Category Archives: Direct Action

2/11/14 – The Day We Fight Back

The Day We Fight Back

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by | February 10, 2014 · 14:15

Occupy Goldman Sachs: Night 8

An occupation outside of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s house is in progress in New York City at 61st and Broadway. So, head on down and show your solidarity!

Join and support online as well here: Occupy Goldman Sachs.

 

From the Facebook page:

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a multinational investment bank founded in 1869 and headquartered at 200 West Street in Lower Manhattan. Leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, Goldman Sachs engaged in some of the worse financial fraud the world has ever seen, including packaging and selling billions of dollars in subprime housing derivatives and other worthless securities to small and mid-level investors while hiding the fact that they were simultaneously betting against these same securities. Through such fraud Goldman Sachs decimated the 401(k)s, pensions and mutual funds of thousands of Americans.

Despite blatantly vilating the Securities Act of 1933, which “prohibits deceit, misrepresentation, and other fraud in the sale of securities,” and despite a 650-page Senate subcommittee investigation report accusing them of defrauding clients, not a single official of Goldman Sachs has been prosecuted. Rather, the corporation was rewarded, receiving more government bailout funds than any other investment bank. Goldman Sachs then used this taxpayer money to give its senior executives a staggering $44 billion in mega-bonuses between 2008 and 2011.

While Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein makes an estimated $250,000 a day, regular Americans are losing their jobs and homes at the highest rate since the 1930s. The real unemployment rate (in 2012) is almost twenty percent, far higher than the official number of nine percent, which intentionally factors out workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and those working temporary or part time jobs. The so-called “jobless recovery” means that speculators like Lloyd Blankfein can get richer even during a recession. As one private trader, Alessio Rastani, candidly told the BBC in Fall of 2011, “Most traders don’t really care about fixing the economy. If you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this [recession].” He continued with another dose of frank cynicism, “This is not a time right now for wishful thinking that governments are going to sort things out. Governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world.”

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Filed under #OccupyGoldmanSachs, Direct Action, Michael, Solidarity

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, or, Hunger Strikes: Historically, Globally, Here & Now

British and American suffragettes did it in the early 20th century, with Marion Wallace Dunlop leading off in Britain 1909 and Alice Paul a few years later in the U.S.  Many were force-fed while in prison.  They considered force-feeding to be torture, and some died of it.

Gandhi and others did it as part of the Indian movement for independence from Britain.

Irish republicans did it, too, throughout the 20th century.  Like the suffragettes, they were subject to force-feeding, and some died of it, while others died of starvation.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners had been at it for weeks this spring, in response to being indefinitely detained without charges or trial under the Israeli government’s policy of “administrative detention” (to which NYC’s own stop & frisk policies targeting young men of color could be considered a little brother), as well as the conditions under which they are held.  The first two strikers, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, stopped eating on February 27, with at least 1500 more later joining.  Just last Monday, as the longest strikers were close to death, Israel conceded to some of the strikers’ demands, and almost all the strikers have lifted their strikes.

This Tuesday prisoners at the Red Onion State Prison in Virginia refused their first meal.  They are striking in response to inhumane conditions and treatment inside the prison.  “Phil Wilayto, of the Richmond Defenders, said “The most important thing about the prisoners’ demands is that Red Onion need only follow their own regulations with regard to meals, medical care, sanitation, grievance procedures, and humane treatment of prisoners. In order to press these demands the prisoners have to take the extreme step of risking their health and even lives.””  There have been several hunger strikes in the U.S. in recent years, such as those by prisoners in Georgia, Ohio, and California.

And last night I saw that my buddy Jack has begun a medication and hunger strike here in New York.

Trinity Church, located on Broadway at Wall St. in Manhattan, dates from the late 17th century — it received a charter from the King of England in 1697.  The current building was consecrated in 1846.  It is an Episcopal church.  It owns a shit-ton of very valuable land in Manhattan, and since its inception has been frequented by wealthy and influential locals.  Like all religious institutions in the U.S., it is tax-exempt, in exchange for being supposedly non-political and due to the separation of church and state, which usually seems to all boil down to nothing more than not explicitly endorsing political candidates.  (If we’re demanding a restructuring of tax law in the U.S., changing that exempt status is one of my demands, let me tell you.)  As is also common among religious institutions, especially large, wealthy ones, they give a lot of lip service to serving humanity, but when presented with the nitty-gritty of it tend to balk.

Back in December, OWS attempted to occupy Duarte Square, a vacant, gravel covered lot on Canal Street that is owned by Trinity Church.  It was well-publicized beforehand, as were attempts to negotiate with Trinity for use of the space without interference by the NYPD.  It didn’t work, on both counts.  Several hundred people showed up, but so did the cops.  After folks went over the fence, about 50 were arrested and charged with trespassing.  The most iconic images from that day are of George Packard, a retired Episcopal bishop (yes, same branch of Protestant Christianity as Trinity), in his scarlet robes climbing over the fence and subsequently being arrested.  (He was also arrested on May 1 at 55 Water Street at the end of our May Day activities.)  It is now nearly six months later, and those folks are going to trial on June 11.

In response to the complete shit-fuckery of a church charging members of an economic justice (among other things) movement with trespassing on an empty lot, Jack is going on a medication and hunger strike.  Jack is 57.  We’ve done a bunch of jail support work together.  He helps keep some of the other middle-aged white men in line.  Pertinent to his strike, he is HIV+.  He won’t be taking medication or eating until Trinity drops all charges.  (He is an occupier, though, so cigarettes and coffee are still in!)  Today is day 5 of his medication strike and day 2 of his hunger strike.  I’m sure Trinity has heard by now, but you might want to contact them in support of Jack and in support of our comrades who will shortly be in court.

Video statement from Jack that I can’t get off of Facebook [halp?]

 

 

ETA: 5/30/12.  Via Facebook, Jack asks, “[P]lease send Rector Cooper, jcopper@trinitywallstreet.org, an email in support of my medication/hunger strike. Today is the 11th day I have been without my lifesaving medications and the 7th day without food and necessary nutrition. I am deadly serious about this strike…”

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Filed under #D17, Direct Action, Friends of the Library, Jaime, Solidarity, Video

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.

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

Further May Day Prep

Four day, folks, just four days until May Day!  Are you excited?  I’m excited.  The weather is projected to be mixed sun and clouds, with temperatures in the mid-60s.

In the meantime, the street medics could use a boost.  Remember, the ass they save could be yours.  Kitchen could also use a little help from their friends, but I can’t seem to find the WePay link for them at the moment.  Anyone?  If you can’t spare the cash, in-kind contributions can be brought in on May Day; there will be oodles of mutual aid going on at Bryant Park from 8am to 2pm.

And, as mentioned in my last post, keep us on the streets with the bail fund.

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Filed under #M1GS, Direct Action, Donations, Jaime

The People’s Library on board the Illuminator

The Illuminator made its official debut with librarians Danny and Betsy on board.

Here’s a brief video Brandon Neubauer shot and edited showcasing The Illuminator’s first stop at Liberty Square on March 3, 2012.

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Filed under Betsy, Danny, Direct Action

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

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.

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Filed under Announcements, Cops, Direct Action

Anthem For The Year 2012

For those of you unfamiliar with Hilarity, Hilarity is an awesome squat house in Oakland that has a long standing history of housing punk/anarchist/queer/radical folks. I’ve spent a few nights there: highlights were wild conversations, dumpster diving and coming home late to a garage full of folks sitting around watching the rats play in the trash. Ratz are nice. We all can coexist!

Whose house?
Our house!

Deep in the night
We’re popping the locks
We’re gonna take another one
That’s three on the block
The people say this neighborhood
Has gone to hell
Well we’re gonna build it back ourselves

Whose house?
Our house!

We’re showing the neighbors
That we’re fixing it up
We’ve introduced ourselves
And they know what’s up
And when we plant the garden
In that empty lot
We show ‘em that we’re not all talk

Whose house?
Our house!

We’re fighting the fight
We know our rights
When people live together
They can organize
And when the cops come
To take us to jail
We say, “Can’t you see my name’s on the mail, officer?”

Whose house?
Our house!

They take us to court
We pack that room
It doesn’t really matter
What that judge rules
Cause we’ve been taking measures
To defend our home
Like MaCaulay in Home Alone

Whose house?
Our house!

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Filed under Direct Action, Free Speech, Party time!, Video

Join Us in Supporting the Students and Teachers of Tucson Unified School District

Have you wanted to get involved with Occupy, but not really a marcher? Too far away from an Occupation? Intimidated by crowds?

Do you support the right to read and abhor censorship?

We’ve got the action for you.

The Tucson Unified School District has dismantled its Mexican-American Studies program and removed the books used in that program from the classrooms of the district. Teachers and students have vehemently protested this move, including a student-led walkout and an Ethnic Studies School, arranged on the symbolically important 100th day of school. The day when the state counts heads to determine funding.

The books removed include:
Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
Bill Bigelow’s Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years
Richard Delgado’s Critical Race Theory
Rodolfo Gonzales’s Message to AZTLAN
Elizabeth Martinez’s (ed) 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures
Arturo Rosales’s Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement

This is where you come in. Acting in solidarity with OccupyTucson and the students, parents, and teachers of the Tucson Unified School District we are going send copies of the banned texts to Tucson for distribution. Lots of copies. As many copies as we can find and buy. We respect the rights of authors and publishers, so all copies will be completely legally purchased though an independent bookseller or directly from the publisher. Donations of the these texts are, of course, welcomed.

We’ll be collecting funds via the WePay link on this page. Any amount will be gladly welcomed and all donations will go toward the purchase of books or shipping books.

The repression of the history of resistance, of what Howard Zinn called People’s History, is an old tactic in the class war. Hide what previous generations accomplished, hide the fact of genuine social change in the past, and you hinder the possibility of social progress today. The young people and their teachers in Tucson have spoken loud and clear. They want to know that history and they want those books. Let’s send them some.

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Filed under Announcements, Direct Action, Donations, Emergency Actions, Free Speech, Mandy, OccupyLibraries, OccupyTucson, Solidarity

Join Us: Jan. 24th at 4pm at The Red Cube!!! [change: 3pm]

Tomorrow, January 24th 2012, the People’s Library requests everyone in solidarity with the library to join us at the Red Cube at 4pm [note: has been changed to 3pm]. As many of you know, since the raid we’ve had quite a few encounters with NYPD and Brookfield Security resulting in the seizure of more books. It’s an outrage that books are being seized by the people in power and tomorrow at 4pm we are hoping you will join us and help us voice our outrage. We will require your participation for about an hour, and be sure to wear your walking shoes as we will be taking a little field trip… Join us as we fight against censorship and the seizure of books, and fight for the dissemination of knowledge and free literature. Please spread the word to all that are in solidarity with the People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street – Meet at the Red Cube at 4pm [changed to 3pm] SHARP! January 24th 2012 at 4pm! [changed to 3pm]

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Filed under Announcements, Direct Action

People’s Library at American Library Association conference

A few of us will be doing a panel presentation about our library, radical librarianship, the commons, what democracy looks like, what a police state looks like etc. in the ALA Masters Series at the Midwinter Conference in Dallas this weekend. We’ve got a lot to say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re very excited to be able to connect with so many librarians about our shared passions & about meeting up with our comrades at Occupy Dallas.
If you’re in the Dallas area this weekend, please join us.

Saturday January, 21 at 8:30 am in the Dallas Convention Center Theater.

ALA Press release here.

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Filed under Announcements, Betsy, Danny, Direct Action, Jaime, Mandy, OccupyLibraries, Radical Reference, Solidarity

Tonight’s meeting is cancelled–January 15, 2012

The working group has agreed that rather than huddle up in a meeting tonight we’re going to hit the streets to attend the MLK vigil. Please join us.

Schedule

» 6:30pm – Assemble at Cathedral St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave
» 7:00pm – Candlelight march to Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (followed by vigil)
» 8:00pm – Speakers & performances at Riverside Church

Speakouts & Performances By

Patti Smith, Russell Simmons, Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Stephan Said, Kozza Olantunji, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Reverend Stephen H. Phelps, Daisey Kahn, Norman Siegel, Sumumba Sobukwe, Malik Rhasaan & many more.

Dr. King said, “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas… and say: ‘This is not just.’”

This candlelight vigil kicks off more than 24 hours of Occupy Wall Street-organized events and actions including a march on Mon., Jan. 16th at 9am from the African Burial Ground to the Federal Reserve Bank for a rally for economic justice. For more information about the January 15th action visit http://j15global.org

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Filed under Announcements, Betsy, Direct Action, Working Group Meeting

the occupy wall street review

The Fiddler and a banjo beginner play old union songs in the night. And somewhere amidst the Beautiful Chaos of the Occupation comes whispers of what we are doing: “OCCUPY these areas [that we may] carry on [our]festive purposes for quite awhile in relative peace.”

this is a bootstrap operation

It was on October 9th, 2011, that the Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey was entered into the People’s Library database on Librarything, making it the first cataloged volume.
It wasn’t too long after that when a few of us huddled under shapeless  structures- makeshift and different everyday, like the rules imposed upon us by the men in dimly lit rooms- listening to the rain on the tarpaulin, discussing the T.A.Z., wondering just how ‘temporary’ our autonomous zone was.

the T.A.Z. must be capable of defense; but both the ‘strike’ and ‘defense’ should, if possible, evade the violence of the state which is no longer a meaningful voice.

the sound cannon, truncheons in gloved hands, the cleaning of pepper from the eyes of my friends, Orwellian visions.

often one returns to Liberty Plaza: vacant; lighted holiday trees; library space sans tombs; police-tape demarcating an unknown crime; strange encounters with uniformed men in mustaches.

there are waves nostalgia of course, but the sentimentalism dissipates, though never entirely; it lingers a safe distance away–never impeding future action– and allows me to somehow safely hold our encampment of guerilla ontologists in unforgettable synaptic locations.

“Why?”  I heard a woman say today, as I rounded the corner to a crowd of hundreds, a march and Solidarity Act, for those immigrated to this country.

must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom?

the rain fell on tarps that night in october, we huddled and laughed, the Fiddler played from his bivouac, from somewhere under the sky we knew our Zone was temporary, we knew these as processes, and not merely results.

there are those that cling to the space–what we call Liberty Plaza.

But the TAZ liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to reform elsewhere, before the state can crush it.

as soon as it is named (represented) (mediated) it must vanish, it will vanish, leaving behind it an empty husk, only to spring up again somewhere else…

follow the seasons

hibernate

educate

[text in bold from the Temporary Autonomous Zone-- Anti-copyright, but still... used with permission]

the following precursory text of the OCCUPY WALL STREET REVIEW was made available at the request of Peter Lamborn Wilson for the occupiers on the day of action, D17.

visit

www.theowsreview.org

to read

OWS Act Two

from the author of

the Temporary Autonomous Zone

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Filed under #N17, 11/15 Eviction, Announcements, Art, Digital Archive, Direct Action, Ephemera, Literature, Media, Music, Poetry, Process, Sean, Solidarity

OWS In Solidary with the Shutting Down of West Coast Ports + Police Brutality

On 12/12/2011 at the Winter Garden Atrium, a “public” space inside the World Financial Center along West St. in Downtown New York; Occupy Wall Street Demonstrators enjoyed a day of action in solidarity with the shutting down of West Coast Ports. The merry-makers danced in a circle in the winter garden, as they danced arm-in-arm they chanted, “All Day! All Week! Occupy Wall Street” and “Occupy! Shut it down! New York is a People’s Town!” Demonstrators banged drums and waved umbrellas overhead as they celebrated their free human spirits. And true to form, the NYPD just couldn’t bear to see such a wonderful band of merry makers and came to shut them down with violent force.

Part 2: Show’s the wrath of NYPD… Watch as peaceful demonstrators are arrested and forced out of their demonstration. NYPD and Homeland Security were behind the forceful end of this demonstration. It’s appalling to think that in the United States of America in 2011 such force is used against people demonstrating their given right of FREE SPEECH. A demonstrator overheard one officer announce to another, “It’s time to chain ‘em up!” And an African-American Officer called an African-American demonstrator a “nigger”. Meanwhile, the United States of America is enforcing wars across the globe.

So tell me? Who’s the bull(y)?

The next day, 12/13/2011, a group of us (extremely elated by the daring and beautiful shut down of West Coast Ports) met for a day of action to honor our West Coast family. The NYPD were pissed to see us in our streets again. We went to Wall Street – Our Street and engaged in a day of “practice”… we chanted “this is just practice” as we marched onto Wall St – Our St to hold a G.A. and “practice” demonstrating. We danced up and down Wall St – Our St and we sung songs of protest and we threw up up-sparkles and we giggled and we ran full speed at barricades stopping just before we collided into the metal we’ve grown so familiar with, we chanted “GET THOSE ANIMALS OFF THOSE HORSES” at the cops on horseback and we basked in the radiate glow of one another… it was fun!

Photo is of us holding a moment of silence on behalf of all those that have suffered police brutality.

We played “Red Rover” on Wall St – Our St as it’s an American classic and demonstrates the power of locking arms, an important tactic demonstrators often use when engaged with police brutality.

After awhile on Wall St – Our St we decided to go to 1 Police Plaza to welcome our family members that had been arrested at the previous days action. As we hit Broadway, the cops showed up on motorcyles… At every march I’ve been on, I’ve been hit by police officers on motorcycles. I don’t know who raised these jerks, but NYPD motorcycle cops believe it’s okay to hit people with their motorcycles…

As they chased us up Broadway our group began to run… and we ran faster and faster…

The cops chased us into City Hall Park… They followed us on their motorcycles as we ran into City Hall Park…. Please keep in mind, we are a group of twenty people that were walking up the street. The only thing that separates us from anyone else is that we’ve been targeted because we are loud about our politics. Besides being a bit noisy, we were doing nothing illegal. The park was full of unaware bystanders. NYPD is extremely lucky they didn’t sideswipe a kid… I watched in shock as they sped through the park….

And was even more dumbfounded when they sped out of the park and up the sidewalk… an old man shouted, “Are there terrorists? I just see kids! What in the hell are they doing?!”

Eventually the cops jumped off bikes and tackled two demonstrators. Both were beat up pretty badly. They threw them to the ground and punched them, slammed them into the concrete.

Other officers created a “human wall” in an attempt to block press and all photographs of their brutality. The use of a “human wall” is becoming an increasingly common tactic. Expect to see it whenever NYPD is enacting police brutality. It’s so people cant take photos. These aren’t police officers these are abusive thugs that must be dis-empowered

As the violence winds down, the demonstrators scattered… Five police vans, a group of police cars, and an army of officers came seemingly out of nowhere and scour the streets, seemingly searching for specific members of the group of demonstrators. Notice the zip-ties officers wear on their belts. It’s so they can quickly and more-often-than-not very painfully arrest demonstrators.

This is a photo of one of the two people that were jumped by NYPD. The other demonstrator was arrested. She wasn’t arrested. But she received a concussion.

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Filed under Direct Action, Public/Private Parks, Solidarity

So, That Happened..

It seems to be the phrase of the Occupation, and especially apt in the past week or so.

There was the Law & Order set thing.  In case you missed it, dear readers, Law and Order: SVU built a fake occupy camp in Foley Square last week, as a set for an episode.  It had tents, a kitchen, a library, police presence, all that stuff.  Of course, the real occupiers found it, and, late on Thursday night, occupied it.  I ask you — did they think we wouldn’t?  You can find info on twitter and elsewhere about it under the hash tag #mockupy.  Mother Jones has a short article on it, with video featuring some of the real librarians from the People’s Library.

A while back we instituted an infrequently-used hand signal at library meetings to go with all the up-sparkling, down-sparkling, points of process, and so forth: the clarifying mustache.  You take the curved pointer finger part of the clarifying question signal and put it over your upper lip.  It means that things have gotten completely ridiculous, and we all need to take a Dada break.  With the mockupation, the universe seems to have gotten on board with it, no?

In amongst the absurdity is the former location of the People’s Library in Zuccotti Park.  In the first few days after the eviction last month, the people’s librarians were persistent in reopening the library.  Over and over and over again.  We were some of the first folks back in the park that morning — until we were kicked out again — and we’ve since had as much presence as the NYPD and Brookfield security dudes will allow on any given day.  Recently that hasn’t been much.

A couple weeks ago the security dudes put up some red cloth “Danger!” tape between the trees in the northeast corner of the park, blocking off the benches where the Library used to be.  The official reason was to protect the brand new ornamental cabbages that Brookfield had planted in the garden area above the benches.  Cabbages that they had to tear out the existing bushes to plant, let me add.  If you think that sounds completely ridiculous, take a moment to make the clarifying mustache signal with me.

After we spent some time scratching our heads, and occasionally disregarding the red tape — it was, after all, blocking off a good portion of the seating in the park — the absurdity increased.  We got this:

See, among us persistent librarians, there’s one particularly persistent librarian.  For the terrible crime of bringing books into the park he’s been bum rushed by a score of cops and nearly arrested, had some of the books confiscated, and, now, been banned from the park.  The above document is the result of the confiscation.  After those five very dangerous books were taken — we are told that one may not put books on the bench, because it prevents people from sitting there — the police delivered this kind note to the park.  Not to the Library or to a librarian, but just to the park, asking that it be passed along to Library.  Now, I know that’s more or less how it work here on the movement side of things, but I’m pretty sure the cops’ rules require them to be a little more diligent than that.

Since then, the red tape blocking off the former location of the People’s Library has been replaced by authentic yellow “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” cop tape.  (Someone should confiscate that, it’s preventing me from sitting on the bench.)  Do you have that clarifying mustache ready?  Because I know we joke a bunch about how the City has been making books illegal, but someone obviously lacks in the irony department; how else to explain the utter tone-deafness of this whole thing?

Anyway, for once the NYPL has taken good care of our confiscated stuff.  Which means we’ll surely be making the trip up to 1 Police Plaza to reclaim it shortly.  I hope you’ll join us.

In the mean time, at least the current Christmas light overkill on all the trees in Zuccotti throws off enough glow to read by?

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Filed under Cops, Direct Action, Jaime, Literature, Process

Read-In on Black Friday 11/25

Hide your books! Bloomberg is coming!

The Occupy Wall Street Education and Empowerment group hosts a Read-In at Liberty Square, 12pm-1pm, Friday, November 25th.

“Come be part of a mass read-in at Liberty Square in solidarity with the continuation of The People’s Library & OWS’ education work. Bring a book or two to read or share. The goal is to have as many people as possible reading silently in the park for an hour – quiet conversations & arriving later to read are also encouraged!

Readers and non-readers of all ages & abilities welcome – let’s make Black Friday a day of learning and sharing ideas rather than one of mass consumerism. Bloomberg can destroy books, but he can’t destroy ideas…”

Liberty Square/Zuccotti Park is in lower Manhattan  on Broadway between Liberty & Cedar.

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N17 Day of Direct Action

(This post will be updated as resources and news become available)

7:50 The People’s Library is OPEN on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Chanting, “Banks got bailed out, books got thrown out.”

6:51 “Hey this is James (super tall corduroy man!) From the library and I wanted some to post on the blog that at WBAI 99.5 NYC from 9 to 10 I will be on air with Jim (the barrel guy) and I will be taking calls with him and discussing ows and the library and that people should tune in!”

4:58 The advocacy group Common Cause has released a statement calling on the Mayor and City to replace our books.  Our post here.

3:34 A People’s Librarian reports on police violence at Liberty Plaza.

3:00 Reports from onsite are that the police have dekettled and reopened the park.  For now.

2:01: Liberty Plaza is under siege by NYPD. Occupiers are kettled in the park.

1:43 A People’s Librarian in action.  Handing out Bartleby at the action.

1:38: The ALA has released a statement decrying the seizure of the People’s Library and expressing support for the Working Group.  Our response here.

2:21: Police deny People’s Mobile Library entry into Liberty, even though Brookfield staff ok’d it.

12:00 pm

11:29: Barricades are down on at least one side of Liberty!

11:05: NYPD announce 60 arrests so far this morning (via WNYC).

10:47: Video of Douglass Rushkoff’s Speech from November 9th is up.

10:40: Transcript of Jonathan Lethem’s Speech from November 7th is up.

10: 30am: The People’s Library is mobile today, find us on the streets!

(photo: Stephen Boyer)

9:30am: The hashtag #OccupyMap is tracking locations of NYPD. #N17 is the tag of the day. Join and share the N17 event on FacebookCUNY Students, Staff and Faculty are walking out today at campuses across the city, see Occupy CUNY on Facebook, the Occupy Hunter web site. The following livestreams are covering direct actions in New York: OccupyNYC & Occupy Wall Street Independent Media Team & The Other 99

Schedule for Today

7am: Shut Down Wall Street

All Day: Strike & Walk-Out

Students from universities across the city  walk out of class. Walkouts will be occurring all day on different campuses, but will converge on Union Square at 3PM and then will march down to Foley Square to meet the rest of the protesters.

3pm: Occupy the Subway

We will gather at 3:00pm at 16 central subway hubs and take our own
stories to the trains, using the “People’s Mic”

5pm: Mass rally at Foley Square

Take the Square, Festival of Lights on Brooklyn Bridge

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Filed under #N17, Betsy, Direct Action, Mandy, Michael, Solidarity, Stephen, Steve S.