YOUR WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF OCCUPY MOVEMENT NEWS
This week in Occupy, Chicago became a hotbed of direct action as Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued to militarize his police force ahead of the G8 and NATO summits, U.S. prisons and banks were #occupied, and the movement geared up for #F29 and the General Strike on May 1.
#After 12-hour occupation at the former Republic Windows & Doors plant in Chicago on February 23, workers won an agreement that will save their jobs for at least three months, time they will use to explore other ways to keep their plant open and producing. This is the same plant that union members occupied for a week in December 2008 after the previous owners and their financial backers, Bank of America, announced without warning that the factory was closing. (Get the full story from the Occupied Chicago Tribune.)
#Also in Chicago, parents and community activists staged an overnight occupation at Brian Piccolo Specialty School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood to express their frustration with plans by the Chicago Public Schools to close the school and reopen it as a charter. About 40 people spent the night in tents outside and another 20 occupied the school building. The school—comprised primarily of low income communities of color—is one of 16 public schools slated to be closed by Emanuel’s service cuts to the poor.
#Emanuel unveiled more plans to militarize his police department in preparation for the NATO/G8, a policy Truthout’s Yana Kunichoff summarized neatly as “Face Masks, Snipers and Aerial Surveillance.” In response, Joe Iosbaker, an organizer with CANG8 (the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda), said the corporate media has been in league with Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: “Their story is that protests lead to violence, even when the only violence is police hurting people.”
#Occupy Louisville protested outside a Chase Bank on February 25 for its exorbitant eviction of families in Louisville. The police responded with characteristic violence, arresting five activists and marking the first time Occupy Louisville participants have been arrested at an organized event since forming last October.
#On February 20, Occupy demonstrators participated in a nationwide day of action to protest the U.S. prison system, with demonstrations carried out at more than a dozen sites across the country, including prisons in California, Chicago, Denver and New York. The call to protest was issued by Occupy Oakland and coordinated to coincide with waves of prison hunger strikes that began at California’s Pelican Bay prison in July.
#About 200 Floridians—including members of Occupy Palm Beach, Occupy Miami, Occupy Ft. Lauderdale, Occupy Tampa, Occupy Orlando and Occupy Tallahassee—converged on the Capitol for the 3rd Annual foreclosure awareness Rally in Tally to protest HB 213, the Fair Foreclosure Act, a nominal “reform” that would actually speed up the foreclosure process and shift the burden of proof from the banks to the homeowners.
#Students and faculty at the University of Rhode Island have begun an occupation. Occupy URI has taken aim at the crushing burden of student debt: ” We believe that everyone should have the right to an affordable, quality education without fear of financial ruin. Education for the 99% should NOT be dictated by the financial gains of the 1%.”
#A group of Occupy Cape Cod protesters staged a rally at a foreclosed home about to be auctioned off. “We were loud and boisterous and things couldn’t have gone better,” said protester John Hopkins, 63, told the Cape Cod Times.
#Meanwhile, this is what the remaining Republican presidential candidates say they’ll do about foreclosures (hint: not much).
#Occupy Homes MN has declared victory in its fight to save the south Minneapolis home of former Marine and Vietnam veteran Bobby Hull and his family. After a two-month campaign of public pressure and media attention, Bank of America has come forward with an offer to renegotiate Hull’s mortgage.
#Joseph Williams, a junior safety on the University of Virginia football team, is one of 18 students participating in a hunger strike to protest the poor wages paid to many of the university’s service employees. Williams, who was homeless as a child, decried the pay disparity between “hundreds of contract workers who may make as little as $7.25 an hour” and the university’s top administrators.
#Charlotte attorney Matt Newton, a onetime participant in the Occupy Charlotte movement, filed as a Democratic candidate for the 12th District of the U.S. House. Newton said his campaign will not be accepting contributions from political action committees.
#It has emerged that the United Methodist Church Board of Pension and Health Benefits voted to withdraw nearly $1 million in stocks from two private prison companies, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
#A group of clergy in San Francisco held an Ash Wednesday press conference calling on Wells Fargo to put an immediate freeze on its foreclosures and repent for its misconduct. In November, The New Bottom Line, a coalition of faith groups and community organizations, pledged to move $1 billion from big banks to community banks and credit unions. Before Thanksgiving, churches moved $55 million away from Wall Street banks with pledges to remove as much as $100 million more.
#Following a months-long campaign that included picketing stores, educating consumers and meeting with allies across the country, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers announced it had signed a Fair Food Agreement with Trader Joe’s, a significant step forward its efforts to bring fairness and accountability to the food industry.
#After more than three decades in power, Yemen held an election that swept Ali Abdullah Saleh from the presidency. The vote, which saw high turnout even though there was only one candidate on the ballot, brought optimism to a conflict-stricken capital where the sound of shelling used to echo every night in response to a popular uprising that included sit-ins and occupations.
#In Britain, the Court of Appeals has ruled that none of the five applications presented by Occupy London appealing the camp’s eviction would be heard, effectively rendering illegal the occupation on the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral. While they peacefully decamp, they are considering their next steps. Occupy London Stock Exchange was the longest running encampment of its size and was in place more than twice as long as the occupation at Liberty Plaza.
#Newark Mayor Cory Booker called on New Jersey authorities to investigate the NYPD’s widespread spying operation in the city’s Muslim neighborhoods, an operation that extends throughout the entire Northeast.
#Movement for Justice in El Barrio is staging a rally in Harlem on March 8, International Women’s Day, to express their outrage at staggering inequalities, flagrant corruption, the continued placement of people over profits, and “to honor the tremendous leadership and indispensable contributions of women—las indignadas—who fight for dignity and justice everywhere.”
#Beka Economopoulos, founder of the arts collective Not an Alternative and an Occupy Williamsburg worker, gave birth to a baby girl in the back of a taxi in Brooklyn while her husband, Occupy videographer Jason Jones, filmed, spawning what the media has dubbed “the first Occupy Baby.”
#Newly released emails show that University of California, Berkeley chancellor Robert Bigeneau not only knew batons were used against Occupy Cal protesters during the November 2011 demonstration that ignited a national outrage, but he encouraged officials “do not back down.”
#The hacktivist collective Anonymous has issued a statement claiming to have found child pornography on the LAPD’s Canine Association website. Anonymous first targeted the LAPD in the angry aftermath of the massive, violent raid of the Occupy L.A. encampment.
#MercuryNews.com has posted e-mails in which top officials discuss Occupy Oakland, their attempts to oust it and the violent response that followed, which helped turn Oakland into an epicenter of the national Occupy movement. The emails’ authors include lawyers and police officials.
#Lucy Lawless, the New Zealand native who starred as “Xena: Warrior Princess,” occupied an oil-drilling ship with five Greenpeace activists for four days to prevent it from leaving the New Zealand dock of Port Taranaki. Chartered by Shell, the ship was set to drill five exploratory wells in the Arctic. “I’ve got three kids,” Lawless told the Associated Press. “My sole biological reason for being on this planet is to ensure that they can flourish, and they can’t do that in a filthy, degraded environment. We need to stand up while we still can.”
#Salon.com calls on Occupy Wall Street to court progressives, and vice versa.
#TheyRule.net is a comprehensive listing of the companies that run our world, direct our governments and hold most of our wealth. A couple clicks and you’re face-to-face with, say, Alcoa’s board of directors, and you can see what other boards they sit on, and then the board members of those companies and what other boards they sit on…Happy clicking!
#A call for mass action against the suppression of the Occupy movement has been scheduled for #F28 in Union Square in New York. Those scheduled to appear include the Rev. Stephen Phelps, senior minister at Riverside Church; civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel and musician Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. This is why you should #occupy.
#To follow coordinated nationwide actions live on #F29, go to Shutdownthecorporations.org.
#There have been 6,563 arrests in 111 cities since Occupy Wall Street commenced on September 17, 2011.
#It’s been 1,248 days since the start of the global financial meltdown and despite identifying multiple suspects, no one has been arrested.
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