January 23, 2013

Report backs:

  • Strategy session panels (at PP and Murphy Institute)
  • Intern Labor Rights virtual global summit
  • Reader
  • SF Project
  • Rad Arts
  • New Meeting Structure
  • Mapping the workplace
  • Alternative Economies
  • Commons Coalition

Agenda items

  • MOMA
  •  Long term strategies/ teach-ins follow up:
  • New Meeting spaces
  • *Next discussion meeting

Minutes: A&L Wednesday meeting, January 23, 2013

Facilitator: CT
Minutes: YA/AS

Attending: JB, CO, AS, CT, YA, LP, MB, BR, AA

Report backs:

* Strategy session panels (at PP and Murphy Institute):

CT: First panel participants – taxi drivers alliance, Sotheby’s art handlers
union, ALIGN, Domestic workers united. Felt that the domestic workers rep
spoke to issues most relatable to artists. Was having trouble relating the
other presentations to art world struggles.

AS: saw this more as a way to learn about solidarity-building methods. Spoke
to how the media villainizes organized labor reps.

Second session participants: representatives from Queens museum, Project
Projects, Creative Capital, WAGE.

JB: on the first night the presenters were mediators between the workers and
the regulatory body. In terms of the art world- there’s no regulatory body to
work against.

* Intern Labor Rights virtual global summit:

YA: 13 People on google hangout, worked, 7 or 8 international groups to talk
amongst themselves. French group was established in 2005, was successful in
organizing an intern strike in France. Learned many different tactics that
reassured us – big take away is that the groups would like to organize
internationally, to share resources and tactics. First up, two girls from
Intern Aware, working in the fashion industry want to organize around Fashion
Week in London, New York, and Paris. New York is the first one (first week of
February). YA cannot be there, but PW is bottom lining it for the intern
group. Begin to look for the way to target this industry. The group requests
help from anyone who has knowledge or connections in the industry. Would also
like for people to participate in planned actions and assistance in promoting
it.

The London group is going to mass produce the pay your interns tote bag to
give out at London’s fashion week.
ILR needs people to organize with them.
The collaboration with London would help raise awareness.
Next international virtual summit will be in the 2nd or third weekend in Feb.
At YA place, in case anyone wants to join.

* Reader:

YA: reader meeting to happen in the next couple of weeks.
- is there passion?
BR: there is passion.
MB- maybe it’s a matter of giving each other time.
YA: Decided not to do it in time for CAA.

* SF Project:

LP- approached by Invisible Venue, led by SF curator. Thinking of making a
website to highlight and interact with ’5 ways to act.’
- seemed at the last report back there was not enough enthusiasm.
- maybe mediocre project is awesome.
MB – I like the IV curator, seemed to be moving on her own time.
- its seems like a very positive project, giving a positive emphasis to those
who are doing this already, i.e. five ways to act.
- good stories seem to be coming from similar initiatives that could come from
this.

LP – is the tactic of addressing powerful people in the industry, a good way
to start? It highlights power and hierarchy in the industry.

MB – I think we should also get some interns to participate in the project,
not just highlight the  powerful. Success stories in general.

BR – next steps?
LP – we need people to help.
JB – is there a way for people to know how to help.
LB – this started with the 5 ways to act, so how can we get people to respond
to is.

MB – maybe we can tap into the stories already within our group. Link to the
project.

* Rad Arts:
CT- decided within the group to start doing studio visits and sharing work.
AS2 was the first to present the project she did in LA. Really cool project,
helped me understand her. Very exciting, LW is going to share poetry at the
next meeting at her place. Date TBD.
AS- is this event only for the Rad Art people?
CT – yes, for now.

* New meeting discussion structure:

CT – Tuesday two weeks ago we met and one new person joined. Meeting minutes
can highlight this structure.
YA – what about a new location to meet?
CT – new space discussion will be added to the agenda.

* Mapping the workplace:

MB – little discussion on mapping interest. Suggest to have more targeted
discussion, and invite people to the discussion. Interested in being very
creative on this project. Try to do things in the smaller group.
YA: this will be a private meeting?
BR concerned about a larger discussion about labor, but feels like this sounds
different.
LP – seems beneficial to invite to the Tuesday discussion meeting.
MB – would like to have it more focused.
LP – the idea of the Tuesday meetings is that people can bottom line
discussions.
CT – last meeting seemed to be about reform vs revolution. I bottom lined.
BR – felt the knowledge we got in the first mapping meeting was useful, but
now we should focus it back into the main group.

AS: is this for building a tangible map or a theoretical discussion?
MB: first to gather perspectives, then pursue them and continue to build in
the map.

* Alt Econ:

AS: met with solidarityNYC – a small group working on alt economies. Right now
it is a knowledge-sharing website of resources.  Spoke to them about how they
organize projects. One person bottom lines and gets the support of the entire
group.

One member is working for a city run program: Time Banks NYC. Looking for
people to volunteer for the time bank. Met with them to see how the two groups
can collaborate (Alt Econ & solidarityNYC). The next step is to have the two
groups meet in a more formal way with more people.

* Commons Coalition:
AS: the coalition met up, post-Sandy. Organizing smaller, self-initiated
discussions. Trying to formulate the next one around common charters. It will
take place around mid-Feb.

AGENDA ITEMS:

* MoMA:
CT: discussed action in response to MoMA’s policy for artist membership. Will
meet within Rad Arts to discuss possibilities.
AS: should try to stay on point in support of art workers.

* Long term strategies/ teach-ins follow up:
BR: the teach-ins came about from a few meetings (BR, AS2, KP) conducted with
people organizing outside of the workplace. What should the follow up to the
teach-ins be?
(one of the researchers wants to put together a simple pamphlet of labor 101
with arts & labor.)
Proposal: A second session of ‘mapping the workplace’ and then meeting with
the two researchers from the Murphy Institute.
Feels that there is an organizing strategy that can come out of this kind of
meeting. We can gather knowledge that we intuitively know in the mapping
session and then present it to the Murphy Institute to see what we can do with
it.
MB: it’s interesting that what resonated with a lot of us was the work of the
domestic workers, where they went out and interviewed people.
BR: there was a participatory survey done within day laborers that we can look
at.  It’s not even about a survey, it’s defining what info we want to gather
and how to gather it.
JB: it’s like the prep stages of forming an organization or worker center,
etc.
MB: that’s a limiting way to think about it, the “old” way. Would like it to
be more open-ended.
LP: the art world is so much about limitless thinking. Like the idea of doing
something more traditional and specific like gathering information like BR is
proposing.
MB: more interested in things like how can people in the art world make a
sustainable living.
JB: only union or quasi union orgs can work with political power to stop
production. The only end goal is collective politics.
MB: Sotheby’s is a good example that that’s not true. That model doesn’t work
anymore.
JB: Disagree. The Chicago teachers union is an example of how unions still
have political power.
AS: the bus driver strike is being deferred now to a larger org since the city
doesn’t want to deal with them.
CO: these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Separate collectives
don’t have to be alienated from each other.

LP: currently trying to work through what it means that the discussions and
projects we do via A&L is free labor on our part.
AS: I this as being something that will benefit me in the long haul. If I’m
focused on alt economy – I’m researching alternatives for other workers, but
also for myself.
We can consider having a time bank within the group.
BR: the working system we have in the group is not sustainable. It builds
resentment. But it’s difficult, because what we’re doing is built on our
desire. When you start to monetize it, it gets messy. Don’t personally think
that a solidarity campaign willhappen on a volunteer basis.
CT: we have to think of how we can have fun doing it.
MB:  aspects of this are work, but aspects of it are fun and enjoyable. It’s
about creating other things in our life that aren’t about consumption.
AS: domestic workers talked about the ‘ambassador’ project – each member is
educated and then they go back into their community and disperse the
knowledge. It seems more realistic for A&L to ground ourselves in these kinds
of group work models. Relationship-building in outer areas.
LP: it’s interesting even thinking of where we work vs. where live, as part of
the mapping project.
BR: agreed.
AS: proposing to go to the outer neighbourhoods and seeing if people want to
interact with us.
LP: you have to help people understand that they can organize (?) like through
a worker center.
CO: as a musician, my community works mostly for free because they think
they’re eventually going to make it big. Workers think of themselves as
exploited, while musicians see themselves as a not-yet-famous musician.
LP: that’s true for actors, models etc – identify with future millionaires,
not exploited.
BR: very interested in the ambassador idea, it’s participatory research. Want
to reach out.
AS: Occupy Lunch was our first outreach.
LP: how do we do outreach to workers and have them generate what they need?
AS: would be good to identify where we can start doing outreach. We should
leave it up to the groups to say what they want.
MB: like what we did at KW in Berlin with Occupy Museums, where we did a
survey of all the employees of the museum about their working conditions.
Agree that we need to start seeing some faces and discovering if other people
are interested in what we’re interested in.
CO: it’s also gratifying to meet other artists.

* New meeting place:

CT: do we want to stick to POPS?
–> most people indicated down or mid twinkles.
AA: would be great to have a place where we can do presentations.
CO: always had a good experience meeting in bars.
MB: not sure it’s great for the people who work in bars.
AA: there’s also a volume issue.
BR: apartments?
AS: some people are uncomfortable about having strangers in their house.
BR: we can ask unions.
AS: we can ask art institutions – Artists Space, THE space (?)
LP: would be interesting to see which institutions are allies, who we can have
a dialogue with about collaborations.
MB: would prefer that it be a centralized location.
CO: what about churches?
MB: like the dynamics of being in a public space
LP: Bluestockings?
BR: can we make a deadline to get out of 60 Wall St? Maybe the next Wednesday
A&L meeting?
BR: will reach out to labor contacts.
YA: limit ourselves for now to south of Union Sq until East Village area – not
too far east, not too far west. We should suggest a spot for the next Wed.
meeting and try it out. It doesn’t have to be permanent.

* Next discussion meeting:

AA: we can read Federici’s housework essay as a platform for the next
discussion.  It’ll be a good way to discuss the success and failures of the
movement in relation to our work.
still need someone to bottom line meeting.

 

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