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    From Occupy to Revolution: What It Means to Keep a Radical Perspective

    This Friday, April 13, from 10am to 11am at Camp Charlie (on the steps of the Massachusetts State House), radical scholar, Marxist intellectual, and long-time social justice activist Professor Barbara Foley (Rutgers-Newark) will give a short lecture and help stir a discussion about what it means to maintain a radical perspective in the present political situation.

    Following the talk, there will be an informal discussion over lunch, from 11am to 12pm, to be held either on camp or at a nearby establishment. (Details on lunch TBA).

    For more information, please contact Joe at jgramsey@gmail.com.

    Professor Foley’s impressive list of politically engaged publications can be found here: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~bfoley/

    Protest Chaplains Perform the Stations of the Cross

    On Friday morning, Occupy Boston’s Protest Chaplains led community members through the Stations of the Cross to reflect on Good Friday.  Below is text provided by the group about their devotions:

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    First Station of the Cross at Dewey Square: Good Friday belongs on the streets. To Occupy is to stand in solidarity with suffering. The cross allows us this solidarity, whether or not we are Christians. For those of us who are Christians, following the way and Stations of the Cross allows us to stand in solidarity with Christ. Economic injustice and today’s extreme economic inequality are both immoral and sinful. Jesus is condemned to death.

    Second Station of the Cross at 100 Federal Street, Bank of America Boston Headquarters: Jesus picks up the cross. In choosing to Occupy, we too challenge the empire, and the dirty deals that ruin so many lives.

    Third Station of the Cross at Century Bank, Financial Center: Jesus stumbles under the weight of the cross for the first time. In the meditation, the analogy was made to partial payments and the false counsel from certain banks to just not make payments while in negotiations – and that for so many, these “stumbles” led to loss of homes and even to life on the street.

    Fourth Station of the Cross at the Irish Famine Memorial: Jesus meets Mary along the way of the cross. So often the burdens of life fall more heavily of women. And this is true of famine; all famines for more than a century have been the result of maldistribution of food and corporate policies that turn a blind eye to human need. There is enough food for all, if only it were distributed on the basis of need rather than profit.

    Fifth Station of the Cross in Downtown Crossing: Simon the Syrene is conscripted to help carry the heavy cross. “I am Simon the Syrene; I am merciful and I am complicit.” Without the legionaries command, Simon would have observed suffering and injustice in silence, as most of us do.

    Sixth Station of the Cross in an area of shops and commerce: Veronica steps out of the anonymous crowd, and wipes the sweat and blood from Jesus’s face. In doing so, she risks arrest and maybe worse. She could have remained safely in the shadows, anonymous in the crowd. So often it is those with little who step up to help one another, with great courage and empathy.

    Seventh Station of the Cross on Boston Common: Jesus falls a second time under the weight of the cross. Rev. Kathy McAdams described that her congregation, many of them homeless, meet outdoors on the Common every Sunday, rain or sun or snow. They do this because many of them have stumbled and fallen many times and are not welcome elsewhere. The name of the congregation is “The Commons Cathedral” and all are welcome. In helping one another, many have made a new life after their many stumbles.

    Stations 8 – 14 take place on the steps of the State House: These stations describe the third fall of Jesus, and his death on the cross. Falling down brings solidarity with the fallen. In the telling of Jesus’ nailing to the cross and death, the Arredondo family described their suffering due to the death of their son Alex in Iraq and the suicide of their son Micheal, who was unable to survive Alex’s death, and they pray for an end to unjust wars with their tragic loss of life to soldier and civilian alike.

    We stood together in solemn vigil with Occupy Boston at Camp Charlie on the steps of the State House on Good Friday, April 6, 2012.

    OccupyMBTA Assembly Schedule

    OccupyMBTA will be holding its first assembly at Camp Charlie, the ten day occupation established yesterday on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. Below is the tentative agenda. Please join us at 8:00pm tonight!

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    1. Why we’re here

    It’s useful to get a quick overview of what, exactly, is going on with the T, and why this framing – a 10 day occupation ending on the 14th – matters. The current proposal includes a 23% fare hike to balance this year’s budget, but will leave the MBTA with an anticipated deficit of $100 million next year. Over the years, the MBTA’s financial viability has been wrecked by Big Dig debt, forward funding, and interest rate swaps ($26 million owed annually to Wall Street banks); the MBTA now possesses a total debt load of $5.2 billion and counting.

    2. Our demands – as they stand now – are threefold.

    First, the legislature must step in to fill this year’s $91 million budget gap – not with hikes (as proposed), but with money from the state budget. Second, the legislature must commit NOW to a comprehensive transit plan for the state of Massachusetts, not one that pits riders from one region against each other, but one which works to build an equitable transit system for the whole state. Third, they have to do this without privatizing it piece by piece. Public transit is not an asset to be sold for a quick dollar; it’s a right, and it should stay in public hands.

    There’s a lot of space under here for the how, where, and why – which is what we’re hoping to piece out in this discussion.

    3. What we can do in the next ten days to drive the message home.

    An action assembly to talk about plans, strategies, and next steps (and how you can help!)

    PRESS RELEASE: MBTA Refuses to Challenge Banks as Occupation Enters Second Day

    At ‘Camp Charlie,’ Occupy the MBTA’s occupation of the State House steps enters its second day. Meanwhile, the board of the MBTA still refuses to challenge the dominion of Wall Street banks over public finances.

    Last night, dozens of activists slept on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to protest the proposed service cuts, fare hikes, and layoffs. Occupiers also demanded that the T cancel its interest rate swaps with JPMorgan Chase, Deustche Bank, and UBS. Combined, these three cartels enjoyed more than $200 billion dollars in taxpayer bailouts. Their CEOs took home nearly $32 million in 2010 alone. Now, despite owing their existence to the goodwill of taxpayers, they will extract $26 million a year from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority every year for the foreseeable future. So far, the MBTA has resisted demands to cancel these toxic swaps and instead is attempting to balance its books through massive fare increases that will devastate seniors, students, the disabled, and low-income riders.

    JPMorgan Chase

    The MBTA loses $8.9 million a year to JPMC and is on the hook for another $115 million in the future to JPMC; it can only get out of these deals if it pays JPMC $40 million in penalties. The CEO of JPMC made $20.8 million in 2010 after the company received a $100 billion taxpayer bailout. JPMC is currently foreclosing on homes all around Boston.

    Deutsche Bank

    The MBTA loses $8.3 million a year to Deutsche Bank and is on the hook for another $75 million in the future to Deutsche; it can only get out of these deals if it pays Deutsche Bank $23 million in penalties. The CEO of Deutsche made $8.3 million in 2010 after the company got a $66 billion taxpayer bailout. Deutsche Bank is foreclosing on homes all around Boston.

    UBS

    The MBTA loses $9 million a year to UBS and is on the hook for another $97 million in the future to UBS; it can only get out of these deals if it pays UBS $39 million in penalties. UBS received a $77 billion taxpayer bailout. It does not foreclose on homes.

    As a result, the MBTA is ready to cut service on nearly two dozen bus routes and increase fares more than twenty percent. This must be seen for what it is: a new chapter in the officially sanctioned robbery of the public trust by consolidated, private interests. Interests, it will be repeated, with a demonstrated inability to survive the open market in the absence of obscene taxpayer subsidy. These criminal, rent-seeking organizations are the products of government corruption and monopoly control, not free enterprise or competitive advantage.

    For thousands of the 99% who rely on the T to get to work, the proposed changes amount to a massive tax increase, all of which will go directly to the banks. This should be compared to the four billion dollars in federal subsidies lavished on oil companies like ExxonMobil, who in turn spend nearly fifty-million dollars a year lobbying to continue their historically profitable destruction of the earth’s atmosphere.

    Despite these obstacles, many other cities have forced bankers to the negotiating table by passing resolutions forbidding further business if they refuse. In this manner, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and many others have succeeded in reducing interest rate payments, not only preserving their public goods and services, but reminding the multinational trusts that it is they who are in debt to us, and not the other way around. Occupy the MBTA remains mystified as to why the Board of Mass Dot and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are not willing to pursue a similar tactic.

    We need a comprehensive, accessible, and sustainable public transportation plan for the 99% across the entire Commonwealth, not a short-sighted, short-term austerity band-aid.

    #A4 – April 4 Day of Action for Public Transportation LIVE

    Follow our liveblog for updates from today’s Day of Action for Public Transportation in Boston at the Massachusetts State House.

    3pm: People’s Hearing

    5pm: Rally to Save the T

    8pm: MLK Remembrance

     

    At various points throughout the day, we’ll be livestreaming:

    Or, try one of these feeds from one of Occupy Boston’s frequent streamers:

    Contact us

    Occupy Boston Media <Media@occupyboston.org> • <Info@occupyboston.org> • @Occupy_Boston