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February 2012, Week 4

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Wed, 22 Feb 2012 22:54:01 -0500
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Occupy National Convention To Be Held In Philadelphia

By PATRICK WALTERS   
02/22/12 01:30 PM ET  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/occupy-national-convention-philadelphia_n_1293858.html

PHILADELPHIA -- A group of protesters affiliated with the
Occupy Wall Street movement plans to elect 876 "delegates"
from around the country and hold a national "general
assembly" in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July as part
of ongoing protests over corporate excess and economic
inequality.

The group, dubbed the 99% Declaration Working Group, said
Wednesday delegates would be selected during a secure
online election in early June from all 50 states, the
District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

In a nod to their First Amendment rights, delegates will
meet in Philadelphia to draft and ratify a "petition for a
redress of grievances," convening during the week of July
2 and holding a news conference in front of Independence
Hall on the Fourth of July.

Any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is 18
years of age or older may run as a nonpartisan candidate
for delegate, according to Michael S. Pollok, an attorney
who advised Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested on the
Brooklyn Bridge last year and co-founded the working
group.

"We feel it's appropriate to go back to what our founding
fathers did and have another petition congress," Pollok
said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We feel
that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is
the right way to go."

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by
the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and cited King
George III's failure to redress the grievances listed in
colonial petitions as a reason to declare independence.

One man and one woman will be elected from each of the 435
congressional voting districts, according to Pollok, and
they will meet in Philadelphia to deliberate, draft and
ratify a "redress of grievances." One delegate will also
be elected to represent each of the U.S. territories.

Organizers won't take a position on what grievances should
be included, Pollok said, but they will likely include
issues like getting money out of politics, dealing with
the foreclosure crisis and helping students handle loan
debt.

Details of the conference are still being worked out,
Pollok said, but organizers have paid for a venue in
Philadelphia. Pollok would not identify the venue, but
said it was "a major state-of-the art facility." Pollok
said the group planned to pay for the conference through
donations.

Once the petition is completed, Pollok said, the
protesters will deliver copies to the White House, members
of Congress and the Supreme Court. They will demand that
Congress takes action in the first 100 days of taking
office next year. If sufficient action isn't taken, Pollok
said, the delegates will go back to their districts and
try to recruit their own candidates for office.

Philadelphia Managing Director Richard Negrin said the
city has been in communication with the conference
organizers and said the biggest concerns are logistical.
The conference is coming at a time when thousands of
tourists flock to the City of Brotherly Love for Fourth of
July festivities.

"It's mostly a police and traffic control concern," Negrin
said. "We think that as the cradle of liberty we have to
be careful and hold our constitutional rights especially
reverent here. ... We're not going to be heavy handed."

Hundreds of Occupy Philadelphia protesters set up an
encampment in a plaza at City Hall in early October in
unity with the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.
The city eventually ordered them to leave so it could
break ground on a $50 million renovation project at the
plaza and evicted the remaining protesters in late
November.

___________________________________________

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