September 18, 2012

Report Backs
  • worker centers
  • Discussion of the A&L reading group
  • Discussion of A&L email lists
  • 99 PICKETS
A&L Meeting Minutes 9-18-2012
Present: MP, YA, BR, AS2, BW, MS, WK, MS2, AS (facilitator), TJ–ANNOUNCEMENTS–
YA: Next Tuesday the Intern Labor Rights group is doing a screen printing session at Annie’s studio at 7pm. 320 Dean St. #2 near 3rd Ave. in Brooklyn. And it’s a farewell to Annie’s studio.

MP: Join 99 pickets, it does actions to draw together worker struggles of different kinds.

BW: Debt Squares is holding a workshop at Free University — Friday 5-6pm at Madison Square Park. Sewing/quilting project; we’re inviting people to visualize their debt through the act of crafting.

BR: AS, KP and I have been doing a research project on worker centers. Last week talked to Murphy Institute (a CUNY labor studies program). Talked about how to get research/employment statistics. Awesome and open, open to helping us develop research. Mining data resources, doing surveys.

We feel we have a responsibility to assess current resources — maybe A&L peeps can start throwing stuff out to the list for everyone to evaluate.

AS: Maybe there’s a possibility of a real partnership with the Murphy Institute. Or a workshop/conference.

[Discussion of the A&L reading group. We’re looking for a new book or maybe a smaller portion size.]

[Discussion of A&L email lists]

MS: There’s a possible project, a reading room, lots of interest and a great body of great stuff to put together.

MP: Proposing A&L participation in an action organized by 99 pickets (a group that ties together groups of different kind) and the Musician Solidarity Council during the CMJ festival (October 16-20, probably on Oct 18). Want to hold a facilitated discussion of workers that are normally isolated (musicians, writers, artists) to share their experience organizing. May happen in Judson Memorial Church.
BR: would it specifically be addressing issues of musicians?
MP: no. that will be the selling point, but the idea is to show how the premise of things like temporary work is a shared experience.
AS: A&L is organizing the critic’s panel on Oct 24, so may conflict. Maybe we should just cross-promote as a series of events taking place about the cultural industry.
MP: this event is broader than the critic’s panel
MS2: would be good to email about both
MS: CMJ gets a lot of coverage, we should get in on that. Is the event framed as a critique of CMJ?
MP: that’s part of the focus, for the sake of promotion. No one is ever paid for performances, but yet it’s a huge event for the music industry.
MS2: is there an alternative to CMJ?
MP: not sure. there isn’t an anti-CMJ group that I know of.
BR: see all these things working together in an awesome way if we put the emphasis on CMJ, not only musicians, and then saying we’re continuing the discussion the next week at the critic’s panel.
Maybe there should be an action – a picket at CMJ – then the talk, then the discussion continuation at critic’s panel.
BW: think it’s a good idea. Would like it framed within the context of CMJ. Talk to PC, his band has played the festival several times and have felt the frustrations you’ve discussed.
MS: should articulate the plan well to the public for the sake of archives of A&L (why we participated, what the issues are, what we did, etc.). Similar to the Whitney Biennial.
AS: should we add a music critic to the critic’s panel? and then an A&L can speak on the Judson panel.
MP: that would be a given. Doesn’t want it to be like a traditional CMJ panel.
MS: the difference between artist and musician – artist has toher opportunities like residency, teaching etc. And musician can only tour and sell records.
MP: would like to also discuss how these individuals can feel more connected
MS2: in Canada there is funding for musicians
MS: on Canadian radio there is a law to play 30% Canadian bands so they get the royalties.
MP: not talking about how the different disciplines are separated. Musicians are taught to think they’re not workers.
MP: who is interested in participating? those interested should articulate the proposal, then bring it back to the group.
YA: should articulate externally that music is part of the grievances of A&L. And this panel is a way for us to address the specific problems that plague musicians.


BR: Proposing to send an email re: fundraising to those that had requested art worker buttons. About 100 people.

AS: I agree it’s best for this to just go to those that got buttons. People had objected in an earlier meeting because if it was a bigger campaign, it was too much about the buttons.

Maybe we should mention specifics… like paying speakers, ourselves. This will go out for something.

BR: My only objection is that this is currently very, very clear; straightforward. Larger fundraising campaign is what

MS: This is just taking people up on their offer.

YA: Friendly amendment. Strike $5. Don’t suggest $5.

MP: What about $1,000,000 or less.

BR: Open Google doc for final revisions. UPTWINKLES!!!

AS2: An update meeting when the breakout groups could meet.

YA: My only concern is that this is a no-commitment meeting. That people will go to this and not others. Do you think the current schedule is flawed?

AS2: Some people have said it’s not sustainable. They can’t come every meeting.

YA: I don’t come every meeting, I come when I can.
AS: I think there are people that don’t understand that.

MP: Let’s make it a special thing rather than a regular thing. Keep meeting schedule simple.

BR: How about instead of subgroups reportbacks, it was a project day. We worked on stuff together. Breakout groups.

MS: Maybe we should bump it down the road — ask what people think? Get a state of where we are.

AS: I like the idea of doing one welcome day. On A&L anniversary, 10/19. WHAT THE F is Arts & Labor? Party, introductions. Have the party have a working bent.

AS2: 1. It’s hard for me to tell people come on any Tuesday. They have to get caught up, etc. Was imagining people could

YA: Maybe restructure the meetings so they’re more use

MP: Like the action component.

TJ: Trying to position as a newcomer. Special events would be good. Party, work party. Bureaucratic stuff can be turn-off. Bill it as something that could bring people in and get to know people, have something applied.

BW: P came to meetings, and was super confused, overwhelmed. Didn’t feel useful. But then showed up again, a couple more times. Now he’s super into it. Is a part of it. So it is an issue.

AS2: My proposal: project Wednesdays. So people know they can join in.

TJ: Keep going back to Gran Fury teach-in. They said “Have More Parties”. The more we offer parties, the more of a group, social scene, engagement.

YA: What other kind of project could we do in a meeting other than working on a quilt.

BR: Good for us all to think about, how to incorporate new people.

AS2: Proposal on hold.

re: YESTERDAY. Everyone is out of jail! Everyone in Occupy.

BW: Maybe we can help those in jail get help caught up on whatever help they need.

AS2: I was inspired.

BW: Whole weekend was beautiful. Lots of positive energy despite dick cops. Very little aggression from pissed protested. The workshop project worked out really well, better than we thought. People stayed for a long time, had great convos about their debts. Contact with people visiting from around country was awesome.

TJ: Pissed off about the press coverage. So uniformly negative.

MP: Not surprised. Press coverage is always bad.

TJ: Everyone reported there were hundreds of protesters gathered, although there was clearly more.

BW: Had a conversation with a reporter for 30 minutes. His article came out, he used his age, showed she was sewing squares, just 5 people saying negative things about OWS. Great article by Rebecca Solnit in the Nation.

MS2: What’s the rational for arresting people.

AS: How did AS2 get arrested?

AS2: We were marching around the Irish Bar. We started running towards the main march. Someone tried to get through the cops (felony charge). AS2 was taking photos because it seemed so unnecessary. They kept pushing us away. Police told him to go across the alley, darted across, then a cop grabbed him, he couldn’t see, jacket over his head. 95 people in my cell. 50-60 were already there. Earlyish morning.

BW: Point of info on cops targeting people. Young woman been crashing on our couch. Did civil disobedience, Spectra action on Friday. They held her for 36 hours. Police asked them who they were living with, said they would release them sooner. Targeting people based on connections.

MS: It’s definitely gotten amped up here in NY.

BR: Couple positive things. Smaller dispersal was really awesome. Loved the swirls. re: press: Were we at the same event? Reminded how much more I believed in Occupy when I felt it was a mass.

MP: Loved the creativity, in other ways thought that it was a look back, didn’t connect to real struggles.

AS: Reminded me of why I came in the first place. What was lacking in the world, my world, before Occupy. A week ago, I was thinking about organizing in systematic ways. The past week reminded me that we should be radical in how we do it. This was more refreshing than any organizing that I’ve done at work. Reminded that what we do in A&L is a tiny part of a much larger grievance.

BW: One thing I really like about being on all the lists was that I kept seeing what everyone is doing, what all these committed, hard-working groups.

AS: Yes, we need a place to converge.

MS: I sent BR two articles today. One was the Solnit one, super positive, the other, a New Inquiry one, super smart analysis of Occupy. Good but skeptical. Some say that protest is a part of capitalism, do your thing in this space. The bottom, core thing… art and capital.

Wasn’t sure about coming to S17, went to march, really glad she went. The other thing, to be able to easily link in to a clear solution for something shitty (interns, etc.). It doesn’t matter if there are two people doing it, but still the noise makes a difference.

Recruited a student to go… printout invites.

AS: The thing that also moved me about last weekend is that I met so many people from outside NY. So many people came, had heard about, or had come back. Alinsky: if you’re small, make yourself look big. That’s what we’ve done. People ARE watching, but sometimes they’re not telling us.

MS2: Are there people outside of the arts working on the intern issue? I know people

YA: Yes. We meet on Wednesdays. We’re also hooking up with a Toronto intern group. So much awareness, so much press.

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