Another really good meeting. Thanks to all of you who came along for your energy and commitment.
We broke up into working groups for the first part of the meeting, and then had a general meeting, and these are the minutes of that general meeting.
Feedback from groups
Communications & Publicity
Design of flyers etc is under way. Change to the look of the online accounts – Facebook etc – is also being done. Press release to be written. Call out to all at the meeting and beyond for contact details for press/publicity contacts, bloggers, groups to whom press releases and information can be sent. Please send all such contact details to the House Of Brag email account, marked for the attention of Comms & Publicity.
Passwords to online accounts are to be changed, with access granted to those who need access, based on a web of trust with two other people vouching for each new person.
An information card is to be made for the day of the march, with a map of the route as well as some advice on what to do in the event of police intervention. Investigating the idea of having appropriate speakers at different locations on the route. Samba band possibly. Route information will not be distributed before the day. Van for accessibility. Route still being worked out. Possibility of promotional texts.
Should we go to places where contact with police will be more likely?
Point made that it would be good to have legal observers on the march. Legal observer role explained.
Points made of the possibility of arrests, and that legal observers will not necessarily prevent that, and may be more useful in the aftermath re the likelihood of charges or convictions etc.
Discussion of the legal position of unapproved marches.
General feeling that a march in the Westminster area is a good idea, with full information as to the risks involved given to all possible participants.
Point made about giving advice to people on the march as to their legal position if arrested, about carrying ID etc.
Point made that this would be good info to have on a web page anyway.
Decided to gather some general legal rights information and collate it, put it online.
Ways are being discussed of having online discussions of events planning. People with particular events interests are taking the lead on those events.
Act Up looking at a film screening and a workshop.
Concern about free printing. There is a printer available for the duration of the social centre. Needs toner, concern at the cost. But it turns out not to be very expensive (possible as little as £20), so general agreement that this will become the project printer.
Do we have one? Yes! We have one.
Three people currently organising this, could do with more people. Also, looking for accessible venues available for a Friday or Saturday night. Possible dates : 6th 7th 13th or 14th June.
LARC mentioned as a possible venue, with a donation suggested to LARC from the money raised.
Point made that it is chiefly an awareness raiser rather than a fund raiser.
Another possible squat venue mentioned.
Proposal to check the LARC diary and make a provisional booking which can then be dropped if we find a bigger squat venue. Consensus.
Proposal to reword a core principal regarding not providing a platform for political parties or fascists as it can be misinterpreted, apparently, as denying access to members of political parties, which is not the intention. General surprise that it had been misinterpreted, but general feeling that if it needs clarifying then it should be clarified.
Proposal to add additional core principle denying entry to fascists.
Both proposals gained consensus.
Day of Pride (28th)
Suggestion that there are things we could think about doing at Pride to both promote the social centre, and possibly by way of some direct action.
Groups to be invited
Concern expressed about the politics of a group which had been discussed as a possible partner. The Out & Proud Diamond Group reported as attending a pro-Israeli event, with some members believed to have crossed a picket line to do so.
Support expressed for the O&P group and their work with regard to asylum seekers and refugees, with recognition that the reported actions at the pro-Israeli event were very disappointing.
Discomfort expressed with racist comments by the host towards the audience at recent O&P events.
Suggestion that they be invited as individuals rather than as a group, to allow for the possibility of engagement and discussion.
Proposal to not invite the group to host an event, but to encourage them to come along to the social centre. Consensus.
Our planned picnic clashes with the official Pride picnic on the same day (Sunday 29th). Point made that the picnic is being organised by UK Black Pride, a group with whom we’re friendly and would like to work. Possibility of having a presence at the picnic, collaborating with UK Black Pride. Clarification that this is not an event of the official Pride board, it’s independent of the Pride board – who organise the march on the Saturday.
General feeling that this is a good thing.
Proposal to discuss a presence at the picnic, with a Speakers Corner as the basic element. Consensus.
Additional suggestion to provide fee food. Agreement to discuss the details later.
Engagement with police raised again. Reasons for not engaging discussed. Core principle recalled. Point made that people who were uncomfortable going on a march where there may be police intervention could gather at the end point of the march, to await the party.
Point made that the main police concern is traffic disruption, and that there are considerations of safety etc. A static demonstration versus a moving, traffic blocking march will attract differing levels of police interest.
Again a reminder that the core principle is no police engagement.
March team are working on risk transparency for all people coming to the march.
Point strongly made that we are not engaging with the police, it’s a core principle. Consensus.
Agreement to end there.
Congratulations offered to all at the levels of energy and the number of people consistently attending.
Next meeting at the same time, same place next week –
Saturday 31st May at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, E1 1ES. 5Pm for the working group meetings, 6pm for the general meeting.