Occupy Wall Street. Police vs people in NY.

Edwin wrote:

I'm more surprised the last story didn't get the attention than the kids one.

Worth noting that the City of London "police" are NOT part of (or accountable to) the larger Metropolitan Police force - they are pretty much the Financial Districts private security firm and just about as biased in this situation as that would imply.

  • Maria Cantwell Talks to The Stranger About Occupy, Glass-Steagall, Plan B, and Running Scared [The Stranger]
  • Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother [/.]
  • The 99% Tide is Rising [Crooks and Liars] More of an opinion piece than news related.
  • Occuthon 2011 – A 24 hour nonstop broadcast in support of the Occupy Wall Street and 99 percent movement. [Ocuthon]
  • LAPD Officer Shines Weapon Light At Protesters [Everyday, No days off Gunblog]
  • Desmond Tutu to Trinity Church: let Occupy stay! [OccupyWallStreet.org]
  • Over 100 dancers converged at Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland to dance the world awake.
  • Polar Panorama of Protests in Moscow [Twister Sifter]

Haven't seen anything from OWS in weeks here.

I guess more hipsters than usual in our building's atrium (which is a POPS) but really back to business as usual here.

Oh, I guess this place I sometimes get coffee from closed down and cited OWS for disrupting their business so there's that.

Lego: Occupy Wall Street

Meet: The Occucopter

Now the protesters are fighting back with their own surveillance drone. Tim Pool, an Occupy Wall Street protester, has acquired a Parrot AR drone he amusingly calls the "occucopter". It is a lightweight four-rotor helicopter that you can buy cheaply on Amazon and control with your iPhone. It has an onboard camera so that you can view everything on your phone that it points at. Pool has modified the software to stream live video to the internet so that we can watch the action as it unfolds. You can see video clips of his first experiments here. He told us that the reason he is doing this "comes back to giving ordinary people the same tools that these multimillion-dollar news corporations have. It provides a clever loophole around certain restrictions such as when the police block press from taking shots of an incident."

Pool is attempting to police-proof the device: "We are trying to get a stable live feed so you can have 50 people controlling it in series. If the cops see you controlling it from a computer they can shut you down, but then control could automatically switch to someone else."

This is clever stuff and it doesn't stop there. He is also working on a 3G controller so that "you could even control the occucopter in New York from Sheffield in England". We asked him if he was concerned about police shooting it down. "No," he said firmly. "They can't just fire a weapon in the air because it could seriously hurt someone. They would have no excuse because the occucopter is strictly not illegal. Their only recourse would be to make it illegal, but it is only a toy and so they might as well make the press illegal – they have already arrested 30 journalists here."

That's terribly clever. I wonder if they can get it up and active any time soon.

stevenmack wrote:

Meet: The Occucopter

Now the protesters are fighting back with their own surveillance drone. Tim Pool, an Occupy Wall Street protester, has acquired a Parrot AR drone he amusingly calls the "occucopter". It is a lightweight four-rotor helicopter that you can buy cheaply on Amazon and control with your iPhone. It has an onboard camera so that you can view everything on your phone that it points at. Pool has modified the software to stream live video to the internet so that we can watch the action as it unfolds. You can see video clips of his first experiments here. He told us that the reason he is doing this "comes back to giving ordinary people the same tools that these multimillion-dollar news corporations have. It provides a clever loophole around certain restrictions such as when the police block press from taking shots of an incident."

Pool is attempting to police-proof the device: "We are trying to get a stable live feed so you can have 50 people controlling it in series. If the cops see you controlling it from a computer they can shut you down, but then control could automatically switch to someone else."

This is clever stuff and it doesn't stop there. He is also working on a 3G controller so that "you could even control the occucopter in New York from Sheffield in England". We asked him if he was concerned about police shooting it down. "No," he said firmly. "They can't just fire a weapon in the air because it could seriously hurt someone. They would have no excuse because the occucopter is strictly not illegal. Their only recourse would be to make it illegal, but it is only a toy and so they might as well make the press illegal – they have already arrested 30 journalists here."

That's awesome.

That's all fine and dandy until the police deploy their Tactical Riot Assault Slingshots.

*Sproing!*

*CRASH*

On an interesting note, there is a lot less media coverage in the usual places (local news paper and tv) so I am actually having to start looking for stories instead of them come to me via my normal news consumption. Guess their attention span changed to the next thing.

I haven't been following OWS at lately and feel bad about that. Either they haven't been doing as much or the press is dying down. Either way, I'd really like to see the movement reorganize over the next few months and reimerge in the Spring with a more defined message, more manpower, and some resemblance of a leadership structure.

Looks like the Occupy DC encampment has gotten pretty poorly behaved.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Oh, I guess this place I sometimes get coffee from closed down and cited OWS for disrupting their business so there's that.

The invisible hand at work!

93_confirmed wrote:

Lego: Occupy Wall Street

LOL! My son has the police truck set that they made that video with.

So the Bonus Army occupation of 43,000 veterans in the summer of 1932 isn't the only historical example of citizens physically occupying physical spaces to voice their concerns. Seattle alone has three historical examples to draw from.

Let's start in 1970, when Native Americans led by Bernie Whitebear reclaimed land in Discovery Park—eventually securing 20 acres that now houses the cultural center Daybreak Star. The story:

On the morning of March 8, 1970, two half-mile long columns of vehicles began forming in a south Seattle neighborhood. The vehicles moved north towards Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and the recently decommissioned Fort Lawton Army installation. As the convoys headed north onlookers could see the red cloth banners streaming from the antennas of the automobiles. When the caravans reached their destinations, both the north and south sides of Fort Lawton, the occupants of the cars launched a coordinated effort to occupy the fort and establish it as a cultural and social services center for Seattle’s growing Native American population. ... The Native activists who invaded Fort Lawton that day were ultimately successful in their goal of establishing an urban Indian cultural center at the site. While similar centers already existed in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New York, what was to become Daybreak Star Center was the first to be established through militant protest.

Fast forward to October 11, 1972, the day when Beacon Hill School was surprise-sieged by a bunch of Chicano students and organizers—the day when it began to become the hub for Seattle's Latino community, El Centro de la Raza, which is still flourishing. People hid in parked cars and behind bushes while a chosen delegation of three went up to take a "tour" of the building. The janitor who'd unlocked the door asked the delegation whether they'd mind locking up—and Juan Jose Bocanegra seized the opportunity and grabbed the key, he recalled to me by phone.

We’d been planning this takeover for a couple of months. We had originally tried to rent the facility from the Seattle School District, and they asked for this exorbitant amount of money that we couldn’t pay—we were just a small organization, at that time we were all working with the chicano ESL program, and I was volunteering with the Chicano health services, and we were looking to consolidate. So before the takeover we met and discussed the building, and then we found out what the price was, and we also found out that it was going to be sold to Safeway stores. And at that time we were really involved with the United Farmworkers campaign against Safeway. So we said, if we cannot have it, Safeway sure cannot have it.

The day of the takeover, I took charge of the students, we broke up into different teams, and the person that was the janitor—we'd asked them to see if we could look at the building one more time and we had people in cars parked outside on the street laying low. When the time came for the janitor to open up, he came over and said, "Listen, I've gotta go. Would you guys mind locking up the place and bringing the key back to the school district?" I grabbed the key and I said, "Sure, no problem," and I whistled back to the folks and they started coming out of the cars and past the janitor. The janitor looked really surprised. We had about 40 students that were part of the original takeover and then people started coming in once the word got out. Immediately, the students started cleaning up the place, tearing down the cardboard from the windows and making it livable. It was colder than hell. We had no heat, but we had a lot of spirit.

The organizers had to stay there, plus occupy the mayor's office and the city council chambers to get El Centro de la Raza free and clear. [HistoryLink.org]

A messier and longer occupation led to what is now the Northwest African American Museum. It began in 1985 with the takeover of the shut-up Colman School.

The core group of activists occupying the building, which included Earl Debman, Omari Tahir-Garrett, Michael Greenwood, and Charlie James, stayed for more than eight years. The Seattle School District, not wanting a confrontation, told them they were trespassing but made no effort to dislodge them. This has been said to be the longest act of civil disobedience in the country.

During those years the group, known as the Citizens Support Committee for the African American Heritage Museum/Cultural Center, used several rooms in the building for displays of books, artifacts, and art work and sponsored community activities including a forum on AIDS and Racism. The individual members of the group sacrificed much to keep their dream of a museum and cultural center alive. The building was cold and it cost them $500 a month to keep the gas-fired generator running. A bucket of water was used for bathing or they went to homes of friends for showers. Neighbors brought in plates of food and a few dollars were collected from black churches.

The trick for Occupy Seattle, of course, is to continue to draw on the power and visibility of physical space without becoming overly burdened by its administrative and logistical limits. Occupy's goal should probably not be to establish a new community center.

I don't have the answers. Bocanegra said he doesn't, either. He did say he'd like to see the symbolic visuals that would result if Occupy Seattle took its encampment next to the the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building downtown, while also continuing to stage takeovers at foreclosed homes and to lead actions at strategic sites (banks, ports, corporations) all over the city. (As Paul Constant has Tweeted, perhaps Occupy might take on Amazon, for instance?)

But I thought it was worth remembering that occupying is a force. Occupying has changed your city already. It hasn't revolutionized it, sure. But it has shaped it.

  • Occupy Wall Street's Legacy: Now Up to the Voters [The Atlantic] Another great article by fellow Miami native Alex Houdek.
  • Some Occupy L.A. protesters may get a lesson in free speech [LA Times]
  • City Attorney Wants to Sue Occupy L.A. [LAist]
  • A Christmas Message From America's Rich [Rolling Stones] I'm a pretty big fan of Matt Taibi.
  • A Labor Organizer Praises Occupy for Being Able to Do What Labor Can't [Alternet.org] Never heard of the site so I am unsure of their credibility.
  • Occupy Albany Ends After Brutal Police Assault [Times Union]
  • Why the Occupy Movement skipped Silicon Valley [San Francisco Gate]
  • Boston PD's bizarre Occupy subpoena to Twitter [Scribd]
    Boston PD subpoenas Twitter for info on users tweeting about Occupy Boston; they say it relates to a 'criminal investigation'. Also notice their ignorance when asking for account info on tags such as '#occupyboston'. Smart cookies over there.

    They also wanted the IP of a British blogger who has nothing to do with the Boston Occupy folks for some reason. Probably a mistake on their part.

  • Three 'Occupy' protesters arrested for squatting in home [King 5 News]
  • The Story Behind the Occupy Seattle Artist House Raided Last Night by a SWAT Team [The Stranger]

Raids continue to happen but not much is being reported. Best reports I am finding on twitter when they post photos.

  • Occupy Bellingham protesters facing deadline [King5]
  • Bellingham Police Dress in Full Riot Gear to Clear Unarmed, Nonviolent Occupy Campers [Bellingham Herald]
  • 10 Occupiers arrested at Mitt Romneys campaign office in Iowa [Des Moines Register]
  • 14-Year-Old Girl Among Dozen 'Occupy the Caucus' Protesters in Iowa [New York Magazine]
  • DOJ Aggressively Investigating Police Brutality [Crooks and Liars]
  • State of the arms race between repressive governments and anti-censorship/surveillance Tor technology (and why American companies are on the repressive governments' side) [Boing Boing]
  • Facebook, Occupied [Wired, Threatlevel]
  • Iowa GOP Moving Caucus Ballot Counting to Undisclosed Location Due to OWS Protests [Fire Dog Lake]
  • How Banks Cheat Taxpayers [Rolling Stones]
  • The Alternate Universe We All Live In Now [The Stranger]

The last two links are pretty good.

The Rolling Stone link is Matt Taibbi, the guy who understands the financial system better than probably any other journalist. Anything he writes is worth reading. Usually a good time, too.

They have these things in the news early in January every year;

By noon today "the average top executive will have already made as much money as the average Canadian worker makes in a year." Adding insult the average top CEO is "a 27 per cent raise from the (. . .) CEOs in 2009".

Above quotes from Top CEOs earn 189 times average Canadian wage.

-----------------
Consider what numbers like 189 times really mean. You, your child, and their child all have work 63 years each at the average income to make the same amount of income as the average CEO makes in one year. Except then you'd be dealing with 189 years of living expenses compared to their one year.

That's disgusting.

  • Occupy protester 'banned' from flight home for Christmas cause he had Anarchist reading material. [ Independent]
  • Other Washington Accommodates Occupiers, While This Washington Evicts Them [The Stranger]
  • ACLU fights Kafkaesque secret Occupy Boston Twitter subpoena [ACLU]
  • When Anonymous met politics [Wired Threat level]
  • “You got that credential you’re wearing from us, and we can take it away from you.” [NY Times]
  • Occupy Oakland activists continue to be charged with ridiculous sh*t, and mistreated in the jails. [Hyphenated Republic]
  • Ellen Barkin Harassed by NYPD [Crooks & Liars]
  • A Visit with Occupy Des Moines [The Stranger]
  • Global Rev media HQ in Brooklyn raided this afternoon, 5 arrests reported, including chief Vlad. [the Nation]

My head is spinning too much for me to come up with something coy or cute. LA Occupiers can avoid charges by paying $355 to the private company American Justice Associates, and attending their patronizing lecture on the limits of Free Speech. Of course, as a corporation, American Justice Associates has no such limits, thank you very much, Citizens United. But, I guess we can take heart in the fact that buying our way out of the law isn't just for the 1%.

  • Privacy Roundup: Mandatory Data Retention, Smart Meter Hacks, and Law Enforcement Usage of "Silent SMS" [EFF]
  • Homeland Security monitors journalists [RT]
  • Occupy Oakland Protesters Shut Down City Hall [CBS San Francisco]
  • Mitt Romney mic checked at Iowa Rally [Crooks and Liars]
  • Occupy the Caucus Has Plans for Tonight [The Stranger]
  • Occupy Wall Street Media Team Evicted From Rented Studio, 6 Arrested [Crooks and Liars]
  • Linguists name 'occupy' as 2011's word of the year [CNN]
  • Protest Wall Street, Go to Jail for the Rest of Your Life [East Bay Express]
  • 'Wild Old Women' Shut Down Bank of America [KCBS]
    As they arrived, Bank of America closed and locked its doors, to the surprise and delight of the elderly protestors, who said that they had no intention of storming the bank.

    The women waved signs, but didn’t march or chant, with one woman on supplemental oxygen adding that the group was too old for that.

DA: Half of 1,800 NYC Occupy cases resolved so far [Wall Street Journal]

That's a huge difference to Oakland which hasn't even started on the first wave of arrests that happened last year.

Newt skips a visit to his NH campaign office with 100 supports waiting for him as there were a bunch of OWS folks outside protesting.

Other videos:

In the first use of the military against a labor struggle since President Nixon ordered troops against the 1970 Postal strike the US Coast Guard announced that they would escort a grain ship to the EGT terminal at the Port of Longview, Washington.

EGT, a joint venture between Japan-based Itochu, St. Louis-based Bunge North America and Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean, has been seeking over the last year to quash the requirement of the Port that they hire members of Local 21 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers (ILWU).

To this end, EGT filed a lawsuit against the port a year ago contending that its contract allows hiring of non-ILWU labor. The company estimates it would save $1 million yearly by using outside labor. It presently has a contract employing workers from another union, General Construction and Operating Engineers Local 701.
Ongoing protests by dockworkers since January of last year escalated in September when ILWU members and supporters sought to block a train heading to the terminal. Two separate attempts to stop the train were suppressed by riot police, who arrested 19 protestors in the process. The next morning several hundred workers and supporters entered the port’s terminal grounds and dumped grain from the train cars.

That day thousands of dockworkers in the Northwest responded to these attacks in a wildcat strike, shutting down ports in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Anacortes, Washington in solidarity with the struggle in Longview. (See, “Wildcat strikes shut down Washington docks for one day”)

More here.

Actions are similar to what we saw from Oakland where OWS folks blocked the trucks and got a police force on them. Now it's moving on to union workers.

Newt Gingrich Says Occupy Wall Street Infringes On His Right To Free Speech [Politicker NY]
Vacating Occupy Seattle [The Stranger]
Occupy UW holds first general assembly [The Daily]
Next Stop: Occupy Congress on January 17th [Crooks and Liars]

Factions That Endorse Violence Are Driving Away What's Left of Occupy Seattle.