Notes from Occupation Missoula:
These notes below do not represent the view of the General Assembly, but is a note from an individual at camp, involved with facilitating. We have not gotten our communication system perfected, but there are really great things afoot! So we are writing a recap while we wait on official minutes. Please note that this is very unofficial but we want to share with the public the gist of things happening at camp. Please check back later today for the REAL minutes.
Facilitation Team Note: Some new strategies were tried, modeled after the general assembly in New York. We experienced some difficulty with this, and learned a lot. Facilitation team seeks experienced communicators ( nonviolent communication, consensus decision making, those knowledgeable about the process ,etc) to come train us and or help educate the entire group during the meetings, to help support flow. We will be trying some new strategies tonight , and are hopeful about improvements. To those who attended, please hang in there, we will do it! We will try to post the Agenda to the website every day so that the General Assembly has time to think about proposals and whether they approve the agenda. General Assembly met at about 5:30 pm on sunday. We think about 150 were in attendance, at the beginning. We opened the meeting by sharing some information about General Assemblies and the process being used in New York. We shared our strategy for the meeting itself, and explained more about the Facilitation team.
There were general announcements about camp practicalities such as ~ Please refrain from smoking within 25 feet of the building. There are signs requesting that, and we don’t want to have a reason for complaint.
~ Please leave no trace, clean up after yourself AND others, look around, make sure things look tidy. Doggie bags are located on site, please use them. Recycling and trash are also on site. We are looking for access to a dumpster for the Trash.
~I think there were also announcements concerning the “mysterious helicopter” that was plaguing us two days in a row by swooping down low and filming us, and making us have to yell to talk , and also causing general paranioa. Well, after several people making gobs of phoncalls to all their various helicopter and media connections, and after aiming our own cameras at the helicopter to document its presence and capturing its tail number….it turned out that we only needed to be paraniod about being extras on a pilot episode of a Zombie television show that Zombie Tools is filming.
~ The other announcement is that the Mayor is generally sounding supportive of our First Amendment rights , and there is a legal team as well as some other officials working behind the scenes to help clarify our risks camping out. For now , the camp is informed that they could be cited for a misdemeanor any time, but there is enough support and communication going on at the moment that it may not be a huge concern yet.
~ Campers were distributed information about their rights. More of the same information will be available to all at the information booth. Workgroups are forming under some general headings right now: Communications, Logistics, and Development. These groups gave reports and spoke about their needs. There were some proposals, but this facilitator does not remember the exact wording, so I am hesitant to put the proposals here . There was a lot of discussion about what kinds of study groups , teach ins, and workshops the occupation wants to have. We also got hung up for a long time trying to logistically schedule general assembly meetings and work groups. Some of the discussion was tabled, but the current understanding is that we are holding a general assembly at 6:30 pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so that work groups can meet before that, at 5:30. There is a lot of concern about people needing to attend more than one work group, and there was debate about the value of having one General Assembly meeting per day, versus one General Assembly meeting per week. Energy grew very depleted during this conversation and hopefully this can be avoided in the next meeting ( the energy levels at least) and the facilitation team has some ideas about how to help aid in the communication and facilitation issues that came up . Each meeting is a process and a huge learning experience for all of us. ( Unofficial statement only representing view of author!) The meeting wrapped up with a few more announcements at about 7:30? Today, Monday, October at 1:09 , there is some chatter about various needs and such, but mainly the camp seems to be waiting for tonight’s meetings. This author suggests that you, the reader, please spread the link to this article to anyone in the general population that wants a little window into the occupation. Please feel free to drop by , play the campers some music, bring poetry, and other uplifting things. The weather is getting cold. Thank you , and please, once again, check back for the official minutes.