OCV General Assembly – June 9, 2012
06/13/2012 in GA Minutes
Introduction: Hand-signals skipped; Briefly went over agreements. Went over agenda and facilitation team. Context — Occupy Central Vermont has been doing this every week since the big rally in Montpelier last fall. National/international connection.
Grounding exercise – story object sharing. Personalizing the economic, political, and social crisis
- Newspaper put out by twinfield school, needing volunteers for food drop. I used to go to the food drop regularly because didn’t have money or food. Now they need 5 times more food because so many people need food.
- Couldn’t afford to buy house in Montpelier. Bought house in West Tompsom. Now thinking she needs to move into town and impossible to sell or rent the house, people can’t afford rent, families are doubling up. Brought the keys to the house, because it’s like being locked in.
- Brought a credit card. I used to not have any, and now have 3-4 of them. Move balances from one to another to delay the inevitable.
- Started wracking up credit card debt right out of high school. Car needed to be fixed so got my first card. Hard to pay bills and enjoy life on less than livable wage. Got so bad near the end that I was putting groceries on credit cards. Finally decided enough was enough, and stopped using them. Sold house, paid off student loans, filed for bankruptcy. Now I pay cash for everything.
- Old student debt, borrowed $3000, quit. Payed back $2,400 over the years. Still hold the debt and is now accumulated interest. Tax returns go to pay off the debt. To a tax farm not the government. Now it’s paid off, but each month they still send a bill for $0, and $0 interest.
- Was going to bring my ex-husband’s medicaid application. Both on disability. Been divorced since 1995. He has progressive MS. Insurance Co. put him in a nursing home. Getting him out means I have to be a hub of three spokes of different agencies. Responsible for 60 hours of unpaid labor – do all the laundry, etc. It’s like we’re married again. In it for the rest of my life.
- Have a bag of herbs and would like to share it because they symbolize a lot. In the new world, we won’t have pharmaceutical companies. Symbolizes taking back my own health. Symbolizes how lost we’ve gotten that this isn’t known knowledge. We go to guy in white coat who gives us bills. Easy for us to take back what is rightfully ours. Symbolizes freedom.
Pop-Up Plus/Delta/Insight – feedback on first pop-up occupy.
- Looks great
- Happy to see there was a lot of food, drew a lot of people in, people ate food and wandered through
- Good to see people stepping up to introduce themselves and sign up new people with OCV
- Reminded me of being in Zucotti or Dewey Square – wish we had gotten out sooner
- Parade was really successful – had lots of positive energy in farmers market and in street, handed out a lot of leaflets. “We’re doing this for you.”
- Tent monster thing was awesome. We should do it all the time.
- New people came from hardwick and sheffield
- We should do GAs here, more accessible and inviting.
- From out of town. So pumped to see you out here. Just occupied a bunch of places that got shut down and thrilled to see you here.
- Bring a hammer, other things.
- Getting the word out about the workshops better
- A lot of fun to do things like this, should do different things more often
Working Group (WG) Reports Back
- Facilitation – point is to organize the occurrence of general assemblies, be familiar with process of decision making. Working on the best use of GAs in summer schedule, busy lives, but still amped, coming up with new schedule. Also been discussing role of affinities, but that got struck from proposal
- E&E – Focusing on public event, movies, teach-ins, ideas include renewal energy (issues around wind, etc), one includes bringing people down from Montreal, banking and finance, state bank proposal, affinity group information.
- DAWG – Been pretty active lately. We pulled together the first pop-up, which seems to have gone pretty well. Looked at plans for future pop-ups, one a month, Marshfield or Barre in July, Hardwick in August, Plainfield in September. Talked about Citizens Bank action, getting close, flyer almost done. Looking to be a presence in July 3rd parade. Please sign up, wear a tent. Also talked about NatGat in Philly which is a direct democracy national gathering, as opposed to the other one. Question of whether this group wants to endorse, and whether people can attend. Meeting Monday at Sue’s for potluck and debrief.
- Arts / Theater – basically uses poetry, drama, music, related to occupy themes, with people’s mic. Also applied through movement resource funding, did not get funding for musical Zip Code, but if you have other ideas, we can apply again.
- Finance – at next Ga will have full report on financial status, which is in the negative, if you’ve spent money, let Sue know.
Solicit issues that people are concerned about. Feedback on what WGs are working on.
- Jobs, jobs, jobs. Push some kinds of jobs program. Way to frame it.
- How to keep Occupy alive in rural area – food justice, local issues, how larger issues effect here
- Education and work around revolutionary ways of communicating within our group.
- How do we work with other groups that are doing things that are aligned with us, increase our capacity
- How does Occupy interact with current processes of democracy in our community (city hall, city council, town meeting, a little bit on state)
- Statewide meetings, is there one happening in Burlington in September?
- Go out in public, education on economic issues, fight against prevailing mainstream narrative on fiscal austerity, restructuring our economy
- Expose the money that is going from corporations to politicians
WG Proposals: Facilitation WG reviewed proposal process. (Steven proposing):
Occupy Central Vermont will hold General Assemblies once each month, with other events, actions, and/or activities on other Saturdays of the month. The work of Occupy Central Vermont will be largely carried out by Working Groups. Working Groups can call for a General Assembly and contact the Facilitation Working Group to organize that event at any time when necessary. The next decision-making General Assembly will be on Saturday, 7/7, followed by General Assemblies on the first Saturday of each month (either in Montpelier or at Pop-Up location). Per Occupy Central Vermont process, proposals to change this schedule can be made at any time. The schedule will come up for review at the September General Assembly.
Tentative monthly schedule (order depends on the needs of the assembly / WGs. Saturdays are consistent, though time of day may vary, and will be announced on the email list and by other means including flyers)
- General Assembly (Decision making) facilitated by the Facilitation Working Group [first saturdays]
- Working Group time and/or Operations facilitated by Direct Action Working Group
- Educational/Teach-in/Discussion-based assembly facilitated by Education & Empowerment
- Working Group time and/or Alternative Social Gathering, facilitation to be rotated
Clarifying questions / POIs:
- Contacting FAC WG to schedule an Assembly, does that mean you are meeting weekly? If notified we will schedule meeting, otherwise not.
- Unclear about how FAC WG works. Is it a different group each assembly or is it a group that anyone can join? Anyone can join. Usually a lot of the same people; some people dropped out because of schedules; it’s a lot of effort for facilitators. Helps to have more people. Anyone can join.
- See the FAC WG as the ‘midwives’ of the process. We don’t veto (or wouldn’t / can’t) request for assembly. Voluntary organization, if there are a lot of calls for an assembly, then we might not have the capacity.
- I really like the idea when there’s pleasure for it because it makes it so much better. Won’t feel like school.
- To counter that, I think it’s important to meet regularly. Happy that something happening every week and on Saturdays
- Like the idea of topic of our meeting up, more interesting and fun and good for us as a group.
- We’ve had this conversation for 3 GAs and over the course I’ve come to understand what the purpose of GA was supposed to be and that there are other ways for us to accomplish what we want to do. Appreciate the learning process.
- Don’t have a car, and when things are happening elsewhere, we need a ride.
- One reason I’m on facilitation is current people are stretched. By all means, please join this group. WGs need to bring things to FAC WG; WGs need to be cross-communicating on proposals and activities.
Consensus Check: YES!!! Unanimous!
- Next Thursday and Friday at Statehouse – Council of All Beings. Ritual to give voice to those that don’t have voices (nature, children, immigrants). Bill of Rights for Nature. Truth and Reconciliation process. Would love it if people could come and speak for human nature. 10-4:30 in Statehouse.
- Booth at SolarFest – Burlington Occupy endorsed idea and Steven Marshall would like help from OCV. They are happy to have us come. Believe it’s July 20-22 in Tinmouth, southwest of Rutland.
- Electoral – Jeremy, running for Senate against Cummings, Pollina, or Doyle. Plan is to be directly responsible to constituents, who can give feedback over internet.
- DAWG wants people to sign up for 7/3 parade. Names taken. See Sue.
- Kate sent in final draft of thesis – yay! – wants to do a multi-media presentation on intersection of gender, oppression, democracy. Have a beautiful space, need help getting different kinds of people there.
- Feminist group is meeting soon, if interested, please see Kate.
- Village Building Convergence, Village Gathering – Fourth annual. TT in Montpelier with Occupy VT James Howard Kunstler, 7PM at UU church. Centerpiece in Brookfield, 50 workshops. Need volunteers. Contact Josh. Bike ride from Montpelier with FreeRide, talk to Madeline about that.
- People’s convention / social forum – save the date, labor day weekend.
- Goddard College Act 250 hearing on Thursday morning (NOTE: being rescheduled)
- Free Ride movie series. First one is this Friday. Breaking Away. Projected behind bike shops.
- Went to Montreal last week, still tired. Casseroles happen every night. Went to assembly with 70-80 people at one we attended. Had help from 2 students who spent the day with us. Anti-capitalist assembly at bar. Went to a big plaza next to University, which is the assembly point for evening marches. One we went to had 300-400. This week is Grand Prix auto race. Canceled the open house.
- If wanting to learn about watershed and waters, you can go to Friends of Winooski website for signing up to go down watershed or evening talks. Got in a lot of seeds and need help harvesting and delivering to food shelves. Have trees that need plantings. Silver maple, american elm, box elder. Need to be in ground soon. Be in touch with Jessica.
- Philly trip. A lot of groups have endorsed. Do we want to endorse? What are implications of endorsing? We will be listed on their website. Consensus: YES. Do people want people from OCV to go? Autonomous, trust, represent yourself, not OCV.
- Occupy Barre is gathering on Monday June 18th at City Hall Park to talk about popping up in Barre. (NOTE: been changed to Tuesday 6/19)
- State bank. Put on as proposal during next months assembly.
- Put up flyers in Plainfield for radical reading group. One lady got in touch. Picking a book by radical author. How often – whenever. Be in touch with Emma.
- Doing an extended in depth discussion on role of facilitation working group and nonhierarchal decision making. At VBC on Sunday morning. Welcome you all to come.
Energetic End [Soapbox/Open--People’s--Mic]… Lea’s poem. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qZMuieX-YM&feature=youtu.be)
The Spirit of Occupy by Lea Wood
Like a whirlwind
spiraling across the earth
the people take their lives in their own hands
challenging imposed authority
from Egypt’s Tahrir Square
to New York’s Zuccotti Park
and across America,
the promise of an American Spring.
In Montpelier, the people,
intergenerational, of central Vermont,
revive the ancient circle way,
choose the path of Gandhi and King.
“We are the 99%”
trying a new way,
to breathe new hope
into the belief that the people
can bring about
a more just society.
From Poem City (Montpelier, 2012)