The OB Media Rundown for 4/19/12

Massive Tax Day Rally Envelops Financial District

A Massive group of protesters took to the streets of Boston’s Financial District late yesterday afternoon to demand major corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay their fare share of federal and state income taxes.

Organized primarily by the MassUniting Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance, the extremely lively and vocal tax day protest was aimed at the Commonwealth’s “most egregious tax-dodgers,” according to a press release announcing the rally and subsequent march, which snaked its way through the heart of the Financial District, and caused police to shut down both Summer and Franklin Streets for periods of time.

Assembling at Dewey Square, quickly becoming the spiritual home of Boston activism, at around 5:30 p.m., the crowd was comprised of more than 30 local labor and peace groups, including City Life/Vida Urbana out of Jamaica Plain,, Occupy Boston and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. (South End Patch)

Occupy Tax Dodgers, 99% Spring, or Whatever The Fuck You Want To Call It, Protesters Sure Were Wicked Pissed Today

While tax evaders were the direct object of today’s aggression, the real message on the block was that protest season – despite never fully ceasing through the somewhat cold months – is back in full swing. From Occupy Boston’s recent Camp Charlie stand-off and current “sleepful protest” just blocks from Dewey Square, to City Life’s ongoing hostility toward a range of top offenders, it’s sure to be an electric Spring. (Boston Phoenix)

Choked Occupy Protester: Cop Didn’t Hurt Him

An Occupy Boston protester who was photographed in a confrontation with a Boston Police officer who appeared to have a choke hold on him is now saying the picture doesn’t tell the whole story.

The protester, who wished only to be identified as “Allie” was demonstrating on Boston Common over the weekend and the photograph quickly went viral.

“I’ve seen a lot of people spreading rumors about exactly what happened, some people saying that I was near passing out and stuff like that. That’s not the case. It only lasted for about 2 seconds, it was a very quick altercation. It was violent, and it was — I feel — extremely inappropriate and outside the realm of what a police officer should be doing, but I don’t want there to be any illusions that he harmed me significantly,” Allie said. (WCVT)

Occupy: Don’t count us out yet

I’m a 66 year old female, & I don’t intend to go anywhere.  I could mix it up w/ the best the Tea Party has to offer.  One of our focuses in Olympia is Puget Sound Energy.  Occupy Boston has been extremely effective in stopping the foreclosure evictions.  The banks in Boston don’t even go there anymore.  Essentially, they are not even able to produce the mortgage note.

I wouldn’t count Occupy out quite yet. (Slate)

Shareholders Say No to Big Pay at Citigroup

Even corporate shareholders are starting to get the message coming from the 99 percent. During Citigroup’s annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, voters stood up against the proposed executive pay package, a first in the company’s history. About 55 percent of voting shareholders were against the plan that would give substantial amounts of money to its top five executives, including CEO Vikram Pandit.

The New York Times notes:

The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to wealthy institutional investors like pension fund and mutual fund managers.

Occupy movement turning to shareholder meetings

Looking to build on the Occupy Wall Street movement, activists say they’re turning to corporate shareholder meetings this spring to vent their anger over economic disparity in the United States and to promote an assortment of other causes.

A group called 99% Power — a reference to those not among the top 1 percent of earners — says it plans actions at 36 shareholder meetings, with the first big push coming at Tuesday’sWells Fargo & Co gathering in San Francisco. The protests could give another jolt to the 2012 annual meeting season, which has already featured a shareholder vote of no confidence in Citigroup Inc’s executive compensation plan.

Organizers say they expect hundreds of protesters to target a broad range of issues from foreclosures to financing of “dirty energy” to immigrant rights to corporate taxes. The group says it will try to stop the Wells Fargo meeting from being held and force the company to hold a public “stakeholders meeting” outside.

Establishment Left trying to take over OWS?


USPS closings making small businesses nervous

The potential of 250 U.S. postal offices and distribution centers closing next month is spreading jitters among the nation’s small business hubs. On May 15, unless Congress steps in, the Postal Service will proceed on its plans to make these cuts in a bid to consolidate and save money.

Owners of small companies in cities like Tulsa, Okla., fear that their businesses will suffer if their local mail-processing and distribution centers are shut down.

Some areas have already faced closures in the past year, and small firms there are going through a difficult adjustment.

Occupy Winston-Salem protests U.S. Post Office closures

On April 16, local residents and members of Occupy Winston-Salem held a demonstration at the U.S. Post Office in the Waughtown area. Protesters demanded that the only post office in the community not be closed down.

Across the country, hundreds of U.S. post offices are on a closure list, based upon the amount of revenue they generate. For the Waughtown area, which is known to be one of the most diverse, predominantly working class communities in Winston-Salem, the closure of the one and only post office would be a major setback.

Local passersby honked to express solidarity as they drove past, while others stopped and greeted protesters as they were coming and going from the post office during the day. Shouting could be heard from Pleasant Street to Waughtown Street: “U-S-P-S should not pay for Wall Street’s mess!” – a financial mess that postal workers are organizing against nationwide.

Foreclosure Blockade Activists’ “Week of Action” is Indeed Action-Packed

We are in the midst of a “week of action”, a term dubbed by a collective of housing activists–you know, those singing protestors we’ve written about for the past few months–and homeowners facing foreclosure, and it has been action-packed indeed.

On Monday, about 40 people from diverse backgrounds, made up of members from activist groups such as Occupied Wall Street and Organizing For Occupation, faith groups like Jews for Racial & Economic Justice and Occupy Faith, and righteous students from Columbia and New School, turned up at the Bronx Supreme Court and, like all previous singing protest actions, serenaded court officials, investors, and court guards with lyrics such as “Y’all are speculating off people’s pain. With all due respect, you should be ashamed.”

Occupy-Backed Homeowner Facing Eviction Confronts US Bank CEO

They were an unlikely pair for an impromptu, but long-awaited, meeting. He, Richard Davis, is the wealthy CEO of US Bank, among the largest banks in the nation. She, Monique White, is a North Minneapolis homeowner and single mother who works two jobs (one, a night shift at a liquor store) while she tries to avoid being evicted from the foreclosed home that her late father helped her purchase. That could come as soon as May 5.

White’s mortgage is currently in the hands of lender Freddie Mac, but US Bank originally serviced the mortgage, and Occupy Homes activists who came to her defense last November (and slept on her floor and pitched tents outside for weeks) have targeted US Bank as the actor that, they believe, could renegotiate the terms of White’s mortgage and keep her in the home. Occupy Homes activists twice marched to Richard Davis’ house in Minneapolis and staged rallies outside.

Occupy Update: NYPD Places Barricades Around Federal Hall Protest

Gothamist’s Christopher Robbins reports that there’s been a new development on the steps of Federal Hall: barricades around the protesters that split the steps in half.

After the NYPD forced occupiers out of their sidewalk sleeping situation early Monday morning (a disputed move that would appear to contradict a 2000 federal court decision that guaranteed the protection of public sleeping as freedom of expression), the protest set up camp on the steps of Federal Hall. Technically, as federal land, the area is out of the NYPD’s jurisdiction, but that didn’t stop them from making a series of arrests late Monday night. The barricades, owned by the NYPD, came as a result of permission by the U.S. Parks police, Gothamist reports.

The arrival of the barricades reads like a power play, for both the NYPD and the occupiers. According to Robbins, the Park Service offered protesters a permit to hold demonstrations on the steps Monday night (for events with more than 25 people such a permit is required), but Occupy refused. For some, it’s very much an attempt to seek comment on the protest from the federal government or the president directly.

NYC high school students vote to hold  walkout to observe May Day strike

The student government at Paul Robeson HS have called for a city-wide HS Student Walkout on May 1st, in a video posted yesterday to youtube:

UC Davis police chief resigning after pepper spray

The police chief who oversaw the University of California, Davis, police department during its notorious pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters said Wednesday that she is stepping down.

UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said Annette Spicuzza told the school she is retiring effective Thursday.

Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee that she does not want the Nov. 18 incident to define her or the university, and she’s leaving so everyone involved can move forward.

FAU faculty protests to save summer school

Some professors showed up in their black robes and sashes, and some in their everyday garb – but everyone there was chanting that FAU was ignoring its students.

Occupy Fort Lauderdale members showed up for the protest. The group and professors joined together to sing the traditional folk song “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

Members of FAU’s faculty union held signs in front of the Administration Building on Wednesday as part of their “Save Summer School” campaign. Faculty, staff and students, about 50 of them, joined to protest the new guidelines for summer classes set by the Provost’s Office. The protest was led by Chris Robe, president of FAU’s chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), a statewide union for faculty. This is the third in a series of protests opposing the cuts, the first and second protests coming straight from students earlier in April.

Since the guidelines were introduced on March 21, the university has cut about 800 classes, according to the Bursar’s Office.

Oakland City Council changes meeting date to avoid May Day strike protesters

The Oakland City Council that had been scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 1 will instead meet one day earlier to avoid potential disruptions stemming from planned May Day protests.

Occupy Oakland, whose members have interrupted previous council meetings, has called for a general strike on May Day. The group is scheduled to converge near City Hall between 6 and 7 p.m. that evening after a march from the Fruitvale BART Station that is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Student activists claim attacked by mob at Dataran Merdeka [Malaysia]

Student activists camped out at Dataran Merdeka here this morning reported they were attacked by a mob early this morning.

The group, calling itself Occupy Dataran, which has been based at the iconic square since last week, claimed that the varsity students lobbying for free tertiary education were beaten up by a group of unknown people numbering between 60 and 70.

“There were 60-70 thugs, attacked our camp at Dataran Merdeka at about 2.45 this morning. Those with cameras and recording devices were ambushed and attacked.

Banned protesters get cicil rights group’s backing [UK]

A national civil rights group is blasting Western University for banning two London activists from campus for participating in a demonstration.

In a letter sent to Western president Amit Chakma, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is calling on the university to overturn a one-year ban handed to Mike Roy and Anthony Verberckmoes, both members of the Occupy London movement.

“The CCLA is concerned that Western unduly limits the ability to protest on its premises; and further, has decided to punish individuals and deny them the ability to enter the campus on the basis of participation in a peaceful protest,” says the letter from CCLA general counsel Natalie Des Rosiers.

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