by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Wednesday, 11-30-11

November 30, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Occupy Baton Rouge held our twelfth General Assembly.

The General Assembly was facilitated by Joshua Fini, with Japheth Dupuis taking stack and Bryan Perkins taking minutes.

The Student Teach-in Working Group proposed a Shock Doctrine study group. The proposal was accepted and the study group will begin on December 12th at 7:00 pm. If you are interested in taking part in the study group contact OccupyBatonRouge@gmail.com for the location. Also, if you cannot afford to purchase the book for some reason, include that information in your email and we may be able to purchase a copy for you.

The Encampment Logistics Working Group announced that they are planning a meeting with David Brown to go over the procedure for setting up a bail fund. They are also contacting private land owners to determine if there is a space that we can get permission to use for our encampment.

During general proposals, the General Assembly agreed that we should contact our legislators to give them our opinion about SOPA, the Protect IP act, and the National Defense Authorization Act, particularly the provisions that allow for the indefinite detainment of US citizens without charge or trial on American soil. We are collecting contact information and talking points to make this process easier, and we will be posting them on the website and handing the information out at General Assemblies and other events.

The General Assembly agreed to start contacting other organizations around Baton Rouge, particularly Together Baton Rouge, to see if there is any way we can assist them in advocating for the issues that we all agree on. Especially the budget crisis the CATS system is facing.

A proposal was passed to search for families whose homes are being foreclosed on to see if there is any way we can assist them.

The General Assembly agreed to hold viewings of the Zeitgeist documentaries followed by discussion sessions. The dates for these viewings have not been set, but they will start after finals are complete.

And finally, the General Assembly agreed that we should set up Obama’s speech about the Tahrir Square uprising to perform with the people’s mic at our December 10th Alternative Day of Action in celebration of International Human Rights Day.

Cops for the MoviesAfter the General Assembly, we walked down to the Old State Insurance Building where we planned to set up our encampment. We noticed that the entire stretch of fifth street in front of our proposed location was blocked off by movie crew trailers being guarded by several police cars with flashing lights. Not only were they taking up the street, they had filled the parking lot next to the empty grass lot with campers. This is included in the recap of the General Assembly to show the difference between the government’s reaction to citizens enacting their freedom of assembly and its reaction to movie crews with enough money to pay for use of the location. The picture is dark, but we wanted to make sure that we had some documentation of the occurrence.

by Bryan

Baton Rouge Press Club Presentation

November 28, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

Today, Monday, November 28, 2011, representatives from Occupy Baton Rouge spoke at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

There was a camera from LPB, a second news camera, and several reporters in attendance. I am still searching for the LPB Press Club schedule, but I think their website should have the video up after they air it.

Below is a transcript of the statement:

Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting us.

My name is Sophie Kunen. This is Bryan Perkins. We were chosen by the Occupy Baton Rouge General Assembly to speak at this event.

As autonomous individuals—unless we explicitly state that what we are saying has been brought before the General Assembly—we can only speak for ourselves—not the movement as a whole. In the same vein, Occupy Baton Rouge cannot speak for Occupy Wall Street or any other solidarity group around the world.

Occupy Baton Rouge defines itself as a leaderless, non-violent resistance movement. We see that money, not voting, shapes public policy; that the extremely rich are bailed out while the lower and middle classes are forced to bear the brunt of a failing economy; and that the needs of society are placed behind the profiteering of corporations.

The first Occupy Baton Rouge General Assembly was held on October 22nd. Since then, we’ve held General Assemblies twice a week: Saturdays at noon and Wednesdays at 6. Minutes for the General Assemblies are posted on OccupyBR.com to ensure complete transparency.

In solidarity with other cities in the Occupy movement, we are organizing an encampment. A permit was applied for, but it was denied on the grounds that, and I quote:

“The area being requested (and all Capitol Park grounds) are not equipped for overnight camping of any type” and “this activity would require a security presence that our Department of Public Safety is not staffed or equipped to provide the necessary manpower.”

In addition to the permit being denied, our legal advisors were out of town, there was an obvious police presence, the courts were on holiday, and all of the media attention was directed at LSU’s campus, so the General Assembly decided that the announced date of Black Friday was not the best day to start the encampment.

Our next direct action event is scheduled for December 10th: The Alternative Day of Action in celebration of International Human Rights Day.

Some detractors of the movement claim that we do not have a unified goal, but that is only because they refuse to listen. In general, the Occupy Movement feels as though the government and the corporate world have failed us—both morally and economically. However, this only touches on some of the reform we are demanding. The following are 15 points of unity that have been agreed upon by the Occupy Baton Rouge General Assembly. Keep in mind that these points are not in order of importance.

1. The Collusion Between Government and Corporations Must End: In order to move towards reducing money’s influence on politics, the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. the FEC must be overturned. Money is not speech and corporations are not people.

2. The Government Must be Transparent and Accountable to the People: Every person should have the right to participate in the decisions which affect their life. All processes of the three branches of government should be accountable to the people, should be transparent, and should follow the rule of law.

3. Elections Must be Fair and Equitable: We call for massive election reform. The influence of money must be taken out of the election process. All candidates should be mandated equal media time, by law. Voting should shape public policy, not money.

4. The Financial System Must be Reformed: We must end policies that foster a wealth divide. Speculation and irresponsible banking practices were big contributors to the financial collapse. Much of this stems from a lack of corporate accountability and the erosion of proper financial regulation, such as the Glass-Steagall act.

5. Labor Rights Must be Protected: All working-age people must have the right to unionize. Workers must be guaranteed the right to safe working conditions, paid leave, and fair, sustainable wages.

6. Environmental Sustainability Must be a Priority: We must adopt policies which effectively move toward a carbon-free and radioactive-free energy economy. In order to conserve the natural ecosystem and to protect the rights of future generations, we must reduce pollution and deforestation. Those who violate environmental regulations must be held accountable.

7. The Military-Industrial Complex Must be Dismantled: We must prevent the privatization of our military. We must reduce the national security state, end the weapons export industry, and reduce military spending. War crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace must be addressed, and those responsible must be held accountable under international law.

8. Human Rights Must be Protected: To ensure equal rights for all people, exploitation and discrimination of all forms must be eliminated.

9. The Prison-Industrial Complex Must be Dismantled: Everyone deserves the right to effective representation and due process of the law. And all prisoners deserve the right to humane and just conditions. The focus of the prison system should be on rehabilitation and reintegration into society. We must put an end to private, for-profit prisons.

10. The Education System Must be Reformed: Financing of education should be a priority. The paltry funding of education is a disservice to our citizens, and it hurts the poorest and most underprivileged members of our society the most. We must prevent the privatization of the public school system. All people deserve the right to a high quality, comprehensive, and publicly-funded education.

11. Access to Healthcare Must be a Civil Right: Everyone, despite their income or employment status, deserves access to healthcare. Accessible, quality healthcare should be a basic human right.

12. The Right to Food and Water Must be Ensured: We must end food deserts and advocate for the millions facing famine, thirst, and malnutrition worldwide. We must protect the land and water from pollution and privatization, and create local, sustainable food networks.

13. Safe and Affordable Housing Must be a Priority: Everyone should have the right to a residence. Homelessness and urban blight should not exist.

14. Public Transportation Must be Made Available: There should exist safe spaces for pedestrians and non-automobile travel, and we must provide a clean, convenient, and affordable public transit system.

15. The Airwaves Must be Protected: Freedom of the press should extend to all persons, from corporate media to citizen journalists. The airwaves and the internet are public goods and should be protected from censorship.

In the simplest of terms, we want to end corporate bribery of our elected politicians and return our democracy back to the people.

We bring these points of unity before the Baton Rouge Press Club today not only to be heard, but to issue a challenge to local politicians, to the local media, and to the people of Louisiana.

To the politicians, we ask that you respond to the issues that we have highlighted and let your positions be known.

To the media, we ask that you use your platform to accurately depict our movement. You have the power to influence the masses. Use that power responsibly. We are not jealous, entitled children looking for handouts; we are a local, national, and international movement dedicated to looking beyond our own selfish needs and fighting for the rights of every human being.

To the people of Louisiana we ask that you wake up to the false dichotomy between Republican and Democrat. The problems we face are systemic and widespread, and they are not unique to a single party. We cannot expect corporations or the government to act morally on their own. It is the duty and responsibility of every person to be constantly vigilant in ensuring they do so.

Here now, across the nation, and around the world, history is being made. It only remains to be determined on which side you will stand.

Thank you for listening. We will be glad to answer any questions.

Baton Rouge Press Club Meeting – OccupyBR

by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Saturday, 11-26-11

November 26, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

On Saturday, November 26, 2011 Occupy Baton Rouge held our eleventh General Assembly.

The entire General Assembly was dedicated to going over our fifteen points of unity and preparing for the upcoming presentation at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, November 28.

The points of unity are as follows:

1. The Collusion Between Government and Corporations Must End: In order to move towards reducing money’s influence on politics, the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. the FEC must be overturned. Money is not speech and corporations are not people.

2. The Government Must be Transparent and Accountable to the People: Every person should have the right to participate in the decisions which affect their life. All processes of the three branches of government should be accountable to the people, should be transparent, and should follow the rule of law.

3. Elections Must be Fair and Equitable: We call for massive election reform. The influence of money must be taken out of the election process. All candidates should be mandated equal media time, by law. Voting should shape public policy, not money.

4. The Financial System Must be Reformed: We must end policies that foster a wealth divide. Speculation and irresponsible banking practices were big contributors to the financial collapse. Much of this stems from a lack of corporate accountability and the erosion of proper financial regulation, such as the Glass-Steagall act.

5. Labor Rights Must be Protected: All working-age people must have the right to unionize. Workers must be guaranteed the right to safe working conditions, paid leave, and fair, sustainable wages.

6. Environmental Sustainability Must be a Priority: We must adopt policies which effectively move toward a carbon-free and radioactive-free energy economy. In order to conserve the natural ecosystem and to protect the rights of future generations, we must reduce pollution and deforestation. Those who violate environmental regulations must be held accountable.

7. The Military-Industrial Complex Must be Dismantled: We must prevent the privatization of our military. We must reduce the national security state, end the weapons export industry, and reduce military spending. War crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace must be addressed, and those responsible must be held accountable under international law.

8. Human Rights Must be Protected: To ensure equal rights for all people, exploitation and discrimination of all forms must be eliminated.

9. The Prison-Industrial Complex Must be Dismantled: Everyone deserves the right to effective representation and due process of the law. And all prisoners deserve the right to humane and just conditions. The focus of the prison system should be on rehabilitation and reintegration into society. We must put an end to private, for-profit prisons.

10. The Education System Must be Reformed: Financing of education should be a priority. The paltry funding of education is a disservice to our citizens, and it hurts the poorest and most underprivileged members of our society the most. We must prevent the privatization of the public school system. All people deserve the right to a high quality, comprehensive, and publicly-funded education.

11. Access to Healthcare Must be a Civil Right: Everyone, despite their income or employment status, deserves access to healthcare. Accessible, quality healthcare should be a basic human right.

12. The Right to Food and Water Must be Ensured: We must end food deserts and advocate for the millions facing famine, thirst, and malnutrition worldwide. We must protect the land and water from pollution and privatization, and create local, sustainable food networks.

13. Safe and Affordable Housing Must be a Priority: Everyone should have the right to a residence. Homelessness and urban blight should not exist.

14. Public Transportation Must be Made Available: There should exist safe spaces for pedestrians and non-automobile travel, and we must provide a clean, convenient, and affordable public transit system.

15. The Airwaves Must be Protected: Freedom of the press should extend to all persons, from corporate media to citizen journalists. The airwaves and the internet are public goods and should be protected from censorship.

by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Friday, 11-25-11

November 25, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

Occupy Baton Rouge Black Friday General Assembly

On November 25, 2011, Black Friday, Occupy Baton Rouge held our tenth General Assembly.

The General Assembly was facilitated by Nathan Anderson, with Sophie Kunen taking stack and Bryan Perkins taking minutes.

This being the day that we intended to start our encampment, we did not follow the normal agenda for General Assemblies. We began with a discussion about what we think the focus of the Occupy Baton Rouge movement should be. That discussion led us to “The Fifteen Core Issues The Country Must Face” from Occupy Washington, DC. We mostly agreed that we support the same issues, but they were not officially voted on by the General Assembly. Those issues, along with some of the added concerns specific to Occupy Baton Rouge, are as follows:

1. Corporatism– firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people, only people have Constitutional rights, end corporate influence over the political process, protect people and the environment from damage by corporations.

2. Wars and Militarism – end wars and occupations, end private for-profit military contractors, reduce the national security state and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under international law.

3. Human Rights – end exploitation of people in the US and abroad, end discrimination in all forms, equal civil rights and due process for all people.

4. Worker Rights and jobs – all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection.

On this point, participants agreed that we should include the right to unionize and our distaste with Louisiana being a “Right to Work” state.

5. Government – all processes of the three branches of government should be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law, people have the right to participate in decisions which affect them.

6. Elections – all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers, all candidates have the right to be heard and to run and all votes should be counted.

7. Criminal justice and prisons –end private for-profit prisons, adopt evidence-based drug policy, prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society, abolish the death penalty.

Here, the group agreed that we should add that all humans, regardless of wealth, have the right to affective representation and the due process of the law.

8. Healthcare – create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system.

9. Education – all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.

On this point we agreed to emphasize that we are against the privatization of the school system.

10. Housing – all people have the right to affordable and safe housing.

Here it was mentioned that we should plan a direct action designed to help a family whose house is in foreclosure.

11. Environment – adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and radio-active free energy economy and that respects the rights of nature.

Here, some participants were concerned with the wording of the last part of the sentence, so we agreed to rewrite it as, “…that conserves the environment and respects the rights of future generations.”

12. Finance and the economy – end policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system, reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people.

13. Media – airwaves and the internet are public goods, require that media be honest, accurate and accountable to the people.

Some specific points mentioned in this section were a desire to return to the Fairness Doctrine and concern with the internet censorship bill, SOPA, which is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.

14. Food and water – create systems that protect the land and water, create local and sustainable food networks and practices.

The group agreed to include advocating for the millions facing famine worldwide under this issue, and the specific, local issue of food desserts in Baton Rouge was mentioned as an aspect of this point that we should address.

15. Transportation – provide affordable, clean and convenient public transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel.

Transportation was agreed to be a key issue in Occupy Baton Rouge, especially with the crises our public transportation system always seems to be facing. We mentioned that we should get involved with Together Baton Rouge and BRASS, two organizations which are already fighting for these issues in Baton Rouge, and show them as much support as we can.

That being said, the proposal was passed to attend the Baton Rouge Metro Council Budget Hearing on the 2012 city-parish budget on Tuesday, November 29th, at 4 pm. The hearing will be held in the Metro Council chambers on the third floor of City Hall at 222 St. Louis Street. We plan to meet at the Centroplex fountains between City Hall and the River Center at 3:30 before we go in. This is an important hearing because it will affect the current budget crisis that the CATS system faces, a crisis which could result in cutting 46% of bus service hours. The Occupy Baton Rouge Arts Alliance will be making a stencil to put on t-shirts to wear to the event, so bring a plain white t-shirt with your name in it to the General Assembly on November 26th if you want one made.

Black Friday Police PresenceAfter our discussion of these issues, we moved on to business concerning the actual encampment. The police presence was obvious from the moment we arrived in Arsenal Park. There were several cars patrolling, several parked and watching us, and several officers on foot patrolling. Before we arrived, the police had blocked off our intended camp site with orange, plastic construction fencing, making it obvious that they would not let us set our encampment. With the obvious police presence, a lack of a permit, our legal advisors being out of touch, the courts being on holiday, and all the media attention directed at LSU’s campus, the General Assembly decided that Black Friday was not the best suited day to start our encampment. We realize that there will never be a perfect day, but we all feel that there will certainly be better days. As such, we are organizing the collection of a Bail Fund to be better prepared when that day comes.

Finally, we went on to discuss plans for direct action. Some present expressed concern that our numbers are dwindling due to a lack of direct action. As such, we set out a call for Occupy Baton Rouge participants to come up with solid, executable ideas to present to the General Assembly. Ideally, the action would be specifically planned (date, time, place, action, etc.) before the General Assembly and it will be at a date far enough in the future that people, including local unions, can schedule to be there.

by Sophie

Minutes for the General Assembly on Wednesday, 11-23-11

November 23, 2011 in General Assembly by Sophie

General Assembly #9
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Minutes taken by Sophie Kunen

I. OBR Credit Union Account:
     A. Two Requirements for Establishment
          1. Tax ID number: Register at the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/ *
          2. Minutes of meeting to authorize:
               a. Establishment of bank account: Approved
               b. Utilizers/those with access to the account: Approved
                    i. David Kirshner
                    ii. Sophia Kunen
                    iii. Stephanie Long
                    iv. Bryan Perkins
               c. Restriction of Access: Approved
                    i. Two or more persons are needed to sign if a withdrawal is more than $50.
     B. Current funds: $478
     C. Donations? Go to https://www.wepay.com/xrlffa

II. Encampment Logistics Working Group
     A. Update: Sophie Kunen and Bryan Perkins had an impromptu meeting with attorney Yigal Bander who donated
        equipment, gave legal advice, and contacted:
          1. Justin Harrison, ACLU Foundation of Louisiana Staff Attorney
          2. Bill Spikes, President/CEO of Ace Bail Bonds Consultants
     B. The Encampment will no longer begin on Black Friday for the following reasons:
          1. Permit was denied on the following grounds:
               a. “The area being requested (and all Capitol Park grounds) are not equipped for overnight
                  camping of any type.”
               b. “This activity would require a security presence that our Department of Public Safety is not
                  staffed or equipped to provide the necessary manpower.”
          2. All of our legal counsel is out of town for the holiday weekend.
          3. Courts will be slow because of the holiday weekend and anyone arrested could be in jail for 3 days.
          4. There is still no bail fund.
     C. Resolution: To hold a General Assembly at Arsenal Park on Black Friday to discuss our next moves.
     D. Research is needed on the following:
          1. Legal definition of “camping”*
          2. Legal camping of the film industry*
          3. Legal camping of State Representatives during Road Home conflicts*:
               a. Contact State Rep. Charmaine Marchand-Stiaes, D-New Orleans*

*Means that someone needs to be actively working on these agenda points. Can YOU do it?

by Bryan

Minutes for the General Assembly on Saturday, 11-19-11

November 19, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

I haven’t had time to write the recap, so here are the actual minutes for our eighth General Assembly on November 19th.

Occupy Baton Rouge GA 11-19-11

General Assembly Meeting

Saturday, Nov/19/2011
Note taker: Dave

Working group updates

Facilitators Working Group
Nathan asked for suggestions for how to make GA process smoother.  No comments were given.

Student outreach working group
For student issues group, there was a suggestion to go out to free speech alley for student outreach.  Around 10:30 or 11:00 ish.  Proposal accepted.  We will meet at 10:30am.  Nathan will be out there around 11:30am to setup the table.

Encampment working group
Our lawyers said that he can find out how much it costs for insurance for the encampment.  We need to talk to him.


General Discussion

Discussion on actions for the 25th
The General Assembly was opened up for discussion about actions on the 25th.  Suggestions were made for Anna Byars to speak on the 25th.  Maybe ask TogetherBaton Rouge to speak on the 25th, though Sophie thinks they won’t be interested.  Have an open mic time for people to share their experiences. Proposed time to start encampment and day of action?  10:00am?  Permit needs to be gotten for this action/encampment.  Equipment needed if we are going to have bands.  David Kirschner said he has a generator.  Ward has a generator.  If we use Ward’s generator we may need plywood as a sound wall, as generators are kinda noisy.  Have a tarp for the generator, as fluids can’t leak onto the ground in public areas.  First aid kits should be included.

We could use the fire hydrants for water, and city will meter us.   Lights might be necessary for the encampment.  Deadline for the port-a-potty is tomorrow.  Port-a-potty is 100 for first month, plus fee for service and delivery.  Worth noting that some public buildings will be closed because we are started up encampment on a weekend, so it may be hard to get to a bathroom.  We may not get a port-a-potty if we don’t get more occupiers.  Sean said that a port-a-potty is recommended for 8 guys for 40hours a week.  That is the upper limit of sanitary workload.  Tables and chairs are cheap to rent.  We might want to ask sympathetic people at Spanish town if they would like to help with the encampment by offering their houses for bathroom runs.

It might be a good idea to have a “needs of the occupiers” list on the website or google doc on the website.  Proposal accepted.

We do not plan on cooking on site.  So far we have someone cooking for the first day.  We have to buy food for after the first day.  If we need a bullhorn, we have one.  Ward also has one.   Also, the discussion about a type of direct action to take on the day of the encampment was postponed to the actual day of encampment.

The Iron Rail regularly has excess books.  In the past, they have talked to Dave and expressed a willingness to donate books, so having literate will probably not be an issue.  Dave volunteered at the Iron Rail before and is willing to contact them again.

Other discussions
A proposal was made to demonstrate in front of a Bestbuy on black Friday where there will be large crowds of people.  Some opposition.  Concerns about having enough man power.  Proposal dropped.

Sophie put forward a proposal to work on supporting local businesses, such as by limiting the amount of chain restaurants in Baton Rouge.  Proposal accepted.  It was later emphasized that this was a good thing to highlight about our movement, which is that we support local businesses.

Critical Mass could be asked to run by our encampment.  Someone said they would ask them about it. Dave also knows someone who does critical mass.

Ward brought up the point that maybe we should flier BRCC and email their student president.

There was a suggestion to get involved in some of the teachers unions, such as at LSU.

For the encampment Bryan is setting up interviews.  For example, he is talking to Jim Engster of the Jin Engster show, WBRZ, and Tegan Wendlen.  Tangentially, we might want to have a sheet with student debt, total debt, credit card debt obligations painted on it for when the media comes by the encampment.  Jim Engster said we can be on Thursday morning.   People who are going to be interviewed should meet up with Sophie.

 

Reflections on the White Light Nights experience
People from the OccupyBR went to White Light Nights experience and talked to people and fliered.  Brian had one pretty negative experience.  Brian focused on talking to the business owners.  Sophie had some confrontations at the White Light Nights also, but it wasn’t so bad.  Overall, people were really accepting.  Ward emphasized using the word corporatism.

 

News update about country and local Occupy movement
The 17th was a coordinated crackdown.  It was emphasized the Occupy is a basic reclaiming of public space.  It DHS and FBI seems to have been in a coordinated movement to shut down the Occupy movement.  There a movement against FBI oppression.  The FBI is raiding activists’ homes, such as Wisconsin union activists, Palestinian solidarity activists.  Nathan mentioned that Bradley Manning has been in solidarity confinement for over 6 months.

by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Wednesday, 11-16-11

November 16, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

On November 16, 2011 Occupy Baton Rouge held our seventh General Assembly.

The Encampment Logistics Working Group announced that they have set up a schedule leading up to the November 25th occupation.

Occupy Baton Rouge Black Friday Pelican

On November 17th they will print four-sheet flyers advertising the occupation and the website.

On November 18th we will all meet at Mid City Bikes at 6:30 pm where we will have the flyers to distribute at White Night Light.

On November 19th, after the General Assembly, we will go into Spanish Town to meet the neighbors and gauge their reaction to the imminent occupation. After that, we will start painting banners. Attend the General Assembly or contact OccupyBatonRouge@gmail.com for the time and location of the banner painting.

On November 20th we will drop the banners.

On November 21st the Encampment Logistics Working Group will have their next meeting.

On November 23rd we will pass out more flyers advertising the encampment.

On November 25th, Black Friday, the occupation begins.

The Women’s Issues Working Group announced that they are merging with the Outreach Working Group until further notice. The next meeting for the Outreach Working Group, to coordinate flyer hangings and future outreach events, is on Wednesday, November 23 at 4:30 pm at Schlittz & Giggles.

The Women’s Issues/Outreach Working Group also announced that Louisiana Representative Barbara Norton has reintroduced the Equal Pay for Women Act (HB320), which makes the policy of Louisiana, “through the exercise of its police power to correct and, as rapidly as possible, to eliminate discriminatory wage practices based on sex.” The General Assembly agreed that we should contact Rep. Norton and other Louisiana legislators, particularly the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, in support of the act, and that we should research other pieces of legislation that we can support to announce at future General Assemblies.

After the Working Group announcements, Nathan congratulated Sophie on her appearance in the Advocate for a speech she gave at Together Baton Rouge’s lunch meeting asking several City Council members to help find funding for Baton Rouge’s public transit system. The General Assembly agreed that everyone should try to find similar causes, which are in line with Occupy Baton Rouge’s values, supported by activist groups around Baton Rouge so we can show our support for the community and spread the word about our movement at the same time.

David announced that he has been in contact with the State Office of Buildings and Grounds working toward getting a permit for the initial encampment. He said that there are a few things we can do to make our application for the permit more attractive, such as renting port-a-potties, having insurance, and setting a time limit for the encampment on the permit application.

Finally, we have an unofficial Working Group that is setting up interviews about Occupy Baton Rouge with Baton Rouge Community Radio, The Jim Engster Show, KLSU, and WBRZ. If anyone is interested in initiating an interview, or being interviewed, contact OccupyBatonRouge@gmail.com.

by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Saturday, 11-12-11

November 12, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

(Posted on our Facebook page by Chris Chemel)

Hello everyone, sharing today’s events. This morning 2 police officers approached the small occupy group at the farmer’s market before our march. There were about 7 of us at the initial encounter and by the time they left there were about 12 of us.

Captain Paul Edmonson approached our group with a lot of probing questions mixed in with light fluffy questions to make it seem like he was just being friendly.

He alluded that as long as we don’t cause problems there won’t be problems and said ‘I think you know what I mean by that.’, and that we need to make sure this city approves of what we are doing. On the surface this wasn’t a serious issue, but the sum of the conversation meant a lot. He said he knows who I am, and he knows of my previous actions, he knew I was the one who requested our initial permit, and he said to others in the group that he knew of them. No one has previously met this guy, which means the Louisiana State police are aware of our actions and presence(or he was lying to make it seem like they know more than they do). This is the State police, not the BRPD, he is part of the Criminal investigation division. he was accompanied by another officer and what I assume is a street clothes officer, otherwise, just a tag along friend.

What is most important, and what I am questioning if I did the right thing, was he wanted to identify organizers of OBR. I said I was a person who shares information with the whole group and helps coordinate events. Another occupier, Mr.Scaggs, and I gave the officer our contact information. I made it clear that any information that he shares with me I will share with you on our websites. I do not want to be seen as the leader of this group, but he gave the impression that he would be contacting me about this group.

—Please be aware that even though our actions have been significantly smaller in comparison to the rest of the country, we are on state’s radar, and they are monitoring our actions. They are at the stage where they feel they need to talk with a leadership person and I do not want to represent this movement, that is NOT what this movement is about, and any further action that comes from the police will be shared with the community before I, or Mr.Scaggs, responds. I promise I will not make any statements, appear for any meetings, formal or informal, as OBR’s leader, and if they wish to address the movement or make announcements I will direct them to come to one of our GAs. I feel bad that I didn’t do that previously, but I am making efforts to be as transparent as possible with regards to my actions in this movement.

It was about this time that the group ‘marched’ (walked with signs, no chanting) to the capitol. In the park we were met by a veteran waving a large American flag without any stars, and with a snake across the stripes. He refused to shake my hand or introduce himself, but was eager to call us communists and fascists in the same sentence. He yelled at us the whole time we were in the park. He was not interested in hearing what we had to say, despite our initial attempts to have a conversation with him, only yelling his nonsensical statements at the top of his lungs.

…I will finish this post and start a new one about the attendance problems we are facing.

 

The last few GA’s have had dwindling attendance which makes it difficult to make plans and vote on items. Despite the lower turnout, we have planned a lot in the next coming weeks (the minutes will be added later for a comprehensive list).

We need more people to attend the GA’s and more importantly, we need more people to attend our functions.

Next Friday Baton Rouge is having an event called White Light Night. We collected enough money to print of flyers that will be made for us to pass out this evening. We would like as many OBR members to show up @ 6PM at Mid City Bikes in Baton Rouge. There we will give fliers to the OBR members and then go out to the city to engage with the good people of Baton Rouge. The goal is to talk with people on a personal level, strike up conversations, find out how they feel about the occupation of the nation, and in their city. We want this to be a learning experience, a teaching moment, and a great opportunity to humanize the movement and let Baton Rouge that they are a part of the 99%, that we aren’t a group of riff raffs and miscreants. In order to boost attendance and involvement we need to get Baton Rouge to understand that this movement is built of the citizens of this country, not by certain parties, cultural groups, or isolated radicals. Clarifying that the system that currently runs our government isn’t the same one that we were taught about in our primary education or on School House Rock. That the only way to stop this destructive system is to get the people involved. The more people in the movement, the more potential we have to make immediate, lasting, or any kind or meaningful change.

-Chris Chemel

by Bryan

Recap of the General Assembly on Wednesday, 11-9-11

November 9, 2011 in General Assembly by Bryan

On November 9, 2011 Occupy Baton Rouge held our fifth General Assembly.

We did not consider ourselves a quorum, so we tabled our proposals for the General Assembly on November 12.
Occupy Your Street
The Encampment Logistics Working Group announced that they are asking for donations of buckets, sponges, rags, plastic plates and utensils, PVC piping, and tarp for various uses in the encampment. They will present their official proposal to the General Assembly on Saturday. They also have plans to set up a beta campsite in preparation for a possible move closer to the capitol. The beta campsite location is a piece of privately owned property that has been neglected by an absentee landlord in Spanish Town. Members of the Encampment Logistics Working Group have contacted the Spanish Town Civic Association, and they were supportive of our plans. For anyone who is interested in planning the encampment in Baton Rouge, the next Encampment Logistics Working Group meeting will take place on November 12 at 9:30 am at the beta campsite, the location of which can be found here.

Two members of the College Democrats at LSU announced that they have started the process of making Occupy LSU an officially recognized student organization. This organization would be essential in spreading education about the Occupy movement through LSU’s campus and in enacting our Teach-in Discussion Panels, so we should show them our full support. For those who are interested in organizing student teach-ins for the greater Baton Rouge area, the next Student Teach-in Working Group meeting is this Friday, November 11, at 7:00 pm. For the Student Teach-in Working Group meeting location, or if you are an LSU student that is interested in taking part in Occupy LSU, contact OccupyBatonRouge@gmail.com .

This Saturday, November 12th, we will meet at 11:00 am in the church parking lot adjacent to the Farmer’s Market on 5th and Main to march to our sixth General Assembly in State Capitol Park at noon.

And don’t forget to check the calendar for any future General Assemblies or Working Group meetings that you would like to take part in.

Occupy movement draws differing opinions at LSU

November 8, 2011 in News by OccupyBR

Geaux Tigers!
LSU (1) Beats Bama (2)
The Tiger’s big game of the season is out of the way. Will Occupy Baton Rouge be able to make some headway with the students at LSU?

As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues, similar Louisiana rallies have drawn attention to the movement for many at the University, but some remain in the dark.

Nearly four out of 10 Americans now support the Occupy movement, according to the Pew Research Center. More than 1,000 American adults were surveyed, and 35 percent said they do not support Occupy action.

Young Americans have played a significant role in the national movement because many of the issues addressed by protesters concern higher education.

The American Association of University Professors joined last month when the national organization endorsed the movement. A statement on the AAUP website cited state cuts to higher education and increased tuition for students as reasons for supporting Occupy protesters.

Ravi Rau, physics and astronomy professor and president of the LSU AAUP chapter, said the endorsement makes sense because the AAUP believes in the same principles of higher education as Occupy protesters.

Rau called the endorsement a “general backing” of the issues being raised.

He said many of the issues, like increasingly high student debt and less state government support, are relevant to college students and should be important to them, especially at the University.

The Louisiana Legislature has made many cuts, and raising tuition should be a concern for University students, he said.

Rau said he personally supports the movement and attended the first Occupy Baton Rouge rally at the State Capitol Building on Oct. 22.

But students have mixed opinions on the movement.

Many actions Occupy protesters have taken have been chastised by much of the general public, said AndrewWegmann, history graduate student. He said he disagrees with the movement.

Emma Allain, mechanical engineering senior, said she agrees with the Occupy belief that large corporations have too much power but thinks they are a “necessary evil.”

“Without corporate America, America wouldn’t be America,” Allain said.

She said there are definite flaws in the government and financial systems, but Occupy protesters are getting in the way more than they are being helpful.

Electrical engineering junior Rachel Champagne said protesters’ frustrations are misguided.

Champagne said the movement should target politicians rather than corporations because politicians have the power to raise taxes and cut funding.

Many students said they did not know much about the movement, with some mentioning they heard or read about Occupy rallies but were not interested in learning more about them.
Source:  LSU Daily Reveille
By: Brian Sibiller
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Contact Brian Sibille at bsibille@lsureveille.com