25th General Assembly

Occupy Melbourne 25th General Assembly, 10 December 2011

Facilitation Team

Moderator: Jessica
Co-Moderator: Paul
Co-Ordinator: Tal
Participants: Marian, Kev, Ben
Minutes: Joel
 Time-Keeper: Ross

Acknowledgment that we are on Aboriginal land and sovereignty has never been ceded.

Working Group report backs –

Education
Upcoming education events:
Mon 6.30pm: Reading/Discussion Group (at Occupation Site)
Tue 7.00-8.30pm: Melbourne Free Universty in collobation with OM
Climate Change & Environmental Rights
Seminar & Public Discussion.
(at City Square, cnr Collins & Swanston Sts)
Wed 5.30pm: Pre-GA discussion (at Occupation Site)
Thur, Fri 6.30pm: Possibility of Reading/DIscussion Groups occuring
(at Occupation Site)

Direct Action
Call for assistance – Xmas/ New Years period activities – Speak to Gaye if you can help co-ordinate some direct actions
Sam will be on the road travelling with family, will continue producing video blogs as she travels around rural australia, spreading the message. “See you in the new year”.

Info Desk
Call for contributions – Feel free to add to the info board whiteboard, information sheets for the table, or to have something pinned to the corkboard.
Donations box continues to operate. Located at Info Desk.
Sunscreen available
Chalk availble for ‘Chalk-bombing’
Call for contribution – substantial legal fact sheets to support chalkers whilst in action (to defend the legality of their chalking activities)
Call for assistance – people needed to help man info desk.
Oraange folder – contains materials for reading from Education Working Group.

First Aid
No political affiliations.
Reported back from TentMonster action today in CBD.
Reminder: please keep hydrated. Look after eachother and yourselves.
First Aid will also continue to look after you.

Media
Big week for media. Saturday was release of first tent monster video – 168,000 views on youtube.
Gained international recognition, “put our footprint on the ground”.
We now have publics attention, importance to focus on the actual facts and issues, not so much focus on our battle with the council.

Facilitation
GA process renewal/workshop continues in working group meetings
Next meeting: 12pm Saturday (at Occupation site)

Declaration
Report back from Special GA on Sun 4-Dec.
Special GA decided to call for more drafts. Drafts will be considered at another Special GA.
Special GA for Declaration: Sun 17-Dec. 3pm (At Occupation Site)
For further information on how you can submit and comment on drafts in-development, please see:
http://altdecs.wordpress.com/about/

Kitchen
Call for donations – fresh vegetables, rice and stuff like that. Needs butane cans

Working Group Proposals:

None

Individual Proposals:

Proposal 1:
For “Occupy Melbourne” and “Campaign for Reproductive Women’s Rights” to issue a joint media release in the lead up to the Occupy Melbourne Federal Court Case. The media release will link the Melbourne City Council’s harrassment of the Defenders of the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne, with the harrassment of Occupy Melbourne.
PASSED.

Proposal 2: Occupy Melbourne prioritises discussions regarding safer spaces.
PASSED.

Announcements

Event: Australian Western Sahara Association (AWSA) will be at another organization’s AGM protesting against the explitation of resources.
Details: Tue 20-Dec. Gather at 1pm, protest at 2pm.
At Jeffs Shed (Melbourne Convetion & Exhibition Centre)
Report: Today, some Tent Monsters went to Westfield Sydney and mic-chcked the shoppers.
Corrospondance: A message was read aloud from an arrested occupier, relating to his arrest
Comment: Remember the S11 protests, we should get better like those, don’t focus on internal poltics
Event: Sat 17-Dec. Vigil for Bradley Manning on his 24th Birthday. He will have been detained for 571 days. He had been arrested on suspicion of having passed on restricted material to Wikileaks, namely the ‘wikileak cables’.
Event: Radical Woman & Campaign for Reproductive Women’s Rights invite people to their next monthly defence of the Fertility Control Clinic. 
 Sat 24 Dec. 10am. 118 Welling Parade.
Event: Super epic everybody lovein working group meeting to talk about how working groups can support eachother better.
Sun 11 Dec. 3pm (At Occupation Site)
Congratulations to organizers of the Kitchen
Event: Feminist Working Group will be holding a facilitated discussion entitled “What is Feminism”. Sun 11 Dec. 2pm.
Event: Public Seminar/Discussion series hosted by Melbourne Free University (in conjunction with Occupy Melbourn). This week: Climate Change & Enviro. politics.
Tue 13 Dec. 7pm. Cnr Collins & Swanston St.

General Discussion

While General Discussion is not normally included within GA minutes, the following is included simply because our studious minute taker Joel recorded it faithfully and some may find it of interest. For deep OM-heads only 🙂

Open Discussion (provided with 20 mins)
A discussion was held through speakers-list format, dealing with occupation safety and strategy. Most of the comments raised are suake mmarised below
(nb. Directly related responses from other speakers featured in brackets)

Issue: We should address how to involve those who are physically unable to attend the occupation site due to bail conditions.
(General Assemblies and Working Groups could be held off-sit)
Suggestion: We could maintain a vigil, whereby we maintain a regular overnight presence at an occupation site, with the actual overnight occupers being rotated
(A second person agreed that it was important to rotate those occupying)

Reminder (from individual within First Aid & Care team):
Importance of sleep. People need to take responsibility to try and improve their amount of sleep. Look after yourselves and eachother.
(Burnout is increased by constant police raids)

Suggestion: We could adopt a 2-base model, whereby we arrange the legal utilization of a private property. This would be a place for people throughout the week to rest, scheme, and possibly sleep.
Comment (same speaker as above): This would make the occupation a safer and less intimidating experience. It is important that we seek to lessen the intensity and anxiety that may come with occupying – especially for those who are returning from an arrest. For those such people, anxiety and stress may restrict their time and comfort on site.

Issue: Important for discussing whether ‘tentmonsters’ remain on site or are taken back by their original owners.

Suggestion: Hold candlelight vigils during night-time

Comment: Occupation as form of protest is about holding a public space for public discourse and creating a physical community. We should not get caught up in addressing demands; Our mere presence and refusing for our rights to be overriden is a huge step in itself. Occupation is a legitmate form of protest. We are fighting a part of what is wrong with the planet – “A microcosm of the macrocosm”. Occupying and holding a space is an extrordinarily powerful act, please remember this.

Conclusion of 20 minutes of discussion.

Proposal (procedural):
To conclude discussion and return to individual proposals.
PASSED.

Proposal (procedural):
To immidiately hold a discussion regarding why people are not returning to Occupy Melbourne, and strategies on how to bring more people in.
STRAWPOLL taken over whether this discussion should be held within decision-making GA or proceeding it. NO CLEAR MAJORITY.

Proposal (procedural):
To conclude the GA and open up Soapbox/Speakers Corner for any further discussion.
PASSED.

General Assembly closed.

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