#winning

Dearest supporters, we’ve been paddling like the dickens under the surface here lately, and I have big news for you!

Our court case against New York City’s various officials and agencies is over!  The city has settled with us.

We’ll be having a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10, at 11 AM, at 260 Madison Avenue, in our lawyers’ office.

[crossposted to LibrarianShipwreck]

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Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Recording + Center For Book Arts Show

This recording was made for the installation telling the story of The Peoples Free Library and the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology shown at the Center for Book Arts (Jan-March 2013), “Brother Can You Spare A Stack?”

www.centerforbookarts.org/

the Center for Book Arts:

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack
January 18, 2013 – March 30, 2013

Organized by Yulia Tikhonova

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack presents thirteen art projects that re-imagine the library as a force for social change. Each project constructs a micro library of sorts that serves specific economic or social needs within the community. Each project proposes an alternative politicized realm, which can be imagined and formed to explore the social dimensions of contemporary culture. Small and mobile, these projects resist the limitations of a controlled, highly organized system that governs our society. In contrast to subjective libraries formed by the artists picking and choosing book titles, these projects take a pragmatic and rational approach, using the library model as an interactive field. Selected projects update the principles of relational aesthetics, and shift them towards all-inclusive and useful cultural production. “Brother, Can You Spare a Stack” borrows its title from the lyrics of a popular depression era song, claiming that the artists invent alternative models of questioning, inspiring new perspectives on social transformation. They insert themselves into the most unexpected situations and spaces, in this case libraries, to propose social and cultural improvement. The exhibition includes projects by: Arlen Austin and Jason Boughton; Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune; Stephen Boyer; BroLab (Rahul Alexander, Jonathan Brand, Adam Brent, Ryan Roa, and Travis LeRoy Southworth); Valentina Curandi and Nathaniel Katz; Finishing School with Christy Thomas; Anna Lise Jensen and Michael Wilson; Jen Kennedy and Liz Linden; The K.I.D.S. with Word Up Collective, Eyelevel BQE, Launchpad, NURTUREart, Weeksville Heritage Center, and individual partners, as well as with Emcee C.M., Master of None; Annabel Other; Reanimation Library; The Sketchbook Project; and Micki Watanabe Spiller.

The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology lives online in its entirety here:

https://peopleslibrary.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/occupy-wall-street-poetry-anthology/

A special thank you to all the poets and to Anna Huckabay, Ben Rosenberg, Lee Ann Brown, Miranda Lee Reality Torn, Tony Torn, and Xena Stanislavovna Semjonova for helping create this recording!

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Strike Debt, Rolling Jubilee & The People’s Bailout

Strike Debt is launching the Rolling Jubilee as a way of getting rid of people’s debts through mutual aid. Rolling Jubilee seeks to buy defaulted charged-off debt at steeply discounted prices and then abolish the debt, keeping it out of the hands of debt collectors. The amazing thing about this campaign is that it is buying charged-off debt, so that means that if they raise $50,000, they can buy $1,000,000 worth of debt, and abolish it, freeing people from debt. Donate here or purchase tickets to The People’s Bailout, a variety show and telethon to benefit the 99%

Join Strike Debt for an updated version of an old classic, the telethon, to launch The Rolling Jubilee, a campaign that buys debt for pennies on the dollar and does away with it. Instead of collecting the debt, we will abolish it and help free the debtors!

People shouldn’t have to go into debt for an education, because they need medical care, or to put food on the table during hard times. We shouldn’t have to pay endless interest to the 1% for basic necessities. Big banks and corporations walk away from their debts and leave taxpayers to pick up the tab. It’s time for a bailout of the people, by the people.

It will be a wild night of music, comedy, magic, education, and the unexpected. This fast-moving variety show will mix well-known performers, intellectuals and activists from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street.

Special guests include Janeane Garofalo, Lizz Winstead, Frances Fox Piven, Max Silvestri, Hari Kondabolu, David Rees, The Yes Men, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, Climbing Poetree, the Invisible Army of Defaulters, members of Healthcare for the 99%, Occupy Faith, and many more.

*Tickets will go on-sale Friday, November 2nd at 10AM*

$25 (abolishes an estimated $500 worth of debt)
$50 (abolishes an estimated $1000 worth of debt)
$100 (abolishes an estimated $2000 worth of debt)
$250 (abolishes an estimated $5000 worth of debt)

This is a general admission, standing event.

The event will also be livestreamed at www.rollingjubilee.org

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Filed under #RollingJubilee, #StrikeDebt, Michael

Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

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

National:

Serve.gov: http://www.serve.gov/sandy

Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/

ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org

American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org

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Filed under Michael, Solidarity

Sandy

Hey, librarians!  I’m sitting high & dry here in Brooklyn, as all us folks here on the east coast wait out this hurricane.

Some of the occu-fam is out and about.  Our very own weatherman is tweeting from a boat off the Chelsea Piers at @Occuweather; he’s also occasionally streaming.  Other streamers are here and here.

In a day or two when we start to clean up, look to your local libraries — especially in New Jersey’s coastal towns, things are really getting torn up, and they might need some hands or some cash to help recover.

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Occupy Goldman Sachs: Night 8

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

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

 

From the Facebook page:

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

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

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

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Filed under #OccupyGoldmanSachs, Direct Action, Michael, Solidarity

Neil Smith, NYC Occupy History and the Political Geography of Revolt

I’ve wanted to mark the recent sudden and tragic death of radical geographer Neil Smith, but wasn’t sure quite how. Just now, as I was re-reading his book “The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City” I realized that I could do this in two ways. First by sharing some passages from the first chapter, which contains an account of the eviction of the Tompkins Square Park occupation in 1988 (and again in 1991) echoing the eviction from Liberty Plaza of the Occupy Wall Street encampment, and second by sharing a link to the entire book in PDF form, which is available free online from the National Technical University (NTUA) in Athens.

Neil Smith’s account of the occupation and eviction, as well as his analysis of urban class struggle are vital texts for occupiers to understand the history of resistance in the city. For those who haven’t read them, or aren’t familiar with the occupation of Tompkins Square, they will be eye-opening:

On the evening of August 6, 1988, a riot erupted along the edges of  Tompkins Square Park, a small green in New York City’s Lower East Side. It raged through the night with police on one side and a diverse mix of anti-gentrification protesters, punks, housing activists, park inhabitants, artists, Saturday night revelers and Lower East Side residents on the other. The battle followed the city’s attempt to enforce a 1:00 A.M. curfew in the Park on the pretext of clearing out the growing numbers of homeless people living or sleeping there, kids playing boom boxes late into the night, buyers and sellers of drugs using it for business. But many local residents and park users saw the action differently. The City was seeking to tame and domesticate the park to facilitate the already rampant gentrification on the Lower East Side . . .”Whose fucking park? It’s our fucking park,” became the recurrent slogan . . .

. . . In fact it was a police riot that ignited the park on August 6, 1988. Clad in space-alien riot gear and concealing their badge numbers, the police forcibly evicted everyone from the park before midnight, then mounted repeated baton charges and “Cossacklike” rampages against demonstrators and locals along the park’s edge:

‘The cops seemed bizarrely out of control, levitating with some hatred I didn’t understand. They’d taken a relatively small protest and fanned it out over the neighborhood, inflaming hundreds of people who’d never gone near the park to begin with. They’d called in a chopper. And they would eventually call 450 officers… The policemen were radiating hysteria . . .’ (Carr 1988:10)

. . .In the days following the riot, the protesters quickly adopted a much more ambitious political geography of revolt. Their slogan became “Tompkins Square everywhere” as they taunted the police and celebrated their liberation of the park. Mayor Edward Koch, meanwhile, took to describing Tompkins Square Park as a “cesspool” and blamed the riot on “anarchists.” Defending his police clients, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association enthusiastically elaborated: “social parasites, druggies, skinheads and communists” –an “insipid conglomeration of human misfits” –were the cause of the riot, he said. . .

Smith, N. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. Routledge.

First photo from Ángel Franco of The New York Times. Additional images are from Q. Sakamaki‘s book Tompkins Square Park.

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Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Announcements, Michael, Privatization, Public/Private Parks, Reference, Scholarship