Subject: [NYCGA Internet] [Interocc] On cross-occupation conference, and 'How to Craft a Proposal'
From: Jacob Russell
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 11:12:42 -0400
To: Larry Swetman

You did get the minutes from Philly_Occupy_Together?
This is a draft waiting confirmation from those in attendance, but in the interest of transparency...

see attachment .doc file

Secondly: could we write up a little paragraph on 'How to Craft a Proposal for a People's Assembly?'†

When a proposal itself is carefully worded and limited to a single declarative sentence, with defense and explanations on the side, discussion that follows tends to be straight forward and to the point.

Long wordy proposals involved in self-reflexive rhetoric and explanations -- like the one on Corporate Personhood -- invite confusion & gather amendments like barnacles. This ALONE could shave many minutes from decision making. A proposal is not a speech! It isn't an appeal for action, it's a CALL to action! There's a place for speeches & appeals--but not in the form of proposals!†

Letter to the World are a necessary exception that proves my point. If a proposal has to be tabled, it probably wasn't ready to be brought to the G. A. as a proposal.

Just my thoughts...


On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM, Larry Swetman <> wrote:
Greetings to all,

As all of you receiving this email are probably aware, regional and national coordination has been a bit more difficult than we previously imagined. However, there are many folks in many occupations working day and night to unify us into an organized force. We have championed ourselves as a leaderless movement and as such some of our actions get lost in the bureaucracy. Occupy Philly is currently trying to break this stagnancy and move forward as a movement. Last night, a proposal was presented at our GA to support a Constitutional Amendment barring corporate personage. The conversation went back and forth on wording and method of communication but one thing was clear: the occupy movement stands for steps like this. We have all been very hesitant to make demands and rightfully so. No one occupation wants to color another with its own communities concerns if it is at the cost of the movement. Which brings me to the three points I have for this email:

1) Encourage Similar Action: No one occupation is going to be able to hash out the logistics of all the concerns represented at each camp. However, there is a growing sentiment that human need over corporate greed is our underlying principle. While no list will be exhaustive the public can rally around such action and garner us the support we need to make it through the winter. We need to involved the rest of the 99% in our work. Symbolic actions such as releasing proposals and supporting direct public action will garner the support of the public and grow the movement. With regard to the corporate personage amendment, that conversation must take place in work places and religious gatherings.But the conversation must be started somewhere are we have taken this burden upon ourselves. Do not be afraid of the public opinion. Simply start the conversation.

2) Regional and National Unity: When issues start to be raised it is essential that we maintain a semblance of cohesion. We can only do this if we are communicating and cooperating. In the interocc emails recently I have noticed a hesitancy among some of the larger occupations on sharing information and resources. We cannot do this if we are birthing a paradigm shift. Our method is as much our message as the letters and press releases we collectively give to the public. When issues are raised we must be able to implement a directly democratic process. We cannot do this if we remain autonomous. It seems to me that an elephant in the room of this debate regards money. Yes, Occupy Wall Street has raised alot of money. But money is not out way. We have to date opposed the unregulated use of money in decision making in our government. Why would we fall prey to the same? To fight the battle with the enemies sword is to lose the war in principle. Therefore, I ask in the name of national unity and the growth of the movement that we abstain as best we can from attempting to benefit from OWS' finances. In this way we will open up lines of trust, brotherhood, and a common mind. We must communicate and organize together.

3) Regional and National Assemblies: There has also been alot of talk about marching on Washington. While I am in complete support of the idea I think it is too soon. Occupy Philly, as I have mentioned before, has sent out a letter calling for regional assemblies. I stated earlier that our GAs have started to include ideological and practical actions as proposals. If we can all start to identify and weed out our local grievances then they can be brought together in regions to do even more synthesizing and lead to a national agenda. The reason we do not have the support of the common people is our lack of message. I am the first to defend our hesitancy but as winter comes it is time to take action. It is time to address our grievances. As you start to do this in your communities you will notice a gamut of issues that, as much as I hate to say it, can not be represented by the whole. However, we do share a common mind in some regards. But we will never know what they are unless we can talk about them. Email and online communication cannot foster this kind of cohesion. Only the ability to reach out and touch your brother and sister can enable the kind of solidarity necessary to maintain and grow a movement. Therefore, Occupy Philly once again calls for regional gatherings of General Assemblies to hash out issues of policy and simply bring the people together. If we can manage this during the snows of winter and solidify our message when spring comes- our spring, our American Spring- we can march on the Capitol battled hardened warriors gathered together by a common goal. That brothers and sisters is how we effect change.

Philly will be happy to help coordinate these events. If any city is interested in hosting the Regional GAs please email me individually and the group to express your support of unifying. We can do this. We can bring this giant down but Rome was not built in a day and likewise it will not fall. We must be slow, methodical, careful, and most importantly unified. We are not the 99% of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, San Francisco etc. We represent the concerns and well being of 99% of America. We have picked up a heavy burden but it is much much lighter if we carry it together.

Thank you all for your diligent efforts. you are credit to your occupations and the movement. Feel free to email me with questions and concerns.


"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And donít bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ďItís not where you take things from - itís where you take them to."†
ó Jim Jarmusch

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