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.
2 Large Tent Stoves and 2 Large Canvas Arctic tents.
One of our biggest needs right now are warm spaces we can use to continue to provide for the food needs of the camp and to retain our 24-hour presence at the site. We are hoping to use one tent as our winter cooking tent. This tent will allow us to continue to feed the occupiers and other vulnerable community members that need support.
The other tent will be used both for sleeping accommodations during the night and for a meeting/arts space during the day.
The stoves are to keep the tents warm. As we are without power at the site (the ‘owner’ of the park turned off all power outlets) the stoves are essential for providing protection against the cold 24-hrs a day.
2 Gas generators.
As mentioned above we do not have power at the site. The generators are to help alleviate the power needs at the site and are primarily for the kitchen and media tents. They will be used as a power source and to charge the power packs (see below).
The kitchen needs power throughout the day to cook warm meals, to provide warm tea and coffee and to ensure we all have happy, warm bellies.
The media tent needs power so we can facilitate on-site/off-site communication, so we can send out media and action alerts and so we can continue to main on-going contact with the outside world.
2 Power packs
These packs are to give us the ability to store power. As we want to be as environmentally conscience as possible we want to use the generators as little as possible. The packs will allow us to have power on site and to also be able to use it for outdoor activities and actions.
2 Medical Kits
We have several nurses and medics as part of our action team. We also have medical supplies but they are unfortunately quite diverse and do not provide a solid medic kit for us to use throughout the winter. Also winter contains specific medical needs that we wish to be prepared for. These medic bags will allow us to provide for and attend to any medical needs.
This stick will allow us to have internet on-site. This will help facilitate on-site/off-site communication, give us the ability to send out media and action alerts and allow us to continue to main on-going contact with the outside world.
We are also hoping for a variety of building materials. Due to the limitations imposed on our site we are not able to build ‘structures’ but do require some materials to further insulate, to build safe lock boxes for materials, to build bunk beds to lift people off the ground, etc. We are trying to get many items donated but will likely need some support to complete our needs. 1 Lift of 12’ 2X4’s, 1/2 Lift of 12’ 2X8’s, 1 Lift of 3/8” 4X8’ Sheets of OSB, Several 18X24’, Insulated Tarps, 3” Nails, Several Bags of R20 Insulation, 3 Rolls of, Industrial Grade Poly, Several Boxes of 3/4” Staples, Several Rolls of Tie Wire.
On November 23rd, the Congressional Deficit Reduction Super-Committee will meet to decide on whether or not to keep Obama’s extension to the Bush tax-cuts - which only benefit the richest 1% of Americans in any kind of significant way. Luckily, a group of OWS’ers are embarking on a two-week march from Liberty Plaza to the White House to let the committee know what the 99% think about these cuts. Join the march to make sure these tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans are allowed to die!
Egyptian activists have called for an international day of action to defend their country’s revolution, as global opposition mounts towards the military junta.
In a statement appealing for solidarity from the worldwide Occupy movement that has taken control of public squares in London, New York and hundreds of other cities, campaigners in Egypt claim their revolution is “under attack” from army generals and insist they too are fighting against a “1%” elite intent on stifling democracy and promoting social injustice.
The announcement came as Alaa Abd El Fattah, the jailed Egyptian revolutionary who has become a rallying figure for those opposed to the junta, had his appeal against detention refused by a military court. He and 30 other defendants accused of inciting violence against the military will remain in prison for at least 10 more days. The authorities could then choose to extend their incarceration indefinitely. This week a secret letter written by Abd El Fattah from inside his cell at Bab el-Khalq jail was published by the Guardian and the Egyptian newspaper al-Shorouk, laying bare the growing chasm between the ruling generals and grassroots activists who believe that their revolution has been hijacked.
In Thursday’s communique, which was jointly signed by a number of activist groups and published on the website of the “No to military trials” campaign, Egyptian protesters say that while global media attention has shifted elsewhere since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in February, their struggle has continued.
“Again and again the army and the police have attacked us, beaten us, arrested us, killed us,” reads the statement. “And we have resisted, we have continued; some of these days we lost, others we won, but never without cost. Over a thousand gave their lives to remove Mubarak. Many more have joined them in death since. We go on so that their deaths will not be in vain.”
The statement reaffirms activists’ decision to withdraw all co-operation from the military justice system: “We now refuse to co-operate with military trials and prosecutions. We will not hand ourselves in, we will not submit ourselves to questioning. If they want us, they can take us from our homes and workplaces.”
It ends with a call for an international day of action on 12 November. “Nine months into our new military repression, we are still fighting for our revolution,” the activists conclude. “Our strength is in our shared struggle. If they stifle our resistance, the 1% will win – in Cairo, New York, London, Rome – everywhere. But while the revolution lives, our imaginations knows no bounds. We can still create a world worth living.”
Police arrested at least 16 people, including journalist Chris Hedges and performance artist Reverend Billy Talen, during a rally Thursday outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in lower Manhattan.
The rally was held after a mock trial at the nearby Occupy Wall Street encampment, in which Goldman’s alleged misdeeds were weighed in a “people’s hearing.” The event, led by author and activist Cornell West, was broadcast live on a radio station and drew hundreds of protesters and spectators, many of whom then marched down Trinity Place towards Goldman’s skyscraper.
“The banking system has been shot through with greed,” said West, a professor at Princeton University. He marched arm in arm with several protesters, whom he referred to as his “brothers and sisters.” Some protesters held signs that read “Out of Your Ivory Tower” and “Don’t Feed the Bull.”
Reverend Billy, dressed in his signature white suit, called the Occupy movement “real, physical, actual hope,” and he blamed President Barack Obama for “drain[ing] all meaning from the word ‘hope.’” Talen added: “He’s no less corrupt than George Bush. He’s been unable to regulate these people,” referring to financial institutions.
At the entrance to Goldman’s headquarters on West Street, protesters read their verdict aloud: “Guilty of felony fraud, violating security laws, perjury before a Senate commission and the theft of $78 billion in taxpayer money.”
Several people then sat down in front with the building with their arms linked. As police handcuffed each person one at a time, some used nonviolent resistance tactics such curling up on the ground. The final protester to be arrested made her body limp and was carried away by several police officers.
CNN/ORC International poll out today:
- 36% say they agree with the overall positions of the Occupy movement, 19% disagree
- Approval rating up from 27% in early October, an increase of 9%
- 44% are still unsure if they agree with the overall positions, down from 55% the month before.
NY1-Marist Poll out Tuesday:
- 44 percent of NY voters support the Occupy Wall Street movement while only 21 percent support the tea party. But about half of the 1,030 adults surveyed Oct. 25 through 27 think the tea party movement will have greater influence in the 2012 presidential election.
A separate Quinnipiac poll of registered voters gives the numbers as 30% favourable, 39% unfavourable and 30% undecided; showing that we have a long way to go, but the numbers are still higher than the Tea Party. The poll seems to include more than a representative sample of Southern voters, which also might skew things in a certain way.
Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran injured during police attempts to clear Occupy Oakland on Tuesday, has given a sign of appreciation for the wave of goodwill shown by fellow protesters across the US.
Olsen’s roommate, Keith Shannon, said the 24-year-old gave a “thumbs-up” after being told of the support he has received – which has included vigils across the US and marches against police brutality.
Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull when he was apparently being struck by a police projectile on Tuesday and is unable to talk. Officers from more than 15 different police agencies were involved in operations in Oakland on Tuesday, which included the use of tear gas and ‘less lethal’ weapons.
Shannon said he had visited Olsen on Sunday, and told him of the reaction to his injuries across the hundreds of Occupy protests. “He gave a thumbs-up,” Shannon said.
Olsen was hit on the right side of the head, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Video footage showed a police officer throwing a non-lethal explosive near to a stricken Olsen as fellow protesters came to his aid.
Shannon told the Guardian that Olsen is still communicating via written notes – although these tend to be short – and that Olsen’s spelling has suffered since he was injured.“He only really writes when he needs something,” Shannon said. Olsen keeps a notepad and pen beside him on the bed to issue the messages, which often consist of just one word.
From NBC Bay Area:
A website claiming to be the official site of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appeared recently, mimicking the official Oakland website entirely, but adding a statement of support for “Occupy Oakland” demonstrations that did not come from Quan, according to officials in the mayor’s office.
But the website has added a fabricated letter purportedly from Quan apologizing to protesters for the police response to protests Tuesday, where the Occupy Oakland encampments at Frank Ogawa Plaza were raided, resulting in dozens of arrests, and police used tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke grenades to keep protesters away from the plaza later that night.
“I offer my sincere apology for ordering the violent repression of the Occupy Oakland encampment in front of city hall,” the fake statement stated.
The letter, which was also distributed at Occupy Oakland demonstrations, went on to say that Quan endorsed Occupy Oakland’s calls for a general strike in Oakland on Nov. 2. The mayor’s office released a statement Saturday clarifying that the letter was “bogus.”
Some gems from the “fake” letter:
The Occupy Oakland general assembly has called for a general strike on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, and I heartily endorse this call. The Occupy Oakland encampment was just the kind of experiment in mutual aid and direct democracy that is needed. And a general strike could bring this to a new level. In fact, I want to up the ante to show I’m on the right side of history again.
Oakland was the last city in the U.S. to have a general strike, in 1946, and it was known as a “work holiday.” This harks back to the first call for a general strike in 1832: William Benbow’s pamphlet, “Grand National Holiday,” in which he called a month‐long strike. I propose we do that! … There’s plenty of wealth to go around. We just have to share it… I say ban the banks and abolish money. The people are breaking out of their acquiescence. They can make decisions over their own lives. The Occupy Oakland encampment prefigured a way of life that makes the status quo obsolete. Instead of an exploitative system based on the buying and selling of things and our time, let us create a life of ease, gaeity and pleasure for all, as William Benbow originally suggested. Let us not only shut the city down. Let us take it over and run it in a wholly new way. Together we can make every day a holiday.
If only this were accurate…
The New York Times had a wide ranging report on the view of the Occupy movement from Mayors across the country. They claim that many of the Mayors of “several cities have come to the end of their patience and others appear to be not far behind.”
Point 1: The constitutionally guaranteed right to assembly is not subject to any Mayors “patience”.
[The completely unnecessary assault in Oakland was entirely out of proportion to the situation.] The people throwing things at police and being violent are not part of our ‘99 Percent’ occupation,” said Momo Aleamotua, 19, a student from Oakland. “They’re not us, and they’re not welcome.
Point 2: Anyone committing illegal acts should be dealt with individually. There is no justification for ending an entire peaceful and constitutionally protected assembly because of the acts of a few.
In Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed ordered the police to arrest more than 50 protesters early Wednesday. … [He] said the last straw came Tuesday, when he said a man with an AK-47 assault rifle joined the protesters in Woodruff Park
Point 3: Georgia passed a law that made carrying an AK-47 legal in that state. The man was rejected by the occupiers and not welcome. Using Georgia’s insane law about open carry of assault weapons against the protesters is a contrived violation and extremely hypocritical.
Providence, R.I., where Mayor Angel Taveras has vowed to seek a court order to remove protesters from Burnside Park, which they have occupied since Oct. 15.
Point 4: The government has no right to continually block freedom of assembly through the legal system. The constitution supersedes all local law, and the creation of “parade rules” or “vagrancy” statutes are violations of the constitution when used to prevent peaceful assembly.
Even in Los Angeles, where the City Council passed a resolution in support of the protesters, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa warned Wednesday that they would not be allowed to remain outside City Hall indefinitely.
Point 5: There is no time limit on the constitutional right to assembly. The word “indefinite” has no bearing on this.
Even in Democratic Chicago, officials seemed to straining to allow for dissent, while maintaining order. “We’ve been working hard to strike a balance,” said Chris Mather, a spokeswoman for Mr. Emanuel.
Point 6: The need to ensure that “order” trumps “dissent” is contrary to American political freedom. The nature of American Democracy is that we accept some level of “disorder” because we believe that freedom is important.
“It’s a significant challenge to deal with their decision-making process,” said Richard Negrin, the managing director of Philadelphia
Point 7: Because it is “difficult” is no reason for shutting down the peaceful exercise of assembly by American citizens. The difficulty is not a question, it is your responsibility to protect this constitutional right. It is your job.
The leaders of this Country need to understand that their job is not solely as a protector of the rich and businesses in their cities. It is also a requirement that they protects each citizens constitutional right to freedom of assembly, no matter how difficult.