occupy.com

ANNOUNCING OUR GLOBAL ROUND-UP SERIES!

You may have noticed a few changes recently at thepeoplesrecord.com: we’ve changed our layout, added pages, switched over to our own domain and are starting to get more organized.

Along with all the new changes, we’d like to introduce our Global Round-Up series. Previously, we’ve done a few Global Round-Ups for Occupy.com, which you can see here. At the end of March, we posted our first global round-up covering the most notable international protest news month of March. We regret that we did not put one up for April at the beginning of May. But better late than never! Here it is, and look out for our Global Round-Up at the first of every month because sometimes it just helps to see just how much those of us fighting for a different kind of world do in a month. Call it Occupy or the Arab Spring or the Maple Spring or call it whatever you want. Connect the protest movements with international solidarity and the size of this list tells a very compelling story. I invite you to look back through the month of April with thepeoplesrecord.com and see how amazing it was!

April Global Round-Up
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  • Dozens of occupiers from San Francisco were arrested this evening after taking over a vacant building belonging to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The group was working on turning the space into a “into a social center, shelter and food bank for the people.”
  • Several hundred indignados, culture jammers and occupiers from across Europe swarmed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels in a bold attempt to shut it down.

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  • Oddly, we couldn’t find any notable protest news on the 10th of this month!

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  -R.Cunningham

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Talib Kweli’s Ode to #OWS [Via Occupy.com]

Net Neutrality?

This whole thing has me so confused.  Today (18 February 2015) I got an email from FreePress.org, who are lobbying FOR the FCC regulation jurisdiction.  Included in the email is a list of organizations FreePress is partnering with: “18 Million Rising, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, the Greenlining Institute, Occupy.com, Popular Resistance, the Utility Reform Network and members of Black Lives Matter." 

I didn’t necessarily know who my friends are in this particular debate, but I certainly recognize enemies (of my country, my beliefs, and my way of life) when I see them.  "Occupy.com” – Seriously???  And the rally they were hyping is in Berkeley, where they plan to disrupt traffic and business at Verizon and the ATT store.  Rent-a-Commie will be on the move at noon on Friday 20 February in Berkeley, California. 

Still don’t know if that’s enough to make be unreservedly fanboy-ish for Comcast, Verizon, ATT, etc.  – but at least I see the company the FCC keeps.

#OWS #A16 Arrests, a set on Flickr.

As reported in the Gothamist this morning, almost a dozen protesters were arrested last night but not until after they were physically attacked by a man who only described himself has a resident of Wall Street.

“Minutes later, one of the residents, a short, stocky man with thinning hair got into a shouting match with a protester, and lunged after him, punching him repeatedly. NYPD officers pulled the man through the police line. He was not arrested.”

And therein lies the crux of the situation and I hope these images help fill in the gaps.

This man physically assaulted protesters and not only was he not arrested but 10 minutes later he was spotted chatting it up with an NYPD police officer but when he and his provocateur friend (guy in purple shirt) realized that a camera was trained on them they dispersed and acted like they didn’t know each other, disappearing into the night as the arrests continued.

One has to wonder if he was really a resident of Wall Street or an NYPD plant instructed to incite an incident so that the NYPD had a reason to start clearing out the peaceful protesters.

Occupy Appalachia

Karen Gorrell choked back tears one Saturday in early March as she pulled the final stake from the tent that had been her home for the past 75 days. Last fall, the protracted struggle she led for retired workers from Century Aluminum Corporation found itself an accidental part of the Occupy movement. “I’m elated that a bunch of little senior citizens can take on corporate giants in West Virginia,” Gorrell said.

The group fought to have their healthcare benefits reinstated after the company unilaterally dropped coverage for more than 500 retirees and their families. After more than a year of organizing, protests and, ultimately, a physical occupation, the Occupy Century group reached a settlement with the company late last month that will restore those health benefits and grant $44 million to the retirees over 10 years, with up to $25 million in additional contributions to follow.

“I love these people,” Gorrell, 62, said about her fellow occupiers, whose ages range from early sixties to mid-eighties. “This is the closest family you could have in the world.” Gorrell is married to a Century retiree and describes herself as a high school graduate, a community volunteer and a grandmother.

The Century Aluminum factory in Ravenswood, W.Va., had seen struggles before. In 1990, 1,700 union workers at what was then called Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation were locked out in an effort to drastically cut wages. The ensuing “Battle of Fort RAC” was a divisive conflict for the Jackson County community; the negotiations that ended the two-year lockout and picket resulted in workers forced to take a significant pay cut in exchange for healthcare retirement accounts. When the plant closed in 2009, laying off 651 workers, Century Aluminum promised workers that their health benefits would continue.

In June 2010, however, the company announced it would be terminating health coverage for its retirees and keeping the $25 million that workers had paid into their pensions. “You’ve been exposed to every hazardous chemical in the book—asbestos, coal tar pitch, all kinds of extreme hazards from aluminum—and when the men retire and they’re actually beginning to suffer from the exposure, then the company comes in and just pulls out the rug,” Gorrell said.

Not only that, but Century Aluminum qualified for and was accepted by—yet chose not to participate in—the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, a provision of the Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law in 2010, which grants federal funding to help cover retirees’ health care costs. The company later accepted EERP funding; in the fourth quarter of 2010, Century reported a net income of $65.3 million citing “changes to the retiree medical benefits program [that] increased quarterly results by $56.7 million.”

“It’s not only morally wrong, it is absolutely criminal what they’re doing to America’s most vulnerable people,” Gorrell said, “and the sad part is, the federal court system is upholding these decisions by these corporations.”

Not this time…

Continue this story at the new Occupy News site Occupy.com

Occupy.com has officially launched today!

New York filmmaker David Sauvage is cofounder of Occupy.com, a nonprofit multimedia and news-aggregation site that launches today with financial backing from Hollywood, lots of complicated internal politics, and a plan to become a must-read for a new generation of activists. “There is so little in the media that the vast majority of people engage with that is alive, or powerful, or truthful, or messy, or complicated, or real,” says Sauvage, 31, whose last project before joining Occupy Wall Street was a TV commercial for WSJ, the glossy magazine of the Wall Street Journal. “I would like to see the makers of content emerge as the shakers of the world.” via

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The folks at Occupy Animator have broken down the reasons we Occupy in terms even non-occupiers can understand: facts, figures and dollars. For instance, did you know that 81% of the stock market is owned by 10% of Americans? Or that 18 members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors were found to have serious conflicts of interest? This simple listing of facts proves devastating, as it starkly presents the consequences of an unequal society. - Occupy by the Numbers

“The main thing that Occupy.com will do is crystalize the Occupy message–make it plain, clear, and simple. We will seek to engage people and give them many options for how to get involved. We need ways for members of the 99% to participate and thus grow the movement.” - Michael Levitin, “Occupy Movement to Launch Online News Site, ‘Occupy.com’”