Plans for closed door Occupy Homes national meeting spurs opposition [VIDEO]

///// 1AM August 7th update: http://hongpong.com/archives/2012/08/07/security-culture-danger-closed-o... /////

///// 1:40PM Sat August 4 update and correction below /////

Many Twin Cities activists working with the Occupy Homes MN group were surprised to hear that a national gathering committee, with two representatives from their group, had decided to restrict open access to most (but not all) of the sessions of that national gathering, scheduled around August 7th-9th so in Minneapolis. (As far as I can tell it's not exactly clear when one of those delegates got delegated - and as seen on the long video, there is disagreement among Occupy Homes MN members about whether the ability to choose to lock the gathering was actually delegated.)

This unusual setup comes in contrast to other decidedly open Occupy related gatherings like the #natgat in Philadelphia, and the Occupy Midwest gathering recently in St. Louis and later in August in Detroit.

While unfortunately these documents lack proper dates, I think: the schedule came first, then the letter of criticism signed by some advocates for openness, then the counter-response and FAQ by the gathering committee.

These are all 'intended as public', not internal emails, and were the main basis for a large & long meeting of the Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting last Wednesday at 4200 Cedar Ave.

AUG 4 CORRECTION: It was not accurate to say that "Everything not marked OPEN is... closed". More correctly, the default state of each session is assumed closed, and one open event, a mixer at Monique White's house, is specified as open. The 'welcome brunch/mixer' is supposed to be open. The 'block/house party' is supposed to be open, and there is another panel over in St Paul at the Wellstone Center on the last day which is supposed to be open.

AUG 4 UPDATE from an open Occupy Minneapolis informal mailing list:

Occupy Homes General Meeting is Sat. 8/4 2-4pm, at the NOC office where the National Convening happens Wed. and Thurs.
Location: New NOC office, 911W Broadway, between Dupont and Bryant. #14 buses stop on Dupont and Broadway, walk east less than a block.
There will be a discussion about whether the National Convening is closed to all but a few from MN. Video of the discussion of this at the All Committees Meeting Wed:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256067647796440/permalink/366724770064060/
A slate of 6 MN participants and some alternates were chosen Fri. night at a meeting of 12 people.

I was able to get a copy of the FAQ (DOC available here) and a digital version of the same letter as below (DOC here), but not able to get a response to this post on the record. I am adding the FAQ text to the article.

Last night I asked the following set of questions to get answer on the record, as on background I was told by one of the people who locked out the gathering that there will be accommodations for five observers per session, and anyone is welcome to request to be one of the five observers. However the process for this culling of observers has not been specified, or at least I do not have that info available.

Sent via my crude cell phone pickings:

if I'm not on the slate you guys end up sending, is there a open process to let everyone in who is not on the slate? what is that process? is it exhaustively the content of that faq?

i agree with you there are open events that are not marked as such, i will correct that. however the default implies restricted access, aka closed sessions. some open sessions are marked, but none of the closed ones are. i'll clarify that's the default, but I was incorrect initially.

do you think closed access and restricted access are different semantically? the definitions we may disagree on i suspect. i think its either open or closed access, are those true binaries in your view? is it open access?

i doing [typo: don't] understand how anyone is supposed to attend, aka open access, where is any info on this? there is a filter besides open access and what is the replacement process?

how is that process deduced for the observer class of restricted participants? thanks. how is the observer class defined and when was that decision reached?

the various forms of logic are not clear in the restriction operations performed at both the occupyhomes mn level, the creation of restriction process within occupy homes mn & the process of the rationalizing of exclusion on the event committee. (in so many words)

i need to know the lineage of decision by which people, like me, those facing charges from occupy homes mn direct actions etc, get excluded from the sessions as well as your new proposed slate of participants and alternates.

are the alternates the same as observers? i assume not, but when was the decision taken? thanks much! sorry for the lack of caps on cell text,

No response yet to these questions.
//// END AUGUST 4 UPDATE ////


VIDEOS:

1/2 - 46 minutes. Will be uploaded & available Creative Commons at http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/al; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpafGFkVczM

Letter of criticism:

occupyhomes2.jpg

Proposed slate selection rules:

occupyhomes1.jpg

Counter-response by committee:

occupyhomes3.jpg

Proposed gathering schedule/agenda: [see correction above]

occupyhomes4.jpg occupyhomes5.jpg occupyhomes6.jpg

FAQ from committee - dang I failed to photograph but can get it later - maybe someone else has it... UPDATE AUG 4, I was provided a copy of FAQ from one of the people who locked out the sessions. It is added in full text below (with doc-via-textedit hyperlink cruft).

FAQ: The Occupy Homes National Network Convening

What is the Occupy Homes National Network Convening?
The Occupy Homes National Network Convening is bringing organizers from across the US for a 2-day meeting in Minneapolis to build a more cohesive movement to confront the housing crisis, and shape a movement for systemic economic change. Occupy Homes has sharpened the movement’s message and broadened its reach, yet national coordination has been ad hoc and under-nourished. We hope to start a process towards build a network that is vastly more than the sum of its parts.

Who is involved in the National Convening?
The convening is being hosted by the Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee, with local support from Occupy Homes MN. The convening committee is an ad hoc group including individuals from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Homes MN, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Organizing for Occupation, Home Defenders League, and OccupyOurHomes.org.

Gathering in Minneapolis will be groups that are engaging in home occupations and eviction defense style tactics from around the country. Many are groups that organize under the Occupy Homes banner, but also include community-based organizations who have been engaged in housing justice work prior to the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

How big is the Convening?
The convening will have approximately 40 participants from around the country. 

What was the selection process for participants?
The convening committee reached out to groups who are engaging in home occupations in a similar fashion to what has been done in Minneapolis with people like HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"MoniqueHYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/" HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"White. We also reached out to groups who have organized on housing justice issues within their local occupy group, or explicitly use occupy-style direct action tactics such as occupying foreclosure auctions. We asked the groups to decide internally who they would like to send; the convening committee had no input on how these groups chose their representatives.

The committee also sought to achieve geographic, economic, racial, and political/philosophical diversity to ensure the meeting reflected a range of opinions and groundings in different experiences. The primary benchmark was participation in multiple home occupations, liberations, or eviction defenses.

Why is the number of attendees limited?
The universe of people who we think are leaders in the Occupy Homes movement—and housing justice movement more broadly—extends far beyond the participants of this convening. We wish we could have more people participate, but are limited by a number of primary concerns.

First, we want to create a space where productive conversations produce concrete ideas to move this work forward to larger scale nationally. Based on the large number of relevant topics and short duration of the meeting itself, the convening committee made the decision that more than 40 people would make this outcome unlikely.

Second, we have limited resources to bring people from around the country. For example, while there are many organizers across California who are doing inspiring work for housing justice, we can only afford to fly a couple of them to Minnesota.

Third, we don't want any one city or organization to have a disproportionate voice in this conversation. We are concerned that privileging the participation of some groups over others due to geographical proximity or greater financial resources could overpower the diversity of perspectives that we hope to illuminate.

How is the Convening funded?
The convening committee applied for and received a grant from the Movement Resource Group (you can see the proposal here: HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"httpHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"://HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"movementresourcegroupHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320".HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"orgHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"/?HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"pageHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"_HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"idHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"=320). The primary costs of the convening are air travel for participants, as well as food and ground transportation. Occupy Homes MN supporters are lodging most of the participants in private homes and apartments.

July 2012
Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee

Question board from Wednesday evening Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting (shorthand, not literal)


occupyhomes14.jpg occupyhomes15.jpg

Grant proposal re Movement Resource Group:


occupyhomes7.jpg occupyhomes8.jpg occupyhomes9.jpg occupyhomes10.jpg occupyhomes11.jpg occupyhomes12.jpg occupyhomes13.jpg

******

Many of those in Minneapolis favoring restricting the Minnesota presence to a 'slate' have moved quickly to lock the notion of that slate into reality via a meeting, and a great deal of internal discussion is going on.

At this time, the plan is that no one from Minneapolis except that slate would be able to get in and observe most of the gathering, which will be closed. UPDATE Aug 4: this is disputed by one of the people who locked out the sessions - they say that anyone can apply for 5 limited observer slots but the process is unknown to me at this time.

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