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Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Endorse Philly Conference

Occupy Wall Street tells The Associated Press that a national conference being planned in Philadelphia this summer was not approved by its General Assembly, meaning the group does not endorse it.

On Tuesday, we reported that the "The 99% Declaration," an Occupy Wall Street working group, was planning a meeting of a "National General Assembly," made up of 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district. On July 4 in Philadelphia, the group would draft and ratify a set of grievances, which would then be sent to the three branches of the U.S. government.

The group was backed by Michael S. Pollock, an attorney who advised Occupy protesters in New York, but Occupy members from across the country have said the group is simply co-opting the Occupy name.

The AP reports:

"Han Shan, a member of the Occupy Wall Street public relations working group, said Thursday that the conference was mainly Pollok's idea and that, while Occupy Wall Street may support some of its ideas, the group isn't endorsing the conference itself.

"'We think it's critically important to truly build consensus,' Shan said. 'This was not something that was built around consensus.'

"The Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York City and spread across the country, with protesters denouncing corporate excess and economic inequality."

In a statement, the Occupy Wall Street Press Relations Working Group said that not only does OWS not endorse the 99% Declaration, but that it was flat out rejected by the Philadelphia General Assembly and the declaration "generated more controversy than consensus" at the New York General Assembly.

"The group's plans blatantly contradict OWS' Statement of Autonomy, as passed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street," the statement reads.

The Statement of Autonomy declares that OWS is "party-less, leaderless, by the people and for the people." It invites people to "speak with us, not for us." But also says that any statement released outside of the movement's official website, "should be considered independent of Occupy Wall Street."

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.