OccupyHouston 1st General Assembly Minutes – Sept. 30th

Houston General Assembly Meeting #1 convened at 12:25pm 9/30/2011
Moderator- Craig
An introduction into the General Assembly process was given according to the Quick Guide to Dynamics of Peoples Assemblies.
Floor discussion on process, unable to reach consensus.
Nick- began moderating in order to facilitate the discussion of the general assembly process.

Robert- spoke on process, offered sample proposal

PROPOSAL “We should require people to turn off their cell phones at GA meetings because of the potential for disruption and surveillance.

Consensus was not reached and he had an issue with the debate process regarding proposals which do not immediately reach consensus as the sample did.
Mario- had to leave early and briefly spoke on vision. He was positive about the opportunity that the meeting offers, but for actions sake, he suggests that we coordinate with activist groups who are aware of OccupyHouston. He also observes that the largest historical protest in Houston was in 2006 in response to an immigration bill.
Brian- asked would the size of the group (IE. small vs large) affect the assembly process

Nick- said that it does

Darren- suggested that preliminary discussion of small and large issues be held in workgroups.

Craig-suggests process workgroup, seconded by ‘woman in pink’

Robert-explained that he was just making an example and not a serious proposal.

Raffi-opposed this on grounds of irrelevance and time limitations.

Nick-gave 10 minutes to discuss the cell phone issue as practice for the GA process.

‘woman in pink’- opposed the proposal because it suggests that the GA has control over its members.

‘older woman’- observes initial cell phone objection derailed discussion. Quotes Quick Guide to Dynamics of General Assembly regarding Direct and Indirect consensus.

Brian- Blocks the cell phone issue on ‘woman in pink’s grounds

Andrea- Agrees with Brian, not concerned with surveillance as these meetings are open

‘larger older woman in purple’- reiterates that this is an example

Craig- moves to table discussion and move forward on grounds that consensus has been reached

CONSENSUS- sample proposal “We should require people to turn off their cell phones at GA meetings because of the potential for disruption and surveillance.” rejected.
Nick-Thinks that ‘goals’ are too big to discuss right now, calls for discussion from those who had yet to speak.

‘Houston Indymedia photographer’ – asks if anyone has an issue with photography at the meeting and is glad that people showed up.

Group – various words of encouragement.

‘Man in Green’- suggests our group should advocate for people to vote

Nick- Moves to stack re: Vision and Goals

‘larger older woman in purple’- suggests accountability and justice as goal

John- Stresses importance of outreach to “other communities” such as immigrants, labor, and anti-war groups. Suggests we unite around common issues.

Robert- Announced that NYPD will back off aggressive tactics and suggests that the same might be the case in Houston. Also suggested that this would lead to a corresponding drop in media coverage and has concerns regarding individual or unified messages during protest.

‘Orange shirt brian’ – distinguishes between visions and objectives/goals.

Darreh – suggests that OccupyHouston needs direction, mentions FDR’s second bill of rights.

Craig- Agreed that process and discussion are parts of the goal.

John- suggested that goals may include different autonomous zones within an encampment, provided the example of set locations for democratic or anarchist meetings, repeats the urgency of the timeline leading up to Oct 6th.

Brian- Reiterates support for the GA dynamic

Nick- suggested limitations on signage, especially in regards to violence, racism, and oppression

Andrew – opposed division of camp, as it is not happening at NYC and suggested that occupation exists to provide focal point for future unrest

Robert – agreed with Nick’s suggestion

Sheila – Angry about corporate greed. Discussed her personal story regarding about destroying her credit cards after the Bailout.

Morgan – cautioned against paranoia

Murray – suggested that dialogue should be part of the goal, played devil’s advocate and asked those that were not against corporatism to make their case.

Nick- discussed involvement of varied groups regarding issue focus

Raffi- suggested that we work on demands

Bernette- Suggested that demands would be on signs

Nick- Suggested that we should prepare for attacks from corporate media who may try to divide us by showing that the group is not in agreement. Called for a stack on this issue

John P.- suggested that we should focus on the lack of transparency in government and that regular citizens are no longer seen nor heard.

Scott- Agrees

Darren- discussed FDR’s second bill of rights, the right to earn a good living, the disparity between ruling and working classes. “I want to work. I want a job and I want to get paid.

John – Discussed the importance of message, especially a unified message with other Occupations.

Andrew – “All of us are the 99% and we are being screwed”

Nick- raised Corruption & Corporatocracy as as possible focuses of demand

Robert – Suggested to end the federal reserve bank and corporate personhood

Nick- Abolishing the fed is very specific, We may not be able to arrive at consensus without a broader version of that goal.

Sheila – People shouldn’t be ignored

Scott – Election reform, GMO foods, flouridated water.

Nick- Suggested that some issues are widely considered to be conspiracy theories, and media may use sound bytes on these subjects to discredit us.

Brian- Egalitarianism

Larry – Strengthen positions and goals

Craig- Suggested that goals, direction, vision, and message should have their own discussion group

Nick – Opened suggestions for various working groups to tackle specific areas.

Received suggestions:






Security (Peacekeepers?)



GA Facilitation committee

Craig called for conclusion of the meeting and breakout into workgroups.
Meeting concluded at 2:09PM