Tag Archives: protest

Will Occupy Embrace Nonviolence? | The Nation

10 Feb

The Occupy movement will be be tested, we will be tested.

Then, in house occupations and anti-foreclosure actions, the movement began to deliver palpable results—putting real families in real homes, preventing evictions. And despite ample provocation by paramilitarized police, the movement occupied the moral high ground by staying almost wholly nonviolent. Now, ready or not, here comes the election cycle of 2012, putting pressure on the movement to keep up a vital tension between self-maintenance and growth, between challenging the whole plutocratic political economy and upping the odds of reforms that can arrest and reverse it.

And, right on cue, here come the city governments of Chicago, Tampa and Charlotte, readying noxious rules and massive armament to corral the likely thousands of demonstrators who will gather, in the Occupy spirit—though not necessarily with any official imprimatur—to greet the G-8 and NATO in May, the Republicans in August and the Democrats in September, respectively.

via Will Occupy Embrace Nonviolence? | The Nation.

NYPD Orders Officers Not to Interfere With Press – NYTimes.com

23 Nov

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly has issued an internal message ordering officers not to unreasonably interfere with media access during news coverage and warning those who do will be subject to disciplinary action.

via NYPD Orders Officers Not to Interfere With Press – NYTimes.com.

Robocops vs. the occupiers – Law enforcement – Salon.com

23 Nov

Many local police departments facing Occupy protests have also not seen dissent like this in their streets in recent decades, and don’t know any other approach, Vitale says.

“In places like Dallas and Denver, police are pulling out batons because they don’t know how to deal constructively with dissent,” he adds.

Vitale says that the use of rubber-coated bullets and tear gas often signals “handling dissent on the cheap.” Instead of bringing in enough officers to establish control, “a handful of guys are sent in with armor, rubber bullets and flashbang grenades.”

“It’s very clear that cities across the country have not learned from our mistakes,” said Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle who resigned after the debacle of 1999 and has since publicly expressed regret for his handling of the situation, especially the use of tear gas.

via Robocops vs. the occupiers – Law enforcement – Salon.com.

Occupy Harlem: ‘Occupy Wall Street Is Not A White Thing’

31 Oct

The Occupy Wall Street movement went Uptown on Friday night, as more than 100 people filled the second-floor sanctuary at St. Philip’s Church in Harlem for the first general meeting of Occupy Harlem.

Unlike their downtown comrades, those in attendance were mostly black and Latino, save for a handful of whites who sat and listened intently, a few lifting their fists to shouts of “Power to the People.”

via Occupy Harlem: ‘Occupy Wall Street Is Not A White Thing’.

Come Together, Right NOW! Music on the March

18 Oct

Yeah, Dylan was cool. But today we have marchin’ music that would burn his protestin’ butt.

Last Saturday Salon published an article by Stephen Deusner on protest music: Will a new Dylan emerge from Occupy Wall Street? For better or worse it struck me as a bit of a lament for the Good Old Days when they had Good Old/New Protest songs, but, alas, kids today don’t write ‘em like they used to:

As Occupy Wall Street has gained momentum, it has been compared to the anti-war and civil rights protests of the 1960s by commentators as diverse as comedian Dick Gregory, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and scores of newspaper columnists. Yet, as Mangum’s performance demonstrates, they are very different in at least one regard, however minor: Music is not quite the central force today that it was 40 and 50 years ago, when a song like “We Shall Overcome” or “Fixin’ to Die Rag” could communicate certain motivating ideals and reinforce solidarity among a great throng of participants. Instead, it remains peripheral.

Things get moderated toward the end:

The lesson of the 2000s seems to be to approach politics obliquely instead of head-on, to make it one concern among many. If protest songs are largely absent from Occupy Wall Street, it’s not that they aren’t being written. It’s that they no longer serve the same purpose they once did — and are so spread out across genres and audiences that they don’t register as broadly as they once did. …

On the other hand, protests inspire music, not vice versa. Perhaps the artists participating in or even just witnessing the Occupy Wall Street gatherings will be moved to write about their experiences. Perhaps the next great wave of radicalized pop is just a few months or years away.

Well, maybe.

People’s Music

But I have a somewhat different take on the whole business. Back in the day the most important music was the music sung in black churches, mostly traditional hymns and gospel. That’s the music that summoned, organized and energized the civil rights movement. The anti-war movement was a different group of people and, of course, a different issue, but it emerged in a public arena that had been activated by the civil rights movement. Continue reading

Around the World, Protests Against Economic Policies – NYTimes.com

15 Oct

In Rome, a protest thick with tension spread over several miles. Protesters set fire to at least one building and clashed violently with the police, who responded with water cannons and tear gas.

In other European cities, including Berlin and London, the demonstrations were largely peaceful, with thousands of people marching past ancient monuments and many gathering in front of capitalist symbols like the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Elsewhere, the turnout was more modest, but rallies of a few hundred people were held in several cities, including Sydney, Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Protests were also held in New York and several other cities in the United States and Canada.

via Around the World, Protests Against Economic Policies – NYTimes.com.

On Wall Street, a Protest Matures – NYTimes.com

4 Oct

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, who gets phone calls from Wall Street CEOs went down to Zuccotti Park to check out the protest.

“Is this Occupy Wall Street thing a big deal?” the C.E.O. asked me. I didn’t have an answer. “We’re trying to figure out how much we should be worried about all of this,” he continued, clearly concerned. “Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”

A personal safety issue? No. But . . .

… the underlying message of Occupy Wall Street — which spread to Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles on Monday — is something the big banks and corporate America may finally have to grapple with before it actually does become dangerous.

What’s the message?

At times it can be hard to discern, but, at least to me, the message was clear: the demonstrators are seeking accountability for Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap.

And that message is a warning shot about the kind of civil unrest that may emerge — as we’ve seen in some European countries — if our economy continues to struggle.

via On Wall Street, a Protest Matures – NYTimes.com.

“Occupy Wall Street,” today’s Whiskey Rebellion – The Labor Movement – Salon.com

3 Oct

Like it or not, though, it is Occupy Wall Street that has the most in common, ideologically, not with those Boston merchants and their supporters but with the less well-known, less comfortably acknowledged people who, throughout the founding period, cogently proposed and vigorously agitated for an entirely different approach to finance and monetary policy than that carried forward by the famous founders. Amid horrible depressions and foreclosure crises, from the 1750′s through the 1790′s, ordinary people closed debt courts, rescued debt prisoners, waylaid process servers, boycotted foreclosure actions, etc. (More on that here and here.) They were legally barred from voting and holding office, since they didn’t have enough property, so they used their power of intimidation to pressure their legislatures for debt relief and popular monetary policies. Their few leaders in legit politics included the visionary preacher Herman Husband, the weaver William Findley, and the farmer Robert Whitehill.

via “Occupy Wall Street,” today’s Whiskey Rebellion – The Labor Movement – Salon.com.

The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com

2 Oct

Arab Springs comes to Wall Street:

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

The protesters are dazzling in their Internet skills, and impressive in their organization. The square is divided into a reception area, a media zone, a medical clinic, a library and a cafeteria. The protesters’ Web site includes links allowing supporters anywhere in the world to go online and order pizzas (vegan preferred) from a local pizzeria that delivers them to the square.

This is big (boldface mine):

In effect, the banks socialized risk and privatized profits. Securitizing mortgages, for example, made many bankers wealthy while ultimately leaving governments indebted and citizens homeless.

We’ve seen that inadequately regulated, too-big-to-fail banks can undermine the public interest rather than serve it — and in the last few years, banks got away with murder. It’s infuriating to see bankers who were rescued by taxpayers now moan about regulations intended to prevent the next bail-out. And it’s important that protesters spotlight rising inequality: does it feel right to anyone that the top 1 percent of Americans now possess a greater collective net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent?

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

Occupy Wall Street: FAQ | The Nation

30 Sep

Some news reports have been painting the protesters as unfocused, or worse, as hopelessly confused and uninformed. Is there any truth to that?

Sure. In a world as complex as ours, we’re all uninformed about most things, even if we know about a few. I remember a police officer remarking of the protesters on the first or second day, “They think they know everything!” That’s how young people generally are. But in this case, noticing the over-concentration of wealth around Wall Street and its outsized influence in politics does not require a detailed grasp of what a hedge fund does or the current selling price of Apple stock. One thing that distinguishes these protesters is precisely their hope that a better world is possible. I might add that, for many Americans, such nonviolent direct action is the only chance of having a political voice, and it deserves to be taken seriously by those of us in the press.

How many people have responded to the Adbusters call? How large is the group? And how large has it ever been?

The original Adbusters call envisioned 20,000 people flooding the Financial District on September 17. A tenth of that probably ended up being there that day. Despite a massive Anonymous-powered online social media blitz, lots of people simply didn’t know about it, and traditional progressive organizations like labor unions and peace groups were uncomfortable signing on to so amorphous an action. Over the course of a difficult first week, with arrests happening just about every day, new faces kept coming, as others filtered out to take a break. The media coverage after last weekend’s mass arrests and alleged police brutality has brought many more. Now, during the day and into the night, one finds 500 or more people in the plaza, and maybe half that sleeping over.

via Occupy Wall Street: FAQ | The Nation.