[mgj-discuss] MGJ general meeting minutes 3/8/2006
basav at igc.org
basav at igc.org
Sat Mar 11 12:29:26 PST 2006
MGJ General Meeting Notes
Important decision: There is no meeting on Wednesday 3/15. The next meeting
is on Wednesday March 22 (same time, same place). Catherine will
facilitate, and needs a co-facilitator.
1. MGJ fundraiser (Academy Awards party): we made $135-155. (Depending on
whether a person who made $20 decides to keep her money or give it to MGJ.)
2. School privatization teach-in: Wednesday March 29, 6 8 pm, Eastern
High School. Help from MGJers in handing out flyers is greatly appreciated.
(Some of us will bring flyers to the meeting on 3/22.) Related to the
teach-in: on Monday March 27, there will be a protest at Senator Mary
Landrieus house. Shes a Louisiana senator who is trying to privatize
schools both in DC and in New Orleans (taking advantage of the hurricane).
3. Website WG: met since the meeting and made significant progress on the
4. DAWN: See next section.
B. March actions and public education around the war in Iraq
At the last meeting, we came up with the idea of doing mini-teach-ins at
the meetings of area anti-war groups on the connection between war and the
So far, we have got interest from DAWN and the U. of Maryland Peace Forum.
We decided not to actively seek any more groups to do the presentation to,
at least for now.
(a) Content of presentation
For the long run, (by the U. of MD presentation), we hope to have a
modified version of The Pit (with thanks to Nishant Natya Manch in Delhi)
to perform. But for the DAWN presentation, which is next week, we dont
have time to develop it and rehearse it.
We will do a mini-teach-in at the DAWN meeting on Tuesday 3/14. Julia and
Basav will do the presentation.
In keeping with DAWN procedures, Julia will co-facilitate the DAWN meeting
along with Malachy.
(c) UMD Peace Forum
We will discuss in more depth at the next meeting.
2. March 18 regional anti-war demonstration.
On Saturday March 18, there will be a regional anti-war demonstration to
mark the anniversary of the Iraq war. It will entail a march from the Naval
Observatory to Dupont Circle, followed by a rally, festival, tabling, and
service for homeless people around the Canadian Embassy.
(a) Planning meeting on 3/13 evening Hope to go.
(b) MGJ has been requested to come up with 2 speakers on economic justice
Speaker on war and poverty at home: we brainstormed Brian Anders, Linda
Leaks, and Zein Elamine as possible speakers. Basav to contact.
Speaker on war and IMF/WB policies: we brainstormed Sameer (Hope to
contact), with Basav as backup.
(c) Tabling Julia. (Basav and Catherine may be able to join her.)
3. VCNV vigil.
Voices for Creative Nonviolence is doing vigils outside Congress, the White
House, the IMF, and the Pentagon through March 20 as part of their Winter
of Our Discontent campaign.
We decided to show up to support their final vigil outside the IMF on
Wednesday March 15, 9:30 10:30 am.
Because of the daytime hours (middle of the workday), not too many of us
can actually go. We decided to do visually striking silent street theater
with the few people who can go, to make an impact.
Three of us (Julia, Basav, and Hope/Sameer) can be there.
Hope already has most of the props we need for the theater idea we came up
with; Catherine will make the rest (signs).
C. Philippine embassy action
To support our partners in the Philippines (Jubilee South/Freedom from Debt
Coalition etc.), we decided to support the Gabriela Network demonstration
outside the Philippines embassy (Friday 3/10, 6:30 pm.) to protest the
martial law conditions in the Philippines.
We decided to: (a) put the announcement of the action on the mgj-announce
listserve, and (b) whoever of us can make it should show up at the event.
When: Friday 3/10, 6:30 pm.
Where: Philippines Embassy, 1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW
(Report: the action was small but spirited. MGJ also contributed the sound
system, i.e. the megaphone.)
This section of the meeting took 30 seconds!
Basav to write a 30-second draft of a response to their response to our
letter and circulate it on the outreach list for feedback. If there are
only editorial comments, it will get decided on e-mail and sent to them. If
there are substantive comments, we will discuss in the next meeting.
E. Crisis and April
There is a general sense in the group that we are going through a crisis.
We had a discussion of the nature and causes of this crisis, and our work
around the April IMF/WB meetings in the context of this crisis.
Origins of crisis:
Recently, weve had several low attendance meetings, including one that
was supposed to focus particularly on sustainable organizing.
The problem goes further back than that, though. Tensions around planning
for Biodemocracy last year. Also, planning for the September mobilization
was carried out by a handful of people.
We spent too much time doing strategic planning last November-December,
which may have turned several people off.
We have a persistent problem of coming up with grand plans and not
implementing them, such as at last summers retreat, and again during last
Novembers strategic planning. We tend to over-reach when we are coming up
with visions and plans.
Confusion about the meaning of consensus. Does consensing to something
mean not objecting to other people in the group doing something, or does it
mean taking ownership and responsibility for decisions? We need to be clear
and deliberate about this distinction.
We need to incorporate a reality check on whether we have the capacity
to implement a decision into our standard decision-making process.
We need to create mechanisms for people who dont come to meetings
regularly to participate in MGJ work. We decided to take this issue up
concretely and come up with ideas at some point in the future.
April actions around WB/IMF spring meetings:
Taking into account our concerns about capacity and over-reach, we came up
with the following ideas for April:
We will do one or two small direct actions ourselves.
We will work with and help other affinity groups who are planning to do
We will do media work of our own, plus help other affinity groups do
We will help other affinity groups with housing/logistics.
We will encourage other affinity groups involved in the April stuff to
work with us in planning bigger direct actions around the fall WB/IMF
meetings in Singapore (the week before the meetings, may be?), since for
September we actually have the lead time to plan something.
Note, none of this was consensed on, it was just a sentiment of the
group that needs to be elaborated on at the next meeting, where well
hopefully make firm decisions.
F. Next meeting:
Wednesday March 22. Catherine will facilitate, and is seeking a
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