Mass Strategy Meeting on United Progressive Offense: Where do we go from here?
It’s time for our movements to go on the offensive toward the world we want.
We achieved inspiring unity through the fight against recent attacks on our basic rights by the Georgia Legislature and their corporate sponsors. This unity builds great potential for our movements, but what if we go farther?
What if we use this unity to collectively assert offensive vision, goals, and demands toward a better future? Although we had some amazing victories, we lost ground, too; a purely defensive posture will ensure that we continue to lose ground to regressive policies.
We need our unity to make lasting, large-scale change for all that we fight for. We need each other and all the different ideas, foci, and uniqueness each of us brings. We need to move forward together, across issues, strategies, and communities.
We invite each and every individual to participate in this Mass Strategy Meeting for a United Offense, an open, horizontal forum for everyone to bring proposals, ideas, and current efforts to this meeting to discuss with the larger group and break out groups.
Let us come in a spirit of solidarity, with a focus on going on the offense, because we’re all in this together.
This is from after the first, pilot, Mass Strategy Meeting, 4-25-12:
1) TIME/DAY – Does May 30th, the last Wednesday of the month, at 7pm, work for most people? I know some people wanted to have it on a weekend day – does that also work for most people, or would that work for even more people?
2) STRUCTURE – What could/should we change about the structure for next time? How could we assure efficiency of planning and getting the most out of our time together, best forwarding the work of the meeting, while still ensuring everyone has equal space to speak, that the meeting belongs to everyone, and that much can develop and progress organically? Who should bottom-line the creation and execution of this structure, including facilitating the actual meeting?
3) REFLECTIONS – What went well/what did you like best about the meeting? What would you change/improve (see questions below as well for guidance) for the next time? (please be respectful if you have criticisms☺)
4) GOALS/PURPOSE – What should the goals/purpose of these meetings be? How can we best try to ensure that these meetings meet everyone’s needs and expectations?
5) FOLLOW UP – What is the best way that we can all communicate/follow up with each other about the plans that we have made? Where should we go from here in terms of the plans that we have made?
MASS STRATEGY MEETING FOR UNITED OFFENSE – 4/25/12 – PILOT MEETING
—-91 FOLKS SIGNED IN! WE MAY HAVE EXCEEDED 100 SINCE PROBABLY NOT EVERYONE SIGNED IN! :-D
—-STARTED AROUND 8PM
—-PROPOSED STRUCTURE (from facilitators)
-gather and sign in (for 30 mins or so)
-20-30 mins – why are we here? what are the goals of the meeting?
-10 mins – which break out groups should we have? based on the declaration of rights?
-45 mins-1 hr – break out groups
-30 mins – recap/report-backs to larger group
-30 mins – plans and coordination for the future
—-PROPOSED GOALS OF THE MEETING / WHY WE’RE HERE (from group)
-identify resources – ourselves are the greatest resources, as humans! – there are already orgs working on these issues – let’s network with them!
-come back together
-strategy meetings – invite everyone – improve the passing of proposals
-knock on doors!
-this group should attack direct issues like school closings
-have regular meetings
-all our issues are the community’s issues – we are united
-work together more effectively
-plan a form of attack
-strategize with what we have, use resources, pick a direction and go
-sustainable communities (garden, buildings, headquarters)
-citywide renters association
-make it the law that there is community policing (police live in the neighborhoods they police for more accountability)
-tell our govt where to spend our taxes – we control the govt
-ample food is a human right – grow food!
-criminality/corruption in govt,and universities
-plan to present laws against foreclosures/evictions – moratorium on foreclosures and evictions
-take over abandoned houses, clean up neighborhoods
-retain union folks, (keep those connections strong?)
-resource-based economy, money-free world, define how we want the new world to look
-take back public space
(capitalized is what was on the sign, boldened is from the Declaration of Rights of The People of Georgia - http://occupyatlanta.org/contact-communicate/groups/process- sorry if I left anything out)
DEMOCRACY IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The right to a government and politics free from corporate influence:
Putting forward political candidates we choose in local elections
Help make the system work for most people;
AMPLE FOOD IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to ample, nutritious food:
Working with the group Metro Farms
Building infinitely more community gardens all over the city;
HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to adequate, assured housing:
This was from the sub-group Sustainable Communities, so we can also make a sign (and add to the Declaration!) that says
SUSTAINABILITY IS A HUMAN RIGHT
Facilitating communities in Washington Park, English Avenue, and Vine City to create alternate economic systems;
Renovate homes while preserving architectural character and resisting gentrification;
Building sustainable communities through urban gardening, litter pick-ups, composting and growing food locally
PUBLIC SPACE IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to use any public space to exercise our right to protest and assemble as is our will:
Maintaining a presence in our parks;
Beautifying public spaces and walkable communities;
Starting poetry readings and continuing Really, Really Free Markets at Troy Davis (Woodruff) Park;
Fighting the recent anti-urban camping laws that are an attack on Occupy activists but disproportionately affect shelterless persons
HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to comprehensive healthcare that includes reproductive health services and counseling for addiction and mental illness:
HEALTHCARE (from the break-out groups’ autonomous notes):
-Atlanta Resistance Medics (ARM) – offers medic services for marches, actions for activists and community at large
-become trained via 20-hour street medic training – contact for info
-support ARM in other ways – help during their trainings, practices
-teach-ins available upon request
EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to unlimited access to high quality education at all levels and a proportionate influence in the direction and decision-making of the schools where we work, attend, and teach:
Resisting school closings in Metro Atlanta
Fighting tuition hikes at public universities, and student loans
Continuing the Atlanta Free School (Atlanta.indymedia.org, atlantafreeschool.tumblr.org)
Addressing misinformation and rearranging priorities in the education system
TRANSPORATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to access extensive public transportation, with those most reliant on this system having proportionate input in its decision-making;
EQUALITY IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional freedom from systematic discrimination based upon race, class, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status in every facet of life:
Addressing the prison industrial complex such as ICE detention centers
Racial profiling by police
Community events such as teach-ins and art shows;
Demanding a referendum that police live in the neighborhoods they patrol;
Providing protection from abusive police by conducting “Know Your Rights” trainings;
Creating alternatives to policing and the “criminal justice” system (i.e. Restorative Circles);
EMPLOYMENT IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The unconditional right to desirable employment, a living wage, collective bargaining, and democratic participation in our workplaces:
(from report-backs and autonomous notes):
Put forward candidates
Adopt the 99% theme and offer trainings
Assisting existing labor struggles
Mobilizing community (through arts and music!) to support unions
Identify workplaces that want to organize and support
Organizing communities to support the democratization of all workplaces
LET’S ORGANIZE AROUND OUR PLANS FROM BREAK-OUT GROUPS, AND FOR THE NEXT MASS STRATEGY MEETING, NOW! How will we do it? :-)
Sad Note: Sunflame Concinnae and Astral Logic, two amazing, passionate, powerful activists who’ve been very active with this mass strategy meeting among many other things, I’m sure, were killed last night, hit by a car. Please pay your respects to them and their work. I believe Sunflame, or Alex Hardiman, would have us ALL GROW FOOD locally and make sure that the whole society does so, and that Astral would have us focus on those most marginalized and uplift them and listen closely to their stories. I think we ought to honor them by doing the work that they began and carrying the torch forward :-(