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Mobilize for Bangladeshi Workers: Mass Funeral Procession to SoHo Retailers

Posted 10 months ago on June 26, 2013, 4:06 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: solidarity, labor, 99 pickets, NYC

Bangladesh factory collapse

After the tragic deaths of over 1,200 Bangladeshi garment workers in factory fires and building collapses, U.S. retailers must take responsibility for the conditions at the factories that produce their clothing. The groundbreaking "Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh", will take meaningful steps towards ensuring safe working conditions in garment factories. Unfortunately, most U.S. companies won't sign the agreement.

Gap, Banana Republic, North Face, Timberland, American Eagle, Target, Sears, Old Navy, Walmart: STOP THE BLOODSHED. Sign the Accord.

Join 99 Pickets, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), United Students Against Sweatshops, NYNJRJB Workers United, the YaYa Network, Student Labor Action Movement, UAW, New York CLC, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra in a mass funeral march to shame and call out U.S. retailers that haven't signed the Accord.

WHEN: Saturday, June 29 at 1pm
WHERE: Petrosino Square, near Spring St. & Lafayette St. in Manhattan.

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/9uwY1

Dress for mourning

We'll let SoHo shoppers know about these corporations' murderous inaction. It's not as if the agreement is unworkable: H&M, Joe Fresh, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Primark and 40 other apparel and retail companies that have signed on to the Accord.

More about the Accord

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a new agreement between global union federations and 40 prominent apparel and retail companies, requires companies to participate in and fund a program of independent safety inspections, remediation, and worker safety trainings with the involvement of trade unions.

Visual map of the agreement: http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Visual_explanation_of_the_Bangladesh_Safety_Accord.png

The time for individual and ineffective “corporate social responsibility” programs is long over. The legally binding, multi-stakeholder Accord is the kind of framework that is much more likely to result in safer factories and better jobs for garment workers.

For more info, go to: http://99pickets.org/campaigns/bangladesh

https://www.facebook.com/events/525866820794337/

11 Comments

Saturday, Zuccotti: Solidarity Action for Brazil, Turkey, and Greece

Posted 10 months ago on June 21, 2013, 2:24 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: greece, turkey, brazil, solidarity, nyc

take the streets!

The plan of the Turkish state to demolish Taksim Gezi Park, one of the few green and non-commercial spaces in the capital, sparked protests all over the country.

The rise in public transportation fares in Brazil was soon followed by mobilizations in the country’s biggest cities. This served as the spark for a protest over the destruction of public services, like health care, education and transportation, high costs of 2014 World Cup and political scandals like PEC 37, a proposed amendment to the constitution of Brazil that gives impunity to politicians.

The closure of the National Radio & Television Broadcaster in Greece, was followed by the occupation of its headquarters in Athens and protests all over the country. This decision by the government, with the support of the nazi extremist party of Golden Dawn, has been in line with the harsh austerity measures set by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

These global uprisings are not reduced to a reactionary response of the privileged. They are characterized by a multiplicity of participants, ideologies, political views and forms of action.

During the last weeks people of various descents supported the actions initiated from the Turkish, Brazilian and Greek communities in NY. This co-presence addressed the similarities and what is shared with other struggles from different parts of the world: the criminalization of protests, human rights violation and media control, the ties between the weakening of labor rights and real estate speculation in the US as well as how police brutality and structural violence mark the everyday experience of the NY neighborhoods, from the Lower East East side and East Village to the Bronx, Flatbush, Bedstuy and Brownsville.

This call is not only a symbolic solidarity action, but aims to create a common space of resistance.

Saturday, 6/22/13, 2pm AT LIBERTY SQUARE (x zuccotti park)

#NYCSOL #VemPraRua #occupygezi #geziparki #passelivre #brazilianspring

https://www.facebook.com/events/405718132879430/

16 Comments

What Do Bosnia, Bulgaria, And Brazil Have In Common?

Posted 10 months ago on June 18, 2013, 2:31 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: greece, turkey, brazil, #changebrazil, bulgaria, bosnia, chicago, #occupygezi

by Jerome Roos
Originally published at roarmag.org

Once again, it’s kicking off everywhere: from Turkey to Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil, the endless struggle for real democracy resonates around the globe.

Brazilians take to the streets

What do a park in Istanbul, a baby in Sarajevo, a security chief in Sofia, a TV station in Athens and bus tickets in Sao Paulo have in common? However random the sequence may seem at first, a common theme runs through and connects all of them. Each reveals, in its own particular way, the deepening crisis of representative democracy at the heart of the modern nation state. And each has, as a result, given rise to popular protests that have in turn sparked nationwide demonstrations, occupations and confrontations between the people and the state.

In Turkey, protesters have been taking to the streets and clashing with riot police for over two weeks in response to government attempts to tear down the trees and resurrect an old Ottoman-era barracks at the location of Istanbul’s beloved Gezi Park. But, as I indicated in a lengthy analysis of the protests, the violent police crackdown on #OccupyGezi was just the spark that lit the prairie, allowing a wide range of grievances to tumble in, ultimately exposing the crisis of representation at the heart of Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal government.

Gezi aerial

Now, protests over similar seemingly “trivial” local grievances are sparking mass demonstrations elsewhere. In Brazil, small-scale protests against a hike in transportation fees in Sao Paulo revealed the extreme brutality of the police force, which violently assaulted protesters — even pepper spraying a camera man, shooting a photographer in the eye with a rubber bullet, and arresting those carrying vinegar to protect themselves from the tear gas. After four nights of violent repression this week, the protests now appear to be gaining momentum.

Fed up with increasing inflation, crumbling infrastructure and stubbornly high inequality and crime rates, many Brazilians are simply outraged that the government is willing to invest billions into pharaonic projects that do not only ignore the people’s plight but actively undermine it. The militarization and bulldozing of the poor favelas and indigenous villages ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics are a case in point. As usual, the ruling Workers’ Party seems more concerned about pleasing capital than helping workers.

[OccupyWallSt.org Editor's note: Here in Chicago, USA, we feel a particular affinity for those tens of thousands who fight to #ChangeBrazil and have courageously taken to the streets in cities across their country because we, too, are being hit with similar austerity measures. Here, our authoritarian "Mayor 1%" Rahm Emmanuel is forcing through imminent closures of 50 public schools in spite of spirited community resistance (including mass demonstrations, strikes, occupations, lawsuits, and more) from unions, public school teachers, students, and families, Occupiers, and community members. These school closures are almost entirely located in people of color-majority neighborhoods that are already dealing with disinvestment, widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, and violence. We are told the schools must be closed because we supposedly "cannot afford" to keep them open. At the very same time, the city has pledged $100 million to build a new, and unnecessary, basketball stadium for a private university. Here, as in Brazil and across the world, these struggles reveal the true nature of austerity: It is not a question of lack of funding, but of priorities. The 1% is more interested in expensive entertainment for the ruling classes than education for poor and working peoples. Our struggles are connected, and our movements are united!]

Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, the inability of a family to obtain travel ID for their sick baby — who needs urgent medical attention that she cannot receive in Bosnia-Herzegovina — exposed the fundamental flaws at the heart of the nominally democratic post-Yugoslavian state. On June 5, while the government was busy negotiating with foreign bankers to attract new investment, thousands of people occupied parliament square, temporarily locking the nation’s politicians up inside and forcing the prime minister to escape through a window.

While competing ethnic fractions vie for political power, the Bosnian people continue to suffer. By playing the race and religion cards, Bosnian politicians hope to keep the people divided while retaining the financial spoils of foreign investment and World Bank and EU development loans for themselves. But in a sign that most ethnic divisions are politically rather than socially constructed, the Occupy Sarajevo protesters now have a simple message for their politicians: “you are all disgusting, no matter what ethnicity you belong to.”

Sarajevo protests

On Friday, Bulgaria joined the budding wave of struggles that began in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 and that was recently revived through the Turkish uprising. After the appointment of media (and mafia) mogul Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security, tens of thousands took to the streets of Sofia and other cities throughout the country to protest his appointment, which was approved by parliament without any debate and with a mere 15 minutes between his nomination and his (pre-guaranteed) election.

Chanting “Mafia” and calling upon Peevski to resign, the Bulgarians are warning their politicians that a limit has been reached. Ever since the transition from state communism to democratic capitalism empowered a tiny minority of oligarchs to enrich themselves by feeding off the state’s public possessions, Bulgaria has been effectively ruled by a Mafia kleptocracy. As in any capitalist state, political and business elites have become one, undermining the promise of democracy the Bulgarians were made at the so-called End of History.

FOR FREEDOM

Greece, in the meantime, finally appears to have been waken up from its austerity-induced slumber. Following the decision of the Troika’s neoliberal handmaiden, Antonis Samaras, to shut down the state’s public broadcaster ERT overnight and to fire its 2,700 workers without any warning whatsoever, the workers of ERT simply occupied the TV and radio stations and continued to emit their programs through livestreaming, making ERT the first worker-run public broadcaster in Europe. ERT workers have since been joined by tens of thousands of protesters and workers, who on Thursday held a nationwide general strike to protest the ERT’s closure.

At first sight, it may seem like these protests are all simply responses to local grievances and should be read as such. But while each context has its own specificities that must be taken into account, it would be naive to discard the common themes uniting them. As my friend, colleague and fellow ROAR contributor Leonidas Oikonomakis just pointed out in a new opinion piece, the Turkish uprising may have started over a couple of trees, but we shouldn’t let that blind us to the forest: the obvious structural dimension at play in this new wave of struggles.

If we take a closer look at each of the protests, we find that they are not so local after all. In fact, each of them in one way or another deals with the increasing encroachment of financial interests and business power on traditional democratic processes, and the profound crisis of representation that this has wrought. Furthermore, the protests show a dawning awareness that the divide-and-rule practices of the ruling class everywhere — pitching the religious against the secular, Bosnians against Serbs, blacks against indigenous against whites, poor against slightly-less-poor, and ‘natives’ against immigrants — are just part of a strategy to keep us from realizing our own power.

In a word, what we are witnessing is what Leonidas Oikonomakis and I have called the resonance of resistance: social struggles in one place in the world transcending their local boundaries and inspiring protesters elsewhere to take matters into their own hands and defy their governments in order to bring about genuine freedom, social justice and real democracy. The resonance of these struggles across national, ethnic and religious boundaries tells us that three decades of neoliberal peace since the End of History were not really “peace” at all; they were merely the temporary victory of other side in a hidden global class war.

BEAUTIFUL TURKEY

Now that has come to an end. A new Left has risen, inspired by a fresh autonomous spirit that has long since cleansed itself of the stale ideological legacies and collective self-delusions that animated the political conflicts of the Cold War and beyond. One chant of the protesters in Sao Paulo revealed it all: “Peace is over, Turkey is here!” And so are Bulgaria, Bosnia and Greece — as well as Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Québec and every other place in the world where the people have risen up in the global struggle for real democracy.

The ominous bottom-line for those in power is simple: we are everywhere. And this global occupation thing? It’s only just getting started.

for freedom

12 Comments

July 4th: Liberate Space from the Surveillance State!

Posted 10 months ago on June 18, 2013, 8:38 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: nsa, j4

Stop Spying

Liberate Space - July 4th - Cities Everywhere - Be Daring

In a few weeks, on July 4th we call on all individuals to blockade, disrupt and disobey the architecture of repression in their own cities. We act against the surveillance state not because it has overstepped an imaginary line, we rebel against it for the simple fact that it is designed to intimidate, imprison and demoralize us. We act against it because we know that politicians, corporations and the ruling class will never listen or change. We know that it is up to us to be disobedient, that direct action is the only road to freedom.

There is no better time than now to push forth an initiative which calls out the surveillance state for what it is; a web of police, prisons and politicians designed to protect the wealthy. At a time of upheaval and massive repression worldwide we don't ask for permission, we recognize that those who grant us permission are those that spy on us at the same time. The world we fight for is a world free from politicians, states and security agencies.

On July 4th we call on individuals and groups to gather in the busy thoroughfares, parks and squares in your town. We suggest an overnight occupation designed to call out and confront the means in which surveillance is carried out. This could simply be holding a sign in front of a camera, your tactics are only limited by creativity. It is important to not fall into the marching around in circles trap. We hold our space in a busy area on the 4th because this is where people, commerce and surveillance are.

Circulate Widely * Create Your Own Event * Write A Call To Action

-Valley Anarchist Circle
https://www.facebook.com/events/280921688720561/

6 Comments

NATO3: Cop Cell Phones Lost or Destroyed, New Motions to Dismiss Charges

Posted 10 months ago on June 14, 2013, 8:38 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Chicago, Solidarity, NATO

Free the NATO5

via interoccupy.net:

Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, and Jared Chase (known together as the NATO 3) were brought in front of Judge Thaddeus Wilson on Tuesday, June 11th for another status hearing. They were accompanied by multiple sheriffs deputies and a court full of supporters watching closely over the proceedings. The proceedings provided more information on the Chicago cops failing to preserve their cell phones and text messages from the investigation, which appear to be significant pieces of evidence in the State’s politically motivated prosecution. The defense also introduced a couple more motions to dismiss charges.

Assistant States Attorney Matthew Thrun submitted the prosecution’s response to multiple ongoing discovery issues still standing from the court’s ruling four weeks ago. This response was accompanied by hundreds of photographs stemming from the pre-NATO Summit surveillance program spying on activist groups in Chicago planning protests last spring.

Contained within the prosecution’s answer to discovery was the revelation that officers involved in field intelligence team 7150 (the unit in charge of all pre-NATO surveillance and infiltration) destroyed or disappeared personal cell phones used during the investigation. It seems that multiple officers in the unit used their personal cell phones to exchange information between themselves and different officers as well as their supervisors in the course of the operation. According to the material offered up to the court today by prosecutors, the private cell phone service providers used by the officers did not store their text message data and the officers mysteriously (and conveniently for them) no longer have those phones in their possession. Thus, these crucial pieces of evidence will not be available to the defense.

Additionally, the prosecution failed to hand over the First Amendment worksheet and subsequent re-applications for this worksheet. The court had ruled four weeks ago that these internal police department documents were to be handed over to the defense, and on this issue Judge Wilson was clearly frustrated with the clear stalling tactics. Wilson instructed the prosecution to tell high-level police officials that “this court has a schedule and I intend to stick to it,” adding that he would issue a ruling to show cause if the documents had not been handed over to the defense before the next court date. He went on to say that “the federal court would be appalled to learn that [...these files...] are not in order to be presented.”

Defense attorney Michael Deutsch also noted that the State’s discovery submissions have been coming on the dates of court hearings (rather than before a scheduled hearing to give the defense time to review the info in advance). The State agreed to submit the info on Thursday, June 20th, five days before the next hearing. The judge said that, if the State plans to submit Brian’s post-arrest statement at trial, then they are to submit a list of the police officers who will testify no later than Wednesday, June 12th.

Finally, the defense issued another round of pretrial motions to strike down the ludicrous charges targeting these three activists. Attorneys for Brian Church issued a motion to dismiss counts 7, 8, and 9, all of which are arson charges. This motion challenges statements made by Brian immediately after being arrested and seeks to make them inadmissible, thus eliminating the arson charges. Attorneys for Brent filed their own motion to declare all his charges unconstitutional due to a violation of due process from the grand jury testimony being used against him.

On June 25th, the court will reconvene for further status updates and an evidentiary hearing regarding Brian’s latest motion. That means that officers involved in the field intelligence team will be called to the stand. Let’s pack the courtroom on June 25th and stand in solidarity with the NATO 3!

You can also show your solidarity by donating to the support fund. Donations can be made online or by sending checks or money orders to: “8th Day Center/Nato 5 Defense Fund” in the memo line to:

8th Day Center for Justice
205 W. Monroe St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60606

To keep up-to-date, sign up for our announcements listserv by emailing nato-5-announce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net, find us on Facebook at Free the NATO 5! , and follow us on Twitter @FreeNATO5.”

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