September 17, 2011, marked the birth of a great protest movement as Occupy Wall Street began at a park in New York City’s financial district, the heart of Corporate America. The movement quickly picked up steam and launched sympathy protests and occupations across the United States and around the world. “We are the 99 percent” fast became one of the most recognizable protest slogans or “battle cries” in American history, and eventually even the most comfortable of the Powers That Be (or 1 percent) paid attention to what Occupiers had to say.
Oakland has in some ways been the cutting edge of Occupy, yet it is far from a united group. There is a divide in tactics, ranging from pacifism to Black Bloc with non-violence and Diversity of Tactics spanning the middle. There is also a racial divide, something one doesn’t see in Boise or other more homogenous Occupys but certainly a matter occurring in more diverse settings.
Some people of color have chosen to pull back from Occupy and immerse themselves in more local actions. In Oakland, Occupy the Hood is involved with immigrant rights and the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’. Decolonize Oakland is planning encuentros, gatherings based on the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign. The Zapatistas said that the politicians always went to talk to the people, they instead chose to listen. Decolonize and Occupy the Hood are combining to work with local clergy to fight Oakland being forced to pay an average of 2 million dollars a year over the next ten years to Goldman Sachs on a predatory derivatives deal. The city is laying off workers and closing schools and libraries so that GS can get a second bailout, this time with the taxpaying public of Oakland footing the bill.
OCCUPY in Canada
Actions in solidarity with the Wall Street Occupiers sprang up not only in the United States, but around the world – and probably nowhere more emphatically and enthusiastically than in Canada. Occupy camps sprang up in every major Canadian city and quite a few smaller ones, with the actions always launched by spirited rallies at downtown locations.
All but one of the Canadian camps are gone by now, the hardy stalwarts who persevered below-freezing weather having been evicted by local authorities. The exception is in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where a small group remains in a harborfront park and (with supporters) recently held a rally on the steps of the province’s legislature. In those cities where Occupiers have been evicted, alternative actions have spawned and evolved. A small Winnipeg group, for example, has held general assemblies since being evicted from a downtown park, and recently occupied a Manitoba cabinet minister’s constituency office; next weekend, some of them will join a protest against a Professional Bull Riding event being held at the city’s downtown arena.
OCCUPY and Domestic Surveillance
The First Amendment to the Constitution states that the government cannot interfere with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibit the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. While the Right to Protest is not specifically mentioned, it is considered part of Freedom of Association and has been ruled by the US Supreme Court, ( NAACP v. Alabama), that it is an essential part of Freedom of Speech. If this is the case, why does the government always place a high priority on infiltrating and surveillance whenever its citizens exercise that right?
During the civil unrest and protest of the 50’s and 60’s, the FBI had extensive covert operations under the operational name of COINTELPRO. With the goal of maintaining “the existing social and political order”, FBI records show that they targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed “subversive” such as the civil rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Congress of Racial Equality and other civil rights organizations, the American Indian Movement, and the Students for a Democratic Society.
With document evidence of this type of activity, why should one think that the OCCUPY movement would be any different? Yes… times are different in one respect. Now we have one huge government entity, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that can cover a wide variety of different aspects of suppressing protest.
Possibilities of coordinated suppression of the OCCUPY movement may have been accidentally brought up during a recent interview with the BBC and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. She casually mentioned she was on a conference call just before the recent wave of crackdowns began. These conference calls were made to several cities right before the big crackdown on removing the OCCUPY camping across the country.
“According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.”
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee filed FOI requests with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Park Service (NPS). The requests asked “the agencies release information that they possess related to the involvement of federal agencies in the planning of a coordinated law enforcement crackdown that has taken places in multiple cities against the Occupy Movement in recent days and weeks.” But no response has been forthcoming.
OCCUPY the Earth: IF NOT US, WHO? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Friday, Feb. 3rd, Amy Goodman announced that: “The Sierra Club has admitted it accepted more than $26 million in donations from one of the nation’s largest natural gas companies at a time when the environmental group was publicly promoting natural gas as an alternative to coal. On Thursday, the Sierra Club said it stopped accepting the money in 2010.” on Democracy Now. It’s just industry typical to play the idea that the danger of hydraulic fracturing or fracking (to extract natural gas) is less destructive to our environment than coal’s mountaintop removals and cruel mining technology.
The ‘science’ community constantly bickers away on the validity of Climate Change – Global Warming. The suggestion that out of sight is out of mind (for the majority of world) is responsible for this seeming act of incredulity (by any scientists) has become very credible. Scientists who are still not willing to confirm the depletion of the atmosphere due to carbon emissions or the larger spoilage of our seas, are a now standard group of well-paid professional sellouts. They are plentiful because money trumps integrity.
The Deepwater Horizon spill exemplifies this kind of sell out science and academia.
What if rising sea levels are yet another measure of inequality? What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems — its atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere — goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power, and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from Zuccotti Park? What if the assault on America’s middle class and the assault on the environment are one and the same? (TomDispatch)
The 99% pay for wealth disparity with lost jobs, foreclosed homes, weakening pensions, and slashed services, but Nature pays, too. In the world the one-percenters have created, the needs of whole ecosystems are as easy to disregard as, say, the need the young have for debt-free educations and meaningful jobs.
Extreme disparity and deep inequality generate a double standard with profound consequences. If you are a CEO who skims millions of dollars off other people’s labor, it’s called a “bonus.” If you are a flood victim who breaks into a sporting goods store to grab a lifejacket, it’s called looting. If you lose your job and fall behind on your mortgage, you get evicted. If you are a banker-broker who designed flawed mortgages that caused a million people to lose their homes, you get a second-home vacation-mansion near a golf course.
If you drag heavy fishnets across the ocean floor and pulverize an entire ecosystem, ending thousands of years of dynamic evolution and depriving future generations of a healthy ocean, it’s called free enterprise. But if, like Tim DeChristopher, you disrupt an auction of public land to oil and gas companies, it’s called a crime and you get two years in jail. – CBS “Occupy Wall Street turns into Occupy Earth”
Over and over we witness community illness and devastation at cost for some corporations’ profits, globally. The OCCUPY movement is placing the question of our community values and regard for money into the political and social consciousness for evaluation in relationship to the common experience of everyday life and our political choices.
Occupy Earth is working to expose the Green Movement and bring a picture postcard vision that can inform a happily ignorant general population that we are truly on a death march across the planet. All for a few who profit large while we are spoon fed the fear of lifestyle changes. OCCUPIERS are committed to the impossible dreams of perma-culture, bio diversity solutions and community sustainability.
Returning to a more Ancestral cosmic vision that balances us with a regard for Earth ecology is vital. What better moment to change the way we SEE OUR HOME than winter solstice, December 21st of this year, when our sun will align with ‘heart of heaven’ or the cosmic heart of the Milky Way galaxy?