General Assembly Minutes: 18/10/2011 7pm
Minute Taker: Tina
GA called to order: 7pm
Tech tent is up and running. We need people constantly on the livestream. Today we had about 140 people watching. You can say anything you want, no censorship.
Hannah (this evening’s facilitator) describes process meeting. Would be good to have everyone familiar with this process. Parking lot facilitator is for interesting issues that come right now but can’t be discussed immediately, due to time constraints.
Gives quick summary of hand movements.
Block is really serious disagreement, something that would jeopardize the entire occupy/what we stand for.
Agenda: Dale farm, feedback from working groups, read out initial statement, reasons why we’re all here, what we’re doing as a movement, what are we as an occupation going to do this week, shout-outs and announcement section.
Jake gives feedback from Dale farm. As a travellers’ community, they live in Essex, they’re being evicted from their homes for ridiculous and spurious reasons. They’re being evicted starting tomorrow. If there’s enough support shown, physical stopping of bailifs coming through the roads, we can stop it. They’re bringing a minibus out tonight after GA. Are there enough people? If 15 or 20 people came down it would make a massive difference to them, and it wouldn’t take that much energy from here. Can also take a train from Liverpool street.
Feedback from working groups (1.5 minutes each)
Little bit less press today in broadcast media, there will be a piece on us in Newsnight tonight (future, how we link up with other actions), Guardian flashmob today, Guardian journalist staying with us tonight. We sent out a press release yesterday, if you have any acts of kindness to report, come and see us. Please bear in mind a lot of overlap between press and media. Need creative banner makers. Tomorrow, we’ll be linking up with Frankfurt and Wall Street occupation in a live link (text conversation). The full transcript will be shown on the Guardian website. Each person from working group, please submit a few questions.
Church Liaison (Ronan)
Yesterday a couple of us met with Canon Giles Frasier. They’re very pleased to support our right to protest. Having us as new neighbours put a few extra difficulties on them. Can we be empowered to send a message of thanks, to keep t he space as tidy and clean as possible. Quick notes: in terms of the steps, because St Paul’s is completely unfunded (they make their money from tourists to visit), we ask that the steps be clear. We are working with them in terms of noise. Time of services are on board. Generally, they can facilitate us but cannot be helping us, e.g. providing electricity for us. Any enquiries, come to info desk, they have numbers for people in the church liaison group.
Recycling and general waste (Venus)
Take the time to read the signs. Police and recycling gave us 3 bins. Please recycle very consciously. Paper cups are not recyclable. Urge you to bring your own plates, cups, cutlery. Recycling should be the last option. If people are peeing in bottles, please do not put them in our bins. This is the absolute end of our very generous contract with the city council to give us this bin. It’ll cost them a fortune to decontaminate our rubbish. Take them home, far away, not here.
Info tent is portal. If you’re in a working group, please inform us where you are. Info group needs volunteers really urgently. If you can spare an hour to be trained, that would be much appreciated.
Peter: squashcampaign.org save our squatting.
International outreach (): we’re creating a working group to get in touch with different assemblies around the world, trying to figure which platform to use. Will be meeting at info point after GA.
University group (Manuela)
Every single day we’ll be having a lecture at 6pm that will last for half an hour, followed by a discussion. If you have speakers to suggest, please e-mail us at email@example.com Imperialism and war”. Today’s lecture was really well attended. Tomorrow’s lecture is on neoliberalism and the crisis.
Outreach and publicity
Leaflet contains contacts. Will have thousands ready, printed by tomorrow evening. We meet under capitalism is crisis banner. Will be organising outreach event Saturday afternoon with speakers, music and poetry.
Hannah asks volunteer to come up and read the statement. Two members of the crowd come up, alternating points in the statement.
There have been a lot of worries today about the way people have been acting in the evenings some times. Some people cause noise, others want to sleep. This is something we’d like to sort out. Someone suggests turning the bells off (going off every 15 minutes). Someone mentions that a couple of nights ago, very offensive words were heard. We thought a fight was breaking out. Don’t strain our relationship with the CofE please. Lack of sleep has affected levels of productivity. Camp will be really low key is this continues. Maybe logistically, it doesn’t make sense to have it right next to the steps. Have curfew after 11pm? We need to ensure that the health of this occupation keeps going. Process suggests formation of new work group, called something like Tranquility, to help organise this.
Discussion Theme: What shall we do this week
How to include others in feeling part of this occupation even they might not be here now. Some people have been doing an early morning protest outside the offices, just standing with their placards. Have a bigger demonstration or some kind of direct action? Want to include the struggle of Palestine into the demands of the occupation. Good to mention that we are with our sisters and brothers in Palestine. We support the boycott of Israeli goods. How to include young people, mention something about young people in our statement. Against police illegality etc. List of working group members to make it easier to organise the working groups.
Prepare for the rain and the snow, make things winterised. Call out for pallettes, carpets, staple-guns etc. Could we have more connection with Wall Street. Halloween party 31st outside Bank of England(?) Two independent film people, taking this to the media centre. Have random acts of kindness, look out for some of the quieter ones, who are a bit shyer in coming forward.
Outreach. Having information so we can reach out to tourists, average people out there and bankers. Have a welcome space for visitors. Direct action. Canary Wharf, local shops, finance institutions. Utilise skills and knowledge that we have, e.g. people from Uncut. To be effective, have skill shares about direct action. If we have to leave this space, we will resist but also need to have a plan B. We need some kind of respect group to look at issues of how we relate to each other.
Lots of working groups suggested. Direct action group, to talk about marches. Some people raised the point that ethnicities is degrading in our manifesto. If we can set up some kind of welcoming (goodmorning) committee, have a cup of tea for them, understand a bit more. Be relaxed about our direct demands and honest about our discussions. Make another working group to spread the media that we have (central point from which to spread out).
Political action group to work on forming things like petitions, boycott list etc. Want update on situation with getting money/donations. Update on GA on that. Support the protest against BHP bulletin, happening on Thursday morning, by marching to the protest. Both outreach and showing international solidarity. President of federation of displaced communities by mining will be here tomorrow speaking about this. More outreach throughout the rest of London. Average working group doesn’t meet everyday at 10am. Working group to write for the Huffington Post to write a blogpost collectively. Set up a camp newspaper or radio project to create our own project. Working group to fill out demand statement, i.e. create actual demands from our statement. Post different meeting times/point of working groups on the website.
Emphasise again that the statement we gave out is a manifesto in progress. There are currently two websites, it would be great to unify them, so people know what’s going on. Have smaller groups doing different stuff all around London over the weekend. See if we can get another manifestation together, to see if we can go to another symbolic place in London. Do internal workshops on how to deal about these issues, e.g. recycling. Saturday, make workshops beforehand for people who have not been involved in direct action. Learn (from) what has been done in the past. Think about how to make the GA more varied, so it’s not always the same scheme.
Stand with solidarity with all the prisoners around the world. Prison systems that will jail 16-year old kids. Feel connected to all international movements going on in the world. Communicate with all the groups that groups that connect with us around the world. So lets get involved with the Tent university, lets drive recruitment and reach out to other unions, lets really focus our message so people can relate.
New economics foundation based in London. “Great transition”, new paper out. Should we be asking for a clear definition from banks of what constitutes a bailout. Be very careful from use of social media platforms. Be very careful in what you put on the internet. Tomorrow morning at Blackfriars, 6:45 meeting of students and union members. Connections. We need to look internally, as well as global. Make sure we’re all talking to each other before we reach out. Lets not spread ourselves too thinly. Talk to everyone in the street.
Support the court cases, people arrested here over the weekend. Our demands shouldn’t be too big, i.e. talk all of Britain. Corporation boycott, perhaps Coke? Invite people to the assembly. Get people out there to talk to others. Open letter to politicians. Pick people who can represent every point from our manifesto. Give hugs and flowers.
Make Tent City university material available online. Make the space clear around where people can find their education, e.g. signs. Have aims rather than main points. Have a forum where people can see alternatives. Reach out to people that we know and groups that we know. Invite these over. Cultural groups, e.g. sports, arts, so people can also connect through joy. It’s not all about politics.
Different direct action targets in London. Workshops and facilitation. Decide what we want to change, e.g. IMF. Write PM letter, statement to the media. Shouldn’t jeopardise this space. Have more political discussions of what we do want and more specific ideas. Have an easy-to-understand showing the eye-of-the storm with the example of energy use. Use different spaces, post conversations on youtube.
International outreach. What to communicate. G20 is in two weeks. Start building global demands with other groups? Comedy on block-the-bridge. Have this down here?
Show solidarity to other groups and mutual support. Better call for action. Everyone going out and bringing 5 of their friends so we can get more people involved. International human rights is important thing that we want to be involved with. Occupy has negative connotations? Maybe use solidarity.
By end of the week, we want to decide on 5 concrete actions and policies to address concerns that we have. Echo the publishing of our own media, perhaps newspaper to freely distribute. Get message out about how well we’ve done so far.
Site structure, do we want to make e.g. tents more permanent? Maps so newcomers can see immediately where everythinig is, e.g. via signs.
Plans for action. We need more discussion for where we want to go if we fill this whole area. Attract small time celebrities, have party this Saturday. Alternatives. Put aside 10 minutes a day to discuss this.
Open dialogue about what is appropriate behaviour in the camp relevant to the image we want to project, e.g. use of drugs and alcohol. To be facilitated by the tranquility team. How to host last number of campers over the weekend. Activities for Saturdays to include families, kids, workshops to get people engaged. Learn from other occupations around the world. Get more info about what’s going on in other countries.
Allow room to keep talking and refining the occupy statement. If we make the proposals too specific, this could end up alienating some people because we all have different levels of knowledge on different topics. Do something on Saturday but it must remain on site. Off site actions during the week.
Saturday is important, continue working on refining the message we have. At this stage, keep message broad and open to include more people. Direct action: invite people to come over on Saturday. Skill-sharing board. Possibility of petitions on different issues that people feel close to. Provide information on key issues that people around here have, e.g. transparency. Have information at info point. Issues that the public has been misinformed about. Put screen and projector that can be used for a variety of purposes.
Working groups have autonomy to set their own meeting times. At 11am tomorrow, if people that spoke tonight can meet up and flesh out a proposal for 1pm assembly.
Blackfriars. Meeting with students 6:45 at steps to march with the electricians starting somewhere in the South Bank for magical mystery tour of the city.
Phoenix wanted to mention if art galleries supporting the anti -squatting laws. 2 Tottengham park road. At least 3 weeks long. Emily’s place apparently.
Occupy Judaism. Middle of festival of Sukkot. Live in booths for 7 days. Putting a sukkah, we’ll be there in half an hour. Come and join us.
Nathan (points on yoga), Daniel (healing area). Go to info desk in the morning, we’ll put together some sort of schedule for yoga. Set up a healing area, e.g. reiki, craniosacral therapy. Can come in the evening and some time during the weekend.
Hot soup being served by the kitchen!
Urshin Kevin from UrshinUnite organisation, established 3 years ago. G20 in Canary Wharf. At the time I was thinking about how can we get rid of money? Zai guys movement, Venus project, resource-based economy. Their point is quite fair. Here we can rally during the day, tent between first-aid and supply. Have more discussion about how we can move the occupy forward.
Daniel – debate about central banking. Thursday provisionally around 5pm but he’ll be putting posters around the area.
David Maxwell – crowdsourcing debates near the library, to be confirmed time and date.
Kiki – boycott Israel. Thursday 20th October, 6pm at yulu(?). Show solidarity with Palestinian people, how to make this practically happen. Elan Papay is speaking at this meeting.
Rebeka – stay healthy, if you want to be productive. Leaflet to be handed to people in tents by e.g. nurses etc. Good nutrition, how to keep the cold away etc.
John – word occupy in eyes of general public has negative associations. This issue has to be discussed.
Dennis – there are some placards over at Victoria statue. Council are coming to clean tomorrow morning. City police have asked if we can please take them down and remove them to another part, otherwise the council will take them away. Church has asked for statue to remain clean. Two sets of police: city and metropolitan. City have been absolutely magnificent. We should respect them for that.
Tech point on policing. Head of police liaison is coming down tomorrow. Wants to meet with spokespeople from different groups.
Tina (on behalf of Peter Coville) – include climate change in manifesto. Aims: reform unjust economic system, take urgent action to prevent catastrophic climate change. Supporting points: 98% of scientists agree that we are facing a climate emergency; by including climate in manifesto, we can attract a lot of people who would otherwise not become involved (use their expertise in direct action etc.); economy and climate change are inseparable issues, driven by big business and finance; climate change is also linked to the issue of justice (think climate refugees).
Lisa – we have received overwhelmingly positive press, even from the Daily Mail which frightens me a lot. There are criticisms and confusion, we’ll try and clear these out. Politics is complicated, not black and white like media tries to make out. We’ll keep going, though we’ve been overwhelmed by filming crews. March from Jarrow, arriving November 5th, have sent us message of solidarity. Bring stories of acts of generosity. These statements of principle are a statement, not a list of demands. There’s a strategic reason why, we need to talk and be clear about that. Everyone talk to the media, you communicate the assembly. Please be aware of the politics.
Jack – Max Keiser. We are in the belly of the beast, heart of financial fraud. Start formulating strategies about attacking stock shares. More news coming soon.
Donations with books at the library are incredible. We don’t have that much space, only one bookshelf. Can anyone donate some shelves or a plank of woods? Make it look a bit more professional.
Call out for a very large, cosy tent. Peoples’ tents may break etc.
Music group want music meeting at this corner 2pm tomorrow. Any artists, get involved.
Sam, finance. Cash is on a secure site in an office, locked. 2,800 pounds. Today we spent 500 on gazebos etc. There has been a donation of 2,500 that’s going towards a large marquee. We’ve had offers of tens possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds of donations. We’re looking into ethical banking, credit unions, charities etc. Money for bail etc.
Bank of Britain. All our councils pay bank charges to the banks that we know and love. Banks use this money to make more profits. Bank of Britain, owned and run by the people. Someone’s speaking Thursday at 5pm about central banks.
Media and tech have been asking if we can donate some 9V batteries.
Working Group Feedback
- Got a great team now working on recycling..
- Thank you to everyone using the system (separated waste). But not everyone is doing this. Please take the time to notice where you’re putting your waste.
- Got all the bags cleared last night (yay)
- Bulk of our rubbish is coming from non-re-usable plates. Can we all please get a plate and cuttlery each that we you can use and re-use.
- A lot of alcohol waste.
- Recycling/waste w.g agreed (bar 1 person) that this should be an alcohol-free space. (lots of agreement -wavy hands- at this meeting
- If there is urine in bottles, than the council will not take away our waste. So please find another way.
- Hoping to set up a media tent near where the info tent is
- Will be doing training for ‘spokes people’ tomorrow. Welcome anyone to come and do that. Please come to media tent to find out about this.
- Released a Press Release yesterday with our initial statement we agreed on. Printed in full in the guardian.
- Quote: Capitalists: if you think you can play footsie with these people, you can’t, they will kill you.
- Tent has got water-logged, so havn’t managed to get wi-fi up and running for everyone yet. But are still working on that. Will be back running 24-7 from tomorrow
- Respectfully ask that people don’t wander in and out of the media-tech tent. Lots of equipment in their. If you take something from the tent, please leave some contact
- 800kg sand just brought. 30 palets coming in. Waiting on quotes for both. Trying to put all tents on pellets. They’lll be off the ground, more water-safe, can tie the tents to the pellets.
- Will have 400 new clean sheets coming in Thursday morning to keep things dry
- Since not everyone will be staying here every night, looking into creating a system to keep track of which tents are free/occupied, fill in a log-book at the info point.
- Plan to re-organise tent sites to create walk-ways.
- Jon QC (barrister) is putting together a team of top-quality legal people to come and advise us.. Wants to come and visit on saturday. Do we want him to address the GA?
- Got 3000 pounds in cash.
- This money is stored safely off site, there are contact information in the info tent of for people who you can access this money through.
- Could get 10,000′s of pounds, from people who are pissed off at the system and have too much money!
- Do we want a bank account, Temperature check. – Most people ok with this, some not. Looking into this, will feedback again tomorrow.
- Have produced leaflets with the ‘initial statement’ on it.
- If you’d like to get involved with talking to city workers in the morning, talk to outreach or just get leaflets from info int he mornings and do it!
- Speak to Melanie if you want to .. (minute taker didn’t catch this..)
- Speak to Jon if you are interested helping with an event here on saturday, and inviting and in bringing people here on saturday from all kinds of groups and workplaces. If you have contacts iin organisations/groups please talk to outreach. Thinking of having this a cuts-focused event. More to announced about this soon.
- Planning on doing tours of the site. Please get involved if you’d like to get involved in this.
- If you are interested in creating a ministry of fun -poetry, music, please talk to
- Go to info tent to get involved
Tent city university
- Developing a space for workshops. A collaborate space.
- Everyday there will be a lecture at 6pm.
- Will be publicised on the website.
- Today there is a talk by Trever Rain on ?
- Tomorrow there will be a talk on Crisis Capitalism and Alternatives
- Need palettes, carpets…
- Need a van tomorrow at 2pm to pick up a piano!
- Looing into creating a workshops about this space, to take out elsewhere.
- They are happy to support us and our right to protest.
- Is very important that what we do here is us. And that we dont ask too much of the church and are as self-sufficient as possible.
- Try to avoid using loudspeakers, steps during service times. Need to check if steps can be used in the evening.
- Need volunteers, especially at overnight/graveyard shift
- New gazebo. This is a portal. Management systems are evolving. If something is missing, this is where new working groups can be started up. We need a proper shelter/structure. Shout out for new marquee/tent. Also need volunteers.
- 5pm meeting to set the agenda for tonight, and we need facilitators.
- Please return things borrowed, e.g. gaffe tapes.
- Church fire exit needs to be kept clear. Every day after this meeting, we have a spokes council meeting. Decision-making space. Ensure information is flowing between the different working groups. Decisions made there will be fed back at GA in the evening.
- Reinstate the chalk signs.
- Remove signs from the statues.
Spokes council minutes
Lucy (media, press)
Gavin (tech media)
James (tent city university).
Things that need to be communicated to other working groups. What these councils could be useful for. How do you get something on the website? Four distinct types of media (tech, coms, press and indie media). Split media into these groups. Make contact details available. Press team hasn’t had a visible tent presence. Want to establish that (signage, visibility).
Ensure communication between working groups. Encourage working groups to be as autonomous as possible. Ensure that groups don’t tread on each other’s toes. Many areas in which groups overlap.
Raise some function that isn’t being fulfilled. Some of the tech guys have communications with tech guys from other occupations. Not sure if that’s ok. Disagreements between different working groups can be flushed out at spokes meetings.
Brilliant spirit of initiative. Six people contacting the canon, 6 contacting John McDonald. Need to streamline.
Finance and media coms.
Devise tree of responsibility? E.g. press has very large pool of ideas, need to create a handover. Have sheets on how to solve the problem.
Have a book (or online space) describing all working groups. Contact phone numbers of people on-site from all different working groups. Also alternative contacts off-site.
Make sure everyone is available tomorrow.
Media wants to find out what outreach has been up to.
Direct action – Is a working group coming together? A group formed and dissipated. We’ll see if ideas will emerge from tonight’s GA meet.
Two other channels of communication not securely in place. Channel between GA and media. Also, just between occupation and media. Need to know the stories. Everyone’s work has something to say. Devise a system where what’s going on internally. Beautiful stories.
Impromptu tour of group of school children.