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Open Letter to th...

To the Occupy Wall Street Community,

Those promoting the Movement Resource Group (formerly known as the Occupy Money Group) often claim legitimacy within the Occupy movement by mentioning the fact that MRG was incubated as a project of the Organization Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. We, the former members and liaisons of the Organization Working Group, feel that the actual circumstances around the creation and incubation of MRG/OMG/BAG raise serious challenges to MRG’s claims to legitimacy. In fact, an overwhelming majority of Organization members and liaisons chose to leave the group as a result of the creation of MRG and related issues.

The concerns we have expressed, and would like to express again, include:

MRG members have chosen to use intermediaries rather than interact directly with the OWS community and that has given them a limited, second hand understanding of the current culture and operations of OWS. While we do not necessarily believe that MRG is acting in bad faith, their lack of connection to the movement suggests they may not be fully aware of the impact their organization would have.

MRG perpetuates existing structures of power and financial dependency in several ways. MRG’s board is structured to include two occupiers from NYC, but there is no process laid out for their selection. MRG is poised to sidestep the Occupy community as a whole and select key OWS activists friendly to the MRG agenda. By providing stipends to those they consider “core activists”, the MRG structure turns activists into employees and provides these wealthy donors means to further control decision making.

MRG replicates the patronage model of funding rather than inviting community involvement in creating new ways to shape and support the movement. The MRG model perpetuates top down control and promotes actions and messages dictated by those who have money in our society, rather than by those who are disenfranchised by the wealthiest 1%.

Finally, given their explicit intention to support large campaigns, MRG messaging could overshadow or marginalize resolutions and decisions from the General Assembly, a structure actually created by and involving regular activists. By anointing a paid few to speak for the 99% MRG subverts the spirit of the Occupy movement and thus may actually prevent an authentically national Occupy movement from synthesizing.

We have only a few unbreakable laws within OWS, the most important of them being "don't speak for us."

Signed,

Former Organization Members and Liaisons:

Beth Bogart

Hall Powell

Lori Ferree

Ravi Ahmad

Caroline McLoughlin

Haywood Carey

Megan Hayes

Scott Simpson

Christine Crowther

James Owens

Pete Dutro

Tom Gillis