Occupy Talks & the Conversation Changes

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

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?

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9 Comments

  1. Jack Jodell says:

    Thank you, team, for this excellent update. OCCUPY has shown that it can get attention and has succeeded in opening the eyes of many to questions of wealth inequality, corporate dominance, and environmental concerns. It is but a start, but a good one. The problems we face lie in the political, legal, and economic realms, and each must be tackled simultaneously by the movement if real and substantial positive change is to be effected. The movement must coalesce around certain broad yet unified goals in each realm. On the polical front, we need to replace all the reactionary elements with forward-looking, fair-minded people who are less corrupted by the power of concentrated capital than most are now. In the legal realm, we need to develop a social consciousness that is rooted more in what is good for the planet as a whole than merely protecting property rights or corporate power. And in the economic realm, the malignancy of the modern corporation must be dealt with through the mass realization that personal or group profit cannot and should not trump the public good. We can and undoubtedly will discuss and debate the specifics of each of these measures as time goes on.

    We have our work cut out for us. For most of us, this will be a lifetime struggle.These evils won’t be overturned immediately.We need to continually raise the awreness of others and be relentless in the pursuit of our goals. Nothing comes easily, and this won’t either. The day of complacency is over. Now is the time for steady and sustained ACTION on all of these fronts! Are you ready to dig your heels in and start? I sure hope so!

  2. WONDERFUL post about Occupy! This pretty much sums up my attitude: the environmental issue is the most critical of all. It’s so simple: if the environment is damaged beyond repair–as it may be right now–nothing else matters.

    As Jack wrote “the malignancy of the modern corporation… cannot and should not trump the public good.” Amen.

    There was violence with Occupy across the country except for LA. I met LAPD officers who told me that they supported Occupy because the protest concerned their pensions and that they only would go in there if there was any danger to the protestors. The City Council passed a *bipartisan* proclamation of support and offered the Occupiers 10,000 sq ft of office space for $1/year. I had hoped we took the space so it could serve as a mobilization point for Occupiers throughout Southern California.

    I so regret that Occupy LA did not accept the offer. Is anyone with me on this? Thanks so much, Ms. Gwendolyn, for posting this link on my FB page.

    • osori says:

      I was surprised by the offer of the office space, it seemed like a no-brainer. OTOH since I wasn’t privy to the details, don’t know if there were enough strings attached to compromise the movement, or whether it was ‘ideological purity’. Oakland’s pigs already had their pensions reduced, but they are so vicious and stupid they appear to enjoy losing their jobs and pensions if it somehow helps Wall St.

  3. Collin says:

    I’ve been wary to support the Occupy movement since it started, and my opinion of them drops the more I know.

    The first dubious thing I saw was a comment from an Occupier that the theory of economics was designed to keep the 1% rich, and that words like “recession” should not be used because the 1% have poisoned them. I figured they were just word warriors. Then I heard about a case of someone losing their home because a bank did something to their account. And I realized that, contrary to what the Blogosphere would have me believe, the MSM is showing what real problems the Occupiers are protesting, while the Occupiers seem to be too busy ranting to explain themselves.

    Then I heard Occupiers shouting childish insults at the White House, and I heard that the Occupiers support the burning of the American Flag.

    Now, on this page, I find that the Occupiers are joining the Rethugs and the Dominionists in the chorus of climate change denial. And in a shocking display of Hegelian acrobatics, they are presuming to protest the fossil fuel industries by furthering their propaganda.

    Are they really this dunderheaded, or is the whole thing just a psy-op?

    • Stimpson says:

      Hmmmm … Your remarks leave me curious, Collin. I’ve never seen even a bit of support for “climate change denial” in the Occupy movement. I’d be interested to know where you get your information.

      As well, I think it’s quite a stretch to go from hearing a single Occupier say something about economics to thinking (as you seem to do) that the whole movement agrees with that indivitual. Besides, I follow the news and have never heard or read of anyone at any Occupy camp saying the “dubious” comment that you “saw.”

      I’d also be interested to know what you consider “childish insults” aimed at the White House.

      Honestly, I think you started out with a low opinion of the Occupy (for what reason, I can only guess) and then filtered the information you got about it to confirm that opinion.

      • Collin says:

        On this page, in the “Occupy the Earth” section, it puts “science” in quotes, and it mentions exposing the green movement.

        I know denialism when I see it, and I know about sarcastic types like you. I will not be inveigled.

        • Stimpson says:

          Here’s what the post says:
          “The ‘science’ community constantly bickers away on the validity of Climate Change …”
          You’re misinterpreting that sentence, Collin. No doubt in my mind about that, because it was written by a member of the Roundtree7 team and not one of them is a climate change denier. (If you look back at my recent postings here – like this one – you’ll see that I emphatically am NOT a ‘skeptic’ or denier on the topic of anthropogenic global warming.)

          Just two sentences later, the post says professional climate change deniers are “sellouts.” I don’t know how you could notice single-quote marks around science in one sentence and completely overlook a full sentence that follows almost immediately afterwards.

          Moreover, there is nothing in this post that says climate change denial is part of the Occupy movement. NOTHING. You shouldn’t over-generalize and make inferences so much. You really shouldn’t. Try understanding an article for what it actually says, not for what you infer from it, because your inferences can be mistaken.

          I’m not being a smart ass with you, Collin. I’m trying to reason with you. I’m sincere when I say that you appear to have started with a low opinion of the Occupy movement and cherry-picked things to confirm and strengthen that low opinion.

  4. There is not context in this article that refers to science as deniable. “Exposing” is used as in correct utility; OCCUPY is doing it’s damndedest to EXPOSE the masses to the devastation and crisis we face: -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.- Might you need some new eyeglasses?

  5. I agree with Gwendolyn and others that NO ONE in this group has ever endorsed the notion that the climate change problem is a fabrication. She sums our position aptly in:

    “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…”

    Indeed, no environmental position worth its salt is these days without a hefty political component, a RADICAL political component, sinve the crisis upon us, product of the plutocracy’s systematic plundering of man and beast across the globe, is a RADICAL ONE, one which demands we look at the roots of the problem and not merely at its superficial manifestations.

    You’re awfully wrong Collin, and your way of raising this issue is bordering on the trollish. Examine the material with a fair mind and rethink your conclusions.

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