Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupy Communal Housing--an Invitation for Working Group

Please leave comment or email if you would like to come to a meeting


To discuss structures, process & logistics for Occupy Philly 2.0 multiple communal housing network.

WG would be open to all, agree to Occupy values of non-violence, transparency and participatory democratic process. Will discuss working principles for communal living, explore possible locations and move toward setting up actual communal houses. Will be the representative body for Occupy related communal housing in Philly area, and as mediating body between Occ-Com Houses & Occupy Philadelphia. This might serve as an ideal way to experiment with spokescouncil (or other forms) for horizontal democracy between self-governing collectives—a living base for Inter-Occ meta-communities.

These might become Satellite SAFE HOUSES for grass-roots democratic community building, neighborhood outreach; offering meeting spaces, temporary food and shelter for visiting Occupiers, planning centers for direct action--a strategically dispersed network of Occupation Think Tanks, publishing and IT centers—and an evolving experiment in building horizontal power through democratic assemblages.

Vacant, rented, privately or collectively owned buildings, multiple locations in different neighborhoods: South Philly, West Philly, Near Northeast, North Philly as opportunity presents itself.

Each house drawing individuals from a diversity of affinity & working groups rather than a concentration of mostly one set, each representing an Occupation Camp microcosm--so loss of one  or several doesn’t inflict fatal injury to the life of the organism.


Each Occ-Com House, self-governing as functioning spoke of the larger OPEN, INCLUSIVE,  NON-VIOLENT and DEMOCRATIC  Occupy Movement.

Emphasis on STRONG GOOD NEIGHBOR & INTERNAL CODES OF CONDUCT!  We do NOT want to be confused by neighbors with MOVE!    

Long term actions might include acquiring low cost real estate, lots for urban farming, collectives to manage co-ops across the city with a Collective Governing Board


  1. Jacob, I am really interested in the Collective Housing Working group. In or out of OP. In addition, a colleague and good friend, Kristin,and I want to create a collective space for communal activities incorporated with the living spaces. She is a phenomenal gymnastics coach for the Phila rec dept, but her classes have dropped off from 150 to 30 students, b/c the neighborhood is so bad. Parents don't feel safe dropping off their kids. I run a computer cafe and teach free courses and art at the same rec center and have the same issue. We want to invest time and money into this project. Please let us know where you are with it.

    Regards, Dina

  2. Great! I'm on my way to the GA at 30th St Station... will announce a meeting after Tues GA at La Colombe--if you can't make it, we can change that.

  3. John Michael CummingsDecember 18, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    re: book review request by award-winning author

    Dear Jacob,

    I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out this fall. Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about childhood published by West Virginia University Press.

    Can I interest you in reviewing it?

    If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

    My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

    Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
    Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

    For more information about me, please visit:

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


    John Michael Cummings