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MONEY TO MOVEMENTS:

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT MONEY?


A guide created in 2012 by various plaintiffs in the DC pershing Park Lawsuit
This is a guide for people who are involved in class action lawsuits who are interested in pooling
resources once a financial settlement is reached to support social justice movements. Millions of
dollars may be won in these kinds of settlements, and with cohesive organizing among coplaintiffs; this money can have a large impact.
We are a small group of people who were among the 400+ people illegally arrested during the
IMF/World Bank Protests in 2002 in DC at Pershing Park. Our settlement was historic,
awarding $8.25 million to the roughly 400 plaintiffs in the Barham class action lawsuit thanks to
the tireless efforts of the attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice. Since we were awarded
our settlement roughly totaling $16,000 per plaintiff, we have organized for people to move their
money to movements in a collective fashion. Along with our co-plaintiffs we have successfully
moved over $45,000 and learned a lot in the process.
Reflecting on our process, this guide will feature recommendations for those seeking to
actualize similar collective financial action and also discuss the challenges we encountered.

Step 1:
You have been arrested during a mass action- do you think that your arrest was
unconstitutional/illegal warranting a class action lawsuit? If so, while in jail or wherever you may
be detained.
Start talking to the other folks who were arrested with you about the possibility of a class action
lawsuit and other related organizing efforts. You can also mention previous lawsuits, letting
people know that there can be significant financial gains from such settlements, emphasizing
the importance of giving some of this money back to movements.
Try to exchange contact info so that you can stay in touch once you are released. Settlements
may take over a decade to come through and sustained communication will help you money to
movements once the check is in the mail.
In our case we did not do this and it proved very difficult to contact people once we got our
settlement checks, ten years later, resulting in us only communicating with 15 plaintiffs out of
400. Depending on your legal team they may or may not agree to help you contact the other
plaintiffs or agree to send out information to all the plaintiffs.

Step 2:

Form a group of people you have affinity with who may be interested in working on this
organizing effort, maintaining communication with co-plaintiffs and facilitating processes to
move money if a settlement comes down.
Step 3: Engage with your legal team immediately to see if they will help spread the word about
your efforts to move the potential settlement money to movements.

Step 4:
If your legal team is not willing to help facilitate communication explore other options. We set up
a facebook group hoping to reach people whose contact information we did not have.
Unfortunately we did not have much luck with this since we set the group up 10 years after the
protest.

Step 5: Compile original calls to action, and related information to the incident in which you
were arrested. This will help inform decisions made about where to donate money to and also
possibly serve as a reminder to people many years later about why they were there protesting in
the first place.

Step 6: Draft in advance or be prepared to send a letter to all of the co-plaintiffs once you are
awarded a settlement. Include the above info about the original action and explain what you are
trying to do to move the money to movements. Our letter is attached at the end of this
document.
We unfortunately waited too long to agree on language for the letter and who to send it to, thus
when we finally sent it out, many people had already spent their money.

Step 7: You can create a survey asking people where they would like their money to go and
how much they would be willing to donate. This can help people feel engaged in the process
and direct the money to relevant causes. We created our survey via Google Docs, which allows
you to easily share with people and compile the answers. You can view our survey attached at
the end of this document. Keep the survey simple so that people will actually fill it in.

Step 8: Research social justice groups that are related to the original politics of the action and
see what projects may need financing. We attempted to prioritize groups that were ineligible for
foundation funding and also groups that were doing on the ground organizing led by people in
the global south who were bearing the brunt of globalization, which was what we had been
protesting about. The survey can be helpful for people suggesting these kinds of groups.

Step 9:

If each plaintiff commits to giving a certain percentage of their settlement, significant

funds can be raised. In our case of the $8.25 million dollar settlement if everyone had donated

1/16 of the money they received we would have raised close to half a million dollars. If people
are concentrated geographically they may also be able to pool resources, supporting a specific
space, organization, campaign, project, etc.

Step 10: Document what you are doing to share and inspire other people to donate their
money and serve as a model for future settlements. Once all the money is moved you may
issue a press release that accompany all the news stories about the actual settlement. View
this example of a press release following the WTO settlement:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/05/20/18500425.php
We know that our civil liberties will continue to be violated as we clamor for justice and that we
will continue to hold the powers that be, accountable for their illegal actions.

Our Successes:
We successfully moved thousands of dollars including:
$5000 to Promedios to support their continual work doing community media workshops in
autonomous indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico
$160 to the Marcellus Shale Campaign to fight fracking in Pennsylvania
$800 to Visitors' Services Center/DC Jails
$160 to Mobile Midwife
$1000 to Coalition of Immokalee Workers
$1000 to Medios Caminantes Immigrant Media Network affiliated w/ Allied Media Projects
$500 to Indigenous Lenca organization COPINH in Honduras
$2000 to various Mexican social justice movements to support community dental clinics and
community silk-screening shops
$16,000 split between the following organizations
Chinese Progressive Organization http://cpasf.org/
Young Women's Empowerment Project http://ywepchicago.wordpress.com/
New Voices Pittsburgh - Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
http://www.facebook.com/newvoicespgh
Dwa Fanm - Committed to the Rights of Haitian Women and Girls http://www.dwafanm.org/
J-Flag - The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays www.jflag.org/
Climbing Poetree - Cultural Workers climbingpoetree.com/
Fight for Lifers East - http://www.reconstructioninc.org/drupal/node/49
Fight for Lifers West http://www.fightforliferswestinc.com/About-Us.html
$10,000 Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
$3000 G20 Legal Defense Fund
$1000 Blackfly Sustainable Living and Education Cooperative
$300 Wayside Center

Money To Movements Settlement Letter


Pershing Park Settlement
September 27th, 2002, over 10,000 people converged on Washington, D.C for the Peoples Strike. We
came on buses, caravans, & trains - we organized roadshows, teach-ins, & workshops - we brought art
work, affinity groups, & actions. And most importantly, we brought our voices and bodies to express our
opposition to global capitalism & the way it promotes poverty, racism, sexism, environmental destruction,
and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few. The People's Strike was a day of noncompliance "in a spirit of resistance, defiance and love"; "an act of self-determination to bring hope to
ourselves and express solidarity to those struggling for freedom across the world - from Afghanistan to
Argentina, South Africa to Iraq, Palestine to the Philippines."
The DC governments response to the peaceful vocalization of our opposition was one of mass police
repression & misuse of city & federal resources. Throughout the weekend & across the city, protesters
were stopped, corralled, & detained. At Pershing Park alone, nearly 400 people were surrounded and
falsely arrested without given any warnings or opportunity to leave the area. We were handcuffed on
buses, hog-tied on the floor of a gym, & held in cells; detained for up to 36 hours.
Nine years and one long legal battle -fought by the Partnership for Civil Justice- later, we have received
massive compensation for our time in detention.
And what more exciting time to receive this settlement money than now. We have seen the largest
resurgence of social movements in the US since the late 90's and early 2000's when we were protesting
globalization. To quote an Occupy Wall Street website "2011 will be remembered as a year of revolution,
the beginning of the end for an unsustainable global system based on poverty, oppression, and violence.
In dozens of countries across the Arab world, people rose up against broken economies and oppressive
regimes, toppling dictators and inspiring the world to action. Popular rejection of austerity measures and
attacks on worker's rights brought millions to the streets in Greece, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the UK,
Chile, Wisconsin, and elsewhere."
Taking inspiration from these movements, people in NYC started an encampment in fall 2011 near Wall
St and the idea spread like Wildfire. Thousands of people who have never come out to protests before
came out to the streets, protesting, occupying, participating in general assemblies, creating media and
more to draw attention to the gross economic inequalities in the US between the 99% and the 1% But
we've also seen people come out to the streets who hadn't protested since the anti-globalization days
contributing their voice to this new growing movement for economic justice.
With this resurgence in social activism there are so many projects to support and we hope that some of
this settlement money can go to them. We also recognize that many of the things that we were protesting
back in the day still continue. Neoliberalism has spread like wild fire with mega projects like open pit
mining, large highways, biotechnology and dams devastating indigenous and rural communities all over
the global south. The resistance to them also grows with communities fighting for the right to their land,
culture and dignity. Just as we stood in solidarity with these movements in 2003 we can now stand in
solidarity with them by donating money to their projects.
We have created this survey to see what are the social movements that you are interested in supporting.

We want you to feel invested in this process also and help decide where our money should move. We
also believe in prioritizing grassroots movements, especially those in the global south, that do not have
large budgets and may have difficulty getting funds from large foundations due to the organizing work that
they do.
We hope that you will participate in this process and fill out this short survey.
Name
Did you receive a settlement from the Barham v. Ramsey class action suit (Pershing Park Settlement)?
(yes/no)
Do you still have money from these settlements in your savings?
(yes/no)
Would you be willing to donate a portion of your settlement to fund movement organizing?
(yes)
(i already have) If so to what organizations have you donated?
Given that settlement money was about $16,000 what percentage of your settlement would you be willing
to donate?
1% 5% 10% 25% 50% 75% 100% some other amount
_______________
Nominating groups to receive funding:

What are the issues that are most important to you? Please circle no more than 5
http://indymedia.us/en/imperialism/
! anti-war
! arts & culture
! bikes & transportation
! cross-border solidarity
! criminal justice system/prison industrial complex
! economic justice
! education & public resources
! environmental justice
! food & agriculture
! gender, sexuality & LGBTQ rights
! health
! human & civil rights
! immigrant rights

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

indigenous rights
labor
media & communications
middle east
police & legal
poverty
race & racism
youth & students

Would you like to nominate a global justice group or organizing effort as a recipient of settlement funds? If
so which one?
What is the mission of the organization you are nominating?
What is the scope of the group(s) or project(s)?
How is it structured and funded?
Who makes up the group?
Why do you think this organization or group should be funded out of settlement money?
Please provide a website if applicable and contact for the group or project.
If you are choosing to participate, please provide us with you contact information listed below.
Phone number where you can be reached.
Email address where you'd like to updated on the process.
Is there anything you would like to add?