GA Notes 12-04-11

The meeting was preceded by an announcement from Roxanne concerning De-escalation Team attempts to resolve a disagreement between Jane Doe and John Doe. John Doe would, it was announced, appear to present his own side of the story and answer questions after the GA at 4:30 [which event did take place].

Denny facilitated with assistance from Zak on stack. Louise was scribe.

There was a mic check from members of WOW demanding respect and equal status for minorities, expulsion for anyone sexually harassing another member, re-formation of the finance committee with acceptance of Ron’s FB offer to step back for 30 days, and the demand that white males step back from dominant group roles to encourage others to step up.

The rest of the meeting was given over to dealing with the proposals formulated from those demands and the two situations that gave rise to them.

First Proposal – to ban John Doe from the group for 30 days and to ask him to seek counseling. Passed.

A subsidiary proposal having to do with what to do if he returned before the 30 days faltered over issues of whether or not the group could seek a restraining order, whether it was necessary if Jane Doe had one of her own, whether De-Escalation would be allowed to persuade him to leave before calling the police, and whether to do anything if he came to an event at which she was not present during that time period. Ultimately no consensus was reached, the final position being this was a bridge we would cross if we came to it.

Arguments and positions expressed on the way to consensus on this issue:
- Denny stated that De-Escalation cannot expel members – that this must be brought before the GA.
- Jane Doe expressed appreciation for the De-Escalation Team’s efforts.
- Brian abstained on the basis of having heard only one side of the story, and another lady in attendance expressed a similar concern about coming to judgment without hearing both sides. Also that it would be better to offer John Doe assistance than to totally isolate him.
- Linda expressed concern about whether him returning to address the matter wasn’t a bad idea, and just setting him up to lose his temper.
- Concern was expressed that the situation was like that of a child finally coming forward with a rape allegation only to have his story pushed aside
- two members other than Jane Doe indicated that they personally felt threatened by his presence.
-Linda indicated that we were not as a group equipped to handle this sort of situation, being neither lawyers not psychologists. She stated her husband, a psychologist, had offered to make a referral.
- The opinion was expressed that this was a relationship or hormonal issue that was outside the group’s purview.
-Ted stated that when a meeting was to be held at someone’s place of business where there was a likelihood of tempers flaring, that person needed to be made aware, and Denny apologized.

It was proposed that the group accept Ron’s offer to step back from the Financial Team for 30 days. This proposal was met with multiple blocks (at least 4) and did not pass. The matter will be tabled until the next GA.

Discussion on that proposal brought forth the following:
–Peter Grear has put a call out to find out how other Occupy groups are doing their financing and is still waiting for results.
–Linda wanted more information on what 501(c)(3) status meant for the group, and what other possibilities existed.
–Ethan, who is anti-non-profit, stepped up in opposition to displacing Ron, stating that more people needed to step up rather than attacking the people who had accepted committee roles. He noted that he would have preferred a 2-week hold
–Ron cited his experience with obtaining non-profit status and with NOW and the NAACP to argue against the perception that he was attempting to over-ride minorities and stated his belief that the by-laws did repose power in the GA.
–There were strong objections to the complaint of white male dominance, from Ted, Joe and Delthea. It was pointed out that no one was stopping anyone from joining any Team that they wanted to join, and that the people who had joined shouldn’t be penalized for doing so.
–A lady expressed the idea that we should fully appreciate our strongest people but still let the GA retain control as appropriate, so retaining our horizontal structure
–Concern about personal animosity was raised.
–Concern about lack of transparency in accounting for the money taken in during the encampment and never handed in was raised.
–Whether we should revisit the idea of limiting the number of committees people served on was questioned but it was noted that we had blocked that proposal previously and it was further noted that sometimes lack of interest from others was the cause of people serving on several committees.

After those two issues were disposed of, Linda announced that at 6:00 on Tuesday evening a meeting would be held at CAC that would deal for its first half with WOW leadership issues, then with creative actions/flyers that we might want to get involved in.

Kate will be the facilitator next week.

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