They hate us for our freedom
Occupy Wall Street
You won’t know whether you want to cry or to break some heads…
Via Redditor timothyjwood. The image is his, too
You won’t know whether you want to cry or to break some heads…
Via Redditor timothyjwood. The image is his, too
The Occupy Wall Street protests seem set to get much bigger in the coming days. Yesterday, 1199SEIU, the health-care workers’ union with over 200,000 members in New York/Long Island, volunteered to help feed the protesters in Zuccotti Park and to send nurses for first aid needs. The Transport Workers Union Local 100, representing the 38,000 MTA workers have also pledged their support, including marching with the protesters on Wednesday.
With union support comes $$$, some ancillary organizational structure the leaderless movement may come to really need, and perhaps most importantly, more bodies.
My sense of it is that the movement is now past the tipping point and will rapidly start to gain critical mass. One of the main reasons, as we all know, that the mainstream media was so slow to cover the OWS protests is because it was “just a bunch of hippies.” There could have been half a million of them and it would have merited the same response: dismissal. With the union support, the nascent movement is starting to look much more ready for prime time, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
“The premise of the protest, we’re in complete agreement with,” said TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen. “It’s about fair share and it’s about the claim that everybody needs to share a bit of the burden of this terrible economy.”
The transport workers, 1199 and other labor groups plan to join the protesters for a Wednesday march from City Hall to Zuccotti Park, where the protesters have camped since Sept. 17.
Also Monday, lawyers for TWU Local 100 sought a temporary restraining order in federal court to prevent the police from commandeering buses operated by its members to ferry protesters who had been arrested.
Police took over at least three buses Saturday to transport some of the 700 people who were arrested after a march veered onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the union and the MTA.
“Our bus operators are working-class people who are raising children in New York City and by and large they support the protest,” said Mr. Samuelsen, the TWU president. “They’re not going to press our members into service and thrust them onto the wrong side of this protest without a fight from our union.”
Read that last paragraph again and ponder the implications.
The genius of this particular movement, I think, more than any other element was the “we’re not leaving, come and join us if you feel the same way we do” factor. Had the Occupy Wall Street protests been set for a single day and if attendance was underwhelming, that would have been that. When the union members begin to noticeably show up, the composition of the movement is going to change, and the media coverage will inevitably change also, sending a primarily visual message that will show more people of color, the participation of Americans who are past the age of 30, and more sorts of “regular” people in the images they transmit. When the pilots union members showed up in their uniforms, that was such a powerful message I thought. (I mean no disrespect for “hippies” btw. The young people in Zuccotti Park are heroes to me).
From that same article from the Wall Street Journal, we’re introduced to Tom Dematteis, a 39-year-old Watertown, CT-based pizzeria owner, a Navy veteran and a single father of three children, who visited the protest on Monday morning.
“America has been silenced for too long,” he said. “This is becoming a melting pot for all issues. I don’t protest very often, this is big enough.”
Joining Mr. Dematteis on Monday was a Connecticut teacher named Jim who said he wouldn’t give his last name because he was skipping work to be there. He, too, didn’t plan to camp out because he had to be back at school on Tuesday.
But he said he has watched several family members lose their homes to foreclosure and felt a need to show up in person after following the protest movement in the media.
“These are real-life things that happen to people I know,” he said. “We have to do something. I think the whole country is feeling helpless right now. You don’t have to necessarily stay in the park to show your solidarity.”
Now, that’s true, but if you CAN show up, you should show up. If a single dad with three kids and a business to run can drive a couple of hours to be there, if you work in Manhattan, at the very least go to Zucotti Park to eat your lunch! And maybe take some food for the troops if you can afford to.
And to all of the assholes on Facebook whining about how the streets in lower Manhattan are all clogged up with “hippies,”—go fuck yourselves. That is some of the lamest nonsense I’ve ever heard and yes I am talking to YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Old Skool Punk Rockers turned griping, bitter Tribeca loft-dwelling jerk-offs…
Occupy Wall Street continues to spread across the nation.
There will a be show of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in Austin this coming Thursday starting at 3 P.M. at Austin City Hall.
Visit the Occupy Austin website for updates.
There will also be gatherings in Dallas and Houston on the 6th.
You can grab a larger version here.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
George Carlin on why we should Occupy Wall Street
The New York Observer posted this FANTASTIC clip of a Fox News personality (I can’t recall this guy’s name and I’m too lazy to check) getting his ass schooled by a (super) articulate Occupy Wall Street protester named Jesse LaGreca, a man born with a rare gift for gab (and blogging, he’s known as “Ministry of Truth” when he blogs at Daily Kos).
I just can’t imagine how this conversation landed on the cutting room floor, can you? This footage is going to be all over MSNBC, CNN and Current later today.
Fox: Jesse, so Ray, your partner here, your ..
Fox: Your colleague, she’d seen the protests in Greece and Europe and elsewhere. Did you guys take your cue from that? Are you hoping to cite certainly what was a lot of the tension, if not police activity. I know over the weekend there were over 100 arrests and you guys got things fired up. Are you taking your cues from the international movement and how do you want to see this? If you could have it in a perfect way, how would it be?
Jesse: Well I don’t know, its really difficult to answer questions leading to those conclusions. I’d say that we didn’t take our cue leading off of anybody really. It became a more spontaneous movement. As far as seeing this end, I wouldn’t like to see this end. I would like to see the conversation continue. This is what we should have been talking about in 2008 when the economy collapsed. We basically patched a hole on the tire and said let the car keep rolling. Unfortunately it’s fun to talk to the propaganda machine and the media especially conservative media networks such as yourself, because we find that we cant get conversations for the department of Justice’s ongoing investigation of News Corporation, for which you are an employee. But we can certainly ask questions like you know, why are the poor engaging in class warfare? After 30 years of having our living standards decrease while the wealthiest 1% have had it better than ever, I think it’s time for some maybe, I don’t know, participation in our democracy that isn’t funded by news cameras and gentlemen such as yourself.
Fox: But, uh, yeah well, let me give you this challenge Jesse.
Fox: We’re here giving you an opportunity on the record […] to put any
message you want out there, to give you fair coverage and I’m not
going to in any way
Jesse: That’s awesome!
Fox:…give you advice about it. So, there is an exception in the case, because you wouldn’t be able to get your message out there without us.
Jesse: No, surely, I mean, take for instance when Glenn Beck was doing his protest and he called the President, uh, a person who hates white people and white culture. That was a low moment in Americans’ history and you guys kinda had a big part in it. So, I’m glad to see you coming around and kind of paying attention to what the other 99 percent of Americans are paying attention to, as opposed to the far-right fringe, who who would just love to destroy the middle class entirely.
Fox: Alright, fair enough. You have a voice, an important reason to criticize myself, my company and anyone else. But, let me ask you that, in fairness, does this administration, President Obama, have any criticism as to the the financial situation the country’s in…?
Jesse: I think, myself, uh, as well as many other people, would like to see a little but more economic justice or social justice—Jesus stuff—as far as feeding the poor, healthcare for the sick. You know, I find it really entertaining that people like to hold the Bill of Rights up while they’re screaming at gay soldiers, but they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a for-profit healthcare system doesn’t work. So, let’s just look at it like this, if we want the President to do more, let’s talk to him on a level that actually reaches people, instead of asking for his birth certificate and wasting time with total nonsense like Solyndra.
GENIUS!!!! I wanted to cheer when I watched this clip. Someone needs to start an effort to draft Jesse LaGreca for Congress, if not a higher office!
This video was shot by Kyle Christopher from the Occupy Wall Street media team.
More at the New York Observer.
So I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel about Occupy Wall Street and the media coverage (or non-coverage) of the demonstrations the last few days, when I found this clip and realised that one of the most brilliant poets of the last hundred years had already summed it up perfectly. Of course.
I was gonna say that the oldstream media has been over for me since 2000, when I saw some peaceful protests badly misreported on TV and in the papers. I wanted to mention how my obsession with this summer’s “Murdochgate” sprang from a desire to see the established news channels I detest so much crumble, to lose all respect with their audience through their refusal to cover a story with such huge significance. I’ve been struggling to express how we don’t need validation through a mainstream that has always ignored us or deliberately misrepresented us, that people shouldn’t worry too much, the message is getting out there loud and clear.
But fuck it. Gil Scott Heron beat me to the punch (hard) thirty years ago.
This incredible recording of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (as a spoken monologue with no music and some ad libs) is from 1982. It was performed at the Black Wax Club in Washington DC, as part of a documentary film on Scott Heron called Black Wax. His voice is a thing of rich, easy-going beauty but his words are like dynamite. Yeah, the times and technology may have changed, but this is still so prescient and just so damn relevant it’s amazing.
Gil Scott Heron died only four short months ago, and it’s a real pity he can’t be around now to see the people of his home town out on their streets and taking direct action, how he can’t be there himself to rally the crowds with this incredible monologue and share his no doubt sharp-as-a-pin insights into politics and society. It’s true - sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. But we DO still have this recording, and I hope that everyone, including all the people involved with the protests in New York, gets to hear it.
Because the revolution will NOT be televised.
You see, a lot of time people see battles and skirmishes on TV and they say
“aha the revolution is being televised”. Nah.
The results of the revolution are being televised.
The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things, and see there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown.
What you see later on is the results of that, but that revolution, that change that takes place will not be televised.
After the jump “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Black Wax monologue) transcribed, plus footage from the fantastic Gil Scott Heron “Black Wax” documentary/live film.
I looked at the above picture and wondered:
How many New York Police does it take to arrest a young girl?
Why are they arresting her?
Hasn’t she a right to the freedom of assembly?
How old is she?
Is it because she has a camera that she is such a threat?
When did the NYPD start to define “a threat” as a young girl with a camera?
When people are arrested for peaceful demonstration, then there is something wrong at the heart of America.
How would the US government have responded if this had happened in China?
Your Government is not your Government. Your Police are not your Police. Your Country is being slowly sold from under you.
When the interests of the Banks are put before the interests of the People then the Freedoms of that Country are under threat.
For information on Occupy Wall Street check here.
When Tara and I were traveling last month, I read George Carlin’s splendid, posthumously published autobiography Last Words on the plane. I’m a mega George Carlin fan. There is very little of his material that I haven’t heard and I just miss his voice more and more with each passing year. Sure we’ve got some contemporary greats like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taking on the political and cultural issues of the day (I happen to like Joe Rogan’s stand-up a lot, too, he’s really underrated) but just like there will only ever be one Mark Twain, one Lenny Bruce or one Richard Pryor, there will never be another George Carlin, either. Carlin was a wise-acre product of Depression-era New York City. It was the no-bullshit (yet filled to the brim with hypocrisy!) New Yawk Irish-Catholic milieu that George Carlin was raised in that produced such a unique comic mind. I think he was a great artist and a great American. If you want to understand how Carlin became Carlin, I can’t recommend Last Words more highly.
By the end of his life, George Carlin had become more than just a mere comedian or humorist, he’d become a stand-up philosopher equal parts Nietzsche, Karl Marx and Céline. The material of Carlin’s later years is the work he was the most proud of, and indeed, it was the finest comedy he ever gave us. The darkest, most nihilistic, most rip your face off and shove it down your fucking throat stand-up comedy…. probably of all time. How could you top it? Who would dare try?
The terminal view of mankind, religion and Capitalism expressed in his 1999 HBO special You Are All Diseased and 2005’s Life is Worth Losing was so bleak it was thrilling. There were several times during these broadcasts when I recall thinking “WOW, I can’t believe I just heard someone articulate that thought and in that way.” I wondered, too, what would happen to the brain of a conservative or religious person who might be unwittingly exposed to Carlin’s sneering premium cable mindfuck! (I mean how many Christians accidentally tuned into his HBO special with no idea of what to expect except cursing and watched him do “Religion is Bullshit” and promptly rethought how they’d been behaving for their entire lives? For certain people, hearing the ideas expressed in that one impassioned ten-minute-long rant must have been like having a nuclear bomb go off in their heads. It’s a more powerful argument against religion than anything Richard Dawkins has ever come up with, that’s for sure, and funnier, too!).
Carlin was never much of a topical comedian, so much of his material is evergreen and will stay that way because it expresses deep societal truths and expose hypocrisy so ruthlessly. No surprise then, that his rant about Wall Street, corrupt politicians and end-stage Capitalism is still so on the money. Watch this:
This was unanimously voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street last night, around 8pm, Sept 29. It is our first official document for release. We have three more underway, that will likely be released in the upcoming days: 1) A declaration of demands. 2) Principles of Solidarity 3) Documentation on how to form your own Direct Democracy Occupation Group. This is a living document. you can receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing email@example.com.
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
Rumors are rife that Radiohead will be playing a set today in support of Occupy Wall Street.
As reported on Gawker, no permit has been granted, but since they’re going to be on The Jimmy Fallon Show tonight, the rumor sounds like more than a rumor. Apparently the NYPD is aware, too, that something is being planned.
UPDATE 12:19 p.m.: A spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street confirms “Radiohead will play a surprise show today at four in the afternoon. Press conference at one in the afternoon.”
Update 12:54 p.m.: The spokesperson tells Gawker they have no permit but the police are “aware” of the event. This is going to be interesting—a band with Radiohead’s popularity can easily draw a hundred thousand for a free show in New York City. You need permits for this sort of thing, and there, obviously, there are a lot of crowd control issues that are worked out in advance. However you slice it, this will be bananas.
We’ll be looking for the embed code for the video to post here when/if it happens. Fingers crossed!
UPDATE: It was just a rumor after all. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Observer have both confirmed that Radiohead is not playing the #OccupyWallStreet protest Friday.
Pilots’ union members march on Wall Street. Photo via Dan Nguyen’s Flickr account
The Occupy Wall Street protest is reportedly rapidly gaining in number in lower Manhattan as unions and political action groups begin to show their support of the fledgling anti-capitalist movement. From Crains New York:
But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too—embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven’t been able to in years.
The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub. All of that has enabled them not just to sustain the action but to build momentum. And as celebrities like Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons and Cornel West have joined in, the city’s traditional activists have been forced to jump into the fray.
The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub.
“It’s become too big to ignore,” said one political consultant.
Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday’s demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.
“We’re getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.
Community groups like Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education and Community Voices Heard are also organizing for Wednesday’s action, and the labor/community coalitions United New York and Strong Economy For All are pitching in as well.
You can visit Occupy Together for more information on political manifestations in your area. If you live anywhere near the NYC metro area (that includes YOU, Philly, Jersey, Long Island, CT, etc) you might want to consider showing up yourself. If you live or work in Manhattan, for god’s sake at the very least have your lunch in Zuccotti Park… and bring some pizza for the people! (I live in Los Angeles, but will be in NYC next month for business. I plan to spend time at the protest while I am there).
As mentioned on Daily Kos and elsewhere, the pepper spray incident and the viral video of it have seen a sharp rise in Google searches for items related to the Occupy Wall Street protest. The message IS getting out there. Even Time magazine has reported on the movement—that means it’s officially mainstream news now. If unions and organized lefties start to show up in sizable numbers Zuccotti Park to voice their disapproval of the financial system, who knows what might happen next?
One thing is for sure, the numbers are rising steadily. The movement has vowed to stay throughout the winter months.
Below, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi discusses the Occupy Wall Street movement with Keith Olbermann. Interestingly, Taibbi points out near the end that there are several Tea party and Ron Paul supporters protesting in Zuccotti Park
Michael Moore stopped by the Occupy Wall Street demo last night to show his support. If you’re wondering why everyone keeps repeating what he says, the protestors are not allowed by law to have any amplified sound. The “people’s mic” is how they get around it—and make a little legal noise—so that what the speakers are saying can be heard in the cheap seats…
From Moore’s interview with Piers Morgan on CNN last night:
[L]ook, we got rid of slavery in 1863 in this country. It wasn’t until the 1960s that you saw the large marches and the voting rights and the civil rights act being passed. Women couldn’t vote until 1920, and then you didn’t have the real women’s liberation movement until the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Things take time. This won’t take that long. This won’t take 100 years for people to respond because Wall Street has overplayed its hand. They have come down too hard on too many people, especially people in the middle class who used to believe in Wall Street.
Forty-six million people living in poverty right now in the United States. That’s an absolute crime, it’s immoral. And these guys are just posting the largest profits ever this year.
You’re right, where’s the rage? Where’s the uprising? It’s starting. It’s down right now on Wall Street. It starts with the young people. But this is going to grow because people watching this tonight, people are afraid that they’re going to be foreclosed on this year, don’t know if they’re going to be out of a job next year, can’t afford the medical bills for their kids. Fifty million people still without insurance. They’re sitting home right now going, god, I wish I could do something. What can I do? Somebody has got to start it somewhere. That’s what these kids have done down in Wall Street. It’s going to spread across the country. And believe you me, I won’t have—it won’t be because of anything I say or you say or this show or those kids down there, people already feel it. They’re sick and tired of it. And I think you’re going to see that happen more and more in this country.
AMEN TO THAT!