I want to thank everyone who came out who made the regional consulta a success. Notes will
be posted to the firstname.lastname@example.org list (join by sending a blank email to
email@example.com) as well as to the website
(http://www.septemberACTION.org ). This is merely a report back and my impressions of this
process. I'm also writing this (for the rest of you receiving this) for those on the DC Anti-War
Network discussion list for their benefit. Feel free, however, to share these comments with others.
I plan on posting them to the commentary/analysis section of the septemberaction.org website.
We had between comers and goers, when all was said and done, about 30 people at the regional
consulta. Besides an expected contingent from DC, we had people attending from Baltimore,
Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York City, Salisbury, MD, and Albany, New York, numbering about 1/3
of the people in the room and about 1/2 of the people when decisions were finally made (because
it was local people who tended to come in and out, while the out-of-towners stuck it out for the
entire 4 1/2 - 5 hours (if you count the last half hour of clean up).
There was a good vibe in the room and plenty of food (thanks to all of you who brought or donated
food). The meeting shifted facilitators and stack keepers. We had breaks to keep things fresh
as well as a lengthy breakout period, which was extremely productive.
I want to focus the rest of this on the topical breakout areas, what was discussed, and what
decisions were made. This is all off the top of my head, and I'm going to reflect my own biases, so
please wait for the notes and ask other people for a full (and perhaps more accurate) account.
Most people from out of town focused primarily on actions and action scenarios. Much of the first
part of the overall meeting was spent piecing together the existing actions and putting together a
relative timeline of what's happening (refer to http://www.septemberaction.org ). The second part
of the meeting was spent brainstorming scenarios and talking about issues related to different
action plans, especially the issue of scale. Ultimately, though, the breakout group on action came
up with recommendations that the entire group reached consensus on.
The consulta recommended that affinity groups support all actions throughout the weekend but
recommended that the group itself work collectively on several actions that groups felt needed to
happen but which needed some support in bottomlining. Those actions included (working
chronologically backwards more or less):
- Contingent upon getting help from some DC-based group(s), an action supporting the local NYC chapter of the War Resisters' League at the Pentagon on Monday morning, September 26.
- Some sort of direct action on Sunday, September 25, targeting the delegates to the World Bank/IMF meetings.
- Actions related to the homeless in DC, making their connections to the cost of war and militarism and economic justice, with an emphasis all week on looking out for their protection.
- A breakaway march at some point from the UFPJ (possibly jointly with ANSWER) march from it to the World Bank/IMF, focused again on the connection between war and militarism and economic and global justice issues.
These are the recommendations of the consulta and a working group was appointed to work out
the language of the recommendations to send out to affinity groups for consideration. Working
groups and affinity groups will be encouraged to take collective action to make sure that AT
LEAST these 4 things happen during the weekend in addition to all the other worthwhile events.
The consulta talked about the logistics capacity that currently exists, including the ride, housing,
and resource boards on septemberaction.org as well as the efforts by some in MGJ to look into
housing (and the lack of effort so far by groups with nominal commitment to housing...like DAWN).
There was also no direction on legal since the local law collective hasn't talked about it, and we do
not know what follow through on help UFPJ is going to give on their commitment to help
autonomous direct action with legal support. The medic collective (DAMN) is getting ready for the
mobilizations and reminds people of the need to come in on someone else's pre-existing permit
for medical support. There was also no one currently working on communications.
There was a lot of talk about convergence space. MGJ is willing to pursue St. Stephens as an
option, though some would like that space to be closer to town.
There was also talk about a separate media space (see MEDIA & OUTREACH section of this
Food was discussed, and the only recommendation was that there should be no attempt to try and
The break out group on logistics is essentially going to stay together as a logistics working group.
There was also some commitment to using septemberaction.org as an online logistics hub for the
MEDIA & OUTREACH
Talk in the main group focused mostly on the idea of a separate media center apart from any
convergence space. Locations talked about included Cafe Mawonaj (which isn't idea because it
is too far from most of the action) and New York Presbyterian. Since only the DC Resistance
Media Collective was represented, many felt there was need to call for a media spokescouncil
related to the mobilization, inviting especially local alternative media (including DC Indymedia,
DC Radio Co-op, and the DC Resistance Media Collective) as well as media spokes from
different groups planning actions. The purpose of this media spokescouncil would be to plan
media strategy and logistics as well as divy out various media tasks.
Groups like septemberACTION and MGJ have been talking with reps from the DC Resistance
Media Collective about having a joint press conference (or conferences) in the lead up to the
mobilization. We hope that SOA Watch would also be interested and possibly one other group not
currently the focus of most organizing. The rep from the DC Resistance Media Collective
promised to bring that proposal and the idea of bottomlining a media spokescouncil to his
collective for consideration (that was supposed to be on Sunday).
On the issue of outreach, there wasn't a lot of talk. Besides electronic outreach, there was hope
that someone would draft a calendar flyer much like the high quality flyer used for the
counter-inaugural. Also, the group recommended a communal wheatpasting day featuring flyers
from many groups. However, it was not clear what the followup would be on either outreach item.
Affinity groups are encouraged to take up either or both outreach plans.
The next regional consulta called is for the Great Lakes region in Cleveland on August 27. (See
http://cleveland.indymedia.org/calendar/event_display_detail.php?event_id=403 for details).
The next DC area consulta is on August 22 (MLK library? 6:30 PM?)
There is also hopes that an affinity group outside DC will host the next regional consulta for our
area on the Saturday before Labor Day.
A lot was accomplished, and by the end of the meeting there was a definite sense of what the
mobilization might look like and what the next concrete steps will look like. It was also great
seeing new faces and meeting up with old friends from past meetings and mobilizations. I also
wanted to thank Nancy Shia, my colleague at the Washington Peace Center, for helping us get
the space-and providing food, and for people at the Infoshop who helped us make sure it was
One final note on mutual assurances, I should add that UFPJ is working on the White House action
for September 26, and I received a call from Steve Cleghorn talking about that action and what
was decided. I don't want to go into details (those will be coming out) except to say that they've
asked that there be no blocking of intersections in the streets near the White House. There was
an action talked about by a Veterans for Peace rep that involved possibly that, though it sounded
somewhat open. Otherwise, mutual assurances weren't talked about, though from what I gathered
in the meeting that there's going to be every attempt to work actions in the context of the larger
weekend and not at cross purposes with it. So, while there was talk about a breakaway march on
Saturday, there was also talk about making sure that the larger march was supported. While there
was talk of a Pentagon action on Monday morning, there was nothing talked about that would
conflict with the UFPJ action or interfere with the wishes of those organizers. While there was talk
of some direct action on Sunday, there was support for making sure that people knew about the
anti-war fair, the nonviolence trainings (other trainings), and the evening's interfaith service. There
was also conscious notation (not to mention representation from) groups planning actions on
Again, these notes represent my own perspective and my own memory. They are in no way
official or inclusive of everything that happened.
Peace to you all,