We went over ground rules, chose a stack taker and note taker.
Then started with the agenda:
We split into pairs to answer the question, What do you want to help Occupy Greensboro accomplish? Everyone wrote answers on sticky notes.
People read off one of their sticky notes to the whole group and gave it to Val, who put it on the board at the front of the room, separating the notes into categories. After everyone had gone at least once, folks read their second or third sticky note.
The grand list of sticky notes:
- Push for a democratic budgeting process in Greensboro.
- Public financing of elections.
- Democratic consensus process replication in every community and organization, civic and religious community in the city. Purpose: practice having a voice again.
- Protest DNC in Charlotte.
- Engage all our federal reps–accountable to our goals.
- Change the national conversation from bigger government or smaller government to good government/best in class government.
- Hold our systems accountable.
- Secure constitutional rights, freedom, and democracy.
- Alternative health care included in insurance.
- As a community, shift away from depending on pharmaceuticals and toward naturopathy.
- Universal healthcare.
- Understanding where our energy comes from and putting a stop to mountain top removal (and education about mountain top removal).
- Respect the environment.
- Public transportation/alternatives to oil.
- Make greensboro a resilient community that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.
- Have peaceful protests/teach-in surrounding keystone xl pipeline.
- Advocate food justice, especially with public school gardening.
- Protect natural resources.
- Help organize teach-ins.
- Getting students more involved in the community.
- Create a new educational system that is based on mutual aid and collaboration.
- Participate in strategic planning or thinking related to teach-ins. Visioning what we’d like to see.
- Educate and empower youth.
- Teach-ins: I want to help OG to learn and increase skills, increase collective knowledge base—skills and analysis.
- Engaging more veterans into our movement.
- Outreach to get community members talking about occupy and feeling connected even if they are not actively involved.
- Focus message, goals and supporting objectives into elevator speech. Cut sheet with 7-8 points.
- Make more people aware of occupy gso and what its about. College campus outreach.
- Build better relationship with labor.
- To help save the public postal service.
- Advocate for the voices of our youth (children).
- Impact through art. What we lack in numbers we can make up for in creativity.
- Radical puppetry.
- I would like to focus on telling individual stories of the 99% and events of this movement through video, still pictures, multimedia.
- Health and music.
- Undoing racism.
- Create new markets with innovative progresive ideas.
- Socializing the endowment of colleges.
- Stop home foreclosure.
- Disappear militarism.
- Beautify this space (Al’s).
- Analyze current strategies, develop cohesive democratic state and national movement.
- Create our own media.
- Support social change (nonviolent)
- Maintain conversation on how to make the movement specifically practical.
- More empowered/empowering facilitation.
- Create a list of guiding principles that can be infused with our ground rules.
- Build a new transition community-“Ready for Action”
- Society where everyone counts and contributes, even the differently-abled
- I want this to be a movement that is transformative on these levels: Personal, Interpersonal, Community, The World (Transformative in the sense of untying oppressive knots, and giving us ways to move together to be truly self-organizing)
- Create a democratic new society-bottom line: community (harmony through diversity)
We self-organized into groups around these categories. Each group discussed these questions:
—What resources do I have/ do we have that will help us accomplish this goal?
—What resources do I/we need in order to accomplish this goal?
—What competencies do I/we have that will help us accomplish this goal?
—What competencies do I/we need to in order to accomplish this goal?
—What processes do we have that will help us to accomplish this goal democratically?
—What processes do we need that will help us to accomplish this goal democratically?
5 minute break. We played anarchist volleyball.
Report backs from groups:
- We’re forming a new working group around teach-ins.
- We’ll be keeping in touch with each other.
- At some point starting a listserv.
- Meeting this Thursday at 5:30.
- Lots of people in the group have tools, someone has a body shop.
- There was discussion of worker-owned cooperatives, ending foreclosure. (Def’n of cooperative: workers own it, which means one vote per person, not one share per person. Workers hire and fire management, not the other way around.)
- Discussed the three-part approach to movements: resistance, advocacy, DIY. The DIY aspect is that we don’t want to ask someone else to do things for us.
- Want to pick 3-5 local issues that are connected to national issues and do a campaign.
- Develop some material that does some analysis.
- A people’s court, or tribunal to hold banks accountable.
- We have access to time, internet, and some history around what OGSO has been doing so far.
- We’re starting with emailing each other to get to know one another.
- We’ll call John Kernodle about external alliance building.
- We want to make a goals list and a list of information.
- Reaching out to other occupy groups, specifically Raleigh.
- Swapping information and documents.
- Doing a teach-in on energy.
- There’s a wealth of knowledge about large scale energy and dependence on fossil fuels.
- Promoting public transit, maybe creating a forum.
- Young people thnk they’re too cool to ride bikes/take buses, could work with greek organizations on campuses to host forums.
- We’re motivated, have manpower/womanpower.
- Create a dropbox online for people to put photos and films into.
- Meet ½ an hour before each GA to talk about techniques—folks who are specialized in mediums can give crash courses on lighting, etc. How to record people’s stories.
- Talk to folks in OGSO who have specialties.
- Create a relationship with media.
- There’s a zine working group.
- Art/lit about local occupy and occupy wall street that doesn’t require access to the internet.
- Long list of resources we have.
- Want to make a really, really free market
- Possibly an outdoor festival with social groups or organizations in greensboro.
- Or indoors in the winter, or a tailgate market.
- Neighborhood caucuses for occupy greensboro.
- Developing communication and conflict resolution skills.
- Locating spaces to get together in our neighborhoods.
- Language accessibility is a big issue, we need a visible process for translation.
- Picking people at the end of each GA to act as facilitators, childcare, interpreters and carpooling coordinators (2 of each).
- Going to where people are the most comfortable and willing to be most vulnerable.
- Doing a skills inventory, and creating some kind of searchable database that we can use to get in contact with folks who have different skills.
After report-backs there was a long discussion about what we should do next—stick to the agenda or do some kind of whole group discussion about why we came to occupy greensboro… the idea of a mission statement came up, but there was a fair amount of opposition to the idea. There is a proposal (to be presented at Tuesday’s GA) to do visioning next Sunday.
I didn’t take great notes because I was involved in the conversation, but here’s a list of ideas that came up that I was sort of able to get down:
- Idea of a council of working groups.
- Ed’s declaration is like points of unity, maybe there could be revision around that.
- There are 1800 people on the facebook page, how do we have a large conversation including as many folks as possible?
- We could discuss something like mission statement/points of unity, and the discussion would probably range from should we have one, to what should it be.
- How can we build a group analysis of what’s happening in society—perhaps through teach-ins.
- These are all teach-in ideas.
- Organizations are different from movements. Organizations have mission statements, in movements we need to engage in a level of flexibility while watching processes unfold.
- Someone really liked open spaces and was excited, how do we have more of that?
- How can we get back to the big picture, for example how do we relate to elections.
- How can we go back and forth between the specifics and the big picture?
- Discussion about historical and comparative things…
- Greater questioning of structure and society
- How to reinvigorate the language that we need.
- Changing Sunday to conversations and large picture work.
We broke from this discussion to go back to our groups for about ten minutes.