Proposals for November 2nd’s General Assembly

First Proposal: To endorse this equality statement as Occupy Seattle and to encourage it be read before every General Assembly.

Equality Statement

Our solidarity is based on the principle that occupiers are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels. Any behavior that creates conflict prevents us from working together to strengthen our movement.

In this movement, mutual respect, cooperation and understanding are our goals. We should neither condone nor tolerate behavior that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Discriminatory speech or conduct which is racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic hurts and thereby divides us. So too, does discrimination on the basis of ability, age, class, religion and ethnic origin.

Sometimes discrimination takes the form of harassment. Harassment means using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue or humiliate. Harassment should not be treated as a joke. The uneasiness and resentment that it creates are not feelings that help us grow as a movement.

Discrimination and harassment focus on characteristics that make us different; and they reduce our capacity to work together on shared concerns.

Our movement must reflect our commitment to equality. We must be mindful that all sisters and brothers deserve dignity, equality and respect.

5 Responses to Proposals for November 2nd’s General Assembly

  • msmikestew35 says:

    It is of course essential to form unity. It is also impossible to form unity without a class analysis of society as it exists.

    This class analysis cannot also be attempted to be undertaken by simply looking at society as it exists today. How did the society get to be this way? That must be understood by a study of history.

    What is happening is needless splits based on race, sex. These are misunderstandings in some cases, and active opportunism in others. The unity of all those who took to the streets in support of OWS should show us the path forward.

    The strength of OWS is based on this massive social layer (the working class) that is struggling to find a way forward in an economic crisis. These millions are not worrying about race, sex and other discriminations as the primary focus.

    And OWS also will start developing a focus on that same primary concern, if a turn to history is taken.

    I read about the handling of the “Nazis”. These are good lessons and I find OWS maturing. The turn to self defense is important. The turn to policing the groups internally and never involving police would prove to have been correct as events unfold.

    There were some comments (GA minutes) that under life threatening circumstances, police should be called. I would pose it differently. Police can cause life threatening situations much more readily. The crucial issue is *identifying* trouble maker anti-OWS people and making sure they do not stick around.

    There is still some confusion that all of the 99% (on economic basis) should be allowed. This confusion must disappear as events unfold. A turn to history, and a class-based analysis will help much in this regard as well.

    • SukkahMan says:

      “I read about the handling of the “Nazis”. These are good lessons and I find OWS maturing. The turn to self defense is important. The turn to policing the groups internally and never involving police would prove to have been correct as events unfold.

      There were some comments (GA minutes) that under life threatening circumstances, police should be called. I would pose it differently. Police can cause life threatening situations much more readily. The crucial issue is *identifying* trouble maker anti-OWS people and making sure they do not stick around.”

      You have a woman currently at the camp who is being sexually harassed\assaulted by another woman and this has been going on for awhile. If and when the campus president hears wind of this, he will have little choice but to shut down the camp. For all anyone knows, the woman in question is a sex offender. The police should have been called after she was given one warning and persisted on harassing the other woman.

      Currently, there is no “Peace and Safety” in operation. There are people on the working group and they are having meetings but there is no enforcement of the good neighbor policy and hyperdermic needles are being found in the grass. I was physically threatened several times the other night by a core member during one of his drunken states. I would have no problem calling the police on the sexual abuser or the drunk getting in my face. Peace and Safety is not capable of policing the camp and soon, the President of the campus will have to shut the whole thing down.

      Nickelsville does a background check on individuals before allowing them to set up in their camp. This weeds out sexual offenders and criminals hiding from the law. I can’t see a GA ever passing a proposal to do any kind of background check on campers so you will continue to have these problems till you are thrown off of the campus. For that matter, I can’t see a GA passing a proposal to give Peace and Safety any real power to do much to restore any kind of law and order to the camp.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    Any such situation should be handled by the committee set up for this. They should have full power to enforce their authority. But in case the suspected offender appeals, there should be a process developed to appeal the issue, hold a hearing, allow both parties to speak and reconfirm or revoke the earlier decision.

    The committee will be always kept in check by having such an appeals process. But the crucial thing is to make sure the committee has clear authority to ensure safety – that is its job, and it is a very important job. It cannot wait for the appeals process. Things can escalate quickly.

  • papadango says:

    Occupy Wall Street is long overdue. The big banks think they own everything, and it’s up to us to show them who has control of our money. Bank Transfer Day is on Saturday and everyone is encouraged to move their money from a big bank to a credit union. learnmore.asmarterchoice.org has videos showing just how the 1% views the 99%. Also, great info on credit unions, if you’re thinking of making the switch, even if not on Saturday.

  • SeanMKinney says:

    While organizational ground rules are important, particularly in relation to interactions with the police, this movement will lise traction without coherent, concise demands that are symbolically resonant and can be brought to bear on our existing political system(s). Street-level activism is a privilege of those without previous commitments – give those “watching at home” a digestable and on-point message and you will find more and more allies. A theoretical ground is fantastic – but a little ‘strategic’ messaging can’t hurt …