Springtime for Occupy: Movement’s Plans For Coming Weeks and Months


 

Apparently Occupy WS hasn’t been hibernating, they got busy organizing in a way that will impact the 1% where it counts...

By ALAN FARNHAM
March 8, 2012

It’s shaping up to be a busy spring for Occupy. The movement born last year in a New York City park has come roaring back to life this week after a period of hibernation. It promises to be even livelier in weeks and months to come.

On Monday, according to the Sacramento Bee, a crowd numbering in the thousands, including Occupy protesters, converged on California’s capital to denounce soaring college tuition costs. Chanting “You’ll hear us out, or we’ll vote you out,” they tried to occupy the capitol rotunda. Some succeeded. In what the Bee called “a massive show of force,” 100 California Highway Patrol officers arrested 68.

Occupy is taking credit for the White House’s recent decision to move a May meeting G-8 leaders from Chicago, where Occupy and other groups had threatened protests, to safer and more remote Camp David. “We scored a victory, forcing them to retreat to the back woods of Maryland,” Andy Thayer, Occupier and spokesperson for the Coalition Against NATO/G-8, tells ABC News.

Protests still will be mounted, he says, against NATO, which has chosen not to flee Chicago and will meet there as planned. “There’ll be a mass march on the NATO summit,” says Thayer, “not only a march, but any number of other activities. It’s unclear whether it will be on the 19th or 20th. We will decide in the next few days.”

All around the U.S., other Occupy actions are in the works.

PHOTO: An Occupy Wall Street protester holds a sign during a march towards midtown's Bryant Park Feb. 29, 2012, in New York.
John Minchillo/AP Photo
An Occupy Wall Street protester holds a sign… View Full Size
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Next week Occupy St. Louis will host a Midwestern conference of regional Occupy groups, where Thayer will speak.

In Manhattan, veterans of the original Occupy Wall Street have just returned from a five-week bus tour of 12 Northeaster cities, where they met with counterparts to exchange ideas, network and offer seminars on such practicalities as how to organize a march. “It was pretty cool,” says Occupier Pete Dutrow, who says he has been “pretty much a full-time activist” since the Occupy movement started. He was a member of the Finance Working Group in and has now moved on to other projects.

Regarding money, Occupiers should start to get support later this month from a new entity called the Resource Movement Group (RMG), bankrolled by wealthy supporters sympathetic to the movement. The backers include Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, as well as Danny Goldberg, former manager of Nirvana. Their goal is to raise $1.8 million, to be given out as grants of up to $25,000 each to protesters whose projects win RMG’s approval.

A web posting by Occupy’s General Assembly describes RMG as “a fund source that believes Occupy is ready to transit from being a series of spontaneous actions to a more strategic national movement.”

On April 28, Occupy Cleveland will kick off a celebratory event called Occupy The HeartFest, which will serve as a kind of warm-up for the NATO protests in Chicago and for a nationwide General Strike planned for May 1st.

The May Day General Strike calls for workers and students around the country not to show up for work or school. The idea, say organizers, will be to show the “1 percent” what life without the “99 percent” would look like. In New York City, Occupy Wall Street has discussed a morning disruption of commerce, followed by a mid-day demonstration in support of immigrant rights, capped off by an evening march.

On May 9, Bank of America shareholders will hold their annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. They’ll have company. Occupy’s protest plans for the meeting are in flux, but organizers view it as an opportunity to agitate against BofA’s and other banks’ home foreclosures.

Continue here for video coverage:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/occupy-wall-street-movement-plans-spring-surprises/story?id=15870450#.T13nB_V9qCg

 

Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest and WiserEarth


 

We ARE the change and we ARE making a difference! A big ginormous thank you to everyone who joins me in on this ride called Spaceship Earth,  we’re creating  our vision of a new world for Earth where we all live in peace, prosperity and love in the Light.

Uploaded by on Apr 20, 2007

Paul Hawken’s speech at the Bioneers conference on the worlds largest movement, the hundreds of thousands of grassroots organizations that address social and environmental justice.

Join the global WiserEarth community at
http://www.WiserEarth.org

Subtitles are available in several languages.
Please click on the ‘cc’ icon (or menu) in the video player above or the “Interactive Transcript” pane/tab on the right of this description box.

Don’t see your language?… Help us translate it at
http://universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/eTuu7iz4tHWN/
(You can download the subtitles there too).

Video copyright: Bioneers (2007)
http://www.bioneers.org

IN PERSON With: Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine guitarist


Among the demonstrators at this winter’s protests in Madison, Wis., was Tom Morello. The guitarist, named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 all-time greatest guitar players, is more widely known for his high-adrenaline guitar riffs with Rage Against the Machine and, for a short while, Audioslave. But in recent years, his musical persona has become more solidified with The Nightwatchman, his solo acoustic alter ego that packs just as much hot rage against social injustice.

On a blustery February 21 outside the Wisconsin capitol, Morello roused the crowd with “Union Song,” a track from his Union Town EP. All proceeds benefited the America Votes Labor Unity Fund, via saveworkers.org. Throughout this year, he has performed at several rallies in union battlegrounds—not just in Madison, but also in Flint, Mich., and Cleveland, Ohio—adding fuel to the workers’ fire and offering both moral and financial support.

The Harvard graduate is a proud son of a union member. He was raised by Mary Morello, a single mother who taught for nearly three decades at a public high school in Libertyville, Ill. The crusading guitarist keeps a busy schedule strumming for progressive social causes. In 2002, he formed the organization Axis of Justice with Serj Tankian, of System of a Down, to help marshal resources for grassroots democracy. In 2008, Morello kicked off the Justice Tour, a recurring national concert tour that has featured members of Pearl Jam, Jane’s Addiction, The MC5, and Rise Against.

The Nightwatchman’s fourth and latest album, which was released on August 30 this year, is World Wide Rebel Songs. Earlier this month, Morello spoke with Chicago-area journalist Jane Huh by phone.

Politics

 

You’ve visited some of the country’s union strongholds and took part in the rallies. From your perspective, what’s the state of labor unions today?

There is a ferocious class war going on, but for the most part it’s being fought by one side. In Madison, people fought back on a scale that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. There were more people in the streets than there were in Cairo as [the Egyptians] were deposing their tyrannical dictator. I’ve played at hundreds of demonstrations, but in Madison, I saw something I’d never seen before. It was union cops and anarchist students on the same side, shoulder to shoulder. It was steelworkers and old hippies, firefighters and nurses all pulling together to stand up for their rights, explicitly as workers.

In the aftermath of the bill kind of being snuck through and the recall elections—my take is that it felt, in the occupied capitol and on the streets, like absolutely anything was possible. And I think, frankly, it scared the shit out of some parts of the Democratic Party and maybe some of the various organized leaderships as well, because they were afraid that the river might run its banks. They didn’t want it to be Cairo. Continue reading

The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy


At this point it appears police brutality is being used as a tool to provoke protestors to the point of escalating into violence, like the kind we’re seeing in Egypt. Yesterday I posted the Democracy Now! interview with Egyptian journalist Mona Eltaway, who survived a brutal sexual assaulted by the military during clashes last week. Mona’s recount of a peaceful revolution’s fall into violence, is eerily reminiscent of current developments unfolding around the Occupy movement.

Which illustrates the importance of taking OWS “partially” off the streets  and into areas of general strikes, boycotts and other forms of non-compliance like the recent bank transfer day which was enormously successful.  Actions that would appeal to people who are disaffected, but aren’t willing, able or ready to take to the streets or to risk their jobs by getting arrested.  Certainly by now there are plenty of people scared of getting their heads bashed in or doused with chemical laden, potentially toxic pepper spray.

It also needs to be noted that many communities haven’t taken to militarized measures, yet.

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/238137-The-Shocking-Truth-About-the-Crackdown-on-Occupy

Naomi Wolf
The Guardian, UK
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:14 CST
Print
Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts

© Allison Joyce/Getty Images
Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park.

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

riot police advance

© n/a
Oakland, California riot police advance on peaceful Occupy Oakland, November 3, 2011.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

The State of the World: Three Lines of Force and a Wild Card


Andrés Perezalonso
Sott.net
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 10:17 CST

I will assume that if you are taking a few minutes to read this article you are, like me, more or less a news addict. Every day you wake up and while fixing breakfast you turn on the radio and a laptop to check what is up with this world. As you eat you protest at the comments that come through the airwaves and correct every attempt at subtle propaganda, although sometimes you just have to laugh. Meanwhile you compare the radio broadcast with what is coming through the net in alternative news websites such as Sott.net. You also check out Facebook or some other social media site where you have a number of friends who are also into hunting interesting news items, so you want to see what they have spotted in the last twelve hours.

A week ago I had a surreal moment while reading headlines on Facebook. It was the clear impression that the world had indeed gone mad – and not in a harmless or amusing mad way, but in a cruel and soul-less way. Among the things that caught my eye:

10-Year-Old Survives Life Threatening Complications To Give Birth To Son Prematurely Likely a victim of rape.

House GOP Classifies Pizza As A Vegetable To ‘Prevent Overly Burdensome’ School Lunch Regulations. They grow on trees, you would think.

How the Telecom Industry Seeks to Confuse About the Dangers of Cell Phones. “From the way it was set up originally, this deeply flawed study was designed to fail to find an increased risk of brain tumors tied with cellphone use.”

TSA Puts Off Safety Study of X-ray Body Scanners. At least they are backtracking in Europe. But what harms Europeans is OK for Americans?

Seattle Police pepper-spray 84-year-old woman and pregnant teen. Because they can.

It is these sort of shocking items that make us feel that urge to understand how and why. What is the point of it all? What is the bigger picture? Horror moves us to seek knowledge, which is why I have been thinking lately about the main lines of force in the current state of global affairs. The way I see it, the major interrelated threads are the economic crisis, revolutions, imperialism and climate change. The first three are like standing lines of dominoes about to collapse. The last one can ‘rain’ down on us at any point – in fact it already has, but how strongly will it be when it does again?

It’s tempting to make predictions once you more or less have a handle on things in your mind. That is what so-called futurologists do. They detect trends, extend them twenty or thirty years into the future and come up with a picture of what the world may look like. Sometimes they get it right, but most often they don’t, as they will themselves admit. The main reason is that history does not move in straight lines. Often ‘mega-trends’ are disrupted by unforeseen events which come from either a previously overlooked trend or just from completely out of the blue.

Here I am not interested in what will happen decades into the future, but in our more immediate future. Even if the time-frame is shorter, the task is no less difficult, as the collapsing lines of dominoes are intertwined and not exempt from possible surprises.

Economic Crisis

Do you remember reading a year and a half ago in an installment of the Connecting the Dots series how the global economic crisis entered a new phase with Greece and the “PIIGS” making the headlines? The fact that it was planned in Wall Street left a great impression on me then.

It doesn’t get much more explicit than this folks. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, a very special and very private “idea dinner” was held on February 8 in Manhattan. Invited were a list of Wall Street hedge-fund representatives from SAC Capital Advisors, Soros Fund Management, Greenlight Capital and Brigade Capital. At the dinner, the speculators are said to have ‘predicted’ that the euro is likely to plunge in value to parity with the dollar. The euro has been under pressure because of Greece’s debt crisis, in addition to similar fiscal worries about Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ireland (“PIIGS”, in financial parlance – ingenious, no?) But the euro has also been sapped of its strength because certain hedge funds have been placing huge bets on the currency’s decline, which could make the speculators hundreds of millions in profit. In other words, the expectation of the euro’s decline is a prophecy that the financial mafia is happy to fulfill itself. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Barclays Bank of London were also playing “let’s sink the euro,” cashing in on the trend by betting on the currency’s fall. And this was worked out over dinner. That’s all it takes for a handful of psychopaths to cause untold misery for millions upon millions of people.

6 Burning Questions About the Violent Crackdowns on Occupations Around the Country


By Lynn Parramore, AlterNet
Posted on November 15, 2011, Printed on November 19, 2011

http://www.alternet.org/story/153083/6_burning_questions_about_the_violent_crackdowns_on_occupations_around_the_country

Occurring without provocation, the Occupy crackdown gives the appearance of an orchestrated effort to thwart an emerging protest movement. Early morning Tuesday, in New York City, hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear, swept down on Zuccotti Park, throwing away private property, restricting press and using aggressive tactics to remove protesters and supporters. Here are some things we’d really like to know.

1. Who convened the mayors call? In an interview with the BBC, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan alluded to her participation in a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities just prior to the raids on encampments across the country. Mayors’ associations do exist, but they do not typically organize police interventions or local decision-making in such detail. Given the abuses of the past, such as the notorious COINTELPRO and other intervention programs that the U.S. government organized during the Vietnam protests, the public has a right to know the details of who organized that call.

2. Was there an attempt to control press coverage? New Yorkers awoke to front-page stories and photographs in both the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Coverage by the two papers was supportive of the mayor and the police actions but disparaging toward the protesters. An AlterNet reporter, arriving on the scene at 1:30am, shortly after the raid began, could get nowhere near Zuccotti Park due to police barricades (and was subjected to pepper spray while attempting to report on events). How did the friendly reporters gain their access? Was there advance coordination to allow certain media outlets access and block the rest? Why was press access restricted? Were some reporters’ credentials confiscated? How will reports of unwarranted force on the part of police toward the press be addressed?

3. What, if any, was the role of the White House? Who was in charge of following the nationwide Occupy crackdown at the White House? What does President Obama, the man who celebrated the uprisings in Egypt (and who is currently out of the US, in Asia), think about the raids and the encroachments on the civil liberties of peacefully protesting Americans? As a constitutional scholar, what is his view of the restrictions of the press and the arrests of journalists?

4. Was the Department of Homeland Security involved in the raids? Filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted this question, asking if the Department may have given the green-light to the raid. The DHS has been reportedly following Occupy Wall Street Twitter feeds and other social media networks. Did it play any role in the crackdown?

5. What, if any, was the role of the FBI? Suggestions are circulating that the FBI and other federal agencies may have advised local law enforcement agencies on how to conduct the raids and even how to handle press relations. Did this happen? Was there any coordinating of arrests across the country on the part of the FBI?

6. Where are the libertarians? In the face of all the clamor about “states’ rights,” local government and the Constitution, we want to know where all the libertarians have suddenly gone. It’s enough to drive you to drink an emergency cup of tea.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor.

© 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/153083/

The Last Crusade: protests and demonstrations against greed goes global


Note: What’s disturbing is the apparent infiltration of anarchist’s committing  acts of violence during an overwhelmingly peaceful protest globally. In fact any violence being committed has overwhelmingly been on the part of law enforcement officials. Wonder if anyone got a photo of the shoes the masked protestors were wearing to see if they matched shoes worn by riot squad police officers. We’ve all seen that trick before – not falling for it…peaceful persistence through non-violent direct action is the only way we’ll get our demands met.

October 16, 2011 – ROME — Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Saturday in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands nicknamed “the indignant” marched without incident in cities across Europe, as the “Occupy Wall Street” protests linked up with long-running demonstrations against European governments’ austerity measures. Heavy smoke billowed in downtown Rome as a small group broke away and wreaked havoc in streets close to the Colosseum and elsewhere in the city. Clad in black with their faces covered, protesters threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at banks and Rome police in riot gear. With clubs and hammers, they destroyed bank ATMs, set trash bins on fire and assaulted at least two news crews from Sky Italia. Riot police charged the protesters repeatedly, firing water cannons and tear gas. Around 70 people were injured, according to news reports, including one man who tried to stop the protesters from throwing bottles. TV footage showed one young woman with blood covering her face, while the ANSA news agency said a man had lost two fingers when a firecracker exploded. In the city’s St. John in Lateran square, police vans came under attack, with protesters hurling rocks and cobblestones and smashing the vehicles. Fleeing the violence, peaceful protesters stormed up the steps outside the Basilica, one of the oldest in Rome. “People of Europe: Rise Up!” read one banner in Rome. Some activists turned against the violent group, trying to stop them and shouting “Enough!” and “Shame!” Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno blamed the violence on “a few thousand thugs from all over Italy, and possibly from all over Europe, who infiltrated the demonstration.” Some Rome museums were forced to close down and at least one theater canceled a show. Protesters also set fire to a building, causing the roof to collapse, reports said. The Defense Ministry denied reports it was one of its offices. Premier Silvio Berlusconi called the violence a “worrying signal,” and added that the perpetrators “must be found and punished.” Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote Friday, with many questioning his leadership. Italy’s debt burden is second only to Greece in the 17-nation eurozone and the country is rapidly becoming a focus of concern in Europe’s debt crisis. ANSA said four people from an anarchist group were arrested Saturday with helmets, anti-gas masks, clubs and hundreds of bottles in their car. –Huffington Post

Alan Grayson schools PJ O’Rourke and champions Occupy Wall Street, on Real Time with Bill Maher


Uploaded by on Oct 8, 2011

Alan Grayson, Democrat from Florida, tore a fellow panelist apart and managed to articulate some of the biggest issues facing the middle class when author P.J. O’Rourke attempted to belittle the economic education of protestors who take part in Occupy Wall Street. Alan Grayson’s response is worth watching and extremely commendable. I am posting with commentary, as is my right.