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What is this action?
This is a gathering of people who support peace and social, economic and environmental justice. Our intention is to stay in Washington, D.C. as a unified presence. We will use ongoing actions of nonviolent resistance to disrupt the forces that corrupt our political process and undermine our rights and human needs. We will demand changes that shift power away from concentrated corporate capital and free us to create solutions that lead to a just and sustainable future.
Where and when will the action take place?
The action will begin in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. (at 13th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue NW) on Thursday, October 6th in the morning.
What is the purpose of this action?
The purpose of this action is to join together to:
- Create solidarity among the people and groups who support peace and economic, environmental, and social justice.
- Demonstrate the power of nonviolence.
- Model a society that functions with inclusivity, tolerance, and a process of decisions by consensus of the people.
- Have a great enough effect that the government will take concrete steps to meet our demands.
- Create a lasting force that will continue to move our society towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future.
Why are you organizing this?
The country has reached crisis levels with respect to the economy, jobs, education, health care, the environment, and an Empire that is overextended. The current political climate has demonstrated itself to be too dysfunctional to effectively address these crises. The normal tools of advocacy - elections, lobbying, grassroots pressure - have become ineffective. Corporations control the political process and the media message. Corporations and the wealthy have nearly limitless resources. We have the numbers - the majority of people in America support ending the wars and using our resources for human needs. The point is to bring individuals and groups together who support peace and economic, environmental, and social justice so that our numbers will be greater than if we tried this alone. We believe that the time has come to engage in massive nonviolent direct action to build the culture of resistance in order to shift power away from concentrated corporate capital and create a system that respects human rights and the planet.
Who is organizing this?
We are a group of individuals committed to peace and social, economic and environmental justice. We have experience with work in advocacy and direct action on a diversity of peace and justice issues. We are not an organization nor do we intend to become one. We do intend to develop a model of working together which models the kind of society we would like to see: one that acts with nonviolence and mutual respect, is diverse, makes decisions by consensus and encourages creativity, community and just and sustainable solutions.
What are the demands?
October2011.org is working through its steering committee, endorsing organizations and the thousands of members of our online community to develop the demands we stand for. We have made a lot of progress but continue to work on these issues and will continue to do so during the occupation of Freedom Plaza beginning on October 6.
One way to look at our demands is as a pyramid, with the short version on the top and the broader versions on the bottom. This allows people to drill deeper into issues and get as much information as they want.
At the top -- end corporatism and militarism. That means end government dominated by concentrated corporate power resulting in crony capitalism and the interests of economic elite donors coming before the necessities of the American people. Ending militarism means ending a foreign policy dominated by military power. The current empire foreign policy of the United States with more than1,000 military bases around the world and military operations ongoing in dozens of countries undermines U.S. economic and national security, the rule of law and democracy.
The next level comes from the pledge: "demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation.
Below that are the seven issues where super majorities of the American public agree with our political goals but the U.S. government is going in the opposite direction. See "We Stand With the Majority of Americans: Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed." These seven issues are:
- Tax the rich and corporations
- End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
- Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all
- End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
- Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
- Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
- Get money out of politics
Under the issues section of the website we list Fifteen Core Issues The Country Must Face. For each of this 15 issues we are developing detailed positions. We are currently discussing several drafts in the discussion section of the website and people are bringing their views on issues forward. See http://october2011.org/forums/discussions/issues. We hope you will participate in developing these issues.
Why did you choose a fist as your symbol?
We picked the fist as a symbol of solidarity and unity. For an explanation see: “The Fist of Solidarity.”
How will the decisions be made during the action?
We will ask for groups that work on specific issues and individuals affected by those issues to come together, work as part of the October2011 Movement and send representatives to a core group that can discuss decisions that need to be made. We will include people who are skilled in the consensus process and who understand effective strategies to advise the group. This will be presented to the participants during the nightly assemblies for decision by consensus.
How long will the action last?
The action will last until we achieve our goals of moving us onto a path to a peaceful, just and sustainable future. Part of the action will occur during the occupation in Washington, D.C. and part will have to continue on after the occupation to ensure that our demands are met.
What if I cannot commit to the whole action?
We understand that many are not in a position to be able to commit to the entire occupation. We ask that you join us for as long as you are able, whether it be for a few hours, a day, a few days, only on weekends or whatever you can do.
Do I have to get arrested?
We encourage you to attend even if you are not ready to risk arrest. Your presence will be valuable and you can choose to not participate in actions of nonviolent resistance or participate only to the extent that you avoid arrest. There are important roles for those who choose not to risk arrest such as jail support, observation and other responsibilities during the occupation such as food, medical care and cleanup. That said, there are no guarantees because we cannot at this time predict the response by the DC police. Our experience in the past is that they give warnings prior to making arrests so that those who choose to do so may leave the action.
I want to participate, but I can't come to DC. What can I do to be involved?
We are encouraging as many people to come to Washington, D.C. as are able because we will need a large presence to have the greatest effect. If you absolutely cannot join us in D.C., there are many ways that you can support and participate in the action:
- Send somebody from your community to the action.
- Help to spread the word and/or bring on endorsing organizations.
- Organize a local solidarity action.
- Make a donation or hold a fundraiser to support the action.
Can I get help with transportation?
We encourage people to share travel and we will provide a tool for carpooling. You can start by using the Travel page on the website.
Where will we sleep?
We will make announcements as we go along. Some will sleep outside, some in nearby churches (we hope) and some may choose to get a hotel room. A popular hotel with activists which is close to Freedom Square is the Hotel Harrington.
Will there be food?
We can’t have resistance without sustenance! The October6 Coalition is working hard to provide as much food as possible during the occupation. We are working on getting a few hot meals, arranging for an “Ivan’s of Madison, WI” pizza hub, getting donations of fruit and dry foods as well as having an ongoing supply of water. But we know we will not be able to feed thousands of us each day. It’s not logistically possible for us to do that even though we would like to. So please, in addition to what we are working on providing for everyone, plan to bring as much food of your own as you can to share with your affinity group, or friends, and plan to be creative with your brothers and sisters in organizing your own food gathering.
Can I get medical treatment if I need it?
We are working on providing a medical tent. Please let us know if you can volunteer to work in it.
Do you have accommodations for those with disabilities?
We are looking for volunteers in the disability community and who work with the disability community to make this an inclusive event.
What is nonviolent resistance?
Below are non-violence guidelines from Veterans for Peace that we are using for this action. More on non-violence is availale here: http://october2011.org/node/487.
1. We will use our anger at injustice as a positive, nonviolent force for change.
2. We will not carry weapons of any kind.
3. We will not vandalize or destroy property.
4. We will not use or carry alcohol or illegal drugs.
5. We will not run or make threatening motions.
6. We will not insult, swear or attack others.
7. We will protect those who oppose or disagree with us from insult or attack.
8. We will not assault, verbally or physically, those who oppose or disagree with us, even if they assault us.
9. Our attitude, as conveyed through our words, symbols and actions, will be one of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all people we encounter including police officers, military personnel, members of the community at large, and all marchers.
10. As members of a nonviolent action, we will follow the directions of the designated coordinators.
11. If an individual has a serious disagreement with the organizers of the action, the individual will withdraw from the action.
Will there be nonviolence training?
Yes, we will offer nonviolence workshops prior to and during the occupation. Please check the websites for details which we will post when they are available.
Will there be legal support?
Yes, we will work with representatives from the National Lawyers Guild and those who are experienced in nonviolent direct action to provide legal observation and advice.
Will I be protected from personal injury?
We will do our best to prevent violence and will have marshals available but we cannot control all conditions including the response of law enforcement. We cannot promise that participants will be safe from personal injury.
Are weapons allowed?
This is a nonviolent event. We require all participants to refrain from bringing weapons.
Are you issuing press passes?
Please contact info@October2011.org if you are press and would like more information.
Can I volunteer?
Yes, please contact email@example.com and let us know how you would like to help.
Can my organization endorse the action?
Yes, please contact info@October2011.org for more information if your organization is interested in endorsing the action.