Monthly Archives: September 2012

State of the Movement: Lessons Learned From One Year of Occupy Wall Street

 

Here are some of the lessons I've learned as an activist since the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Sept 17, 2011.

 

Personal Empowerment = Social Empowerment

 

As we learn to accept and allow folks to use their own individual voices, the group is empowered. With OWS we are learning how to bring the best out of people rather than just condemn or judge them for their personal style, spiritual beliefs or political views. Welcoming new people to the movement should be a major focus of our activities if we want to succeed. The 99% is just waiting for someone to come along and say, "Join our side – we are all getting screwed by Wall Street and the multinational corporations!"

Last year we marched in the streets, set up occupy camps, and were arrested by unsympathetic corporate controlled police and political officials. Having been empowered personally by our connection to the movement and it's values, we can now begin to build that world we have all been dreaming about. 

 

This year people are at stage two of the process. In 2011 we focused on confronting the power structure with our demonstrations. We were an infant throwing a tantrum – crying and hoping to evoke sympathy from our parental authorities.

 

But on the one year anniversary of the movement it is perhaps time for us to stop asking the question, "Why won't the political, religious and economic elite reform the systems that oppress us?"

 

The answer to that question is obvious. The economic power structure is not interested in supporting any governmental, religious or financial reforms, let alone a global social revolution. Changing the system would be detrimental to their own self-interests, and butting our heads up against a brick wall becomes tedious after a while.

Instead, I beleive that we are now empowered and compelled to build this new world ourselves – DIY!

 

We are no longer waiting for any of our so-called "leaders" to do the work for us. Our infantile stage has now passed and it's time for us to mature as a movement, to put the past behind us – the political repression, and the negative corporate media propaganda.

Bottom line: it doesn't matter what CNN or NPR say about Occupy Wall Street! Most of the US media doesn't understand the altruistic, loving spirit of this movement, anyway. These values are foreign to them. They are only interested in asking, "Where's the money?" "Where are your political candidates?" 

 

So, in their eyes the movement has been a failure, but the real transformation has been on a personal level with everyone involved in OWS. Our collective eyes have been opened because we have been educating one another. And our apathy is gone because we now feel empowered to affect the changes we want within our own communities – our households, our neighborhoods and our cities.

 

In reality, the Occupy Wall Street movement has now turned a corner. A paradigmn shift has taken place over the last 12 months which has brought us to this moment where occupy activists across the nation and around the world are finally becoming aware of one another and are acknowledging their solidarity. Students across the country have been marching in solidarity with the students of Montreal. Orgainzers from the Idignados movement in Spain have been talking with occupy groups in the US. Hordur Torfason has addressed American occupiers on how Iceland managed to create its peaceful revolution. US activists have corresponded with Anna Hazare about the social justice movement in India. Wherever one looks on the planet, you will find people activley involved in the transformation of their society.   

 

If this pro-democracy/anti-corruption movement is to succeed in the US, it will have to join forces with and become a full partner in the global movement for peace and freedom. We must listen and learn from our sisters and brothers throughout the world who are working to overcome corporate/state oppression. The movement can be easily stamped out in individual nations, but no one can stop something that is happening all over the planet in unison!

 

Many of the US activists have found roles within their own local occupy groups and in their local communities. Hundreds of Occupy working groups have been taking on a number of local and regional issues including the Keystone pipeline, Citizens United, GMO's, anti-labor union legislation, student debt, attacks on the rights of immigrants, police brutality, homelessness, unfair tax policies, etc. Wherever the need arises for support of the poor and middle class, occupiers seem to be there. www.interoccupy.org

 

In Seattle folks are showing the way. Despite the usual infighting and burn-out isssues, the Occupy Seattle working groups have survived and some are actually flourishing. Operation "Mic Check" has conducted numerous money drops and organized flash mobs. The Student Noise Brigade marches every week. Activists in Seattle are organizing to open a free university and library as a response to student debt. 

 

To combat hunger and poverty, groups in Seattle are providing free food disribution programs. And now some occupiers are talking about forming a local worker controlled coffee co-op to counter the mainstream culture of corporate greed. 

 

With the urging and support of occupiers, the Seattle City Council and Washington State State Representative Bob Hasagawa are calling for the establishment of a publicly owned state bank as a way to bypass the rampant corruption and financial speculation taking place on Wall Street. 

 

So, the lesson of the occupy movement has been, "Don't wait for national leaders to create these new sustainable and equitable systems – build them yourself!"

 

Wall Street banksters are not going to reform themselves, no matter how many protests we stage, and regardless of how many activists are arrested. Since the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, money has become the only focus of national political campaigns. Any talk of abolishing the electoral college or of adopting publicly financed elections is ignored by both Washington, DC and the corporate media.

 

But even if our elected representatives refuse to listen to us, the hard work still must be done. At some point in this process, any objections or harassment from political officials will seem irrelevant because these new systems will be established at the local level without their assistance. The harsh austerity measures currently being forced on this country gives politicians a free license to cut all public funding for projects which promote the health, education and safety of our communities. 

 

Apathy and a sense of powerlessness have been two of the typical symptoms of a consumerist society. People have come to believe that nothing important ever happens unless major corporations, the media, politicians or celebrities are invovled. The Occupy movement has proven that kind of midset is totally false and it's counterproductive to personal and social development.

 

If your state refuses to set up a publicly owned bank, you can create a whole new underground economy through bartering and networking at the local level or within your own small community. Transfer your money from Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase to a small local bank or credit union.  

 

If the local government is allowing people to go hungry – feed them! If they are uneducated teach them valuable skills.

 

The change has to start somewhere! It's very obvious that our political leaders are unwilling to challenge the corrupt economic and electoral systems that have brought them to power. Our elected representatives are not going to take care of the people because they're far too busy bailing out their corrupt friends on Wall Street!

 

WIth the limited resources available among the occupy groups, great things have been accomplished already and much more can be done to turn the tide of corporate greed and effect change in our own commuities. Our most valuable resourse is, of course, people. The knowledge and skills that these individuals possess will be the necessary tools we need to transform our society. 

 

As we continue to bust the myths about our powerlessness, we must also understand the "power of non-importance". What I am referring to here is the fact that because the movement has been largely dismissed by our political leadership as ineffective and unimportant, we have actually gained more freedom to organize. It is better for that us that the "powers that be" ignore us rather than see us as a direct threat to their system. In this way, we are able establish our new set of values and co-operative social arrangements in obscurity – below the radar, so to speak.

 

Without the media's magnifying lense observing our behavior, it may be easier to work on the many of the group projects that occupiers have created. If you take away the negative corporate media scruntiny, you will most likely have a less insecure and less objectified movement. We are, after all, not really just "occupiers" anymore – we are individual human beings with real lives, authentic aspirations and important issues to tackle.

 

The media says, "You have no goals!"

 

I say, "Tell that to the activists who are trying to stop the homeforeclosures and end fracking!"

 

They say, "You have no organization!"

 

My response: "Explain that to the thousands of people who have been participating and organizing together at regional and national occupy conferences and forums in Gainesville, Des Moines, Olympia, St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City, etc." 

 

The corporate media myths are a lie. We are now entering a new era of confidence and action. You may not see mass demonstrations and encampents at the parks, but if you look closely underneath the curtain of censorship, you willl find a highly effective and relevant social justice movement that is slowly transofrming American and global society. We are probably in a situation much like the abolitionists after the Missouri Compromise, or the Dred Scott decision. Our campaign for economic and social justice has been ignored and vilified by the media, but eventually our goals will be met. We are the future… 

 

The uprising against Wall Street in New York City inspired an entire nation of activists to protest political and financial corruption.

 

It's becoming quite obvious to me lately that the rumors about the death of the occupy movement have been greatly exaggerated…

 

this article appeared in the Huffington Post and can be found here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-taylorcanfield/occupy-wall-street-anniversary_b_1884356.html

Mark Taylor-Canfield

Mark Taylor-Canfield is an independent journalist, activist and musician (and many other things…) from Seattle, WA

#OS17

EVENTS AROUND AND ABOUT:
Find useful links to events and pages surrounding the one year aniversary of OWS.
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Occupy Seattle Information Booth
Most days between now and #OS17, noon to 6:00pm
Westlake Park, 400 Pine
The Westlake Info Booth is gearing up for Occupy BirthdayWe will be @ Westlake everyday now. Stop and say Hi.
Bring us your ideas! (written format for distribution. thx!)
Global Banks and the 1% get extra special attention.

https://www.facebook.com/events/383573248379536/

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BACK TO THE ROOTS Closing Bell March
Today at 4:00pm at Henry M. Jackson Federal Building
Every Day between noe and $S17

WHEN:every weekday till S17, starting Tuesday September 4th, 4-6pm (rush hour)
WHERE: Federal Building, 2nd & Marion.4-6pm (rush hour)
HOW: Make it when you can. Bring signs.Suits with or without Nooses optional.C U in the crosswalks.
WHY: By joining the nationwide Occupy movement, we want to focus elected officials and the public on the majority’s desire to take our government and country back from the big-money interests that currently hold undue sway over decisions affecting us all. We are coming together in large numbers to affect this change.

https://www.facebook.com/events/396538060399986/?context=create

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Occupy Seattle One Year Anniversary Photo Exhibit-Alex Garland
9/17/12, noon- 3pm
Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets 1814 Summit Avenue

Occupy One Year Exhibit Photo Show- by photographer Alex Garland has been extended. The show is availible for viewing during PSKS open hours: Monday, W and Friday noon-3 PM located at-1814 Summit Avenue (Denny and Summit) for public viewing. The center will be closed to the public on Friday September 21st.

Over 300 photos displayed in a unique format, highlighting Occupy Seattle andthe different groups, actions, and protests inspired by common grievances.This is an opportunity to view yourself, your friends, neighbors, or completestrangers, standing up, addressing the issues facing our country, and makingthemselves heard.

https://www.facebook.com/events/123241411155104/

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All call to washington state occupies! #OS17
September 17 at 12:00am until September 18 at 12:00am
westlake park, 400 pine

On the one year anniversary of occupy wall street, let’s show new york city that The Upper Left is still where it’s at!

Please join the working group and share ideas for Seattle’s #s17 birthday party!

Free U is organizing Facilitate Open Space Workshops

Alex Garland’s 1 Year Anniversary of Occupy Seattle photo exhibit @ PSKS, 1814 Summit Avenue

https://www.facebook.com/events/123241411155104/

Occupy Sanctuary will be there with chaplains staffing it 10-7.

GMOP may be having an information booth set up for S-17.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/358958394116847/

Occupy Info sponsers….. BACK TO THE ROOTS Closing Bell RallyFederal Building, 2nd & Marion.4-7pm (rush hour)

https://www.facebook.com/events/396538060399986/?context=create

#S17 #OWS Year 1: Silent Flash March 6:00pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/233391223450866/

There will be cake, 6:00pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/110749515744544/

The Health Care Working Group may also having an information table/tent on S17 at Westlake.

#OS17 working group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/415191658538263/

event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/325725990856430/

Occupy Chaplains Recruiting

Occupy Chaplains is recruiting for more members.

We are seeking lay people, ordained ministers, seekers and peacemakers of any faith or spiritual inclination who feel a calling to support the transformation of American society into a more just and humane place for all. We see the Occupy phenomenon as a deeply spiritual movement. Its call for economic and political justice reflects the wisdom of many our world’s religions. While the more visible Occupy encampments are gone, there are a variety of groups protesting student debt, opposing home foreclosures, advocating for a state bank, developing neighborhood gardening, among other things.  

 

Presently our active membership draws from these traditions: Christian, Buddhist, Baha’i, Quakers, Sufi, earth-based spirituality, and native spirituality. We offer peaceful presence, a sanctuary tent at rallies, marching in solidarity, friendship, conversation, prayer and meditation. We also reach out to religious congregations and spiritual circles to facilitate heartfelt and faith-centered discussion on the Occupy movement and the issues it brings up.

There are many levels of involvement possible. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Serving as a liaison between Occupy Chaplains and your own community and neighborhood
  • Attending a weekly meeting of Occupy Chaplains
  • Joining us at an Occupy action
  • Offering meditation and pastoral care in the Sanctuary Tent
  • Offering meditation before the weekly Occupy General Assemblies.

You can request to be on our email list (one to three emails per week) by sending an email to:  occupy-chaplains+subscribe@googlegroups.com.  

We currently meet every Monday at 10:00 AM to noon at the Interfaith Community Church located at 1763 NW 62nd St., Seattle 98107.

We are hosting an orientation meeting for those who wish to become more involved on October 13th from 10:00 AM to noon at the Interfaith Community Church. 

please RSVP to:  occupychaplains@gmail.com

If you would like to discuss how you might become involved, message us or email occupychaplains@gmail.com.

FB event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/270063419777611/
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Juries, Raids and Witchhunts – The Attack On Dissent

Val Carlson and Neil Fox, two prominent civil liberties attorneys discuss escalating surveillance and harassment of political activists by the FBI and police. They will also examine the history of grand jury resistance by radicals here in Seattle and across the country, as well as strategies to defend the free speech rights of protesters, be they striking unionists, anarchists, Occupiers or immigrant rights advocates. Bring your questions and ideas to the discussion.

Speakers:

VAL CARLSON is a veteran civil rights attorney who first spoke out against grand jury abuse in 1976 when the FBI targeted Seattle feminists, socialists and anarchists. She has represented numerous radicals in court, and was a defendant and attorney in a successful First Amendment battle by the Freedom Socialist Party. She has managed pro bono legal services for low income people, and has campaigned against police brutality and immigration raids.  To view a previous presentation by Val on Stop Police Brutality in Our Community

NEIL FOX is President of the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. He has practiced criminal law at both the trial and appellate levels for 27 years, and has handled many protest cases, including people arrested during the WTO, Greenpeace demonstrators, members of the Occupy movement, and union members from the ILWU who were charged with various offenses while struggling for good jobs during a labor dispute in Cowlitz County last year.  Find out about Neil Fox's work and background or watch a presentation by him for the National Lawyers Guild at the University of Washington Law School November 29, 2007.
Doors open at 6:30pm, door donation $3.00, snack plates available for $7.00. Work exchanges and sliding scale available for students, strikers and the unemployed.

For more information: 206-722-2453, FSPseattle@mindspring.com,
www.Facebook.com/FSPseattle. To arrange childcare, please call three days in advance.

The Department of Ecology Seeks Your Input on Local Clean-up Plans

Olympia City Hall

The Department of Ecology is seeking comments
OLYMPIA – The Department of Ecology is seeking comments on a proposed plan to clean up the former downtown Safeway site, now the site of Olympia City Hall, at 601 4th Avenue East in Olympia.

Ecology is accepting comments on these documents through Oct. 5, 2012. The documents may be viewed at:

*Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th Avenue S.E., Olympia, WA 98501
*Department of Ecology Southwest Regional Office, 300 Desmond Drive S.E., Lacey
*On Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Website

Here’s how you can submit comments:
Comments and questions may be directed to site manager Guy Barrett, Washington Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775. Contact Barrett by phone at (360) 407–7115 or e-mail at Guy.Barrett@ecy.wa.gov.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2012/285.html

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Fidalgo Bay’s western shore in Anacortes.

The Department of Ecology is seeking comments
OLYMPIA – Continued cleanup of environmental contamination is planned in 2013 at the old Custom Plywood mill site on Fidalgo Bay’s western shore in Anacortes.

Comments will be accepted through Oct. 1, 2012, on the draft cleanup action plan and engineering reports,

In 2013, Ecology plans to:

*Remove old creosote dock pilings and other in-water concrete and metal structures.
*Dig up and dredge about 10 acres of sediment contaminated with dioxins and wood waste.
*Dispose of contaminated sediment off-site.
*Improve the near-shore habitat by reshaping an existing spit and jetty.
*Connect Fidalgo Bay with the wetland area that was created in 2011.

Here are locations where you can view copies of the draft documents:

*Anacortes Public Library, 1220 10th St. Call 360-293-1910 for information.
*Ecology headquarters, 300 Desmond Drive SE, Lacey. Contact Carol Dorn for an appointment at Carol.Dorn@ecy.wa.gov or 360-407-7224.
*Ecology’s Custom Plywood site webpage.

Here’s how you can submit comments:
*Mail them to Hun Seak Park, site manager, Washington Department of Ecology, Toxics Cleanup Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
*E-mail them to hpar461@ecy.wa.gov.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2012/285.html

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AIR QUALITY WORK

The Department of Ecology is seeking comments
OLYMPIA – The public is invited to comment on proposed changes to how the Washington Department of Ecology charges fees for certain kinds of air quality work.

Ecology will accept comments on these and other proposed changes through Oct. 2, 2012. You can review the proposed changes, along with related documents, on Ecology’s air quality rulemaking website.

Here’s how you can submit comments:
* Attend a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in the auditorium at Ecology’s headquarters at 300 Desmond Drive SE in Lacey.
*Call in to the public hearing. Dial 360-407-3780, then enter PIN 980708#.
*Mail them to Elena Guilfoil, Washington Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, P.O. Box47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
*Email them to AQComments@ecy.wa.gov.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2012/280.html

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SEE MORE ECOLOGY REPORTS HERE:
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/news.html

photocredit:
http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc205.php

Charges Dropped Against May Day Protestor Maria Jannett Morales

 

After reviewing YouTube video of the May Day riot, King County prosecutors dismissed all charges against a protestor accused of punching a bike cop.

Maria Jannett Morales, 30, was charged with assault in the fourth degree, a felony, for an incident that occurred near the intersection of First Avenue and Pike Street a few minutes before 6 p.m. on May 1, just as the day's rioting was starting to simmer down.

SPD's version of events was called into question by amateur video from the scene uploaded to YouTube. The footage seems to show Morales walking past Fry, obeying orders. Then, after a brief verbal exchange, Fry grabs Morales by the shoulders and hair and pulls her down.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/08/riot_charges_dropped_against_m.php

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Maria Jannett Morales: May Day Protestor Charged With Assaulting Cop Proven Innocent By YouTube Video, Attorney Says

One May Day protester charged with assaulting a police officer has already been exonerated after video footage contradicting SPD's version of events surfaced. Now the attorney for a second claims the cops have once again been caught on camera embellishing the facts.

SPD detective J.D. Mudd’s probable cause statement reads:  "Morales got right up to Officer Fry and said, 'Okay bitch,' then punched Officer Fry in the chest with a closed fist.  Officer Fry grabbed Morales with the intent of placing her under arrest." Morales is also accused of kicking another cop in the leg as she struggled to get free of Fry.

In the video, Shouting makes it difficult to decipher the entire dialogue, but Fry can be heard barking orders to "Move back!" with Morales responding, "We are moving back!" Morales shuffles to her right, and Fry grabs her by the shoulders and hair, pulling her down on top of the police bikes. The videographer is then forced to move down the street, away from the action.

see the video and read the article here:
http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/06/maria_jannett_morales_may_day.php

 

photocredit:

http://www.libertyrage.com/2012/07/film-police.html

Joshua Alex Garland Case Shows Why Dash-Cam Videos Should Be Public

King County Prosecutor's office dismissed charges against a photographer who had been arrested at the May Day protests. Prosecutors had charged 28-year-old Joshua Alex Garland, on assignment that day for Real Change, with assault for allegedly grabbing an officer's hand, twisting his arm and trying to pull him into the crowd. But lo and behold, videos posted to YouTube suggest it didn't happen that way at all.

As it appears from the video, Garland was pulled by an officer, not the other way around. Garland is the one carrying a camera and wearing sunglasses and a bandanna. His attorney, Andy Robertson, says he had already been pepper sprayed once that day.

Robertson credits prosecutors office for being "extremely professional" in their willingness to look at the videos with her and then drop the charges, without dragging Garland through a trial. But things would have turned out differently had there been no video.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/05/joshua_alex_garland_case_shows.php?page=2

photocredit:

http://fiannaiochta.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/film-the-police-you-might-save-an-innocent-person-from-going-to-jail/534533_264060147040341_552410889_n/