Tag Archives: Occupy

Still Occupied?

The Washington Post ran a story on Wednesday, “Occupy Wall Street just won.” With the 2016 Presidential campaign heating up, the article claims Occupy just won because the discussion of the 99% is the center of this election cycle.

Our victory is not new or recent; the media has refused to credit Occupy with the numerous conversations that began with the 2011 Occupy Movement. The public that didn’t pay attention then is realizing that what we were talking about had merit, and maybe they should have listened.

Zuccotti Park, September 18, 2011. Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Zuccotti Park, September 18, 2011. Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The media back in 2011 wanted to cover the Occupy story the same way they covered everything: show up, interview 4 to 8 people, shoot some film and head back to the office. They made the story about tents and parks, about homeless hippies and jobless layabouts. Instead of listening to what the real message was, they did the old reliable trick of pleasing the editors by finding the strangest, most unusual person and ask them questions until they can’t answer one with articulation, and that’s what makes the news.

My first visit to Occupy in 2011 was quite different than what the press told me I would find. There were college professors, doctors, lawyers, retired teachers, people from all walks of life. The conversations that were taking place were the most interesting. I wasn’t sure about Monsanto, and I didn’t know much about GMOs. I heard a lot about “People Over Profits,” Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” “Who’s streets? Our streets!,” and a multitude of messages about wages, inequality, discrimination, corporate dominance, women’s rights and yes, even anti-war sentiments.

The heavy-handed response from local police in each encampment then became the focus of any news coverage. Gone were questions about why we were there, what we wanted, and why we felt change was mandatory. Any gaining public support was quickly destroyed with the media showing only the worst, not the good parts, of the fracturing camps. Continue reading

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Is there an Alternative for Denmark?

The outcome of Denmark’s general election on June 18 could depend heavily on the success of a radical new party called The Alternative.

By Lasse Thomasson. Published June 5, 2015 at openDemocracy.net

Uffe Elbaek. Photo by Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org [CC BY 2.5 dk], via Wikimedia Commons

Uffe Elbæk. Photo by Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org [CC BY 2.5 dk], via Wikimedia Commons

Denmark is going to the polls on Thursday, June 18, and much may depend on the success of a new party called The Alternative (Alternativet).

The opinion polls suggest that the right wing will win, and that former Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, will return to his old job. However, the lead is narrowing, and the election is set to be very close. The current Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, has turned out to be the Social Democrats’ best asset, and she might just squeeze out a narrow majority as she did in 2011. She is leading a minority coalition of the Social Democrats and the centre-left liberal party Det Radikale Venstre. Continue reading

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Get Ready: Protesters Vow to ‘Flood the System’ for Climate and Planetary Justice

Rising Tide North America calls for mass actions this fall ‘to shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival’

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 5-21-15.

"Communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are fighting back," said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle.  Photo courtesy Rising Tide Seattle via Facebook.

“Communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are fighting back,” said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle. Photo courtesy Rising Tide Seattle via Facebook.

From the tar sands of Alberta to the Port of Seattle to the communities in the blast zone of oil trains, organizers across North America are calling for a “wave of resistance” this fall to “shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival.”

Under the banner of “Flood the System,” the announcement was unveiled Wednesday by Rising Tide North America, part of an international climate justice network. The mass actions, slated for September and November, are timed to lead up to the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations slated to take place in Paris in November and December. Continue reading

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‘This Is Not A Game,’ Declares Greek Minister as Talks Collapse in Brussels

Image via Twitter.

Image via Twitter.

‘Europe must cut its lossses with a program that is not working,’ declares Syriza’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

By Jon Queally, Published February 16, 2015 by Common Dreams 

Without any apparent progress, talks in Brussels between the Syriza-led government of Greece and finance ministers of the Eurogroup collapsed on Monday just hours after negotiations began.

An official with the Greek delegation first told Reuters that talks were called off after finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rejected a proposal put forth by the Eurogroup ministers which essentially called for an extension of the current bailout scheme with no alterations to the terms.

“Some people’s insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted,” the Greek official reportedly said. “Those who keep returning to this issue are wasting their time. Under such circumstances, there cannot be a deal today.” Continue reading

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Demanding Power to Concede

The Case for Withdrawing the Police and Winning Community Control of our Communities

By Manuel Barrera

U.S. “America” has seen the rise of a new civil rights movement. . . One is tempted immediately to conjure the connections between the movement that has emerged in response to the murder by police in Ferguson, Missouri of Michael Brown and the movement led by M.L. KingMalcolm X and associated civil rights and black nationalist organizations of the 1950’s to the end of the 1960’s. It seems fair to say that given the emergence of Black youth and Black communities everywhere beginning to organize against what has come to be known as a police occupation within communities and spaces inhabited by Blacks in particular, but among people of color in general. Indeed, many sectors among young White youth, women, and other social forces have begun to be involved, some with more engagement than even the actual communities being victimized. Continue reading

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Keep the Lights On – Journalism Is Not A Crime!


On December 29, 2013, Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed  were jailed in Egypt. They have been sentenced to seven and ten years. Their appeal is scheduled to be heard on Jan. 1, 2015. To commemorate the one year anniversary of their jailing, newsrooms across the world will stop work at 1200 Egypt-time to pause and reflect on the year’s events.

2014 goes on record as the second worst year for journalists jailed worldwide, topped only by 2012, which saw 232 imprisoned. However, the numbers do not include those held by Daesch (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, currently estimated to be approximately 80. Continue reading

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The Winter of Our Discontent

South Korea General Strike, Dec 28, 2013. Image via Twitter.

South Korea General Strike, Dec 28, 2013. Image via Twitter.

If you have not realized it, there is something happening that makes the protests regarding police brutality stemming from cases like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown look quite tame and mild. It is something that has began sweeping across the globe in such a way that we recognize it as the most under-reported story of the year. Continue reading

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Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?


Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution on September 30, 2014.

Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution on September 30, 2014. Pasu Au Yeung/ Flickr.

Some rights reserved.The most recent protests in Hong Kong are indicative of a trend among people’s movements that use civil resistance – the increased emphasis placed on the taking and holding of physical space, which is to say, the tactic of occupation. Usually focused on a central square, as in the case of Egypt and Ukraine, or concentrated on a particular site emblematic of injustice, as in Occupy Wall Street, occupations as a tactic have been a media coverage-igniting feature of many of the most important protest campaigns occurring over the past few years. This stands out as a relatively new phenomenon when considered within the longer history of civil resistance movements, when the tactic or place of occupation seldom came to define the entire movement.

Continue reading

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News You Won’t Hear About – London Calling

Last Friday, Occupy Democracy started in London’s Parliament Square. We’ll let the organizers explain in their own words what this is all about:

Occupy Democracy- Friday night. Photo via Facebook,

Occupy Democracy- Friday night. Photo via Facebook,

The imposition of austerity has no democratic mandate from the public. Nobody voted for the  privatisation of the NHS, or the Bedroom Tax, and the Liberal Democrats were quite prepared to renege on one of the key promises they made to their voters on tuition fees.

Our system of parliamentary democracy is unable to deal with the consequences of a social crisis it helped to create. We are facing record homelessness, while many more struggle to keep a roof over their heads, record numbers are relying on food banks to feed their families, and record numbers are facing fuel poverty as energy prices rise eight times faster than wages. Meanwhile inequality is reaching levels not seen since the nineteenth century.

Nobody voted for this.

It is becoming clear to millions in this country that our system of democracy increasingly functions in the interests of big business and a tiny wealthy elite.

This union/association/group notes:

That the imposition of austerity has no democratic mandate from the electors.

That nobody voted for privatisation of the NHS.

That the Liberal Democrats broke the promise on tuition fees they made to their voters when  they entered into the Coalition.

This union/association/group believes:

That the Coalition government’s conduct reveals a fundamental problem with Britain’s system  of parliamentary democracy.

That Parliament has failed to protect the interests of the majority, and especially of the most  vulnerable, in our society.

That government and Parliament function in the interest of big business.

This union/association/group resolves:

To support the call of the Occupy movement for the occupation of Parliament Square on Friday 17th October in order to put forward a set of democratic demands for the fundamental reform of Britain’s system of democracy.

The occupation began with an overnight vigil marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It was also a direct challenge to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which repealed the law that prohibited protests near Parliament Square, but instead outlawed items that could be used for sleeping in that area.

Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Friday night passed peacefully, but Saturday night had the police forcibly removing campers’ personal belongings and harassing the protesters. On Sunday night, hundreds of police converged on the square in an attempt to remove the protesters. The demonstrators were given 30 minutes to leave or face arrest. According to the Occupy Democracy Facebook page, the protesters will be occupying the square in shifts through the night. The occupation is scheduled to run until this coming Sunday. A schedule of events is listed here.

Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with Occupy Democracy. All over the world, the people are saying enough is enough. United, we can change the world. Divided, we don’t stand a chance.

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More Common Ground

As you’ve probably noticed by now, the protests in Hong Kong have captured our attention. We normally wouldn’t write another piece on them so soon (we wrote about the protests two days ago), but there’s so much happening that we feel it’s worthwhile to catch up with what’s going on.

The iconic image of "Umbrella Man" at the protest site in Hong Kong. Image via Twitter.

The iconic image of “Umbrella Man” at the protest site in Hong Kong. Image via Twitter.

What I personally find fascinating are the similarities in the responses both here and in Hong Kong to protesters by the powers that be. You might be thinking; “Similarities? Between what’s supposed to be the land of the free and the largest authoritarian regime on the planet?” Why, yes – that’s exactly what I mean. Let’s look at some examples.

On Wednesday, the media and communications adviser to Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, posted a photo to Facebook that was supposedly of a police officer who was wounded in clashes with the protesters the night before. This was circulated by supporters of the police as evidence that the protesters weren’t as peaceful as they claimed to be. This sounds similar to Ferguson, Missouri and the supposed pictures of Officer Darren Wilson that were circulated in the conservative media as “proof” that Michael Brown had assaulted Wilson, leaving Wilson no other option but to shoot Brown in self defense, doesn’t it?

It turned out that this wasn’t the only similarity. Like the supposed pictures of Wilson, the photo of the police officer turned out not to be of who they said it was. Instead, the photo was of an actor who plays a zombie police officer in a HKTV show called Night Shift, and was a still photo from one of the episodes.

Then, there’s who’s actually directing the response. The New York Times, in an article yesterday, said that according to former Hong Kong and Chinese government officials, as well as other experts, it’s the Beijing government who have been directing the response to the protests, and not the local government. Once again, this sounds eerily similar to the response to the Occupy movement here in the US, where documents obtained through FOIA requests showed that the crackdown on the Occupy encampments were coordinated by DHS and the FBI, with the local police for the most part following their guidance.

Or, maybe it’s not so surprising. After all, in almost all the unrest around the world over the last few years, there’s been common themes. We want to have a voice in our government. We want to be able to earn a living wage. We want our children to be educated. We want women and minorities to be treated with respect and as equals. We want affordable housing. We want the opportunity to be the best we can be. With all that in mind, is it surprising that those in power follow the same script as well?

The world is waking up. Every day, we read of more demonstrations, more protests, more people saying enough is enough. Occupy World Writes reaches out in solidarity to all of these people across the globe. Together, we can change the world.

We are many; they are few. We are the 99%, and we shall overcome.

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