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    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-12-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: The NYPD is sexually assaulting peaceful protesters. OWS protester Cecily McMillan was not only groped but suffered a broken rib and seizures during her arrest on March 17, and held incommunicado, denied constant requests to see her lawyer, for over 24 hours thereafter. Shortly after release from the hospital she appeared on Democracy Now! and showed part of a handprint, replete with scratch-marks, that police had left directly over her right breast. (She is currently pursuing civil charges against the police department). For more, see New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters. And this May Day brought the explosive global resurgence of Occupy, one of the most significant social movement in decades. In New York City, the heart of global capitalism and center of the movement, the New York Civil Liberties Union estimated that 30,000 demonstrators took part in a massive rally and march down Broadway, led by a score of city taxicabs. As has become alarmingly common for a country that constantly proclaims its zealous devotion to democracy, the day ended with brutal police violence and arrests. … The powerful rejuvenation of the Occupy movement, however, was used by the US media – owned by the very same interests that Occupy directly threatens - as an opportunity to [try to] kill the Occupy movement and marginalize the voices of its participants. For more, see The Corporate Media’s Attempt to Kill the Occupy Movement. In other news, the House on Thursday passed its plan to spare the military’s growing budget from mandatory cuts, instead slashing Medicaid, benefits for federal workers and programs to help feed hungry Americans. “How do we reconcile more money for bombs while cutting money for bread?” asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). “The real deficit that we are dealing with here is a moral deficit, and it’s time that we face the truth.” For more, see Paul Ryan Budget: House Passes Bill to Spare Defense, Cut Food Aid. And: If the world’s largest surveillance agency has a working relationship with the world’s largest Internet firm, that’s no one’s business but theirs, according to an appeals court in the DC Circuit. In the ruling issued Friday, (PDF here ) the court decided that the National Security Agency doesn’t need to either confirm or deny its relationship with Google in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, ruling that a FOIA exemption covers any documents whose exposure might hinder the NSA’s national security mission. For more, see Court Rules NSA Doesn’t Have to Reveal its Semi-Secret Relationship with Google. In other privacy news, Twitter has filed a motion in state court in New York seeking to quash a court order requiring it to turn over information about one of its users and his communications on Twitter. This particular case involves a Twitter user, Malcolm Harris, who is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge last year. For more, see Twitter Stands Up For One of its Users. And ever wonder what it’s like to have FBI agents knock on your door? Or to have them walk into your business unannounced and walk away with your computer?  Jamie McClelland and Alfredo Lopez can tell you. McClelland and Lopez run a progressive Internet organization called MayFirst/PeopleLink, which helps democracy-seeking groups around the world use the Web to organize. Together with sister organization RiseUp, MayFirst/PeopleLink offers email services, mailing list support and other Web tools. But their services make a promise that’s critical to people fighting oppressive regimes: All data is encrypted, guaranteeing total anonymity to those who need it. For the story, and a news report, see The FBI Took – And Mysteriously Returned – Their Server.

    Other Occupies/Protests: As many as 200,000 angry public sector workers staged a day of protest on Thursday, taking to the streets of London to voice their disgust at proposed government cuts. Among the demonstrators were civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff, and immigration officers – fueled by ministers’ vows to press ahead with the controversial reforms, made clear in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech. About 20,000 off-duty police officers from all 43 forces across England and Wales also took to the capital for the first police march there in more than four years. The officers, banned from striking under law, were protesting against 20 percent cuts to the national police budget and proposals for the most wide-ranging reform of pay and conditions seen in more than 30 years. 16,000 officers wore black caps to represent expected job losses over the next four years. For coverage including a video, see British public sector rises up as 200,000 strike against cuts and reforms. And from Occupy London: on May 12, the Occupy, indignados and take the squares movements all over the world have called for a global day of action. Saturday will start with a teach-out at St. Paul’s at 1pm, organised by the Tent City University, the educational arm of Occupy London. It is aiming at promoting informed political action and exploring viable economic alternatives before we pay a visit to the City institutions that caused and continue to profit by the crisis. The day will see citizens using peaceful, creative ways to deliver their own messages to the financial and corporate elite of the City. We will continue to exercise our right to peacefully assemble in public spaces and develop the democratic processes to address the problems we face. For more, see Occupy London Strikes Back.

    “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-11-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: Activists from Occupy Wall Street, the environmental movement and labor unions, along with victims of home foreclosures, had massive demonstrations at Bank of America’s shareholder meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday morning. Occupiers have characterized the event as a test run for activism ahead of September’s Democratic National Convention … For those gathered, Bank of America has become the quintessential culprit for the Great Recession — a bailed-out bank with a bad record on foreclosures and the environment. For more, see Bank of America Protests and Thousands Turn Out to Protest Bank of America Shareholders’ Meeting. In more bank news: Retired Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill will receive an honorary doctorate, as will his wife, Joan, from Sonoma State University in Northern California, on May 12. Since the university made the announcement, students, faculty and staff have voiced outrage, describing the degree as a “dishonor” to their graduating class and a shame on the school’s ethics and reputation. They even set up a website, www.shameonssu.org to register the flood of complaints that poured in. And here’s why. After retiring as the CEO of Citigroup, the largest “too-big-to-fail” bank that got bailed out by taxpayers several years back, Weill gave $12 million for SSU’s new Green Music Center. How Weill made his money, and what strings were attached to his donation to SSU, are questions many feel still need answering – if the answers aren’t clear enough already. For more, see Amid Outcry, a Mega-Banker Gets His Degree. And did you know that banks gamble on hunger? Speculating on food prices causes spikes in the cost of staple foods, meaning poor people around the world go hungry and poverty worsens. For an infographic, see How Banks Cause Hunger. And Frankfurt’s Municipal Department for Public Order has announced a ban on all actions planned by the Blockupy Frankfurt alliance for the European Days of Action scheduled for May 16 to 19 in Germany’s financial capital. According to the Blockupy Frankfurt website, the ban is an attempt to curb any form of protest against European Union financial and political leaders whose decisions have cut deeply into the lives of millions of Europeans. For the Days of Action, more than a dozen members of the alliance have been preparing protests against the austerity policies forwarded by European governments and the Troika, composed of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union and the IMF. Blockupy Frankfurt had filed various requests for its protests, in the forms of demonstrations, rallies, vigils and meetings (asambleas). On the coalition’s website, Blockupiers wrote, “This ban is a scandalous incident quite unique in the history of the Federal Republic and an open insult on the right to demonstrate guaranteed by the constitution.” For more, see Blockupy Frankfurt Banned. In more news from Germany, check out this cool protest called “Wall Street to Your Street”: On May 10, 25 life-size figures appeared in front of a Deutsche Bank branch in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.  The cut-out figures were, in fact, cardboard “clones” of Occupy activists from around the world.  In October 2011 two designers from Berlin visited Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC and Occupy London to meet Occupiers and take their photos. “The protests of the Occupy movement address global issues,” said Paul. “We wanted to give protesters the opportunity to make their voice heard in other countries.” For the story and a brief video, see Deutsche Bank Protest in Berlin.

    Other Occupies/Protests: MassUniting upcoming protest at State Street Bank: Tax Dodging. Prison Profiteering. Misleading Investors. Defrauding Pensions. Job Killing. For years, State Street Bank has managed to avoid accountability for their crimes against the 99% — but you can be a witness at their “trial”. Help us bring State Street to justice May 16, as their executives gather to preside over the company’s annual shareholder meeting. WHEN: Wednesday, May 16 @ 9:30 AM, WHERE:  Meet at Dewey Square (across from South Station).

    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Upcoming Events:
    • Occupy New England – M12 Day of Action and Regional Gathering. 9am-5:30pm, May 12: Come join Occupy groups from all around New England as we converge in Worcester for a day of action and networking! The day will have four core key components to it: getting as many Occupy groups and participants in one centralized location at the same time for a day of networking and planning, direct actions and public visibility, continued actions against corporations backing ALEC, and finally the flared up “War on Women” – discussion on women’s issues (rights, health care, etc…) Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/330778876980716/

      This is a non-violent protest, but just be aware the Worcester PD has a reputation of conducting political related intimidation tactics and may be tempted to arrest people as a result the second they perceive people step out of line. Occupy New England has answered the call of the global day of action by various groups in Spain, the anniversary of last year’s 15M protests in that country.  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E2%80%932012_Spanish_protests or http://www.may12.net

      Preliminary timeline of events: (Please note times/actions are subject to change.)

      9 am: Begin gathering at Worcester Common

      10 am: Second New England Solidarity March.  We will take to the streets (or sidewalks, since we don’t have permits) and join our comrades around the world in protest against corrupt government, corrupt banks, austerity measures, and other related issues of the Indignants.  March will include protests outside various bank branches (notably Sovereign/Santander and Bank of America) with corrupt and greed driven leadership.  Any CD will be considered autonomous actions, or the result of Worcester PD intimidation and hostilities.

      Midday: Occupy New England gathering.  Come meet your fellow Occupiers from around the region, plan out regional strategies, discuss what your local Occupy group has done and has planned coming up.  Some food will be provided for lunch, it is also encouraged those who can please assist Worcester Food Not Bombs with the lunch efforts.

      1 pm: Occupy Worcester’s Women and Queer Caucus presents: Women’s Health Matters!  Held at the YWCA of Central Mass. (a block from the Common down Franklin St.), Workshops include:  Men as Allies, Supported Pregnancy and Empowered Birth, Healthy Families, Slut Shaming, Women over 50, and Lies and Truths about Abortion.  Bring your knitting supplies and come learn about the Snatchel Project.

      Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/333705343363009/

      The regional gathering and the Women’s Health Matters events will likely run concurrently, at least for parts of the early afternoon.

      Late afternoon: Neighborhood cleanup around the Common and Downtown Worcester (if enough interest).

      If anyone is interested in providing musical entertainment for the march and other parts of the day, please reply to Occupy New England or Occupy Worcester on Facebook.   Continue reading “Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-11-12” »

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-10-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: May 4 was the anniversary of Kent State. On May 4, 1970 Allison Krause was shot dead by an Ohio National Guard bullet as she protested the Vietnam War, the American war draft and the military occupation of her college campus at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The Krause family is asking for the Kent State Massacre to be considered before the International Criminal Court. For more, see Justice for Kent State Massacre? In a related story: according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, J. Edgar Hoover and FBI’s “Cointelpro” Operation have been linked to the Kent State killings and FBI cover-up. For the article, see Kent State Killings. And in other news: “How can we help? How can we help? How can we help?” It’s not your average protest slogan, but it’s what the activists chanted Sunday as they marched from Zuccotti Park to 120 Broadway, which houses the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The AG chairs President Obama’s task force to investigate the routine fraud and abuse that characterized Wall Street during the Bush-era inflation of the housing bubble and precipitated the 2008 financial crash and subsequent recession. For more, see New York Activists Ask Attorney General “How Can We Help?” And, more on the Occupy/99 Percent Spring debate: are unions and liberal groups like MoveOn valuable allies? Or do they pose a threat, seeing the Occupy Movement as nothing more than a “brand” whose language can be slipped on and deployed to their own ends–namely, a Democratic triumph in November? The source of these fears is the “99 Percent Spring” and similar campaigns. For more, see The Dangers of Co-Option. In a related story, watch this video: a MoveOn.org infiltrator attempts to hijack the General Assembly of Occupy the East End in Long Island, New York. See MoveOn Infiltrator Exposed at Occupy East End. And for more information on the Neo-Nazi party on the rise in Greece, see Q&A: Greece’s Golden Dawn. And here’s an update on the Occupy the Farm action in Albany, CA: The UC administration barricaded the Gill Tract on Wednesday with concrete, metal barriers, and dozens of police who threatened farmers with “chemical agents and impact force.” … A bulldozer loomed on the edge of the farm for the majority of the morning. For more, see UCPD Locks Gate on Professor’s Research, Farmers Move to Remediate Neglected Portions of Gill Tract.

    Other Occupies/Protests: Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president at a glittering ceremony on Monday, hours after clashes between police and thousands of protesters in the country’s capital laid bare the deep divisions over his return to the Kremlin for six more years. In the latest demonstrations on Sunday, police detained more than 400 people, including three opposition leaders, after tensions boiled over at a rally attended by about 20,000 people across the Moscow river from the Kremlin. Police hit protesters on the head with batons as they tried to stop demonstrators advancing towards them, carrying metal crowd barriers and throwing objects. The crowd fought back with flagpoles before the police eventually restored order. For more, see 400 Protesters Arrested Hours Before Putin’s Return to Russian Presidency.

    “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-9-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: Surveillance cameras are now so powerful they are able to zoom in and read your text messages – leading to fears of further privacy intrusion by a “Big Brother”-style state. As well as being advanced enough to close in on an individual’s phone screen, security cameras will soon be able to pick up on raised voices and sniff out drugs too. The revelations were made at a privacy conference in Wellington, New Zealand, where it was also disclosed that the average person is digitally recorded about a dozen times a day. For more, see Watch what you type! And four generations of a Georgia family, including a toddler, were evicted at gunpoint by dozens of sheriffs and deputies at 3am last week in an Atlanta suburb. The eyebrow-raising eviction, a foreclosure action, might have been another anonymous descent into poverty were it not for Occupy Atlanta activists who tried to help the family stay in Christine Frazer’s home of 18 years. The eviction came as Frazer, 63, who lost her husband and then job in 2009, had been challenging the foreclosure in county and federal courts by seeking to restructure the terms of a delinquent mortgage. For more, see Dozens of Police Evict Georgia Family at Gunpoint at 3am. In Canada, a revolt against a government tuition fee hike is growing into Occupy-inspired dissent against austerity and inequality. Canadian students have been furiously mobilizing for a freeze on tuition fees since last spring, when the Liberal provincial government announced hikes of 75% over five years. A general strike launched this February shuttered most of the province’s colleges and universities. In Montreal, family-friendly street-theatre and marches peaked with a historic rally of 200,000 on 22 March; business-unfriendly blockades of banks, bridges and government ministries have often paralyzed the downtown core. And over the last week, tens of thousands have joined a nightly protest ritual, marching through Montreal past the midnight hour. For more, see Quebec student protests mark “Maple spring” in Canada. And in related news, the Canadian government will support a private member’s bill that would make it a crime to wear a mask or disguise during a riot, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Sunday. The Concealment of Identity Act would create two Criminal Code offences with maximum penalties of five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. For more, see Legislation would prohibit masks during riots. And across Canada over the past several weeks, police officers have been dressing as panhandlers and clutching cardboard signs to mimic the curbside come-ons in order to get close enough to see drivers using handheld phones while driving. “We don’t want to give panhandlers a bad name by people thinking that they’re cops,” said John Clarke, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. “They are displacing people who are trying to survive by panhandling. The level of social cutbacks is such that, for panhandlers, there are no survival margins at all. And from a general decency point of view, it is a sneaky and unsavoury tactic.” For more. see No escaping hobo cop. 

    Other Occupies/Protests: FREE BUS TRIP TO CHICAGO FOR NATO SUMMIT: 99% Solidarity, a Working Group of Occupy Wall Street, is excited to participate in nonviolent direct actions in Chicago from May 18 to 22, 2012. We have secured buses to bring people to these actions from several U.S cities. So far, there are buses leaving from the following cities: New York City; Washington, D.C.; Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Burlington, VT; Salem, NH; Philadelphia, PA; Atlanta, GA; Oakland, CA; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR. We are currently working on the travel schedule, agenda and other important details of this trip, and we are working hard to add more cities, so please check back often if your city is not listed. We will be contacting you with updated information shortly. For now here are a few updates:

    - The Bus trip is free

    - 50 people from each city must sign up and board the bus for the trip take place. If a city has less then 50 sign ups, then we may have to cancel the bus for that city.

    - Meals will be provided on board the bus to and from Chicago

    - We are working on housing and meals while in Chicago

    There are several direct actions and events that we will participate in while in Chicago including:

    - May 18 – The People’s Summit

    - May 19 – the 99% Solidarity People’s Convention

    - May 20 – CANG8 rally and march.

    Please visit 99solidarity.net often to get the most up to date information and be sure to invite your friends and fellow occupiers to join you on this exciting, historic trip.  In addition, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @99solidarity. http://99solidarity.net/chicago/. *Note: There’s a possibility of undercover law enforcement being present on some of these buses. Do not give information to anyone about activity you wouldn’t want everyone knowing about.

     “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” John F. Kennedy

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-8-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: The growing number of “ag gag” bills being passed state by state actually stem from “model legislation” prepared by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). These bills make it illegal for undercover investigators, concerned citizens, journalists, or anyone with a camera to capture “behind the scenes” footage of factory farms. Invested corporations are concerned that if Americans could see exactly where their food comes from and the horrors from within, we wouldn’t purchase from those companies anymore. For more, see ALEC’s Influence Over U.S. Food Policy. And ALEC has been under fire lately after the 15 major corporations and organizations pulled their support for the conservative organization, which helps quietly implement corporate-backed legislation in statehouses across the country. Now, the watchdog advocacy group group Common Cause has released a complete list of corporations on ALEC’s task forces. See a 5-minute video, ALEC Explained, for easy–to-understand information on ALEC. To see the trailer for a film project on GMOs, click here: http://www.gmofilm.com. And even before the hospital bills started coming, Lori Duff and her family were living paycheck to paycheck. So when the debt collector called and demanded $1,800 for the prenatal visits she’d had while pregnant with her third son, she panicked. The collector said the local Catholic hospital Duff had gone to could garnish 25 percent of each of her paychecks to pay off the bill. She offered to make a $20 payment—all she could afford at the time—but the collector told her the minimum was $400 down. “I was like, ‘I don’t have that. You can have everything in my account right now. It’s $1.25,’” Duff recalls. Duff was likely eligible for free care under the Mount Carmel Health System’s financial assistance policy, which offers medical care at no charge for patients earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. But the debt collector kept calling and soon informed her that the hospital was planning to sue her for the money. For more, see Sued Over An $1,800 Hospital Bill. And in positive news: Grameen Bank in Bangladesh does what most conventional banks fail to do: provide credit to the poorest people without any collateral. The underlying vision of Muhammed Yunus – founder, managing director, and Nobel laureate – is to lend to people based on their potential, rather than material possessions. For a short video, see Grameen Bank Lifts its Borrowers Out of Poverty. And check out the trailer for the film project American Autumn: An Occudoc.

    Other Occupies/Protests: From W0men Occupying Wall Street (WOW): May 17, 6:30pm-9:30pm, Washington Square Park, New York City: Women Occupying Wall Street (WOW) invites people and organizations of all gender identities to the first Feminist General Assembly! Together, let’s stand for justice and disarm the war on women. It’s time to rise up! Misogyny is flagrant in our patriarchal society, not only from the politicians, but even from our comrades. It’s time for us to join, support, and empower each other by amplifying all our voices. This will be the beginning of what we hope will become an ongoing discussion throughout the nation and worldwide. Through this assembly we will create a public space for collaborating to address patriarchy, violence, and hierarchical structures that harm everyone. In the spirit of cooperation and transparency of Occupy Wall Street, we have been meeting, and continue to do so once a week, on various days of the week, and at various locations, to openly plan the event, and make participation in planning accessible to as many as possible.

    Please RSVP to us at wowsnyc@gmail.com to let us know if you’d also like to take part in planning with us. And of course, feel free to please pass this along!

    Find us on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/WOWSNYC
    http://www.facebook.com/events/175078435948082/?ref=ts

    Follow us on Twitter: @wowsnyc

    On Tumblr:
    http://wowsnyc.tumblr.com/

    “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem

    Continue reading “Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-8-12” »

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