Friday, March 27, 2015

OWS: preparing for first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street has been carrying on many other activities while the mass media continues to ignore them as much as they think they can get away with. The more people get their news from alternative news outlets that are being ignored by the corporate media the more obvious it will be to many people that the corporate media isn’t even trying to do a good job. If the vast majority of the public doesn’t already realize how corrupt and incompetent they are they surly will soon.

(This was originally posted on Open Salon July, 27, 2011)

This is part of a semi-regular update of some of the latest stories from the Occupy Wall Street web page for additional details see previous post’s introduction to series. 

Fortunately someone has started an Occupy Wall Street Media Watch to keep track of a large portion of the coverage for the Occupy Wall Street movement so that many of you will be able to check on it daily if you choose. This is in addition to the news that is on the Occupy Wall Street web site. It checks on the coverage being provided by the media and provides links to some recommended sites that have additional important information. This is just a HTML page but it links an enormous amount of information with additional content of all kinds.

The picture above shows how absurd this must appear to many people; the idea that armed police should have to worry about someone in a harmless panda costume should strike many as foolish. Unfortunately after the shooting that happened since then they may use this as an excuse to clamp down on these costumes. However they almost certainly won’t do the same thing when it comes to interfering with business as usual. Instead of using this as an excuse to clamp down on protests they should try to find out what the root causes of violence are and prevent them. Ironically many of the protesters that they’re attempting to suppress are the ones doing that; the root causes are early violence and social problems that escalate.

This is what many of the protesters are trying to address!

Occupy Wall Street is preparing for several other events around the country, including Ohio and Detroit, during the summer and they’re preparing for a renewed protest on the anniversary of the beginning of their first protest. The following is a notice that was originally sent out from the Occupy Wall Street movement for those of you who aren’t getting their newsletter:

While $21 Trillion is Unaccounted For, We Fight

It was reported on Sunday that over $21 Trillion USD is unaccounted for in offshore tax havens. Single payer health care, debt relief, education fully funded through post graduate level, and a federal public transportation program, all could be paid for if we recover these funds. It is not an impossible dream. So we fight. We ask you to start thinking about joining us on September 17th in the financial district of NYC where we will once again be inconvenient in the face of global capitalism and by our simple presence we will demand that a different world be imagined and implemented.

We lit the spark in 2011, help us make 2012 the year in which we move from problem to solution. It is time to address the abusive form of capitalism under which we suffer and to walk in the streets until justice is served. also reposted on American Glue

Related stories highlighted:

American Autumn: an Occudoc
Occupy National Gathering: Perspectives on Police
Aug. 11-14: Student Power Convergence in Columbus, OH
Occupy the Midwest Conference: Detroit, Aug. 23-26

Last year the corporate media acted as if this was a surprise protest that came out of the blue and hoped that it would go away. It didn’t and as I stated previously they almost certainly had plenty of chance to know about it and report on it the way they did before the Tea Party protest began. Instead they acted the way they did when the protests in Egypt happened, as if it came out of the blue. If they act surprised again they’ll look incredibly stupid; it is more likely that they’ll try to downplay the protests or distort them in some other way. In Egypt it led to a major change in government which isn’t over yet.

Before this is done, one way or another, it will lead to major changes here as well!!

On a Hot Brooklyn Night, A Heated Rent Strike

On the night of July 18th, anticipated to be one of the hottest of 2012, neighbors from three adjacent buildings in Sunset Park (545, 553, and 557 on 46th Street) joined together with supporters from Occupy Sunset Park for what could become the most significant tenant mobilization effort in Brooklyn in recent memory. Before their "Sidewalk Sleep-in", dozens took a "People's Inspection" of the decrepit buildings; they will be filing their own report.
Tenants had been organizing for two years prior to the involvement of Occupy Sunset Park. Since the alliance was formed with the local neighborhood assembly, their struggle has started to gain traction in the media and on the street. Full Article

Housing is one of the three basic necessities, along with food and clothing (health care and education should probably be added as the fourth and fifth but that can be addressed on other posts), that many of us were taught in school; however this isn’t the way the current system treats it when it comes to the distribution of resources. Instead they give more priority to the ownership of the resources and they rig the system so that the ruling class gains the vast majority of the benefits even though the working class does the vast majority of the work to produce those resources.

If we were in a more sincere and democratic system we might ask ourselves how do we provide the most important necessities to people and reward people based on a fair assessment of what they provide; and occasionally we might ask if the current system is doing that reasonably well.

This isn’t happening. Instead it often seems as if the three basic necessities for life in the current system are maximizing profits for the ruling class whether workers get fair compensation that enables them to live a decent life or not; maximizing profits for the ruling class whether the consumers get their moneys worth or not; and maximizing profits for the ruling class whether they do an enormous amount of damage to the environment that impacts only those without political power or not.

Occupy Redwood City to Protest New San Mateo County Jail 
SATURDAY July 14, Redwood City, 1 PM - On Bastille Day, Occupy Redwood City (ORWC) will be rallying at the site of the county’s newly approved future jail to protest its construction in our community (location: Maple and Blomquist Streets).

We are proud to be joined by our friends at Occupy San Jose (OSJ) at this rally and to be standing in solidarity with other groups on the Peninsula who have already spoken out and led the way in organizing against the construction of a new county jail in favor of more cost-efficient and just alternatives that would provide greater long-term benefits for our county and for low-income communities and communities of color.

At a recent General Assembly ORWC passed a resolution strongly rejecting the new jail for the following reasons:

Our county commissioned the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) to do a study on our inmate population. The CJCJ strongly recommended that the county at least explore cost-effective, evidence-based ways to reduce that population before resorting to building a new jail to combat overcrowding. see Full Article for other reasons

For a related story see “GA Prison Hunger Strike Continues, Families Protest, State Officials Stonewall, Feds Refuse to Intervene” at Black Agenda Report

This study is just one of many that clearly indicate that the way we handle the prison system is highly ineffective and it does little to prevent crime and ignores many of the root causes of crime including other social problems like early abuse to children or unequal social opportunities. The current system deprives large segments of society of the resources they need to participate in society while those from the privileged classes often commit other white collar crimes that go unpunished unless it is taken to extremes that would never happen if they were held accountable much earlier.

If some of these white collar crimes were addressed much earlier then we could find the money for many of the social programs that would prevent the escalation of violence and other crimes before it starts; also if people were able to keep what they earn instead of settling for suppressed wages or lack of jobs caused by the outsourcing that profits from sweatshop labor then they would be much less likely to turn to crime, often out of desperation. Assuming they’re being arrested for theft, which is often not the case at all; in many cases they’re being charged with non-violent drug problems which could be handled more effective other ways.
To make matters worse many states are privatizing the prison system which provides incentives for those running the prisons not to rehabilitate; since they would receive more business and more profits with high crime rates.

Providing counter incentives is downright insane yet when the lobbyists make the decisions behind close doors with law makers this is what can and does happen.

We have more stories for you but first a message from our sponsor, who will choose to do the right thing as soon as they get caught up on their advertising bill which is past due.

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We do this because Everyday millions of people choose to do the right thing. There’s an insurance company that does that too. Liberty Mutual Insurance. Responsibility: What’s Your Policy?
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SWAT Raid on Organizers of Occupy Seattle & E4E 
Early morning, July 10, SWAT police forced their way into the Seattle apartment of organizers from the Occupy movement. The sleeping residents scrambled to put on clothes as they were confronted with automatic weapons.

The neighbor Natalio Perez heard the attack from downstairs: “Suddenly we heard the bang of their grenade, and the crashing as police entered the apartment. The crashing and stomping continued for a long time as they tore the place apart.”

After the raid, the residents pored over the papers handed them by a detective. One explained: “This warrant says that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’ — which lays out the political police state nature of this right there. In addition they were looking for specific pieces of clothing supposedly connected with a May First incident.

When the police finally left, they did not arrest anyone. … Full Article

This was also reported at Cop Block which tracks many other activities by the police that may be excessive. The police are supposed to work for the public like our elected representatives are as well. They’re not supposed to be hired to keep us under their rule.

This is just one of many incidents where they provide an enormous amount of coverage for what seems like a crime of some sort but there doesn’t seem to be anything illegal except the raid in the first place which should be illegal if it isn’t. If there is just cause what is it? What is the perceived crime? In other incidents they often discuss the Occupy Wall Street movement in association with real crimes that are unrelated and attempt to make it seem as if they might be related without following up on it and making the correction when it turns out not to be the truth. This includes an incident in San Francisco, “Police Kill Suspect; Occupy SF Activists Falsely Linked” at Truth-Out, where the police may have been involved in a questionable shooting and some attempt may have been made to make it appear as if it was justified and that it was connected to the Occupy movement. It clearly doesn’t seem to be connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement and there may be serious doubt about if it was justifiable as well.

There have been many other incidents like this; the typical treatment of it in the media might be that they report on it quickly and loudly in that area or sometimes nationally implying that there might be a connection to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Then when it turns out that there is no connection they either ignore it or report the retraction in a much lower profile manner.

Everywhere is Anaheim

Last Saturday in Anaheim, California, police on routine patrol killed an unarmed person of color (Manuel Diaz), shooting him in the back in broad daylight. As a crowd of concerned neighbors gathered at the site to demand justice, they in turn were attacked by heavily armed police, who were recorded on video firing rubber bullets and pepper balls at close range into the crowd, which included women and children. In the ensuing chaos, an unrestrained police dog charged the crowd, mauling two people. Although police claim this was an accident, neighborhood witnesses disagree. Witnesses further report that, even as the events were still unfolding, police offered to buy footage from people's cell phones, apparently to cover up the incident. Later that same night, Anaheim PD shot and killed another person under suspicious circumstances. This is at least the sixth "officer-involved" shooting in Anaheim this year alone.

These are not isolated incidents; police violence is pandemic across the nation, and indeed the world. For people of color, poor people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, drug users, and other marginalized communities: EVERYWHERE IS ANAHEIM.

Although statistics documenting the number of "officer-involved shootings" (doublespeak for killings and attempted killings committed by police) are nearly impossible to find (we looked), marginalized communities everywhere know they are commonplace. We have not forgotten Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Duanna Johnson, or the countless other victims of police violence. As long as power is concentrated in the hands of an (overwhelmingly racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic) elite, we continue to see police violence used against those of us at the margins. Full Article

The police have responded to protests about excessive use of force by using even more excessive force.
The police are much quicker to arrest people without political power than they are to arrest each other for obvious reasons. This protest didn’t escalate to further conflict until after they arrested another suspect whom they claim had a gun but didn’t without arresting the police that were involved in the shootings. According to “24 arrested at police protests in Anaheim, Calif” at Detroit Free Press the protests were peaceful prior to the arrest and when they did turn violent it was only a small number of ‘outsiders who "were prone to violence and wanted to incite" both the crowd and police, Dunn said.’

This may turn out to be similar to the riots after the Rodney King incident only on a much smaller scale with very little damage comparatively speaking. Poor communities don’t have lobbyists and have a very hard time getting any attention at all. Wealthy communities have the resources to avoid this type of social unrest and the escalation in problems that often follow.

When the Occupy Wall Street movement says “power is concentrated in the hands of an (overwhelmingly racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic) elite” for many people this may seem like extremist rhetoric that isn’t backed up in fact. It has at times to me. The problem is that many people don’t live in their communities so they don’t know that they live in a different world and that for them it is real and with good cause that most people don’t know about. I haven’t personally seen some of the worst discrimination that is reported to happen in many of these neighborhoods but I have seen cases where police forces in small or poorer towns disregard the rights of the public and act as if they’re guilty until proven innocent and these people often have very little if any opportunity to gain a good education or job opportunities to get out of the poorer areas. And on top of that the jobs that are available for people from these areas don’t pay enough to get by thanks to the fact that many jobs are being outsourced to places where corporations don’t have to respect the human rights of the workers.

If those who live in other areas knew about what went on in many of the poorer areas they wouldn’t be so quick to consider these claims extremist.

The only presidential candidate that I know of that has had much if anything to say about this and many other incidents like it is Jill Stein. She released the following statement:

Stein, Honkala deplore shooting of unarmed citizens 
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein extended her sympathies today to the family of Manuel Diaz, the 25 year-old resident of Anaheim, California who was shot to death by Anaheim police on Saturday. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation, but it has been reported that Diaz was unarmed at the time of the shooting. When protesting citizens appeared at an Anaheim police station during a press conference, police responded to reported bottle and rock throwing with rubber bullets, pepper spray and a police dog unleashed on the crowd, which included terrified parents and children who were peacefully protesting.

Stein said, "Shooting of unarmed people is intolerable, and cannot be allowed to become a routine feature of urban policing. And police brutality towards innocent bystanders in a protest cannot be accepted.”

Saturday’s fatal police shooting was compounded by a second police shooting death on Sunday of another Latino man, Joel Acevedo, allegedly during what police claim was a suspected car robbery in which the suspect shot at them, though the circumstances have not yet been clarified.

These deaths follow 6 additional officer-involved shootings this year, and many in previous years, in the city of Anaheim, many of which were said to involve unarmed residents. Full article

In fact this is just one of many subjects that the traditional political candidates routinely ignore and Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala seem to be the best ones to address many of thes subjects. When it comes to the issues they’re much more in line with the will of the vast majority of the public as far as I can tell. In fact the biggest thing that the traditional candidates have going for them isn’t their position on any issues but the fact that they collect an enormous amount of money from the corporations to put out an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public they care. They also have the advantage of being the ones that the corporate media presents as “viable.”

These advantages have nothing to do with actually being held accountable to the people.

If the public wants to have a sincere democracy we clearly need to stop believing the corporate claim that only those that collect money from corrupt corporations are “viable” and worth considering. Fortunately there are already many more people that no longer believe that lie.

Margaret Kimberley provides additional insight on the demonizing of the poor in the following article.

Freedom Rider: Demonizing the Poor

Americans don’t know how bad off they are, compared to citizens of nations that have real social safety nets. Their ignorance is encouraged by newspapers like the New York Times, which recently devoted thousands of words to blaming single motherhood for a host of social ills that are actually caused by low wages and inadequate child care and health care. “Instead of needlessly glamorizing married people, and making one segment of society seem superior to another, we should have a much needed examination of what kind of country we ought to have.”

It is sad and, frankly, frightening when Americans explain away the harshness and lack of compassion in their country by vilifying individuals who manage to survive in difficult circumstances. A lack of class consciousness, racism, puritanism, and pure delusion about America’s purported superiority result in nonsense being passed off as social science and matters which should be political being made personal. Full Article at Black Agenda Report

Obama’s Media Takeover Powers: The Infrastructure of a Police State

President Obama will be remembered as one of the chief architects of the American police state. His preventive detention law nullifies due process, leaving citizens naked to the whims of the executive. Now Obama has empowered himself to seize control of all the nation’s communications systems, under the guise of emergency preparedness. “The ‘emergency’ he has in mind is a State of Emergency – martial law.

Earlier this month, on a Friday evening after most of the White House press corps had gone home, President Obama gave himself the power to take over, or shut down, all of the nation’s communications systems – including the Internet. The executive order is supposedly designed to preserve “survivable, resilient, enduring” and effective communications so that the government can speak to the people in the event of some emergency. But what he has authorized is the imposition of total silence except for the sound of his own voice.

Clearly, in a legitimate emergency, the government needs ways to communicate – but that does not require a monopoly. So, why is Obama giving himself – and any president that follows him into the Oval Office – a total communications on-and-off switch? Full Article at Black Agenda Report

The circumstances that preceded this actually came about gradually over the past thirty or so years. The corporate media has been consolidating into a small number of outlets for a long time now. The greatest consolidation may have taken place during the Clinton administration when they allowed the corporate media to consolidate into only the hands of about five or six corporations that control the vast majority of the media that can reach a large nationwide audience.

This doesn’t include the internet which anyone can use and reach a large audience, in theory, however in practice the corporate media has an enormous advantage. They can reach a large audience to tell them about their internet presence and they can repeat their beliefs over and over again to an audience that is already much larger. Those of us with access to the internet have to build up our audience slowly while the corporations surge ahead with their advantages which enable them to use it as a powerful propaganda tool.
This is why it is necessary to rely more on alternative media outlast and get the word out about how little credibility the corporate media has. Occupy Wall Street has attempted to increase the availability of media outlets and created a small list of various outlets months ago for people to check at Why We Need Free Media. This is actually only a sampling of the many news outlets related to the Occupy Wall Street movement; several other lists are also available and at some point it may be helpful to create a more comprehensive list so that people will be much better able to access news from a variety of sources.

Of course Obama and other establishment figures need to be put on notice that they can’t be allowed to infringe on the first amendment more than they already have and that they shouldn’t be allowed to continue doing it either. Watching Frogs Boil has added a long list of additional outlets in his external links and I have been creating my own alternative media outlets list which includes many Occupy Wall Street news outlets and I continue to add to them as I go along. At this time the ones related to Occupy Wall Street don’t have their own category but that may change soon and it is on a Wiki so anyone can add additional outlets if they choose. If there is disagreement about what to keep and what not to keep I tend to favor keeping those in doubt. If it gets too large it may be worthwhile to create a smaller list with the higher priorities. Actually there are already many of those available.

At some point it is inevitable that this movement will lead to more discussion from the public about how we run our own government, assuming that they don’t attempt to conduct a purge which I don’t believe will work in the long term. Actually in the short term they’ve already been doing this by suppressing the protests but they haven’t been able to completely suppress the dissent which is supposed to be allowed in a democracy. In the past they have defended the Capitalist system by using intimidation tactics. This was done after WWI when they had the American Protection League and the Palmer Raids and after WWII when they had McCarthyism and there have been additional oppressive efforts like this since then including the way Vietnam protest were suppressed and the way the protests against the support of the Nicaraguan Contras and the current movement have been suppressed.

Fortunately these suppression efforts have been getting milder when it comes to violence. Recent activities have pushed the current system to extremes that they haven’t reached in decades but they have waken up a large number of people and many of them are ready to discuss different systems and they’re not waiting for permission from the establishment to do so.

One of the critics of the Capitalist system is Richard Wolff (not to be confused with Richard Wolffe ) who has presented some good ideas worth considering including his views on leaving our unstable system and his talk on Link TV, Special: Richard Wolff - Can We Afford Capitalism? He has presented many good ideas worth considering but some of them probably should be subject to peer review before they’re put into practice. Frankly the same could be said about anyone in a democracy. If there are problems with any given new ideas we should find out about them before they turn into disasters and I suspect Richard Wolff would agree.

One example that I was skeptical of was his idea to allow laid off workers to get a large advance on their un-insurance compensation if they join at least eight other people and use it for a new enterprise owned by the workers. This sounds like it could be a good idea if it is done right but it could just as easily turn into an enormous waste if it is done wrong. Fortunately he actually got this idea from the Italians who are already doing it so this can be reviewed and if it is implemented in the US it could be done on a trial basis to make sure that it works out as well and any problems are worked out before they get serious. The important thing may be full disclosure and doing things in the open so that problems can be caught and corrected. That is one of the problems with our current system; every thing is being done in secrecy so many problems aren’t caught until they’re major disasters.

Other people that have been speaking out bout various different ideas include Robert Sheer, Chris Hedges, Michael Moore and many more.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Excellent update, Zachery. People who rely exclusively on the MSM for their news would have no way of knowing any of this stuff is happening.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall July 28, 2012 03:17 AM

If the MSM used softer paper for their news it would serve a good purpose; but that has nothing to do with informing the public.

zacherydtaylor July 28, 2012 09:32 AM

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