vision of OGSO movement.
  • Statement about the City Council vote on resolution related to Amendment 1.

General Assembly: February 12, 2012

Facilitator: Thomas
Stack Keeper: Maria
Notes: Tiffany

Announcements & Working Group Report Backs

  • Last Tuesday the City Council approved a resolution to oppose the North Carolina Amendment 1, the Marriage Discrimination Amendment that will be on the ballot May 8th. Those who voted for the resolution totally believe in equal rights. You can go to the Greensboro website and see the entire meeting, or just agenda item #33, which was the item about the amendment. We might consider taking this resolution to the County Commissioners.
  • Saturday, February 25th statewide General Assembly in Raleigh. Have a van that fits 15, and only 8 seats have been taken so far. Passed around sign-up but can also contact Jim at artteacher33@yahoo.com.
  • February 21st is the next City Council meeting. At that meeting an agenda item is about Participatory Budgeting. PB will be addressed as speakers from the floor in the early part of the council meeting. A PB Information Session will be at the bookstore next Sunday at 2pm.
  • The Inside Job, and hour and half documentary. Jane has the movie and is looking for those who are interested in a viewing.
  • Energy Working Group: Canvassing every Sunday 2-4 in the Glenwood neighborhood. Meeting every other Wednesday at 7 pm until 8:30. Next meeting this Wednesday.
  • Art/Media/Communication WG: We are starting a flyering effort. Al is bottomlining the distribution of flyers, so contact him if you have time to put these up and around. We are also revisiting the yard signs idea, possible sign-making party and getting those distributed. Jo is looking into this. Jim is going to be the bottomliner to correspond with other movements.
  • Foreclosure WG: Meets at Spring Garden Bakery at 8:30 in the mornings on Thursdays. Plugging the viewing of the movie at the Carolina Theater on March 14th. Event will give audience education and ways to plug in to fight foreclosure. Please post and repost the trailer and promotional material for the event.
  • Collective Access/Anti-Oppression WG: We had more conversations about safety and the bookstore and the Electricity Fund. Next meeting Friday at 5:30.
  • Transition Greensboro: Piedmont/Triad Sustainability Project. Looking at regional plans and issues about jobs and transportation. They have several working groups that people can get involved in. Contact Kathe at transitiongreensboro@gmail.com.
  • Tuesday 14th at 2 pm, Keystone Pipeline protest. Going to Kay Hagan’s office on Green Valley to oppose her support. Contact Julia for more info juliamkimmel@gmail.com.
  • Die Capital!, Conner Maclean’s performance. Thanks to those who got that to happen here.
  • Thank all the occupiers who marked on HKonJ. Rousing success. New solidarity brewing.

Proposals

  • Proposal for OGSO to support of Bernie Saunders’ Senate Resolution 33, US Amendment to End Corporate Personhood; get government to regulate corporate spending in elections, thereby overturning Citizens’ United. Letters to Sens. Hagan and Burr, Reps. Coble and Miller expressing this support are written and will be sent; amended to include Rep. Watt. CONSENTED
  • Proposal for May Day March and Working Group. The “working group [will] serve as the foundation for building a coalition with local immigrant rights groups, labor unions, and various other community organizations.” Contact Julie at designedbyjs@gmail.com. CONSENTED
  • Proposal for OGSO to accept the “Charlotte Principles” (similar to a “points of unity” statement) developed by the Coalition to Protest the DNC for the purpose of working with the Coalition. TABLED UNTIL TUESDAY (TALK ABOUT DNC)

Discussions These were tabled due to lack of time following the proposal discussions.

  • Chapel Hill Talk Back. TABLED
  • Unity Proposal for coalition via FB for Occupy groups in NC. TABLED
  • Statement of thanks to city council. TABLED
  • Tuesday meeting time. TABLED

Next Meeting (Tuesday @ 6:30pm)
Facilitator: Valerie
Stack Keeper: Donya
Notes: Dave

Sunday Meeting @ 4:00pm
Facilitator: Marnie
Stack Keeper: Andrew
Notes: Kim

General Assembly: February 7, 2012

Paul had the honor of being this evening’s facilitator, and Al had the honor of taking the minutes. Donya was the stack keeper, someone pointing out that stack-keeper was the best experience to become an Occupy General Assembly facilitator. This evening’s was an abbreviated general assembly (G.A.), 6:30—7:30, because Sunday’s G.A. consented to Tuesday’s leaving early to attend the Greensboro City Council meeting, in order to urge the elected officials to vote for a resolution to oppose the Discriminatory Amendment to the N. C. Constitution on May 8, Amendment # 1.

The G. A. began with the Ground Rules, after a brief Check-In.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: [And please remember that this record is merely the reflection of one member and in no way a perfect or “official” recording.]

  • The NAACP is providing a bus to the Raleigh March February 11, “Jobs for Justice.”
  • Ed’s Saturday Morning Teach-in, on Co-operatives, has been postpond (because of the afore-mentioned march);
  • There will be a Winston-Salem Public Forum on the recent N. C. Legislature’s toxic behavior, this Thursday Night, 7 o’clock, 1st Baptist Church;
  • Terl can’t to Finance fund-raising anymore.
  • Duke Energy has been paid $448.21, the entire amount due, of S.’s electricity bill, an obligation undertaken by OGSO when we were at the “Y” tenting grounds in October!
  • The City Council Event (see above) was reviewed.

DISCUSSION: There being no “proposals,” the G. A. went into “Discussion,” and there was only one discussion in this shortened meeting. Dave introduced a full report on the altercation at Glenwood Coffee & Books continued on the parking lot outside with a neighbor. This neighbor was inebriated and extremely hostile and threatening, Dave reported, his testimony backed up by the other witness and victim of this behavior, Maureen. The neighbor’s behavior was grounds for a charge of “criminal assault.” All participated in the discussion, which was also referred to the Collective Process/Anti-Oppression and other groups for further debriefing and deliberation. Al declared that, by request and after due consideration, he was going to tell this neighbor that he was no longer welcome in the coffee/bookshop, in addition to changing the locks; there was no lack of consensus or disagreement with this otherwise unilateral declaration, unilateral because those affected were a paid employee of the shop and its most serious volunteer, in addition to being Occupy G. A. members, and they were engaged in bookshop business when the assault took place, it being Al’s responsibility to provide a safe space.

Respectfully submitted,
AL

General Assembly: February 5, 2012

Facilitator: John K.
Stackkeeper: Bobbie
Board notetaker: Trish
Notetaker: Audrey

Announcements/Working Group Reports
Reminder that Sunday is designated day for working groups to report back to G.A.

  • Left Forum WG: proposal accepted by New York organizers, March 12. We have until Feb. 10th to make changes to program so if interested in giving feedback to facilitator on Occupy Greensboro panel, Cindy, do so soon. No panel like Occupy GSO, specific report from a Southern city. See Cindy or Michael for more information.
  • Glenwood Coffee & Books: Please put all chairs and tables back where they were after OGSO meetings. Die Capital! performances next Friday at 7:30 pm, and Saturday at 8 pm, $7. Well received so far, very funny, written by Connor.
  • Conference call report back: Today in conference call with other Occupiers around US concerning non-violence and diversity of tactics & want info about where we thought Occupy movement should go as a whole.

  • Collective Access/Anti-Oppression group: Friday meeting, 5:30 pm: Coalition work with Foreclosure group. Research to gather, organizing toward showing of film.
  • Foreclosure Working Group: Short film premiere scheduled for March 14th at 7 pm at the Carolina Theatre. Draft program passed around. Meetings are Thursday morning at 8:30 at Spring Garden Bakery. We need more help to make this event have hundreds of people show up. Need someone to bottom line a “Story Corps”-like project, which will collect people’s stories about foreclosures.See Todd, Marnie, Dave or Mo for more information.
  • City Council item announcement: At Tuesdays City Council meeting two things of interest will be up for discussion and vote. Council will vote on a resolution to oppose Amendment 1 (which seeks to more narrowly define marriage and legally recognized relationships in the state). It iss item 33 of 35. Also, authorization of a task force around Trash Policy will be discussed as item 35.
  • Anyone interested in organizing around opposition to potential war with Iran, contact Jo at perpelone@gmail.com.
  • Art/Media/Communication Working Group: Group met before G.A. and made progress on web-site restructuring authorized at last week’s G.A. We hope to launch the redesigned site by February 14. More info in next few days/weeks. Also Occupy Greensboro’s General Assembly Facebook group will be renamed Occupy Greensboro Open Forum. We will have a separate Facebook page titled “Occupy Greensboro” to better mirror the websites content and event announcements.
  • Civil Liberties Working Group: Group met on Thursday with just 2 people. We need people to show up. Next meeting: Thursday 5:30pm.
  • Energy Working Group 7% Duke rate increase passed. Can be repealed by NC Supreme Court. It has been appealed, doing research about this. Another 2-3:30 pm meet every other week, bi-monthly Feb. 15, 7 pm next meeting
  • Employment Working Group: 8 members on Sat, 9:30 am, next Sat. same time. 1) Idea of co-op idea, “Greensboro Technology Cooperative”, discussed, explored new ways of looking at employment. 2) Questionable behavior of city when it comes to economic development. Preparing a presentation to city council; hard to get info; seems only 1 person is responsible for economic development funds. 3) Interested in getting support of City Council for work cooperatives. We will have a workshop presentation on cooperative business development next week.
  • Occupy UNCG: Statewide protest on February 10 at 8am in Chapel Hill over UNC system tuition hike. Important vote taking place to increase tuition in NC system universities. Carpools being organized. In 2006 NC legislature passed a law, can only raise tuition 6.5%. This vote is to override that. See Juan or Thomas for more information.
  • Heath Neighborhood Association meets on 3rd Thursday of every month.
  • Enrichment and Education Working Group: Info packet available soon to help create teach-in events. Creating contact list dealing with subject matter on which the teach-in is focused. Putting together survey for Occupy members – what would you like to learn, and what are you able to teach? And handing surveys to different folks from different organizations. See Isabell or Christian for more information.
  • Anyone interested in working on May Day related actions focused on building coalition with other immigrant right and worker’s groups, come to meeting next Sunday. See Julie or Juan for more information.
  • Anyone interested in organizing a creative fun action related to Valentine’s Day, see Mo for more information. There may be something already in the works around Amendment #1.
  • Historic Thousands on J (HKonJ) is in Raleigh, Feb. 11. People meeting up at 9 am for carpool. See Maria for more information.
  • Emergency Power Fund issue: $450 has been raised for an individual’s electric bill. Al will get money to Duke Energy on behalf of family, electricity for first time in five months.
  • Reading Group: Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is available at Glenwood Coffee & Books. There is a lending program for those who can’t purchase. Meeting is February 23 at 3:30pm. See Trish for more details.

Proposals

  • OGSO should endorse the “We Are” Campaign opposing Amendment #1. CONSENTED
  • OGSO should be represented at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. This GA will be one hour long (from 6:30-7:30pm) to allow folks to go to the City Council meeting. Carpool will happen at 7:30 from Glenwood Coffee & Books. CONSENTED

Discussions

  • Direction of the national OWS movement
  • Outreach (tabled)

Next Sunday’s GA
Stack: Maria
Facilitator: Tom
Notetaker: Tiffany

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