The OB Media Rundown for 3/20/12

Small Meetings of Occupy, Germinating the Seeds of Democracy

There is a side of the Occupy movement that does not consist of street marches and confrontations with police. It doesn’t involve the occupation of parks or shipyards. It is a side that receives little to no press, but in the end may be one of the most important aspects of the movement: The community meeting. There are scheduled meetings listed practically every night of the week on the Occupy Portland Calendar. Some are planning meetings, some are lecture meetings, some are for team-building. There are also community cell meetings that do not make it to the calendar-small groups, quietly working behind the scene to network, organize and create change.

Occupy Northampton parlays with Northampton officials

The protesters said they wanted city money spent on items such as food for the hungry and orchards, and spoke out against tax breaks for corporations like Coca-Cola and Kollmorgen. They also said the city does not need the $20 million police facility currently being built.

Council President William H. Dwight proposed a meeting to discuss these issues and Monday night came to fruition. Lisa DePiano, an organizer with the group, started the evening by outlining the topics and going ove the hand signal the group uses to express approval, disapproval and the wish that someone would stop talking.

Those in attendance then separated into five groups to address economic development, civil iberties, public space, civic engagement and corporate accountability. Names were exchanged, hand signals reviewed and the talking was on.

Occupy University of Rhode Island, with singing help from Rrraging Grrranies, protests rising tuition

Political theater came to the regular meeting of the Board of Governors for Higher Education Monday as Occupy URI and the Rrraging Grrrannies of Greater Westerly drove home the point that high tuition is sinking college students.

The group, including a half-dozen women wearing oversize hats, sang “Bail Out the Students,” their original lyrics set to the tune of “Beer Barrel Polka.”

How Darrell Issa and the Right Are Planning to Kill the U.S. Post Office

After a stopgap measure last year, Congress will once again debate whether the United States Postal Service as we know it can survive.  The better question is: Will Congress let it?
. . .

In the first quarter of this fiscal year, the post office would have made an operational profit, if not for a 75-year healthcare “pre-funding” mandate that applies to no other public or private institution in the United States.

Warren Gunnels, aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, calls that mandate “the poison pill that has hammered the Postal Service … over 80 percent of the Postal Service deficit since that was enacted was entirely due to the pre-funding requirement.”

This death hug was part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was passed on a voice vote by a lame duck Republican Congress in 2006.

The Citzen’s United tax Break – Corporations may be writing off the money they’re donating to political nonprofits

The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision opened up the way for unlimited corporate spending on politics and has led to the proliferation of non-profit political groups that do not have to disclose the identities of their donors. But it turns out corporations may be getting another benefit from anonymous donations they give to these groups: a break on their taxes.

It all starts with the so-called “social welfare” groups that have become bigger players in the political world in the wake of Citizens United, which knocked down restrictions on campaign activity by such groups.

Tax experts say it’s possible that businesses are using an aggressive interpretation of the law to wring a tax advantage out of their donations to these groups.

Occupation Politics: A Year In Review

The Spanish movement, and its counterpart in Greece, carried a robust strain of an ideology that was to shape the west’s occupations: anarchism. The anarchist current was solidified by the development in September of Occupy Wall Street – an action striking at the heart of America’s super-power and global finance that catapulted the movement to every continent on the planet.

It was there, in the country that had executed Sacco, Vanzetti and the Haymarket workers in the last two centuries, that occupations were stamped with the autonomous mark. Consensus democracy, direct action protest, non-hierarchical organisation, the human microphone and hand signal communication tracing its roots to the anti-globalisation protests of the 1990s were combined with the 99% slogan authored by anarchist anthropologist David Graeber.

These traits brought a tendency that had been on the political fringes for at least half a century into the mainstream, providing a sense of novelty to occupations as a political tool. It may also have dispelled some misconceptions about the anarchist ideology – those engaged in the movements found an unusually highly-organised structure drawing its distinction from a distaste for authority rather than a penchant for chaos.

Outlaw Occupy: US set to strangle protests with jail threats


Repression of OWS Movement Continues in USA

(Prensa Latina) New York police continued Monday the repression against members of the peace movement Occupy Wall Street (OWS), which started protests against financial and corporate greed in the USA six months ago.

Occupy Wall Street urges May 1 strike

Occupy Wall Street activists have called for supporters to skip work on May 1 to protest what they’re calling police brutality over 73 arrests in New York during the weekend.

Several dozen activists joined members of New York’s City Council for a news conference in Zuccotti Park to complain about police tactics. On Saturday, police started detaining people after hundreds of Occupy supporters gathered in the park to mark six months since the start of the movement.

Occupy organisers across the country have been mobilising for months toward a one-day general strike in May.

NYPD Criticized for Handling of New Occupy Protests

Representatives of the Occupy Wall Street movement were joined Monday by members of the New York City Council in criticizing police for using excessive force at renewed OWS protests over the weekend.

Judge rebukes NYPD by letting protester who had seizure in handcuffs go without bail requirement

An Occupy Wall Street activist accused of elbowing a New York City cop over the weekend walked free on Monday when a judge denied prosecutors’ request for $20,000 bail in an apparent rebuke against the protest crackdown on Saturday.

Cecily McMillan, an Occupy protester once profiled in Rolling Stone, left the courtroom in tears after a judge told her she could go with no bail, Guardian reporter Ryan Devereaux tweeted on Monday. McMillan’s was one of the most disturbing arrests over the weekend, as she apparently had a seizure while in handcuffs; police said she’d elbowed an officer in the face. Video taken by an activist appears to show McMillan getting tackled, but police reportedly released another video showing her elbowing the officer before she was taken to Bellevue hospital. Occupy Wall Streeters tweeted that she was charged with aggravated assault, but we have not been able to confirm that with the lawyers.

Foreclosure Protesters in NYC To Darrell Issa: Go Home

Issa, along with Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns, held a congressional hearing at Borough Hall Monday about ways to help homeowners facing foreclosure in the on-going mortgage crisis.

A noble goal, demonstrators said — but not one Issa has pushed during his political career.

Protestors from Occupy Wall Street, United New York, New York Communities for Change and the Working Families Party charged that Issa worked against reforms that would have helped homeowners nationwide.

Chicago rejects protest permit for start of NATO summit

After approving a parade permit for protest against the G-8and NATO summits in Chicago, the city has denied an identical application by the same group seeking to hold its march one day later in the wake of the White House’s decision to move the G-8 conference.

The demonstrators asked to move their march from Saturday, May 19, after the G-8 meeting scheduled to start that day was moved by President Barack Obama to Camp David. The protesters filed a permit that was identical to the one the city approved for Saturday, except the date was changed to Sunday, May 20, when the NATO meeting is set to start.

But this time the city rejected the request, citing a lack of police officers as well as other security and logistics complications from the very summit the demonstrators are seeking to protest.

U.S. Bank closes UC Davis branch, citing disruption by Occupy protesters

Citing chronic disruption of business by Occupy movement protesters, Minnesota-based U.S. Bank has closed its branch office on the University of California, Davis, campus.

In a March 1 letter to the UC Board of Regents, the bank said Occupy protesters have intermittently blocked the door to the bank branch in the Memorial Union since January. The bank chose to close during some of the protests. The bank said the situation ultimately became “intolerable.”

In November 2009, UCD entered into a 10-year agreement with U.S. Bank, which would provide nearly $3 million to support student services and bring the campus its first bank branch.

Occupy Des Moines to protest online schools on Friday

Occupy Des Moines members will protest the opening of Iowa’s first two full-time online public schools in a rally outside the Capitol on Friday.

The rally, from 6 to 8 p.m., will focus on what occupy members call the “infiltration of for-profit corporations into our children’s education,” according to a press release.

Two out-of-state corporations, Connections Academy and K12 Inc. are set to open the schools in the fall of 2012 in the CAM and Clayton Ridge school districts.

In a press release, the group claimed that the corporations take money away from traditional brick-and-mortar schools and use high-pressure marketing tactics to recruit parents and students, without regard to whether a student has the necessary parental support and self-motivation.

‘Stay-away’ court order tactic spreads to Berkeley

A number of people charged in connection with Occupy Cal protests on Nov. 9 2011 were today served with a stay-away order, according to Assistant District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

Drenick confirmed that protesters being arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court today were given an order that they stay away from all UC property, except when going to and from class, and/or to and from employment and class or work.

Students Gather At Occupy Vanderbilt

Dozens of Vanderbilt students gathered to rally on the steps of Kirkland Hall for Occupy Vanderbilt Monday.

Protesters said the movement hopes to shed some light on labor practices toward low-paid employees at the University.

Members also questioned several business practices and companies with which Vanderbilt has invested money.

Around 20 protesters brought tents and set up camp. It was unclear how long they planned to remain.

Tea party joins unions in opposition to Georgia anti-picketing bill

The Atlanta Tea Party Patriots have joined labor unions and environmentalists in opposition to legislation that would outlaw some types of mass picketing.

“The bill at face value, appears to be geared toward labor unions, but the devil is in the details,” the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots said in an email to members. “It clearly adds a ‘person or organization’, which could include not only big labor, but also Tea Party activists, those protesting outside abortion clinics, or many other scenarios.”

Occupy Evansville Announces anti-NDAA Rally

The Occupy Evansville movement is calling on two lawmakers to help reverse a portion of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The group will hold a rally in Evansville Friday, hoping to gain the attention of Indiana Senators Richard Lugar and Dan Coats, who both signed the legislation.

Protesters say that a section of the act violates the American Justice System by allowing the government to detain citizens without representation or due process.

Police: No arrest for retired captain in uniform controversy

Ray Lewis, the retired Philadelphia police captain who became a hero to the Occupy Wall Street movement, will not face legal consequences for wearing his old uniform at protests, a Police Department spokesman said Monday.

“He will not be arrested,” said Lt. Raymond Evers, spokesman for Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey.

“He’s exercising his First Amendment rights, and we’re fine with that,” Evers said.

Occupy Long Beach Stands with Rachel New against Wells Fargo eviction

Rachel recently turned to Occupy Long Beach for help.  What they are asking Wells Fargo to do is sell the home back to Rachel New for the same purchased price and keep Rachel and her family in their home.
“I put all of my life savings into this home.  I am asking Wells Fargo and CEO John Stumpf to sell me my house back for the price they purchased it for.  I am not leaving until they work with me or make me leave”, said New.
Occupy Long Beach is standing with Rachel and her family against this unjust foreclosure and organizing community support.

Austerity emigrants: Irish leaving for Canada

“The employment centres recommend you just get out of the country.”–st-patrick-s-day-irish-seek-opportunities-in-canada-but-would-rather-be-home

Portuguese workers to stage general strike – Portugal

The leader of the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP), the Portuguese largest trade union confederation, said Monday the organization intents to go ahead with the general 24-hour strike scheduled for Thursday, March 22.

he strike is expected to disrupt transport and other public services, including schools and hospitals, throughout the nation. Some international flights may be cancelled or delayed.

UK government to face accusations in court that it promulgated forced labor arrangements in the name of ‘welfare reform’

The government will have to defend two of its back-to-work schemes against accusations they exploit the unemployed as forced labour after a high court judge granted a hearing that could see benefit regulations overturned.

Mr Justice Ouseley granted solicitors from the law firm Public Interest Lawyers a judicial review in the case of 22-year-old Cait Reilly, who says she was made to stack and clean shelves for three weeks in Poundland without pay or face losing all benefits under the government’s sector-based work academy (SBWA) scheme.

Reilly’s lawyers argue that being compelled to work represents a form of forced labour under the Human Rights Act.

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