Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blogging GA: Plenty O' Plenaries

This morning's plenary sessions at the UUA General Assembly dealt with several housekeeping bylaw changes (some of which will have to be voted on at next year's "Justice GA"), and the Actions of Immediate Witness.  Four AIMs were proposed, and three passed.  Interestingly, the one that didn't pass was on opposing the war in Afghanistan.  Arguments against ranged from that it's not an immediate issue (since it's been going on so long) to that it instructs us to instruct the people of Afghanistan in how to run their country, which is inappropriate.  It's significant to note that a similar AIM was rejected last year at the General Assembly.  But both of these also follow on the heels of the 2010 Statement of Conscience on Creating Peace.  AIMs have to pass by a 2/3 majority.  The AIM on the war was so close that our moderator had to call for the vote three times before it was clear that it didn't pass.  Those we did pass were on supporting supermarket workers in California, protesting the Peter King hearings on "Muslim radicalization," and opposing the "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision. One of those was by a pretty close margin. 

Later in the day, after I had already left, the General Assembly passed some interesting Responsive Resolutions.  Apparently I am urged to go learn Spanish, as are you.  Let's do that.  Seriously.  I'm sure I can take classes at JCC.  And next year at GA there will be no AIMs.  I think this might be something we're sorry about later, but hopefully not.  And then the following year and thereafter we're limited to 3 AIMs per year, rather than six, for the delegates to vote on.  What worries me about that is that I think the way we decide which ones go before the delegates are which ones get the most signatures, which may just mean that the ones proposed by the most efficient or persistent people, not really the most popular, are what we'll end up seeing.  This year, for example, I signed a petition for an AIM titled "Solidarity" that was on workers and unions, but it didn't apparently get enough signatures for us to see it in the plenary.  Was this because not enough delegates were interested in the subject, or because the person gathering signatures wasn't persistent enough?  I may never know.  So the AIM process is definitely problematic to begin with.  Hopefully the changes made today made it better, not worse.  I know others felt like the AIMs were not researched enough, and sometimes poorly written. But I don't see how lowering the number we can vote on improves that necessarily.  Nobody, I think, is reading the whole proposed AIM before signing the petition. 


Well, that's it for GA for this year.  I've left Charlotte.  Now we'll just have to see if I can learn enough Spanish plus do everything else we're urged to do to make ourselves ready for Phoenix next year.  It's a tall order, I think.  I'm already trying to figure out what will happen to my child in GA childcare if I'm arrested.  I think they add on an additional charge for every 5 minutes you're late picking up...  Meanwhile, send me the links to everything we're supposed to be doing to ready ourselves.  No, this isn't cynicism, I really do take this seriously, but let's also remember that there are people sometimes new to our movement and sometimes of limited means who join us at GA, and not be too high in our demands, too, okay?

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