NEW YORK (AP) — The social media savvy that helped Occupy Wall Street protesters create a grass-roots global movement last year is proving to be a strength in the wake of Superstorm Sandy as members and organizers of the group fan out across New York to deliver aid including hot meals, medicine and blankets.
It was Tuesday afternoon. The hurricane had swirled offshore, but the floods had yet to recede. Red Hook was seeping from the cellars of its rowhouses, dripping from the tips of every awning, blacked out all the way to the 20th floor of its NYCHA housing projects. FEMA was nowhere to been seen. The Red Cross was nowhere to be seen. The National Guard was nowhere to be seen. Those massive bureaucracies were processing the paperwork, reviewing protocols, checking boxes and getting everything in place.
The Rolling Jubilee project is seeking donations to help it buy-up distressed debts, including student loans and outstanding medical bills, and then wipe the slate clean by writing them off. Individuals or companies can buy distressed debt from lenders at knock-down prices if it the borrower is in default or behind with payments and are then free to do with it as they see fit, including cancelling it free of charge.
We can not thank you enough for your support. It is so amazing to see so many people come together to help with Sandy Relief. This is a critical time to help as the media moves to cover other events there will be a danger that the ongoing emergency will fade. We saw this after Katrina. Please consider becoming a long term Food Not Bombs volunteer helping with our groups on Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan. Our volunteers are preparing huge amounts of food but the need is so great we could use more donations and help. There will be many hungry and cold people struggling for many more months so your help is urgently needed.
Some were standing, some were sitting, some with their backs to the altar on the thick red velvet cushions that are usually reserved for knees on Sunday morning. Tammy Shapiro, an Occupy Wall Street and Interoccupy organizer, faced several dozen volunteers and organizers who crowded to the front of St. Jacobi's church in Sunset Park for their nightly debriefing. It was Friday, November 2, and Occupy Sandy was wrapping up its third full day of work.
At the St. Francis de Sales church on B-129th Street, the church hall has been taken over by Occupy Sandy—an offshoot of the still-active networks of Occupy Wall Street. Supplies have been driven here from all over Brooklyn: back there are piles of blankets; on the tables here are diapers, baby food, and cleaning supplies; over there, clothes (grownup, child, baby); more than a hundred pairs of shoes lined up neatly on the bleachers. Residents of the neighborhood wander around the hall, filling bags. In the front entranceway Occupy volunteers are unloading cases of bottled water from a truck, handing the heavy cases one to the next, a bucket brigade to the back of the church. The volunteers move fast but the job lasts more than half an hour—it’s a big truck. In front of the church, long tables have been set up on the sidewalk, where volunteers are serving hot food and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
Corporate America is concerned solely with profits... period. Therefore, America’s foreign and domestic policy is quite logically geared towards that financial end -- without any accountability. The no-accountability part is made possible by the “other wing” of the power elite -- the corporate media. Through incredibly effective thought control, the press can “manufacture consent” for the policies of the CEOs and the ruling class.
Recent provocative and irresponsible statements by the previously unknown DOOM (Defend Our [sic] Oakland Movement) and the well-known decredentialed OO Media Collective, claiming to represent the general interests of the now-defunct Occupy Oakland community, demonstrate the advanced decomposition of the Occupy phenomenon. Explicitly anti-radical elements were present at Occupy Oakland from the beginning; for example, some tried to get the General Assembly to adopt vaguely conceived principles of non-violence that implicitly rely on the respect for property rights -- enforced by … the police!
As soon as I heard the slogan, “The 99% against the 1%,” I knew any hope that the Occupy movement would affect real change was over because very few Americans qualify as members of the 99% so far as the world is concerned. This liberal platitude was quickly followed-up by demands for reforms and a deluge of pseudo-Occupy organizations, such as “Occupy for Jobs,” ad nauseum, in a sickeningly rapid co-optation of the Occupy movement into a fight for more jobs, more commodities, more of our “fair” share of the loot stolen from the rest of the world’s peoples. Proving, once again, that feigned ignorance of other human beings’ impoverishment is simply a ploy to abet a greedy and self-serving agenda. Occupy, schmoccupy!
NEW YORK CITY — Ben & Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Ben Cohen wants his Occupy Wall Street "Batmobile" back. Earlier this year, Cohen doled out nearly $30,000 to a group of Occupy Wall Street activists with an unusual idea — for a passenger van to be rigged with a powerful projector that would beam progressive messages onto the sides of buildings.
A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department illegally arrested large numbers of demonstrators at a protest in Lower Manhattan during the 2004 Republican National Convention. But the judge upheld aspects of how the city had handled the protesters’ arrests.
A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the City of Austin violated the First Amendment of the US Constitution when it banned Occupy protesters from attending demonstrations in a public park last year. Federal District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a decision on Thursday condemning the city’s handling of the Occupy Austin protests that began last autumn (.pdf). Bulletins the city circulated among protesters last year that ordered them to vacate or face criminal charges were unconstitutional, Judge Yeakel wrote, arguing that the public plaza that was occupied during the demonstrations has always been intended to host open discussion and debate, and the city’s attempts to remove protesters by issuing warnings violated their First Amendment freedoms.
A judge in Cook County, Illinois on Thursday dismissed over 90 cases against Occupy Chicago activists on the grounds that they violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Judge Thomas Donnelly declared that the city’s park curfew law that was used to arrest activists in Grant Park last October was “unconstitutional both on its face and as applied and all complaints in this case are dismissed with prejudice,” according to the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
I get it in e-mails, Facebook messages, and even in whispers at Occupy Wall Street (OWS) events and actions: “What’s that occupation all about? Why Trinity?”
While I’m not a direct member of the Occupy Trinity Wall Street (OTWS) group, I consider myself a fellow traveler of sorts -- often documenting via photography -- and have thus taken on the task of giving voice to New York City’s longest running occupation: 114 days and counting (as of this writing).
At its inception, the Occupy movement garnered untold amounts of public support in most cities across the country due to its staunch opposition to corporate criminality and all the bullshit that comes with it. Almost immediately, occupations sprung up in hundreds of cities all over the world, inspiring millions of students and teachers, workers and artists, whites and people of color, veterans, the elderly, parents and their children, to take to the streets and give a stiff middle finger to the status quo.
Next time, when you’re still standing around commemorating something that you’ve lost, and all you see around you are the walking wounded and a fading brand struggling to stay relevant, hopefully there will come a point when you realize that whatever it was that started last fall, it wasn’t a movement. A year without follow-up, of nothing happening, of was-it-just-a-dream confusion, and the mudslinging background music of election-year politics: everything points to a staggering emptiness. It’s as if something abnormally huge has been swept away