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Latest Newsletter From Occupy Wall Street: Houston—Freeway Blogging

Below is the weekly newsletter of Occupy Wall Street: Houston. OWSH is an effort to give another try at the Occupy Wall Street effort here in Houston.  There is also an OWSH Facebook page. If you’d like to take part, the information you need is in the newsletter. There is always reason to keep at it and to move forward. The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us.

Here is a picture of some freeway blogging that OWSH members took part in earlier this week—

Here is the newsletter—

Upcoming Events

Sun Apr 28, 8:30AM, 711 Sabine St: Permablitz withTransition Houston. The group is dedicated to promoting sustainable living practices and selects at random one backyard per month to transform into a permaculture paradise. Full descriptionhere. Wouldn’t this be a great group to ally with and the permablitz a great way to do it?

Tues May 1: Occupy general strike. We’re working with Occupy Houston to outreach to different groups accross the city. OH is working on blocking entrance into downtown and OWSH will be coordinating a picket line within downtown, the goal being to provide opportunities for different levels of action.
Thu May 3, Fri May 4, and Sat May 5, 8PM, Good Jobs=Great Houston, 2955 Gulf Fwy: LookOut Arts Collective presents Theatre for the 99%: 6 short plays about living in America. All performances are PAY WHAT YOU WANT!!! Occupier Caleb Travis is producing.
May 9, evening, time and place TBA: Bank divestment action coincident with Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting in Charlotte, NC. We’re caravaning between different grocery store bank branches, telling the story of “I’m leaving this abusive relationship and marrying my credit union!” OWSH will provide materials to decorate vehicles a la “Just Divorced”, and if you’re divesting on this day, we’ll provide veils for “brides” and (we hope) top hats for “grooms”. Take this opportunity to divest from Wells Fargo, BoA, whichever big bank you’re currently banking with, and join a local bank or credit union! This is a non-arrest piece of street theater.
Computer Privacy and Freedom Skillshare with activist Patrick Gibbs. Details to come.

Ongoing


Sundays, 1:30 PM, Bohemeo’s, 708 Telephone Rd (in Tlaquepaque Market):GA.

Tuesdays, 5PM, U.S. 59 and Dunlavy: Freeway blog.

Autonomous action: petition drive to require a referendum vote on the anti food-sharing ordinance. We need 28,000 valid signatures by the middle of July. Download the updated (as of 4/17) petition here.

Volunteer Opportunities

Come to a GA or contact us at owshou@gmail.com and find out how to participate
from your home:

  • Video editor (takes previously recorded footage of OWSH actions, makes it tell an engaging story)

out in the world, with other members:

  • Freeway blogger (participates in banner hangs on Houston’s bridges. Safe and fun.)
  • Pay It Forwarder (works to strengthen community in GHA, one neighborhood at a time, by providing requested services to neighborhood residents. Trash pickup, house painting, garden prep, whatever’s requested. We ask that those who have received our help work to help others in their neighborhood.)

out in the world, autonomously:

  • Coalition builder (speaks for OWSH at meetings of other orgs in the GHA, builds bridges.)

GA Endorses MLK’s Principles of Non-Violence

by Jesus Waldo

We the people of Occupy Wall Street Houston have organized under the banner of nonviolence as our overarching principle. Through the practice of nonviolence as exemplified by Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and many other influential leaders the world over, the actions, rhetoric, and beliefs of our movement will be guided in the favor of what is just.

Why each individual has chosen to adhere to nonviolence in their actions is personal and, without discussion, is valid and equal to the same choice made by all. We at Occupy Wall Street Houston understand that nonviolence is simply the way we have chosen to operate. We must now fully understand what the commitment is and we must ensure that we educate all involved in our actions about the principles of nonviolence.

Occupy Wall Street Houston will be a force in the community because we are the community. The force will be positive and will build toward a stronger more connected community. As human beings and activists we will commit to growth within ourselves and will mentor the spiritual, emotional, intellectual growth of others to reach full potential. All will be welcomed to speak their mind because no person is evil regardless of the darkness of their thoughts or actions. We understand that because no person can be evil then no person should be on the receiving end of violence.

Understanding that Occupy Wall Street Houston is a movement of nonviolent actions is easier in theory than it is in practice. We will not judge, humiliate, provoke or take advantage of our opponent’s weaknesses to achieve our goals. We will study an issue to look for ways to address it before taking any direct action. Opponents will understand our complaints and we will trust their intentions to address them. If a compromise is not achieved, having exhausted all means of alternative dispute resolution within our power, we will organize and participate in civil disobedience.

All actions of civil disobedience by Occupy Wall Street Houston will remain nonviolent. We will not reciprocate an offence directed at us as a group or as individuals. In breaking a law, just or not, there will be consequences that must be accepted. It is the responsibility of any person acting in civil disobedience to accept the humiliations and suffering in hopes that the world will see their commitment and sincerity. Anyone participating in an action by Occupy Wall Street Houston will be informed of the possible consequences as well as any laws that will be broken. During any action we will not allow hate to rule our actions or words. We believe that our voices will be listened to, not just heard, if we express the facts about the issues and our ideas for solutions.

After every action we will look for the reconciliation of parties involved. Our ultimate goal is justice: social, environmental, economic. Occupy Wall Street Houston accepts that justice will prevail in the end and have chosen nonviolence as our means.

Occupy Austin Announces Occupy Your Capital

Four members of OA traveled to Houston to spread the word about this 4th of July action to Houston’s Occupys. The event is still in the planning stages, but the overall vision is to 1) put forth a show of numbers to show America that Occupy is alive and well; 2) make explicit the deeply patriotic nature of civil protest in general and Occupy in particular; 3) connect with other Occupiers from across Texas. The facebook group, Occupy Your Capital: July 4, is being used to plan the event and will have tools to coordinate rideshares and day-specific events.

T-Shirts Ready to Order


Will Bermudez did such a great job coming up with logo designs that we decided not to pick just one. All of them will be available for printing on the t-shirt of your choice. Your t-shirt options:

  1. Get one from a resale shop. This option is cheap and green.
  2. Get a new, plain tee. Here’s one option that’s sweatshop-free.
  3. Purchase white shirts from our printer. It’s not sweatshop-free, but it’s cheap and easy. Email us at owshou@gmail.com with your name, size, quantity, and design before this Sunday, and we’ll put your order in.

If you’re providing your own shirt(s), get it to Selene at the next GA, and she’ll pass it on to the printer.

Thanks to an anonymous donor for sponsoring the $35 screen that will be used to print the shirts. This is our screen, which means that whenever we need a shirt printed, it’s ready to go (in one color). Our printer will print the shirts for $2 each, $6 if he’s providing the shirt.

May 1

Occupy Houston wrote apress release describing the origin of May Day and the thought behind the May 1 General Strike..They are planning a blockade of downtown, details to come. Houston United is marching from Bellaire and Renwick to Burnet Bayland Park at 5:30. Individuals are welcome to lend their support to any May Day actions, and OWSH will decide at the next GA what to officially support.

Community Pot-Lucks with Occupy Austin


by Lainie Duro, Occupy Austin
They shared this idea with us at our last GA and said potluck No. 1 was a hit. Something to work towards when our numbers are a little bigger?–ed. note.
We decided to divide the city into quadrants and scheduled potlucks every couple of weeks in different areas of town. A different person is responsible for heading up each potluck & they choose the location for the potluck, which typically will be a neighborhood park. We brainstormed a list of activities and topics for the picnics, and will invite the community to join us for food, fun, and discussion. We’d also like to try to teach the principles of horizontal democracy and facilitation, so neighborhoods can choose to start their own general assemblies if they desire.

Here are [some of] the notes from our planning meeting:
Agenda
• Choose Parks
• Plan Dates (through Sept 30)
• Brainstorm Activities/Topics (inspire conversation rather than soapboxing)
• Assign Rotating Magnet
• Create Checklist

General Brainstorming
• Create contact list for orgs who might partner
• Do outreach physically at external orgs (visit open meetings, contact by phone, etc)
• Create banner(s) for potlucks
Potluck planning checklist
• Schedule all potlucks (try to keep 3-6 month schedule)
• Choose themes and activities for potlucks
• Find speakers/musicians/artists/performers
• Create Occupy Austin Information Binder (Lainie’s task that keeps not getting done!)
• Find partners in community
• Create Flyer Template (English/Spanish) to be edited and used for all potlucks (doorhangers?)
• Outreach 2 weeks out (immediately following previous potluck)
• Canvassing/Facebook event/Community Calendars/Flyering (Laundromats, Libraries, bus stops)



Got an item–an announcement, a proposal, a report–for the next GA? Send it toowshou@gmail.com before Thurs at 10 PM, and Facilitation will get it onto the agenda! Know of an Occupy-friendly event coming up? Email it and we’ll put it in the next newsletter.



Make Your Ideas Heard Outside of the GA

Join our google group,owshOps. Here’s where we’ll plan strategy and tactics to accomplish our mission of creating “Liberty and Justice for All”. Some of the threads so far:

  • Messaging–how do we help others connect the dots? What language would be most effective? What points do we want to emphasize and repeat?
  • May1 general strike
  • Ladder of engagement–how can we make sure that there are ways for interested parties to become engaged at different levels of involvement?

Agenda Items For Our Next GA

Proposals

  • bylaws item: OWSH’s structure
  • implementing specific opportunities for engagement (movie night, etc)

Discussion

  • messaging
  • May 1 action
  • May 9 divestment action
  • Pay It Forward inEdward Munoz‘s and Selene Ballestas‘s neighborhood
  • Long range planning: state Democratic convention in Houston, Jun 7-9; Occupy Your Capital in Austin July 4, re-Occupy (Houston? statewide, in Austin?) Oct 6; elections in Nov

Reports

  • banner hang
  • Permablitz
  • Finance on HPJC, bank account
  • prep for Theater for the 99%
  • website (offered by Jesus Waldo‘s business as a portfolio-builder)
  • coalition building

OWSH Commits to Community

Because we value our group and the work we set out to do, and because maintaining a cohesive group and engaging fully in that work requires cooperative participation by all and the perception of a basic level of safety in which to operate, we adopted guidelines regarding participationas an official part of our by-laws. In accordance with our value of mentorship, we constructed a series of escalating consequences for participants who violate our values, in the hopes that the corrective power of community can bring those who mis-step back to a place of action with integrety and respect for others.

Suggestions

We’re working hard to make our facebook page informative, for both occupiers and folks new to the movement. Check out our new FAQ tab. Is there info that should be there but is missing? Let us know at owshou@gmail.com.

April 26, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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