Category Archives: Occupy Movement

Police Arrest Protesters, Demolish Camp in Financial Zone – Jamaica Plain, MA Patch

Early Tuesday morning, Boston Police arrested protesters and demolished a new camp that Occupy Boston protesters had established on Monday, according to a wide variety of reports on Twitter.

The original Occupy Boston protest zone near South Station remains intact.

Sean Ryan, a former candidate for City Council, posted a photo of Police Commissioner Ed Davis standing in the area that had been cleared.

According to scanner traffic, the charges against those arrested could include “unlawful assembly” and “entering and remaining in a city park after 11 p.m.”

“Protestors have been asked to return to their original camp site on the Greenway and leave the area of the Greenway by Pearl Street where they expanded to earlier today,” said a statement from Boston Police Media Relations. “That particular section of the Greenway recently underwent a renovation of the green space by the Greenway Conversancy. We have been communicating that request to protestors in various ways including in person, Twitter and flyers.”

According to police, print copies of this message were distributed at the second camp that was later dispersed:

The Boston Police Department has continued to respect your right to peacefully protest. The BPD is also obligated to maintain public order and safety. We ask for your ongoing cooperation.

What the BPD expects from Occupy Boston Participants:

• Respect police instructions and, if asked to leave an area, please do so peacefully, taking your belongings with you.

• Don’t engage in negative behavior, such as fighting, throwing objects, or destroying property.

• If you are noticed by the BPD that you are unlawfully assembling, or trespassing, you will not be allowed to remain in the area. Please immediately leave the area with your belongings, or you will be subject to arrest.

What Occupy Boston Participants can expect from the BPD:

• BPD will arrest those knowingly in violation of the law if necessary.

• Police will employ the use of video-cameras in areas surrounding the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The video will be used to capture the images of individuals who are engaging in disorder. Those images will then be used to lodge criminal complaints in a follow-up investigation conducted by Boston Police detectives.

• Officers will conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and proportional manner.

Know the Laws:

Unlawful Assembly

• In the event that 5 or more armed people or 10 or more people are unlawfully, riotously or tumultuously assembled, the police can demand that they immediately and peaceably disperse.

• Any person who unlawfully assembles and does not disperse after being ordered is subject to arrest and imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine between $100 and $500.

Trespassing

• Remaining upon land of another after having been forbidden to do so by a person who has lawful control over the premises.

• Any person who trespasses is subject to arrest and imprisonment of up to 30 days or a fine of up to $100.

via Police Arrest Protesters, Demolish Camp in Financial Zone – Jamaica Plain, MA Patch.

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Boston Police Throw American Flag To Ground, Arrest Veterans, Trash Property To Protect ‘Green Space’ From 99 Percent | ThinkProgress

Before the arrests and clearing of the park, the police surrounded it, lining up over a dozen paddy wagons along one side. They told members of the media to leave and not to film proceedings. After a five-minute warning to disperse, police moved in, first arresting the peacefully protesting veterans — who included a female veteran of the Iraq War, according to the Boston Phoenix — and then other Occupy Boston activists. According to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, about 100 arrests were made.

The police then tore down the protesters’ encampment. Live feeds from onlookers showed Boston Police dumping dismantled tents, signs, and chairs into waiting garbage trucks, destroying the protesters’ property.

Tuesday morning’s mass arrest marks the first significant confrontation between police and Occupy Boston. Activists in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street began an occupation of Dewey Square Park, a small park in the heart of Boston’s financial district on Friday, September 30, without conflict. The number of participants in Occupy Boston outgrew the space over the week. On Monday morning, dozens of protesters set up a new occupation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway between Pearl and Congress Streets, one block northeast of Dewey Square. Over the course of the day, the Boston Police Department issued warnings to the occupiers of the new encampment that they were at risk of arrest because of potential damage to the greenway.

Over Twitter, a department spokesperson warned activists the police wanted to “curtail additional damage to newly developed green space” because “the Greenway Conservancy recently invested over $150,000 in new plantings for all to enjoy.” The Greenway Conservancy is a private non-profit organization that raises funds for the public park. Its board is comprised of several of Boston’s wealthiest financiers.

Before the mass arrest and destruction of the second Occupy Boston encampment, police media relations issued a statement that “the Boston Police Department respects your right to protest peacefully.

via Boston Police Throw American Flag To Ground, Arrest Veterans, Trash Property To Protect ‘Green Space’ From 99 Percent | ThinkProgress.

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Occupy Wall Street protests continue, with fresh push planned targeting banks – CNN.com

New York (CNN) — Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music star Kanye West and the Rev. Al Sharpton were the latest to lend their celebrity to the Occupy Wall Street cause, mixing with the masses in New York on Monday, days ahead of a larger, promised protest targeting mammoth banks.

Their visits came as the burgeoning movement continued to echo from coast to coast, voicing impassioned sentiments on a range of topics while commonly railing against what protesters describe as corporate greed, political ineptitude and the inordinate power wielded by the United States’ wealthiest people.

“We are here today because we agree 1% should not be controlling the (nation’s) wealth,” Sharpton said on his nationally syndicated radio program from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. “These (demonstrators) are regular people trying to feed their families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive.”

The outspoken civil rights activist and his “Keepin’ It Real” show were joined Monday in the park — where protesters have been camping out for 24 days — by Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings and the Phat Farm clothing empire, one of many high-profile people to visit in recent days. And a YouTube video, posted on Rapdose.com, showed Simmons at the park flanked by Grammy Award-winning artist Kanye West.

Earlier, organizers of the “leaderless resistance movement” billed Monday as “Kids Speak Out” day, given that many schoolchildren are off for Columbus Day.

“Even as banks got bailed out, American children have witnessed their parents get tossed out of their homes and lose their jobs. Public school kids have lost arts, music and physical education,” the movement’s website said. “Now our kids can see activists take these issues to the streets in a democratic forum at Occupy Wall Street.”

Playing down the protests Occupy Wall Street: Speech vs. security Occupy Wall Street spreads to Philly 24 days of Occupy Wall Street

University students played a big part Monday in demonstrations associated with the movement in Boston.

Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts and other schools were among those represented — along with members of several labor unions and other groups who have been active in Occupy Boston events in recent weeks. Overhead video from Boston showed long lines of people filling up streets as they marched.

A posting on the website of that city’s movement suggested that the march from the Boston Common to Dewey Square was timed to come on the eve of key votes on the American Jobs Act, a bill pushed by President Barack Obama to boost the economy.

“We can’t just sit idly by while the politicians in Washington play political games with our jobs and our livelihoods,” protester Jay Chambers said on the site, which claimed the bill would create “at least 11,000 local jobs.” “It’s time to take the fight to the streets.”

But that didn’t appear to be the only message. Video showed one Boston protester holding up a sign that read “No privatization of public education,” and CNN affiliate WCVB characterized the event as a protest against university presidents’ high salaries.

Open Story: See iReports from the protests.

The nationwide movement has been largely peaceful, though it has led to some skirmishes with police and arrests, particularly in New York and Washington. It has also stoked fervent public debate, including among politicians. Democrats have generally offered sympathy for protesters’ concerns while several Republicans, among them 2012 presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, have described the demonstrations as “class warfare.”

New York Mayor Bloomberg, an independent, appeared Monday to soften his stance about the protests.

Last Friday, he said on WOR radio that some demonstrators were “trying to destroy the jobs of working people in the city” and suggested it could only be a matter of time before officials potentially put an end to the Zuccotti Park encampment. Yet, speaking to CNN affiliate WCBS at a Columbus Day parade, the mayor said the city now plans to allow the protesters to stay indefinitely.

“The bottom line is, people want to express themselves, as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to,” he said.

The Occupy movement shows few signs of slowing down. Rallies and marches have been held in numerous towns and cities in recent days, with many more planned.

That includes a “Call to Action Against Banks,” which New York’s Occupy Wall Street announced on its Facebook site will happen Saturday.

“No longer will banks take our homes. No longer will banks rob students of our future. No longer will banks destroy the environment. No longer will banks fund the misery of war. No longer will banks cause massive unemployment. And no longer will banks create and profit from economic crisis without a struggle,” according to the online message Monday.

It then urges people to “visit your local Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase (branches) and let them know, we will not allow business as usual.”

“We. Will. Occupy. Everywhere,” the posting ends.

via Occupy Wall Street protests continue, with fresh push planned targeting banks – CNN.com.

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‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement sweeping through major Canadian cities

VANCOUVER — It’s time for democracy, not corporatocracy, we’re doomed without it.

With that message, Adbusters, the Vancouver-based anti-consumerist magazine, called on people in July’s 97th issue to flood into Lower Manhattan on September 17 to “occupy Wall Street for a few months.”

Little did the magazine’s staff know that the movement to protest against corporate greed, now known as Occupy Wall Street, would gather so much momentum via social media and spread to so many cities.

And now, on Oct. 15, the movement is coming to Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal. According to its Facebook page, the Occupy Vancouver event alone is expected to attract more than 2,500 people. Participants plan to occupy the area outside the Vancouver Art Gallery indefinitely. While protesters say the demonstration will be peaceful, police have been notified, and downtown businesses have been advised to beef up security.

The Occupy Wall Street movement goes international just as the U.S. version enters a new level of confrontation. On Saturday, the online hacker group Anonymous warned that some of its members planned to take down the New York Stock Exchange website, NYSE.com, on Tuesday as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In a YouTube video, a computer-generated voice said that there was a short hack on NYSE.com Saturday and that it was down for 30 minutes “in a matter of seconds.”

The video said factions in Anonymous were going ahead with the hack on Tuesday despite opposition from some members.

The message to NYSE was simple: Anonymous members would “destroy you,” the video said.

“Those who are going to be part of the attack have a message to the NYSE: We hack you because we don’t like you,” the voice said.

“We are all Anonymous. We are all one Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

In Vancouver, at Occupy’s first general assembly on Saturday, hundreds of people squeezed into the W2 Media Cafe to discuss the logistics of occupying the Art Gallery successfully. Eventually, the meeting was moved up to the atrium. There was no leader, and all participants were careful to use diplomatic language, such as, “I would recommend,” or, “Do we all agree?”

Even though many had ideas for the actual demonstration, no one seemed to know what Occupy Vancouver’s demands are.

“My suggestion would be that this is not the place to iron out demands, that (when we) occupy together, that is our time to figure ourselves out,” said moderator Sarah Rose Edwards Noel, to which the crowd answered, “Agreed!”

Eric Hamilton-Smith, one of the organizers for Occupy Vancouver, said he is confident those demands will materialize over the next few weeks. For now, he said, the most important thing is for people to discuss their economic and political frustrations and to share ideas and common experiences. Eventually, proposals for change will form organically, he said.

“I’m frustrated with . . . having governments making policies that don’t represent me,” he said. “I can’t stand idly by while our financial (situation) and our society . . . is coming apart at the seams, and I think more and more people realize that and are hoping for more positive change and a better tomorrow.”

That sentiment is shared by Adbusters’ founder and editor, Kalle Lasn. Although Adbusters catalyzed the Occupy demonstrations, Lasn said he had not expected the protest to spread from New York so rapidly.

“I was quite surprised when suddenly, they started to have occupations in Chicago, in Los Angeles, and then there was one in San Francisco,” he said. “Now it’s spread to 200 cities in America and spilling over to Canada, and I thought, ‘This is more than just a one-shot deal. This is becoming a movement.’”

As with Occupy Vancouver, Occupy Wall Street does not have a defined objective, either. Participants are united by a common grievance: that a small group of corporations hold massive amounts of wealth and decision-making power, while the majority of the population suffers from enormous debt, unemployment, and unaffordable health care and housing. The movement still lacks concrete demands, but protesters seem to pride themselves more in the process than the outcome. General assemblies, where decisions about the occupation are made through consensus, are held twice a day.

The organizers of Occupation Vancouver plan to follow the footsteps of their New York counterparts.

“A social movement that aims to reclaim democracy has to be democratic in its process,” said Min Reyes, another Occupy Vancouver organizer. “It’s a movement that focuses on the essence of democracy and therefore, nobody can set up goals and impose it on others.”

University of British Columbia sociology professor Rima Wilkes said that without a unified voice and clear-cut position, Occupy Wall Street and other similar protests may not have the power to effect change.

“The people who have that much money, there’s a reason they have that much money and they’re not going to give it up, just like that,” she said.

Simon Fraser University labour history professor Mark Leier agrees that change would be difficult, but not impossible if protesters connect with groups that have bargaining power. For example, labour unions, such as the teachers, nurses and transit workers who joined the protest on Wall Street on Wednesday, can put different kinds of economic and political pressure on the powerful.

“Where people have a sense of injustice, a sense that things must be better, they’re going to talk about it,” Leier said. “They’re going to say, ‘What do we most want on the agenda?’ And they’re going to discuss it, and they’re going to, with any luck, find some way forward.”

Lasn said he believes Occupy could become a global movement driven by social media. Young people who face a “big, black hole” — bleak economic future, political grievances, and climate change — will “bite the bullet and have a surge of bottoms-up, democratic demands that will change the world,” he said.

“All around the world, people will stand up and say, ‘You, the leaders who are creating my future, you don’t understand what’s going on, you don’t understand the complexity and the danger of what the future is,’” he said. “And they’re going to . . . demand things like a tax on all financial transactions, banning of high-frequency trading, banking reforms.”

Regardless of whether the movement can bring forth change, both Wilkes and Leier stressed the importance of highlighting economic inequality and the true potential of democracy.

“Even if we don’t see direct political change, what people are going to learn are lessons they have forgotten over the last 30 years,” Leier said. “Democracy is not just about casting a ballot every four or five years. Whether it’s women’s suffrage, unemployment insurance, health care, they have certainly not been divorced from electoral politics, but it’s the power of the people . . . to get out on the streets that have also propelled this.”

Reyes agreed, saying that Occupy Vancouver is as much of a symbolic occupation as it is a physical one.

“I would hope that this movement wakens people up in terms of their rightful, political engagement with issues they deal with,” she said. “If it came to a point where people just have to go back home, they will take the spirit and experience back with them, and never forget that the public sphere is there for them to reclaim their voice and be heard.”

via ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement sweeping through major Canadian cities.

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Occupy Wall Street: Democrats and Tea Partiers Pick Their Sides

From my over-taxed inbox this morning — a holiday morning! — two different fundraising appeals. The first comes from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an official arm of the Democratic Party, tasked with winning back the House of Representatives. It’s a full-on endorsement of Occupy Wall Street.

Protestors are assembling in New York and around the country to let billionaires, big oil and big bankers know that we’re not going to let the richest 1% force draconian economic policies and massive cuts to crucial programs on Main Street Americans.

Out-of-touch Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he is “increasingly concerned by the growing mobs.” Mobs? That must be what Republicans refer to as the middle class, or maybe the millions of unemployed Americans across the country.

As Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “The message of the American people is that no longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street…”

Help us send a message straight to Eric Cantor, Speaker Boehner, and the rest of reckless Republican leadership in Congress:

Sign our petition right now and help us reach 100,000 strong standing with #OccupyWallStreet protestors across the country >>

Also out today: A new appeal from the Tea Party Express.

The media continues to insist that the Occupy Wall Street protests are motivated by the same problems that the Tea Party coalesced around and that they are the Tea Party of the left!

We here at the Tea Party Express find those comparisons to be insulting.   Three weeks into the Occupy Wall Street protests,  it is still not exactly apparent what they are protesting about.  The motivation behind their rage seems to be anything from corporate greed, redistribution of wealth, free college tuition, guaranteed wages (whether you work or not), defending the people against the man, all the way to anarchy.  The only commonality that we have is that we are both opposed to the bailouts of Wall Street – and that is it.

Their motivations, their behavior and their disrespect for the principles that made this country great could not stand in starker contrast to ours.  We stand for free market capitalism, individual responsibility, self reliance, individual liberties, and a limited federal government.

This is important that we stand up to these comparisons and stand up for our principles. Click here to contribute!

Congratulations, Occupiers. You’ve made it.

via Occupy Wall Street: Democrats and Tea Partiers Pick Their Sides.

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Occupy Wall Street Rages On Around The World

Occupy Wall Street, a movement that began as a small band of protesters in Zuccotti Park, gained endorsements from major unions and progressive leaders as well as prominent politicians.

Within a few short weeks, it has come to resemble a movement with more than 900 meetups in 900 cities across the country. It has even gone international with Occupy sites in Australia and London and other cities saddled with long unemployment lines, gross income disparities, and hapless politicians.

Organizers have erected tent cities in town squares and held rallies in front of city halls. Major marches have been held in Las Vegas and Portland, and there have been strong showings in Chicago and Austin, and plenty of free vegan food served by Occupy Baltimore.

It’s unclear just where all these general assemby meetings, Twitter updates, and teach-ins are heading. Democratic leaders including Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed support for the protesters this week and officials such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have said they sympathize with the protestors’ feelings of anger towards big banks’ role in the financial crisis.

Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, Tahrir Square veterans, and notable environmentalists have all made cameo appearances. Organized labor has also backed the protests.

The support has not helped relations with the police. The activists have endured pepper spray, a baton-wielding white-shirt and the mass arrest of more than 700 demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge. That incident is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court. These incidents will either come to define the movement or be simply blips onto something more substantial and lasting.

The protesters list of grievances is long, with issues ranging from the foreclosure crisis and work-place discrimination to student loan debt. The protests in New York and other cities focus on income inequality, a theme common in the group’s internet presence, including on a Tumblr that showcases Americans dealing with joblessness and other issues.

Even if the protesters were able to narrow their concerns to one, easily defined goal, some organizers say that would miss the point. So what comes next?

via Occupy Wall Street Rages On Around The World.

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Occupy Wall Street Emerges as “First Populist Movement” on the Left Since the 1930s

As the “Occupy” movement expands from the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York City throughout the United States, we look at its historical significance. “This is an incredibly significant moment in U.S. history,” says Dorian Warren of Columbia University. “It might be a turning point, because this is the first time we’ve seen an emergence of a populist movement on the left since the 1930s.” We also speak to Firedoglake blogger Kevin Gosztola, who has been reporting from the occupations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C

via Occupy Wall Street Emerges as “First Populist Movement” on the Left Since the 1930s.

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