Notes of General Assembly at Paul Robeson Ballroom on Saturday 10 February 2012

201202111400 Occupy General Assembly, Paul Robeson Ballroom
Agenda: Save Our Homes foreclosure report.
Ruckus Review
Make Out Not War
Movie Night….totally free space
PBR Open 12-4
Fair Share
Members present: Richard, Scott, Kathy, Tyler, female friend who came with Reese, Reese, Blake, Justin, Ron, Dianne, Matt, Mike

Reese has been attending Save Our Homes meetings, and commented that their meetings are moving very smoothly. Our own meetings seem more casual and less decisive by comparison. Kathy commented that the Save Our Homes meetings are composed of older members who have been in the movement a long time, while Occupy Ballroom is more youthful, but less experienced.

Tyler reported on the Thursday St. Paul Capitol Ruckus action. A large group of demonstrators stood silently as legislators arrived for a session at the capitol. The demonstrators wore replicas of US $100.00 notes taped over their mouths, in protest of the way big money (in the form of “free speech” for corporate personhood) is now allowed to gag the voices of ordinary people by drowning them out in big campaign contributions.

Jesse said the puppet project is developing nicely, but needs more hands. Sunday there will be puppet forming activity at the Arts Coop at 1:00 pm. Call Jesse or Richard if you can volunteer.

The Really Really Free Market is only 2 weeks away, and flyers are ready to go out for posting. Several people took posters, with the idea that they will have them reproduced and distribute them to public bulletin boards. Kathy commented that if we are going to have warming fires in the courtyard, we will need donations of firewood.

Tyler commented that he is showing the movie, Inside Job, at the ballroom tonight. He asked for help setting up for a large group of people. Tyler suggested that Thursday nights be free movie night at the ballroom .Scott suggested a future showing of “I am,” a movie which presents interviews with many well-known activists, including for example Howard Zinn, the author of several excellent books on the real history of the people, not just a narration of leaders and their wars. Dianne suggested showing “Margin Call,” a video about inside workings at Wall Street. She also suggested posting a list for people who have ideas for other films to screen.
Reese volunteered to keep the Ballroom open for funny business every day, seven days a week, from noon to 4pm. He hopes other members will be able to extend those hours. He commented on our need to re-establish utilities. We have space heaters but need to get the steam company to supply heat. We have a connection to electricity but it is only one line and we seriously worry about overloading it. We also need water, which at this time is carried to the ballroom in buckets and jugs. Reese suggested setting up a steam fund for next year’s heating season, allocating perhaps 3% of incoming donations to a fund dedicated to that purpose. Meanwhile some generous members have picked up the tab for the porta-potty, the cellphone, and fuel for the heaters. Reese pointed out that we have been relying on these members, but the burden of payment needs to be shared among our members and our community. In other words, we need to secure additional sources of income.

Reese said he would use the open hours at the Ballroom for cleanup and preparation for the Really Really Free Market, which is now less than two weeks away. Reese said we should also be planning actions in support of Henry Bank’s project to change the zoning ordinance which currently makes it impossible for store owners of small shops downtown to live in the second floor space above their stores. The zoning fight is now about two months away.

The representative who was planned to speak to us about Fair Share did not show up. Tyler filled us in on what Fair Share is and does.

Tyler also read to us from a statement made last November by the Oakland Police Union, asking that Occupy members stand in solidarity with the police department. Since November, there have been violent encounters between Oakland police officers and Occupy protesters. These violent encounters may have been provoked, in part, by Black Block members, a violent anarchist group which has engaged in rock and bottle throwing and destruction of property in close proximity to peaceful Occupy actions. There is speculation that Black Block could be a false flag operation, designed to press peaceful Occupy members into violent encounters with the police. Whatever the Black Block intent, they have given the enemy plenty of opportunities to paint Occupy ugly in the media.

Next GA meeting will be Tuesday 14 February, 7 pm here at the Paul Robeson Ballroom, after the Make Out Not War action, which begins at the Civic Center (in front of City Hall and the Federal and County Courts buildings) at 4:30 pm and will frolic-march to Power Plaza.

The meeting adjourned informally as there were no more topics under discussion.

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