Category Archives: Michael

New York Press Club Calls for Investigation

Keith Gessen, editor of n+1 being arrested.

The 11/15/11 eviction of #OccupyWallStreet from Liberty Plaza involved attacks on free speech beyond the destruction of our library and silencing of the occupiers voices. The New York Press Club is calling for an investigation into press suppression during the eviction:

“The Bloomberg administration appears to have made a conscious decision to exclude the press from Tuesday’s Zuccotti Park purge. If true, the New York Press Club strongly condemns what would seem to be a strategic decision to cloak potentially volatile police activity from public view.

While attempting to reach the scene, a number of reporters were shoved away and several were arrested in areas distant from the park itself. Police reportedly did not acknowledge the journalistic status of those reporters even after identities were clearly established.

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Filed under Free Speech, Media, Michael

2nd Destruction of the People’s Library

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Filed under Media, Michael

Defending the People’s Library

. . . posted to our facebook wall.


Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Michael

Destruction of the People’s Library


Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Announcements, Emergency Actions, Michael


Sign designed by @kellianderson

Maria Popova and Liz Danzico have started the first Occupy Wall Street book pickup tour (via boingboing).  Maria writes:

“. . . My friend Liz Danzico (@bobulate) and I are doing an impromptu #OWSBookmobile tour to help rebuild the library. We’re starting with our own book from our piles of press copies and making several stops across Brooklyn starting at 1pm today to pick up other donations, then dropping all the books off at the #OWSLibrary.”

Follow the progress of the Bookmobile on Twitter with the hashtag #OWSBookmobile.

The #OWSBookmobile in action.


First donations received.

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Filed under #OWSBookmobile, Michael, Solidarity

Your Library in the News

Amanda Marcotte writes about books as speech for Good: “To some, such intense interest in a library seems overblown. The library is a small fraction of the movement, and it may seem callous to worry so much about replaceable items when live people are being arrested and roughed up by the police. But the truth is that books matter. “No book ever pushed a cop,” says writer and journalist Jeff Sharlet, who started a group called Occupy Writers to support the movement. “Books are speech. Bloomberg has, in effect, stumbled his way into a war on books. So far in history, nobody’s ever won that war for good.”

The People's Library, Being Rebuilt Yesterday in Liberty Plaza

Nicolaus Mills writes for the Guardian about the 1932 police destruction of the Bonus Army encampment: “In 1932, a police and Army raid on the Bonus Army of first world war veterans, who had come to Washington, DC to ask for immediate payment of their Adjusted Service Certificates (whic everyone called their bonus), resulted in an Occupy Wall Street-like rout. But in the end, the vets were the ones who prevailed and gained public sympathy.”

boingboing covers our article on Bloomberg’s library hypocrisy with the headline “One week after attending NY Public Library gala, Bloomberg destroys #OWS library containing honorees’ books (and his own)

Laurie Penny writes for the New Statesman about why Bloomberg has ordered the NYPD to kidnap books:

“When the news of the vandalism of the Occupy Wall Street library came through, Twitter was alight with outrage. Even the most dribblingly obnoxious right-wing troll finds it hard to argue when people tell him trashing books is bad karma. Such was the uproar that the Mayor’s office tweeted a photo of what appeared to be part of the OWS library, stacked in a sanitation department garage, ready for protesters to pick up on Wednesday, if they were polite about it.

The image looks like nothing other than a hostage photo, which is exactly what it is: here is your library, more or less intact. We will give it back if you hand over your collective future without argument. Just leave it in the trashcan on the corner of Wall Street.

It occurs to me that the impounding of books is a subtler and more appropriate metaphor for how culture is policed in modern times than the burning or destruction of books. Across the developed world, as austerity programmes kick in to finance the cataclysmic self-indulgence of the super-rich, it is libraries, schools and universities that are being priced out of the reach of ordinary people.”

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Filed under Frances, Media, Michael

Occupy Together

I want to write all about the day in detail – our working group (aka, our library family) spent the day of action spread out all over the city working independently and also working together. We had our online and off-site folks in charge of keeping the blog and twitter updated and running info for those who were on the street. We were marching; setting up the library at Liberty, Union Square, Foley Square and on the Brooklyn Bridge; running mobile libraries from carts; coming up with awesome chants; meeting people and taking donations; telling our story and so much more. At the end of the day we stopped at an Irish bar across from the WTC site and had dinner, beer and a meeting. There’s so much to write, and I’m exhausted and have to work/school tomorrow. So instead, here are some of my photos. <3 and solidarity.

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Full resolution slideshow here.


Filed under #N17, Michael, Photographs

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


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

Your Library in the News

The NYPD seized the People’s Library again tonight. We set up the library again today with 100 books, and the police came over this evening and stood in a line around the books, blocking anyone from reaching the books by creating a fence with their batons. The officers then ordered the Brookfield property sanitation crew to throw them in a trash can. We photographed it all, and video is available on the blog here. The police were asked why they were taking the books and one officer said “I don’t know.”

Police Surrounding the Library and Ordering Workers to Dismantle it and Throw it into Trash Bins. (photo: Frances Mercanti-Anthony)

Amy Goodman writes beautifully about the grim symbolism of Bloomberg’s destruction of our library. Rachel Maddow covers this most recent attack on the library. NY1 covers our attempts to recover the remnants of our library today after it was destroyed by NYPD and DSNY under Mayor Bloomberg’s orders. NY1 aired footage of the attack on the library tonight, but it’s not yet available on their web site. LA Times covers the thousands of books that the city trashed. The Washington Post covers Salman Rushdie’s comments about the destruction of the library by Mayor Bloomberg, and features the photo of the bible that Bloomberg trashed. NYT cityroom blog covers the experiences of those trying to get their stuff back from the sanitation garage. Slate covers the Mayor’s lies as he tried to cover up the destruction of the library. American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association, writes about the rebirth of our library. And finally, AlJazeera covers the People’s Library and the future of OWS.


Filed under Media, Michael

UPDATE: State of Seized Library

(This post is being updated as news comes in, check back regularly.)

We’re getting our first report back from the folks who went to the Sanitation Garage. Mayor Bloomberg’s office tweeted: “Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds” But it turns out, not surprisingly, that this was a lie. Our folks on the ground say:

“There are only about 25 boxes of books; many of the books are destroyed. Laptops here but destroyed. Can’t find tent or shelves.”

Update 11:00am

“Many books destroyed. Most equipment -and structures missing. . . most of library is missing (ALL of the reference section btw), damaged or destroyed. “

Update 11:14am

One of our librarians Zach came up with a partial list of what was taken (see below) and it’s looking like only a few boxes of books and our (destroyed) laptops and one chair were at Sanitation. Our people on the ground report that “A lot is destroyed . . . more may (or may not) be coming out of their giant trashpile at back of building.” But it’s obvious to me that by recklessly throwing the contents of the park into dumpsters, the NYPD and DSNY working under Bloomberg’s orders destroyed what we built. And that their claim that the library was “safely stored” was a lie.

So Mayor Bloomberg: where is the People’s Library?

  • 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 (I was starting to collect some stuff in the library);
  • posters (including many original posters created by OWS participants);
  • two lamps;
  • four solar lights;
  • 7 (or so) chairs;
  • a wooden dinner table (that was our’s right?);
  • periodicals/newspapers/zines (not counted in our book total);
  • our awesome tent;
  • signage;
  • personal belongings of librarians;


Filed under Michael, Solidarity

Special Comment – Mayor Bloomberg

“Who else but a human platitude like Bloomberg could have just gotten back from Jerusalem and the dedication of a ten million dollar medical facility, for which he generously paid, and then enable the image of policeman seizing fifty-five hundred books from the Occupy Wall Street Library and throwing them in a dumpster as if the cops were book burners?”


Filed under Media, Michael

New “Rules”

Here are the new “rules” posted at Liberty Plaza. So far, there are reports of Police stopping occupiers from standing on higher-than-ground surfaces in the park, police preventing food delivery from coming into the park, police stopping musicians from bringing in instruments and police searching people who enter the park. My take: this would appear to be very much like the protest pens that were a popular tool of the G.W. Bush administration and it would seem to violate the agreement that was made to grant Brookfield that extra height on their building. Perhaps they would be willing to lob off a few floors? Or, return the park to the free and open space for public use that it has always been.

Either way, we don’t ask permission to occupy.


Filed under Brookfield, Michael, Public/Private Parks

People’s Library Re-Opens

This image was just posted on our twitter feed by an awesome librarian with a smartphone. Not yet sure who. The General Assembly is going on in Liberty Plaza now and is livestreaming here.




Filed under Michael

Court Restraining Order Against NYC Re: Occupation of Liberty

The following is the text of a court order, obtained by the National Lawyers Guild and their statement on the order.

New York, NY: At around 6 AM on November 15, 2011, attorneys associated with the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild working as the Liberty Park Legal Working Group obtained a temporary restraining order against the City of New York, various City agencies, and Brookfield properties directing that occupiers be allowed back on the premises with their belongings.

Earlier, at approximately 1 AM, the NYPD began massing around Zuccotti Park “aka Liberty Park.” In the following hours reports surfaced that the NYPD entered the park with police in riot gear backed up by numerous police vehicles, including a bulldozer, evicting occupiers. In the process they destroyed property and arrested dozens of occupiers and protestors including NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and District Leader Paul Newell.

In the coming hours, days and weeks the LPLWG will pursue all legal options to enable the occupiers to continue to exercise their first amendment rights to speech and assembly for speech. Attorney Yetta Kurland, one of the attorneys from the LPLWG, said, “This is a victory for everyone who believes in the First Amendment. We will continue to fight for everyone’s right to continue the occupation.” In response to the injunction, Daniel Alterman, also an attorney with the LPLWG, stated that, “This is a victory for all Americans, for the constitution and for the 99%.” Gideon Oliver, another attorney with the LPLWG reacted by saying, “The LPLWG has been fighting to ensure their right to free speech from day one of the occupation. The occupiers right to free speech is based in our most core legal principles and we will be here till the end to fight for those rights.”


Filed under Digital Archive, Michael, NLG, Solidarity


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Today: 9AM Post-Raid Rally and General Assembly

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

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Filed under Announcements, Emergency Actions, Michael

Eviction Notice & Property Removal

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.


Filed under Announcements, Brookfield, Michael

URGENT: Raid of Occupy Wall Street

URGENT CALL FOR ACTION: The Occupation and the People’s Library are being destroyed right now by the NYPD. The Library and all the tents and equipment from the camp are being thrown in dumpsters.

Please call:

311, if you’re in New York City

If you’re outside NYC, please call the NYPD Switchboard at: 646-610-5000

And the Mayor’s office at: 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675)

Ask that the Mayor and NYPD stop the eviction of Occupy Wall Street.

I’m currently watching video from the CBS News helicopter which shows that the NYPD have surrounded the occupation at Liberty Plaza with two layers of barricades and lines of police. They have also set up lights shining into the park from all sides. Streams of police are visible entering the park.

Library staff have confirmed that police are entering the occupation. The global revolution livestream is reporting that the park is being “raided” now.

It appears that at this moment, the NYPD are moving to evict the occupation. CBS reports that the press is not being allowed into the park to cover the events. There are massive numbers of police lined up in battallions on the north side of the park. Also, no one is being allowed near the park.

The police are making every effort to prevent media and OWS cameras from filming what is occurring in the park right now. The best way you can help right now is to flood the city with calls and spread the word.


Filed under Announcements, Emergency Actions, Michael

The Library Operations Group

Tonight, the group pictured above (that will eventually become the Spokes Council) approved the People’s Library as an Operations Group. This didn’t happen at the General Assembly (GA) and it didn’t happen at the Spokes Council, because there isn’t a Spokes Council yet.  If this is confusing, you’re not alone, so read on for some clarification.

The continuing growth of Occupy Wall Street has resulted in our GA approving a proposal from the Structure Working Group to create a new body in addition to the GA. This body is called the Spokes Council. The Spokes Council is to be made up of Operations Groups and Caucuses. Other groups involved in the movement will be called Movement Groups.

Tonight was the second meeting of the group that is determining which groups are Operations Groups. This group that met tonight is not a GA and it’s not yet a Spokes Council. Because it sits in this indeterminate space between these two decision-making bodies and is tasked with the creation of a new body, it is acting with what I might call an extra-legal authority in order to create new structures. This has, understandably, resulted in a lot of confusion – and the meetings reflect this. For example, tonight the Structure Working Group withdrew themselves from consideration as an Operations Group. And during the meeting folks from facilitation enforced certain rules that apply to the Spokes Council, while stating that we were not yet the Spokes Council. At one point facilitation said that the meeting was a GA, to which the Direct Democracy working group replied “No, it’s not.” And it wasn’t a GA, nor was it spokes – hence some of the confusion.

So, what is an Operations Group? An Operations Group is a group that:

  • contributes to the logistical and financial operations of Occupy Wall Street on a consistent basis
  • is open and accessible for people to join
  • and can only exclude people for either repeatedly disrupting the group’s process or behaving in such a way that seriously violates the GA’s Principles of Solidarity

The current meetings that are being referred to casually as spokes meetings, are actually meetings tasked with determining which groups fit this narrow definition of Operations Group. Tonight, our Library was approved as a group that does meet this definition. The Archives Working Group, however was not. There was quite a bit of discussion about whether or not groups meet these criteria. There was some contention, for example, about whether Finance meets this definition because they can exclude people based on background checks and this could be seen to conflict with the third bullet point above. But this was, of course, a matter of interpretation and the counter argument was presented that they don’t exclude membership based on those background checks, but rather exclude individuals from playing certain roles based on them. Many other issues were brought up, and I don’t intend to erase those issues by not reporting them here. In the end Finance was also approved as an Operations Working Group.

I could write quite a bit about the different objections, confusions, tensions, structural questions, facilitation issues, and more that this process is bringing up, it’s a fascinating area. But for now, it’s enough to say that once the Spokes Council is formed and this process of determining group memberships is complete, the Library will be participating as an Operations Group. We will have a rotating spoke, a different person who speaks for the group at each meeting – and all library folks are invited and encouraged to attend and participate in the discussions and to volunteer to take on that role of being the spoke.

You can read more about the Spokes Council proposal on the Structure Working Group page here. And please post questions, both specific and general, several of us have now attended these meetings and are familiar with the process and should be able to give you some different perspectives.

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Filed under Michael, Operations Group, Spokes Council

Your Local People’s Library Branch

Would you like to open a People’s Library branch in your neighborhood? WNYC’s Brian Leher Show and The New York World are collaborating on a map of all the Privately-Owned Public Spaces (POP) in New York. Zucotti Park (Liberty Plaza), for example, is a POP.

One of the amazing things about the Occupy movement is how the model is open source and free. You can take what we’re doing at OWS and set it up wherever you are. That also applies to the People’s Library model. What we’ve built here is a set of practices that can be deployed wherever you are. So, if you’d like to open a branch of the People’s Library in your New York neighborhood, find a POP, bring down some books and meet your neighbors. It all starts with a few books in a box.


Filed under Michael, OccupyLibraries, POP, Privatization, Process