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We are the 99 percent

Articles tagged austerity

Students for a #FreeCooperUnion Occupy to Preserve the Right to Education

Posted 11 years ago on Dec. 5, 2012, 11:48 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupation, education, student activism, austerity, nyc

cooper union building with banner reading Free Education To All

Students have been occupying the Cooper Union clock tower since Monday and 11 students are still locked-down! Today at 2pm come join Cooper students, faculty, OWS, All in The Red, US Uncut, and others to show your support for the right to education.

For more information, you can also see their Facebook page, follow @FreeCooperUnion on Twitter (#CULockIn, #savecooper, #FreeCooperUnion) or go to http://www.cusos.org/.

Students for a Free Cooper Union issued the following communique on Dec. 3rd:

Students for a Free Cooper Union lock-in to Cooper Union’s Foundation Building to preserve free education

We, the Students for a Free Cooper Union, in solidarity with the global student struggle and today’s Day of Action, have locked ourselves into The Peter Cooper Suite on the top floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued this institution for decades and now threatens the college’s mission of free education.

We have reclaimed this space from the administration, whom we believe is leading the college in the wrong direction. In recent years, plans to expand Cooper Union with tuition-based, revenue generating educational programs have threatened the college’s landmarked tradition of “free education to all.” These programs are intended to grow the college out of a financial deficit caused by decades of administrative mismanagement. We believe that such programs are a departure from Cooper Union’s historic mission and will corrupt the college’s role as an ethical model for higher education. To secure this invaluable opportunity for future generations, we have taken the only recourse available to us.

We will hold this space until action has been taken to meet the following demands:

1) The administration must publicly affirm the college’s commitment to free education. They will stop pursuing new tuition-based educational programs and eliminate other ways in which students are charged for education.

2) The Board of Trustees must immediately implement structural changes with the goal of creating open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. The administration’s gross mismanagement of the school cannot be reversed within the same systems which allowed the crisis to occur. To this end, we have outlined actions that the board must take

  • Record board meetings and make minutes publicly available.
  • Appoint a student and faculty member from each school as voting members of the board.
  • Implement a process by which board members may be removed through a vote from the Cooper Union community, comprised of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators.

3) President Bharucha steps down.


Higher Education Bubble

The over-inflated costs of higher education have placed more than a trillion dollars of debt onto the backs of students. Higher education should be a means of social mobility and intellectual liberation, but it has devolved into an industry that exploits students for profit. Inevitably this bubble will burst and what appears to be a healthy and growing educational system will be revealed as a model that was always doomed to fail.

Grow Down

The administrators who have grown us into this mess are trying to grow us out of it. Investing in the higher education bubble is short-sighted and uncreative. Playing a larger role in one’s community provides strong roots. If we refuse to invest in a growth model and reaffirm our mission, we stand to see the principles of free education bring life back to our own community and other institutions as well.

Structures for Transparency and Integrity

Bloated and visionless administrations have become an epidemic threatening institutions of higher education all across America. We must rebuild the governance of these institutions with open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. Carrying a mission such as free education will require principled, rather than self-sustaining, leadership.


Chicagoans to Erect Tent City Against "Fiscal Cliff" Austerity Negotiations #durbinville

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 30, 2012, 1:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: chicago, austerity, fiscal cliff


In what might well become a model for popular resistance to the 1%'s "Fiscal Cliff" austerity negotiations happening now in Washington D.C., activists in Chicago are planning a shantytown encampment of Federal Plaza -- a tangible portent of exactly where austerity is taking us. The "Fiscal Cliff" is a manufactured crisis to promote a "grand bargain" of austerity measures to maintain the rich and attack the poor; we demand an end to a world governed by the interests of the 1%, Wall Street, and the corporations!

More information on the Occupy Chicago GA-approved action from the event's facebook page:

As part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” discussions, Senator Durbin is negotiating behind our backs to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – cuts that could create depression-era conditions for millions of Americans who’ve paid for and earned support from these vital programs.

Join us on December 6th at noon to tell Senator Durbin that we won't go back! On December 6, we're building a Durbinville Shantytown encampment at the Federal Building to symbolize the dire consequences these cuts could have, and fight to preserve these essential programs. Join us! And bring a tent!

Come get free soup and bread every day in Federal Plaza from December 3rd - 6th!

Monday, December 3, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Tuesday, December 4, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Wednesday, December 5, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Thursday, December 6, noon: Erect the “Durbinville” shantytown to show the world what these cuts really mean!

Enough is enough! It's time to stop unnecessary budget cuts and make corporations and the rich pay their fair share!

Demand that Senator Durbin:

  • Block the "debt ceiling sequester" cuts – say no to austerity!
  • Reject Simpson-Bowles or any other “Grand Bargain” that attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick or the elderly – protect vital public programs, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!
  • Block the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% – it’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share!
  • Support and fight for progressive sources of revenue – impose a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, tax capital gains as normal income and close corporate tax loopholes!


Berkeley Students Occupy Campus Building To Defend Multicultural Education

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 27, 2012, 10:35 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: uc-berkeley, education, occupy cal, student activism, austerity, california

banners dropped from occupied Cal building

via Reclaim UC:

Eshelman Hall Barricaded in Defense of Multicultural Student Spaces

This afternoon, a group of students barricaded themselves on the sixth floor of Eshelman Hall at UC Berkeley, reclaiming a building that has been designated for demolition and demanding that the Administration abandon plans to cut support for the recruitment and retention of students of color. At this point, a couple hundred supporters have gathered in lower Sproul Plaza, while the police have closed off the building. Those barricading the building are calling on supporters to gather at Eshelman in order to protect those inside and intensify the force of their resistance.

The demands:

  • We Demand that the Multicultural Student Development Offices be restored to their former structure by Vice Chancellor Gibor Basri. Countless students and the ASUC as an entity have voiced this opinion and received no changes.

  • We demand that the budget allocation of the multicultural student development offices be increased to meet the needs of their work.

  • We demand that none of the peaceful protesters in this occupation receive any punishment or repercussions for this activity.

  • We demand an increase in funding for the Recruitment and Retention Center to assist in their mission of increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minorities on campus.

More information from The Daily Californian: "Protesters occupy Eshleman Hall to press for multiculturalism on campus":

An estimated six students began occupying Eshleman Hall Tuesday afternoon as part of an awareness campaign regarding the campus’s multicultural retention center and minority enrollment. Over 100 students, including Occupy Cal protesters and BAMN affiliates, stood outside the building chanting in support of the campaign. [...] Protesters in the crowd said there were at least two students inside who had chained themselves to the building by the neck. On Tuesday evening, campus spokesperson Claire Holmes said the administration does not currently have any plans to remove the protesters. [...] The protesters inside are purportedly from Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, a campus group that aims to increase Hispanic enrollment in higher education, and REACH!, which aims to serve Asians and Pacific Islanders on campus.

via @meganmesserly


General Strike! Historic Transeurope Solidarity Against Austerity

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 14, 2012, 4:22 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: solidarity, europe, austerity, general strike

Peoples of Europe Rise Up!

via http://europeanstrike.org [with minor edits -- see below an extensive list of General Strike actions]:


See #14N: millions join largest European strike ever on ROAR magazine for reportback!

European Strike: people of Europe, rise up!

On November the 14th, Portugal, Spain and other peoples will engage global strike to say "NO" to austerity measures. Everywhere in Europe, activist social movements are organising themselves to say "STOP" to austerity, "STOP" to those ultraliberal politics serving finance. Portugal and Spain will be on global strike the 14th November, many countries prepare to join them to maximize rejection to austerity mesures. ETUC, responding to popular pressure, decided to call for strike demonstrations and meeting for November the 14th.

People have to rise up against the austerity politics, organized social fractures that are used to pay back some debt that is not theirs… People have to fight politics that protect, encourage a minority part of the class who gets richer and richer with this increasing austerity and these illegitime debt interests. Yes, this debt is illegitime, contracted by the financial world against people’s real interests: jobs, housing, education, heathcare, and a world that can survive the century. This debt is not our own, we owe nothing to them and we’ll pay nothing.

This day of global strike won’t be a one-time action. It must mark the the start of a rapport de force built by people against politicians, banks, the market and industrial trusts. After this day of struggle, it is an absolute necessity to build together a global unlimited strike. People of Europe, rise, up, struggle together for a Social Europe, full of equality where none will be left aside.

NYC Solidarity Action at the United Nations



St Paul's Four: "We Need a Redistribution of Wealth, Not Cuts!"

Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 15, 2012, 10:40 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: austerity, london

via Occupy London:

At around 10.30pm last night, having been threatened with arrest by the City of London Police, the four female activists who chained themselves to the pulpit of St Paul’s Cathedral, cut their chains and declared their action a success. Their aim was to put pressure on the leadership of St Paul’s Cathedral to stop sitting on the fence and join the fight against rising inequality in the UK and beyond.

Outside the Cathedral they made the following statement:

They have also said the following:

Siobhan Grimes, an Anglican aged 25 who works for an environmental charity, said:

“I chained myself to the pulpit in St Paul’s Cathedral in protest about women’s economic inequality. As a Christian, I know that my faith teaches through the example of Christ’s radical action to protect the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

“I was dragged from the steps of St Paul’s while I was praying during the eviction of the Occupy camp in February 2012, and since then Christianity Uncut, of which I’m a member, has been refused a meeting with St Paul’s to discuss what happened.

“During the action, we managed to speak with the Dean of St Paul’s about Christianity and economic inequality, the questionable investments held by the Church of England and the unethical corporations that sponsor St Paul’s Cathedral, including Goldman Sachs.

“We have been offered a further meeting with the Dean to speak about economic justice and faith. I really hope this meeting happens.”

Alison Playford, an actor and writer aged 33, said:

“Jesus was the most radial activist in history. Everyone has the potential to demonstrate the same compassion, vision and radicalism as Christ. We cannot allow this appalling government to destroy this country through austerity measures. We need a redistribution of wealth, not cuts.

“All factions of society must step up to the plate, as we have called on St Paul’s to do. We can make true change. With courage and tenacity, with radicalism, we can change the world.”

Josie Reid, a Quaker aged 52 who uses a wheelchair after an accident left her disabled, and who previously worked as a nurse and in conservation, said:

“Most people can see the huge injustice of making sick, disabled and needy people pay for a financial crisis that is not of their making. We are told that these are desperate times. We are told about a great debt, and that austerity must be the order of the day. Governments have had higher debts before, but never before have they inflicted such pain on the people.

“These cruel austerity measures are being forced upon us, because our governments no longer act in the interests of the people, they do only the bidding of the money lenders. Whilst the salaries of the banking and corporate elites increase by 45% a year, ordinary people have to stomach pay freezes and cuts.

“Time is running out, we all need to take a stand against this monstrous banking and corporate machine which is trashing the economy, destroying communities, making people homeless, wrecking people lives, killing indigenous people, polluting and plundering the earth.

“Jesus spoke truth to power. Jesus turned over the money changers’ tables in the temple. Jesus took radical action. It is time we followed his lead.”

Tammy Samede, a Christian mother of four aged 33, who has worked with homeless people in the past, said:

“We are glad that the Dean of St Paul’s has agreed to meet again. When speaking with him, we asked him to really consider what would Jesus do during these times.

“We look forward to continuing this discussion, which we sincerely hope leads to concrete action, from focusing on the corporate sponsors and trustees of St Paul’s Cathedral, to the Church taking a more vocal and visible approach to the ethics and morality of the actions of the City of London and the financial sector.

“Faith without works is dead.”


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