Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupy Portland: Goals & Declaration (Including the complete draft of The Declaration of Occupy Portland)

From 2011-11-17 (Occupy Portland - N17)

End of the year, crawling out of my cave for a minute to throw this up.  I am not sure if this draft has been revised at all…

Blah.  I cannot speak to the health and direction of the local movement.  I’ve been out of the loop in self-imposed exile for a couple weeks.

One thing that pops into my mind glancing over the draft of the declaration is...  Well, it is hard to put into words.  But, basically, it is this...  These are national level statements and demands from a local level organization.

To me, the role of a local level organization is to bring local attention and publicity to the national movement. Early on, OWS released a declaration of demands.  Is Occupy Portland protesting in solidarity with OWS and the national movement, or are they trying to be a local group making a national impact?

My concerns are vague, and I understand the desire to have a specific document to point to when asked by people, "Why are you doing this?"  And that is all well and fine...

To some degree, it strikes the same nerve in me that is tweaked when local city councils make resolutions concerning national and international issues.  It is all fine and dandy, but what does it really mean and how is it really their business?  And, bottom line, for the most part it, is just words.  A city council can decry the, let's use a common example, the invasion of Iraq back in 2003, but there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.

I suppose the purpose of such a declaration as the one below is to say that we, locally, stand in support of those across the country who are upset about these issues, and that is fine.  And protest at a local level is an important part of a national protest movement.

Maybe this is the plan, and from my cave I just haven't heard the plan...  But the real function of a document like this, in my view, would be to, say, be the locally agreed upon platform to be worked out in some sort of national convention where a declaration for the national movement was hammered out.

Alright, I am not expressing my thoughts clearly today.  Back into my cave.  I hope some sense of my vague thoughts came through here...

Anyway, here is some food for thought.
Goals for Occupy Portland | Portland Occupier:
Occupy must not be captured by narrow interests and lose sight of its goals. If we are fighting for the 99%, then we must stand for principles that most of the 99%, and nearly all of us, will agree with. We cannot win a fight for democracy unless we stay focused on what we’re working for, remain unified, and have the support of the majority of the public. We must strive to avoid fractious issues and fighting battles we cannot win.
Occupy Portland needs a simple document that affirms the right of the people to govern and lays down the basic principles on which we all can stand. We can and should evaluate many specific proposals from all of our supporters and take action to support the ones that match our principles, and oppose those that conflict, whether in our city, state, or nation. Issues change; tactics change; principles remain.

The Declaration of Occupy Portland | Portland Occupier:
I have seen a vision of the end of Occupy Portland. It looks like a meeting with no actionable agenda, no notes, and no plan for a follow-up meeting. It is organized–maybe–on Facebook alone. And it will have the phrases “ninety-nine percent”, “unity”, and “positive” repeated upwards of twenty times each.

It looked a lot like the Convention for the Declaration of Occupy Portland, held at the Mission Theater on the night of Sunday, December 19th. If I thought for a second that this meeting was all there was to the Occupation, I might have been convinced that this was the end. Thankfully, I know better. But if you want to quantify the distance between this event and a consensus GA after shutting down the city on a Tuesday afternoon in October, it would be measured in miles.
By Owen Sanders in Occupy Portland 

This is the proposed draft of the national Declaration of Occupy Portland to Congress. The Declaration contains a preamble, which details our grievances, as well as our belief that conservative and liberal ideas are not naturally opposed but are actually naturally complimentary. Next come the 32 demands, which offer a bold and comprehensive set of solutions to our common problems. Then the Second Bill of Rights, as originally envisioned by FDR with some additions to reflect our 21st century needs. The final paragraph details the strategies we will use to get our demands met. Please let me know what you think, and whether you would be willing to adopt this document as our official Declaration!