Posts tagged ‘general assembly’

October 26, 2011

To the first General Assembly of Occupy Detroit

Editor’s Note: We received this statement from some friends and comrades in Detroit who are bringing a critical and crucial analysis to the Occupy Detroit organizing efforts.  Their perspective is inspiring to us in New York City, and we hope it will be helpful to those who are making important interventions in this movement across the country. 

To the first General Assembly of Occupy Detroit,

We are inspired by the actions of Occupy Wall Street and the opportunity it has given so many people to stand up and get involved in shaping the fate of this country.

We are inspired by the protocol of consensus decision-making and inclusivity being used on Wall Street, where anyone who shows up is asked: “what can you contribute to this movement?”  In return, participants are supported to bring their best selves to the work of creating a new world.  We propose that Detroit embrace that same protocol.

In the spirit of bringing our best selves to this process, we offer this background knowledge, which anyone attempting to organize in Detroit must first understand before taking any action that aims to speak for Detroit.  We all have a lot to learn from each other.  Nothing said here should be  taken as a claim to “know more” or “better” than anyone else.  As just  mentioned it’s about all of us bringing our best selves to this historic uprising, and doing it creatively, nonviolently and together.

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October 20, 2011

Reflections on Organizing Towards Collective Liberation at Occupy NOLA

By Lydia Pelot-Hobbs

Over the past few weeks, I have been invigorated and moved by the energy surrounding Occupy Wall Street and it’s offshoots across the nation. Yet, at the same time I’ve been faced with the tensions being articulated by so many folks on the Left: how can this energy be connected to and further long-standing organizing work for social and economic justice?

Here at Occupy NOLA, I have been excited about the potential of making these bridges through the project of the anti-racism working group.  In less than two weeks, this working group has been developing a collective analysis and strategy that I think has the possibility of contributing towards long-term movement building.

From Difficult Moments to Moments of Promise

This is not to say this work has been easy. Many of these conversations are painful and difficult. At the second General Assembly (GA), a debate emerged regarding the use of the livestream at the GA. Since the initial planning meeting, Occupy NOLA had been posting photos and videos on Facebook without those in attendance’s permission. Myself alongside several others from the anti-racism working group raised the concern that having the entire area video taped led to the space not being safe or secure for a variety of folks: immigrants, trans folks, queer folks, etc. and offered the proposal that 1/3 of the space not be included in the livestream.

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October 12, 2011

Dispatches from Indigenous People’s Day: Part 2

By Saara Azadi

I had spent Monday afternoon at Occupy Wall Street at a working group meeting.  Wandering with a friend, we heard the conch shell call and drums from a Mixeca group of dancers that had assembled in a corner of the park.  As the dancers began to offer blessings and tributes to our ancestors and the earth, a circle of onlookers formed around them. Some were taking photos, others were ensuring that a safe space was created around the dancers.  Wary of the police and potential disrupters, the dancers had sent an email to the People of Color Working Group earlier that day, asking us to come and “protect and support our danza circle tonight. Many of our folks… would feel safer knowing that there’s an outer circle having our backs during the ceremony.”  A young curly-haired woman of color nosed in between myself and my friend and said, “Wow, the energy feels really good here.”  As we linked arms – strangers, friends, family – you could feel the energy and spirit created by the dancers, the drumming, and our collective power.

While we ‘occupied’ the area under the Red Sculpture, the General Assembly (GA) was well underway in the area by the library.  The dancers continued – one explained that this was not a performance – that they were here to offer blessings to our ancestors, the earth, the elements, and to this movement and the many indigenous and global communities in resistance.  She went on to declare that they would finish when they were done.  I didn’t quite know what she meant; the dancing, drumming, and prayers continued….

Photo by Marina Ortiz

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October 10, 2011

Speaking Up and Listening: From Wall Street to New Orleans

By Amy Wolfe

In the past few days and for the first time in my life, I simultaneously lost and found my voice. I’ve never had laryngitis before. Usually it is hard to hear what I’m saying, because I’ve got a low, mumbly voice, and when I stand up in front of people and talk, I start blushing fast and my hands shake. Counter to this, I am also a very argumentative and opinionated person. The past few days, I’ve had occasion to do several things that scare me in front of a whole lot of people, and there’s something about having a raspy, scratchy, squeaky voice that has made it so much easier. Last night I told my roommates, “I feel tougher! Like, this is how I actually sound on the inside!”

And the past few days have felt like months. Occupy Wall Street is gathering supporters faster than anyone can believe, and here in New Orleans we’re just starting up. Today is Friday, October 7th, 2011, the eve of Yom Kippur. Five days ago was the first general meeting to start up Occupy NOLA. I knew something important must be going on, because it drew two hundred people to a sunny park at noon during a Saints game. Yesterday was the first march, and the beginning of the Occupation in Duncan Plaza, across from City Hall. This feels like déjà vu to a lot of us; in 2007, a group of people fighting for public housing and homeless rights occupied Duncan Plaza for about a year, before they were forcibly removed by the police. In that time, what began as maybe six tents, became three or four hundred people. The plaza is beautiful, in a very city-specific way. It has a huge gazebo in the middle, winding paths all around, and several rolling green hills. It is between the city hall, the large public library, and Tulane Avenue, all within the shadow of the locked and empty Charity Hospital, where all of New Orleans’ un-insured and under-insured got their healthcare, Pre-Katrina. The plaza is often full of all sorts of characters and law enforcement types, like most city parks that I’ve come to know in my life.

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