June 19, 2012

Report backs

  • Labor Alliance
  • debt
  • stop & frisk
  • intern rights
  • CPH
  • Haben & Brauchen/Berlin

Agenda items

1. Intern group mixer, Thurs Jun 28
2. Future of A&L
3. Sotheby’s fallout

Arts and Labor meeting minutes, June 19, 2012

facilitator LB

stack BR

minutes BY/ES/RH

in attendance AS, ES, ND, RH, BW, BR, LB, AB, BY, YA, P, L

Report backs


Agenda items

1. Intern group mixer, Thurs Jun 28

2. Future of A&L

3. Sotheby’s fallout


[Report backs: debt, stop & frisk, intern rights, CPH, Haben & Brauchen]

AS: went to Labor Alliance (many CUNY students; not same as Labor Cluster, but lots of overlap) meeting about troublemaker’s school, will fwd minutes. Planning 1 day giant teach in, mid Aug: organizing yr workplace, joining diff’t OWS efforts. Why work w/OWS, what are misconceptions or limits. Planning meeting Wed Jun 27, wd be good for one of us to go. Can have a say in who we want to invite to come & talk. Intern group cd benefit from meeting these people. They’re also interested in making alt econ a part of the discussion, raising awareness in their communities. Dynamic btw Troublemakers’ School vs. Disobedience School. They’d like to see them join forces somehow. Also have pics of their goals, focus themes, etc, can post on GG. They were looking for concrete tools. Also want history of DA organized by labor unions, lessons learned, how to work around limits, etc. They also recognize they need OWS support.

AB: Last 3 wks Occupy Theory has been focused on debt. Primarily student, but other forms. Assemblies at noon on Sundays, discussing, planning to organize students in the fall. Also solidarity w/Montreal students. Have had one Debtors’ Assembly at 3PM on Sun, people speak out, share their stories about debt; not sure when the next one will be. Diverse, smart group; has now broken down into subgroups: mutual aid, propaganda, etc. Still early and also far-sighted. The sharing of stories was very moving, powerful; encouraging people to “come out” and get rid of the shame. Feels like OWS, but trying to expand to topic many other people affected by.

LB: Looking at global success, int’l solidarity, also looking beyond just beyond Sept 17.

AB: Re: S17, perception in press that M1 was a failure, desire to have something formed and articulate on S17, something unexpected, need new line.

AS: One class in Troublemakers’ School they want to do is on May Day, looking back, lessons learned, and also planning already for next year. Also other people who attended were strand workers, sotheby’s people, top of the rock, etc.

ND: Stop & frisk, silent march. “Thousands of people” in press, but really, big. Very diverse. Big union presence, SEIU, also NAACP. Lots of contingents like on M1. Got totally quiet on Fifth Ave, total silence, very powerful. End of the march, cops quickly like “everyone disperse,” there was a lot of energy, desire for something more, go to Bloombergs, but blocked off. Chants. Cops pushing to clear the street, tiffs with cops: community affairs, blueshirts, whiteshirts, cops got violent, pushing. People made it down street, block, dispersed. Many had heard about it just that day and joined. Reported broadly: Al Jazeera, Times, etc.

LB: BW made amazing signs, “Stop Stop and Frisk” etc.

BW: Was teaching at detention center today, take photos of shows in galleries, workshop based on the theme. Theme for the summer is teaching yr own art, was presenting on OWS, and in addition to kids who knew about protest & occupation, two kids said “we know b/c of stop & frisk”. Even in there they’re hearing about the march.

ND: Also meeting tonight about expanding cop watches around the city.

BR: Word on institutional left front is that no one is for it. Every left mayoral candidate showed up for march.

BY: Scrum at the end. Question of discipline, could have had better tactics of de-escalation if we wanted, it was passive resistance/noncompliance for awhile in occupying the intersection even when police were getting aggressive, but then people started shoving back at police, that’s when people got arrested.

BW: Could have been powerful if it was planned that everyone wanted to sit down quietly, some civil disobedience that was more tactical. But spontaneous, hard to foresee.

AB: There was intense chanting at front of march we couldn’t hear. OWS was in the back, seemed it was good that we were in supporting role. But risk that we were set up a bit, they were letting the rest of the march bleed off at 78th, but then closed the street when we got there. Need to be aware when we’re being used or sacrificed.

LB: I got carried away too, passionate yelling, de-arresting people . . .


RH: Over all we made good connections w/Precarious Workers Brigade and Spanish folks. Talked about collaborating on letter writing campaigns, other things, to be explored. Other presentation: academic from Chile on artists’ economic situation. Diff’t perspectives: funding from state system vs. market system was the big question. [TKTK] and Tina gave a presentation on group they were in, an activist group organizing . . .

BR: B/c of state support things, we felt most aligned w/PWB (London based), They’ve done a shitload of stuff, a lot of which we’ve also done.

RH: Check out e-flux article on their actions, including occupation of Goldsmiths, for their history. And their well-organized website.

BR: They are about 30-40 people, up for collaborative actions, brainstorming. The thing could have been better promoted, wasn’t a big deal as we thought. Not a lot of sense of urgency in Denmark. Very laid back.

LB: Interesting Qs?

BR: There were, but not enough time for discussion, not a good moderator.

AB: Suspected it wouldn’t be that big a deal, but having gone thru whole process, can you talk about the value of it for you, and the drawbacks?

BR: Value is connections, esp. to PWB. Did talk about what we had in common. CPH artist group is interested in reaching out to students after they graduate, w/support network. Also crazy to be able to listen to researcher from minister of culture from another country who was doing empirical research on artists’ conditions.

L: ways of cooperating across these difft places? online? I’m also in Europe from time to time. . .

RH: The value of this is to extend our thinking to intl context, what we’re doing in relation to events round the world. Trying to decide what’s impt, how we represent ourselves and why, is impt, useful. Wd hope we continue to build relations w/other places; it’s Q of when time/energy resources can be well placed.

AB: drawbacks?

RH: Just a little disappointing re: organization of event itself.

BR: I wd ask more questions first: how many people do you expect? what outreach are you doing? I know people who were relevant in CPH who didn’t come. Wish they weren’t so relaxed, but not much you can do about that. Wd be awesome to have protocol for this. Took a lot of energy to prepare, and then “oh,” not such a big deal. . . Have a protocol for this is when we do something, this is when we don’t. Now have a solid 20 min presentation ready to go.

RH: Will post online.

AS: Intern group has been modeling a lot of their actions, language from PWB. They’ve maybe wanted to do a teach in, but one person from PWB refused to travel. They have a rule for when to travel. For whatever reason, was excited to see that connection made.

BR: Also PWB is Carrotworkers Collective, mostly same people.

LB: audience?

RH: an arts admin, students, artists.

BR: UKK has 300 artist members, 10 active board members.

AS: What do they advocate for?

RH: Fees, but also how state funding is allocated. How do you advocate for radical work. Represent younger artists.

AS: Core group is 30-something. Do they do teach-ins as well, how do they do their outreach?

BR: Cd ask them to redo their presentation over skype. They have so many strategies, actions, campaigns. Lots of museum stuff. 4 breakout groups.


ES: BR can fill in, I was only there 3 days. Newly formed art workers org that came out of presentations. Berlin is still an island protected from economic troubles in the world, still sorta artists’ paradise. Also not the urgency. First group was bunch of people who didn’t know each other, breakout groups on what int’l network wd look like, what it cd do. Popcorning. Ideas: open events/spaces for artworkers to talk about their situation, at intl scale. Haben und Brauchen (artworkers advocacy group) talk: big concern in Berlin is gentrification. ASe gave great presentation on artists involvement in OWS, mapping all the groups and clusters, which made it look like it was planned from the beginning. They kept saying, oh but we are so fractured, and we said, don’t worry, we were too. The specialness of that moment, of opening, what happened, is hard to convey, even to yourself. They had a lot of questions.

BR: talking a lot about OWS as a whole, assemblies, etc. Berlin kept saying the left is so fragmented. Made me feel lucky to be doing this in the environment we are. It was inspiring to them to hear about our experience. I expected more of that in CPH, but they weren’t so stoked about OWS. Also, no one takes Occupy CPH or Occupy Berlin seriously b/c there is no debt. Not the same frictional relationship to banks, not as mad. Occupy doesn’t carry as much weight there; OWS does, but you have to explain. Also there was antiausterity convergence of occupy + left anarchism in Frankfurt, “Blockupy.” Cops were so freaked out they shut the city down. Made the strike for them.

L: Comparing diff’t intl perspective: CPH versus Spain, diff’t affect diff’t situation. Not all Europeans share the same passion or perspective. . .

ES: Wd be good to brainstorm about what these intl connections mean, how to use them, what’s useful to us, here. Can also use our mobility, esp if we’re already traveling for art, to set up solidarity for the political work we do.

AB: Think that was my question, what is useful.

AS: Funny moment in morning, E explaining internships: people do work and don’t get paid. Trying to spell it out, as if to children, across bad skype connection. We do need mics, webcam, better tools.

RH: Is impt to figure out so we can participate in events we can’t/don’t want to travel to. Also protocol.

AB: Want to be a voice of dissent, I hate skype, don’t know why we’re insisting on using it. Makes trouble, headaches, not good for those trying to pay attention. My experience w/skype at least.

LB: Makes sense when we all wanted it, to make it more horizontal.

BR: Glad we did it, made the point that we are people, gave each 2 min to talk about working group. But skype couldn’t get you into an actual discussion.

AS: You need to be really set up.


LB: Fri, 8PM, Night of the Living Debt. People going to be made up as zombies. Fun, casseroles type event.

AB: pre-meeting at 7PM.

LB: Reportback: Mark Adams got felony trespassing for going over fence at Duarte, 45 days in Rikers. Ongoing sit-ins and protests in front of Trinity b/c they wouldn’t drop the charges.

P: Reason why they got felonies?

LB: The group on trial all refused ACDs. He got heavy sentence b/c of video of him cutting the fence. Packard, the bishop, was first over fence, didn’t get same charges. Has evolved as tension btw churches: Trinity vs. Judson. Go to Trinity for sit-ins.

P: I feel like there was entrapment at Duarte. Saw people ripping open the doors to the fence, then seeing cops stream in after. Seemed to ignore certain people. Feel like there were agents provocateurs who opened the gate, went in.

AS: Since there was that letter about occupation from all these artists. Can we do an event with that? A declaration? During Mark’s 45 days. Worth our effort to organize something like that? Bring attention to that larger crackdown.

BR: petition?

AS: No, have some event where people show up. . .

LB: I am doing affinity support for him. . .

AS: But is it worth it for A&L to do something like that. . .

RH: What do we want to accomplish with it?

ND: What are we doing right now? What are we planning for or moving toward?
ES: Who is we?

LB: Okay, agenda point: what are we doing?

AB: There is also Feminist GA and casseroles report back. Or talk after?

[temp check positive for talking after]

items for agenda:

1. Future
2. Intern labor rights mixer, double down saloon.
3. Sotheby’s fallout[Agenda items]

[Intern labor rights mixer]

YA: Just came from the eyebeam talk about occupy, was really annoyed. Everyone said occupy is dead, but those weren’t the people worth discussing it with.

Next Thurs, Jun 28, 6–8PM, happy hour for interns, current/past/future, and intern sympathizers, at Double Down Saloon, 14 Ave A at Houston. Want to create facebook event from A&L acct tonight. $2 beers, 2-for-1 well drinks. And help promote.

AS: Probably make “pay your interns” tshirts, which everyone should wear. We’ll get you one.

YA: not a lot of lead time, but let’s promote.

BR: Post on NYFA?

YA: Why not. And pass on emails of interns you know to me & I’ll invite them.

[pt. 2 to follow from AS]

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