OPEN LETTER TO OWS FROM THE 99% DECLARATION

Categories: Discussion, Open Mic

http://www.the99declaration.org/a-message-to-our-brothers-and-sisters-with-occupy-wall-street/

Please read and discuss…

A Message To Our Brothers and Sisters With Occupy Wall Street

 

The 99% Declaration and National General Assembly has nothing to do with me as a person. These two ideas were developed by thousands of people from all over the world and they are good ideas. Not “good” as in “clever” but good for the betterment of our people who are suffering terribly. According to the 2010 census, 150,000,000 people live in poverty or in low-income households in the wealthiest, most prosperous country in history.Although this is not about me or any other one person, I have caused unnecessary friction due to my own faults. I have apologized to #OWS for the declaration going viral on 10-18-11. Please understand that this was not our doing. The Huffington Postreported that our suggested grievances were the official OWS demands only three days after we announced this working group to the NYCGA. They did this without speaking to us or making any kind of confirmation of the story. The document also had the words ”draft” and ”suggestions” written in it. I have also apologized for remarks I made in anger directly after our webpage was taken down in late October.I will not apologize, however, for what we are accomplishing because this opportunity, provided to us by #OWS and the 99% Movement, may never come again. Citizens United, SOPA, NDAA, misuse of FISA and the Patriot Act have now changed the game and we must organize and act before the corporations are permitted to consolidate their power to such a level that they will directly control the military. We already know they indirectly (if not directly) control the police. Sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA will permit the military to obtain military jurisdiction over American civilians and deprive those citizens of the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and codified in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and The Bail Reform Act which ensures that every citizen be timely brought before a magistrate and apprised of the charges he or she is facing and an immediate bail determination made based on a list of objective factors. The NDAA will also deny access to counsel and the Writ of Habeas Corpus. The President has stated he will sign this bill because it is necessary for national defense. “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” -British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.The four board members of this group (soon to be seven) cannot be delegates nor do we have any say about what goes into the final petition of grievances. This group’s ONLY functions are to hold an open and transparent election of delegates and provide a venue in Philadelphia for the elected delegates to meet and ratify a Petition for a Redress of Grievances as authorized by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The board also acts as a blind trust, which receives anonymous donations that will not be disclosed to the delegates so they are not influenced in any way.  Delegates may not take money from anyone except to pay for their expenses to and from Philadelphia.  If we can raise enough money, we will transport all 876 delegates and house them for their stay in Philadelphia while they attend the National General Assembly. It is this model of a blind trust funded by the taxpayers that we seek to replace the current corrupt funding of political campaigns by corporations and other concentrations of great wealth.

I think it is critical to mention that The 99% Declaration’s requirement of a transparent election was never intended to be a slap in the face to #OWS and their use of direct democracy. In our view, an election representing all of the geographic sections of the country is necessary for the courts to require the government to redress the grievances voted on by the National General Assembly. If you research the history of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances for abolition, temperance, the suffragette movement, anti-war protests and civil rights, you will find that the courts have rejected past petitions because they were not deemed sufficiently representative of the American people. We have required an election for a very specific legal reason: to give full force and effect to an important section of our Bill of Rights. By using the very same geographic distributions the current corporate state uses to elect its stooges and keep them in power, the government will be forced to address and redress the petition voted on by duly elected delegates of the people from the same geographic regions as the Corporate Congress.

When the petition is ratified in July, signed in front of Independence Hall, and served on all three branches of government; all politicians who are running for office in 2012 will be asked their positions on the grievances and solutions listed in the petition. Should the politicians ignore the petition, Clause V of the declaration will be activated and the electoral revolution will begin. Independent candidates will be run in all 435 districts (and the 33 open senate seats) who will take a pledge to immediately redress the grievances in the July 2012 National General Assembly petition within their first one hundred days in office. These candidates will run as independent American citizens with no public “party” affiliation and only one mandate: enact the will of the 99% and remove ALL private sources of campaign contributions in politics.

Our group seeks to unify the movement under one banner of The 99% and we beseech #OWS to please elect and run candidates in the delegate election in March and come to Philadelphia to support the ratification of this petition. Direct democracy cannot legally and effectively be used on this level and that should not be a reason to abandon the concept of an election of delegates free of the corrupting influence of money.  For those of you who seek a more drastic solution, we ask that you please grant us this chance to peacefully transition from corporatism to real democracy.  If we fail, we will have the same corrupt corporate lackeys in place serving only the needs of the 1%.

We call upon all of the Demands Working Groups to please send us their ideas and suggestions for incorporation into the final petition. The delegates will be elected in March and then work from March through June to come up with proposed points to be in the final petition. Between 7-2 and 7-4, the 876 delegates will then vote on each proposal one by one and decide what should be in this FIRST petition for a redress of grievances at this FIRST National General Assembly. We are suggesting ten or twelve points in this petition but the delegates may include as many or as few as they so decide. There is no reason that this effort cannot continue parallel to and in synergy with #OWS’s continuing peaceful resistance to corporate state that has insidiously stolen our democracy while we sat on the couch and watched Family Guy and American Idol.  #OWS has reawakened the American consciousness and gotten us off the couch, out the door and into to streets.

In solidarity,

            -Michael Pollok

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20 Responses to “OPEN LETTER TO OWS FROM THE 99% DECLARATION”

  1. baydialectic

    I have nothing against non-urban whites per se.

    My comment wasn’t meant to suggest that whites living outside cities are bad people. I raised “non-urban whites” only because I believe the present system gives them–*as a demographic group*–more representation per person than other demographic groups. I mentioned this fact (rather off-handedly to be honest) only to illustrate that the present system isn’t, even on its own terms, “fair.”

    That “non-urban whites” have comprised a large portion of the reactionary movements of the past–and continue to do so into the present–doesn’t mean that non-urban whites are to be categorically written off as potential allies.

    Is there anything in what I’ve said here that you disagree with, Calaveras?

  2. fellow worker

    the whole thing is pretty lame. there are number of problems w/ representative democracy – alienation, disempowerment, compositional disparities etc. this project is thoroughly legalistic and reformist operating w/in the same framework that many of us our resisting w/ consensus decision making, direct democracy and direct action, gift economies, and the like.

  3. doctor

    that is kind of the problem inherent to representative democracy. Queer/trans voters do not make up enough of the general populace to be an important voting block. (not that they aren’t important, I am just speaking in terms of how political operatives act, so please dont annihilate me with rhetoric? Okay?) The same goes for other marginalized groups, so that they only can ever get recognition or traction on their issues in places like SF where their population is higher than in say, St.Louis.
    There was some mention on the 99 declaration page about requiring the background checks and no felonies so that they can be “unquestionable” in terms of their legality. I suppose that is why they require citizenship as well. Still doesn’t address the 1man, 1 woman thing.

  4. fellow worker

    yeah ill look deeper cuz that is bullshit. yay big ass GA. boo replicating the repressive measures of the police state. boycott cop culture.

  5. fellow worker

    word. i agree w/ this and think that multiple GAs coordinated in every local would be the best solution. essentially do GA in every local that is coordinated like a local GA, but which has some national facilitation component like a nationally agreed to agenda, w/ each local using it as the agenda for their individual GA deciding on shit and then seeing what the results are w/ each local acting autonomously on the decisions they’ve made. this would provide insight into how each individual occupy GA feels about specific issues and if the agenda was well crafted it could reveal a lot about some key issues like when and how to take back space in the most co-ordinated and effective manner possible or what co-ordinated actions have the most support, etc. and these are lame off the top of my head issues which i think are important there is much more pressing stuff that could be decided in a localized yet nationally co-ordinated manner.

  6. RussD

    I think a “national” Occupy is inevitable. However these guys are all about the reform process. That makes me think it will merely result in some bills or resolutions getting passed, then they dissolve the national movement. It also occurs to me that like Baydialectic hints at, a lot of those congressional districts are flyover states full of non-urban whites. Rednecks really. Do they even have an Occupy in Topeka? So in the long run this may end up wih conservative libertarians outnumbering Occupy people in the “representative” assembly.

  7. Simcha

    I have to agree with you here Calaveragrandes (mark this down on a calendar! lol!). I think that the way this is being pushed from New York to the rest of the Occupys is fundamentaly against what the Occupy Movement is trying to accomplish.

    Also the requirement that delegates give social security numbers for background checks and that it excludes anyone who has a felony conviction is a perpetuation of the Prison Industrial Complex. I am an Oaklander who works with people who suffer from being forced to declare a felony or misdemeanor conviction on job applications so that they can be discriminated against in the hiring process, Also they are ineligible for certain benefits and if they have a drug conviction they are ineligible for educational financial aid (aren’t we supposed to be about education and reform in our “corrections system?” People who have been convicted of a felony are stripped of their right to vote. I find this very disturbing to say the least that we as a movement would exclude anyone in the 99% especially people who have been oppressed by the 1% to the extent that these people have been oppressed.

    We were supposed to be a society where there is no such thing as cruel and unusual punishment and “commit your crime, serve your time and you’re done” was supposed to guide our “reformational” “corrections system.”

    Our penal system (calling it “corrections” perpetuates the myth that people are being “reformed’ in prison when in fact they are merely being punished) creates a sub class of “former prisoners of the state” that must forever be relegated to the bottom rung of society due to mistakes they have made. People are being punished in perpetuity for their crimes even after they have served their time and “paid their debt to society.” They are marked forever and not allowed to ever become full participants in our society or have their rights restored to them even if they are magically “reformed” or “corrected” by our system.

    This is yet another point that Occupy Oakland could educate the wider movement about. We in Oakland have intimate knowledge of how oppressive our Prison Industrial Complex has become and how the entire penal system in the US has destroyed our communities.

    I find the requirement that all potential delegates submit social security numbers for background checks and must never have been convicted of a felony to be odious and insulting. It perpetuates the abusive penal system where if you commit a crime, you are forever marked for disposal by society at large.

  8. calaverasgrandes

    I also forgot to mention, they expect delegates to give social security numbers for background checks. They also require delegates to not have any felony convictions. This all adds up to more of the same if you ask me.

  9. calaverasgrandes

    that might be one way of going at it. However that begs the question (and I am merely being devils advocate here), how would you ensure that the “National GA” is not disproportionately representative of those that are in and around wherever it is held? I suppose it could be organized as delegations with no minimum or maximum of members?
    I am not dead set against a national assembly at some point. However this one is structured in a very corporatist, legalistic way that I find offensive. I suggest anyone with questions or opinons on this, pro or con, go to their website and read the whole declaration, as well as the entire “about” sections.
    http://www.the99declaration.org

  10. calaverasgrandes

    wtf is wrong with “non-urban whites”? We are supposed to be the 99% right? not the 99% minus white people. You would be surprised at how anti-corporatist non-urban whites can be.
    The point I was making is that we should not base “our” representative democracy on the failed mechanisms of the previous one. To do so would be to repeat the same mistakes. But then I am not sure many of us want to do so in the first place, so the point is somewhat moot.

  11. fellow worker

    yeah i think this change to huge GA is necessary to garner support. i have a problem w/ the representative framework and the arbitrary Male/Female gender distinction – this alienates a lot of trans and queer people who don’t identify as male or female. boo gender normativity. yay big ass GAs.

  12. Smlgjohn

    I stand in solidarity with both Occupy Oakland and the power of the people as well as the 99% declaration which I see as a document that the people of the Occupy movement can demand from their government the union of these two organizations could be the answer to the corrupt government that we have and we can restore the government to the people instead of the 1% and corporate state

  13. MARK CREEK-WATER DORAZIO

    I HELP’D SET-UP THE VERY-FIRST TENT AT OCCUPY OAKLAND,
    APPROX. 4PM-MONDAY-10-OCTOBER-2011 … PLUS, I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST 3 PEOPLE ARRESTED APPROX. 4AM-TUEsDAY-25-OCTOBER …
    THOSE ARE SOME OF MY CREDENTIALs …

    RE THE PROPOSED “99% DECLARATION AND NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY”:
    I SUGGEST THAT WE MIGHT REFER TO IT, INSTEAD, AS A “NATIONAL-CONVENTION OF THE OCCUPY-MOVEMENT”, AS I’V BEEN DO-ING, FOR SEVERAL WEEKs, SINCE I STARTED A CROSS-USA WALK IN SUPPORT OF IT …

    I STARTED IN OAKLAND, CA, AND PLAN TO GO ALL THE WAY TO PHILADELPHIA, PA, TO PARTICIPATE … I’M NOW AT MY BROTHER’s HOUSE IN CHANDLER, ARIZONA, FOR SOME MUCH-NEEDED REST !!

    I DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF 2 REPRESENTATIVEs FROM EACH OF THE 435 HOUSE-OF-REPRESENTATIVEs DISTRICTs … INSTEAD, I SUFGGEST THAT WE INVITE EVERY-BODY TO ATTEND, AND RUN IT AS A VERY-LARGE GENERAL-ASSEMBLY MEETING, BECAUSE, SO FAR, THIS HAS BEEN A VERY-SUCCESS-FULL WAY-TO-GO …

    IN OTHER WORDs: IF IT AIN’T BROKEN, THEN DON’T TRY TO FIX IT !!

    THAT’s ALL FOR NOW, BUT YOU CAN BE ABSOLUTE-LY + POSITIVE-LY CERTAIN THAT I WILL HAVE MORE TO SAY RE THIS EXCELLENT IDEA !!

    SINCERE-LY, HELLA-PROUD TO BE FROM OAKLAND,
    MARK ‘TRUTH-SEEKER” CREEK-WATER DORAZIO

    BTW: I GREW UP IN DELAWARE, A MERE 30 MILEs FROM PHILADELPHIA, SO I SPEAK THE LOCAL-DIALECT:
    ANY LINGUIST WILL VERIFY THAT THERE IS, IN FACT, A “MIDDLE-ATLANTIC” DIALECT, WHICH IS NEITHER SOUTHERN, NOR NORTHERN, BUT, (LIKE), TOTAL-LY ITs OWN THING …..

  14. baydialectic

    The relative power of the House and Senate doesn’t seem as relevant to the matter you’re addressing than the fact that each state, regardless of population, gets the same number of senators. This gives non-urban whites greater representation relative to other groups than they rightly should receive (this is true to the extent that low population states tend to be more rural and whiter than the country at large).

  15. calaverasgrandes

    @Baydialectic
    That is why it is bicameral. And yes the constitutional form of government is essentially a Kingless British government. I was referring to why they arranged it so that the house of representatives actually has more power than the senate. This has to do with the ruralists not wanting urban centers(meaning New England) taking all the power due to their higher population. Either way, this whole “redress of greivances” is a fairytale. As if we have suddenly found a loophole in the constitution, so that all we need to do is play their game just right and they will give us our rights and freedoms back.

  16. C.

    You know youre going about this in the opposite direction that will show any true change in your favor.
    History has a lot to say. Listen sometime.

  17. baydialectic

    “Please educate yourself why the framers set up the bicameral legislature as they did so that that urban centers would not dominate over rural areas in congress…”

    The “framers” set up a bicameral legislature principally because they wanted to replicate the British system (House of Reps=House of Commons and the Senate=The House of Lords), which they understood was *less democratic* than a unicameral legislature. The vaunted checks-and-balances we’re trained to laud were not meant to act as a check on the elite; to the contrary, they were designed to check the power of prospective insurgent movements *against* the elite. The bicameral legislature–with the Senate picked by state legislatures until the 1910′s–was seen correctly as a potent filter against the riff-raff, whose latent collective power was seen as needing to be checked *by all means necessary.*

  18. calaverasgrandes

    Respectfully Michael, I think you should fuck off. Yes I mean that. I am very emotional about the 99% declaration and its adherents. I have been to the website and read the entirety of the declaration. It is flawed on multiple levels. But let me just enumerate the most egregious here.
    First off, OWS is not the entire Occupy movement. Using them as the “seal of approval” is BS. In my memory, nobody came to Occupy Oakland to ask us for our input. I sincerely doubt that overtures were made to any of the other Occupy manifestations before you declared yourselves the national assembly of a movement that neither wants nor needs any such hierarchy.
    I understand the “representative” mechanisms that you cite. However, the way that the representation is being carried out by the Declaration people IS a slap in the face to most Occupy movement folks.
    “In or about March 2012, the People, consisting of all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect Two Delegates, one male and one female, by direct vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts to represent the People at the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY.”
    This may seem perfectly reasonable to some people, so let me be a bit pedantic in pointing out your glaring errors here. First off, there are millions of people in the United States that are not US citizens. They work here, live here, and spend money here. Why should they not be eligible for your assembly?
    Then there is the strangely Noah’s Ark-ish “1 man, 1 woman” requirement. Where on earth did that come from? Maybe I am naive because in California we have no lack of women involved in politics from the local to the national level. I see it as divisive, and simultaneously as pandering.
    I also do not understand the requirement that candidates be 18 years old. Honestly if you are going to have an age requirement why not go whole hog and say they can’t be a candidate unless they are at least 25 and have gone through two national election cycles, with the perspective that gains them. Otherwise I can see no reason to restrict age at all.
    I also have to wonder at the 435 voting districts corresponding to the House of Representatives voting districts. All of which are gerrymandered nonsense. I do not think that is a reasonable basis for true representative democracy and is a fundemental flaw in our current representative democracy. Please educate yourself why the framers set up the bicameral legislature as they did so that that urban centers would not dominate over rural areas in congress, and why now the converse is happening.
    FInally I cannot say I speak for all of Occupy Oakland. I differ with many of them of them on fine points of ideology and action. However most everyone I have spoken with on such topics is firm in the belief that we are not seeking conciliatory reforms. Any student of social movements and politics in modern western democracy knows that when civil unrest manifests itself, the powers that be will attempt to mollify them with reforms just mild enough to not upset the status quo, but seemingly strong enough to get the rabble rousers out of the streets.
    I do not think any Occupy participant is asking to be thrown a bone.
    And this 99% declaration is a lot of energy and legalistic maneuvering for just that.
    Finally, it is my opinion that any such organization is only useful in that it allows a mechanism for the political status quo to co-opt the Occupy movement ahead of the 2012 general election. I am quite certain there are many other Occupiers that would agree with me on that.
    Calaverasgrandes