PRESS RELEASE FOR THE Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: decolonize the 99%
Attendance encouraged by all Occupiers and interested parties. From August 21 to 25, 2013, Occupy Kalamazoo will be hosting the second annual Occupy National Gathering, building on last summer’s historic Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia, PA. This first gathering culminated in a visioning session based on the question “what does a democratic future look like to you?” on July 4, 2012.
This year, there is a focus on bringing together the Occupy movement with people of color, indigenous peoples, and those too often marginalized, even within the movement. Even our name is controversial—Occupying Wall Street is one tactic, but we recognize that America was occupied by colonizers and the struggle for liberation from colonization continues. We believe that it is time to figure out how to work together against “the 1%”—those unreconstructed corporatists who refuse to acknowledge the harm that has been done to the Earth and her residents, and that is ongoing. To that end, we came to consensus on a new name for our event: the Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: decolonize the 99%. This name recognizes our roots with Occupy Wall Street as well as acknowledges the injustice the United States’ forbears brought to this continent and our solidarity with decolonization.
The National Gathering Working Group 2013 (NGWG2013); a coalition of Occupy movements from cities around the world, uniting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and with Occupy and peoples’ movements worldwide is planning an InterNational Gathering of peoples’ movements worldwide, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We aim to assemble collectively and embrace our different ideologies and perspectives; to find our common visions; to share our strategies and actions; to learn from each other, and to leave this gathering with steps we can all take in both agreement and diversity for ourselves, our communities, our nations, and for all of us across the world.
Our convergence will begin on Aug. 21 and continue for five days of Community-and-Movement building exercises, and free-flowing open discussions. Turtle Soup Kitchen of the Rainbow Family of Living Light will be feeding the people and being the peace in Kalamazoo—we expect Rainbows from other tribes as well. Speakers include Cindy Sheehan, David Cobb, Bill Moyer and Julia Trigg Crawford. There will be structured teach-ins, presentations and activities throughout the week as well as space for Occupy-style self-organized activities each day.
We believe that the people of the world need to speak openly to each other about how to make a better world. We ask you to join with us, bringing your ideas, your struggles, and your voice—come to Kalamazoo! There will be a special focus on indigenous peoples, race, gender, and class throughout the convergence, considering the particular perspectives of these communities on each of the main topics of the individual days.
We are pleased to announce our host venue for the week is the Lamplighter Inn in Kalamazoo. This venue has everything – indoor space, outdoor space, a large parking lot. We have also been offered safe space by the Quakers, as they so graciously did last year in Philly.
Watch Occupy Natgat’s Video on Facebook
Many people ask why Kalamazoo? Very simply, as Bill Moyer said, Michigan is a hotbed of activist activity at this moment in history. Environmental issues plague the state and the Great Lakes; the political situation rallied tens of thousands as Governor Rick Snyder eroded the state’s unions; there are Drones bases and a solid anti-war base, and Kalamazoo has a reputation for being the sixth-meanest city in the country towards its homeless population. A homeless Bill of Rights is being worked on by Occupy Kalamazoo.
July 25th, 2010, the Kalamazoo River was nearly destroyed as more than 1 million gallons (as publicly stated) of Tar Sand Oil, along with benzene, and other chemicals pumped into our river at high pressure for more than 17 consecutive hours, killing nearly every fish for almost 40 miles. Tar Sand Oil (literally the most harmful kind of oil possible) is so dense because of the bitumen in fresh water that it sank to the bottom of the river. There most of it still sits, loosely covered by sand in the bed of the Kalamazoo. Though countless animals and plants are dead, and several deadly health complications are arising. The Canadian oil company Enbridge found a cover-up to be more cost efficient than addressing their mess. Enbridge employees were covered in protective gear and would be sent home the spill breached a 500-yard perimeter, whereas residents of trailer parks and homes within 500 yards were simply told to shut their windows.
The focus of the Occupy National Gathering will be leadership building and people-powered training, education, and actions, to empower people with trainings to take back to their community and spread positive and effective change in their communities. There is emphasis on Local struggle and how all our struggles connect on a global level.
Aug 21st: Renew Kalamazoo and your community.
Aug 22nd: Making and Supporting Free, Unfettered Media
Aug 23rd: Fixing Fossil Fuels and Creating an Environmentally Sustainable Future
Aug 24th: Economic and Trade Justice, Equal Access and Ending Corporate “Personhood”, Asserting the People’s Sovereignty
Aug 25th: Ending War and Our Police State, Building Peace and Cooperation
A Global Conversation
A multi-month building action, starting with the Plant Three Seeds solidarity action on Earth Day, working collectively with international groups like Via 22, the GlobalSkillsXChange, and participating in the recent How can we connect now our struggles and squares to create a global change? 27 June 2013 transnational meeting of 80 activists on mumble.Each day will also have a global component and conversation based on the needs and issues of the global community, roughly paralleling, but by no means restricted to, the daily themes. A more structured digital conference, with room for presentations and skillshares will take place August 22nd. The Global work, like NatGat2 itself, is a work in progress and will be developed by participating groups. Please join our global partner, Via22, for monthly mumble meetings 22nd of each month on the occupytalk.org server, Via22 room.
More info on facebook and the Via22 website and Hub on InterOccupy.
At the Gathering:
We hope to be offering multiple housing and recreational spaces. Sign up if you need either or have housing or a ride to offer. We encourage Occupys, individuals and organizations to self-organize Occupy Caravans from your city or region to Kalamazoo. Join the Team to help with organizing Housing and Transport.
We are donating time on Co-op farms, and outreaching with local business and farmers, gathering natural and healthy food to provide during the event. Food and Support teams forming! Join the team! Already signed up are Turtle Soup Kitchen of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, who will be feeding the people and being the peace in Kalamazoo—we expect Rainbows from other tribes as well
There will be nightly entertainment, including featured artists, poets, musicians, and DJs, as well as a campfire and drum circles. Also planning a benefit concert, and encourage artists of all mediums to inquire for space for expression.
Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: decolonize the 99%, like all Occupy events, strives to be as cost-free as possible and to provide Mutual Aid for essentials like food, water, sanitation, housing, transport, media, and support. All services are provided free by volunteer teams and participants. Donations to defray unavoidable costs accepted through our fiscal sponsor, AfGJ.
Watch the conference on Livestream:
Occupy Kalamazoo: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/occupykalamazoo
Join One of Our Weekly Planning Conference Calls:
Every Wednesday at 8pm EDT until the Occupy(Inter)NatGat2013
Every Monday at NOON EDT until further notice. One registration gives you a personal identification number (PIN) for both calls.
Help Plan Events and Activities, Offer to Speak, Teach, Run a Workshop. Join the Team to help with one of the many aspects of Support.
Participants/Endorsements So Far:
Alliance for Global Justice | The A9 Network | Battle Creek Oil Spill | Bill Moyer and the Back Bone Campaign | Code Black | Dept. of Peace | Earth First | Food and Water Watch | Global Revolution Media | Idle No More Michigan | Kalamazoo City of Compassion | Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War (KNOW) | Louisiana Shrimp Alliance | March against Drones | The Media Consortium | Michigan Ban Fracking | Michigan Home Defense | Michigan Tar Sands | Move To Amend Coalition/David Cobb | Mutual Aid Dcats | National Homeless Coalition | National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) | New York Against Fracking | Air Occupy | Occupy Bergen County | Occupy Boston | Occupy Buffalo | Occupy Ohio Cozhocton | Occupy Chicago I Occupy Detroit | Occupy Enbridge | Occupy the Environment I Occupy Frederick I Occupy Global Media (GOM) | Occupy Grand Rapids MI | Occupy Hilo | Occupy Homes | InterOccupy | Occupy Love | Occupy Petaluma | Occupy Raleigh NC | Occupy the Roads | Occupy Royal Oak | Occupy Sandy NJ | Occupy Sandy NYC | Occupy Staten Island | Strike Debt | Occupy Traverse City | Occupy Tucson | Occupy Vision I Women Occupy | #OpOK | Dr. Ricki Ott | People United for Sustainable Housing (P.U.S.H Kalamazoo) | The Poor Peoples Campaign | Public Citizen Global Trade Watch: Stop the TransPacific Partnership | Road to USSF 3 | Shut Down Palisades | Unfuck The World, Featuring the Summer Support/Love Takeover Tour | United States Social Forum | Via 22 | Wesleyan Peace Center
Occupy National Gathering on Facebook
National Gathering 2013 in Kalamazoo Facebook
#NatGat2 #natgat2 #NatGat2013 #natgat2013#Ng2Kzoo #OccupyKalamazoo
Join the email lists for discussion and planning!
Chris Whamoff, OccupyNatGat2, Occupy Kalamazoo
See Official Announcement Page for more info: http://occupynationalgathering.net/announcement/press-release-for-the-occupy-wall-street-inter-national-gathering-decolonize-the-99