The Common Good

#OccupyWallStreet News: The Latest Headlines from the Weekend and Monday Morning

Police surround Oakland Occupy protest camp

Protest sign from an Occupy march in New York City on Oct. 30. Image via Wylio.
Protest sign from an Occupy march in New York City on Oct. 30. Image via Wylio.

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Oakland Police on Monday morning surrounded an anti-Wall Street protester encampment in the city, ahead of an expected clearing operation, witnesses said.

The police were also setting up makeshift fencing around a plaza facing protesters, some 200 of whom were in the street and chanting at an intersection in the early morning hours.

Oakland has seen several clashes between police and protesters in recent weeks.

The Oakland group has been among the most visible and active in the nationwide Occupy movement, which started in New York in September, and is opposed to what the demonstrators see as an unfair concentration of wealth in the United States.

Read more from Reuters HERE

 

Hackers threaten to 'remove' Toronto from Internet if it evicts Occupy protesters

The notorious hacker group Anonymous is threatening to have the City of Toronto “removed from the Internet” if city officials move forward with plans to evict the Occupy Toronto camp.

“The brave citizens of Toronto are peaceful and well mannered occupiers, and we will not let the city . . . get involved,” says a computerized voice in a Saturday video by the group. Anonymous has previously stated it would ignore the Occupy Canada movement unless it saw an “interruption” to the protests.

Regardless, spokespeople with the office of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford say they will continue to push ahead with plans to bring the protest to a “peaceful conclusion.”

Meanwhile the City of Saskatoon was preparing to evict the Occupy Saskatoon tenters at Gabriel Dumont Park on Monday.

Read more from the Vancouver Sun HERE

 

San Francisco orders Occupy tents off Market Street

A line of tents from the Occupy SF encampment at Justin Herman Plaza has begun creeping up Market Street in response to what protesters say is overcrowding at the main camp, and The City is once again threatening to take action.

“We’re getting too big,” Occupy SF member Debra Lujan, 34, said Sunday, adding that the group had no intention of leaving Market Street. “Never. We occupy, that’s what we do.”

Demonstrators were handed a “notice of noncompliance” by the Department of Public Works on Saturday, in response to an effort in the past few days to create a tent “bridge” on the sidewalk from the plaza to a smaller encampment that has been in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. since September.

“Occupants and tents have space at Justin Herman Plaza, and any encampment outside that area is in violation of previously agreed upon guidelines,” the notice reads.

Read more from the San Francisco Examiner HERE
 
 

Occupy Detroit to ask to stay in Grand Circus Park

Members of the Occupy Detroit movement were coached on peaceful protesting Sunday as the group looks to extend its stay at Grand Circus Park beyond today.

The permit for the group to use the park expires at 10 p.m., but organizers are expected to deliver a formal extension request to the City of Detroit this morning.

"We have worked well with the protest organization's leaders, but at some point the overnight camping must come to an end, and the permit expires on Monday night," Stephen Serkaian, spokesman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, said Sunday.

Read more from the Detroit Free Press HERE

 

Is Disease Occupying Wall Street?

Refugee camps, not surprisingly, are rather unhealthy places to be. For one thing, there are the effects of the natural disaster that usually drive refugees to a temporary settlement. There's also the threat of hunger and thirst — as we now see among Somali refugees who fleeing a devastating famine in their home country.

But there's something about the nature of a refugee settlement itself that promotes the spread of disease: thousands — if not far more — stressed people may be crowded into cramped conditions, often without proper sanitation or medical care; that's a perfect breeding ground for epidemics of cholera, malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases. In fact, in the wake of a major natural catastrophe, it's often disease among refugees that poses the single greatest threat to health.

The Occupy camps that have sprung up in major cities around the U.S. may not be equivalent to makeshift refugee settlements in East Africa — there are a lot more drum circles at Occupy, for one thing — but they could similarly become loci for the spread of disease, especially as the weather turns colder.

Read more from TIME Magazine HERE

 

Suicide spurs shutdown of Occupy Burlington, Vt.

Occupy protesters in Burlington, Vt., agreed to end their occupation of a local park and have taken down at least one-half of their tents already, The Burlington Free Press reports.

The city demanded the removal of tents Friday, one day after a 35-year-old man shot himself to death inside one of the tents, the website says. Authorities cited the potential hazard of police not being able to see what is occurring inside the tents as the reason for the tents' removal.

Burlington police announced earlier today that protesters had decided to comply.

Read more from USA Today HERE

 

Occupy Movement Sets Up Camp at Second UK Cathedral

The group calling themselves "Occupy Exeter", in tribute to similar movements which began in New York and spread around the world, staged a protest march from the High Street in Exeter to the Cathedral on Saturday....

Protesters claim that up to 150 people turned up to the march to protest against income inequality.

Acting Dean of Exeter Cathedral, Carl Turner, spoke to protesters before they set up their tents.

"We can't give you permission to stay here overnight and we can't guarantee your safety staying overnight," he said.

He added: "We do ask you to respect that this is a Holy place and we have some guidelines to give you if you want to stay."

A statement on Exeter Cathedral's website said: "While we would rather you did not occupy our land and we do not give you permission to do so, nevertheless, we acknowledge your right to peaceful protest and freedom of assembly."

Read more from UK Daily Telegraph HERE

 

Occupy movement won't back a political party — for now

The Occupy Wall Street protest may be a movement, a momentary phenomenon or something in-between, but one thing its most fervent activists insist it's not is a team of shock troops for any political campaign.

That's a disappointment to Democrats who wish the Occupy activists would animate their party the way the Tea Party lit up Republicans in the past two years, but the protesters at the original Occupy Wall Street scene say that's not what it's about.

"I don't see us endorsing candidates or trying to form a party," said Mark Bray, 29, a doctoral student in history at Rutgers University and a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. Efforts to shift the movement in a partisan direction would be unlikely to be approved by the consensus process at the protesters' regular General Assembly meetings, he and other protesters say.

Read more from McClatchy Newspaper via SFGate.com HERE

 

Ex-Marine Makes First Public Statement Since Injury at Occupy Oakland Protest

Ex-Marine Scott Olsen, whose injury during clashes between Oakland police and demonstrators gave impetus to anti-Wall Street protests, said on Sunday he is "feeling a lot better" in his first public statement since his injury.

In a message posted to social networking site Google Plus, 24-year-old Olsen thanked those who had been tracking his progress for their outpouring of support.

"I'm feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me," Olsen wrote. "After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me, my speech is coming back but I've got a lot of work to do with rehab."

The post is accompanied by a photo of Olsen, smiling with a neck brace on and a visible scar on his forehead.

"Thank you for all of your support, it has meant the world to me," he continued. "You'll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we'll see you in our streets!"

Read more from Reuters HERE

 

Jeffrey Sachs: The New Progressive Movement

The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days,  will have to expand in several strategic ways. Activists are needed among shareholders, consumers and students to hold corporations and politicians to account. Shareholders, for example, should pressure companies to get out of politics. Consumers should take their money and purchasing power away from companies that confuse business and political power. The whole range of other actions — shareholder and consumer activism, policy formulation, and running of candidates — will not happen in the park.  

The new movement also needs to build a public policy platform. The American people have it absolutely right on the three main points of a new agenda. To put it simply: tax the rich, end the wars and restore honest and effective government for all....

Those who think that the cold weather will end the protests should think again. A new generation of leaders is just getting started. The new progressive age has begun.

Read more from the NY Times HERE

 

Occupy Movement Faces Challenges from Violent Fringe

As winter closes in on its open-air encampments and public attention prepares to move on to the next big thing, the Occupy movement faces a dilemma: Conflict and confrontation, which have helped make it a national phenomenon, also can derail it.

The scene this month in Oakland, where a fraction of protesters fought with riot police, trashed stores, built barricades and started fires, reminded activists and historians that a movement suffers if conflicts with authority turn violent.

"For the past century, violence has almost always been counterproductive in American politics. The anti-Vietnam War and civil rights movements were strongest when they were faithful to their non-violent roots," says Maurice Isserman, a veteran of both efforts and co-author of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s.

Read more from USA Today HERE

 

Occupy Movement Under-Reporting Sexual Violence? Women Assaulted in Philly and NYC

The Occupy movement, which started in New York City on September 17th, has since spread nationally and globally. Many are protesting what they say is a gross imbalance in societies standard of living across the globe --and here at home, a dwindling of the American Dream.

Many applaud and are in agreement with the sentiment but critics say the movement is descending into vandalism and now a serious charge of sexual violence.

Cases of sexual assault have been reported in New York and on Sunday, the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, was seen in a press conference on CNN announcing yet another sexual assault at Occupy Philly. ...

In New York, reports of sexual assaults have hit the airwaves. One female protester seen on local channel 7 ABC News said they have taken steps to protect themselves by setting up 'women only' tents and rotating patrol volunteers at night. New York Police Department safeguard the streets but protesters do not allow them inside the Occupy movement camp at Zuccotti Park.

Read more from AllVoices.com HERE

 

Occupy Filthy: Weary City Tells Protesters to Move On

It's time for Occupy Philly to occupy somewhere else, Mayor Nutter says.

Seriously, guys. He's calling the cops.

Nothing against drum circles, but the 40-day urban camping session, which has already cost taxpayers more than $500,000 in police overtime and other expenses, is now threatening to derail a $50 million revitalization project at Dilworth Plaza.

That's nearly 1,000 jobs that would put food on the table of the "99 percent" that Occupy Philly claims to represent.

Plus, the campsite is getting kind of nasty.

"There are public-health and public-safety concerns that have nothing to do with Wall Street and corporations," Nutter said yesterday, showing a flash of anger when describing the increasingly radical protesters who are "purposely" blocking the construction project.

Read more from Philadelphia Daily News HERE

 

Love Blooms in Zuccotti Park: Protesting Occupy Wall Street Lovebirds Tie the Knot

Two lovebirds who met protesting Wall Street in Zuccotti Park tied the knot Sunday morning at a humble ceremony in a small corner of the ongoing demonstration.

In front of about a dozen friends and onlookers, Emery Abdel-Latif, 24, and Micha Balon, 19, held a traditional Muslim wedding on Trinity Place and Liberty Street, perched on a small bench next to the park's famous sculpture of a seated man with a briefcase.

“We have to be able to understand truly how unique this relationship is,” said Khalid Latif, the chaplain at New York University who married the eager duo.

“You have been given a deep blessing today,” he said.

The two activists met in September when they were trying to find a space in the crowded park to pray. They immediately hit it off.

Read more from NY Daily News HERE

 

Occupy Roundup: Arrests, Evacuations and a Serenade

What started as the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York in September has spread across major cities worldwide as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth.

Here is a roundup of some of the movement's recent developments.

DENVER: Police in Denver arrested three protesters Sunday, a day after 17 demonstrators were hauled off to jail.

NEW YORK: Dozens of doctors and nurses descended on New York's Zucotti Park on Sunday to administer free flu shots to ward off the risk of a sweeping infection in the close quarters.

Some of the medics held up a sign that read, "I'm a doctor for the 99%" Others made their way through the park, publicizing their drive and reminding the gathered they didn't have to be a part of the protests to receive the shots.

SALT LAKE CITY: Salt Lake City said 19 people were arrested Saturday night as authorities moved in to clear an Occupy Salt Lake encampment at a downtown park.

Read more from CNN.com HERE

 

Singer crashes Obama summit with 'Occupy' song

A popular Hawaiian recording artist turned a top-security dinner of Pacific Rim leaders hosted by President Barack Obama into a subtle protest with a song in support of the "Occupy" movement.

Makana, who goes by one name, was enlisted to play a luau, or Hawaiian feast, Saturday night for leaders assembled in Obama's birthplace Honolulu for an annual summit that is formulating plans for a Pacific free-trade pact.

But in the midst of the dinner on the resort strip Waikiki Beach, he pulled open his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that read "Occupy with Aloha," using the Hawaiian word whose various meanings include love and peace. He then sang a marathon version of his new song "We Are The Many."

"I was pretty nervous. In fact I was terrified. I kept thinking 'what are the consequences going to be?'" Makana, 33, told AFP.

"It was incredibly comical. I was terrified but also enjoying it," he said.

Read more from Agence France Presse HERE

 

Stephen Colbert On Occupy Berkeley: 'When They Say It's Crunchy, I Didn't Realize They Meant Students' Rib Cages'

America's favorite satirical funnyman commented on U.C. Berkeley police's use of force to subdue a gathering of protesters during last Thursday's episode of "The Colbert Report," noting that "occupy has finally spread to the hippie haven."

Playing the now-widely-watched footage that shows campus police using batons to beat back a line of demonstrating students, Colbert declared that "Berkeley university officials did the right thing. They told the students to leave, and for some reason, these free-thinking Berkeley students did not obey authority. So the university called in a team of skilled crisis managers to diffuse the situation with a rap session."

"I've had some harsh words for this slow food, locavore, patchouli, super-fun granola dump site, but today, I am changing my tune," he added.

Read more from Huffington Post HERE

 

New generation of music key to Occupy protest

The sound of insistent drumming bounces off the sides of nearby office towers announcing the location of the Occupy Wall Street home base long before its inhabitants are otherwise seen or heard.

Turn a corner in Zuccotti Park and you're likely to run into a drum circle or find someone strumming a guitar. Maybe it's an amateur trying to keep spirits up, or it could be the real deal — recording artists such as David Crosby and Graham Nash.

Music and musicians are woven into the fabric of the Occupy Wall Street protest, much as they were in movements, confrontations and protests of the past, from the American Revolution to slavery to the Civil War, women's suffrage movement, labor movement, civil rights movement and Vietnam War. But no defining anthem such as "We Shall Overcome" or "Which Side Are You On" has yet emerged for the protesters who have taken on corporate America.

"Every successful progressive social movement has a great soundtrack. The soundtrack (for Occupy Wall Street) is just as democratic and grass roots as the movement," said singer Tom Morello, who was given an MTV online music award for his performance of "The Fabled City" at Zuccotti Park last month. A clip of the performance has spread widely online.

Read more from CBS News HERE

 

Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners.

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