We’ve witnessed an exponentially growing list of communities that are banding together with our brothers and sisters on Wall St. by organizing solidarity actions in their cities. This rise in support has been incredibly inspiring and has promoted many of you to become active in organizing an event in your area. Through the enthusiasm and excitement of wanting to show your support you are all working diligently to organize events in a short amount of time. As we have followed some of theses group’s efforts we’ve seen many different approaches to organizing. We’ve also fielded many questions on advice and how to information on effectively organizing. We wanted to feature Portland as an example for those of you would like a model to follow or to take from as they have done a great job joining and organizing efforts in a very short amount of time. Of course, each group dynamic is going to vary and what worked for Portland may not work for you, but at least this will give you an idea of how others are doing it.
A couple of members from Portland filled us in on their process:
Basically it all comes down to networking and extensive planning. The initial construction of the Occupy Portland Facebook group was backed by some pretty frequent tweeting. Once we started getting a huge following, there were more and more discussions popping up on the Facebook group. We were discussing where it should be, what Portland laws were regarding “urban camping”, as well as a number of other concerns. We then held a General Assembly to further organize where were all in consensus with our future actions and demonstration details. After we compiled notes from the GA, we discussed them further on the Facebook group. Once we had the frame work of what everyone wanted and expected we set up a Facebook page and web site to better organize and announce future details.
Advice using Twitter:
Sending messages to those working at Occupy Wall Street was definitely helped us gain notice. People are heavily following #occupywallstreet, #takewallstreet, #usdor, as well as a number of other widely used hash tags. Each tweet sent out would include a tag with a trending tag, my city (#pdx) as well as a link to the facebook group.
Also we paid attention to the amount of followers people had, and mentioned them as well.
Portlanders were watching, so they were bound to jump on board once they knew about a protest here. Nearly all of us are using Twitter, so they used the same approach when spreading the group link around the internet.
Advice using Facebook:
We first started a Group that opened up discussion to hear out everyone’s ideas, concerns and thoughts on how they could help. This was a very important stage in our organizational efforts.
I think the most important thing for us was using the General Assembly model and making each decision everyone’s decision. This helped us remain unified. Legal assistance, bike deliveries, medics, photographers, people who can stream the protest, and similar topics were brought up. We covered nearly all the bases, and most of us left with a pretty hefty amount of notes. Notes from the General Assembly were posted online on a page for everyone in the Portland group to see.
Contact your local National Lawyers Guild early on for legal advice in your area. We are holding a seminar with the National Lawyers Guild so that we can become versed in the proper execution of a demonstration like this. They have confirmed that legal observers will be present durring our demonstration. We are also planning to hold a meeting with them where we discuss the importance of nonviolence and the proper way to conduct oneself in civil disobedience.
It’s extremely important to make sure extensive preparation goes into a something this big. Some people have certain contacts who would be useful, others are volunteering to do a specific job. It all comes as we address what needs to be seen and done upon Occupation.
We stressed something several times: this needs to remain non-violent. Remaining peaceful helps the overall image of this nationwide movement. If things do become violent, we acknowledge that staying calm only helps the cause. If we have arrests then we will have the footage immediately uploaded. It helps those in NYC by showing that the cops are abusing our rights, and that this thing is nothing like the misleading media says.
nycga.cc Find up to date information on the NYC General Assembly.
occupywallst.org News, video feed, forum & chat.
http://nycga.cc/2011/09/24/principles-of-solidarity-working-draft/ Working Draft of the Principles of Solidarity
www.nlg.org National Lawyers Guild