Friday, January 13, 2012

Richard Brodsky: Occupy Wall Street Overwhelms the Republicans: Newt Enrolls in OWS

Pop quiz: Who asked this question, “Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money?” Lenin? Lennon? Commissar Obama? Eugene Victor Debs? Wavy Gravy? (you will know how old you are in direct proportion to how many of these you can identify).

It was none of the above. It’s yesterday’s insight from Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and it is rich material indeed. Here are yesterday’s responses to Newt…

The Out-of-Touch Republicans Defending Romney:
– Rick Santorum: “I’m not making it a liability, I believe in the private sector.”
– Rush Limbaugh: Mr. Gingrich was “out of bounds for those who value the free market.”
– The Chairman of the Club for Growth, Chris Chocola, “disgusting.”
Republicans Who Smell The Coffee:
– Jon M. Huntsman Jr.: “It may be that [Romney's] slightly out of touch with the economic reality playing out in America right now.”
– Ron Paul: “The wealth is taken from the middle class and it goes to the select few, who are the insiders.”

It seems that Occupy Wall Street has just landed in the middle of the New Hampshire primary, with the same kind of lasting impact it’s having everywhere. Apparently leading Repulicans are willing to speak publicly about income inequality and the Wall St 1%ers. No longer are Republicans allowed to pretend that the real problem is the shackles we’ve put on Donald Trump, Enron and Bank of America.

Are you with the 99% or with the 1%? Leave it to the very smart Newt Gingrich to find the hole in the Romney facade and drive a truck through it.

Originally Published By: Politics on
Read the Original Article Here

This toothpaste won't go back into the tube. Republican voters know that their candidates became the Party of the Koch Brothers and Wall Street while the New Wave was creating itself at Zuccotti Park. No candidacy can succeed in today's America without addressing the questions of income inequality and power inequality that OWS defined and dramatized.
And this is just the beginning. If Gingrich is right on either the politics or the merits (and he is), then whole sections of the Republican catechism go out the window. Are financiers "job creators" or do we actually give that encomium to entrepreneurs, people with ideas and energy who build them into companies?
Should our tax code and our economic development policies remain fixated by supply-side subsidies to corporate America, or is it time to return to demand-side policies which help average people buy things and stimulate economic activity?
Is there an unwholesome connection between concentrated wealth and concentrated power that should offend a true conservative? Is a corporation really a person in the conservative world? If you scratch many a "social conservative" will you find the corporate apologist?
There's no end to where this debate takes the Republican Party and the nation. OWS wins again. Remember the critique that the movement didn't have an agenda? This is better than an agenda, it's a change in consciousness.

Thanks, Newt.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at Zuccotti

MANHATTAN — It was a very Zuccotti Christmas.
Occupiers belted out carols, danced to Irish fiddle tunes and even took communion during a festive Dec. 25 reunion at the former Occupy Wall Street campsite in Lower Manhattan.
"This is my home, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than with the family?" said Esmeralda, 17, who joined the movement in October and brought her friends down from Spanish Harlem to participate in the day's festivities. "That we continue to be here together when it counts, it means something."
It wouldn't be Christmas without a plate heaped high with holiday treats — but it just wouldn't be Occupy without an altercation with police, who caused a brief stir when they stopped volunteers with bags full of cookies and pies for a planned 3 p.m. Christmas potluck meal from entering the fenced-off square.
But the holiday spirit prevailed. Prevented from distributing food in the park, hungry protesters lined up along the sidewalk for hot pasta and cold sandwiches, apple crumb cake, rugalach, and an colorful variety of Christmas cookies.
An NYPD spokeswoman could not immediately comment on why food was blocked from the park.
After eating their fill at the potluck, revelers joined in spirited rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," "Joy to the World," and a few Christmas favorites ever-so-slightly tweaked to better conform to the group's message, including "Occupy Homes for the Holidays," in place of "I'll Be Home For Christmas."
A protester tuned his fiddle and the park briefly filled with dancers, their cheeks flushed as whirled and high-stepped past police barricades.
The Nativity, too, was repurposed for the protest.
"The Virgin Mary was homeless too — should she go to jail?" asked protester Jason, 32, who has been sleeping in churches since proteters were cleared from the park in November.
But the movement's old believers weren't the only ones occupying Christmas on Sunday — there were also some of the youngest up-and-coming generations as well.
Five-year-old mini-occupier Aidan Ortiz of the Bronx charmed fellow protesters with his plastic trumpet, while brother Ethan, 3, clapped in time.
"They love it," said mom Kimberly Ortiz, 27. "We usually come every weekend."
Aidan wasn't alone. Cosmo Gyuro, 5, of Hudson, convinced dad Rabs, 31, mom Marly Hornik, 38, and little sister Luna Clara Lubell, 2, to brave the cold so he could spend Christmas at Zuccotti Park.
Like many, Hornik said OWS represnted the true spirit of the holiday season, which she claimed is often lost in the consumerist rush of the season.
"At Occupy Wall Street, we don't spend money to show our love—we give and receive freely," said occupier Eric Richardson, 29, of Newark. "The spirit of Christmas is the same. It should be Christmas every day."
Read more:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scary Shit at Duarte Park

WBAI reporter Andrea Sears, who had arranged with a resident of a high-rise apartment building overlooking the site of the Dec. 17th attempted take-over of Duarte Square, to report from the resident's window of the action below.

However, when Andrea went to the pre-arranged apartment she found undercover officers already on the floor and no one answering the doorbell to the apartment she was going to report from. She reported on-air that the resident was threatened by the landlord with eviction THE NEXT DAY (Scott Somer knows they would really need 90 days for a physical eviction) if the resident let anyone from WBAI in the apartment.

This also applied to adjoining apartments. Andrea reported on this during Saturday's live coverage of the December 17th protest. She said she could have tried to cover things from the hallway window but figured she would just be thrown out and the hallway is overtly the landlord's property. This is very scary and obviously implies some sort of wiretapping or infiltration of WBAI to have found out about this arrangement between WBAI and usage of a resident's private apartment before it happened and then threatening them with homelessness to stop media coverage.

Report from Occupy Duarte Square

A minute-by-minute account by Mimi Rosenberg
Aired on WBAI (99.5FM), Saturday, December 17

We haven't been in the park for about 45 minutes now. People are now in the streets heading for the tunnel going to New Jersey. The crowd has swelled to about 2500. This is indeed our streets, our city. We are the origins of the wealth of this city! It's not clear where we're headed now but we are approaching the Lincoln Tunnel. People driving by are honking their horns and giving high fives to the marchers. There are doctors and nurses in the crowd, dressed in white, here to talk about universal health care. There are artists among us with their art objects, as we march towards the Lincoln Tunnel. It's not clear where we're going - now we've passed the Holland Tunnel and it looks like we're about to stop traffic on Canal Street itself!

Actually we seem to be headed for the Manhattan Bridge now, with what seems to be a crowd of about 3000 - because as we march we seem to be picking up people pied piper style. So that's where we are now and we're getting ready to block some traffic on Canal Street. This is amazing! We've actually circled back to Duarte Square, and people are now scaling the fence and they are taking over and indeed, we have occupied Duarte Square!

This is including people with their art objects. It is actually extremely exciting and I'm not sure the police are able to  react because they have locked themselves out of the park! It looks like they are now using chain snippers to cut the fence, since they certainly don't have the physical agility to scale it. People are setting up yellow Occupy Wall Street flags and more and more of them are going over the fence. The police were obviously unprepared, so we have effectively re-taken Duarte Park!

Occupy Wall Street has done what it does -- it has taken a physical space. This action is about asking Trinity Church,  why can't this space be taken? They are no longer asking, they have moved as one and they are taking that space.

The police have torn down the fence and are arresting protestors. People are being dragged along the ground. The police continue to engage in  arrests as we speak. The people are actually fighting back. We'll see how this develops, but it is quite fierce. The fact of the matter is that indeed the park and the streets belong to the protestors regardless of the arrests being made.

Police in riot gear are now arriving. The people are blocking the street surrounding the park and they are going nowhere! Dozens of arrests have occurred so far. Clearly this is a developing action. Traffic has ground to a halt and the activity of the police has also ground to a halt.

Friday, December 16, 2011

WBAI will Cover Occupy's push for downtown home

The New York station WBAI (99.5FM) will be covering the event live throughout the day,  marking the 3 month anniversary of the movement. Planned activities  include a concert and rally at Canal Street and Sixth Avenue where Occupy hopes to establish a new home base.
Featuring: Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Cornell West, Michael Moore and others to be announced. More...

This will be broadcast at 99.5FM and streamed at

Tutu backs Occupy's push for downtown home
7 hours ago United States / New York : Crain's New York Business
Daniel Massey - Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the latest clergy member to offer support for Occupy Wall Street's campaign to turn a lower Manhattan lot owned by Trinity Church into a new home for the movement. In a message posted at, the South African liberation movement icon recalled the church's opposition to apartheid and said it was “especially painful” to hear that Trinity was at an impasse with the protesters over their use of the site.

“I appeal to them to find a way to help you,” he wrote. “I appeal to them to embrace the higher calling of Our Lord Jesus Christ—which they live so well in all other ways—but now to do so in this instance ... can we not rearrange our affairs for justice['s] sake?”

The letter from Mr. Tutu arrived as the protesters have intensified their campaign against Trinity and are planning a day-long block party Saturday at the site to pressure the church to let them use the 37,000-square-foot, fenced-off area between Canal and Grand streets and Varick Street and Sixth Avenue.

Visions, Strategies, Tactics: Where Do We Go From Here? A Movement Conversation
Sunday December 18, from 2:30pm to 7:00pm,
Pace University (1 Pace Plaza*)

Dear working groups and friends,
All across the movement people are discussing where we go from here. We believe it's time to create space for these conversations to come together. Where have we come? Where are we going? What potential do we have as a national and international movement? What are our strengths and weaknesses? How can we continue to grow?
We'd like to take advantage of the space available at Pace University (1 Pace Plaza*) on Sunday December 18th, from 2:30pm to 7:00pm, to hold the first installment of an ongoing process of collective reflection on the movement.
This will be a facilitated event, a space for sharing our visions and assessing where we are. We hope to have people from every working group and all across the movement. Please join us!!! Your voice is critical.
Pace requires that everyone register for access to the building, which we can do here or in person day of (you do not have to use your real name).
Thanks, everyone! Here's to a movement that grows stronger in 2012.

41 Park Row is at corner of Spruce St., just south of the Brooklyn Bridge ramp, & opposite City Hall; J (never M) to Chambers St. (south exit to Spruce); #4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; R (never N) to City Hall (at Broadway & Murray); #2, 3 to Park Pl. (east exit, nearest Brooklyn, to Broadway); A, C to Chambers; E to WTC; PATH to WTC; Broadway bus; Chambers St. bus; Trinity Pl./Church St. bus; buses via 7th Av. So./Varick St. or via 2nd Av. & Water St. or via 3rd Av./Bowery & Park Row or via Essex St., East Broadway & Park Row. Caution: Despite what the 8 years outdated PACE directions web page insists, there has been no N service to City Hall or to Financial D istrict stops before 10PM for years now, unless the bridge is closed. Similarly, no more M south of Delancey ever. The alleged "#2 Local" only runs sometimes. Some stations are confusingly named. They leave out the venerable #1 line, the E and the PATH, which 3 together serve millions. The bus directions are equally out of date. -t.]
Pace requires that everyone register for access to the building, which we can do here or in person day of (you do not have to use your real name).

Occupy Onwards Sunday Dec 18
Dear Friends,
Sorry for the short notice: the Occupy! Gazette has put together a conference on some of the main issues around the current crisis and what Occupy Wall Street and the rest of us can do about it. The conference this Sunday, the 18th, from noon to six at the New School (55 W. 13th Street). It will consist of four lightning-fast panels with some of the most interesting thinkers and activists in the field and then ``report-backs`` from several of the most active OWS working groups, including labor, legal, and facilitation. It`s everything you always wanted to know about OWS but were afraid to ask. Schedule below. The conference is free but space in the auditorium is limited, so please let us know if you`re coming (at our Facebook event page or at editors [at] and please come on time.
The Occupy Gazette Team
PS Gazette #3 will be on hand.

Occupy Onwards
Presented by Occupy! Gazette, Verso, and n+1

12:00 to 1:00
The Banks: What Can Be Done?
Julia Ott, New School
Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer
Carne Ross, OWS Alternative Banking Group
Moderator: Astra Taylor, Occupy! Gazette
1:15 to 2:15
Lessons from the Past/Possible Futures
Ann Snitow, New School
L. A. Kauffman, Global Justice Movement
Yotam Marom, OWS Direct Action WG
Moderator: Asher Dupuy-Spencer, CUNY Grad Center, OWS Labor WG
Lunch Break
Reports from:
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law, OWS Legal WG
Leo Eisenstein, OWS Facilitation WG
Nick Mirzoeff, OWS Education and Empowerment WG
Micah Landau, OWS Labor WG
and others
Also: Screening printing with OWS screenprinters guild!
4:00 to 5:00
Foreclosures and Resistance
Mark Naison, Fordham
Sarah Ludwig, NEDAP
Alyssa Katz, New York World
Eliot Tarver, Organizing for Occupation/OWS
Moderator: Mark Winston Griffith
5:15 to 6:15
Debt: Student, Housing, Historical
David Graeber, Debt, The First 5,000 Years
Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute
Brian Kalkbrenner, Occupy Student Debt
Moderator: Sarah Jaffe, Alternet

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Gets Some Office Space in New York City

Tilda: A Dispatch from Planet Swinton

Zuccotti Park is encased in barriers, looking more like a crime scene these days than a hotbed of social activism, but while the drummers and the mike checks and the signs are gone, Occupy Wall Street activists claim their ranks are growing and the movement is stronger than ever.
"It's a diaspora," says Kanene Holder, 32, who is an active member of three of Occupy Wall Street's more than 100 working groups. "The movement is spreading and sprouting everywhere like dandelion seeds. If anything, the eviction from Zuccotti Park and other occupations around the country helped clarify what this movement is about." (See photos over tensions mounting at the Occupy Wall Street protests.)
Whatever Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is, it has a new office two blocks from Wall Street. Since Nov. 7, activists have been quietly occupying 2,500 sq. ft. of workspace located on the 12th floor at 50 Broadway. The rent is $5,400 a month and paid for by anonymous donors. "I don't even know their names," office coordinator Bianca Bockman says of the space's backers. "There are checks being written to pay the rent."
"The workspace was funded by individuals who wanted to support OWS but were concerned about the way the General Assembly was operating," says Michael Fix, a longtime activist and documentary filmmaker who, with Bockman, helps manage the space. (The General Assembly was a daily town-hall-style meeting that started spontaneously three months ago in New York City, and which has since been replicated in other cities. Though evicted from Zuccotti Park, the General Assembly is allowed to meet in the park on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7 p.m., as long as no one brings tarps, tents or equipment that makes it look like they are about to reoccupy the space.)
The doors to the movement's office are plastered with OWS stickers. The street artist Swoon has a large piece in the back room. Another artist named Lopi LaRoe donated something for the foyer. A metallic silver Fender Telecaster leans against the wall in the conference room, which is festooned with colorful messaging. The meeting I was allowed to attend discussed matters of communication and job descriptions. The people in attendance were "spokes" (as in "of a hub"), which is movementspeak for point people, and they were chosen by the 20 working groups that are using the office. The working groups are approved at General Assembly meetings, and its self-selecting members rotate in and out based on availability. (See photos over the year of Guy Fawkes.)
The famously unstructured movement appears to be showing signs of structure and organization. "We're creating layers of organization so the movement can replicate itself in more places," Ed Needham from the p.r. working group says. The office is serving as one of a few spaces where groups can experiment with implementing that structural overlay.
It's not seamless.
A young man with blond hair and a panda hat announces himself at the front desk, which is vigilantly managed to make sure the 48-person occupancy limit is strictly observed (managed with 48 lanyards that hang by the door) and that no one who does not belong in the work space gains entry. One of the space's "two and a half" office coordinators asks him what brings him to the space. He is with the alternative-currency working group and needs somewhere quiet to work on a design for OWS currency. He's not on the list.
"It's not about security; it's about process," she tells the man, explaining why she can't let him in.
"Well, for me it's about getting s--- done," he insists.
A brief but intense conversation ensues. It never boils over. It is clear there is some frustration, and yet it is equally clear that the goal is to work out a solution and put egos aside. A phone call is made. They get him on the list, and he disappears into the back bullpen area, where there are a few other activists working on information and communications issues.
(See the Top 10 Everything of 2011.)
Immediately afterward, a coiffed and powdered woman enters. She is from a
foundation and would like to write a check. She is signed in, assigned a lanyard, and ushered to the finance working group that oversees the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the movement's coffers. None of that money is being spent by the folks in charge of the office. Everyone is a volunteer.
"One of the more gratifying things about my role here is that I get to hear from every group that comes into this space about what they are thinking long term," says Bockman. "The kitchen working group is a good example. It's not only about feeding people at actions -- they're looking at the whole entire food system in New York City and working with local farmers, food purveyors trying to figure out how to source locally and change how we feed people in general." (Read about the whole world watching Occupy Wall Street.)
"The office is for organizing," Karanja Gacuca, 38, says. An ethnic Kikuyu from Kenya, Gacuca was a regulatory-risk analyst for a major banking firm until he was laid off two months ago and joined the movement. "The movement is being run by its participants. There is no difference between the people here and the people at 60 Wall Street or Charlotte's Place or anywhere else where working groups meet." Those two locations also see meetings of working groups and are as vital to the movement, if not as fancy as the office.
Many people who identify with the movement fear that the workspace signals a death knell for OWS, that it's being co-opted. "Right now this is a sit-in with an office space," Michael Blas, an organizer from Occupy Philadelphia, argues in response to those concerns. "It's not a movement till we effect change, but that's the direction this is heading." "The media is writing obituaries," Gacuca says, "but the movement is clearly continuing." (Read about how Occupy Oakland is stealing Occupy Wall Street's mojo.)
Gacuca is talking about D12 that is, Dec. 12, the next nationally coordinated day of action for the movement. "After the clearing of the park, our targets have lowered their defenses and we expect to grow because of that." The first nationally coordinated day of action, D6, on Dec. 6, saw somewhere between 500 to 1,000 protesters marching to draw attention to the "retaking" of a foreclosed home by homeless activists. The plans for D12 are still vague: a teach-in about Goldman Sachs involving puppets based on something from an article by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi.
"The 99% is real," says Needham of the p.r. working group. "Most people you meet, once they understand what this is about, will support it. We're simply creating an environment to encourage and support people to have an impact in their neighborhood and the places, large or small, where they can effect change and letting them know that as long as they can reach a consensus with their General Assembly, we'll have their backs.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Re-energized: A Leaderless Movement Plots a Comeback

Occupy Wall Street, Re-energized: A Leaderless Movement Plots a Comeback
By STEPHEN GANDEL Thursday, Dec. 08, 2011

Excerpted from What Is Occupy? Inside the Global Movement, a new book from the editors of TIME. To buy a copy as an e-book or a paperback, go to

In a society in which we're used to taking direction from Presidents and CEOs, captains and quarterbacks, Occupy Wall Street's leaderless structure seems like a formula for chaos. And yet nearly a month after protesters were evicted from the movement's birthplace in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan the exercise in organized anarchy is still going strong. On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Streeters in 20 cities across the country marched in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by foreclosures. In East New York, Brooklyn, about 400 protesters broke into a foreclosed vacant property and moved in a family that was homeless after losing their house to a bank.

Read more:,8599,2101802,00.html#ixzz1g3MJIsUP