Contact: Ian Finkenbinder 216.236.4680
GLITUR and Waid’s Restaurant Hosting
DRAG OUT CAPITALISM!
An Anti-Capitalist Drag Show
5/19/2012– The Grand Legion of Incendiary and Tenacious Unicorn Revolutionaries is happy to announce that we and the fabulous Bearded Lady J hosting a radical queer dance party this Friday, June 22nd, at Waid’s Restaurant in Seattle. This event, far from your run-of-the-mill celebration during the Pride season, will feature alternative queer voices and local talent such as Honey Bucket and Sashay Supernova in a drag show and dance party designed to bring revolution back to queer liberation.
On the 22nd, instead of attending for-profit club events costing more than $20 to enter, GLITUR invites you to join us in coming together to strike back against popular assimilationist models of mainstream gay rights. We know that our work does not begin and end with the attainment of a gay marriage bill in WA. State or with a begrudging presidential endorsement of it that seems more like a political strategy than real progress. And as long as ADAP is being cut, CeCe is behind bars for defending herself and anyone has to experience homophobia, transphobia, trans-misogyny, sexism or racism from the state or this capitalist society we will resist.
It will be 21+ with ID, and $5 to get in. All proceeds will go to Lifelong Aids Alliance, because Pride is about coming together and giving back, not turning a profit. Continue reading →
Note: this post originally appeared on PugetSoundAnarchists.org and can be read in full here:
Over the past few weeks the FBI has contacted and spoken with at least two individuals who have been involved in Occupy Seattle. In both instances, the agents have threatened to take these individuals away from their loved ones. From what is known, these individuals were contacted because of the events surrounding the May 1st General Strike.
It is unknown what specific allegations and accusations the FBI is leveling against these individuals, but the standard tactic of the FBI is to exaggerate the seriousness and consequences of an offense in order to scare someone into cooperating with them or becoming an informant. We would like to remind everyone involved in Occupy Seattle that under no circumstances should anyone talk to the FBI. Anything that is said to them, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can potentially put someone else at risk.
Some tips if you, or someone you know, has been targeted by the FBI:
1: Do not talk to the FBI if they approach you. Simply refuse to answer any questions pertaining to your or others’ opinions or activities. Agents will typically use various manipulative tricks to get information out of you—threats, intimidation, claiming that they already know more than they actually do, claiming that another person has already spilled the beans, etc. Stay strong and keep silent—they do not care about you, they only want to use you to hurt others.
2: If you are contacted by the FBI, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you need help raising funds or finding a lawyer, seek help from friends.
3: If possible, make a public statement that explains what the FBI was asking. This is an important step, as it will prevent paranoia from spreading, something the FBI desires to happen within a social movement.
4: Remember that there are thousands of people on your side, ready to help and protect you to the best of our abilities. Anyone whose lives are negatively impacted by the FBI will be supported and no one will be forgotten. Reach out to your comrades and not the FBI.
Note: the following statement is being released on behalf of a group of organizers of Occupy Seattle’s May Day event who have chosen to speak as a group regarding the events of May 1st and the controversies in the media narrative since.
The Fight for a Life Worth Living:
A Statement on Seattle’s 2012 May Day Events
We are organizers and participants involved in this year’s May Day events. Many of us also participate in Occupy/Decolonize Seattle. We conceived the events of the May Day General Strike as a celebration of life in solidarity with the global uprising against economic oppression and the 1%. May Day is a day of pride for migrants and workers everywhere. It is a day of remembrance for the anarchists executed in show trials after the world’s first May Day in 1886, fighting for the 8-hour work day. Most powerfully, it is a day of struggle—of celebrating freedom and striking out against what hurts us.
Reports that May 1st was “hijacked by anarchists” are inaccurate and insulting. May Day was an inspiration to us all. The crowd was multiracial and multigenerational, and included many working class students who walked out from multiple high schools and colleges. Over 40 local artists took the stage during the day of music and community Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize planned at Westlake Park. Organizers also scheduled three marches over a month in advance: a No Borders March, to join the May 1st Coalition march to the Wells Fargo Building; an Honor the Dead, Fight for the Living March, in honor of Trayvon Martin and all those killed by police and by white supremacist culture; and an Anti-Capitalist March. Thousands took the streets during these actions and disrupted commerce in downtown Seattle.
During the Anti-Capitalist March, participants in a black bloc smashed windows and damaged businesses and cars. Among the businesses targeted were a Wells Fargo branch, a Niketown, an American Apparel, and a Bank of America. There is tremendous anger worldwide directed at these institutions. Each of the corporations and banks that own the damaged stores inflict real economic and social violence on the planet and on poor people everywhere. Wells Fargo, for one, is complicit in enormous direct and structural violence through its 3.5 million shares in GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest operator of private prisons. The same corporation lobbied aggressively for SB1070, Arizona’s racist anti-immigrant legislation, to profit from the “enhanced opportunities” the law provides for immigrants’ incarceration. The rage expressed during the Anti-Capitalist March extends beyond the black bloc. No one should be surprised that people are angry enough to destroy the property of the 1%. Regardless of differences in practice, we share that anger.
Economic refugees and people of color everywhere are treated as exploitable labor. Media depictions support this exploitation. The media selects representatives from immigrant rights organizations to speak for all migrants and economic refugees, and silences the migrant workers marching in the Anti-Capitalist March and those of us organizers who are people of color, economic refugees, and indigenous people. Similarly, accusations that undocumented workers were put at risk on May Day conceal the truth: the only danger to participants in May Day activities came from the police themselves.
Mayor McGinn, the SPD, and the Seattle media have tried to split May Day participants between “good protesters” and “violent anarchists.” As organizers and participants, however, we reject all attempts to divide us, and stand together in defining our own message. We value people above property. The corporations attacked, and these institutions that protect them, are not on the side of the working class or the 99%. The lives these businesses destroy are more important than their windows. We remain in solidarity with those everywhere who fight for a life worth living. Continue reading →
Contact: Occupy Seattle Media 206.552.0377
Occupy Seattle Announces Formation of GLITUR
5/19/2012– The queers of Occupy Seattle are pleased to announce the formation of a new group for queer and trans activists and their allies in future organizing efforts within our communities. After the Pink Bloc’s resounding success on May Day in utilizing our fabulous queerness and fierce feminism as an effective tactic, we have decided to form a new, radical organization known as the Grand Legion of Incendiary and Tenacious Unicorn Revolutionaries, or GLITUR.
GLITUR was formed with several goals in mind. We are here to announce the visibility of revolutionary unicorns here in Seattle, giving fellow radical queers a safe space for political organizing and creative expression. We aim to provide opportunities for sharing, learning and bringing light to the issues that affect our lives as LGBTQI peoples and to join in solidarity with other communities in their struggles with the systems and institutions that oppress us all.
GLITUR would like to invite all queers and their allies to participate in our future events and actions. We are an open group, and we are asking for people ready to have fun and help change the world for our queer and trans sisters and brothers. Continue reading →
Note: This editorial and eyewitness account was written by Ian Finkenbinder, an on-scene protester and one of the organizers for the May Day events.
May Day has, after weeks of planning, concluded. The controversy and media storm surrounding that day’s events and subsequent arrests still churning, as two individuals present are now being officially charged with federal felony charges.
Instead of having the opportunity to reflect on the victories of the day, the Mayor’s office and Seattle Police Department have been engaging in a media tug-of-war with Occupy Seattle, attempting to brand individuals participating in the marches and rallies of the day as violent and dangerous individuals. Considering the rhetoric used by authorities previously, perhaps it is no surprise the current forms of intimidation and smear tactics used by the City.
One individual was written about today in the Seattle Times. He is being held on $75,000 bail:
I was actually present and on-scene for the fracas that occurred, ironically, during a march against police brutality. As we returned to Westlake Park from the John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole, one individual was having his flag pole taken (because PVC is CLEARLY a deadly weapon), and while I don’t specifically recall why he was being arrested , a crowd gathered to witness and document the arrest. Many were very angry, and the police allege that at this time a bottle was thrown at an officer’s head.
I did not see that, and do not in fact refute it. After all, I cannot speak to something I cannot witness. I did, however, witness that man’s arrest.
After he was tackled, the individual in question curled up in the fetal position, in what appeared to be an attempt to protect his body from assault. The police then attempted to straighten him out. This not working, two officers lifted him and then slammed him to the ground. Then approximately two or three other officers dog-piled on top of him, striking him. He finally acquiesced.
As this fray was continuing, and as protesters shouted angrily at the cops for their savagery, one woman was attempting to comply with police orders to move away from the scene of the arrest. As she passed along the sidewalk in order to escape the terrible scene, one female police officer grabbed her by the hair and forcibly pulled her over police bicycles and threw her on top of one. I witnessed as they handcuffed her and took her away.
She is now accused of punching a police officer in the chest. Luckily for her, and perhaps unluckily for the arresting officer, the brutal assault on the protester was captured on camera:
Admittedly, you cannot see the chest, nor the alleged striking fist in question. I’m operating on the assumption that the supposed blow was imagined to have been dealt to the female officer as the woman and her friend attempted to get away. After examining the video, I am left with one question: why don’t you at least see the female officer, or any of the surrounding ones, recoil as if struck? None do. All you see is the cop reaching over and yanking her by her hair.
Once those arrests were concluded and the angry and dismayed march began to trickle back to Westlake, I heard that another of my friends, an avid photographer who centers his work around documenting social movements, had been arrested for assault on a police officer. I was shocked. This man had attended many such protests, and always conducted himself safely and without any violent action, to include during an attack on peaceful protesters at the Port of Seattle. Why would he act violently now?
I attended his court date the next day, and as the bail hearings continued, repeated requests from lawyers to remove the media cameras which had been allowed to set up in the first row of the gallery were ignored. Even though regular attendees were not allowed to have photographic devices in the court room, four or five cameras from reporters were peering through the glass. The judge shrugged off stated concerns that the defendents could possibly be at risk due to their faces being shown in the press.
All of the persons present in that hearing were released except for one who is charged with breaking windows at the US courthouse, yet the media campaign continues. Now, on the Mayor’s website, a PDF has been produced which announces the names and dates of birth of the individuals arrested. I will not produce the link here. It’s outrageous that it’s being done.
It’s unfortunately not the only case where they are smearing someone’s name or identity in the press. They recently released an image of an individual they believe was smashing windows at the US federal court. It has now been splashed all over the news. I’m puzzled… the last time I saw such wide dissemination of a person’s face on the news was, frankly, someone accused of murder. So who did the gentleman pictured (again, I will not produce the link to that) murder? A window, allegedly, a crime which now, under Mike McGinn, will end up getting you exposed to the public to possible retribution. Keep on keeping those precious windows safe, Mike!
Is this standard procedure for the Mayor’s office? Why are the arrestees being exposed to this level of scrutiny? The media insanity continues to pour from City Hall and the SPD, as they now are touting instances of grafitti previous to May 1st as evidence that violence would take place:
While Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, PR spokesperson for one of the most violent police departments in US history, would have you believe that graffiti now equals violence, I doubt that citizenry in the Emerald City will be fooled.
This is not the only foolish assertion this man has made. After I attended the May 2nd bail hearings, I was asked by reporters about the charges leveled against my friend and others asserting their “crime” of “assault”. I responded that they were spurious and trumped-up. Whitcomb then responded with an off-base and weak statement:
“Trumped-up charges? What about the smashing of windows, the hurling of paint, the setting off of incendiary devices? … These were deliberate acts, and people need to be held responsible.”
I am only too happy to point out that false charges of police assault have nothing to do with smashed windows, and only betrays Whitcomb’s complicitness in a grander scheme: punishing these individuals for the “violence” that took place on May 1st. The people in power are attempting to make examples of peaceful protesters and leveling severe charges for small offenses in order to intimidate and scare people from exercising their First Amendment rights to protest. As much as Whitcomb would like everyone to believe that confiscated smoke-producing devices are acts of domestic terrorism, the targeting of the arrestees after May Day is insane.
This is not the first time the City of Seattle and the Mayor have leaned on Whitcomb to provide a media narrative targeting Occupy Seattle and its participants. I reported, back in December, that Sgt. Whitcomb had vetted– and successfully changed– the official apology given to Dorli Rainey for the despicable treatment she received at the hands of the police. Sgt. Whitcomb requested the apology be amended to, of course, make the Department look less, well, brutal.
Perhaps Whitcomb and the Mayor are desperate. They seem very ready to make any and every connection possible to throw the book at the individuals who were arrested on that day. They should do better. I’m not fooled, and neither are my comrades. I hope you, dear reader, are not as well. Continue reading →
“What now do we do? With some luck, the economy will
“recover” through a return of investment activity to sustainable
levels once some capital stocks, like houses, have been worked
down. But it will not recover to a strong level of business activity
unless something happens to boost innovation. The great question
is how best to get innovators humming again through the breadth
of the land. Hayek himself said little on innovation. But at least he
had an applicable theory of how a healthy economy works.
The Keynesians, sad to say, show no understanding of how
the economy works. They think they can lever employment up or
down by pushing buttons – as if the economy were hydraulic. They
show no grasp of the concepts that would be necessary to restore us
to prosperity and flourishing. In an old image that applies well to
the posturing of today’s self-styled Keynesians, “the Emperor has
Phelps (a nobel prize winner) is arguing that full employment won’t happen without innovation because proponents of fiscal stimulus don’t understand the economy enough to stimulate it. This is, unfortunately, wrong. We have a huge excess of industrial capacity:
and millions of unemployed and underemployed, 14.5% of the labor force. There are more productive things they could be doing than sitting at home wondering how they’re going to pay their underwater mortgages and student loans.
The 1930s were an amazing time for innovation, but we didn’t get to full employment US until we entered WWII. We had the government pull large levers on the economy and we put ourselves back to work on a great project: saving the world from fascism. Today the greatest threat to our freedom isn’t panzers, it’s a lifestyle built on cheap hydrocarbons.
Today, we have tons of unused economic capacity, some growth and lots of innovation happening, just not enough aggregate demand to use it. Government spending as a percentage of GDP is close to what it was shortly after the US entered WWII, but unlike Keynes we don’t need to make the assumption that what you spend money on doesn’t matter that much.
The science of climate change is clear: either we limit our carbon emissions or we face catastrophic results. Here are a few suggestions that help deal with both aggregate demand and climate change:
- Building and deploying renewable energy generators such as solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal plants and sea turbines.
- Developing and constructing scalable energy storage facilities (i.e. ones that don’t require more lithium than exist on the planet) so we can store and distribute power 24/7.
- Constructing a smart power grid that will allow us to efficiently deliver power from places that have energy to places that need it.
- Manufacturing and constructing electric high speed rail and light rail systems to replace air travel and single occupant automobiles as standard means of transportation.
- Building energy efficient, high density and affordable housing for people within our very productive cities.
- Deploying gigabit Internet connections to homes and businesses that are nearly 200 times faster than commonly used broadband.
Much of what what we need to do involves work on the scale of the Manhattan project to take what we know and turn it into what we can build, but a great deal can be done with technology we have today (PV panels, elevators, trains, etc.). Our community colleges would jump at the opportunity to retrain millions of Americans with skills we’ll need over the next few decades. All told, the cost of getting a lot of this done would be a lot. Think 4-6 trillion dollars of infrastructure, just for the US.
You don’t get out of poverty by sitting around waiting for work, which is what we’ve told 14.5% of the country to do while we figure out what we need them for. We need them. Our children and their children need them. We’re facing the deaths of millions if we continue our current path. I think fixing our energy, transportation and housing systems so that we don’t cause a world wide holocaust would be a good use of our incredibly massive economic capacity. We just have to demand it. Continue reading →
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Julie C (425)223-7787
Hip Hop Occupies Announces “Rise & Decolonize 2: May Day General Strike”
Organizers create family-friendly, arts & culturally rooted space for May 1st protests
SEATTLE, April 26th, 2012 – In solidarity with International Worker’s Day and the Global General Strike, Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize presents Rise & Decolonize 2, showcase and rally at Westlake Park. On Tuesday, May 1st from 9am to 4pm, artists, youth, families, and the broader Seattle community will take a day off and come out for music, live art, dance, cypher sessions, and more in the spirit of resistance & Hip Hop. “Rise & Decolonize 2” will feature a diverse, multi-generational showcase with over forty performers and speakers ages four and up, including special guest, internationally renowned poet and historian Walidah. A full list of performers and detailed schedule is available on the Hip Hop Occupies website.
Maria Guillen, organizer with Hip Hop Occupies says, “In times of decolonization, hip hop manifests as a collective voice and the spirit of self-determination. Just like Hip Hop and art transcends borders as a result of young people reclaiming streets and spaces, we celebrate building community outside oppressive systems. No longer will our creativity be crushed out of us. We are what we’ve been waiting for. May Day 2012… expect us.”
As Seattle gathers in creative resistance, we will remember the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago and acknowledge the legacies of the tens of thousands of people across the country who carried a three day general strike in support of the 8 hour work day on May 1, 1886. We will remember the Great American Boycott of 2006 where millions of im/migrant workers and economic refugees took to the streets to stand up against H.R. 4437, racist attacks against Im/migrants and all victims of economic violence across the globe. We will also remember and honor Trayvon Marvin, Rekia Boyd, Shaima Alawai, John T. Williams, and all those whose lives were lost to systemic and internalized white supremacy. Join us in remembrance of the past and creation of the future. Another world is possible.
Event Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Event Location: Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in Downtown Seattle
Event Schedule: 9:00am – 11:00am: Morning Meet & Greet, Set Up
11:00am – 4:00pm: Rise & Decolonize Rally & Performances
4:00pm – 7:00pm: Clean up & Meet up w/ May 1st Coalition
For full list of performers, detailed schedule, & more information visit www.hiphopoccupies.com Continue reading →
Note: This opinion piece was written by Greg Lewis of the All Power to the Positive Podcast:
May Day is What YOU Make of It!
My [edited, amended] Reply To Someone Who Asked
“Why Rise and Decolonize?” and “Why Strike?”
by Sensei Gregory C. Lewis. allpowertothepositive.info
The following was inspired by an original fb reply I wrote to a fan of Hip Hop Occupies.
It has been edited for length, grammar, and [ideally] greater clarity.
May Day is what YOU make of it! This is what really makes it a “worker’s holiday”.
May Day consists of 24 hours. A lot can be done in that short period of time. Part of the day is for those who do not or cannot go ‘hands on’ at the system or its supporters. Many more will be hearing the collective ‘decolonize’ message for the very first time on May 1st.
You worry about the cops doing something violent at a permitted event. I got two words for you: “Trayvon Martin”. Also,”Sean Bell”. Want to avoid potentially deadly conflict? Stay away from other people. Keep in mind that living like a [scared] hermit is NOT living.
Here’s another dirty little secret: people in america are 15 percent of the world’s wealthiest. This economic relationship to the global social product has real world consequences.
It is why in Egypt the bus drivers, along with other industries, are STILL on strike. Yet, in america, organized/unionized labor is still less than 10 percent of all u.$. industries. And all are o.k. with this exploitative global economic relationship, as long as their members can still afford to live ‘the American dream’. Few are striking in the u.$., and those that are get little mainstream press coverage or support from the assorted Democratic party funded and controlled national labor bureaucracies.
Meanwhile, large sections of the oppressed/captive nations (so called ‘minorities’) in america are shut out of those good paying union jobs (or shut out of the job market entirely). Yet, most of them/us still believe very deeply in this system and the current administration; despite what their/our actual life situation(s) tell them/us, or what any of us in Occupy have to say about it.
I absolutely bear witness that most amerikkkans find it easier to be ignorant, violent, self medicating, fascistic, sheep and cattle. I also bear witness that this is due to the aforementioned exploitative global economic relationship and the social relations it perpetuates. They didn’t start off that way. None of us did.
Americans are made ‘amerikkkan’ by [mis]education of all types, harsh penalties for non conformity and grand rewards for obedience and allegiance, including financial compensation for participation in a shared material interest with the 1 percent: the exploitation of the resources and labor of the ‘developing’ nations for the benefit of the upper classes, and the bribery of the lower classes, in america (and other ‘industrialized’ nations).
The poor of the industrialized nations spend most of their waking hours catching crumbs. For most, it is a situation of “the dog initiates the master, but only eats the leftovers” (Tobacman) and most seem o.k. with being that dog that imitates his or her master, as long as there is material comfort and social privilege that comes out of being just as ignorant, violent, self medicating, and fascistic as ones master.
The people of Egypt want a hell of a lot more than just to ‘get money out of politics’: they want to get america out of their politics! In places like Greece and rural India, you have large groups of workers taking that phrase to a whole new level, by actively struggling to bring down capitalism, its oppressions, and the oppressors who promote and protect it. This is very different than getting a piece of legislation passed or getting a local bureaucrat to listen to a marginalized community; or getting that same bureaucrat to work exclusively in favor of that marginalized community against the monied interests currently in power.
To ‘decolonize’ begins with getting one’s own mind off the plantation first. Sadly, for far too many, the decision to finally go down this path is shaped by the intensity, frequency, and severity of the abuse put on them by this system, its governments, and its supporters.
To ‘decolonize’ means to not just simply ‘go through the motions’. It means being crystal clear about who you are, what you want, and why you do what you do in this moment in this movement, let alone in life. It means being upfront about your politics, especially around ‘dividing line’ issues; in particular all things considered ‘life and death’.
For me, a ‘dividing line’ issue is regime change.
I have lost count of how many times I have heard the words “Tahrir Square” drop from the lips of my fellow Occupiers since October, 2011. Yet, as I participate, I often see that few even understand what they are truly advocating, since their avowed inspiration(s) and aspirations often do not match the ‘real politic’ of how they approach their obligations to the global movement, let alone the local one (and how these are related); indeed few bear witness openly that obligations exist for them (and all of us) in this movement.
Obligations? Yep. And here’s a major one: if our goals are genuinely more ’forward thinking’ than simply being ‘seen and heard’ by an indifferent (and increasingly, more openly hostile) 1percent, more than simply voting for their political leadersh*t every 4 years in the name of ‘pragmatism’, if Occupy in america is to truly echo the world’s collective cry for real freedom, democracy, equality, and power in the hands of real people, let alone do our part to create the space for any of that to happen, then we must be more and must do more. Continue reading →
“QUEER LIBERATION IS CLASS STRUGGLE! GENERAL STRIKE MAY 1ST
Queers have always had to fight for our rights, our dignity, our survival. It’s time to step up; it’s time to push the 1% out of the way and make Seattle ours.
Occupy Seattle has called for a mass strike, boycott, walkout and day of action on May 1st. This is our time to shine. In that spirit, the queers of Occupy Seattle will be forming a pink bloc for May Day!
Queers are the the 99% and the 99% is queer! Despite what the leadership of the HRC looks like or what the characters on Bravo look like, most queers are not white and middle class. Class society was built on top of the divisions and oppression of gender and normative sexuality. Queers and gender rebels have felt the brunt of the attacks from the 1%, being pushed to the bottom of the economic pile since the very beginning. This makes it impossible to separate our struggle as queers from our struggle as the working class. And while wealthy, white gays and lesbians—the queer 1%—may have made advances into American capitalist consumerism, most of us remain on the outside, still dealing with the struggles that confront us as queer members of the 99%: the struggles to end discrimination against transfolk in the workplace, for better wages and more desirable jobs, for an end to the homelessness of queer youth, for affordable medical support for AIDS patients, for sex worker rights and organization, for immigration rights for our same-sex partners, to stop youth suicides… our list of demands is as long as our history of struggle.
The way we win our demands as the queer 99% is by recognizing thecommon political thread that unites every one of our individual fights: the struggle of the 99% to regain control of our lives from the 1%. Every one of us in the 99% is struggling to take the 1% out of the equation and start living our lives for ourselves and for our neighbors, not for our bosses and all the others who steal all of our waking hours from us. And getting rid of the division between the 99% and the 1% means getting rid of the divisions of gender and sexuality, and of race, class, and all the other things that make the 1% the 1%.
This is why we are participating in the May 1st general strike. The general strike brings together the struggles of all the members of the 99%—queers, workers, immigrants, students, prisoners, disabled, unemployed, parents…—while leaving us the space to organize autonomously. We pull ourselves together into one punch that builds power for all of us and brings all of us closer to meetings our needs, and closer to a future of queer liberation.
To participate, wear pink and bring signs pertaining to the issues facing working queers. Most importantly, bring laughter, determination, and the spirit of queerness that makes us unique in the 99%. See you on May Day! Continue reading →
Note: This blog post was authored by Manny Frishberg.
Between staking out the mayor’s house in Greenwood Friday night and preparing the next newspaper for people to purchase from their cadre of street vendors, the people at Real Change made time to begin a dialogue with a few members of the community Saturday, April 21. I was one of them.
The half-dozen people in my Listening Circle had some things in common and some not. All of us were White (though that wasn’t necessarily true for all the groups). In all likelihood no one there in my group was under 40 – only one person shared her age and she was in her ninth decade. No names have been changed because none are being given. Nor will I delve into the details of anyone’s personal history. One of the rules for the listening session was that what was said in that room, stayed in that room.
All of us had been poor at one time or another. Half had been in the military and half had not, or if they had, it didn’t come up. Most of us had been to college; some had advanced degrees, others hadn’t finished even one. All of us had attended the School of Hard Knocks, where the only diplomas are etched into your face. But no one there felt sorry for themselves, and that may have been the most important feature we shared.
A couple of us came from privilege. One of the questions we answered in turn was “When was the first time you met someone of a lower class than you? When did you first meet someone of a higher class?” A couple of people in the room answered to the first part of that question by talking about the servants or housekeeper their families had employed when they were growing up. One answered the second part by talking about the time one of his schoolmates was given a ride home by the family’s butler – so even the well-to-do had encountered people far above their stature. Then there was the person whose family had lost their fortune in the Depression and grew up as the poor relation in a family used to wealth.
Myself, I said I’d grown up as one of the have-nots (or have-lesses) in a decidedly middle class suburb of New York. But I only became conscious of class divisions when I moved into New York’s Lower East Side in junior high, where 90 percent of my schoolmates were people of color, and even though my mother could barely make ends meet on her salary, the gulf was undeniable. A few years later, after I’d quit high school and joined my first Occupy movement at Columbia University I hung out with people who, I later learned, were not just among the 1 percent but the .001 percent – and I had more in common with them than the high school classmates I’d left behind.
We talked, for the hour-and-a-half allotted, about whether we had ever not had enough to get by. And, while some had lived on the streets or with no permanent address for at least a while, no one seemed to feel that they hadn’t had what they needed – after all we’re all still here. And we shared our thoughts about what class means in this society. While most of us spoke about it in socio-economic terms, one person took the discussion in a different direction – talking about what it means to have real class: to be kind, to share what you have, to treat others like you wish they would treat you.
And we talked for a time about fashion, about the Junkie-Chic portrayed in the pages of Style sections — $300 distressed jeans and the like, and the people who cannot afford to dress down because dressing for success is the mask that ensures them a modicum of respect.
So what did it have to do with ending homelessness or rebalancing the scales of economic justice? Maybe just a reminder that nobody – not the 99 percent and not the 1 (not even the .001) percent – gets out of this world alive, or unscathed. And that, in the end, 100 percent of us have only each other to count on. Not a bad lesson for a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The Everything for Everyone Festival, www.everythingforeveryone.org, is a free, two-day music, art, and politics festival scheduled to take place in Seattle, Washington on August 11th and 12th.
Send your Proposal Soon, Help Shape #e4e
There are two months left until the Everything for Everyone Festival makes it’s appearance on August 11-12. In coordinating the festival, we have seen a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for bringing together radical music, art, theory culture and politics. Now is the time to concretely flesh out the presentations, workshops, discussions, activities and art.
We need proposals from participants and endorsers for what you would like to see at this festival–and the sooner the better!
Day One will take place outdoors in Jefferson Park. In addition to the music stage, will be an auxiliary stage and lots of park space for panels, workshops, trainings and debates.
Day Two will branch off into various Seattle venues for plenary discussions, actions, and continued workshops.
Are you or your organization interested in organizing a workshop, debate, training or performance? Perhaps focusing on theory, politics, art, history or practical skills that people can use?
Send us your proposal! Please include your:
· Name/Organization/Contact Information
· Format (including panel participants, presenters, facilitators)
· Time needs
· Logistical Needs (Audio/Visual, Space, Materials)
Email your proposal into the #e4e Coordinating Committee (e4e.fest [@] gmail.com). The deadline for priority proposal is June 24.
We help coordinate times and locations for proposals and help group together similar proposals.
In 2011, the rule of the 1% began to be challenged in brand new ways. A wave of discontent with the old older of things began in Egypt and Tunisia in the Spring. This wave gained strength and momentum into the Fall with the Occupy movement. Now in 2012, there is a desire coming from everywhere on the planet to continue that spirit of resistance of 2011, and to develop it in new and meaningful ways. This desire for change is not manifesting itself in the traditional forms of opposition to the current system, nor is that desire seeking just to “fix” the old oppressive order to make it seem “fairer” to the relative few on the planet.
The desire is for a new form of popular struggle, and a new content of the way we relate to each other as people and to our planet – our common home. This desire is not for merely balancing the budgets or repairing the social safety nets in just a few countries, but rather making everything for everyone all over the planet. We would like to invite those all over the world with this desire to come together in a celebration of the world we seek to bring into being, and to exchange our ideas about how make that happen.
The Everything For Everyone Festival is meant to give a face for this new movement. The festival intends to facilitate debate and cross-fertilization between different ideas, for a mutual flourishing of those engaged in different aspects of a common struggle and those who have yet to participate. A movement for changing everything is much more than actions and protest, as vital as those are. It is a new politics, culture, and forms of organization; a new way of living.
The Occupy movement has opened eyes and created new possibilities. This festival aims to include those who have participated and those who have yet to participate but are attracted to fundamentally changing society, and to provide a space for the new culture, the new philosophy, and new politics in its diversity and complexity to intermingle and grow stronger. It aims to bring together art, music, workshops, philosophy, and encompassing participation from attendants.
To make this happen, we need your help. $11,000 is needed just to cover some of our initial costs, including permits, PA equipment, and travel costs for speakers and performers. As you consider whether or not to back this project, remember that your pledge is not merely to fund a festival; it will directly contribute to creating a new culture, forging new relationships among people, and building a new world in which everything truly is for everyone.
Your Companions on the Road to Freedom,
The Everything for Everyone Coordinating Committee
Initial endorsers: Occupy Seattle, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Portland, Sanhati, Kali Akuno-Malcom X Grassroots Movement, Black Orchid Collecitve, Student Anarchist Study Group, Red Spark (Kasama Project), Rising Tide
One Occupier has released this statement in support of Occupy Seattle’s General Strike:
May 1st, 2012, is a global general strike. Every year millions of people around the world celebrate May 1st as a dignified day of revolt against this system.May Day is an international holiday that commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police defending, as always, the interests of the ruling class attacked and murdered workers participating in a general strike and demanding an 8-hour workday. Five anarchists, known as the Haymarket Martyrs, were framed and sentenced to death as a result.
Occupy Seattle has chosen to stand in solidarity with the international call. We urge everyone to skip out on school and work to take to the streets. This general strike will not be comparable to the 1919 Seattle General Strike because the general strike is not what it used to be. In this current era of extreme social cuts, anti-immigration racism, and massive predatory financial speculation the number of unionized workers in the US stands at only 11.8% of the population.
Therefore, we are calling out to a population of largely unorganized workers as well as the growing millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed. We are calling on those who are never mentioned in the statistics; the undocumented and manual workers drawn largely from immigrant communities as well as those whose work at home through unwaged gendered labor. We are calling on the youth, college students, and the retired to meet in the streets with the employed, the undocumented, and the homeless. The general strike in this century is a day of generalized rebellion for the exploited.
As students and youth we walk out against the ongoing attacks reflected in education cuts, juvenile detention center expansions, police harassment, and racist murders.
As workers we walk out against selling our time and energy to a boss or owner that profits from our labor. We walk out because we would rather be with our friends, family, and comrades creating and working with each other and not for a system we never agreed to be a part of.
As the exploited, excluded, and working classes we walk off the job, out of the school, and into the streets because we see standing up together in the streets as the first step toward dismantling this system that oppresses all of us.
On May Day 2012, Occupy Seattle will act in solidarity with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world in a Global General Strike to shut down the global circulation of capital that every day serves to enrich the ruling classes and impoverish the rest of us. There will be no victory but that which we make for ourselves.
REVOLT FOR A LIFE WORTH LIVING!
STRIKE / BLOCKADE / OCCUPY
MAY 1ST 2012
Rallies, Marches, Speakers, Music, Food, Assemblies
WESTLAKE PARK (4TH & PINE)
#M1GS Continue reading →
On May Day, some Occupiers are choosing to decry capitalism by having a march against the current economic system:
NOON MAY 1ST 2012 – WESTLAKE PLAZA
Don’t Go to Work
TAKE THE STREETS!
The same processes are at work everywhere. In our homes, at school, and at work, our lives are taken from us. The banks and landlords profit from our homes while bosses and owners profit from our work and schools control the youth.
Today capitalism is on the offensive. For workers, it’s the attack on workplace organizing and the scarcity of even the lowest paid jobs. For students, it’s rising tuition and loss of ethnic studies and arts programs. For immigrants, it’s the militarization of the borders, the harassment and racism on the job, and raids by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement).
But we are not just against the current excesses of capitalism, we are against the system itself. Because:
Capitalists exploit us at work – We don’t work because we want to. We work because we have no other way to make money. We sell our time and energy to a boss in order to buy the things we need to survive. During our time at work we make things or provide services that our bosses sell. Our everyday working lives are sold hour after hour, week after week, generation after generation.
Capitalists profit from and control what we need to survive – Banks and landlords profit from our need for housing. Actually, all the things we need to survive—the water we drink, the food we eat, even the roofs over our heads—are turned into commodities that someone makes a profit from. This excludes many of us from the necessities of life.
Capitalists terrorize immigrants – Hundreds of immigrants and refugees are forcibly deported every day for doing what humans have done for thousands of years—moving in search of a better life, escaping poverty, abuse, discrimination, disasters, persecution, or war. Those on the wrong side of borders, whose homelands are often torn apart by the same economic practices that define the so-called First World, are illegalized and criminalized and are forced to work for less than those with papers.
Capitalists create schools that produce obedient workers and unquestioning citizens – The primary task of education in a capitalistic society is to teach students to ‘respect authority.’ Authority is imposed through a system that punishes those who do not do what they are told and rewards conformity. Strict adherence to trivial rules teaches us to obey no matter how stupid the order is. This prepares us for the world of bosses, cops, politicians, and military officers ordering us around and treating us as inferior.
Capitalism affects everyone differently, but regardless of who we are, as working class people we are exploited by the system in one way or another. That pervasiveness can be threatening, but it is also a common link that we can use to struggle against it together. Simply standing up for our own interests in this struggle is the starting point for undermining capitalism. – For a pdf of a double sided flyer with the above text go to http://www.mediafire.com/?d26yspdd6t0qece Continue reading →
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: This post is the first in a series about technology by Samuel Levine, who works with the Occupy Seattle Livestream team and runs his own blog at levinetech.net.
If you want to change the world you need ideas, information, and networks of people receptive to your ideas. Technology can give you reach (of everyone else on the Internet), but as of today it cannot help with interpersonal or ideological conflicts, make a poorly worded argument strong or make people cooperate. Social systems can help if you’re working with people that are cooperative and share similar goals, technology can at best help determine and implement them.
Please also keep in mind that everything we’re talking about here are at best pseudo-anonymous, even with encryption. Pretty much any company will give your data to law enforcement when served a warrant. Your laptop that is never connected to a network can be searched. Think before you type or speak into a device with memory, especially when it’s being transmitted over the Internet. Dealing with a government willing to shoot peaceful protesters (Iran, Syria, etc.) is outside the scope of this post.
This being said, some common things activists will want to use technology for include:
- Organizing direct actions, meetings and other events.
- Streaming video, pictures and messages from your events.
- Compiling lists of people in your network and reaching out to them.
This post is mostly about organization. Identifying problems, talking about how to deal with them, dividing up the work, etc. However you do it, organizing events and direct action takes a lot of work. Firstly, don’t use e-mail to organize them. Email sucks. Your parents, boss and/or coworkers may use it, and they may be radicals, but we have lots of more specialized tools at our disposal and most of them are pretty cheap.
Some synchronous (where everybody is communicating in real time) solutions include:
- Google+ Hangouts
- Lots of stuff people can’t afford and aren’t much better than what you can get for free.
You have a ton of options here, so if you’re already comfortable with something, use it and teach the people you’re working with how to use it. Because people don’t read instructions.
I recommend using Google+ Hangouts if you want group chats, or possibly Tinychat if you don’t want to sign up for yet another social network. Everything else available for minimal cost is mostly for one-on-one stuff. Skype is everywhere, FaceTime is only for Apple devices, they’re both pretty cool. None of this works for large groups of people. Streaming video to the masses is outside the scope of this post, but check out Livestream and Ustream if you’re interested in that.
Having everybody talk or be in front of a screen at the same time is very time consuming. Most people don’t need to see everything needed to put on an event. Some asynchronous solutions for organizing are:
- Facebook Groups/Events
- Google Groups/Docs
- Google Calendar
- Text messages/Group Messaging
There are several things you want out of a system you use, but at a minimum you want the ability to tell people about when and where something will happen and if there are any changes. You’ll also want some kind of system (not necessarily technology) to communicate with people organizing the event, divide up tasks, compare promotional material, etc. Use as much technology as you’re comfortable teaching to the other activists that you’ll be working with. If the people you know that you want to show up to an event use a system (Facebook, Twitter, text messages) use the system(s) *they already use* to communicate with them.
Facebook groups give you the ability to create shared text documents, talk back and forth with and poll group members and can be made invisible to Facebook users not yet members of the group. Don’t use this (or any free web service) if you need the element of surprise. Facebook events are a pretty common way of inviting people to events and they’re a good way of reminding people going to an action that it’s coming up in a few hours, or that the date changed, etc.
Using a combination of Google Docs (you can share documents, spreadsheets and small files), Google Groups (Email lists) and Google Calendar events can be good too. If people really want to use email this helps move some of the most painful parts of email to web apps better designed to handle them. Just be prepared for flame wars and long, drawn out off-topic emails.
37signals makes a number of for-pay web apps, including Basecamp (project and document management) and Campfire (group chat). I like them, but if you require a free solution they don’t have it.
Text messages are great because a well-timed SMS blast to people has a very high chance of being read, several times more likely than email. If you have an emergency meeting/event that you need people at, this is a good way to get the message out. You can also use them to communicate things to organizers
Group messaging services like GroupMe can help coordinate things on the ground. Text messages are great, but if you want to share what is happening on the perimeter of a mile long march with a half dozen (or more) people this is really hard to beat. You can share photos, your location, etc. with everyone in the group. This duplicates functionality built into iPhones (the Find My Friends app and the Messaging app) and Facebook/Twitter (both allow you to send and receive updates via SMS), but it’s still handy in that it’s all in one app, groups can be muted when you’re done for the day, etc.
Websites are pretty easy to come by nowadays. A Blogger or Wordpress blog can be had for free and you can register a domain fairly cheaply (Namecheap and 1&1 are inexpensive choices). Going into all the ins and out of this aren’t in the scope of this post, but consider two common uses you’ll have for it: introducing new people to the cause, and telling people when and where events, meetings and whatnot will be happening. You don’t need to be a web designer or a programmer to accomplish this.
Hopefully this whet your appetite for more. We’ll go into detail on particular products in future posts so you’ll have a better idea of how to use them. Continue reading →
Occupy Seattle’s General Assembly met on 3/21/2012 and agreed through consensus on this statement and committed to further action on behalf of port truck workers:
Occupy Seattle, in solidarity with the port truck drivers of Seattle, demands that the Washington state bills HB 2527 and 2395 be passed into law by the anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s birth, March 31st, 2012, or we shall take further direct action in consultation and solidarity with the port drivers.
If necessary we shall call on other Occupys, especially those located in major transportation corridors, to take solidarity actions that they deem appropriate.
Additional history and information on these issues:
Since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which gave collective bargaining rights to some workers and legalized part of the labor movement in the United States, large populations of workers, such as farmworkers, domestic laborers, and port truck drivers (currently classified as “independent contractors”) have been left in the cold.
Roosevelt, in working for the passage of New Deal legislation, had to capitulate to the white supremacist Southern Senators and Congressmen who were the right wing of the Depression-era Democratic Party coalition. So the labor legislation found a way to exclude Southern Black workers, not by name, but by occupation, so that Southern white landowners could continue to superexploit cheap Black labor at will.
This was at the same time that life under Jim Crow in the South was all but unbearable for Black people, and lynching was endemic and treated as a sporting event by Southern elites. This legacy of white supremacy and inequality of human rights for workers is what we are still fighting to undo in 2012. The US imperialist state put these obstacles to equality of labor rights in place, and we are demanding that it remove them immediately. We also demand that law enforcement officers cease and desist from selectively harassing and ticketing these drivers in retaliation for their support of the independent truckers association.
These workers are bereft of the rights given to “employees” as defined by law. This separation, exploited by the 1% and targeting migrant workers and economic refugees, must end.
This legislative session has the potential to become a landmark session for port truck drivers in the State of Washington. Two bills addressing these problems have been proposed: HB 2527, which would place the responsibility for legal fines levied by law enforcement against unsafe intermodal chassis on the companies which own those chassis rather than on the drivers who are directed to haul them and must work as directed, and HB 2395, which would re-classify port drayage drivers in Tacoma and Seattle from the legal category of independent contractors” to that of “employees”, finally recognizing their rights.
Occupy Seattle expects Washington State to act on these bills before the end of this legislative session. These bills not only set the stage to redress the inequalities affecting port truck drivers, but could set a precedent for sweeping change in how government views the right to union organizing. Occupy Seattle stands in solidarity with port truck drivers, as it has stood in solidarity with organized laborers in past months.
We also call upon the other Occupy movements, especially those located in port cities and major transportation corridors, to inform the state governments under which they live that they fully expect passage of the same legislation enabling port truckers to unionize in all coastal states by the end of 2012.
Occupy Seattle eagerly awaits the passage of these bills . If they are not passed, signed, and enacted by March 31st, 2012 (the birthday of Cesar Chavez), Occupy Seattle will have no choice but to engage in direct action in solidarity with the workers of Washington State, and and to call upon Occupy nationwide to join with us in this action. Direct action has notably won victories for the working class and will again, should state legislators fail to address these issues appropriately. Occupy is ready. Continue reading →