Category Archives: Solidarity

You’ve heard me say it before…

…but, I love a good strike.

 

 

ETA: Strike starts Sept. 10 unless a contract is negotiated in the meantime.  Go read some more of the CTU blog, as well; it’s got lots of good stuff, such as advice that Teach for America teachers can strike along with their comrades.

 

 

And as the new school year approaches, it looks like Chicago’s public school teachers and other educational professionals (like school librarians, ahem) might be going out. Tomorrow they will file their 10-day strike notice. That doesn’t mean that they’ll definitely strike, but it does mean the option is definitely on the table.  90% voted to authorize a strike earlier this summer. 

Wages, hours, and conditions of course.  In this case a main issue is that the same number of teachers were being asked to cover an extended school day and larger class sizes.   They seem to have made headway on that, but contract details have not been all straightened out yet.  Also up for discussion are student services and what some might call elective or non-essential courses and activities — music, art, recess & P.E., libraries, etc. — aspects of education that are seen as essential to wealthy and high-performing schools, but somehow are always negotiable in poor schools.  This, my friends, is one of the many way in which the playing field is not level, in which equal opportunity is not available, and in which inequality is perpetuated.

So, let’s see some support for our sisters and brothers in Chicago, trying to maintain fair working conditions in their public school system, so that they can best serve their hundreds of thousands of students.

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Free Mark Adams! Free all political prisoners!

The #D17 trial finished yesterday afternoon. Everyone found guilty. Seven, including Jack and Bishop Packard sentenced to four days community service (which I find a little silly, what do you think Jack and the bishop are up to most days, lol).

Our dear friend of the library Mark Adams was sentenced to 45 days. I think we can all agree when I say, Judge Sciarrino is a fucking tool. Especially because the DA recommended 30 days.

Anyway, a visiting schedule is being set up, we’re all going to write Mark a lot of letters, the Library will be sending him some reading material, and we look forward to seeing our dear comrade and his beard back in the street no later than early August.

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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 Verse

From the foregathered there comes a cry

an echo of all that has been said before

in every language

in every way

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

it seems a message

will play here forever

it reaches even those who cannot hear

those who refuse to hear

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

like an echo of all that has been said before

from the foregathered there comes a cry

here it is then

OCCUPY

visit

www.theowsreview.org

for new words from Peter Lamborn Wilson

and submit your literary arts to:

occupyreview@gmail.com

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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

May Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUNDAY:::

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIDS is now. END AIDS NOW!

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

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

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