#TxLege, we ask for your ears, and that you take your constituents needs seriously.
As evidenced by increased security at the Capitol at our Bi-Monthly meetings at the State Capitol in Austin, Tx, we know that you are aware we have grievances as a population.
On July 4, 2012, Occupy and many other community groups from across the state of Texas gathered for an event dubbed Occupy Your Capitol. At this event we used a Horizontal based democratic, open process for all to have their voices heard. Throughout the day many people from THIS state joined and added their comments for what they would like to see. From this process we created a Visioning Document, laying out what we Citizens view as the most pressing concerns and problems with our Cities, States and Nation; we dubbed this document, “A New Declaration For A New Generation.”
Our Top Ten “Grievances” from the Visioning Process are as follows:
1. Money Out of Politics (Ending Corporate Personhood, End Citizens United)
2. End War (On Nations, Terror, Drugs and Civil Liberties)
3. A True Participatory Democracy
4. A Sustainable Society (Environmental Stewardship)
5. Basic Human Rights & Equality (Education, Healthcare, Housing, Nutrition)
6. Fair and Transparent Financial Practices
7. Social/Civil Justice
8. Right to Healthcare (Single Payer Most Popular Approach)
9. Right to Education
10. Right to Affordable Housing
From this “Top Ten” our group continued on to organize how best to attain these that were most pressing to those gathered on this day. (Note this is not a Complete list – for that visit http://occupyyourcapitol.tumblr.com/post/26773673291/j4vision ) Over the last few months of continued meetings and talking amongst ourselves and with other groups, we came to a list of six pressing items that we would like to see addressed during the 2013 Texas Legislative Session. And we want to know how you feel?
1. Environment – Given the recent issues arising in Winnsboro and other East Texas Communities, we would like to know your stance on labeling the TarSands Blockaders as “Eco-Terrorists? How you Feel about a Canadian Company coming here and taking Texas Lands, through Eminent Domain?
2. Education – Many cities across Texas are in Favor of Ending “Standardized Testing,” how do you feel about this, will you listen to all these cities? Where do you stand on privatizing our Public Education system and turning it over to for-profits in the form of Charters? How will you address the “School-to-Prison” pipelines?
3. Healthcare – Governor Perry and AG Greg Abbott, have said they will block medical reforms coming down the pipe from the federal level, we want to know how, if blocked you will address issues with rising insurance and healthcare costs in our states; special regards to Medicaid, Planned Parenthood.Would you consider a Single-Payer system being implemented in Texas to help cut costs and make it easier for the poorest of our citizens to obtain Quality Healthcare?
4. Equality/Civil Rights – No doubt a hot button across this state, especially with City of Austin having passed a resolution in Support of Same-Sex marriage, where do you stand? Immigration is touted constantly as a problem by folks in this State, where do you stand on this contentious issue, do you agree with “War on Drugs” policies of arming, even fencing off our borders, or are you in favor of comprehensive reform centering on how actions will affect those already here and making the process for formal entry from Mexico easier?
5. Economics – We believe that the budget for the state of Texas is a Moral Document, not a bottom line profits and losses statement. With that in mind, our Budget represents what we as a people, you as our representatives value most. What items do you value most coming out of the budget and how do they relate to your obligations as a Citizen of Texas, representing many varying groups of people? As you are undoubtedly aware many states have far higher Minimum wages than our state, our heads of this state such as you, state that our state has been the best in creating jobs and growing the economy, but when we look around all we see growing are minimum wage low paying jobs that no individual could possibly live comfortably on and raise a family, if you don’t believe that is true then you try living on that, our question here is how do you feel about comprehensive living-wage being put in place that is set to rates of inflation, that would truly give all Texans a fair shot?
6. Transparency and Accountability – We ask about these, because daily with the growth of social media, smartphones and so much other technology out there, we citizens don’t know who is able to obtain what or what they are looking for about us, where do you stand on this? Also in this category is a question of asking that our government open up and not hold closed door meetings with businesses that get sweet deals in exchange for our lands, what are your thoughts on opening up our government to more scrutiny from the citizens, to truly see where the priorities of our government lie?
We will be here watching and getting out as much information as possible to the citizens of this State, through Social Media, mass media and pamphlets if need be. Please do not let us down and think about these issues when you vote. Expect Us!
We Decided at our previous meeting that all future meetings of Occupy Your Capitol, focusing on Texas Legislature Direct Actions coming up in January, would be held at the State Capitol to try to get them comfortable with us being there, after the last few run-ins we have had. This decision was not made easily as we know the pushback we are up against with regards to the Texas State Troopers and the Texas DPS, after July 4th and our Occupy Austin Chalkupy Actions, but we will not back down when so much is at stake!
We arrived at our agreed upon time, very small contingent of 7 people. As we arrived we thought it would be good night, very low key. Then about 5 Minutes we noticed 3 Trooper cars pulled up at the barricades and one was so nice as to position himself to video record us with his dash cam. But we pushed on, ignoring their blatant intimidation tactics.
At our meeting, which is really the whole point of this post. We went around talking more about our debates and trying to get them in motion. It is decided that for the first week we will hold nightly debates over important topics to our statewide and local community with regards to our #OccupyJ4 Visioning process and the #NatGat visioning done on July 4, 2012. This will require extensive outreach for us we realize. If you are interested in working with us on these debates or have an item you would love for us to talk about or do teach-ins on during the Legislature please leave a comment here or email us at Occupyyourcapitol@gmail.com
We discussed Social Media outreach, citizen journalism, and being careful not to push any Allies we have off to the side and instead stand with them on their actions they have planned and give room for them to ally with us during our actions.
We then developed a list of potential allies, which as we meet with them is growing more and more ally groups that we should reach out to as well. Following a listing out of 18 Allies, we then divvied up who would reach out to whom.
So far there is OccupyAISD on board with our actions and will keep in touch with us on their plans for #TxLege after the November Elections, where they are working on Austin Board of Trustees for Education elections. The Peaceful Streets Project is with us 100%! And More on the way everyday!
After going over our list and making sure everyone is in agreement to make contact by our next meeting we then decided to venture into the State Capitol and perform a walking tour to members that were unfamiliar with where things go on and how to obtain the information we will be seeking once the legislature gets going.
This was a Peaceful walk through and we assumed we presented no threat… But DPS apparently thought it appropriate to follow us around with no less than 3 Officers watching us at every turn, at first they tried to be nonchalant about it, but as we talked to them and tried to get them to give us a tour and information more on the the Capitol that charade dropped and they just followed us very obviously from there out.
Our Work ahead will not be easy, but we are excited to move forward and show that truly Another World is Possible!
An Absolute great take on the events of #OccupyJ4 as they happened, it was an inspiring day, we have so much work still to do!
My @firedoglake report on an Occupied Independence Day in Texas: #OATX #OWS #OccupyJ4 #OccupyAustin #OccupyTexas
On July 4th occupiers from around Texas convened at the Texas Capitol to share knowledge, make connections and find out the top priorities for the movement in Texas. We engaged in the same Visioning Process as the National Gathering as a show of solidarity and Support. Here is the current list. We can use this as a starting point and a gathering point for moving forward.
*Money out of Politics (End Corporate Person hood, End Citizens United)
*End War (on Nations, on Terror, on Drugs and Civil Liberties)
*A True Participatory Democracy
*A Sustainable Society (environmental stewardship)
*Basic Human Rights and Equality (Education, Healthcare, Housing, Nutrition)
*Fair and Transparent Financial Practices
*Right to Healthcare (single payer was the most popular approach)
*Right to Education
*Right to Affordable Housing
Freedom of Thought
Right to a Job
End Private Prisons
Declaration of Children’s Rights
Adherence to U.N. Declaration of Human Rights
End Anti-Homelessness Laws
Native American Justice
Make all Media Public
Repeal Patriot Act
Right to Nutrition
Public Transit Access
Separation of Church and State
Workers Bill of Rights
Consumer Bill of Rights
Equality for All
Pay cap for executives to be the exponent of base employee pay
*End Corporate Person hood
Prosecute Financial Crimes
End Oil Subsidies
End Corporate Welfare
Living Wage Laws
Return Coining of money to Treasury
Overturn Fed Reserve Act
Preserve the Commons
Run Finance as regulated utility
Erase debt record
Tax and Regulate Drugs
Fair TradeProtect Anti-Trust and Monopoly Laws
Regulate Big Business and Corporations
End the Fed
Less regulation on small business
End Insurance Mandates
No Law Restricting Health Science
Free Political Prisoners
Election Day Holiday
A People written Constitution
True Democracy (direct or otherwise)
End Electoral College
Easy Access to Voter Registration
Make recall of elected officials easier
End Corporate Person hood
End Citizens United
Publicly Funded Elections
End Super PAC’s and unlimited anonymous spending
Return to Fairness Doctrine and expand from just media to advertisements and Politics
Respect Term Limits
Investigate Misinformation Campaigns
Less Governmental Control
Run off Voting, preferably Instant Runoff Voting (IVR)
Reduce Financial & Legal barricades to running for office
Would like to see an annual citizen’s review panel to critique the policies of the current administration. The panel should be made up of respected intellectuals such as Chomsky, Hedges, Lessig, etc. It should also be as accessible as the presidential debates.
Open up the interpretation of the constitution to citizens. 5 people should not be able to write into law what millions disagree with.
Food Subsidy Transparency
Increase sustainable energy
Recycle College Text Books
End Chemical and Biological Warfare
End use of Nuclear Weapons
End Abuse of security concerns as a way to curtail Civil Liberties
Create Dept. of Peace
No Police or Military
End Drug War
End All Wars
Cut Military spending in half
Repeal Patriot Act
Peace in the Middle East
Non-Governmental Community Councils
Greater Civic Involvement
Right to Live to full potential
New Occupy Party
No Political Parties
Less Nationalism, more World Wide Focus
Should focus on cooperation over competition
Photo Via John Anderson of Austin Chronicle
A call to action was put out 03.03.12, from the General Assembly of Occupy Philadelphia, that all members of the 99% convene on June 30th at Independence Mall for 4 days of workshops, teachings, speakers, and idea sharing, with the ultimate goal of crafting a Vision for a Democratic Future.
Occupy Austin has answered the call with solidarity, by organizing a statewide convergence of Texas Occupations.
We the collective community of Occupy Austin, have come to consensus that we will stand in solidarity with Occupy Philadelphia, and the other cities in solidarity, by convening July 4th onto our State Capitol, and participate with other Texas Occupies in an all day rally for peace, justice, and independence.
We too will draft a document using the same process as the National Gathering, one which will give a sense of the most important issues facing us today and our visions of what we would like to see in the future. After the assembly the documents gathered in Philadelphia, Texas and online will be combined to give a clearer picture of what the movement as a whole is trying to achieve. The documents produced are not meant to be binding on the movement or on anyone in attendance but simply serve as a reflection of the attitudes of the movement.
In a culture where voting is presented as the only option, as the only vehicle to make change we stand in defiance of that simplified democracy. We recognize that a people powered democracy is not a vote for one party or the other every 4 years. Rather, it is a process which calls upon the people to speak for themselves and articulate problems and solutions which remain unspoken in silver-tongued speeches on the campaign trail to the White House. On July 4th, we are imagining a new way forward.
Highlights of the event will include:
*Visioning Process in Solidarity with the National Gathering
*Speakers & Teach-in’s
*Music and Poetry
*Raffle of Tom Morello’s autographed guitar from SXSW (@City Hall)
Complete List of Events:
6 pm Dinner
7 pm Statewide GA
9 pm training for facilitation for the next day
9 am Arrival / breakfast
10 am Interfaith Working Group Teach In
10:30 am -3:30 pm Ongoing Visioning Process
11:30 am – 12:30 pm First Round of Teach Ins
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm Lunch
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Second Round of Teach Ins
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Third Round of Teach Ins
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Fourth Round of Teach Ins
3:30 pm Snack Time!
4 pm – 7pm Amplified Sound
Musician: Bill Oliver and Thom the world Poet
Speaker: Antonio Buehler
Speaker: Chas Moore
Musician: Steve Brooks
Speaker: John Bush
Speaker: Cindy Noland
Musician: Paula Maya
Speaker: Virginia Lu
Reading of Visioning Statement
There will also be speeches from other Occupations around the state.
7 pm March to City Hall 8 pm Dinner at City Hall Fireworks at City Hall
For more information visit our websites:
The Texas Gathering will use the same Visioning Process as the National Gathering. Once completed the two documents will be merged after the 4th.
1. Break into groups of 3 and discuss your vision for a new democracy. (15 min.)
2. Choose 1 scribe out of the group of 3 to compile the list of your top visions and grievances on a sheet of paper. There is no limit to the type or number of items you can include (10 min.)
3. 3 groups of 3 will come together into a group of 9, once in that group the 3 scribes from the groups of 3 will compile the lists and then check back with the rest of the group of 9 to make sure the new compiled list sounds correct. (20 min.)
4. 1 scribe from the group of 9 will come together with scribes from the other groups of 9 and compile the new list for the group of 45. (10 min.)
5. The scribes from the group of 9 will then address the group of 45 to make sure the new compilation of the list is accurate and everyone is satisfied with the new list. (20 min.)
6. 1 scribe from the group of 45 will come together with scribes from the other groups of 45 and compile the new list for the group of 225. (10 min.)
7. The scribes from the group of 45 will then address the group of 225 to make sure the new compilation of the list is accurate and everyone is satisfied with the new list. (20 min.)
8. Repeat as necessary in larger groupings.
9. Late comers will wait till at least 9 people have arrived to form their own group of 9 and compile a new list. We will continue to collect these throughout the day.
10. Once everyone has had a chance to compile their list we have one final review to check to make sure the document is reflecting the collective visions of the Texas Gathering. (30 min.)
Initial Visioning Process: ≈1 hr. 45 min. for 225 people
Final Visioning Compilation: 30 min.