Last night, Charlie and I, were the only librarians left at night near Liberty Plaza. Word had been going around of “Occupy Macy’s,” in which the occupiers would go and chant, until we are allowed in the store with the rest of the crowd, at which point we would enter, shop, and just leave our filled shopping carts in the middle of the store. There were few of us, and we knew that we would not be let in. But that did not stop us from giving out books to the crowd as they waited. We soon caught up with Reverend Billy from the church of stop shopping. At first he just passed us by, but we ran into him when the Security Guard that caught him preaching was kicking him out. “Don’t buy it, Occupy it!” So in honor of our first Buy Nothing Day as a library, happy Buy Nothing Day! Here’s Reverend Billy standing on our mobile books crate, from the knee down, spreading the love.
Category Archives: Announcements
PEOPLE’S LIBRARY 3.0 MOBILE AND IN THE STREETS!
The People’s Library: CALL TO ACTION
Contact Mayor Bloomberg and ask him to respond to our three demands: 1. Replace every missing/damaged book, 2. Acknowledge that a wrong was committed and that this can never happen again, 3. A space to recreate the library. You can call 311 or 212-639-9675 from outside NYC, or email him here: www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html
Today’s Press Conference
The People’s Library called on the Bloomberg Administration to accept responsibility for the destruction of the library today in a press conference with civil rights attorney Norman Seigel, Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild, and Hawa Allan a Fellow at Columbia Law School. The Library is calling on the Bloomberg Administration to replace the both the library and the 80% of the books that were destroyed.
Seated alongside the librarians at a table covered in books damaged during the raid, Seigel said:
“The Bloomberg Administration needs to replace every book missing or damaged — not usable. Together about 3,161 books. We have the titles and authors.
The Bloomberg Administration needs to acknowledge that a wrong was committed and that this can never happen again.
We need a space to recreate the people’s library.”
Official Press Release will follow.
The OWS Poetry Anthology PDF file has been updated today! It first went online a couple days ago, the original file didn’t include everything that was in the binder at the People’s Library but it was a sizeable chunk of poems and a great start! Anyway, I’ll be updating it as frequently as I can find time, once or twice a week. Normally I update it every Tuesday or Wednesday. If you’d like to help with that process simply email me and we can figure out a way of including you. Today I also added a new section to the PDF, at the beginning of the document – POETIC INTRODUCTIONS! Basically this section allows for you to write an introduction for the anthology, and it’s open to everyone as anyone is able to become part of this anthology. The idea comes from Danny who sent an introduction for the anthology this past week.
All poems are welcome to be added to the anthology. If you would be so kind as to send poems in the following format (size 12, TIMES font):
by, Author (normal)
for JOE JOHN (italics)
SOMEWHERE, FARAWAY (italics)
BODY OF POEM (your unique vision!)
Here’s an example from a submission from this past week:
By, John Siddique 2011
From ‘Full Blood’ (Salt Publishing)
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.
Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.
It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.
Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.
The OWS Poetry Anthology is open to all languages! Every week more and more languages are added to the anthology as more and more poets from around the world are joining in to make this text more nuanced. I’m very sorry, I’m limited to English so please pass this on in other languages if you possess such magickal abilities. No poem will be translated as that creates a heirachy of language. However, if the poet who sends in a poems wishes to include the poem in more than one language, all the versions will be added. Here’s an example:
Figli della disobbedienza
Alessandra Bava © 2011
credo che le cose
non cambino, ma che
noi possiamo e dobbiamo
cambiare Con superbo furore,
di poesia e non
temiamo di esporci
alla gogna: parole, nuda
ossa, grondanti versi,
denti affondati in
viscere di senso
e di dissenso.
Mani e i fianchi
immersi nel sangue
pronti a generare
molteplici fogli– pronti
a generare molteplici figli
– della DISOBBEDIENZA.
Sons of Disobedience
by Alessandra Bava © 2011
I believe that things
don’t change, but that
we can and must
change. With superb fury,
we fight liminally,
The Armed Voice
We garrison arsenals
of poetry and we fear
not to be taken to the
stocks: words, naked
lines, teeth sunk in
bowels of sense
Hands and hips
drowned in truth’s
ready to give birth
to several leaves — ready
to give birth to several
All poems for the anthology can be sent to stephenjboyer (@) gmail (dot) com
And for those of you too lazy to go to the OWS Poetry Anthology publication page, well… here’s the file:
If you aren’t in the NYC area and you’re planning on printing the PDF to place a copy of it in your area, the first sketch page is the cover of the anthology. The wonderful artist Molly Crabapple did the sketch. I write in sharpie marker “OCCUPY WALL ST POETRY ANTHOLOGY” around the figures head and usually include a thought bubble that says, “I Love Poetry” somewhere in the margins… I’d recommend doing something similar and that you laminate it for safe keeping. And then you can three-hole punch the entire document and put rings in it for easy-reading!
Let’s spread these anthologies everywhere!
Oh! And tonight, as with every Friday night, is the Poetry Assembly at Liberty Plaza! Starts around 9:30 pm. Come and share your poems!
The “nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization” Common Cause has released a statement calling on Mayor Bloomberg to “Open your wallet Mayor Bloomberg, it’s time to buy some books.”
The president of Common Cause Bob Edgar:
“To the extent that the books lost can be accounted for, the city should replace each title, buying two new copies for each one destroyed,” [he continued] “And for whatever number is unaccounted for, the city should provide Occupy’s librarians with funds sufficient to buy twice as many.”
The press release continues:
“Indeed, an attack on books is an attack on rights protected by the First Amendment. People who would ransack and trash a library or a book collection put themselves on the moral level of book-burners. Their actions are intolerable.”
So last week I was in Florida with my mother. Yes, on purpose. It was a planned excursion to Disney World because my mother loves Disney World, and I love my mother, and I have a strict rule about never turning down free vacations.
So there I was happily occupying the Magic Kingdom while receiving updates from my fellow librarians at The People’s Library. The day I left I received the message, “Crosby and Nash at OWS at 3PM today. Spread the word,” which caused me to shout multiple obscenities in the presence of both my mother and her GPS. Then a couple of days later I read about the concert by Joan Baez, who is nothing short of a goddess to me, and had to suppress the urge to hurl myself mournfully from atop the flying Dumbo ride.
When the much anticipated tent that Patti Smith had gifted to us arrived I was occupying Epcot. I got the text, “Fort Smith is in the house,” as well as the message, “You’re going to love the new and organized library!” My librarian friends knew then and now that I am a bit of a maniac when it comes to organization. So Florida Shmorida! I was so excited by all that was happening at OWS I began counting the days until I could return to the park and see the new and improved People’s Library. I got back to my place in Brooklyn late on Monday night. Then I awoke Tuesday morning to a dozen text messages and the rest you know as front page news.
So I missed Crosby and Nash. I missed Joan Baez. And I never got to see the great and glorious Fort Smith in person. I did however manage to represent OWS at the happiest place on Earth. Check out my subversive Disney photo action! Pretty bad ass, right?
So the lesson here I suppose is that nothing good has ever come out of Florida. No, maybe that’s not it. The lesson is probably don’t ever leave town. Or perhaps the lesson is the Woodstock reunion concerts will always begin at week seven? Okay, I have no lessons. I really just wanted to post my Occupy Disney World photos. You are so welcome.
The statement reads, in part:
“The American Library Association deplores the destruction of libraries, library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational purpose by that act, whether it be done by individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose.”
ALA’s president, Molly Raphael, adds:
“The very existence of the People’s Library demonstrates that libraries are an organic part of all communities. Libraries serve the needs of community members and preserve the record of community history. In the case of the People’s Library, this included irreplaceable records and material related to the occupation movement and the temporary community that it represented.”
She states further that:
“We support the librarians and volunteers of the Library Working Group as they re-establish the People’s Library.”
The Library Working Group deeply appreciates the support of the ALA and all other bibliophiles who have stood by us.
Tonight at the People’s Library Mayor Bloomberg’s chief occupation outreach group paid us a visit. Again.
Our librarians were, again, brave and peaceful.
Shame on you! Shame on you! The Occupiers chanted as Bloomberg’s minions threw away what we had retrieved today.
Our hearts are heavy.
But we are determined.
As some of you know, two of our librarians were arrested yesterday morning, when the NYPD invaded the park.
As of this writing — 4pm Wednesday — neither have been released yet.
Scales and Charlie, two of the live-in librarians, chose to remain with the library and the rest of the camp when the cops showed up. Though I haven’t spoken with them yet, I’m fairly confident in saying that they knew what they were doing.
We in the Library working group had previously discussed what to do in emergency situations (and, oh, the irony, we had planned to do some more training on it this weekend). We hammered out a plan after the attempted “clean-up” last month. We’d had discussions about arrestability — that is, who can afford to be arrested and under what circumstances. Some folks have low- or non- arrestability — they may not be citizens of the USA; they may have medical conditions that require constant monitoring or treatment; they may have work or family obligations that can’t be neglected; they may have identities that put them at risk (people of color, queers, or women, for example, are more vulnerable while in the system); or the work they are doing is vital to the rest of the movement. Some folks are highly arrestable; maybe they have few outside obligations, and they might be used to being arrested during political actions. Some folks are somewhere in between, and may be more or less willing to be arrested depending on the particular circumstances.
Anyway, two of our librarians decided to stay. We saw them on the livestream before it cut out. They’d retreated to Kitchen (located in the center of the park) with the other remaining occupiers. It was estimated that 150 people were there. The cops gassed, beat, and arrested them all. That’s right, people, in order to protect the public from scary radicals like us, the cops attacked your librarians, your cooks, your medics, your sidewalk sweepers, and your neighbors. They hauled off the People’s Library, and they hauled off the librarians, too. We demand them back from the city, just as we demand our books back. As of this writing, we don’t even know where Charlie is. We found Scales yesterday afternoon, and he’s still in jail, waiting to be arraigned. We assume Charlie is, too.
***UPDATE, 4:15 PM — Scales just got out!
***UPDATE — I was at the park this evening, and Charlie showed up around 6:30, having come straight down after getting out. All the librarians are now accounted for.
As readers of this blog, and members of the People’s Library will know, Patti Smith is an important visitor to OWS, and has helped the People’s Library in many ways.
This morning, in the wake of the raid on the Occupation, and the reacquisition of the People’s Volumes from the NY sanitation dept. Patti Smith sent the People’s Library some words.
i am with you all from across the sea
every concert, interview etc
i call out to occupy and support those
what you are doing is only a beginning.
if it gets too tough in the winter
get healthy regroup and come back.
don’t be sorry about anything.
give everyone a salute from me
people have the power
We are proud to offer you the complete Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology!
With the police raid though, now seemed a good time to get a positive story about Occupy Wall Street into the discourse. Occupy Wall Street isn’t about fighting the police or senselessly tearing systems down, we’re out to create a new beautiful world. And one of the ways we are doing that is through is through poetry. So please, share our anthology, read about our movement and our lives, and know this: Occupy Wall Street will build that better world though unity, determination, and beautiful words.
If you’ve submitted a poem and don’t see it, no worries: Our resident poet assembling the anthology hasn’t slept since the raid and needs sleep. He will get to it soon. And if you want to share a poem, please send it to Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Occupy Poetry Anthology.
Friends of the People’s Library–we need help!
The City is freeing our seized books, magazines and other materials at 650 57th Street (entrance at 56th nr or 12th St.), but we need people with cars and people who can help load those cars.
Here is what we need to move:
• Between 2,000 and 4,000 books (we’ll know if it looks right when we see it), this includes five boxes of “Reference” materials many of which were autographed by the authors;
• Our custom made “OWS library stamps;”
• 5 (4?) laptop computers;
• Our wifi device;
• miscellaneous paper supplies;
• A round portable table;
• a rectangular portable table;
• 6 metal shelves (five of which had been set up in two pieces);
• three sets of wooden drawers;
• a periodicals spinning rack;
• Approximately 60 plastic tubs/bins of varying sizes (most small, but several big);
• archival materials;
• posters (including many original posters created by OWS participants);
• two lamps;
• four solar lights;
• 7 (or so) chairs;
• a wooden dinner table;
• periodicals/newspapers/zines (not counted in our book total);
• our awesome tent; [donated by Patti Smith]
• personal belongings of librarian
We are also still missing two Librarians! Two young men, Scales and Charlie, are still in the system and we’d like them back please Mr. Bloomberg. These brave librarians have been tireless volunteers and went down with the Library on Monday night. Release them so that they can get back to work serving the information and literary needs of the 99%.
morning sirens and random kicks against tent
tourists shuffling through Bloombergville
shapeless figures in sleeping-bags sprawled in Manhattan flowerbeds
smile at the trees
get coffee from kitchen, eat hardened bagel with peanut butter
open People’s Library
get interviewed by Czech TV
shelve newly donated books, catalogued and stamped by Librarian Comrades
talk to grade five class about egalitarian economics
get interviewed by NY1
go to storage and open boxes from publisher
share excitement with fellow librarians
order lunch from kitchen via text
mic check over lower Manhattan cacophony
introduce famous author who addresses the forgathered crowd
eat lunch while listening
go on Internet and thank publisher for donation (ask for more books)
go to facilitation meeting on Wall Street. (read Semiotext(e) volume in route)
listen to fellow occupiers
talk with Direct Action
return to OWS and attend General Assembly
help get $7000.00 for Occupy Edmonton
eat cold supper that somehow apparates in hand
answer questions about library
talk with Sustainability about solar power
talk with MIT geniuses who are building bicycle powered batteries
visit the tree of life
facilitate Poetry Assembly
go to Tomato Cafe for coffee and toilet
tidy up Library
think about going to bed
watch NYPD erect flood lights over Liberty Plaza
see riot cops and media form up by hundreds
hear White-shirts shout nonsense into bullhorns
prepare for raid
write phone number for legal aid on your forearm with Sharpie
consider possibility of being deported from USA
gather what important books you see
overturn Library stacks
hang head and sulk passed waves of police
weep for friends remaining at Occupation
threatening truncheons move you away from Plaza
cameras can not record brutality within Occupation
stash books in friendly apartment
return to streets
help people who have been pepper sprayed
create art in the spirit of the Situationists
watch livestream of friends soft-locking Occupation
watch garbage trucks haul away your home, your life, 3500 books
march to site of new Occupation
hear interfaith speakers of Solidarity
watch as fellow occupiers get arrested
return to Liberty Plaza
clutch The Coming Insurrection
Love and Solidarity
Sean C. Allingham
As you probably know, Liberty Plaza was raided last night. An hour before the park was raided my friend Jack Nemo, an older man, let me know a Community Affairs Officer of the same age had told him and an older woman, Kathie, that they should take notice of all the cops, press, and sanitation trucks that had taken to the nearby area. Before leaving, the cop ominously warned, “Normandy”. Jack Nemo then relayed the information to me and I relayed the warning, but was met with much skepticism as we’ve heard the cops would raid us just about every night. And then the lights came on, the cops paraded to the edge of the steps in full riot gear and a sound canon fired, announcing our peaceful time protesting in the park for nearly two months had come to a screeching halt. Campers across the park quickly climbed out of their tents screaming, “WAKE UP THE POLICE ARE HERE!” I ran into the library and let the handful of people sleeping in there know what was happening, then unlocked and pulled the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY from the shelves and strapped them to my body, then climbed atop a table in the park and read poems from the anthology. Immediately, the people of Liberty Plaza launched into action, a group of about a hundred protesters took to the kitchen and U-Locked/tied themselves down. After reading the third poem, the cops began to enter the park and I realized that I would most likely lose all of my possessions so I quickly grabbed a bag of my personal stuff, ran into the library and dumped a bunch of boxes of books onto the floor to make the cleaning up more difficult for the cops then ran my personal stuff and a few amazing books to a friends house around the corner. I naively thought I could get my stuff to my friends house and then re-enter the park but could only get to the corner of Liberty and Broadway after prepping myself for a long night.
Once on the corner I immediately launched into action and again started reading from the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY. Someone in the crowd said the cops wouldn’t respond to the poems but I countered, it’s not about the cops, it’s about making the voices of all those that have sent poems to the anthology heard. A few cops then got in my face and began pushing the crowd I was in up Broadway. I kept reading poems as the waved batons in our faces, and fellow protesters cried as we realized they were forcing all witnesses away from the park. The further we were pushed away, it seemed the louder the park became as the police became increasingly brutal. We watched in horror as the police entered the park swinging billy-clubs and slashing tents, similar to how police in Oakland brutally assaulted the protesters that had taken Oscar Grant Plaza.
A few moments later a man that had been tear gassed on the sidewalk ran in our direction and the group I was with took him to our friends place on Maiden Lane. I looked on in horror as his bloodshot eyes/face/body was directed into her apartment then into her shower. It reminded me of something that would happen in war-torn Eastern European country in the early nineties… I couldn’t believe this was happening in New York City. Simultaneously, we realized the library was being destroyed. Helplessly we watched the news as it showed clips of the entire park being scooped up and thrown into trash trucks. It’s appalling to think that a city with over 40,000 homeless, would allow for a park full of great resources, such as tents, tarps, sleeping bags, clothing, food, electronics, etc. to be thrown into the garbage. And I must reiterate, the police explained upon entering the park that all materials in the park would be available to be picked up later at a police location and the park was being evacuated because it was unsanitary and unsafe for humans to inhabit. The NYPD lied again!
Again I hit the streets, this time more librarians and fellow protesters had made it to the area and I went to CVS and picked up anti-acid to aid people that had been teargassed. I ran through the streets reading poems and looking out for wounded. Along the way, a main figure from the finance working group tapped me on the shoulder and demanded I join him on a secret mission, basically he told me that he had a very very large sum of cash in his backpack and needed to safely transport it several blocks away to get it into the hands of OWS lawyers. Michael, a fellow OWS occupier and poet joined us! We were given a number to call in case he was taken and he explained he would pass off the backpack to us so we could continue to run it to the lawyers. Luckily we were able to run it there undeterred. After safely moving the money, Michael and I landed in front of Trinity Church where I read poems to the 40 or so cops present for a half hour, finally screaming at them, “STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY! GO INTO THE PARK AND ARREST YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN BLUE THAT ARE TEAR GASSING AND BRUTALLY ASSAULTING PEACEFUL PROTESTERS. WAKE UP! STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY. DO NOT STAND FOR THIS BRUTALITY! BE REVOLUTIONARY!” Surprisingly, a few of the cops seemed to really respond and their eyes twinkled as they crept up closer to me… then Victoria, a key figure in the OWS movement, approached us and explained that the entire park had been tear gassed and that nothing was left. With this, I ran back around and down side streets to look for possibly wounded people. Surprisingly, everyone seemed okay. Later I learned that everyone that had been tear gassed had been arrested. We still do not know in what condition they are as they haven’t been heard from.
I then made my way to Foley square to hear the G.A. that had formed, hung out there for an hour, ate some food, discussed the craziness that was the night with folks and then went back to Zuccotti Park around 8am to see what it looked like. I heard rumors that bulldozers had run over the entire park, trees and all, luckily they were just rumors… HOWEVER, everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone. Our collection of 5,000 books is gone. Our tent that was donated is gone. All the work we’ve put into making it is gone. I’ve spent the last month and a half there. Currently I’m homeless so I’ve been completely dependent on the community that has sprung up there. I don’t know what is next and I don’t know how these next few steps will play out, however, I know that the one thing no amount of cleaning and bullying and policing can destroy is the tenacity of the human spirit. WE WILL OVERCOME!
I am so incredibly tired. I hope this account reads somewhat okay. I love you and will hopefully be getting you more books soon! Please send love poems to the OWS Poetry Anthology! We need your spirits to keep our spirits ablaze!
New Yorkers! Meet at 9am at Canal and 6th Avenue. Spread the word…
This movement can’t be contained in one square block in lower Manhattan. It is bigger than that. You can’t evict an idea whose time had come.
Show your support. Turn out en masse….
Posted 36 minutes ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 5:30 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Here is a photo of the eviction notice from a photograph posted by twitter user @harrysiegel. Note that it says the property will be stored at the Department of Sanitation parking garage at 650 West 57th St. However, it was clear from the livestream and witnesses inside the park that the property was destroyed by police and DSNY workers before it was thrown in dumpsters.