Occupy Denver Minutes 11/20/11
Occupy Denver believes that a world where everyone has the right to occupy public space safely is not only possible – it is essential to building a strong and lasting movement. We move to adopt an anti-harassment and anti-assault resolution with an emphasis on zero tolerance regarding sexual assault and placing high value on the rights of victims. Occupy Denver seeks to empower women and LGBTQ occupiers with the time, space, and resources necessary to ensure that every occupied space is a safe space.
Occupy Denver Good Neighbor Policy
1.Occupy Denver has zero tolerance for drug or alcohol abuse anywhere in Occupy Denver.
2.Occupy Denver has a zero tolerance for violence or verbal abuse towards anyone.
3.Occupy Denver has a zero tolerance for abuse of personal or public property.
4.Occupy Denver encourages all participants to respect health and sanitary regulations, and will direct all participants to respectfully utilize appropriate off-site sanitary facilities.
5. Occupy Denver will display signage and have a community relations and security monitors in the park, in order to ensure awareness of, and respect for, our guidelines and good neighbor policy.
Attorney David Lane is filling an injunction 11/21/11. A request was made that any last minute participants interested in being a plaintiff step forward with their e-mails after the GA. The ground member making the announcement specified that interested participants do not specifically have to have been assaulted or arrested by the police, simply being a protester would qualify you to file as a plaintiff. She also specified that they were seeking participants who are articulate, look presentable to a judicial establishment, and are willing to give their full name in court.
Dagoda announced that he would be starting a working group for a canvassing committee to address outreach.
The DABC and the NLG will not be running their legal line over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The children’s march will be this Saturday, meeting in Civic Center Park at 10am
Jason from the 24/7 committees suggested a direct action against the Denver Post to protest their inaccurate coverage. He requests, from anyone who is interested, with help researching and consolidating all of the Post’s coverage and articles that are false or obscuring what is happening at Occupy Denver.
Good Neighbor Policy Proposal
Proposed by representatives from the 24/7 committee
First, it was emphasized that the good neighbor policy is not rules but guidelines to strive for as a community. The purpose of these guidelines is to spread awareness and respect in an attempt to address past conflicts and issues that have occurred at Occupy Denver, to make a statement against harmful behaviors that are not welcome, and to ask people to use their own best judgment and common sense when they are faced with these issues at the Occupy Denver camp.
1. Zero tolerance for drug and alcohol abuse
2. Zero tolerance for violence and verbal abuse towards anyone
3. Zero tolerance for abuse of personal and public and property
4. That all peoples respect health and sanitation regulations and the use of designated off-site facilities.
5. Security monitors present to ensure awareness and respect through signage and interpersonal resolutions.
6. A visible community relation’s liaison representative to respond to community concerns and complaints to be on site at all times.
Questions comments and concerns
A representative from the legal committee addressed several concerns for the liability of having a go-to person referring to the liaison representative. She thought the proposal was good idea that could help us police ourselves but the liaison option was something we have to be careful and think about. Suggested pushing the proposal back to be voted on at a later night.
24/7 responded that there are no legal implications for having ethical guidelines and he thought it important to have an informed representative that knows the everyday dynamics of the ground to answer questions. He also mentioned that it would essentially function in a similar way that the information booth and the welcoming committee did before the raid. He said he was down for pushing it back but wanted to address concerns tonight so it could be revised and voted on tomorrow. It was also suggested that it be passed tonight without the liaison and an amendment could be brought forth tomorrow.
A concern was raised that what is the point of having guidelines of there is no enforcement?
The point is to raise awareness. This is one strategy that as a community we can officially recognize there is a problem and put out into the public that we are not going to put up with or endorse non-respectful behaviors.
This then turned into an argument over policing ourselves vs. calling the police when it comes to big problems like rape etc. This was further hashed and out resolved in the next agenda item. It was further stated that the main essence of the proposal is to create concrete awareness in our community in the hope that this consciousness may prevent future problems.
There was also a concern raised that having any kind of principles takes us into an oppressive philosophical argument of ‘what is violent speech?’ etc. and conflicts with respecting free speech. It was said that there is no point in having divisive principles if what we are talking about applies to individual common sense judgment anyways.
24/7 rep. responded to this concern by stating that these policies are not meant to be about language but about belligerent assholes getting in someone’s face and screaming threatening things such as “I will fucking kill you”. Violent speech is meant to address the way you talk to people, not necessarily what you say. This is our way to assert that these sorts of behaviors are not welcome in this spot and this community does not endorse those kinds of behaviors.
The proposal was voted on with the liaison and the community relation’s representative from the articles of the proposal removed (article 6). The proposal was passed with 11 in favor, 0 opposed, and 1 abstaining.
Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assault
Natalie proposed the next item. She read a statement off of Ihollaback.org regarding how incidents of rape have been, or should be handled in different occupies. The statement was an article for anti-violence and harassment policy for women and the LGBTQ community.
Comments and Concerns
One of the members moved to amend an anti-violence and harassment policy to all members of the community.
A long back in forth was discussed around the question; ‘how do we enforce this?’
The main points of the discussion concluded that we can self police but no one should ever be discouraged from going to the police such as what has recently happened at other occupies. If something as big as the context of rape happens then our mechanisms of self-policing have already failed. Our hatred of rape and of murder should outweigh our hatred of the police. Relations with the police have to be based on personal judgment and capacity.
The proposal to adopt a non-violence and harassment policy was passed.
In Favor: 15