Category Archives: Announcements

THANK YOU: The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Has Been Printed!!!

photo by Ed Giardina

The anthology is being printed! I meant to publicly update on the progress of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology sooner, but I’ve been so busy picking up stacks of books and carting them around town to send out into the world, that I haven’t had the chance. Anyway, I’d just like everyone to know the books have begun to be printed! So far I’ve sent out about a dozen copies. I didn’t account for the cost of shipping such a large book, as I hadn’t been to the post office in awhile and was apparently out of touch with their rates. That said, if you’re in the New York City area and you’ve ordered a book we should try and arrange a meeting point so I can give you your book. The printer I’ve been working with is printing about 10 books a week so they’re slowly trickling out… the book is huge! 900 pages! I’ve updated the file on the OWS Poetry Anthology page so everyone can see it! There’s now three files: the cover, the anthology and the third file is the final segment of the book, scans of the contents of the “suggestion box” park participants put together and gave me after the raid on November 15th. I wrote a forward regarding the suggestion box which was published in the anthology and copy/pasted below.

This past weekend a copy of the anthology was on display at Surreal Estate as part of the Bushwick Open Studios event. This week, a copy will be on display, permanently, at Poets House. You can also see the anthology in its original binder form on display there as well. A copy has already been given to the New York Public Library and I believe a copy will be at the NYU Library soon… I also displayed a copy of the anthology at the Act Up + Occupy fundraising event at the end of April… Here’s a photo…

Once again, I’d just like to thank everyone that helped make this anthology a success! I can’t believe it’s making its way around the world, both on the web and in the physical! Copies are going all across America and Canada and copies have gone to Cork, Ireland; Paris, France; Latvia; and the United Kingdom! It’s truly a remarkable addition to the American Canon, at least that’s how I see it and it couldn’t have happened without hundreds of people coming together. Yes! Thanks again and please get in touch with me if you’re in the NYC area and you donated to receive an anthology as I’d like to arrange a time to give it to you… MEOW MEOW!!!!

The Suggestion Box:

When tents went up in Zuccotti Park the community was loosely divided into two clusters: At the western end of the park most of the drummers, anarchists, crust punks and long term Occupiers lived; the eastern end of the park was associated with the General Assembly, activist tourists, slacktivists, and people of privilege. However, the eastern end was also where Park mainstays like the Peoples Library, the media table, and the press table held court, and many of the people associated with those groups lived with their stations. So while it’s unfair to mandate clear boundaries, as many Occupiers blur the division made popular by Samantha Bee in her sketch for the “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” there is some truth in such observations. Such a delination places the infamous Kitchen at the center of the Park, the Park’s dividing line.

In keeping with this simplified observation, Occupiers living in the western end of the Park criticized the eastern end, specifically the General Assembly, for allowing people who were unfamiliar with the inner workings of life in the Park the ability to set rules and guidelines that would determine daily structure. Many of the people that lived in the Park full time were too busy with daily work to make it to the G. A.’s, so they often felt excluded from the decision making process and alienated from the people less invested in living in the Park. These non–Occupiers were engaged in a dialogue that felt rewarding to them but lacked an understanding of the community for which they were making decisions.

Eventually, the eastern end of the Park began to disrupt the G.A. which evolved into these Occupiers staging their own anti-G.A. in rebellion of the “sanctioned” G.A. held in the western end of the Park. The anti-G.A. was held in honor of all those living in the Park as a way of challenging the social norms that the Park’s community had established. The eastern end of the Park was made up of many small communities of long term as well as newly founded friendships; it was a place that was often criticized as violent, drug fueled, one harboring misguided extremists (flag burning, confronting police officers, destroying public property, etc). One of the most notorious bands of people in the east end of the Park established a community called, “Nick @ Night.” In keeping with the parks communal atmosphere, this community was started by and maintained a tobacco-rolling station, offering passerbys cigarettes. Rumors always seemed to fly around the Park regarding the shenanigans that took place in the area they occupied…. Despite the flack they received from the community at large, in my opinion they often defied stereotypes. The greatest example of their ability to transcend beyond the pranks and childish behavior they were known for, came shortly after the Raid, when I was handed a box they kept called the Suggestion Box. Like the OWS Poetry Anthology, the Suggestion Box was available to everyone. It was explained to me that they were curating the box as a way to compile a large body of suggestions; and once a large body was acquired, they were going to make these suggestions public so people could then engage with the material. After the Park was raided, many of the east enders left New York City, became disillusioned with the movement, or were pushed to other parts of the city with the rest of the Occupation. The box was handed to me for safe keeping/ archival purposes, so its contents could be added to the anthology and the originals maintained.

At first I typed the messages people wrote, but the typed version failed to capture the essence, the love, and the thoughtfulness that went into each suggestion. So Jackie Sheeler and I scanned them in order not to disrupt the essential rawness of the material: the scans maintain the small details that are lost when handwriting is converted to type. For the past few months I’ve been reading Michael Taussig’s book, I SWEAR I SAW IT; he gave a signed copy to the People’s Library upon the book’s release. Taussig investigates the value of the notebook. He sees handwritten recordings as kindling the mystique; he notes how they’re able to blend inner and outter worlds, to show peculiarities of knowledge and the complexities of life. After all, isn’t the Occupy Wall Street Movement a journey to discover new ways of thinking, seeing, and interacting with the world?

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen, Time Travel

OWS and People’s Librarians File Federal Lawsuit against the City for 11/15 Raid on Zuccotti Park

Today, Occupy Wall Street and several librarians from the People’s Library filed a Federal lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, as well as other unknown city officials and employees, charging them with unconstitutional and unlawful seizure, damage and destruction of the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library in the middle of night on November 15, 2011, part of the wider raid on the occupation of Zuccotti Park.

On that night, with a scant 45-minute warning, NYPD officers ordered Zuccotti Park cleared and vacated. Occupiers were told they would be allowed to return when the park had been cleaned and that remaining property would be transported to a DSNY garage on 57th Street, where it could be recovered with proper identification. However, the NYPD blocked librarians—inside and outside the park—from gathering the library’s books and equipment. With most occupiers and journalists expelled from the park, workers loaded items from the park into “crusher” trucks, only later switching to flatbed trucks. The next day, when librarians went to recover books and equipment from the 57th St. Sanitation Garage, they found just a small percentage of the books that were taken. Of the approximately 3,600 books seized that night, only 1,003 were recovered. Of that number, 201 were so damaged while in the possession of the City of New York that they were made unreadable. Thus, at least approximately 2,798 books were never returned—presumably victims of the “crusher” trucks—or were damaged beyond repair.

Most of the library simply disappeared: the books, the tent, the shelves, our stamps, our donation box, and more. The books that came back destroyed stank with mildew and food waste; some resembled accordions or wrung-out laundry.

None of this is new. We made the results of Bloomberg’s raid public back in November, asking the city to replace the books and admit wrongdoing. However, Bloomberg has not admitted wrongdoing and has denied that any books or property was damaged or destroyed. We know that is not true.

We cannot allow the Mayor and his commissioners to get away with these violations of law and constitutional rights. We have now filed a Federal lawsuit to demand accountability from the city and its officials, demanding both compensatory and punitive damages. We believe that the raid and its aftermath violated our First-Amendment rights to free expression, Fourth-Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, and Fourteenth-Amendment rights to due process, as well as the laws of the City of New York regarding the vouchsafing of seized property. We are demanding compensatory damages for the lost/destroyed books and equipment, which we have estimated at at least $47,000. In addition, because we believe the seizure and destruction of the books went beyond negligence to constitute a reckless and callous indifference to our constitutional rights, we are demanding punitive damages of at least $1000.

These books—and the library itself—arose organically with Occupy Wall Street; visitors and occupiers (as well as authors, publishers, and editors) brought books and other materials to the park, and librarians —some professionals, and others not—stepped forward to steward what at the time of the raid became a collection of 5,500 titles with an honor-system borrowing policy. The library was a common space for education, debate, relaxation, and information. While lawsuits use the language of “property” and “damages,” what is at stake here is much more. Our books—and these were all our books—should not have been destroyed. We hope to hold the Bloomberg Administration accountable for their actions on Nov 15th.

Full complaint is here.

13 Comments

Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Announcements

Media Alert for Library Press Event/Lawsuit: THURSDAY, MAY 24, 11:00 AM

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2012

Press Contact: press@occupywallst.org, 347-292-1444

For this action only: William Scott, 412-390-6510

Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Wall Street Librarians to file Federal Court lawsuit against Bloomberg, the City of New York and NYPD — legal effort to uncover November 15 raid details.

New York–A lawsuit will be filed tomorrow, May 24, in Manhattan Federal Court seeking redress for the destruction of books, materials and equipment from the popular and respected People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). NYPD raided and forcibly evicted Occupy Wall Street, including the People’s Library, from its Liberty Square camp (also known as Zuccotti Park) on November 15, 2011. The middle-of-the night raid, by members of the NYPD and other city agencies, was authorized by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Journalists were prevented from witnessing the attack; some were arrested. The raid struck not only at Constitutional rights but at a fundamental tool of enlightenment – thousands of library books and materials were destroyed.

What: Federal Court lawsuit filing, press availability with OWS Librarians and lawyers. Copies of the complaint will be available.

When: Thursday, May 24, at 11:00 AM

Where: United States District Court (Manhattan Federal Court), Manhattan. Press availability OUTSIDE — directly across the street from the 200 Worth entrance, on the sidewalk in front of Columbus Park

Who: Occupy Wall Street Librarians from the People’s Library, lawsuit attorneys Norman Siegel and Herbert Teitelbaum of Siegel, Teitelbaum & Evans.

Occupy Wall Street is part of an international people powered movement fighting for economic justice in the face of neoliberal economic practices, the crimes of Wall Street, and a government controlled by monied interests. #OWS is the 99% organizing to end the tyranny of the 1%. For more info, visit www.occupywallst.org and www.nycga.net

# # #

8 Comments

Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Announcements, Betsy, Cops, Media

May Day Verse

From the foregathered there comes a cry

an echo of all that has been said before

in every language

in every way

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

it seems a message

will play here forever

it reaches even those who cannot hear

those who refuse to hear

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

like an echo of all that has been said before

from the foregathered there comes a cry

here it is then

OCCUPY

visit

www.theowsreview.org

for new words from Peter Lamborn Wilson

and submit your literary arts to:

occupyreview@gmail.com

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Art, Literature, Poetry, Sean, Solidarity

May Day General Strike Info Round-Up

Tomorrow!  I can barely contain myself.  In the meantime, here’s DA Mom’s round-up of important information for tomorrow’s actions in New York City.

The May Day NYC website has a schedule of events, list of participating organizations, links to other locations’ actions, and other useful tidbits.

If you use Twitter, some of the hashtags to follow will be #MayDay, #M1NYC, #M1GS, #GeneralStrike, #99PKTS, #May1, #OWS, #MTA, #NYPD, #NYC.  Tweeters who usually have good info include @OWSTactical, @DiceyTroop, @sabokitty, @OccupySteve, @_girlalex, @OWSBC, @PoweredByCats, @occutine, @TimCast, @OccupyWallSt, @OccupyWallStNYC.  Your dear librarians tweet, as always, from @OWSLibrary.

Streamers work from two places, UStream and LiveStream.  On UStream, try stopmotionsolo, pinkladies, timcast, occupiedair, or owsnyclive.  On LiveStream, try owshdtv.

If that’s not enough media for you, there’s also May Day Radio and Media For the 99%.

Enough of that.  On to dressing and packing!  It’s going to be a long day, the weather might not be great, there’s going to be a lot of long walks, and the cops are going to be heavy-handed.   That said, some of your decisions can be made based on your risk level; if you’ll be in green zones all day you might dress differently than if you’ll be going red.  A longer check-list is here.  My advice:

  • Comfy, sturdy, water-proof or -resistant shoes, such as hiking boots.
  • Full-length pants.
  • A couple upper-body layers that are breathable & will still keep you warm if damp.  I’ll be wearing light wool.
  • It might rain in the morning, consider a light rain coat that can be stuffed in a bag when the weather clears.
  • If you have the space, carry some clothes that allow you to khaki-flage or go civilian.  Or, dress that way in the first place.  For example, I might pack a blouse and a pair of loafers, and wear corduroys instead of jeans.  That way I can look “normal” in a rush-hour crowd or look business-casual if I end up doing jail support later in the day.
  • Do not bring anything that you aren’t ok with loosing.
  • Do not wear contact lenses.  Really.
  • Don’t wear earrings, necklaces, etc. that could be grabbed and ripped off.
  • Don’t wear makeup or put on lotion — pepper spray sticks to it.
  • Wear long hair so that it can’t easily be grabbed, such as in a bun.
  • Smaller bags, worn close to the body, are better.  Harder to grab, and lighter.
  • Water and calorie-dense snacks (Clif Bars, nuts, dried fruit, pastries).
  • If you expect to be in yellow or red zones, consider a couple bandanas (mind the masking laws!), leather work gloves, air-tight goggles.  Some of this stuff is really specific to the kinds of less-than-lethal weapons your local police force likes to use; for example, tear gas canisters are hot, so you need gloves to throw them back handle them, but aren’t a thing we’ve seen NYPD use.  [By the way, canisters are easily dealt with by either putting a bucket over them or submersing them in water. Just saying.]
  • Cell phone & camera.  Bring an extra battery and charging cables.
  • Carry a valid government-issued ID, if you have one.  You don’t legally have to, but you might get out of jail faster.
  • DO NOT bring anything that can incriminate you or people connected to you.  Weapons, drugs you don’t have a prescription for (bring a doctor’s note or prescription if you have legal drugs), your address book, etc.  Delete interesting photos from your phone or camera.  If you are arrested the cops will go through all your stuff very carefully.

There’re a few important phone numbers.  These are New York City specific.  The National Lawyers Guild (those are the folks in the green hats) is 212-679-6018.  Jail Support Coordination is 774-257-4697.  Medic dispatch is 917-727-8621.  If you  haven’t already committed the NLG number to memory, write it on yourself in Sharpie, somewhere that clothes and sweat won’t rub it off. I go with the inside of my calf.  Especially if you will be in red zones, also consider writing an emergency contact number and medical info (blood type, allergies, etc) on your body, in case you get the shit beaten out of you.  If you witness arrests, or are arrested yourself, call the NLG to report it.  Try to get arrestees’ names, so that we can find them later at precincts and central booking.  If not, give a good description, or at the very least a head-count.  If someone near you is injured, yell “medic!” as loud as you can.

Lastly, we know that the cops are mostly a bunch of jerks who don’t like to uphold the law when it’s inconvenient to do so.  Which means, while there are laws about where we can be and what we can do, it doesn’t mean we won’t be arrested for trying to do those supposedly legal things.  Signs, standing on the sidewalk, running, dancing, saying mean things, et fucking cetera, have all gotten folks arrested lately.  That said, there are some things you can do to decrease your chance of arrest, or at least give yourself a stronger case in court.

Know your rights!  The NY Civil Liberties Union has a lot of information, but I’ll also sum it up for you.  As we said at summer camp, this is a repeat-after-me song; as you read this paragraph, repeat the things you might have to say a few times out loud.  If police stop you, ask, “Am I free to go?”  If they say yes, leave; if they say no, ask “Am I being detained?”  If they say no, leave; if they say yes, holler for legal and media.   If cops try to search you, say, “I do not consent to this search.”  They’ll probably still search you, but anything they find may not then be admissible in court.  Of course, if they have a warrant, they can search you and it’ll be admissible, no matter what you say; in that case, demand to see the warrant, don’t let them bullshit you.  This also applies if cops show up at your door.  Do not let them in — don’t even open the door! — unless they show you a warrant with all the correct information on it.  Other than the above, the only other thing you should ever say to a cop (or other law enforcement agent) is “I am going to remain silent; I would like to speak to a lawyer.”  You can (and probably should) give them you name and address, but after that, shut up.  Really, anything you say can and will be used against you, so zip it!  As Safer Spaces said at GA on my first day at the occupation: rule number one, don’t talk to cops, rule number two, don’t talk to cops!  You are allowed to video the cops, including any interactions you have with them.  They won’t like it, but it’s legal and good idea.

A short word on horses — the NYPD likes to bring them out for crowd control on big action days.  We may see some tomorrow.  Horses are naturally disinclined to step on people, though some of that gets trained out of police mounts.  So, if you’ve got some coming at you, and you can’t get out of the way, make yourself compact, cover your head, keep your limbs tucked in, and stay still.

 

So, I’ll see y’all in the morning.  I plan to eat a good dinner, polish my boots, kiss one of my menfolk, and go to bed early.  We’ve a long day ahead of us.

Leave a comment

Filed under #M1GS, Announcements, Cops, Direct Action, Free Speech, Jaime, NLG, Party time!, Radical Reference, Solidarity

Meeting tomorrow!

Y’all, we’ve a working group meeting tomorrow, Sunday, April 29. It’s the last chance we have to get ourselves settled before May Day, so everyone please show up.

6pm by the Gandhi statue in Union Square.

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Jaime, Process

May Day!

Just one week until May Day, friends!  (Which will also be my 28th birthday.  A general strike: great birthday present, or best birthday present ever?)  As Betsy mentioned below, the People’s Library will be out and about at Bryant Park, Madison Square Park (with Free University), and Union Square.

It’s going to be a big, exciting day.  But, since the NYPD doesn’t like us to have nice things, we expect to see some of our friends end up in jail (again).  If anyone out there has a few bucks to spare, we’d all really appreciate contributions to the OWS May Day Legal Expense Fund.  That’s the bail fund, folks, and more money means more of our people bailed out, on May Day and in the future.  After trials are complete, bail money circulates back into the fund, so it’s a gift that keeps giving.

And, if you just can’t wait for May Day to hit the streets, there are a few actions between now and then.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 25, ACT-UP is holding a 25th anniversary action, and calling for a financial transaction tax to raise the funds needed to end the global AIDS epidemic.  Meet at City Hall at 11am for a rally and then march down towards Wall Street.  ACT-UP has always rolled pretty hard, and lots of folks are coming from out of town, so it should be very exciting!

Also tomorrow, 4pm at Union Square,  the Occupy Student Debt Campaign is having a mocking party to recognize that the combined student debt in the USA has topped $1trillion.  Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, Plus Brigades, and Billionaires for Debt will all be in attendance.

And then, this Friday will be the last weekly Spring Training before May Day; meet at Liberty at 2pm.  See you in the streets!

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Donations, Jaime, Solidarity

Running Out Of Time: Help Print The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology: And it’s been updated!!!

In synchronicity with Poetry Month, which runs throughout April, a small and very committed group of people have been hard at work preparing the anthology for print. In addition to editing, reformatting, and composing a table of contents for the considerable volume of verse contained therein, we have also been working to raise the necessary funding to make this printing possible. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here. The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology consists of 721 poems by 448 poets, as well as 4 introductory texts. The poems are in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu, German, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch. The online PDF file has officially been updated to include recent additional poems, a Table of Contents and a new section at the end “Suggestion Box.” The backgrounds, career paths, political affiliations, gender identities, opinions, and stylistic choices of the authors are as varied as the occupy movement itself. In bypassing the curatorial and marketing concerns which are de rigeur of a publishing company, we have attempted to create a fully inclusive document; a record of our collective voice which stands in solidarity with not only its authors but as a testament to the literal space held by the general public surrounding the time of its creation.

On April 14th, we gave two copies of a preliminary printing to the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library on the occasion of a reading celebrating the anthology and discussing the importance of the upcoming Mayday strike. The library is currently hosting an installation of poems from the anthology, on display until the end of April. It is an honor and a great achievement to have the NYPL support and recognize the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology; by creating space on its shelves for this book, the NYPL is ensuring that future readers will be able to access this crucial moment in history from the perspectives of those who lived it.

To print this text in its entirety is a special opportunity. Not only does the anthology consist of poems from all over the world, it also has drawings, paintings, and other ephemera from Zuccotti Park. It is simultaneously a beacon for free speech and a time capsule for future generations, so they may examine the hearts and minds that comprised and supported the Occupy Movement in its early stages. All submissions were accepted, so there are also entries that are critical of the Occupy Movement as well as poems in dialogue with subject matter contingent to the direct act of protest/occupation. After speaking with several publishers whose demands to print a consolidated version of the book [highlighting mostly its more noted contributors] were clearly not in keeping with the inclusive tone of the Occupy movement, the decision to self-publish became imperative. The document, in its entirety, is already print-ready. The ultimate goal of this edition is to ensure that the anthology remains in circulation by distributing copies to major libraries and literary institutions on an international level, as well as providing copies to each contributor and enabling us to give the book, free of charge, to as many people as possible.

By supporting the campaign to fund the printing of the anthology, you are ensuring copies get to occupations, library systems and special collections around the world. By the end of May, it is entirely possible for every occupation to have a few copies of the anthology to show passersby that don’t necessarily understand the gravity and global scope of the movement, or how such a movement could be made up of no demands. Also–if enough money is raised, individuals, as well as libraries and special collections, will be able to own a copy. Those that donate $50 or more will be able to not only support the printing of copies that will go to the public domain, but will also receive their own copy. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here.

And a photo Eliot Katz sent me, to share with everyone::

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Party time!, Poetry, Stephen, Time Travel

This Weekend: Reading @Jefferson Market Library and ACT UP + OCCUPY!

For the month of April, the Jefferson Market Library is hosting an exhibition of poems from the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology in the spiral staircase leading library goers from the ground floor to the main room. April is POETRY MONTH! And the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology is open to all poems: famous poets sit next to obscure poets, experimental poems are next to traditional ones, there are many languages, and poems both for and against the the Occupy Movement. The anthology consists of 721 poems, 4 poetic introductions, 448 poets (140 women, 275 men, 34 androgynous) and poems in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu, German, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch.

Tomorrow, April 14th, the Jefferson Market Library has opened its doors to OWS Poetry Anthology to host a reading so all the poets and the community at large can come out and engage with each other. This is a great opportunity for the Occupy Movement to educate and converse with the West Village Community. And they have two weeks to engage with the poems on the walls and think about what is being said…. So come prepared! I’ve even invited all the poets in the Anthology to read a poem as well, so expect to be challenged and expect to be loved!

Poets will get 3-5minutes to read their work, depending on the size of the crowd…. The event will be held in a similar fashion to the Poetry Assemblies: readers will add their name to a “hat” and be called at random. The event will kick off with a short “lecture” on the significance of MAY DAY and the GENERAL STRIKE, which is currently a major focus of the Occupy Movement…. if you don’t know much about it, or have questions or wanna hear about it from an expert, be sure to be there at 2pm. If you have serious ethical, moral, or safety concerns about the poems on the walls, be sure to tell a librarian! They’ll take your concerns, print and laminate them, and post them on the wall so everyone can consider what you got to say…. Also email them to me, so I can add it to the anthology ;) stephenjboyerATgmailDOTcom

Also, to mark the occasion, we will be presenting the NYPL with two copies of the anthology. One will go to central archives and the other will stay in the Jefferson Market branch

And if you haven’t heard, the anthology is currently running a campaign to raise money so it can be printed and sent to occupations, special collections, and major library systems around the world. The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology is an anthology made by and for the people…. Please spread the word: if we are going to be able to do this, we will need for this to go viral and be supported by everyone. The link for the campaign is here, at indiegogo.

SUNDAY:::

To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the AIDS activist group ACT UP will return to its roots and stage a massive demonstration and march on Wall Street — on Wednesday, April 25 — starting at 11 am at City Hall and ending on Wall Street.

Hundreds of protestors are expected to converge for a daylong siege in Lower Manhattan.

ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) will be joined by Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the organization making history this year and last with its public encampments and series of protests against the global financial community. The groups are joining forces to pump up the
volume on a growing nationwide outcry for a “Financial Speculation Tax” (Fi.S.T.) on Wall Street.

The groups are calling on local, state, and federal legislators to “give Wall Street the FiST,” which is needed to fill AIDS funding gaps and — once and for all — provide universal healthcare in the US. It’s time for effective healthcare to be made available to everyone — to the 99%, not just the 1%.

The Fi.S.T. does not target individual investors, and would not affect regular bank transactions. Instead, it would place a small tax — a mere fraction of one percent — on speculative trading by Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other large financial institutions.

HIV treatment saves lives — by preventing new infections and keeping those already infected from reaching end-stage AIDS. However, of all people worldwide in need of access to HIV treatment, only 44% have it. More than 8 million people do not. In the United States today, 3,840 people who qualify for federal assistance to pay for HIV treatment are on waiting lists — or in other words, are at risk of dying from AIDS.

“The AIDS crisis is not over,” says veteran ACT UP New York member Ann Northrop. “But, we know it could be,” she adds.

AIDS treatment — when combined with simple prevention interventions — is the key to breaking the back of the epidemic worldwide. In addition to saving lives, early HIV/AIDS treatment reduces the risk of transmission of HIV by 96%. And so, with sufficient funding for
treatment and prevention, we can turn the tide on AIDS. Globally, HIV/AIDS has claimed over 30 million lives.

Both ACT UP and OWS suggest the revenue from a Financial Speculation Tax would be significant — potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The revenue from this tax should be used to fund the end of the AIDS pandemic, i.e. to fill in US budget gaps in the fight against
HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. It should be used to provide treatment, services and prevention to thousands of Americans and millions around the world. The groups also say the tax could help pay for universal healthcare in the US.

“We are organizing this historic united front to bring our message to governments and to Wall Street financiers who are sitting on the key to ending the AIDS epidemic,” according to Eric Sawyer, a founding member of ACT UP New York. “There is no excuse. We have the know how to end AIDS. It is lack of funding and political will that keeps us from reaching universal access to HIV treatment worldwide.”

Additional organizations are expected to join the demonstration in New York City, including Housing Works, Health GAP, National Nurses United, OWS Healthcare for the 99% Working Group, Visual AIDS, MIX NYC, Le Petit Versailles, Queerocracy, Queering OWS and others. The action will be in New York on April 25th — but the need is global. And, the time is now.

AIDS is now. END AIDS NOW!

ACT UP & Occupy!
Tax Wall Street!
End AIDS!

The AIDS crisis is not over — but it could be! Tax Wall St. to End #AIDS #ACTUP #OWS #OccupyAIDS #OccupyWallSt #TaxWallSt #EndAIDS #April25 #ActUp25 #A25

3 Comments

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

Help Print The OWS Poetry Anthology!

 

I’ve started a campaign for printing the OWS Poetry Anthology, the goal is to raise $40,000. You can check out the fundraiser on indiegogo here.

The OWS Poetry Anthology was born the second week of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Assembly. I was so overwhelmed by the diversity and greatness of the poems presented during the first week of the Assembly, that I knew the assembly must be archived. So at the second Poetry Assembly I asked the poets gathered if I could archive it, then I gave out my email, expecting only a few poems to show up in my inbox. The response was overwhelming, and in the weeks that followed, I received a steady stream of poems from people all over the world. It seemed everyone that had been struck by the Occupy Movement had something to say, and an open Poetry Anthology, that was open to all voices and all types of “poetry” seemed like the appropriate way of archiving the inclusive spirit of Occupy Wall Street.

Many names have contributed to the anthology, some of which you may know: the visual artist Molly Crabapple did the cover art and some of the more prominent poets that contributed are Adrienne Rich, Eileen Myles, Ngoma Hill, the Allen Ginsberg Society on behalf of Allen, Wanda Coleman, CA Conrad, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Charles Bernstein, Eliot Katz, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lee Ann Brown, Anne Waldman, Puma Pearl, Danny Schechter, Stuart Leonard, Filip Marinovich, Ariana Reines, Frank Sherlock, and many many more…

The money donated to this project will allow for the OWS Poetry Anthology to be printed and given away to a lot of people. The more money the project receives, the more copies we will be able to print. The anthology has been open to anyone to send in poems of any size and definition since early October 2011. It’s over a thousand Microsoft Word pages. It’s probably the lengthiest, most inclusive text the Occupy Wall Street movement has yet produced and its a direct reflection of the SOUL of the movement. On April 14th, the Jefferson Market Library in Manhattan will be hosting the OWS Poetry Anthology community for an afternoon of open readings, where anyone can come and join and read a poem. To mark the occasion, we will be presenting the library with the first book print copy of the anthology for them to have on record. Also the money will go towards shipping and storage fees.

The Anthology is over a thousand pages, it’s a very big book. Originally I was going to ask for $50,000.00 as it’s going to be expensive to print this book and ship it. But in the interest of just getting copies into the world, I figured it was safer to shoot for $30,000.00. However, if the goal is met, and more money comes in, that will mean more copies can be printed. The more copies printed, the more people will be able to own it and the more special collections we will be able to get it into. By the time this project is completed, the NY Public Library and Poet’s House in NYC will already have copies in their collections. I’d like to get this important record into as many public collections as possible.

For the past few months I’ve been trying to persuade publishers to print the book in its entirety but it seems the values of this book do not mesh with the values of a publishing company, as we would like for this book to be given out to people freely and we would prefer not exclude any poets nor poems from its pages. So it seems the only way to keep the book, in all its magick, is to print it ourselves and to bring it to the people ourselves, and to read from its pages ourselves. This book is a radical departure from the traditional structure of the “anthology”, most anthologies are very selective, while this collection seeks to welcome all forms of poetry and engages in experiments like placing a famous poets poet next to a never before heard poet. What happens when you don’t exclude an idea and you let everyone encounter the idea? What happens when you print thousands of copies of a book of poetry and GIVE IT AWAY FREE?!

The poems that have comprised this anthology are poems from the soul, poems demanding a new world, poems begging that the recession end, poems from hysterical and starving peers, even poems from the 1% ready to argue against Occupy Wall Street, there are poems from the world over that is standing up virtually naked at the feet of a corporate beast, a war of David versus Goliath scope, and the people that have assembled and added to the OWS Anthology are ready to speak out against the atrocities destroying our Earth, fight back and create a future that can beget a future.

I read from and spoke about the Anthology on WBAI a little while back, you can listen to that program here. The Anthology has received a lot of press, from independent press to the Nation to the Wall Street Journal. So if you’re interested and unfamiliar with this project, search around the internet and you will find a lot of information about what we’ve been doing! Thank you!

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

Poetry Anthology Update + Writing Prompt!

As I recently posted, we’re going to be putting on an OWS Poetry Anthology reading at the Jefferson Market Library on April 14th, from 2-5pm. As part of the reading, we’re going to be giving the library a copy of the OWS Poetry Anthology for them to keep as part of their special collections. If you’d like to be in the anthology that will be available at the New York Public Library, be sure to send me your poem by the evening of April 8th, a Sunday. As you probably know, the anthology is ever growing, but we’re going to give them an edition of it, so whatever has been sent to me by April 8th will go into the version of the anthology they’ll have on file. I hope to include your poem in it! Send work to stephenjboyer(AT)gmail.com. Also, if you want to help with some “fixing up” work on the anthology, get in touch with me! As I am trying to clean it up, fix formatting and typo’s. But no changes to any poems will be made! And only want help from people, that will respect all the differing work that has been sent into the anthology.

For those of you that need a prompt or some sort of push toward a poetic starting place… I suggest you go to Occupy Union Square and show solidarity with all the beautiful people currently living and occupying there… DISCOURSE DISCOURSE DISCOURSE and then go home and weave the conversations into an epic poem! For the more adventurous… I’ve been thinking it might be interesting to have people watch the documentary “Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove” by Alex Jones and then write a poem from the eyes of the owl god Moloch. Shoot forth from the eyes Moloch and unleash verse upon the robed men gathered to worship you!

Remember reality: PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER. ALL PEOPLE. HAVE THE POWER. The people gathered in the documentary may have accumulated “wealth” but it’s actually THE PEOPLE, you know, EVERYBODY that has THE POWER. I don’t mean to get all Star Wars on you, but it’s true… The elites NEED us. We do not need them. Spring forth, GOD/DESS, (the elites worship you) and fill their souls with verse! Moloch! You are the center of a weird, bizarre ancient Canaanite, Lucifarian, Babylonian ceremony, please make sure I get a spot on the guest list…

“What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!

Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovas! Moloch whose factories dream and choke in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!

Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!

Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!

Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!

Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!”

-Allen Ginsberg
excerpt from HOWL

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Party time!, Poetry, Stephen, Time Travel

And then the NYPD did what they know how to do…

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements

Spring Fling! Mark Your Calendar!

Happy Sixth Month Anniversary! Spring has come to New York City! Which means, if you’ve been hiding and resting this winter (like I did for a bit) it’s time to dust off your signs and hit the streets! The flowers are in bloom and job prospects are still scarce, so it’s the perfect time to fall in love and with Cupid’s arrow hanging out of your side, run around the streets of New York demanding a better world for you and your new found lover. Today, at the six month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, I was struck by Cupid’s arrow when I noticed a boy screaming hysterically at a swarm of nypd officers, “fuck you you fucking pig you cant push me on a fucking public sidewalk you fucking pig!” Swoon!

Here are some more photo’s I took with my phone today:

Also, I’d like to announce the next OWS Poetry Anthology Reading! It’s going to be April 14th at the Jefferson Market Library in the West Village. The reading will be from 2pm-5pm and it’s a chance for us to CELEBRATE POETRY MONTH! This is a great opportunity for the OWS Community, The People’s Library, the OWS Poetry Community, and the West Village Community to meet, talk and discuss through the form of poetry. Like all readings past, the reading is open to everyone, readers will get 3-5 minutes depending on how many people show up and everyone is encouraged to invite everyone. Like the anthology, all points of view accepted. I’ve been talking with the head librarian and he’s also opened the doors for us to put up a bunch of OWS Anthology poems throughout the library as decorations so library goers can read poems while they peruse the shelves. The occasion will also provide us the opportunity to place a copy of the OWS Poetry Anthology in the library, so the NYPL will officially have a copy of the OWS Poetry Anthology for the community to enjoy. Yes! And if that isn’t enough, we’ll be opening the reading with a quick talk by one of the OWS communities many organizers, to explain the significance and the history and the reason why we are calling for a GENERAL STRIKE on May 1st. If you can’t tell already, I’m excited! Get in touch if you’d like to help or if you can assist with printing and laminating costs as it’s gonna cost a bit to get the poems ready to hang around the library.

So yeah, it’s Spring! May Day is coming! Hopefully I’ll be seeing you in the streets!

And PS: Recently I spoke to my cousin about his time in the Middle East working for the US Military, and it ripped me apart and I was appalled and disgusted beyond belief and for a week I couldn’t think and all I wanted to do was cry but then I was finally able to write about it, and if you want the full gory details, then go here.

7 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

Wall Street to Main Street


Six months after Occupy Wall Street (OWS) sparked a global 99% movement, Occupy with Art and Masters on Main Street launch “Wall Street to Main Street” (WS2MS) in historic Catskill, NY. Through a dynamic series of art exhibits, performances, screenings, happenings, public discussions, community- and family-focused activities, WS2MS will not only illuminate the amazing phenomenon of OWS, it will explore possible futures of the movement and build a creative bridge to connect the protests with the real needs and values of Main Street, USA.

Occupy Books: An Experiment in Communal Reading, located at 450 Main Street. This site is books + couches and reading lamps, including an opportunity to write on its walls reflections, quotes, messages and/or whatever you want.  Importantly, the books at Occupy Books are by donation, in keeping with the OWS People’s Library, which will be contributing books from its collection for this action.

WS2MS opens March 17, 2012 in Catskill, NY.

If you would like to donate books directly to the show, please ship to the address below:

Occupy Books
C/O Green County Council on the Arts
P.O.Box 463, 398 Main Street
Catskill, New York 12414

 

2 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Betsy, Literature, Solidarity

#OccupyThought: First papers online, reviewers invited.

The following is an update on the #OccupyThought project. They are seeking Occupiers and others for feedback on this first round of papers.

“We have released our first dozen papers, and are seeking comments, critiques, and responses from theorists and activists. Please join the conversation here: http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/cluster/occupythought

Additional submissions are also welcomed, both from concerned scholars and from theoretically-minded activists. The extended deadline is March 20th. Address inquiries to d.e.wittkower at gmail dot com, or stay informed about the project here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/occupy-thought

#OccupyThought: First papers

Welcome to the #Occupation - Steven Michels

Whiteness and the 99% - Joel Olson

Lessons from Occupy: Name the enemy - Linda Alcoff

The “Occupy” Movement and the Politics to Come - Paul Livingston

Is Occupy Wall Street Communist? - Stephen Tumino

Hannah Arendt on Cairo and Occupy - Anthony Boese

Aesthetic Theory, Aesthetic Praxis: The Poetics of Activism - Josh Robinson

What is your Occupation? - Miles Kennedy

Occupy the Future: Occupying the US Higher and Secondary - Angelo Letizia

Becoming Revolution - Benjamin Schrader

Democracy: A Work in Progress - Philip Goff

Practical solutions and a Comprehensive vision for America - Henckel Miranda

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, Michael

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.

5 Comments

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

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.

2 Comments

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

Weekly Working Group Meeting 2/5/12

The weekly working group meeting of The People’s Library will be held this Sunday, February 5 at 6PM at the Atrium at 60 Wall St. Come and join us to hear all of the updates on our latest campaigns including Operation Book Bomb Tucson!

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements

The Sad Story of Five Imprisoned Children’s Books

On Tuesday, January 24th about 20 people met at the Red Cube down by Liberty Plaza to march in solidarity with the People’s Library to One Police Plaza to retrieve five children’s books (a few of which were Spanish-English language books) the NYPD took from librarians back in the beginning of December. Many of us thought the trek would probably take a while due to police bureaucracy but none of us for once thought we’d walk away empty handed. After all we had the receipts. And we had one of the “unidentified white male” librarians (me) that were in the park that evening and are in the park on a regular basis. Long story short, we went to One Police Plaza, I was the only person allowed into the building as I was the one with the receipt. My fellow occupier cohorts were lucky to have stayed behind, as the NYPD took my photo using facial recognition software upon entering the building, they made copies of my ID, they radioed to officers throughout the building, “WARNING: THERE IS AN OCCUPIER ENTERING THE BUILDING.” At every turn officers commanded me to stop, then allowed me to continue on my journey, an eerie continual reminder that I was being watched and I was in the heart of the police state.

Finally I made it to the bottom of One Police Plaza and waited to meet the clerk working the Reclaim Property desk. Once I finally presented my papers, the clerk explained the computer was slow as molasses and I should expect to wait awhile. Eight minutes later the clerk looked up and asked me who the books belonged to.
They’re everybody’s… I mean they’re mine,” I replied…. the clerk explained that the cases information had popped up! Then glared as she told me I couldn’t take the books, “since you have the invoice receipts, it suggests the books probably do belong to you, but because the officer wrote on the paperwork ‘unidentified white male’ we can’t give them to you. We just want to make sure the books go to the right person.” –Oh I understood!

“But”, I retorted, “I’ve been heavily involved with the People’s Library. It’s really easy to prove this fact…”

The clerk looked up and gave me a long stern look before further explaining, “We just want to make sure the books get to the rightful owner. This invoice suggests the books were left on the bench and that they don’t necessarily belong to anybody. Let me tell you what I’m going to do… I’m going to contact the officer that collected the books and we will send him a copy of your ID and if he indeed validates your claim, you can collect the books, okay.”

From behind the clerk I heard a loud cackle, and then a detective appeared and exclaimed in a heavy Brooklyn accent, “Like an NYPD Officer is going to remember someone’s face!”

As oddly and quickly as the detective appeared, they disappeared. The clerk acted like nothing happened, smiled and asked for my ID. I presented my ID, realizing this was the third time during the trip NYPD recorded my information. Once my information was AGAIN collected, the clerk gave me the officers contact information, suggested I too try to contact the officer, she explained the officer was from the Bron, the NYPD has been deploying officers from every Borough to watch the park, then again she gave me a long cold look as she handed me back the paperwork.

On 12/05/2011 at 10:44pm The NYPD gave a librarian the invoice for the five children’s books seized:
“AT TPO UNK MALE WHITE DID PLACE THESE BOOKS ON A PARK BENCH I/O OF ZUCOTTI PARK AND REFUSED TO PICK THEM UP. THE ABOVE ITEMS ARE BEING VOUCHERED FOR SAFEKEEPING.”

What actually happened?

A few of our librarians were in the park that evening with a handful of books with them. By the beginning of December, the People’s Library librarians understood loud and clear that NYPD and Brookfield Security did not want to see books in the park. Two days after the park was violently raided and everything was cleared out, fifteen officers came and took away around 200 copies of books that people had brought into the park in solidarity. Every day after that, Brookfield Security and NYPD changed their story, one day they’d let us bring in carts of books, the next day they’d let us set up on the bench, the next day no books would be permitted, the next day we could put books on the tables, a vicious continuum of police state brutality. Instead of NYPD officers ever acting supportive of our attempts to give out free books, they continually used fear tactics and changed their story making it impossible for us to ever feel safe (when that is supposed to be the reason our tax payer dollars ensure they’re able to support their families). So on December 5th, a few of the OWS librarians were in the park with a small collection of books, 5 children books were on the bench that used to house The People’s Library. Officers approached a librarian and threatened arrest and the removal of the books. When the librarian backed off, the officer took the books. An hour later officers approached librarians that were in the park and delivered us the invoice to retrieve the books.

Currently I’m working on validating myself to the NYPD so I can get these books back. Either I will be validated and they’ll give me back the books or we’re going to need to gather a large crowd and go cause a big scene in front of One Police Plaza.

This is America. Books must never be imprisoned! You can watch the action on Jan. 24th, 2012 to get the books back on this livestream link.

4 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Cops, Direct Action