- December 11th, 2012
- 7:30 PM
- St. Jacobi Church
- Facilitation: Tess and Robert
- Minutes: Dicey
[Everyone is coming in and setting up! Should start soon.]
Tess: “What’s up everybody?”
Robert: “Hi guys!”
Tess: “I’m Tess, he’s Robert; we’re going to facilitate tonight. Is that cool with everybody? Twinkle if it’s cool; if it’s not cool, go like this?” Looks good. “So, this is now the fourth Occupy Sandy community meeting we’ve now had. Last week we talked a lot about our collective voice, and we’re going to continue that conversation today. Before we do that, we’re going to go through some of our meeting agreements.
“So, the first one is WAIT – Why Am I Talking? If you find yourself talking a lot, and maybe saying something that someone already said, or that not everyone needs to hear — check that; be aware that we have limited time and capacity for hearing what everybody has to say.
“Another one is, Step up / Step back. If you are a person from a historically marginalized community who doesn’t get the opportunity to speak as much — a person of color, a woman perhaps — you should step up and feel like you have the right to be heard. Similarly, if you talk a lot for whatever reason, step back and allow other voices to be heard.
“We’ve got some hand-signals — most people are probably familiar by now, but uptwinkles means I like it, downtwinles means I don’t like it, midtwinkles means I feel okay about it; finger up to the ceiling means speak up.
“And if there are any videographers in the room, ID yourself?”
Filmmakers from the country of Georgia, filming short films in black and white and trying to find “a story that is interesting to cover.” They’re “talking to as many people as possible… we’d like to film a little bit at the meeting, so if there’s somebody who wouldn’t like to be in the frame, please let me know.”
Tess: “Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable?” OK.
Rio: “I’ve been taking video minutes of the last three meetings, also doing it for this one.”
Tess: “Cool. So… that’s about it. Respect each other, listen to each other, active listening is important; value each others’ voices. Good stuff. OK, we’re going to get started with report-backs. What we’ve been doing so far is we’ve assigned people spaces based on the categories that we’ve identified — be it location-based or sort of role-based — but we’re not going to do that this time. Instead, what we’re going to do is we’re going to ask for a show of hands from people if you feel like you have a report-back that you need to give — information that is pertinent to the community, something that’s changed in the last week, whatever — can I get a show of hands if you feel like you have a report-back?”
Dora: “I’m Dora, with OccupySandy legal. To remind everyone: we have a new hotline, for the community, not just for Occupy Sandy — 646 397 5671 We also have a gmail account, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re continuing to do outreach in SI, the Rockaways and Coney Island. Please reach out to us if you see needs.
“If you see other nonprofits or lawyers or clinics doing outreach, if you could contact us — email us with that info — it’s good for us to have a sense of what’s going on.”
Tess: “Cool. I feel like I saw a hand somewhere over here.”
Kate: “I’m Kate; I do logistics/communications for the Kitchen. Short-term need — late last week, we had to scale back on meals, because we don’t have the people — we have the capacity. Two email blasts didn’t get a lot of response. So not only do we need helpers on a day-to-day basis, we just lost a lot of great institutional support this week. I’d love one person who could be a floor manager; Marcus can’t be here all the time. And having another head chef to be there once or twice a week would be great. We have a logistics team; we don’t know the scheduling on that yet, but it would be great to have one or two more people who are good with logistics.
“Kay, Tim and I went out to the Rockaways to visit some of our hubs that we cook for, and we’re trying to plan long-term how we can help these people facilitate, you know, cooking for themselves and feeding themselves. I also had a chef on sunday with this amazing idea for how he can get cooking supplies to people, mainly in the Rockaways, so that people can cook for themselves — families, not just the hubs. She has a 4-page plan; I’d love for people who want to help her out; she’s looking for us to back her up in some way.
“So, please let us know if you can help us out — this weekend especially; we have no one on Saturday except maybe cooking.”
Gelsey: “Hi, I’m with Sheepshead Bay. Two things — we made a great contact with the head of the department of … he’s awesome; and if anyone wants to get in touch with him and have him come out and do any type of mold information session, let me know, and we can pass on that info. He was able to talk to a couple of folks from Respond and Rebuild, but if anyone else wants to talk to him, he’s a great dude and he knows how to talk to people.
“We’re also putting out a general call for anyone with construction connections and mold remediation connections.
“We have a gmail; email@example.com And we also have a hotline number. We’ll write it up. Thank you!”
Sofia: “A clarifying question — re: construction connections, do you mean, workers, volunteers — ?”
Gelsey: “We mostly need hands to put up sheetrock and treat mold and all that.”
Lev: “So, Susana, Lily and I have been working on volunteer group outreach, and there’s a decent resource coming to the website that we haven’t been tapping properly. So we’re going to urge sites to start generating event info so we can” pipe people into then. “I already got 60 volunteers for Coney on monday; we can start doing these things quite well.” Start thinking of your needs a week out and we can “maybe be more strategic about all this. So if you can try to think that way about your needs, that will help.”
Susana: “We have a gmail: occupysandy.volunteers@gmail.”
: “A week out right now is great; a month out is really great — I know we’re not thinking about that right now, but moving towards that — Spring Break kind of thing — big projects, we can link people up sooner than later. And also a point person to give us an idea of what the work is at each area — who has the capacity to check in and receive groups also.”
Kristian: “We now have access to FEMA’s warehouse to get supplies –”
Tess: “What are you reporting back from?”
Kristian: “I’m reporting back from this situation. Is that not a reportback?”
Someone: “520 Clinton.”
Kristian: “I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of it, that anyone who wants to put things on the shopping list gets a chance.” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lev: “Just to clarify for him, there’s a specific list of things that they have that we can order form. So he’ll give that to you, and you can see what they have.”
Jackie: “From Labor; we had a good meeting on Friday with people from the Labor Movement and people from Occupy Sandy; we had nurses and transit workers and some of us. And the main interest there is on the rebuilding, and fighting against disaster capitalism, and we set up a bunch of working committees — one is going to research what the 1%’s plans are if we can find out; another on housing, unions, jobs, and then one is figuring out — from labor, and from us — our own perspective on what kind of rebuilding we’d like to see, and infrastructure. So we’re going to be doing a lot of work at that; we have a meeting Jan 4 at the Murphy Institute, and then after that there’ll probably be an all-day conference. We’ve also talked about getting some labor leaders together to find out what they know about the subways and inside and what needs to be done.”
Andy: Bloomberg hired Mark Ricks from Goldman Sachs to head up the Sandy Recovery Plan.
Jackie: “And someone from Empire Development Corp, which is a group that works with private sector to give them goodies — tax write-offs — and I was told they were hte only group out in CI as early as us.” email@example.com.
Andy: “Hi, I’m Andy; I work with a group called Respond and Rebuild; it basically is part of Occupy Sandy; we do the house cleanups in the Rockaways. We also do trainings throughout the city on mold, demolition, safety, stuff like this. We’re located at 73rd and Beach Channel. We’ve been getting our structures a little more sound; we now have two open meetings and one closed meeting a week. The two open meetings, one is Wednesday at 7pm on 64th Street between 4th and 3rd — very close to here; you can stop by that at 7pm on Wednesday. Also, if you’re in the Rockaways on Friday night, you can come to our meeting at 5pm. And at those meetings you can figure out how to join the group and go to the closed meeting if you want — we have really clear barriers to entry, but we do have that structure set.
“Our website, Respond and Rebuild, is a really good resource for safety, mold information, stuff like that. We’re coming out with a long, exhaustive report about best practices for mold remediation; it should come out tomorrow; it’s endorsed by a bunch of people. It’s a good resource.
“We’re trying to — if you need help with those specific types of skills, we’d like to help you.”
Dan: “To report back a little bit more about what’s going on in Coney Island this week, we’re going through a good transition, stepping into some canvassing efforts, looking for mold and where it can be addressed. We’re also getting a lot of help from people in other parts of the effort city-wide, which is actually a really great way for us to get some fresh views on things, and streamlining things — Lev, Don, Easton have all come out. If you can get these things going on in other sites too, it adds fresh perspective.
“We’re also working on helping community councils come together in Coney Island, and that’s in conjunction with another council that’ll be kind of interactive… connecting the community where it’s not.”
Tess: “OK. I want 5 more minutes of reportbacks, and then let’s move on.”
Tammy: “Just so everyone knows, there’s an action this Saturday; I can speak to 2 of the 3 actions — at noon, there’s something at the Staten Island hub on Olympia, and in the Rockaways there’s a march starting at 21st and Mott, through a community we’ve been working with — mostly run by community members from there — and ending at a house we’re doing construction on there. And at 5pm, there’s an action at Bloomberg’s house in the Upper East Side to reflect in the city what’s happening out in these communities. So this is sort of our first attempt at moving towards action, and expressing the anger that many folks feel. It would be great if you came out.”
“Saturday, December 15th. And I promise you you can Google it.”
Someone asks if it’s conceivable to be able to go to both; some debate about it. Robert: “If you guys have more questions, please talk to Tammy afterwards.”
Miles: “So, I went to Gerritsen Beach today — I don’t know if anyone else has been down there, but there’s a group there that have created their own station, and they have some tools — they’re doing a gutting operation. We’re not working with them so far, maybe we can send them support — they’re great people; they’ve set up a couple of tents and storage containers. Would like to find a way to get them more support.”
Devin: “Just quickly, I want to remind folks here that on the schedule after the community voice conversation is a series of resource reportacks — fundraising, allocation, participatory budgeting, et cetera.”
Miles: “Also, the Fire Department I work with offered to send us more support.”
Robert: “Cool. So, as Devin was just saying, we have an agenda for the rest of the meeting. What we’re going into next is a discussion about collective voice, and what that looks like; we want to hear from as many people as possible. After that, we’ll have a break to talk with each other, and then we’ll have report-backs on major resources that are developing or that we already have, and want to make sure that the ways to access them are clear. You can ask questions then, but we’ll continue the discussion next week.”
“If you’re wondering where the agenda comes from; we meet weekly — it’s an open group, anyone is welcome to join. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Robert: “Also, if you go to lists.occupy.net, you can find a list of all of our mailing lists and join any you want to — just click on the subscribe link. If you want to help us plan these meetings, that’s the best way to do it.”
OK, collective voice.
Tess: “So, who was at the meeting last week? Show of hands.” Lots. “So, if you remember, we had a long conversation about what it means to have a collective voice. We asked three questions: what do you think people and groups should decide autonomously; what do you think merits consent from the OS community, and what should be the space for decisions on these items? First, we crowdsourced some general decisions we might need to make together as a group, and then we narrowed it down to talking about voice, in reference to statements and press, actions, educational material, the website, and social media.
“The Meeting Meeting group — first we made this really pretty flyer. It’s pretty; we’re very proud of it — that we had distributed to all of the… well, as many of the hubs as we could, because obviously this group does not constitute the entire network, and we want to make sure that there’s access to these sorts of decisions from all of the people who have a stake in it.
“But we did sort of manage to synthesize based on what this meeting came up with some points of solidarity that we all felt like were consistent with how we felt about… how we should use our collective voice.”
Dicey is proposing
Press and public statements was first to speak on this issue last week, suggested a basic blueprint that other groups echoed. Let’s temp check how everyone feels about the three point:
Individuals should always feel free to speak for themselves
Groups in the network should use whatever process they’ve agreed to to decide how to use their voice as a group
Statements which come from OS as a whole should be agreed to at an in-person meeting with the collective network
Encourages people to act autonomously, but also gives guidelines on how to act without speaking for each other and be accountable
Want to determine questions, concerns, etc.
This group has to acknowledge that we have weak ties since we’re so distributed, might me more productive for this room to agree together and propose it to other groups
Not trying to definitively say the rules of OS
Tess: “Any questions?” “Let’s take them point by point — we can talk about each individual statement, as we go through them. I just want any questions on how this process is supposed too work.”
Robert: “There are a lot of questions; that’s why want talk now. But we want to explain this process for how we’re doing this — figuring out if people at this meeting agree, and then to suggest it to the rest of the network.”
Tess: “The way we’re going to do this — we have a room, right? And for each point, we’re going to have people who really, really, really agree with a point stand on one side; if you disagree, stand on the other side; and then if you are in the middle, stand in the middle?”
Robert: “So, instead of getting a binary of yes, no, maybe, we’ll get a sense of what we… may need further discussion on.”
Tess: “So, if, for example, the second point, you’re sort of in the middle about it, and you have some questions, that would be manifest.”
Spectrum first, then talking in breakout groups afterwards.
Daniele’s question: “Were you asking us if you have questions about the standing process, or about the process of this room making decisions and the subsequent dissemination to the network?”
Tess: “The second. So, we have three statements that are derived from the last meeting. They’re written up there. We are going to try to consent to these statements, reformulate them where they might need to be reformulated, and then try to have them be disseminated by this group as proposals to individuals and groups in the network, who can choose to adopt and use them in any way they want to.”
Marisa: “I just wanted to help a little bit — about the process itself. So, this is just a spectrum, to get a sense of where people are at — how we’re feeling about each point. Then, we’re going to break out into smaller groups and address questions, concerns, go through an actual consensus process. This is just to get a feeling about where we are — so don’t get hung up on it; we’re going to play this game, and see where we’re at.”
Austin wants to point out “I cannot effectively do this spectrogram until a series of clarifying questions are addressed, which I’m hearing that people have no idea how this would work in practice… so my question is, I don’t know how to do it. And I’m hearing, that’s fine, because you’ll get to ask question later?”
Facilitators getting measure of the room — folks don’t want to do the spectrum. “Bre’s very sad about that.” Tess: “I’m sorry, Bre.”
Tammy: “So, I think here’s the thing. We’re trying to make the first decision as the Occupy Sandy Network in this space. It’s hard; we haven’t done that. What I’m asking for is a little bit of patience; it might feel uncomfortable or clunky, but if we can do this, and make this decision and propose it out to the network, it will be a big step forward in helping us work together.”
Question: “After we’ve come to some kind of consensus or agreement tonight, this will be put out to the broader network, and what is the objective to putting it out to the broader network? A particular point to clarify is — I heard you say they could do with it whatever they wanted. Is that the case?”
Tess: “Yes. We’re going to send out more flyers like this, get them distributed to the various locations, and it’ll provide guidelines and a sort of idea of structure, and an idea of principles, that we as a group are using, and if they as a group feel like aligning themselves with them, they can do that, or they can amend them to suit their needs.”
: “Well, it feels like that kind of proposal is, we’re going to come up with some common statement about Occupy Sandy, and then we’re going to put it out to all these groups acting as it and tell them we can do with it…?”
Robert: “This is like a pirate code of conduct.”
Tess: “We are not saying that we are Occupy Sandy. This is an assembly of a network of people connected with Occupy Sandy; we are affiliated with it.”
Robert: “10s of thousands of people have organized as Occupy Sandy; this is a process of building towards consensus. If we don’t agree on this, at least we understand we don’t agree on these three points, and we can move forward from there.”
Someone: “I have a question about on what premise these three items rest on… if the premise is this group, then I would like to better understand on what premise this group rests.”
Robert: “It’s not fair that only the people who can physically make this meeting could make decisions for everybody; we’re trying to figure out how everyone here feels, and then communicate that to ask people people as possible so they can continue this process.”
Shlomo: “Right now, there’s a process that was built out of the meeting meeting to slowly loosen up, get some ideas flowing. Nothing will be forced upon anyone. The only way we’re going to get ourselves out of this hellish quagmire we’ve found ourselves in, is to take the first step and go through this process they’ve put effort into putting into the meeting.”
Robert: “Who wants to move onto the next step?”
Looks good. Someone is not respecting the process so facilitators are talking her down before we can move on.
Tess: “We’re going to break out into small groups of 5 to talk about — to discuss concerns, and questions, with regards to these three points. We’re going to break out for 15 minutes in groups of 5 — OK, we’re going to count off in groups of 6.”
[Currently discussing in 5 breakout groups.]
Tess: “OK, everybody. We’re going to try to bring it back.”
Coming back together.
Tess: “OK. So, that took a little bit longer than we expected it to. Are we all ready to be in meeting mode again? Cool. There was a lot to talk about. What we’re going to do is we’re going to go group-by-group, item-by-item, and one person from each group is going to report back with questions, concerns, suggestions, friendly amendments, and we’ll take it from there. OK? The way we planned this meeting was that there was — this was supposed to be done by now, and then we’d have a great, and then we were going to talk about resources. We’re going to have to see how things stand — it’s important for us to get through this process and carry it through. And the resources conversation, if we have to, we can push it to next week. We’ll talk about it at the end of the meeting. Where is group 1?”
Tess: “So, group 1, for the statement, “All individuals can speak for themselves…”
Group 1 had consensus.
Group 2 agreed — “we specifically said that an individual can say that they are part of Occupy Sandy, but they should make a point to say it’s their personal opinion, not OS’. And since groups are often doing things other than FEMA and RC, invoking the collective is useful to do in the field. It would be easier to do #1 if we had a statement of principles.
Tess: “So, interacting with institutions or community members…”
Austin: “We’ve been invoking things like people-helping-people, which is not controversial, but not consented to. So we would like it to be consented to.”
Group 3 had consensus. “We didn’t spend much time discussing this.”
Group 4 was “largely mixed about number one; some folks felt some merits and that it was a loose-cannon issue… it’s tough without a mission statement — but there was no consensus on that. The fear of the loose cannon being manipulated was the concern. We felt mixed, that was what we agreed on saying.”
Group 5: “We agree.”
Group 6: “We agree. Consensus.”
Tess: “OK, so… we’ve got four groups that pretty much uncontroversially say, “cool,” about the statement “individuals can always speak for themselves.” The questions or concerns that arose from two groups sounded like they were around…
Austin: “What does Occupy Sandy mean?”
Tess: “Yes. I think if you’re an individual speaking for themselves, you’re not necessarily invoking OS…”
Someone: “But at a door, you have to invoke OS to say why you’re there. And then you are speaking on behalf of yourself. Concrete example that exists in the field.”
Tess: “So, do we want to rephrase this statement right now?”
Someone: “We felt like in statement 3 we could address this problem with statement 1.”
Tess: “OK. Number two…. “
GRoup 1: “We largely agreed with this statement as well, but we thought it was very, very important that when someone is speaking for their group that they are from X area and perhaps provide contact information from said area. So to make clear, especially in print, that it is from one area.”
Group 2: “Very much the same — you speak on behalf of whatever group it is with subheader OS, so it’s clear that it’s that group, not OS.”
Andy: “As an example, if you’re a smaller group coming out of the Rockaways, you coul put out a statement, as long as you identify that you’re a smaller group coming out of the Rockaways putting out the statement. Also there were some concerns about what the definition of a group is, though we realized specifying could be difficult.”
Austin: “Example from the field that we would like guidance on — Far Rockaway is organizing a march to a house to fix up the house. We made flyers, and we put Occupy Sandy on the flyer, because we are OS. We thought the correct approach would be to call ourselves “Occupy Sandy Far Rockaways” or an entirely different name. And thus, as long as we decided amongst ourselves what the flyer said, we wouldn’t have to bring it back to the full group. I just want to ask if that’s correct.”
Tess: “I think that’s what this means. I think.”
Group 3: “We had three friendly amendments to this; I can write them out after, they’re kind of long. The idea was basically to add on text: “Smaller groups making statements should consider the diversity of the movement and avoid making statements that impact other groups.” And that “groups can form if they’re following the same goal of supporting people affected by Occupy Sandy,” and “a recommendation that we issue a small statement, that OS is “people helping people rebuild better after Hurricane Sandy.”
Tess: “So, you want some sort of slogan.”
Elana: “Yeah, some kind of mission statement, so that people can speak to that.”
Group 4: “We felt mixed about it; no amendment, just a statement of feelings that were mixed. We don’t have amendments as they did.”
Tess: “Do you want to speak to the….”
Group 4: “Nope.” Laughter.
Group 5: “We said we liked it and moved on to Question 3.”
Daniele: “But we agreed to the no-trashing amendment…”
Tim: “Yes, we agreed about not trashing others’ work, and principles in general. But we’ll come to that in statement 3.”
Group 6: “We first said yes, as long as smaller groups don’t identify as Occupy Sandy, identify as a group — OS Rockaways, SI, — but if the group says pretty much the statement that the group agrees with OS, and we started talking about whether we have a clear set of principles, that would be OK. But it got a little long-winded. So, yes, if they identify themselves as a splinter group. But if we have principles, we can decide autonomously.”
Part 3. Tess: “I’m going to move to 3. I feel like 3 is going to be a beast.”
Group 1: “Oh man, all right. Question 3. So… being that this — the scale of this question was so large, we decided to make it a bit more manageable, and perhaps look at it through social media. So let’s say you have the OS facebook page. We kind of noticed that there was basically three types of posts: needs, facts, and political statements. And that led to a discussion: what does it mean when you’re managing the Facebook — is there a code of responsibility that these admins have? What is this code? Has it been developed? Doesn’t look like it has been, and what does it look like when you’re posting political messaging? Because out in the field, you’ll have different relationships you’ll develop — some hubs may have great relationship to the city, and some may have negative — so what does it mean when the OS facebook page posts something positive or negative about the mayor?”
“Also, we talked about accountability — at each hub, there’s always someone in charge of social media, and we’re wondering if anyone is checking what is being posted to Facebook, and what is being sent via private messages.”
“And one last thing we talked about is the idae — not people’s names, but even a hashtag or initials so we know who is posting what if there’s an error or a controversy. And to highlight that it is individuals posting throughout the day, not just one voice.”
Tess: “Cool. Group 2?”
Group 2: “We came up with three different things that may or may not have to be written — a statement of values, a statement of principles, a mission statement — we may not need all, but we need at least one; a unifying thing under which OS is. We think that there should be some group of writers who are not necessarily the idea people, but specific with their language, to write these, such that whatever they come up with can come back to whatever entities make the decision to agree with them, and with a limited abiity to edit, and only the ability to block if it’s completely ridiculous.” Noted that it was discussed, not consented to.
Andy: “That was one of the ideas; there was two really interesting examples that came up that we’d like to query the group on: the first is, if a community-led action from the deep grassroots comes up and claims the OS mantle and puts out a statement — a really brave statement, like say from the Bungalows int he Rockaways — wehat would we do? Most of us would think it was great and awesome. So how do we contend with this idea, if statements come from outside of this meeting? And the converse, what if the same hypothetical group decides to say OS works with Goldman Sachs rebuilding the Bugalows – what do we do with that? So it’s a real question of accountability for groups as to their staements to the whole.”
Tess: “Well, the answer to that may be in number 2, where it’s — if Occupy Sandy the Bugalows decides to align themselves with Goldman Sachs…”
: “Anything put out here, like a group statement, mission statement, there is a suggestion that there should be a time period of agreement where we can get feedback from other groups, get sense of what they might be uncomfortable wih, bring it back here, and make sure that we are not acting as a privileged, elitist group, that is therefore speaking on behalf of the people that we are working with.”
Elena: “we were cool with this in general; some related things: an ask to smaller groups to make community agreements and share them with the larger group, in hopes they’d be similar; a bottom-up approach. And we have the general opinion that we won’t have any control over what people say anyway, and we shouldn’t take too much time writing any of these statements.”
Group 4: “We felt mixed about it.” Laughter. “For a lot of the same reasons: who is Occupy Sandy? How would you bring a statement to the entirety of that network? And things of that nature.”
Group 5: “There were parts of that statement we thought were problematic — the in-person meeting, for example. Considering the timeliness with which some statements need to be made, and constraints of the network, we don’t think that’s the best way. We think there should be guidelines about principles and how we present ourselves that the larger community can agree on, and the methods of communication that our press team uses should be spread to larger network, so that everyone has access within reason — so that everyone feels there’s a way for the voice to be heard, and tehy can speak on behalf of Occupy Sandy if they’re speaking to the principles of OS.”
Daniele: “One concern I had that I felt didn’t fit into framing of the question was a concern about our functioning press team, and a desire that our press team be people engaging in the work, in our communities, and not people outside of that.”
Group 6: “So, our main question was, why this meeting should have a bigger importance than meetings in the sites? There might be a strong group at Yana, or on SI, why should this meeting be more important, because those people may not be able to come here. Just a general question. And we had a suggestion for how this could work, that there could be different meetings at different sites — as opposed to saying that this was written on behalf of the whole network assembly, we could say where it was agreed and when, so we’d know where they were coming from. Then we got into a bigger discussion about whether we need a fixed set of principles; do we have a way for the stronger voice to be able to agree or disagree with each other? Pretty much. So, many questions.”
Tim: “One other thing I wanted to add from Group 5; we would like to propose we have a discussion about our principles as Occupy Sandy in the near future. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of discussion about this…”
Tess: “One thing made very clear is that we want to somehow form some set of principles, guidelines, community agreements… a mission statement. I think there’s some question as to how we do that. This meeting, right is — we were just taking on a small thing — collective voice — to see if, as a cross-section of this network, we could make any decisions in this room, in this space. The question of how we decide on what our overall principles are is an even bigger question, and how we loop stakeholders into that question is one that I don’t know the answer to.”
I’m not sure that we’re ready to rush towards an outcome
This group is going to have a hard time because of logistical constraints legitimately claiming that we speak for OS as a whole
This group is not more important than other groups, we’re an intersection of other groups
We can start a loop between this intersection and the other groups of people organizing
We can make a flyer, like this one, which may be the results of this conversation, and share it with the network at all of the hubs
I was hopeful that we could agree on these three things or some evolution of them
others can report back on what their groups decide based on the proposal
Trying to build a consensus generation mechanism
We can use that same type of process for other types of decisions
We should see where we can get, share it and let it evolve.
After hearing the proposal from group three about doing the inverse, I think that would be far simpler
Start by going back to all of the sites, bringing this conversation there, getting the statement of principles from each site, bring them back here and consolidate them
Obviously principles inform our collective voice and how we use it. We’re specifically trying to take on the question of how we use our collective voice
The flyers were distributed imperfectly, but it wa an attempt to get feedback from communities
suggestion was to get
This meeting seems to be moving towards becoming a body, want to give space to consent to that process…facilitation, please take a temp check on that conversion process
? (disruptive lady)
I’m going to give my time to my fellow volunteer…I have a lot to say, but I’m going to give her my time
(Changed her mind)
I’m sensing that there’s a certain level of…maybe I’m not explaining myself in a way that reaches folks in a welcoming way…I’m sensing that…am I wrong or am I right?
I agree that we should bring it from the out in
Second, we can create the principles and mission, and premise at the same time that we are providing a service
The response to (couldn’t hear)
If we want to create a premise, we need to bring the consumers to this marketplace
There are great organizers in the communities, it’s their communities and not our communities
We must accept that we are vendors and visitors
I have a concern about what we’re doing…I’ve been confused the whole time
The only thing that’s gotten excitement is Imani’s suggestion. We don’t have an agreement on a decision-making anything. All of a sudden, the two of you, who are doing the best you can…I can’t facilitate because I start screaming at people
Tess: I can start throwing things!
Susan: I didn’t hear that this was the understanding going into this.
I’m going to ask for a temp-check right now…uptwinkle if you’re comfortable with the transition of this meeting space to a decision-making body
[result is mixed]
Dicey: the reason we wanted to have this conversation is because people have asked us to make decision, people have asked us for a mission statement. Right now we’re working out of different places in this network. We want to work in solidarity with each other. I don’t see this as a transformation, I see it as an evolution…
[three points of process]
Marissa: there is a shift, and the conversation was about what this space will be
People seem really psyched about starting this network, I’d like to go over the proposal so we have an action coming out of this
OK. Tess: “I’m going to start a stack. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.”
Next: “It’s clear this isn’t Zuccotti PArk; there are people in hubs with different needs all over the place. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be time for people to meet up and exchange notes, but we need to be clear… but it’s 10:15, and resources have not been talked about. So we’re either going to have a masturbatory discussion about a mission statement, or talk about getting people what they need.”
Lopi: “We’re trying to centralize something that is really decentralized, and talking about a mission statement is something that an organization does. And we are a network. A lot of people have been coming to a consensus about that. But this is, as I said, futile; I think it’s unnecessary; I think if autonomous groups in the community want to form mission statements, it’s on them, not on us. We’re not centralized, we’re not controlling the entire network, there’s no way we could. And so this is futile.”
Tess: “And let’s try to keep it to a minute each.”
: “I’m going to ask the person who made a proposal a clarifying question — my understanding of this proposal was not that this body was going to make decisions about what the principles of Occupy Sandy are, but that we’re going to ask all the hubs to send in what their principles are, and see what the consensus is across the hubs. And the other thing I’m hearing from people who are calling this a decision-making process that somehow it’s against our principles here that we even find out if we agree on any principles.”
Tim: “I think considering the voice discussion that we were trying to have, where we’re standing right now, we can’t continue it yet. I ‘d like to second Imani’s proposal that we reach out to the hubs, invite them to agree on principles amongst themselves, and report back to this space, so we as a group can hear what those principles are and figure out…
Tess: “I’d like to clarify that there’s a distinction between our principles and consenting on a set of principles or guidelines and the — and consenting on how we use our collective voice. They are obviously linked, and maybe the place to start was with principles. But we were sort of taking it — trying to use this as a small chunk that we could maybe bite off and see how well we could chew it. So I just want to make it clear — that these are two separate things — to get feedback on the community on what their principles are, versus how they want to use their voice.”
Tim: “What we’ve seen in this room makes it clear that we might have picked the wrong chunk, and if we get feedback on principles that we could make principles easier to discuss.”
Daniele: “I always think of facilitation as an experiment, especially in the form that we’ve become now, that we’re not in clear Occupy consensus process, and I think that’s how we have to see this process. I think it makes sense to, in the coming week, crowdsource principles and guidelines, and come back together. And it also makes sense to make space in this conversation for what this group is and what we want it to be, because it’s clear we want to make…”
Bre: “I understand how hard it is to facilitate; my request is that the people who facilitate the proposal and who make the proposal not be the same people. It makes it hard to hear the group because you have a vested interest in the proposal.”
Rob: “This is really, really hard work. It seems like there’s very strong support for Imani’s suggestion, and I would like to take on forming a group of people that will invest in getting input from all these hubs, and we’ll work really hard to ask hubs if they have any statement of principles and collective agreement, and we’ll feed it back to the group and figure out what we want to do from there. We’ll also do our best to synthesize what was discussed here; if we can make progress on number 3, we can make progress on 1 and 2.”
Rob asks if folks want to continue to the resources conversation.
Imani suggests it should be simpler; we can just have people go from here out to the sites.
Lopi: “I saw Leah do a temperature check, and I saw a mixed result, and I feel like we sort of blew it off.”
Shlomo: “People are going to take autonomous action based on something someone said in their presence. Do we need to talk about that anymore?”
Daniele: “I feel like the vibe in this room is really contentious and negative; people are tired. We have a very physical, fundamental goal that we’re all trying to accomplish together, and we need to remember that and get a little bit out of our shit and chill out, because we’re all in this together. I want to propose a 2-minute break, and then there are certain resources that people want to figure out how to access them… can we get a temperature check about waiting for next week for that? I want people to know how to apply for money, so people don’t feel like they’re withholding that.”
Evan: “I think that if decisions over principles and everything are coming up from the bottom to begin with, decisions about resources should happen exactly the same way. But shouldn’t the body be empowered — “
Tess: “We’re not making decisions. This is information-sharing.”
Devin asks for a temperature check on having the resources reportbacks now…
Austin: “I just want to observe that Tammy’s had her hand up to speak for the last five minutes and no one has called on her.”
Point of Process: “I don’t mind hearing 5 minutes at the end of the meeting, but I feel like, as a matter of process, we’ve spent 30-45 minutes talking about reaching out to the hubs — I think we should finish what we started, and then, if anything, 5 minutes at the end of the meeting.”
Tammy: “I guess I just have a question — I’m cool with this body not being about making decisions; from the moment we walked in here today… my sense is that people want to make decisions and have accountability about resources. My question to the group is, how are we to make decisions about resources if this body isn’t a body to make decisions? And I’m fine with that, but I wanted to ask that question, because I feel like conflicting messages at folks who’ve been trying to make space to deal with these things for a long time.
“The other thing I Want to say is that the more I’ve been a part of OS, the more it feels like InterOcc — at first, we would make a proposal, and then share the idea to other groups. That’s what we’re trying to do tonight, but this body isn’t any of those bodies. So maybe what we need to do is have Clinton make a proposal and send it out to the network, because that’s an actual body.”
Leah: “That to me calls the attention what the problem is with this; we’re having meta conversations when there are needs on the ground to talk about.”
Dan: “One thing that may be helpful before we break is to give you a sense of how that resources discussion was going to break… in the meeting meeting the other night, this came up. We have somehow perhaps forgotten that in the first 6 weeks, we made decisions on the ground all the time, and the reason for the resources discussion is that there will be continuing needs that are needed to be addressed, and we now have access to a whole bunch of resources. That’s what that discussion is about — we know we have these things, and where are these resources now? Can we give an overview of what that discussion is going to be? Because it will be moving forward.”
Daniele points out that people are really angry in here in general and are really frustrated and tired, “and maybe it makes more sense to do more of just a — these are the resources that we are looking at, dealing with, finding ways to access, a quick sort of presentation with the understanding it will carry forward into a conversation.”
Bre: “I just wanted to remind everyone that as frustrated as we are now, it could be worse — we could have had Nan or Trish here.”
Tess: “My only concern is that there are 20 people in the room…”
Daniele: “We’ll have to do it again.”
Robert: “We’re going to go over this now real quick, and then it’ll be in the notes. We’ll even have a discussion next week so people can have input. Let’s just get started on this.”
Dan: “OK, so everyone take a deep breath… in, and let it out. And do another one; take a deep breath in…. through your mouth, through your nose… and let it out. We’re all doing really great work, guys. Keep that in mind. And all of this is important.
“So, the overview of the resources is basically to give everyone a sense — there are a number of organizational relationships that have been established over the past couple of weeks. The overview of this is that in any given day, we were anywhere from the first, second, third, and fourth-largest response effort between the Rockaways and NJ. And that’s noticed, and that’s become a big discussion from FEMA to the city level and all the volunteer organizations we’re working with already on a day-to-day-basis — city harvest, things like that.”
“So what the group was talking about for an agenda to this was: what are those relationships, who are involved, and to try to make working groups to discuss and decide about those relationships. And we have three main points: We’re still in triage and disaster relief in many areas of the city, we’re moving to rebuilding efforts in some parts, and we have participatory planning processes that are going to get started. And all of that ties into the identity discussion that was here earlier.”
“So, what’s been worked out of a framework is that there are needs assessments being done across the city, from LI to Philadelphia, to see where these resources can be tapped in — food, supplies, transportation, reconstruction efforts — tied into all these organizational relationships across the city. Those groups are already working, making ground, and we’re connected to those.”
“So the discussion was, can we break into working groups to talk about wher we’re at now, and how we can move forward.”
“This will definitely continue next week, and…”
Devin: “How do we reach you or the group? How do we reach this external resource pool that we’re talking about?”
Dan: “It’s email@example.com. That seems like a good place to do this, and then branch from there, if we need to set up other topics.”
Devin: “Hi folks! I’m just going to go through it — I’m Devin; I’m on the Incubation Team. I want to go into how the Incubation Team is developing; we’re expanding into many teams — many open teams. One of them is project support — there will be project pages — and a form with checkboxes like, “Do you want help with grants?”, “Do you want to apply for OS support funds?”, “Do you want to present at a resource gathering?” Those will be areas where people with skills and resources will meet people with projects. So you can present to a community people who want to support OS-style initiatives, to do grantwriting, and if you want to apply to the various OS funds, including the WePay funds that have been raised… that’s one of the funds. But we also want to support many funds going. And we want to help people connect with fiscal sponsor, so we can create campaigns from our funds, and help projects be non-profit.
“This will take place over the next week. Also, right now in NY, there are 8 city council districts that have successfully applied participatory budget programs… we’ve had one conversation with that community… these are things that have been taking place. And we have four groups that we want to start helping facilitate… project support, fundraising/grants, participatory budgeting, and resource gathering.”
Daniele: “So, we’re shifting to a model where instead of donating to a WePay, the projects will have pages, and people can give directly to projects. So it’s a shift away from a centralized decision-making body to projects being able to fund for themselves. But if you want seed money, you can get some of that right now. Projects that are part of the Occupy Sandy network can apply for funds; if you go to Interoccupy.net/occupysandy/funds, it says “Apply for Funds.” You can apply for funds; in fact, we encourage you to. Please give us an itemized budgets; one of the things we’d like to do is give you…
Leah: “We’re also building a team for people who’d like us to source in-kind donations — people who want to donate goods and services — “
Devin: “And that’s why itemized budgets are so important. We can find many things needed in our network, so… we’re going to put this all into a report; it’s kind of done; we’re going to produce a nice document. That’s going to outline kind of the various efforts that are involved in resource organizing that’s taking place, and we’ll hope to facilitate autonomous groups…”
Daniele: “We’re just kind of trying to power through main points right now.”
Devin would field questions right now, but “I recognize that this type of information needs to get our regularly and often so we can try to market these types of endeavors to folks and build more support for the projects and the endeavors that this community is taking on.”
Daniele: “All of the expenditures…”
Lopi: “I have a suggestion and concern directly related to the communities that we’re serving. How — you’re presenting it to us, but are you going to go out and present this in these communities? Because this needs to come from them more than us… one suggestion is to have print-outs of the application, and then put them out on the hubs. Because this is really supposed to be for the communities, correct? And I believe that we all want it. But it’s problematic in this current state, that it’s all online.”
Bre: “We were supposed to, for this meeting, but we had printing issues, have a pamphlet with info on each team, how you get to those teams, and then all the data on everything we’ve done so far. That was supposed to be here that we could hand out to everyone; due to printing issues, we didn’t get it done, but we can hand it out next time because it’s online.”
Daniele agrees that we should go around to the communities.
Lopi: “In order to do that, can I just clarify — this is not for individuals. They have to form a group, right? I want to know what I’m telling people in the communities.”
Daniele: “It’s not for that. If people want to create a house-fixing project that would create a lot of other projects… it’s for community spaces and community projects within the network we’re working with.”
Lopi: “Are there emergency funds for individuals?”
Daniele: “Currently not, but that’s something in the community that we need to figure out.”
Freddie: “I’m not sure if this makes sense, but I think we should figure out who would sponsor us before we actively say these funds are available. There’s still organizing being done with people who would be willing to sponsor us… architects, a bunch of — who knows? There’s even… maybe if — I don’t know if anyone’s reached out to Lowe’s or different organizations — it doesn’t sound like they’ve been reached out to, but if we …”
Daniele: “We always pretty much require/strongly encourage projects to reach out to in-kind or dedicated resources before we sponsor projects. Within 24 hours of replying, you’ll hear that we got it, and then within a week, you’ll hear if you got it — because in that week we look for free resources for you.”
Bre: “And I’d like to add an addendum to that- – we have not been very good about getting back to projects immediately; now we have people bottomline projects and be responsible for responding. Hopefully this system will fix it if you haven’t been responded to.”
Daniele: “Also, we’ll be around after the meeting.”
: “I get the sense that the way the money works is an informal word-of-mouth process and things constantly change; do you think next Tuesday you could spend an hour and a half walking through the process? And this could be a basis for how this could be done?”
Bre: “I’d disagree that it’s a word-of-mouth process… it’s all online — “
Daniele: “We’ve been saying since last week that all this information is available online; we didn’t have a chance to go through the cohesive longer presentation in this meeting; we just wanted to make sure that we hit the points to make sure people could do it functionally in the next week before we can do the longer presentation.”
Devin: “The emergency funds, on-site, especially the beginning, worked through a network of trust — there were people who went through a process to be able to get cash from the ATM and give it to people they trusted. But since the beginning… we’ve had applications on how to apply for funds. Our team is not the web team; we relate a lot to it, but this is funding information — things aren’t that cohesive; it’s hard to get the word out on some of these issues. But we’re getting the word out, and the whole projects section will help with some of these issues. And hopefully these mechanisms will begin to turn.”
Dan notes that energy is low.
Freddie: “Are there any timelines or schedules? That’s the one thing — any individuals or individual groups considering timelines, but if we could marry these timelines as OS as a whole?”
Daniele: “Disaster work goes through phases; I think that’s a full conversation and not necessarily one that we should be deciding on.”
Evan: “I heard one clear criteria for decision-making — no individuals. Just as one example of one criteria over which decisions are made. Are there any other criteria, and are those clearly — did I not see it on the website? — for this interim incubation period… and I’m assuming that no requests have been denied as of yet.”
Leah: “Requests have been denied. But some of the criteria — and it’s not totally up-to-date. But the criteria is on the form… other criteria: No alcohol or cigarettes, no salaries, no individuals, and soon, you have to be actively engaged with or self-identify as the Occupy Sandy network. And that’s because we are not… that’s until we move into the participatory budgeting phase. Because we’re not a foundation, and that puts us into a different category when we’re suddenly doing charity work — we’re not spending a lot of money now; we’re just making sure the money flows until we have a process where communities can actively determine where the money goes.”
Daniele: “We’ll be here, if you want to talk to us.”
Tess: “So, thank you guys for your hard work.”
OK, we’re done.