Minutes by: Katy S.
Welcome to the first ever Occupy Nashville General Assembly!
While everyone's sitting down we'll hear a welcome from John, from Nashville's Committee of Correspondence.
John: Welcome everybody! I'm so glad to see all your beautiful faces. Each one of you is an inspiration to me and to each other. Each of us has plans and roles to play in this movement. But first, we have to remember that our first job is to support each other. This is what will make us succeed despite our differences, despite our similarities. We are all basically the same. We are all brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. You are all amazing! You have all made a profound and life-changing decision. You've decided to open your eyes and wake up and stand up and do what you can to make a change. Each of you individually can make a change. Each of you is a drop in a rainstorm. Together we are a mighty thunderstorm that can wash away the inequity and injustice in this society. Together we are so powerful! Together we are unstoppable! But we must work together. Some of you are from near. Some of you are from far. But here we are all together for change. Support each other. Take care of each other. That is where our strength is. I look around, I see some familiar faces. I see some faces that I hope will become familiar. I want to encourage alll of you to take the time this weekend not only to learn about causes and organize, but also, just as importantly, to learn about your brothers and sisters. Share your stories. Find your common ground. And remember that this is where our strength lies. Thank you all for coming this weekend. You are an inspiration to more people than I think any of you know. There is power in numbers. Power in unity. But it begins with the simple step of meeting the people next to you. I encourage you to take one minute to look around you and share a handshake, a hug, a friendly word, your name, a smile your solidarity. Peace to all of you. I love you all. You are all my heroes. Please take this moment to greet each other!
Tristan: Can we hear where you're from?
Johnson City, Chattanooga, Ireland, Knoxville, Clarksville is walking this way! 50 miles they've walked, they're 10 miles away and on their way here!
Now we're going to introduce facilitator team.
Tristan and Ali: co-moderating
I'm Johanne: I'm on vibes. What that means is if you're upset or
I'm Adam, I'm on stack. That means if you have a comment to make, please raise you hand and catch my eye. I will call on you to speak. Also if you have announcement, proposal, or soap box, please come see me, and I will write your name down on our stack.
I'm Katy: I'm taking minutes.
Now we'll have 10 minutes for any working group that needs to step aside for 10 minutes. Those with working groups can meet, others can get on stack. I'll be giving the explanation of the general assembly.
Every other night we have an hour long break-out where working groups can do real work, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. After this introduction we'll have announcements. That isn't really a time for debate. Then we do proposals, actions that you want to take that you want to get the occupation to join with you on. In order for us to do those proposals together, we need to have consensus around doing them, that's why you bring proposals. The consensus process: first we state the proposal say what it is, why it's necessary and how it's going to get done. Then we have clarifying quesitons. If you're going to ask a question, that's your time to ask for information that you need because you don't understand the proposal. Then we have concerns. We do questions first so that everyone has the information we need in order to have concerns. Then sometimes things have come up that make us realize the proposal could be better. That's when we move to friendly amendments. All amendments are friendly. After amendments and during we ask people to indicate whether they agree with that amendment. Then we restate the proposal in its new, better form and then we test for consensus.
We use hand signs. One because they're fun, but also so we can communicate without interrrupting each other. If you like something, or want to do something (wiggly fingers up). If you're not sure (wiggly fingers in middle). If you dislike something, you can do this (wiggly fingers down). A block is when you're so morally opposed, it means if this happens you might walk away from this movement. These are serious and very powerful, because we have to address all blocks. We ask you to use these sparingly, but they are your right. Can't hear. Wrap it up. Point of process. Direct point of fact (we will use these as little as possible)
Moderators: the only ones who can interrupt anyone. That gives us a lot of power, so we give up the right to
Stacker: is the most important facilitator. It's the list of people who are going to speak. List will go in order of who has spoken the least, we call that progressive stack. It could be people who are new, haven't spoken tonight, or from backgrounds of people who haven't been heard much in society.
Vibes: very important. Our front line in deescalating conflicts, explaining the process to people who are confused, and making sure this is a safe space for everybody.
Last thing: we like to ask first—is it ok if this team facilitates tonight and we use this process. Wiggly fingers up all around!
Mary: from Knoxville and I wanted to announce that I will join the working group called outreach to specifically offer suggestions for initiating a US constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.
Rob: hello everybody! Thanks for coming to Occupier Choir's first rehearsal tonight! It's going to be a lot of fun. Next rehearsal is here 5:30 next Friday. We're thinking about possibly coming tomorrow if people are interested in singing at the art crawl.
Darlene: You might know me as Dar25. I have 2 announcements: 1) logistics team sponsored a restructuring of our bulletin board. It's super fun and pretty awesome. On the other side of the board you can use dry erase markers. So throughout weekend, if I want to spontaneously get gathering of people who are interested in X, I can go up to board and write that out. So through the weekend we should check that board so we can connect with other people who are looking for us and have the interest that we do. 2) We have some t-shirts that say Occupy Nashville We are the 99%. We've already sold most of them, but we have a few, and they're back there with Connie. You can make a donation, because we want everyone who wants a t-shirt to get one.
Ali: Step in as co-moderator: move down on stairs and away from railing so we can leave a path.
Will (legal): welcome everybody. I'm with the legal team in nashville, I'm also one of your attorneys. We want to make a blanket announcement: first of all, we're having 3 marches that we know of right now. Who knows what else? With metro ordinances: I'm obliged to tell you to stay on the sidewalks. That way you won't get arrested, or at least probably not. Otherwise, it's the wild wild west. If you have any problems during marches, I'll be wearing a neon green hat. Find me. Lastly, in the unlikely event that youa re detained, there's a number you shouuld call: 5-HELP-05 . Write that on arm, put in wallet or whatever. If you have other questions, from your occupation possibly, find me!
Stephanie (Occupy Murfreesboro): I'm just looking for DA group. I have an idea that could engage folks from all along. I want to propose this tomorrow, so please join with me to craft it out.
Katy: Facilitation training Sunday at 2. Also, I'm a member fo the national Steerign Committee for the Student Farmworker Alliance. We'll have a teach-in tomorrow regarding how worker and community power can fight and win against corporate greed.
Remmy: I'm from Occupy Johnson City: so nice to see this many people! We've been doing a lot there, hoping to outreach to everyone. We came here to have a conversation.
Matt: with media team at Occupy Nashville. Will be doing teach-in tomorrow, still unsure about time. It's on the board. When we break into working groups, anyone from the other occupations that wants to meet with me, I'll be right by this pole up here.
John: I encourage all groups to have a member of the Committee of Correspondence. During 10-minute break, I'll be at top of stairs. Working group tomorrow at 5.
Rossana: with strategic research and public education. Meet 2 times a week. We work and try to find information that is 100% factual, not opinion-based. Regarding the issues that we all are trying to protest here. I will encourage everyone to talk to us either tonight or to come to our teach-in tomorrow which is going to be at noon here at the plaza. And the subject is HCA, which is Health Corporation of America, just to get you a little bit: HCA was found guilty of 14 counts of felony in 1997. CEO five months ago took charge of the state of Florida as its governor. That will make you think about what corporation's political money has to do with this protest or movement. Come tomorrow, find me later, I would like to give that research to other groups, so you don't have to do it.
Reason: We have a Christmas tree! Bring whatever ornaments you guys find, maybe we can make some. It's a big tree, put whatever you want on it. Getting to the point, I want to pass the hat, because we've gotta find some way to make it stand up. I brought a bucket, I think some bags of sand would work. Hit me up if you guys want to contribute.
There are a lot of teach-ins this weekend. If you want to get the full schedule, they're on our board, left side. They're gonna be awesome. One of them I want to announce. I work as volunteer with workers' dignity project, which works with low-wage workers in Nashville and elsewhere in Tennessee whose wages have been stolen. 75% of low-wage workers have had their wages stolen in last six months here. We're doing workshop tomorrow at 11. Also, there are no proposals for today, so we've got time, if there are any working groups that would like to come up and announce that they're going to have meeting that they'd like to invite people to. This will be our break-outs, right after soap-box.
Megan: I work with Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. Tennessee has a regressive tax structure, which means that poor people pay a greater percentage of their income than rich people. This is not an accidentm and my group has been working on this issue for 20 years. We finally have an audience! Tomorrow will be a teach-in at noon! Come and see us.