The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    What is the 99% Declaration Working Group?

    A post on Occupy Baltimore led me to a Daily Pennsylvanian report that both the Occupy movement and something called the 99% Declaration Working Group plan summer conventions in Philadelphia over Fourth of July weekend.

    ... The 99% Declaration group and the Occupy movement are both planning national conventions this summer, but the groups differ in their philosophies toward governmental change.

    The 99% Declaration, or 99D, is hosting a conference called “Continental Congress 2.0” in Philadelphia beginning on July 2. One man and woman will be elected from each Congressional district to attend the event. The 878 representatives will be elected through an online ballot open from June 1 to 3.

    Each delegation will submit a list of grievances, which will be voted on from July 2 to 4. The petition of grievances will be finalized by July 4.

    “The idea is to get the list down to about ten key grievances and give it to Congress, the president and the Supreme Court,” founder of 99D Michael Pollock said.

    Pollok appears to be an attorney practicing in New York State handling DUI and post-trial procedural cases. Occupy sources paint him as a lawyer for white collar criminals.

    However, the Occupy movement does not endorse 99D and is displeased that the group did not consult them in the planning of the convention.

    “Our movement thrives on transparency and horizontalism, and [99D’s] meetings take place in a hierarchical structure behind closed doors,” Occupy member and organizer Larry Swetman said. He added that delegate candidates for the 99D conference are required to put in a Social Security number, which excludes parts of the population. According to the 99D website, delegates must be citizens or permanent residents.

    Occupy is planning its own five-day National Gathering in Philadelphia culminating on July 4, according to Swetman.


    Manning said 99D had reached out to the Occupy movement in Zuccotti Park for collaboration, but the movement refused to endorse 99D and Continental Congress 2.0.

    A representative from 99D attended an Occupy Philadelphia General Assembly, according to an Occupy press release, but because of “outrage at the group’s behavior,” they voted unanimously not to support them.

    The press release cited concerns about eligibility to be a delegate candidate, having closed meetings with the Philadelphia City Council before coming to the Occupy Philadelphia General Assembly, and association with former Goldman Sachs executives.

    The two groups have very different methods to achieve their goals. Occupy intensely disagrees with 99D on the basis of representative democracy versus direct democracy.

    “We’re trying to include the 99 percent and they’re trying to include a few hundred people,” Swetman said.

    Meanwhile, 99D finds issue with Occupy’s philosophy of governance by direct democracy ineffective and unfair.

    “If for some reason you aren’t able to go to a local meeting, you’re just not heard,” Pollock said. “To us that’s not democratic, it’s survival of the fittest.”

    99D's use of the Liberty Bell in their website graphics remind me of Tea Party imagery: 

    Today, the 99% Working Group ( and Rootstrikers ( announced that the July 2-4, 2012 Philadelphia convention, known as Continental Congress 2.0, will conclude in front ofIndependence Hall with closing ceremonies featuring Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, former judge Catherine Crier and other prominent speakers. An unveiling of a Petition for Redress of Grievances, crafted by hundreds of delegates from around the nation will be the focus of the rally. ...

    1. An End to Corporate Personhood

    2. The Overturning of the Supreme Court's Decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C.

    3. The Elimination of Crony Capitalism and Washington's Revolving Door of Corruption 

    4. Comprehensive Banking and Securities Reform to end Wall Street's Control of our Politicians 

    5. 100% Public Financing of Political Campaigns and Other Election Reforms
    On November 17, 2011, The 99% Declaration Working Group filed as a NYS not-for-profit organization called The 99% Working Group, Ltd.  We engage in discussions about the 99% movement and our plans to hold an election of 878 delegates in June 2012 and provide a venue in Philadelphia for the National General Assembly in July. While we are a not-for-profit, because we are organized to effectuate political change, contributions made to us are not tax deductible.

    With THIS IS NOT THE 99% DECLARATION, Occupy National Gathering (NatGat) is trying to distance themselves from 99D:

    The national convention of delegates on July 2nd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a product of the 99% Declaration affinity group and does not have the endorsement of the Occupy Movement. The 99D project employs methods that the Movement has found disconcerting including representative governance, closed meetings, and exclusionary tactics. Our Movement is committed to the principles of direct democracy, transparency, and horizontalism and we cannot endorse a convention that does not adhere to these principles. 

    It isn't hard to find links with very strong criticisms of 99D. Former Sachs VP, NY Corporate Crime Lawyer Behind So-Called “Occupy” 99% Declaration Attempt claims several internal coups and firings by Pollok over control of donations.

    In addition, Democratic Underground discussed concerns about Michael Pollok's management of the 99% Declaration Group:

    OK, He threatened to "out" an Occupier for allegedly being affiliated with Anonymous... Gee, I wonder who can raise awareness about the problem with this guy's organization?

    Despite their tumultuous relationship with OWS, the group continued to develop its plans and formed its own nonprofit, The 99% Declaration Working Group, Ltd. The board members include founder Michael Pollok, a former white collar crimes criminal defense attorney who ran for Congress in 2009; Nancy Marcus Newman, whose father Steve Newman was involved in a bribery scandal with Vince Fumo; Adeline Malone, a former VP at Goldman Sachs; and an unknown Kevin Archambault.




    It is understandable that the Occupy movement is trying to divorce themselves from the DWG. 

    But the whole convening of a national convention modeled on the principles of the occupy movement does start to bring up some interesting questions.

    The first one comes to mind is derived from one of the reasons for taking issue with keeping it to citizens and legal residents is that it excludes illegal immigrants from having a voice.  It is understandable that one would like to have migrant workers and other undocumented individuals have a voice.  But then we are confronted by the question of what one means when one starts talking about the nation.

    Is it simply those who happen to be in a particular geographical location at a particular time?  Should someone from, say, Switzerland or Guatemala, who has just arrived, undocumented, a month ago have an equal voice about what happens in this country.

    And why stop at the borders. Someone on facebook wrote in response to the People of Color Working Group's statement regarding issues with DWG's limitations on participation

    Its divisive for a start, and ignores 95% of the global population. America is not the only country, nor does it have any sole preserve over the 99%.

    So in keeping with the principles of the movement, does one have to do away with the notion of the state? which in this case refers to United States of America, but would apply to any of the locations on the globe.

    If one is for true participatory democracy, then how can one deny one participation just because they happen to be just on the other side of the border in, say, Montreal or Toronto.  And folks in those cities, along with the rest of Canada need to allow the rest of us south of their border to be able to have a say on what happens up there. 

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