Occupy4All Action Assembly – Thursday, December 1st @ 8pm, Corner Brewery!

Occupy4All Action Assembly

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

8:00PM

Corner Brewery
720 Norris St.
Ypsilanti, MI. 48198

Our fourth consecutive Action Assembly takes us to the wonderland known as Ypsilanti! Join us as we discuss such important topics as: Black Friday Feedback, Tribal Summit in Lansing and many many more! We’ve been having all sorts of fun so far and would love for all to participate in this amazing event!

Occupy for All, December 1 Meeting Agenda

Introduction to Meeting:

  • Call to Action
  • Introduce Facilitation Team
  • Intros of Attendees

Intro to Process

  • Go over hand signals
  • Review Agenda

Process discussion

  • Review New Agenda Template

Group Memory

  • Review the last Action Assembly

Report-Backs

  • Black Friday Action
  • Somebody Arted
  • Lansing Trip
  • O4A Facilitation Workshop
  • U of M’s 1st GA
  • OAA Facilitation
  • Additional Report-Backs

Special Topics (things requiring discussing, consensus, etc.)

  • Inter-Occupation Outreach
    • Upcoming Summit hosted in Lansing
    • Pre-summit trip to Lansing if they are in need
    • Additional IO topics
  • TV appearance/outreach approach
  • Tom’s TV project/Indie Media
  • Winnebago
  • Occupy Ypsi &/or Occupy EMU
  • Additional topics

Announcements – (future activities/actions/stuff/new working groups/autonomous actions)

  • Sunday School of Organizing
  • Occupy UM Direct Action planning meeting, 2pm Sat Ambrosia
  • Screenings of Democracy Now
  • New Language Dictionary + Upcoming Language and perception teach in
  • Alternative Personal Care workshop
  • Additional Announcements

Next Steps

Closing

Occupy Tri City Conference Call

This is an account from an Occupy For All participant that took part in the Tri City Conference Call on Monday, November 28th.

I called in to the conference call around 8:55pm, as the call was officially supposed to begin at 9pm. There was only one other person on the line and they were slightly distracted at the time, but so was I, since I was folding laundry. Within 5-7 minutes, a few other callers dialed in and we were off to the races. Myke was the primary facilitator and host of the call and he did an excellent job facilitating. Since this was a call directed at the Tri City area of Michigan, there were representatives from Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw on the call.

I was fortunate enough to join in, as I got a really good perspective of the situation of our friends in the northern part of the state. It was easy to tell that these individuals were motivated and excited about the Occupy Movement, but as they were just starting out, they were suffering the problems that most newer occupations do. They were having a hard time getting members involved and encouraging others to speak. We spoke primarily about organizing some events to encourage conversation and get a good turnout from the community, while simultaneously encouraging others to join in. 

Unfortunately, due to location, they are somewhat detached from the activities of their neighbors to the south and I encouraged them to make an active showing at the Interoccupational Summit on December 3rd. I also encouraged them to “Occupy Fun” and show people that “Occupy” doesn’t always have to mean serious business. This was a great group of people and they plan to continue having conference calls on Monday night at 9pm. I will try to continue to stay actively involved and I encourage others to do so. We can all benefit from the sharing of knowledge and information. These individuals are a great benefit to the movement and I don’t want to see them lost because of distance. Opportunities like this conference call help bridge the gap and promote solidarity.

If you are interested in becoming active with the Tri City or would like to offer encouragement or support, please contact:

occupybaycity@gmail.com

Solidarity! I look forward to speaking with all of you again soon!

FACILITATION TRAINING MEETING NOTES

This Facilitation Training was focusing on the development of Agendas.

Agenda:

Two Goals: Review template, plug ppl into facil roles

Intros

Denise, Colleen, Kat, Maggie, Jessie, Chelle, Nathanael

Facilitators

Notetaker – Maggie

Stack/Process Observer (keep an eye on time, process, and making sure ppl all get opportunity to speak) – Kat

Everyone is Vibes checker!

Facilitator – Nathanael

Parking Lot – Chelle

Go Over Hand Signals

Clarifying questions, Point of Information as an interrupt – vitally relevant question or information

Point of Process can also happen whenever it needs to happen – keep people from straying waaaaaay far away; keep group focused

Confusion about stack, CQ, POI and people get tripped up

POI – factual info being discussed

CQ – I don’t understand, can be answered, not vague hypothetical

Stack – opinion; I want to get on stack is five hand raise

Direct response – information that is not a point solely factual – only for small groups, not for large because it can be abused

It is all process, not content with hand signals

Agenda building exercise – 30 min

– Agenda Template

O4A has it’s own template, and based on OWS model [there are additional points brought to the table by Colleen]:

Introduction to Meeting:

We read our Call to Action, something to inspire people at beginning; CtA – focus energy of group onto task, a formal ritual that pulls process into place and peoples attention to the piece of the world we want them to focus on

Introduction of attendees, either with prompt or not; sometimes in small group that meets regularly, to help off-load energy, ask people what’s on their mind so they can express what their mental processes (where we come from)

Introduce Facilitation Team (after producing level playing field with previous introduction) how has Facil team been chosen? Outside – stranger in the group would disrupt energy, and so they would come in before Intros of Attendees;

Would it be a good idea to always intro Facil team before intros? It depends – if you self-select you can do it after, if you pre-select, there should be an intro before attendees

– Intro Agenda – O4A typically hands out agenda, rather than intro; in a more informal meeting it is more important for a vibes check/consensus, but in large scale it can really slow things down; O4A action assemblies are in a weird middle, generally small and informal, but up to 20 people; probably for speed and simplicity good to have it hammered out before hand;

– Perhaps just agree to a set template and if anyone wants to add anything, they can add it into agenda; Want attendees to buy-in to the agenda, keeps people on time, people will know how long things will take – and so we’ll help as a group keep things moving – as a good facilitator you want whole group to facilitate with you; get group buy-in say here’s tentative agenda, is there anything missing? Anything that shouldn’t be there? And then get agreement to amount of time – if you skip that, you will have people who haven’t bought-in and disagreements may arise

VIBES CHECK – ADDITIONAL 10 MINUTES ADDED FOR TOPIC

Buy-in gives sense of ownership, less dictatorial – people with important topics went to facli team and you were added; also added to stack – this was used for 100s of people, so smaller group

– Action assemblies have 20-30 people; so what are these good for in terms of the particular meeting this coming Thursday?

–       have a template to plug into; keep things as simple as possible for when people walk in; complications come from everyone, not just Facili Team; everything is simple, humans make it complicated

–       Consistently build an agenda from a template that everyone is familiar with from outset – present agenda with the understanding that it is only 75% complete – people know they can be added in appropriate places, then vibes check about schedule, times allotted etc

–       Once everyone knows the process/agenda, the review of it will be very short

Intro to Process

-Intro to Hand Signals if felt it necessary – especially important because each Occupation can use different hand signals; becomes like a ritual, an educational moment and a community bonding moment

-Agenda Review – 5 min

– Present it – get buy-in

– Show others where they can plug in information

– Vibes etc – this is a visual example of the Hand Signals, a good way to introduce and practice the hand signals; also a function of review

–       5 Min process discussion – meant to be educational; differences between hand signals, differences between committee and working groups etc – this is specific to O4A meetings : change perspectives through use of words

TIME BREAK – WHAT DO WE NEED BY THURSDAY? MOST IMPORTANT GOAL IS SOLID UNDERSTANDING OF AGENDA TEMPLATE GOING FORWARD

We have to break loose thought pattern of anonymous vote and change it; there will always be strangers with agendas, so you need process and consensus

— Take one min, either facil, or note taker to go over last meeting – we did ABC, and we achieved B and C and we’ll hear back from X groups about Y and Z – energy focusing technique, group memory – helpful to go over group memory; group history – review of minutes (group memory!) As simple as 5 min, 5 sentences – very simple

Action Group Report Backs

Have a plan, but can also be added on, plug-in (Stack should find out who wants to get in, esp. if they come in late) [questions: who wants to be on stack?…we are closing stack, who wants on?] good to have reserve place for it, so meeting doesn’t go on indefinitely; have set time and then consense on more time? Once process is working well for yourself, it can become more efficient as a whole

Short – typically 2 minutes each

Proposals – O4A doesn’t always have proposals set, usually ad hoc; we don’t have proposal section – typically after REPORT BACKS, we ususally place Specific Topics

Proposals usually come from RBs – but RBs are usually past oriented, and proposals are future oriented; Special Topics leaves it a little more open ended, caters to flexibility; what we have is a discussion and then action is planned, there isn’t much in terms of formal proposal – fundamental difference between action assembly vs a general assembly where we would have a set proposal section vs special topics; This is important flexible part of agenda – what will help us manage, each topic must have spokes person and time limit before it gets formally placed on agenda – pre-ID’d the spokes for that topic; this is a goal, not an event – as we create topics and allow freedom for ideas to pop up, this is a way to manage time, ID prior – if groups want action, then they need to present something; at some point we’ll need a grip on this section other wise it might just meander and there won’t have closure

What we’ve done is have topics before hand; inter occupational out reach, ID person to give report and make sure they have info and will speak about it; is this another instance to do group memory? It wouldn’t hurt to do more in depth about topics and say XX is going to do a report on what they did etc And again it is a review for those who come in late – ask people if they’re cool with being spokesman on a topic?

Announcements – something people get confused about a lot

Information about something that’s upcoming

Information about autonomous actions

Future activities/actions/stuff

Used at OWS – this is more autonomous (RB and Proposals are more group-oriented) – announcements are individual, no consensus or vibes check on this area – giving information, and these should be really quick, LESS than 2 minutes – if it doesn’t fit in here, then it will become working group or proposed next meeting

Announcement of WG

Next Steps

Somebody needs to review – note taker will take names and start “kicking ass” – XX said would do something, will you do that for next mtg? Action Group will do this – make people accountable for what they say they do – and then this is basis of next agenda; give people help  (FORMAL MANNER OF NOTE TAKING IN ORDER TO SIMPLIFY THIS PROCESS)

Closing

Perhaps next meeting discuss more thoroughly for Facil Roles?

Do we want to go more in depth in these for the next meeting? Perhaps just continue with what we’re doing for now and continue this discussion next time

Have different facilitators for next meeting, but people who are comfortable doing it

Facil Roles for meeting on Thursday:

Nathanael: stack

Kat and Chelle: facilitators

Maggie: note-taking

If we come to really good understanding of agenda template, plugging in will be very easy; most of our energies on template will be most productive thing

With a good enough template going on, a facil team could meet even 15 min prior to meeting

 

Occupy Lansing – Saturday Nov. 26 – O4A Trip!

The following is a report from your friendly, neighborhood Occupy For All (O4A):

Five members of O4A arrived at Occupy Lansing, coincidentally just after their General Assembly began. Despite our interruption we were welcomed with open arms into their gathering, and placed on stack in order to introduce ourselves at the end of the GA. There were a dozen or so participants, emanating support for one another, their camp and the movement as a whole.

GA discussion revolved around communications issues through use of Facebook and website development. There were concerns about possible website hackings, non-user friendly interfaces and Facebook’s bizarre habit of dropping posts that don’t receive traffic, but may contain essential information. This is a common problem for many Occupies, and O4A encouraged the use of our calendar of Occupy events on our wordpress site. Anyone is welcome to submit an event and it will be posted up for everyone to see!

There was also discussion about the winterization of the camp. There was talk of moving tents closer together, use of a large all-encompassing tarp, and use of polyurethane insulator foam. We also discussed some of the information and plans Occupy Flint has for winterization. Through mutual support and shared knowledge, we hope to aid in the development and maintenance of winter camps. Members of Occupy Lansing are already working toward developing a functional winter camp, but more support is always welcome.

The serious issue of violence was brought to the table, and we are grateful for Lansing’s openness in discussing the issue with us. Violence within camps is a matter of grave severity, and identifying ways of holding people accountable for their actions is a dialogue each Occupy will ultimately have. Occupy Lansing has a “Good Neighbor Policy” that has allowed them to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, but as was brought up during the discussion, there is a lack of an enforcement policy regarding the GNP.  It was determined that the “Three Strikes” rule used for their General Assemblies would be applied for matters of violations of the GNP, and that the General Assembly would have to consense on the matter of an individual’s removal. The members of the General Assembly demonstrated great wisdom and care when discussing the matter, which underscores the importance of open and respectful assemblies, and facing the realities of communal camp living.

Discussion then moved on toward the Inter-Occupy Summit to be held at Occupy Lansing on Saturday December 3rd. A Direct Action is scheduled for noon, and the Summit Assembly for 7:00PM. A huge art project, a people’s mic march and karaoke are ideas for DA being contemplated by Occupy Lansing. What Lansing ultimately plans for the Summit promises to be a great time!

After the General Assembly concluded we met with Occupiers and got the low-down on the situation of the camp. Recently Lansing’s heaters were taken, their kitchen was shut down due to claimed health-code violations, and the fire marshals implied that use of their generators were not allowed. Despite these disruptions, the Occupiers told us that the police have been very supportive, and check in periodically for the camper’s safety. Crime has decreased in the area since the campers moved into Reutter’s park. We also discussed Mayor Virg Bernero’s next visit to camp. Apparently Mayor Bernero has been receiving a lot of heat regarding the camp – many want to see it shut down. But thus far Mr. Bernero has held firm and has been very supportive of the campers, and Occupy Lansing hopes he will re-visit them in the near future. We didn’t walk through much of the camp, but saw the closed-down kitchen, still filled with supplies and their un-used generator (still used for coffee-making!). Many tents there are empty, or are used by weekend campers, and many will be taken down as winter approaches. Currently the camp is spread out over a wide range, but has consolidated since the first trip up by O4A members a few weeks ago, and as winter approaches, things will probably become closer.

We left camp with many hugs and “see-you-soons!” and went with three OL members to Kelly’s, a near-by bar. While the conversation revolved mainly around Occupy, by the time we left it was realized that yes, even the most passionate Occupy person CAN in fact talk about something other than Occupy. An intense nerdgasm was had over X-Men comics, the Avengers and the Hobbit movies amongst other things patently “geeky” [author’s note: and awesome!]

Occupy Lansing has held strong and firm in the face of conflict both externally as well as internally. The members we met and spoke with were showed incredible dedication to their camp and cause, and we greatly look forward to seeing them again this Saturday for the Inter-Occupy Summit!

Somebody Arted: Eliminate Waste

On Black Friday, a few of us had the opportunity to participate in the “Somebody Arted: Eliminate Waste” Event. This was an opportunity to create art out of objects that might have been considered trash by most people. The event took place in Veteran’s Park with the intent of all of the art pieces being spread throughout Ann Arbor the following days. Little did we know that Veteran’s Park itself would become the canvas for many of our art pieces. Over the course of three to four hours, we used various tools such as old olive oil cans, sidewalk chalk, spray paint, cardboard, etc. It was a very enjoyable time and the weather was almost perfect. Sunshine, a moderate breeze, it was hard to believe that it was the end of November. Needless to say, we’ll let the art speak for itself.