The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Arrests Near Stock Exchange Top 150 on Occupy Wall St. Anniversary | NYT

More than 150 people were arrested on Monday as protesters tried to block access to the New York Stock Exchange on the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Demonstrators had planned to converge from several directions and form what was called the People’s Wall around the stock exchange to protest what they said was an unfair economic system that benefited the rich and corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens.

Meanwhile, the giggling idiots at FOX provide some insight:

Fox News’ Steve Doocy: Occupy Wall Street ‘Almost Looks Like What Happened Last Week In Libya’

Carpool to #S17

occupywallstreet:

Want to come to the #S17 action but need a ride? Here you’ll find a list of bus rides and carpools whose drivers are generous enough to offer rides to fellow activists like yourself!

If you are driving to the action and have seats available in your car, then please help a fellow occupier out by adding your route to this map.

Arrests Exceed 7,000 As the Occupy's Movement's Spring Plans Unfold Across the Nation | Chris Ernesto

With the May Day arrests of at least 116 people at Occupy protests around the country, there have now been a minimum of 7,106 Occupy arrests in 114 cities across the United States since the Occupy movement began in New York on September 17, 2011.

Though the frequency of arrests has slowed in 2012, there have been at least 1,200 people arrested for being involved in Occupy-related events since the start of the year. Large cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. are where the highest concentration of the arrests have taken place, but arrests are occurring all around the country, as evidenced by occupiers being arrested in 22 different cities in the past two months.

The piling on of Occupy arrests can be seen as a barometer of this government’s intolerance for the First Amendment. Aggressive policing tactics, including frequent gratuitous assaults on protesters and bystanders, are making our parks and streets hostile to the Constitution,” says Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of the forthcoming book, “Spying on Democracy, Protest and Dissent in the New Era of Government Surveillance.” The National Lawyers Guild monitors Occupy protests and has offered pro-bono legal assistance to thousands of ordinary Americans who have been swept up in arrests.

According to web sites maintained by Occupy movement organizers, many more major actions are being planned for 2012, including protests focusing on US meetings of NATO and the G8. Civil disobedience seems to be a continued aspect of Occupy strategy.

Despite use of mass arrests, pepper spray, stun grenades, many Americans report being inspired, not deterred from the experience of being arrested while participating in Occupy actions. “Civil disobedience plays a key role throughout U.S. history; the colonists disobeyed the Crown, the abolitionists disobeyed enslavers, the Black Freedom movement resisted segregation. Today, we look at our arrests the way Henry David Thoreau looked at his. When his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson walked by and saw him in jail for protesting the US War against Mexico, Emerson asked, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau answered, “Ralph, what are you doing out there?’ Once you become aware of the indignity, predation, and violence being perpetrated by the US political, economic, and surveillance system against peopel and communities here, how can you not speak out, organize and disobey, as did Thoreau and Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King?” asks Greg Ruggiero, a publisher and parent who was arrested with 700 others on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011, during an Occupy march, and whose experience motivated him to begin a publishing project, Zuccotti Park Press, to defend and advance Free Speech from encroachment by corporations and government.

For more information, please visit http://occupyarrests.com.

On Eve of May Day, NYPD Harassed, Arrested Intimidated Protesters At Their Homes | AlterNet

Gawker’s Adrian Chen has a bombshell of a story about how the cops have been showing up at activist organizers’ homes, arresting them and their roommates for outstanding violations, and vigorously questioning them about May Day—information confirmed by the National Lawyer’s Guild.

Here’s what the people involved told Chen:

In the first case: activist Zachary Dempster said that six NYPD officers broke down the door of his Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment at around 6:15am this morning. Dempster said they were armed with a warrant for the arrest of his roommate, musician Joe Crow Ryan, for a six-year-old open container violation. But Dempster believes this was an excuse to check in on him, as he’d been arrested in February at an Occupy Wall Street Party that was broken up by cops, and charged with assaulting a police office and inciting a riot.

After running his ID, a detective questioned Dempster in his bedroom for about five minutes about tomorrow’s May Day protest, he said.

“They asked what I was doing tomorrow, and if I knew of any activities, any events—that was how the conversation started,” Dempster said. Dempster said he’s not planning doing much, as his case from February is still open. Dempster’s roommate was also asked about him and May Day.

About an hour later, an activist friend of Dempster’s who runs in anarchist circles said his apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where he lives with a half-dozen other activists and Occupy Wall Street organizers was visited by six NYPD cops—possibly the same ones. The activist said police used arrest warrants for two men who no longer lived there as pretext for the raid. The officers ran the IDs of everyone who was in the apartment, then booked our source when they discovered he had an outstanding open container violation. Police never asked about Occupy Wall Street or May Day, but our source said the message was clear: We’re watching you.

This is standard fare for the new NYPD—more than really gleaning out organizer’s plans, the tactics are to intimidate and preemptively harass organizers. This is the kind of treatment that people of color in the city’s less affluent neighborhoods deal with every day—not to mention Muslim citizens who have been spied on—and it’s our toleration of that kind of aggressive policing which leads to increased surveillance and aggressive treatment of free-speech exercising protesters.

#MayDay OWS Schedule | Job Party

#M1NYC schedule

Check maydaynyc.org for the full May Day schedule and any last-minute updates.

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Bryant Park

Pop-up Occupation(unpermitted)
Bryant Park will be the site of a fun and friendly “Pop-up Occupation” with Mutual Aid, featuring free food, a free market, free services, skill-shares, workshops, teach-ins, speak-outs, meditation, public art, performances, discussions, and trainings.

99 Picket Lines and other direct actions
Bryant Park will also be a staging area for 99 Picket Lines(#99PKTSFacebookemailmap) to expose, disrupt, and shut down the corporations who rule our city, as well as other forms of civil disobedience, creative disruptions, bank blockades, outreach to commuters and tourists, and more!

2 p.m - March to Union Square

Occupy Guitarmy March from Bryant Park(unpermitted)
March and make music with the Occupy Guitarmy, led by Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine! OWS Music is enlisting 1,000 guitar-playing musicians to join this march (email).

4 p.m - Rally at Union Square

Unity Rally(permitted)
The May Day Solidarity Coalition has organized an historic convergence of the 99%! Join occupiers, labor unions, the immigrant justice coalition, students, and faith & community groups for a massive rally at Union Square. Musical performances by Das Racist, Dan Deacon, Tom Morello, Immortal Technique, Bobby Sanabria, and other special guests (Facebook).

5:30 p.m. - March to Wall Street

Solidarity March from Union Square (permitted)
March from Union Square to Wall Street with a coalition of labor, immigrant, OWS, student, and faith organizations (Facebook).

8:00 p.m. - Occupy Wall Street Afterparty

* People’s Assembly and Haymarket Martyrs Memorial Resistance Rager(unpermitted)
Details to be announced. Check the #MayDay and #M1GS hashtags on Twitter up-to-the-moment info.

See also:

Media for the 99%: Where to Find Comprehensive Coverage of May Day’s National Protests | AlterNet

Groups Demand Information on NYPD Crowd Control Policies and Surveillance of Occupy Wall Street Protests | Center for Constitutional Rights

NEW YORK - April 19 - Today, Occupy Wall Street protesters and civil and human rights attorneys filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request demanding that the NYPD disclose all information concerning the policies guiding the law enforcement response to Occupy demonstrations since last September. The filing comes on the heels of numerous reports by protesters, journalists, and legal observers of continued excessive police force against protesters.

“Assembly and speech rights are core to our democracy. We have been investigating the police treatment of OWS for months, and the policing of OWS has been abusive and unpredictable,” said Emi MacLean, an attorney with the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, a coalition investigating the government response to the protests. “Mayor Bloomberg has described the NYPD as his army. It is, of course, not an army but a civilian police force. And even armies require some measure of transparency and accountability.”

Twitter Won't Hand Over Data on Occupy Wall Street Protester | ReadWriteWeb

Barely two weeks after the New York District Attorney asked Twitter to hand over data about an Occupy Wall Street protester, the company says it will not comply with the request, at least for the time being.

The D.A.’s office had sent a subpoena to the microblogging service’s headquarters seeking information about the account belonging to Jeffrey Rae, one of several hundred activists arrested during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on March 1.

Paul Mills, the attorney representing Rae, filed a motion to quash the subpoena on March 15 on the grounds that the request was in violation of California’s requirements for out-of-state subpoenas. Twitter’s legal department then informed the D.A.’s office that they would not comply with the request until the motion was resolved, Mills tells ReadWriteWeb.

Earlier this week, the D.A. offered Rae what’s known as an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which effectively lifts the subpoena and may lead to the charges being dropped all together.

“When I received the subpoena, I was pretty shocked,” says Rae. “The District Attorney was subpoenaing my Twitter account over small charges like disorderly conduct and blocking traffic.”

Curiously, most of the data authorities sought, like a copy of Rae’s tweets from within a certain range of dates, was already publicly available. This fact lead him to believe that the motion was made “purely for intimidation and harassment.” [++]

National Lawyers Guild Fights for the Right to Occupy | Allison Kilkenny

Soon after the Occupy movement launched in Manhattan last September, the neon green hats of National Lawyers Guild (NLG) members became ubiquitous. As Occupy encampments proliferated across the country, volunteer lawyers in more than 70 locations came forward to bear witness to thousands of arrests.

Authorities around the country have targeted Occupy protesters with selective enforcement of the law. In November, demonstrators were evicted from camps in New York, Denver, Portland and a score of other locations. And new anti-camping ordinances passed since January have been used to break up the remaining winter encampments in cities like Charlotte, N.C., and Honolulu. Organizations like the NLG, the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Citizen have helped Occupy to challenge eviction orders and oppose new “anti-Occupy” laws.

Where the NLG differs from other legal organizations is its close collaboration with protest movements to document arrests and defend arrestees. Founded in 1937 as a progressive alternative to the American Bar Association, the Guild established a legal observer program in 1968 to defend Vietnam War protesters who had taken over Columbia University buildings. The same year, the NLG organized to defend demonstrators arrested at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The organization has since been on the front lines against the repression of activists in the environmental justice, antiwar and civil rights movements.

“Organized dissent in America would be impossible without [the Guild],” says independent journalist and Occupy activist John Knefel, who was held for 36 hours after being arrested December 12 for the crime of filming police activity during a protest in New York. “As a journalist without NYPD-issued credentials, I know that I could get arrested at any time while I’m covering Occupy. Knowing that I have lawyers who will work pro bono on my case makes my job significantly less stressful.” [++]

The Evaporation of American Political Dissent | Guernica

[As] David Cole and James X. Dempsey have pointed out in their book, Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security, even after there is recognition at a certain point that suppression of speech has gone too far, we never return to the status prior to such infringement. Instead, those reductions of freedom of expression are simply institutionalized and normalized in the law and culture going forward, thereby reducing the circumference within which oppositional political speech can flourish.

Moreover, the state of permanent war in which we now reside makes it that much easier for government to maintain the sense of jeopardy and emergency that are employed to justify limitations on dissent. Geoffrey R. Stone’s Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism demonstrates vividly how the First Amendment, and those who seek to exercise the freedoms it embodies, suffer in time of war.

Inexorably we are moving toward a state in which political dissent is regulated entirely by the government, confined to only those places, times, and nature dictated by the government, and enforced by law—rather than, as the First Amendment prescribes, prohibited by the Constitution. Over time, of course, as more statutes are enacted and regulations formulated, they will—if upheld by the courts—further increase in number and breadth, with the space in which dissent can operate correspondingly narrowed in scope, substance, and effect. At that point, while many will no doubt privately lament the evaporation of First Amendment protection, and fewer will rue not speaking out sooner to preserve those lost freedoms, almost no one will have the courage to dissent in an environment barren of legal tolerance for it.

Read this and listen.

occupywallstreet:

I saw OWS people trying, not to integrate with but to change the direction of the route. I saw OWS people screaming for everyone to go to Zuccotti Park. After seeing this and then seeing the arguments of people saying that this was not about OWS, only to have the OWS people say that it WAS, I became physically ill. If there was ever a time when you should have worked to keep the focus on the actual cause, this was it […]

He tried to remain calm while he explained what he saw. He saw the same thing that I did. Only in a different form and at a different location. He saw OWS people yelling that it wasn’t about race and that it would be best to incorporate this into the OWS movement. 

This behavior is unacceptable.

These are real concerns. They are legitimate concerns. Listen to what people have to say without being patronizing. That people in this movement are acting like this is a serious problem (and don’t think for a second this is an isolated incident) and this blog will no longer turn a blind eye to it. 

Including concerns of POC, women, queer folk, etc. does not mean making them take a back seat to what you think the “real issues” should be, and it does not mean making them assimilate into what you think the movement should be. It is a racist, imperialist attitude and it is an insult to the democratic ideals this movement was supposed to have been built on.

In no way is the idea that we should figure out economic issues first and get to everyone else later acceptable. In no way is deriding people’s concerns because you think yours come first acceptable.

I care about this movement and I have since the beginning, but it is worthless - absolutely worthless - while these serious problems go un-addressed, and while we continue to let racist, alienating garbage dominate the discussion. Read this post, listen to other concerns, learn what the fuck intersectionality is, and use your goddamn brains.

These concerns aren’t “divisive,” your bullshit is. 

Occupy Begins Spring Training | Allison Kilkenny

About six months after first setting up camp at Zuccotti Park, protesters returned to the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street and organizers announced via the People’s Mic their plans to begin “spring training” for what is anticipated to be a thriving few months of demonstrations.
Dubbed the 99 Percent Spring, the training includes plans to teach thousands of people in 48 states to lead nonviolent protests aimed at reinvigorating the movement against economic inequality, AP reports. 
“People are really suffering and feel like they’ve been walked over,” George Goehl, executive director of the National People’s Action, told AP. “This spring, they’re going to stand up and more directly expose the crisis that most Americans are facing and bring it to those who created it.”
The targets for demonstrations are around 40 companies, with activists planning to disrupt their shareholder meetings, and of course disrupting activity at Bank of America is one of the central objectives.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, told AP his union will train at least 2,000 members to emulate the nonviolent methods of U.S. farm worker and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez and Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.

Occupy Begins Spring Training | Allison Kilkenny

About six months after first setting up camp at Zuccotti Park, protesters returned to the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street and organizers announced via the People’s Mic their plans to begin “spring training” for what is anticipated to be a thriving few months of demonstrations.

Dubbed the 99 Percent Spring, the training includes plans to teach thousands of people in 48 states to lead nonviolent protests aimed at reinvigorating the movement against economic inequality, AP reports. 

“People are really suffering and feel like they’ve been walked over,” George Goehl, executive director of the National People’s Action, told AP. “This spring, they’re going to stand up and more directly expose the crisis that most Americans are facing and bring it to those who created it.”

The targets for demonstrations are around 40 companies, with activists planning to disrupt their shareholder meetings, and of course disrupting activity at Bank of America is one of the central objectives.

Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, told AP his union will train at least 2,000 members to emulate the nonviolent methods of U.S. farm worker and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez and Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.

OWS Marchers Demand Police Commissioner's Resignation

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

After police arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street participants over the weekend, protestors marched to New York City Police Department headquarters today to demand the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement marched from Foley Square to One Police Plaza, the Lower Manhattan headquarters of the NYPD.

Besides wanting Kelly to resign, the demonstrators also sounded off about the arrests of about 73 people who clashed with police at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan last weekend.

Police say they cleared Zuccotti because protestors were breaking park rules, but some protestors say those arrested were mistreated and attacked by police.

“On Saturday night, as I simply sat in a park, I was violently arrested with my friends and watched as blood-thirsty cops stomped on their faces, knelt on their necks, pulled them by their hair and slammed them into windows,” said Occupy Wall Street protestor Jen Waller.

(via occupyonline)

Last night in New York City, by my unscientific estimate, two-thirds of the people on the streets had alcohol in them. A young man celebrating his wedding engagement was stabbed to death. A party at a third floor apartment collapsed into the second floor. And the NYPD was busy beating the only sober people in town, the nonviolent activists at Occupy Wall Street. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Louisiana National Guard was busy killing people in Iraq. We’ve done something worse than get our priorities wrong when we’ve moved resources to harming people rather than helping people. David Swanson