Occupy the T.P.P. Stop the Corporate Coup!
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is called a trade agreement. In reality it is the stealth delivery mechanism for a long-dreamed of template for implementing a binding system of global governance. This NAFTA on steroids is being negotiated behind closed doors by the U.S. and ten Pacific Rim Countries, with a ‘docking agreement’ to add even more nations.
TPP is being planned with the advice and participation of 600 U.S. corporate lobbyists, but they refuse to tell the public what is in the text. They refuse to tell Congress what is in the text. They are negotiating in secret to hide the content. The TPP will redefine ‘trade’ in ways that make corporations unaccountable to the people and nations we live in.
The TPP is poised to become the largest ‘free trade’ agreement in the world. The Obama administration will try to ‘fast track’ it through Congress to prevent any amendments to terms of the agreement. Why?
Powerful corporate interests want to use the TPP to:
-Offshore good-paying jobs to low wage nations, undercutting working conditions globally and increasing unemployment.
-Create new tools for attacking environmental laws, labor laws, consumer safety standards, or any other laws that limit profit.
-Expand the deregulation of banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies.
-Further concentrate global food supplies, displacing family farmers and subjecting consumers to wild price fluctuations.
-Establish longer drug patents that will restrict access to affordable generic medications.
-Restrict our right to free speech and threaten Internet freedom by turning service providers into copyright cops.
-Establish a parallel court system allowing multinational corporations to bypass U.S. courts and sue countries before tribunals whose judges are unaccountable international trade lawyers. TPP countries will have little to no right to appeal.
We are a group of people of many genders, races, abilities and
political viewpoints that came together though Decolonize/Occupy
Seattle (DOS) and are interested in organizing around a whole-systems
approach to worker liberation. Many of us initially met at Westlake,
worked together at Seattle Central Community College and united to
organize the D12 Port Shutdown. As we work together to create
community, we consistently engage in movement building through
critical dialogues and acts of resistance. We understand that the
struggle of farm workers is one aspect of a larger pattern of
resistance, which is a response to the dispossession that capitalism
and globalization inflicts on our global community. We were approached
by the United Farm Workers (UFW) to work in solidarity with them in
their current campaign against the outrageous labor practices of Ruby
Ridge Dairy. Workers at Ruby Ridge are forced to work long hours
without breaks or lunch, have had their wages stolen, and are denied
clean drinking water as they are told to drink from the same place
where the cows drink. Their efforts to unionize have been met with
threats of violence and most of the workers who led the unionizing
effort were fired. Darigold, the company who purchases milk from Ruby
Ridge, has neglected to hold Ruby Ridge accountable for its
exploitative actions, and in their failure to respond to the needs of
the workers, have condoned such unjust working conditions.
In honor of the ongoing struggle of these workers, we began our
organizing with the commitment to work in solidarity with farm
workers, as opposed to taking action for them. We understand that our
accountability to the workers themselves is a necessary piece of our
intentions for solidarity; it is vital that those on the front lines
of their workplace struggles remain central to the decision- making
process. This accountability is a major principle we utilized to
organize as a collective. In order to make sure this principle was
followed, we met directly with workers twice- once in Seattle and once
again in Pasco. In these meetings we shared our backgrounds, reasons
for organizing and talked about the current struggles we are engaging
in. The meetings were multilingual; we spoke in Espanol, English, and
Spanglish. Traveling together to Pasco, and hearing stories of the
worker’s struggles from the workers themselves, had a strong impact
that we carried with us through the organizing process. We were
mobilized and energized by our meeting with the workers; forming these
relationships was a tangible way to actualize our goals of solidarity,
community-building and provided vision and inspiration for our work
within the movement. We also planned the day of action and talked
about logical next steps during the meeting. Meeting with workers and
leaders from the UFW was an important step in keeping us accountable
to the principle outlined above and was also a way to connect our
Elemental to this action was arte — the ways in which we created
together and how our co-creativity influenced the march. There were
two banner making parties leading up to January 27th, 2011. During
these parties, food and music were abundant as we expressed our rage,
hope and solidarity with paint, projecting nuestra voz onto the void
spaces and transforming them into meaning. For many of us, this arte
was as much a healing process as it was a symbol used to convey a
message. Again, this demonstrates how an action is not just the event
itself but also the way that we make it happen. Arte is the heart.
In line with our efforts to build community, we began the day of
action with a breakfast that we cooked together to welcome the workers
to Seattle and to further integrate the wider DOS community into the
day of action. We put thought into aligning our food choices with the
intentions of the campaign, keeping in mind that we are all connected
to waste, worker and animal exploitation and ecological collapse via
our food sourcing choices. We continuously work hard to maintain a
full systems perspective within our organizing work. The community
breakfast was held in the basement of a local church decorated with
colorful, creative banners, and picket signs. As we shared food we
continued to build community.
After sitting for breakfast with the some of the workers and their
families, we headed to Westlake Plaza to rally. The rally began as
two-high school students from Seattle, who are the children of farm
workers, spoke about their families’ experiences and their own
feelings around their struggles. We also heard from workers at Ruby
Ridge and one of the organizers from the UFW. We then took to the
streets in a high-energy march filled with arte and enthusiasm. One of
the main goals of the day was to deliver a petition with 20,000
signatures to the Darigold Headquarters. Previous attempts to reach
the administration had been unsuccessful; when workers and their
allies showed up the doors were closed and guarded. When we arrived at
the headquarters, a security guard who stated that only one person
would be allowed inside and only one door would be open greeted us.
However, the crowd did not find this to be acceptable and the other
door was opened by the protesters to allow the voices of the farm
workers’ to travel into the offices.
As a group we requested that the President and CEO of Darigold, Jim
Wegner, come out of his office to answer to the demands of the workers
and their allies. However, he declined to show his face. Despite his
failure to listen to his workers and customers the petitions were
delivered by one of the farm worker’s sons, whose path to the office
was cleared by protesters. We proceeded with a second rally outside
the Darigold headquarters. Speakers included farm workers revealing
the truth about their unjust working conditions, two longshoremen
speaking out in solidarity, a member of the UW custodian’s union and
voices from Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. We ended the day of action with
a march around the building and a promise that we would continue to
organize until the farm workers’ demands are heard and working
conditions at Ruby Ridge improve and meet basic standards of dignity
For many of us, what defined this action as “successful” was the
building of relationships with each other, with workers, and with UFW
representatives. From this base we aspire to move forward together as
we continue to create, organize and overcome. While we consider the
action on January 27th to be a success, however, we also recognize
that it is only one step in the struggle towards worker’s liberation.
We completed the goal of delivering petitions to Darigold and through
this process we were strengthened and inspired by the feelings of
community, solidarity and accountability that had been our intentions.
Our commitment to these principles has given us insight into the next
stages of this struggle. We acknowledge that this petition is one
step in the battle to hold Darigold accountable for its abuses, and is
therefore one aspect in the struggle against the oppressive and
exploitative practices of the dairy industry. We also acknowledge
that these fights are embedded within the greater, global struggle to
reclaim sovereignty over our food and labor.
The abuse of farm workers in Darigold feeder farms is not an isolated
issue; it is one instance of the way our capitalist food system, which
puts power in the hands of wealthy corporations (profiteering off of
thousands of wage laborers), continues to perpetuate injustice. The
exploitation of farm workers runs parallel to the abuse of other
laborers throughout the food system. From the fields to the fine
dining room, the exploitation of these workers is tied to their
powerlessness within capitalist and racist institutions. In a similar
way, consumers of this food are bound to the system. We are forced to
make unjust choices as the oppressed roots of our food are veiled from
us by a false abundance at the store. Friday’s action was part of the
inspiration for a research project to explore these connections
between labor abuses, the way our food is produced, and the structure
of power in the food system. This project will continue as this
struggle builds, both informing and learning from it.
Additionally, as we push our organizing efforts forward we recognize
that the complexities of all struggles toward liberation require
multiple approaches. This applies to the workers’ struggle at Ruby
Ridge; thus, our organizing includes a variety of tactics from a
diverse group of workers, allies, consumers and union members. Most
importantly, we must always acknowledge that workers will continue to
organize themselves and lead the course of solidarity. As consumers,
we want to reach out to other consumers and continue to educate each
other and our communities about the crimes of Ruby Ridge and Darigold.
This could look like students addressing the milk purchased by their
schools or creating human billboards stationed outside of supermarkets
to inform shoppers about the suffering they contribute to when they
drink milk. We encourage affinity groups and individuals to think of
their own methods of supporting the effort to change the ways of Ruby
Ridge Dairy and Darigold. The UFW is not officially calling for any of
these actions; these are suggested ideas coming from people
independent of any official affiliation to the UFW.
A vital next step is to continue traveling to Pasco and Eastern
Washington to meet directly with workers and strengthen our solidarity
through further relationship building. We also support workers from
other dairies, orchards and farms that experience abuses similar to
those of Ruby Ridge Dairy, because we know oppression is not isolated.
As mentioned, this action was part of a greater web tied in with
international worker solidarity, class struggle, Northwest based
alliances, and immigrant/economic refugee justicia y libertad. From
the onset we knew this action was one aspect of a long-term vision,
which could help us unite in building for May Day 2012.
A key component of our movement/solidarity bridging was recognizing
the historical significance of May Day 2006, an international worker’s
day led by the people for the people. This event awoke like a sleeping
giant prior to the Decolonize/Occupy Movement. There are many lessons
we can learn about the general strike that led millions of economic
refugees to take to the streets, walk out of los campos, schools, and
divest from the capitalist empire. International Workers Day reminds
us that through unity, and through bridging struggles that transcend
traditionalist labor movement building, we as a people can create the
communities we want to live in. From Food Sovereignty and Workers
Rights, from the fields to the cities, we can dismantle the
capitalistic empire and its nation-states, and plant, cultivate and
nurture a new system. From planting community gardens in our
neighborhoods, to painting murals on urban canvasses we will move our
struggles forward. By building community with economic
refugees/migrants, farm workers, people of color, queer/trans folk and
wombyn, we will dismantle all systems! A movement led by the people
for people. May Day 2012 we unite with the world!
Will you be there?
For more information contact UFWsolidarity@gmail.com
"On March 13th, Five Seattle Occupiers go to trial for a November 2 occupation inside a Chase Bank branch in Capitol Hill. That day, hundreds rallied outside and disrupted business as usual. This action preceded a large demonstration that evening against JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as he spoke in Downtown Seattle.
Press Statement of the Bank Occupiers of November 2, 2011
We, independent members of the Occupy Seattle movement, are occupying this Chase bank to interrupt business as usual. We are here to show you that the polished, sanitized spaces of our day-to-day lives are places of horror. Banks don’t simply add arbitrary fees to debit cards or double your interest rates. They perpetuate poverty. They drive homelessness, and with it joblessness and the denial of healthcare. They force people out of homes through sub-prime lending and foreclosures, gentrifying neighborhoods in their wake by investing in real estate and construction firms that build condos and drive up market rates. They help make your “up-and-coming” neighborhoods whiter and wealthier and dispossess everyone needed to make them so. And for those who operate at the margins of society, committing victimless “crimes” or trying to save themselves and their families from starvation, banks are there to dehumanize them when they land in a private prison or get locked up in an immigrant concentration camp, like Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center (its extensive human rights abuse courtesy of Wells Fargo). All while executives reward themselves with millions for lives they have ruined and will ruin again, for a bottom line written in blood.
This movement isn’t just about bailouts. It’s not even about CEO salaries, corporate taxation, or campaign finance reform. The extremes of social and economic injustice most people experience today existed way before the recession, before Citizens United, and before executive pay skyrocketed in the last half-century. It’s about a culture. It’s about the logical consequences of capitalism. It’s about what those of us who grew up in America have heard since day one—the strong survive, the cream rises to the top. But the strength of those on top rests on the backs of millions who were never given a chance to achieve, the cream stays white, and the playing field is never even. It’s about the expectation your value as a person lies in your ability to drain money out of other people, and not in your ability to pursue your dreams in solidarity with fellow dreamers.
We refuse to live in a world in which power matters more than human lives and transactions more than relationships. We refuse to live in a world where survival—”getting a job”—means increasing the wealth of our bosses. We refuse to live in a world, in a country that never outgrew slavery—only sublimated it to the point we don’t recognize it, because its whips and chains have been replaced by redlining and unaffordable healthcare, or else hidden in the prisons that warehouse the people of color once enchained out in the open. We refuse to live in a world that inevitably confers privilege to upper-class, straight, white men, as it does under the rule of capital and the perpetual indentured servitude of the oppressed. We refuse to live in a world where we are accountable to anyone other than our interdependent equals. We refuse to live in a world where we are anything other than absolutely free.
Live your desires. Join us. This world is ours—all of ours—and don’t let them tell you anything different. We will build it together.
In solidarity with you in your own struggles,
Occupiers of Seattle."
The Facebook Event:
The Call to Action:
Seattle Steam’s lawyer is threatening to sue one of our Environmental Justice folks for “defamation and commercial disparagement.”
Wed March 7th
2nd floor of Convention Center
7th and Pike (where GA usually meets)
There's been a lot of talk/interest in having a session in OS that's specific to folks who are working at awful/low wage/mostly non-unionized/casualized jobs, and trying to be involved in Occupy.
There are many of us who resist the authoritarianism at our workplaces everyday and want to see a deeper connection between those struggles and the Occupy movement.
There are resources from existing class struggle organizations like IWW, that we could tap into to learn how to organize/survive on the job. Please come through if you/others you know, are interested! This is our first meeting!!
On Saturday March 10 from 11am-4pm at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, Occupy Seattle Gender Equality Caucus will host a day in solidarity with International Women’s Day. Organizer Teah O’Neill says, “there is no single ‘woman experience’. This gathering is for the community to honor the diverse struggles and contributions of women around the world who are taking on leadership roles in unprecedented numbers.”
O’Neill believes that women continually find themselves at the bottom of every system including economic, health, education, and social/humanitarian services. Those entrenched to the lowest parts of these systems are disproportionally women who are of color, transgendered, immigrant, and/or disabled. According to O’Neill, the institutionalization of women is present everywhere and takes the form of attacks on abortion and birth control, increasing violence against women, and the trafficking of millions of women and girls as literal chattel in the international sex and garment industries. Additionally, transgendered and transsexual people as well as others who do not conform to traditional patriarchal gender and sexual norms are demonized and threatened on a regular basis. Organizer Rose Harriot asserts, “with this event we will unite and rise up because it is long overdue to eliminate the divide and conquer tactics that have kept women from all walks of life apart.”
The all day event blends music, art, poetry, speakers and speak-outs, creating a space for the different experiences actually lived by women. Speakers include Choctaw-Navajo Patricia Ann Davis on having an indigenous lens over gender relations, medical provider Deb Oyer on comprehensive reproductive health/justice, immigrant rights activist María Guillén Valdovinos on immigration and detention, Dorli Rainey on her work with the Equal Rights Amendment, and COYOTE founder Margo St. James on sex-worker rights. Amber Flame is on the line up of poets, and local musical talents include Gravey Grime Girls and Baron DeKalb.
For those who question if women and gender issues are a part of the Occupy movement, organizer Kristin Moon answers, “Occupy is concerned with the liberation of all people in every community across the globe. Over and over again women are shoved to the side, but a compassionate understanding of our individual and collective experiences unites us all to join hands and harness the power to fight back against the tides of all oppression!”
Occupy Seattle Gender Equality Caucus invites you to join this international celebration of women in the spirit of unity that is everyone together honoring women and their unique experiences. For more information about the event, email email@example.com.
From: Gender Equality Caucus of Occupy Seattle
Wednesday, February 22nd
First Day of the Tibetan New Year
11am March (from NW 83rd/Greenwood Ave to Westlake Park)
3pm-5pm Protest and Prayer (Westlake Park)
March, Protest, and Prayer to stand in solidarity with our Tibetan sisters and brothers who are being jailed, beaten and murdered by Chinese military forces for speaking out against the Chinese government. Stop Tibetan Genocide!
Join us on the first day of Tibetan New Year to protest Chinese treatment of Tibetans, and to come together in solidarity for traditional prayer and meditation. Self-Immolations in and around Tibet have peaked the last two months in direct response to increasing attacks and human rights violations by the Chinese military.
Human rights violations to Tibetans by Chinese military are unprecedented at this time. Hundreds of convoys carrying Chinese military personnel with automatic machine guns have been making their way to Tibet. It appears as though the Chinese government is preparing for something incredibly tragic. Media censorship has made it near impossible for the situation to be accurately reported on. However, as of one week ago, undercover reporters have entered some of the most effected areas in and around Tibet including Aba, reporting that cities are lined with armed military vehicles as well as armed militia posted on many street corners. The increasing number of Tibetans self-immolating is no coincidence. In the last year alone, two-dozen Tibetan monks and nuns have self-immolated, twelve of which have occurred since December. Self-immolations by Tibetans are an ultimate sacrifice and desperate cry for help: Tibet is Burning! This is a call to action for each and every one of us, Tibet’s international community of brothers and sisters. As one person inside Tibet explained, “We are suffering a lot in our hearts, and when we can no longer bear it we burn ourselves to death.”
Tibetans are being jailed, beaten and even killed at this very moment for standing up for their people, land, and way of life. These are the consequences they suffer when protesting the Chinese government. We must stand strong with the Tibetans. They have called on us, and so we will come together as their sisters and brothers in a spirit of inherent unity and cooperation.
Please read this for more information about the situation in and around Tibet:
9:30am Prayer service at Sakya Monastery
10:45am Sangsol outside Gompa
11am Scarf offering for H.H the Dalai Lama and Sakya Dagchen Rimpoche
Advice/Speech by Avi Rimpoche
March for Tibet–from Sakya monastery to Downtown Seattle (via 15th Ave & Ballard bridge)
2pm-5pm: Gather at Westlake mall. Protest and prayer.
Banks got bailed out, students and teachers got sold out!
Thursday, March 1
2:45pm – Gather at Westlake Park
3:30pm – March to the Gates Foundation Headquarters
4:15pm – Rally, teach-in, and grade-in led by Seattle teachers
(NOTE: There is also an event at 1p.m. at SCCC – Stop by both for a full day of action!)
Students and teachers should not have to pay for the crisis created by the 1%. We refuse to accept the dismantling of our schools and universities, while the banks and corporations make record profits. We refuse to accept budget cuts, educational re-segregation, attacks on teacher unions, rising class sizes, massive tuition increases, outrageous student debt, and increasing privatization and corporatization.
They got bailed out and we got sold out – but through nationally coordinated mass action we demand FULL PUBLIC FUNDING and FULL PUBLIC CONTROL.
The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that the State is out of compliance with its “paramount constitutional duty” to fully fund education. K-12 education’s share of the state budget has been in decline since 1981. Since the “Great Recession”, Washington State has cut $10 billion from public education and social services, with over $3 billion slashed from K-12 funding alone. Washington State now ranks 42nd in the nation in per-pupil spending and has the 3rd highest class sizes in the country. State universities have raised tuition by over 47% in the last three years.
But rather than devote more funding to providing quality public education, state politicians are putting forward legislation that would open the door to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately owned and run. These unaccountable schools are exempt from state standards and union contracts. The Gates Foundation is a leading backer and promoter of charter schools nationwide, despite the fact that their own Stanford University study showed that charters, on average, perform worse than public schools. Charter schools are nothing more than a stepping stone toward privatization of education.
We call on all students, teachers, workers, and parents from all levels of education — pre-K-12 through higher education in public and private institutions — and all Occupiers, labor unions, and organizations of oppressed communities to mobilize on March 1st to tell those in power: The resources exist for high-quality education for all. We demand:
– Full funding for public education and social services
– Full public control of education policy
– Tax the 1%
– No budget cuts
– No tuition hikes
– No attacks on teacher unions
– No privatization of public education
Organized by the Occupy Seattle Public Education work group. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endorsed by Social Equality Educators.
To get involved in helping to plan and organize the Seattle day of action, come to an OS Public Education work group meeting — every Tuesday, 6pm, east-side of the 2nd floor of the Washington State Convention Center, Pike between 7th & 8th.
To endorse the Seattle day of action, please contact email@example.com.
FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/events/272897626112207/
On Monday truck drivers from the port of Seattle walked away from their rigs, protesting dangerous conditions and faulty equipment. The one day strike became a two day strike, and now shows no sign of ending until the workers’ demands for safe, livable conditions are met. Unfortunately, these workers, like so many of us, have little to fall back on. They need our help! This message was sent to Occupy Seattle:
“According to Teamsters Local 117 which has been working with the truckers, the main way supporters can help at this point is to gather food items and drop them off at the Teamsters Hall – 14675 Interurban Avenue S, Tukwila – so the drivers can feed their families while they’re not working.
Then stand by for word from the Teamsters on specific support actions.”
What can we do to support the port workers?
Bring canned or boxed food items to GA on Sunday or Wednesday for collection.
Tell your friends, family, church, book club . . . anyone who will listen!
Make a donation for the truckers, and we’ll use it to buy bulk food items.
Share this link with your Facebook friends : http://www.facebook.com/events/105957899529352/
These workers have no union and no strike fund to fall back on. They are the 99% that we came together to support, and they are literally going hungry fighting for their rights. We can fix that!
Thank you for all your donations! The drivers have ended their strike and are going back to work, so we’ve removed the donation link.
Occupy Seattle Media Presents: Voices of The Revolution.
A benefit concert for the Occupy Seattle Community Space Fund.
Voices of The Revolution is a concert/performance art series designed to raise money for the leasing of a warehouse space. A community center/working space for Occupy Seattle to use as a base of operations to organize, create media, hold public forums, provide a satellite desk and shared work center for each work group, hold benefits, and do outreach to the community.
All proceeds go to Occupy Seattle Media group, to further the efforts of public media, and the fund to acquire an Occupy Seattle base of operations.
A benefit concert for Occupy Seattle Community Space Fund.
Bands, performance art, drum troupe, dj, dancers, key note speakers, video projectionist (Occupy images!), painters.
Let us celebrate with music, art, and dance. Through these mediums we learn to better relate to one another. Please join us, and support this effort to sustain our movement.
*THIS EVENT IS ALL AGES*
Once And For All:
The Adrian Xavier Band:
DJ Michael Manahan
Dundun Village Drummers.
Real time interpretive painters
We come together in the spirit of local community to manifest communication and recognition among those who struggle with us in body and spirit to achieve freedom. Through art and performance we bond on a deeper level of understanding. Let the tribe grow and move as one, in grace, in understanding, in unity.
$10 donation in advance:
$15 night of show.
~The Robin Hood Tax Cover Charge~
$.50 for every thousand $ you earned last year.
All proceeds go to Occupy Seattle Media group, to further the efforts of public media, and the fund to acquire an Occupy Seattle base of operations.
Participants and donors please remember to sign our roster night of show. We would like to invite you to a future dedication banquet in honor of all those who supported and produced this benefit concert/performance art series.
“Renewed the permit for the occupation at Seattle City Hall this morning but it had one new provision. ‘This permit shall expire on Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 7AM. The city does not expect to renew this permit upon its expiration. The permitees will remove their belongings and material before the expiration of the permit. All such belongings and materials remaining after permit expiration will be removed by the city.’
I am open to suggestions.”
Head out to your local mall and pass these out to people – “Would you like a free gift certificate?”. To make a true “demonstration,” you need to hand out samples – put up a pair of chairs and a sign that says “non-judgmental listening here” or carry a sign that says “free hugs.”
Try to interrupt the commercial trance with humor, with kindness, and help people hook up with the real spirit of the holidays!
This morning, the Deparment of Justice released a report detailing excessive use of force by the Seattle Police Department and failures of oversight by supervisors. While the DOJ has attempted to demonstrate that the City of Seattle is acting in good faith to end these abuses and protect the Constitutional rights of citizens, police actions during the West Coast Port Shutdown (WCPS) protest undermine this claim.
The Seattle Police Department has gone to the press in order to release footage of alleged instances of violence done by protesters at the WCPS protest on December 12th, 2011. This announcement has been paired with a request from the SPD for the general public to identify protesters on-scene at the demonstration without pretense of due process.
Confusingly, the released footage also contains footage of police violence against peaceful demonstrators, including pulling a peaceful female protester to the ground by her hair, destroying a banner carried by peaceful protesters, and snatching a sign away from a protester. This incident caused the peaceful protester’s glasses to fall off his face and was an unnecessary escalation into violence. This situation was de-escalated by other protesters nearby as can be seen in the video.
Occupy Seattle has been, since its founding, a non-violent organization. Assertions made by the Seattle Police Department and Mayor McGinn’s office to paint Occupy Seattle as a violent protest is neither grounded in fact and is of disingenuous intent. Seattle’s long history of peaceful civil disobedience is shamed by public officials’ attempts to undermine this movement.
Occupy Seattle encourages and supports a free press. The SPD’s attempt to manipulate the media narrative in this case makes a mockery of journalistic integrity. Furthermore, their attempts to widely broadcast the faces of non-violent demonstrators only attempts to spur a witch-hunt against persons in the video engaged in peaceful protest.
This is a bold-faced attempt to chill free speech and has the potential of opening up those persons to discrimination for their constitutionally protected political views. The violence that took place at the port demonstration was not at the urging of OS and our members, but instead was left to the Seattle Police Department, which used flash-bang grenades and brutally beat dozens of citizens, including a member of the clergy. Leveling these serious charges, while releasing imagery of the protest as a whole, exposes hundreds of peaceful protesters present to retribution from a misled community which does not bear the burden of investigation. That is left to law-enforcement.
The SPD’s move to release these accusations paired with video is nothing short of an intimidation tactic designed to suppress Seattle citizens’ right to peaceful assembly, afforded by the First Amendment, which has turned 220 years old this week. Furthermore, the SPD is attempting to distract the public from the shameful violence used against demonstrators on that day. Occupy Seattle condemns and denounces this specious move to discredit this movement.
Police violence during the WCPS protest is part of a pattern of excessive use of force and failure to de-escalate in situations involving minor offenses that has been chastised by the Department of Justice. Many examples of police violence during the WCPS protest correspond directly to cases detailed by the DOJ in their report released today, December 16, 2011. This can be found by reading Section IV, part A of the letter that we have attached. While US Attorney Durkan and Assistant Attorney General Perez attempted to demonstrate that the City of Seattle is being pro-active about police accountability during this morning’s press conference, police action during the WCPS protest discredits their claim.