Meeting Report: October 22nd, Sussex County Library

About a dozen members of the local community turned out today to discuss the Occupy Wall Street moment and our local participation in it.

Though the meeting had been convened initially as an organizing meeting for NWNJPA, through the process of introducing ourselves and discussing our motivations for coming together, we identified the Occupy movement as a primary source of inspiration for most of us.

As a result, we voted to move forward under the name Occupy Newton NJ.*

We talked and listened on a variety of topics, including broad problems in our economic, social, and political systems.

Though there are many open questions about where the larger movement is headed, and how we can best participate in it, we reached consensus on the following activities:

  • Our next meeting will take place on Saturday, November 5th from noon to 2:00pm at the Sussex County Library (pending successful booking of the meeting room). During this meeting, we’ll train on the General Assembly process and finalize preparations for our first GA/demonstration the following week. Event URL: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=264593870251280

  • On Saturday, November 12th from 11:00am to 1:00pm, we’ll meet at Newton Green for a combined General Assembly (community-building) and demonstration (community outreach). Event URL: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173487012740032

  • Regular “Second Saturday” demonstrations on Newton Green were proposed, but the matter was not immediately settled. We’ll continue to discuss this proposal at future meetings.

  • Several of us would like to undertake another field trip to Liberty Plaza in NYC. This is an opportunity to get educated and inspired! We agreed to try to organize a carpool online via our new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OccupyNewtonNJ/207676759303140

  • Tom mentioned the “Daily Campaign for Jobs, Peace, Equality, and Justice,” organized by the People’s Organization for Progress in Newark. This is a sustained demonstrated to which POP has committed for 381 days, the length of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Members of our group, acting as individuals, have stood in solidarity with the action on several occasions in the past. Those interested in carpooling to Newark on the second Tuesday of the month should let Tom know. [Note: Forgot to bring this up during the meeting, but there’s an Occupy Newark group getting organized now. Are they participating in POP action, and if so when?]

The following community outreach events were planned prior to today’s meeting and announced again:

  • Sunday, October 30th 2:00-6:00 pm. “Partnership for the Elimination of Poverty: A Conference on Changing the World’s Priorities from War to Peace.” Location: The Islamic Center of Morris County, 1 Mannino Drive, Rockaway, NJ 07866.
  • Wednesday, November 16th 6:30-9:00 pm. “Occupy Wall Street: Economic Inequality & the Making of a Sociopolitical Movement.” Sussex County Community College – Diversity Expo 2011 Lecture Series, Student Center Galleria, Sussex County Community College, One College Hill Road, Newton, NJ 07860.

*A brief history of NWNJPA was discussed for those who were unfamiliar. Our group came together in mid-July of this year, before there was an Occupy movement around which to organize. Our name and our loose affiliation with existing progressive organizations were best-available solutions to practical organizing challenges. We felt it was important to clarify this history in order to reassure everyone that we have no preexisting, top-down organizational agenda that we plan to impose on the group. Everyone is welcome to join us in planning and facilitating future meetings.