The OB Media Rundown for 3/29/12

Occupy Harvard Protesters Speak Out Against Layoffs

Approximately 45 protesters gathered in front of the Science Center on Tuesday with signs and a megaphone for a “Speak-Out Against Layoffs at Harvard.” The event, which was organized by the No Layoffs Campaign, the Student Labor Action Movement, and Occupy Harvard, featured short speeches from workers, students, and faculty opposing the layoffs of Harvard Library workers.

The speak-out is the latest in a series of protests and rallies regarding library layoffs following Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton’s Jan. 19 announcement that the library’s reorganization would include staff reductions.

Library assistant Geoff P. Carens, who introduced many of the speakers, said that events like these have “definitely raised awareness” about the situation facing library workers. He called the “speak-out” format “more of an opportunity to reach out to the broader community in a more conversational way.”

Harvard Students Celebrate Occupy Art

The alcohol was provided at Bring Your Own (BYO): Voices of the Contemporary’s discussion about the role of art in the Occupy movement at the Sert Seminar Space on Tuesday.

More than fifty college and community members delved into the open bar and Thai food at the “Unstable Art” discussion as they were greeted by the event’s facilitators-a various collection of Graduate School of Design students and artists.

“We really wanted to foster discussion about the involvement of art in the Occupy movement,” History of Art and Architecture graduate student Claire R. Grace said. “This evening is for open-form discussions, so that the conversation can form organically, much like the organizational structure of the Occupy movement.”

Occupy Wall Street: Surviving the winter


Al Jazeera looks at how Occupy Wall Street continued to build itself through the winter months by following key organisers through planning meetings, days of action and assemblies – and how the movement must battle political co-optation in a US election year.

Occupy the Internet: Protests Give Rise to DIY Data Networks

“There is a material reality to the internet,” explains Isaac Wilder, 21, on Motherboard TV’s new 30-minute documentary Free the Network. “Most people look at the internet as magic; you click a button and something happens and you get the information.
“They don’t care to acknowledge the actual physical infrastructure that’s moving that data. It’s fiber optic cables in the ground which are owned by corporations.”

That, in short, is what Wilder’s Free Network Foundation is trying to get around. In the fall, he was the man behind providing Occupy Wall Street protesters with Internet access. His Freedom Towers – consisting of a modem, router and radio – let protesters in Los Angeles, Austin and New York communicate with each other without fear of government surveillance.

Occupy Wall Street and the War to Free All Internet


Wilder considered OWS a sort of social beta test-the group’s wide social goals weren’t realized, but ideas like direct democracy and open source wireless were proven effective.

And it was that latter one Wilder latched on to, building a “Freedom Tower”-a private internet in a suitcase, with its own broadcast tower and easy instructions. Ideally, they’d be distributed across protests around the world. Pop them open, and communicate freely without fear of government blockage. It’s an ambitious project, to say the least, and one that was met with a brutal fix of social reality, rather than social utopia. Nonetheless, it’s a compelling part of the Occupy story untold by most news accounts, and one with implications far beyond one political movement in one city. It’s one kid’s story, but that one kid’s work could change everyone’s internet. Just maybe.

Wall Street: Yeah, we suck

It seems Wall Street is accepting some of the blame for its villainous reputation, according to a new study. A whopping 96 percent of marketing executives surveyed last month by communications firm Makovsky said their firms “invited negative public perception” through their actions (or inactions), with nearly 60 percent of respondents grading the industry’s image as average, below average, or failing.
. . .

Part of that strategy is doing damage control when it comes to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which continues to be a thorn in the financial industry’s side. More than half of executives surveyed said the Occupiers had a “real impact” on their business and more than 70 percent expected the movement to live on beyond November’s presidential election.

“With the six-month anniversary of the movement sparking a resurgence, the consensus is that Occupy Wall Street is not going away anytime soon, and financial services executives need to be better prepared to address this issue moving forward,” Tangney said.

Business groups dismayed as rightwing radicals they helped elect seek anti-government utopia without regard to effect on business

They don’t even want to pay for roads. Think about that. They don’t even want to pay for roads.

National newspaper advances weird theory that Occupy shouldn’t protest major corporations because their brands ‘improve psychological health’

Americans’ preference for these companies is not just about cheap goods; it’s about how we feel. According to V-Positive, a new quarterly survey from Fordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing, the impact that brands have on consumer well-being is undeniable.
. . .

How does Amazon help consumers elevate their self-esteem? Among other things: The company recognized consumers’ increasing frustration with the impenetrable packaging used for children’s toys, electronics, and other items. The company responded by developing “Frustration-Free Packaging,” which eschews the plastic clamshells, wire ties, and bubble-wrap for a plain cardboard box made from recycled cardboard that itself is recyclable.

Psychology research shows that successful completion of a task helps reinforce, if not also enhance, self-esteem. Now, consumers can open the packaging themselves and feel good about having done so, which is especially important for seniors.

Occupy returns with protest at Obama office [IA]

Protesters outside the office Wednesday evening accused Obama of a variety of ills, including reneging on his promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, authorizing the assassination of a U.S. citizen, signing the National Defense Authorization Act and appointing advisors with ties to Wall Street.

The Obama campaign had no immediate response though Organizing for America general election director for Iowa Derek Eadon did come out to the group to listen to their statement and speak briefly with some Occupy Des Moines members.

Several people at the rally had voted for Obama in 2008 and a few had volunteered or worked for the campaign.

OWS-NYC protesters pull prank telling MTA straphangers not to pay fare

Dozens of disguised Occupy Wall Street protesters chained open entrances to subway stations across the city early Wednesday morning and posted bogus signs — looking strikingly similar to the MTA’s normal service fliers — that told straphangers to enjoy a “free” ride during the morning rush hour.

“Free entry / No fares collected,” the signs read. “Enter this station for free through the service entrance.” The sign suggested the prank would be pulled again “until the resolution of contract negotions [sic] in favor of TWU Local 100,” which has been without a contract since January.

Protesters claimed they propped open 21 stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens for free entry during the morning rush hour. An organizer told amNewYork that members of the Transport Workers Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union helped plan the demonstration, but did not physically participate.

Occupy joins other Charlotte-area public transit riders in opposition to proposed rate hike

Annabelle Suddreth, executive director of A Child’s Place–a non-profit group that helps homeless children and families–said the proposed 14% fare hike would be devastating.

“For our neighbors who have no other transportation options, raising the bus fare is literally robbing them of the opportunity for a better life or even maintaining the life they have,” said Suddreth.

Outside the Government Center, members of Occupy Charlotte demonstrated their opposition to the 25 cent increase.

Occupy Burlington [VT] Considers Its Next Moves … and a Presidential Protest

Four months after a shooting death brought an end to its encampment in City Hall Park, Occupy Burlington is striving to reassert its relevance and regain its momentum, starting with a March 30 protest coinciding with President Obama’s fundraising stopover in Vermont.

The local movement might eventually attempt a reoccupation of a public space, organizers say. “That’s a question being discussed as a strategic option, with a variety of opinions being expressed,” says Thomas Grace, a regular at Occupy Burlington’s general assemblies. One possibility, adds activist FaRied Munarsyah, is a series of “pop-up occupations” that could occur for a night or two at locations around the state.

Occupy Tucson: Economic justice ‘sit-ins’ for all

The activists of Occupy Tucson are a part of a larger nationwide movement to dig deeper, to find ways to live that don’t hurt other people, and to make a difference in their cities and in their country. It’s past time for us Americans to learn how to care and work together. Thanks for all you do, OT-ers, and kudos.

Occupy San Luis Obispo holds women’s rights seminar

The Occupy SLO group will hold a women’s rights and empowerment teach-in seminar today at 4:30 p.m. at the county courthouse, across from the government center on Monterey Street.

The session will include discussions about street harassment and what to do about it; the history of women’s rights and the women’s rights movement; information on rape crisis, shelters and other resources; and, possibly, a short selfdefense course.

The anti-war group Food Not Bombs will provide food beginning at 6 p.m.

Letter to the editor: Thanks for coverage of protests, biomass

A thousand thanks to Allison Arthur for her witty and wonderful article “Protesters have bank on guard” (March 21 edition).

As an Occupy member (but not spokesperson, we don’t have any), I felt it was the first time that Occupy has been made accurately visible to Port Townsend in any newspaper. The decency and humanity of our Port Townsend police was also made visible.

During that Groundhog Day demonstration, Larry Scoville and I went into the bank just as the police cars drew up in back. I was scared.

Letter to the editor: Get the facts about Kemper coal plant

Congratulations to the Sierra Club for its initial victory over the Mississippi Power Kemper coal scam!  By a 9-0 decision on March 15, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Kemper permit had been improperly issued. Our experience with Occupy Biloxi/Gulfport has been the Coast citizenry are poorly informed on this huge issue. Coverage by our local media — both print and television — has been totally inadequate.

For instance, MPC’s charges that the lawsuit has been a “scare tactic” are deeply misleading.  The facts are these:

1. MPC spent at least $11 million to unduly influence the state Legislature, former Gov. Barbour and the Public Service Commission to approve a very risky project and bill residential ratepayers some $3 billion to pay for it.  That is approximately $15,000 each for their nearly 190,000 residential customers!

After rightwing media sites heavily promote story that man arrested after deadly attack was an Occupier, NY police say he had nothing to do with Occupy

Yesterday, police arrested a suspect in the death of Joshua Basin, who was fatally hit by an L Train after a verbal and physical altercation with a fellow straphanger spilled onto the subway tracks on Friday night. Charges are pending against 33-year-old homeless man Ryan Beauchamp, but one piece of erroneous information has been corrected: cops told the Village Voice that Beauchamp was NOT associated with Occupy Wall Street, despite early reports by the Post.

Advocates rally in Albany [NY] against budget deal

Taking the concept popularized by the Occupy Movement of last Fall, even bringing in some of those leaders, a coalition of advocates complained lawmakers continue to shower Wall Street and big business with tax loopholes and special subsidies.

“And it’s not right that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley get to keep their loopholes while we’re raising tuition for college students and not meeting the needs of local schools, homeless shelters and other community service providers,” said Michael Kirk of the Strong Economy For All Coalition. “The fact is that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are doing fine on their own.”

Despite impressions to the contrary, these advocates point out much of the most significant deal making continues behind closed doors, in the middle of the night, without the rank and file able to seriously consider what is put before them.

Scenes from the general strike in Portugal

“When they make us choose between shitty work and shitty unemployment, when transportation has become a luxury, when essential social services and goods like healthcare, education and housing are no longer even minimally secure, and when we are forced to swallow all of this as if the only alternative was the Apocalypse, then the only response is to stop complaining, to stop asking, to stop being scared, and instead to OCCUPY EVERYTHING.

The fear that they threaten us with is like a carnival float: made of paper and empty inside; we are not prisoners on this ride, we can get off when we choose. If the domination that work, the economy and austerity has over our lives is extended well-beyond our immediate places of work, then it only makes sense that on the day of the general strike the city itself should become a generalized picket. We propose to occupy and block the centre of Lisbon between Saldanha and Rossio during the hours before the demonstration to Sao Bento. With music, masks, bicycles, with everything and more.”

UK Occupy activists camp on Olympic site

An Olympic training site has become the target of an Occupy London protest.

A group of demonstrators from the group which camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral in the capital for more than four months have pitched their tents in an east London park set to be used by basketball players during this summer’s Games, putting up a sign reading: “This is just the beginning.”

They joined a group of residents who have been protesting against the athletes’ use of Leyton Marsh.

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