Melissa Gira Grant has written an excellent account of the People’s Library and is currently in the final 48 hours of a Kickstarter campaign to pay for design, printing, and postage. (She plans to donate it to occupations around the country.) Melissa has been a wonderful advocate of the library—please help support her project!
Monthly Archives: December 2011
Happy Holiday’s Everyone! Doesn’t matter exactly how you celebrate, just remember to celebrate LOVE!
The Occupied Santa sent in three copies of the OWS Poetry Anthology… a copy will be in the park today (I’m heading down there with the library soon) for everyone to admire… or just print/make your own copy! And don’t forget to keep sending poems… The movement is just getting started! And we need your poems! If you haven’t gotten the freak poet in your family something yet, the anthology is the perfect gift and it’s free online HERE!
On another note:
My friend Rami sent me this: America, by now, is truly a land of addicts; but some junkies are just better than others. On this Christmas, let us all remember, whether we’ve struggled with depression, cocaine, cigarettes, or our weight; be we heroin addicts or sex addicts, there’s never been nor will there ever be a better, bigger, and more dangerous addict than that which stalks our dying country in the guise of the Wall Street Banker, the Wall Street Broker, the Wall Street Deal Maker. America’s a land of addicts: but some junkies are just better junkies than others, and some, as W. S. Burroughs reminds us, are better people. Happy Holidays!
Last night I went down to the park for the midnight celebration! I was astonished to see a group gathered near Ground Zero in remembrance of 9/11 victims… It was a beautiful group, they were busy reminding each other “we must remember we are people of joy – it doesn’t matter where we come from or what we worship” and guess whose watching!!!!
I couldn’t believe NYPD COUNTER-TERRORISM officers were patrolling the actions of a group of people grieving the loss of their loved ones due to the attacks on 9/11… merry police state ya’ll and I wish ya’ll a happy jail cell! Once in the park, the Occupiers were busy keeping one another warm and full of good cheer. People read a speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. read one Christmas Eve and others spoke of the plight many members of the Baha’i faith face on a daily basis. For those unfamiliar with the Baha’i, they’re a religious movement that seeks to show the interconnectedness of all faiths. It was a cold but beautiful night. And we were all reminded that Jesus was one of the first people to engage in a Direct Action when he overthrew the tables in the temple after the religious leaders of the day had lost sight of the spirit and had adopted an addiction to money. Jesus was a protester! Jesus would have been the first to enter Duarte Sq. Jesus would be here in the park with us. He/She would be with us, healing us, educating us, hugging us, possibly even shooting laser beams from his finger tips…
Hope to see you in the park today! The library will be there ready to give you a book for the holiday!
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
[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.
OWS Act Two
from the author of
the Temporary Autonomous Zone
And the working group meeting tonight 12/18 is CANCELLED.
Reconvene next week.
Lick your wounds, and remember how beautiful it was, if only for a minute…
Happy Birthday Bradley Manning!
We love you!
We want you free!
We thank you for your generous spirit!
We thank you for persevering!
We thank you for standing up for the people of the world!
And the people of the world love you for it!
We’re sorry we can’t free you now!
We are all enslaved by this system you have been captured by!
We are all wanting to be free!
And you helped set us all free!
And you are paying a heavy price!
For opening our eyes!
And one day you will walk in the sun!
And we will love you!
And you will heal!
And we will eat grapes!
And we will laugh!
And we will sing you happy birthday!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRADLEY MANNING!
WE LOVE YOU!
Sisters and Brothers, I greet you in the Name of Our Lord and in the bonds of common friendship and struggle from my homeland of South Africa. I know of your own challenges and of this appeal to Trinity Church for the shelter of a new home and I am with you! May God bless this appeal of yours and may the good people of that noble parish heed your plea, if not for ease of access, then at least for a stay on any violence or arrests.
Yours is a voice for the world not just the neighborhood of Duarte Park. Injustice, unfairness, and the strangle hold of greed which has beset humanity in our times must be answered with a resounding, “No!” You are that answer. I write this to you not many miles away from the houses of the poor in my country. It pains me despite all the progress we have made. You see, the heartbeat of what you are asking for–that those who have too much must wake up to the cries of their brothers and sisters who have so little–beats in me and all South Africans who believe in justice.
Trinity Church is an esteemed and valued old friend of mine; from the earliest days when I was a young Deacon. Theirs was the consistent and supportive voice I heard when no one else supported me or our beloved brother Nelson Mandela. That is why it is especially painful for me to hear of the impasse you are experiencing with the parish. I appeal to them to find a way to help you. I appeal to them to embrace the higher calling of Our Lord Jesus Christ–which they live so well in all other ways–but now to do so in this instance…can we not rearrange our affairs for justice sake? Just as history watched as South Africa was reborn in promise and fairness so it is watching you now.
In closing, be assured of my thoughts and prayers, they are with you at this very hour.
God bless you,
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town
“Week 9” has officially been added to the OWS Poetry Anthology. And I have exciting news! This December 17th, we’re launching a website for the OWS Poetry Anthology so it’s more easily accessible and ever more beautiful and free. The anthology will remain at the People’s Library WordPress page as a PDF but will also be at owspoetry.org as a more navigable version. So everyone that isn’t going to the re-occupation of Dec. 17th, you can occupy the new poetry site! And you should write a love poem to everyone that is occupying the new space on Dec. 17th.
A Writing Prompt(For those that need a nudge in the poetic direction): What does occupation mean to you? The word has a few meanings: Occupation – noun 1. a person’s usual or principal work or business, especially as a means of earning a living; vocation: Her occupation was dentistry. 2. any activity in which a person is engaged. 3. possession, settlement, or use of land or property. 4. the act of occupying. 5. the state of being occupied. But none of those meanings seem to capture the meta-experience occupations across the country have offered people. When has a job ever allowed a worker to fully engage in their right to free speech, free sleep, free food, free books, free everything… So please think about what it means for you to occupy. Where you occupy. Why you occupy. How you occupy. And form those messy ideas in your mind into words. And put those words onto paper. Then send those ideas to the OWS Poetry Anthology – stephenjboyer@gmail(DOT)com.
In other news, “Week 9” hosts the first Non-Latin language poetic contribution to the anthology! This is a huge step! We are breaking new ground! Incorporating more voices! A United Global Occupation that Occupies Everything is coming! The following poem doesn’t represent what the majority of occupiers feel, but that’s okay! Occupy Wall Street is about the freedom of opinion. It’s about people saying whatever they want. Anyone that has been to any G.A. knows the great lengthy arguments we go through to get anything accomplished. We believe in disruptors, for we are all disruptors.
And in closing, here’s the youtube video version of the poem the poet KJ Ink sent this past week… It’s called “Occupy There Minds”. I’ve been seeing more and more poets posting videos of their work on youtube… check out the OWS Poets!
Read, download, enjoy the OWS Poetry Anthology HERE!
Occupy Theory has been manifested as a new theory publication tidal. It’s fantastic! The first issue even includes an essay by Judith Butler. You can read it all for free online by going here. Or, at the very least read the first article “Communique 1“. It’s a feast and feat of language and pretty much says it all! The People’s Library loves the geniuses behind tidal! And they’re looking for work for future issues so sit down and start theorizing! Occupy Wall St is your movement!
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.
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?
This week our library working group meeting will be on Sunday, December 11 at 6PM at 60 Wall St. We hope to see lots of smiling faces there because we have many exciting things to discuss. Come on out and join us!
This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Part 1 is here.
The Occupy movement, and the People’s Library, are, in part, prefigurative movements. That is, they are attempts to create and embody the kind of society we want to see. For many of us, doing business with companies that are so closely tied to the status quo, companies whose structure and management reflect the exact opposite of the world we want to see, is anathema. We can’t change the world, rebuild it into a place of justice and equity, if we can’t reflect the values we support in our internal dynamics and operations. That doesn’t mean that any of us want to see the employees of these corporations suffer or that we want to see the products themselves lost. Rather, we would like to see a new kind of structure supporting the tremendous amount of work involved in creating and maintaining these products. A new structure that, rather than acting as funnel to send wealth to the few, provided material support to those involved in building them, including authors, while still creating the kinds of high quality indexing and access that the information revolution has allowed. While some of us are certainly Luddites, we’re Luddites in the true meaning of the word. The Luddites hated the looms not because they were opposed to making cloth with a machine, but because they hated the economic and social consequences of that transition.
It’s worth exploring, briefly, the mechanisms that have allowed these companies to act as wealth concentrators and that have transformed them from genuine partners in the information system into a virtual information cartel run for the benefit of the few. The first way this has happened is through the copyright law. The idea that intellectual fruits deserve special protection under the law is an old one, and a good one. However, like so many of our society’s laws, it has been come corrupted through money. First, authors, especially scholarly authors who often make no money from their publications, are required to sign over their copyrights to the publisher of their work. These contracts almost always serve the needs of the corporation to the detriment of the author. Because scholarly authors require publication to get tenure and continue in their academic positions, they have very little ability to walk away from these contracts and even less to alter them. It’s also worth recognizing that few authors have legal departments working on their behalf to write contracts to ensure their rights are protected. Most are on their own when it comes to wading through these contracts. There has been a strong and growing movement toward open access publishing, but it is being both co-opted and opposed by the corporations themselves.
On the other side of the transaction is the library. Libraries have no choice but to do their best to provide access to the materials that their readers need, and often their readers are the very same authors who have provided the material to the publishers in the first place. The publishers know that libraries are in a weak position and have acted repeatedly to raise prices far beyond what can be sustained by library budgets. They have also made the decision to make information available largely through the so-called “big deal.” The big deal offers libraries many different titles bundled together. These “deals” cut into library budgets and make traditional collection development impossible. Instead, it transfers that role to publishers who can add and remove titles at will. The big deal also means that as the price increases, libraries are left with little choice but to cut other places, often the book budget. This model, known as the “access model “, also damages libraries because rather than actually owning a title, libraries are merely renting them. So that when libraries do need to cancel a title or a database, often the entire run is lost. In the old days, when libraries purchased actual physical volumes, a title could be cancelled, but the journals themselves still sat on the shelves, available for use.
The access model also creates problems for libraries when applied to ebooks. Ebooks are a great idea and they certainly have a role to play in the information environment, but because of the tremendous power imbalance libraries are at the mercy of publishers when providing these to our patrons. The legal doctrine that protects the primary activity of libraries, lending books and other materials, is called First Sale. Under the First Sale doctrine when an entity purchases an item they are free to use it as they wish. They can lend it, destroy it, or sell it. The item is theirs in a very real sense. Digital information, because of its very nature, has no such protection; instead digital items are controlled by private contracts, contracts that determine what can and cannot be done with the item. That is why ebooks can be deleted after purchase and why publishers can place limits on how many readers a library can allow to borrow an ebook. Since these corporations have both more money and more power than libraries, the contracts strongly favor publishers.
The digital environment also poses another serious problem: environmental damage. The materials and energy needed to run the infrastructure pose a significant threat to the natural world. Rare earth mining, disposal of technological waste, and carbon emissions are massive externalities. Companies motivated by profit have no incentive to mitigate these threats and even less so move quickly and decisively to eliminate them. Industrial capitalism, and for a while state socialism, have had two hundred years to reduce environmental damage and have consistently failed to do so. The planet is now dying. The climate is in chaos, the ocean is turning to acid, and we are losing species at an alarming rate. It is time to give another system a chance to do better. Can a high tech industrial civilization exist on this planet without destroying the very systems that make the planet a habitable place for humans? The question is a good one and it one that is not settled. Can industrial capitalism create that civilization? No. It has had a long time to prove otherwise and has failed spectacularly.
A better world is possible. Occupy is about creating that better world. A world that is just and fair. A world where everyone has equal access to information and to literature. A world of literacy that is guided by strong and universal moral principles—care for the aged, young and sick, care for the natural environment, care for those who have been marginalized. A world that values democracy and nonhierarchical organization. A world that understands that destroying the planet for our own wealth is insane and immoral. We are building new systems in the shell of the old. That new world needs Literature Criticism Online, it needs Business Source Premier, it needs Lexis-Nexis and WestLaw. It also needs a healthy publishing sector. Publishers and libraries are partners and each need the other thrive. But we need a new structure to support these tools and this industry. One that protects the employees, the authors, the library, the reader, and the natural world. One that doesn’t exist to funnel wealth to the few at the cost of the well-being of the many.
Was doing what we librarians do yesterday, cataloging and sorting new books. Got to talking from some folks from other working groups about what the library is up to these days, how we are interacting with other groups.
Anyway, it was suggested to me that we rebuild our sections that help facilitate the work of other groups, in particular legal. So, dear readers, if you are out there wondering what you can do for the library or what kind of materials we might want, here’s a suggestion:
Please send us current legal reference books. Especially useful would be things pertaining to New York State or New York City laws, and topics that might help with the kinds of things the Occupation is involved with — civil rights, housing, finance, non-profits, etc.
Week 8 has been added to the OWS Poetry Anthology! About another 115 pages added… Keep writing poems! Keep sending poems! The anthology will soon be begin enough to crush Wall St. with it’s ever powerful poetic force and then the people of Liberty Plaza can take back their park!
Send poems to stephenjboyer@gmail (DOT) com.
All poems welcome!
All languages welcome!
Find out everything you need to know and the anthology here!
Tampa Police say overnight they arrested 29 members of Occupy Tampa in a riverside park west of downtown. Before the arrests about 40 people attempted to camp on a hill inside the park, but many people complied with police orders to leave.
The hilltop encampment in Julian Lane Riverfront Park was in plain view for police helicopters. More than a dozen Tampa Police vehicles arrived on the scene before midnight. Tampa Police Captain Brian Dugan and at least 20 other officers threatened to arrest anyone who would not leave the park. He told protesters they had to collect their belongings and leave, but he was interrupted by the people’s mic.
Occupy Tampa’s goal was to occupy a public park for the whole month of December. More than 100 demonstrators marched from their permanent encampment outside Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to Riverfront Park.
Before the group was arrested it chanted, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” and also recited the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Jordan Harrah had not been protesting that night, but entered the park to see what was happening. He said he was unjustly given an official trespass warning.
About four people had set up tents, and two dozen other protesters laid out sleeping bags. But when police arrived to evict their new encampment, many of the group left. Daiquiri Jones has a pending felony charge, and wasn’t originally planning to get arrested.
Several people called the police racist for targeting Jones, who is African American. Occupy Tampa’s Chris Kuleci was one witness.
The crowd burst into chanting the word shame at officers. Lieutenant Bucher walked about 30 yards toward the sidewalk, and pushed Occupy Tampa’s journalist Mike Madison into the park, and then issued him a verbal trespass warning.
But Madison said he was more concerned that Daiquiri Jones might be locked up for a while.
Some members called it a test run for their potential month long occupation of a park, but protesters seemed content with the new location. Kade Kelly set up his camp atop the hill earlier that night, hoping that the group could also make a difference in the community.
The group also called attention to World AIDS Day, and they held a candlelight vigil before laying down their bedding. Owen Gaither called for solidarity with other political movements.
After police left, at least two members of Occupy Tampa continued to sleep on the park grass overnight, to show solidarity with those arrested. 62 protesters have been arrested since Occupy Tampa began sleeping overnight in public 55 days ago.
Hello good friends of The People’s Library! This week our library working group meeting will be held at the atrium at 60 Wall St on Sunday, December 4 at 6:00PM. Please come and join us to discuss our action plans for the week, and our long-term goals for the future . We look forward to seeing all of your bright and supportive faces then. Peace!