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Midwest Rising 2011: An Anti-Corporate Convergence

We are writing to invite you to participate in a historic, multi-faceted, cross-movement convergence this August. Midwest Rising is collaboration between Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), Rising Tide, the Instead of War Coalition, the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and Climate Action St. Louis, among others. We would love for your organization to sign on as a co-sponsor!  

A Bit of Background:
In April, 1000 people took over the Department of the Interior to protest Earth-destroying energy extraction, with 22 arrests.  8 people committed acts of civil disobedience at the Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting in San Francisco to protest banks gone wild.  In May, over 800 people in New York faced horses, dogs, and mace to send a message to the JP Morgan Chase Shareholders. In June, 1000 people marched over 5 days to Blair Mountain, West Virginia to demand an end to mountain top removal and the coal industry's assault on Appalachian people, mountains and culture. People around the country are coming together to fight foreclosures and evictions, dirty energy projects, and corporate agendas that put profit before people and the planet.
In August, we need your help to build a movement against corporate power. In St. Louis, Missouri, home to the headquarters of Monsanto, Peabody and Arch Coal, we will be hosting an Anti-Corporate Convergence to build this movement. The event will bring together a unique combination of community based organizations, low-income community members, environmental justice organizations, and climate activists.  We will combine hard-hitting direct action with an opportunity to take a step back and do some collaborative training and visioning of a world we want to live in. This convergence could change the organizing equation in the Midwest and beyond.

Why St. Louis?  St. Louis is centrally located and has a sponsoring committee made up of a wide range of community, labor and environmental activists.  St. Louis is also the headquarters of Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Monsanto. St. Louis has hosted a wide array of anti-bank actions as well, including six people being arrested at Bank of America in December, and is home to Wells Fargo Advisors, the non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo that employs 20,000 people nationally.

Program and Training:  We plan to offer a common curriculum rather than a hodgepodge of workshops.  The curriculum will examine our shared struggle against corporate power and do some visioning of a world in which we want to live (i.e. underlying theory).  We will also have organizing skills trainings, opportunities to caucus, and time for strategizing in which cities can plan follow-up steps.  There will also be creative forms of fieldwork and direct action.

What is Provided:  We are using a sliding scale for registration fees for Midwest Rising.  We will be providing food, meeting space, materials, local transportation and camping/housing space.  For people requiring hotels, there will be different options but they will need to cover those themselves. We encourage groups coming from outside St. Louis to do local fundraising to help cover the costs of their travel and to help spread the word  

What We're Asking of Co-Sponsors:
Endorse Midwest Rising; add your organization's name to the list of sponsors.
Announce the convergence to your members, email lists, and on your facebook page.
Bring folks to the convergence!
If you are able, organize a fundraiser or make a financial contribution. This event is a labor of love, with many people volunteering their time to make it happen. There are many costs associated with hosting 500+ people for four days, so any help with fundraising is much appreciated. That said, financial contributions are optional, and we'd rather have you as a co-sponsor than not!

You are welcome to get involved in the planning too; there is a strong host committee locally and lots of groups getting involved nationally.  There are national planning calls for folks outside of St. Louis to plug in.  We need and want people who can help be trainers, do art, and help with media, logistics, direct action and a range of other needs. Let us know what you can help with!

Feel free to get in touch with any questions or for more information - call Jeff or Cathy at Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) at 314-862-2249, or email info@convergence2011.org.  

Please let us know *soon* if your organization would like to sign on as a co-sponsor!  

In Struggle,
Midwest Rising Organizing Committee
 

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