The Accounting Working group has had a long discussion about consensus and responsibility over several weeks. We have decided we are currently unable to recognize the ability of the group meeting on Saturday evenings at Liberty Plaza to access the General Fund and make spending decisions for our community. Other GAs have popped up across NYC over the months, but we have not yet seen a community meeting which has the buy-in of a wide range of the OWS community. Thus, we are unable to acknowledge the spending decisions of this group.
Although this Saturday group refers to itself as a General Assembly, they have not met consistently. Indeed, only three weeks ago two members of Accounting came to Liberty Park to be part of discussions and found that there would be no meeting at all. Minutes have been posted to nycga.net twice as of this post. While this group may develop into a decision making body, its just not there yet in composition or reliability.
This Saturday evening group is, of course, free to organize actions and fundraise for that purpose on their own.
A large segment of our community have vehemently opposed a GA with spending power, and spoken with their feet. Many have not agreed to return to the GA model and are working through other structures, even as this means they can not access the General Fund. Additionally, this GA has failed to address underlying issues which caused the GA system to disintegrate in the spring, and has not grown out of that experience.
Given the clear direction from the former NYCGA when it was functioning that we are an action focused community, legal defense in the face of intense police repression is the only expense we feel able to support at this time. Should the Bail Fund be depleted, we would feel comfortable supplementing it with the General Fund but only because of the clear direction of the former NYCGA.
In summary, we do not feel we can ethically take money from the general fund without a clear, community wide decision making body, for any type of expense other than legal defense, regardless of what we personally would like to support. For example, when we set the movement’s financial records to our fiscal sponsor, one of our members paid the shipping out of her own pocket. We look forward to participating in any community-wide meetings that may occur in the future- as we have attempted to do in the recent past- and hope that the community understands the delicate position we are in.