Looking over our combined notes, we decided the best way to convey the sentiments of the discussions had at Wednesday's and Saturday's GA was to address the only thing that could be of gravest concern: the temperature check to see how many would hard block the proposal. The moderator called for this temperature check after a protracted discussion stack was taken and the statements of many speakers pointed toward multiple hard-blocks. So, Pat and I figured let's address the topics that were brought up during the discussion (the "quoted parts" are spoken phrases I jotted down from the conversations):
We found a percentage of reactions to be negative toward the "top down approach" that this process has already taken. That "decisions are being made" by a mysterious "who" way ahead of time. That this was all condensed on without us while we were all busy on the first day of TPP. That this smacks of "colonization" as a group comes in for 4 days to tell an external group of people "what to do and then leaves". That this would be a lot of work and "cleanup" for us and the communities involved. The argument that "real grassroots work needed to be done first" with the growing connections that we have been building, to see what they have planned and how we can bolster their goals. Do they think this is a good idea? "Bottom up".
We found a percentage of people were vehement about the level of cultural insensitivity throughout the proposal. From the date (that relates to a Hollywood-embellished Southern Mexican artifact, and not with the Northern Mexican and Southwestern American Indigenous people we've connected with) to the concept of erasing borders which was felt could be construed as "destroying heritage" and echoing "a financial one-world order". The group felt it lacked obvious specifics and mentions of any recent and future area cultural struggles (such as Anastacio Rojas, Yo Soy 132, and PRI to name a few), and showed a dearth of an actual audience other than those Occupiers involved. We felt that it was obvious to us that those pulling this together are unaware of the challenges, set-backs, and achievements we've made as a community ourselves and throughout our multi-cultural neighborhoods these last 10 months, and that something like this—if handled incorrectly—could endanger those relationships and future work. Or that this could open up issues for those area and neighboring communities already with tenuous and temporary situations with local municipalities, authorities, neighbors, etc.
Finally, there was an overwhelming amount of personal issues with the idea and process, as well as intense security issues. One of many examples being that we have many ongoing projects that already have our energy allocated, such as Occupy Anniversary and GMO-labeling in September, OSD Anniversary in October, etc.
We then explained that nothing constructive came out of the GA so far to help the proposal other than what I had already talked to Michael about long ago when Chris first proposed this on FB and everyone got antsy: that maybe they should start thinking about OLA to run this by, since right now we presently have 9 valid hard blocks by passionate, intelligent, long-time Occupiers to address.
From that point on the replies turned into how "OSD was only being considered because it was close" and "9 people won't tell us what to do" and "OSD GA is invalid" and "you probably didn't have any people of ethnicity there" and "I have Latino friends that think it's great" and then people started getting emotional. It appeared that this was getting way too personal for everyone suddenly: people were starting to soapbox and attack each other's validity and whether we as a group actually cared about the plights of other human beings and talked about "turf" and yelling over each other.
Pat and I then excused ourselves as we were only there to report and not to be part of the working group as we had another meeting to get to immediately after involving TPP.