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Category Archives: Solidarity
You’ve all been following what’s up in Turkey, right? Of course you have.
Turns out that park occupations continue to produce libraries. Seems that folks have up and built one in Taksim Gezi Parki in Istanbul.
[crossposted at LibrarianShipwreck]
ETA: This following photo landed in our inbox this morning. Enjoy.
For those looking to help in the recovery after Hurricane Sandy, here are a list of resources. I’ve worked with the Red Cross disaster relief operations here as well as doing social media work to promote Occupy Sandy so feel free to post questions about the aid situation on the ground. The most important thing to know is that the best way to direct your time, donations or resources are where they are needed. You might be tempted to put some canned food together or some clothing and bring it to an affected area, but that often causes more challenges for relief work. Instead, look carefully at what is needed and contribute based on need. If you want to donate goods, keep in mind that organizations like Red Cross do not accept such donations, the Occupy Sandy web site has many lists of donation drop offs. Please post comments with links to other organizations. If you would like to donate large quantities of goods, go to VOAD: http://www.nvoad.org/
New York Area:
Occupy Sandy: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy
NYC Service: http://www.nycservice.org
Community Food Bank of NJ: https://community.njfoodbank.org/
Red Cross: If you are medically credentialed, email HealthServices@nyredcross.org to volunteer
Adopt NY: http://www.adoptny.org
Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/
American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org
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.”
Listen up, kids, this is important! Today we’re going to talk about grand juries. With a side of intellectual freedom.
Look, we’ve got three people — Matt Duran, Kteeo (Katherine Olejnik), and Leah-Lynn Plante — locked up for contempt out in Seattle, WA. They’ve all refused to testify before a grand jury.
Grand juries are one of the government’s shittiest tools for squishing dissent. They were originally intended as a way for individual citizens to bring a matter before their peers to make the government do something about it. Today, though, they are a way for the government to intimidate and punish people who make noise, without those people having any recourse. Folks get hauled into court, without having been accused of anything, and are asked a bunch of questions. They are not allowed to have an attorney with them, and the room is closed and what goes on is kept secret. They must answer the questions — the 5th Amendment, which otherwise protects us from having to testify against ourselves, does not apply. If they refuse to testify — a choice that is usually a good idea in cases of political repression — they may be jailed for up to six months for contempt, in order to coerce testimony. If after six months a person has not spoken, they can be sent back for another six months, et cetera, et cetera, until someone gives up. Remember, these folks have not even been accused, let alone convicted, of a crime in the first place. The point of a grand jury is for the government to figure out if there’s anything floating around that they can prosecute someone for.
Back on July 25, if you’ll recall, Plante and Duran were a couple of the folks in Oregon and Washington states who woke up to the early morning sounds of their doors being smashed in by federal officers. Their residences were searched by feds looking for, among other things, black clothes and anarchist literature. Yesterday, before Plante went back before the grand jury and again refused to testify, she wrote:
On the morning of July 25th, 2012, my life was turned upside down in a matter of hours. FBI agents from around Washington and Oregon and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents from Washington busted down the front door of my house with a battering ram, handcuffed my house mates and me at gunpoint, and held us hostage in our backyard while they read us a search warrant and ransacked our home. They said it was in connection to May Day vandalism that occurred in Seattle, Washington earlier this year.
However, we suspected that this was not really about broken windows. As if they had taken pointers from Orwell’s 1984, they took books, artwork and other various literature as “evidence” as well as many other personal belongings even though they seemed to know that nobody there was even in Seattle on May Day. While we know that knowledge is powerful, we suspected that nobody used rolled up copies of the Stumptown Wobbly to commit property damage. We saw this for what it was. They are trying to investigate anarchists and persecute them for their beliefs. This is a fishing expedition. This is a witch hunt. Since then, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, we have learned that this Grand jury was convened on March 2nd, 2012, two months before the May Day vandalism even took place…
As predicted, she was locked up after yesterday’s grand jury session. Matt has been imprisoned since September 13, including time in solitary confinement, and Kteeo since September 28. So, shit’s scary. But, we’re all in this together, and the best way to handle this is for us all to create and maintain a loving community and to take care of each other. Which is what grand jury resisters are doing, by they way — they are taking a hit for the rest of us. We should all be supporting these three, in word and deed, as much as we can, since they’re going so hard to protect our asses. Here’s some stuff you can do for Matt and Kteeo, and I’m sure there’ll be a similar round up for Leah shortly.
So, this is the Library blog, right? Let’s bring it back home. See up there where Leah writes about her house being searched? What did the feds take? Books, art. As many folks around the internet have noted, if the FBI came gunning into any of our houses they’d find black clothing and subversive literature.
Yo, feds, Senator McCarthy called, he wants his game plan back.
Aside from the 5th Amendment mentioned above, we are also supposed to be guaranteed rights of speech and press under the 1st Amendment, and the rights to free speech and assembly include freedom of association, as clarified by Supreme Court rulings. Now, I know some of us don’t truck with the idea of rights (Utah says, “The state can’t give you freedom, and the state can’t take it away. You’re born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.”), but it’s what we’ve got to work with right now.
And yet we have doors being busted down over books, and the printed word being taken away as evidence of… …something. That our three grand jury resisters hold certain political opinions, and know others with similar opinions, is enough to have gotten them into this spot in the first place. Librarians, our professional association has a lot to say about the 1st Amendment.
We’ve just come off of Banned Books Week. I hope you read something subversive! I always hope that, actually. I also hope that I don’t need to be too heavy-handed in drawing the lines between the FBI searching someone’s house for radical literature and the stuff we usually talk about when we talk about banned books. It is a matter of degree, rather than kind.
Good morning! To update my last post, the Chicago Teachers Union — some 26,000 teachers and support staff — has gone out on strike today. They are striking for themselves — for previously promised raises and decent health coverage, against being overworked by longer hours and larger class sizes — and also for their students — for “elective” courses such as art and gym and music, and for educational support such as librarians and social workers. You’d bet that mayor Rahm Emanuel’s children and the children of the Chicago School Board members attend schools that have all that and more. All of Chicago’s public school students certainly deserve the same. (Rahm, by the way, should be ashamed of himself. His mother, a union organizer, is probably rolling in her grave.)
If you are in Chicago, join a picket! Some handy person has mapped them all out, but I hear you can’t swing a cat in Chicago this morning without hitting some striking teachers. If you don’t have the time, but maybe have some financial resources, donate to the strike fund. Or stop by a picket with coffee and snacks. I’m sure the teachers will appreciate it. Also, as my fellow people’s librarian from Chicago, Rachel Allshiny, herself an unemployed teacher, notes on Twitter (follow her: @allshiny), “My parents raised me to never cross a picket line. But for some of these kids it’s the only way they’ll get breakfast.” And lunch, for that matter. Emptier schools will make for a more effective strike, so if you have folks in your neighborhood who need childcare, or kids who take free or reduced price meals at school, step up and help out. If supporters could take in children for weeks and months during the Lawrence textile mill strike a hundred years ago, you can surely make a couple sandwiches.
Here in NYC, we’ll be gathering at Union Square at 5pm this evening for a show of solidarity. (And inspiration? A girl can dream.)
Along with the start of the school year, it’s also the start of football season. I love football! If you google hard enough, you might be able to find pictures of yours truly at age 12 in pads and jersey and with a ponytail hanging out the back of a helmet. (As a side note, I especially love the Green Bay Packers, which is the only community-owned pro sports team in the US. And the only one to release all its financial information every year. And it’s against NFL rules for other teams to organize like this.) But if you’ve been watching pre-season games or this weekend’s season openers, you may have noticed that the calls were less than stellar. The NFL’s regular referees are locked out, a tactic I’ve previously written about that is being used by owners against workers with more and more frequency. In their place, the league has hired scabs up from Div II & III college ball, high schools, and sundry other leagues. (It just kills me that Shannon Eastin, the first woman to ref in the NFL, is a scab.)
There’s a lot to be said about this — how meeting all the refs’ demands would cost the league very little money, how the replacements’ collective lack of experience may endanger the players of a sport that has been paying increasing attention to long-term dangers of concussions and other impact injuries. Other people have spilled a lot of ink over all that. I’ll just say that I won’t be watching any games, and neither should you, until the refs’ demands are met and the lockout is over. If any NFL players happen to be reading, especially any Packers, or from teams in other old union towns — I’m looking at you, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers — I suggest you get on the right side of history and start vociferously supporting your referees.
Here in New York we had an important victory just last week. On the Upper East Side, Hot and Crusty fired and locked out a couple dozen workers after they unionized and won improvements in wages and working conditions. Rather than not being a jerk, the owner closed up shop. Workers and allies occupied the place until the cops showed up and arrested a few people. Then they started picketing, running a cafe on the sidewalk, and holding a tough line against half-assed offers. As of now, workers’ demands have all been met, and Hot and Crusty is scheduled to reopen; let’s all keep an eye on this — the picket will continue until the owner follows through.
Last, but not least, some of New York City’s car wash employees are getting organized. Like the Hot and Crusty employees, many car wash workers are immigrants, often undocumented, which makes it easier for owners to exploit them, through fear of la migra. Let’s be ready to step up and lend some solidarity as these workers, too, start demanding their rights and dignity.
ETA: In international news, more and more miners, now more than 40,000, are striking in South Africa.
ETA: As of Wednesday, 9/12, teachers in Lake Forest, Ill., a suburb to the north of Chicago, and not part of the Chicago school system, have also gone out on strike. It sounds like they’re having a rough time of it, so any support from folks out that way would be appreciated, I’m sure. Lake Forest has a very different demographic profile from Chicago, being very white and very wealthy. With a median household income about three times that of the national average, residents should probably STFU about teachers wanting to be well-compensated for the valuable work they do.
ETA: It’s still Wednesday, and I’ve got more labor news! Workers at a warehouse in Mira Loma, California, that subcontracts with Walmart — and we all know how shitty Walmart’s labor record is — have walked off, after Walmart wouldn’t even come to the table to discuss wages, working conditions, and retaliation for previous organization attempts. In coming days they will be walking the 50 miles to Los Angeles to take up the issue with Walmart’s executives.
…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.
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.
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.
ETA: 5/30/12. Via Facebook, Jack asks, “[P]lease send Rector Cooper, email@example.com, 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…”
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
for new words from Peter Lamborn Wilson
and submit your literary arts to:
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!
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.
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!
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
G’morning to all you dirty commies. I only got two hours of sleep last night — between my day job, jail support at central booking for one of the librarians and other friends, and then hanging around Union Square for possible park defense (reoccupation, what then!) — so this’ll be a little punchier than usual.
Toronto is near and dear to the hearts of the People’s Library, as a couple of our librarians are currently in residence there.
For those who haven’t yet noticed, Local 4948, Toronto Library Workers Union, went out on strike late this past Sunday, and the libraries in Toronto have been closed since. 2,300 (about 3/4 are women) workers are out, and, to quote Utah Philips, “the issues [are] wages, hours, and conditions, of course.” In particular, the librarians are concerned about job security, especially for part-time employees who already have trouble making ends meet. They’ve been picketing at City Hall and some of the library branches. Patrons are asked not to return materials until things are settled, and overdue fines will not be charged for the duration.
Further, on Tuesday Toronto’s CUPE Local 79, representing 23,000 inside workers — clerks, child care workers, nurses, janitors, and the like — voted in excess of 85% for a strike mandate. Their contract had expired at the end of 2011. If they and the city don’t get things straightened out by this weekend, we could see them out as well.
I love a good strike. And, remember — friends don’t let friends cross picket lines!
Progressive Librarians Guild has the link round-up.
Six months after Occupy Wall Street (OWS) sparked a global 99% movement, Occupy with Art and Masters on Main Street launch “Wall Street to Main Street” (WS2MS) in historic Catskill, NY. Through a dynamic series of art exhibits, performances, screenings, happenings, public discussions, community- and family-focused activities, WS2MS will not only illuminate the amazing phenomenon of OWS, it will explore possible futures of the movement and build a creative bridge to connect the protests with the real needs and values of Main Street, USA.
Occupy Books: An Experiment in Communal Reading, located at 450 Main Street. This site is books + couches and reading lamps, including an opportunity to write on its walls reflections, quotes, messages and/or whatever you want. Importantly, the books at Occupy Books are by donation, in keeping with the OWS People’s Library, which will be contributing books from its collection for this action.
WS2MS opens March 17, 2012 in Catskill, NY.
If you would like to donate books directly to the show, please ship to the address below:
C/O Green County Council on the Arts
P.O.Box 463, 398 Main Street
Catskill, New York 12414
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.
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.
After inviting the People’s Library to set up in their nightclub and using our name and graphics in their advertising, WiP’s creative director, Stuart Braunstein decided that the 99% weren’t up to his standards. The Village Voice reports:
More than 50 library supporters were kept outside in the pouring rain and ultimately turned away as bouncers determined they didn’t fit the look the club was going for.
“Some of your people my door is telling me haven’t taken a shower and smell and look homeless we can’t let them in cause this is a business,” WiP’s creative director, Stuart Braunstein, told Boyer in an email when Boyer asked that why library supporters were being turned away from what was promoted as a library event.
Relations deteriorated from there. A club manager brusquely told the librarians to get their table of books out of the club’s main space, where they had been set up for several hours. “I need this all out of here, now,” he said.
“Wow — that whole exchange felt exactly like a lot of our interactions with the cops,” said librarian Darah McJimsey afterwards, as behind her a heavily feathered burlesque dancer began to strip down for the club’s growing crowd.
After Miller intervened on behalf of the library, they were allowed to keep their table, albeit in a hallway outside the event space. But at that point, the librarians weren’t clear why they were even there.
“I want to give a shout out to the People’s Library!” Miller said as he took the DJ’s podium a few minutes later. “Who brought books to donate tonight?” The audience barely looked up from their cocktails, and Miller launched into his set. Out in the hall, the last occupiers pushed past the bouncers and out into the rain.
“The club failed us,” Boyer said as he left. “We had an understanding. Our name and our imagery are all over the flyers for this event, we promoted it, and now they’re not letting us in. We feel used.”
Good riddance, said Braunstein afterward. “I found them fucking ungrateful. I did them a favor, and it wasn’t the favor they wanted, so they threw a little fit. A bunch of them tried to get in, and they probably hadn’t showered in days. All of a sudden I’m supposed to change my rules for them? It’s a night club!
“I’m not about dividing people into the 99 and the 1 percent,” Braunstein said. “But honestly, the Wall Streeters inside are a lot nicer than those guys, and at least they pay some of my bills.”