BOSTON/Chinatown - The #OccupyBoston General Assembly held its third, 5-hour meeting Thursday night at the encuentro5 movement space in Chinatown to plan logistics for Friday’s 6 p.m. occupation of Boston’s Dewey Square Park. 90 people filled rows of folding chairs and lined up along the floor. Half were first-timers, and a few were veterans of Occupy Wall Street in New York. After a brief announcement of guidelines on group process, facilitators summarized decisions taken the night before. Among these were decisions to decline seeking permits for the occupation, the sound system, or marches, and a commitment to a peaceful demonstration. According to agreed-upon assembly rules on “horizontal democracy,” all General Assembly decisions must have the vote of three-quarters of those present but can be “blocked” by individuals to prevent “tyranny by the majority.” Participants who leave an assembly forfeit their right to vote on measures taken after their departure.
The meeting began with reports from the working groups on safety, logistics, supplies, sanitation, and hygiene, accompanied by open discussion. A member of the legal group advised people of their legal rights in event of arrest, and noted the assistance of the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU, which have offered legal observers and bail/jail support. Participants emphasized the assembly’s decision to be courteous with police in keeping with goals of avoiding arrest and growing the movement. A short safety training was offered, including instructions to leave contact lenses at home (they trap pepper spray) and to keep your hands open when being handcuffed to create room for circulation.
The assembly then broke into working groups to brainstorm further about “message,” supplies, possible march routes, and providing for the assembly’s needs during the encampment. The full assembly then convened for reports, information, and discussion. It concluded with votes to use tents and tarps until told otherwise by police, including a media tent and a medical tent. The assembly also voted to postpone further communication with police until decided by the next General Assembly. Final decisions on all issues will be made by the General Assembly convening tomorrow at Dewey Square Park, 6 p.m.
Text by Amy Grunder. Photos by Dory Dinoto.
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