Updates from our 5th General Assembly earlier today (10/22)

Hi everyone.

I just want to do a quick update for those who couldn’t make it out to today’s events.

We met outside Lawlor Events Center at UNR at noon where about 75 of us marched from UNR to City Plaza.

We had our 5th GA at City Plaza from 1-4 p.m. with about 100-125 people in attendance.

Three decisions were made by consensus:
1) We will continue to pursue a 30-day permit to occupy the space at 240 W. Moana Lane while simultaneously pursuing other occupation sites including the old bus station at 4th and Center.
2) We adopted an amended version of the Occupier’s Code of common values. The original code was posted in the update from last Thursday’s GA at Moana Pool. We will post the final version shortly.
3) We established a quorum  number of 50 people to constitute a General Assembly and make decisions on behalf of the group which we can change in the future if necessary. We determined that any member of the group can call a GA so long as there are at least 2 facilitators there and quorum is met.

Beyond these three decisions, we discussed:
1) We will be meeting next Saturday (10/29) at 11 a.m. (location TBA) to travel to Carson City for National Occupy Your State Capitol day which starts at noon.  We may have a GA before then, but nothing has been set yet.
2) We will be having training for those who would like to learn to facilitate GA’s and committee meetings in the future. The location and time are TBA, but please email outreach@occupyreno.org with “Facilitator Training” in the subject line if you are interested.
3) We are in the agenda for Wednesday’s City Hall meeting (10/26) at 12:45 p.m. We will be meeting outside around 12:15. We will be petitioning to have all fees dropped and our permit approved for occupation at 240 W. Moana Lane. If approved, we could be occupying as early as this Thursday 10/27. Everyone is invited, and we would love to have 100+ people.

I have just a few more comments to add in hopes of starting up a conversation on these issues. Today a member of our GA, Kyle, nominated himself to be the facilitator for a sub committee he calls “Issues and Action” aka “starting a ruckus”. This is awesome. If anyone feels at any time that we have overlooked something important committee-wise, it is highly encouraged to step up and start your own sub-committee under the appropriate committee (Outreach, Legal, Infrastructure, Media, or Tech).

The use of the People’s Mic was also questioned a few times. It was suggested that we use a megaphone instead, and the most common reasons why were that it would save our voices and energy, it would make meetings go by faster, and passerbys would be able to hear us. The reasons for keeping the People’s Mic were because it forced us to listen to each other, generated a sense of solidarity, and was necessary during events where amplified sound was not permitted. It was also suggested that the People’s Mic still be used but only at certain times which were undefined. What do you think?

Lastly, it seems we have a problem of people leaving early at just about every GA thus far but especially the Saturday afternoon ones the past two weeks. We understand some people have other obligations and plans, but it also seems likely that people leave early because they get hot, tired, or just plain bored as the meeting goes on. What do you think?

Stay tuned for updates on this week’s scheduled committee meetings and our permit status, and we hope to see you at City Hall Wednesday, October 26 at 12:45!

As always, thanks for the support, and please offer any suggestions or constructive criticism for how to make this movement better in the future!



28 responses to “Updates from our 5th General Assembly earlier today (10/22)

  1. ok, so i get that some people feel self-conscious or silly or whatever with the hand gestures, but honestly, i don’t see why that would stop you participating. it’s the most visual representation at the GA of the idea that EVERYONE GETS A SAY, for pete’s sake.

    hate it doing it? fine — then PLEASE come up with an alternative idea that works and present it at the next GA, and let’s have everyone VOTE ON IT.

    and just a little poke (and a wink) at Fat Old Broad, above…. unless you are older than pete seeger, who at 92 marched 30 blocks with the OWS people in new york, i don’t think you get to claim age as a reason for sitting this one out. everyone counts, so please don’t give up. your country needs you!

  2. fat old broad with sign

    Hi Diane
    When I first saw the crime scene banner I wondered that too. But then I thought how even if we’re far removed from Wall Street, their crime was against all of us and has affected all of us – so Reno deserves the banner as much as anywhere else. But it wasn’t so much what the banner said as the fact that there was this giant focal point drawing attention in from passersby on the street. That’s why I wanted to see it hung up somehow.

    As for the jazz hands, I’m not taking that too seriously – hardly anyone is – that’s part of their problem.

    As I said, I brought 2 more people with me for this second march. But neither one of them will likely be coming back. Why? Because even though they agree with the protest, they were bored out of their friggin’ minds. I’m not saying that we should be an amusement park/babysitting service, but if this is to last here in Reno, then I think it definitely needs to be more interactive. The survey that was passed around was a nice idea – I will be interested to see what’s done with it.

    I think that anyone speaking to a crowd likely has a specific point of view whether they use the people’s mic or a bullhorn. I know that OWS is trying not to have a leader or rigid agenda, but there is definitely a collection of like minded points of view. The gentleman who was taping in the corner of the Plaza was having people answer one question – “What do you want out of this movement?” – it’s made for a nice youtube presentation. but if instead these ‘interviews’ had taken place using the people’s mic the entire event would have become more interactive. I know that the facilitators asked if anyone from the crowd would like to speak and that one or two did, but perhaps if the invitation had been more in the style of the man who was taping, there would have been more participants. Answering a simple question is not as terrifying as making a speech.

    I’m actually torn over whether I should join a committee. I not some kid anymore and it’s not my future thats at stake ( although SS/Medicare could be gone by the time I need it). While I’m crazy angry at what is happening to my country and my planet, I kind of also feel that maybe the torch should be passed already and that I should just sit in my rocker and shut up. That said, I still plan on marching this Saturday.
    Again – thanks for responding to my comments.

  3. fat old broad with sign

    You really think a megaphone (or microphone or bullhorn) is an instrument of authoritarianism? I think Harvey Milk might beg to differ.

    So far, I’ve found the peoples’ mic to be a bit tedious – especially when used to run a policy and procedures meeting, as opposed to making an inspirational speech or display.
    And the twinklefingers are a bit twee and highly ridiculable.

    On a more positive note: I liked the giant crime scene banner. It was a nice photo op. But – was it illegal to string up the banner in the plaza for the length of the event? Even if you couldn’t hang it between 2 light poles, you could have brought 2 PVC pipe stands and held the whole thing in place with some sand bags and a couple of strapping young college kids.

    I know that you’re still setting this all up and I assume that eventually (soon) the Saturday events will become just that – Events. A march, a teach-in, a rally, a protest action. You’re competing with the casinos and UNR football and pretty soon holiday shopping.
    I think we could use a little more showmanship – is there a showmanship committee I can join?

    I came to the march by myself on the 15th and I brought 2 people with me for the 22nd. I believe in this cause and I appreciate what you’re trying to do.

    • Hi FOB,
      a little bit twee – I agree; highly ridiculous – if you say so. I think you’re taking this too seriously. I think it’s a brand thing, and in my mind, a neat way to express opinions non-verbally, as well as a bit of an acknowledgement that we’re all crazy for trying this in the first place. And, come on, that’s a little showmanship right there. Don’t know about Harvey Milk, but I would hazard a guess that he had a very specific point of view. In a consensus-building context, I don’t get the megaphone.
      Actually, I am wondering aout the crime scene banner. Are we the crime scene?
      The strategy of either working inside or outside the system has always been debated. Why should we be different? I’m really really really on the side of long term – let’s just say a year – perspective, and thre will be lots of opportunity for expression, and not just on the weekends. Thank you for your recruitments, and please stay active (media?)

  4. with thanks to the Twitter feed that I am unable to address directly, COOKIE MONSTER EXPLAINS OWS. – this is a SUPER synopsis of the current situation – and inequality is very entrenched currently. We are the tuba (oboe? first violin?) here in Reno and probably need to wait for the rest of the orchestra before trying any really significant moves. The iron is not yet hot, it is just heating up. Keep your eye on the prize – this situation will not just roll over in face of your indignation. Hope I dont’t sound like a total geezer here, but it’s the young folks whse future is really being co-opted here and it’s their lack of patience (and thick skin) that the bad guys are counting on.

    I still think a megaphone is an insrument of authoritarianism (sometimes, face it, a comfortable thing, especially when wielded by a perky cheerleader) and the peoples’ mic thing will get smoother with use. I don’t see how the difference in time using either method is a deal-breaker

  5. Franko, I still don’t have anything in the Occupy email from you about the button maker. Can you send it to media.occupyreno@gmail.com again? Thanks!

    • sorry — i forwarded the info to @NouriNV, who owns the buttonmaker, and he has emailed you…. i’ll double check which address the email went to.

  6. One quick question? Don’t Controlled Burn already have a use permit for the Moana site once or twice a week?

  7. It seems to me someone was reaching when they justified the people’s mic be saying it caused people to think about what they were saying. I think it is more likely to have them lose their train of thought and simply mouth the words out of boredom.

    Productive people have a lot to do on weekends and we need them in our movement. A simple cheerleader’s megaphone would permit those without projective voices to be heard. Most of all, it would permit cohesive and complex points to be made in much less time. The meetings would be shorter, more people could speak and we could all get on with our day.

    The startup phase of this movement has attracted the passionate, however, we need masses of our fellow citizens to actually change the laws of the land. Those citizens want to see productive movement, not plodding meetings more focused on form than substance.

    I’d like to try one GA without the people’s mic as a test, then let the assembly decide at the end which it prefers. I’m sure we can find someone with a daughter in cheerleading who could bring the megaphone.

  8. Rosalinda Castaneda

    Abut the use of the Mic Check, I understand we don’t want to use the Machine’s gadgets, but, we are using our cell phone constantly, and right now we are using the computer to communicate. It’s very difficult to shun some things, and not others. I have no idea what the answer is, all I have on this issue are questions.

  9. Stacy, great update – thanks. I had to leave early due to prior and ongoing commitment but definitely wanted to be there.

    Love the people’s mic conceptually but don’t like shouting in general, and it’s difficult to keep sustained; add to that the fact that I don’t come to hear the sound of my own voice, but a conversation of ideas and plan. A bit tedious though still manageable is my POV. As it gets colder it may prove to be more challenging, I don’t know what the solution is, but I’d like to see more folks get involved and build on the positive energies, not get stuck or thwarted on the mundane minutiae.

  10. I’m torn about the people’s mic. I tend to think that it should not be fetished and used at all times. Personally I think that side conversations that do not interfere with others is a decision that is up to the individual. I do not know if there is data on the premise that it “builds solidarity” but my first guess is a certain skepticism. Someone suggested to me that one of the ideas was that it was democratic in some fashion, however I would think that rote recicitation of another’s idea is not what I would typically call democratic. I do sometimes have a hearing problem and to some degree it was rather handy. However I would try to create a situation where it was quieter and one could just speak with out the need for the “people’s mic” or any other type of mic.

  11. I understand the advantages of using the people’s mic, but it drives me insane and it’s a big part of why I left early. In a nutshell.

  12. Robert Tuna Townsend

    We need to keep in mind that this is all ‘symbolic action’ at this time.

    We are building a base (through consensus and direct democracy) that will sustain our Reno/Sparks community through the occupation and beyond.

    People will come and go, and some will stay on. Solidarity is not achieved in a week or a month… it comes as we proceed, learning as we go.

    We cannot wait to act, either. Symbolic action is what builds soldarity and keeps our message front and center.

    But we must be model citizens until we have Solidarity – when we can trust each other – and rely on ourselves at the same time – we can start acting out, being ‘inconvenient’ and eventually forcing change on the institutions* that have stolen our rights, our lives, our liberty, our happiness.

    Until then, let’s play nice, okay?

    *Hint: it’s not the Reno City Council or the Reno PD

  13. Franko, we’ve been trying to track down a button making machine for weeks! I am so excited! Can you please email occupyreno@gmail.com with “button maker” in the subject line asap and all appropriate contact info? Maybe we can these done this week! Thank you.

  14. Yes, there were 100-125 people there (at least). For communication, I think people’s mic – absolutely – should be the norm. Megaphones sound authoritarian (and distorted); with the pm, people pay more attention, speakers have to be more concise (I can hardly wait for elocution lessons!), there is more sense of solidarity, you don’t have to participate 100% of he time-and, all the other cities are doing it.

    Which brings me to a question – do we feel a connection to other cities beside Portland and Seattle? There doesn’t seem to be an acknowledgement of others outside our immediate sightline. I am the one who brought up the Robin Hood Tax and it did take me quite aback that no one seemed to be up on that. We should acknowledge our roots with this, yes? Just like we want to expand the awareness of our neighbors, we will probably want to expand our own vision to include those Back East-ers. Interesting things are happening everywhere.

    I can’t make the council meeting – rats – but I hope the point will be made that , as followers of the Occupiers’ Code, the group will be acting as on-site property managers, keeping the place tidy and the vandals out. It’s a marginal but/and dynamic neighborhood (it is my neighborhood) and I think the case could be made that the our presence will be a site improvement. The green space is really nice which I think will be a greater consideration as time goes on –

    I will nominate myself as the Mean Mother subcommittee – as in get your raggedy butt out of bed and grab your sign and let’s walk downtown in the a.m. November 7 and then each MWF for a couple of weeks and see how that goes.

    I do think a 3-hour meeting on top of a march is a stretch. Seems like we could cover everything in 2 or 2+, then have an “optional stack” after that for a half hour or so.

    See you Monday – such a lovely afternoon- I wonder how long we can keep this up?

  15. fat old broad with sign

    Hey Mr. Maxwell – Where are you? You’re claiming that it’s 1:40am on the 23rd, but I’m reading you’re entry right now at 7:40pm on the 22nd. Are you some kind of interdimensional time troll?

    • fat old broad with sign

      Oops! My bad! Turns out it’s the blog program that is assigning the incorrect dates and times. Sorry that I prematurely called you a troll…. Were you at the march today? I was there today and last Saturday. While the crowd was nowhere near as large as last Saturday, I would say that at it’s most congested moment it was definately around one hundred.

  16. first off, i LOVE the people’s microphone. i understand why it’s being used even though our numbers are fewer than the Wall Street group… i think it’s great to be in solidarity with other groups this way. BUT, i also understand the frustration at the time it takes to do things this way. perhaps using it at the beginning of each announcement to get everyone’s attention? (MIC CHECK!)

    if we can use megaphones or amplified sound, then perhaps we should do it to keep people from getting frustrated and leaving.

    as for leaving early, i think it’s going to happen. people have lives, and other commitments, and it’s important to acknowledge that, and be grateful for the time that people CAN join in, however brief.

    my main concern is that it seems to me that there has to be a way to get the word out better/faster about the GAs, so more people can attend! having them regularly (eg., every saturday at the same time) is a good thing. but i’d love to brainstorm about how to get more people involved and get the word out.

    also, would it help to have pins/buttons made with “OCCUPY RENO” on them? @NouriNV mentioned to me today that he has a button maker….

    • Robert Tuna Townsend

      ‘faster’ is not always ‘better’. the thing i like best about people’s mic is that it reduces ‘side-chatter’ to nearly zero.

      Solidarity/consensus builds out horizontally. 51% is not consensus. Questions go out laterally and come back. Direct democracy takes longer, lasts longer.

      fastest way to bust a movement (‘bust a move’ ment) is to let vertical hierarchy creep in.

      people complain about seeing the same ‘facilitators’ – i love the way that was handled today.

      Solidarity takes time.

      love the occupy reno button idea.

      “Biggest Little Occupation in the World”

      • “faster” may not ALWAYS be better, but in this case, i believe it is. we need to strike while the iron is hot, as the phrase goes. lose momentum, we lose everything.

  17. Milton Maxwell

    Liar Liar…..”LIAR LIAR”
    Pants on fire….”PANTS ON FIRE”
    Hanging from a telephone wire….”HANGING FROM A TELEPHONE WIRE”

    There is no chance that 100-125 people showed up.
    Were you counting the fish in the Truckee River?????
    Every blade of grass????

    You are lying……..”YOU ARE LYING”

    • Robert Tuna Townsend

      “.. he took my stapler. that’s not right; it was my stapler. it had my name on it. and i didn’t get a piece of cake at the party. last year, either. guess i’ll just have to burn this place down…”

      — Milton Waddams