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WA State senate Votes 28-21 in Favor of Marriage Equality

Tonight in a historic vote. The WA State Senate voted 28-21 to legalize Same-sex marriage. The bill now goes to the House where it will almost certainly pass In addition Governor Gregorie is very supportive and has every intention of signing the bill into law.

Occupy Seattle has always been strong advocates of Equal rights for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and we rejoice with them in this momentous victory for human rights and equality.

Feb 4th Day of Mass Action to Stop U.S. War on Iran

Feb 4th Day of Mass Action to Stop U.S. War on Iran
In over 23 cities.
NO war! NO sanctions on Iran! NO intervention! NO assassinations in Iran!

Seattle Action: Saturday Feb 4th @ 1:30pm at Westlake

In many ways, U.S. war on Iran has already begun.
The United States and Israel, both of which have nuclear weapons, say they will stop at nothing to keep Iran from having a nuclear program, even though the U.S. Secretary of Defense says Iran won’t have nuclear capability anytime soon.

The U.S. has begun harsh economic sanctions that can destroy the Iranian economy, and the lives of millions of Iranians through depriving them of food, medicine and electricity. Either the U.S. or Israel is killing Iranian scientists in car bombings. U.S. surveillance drones are flying over Iran, in violation of its sovereignty. 3 U.S. carrier groups are right off Iran’s shore. And secret U.S. commando operations are in the country.
Will we allow another U.S. war based on lies?

Iraq is devastated from decades of U.S. military intervention and sanctions that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, and led to 4.5 million people being driven from their homes. Afghanistan, the poorest country in the world, is being destroyed by the richest.

Let the whole world see that we will not let the U.S. rain death, destruction and devastation onto yet another country and further inflame a dire situation in the Middle East. One thing we know is that when people stand up together to resist the crimes of their government like the courageous protesters of the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, something beautiful can emerge.
Test your knowledge on Iran: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1170/p/salsa/web/questionnaire/public/?questionnaire_KEY=1363

facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/369981473027720/

For more info go to: worldcantwait.org or email seattle@worldcantwait.org

I’m STILL Getting Married to 10th and Union Warehouse! Community POTLUCK!

The following was written by occupier Babylonia Aivaz

Instead of a culture of death, destruction, and despair, I choose
life, love, and liberation!

BRING FOOD< INSTRUMENTS

Yes, I’m in love with a 107 year old building! How is that possible?
Well there must obviously be a deeper story…

On December 3rd, in this very same 10th and Union Warehouse, 16
activists (including myself) joyfully linked arms in a circle, and
fearlessly faced arrest for a cause in which we believed strongly.
That cause was COMMUNITY SPACE. Our intent in occupying that warehouse
was to reclaim it as a community center to address the needs of our
neighborhood: communal artspace, free childcare, etc. We had started
the occupation with 200 people who collectively worked to clean the
rooms and prepare for a brainstorm discussion on how to use the space
to best help our neighborhood.

The moment we entered the warehouse we became a true community. We
became self-motivated. We worked co-operatively. We thought only of
others well-being. We explored 36,000 square feet like children,
giggling and dreaming at the possibility of all that space. We played
with conveyer belts, riding up and down. The kind you always want to
sit on in the airport luggage dispensers. We strung up lights. We
adapted toilets. We removed pounds and pounds of unecessary building
materials. We fed 200 people. We dreamed. We dreamed. We dreamed.

I was and am constantly transformed by this whole event.

The warehouse is slated to be demolished in a week to make way for
luxury apartments whose destiny is to disintegrate our unique creative
culture and render our neighborhood even more unaffordable. Why
couldn’t we have had a community artspace and museum there instead?
What our neighborhood and the world needs is more togetherness,
collaboration, and sharing not corporate gentrification.

So Capitol Hill, LOVE YOURSELF! Lets celebrate what we are: quirky,
creative, open-minded, progressive love beings who absolutely love
being. Lets be together! Lets honor my love of this building as well
as Capitol Hill, the transformative power of community spaces, and
each other. It’s all we’ve really got at the end of the day!

This will take place at the warehouse of 10th and Union on Sunday 1/29 from 1PM to 4PM

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/179409232160431/
For news coverage see:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/138158504.html

THANK YOU!

Shut down Lethal Incinerators in Seattle

February 11th: Shut down Seattle Steam’s lethal incinerators now!

Noon rally at Westlake lead by Dorli Rainey. March to Seattle Steam incinerator next to Pike Place Market and then to Victor Steinbreuck Park north of Pike Place Market. Occupy the park with die-ins, teach-ins and direct actions.

Two Seattle Steam incinerators threaten to turn downtown Seattle into a LETHAL POLLUTION ZONE. One incinerator next to Pike Place Market is already burning dirty waste wood and sickening neighbors. These residents are mainly low income folks, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. They are one of Seattle’s most marginalized communities. The huge $80M, 50MW Seattle Steam incinerator planned near Pioneer Square would emit hundreds of tons of killer particle pollution, make $500,000,000. for Seattle Steam, and threaten thousands more downtown Seattleites with lethal pollution.

In classic 1% style, Seattle Steam will tolerate no opposition as its steamrolls to obscene pollution profits. Seattle Steam “owns” the entire Seattle City Council which recently voted 9-0 to expand Seattle Steam pollution and kill even more more Seattleites. The city council has voted to become accomplices to murder.

Seattle Steam has been awarded more than $55M in federal subsidies for its two incinerators. The reckless city council scheme to further expand Seattle Steam pollution—headed by councilmembers Richard Conlin and Mike O’Brien— would add more local subsidies to fatten Seattle Steam coffers. We people of Seattle are literally paying to have ourselves poisoned!

WE MUST SHUT DOWN THE PIKE PLACE MARKET INCINERATOR NOW! AND STOP THE SECOND INCINERATOR BEFORE IT IS BUILT.

FB event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/158964460883645/

Occupy Seattle responds to brutal Police raid on Occupied Squat “Turritopsis Nutricula”

SPD Misleads Public on Eviction of Turritopsis Nutricula
On 1/11/12 at approximately 4:15AM Seattle Police Officers evicted the residents occupying a house at 23rd and Alder St. and began a misinformation campaign:

SPD officers raided Turritopsis Nutricula, named after the immortal jellyfish, this morning at approximately 4:15AM by sawing off front door hinges and breaking in the front door. They pointed two shotguns at nonviolent occupants who offered no resistance. Officers forced the occupants to leave without their possessions. Cell phones, sleeping bags and most personal belongings were later dumped on the sidewalk outside. SPD then began a misinformation campaign against the Turritopsis Nutricula occupants and supporters.

In response to the claims that the owner ordered the eviction of a house being remodeled: Turritopsis Nutricula has been vacant since 2006 and left unfinished after remodeling attempts in 2009. The owner of the building had allowed the occupants to stay in the home until being threatened by the city with fines from $100 to $1000 per day. The city of Seattle forced the eviction of the residents, not the owner.

In response to the claim that online communications prompted SPD to use a SWAT team to evict the property: SPD has made no credible release of what communications lead them to believe that the house was barricaded or booby trapped prompting this overwhelming use of force. There is no evidence that this claim was credible. No one in the house was armed and everyone in the house left peacefully. However, Occupy Seattle must now warn the citizens of Seattle that their communication on social media sites is now being monitored by SPD and may be subjected to police harassment.

In this country there are over 5 times as many vacant houses as there are homeless people. Autonomous members of Occupy Seattle will continue to help find homes for the homeless and will help defend homeowners from foreclosure if requested.

Another communique from the residents of Turritopsis Nutricula is forthcoming.

Jan 6th 2012: Unity vs. Union Bureaucracy

Jan 6th 2012: Unity vs. Union Bureaucracy
Occupy Seattle in Solidarity with Longview, WA

Note: The following piece has been written by some organizers of the January 6th Longview, WA action planning meeting and solidarity panel in Seattle. It does not represent the opinions of all the organizers of the Friday, January 6th meeting. For unaffiliated updates on the Longview solidarity actions please check out this website: http://westcoastportshutdown.org/ or email: seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com.

In order to contact the writers of this article specifically, please email: 21st.century.class.struggle@gmail.com

On Friday, January 6th, members of Occupy Seattle organized an event to build for an endorsed solidarity action to block a grain ship owned by union busting corporation EGT in Longview, WA. Longshore workers in Longview, members of the ILWU Local 21, are being displaced from their jobs by the international EGT and replaced with scab labor. They are fighting back, with support from the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Labor Council. Occupy Longview has also actively reached out to the Occupy movement to join them. Occupy activists up and down the coast have answered this call and committed to mobilizing large numbers of people to caravan to Longview to take direct action in solidarity with Local 21’s struggle.

The Friday event emphasized the importance of working class unity and solidarity. It was a historic event bringing together rank and file union members, along with those from the 89% of the working class that is not unionized and unemployed. Through this event, we showed that Occupy is a new type of working class movement that goes beyond the limits of traditional trade unionism by bringing together working class people across industrial lines, and across lines of race, gender, and national origin. Building off the example of the December 12th West coast port shutdown (D12), speakers dared to envision forms of class struggle that exceed the limits set by 20th century labor laws purposed to constrain past struggles into tame truces that are being broken now by companies like EGT. There was a sense that if Local 21 (Longview) wants to win the fight for its life, it will have to embrace the new forms of struggle that Occupy represents.

Together with members of Occupy Portland and Occupy Oakland, we organized a panel where longshore workers from Longview, Oakland, and Portland spoke alongside organizers from Occupy Seattle and Occupy Oakland. The speakers at the event reminded us of the militant struggles that ILWU workers have participated in historically. They reminded us of the need for working class solidarity, between non-union and union workers, as well as with unemployed workers, as the only way we can defeat big capital – the 1%. Through the retelling of these stories, we learned from the ILWU members that the toughest, most controversial decisions are most often the simplest, most important to make. When grounded in principles of solidarity, class struggle, and fighting state oppression, our actions will unify. The speaker from Local 21, a rank and file member, revealed the conditions in Longview where police harassment has become an everyday affair to punish the workers for participating in direct action, against union busting efforts by EGT. The moving speeches can be seen and heard through Occupy Seattle’s livestream.

Portland

On Thursday, January 5th, the night before the Seattle event, Occupy Portland hosted a similar panel. The Local 21 (Longview) President Dan Coffman, spoke on the panel. Coffman had been slated to come to Seattle the next day to participate in a similar conversation. When Coffman spoke in Portland, the lights and microphone at the hosting facility went out suddenly. The electricity had cut out, right when the Longview union president was to begin speaking.

During the open microphone, the Local 4 (Vancouver, WA) President Brad Clark took the microphone. To the Occupy crowd of longshore, unemployed, students, and non-union workers, he offered an impassioned plea which reflected the position of the International, “We support Occupy, we support Longview, but please keep your mistaken efforts at solidarity away.” His message was contrary to the voices of the workers and community members in Longview.

Later, long after the announcement of the close of stack to wrap up the meeting which had already gone 15 minutes over time, Local 8 (Portland) President Jeff Smith demanded to speak. Jeff Smith had made a name for himself in the weeks leading up to the event, evicting Occupy Portland members from the union hall in the lead-up to the D12 Port shutdown, denouncing the event in local media, and even threatening to rip fliers from the hands of Occupy members. In a blatant act of disrespect to the event, Smith took the stage, preceding to read a long, publicly published letter from the leadership of the ILWU international. As the crowd in attendance filed out of the room in protest, Smith finished his letter to a mostly empty hall, while rank and file longshore and retirees stayed behind to rebut him for what audience remained.

Subsequently, after Longview workers spoke in Portland, Oregon, the leadership of ILWU International allegedly ordered picket support from Locals in Portland and Vancouver for Longview’s longstanding picket be immediately ceased. We would soon find out that this form of disruption and sabotage would not be an isolated incident.

Seattle

The next day, Friday, January 6th, we heard from Portland organizers that the ILWU International had clamped down on the Longview members for their public speeches and organizing. We were told that they would be forbidden from attending the speaking engagement in Seattle.

Our initial disappointment at finding out this news was reversed when we received a phone call only hours before the event, saying that some Longview rank and file members would come after all. They arrived minutes before the panel began, but they were determined to build with the Occupy movement in Seattle for the Longview convergence.

Prior to the panel, we had a planning meeting for the solidarity caravans. Working groups formed to organize logistics and local solidarity actions for the arrival of the EGT ship. As the meeting went on, groups of people wearing ILWU jackets began showing up at the door. We recognized individuals from Local 19 (Seattle) leadership, including Richard Austen (president of the Pacific Coast Pensioners Association), Cam Williams (President) and Richard Eisner (Vice President of the Labor Relations Council). They were debating with some other longshore workers and members of Occupy Seattle outside the event.

We had initially thought we had a functional relationship with the officers of Local 19 (Seattle). Prior to D12, we had established communications with the union officers where they had expressed respect for our port shutdown efforts even though they said they could not be involved because of labor law constraints and threats from the courts. On November 30th, the President of Local 19, Cam Williams had publicly received a solidarity letter we had written to the local, and in response he held his fist up in the air saying “Solidarity Forever.” On D12 itself, Terminal 5 owners violated their contract with ILWU and withheld pay for the longshore workers even when the arbitrator ruled it was unsafe for them to cross our picket line. We were encouraged by a well-respected union officer to picket outside Terminal 5 in the morning, to help the longshore workers make the point that a violation of their contract was not acceptable. Workers refused to cross our line, delaying the start of the December 13 dayshift for an hour.

Things were not so friendly the night of January 6th. Around 5:50pm, 10 minutes before the panel began, a self-identified longshore worker in the audience came up to one of our organizers. He told her that there would be a disruption of the panel, and that any Longview rank and file member who spoke would be physically removed from the stage. Audience members also heard ILWU members in the audience who had arrived prior to the event, talk about going to the bar across the street to get drinks before the event started. Because of the short time notice, the organizers were unable to strategize any further, apart from making sure that the stage was guarded by a few Occupy participants with security experience.

The disruption took place when Jack Heyman, retired ILWU member from Local 10 (Oakland) spoke. Cam Williams, President of Local 19 (Seattle), along with several ILWU members behind him, rushed to the microphone that was set up in the middle of the room. He interrupted Heyman’s speech and demanded that the letter from the International be read. Organizers of the event went up to him telling him he would get the chance to speak during the open discussion period after the panel was over. An indigenous Latina woman, organizer with Occupy Seattle, was our last speaker after Jack Heyman. She intended to speak about connecting the Longview struggle with the farmworker struggles, many of whom were trying to unionize under harsh and authoritarian conditions. Occupy Seattle has recently started to mobilize in solidarity with farmerworkers, as an initial step toward a mass action on May Day. We requested that the ILWU members show respect to the event and the speakers by waiting their turn.

Cam Williams shoved the organizers aside and grabbed the microphone. Subsequently, about 15-20 ILWU members and union officers, who had spread themselves out across the hall, took the cue to disrupt. Presidents of Local 4 (Vancouver, WA) and Local 8 (Portland) made sure to throw their weight around. When asked to leave, they threw punches, shoved people, swore and yelled. Their breaths reeked of alcohol. One man wearing ILWU swag was holding a megaphone he had brought along. Audience members surrounding them chanted “shame, shame” and “sit down or leave.” They had come prepared to prevent the unity of Longview rank and filers and the Occupy movement. They were goons, doing what exactly the bosses want them to do. The leaders of the most militant union in this country, was acting like company goons.

It was unsurprising that these goons who were set to destroy any form of class solidarity, were also sexists. They were preventing a woman of color from speaking by disrupting the panel. Among those who asked them to show respect, were two female members of Occupy Seattle. In response, two individuals called one of these women “baby” and told the other to “put a muzzle on her.” In response, the man was slapped across the face by the first woman, with his glasses knocked off. Him and the other goons he had come with, proceeded to shove the women, only to be met with more physical resistance from Occupy Seattle folks who had had enough of this sexist behavior.

An ILWU member also proceeded to call the police on the event. We believe it is important to let everyone know, that some in the Local 19 (Seattle) goonsquad, in their efforts to stop the class solidarity between Occupy and Longview workers, were willing to rely on the state, the apparatus that has been known to suppress labor movements, including in Longview.

We know however, that the actions taken by those individuals on Friday Jan 6th, does not speak for all of Local 19. To those who oppose the actions, we hope to continue building with you.

Efforts that had been focused on building and organizing quickly transitioned into protection and safety measures. We, of Occupy Seattle, reject sexism and misogyny in any form. Neither will we welcome undemocratic goon squads, and it became clear to us that despite our best efforts to remove them, the disruptors had come prepared to halt our important coalition work by any means. In the end, only the State and corporations benefit from these divisions.

We believe that Local 19 (Seattle) of the ILWU owes an apology to Occupy Seattle for disrupting our event with drunk goons. The presidents of Local 8 (Jeff Smith, Portland), 4 (Brad Clark, Vancouver, WA) and 19 (Cam Williams, Seattle) were involved in the disruption, as were elected officers of Local 19. This appears to be an action led by the ILWU leadership. We wonder if they had received prior approval from the rank and file of the union.

Further, the individuals who participated in the sexist misogyny directed at the women in the audience need to apologize for their actions. We have your photos.

Implications for Longview struggle

Many of us came away from Friday’s action more determined to support Longview rank and filers who risked so much to be present in Seattle to build with the Occupy movements. We believe that together, we can present a 21st century version of class struggle based on the principle: An Injury to One is an Injury to All. Narrow minded, parochial tunnel visions held by bureaucrats and their loyal followers, will only destroy class struggle. It is exactly the tunnel visions of union bureaucracies that have brought us to a 2012 where only a tiny percent of the workforce is unionized and where Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO is simply a tool of the Democratic Party. The problem is not simply that union leaders keep betraying us because they cowardly or greedy. The problem is that old forms of struggle that gave birth to the unions no longer work in this globalized world, and the union leaders are sending goons to prevent us from building something new that actually would work; they are trying to prevent us from transcending their dying structures, and they are insisting that we all go down with the ship.

Some members of Local 19 (Seattle) have told us that this was primarily a beef within the ILWU and that we had been caught in the middle. We were told that some union members loyal to the ILWU International are beefing with what they perceive to be a progressive or left wing of the bureaucracy, lead by Jack Heyman from Local 10 (Oakland). That’s why they chose to launch the disruption during his speech. We have been told that we are perceived as Jack’s shock troops, or foot soldiers, which is why we were also attacked.

It is unclear to us whether Jack and his crew represent a progressive wing of the bureaucracy, or an inner-union reform caucus that could attempt to take positions in the bureaucracy in the future. In any case, we are nobody’s foot soldiers and our struggle is not in any way confined to attempts to reform the ILWU from within. Occupy is a fiercely independent movement, consisting of working class people from different unions, who are unemployed, employed, and non-union as well. We have working class demands that cannot simply be confined to an individual workplace union nor addressed by any political party. As one Occupy Seattle panelist said, we can act like a bottom up union fighting collectively, like the Longview ILWU rank and file and other ILWU members in their best moments, except we don’t have an “up.”

We were happy to share the stage with Jack Heyman because he is doing good work, helping mobilize in solidarity with the Longview workers. But our ultimate interest in this matter is to support Occupy Longview and fighting longshore workers, as we attempt to develop new ways of struggle that transcend the limits of 20th century unions. We will face down goon squads from the Longview workers’ own union to get their backs because they are facing the same kind of job insecurity and police harassment that many of us face. We are not some “naive” youth who can be used a pawns by union activists. We are oppressed people ourselves – workers and unemployed – and we are doing this as our own organizational force with our own interests.

As members of Occupy Seattle who were active with the D12 port shutdown, we would like to reiterate that we did not shut down the port on D12 because Jack Heyman told us to! As we had stated before, we shut down the port to resist police harassment and austerity cuts that are destroying our communities. We asked the ILWU to be in solidarity with us on that day by refusing to cross our line. We also expressed solidarity with Longview rank and file because they are fighting like we are fighting, and like us they are considered outlaws by this decrepit system.

Occupy is no one’s tool and we will not be co-opted or intimidated. We are a new movement of the working class, including the 89% of the US workforce that is not unionized, and rank and file members of unions who believe that the traditional ways of fighting no longer work, and the unemployed who are increasingly on the move. In our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods, we resist the intrusion of Capital – the 1%, and the race to the bottom, the economic nationalism and white supremacy that pits workers against one another based on national origin.

*

The upcoming battle against EGT can only be won if workers, both union and non-union, and community members respond to the call by Occupy Longview and Local 21 workers, to mobilize their forces. We need longshore workers on the East Coast, international longshore workers across the Pacific Ocean, as well as all workers, union and non-union, to fight back against big capital – the 1%. Food justice organizations concerned about the manufacture and distribution of food can also target the main investor of EGT, Bunge Grain , that owns 30% of the world’s grain supply. Bunge’s storage facilities in the South, along the Mississippi River are also campaign targets for Occupy movements in the South that want to be in solidarity with the Longview struggle. There are countless stories of small towns where union busting and deindustrialization have left towns poor, open to the building of the next new privatized immigration detention center or prisons, herding in yet more immigrants and people of color, in the 21st century human trade. The battle in Longview is crucial to prevent exactly this.

An Injury to One, Is an Injury to All
Defend Longview, WA from multinational corporation, EGT!!

Occupy Seattle Public Education

Contact:
OSPublicEducation@gmail.com

Reasonable Solutions Caucus

A caucus dedicated to changing the system from within. We seek to use reason, logic and common sense to achieve real, political victory for the 99%
Contact: ReasonableSolutionsOS@gmail.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reasonable-Solutions-Occupy-Seattle/272842572761405

Transformative Justice Workgroup

Contact: os.transformativejustice@gmail.com
Voicemail: 206-926-9600

Community Over Capital

Contact: communityovercapital@gmail.com

When Affordable Housing is Under Attack? What do you do? RISE UP! FIGHT BACK!
When Community Spaces are Under Attack? What do you do? RISE UP! FIGHT BACK!

Please click “Community Over Capital” for more info.

What does community over capital seek to accomplish?
– to turn the 10th and Union Warehouse into a community center
– to end gentrification enabling corrupt tax give aways to developers (Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program)
– to create housing for people not for profit
– to discuss how the landscape of our cities can be organized so that we are more connected to each other
– to make decisions regarding the way we want OUR space to be developed

The Community Over Capital working group continues the revolutionary spirit of the 10th and Union Warehouse Occupation wherein 16 activists, the UCC 16, were arrested. In the face of the recent slew of closures and cuts to libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, we sought to restore the warehouse, formerly the site of the Union Cultural Center, to its use as a “supportive educational space for teaching, sharing and creating vibrant culture.”

Upon more research we discovered that the high-end apartments replacing our beloved warehouse would be a part of the corrupt Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program. According to the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Plan, developers will be exempt from paying property taxes for 12 years if 20% of their units are set aside as “affordable” at rents between $1000-1600/month. The “affordable” units are only accessible to tenants who make 65-85% of the Seattle Median Income, for whom a surplus of housing already exists on the market. Under this program, approximately 25 developers in the past year have received 75 million dollars in tax breaks for absolutely no public benefit. Since 2004, a handful of developers have received approximately 140 million dollars in tax breaks for absolutely no public benefit. The money developers make helps put City Council Members back in office guaranteeing the vicious cycle of “building capital” and “destroying community” continues.

City Council wants to upzone more neighborhoods, wipe out our open space, pour concrete over urban streams, and tear down existing LOW INCOME HOUSING. These extremely accelerated rates of growth, have served only to drive up the cost of housing and cause more poverty, displacement, and homelessness in our city. This can only be a case of the disease we
all know as gentrification which hits working class people and people of color the hardest. Soon our city will no longer be a place where people can gather and build communities; rather, it will be a graveyard whose tombstones are empty condos and luxury apartments.

An open letter from Occupy Seattle to Stephen Colbert

Dear Stephen Colbert,

Occupy Seattle would like to invite you to be our honored guest at a
very special double birthday party the weekend of January 20th and
21st. We know you probably have other things to do, but we think this
is more important.

As you may be aware, the “Citizens United vs. Federal Election
Commission” decision is turning two years old on January 20th and we
thought it would be nothing short of criminal if we did not celebrate
the second anniversary of corporate emancipation. On that date two
years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that, because corporations are
people too, they are entitled to the same first amendment rights as
the rest of us fleshy mortals. In a narrow 5-4 decision, the court
finally put an end to the discriminatory practice of treating
corporations as second-class citizens, for no other reason than that
they lack physical bodies and the physical organs to sustain
them(including, but not limited to, hearts) and, in doing so,
rectified one of the greatest and most glaring injustices of our time.
Finally, after so many decades of struggle, corporations can finally
express themselves freely, and spend as much money as they want doing
it as the rest of us.

Being as we are incapable of detecting blatant sarcasm, we can tell
from your show that you are one of the most passionate advocates of
corporate rights alive in America today–second only to Newscorp,
FoxNews, and the vast majority of their employees. Since none of those
people returned our phone calls, we are reaching out to you. We’re
hoping that you might join us for this two-day celebration. There will
be music, marches, and lectures by human-people. There will also be
mock trials for some of the corporate-people who have given corporate
personhood a bad name by doing things like stealing other people’s
houses and dumping poisonous chemicals on other people’s
farmland(including, but not limited to, JP Morgan Chase and Monsanto).

If you can’t come, or just don’t feel like flying to the West Coast
for the beginning of Citizen’s United’s terrible twos, could you, at
the very least, plug the event on your show? That would be cool.

Sincerely,

-Occupy Seattle

Healthcare for the 99+1 %

Contact info: kathleenr8@gmail.com

Description: “Educate, advocate, collaborate, and demonstrate for healthcare for everyone.”

Online Forum: http://test.occupywa.org/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=90&sid=6562cfe6d4e65e6dc4294738c19455e7

December 12th Seattle Port Shutdown: A word from some womyn & genderqueer organizers

For more information on the December 12th West Coast Port Shutdown, please check out: westcoastportshutdown.org . To contact Seattle organizers, please email: seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com .

Also see: West Coast port shutdown announcement video (from Occupy Oakland) and This Week In Occupy: December 12th West Coast Port Shutdown

December 12th Seattle Port Shutdown: A word from some womyn & genderqueer organizers

We write as some of the main organizers of the Seattle D12 port action. We are the womyn and genderqueer organizers who worked behind the scenes to make this day happen. The majority of us are people of color. The majority of us are the 89%: non-unionized workers in care work, food work, and the service sector. We are a group that has organized together, faced many of the same struggles, and discovered common stories others need to hear. As POC, Womyn and Genderqueer, we navigate multiple identities and bring this understanding to our organizing. We also have varied experiences even as we share some affinities and commonalities — differing immigration status and records, educational levels and access, as well as employment statuses. We emphasize our common experiences but do not want to dishonestly erase our varied experiences under this system of capitalist exploitation, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.
We affirm that the D12 Port Shutdown was a multi-issue action in a multi-issue movement. The face of this action has been dominated by white cis-males, primarily due to the racist media bias, as well as reasons we discuss below. Thus people do not see that our organizing was predominantly womyn and genderqueer led. In reality, we organized as equals with comrades who are white, cis and male. D12 was possible because of us and our communities. We write to let that be known. We write to ensure it is not forgotten.

How we organized

Womyn, genderqueer, and POC organizers were central to this action from the beginning — among the first to rally to the call from Occupy Oakland. When we began organizing for this action we focused on building an organizing space that was bottom up, unlike bureaucratic unions who use rank and file as warm bodies only when a lobby day is scheduled or a contract is due to be re-negotiated. We did this by calling community meetings and inviting those who came to the meetings and showed interest to be part of the organizing structure. In these core organizing spaces, womyn, genderqueer, and POC organizers predominated and guided much of the process.
Our structure on the day of was simple but effective. We chose public faces or “emcees” who were responsible for communicating with the crowd, making sure the bullhorn was in use and being shared with the crowd, and acting as point people when folks had questions about the action. We also chose “Responsibles” whose role it was to understand the layout of the port, communicate with each other about police presence, get updates from the longshore dispatch hot line, and decide the best course of action based on our read of the crowd and the information we received about port activity. These two positions — the emcee and the “responsible” — were partnered at all the picket team sites in the port (gates, intersections, and safety zones).
After careful thought and discussion, we decided to choose mainly male-bodied people, both white men and men of color, to be the emcees. Some of those amongst us had vulnerable immigration status and records which made us targets of the police for our political involvement. Others amongst us had our own reasons for not wanting to be public emcees based on personal capacity and previous experiences with the police. Regardless, our refusal to be the public emcees on that day was not indicative of our fear of the state, but simply a calculated decision based upon weighing personal risk and capacity. We know of the media’s fascination and obsession with white cismen as spokespeople of the movement. We know clearly also that the Seattle Port Shut Down was not carried out by white cis-men only, but rather a wide range of people with varying identities, political tendencies, and safety concerns.

Behind the scenes: outreach, multi-state conference calls and preparation

The two and a half weeks prior to D12 were a coordinated blanketing of our city with community specific flyers for high school students, college students, port truckers, longshore workers, and a general flyer for Spanish and English speaking community members. We and many others spent hours every day handing leaflets out one by one and posting flyers at Community Service Offices, Labor Ready and Work Source Centers, and a Latin@ day worker center. Bus stops on busy, working class thoroughfares and in our neighborhoods were all flyered. Local Spanish radio stations made daily announcements. Organizers were invited to speak in public high school classrooms and to student clubs, such as the Black Student Union. Several working class organizations in Seattle, such as the Seattle Solidarity Network and the Industrial Workers of the World, mobilized their networks through phonebanking and mass texting. We made a consistent and concerted effort to outreach to our working communities of color and immigrant communities.
Specific attention was also given towards reaching out to port workers. Groups went multiple mornings a week at 6:30am to hand flyers to receptive truckers waiting in line to load containers, several of whom openly shared the impossibility in making ends meet and the reality that “something’s gotta change.” On two different occasions the port police were called on us by security people. We put flyers on truckers’ parked cars near the port and also went to Georgetown and SODO to flyer all the parked trucks in allies and quiet roads amidst the industrial warehouses. The same effort went into flyering outside the union hall before swing shift dispatch. While acknowledging the sensitive legal position the local was bound by, we did not hesitate in greeting each rank-and-file member we encountered as an individual with their own opinion on the D12 action and broader Occupy movement.
The regular West Coast conference calls were invaluable in buoying our morale in Seattle knowing that dozens if not hundreds were doing similar work up and down the West coast and into the mainland. Hearing about other organizers facing the common brick wall built by union leaders calmed our nerves and solidified our resolve. We initiated a conference call specific to the Pacific Northwest region which we hope will allow for further future collaboration around the ports and beyond.

Relationship with Occupy Working Groups

We had some very positive experiences with some of the working groups in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. In particular, the livestream and internet communications team maintained excellent communication with organizers and broadcasted information leading up to and during the action. The arts and entertainment team contributed an array of well-messaged banners and picket signs. We thank them for their part in making the action a success.
However, a few of the other teams did not work with us well. We raise our critiques constructively, with the intentions and hopes that we all be reminded, that the various working groups in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle should respect the decisions taken by the General Assembly and allocate resources accordingly. The General Assembly had unanimously voted for the port action. However,whether intentional or not, we faced a lack of support and accountability from some working groups.
In particular, we faced difficulties with acquiring Occupy Seattle funds for the port action. The accessibility of the port action for people with disabilities was a major priority of ours. This required the rental of a wheelchair accessible van and bus to bring people from Westlake Park to the action. Our requests for funding for this need, as well as requests for support in fundraising, were met with skepticism and resistance, at times culminating in personalized attacks. We were fortunate that Occupy Oakland was able to come through with financial support, making it possible for us to provide accessible transportation. Individual organizers also ended up paying out of pocket for much needed amenities such as porta potties for the action (for which our fundraising efforts were later able to reimburse). The bureaucracy and resistance we encountered from members in Occupy Seattle, the lack of solidarity for organizing in two weeks one of the largest coordinated action along the West Coast since the May 2006 General Strike, was shocking.
In the lead up to D12 we experienced push back, skepticism, and questioning of the action on the part of the intergroup, an aspiring representative council of all working groups and a group made up almost entirely by white men. Among a few individuals in this council, we sensed a distrust of us as organizers, as well as a sense of having to convince them of the action’s legitimacy. We wonder if this is directly connected to the organizers being mostly womyn and genderqueer people of color. Since the organizing was not happening in their networks and channels, they withheld support , talked behind our backs and also assumed the worst of us. It is all the more shocking, because many of us have been very active in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle since the beginning, and were not new or unknown people to the movement.
As organizers, we too learn from this action. We do not wish to absolve ourselves of any shortcomings by displacing them on the other members of our movement. Communication during intense stressful moments, especially relating to scarce resources such as finances, are expectedly difficult. However, we do find it difficult to separate the pattern of racist and sexist behavior of some individual members, from the expected difficulties that arise from organizing a port shutdown in two weeks.
Other members of Occupy seemed to fear the militancy of the port action, with some even calling it “violence.” They feared we would alienate unions (typically meaning union officials, not rank and file members) and that we’d alienate people watching mainstream news coverage of the event. We in fact did reach out to the ILWU leadership more than once and were conscious of the impact on working class people’s lives. For example, we tactically decided against shutting down the West Seattle Bridge. We found that many individuals who expressed those reservations chose to abstain from helping to organize rather than do the work that’s needed to deal with those issues.
On a more fundamental level those fears express the middle class/bourgeois mentality that some Occupy members are still bringing to our organizing. When we reached out to working class people, predominantly people of color in White Center or to port truckers, the general response was not that this action was too radical or militant and therefore alienating. We overwhelmingly heard from other working class people of color– most of whom have no union at all — that militant action is exactly the kind of thing we need to do in response to the cuts that are hitting us hard.

Art & culture: The Revolution Will be Visualized

The Decolonize/Occupy movement first begun to make national headlines in social media networks and throughout the world when individuals created autonomous messages, signs, posters to connect an individual “narrative” to a collective struggle. Revolutionary art is vital to the imagination of the movement. As we decolonize, we create a way of living with each other.
We surrounded ourselves with our culture throughout the day of action. Hip-Hop Occupies played a crucial role in organizing both the action and the rally. Hip-hop is a powerful instrument of decolonization and autonomous/collective messaging with a radical legacy of revolutionary organizing that transcends physical, mental, and imaginary borders. Collaboration between the Arts and Entertainment working group and Food not Bombs also produced banners focused on decolonization, food justice, and ending all forms of oppression.
Within the euro-centric, hetero-patriarchal educational system that denies youth, people of color, Indigenous peoples, economic refugees, womyn/muxeres, trans/non-gender conforming folk, and other communities access to our legacies and collective narratives, we reconstructed and redefined community learning through creating banners at the POCCUPY/Decolonize: Rise and Decolonize Giant Banner Making Party and throughout the week leading up to the port action. As cultural carriers, our identities are interlinked with cultural knowledge that manifests in the creative arts. Our self-determination and autonomy as a collective was visualized in a giant Rise and Decolonize banner that led the march towards the port. We made this decision to send a clear message to the global elites that not only do we recognize the historical legacies of colonialism and imperialism but we reaffirm our voices in a global struggle.
When the education system fails students through budget cuts and standardized testing, the arts are often not seen as a valid form of education and building community. As radical organizers, we recognized music and arts as forms of education central to our identities, in particular in creating a space for youth to collectively and autonomously participate in organizing. Artists are educators and often our knowledge and creative resistance is taken for granted both within the education system and movements. We demonstrated a commitment to decolonization and resilience in the form of collective knowledge and liberation.

The Revolution will not be catered: Food Not Bombs holds it down

On D12 we shared 1,000 burritos! These burritos were made from donated small-farm organic vegetables, organic rice and beans and the tortillas purchased direct from a local family-owned factory. Many different people came together for fun work parties involving music, art and conversation. When we prepare and share food we align our values with action. We kept our communities in mind in every effort regarding food for the Port Shutdown, preparation, serving, ingredients, accessibility.
Additionally, we called attention to Food Justice and the specific connections to the Port of Seattle, Bunge Corporation and Export Grain Terminal. As we continue to engage in the process of decolonization we work to deconstruct hierarchies and oppressions as related to food and land. As we deconstruct we need to create alternatives to sustain us and the Earth, to allow us to envision a future in which all our needs are met.

D12 though our eyes

We got small glimpses of what our collective liberation will look like all day on D12. After an energetic rally at Westlake, several hundred occupiers marched the four miles plus to the port. The crowd came from a broad spectrum of Seattle’s working class, including unemployed folks, youth of color, service workers, and students. With our beautiful “Rise and Decolonize” banner up front, we marched energetically, chanting “Shut down the West Coast/Hit ‘em where it hurts the most”. Many cars and trucks that passed us on the way honked their support. As we approached the waterfront, virtually every port trucker honked, waved, and held up peace signs.
The People of Color Caucus produced and distributed an English and Spanish pamphlet with information on dealing with cops and what to expect that day, chants, and a port map. For security reasons, we couldn’t lay out he plan, but we specified different color-coded “zones.” We explained that, while we couldn’t guarantee what the cops would do, arrests and police terrorism would be less likely in the “green zone” and much more likely in the yellow and red zones. Day of, we tried to communicate what these zones were though that was made more difficult by lack of sound system.

Once we reached Terminal 18, the primary target for the day, we shouted to the growing crowd the locations of the zones. We explained on the megaphone that crossing into the Terminal puts you on Homeland Security territory, and for people to make sure and not do that. There was definitely some confusion and slow moving for a bit, but many of us who knew the plan shouted information and instructions to help guide people on where to go according to comfort level and ability/willingness to face arrest.
With new people arriving all the time, we blocked all of the entrances to Terminal 18 for about an hour and a half before receiving word that owner, SSA, the same owner who is screwing over port truckers in Oakland and LA, had shut down the port for the night. Our success in shutting down the busiest terminal at the port well before longshoremen arrived for evening shift meant there was still time to block the other smaller terminal that had work that day, Terminal 5.
At this point there was definitely some confusion and problems with communication. Not all of the organizers had received and trusted the news that the terminal was shut down. Some organizers advocated for staying until we knew for sure, while others, more confident in the information, wanted to head to Terminal 5 right away. We didn’t have the numbers to split the group and hold both terminals.
Eventually, though, most of the crowd made it over to Terminal 5. Some people stayed behind at the road blockade at 18, where a hard barricade blocked all but one lane of traffic (and where the police blocked the last lane despite occupiers shouting for them to leave it open so that workers could leave and ambulances could get through in case of an accident on the terminal). Police took advantage of the smaller numbers by unleashing an assault on the remaining occupiers. They threw flash grenades and possibly tear gas into the crowd and began beating and arresting people.
At Terminal 5, a growing crowd blocked the ILWU foot entrance as the evening shift arrival time neared. Several hundred of us stood in front of the gate, marched in a circle, and milled around the vehicle gates to keep an eye on police activity. We chanted, freestyled, beatboxed, and sang while most longshore workers waited at the union hall to see if the arbitrator would rule that they didn’t have to cross our picket line for health and safety reasons.
Eventually the arbitrator ruled that longshoremen didn’t have to cross our picket line. However, in violation of contract, Terminal 5 declared that they wouldn’t pay longshore workers for the day! This was a clear attempt to turn longshore workers against us. However, many folks came out the next morning and picketed in solidarity with longshore workers, a move that helped strengthen the solidarity between them and people who blocked the port, most of whom are non-unionized service industry workers or unemployed.

New approach to organizing labor

The coordinated West Coast port shutdown marks the emergence of a new phase of Occupy. We are taking ourselves seriously as a workers’ movement. We shut down the ports in solidarity with immigrant truckers, and longshore workers in Longview. We also shut down the ports because we, the working class, have been hit hard by the budget cuts, by austerity. We, the 89% of the workforce that is non-unionized, came together to assert our demands. We showed ourselves to be a serious legitimate force in the workers’ movement. Inspired by our call, many rank and file union members came out to join us, despite the disapproval and hostility from their union bureaucracies and leaders.
The Occupy-led West Coast port shutdowns have also highlighted the backwardness of the labor laws that govern unions in this country. We are reminded that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) from 1935 was created by the 1% of this country at a time of mass labor unrest. The NLRA prevents unions from practising class solidarity. It removed the workers’ strike as a weapon of resistance by workers by enacting No Strike clauses in contracts. The purpose of the NLRA, like any arbitrary law created by the 1%, is aimed at preventing class unity and isolating our struggles..
We showed on D12, that these laws that bind union bureaucracies, are no longer relevant to us, the masses of workers. While the union leaders, stuck in their old ways of thinking and obeying the rules of the 1%, are unable to support the activity of large numbers of non-unionized workers, we, as the Occupy movement, has shown that we carry none of that legalistic baggage. We are the new phase of the workers movement.
This is also an international workers’ movement. Seattle media outlets decided to highlight photos of occupiers with nationalistic, anti-China signs. But we know we have much more in common with exploited Chinese workers than any American capitalist. The Japanese railroad workers who did job actions on D12 showed us that international class solidarity is not a story of the past found only in obscure labor history. It is an emerging current reality. We are building a workers’ movement that has no top-down leadership, one that builds across the working class, one that brings labor back to its origins: An Injury to one is an injury to all. Occupy is the union of the 99%. The union leaves no one behind. We will learn skills to organize on our own jobs, our own low-waged measly paying workplaces. Just as we occupied the port truckers’ and longshore workplaces to be in solidarity with their struggles, we will occupy our own workplaces for an end to austerity measures that are placed on our backs.

Elections

We feel the rumbling approach of national elections as we watch the circus show of “debates.” The corporate fueled message of complacency “just vote for a politician who’s gonna screw you over less” rings hollow when we feel our power in taking direct action. Some in the Occupy movement have called for creating a third, independent political party or to “occupy congress.” Others have called for electoral reforms, boiling our problems down to capping campaign donations by the wealthy or strategizing on how to lobby near the ear of the 1%.
But it was upon our backs that this system was built and we remember why we first came out. The movement’s fierce independence away from political parties, the openness to new visions of possibility, the warmth of being with others, and the collective shifts in thinking about our histories of colonization, waged and coerced labor, gender binaries, and white supremacy. Neither politicians nor a political party could ever create this for us.
We know no one can represent our interests or ideas except ourselves. They tell us to go home, go back to work, go back to believing that voting for a golden tongued politician will take care of our families and communities. But we won’t go back. Our struggles continue together.

General Strike!

There is currently discussion of a General Strike which will take place on May 1st. We hope to make strides toward this goal in the next few months and will use the lessons we learned on D12 to inform our work. This team will be be back in the streets together in the future – this is not the last time we will make history together. Solidarity Forever!

Ally Statement

We write this to say that an effort of this magnitude is not, and cannot be the efforts of a few leaders. In Seattle, those of us who were on megaphones passing information and hyping up the crowd were called “emcees”. We need to be clear that emcees were not the ones calling the shots at this action. In fact, we were accountable to, and in many cases were taking directions directly from, a larger organizing body that that included many of the core organizers who helped initiate the shutdown here in Seattle. This larger body was in communication with each other, and had the necessary information to make key strategic decisions; it was our job simply to pass this information to the crowd. This larger organizing body included many people of color, women, queer folks, and gender nonconforming people, and was largely working class people, including unemployed people.
The emcees who were on the megaphones were elected at public planning meetings. However, we found that most of the people who volunteered to run for this position, are racialized and gendered by this society as white, male, and cisgendered (meaning we are not viewed as gender nonconforming or transgendered, we are seen as “normal” by a society that refuses to accept creativity or ambiguity). We recognize that this racist, sexist, and heterosexist society oppresses our comrades more than it oppresses us. For example, some of our comrades of color are more likely to be targeted by the police or by immigration authorities (ICE, Homeland Security, etc.). Our comrades who are women, transfolks, or gender nonconforming are more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted by police or prison guards. We understand why many of our friends wished to remain anonymous during the action, and that it is less of a risk for us to be public. This does not mean that we are immune from repression or police retaliation because of our race or gender, but we understand that the oppressions we do face as working class people can only be overcome if working class people people who are more oppressed than us rise up and overthrow the racist, sexist, and heterosexist divisions between us and them. Our unity is our power, and it can only be built when the most oppressed members of the working class rise up and make history. This started to happen on the 12th.
Our comrades chose to stay anonymous, but this does not mean they were not leaders – they participated in all of the decision making, and once decisions were made, we announced these decisions. Hence, credit for the success of the action should not just go to us, but should go to them, and to everyone who helped organize it. We say this because we are aware of how history is often written in ways that glorify white, straight, male leaders at the expense of everyone else who actually makes history happen. As emcees, we certainly helped make history on Monday, but we were not the only leaders, and this action was not just made by leaders. We ALL built a multi-racial, multi-gendered team that could work together as equals; this team is historically groundbreaking in its own right and deserves to be celebrated.

Longview_flyer

OCCUPY! An Injury to One is an Injury to ALL Defend LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON

OCCUPY! An Injury to One is an Injury to ALL
Defend LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON from Union Busting Multi-National EGT

Friday, JAN. 6TH
SEATTLE SPEAKING TOUR
Hall 8, Seattle Labor Temple (2800 1st Ave – on 1st Ave between Clay & Broad north of downtown)

invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/228300320577427/

Speakers from:

* ILWU Local 21 (Longview) *
* Occupy Oakland *
* Occupy Seattle *
* Million Workers’ March Committee *

4pm: planning meeting for solidarity caravans to Longview

6pm: Roundtable discussion with speakers

Questions? seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com

The historic Dec 12th 2011 West Coast Port Shutdown revealed that the Occupy Movement has become a new type of movement of unemployed, low waged, and casualized workers both in the workplace and outside of it. We are the 89% of the US working class that is not unionized. Many of us are immigrants and women. We showed we are capable of shutting down the businesses which fuel Wall St. profit.

Some of us are also rank and file union members who realize that we need to expand beyond the limits of traditional labor struggle if we want to stop the attacks we are facing.

We are in solidarity with Occupy Longview and ILWU Local 21. EGT is a multinational conglomerate owned partially by Bunge, Inc, a grain cartel that controls 1/4 of the world’s grain supply. They are trying to bust the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 by hiring scab labor in their new grain terminal. We won’t let that happen. Some members of Occupy Seattle are preparing to join Occupy Oakland and Occupy Portland in a mass convergence in Longview. On the 6th, come learn more, get invovled, and prepare for this event.

Download flyer for event here: http://occupyseattle.org/sites/default/files/documents/files/Longview%20Speaking%20Tour%20flyer.pdf

Occupy Seattle Seeks Amendment to End Corporate Personhood

January 3, 2011. “Corporations are not people,” has been a mantra of Occupy Seattle since the organization’s inception, and on Wednesday, Dec. 21, these words were committed to action. Joining a long list of similar actions taken by Occupy movements around the country and the Los Angeles City Council, a resolution was adopted and a portion of the text reads:

“Be it resolved that Occupy Seattle calls for the abolition of corporate personhood. We join the tens of thousands of people, grassroots organizations and local governments across the country in calling for an Amendment to the Constitution to firmly establish that money spent on political campaigns must allow for an equal voice for all people, that human beings, not corporations, have natural rights protected by the Constitution, and that the rights of human beings will never again be granted to artificial entities or property.”

To celebrate this call to action, Occupy Seattle will join national rallies on January 20th and 21st. The January 20th event will be a one day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, referred to as “Occupy the Courts.” The Seattle event will take place outside of the U.S. District Court at 700 Stewart Street, starting at 11:00 AM. The January 21st event, “People Ignited Against Citizens United” will begin with a noontime rally at Westlake Park including speeches, music, and street theater, followed by a march at 2 PM which will end up at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building, at 2nd Ave and Marion St.

The rallies will set in motion a public awareness campaign focused on corporate personhood and the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted corporations the same free speech rights as individual citizens. The rallies are permitted and a trained peacekeeping cadre of volunteers will be in attendance.

Formed on Oct. 1, 2011, Occupy Seattle is a leaderless movement of concerned Americans who have taken to occupying public spaces in order to focus our nation’s attention on the undue influence of large corporations on our government, elected leaders and our democracy itself. It is inspired by and modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement.

All Power to the Positive Podcast

Independent Podcast put on by activists participating in Occupy Seattle and often centered on the occupation

All Power To The Positive (podcast/radio show/blog)
www.allpowertothepositive.info

Blog
www.allpowertothepositive.blogspot.com

Social Networking
www.facebook.com/gregorylewis
www.facebook.com/jacobbrown
www.twitter.com/senseilewis

Contact
allpowertothepositive@gmail.comt at: http://www.allpowertothepositive.info

A Call For Mass Action Against The Suppression of The Occupy Movement

The following call has been announced by an independent group sympathetic to the Occupy movement and has not been sponsored or approved by Occupy Seattle General Assembly at this time:

A Call for Mass Action Against the Suppression of the Occupy Movement

These past several months have witnessed something very different in the U.S. People from many different walks of life came together to occupy public space in nearly 1,000 cities in the U.S. They stood up to vicious police violence, they broke through the confines of “protest as usual,” and in the middle of all that, they built community. Even in the face of media attempts to ridicule, distort, and demonize these protests, their basic message began to get through. People throughout the U.S.—and even the world—took notice of and took heart from these brave and creative protesters.

The political terms of discourse began to shift; the iced-over thinking of people in the U.S. began to thaw. Standing up to the unjust brutality and arrests became a badge of honor. People began to listen to and read the stories of some of the victims of this economic crisis, and to share their own. And most of all, as the protests spread to city after city, the fact of people occupying public space forced open debate and raised big questions among millions as to what kind of society this is, and what it should be. Why does such poverty and need exist in the face of a relative handful of people amassing obscene amounts of wealth? Why do the political institutions of society seem only to serve that handful? Why do so many youth feel they face such a bleak future? Why does the insane destruction of the environment continue to accelerate? And what is needed to overcome all this?

Those who actually wield power in this country regarded these protests, and these questions, as dangerous, and reacted accordingly. Time and again those who wield power violated their own laws and ordered police to pepper spray, beat with clubs, and shoot tear gas canisters at the heads of people who were doing nothing more than non-violently expressing their dissent and seeking community. This reached a peak in the recent coordinated and systematic attacks of the past few weeks against all the major occupations. In fact, the mayor of Oakland admitted on BBC to being part of conference calls that coordinated national strategy against the occupiers. On top of all that, and in another blatant show of illegitimate force and power, they attempted to prevent journalists and photographers from covering these acts of repression—unless they were “embedded” with the police.

To put the matter bluntly, but truly: the state planned and unleashed naked and systematic violence and repression against people attempting to exercise rights that are supposed to be legally guaranteed. This response by those who wield power in this society is utterly shameful from a moral standpoint, and thoroughly illegitimate from a legal and political one.

Now this movement faces a true crossroads. Will it be dispersed, driven into the margins, or co-opted? Or will it come back stronger? This question now poses itself, extremely sharply.

One thing is clear already: if this illegitimate wave of repression is allowed to stand… if the powers-that-be succeed in suppressing or marginalizing this new movement… if people are once again “penned in”—both literally and symbolically—things will be much worse. THIS SUPPRESSION MUST BE MASSIVELY OPPOSED, AND DEFEATED.

On the other hand, this too is true: movements grow, and can only grow, by answering repression with even greater and more powerful mobilization.

The need to act is urgent.

As a first step in the necessary response, there must be a massive political mobilization on a day, or days, very soon to say NO! to this attempt to suppress thought and expression with brutality and violence. This mobilization should most of all be in New York, where this movement started… but it should at the same time be powerfully echoed all around the country and yes, around the world. This is a call for massive demonstrations—soon—carried out in public spaces where they can have maximum impact and exposure and where the authorities cannot pen in, suppress, and otherwise attempt to marginalize these demonstrations.

These demonstrations must be large enough to show clearly that people will not tolerate that which is intolerable… that people will not adjust to that which is so manifestly unjust. Such demonstrations, along with the efforts to reach out and build them, can draw many more people from passive sympathy into active support and can awaken and inspire even millions more who have not yet been reached. Such demonstrations can powerfully answer the attempt by “the 1%” to crush and/or derail this broad movement. Thousands and thousands in the streets, acting together, can seize new initiative and change the whole political equation. The urgent questions raised by Occupy—and other urgent questions that have yet to be raised in this movement—can once more reverberate, and more powerfully than before.

The repression of the Occupy movement must not stand. Act.

http://revcom.us/a/254/254crossroads-flier-en.pdf

An Open letter regarding the Non-violence Vs Diversity of tactics debate

The following letter was written by a participant in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle who wishes to remain anonymous. Views expressed are those of said activist speaking as an autonomous individual.

Open Letter to Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle,

I am writing concerning the debate about nonviolence vs. diversity of tactics. I can’t be at GAs this week because I am visiting friends and speaking about the port shutdown to folks from Occupy Wall Street in NYC. Please share this with people on all sides of the debate; I wished to raise some of these points in the GA on Tuesday but was never called on (which is okay, a lot of other people had crucial things to say). For transparency’s sake, I wish to emphasize I am definitely part of the broad “radical” tendency of Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle, but I do not speak for all radicals. We have no representatives or leadership structure; in fact, we are a loose grouping of like-minded activists, not an organization. Here I wish to emphasize a particular radical perspective that I think has been unfortunately drowned out by the polarizing debate.

First of all, I want to emphasize that when radicals argue for a “diversity of tactics”, we are not arguing for “anything goes.” If someone advocated a stupid tactic that would put all of us in unnecessary danger than the radicals would surely oppose this. There are all sorts of stupid tactics. Some of them, like trying to explain to a police officer why he should support a militant direct action would be considered “nonviolent.” Others, like setting off a bomb near cops stationed inside the family-friendly “green zone” of a demonstration, would be considered “violent”. We’d try to stop both of these because both of these would surely lead to violence coming down on folks who have not chosen to participate in a violent action – the first by giving the police info that could lead to violent arrests of fellow activists, the second because it endangers protesters’ lives.

In contrast, “diversity of tactics” means we are are open to all sorts of smart tactics that would be considered nonviolent by the mainstream society, as well as others that are similarly smart, but get labeled as “violent” by the mainstream media. Basically, I think we should start the conversation with the question: which tactics are smart and which ones aren’t? We may find we have more agreement there then we’d expect, agreement that’s getting overlooked in this debate about violence vs. nonviolence.

Given that, I think we need a clear, non-polemical answer to this question: why is this debate happening right now? If folks think it is because liberals are trying to take over the GA they need to prove it. If folks think it is because radicals are trying to take over the GA then they need to prove it. If it is for a different reason, what is that reason? I think answering this question will help us move forward.

My hypothesis is that this is coming up right now because the movement is at a turning point. We no longer have the camp, which brought out its own clear social groupings that have been in motion together since the fall. Some of these groupings have been dumpies (downwardly mobile urban professionals who the economic crisis has dumped into the working class), homeless folks, unemployed folks, and low wage workers. We are asking now: what new strategies can continue to mobilize these social groupings together ? What strategies can reach out to new groupings that we haven’t yet reached? Which groups should we be trying to reach? Is it possible to reach all communities at once? If not, which communities should be prioritized?

It’s clear the movement still has vitality, but it does not yet have a new direction. Really, we should be debating about how to find that direction. There is no reason why that debate should rip us apart, especially since it is entirely possible that some of us might choose to focus on some communities, and other might choose to focus on others, and that’s okay because we’ve already established a principle of autonomy in the movement.

Instead of having these debates in a healthy way, a few folks from the liberal faction of Occupy Seattle decided to frame the debate in terms of violence vs. nonviolence. It think this is unfortunate. We are trying to name and debate about the “elephant in the room” which is how this movement can grow as it enters its second phase. A few of the liberals have found the elephant’s tail and they are shouting “I found the elephant! We need to be nonviolent!”.

However, beneath their overzealousness lies some serious political concerns that can’t easily be dismissed, and need to be addressed through healthy political debate. Their main argument, as far as I can tell, is that unless we adopt a policy of nonviolence, they won’t be able to reach out to the groups they want to reach out to (groups that will be turned off by anything that can be labeled violent). This is a serious point that deserves a serious political response.

To give folks the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume that not all of the folks who are for the nonviolence proposal are doing it simply to get funding from liberal groups. Some might be, but some of them are probably doing it simply because they want people from their communities to participate and may be getting strong criticisms from their communities for the actions that some of the radicals in Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle have done. This could be amplified as folks spend time with family over the holidays, and face pressure around the dinner table.

The main response from the radical faction, as far as I can tell, is equally serious: if we adopt a policy of nonviolence, then we wont be able to reach out to the groups we want to reach out to: groups that face systematic racist, sexist, capitalistic, and homophobic violence and will not participate if we are required to renounce our capacity for self-defense. Radicals also face pressure from our communities – life is getting increasingly harder, there is more and more drama going on as the economic crisis deepens, and people all around us are asking how we can come together to provide safety for each other as we struggle to get free. Just when we think Decolonize/Occupy could be a way to provide this safety, we are faced with a mandatory nonviolence proposal that will tie our hands and make it harder for us to do that.

I think if we could cut out a lot of the rhetorical fireworks and focus the discussion on these contending points, we might be able to reach a breakthrough. I do think some choices will need to be made about which community’s concerns we prioritize most, but this does mean that other communities need to be shut out of the movement and it does not mean we need to split.

For example, I think that this movement should be grounded in, and in solidarity with, the struggles of working class communities of color. Wall St. and the 1% get their profits by exploiting working class people of color more than they exploit working class white people. (Note, when I say working class I don’t just mean people who currently work, I also mean unemployed folks, and anyone who has been displaced, dispossessed, or separated from their land and the means of production by colonialism). I do think that this movement will not be relevant to working class communities of color if it relies on the police for safety. In a white supremacist society, people of color are far too likely to be attacked by police or by racist white people. For this reason, it is unfair and unrealistic to ask folks to check their capacity for self-defense at the door if they wish to join the movement. A mandatory nonviolence policy also puts at risk people of color who have been tirelessly building this movement from the beginning. That’s not right and we won’t let it happen.

However, I don’t think the radicals’ response to this demand has simply been “white people go home.” If you listen closely, folks are not saying white people have no role in the movement. Most radicals are simply saying the movement should not be white dominated and white people should not be telling people of color they can’t defend themselves.

Many of the radicals recognize that white people are not all the same, and that white women, queer, transgender, working class, and gender nonconforming folks are also much more likely to be attacked by police or by other violent, reactionary forces in society than white middle and upper class straight men are. We want to build alliances, and defending each other is part of that.

This piece by a few of the radicals argues that working class white people are actually facing less and less privilege under the system. The economic crisis has lead to even greater attacks on working class people of color, but it has also lead to attacks on working class white folks. It is in the interest of working class white folks to unite with working class people of color, and to be in solidarity with their struggles: http://blackorchidcollective.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/occupy-to-end-capitalism/. Not all radicals agree with this article, but it’s worth considering.

It’s important to emphasize that none of the radicals are advocating that Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle should take a position of guerilla warfare or armed revolutionary warfare right now. This is a straw-man argument that some liberals have raised to discredit us. Primarily, many radicals are concerned about our personal safety and our need to defend ourselves. People won’t join the movement if they know they will be needlessly unsafe within it.

At a broader level, many of us are part of this movement because we believe in taking responsibility for all aspects of our lives, including matters of security and accountability. We don’t believe in leaving these up to a racist, capitalist, sexist, and heterosexist police and judicial system. We wish to start building an alternative, rooted in the same principles of autonomy and direct democracy that animate the General Assembly. Many of us were central to attempts to provide safety in the camp. We are not saying we oppose this nonviolence proposal because we love violence. We are saying we oppose it because it limits our ability to take responsibility for ourselves and each other. In some respects, it actually means we’d have less freedom than we do outside of the movement, which seems backwards.

I am hearing from some white middle class folks that they can’t be associated with OS unless it takes a pledge of nonviolence because their own communities will see them as violent by association even if they don’t participate in violence themselves. They are saying that being in a movement that is labeled violent will hurt their organizing efforts more than it will hurt radicals if we are associated with a movement that is “nonviolent.” First of all, this is not accurate. In many of our communities, we will be seen as naive, whitewashed, bourgie, or not serious if we are associated with a movement that is known to require nonviolence for all of its participants. Worse, some reactionaries out there might think that they can take advantage of us more easily because the movement has required us to renounce our capacity for self-defense and we might be put at danger.

Given this, I don’t think the nonviolence proposal should be passed. At the same time, I don’t think that radicals should just dismiss liberals, including white middle class liberals, when they say that the defeat of this proposal will mean it’ll be harder for them to organize in their communities. I think that Occupy Seattle should work together to make it clear to the public that we are for a diversity of tactics, not mandatory self-defense or armed struggle. We should make it clear that folks who believe in nonviolence can still participate in the movement. We should also try to open up a dialogue about how organizers from white middle class backgrounds can go back to their communities and explain why Occupy Seattle has not passed a mandatory nonviolence resolution. This could be a great opportunity to educate and challenge folks, and to expand the movement.

At the same time, I think radicals should be careful not to catch people in the crossfire. (to be fair, most of us have been careful, but if the debate polarizes further this could become an issue). Not everyone who believes in nonviolence is white, and not everyone is a liberal. And some people who started out liberal have become radicals the past few months; others are somewhere in between. The vitality of the radicals so far is that we have not hardened into a rigid organization. We don’t have our own borders or leaders. We have many voices. We are open to new people joining; many of us are in fact new to organizing, and folks who are more experienced are working together for the first time. This is exceptional – it is not happening as much in other cities, and it is a major reason for the dynamism not only of Seattle’s radical scenes but of Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle as a whole. It is also a major reason for the sucess of the port shutdown. If we start to draw hard lines against everyone who belives in nonviolence then we will loose this vitality. If someone believes in nonviolence and they’re willing to shut down ports chanting “everything for everyone the revolution has begun”, then we should work together.

I’ve been doing research recently on the tactics police use when they try to infiltrate and destroy movements. One tactic they have used over and over again is to infiltrate liberal circles and label all radicals as violent extremists, or to suggest that radicals are police provocatuers to discredit them. Often, their goal is to join and encapsulate/ contain a movement within a limited and moderate set of goals. Another tactic they have used is to infiltrate radical circles in attempts to provoke an over-reaction against liberal nonviolence, and a premature split. They want radicals to become closed off, paranoid, and mistrustful so that our organizations and communities will no longer be accessible or attractive to new folks. I think Seattle’s radicals are too smart to fall for that. I hope Seattle’s liberals are as well. I have no evidence that there are police agents in Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle currently, but I do think that how we handle this debate will affect our long-term resiliency in the face of possible police interference.

One of the things that disappoints me about this debate is that there have been few folks who have made arguments from a principled, radical pacifist perspective. It seems most of the main arguments for the nonviolence proposal center around tactics, not principle. I worry that folks who believe in nonviolence on principle might be getting sidelined or silenced. I am not a pacifist today, but I first became an activist through Christian and interfaith organizing against the war in Iraq, and was deeply inspired by radical pacifists like Daniel Berrigan who burned a bunch of draft files with homemade napalm and went underground to evade the FBI because he thought that a violent, oppressive, racist state has no right to apprehend him and put him on trial. This goes a lot further than classic notions of civil disobedience where you’re supposed to turn yourself in to accept the legitimacy of the system minus the one law you are protesting because you think it’s unjust. In fact, I think Berrigan’s actions actually have a little more in common with some tactics used by anarchists, and I’m not sure, but I think he may have considered himself an anarchist pacifist.

Berrigan was working in solidarity with the Black Panthers and the Vietnamese resistance movements against colonialism. He wanted to build a nonviolent alternative to the armed solidarity work being done by groups like the Weather Underground. However, he didn’t distance himself from the Underground or from the Panthers or any other armed groups. He was not ashamed to be associated with the anti-war movement just because these groups were a part of it. Instead, he stayed in the movement and tried to create a nonviolent option for resistance through his own activity.

Instead of trying to impose mandatory nonviolence resolution, I encourage those who really believe in nonviolence to figure out ways to challenge the violence of the state, capitalism, patriarchy, rape culture, heterosexism, and white supremacy. We can work together on that. If you want to challenge it nonviolently, I respect that. But to be philosophically consistent, you shouldn’t collaborate with politicians, cops, and the system because the system is incredibly violent. Instead, you should think of ways to work with the radicals in Occupy Seattle to oppose the violence of this society. If you want to do that nonviolently, then organize yourselves to do it. I’m sure you will find support, even from those of us who may be labeled as “violent”. That’s what “diversity of tactics” is all about.

I’m not an anarchist, but I’ll end with a quote from an anarchist flyer that was distributed at the camp this fall. It is a reminder of why we are all here in the first place: “the greatest violence would be to return to normal.” After what we’ve all been through together we can’t just walk away from this movement without inflicting great violence on our own hearts, minds, and souls. Think about the level of of repression and denial that it will take to walk away and to go back to a “normal” life where you just put up with a future-less, dream-less reality full of endless work and economic anxiety. Trying to readjust to that just because you lost a debate in the GA is a recipe for misery. Doing that to yourself is way more violent then anything the radicals have done in this movement.

peace and solidarity,
participant in Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle

An Open Letter to the People of Wukan From Participants of Occupy Seattle

An Open Letter to the People of Wukan From Participants of Occupy Seattle,

Brothers and sisters in Wukan, we write to you to express our support and sympathy for your situation, and to communicate our deepest respect and admiration for your bravery and moral resolve in taking control of your own village.

We would also like to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences regarding the death of Mr. Xue Jinbo. There are no words that can adequately express this feeling, or do true justice to the matter, but in whatever way you would accept, we wish to express our shared sadness for this tragedy, and to honor both Mr. Xue’s bravery and his sacrifice.

From what we know, at the time this letter is being written, there are approximately 20,000 men, women, and children in your village holding the space of your own community and asserting with your bodies both your refusal to cooperate with things that are not right and your inherent human right to manage the affairs of your own lives.

As we understand it, after discovering that Mr. Xue’s death appeared to be the result of being tortured by the police, you forced all government representatives, including the police, out of the village. We understand that you are demanding redress of the attempted land seizures and full democratic elections before government officials are allowed back.

In response, however, we understand that instead of investigating the circumstances of Mr. Xue’s death or meeting your demands that the government has encircled your village with soldiers and is not allowing the passage of persons, food, or water in or out. It is our understanding that these means are intended to force you to abandon your demands, and to allow them to retake control of your village and return to ‘business as usual’. We also understand that the government has cut off all communications in and out of the village, and that they are controlling information available in China about your situation including publishing intentionally false and misleading news articles and television reports.

We also understand that the government is actively trying to subvert members of your community, offering them money and other gifts to break solidarity with the village and align with the CCP. Although there may be some who have accepted these offers, it is our understanding that at this time the vast majority of your community has stayed in solidarity, and that as a community you are strong. We are inspired by your dedication to unity.

Insofar as we understand your situation this immoral behavior of your government and the private industry behind it, are an instance of the same pattern of corruption and exploitation now prevalent everywhere in the world, including Seattle and all in all of the United States. Your courageous refusal to allow Country Garden to seize your farmland, however, and your refusal to be intimidated by police violence seems to us a particularly brave and noble occasion in the growing motion of ordinary men and women all around the world coming together in great number in refusal to cooperate with what is not right, and cooperating instead with one another in creating the world that is best for all.

We wish, first of all, for your safety in the current situation, and that the resolution be as benign as possible for all, including justice for Mr. Xue’s family. Second, in whatever should happen in the days ahead in your village, we wish to always share with you a solidarity in this work, based on an underlying knowledge that we are one, and that we are all best served when we love one another and always remember our unity.

We write with the certain knowledge that a better world is possible for all, and that our cooperation and unity will bring it about more quickly.

With Love and Gratitude for all,

Participants of Occupy Seattle

Defend the Bill of rights protest!

on 12/15 in honor of the 220th anniversary of the Bill of rights being added to the constitution a protest is being organized to protest 2 new bills being voted on by the Senate that would seriously compromise civil liberties. The following press release was just sent out from the organizer of the protest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Rev Aaron Elijah Colyer
Outside the Box Ministries
(702)449-5893
Bill of Rights Day March against the NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill and SOPA Internet Censorship Bill
Seattle, WA, USA – December 15, 2011
Citizens are taking to the streets to protest the expected signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and the Internet Censorship Bill, also known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). These treasonous and unconstitutional acts violate the sovereign and inalienable rights that belong to ALL people.
Members of various community organizing groups will participate in the march and demonstration which will be between 5pm-8pm beginning at Westlake Park and ending at the Federal Building in Downtown Seattle.
This will be a peaceful, non-violent demonstration to celebrate Bill of Rights Day, which is December 15th, and to declare our disapproval for the anti-constitutional actions taken by our government against the people it is sworn to serve, protect, and represent.

A Flyer for the protest that can be printed and shared can be found at:

http://i.imgur.com/tB0TM.jpg

Dec12guide

lengend3

Support Grows for Seattle Port Shutdown on December 12th! – Press Release -


Occupy Seattle – December 07, 2011
WEBSITE: www.occupyseattle.org
CONTACT: Seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com

As of November 27, 2011, the Occupy movement in every major West Coast port city have joined Occupy Oakland in calling for and organizing a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade and Shutdown on Monday, December 12, 2011.

In Seattle, the shutdown begins at 1pm with a mass march from Westlake plaza to the port. The marchers will rally at 3pm at the Spokane Fisherman’s Pier directly adjacent the port. A second rally is being held at 6pm for supporters arriving after work

Though the Seattle port shutdown is being held in solidarity with the occupation of the state capitol in Olympia against proposed budget cuts, this is not the sum of its purpose.

“The ports are Wall Street on the waterfront – without them running, Wall Street makes no profits. If they cut our livelihoods, we will cut their profits,” said Maria Guillen, an Occupy Seattle Organizer. “By building for this, Occupy Seattle will show that we also are part of the workers’ struggle. The Decolonize/Occupy movement is a union for everyone, especially that 89% of the workforce who are not unionized, including immigrant laborers, such as Seattle’s own port truckers making poverty wages and suffering racial discrimination, as well as working women of color who still make significantly less than their male counterparts. Our picket lines are picket lines organized by working class people, in solidarity with fellow workers.”

Each Occupy is organizing plans for a mass mobilization and community pickets to shut down their local port. The mobilization of over 60,000 people that shut down the Port of Oakland during the general strike on November 2, 2011 is the model for the West Coast efforts. Organizers state that a police attempt to disrupt the port blockade or police violence against any city participating will extend duration of the blockade on the entire coast.

Though the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) cannot legally be involved in the planning of this action, there is much support for it from rank-and-file port workers.

“It appears that some working class people will set up a community picket line on the waterfront on December 12th,” commented Gabriel Prawl, local longshoreman and co-convener of the Million Worker March of the Pacific Northwest.

“They have been passing out fliers this week with four demands printed on them,” Prawl continued, referencing the movement’s four major demands to: 1. Stop Police Repression. 2. End Austerity Measures. 3. End Union Busting, especially against port truckers trying to organize across the West Coast. 4. Fight for transnational grain conglomerate EGT to negotiate in good faith with longshoremen.

“As a longshoreman, I notice that one of these demands is in direct solidarity with me, which I appreciate,” Prawl explained. “I have nothing to do with this decision to picket the waterfront, nor do any longshoremen that I am aware of, but I notice that these peoples’ demands are righteous. Many differences between economic classes have traditionally been aired out on the waterfront throughout the last century, including long before my union existed.”

Prawl was also insistent that, despite comments by union leadership, the rank-and-file longshoremen are beholden first and foremost to their own union principles. “As West Coast longshoremen, we follow a set of 10 guiding principles to help us do the right thing in situations like this. Principle number four states that we respect any picket line as if it were our own. And we hold this principle more sacred than the sanctity of any contractunder which we work.”

Further interviews and details can be obtained by contacting the Occupy Seattle Port Solidarity Committee at Seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.westcoastportshutdown.org and www.occupyseattle.org.

D12: Updates on Transportation to Port Shutdown! Free, Wheelchair Accessible Bus Shuttle!

OCCUPY SEATTLE WILL BE SHUTTLING DEMONSTRATORS FROM WESTLAKE TO THE PORT ACTION DECEMBER 12th.

Take Occupy Seattle’s FREE, WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE BUS from Westlake Center on Pike St. (next to Sephora) to the Port of Seattle LEAVING EVERY HOUR at 2:15, 3:15, 4:15, and 5:15pm! Questions about the Occupy Bus? Call Noel (206)794-6838.

Did I mention it’s FREE?

Because of limited space, also BE PREPARED TO TAKE A METRO BUS, such as routes #125, #122, #132, #21, or #22 from Westlake Center to the Port. GET OFF at Chelan Ave SW and SW Spokane St., and walk East along the Alki bike path beneath the West Seattle bridge. Occupy Seattle members will meet you there!

Do you have a CAR? Feel like BEING HELPFUL? Call Pete at (925)658-2013 from the Transportation Workgroup to be an ON-CALL DRIVER during the demonstration, OR to coordinate carpools back to the city when you leave the demonstration.

You can also visit the following facebook event page to find a driver / rider near you to coordinate:

https://www.facebook.com/events/268926283156517/

This is crucial to ensuring that we can get as many people out to (and back from!) the Port Shutdown, as well as ensuring that it will be accessible to all peoples regardless of disability, age, or any physical hindrance.

For UPDATES on day of PORT SHUT-DOWN/ call (206)424-4547.

Dubs Up! Hip Hop Occupies Call-to-Action for West Coast Port Shutdown

Dubs Up! Hip Hop Occupies Call-to-Action for West Coast Port Shutdown

Group issues solidarity statement & artist all-call for participation in 12/12 rallies

Seattle, WA–Hip Hop Occupies is calling upon youth and artists in Seattle and beyond to come out in full force December 12th in support and solidarity for the West Coast Port Shutdown. HHO endorses this day of direct action as not only an opportunity to make a political statement against budget cuts and on-going police brutality, but also to create a strategic profit loss within the toxic capitalist economic system. From Seattle to San Diego, oppressed peoples of all backgrounds are mobilizing to shut down the power of the 1% in this coordinated national effort. We choose to occupy capital, not capitol buildings, because we are no longer waiting to have our voices validated at the whim of elected officials.

It is the fact that the Port Shutdown is pushing the “Occupy Movement” in a more active, coordinated direction that Hip Hop Occupies stands in solidarity. It has historically been a West Coast tradition to push the envelope of culture and struggle in this way. From the Black Panthers to Freestyle Fellowship, from NWA to the 1919 Seattle General Strike, the West Coast stays innovating. Following in the footsteps of these West Coast innovators in both Hip Hop and Revolutionary struggle, Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize Seattle is helping to coordinate rallies at 1pm, 3pm, and 6pm on Monday, December 12th. We are asking all our allies in the artist community to come MC, paint, dance, and create in the name of freedom and self-determination.

Event Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011

Event Locations: Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in Downtown Seattle, Port of Seattle

Event Schedule:

12:00pm: Hip Hop Occupies Artist Check-In at Westlake

1:00pm: Rally and Performances at Westlake Center

3:00pm: Rally & Performances at Port of Seattle

6:00pm: Rally & Performances at Spokane Street Fishing Area
To participate, perform, speak and/or share at any of the D12 rallies in Seattle, call (425) 223-7787, email HipHopOccupies@gmail, and then show up at Westlake Park on 4th & Pine at 12pm on 12/12 for the artist check-in.

Video of Support for D12 featuring Boots Riley of the Coup: http://youtu.be/OGqncu3wlEI
For more info on the West Coast Port Shutdown visit: www.westcoastportshutdown.org
For more Info on Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize visit: www.HipHopOccupies.com

Weekly Budget proposals

4/2/2012- Intergroup agrees to suspend budgets for a while, in order to ensure all current bills get paid, and to conserve remaining funds.

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/26/12 intergroup meeting—
No requests

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/19/12 intergroup meeting—
ICT: $70
FNB: $40
Direct Action: $30

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/12/12 intergroup meeting—
ICT: $40
FNB: $60
Food: $40
Ikko Ikki: $50
Total budget: $190

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/5/12 intergroup meeting—
Info: $20
Engineering: $20
ICT: $80
Food Not Bombs: $60
Gender Equality: $200
Media: $50
Total budget: $430

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/27/12 intergroup meeting—
Information: $20
Food Not Bombs: $40
Food: $20
ICT: $20
Total budget: $100

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/20/12 intergroup meeting—
Outreach $20
Information $20
Food Not Bomb $100
ICT $30
Food $40
Livestream $70

Total Budget $280

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/6/12 intergroup meeting—
Food $40
Food Not Bombs $140
Information $50
ICT $70
Ikko Ikki $50
Outreach $50

Total budget $500

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 1/16/12 intergroup meeting—

Arts and Entertainment $100
Food Not Bombs $105
UFW Action $150
Finance $40
Gender Equality $80
Outreach $25

Total budget $500

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 1/9/12 intergroup meeting—

Food Not Bombs – $130
Outreach – $50
Morale – $200
City Hall – $120

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 1/2/12 intergroup meeting—

Supply and Storage-
$460
Engineering-
$180
Arts and Entertainment-
$110
ICT-
$50
Food Not Bombs-
$160

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 12/27 intergroup meeting

$203 for Food Not Bombs

$285 for Legal – Bail/Bond

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at 12/20 Intergroup meeting

Medical $150
Food Not Bombs $203
Outreach $50
Tactical $50
Wukan Warriors Temporary WG $50

The following workgroup budgets were proposed at 12/05 Intergroup meeting

$200 For Food group
$100 For Environmental Justice Workgroup to help cover cost of fliers and direct action materials
$100 for Food not bombs to help them cover costs associated with feeding camp
$70 for ICT to help cover cost of server hosting
$150 for media to cover costs of 2 wi-fi hotspots and several flipcams
$100 For outreach to help with various expenses
$100 for sanitation to help cover trash pickup etc
$350 for Port action

Full minutes and explanation of costs can be found at http://forum.occupyseattle.org/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=2124

West Coast Port Shutdown

Why Shut Down the Port of Seattle on Dec 12th?

Longshoremen Struggles 1985-2010, The Struggle Continues:

http://westcoastportshutdown.org/content/longshoremen-struggles-1985-2010-stuggle-continues

On December 12th, Occupy Seattle will join the rest of the West Coast Occupy movement in the West Coast Port Shutdown. We will be shutting down the Port of Seattle with a mass community picket/ blockade.

Occupy Seattle’s General Assembly voted unanimously to endorse the call to action put out by Occupy Oakland. Port blockades are planned in San Diego, LA, Oakland, Portland, Vancouver, Tacoma, and Seattle.

– We will march to the port beginning at Westlake Park at 1 PM

– There will be two rallies near the port at 3 PM and 6 PM at the Spokane Street fishing area, just to the east of the Spokane St. Bridge, near the intersection of SW Spokane St & SW Manning St, under the West Seattle bridge. (the 125 bus goes there from downtown and from West Seattle; get off at Chelan Ave SW and SW Spokane St. and walk east along the Alki bike path)

– Come to the Spokane St. fishing area anytime after 3 and Occupy Seattle members will meet you there to show you where to find the port picket lines

– If you can offer carpool transportation or need a ride please see : http://occupyseattle.org/blog/2011-12-07/port-action-car-pool-plans

If you come late, please check #occupyseattle or #occupyseattleport on twitter for the march’s current location. Information about the coast-wide day of action can be found here: http://www.westcoastportshutdown.org/.
Please invite your friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/318022101544266/

If you wish to donate to help the logistical funding of this operation please click

Donate with WePay

This action is aimed only at commercial shipping and will not be targeting commuter passenger ferries used by the 99%.

Why shut down the port?

1) We will shut down the port to resist the budget cuts that
target working class people.

The 1% are confident they can cut our health care, education, food aid, and social services because they think we won’t fight back. They are wrong. If they cut our safety net to pieces, we will cut their profits. The port is a major source of profits for the 1%, especially during the holiday season when they ship goods produced by Asian workers under horrible labor conditions to American malls where increasingly broke workers buy holiday presents on credit, worried about whether we will lose our jobs, food stamps, or health care. We are tired of worrying, so now we are fighting back. A port shutdown will hit the 1% directly in their wallets. Happy Holidays you scrooges.

2) We will shut down the port to bypass the corporate-controlled politicians and confront the 1% who really call the shots.

In December, some members of Occupy Seattle will be occupying the Capitol building; the rest of us here in Seattle will occupy capital: the port facilities of transnational corporations. Together, we fight against the same cuts.

Capital means the machines, trucks, ships, stores, cafes, hospitals, etc. – all the things the corporations own, which we work on to make their profits. One of their biggest pieces of capital is the port of Seattle. We know the 1% controls the politicians who are cutting the working class’s standard of living. So instead of begging politicians to stop cutting us, we’ll do what our friends did when they occupied Wall Street and go straight to the source of the problem: the capitalists. The ports are Wall Street on the waterfront – without them running, Wall Street makes no profits. If they cut our livelihoods, we will cut their profits.

3) We will shut down the port to defend workers’ right to organize.
We assert that the Occupy movement is part of the workers’ movement.

Goldman Sachs is the 1% of the 1%. They control a majority share of Stevedore Services of America (SSA), a major player in the port of Seattle. SSA is repressing immigrant port truckers who are trying to organize in their workplace in the port of LA, which is why Occupy LA put out the call for solidarity picket lines at ports up and down the West Coast on December 12th. Port truckers in Seattle are also face low pay, discrimination, unpaid time wasted at entry gates, etc., and we are in solidarity with them.

By building this solidarity, Occupy Seattle will show that we also are part of the workers’ movement. Because the 1% uses repressive labor laws and union busting firms to disrupt organizing efforts, only 11% of US workers are organized into labor unions. On December 12th, Occupy Seattle will take a stand to defend our right to organize on the job. We also recognize that the U.S. working class is starting to get organized in the Occupy movement, which makes us part of the workers’ movement. Many who are involved in the Occupy movement are members of unions. Many of us also make up the remaining 89% of U.S. workers who are not in unions, as well as the large sections of the U.S. working class who are unemployed, underemployed, students, and homeless. Our picket lines might not have the same legal standing as official union picket lines, but when the unions first started picketing back in the day they were also considered illegitimate. Occupy Seattle’s picket lines are still picket lines organized by working class people, in solidarity with fellow workers. December 12th is the first of many actions that Occupy will take as a new wing of the workers’ movement.

4) We will shut down the port in response to the police violence and harassment the Occupy movement has faced worldwide.

The 1% uses union busting tactics to shut down our organizing on the job and their cops use pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs to repress our organizing in the streets and plazas. We know that if the 1% wanted to, they could tell the police to stop all this repression. But they are apparently not embarrassed when global media broadcasts images of veteran Scott Olson with his head smashed in, or 84-year-old Dorli Rainey with her face full of pepper spray. They didn’t care when their cops kicked Jennifer Fox in the stomach, after which she miscarried. They didn’t care when their cops and security guards murdered Oscar Grant, John T. Williams, Jesus Mejia or Aiyana Jones. And in Egypt, the US-backed military regime has killed dozens of revolutionaries
and injured thousands since November 19 alone. They have called on the American Occupy movement to stand with them in solidarity.

The global 1% does not care about this state violence as long as their goods get shipped and their profits flow. On Nov 2nd, Occupy Oakland shut down the port of Oakland in response to the police violence they faced. On Dec. 12th we will do the same up and down the coast. Let’s show the forces of repression that when they stomp the flames of freedom they just spread the embers.

5) We will send a warning to EGT, the multinational conglomerate that is trying to bust the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

EGT Development is refusing to honor the ILWU’s contract in Longview, WA, and we wish to stand in solidarity with the ILWU in their struggle against this union busting. Our action is independent from the ILWU; we are in no way attempting to co-opt or control their struggle and they are not controlling us. However, we are inspired by Longshore workers’ direct actions against EGT, and we are angered by the repression they are facing by the cops and courts, which is similar to the repression we are facing. We know that if the 1% busts the ILWU they will try to drive down all of our wages and working conditions next. We hope our action on the 12th will show EGT that we are capable of disrupting business. They should honor the ILWU’s contract because next time it could be their business.

Our decision to picket/ blockade the port is not deterred by the recent memo written by International ILWU President, Robert McEllrath, and quoted by the Longshore and Shipping News. We agree with the statement that the Occupy Oakland Port Blockade working group put out regarding our movement’s relations with the ILWU: http://westcoastportshutdown.org/content/clarification-nature-call-west-coast-port-blockade

In particular, we’d like to highlight that ILWU Local 21, Longview, Washington, was strongly heartened and encouraged by the overwhelming support shown for them by the historic November 2 port shutdown in Oakland. Their local president spoke at Oakland Occupy’s rally last Saturday, thanking us for our support. He and other ILWU rank and file members marched with us that day.” In particular, local 21 president Dan Kaufman said:
”When Nov 2nd happened, and it was against EGT in respect to the ILWU and Local 21, you cannot believe what you people did for the inspiration of my union members who have been on the picket line for six months now!”
For video footage of this, see: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtdQCZSQ99I )

We’d also like to highlight that: “The ILWU rank and file have historically honored community picket lines in the port — for example they refused to cross community picket lines to unload cargo from apartheid South Africa.” They honored the community picket line set up by Occupy Oakland on Nov 2nd, and the ILWU Coast Committee cautioned its members that if a similar situation develops on Dec. 12, longshoremen should “stand in a safe area and await a decision by employers to call for an arbitrator.” This is similar to past situations where ILWU members have honored community picket lines. It allows the ILWU a legal out, not to cross the lines, if the picket lines are large enough to pose a threat to their safety, as interpreted by the arbitrator.

We aim to build trust and open communication between the Occupy movement and port workers.

6) We will shut down the port as part of the second phase of our movement

With this Dec. 12th action, the Occupy movement is undertaking a transformation. When we started occupying Seattle Central Community College, many people told us, “don’t disrupt life for the 99%, go disrupt it for the 1%.” They said the same thing when we joined labor unions to occupy a bridge on Nov 17th. These criticisms missed the fact that our camps have enhanced life for the 99% by providing educational opportunities, food, and shelter, and have stood as a visible reminder of the need for deeper social change. We agree though that we should be disrupting the 1% more. That’s why we’re occupying the port, as well as abandoned buildings owned by banks, wealthy developers, etc.

We will occupy everything.
We believe everyone deserves the rights to housing, education, food and safety.
We believe our lives are worth more than our labor power.
We believe our community members should not die under the harsh rule of the 1%. We are simply laying claim to what has always been ours.
Everything for everyone.

For more info, and to give suggestions, please contact: seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com

Guide to Port Shutdown: Click here to download our PDF Guide to the Seattle Port Shut Down.

People of Color / Decolonize Caucus

Current Contact: poccupy.decolonize@gmail.com

Letter from the POC caucus to friends, family and community: Dec 12 Port Shut down

OPEN LETTER TO OUR PEOPLE OF COLOR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY

Please join us for the West Coast Port Shutdown on December 12!

Occupy Seattle’s General Assembly voted unanimously to endorse the call to action put out by Occupy Oakland. Port blockades are planned in San Diego, LA, Oakland, Portland, Vancouver, Tacoma, and Seattle.

At 1pm on Monday, December 12th, Occupy Seattle will march to shut down the Port of Seattle through a mass community picket and blockade in solidarity with the rest of the West Coast Occupy movement and all those who value people over profits. The march will begin in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park on Monday, December 12th at 1pm where we will make our way down to the port. Join us in standing up in support of the Longview, WA Longshoremen struggle for justice against the multinational grain exporter EGT.

This day of direct political action is an opportunity for all peoples to come together as a unified front to make both a political statement and a strategic profit loss to those 1% who have assumed power over our powerful majority; the 99%. It is vital that we as people of color come out in mass numbers in solidarity with other West Coast movements to represent the reality that WE, indeed, are the majority, that WE, publicly and collectively reject capitalist systems that make commodities of us all, (particularly people of color,) and that WE, indeed, are powerful.

If you come late, please check #occupyseattle or #occupyseattleport on twitter for the march’s current location. Information about the coast-wide day of action can be found here:http://www.westcoastportshutdown.org/.
Please invite your friends on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/events/318022101544266/

WHY WE FORMED AND WHY WE ARE INVOLVED WITH THIS ACTION AND MOVEMENT:

The POCcupy/Decolonize Caucus of Occupy Seattle is composed of Indigenous peoples, people of color, non-citizens, economic refugees (immigrant workers), survivors of systematic state sanctioned violence and survivors of the prison industrial complex. We are involved in “Occupy Seattle” to build a revolutionary movement that acknowledges the United States historical legacies of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and genocide within/outside this nation that has brought about extreme poverty and state-sanctioned militarized violence to many communities. We rise and decolonize, reclaim and reaffirm our voices in a global struggle against a toxic capitalist economic system that has kept us in inhumane living and working conditions. Through capital, the 1% controls politics and implement inhumane laws that exploit and deprive our communities of our human and worker rights.

In solidarity with queer people of color and survivors of the prison industrial complex, we acknowledge our liberation is interlinked and we must build from an anti-oppression framework a people-led movement. On D12 we strike back against the attacks on our communities. From inhumane budget cuts that will eliminate vital services and hurt millions of people, the 1% has built their wealth on the systematic genocide and slavery of our ancestors and the exploitation of the earth through economic and militarized terrorism. We cannot remain silent when politicians and the 1% blame immigrant workers for an economic recession we did not create. As the United States detains innocent people who escape for survival, we strike back at the 1% whose laws are illegitimate in our eyes. We do not believe that being arrested for trespassing private poverty is a legitimate excuse to physically attack us. We do not recognize the rules created by the 1% to exploit and violate our rights. We’ve always been the 99% and we cannot afford to live in fear anymore. We shut down the west coast in solidarity with truck and port workers and show our community strength to build a better world.

In mainstream media, they depict “the Occupy” movement as a “white” “middle-class” struggle, which furtherinvisibilizes our narratives and experiences as people of color, economic refugees, womyn, queer folk, and other disenfranchised communities in the “occupy” movement. As POCcupy/Decolonize caucus we have witnessed how the police strategically target people of color at Occupy Seattle and utilize violent methods to arrest us. We stand in solidarity with our comrades and will not let any of our people go. This is nothing new, as we understand how the 1% has historically targeted and used the police to attack our communities and inhumanely imprison our families, friends, and love-ones in detention centers and prisons. Our bodies are not for sale. Our bodies are not “cheap labor.” Our communities will not be terrorized.

POCCUPY/DECOLONIZE CAUCUS PRINCIPLES:

We know that as people of color we face a legal system dominated by white supremacy. “More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. (http://www.sentencingproject.org) We will do everything in our power to support our members who are arrested or face any legal consequences due to their political activity with our movements. We share an understanding that our communities are targeted by state violence, and the legal system and because of this we know our communities are more vulnerable and need to be in united when faced with State repression.

We will not pressure people to face arrest. We trust our members to know themselves, their situation and whether it is safe for them to face arrest. State violence is unpredictable and we know people of color are prime targets when the forces of the State decide to repress our movement.

We are occupying buildings, streets, centers of production, our communities, and our bodies. We are decolonizing buildings, streets, centers of productions, our communities, and our bodies. We decolonize and occupy to build the communities we wish to live in and create the world we believe is possible.

We know that our communities overlap and intersect and that many of us are part of several communities. We support members of the queer community, working class and poor people, people of different abilities in this caucus and our wider community. We understand that “oppression of one is oppression of all” and will do our best to ensure no injustice done to anyone in our struggle for social justice.

“Like abuse, resistance takes many forms. Sometimes the result is progress, even revolutionary change.” -The Revolution Starts at Home, Chen, Dulani, & Piepzna-Samarasinha

We will support our ever expanding membership as fully as possible. We need to be accountable to each other and we need to be able to have honest conversations about our work and relationships within our community.

We will organize in support of people of color who are currently under the supervision of the criminal justice system. As we seek to decolonize our consciousness at people of color we remember the wisdom of precolonial times where those on the front lines, captured, or wounded or lost in battle were honored as warriors. It is important today for us to remember and stand for our warriors as we continue our struggle for racial and social justice with them in mind. Many of them are made invisible by the state and are in need of our attention and support. Troy Davis. Oscar Grant. Jesus Mejia. Aiyana Jones. John T. Williams. “We are losing many of our leaders to the prison industry. We are losing many warriors. We are losing much of our future. “– Luis J Rodriguez


“CONDUCT YOUR
BLOOMING IN THE
NOISE AND WHIP
OF THE WHIRLWIND.”
Gwendolyn Brooks

SCCC Faculty member responds to Administration’s claims about Occupy Seattle

The following email was written by SCCC Faculty member Jeb Wyman and sent out widely to SCCC faculty and students. It is being reprinted here with his permission.

RATS, TRASH, AND NEEDLES. OH MY. By Jeb Wyman

A few of my colleagues have expressed gratitude to our administrators for their decisive actions to oust Occupy Seattle from the south lawn. I want to throw my roses to the matadors in the ring, too.

After last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, it was clear just how well they’d done. As it happens, that same afternoon, not long after the last smack of the gavel, I introduced poli sci faculty Jawed Zouari, who was delivering a lecture titled “From the Tunisian revolution to Occupy Seattle.” I told the crowd of about eighty students that the Trustees had just voted unanimously (a united front!) to ban camping on campus.

One student clapped enthusiastically. “GOOD!” he said. “Those guys throw needles in childcare centers.”

Maybe a dozen others glared at the young man—got to admire his guts—but that’s not the point. The point is that the young man seemed really to despise those nutjobs camped out in the rain. He despises them because, as far as he’s concerned, so it seems, they’re the scum of the earth.

It’s no secret how he came to feel that way. He and lots of others. Only ten days before, the administration pulled off a little media blitz. Quickie pieces appeared in the Seattle P-I, the Tribune, King 5, even KUOW (who cleverly rehashed King 5’s single-source story).

The news was all about rats, trash, drugs, dogs, booze, beer cans and used hypodermic needles in a children’s playground. Oh, and some stolen soap.

Now, let’s be honest, our “College of the Year” drops the ball now and then. Not this time, though. Home run! Rats, trash, and needles stuck in the public imagination like pedophilia to Penn State. Big schools like UC Davis are drowning in bad press (hapless pepper-spraying cop), but Seattle Central showed commanding form. With breath-taking efficiency and a cost-effective approach, the Occupy tribe were branded half-human drug addicts and drop outs. And they brought rats, the college said. You might call it propaganda with panache. Touche.

For sure, rats are a cherished institution at our institution. They’ve been crapping on my desk for years. Rats and the college go back a long ways, a Tom and Jerry kind of thing. Some old-timers might even remember a City Collegian article about rats in the culinary dept. kitchen, nibbling through flour sacks. (Funny, admin stamped out the 42-year-old student paper shortly after. Wonder why!)

Of course, if you spend much time at Seattle Central, you’ll get cozy with needles, too. Since 1994, I’ve parked in the lower level of the garage. On most mornings I detour around a puddle of sour pee (that bracing odor wakes you up!) in the stairwell. I’ve stepped over many a hypodermic needle on those stairs. And over broken gin bottles, stolen purses, beer cans in paper bags, empty plastic baggies. My car has been broken into three times. The garage was once equipped with security cameras, but they were—you can’t make this up!—stolen years ago.

A few years ago, the campus president locked up all first-floor bathrooms after too many homeless took sink baths and too many overdosed dope addicts were found sprawled in the stalls.

And in mid-October—that’s, uh, a few weeks before Occupy moved in—our facilities director put out an email blast (with great accompanying pix!) bemoaning that graffiti, vandalism, trash, needles, and “cleaning up the feces, and urine, and vomit left almost daily at our doorsteps” cost the school about $200,000 a year.

Sorry to gross you out, but I’m just quoting directly.

The point is, facts and first-class propaganda have nothing to do with each other. Only a fool would deny that. Quite the contrary, our administration knows what they’re doing. We’re not talking amateurs. This is poetry in motion. Salute!

Rats, trash, and needles hits ‘em in the gut, but you gotta do more than that. You gotta hit ‘em in the head, too. That’s what numbers are for. Well, how about $20,000 a week? That’s the price of Occupy on this impoverished campus, according to the administration. And that means killing off classes. (Maybe $20k is just a “ballpark” figure, with no documentation, but prove me wrong!). How about 2000 square feet? That’s the size of the lawn the Occupy hoard is crammed on, according to the administration, like slum dwellers in Mumbai. (It’s actually about four times that size, but who’s measuring?)

In case you missed it, last week’s packed Board of Trustees meeting was a multi-media propaganda tour de force. After 15 minutes of obligatory “public comment” time (yawn!), there was serious testimony. One student was reported to be dropping out because, he said, he shouldn’t have to put up with Occupy. “And I think he’s right,” said Pres. Killpatrick. (no word whether he was passing his classes!) One other student said she’d been “harassed” four times by Occupy people (and they’d only been on campus 13 school days). She complained, she said, to Dean Evans, who told the poor thing that her hands were tied because “the school is being held hostage.” (a hostage situation? Sounds like a job for the SWAT team.)

We heard from vice-presidents and chancellors and assistant attorneys general. And when Karen Strickland, who represents 1000 faculty as union president, requested time to speak, she was told to shut up and apologize! Magnificent! That’s how you do it.

The coup de grace was a gut-wrenching viewing of a Q13 FOX broadcast (“We report. You decide!”) about a lurid “alleged attempted sexual assault” in the squalid Occupy encampment. Occupiers tell me that the strange girl stumbled up to the camp—drunk, ruffied, incoherent and already half-naked—and they brought her in to the camp to get her off the street. If so, that sure was a dumb idea!

A lot has been made of the “educational” opportunities Occupy offers. For sure, classes are abuzz and people are talking. A lot. About the profound undermining of publicly funded higher education. About the grotesque and rapidly widening income gap in this country. About a financial system that is sinking the middle class. About soaring lines at food banks and people cut off from basic medical and dental care. About whether our future has to look like the past.

I could go on and on.

“Education”? Honestly. Think this is going to help our graduates score jobs or claw their way up the corporate ladder? Give me a break. Far better they learn how to get things done. Let our administration show ‘em how.

Jeb Wyman
Faculty, Dept. of English

Occupy Seattle Accountability Principles and Process

OS Accountability Principles and Process

As the Occupy Seattle community grows and moves forward, we need to
make clear how we resolve conflict, harm, and violations of our
principles within OS community space and hold each other accountable
to the OS community. Harm, conflict and violence in our community are
a direct result of the system of oppression and violence which our
movement is fighting against.
We’ve all been shaped by this system and we all need to work together
to heal and transform ourselves and our community.

Occupy Seattle as a collective will adopt these accountability
principles to handle
conflict, harm, and violations of community agreements within our community:

●Working together and listening over opposition and banishment
●Respect for the humanity of all individuals involved
●Participation, transparency, and responsibility to the community
●Close attention to power dynamics of privilege and oppression
●Focus on healing instead of punishment, obedience, or ‘getting even’

The process which we propose involves these steps:

Emergency De-escalation:
When a public conflict occurs, everyone present may come together and
attempt to de-escalate and figure out how best to immediately keep
everyone safe (i.e asking people causing harm to leave for a short
time until an accountability circle can be convened).

Community Accountability Circle:
• An accountability circle is formed with the goal of transforming and
healing our community.

• The transformative justice group will be available to facilitate an
accountability circle between two days and one week of the incident.
An accountability circle is an open, transparent process gathered to
understand the conflict, heal those involved of oppression and
violence, and make OS a safer space. Anyone in the Occupy Seattle
community who feels affected by the incident in any way is encouraged
to participate (i.e. campers, work groups, caucuses) The circle may
use a talking stick, to ensure that all voices are heard, and may grow
as it needs to.

• Anyone may be requested to engage in the accountability circle by
another individual or group, including camp safety, and may be
unwelcome in the occupation if they refuse.

• Facilitation from the transformative justice group will guide the
process, and support the accountability principles. The accountability
circle will hear everyone’s experience of: what happened, how and why
the harm came about, and what might repair the harm done. The circle
will then attempt to reach consensus on the next steps for resolution
including agreements to remedy the harm, conditions for participants
to remain welcome in the Occupy Seattle community, and strategy to
ensure that accountability conditions are adhered to.

• The accountability process will be adaptable to the community. The
transformative justice group will provide resources, trainings, and
maintain the evolution of the accountability process.

Important event: Police Practices Litigation Strategy Meeting

The Seattle NLG has a team willing to explore civil litigation to address police tactics used against peaceful demonstrators. The NLG & ACLU have brought similar litigation after the attacks on Occupy Oakland.
The idea is to possibly combine damages claims for individuals with a challenge to a policy of using torture, pain and force where it is not necessary, in lieu of arresting or removing people engaged in non-violent protest (or actually against people who are not engaged in any illegal activity of any kind, as in the pepper spraying of people on the sidewalk two weeks ago).

Where & When:

11/30/11 5:45 – 7:30 PM
Seattle University School of Law, Room 328 (‎901 12th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122)

West Coast Port Shutdown. December 12th!

Why we aim to shut down the Port of Seattle on Dec 12th

On December 12th, Occupy Seattle will join the rest of the West Coast Occupy movement in the West Coast Port Shutdown. We will be shutting down the Port of Seattle with a mass community picket/ blockade.

Occupy Seattle’s General Assembly voted unanimously to endorse the call to action put out by Occupy Oakland. Port blockades are planned in San Diego, LA, Oakland, Portland, Vancouver, Tacoma, and Seattle.

– We will march to the port beginning at Westlake Park at 1 PM

– There will be two rallies near the port at 3 PM and 6 PM at the Spokane Street fishing area, just to the east of the Spokane St. Bridge, near the intersection of SW Spokane St & SW Manning St, under the West Seattle bridge. (the 125 bus goes there from downtown and from West Seattle; get off at Chelan Ave SW and SW Spokane St. and walk east along the Alki bike path)

– Come to the Spokane St. fishing area anytime after 3 and Occupy Seattle members will meet you there to show you where to find the port picket lines

If you come late, please check #occupyseattle or #occupyseattleport on twitter for the march’s current location. Information about the coast-wide day of action can be found here: http://www.westcoastportshutdown.org/.
Please invite your friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/318022101544266/

If you wish to donate to help the logistical funding of this operation please click

Donate with WePay

Why shut down the port?

1) We will shut down the port to resist the budget cuts that
target working class people.

The 1% are confident they can cut our health care, education, food aid, and social services because they think we won’t fight back. They are wrong. If they cut our safety net to pieces, we will cut their profits. The port is a major source of profits for the 1%, especially during the holiday season when they ship goods produced by Asian workers under horrible labor conditions to American malls where increasingly broke workers buy holiday presents on credit, worried about whether we will lose our jobs, food stamps, or health care. We are tired of worrying, so now we are fighting back. A port shutdown will hit the 1% directly in their wallets. Happy Holidays you scrooges.

2) We will shut down the port to bypass the corporate-controlled politicians and confront the 1% who really call the shots.

In December, some members of Occupy Seattle will be occupying the Capitol building; the rest of us here in Seattle will occupy capital: the port facilities of transnational corporations. Together, we fight against the same cuts.

Capital means the machines, trucks, ships, stores, cafes, hospitals, etc. – all the things the corporations own, which we work on to make their profits. One of their biggest pieces of capital is the port of Seattle. We know the 1% controls the politicians who are cutting the working class’s standard of living. So instead of begging politicians to stop cutting us, we’ll do what our friends did when they occupied Wall Street and go straight to the source of the problem: the capitalists. The ports are Wall Street on the waterfront – without them running, Wall Street makes no profits. If they cut our livelihoods, we will cut their profits.

3) We will shut down the port to defend workers’ right to organize.
We assert that the Occupy movement is part of the workers’ movement.

Goldman Sachs is the 1% of the 1%. They control a majority share of Stevedore Services of America (SSA), a major player in the port of Seattle. SSA is repressing immigrant port truckers who are trying to organize in their workplace in the port of LA, which is why Occupy LA put out the call for solidarity picket lines at ports up and down the West Coast on December 12th. Port truckers in Seattle are also face low pay, discrimination, unpaid time wasted at entry gates, etc., and we are in solidarity with them.

By building this solidarity, Occupy Seattle will show that we also are part of the workers’ movement. Because the 1% uses repressive labor laws and union busting firms to disrupt organizing efforts, only 11% of US workers are organized into labor unions. On December 12th, Occupy Seattle will take a stand to defend our right to organize on the job. We also recognize that the U.S. working class is starting to get organized in the Occupy movement, which makes us part of the workers’ movement. Many who are involved in the Occupy movement are members of unions. Many of us also make up the remaining 89% of U.S. workers who are not in unions, as well as the large sections of the U.S. working class who are unemployed, underemployed, students, and homeless. Our picket lines might not have the same legal standing as official union picket lines, but when the unions first started picketing back in the day they were also considered illegitimate. Occupy Seattle’s picket lines are still picket lines organized by working class people, in solidarity with fellow workers. December 12th is the first of many actions that Occupy will take as a new wing of the workers’ movement.

4) We will shut down the port in response to the police violence and harassment the Occupy movement has faced worldwide.

The 1% uses union busting tactics to shut down our organizing on the job and their cops use pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs to repress our organizing in the streets and plazas. We know that if the 1% wanted to, they could tell the police to stop all this repression. But they are apparently not embarrassed when global media broadcasts images of veteran Scott Olson with his head smashed in, or 84-year-old Dorli Rainey with her face full of pepper spray. They didn’t care when their cops kicked Jennifer Fox in the stomach, after which she miscarried. They didn’t care when their cops and security guards murdered Oscar Grant, John T. Williams, Jesus Mejia or Aiyana Jones. And in Egypt, the US-backed military regime has killed dozens of revolutionaries
and injured thousands since November 19 alone. They have called on the American Occupy movement to stand with them in solidarity.

The global 1% does not care about this state violence as long as their goods get shipped and their profits flow. On Nov 2nd, Occupy Oakland shut down the port of Oakland in response to the police violence they faced. On Dec. 12th we will do the same up and down the coast. Let’s show the forces of repression that when they stomp the flames of freedom they just spread the embers.

5) We will send a warning to EGT, the multinational conglomerate that is trying to bust the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

EGT Development is refusing to honor the ILWU’s contract in Longview, WA, and we wish to stand in solidarity with the ILWU in their struggle against this union busting. Our action is independent from the ILWU; we are in no way attempting to co-opt or control their struggle and they are not controlling us. However, we are inspired by Longshore workers’ direct actions against EGT, and we are angered by the repression they are facing by the cops and courts, which is similar to the repression we are facing. We know that if the 1% busts the ILWU they will try to drive down all of our wages and working conditions next. We hope our action on the 12th will show EGT that we are capable of disrupting business. They should honor the ILWU’s contract because next time it could be their business.

Our decision to picket/ blockade the port is not deterred by the recent memo written by International ILWU President, Robert McEllrath, and quoted by the Longshore and Shipping News. We agree with the statement that the Occupy Oakland Port Blockade working group put out regarding our movement’s relations with the ILWU: http://westcoastportshutdown.org/content/clarification-nature-call-west-coast-port-blockade

In particular, we’d like to highlight that ILWU Local 21, Longview, Washington, was strongly heartened and encouraged by the overwhelming support shown for them by the historic November 2 port shutdown in Oakland. Their local president spoke at Oakland Occupy’s rally last Saturday, thanking us for our support. He and other ILWU rank and file members marched with us that day.” In particular, local 21 president Dan Kaufman said:
”When Nov 2nd happened, and it was against EGT in respect to the ILWU and Local 21, you cannot believe what you people did for the inspiration of my union members who have been on the picket line for six months now!”
For video footage of this, see: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtdQCZSQ99I )

We’d also like to highlight that: “The ILWU rank and file have historically honored community picket lines in the port — for example they refused to cross community picket lines to unload cargo from apartheid South Africa.” They honored the community picket line set up by Occupy Oakland on Nov 2nd, and the ILWU Coast Committee cautioned its members that if a similar situation develops on Dec. 12, longshoremen should “stand in a safe area and await a decision by employers to call for an arbitrator.” This is similar to past situations where ILWU members have honored community picket lines. It allows the ILWU a legal out, not to cross the lines, if the picket lines are large enough to pose a threat to their safety, as interpreted by the arbitrator.

We aim to build trust and open communication between the Occupy movement and port workers.

6) We will shut down the port as part of the second phase of our movement

With this Dec. 12th action, the Occupy movement is undertaking a transformation. When we started occupying Seattle Central Community College, many people told us, “don’t disrupt life for the 99%, go disrupt it for the 1%.” They said the same thing when we joined labor unions to occupy a bridge on Nov 17th. These criticisms missed the fact that our camps have enhanced life for the 99% by providing educational opportunities, food, and shelter, and have stood as a visible reminder of the need for deeper social change. We agree though that we should be disrupting the 1% more. That’s why we’re occupying the port, as well as abandoned buildings owned by banks, wealthy developers, etc.

We will occupy everything.
We believe everyone deserves the rights to housing, education, food and safety.
We believe our lives are worth more than our labor power.
We believe our community members should not die under the harsh rule of the 1%. We are simply laying claim to what has always been ours.
Everything for everyone.

For more info, and to give suggestions, please contact: seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com

Human Rights Day/March to Defeat Violence Working Group

Contact: oshumanrightsdaymarch@gmail.com

Occupy Seattle Occupies The Capitol! Bus with Us!

At 7:00am, Monday, November 28th, buses will depart from Seattle Central Community College to take an Occupy Seattle contingent to Olympia where we will say no to the intolerable budget cuts being proposed in the upcoming special legislative session. In conjunction with Occupy Olympia and other Washington state Occupy organizations, we will occupy the Capitol building to voice our opposition to the more than $2 billion attack on the 99%.

The proposed cuts represent one of the greatest assaults in our state’s history against the interests of workers, students, and the poor. As the 99%, it is our duty to oppose these cuts in the strongest possible terms. With this action, we bring enormous pressure to bear against the politicians seeking to cut social programs and education. The proposed cuts include:

· 13,000 legal immigrants would be cut from the state’s food assistance program–their only source of food aid because they are ineligible for federal food assistance.

· 35,000 people would be kicked off the Basic Health Plan, ending a program that subsidizes health care for poor.

· 21,000 people enrolled in the state’s Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs would have their medical services cut off.

· Two wards at Western State Hospital would be closed eliminating some much needed inpatient psychiatric hospital services for the poor.

· Foster care, juvenile rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment programs would be slashed by $118 million.

· $150 million would be cut from funding school districts with a poor property tax base which will dramatically increase class sizes in affected districts and could shorten the school year.

· State colleges and universities will lose another $225 million.

· Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs will drop by $240,000.

· The nuclear waste site cleanup program at Hanford–the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation–will lose $581,000.

This move comes on top of $10 billion in state budget cuts over the last three years, which have resulted in furloughs and layoffs for state employees, a 47 percent increase in tuition at public universities, the gutting of social and health services, and many other attacks on the basic quality of life for the 99 percent of Washington.

Formed on October 1, 2011, Occupy Seattle is a leaderless movement of concerned Americans who have taken to occupying public spaces in order to focus our nation’s attention on the undue influence of large corporations on our government, elected leaders and our democracy itself. It is inspired by and modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Local 1488, the UW branch of Council 28 of the Washington Federation of State Workers AFSCME is providing buses and passenger vans to take people to Olympia for the opening day of the Special Session on Monday, November 28th. We are taking additional buses on Friday, December 2nd.

The first bus will leave Seattle for Olympia around 6:30 AM and the last bus will leave Olympia for Seattle around 5:00 PM on both of these two days.

http://occupythecapitol.org/

Gender Equality Caucus

Current Contact:
email: occupygenderequality@gmail.com

For discussion forums online:
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/occupyseattlegenderequality

Occupy Seattle Occupies Wal-Mart

Occupy Seattle Occupies Wal-Mart

On Friday, November 25th, Occupy Seattle will join Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Bellingham and Occupy Everett in a statewide protest at Wal-Mart in Renton at 2:00pm.

With its long history of mistreating workers and suppliers, its recent announcement of significant cutbacks on employee health care, and its obscene profits, Wal-Mart is a prime example of how the 99% are suffering at the hands of the 1%.

Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world and proof positive of how big business is destructive to our democracy. While Americans are shopping at Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart is buying Congress. Last year, Wal-Mart paid over $4.3 million in campaign contributions (not to mention the monies funneled through donations to lobbying organizations) to protect its interests.

Unfortunately, its interests are not those of its employees. With $14.3 billion in profits in 2010, Wal-Mart still saw fit to eliminate health insurance coverage for part time employees, cut company contributions to employee health savings accounts by 50% and increase health care premiums 17% to 61% for over 2.1 million employees worldwide. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the average Wal-Mart worker makes $8.81 per hour, while the CEO makes $8990.00 per hour.

The Walton family (the largest shareholders of Wal-Mart stock and descendants of its founder) is the wealthiest family in the United States with an estimated net worth of $92 billion (according to Forbes’ latest ranking). That’s more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans combined. They directly gave $7,000,000 in political contributions in 2010 and billions more through their family foundations in an effort to buy our legislative process.
It’s time to Occupy Wal-Mart, to shine the spotlight on its many abuses and to support its millions of workers in their struggle for a living wage. Transportation will be leaving from Westlake Center starting at 12:30pm.

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Mayor apologizes to Occupy Seattle for Seattle PD tactics

Mayor Apologizes to Occupy Seattle

November 16, 2011. While we are gratified that Mayor Mike McGinn has apologized to those who were pepper sprayed last night, his statement of apology does not go far enough to assure us that we are in fact protected by the Seattle Police Department or to hold the SPD accountable for their misuse of power.

Since the formation of Occupy Seattle, SPD has been excessive in its presence, its tactics, its violence and its spending with respect to our organization. Occupy Seattle is a movement dedicated to fighting for economic justice through nonviolent protest and nonviolent civil disobedience. The sheer quantity of officers, vehicles, weapons, hostilities and pepper spray was and is excessive and absolutely unnecessary.

We agree with the Mayor that restraint on the part of the police is in order and that a thorough review of the incident is warranted. We ask that the Mayor include Occupy Seattle in the review process as we are arguably the largest stakeholder in its outcome. We also suggest that the Mayor and the Seattle Police Department learn the lessons articulated by Norm Stamper, former Chief of Police for the city during the WTO protests who last week wrote about the protests “My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose.”
The Mayor’s apology asks that Occupy Seattle work with the city. We do work with the city. On this particular night, we had informed the police of our march and route in advance so as to assure public safety. Given that the police blocked our passage and then used pepper spray indiscriminately suggests that it is not Occupy Seattle that is unwilling to work with the city, but rather that SPD is not willing to work with Occupy Seattle. While pepper spraying nonviolent protestors is a high price to pay, perhaps this incident will lead to better treatment of Occupy Seattle participants by the SPD.

Formed on October 1, 2011, Occupy Seattle is a leaderless movement of concerned Americans who have taken to occupying public spaces in order to focus our nation’s attention on the undue influence of large corporations on our government, elected leaders and our democracy itself. It is inspired by and modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Hip Hop Occupies with “Rise & Decolonize! Let’s Get Free” Rally Nov. 18th

Contact: Julie C (425) 223-7787
Email: HipHopOccupies@gmail.com
Hip Hop Occupies with “Rise & Decolonize! Let’s Get Free” Rally Nov. 18th

Unique blend of art, culture, and community empowerment from the ‘Occupy Movement’ Seattle, WA–Hip Hop Occupies and the POC Caucus of Occupy Seattle present an urban arts-infused event that redefines protest and self-determination. In partnership with APRFront, 206 Zulu, Dope Emporium, Black Orchid Collective, and over a dozen other local Hip Hop organizations, collectives, and businesses, “Rise & Decolonize! Let’s Get Free” aims to create a new model for engaging and empowering youth, people of color, and other voices within the ‘Occupy Movement’. The “Rise & Decolonize” program will feature a march down to Westlake, performances from over twenty local DJs, emcees, and b-boy/b-girl crews, speakers, live art and cipher spaces, as well as a survey to canvass and identify local demands around youth service, media justice, economic displacement, and other issues directly impacting underrepresented communities in Seattle. “Beyond entertainment, Hip Hop is a potent organizing base,” says Julie C, emcee from Hip Hop Occupies, “and through this event we are providing a timely access point and channel for our communities to be represented.”

“Hip Hop History Month [November] is a reminder of the struggle’s intensity and how under any circumstance and by any means, change can be made,” says King Khazm, Westcoast Regional Director of Universal Zulu Nation and founder of 206 Zulu, “Let us remember and overstand this legacy so that we can be the change we want to see, shaping our own future.” Jace Ecaj, veteran emcee from Black Stax and founder of Dope Emporium adds, “The actions of the movement are aligned with the consciousness of Hip Hop Culture. The time is now to create an infrastructure that reflects the attitude and respect for basic human rights and balance to the people.”

Event Date: Friday, November 18, 2011
Event Location: Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in Downtown Seattle

Event Schedule:
4:30-5:00pm: March from Seattle Central Community College to Westlake Park
5:00-5:30pm: Press Conference
5:30-8:30pm: Rally & Performances
8:30-10:00pm: Breakout ciphers
Background Information on Hip Hop Occupies

Hip Hop Occupies is a rapidly expanding international network of artists, activists, and cultural advocates from the Hip Hop grassroots who are educating, organizing, and agitating from the frontlines of Occupy actions all over the world. Local partners include Dope Emporium, 206 Zulu, Stop Biting, Hip Hop Congress, Fated Empire, B-Girl Media, Seattle CopWatch, Umojafest P.E.A.C.E Center, Bump Local, Triple R, Cyphers, Black Magic Noize, Hidmo, BOC Music, the Multimedia Center, the Think Tank, Presidential Media, Mean Mouse, Spoken Visuals, All Power to the Positive, the Black Orchid Collective, and more. We seek to continue this growth and collect the representative allies from every city as well as support emerging leadership from our underrepresented communities in order to fuel the resistance, and to feed the vision of a better world for the generations that follow.

For more Information on Hip Hop Occupies and for full list of performers visit www.HipHopOccupies.com

Perspectives from Yesterday’s Pepper Spray Incidents: A Pastoral Lament for my Country

Reverend Rich Lange was pepper sprayed while engaged as a peacekeeper at a nonviolent protest on November 15th, 2011 in Seattle. We have shared excerpts of his story, with Mr. Lange’s permission, from a larger piece of writing that fully records the depth and breadth of his experience.

A PASTORAL LAMENT FOR MY COUNTRY
You could feel the tension and raw energy crinkling throughout the air as the marchers once again began their journey into downtown Seattle. The Occupy Movement is the prophetic voice calling out to the nation to turn from its ways of corruption. Those who camp are a rag-tag, motley crew made up of mostly young adults, mostly unemployed, almost all of whom are alienated and cast out of America’s promise of liberty and justice for all. They are our canaries, the first fruits being devoured by the Beast of Empire.

The police were once conceived to be a citizen force created to serve and protect the public. Today however, the police have been militarized and view the populace as enemy combatants, as threats to their well being. The police, like our Armed Forces, are well trained, disciplined and exceptionally talented. They follow a chain of command and are increasingly apprenticed into a culture of institutional conformity. Because America has always affirmed the right of dissent, the role of the police is to keep the peace. They are trained to enter the protesting arena as unfeeling protectors of property and people. What has changed in our time is that the police are entering the arena of protest as agents of provocation. They push and shove at will, they ride their bicycles up the backs of protesters, they engage in verbal abuse. Their commanders allow this breach of discipline. Their comrades silently condone the bullying. The police become the agitators encouraging violence. It is as if they are spoiling for a fight — a fight mind you against the citizenry, against the youth, the unemployed, and those who are trying to return America back to its promise…

On Tuesday night a small group of Seattle’s Occupy Movement left their camp to protest the destruction inflicted upon the Wall Street Occupy site. Throughout the march I, as a Pastor in full clergy alb, stole and cross, acted as a peacekeeper placing myself between the police line and the Occupy Movement. On four occasions I stepped between verbal battles between the police and the protesters. The point being that it was evident to all who I was and what my role was in this non-violent march of the few escorted by the many.

The incident was minor in nature. A girl, dressed in Anarchist black waving the Anarchist black flag was plastered side by side with an officer on the bike. They were jawboning each other. At one point her flag was thrust in his direction — a provocation yes – threatening?—no. The officer grabbed the flag and in the pulling, pulled down the girl. Her friends reacted jumping in to pull her away from the officer. It was at this point that the first wave of pepper spray went off.

I walked between the lines, I was alone, I was in full clergy dress, everyone knew who I was and what I was — with the protesters fleeing and the police line holding — with my back to the police and my hands waving the protesters to get back — alone in full alb, stole and cross — six officers turned their spray on me thoroughly soaking my alb and then one officer hit me full throttle in the face.

I praise the courage and compassion, the discipline and the decency of Occupy Seattle. Out of the rag-tag mob came help, grabbing my hands, leading me (I was blind by then) to the wall and administering care and concern for my well being. The protesters were assembled around all the wounded, and maintained the discipline of nonviolence. And they were not afraid. Against the wall in increasing pain and burning I realized I was in the midst of church.

The police, on the other hand, were afraid. Their quick use of chemical warfare reveals how cowardly they are. The unwillingness of their commanders to maintain discipline reveals how incompetent they are becoming — the only tool in their bag is brutality and like a drunken raging father beating wife and kids, the police have increasingly disgraced themselves. Step by step they are being shaped into the front face of fascism, the emerging police state that protects the property interests of those who have seized control of our government, commerce, media, and military.

To the police I say this — there are always the brutal ones in our midst. As colleagues you have the moral responsibility to police your own. If your commanders order you to brutalize your people you have a Higher Command that says, “disarm yourself, turn away from your sin, renounce the orders of unrighteousness.” And in doing so, cross the line, come over and join us because we are the winning side of history.

Occupy Seattle Questions SCCC Allegations and Expenses

November 15, 2011. Occupy Seattle is disappointed that SCCC would level allegations against Occupy Seattle in the media as opposed to discussing the details of those concerns in the regularly scheduled meetings Occupy Seattle has with SCCC administration. Occupy Seattle understands the deep funding cuts facing the school, in fact our work is focused on changing the economic inequity in this state so that schools are adequately funded. We are committed to being respectful of the school and the community and look forward to continuing what we thought was a good working relationship to address all concerns.

Members of Occupy Seattle have not been vandalizing the school’s bathrooms. According to faculty member Kimberly McRae “I have worked in the building for 13 years and the south end bathrooms have been considered the worst. With the continued defunding of Community Colleges, SCCC was forced to cut custodial staff again, so the bathrooms have been even worse”. Occupy Seattle provides its members with the necessary sanitation facilities and members agree to abide by the tenets of Occupy Seattle’s Good Neighbor Policy which include respecting the learning environment and the buildings at SCCC.

Occupy Seattle is not the source of the drug paraphernalia found in or around a community college in the heart of a major urban area with well known drug problems. Athena Marsden, former teaching assistant at the daycare on campus said “Every day as part of our jobs, we picked up drug paraphernalia, needles, used condoms, cigarette butts, anything that threatened the safety of the kids. All that stuff was there way before Occupy Seattle”. Long time Capitol Hill resident Cathy Hillenbrand joking said, “If I had a dime for every hypodermic needle I’ve seen in that area over the years, I’d be in the 1%”.

Occupy Seattle adheres to its non-violence policy (as stated in Occupy Seattle’s Accountability Principles). In response to a movement dedicated to nonviolence, hiring of additional security guards is unnecessary and excessive, particularly in a time of severe budget constraints.

We request a full accounting of the dollars the school alleges has been spent as a result of our encampment so as to assure ourselves and the community that we are not being blamed for spending that is either unnecessary or inaccurately attributed to Occupy Seattle.

Formed on October 1, 2011, Occupy Seattle is a leaderless movement of concerned Americans who have taken to occupying public spaces in order to focus our nation’s attention on the undue influence of large corporations on our government, elected leaders and our democracy itself. It is inspired by and modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Seattle Is Saddened and Outraged at SPD’s Attack of Peaceful Protestors

Occupy Seattle Is Saddened and Outraged at SPD’s Attack of Peaceful Protestors

Occupy Seattle is both saddened and outraged at the behavior of the Seattle Police Department this evening. We offer our sympathies to the many protesting patriots that were indiscriminately pepper sprayed including a 4’10” 84 year old woman, a priest and a pregnant woman who as of this writing is still in the hospital. We are grateful to the Seattle Fire Department for their assistance with the injured and their strong tradition of protecting and serving the entire community.

We condemn the outrageous behavior of the SPD in response to civil disobedience, a peaceful and time honored form of political protest. Like those who used civil disobedience to abolish slavery, to gain a woman’s right to vote, to end child labor in this country, to weaken segregation in the south and to end the Vietnam War, Occupy Seattle refuses to stand by while the moneyed interests continue to corrupt our democracy. We demand that the moneyed interests and that the SPD both be held accountable for their egregious behavior.

Please contact Mayor McGinn and Seattle Chief of Police Diaz to ask that SPD be held accountable and call for a halt to the use of pepper spray against peaceful protestors engaged in civil disobedience. Tell the Mayor and the Chief of Police that police are supposed to serve and protect the community and keep the peace, not attack people.

(Photo by Josh Trujillo of the SeattlePI)

Occupy Wall Street being raided by the police

The birthplace of our movement – Occupy Wall Street’s camp in Liberty Square (AKA Zuccotti park) have come under police raid tonight.

Reports indicate the area around the park has been sealed off and media are not being allowed in. Police are moving through the park, destroying tents and throwing away donated supplies. Subway stops nearby and the Brooklyn bridge have been closed.

There are unconfirmed reports of large numbers of arrests and pepper spray used.

Occupy Seattle stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in NYC and urge them to stay strong and resolute in the face of the aggression shown by Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD.

Livestream here: http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc

Call Mayor Bloomberg’s office at 212 639 9675 and the NYPD 1st precinct at 212-334-0611 to demand they stop this raid and respect the 1st Amendment rights of the protesters

Seattle City Council to Vote to Support Occupy Seattle Monday November 14th!

On Monday 11/14/11 at 2pm, the City Council will vote on resolution 31337 recognizing and supporting the exercise of First Amendment rights by Occupy Seattle as a fundamental right in the effort to redress economic injustice in America today. Come to city hall to show your support for this measure which seeks not only to affirm our rights but also to review city banking and investment practices to ensure that public funds are invested in financial institutions that support our community; to address the home foreclosure crisis in Seattle; to address economic inequality and wealth disparities by identifying effective approaches to asset building, job training, access to banking and financial services, educational attainment, family support, and access to health care for historically denied populations; to redress the adverse impact of both tax shifts and lost revenue to the City from exemptions or waivers allowed for City taxes; to work with the State Legislature toward a more equitable tax structure in the state; to reform city election campaign financing; to use available resources to provide assistance for the most vulnerable people in Seattle; to urge Congress to support job creation, substantial investments in the nation’s physical and technological infrastructure and deficit reduction by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation; to urge Congress to let the Bush era tax cuts expire; to urge Congress to tighten regulation of the banking and financial sector and; to urge Congress to increase block grants for local schools and social services and protect public education from devastating cuts.

Environmental Justice

Contact: occupyseattleEJ@gmail.com

Faith and Spirituality

Contact: Tsukina Blessing/Michael Douglas email: occupychaplains@gmail.com

The Faith & Spirituality workgroup/Occupy Chaplains exists to bridge the faith communities and the Occupy Seattle movement. The workgroup supports the faith & spiritual needs of the Occupy Seattle community, coordinates communications & support flowing both directions between OS and local faith communities, offers outreach and education to faith communities, and sponsors faith-oriented direct action.

Faith & Spirituality meets irregularly – contact occupychaplains to get on the group list.

The calendar of events at the Occupy Sanctuary and sponsored by Occupy Chaplains is available online at

https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=occupychaplains%40gmail.com&ctz=America/Los_Angeles

Occupy City Council meeting 11/7 2PM

Seattle City Council will be unveiling the text of Nick Licata’s Resolution in support of Occupy Seattle.

The Resolution is likely to pass, and it would be nice to have a show of support for the Council, while also expressing to the Council who we are, why we are here, what we want, and what we have planned.

The Council starts at 2 PM, on the 2nd floor of City Hall (5th and James). After entering City Hall front entrance, take the stairs straight ahead up to the second floor, and continue to the left. There is seating for a few hundred, and last week only about dozen people showed up! Lets make our presence known and felt!

Afterwards we will march to Mayor McGinn’s office and share our progress, efforts, and demands with him.

Lastly, we will collect on the plaza on the 4th Ave side of City Hall, to meet one another and discuss future plans.

11/5 Seattleites Break Up with Their Banks

Starting at 1pm on November 5, 2011, Occupy Seattle will host a rally at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle in support of National Bank Transfer Day, the day people around the country close their accounts at commercial banks and take their business to local banks and credit unions. It’s time to hold the big banks accountable for foreclosing on millions of families, cutting back on small business loans that create jobs, and avoiding their fair share of taxes through offshore accounts and loopholes. It’s time to tell the banks; it’s not me, it’s you.

Occupy Seattle believes that we need to support financial institutions, like local banks and credit unions, that invest in our communities, make loans to small businesses, and help create jobs. There is no reason to continue doing business with the Wall Street banks that crashed the economy and have done little to help the nation recover. Every dollar we take back goes towards building a new bottom line that means good jobs and healthy communities.

The performance lineup for the rally includes locally known and internationally revered singer Jim Page, the popular Trip Hop band Surrealized, America’s Got Talent Alumnus Jen Seaman and comedians Travis Simmons and Nigel Larson.

Formed on October 1, 2011, Occupy Seattle is a leaderless movement of concerned Americans who have taken to occupying public spaces in order to focus our nation’s attention on the undue influence of large corporations on our government, elected leaders and our democracy itself. It is inspired by and modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement.