Open Letter to Food Coop Regarding April 2015 General Meeting

Below is an Open Letter that we initially sent to the Park Slope Food Coop leadership after facing an undemocratic process at the April 28, 2015 General Meeting when we presented our SodaStream boycott item for discussion to the membership.  We then sent this letter to the Editors at the Food Coop’s official newsletter, the Linewaiters’ Gazette on May 17, 2015.

To the Editors and Members,

Below is a letter that Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PSFC Members for BDS) sent on May 2, 2015 to the members of the Coop Board of Directors, General Meeting Chairing Committee and two staff members. As of May 17th, 2015, we have not received formal response from the Chairing Committee or from General Coordinators Joe Holtz and Ann Herpel. We did receive a written message from the Board Members saying, generally, that they have no time to meet with us, advising us to bring our questions to the open forum section of the General Meeting and bring our complaints to the Disciplinary Committee against those who disrupted the April 28 General Meeting. (We made complaints against three disruptors and thus far have had no response from the Disciplinary Committee.)

PSFC Members for BDS is extremely disappointed with the inadequacy of members of the leadership’s response to our request for a meeting. We urge them to reassure us and other members that they are acting to discipline those who tried to prevent the General Meeting from discussing the boycott of Sodastream. We urge them to publicize how they will protect the integrity of the General Meeting process. They were witnesses of the offenses of the disruptors. Have they made complaints to the Disciplinary Committee?

PSFC Members for BDS encourages all Food Coop members to contact the Coop leadership demanding action to protect democracy at the Coop.

Naomi Brussel,

for PSFC Members for BDS

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                                                                                                                         May 2, 2015


Monique Bowen

Bill Penner

Imani Q’yrn

Eunju Lee

Zoey Laskaris

Tim Platt

Carl Arnold

Marybeth Batcha

David Moss

Joseph Szendeg

Ann Herpel

Joe Holtz

Dear Members of the Coop Leadership,

On behalf of the Park Slope Coop Members for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, I am urgently requesting a meeting with you in your roles as leaders of the Coop. The meeting’s focus would be the disruption of the April 28th General Meeting by a group and individuals trying to prevent discussion of our proposal for a boycott of Sodastream products. Their verbal and physical intimidation toward us and their outrageous disrespect of your attempts to restore order are an unprecedented attack on the Coop’s democratic process.

During the 2011-2012 campaign for a coop-wide referendum about boycotting Israeli products at the Coop, we experienced physical and verbal attacks from these supporters of Israeli policies. Their shouting during the March 27, 2012 General Meeting vote on a referendum was similarly disruptive and the chairperson had great difficulty maintaining order then. Their behavior at the 4/28/15 General Meeting was an alarming escalation, an attempt to shut down the meeting entirely.

We want to speak with you about how to impose sanctions on those who took these actions. Our group submitted complaints on May 1. 2015 to the Disciplinary Committee against three whose names we have obtained. Probably you know the names of others and you can file complaints as well. We think their access to the Coop should be restricted until there is a determination about how to respond.

We also want to discuss with you what the Coop can do to prevent incidents like this in the future. We believe we must all make an immediate response to the tactics displayed by this group and individuals at the April 28th, 2015 General Meeting. If they can do this and suffer no consequences, it is an invitation to others to do likewise on other issues. The actions of this group and individuals constitute a danger to the operation and spirit of our Coop.

Please let me know when we can meet with you.

Naomi Brussel

PSFC Members for BDS

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