I'd like to begin by saying I watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report regularly (because I can't tolerate any other news station), and on tonight's episode of the Daily Show Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee talked about the "end" off Occupy Wall Street, and Colbert did a segment called "Occu-bye". I'm pretty sure OWS isn't over, but I just needed some reassurance.
What both programs do, more than make fun of politics itself, is make fun of political media. I haven’t been watching much TV lately myself, but my best guess is that they weren’t calling the end of OWS, they were parodying other media prematurely calling the end of OWS.
Besides that, this is far from over.There are occupations still happening everywhere. The changes we need, the shift in paradigm, have not happened yet. Today is the day of direct action.
“I believe change begins in the streets, and all citizens have the power to make a difference, together we can make our voices heard in the ivory towers of government, so lace up your combat boots.”—Dorli Rainey (84 year old women pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle)
Law enforcement is there to protect a wealthy elite from the rest of the population
A teenage girl holds a hastily written sign saying: “NYPD, we trusted you – you were supposed to protect us!”
The sentiment is a familiar one. Across Europe, over a year of demonstrations, occupations and civil disobedience, anti-austerity protesters have largely shifted from declaring solidarity with the police – as fellow workers whose jobs and pensions are also under threat – to outrage and anger at state violence against unarmed protesters. Following last month’s police brutality in Oakland, and today’s summary eviction of the Occupy Wall Street camp, American activists too are reaching the conclusion that “police protect the 1%”.
“Who do you guys work for?” Shouts one Manhattan protester, as police load arrestees into a van. “You work for JP Morgan Bank!”
As hard as the NYPD and New York City’s government might try to obscure the truth though, one truth remains: At 1 a.m. this morning, in the heart of New York City, protesters exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly were swept away by the state, while that state also did all it could to prevent media coverage. No matter what one may think of the occupiers or their cause, nothing they’ve done justifies blockading the press or ignoring court orders. Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other New York leaders who ordered the eviction should take a long, hard look at their handling of the occupation. This morning’s action may not be what a police state looks like, but it’s certainly how one begins.
As New York City police cleared the Occupy Wall Street campsite in Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, many journalists were blocked from observing and interviewing protesters. Some called it a “media blackout” and said in interviews that they believed that the police efforts were a deliberate attempt to tamp down coverage of the operation.
The city blog Gothamist put it this way: “The NYPD Didn’t Want You To See Occupy Wall Street Get Evicted.”
As a result, much of the early video of the police operation was from the vantage point of the protesters. Videos that were live-streamed on the Web and uploaded to YouTube were picked up by television networks and broadcast on Tuesday morning.
At a news conference after the park was cleared Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the police behavior, saying that the media was kept away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
Some members of the media said they wereshoved by the police. As the police approached the park they did not distinguish between protesters and members of the press, said Lindsey Christ, a reporter for NY1, a local cable news channel. “Those 20 minutes were some of the scariest of my life,” she said.
Ms. Christ said that police officers took a New York Post reporter standing near her and “threw him in a choke-hold.”
That reporter and two photographers with him declined to speak on the record because they are freelance workers and lack some of the job protections of full-time employees. But as they sipped coffee on Tuesday morning in Foley Square, where some of the protesters had regrouped, they expressed surprise at the extent of what they described as police suppression of the press.
What are your limits, America? You’ve largely looked the other way while peaceful protesters are cleared out across the country under the guise of “order” and “cleanliness,” even when those who come in to “keep the peace” end up creating a huge mess and violation of civil order.
Will you now look the other way as freedom of the press is done away with? Will you now ignore the fact that, in even trying to report on the suppression of civil liberties, you will be targeted by the police state?
In an interview on BBC, Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland admitted that there was a recent 18 city conference call to discuss response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. (via capitoilette.com, at 5:30 mark)
“I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation… .”
This coordinated national response lifts the actions out of the realm of simply state issues and onto a national and federal level. Were any FEDERAL agencies represented on these phone calls! This information needs to be provided.
It is certainly an interesting side-note that, as mentioned on capitoilette.com, that President Obama is in the midst of a nine day trip in the pacific rim? A trip that allowed him to be out of the country for all the recent actions?
…the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park. The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters.
1:27 a.m. Unconfirmed reports that police are planning to sweep everyone.
1:20 a.m. Subway stops are closed.
1:20 a.m. Brooklyn bridge is closed.
1:20 a.m. Occupiers chanting “This is what a police state looks like.”
1:20 a.m. Police are in riot gear.
1:20 a.m. Police are bringing in bulldozers.
“The police move came as organizers put out word on their Web site that they planned to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the completion of two months of the beginning of the encampment, which has spurred similar demonstrations across the country.”
Last night, billionaire Michael Bloomberg sent a massive police force to evict members of the public from Liberty Square-home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months. People who were part of a dynamic civic process were beaten and pepper-sprayed, their personal property destroyed.
Supporters of this rapidly growing movement were mobilized in the middle of the night, making phone calls, taking the streets en masse, and planning next steps. Americans and people around the world are appalled at Bloomberg’s treatment of people who peacefully assemble. We are appalled, but not deterred. Liberty Square was dispersed, but its spirit not defeated. Today we are stronger than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be stronger still. We are breaking free of the fear that constricts and confines us. We occupy to liberate.
We move forward in the grand tradition of the transformative social movements that have defined American history. We stand on the shoulders of those who have struggled before us, and we pick up where others have left off. We are creating a better society for us all.
Occupy Wall Street has renewed a sense of hope. It has revived a belief in community and awakened a revolutionary spirit too long silenced.
Join us as we liberate space and build a movement. 9 a.m. Tuesday morning at Sixth Avenue and Canal we continue.
the building occupation in chapel hill was evicted at gunpoint (assault rifles, to be specific) this afternoon and 8 people were arrested. a solidarity march tonight drew a strong crowd and marched through town, ending with the promise/warning "we'll be back!"
The Occupy Atlanta folks have been seriously hassled by their mayor, but they’ve since hit upon a brilliant idea. With one strategic move, they’ve outflanked their establishment opponents and offered up a model for occupiers in every American community.
Here they are occupying the front yard of an Atlanta police officer’s home to prevent a foreclosure eviction. The neighbors are cheering the effort, thereby spreading the resistance to a type of neighborhood which perhaps would not otherwise have been engaged. And let’s see how the powers that be manage to evict a police officer and his family with a front yard full of occupiers and television cameras, not to mention cell phone videographers watching.
After an entire night of thousands protesters holding the parks from riot cops in full gear, this morning when the protestors mostly went to sleep the cops came in and started dismantling camps. During the General Assembly the cops flooded in and began shoving protestors out of the parks onto the sidewalks, then off the sidewalks into the street. Cops have batons, rubber bullet guns, pepper spray. There are a few livestreams, but here’s one that should be up for a while.
1. It names the source of the crisis. Political insiders have avoided this simple reality: The problems of the 99% are caused in large part by Wall Street greed, perverse financial incentives, and a corporate takeover of the political system. Now that this is understood, the genie is out of the bottle and it can’t be put back in.
2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want. We can create a world that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1%. And we, the 99%, are using the spaces opened up by the Occupy movement to conduct a dialogue about the world we want.
3. It sets a new standard for public debate. Those advocating policies and proposals must now demonstrate that their ideas will benefit the 99%. Serving only the 1% will not suffice, nor will claims that the subsidies and policies that benefit the 1% will eventually “trickle down.”
4. It presents a new narrative. The solution is not to starve government or impose harsh austerity measures that further harm middle-class and poor people already reeling from a bad economy. Instead, the solution is to free society and government from corporate dominance. A functioning democracy is our best shot at addressing critical social, environmental, and economic crises.
5. It creates a big tent. We, the 99%, are people of all ages, races, occupations, and political beliefs. We will resist being divided or marginalized. We are learning to work together with respect.
6. It offers everyone a chance to create change. No one is in charge; no organization or political party calls the shots. Anyone can get involved, offer proposals, support the occupations, and build the movement. Because leadership is everywhere and new supporters keep turning up, there is a flowering of creativity and a resilience that makes the movement nearly impossible to shut down.
7. It is a movement, not a list of demands. The call for deep change—not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms—is the movement’s sustaining power. The movement is sometimes criticized for failing to issue a list of demands, but doing so could keep it tied to status quo power relationships and policy options. The occupiers and their supporters will not be boxed in.
8. It combines the local and the global. People in cities and towns around the world are setting their own local agendas, tactics, and aims. What they share in common is a critique of corporate power and an identification with the 99%, creating an extraordinary wave of global solidarity.
9. It offers an ethic and practice of deep democracy and community. Slow, patient decision-making in which every voice is heard translates into wisdom, common commitment, and power. Occupy sites are set up as communities in which anyone can discuss grievances, hopes, and dreams, and where all can experiment with living in a space built around mutual support.
10. We have reclaimed our power. Instead of looking to politicians and leaders to bring about change, we can see now that the power rests with us. Instead of being victims to the forces upending our lives, we are claiming our sovereign right to remake the world.
Former U.S. Marine Scott Olsen, whose injury during clashes between Oakland police and protesters last month galvanized the Anti-Wall Street movement, has been released from the hospital, friends said on Friday.
"He is out of the hospital as of yesterday or today, thank goodness," Adele Carpenter, 29, told Reuters.
Iraq Veterans Against the War spokeswoman Dottie Guy also confirmed Olsen’s release to Reuters.
Olsen is focused on healing right now, Carpenter told Reuters, but she added that “he is following the Occupy protests closely, as well as the vets march against police brutality today.”
"He sent words of affirmation to friends during the Oakland General Strike and has been excited to hear stories from people who could attend," she said.
The organizers, at the behest of Egyptian civil society groups, will send 20 activists to Egypt to monitor the Nov. 28 elections. They’ll consist of two to four representatives from six of the existing Occupy working groups, including press, movement building, direct action, mediation, and medical. The significance is mostly symbolic, but they say their participation will “work to protect and support the civilian monitoring efforts of Egyptian activists on the ground and constitutes a concrete stand against the use of American weapons against peaceful demonstrators.” The $29,000 includes 20 tickets at $1,200 each, $20 per person for daily lodging, and $50 per person for daily food and transportation.
Federal judge Jed Rakoff, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office here in New York, is fast becoming a sort of legal hero of our time. He showed that again yesterday when he shat all over the SEC’s latest dirty settlement with serial fraud offender Citigroup, refusing to let the captured regulatory agency sweep yet another case of high-level criminal malfeasance under the rug.
The SEC had brought an action against Citigroup for misleading investors about the way a certain package of mortgage-backed assets had been chosen. The case is very similar to the notorious Abacus case involving Goldman Sachs, in which Goldman allowed short-selling billionaire John Paulson (who was betting against the package) to pick the assets, then told a pair of European banks that the “designed to fail” package they were buying had been put together independently.
This case was similar, but worse. Here, Citi similarly told investors a package of mortgages had been chosen independently, when in fact Citi itself had chosen the stuff and was betting against the whole pile.
This whole transaction actually combined a number of Goldman-style misdeeds, since the bank both lied to investors and also bet against its own product and its own customers. In the deal, Citi made a $160 million profit, while its customers lost $700 million.
Goldman, in the Abacus case, got fined $550 million. In this worse case, the SEC was trying to settle with Citi for just $285 million. Judge Rakoff balked at the settlement and particularly balked at the SEC’s decision to allow Citi off without any admission of wrongdoing. He also mocked the SEC’s decision to describe the crime as “negligence” instead of intentional fraud, taking the entirely rational position that there’s no way a bank making $160 million ripping off its customers can conceivably be described as an accident.
“Why should the court impose a judgment in a case in which the SEC alleges a serious securities fraud but the defendant neither admits nor denies wrongdoing?” And this: “How can a securities fraud of this nature and magnitude be the result simply of negligence?”
Rakoff of course is right – the settlement is nuts. If you take Citi’s $160 million profit on the deal into consideration, what we’re talking about then is a $125 million fine for causing $700 million in damages. That, and no admission of wrongdoing.
Just imagine a mugger who steals $70 from some lady’s wallet being sentenced to walk free after paying back twelve bucks. Magritte himself could not devise a more surreal take on criminal justice.
More swiftly than we ever believed possible, the occupation at Zuccotti Park has opened up a political conversation and shifted the terrain. A recent poll revealed that 67 percent of New Yorkers agree with the views of Occupy Wall Street protesters and that almost three-quarters of them favor a tax on millionaires. People who have not been to demonstrations in years—or perhaps ever—have taken to the streets across the country. Instead of being ashamed about unemployment and personal debt, people are indignant. Instead of blaming a few “bad apples,” fingers are pointing to the economic system at large. The ultimate sign of early success is that politicians who initially scoffed at the outliers at Zuccotti Park have had to proclaim their allegiance to the 99 percent. Look at Republican hopeful Mitt Romney who first sounded the alarm about “dangerous … class warfare” and now says he doesn’t “worry about the top 1 percent” and that, when he looks at Wall Street, he “understands how those people [the protesters] feel.”
When high-profile Democrats like Bill Clinton embrace the Wall Street demonstrations on David Letterman (then advise the movement to throw its weight behind Obama), and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor goes from calling occupiers “mobs” to “justifiably frustrated,” the left needs to adjust and push the envelope accordingly. When influential conservatives are fretting on their blogs that OWS is stealing their thunder (“These people are open to listen to anyone who is willing to take on Wall Street,” wrote blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson, “We shouldn’t let unwashed hippies be the only people they hear speaking to their concerns”) we need to recognize, if nothing else, that the Occupy movement has already tilted the playing field and move our goal posts accordingly— further left so we keep dragging the political conversation with us.