(un)Occupy Albuquerque General Assembly 6.17.12
1. Report back from Pots & Pans Potluck Parade
Approx. 70 people from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Lunas and Taos welcomed the Occupy Caravan on their way to the national gathering in Philadelphia. There was great New Mexican food. A soapbox was set up for people to give their 99 seconds of thought…the main message from the Occupy Caravan was love and being one. The Soapbox Singers passed out lyrics to Woody Guthrie’s “Banks of Marble” and everybody sang along, and “This is Indian Land” t-shirts were sold. After eating posole, green chili stew, tamales and fry bread, people paraded through Old Town with pots and pans and signs. They were very well received and a lot of tourists took photos. It was a very noisy parade which the kids loved. Everything was live streamed and there is also video on the FB page and website.
The Occupy Caravan helped energize the local movement even if they did not have much of a political analysis or strong message. The mood was very happy and fun. Hershe has been on some of the national calls with the Occupy Caravan and the issue of decolonization has been raised and one of the young activists in the Occupy Caravan really reflected on that and talked about it. There was one confrontational person locally and we discussed how to handle confrontations from him as he has been disruptive before and seems to target 2 of the activists in (Un)OccupyABQ. We agreed that we would try to have a group of people interrupt him if he gets aggressive again.
2. National Gathering in Philadelphia June 30-July 4
Fundraising has been very successful! The Quaker meeting donated more than $500 and we are appreciative to Tina for the connections she’s made as a member of the Quaker meeting. Tina contacted the organizers of the National Gathering to inquire about how they would address the issues of colonization and institutional racism and the only reply they had was that they would have a march to free Mumia. They also offered a workshop space for (Un)OccupyABQ.
Maria and Amalia have agreed to attend the National Gathering but their work schedules are causing a conflict with the first 2 days of the meeting. We discussed a couple of issues: should they attend for 2 of the 4 days? Should someone else attend? Should anyone attend when there are other conferences that are about the global movement and have an analysis, such as the Anarchist People of Color gathering in New Orleans in July and/or the Gathering of the Indigenous in Canada to seriously address colonization? Amalia passed out information about the work being done in Canada and a weeklong emergency meeting will be held July 15-20 in Ontario.
The National Gathering in Philadelphia is working on a new Declaration of Independence rather than a radical shift in systemic change. Hershe has been on some of the planning calls and has brought up institutional racism and decolonization, and the others seem content to let Albuquerque discuss it. Carmen and Adesina from Occupy Santa Fe are planning to attend and might be willing to read a statement from (Un)OccupyABQ if we did not think the effort and funds were best spent there. We discussed what a presence at the National gathering could mean. Would there be other radical people in the movement going or is the more conservative people in our movement? The statement that (Un)OccupyABQ sent about the National Gathering has been posted in many places by the Occupy Caravan and others.
We discussed our role in the national movement as well as indigenous led movements and in the international movements like Tahrir Square in Egypt, the student movement in Mexico, indigenous movements in Guatemala, etc. We also acknowledge our small capacity to do a lot at this point as we are not fundraisers and have limited resources and people power.
We agreed that we wanted to send people to the national gathering and do a workshop and hopefully connect with other radical people in our movement before we get to Philadelphia so we can organize ourselves to have a strong voice together. We agreed that people donated for this particular purpose and that we want to try to be heard there. We also agreed that we need to continue to talk about our identity, strategies, and ways to be involved globally.