occupy gainesville

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Reporters for the Huffington Post are on an “Occupy Y’all Street” tour of Occupy sites throughout the South, trying to give us a better sense of the stories that are driving people to participate locally.

Here’s their first installment from Florida, from Occupy Gainesville.

The video is really worth a watch. It’s about time a popular media source documents the Occupy Movement.

Protesters 'occupying' the world

This past Saturday I was in downtown Gainesville for my roomate’s 21st birthday dinner when I saw quite a few people camped out for the night with “Occupy Gainesville” signs. What truly caught my eye was what they were wearing; V for Vendetta masks!

Photo of a ‘V for Vendetta’ mask

The reason the masks caught my eye is because of what they represent. The film and novel they originate from are dystopian in nature. It is a symbol of rebelling against oppressive government. A strong, albeit humorously displayed message in short.

What began September 17th on Wall Street as a small group of protesters has now grown to a full-blown organized  movement. It has lasted over three weeks now and spread to places like Gainesville, FL and even cities as far as London and Hong Kong.

The goal of the protesters is to express dissatisfaction with companies and government especially in regards to jobs and money spent on bailouts. People who cannot join protesters but support the movement help by providing food and blankets, labor unions support by backing the message.

(Here is a full feature on Occupy Wall Street)

But what exactly is the call for action? The movement has taken off due in part to the efforts of social media and has brought attention to the attitudes of the public at large. While it is cohesive in spirit it has failed, as of yet,  to make specific demands in regards to policy. 

I think it will be interesting to see what comes out of this. In essence these protesters are living, breathing “letters to the editor,” or in this case executives, of governments and corporations worldwide. 

How do you feel about the protests? Can they accomplish anything?

For fun I have included a link to the funniest signs seen at the 'Occupy’ protests.

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Occupy Gainesville March 11-5-11

flanews.com
Protestors Converge on Capitol - Jan. 10th, 2012

Protesters are promising to keep a watchful eye on the state capital this legislative session. Dozens of Tea Party, Occupy and Awake the State protestors traveled from all over Florida to Tallahassee today to voice their displeasure with lawmakers. As Whitney Ray tells us, no political party is safe from their scrutiny…

The 2012 Legislative Session was gaveled in over the voices of protestors. Just outside the House chamber, Occupy Tallahassee protestors lined the entry way handing out flyers and shouting at lawmakers entering the chamber.

The governor took a short cut around the protestors. Once the governor was inside the House Chamber, the occupiers joined with the Awake the State group.
The two groups of protestors have similar messages.

Awake the State has more union backing and identifies more with Democrats. Occupiers say no party is meeting their needs.

“Democrats and Republicans are nearly the same. They are just different on a few social issues that get blown up by the media,” said Shelby Radcliffe and Occupier from Orlando.

The Tea Party folks are also having a tough time finding lawmakers who hear their concerns and follow through with their promises.

“We put some of these officials in office right now and we expect them to perform. If they don’t perform, we are going to eliminate them,” said Mary Lynn Geisler a Tea Partier from Ocala.

Tea Party members want to see lawmakers improve schools, repeal redlight cameras and cut spending. All the groups say they’ll hold legislators accountable at the ballot box. All the groups are planning to have members at the capitol throughout the 60 day session.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/dknQ4VQzWxY

Occupy Gainesville Tomorrow

Huxley here, wanting to tell you quickly about Occupy Gainesville.

They will be meeting Tomorrow, Wednesday October 12th, in front of the Bank of America on West University at 3pm before marching to Bo Diddley and City Hall.

They also meet every night at Bo Diddley as a General Assembly, which anyone may attend.

If you would like to know more, you can find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/occupygainesville

Occupy the Courts - Gainesville FL with Special Speaker Dr. Cornell West

Special speaker Dr. Cornel West will be with Move to Amend “Occupy the Courts” day of action HERE IN GAINESVILLE Jan. 20th, 2012. Mark your calendars. Event starts at 1pm , Location: Bo Diddley Plaza Gainesville, FL. Special Local Speakers, Street Theater Performance and a March to Federal Court Building at 401 Southeast 1st Ave, Gainesville, FL

Link to Download Printable Black/White 2 sided Flyers and Full Color 8.5 x 11 Poster. http://www.mediafire.com/?be86ct5y2acjlci

Press Release 11/9/12: http://www.mediafire.com/?lvzri43vdp1zs3b

Gainesville Jan. 20th, 2012 Speakers/ Performance and March Times
Dr. Cornel West Time TBA
Street Theater Performance TBA
March to Federal Court Building TBA

What is Occupy the Courts - Inspired by our friends at Occupy Wall Street, and Dr. Cornel West, Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark the second anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision!

Occupy the Courts will be a one day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday January 20, 2012.

Move to Amend volunteers across the USA will lead the charge on the judiciary which created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.

Americans across the country are on the march, and they are marching OUR way. They carry signs that say, “Corporations are NOT people! Money is NOT Speech!” And they are chanting those truths at the top of their lungs! The time has come to make these truths evident to the courts.

We the People, Not We the Corporations

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. We Move to Amend.

Move to Amend info: http://movetoamend.org/occupythecourts
Dr. Cornel West Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornel_West

Here’s a song from one of our albums in 2010 called YOURS TRULY. The song is called “Coca Cola Rock N’ Roll” and was written out of frustration as we had just welcomed our son into the world, were living in a slum, and had hardly any money to feed ourselves. 

Our life is better now, although it’s still not easy, but we are grateful for what we have.

I’m posting this song because I feel like it’s relevant to the Occupy Wallstreet/etc movements. 

We’re a financially broken, lost, and hopeless generation and we’re fucking tired of it. I can’t be a part of the protests because I need to be here for my son, but I hope to help preserve and push this movement through art and music. 

For those calling the Occupy movements a “fad”, “trend”, or “phase” you are the ones I worry for most. 

And for those calling this a “socialist” or “communist” movement, go read a fucking book already.

An Open Letter to the Gainesville City Commission

Mr. Mayor and members of the City Commission:

Greetings!  I write to you as a concerned citizen of Gainesville.  Occupy Gainesville stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City and is now in its 8th day.  It is after 1am and I write to you from the perimeter of the Bo Diddley Community Plaza.  Most of you are familiar with me and my family.  I’m sleeping here and making the sacrifice of being away from my family for the night to show support and empathy for this profound grassroots movement. 

From getting corporate money out of politics to restricting the economy-destroying process of derivatives trading, the Occupy movement stands for the 99 percent of Americans who have seen their finances decimated by irresponsible financial practices from certain corporations and from a lack of government regulation.  The movement has spread nationwide and worldwide, with occupations in over 1,000 cities, including ours.

Occupy Gainesville has garnered negative national and international attention early on, partly due to the arrest of Bo Diddley’s son on the plaza here that bears his father’s name.  The City Manager told Occupy Gainesville that they could spend one night in the plaza last Wednesday and then proceeded to arrest four citizens on five criminal cases last Thursday evening.  The City Manager has also allegedly stated that costs totaling up to $5,000 per day could occur if Occupy Gainesville continues to stay overnight at the plaza.  The basis of how these expenses are calculated is suspect at best.

Since that time, members of this movement have camped out on the perimeter of the plaza, often sleeping on the hard sidewalk or mulch-covered dirt.

I’m writing to urge you to make some small concessions to Occupy Gainesville similar to those that the cities of Philadelphia and Los Angeles have made to their respective Occupy movements.  First, I would urge the State Attorney to drop, or nolle prose, the charges against those who were arrested on the plaza last Thursday evening.

Second, I would urge you to consider a temporary amendment to the city ordinances that restrict citizens to be in the Bo Diddley COMMUNITY Plaza after hours.  Occupy Gainesville has many working groups, including sanitation, that have kept the park immaculately clean in the past week, with city workers admitting as much.  All supplies and provisions used by Occupy Gainesville have been cleared from the plaza at the end of each day, with much respect paid to other citizens who enjoy the plaza and its amenities throughout the day.  By allocating at least a small, grassy area of the plaza to be used overnight for sleeping, the City will certainly be the shining beacon of progressivism that it has been in other areas.

Thank you for your time.  With your cooperation, I hope that a healthy relationship and be fostered between the City of Gainesville and Occupy Gainesville.

Sincerely,

Fred S.

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Occupiers from Key West to Pensacola and everywhere in between Occupied the Capitol on January 10, 2012. While waiting for Representatives, Senators, and the Governor to leave and arrive, Occupy Florida lined the entryway to the House Chambers. Knowing that our representatives would be walking by, we took turns reading the proclamation that the People’s Convention had approved for presentation today. The people’s microphone carried the message at high volume.

MY FIRST DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKET

My first Gainesville farmers market was a day full of firsts.

 It was my first time trying unpasteurized milk..

It was the first time I saw a man kiss a venomous scorpion.

And it was the very first day of Occupy Gainesville in the same plaza of the farmers market.

The local food movement is very big around Gainesville and surrounding areas and the sense of community at the market, especially when tied together with the jump start of Gainesville’s own 99 percentwas at large.

The market is every Wednesday downtown and it’s something I’ve wanted to go to since before I moved here.

Small girls shared locally made ice cream, older girls hoola-hooped on the lawn holding protesting signs, and even older girls sold their freshly harvested micro greens and oyster mushrooms.

It was the perfect day to experience my first farmers market and now every Wednesday that I decide to stop by and pick up some sweet potatoes or fresh picked sunflowers, I can proudly point someone over to the Kurtz and Sons Dairy truck to experience what grass fed, free range ground beef tastes like knowing that it’s not my first rodeo.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Occupy Gainesville Commemorates Veterans Day

Gainesville, Fla. (November 8, 2001) - Standing in solidarity with and showing support for those that have upheld their oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Occupy Gainesville, OG, will commemorate Veterans Day this Friday at Bo Diddley Plaza, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

A day full of workshops, teach-ins, marches, and community activities is planned.

“A public forum for unabridged social debate and political discourse without temporal constraint is requisite of a healthy democracy,” said participant Mitchell White “and we intend to establish Bo Diddley Plaza as Gainesville’s 24/7 forum for the expression of these constitutional and human rights.”

 "The plaza technically closes at 11:30 PM, because of its designation as a city park in local ordinances, “said participant Alli Baldwin.  “We invite everyone to join us at 11:30 PM on the 11th as a living demonstration to change this.“

 Schedule of Events

11:00 AM - Gather in the plaza

11:11 Am - Guided group meditation

11:30 AM - People’s Mic of Declaration of Independence

12:00 PM - Lunch; Veterans’ speak-out

1:00 PM - Veterans for Peace workshop

2:00 PM - Police relations workshop

3:00 PM - Activism training workshop

4:00 PM - Active demonstration against war and militarism

6:30 PM - General Assembly (City Hall)

8:30 PM - Potluck dinner

10:00 PM - Pep rally with the Radical Cheerleaders

10:05 PM - Acoustic Rockupy Gainesville

11:00 PM - People’s Mic of Bill of Rights; speech advocating sit-in

11:11 PM - Guided group meditation; peaceful sit-in to take Bo Diddley Community Plaza

Occupy Gainesville is about engaging the people of our community in grassroots, participatory democracy.  We are about diversity and dialogue.  Our focus is on economic, social and environmental justice at the local, national and global level.

 Occupy Gainesville has maintained a 24/7 presence at the plaza since October 15th.  Seven members have been arrested for trespassing in the plaza after park hours.  

 Occupy Gainesville is currently petitioning the City Commission to remove the plaza’s designation as a city park, as to eliminate its closing time.

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Occupiers from Key West to Pensacola and everywhere in between Occupied the Capitol on January 10, 2012. As we first arrived inside the Capitol Building, we gathered in the lobby rotunda and soon entered into a heart-felt version of “Solidarity Forever.”

tallahassee.com
Occupy movement invades state Capitol

The Capitol’s no stranger to protest, but this year on the opening day of session, it officially got “occupied.”

Several dozen members of Occupy Tallahassee and kindred occupiers from around the state descended on the Capitol on Tuesday to chant, wave signs and cause a bit of a ruckus outside House and Senate chambers.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Rick Scott has got to go!” they repeated loudly before the governor gave his State of the State address in a joint session of lawmakers.

The Occupy members handed out copies of the “People’s Convention of Florida 2012 Expectations,” calling for repair of a “dysfunctional government” and a right to fair elections, a quality education and affordable health care. They made decisions via “twinkling,” the jiggly hand movements employed to vote matters up or down. And they drew some under-the-breath derision and open scorn from a few in the Capitol.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach who frequently and entertainingly posts on Twitter, tweeted, “With all of the lovely flowers in the House Chamber, I can barely smell the occupy people outside.”

Brian Foster, a 21-year-old student at the University of Central Florida, said Occupy members “are not just a bunch of hoodlums and hippies.”

“We’re smart individuals,” he said. “And we have recognized that our government has been subverted by an oil-, defense- and banking-industry oligarchy.”

He said he was no fan of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank bailout signed by President George W. Bush in 2008, or Congress, whose approval rating is barely out of single digits.

“And we can all recognize that most of our elected officials are less than reputable,” he said.

Paul Prestarri, a restaurant server in Tallahassee, said he planned to be at the Capitol throughout the two-month-long session to speak out for the “99 percent.”

“The system that was supposed to keep the power to the people has been contorted into this machine that thrives on the oppression of the people it was supposed to support and represent,” he said.

Ralph Wilson, a Florida State University graduate student and Occupy Tallahassee member, said protesters simply wanted to make their presence seen and their voices heard.

“Essentially, it’s private interest that has the ear of the Legislature,” he said. “But we want to change that.”