Subject: [GlobalRevolutionMedia] PLEASE READ: PLAN + TALKING POINTS: Re: Rapid Response Process + "The Cleaning"
From: beka economopoulos
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 09:41:07 -0400

Hi all, quick clarification:

OWS has NOT released a statement, I just wrote up the process blow by blow for how we collected input last night.  If we could have offered a statement to the NY Times we would have, but all we could get in was one soundbite, which is the quote I sent to y'all.

We do want to send out a statement ASAP.  And I want folks to be clear: Linnea, Han and I just hopped off the phone with external allies at Strong For All, Communities for Change, MoveOn, Working Families Party and everyone's in agreement that this is a pretext to shut the occupation down.  

Bloombergville - a 2 wk occupation at City Hall earlier this summer - was shut down in the same way, as was the M-15 encampments in Barcelona and Madrid in late Spring. 

Talking points: 

1) We see this as a pretext to shut the occupation down.  Bloombergville - a 2 wk occupation at City Hall earlier this summer - was shut down in the same way, as was the M-15 encampments in Barcelona and Madrid in late Spring.  The Brookfield "rules" -- no lying down, sleeping bags, tarps -- are untenable.

2) We have an OWS Sanitation Operation, we don't need the city's crew.  We have been self-governing and self-organized and taking care of our space.  We already had a big clean-up planned and we're moving that forward a day - TO TODAY. 

2) If Bloomberg really cared about sanitation here he wouldn't have blocked porto potties and dumpsters.  OWS allies have been working to secure these things on our behalf.  

3)  We won't allow them to come in.  This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.  


* Discussing holding a 3pm press conference with Julie the Chair of Community Board 1, a member of OWS, and possibly someone else - a high-up elected maybe.  To get message out before first filing deadlines.

* Allies looking into possibility of 6pm press conference with Black and Hispanic Caucus, Labor and other allies.

* Allies sending email blast to membership nationally calling for phone calls to Bloomberg and 311.  Also putting call out for NYers to come at 5 or 6 am. Friday to defend the space, and if they can spend the night here great.

I might be forgetting something but want to send you an update now....

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 9:01 AM, Ed Needham <> wrote:
Amin, this is great. thanks so much!

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM, Amin Husain <> wrote:
Ed, Here is how I see this playing out:

1. Yesterday in Working Group check-ins consensus was reached on the words Katie sent for a statement

2. Consensus was reached for all to help sanitation in an already planned cleaning effort - there was vehement opposition to moving for city to clean 

3.  I am going to the working groups now to also connect on this issue and get a vibe check

4.  GA is at 7pm; this may be rescheduled earlier

5.  This is not a consensus issue.  It's a diversity of voices issue.  Because it's about losing the space.  No one wants to lose it.  There will be different levels of risk.  Those with appetite for high level of risk with peacefully defend it.  We are there.  We created working groups for a reason.  We could have a discussion in GA, and we could discuss moving, but what I outlined above is where this will lead, I think.

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 8:02 AM, Ed Needham <> wrote:
Katie- any way we can see the groups' consensus on the issue? 
it's evident we are flying by the seat of our pants reflecting a variety of responses. we all need to be on the same page here.

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 13, 2011, at 3:46 AM, "Katie Davison" <> wrote:

Hmmm. This still reflects a bit of communication breakdown. 

I was actually in the working group check in at 9p with Yotam and representatives from each working group when Patrick sent out the alert.

We had solidarity on the messaging from all working groups (which was both radical in tone - i.e. no one "allows" us to be here... and exhilarating) and information related to Sanitations plans for a clean up etc within minutes.

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Thu, 13 Oct 2011 02:46:18 -0400

Hi there,

Wanted to check in with y'all about rapid response process, as this is the first time we've had to contend with a strategically significant breaking development.

This cleaning is a big deal. It's a big decision to say we'll let the City in to the square, and I don't think we want to go there yet.  Especially when their statement had such a problematic clause: "the protesters will be able to return to the areas that have been cleaned, provided they abide by the rules that Brookfield has established for the park."

It's also relevant to know that this June's Bloombergville encampment (Yotam was a lead organizer there), which lasted 2 weeks, was shut down when the city sent sanitation workers in to clean with the promise they could move back in, that was the end of that.  Exact same story as the M-15 encampments in Barcelona and Madrid, city sent cleaners in (and extremely violent police), end of occupation.  

This is an example of where we should get a temperature check from the greater occupation on overall strategy, and check-in amongst ourselves on messaging strategy.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, and as a learning exercise for us all to discuss rapid response process, here's a bit abt what went down. Total process took abt 2 hrs.  I believe it could have been done in less.     

  • Patrick got the news of the cleaning, and a link for the City's statement.  I posted it to the GA discussion list, the Media Team list, the PR list, and to individuals in Facilitation and Actions.   
  • I called Yotam in Actions down in the park, and suggested he wrangle some reps from various working groups in an emergency huddle to discuss implications and strategy.
  • I hopped on the phone with Bill, Han, Kira, Patrick and talked through messaging strategy. Bill called Marina on the Legal Team, and Han, Patrick, Kira and I worked on framing for a statement / position on the matter.
  • I also emailed a list of external allies with political perspective and relationships with the Community Board, unions, and higher up electeds. Got lots of responses and solidarity. We planned an 8am conference call to talk abt a Community Board statement, a possible press conference, and a whisper campaign of electeds/power brokers pushing Bloomberg on ensuring that if this does happen there are no NYPD (only sanitation workers), and the Brookfield rules are a deal-breaker.  
  • Got txts from Actions abt their convos with other WGs in the square.  Heard that folks wanted us to be aware that a massive clean-up was already planned for Friday, and that ppl wanted the messaging tone to reflect that that we don't have/need permission to be here, this is an occupation.
  • I checked the listservs to see if there was any discussion, get a feel for where people were coming from to inform our messaging.  Justin Wedes on list said the "Brookfield rules" had been released well after we'd moved in, and they included items like "no lying down, no sleeping bags, no tarps, no tents, etc.". 
  •  I tried to substantiate the content of the Brookfield rules: posted to lists asking for someone to send a link.  Got a link to a photograph of a flyer stating the rules, confirmed content. 
  • Patrick and Kira drafted a brief statement based on joint convos, sent to Beka for edits.  I called the NY Times reporter to ask when his deadline was.  He said the story had already been filed but agreed to try to sneak a quote in.  I gave a quote that reflected the PR Team messaging sub-group, and the input received from OWS listservs and on-site reps.

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 12:48 AM, Ed Needham <> wrote:
nice, tyler.

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 12:06 AM, William Dobbs <> wrote:


My advice:  try to cut a deal early tomorrow, and put it on the record quickly.  Meanwhile explore legal options and political strategies and craft plan B.


Reasonableness has its charms:


"I'm glad that he finally found what we were doing important enough to visit after dismissing it for several weeks," Tyler Combelic, a member of the press relations work group for Occupy Wall Street told CNN. "I'm hoping that the city will be willing to work with the Occupy Wall Street occupiers in arranging a way to get the cleaning done, which both does not disturb the encampment nor does it too greatly impede on the cleaning process," Combelic said.

Combelic added that these were his personal opinions and that he was not speaking on behalf of Occupy Wall Street.


Edward Needham
Cambridge, MA


Not An Alternative

Edward Needham
Cambridge, MA


Not An Alternative 

Fission Strategy

Phone: 917-202-5479
Skype: bekamop