The OB Media Rundown for 4/30/12

The Occupy Movement Reemerges, With Growing Impact

As I write this it’s May Day week, an unofficial celebration time for popular causes. While most people associate May Day with European-style socialism and communism, in fact May Day, like most modern era populism, has its roots in American Labor’s fight for the 8 hour day, overtime pay, safety regulations and child labor laws.

This week’s Occupy actions are in that tradition. The big banks, where the financial meltdown and Occupy’s reaction to it both began, are likely to continue as the Occupy movement’s main target. But much has changed since the first tents went up in Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park.

The Washington Post recently documented the Occupy movement’s behind-the-scenes involvement in the fight for tough regulations to enforce the Volcker Rule, a creation of the Dodd-Frank law aimed at tamping down big bank’s addiction to gambling billions of investor—and taxpayer—dollars.

Training sessions for public actions have been going on in New York and elsewhere for weeks, attracting an ever-growing cadre of volunteers.

NYC Braces for New Protest

The loosely-organized group has called for a popular strike, a goal that isn’t supported by its allies in labor, which must comply with a host of laws and internal rules governing walkouts. New York unions have marched for the past several years on May Day.

“What happens is anyone’s guess,” said Occupy organizer Drew Hornbain, 25 years old. He said many insiders are galvanized by a popular perception that “Occupy has been a series of failures.”

May Day protests could affect bridge, ferry commutes

Commuters who use the Golden Gate Bridge or take ferries from Marin County should brace for possible disruptions of the morning commute Tuesday as part of a daylong schedule of labor-oriented rallies throughout the Bay Area, activists and officials said.

Union members who work for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District are planning rallies and picket lines at several sites around the North Bay and near the bridge, union officials said. They plan to announce the exact sites Monday morning.

Late Monday, union leaders said, they’ll announce whether they will strike, a move that would could potentially stop ferry, bus or bridge traffic for at least 24 hours.

CBS news concern-trolls May Day protests

Occupy has persisted even as officials around the country have uprooted the encampments designed to present a physical manifestation of festering anger over inequality. And on May 1 – the left-wing/labor holiday known worldwide as May Day – the movement is poised to push into the public consciousness once again, with a “general strike” in more than 125 cities for which supporters are being asked to skip work and school in order to take “the struggle against an inhuman system” back into the streets.

Looming May Day protests indicate Occupy movement escalation

Organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement plan nationwide May Day protests on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 in an escalation of the movement’s activity.

A report at Bloomberg on Thursday indicates that the major Wall St. firms have already initiated heightened security and monitoring of the group’s movements in anticipation of possible confrontations.

According to Marisa Holmes, a member of the Occupy planning committee, at least 99 firms have been targeted in midtown Manhattan, including JPMorgan and Bank of America.

Occupy May Day!

Occupy Wall Street is gearing up for a massive day of protests, rallies and marches on May 1.

The anti-capitalist movement will hold events in 125 cities and plans to protest 99 targets in midtown Manhattan including the offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America.

Activists Breathe New Life Into May Day

Outside the U.S., May 1 is international workers’ day, observed with speeches, rallies, and demonstrations. Ironically, this celebration of working-class solidarity originated in the U.S. labor movement in the United States and soon spread around the world, but it never earned official recognition in this country. Since 2006, however, American unions and immigrant rights activists have resurrected May 1 as a day of protest. And this year, in the wake of Occupy Wall Street and the rebirth of a national movement for social justice, a wide spectrum of activist groups will be out in the streets to give voice to the growing crusade for democracy and equality.

Catholic Worker Movement: A Different Intersection of Church and Politics

May 1 marks the 79th anniversary of Dorothy Day’s great achievement: a movement whose vision of activist faith couldn’t be farther from the moralizing of the religious right that has seemed to define Christianity’s incursion on politics since the 1980s. The Catholic Worker, which Day founded with Peter Maurin, a French immigrant, was – and remains – a philosophy, a social initiative, a way of life. Its understanding of personal responsibility maintains not that we all must rely on ourselves, but rather that we are all beholden to better the lives of the less fortunate. On May 1, 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, Day took to Union Square handing out the first copies of her newspaper, also called The Catholic Worker, which delivered the message of compassion and justice at the cost of one penny; the price has never gone up.
The movement has always sought “a new society in the shell of the old” – peace, less disparity of wealth, an end to economic exploitation, violence, racism and so on. Its goals can seem broad but its methods are intimate and practical. Around the country and in various parts of the world, Catholic Worker communities exist as households where lay members, typically committed to voluntary poverty, often live among the homeless and needy they are aiding. It is a model for Occupy Wall Street – like that more recent movement, it is decentralized and decisions are largely made by consensus – which has said it will hold protests around the country on Tuesday, historically a significant day for the labor movement. There are no headquarters or board of directors and, since Day’s death in 1980, no leader. Things have hardly faded: in the past 17 years, the number of communities has grown from 134 to more than 210.

Exorbitant CEO pay

The Occupy protesters got it right: When corporate CEOs make 380 times the salary of the average American worker, you don’t have to be a Marxist to feel something is out of whack.
Last year, the average annual CEO pay of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 13.9 percent, to $12.94 million. Average worker pay rose 2.8 percent, to $34,053. This gap is the largest in the world, the AFL-CIO says.

Occupy Guitarmy Hoping to Make Music a Central Part of May Day

You can’t arrest a song! That’s part of the idea behind one faction of a large network of demonstrations and protests planned for May Day — the day of action this Tuesday that some suspect will push Occupy Wall Street into the spotlight again in a major way.

The group Occupy Guitarmy has actions planned all day Tuesday and held a rehearsal this afternoon for anyone who wanted to show up in Tompkins Square Park.

Progressive Media Outlets Pledge Coverage Of May Day Protests

May Day, otherwise known as International and Immigrant Workers’ Day, marks the first major resurgence of the Occupy Wall Street movement since massive arrests and police brutality drove most occupations indoors over the winter.

Although OWS has been in full effect since September, 2011, mainstream media outlets have consistently refused to cover its actions, or intentionally distorted coverage by focusing only on participants who thwart the movement’s mandate against violence and vandalism. That’s why more than 25 independent media outlets belonging to The Media Consortium are collaborating to provide coordinated, national coverage of the nationwide May Day strike and other related events.

To assist the movement in spreading its message of social and economic equality on this historic day, Media for the 99 Percent will leverage their existing platforms and reporters to provide coordinated national multimedia coverage, featuring:

Occupy activists will join Santa Rosa May Day march and rally [CA]

Occupy Santa Rosa activists and labor and immigrant rights advocates have teamed up this year for the annual May 1 march and rally in downtown Santa Rosa.

Activists will assemble at the old Albertsons shopping center on Sebastopol Road at about 3:30 p.m. before they set out for Juilliard Park.

The event, the largest local pro-immigration and labor rally of the year, is organized by the May 1st Coalition, which includes the Sonoma County Committee for Immigrant Rights, the county Peace and Justice Center and the North Bay Labor Council.

Police, protesters plan for May Day rallies [OR]

While Occupy Portland protesters planned for several rallies Tuesday, police told KGW they were as prepared as they’ve ever been for a May Day march.

May Day has long been International Workers’ Right Day, and has been celebrated by labor and immigrants’ rights group. This year the Occupy movement is joining the demonstrations.

Occupy Bozeman talks to public about alternatives to ‘big banks’

Educating the community about alternatives to ‘big banks’, such as public banks, is what the Occupy Bozeman group hoped to accomplish at their public discussion this afternoon.

“Rather than having our state take all of the taxes and fees and put it into an account at U.S. Bank, like we do right now, the state has its own bank that it makes its deposits into, and then those deposits can be leveraged to create loans for people here in Montana,” explained Josh Davis, an Occupy Bozeman Member as well as the Montana contact for the Public Banking Institute.

North Dakota is the only state that has a state-owned public bank, and Davis says getting one in Montana could happen fairly quickly if enough people jump on board and the legislature passes a bill allowing it.

From Wisconsin to Wall Street: The Role of the IWW – Wobblies – in Recent Popular Uprisings

It was clear that this solidarity was best manifested in the form of a general strike, so the IWW began a campaign to build one; getting a resolution passed in the state labor council endorsing a strike , forming strike committees within business unions, and agitating for a strike through soapboxing and canvassing.

The prospect became so popular that when the bill was illegally passed, activists in the state capitol immediately began chanting: “General Strike!”

Though the Democrats directed the energy of the revolt into recall elections, the IWW managed to bring the idea of a general strike into the forefront of conversation as a means of winning class demands.

Occupy protesters target Middletown’s Bank of America [CT]

A coalition of Wesleyan University students and local activists affiliated with the Occupy movement marched on the Main Street branch of Bank of America Friday, some closing their accounts and cancelling credit cards, in protest of the bank’s environmentally and economically destructive policies.

Burlington [VT] joins 125 cities in Occupy Movement’s “Global Day of Action” on May 1

Beginning with a light breakfast in the morning, Queen City Occupiers_will be staffing free food and information tables on the north side of_City Hall Park, holding informal workshops, facilitating a “really_really free market”, and organizing for a direct action against_Burlington’s most bailed-out bank.

Burlington Occupiers also plan to have a presence at the march for_social justice in Montpelier and to attend a statewide General_Assembly with other Vermont-based Occupy groups at the Statehouse_before heading back to City Hall Park for dinner, music and further_celebration.

‘May Day’ rally by Occupy Vallejo set for City Hall steps [CA]

Vallejo will make a national movement personal on Tuesday morning.

Occupy Vallejo, joined by several partner groups, has planned a public rally at 10:30 a.m. on the City Hall steps in support of a range of community issues like affordable education and housing, and respect for workers, organizers said.

The event is timed to May 1, or “May Day,” a day of protest initially recognizing the support of an eight-hour work day and which has progressed to represent advocacy for workers’ rights internationally.

Gill Tract Occupiers, UC Vie for Hearts and Minds of Community [CA]

The “Occupy the Farm” take-over of the UC-owned Gill Tract is entering its second week today, Sunday, with both sides appealing to reason and justice in a continuing stand-off of warring principles and property rights.

The 10-acre tract is owned by UC Berkeley, and most of it has been cultivated for decades for crop and pest-control studies by researchers from campus and the nearby regional office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In an action that had been planned for months, dozens of advocates of community urban farming took over the site on Earth Day, April 22, and have established a camp with several tents and planted about two acres of broccoli, tomatoes, squash and other crops.

Finance capital trying to figure out how to make money off of Occupy

A re-energized Occupy Wall Street movement, in the form of a series of planned demonstrations this week, could fuel new opportunities for at least one segment of the financial services industry.

Financial advisers and money managers say that a lot of socially conscious investing strategies line up nicely with the general theme of the Occupy movement, which is expanding the universe of potential investors.

“There’s a lot of social unrest right now, and as part of that, people are starting to look at where they want to allocate their money,” said Kevin Sanchez, a senior institutional consultant at UBS Financial Services Inc. “That kind of dialogue has been coming up more in that past few months than I’ve ever seen it.”

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