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