Monthly Archives: February 2012

Working Group Meeting Minutes 26 February 2012

Library Working Group Minutes
26 February 2012
Tompkins Square Park

[Today's meeting was relocated from 60 Wall St to Tompkins Square Park due to the Occupy Town Square]

present: Chantal, James, Germ, Charlie, Darah, Esther, Jaime, Hristo, Betsy, Frances

reportbacks/announcements:

Town Square has been awesome, way to go Library! We got lots of new donations and many books for Tucson. Our next event for Operation Book B0mb is Thursday March, 1 at Word Up with Chris Hedges: 176th & Broadway: be there. Deliveries are still coming into SIS for Tucson—don’t stamp them, we’re sending them right out.

Illuminator on Saturday, should be cool. We need to pull about 6 boxes of books to load up for Friday.

DA updates: Jaime sent a long email about F29, everybody should read it (POI some of us are homeless & don’t check email frequently).

Tuesday F28: 4pm at Union Square = Don’t suppress OWS march to Liberty Park

Wednesday F29: Bryant Park ALEC action with + brigades 9am-12pm. Pop-up occupation begins at 9 am. Non-arrestable? stay at the pop-up. From 11 am, marches leave from the steps of NYPL → BofA (yellow). BofA HQ (red). Also on Wednesday at 10: Tudor City → Pfizer.

If anyone’s doing anything, tell Jaime.

Upcoming court dates: Zach on 3/7 Germ on 3/9 at 100 Centre Street

3/17: EXPECT SOMETHING maybe. it’s our 6 month-iversary.
3/19: Foreclosure auction in the Bronx—occupyhomes actions, eviction prevention
4/15 and 17: stuff going on (cryptic, right?)

beginning in early March there will be weekly marches from the Park at the closing bell. *upsparkles*

+brigades meetings are awesome—go if you can

5/1 Jaime’s birthday she expects cake
5/3 Betsy’s birthday, no cake expected
5/9 BofA in Charlotte, NC if anyone’s up for a road trip
5/18-21 Chicago NATO/G8
and looking ahead, 8/27 RNC in Tampa, 9/3 DNC in Charlotte

F29: we’ve got to get to SIS the night before—Tuesday night. who’s down?

Carts—our tires got slashed in SIS. we need new carts. shopping carts have artistic merit.

Carmine is looking awesome. un-oppressive but impressive. let’s have a party when it’s done.

we need shopping carts, shallow shelves and some paint.

end of a quick meeting. thanks everybody!

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Occupy the OccuPAST: Echoes of Dissidence in the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection (pt. 4 of 4)

Today we have the final installment of Laurie Charnigo’s essay Occupy the OccuPAST: Echoes of Dissidence in the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection. Previous sections are posted here, here and here.

Unlike the literature of Occupy Wall Street, the publishers of these newspapers did not have the benefits of digitization and the Internet to preserve and disseminate their information. Many of these papers would have been lost to history if not for the leaders of the Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) who had the foresight to preserve as many of them as possible. In 1970, Tom Forcade, Head of UPS at the time, formed a deal with the Bell & Howell Company to film the underground papers. This was an ongoing project that continued until 1985. The UPS partnered with the Bell & Howell Company to microfilm hundreds of underground newspapers and newsletters. The result is the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection which, according to a catalog record in WorldCat, is currently housed in 110 (primarily academic) libraries. There have been some efforts to digitize select underground newspapers. For example, Georgia State University has recently digitized all issues of the Great Speckled Bird and made them freely accessible on the Georgia State University Library Digital Collections Web site. Likewise, Liberation News Service is in the process of making LNS packets available from the Liberation News Service Archive. The It’s About Time: Black Panther Party Legacy & Alumni Web site also provides an archive of the Black Panther Party Intercommunal News Service. All issues of The Realist, a satirical newspaper, founded by Paul Krassner, are available from The Realist Archive Project. Although, some consider the Los Angles Free Press to be the first counterculture paper, many include The Realist which predates them all, having been founded in 1958. The Ann Arbor District Library has digitized all issues of the Ann Arbor Sun, from 1967-1976, on their Free John Sinclair Web site. The Sun was founded by John Sinclair. Also available on this Web site are some really cool photos and audio recordings.

On February 28th at 6:30 p.m. at 20 Cooper Square, N.Y.U.’s Program in Museum Studies and Fales Library and Special Collections at Bobst Library will be sponsoring an exhibit on the East Village Other titled “It’s Happening: “Blowing Minds” a Celebration of the East Village Other. Although not freely available, libraries should consider purchasing the CD-ROM digital re-creation of The San Francisco Oracle which provides access to all twelve issues published. Although the Oracle is included in the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection on microfilm, the CD-ROM version provides access to the paper in color. Viewing the Oracle in black and white is like looking at a rainbow without color. Many terrific books have been written about the underground press. Click here for a “Free Handout” which provides a bibliography on such books, including authors cited in this essay, as well as two excellent recently-published titles; Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America by John McMillian and Sean Stewart’s On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S.

An interesting thought to end this entry on the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection is that, while scholars today are able to access many articles and newspapers online through databases and on the Web, the hundreds of papers which are not there still exist and only exist because of Thomas King Forcade’s efforts to have them microfilmed. Vendors, aggregated databases, and giant publishing conglomerates dictate what scholars and students are able to instantly access today. Because there is not enough demand for the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection (don’t confuse this with Alt-Press Watch) the vendor which holds the rights to the resource does not currently have any plans to digitize this Collection. Strangely, the very principles the underground press fought adamantly against, commercialization and allowing themselves to be co-opted, are the very reasons it has not entered the digital world. The powers that be just don’t consider the collection to have monetary potential. Perhaps it is up to us, the people, to protect and promote this collection. From their moldy, yellowed, microfilm tombs, it’s time to bring the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection back to life. Promote it. Use it. Demand it. Digitize it?

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Filed under Betsy, Digital Archive, Education, Ephemera, Literature, OccupyLibraries, Reference, Scholarship

Operation Book Bomb Tucson!

Illustration by Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt

As many of you may have already heard The People’s Library in solidarity with Occupy Tucson recently launched an action called Operation Book Bomb Tucson. In response to the disgraceful decision of the Tucson Unified School District to end the ten-year old Mexican-American Studies program, and to ban books from the school curriculum The People’s Library is holding a series of teach-ins/book drives to support the Mexican-American community both in Tucson and throughout the U.S. We are collecting copies of the seven banned texts as well as Spanish language books, books on Mexican history, and books on Latino culture to ship out to the students and teachers of Tucson. We want to let the Mexican-American community know that we are not indifferent to their struggles, and to let the Tucson Unified School District know that a threat to educational freedom somewhere is a threat to educational freedom everywhere. Here is how you can help us.

We have received some generous donations of books from publishers throughout the U.S. including Arte Público Press, NYU Press, and The Southwest Organizing Project. Follow these links and you can ship us copies of the seven banned books to add to our book bomb. We want to ship as many copies of them as we can out to the students and teachers of Tucson. The first two books listed can be purchased at 50% off thanks to the good people at Arte Público.  Just let them know you are purchasing books for Operation Book Bomb Tucson! We encourage you to support publishers and your local independent bookstores with your purchases, but if you need to shop elsewhere online, we’ve also provided some links to Powell’s Books. Click the links below to purchase any of the titles below.

Message to Aztlán by Rodolfo Gonzales

Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by F. Arturo Rosales

Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures by Elizabeth Martinez

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Rethinking Columbus by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuña from Powell’s Books

All books can be shipped to:

The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
Attn: The People’s Library/Operation Tucson
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038

Additionally we will be holding book donation drives and teach-ins here in New York City. Our first book donation event will be held at the next Occupy Town Square on Sunday, February 26 in Tompkins Square Park from 11AM to 5PM.

Our second event will be held at Word Up Community Bookshop, 4157 Broadway @ 176th St  in Washington Heights on Thursday, March 1, from 7PM-9PM featuring special guest speaker Chris Hedges. Please bring any books to these two events that you would like to donate to Operation Book Bomb Tucson. Keep those books coming and we will update you on our progress here. Thank you for supporting us and for supporting educational freedom everywhere.

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Filed under Announcements, Direct Action, Donations, Education, Frances, Free Speech, Literature, OccupyTucson

OWS Poetry Anthology on WBAI!!

On February 20th, 2012, WBAI had me on their Occupy Broadcast to talk about the OWS Poetry Anthology.

Here’s the show in its entirety (I come on at 8:40 and continue for about 20 minutes):

For more progressive talk, go to WBAI.org! Or for the anthology, go to the People’s Library wordpress page! I wanted to read more poems on the show, but ran out of time. Alas, I was able to read work by CA Conrad, Lara Weibgen, Sparrow and Ras Osagyefo. Just a handful of poets but hopefully representative of the vast diversity the anthology has compiled.

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Protest History: Underground Press Syndicate pt. 3 (of 4)

Continuing Laurie Charnigo’s essay on Protest History, here is part 3 of 4 from Occupy the OccuPAST: Echoes of Dissidence in the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection.

Although newspapers, as shown in the previous examples, varied on issues so widely that any attempt to include them all would be impossible for this piece, they all bonded loosely as a movement through their unified opposition to the war in Vietnam. Many of the issues most widely shared focused on American imperialism, ecological awareness, dismantling the military industrial complex, and the erosion of constitutional rights such as free speech, expression and the right to peacefully protest. Corporate greed, growing commercialism, inequality, distrust of mass media and “The Establishment” were issues all papers had in common. The writings in this collection are echoes of concerns people are now raising in OWS.

Despite their differences, nearly all underground newspapers became the target of censorship and police harassment. We have the Patriot Act. They had J. Edgar Hoover and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). In “Dirty Tricks on the Underground Press,” Geoffrey Rips cites a report from the UPS which indicated that at least 60% of their members experienced “interference” from the authorities. (47) According to Rips, this “interference” included “prosecutions in the courts, official interruption of distribution, bomb threats and bombs by groups with links to the authorities, harassment of customers and printers, wiretaps, and infiltration by police agents.” Trying to publish an underground paper in a place like Jackson, Mississippi left David Doggett, editor of the Kudzu, financially and psychologically crushed. Rips also reports on how the Black Panther Party (BPP), considered to be a terrorist organization by the FBI, was a constant target of harassment. According to Rips, in a particularly absurd memorandum to the FBI, authorities in Newark suggested spraying bundles of the BPP newspaper with a “chemical known as Skatole” which “disburses a most offensive odor on the object sprayed.” (Rips, 48). The object was to spray as many papers with this stinky substance in order to disrupt distribution of the paper. Authorities also harassed underground newspapers by arresting street vendors for such things as “vagrancy” or distributing obscenity. Streitmatter wrote that:

“On the very day that Richard Nixon was elected President, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo to his offices coast to coast. The subject of the communiqué was a plan Hoover had developed to halt what his lieutenants were characterizing, with considerable panic, as the ‘vast growth’ of counterculture papers.” (Steitmatter, 214).

It is unnerving to realize that surveillance and erosion of free speech continues under the Patriot Act.

Lest I be accused of over-romanticizing the Sixties Era underground press, I would be remiss not to point out some of its flaws…and there are many. The sixties counterculture papers are often dismissed by scholars as unprofessional, naïve, “hippie,” drivel. It’s certainly true that a forage through the underground papers does turn up its fair share of poorly written news filled with typos, bad artwork, and misinformation. And, heck yeah, there’s a lot of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. So what? One might even argue that liberating sex and legitimizing rock n’ roll were monumental feats in our cultural history.

Even though many of the issues expressed by the counterculture movement were extremely serious there is an ever-present element of humor which runs throughout the underground press. That zany mixture of silliness and seriousness is what is also fun and charming about the writers and artists of the underground press. As Harvey Wasserman (Liberation News Service) wrote in Sean Stewart’s recently-published book On the Ground: an Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U. S., “we were not only political activists but comedians…”(Stewart, 180).

All silliness aside, one should not forget that the underground newspaper collection also documents one of the greatest youth movements in U.S. history. The papers are filled with serious and thoughtful discourse concerning the Vietnam War, civil rights, ecology, to the evils of over-consumerism. With gusto and cleverness, articles of sheer brilliance and beauty were published in the underground press. It’s also important to remember that the underground press often broke news on issues before it was deemed appropriate or fitting for mainstream papers. As Rodger Streitmatter suggests in Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America, the underground press was the first to bring forth the truth about what was really happening in Vietnam and why our involvement in it was doomed. Prior to the Tet Offfensive in 1968, Streitmatter reports that all major newspapers supported U.S. involvement in Vietnam, even claiming that the U.S. had almost won. Following the Tet Offensive, mainstream news sentiment quickly flip-flopped to opposition against continued military action. (Streitmatter, 197). Photographs and stories began to expose the extent of the horrors of Vietnam. In their news coverage of the conflict in Vietnam, the newspaper giants were years behind the underground newspapers. (Streitmatter, 199).

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Filed under Betsy, Digital Archive, Ephemera, Literature, Media, Reference, Scholarship, Time Travel

19 February 2012 Meeting Minutes

Library working group meeting minutes

19 February 2012
60 Wall Street Atrium, 6 pm

Present: Antonia, Josh, Germ, Dee, Dylan, Charlie, Darah, Frances, Betsy, Danny, Mark, Jaime, James

Facilitation: going rogue: this meeting is freestyle

Introductions

Agenda:

Illuminator: description– debut in the park Friday 3/3. who wants to step up for this? maybe Danny maybe Charlie. Q: will we get arrested? A: Betsy will find out about arrestability & reportback.

Tucson: 7 books banned. details of our action. operation book bomb w/Occupy Tucson. we’re having a book donation drive town square 2/26 sunday in tompkins square park—spanish language books. books on mexican history, latino culture. we’re hoping to have teach-ins: Mexican history/culture. now looking for folks to do teach ins. 11-5 pm. it might rain. bring tarps and bags. need help with collecting and transporting books.

2nd event: Thursday march 1st 176st and Broadway 4157 Broadway at WordUP. with Chris Hedges. I know folks have beef with Chris Hedges right now. If you’d like to have a word with him, please come to our event on the 1st.

Donated books are coming into SIS. pls leave them in the boxes and don’t tag them.

Q: how are we getting books to Tucson? A: as cheap & green as possible. libro traficante hasn’t gotten back yet. they’re driving from TX. our goal is the collecting the books & having teach-ins. the situation in AZ is really grave right now. stories coming out every day abt kids coming home & illegal immigrant parents being deported…solidarity w/AZ. how this is racist bullshit. please help on Sunday.

We need to load books from SIS Friday or Saturday depending on when they’re open. empty bins and tarps. Frances will find out when they’re open & report back. POI: Gina lives nearby—maybe set up there.

Richard Delgado is sending a bunch of books—his and a bunch of others. Molly’s drawing a new flyer and a stamp. Don’t stamp Tucson books, we’re gifting them.

Q: what about bookmarks for the books? A: great idea. Catherine sent an email. we’ll get back to her.

Any leads on wheels for Scales? talk to bike coalition. talk to mandolin.

F29 major action: Occupy Portland call to boycott ALEC– legislation that attacks unions. American Legislative Exc alecexposed.com 50 occupations involved. will target alec members in their cities: BofA, Pfizer, Koch brothers. all right on 42nd nr bryant park. Koch bros farther north. occ town sq is doing 26th, on 29th we’re asking all working groups not just DA but OWS—set up in Bryant Park

Q: what abt ice rink etc? A: 9 am start on stairs. gathering place for OWS as a whole. marches will start from there. however, any march doing high risk activities will not come back to pop-up occ. they’ll meet farther away so it doesn’t affect. an occupation to gather, start marches from. F29 9am. wrap up around mid-afternoon. teach ins, fun actions: plus brigade, bike coalition.

Corner libraries w/Colin. who has spaces they can work with. what’s worked & hasn’t. if anybody’s got a good spot, let’s talk. different tactics in different neighborhoods.

Chicago: move-in starting May 1st eventhough we’re doing things here as well. G8/NATO! Jaime will be there 18-21st probably. 2 purposes: librarians from other occupations will get face-time w/each other. also organizing: count yr people and form affinity grps. form them ahead of time, start talking in March—circulation and reference. Radical reference & other radical grps. arrestability levels. who can go & who wants to go. Occupy Chicago library has indoor space. FYI: it’s going to be a fucking mess. know that. high security. if you’re zero arrest—don’t go.

Carmine Street space: Un-oppressive non-imperialist bargain books. Charlie reports back—our library satellite branch should be up and running in the next 2 weeks. it’s getting cleaner.

Revolution Books is excited about us, has books to donate. They’re glad we still exist.

World Book Night— Danny heard about this on glisten (lib sch listserv—can we get on it?). Betsy’s trying to see if we can get free books even though the deadline has passed.

Q: who’s got a library that’s still standing. Nashville still has a camp. DC. Raleigh’s getting raided. general discussion ensues.

end of meeting

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The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology reading/celebration

Friday February 17, 2012 10:00 pm
at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, 131 E. 10th Street, New York, NY 10003

This reading will celebrate The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology.  The OWS Poetry Anthology is a living/breathing, all-inclusive, and constantly expanding anthology of poetry in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Admission to the event is free and the reading will be modeled similarly to the Friday evening poetry assembly readings that have taken place at Liberty Plaza for the majority of the occupation there.  Readers will sign up to read from the anthology or from work they feel to be relevant to the OWS movement, then chosen by lot.

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Filed under Announcements, Betsy, Party time!, Poetry, Stephen