Five years after Wall Street crashed the economy, not one banker has been prosecuted for the reckless and fraudulent practices that cost millions of Americans their jobs, threw our cities and schools into crisis, and left families and communities ravaged by a foreclosure crisis and epidemic of underwater mortgages.
Record profits are back at the bailed-out banks. Meanwhile:
Homeowners and communities have lost billions to Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis;
Millions more families face foreclosure in the coming months;
The time is now for Congress and the Obama administration to make Wall Street pay us back:
Prosecute Wall Street bankers for stealing our homes, savings and livelihoods;
End the foreclosure crisis;
Reset mortgages to their current value (“principal reduction”);
Restore and rebuild wealth stolen from communities of color hardest hit.
Since the crisis began, Americans from all walks of life have banded together to help each other. Working through community organizations, civil rights groups, the Occupy movement, and community and faith leaders, we have shared our stories, lobbied, petitioned, and even faced arrest for occupying our own homes and demanding justice.
During the Wall Street Accountability Week of Action in Washington, D.C., May 18-23, families on the front line of the foreclosure crisis will travel from around the country to Washington, D.C., to make their voices heard. The week will include community organizing, home-defense training, and non-violence and civil-disobedience training.
On Monday, May 20, at 1:00pm, home defenders, as well as faith and community leaders will rally to Bring Justice to Justice – demanding an end to the “too big to jail” policy, and relief for families and communities devastated by the financial crisis and foreclosure epidemic.
As the world's richest people are prone to do, Skilling is getting out of jail early with a combination of cash payments and legal maneuvers.
In exchange for early release, Skilling is paying Enron's victims some $40 million in shut-up money and has generously agreed to stop suing everyone involved with his conviction and sentence in 2006.
Skilling's promised payments would equal 0.1% of the $40 billion Enron stole under Skilling's leadership. He was originally sentenced to 24 years behind bars, but his total sentence would be half of that if his lawyers get approval on this latest scheme.
Skilling's appeal went to the Supreme Court in 2010, and the justices agreed with his attorneys that the original conviction was "based in part on an invalid legal theory known as the 'theft of honest services.'”
The same judge who sentenced Skilling will rule at the next hearing, on June 21 in Houston.
When people from two different countries hate you, that means you are a public enemy. Last week, the richest man in the entire world, Carlos Slim, attempted to use a philanthropic gift to cover up the fact that his monopolistic practices have impoverished all of Latin America, with headway being made to raid the coffers of the United States with over $451.7 million taken in from subsides from the government of the United States every year.
For the second year in a row, Frieze Art Fair and its subcontractor Production Glue have hired low-wage, non-unionized workers to construct their fair, bringing in people from as far away as Wisconsin. This breaks with the industry standard: the major New York City art fairs including the Armory and the ADAA, as well as many other cultural and business expositions, employ unionized workers to construct and run their shows.
Frieze is a for-profit private event that takes over a municipal public park for two months to serve a global clientele of wealthy art collectors. The fair pays less than $1 per square foot to lease the land from the city. With a ticket price of $42 per day, Frieze is inaccessible to many working New Yorkers. However, despite the cheap rent and high admission prices to an event that generates millions of dollars in art sales (and not to mention the event's main sponsor, Deutsche Bank), Frieze still claims it cannot afford to pay decent wages to local workers.
Labor organizations including Teamsters Joint Council 16, NYC Central Labor Council, IATSE Local 829, IATSE Local 1, NYC District Council of Carpenters, and District Council 9 have all called on Frieze to employ their union members and guarantee local workers a fair, living wage with benefits. This demand has been repeated by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (representing Randall’s Island), as well as City Councilmembers Jessica Lappin and Mark Weprin, and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY12). As Weprin said recently, “Frieze NY Art Fair, or any private business that chooses to use public parks, should hire local New York workers and adhere to fair labor standards.”
If you are an artist or gallerist showing at the fair:
We ask you to refuse to serve as a fig leaf for exploitation. We ask you to decline to lend artistic cachet to an event that does not support New Yorkers, and that desperately needs the stamp of cultural seriousness to justify itself to the public.
Even if you cannot withdraw from the fair at this point, we ask you to consider speaking out publicly against Frieze’s unfair labor practices by making information about this issue available at your booth. We would be glad to provide you with a sign and/or flyers you can display.
We also urge you to tell Frieze organizers that you are an artist or represent artists in the exhibition and that you support organized labor.
If you are attending or work at the fair: Urge everyone you know to contact Frieze to demand they engage in fair labor practices, and consider not attending the fair until Frieze agrees.
It takes courage to speak the truth when many wish to deny it, but rest assured that should you decide to stand up and speak out, you will not be alone.
The arts are an economic engine for New York, bringing millions of people and billions of dollars to the city each year. Yet each year, more jobs become unpaid internships, artists are denied payment for their labor, real wages go down, and benefits are lost; meanwhile, the city becomes more expensive and the distribution of wealth more unequal. We believe in the importance of holding institutions such as Frieze accountable for their impact on New York and the people who live and work here. We want to see art bloom across our city, but we know there is a better, fairer way to foster this growth.
Arts & Labor
To contact Frieze:
Frieze New York Office
41 Union Square West, Suite 1623
New York, NY 10003
+1 212 463 7488
“This is a non-violent direct action, you are not being held in this room, you are free to exit when you please. We no longer recognize your presidency at Cooper as legitimate and in so doing we commit to re-claim this office in the interim until a suitable administrative alternative is secured."
Over 50 students have overtaken the office of Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha in response to the Administration and the Board of Trustees announcing the implementation of tuition for the incoming class of 2014- desecrating a 154 year old tradition of meritocracy and free education. "We stand together with the extended Cooper community in opposition to this decision; we reaffirm all of the previous and future actions of our fellow students and allies."
UPDATE: Cooper Union Students are calling for a Solidarity Rally Tonight at 6PM outside the Foundation Building at Cooper Square Park.
The students delivered a Statement of No Confidence from the School of Art, one of the three colleges that make up Cooper Union. Similar Statements of No Confidence are currently in the process of being drafted and voted upon by the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering.
On April 23, 2013, Cooper Union’s board of trustees announced that they will begin charging tuition, ending the university’s 144-year-old mission of providing free education to all those who merited entry. The decision was met with a united uproar of dissent from nearly all sectors of the university community, including students, faculty, and alumni. While it might seem counterintuitive to get behind a relatively small struggle at one of the most exclusive universities in the country—an old-fashioned meritocracy in a world in which a young person’s “potential” is directly proportionate to their family’s economic station—Cooper Union is by far the most diverse of all elite colleges: white students are a minority here and two-thirds of the student body attended public high schools.
Institutions funded by philanthropy and real estate earnings are clearly unsustainable as foundations for a quality education, but the school’s economic problems and its board’s regressive solutions mirror the situation currently taking place at countless other universities, both public and private. From CUNY tuition hikes to the torpedoing of Medgar Evers College to NYU’s unprecedented land grab, students across the city are fighting back. As student struggles continue across the globe, Cooper Union is a flashpoint for something much larger than itself.
Peter Cooper, the school’s founder, railed against the scourge of student debt a century and a half before the streets of Montreal exploded with resistance, before New York universities faced a string of militant occupations, before students in California put their bodies on the line against tuition hikes and the commodification of higher education. The ongoing fight at Cooper Union is but one part of the broader struggle against austerity, debt, and all other symptoms of capitalism.
On May 1, a 36-page mini-zine that serves as a postscript to last year’s Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied? was produced and distributed around the city. Collecting recent articles, editorials, and primary source documents, this basic update outlines the current situation at Cooper Union, at once a eulogy and a call for new resistance.
Download the PDF here, read online here, or come down to Cooper Union and pick up a hard copy.
Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
the only solution is WorldRevolution
Click here for a list of actions, meetings, assemblies in New York.