[Notes from: Susan Gee Rumsey ]

  • IB General Assembly #9 - Sunday May 14, 2017 (7:30-9PM)
  • Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut Street, Berkeley, CA 94702

Daron Sharps, IB Steering Committee, hosted tonight.

Story of Impact: IB Economic Justice Team (Juliet Hinely)

IB’s Economic Justice Team has been pressing the City of Berkeley to divest from Wells Fargo Bank. In April, the team was able to get Berkeley City Council to vote in favor of voting to divest from Wells in one year’s time. An upcoming Berkeley City Council meeting on May 30, 2017 will be the last city council meeting before the council specifies the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo, resolving to not do business with any bank that supports the development of fossil fuels, contracts with prisons, or engages in fraudulent transactions. Economic Justice is working with Berkeley’s Mayor’s Task Force on Socially Responsible Banking, and the team asks that IB members

Action #1 - Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/berkeley-divest-berkeley-ca-from-wells-fargo

Action #2 - Come to the Berkeley City Council Meeting (City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley) on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 7PM, to protect the language of the the city’s agreement re: Wells Fargo.

See: Berkeley City Clerk / City Council Agendas, Annotated Agendas, and Video Archive

ACTION CALENDAR Item 4-25-17 / SUBJECT: Establish Socially Responsible Investment Policies — Recommending establishment of “City of Berkeley policies that ensure investments and service contracts are with socially responsible entities; declare that the City will not do business with financial institutions that engage in predatory practices, profit from harmful environmental endeavors, and undermine the health and rights of indigenous peoples, those of disadvantaged populations and of your communities; resolve to terminate financial implements with Wells Fargo Bank as soon as possible, and request a progress report in doing so in one year.”


Story of Impact: Indivisible Empathy Tent Report (Edwin Rutsch)

IB member Putsch recently brought together individuals from the Left and the Right at Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley. A video from ABC Channel 7 (2:25 minutes) was shown reporting on the “Empathy Tent.” Fox News and more than 20 other stations also reported on the Empathy Tent, helping to counteract the negative image of Berkeley recently manufactured through deliberately violent confrontations initiated by agitators from out of town. Team building on May 17. The Empathy Tent will be up and running in Civic Center Park on Saturdays, beginning May 20.


Guest Speakers: Alameda County Democratic Party

Guest Speakers: Robin Torello / Royce Kelley, of the Alameda County Democratic Party, spoke on the Democratic Party — locally, statewide, and nationally.

Torero and Kelley offered mainly a lengthy explanation RE: the architecture of the Democratic Party, particularly at the state and local levels. They described the Democratic Party as a “big tent” made up of many separate components — 50 state parties, plus U.S. territories, all those counties within each state, and the Democratic National Party as well. Each of these many Democratic subgroups has only extremely limited influence on all the other groups within the party, which limits the effectiveness of any single component.

The State of California is currently comprised of 48 counties and home to 40 million people, of which 7.7 million are registered Democratic voters. Federal Components include: the Democratic National Committee (DNC), DCCC (D-Trip), the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC), and DGA. Statewide entities include the Democratic Legislative Committee, the Association of State Democratic Chairs, the State Democratic Parties, and the Democratic State Central Committee. (See: exhausting org chart.)

Issues now being considered by Democrats locally are:

  • Sanctuary Cities, including “Safe Havens” (schools that are the equivalent of Sanctuary Cities). Note: Piedmont and Hayward have not declared themselves as sanctuaries.
  • Affordable housing and rent control.
  • Turning red congressional districts to blue. Note: Elections are coming up, and boots on the ground are needed in the form of precinct walkers, phone banks, etc.

The Tri-Valley Area, which includes Dublin, was discussed as being a problem, inasmuch as it went from blue to red over past five years. Apparently, the GOP used the BART strike to paint Democratic candidates as evil socialists and characterize the Democratic mayoral candidate as a “dirty union boss.”

The complaint was made that every measure advanced by the Democratic Party comes with a plea for money. Torero and Kelley observed that no Democrat individual or group on the local or state level gets money from the national Democratic level.

The role of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is to run the national Democratic convention. If the U.S. President is Democratic, that affiliation tends to shape the party from the top down. Today, however, with a Republican POTUS, the party is altered differently.

See flyer: “So, I might want to run for office…” A free candidate training workshop presented by the Alameda County Democratic Party. June 10, 2017, 9AM-1PM. Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 Hall, 1720 Marina Blvd, San Leandro CA. RSVP: info@acdems.org - or - 510-537-6390. Issues: Do I really want to run? Can I make a difference? What goes into campaigning? How will this affect my life and family? What do I do first? How can I raise money? What are the legal issues?


Announcements from IB Teams and Individuals:

Amplify App Announcement

Communications and Steering (Brandon Curtis) - Q: what is Amplify? A: Amplify is a free app that makes it easy for each IB member to act in concert with all other IB members. The purpose of this app is to “amplify” the actions of our separate teams to the full IB membership and beyond, by posting actions each person can easily fulfill.

To join our team on Amplify: (1) Get the app, (2) Sign up for a new account, (3) Enter the IB team code, (4) Take actions and cheer for others. See instructions on the IB website

IB members attending this General Assembly were encouraged to sign up at once (Wifi: Finnish_Hall / Password: whiteandblue1932). Our “Actions This Week” increased to 88 during the course of the assembly.

Note: If the action you are encouraged to take on Amplify is to “call” an organization or individual, the app will call for you. Or, rather, you can make the call from within the app.

Actions are added to Amplify as they come in. Right now, four IB people are adding actions for Amplify. If you have an action to add to Amplify, you can either email your information to content@indivisibleberkeley.com or enter the Amplify channel on Slack.

Elections Team

Elections Team (Keavney Klein) and Steering (Jaime Mulligan) - Q: who wants to flip red districts? A: Response was enthusiastic.

Indivisible in the Face of Terrorism

(Andrew Westphal, with support of Erica Telson, Jeff Hester, and Thomas “Laury” Dolman) -

Westphal described how the Reichstag fire was used by Nazi party to achieve a majority in parliament. He quoted Snyder — “History does not repeat, but it does instruct.” — and reviewed subsequent terrorist events disasters exploited by groups seeking to seize control — for example, the events of 9-11 exploited by neoconservatives to start a war still being fought.

Terror events trigger response from the amygdala portion of the human brain. People under stress are struck by “Seize and Freeze.” As a result, their after-the-fact responses are much less effective than before the preparatory messaging that occurs before a terrorist event occurs.

Recommended Reading:

  • A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, by Rebecca Solnit (2010).
  • The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, by George Layoff (2012).

We prepare for earthquakes — we can likewise prepare for terror events. Example: create an emergency packet. Compile a list of what to do when terror events occur, including (1) lend a hand, (2) tune into public broadcasting, (3) place the event in context, (4) don’t panic, (5) trust one another, (6) promote a mature response, (7) defend your rights, etc.

Frame your conversations with conservatives using conservative values. Do NOT use their own terms, even if you are arguing against their positions, because their biased language gets stuck in their heads, in everyone’s heads.

See: IB Slack #communications channel

Team asks IB members to:

  1. Use a Lakoff script to build new neural pathways.
  2. Contribute new scripts and refine existing ones.
  3. Commit to act quickly when the time comes.
  4. Help with ideas and design for emergency materials.

Action Alert: Public Comments

(Mass) Action NOW #1 - EPA protections, due tomorrow

(Mass) Action NOW #2 - National Monument Review

(Mass) Action NOW #3 - National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) EPA-HQ


Team Announcements

• IB Book club: Book #1 is Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice by Les Leopold. The author will be in Berkeley on May 19 (NextSpace, 2018 Center St) and May 20 (The Bootcamp, Alameda Point). Also: San Francisco, Redwood City, and Santa Cruz. (See: Runaway Inequality online - http://runawayinequality.org)

• The Incorruptibles (http://bit.ly/Incorruptibles) - May 19 at 7:30PM, NextSpace Berkeley, 2018 Center Street. May 20 at 2PM, One Halide Plaza, San Francisco.

Thirty-Second Announcements:

• Refuse Fascism (Reiko) - Hoping to mobilize people across the USA and have Berkeley declared a “Fascist-free Zone.”

• Justice Reform Team - Asking IB members to attend the Berkeley City Council meeting next Tuesday at 7PM, when the military-style armored van the city is planning to purchase will be discussed.

• Indivisible East Bay (Erica) - A workshop on June 17 will consider “How to Talk to Trump Supporters.” See: https://howtotalktotrumpsupporters.eventbrite.com. More info: ericaetelson@gmail.com.

• Immigrant protections

• Elections Team - Efforts ramping up re: California District 10.

• Communications Team (Peggy Scott) - Asked IB members to check IB’s Facebook pages. Upcoming events are listed on FB. Click “Posts”

• Big Ideas and Research Team (Angela) - Said the team has been considering “messaging” in connection with the U.S. flag and how IB can use the flag to make our message stronger. She said the flag is used by all groups on all sides to communicate and emphasize their messages — by suffragettes, by Marines standing under flag, at Standing Rock, in demonstrations with immigrants marching with flag. She reminded us that the flag was born in revolution. So, in order for IB to take back the U.S. flag and send the message that resistance is patriotic, photos were taken of the group at this General Assembly, with everyone waving American flags (and holding Mother’s Day roses, which I believe were American Beauty roses.)