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Democracia Real Ya: Five Reasons to Take The Streets

Posted 12 years ago on April 16, 2012, 10:37 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt


The following was translated from Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) Barcelona, a Spanish protest movement that helped inspire #OWS. While some things are specific to Spain/Europe, they echo our reasons for taking the streets on the May 1st General Strike here in North America and beyond. For more about Democracia Real Ya and the upcoming #12M15 global days of action in English and other languages, see here.

We will take to the streets on May 12th in a creative, nonviolent popular demonstration to continue working toward a May 15th in defense of the people!

On May 15th, 2011, millions began a process of social change, delivering a clear and unequivocal signal that we are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers, and stating publicly that our current representative democracy is dying. The political class and the powerful have not gotten the message. Despite the growing protests and cries of distress from the 99%, these elites are exploiting the crisis to plunder the common wealth and endangering the lives of the people.

Capitalism has decided to cancel democracy and bankers now rule us. Clearly, this 1% of the population is legalized crime in power. The party system lead us to this disaster and now the 99% must take the reins of our own destiny. We demand a new constitutional power to regain the sovereignty that belongs to us. Therefore, this 12th and 15th of May, after a year of unanswered protest, we will return to the streets with a majority calling for a consumer strike and urging more legitimate demands and protests everywhere.

Some of us have organized and are building alternatives and solutions with our own hands, but in the face of repression and blockades imposed on us by the state, who are jeopardizing the integrity of the people with inhumane measures, we are forced to demand our basic needs for survival. Thus, in order to ensure the 99%'s right to exist, we demand:

  1. Not one more euro to rescue banks. We demand a citizens' debt audit. We will not pay illegitimate debt created by those who caused the crisis.

  2. Free and quality education and health care. Do not cut public spending or privatize public services.

  3. Fair distribution of labor, living wages, and an end to precarious labor. No retirement at 67 and withdrawal of the Labor Reform.

  4. Guaranteed right of access to decent housing. Retroactive foreclosure foregiveness. Social rental housing. Promotion of housing cooperatives.

  5. Tax reform that allows a fair distribution of the wealth we collectively produce. Universal basic income for all people.


NYers Blockade Home Foreclosure Auctions with Week of Sing-In Actions in Brooklyn, Queens & the Bronx

Posted 12 years ago on April 16, 2012, 6:53 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

In support of homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction in NYC, members of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and other community groups will conduct vibrant singing protests and raise the people’s voices at foreclosure auctions in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx next week, with the aim to: disrupt the sale of people’s homes and the eviction of their occupants; call for a moratorium on all foreclosures; demand justice for all New Yorkers struggling for affordable housing; confront Wall Street’s unchecked power to put profits over people’s right to housing. Watch the October 13th rendition of “Listen Auctioneer” at the Brooklyn foreclosure auction blockade http://bit.ly/IBucZA.

MONDAY, April 16th, 2pm
Bronx Supreme Court, Rm 600. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Who: Organizing for Occupation (O4O), OWS

THURSDAY, April 19th, 3pm
Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams St, Brooklyn
Who: Occupy Faith, Catholic Worker, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)

FRIDAY, April 20th, 11am
Queens Supreme Court, 8811 Sutphin Boulevard, Queens
Who: Occupy Queens, Columbia Univ students, Occupy the New School

Everyone has the right to live freely, securely, peacefully and with dignity in his or her home. In the US there are over three times as many “people-less” homes as home-less people. Financial institutions have stripped individuals and communities of their savings and property while receiving $7.7 Trillion in taxpayer bail-outs.

“At the same time that banks are getting bailed out, rental assistance programs are being reduced–even completely eliminated,” says housing rights activist and organizer Blair Ellis. “Empty buildings fill New York City boroughs, while those in need of housing are forgotten by our economic and political system. Those lucky enough to remain in their homes are increasingly burdened with the escalating cost of rent and mortgage loans. This American Dream is becoming a nightmare for millions of the middle class and poor people.”

There are over 100,000 homes in foreclosure in New York State due to subprime and predatory loans; now New Yorkers with “fair” (or “prime”) loans are also missing payments and falling into foreclosure because of unemployment, under-employment and mounting healthcare costs among other issues.

“We can create meaningful, community based solutions to keep people in their homes and return land in our communities back to the people who live in them,” says Heath Madom, a local housing rights advocate. “We look forward to the day when all bank-owned property—occupied and vacant—is returned to community control and made permanently affordable.”

Where the system has failed the people and upheld the bank’s rights to profit:

  • The big banks were bailed out first under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and again in the recent settlement brokered by NY Attorney General Schneiderman. TARP gave the big banks the money they needed to stay afloat and, in return, left to the banks’ discretion whether to foreclose on families’ homes or sell the homes at auction. Schneiderman’s settlement is a slap on the wrist that gives the banks blanket immunity for widespread fraud in exchange for providing some, but not all, ailing homeowners no more than $2,000 in assistance.

  • New York’s “Settlement Conferences” are a massive failure because banks won’t agree to affordable loan modifications and the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) gives the same banks we bailed out with our tax dollars the discretion to modify loans or auction off homes. They would rather auction them off.


NYPD Moves On #Occupied Wall Street

Posted 12 years ago on April 16, 2012, 3:20 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

At 6AM this morning, NYPD -- including high ranking officials (white shirts) -- surrounded and raided the corner accross from the New York Stock Exchange where Occupiers have been sleeping on Wall Street. This police action appears to be in direct defiance of the 2000 decision Metropolitan Council Inc. v. Safir, which held "public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression" to be constitutionally-protected speech. Occupiers read text from the case to police as they were being removed. At least four people have been arrested and Occupiers are currently assembled on the steps of Federal Hall (which is under jurisdiction of National Parks police), where they are discussing whether or not to reject demands they submit to a daily permitting regime. Consensus at this point favors delaying until additional legal help arrives on scene. For the moment, National Parks police appear to be tolerating a limited Occupy presence on Federal Hall steps, but mass arrests may be imminent.

A motion for an emergency injunction against NYPD disruption of our sidewalk protests on Wall Street was reportedly filed this morning.

Watch on livestream above; follow @SleepOnWallSt.


Four Ways to Support Re-Occupation

Posted 12 years ago on April 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

wall st occupied

As the weather warms across much of the world, Occupiers are retaking public space. Even after we were violently removed from many of our home encampments last fall and winter, we never stopped organizing - and now we are back outside. With the rebirth of spring, re-occupation has begun in earnest.

For a full week, Wall Street - the original target of our indignation - has been #Occupied. Thanks in part to a 2000 decision by a federal court in Manhattan, protesters are legally allowed to sleep on the sidewalk, as long as they don't block building entrances or take up more than half of the sidewalk. Occupiers have used similar tactics to occupy sidewalks in cities like Tucson since last year, while Occupy D.C were among the first Occupiers to use sidewalk sleeping in front of banks earlier this month. Empowered by the federal court ruling, #SleepfulProtest first came to New York as a way to escape constant police harassment at Occupy Union Square and soon spread to the heart of the financial district. This new tactic allows us to rebuild the face-to-face community and constant public presence that were so crucial to the Occupation of Liberty Square, without the complex logistics of maintaining a permanent encampment. Our new Occupations are mobile, viral, and targeted right at the heart of the 1%'s power.

Like stubborn weeds, we're popping back everywhere. Continuing the tradition of occupying buildings almost as old as #OWS itself, Occupiers in San Francisco took over a neglected property to create a vibrant community center for the 99%. Although thwarted by police, the #SFCommune has vowed to return this May Day, as part of a nationwide General Strike that will see Occupiers taking to the streets alongside immigrants and all workers in cities and towns across the world. In addition to the on-going campaign to fight back against foreclosures by occupying homes, Occupiers have used re-occupation as direct action to make demands and build on local struggles specific to their own communities. In Boston, Occupiers set up a camp on the steps of the State House to protest cuts to the public transit system. In Chicago, after helping to occupy a school in February, Occupiers joined with mental health advocates and community allies to occupy a clinic slated for closure by the city's ruthless austerity measures (while the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is given a $300 million rebate, half of all public mental health clinics in Chicago are to be shut down). After initially being removed from the building by police, Occupiers and allies returned and set up dozens of tents on the lawn outside, settling in for a night of workshops, discussions, teach-ins, food, and sleep. Also in February, Occupy Atlanta occupied the headquarters of AT&T to stop mass lay-offs. After months of community organizing and bridge building, Occupy Detroit has opened a new social center while also staging tent city protests against foreclosures and unemployment in low-income neighborhoods.

We are learning, diversifying, and evolving. Some of us make demands, others don't, but urgent creative 24-hour activism against the domination of our lives by banks and corporations is back, and in many new forms. Along with it, the culture of consensus, mutual aid, and direct action that was cultivated during the best moments of last year's occupations has returned, from the People´s Library to the General Assembly.

Our horizontal, leaderless movement is built on people power. When the 99% stand together -- however we are able -- we win. Here are four ways to support re-occupation:

occupy central park
At least 1000 people attending a citywide NYC General Assembly in Central Park last Saturday

1) Go there. Or, start your own.

In New York, Occupiers can be found sleeping on Wall Street between the intersections of Nassau and Broad, directly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. During the day, Occupiers distribute literature or hold meetings around Liberty Square, Union Square, and throughout the city. (Check the NYCGA for a full directory!) As many as one hundred people are sleeping nightly on Wall Street, but with only a few thousand we could lawfully occupy the entire length of Wall Street -- and beyond!

In D.C., Occupiers are in front of the Bank of America at the corner of 14th St and Vermont Ave NW. In Chicago, people are encouraged to support the occupied Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic at 6337 S. Woodlawn. In Philadelphia, you can find Occupiers on Independence Mall and sleeping by banks including Bank of America at 16th and JFK and expanding. Occupy Minneapolis has re-occupied Peavey Plaza. Last night, Occupy Raleigh took the Captol sidewalk. Every Friday, Occupy Los Angeles camps out on Main Street for Occupy Skid Row.

Since we can't list every Occupation, please list any others in the comments! Alternatively, find a few friends, an affinity group, or perhaps your whole General Assembly and create your own. Pick a bank that has hurt your community, research local laws on sleeping on public sidewalks, grab your sleeping bags and start camping.

2) Stay informed. Spread the word.

Keep up with the latest developments with on-the-ground reports from all of the amazing Occupied media that we have created. The best way to receive the most current updates on new encampments and other events is to use social media. The Wall Street Occupiers use @SleepOnWallSt. For 24-hour protests in other cities, check out #SleepfulProtest and #BankSleep.

Tell your friends. Use social media. Write about it for your local paper. However you do it, make sure everyone knows.

3) Send supplies.

Besides bodies, it takes supplies to keep an occupation going. There are many ways to donate to the movement. If you don´t have money, another easy way to see how you can contribute is to follow the Twitter hashtag #NeedsOfTheOccupiers. Occupiers are often in need of donations of things like food, water, tarps, and camping gear. Occupy SF is currently conducting a supply drive for the May Day reoccupation. To donate to the Woodlawn Occupiers in Chicago, see here.

4) Get (or stay) involved in the movement.

Not everyone can sleep on a sidewalk. There are many other ways to express your indignation and build the better world we seek, and there are many other equally crucial roles to play. To find out what is going on locally and how to get plugged in, attend General Assemblies, working groups, and affinity group meetings in your area. In New York even if you can´t sleep on Wall Street, you can still march on it -- every Friday. And of course, you can get ready for the May Day General Strike.

art on wall st
Art and info on #Occupied Wall Street


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non-Confirming Contingent for May Day NYC

Posted 12 years ago on April 15, 2012, 11:09 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

When: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: Audre Lorde Project: 147 West 24th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011

via the Audre Lorde Project:
Let's talk about the History of May Day and the intersections that we as LGBTSTGNC People of Color face with the May Day demands of jobs, legalization and stopping deportations!

SPANISH INTERPRETATION AVAILABLE. Interpretación en español está disponible.

audre lorde may day

MAY DAY 2012: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Contingent!

Since founding the Audre Lorde Project has been building an organizing space for LGBTSTGNC immigrants of color in New York City. Within these communities, we have prioritized our work with undocumented folks, low wage workers, and trans and gender non-conforming immigrants of color because we know these are some of the most vulnerable community members in this time and that a true immigrant rights movement will not be successful unless it is these very community members that are leading the way. As LGBTSTGNC immigrants of color, we want to share some of our positions with the broad LGBTSTGNC community, as well as the immigrant rights movement in the U.S.

The Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, Streetwise and Safe and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have united to organize and form a LGBTSTGNC contingent in May Day for solidarity, support, and visibility. Come join us as we rally and march for immigrant rights. Our movement becomes stronger with each and every one of you!

Pre-May Day events at the Audre Lorde Project Manhattan Office:

Why is it important for us to mobilize on May Day? Sharing our principles and values: Monday, April 16th from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Sign and Prop making party! Getting ready for the mobilization: Monday, April 23rd from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Where: Audre Lorde Project: 147 West 24th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011

Directions: By Bus take the M07, M20 to 7th Ave/W. 25th; M23 to W 23rd Street/7th Avenue. By Train take the 1 to 7th Avenue/23rd Street; F, M to 23rd Street; A, C, E to 23rd Street.

Contact: Aya Tasaki at atasaki@alp.org or Becca Wisotsky at 212-463-0342 ext. 16 or bwisotsky@alp.org

May Day March and Rally: Tuesday, May 1st meet at 3pm, Rally at 4pm, March starts at 5:30-6:00pm

MAY DAY 2012: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Contingent!

Meet at Regal Movie Theater, 850 Broadway (at 13th St.) Look for these banners: The Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, Streetwise and Safe and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Where: Union Square Subways: L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St. Union Square

Contact: Aya Tasaki at atasaki@alp.org or Becca Wisotsky at 212-463-0342 ext. 16 or bwisotsky@alp.org


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