Bad things are going down in Oakland as we type this. Our thoughts are with those on the front line, hoping they come out the other end safe.
- Oakland: Makes the most sense to start here. According to Mercury News, a planned protest this afternoon turned violent after police began firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds. The police claim protestors fought back with “bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans and ‘improvised explosive devices,’ and lit flares.” (IEDs? Is that what they’re calling molotovs these days? —ed.) Noticeably, the article in Mercury points out that the gassing came in response to the actual marches, meaning the gas came first and then the throwing of things. Three officers were hurt; one required stitches, two nothing more than bruising. No word in the article on how many people were hurt by inhaling tear gas and/or having rubber bullets slam into them.
- Toronto: In an update to our roundup from last week, it appears Occupy Toronto has decided to look for a new home rather than fight their eviction notice. A brief note on the announcement and upcoming plans can be found at the Toronto Star.
- Texas: Anonymous has struck again, this time doxing intelligence firm Stalfor and revealing their involvement in planting spies within the Occupy Wall Street movement. Worse is the fact that they cooperated closely with Texas law enforcement while doing it. Check out the skinny over on RT.com, and while you’re at it, note the use of the words “hippy hijinx” to describe what Occupy Wall Street is doing. Classy!
- World Media: The United States plummeted 27 places down the Free Press Index put out by Reporters Without Borders. Slate puts this in perspective: “Last year, the United States came in 20th, sandwiched between the United Kingdom and Canada at 19th and 21st place, respectively. After 2011, however, the United States finds itself tied for 47th place with Romania and Argentina on the list[.]” The full article is available here.
- New York: On a (slightly) more lighthearted note, creative protestors in New York managed to severely disrupt a foreclosure auction in Brooklyn by bursting into song.
- Washington, D.C.: CNN reports on the 99th annual Alfalfa Club dinner getting a visit from Occupy Wall Street. As noted in the article, the President was among those invited to the exclusive dinner for “high-level dignitaries.”
- Also in D.C.: New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen took to the Senate floor on the second anniversary of Citizens United to speak against SuperPACs. In Shaheen’s remarks, she noted “Super PACs have already spent over $30 million in the 2012 cycle and the election is still 10 months away. That amount of money is staggering.” Staggering, indeed. Read the full text of her speech here, at the Concord Monitor.
- Finally, if you’ve ever wondered how your income stacks up against the 1%, you may be able to use Mitt Romney as a proxy. Mittbucks is a site that “puts Romney’s income into perspective for you, showing you what ordinary stuff would have to cost him before he could relate to your daily experience with money.” Not to pick on Mr. Romney, but the figures are immediately sobering.
A lot has gone down with Occupy Toronto in the last week. Here’s a basic timeline that traces the events in play:
- Jul. 22nd, 2011
- After “guaranteeing” during his campaign that he would not cut “services,” newly elected Mayor Rob Ford immediately turns around and—you guessed it—proposes $700 million in cuts, including programs for student nutrition, AIDS prevention, and community drug prevention.
- Jan. 17th — Part 1
- Hundreds of Occupy Toronto protestors gather for a demonstration against Ford’s proposed budget cuts. The response was about what we’ve come to expect from the police, and it’s sad to see it’s not just limited to America. Samurgen Coplander has an interview with protestors here.
- Jan. 17th — Part 2
- In a squeaker of a vote (23-21), the proposed budget cuts go down in flames. Interestingly, the cuts were enough to polarize center, left, and right on the council. Also interesting was the story of two conservatives who jumped ship: “[The coalition against the cuts] reached right to conservatives and got a hearing from many and eventual support from two: Gloria Lindsay Luby, whose residents had given hear an earful about cuts, including mechanical leaf collection in her ward, and James Pasternak, a usual Ford ally worried about the budget’s impact on the poor.” (Emphasis editor’s.)
- Jan. 19th
- Occupy Toronto protestors are delivered a letter telling them to GTFO.
- Jan. 20th
- And, predictably, the occupiers aren’t going to take it lying down. They have filed an injunction against the city to fight the eviction notice.
(So, let’s go over this again. Protests turned violent by police? Check. Massive outcry taking down a hugely unpopular proposal? Check. Trying to disperse the protest not two days after their proposal goes down in flames? Check! Seriously, it’s like this stuff is working off the same script, city after city. —ed.)
Things are a little slow due to the holidays, but here’s some items to tide you over for the new year!
- South Bend: Occupy South Bend is officially rolling. Welcome them into the movement by checking out their website here.
- Berkley: As of Thursday, Occupy Berkley’s camp is no more. Read the details from an eyewitness here. Mercifully, the removal seems to be free of the brutality other camps have faced.
- Montana: Courtesy of Daily Kos, Montana citizens have decided to reward Sens. Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester for their vote for the NDAA “indefinite detention” bill by organizing a recall for both senators. The money quote? “[I]n a New York Times op-ed piece by two retired four-star U.S. Marine generals, Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar, Krulak and Hoar said that ‘Due process would be a thing of the past.’” Yikes. If you’re similarly outraged, the article has a great place to start to force a recall of your own senator(s).
- Belgium: Finally, Business Insider reports that, after a huge bailout that left Belgium’s entire economy reeling, the parties responsible are finally facing legal action, albeit of the tort variety. Both Dexia SA and former CEO of Dexia, Pierre Mariani, are accused of “‘spreading false and misleading information’ and ‘market manipulation.’”
Here at the Daily Occupation, we’ve reached the point where keeping you up to date on all national events would end up flooding our feed, pushing articles that deserve singular attention out of the way. To counteract this, we’ve switched to a “news roundup” format for when our queue gets particularly dense. We’d hate for these items to have less attention than they deserve, though, so make sure to check them out!
- New York: Occupiers “squidded” outside of Goldman Sachs yesterday. Essentially a combination of protest and parody of Goldman-Sachs, the name refers to Matt Taibbi’s quote from Rolling Stones that Goldman-Sachs was “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Gothamist has the full roundup.
- Orlando: A “People’s Convention” was held to discuss resolutions on a variety of state issues, including health care, labor laws, and education funding. The proposals will be sent back to individual Occupy groups for ground-testing before they are presented to Florida Governor Rick Scott in January. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “more than half the crowd was from out of town,” and the convention was extremely well received by both protestors and local union leaders. Read the original articles here and here.
- Palm Beach: Occupiers seem to be getting on well with the city after it offered up its old city hall. The protestors were bizarrely evicted when a trapeze artist rented the space they were occupying to give classes. They (the protestors, just so we’re clear) expected the eviction for weeks and are fairly pleased with the new space, so everything seems to be going along smoothly so far. The full article is available here.
- Finally, Occupy D.C. picked up the support of Rev. Jamal Bryant and Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who will join with clergy and civil rights leaders to start up “Occupy the Dream.” Both Bryan and Chavis have excellent bonafides—Bryant has past experience with the NAACP and Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, and Chavis previously worked under no less than Martin Luther King, Jr. The original article is available at the Washington Post.
(The last article’s claim that OWS is a mostly white movement makes me a little uneasy, but if it does have merit, “Occupy the Dream” can only be a good thing. As the article says, African-Americans are most definitely part of the 99%. —ed.)
Following yesterday’s ruling by Judge Frances A. McIntyre to lift the temporary injunction preventing police from raiding Occupy Boston’s Dewey Square site, Mayor Tom Menino today set a midnight deadline for the vacation of Dewey Square. If the protesters do not leave, he said, he would “take further action.” A statement being handed out by BPD officers indicates that, as of midnight on December 9th, anyone on the grounds between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. would be subject to arrest and that tents would be considered refuse.
Occupy Boston has urged community members to join them in Dewey Square to repel this effort to force an end to their occupation, which has been ongoing at Dewey Square since September 30th. They also released a list of live streams which will attempt to cover the eviction attempt tonight.
Main feed: http://livestream.com/occupyboston
It appears Occupy Amsterdam has been evicted as of a few hours ago. We’re still short on details, but in the meantime, here are some links that you can use to stay up to date:
Second update from Tias – thanks, Tias!:
Occupy Amsterdam getting evicted video:
UPDATE: There seems to have been some conflict or deception between the mayor and the occupiers, from what the streamer is saying – also the “dirty hippie” defense being used. On the other hand, they’re still able to keep up some tents, it seems. Kitchen tent is gone.
UPDATE 2: This was happening around 3:35 PM in Amsterdam. The link above is a restream for those of us who missed it.
We’ve said several times here that we wanted actual proof of the “dirty hippie” accusation — that is, conditions of dangerous waste or filth that are somehow, mysteriously, uniformly present at every single OWS camp that’s been successfully evicted. Well, we do finally have a confirmed report, and it’s time to live up to our end of the promise. We’re calling Occupy SCCC out for their… Wait, what’s that? They’re already on top of it?
Okay so we are getting ready to wrap it up at Seattle Central and we need to make sure we leave it clean! From the beginning I told people we needed to clean up after ourselves and act as if we were staying in someone else’s home… But we failed to do this. So it is our responsibility to clean up the mess we created. Some people are saying we don’t need to do that because the school “has money put aside for cleaning up OS’s mess” but in order for Occupy Seattle to continue to progress, we need to clean up the mess that is there regardless of what the school says. I believe that if we FAIL to do this, we will lose a great deal of support on top of the support we have already lost. Also, the mainstream media will LOVE being able to use that mess to prove that “the occupiers are dirty, partying hippies that are causing an annoyance to society…”
So please everyone, help me out here. Spread the word and lets make SCCC a pretty campus again! I plan to have clean up parties everyday starting Thursday and ending Monday (I will be going out of town on Monday so I’m going to have to find someone else to lead the party on Monday)
All jokes aside, SCCC has had one of the worst reputations as far as mess goes, and it’s good to see the protestors stepping up to the plate and resolving it. It bears reiterating: When we see actual, concrete descriptions of unsafe conditions, as opposed to some reporter just regurgitating the city line, we will name, shame, and fix.
A temporary restraining order issued in November was lifted by a Suffolk County Court judge today, once again opening up the occupation at Dewey Square to the threat of an eviction attempt by the city. A spokeswoman for Mayor Tom Menino stated that they had not yet read the ruling and had no current plans regarding Occupy Boston, but that the city “will take action if and when it is necessary.” Menino previously drew criticism from an October statement about the protests in which he said, “Civil disobedience will not be tolerated.”
Occupy Boston began occupying Dewey Square on September 30th and has maintained a continuous presence at the site since. An attempt to establish an additional camp along the Rose Kennedy Greenway was met with 141 arrests in an early-morning raid on October 11th. Recent tensions have arisen between police and occupiers as a result of Occupy Boston’s attempt to use a kitchen sink donated by people affiliated with MIT to address sanitary concerns raised by the city. Police eventually “arrested” the sink in addition to a handful of protesters last week.
An emergency general assembly has been called for 7 p.m. at Dewey Square to explain the situation and discuss Occupy Boston’s response.
Memorandum of Decision and Order on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction (PDF)
A U.S. District judge has granted Occupy New Orleans a temporary restraining order, thus allowing them to move back into Duncan Plaza, where they had been evicted on December 6th. There are, of course, rules:
Zainey’s ruling granted a TRO to the Occupy movement for seven days. Those involved will be allowed to camp in tents, though Zainey’s order bars animals, electrical cords and open flames. The order says the protesters may not sleep in the park until two portable toilets are delivered. Quigley said that should happen shortly.
Protesters must also post a $5,000 security deposit to defray costs of trash pickup and cleaning. Quigley said that he had arranged for supporters to supply that money by the court’s deadline.”
Not surprisingly, the city used the vaunted “dirty hippie” defense—unsanitary conditions, etc.—as their reasoning. And, much like with Zucotti in New York, it looks like officials may have gone around the due process of the TRO (and upset the judge in the process):
Earlier today, Zainey told attorneys for the city and for the Occupy NOLA movement that he was not pleased that the administration moved to evict the protesters from the park while the motion for a temporary restraining order was pending. In issuing the restraining order, Zainey said he was merely restoring the park to the condition it was in at the time the Occupy protesters asked for the order.”
The next step is to seek a permanent injunction, which would allow protests to continue indefinitely.
Read more at Occupy Online.
According to Philadelphia Weekly’s blog, 19 of the protestors arrested during Occupy Philly’s eviction have chosen not to undergo the “Accelerated Misdemeanor Program” and will go to a full trial instead:
The charges include conspiracy, failure to disperse, and obstructing a highway. They face up to five years in prison and a $12,500 fine.
Afterward, Penn professor Toorjo “T.J.” Ghose—who detailed his arrest to PW last week and is among the 19 going to trial next month—said he’s “prepared to take this all the way,” and expects to be fully cleared of the charges.”
Full text available here.
(Conspiracy? To do what, exactly? —ed.)
After three days in jail, over 100 Los Angeles Occupiers arrested during the Nov. 30 eviction — including a 79-year-old woman — were released yesterday.
The city drew criticism for demanding $5000 bail for protesters charged with unlawful assembly and disturbing the peace.
As the several hundred arrest cases made their way through the court system, it was still unclear how many protesters would ultimately face prosecution.
The city had filed 46 criminal cases as of Friday, said Chief Deputy City Atty. William Carter. Some arrestees face potential charges of failure to disperse and, in a few cases, resisting arrest.
On Friday, at least a dozen arrested were expected to be arraigned. Those who appeared before a judge Thursday and Friday had outstanding warrants for their arrest on other charges, possessed a criminal record or had resisted arrest Wednesday when police cleared the park.
Carter said the city has up to a year to charge those released. Some might avoid prosecution if they successfully complete a court program that requires them to perform community service or class instruction, he added.
Read more at the LA Times
(One wonders what kind of “class instruction” the city has in mind. –ed)
On the heels of mass evictions through the major protests, smaller OWS camps are getting tossed out as well, such as the one at Seattle Central Community College. According to the Seattle Times, a judge has ruled the college may post an eviction notice for the protestors, giving them three days before the police is called. The judge cited “health and safety risks” as the reason for eviction but did not limit the protestors’ ability to come back and protest.
Full article available here.
(Ah yes, the nebulous “dirty hippie” defense. Looks like OWS’ opposition has found their line of attack, since this is happening nationwide. I still have yet to see any eyewitness reports of the supposed filth, just the rulings of judges afterwards. Great reporting, everyone! —ed.)
During the Los Angeles Police Department’s forcible removal of the Occupy LA protest last night, they chose 12 reporters and photographers to represent the media as a whole.* This is called a “media pool” — and it used to be a fairly time-honored, if oft-derided, way of dealing with very specific types of situations. The original idea was that a select group of mainstream media journalists go into a military engagement, report their observations to a larger group, and then everyone could write from the same observed facts.
Growing beyond its military borders, the media pool concept has been deployed during political conventions, high-profile trials, and in a few other cases. In all cases, though, as summarized in the Encyclopedia of Television, the pool “offers those who employ it a way to manage media coverage.”
It strikes me as significant that the compromise developed in the 1980s after the media was barred from covering the invasion of Grenada. It also strikes me as significant that we use the term “compromise” to describe it. The first and second meanings of compromised come into play: “to settle a dispute by mutual concession” and “to weaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable.”
All of that brings us to last night’s media pool. The LAPD deployed this old-school method in a decidedly 20th-century way. First, they didn’t select a single web-based publication or alternative news outlet. Instead they allowed the Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, AP, the big four television outlets, and a two radio reporters. Anybody not in that group — which would include reporters for every website not affiliated with a newspaper in Los Angeles, not to mention all citizens performing acts of journalism — were told that they would be arrested if they came too close to the eviction area.
Read more at the Atlantic
(What were they trying to hide? Violence and brutality far beyond what was reported, apparently. We’ll have the full scoop soon.–ed)
Occupy San Francisco‘s general assembly has officially rejected a city proposal from San Francisco to move the site to an approved area. The GA eventually rejected the proposal for many reasons, not the least of which were safety and visibility:
City officials would have paid the district $2,500 a month plus utilities to use the site at 1950 Mission St., a decrepit-looking lot with portable buildings and bathrooms surrounded by a chain-link fence.
“They want us out of sight, out of mind,” said Karen Schieve, 64, of San Francisco, who was among about 50 Occupy protesters debating the proposal.
[...] “They can’t tell us how to protest, or where to protest,” Schieve yelled to the crowd.”
(Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle, emphasis editor’s)
You can see the area proposed by the city here. According to CrimeMapping.com, the area has a noticeably elevated crime rate:
Crime Map of Mission Street Area (CrimeMapping.com)
Some are not so obvious, such as “!” (for disturbing the peace) and “F” (for fraud), but we assume you can work out what the guns, ski masks, fists, and spray cans mean.
Here’s the Google street view of the proposed site.
Los Angeles police are being praised for their planning, outreach and judicious use of force in ousting the Occupy L.A. encampment Wednesday morning, but a few protesters are reporting more physical confrontations with some of the 1,400 officers.
Read more at the LA Times
Original video was taken off YouTube, here it is.
Occupy Seattle is apparently inside the Washington State Capitol in Olympia and is currently holding their GA. You can view it at the time of this writing via OWS Seattle’s Livestream. Police are apparently trying to evict them at this time, the protestors are linking arms to prevent being taken away.
The complaint, which was to be filed at 10 a.m. Monday in federal court, names the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, alleging that the protesters’ civil rights were violated. The three protesters who planned to file the suit would be seeking a court order to prevent the city from evicting the camp from the City Hall lawn.
The complaint accuses the city of engaging in “arbitrary and capricious action in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments by first approving the Occupy presence for 56 days before suddenly revoking permission through the unilateral action of defendants.”
[...] The complaint also pointed out that the city has made other exceptions to the anti-camping provision, including for people waiting at Exposition Park to be eligible for free medical services and for an estimated 500 fans of the “Twilight” vampire movies who “camped out on the sidewalks of Westwood Village for several days to be first in line for the midnight showing of the first ‘Twilight’ sequel.
[...] Protesters had expected to be forcefully evicted after the mayor announced that the park would be closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Instead, after a night of largely peaceful protests, police arrested four people who refused to clear the streets. Overnight, about 1,000 protesters blocked the intersection of 1st and Main streets until about 5 a.m., when police issued an order to disperse.
Most returned to the encampment at City Hall Park, but a few were arrested.”
Read more at the LA Times.
As cities around the country have swept Occupy Wall Street camps from their plazas and parks in recent weeks, a number of mayors and city officials have argued that by providing shelter to the homeless, the camps are endangering the public and even the homeless themselves.
Yet in many of those cities, services for the homeless are severely underfunded. The cities have spent millions of dollars to police and evict the protesters, but they’ve been shutting down shelters and enacting laws to prohibit homeless from sleeping overnight in public.”
Read more at HuffPo.
(From the “no duh” department. Many of #Occupy’s problems with crime, which the spin doctors just love to attribute to the protesters themselves, are due to mentally ill homeless thronging to the camps. This should be the least surprising development of the whole movement so far, but apparently it’s a big shocker. Shaking my head —ed)
The Los Angeles General Assembly has voted to reject the city’s offer to move the protest to an approved site. Among other reasons, the GA felt indirectly taking taxpayer money for the protest was wrong, and that the city’s overtures were akin to bribery to make the whole thing go away. Click the “More” link for the full text from Occupy L.A.’s facebook page, as well as video recordings of the negotiation.
(The next likely step will be raid and teardown, barring court intervention. Maybe not even then, given the police in New York ignored a Temporary Restraining Order signed by a judge and evicted protestors anyway. Everybody stay safe out there, and keep fighting for your rights. —ed)
Continue reading Occupy LA: General Assembly Votes Against City Proposal
As we know, Los Angeles City Hall offered Occupiers a deal to get them off the lawn. It turns out that this is a much more complex situation than it appears at first. Major issues of class, economics and politics are facing Occupy Los Angeles as the Occupation considers its next move.
Thus far, the inertia of Occupy LA has left it out of the Occupy Wall Street limelight. That may change in the next few days, as the largest standing encampment determines what course it and the Occupy Wall Street movement will take. Can the Los Angeles occupiers navigate their way and the movement though the seas churned by more experienced politicos, or will they inadvertently crash up against the complexities of realpolitik and real tensions in Los Angeles? The Los Angeles Times is already marshaling public support for the City’s offer.
Read more at Counterpunch.
Occupy Columbia, South Carolina obtained a temporary restraining order today to prevent their camp’s eviction from the State Capitol grounds.
View legal document at scribd.
Good job Occupy Columbia! Occupy everywhere! — ed
The Occupy Toronto encampment appears to have come to a peaceful end with protesters vacating the last occupied tent in St. James Park after a negotiated settlement with police.
Police began dismantling the last of two yurts (large tents) in St. James Park just after 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, a move that spelled the end of the Toronto Occupy encampment that began on Oct. 15.
The camp’s final day began in the early-morning hours when police re-issued eviction notices and began removing tents on the fringes of the park.
Tents continued to come down throughout the morning and it appeared a handful of protesters — some of whom had chained themselves inside one of the yurts being used as a library — would leave only by force.
Read more and see the photo gallery at CBC.
A “peaceful” eviction is still an eviction; here’s hoping Occupy Toronto follows through with their plan to Occupy elsewhere — ed
According to a blurb on Dallas News, evicted Occupy Dallas will be moving downtown to Pegasus Park. Plans are to maintain a 24-hour presence without the use of camping gear.
(The actual source is behind a paywall, so that’s all we have available at this time.)
For the first weeks of the Occupy Fresno protests, no evictions or arrests took place. Several weeks after the initial permit expired, the county began sending in dozens of sheriffs to monitor and arrest protesters. There have been no incidences of violence, but Occupy Fresno reports there have been 96 arrests since October 6th. The cost to Fresno County is estimated to be around $115,000.
Read more here, at ABC.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, protesters at the Occupy LA camp have received an official offer from City Hall: Move and we’ll re-house you.
Or so they thought.
The official account from #OccupyLA is reporting that city officials are now backpedaling on the offer, saying they may not be able to fulfill the terms if the protesters accept them. The original terms offered to Occupy LA were: a $1-a-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot office space near City Hall, a promise of land elsewhere for protesters who wish to farm, and additional housing for the contingent of homeless people who joined the camp.
#OccupyLA sent out a tweet around 5:00 pm PST stating, “Reports that the city has expressed concerns about being able to fulfill yesterday’s offer, due to recent press coverage.”