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81st GA Minutes — 11-AUG-2012

81st General Assembly Minutes: 11-Aug-2012 – 5900 Michigan Ave


Yusef Shakur proposed that OccupyDetroit sponsor a second event to provide school supplies to kids:

  • “Embracing Our Families To Rebuild Our Communities”
  • 25-Aug, 1-6 PM
  • Requested a $700 budget for supplies
    • Bouncer/Moon Walk for kids
    • Porta johns
    • Food service supplies
    • Water
  • CVS, Michigan Welfare Rights are sponsors
  • Jim will assist with press releases
  • Others can assist, contact Yusef

Joseph Black, from The Black Media Group, proposed that OccupyDetroit endorse “Occupy The Vote” event

  • No financial commitment required
  • Music event scheduled for 5-Oct at St. Andrews Hall
    • Staff will assist attendees with voter registration
  • Rally will be held at Campus Martius before the concert, attendees will march to St. Andrews
  • Hans emphasized we should be careful not to imply endorsements for candidates through participation with Occupy The Vote




  • Youth Group in NW Detroit needs new space, rally: 5-Sep
    • 17322 Lahser
  • Jerome Jackson Hearing, 16-Aug
    • 22nd District Court
    • 1:30PM
  • Hans will run for state representative seat (Grosse Pointe) as Green Party candidate
  • Fuzzytek:
    • got replacement hard drive for his laptop for under $70 – remainder of $100 allocated will be returned
    • PA4 suspended until vote on referendum
      • Eviction notices printed for emergency managers
  • Christine:
    • Sunday, 10AM help needed to clean lot in preparation for OccupyTheMidwest Conference
    • 17-Aug: Community potluck at 5900 to raise awareness of OccupyTheMidwest
    • OccupyTheMidwest planning meetings at Curtis’s house
  • Hans:
    • Choir meets on Sundays at 3PM at 5900
  • Pat:
    • Police and Fire Pension Board protest rained out
  • Hans:
    • OccupyTheMidwest people can camp at:
      • 5900
      • This Hood of Ours (W. Chicago)
      • Goldengate
    • Occupy Detroit will join Rainbow Push Coalition march on 25-Aug


Community GA’s

  • Today’s GA scheduled for Windmill Market
    • No advance work done to involve community
    • It was agreed that no more community GA’s would be held
    • Instead, special outreach events would be held
    • Yusef:
      • GA’s should be for “bought-in” people to plan
      • Outreach meetings for addressing community issues and recruiting
    • Tim:
      • We need to unite behind common causes, elected officials buy and sell us, we are too compliant, need to participate in elections in order to have influence
      • Need to know who we are and what we stand for
      • Too many personal agendas
    • Erik:
      • People want consistency, reminded of story “Crawl” – hold meetings in same place each week
    • Yusef, Joe: need to persuade Detroit residents to vote, or nothing will change – need simple messages
    • Pat: need to coordinate and get message about OD out
    • What about day after the election? Need to have a plan to continue.
    • Christine: People throw out ideas, we chase, and they leave


Eviction Defense Committee Report Back

  • Jennifer Britt in 3rd week of vigil
  • Southwest Detroit Housing Solutions made a second offer to buy the house
  • Fannie Mae will not confirm that eviction was “stayed”
  • Working with OccupyChicago to protest outside Fannie Mae regional office (nearest to Detroit)
  • Please sign up for vigil; call Fannie Mae


79th GA Minutes — 28-JUL-2012


Occupy General Assembly at Goldengate Restoration Project


1.     General questions

2.     Announcements / Movement Updates

3.     Goldengate Community

4.     Direction of Movement

a.  Electoral Politics — Involvement

5.     Community General Assemblies


– Hans outlined the proposal process

  90% overrules block, 60-70% required for consensus, hand signals, etc.

– General Questions

1.     Is there a manifesto?

a.  Occupy Detroit Media Group outlined one in February 2012

b.  OccupyWallStreet created a list of goals at the outset of the Zuccotti Park occupation

c.  Hans mentioned that no fixed set of goals exists; anyone can suggest anything via proposals.

                                                        i.      Person who offers proposal should be willing to “bottomline” it, and find people to help.

2.     Are there plans for publicity?

a.  Media committee, Lee and others, handle press releases, etc.

b.  Outreach working group also deals with press — talk to Chuck Altman

c.  Let us know what sort of work you can do, and we’ll direct you to an appropriate working group — Hans.

General Announcements & Movement Updates

1.     Tyler, visiting Goldengate through Monday suggested musicians there do a show.

2.     Lee: artists are wanted on Livernois (btw. Outerdrive and 7 Mile)

a.  Part of 12th Precinct, btw. John R & Greenfield

b.  Neighborhood organization wants murals painted on walls — contact Lee

3.     Mary (Goldengate): Oscar made tabouli shared at the GA from ingredients grown in the Goldengate garden.

a.  Help needed in the garden, volunteers welcome.

4.     Eric: Direct action to protect Jennifer Britt from eviction, vigil re-convenes outside her house, 15701 Warwick (1 block south of Grand River, Rosedale Park), at 6AM, Monday morning.

a.  Q: Does dumpster blocking require that people be willing to be arrested.

                                                        i.      NO! You can follow police orders, and step aside, and avoid arrest.

5.     Jasahn: Friday, Re-opening of 2nd Precinct

a.  Grand River & Schaeffer

b.  Cops are progressive and share goals with OD

                                                        i.      Invited OD to set up a table, and do outreach there

                                                   ii.      Lee mentioned that OD unique because cops here (chief included) got beat up during civil rights movement, and don’t want to see protesters beat up again. They won’t do it, unlike NYC, Oakland, etc.

6.     Ryder Busch doing work with Housing Is A Human Right coalition to occupy vacant homes, and move homeless people into them

a.  Rakiba: 2 main populations to be assisted:

                                                        i.      Women with children who had housing assistance cut off under Governor Snyder

                                                   ii.      Homeless veterans

                                              iii.      Using Nuisance Abatement Act:

1.  People can occupy houses without property taxes and fix up houses

2.  After three years, resident owns the house

                                                   iv.      Tyler asked if Patriot Act allows squatter to be evicted easily

1.  Lee: No.

                                                        v.      Nuisance Act makes occupation valid, so resident can get utilities turned on

                                                   vi.      Jasahn mentioned City Council, Neighborhood Comm wants to promote “Repair To Own” program, rather than use Nuisance Abatement Act

                                              vii.      Someone mentioned that squatter should set up a mailing address using change of address forms, and get mail delivered; helps establish residency status.

                                         viii.      Harold (1st time attendee): who assigns work, i.e. for home repairs, based on skills?

1.  Working groups arrange volunteer work

2.  Barter & trade could be an option for people with skills and spare time

                                                   ix.      Tyler: Is there a web page that lists people willing to volunteer or trade, and skills?

1.  Hans: no but we should, time bank style, eg. Ferndale, etc.

2.  Lee: started list, media group will follow through, possibly create google group

3.  Hans: let’s talk more about this under “Movement Direction” discussion

                                                        x.      Rakiba: Housing Is A Human Right looking for volunteers to work on houses, see Rakiba, or Michigan Welfare Rights, 313.964.0618

1.  Appliance and furnishing donations wanted

a.  Re-sale shop on Woodward, north of Goldengate Café, very cheap, i.e. $1 futon

7.     Hans: OD choir meets on Sunday at 3PM at 5900 Michigan Ave for rehearsals — all welcome, any level (can’t sing, you can drone)

8.     Stephen Boyle: City Council on Tuesday, 10AM — last meeting until September

a.  August 1, Rally at Belle Isle, “Hands Off Our Island”

                                                        i.      Afterwards, FreeDetroit.org will assist people to fill out ethics complaints

b.  August 2, 6PM, Metro Elks Lodge — Speak Up, Speak Out

c.  We need people to act, not be passive…

9.     ? Bing was DTE board member, what is his position on shutoffs and conflict of interest

Goldengate Restoration Project Update — Mars

1.     Goldengate RP: sustainable community where people achieve self-actualization

2.     OD purchased solar panels up at Bottle House

a.  All invited to see it

b.  Building up battery bank

c.  System includes 500W inverter with plenty of capacity for growth

d.  Jasahn offered panel from W. Chicago events

3.     People working on their own houses, getting plumbing working, fixing vandalized valves and supply lines

4.     Solar workshops attendance planned, etc.

a.  Omnicorp donating 25 cells

b.  Motor City Green Geeks teaching workshops around city

c.  Could set up workshops at GG, need enough interest expressed

d.  Spirit of Hope church running sustainability workshops

5.     Jahsahn: curious about culture at Goldengate

a.  What are expectations?

                                                        i.      Mars: people need to share interest in sustainability, etc.

1.  difficult to get consensus & organize regular meetings

2.  commitment level varies: some use bridge cards to buy food for community, some buy cigarettes, etc.

                                                   ii.      Mary: typically community shares 1 meal together each day

                                              iii.      Mars: you gotta be into it if you want to live here…

                                                   iv.      Hans: Goldengate community will have follow up meeting tomorrow at 12PM

                                                        v.      Jasahn: Goldengate seems to be doing well, people eat together, that’s good…

                                                   vi.      Mars: came a long way towards resolving interpersonal conflicts

                                              vii.      Rakiba mentioned that Goldengate started long before OD, which began October 15, sent first people to Goldengate November 14 after campers evicted

                                         viii.      Mary: a lot of food for meals comes from garden, people are contributing more to garden now

                                                   ix.      Eric: GG is kind of an anarchist collective

1.  Bad: stuff not always done

2.  Good: individuals take initiative and take jobs on alone… but don’t always finish… still good to see people step up

3.  Need more organization, Hans can help

                                                        x.      Jasahn: ownership creates accountability, leads to barter of services and goods

                                                   xi.      Mary: trying to set up CSA type garden where members invest time in exchange for food

                                              xii.      Mars: at bike shop, 4hrs work earns a bike

Direction of Movement

1.     Lee: Electoral Politics Involvement

a.  You are involved in politics by default

b.  Former activists hold elected office in city and state

c.  Considers himself a socialist democrat

d.  Police share affinity with OD — they have been activists — OD unique

e.  Don’t let others tell OD story — corporations occupy gov’t & media, tell story for us if we don’t

f.  OD should focus on issues unique to Detroit

2.     Christine: Got to take a position on police brutality, can’t ignore past offenses

3.     Rakiba: Not an anarchist, people died so she could vote and use the system — so use the system for viability

a.  OD should work to force banks to waive debt service (interest payment)

                                                        i.      1st, pay employees

                                                   ii.      Jerry Goldberg document cost of debt service for city

4.     Giulia: police brutality should not be ignored

a.  Lee: not ignoring, need to have a dialogue, and 2nd precinct offered a table to OD — we should take, and influence cops for the better

5.     Fuzzy: go to Detroit Works candidate forums

a.  Talk to candidates before 7-Aug primary and November election

b.  Vote on issues, not candidates

                                                        i.      Especially import to vote on Supreme Court candidates

6.     Jasahn: OD needs to engage more people

a.  Eliminate prejudices

b.  Eliminate police oppression — engage

c.  Can’t pick and choose when it’s time to be inclusive

7.     Don: Representative democracy is fair, but does not work when only 12% of electorate votes, as is case in Detroit

a.  May 1, cops blocked set up of tents, legal observer said this was illegal

b.  Debt service: $600 million per year

8.     Hans: maybe we need debt jubilee (forgiveness) — literally not possible to pay off city debt

a.  1% can afford to place bets on economy (invest), wage earners can not — they must work, but no jobs

b.  we give elected officials too much power

c.  representative democracy in US created during agricultural age, smaller population — we’ve outgrown it

d.  Revolution not about democracy, about self-determination — we need to break free of existing gov’t paradigm — we don’t need a president

e.  Be the change you want to see and politicians will bend

                                                        i.      Got to assert power: strikes, occupation

                                                   ii.      Focus on issues, not blame

9.     ?: police are armed body of ruling class

a.  switching people at the top won’t fix oppressive situation

b.  people who share our values do not represent us

                                                        i.      forget existing seats of power, create new seats

                                                   ii.      union leadership part of leadership class

1.  call of strikes early so no strike pay paid

10.                     Sonya: don’t give someone your wallet and expect them to come home with what you want

a.  We’ve outgrown the system

b.  Grandfather formed credit union, said after 30-40 years, bank becomes corrupt, needs to be thrown out and redone

11.                     UK guy: cops choose to be cops, white people don’t choose to be white — we don’t have to work with all of 99% if they don’t share our goals

12.                     Tom Cox: movements don’t get named until after they succeed, i.e. Revolution not called revolution until later, same for civil rights

a.  Angry people start movements

b.  Show up and have a good time, i.e. vote in Republican primary, mess ‘em up

c.  Gotta use the system

d.  Only thing achieved so far is that people are talking about Occupy movement

e.  Drug dealers are part of 99% — we all need to work together

13.                     Valerie Jean: we are one, no race

a.  Iceland fired their gov’t and arrested bankers, Detroit can too

b.  We need to repel the system, not participate in it — it failed us

14.                     Fuzzy: system base on assets: people, capital

a.  You need to own something or create common land by consensus within an organization with enforcement power

b.  Disorganized crowd leads to chaos. May win battle, but not war.

15.                     Jasahn: he did not intend any indictment of white people (in reply to UK guy’s comments)

a.  Use energy to find solutions, not culprits

b.  Use the system; people broken, not system

c.  We can’t organize a new system w/o support of people

d.  Need spirit of reconciliation

e.  No test of qualification to join movement

f.  No scapegoats

16.                     Wayne: anarchist ideal: self-actualization

a.  Surf rider foundation

                                                        i.      Opposed toll road, used system, populated with good, sympathetic representatives, and won.

                                                   ii.      Admiral told crew during Gulf War 1 they were there to fight for oil

1.  Fuck you!

                                              iii.      People need to put limits on cops, it’s our responsibility

17.                     Harold: (1st time Attendee) retired, works with Green Party, but more in tune with Occupy Wall Street

a.  1% taken over media, academia, gov’t, economy and dissent (most important) — they control message

b.  selfishness, narcissism, greed will fail, but we must channel energy

18.                     Rakiba: Black people don’t make drugs, but neighborhoods infested with them, same for guns

a.  Police are our family members and would lay down their lives to protect rights

b.  Every day we all contribute to thousands of deaths in Congo with purchase of electronics

                                                        i.      We are part of the problem — only person you can change is yourself, and those willing to emulate you

1.  Mary: most of GG community don’t have cell phones, TV, etc

19.                     Christina: cops cover up brutality, don’t support them blindly

a.  Trying to fix her own internal racism, people who say they are not racist… that’s bullshit.

b.  Gov’t is sucking city dry

c.  Occupy should get out to neighborhoods and help people become self-supporting

                                                        i.      Create schools, playgrounds, etc. or they will be left behind

d.  AFT staged coup of union leaders in Chicago, should do it here

20.                     Nicole: at Goldengate to be a servant, there to show things can be better

a.  Need to bring hope back to poor communities, they can grow economy for themselves — the light needs to go out and touch other people. We all need to be activated.

21.                     Jeremy: police moved from being a civil organization to military organization (working for power holders)

22.                     Sonya: How do Goldengate people feel about community GA’s?

a.  Valerie Jean: can’t get to 5900 — comm. GA’s are good

b.  ?: We need to get to colleges, churches, community centers; need to get word out about community GA’s

c.  Christine: good to show people someone cares

d.  Rakiba: People don’t know where to go for community GA’s — contact 5900

                                                        i.      Try to plan GA’s a month out

                                                   ii.      Take advantage of free papers and calendars

                                              iii.      Facilitation meets Monday, 7:30PM, 5900

                                                   iv.      Outreach meets Friday

                                                        v.      “We articulate shit really well, then we don’t do shit.”

                                                   vi.      Agenda and proposals are up to you.

                                              vii.      If we don’t go out to community, we become incestuous

e.  Jasahn: should only meet out in community

f.  Need to get word of GA’s out a month in advance for print publications

                                                        i.      Keep coming back to each location where meetings are held

                                                   ii.      Use google calendar

g.  Fuzzy: some papers have online calendars, Free Press, etc., pull from metromix

                                                        i.      We should contact journalists (press releases?)

                                                   ii.      Use text network: 23559 / @occupydetroit

h.  Jeremy: Proposal: back at Goldengate on the 1-Sep

                                                        i.      Proposal passed

i.  Rakiba: Proposal: next Saturday at 5900

                                                        i.      Proposal passed

                                                   ii.      (should have 2 GA [week] advance notice for new locations)

                                              iii.      23-25th Occupy Midwest at Detroit

1.  looking for camping spots, couches, etc.

j.  Sonya: meeting on 11th at Windmill Market

k.  Fuzzy: meeting on 18th  – near Artists’ Village (17340 Lahser, 1 block north of Grand River)