Monthly Archives: March 2012

Trayvon Martin Killing Sparks Strong Reaction in Seattle; Thousands March

An estimated three thousand people gathered in Seattle Sunday to show support for the family of Trayvon Martin and to protest the killing of the Florida teenager.

In attendance was Trayvon Martin’s cousin, Cedric President-Turner. He spoke to the capacity crowd at Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church, saying, “We need to march! We need to make sure things like that never happen again.”

Protesters wore hoodies and carried boxes of Skittles candy and cans of ice tea. Shaniqua, a 20 year old woman from the Ranier Valley neighborhood explained the symbolism.

“That’s what Trayvon was wearing and that’s what he had in his hands the night he was killed,”
she said. “We are all Trayvon Martin. It could have been my brother or anyone else here who might ‘look suspicious’ because of the way they dress or the color of their skin.”

Accusations of violence by law enforcement towards racial minorities in Seattle is not uncommon. The killing of local Native American woodcarver John T. Williams by Seattle police officer Ian Birk in 2010 sparked a series of demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

Currently, civil rights activists are demanding the resignation of police chief John Diaz. The Seattle Police Department has been investigated by the US Department of Justice due to allegations of racial profiling and excessive use of force. As a result, many residents of the city take the death of an unarmed black man very seriously.

Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church Pastor Kenneth Ransfer told those assembled for the march, “The death of Trayvon Martin is going to ignite the civil rights movement – that’s what it’s going to do! Today I see gathered here black folks, white folks, brown folks, people of all colors joining together – diversity! It’s time to paint the rainbow for justice.”

Hundreds of demonstrators were forced to wait outside the church because the building was filled to capacity. At 4:30 p.m. the marchers began to move towards Martin Luther King Jr. Park. March organizers led the protesters with the chant, “Justice For Trayvon – Arrest Zimmerman!”

At MLK Park Reverend Harriet Walden, president of Mothers for Police Accountability addressed the spectators with a story about her personal experiences while living in Sanford, Florida – the town where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on February 26 by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman. Walden says that her own sons Tunde and Omari were roughed up by police.

“It takes a village to bring up and care for a child,” she said. “Our village is alive and awake and agitating for justice. We are ready to fight the long battle for freedom!”

Seattle NAACP president James Bible was nearly speechless. “Words do not do justice to the heartbreak we all feel today about what has been taken away from us during Black History Month,” he said. “Racism raised its ugly head and took away a young black soul. Every mother has been shaken to the core because somebody could shoot their son only because they are brown.”

Bible invoked the name of another African American man who was killed by Seattle police in 2001 – Aaron Roberts.

Seattle school district teacher Jesse Hagopian spoke about what he calls the new “Jim Crow,” referring to discriminatory laws passed after the civil war in the southern US which denied African Americans their right to vote and barred them from using the same facilities as whites. His statement about Trayvon Martin’s death was angry and defiant.

“He was killed because he was a young black man in America. The new Jim Crow laws profile us! Today there are more black men in prison in the US than the number of slaves that were living in this country in 1860.”

A student from Garfield High School proposed that people in Seattle should wear hoodies every Wednesday as a silent protest against the killing of an unarmed man.

Cedric President-Turner relayed a message from Trayvon Martin’s mother Sabrina Fulton to the marchers in Seattle:

“She just wanted everybody to know that she thanks you all for coming out and supporting this cause. Because it’s not just for the death of my cousin. It’s about what’s going to happen in the future.”

Local Writer Mark Taylor Canfield’s article; published by Huffington Post can be viewed here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-taylorcanfield/seattle-marchers-demand-j_b_1379995.html?ref=crime

Technology for Revolutionary Organizing

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: This post is the first in a series about technology by Samuel Levine, who works with the Occupy Seattle Livestream team and runs his own blog at levinetech.net.

If you want to change the world you need ideas, information, and networks of people receptive to your ideas. Technology can give you reach (of everyone else on the Internet), but as of today it cannot help with interpersonal or ideological conflicts, make a poorly worded argument strong or make people cooperate. Social systems can help if you’re working with people that are cooperative and share similar goals, technology can at best help determine and implement them.

Please also keep in mind that everything we’re talking about here are at best pseudo-anonymous, even with encryption. Pretty much any company will give your data to law enforcement when served a warrant. Your laptop that is never connected to a network can be searched. Think before you type or speak into a device with memory, especially when it’s being transmitted over the Internet. Dealing with a government willing to shoot peaceful protesters (Iran, Syria, etc.) is outside the scope of this post.

This being said, some common things activists will want to use technology for include:

– Organizing direct actions, meetings and other events.
– Streaming video, pictures and messages from your events.
– Compiling lists of people in your network and reaching out to them.

This post is mostly about organization. Identifying problems, talking about how to deal with them, dividing up the work, etc. However you do it, organizing events and direct action takes a lot of work. Firstly, don’t use e-mail to organize them. Email sucks. Your parents, boss and/or coworkers may use it, and they may be radicals, but we have lots of more specialized tools at our disposal and most of them are pretty cheap.

Some synchronous (where everybody is communicating in real time) solutions include:

– Google+ Hangouts
– Skype
– FaceTime
– Tinychat
– Lots of stuff people can’t afford and aren’t much better than what you can get for free.

You have a ton of options here, so if you’re already comfortable with something, use it and teach the people you’re working with how to use it. Because people don’t read instructions.

I recommend using Google+ Hangouts if you want group chats, or possibly Tinychat if you don’t want to sign up for yet another social network. Everything else available for minimal cost is mostly for one-on-one stuff. Skype is everywhere, FaceTime is only for Apple devices, they’re both pretty cool. None of this works for large groups of people. Streaming video to the masses is outside the scope of this post, but check out Livestream and Ustream if you’re interested in that.

Having everybody talk or be in front of a screen at the same time is very time consuming. Most people don’t need to see everything needed to put on an event. Some asynchronous solutions for organizing are:

– Facebook Groups/Events
– Google Groups/Docs
– Google Calendar
– Basecamp/Campfire
– Text messages/Group Messaging
– Email
– Websites/blogs/wikis

There are several things you want out of a system you use, but at a minimum you want the ability to tell people about when and where something will happen and if there are any changes. You’ll also want some kind of system (not necessarily technology) to communicate with people organizing the event, divide up tasks, compare promotional material, etc. Use as much technology as you’re comfortable teaching to the other activists that you’ll be working with. If the people you know that you want to show up to an event use a system (Facebook, Twitter, text messages) use the system(s) *they already use* to communicate with them.

Facebook groups give you the ability to create shared text documents, talk back and forth with and poll group members and can be made invisible to Facebook users not yet members of the group. Don’t use this (or any free web service) if you need the element of surprise. Facebook events are a pretty common way of inviting people to events and they’re a good way of reminding people going to an action that it’s coming up in a few hours, or that the date changed, etc.

Using a combination of Google Docs (you can share documents, spreadsheets and small files), Google Groups (Email lists) and Google Calendar events can be good too. If people really want to use email this helps move some of the most painful parts of email to web apps better designed to handle them. Just be prepared for flame wars and long, drawn out off-topic emails.

37signals makes a number of for-pay web apps, including Basecamp (project and document management) and Campfire (group chat). I like them, but if you require a free solution they don’t have it.

Text messages are great because a well-timed SMS blast to people has a very high chance of being read, several times more likely than email. If you have an emergency meeting/event that you need people at, this is a good way to get the message out. You can also use them to communicate things to organizers

Group messaging services like GroupMe can help coordinate things on the ground. Text messages are great, but if you want to share what is happening on the perimeter of a mile long march with a half dozen (or more) people this is really hard to beat. You can share photos, your location, etc. with everyone in the group. This duplicates functionality built into iPhones (the Find My Friends app and the Messaging app) and Facebook/Twitter (both allow you to send and receive updates via SMS), but it’s still handy in that it’s all in one app, groups can be muted when you’re done for the day, etc.

Websites are pretty easy to come by nowadays. A Blogger or WordPress blog can be had for free and you can register a domain fairly cheaply (Namecheap and 1&1 are inexpensive choices). Going into all the ins and out of this aren’t in the scope of this post, but consider two common uses you’ll have for it: introducing new people to the cause, and telling people when and where events, meetings and whatnot will be happening. You don’t need to be a web designer or a programmer to accomplish this.

Hopefully this whet your appetite for more. We’ll go into detail on particular products in future posts so you’ll have a better idea of how to use them.

SCCC Public Hearing for limiting civil liberties!

SCCC will be having a “secret” meeting on Tuesday, March 27th to discuss limiting civil liberties on the SCCC campus. I say “secret” because the meeting was not publicized anywhere save this little article. No students or teachers were made aware. Let’s do what we do best and rally the troops!!

www.seattlecolleges.edu/district/newsroom/publichearing.aspx.

A little bit about why you should attend.
The Board of Trustees is seeking to do the following:
• To define first amendment rights to “includes, but is not necessarily limited to, informational picketing, petition circulation, the distribution of informational leaflets or pamphlets, speech-making, demonstrations, rallies, appearances of speakers in outdoor areas, protests, meetings to display group feelings or sentiments, and/or other types of constitutionally protected assemblies to share information, perspective or viewpoints.”
• Limitation of expression of these rights to the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
• Limitation of expression of these rights to a span of 8 hours for college groups and 5 hours for non-college groups.
• Limitation of people to carrying only one sign and limiting signs to no larger that 3’ x 5’ (this would preclude us using our banner!).
• Prescription of locations at which expressions of first amendment rights may occur.
• Creation of obstacles that may dissuade groups from expressing first amendment rights at Seattle Community College campuses.

Occupy 1500 Harvard Ave.- SCCC Public Hearing Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/342214869158080/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

Sukkot ~ Hung Jury!

Shanti Wyatt who was arrested October 17th at Westake with around twelve other OS members while sitting around a Succhot, a tent put up in celebration of the Jewish holiday, chose unlike the others to have a jury trial. We learned today that there was a hung jury.

Occupy Sukkot-Seattle

https://www.facebook.com/events/151818668246678/

Occupy Seattle Stands With Port Truck Workers

Occupy Seattle’s General Assembly met on 3/21/2012 and agreed through consensus on this statement and committed to further action on behalf of port truck workers:

Occupy Seattle, in solidarity with the port truck drivers of Seattle, demands that the Washington state bills HB 2527 and 2395 be passed into law by the anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s birth, March 31st, 2012, or we shall take further direct action in consultation and solidarity with the port drivers.

If necessary we shall call on other Occupys, especially those located in major transportation corridors, to take solidarity actions that they deem appropriate.

Additional history and information on these issues:

Since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which gave collective bargaining rights to some workers and legalized part of the labor movement in the United States, large populations of workers, such as farmworkers, domestic laborers, and port truck drivers (currently classified as “independent contractors”) have been left in the cold.

Roosevelt, in working for the passage of New Deal legislation, had to capitulate to the white supremacist Southern Senators and Congressmen who were the right wing of the Depression-era Democratic Party coalition. So the labor legislation found a way to exclude Southern Black workers, not by name, but by occupation, so that Southern white landowners could continue to superexploit cheap Black labor at will.

This was at the same time that life under Jim Crow in the South was all but unbearable for Black people, and lynching was endemic and treated as a sporting event by Southern elites. This legacy of white supremacy and inequality of human rights for workers is what we are still fighting to undo in 2012. The US imperialist state put these obstacles to equality of labor rights in place, and we are demanding that it remove them immediately. We also demand that law enforcement officers cease and desist from selectively harassing and ticketing these drivers in retaliation for their support of the independent truckers association.

These workers are bereft of the rights given to “employees” as defined by law. This separation, exploited by the 1% and targeting migrant workers and economic refugees, must end.

This legislative session has the potential to become a landmark session for port truck drivers in the State of Washington. Two bills addressing these problems have been proposed: HB 2527, which would place the responsibility for legal fines levied by law enforcement against unsafe intermodal chassis on the companies which own those chassis rather than on the drivers who are directed to haul them and must work as directed, and HB 2395, which would re-classify port drayage drivers in Tacoma and Seattle from the legal category of independent contractors” to that of “employees”, finally recognizing their rights.

Occupy Seattle expects Washington State to act on these bills before the end of this legislative session. These bills not only set the stage to redress the inequalities affecting port truck drivers, but could set a precedent for sweeping change in how government views the right to union organizing. Occupy Seattle stands in solidarity with port truck drivers, as it has stood in solidarity with organized laborers in past months.

We also call upon the other Occupy movements, especially those located in port cities and major transportation corridors, to inform the state governments under which they live that they fully expect passage of the same legislation enabling port truckers to unionize in all coastal states by the end of 2012.

Occupy Seattle eagerly awaits the passage of these bills . If they are not passed, signed, and enacted by March 31st, 2012 (the birthday of Cesar Chavez), Occupy Seattle will have no choice but to engage in direct action in solidarity with the workers of Washington State, and and to call upon Occupy nationwide to join with us in this action. Direct action has notably won victories for the working class and will again, should state legislators fail to address these issues appropriately. Occupy is ready.

Ian Finkenbinder

May Day Planning Meeting

Come and help build for the May 1st 2012 Global Day of Solidarity, Wonderment, and Merrymaking, tomorrow March 20th at 7pm at the Washington State Convention Center.

Visit may1stseattle.org for more info on May Day.

Decolonize Los Campos: Desde Abajo Hacia la Izquierda

We are a group of people of many genders, races, abilities and
political viewpoints that came together though Decolonize/Occupy
Seattle (DOS) and are interested in organizing around a whole-systems
approach to worker liberation. Many of us initially met at Westlake,
worked together at Seattle Central Community College and united to
organize the D12 Port Shutdown. As we work together to create
community, we consistently engage in movement building through
critical dialogues and acts of resistance. We understand that the
struggle of farm workers is one aspect of a larger pattern of
resistance, which is a response to the dispossession that capitalism
and globalization inflicts on our global community. We were approached
by the United Farm Workers (UFW) to work in solidarity with them in
their current campaign against the outrageous labor practices of Ruby
Ridge Dairy. Workers at Ruby Ridge are forced to work long hours
without breaks or lunch, have had their wages stolen, and are denied
clean drinking water as they are told to drink from the same place
where the cows drink. Their efforts to unionize have been met with
threats of violence and most of the workers who led the unionizing
effort were fired. Darigold, the company who purchases milk from Ruby
Ridge, has neglected to hold Ruby Ridge accountable for its
exploitative actions, and in their failure to respond to the needs of
the workers, have condoned such unjust working conditions.

In honor of the ongoing struggle of these workers, we began our
organizing with the commitment to work in solidarity with farm
workers, as opposed to taking action for them. We understand that our
accountability to the workers themselves is a necessary piece of our
intentions for solidarity; it is vital that those on the front lines
of their workplace struggles remain central to the decision- making
process. This accountability is a major principle we utilized to
organize as a collective. In order to make sure this principle was
followed, we met directly with workers twice- once in Seattle and once
again in Pasco. In these meetings we shared our backgrounds, reasons
for organizing and talked about the current struggles we are engaging
in. The meetings were multilingual; we spoke in Espanol, English, and
Spanglish. Traveling together to Pasco, and hearing stories of the
worker’s struggles from the workers themselves, had a strong impact
that we carried with us through the organizing process. We were
mobilized and energized by our meeting with the workers; forming these
relationships was a tangible way to actualize our goals of solidarity,
community-building and provided vision and inspiration for our work
within the movement. We also planned the day of action and talked
about logical next steps during the meeting. Meeting with workers and
leaders from the UFW was an important step in keeping us accountable
to the principle outlined above and was also a way to connect our
communities.

Elemental to this action was arte — the ways in which we created
together and how our co-creativity influenced the march. There were
two banner making parties leading up to January 27th, 2011. During
these parties, food and music were abundant as we expressed our rage,
hope and solidarity with paint, projecting nuestra voz onto the void
spaces and transforming them into meaning. For many of us, this arte
was as much a healing process as it was a symbol used to convey a
message. Again, this demonstrates how an action is not just the event
itself but also the way that we make it happen. Arte is the heart.

In line with our efforts to build community, we began the day of
action with a breakfast that we cooked together to welcome the workers
to Seattle and to further integrate the wider DOS community into the
day of action. We put thought into aligning our food choices with the
intentions of the campaign, keeping in mind that we are all connected
to waste, worker and animal exploitation and ecological collapse via
our food sourcing choices. We continuously work hard to maintain a
full systems perspective within our organizing work. The community
breakfast was held in the basement of a local church decorated with
colorful, creative banners, and picket signs. As we shared food we
continued to build community.

After sitting for breakfast with the some of the workers and their
families, we headed to Westlake Plaza to rally. The rally began as
two-high school students from Seattle, who are the children of farm
workers, spoke about their families’ experiences and their own
feelings around their struggles. We also heard from workers at Ruby
Ridge and one of the organizers from the UFW. We then took to the
streets in a high-energy march filled with arte and enthusiasm. One of
the main goals of the day was to deliver a petition with 20,000
signatures to the Darigold Headquarters. Previous attempts to reach
the administration had been unsuccessful; when workers and their
allies showed up the doors were closed and guarded. When we arrived at
the headquarters, a security guard who stated that only one person
would be allowed inside and only one door would be open greeted us.
However, the crowd did not find this to be acceptable and the other
door was opened by the protesters to allow the voices of the farm
workers’ to travel into the offices.

As a group we requested that the President and CEO of Darigold, Jim
Wegner, come out of his office to answer to the demands of the workers
and their allies. However, he declined to show his face. Despite his
failure to listen to his workers and customers the petitions were
delivered by one of the farm worker’s sons, whose path to the office
was cleared by protesters. We proceeded with a second rally outside
the Darigold headquarters. Speakers included farm workers revealing
the truth about their unjust working conditions, two longshoremen
speaking out in solidarity, a member of the UW custodian’s union and
voices from Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. We ended the day of action with
a march around the building and a promise that we would continue to
organize until the farm workers’ demands are heard and working
conditions at Ruby Ridge improve and meet basic standards of dignity
and respect.

For many of us, what defined this action as “successful” was the
building of relationships with each other, with workers, and with UFW
representatives. From this base we aspire to move forward together as
we continue to create, organize and overcome. While we consider the
action on January 27th to be a success, however, we also recognize
that it is only one step in the struggle towards worker’s liberation.
We completed the goal of delivering petitions to Darigold and through
this process we were strengthened and inspired by the feelings of
community, solidarity and accountability that had been our intentions.
Our commitment to these principles has given us insight into the next
stages of this struggle. We acknowledge that this petition is one
step in the battle to hold Darigold accountable for its abuses, and is
therefore one aspect in the struggle against the oppressive and
exploitative practices of the dairy industry. We also acknowledge
that these fights are embedded within the greater, global struggle to
reclaim sovereignty over our food and labor.

The abuse of farm workers in Darigold feeder farms is not an isolated
issue; it is one instance of the way our capitalist food system, which
puts power in the hands of wealthy corporations (profiteering off of
thousands of wage laborers), continues to perpetuate injustice. The
exploitation of farm workers runs parallel to the abuse of other
laborers throughout the food system. From the fields to the fine
dining room, the exploitation of these workers is tied to their
powerlessness within capitalist and racist institutions. In a similar
way, consumers of this food are bound to the system. We are forced to
make unjust choices as the oppressed roots of our food are veiled from
us by a false abundance at the store. Friday’s action was part of the
inspiration for a research project to explore these connections
between labor abuses, the way our food is produced, and the structure
of power in the food system. This project will continue as this
struggle builds, both informing and learning from it.

Additionally, as we push our organizing efforts forward we recognize
that the complexities of all struggles toward liberation require
multiple approaches. This applies to the workers’ struggle at Ruby
Ridge; thus, our organizing includes a variety of tactics from a
diverse group of workers, allies, consumers and union members. Most
importantly, we must always acknowledge that workers will continue to
organize themselves and lead the course of solidarity. As consumers,
we want to reach out to other consumers and continue to educate each
other and our communities about the crimes of Ruby Ridge and Darigold.
This could look like students addressing the milk purchased by their
schools or creating human billboards stationed outside of supermarkets
to inform shoppers about the suffering they contribute to when they
drink milk. We encourage affinity groups and individuals to think of
their own methods of supporting the effort to change the ways of Ruby
Ridge Dairy and Darigold. The UFW is not officially calling for any of
these actions; these are suggested ideas coming from people
independent of any official affiliation to the UFW.

A vital next step is to continue traveling to Pasco and Eastern
Washington to meet directly with workers and strengthen our solidarity
through further relationship building. We also support workers from
other dairies, orchards and farms that experience abuses similar to
those of Ruby Ridge Dairy, because we know oppression is not isolated.

As mentioned, this action was part of a greater web tied in with
international worker solidarity, class struggle, Northwest based
alliances, and immigrant/economic refugee justicia y libertad. From
the onset we knew this action was one aspect of a long-term vision,
which could help us unite in building for May Day 2012.

A key component of our movement/solidarity bridging was recognizing
the historical significance of May Day 2006, an international worker’s
day led by the people for the people. This event awoke like a sleeping
giant prior to the Decolonize/Occupy Movement. There are many lessons
we can learn about the general strike that led millions of economic
refugees to take to the streets, walk out of los campos, schools, and
divest from the capitalist empire. International Workers Day reminds
us that through unity, and through bridging struggles that transcend
traditionalist labor movement building, we as a people can create the
communities we want to live in. From Food Sovereignty and Workers
Rights, from the fields to the cities, we can dismantle the
capitalistic empire and its nation-states, and plant, cultivate and
nurture a new system. From planting community gardens in our
neighborhoods, to painting murals on urban canvasses we will move our
struggles forward. By building community with economic
refugees/migrants, farm workers, people of color, queer/trans folk and
wombyn, we will dismantle all systems! A movement led by the people
for people. May Day 2012 we unite with the world!

Will you be there?
For more information contact UFWsolidarity@gmail.com

For Immediate Release: Chase Bank Occupiers: Not Guilty. “A Huge Victory”

Thursday, March 15th, five occupiers who shut down a Chase Bank in the city of Seattle on November 2nd of 2011 heard their verdict: Not Guilty. When the unanimous decision by the jury of six was announced today the shock, and elation, of the five occupiers and their supporters swept the room. “This sets a totally new precedent,” said one young woman.

The verdict was read at 4:15 of the third day of trial, having come after days of argument, examination of witnesses and cross examination. The City, having brought the charges, put the manager of the Chase Bank branch on the stand as well as three members of the Seattle Police Department. One had been working as private security for Chase Bank that day while wearing a police uniform.

Danielle Simmons, one of the defendants, after trial said, “I am in shock. The jury decided that our actions were justified and whether this is because they thought it was somehow lawful or just the right thing to do, something is changing, and I think it’s beautiful.”

On the day of November 2nd the five, now innocent occupiers, chained themselves together inside of the Chase bank using what is commonly known as a “lockbox.” When a march of about 200 arrived the branch was finally locked down and customers were informed that they should leave. The branch remained closed for the rest of the day.

“This is a huge victory for the Occupy Movement,” added Liam Wright, another defendant. “Every step of the way this bank occupation and the follow up has been more successful than we could have ever hoped for. We wanted to make clear to everyone that we don’t want a world defined by banks, we don’t want to live under them. We want to be human beings living together, free from the dead weight of financial profiteering.”

Liam Wright concluded, “They act like we will live under the rule of banks and money forever. But they can’t stop us. They can’t jail us.”

One of the occupiers, Michael Stevens said, “Right now the American political and corporate establishment is headed for another election. If anything, candidates might disagree about how much they want to limit birth control or how long the military should put off bombing Iran. This is so horrifying it’s ludicrous. Meanwhile, we are determined to end the rule of banks and billionaires — over us and over this whole planet. This doesn’t even appear on the radar of ‘official politics,’ yet millions agree with us.”

The defendants Danielle Simmons, Liam Wright, Sarah Svobodny, Hudson Williams-Eynon, Michael Stevens and their lawyers Braden Price and David Hancock, are available for interview.

Contact for the defendants: itsrighttooccupy@gmail.com

Braden Pence (Lawyer) – 206.551.1516, braden@pencefirm.com

David Hancock (Lawyer) – 206.422.0848, david@defenderoftheaccused.org

See original post @ It’s Right To #Occupy:

http://itsrighttooccupy.wordpress.com/

Chase 5 – Not Guilty Verdict

Chase 5 – Not Guilty Verdict – Released by Jury

Defend the Chase 5

"On March 13th, Five Seattle Occupiers go to trial for a November 2 occupation inside  a Chase Bank branch in Capitol Hill.  That day,  hundreds rallied outside and disrupted business as usual.  This action preceded a large demonstration that evening against JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as he spoke in Downtown Seattle.

Press Statement of the Bank Occupiers of November 2, 2011

We, independent members of the Occupy Seattle movement, are occupying this Chase bank to interrupt business as usual. We are here to show you that the polished, sanitized spaces of our day-to-day lives are places of horror. Banks don’t simply add arbitrary fees to debit cards or double your interest rates. They perpetuate poverty. They drive homelessness, and with it joblessness and the denial of healthcare. They force people out of homes through sub-prime lending and foreclosures, gentrifying neighborhoods in their wake by investing in real estate and construction firms that build condos and drive up market rates. They help make your “up-and-coming” neighborhoods whiter and wealthier and dispossess everyone needed to make them so. And for those who operate at the margins of society, committing victimless “crimes” or trying to save themselves and their families from starvation, banks are there to dehumanize them when they land in a private prison or get locked up in an immigrant concentration camp, like Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center (its extensive human rights abuse courtesy of Wells Fargo). All while executives reward themselves with millions for lives they have ruined and will ruin again, for a bottom line written in blood.

This movement isn’t just about bailouts. It’s not even about CEO salaries, corporate taxation, or campaign finance reform. The extremes of social and economic injustice most people experience today existed way before the recession, before Citizens United, and before executive pay skyrocketed in the last half-century. It’s about a culture. It’s about the logical consequences of capitalism. It’s about what those of us who grew up in America have heard since day one—the strong survive, the cream rises to the top. But the strength of those on top rests on the backs of millions who were never given a chance to achieve, the cream stays white, and the playing field is never even. It’s about the expectation your value as a person lies in your ability to drain money out of other people, and not in your ability to pursue your dreams in solidarity with fellow dreamers.

We refuse to live in a world in which power matters more than human lives and transactions more than relationships. We refuse to live in a world where survival—”getting a job”—means increasing the wealth of our bosses. We refuse to live in a world, in a country that never outgrew slavery—only sublimated it to the point we don’t recognize it, because its whips and chains have been replaced by redlining and unaffordable healthcare, or else hidden in the prisons that warehouse the people of color once enchained out in the open. We refuse to live in a world that inevitably confers privilege to upper-class, straight, white men, as it does under the rule of capital and the perpetual indentured servitude of the oppressed. We refuse to live in a world where we are accountable to anyone other than our interdependent equals. We refuse to live in a world where we are anything other than absolutely free.

Live your desires. Join us. This world is ours—all of ours—and don’t let them tell you anything different. We will build it together.

In solidarity with you in your own struggles,

Occupiers of Seattle."

via http://itsrighttooccupy.wordpress.com/chase-5/

The Facebook Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/371131716236401/

The Call to Action:

http://kasamaproject.org/2012/02/20/a-call-from-seattle-support-the-chase-5/

 

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December 23rd Die-In to Protest Pollution from Downtown Incinerators

December 23rd Die-In to Protest Pollution from Downtown Incinerators

Letter to Duff Bagley

Seattle Steam’s lawyer is threatening to sue one of our Environmental Justice folks for “defamation and commercial disparagement.”

General Assembly Consensus Process

 

Here's the consensus process that General Assembly approved last night.  We'll start using it next Wednesday, March 7th.

Issues and Proposals – An issue for dicussion or a proposal is presented by the person who put the item on the agenda.

  • Presentation – the person who put the item on the agenda presents the issue
  • Turn and Talk – 3 min, initial thoughts on the issue.
  • Understanding; questions, facts – stack is open for questions and facts to make sure everyone has the same understanding of the issue.
  • Open Discussion – thoughts, opinions, background information, and general debate
  • Ideas and Concerns: list and address - how can we address this issue?  what are our goals?  what are our concerns?
  • Consensus Test – are we ready to move forward with what's been suggested to address the issue?
    • Other Concerns?
    • Strong Opposition?
    • Stand Asides?
    • Consensus?

If consensus is not reached, or 1/3 or more of the assembly is standing aside, or there is strong opposition to a proposal to address an issue, the assembly may table the proposal until a future meeting.  If a proposal has been tabled once, the assembly may call for consensus among at least 80% [amended from 90%] of participants to move forward over strong opposition.  This is a last resort if there is irreconcilable opposition to a proposal that the rest of the assembly is in favor of moving ahead with, and should not be considered as strong as full consensus of the assembly.

Occupy Seattle Workers’ Caucus

WorkersCaucus

Wed March 7th

5pm

2nd floor of Convention Center

7th and Pike (where GA usually meets)

There's been a lot of talk/interest in having a session in OS that's specific to folks who are working at awful/low wage/mostly non-unionized/casualized jobs, and trying to be involved in Occupy.

There are many of us who resist the authoritarianism at our workplaces everyday and want to see a deeper connection between those struggles and the Occupy movement.

There are resources from existing class struggle organizations like IWW, that we could tap into to learn how to organize/survive on the job. Please come through if you/others you know, are interested! This is our first meeting!!

 

Occupy Seattle Workers’ Caucus

International Women’s Day: Honoring the Diverse Struggles and Experiences of All Women!

On Saturday March 10 from 11am-4pm at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, Occupy Seattle Gender Equality Caucus will host a day in solidarity with International Women’s Day. Organizer Teah O’Neill says, “there is no single ‘woman experience’. This gathering is for the community to honor the diverse struggles and contributions of women around the world who are taking on leadership roles in unprecedented numbers.”

O’Neill believes that women continually find themselves at the bottom of every system including economic, health, education, and social/humanitarian services. Those entrenched to the lowest parts of these systems are disproportionally women who are of color, transgendered, immigrant, and/or disabled. According to O’Neill, the institutionalization of women is present everywhere and takes the form of attacks on abortion and birth control, increasing violence against women, and the trafficking of millions of women and girls as literal chattel in the international sex and garment industries. Additionally, transgendered and transsexual people as well as others who do not conform to traditional patriarchal gender and sexual norms are demonized and threatened on a regular basis. Organizer Rose Harriot asserts, “with this event we will unite and rise up because it is long overdue to eliminate the divide and conquer tactics that have kept women from all walks of life apart.”

The all day event blends music, art, poetry, speakers and speak-outs, creating a space for the different experiences actually lived by women. Speakers include Choctaw-Navajo Patricia Ann Davis on having an indigenous lens over gender relations, medical provider Deb Oyer on comprehensive reproductive health/justice, immigrant rights activist María Guillén Valdovinos on immigration and detention, Dorli Rainey on her work with the Equal Rights Amendment, and COYOTE founder Margo St. James on sex-worker rights. Amber Flame is on the line up of poets, and local musical talents include Gravey Grime Girls and Baron DeKalb.
For those who question if women and gender issues are a part of the Occupy movement, organizer Kristin Moon answers, “Occupy is concerned with the liberation of all people in every community across the globe. Over and over again women are shoved to the side, but a compassionate understanding of our individual and collective experiences unites us all to join hands and harness the power to fight back against the tides of all oppression!”

Occupy Seattle Gender Equality Caucus invites you to join this international celebration of women in the spirit of unity that is everyone together honoring women and their unique experiences. For more information about the event, email occupygenderequality@gmail.com.

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From: Gender Equality Caucus of Occupy Seattle
occupygenderequality@gmail.com,

http://www.facebook.com/occupyseattlegenderequality