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.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

Nearly 50 years after the passing of the Civil Rights Act and the recent reelection of our first African-American president, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has increased with blacks earning about 57% as much as whites.
—  Frances Chiu, ‘Radically American: Theodore Dreiser and His Call to Fix Democracy’, Occupy.com

When I was out in D.C. demonstrating against climate change and how our government sponsored pollution is to blame, I learned that the peoples biggest problem is the corporate controlled media. When MLK was demonstrating they told the majority he was causing problems and then he was killed. The same thing happened with john Lennon, Ghandi, Malcolm X, Bob Marley and many others. I dont put myself anywhere on their levels, nor do i want to. All i want to do is to get every one that reads this to look for other sources for your information. The following are not as compromised as the ones you may listen to now… Please, if you cant demonstrate for change with us, please stop watching the news with lies that will turn you against us….

Democracynow.org
Truth-out.com
Aljeezera.com
Occupy.com
Guardian.co.uk.com
Billmoyers.com
Huffingtonpost.com
alternet.com
Presstv.com
Rt.com

350.org
… if there are more, please post them. Peace and Love.

occupy.com
The American Bankers Association and the Quiet War on Students

And yet, a half century later, the ABA is still waging a quiet war on students by actively combating virtually any legislation that would ease their debt burden. With regards to students being able to rid themselves of college loans by declaring bankruptcy, the ABA stated in 2012 that, if allowed to go into effect, such an option “would tempt students to rack up big debt that they won’t repay… [and that] the bankruptcy system would be opened to abuse.”

The ABA’s position is more than a little ironic: preemptively accusing students of engaging in irresponsible lending even as the banks themselves engaged in massive amounts of that exact activity by giving mortgages to people they knew could not repay.

[…]

The American Bankers Association recently fought congressional efforts to prevent the interest rate on student loans doubling from 3.4% to 6.8%. The bill in question, SB 2343, was also known as the “Stop The Student Loan Interest Rate Hike of 2012.” Democrats like Elizabeth Warren wanted to finance the bill by closing a tax loophole which “wealthy individuals and large corporations [would] often file using ‘subchapter S’ companies to dodge paying employment taxes.”

In response, the ABA and other business and lobby groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposed financing the bill on the grounds that it would “make tax collection less enforceable than current law and do little to increase compliance.” In the end, Republicans, with some Democratic support, shut down the bill, and student loan rates have now doubled.

[…]

While the ECASLA bailout enabled lenders to make even more money, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the government would save over $68 billion over 10 years if it switched to direct lending; now, according to the report, that $68 billion will “subsidize private lenders like Sallie Mae to pay their executives exorbitant salaries and bonuses” – like Sallie Mae’s Chairman Albert Lord, who raked in over $225 million during his tenure that ended at the company in 2013.

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This documentary, titled “Just Do it”, about environmental activists involved in direct action protests throughout the UK will be available to watch after 5:30 today on Occupy.com. It seems neat.

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Engagement

Data collected in January from an ongoing custom survey research project administered by Hector Cordero Gusman at Baruch College at the City University of New York showed that 69.6% of 1,538 respondents strongly agreed that they support the protests.  The research also showed that only 9.2% out of 1,541 of the same respondents strongly agreed that they regularly participate in the Occupy Wall Street Protests.  This suggests that there is much potential for the numbers of people who attend OWS actions to dramatically increase.  Data collected by Facebook insights provides us with clues as to how we might go about encouraging this.

Photos from tumblr blog posts of creative actions created by Revolutionary Games have been more likely to go viral within Facebook than have YouTube clips of the same actions.  The most viral post I’ve yet seen came from the Occupied Stories Fan Page.  It had 114 people talking about it out of a reach of 302, a virality score of 37.75%.  (The next best closest score on the page was 9.46% virality for sake of comparison).  It was picture posted March 22nd with the following caption…”The latest from Union Square : No Performing, rallying, and engaging in commercial activity, except by permit!  I hear our resident hula hooper plans to make this evening in Union Square quite interesting!..”  It generated 52 shares, 28 likes, 51 comments, with some of those comments getting additional likes.  Comments in response to the post as well as the post itself, demonstrated that first hand trusted news of suppression of expressive activities, performance, rallying, etc actually led to Facebook users to reply to the notice with similar complaints about not being able to skate or play kickball, as well as similar desires to directly challenge this irrational encroachment on our basic rights to leisure and play, which need be constantly sacrificed and abstained from by the working masses in order for capitalism to function.  

OWS affinity groups such as Revolutionary Games, the Puppet Guild, the Plus Brigades, have been preparing and rehearsing various forms of street performances all winter and it seems as if the NYPD will be just as likely to attempt to suppress this new round of artistic tactics every bit as much as they attempted to suppress the occupations during the fall of 2011.  However the analytics suggest that any attempt to suppress creatively expressive actions will likely only encourage more individuals to creatively express themselves in direct defiance of transparent oppression, just as the occupations tended to grow after every time protestors were brutalized in October and early November of 2011.  

Phase one of OWS consisted of a media revolution and phase two of OWS will likely consist of an artistic revolution.  Phase one created awareness of the movement and of important social problems however it did not create as much widespread favorability towards the movement and it created even less participation compared to that which it could potentially create.  Phase one won the minds of the masses but not their hearts.  An artistic movement is a sound strategy to achieve the former goal and create widespread favorable public opinions towards our project of revolutionizing the way our society is organized.  I suspect it will likely take a third phase, probably a scientific revolution, in order to actually show masses of individuals, newly eager for social change, how to engage and participate in actually creating a horizontally organized society.  Should we achieve this, then a fourth phase involving a sexual revolution will surely be necessary in order to ensure the sustainability of a freshly organized society.  I cannot help but speculate that the mistakes which we shall inevitably and unwittingly make specifically in the third and fourth phases more so than in any additional phases will be the mistakes that shall give birth to the contradictions that shall likely fuel future revolutions during future ages, the likes of which few if any of us now posses the power to imagine.

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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

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