Occupy National Gathering Proposal

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Occupy National Gathering Proposal

Proposers: Nathan Kleinman & Larry Swetman (for the National Gathering Working Group, Occupy Philly)

On January 7, 2012, the Philadelphia General Assembly came to consensus on a proposal from the Philadelphia Committee of Correspondence to form a national working group dedicated to conceiving of, and implementing a strategy towards, a National Gathering of the Occupy Movement.1 This National Gathering Working Group (NGWG) has met seven times via conference call with people from across the country using the InterOccupy system to debate the merits and discuss the logistics of convening a mass convergence of the Movement in one place at one time.2 Participants have included Occupy activists from Sacramento, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Asheville, Missoula, Phoenix, Las Vegas, New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Denver, DC, Oakland, Albany, Schenectady, Delaware, Alabama, Chicago, Tampa, San Francisco, Boston, New Hampshire, and Kalamazoo, as well as Canada.

After several weeks discussing several locations, dates, and purposes we would like to submit the following proposal to General Assemblies across the Occupy Movement for general ratification:

We, the National Gathering Working Group (NGWG), propose a National Gathering of the Occupy Movement on July 4, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Independence Mall in order to collectively craft a Vision for a Democratic Future. We further propose that our convergence begin on June 30, 2012 for four days of community and Movement building exercises including speakers, teach-ins, and free-flowing open discussion at a location to be

determined by the Philadelphia General Assembly. To facilitate the visioning process we also propose the use of the attached

National Gathering Visioning Process Proposal” which utilizes a small network model of communication to organically produce a vision statement of all those in attendance. We also encourage the creation of local or national processes by which movement resources could be directed towards funding travel for active movement participants who otherwise would not be able to attend. We fully understand that no single gathering can be representative of our entire movement, but we cannot ignore the value derived from face-to-face contact. We recognize that attending in person will be challenging or impossible for many, so we also commit to pursuing an online component through which anyone can participate via the Internet.

In keeping with principles of the Occupy Movement, the NGWG will continue planning this gathering only if this proposal is ratified by a preponderance of General Assemblies from across the Movement. We are committed to operating in an open, inclusive, and transparent way. Therefore, all planning will be done via direct democratic conference calls through the InterOccupy system. We convene every Tuesday at 9PM EST/6 PM PST.3 All are welcome to participate. We endeavor to convene an historic gathering that will require a great deal of organization, so we invite participants from every Assembly to join us in the planning and facilitation of this effort.

We have included a copy of the process proposal that outlines how to effectively and efficiently produce a collectively written document. By utilizing this small network, consensus-based model, we will work together to produce a vision for the future. We will also prove, through the entire process leading up to July 4th, that our movement is capable of coordinating mass action and collaborating on a broad scale, while still holding fast to our principles. In many ways, the process is more important than the gathering itself.

This Movement will always live primarily at the local level, but every great Movement should have the chance to gather en masse as a demonstration of solidarity and strength. A National Gathering of the movement will provide such a demonstration. At this pivotal stage in human history, we feel we owe nothing less than a beautiful expression of our collective will to an anxious world grasping for reasons to hope again.

Once your Assembly has considered this proposal please email your decision to NationalGathering@gmail.com. For media purposes please feel free to utilize @OccupyNG and #NationalGathering for social media coordination. Updates will be posted to InterOccupy.org and OccupyNationalGathering.com.

17 Responses to “Occupy National Gathering Proposal”

  1. Nate Kleinman

    This is NOT Pollock-related or at all related to the 99% Declaration. The Occupy Philly GA disavowed the 99% Declaration months ago. The proposal above was created through direct democratic processes in an open, transparent way.

    This proposal is the result of a process started by the Philly GA on October 20th, 2011 (with a communique to all other GAs available here: http://interoccupy.org/communique-from-philadelphia-ga-october-20-2011/ ), and continued with another communique on January 7th, 2012 (available here: http://interoccupy.org/philadelphia-coc-national-gathering-process-proposal-communique-1/ ).

    It has taken many months to come to this proposal through direct democratic processes (on InterOccupy conference calls), and since the working group from which it comes – empowered by the Philadelphia GA and with participants around the country – does not have the benefit of thousands of dollars or a professional PR firm, it should come as no surprise that many people have yet to hear of its progress, but it has been out there for a couple weeks now. It has already been ratified by GAs in Sacramento, Las Vegas, Lancaster, Wilmington, and Kalamazoo.

    Please read the proposal (and the documents linked to in this comment) before coming to any conclusions about its content or history.

    This is not a proposal for a “National General Assembly.” It is not an attempt to create anything binding or “official.” It is to collectively plan and organize a national gathering of the movement. As the proposal makes clear, the gathering could indeed end up being something special, but it is not about the gathering itself: it’s about the process. As with the movement as a whole, our process is our message.

  2. @CynPrice

    I think that would be great! Im going to Philly for July 4th for the National General Assembly. I say we hit the Govt from all sides. Whatever works. Im in OWS and the 99D and Occupy Congress and NOW DC. We are in no position to judge anyone, even Pollock, its not like our $$’s are a shining example to judge anyone. I cant be in any other committees? Says who?

  3. poc

    Would it be accurate to say you Nate Kleinman are active in a political party, are a candidate for political office, and believe the ows movement should be active in electoral politics ?

  4. poc

    Before this proposal was presented, March 30, 2012, has there been any contact with ows ny, or communication informing ows ny of your groups existence? If yes, when please?

    • Jackrabbit

      As stated both in the proposal and by Nate above, the calls have been open to everyone since the inception of this idea. They have been announced on Interoccupy.org and available to anyone and everyone interested. I was on the first call myself with at least 3 other people from OWS. I’ve let people know about this proposal at every opportunity.

  5. David Itkin

    poc,

    Any chance you’d like to opine on the topic of the thread?

    I’m just sayin’.

    As for me, I’m for anything that gets our various firing lines aimed at the oligarchy, instead of standing in a circle and shooting inward.

    For me, it’s the 99% Declaration process and Continental Congress 2.0, in Philly, July 1-4.

    For others, it’s the proposal up above.

    Like Cynthia, I don’t think the two events need clash.

    If they do, the 1% can gleefully laugh all the way to the bank on July 5th.

    Yours in solidarity,

    David in DC
    http://www.didc.blogspot.com

  6. Nate Kleinman

    Yes, I’m running for Congress (as a write-in candidate) as an autonomous action. I talk more in depth about it here: http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/nate-kleinman-occupy-for-congress/ .

    I believe we should be taking every possible avenue to change, but I don’t believe OWS should be “active” in campaign politics. I may be myself, but I don’t believe the movement should be. When the Philly General Assembly considered a proposal to make clear that we are non-partisan and do not endorse candidates, I happily spoke in favor of the proposal and supported it. I may be a candidate for Congress, but I will most likely lose miserably. Yet I will still have accomplished one of my main goals: educating people in Philadelphia about what Occupy Philly does, like cleaning vacant lots to turn them into community gardens, standing up for the rights of the hungry and the homeless, starting a Free University, and creating a democratic space where all voices can be heard.

    No, this is not the first time OWS will have heard about the process leading up to this proposal. The October 20th communique was read before the GA back in October. The January 7th communique was read to both a large DA meeting and a GA back in January.

    As for the question about how the NGWG convenes: as mentioned in the proposal, it is via InterOccupy conference calls. We recognize that this is an imperfect system, but it does allow for participation from anyone interested across the country with access to a phone (and internet to get the phone number in the first place). Everything we do in this movement discriminates against someone. GAs are generally only attended by able-bodied people with the time to get to a given physical space, but we – myself included – recognize that the GA should still be at the heart of this movement. This proposal does nothing if a ton of GAs don’t sign on to it. Philly’s GA is not interested in hosting a gathering if it doesn’t have the support of the movement. We’ve made that very clear.

    (And finally to the point about me being “active” in Democratic politics, that’s hardly true. I may have worked for some Democratic candidates in the past, but I am a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party here in Pennsylvania. I may be a registered Democrat, but I am of independent mind and focused on changing this country and the world. I just think co-opting the Democratic Party, co-opting the corporate media, and maybe one day co-opting Congress are all good tactics in our broader struggle.)

  7. Lucy

    So what if he is running for congress? What does that have to do with a national gathering?

  8. @CynPrice

    Our Govt Robs ambushes us from all sides, Banks, 1%, Govt.
    Lets hit them all back…surround them…:) i feel sick..our country

  9. @CynPrice

    I love it. National Gathering in Philly July 4th, I am so there! No G.A.’s please, lol

  10. John McG

    I think OWS needs to be all in on the National Gathering. Having as many people in one place as possible will let us get to know each other better, and show those that think there are only a couple hundred people in a park that we are a very serious movement, that knows how to have a good time saving the world. I was on the conference call last week and things are moving along well. Lets promote this on MayDay while we have the world’s attention, so we can have maximum turnout. And many GA’s, please. :)

  11. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    @nateoccupyphilly

    Agreed. It’d be good if we all drop the d*** ideological pride and purity bit for *one day* (well, two, Mayday included). You want numbers, you need numbers, you rely on the power of numbers…. sometimes you’re gonna have to stand next to a Dem or even *gasp* a Republican (yeah, I’m a reg’d Republican, did it to vote for Paul in the 2008 primary, haven’t cared enough to change it since) and save the beef for later.

    You think every person in the street on O15 or N17 was a revolutionary radical?

  12. sumumba

    in principle i can support this and will propose it to the local occupies…the only issue will be with Nathan running for office ….i hope that the proposers are ready for those questions that are sure to come….and o…no more ‘VISIONING’ or ‘BREAK OUT GROUPS’ either…ugh

  13. Toby Seiler, Seiler Technical Company

    I’m new to your discussion, but how about internet connections for gatherings everywhere and anywhere? Woodstock of the internet kinda thing?

    Is there a working group for national organization? I want to participate in “Occupy US” organization & membership drive.

    Glad to see Nate understands the principle of making change from the inside is important… it’s easy to be discouraged when the status quo is so entrenched and directs their (group think) energy against an individual, which Nate seems to express that he understands. Good luck Nate. I tried on the R side (local county council) and they are just as bad, if not worse.

    Toby