Two families saved from foreclosure, a small victory to be celebrated, and thousands more to go. Join Occupy Denver and the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition in celebrating the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall St.
Monday, September 17
Dance Party! Noon—Close
Wells Fargo 17th and Broadway
Protest Wells Fargo, Support Those Going Through Foreclosure,
CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT, MOVE YOUR MONEY TO A LOCAL CREDIT UNION
Bring Drums, Noisemakers and Yer Dancin’ Shoes!
After Party & Open Discussion Forum
6PM—Park Curfew (11 PM)
Civic Center Park Broadway between 14th & Colfax
Successes, Reflections & Plans for the Future
More Dancing! Make Friends! Dinner!! Cake!!!
Since the start of the housing crisis nearly 15 million homes have been lost to foreclosure. There are currently 21,827 families being foreclosed on here in Colorado, 4,102 of which are in Denver. Our families are losing an average of 14,000 homes a year, or 160 a month. Wells Fargo takes more homes than any other bank in Colorado. Occupy Denver is escalating the resistance to fraudulent foreclosures perpetuated by Wells Fargo and other criminal banks. If Wells Fargo is foreclosing on your home contact the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition to set up an appointment on Sept 17th to prevent the theft of your home. We will be there, closing our Wells Fargo bank accounts, supporting your resistance and dancing in Solidarity. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
Here is a statement from one of the people we were able to help:
“After many months of trying to obtain a loan modification with Wells Fargo, and many frustrating phone calls, faxes, and letters to them, our home went into foreclosure. We hired an attorney, Armin Sarabi, and enlisted the help of the Colorado Progressive Coalition and Occupy Denver. A few days before my scheduled sale date, Occupy Denver coordinated a protest with the Coalition, which took place outside the Denver headquarters of Wells Fargo. On the day of the protest, my lawyer and I were let into the Wells Fargo building, and were put in touch with a representative from the Office of Executive Complaints, as well as an underwriter from Wells Fargo. Over the next few weeks, we were able to work out a trial period plan, during which we will demonstrate that we are able to keep up with payments. The sale date was moved forward, and with each trial period payment we successfully make, the sale date will be moved further into the future. After we complete the three month trial period, my home will permanently be taken out of foreclosure. Although our payment had gone up, we are very pleased with the result of being able to stay in our home that we love. We feel strongly that the help we got from Occupy Denver was crucial to us being able to keep our home.”
If you are being foreclosed on by ANY big bank, or need to get started saving your home before or after Sep 17th do not lose hope, get prepared; contact the CFRC and start the fight today.
Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition
(through The Colorado Progressive Coalition)
1029 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 866-0908
Outside of Denver area: (866) 329-0908 (toll-free)
Fax: (303) 832-6416
Racism comes in many forms. On July 12th 2012 the U.S. Justice Department ordered Wells Fargo to pay $175 million in compensations to “resolve” accusations that it purposely discriminated against borrowers from 2004 to 2009. Their systematic racial profiling resulted in more than 34,000 Latino and African Americans in 36 states paying higher rates for no other reason than the color of their skin. Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division was quoted on CBS News,
“An African-American wholesale customer in the Chicago area in 2007 seeking a $300,000 loan paid on average $2,937 more in fees than a similarly qualified white applicant. And these fees were not based on any objective factors relating to credit risk. These fees amounted to a racial surtax. A Latino borrower in the Miami area in 2007 seeking a $300,000 loan paid on average $2,538 more than a similarly qualified white applicant. The racial surtax for African Americans in Miami in 2007 was $3,657.”
In their blatant avoidance of continued contested litigations from the DOJ, Wells Fargo also will pay $50 million in direct down payment assistance to borrowers in areas of the country where the Justice Department identified large numbers of discrimination victims. Those areas are Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco, New York City, Cleveland, Riverside, Calif., and Baltimore. Alas, Colorado is not on that list and even if it were, 50 million is not enough to compensate all the families who have been robbed and displaced by their immoral predatory lending here or anywhere. This is not the first time Wells Fargo has had discrimination lawsuits filed against them.
A Wells Fargo loan officer stated in an affidavit filed in 2009 that employees had referred to African-Americans as “mud people” and to subprime lending as “ghetto loans.” More about this here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/us/07baltimore.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Wells Fargo is the only bank that refused to put a moratorium on foreclosures after the robo-signing scandal broke. Wells Fargo is the second largest mortgage servicer in the country (servicing 11.9 million mortgages) and was one of the top subprime lenders during the housing bubble. To make matters worse, Wells Fargo is the largest player in the payday lending industry. Despite the fact that regulatory agencies have ruled against various forms of bank involvement in payday lending, Wells Fargo also functions as a pay day lender itself and provides credit to six of the largest publicly traded payday lenders.
Wells Fargo is a member of the Downtown Denver Business partnership that supported the homeless ban passed in May by Denver City Council, brought forth by councilman Albus Brooks, backed by other council members including Charlie Brown and supported by Mayor Hancock. The ban makes it a crime for anyone without permanent shelter to even cover themselves with a jacket to stay warm while sleeping outside. This measure essentially makes it illegal to be without a home. As Wells Fargo continues to force people out of their houses, it is notable that they are also supporting the base inhumanity of criminalizing the most fundamental human right of protecting ourselves against the elements.
Wells Fargo is among the largest shareholders in GEO Group, Inc. and CCA (Corrections Corporation of America), two giant private prisons that specialize in detention and deportation. Since the late 1990’s, the number of people held in immigration detention has exploded. On any given day, ICE detains over 33,000 immigrants; this is more than triple the number of people detained in 1996. In the last 5 years alone, the annual number of immigrants detained and the costs of detaining them has doubled: in 2009, 383,524 immigrants were detained, costing taxpayers $1.7 billion at an average of $122 a day per bed. Nearly 2.5 million individuals have passed through immigration detention facilities since 2003.
It should be noted that more black men are behind bars or under the watch of the criminal justice system than there were enslaved in 1850. The Colorado prison population has quadrupled in the past 20 years and it’s expected to keep growing to over 27,000 people in 2013. As incarceration increases, so do the profits for GEO and Wells Fargo. This means that not only is Wells Fargo making millions of dollars through these prisons, but they are using YOUR money to invest in the tearing apart of families and the maintenance of a broken immigration and prison system.
We are calling on everyone who banks with Wells Fargo to close their accounts in protest of their predatory, classist and racist investment practices. Move your money to a local credit union.
Wells Fargo’s criminal history is extensive and pervasive. We are outlining just a sample of the practices they cultivate to undermine the general public. Wells Fargo is a bank determined to profit off of racism and poverty. Join us in telling Wells Fargo that their crimes against our communities are neither forgotten nor forgiven.
We will dance in spite of the financial shackles Wells Fargo & their ilk place on our homes and communities, and our music and our feet will shake their walls and force them to remember the countless people they have betrayed.
To receive updates to your phone about upcoming actions
Text @occupydenver to 23559, follow the prompts, & set up a username
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and activists intend to mark the milestone by holding a new round of demonstrations. Dozens have already been arrested, even before the main protests began.
Occupy Wall Street managed to turn the attention of America’s politicians, at least for a moment, to income inequality, economic mobility, and the dismal state of both in the U.S. Here are some key facts and figures to know as Occupy once again takes to the streets:
1) Income inequality grew in 2011. According to data released last week by the Census Bureau, the gap between the wealthiest Americans and those in the middle grew last year, as all but the richest 20 percent of the country saw their income drop.
2) America’s 1 percent have 288 times as much wealth as the median household. This constitutes a huge increase from 1962, when the ratio was 125-1.
3) Income inequality kills economic mobility. As this chart shows, as a country grows more unequal, it becomes more likely that a parent’s income will act as a predictor for her child’s income. When it comes to economic mobility, the U.S. lags behind its peer nations.
4) The middle class is shrinking. According to Prof. Alan Krueger, Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, “the shift in income inequality over the last three decades is the equivalent of moving $1.1 trillion of income from the 99 percent to the top 1 percent every single year.”
5) Corporate profits have skyrocketed over the last three years. Both after-tax profits and corporate profits as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) are higher than they were in the middle of the last decade.
6) Workers aren’t being compensated for productivity increases. As this chart from the Economic Policy Institute shows, productivity gains over the last several decades have not translated into rising compensation.
7) The bottom 95 percent of Americans have $1.48 in debt for every $1 in earnings. The top 5 percent, meanwhile, have 64 cents in debt for every $1 in earnings, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund.
8) The financial sector’s profits have bounced back. Incomes, of course, have not followed suit.
9) CEO pay increased 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “CEO pay at American firms has risen 725 percent, more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the same time period.” This chart shows the growing ratio of executive pay to worker pay. The average Fortune 500 CEO now makes 380 times as much as the typical worker.
10) Low-wage jobs are increasing. The five industries that are mostly comprised of low-wage workers “have grown faster than total employment since the end of the Great Recession.” One in four private sector workers makes less than $10 per hour.
100 moments from Occupy in the Bay Area
These are events I personally witnessed or experienced. People in cities around the world have gone through similar and more intense things, and by imagining these moments multiplied by thousands, you might get some sense of the impact that Occupy, and a year of mass civil disobedience and direct action, has had on those who were there.
The list doesn’t include several important moments, like when the cops raided Occupy Oakland on #O25, when they raided Occupy the Farm, or anything that happened at Occupy Berkeley, Occupy Cal, Occupy San Jose, Occupy Noe Valley, etc., because I wasn’t there. And I haven’t been arrested or injured, so far.
In loose order, here are my top 100 memorable moments from Occupy in the Bay Area:
100. @runningwolf_zak‘s burning sage, which made me come to like the smell of sage
99. “I will kill you” ~ Getting a death threat in my chatroom while livestreaming inside the @SFCommune at 888 Turk
98. The public safety committee meeting in Oakland where an occupier told a city councilmember, “I could walk up to you and kill you with a fucking pencil”
97. The time someone killed himself by jumping from the roof of a hotel next to Bradley Manning Plaza. (He wasn’t with Occupy SF.)
96. The night I was on my way home from Bradley Manning Plaza and got chased down Market Street by some creeper who said to me, “You’re so stupid.”
94. The occupation of a Bank of America in San Francisco when a worker intentionally clocked me on the head with a piece of cardboard
93. The Amtrak cops and their Arctic Cats who were out in Oakland on May Day, for some reason
92. Interviewing @oaklandpoliceca on May Day as Alameda County’s armored personnel carrier loomed in the background
91. When YouTube blocked my Occupy Oakland Move-In Day video for copyright infringement of Weird Al’s “Eat It” but it was really Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”
90. The time I asked a dude if he was a 1 percenter and he said, “How about I shove that camera up your ass?”
89. Getting grabbed by dudes booing OccuPride in San Francisco
88. Getting grabbed by a grabby blue cop
87. When an occupier was talking to some cops via the human mic and said “vagina,” people didn’t say “vagina” so she yelled “SAY IT!!”
86. When a couple who were about to get married came out of the Palace Hotel and kissed as Occupy SF marched by
85. Meeting @CourtneyOccupy and ALL OF THE PEOPLE who’ve traveled to the Bay Area from afar. Happy birthday Courtney!!
84. The emergence of so many incredible independent journalists!!
82. Meeting the OccupiBot in Bradley Manning Plaza
81. Learning about the OAK-U-TRON 201X cooperative arcade game from@akerfoot on Move-In Day in Oakland. I never got to play it ;(
80. Losing weight from all the live tweeting and livestreaming and stress. I like to think of it as my Occupy Minus 15
79. Whenever people handed me posters, flyers, pamphlets and other literature having to do with Occupy
Can you guess which one’s my favorite?
78. “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!”
77. Snapping this picture of Miles and his dog Tupelo during a march up Market Street in San Francisco
73. All the spectacular banners, like this one at 14th and Broadway in Oakland during the Nov. 2 General Strike
72. Jaw-dropping #Chalkupy chalk art in Oscar Grant Plaza on May Day
71. The charming and helpful signage inside the @SFCommune at 888 Turk
70. “Get up! Get down! There’s revolution in this town!”
69. Reading in my livestream chatroom that I’m being mirrored by@GlobalRevLive and other channels
68. Watching @OakFoSho’s livestream for the first time on the night of the Nov. 2 General Strike in Oakland
66. Getting invited to the first meeting of my neighborhood’s Occupy ~@OtheRichmond
65. The curious chickens of @occupyfarm
64. The sexy sexy street scenes of Occupy SF
63. “One: We are the people! Two: We are united! Three: This occupation is not leaving…”
62. The cops are coming!! The cops aren’t coming?! Tense times on Oct. 27 as occupiers in San Francisco braced for a rumored raid
61. Sitting among the tents on Market Street in San Francisco as @DanielEllsbergspoke about the police state
60. Chasing @DanielEllsberg as he peeked into tents in Bradley Manning Plaza to look for his contact, who was a block away
59. When @OlsenVet spoke at an Occupy SF rally for Bradley Manning then people occupied Sue Bierman Park with tents
58. On May Day when someone put an Oakland Trib newspaper box on top of a cop car
57. “The system has got to die! Hella hella occupy!”
56. Not tweeting during the secret occupation of Mosswood Park, and reading the hilarious fake tweets to throw off the cops. (Plz get in touch if you have links to any of those tweets!)
55. “They’re dumber than BART police.” When occupiers trolled some Oakland cops in Mosswood Park
54. Captains America at the occupation of Mosswood Park in Oakland
53. Whenever the white on red Occupy Oakland signs were around
50. “When Occupy is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
49. @riotleo’s signature signoff, “Long live the Oakland Commune, and fuck the police!”
48. When my phone survived the rain on #J20 long enough to livestream the occupation of Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco
47. When I first met @BellaEiko during the justice for Oscar Grant march in Oakland on Jan. 1
46. “They say cut back, we say fight back!”
43. The best time an occupier had their charges dropped thanks in part to my livestream footage
41. “We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!”
38. Livestreaming her talk then interviewing former Black Panther Party chair Elaine Brown in Oakland
37. The time Occupy SF and Occupy Oakland occupied the Westfield Mall in San Francisco during a march against cop brutality
36. “Whose streets? Our streets!”
35. Packing a gas mask and helmet before going out to report on Occupy SF and Occupy Oakland actions
33. Finding out that @jeffkloy sometimes wears body armor while livestreaming actions
32. When people tried to ride an elevator up to a @WellsFargo shareholder meeting in San Francisco then someone remotely sent us back down
31. When the cops arrested @kendrayukiko during an occupation of Bank of America in San Francisco
30. On May Day in Oakland when the cops arrested a protester as he drew on a@WellsFargo bank branch with some chalk, then let him go
29. When someone wrote “What kind of pie? Occupy!” on a pizza box in Bradley Manning Plaza, then it became a chant (or was it the other way around?)
27. When a public safety committee meeting in Oakland exploded over a proposal to ban shields and other “tools of violence” at protests
26. On May Day when some dudes from a local TV station and their bodyguard got paint bombed on Broadway Street in Oakland
25. When the cops showed up after some people made a mess inside City Hall in Oakland on #J28
24. “A! Anti! Anticapitalista!”
23. Jail support after cops raided the @SFCommune at 888 Turk
22. Having dinner with Frank Chu in the @SFCommune at 888 Turk ~ vegetarian chili, Cheetos and brownies
21. Sampling the fake meat sandwiches and Capri Suns that were served in Dolores Park before #smashysmashy in the Mission
20. “Shit’s fucked up! Shit’s fucked up and bullshit!”
19. Whenever I said a 4-letter word on my livestream then my mom reminded me about it afterward
18. The night on Valencia Street in San Francisco when some people in a black bloc attacked the Mission District police station
17. The night on Valencia Street in San Francisco when someone attacked a cop car that had a cop in it
16. When occupiers tried to take back 101 Market Street in San Francisco
15. When occupiers took back Bradley Manning Plaza in San Francisco on the evening of Dec. 7
14. When some people occupied the roof of a @WellsFargo bank branch in the Mission
11. The Nov. 2 General Strike and shutdown of the Port of Oakland
10. “It’s a fucking tent in a bank!” ~ overheard during the occupation of a Bank of America branch in San Francisco on Nov. 16
9. “There’s a fucking tent in the middle of Market Street” ~ what I tweeted when occupiers tried to take back 101 Market in San Francisco on Nov. 20
8. Livestreaming for the first time on Dec. 7 as cops raided and destroyed the Occupy SF camp. My first interview was with @scottanansi
7. The Battle of Montgomery Street in San Francisco on #J20
6. The Battle of Oak Street in Oakland on #J28
5. When the cops kettled hundreds of people at 19th and Telegraph in Oakland on#J28
4. The best time we escaped from the 19th and Telegraph kettle in Oakland on#J28
2. The “FIGHT BACK” banner drop at the @SFCommune
1. Fighting for a life worth living
(Photo of some troublemaker live tweeting in front of the Black Heart of Wall Street West at 555 California Street on Sept. 17, 2011 by Steve Rhodes)
We Didn’t Start the Class War
The 1% wreck our economy, kill our jobs, seize our homes, assault our rights, destroy the environment, and sentence us to lives of debt and war. For years, we have petitioned our governments for change without redress and have fought tirelessly to elect politicians who only betray us. In a world where the 1% have usurped democracy and politicians refuse to serve the people, the people have but one choice—to fight back!
The relentless class war against the 99% must end. We’ve been deceived our whole lives into believing the only way to create change is by voting, but now we’re learning there’s another way. A revolution for real democracy is underway, and it falls on each and every one of us to fight together for our common future. We will cast the vote of resistance. We will take direct action to shut this broken system down and build a better world that works in the interest of all people, everywhere.
Will you help us wage resistance? (Check off all that apply)
I pledge to come out in the streets when Occupy calls for a day of action.
I pledge to attend at least one meeting with my local Occupy group.
Click Here to find one in your area
I pledge to help promote #occupy news and actions via social media.
I pledge to donate what I make in one hour to an Occupy-related project.
<a “donate=”” |=”” occupywallst.org”=”” href=”http://occupywallst.org/donate/”>Click Here for our curated list of places to donate
I pledge to never go to work during a general strike.
I pledge to help organize my co-workers to make demands. It doesn’t matter if I’m behind a desk, a cash register, or a machine—we deserve better treatment.
Click Here to learn how
I pledge to dump my bank and join a credit union.
Click Here to find one in your area
I pledge to start an affinity group to occupy something.
This can be just about anything. Like a park, a farm, defending a foreclosed home, or holding a sit-in at your town hall or school. You might only need a half dozen or so dedicated people. Issue demands if you like, but don’t go home until they’re met. You can even use blockading to make it extra hard for them to remove you. Remember: Occupying is a militant nonviolent tactic meant to assert control over physical space by reclaiming it for a new purpose while disrupting the ability of your adversary to use that space, thus forcing recognition of your cause. You don’t need a permit any more than Martin Luther King Jr. needed permission to hold sit-ins at lunch counters. This is the very meaning of civil disobedience, but it also means you’ll be risking arrest so you should consider seeking legal counsel beforehand. How much does change mean to you?
I’m adding streams as I see them go live, missed the early ones… on twitter – follow @citizenstreams for streamer status… (and their list citizenstreams.com )
Thanks for adding/editing!! please add info if you see they are arrested – maybe 2 or 3 so far? may be duplicates of Nate’s arrest - reports are streamers are being targeted (??)
This list compiled from 8am until _____
LIVE NOW – @punkboyinsf http://www.ustream.tv/occupysf
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/revfonadi (ugh listed as DC but looks like a ny crowd…)
split screen NYC+ http://www.livestream.com/occupyptown
Portland – http://www.livestream.com/opdxlive
London – http://www.livestream.com/occupylsx
Frankfurt – http://bambuser.com/v/2988078
Madrid – http://bambuser.com/v/2988128
Slovenia – they are broadcasting multiple NYC streams now…
Links to Resources for Occupiers
……… before you decide you are an occupier read this this and this (and during and after) and do this
……… before you occupy as a group – it helps to network / lawyer up / know the law (plus set up communications/food/health if you are taking over a site)
……… or just do it your way! whatever works!
Overwhelmed by our format? Try this: Occupy Portland – Links
WE NEED YOUR HELP! This is a user-driven resource. We try to find and add new info, but the movement is too big for one team to document. Please don’t ignore broken or out of date links. Please share your faves! We’ve got a Google Doc for that!
#MayDay in Chicago
Tracking updates from the streets in Chicago surrounding May Day actions by Occupy Chicago and others.
May Day protests might provide preview of what NATO will bring- Sun Times
May Day marches, rallies do little to disrupt work day in Loop- Tribune
Peaceful May Day rallies give police training tuneup before summit- WGN
On May Day, protesters take to the streets to make some noise- Medill Reports
No School, No Work… But in Chicago, No General Strike- Occupied Chicago TribuneTRACKINGWe’re watching #MayDay, #Ochi, and #M1Chi on Twitter.Users to watch: @OccupyChicago and @OccupiedChiTrib are “official” Occupy outlets, Journalist/Occupier Joe Macare has a list of Occupy folks, many of whom are in the streets.Have something to share with us? Tweet it to @gapersblock or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW: Live Feeds
-Video from live streams provided by the Occupy Chicago website:
-THE DAY SO FAR-
ShareMay First March near Sears Tower2 days ago
#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines – Pre-May Day Edition
YOUR WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF OCCUPY MOVEMENT NEWS
The Tax Dodgers celebrated corporate loopholes in Bryant Park on tax filing day, April 17. Photo: Stacy Lanyon
This week in Occupy, several shareholder meetings were #occupied, Chicago fought to preserve mental health care, #occupied Wall Street is here to stay and we all prepared to call out sick on May Day. #Maybe you weren’t aware? Wall Street is still #Occupied. Albeit with restrictions.
The Sleepful Protest: Occupiers hunker down on Wall Street.
#It’s shareholder meeting season, and Occupy has noticed. In San Francisco, members of Occupy bought shares in Wells Fargo specifically so they could interrupt the annual shareholders’ meeting. They were able to speak with some of the shareholders, and eventually CEO John Stumpf had the doors to the building closed, which denied entry to shareholders and Occupiers alike. Shareholders who were not part of the protest were allowed to come and go through a side door, while the others were told the meeting was “filled to capacity.”
#In Detroit, several hundred assembled outside GE’s annual shareholders meeting.
#In London, Gulf Coast residents and activists protested BP’s annual shareholders meeting. Gulf Coast residents also bought shares in the company so they could alert executives to the poisoned Gulf, which is producing diseased fish and causing health problems in humans two years after the Deepwater Horizon spill.
#The International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting was #occupied.
#Reuters decided that the increasing number of shareholder occupations signifies a trend. Lucky us.
The Fox News Zipper trumpets Occupy’s latest encampment.
#In Chicago, Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic was #occupied in an attempt to salvage the city’s mental health care. Ten were arrested.
#Occupy Wall Street demonstratorsinterrupted a Bronx foreclosure auction to protest the housing crisis that continues to plague the borough. They serenaded a courtroom of real estate investors with the lyrics, “Y’all are speculating off people’s pain. With all due respect, you should be ashamed.” “We want a moratorium on foreclosures,” said Blair Ellis, 29.
#Employing the language of the 99%, hundreds of San Francisco union workers marched on City Hall to demand better compensation.
#Dozens of members of Occupy Portland attempted to occupy two downtown parks last weekend, but police gave them the same spiel they now give anyone from the Occupy Movement: Exercise your rights and face arrest.
Chile’s student movement #occupies Santiago. Photo: Reuters
#On Earth Day, Occupy the Farm planted itself in Northern California’s Gill Tract, a 10-acre parcel of agricultural land owned by the University of California, which is planning to sell it to private developers.
#An April 17 tax filing day demonstration in Manhattan marched past Bank of America, The Paulson Group, Chase and Trump Tower. The group donned baseball attire to “spend the day rubbing elbows with our favorite 1%ers and fellow Tax Dodgers.”
#ACT UP — the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — staged a protest marking 25 years since it was formed in the same neighborhood as Occupy Wall Street. To commemorate the milestone, a demonstration was staged in the Financial District asking government to impose a small “Robin Hood tax”on each Wall Street trade to finance treatment and services for people with HIV. The Washington Post reported that New York Stock Exchange workers jeered from the sidewalk as protesters wearing Robin Hood costumes were dragged across the pavement.
#Occupy Detroit celebrated its six-month anniversary on April 12.
#Nathan Kleinman, a member of Occupy Philly, has entered the Democratic Congressional primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District.
Occupy San Diego gets illuminated.
#More than 500 people with disabilities descended on D.C. last week from across the country to protest cuts to Medicaid. Actor Noah Wyle from “E.R.” was arrested alongside them.
#The unions that comprise the so-called Big Laborbloc are once again a political force to be reckoned with – just ask politicians Scott Walker, John Kasich and Jason Altmire.
#A judge has ruled that the New York district attorney has the right to subpoena Occupiers’ tweets.
#The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has retreated from crafting Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws…or so it said. Just before the announcement, the right wing corporate lobbying group released a statement decrying “the coordinated intimidation campaign against its members” in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder. Aw, protesters scaring you, moneymen?
Neil Aquino/Texas Liberal
#The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are retreating from a plan to regulate many reaches of the U.S. trade in financial derivatives known as swaps, including the credit derivatives thatnearly brought down the financial system.
#Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC, is fighting for the 99%. First up: Give everyone $10 million. No, really.
#Architects of a proposed ethics and campaign reform initiativecredit Occupy Wall Street, which took hold in Little Rock, as their inspiration.
#Here are the ten states that tax the poor the most. If you live in Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana, it’s time to occupy that situation.
#Xenophobic Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s campaign of oppression against the newly emigrated seems to be backfiring.
#Tarek Mehanna, a Massachusetts resident, was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison for translating and distributing Al Qaeda’s documents and videos, worrying First Amendment rights activists. “This case is being used by the government to really narrow First Amendment activity in dangerous new ways,” said Nancy Murray of the Massachusetts branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Jurors said they wept when coming to their decision, and one said she wished the judge had shown Mehanna mercy.
#A student demonstration in Montreal turned violent on April 25 when police shot explosives at 15,000 demonstrators.
The Writing’s on the Wall. Photo: Tim Pool
#Despite huge anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain that have left at least 50 dead, Formula One held the Grand Prix there. The sport has history of ignoring the political realities in some countries where it races.
#Norwegian spree killer Anders Breivik, who is currently on trial for killing 69 people, declared that Norwegian society is corrupted with Marxism, so 40,000 gathered in downtown Oslo to sing “Children of the Rainbow” in a conscious demonstration of everything he hates. Norwegians have decided that the best way to support democracy, tolerance and multiculturalism is to do it peacefully and with dignity.
#Chile’s education equality protests drew tens of thousands to the streets of Santiago this week.
#Economic despair is driving Europeans to suicide.
#The city of Volos, Greece, has done away with the Euro and instituted a bartering system. Needless to say, cutting out the middleman has made them much happier.
#Welcome, Occupied Tampa Tribune.
#Occupy Atlanta is fighting Bank of America to keep Pamela Flores in her home after the banking giant advised her to stop making payments so that she could qualify for the Making Home Affordable Program, a federal initiative meant to provide mortgage relief.
The IMF’s spring meeting: #occupied.
#Sick of deceptive credit cards fees? So is Hawaii.The state is suing Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Barclays, Capital One, Discover, HSBC and their subsidiaries.
#Bank of New York is squaring off against the IRS in U.S. Tax Court in New York over the halting of foreign tax abuses.
#According to Occupy Arrests, there are now 6,925 whistleblowers in America.
#May Day is upon us. Will you Occupy?
This week’s roundup was once again brought to you in conjunction with Occupy ALL the Updates, curated by citizen journalist and Occupy News Expert SIUKittyPie.
Want to report news about your occupation or meetup? Email us at email@example.com.
Occupy protesters organize for NATO summit in Chicago
Leaders hope to re-energize demonstrators ahead of NATO summit
By David Heinzmann, Chicago Tribune reporter
7:27 AM CDT, March 19, 2012
ST. LOUIS — After a long weekend of protesting aimed at reinvigorating their movement, Occupy leaders from around the country set their sights on their biggest target of the spring — the NATO summit in Chicago.
Meeting in a sunny city park Sunday, they echoed the rallying cry of other protest groups: President Barack Obama’s decision to drop plans for holding the G-8 economic summit in Chicago the same weekend as NATO was a victory that should encourage even more demonstrators to show up in May.
“G-8 left, I think, directly out of fear,” said Brian Bean, a Chicago demonstrator who came to St. Louis to organize people for the NATO summit.
“What they are worried about is that, in an election year, the possibility that there’s actually working-class resistance in the United States and globally and what that would look like in Obama’s home city.”
In between protests targeting agribusiness giant Monsanto Co.and the foreclosure practices of St. Louis-based Wells Fargo, organizers from Chicago encouraged movement leaders from nearly 20 other cities to talk up the NATO summit when they return home. They also compared notes on the nuts and bolts of protest practices.
“We’re trying to plan a summit and we’re trying to learn everything really fast,” said Zoe Sigman, 22, who lives in Humboldt Park.
Sitting at a picnic table under the Tower Grove Park cupola, Sigman and Bean asked for ideas from the crowd about how to coordinate housing and transportation to Chicago.
Bean said Chicago police have been “training for urban warfare,” making it unlikely Occupiers were going to be successful in any effort to camp in public spaces.
Eli Silva from Tulsa, Okla., agreed, saying that conflicts over camping in parks — like one Thursday in St. Louis that resulted in 15 arrests — served only to distract public attention from the political message of the demonstrators.
Instead, Sigman said, organizers were trying to coordinate “floor space” for people to sleep on, seeking help from churches and private-property owners.
Noting there had been Internet chatter encouraging demonstrators to shut down the Chicago Transit Authority, organizers agreed that was as terrible idea. One man, who declined to give his name but said he was from New Mexico, noted that public transportation served working-class people, not millionaires, and disrupting their trains and buses would send the wrong message.
Others agreed, including Sigman, who said the CTA was how demonstrators planned to move around the city during the summits, and that she had met with transit workers recently and encouraged people to support such laborers rather than hindering their work.
Sigman encouraged Occupy members from around the country to go back to their cities and host “teach-ins” to educate people about the functions of NATO so potential demonstrators would understand the message of the protest. There is some concern among protest organizers of their message getting muddled, both by too much attention on conflicts with authorities as well as too many disparate messages within the demonstrations.
The demonstrations in St. Louis also served to re-energize protesters. With multiple events occurring at once, it was difficult to judge the size of the crowds, but none of them swelled into large-scale demonstrations.
When demonstrators were prevented from sleeping in a park overnight Thursday, some complained of excessive force in the arrests. Police pointed to the smashed windshield of squad car as evidence that the protesters “got pretty nasty,” in the words of one commander on the street.
Mike Hipson, who flew in from Boston for the “Occupy the Midwest” event, was among tired protesters who took a break from demonstrations to listen to briefings from Chicago organizers.
“It has the potential to be one of the biggest actions in the country in the last decade,” said Hipson, 19, who has been an active member of Occupy Boston.
For months demonstrators had focused their comments about the Chicago summit on the G-8 meeting as an opportunity to protest global economic policies. When the White House decided last month to move G-8 to the Camp David presidential retreat in rural Maryland, demonstrators had to shift their message. Chicago protest leader Andy Thayer has repeatedly linked the two organizations by calling the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “the military arm” of G-8, although two G-8 members — Japan and Russia —a re not members of NATO.
That message seemed to work for many demonstrators who said their disappointment over the G-8 moving wouldn’t stop them from trying to capture the NATO spotlight.
“It’s almost more of a motivator,” said Duncan Sewell, a landscaper from Belleville, Ill., just east of St. Louis.
Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune
A Letter To Other Occupiers
By Staughton Lynd
28 February, 2012
Greetings. I write from Niles , Ohio , near Youngstown . I take part in Occupy Youngstown (OY). I was asked to make some “keynote” remarks on the occasion of OY’s first public meeting on October 15, 2011 . I am a member of the legal team that filed suit after our tent and burn barrel were confiscated on November 10-11. I am helping to create the OY Free University where working groups explore a variety of future projects.
I do not write to comment on recent events in Oakland . Our younger daughter lived for a few years in a co-operative house situated on the border between Berkeley and Oakland . For part of that time Martha worked at a public school in Oakland where most of the children were Hispanic. A can company wanted to take the school’s recreation yard. In protest, parents courageously kept their children out of school, causing the school’s public funding to drop precipitously. As I understand it, in the end the parents prevailed and got a new rec yard.
That was many years ago. It sticks in my mind as an example of the sort of activity, reaching out to the communities in which we live, that I hope Occupiers are undertaking all over the country.
Every local Occupy movement of which I am aware has begun to explore the terrain beyond the downtown public square, asking, what is to be done next?
This is as it should be and we need to be gentle with ourselves and one another, recognizing the special difficulties of this task. The European middle class, before taking state power from feudal governments, built a network of new institutions within the shell of the old society: free cities, guilds, Protestant congregations, banks and corporations, and finally, parliaments. It appears to be much more difficult to construct such prefigurative enclaves within capitalism, a more tightly-knit social fabric.
I sense that, because of this difficulty in building long-term institutions, in much of the Occupy universe there is now an emphasis on protests, marches, “days” for this or that, symbolic but temporary occupations, and other tactics of the moment, rather than on a strategy of building ongoing new institutions and dual power.
I have a particular concern about the impending confrontation in Chicago in May between the forces of Occupy and capitalist globalization. My fears are rooted in a history that may seem to many of you irrelevant. If so, stroke my fevered brow and assure me that you have no intention of letting Occupy crash and burn in the way that both the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) did at the end of the Sixties.
Here, in brief, is the history that I pray we will not repeat.
In August 1964, rank-and-file African Americans in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), staff of SNCC, and many summer volunteers, traveled to the convention of the national Democratic Party in Atlantic City to demand that the inter-racial delegates of the MFDP should be seated in place of the all-white delegates from the “regular,” segregationist Mississippi Democrats. It was an apocalyptic moment, made especially riveting by the televised testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer.
But politically speaking, many who made the trip from the Deep South never found their way back there. A variety of causes were at work but one was that it seemed tedious to return from the mountaintop experience up North to the apparently more humdrum day-to-day movement work in Mississippi. The so-called Congressional Challenge that followed the traumatic events in Atlantic City caused many activists to continue to spend time away from local communities in which they had been living and working.
Bear with me if I continue this ancient Movement history.
In November 1965, there was a gathering in Washington DC of representatives from a myriad of ad hoc student groups formed to oppose the Vietnam war. During the weeks before this occasion several friends warned me that different Left groups were preparing to do battle for control of the new antiwar movement. I assured them that their fears were needless: that kind of thing might have happened in the 1930s, but we were a new Left, committed to listening to one another and to learning from our collective experience.
I was wrong. From the opening gavel, both Communists and Trotskyists sought to take control of the new activist network. In the process they seriously disillusioned many young persons who, perhaps involved in their first political protest, had come long distances in the hope of creating a common front against the war.
Paul Booth of SDS called this meeting “the crazy convention.” I remember sleeping on the floor of somebody’s apartment next to Dave Dellinger as the two of us sought to refocus attention on what was happening in Vietnam . I recall pleading near the end of the occasion with members of the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) to be allowed into a locked hotel room where, apparently having lost on the convention floor, they were forming a new national organization.
SDS faced the identical problem at the end of the 1960s with the Progressive Labor party (PL). Essentially what PL did was to caucus beforehand, to adopt tactics for promoting its line within a larger and more diffuse organization, and then, without any interest in what others might have to say, ramming through its predecided resolutions. After a season of hateful harangues and organizational division, very little remained.
Some Occupiers may respond, “But we’re not trying to take over anything! We only want to be able to follow our own consciences!” Sadly, though, the impact of Marxist-Leninist vanguardism and unrestrained individualism on a larger body of variegated protesters may be pretty much the same. In each case there may be a fixed belief that one knows the Truth and has correctly determined What Is To Be Done, which makes it an unnecessary waste of time to Listen To The Experience Of Others. Those who hold these attitudes are likely to act in a way that will wound or even destroy the larger Movement that gives them a platform.
In the period between Seattle in 1999 and September 11, 2001 , many activists were into a pattern of behavior that might unkindly be described as summit-hopping. Two young men from Chicago who had been in Seattle stayed in our basement for a night on their way to the next encounter with globalization in Quebec . I was struck by the fact that, as they explained themselves, when they came back to Chicago from Seattle they had been somewhat at a loss about what to do next. As each successive summit ( Quebec , Genoa , Cancun ) presented itself, they expected to be off to confront the Powers That Be in a new location, leaving in suspended state whatever beginnings they were nurturing in their local communities. So far as an outsider like myself could discern, there did not seem to be a long-term strategy directed toward creating an “ otro mundo ,” a qualitatively new society.
This brings me to the forthcoming confrontation in Chicago in May. My wife Alice and I were living in Chicago in 1968. I was arrested and briefly jailed. Although many in the Movement considered the Chicago events to be a great victory, I believe it is the consensus of historians that the national perception of what happened in Chicago contributed to Nixon’s victory in the November 1968 election. More important, as some of us foresaw these predominantly Northern activists like their SNCC predecessors appeared to have great difficulty in picking up again the slow work of “accompanying” in local communities.
I dread the possibility of a re-run of this sequence of events in 2012.
It may seem to some readers that “Staughton is once again pushing his nonviolence rap.” However, although I am concerned that small groups in the Occupy Movement may contribute to unnecessary violence in Chicago , it is not violence as such that most worries me.
While I have all my life been personally committed to nonviolence, I have never attempted to impose this personal belief on movements in which I took part. Perhaps this is because as an historian I perceive certain situations for which I have not been able to imagine a nonviolent resolution.
The most challenging of these is slavery. At the time of the American Revolution there were about 600,000 slaves in the British colonies that became the United States . In the Civil War, more than 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed. It was literally true that, as President Lincoln put it in his Second Inaugural Address, every drop of blood drawn by the lash had to be “sunk” (repaid) by a drop of blood drawn by the sword.
Similarly, I cannot imagine telling Zapatistas that they should not be prepared to defend themselves if attacked by the Mexican army or paramilitaries. I believe that self-defense in these circumstances meets the criteria for a “just” use of violence set out by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in his Pastoral Letters.
My fundamental concern is that the rhetoric of the Occupy Movement includes two propositions in tension with each other. We appear to say, on the one hand, that we must seek consensus, but on the other hand, that once a General Assembly is over individuals and grouplets are free to do their own thing.
A careful distinction is required. In general I endorse the idea of individuals or small groups carrying out actions that the group as a whole has not, or has not yet, endorsed. I believe that such actions are like experiments. Everyone involved, those who act and those who closely observe, learns from experiences of this kind. Indeed I have compared what happens in such episodes to the parable of the Sower in the New Testament. We are the seeds. We may be cast onto stony soil, on earth that lends itself only to thistles, or into fertile ground. Whatever our separate experiences, we must lay aside the impulse to defend our prowess as organizers and periodically pool our new knowledge, bad as well as good, so as to learn from each other and better shape a common strategy.
The danger I see is that rather than conceptualizing small group actions as a learning process, in the manner I have tried to describe, we might drift into the premature conclusion that nonviolence and consensus-seeking are for the General Assembly, but once we are out on the street sterner methods are required.
We have a little more than two months before Chicago in May. Unlike Seattle , the folks on the other side will not be unprepared. On January 18, the Chicago City Council
overwhelmingly passed two ordinances pushed by [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel that restrict protest rules and expand the mayor’s power to police the summits. Among other things, they increase fines for violating parade rules, allow the city to deputize police officers from outside Chicago for temporary duty and change the requirements for obtaining protest permits. Large signs and banners must now be approved, sidewalk protests require a permit, and permission for “large parades” will only be granted to those with a $1 million liability insurance policy. These are permanent changes in city law.
“Managing Dissent in Chicago ,” In These Times , March 2012, p. 7. It would be tragic if we failed to make good use of the precious period of time before all this must be confronted.
So what do I recommend? I am eighty-two and no longer able to practice some of what I preach, but for what they may be worth, here are some responses to that question.
We need to act within a wide strategic context, and engage in more than tactical exercises.
We need to invite local people to join our ranks and institutions. We cannot hope to win the trust of others, especially others different from ourselves in class background, cultural preferences, race, or gender, unless we stay long enough to win that trust one day at a time. We must be prepared to spend years in communities where there may not be many fellow radicals.
In thinking about our own lives, and how we can contribute over what Nicaraguans call a “long trajectory,” we need to acquire skills that poor and oppressed persons perceive to be needed.
We should understand consensus and nonviolence not as rigid rules, or as boundaries never to be crossed, but as a core or center from which our common actions radiate. Consensus is not just a style of conducting meetings. It seeks to avoid the common human tendency to say, after an action that runs into trouble, “I told you so.” The practice of consensus envisions that discussion should continue until every one in the circle is prepared to proceed with a group decision. Perhaps different ones of us have varying degrees of enthusiasm or even serious apprehensions. Anyone who has such misgivings should voice his or her concern because it may be an issue that needs to be addressed. But we must talk things out to a point where as a group we can say, “We are doing this together.”
Likewise nonviolence is under some circumstances the most promising way of challenging authority. Trotsky describes in his history of the Russian Revolution how, on International Women’s Day, 1917, hundreds of women in St. Petersburg left their work in textile factories demanding Peace and Bread. The women confronted the Cossacks, the policemen on horseback, in the streets. Unarmed, the women approached the riders, saying in effect: “We have the same interests you do. Our husbands and sons are no different from yourselves. Don’t ride us down!” And the Cossacks repeatedly refused to charge.
After all, policemen and correctional officers are also part of the 99 percent. When I visit prisoners at the supermaximum security prison in Youngstown , more than one officer has called out, “Remember me, Staughton? I used to be your client.” When they could not find other work in our depressed city, which has the highest rate of poverty in the United States , many former steelworkers and truck drivers took prison jobs.
Nelson Mandela befriended a guard at Robben Island whose particular assignment was to watch over him. The officer, James Gregory, has written a book about it sub-titled Nelson Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend. Mr. Gregory had a seat near the front at Mr. Mandela’s inauguration.
The same logic applies to soldiers in a volunteer army. Thus one Occupier has written, “A thoughtful soldier, a soldier with a conscience, is the 1%’s worst nightmare.” The Occupy Wall Street Journal , Nov. 2011, p. 2.
In the end, I think, consensus decision-making and nonviolence both have to do with building a community of trust. One of my most chilling memories is to have heard a national officer of SDS talk to a large public meeting in Chicago about “icing” and “offing” persons with whom one disagreed. Actual murder of political comrades apparently took place in El Salvador , the United States , and, so I am told, Ireland .
Everything depends on whether two persons who differ about what should next be done nevertheless trust each other to proceed within the invisible boundaries of their common commitment.
A principal lesson of the 1960s is that maintenance and nurturing of that kind of trust becomes more difficult as a movement or organization grows larger. Here the Zapatistas have something to teach us. They do have a form of representative government in that delegates from different villages are elected to attend coordinating assemblies. But all governing is done within the cultural context of the ancient Mayan practice of “ mandar obediciendo ,” that is, governing in obedience to those who are represented. Thus, after the uprising of January 1, 1994 negotiations began with emissaries from the national government. If a question arose as to which the Zapatista delegates were not instructed, they informed their counterparts that they had to go back to the villages for direction
All this lies down the road. For the moment, let’s remind ourselves of the sentiment attributed by Charles Payne to residents working with SNCC in the Mississippi Delta half a century ago: they understood that “maintaining a sense of community was itself an act of resistance.”
Staughton Lynd is an American conscientious objector, peace activist and civil rights activist, tax resister, historian, professor, author and lawyer. Lynd’s contribution to the cause of social justice and the peace movement is chronicled in Carl Mirra’s biography, The Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945-1970, published in 2010 by Kent State University Press