The OB Media Rundown for 4/13/12

Tufts Occupiers protest student debt with kiss-in

Members of Tufts Occupiers on Saturday were joined by members of
Students Occupy Boston at a kiss-in protest at Dewey Square.

Roughly 20 students held banners, posted letters of protest and kissed
each other in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Citibank
and the Massachusetts State House. The theme of the event, highlighted
by the tag line “If the banks can make out like bandits, so can we,”
was meant to draw attention to the issue of persistent student debt,
according to Nate Matthews, a member of Tufts Occupiers who planned
the event.

Confronting Empire from Port Huron to Occupy

Fifty years after Port Huron, the Occupy movement has brilliantly
shaped the terms of public debate about class and, uniquely, class
struggle. But like the signatories of the Statement, the Occupiers
need to expand beyond the narrower interests of their original
members. When Occupy began, its social composition was primarily white
and middle class, and it targeted the corporate criminals and the
capitalist elite, a.k.a. Wall Street. Occupy, however, has struggled
to extend its reach to strategically essential low-income communities
of color. Besides the critical component of the movement’s social
composition, there is also the challenge of fleshing out the content
of its political program. The question is whether Occupy can truly
give voice to all of the “99 percent” that it wants to represent.

White People Need to Join the Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement in
Greater Numbers

Whatever you think about the Trayvon Martin case, it’s clear that a
major travesty of justice occurred in Sanford, FL a few weeks back. So
it’s no surprise that a large spontaneous nationwide movement arose to
see Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, brought to trial, and ideally
to usher in a top-to-bottom housecleaning in the Sanford Police
Department – and possibly in the Sanford city government itself for
good measure.

And it’s great to see such a movement grow so quickly. It gives me

What I think is problematic is that white people are not yet joining
the new justice movement in serious numbers. Certainly not in Boston.
I’ve been to two public actions for Martin since the case came to
light. One rally in March in Harvard Square. And one march yesterday
from Ruggles to Dudley Square (which we’ll file a news piece on in a
couple of days, btw). Both events were called by the new
Boston4Justice network – that’s led by a number of young
African-Americans around town. The first event drew about 200 people.
The second drew closer to 300 people. Credible turnouts, but not
what’s needed to effect change. Those actions could have been bigger.
And would have been, if white Bostonians – including many progressive
“usual suspects” that I was surprised to find missing – had turned out
for them in greater numbers.

Wells Fargo’s prison cash cow

As Wells Fargo has grown over the years, using its bailout funds to
gobble up rival Wachovia and expand to the East Coast, so has the U.S.
prison population. By 2008, one in 100 American adults were either in
jail or in prison – and one in nine black men between the ages of 20
and 34, many simply for non-violent offenses, justice not so much
blind as bigoted. Overall, more than 2.3 million people are currently
behind bars, up 50 percent in the last 15 years, the land of the free
now accounting for a full quarter of the world’s prisoners.
These developments are not unrelated.
A driving force behind the push for ever-tougher sentences is the
for-profit prison industry, in which Wells Fargo is a major investor.
Flush with billions in bailout money and an economic system designed
to siphon wealth from the working class to the idle rich, Wells Fargo
has been busy expanding its stake in the GEO Group, the second largest
private jailer in America. At the end of 2011, Wells Fargo was the
company’s second-largest investor, holding 4.3 million shares valued
at more than $72 million. By March 2012, its stake had grown to more
than 4.4 million shares worth $86.7 million.

Don’t trust corporate charity

Given the enormous pressure to generate profits why are corporations
now acting as social caretakers ?

The answer lies in the reality that whatever these organizations put
back into the communities in which they operate, communities which are
often struggling under the weight of collapsing infrastructure, they
expend far greater effort to ensure that they avoid paying their share
of tax into public coffers. By avoiding taxes these companies
ultimately help eliminate social services, a simulacrum of which they
then provide in the form of charitable donations and other public
outreach. The company keeps the funds it would’ve otherwise lost to
tax and earns PR credibility for its supposed altruism, while the
public loses out on the tax revenue which rightfully belongs to it.
These taxes after all represent the funds which should have been
available to make sure that Americans do not have to deal with
substandard schools, crumbling roads, and deep cuts to social
services; and to a large extent they are being withheld by the same
corporations now offering charitable handouts.

What Is Solidarity? A Pamphleteer’s Occupation

Some people, like Rory O’Connor, use terms like “legacy media” to
refer to old-school operations like newspapers. We have, indeed,
entered an era where “friends and followers” are displacing
corporations as producers of the news people give their attention to.
But that does not displace printed matter as a whole. In fact, the
Occupy movements are giving birth to a beautiful revival of
print-based underground press activity. Tidal, a journal of Occupy
theory, is one of a host of new Occupy-related print-based initiatives
that is channeling the energy, ideas, art and aspirations that is
making waves. The editors have two beautiful issues out to date, and
give them away, thanks to donations of all types, including labor.
I’ve seen people reading Tidal in the streets and in the courtroom.
Just seeing it in people’s hands is uplifting to me. Print projects
like Tidal, and there are many others, offer solidarity and
intellectual self defense against corporate efforts to achieve
cultural control.

BREAKING: Chicago patients occupy mental health clinic to prevent

Members of Occupy Wall Street are reporting that dozens of people who
use Chicago’s mental health clinics along with other advocates have
barricaded themselves into the Woodlawn Clinic at 6337 S. Woodlawn,
one of 6 clinics facing closure in the city.

The patients, family members, and mental health advocates say they
intend to remain there until Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees to keep all of
Chicago’s public clinics open, fully funded and fully staffed.
. . .

The Mental Health Movement, which put out a report and a video
undermining the Chicago Department of Public Health’s claim that all
patients will continue to receive care, has been calling for hearings
on the clinic closures since October. Despite repeated promises and a
resolution calling for hearings, the Emanuel Administration has
prevented any hearings from taking place in order to avoid public
scrutiny of the plan, which has come under fire even from Cook County
Sheriff Tom Dart.

In Chicago, tenants speak out about foreclosed property

Tenants and members of the Occupy Chicago movement gathered outside a
foreclosed apartment building at the corner of Laramie and West End
avenues on the morning of April 7, calling on the building management
company and bank to address unsanitary and dangerous living conditions
at the property.

BMO/Harris Bank foreclosed on the 32-unit complex, located at 5159 W.
West End and 107-113 N. Laramie Ave., in 2008, said advocate Elce

It’s since been turned over to the management company First Western
Properties, and tenants say the company is not working to address a
collapsing porch, leaking ceilings, broken windows, no heat and a
cockroach and bedbug infestation, among other problems.

Fasting to stop foreclosures

Tim Nonn will take his first bite of food in seven days on Friday, and
he acknowledges that the fasting hasn’t been easy. “There’s a gnawing
hunger all the time,” he said.

But to Nonn it has been worth it -he’s been fasting to try to slow
down foreclosures.

Nonn, an activist with Occupy Petaluma, has helped lead the local
campaign to demand that banks be prosecuted for what he calls illegal
foreclosure activity. Until that happens, he and other Occupy Petaluma
members would like to see a county or statewide moratorium on

‘Tsunami’ of foreclosure complaints swamps Fla. Bar

The Florida Bar has fielded nearly 1,400 complaints against attorneys
relating to the housing crisis, an unprecedented amount that has
buried investigators and forced the group to rethink how it will
handle widespread grievances in the future.

Beginning in the fall of 2010, as foreclosures receded because of
robo-signing revelations, a wave of consumer complaints alleging
attorney misconduct began to hit the Bar.

The complaint categories – mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, loan
modification misconduct – didn’t even exist three years ago, said Ken
Marvin, director of lawyer regulation for the Florida Bar.

Occupy Detroit Celebrates 6 Months, Plans For Spring

Occupy Detroit has subcommittees for planning different facets of the
movement, including eviction defense, and arts and culture. “It’s
allowed people who haven’t really been involved in activism before to
be linked up with organizations or to take on their own projects,”
explained Occupy member Shannon McEvilly.

Momentum continues to build around fighting foreclosures and eviction
defense, an important and daunting task in a city with one of the
highest foreclosure rates in the country.

Detroit Occupy members Nina Chacker and Erik Shelley pointed to the
successful campaigns to fight foreclosure for Alma Counts and Bertha
and William Garrett, Detroiters who are remaining in their homes.

Students occupy University of Ottawa admin office over tuition fee

Students at the University of Ottawa are currently occupying the
office of University president, Allan Rock, to condemn the recent
Board of Governors (BoG) vote to hike tuition fees for the 6th
consecutive year.

On Friday April, 5th the BoG voted – almost unanimously – in an email
vote to increase tuition fees compounding to the total of a staggering
71% on average over the past 7 years. The vote was taken by email
after the last BoG was disrupted by students voicing their stories
about the impact of tuition fees – which President Rock did not want
to hear and thus, prematurely shut down the meeting.

Los Angeles activists start petition to recall school district

Critics of the proposed budget cuts at L.A. Unified have launched a
drive to recall School Board president Monica Garcia, but the effort
has some hurdles to overcome.

Robert Skeels, an education advocate and the man behind “Occupy
LAUSD,” is leading the charge.

Garcia, he says, has betrayed her constituents’ trust by targeting
adult education, early education and English as a Second Language
(ESL) programs. The programs have all been on the chopping block in
the wake of a massive LAUSD budget gap.

Occupy D.C. Protesters Arrested After Sleeping Outside Bank of America

Two members of Occupy D.C. were arrested Thursday morning outside a
Bank of America branch not far from McPherson square after the latest
overnight protest outside the bank’s doors. The protesters were the
sixth and seventh to be arrested this week after taking part in what
Occupy is calling a “sleepful protest”-slumbering overnight outside
the door of a bank branch.

Seattle Community College is right to scrap protest restrictions

Seattle Community Colleges is one of the most diverse two-year-college
systems in the country. No way its students, many of whom fled
countries where speech is hindered, would support limiting speech

The community-college district wanted to establish free-speech zones
within each of the three campuses – North Seattle, Seattle Central and
South Seattle – but its ham-handed rules ended up angering students
and faculty. Chancellor Jill Wakefield smartly scrapped the plan for

Evicted From Park, Occupy Protesters Take to Sidewalks

The protesters arrived on Wall Street on Wednesday night carrying
bedrolls, quilts and blankets. They spread pieces of cardboard on the
sidewalks. Then, as several police officers stood nearby, the
protesters made signs with anticorporate slogans.

“It’s really exciting to see people actually occupying Wall Street,”
said Embi Weitzel, 25, a nanny from Colorado, who came with earplugs,
apples, a flashlight, a bottle of water and an orange sleeping bag.
“Finally, here we are, in the belly of the beast.”

For the third consecutive night, Occupy Wall Street protesters used a
tactic that many of them hope will emerge as a replacement for their
encampment at Zuccotti Park, which was disbanded by the police in

OWS Environmental Working Group Condemns ‘Clean Coal’ Advertisement,
Challenges Accce To Debate

We at Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity condemn The American
Coalition for Clean Coal Energy’s recent advertisement, “Clean Coal:
Now’s the Time”. Part of a $40 million dollar campaign promoting so
called “clean coal”, the ad appropriates footage of an Occupy Wall
Street demonstration, claiming, “It is time we move beyond rhetoric.”
The ad implies that the coal industry offers solutions where as our
grassroots movement for social and economic justice offers rhetoric.

If our objective as a society is to kill workers, pollute our
atmosphere, give children asthma, and to feed the coffers of the dirty
power industry than coal does in fact offer a solution. ACCCE’s ad
says it is time we move past rhetoric, we agree. Clean coal? Where is
it? The term is nothing but rhetoric. Twenty percent of worldwide
carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked to global
warming, stem from coal.

Occupy Santa Ana Occupies Civic Center, Sleeps in Solidarity With the

For the second night in a row, Occupy Santa Ana members curled up at
the Civic Center Wednesday to raise awareness of issues plaguing the
homeless. Their new sleeping quarters has been dubbed “Necessity
Village,” and the group is gearing up for its third night of
solidarity slumber.

Though passionate in their plight to shed light on the lack of
emergency shelter for Orange County’s homeless, the group is quite
small. Organizer Massimo Marini told The OC Register about nine
activists and 11 homeless people rallied Wednesday night, some
sleeping on mats on a large blue tarp, others keeping watch. Tuesday
night’s turnout was greater, and occupiers plan to invite more members
to their Ross Street site Thursday night.

Aiming to occupy the Civic Center for seven consecutive nights, the
group is also protesting the ticketing of homeless people in violation
of anti-camping ordinances.

Could Elk Grove Dump Bank of America? – City finance director tells
Elk Grove Citizen the city is considering moving its banking services

The Elk Grove Citizen reported Thursday that with the $108,000 B of A
contract set to expire June 30, the city has put out a request for
other bids and “wants to see what’s out there,” according to city
finance director Brad Koehn.

Elk Grove City Council members will likely select a bank at one of
their meetings in June, the Citizen reports.

“I know that is going to take some footwork to do, but I think that
the city of Elk Grove would be held in higher esteem if it were to
alienate itself from Bank of America,” Occupy Elk Grove activist
Kathleen Rogers told the Citizen.

Occupy Denver: ACLU demands formal investigation of police conduct,
pepper ball guns

This morning, the ACLU of Colorado requested a formal investigation of
the Denver Police Department’s conduct with Occupy Denver during the
past six and a half months. The complaint, delivered to Police Chief
Robert White and the Office of the Independent Monitor, cites both
First Amendment freedoms and evidence of pepper spray and pepper ball
injuries in its argument to ban the guns for use in crowd control
altogether. The request is also making its way to the U.S. Department
of Justice.

Democratic Women of Westport [CT] to hold forum: ‘Implications of
Occupy Wall Street’

The Democratic Women of Westport will hold their annual Critical
Issues Forum at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at the Westport Woman’s
Club, 44 Imperial Ave.

The forum will examine the implications of the “Occupy Wall Street,”
movement from the viewpoint of the 99 percent of people in society
from the point of view of the 1 percent of well-off residents in
comfortable communities such as Westport.

Edwin Matthews, an attorney and active environmentalist honored for
his civil rights work, will lead the discussion. He is the author of
an op-ed piece titled “A 1 Percent View of Occupy Wall Street” in
which he notes that the occupiers had practiced community values by
providing food and medical treatment as well as assembling a lending

Arizona letter to the editor: Occupier frustrated with apathy

There are many Yuma residents in various degrees of trouble with
mortgages. Where were they? I have news for these people: This crisis
is not over. Your homes are in jeopardy. And it’s business as usual in
Washington, at Bank of America, Wall Street, etc.

Even though the mess they caused has gravely injured our country’s
economy and our futures, banks and big financial institutions have
only gotten bigger and more powerful due to their continuing efforts
at successfully lobbying congress. Our politicians are selling us out.
Despite political rhetoric to the contrary from the president on down,
very little has been done to keep a similar debacle from happening in
the future.

Many Yuma residents are in a deep pit and don’t even know or care.
They’re too lazy or too uninformed to build a ladder to escape this
pit. My friends, when the pit inevitably caves in, don’t say you
weren’t warned.

In the UK, Child protestors “occupy” Snowdonia dry ski slope

A group of child protestors have “occupied” a dry ski slope at Wales’
national mountaineering centre, claiming its owners have failed to
invest in the attraction because cash is being diverted to the London

Copying the tactics of the Occupy movement that camped outside St
Paul’s Cathedral, the group of 20 youngsters aged between four and 19
set up tents at the Plas-y-Brenin Mountain Centre, in Capel Curig,

The children, members of the North Wales Snowsports Club, accuse the
centre, which is a charity, and its owners Sport England, of betraying
its motto of Sport for All.

Activist groups will ‘occupy’ road [Cayman Islands]

Members of separate activist political groups in West Bay and Bodden
Town agreed Tuesday that they would ‘occupy’ a section of West Bay
Road along Seven Mile Beach as a last resort to prevent the closure of
a 4,000-foot section of the street.

The closure is proposed as part of a construction and development plan
between the Dart Group of companies and the Cayman Islands government
known as the ‘For Cayman Investment Alliance’. Part of the agreement
involves the relocation of West Bay Road to accommodate a resort
development on the property of the now-vacant Courtyard Marriott and
the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway into West Bay.

Plans to ‘occupy’ the section of West Bay Road – similar to the Occupy
Wall Street movement that sprung up in the US last year – have been
threatened publicly before. During a mid-February public meeting in
George Town, West Bay political candidate Paul Rivers urged
individuals to “step up” and occupy the road if the Dart Group and
government went ahead with plans for its closure.

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