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.
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
Join us for a Die-In at noon on Friday, Dec. 23 at 1st and Pike Sts in front of Pike Place Market and 1/2 block from the highly polluting Seattle Steam incinerator now sickening neighbors. Bodies will sprawl across the sidewalk in death poses to symbolize the deaths and disease this filthy incinerator is causing right now in downtown Seattle. We will have flyers, signs, banners, and bullhorn to narrate our “deaths-by-incinerator”.
This incinerator must be stopped NOW to prevent Seattle Steam’s plans for increasing its Pike Place Market pollution 6-fold. This incinerator must be stopped NOW to prevent Seattle Steam from building a second, monster incinerator next to Pioneer Square.
This incinerator must be stopped NOW to thwart Seattle City Council’s plans to radically ramp up still further Seattle Steam toxic pollution and kill many Seattleites. Seattle Steam “owns” the city council. In October, 2011, City Council voted 9-0 to support aggressive expansion of Seattle Steam pollution. In classic 1% style, Seattle Steam will tolerate no opposition to its plans to make more than $500,000,000. and kill many people in Seattle.
Join our Die-IN on December 23 at noon—before this incinerator wrecks your health, too!
For more information about campaigns to stop incinerators across Washington State, see: www.nobiomassburn.org
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
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.
Please come show your support! Need reinforcements!
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
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:
Mads J. was arrested on Dec 12th at Terminal 18, when the police threw the flash bomb and tear gas. They are trying to charge him with Felony Assault of police officer. This is the most serious charge among the 11 arrested.
We need you to come to his hearing tomorrow. We all know what went down that day. Police violence went wild and now they slap our people with charges to demobilize and demoralize us. We need to show them that Decolonize/Occupy stays together and sticks up for our people against violence.
We need you, tomorrow *THURSDAY* Dec 15, King County Jail Court, meet 2:15pm at 5th and James.
This is not an Occupy Seattle endorsed action. I apologize for failing to put this tag up earlier. It is a direct action that engaged, committed participants are organizing.
On Friday December 16th, there will be a rally at 5:15pm outside of Seattle Central Community College to highlight the issue of for-profit development and gentrification in the neighborhood. It will be followed by a march at 6 pm ending at the 10th and Union Warehouse. The plans for demolition of this warehouse will be taking place within a month. The 10th and Union area will make way for a 20% affordable or 80% unaffordable 79 unit, 6 story apartment complex over ground floor retail.
According to the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Plan, developers will be exempt from paying property taxes for 12 years if 20-30% of their units are set aside as “affordable” at rents between $850-1100/month. Unfortunately, “affordable” caters to individuals who earn atleast 65% of the Seattle median income. Most tenants in Seattle earn 55% of the median income, which means the rents are priced hundreds of dollars above whatmost people, and especially low-income people can afford. In short, these are not affordable rents.
Furthermore, these tax exemptions are contributing to our state budget problems. At the rate developers are participating in the program,by 2013, the Multi-Family Tax Exemption will cost taxpayers 150 million dollars. Ultimately, our tax dollars are subsidizing apartments
that are unaffordablefor the majority of people in Seattle; allowing developers to make huge profits at the taxpayers expense, and neglecting those who are truly in need of low-income housing.
This warehouse has also recently served as a site of contest. On December 3rd, around 4 a.m., sixteen participants of Occupy Seattle were arrested in the warehouse at 10th and Union during an action to reclaim space for the community. In the face of the recent slew of closures and cuts to libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, they sought to restore the warehouse, formerly the Union Cultural Center, to its use as a “supportive educational space for teaching, sharing and creating vibrant culture.”
This protest is to further mobilize the community in a fight for educational spaces and local businesses as well as halt the development of unaffordable housing currently taking place.
This is a fight for community over capital.
December 13, 2011
[Note: This article was written by several members of Occupy Seattle who were closely involved with organizing for the December 12th West Coast Port Shut Down. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect all of Occupy Seattle.]
Occupy Seattle: A New Phase for the Workers’ Movement
SEATTLE, Wash — Monday, December 12th, Occupy protesters and allies shut down several major ports along the West Coast. In Seattle, we stopped all evening work at Terminals 18 and 5, causing millions in profit loss to major corporations Stevedoring Services of America, American President Line, and Eagle Marine Services.
Yesterday’s actions drew a wide swath of the 99%. Protesters of all ages demonstrated, and people of color turned out in large numbers. The protests included a coordinated city-wide high school walkout, a rally emceed by Hip Hop Occupies, and a three mile march to the ports. The shutdown was organized by members of Occupy Seattle in solidarity with Occupy Oakland and with the struggles of LA, Oakland, and Seattle port truckers and Longview longshore workers. Occupy Seattle’s People of Color caucus produced need-to-know guides for the action.
The shutdown was solidly an Occupy action, funded by the heartfelt donations of occupiers and their supporters, and a hefty donation from Occupy Oakland. We received absolutely no material support from any union. This was a direct action in the truest sense of the term: it was rapid-fire, organized on a shoestring budget, bypassed stalling bureaucracy, and mobilized the energy of an inspired community united against economic injustice.
The actions were planned with special attention to the long tradition of democracy and direct action within the ILWU. We picketed Terminals 18 and 5 in light of the longstanding ILWU principle of respecting other pickets. Union policy dictates that if arbitrators rule that picket lines are too dangerous to cross, ILWU workers will be compensated for the work they missed.
The protests were wildly successful. Truck drivers and port workers repeatedly expressed support for the protesters, waving and honking as they passed.
Terminal 18–the Port of Seattle’s largest and busiest terminal–was the first to be shut down. Protesters took the main intersection, swiftly forming a blockade of roadside debris to stop the incoming shift, while redirecting outgoing traffic onto one lane. This effectively blocked three gates, while the fourth had been shut down by the port in anticipation of the action. The Seattle Police Department, not protesters, temporarily stopped workers and truckers from leaving the port by forming a bike chain as protesters yelled at them to “let the trucks through.”
Under pressure from protesters, police backed away, but later stopped traffic once again, stating that they were trying to clear the road for police convoys to enter. In solidarity with the protesters, the truckers honked their horns loudly and persistently, and the frustrated calls of the crowd forced the cops back off the road. Occupiers then continued to direct traffic out of the port, delivering flyers of Scott Olsen’s statement to drivers as they passed (see below).
At 5pm, reports came through that the union arbitrator had ruled in favor of protesters, deeming the picket too dangerous to cross. The shipping company called off work at Terminal 18 for the evening. In accordance with union contract, dispatched longshore workers were nonetheless paid for their time.
Protesters then proceeded to Terminal 5, the location of the Port’s only other ship that day, chanting “Whose Ports / Our Ports.” Approximately one hundred protesters formed a human barricade and moving picket line at the terminal gate, while another hundred stood by in support.
Some protesters who remained at Terminal 18 were herded onto the sidewalk. When they tried to maintain the blockade, conflict escalated. The police used pepper spray and flash grenades to disperse protesters, in one case forcibly pulling back the head of a protester to spray him in the face. A few protesters flung road flares and a bag of paint at the police in retaliation. In the resulting chaos, a number of protesters were arrested.
The crowd of Terminal 18 dissipated and joined Terminal 5. After two hours of picketing, the union arbitrator once again ruled in favor of protesters, calling off work at the terminal.
The Occupy Movement Strikes Back
Many of us showed up to this action having learned from the experiences we’ve had in the short months since we began assembling together. Having previous engagements with the police, we knew to protect ourselves. Legal observers and medics were interspersed through the crowd, and the majority brought bandannas and scarves to cover their noses against flash bombs and other chemical weapons utilized by the police. Some of us sported the goggles that we learned to use after pepper spray incapacitated activists during the march on Chase Bank.
Occupy Seattle’s action was one of the last in the day, following successful port shutdowns in Longview, Portland, Oakland, and other places. A hundred of our friends in Bellingham continued to break the flow of capital by protesting on the railroads, some locking themselves to the tracks in defiance. Solidarity was extended to us even from Japan, where the International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba made a statement of support.
We send our sincere thanks to Oakland and Portland for extending their protests in response to the police aggression in Seattle that left several of our friends with stinging eyes and ringing ears. We extend our support and love to Houston and San Diego, where the police have used similarly aggressive tactics.
Today, we stand in solidarity with the unemployed, the underemployed, the incarcerated, and the 89% of the working class who don’t belong to unions. We stand in solidarity with students protesting education cutbacks and rising debts, with low-wage workers protesting union-busting, with those facing foreclosure, and with the unemployed. We believe that a workers’ movement does not merely belong to the unionized, nor does it recognize imposed political borders. This is the building of a new movement. We rise from our roots in the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and anticolonial struggles across the world.
For ongoing updates on the West Coast Port Shut Down action:
Truck Drivers Statement:
More information on Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) and Goldman Sachs:
ILWU Guiding Principles (See in particular #4 regarding community picket lines):
Appeal from Scott Olsen to Longshore Workers:
Today, demonstrators picketed and blockaded terminals 18 and 5 at the port of Seattle, the only terminals with ships actively unloading. At both terminals the unions arbitrator decided the longshoremen should not cross our picket line. In other words…
WE SHUT THE PORT OF SEATTLE DOWN!
On a personal note, I’d just like to say how proud of everyone involved here and down the entire coast where shipping was also disrupted in Longview, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego. We are showing the 1% that the 99% are powerful and we are building a movement that will take this planet back.
Dear Occupy Seattle,
Our General Assembly (GA) tonight at Westlake Park decided on a schedule for GA meetings.
Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m., at the Washington Trade and Convention Center indoors.
Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m., at the Washington Trade and Convention Center indoors.
Fridays, 7:00 p.m., at the Washington Trade and Convention Center indoors.
Sundays, 7:00 p.m., at the Washington Trade and Convention Center indoors.
If the attendance is greater than the Convention Center can handle, we may have to change this plan, but during the holidays this may work fine.
Stand by for Christmas Day decision. We failed to address the fact that the Convention Center may be closed then.
We can make that decision at a future GA.
And Discussion General Assemblies (GA) will be held:
Wednesdays, 12pm, at the Westlake Park Outdoors on the south end.
Saturdays, 2:00 p.m. beginning at the Westlake Park Outdoors on the south end. That assembly may choose to take a walk together to the Pike Place Market to have a GA in the midst of the people visiting the market, throwing fish, busking and generally there for fun. We will be first checking out what the rules, busker needs, and sensibilities etc. are that we need to know about.
It is meant to be fun while teaching the process.
Monday December 12th – The occupy movement and its allies up and down the West Coast are shutting down major ports to take a collective stand against the 1%, their budget cuts, their union busting, and their brutal crackdown of occupations across the country.
Below you’ll find major updates, livestreams and twitter feeds.
Major updates will be posted here throughout the day.
ALERT: LEGAL NUMBER FOR Occupy Seattle in the Guide booklet is wrong. The RIGHT NUMBER IS 206-403-8741. PLEASE SPREAD. SORRY!
1:25pm: Twitter reports, we have at least 350 energetic people as speakers hype up crowd!
1:30pm: Have begun the march down 4th to the Port of Seattle! Beautiful banner declaring, “Rise and Decolonize!” Beautiful people chanting, “Shut down the West Coast!” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets?”
1:45pm: Live stream reports crowd of 700 marching South on 2nd Ave.
2:00pm: Reports of choppers circling the crowd
2:10pm: Occupy Seattle Twitter reports marching passed the stadiums, taking up 4 lanes of traffic on 4th Ave: “Seahawks supporters cheering us on!”
2:40pm: KIRO tv has live chopper feed, livestream and twitter reports. Sherrif’s dept. chopper, as well.
2:50 Almost to the port. King county sheriff helicopter flying right over head- “cop heli noisey. increasing volume of the people!” the energy is awesome!
3:06pm: March approaching Marginal Way! On the global livestream! Seattle Livestream reports we are 1,000 strong!
3:10pm: Port Truckers honking in solidarity! Cops on top of bridge looking down at protestors.
3:15pm: March arriving at the port with cheers and chants and Truckers sound their horns in support! Live stream reports more than a thousand people! the crowd stretches back several city blocks and a second crowd waiting for the marchers at spokane rally point!!
3:25 pm: one entrance to the port shut off, traffic blocked. Police in riot gear and bicycle cops arrive.
3:40pm: reports of 2 arrests. Mic Checks explain how to prevent the arrival of the swing shift and create a blockade for trucks.
3:45pm: second entrance blockaded. all gates to terminal 18, owned by Goldman sacks it shut down!
3:55pm: Witness reports 1 police and 2 coast guard boats.
4:00pm: police prevent worker traffic from exiting the port at end of shift, crowd chants “please let the workers go”
4:10pm: police allow workers to leave port.
4:45pm: The port gates are being blocked. The police have formed bike lines in front of the pickets. ” west side of port is shut down for night”
4:50pm: No work will be done at terminal 18 tonight. we shut it down!! on to the next terminal! Contingent staying at termonal 18 to make sure it stays closed. Other group moving to T5
5:00pm car hits two protesters and drives away- witnesses report licence number. witnesses have photos.
5:00pm: witness reports pepper spray, flash bangs? (had 2 loud bangs) used on protesters at 18- some on the sidewalks. barricades and horses used by police as “tools” to control crowd. Police gave no warning before deployment of weapons. 8 -12 arrests
6:00 pm: demonstrators have moved to terminal 5. over 200 picketing, 24 blockading.
6:05pm: after mounted police, tear gas, pepper spray and flash grenades cleared terminal 18 picket is holding down terminal 5.
6:20pm: the police have left.
6:45pm: “The longshore workers are standing by at the union hall waiting for the arbitrator to decide whether they’ll be sent to work here. so we need to maintain the picket line for sometime longer. Please stay if you can.
Invite friendst to pier 5 (3443 West Marginal Way SW), we have a lively picket line going there. We have the future of the worker’s movement here. Everyone on the picket line is having a great time.”
Yesterday a group of occupiers got together for a potluck to build unity and do some last minute organizing for tomorrow’s west coast port shut down (March begins at 1pm tomorrow at Westlake Park here in Seattle). Here’s what a few folks had to say about why they support the shut down:
Unfortunately do to technical difficulties (I wanted to cry after hitting the delete button by mistake) these are the only testimonials available now, so you’ll have to come on out tomorrow to find out why people are coming together to shut down the port!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:
The West Coast Port Shutdown:
Statement by People Of Color Caucus
Why are we doing this?
Safety and Legal Issues
Transportation (it’s free!)
Brought to you by the People Of Color (POC) Caucus
Essential Things To Know
Compiled by the POC Caucus of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle.
BEFORE YOU GET THERE
1. Bring at least one piece of valid picture I.D, and if you have it, official documentation of your legal right to be in the country.
2. Know by memory/write on your arm the phone number of a support person. The Occupy Seattle legal number is 206-403-8741.
3. Let someone know where you will be at all times. Find at least one other person at the action and know where they are at all times. Support and protect each other.
4. Avoid carrying bags, purses, backpacks, which may get stolen/lost if you are arrested.
5. Do not bring drugs, weapons, alcohol. For obvious reasons, do not bring your smartphone.
IN CASE OF ARREST
6. If you need prescription drugs, bring them in their original containers, and bring a copy of the prescription. Don’t risk arrest if you’re going to need to take your own medicine at regular intervals of less than about 48 hrs.
7. If you have outstanding warrants for any reason, your bail may be raised and it may result in you being singled out from other arrestees.
8. Know that if you don’t live nearby, if you are arrested you may be legally required to return to this area to go to court on one or more occasions, and not on your schedule.
9. Don’t risk arrest if you’re not a US citizen; our system is pretty messed up, and regardless of your legal status, immigrants can be put in danger by these arrests.
10. If you are differently-abled, consider the fact that the police and jail authorities are not obligated to give you the level of care and consideration you would receive otherwise.
11. Juveniles (under-18s): the consequences of arrest could include getting schooling impacted or living situations disrupted (e.g. CPS).
ONCE YOU’RE THERE:
When on Port of Seattle land, you are on public land: you are not trespassing UNLESS you enter the fenced sections which are leased to corporations with their own security force. Regardless it is legal to be on the sidewalks and parking lots. You do not need to keep moving as long as you clear a path for others to walk down the sidewalk.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
You do not have to talk to the police. If they speak to you, ask, “Am I free to leave?” If they say yes, walk away slowly. If they say no, you are being detained. If they ask, provide your name; otherwise you do not need to speak to them. Use your current legal name. Only a judge has the authority to order you to answer questions.
You are not required to reveal your immigration status to police officers.** It is better to say nothing than to lie.
If they stop you in your car, provide your license and registration. You do not have to consent to a search or answer questions.
Be aware that police will try to lie to you and intimidate you in order to get you to do what they want.
**There is a Seattle City and King County “Don’t ask” ordinance about people’s immigration status. HOWEVER, if you are booked, the police may find that you are undocumented and hand you over to ICE detention center.
RIGHTS WITH PORT POLICE:
- Once you are on “port property,” that is jurisdiction of the Port Police.
-The Port Police are teamsters: they ultimately answer to the Port Commissioners.
- Folks who are on Seattle streets are subject to SPD and Port Police
-Something to keep in mind: they may be working together.
- The larger the group, the more likely port police will be seeking to enforce trespass/dispersal order
- Under WA state law, you never need a permit for a sidewalk, parks and other public forums (like lawn of city hall and plaza in front of the jail)
-Don’t have to be moving (i.e. marching) but just make sure people a lane to walk through.
If we are asked to disperse, the police have to give us proper warning. Police need owner’s permission to give dispersal order on private property.
- They must give an audible dispersal order (we must be able to hear it).
After the order has been give we need to:
o Make sure everyone can hear/has heard it & note the time/date
o Cops need to voice their authority for giving order
o Need to give you a time frame
o Need to tell where to leave.
§ We can ask. Where do you want us to disperse to? Which direction is it safe to walk in without getting arrested?
– They need to give THREE orders
– Sometimes they give the dispersal order only to intimidate; you can choose to hold your ground after an order has been given.
Occupy Seattle Street Medics have established a site away from the port action where people can come warm up, dry off, and have some down time on Monday, 12/12. This location has internet access, so if people want to stay connected and monitor via livestream, that’s an option.
The location is Jigsaw Renaissance, in the INScape building (former INS building).
This location will be staffed by at least one street medic from 3pm to 8pm.
It would be amazing if anyone had connections to large coffee urns for coffee, hot water (for tea/hot cocoa), and maybe cider. Also amazing if anyone has the ability to gift some coffee, tea/hot cocoa, cider and snacks.
Occupy Seattle Street Medics and other medics working the port protest should be able to give directions to this location. The bus service from the port isn’t great, but Jigsaw is only two blocks south of the International District station/transit hub.
Google will lead you astray…
The address is actually 815 S Seattle Blvd, but google maps will show 815 Airport Way.
It is between 5th and 6th, just south of Uwajimaya.
The exterior of the building is always locked, but there will be a phone number posted to call, and hopefully our exterior door bell will be functioning as well.
December 9, 2011. On Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, Seattle Police Department posted a notice of eviction at the Occupy Seattle encampment at Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill. The notice gave 72 hours to vacate the premises. At noon on Friday, December 9th 2011, the 72 hours will have expired. The eviction notice caught many Occupiers by surprise, as Occupy Seattle participants and college administration had been working on a planned and peaceful re-location, however a date had not been finalized.
In preparation for a planned re-location, Occupy Seattle has been removing tents, supplies, and essential equipment from the camp. However, some structures remain, to include the Learning Tent, where faculty members of SCCC hold teach-ins regarding issues of economic and social disparity. On Friday, the American Federation of Teachers Union and the King County Labor Council are scheduled to hold one of these teach-ins at the Learning Tent. The session is expected to start at 12 noon and continue overnight.
Occupy Seattle fully intends to exercise the First Amendment rights guaranteed every American citizen by assembling in the South Plaza of Seattle Central Community College on Friday, December 9th. While the Seattle Police Department may elect to remove us from our chosen protest space on that date, we stand in solidarity with other Occupy Wall Street protests that have been so egregiously evicted from public land by continuing to protest regardless of accusations or threats leveled by SCCC or the SPD.
POC caucus requests the support from the legal community for the safety of our friends, families and communities:
We are the People of Color Caucus, part of the Occupy/Decolonize movement. On December 12, 2011 at 1pm we are participating in the coordinated shut down of the West Coast Ports. As people of color we have made a call out to our communities which consists of First Nations, non citizens, survivors of the prison industrial complex, economic refugees (immigrant workers), and survivors of systematic state sanctioned violence. People of color have been targeted at direct actions in the past.
Because we are preparing for the potential of arrest during this Port Action, we are requesting pro bono legal assistance for the Port Action and afterwards. We are looking for law students, attorneys, paralegals, and the legal community as a whole with experience in civil, criminal, and immigration law who will provide their assistance pro se. Any legal assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated. We will compile a list of legal representation who have agreed to assist
pro-bono before, during the Port Action, and afterwards. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your time.
People of Color Caucus
Actions are planned in every major west coast port city, plus Houston, TX; blockades of Walmart distribution centers in Salt Lake City, Denver, and more.
Meet at Westlake Plaza (4th & Pine) for a 1pm rally, then march to blockade the Port of Seattle. (Heads up! Geo from the Blue Scholars will be at Westlake at 1pm. For more info, visit www.hiphopoccupies.com)
There will be two rallies near the port at 3pm and 6pm 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.
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.
Because of limited space, consider metro buses, such as routes #125, #122, #132, #21, or #22 from Westlake Center to the Port. Get off the 125 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!
CALL FOR BIKE SWARM/CRITICAL MASS: Bike enthusiast, bike owner and bike rider to meet at Westlake Plaza at 1 PM to lead the march to the port.
* Solidarity with immigrant port truckers in Seattle and LA who are exploited by SSA, owned by Goldman Sachs. Stop discrimination, unsafe conditions, and poverty wages.
* Send a warning to multinational grain company EGT, which is trying to bust the ILWU in Longview, WA. We act independently of the ILWU but we are in solidarity.
* Against police repression and evictions of occupations. A coordinated response to their coordinated attacks. Occupy everything!
* Against austerity! They say cut back, we say fight back. If they cut the working class, we will cut their profits by stopping trade.
For more info on WHY we are occupying the ports, check out this statement: http://occupyseattle.org/resource/west-coast-port-shutdown
- To dispel rumors: We are not planning on trespassing on federal property, we are not planning on breaking into the actual port terminals, we are not planning on sabotaging equipment.
- Rallies will be family-friendly with food, speeches, entertainment, etc. They are on public land, near sidewalks and the bike path. There is never any guarantee with police, but these rallies are legal and should be relatively safe.
-Picket lines will go to other parts of the port. These lines will involve various levels of risk of arrest and possible police violence, which will be made clear to everyone so people can choose whether or not they want to participate.
For more information in general, check out: www.westcoastportshutdown.org, http://occupyseattle.org/, or call (206) 424-4547.
Please invite your friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/318022101544266/
Twitter #occupytheport and #occupyseattle
Press release: http://occupyseattle.org/blog/2011-12-07/support-grows-seattle-port-shutdown-december-12th-press-release
Statement by the People of Color Caucus of Occupy Seattle: http://occupyseattle.org/blog/2011-12-05/letter-poc-caucus-friends-family-and-community-dec-12-port-shut-down
Statement by Hip Hop Occupies: http://occupyseattle.org/blog/2011-12-06/dubs-hip-hop-occupies-call-action-west-coast-port-shutdown
Video about the shutdown, featuring Boots Riley: http://youtu.be/OGqncu3wlEI
Here are a lot of the outreach materials that have been produced by various groups here and in Oakland. Please print these out and help distribute them in your communities:
Safety Guide for the West Coast Port Shutdown: Click here to download our PDF Guide to the Seattle Port Shut Down.
Interview with ILWU Members About D12
Please donate to help us cover the costs of buses, food, etc: https://www.wepay.com/donate/42135?ref=widget&utm_medium=widget&utm_campaign=donation
We will march from Seattle Central Community College to Pike Place Market.
Starting at the corner of E. Pine St. and Broadway, under marquee.
Two Seattle Steam incinerators threaten to turn downtown Seattle into a Lethal Pollution Zone. One incinerator near Pike Place Market is already burning “dirty” waste wood and sickening neighbors. The huge 50MW, $80M incinerator planned near Pioneer Square would emits hundreds of tons of killer particle pollution and make $500,000,000. for Seattle Steam.
Because of large federal subsidies for both incinerators, the people of Seattle are literally paying to poison themselves. AND the entire Seattle City Council recently voted to support a further expansion of lethal Seattle Steam pollution. In classic 1% style, Seattle Steam “owns” Seattle City Council to assure no obstacles in the way of obscene profits!!
The 99% must fight back NOW!
JOIN US ON DEC. 17!
For more information about lethal incinerators and the campaigns to stop them: www.nobiomassburn.org
US District Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order In Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Washington State Patrol
US District Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order In Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Washington State Patrol
December 8, 2011.
At 1 PM on December 6, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan granted a temporary restraining order that immediately suspends the Washington State Patrol’s policy of banning demonstrators from the state capitol campus and surrounding parks.
This is a class action lawsuit.
Successfully seeking the order was lead plaintiff Mark Taylor-Canfield, representing a class of people to whom the Washington State Patrol have issued or may issue these unqualified banishments. This class includes Occupy Seattle participants who were banned and/or arrested while attending demonstrations at the state capitol in Olympia.
The restraining order will be in effect until January 5th. During this time Taylor-Canfield and Occupy protesters who received the trespass warnings will be allowed onto the state capitol campus property and surrounding parks to attend the ongoing demonstrations taking place during the current special legislative session.
The temporary restraining order does not affect ongoing criminal proceedings against protestors arrested at the Capitol for defying the bans.
Taylor-Canfield and his attorneys have argued that the “Trespass Warnings” being issued by the Washington State Patrol are a violation of the First and the Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.
They maintain that placing restrictions on people’s freedom of movement in this way violates their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, and in Taylor-Canfield’s case, freedom of the press. The attorneys are also arguing that the bans have been forced on people without due process of law – a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Judge Bryan has scheduled another hearing for January 5th. At that time the court will consider the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction.
Confused about labor politics and the West Coast Port Shut Down?
Here’s a video about the December 12th Port Shutdown:
And here’s an amazing interview with two rank and file longshore workers:
To some of the organizers here in Seattle, this quote from the interview speaks to exactly why we are doing this:
These ports are the people’s ports. Ports belong to the people of the Pacific Coast. The money came from the taxpayers in California, Oregon and Washington. EGT was subsidized by the Port of Longview. So the people have the right to go down there and protest how their tax dollars have been ripped off.
This action has spread to Denver and Salt Lake City with blockades of Wal Mart distribution centers, plus a port blockade in Houston, and an action by railway workers in Japan! Updates are here: http://www.westcoastportshutdown.org.
On Monday, the whole world will be watching.
Occupy Seattle – December 07, 2011
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.
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:
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
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
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
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Class Action Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court on Behalf of Occupy Seattle Protesters
December 6, 2011.
Attorneys from the Seattle law firm Keller/Rohrback have agreed to represent protesters who have been banned from state property by the Washington State Patrol during demonstrations at the state capitol building in Olympia, Washington.
The case has been filed with the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA (CASE NO. C11-5994RJB).
United States District Judge ROBERT J. BRYAN ordered the first hearing to convene at 11:30 AM Dec. 5th at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma.
The attorneys are asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the WSP’s practice of banning protesters who have not been charged with any crime.
The Occupy Seattle legal team has stated that these actions by the WSP violate the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Protesters who have been detained by police are being warned that they are prohibited from entering the state capitol campus grounds and nearby parks which are owned by the State of Washington.
Protesters who have subsequently challenged the WSP ban by attending the demonstrations have been arrested at the state capitol and charged with criminal trespass. They have been prohibited from visiting the capitol campus for one year.
Journalist Mark Taylor-Canfield is the lead plaintiff in the case. He was detained by Washington State Patrol officers on Nov. 28th and banned from the capitol campus for 30 days. Taylor-Canfield and his lawyers maintain that the WSP ban also violates the constitution’s guarantee to freedom of the press because his is being barred from covering the protests as a journalist. Since he can’t attend the demonstrations at the state capitol without facing arrest, he is being prohibited from serving as a witness, conducting interviews with protesters, or doing live reports from the scene.
The plaintiff also maintains that the “no trespass” orders are being given to persons without due process of law. Therefore, the lawsuit claims that both the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendments have been violated by the Washington State Patrol in these cases.
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Campus Community
FROM: Paul T. Killpatrick,
DATE: December 5, 2011
SUBJECT: Occupy Seattle Exit Strategy
A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Friday upheld a Seattle Community College District emergency rule that prohibits camping on the Seattle Community Colleges’ property.
The Emergency Rule is an amendment to Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 132F-136-030, outlining permissible activities on the Seattle Community Colleges’ property. The new rule states: “College property may not be used for camping, defined to include sleeping, carrying on cooking activities, storing personal belongings, or the erection of tents or other shelters or structures used for purposes of personal habitation.” The rule will be in effect for 120 days. The college district has started the process to adopt a permanent rule.
I will be meeting tomorrow morning with representatives of Occupy Seattle to establish a timeline for posting of trespass notices and a peaceful and orderly exit strategy.
I would like to share with you the text of the address I made last Thursday at the General Assembly (GA) of Occupy Seattle stating our commitment to working collaboratively with Occupy Seattle to ensure a peaceful and orderly exit strategy:
“Thank you for allowing me a few minutes to address your General Assembly.
My name is Paul Killpatrick. I am the president of Seattle Central Community College.
I wish for you to know I am supportive of many things that you believe in. I am here tonight to discuss a possible exit strategy from Seattle Central. I’ve had weekly meetings with some of your members and I understand that Seattle Central was not your first choice to relocate – with good reason. We are not set up to host an encampment. To that end we need to discuss an exit strategy – a strategy that will ensure that no one will be injured, that violence will not be used.
I hope that we can send a message of peace and true communication to the rest of the world – that when reasonable people assemble solutions can be found. That is why I am not waiting for the courts to decide if an injunction is possible or not.
I wish to start a good faith effort today. Let us show the rest of the world that Seattle is different. We can make this work. To quote Cornel West, “Occupy is not a place, it is a movement.” This is my message to you tonight. Thank you.”
On Friday, I sent a follow-up email to a representative of Occupy Seattle stating, “The college is still interested in having an open discussion with interested members of Occupy Seattle. As I said at the G.A. last night, the college is committed to seeking a peaceful resolution and an orderly exit strategy. This is something that is going to take collaboration between the college and Occupy Seattle.” I requested this message be posted on Occupy Seattle’s website in the form of a “Message from Dr. Paul Killpatrick, President of Seattle Central.”
Further information about the Emergency Rule along with a link to the news release is available on the Chancellor’s Blog.
The last six weeks have been difficult and tense for many of us. I hope we will see a peaceful resolution to this situation soon, and I hope that Occupy Seattle finds a new, more manageable home.
SCCC issued 72 hour notice to vacate dated today, 12-6-11.
Link to document: http://photobucket.com/noticeoftresspass
Legal team will be responding.
All evening GAs post eviction will be held at 7:00 p.m. every day at Cal Anderson Park on the center plaza near the restrooms.
The noon Wednesday GA at Westlake will be held per usual at noon.
Stay tuned for more information.
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—
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/19/12 intergroup meeting—
Direct Action: $30
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/12/12 intergroup meeting—
Ikko Ikki: $50
Total budget: $190
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 3/5/12 intergroup meeting—
Food Not Bombs: $60
Gender Equality: $200
Total budget: $430
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/27/12 intergroup meeting—
Food Not Bombs: $40
Total budget: $100
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/20/12 intergroup meeting—
Food Not Bomb $100
Total Budget $280
The following workgroup budgets were proposed at the 2/6/12 intergroup meeting—
Food Not Bombs $140
Ikko Ikki $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
Gender Equality $80
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-
Arts and Entertainment-
Food Not Bombs-
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
Food Not Bombs $203
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
Why Shut Down the Port of Seattle on Dec 12th?
Longshoremen Struggles 1985-2010, The Struggle 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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guide to Port Shutdown: Click here to download our PDF Guide to the Seattle Port Shut Down.
Occupy your neighborhood!
Occupy Seattle, like Occupy Wall Street, is more than just an encampment. There are as many ways to occupy Seattle as there are people with concerns, urgency and ideas.
If you feel loss, betrayal and outrage at our political/economic system, you’re not alone. The Occupy movement is people realizing the system is designed for the few, not for us. Whether or not you are able to set foot in the main encampment, you are already part of the Occupy movement, and you can bring it to your neighborhood.
Whatever you can do, in whatever time you have, is exactly what we need.
You don’t need to use tents. Find your own images, symbols, ideas, actions. Tents in public places are important symbols of collective outrage at being treated as surplus people; but the movement is larger than all our tent cities. There are many ways to express that outrage, that loss of hope, and the urgent need to build new hope and new ways of occupying the planet together.
• Start a regular vigil at Chase bank or another local target.
• Have a weekly conversation about the issues, and invite your network of acquaintances.
• Talk about the ways you personally have been affected by the economic crisis.
• Meet in a coffee shop. Meet in a home. Meet in a studio or workplace.
• Advertise a public meeting at a community center..
• Show movies and discuss them. Start a book group.
• Write letters or op-eds together.
• Put a banner on your house or studio or meeting place.
• Put a sign on your bumper or your window or your sleeve
• Play some music. Make pictures. Start a neighborhood Occupy newsletter or zine.
• Arrange a mock trial of your favorite corporation.
• Sit or stand in silence.
• Have a community walk.
• SURPRISE THE REST OF US with new creative ideas on how to make known what you know.
Some principles some of us are trying to work with:
• Act on what you believe.
• Make decisions together.
• Take care of each other.
• Be accountable to each other.
• Listen to each other.
• Make space for people and ideas you might not understand. Step outside your comfort zone.
• Don’t wait for others to act on your behalf.
• Go public. Let people know that someone in your neighborhood understands and cares.
Let us help. There’s no central committee or leadership, but there are lots of us who have been doing this for a while and are eager to help you reach out and find how many people around you share your concerns. Can we come join a conversation in a coffee shop or living room or community center? Can we help you think of things to do? Can we help you find out if others in your neighborhood want to be involved? Can we show you how our General Assembly and work groups operate? Can we bring you some stickers or help make a banner or a yard sign or a car sign or . . . . .?
Come to a People’s General Assembly and meet other neighborhood occupiers and network with the rest of the movement and participate in direct democracy. If you can’t come, send someone. (Stay tuned for the announcement of a warm dry indoor location for General Assemblies.)
How can we hear from you? How can we help? There’s no manifesto, you don’t need permission. You are as much the center as anyone.
A few resources:
for Occupy Seattle: occupyseattle.org
for people to come talk with you: email@example.com
for more ideas about everything: howtooccupy.org
Occupy your neighborhood. Occupy your shared worries, your concerns, your outrage, your hopes. Occupy your heart. Occupy your voice. You are the movement for change. You matter.
Now is a really good time.
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
BLOOMING IN THE
NOISE AND WHIP
OF THE WHIRLWIND.”
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.
Faculty, Dept. of English
Seattle, WA, 12/4/2011
**Names and Phone Numbers Redacted***
Reclaimed Community Center Evicted by SWAT Team; 16 Arrested
On December 3rd, around 4 a.m., sixteen participants of Occupy Seattle were arrested in a former community center at 10th and Union during an action to reclaim public space.
As the participants planned the future of the space, SWAT and other SPD forces entered the building to forcibly remove them. Everyone present was arrested and held for criminal trespass; six people were arrested and held for obstruction of justice. Journalists present were barred from entering the block.
Earlier the same day, Frank La Rue, the United Nations special rapporteur for the protection of free expression, announced that the U.N. was drafting a document which criticized the U.S. government for severe and ongoing violations of Occupy demonstrators’ human and
In the face of the recent slew of closures and cuts to libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, participants sought to restore the warehouse, formerly the Union Cultural Center, to its use as a “supportive educational space for teaching, sharing and creating vibrant culture,” in the words of the UCC mission statement. Similar actions in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Boston suggest a new direction for the Occupy movement.
After entering the building at 6:30 p.m., hundreds of people from the neighborhood and Occupy Seattle immediately began cleaning and organizing the space. Lights were strung, bands and DJs played a free concert, people were fed, and a large general assembly discussed how to utilize the 36,000 square feet. Plans included supporting homeless people, opening a community art space, and providing free childcare and resources for drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. The assembly reached consensus to maintain the space as a strictly drug and alcohol free zone.
The warehouse, scheduled to be demolished in two weeks, will be the site for six-story luxury apartments, part of larger development plans for E Union Street which have already received widespread criticism from neighborhood residents.
Arrestees available for interviews.
Please come support occupiers at the old union cultural center. Public space not private waste. 10th and union.
“We are going to occupy the warehouse at 10th and union, we need people to show up and help us occupy the space and help improve it. Show up and help us make a safe place to be and occupy this warehouse slated for demolition for more apartments.”
- Independently-Organized Participants of Occupy Seattle
EDIT: (12:10pm, 12/4) Fourteen participants arrested last night. More information to come.