- Curious about income inequality? You’re not the only one. Encouraging news, though how many of those got useful information is still up in the air from this data.
- The Assembly Speaker in New York is pushing for a minimum living wage change – from $7.25/hr to $8.50/hr. Bloomberg is, of course, waffling on the idea.
- Occupy Bristol has been evicted. Thanks to BBC for reporting reactions from the protesters! Wait, that’s what they didn’t do. Bad BBC.
- Finally, an annotated video of the Oakland protests, outlining just how egregious the police actions were
As we reported last night, on January 28 members of Occupy Oakland attempted to occupy the vacant and disused Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. The result was tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests in the hundreds, and a short-lived occupation of Oakland City Hall. Eyewitness reports are beginning to filter in.
Very soon after the protesters arrived at the Kaiser Center, the police fired tear gas into the crowd. Those of us standing two blocks away could taste it. Later, when I spoke to people who had been at the front, everyone said they Occupiers had done nothing to provoke the tear gas other than arriving at the building.
The police had effectively made it impossible for the Occupiers to carry out their plan, so the protesters moved on. A few blocks away a standoff occurred. The police fired many things into the crowd; some thought it was tear gas, some thought it was pepper spray bombs. Also, I believe this was when they fired some bean bag shots at the crowd, later I met one man who had been hit.
On Saturday, Occupy Oakland re-entered the national spotlight during a day-long effort to take over an empty building and transform it into a social center. Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”
After an unsuccessful afternoon effort to occupy a former convention center, the more than 1,000 protesters elected to return to the site of their former encampment outside city hall. On the way, they clashed with officers, advancing down a street with makeshift shields of corrogated metal and throwing objects at a police line. Officers responded with smoke grenades, tear gas, and bean bag projectiles. After protesters regrouped, they marched through downtown as police pursued and eventually contained a few hundred of them in an enclosed space outside a YMCA. Some entered the gym and were arrested inside.
As soon as it became clear that I would be kettled with the protesters, I displayed my press credentials to a line of officers and asked where to stand to avoid arrest. In past protests, the technique always proved successful. But this time, no officer said a word. One pointed back in the direction of the protesters, refusing to let me leave. Another issued a notice that everyone in the area was under arrest.
Solidarity marches are planned in many Occupy locations around the nation.
[This action did not proceed with the approval of Occupy Oakland's GA and was undertaken by an independent group. --ed]
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.
Time for a look around the country with the Daily Occupation!
- Oakland: KTVU got their hands on some emails that flew around during the initial Occupy Oakland protests, and some of the comments are eyebrow raising, to say the least. Of particular note is the fact that Mayor Quan disregarded a D.C. crisis manager’s suggestion to simply apologize, and that “[w]hen [Police Chief Howard] Jordan received an update that crime was actually down 19 percent in the last week of October, he wrote an email to one of Mayor Jean Quan’s advisers. ‘Not sure how you want to share this good news,’ he wrote. ‘It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland.’” (KTVU also frames all of this in terms of “how stressful a situation” was put on the government. I’m sure the people who were beaten and gassed in the street would like to tell you a thing or two about stress. —Ed.)
- Wisconsin, By Way of Austin: No, seriously. Raw Story reports that belabored Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin attended the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation’s policy conference to rally support. When he was scheduled to begin his usual regurgitation against collective bargaining, “a group of demonstrators charged into the lobby and ‘mic checked’ Walker, even though he wasn’t within earshot. ‘Recall! Scott Walker!’ they chanted as security ushered them out.” This, in addition to the “100-150 protestors” outside from Texas AFL-CIO and Occupy Austin.
- Arkansas: When a constituent deeply affected by cuts in Pell Grants that you supported demands an explanation from you, you may not want to freak out and start screaming over the top of her questions. Unfortunately, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) did not appear to get this particular memo. Check out the epic meltdown over here, at Think Progress.
- Florida: ABC News caught a police report which claims John Castle, chairman and CEO of private equity firm Castle Harlan, grabbed a waiter’s hand and broke his finger at Palm Beach’s Club Colette restaurant for bringing the check to his table instead of quietly putting it on his account.
- San Francisco: Can’t occupy parks? That’s alright, Wells Fargo has a nice roof with plenty of space. In addition to the rooftop action, the protesters sent a representative to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf “threatening to shut down every bank in San Francisco” if they do not get a meeting with him.
- Finally, add Portland City to the growing list of places passing amendments against corporate personhood. The City Council, with the support of the Mayor’s staff, passed a resolution to “[e]stablish as a position of the Portland City Council that corporations should not have the constitutional rights that natural persons possess, that money is not speech and that independent campaign expenditures and campaign contributions should be regulated.” (Thanks to Daily Kos for the story.)
For those of you who have been living in a cave—or listening solely to mainstream media—today was a day of action for Occupy Wall Street. Occupy the Ports officially kicked off, inspired by (among other things) the eviction and police brutality in Oakland. Since there’s a lot going on out there in a bunch of different places, we’ll round up the news as best we can here:
- First and most important, SF Gate reports the protestors did indeed successfully shut down the Port of Oakland. Way to go, guys!
- Also, don’t believe the hype about OWS and port workers being pitted against each other. The port truck drivers openly support OWS’ shutdown.
- TriCity Herald: Seattle police forces use dangerous flashbangs to disperse non-violent port blockaders.
- Meanwhile, the Houston fire department aided police forces in placing a red tent over restrained protestors to prevent anyone from seeing them or what was being done to them. Early reports are that the police had tape over their name and badge numbers, and that the protestors may have been gassed after the tent went up. Both San Diego and Seattle have requested an extension of the blockage in response.
In addition to all of this, you can get ongoing updates at the official site.
(Stay as safe as possible out there, folks, and keep up the good fight. Solidarity! —ed.)
I was at Occupy Oakland all day yesterday and most of last night. Some… interesting things happened.
At around 2:30 we started our march down to the intersection near Grand Lake Theater. At that intersection was yet another Oakland school scheduled to be closed. We had an epic (around 2000 people) street party in the middle of the intersection, with help from an awesome sound system on the back of a flatbed truck. The marquee on the theater was pretty fucking cool too. It read, “No One Can Evict an Idea Whose Time Has Come. Shame on you Mayor Quan.”
Occupy Oakland has called for a total shutdown of West Coast shipping ports on December 12 in response to coordinated police attacks on occupy movements across the nation. Occupy Los Angeles has already passed a resolution to participate.Read More...
Berkeley resident “Lief” ventured to Occupy Oakland on the night of November 2. What follows is his after action report that details the occupying of an abandoned building and the subsequent police response.Read More...