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Occupy Boulder Flood Relief

Posted 6 months ago on Sept. 19, 2013, 3:25 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: boulder, occupy sandy, disaster relief

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via Occupy Boulder Flood Relief:

Occupy Boulder Flood Relief is a coordination point for #BoulderFloodRelief and is facilitating and organizing relief for displaced and in-need individuals. We are also organizing a database of individuals to be the eyes and ears of our community and volunteers to help in relief efforts.

This organization is inspired by the efforts of Occupy Sandy, one of the largest response operations to disaster in the US. We are working to coordinate volunteers with flood affected community members.

Volunteers are monitoring this Facebook page; if you are interested in volunteering or if you need assistance please go to www.boulderfloodrelief.org to fill out volunteer or needs forms and you will be added to our database and contacted.

Official website for volunteers and coordination is http://boulderfloodrelief.org/


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#S17 Action Schedule

Posted 7 months ago on Sept. 17, 2013, 12:40 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Wall Street, capitalism, #S17, transpacific partnership

Mass actions are happening today in NYC on Occupy's second birthday. All are welcome to participate. For assistance getting to the action or getting involved, please call our help line at (516) 708-4777.

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Our Dreams are Foreclosed #WhyIOccupy

Posted 7 months ago on Sept. 17, 2013, midnight EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Take Back the Land, Occupy Homes, Foreclosure

We were lucky enough to sit down with Laura Gottesdiener and chat about her new book, A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home

What was your role in Occupy and what were your reasons for joining the movement?

I worked in the people's kitchen in Zuccotti park for most of October and November, until the police raided the encampment. I was living out of the country at the time that Occupy started, so I didn't know that it was happening until after the Brooklyn Bridge march. When I heard about the movement, through an article in the New York Times, I remember thinking that so many of the reasons that I'd gone to live abroad were the same reasons that Occupy had begun: frustration with our economic system, frustration with the culture, which is a very individualistic and selfish culture that embodies the way our economic system determines the morals and human interactions that govern our lives. And so I thought, if this is an opportunity to really impact society—an opportunity to give voice to that frustration—I need to go home and participate in this. So I flew to New York City, and got to the park on October 5th, which was the day the unions got involved with a huge rally in Foley Square. So when I showed up at the encampment nobody was there, and I said, “Oh no! the movement's over! I just flew all the way back from Argentina and nobody's here!” And then somebody told me, “No! No, they're in Foley Square!” So I go to Foley Square, and there are around twenty thousand people there, which was very exciting. After the ensuing march I went back to the park that night with everybody coming back from Zuccotti, and I lay down, and the next morning somebody offered me breakfast. And I asked, “Where did this breakfast come from?” And they told me, “Oh, the kitchen's in the center!” So I decided that if there was a kitchen, they probably needed some help. And I went to volunteer and I stayed with the kitchen all through the first few months, up until the eviction.

The People’s Kitchen - credit Adam Martin, The Atlantic Wire

So what did you do after the Occupation was evicted?

After the raid, I did a number of things: I worked with the direct action group, I helped edit the movement journal Tidal. But mostly I spent a lot of time thinking about what we would do if we couldn't live in parks. Because the evictions were happening all over the country—all of the parks were just falling like dominoes. It was obviously coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security, and we understand now that the FBI and all of the government agencies played a coordinating role in evicting the movement. But I remember thinking about what the movement could look like on a neighborhood level. And so when I heard in the late winter that general assemblies were happening at the neighborhood level, and that people were embodying very similar principles to the horizontal, democratic society that Occupy had espoused, but in neighborhoods that had been most attractive by the lawsuit machine that we were protesting against, I became really interested in that. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to understand how these actions were being organized, and actually how they'd been being organized since before OWS even began. And so I went up to Detroit to write a small article about the anti-eviction and home liberation movement there, because it was very active, and it is still very active. I wrote that first article for the website Waging Nonviolence, and from there I just kept writing more and more about the anti-eviction movement. I started to shift from organizing New York to really covering a lot of the organizing that was going on in neighborhoods around the country, and trying to bring more light to good aspects of the movement, through my writing.

What was the most inspirational moment that you had while writing this book, in terms of your political activism?

Truthfully, I think that one of the most inspirational moments came before I knew that it was a book project. I was in Detroit and I met a woman named Bertha Garrett who had successfully beaten her eviction and foreclosure using direct action and community organizing, with the help of nearly a dozen community organizations, church groups, neighborhood groups, and activist groups. I couldn't help thinking, “what is this 65-year-old woman, who has not been a political activist before in her life, doing performing pretty extreme civil disobedience, rallying hundreds of people to block the street when the city went to try to drop the dumpster off to haul out all of her things, sitting down in front of her bank's office, and saying, “I'm not going to leave. I'm not leaving unless you talk to me to negotiate my mortgage.” So I wondered, “What could possibly have inspired this?” Because I think in New York during Occupy it seemed like a moment in which everybody was undergoing a rapid political analysis, rapid political transformation. But New York City has a long history of political activism and theory. Here in northwest Detroit, what could possibly inspire this? At one point Bertha looked at me, and she said, “You know, Laura, it's not that I didn't understand that the banks owned the piece of paper. It's that the banks didn't understand that I owned my home.” And in those words, those two sentences, I felt like she had adequately and powerfully summed up everything that we had been talking about, which is the idea that we need to radically transform the way we understand what ownership means, what value means, and use the power we have to shape those definitions. This woman, not a lawyer, not necessarily owning a lot of capital, decided: “I don't care if one of the most profitable banks in this country—in this world—says they own something. They don't understand that, actually, I'm defining what my home means, I'm defining what my life means, and I'm not leaving this home.”

So what was the scariest thing you learned while writing this book? the thing that most represents the evils that you're talking about.

Sure, but first I want to say, it wasn't scary. Because it was a beautiful community. But, you know, some places I went I could see firsthand the devastation wrought by the financial crisis, some of which was quite staggering to me. Seeing full blocks foreclosed on, houses that had been half-burnt-out, because there were so many homeless people squatting in buildings that fires got out of control. To see and hear homeless people explain what their lives are like, that to me was the most striking—not just because that's such an extraordinarily challenging existence, but because our class divide and the way in which income inequality has grown in this country really has rendered a lot of this experience invisible. And it's not simply because people at different sides of the class divide don't often traverse it, which is true, but it's also because mainstream media doesn't report on these issues. It's because we don't see it reflected in popular culture. So when I spent days and weeks with the people living these invisible lives, I was struck by how many people don't fully understand what it means to live in this country for millions of people every day.

What impact do you think Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement had on the anti-foreclosure movement?

I think it's important to note that the anti-foreclosure and anti-displacement movement has existed, and was thriving, since before Occupy. And groups like Moratorium Now, in Detroit, Take Back the Land, which is a national network, City Life, which has been existing in Boston for thirty years, all these groups predated Occupy. And so when groups like Occupy are formed as a national organization, that was lot of drawing on the strength of pre-existing neighborhood groups. The way that Occupy, I think, impacted this movement, was in two ways. One, it tied the movement, in the mainstream's eyes, more clearly to broader financial crimes, and broader mechanisms of economic exploitation. It was suddenly more obvious the way that people being thrown out of their homes is related to a broader systemic injustice of capitalism. The second, more significant way was the impact of the creativity and the Direct Action focused nature of Occupy Wall Street. So you saw a proliferation of actions, and a proliferation of interests and creativity across the country as a result of Occupy. And it wasn't that these movements hadn't been doing pretty amazing direct action, I mean, Take Back the Land had been doing home liberation and land liberation for five years before Occupy Wall Street rolled around. But there was just suddenly more going on.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I think it's important to say, particularly on this two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street: things are worse than they were in 2011, when this movement began. Income inequality throughout the so-called recovery has grown significantly worse than it was before the collapse. And now, we're at a point, and economists debate this, but we're essentially at a point where we have worse economic inequality than during the Great Depression, or the same economic inequality as during the Great Depression. We've seen no significant movement at the Federal level, most largely at the State level, to ameliorate this crisis. We've seen ten million people thrown out of their houses since 2007. Literally millions of children. So I don't want to celebrate this anniversary. I want to talk about how the need for this movement is more than ever. And the idea that Occupy Wall Street occupied a space in time and place in 2011, and it was a moment—that's true. But all of the problems, all of the context that led to this movement's existence, is still in place now. So we should be doing something about that, right now.

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10 Arrests in 87 Minutes: The Anatomy of the NYPD’s Protest Dispersal Process

Posted 7 months ago on Sept. 16, 2013, 12:23 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: NYPD, Direct Action, First Amendment

On the eve of the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, two video activists, have released a 10 minute short film providing perhaps the most detailed civilian account to date of the NYPD’s process of crowd dispersion during mass mobilizations. The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes. While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protestors ability to effectively assemble.

OWS Anniversary from paul sullivan on Vimeo.

This video is a powerful resource for activists of all stripes in New York City. Please watch it, share it, carefully examine the NYPD’s process in it, and use it to inoculate yourself from their coordinated attempts to stifle your first amendment protections.“On the eve of the second anniversary of OWS it bears remembering that the occupations didn’t simply fizzle and dissipate,” says Paul Sullivan, who videotaped the police response, “this video, shot last year on the morning of the first anniversary, not only reminds us of how difficult it is to protest when the NYPD is determined to shut you down, but also how the NYPD continues to supress civil liberties in order to stamp out the movement.”

Read More: http://www.sparrowmedia.net/2013/09/nypd-s17-occupy-wall-street-10-arrests/

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#S17: Our One Demand Is To End Capitalism

Posted 7 months ago on Sept. 16, 2013, 9:59 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: capitalism, #S17, TPP, ows

On September 17, 2013, the second anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Movement, tens of thousands will come together across the country and the world to honor the most important and influential social movement in generations. As we exchange stories about the past and ideas for the future, we will be opposing a number of the 1%’s toxic attempts to siphon even more of our money and power away from us. The Trans Pacific Partnership “free trade” agreement, the undue influence of money in politics, and the lack of accountability in the global financial sector will be just a few of our targets. But, as we attack these symptoms it is necessary that we remember the disease: capitalism.

Pyramid of the capitalist system

Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.

Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed and enacted by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt, Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can't let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.

Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can't adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you'd think we'd have to work less and less.

The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life - a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.

The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.

As we come together on #S17 it is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.

Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. On September 17th, and every day - take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.

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