I couldn’t go to #OccupyMobile. I wanted to, very much, but I was in the hospital. While everyone was taking over parks, setting up tents and camping out in protest of income inequality, I was nearly wasted away in constant pain in a sanitized bed in a room where everything smelled sterile, drowned in antiseptic. Were I able to attend, anyway, it wouldn’t have been for very long – I am in a wheelchair and camping out in a park, getting out of my chair, sleeping on the ground in a cold and dirty tent, even if I could have gone I couldn’t have stayed – I couldn’t have been a part of this. The privilege of being able to forgo thinking about your health, where you might find a place to sleep or even some flat ground to wheel across is a privilege to which I’ve never had access. From the outset I was stuck “participating” in the movement – since I do believe in a lot of its underlying goals – by going online and reading or writing about it.
For a movement that rests on visibility at parks or other open areas, this isn’t much of a way to participate and to feel welcomed.
It’s bigger than ableism, though.
How many black Occupiers have there been? Not too many. We have a so-called justice system in this country that was formulated at the same time our forebears were beginning to dabble in slavery. This system has for centuries worked to arrest and detain blacks and keep them in prison throughout much of their lives. Three strikes laws and the “War on Drugs” have made it necessary for black people to consider every thing they do very carefully so that they don’t upset the ugly institutions the country was built upon and end up in jail one too many times, or under the batons of some angry white cops; even in so-called liberal cities police violence has always been rampant and extensive. Racial violence and fears run deep. Continue reading →
Today at Occupy Davis, a police officer approached a group of students sitting in a line peacefully on the ground, walked up and down the line and pepper-sprayed them directly in the face — as one would spray pesticide on weeds. What you’ll see in this video is such a callous display of police brutality, I don’t know how this police officer is going to go home and look at himself in the mirror.
As the students cry “Shame on you!” the police arrest a few students; but as the crowd circles them — non-threateningly, but insistent — the police begin to retreat. Then, amazingly, the students (via People’s mic) offer the retreating police a moment of peace: “We are willing to give you a brief moment of peace so that you may take your weapons and your friends and go. Please do not return.”
Just to add to my post about federal coordination of the raid, the “Obama DOJ DHS coordinated the raid” narrative has taken off. Here’s Wonkette with a post about DHS and coordination. (And here’s Juan Cole citing Wonkette.) Wonkette acknowledges the Examiner as a disreputable source, but then points to an AP report which Wonkette claims verifies everything ”except the specific mention of DHS coordination.”
The “DHS coordination” aspect is the aspect that is supported solely by the Examiner! Get it? The Wonkette headline reads “Surprise, Homeland Security Coordinates #OWS Crackdowns” but the only citation for Homeland Security involvement comes from the fucking Examiner. The AP report is a generic article about coordination by police chiefs in the various cities (which doesn’t strike me as all that out of the ordinary, by the way.) The AP report says absolutely nothing about FBI or Homeland Security involvement. NOTHING.
As far as I can tell, the source for this claim is an article in Examiner.com, which quotes an anonymous Department of Justice official who claims that the multi-city raid of Occupy camps “was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.”
The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.
According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.
Is that true? Maybe. But given that this information came from Examiner.com, the proper response is “citation needed.” Why? Because Examiner.com is Fox News light. From Media Matters: Continue reading →
I can’t say that I’m surprised. Let’s hope Occupy Wall Street can pick itself up, dust itself off, and figure out what’s next in terms of ameliorating income inequality and eliminating corporate malfeasance.
[Hi there. This is a guest blog post from friend and reader Black Canseco. -ABLxx]
Dear Occupy Wall Street,
For 45 days and counting most of you have braved weather, media scrutiny, and lately, police opposition to boldly proclaim yourselves “The 99%” and stand up to the 1%. Just one problem: You are not the 99%. Not even close. You don’t speak for the masses of America.
As part of America’s 99%, allow me to explain:
According to the US Census Bureau, as of November 1, 2011 there are an estimated 312, 540,000 people in America.
Now given the perceived bias of corporate media and other forces possibly at play towards OWS, let’s go only by #OWS numbers for discussion. Based on info and estimates directly from #OWS participants that I’ve regularly spoken with from #OWS encampments in LA, Oakland, NYC, Chi, ATL, there are, at best, about 5,000 participants at any given time at any given #OWS encampment. But also for discussion’s sake, let’s assume that even these first-person anecdotal estimates are low—by half; let’s say that there’s actually about 10,000 OWS folk encamped/publically protesting in each of our 50 states. Or better yet, let’s again double the estimate and assume there’s 20,000 people in each state marching, sitting, camping out in the name of all movements, “Occupy”.
No one is really talking about the American Jobs Act anymore. I don’t know if you’ve noticed. Perhaps folks are just resigned to the fact that Republicans are going to filibuster each portion of the bill that Democrats try to pass. That’s just what Republicans do — jackshit.
Just to recap: Republicans filibustered the American Jobs Act, and now they are filibustering each portion separately.
Today, they will filibuster the Rebuild America Jobs Act, which contains 50 billion for direct spending on transportation projects and $10 billion in seed money to start a National Infrastructure Bank. Why? Because the spending would be paid for by a 0.7 percent tax on annual income above $1 million.
Here’s a bright spot, though. About forty unemployed residents of DC are sitting in at Mitch McConnell’s office. Right now! They want a face-to-face meeting and they want to talk about jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg reanimated the dead “banks didn’t cause the mortgage crisis” horse and beat it to death again:
“I hear your complaints,” Bloomberg said. “Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not so sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have had them without that.
“But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves.”
As Think Progress points out, that’s a load of crap: