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May Day Discussion & General Assembly – 03.31.2012

04/05/2012 in Discussion, Education & Empowerment WG, GA Minutes

Discussion Theme from 3-4PM:

General Assembly Agenda from 4-5PM:



General Strike and MayDay Discussion



Let’s start this discussion with a framing question: What would a General Strike look like? In our communities, etc

Deorscha: I have no boss to strike against, I’m a poor, self-employed carpenter struggling to pay my bills

Irvin: how would this look like for local businesses – are we refusing to shop locally? With jobs tough to maintain/etc, is this a risk.

Traven: this is about power, fundamentally. The electoral process is broken, you can have millions protest and they’ll ignore you – you have to do something cause problems for the system to get attention – strike is about getting ot the heart of the capitalist system – we work together, support one another in gathering together for a strike. Why is this relevant? There’s an international mass strike phenomenon. We’re part of a larger movement.


Amy: I’m not seeing this as all or nothing – we need to do what we can do. Plainfield co-op has a board that doesn’t want to close the store, while the workers do, so closing for part of the time with

Heather: more and more people are atomized, working in places where it impossible to organize – retail for example – concerted effort from capitalist society to break labor and keep us separate. All I have to offer as an individual (to the system) is time and energy, my work, so it’s the only thing – people died, and gave themselves to this movement, that we take for granted. GET EVERYONE OUT, to everyone who doesn’t have a union to join, we need to give back to the labor movement and embolden the movement. What would I share with a local shop keeper – think about all the hardship you suffer under, 365 days a year, every year, so for one day, stand up for yourself and take a couple hours off to close down in protest of the larger system.

Deorscha: how do we get the big guys, like Fairpoint, Vermont Yankee, National Life, etc..

Renee: Deorscha has been expressing what I have been thinking, in some way. I do a radio show on Tuesdays, I would love to have a few of you on. I’m part of the Vermont Writer’s Union, I’ll check in with them. How do we expand the education to things like All Species Day, or spreading & expanding the network? Be a laboring species out on All Species

Charlotte: this is a bit early in America, in some ways.. workers == socialist communism. Cart before the horse? But we should definitely educate. How do we attack this problem of imagery, and the battle against “the worker”

Cecile: feel the need and pull for equity and our capacity to work, what it means “to be employed” or a “worker” – totally behind the symbolism behind a May Day Strike – so many have died for this. What do we do beyond this? How do we define what it means to be a worker? How do we break through this enslavement, how do we reach people in the machine, how do we expand the network? What if we had “an operating system” that when installed in an organization, give power back to the workers, generating profit for those who run the organization/organism. This OS produces more profit, but what it delivers is worker equality. This is a trojan horse :)

Jim: negative connotation around May Day, strikes, and even anything remotely close to sharing. For this to succeed, I believe we need to reach the middle class, there needs to be an understanding of what equity, community, etc all are – gift economies

Marie: capture the middle class. They’re not living anymore, we’re all going down..educating the middle class – get them angry. Our march and rally in town would serve well to this effect. Let’s start distributing info before hand, the week + (to stores and local peoples).

Alice: I’m retired, I don’t have a union, but I want to help and participate / support with others. What are unions doing?

Traven: local unions and organizing bodies have been working at this, but we don’t have a culture of a general strike. We’ve shut down cities with general strikes, as part of this we identify what is really important to human beings. To have an extended general strike, you have to have this infrastructure in formation – getting people out is a big part of creating this path

Robert: glad you’re all here, I haven’t been able to plug into Occupy recently, so thank you. How do we build a general understanding that “we’re all in this together”. Burlington Vermont ‘wobblies’ chapter of a union that could be shutdown due to lack of membership – we, those that don’t have a union can join the IWW

Marie: we need to be conscious of our words, let’s stop using the term middle-class.

John: we want to revive the sense of “being all together” as the working class, maybe termed differently.Part of reviving may day is helping union movement broaden, embolden, etc – we can do what they can’t.


What role can Occupy play?

Brian: bring some of these fliers around to local shop owners, many whom we know. Let’s also think through what other aspects of this day will look like. Worker’s Center has done a lot, but it’s also on Occupy to figure out the rest of what’s gonna go on. In the next few weeks, we need to think these things through.

Heather: in terms of what we can do in this area: hang up some of the general strike posters we have in shop fronts and work with them to develop a statement to help educate people. Montpelier may be small, but it’d be pretty cool if we did shut down at least parts of it. Until we have a consicousness of people who felt they could take on something larger than themselves (like targeting walmart). Getting someone like national life on strike might be more difficult, small strikes still build revolutions.

Amy: want to propose: 6 schools in this region – some of you know teachers – let’s bring a busload of students and teachers! Please join me in helping to make this happen. Students aren’t getting this in their history class.

Kelly: general reminder : E&E leads discussions each week, we like suggestions, and people joining us.


 General Assembly – 03.31.2012

Facilitation: Cecile, Colin

Notes: Yeshua

General Assembly Agenda from 4-5PM:



  • Introductions / Review & Consense on Agenda
    • review proposal process:
      • proposer proposes
      • discuss – info, clarifying questions, concern / discussion
      • Brief amend round – chance for proposer to change / amend
      • Consense – we can each: stand aside, yes/love it, neutral, down hands/concerned, block
    • agenda & facilitation team – consense
  • WG Reports Back
    • Direct Action:
      • talked a lot about our popup-occupy – day long sessions in communities
      • aim to do two before VBC (Village Building Convergence)
      • fleshed out some vision & specific components
      • Bethany working on a more formalized / structured plan
      • meeting Tuesdays @ 6pm – next is in person – Bethany point
    • Basic Needs – Irvin
      • coffee hour is starting back up
      • Heather: can we stay outside for this? Whenever it is nice
        • Irvin: sure! We’ll coordinate with facilitation
    • Education & Empowerment – Kelly
      • NDAA
      • teach in – 3-5pm – Patriarchy and Oppression
      • working on an Occupy Library – looking for donations
      • April 14th, lots going on – 99% Spring NVDA Training
        • show of hands for full day NVDA Training – 22nd
        • train the trainer
      • meeting times – Fridays 6pm – hit or miss. Kelly / Heather point
    • Finance – Yeshua
      • there are 3 of us, 2 are on a trip
    • Facilitation – Cecile
      • mostly ongoing GA agendas
      • Thursdays 6pm – Cecile on point
  • WG Proposals
    • DAWG – Adhoc Postal WG
      • proposal: would like OCVT GA to endorse a letter we have to send/share with the postal service
      • April 17thmass leafletting at post offices
        • if you want to help, connect with Traven / Heather
      • we’ve been working with postal works WRJ
        • they’re being told it’s a done deal and that if they step out of line they will lose their job.
        • so we decided to write a letter to let them know they’re not alone – “you are not alone” is the central message.
      • Jim Hightower wrote a good article about what’s really going on
        • TODO: look up and get it posted as a comment to the original post with this letter
      • weekly conf calls Sunday nights
      • consense: all twinkles
    • Facilitation WG: statements drafted for Occupy Vermont – we have a responsibility to review, update/amend (if necessary)
    • the statements:
    • proposal: discuss this statement, consense on our acceptance of this
    • these statements received provisional acceptance at our first statewide GA @ Goddard March 10th
    • these “came” from Occupy Wall Street, but have been updated/adapted for us
    • both statements were read and notes shared about comments made at the OVT GA
    • discussion:
      • clarifying questions / info / input for potential amendments:
        • John: what do we mean by “individuals’ inherent privilege”?
          • Heather: refers to the inherent privileges given at birth (i.e. white, male, hetero, etc.)
        • Fallon: remove the extract wealth within it’s statement to make it more general -
        • Brian: “the system must protect our rights” – we have an economic system which is inherently incapable of protecting our rights.
        • Renee – add reverence for life
        • RE Brian’s comment – system is not general enough, political is too specific, I would say “cultural system”. #2: “inherent social privilege”.
        • Amy: point about
        • Kelly: important to me to keep the note about privilege
      • Heather: what is our process on working on this? We have to get this out to other Occupy groups before statewide GA for them to review / consider / incorporate / etc.
        • Cecile: how do we keep this from being an endless process. Method of object – what would cause harm about this statement – and anyone can bring a proposal forward. I’d love to see this go through the GA next week and have it changed if it needs
        • Fallon: maybe add “on this day” so this is noted as a “from now” and going forward
  • Announcements/New WG formations
    • Kelly: April 28th, Women’s Rights Rally – State House – speakers @
      • starting Women’s Rights working group – Kelly point
    • Brian: WG & Annoucement
      • VBC (June 24th) – we’ve got a WG forming, taking input for workshops and other stuff to do – we have all of Sunday
      • trying to keep this focused on Occupy -
      • Francis Fox Piven coming to Vermont – historian on poor people’s movements, attacked by Glenn Beck/etc, Thursday night Davis Center @ UVM April 12th
    • Amy: Teacher’s in Barre working on agreements,
      • presence of teachers turned the board – they didn’t want to see us walk
    • Irvin: 2 bills @ statehouse – philosophical \ require labeling GMOs
      • Death by Medicine: first meta-study on medically caused deaths / injury

1 response to May Day Discussion & General Assembly – 03.31.2012

  1. Yeshua said on 04/09/2012

    RE the truth about the Postal Service.. Jim Hightower’s article The Truth About the US Postal Service is highly recommended reading.

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