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Schedule: The First People’s Convention in New Orleans

These are the notes about the schedule from the meeting on October 21.

There is a downloadable flyer on the Occupy The Stage website here!


This is what democracy looks like in 2012.

Join us at 1pm to 5pm-Saturday. October 27, 2012.

First Unitarian Universalist Church: 5212 South Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans
RSVP at this Facebook Event

The First People’s Convention in New Orleans is where the 99%, not the 1%, sets the political agenda.  We the people, as opposed to we the rich, have needs and interests that are in fundamental conflict with the 1%. We need, for example, low and moderate income housing, the right to organize ourselves into unions, living wage jobs,  public education, an end to imperialist war, and an end to the rampant discrimination against and brutalization of African Americans.

We, the people of several activist groups, wish to create a strong coalition. We seek to unite all like-minded peoples and organizations, so that all of our voices are amplified through a greater body. For all of those who understand that our grievances are connected, let us stop the plundering of our future.

Note: In this document, the network of activists that will emerge from the First People’s Convention in New Orleans is being referred to as a “coalition.” However, the organizers welcome proposals for different names, and hope attendees will suggest names, which will be put to a vote at the end of the convention.


1pm – 1:30 pm: Meet and Greet Mixer and Potluck

This time allows people to get comfortable with the surroundings, allows people to get more familiar with each other, have time to eat, and gives organizers a chance to give participants a sense of direction. It also gives people a chance to show up NOLA TIME.

Preparation of Info Tables

Groups invited to the convention will be notified about availability of info tables if they would like to display leaflets or educational materials about the group they represent (this is not required). Tables will be pointed out when first groups arrive. The rest should follow suit.


1:30 – 1:50 ORIENTATION with 2 Speakers

Speaker 1 (Mike Howells) explains the theme of the convention, that all our grievances are connected and the Budget Act of 2011 and Fiscal Cliff. Reassures everyone that preserving group autonomy is as critical as working together. Explains the convention itself and democratic process. Emphasizes we are not here to support a candidate and that we are non-partisan.

1:50 to 2:00 – Speaker 2 (Tara Jill) explains the participatory workshops and process of the convention. The Convention and workshops will reach agreements based on a 2/3 Democratic rule.

The workshops will be an opportunity to develop a demand or series of demands and a proposal for an action. At the convention, people will form break-out groups/workshops based on specific issue(s) (i.e. housing, student debt, etc) they’d like to focus on including:

  • Environmental Concerns
  • Workers Rights
  • Prison Industrial Complex
  • Healthcare
  • Military Industrial Complex
  • Education – student rights – student debt.
  • Civil Rights
  • Crooked two party system/Politics
  • Agriculture/Monsanto
  • Gentrification
  • Social Aid/Housing
  • SFUABS (shit’s fucked up and bull shit) Solidarity

Workshop participants will also spend time deciding on future meeting times, objectives, and choosing which month would be the best for group protest related to the issue they’ve chosen. If a group has a month or date for their action, they should include it in the group “report back”. These groups will be set up to secure the longevity of this coalition/network of activist groups that will emerge.

Some groups may need to consolidate for the purpose of monthly protests. Ideally, each month will have a theme related to an issue on the list above (note: this list is not intended to be all inclusive or “set in stone;” groups and individuals are encouraged to add their specific grievances.


Proposals prepared in advance regarding the organization, name, structure of the network of activists groups will be presented at this time. These proposals will be considered/entertained in workshop groups and voted on later to give everyone enough time to consider them carefully.

When workshop groups meet, they will also have the opportunity to create proposals as to how the coalition should continue to organize,  which will be voted on at the end of the convention. Paper and pens will be provided so these proposals can be submitted in writing.

The organizers ask that each working group clearly write out any proposal to submit for archiving (so groups may need to write two copies).

When voting on proposals takes place, decisions will be reached by a 2/3 vote.


This time will be used to allow groups and individuals to introduce themselves and speak on their issues.

Slots for 5 minute speakers from individuals/groups attending. We ask that folks speak, if they like, on the issues that they are concerned with.

1. Speaker from Socialist Alternative will discuss Coal Miners’ Strike.

2. Speaker about Tar Sands Blockade

2:30 – 2:45 Break/WORKSHOPS SIGN UP and CREATION

Convention attendees will create participatory workshops based on the issue they’d like to address. We have materials to make a sign for each workshop created. This is also time for a break while people organize into work groups.

Organizers of convention will keep track of a master list of workshops/groups and issues. We ask each group to select a representative that can report back to the larger group with the demands and proposals from their particular working group.

2:45 – 3:30 WORKSHOPS


Workshops will begin. If a group has a month or date for the action they are planning, the group can report it. Groups will spend time deciding on future meeting times, objectives, and choosing which month would be the best for group protest. For instance, a group working on Student Debt might choose to have its monthly protest in September. Many groups may have much of this in place already in which case they can check out other workshops or just mingle.


Workshop groups can use this time to review proposals regarding how we will move forward as a coalition or alliance and continue to organize and grow. During workshops it is also a time to consider when we will hold our next convention.   Workshops might also discuss possible names for the coalition that will emerge from this network of activists. Workshop groups are encouraged to draft their own proposals regarding when and where future conventions will take place; groups are welcome to consider hosting future conventions/ planning meetings.

Consolidation of Contact Info

Groups should collect contact info within workshops and make sure everyone has all contact info within workshops. Since each group will have a “Representative”, these “Reps” can compile contact lists to help create a master contact list. Each group will give one copy to the convention organizers and keep one for themselves.

3:30 – 4:00 “Report Backs” from Workshops

Working groups will share their plans including:

  • Future meeting times for the group
  • Objectives (actions/demands)
  • Potential date for action/protest
  • Proposals (for the group and for the convention)

4:00 – 4:20 Calendar

Date of our first action, and plan for organizing for that action. Synching of calendar and month allotment for protest themes and planning

4:20- 4:40 Voting and Proposals

Proposals presented earlier will be voted upon. Any working groups that created proposals will present them for a vote.

4:40 – 5:00 Closing speeches and announcement of future conventions based on proposals. We can ask for closing comments from attendees.