Sunday, January 15, 2012

Occupation Rules

After two days of winter travel hell-- like after twelve hours of travel you should be some place more exciting then Louisville right?-- and how many times can you be rerouted through Cleveland?-- I’m back in New York. 
As I’m walking down Amsterdam, to go to the church and meet Sarah and Danielle and deal with issues regarding artists and their work, I encounter Rafael. He’s reached his limit. Structures have to be  put into place for security or he can’t do his job. And if he’s done, I’m done. So we agree to an afternoon meeting with Jeff and Stan and Jason and Ravi.
Sarah is livid. Works of art have been moved and damaged. She is upset because she had given her word and I’m upset because I had given mine to her. We will have to find a way to make things up to the artists. I will  be responsible. And I will have to make it clear to the #ows folks what the stakes are. 
Danielle is less than a week back and feeling the sense of being overwhelmed. The #ows presence has complicated her already stressful work exponentially. It’s on me to try and bring this together. 
Later in the day, I sit down with my point people. Rafael expresses his frustrations. I talk about what is at stake here. The movement has to determine whether it is serious or not. Ravi grew up in the Party in India. It’s rigors pushed her towards anarchism. But she understands the critical need for disicipline. We have to make clear what this space is about. If you’re not down with that, it’s fine. Not about good and bad, right or wrong, but what this place is.
We also discussed setting up smaller affinity groups, like when I was in the antinuclear movement ready to take on Black Fox in Oklahoma. groups of 10-12 who would watch out for one another, have each other’s back. If you’re wading into serious confrontation, you have to know who’s by your side.
So I agree to take the already agreed upon community agreements and add the church’s rules. What must be. And they will share them with a community meeting tonight. Anyone coming in must sign a promise to abide by them or leave. And the church can be the heavy. Rafael seems satisfied. He will be able to do his work. I head home to do mine.
I consider going back at 8:30 to see how it all comes down, but decide to let them handle this. I’ll see in the morning if they succeeded. I’ve tried to make it clear that they are at a critical juncture. That before serious confrontation takes place, they may do themselves in without the powers having to lift a finger. That’s where it is.
                                                 + + + +
The rules we agreed to:
Welcome to West Park! We are happy to be sharing our space with you, and we invite you to participate in worship, arts and cultural events and other activities with us. We appreciate your help in following the rules and guidelines listed below. We have deemed these guidelines as the foundation on which an OWS community can exist here—without these rules, we do not feel that those of you staying here, the church or our renters are properly protected. If these rules are not followed, unfortunately, we cannot continue to host OWS in our building.
Rev. Robert Brashear, pastor of West Park, and the rest of the West Park community

Rules for the OWS community @ West Park
HOURS: West Park will be open to OWS between 8:30 pm and 9:00 am. These times are subject to change pending special events happening at West Park.
CURFEW: The door to West Park will be locked at 12:00 am every day. Individuals who want to stay at West Park must be inside before 12:00 am.
SIGN IN: The only people allowed to stay in the church are those that are currently on OWS’s housing list. Everyone who stays must sign in and out of the building each day. Due to liability issues and the general condition of the building, only individuals aged 18 years or older may stay at West Park.
SPACE: OWS and occupiers are allowed to sleep in the Sanctuary, but not on the pews. Occupiers can use the either entryway for discussions or meetings, and can use the restrooms in the basement. Items may be stored in the balconies of the Sanctuary and in the second floor office. We ask that Occupiers stay in these areas, and these areas only.
STAFFING: OWS needs to supply security and social work personnel every night, as well as staff to make sure everyone signs in and out and staff to facilitate OWS’s move into and out of the building every day.
PROHIBITED ITEMS: Occupiers are not allowed to bring the following items into the church: drugs, alcohol, candles, incense, hot plates/burners, space heaters, gasoline or other combustibles, weapons or guns, mattresses or furniture of any kind and other items that may be considered hazardous to the people staying at West Park or West Park’s property.
PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES: We kindly ask that members of OWS refrain from fighting, physically or verbally, having sex, attempting to stay in the building past 9:00 am, camping out in areas of the church not designated for OWS and stealing, vandalizing or damaging church property.
CLEANING: The OWS community will be responsible for clearing all trash and recycling from the building before they leave each day. OWS is also responsible for cleaning the restrooms everyday before leaving, including restocking the restrooms with toilet paper, paper towels and soap.
CLEANING: The OWS community will be responsible for clearing all trash and recycling from the building before they leave each day. OWS is also responsible for cleaning the restrooms everyday before leaving, including restocking the restrooms with toilet paper, paper towels and soap.
Personal belongings on balcony will be below sight lines on Sunday mornings and before any sanctuary events.
No changes or alterations will be made to the West-Park building without prior agreement.
All who enter the building do so under their own liabilty.
It is West-Park╩╝s expectation of all who participate in the life of this building, in any of its constituent communities, will contribute to the life of their own community and collaboratively in the life of the community of communities.
All who enter the building will be assumed to be in agreement with these rules, guidelines and community agreements.

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