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    April Fools’ Day March in Pictures and Video

    On April 1, about 300 supporters and members of Occupy Boston gathered at Dewey Square and in front of the the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for a day of events that included our second Ironic March, this one in honor of April Fools’ Day.

    Marching by the infamous North Parcel near Dewey Square


    Marching down Atlantic Avenue


    Inside Fanueil Hall


    Video of the speak-out at Fanueil Hall


    Protesters looking really engaged during the speak-out at Fanueil Hall


    Marching past Boston City Hall


    Marching down Washington Street


    Marching down Summer Street


    At the end, everyone ran back into Dewey Square


    Afterward, participants held a picnic and free clothing swap in Dewey Square then gathered for a General Assembly underneath in awning of the Federal Reserve. Here’s a great video of clips from the GA set to music:


    April 1, 2012 Occupy Boston at Dewey from The Preoccupation on Vimeo.

    Photos by Matthew J Shochat. Videos by Nadeem Mazen and Doug Greene.

    OB Women March in Solidarity with OWS Women and Against #M17 Police Brutality

    Photos by Chase Carter.

    On March 20 at 9 pm, the Women of Occupy Boston, participants from numerous other Occupy contingents, and their supporters met at the Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common. They marched in solidarity with women who were arrested and beaten at the Occupy Wall St #M17 action, where occupiers attempted to retake Zuccotti Park. The OWS event was in celebration of Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary.

    The march made its way down Charles Street, meandering onto Beacon Street.  From there, it went past the State House before going down Park Street.

    Heading down Winter and Summer Streets, it made its way to the front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where a speak-out took place.

    Several individuals from a contingent of Occupy Boston participants spoke of what they witnessed first-hand at Zuccotti Park.  One female protester said, “I witnessed a lot of police brutality. I have never seen so much violence in my life.”

    Many more women spoke out that night. some referenced the recent attacks on women’s healthcare and contraception that has been brought to the forefront of national political issues. “As a woman, I have less rights than a corporation,” said one female protester.

    A student organizer from Puerto Rico also spoke, saying, “You would be stupid to underestimate the people.” By 10 pm, the speak-out had ended and the event came to a close.

    Boston DSA hosts Occupy Panel at Democracy Center

    David Knuttunen, Katie Gradowski, Chris Faraone and Betsy Boggia /Photo by Matthew J Shochat

    On March 4th, 2012, at 1:30pm, several Occupy Boston, Occupy Newton and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) gathered at The Democracy Center, located at 45 Mt. Auburn Street near Harvard Square for a panel titled “After Dewey Sq: Where is The Occupy Movement Going in MA?” The panelists included Katie Gradowski, Occupy Boston participant who has worked with City Life Vide Urbana, Chris Faraone, who began his writing career by free-lancing Hip Hop reviews and the Boston Herald before becoming a staff reporter for the Boston Phoenix, where his coverage of the Occupy movement on both coasts resulted in his debut book “99 Nights With The 99%,” and lastly, Betsy Boggia, who helped organize Occupy Natick after having worked with grassroots organizations, political campaigns, local non-profits including Girl’s LEAP Self-Defense, has been a legislative aide for State Senator Cheryl Jacques, and a co-founder of the Greater Boston Chapter of the Million Mom March for sensible gun control. The moderator for the evening was David Knuttunen, who has worked with Occupy Newton, Occupy Boston’s Free School University, Occupy Boston Radio and Boston DSA.

    Many of the panelists expressed experiences within and around Occupy as well as offered advice as to what would make Occupy a success in the future. Betsy Boggia had addressed an issue as to why suburban legislators are making are making decisions that only really impact urban areas. Chris Faraone also advised making action at the state/municipal level in order to achieve victories before addressing issues on the federal level due to the large opposition that would be received. Katie Gradowski expressed how occupy can get heard by pushing legislation rather than endorsing any candidates.

    The floor had been open to questions from the audience, as one person asked “What difference has Occupy made to these issues?” Varying panelists responded with difference points, such as an example being that Occupy Somerville having pushed an awful lot with the MBTA issues, Unions having more support than before, and how the message of Occupy has engaged new activists.

    Clips of Katie Gradowski, Chris Faraone, and Betsy Boggia can be seen here.

    Occupy Boston participants testify at MBTA Hearings

    Throughout Boston and beyond, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has been holding public hearings where citizens are allowed to give testimony regarding two proposed scenarios of service cuts and fair increases. These scenarios are intended to bridge the MBTA projected $161 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year 2013.  Opposition has swelled  to the projected fare increases and service cuts on both scenarios by large numbers of metro residents.

    Participants of Occupy Boston, Occupy Somerville, Occupy the T and Occupy the MBTA have taken part in these discussions, also testifying as to their opposition to these service cuts and fare increases. The debt is the direct result of “forward funding” legislation passed in 2000. This “forward funding” was supposedly a temporary fix, which has yet to be addressed. Legislators foolishly anticipated in 2000 that revenue from the sales tax would grow at 3 percent per year, when such collections have been actually decreasing. All the while, the T’s operating costs have grown 5 percent per year since 2000. In 2011, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey announced that Jonathan Davis would become the acting MBTA General Manager and MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator. Davis has been in attendance to many of the hearings taking place across the state.

    Somerville Hearing

    Participant of Occupy Boston at Somerville MBTA Hearing /Photo by Matthew J Shochat

    On February 28th, 2012, the city of Somerville had it’s hearing at 8pm, located at the Somerville High School at 93 Highland Avenue. Many participants of Occupy Somerville, Occupy the T and Occupy Boston testified that evening, with local legislators in attendance, such as Rep. Carl Sciortino, Rep. Denise Provost, and Rep. Sean Garballey.  Here is a clip from that evening.

    Cambridge Hearing

    On February 29th, 2012, the city of Cambridge held it’s hearing at 6pm, inside the historic City Hall, located in Central Square. Several members of Occupy Boston came to testify that evening. They testified  in front of the City Councilors E. Denise Simmons, Kenneth Reeves, Marjorie Decker, and Leland Cheung, in attendance of this hearing. Only half of those who intended to testify and received numbers, testified that evening.

    Decolonize the 99% to Liberate the 100%

    Clyde Grubbs /Photo by Matthew J Shochat

    On February 27th, over 100 people attended an inspiring Community Gathering hosted by the Decolonize to Liberate Working Group of Occupy Boston. The Gathering was convened in order to help the Occupy Boston community understand the meaning of Decolonization and how the story and goals of the Occupy movement are related to centuries of indigenous resistance to colonialism.

    The large group gathered on Monday sat in a large circle around the hall of Christ Church, in Cambridge, a venue which heard the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King in April of 1967, when Harvard wouldn’t let him speak (about protesting Vietnam). The evening’s program started with a jubilant blessing and an introduction to the founding of the working group and the meaning of “decolonization.” “Decolonization looks different for each person, and it’s an ongoing process. If we’re going to create a society that works for everyone, we need to reexamine the cultural programming and assumptions we received through colonization.”

    Laurie Leyshon /Photo by Matthew J Shochat

    Attendees were then brought through the history and context of colonization of the land now called Boston. They were reminded the origin of many local cities and streets: Chicoppee, Mashpee, Mattapan, Shawmut. A traditional oration was broken up by several multi-media “episodes” looking at specific instances of colonialist exploitation and resistance to it, including a live painting depicting the history of the slave trade, and a dramatic telling of the massacre at wounded knee. The overarching story gave attendees an understanding of the legal foundation for the ongoing exploitation of indigenous populations and their land.  The Doctrine of Discovery, is a Papal Bull from the 15th century that was expounded by the U.S. Supreme Court – the imperative and legal justification for the occupation of indigenous lands by Christians. The presentation shared this story and several ways to understand how the history of indigenous resistance relates to that of Occupy, a now global and popular movement for justice and an end to corporate exploitation for profit.

    The Community Gathering in itself was listed as part of the “#F27 Occupy your Food Supply” international day of action, in which more than 60 Occupies participated. Event attendees were greeted with a generous offering of good, whole and local foods. As a petition for labeling of GMO’s went around the circle, people were reminded that “the commodification and exploitation of Mother Earth and all Life for profit, what’s being carried out by companies like Monsanto, is a continuation of a long history of colonialism.”

    After a round of lively small group discussions, the evening ended with one large circle, holding hands.  It was an incredibly informative and moving Gathering which clearly demonstrated why the work of Decolonize to Liberate is such an integral part of Occupy Boston.

    Clips from the evening can be found herehere and here. The groups wiki, which contains many resources, links and updates, is found here.

    Additional edit and contributions provided by Martin Dagoberto of the Decolonize To Liberate Working Group.

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