SOURCE: The 99% Working Group, Ltd.

The 99% Working Group, Ltd.

March 07, 2012 16:48 ET

"Continental Congress 2.0"

"What We Have in Common Is Revulsion at How Money Has Perverted 21st-Century American Democracy"

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - Mar 7, 2012) - Inspired by the words and actions of Occupiers across America, the 99% Declaration Working Group ("99D") today announced further details about a spring election on the Internet and a summer convention in Philadelphia.

"This convention is an exercise of our Constitutional right to peaceably assembly and put all politicians on notice that the people they are supposed to represent do not approve of their self-serving behavior. We demand that they cut through the petty partisan politics and redress the American people's real concerns or they will face the consequences at the ballot box in 2012 and 2014," proclaimed Mauren Mower, who has been involved in preliminary planning for the confab and is one of the hundreds of candidates vying to be elected to go to Philadelphia the week of July 4th and draft a petition for redress of grievances.

"Our goals are no different from the Founders who met in Philadelphia for this purpose," observed Karlie Cole, another 99D organizer. "Only our demographics are different. Last time around the drafters were all white, male, landholders or professionals. Our meeting might better be called 'Continental Congress 2.0.' Delegates to this convention include women and men. Black, white, and every hue in between. Jews & gentiles, true believers & infidels. What we have in common is revulsion at how money has perverted 21st-Century American democracy," said Ms. Cole. Unified under the banner of the 99% Declaration Working Group, a group of non-partisan activists were galvanized by last Fall's wave of Occupations, from Manhattan to Berkeley and from the Dakotas to Texas. As the winter months crept in, all around the nation, from Wall Street to Washington state the question echoed: What Next?

"We'd proven our mettle. But defying 'The Man' and taking over public spaces -- while inspirational -- is hardly a method for reforming and governing a continental nation," said David Itkin, yet another organizer. "How can you count upward-wiggling fingers in Sheboygan when you're sitting in Waukesha?" Itkin's comment highlights the differences in style and philosophy that have caused groups like Occupy Wall Street to disavow the 99D. An ethic of leaderless, consensus-oriented decision-making animates many long-term Occupiers. They distrust representative democracy and fear "co-option" by a system they feel has utterly abandoned them. At an Occupy encampment, whether in Pennsylvania, New York, California or Texas, consensus is usually established when everyone attending a daily General Assembly points their digits upwards and flexes them. Without 100% agreement, discussion continues (or not) and no final action is approved or taken.

The non-partisan 99D convention, during the week of the Fourth of July, will follow a different model. Delegates will be elected by secure Internet balloting during the first week in June. Then, the elected delegates will consider a list of more than a score of draft grievances -- compiled in Liberty Park during the first heady days of Occupy Wall Street and subsequently tweaked by dozens of like-minded activists from every corner of the blogosphere. Moreover, the declared delegate candidates have already begun to collaborate on the Internet so that they will be ready to ratify a final petition in Philadelphia after three days of debate, discussion and amendment.

"After that," said 99D co-founder Michael Pollok, "We'll serve it on all three branches of the federal government and request that all candidates running for office in November 2012 take a public pledge to redress the grievances listed in the ratified petition. If the ratified petition doesn't lead to timely reform, the delegates will pursue our lawful remedies through the ballot box, the legal system and elsewhere. We're in this for the long haul. Thanks to Occupy, Americans have become more aware. It's not a question of whether the people will restore democracy and expel the oligarchic corporatists. It is only a question of when. This petition of, by, and for the people is a powerful step towards a second non-violent American revolution."

For more information about the 99% Declaration, to register to vote or run for delegate, and to read the current set of draft grievances, go to www.the99declaration.org

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