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Retribution Against the Financial Elite

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At Sotheby's, Finally, the 99 Percent Were the Highest Bidder

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 23, 2011, 4:11 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

At 10 a.m. yesterday morning, activists involved in #OCCUPYWALLSTREET paid a visit to a Sotheby's art auction. Last year Sotheby's made record profits, enough so that their CEO Bill Rupprecht awarded himself a 125 percent raise. At the same time the company decided to use union-busting tactics, demanding over 100 concessions to the IBT 814 Art Handlers Union Contract. With their unionized workforce currently on lockout, Sotheby's continues to operate using scabs and a non-union subcontractor and wants all new hires to have no collective bargaining rights, no health benefits and no job security.

Today's auction was held on the seventh floor of Sotheby's Upper East Side auction house—a sterile atmosphere, ripe with the stench of expensive perfume. The activists staggered their entrances and planted themselves in the crowd of businessmen and women, all gathered to witness the sale of artwork, with prices ranging from the average salary of a working American to the average cost of an American home. The first of the activists took the room by surprise, disrupting the auction and announcing that “Sotheby's made $680 million dollars last year but then they kicked their art handlers out on the street!”

While making a call for security, the auctioneer read a prepared statement kept on her podium for just this sort of demonstration. “Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen,” she said, “I hope that is the last interruption we have today.”

However, nine surprise demonstrations disrupted the two-hour auction. One protestor shouted “This is disgusting! Art is about truth.” Another, in sunglasses and a "Greed Kills" T-shirt attested that the “greed in this building is a direct example of the corporate greed that has ruined our economy.” The #OCCUPYWALLSTREET activists were there to show solidarity with the art handlers in their struggle for worker's rights and to warn of a coming increase in direct protests against the top 1 percent of New York City's economic food chain.

“In addition to auctioning off these fine pieces of artwork,” said Mary Clinton, one of the demonstrators, “today Sotheby's is auctioning off the American dream.”

All nine were escorted from the premise by security, shouting, “End the lockout!” and “Occupy Wall Street!” Sotheby's auctions epitomize the disconnect between the extremely wealthy and the rest of us. These are the same financial elite who were bailed out in their moment of need and who now refuse to pay their fair share in taxes.

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A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Six)

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 23, 2011, 3:30 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: communiqué

This is the sixth communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street.

On September 22nd, 2011, sixteen cities from around the country and the world stood in solidarity with us, protesting the disparity of power and wealth that exists in our society. In Liberty Square, no such disparity exists. Everyone's needs are taken care for, food, medicine, water. The only need, the only right, that we cannot take care of is shelter, though this is not our choice. Mayor Bloomberg said that he would give us a space to protest but at every moment he attempts to erode us. He uses absurd police tactics – arresting protesters for using chalk on sidewalks, for wearing masks on the back of their heads in violation of a law that is a century and a half old, for... what, exactly? He uses the tactics of media suppression only available to a billionaire with a media empire. It has not worked. It will not work. We are growing. Each day more cities join us. Each day our movement grows. We demand real change. We will see it.

As organized by our labor working group and outreach working group, we stood in solidarity with Teamsters local 814 and picketed Sotheby's. We are joined and will act in solidarity with the Professional Staff Congress, a union of 20,000 employees from the City University of New York.

As always, our General assembly and work groups kept busy maintaining and securing our space and our freedoms.

Tonight we were joined by a protest against the for-profit legal lynching of Troy Davis. We are all Troy Davis. If Troy Davis had been a member of the 1% he would still be alive. Together we numbered nearly a thousand strong and marched on Wall Street. The police arrested six of us and attempted to incite violence by splitting the march and boxing in protesters, in spite of this, we remained true to our principles of nonviolence. After the police arrested our members we marched on their First Precinct as phone calls from supporters flooded in, urging the police to release the jailed peaceful protesters.

We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent.

As members of the 99 percent, we occupy Wall Street as a symbolic gesture of our discontent with the current economic and political climate and as an example of a better world to come. Therefore we invite the public, our fellow 99 percent, to join us in a march on SATURDAY AT NOON, starting from LIBERTY SQUARE (ZUCCOTTI PARK) at LIBERTY & BROADWAY.

This is a call for individuals, families and community and advocacy groups to march in solidarity.

We stand in solidarity with Madrid, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madison, Toronto, London, Athens, Sydney, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Milan, Amsterdam, Algiers, Tel Aviv, Portland and Chicago. Soon we will stand with Phoenix, Montreal, Cleveland, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle and Orlando. We're still here. We are growing. We intend to stay until we see movements toward real change in our country and the world.

We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choice to march on Wall Street to our decision to continue occupying Liberty Square in spite of police brutality, were decided through a consensus based process by the group, for the group.

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At Least Six Arrested In Solidarity March For Troy Davis

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 22, 2011, 8:50 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

At approximately seven in the evening a group protesting the execution of Troy Davis at Union Square Park began a march towards Liberty Square, formerly known as Zuccotti park. The two groups joined up and marched on Wall Street. At least six protesters were arrested. They are being held at the first precinct. As of now we only have four names: Joseph Jordan; Brandon King; Augustine Castro; Freddy Bastone.

Please call the first precinct, central booking and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.

First precinct: +1 (212) 334-0611

Central booking: +1 (212) 374-3921

Deputy Commissioner of Public Information: (646) 610-6700

Please call and urge the police to release these peaceful protesters.

42 Comments