#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines

Search form

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines
Thu, 8/23/2012 - by Jennifer Sacks
This article originally appeared on Occupied Wall Street Journal

Photo: A Russian man protests the persecution of Pussy Riot.

This week in Occupy, Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years in Russian prison, we expressed solidarity with General Motors hunger strikers in Colombia, activists far and nigh set their sights on Tampa and the Republican National Convention, and the one-year Occuversary is approaching.

#After a short trial, three members of Pussy Riot, an all-girl punk band who sang two minutes of an anti-Putin song in a Russian Orthodox church, were sentenced to two years in a prison colony. Read their awesome closing statement. The court responsible for sentencing them was later hacked. Occupy Wall Street massed in Times Square to protest the verdict.

#On August 1, workers of ASOTRECOL, the association of injured workers and ex-workers at the General Motors plant in Bogotá, Colombia, launched a hunger strike. Some workers sewed their mouths shut in protest.

Foreclosure Free Zone#The Republican National Convention is upon us. Kicking things off will be the March on the RNC on August 27. Occupy Wall Street is planning to charter busloads of protesters south for the festivities. CODEPINK would like you to send your vagina artwork to the Republican National Committee. Food Not Bombs will furnish 1,000 supporters to distribute food.

#The Tampa city council agreed to abandon its efforts to evict “Romneyville,” the camp that emerged to protest the RNC. But when the convention ends, Occupy Tampa will be searching for new space, as it has mere weeks to clear its occupation.

#It’s been 11 months and four days since Occupy Wall Street began, and a first anniversary call to action has been issued.

#The White House filed an appeal in hope of reversing a federal judge’s ruling that bans the indefinite military detention of Americans because attorneys for the president say they are justified to imprison alleged terrorists without charge. (No, the current president is not George W. Bush.)

#The Justice Department decided not to pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs related to accusations that the firm bet against the same subprime mortgage securities it was selling to clients. And the no accountability victory lap continues.

mickey-z

Photo: Mickey Z-Vegan. Michelle Mantone raises a fist at the Occupy Gracie Mansion for All Abilities action in New York.

#But there’s some good news on this front: Pretty much everybody in the world with subpoena power has hit JPMorgan Chase with requests for information in the Libor-rigging conspiracy. Here’s Der Spiegel’s behind the scenes coverage of the scandal.

#Sandy Weill is not alone: meet the bankers having second thoughts about Too Big To Fail.

#A new report revealed how wealthy individuals and their families hide between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore accounts and tax havens.

#Nearly one in two Americans – 46 percent – die “with virtually no financial assets,” or less than $10,000, according to a recent study.

#New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the NYPD’s latest crime-tracking and surveillance system, Domain Awareness, the product of a joint venture with Microsoft, which developed the system’s complex network of 3,000 cameras and 2,600 radiation detectors. The cameras – mostly focused on midtown and the Financial District – can be accessed at a moment’s notice to run license plates or criminal records. New York is now poised to become the surveillance capital of America.

#Stop-and-frisks in New York have dropped by 34 percent in recent months because police commanders have grown wary of pushing for such stops at daily roll calls. But often overlooked is how frequently police officers use some level of physical force in these encounters – those stopped say that if they show the slightest bit of resistance, even verbally, they can find themselves slammed against walls, forced to the ground and with officers’ guns pointed at their heads. And cops apparently aren’t taught how to stop-and-frisk women differently from men, causing women to feel victimized. A Quinnipiac University survey found that 57 percent of white city voters approve of stop-and-frisk, while only 25 percent of black voters and 53 percent of Hispanics said they approve. A majority of New Yorkers believe the NYPD favors white people.

#Robert Stolarik, a New York Times photographer who covered Occupy Wall Street and was harassed by the NYPD for doing so, was arrested while on assignment in the Bronx in an episode that appears to be retribution for his insistence upon press freedom. The NYPD is still aggressively violating free press and assembly at protests.

detroit-solidarity-gm

Photo: Frank Hammer. Demonstrators at a solidarity rally in Detroit for GM workers in Colombia.

#Senior Department of Homeland Security officials debated whether they should pressure Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings to “pull down” a report he published on the magazine’s web site about the agency’s role in monitoring Occupy Wall Street, according to hundreds of pages of internal DHS emails.

#Obama reportedly told the General Services Administration to “stand down” on arresting Occupy Portland protestors last year.

#Nearly a year after the occupation of Zuccotti Park the police have it essentially locked down, with police cameras trained on the site and private security guards from Brookfield Properties continually in residence. A memorandum surfaced indicating that the police agreed to enforce unposted rules restricting activities there.

#A broad coalition of New York City Council members who rarely see eye-to-eye on the same issue came together in an attempt to reform the NYPD’s appalling handling of car accident investigations, spurred by the widow of a pedestrian who was fatally struck while crossing the street – with no consequences for the drunk driver. “The NYPD’s crash investigation system is fatally flawed,” Councilmember Brad Lander said at a City Hall press conference. “40% of the time when someone is killed, nobody even gets a traffic ticket.”

#In somewhat more cheerful NYPD news, the police department’s legal team has refused to defend Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, who famously pepper sprayed two female Occupy protesters in an incident that evoked horror across the country. Ray Kelly criticized the decision. Bologna will be represented by his union instead.

#More pepper-sprayed Occupy activists have sued the NYPD.

#A report by New York University and Fordham Law Schools found that the NYPD consistently overstepped its powers while policing the Occupy Movement.

dying-for-work

A Las Vegas billboard spotlights the dire state of the unemployed.

#A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding the excessive use of police force is good news for Occupiers pressing suit against police and governments for their brutal use of force against peaceful protesters.

#Where is the outrage over activist prosecutions? Dennis Etler asked in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

#Monitoring the police contributes to public safety, wrote the man who filmed a cop body-slamming a Sunset Park teenager during an arrest in a subway station.

#After more than 800,000 votes, Puerto Rico rejected constitutional amendments that would have reduced the size of the legislature and given judges the right to deny bail in certain murder cases. The referendum’s result means that Puerto Rico remains the only place in the Western Hemisphere where everyone is entitled to bail regardless of the alleged crime.

#When activists in Oakland began to refurbish a library that has stood empty since the 1970s, it wasn’t long before people began to stop in and look around. Many were amazed by the quick progress; others were happy to attend a potluck. But the city and police had other ideas, raiding the new People’s Library on August 14. Despite this, the library continues to operate – it’s now the only 24-hour library in the country.

#Blockaders braved a wall of bulldozers and unfurled banners that warned TransCanada to expect resistance the size of Texas if the company proceeds with construction of a pipeline to carry Canadian tar sands through the region as part of Keystone XL’s hastily rebranded “Gulf Coast Project.”

Jess-Hunter-Bowman

Photo: Jess Hunter-Bowman. The sign says it all.

#Protesters of all ages successfully blockaded the Texas headquarters of Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company.

#Activists #occupied key nuclear power-related facilities on the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

#Three members of Occupy Charlotte were found not guilty on charges of resisting, obstructing or delaying officers eight months after they were arrested as their camp was dismantled.

#A protester belonging to an Occupy group in rural Pennsylvania is being charged with felony attempted bank robbery and a terrorism-related charge for holding signs up during a demonstration at a local Wells Fargo branch.

#Scott Olsen and members of Iraq Veterans Against War #occupied Obama Campaign Headquarters in Oakland demanding the release of Pfc. Bradley (Breanna) Manning.

#In Iowa, Occupiers and members of the local Tea Party chapter teamed up against red light cameras.

#Tom Morello sounded off about Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan in an op-ed for Rolling Stone: “Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”

#An estimated 1,500 conservative activists gathered in Cleveland’s Willard Park in a rally and march dubbed “Occupy the Truth,” which protested liberal bias in the mainstream media. “The goal of Occupy The Truth is to inject some honesty into the narrative of just how potentially violent the Occupy movement can be,” Jim Hoft wrote without irony at the Gateway Pundit.

#Another day, another scary government surveillance program. Meet Trapwire, which the media is already whitewashing. In Australia the story was retracted from a number of sites.

kate-conway1

An anti-pipeline demonstration on Manhattan’s west side. Photo: Kate Conway

#The theater world has been #occupied: “Mr. Satan Goes to Wall Street,” a musical satire inspired by and depicting the Occupy Movement, tells the story of Satan after he is laid off from Hell because humanity has become too adept at evil. Humanity, in this case, is mostly represented by former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. For The Greater Good, or The Last Election,” performed by the San Francisco Mime Troupe, transformed the Occupy protests into a melodrama.”Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17,” a cabaret focusing on the one-year anniversary of Occupy, will open at Joe’s Pub in New York on September 17. New York’s Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble will portray members of the Occupy Movement who have just arrived from a nearby protest with the intention of performing Bizet’s Carmen.

#For some reason, liberal/libertarian billionaire Mark Cuban is releasing “Occupy Unmasked,” an Occupy exposé produced by the late Andrew Breitbart and Citizens United.

#In the movie “The Campaign,” Zack Galifianakis and Will Ferrell play the Motch brothers, thinly veiled versions of the Koch brothers. “I disagree with everything they do,” Galifianakis told the New York Daily News. “They are creepy and there is no way around that. It’s not freedom what they are doing.” The Kochs were not pleased: “Last we checked, the movie is a comedy,” a Koch spokesperson told CNN. “Maybe more to the point is that it’s laughable to take political guidance or moral instruction from a guy who makes obscene gestures with a monkey on a bus in Bangkok.”

#In Chicago, activists #occupied the Air and Water Show to perform some political theater.

#From Vermont to Texas to Appalachia to New York, this summer has seen activists mobilize against dirty power. Here is why it’s so dangerous. And here is some good information for fracktivists.

Screen-Shot-2012-08-20-at-2.15.49-PM

General Motors hunger strikers in Bogotá. Photo: Austin Robles

#Drillers in Utah have a friend in the Bureau of Land Management, which seems to confused as to whether it serves corporations or people.

#Chalk is now politically charged: Activists and children are being cited nationwide for chalk drawings on sidewalks. In Austin, troopers intimidated children and arrested activists at a Chalkupy the World event. New Zealand also participated. A Virginia mother has agreed to 50 hours of community service after her 4-year-old daughter used chalk to draw on rocks on Belle Isle in Richmond.

#Adam “Ademo” Mueller, a journalist and radio show host, is facing 21 years in prison for reporting on police brutality toward students at a Manchester, New Hampshire, high school.

#When activists were excluded from the Doheny Surf Festival because they planned to distribute information about the San Onofore Nuclear Reactor, they set up a tent outside the perimeter.

#Every summer, Angela Prattis feeds 60 children a day who can’t afford to eat. But the city of Philadelphia told her she must stop – unless she can come up with $1,000 for a permit.

#Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate were arrested at a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank over housing foreclosures.

#Officers from the Portland police forced their way into a newly created community center inside of a duplex owned by Alicia Jackson, which had been illegally foreclosed on by the banks in 2011. The duplex had been reclaimed earlier in the day by 250 people from the surrounding community during a neighborhood block party.

#Oakland, historical haven of activism, was profiled in the New York Times and dubbed the “spiritual capital of Occupy Wall Street.”

#A Northeast Cobb County, Atlanta, homeowner in a protracted battle with Wells Fargo to prevent the foreclosure of his home has been occupying his front lawn for more than a month. He has a hearing on August 31; here is what you can do to help.

#Occupy Bergen County held a protest in front of a Bank of America in Westwood.

postcard#Las Vegas residents awoke to a shocking billboard featuring a mannequin dangling on a hangman’s noose below a black sign with the ominous words “Dying for Work.” Another read “Hope You’re Happy With Wall Street.”

#Workers at a Subway sandwich shop at the Oakland airport have been fired for trying to unionize.

#In San Francisco, more than two thousand building cleaners shut down the city’s main artery, Market Street, in a huge march. They are ready to strike over wages and health care costs.

#A settlement has been negotiated between CODEPINK activist Rae Abileah and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) volunteer lobbyist Stanley Shulster, who viciously assaulted her for denouncing the Israeli occupation of Palestine during a speech in 2011.

#After a seven-month vigil, Occupy Homes MN claimed a victory in North Minneapolis.

#After the house of Rain Burroughs, a 49-year-old single mother in Richmond, Virginia, was slated for foreclosure, her community – led by Anonymous and Gloria Steinem – rallied together and raised the necessary $13,000 in 38 hours.

#The $25 billion foreclosure settlement the Obama administration and state attorneys general struck in February with the nation’s five largest mortgage companies is mired in bureaucracy – lost files, phone transfers to nowhere – and not really helping homeowners.

#The police officer at the center of the U.C. Davis pepper-spraying scandal last fall is no longer on the force.

#After 15 days in jail, Danny L. Johnson, Chicago NATO protestor and member of Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Walk USA, was released.

pete-shaw

Photo: Pete Shaw

#The city of Lansing has dropped all charges against Occupy Lansing protestors who refused to leave Reutter Park after curfew.

#Occupy Memphis has been evicted from Civic Center Plaza.

#In a great example of creative direct action that went viral, gays offended by Chick fil-A’s gay marriage stance organized a kiss-in in front of Chick-fil-A stores nationwide. Meanwhile, after being confronted with the hatred of their neighbors, who flocked to buy chicken sandwiches to show their disapproval of gay marriage, Chick-fil-A’s gay employees feel like aliens in their own towns.

#Despite the fact that the Supreme Court struck down mandatory life without parole for kids convicted of murder, minors can still get life-without-parole sentences — just not automatically after a conviction.

#Private prison companies like CCA and Geo Group spend $45 million in lobbying and rake in $5.1 billion for immigrant detention alone.

#A San Francisco city supervisor has proposed the elimination of a little-known portion of the parks code written in 1981 that bans demonstrating and leafleting in large swaths of the city’s parks.

#Lupe Fiasco, musician and occupier, told CNN, ”This nation was founded by rebels and revolutionaries, and its flags were carried across the battlefields by people who were very, very against the status quo and who questioned and criticized.”

#In an anachronistic twist, women are going to Mexico for their health care needs in the wake of draconian laws that have closed women’s clinics near the border in the name of outlawing abortion.

#Occupy Hong Kong got their marching orders from the courts on August 13, but they vowed to stay.

performance-satan-goes-new

A performance of “Mr Satan Goes To Wall Street” in New York City. Photo: Jessica Wohlander

#A federal court has given Chevron and Transocean 30 days to suspend all petroleum drilling and transportation operations in Brazil until investigations are completed into two oil spills off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

#Hundreds of students #occupied high schools and blocked traffic in Chile’s capital to demand education reform.

#Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its rescue led to a “surprisingly” strong recovery. So what worked? A decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury. America, are you listening?

#Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, the mayor of the town of Marinaleda in the southern region of Andalusia, has been staging robberies at supermarkets and giving stolen groceries to the poor, earning him the nickname “The Robin Hood Mayor.”

#200 members of Spain’s Andalusian fieldworkers’ union went to two supermarkets, filled up ten shopping carts with milk, sugar, chickpeas, pasta, rice and other basic necessities, and walked out without paying. They proceeded to donate the food to 26 families in Sevilla and three civic centers in three towns in the province of Cádiz.

#Members of Mexico’s Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity began a Caravan for Peace across the U.S. to demand change in the violent drug policy that has been imposed by their neighbors to the north. The caravan will pass through more than 25 American cities in a month.

wall-street

Another Las Vegas billboard.

#Occupy London is divided over Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London after being granted political asylum in the South American country.

#Kicking off the Two Countries, One Voice campaign, Occupy Wall Street protested Mexican media titan Carlos Slim Helú at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to express solidarity with Yo Soy 132, Mexico’s anti-mainstream media movement, which is growing by leaps and bounds outside of Mexico. Helú owns a large chunk of Saks.

#Bryn Phillips, a writer and community organizer who served as a spokesman for the protesters who occupied St Paul’s Cathedral, stood in a City of London byelection. Occupy your government.

#During the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics, more than 130 activists on bicycles, including members of Occupy London, attempted to breach the Olympic park’s security cordon. The entire city was essentially a police state during the Games.

#Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Montreal the day a provincial election by the Liberal Party government of Quebec Premier Jean Charest was called.

#Occupy Frankfurt‘s camp was cleared by German police, who dubbed it a “health hazard.”

#The financial crisis and resulting austerity measures have driven more than 1,000 people to suicide in the United Kingdom.

#ProPublica revealed how nonprofits spend millions in “dark money” on elections and call it “public welfare.” (We’re looking at you, Koch brothers.)

#The same problems that plagued the foreclosure process — and prompted a multibillion-dollar settlement with big banks — are now emerging in the debt collection practices of credit card companies.

chicago

Photo: Occupy Chicago Press Relations. PeaceShow 2012: #Occupied.

#French president François Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on incomes above a million euros a year, and “Les Riches” are panicking.

#Here are 20 infamous quotes Wall Street wishes were never made public.

#Thousands of retirees are learning that defaulting on student debt can threaten something that used to be untouchable: their Social Security benefits.

#In the wake of an investigation that revealed 1.3 million law enforcement requests for mobile phone info from providers, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a draft of a bill, the Wireless Surveillance Act of 2012, that would put some limits on those requests, including requiring a court order for location tracking.

#Right-wing media have distorted efforts by President Obama’s re-election campaign to restore early voting for all Ohio voters, claiming the campaign is suing to restrict voting for members of the military.

#The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency established after the Florida ballot disaster of 2000 to ensure that every vote gets counted, is leaderless and adrift just two months before voting.

Pharmaceutical CEOs' Total Compensation in 2011#The mayor of Philadelphia called voter ID laws “a bad solution in search of a problem.” Voting is getting harder for college students attending school far from home, who tend to be more politically progressive.

#The far-right former Florida GOP chair openly admitted being a part of regular meetings where “keeping blacks from voting” was discussed. Voter ID laws and purges from the voter rolls violate federal law.

#Our economic ruin means freedom for the super-rich.

559345_337463863004929_1024319811_n

A message of solidarity projected by The Illuminator on a Con Ed power plant in New York. Photo: Jenna Pope Photography

#Over the last decade, the Bush tax cuts have delivered $1 million in tax breaks for the average millionaire.

#The San Francisco Police Department has underreported the arrest rates of the city’s two largest minority groups for years, misclassifying Latino arrestees as “white” and Asian arrestees as “other.”

#A new study shows that helping homeowners avoid foreclosures actually saves taxpayer money.

#The U.S. government has been collecting data on nearly every U.S. citizen and assembling webs of their relationships, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney revealed.

#For a real revolution, Occupy Madison Avenue, Co.Exist suggests.

#A global day against fracking has been proposed for September 22.

#Have you read the latest issue of the Occupied Daytona News Journal yet?

#Here’s a home for Occupy-related petitions.

#Are you one of the 99%? (If you’re reading this, you probably are.) Send in a postcard.

#Have you seen the police state Mastercard parody? It’s priceless.

Article Tabs

A new in-depth report has revealed the influence the government-industry revolving door has had on Big Oil's ability to obtain four liquefied natural gas export permits since 2012 from the Obama Administration.

Forces both inside and outside the traditional labor movement united to campaign for a higher minimum wage for hotel workers in Los Angeles.

The Crosscheck purge list swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia, and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

Among other human health and environmental violations, the TPP agreement will facilitate harsh legislation that further restricts free speech, privacy and innovation.

Attending Bilderberg is not a guarantee for holding high office – but it can often support a rapid rise to state power for politicians who impress the members and guests at the annual meetings.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago

Raleigh resident Bibi Bowman says the fact that a police officer called her and told her to take down a Facebook post is an invasion of her privacy and a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate her into silence.

Posted 2 days 22 hours ago

The Nordic nation of 5.6 million has been at the forefront of wind power innovation since the 1890s, when one of its leading scientists, Poul la Cour, began testing turbines.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago

We are educating each other, we are learning from each other, we are supporting each other in this cavernous journey for justice and the “hope” that our system of laws will not continue to betray us.

Ferguson, Mo., Darren Wilson, Michael Brown, protest

On August 9, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot a black teenager named Mike Brown. Since then, the city has been protesting.

It's been over a month since 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was killed by a St. Louis police officer.

Students are rejecting a proposed tuition hike that would raise their costs by more than $3,300 over the next five years.

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

Sign Up