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Occupy Highlights Authoritarian Behavior by Police

A funny thing happens when one uses the term “police state” to describe behavior by authorities in response to the Occupy protests. Very Serious Company turns pale and insists that the United States is not turning into a police state—at least not yet. America isn’t North Korea or East Germany or Russia, for goodness sake, Very Serious Company continues. Police don’t physically snatch journalists off the streets and murder them in back alleys, so no one has the right to label the United States a “police state.”

Yet what the Occupy Wall Street protests have helped reveal is that it is this hesitancy to acknowledge the authoritarian behavior of police that gives them cover when they—along with city officials—blatantly violate the rights of citizens.

Wall Street Mercenaries

Back in October, I wrote about how Occupy helped to highlight the problem of disappearing public space. Many Occupy camps (Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston and Zuccotti Park in New York City, for example) were built in parks owned by a mixture of public and private interests, and it was this private half of the partnership that gave authorities cover when they moved in to destroy the camps.

After all, private property is private property. When presented with this aphorism, people tend to imagine dirty hippies wrestling their own beloved possessions from their arms when, in fact, private companies often receive a far sweeter deal with the state than average citizens.

Brookfield Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park, owes $139,000 in back taxes. The company, on whose board Mayor Bloomberg’s girlfriend Diana Taylor sits, didn’t pay its taxes in 2009… or 2008…or 2007. Or 2006. This means that Brookfield is permitted to own the land for a song, and taxpayers step in to fill the revenue void. Then, when actual taxpayers attempted to use the land, Mayor Bloomberg’s private army rushed in to immediately defend the land on behalf of Brookfield.

Along with the NYPD, private security contractors such as MSA Security, defended Zuccotti from the First Amendment. Kevin Conner, co-founder of Public Accountability Initiative, reports:

MSA Security (formerly Michael Stapleton Associates), has even stronger ties to the NYPD. MSA Security, which advertises itself as being “In the business of business as usual,” listed Brookfield Properties on its website until a few days ago, but the client list has since been taken down. The google cache is available here. MSA’s clients in the financial sector include AIG, Goldman Sachs, NYSE Euronext (the stock exchange), and Bank of America. It also provides security services to Fox News and a number of real estate firms, including World Trade Center site developer Silverstein Properties.

Retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis refers to the NYPD as “Wall Street mercenaries,” which is an apt title given that JPMorgan Chase made a massive $4.6 million donation to the NYPD, the largest such gift in the history of the New York City Police Foundation.

As massive corporations buy up public space and police forces, protesters are faced with the impossible task of facing off with police who increasingly work on behalf of Wall Street, and not the American people.

Free Speech Zones

In late November, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a midnight press release in anticipation of a raid on Occupy LA, which included this line: “During the park closure, a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps.” The absurdity of that statement should be immediately apparent to anyone who understands how real journalism works. Good reporters don’t obediently stand in a “First Amendment area,” deliberately placed far away from the heart of the story. Reporters need to be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with protesters precisely so they can witness how the police interact with them.

Earlier in the month, journalist Josh Harkinson reported on being alerted to the existence of something called the “frozen zone” when he attempted to cover the eviction of Zuccotti.

A white-shirted officer moved in with a bullhorn. “If you don’t leave the park you are subject to arrest. Now is your opportunity to leave the park.”

Nobody budged. As a lone drum pounded, I climbed up on the wall to get a better view.

“Can I help you?” an burly officer asked me, his helpfulness belied by his scowl.

“I’m a reporter,” I told him.

“This is a frozen zone, all right?” he said, using a term I’d never heard before. “Just like them, you have to leave the area. If you do not, you will be subject to arrest.”

He grabbed my arm and began dragging me off. My shoes skidded across the park’s slimy granite floor. All around me, zip-cuffed occupiers writhed on the ground beneath a fog of chemicals.

“I just want to witness what is going on here,” I yelped.

“You can witness it with the rest of the press,” he said. Which, of course, meant not witnessing it.

“Why are you excluding the press from observing this?” I asked.

“Because this is a frozen zone. It’s a police action going on. You could be injured.”

His meaning was clear. I let myself be hustled across the street to the press pen.

“What’s your name?”

His reply came as fast as he could turn away: “Watch your back.”

The “frozen zone” is an arbitrary title that the NYPD simply made up. Like Villaraigosa’s “First Amendment zone,” it has zero legal merit and was created to suppress the media coverage of the Occupy raids. In early December, Occupiers once again encountered the frozen zone when they turned out to protest outside a swank fundraising dinner starring President Obama (corporate donors paid between $1,000 and $36,000 a plate).

Jeff Smith, a longtime OWS protester, tweeted that the “Free Speech zone has been officially ‘frozen’ until Obama is all clear.”

Journalist Andrew Katz reported that he and Josh Harkinson were escorted by three NYPD officers from 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue because they “weren’t allowed in the frozen zone with about 100 people.”

“I was doing nothing but…doing my job”

In addition to being harassed and intimidated, journalists also have to fear extended detention times, and in some cases, physical abuse. According to Josh Stearns, director at Free Press, 34 journalists have been arrested since the beginning of Occupy. While I don’t have the space to tell all of their stories, here are a couple examples of press intimidation by police.

Independent journalist John Knefel, whose work has appeared in Salon, was arrested December 13 for the crime of filming police actions during an Occupy protest. Knefel and a majority of the 16 other individuals arrested with him were held in prison for more than 36 hours. Several members of the Occupy 17, as they’re now called, were punished with extended detention times after they refused en masse to submit to an eye scan.

Along with methods like fingerprinting and mug shots, the NYPD now uses iris scanners as part of an effort to “improve security and safeguard identities.” Jailed individuals are given the option to decline such an eye scan, but warned that doing so may slow down their processing. Knefel told me a couple of the Occupy 17 had to get out of jail quickly to go to their jobs, so they submitted to the scans. The rest of the Occupy 17, however, were held in prison for the full 36 hours.

NPR reported on the controvery surrounding eye scanners, namely that the technology could be used for “facial profiling,” concerns over how the massive database of scanned images will be managed, and privacy worries centered around facial recognition software that can easily identify individuals from far away.

Another troubling testimony emerged when Democracy Now journalist Ryan Devereaux tweeted in disturbing detail abuse he and his colleague suffered at the hands of the NYPD. An officer jammed his fist into Devereaux’s throat and told him to “get the fuck back” despite Devereaux repeatedly informing the officer he’s press. His credentialed cameraman suffered an arguably worse fate when an officer punched him in the kidney three times.

“My neck is red, my press pass was ripped. I was going nothing but standing on the sidewalk doing my job,” Devereaux tweeted.

Since the beginning of Occupy, over 5600 individuals have been arrested and all major Occupy camps have been raided and shut down. The cases of abuse suffered by protesters at the hands of police are literally too numerous to name, but readers surely have images of an officer casually pepper-spraying UC Davis Protesters, and a pepper-sprayed 84-year-old woman, burned into their minds.

The simple truth that “things could be worse,” can’t distract us from the reality that things are quite bad right now. It’s virtually impossible for protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights, and now it’s increasingly difficult for press (even credentialed press) to report this abuse.

Americans are taught in school that moments of great social change always come when the public demands them, but what happens when the state no longer permits the public to make such demands?

Repression Breeds Resistance

From: http://www.counterpunch.org

The Coming War on the Occupy Movement

by GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER

As I begin to write this, Occupy Oakland circulates in a by-now familiar pattern: forced from the camp at the break of day, the occupiers reconvened as they have done before on the steps of the Public Library. Later, they will attempt to close a repeating circuit that stretches a short six blocks along 14th Street between City Hall and the Library.

This circuit, moreover, is one which draws its familiarity not only from recent weeks, but also from the early moments of what is a single cycle of struggle spanning years: it was down 14th Street that Oakland Police pursued us during the first rebellion, on January 7th of 2009, that greeted the murder of Oscar Grant. And it was in front of the same Public Library that I crouched behind a bush as an armored personnel carrier sped past, only to sprint off as heavily-clad militarized police-troops dismounted to chase myself and others on foot.

It has become all too apparent that the Occupy Movement is under attack, and that even my title is wholly insufficient: this war is not “coming,” this war has already begun.

Breaching the Limits of Tolerance

Writing from the perspective of a previous cycle of struggle, the radical Frankfurt School theorist Herbert Marcuse described the phenomenon of “repressive tolerance,” in which an ostensibly liberating concept and practice becomes distorted to suit the powerful and legitimate the status quo. According to the political theorist Wendy Brown, the discourse of tolerance serves to mark the powerful as normal while discrediting the “unruly” as somehow “deviant,” and thereby “legitimates the most illiberal actions of the state.” In other words, the repression that comes is not a distinct and corrupted form of tolerance, as for Marcuse, but instead embedded within the idea itself.

This lesson is of paramount importance to the Occupy Movement, but so is its opposite: even the most repressive of tolerance has its limits in the push-and-pull of forces vying for control, and Marcuse’s arguable pessimism on this point must be countered with the optimism of transgressing those limits.

This war began as most do, in the realm of hegemonic struggle where small shifts signal coming offensives. But walking the fine line of counterintelligence and counterinsurgency, the forces conspiring against the Occupy Movement have been anything but subtle. In a crude and thinly-veiled information war, lies are tossed about like the seeds they are, and the media duly parrots line put forth by police and city alike. This “chatter” (to turn the language of the counterinsurgents against them) begins to spread surreptitiously: that Occupy is unsanitary, now dangerously so, now downright violent.

By the time San Francisco Chronicle was citing “anonymous police sources” about the conditions of the camp (bearing in mind that the police were not even allowed into the camp), it was clear to many that a raid was imminent. For the second raid this morning, the warning was even clearer: another anonymous leak to the Chronicle, and a leaked email to parents at a local school about an “overwhelming use of force.”

The script is strikingly similar across the map, from Oakland to Portland, Atlanta to Philly: a Democratic mayor plays nice, claiming to represent “the 99%” and to support the Occupation’s crusade against big business. But at some point, as the chatter increases, the occupation goes badly wrong, becoming unacceptable and violent, unrecognizable to the Middle America for which it claims to speak. A murder, a suicide, a rape, and an overdose suddenly brim with political opportunity. With the stage set, all that remains is for the guardians of good order to step in to defend the common good.

The Students Step into the Fray

The Bay Area Occupy Movement received an unexpected shot in the arm last Wednesday when students protesting the creeping increase in fees in the UC system pitched a small number of tents on the grassy area in front of Sproul Hall. If Oakland Mayor Jean Quan drastically miscalculated when she unleashed the police in late October, the response by UCPD to this seemingly minor disturbance strays into the realm of the Epic Fail. Deploying overwhelming force, UCPD could be seen on video beating and spearing students with their batons, punching some in the face, and even dragging English Professor Celeste Langan down by her hair. Langan would later write about her experience, and another English Professor, Geoffrey O’Brien, was also injured by police on the day.

Such repressive tactics and blatant disconnect between the second-rate cops of the UCPD and the student body are nothing new. Amid the student upsurge of 2009, the UCPD came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of a wave of building occupations, and at least one lawsuit from a friend of mine whose fingers had been purposely broken by a sadistic officer outside the Wheeler Hall occupation. At the height of the repressive wave, I myself was one of many featured on the UCPD website in an openly McCarthyite attempt to foster a snitch culture on campus (website visitors were encouraged to send tips that would aid in identifying the dangerous student organizers). The website was eventually removed through legal action.

But repression breeds resistance, as we well know. As I write this, the November 15th system-wide student strike is but a few hours away, and the mass participation of students in the Occupy struggle promises, if they can successfully link with their counterparts to the south, to offer a much needed injection of energy and numbers.

The Indestructible Oakland Commune

The days following the Oakland General Strike and port shutdown were dominated by a debate that never should have been. Rather than crowing about an unprecedented and unexpected chain of victories, in which Occupiers forced the city to back down and re-took Oscar Grant Plaza only to then embark on a massive if not truly General Strike, which saw up to 25,000 people swarm and shut down the Port of Oakland, some within the metaphorical Occupy camp naively took the bait offered by the city and the police, and amplified by the media. The press talking points went something like this: an otherwise powerful day was sullied by the actions of a small few who broke windows at a bank and assailed the Whole Foods in my old neighborhood.

While this iteration of the “nonviolence” debate was won on many fronts by those promoting nuance and diversity of tactics, this was nevertheless a powerful foothold for those seeking to oust the Occupation once again. Within a matter of days the chatter had increased once again, City Council was almost unanimously urging its removal, and the formerly remorseful Jean Quan, fresh from a visit to Scott Olson’s bedside, was once again urging the Occupiers to vacate. Councilwoman Desley Brooks, whose opportunism apparently knows no bounds, went from sleeping at the occupation (or at least publicly emerging from a tent) to condemning the occupiers in a matter of mere weeks. (Such stage-managed populism is something of a forte: Brooks had previously unleashing her goons on myself and others for apparently undermining her carefully crafted image of sympathy with the people.)

As City Council turned against the Occupiers, and as the City Administrator threatened to go around the Mayor to approve a raid, Quan was apparently disconnected and feigned impotence: as a leaked email from her husband put it, “she does not set policy for the city… council does.” The very same Mayor who had approved the devastatingly brutal raid a week prior finally signed on to allow the same police, under the same police chief, with the same participating agencies, to move in and clear the camp.

This was too much for some within the Quan administration to handle. At 2am, Quan’s chief legal advisor Dan Siegel resigned via a twitter message. Siegel, who I am proud to count as a friend and a comrade, and whose civil rights law firm has tirelessly defended protestors in the past, has been for years fighting the struggle within the Quan administration against all odds. He has chosen to take a principled stand at exactly the right moment.

As Occupiers massed at the Public Library, only to march once again up 14th Street to again seize Oscar Grant Plaza with no resistance from police, the same Plaza the Mayor had just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to clear, it is clear that she has been defeated once again, and decisively so. One wonders what could possibly be next for Quan.

Occupy Philly’s “Wrong Turn”

On the opposite coast, the same script plays out. After initially expressing support for Occupy Philly, and evidently fooling many Occupiers in the process, Mayor Nutter was re-elected by a wide margin last Tuesday, freeing his hand for a radical change in course. The previous week, the Radical Caucus of Occupy Philly had brought forth a proposal to the General Assembly which simply stated that the Occupy camp would not voluntarily leave in preparation for a scheduled construction project in Dilworth Plaza, and would resist eviction. The proposal seemed to shock many who had been lulled into the false sense of security that liberal tolerance provides, but after extending discussion of a modified proposal for an entire week, a four-hour General Assembly decided almost unanimously (150 to 3) to remain in Dilworth Plaza and make preparations for nonviolent civil disobedience in the event of a raid.

Nutter’s first move came in a Sunday press conference, in which he announced his intentions to the world in so many words. “Occupy Philly has changed,” he insisted, and so to must the city’s relation with it change. Conditions had deteriorated, fire codes had been violated, and communication, according to the Mayor, had been unilaterally severed. The shadowy force behind this subtle and unwelcome change, according to Nutter, was the Radical Caucus, a frightening group that had taken over and is “bent on civil disobedience” (I only wonder why he didn’t follow suit with other cities in referring to “violence”). If the central pretext for eviction in other cities has been murder, suicide, and overdoses, in Philly it is rape: Nutter highlighted a sexual assault at the camp as an indication of just how far the movement had fallen.

If the repetition of this same strategy, discredit then evict, across the country were not enough to doubt the Mayor’s words, Occupy Philly itself was quick to respond. At a counter-press conference yesterday, speaker after speaker dismantled Nutter’s claim, piece by piece. The most shocking revelation came from the Women’s Caucus, which was quick to highlight the opportunism and hypocrisy of focusing in on the sexual assault as a pretext to attack the Occupation. As a representative of the Women’s Caucus told the press, “We asked police for help with the eviction of a sexual predator. The police said, ‘It’s not our problem. Get your men to handle it.’”

If anything, the Mayor’s slander has strengthened the resolve of those who will defend the camp from eviction, and here’s to hoping it will open the eyes of some who have claimed that the Mayor was on the side of the Occupation from day one. (The so-called “Reasonable Solutions Committee,” which had spearheaded efforts to hand the Plaza back to the city, appears to be beyond all limits of reason. Its members are now both circulating a petition to repeal the GA’s decision to remain, deemed a “Petition for the Logical” with characteristic condescension, while simultaneously betraying the Occupation as a whole by unilaterally applying for alternative permits from the city).

The Politics of War

From the messy dialectic of the spreading Occupy Movement emerge some expected developments. Solidarity develops among the occupiers, who draw strength from the successes and rage from the repression of their comrades, learning crucial and radicalizing lessons from both. Police and city administrators similarly close ranks (sometimes together, sometimes against one another) gripped with the fear that their power is splintering, that the movements have become ungovernable, that they are slipping the yoke and refusing the straitjacket. A climate of mutual polarization, radicalization, and warfare sets in.

But other unexpected dynamics surface as well, some of which play into the hands of the Occupiers. As Occupations spread from Oakland to Berkeley, the sheer number of available police becomes a question, as individual forces rely on mutual aid programs for costly, large-scale eviction efforts. Word emerges that Oakland’s efforts to remove the camp were sped-up due to the constraints imposed by the impending student strike tomorrow. Here the fallout from the brutality of the first Oakland eviction blows back on the police forces themselves: citing the excessive force in Oakland, Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to block mutual aid assistance between the Berkeley PD and UCPD.

And even those more than willing to participate in brutality have begun to demand more booty and protection: in the run-up to the second Oakland eviction this morning, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department demanded not only $1,000 per officer per day, and the City of Alameda also demanded increased legal protection in the case of a repeat of the brutality that left Iraq veteran Scott Olson critically injured at the hands of an ACSD officer. This increasing legal scrutiny, financial strain, and sheer numerical limitations bode well for the future of Bay Area occupations and those across the nation.

I use the language of war consciously, not out of some desire for violent conclusion but out of a recognition that violence is already there. As our Egyptian comrades made clear in a statement in solidarity with Oakland, “It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose.” Despite the asymmetrical nature of the war that confronts us, the implements are the same: few can deny the shocking militarization of police departments in recent years, or that this heavy weaponry has been all but openly deployed against the Occupiers. If Clausewitz famously argued that war is politics by other means, a formulation which Foucault slyly reversed, the practical reality of the Occupy Movement is that the two are much more difficult to disentangle from one another. Every word from the mouth of these Democratic Mayors, every leak whispered from a cop to a reporter is a rubber bullet in potentia.

I use the language of war because we will not back down, and because as a result, the war will be brought to us.

But more importantly, I speak of war because this is not a one-sided affair, and we should not allow our opponents to strip us of our status as equals simply because we do not respond in kind. Our power is nothing to scoff at, although it circulates in a manner largely distinct from that which we oppose. Just two nights ago, Occupy Portland swelled into the thousands to defend Chapman and Lownsdale squares, facing down riot police, forcing their retreat, and winning the night in the most absolute of terms. Last night, the plaza was cleared and campers removed, but traces of such a stunning initial victory remain in the confidence and compromise of the occupiers as they regroup and go once more into the breach.

And as I finish, I receive late word from Oakland that the occupiers have re-taken Oscar Grant Plaza without more than a symbolic police presence, and even later word of a massive crackdown of Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Another skirmish lost, another battle won, but the long war stretches out before us like an interminable horizon.

George Ciccariello-Maher is an exiled Oaklander who lives in Philadelphia and teaches political theory at Drexel University. He can be reached at gjcm(at)drexel.edu.

A passion for anarchism

From Cincy Milstein facebook page:
 

Kristin Snicklefritz sez (hold your applause until the end): “After taking a good nights rest and reflecting on all the debate over property destruction, Anarchists, and the movement as whole, my current conclusion is that those decrying the property destruction, those demonizing Anarchists, those holding up signs and chanting “peace” like they’re at a damn A.N.S.W.E.R. organized protest march (with some subsequently committing violent acts against -people- to “maintain” that “peace”)… have no concept of what is going on. Without Anarchist methodology and organization, this movement a.) would not exist; and b.) if it existed would not be this successful; and c.) would not have gone from 0 to Port of Oakland shut-down in less than one month. I’ve heard cries for the Anarchists to leave, that if they want to “go against the movement”, they should start their own movement. Something that has been echoed by liberal organizers in movements over the past 10 years, since the Anarchists mobilized against the WTO. Well, they did start their own movement. Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. And now they are ironically being told to leave. Alright, but if they leave, they would like to take everything they brought with them to this movement. Direct Democracy through the General Assembly, the Consensus process, Facilitation, most of the proposals we all vote on in the GA, Food Not Bombs kitchen organization, communalism, communal infrastructure, a rejection of state authority to be able to police the occupied space, THE TAKING OF SPACE, protest medics, the book shields, taking to the streets without a permit, the chant “Who’s streets? Our streets!”, Security training, safer spaces, a refusal to liaison with the government by the government’s hierarchical terms and process, etc, etc, etc. Pretty much everything that makes this movement what it is, what makes it so very different from the liberal psuedo-movements we’ve witnessed over the past decade, what makes so people excited about it – Anarchists. If you want them to leave – Anarchists, Anti-capitalists, anti-authoritarians – they will take everything they’ve brought with them to the table out of this co-opted movement. Then we can all watch the movement cave in on itself in a matter of a week.”

The Oakland General Strike

Margaret Killjoy – from: http://www.revolutionbythebook.akpress.org

Holy shit.

More things will be confirmed later, and i’ll post more photos ASAP, but I just want to get my thoughts down about today while they’re fresh.

I arrived in Oscar Grant Plaza a bit after 9am. On some level, it felt like any big, NGO-sponsored demonstration: a sound truck, portapotties, people under canopies promoting whatever this-or-that cause. And then I remembered: this wasn’t a top-down organized event. This wasn’t something that we requested from the authorities. This was something we organized ourselves, for us. This was was held on occupied (actually, “liberated” feels the better term) territory. The only reason we have Occupy Oakland is because the authorities are afraid of what will happen if they try to take it from us again.

The first march was at 10 and I think there were 2,000-5,000 people on it… it stretched for blocks. We checked in with the nearby banks: yup, they were closed for the day. I doubt that was because they support the occupy movement. We went back to the plaza and a huge banner went up: “Long Live The Oakland Commune” on one side, “death to capitalism” on the other. Thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life, none of whom expressed any qualms at the concept of the Oakland Commune or “death to capitalism.” Another march at 12 left the plaza and visited some further off banks, forcing them with out presence to end business for the day. Some climbers with gear went up lightposts and set up an “occupy the banks” banner that lasted hours at least.

At 2pm the anti-capitalist march headed out. The march was led by a black bloc of most likely at least a hundred, mixed into a larger masked/militant contingent of another few hundred and probably around a thousand to two thousand people overall. Of course, the numbers fluctuated greatly during the march. It went back up to visit the banks, but several of the banks lost their windows. Whole Foods, perhaps in response to a reported threat from management to fire any worker who joined the strike, had its facade redecorated with paint.

Immediately after the property destruction began, the debate raged: was this okay? Did this represent “us”? The only violence I personally witnessed was perpetrated by people screaming “non-violence” who attempted to hurt people who had just defaced property, but it was clear that the march was of two minds. Still, when a group tried to split the march (“non-violent go this way, violent go that way”) they were met by apathy and abandoned their plans. What was fascinating to me, though, was I encountered at least as many non-masked participants who were enamored–or even participating–in the destruction than those who felt alienated or betrayed. One man I saw, shouting into the broken windows of (I believe it was) Bank of America at the bankers on the inside: “Do you hear us now? We tried everything: we wrote letters, we signed petitions, we protested, and you didn’t listen. Did you hear that though? Do you hear us now?”

The march returned to Oscar Grant Plaza and the most beautiful part of the day began. There were two marches, one at 4pm and one at 5pm, down to the port of oakland. Longshoremen are unionized but the terms of their contract prohibit striking. Yet they are allowed to feel “unsafe” crossing a picket line and not work, so when they feel the need to strike, they require others to come down and set up picket lines. We obliged.

And interestingly enough, dozens of longshoremen (out of a workforce of around 300) refused work this morning regardless.

I joined the 5pm march and marched into one of the most beautiful l things I’ve ever encountered. The space, miles and miles long, was entirely flooded with people. The cops say 7,000. One journalist I spoke to estimated 100,000. I personally want to say 20,000-50,000 people. People were climbing on trains, trucks, traffic signals… anything. Everyone was festive, there were bands playing everywhere. People of all walks of life, of all ages and races and sexualities and ableness were represented that I saw. Oakland represented, and Oakland represented hard. Tens of thousands of people engaged in a direct action.

By shutting down the city, we’ve expressed to the government, the corporations, to the world, to each other: we are the ones in control. It is we the workers who made this world. It is ours. We have only to reclaim it from those who seek to control us.

I mean none of this hyperbolically. I’ve been a part of demonstrations across the US and much of the “western” world and I’ve rarely felt anything like this: the feeling that we can win this. That people are sick of being mistreated. That we will rise like lions after slumber.

Noam Chomsky at Occupy Boston

Barbara Ehrenreich

Why Homelessness Is Becoming an Occupy Wall Street Issue

Press

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Chris Hedges on Chomsky, Dostoevsky and democracy at Occupy Wall Street — 10/9/11  

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From Barcelona\’s Neighborhood Assemblies Reflections for the US Occupy Movement

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Daniel Rubin: Occupy Philadelphia likely to keep going strong

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Homeless people find refuge at Occupy Philadelphia

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One Week In, Occupy Philly Has First Polite Clash with the City

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Panic in the streets: Occupy Philly; People help provide shelter with makeshift row homes

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I am not moving – A short film about OWS

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