Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nuckin' Futz

Occupy Nashville's General Assembly on Thursday resulted in the unanimous passing of proposals to shun a prominent participant in ON, Jason Steen.  I've referenced Steen's shenanigans on this blog repeatedly, but the arguably long overdue action taken by ON this week came as a result of a report presented to the body that night by the ON Internal Restorative Justice group and the ensuing discussion. Proposals passed at GA on June 7th, 2012:

Unanimous Consensus reached to ban participant from admin privileges: Unanimous consensus reached to shun participant for inappropriate and destructive behavior:

1. Proposed by GA, with Michael presenting:

A.The GA accepts the RJ statement as a matter of fact and record. Accordingly:

B. The GA reached unanimous consensus to remove all posting pri...vileges from Jason Steen to any and all Occupy Nashville social media outlets and to remove all access to postling. livestream, and other social media accounts.

C. The GA reached unanimous consensus to advise participants and interested parties that the FB page Occupy Nashville Discussion Group, administered by Jason Steen, is not a GA endorsed Occupy page and does not represent the GA. Further, all participants are encouraged to remove themselves from this FB group in acknowledgement that the page does not support the ideals of Occupy Movement and is engaged in behavior that is destructive to our community.

2. Proposed by Michael:
The GA reached unanimous consensus to shun Jason Steen due to his inability/refusal to either acknowledge the damage he has caused to our Occupy community or to be able to enter into agreements with our community to alter his behavior. Further, this shunning also means that he will not have access to GA as a forum for speech; although we cannot prevent anyone from entering a public space, we will not accept his speech in GA and his presence will be shunned by GA if he should present himself. GA acknowledges the nonbinding aspects of this proposal: if individuals choose to have personal interaction, that is their right.

I was in attendance on the plaza for this GA and recorded much of it.  I've put together a playlist that you can access here, and if you were not present yourself and want to understand how this group came to do what they did, I highly recommend you check it out.  It's about an hour and twenty minutes in length.  It's not a complete account of everything that went on in the GA because I left before it was over and also because I was limited by equipment to making short video as opposed to uninterrupted footage.  There does exist a video shot by an ON person that you can see here, but my best suggestion is that you watch what I shot because you'll see a lot of things her cam didn't, for whatever reason.  Of course, you could also see hers to see the end of the proceedings when the actual proposals were made and passed, but you'll have a clear understanding of how Jason Steen came to be chastised by his peers if you watch mine and it's mostly higher quality footage with better audio than what was captured by the ON person.

What will you see if you watch the videos I shot?  Vids numbered one thru five are DJ and Ali from the Occupy Nashville Internal Restorative Justice group presenting the findings of that body to the ON General Assembly.  Number six addresses a question posed about a recommendation from the RJ group, with response from them.  Vids numbers seven and eight are the presentation by a member of ON who has been involved since the beginning, offering his perspective on the findings of the RJ group as well as providing information about something Jason Steen has done too recently to have been addressed by them.  Video number nine captures Jason repeatedly flipping me off when he doesn't like the camera focused on him and is perhaps my personal fave of the lot...but I digress.  Number ten shows Dorsey addressing the GA, as she was the person most impacted by the actions committed by Steen in the isolated instance investigated by the RJ group.  In video number eleven, several members of ON offer their perspective on what Jason Steen has done to women who are a part of Occupy Nashville.  The idea of shunning Steen is introduced to the group for the first time for discussion by Michael Custer in video number twelve.  Video number thirteen finds Steen telling the group he feels justified in what he's done to one woman and labels what he has done to another woman as "minute," then, "very minute." One of these women was there to respond and that's included on the video as well.  Numbers fourteen and fifteen are personal statements by Ali and DJ respectively about their experience with the Internal Restorative Justice process involving Jason Steen and ON in general.

So, there ya have it.  Three months after the Internal Restorative Justice group took on the issue of Jason Steen lying to the media about another member of Occupy Nashville and her role in the movement, they reported to the body to whom they were beholden and presented their findings, which you know if you watched the videos included that Jason did, in fact, lie to the media.  He also obstructed the restorative justice process with his delayed responses to requests for information.  You know that too if you've watched.  You also know that the group was traumatically impacted by the process and that Jason, as evidenced by his own words in GA and the testimony of others, has harassed another woman in the interim.  And, you also know that Jason doesn't deny what he did, clearly states he would do it again, and never answers the question of whether or not he could stop himself if he wanted to.  None of this is under question.  The GA, on hearing of all this, moved unanimously to remove Jason by shunning him, as suggested by Michael Custer.  Time to move on.

Except, this is Occupy Nashville.  From this point on, it might be helpful to grab a tinfoil hat.  And/or a stiff drink.  Or you might imagine you've just entered The Twilight Zone and go with it.  I do, however, strongly recommend putting sharp objects out of reach.

Within hours of Michael Custer introducing the people present in GA to the concept of shunning as a way to effectively remove someone you cannot literally or physically remove from a public space and the assembly unanimously agreeing with him that it was the thing they needed to do, Michael and others appeared in a new closed group on facebook where the guest of honor appears to be...Jason Steen.

(Jason Steen on the plaza at Christmas)

I know, right?  Told ya to grab the tin foil.  Earlier in the week, the headline story for ON was that the Restorative Justice group would be at GA to announce their findings.  Within hours of the event, the new headline seems to be, "Infiltrators show up after 6 months and effectively shut down a protest."  Oh, wait.  That's not a headline, it's a tweet tonight made by Jason with the #occupynashville tag.  Dear Reader, if heart problems are your plight, you may want the meds close by before continuing.

There's a new group on facebook, where Michael, his wife (Sarit), and the usual stooges are gathered in what can best be described as an altered reality.  I have no clue if substances are involved or not, but I can tell you f'sure that it looks a lot like group hallucinations.  There are people there who were present at the Thursday night GA -- Michael, Sarit, Chris, Lewis whateverhe'scallinghimselfnow Wade -- posting as if they were perhaps in another meeting altogether.  If video of that little production exists anywhere, I wish someone would kindly provide a link to it.

Because, you see?  Michael Custer, the same Michael who presented the proposal to the GA to shun Jason, yes, that Michael, et al, are now posting silly shit in their new closed group.  With Jason.  Who they just decided to shun.  Unanimously decided.  And, did you miss the part about Michael being the one who introduced the concept of shunning to the group?  And who introduced the proposals to be passed?  Unanimously?

Whew.  I know, right?!

I've neither the time nor the inclination to post all that crap here.  If you're into drama, here's the link to the new group.  Maybe they'll let you in, maybe not.  Hard to say.  If you get in, you'll no doubt note that the meeting they describe bears not a great deal of resemblance to the vids you've hopefully now watched of the same proceeding.  The newly minted version is that femiNazis invaded and abused them all.  Terribly.  Painfully.  Brutally, even.  Shameless hussies. 

Again...I know, right?

Here's the deal.  Michael Custer should clean up and go into politics.  It's clear he's proficient in being able to say whatever the traffic or market demands at any given moment and there's no doubt he's charismatic in the way that sociopaths are so often.  (Note:  I did not say Custer is a sociopath, I only noted here one (1) shared trait.)
(Michael Custer on the plaza in January)

I have no heart for putting any more energy into this crap.  It really is nuckin' futz, but just a few points do need to be made here before I stop.

1)  As evidenced by the videos, what happened in GA on Thursday night was no witch hunt, nor was it the matter or concern of only a couple or even just a few individuals.  Video recordings show clearly person after person stating their concerns.  Grave concerns.  Outrage and more.  Not just me.  Not just Dorsey.  Not just Dar.  Jane.  Josh.  Will.  DJ.  Ali.  Crap, the damn RJ report itself.  Delusions or substances or fabrication might make this GA into something akin to what these assholes are posting in their closed group, but watching the videos makes lies of their shameless rants now.

2)  Nobody has taken the ON body itself to task for what has happened here, so I will.  What happened on Thursday night need not have happened.  What Jason has been allowed to do under the arm of Occupy Nashville in the three months since the Restorative Justice group decided to take on the matter did not need to happen.  In the GA during which the RJ group took over, the people in attendance cowardly allowed it to happen, instead of allowing a ban to be enforced against Jason...only a temporary ban, at that, but a ban the RJ group would, three months after the fact, find to have been valid in the first place.  Most of the people who were in that GA three months ago didn't have even the courage to vote their convictions after objections were raised.  Almost nobody voted.  That's how this happened.  People stood there and abstained.  This is what you got because of it.  Shame on the lot of you.

3)  And, finally, I'm not sure what shunning means to Occupy Nashville.  As noted above, within hours of Jason Steen being unanimously shunned by the ON GA, he was the darlin' of the closed group put up by Michael Custer's wife, Sarit.  Same Custer who made the proposal to shun.  Same Custer who...oh, never mind.  And now they are talking about who to shun next.  Except it appears that they want to shun the very people who made it perfectly clear on Thursday night they'd never come back to work with the assholes in the first place.  I get it.