National Occupy Gathering a Turning Point for Movement
Unlike those who support fascism and corporative rule, supporters of the OWS movement and its branches aren’t going to go away any time soon. In fact, it’s safe to say that they’re here to stay indefinitely. Negative reports exaggerating crimes and other nonsensical things only draw away from the point that is being pushed by the protesters — the banks need to stop reaming its customers and the top one percent of the nation need to start paying their fair share. Period.
Fragmented Unity at Philly’s Upcoming Occupy National Gathering
The National Gathering will last from June 30 through July 4, and representatives from 92 occupations are expected to be present. Caravans from the south, west and north will converge on the city on Saturday, June 30. The Gathering will be packed with actions, workshops and speakers, including Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, influential New York Occupier Alexis Goldstein, organizer Alexa O’Brien and David Gespass, president of the National Lawyers Guild. Activists from the massive demonstrations in Quebec will be in attendance.
The fragmentation of the Occupy movement will be on display as well; alongside the National Gathering, there will be two other concurrent events. The Radical Convergence, based in West Philadelphia, is being held by largely local activists who no longer identify with the “Occupy” brand, if they ever did. “It is a space for those who have felt Occupy in its current form demonizes and excludes radical dialogue, strategy, and action,” the website reads. The Radical Convergence, however, will collaborate with the National Gathering on food and actions.
There will also be an Anarchist Anti-Summit, although it is not clear who is organizing it, where it will be held or what they will be doing. Organizers of the National Gathering and the Radical Convergence, as well as this reporter, have all tried to find out, only to reach cordial, anonymous and uninformative spokespeople.
How to Save Our Homes
A Minneapolis family’s fight to save their home has become a national struggle after police arrested 13 protesters, including hip-hop artist Brother Ali. Earlier police raids resulted in dozens more arrests as Occupy Minneapolis and activists in 18 other cities have called on the PNC Bank to renegotiate mortgage terms with the Cruz family and to rescind a foreclosure and eviction order. The family had been current on payments until a bank error caused a payment to be recorded as late, triggering extra fees.
The Cruz family is just one among millions that has faced uncertainty, eviction, and homelessness since 2008 when the economy began to unravel. The hardships faced by these families is one reason many in Occupy have joined a growing Occupy Our Homes movement.
But there’s one part of the housing market that’s remained stable, and it may offer a way forward. In community land trusts across the country, you won’t find sheriffs dragging people’s belongings out to the curb and arresting their supporters. No homes sit abandoned. Neighborhoods remain intact.
Another World Is Possible: Build It And They Will Occupy
The global “problems” being exposed by Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are not merely flaws within a basically fixable configuration. Economic inequality isn’t a hiccup. Epidemics of preventable diseases are not an anomaly. Institutional racism, sexism, speciesism, homophobia, and patriarchy are not systemic blind spots. Capitalism — hell, all forms of industrial culture — cannot be tenderly reformed into sustainability.
Let’s not waste resources putting out fires set by the 1%. Let’s instead build our own structures so that those people yet to embrace their 99% status are better able to visualize an alternative to the way of life to which they fearfully cling.
I’ve had a few conversations about this concept with John Eustor, one the original #Pulse/Liberty Square drummers. We’ve talked about how people — even if they are utterly miserable — are often too afraid to de-occupy the only way of life they’ve ever known. The culture as a whole is designed to not only to nurture such fear but also to convince us that the system can be tweaked and reformed and made more tolerable.
The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts
Much has been written about the future of Occupy: the movement is dead, it is not dead, it evolved into something else, it will experience a resurgence in the fall etc. But what has received less air time are all the ways in which citizens, be they part of Occupy or not, continue to battle budget cuts in their own communities and across the country.
The blasé reception of this ongoing resistance might be explained, in part, by the decline of Occupy’s occupations. Revolution is sexy, but the quiet resistance of low-key direct action lacks Liberty Park’s flash.
Yet the resistance continues, in ways large and small:
Pay Those Bills On Time Or Forfeit Right To Vote
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has made Iowa one of the most difficult states in the nation for felons to vote, with an executive order he issued last year already having disenfranchised thousands of people, a review by The Associated Press shows.
On the day he took office, Branstad signed an order reversing a six-year policy started under Democrat Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. The move flew in the face of a nationwide trend to make voting easier for felons, making Iowa one of four states where felons must apply to the governor to have voting rights restored. Branstad’s new process requires applicants to submit a credit report, a provision critics call inappropriate and unique among states.
Since then, 8,000 felons in Iowa have finished their prison sentences or been released from community supervision, but less than a dozen have successfully navigated the process of applying to get their citizenship rights back, according to public records obtained by the AP.
Evanston Considers Bank Swap As Occupy Protestors Urge Change [IL]
Six months after Occupy Evanston activists began protesting the city’s investments in Chase Bank, aldermen approved a motion to solicit proposals for a possible banking transfer.
At Monday’s council meeting, aldermen unanimously authorized the city manager to issue a request for proposals for a local bank that could replace Chase. For the past 10 years, Evanston has used Chase and First Bank and Trust as its primary banks, and the city currently holds more than 30 checking and money market accounts between the two.
Occupy protestors spoke up at the meeting in support of the move-a point they have been making through protests outside the Civic Center on weekdays since January.
Hartford Occupiers to Join Gathering in Colt Park
New England protesters in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement on June 28 will descend on Colt park in Hartford to prepare for a Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia.
The national movement plans to convene on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall from June 30 to July 4 for a week of direct actions, movement building, and creation of a vision for a democratic future.
Members of Occupy Hartford will join activists from across New England to this first Occupy National Gathering as the Occupy Caravan sweeps America with the “This Land is Our Land” road tour, id a spokesperson for the Hartford Movement. The Occupy Caravan will be stopping briefly in Hartford. Occupiers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut are expected to arrive at Colt Park in Hartford at 1:00pm.
Locals Rally at State Capitol to Stop Foreclosures [CA]
Clergy, homeowners, labor unions and Occupy groups from around California rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Monday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers to halt all home foreclosures.
An estimated 350 people participated, according to David Madriz, 42, with the_California Housing Advocates. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights, sponsored by state Attorney General Kamala Harris and expected to be voted on this week, is a package of legislation to help residential property owners and renters avoid becoming homeless.
Santa Barbara Protesters Disrupt Home-Foreclosure Auction
Activists gathered at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on Monday afternoon to disrupt the weekly auction of foreclosed houses and to show solidarity with a Sacramento protest aimed at temporarily halting home foreclosures statewide.
Protesters of all ages followed the auctioneers to their post at the front of the courthouse in Santa Barbara, banging kitchen pots and pans together and waving signs in an attempt to create an uproar significant enough to stop the auction. The demonstration was spearheaded by a branch of Occupy Santa Barbara that focuses on home-foreclosure issues.
Charges dropped for 2 Occupy Charleston suspects
A Charleston judge has dropped trespassing charges against two more Occupy Charleston participants who were arrested in November. The Post and Courier of Charleston reported a Charleston city judge dropped the charges Monday against Ramon Caraballo and Tyreece Washington.
Seven other Occupy Charleston protesters arrested on trespassing charges at the same time agreed to a deal in January where the cases would be dropped if they stayed out of trouble for six months.
Caraballo said he’s disappointed the charges were dropped because he wanted to present his case to a jury.
Charges against Occupy Park City leader dismissed
Summit County prosecutors in May dismissed three criminal charges against the leader of the Occupy Park City movement, including a felony drug count, after determining the substance in question was not the drug ecstasy.
The charges against Tyler Galovich were dismissed on May 25, one month after they were filed in Third District Court at Silver Summit. Galovich had faced counts of possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and speeding.
The controlled substance charge, a third-degree felony, had been the most serious. A third-degree felony carries the possibility of a prison term of up to five years and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
DA won’t file charges against seven of nine arrested at Occupy the Farm
The Alameda County District Attorney declined to file charges against seven of nine Occupy the Farm protesters arrested at UC Berkeley’s Gill Tract in Albany “in the interest of justice,” a spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney said Thursday.
University officials said seven people were arrested May 14 outside the fence of the Gill Tract for unlawful assembly and two were arrested inside for trespassing.
Occupy the Courts! Portland Cops Aren’t Handing Over Records
On April 2, defense attorneys Richard McBreen and Leland Berger filed a motion with Judge Albrecht asking the DA’s office to turn over evidence on the arrests held by the Portland police. The lawyers wanted everything the cops might’ve had on Occupy Portland and the circumstances that led to the protesters’ arrests. When Albrecht ruled on that motion, the two pretty much got everything they wanted. The ruling said the cops would have to turn over video footage, notes, and information on arrests-including data collected by any undercover officers. The DA’s office would then be legally obligated to share with defense attorneys what the cops knew. Only it hasn’t yet.
A June 18 deadline to fork over those files came and went. And yesterday, McBreen and Berger wanted to know why. The answer they got from Brian Lowney, the deputy DA handling the Occupy cases, didn’t impress either them or the 50 or so occupiers in attendance.
It was the Portland police who aren’t acting quickly enough, Lowney told the court. Nothing nefarious, said Lowney. It’s just that the cops are just taking longer than expected. Berger wasn’t having it.
As Hong Kong’s ‘Occupy’ Awaits Court Verdict, a Look at Its Asian Counterparts
In less than three months, the original Occupy Wall Street will be a year old, but how have similar movements in Asia fared? The Occupy movements in Asia have aims similar to their American counterparts, but many focus on more than just corporate greed. Substantial movements in a number of Asian cities have addressed other relevant social issues like democracy and urban development.
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