99 Percent Declaration
|99 Percent Declaration|
|Created||October 7, 2011|
|Author(s)||99% Declaration Working Group|
The 99 Percent Declaration or 99% Declaration is a not-for-profit organization based in Kentucky that originated from a working group of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement in Zuccotti Park, New York City in October 2011. The organization published a document calling for a "National General Assembly" to be held beginning the week of July 4, 2012 in Philadelphia, which was rejected by the general assemblies of OWS and Occupy Philadelphia. The Declaration includes demands for an immediate ban on all monetary and gift contributions to all politicians, implementation of a public financing system for political campaigns, and the enactment of an amendment to the United States Constitution overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. FEC decision.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began as an advertised demonstration which posed the question "What is our one Demand?", inviting protesters to identify and rally around a particular cause. This led several individuals and groups to propose various demands including the 99 Percent Declaration.
"Occupy" protesters from across the country have said that the 99 Percent Declaration group "is simply co-opting the 'Occupy' name", and Occupy Wall Street has not endorsed the 99% Declaration, which reportedly "generated more controversy than consensus" at the New York General Assembly and was "flat out rejected by the Philadelphia General Assembly." The Occupy Philadelphia General Assembly stated that "We do not support the 99% Declaration, its group, its website, its National GA and anything else associated with it." Occupy Wall Street released a statement indicating that "[t]he group's plans blatantly contradict OWS' Statement of Autonomy, as passed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street," and clarifying that any statement issued outside of the New York City General Assembly's website "should be considered independent of Occupy Wall Street." A Washington Times editorial criticized the group's proposed restrictions on political contributions and speech, saying they "would leave us less free and show a woeful contempt for the First Amendment."
Attorney Michael Pollok had issued a press release representing himself as the group's co-founder and publicizing its plans, also expressing understanding that the NY General Assembly "fears 'co-opting' by Occupy spin-off groups like ours", but indicating his belief that "occupations and protests will not end the corporate state" and that a petition for redress of grievances is the best way to achieve the "dismantling [of] corporate control of our country".
Michael Pollok has stated on his earliest websites and Facebook pages (since deleted or edited) that he came into contact with OWS through providing legal representation to several of the people who were arrested on September 30, 2011 during a march of 700 protesters across the Brooklyn Bridge. None of those protesters has ever come forward to verify this.
Very early on, the group was fraught with contention among participants and went through several incarnations of leadership before the actual event that took place the weekend of July 4, 2012.
Little is known about how the actual voting process was conducted, how many voters or delegates there actually were, or whether the group exists any longer.
The document and national general assembly
A national general assembly, the Continental Congress 2.0, was announced in March 2012. It was organized by the 99% Declaration working group. The Congress was to comprise 878 delegates, from all 435 Congressional districts, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia; however only about 76 delegates were finally elected and present at the gathering, which lasted from July 2 to 4.
The Congress drafted and ratified a 21st-century petition for the redress of grievances, in accordance with the right to petition guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The petition was to be publicly presented to the American people and copies were to be served to the United States Congress, Supreme Court and President Barack Obama.[when?]
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