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UPDATED: Occupy Working Group Plans National Conference In Philadelphia

A group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this summer. According to the group, which is dubbed "The 99% Declaration," an online election will decide on the 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district — who will gather in Philadelphia on July 4th.

Of course, the date and place is a nod to the delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1776 to declare independence from the British monarchy, who the founding fathers said had failed to address the grievances of Americans.

On the group's website, they explain that the delegates will draft and ratify a "petition for a redress of grievances," which will then be sent to all members of Congress, the president and Supreme Court justices.

"The National General Assembly gives the 113th Congress, President and the Supreme Court reasonable time to act upon and redress the grievances listed in the petition," the groups says. "If the grievances are not redressed to the satisfaction of the NGA, delegates reconvene to organize a new grassroots campaign for political candidates who publicly pledge to redress the grievances."

The AP spoke to Michael S. Pollock, an attorney who advised OWS protesters in New York. He said any U.S. citizen or permanent resident older than 18 is eligible to become a delegate.

"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."

The group's website gives you an idea of what kind of grievance you can expect to see listed by the group. Among the working suggestions are the "elimination of the Corporate State," as well as debt reduction, a fair tax code, an end to wars and health care for all.

Pollok told the the AP that the group had already paid for a venue in Philadelphia and the website indicates that it is already accepting delegate candidate applications.

Update on Feb. 24 at 12:22 p.m. ET. OWS Doesn't Endorse Convention:

Occupy Wall Street said it doesn't endorse the convention. In fact, they say, the Philadelphia General Assembly flat out rejected the idea and at the New York General Assembly the idea "generated more controversy than consensus."

We've changed the headline to reflect this news and addeda separate post about this.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.