The OB Media Rundown for 4/8/12

#TakeTheSpring – Today in Chicago, Minneapolis, Philly and Beyond

Occupations across the country are taking action today; here are a few exciting events to follow!
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In New York City, an active Occupy community is continuing to grow in spite of constant police harassment, arrests, and nightly evictions at Occupy Union Square in midtown. Meanwhile, in the financial district, Occupy Wall Street celebrated another #SpringTraining action yesterday in preparation for a massive show of solidarity on May Day, May 1st. At the conclusion of last night´s action, Occupiers read aloud a court case citing their legal right to sleep on the sidewalk. Occupiers in Washington, DC and other cities continue nightly camp-outs in front of branches of Bank of America and other ¨too big to fail¨ institutions in protest of their policies which leave millions of homes empty and millions of people without homes. Meanwhile, Occupy Boston continues to hold Camp Charlie on the State House Steps in defense of public transportation.

Also today, more Occupiers are once again standing with communities and survivors of racist and police violence to march in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Shaima Alawadi and all others in the latest wave of Million Hoodie and Million Hijab marches. In DC, the march will begin at Malcom X/Meridian Hill Park. (Follow live!) In Oakland, Occupiers will leave after the weekly barbecue. (Infoshop News)

Occupy Boston currently occupying the State House

Following Wednesday’s National Day of Action for Public Transit that saw Occupiers and unions take part in coordinated actions across dozens of cities, Occupiers in Boston flooded the state capitol and have now set up an encampment outside in protest of fare hikes and service cuts to mass transit. Occupy Boston says they will occupy the area for 10 days, or until the state government agrees to revise the budget for transit.

Ryan Cahill, member of Occupy Boston media team, in an exclusive interview with Press TV’s U.S. desk on Saturday said, “We are currently occupying the State House … _in downtown Boston on the common, to basically protest the hikes in fares and cutbacks in service that we are currently experiencing in Boston for public transportation.” (Press TV)

Occupy Boston continues protests against fare hikes

A member of Occupy Boston says a couple of hundred Occupy activists have been camping right in front of State House in Boston to protest against hikes in fares and also cuts in buses and trains.

“We are targeting the current situation going on with the MBTA [The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority]. There is a lot of hikes in the fare and also cuts. So a lot of buses and train services is [are] going to be cut … making it really impossible for a lot of people to get around the city,” said Acacia Brewer, a member of Occupy Boston Media Team, in an exclusive interview with Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Saturday. (Press TV)

How to Succeed in Reoccupation Without Really Trying 

I’ve lately been getting the feeling that Occupy Wall Street’s past successes are starting to go to the heads of some people in the movement. There were, of course, the glory days of Liberty Plaza, and now also the spurt of momentum during and following the brief March 17 six-month-anniversary reoccupation there. But as the NYPD and police departments across the country make it quite clear that occupations of any kind will not be tolerated, the mood has gotten sour. The good old days, it seems, are not coming back.

For lots of organizers, I’ve noticed, the operating presumption is that occupation – something comparable to last fall but somehow surely better – constitutes a prerequisite to further political action. Consequently, a considerable amount of the energy of the most talented organizers in New York (as well as, evidently, in Oakland and San Francisco) has been directed toward failed reoccupation attempts. Or else the movement is celebrating its own anniversaries, not making occasions for new ones. The more conversations I have with listless, frustrated organizers, though, the more I start to feel that right now this occupation-first logic is exactly backwards.

Letter to the editor: Free speech at the core of Occupy protest [IA]

Regarding the March 30 article, “Judge Asked to Bar Speech Defense:” The people of Iowa, and anyone who values our First Amendment, should be appalled by Jeff Noble of the Polk County attorney’s office for trying to get District Associate Judge Romonda Belcher to bar any “evidence or argument regarding ‘free speech rights’ ” in future trials of Occupy members who were arrested on Oct. 9, 2011.

“Free speech” is the essence of these cases, as we were demonstrating our First Amendment rights by showing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which protests the corporate hijacking of our political system and the perversion and deterioration of our democracy. According to Noble, other Iowa cases have “consistently held that free speech is no defense under Iowa’s trespass statute,” which clearly indicates that he values a park curfew over our First Amendment.

Occupy promises upsurge as activists prepare for ‘summer of discontent’

Going forward there are serious internal divisions and debates. In Detroit, local Occupy organiser Lee Gaddies said activists planned to engage with the troubled city’s political system, running candidates in local elections or helping those who endorse Occupy’s beliefs.

That goes against what many other Occupy groups – especially in New York – believe as they advocate for working outside existing political parties and the electoral system. “We think that what works is getting people from your movement into office and then holding them accountable,” Gaddies said.

There is also a raging debate over tactics when it comes to dealing with the police. Last year violent police responses to Occupy protesters, including pepper spraying and the serious injury of a veteran in Oakland, helped propel the movement into the media spotlight, but also allowed it to be defined by street conflict rather than its social aims.

Justice for Trayvon Martin: Reports from Baltimore, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul

A member of M1 attended a Trayvon Martin Rally and March in Baltimore Maryland. The route was a half mile, originating at the Baltimore Harbor/Former Occupy Baltimore Encampment and ended at 7pm at city hall. The estimated attendance was 1,200 – 1,500. The city and most of the activist community anticipated a few hundred people at most. The event was publicized by the local All People’s Congress/Workers World Party and progressive African American Religious Leaders rather than the traditional leftist milieu, the crowd was made up almost entirely of first time activists, families and youth.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, fear spreads of possible white spree killer after 5 blacks are shot

Residents of Tulsa’s predominantly black north side said Saturday they fear a shooter is still roaming their neighborhoods looking for victims after five people were shot – three of them killed – a day earlier.

“We’re all nervous,” said Renaldo Works, 52, who was getting his hair cut at the crowded Charlie’s Angels Forever Hair Style Shop on Saturday. “I’ve got a 15-year-old, and I’m not going to let him out late. People are scared.”
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One of the victims told police that the shooter was a white man driving a white pickup truck who stopped to ask for directions before opening fire. Officer Jason Willingham said Saturday that the pickup was spotted in the area of three of the shootings.

20-Year Veteran to Face Jail Time for Act of Civil Disobedience

Retired Naval Commander Leah Bolger will appear in court Thursday, April 12, 2012 on charges stemming from her arrest on October 26th, 2011.  Bolger, who is a peace activist and the President of Veterans For Peace, interrupted a public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee.

_In a calm, articulate manner Bolger spoke for nearly a minute in the well of the Senate hearing room before Capitol Hill police escorted her out and placed her under arrest.  Prominent social activist Ben Cohen praised Bolger for her courageous stand in this video which includes footage of her action:  Bolger accused the sole witness, Chief Budget Officer Douglas Elmendorf, of obfuscating the true costs of military spending, and implored the Committee to enact the people’s plan for reducing the deficit-end the wars and tax the rich.

99% Spring: Counter-Insurgency as Insurgency and reactionary unions are not spearheading this for no reason. Are we to believe that the same unions that discourage their members from taking non-violent direct action during labor disputes, have found both the time and the energy to do a solid favor for the radical Left, by resuscitating a movement they have mistakenly diagnosed as dead? This is primarily about co-option and division, about sucking a large cross-section of Occupy into Obama’s reelection campaign, watering down it’s radical politics, and using these mass trainings as a groundwork to put forward 100,000 “good protesters” to overshadow the “bad protesters” (who actual take personal risks and/or have radical politics), to ease the State’s ongoing campaign to pick us off one by one. In the words of’s own campaign director, it is unabashedly and overtly a campaign of clear co-optation. This is not a riding of the coattails of a hip social movement; this will be a form of counter-insurgency. This will be used to disrupt, divide, discredit and destroy the Occupy movement. The parameters of acceptable protest will be imposed, not by some local non-profit starving for funding or wanting to remain relevant, but by city officials, the police, the major media, Homeland Security, Chambers of Commerce, police front groups like “Stand for Oakland,” and on down the line.

The Occupy movement has broken with the Left’s long-standing, self-defeating tendencies of meaningless, police-choreographed marches, 1-day pageant strikes, movement discourse that thinks the logic of the lowest common denominator that wins elections will win social justice (99% frames not withstanding), and non-violent civil disobedience designed to curry favorable media attention that gets de-contextualized and buried in the sea on nonsense entertainment that is the media. This scares the hell out of capital and the State. 99% Spring is not part of some nefarious conspiracy theory with Homeland Security or “the illuminati.” 99% Spring is not Wall Street. But they sure as hell are doing their work, whether some of them want to realize that or not.

Occupy should target business schools to change culture of corporate greed 

By making profits and share prices the be-all and end-all for corporations, business schools have played a central role in creating a culture of greed. And that has driven the growing gap between the elite and the 99%, a societal divide that inspired the Occupy movement.

Business school theorists need to come up with new rules to the corporation game. We need a better measurement of corporate worth and success, one that values things that are important to most people, such as jobs, the environment, corporate responsibility.

An Occupy protest within their ivied walls might drive home the point.

Occupying Good Friday – Ecumenical march focuses on social justice issues

About 60 people participated in the 12th annual Ecumenical Social Justice Walk downtown on Friday afternoon, starting out from Centenary United Church and ending at First Pilgrim United Church.

The annual walk also took them through Gore Park, the Lister Block and Ferguson Station. The group observed 14 Stations of the Cross at various locations including schools and churches under this year’s “Occupy Good Friday” theme.

The Stations of the Cross are a religious tradition marking the final hours of Jesus on his journey to his death on the cross.

Occupy Tampa reaches milestone, plans for future

Occupy Tampa celebrated its six-month anniversary Friday by rallying at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and marching through downtown streets that in another few months are expected to be filled with protesters here for the Republican National Convention.

More than 30 Occupy members shouted slogans, carried signs and waved banners letting afternoon commuters on Good Friday know that the group’s message and movement isn’t fading.

“We have one of the strongest, cohesive groups,” said Nathan Schwartz, 20, of Tampa. “I love all these people out here right now. This sort of thing is balancing your individualism with the needs of the community.”

Occupy Chicago’s Chicago Spring Day Movement Prepares for NATO Summit

Chicago – “End the war, tax the rich” shouted hundreds of Occupy Chicago protesters marching through the streets of Downtown Chicago during the organizations “Chicago Spring.”

According to John Stavola, “We’re tired that we’re in a country where when we try to provide healthcare, it’s called socialism, when we try to provide education, it’s called socialism, when we try to repair infrastructure and put people back to work – it’s called socialism.”

Occupy Chicago’s Chicago Spring was a day of action across the city as the movement prepares for NATO. Michael Ehrenreich outlined Occupy’s blueprint in the coming weeks.

Protesters Re-Occupy Minneapolis, Plan To Stay All Summer

The Occupy Wall Street movement has picked up again in Minnesota after demonstrators re-launched their efforts Saturday in Minneapolis’ Loring Park and Peavey Plaza.

Saturday marked the six-month anniversary of the Occupy Minneapolis movement, and organizers plan to occupy both locations Minneapolis throughout the spring and summer.

The protesters say they support the national movement for social and economic equality. They are against Wall Street, but protesters note that their movement is made of individuals from various groups.

Students Leave UC Berkeley Building 

About 20 people who were occupying a University of California at Berkeley building Friday to protest what organizers say is a lack of minority students enrolled at the university left of their own accord late Friday afternoon, a school spokeswoman said.

Occupy DC Corporate Personhood Solutions WG plans major conference on issue of money in politics 

On Saturday, April 14, Occupy DC will be taking its occupation indoors and hosting a large, day-long conference in Washington D.C. to help tackle the issue of money in politics and its influence on national, state, and local elected officials. Organized by Occupy DC’s Corporate Personhood Solutions Working Group, the conference was conceived of as a way to bring citizens, officials, academics, and activists from across the political spectrum together to find common ground on the issue of campaign finance reform.

The conference, entitled “Money Out of Politics Conference: How Cross-Partisan Citizen Movements Can Reform Our Democracy in 2012 and Beyond,” will be held at All Souls Unitarian Church at 1500 Harvard Street NW from 9:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Harvard Law professor, “Republic, Lost” author, and founder of Rootstrikers, Lawrence Lessig. The event is slated to feature dozens of facilitators from a wide variety of backgrounds and political viewpoints including academics, grassroots activists, and concerned community members, as well as approximately eight panelists including former Republican governor of Louisiana, presidential candidate, and campaign finance advocate Buddy Roemer; Mariah Costello, Occupy DC Radio; Rob Weissman, President of Public Citizen; Nick Nyhart, President & CEO of Public Campaign; Rob Werner, National Director of Americans for Campaign Reform; Marylin Carpinteyro, Outreach Director of Common Cause; Mark Hays, Campaign Coordinator for Democracy is for People; and more.

Foreclosure fighters gather in Detroit 

Activists fighting to stop the ongoing epidemic of home foreclosures came together here on March 31 at a national conference initiated and organized by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs. The endorsement and participation of other organizations was reflected in the speakers and presentations at the gathering, held at the historic Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit.

Occupy Santa Rosa heralds spring with protest

Occupy Santa Rosa’s “spring awakening” drew about 200 people and an array of slogans and causes to Old Courthouse Square on Saturday.

“The media likes to say that Occupy is dead,” organizer Tess McDermott of Rohnert Park told the crowd. “We’re not. We’re here and we want you to have a revolution with us.”

Occupy Cincinnati Marks Six Month Anniversary

Occupy Cincinnati marked its six month anniversary Saturday at Piatt Park.

From Lytle Park, members marched to Piatt Park to begin the festivities.

Several speakers talked to the group, including those representing the homeless, Occupy the Hood Cincinnati and from the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.

Letter to the editor: Occupy Fort Collins re-emerging

While Wall Street banks are too big to fail and have received bailouts, families have not fared so well during the recession. The biggest asset most people own is their home. Home prices, however, are down more than a third from their 2006 peak, and they’re still dropping. The median house price in February was 6.2 percent lower than a year ago.
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The Occupy movement chose to move indoors due to the winter weather, but spring is the perfect time to re-energize and reorganize. In order for inequality, poverty and corruption to be addressed, grassroots groups of citizens must find their voice.

Lessons from the Spanish Occupy Movement

Neither the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters nor the North American commentators make many references to the Greek or Spanish protest movements. British press and the Occupy London movement are also relatively silent on these movements, although openDemocracy has both reported on and been inspired by the 15M movement in particular. I would like to make the case that more UK and North American protesters could learn a thing or two from their south European counterparts. It is not that the Greek or Spanish protesters have superior techniques, but that there are some lessons to be learned. Three in particular are important:

[1. Choose your square with care, 2. Organize beyond the square, 3. Elections matter]

J14 and the movement for social justice in Israel 

The outbreak of revolt in Israel constitutes some kind of political turning point: but what kind? The J14 movement, also known as the ‘social justice movement’ or the ‘tent protests’, emerged after a long period of apathy and political stupour in Israel. The intensity and speed with which it spread astonished the entire political class, from the coalition government to the Labour Party by way of the Peace Bloc. Both military institutions and the religious parties were caught off guard.

On Cyprus, tensions high after police raid Occupy camp

TENSIONS WERE high on a strip of the buffer zone dissecting the capital yesterday after a police raid the night before resulted in 28 arrests, including 11 minors, numerous claims of police brutality and human rights violations.
A strong police force spearheaded by the anti-terrorist unit (MMAD) and the drugs squad raided a building on the corner of Nicosia’s Ledra and Kykkos streets on Friday night at around 10.15pm.

The building stands between two checkpoints straddling the buffer zone along Ledra Street, and became the makeshift home to a multi-communal peace movement called Occupy Buffer Zone which has been camped at the site since last November.

The group’s “occupation” of the buffer zone has resulted in forming rare consensus among the three forces on the ground, Cyprus police, the Turkish army and the UN, over the unsuitability of their choice of location.


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