Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5/23/12-5/24/12

Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

Stories of the Day: Nan Wigmore brought her walker and packed her sign, “Grateful Great Grandmas Circle The Wagons, Support Occupy,” and rode on a bus for some three days, sleeping in the same clothes, to make it to the NATO protests in Chicago.The 75-year-old from Portland, Ore., says she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else despite the discomfort of her journey. For her, there was nothing more important than being in Chicago protesting against NATO, calling for money to go to health care, for example, and not to war. She said she was “very serious” about her protesting and did not intend to stop. For more, see Great-Grandma: “Ready to Lose My Life” Protesting. On Sunday, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including Scott Olsen of Occupy Oakland who marched with a helmet after having had his skull fractured by police months ago at a protest, as well as members of Afghans For Peace, led a peace march of thousands of people. Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. “I am giving back my global war on terror service medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Jason Heard, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. “I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in these countries and around the globe.” See the video here. And they gathered at the corner of Washington and Dearborn Streets armed with bulbous red clown noses and huge painted smiles on their faces. A few of them honked horns, others shouted “hooray, hooray, hooray” in squeaky clown voices. But these clowns were not performing at a child’s birthday party. Instead, they were protesting at the National Nurses United rally against NATO. “Think rodeo clown,” Vermin Supreme, a protesting clown from Baltimore, said. Supreme and his clownish cohorts are part of a movement affiliated with Occupy Wall Street known as ClownBloq. A rodeo clown’s main job is to protect bull riders in the ring. If the people of the world are the bull riders, then the world leaders gathering for the NATO summit are the raging bulls. For more, see Clown Bloq makes a statement at NATO protest event. And the National Lawyers Guild is demanding answers after police raided a home Wednesday looking for Molotov cocktails – a stash the group of protesters say was a home beer brewing operation. For the video, see “Beer Not Bombs” Activists Speak Out. And as Occupy activists from around the country begin heading home to their respective cities after a weekend of protests in Chicago, many say the massive gathering has helped revitalize a movement that has gone months without staging the kind of headline-grabbing spectacle that made “99 percent” a popular concept. For more, see Occupy Activists: Chicago NATO Summit Helped Revitalize Movement. And although there was a lot of police brutality documented by photograph, livestream, and eyewitness accounts at the NATO protests, perhaps one of the most shocking details was the actions, or inactions, of some of Chicago’s finest.  In a surprising turn of events, reports have emerged that numerous Chicago Police officers openly refused to arrest non-violent protesters – some officers even refusing to show up for work. One blogger writes: “I had the honor of speaking with one of these brave men, and although he wishes to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons), he wasn’t shy about how he and many other officers feel in regards to the ever-increasing police state.” For more, see NATO Protests in Chicago: Some Officers Refuse to Arrest Non-violent Protesters. And Occupy Boston’s own Una Spenser writes: “I’m kinda sick of it. A fully-armed, military-style police force comes out to stop protesters from marching or assembling – because traffic and lawns are more important than human rights and social justice – and if, out of many thousands, a minute number of protesters physically resists the impediment of that force, people paint the entire movement as lacking credibility because it isn’t non-violent. We’re faced with guns, LRADs, tear gas, truncheons, horses and more, but if we push back; if we try to continue marching when they block us, if we fight to get out of their grip, gawd forbid use balsa sticks which break on impact, its then justifiable for protesters to be beaten bloody by the police. The movement is delegitimized because its not “non-violent”. The Gandhi purity from those on the sidelines is disturbing.How is it that with all that weaponry, including shields and body armor, we could ever see the protesters as the threat? As the aggressor? The very moment those police don those weapons, they are the aggressor. They are making it known that they will use whatever force they feel like it to achieve whatever compliance they  – or their masters – want from us.” For more, see Why Don’t People Tell The Cops to be Non-Violent?

Other Occupies/Protests: Students in Québec are marked their 100th day of an unlimited general strike on Tuesday, May 22nd, the culmination of the most stunning mass protest movements of recent months and North America’s largest student movement in years. In fact, the mobilizations in Québec might just be Canada’s Arab Spring. Students have been organizing against tuition hikes for nearly one and a half years, when the Quebec government first proposed to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years (amended to 82% over seven years by the government at the end of April). But this struggle represents more than students. It represents an attack on the middle class and lower income families, their sense of social cohesion, and the social entitlement and equality of access to public services amid rising cost of living. For more, see “We Didn’t Know It Was Impossible, So We Did It!” For more information, see Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Québec Student Movement. In response to the ongoing student strike, on Friday, May 18, the Québec legislature signed a special “emergency law” to “restore order” in the province following three months of student protests in a strike against the government’s proposed 80% increase in the cost of tuition. A legislative debate lasted all night and resulted in a vote of 68-48 in favor of the legislation. The legislation has three main focal points: it “suspends” the school semester for schools majorly affected by the strike, it establishes extremely high fines for anyone who attempts to picket or block access to schools, and it imposes massive restrictions on where and how people may demonstrate and protest in the streets. So this is where we’ve come to now: the government of Québec has decided that instead of compromising on its tuition hikes – something it has stated from the beginning that it was unwilling to even consider – and instead of negotiating in good faith with the students, as all the negotiations have been farces thus far, it will instead “crack down” on the students of Québec, implementing the “worst law” since the War Measures Act of 1970, which was a declaration of martial law. Bill 78 amounts to a pseudo-declaration of martial law against the students of Québec.For more, see Québec Inches Closer to Martial Law. And Spanish teachers went on strike on Tuesday to protest against cuts in education spending that unions say will put 100,000 substitute teachers out of work but that the government says are needed to tackle the euro zone debt crisis. Tuesday’s strike affected all levels of public education, from kindergarten to university. Teachers at some private schools that receive state subsidies were also on strike. For more, see Teachers strike across Spain, protesting cuts.

“‎It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

 Upcoming Events:

  • From Occupy Wall StreetOn Saturday, May 26th, at 12pm at Bryant Park, 42nd Street at 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10018, OWS Direct Action Group launches Summer Disobedience School – kicking off 3 months of city-wide mayhem! We’ve completed Spring Training – and we’re moving and communicating in the streets like never before. Now we take our fight to sites of injustices throughout NYC, gradually building a culture of radical non-violent disobedience. We’ll be disrupting banks, corporations and the state all summer long, starting with the crooks in mid-town. We graduate as a full-on revolutionary force September 17th: City-Wide Shut Down! More details to come… Facebook event page is: https://www.facebook.com/events/343421022384775/355202957873248.
  • Planning the Next Occupation: June 1, 7pm-11pm, Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common. We call on every supporter (past and present) to come to this popular assembly. We ask that you help be the change we all want to see in this world. We ask you to come ,and share YOUR VOICE as occupy begins it’s next step towards SOCIAL JUSTICE! Oh and bring a tent icon wink Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5/23/12 5/24/12 (who knows what we all will together decide!)
  • June 2, 2012, 11am, Riley Plaza, Salem, corner of Washington and New Derby Streets. Occupy Salem is holding a Salem Trial of Bank of America. Join us – Offer Testimony & March to the the Bank to deliver the Verdict! Bank of America stands accused of: Predatory lending practices and Foreclosure Fraud; Being the US’s #1 financier of the coal industry, and in turn, a leading contributor to climate change in the United States; Extortion of the public through excessive fees and penalties; Paying CEOs Millions in Bonuses while Crashing the Economy;  Lobbying, bribes, credit card loan-sharking; paying $0 taxes, etc. For more information, contact OccupySalemMass@gmail.com.
  • June 2, 2012: Occupy the Judge Rotenberg Center Peaceful Protest. Occupy the JRC is a coalition of cross disability activists and allies who are determined to get the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts closed down, or at the very least force them to stop using electric shocks, restraints, and aversives on the students who are sent there. For those who may not know, the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is a “school of last resort” for children with developmental disabilities (many of their students are Autistic) or other difficulties which eschews the use of psychiatric medications in favor of physical restraints and aversives, including the use of two-second skin shocks. Speakers: Senator Brian A. Joyce, Kat Whitehead (Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth), Dan Fisher (National Empowerment Center), Ari Ne’eman (Autistic Self Advocacy Network), Laurie Ahern (Disability Rights International), Daniel Hazen (Voices of the Heart), Joseph Sitinbull (Helping Others to Promote Equality) and more! For more information, contact: Daniel@ (518) 932-3137. info@occupyjrc.org and see http://www.occupyjrc.org.
  • Richard Seymour – American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism. Co-sponsored by Haymarket Books and the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series. Monday, June 4, 2012,  6:00pm at Encuentro 5,
    33 Harrison Ave – 5th floor
    Boston
    ALL EMPIRES SPIN self-serving myths, and in the United States the most potent of these is that America is a force for democracy around the world. Yet there is a tradition of American anti-imperialism that gives the lie to this mythology. Seymour examines this complex relationship from the American Revolution to the present-day.
    “In these times of international rebellion, [Richard Seymour] has given us a tool with which to build a movement for a more just world, both within and beyond our borders.” —Camilo Mejía, author, Road to ar-Ramadi“In the tradition of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History ofthe United States Richard Seymour shows that US imperialism has generated significant domestic opposition rooted in grassroots movements for racial, economic, and social justice.” —Michael Letwin, founding member, New York City Labor Against the War and Labor for PalestineRICHARD SEYMOUR is a socialist writer and columnist and runs the blog Lenin’s Tomb. He is the author of The Liberal Defense of Murder and The Meaning of David Cameron. He has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Radical Philosophy and Historical Materialism. Originally from Northern Ireland, he now resides in London, where he is studying for a PhD at the London School of Economics.FOR MORE INFORMATIONVisit: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/American-Insurgentshttp://www.leninology.com/
    To view an excerpt of American Insurgents, visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/93260547/American-Insurgents
  • Anti ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, CCI, CISPA, MPAA, RIAA, MPA, ARAA, internet ID, censorship protest June 9, 2012.
    Liberty Plaza, New York, NY 10006

    NATIONWIDE, CALLING ALL OCCUPIERS!!!! Knowledge should be free. This is a serious threat to education of people lower on the caste system. It will damage opportunity for all greatly. It also promotes monopoly and greed within governance as well as control of the people. This protest is to take place on the same date as a similar protest taking place in Paris France. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD. SUPPORT FAIR USE AND EDUCATION! Facebook event page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/287232521354857

  • June 11: THREE national routes… THIRTEEN hub cities… TWENTY days… ONE NATIONAL OCCUPY GATHERING IN THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE. The Occupy Caravan plan is officially launched! “This Land is Our Land” Summer Caravan kicks off June 11 from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. We will travel three routes across America on our way to Philadelphia for the five-day Occupy National Gathering that ends July 4 on Independence Mall! At each stop, cities will be organizing events to welcome the Caravan which brings with it musicians, speakers and performers — a traveling democratic road show that educates as it entertains! Feed-in caravans will be joining along the way, and a full day of celebration is scheduled in half a dozen Hub cities. Invite neighbors, friends and family to come out for this continental gathering where we’ll share stories as individuals and communities growing stronger together — then hop on board and travel the rest of the way to Philly! How bad do you want your democracy? Enough to take it back? As we celebrate the history of America that we are about to write, only one thing is required: Our Participation. Visit the Schedules and Cities page to find out when the Caravan reaches your town so you can plan an event and then climb aboard. Official route map to be issued soon…See you in June! http://occupycaravan.webs.com/. Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Caravan/307692495949585.
  • June 22: Occupy Summer Camp in Maine.  Dobson’s Farm, 78 Old Cape Road, Kennebunkport, Maine. Occupy Our Neighborhood, the Kennebunk Occupy group is hosting Occupy Summer Camp with a number of folks from Occupy Maine Portland.  This is our opportunity to work with other Occupy groups to focus our efforts on reversing corporate personhood and the issues related to money in politics, environment and local economies. We hope to have a good attendance to include your thoughts and ideas and to plan the camp. Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/238631406237615/.
  • From Occupy Wall Street: September 17, 2012, The People’s Picket on Wall Street, 7am-10am. We will form a massive moving picket line on our one-year anniversary, and continue the conversation we started One year prior with boots on the ground. People from all over the world get ready to shut it down.

Wednesday, May 23-Thursday, May 24, 2012

Event Highlights:

  • May 23: Occupy Student Debt Sallie Mae Action: As graduation approaches for many college students this spring, the outlook for post-graduation will be dire. Instead of, “What do you plan to do next?” the questions are: “How much student debt are you graduating with?” or “Do you think you’ll be able to find a job?” The situation has grown grim for recent graduates. The largest profiteer off of student debt, Sallie Mae, has been leading the crusade to make a buck off of students suffering the worst economic recession since the 1920’s. Already spending over $1 million on lobbying in 2012, Sallie Mae has been one of the most aggressive lobbyists on the Hill using money received from students, to allow private lenders to use predatory practices, including hidden fees that further bury students in debt. Student debt has spiraled out of control and now students are demanding debt forgiveness!This Thursday, students, workers, and recent graduates will be gathering in Newark, Delaware to confront Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord and demand student debt forgiveness and that they keep their corporate money out of our democracy.- Buses leave tomorrow from South Station @ 11pm (folks will start showing up at 7pm)- We wil drive through the night and arrive in DE by the morning- We will be back in Boston by 9pm on Thursday, May 24.- Contact Sophia Zaman from CEPA at sophia.zaman@gmail.com if you have any questions!
  • No Layoffs at Harvard! Protest at Commencement. Thursday, May 24, 11am-2pm, Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave. Cambridge. Despite months of protests & bad press, Harvard’s Grand Poohbahs refuse to back off from their layoff threats against hundreds of workers, particularly in the libraries. 65 library staff members already took a miserly early-retirement deal, in the face of administrators’ announcements that their ranks would soon shrink, either by “voluntary or involuntary” means. The library workforce is nearly 1/3 smaller than it was in 2009, leading to a marked deterioration of library assistance and services. There is a clear danger that managers will act to cut jobs once students leave town. PLEASE HELP US SEND THE MESSAGE THAT ANY FURTHER CUTS WILL JUST LEAD TO MORE DAMAGE TO HARVARD’S PRECIOUS BRAND! Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/242111025894172/.
  • Union Busting is Disgusting! Recently fired union janitors need your support! Thursday, May 24, 4pm-6pm, 31 St. James Ave., Boston. Come out and walk a picket with union janitors who have been recently fired due to a decision made by Capital Properties to change contractors. Changing contractors is a typical tactic used by bosses to fire union workers to be replaced by workers who will have to labor under deteriorated working conditions, less pay, and little to no benefits. We want to make it clear to Capital Properties (the owner/s of the Park Square building at 31 St. James Ave.) that union busting will not be tolerated in Boston. Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/338105819590968/.
  • Protest at Richard Cohen’s house in NYC (CEO of Capital Properties). On Thursday, May 24th, A delegation from Boston including members of SEIU Local 615 and Boston University students will be travelling to NYC in search of Richard Cohen, CEO of Capital Properties. Why? Because Capital Properties owns and manages the Park Square Building at 31 St. James Street in the Back Bay of Boston, and on May 11th went through with a decision to displace a union cleaning company with a non-union one, effectively laying off 20 union workers, many of whom had worked at the building for over 10 years. Richard Cohen is also on the board of trustees at Boston University – the students there have shown incredible solidarity with the workers of 31 St. James street. We will be leaving from Downtown Boston at 8am on Thursday morning. From there we will travel to Capital Properties headquarters, at 111 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, and then to Richard Cohen’s house, at 927 5th Avenue. We will return to Boston by 10pm.

Calendar for Wednesday May 23, 2012

3 pm-4 pm Icarus Project WG Support Group, at the Gazebo at the Common or if there is bad weather, at City Place Food Court, in the Transportation Building

5-6:30 pm, FSU WG monthly meeting, at Gourmet Dumpling House, 52 Beach Street,  Boston MA  (Chinatown more directions at bottom)

Regularly Scheduled Teach-in Slots on Boston Common, prior to GA Tue
Potential teach-ins
Street Medics Training
Against Police Brutality
Occupy University (OWS)
Building a curriculum and where to store it … on our wiki.
Summer … Check -in w. Zinn peeps
… teach-ins &/or info at actions
Bankstercards
Better use of web/email for organizing our work w/ fewer face-to-face meetings.  Wiggio?
Social media .. do we want more … training available along with Radio-WG
FSU Future …

At 7pm FSU-Radio to discuss FSU History & Future

6pm – 7:30pm, Bank Accountability Working Group,  in Copley Square, across the street from the Community Church of Boston*, 565 Boylston St.

At present, there is interest in 3 areas: 1) Considering an “Occupy Action Campaign” targeting one specific to-be-decided Boston bank; 2) Organizing and/or participating in the “Long Term Massachusetts Public Bank Campaign” 3) Organizing and/or participating in more educational events around banking and finance for the Boston community. *Note: We will meet in the Square. The Community Church of Boston is in a low office building, not a church-type landmark structure. Public transportation: Between the Copley Square T stop on the Green Line and Back Bay T stop on the Orange Line. Meet at Boloco restaurant in case of rain.

Please note! Meetings and their locations are subject to change. We encourage you to check the Occupy Boston Calendar for the most up-to-date information. There are events scheduled all day for the May 1 General Strike and regularly scheduled events may not be held.

To join the Occupy Boston Community Forum email list, a general discussion list, click here! For a partial listing of Working Groups looking for volunteers, please click here! For a list of Working Groups with contact info, click here! For more information on Occupy Boston’s General Assembly, including passed resolutions, click here!  And if you’re interested in learning more about Occupy Boston and how you can participate, click here! For contact info for other Occupies in the area, click here! 

Contact Us: Want to subscribe to the Daily Digest? Click here to have it sent to your email inbox every morning! All Working Groups or Occupy Boston events that need placement in the Daily Digest, please email AnnaC@OccupyBoston.org. To request that something be added to the Occupy Boston calendar, use the form on the website http://www.occupyboston.org/calendar-event-submission-form/. To view past issues of The Daily Digest, click here. And subscribe to the Occupy Boston Media Rundown, a daily listing of Occupy-related news, by contacting JohnM@OccupyBoston.org.