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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Revolution Should Not Be PhotoShopped

(Adam Nelson, 2011)
One thing we know for sure.  
The picture above, of Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn wasn't PhotoShopped. Those people were there, with hats in hand, waving and cheering. It's a different day down at Wall Street now, especially in Zuccotti Park, formerly called Liberty Plaza Park.

(Wikimedia.org, 2011)
Here's a cool picture taken by the even cooler David Shankbone, another self proclaimed observer of life, who has 'driven motorcycles across Cuba and Portugal, camped in the Amazon, skydived over Italy, lost himself in Morocco and found himself in the Negev.' He goes around taking free use photos for Wikipedia.  This is one from September 17th, when things were just getting going in the moneyed districts of NYC. One interesting 21st century adaptation that took place to deal with the Big Apple's regulations, in lieu of a sound system, announcements are made and then repeated by the crowd, using the power of many to broadcast their messages without violating any sound ordinances. Ignore them, but they wil not go away.

Protesters Shut Down NYPD Precinct
It's a different day down at Wall Street now. Back when Chaplin climbed Errol to get a better look, there were happy faces all around. I have Manhattanite friends who have been down checking things out these last two weeks, tweeting, and well, some of what's coming out of there isn't what it seems to be. Most of what you hear IS true. People ARE chanting, cops HAVE been acting badly, cameras HAVE been destroyed, people HAVE been arrested, but mostly it's peaceful all the way around, and people are staying there, and staying put. 

Some of the protesters are trying to morph the "Occupation Of Wall Street" into something a little more reckless. Unfortunately, some aren't playing by all sorts of rules. They have agendas and complaints, but don't want to work within any system, especially when fighting a system that doesn't believe in rules. Throughout history Corporations have prefered to have the fewest rules imposed on them as possible (secretly the GOP are a bunch of Liberttarians if you ask me). So these natives are little more restless. These nonOccupation civil disobediants are mucking things up, but bringing attention to the cause nonetheless. Let's start with their propaganda problems. Here's their twitpic going around with the following messsage: "Think #OccupyWallStreet is only a few hunderd people? Check this pic out!" 
"Think #OccupyWallStreet is only a few hunderd people?"
As you can see it looks like a nice healthy crowd, and that maybe a couple of cabs and some other cars had gotten trapped in the masses. Interestingly, the reports I'm getting of 2500 - 3000 bodies on Friday would look like a lot fewer people, especially since much of them are under those trees. 2500 is nothing to sniff at. So let's check with reality. Here's the Google Earth Shot. And the actual link, just in case:  http://www.google.com/maps?ll=40.712899%2C-74.007667&spn=0.002082%2C0.005284&t=k&z=18&vpsrc=6
(better you know you are actually on google maps)

Notice the same cars? Same cars turning? So we have two photos, same cars, one with lots of people, one with much fewer people. Like a Google Earth shot was lifted and PhotoShopped. Now we can at least deal with some facts. When people do things like this, they sort of devalue the work that OccupyWallSt.org is trying to do. Not too sure what to make of that, but it is what it is, and that is a growing group of real people protesting in real time about real issues.

(OccupyNOLA,org, 2011)
American Citizens (and worldwide citizens of Earth) are PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLING to bring attention to those who, in full deception mode, have affected the economies of the entire world! Perfidy has continued to go unpunished, and now human beings everywhere, in solidarity, all over the planet, are going to point a metaphorical finger at those who do not act in the best interest of the average Citizen. Shining a verbal spotlight on those indictable predators who schedule a game, make a side bet that they will lose, use fake chips, have cards up their sleeves, and then take a dive for the money. In the old days, they called that The Sting and you could be hung for it. What the media is starting to understand is that this thing is not just happening down at Wall Street, and it is not about Occupying the Park Formerly Known As Liberty. It’s about 'player recognizin' player'; and it's going to happen in Madrid, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Athens, Sydney, Kansas City, Algiers, Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, and maybe even on The Brooklyn Bridge.

Nowadays you try to walk across a bridge (closely protected, of course, against acts of terrorism) and they'll arrest you (see video from You Tube). Not everyone likes to follow the sound ordinances; and some people like to play in traffic, so today, they arrested 700 American Citizens who did just that on The Brooklyn Bridge. Just bang some drums, and perhaps shut down a lane of traffic for a few hours of dancing, and "booooo!" they'll come arrest you. Even FOX News broke down and reported on what was going on, so let's put a rest to the "no news is covering this" meme, shall we? 

In fact, New York City police say about 700 protesters have been arrested after they swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge and shut down traffic TODAY. This offshoot from the financial district protest orchestrated an impromptu trek to Brooklyn this evening. "They walked in thick rows on the sidewalk up to the bridge, where some demonstrators spilled onto the roadway. Most of those arrested face disorderly conduct charges, while others were accused of resisting arrest after being told to stay on the pedestrian pathway" says an NYPD spokesman.

Interestingly enough, The New York Transit Workers Union (TWU) voted to support the Wall Street Protesters at their meeting Wednesday night. A member of TWU Local 100 told a reporter that they planned to join the protest this last Friday. The Union has 114 autonomous locals representing over 200,000 members and retirees in 22 states around the country. And it's numbers like that that have caused the GOP to try to dissolve them. Unions back Dems, and there'll be no more of that. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-massive-union-just-voted-to-side-with-the-wall-street-protesters-2011-9#ixzz1ZNr9x6HF

(OccupyWallSt.org, 2011)
Occupy Wall Street has been picking up some decent support from other unions in the past few days. Wednesday we reported that the Teamsters Union declared their support for protesters.
Washington Current Reports: After more than a two weeks of protests in New York against major financial institutions and the role they played in the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic meltdown, more than 1,000 people were in Boston yesterday to march on the headquarters of Bank of America headquarters. The action in Boston was organized by The New Bottom Line, a nationwide coalition of 1,000 faith-based and community organizations that also seeks to hold Wall Street accountable. Link: http://www.thewashingtoncurrent.com/2011/09/wall-street-protesters-to-move-on-to.html

(Adam Nelson, 2011)
Per Daily Kos today, here is their first official list of demands:
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’ health care 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.
Talking Points Memo has reported "that many of the events around the globe are being coordinated and listed by the website Occupy Together, which says that its creators were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street events and wanted to create a “hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity” with the movement. And in a merging of technologies old and new, infamous poignant prankster duo “The Yes Men,” previously best-known for posing as representatives from such companies as ExxonMobil and government agencies including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to critique their actions, launched a project on Kickstarter to raise money to publish an Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper. The print-run is set for 50,000 copies for its inaugural issue. At the time of this posting, the project has already surpassed its requested $12,000 donations goal by about $5,000, and there are still nine days left to donate to the project."

Now, if anyone tells you that the people down on Wall Street are a bunch of disorganized homeless kids about to go home anyway, you can tell them that a little Policy Geek filled you in on the whole thing, and you don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon.  Who knows? All that seems to be abundantly obvious, is that at this rate we're gonna have to make a whole lot more popcorn.

Check back soon for more updates.

10/12/2011 ~ Bloomberg has given his blessing for the demonstrators to be in NY for as long as they like. Peaceful movements just get me every time. ;-) Interested in more? Drive by a meetup near you and get first hand glimpses at history. A world movement, in real time. www.occupytogether.org If this page stays current, you can check out how many occupiers there are at each site updated live here: http://www.meetup.com/occupytogether

Lisa Lindo

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