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The Raid on Zuccotti Park


Above, “fair and balanced” Fox News graphic. Apparently even the art department there is staffed with braying assess.

Casey Neistat put together this “music video” of this week’s eviction of the Zuccotti Park protesters, cut to the music of guess which Frank Sinatra standard?

My office isn’t far from Zuccotti Park and when I heard it was being cleared I went down with my camera. I ended up filming for 18 hours until the Park was reopened at 6pm on November 15, 2011. The police presence was overwhelming, more than I’ve ever - more than during the blackout, more than the days after September 11th.

 

 
Via Glen E. Friedman

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet the pepper-sprayed face of the Occupy Wall Street movement


Dorli Rainey 84, after being pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle protest: Photo by Joshua Trujillo, SeattlePI.com

An 84-year-old woman pepper-sprayed by cops during the evicition of Occupy Seattle has become the accidental poster girl for the movement in a photo that’s getting seen around the world this morning:

Via the Keep Your Boehner Out of My Uterus Tumblr blog:

I have only posted about OWS one other time. I just can’t let this go by. 

This is what can happen to you and your body if you just show up, place your body somewhere that freaks out the establishment, and actively protest the problems inherent and rampant in the system. This type of over-reaction by the authorities is something that people of color and minorities face ALL THE TIME simply for being, let’s remember. But seriously, Holy Fuck.

We owe it to this woman to look in her eyes, to see her face, to SEE her. We owe it to her to hold her gaze, to not move our eyes away because it is hard to look. We need to keep looking at her specifically BECAUSE it is hard to look. 

Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street ain’t going anyplace... Here’s a nifty history lesson via Rachel Maddow. This is some damned good reporting.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
R.I.P. Heavy D
11.09.2011
02:56 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:


 
Sad to report that Jamaican-born and New York-raised Heavy D, Dwignt Errington Meyers, died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 44.

In 1991, Now That We Found Love by Heavy D and the Boyz killed on the dance floors of what was left of Manhattan’s club scene. I remember spinning the Teddy Riley produced dance mix of NTWFL in a nightspot I managed on Lower Broadway, where I also served as house deejay, and Heavy D’s take on the Ojays via Third World could elevate the crowd to higher dimensions.

Heavy D brought a smooth groove, melody and good vibe to rap, expanding its popularity and accessibility without diluting its urban energy and street smart style. By dropping some sexual healing into the mix and a whole lot of r&b, Heavy D provided the connective tissue between the old school soul of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, New Jack Swing, House and dancehall reggae. Walls were tumbling down and the various strains of contemporary black music were converging while parochial attitudes about what is hip were dissolving in the heat of the beat.

This was just one of Heavy D’s hits, but it was the one that brings back some immediate memories for me and the video looks like it was shot in my old Soho neighborhood.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Occupy Oakland General Strike much larger than they told us


 
Zennie Abraham, a blogger at Veterans Today, has lived in Oakland since 1974 and believes that the crowd estimate of the Occupy Oakland General Strike provided by Oakland police is way off. Abraham claims the crowd was much closer to 100,000 than the official count of 7000.

You can’t take a snapshot of an event like this, because of its time length; you have to think of it as a dynamic. In any population there are births, deaths, in-migration, and out-migration. For the Occupy Oakland General Strike, there were no births, thankfully no deaths, but a lot of in-migration and out-migration.

What was so amazing about the size of the crowd both inside the plaza and just outside of it, then marching to the Port of Oakland, was that it did not decrease in size; it increased. And that was with some people leaving it, and others coming in from BART and from around Oakland via foot or other parts of the Bay by car.

For that to happen all day long and considering the capacity of the plaza and the crowds outside of it points to 100,000 people. I’ve never seen anything like that in the entire history of this city.

And that is why it must be said that much of the media should be drawn and quartered for the most irresponsible coverage I’ve ever seen. Many outlets just waited for something bad to happen, or looked for it. But there were so many people more having a great time, that whatever happened was far away from downtown Oakland.

The Whole Foods Oakland Facility is on 27th and Harrison and outside of downtown Oakland, and a good mile away from City Hall Plaza. But to the media eye, the vandalism that happened there made headlines. Let’s just get this out of the way: it should not have happened, but that’s no excuse to get the whole story wrong.

The video below is all the proof anyone would need that the official numbers were way, way off, but 100,000? Oakland’s population is around 300,000, even accounting for the folks who came in from the rest of the Bay area (population 4.5 million) to march, that’s still probably too high a number to be realistic. Still, I’m willing to go along with a tally that’s several times higher than what the Oakland police—and the mainstream media—told us.

What’s important to remember as you watch the size of these marching masses, is that less than two months have passed since Occupy Wall Street began. It’s only going to get more interesting from here on out.
 

 
Above, a bird’s eye view of a static crowd of 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl posted by redditter BdotTS.
 

 
Via reddit

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Download immortal Technique’s ‘The Martyr’ for free
11.03.2011
08:52 pm

Topics:
Activism
Current Events
Hip-hop
Music
Politics

Tags:


 
More Occupy-themed free music, and a big tIp of the hat to DM commenter Frank W for alerting us to this. The words “Immortal Technique”, “new mixtape” and “free download” should be enough to catch the more discerning listener’s ear, but if you’re new to this excellent MC let’s just say he’s the real deal. If you want to know more, his full, extraordinary biography can be found on the Viper Records website (as can his essay The Legacy of Bin Laden which is well worth reading.)

The Martyr features guest spots from Dead Prez, Joell Ortiz, Diabolic and more on the mic, and production from J Dilla, Southpaw and the man himself. On the track “Rich Man’s World (1%)” he puts himself in the mind of a genuine one-percenter and shows just how much he doesn’t give a shit what the other 99% of us think (“I hope you got good credit bitch/If not better get a new job with benefits”) - all over that naggingly familiar riff from “Money Money Money” by Abba.
 
Immortal Technique “Rich Man’s World (1%)”
 

 
Immortal Technique is currently on tour through-out the US in support of The Martyr (he’l be coming to a city near you pretty soon, check the dates on the Viper website). but in the meantime you can download the 16 tracks here, so get clicking.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Power to the Parents: Occupy the Department of Education!


 
This warms the cockles of my Trotskyite heart: Wednesday night in New York City, schools Chancellor Dennis Wallcott and the members of the Panel for Education Policy (or PEP,  the body which enacts policy for the New York City DOE), got more than they bargained for when annoyed parents took a page from Occupy Wall Street and commandeered the meeting with the “people’s mic.” Unsurprisingly, rather than attempt to engage the parents and find out what they wanted, the panel just fucked off.

Nice work, folks, keep the pressure on these clowns.

There is a revolution going on that will touch every aspect of American life. Anyone who think this genie is going back in the bottle is dreaming.
 

 
Thank you Glenn E. Friedman of New York City!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Flash-point: Occupy Oakland, Tuesday October 25, 2011


 
This is a pretty incredible bit of “you were there” style video. The camera was quite near the epicenter of what was happening at Occupy Oakland on Tuesday.

You can see Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen just moments before, and after, he was felled by a projectile.

Video by Raleigh Latham.

 

Via Business Insider

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Slavoj Žižek: ‘What will replace capitalism?’


Slavoj Žižek at Cooper Union in NYC, 2009

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek poses some interesting questions in a new essay titled “The Violent Silence of a New Beginning,” which was prepared from the remarks he made at Occupy Wall Street on October 10th (video of that below).

This except from the full essay, which you can read at In These Times, discusses answering conservative’s hollow critiques of the OWS movement:

The direct conservative attacks are easy to answer.

Are the protests un-American? When conservative fundamentalists claim that America is a Christian nation, one should remember what Christianity is: the Holy Spirit, the free egalitarian community of believers united by love. It is the protesters who are the Holy Spirit, while on Wall Street pagans worship false idols.

Are the protesters violent? True, their very language may appear violent (occupation, and so on), but they are violent in the sense in which Mahatma Gandhi was violent. They are violent because they want to put a stop to the way things are done — –but what is this violence compared to the violence needed to sustain the smooth functioning of the global capitalist system?

The protesters are called “losers” — but the true losers are on Wall Street, bailed out by hundreds of billions of our money.

They are called socialists. But in the United States, there already is socialism for the rich.

They are accused of not respecting private property — but the Wall Street speculations that led to the crash of 2008 erased more hard-earned private property than if the protesters were to be destroying it night and day. Think of the tens of thousands of homes foreclosed.

They are not communists, if communism means the system that deservedly collapsed in 1990. The communists who are still in power run the world’s most ruthless capitalist system (China). The success of Chinese Communist-run capitalism is a sign that the marriage between capitalism and democracy is approaching a divorce.

The only sense in which the protesters are communists is that they care for the commons—the commons of nature, of knowledge—that are threatened by the system.

The protesters are dismissed as dreamers, but the true dreamers are those who think that things can go on indefinitely the way they are, just with some cosmetic changes.

The protesters are the awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare. They are not destroying anything. They are reacting to a system that is gradually destroying itself.

We all know the classic scene from cartoons: The cat reaches a precipice, but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is no ground under its feet; it starts to fall only when it looks down and notices the abyss. What the protesters are doing is reminding those in power to look down.

Read more of “The Violent Silence of a New Beginning” by Slavoj Žižek at In These Times
 

 
Part 2 after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rise up: Nationwide General Strike set for Nov 2?


 

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”—Abraham Lincoln

At this point, it’s probably too early to report this without recomemmnding the rhetorical “grain of salt,” but according to several tweets from Mother Jones, Occupy Oakland and elsewhere, last night at Occupy Oakland, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a nationwide general strike on November 2nd, with 1184 votes of approval. I can’t wait to hear what happens in NYC this evening and if Occupy Wall Street will also vote to approve a General Strike in their assembly. Via Washington’s Blog:

Mother Jones tweets:
 

 
JackalAnon tweets:
 

 
There are also rumors of a global general strike planned for next year. Why plan for just one?

I say bring it the fuck on! It’s about TIME for a general strike in this country!

We’ll be watching this space closely, hoping this isn’t another “Radiohead rumor.” Stay tuned…

A history of the 1946 General Strike in Oakland

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Everything You Know About Occupy Wall Street is Wrong


 
Well, perhaps not quite everything, but enough that were you to personally experience the demonstration and look around with your own eyes, you’d likely come to regard the mainstream media reports about Occupy Wall Street (especially the lamebrain stuff printed in The New York Post or heard on Fox News) more like loose gossip, bullshit or random fiction, than actual journalism or considered opinion.

I had the extreme privilege of visiting Zuccotti Park on three of the five days I recently spent in NYC and I’m here to tell you that I am much more excited about Occupy Wall Street—and prospects for real progressive change in this country—now than I ever could have been admiring it from afar. It was a life-affirming and quite moving thing to personally experience and hopefully I can get some of those good feelings across here.

On Wednesday, I was picked up at JFK by my old friend (and frequent Dangerous Minds Radio Hour DJ) Nate Cimmino. I checked into my hotel and since I hadn’t been to NYC for a few years, we decided to just walk from Houston Street to the OWS site. It was raining, not exactly a heavy downpour, but the rain had been steady for most of the day. When we arrived at Zuccotti Park around 4pm, it was starting to get dark and it was pretty much locked down with everyone trying to keep dry. Plastic covered everything and people huddled under makeshift tarps just trying to keep their shit together. It resembled a water-logged shanty town and hardly anything was going on. The lines for the brightly-lit food carts on the southern side of the park were the most noticeable thing at that time (these guys must be making bank, especially the falafel vendors). CNN had a mobile video van with a crane and a “crow’s nest” for getting aerial shots of the park. Dozens of NYPD officers in rain gear ringed the park, many of them female officers.
 

The medical area of Occupy Wall Street.

This wasn’t the right moment to get much of a feel for what’s been going on there, obviously, so I resolved to return on the weekend. Some initial observations though: Zuccotti Park isn’t much of a park at all. It’s more like a concrete plaza and it’s not very big. Keep in mind when you hear people scoffing at the size of the demonstration, that about a thousand people (give or take) is all this area would hold. If many more people tried to join in the demonstration, it would not be possible to move about. It’s already densely packed as it is.

It’s also right across the street from Ground Zero. In my mind, it was in a different (southeastern) part of lower Manhattan, so when we walked down Broadway, the sound of the drumming got louder and then all of a sudden there it was, that came as a surprise.
 

Greg Barris and me mugging for the camera on one of the OWS live video feeds.

On Saturday I returned to OWS with my friend Greg Barris, a stand-up comedian and restaurateur. Greg’s been taking pizza from his restaurant to Zuccotti Park since the demonstrations began. The festive carnival atmosphere that morning was a striking contrast to Wednesday’s wash-out. Colorful flags, costumed characters and people of all ages, races, creeds and personality types circulated around the square. You could see people who were arriving alone with a look of apprehension in their eyes, but soon afterward, that same person would be seen joining right in.

Several people distributed free copies of The Occupy Wall Street Journal and a lefty books lending library operated efficiently (there were even a few books that I had published). Everyone was smiling at one another and a feeling of fun and solidarity was palpable. I saw no overtly negative signs and I saw no placards whatsoever for either of the major political parties (I’d put the number of Republicans at Zuccotti Park at slightly north of “zero,” but still I saw not a single pro-Democrat or pro-Obama item anywhere, either). There’s a medical area where minor things can be tended to by volunteer nurses and medics and a food area manned by park residents. Greg pointed out one earnest-looking California blond skater-type and told me he’s seen that same guy dishing out plates of free food since the earliest days of the demonstration. The park was notably clean, not at all the unsanitary mess Fox News viewers have been repeatedly told about.
 

 
A woman who identified herself as “The Knitting Granny” sat knitting sweaters and scarfs to give to the occupiers. Children in face-paint or costumes carried signs marching with their parents. An elderly gentleman using a walker who must’ve been in his nineties told some of us that he’d been an engineer working with dams and waterways his entire career and what he knew about the “fracking” that’s planned for locations upstate less than ten miles away from New York’s main water supply scared him to death. He came to share his expertise, he told me, and to see OWS with his own eyes.

Several “super heroes” circulated around. A man in his early 30s, who came to OWS alone from Delaware, brought along a solar electrical generator and set it up so people could charge their cell phones. One fellow, who we later saw on the subway, was dressed in a barrel. He must’ve been cold. Another guy carried a “Ross Perot for President” sign and wore a Ross Perot t-shirt and badges.over his coat. He might’ve been the weirdest guy I saw there.
 

 
When you hear dismissive asses braying about how it’s “all white people”—that’s a bunch of utter nonsense. You’ll encounter as diversified a group at OWS as you would if you were in a New York City DMV office and that’s really saying something, so these sorts of haters and naysayers, can go jump in the lake. All white? Maybe in the first few days, but now, that’s simply not even in the slightest bit true.

There are TONS of attractive people at OWS and the mood is so festive and jovial that making conversation with members of the opposite sex is very easy to do. I may get shit for saying this, but it’s true: If more guys knew how many super hot women were milling around OWS, there’d immediately be a massive increase in attendance and foot traffic in the area around Zuccotti Park.

Gay? Fret not, there is a “Queer Camp,” too (look for the feather boas on the northeast side of the park). We even saw someone who identified herself as a “T-girl pornstar” make herself hoarse shouting anti-capitalism things and the very wonderful Reverend Billy is a frequent visitor. The age range is all over the place, as well. In fact, it’s hard to generalize anything at all about the people you meet there except to say that they’ve got their eyes wide open about the problems of advanced capitalism and American democracy. That’s the bottom line. THAT was the commonality amongst all of us.
 

Greg Barris and his sign.

Most people, it would seem, sleep at their homes but come downtown whenever they can. I got the feeling that there was a small percentage of the occupiers who were the ones who were sleeping there. When you walk around in the interior of the plaza, it becomes somewhat apparent that the folks who the media are derisively describing as “hippies,” “punks” and “homeless people” are in fact, quite often hippies, punks and homeless people. They form the more hardcore inner group that performs the very important task of holding down the park. Without their presence, Mayor Bloomberg would have put fences around Zuccotti Park in two seconds flat, so remember that when you’re there and drop a few bucks in their cans. They’re not merely scruffy panhandlers, they’re there in YOUR place if you support the aims of OWS. 

Aside from the resident demonstrators and the day-trippers getting their protest on, there are also thousands of tourists milling about taking pictures. The photos they take are then uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and their blogs. The stories they bring back home and to the water-cooler at work and to their online lives will continue to spread the word about what’s going on in Zuccotti Park.
 

 
Sunday afternoon at Occupy Wall Street, I met up with Em, the “undercover banker” who sometimes writes incendiary essays for DM, Nate Cimmino, his wife Nicole and my pal, noted photographer Glen E. Friedman. It was another gorgeous, glorious day like the one before it, with intelligent and engaged people joining together for a higher purpose. (I’ve already mentioned about all of the beautiful woman down there, but I’m going to mention it once more so it really sinks in, okay?).

My favorite moment—or moments, I should say—of my three visits to Occupy Wall Street was watching the open-air Big Apple double-decker tour buses drive past, full of tourists with their fists in the air! That was an amazing thing to see. Witnessing that sight, repeatedly, I might add, was as sure a confirmation as anyone should require that a little over a month after its improbably beginnings, OWS is becoming a mainstream phenomenon. When is the last time the mainstream media took up a progressive cause? The Civil Rights movement? The Vietnam War? This is a real thing, not a flash in the pan. The fist-pumping seniors on the tour buses are but one of the signposts of the shift that’s happening in this country. Is there anyone out there stupid enough to still ask “What is their endgame?” Even someone who only watches Fox News has probably figured THAT out by now!

The only disharmonious incident I witnessed in my three visits was when a dopey-looking born again Christian crew (I’m talking total Ned Flanders-types) started telling the people assembled there, but especially the ones sleeping in Zuccotti Park, that they were possessed by demons and bound for Hell. As you might imagine that message went over like a lead zeppelin. A late 40-something gutterpunk guy and a hilariously confrontational black kid got right up in their faces with such intensity (and volume) that they quickly left. When they fucked off, deflated, everyone cheered.
 

 
Having said that, the overall scene at Occupy Wall Street does feel, in some respects, almost biblical, with one thousand iPhone carrying Joshuas shouting down the walls of a very high tech Jericho. Let there be no doubts, dear reader, I, and everyone around me there knew that we were witnessing and participating in history. It’s not going to be an overnight change, but anyone who thinks that things can or will continue on indefinitely the way they have been are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

Obama and the Democrats are going to have to move quite far to the left to satisfy their base as we move into 2012 and from what I saw, I reckon that OWS is pretty much 100% bad news for the Republicans, who are going to get the free market and tax cuts for the 1% shoved right up their goddamned asses on election day (I’m looking at you, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan). I mean, shit, once the election season kicks fully into high gear next year, I expect to see some completely hilarious stuff happen, don’t you? It’s going to be the best election ever! Or the funniest, at least.

As the drumbeat for change in the way we “do business” in America gets louder and louder and louder, the elites will have no choice but to respond. 99% vs. 1%? Who’d be dumb enough to bet against odds like that? The changes that are destined to take place in the next decade of American life are going to make people of a conservative political disposition very uncomfortable indeed. The rest of us are going to be thrilled, though, so fuck ‘em.
 

 
From my point of view as an “old school” New Yorker parachuting into Manhattan after a few years away, Occupy Wall Street is functioning like a sun that is radiating its heat throughout all of New York City, and then via the media, to the rest of the planet. It’s extremely inspiring. As someone who lived in the city for the better part of three decades, NOW is the best I have seen NYC since the early 1980s. The energy in the streets is near an all-time high. New York is just killin’ it. Something is really happening at the moment and it’s an exciting time to be there. If you live in Philly, CT, New Jersey… go down there and check out Occupy Wall Street for yourself. If you live in the NY metro area and you haven’t been downtown, shame on you for watching it on tee-vee…

Trust me when I tell you that it pained me, absolutely pained me to be the old fart saying “New York used to be better back when I was young”... but I’ll never be tempted to say that again anyway, not after what I saw last week.

Believe.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Original Occupy Wall Street: Stop the City, 1984

All photographs taken by Greg Barris from his Flickr page.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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