Why Tent City United?
The purpose of this action is not necessarily to create a new encampment, though of course that is wonderful if it happens. It’s to raise awareness about a number of issues — the plight of people without homes and the poor, whose very existence is illegal in some cities like Austin, the attacks on free speech and the loss of public spaces, etc. It also is a deliberate attempt to capitalize on the continued power of the tent as a symbol of free speech — our tents up action Feb 3 created a powerful response from both people in real life and on social media, and spawned at least one solidarity action I can’t speak about yet here online.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/481236308602494/
What Could You Do April 1
Actions can take place anywhere and by groups of any size. You could:
- Pitch 1 or many tents in a park or other public space. Or many small tents in many different public spaces.
- Pitch tents in a bank or other private space as an act of nonviolent civil disobedience.
- Wear Tent Monster costumes.
- Spread paper Tiny Tents in strategic places.
- March with tents.
- Pitch a tent in your front yard decorated with a sign and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
Form an affinity group with your friends and make your plans securely. Pass along to us what’s safe to share online.
Document Your Actions! and share them with firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter with the #TentCity hashtag, on Facebook, etc.
A History of Encampments & Tent City in Austin
Occupy Austin occupied the steps of Austin City Hall from October 6 2011 until Feb 3, 2012. In 2012, our Tent City Working Group made several encampments. Some were shut down immediately by police. Others lasted for days or even months, some as guerilla camps and others with permission of land owners. These camps allowed many people a place to sleep until they successfully moved on to more stable situations, and helped raise awareness of the need for more shelters in Austin, contributing to the successful opening of a small women’s shelter. On Feb 3, 2013 we set up tents again at City Hall for a day as a pop up occupation with no arrests or interference by cops, only minimal harassment by security. This event was part of the inspiration for Tent City United (this day of action).
Endorsed by the Occupy Austin General Assembly Feb 11, 2013
I will bring this as a proposal at General Assembly today, February 11 2013 – Kit O’Connell
I ask Occupy Austin to consent to join the new Tent City United Day of Action.
While thousands are forced to live on our streets, thousands of homes are empty. Billions of dollars are diverted to war and maintaining the banks’ bottom line, while the prison industrial complex creates slave labor from our poor and the homeless, sometimes for basic human acts like sitting, lying down, or sleeping. Our public spaces are restricted, curfewed, and converted into advertising.
Occupy Austin calls on activists in Austin, and world wide, to create tent cities in public and private spaces on April 1, 2013. Tent City United will be a day of action in support of free speech, public ownership of public spaces, and the right of all humanity to have a safe place to live.
This will be a nonviolent action and we encourage all encampments to adopt an appropriate code of conduct and safer spaces agreement where possible.
In Austin, this action will be a joint effort by the Tent City working group and Occupy Austin Tactics and Strategy (OATS).