2011/11/20 General Assembly notes

Occupy Fall River 3rd General Assembly, November 20, 2011 at Carpenters Local hall (thanks to Ron Rheaume)

11 attending at final total, most from previous GAs and 1 new person.

Good meeting, lasted 2 hours.  Lots of talk and some actions to take place.

Maryellen Kurkulos facilitator and Nancy Arthur note taker.

Introduced ourselves and reasons for being there.  Maryellen explained that a protocol outline for OFR General Assemblies had been carefully developed at 2nd GA but those notes had not been made available. [notes amended as per M.K.]
From handouts, reviewed consensus and hand signals used at GAs (from Occupy Boston material) as well as printout of helpful links and discussed.  One person opposed to hand signal use, thinks we’re too small a group.
Some people not happy with all the talk we keep doing.  Spinning our wheels but not going anywhere.  Restless for some kind of action Discussed ideas of what group could do.  .

Justin Rocha discussed flash mob idea and new group (in US and global) called Occupy Homes.  Group of people occupy (squat) in homes about to be foreclosed upon by banks.  Ref. November 17 action.  Banks come in to try to renegotiate or families get more time to leave.  Somewhat successful.

Issue of civil disobedience discussed. Kevin Costa spoke of point of information that the intent of civil disobedience is not to violate, but instead to uphold the rule of law; for example, one refuses to obey orders to vacate a public space not with the intent to violate a municipal ordinance, but instead to uphold one’s constitutional first amendment rights to free speech and assembly. [notes amended as per K.C.]

Jim Pimental brought up actions the Coalition for Social Justice is doing (from Tuesday night Papa Gino meeting) like having a movie.   He likes ideas of flash mobs, house foreclosure issue.

Steve Camara brought up meeting last Wednesday re: pedestrian bridge proposal as part of state park revamping.  Good action for group as it benefits lower income groups.  Also Highland School open space proposal.  THose benefit the 99%.  Maybe Occupy Fall RIver could also speak at neighborhood associations.

Maryellen loves the idea of civil disobedience.  Reported on Thursday action in Boston  She, Darren and Justin went up to Boston on November 17 and joined Occupy Boston on march to Charlestown Bridge.  Thousands of people (under-reported on TV).  Iron workers stood there and explained how bridge was falling apart and asked why they couldn”t rebuild it.  Why can’t we do something like that.  Moveon.org has a list of infrastructure problems in the country, just plug in zip code. [correction: the actual web site is that of the advocacy group Transportation for America that has a map feature to search for structurally deficient bridges by zip code or address. – mk] She also is working on letter to Herald News explaining who Occupy Fall RIver is.  To polish it and send out via email for approval.  Elliott Weinberg suggested putting letter in weekly Spectator paper.  Others from SOmerset/Swansea also.  Elliott will contact them.

Elliott proposed bringing in religious leaders since this is holiday season.  As something part of the service. Steve agreed that it was a good point and he would contact Rev. Donald Meir of First Baptist church that hosts an interfaith New Years Eve prayer service.  Justin agreed to be speaker.

Also discussed difficulty of outreach to various groups.  Per Jim Cusick lots of transient people in area but message of OFR can be brought to wherever they go.  Seniors is another group to connect with.  They’re facing cuts in Medicare, Social Security and need help paying for fuel.   SHirley Luongo of Mass Senior Action good contact and interested in OFR and Joan G-F.  Maryellen to contact.

Justin wants to do leafletting at mall on Black Friday.  Pros (many people out, people waiting in lines) and cons (Littering, people doesn’t pay attention) discussed.  ALso need to contact malls, some wary of groups.  ALso flash mic idea for Friday.  One person says “mic check” and starts speaking.  Private property issue related to that.  Justin and Maryellen to meet on Tuesday re that.

Mayellen also suggested leafletting at post office on Friday.

Meeting next Sunday either United Neighbors of FR building next door to Carpenters Union or maybe carpenters union hall again.

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