GA Notes 7/7
07/09/2012 in GA Minutes
7/7/12 General Assembly – ~15 in attendance
Introduction to process, facilitation team, hand signals, agenda
Consensus on team and agenda: Yes (with addition: Brian’s friends from the bay area may come by and discuss what’s happening there)
Working group reports back:
Finance: Sue printed up finances and budget with details. Yeshua has been donating $20/month that does not appear on the list. John & Sue have been donating. Just as donations. Brian and John, too. Only money owed back now is $100 to Dell. List is online and transparent. Fledgling fundraising committee is discussing how to raise money to pay this back. Some discussion about donations not being tracked and whether they ought to be.
Direct action: Participated in Montpelier and Cabot parades. In Cabot, had a place in the parade that made sense (part of how to fix what’s wrong with the world). Next Saturday, pop-up occupation in Plainfield, noon to 5. Same format as Montpelier pop-up (free food, really free market, workshops, assembly). On the 21st, pipeline action (pumping oil from Portland, ME to Montreal, through the Northeast Kingdom. Slated to be reversed and pump tar sands oil) – walking the line. Series of events as early as the 22nd, led by David. Pop-up in Barre, maybe in August (will focus on housing issues). Pop-up in Hardwick in August or September.
Education & Empowerment: Village Building Convergence workshops. Will evaluate later in this meeting. Discussed having a movie night. Heather may host a movie night discussing “leadership cadre” by watching The Matrix.
Evaluations (plus, delta, insight):
Citizens’ Bank actions: Description of the bank and why we decided to take action to raise awareness of predatory lending. Handed out flyers at Farmers’ Market (more central than at the bank). Looking at moving money, but kind of preaching to the converted. Thinking about maybe shifting to TD Bank.
- Brilliant decision to move picket to Farmers’ Market.
- May be better to direct our energy to supporting Burlington protest.
- Probably a lot more businesses and nonprofits have their account there. Getting them to move would be a different campaign than picketing.
- Where does the city keep its money? Not sure, but the state banks with TD.
Parades: Hardwick a few weeks ago, Montpelier on the 3rd, Cabot on the 4th.
- Thought Montpelier was very effective. There was a lot of support from the people we were wandering by, and that’s very encouraging.
- My first concern was people showing up, and I thought we had a pretty good turnout.
- Ought to have slogans/songs worked out ahead of time. Improve our production value.
- Effective to march in front of the Workers’ Center – passing chants back and forth.
- WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) initiated having us in the parade. We should thank them. Good to have them marching with us. Good for them, too.
Event at Margaret’s house: Intent was to have general discussion about what a movement is. Not enough people at any one time. Two people from Hardwick and one from Cabot showed up. Learned about Cabot Creamery spraying. Hardwick folks talked about overlap of Occupy and environmental issues.
- Discussion of what a movement is would be good to open to the public – brief film showing (The History of Nonviolent Direct Action – discusses movements, campaigns) and presentation.
- Maybe next week in Plainfield? Instead of General Assembly? Up to Direct Action.
- Why didn’t more people come to Margaret’s? I felt bad because there were so few people there. Renee didn’t know. Heather in Brattleboro. So close to 4th of July. Problem with people going elsewhere; need to coordinate out-of-town events more heavily than events in Montpelier.
Village Building Convergence: 4th year the Transition Town put this together. About 50 workshops over the weekend in Brookfield. Some Occupy-themed, including a discussion of the overlap between the two groups.
- I liked how Occupy and Transition Town reached out to WGDR programmers and let the overlap be known more widely.
- A lot; too many choices. Challenging to place myself most meaningfully for me. Community radio is important for community outreach. How does Occupy engage with it?
- Occupy facilitator for one workshop didn’t show; conversation that happened in its place was very fruitful. Strong dialogue, outreach, problem solving about how White River Junction Occupy can be more effective in their community.
- Observed power structure as not horizontal and tried to inject Occupy ideals by joining the conversation as equal, not centering whole conversation around the expert. Can do more of this.
- Energetic; lots of people and enthusiasm. Overwhelmingly focused in the skillshare area – those sessions were the best attended. There were some areas of overlap. Conversations about group dynamics/facilitation had some overlap. But the politically themed workshops were not well attended.
- Had hoped it would bring people back in who had dwindled away from Occupy Central VT.
- Great event. Definitely a split between the two groups. Thinking about Josh’s article in the Bridge – Occupy folks tending to be naysayers, Transition saying here’s what we can do. But I think the problems we raise can’t be addressed by the solutions discussed at VBC alone. Want to bring the two groups together to discuss bigger solutions, like building community-based energy systems with the analysis the Occupy brings.
- Intention was good. I was cajoled to come talk with the expectation that there would be an audience, and inspire more overlap between the groups. Why are the Transition folks so apolitical?
- Thought it was a good start to the conversation. Good to meet folks and having lots of one on one conversations. Location was awesome for a retreat; flow and presentation of it went really well.
- Found their approach intentionally volunteeristic, localistic, communitarian. Occupy looks at the bigger picture. Lots of emphasis on building skills, not enough on building awareness.
Transition Town and Occupy: How can they work together?
Notes from the discussion from the VBC (http://www.occupycentralvt.org/2012/06/27/notes-from-the-ttoccupy-workshop-at-the-vbc/) Wasn’t a ton of people, but the right amount for a good, productive conversation. Both groups want to build numbers, overcome public perceptions, and build participation through collaboration.
What are things that Occupy and Transition Town can take action on together?
- Exploring ecological economics. Bringing topics together – why don’t we have curbside composting? Not just technical, also economic and political. Looking at larger implications of TT issues.
- Occupy needs to look harder at what we do, the actions that address our issues. More technical solutions.
- More exchanges, events to talk together. Nobody’s going to do it for us; we have to do it ourselves and that’s going to take a lot of work. Education events/teach-ins. Small group meetings/pot-lucks.
- If/when TT starts having regular pot-lucks again, OCV folks can participate.
- People around who may/may not be involved with TT – Jim Hogue, Gwen Hallsmith – can discuss financial systems in a way that bridges local solutions, international implications, and global analysis.
- The commons and increasing privatization could be another topic with overlap.
How does Occupy work with other groups? Had loose associations through endorsements, but haven’t put our autonomy statement into action yet.
- Statement of Autonomy: http://www.occupycentralvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Statement-of-Autonomy.pdf
- Want to be welcoming, building a broader movement. How would we deal with concerns about TT that come up (funding, internal structure, etc.)?
- Loose collaboration of individuals right now. If at some point it would change who we are as OCV, we’d have to talk about that.
- Individuals participating in TT with an OCV lens. Already happening with TT, Workers’ Center, and so on. Enriches our group.
- Collaboration is key to our success. Good that we are a new organization, don’t have entrenched infighting that other groups have established.
- Public collaboration may need consensus.
How do we build group analysis between/among the groups, so we have a common basis to work together?
- Transition Town movement has a much wider scope than just the skill-sharing that is so prevalent at the VBC.
- True that the local TT has been very locally-oriented; brainwashed by “Think globally, act locally” but don’t bring it back out to the global level. Other end of the spectrum in enviro movement is 350.org.
- Who are the thinkers? What are the foundational documents of TT? Will get links around to OCV.
- Both groups share that membership is self-identified. People not used to that, like to be initiated.
- Excited about expanding how Occupy does workshops next year, how to expand on the things that there is excitement about to bring radical awareness to them. Building sharper critique.
- Few TT volunteers holding down everything they are doing. Great ideas through conversations like this, but no energy to carry them out. The ideas and desire are there, hoping that OCV can initiate energy to make them happen.
Pop-up in Plainfield next week, noon to 5 at the park across from the bookstore. Two issues in Plainfield popped up: Goddard biomass plant and new ownership of the red store. Providing a forum for conversation on both.
- Heather and Jay will bring library
- Heather will talk to folks about speaking
- E&E will work on third workshop
- Jay will work on copy for a flyer explaining why we’re giving stuff away. Heather can help with layout.
- Sue is making a flyer. John will post flyers in Montpelier
- Renee will announce on WGDR and post details for others to announce, Heather will call in
- Heather will make sure Goddard is contacted about getting involved with biomass facility conversation
- Josh will bring a pop-up tent
- Brian will talk to Plainfield Coop folks
- Need free food to give away
- Open up the specific conversations of community issues to larger framework. Can Josh talk about problems with biomass in general? Can someone talk about effects of chain stores,
- Will be Woodie Guthrie’s 100th birthday. Brian will check with owner of bookstore, who is in a related performance.
- Jay will contact former owner of the red store about coming.
- Another issue: WGDR’s corporatization as Goddard College Radio. Renee can talk to this, but won’t be there next Saturday.
- Larger context: talking about power sharing. Encouraging that this be brought up in all workshops. What are the dynamics that require a paradigm shift about how we interact with each other.
- My understanding that the red store went bankrupt because of banking issues – fees. Excellent for larger context
- Sessions could be longer than 30 minutes. We’re bringing controversial, potentially painful, issues up in a public way. It should be heavily mediated – maybe will reach out to Cecile .
- Oil companies also bigger issue at hand with red store. http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/8928/gas-prices-and-the-limitations-of-free-markets
- Direct Action working group will meet again this week to finalize plans – Thursday call at 7
- Dell has a pop-up tent
- Cabot Creamery has been spraying processing waste on central VT fields (3 counties, 6 watersheds). There are worries about carcinogens and environmental destruction. Not a VT company, not a real cooperative, but is a major employer. Opposition group Whey to Go (http://wheytogovermont.weebly.com/) has asked for support. Petition passed around. If seeking an endorsement, Direct Action will help to draft the proposal for a future GA.
- Group of mobile home residents is growing and engaging more people throughout the state. They started a fund which is open until August 1st, but they are running out of money and are still receiving applications from residents. Please donate. http://www.workerscenter.org/news/mobile-home-park-recovery-fund
- Any news from the Occupy National Gathering? Post to website/discussion list.
- Occupy has been invited to put on a side show every Sunday at Bread & Puppet, starting on the 15th. With other groups, it would mean getting to set something up around the perimeter of the parking area to talk to folks as they arrive. Arts working group will discuss. Get ideas to David K, Jay, or Brian.
- Here from San Francisco. Involved with Occupy San Francisco and other groups. Have a solidarity banner for people to sign which they are then bringing to Montreal. With others in San Francisco have been organizing to fight foreclosures, protest Wells Fargo, and fight school closings (including starting a free school in an occupied closed school).
- Film showing: Fixing the Future, Wednesday the 18th at 6:30. http://www.savoytheater.com/special_events.html
- Friends of Coburn Pond need members to show the Agency of Transportation that they have the support to manage the pond as a commons.
- Kate Soule’s thesis presentation: Releasing Democratic Voice: The Intersection of Embodiment, Gender, and Deomcracy. Wednesday the 18th at 8:30. East State St, Montpelier. Track down Kate for details.