Minutes of the Occupy Detroit General Assembly, December 13, 2011
Location: 1515 Broadway
Welcome – Ground yourself deep breathing exercise
Accessibility – no translations or signing needed today
Intro to Facilitation Roles – Facilitating: Jarret and Joseph, Support: Curtis and Jerry (later AJ),
Stack: Steve H., Time: Kathy, Minutes: Suzanne, Vibe Checker: Emma, Scribe: Lucianna
Intro to Process Review & Small Group Breakout Question (SGBQ) split
4 new people today, Emma conducted process review for them
SGBQ – What are the common values of Occupy Detroit?
Sharing from SGBQ discussions:
a) Eric says equality for everyone.
b) Sam says a few people control all that happens in the city. We talk about the illiteracy rate, and anti-war issues but really we have a systemic problem.
c) Joe says that economic inequalities are basically what started the whole movement and is something we share.
Approve the agenda – consensed
WORKING GROUP REPORT BACKS:
1) Outreach WG – Dave says they really need more outreachers. If you are ready to participate, email the group. The WG is making an effort to reach out to community groups. There is a big event this Thurs, Dec 15, at the Thistle Café, 4445 Second – the inter-occupy working group meeting. People from all around the state will be attending to share information and resources. The meeting begins at 5pm with food followed by the more formal meeting at 7pm.
2) Education WG – Dave says that there is a teach-in this coming Saturday, Dec 17, 3-6pm, at The Spirit of Hope church and all are welcome.
3) Unite Detroit Affinity Group – Justin and Christina report that 5900 Michigan is now available for meetings. Talk with them to reserve space for your next meeting. This group meets weekly on Mon, 7pm at 5900 and all are welcome. Working groups are forming within Unite Detroit. Those WGs meet on Wednesdays at 5:30pm at 5900. All are welcome to attend those as well.
4) Voter Registration WG – Rich has petitions for the Emergency Manager ballot initiative, both to sign and to distribute. See him. Also, AFSCME local 25 needs help with signature verification. To help out call Mario Henderson, 313-962-0339 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Local is located at 600 Lafayette. Also, there will be a voter registration drive this Sat, Dec 17, 10AM at Eastern Market. Contact email@example.com for more information.
5) Student WG – Sam says that Occupy U of M is having their first action this week. There is a drive to collect 1 million pledges to not pay off your student loan debt. This WG meets every Monday, 7:30pm at Thistle Café.
6) Direct Action WG – Eric says they are working on a MLK day March to be held January 16. At 5:30pm Weds the sub-group on Eviction Defense will be meeting at 1515 Broadway. This WG meets on Thursdays at 7pm.
7) Goldengate WG – Wayne says that two households are in good shape now: the Bottle house has 7 residents and the White has 3 residents. They are in need of food and bicycles. Wayne addressed a concern that had been expressed about Bob. This says that Bob allows them to use tools, electricity and his kitchen but has little personal involvement.
8) Media WG – Lee says that media will be discussing OD on channel 20, this Sunday, Dec 18, 11am. Anyone interested in participating with them should see him.
9) Facilitations WG – Steve reports that many from this WG attended a cool, consensus training event that helped the group understand important foundations necessary for successful consensus processes. The WG had a retreat 1.5 weeks ago and they are reviewing the proposal process and entertaining ideas on how to make it better. The next meeting for this WG is Friday, Dec 16, 5900 Michigan.
10) Sustainability WG – Jarret says this WG has visited Goldengate and are impressed with their considerations of sustainability issues. This group is looking to meet with all WGs and help them consider how they might address sustainability issues within their groups. The WG meets next Sunday, Dec 18, 2pm. Location is yet to be determined, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get location information as it is determined.
a) Russell mentions that he will be making a proposal about the United Steel Workers lock out in Findlay, OH. He says that plant management is staffing the plant with scabs. There is a demonstration planned for this Saturday, Dec 17, in Findlay at 1pm.
b) Josh mentions that Outreach received a letter from someone indicating that there will be a city-wide meeting, the Community Relations Meeting, on Weds, Dec 14, at Woodward and W. Grand Blvd, 7-8pm.
c) Josh says that a meditation /drum circle group is being created. They will meet on Wednesdays at 5900 Michigan. Meditation is from 7-8pm and drum circle is 8-10pm.
d) Abouoma Azibway expresses thanks for the support of the foreclosure action at Kyra Williams’s home. There is also a coalition working on an Emergency Manager action so come this Friday, Dec 16, 7pm, on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Bldg. to help plan. Something about a Jan 2 meeting at Tabernacle Church at the Blvd and Grand River.
e) Valerie Blair of Occupy is concerned about the closing of Monteith library. Would like Occupy to support a rally scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 20, 1pm at the Main Library, 5201 Woodward at the Cass entrance. The plan is to have a sit-in in support of Detroit libraries. For more information on this contact Cooper@313-457-5105 or Glenn@313-974-1610. There is also a planning meeting tomorrow, Dec 14 at 6pm Circa Pub, 5474 Cass Ave@Ferry for this action and all are welcome to attend. They have flyers and need people to help call others to get the word out about this action. They have a list of contacts, so they just need volunteers to make the calls. See her for more information.
f) Barb is organizing food for the inter-occupy event at Thistle Café on Thurs, Dec 15. Call her at 586-246-2035 if you would like to help.
g) Tucker says there is a discussion group that meets monthly at the Anchor Bar. The next event will be 7pm and the topic is the recent pepper spray incident in California. See him for more info.
h) Russell says there will be a meeting tomorrow at 1515 Broadway, 7pm, to organize a carpool to OH in support of the Steel workers. Also, 1pm, Weds, Dec 14 he urges people to show up at Senator Levin’s office to protest the detention issue that is part of the new National Defense Act legislation.
1) Steve from Facilitations proposes that this Saturday’s GA, Dec 17, be held at the Trumbullplex, 4210 Trumbull. He suggests that this will make it more convenient for people to also attend the teach-in at The Spirit of Hope church that will follow the GA and that is nearby. He gives a brief summary of the formation of Trumbullplex and says that it is an anarchist housing collective that has positions similar to those of OD. He mentions that parking is free there. – PASSED CONSENSUS.
2) Steve from Facilitations proposes that the next two Saturday GAs, Dec 24 and Dec 31 be cancelled due to the holidays. – PASS CONSENSUS.
3) Russell proposes that Occupy Detroit officially endorse the rally at the United Steel Workers plant in Findlay, OH. He mentions that OD should condemn the lockout, and informs the group about issues regarding pay and shift work related to tire output. Questions arise – what are Occupy Ohio and other OH occupy groups doing with regards to this? Why didn’t they request our involvement before? What can we do besides this? Temperature check – OK to go to consensus. Block by Eric who is concerned about lending the OD name to organizations we are not sure of. He feels that there is not enough information on this to support it and is concerned that mis-steps in support might give OD a bad name. Proposal amended to support the rally only, not the union in general. – PASSED CONSENSUS with amendment to only support rally.
4) Russell requests funding (may be in excess of $100) to buy gas for the carpool that will be going to Findlay OH in support of the United Steel Workers, this Saturday, Dec 17. He says that they will only request money for gas receipts that they will present upon their return. Pat offers $100 donation. Question arises – are the OD participants planning on civil disobedience with potential arrests? Russell says no civil disobedience is planned. Question – is this being used as an outreach activity? Russell says yes. – PASSED CONSENSUS.
5) Zack proposes that Occupy Detroit officially endorse a rally in Superior Township on MLK Day, Jan 16 immediately after the Central UM Church rally planned for that same day. Zack mentions that he has talked with many reverends from Detroit and they support this plan. The planning committee for this event is working with other groups such as AFSCME local 25 and the Young Democrats of Michigan and there is meeting this coming Thursday, Dec 15 to further solidify plans for this rally. Concern expressed by Eric. Temperature check moves to consensus. Block by Eric stating problems with Snyder issues and concerned that it may be misinterpreted that we are fighting for just the democrats, not for democracy in general. Zack explains that this event is a march from the city hall to Snyder’s house but that no civil disobedience is planned. Kathy mentions that at the last GA (Saturday) the proposal by media to invite Rachel Maddow/Ed Schulz to Detroit to highlight the EM issues and that this is a march/rally clearly in line with the GA support already issued. Jarret explains the difference between a block and a stand aside and asks if we can move ahead. Temperature check – move to 9/10 vote. – PASSED UNDER 9/10 VOTE.
6) Killian proposes that his two properties, 8910 and 8904 Ishum St. (near I94 and Gratiot) be recognized as official Occupy Detroit spaces. Much discussion ensues with many concerns presented. Friendly amendment offered – that the locations WG be presented with this property for evaluation along with all the other properties currently under their review – Killian chooses not to accept this friendly amendment. Temperature check indicates that this proposal should be tabled for now.
7) Tristan proposes that Occupy Detroit makes it clear that the group opposes any and all austerity measures being proposed by Detroit Mayor Bing or the City Council. Much discussion – friendly amendment offered that OD opposes ALL austerity measures, everywhere and not just in Detroit. Tristan accepts this friendly amendment. Concerns expressed that employees within the system are lazy, that there are unfair hiring practices and that high wages for workers are problems that may indeed need to be addressed by austerity measures. Temperature check moves to consensus. – PASSED CONSENSUS with friendly amendment.
8) Emma proposes that at the next GA an additional 30 minutes be allotted for discussion of Occupy Detroit values in place of the small group breakout question. Discussion around values – Joe expresses concern that this may lead to conforming to positions and he feels that this would negatively impact the movement. Friendly amendment to extend this value discussion over several GAs since different people come to different meetings and it would be good to get as much input as possible. Emma accepts this friendly amendment. Temperature check moves to consensus – PASSED CONSENSUS.
Rich – -Birmingham, 1-4pm at Maple and Southfield rally to show what the 1% is doing to the 99%, Saturday, Dec 17
Hans – Flint is staying in their camp, letter/rumor regarding code enforcement on private property near Downtown/ Saginaw St. City backed down and owner of property continued support.
OccupyYourHomes:Tomorrow at 6pm training/planning at 2551 Selino Court in Dearborn, MI
CLOSING: OPTIONAL NEIGHBOURLY HUG