The Dark and Poor Must Join OWS!
Curtis Muhammad and the International School for Bottom-up Organizing
December, 2011

The International School for Bottom Up Organizing (ISBO) wishes to thank all who have stood with and in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS). We also wish to thank the Council of Elders and all veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. We embrace and stand in solidarity with everyone who stands up against capitalism, corporate greed, racism, sexism, classism, and all other isms that oppress and divide people and that take away the humanity of anyone in this world.

ISBO held its first international meeting in October 2008, in Venezuela, then met in Jamaica in 2009, and most recently gathered in Colombia in March 2011. We focus on creating and supporting organizing projects in the Americas. Our style of organizing embraces the teachings of Miss Ella Baker, which were used by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s to end segregation and to win the right for black folk in seven states to vote and to access public accommodations, education, and housing in the fight for equality. Our projects aim at building self-sufficient, egalitarian prototypes in communities of the most oppressed. Ours is an international struggle led by the poorest and darkest among us, especially women.

ISBO is an intergenerational collective of organizers from different parts of the world. We include:

There are another 15 to 20 students of organizing from the sites above who also have access to this collective.

ISBO recognizes that those fighting for justice today are the legacy of those who fought for justice in the 1960s. These young folk all over the world who are standing against capitalism are our movement. On November 16, 2011, The Rachel Maddow Show on the MSNBC news network highlighted the connection between OWS and the Free Speech Movement that sprung from the University of California at Berkeley. The show talked about how Occupy Movement participants that had been dispersed forcefully and violently the day before had reassembled with ten times more folks on the spot where Mario Savio spoke in 1964 when he called for folks to place their bodies on the line to demand FREE SPEECH. What they did not say was that Mario Savio spent three months training with SNCC under the leadership of a SNCC organizer (Curtis (Hayes) Muhammad) in McComb, Mississippi before he gave the powerful speech that sparked the massive national movement for free speech and the right to assembly. They did not describe the violence the SNCC staff and volunteers endured in McComb when their Freedom House and every church used to hold meetings were bombed, nor how they overcame that violence and held organizing trainings and mass meetings in the yard of the bombed out Freedom House.

Since our experiences as SNCC organizers in the 60s, we have studied revolution around the world and have come to understand the importance of engaging the folk on the bottom of society to create a new world based on equality and humanity. We believe that this historical moment dictates that the poor should and must rise and lead us all to freedom. History mandates us to place ourselves on the agenda of OWS, to walk onto this stage with our vision, our hopes, our work towards building a new world and inspire others to work together to create prototypes of the new world that is possible in their communities all over the globe. A global movement to create an egalitarian and just world needs the leadership of the 70%, those so severely oppressed and excluded from the current system that we dont feel like citizens of our countries. We recognize we are 21st century slaves, the discriminated against, the colonized, the poor who live on $2 or less a day.

At this time, we do not see the presence of the voices and vision of the poor nor the suggestions of the poor in OWS. We see this as our work, to bring this forward. We have developed technology to engage the poor, to harvest their genius about the enemy (oppression, inequality, injustice, etc) from their intimate, daily struggle with the enemy.

ISBO is working inside poor communities and empowering the dark poor as the primary teachers and practitioners. We are now beginning a class of theory and practice on HOW TO BUILD A NEW WORLD, a world based on egalitarianism, freedom, and justice. We ask the world to watch as we begin creating our own self- sustaining communities.

To be self-sustaining, communities must learn how to build, nurture, and maintain at least these nine institutions:

  1. Food production, distribution and storage
  2. The making of clothes, shoes, and developing agricultural support for the raw material
  3. Building homes and other structures for shelter, furniture, and the agriculture support for this
  4. Transportation, refurbishing and building new cars, trucks, buses and bikes
  5. Communication: telephone, radio, television, newspapers and social media developed and run by us
  6. Education: we must build our own schools from preschool to doctoral programs.
  7. Health Care
  8. Child care
  9. Energy: solar, water, wind and decaying waste

All of these institutions will be developed and run collectively with consensus decision-making. We will teach the method of how to engage the poor and how to facilitate discussions where all participants have equal voice.

ISBO believes that each of us participating in OWS can learn the technology of how to build a new world and take care of ourselves. We will start small: each organizer will be responsible for organizing 9 to 15 folks who will build a prototype of a self-sustaining, egalitarian new world. We will help you learn how to make sure your collective is at least 70% poor and dark. And then, step by step, together we will discover and harvest the knowledge that we need from the worldwide OWS movement and teach it to everyone at the same time. We (ISBO) commit to sharing the building of each prototype as we learn it "brick by brick" right before your eyes through our website

Developing these structural fundamentals at the level of and from the most oppressed is critical for the OWS movement to succeed and reach its full potential. History has taught us that lasting social revolution requires it.

Thank you very much for reading this and we hope to see you in class soon.

The Bottom Will Rise and Create A New World!

The ISBO Collective

Copyright © 2011, Curtis Muhammad & ISBO


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