The communication channel of Occupy Totnes community

Minutes of General Assembly 30/11/2011

General Essembly 1

facilitators: corrie and Peter,
note taker: jenny

*explain consensus
*circle of introduction/sharing/feedback
*recap of the days’ events, and the previous Occupy Totnes meeting
*camp rules
*housekeeping- practical support for the camp

Peter explained the consensus meeting form- which is being used by Occupy and many other peaceful activist groups. (see http://seedsforchange.org.uk/free/consensus for more specific information)
Consensus is not compromise or ‘not voting’- it is a successful system of coming to agreement- items are proposed, discussed, adopted, consensus promotes equality and shared making. Meetings are ‘facilitated’, there is room for discusion, hand signals help keep the meeting focused and allow involvement of the whole group. the roles of facilitator, note taker, time keeper etc are not fixed- it is important to share responsibility for these throughout the group, and learn ‘consensus’ together.

We formed a circle for feedback and sharing approx 50 people and introduced themselves, and voiced positive and energetic support for Occupy and it’s place in Totnes, our community and the world-
“Its great to be involved!” “delighted” “So diverse” “power to the people” “inspiring” “great to see so many others feeling the same way” “great to have a way to be involved without needing to get on a train” “came down from Dartmoor, been following online, its great to have a local aspect too” “bombard the system with love” “we need to start thinking outside the box” “thank you to everyone who got this together- really exciting to see it grow” “ small beginnings, with so much to look forward to- big changes are coming” “discussing how to change things we are not happy with, celebrating things we agree with” “magnetic- it’s learning community” “full-time mum committed to tangible outcomes” “everyone deserves safe space” “good luck occupy Totnes!”

Camp rules
discussion of drugs and alcohol rules –wishing to promote inclusion on site, and to promote ‘freedom of choice’, but how to ensure camp safety and welcome to all?
Suggestions of total ban on substances (there is already a law against public area drinking in the Totnes town centre area where camp is), tobacco-smoking campers felt that discreet smoking at camp and smoking in private tents should be allowed.
There was worry about separation and disenfranchisement, we felt we could try out rules and review as necessary- other Occupy’s are large enough to provide a more cohesive programme of security and hospitality, we should learn from their example.
proposal : no drugs and no alcohol, tobacco smoking at the discretion of the campers in designated areas
consensus reached 🙂

Security- known as tranquillity at Occupy Exeter- is a important aspect of keeping a peaceful camp.
Campers must feel capable of addressing problems with a meet and greet attitude. Maybe a need for hi-visability jackets and a stewardship attitude to keeping peace.
Fire extinguishers are required- a bucket of water must be kept by the fire. We need a first aid kit to be kept at camp.

Loos’ – public toilets can be found close at hand by the Civic Hall car park in the day, and a night-time camper’s key for the public toilets on coronation Rd has been lent by the SHDC

Neighbourhood liaison- the Totnes Occupy is committed to keeping a clean, tidy, safe and approachable camp, the media group will make (a leaflet?) contact with immediate locals, inviting them to visit for a cup of tea and to participate. Noise issues- we need to keep noise down in respect of close homes. Contact with garden managers Totnes Development Trust also- a friendly commitment to make good the grass area when we leave should be made.

Tonight, practicalities of camp

Jackie will keep a written record of items lent to camp that the lender wishes to recover.

We should utilize ‘Freecycle’, and Emphisise that all donations of useable goods, foood, and time and energy were welcome. Camp should write a wish list, which can be shared with the larger community

A wood run was offered, a fire bowl, and charcoal, a stove for a kelle, a sofa
Regular recharging of batteries for lighting- 12 volt car batteries required.
Lizi offered a exercise bike – can we rig this up with a dynamo for people powered electric?
A solar panel has been offered, but a secure place for this would need to be found.
A kitchen tent will come tomorrow, if it is suitable can be put up by GA

Meetings –
Time of General Assemblies- 1pm for lunch hour accessibility
6pm for recap and camp meeting.


we will set up groups with particular focuses- these will be individuals working together to develop Occupy Totnes. These groups are self defining, very welcoming to new input, and will make reports to General Assemblies

‘Earth inheritors’ – Oscar and Abby from the local arts youth initiative introduced themselves, and were very happy to liaise with Occupy Totnes

Legal Team:
Allison (currently away), Ian , Sangeeta, Emma:
we need a set responsible and engaged response to gov. reps and the police, we will seek advice on line, and from other Occupy groups regarding Occupy procedure for notice and police engagement. This info should be made accessible to all on the camp.

Media Team:
Neil, Peter, Corrie, Steve, Lizi, Mark, Ian
A group for adminsitration for PR with local radio, newspapers, national press, and the public- press releases online rresources such as facebook, wordpress and forum administration,

Education Team:
Corrie, Cat, Mark, Peter O, Jenny, Laura Shelley,
a group for engaging with ideas of education, to devise a program of educational talks and workshops, to make information about Occupy available accessible for all ages and interests.

Mindfulness & Awareness: Jenny, Peter O
A group to promote conscious engagement- especially in the light of the slightly aggressive official visitors, it was felt that a strategy for keeping focused and positive energy would be useful! the promotion of a time and space to practice either mediation or movement

Other groups are welcome- please raise suggestions at General Essemblies, or join one of the existing groups 🙂


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