Posts tagged Occupy
“This is a non-violent direct action, you are not being held in this room, you are free to exit when you please. We no longer recognize your presidency at Cooper as legitimate and in so doing we commit to re-claim this office in the interim until a suitable administrative alternative is secured.”
Over 50 students have overtaken the office of Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha in response to the Administration and the Board of Trustees announcing the implementation of tuition for the incoming class of 2014- desecrating a 154 year old tradition of meritocracy and free education. “We stand together with the extended Cooper community in opposition to this decision; we reaffirm all of the previous and future actions of our fellow students and allies.”
UPDATE: Cooper Union Students are calling for a Solidarity Rally Tonight at 6PM outside the Foundation Building at Cooper Square Park.
The students delivered a Statement of No Confidence from the School of Art, one of the three colleges that make up Cooper Union. Similar Statements of No Confidence are currently in the process of being drafted and voted upon by the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering.
On April 23, 2013, Cooper Union’s board of trustees announced that they will begin charging tuition, ending the university’s 144-year-old mission of providing free education to all those who merited entry. The decision was met with a united uproar of dissent from nearly all sectors of the university community, including students, faculty, and alumni. While it might seem counterintuitive to get behind a relatively small struggle at one of the most exclusive universities in the country—an old-fashioned meritocracy in a world in which a young person’s “potential” is directly proportionate to their family’s economic station—Cooper Union is by far the most diverse of all elite colleges: white students are a minority here and two-thirds of the student body attended public high schools.
Institutions funded by philanthropy and real estate earnings are clearly unsustainable as foundations for a quality education, but the school’s economic problems and its board’s regressive solutions mirror the situation currently taking place at countless other universities, both public and private. From CUNY tuition hikes to the torpedoing of Medgar Evers College to NYU’s unprecedented land grab, students across the city are fighting back. As student struggles continue across the globe, Cooper Union is a flashpoint for something much larger than itself.
Peter Cooper, the school’s founder, railed against the scourge of student debt a century and a half before the streets of Montreal exploded with resistance, before New York universities faced a string of militant occupations, before students in California put their bodies on the line against tuition hikes and the commodification of higher education. The ongoing fight at Cooper Union is but one part of the broader struggle against austerity, debt, and all other symptoms of capitalism.
On May 1, a 36-page mini-zine that serves as a postscript to last year’s Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied? was produced and distributed around the city. Collecting recent articles, editorials, and primary source documents, this basic update outlines the current situation at Cooper Union, at once a eulogy and a call for new resistance.
Over the last few years, homeowners and residents around the country have taken a stand against the banks and fought foreclosures and evictions. The growing network of Occupy Our Homes supporters have signed petitions, made phone calls, and showed up to events to help families stay in their homes. Dozens of homeowners around the country have won their fights, but the crisis is far from over.
Communities have been destroyed as millions of families have already lost their homes to foreclosure, while millions more are underwater on their mortgages. The big banks are bigger and more powerful than ever. To date, no high level Wall Street executives have been prosecuted for their crimes, such as mortgage fraud and predatory lending. US attorney general, Eric Holder even admitted recently that in the administration’s eyes, the banks are not only ‘too big to fail,’ they’re now ‘too big to jail.’
As a new housing bubble fueled by Wall Street speculation is forming, it’s clear that the financial industry didn’t learn their lesson from the last mess. It’s more important than ever for us to take action to demand meaningful relief for homeowners and prosecutions for the criminals at the top.
Only through the power of thousands of organized homeowners taking action in the streets can we make the Attorney General and the President listen.
Occupy Our Homes, the Home Defenders League, and others are joining fed-up homeowners who are ready to demand action– join us the week of May 20th.
Over the next two months, Home Defenders from across the country will have an opportunity to tell their stories and fight back. Some will travel to Washington, DC the week of May 20th to make their voice heard directly at the Department of Justice.
Join the fight! Sign up now to fight in your city. Scholarships will be available to attend the Department of Justice Action in Washington DC.
We, the National Gathering Working Group 2013 (NGWG2013), propose a National Gathering of the Occupy Movement, and peoples’ movements worldwide, in Kalamazoo Michigan, to collectively assemble and embrace our different ideologies and perspectives; to find our common visions; to share our strategies and actions; and to leave this gathering with steps we can all take in both agreement and diversity; for ourselves, our communities, our nations, and for all of us all over the world.
We further propose that our convergence begin on Aug. 21 and continue for five days of Community and Movement building exercises including speakers, teach-ins, and
free-flowing open discussion at a location to be determined by the Occupy Kalamazoo General Assembly. We believe it’s time the people of the world spoke to each other about how to make a better world. We ask you to converge with us, to bring your ideas, your struggles, and your voice and come to Kalamazoo!
We already have networks on board with these broad areas of interest and welcome and need your suggestions, participation and contributions:
- Fixing Fossil Fuels and Creating an Environmentally Sustainable Future.
- Economic and Trade Justice, Equal Access and Ending Corporate “Personhood”, Asserting the People’s Sovereignty.
- Making and Supporting Free, Unfettered Media.
- Ending War and Our Police State, Building Peace and Cooperation.
- Renew Kalamazoo and your community. Homeless Bill of Rights.
We also encourage the creation of local, national and global processes to communicate, organize and converge. We are meeting more and more on the internet, on mumble, on conference calls. Global infrastructures are appearing, to bring more people together and able to participate worldwide. We are able as a people to organize worldwide protests and actions. We envision a day of concerted worldwide actions focused on very local issues that expose those local issues as part of the worldwide fight against systemic injustice. We will gather and share this worldwide action through all the media tools and networks we continue to build through voluntary people power.
We embrace the value derived from face-to-face contact, and understand that no single gathering can be representative of our entire movement. We recognize that attending in person will be challenging, or impossible for many, so we also commit to pursuing an online component through which anyone can participate via the Internet. We encourage the creation of local, national and global processes by which movement resources could be directed towards funding travel for active movement participants that otherwise would not be able to attend.
In keeping with principles of the Occupy Movement, the NGWG2013 will continue planning this gathering only if this proposal is ratified by a preponderance of General Assemblies from across the Movement.
We are committed to operating in an open, inclusive, and transparent way. Therefore, most planning will be done via direct democratic conference calls, hubs and collaborative tools through the InterOccupy.net platform. All are welcome to participate. We endeavor to convene an historic gathering that will require a great deal of organization, so we invite participants from all Occupys and friends to join us in the planning and facilitation of this effort.
We invite you come to Kalamazoo Aug. 21 – 25. We ask for your endorsement, and would be honored if you would join us, live, online or in solidarity actions, and become part of this beautiful expression of our collective will!
The National Gathering Working Group 2013
The NGWG2013 is comprised of Occupy Kalamazoo on the ground, and other
Occupiers from across the Globe online, hopefully to soon include you! Please send your endorsement or intent of solidarity to email@example.com or comment on our website. We hope to soon have a form on the website!
NGWG Website: http://www.occupynationalgathering.net
NGWG Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyNationalGathering?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: @Ng2Kzoo #NatGat2 #natgat2 #NatGat2013 #natgat2013 #Natgat2@thezoo
Occupy Carnival of Social Change: http://www.facebook.com/events/458980454155941/
* National Gathering Hub on InterOccupy: http://interoccupy.net/natgat2/
Join our Planning Call! Register here. We convene every Wednesday at 8 PM ET!
Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police Testimony [Updated: VIDEO]
Source: blogs.villagevoice.com – Friday, March 01, 2013
In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting …
Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police Testimony [Updated: VIDEO]
Source: www.awrambatimes.com – Friday, February 01, 2013
Awramba Times (Phoenix, Arizona) – Eritreans living in Italy invaded the country’s Embassy in Rome in support of dissident soldiers who reportedly sieged Eritrea’s information ministry in Asmara last month. The demonstrators demand an end to oppression and have called on the country’s dictator to step down. On January 25, 2013, Awramba Times reported that Eritreans in the UK have occupied the Eritrean Embassy in London. The protestors took down and trashed photos of Eritrea’s president Issias Afeworki in the Embassy. (Video source: Ethiopian Review)
The People’s Reconstruction Series is a sequence of educational encounters, organized by Occupy University, that address several issues related to Hurricane Sandy. Each encounter will gather at Bluestockings (172 Allen St. New York, NY 10002) and feature a presentation followed by horizontal discussion. We hope to provide a space for people to collectively reflect on the politics of climate disaster in New York City.
More info: RSVP on Facebook
Encounter 1, “Rising Water”
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
*What are the politics of climate change at local, national, and international levels?
Encounter 2, “Individual Consequences”
Thursday, January 17, 2013
*How are individuals affected financially, emotionally, and otherwise by climate change? Specific emphasis will be given to communities in New York City impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Encounter 3, “Community Response”
Thursday, January 24, 2013
*What can communities do to address immediate threats and consequences of climate change as well as address systemic injustices disasters like Sandy uncover.
Occupy Denver Calls On All Available Occupy Networks to Mobilize Against Keystone XL Pipeline January 7th
Occupy Denver stands in solidarity with The Tar Sands Blockade, and is calling for national and international mobilization and solidarity actions against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Tar sands giant TransCanada has begun construction on the southern leg of the Keystone XL. Leading NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen has called the Keystone XL “game over” for the climate, and Americans are already feeling the heat. The pipeline will make TransCanada rich while encroaching on ranch lands, poisoning Texas’ working class communities, and destroying the environment that makes the lone star state so beautiful.
Kick off the new year by demonstrating your resistance to Keystone XL!
Join us for another mass action in Southeast Texas on Monday, January 7th, including a 3 day training camp leading up to the big event. Our trainings and events are open and include roles for everyone ready to defend our homes from toxic tar sands.
RSVP right now so we can know how many people to expect.
SCHEDULE (Jan. 3rd – 8th):
Thursday, Jan. 3rd – Travel & Arrival
Friday, Jan. 4th – Day 1: Direct Action Training Camp
Saturday, Jan. 5th – Day 2: Direct Action Training Camp
Sunday, Jan. 6th – Day 3: Direct Action Training Camp
Monday, Jan. 7th – Mass Action to Stop Keystone XL
Tuesday, Jan. 8th – Debrief and Depart
Questions? Contact: 972-439-5310, TSBComms@riseup.net
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
As a grassroots campaign, we are funded entirely by the generosity of individual donors. Meaning that every dollar of your contribution goes directly into stopping TransCanada and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline where it matters most. The Tar Sands Blockade is one of the most important resistance actions in the nation. If you can’t join us, you can still help. Please consider donating.
Wish List tarsandsblockade.org/donate-3/wishlist/
And please join our E-Action to help continue to spread awareness and support our people on the ground.
On Wednesday, December 12th, members of (de)Occupy Honolulu filed a lawsuit against the City & County of Honolulu, Wesley Chun (Director & Chief Engineer of Department of Facilities Maintenance), Trish Morikawa (County Housing Coordinator), and Sergeant Larry Santos (Honolulu Police Department), over deprivation of civil rights during raids on the encampment, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai`i. On Monday, December 17th, a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued, until the Preliminary Injunction hearing in a month, dealing with raids of Thomas Square. All defendants have either quit their jobs or retired since the last raid at Thomas Square, the day before Thanksgiving.
The lawsuit focus on the city & county’s abuse of Ordinance 10-29 (AKA Bill 39), which limits the use of sidewalks after pushing (de)Occupy to the sidewalk, and Ordinance 11-029 (AKA Bill 54), which allows the Department of Facility Maintenance, Housing, Parks, and HPD to traumatize, steal, and brutalize the vulnerable houseless population
Since the (de)Occupy camp was established on November 5, 2011, the movement has been fighting against Ordinance 11-029, which was used as a tool to repress freedom of speech within hours of being signed into law. City ordinances like Bill 39 and Bill 54 criminalize the houseless. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in Tony Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, “For many of us, the loss of our personal effects may pose a minor inconvenience. However, . . . the loss can be devastating for the homeless.”
“Houseless rights are human rights. We have been standing vigil 24/7 for over a year. During that time the city has repeatedly stolen and destroyed our collective and personal property, including car registrations, medications, and bedding of protesters and the houseless alike,” says Sugar Russell, plaintiff. “The city has humiliated people using intimidation and violence. This is what the government does to people who are willing and able to stand up and document abuse and inequality.”
“The fight is not over until the peoples’ voice means more than corporate money! (de)Occupy Honolulu is determined to shut down the unconstitutional ordinances of Bill 39 and Bill 54 throughout the County of Honolulu. Prioritizing programs like job placement, rehabilitation, and housing first will show a better return in value for both the community, and the thousands of houseless on the island,” says plaintiff Christopher Nova Smith. “Restructuring the assistance housing funds to mirror Hawaii County’s plan could offset the financial strain on the community. By investing in the value of people, the City and County of Honolulu can save taxpayers millions of dollars while promoting equal civil rights and community sustainability.”
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.” —Martin Luther King
Last Thursday, nearly a thousand union members and supporters gathered inside the Michigan capitol building in Lansing to protest lawmakers’ decision to ram through “right to work” legislation. The day ended abruptly when police began assaulting and pepper-spraying protesters, provoking an evacuation and lockdown of the capitol building. The protests have continued, and at least eight people have been arrested. This Tuesday, thousands more will descend upon Lansing to protest the 1%-backed “right to work” legislation, the most extreme anti-union law Michigan has ever seen. Nurses, teachers, autoworkers, service sector employees, iron-workers, and many other workers (including the unemployed), plus their families, allies, and communities, have already spoken out. Many have also received training and are preparing for nonviolent civil disobedience.
Occupy stands staunchly in solidarity with these days of action. The unfolding events in Michigan are the latest assault on workers’ rights in the U.S. and across the globe. Government policies such as the cynically-named “right to work” legislation will lower living standards for the 99% and benefit the elite who profit from our labor. In the face of these blatant attacks on low-income and working people, we must show sustained and escalating resistance. Together, we can defeat the Wall Street, corporate agenda of consolidating wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.
Therefore, we call on all Occupiers in Michigan, the Midwest, and beyond, to join in solidarity and Occupy the Capitol. Now is the time to activate the networks we’ve created and begin organizing for mass action. The lesson of Wisconsin’s failed recall vote was that election politics are not enough — we need to put everything on the table: sustained physical occupation, mass civil disobedience, even the option of general strike. From the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37, to the West Coast Port Shutdowns of 2011-12, history has shown time and time again: direct action gets the goods.
RSVP for Tuesday’s Day of Action on Facebook
Twitter hashtags: #saveMI #NoRTWMI
more facts on why ‘right to work’ is wrong for everyone
“light brigade” solidarity message from Wisconsin
Students have been occupying the Cooper Union clock tower since Monday and 11 students are still locked-down! Today at 2pm come join Cooper students, faculty, OWS, All in The Red, US Uncut, and others to show your support for the right to education.
Students for a Free Cooper Union issued the following communique on Dec. 3rd:
Students for a Free Cooper Union lock-in to Cooper Union’s Foundation Building to preserve free education
We, the Students for a Free Cooper Union, in solidarity with the global student struggle and today’s Day of Action, have locked ourselves into The Peter Cooper Suite on the top floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued this institution for decades and now threatens the college’s mission of free education.
We have reclaimed this space from the administration, whom we believe is leading the college in the wrong direction. In recent years, plans to expand Cooper Union with tuition-based, revenue generating educational programs have threatened the college’s landmarked tradition of “free education to all.” These programs are intended to grow the college out of a financial deficit caused by decades of administrative mismanagement. We believe that such programs are a departure from Cooper Union’s historic mission and will corrupt the college’s role as an ethical model for higher education. To secure this invaluable opportunity for future generations, we have taken the only recourse available to us.
We will hold this space until action has been taken to meet the following demands:
1) The administration must publicly affirm the college’s commitment to free education. They will stop pursuing new tuition-based educational programs and eliminate other ways in which students are charged for education.
2) The Board of Trustees must immediately implement structural changes with the goal of creating open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. The administration’s gross mismanagement of the school cannot be reversed within the same systems which allowed the crisis to occur. To this end, we have outlined actions that the board must take
- Record board meetings and make minutes publicly available.
- Appoint a student and faculty member from each school as voting members of the board.
- Implement a process by which board members may be removed through a vote from the Cooper Union community, comprised of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators.
3) President Bharucha steps down.
Higher Education Bubble
The over-inflated costs of higher education have placed more than a trillion dollars of debt onto the backs of students. Higher education should be a means of social mobility and intellectual liberation, but it has devolved into an industry that exploits students for profit. Inevitably this bubble will burst and what appears to be a healthy and growing educational system will be revealed as a model that was always doomed to fail.
The administrators who have grown us into this mess are trying to grow us out of it. Investing in the higher education bubble is short-sighted and uncreative. Playing a larger role in one’s community provides strong roots. If we refuse to invest in a growth model and reaffirm our mission, we stand to see the principles of free education bring life back to our own community and other institutions as well.
Structures for Transparency and Integrity
Bloated and visionless administrations have become an epidemic threatening institutions of higher education all across America. We must rebuild the governance of these institutions with open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. Carrying a mission such as free education will require principled, rather than self-sustaining, leadership.