Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

Archive for the ‘Action / Protest Updates’ Category

Updates, commentary and events concerning the Occupy Wall Street and 99% movement.

New Year’s Revolution

Posted by troublemaker on January 1, 2012

Last night, the Constitution of the United States of America was figuratively shredded, tossed to the ground, and urinated on by the City of New York. While Americans were distracted by the festivities of New Year’s Eve, police did not bother with their previous façade of enforcing park rules and city code. When citizens of the United States of America assembled in a public park, police ordered them to leave with no explanation. When they used the sidewalk to leave, police demanded the sidewalk was also closed. When they left the area, they learned that to their group additional parts of the city were now closed. When credentialed agents of the press tried to document the event, the police shoved the press aside.

“One officer used two hands to repeatedly shove backwards a credentialed news photographer who was preparing to document an arrest.” – New York Times (1)

What makes last night’s police assault on Occupy Wall Street so very important is that police made no attempt to use the façade of enforcing park rules or city code. Nobody was camping. The park is open 24 hours a day and sidewalks are intended to be walked upon. So just what was the difference between protesters in Zuccotti Park and revelers in Time Square this New Year’s Eve? The message being spread by those who occupied Time Square was approved by city officials and the message being spread by those who occupied Zuccotti Park was not.

“It’s absurd to block people out of a public park.” – Jesse LaGreca quoted by New York Daily Times (3)

Yes Jesse, it is absurd that one of the richest men in the United States (1%) would celebrate New Year’s Eve midtown with Lady Gaga while police carried out his orders to clear a city park of those who seek to call attention to the struggles of the poor (99%). We imagine Mayor Bloomberg (1%) was bringing in the New Year when one of his many aids informed him that the 99% had entered the park. Did he respond by ordering “Operation Let them Eat Cake”?

With the Christmas season come and gone, our television commercials have moved from gift ideas to New Year’s Eve resolutions. Instead of the near constant drone telling us where we can save money, commercials switched to telling us how to make our belly smaller, our penis larger, and our social life more active. If not an advertisement for weight watchers, it was Smiling Bob or Match.com. As thousands watched the ball drop in Time Square, many wondered what Occupy Wall Street was up to. With so many people glued to their TV set to watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Time Square, surely protesters would want to take advantage of the free air time. Instead, they were back in Zuccotti Park. Where better to Occupy New Year’s Eve?

“Whose year? Our year!” – New York Times quotes protester (1)

Protesters raised the American flag (2) and set about celebrating New Year’s Eve in traditional Occupy style. Drums rather than party noise makers echoed through the park. Signs and banners flew. Dancers did their part to bring a sense of festivity to Occupy Wall Street’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Police and the City of New York had a different idea.

Although the Zuccotti Park is open 24 hours a day, around 1:30 in the morning on New Year’s Day, a police commander used a bull horn to announce that the park was closing until 9:00 AM. No explanation was given. Shortly thereafter, police announced the sidewalks are also closed and ordered protesters to cross Broadway.

With Zuccotti Park closed for an unknown reason and sidewalks around Zuccotti Park closed for the same unknown reason, the protesters marched north until they encountered a police blockade. Protesters claim they changed their route, doubling back, only to encounter another police blockade. This went on until the evening ended in arrests.

“We were trying to go to Tompkins Square Park,” Isham Christie quoted by New York Times (1)

It seems obvious that Mayor Bloomberg’s New Year’s resolution is not to let the Constitution and Bill of Rights much up his Plutonomy. We the people should make an even firmer resolution not to allow the Plutonomy to much up our democracy.

 

 

  1. New York Times: Surging Back Into Zuccotti Park, Protesters Are Cleared by Police
  2. Huffington Post: Before Midnight, Occupy Wall Street Activists Retake Zuccotti Park
  3. New York Daily Times: Protesters Occupy New Year in Zuccotti Park

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Sears and Kmart closing stores

Posted by troublemaker on December 28, 2011

Just two days after Christmas, Sears Holdings Corporation has announced that it will be closing between 100 and 120 stores, liquidating inventory, and restructuring. Instead of an increase in sales this holiday season, Sears Holdings Corporation has reported that the final quarter has shown a decrease in sales. Kmart is down 4.4% and Sears is down by 6% during the final quarter. (1) With that announcement, Sears Holding Corporation’s stock fell almost 30% today and that price continued to head downward as the market closed. Speaking on the announcement by Sears Holding Corporation, Newsday calls the holiday season “disastrous” (2) Best Buy offers a similar explanation to their decreased profit margin. Earlier in December, shares in Best Buy dropped 15% after the results of Black Friday sales became public knowledge. The explanation is that they drastically lowered prices to attract consumers. So while sales volume increased, the profit margin decreased.(3) Although Wal-Mart, Maces, and a few others seem to have come out of this holiday season with the approval of Wall Street (4) it is still too early to know if strategies to increase sales volume cut into profits at those retailers as well.

Meanwhile, Washington continues to tell us that the bailout worked, the economy is back on its feet, and it is just a matter of time before we see prosperity again. With unemployment at almost 10%, college educated people being counted as employed even though they are flipping burgers, and foreclosures forcing more and more people to become homeless; we are forced to wonder whose prosperity Washington is talking about.

As the holidays season comes to an end, it is time to not only Occupy Christmas, but to protect ourselves and our family with the ideas behind Occupy Christmas. It’s time to shift from purchasing gifts from local businesses to purchasing groceries locally. It is time we shield ourselves from the crumbling of a huge global economy by developing smaller more local economies.

 

  1. The Toronto Star: Sears Announces Disappointing Quarter-To-Date Results, Store Closing Plan; Shares Under Review
  2. News Day: At least 100 Kmart, Sears stores closing
  3. http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111213-714957.html
  4. Reuters: From Macy’s to Sears, tales of holiday highs, lows

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Nashville’s Reoccupation

Posted by troublemaker on December 26, 2011

The eviction of Occupy Berkeley, California left many people wondering who exactly runs the city of Berkeley. There, city council members had no idea the eviction was planned nor could those council members reach anyone in city government for an explanation. Even representatives from the district in which Occupy Berkley established its encampment were in the dark concerning the eviction. (See Occupy Berkeley Eviction). Earlier in the year we saw an even more dramatic example of how we do not know who runs our cities.

Who is in charge of the city of Nashville? Our first thought is that the mayor of Nashville is. Why then did State Troopers, who we assume report to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, raid Occupy Nashville back in October? If the mayor and city of Nashville were behind the raid, why are they not named in the ACLU lawsuit (2)? If the county were involved, why did the county refuse to ratify the State Trooper’s decision to arrest the protesters? The county decision effectively made it impossible for State Troopers to put protesters in the county jail. After that court decision, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam ordered all charges dropped against the protesters. Later, a Federal Court would decide that the limitations placed on protesters were unconstitutional.

“Since state troopers raided the encampment in late October and made 55 arrests, the state has had to back down. Gov. Bill Haslam ordered the charges dropped when Nashville courts refused to jail the protesters, and the state isn’t fighting a federal court order that found the raids had violated the First Amendment rights of the protesters.” – WSMV TV Nashville (1)

After the eviction, a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU (2). Named defendants included Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and two other state level administrators. (2) That lawsuit does not name city or county officials.

We imagine your head is spinning as wildly as ours, but there it is: “…the state has had to back down.” (1) Why on earth would the state take actions against protesters within the city of Nashville? Isn’t the city controlled by the mayor and city council elected to represent the citizens of Nashville? Do we not live in a representative democracy?

 

  1. WSMV TV Nashville – Protesters occupy Legislative Plaza on Christmas Day
  2. Lawsuit filed by the ACLU

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Occupy Berkeley Eviction

Posted by troublemaker on December 26, 2011

The first grievance raised by Occupy Wall Street was that our representative democracy represents big banks (the 1%) rather than the people (the 99%). The December 21st eviction of Occupy Berkeley tells an entirely different story. There, the elected representatives of the people aren’t necessarily doing the bidding of the one percent. Instead, they are simply ignored. As such, the will of the people that those elected officials represent is simply ignored.

On Tuesday December 20, 2011, Occupy Berkeley received its walking papers. Those papers were handed to Occupy Berkeley spokesperson Larry Silver. The papers cited the 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew in the park. According to The Daily Californian, the city of Berkeley previously choose to overlook the park’s curfew and allow Occupy Berkley protesters to camp at Martin Luther King Park in Downtown Berkeley (1). Living in a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, we assume that when someone says a city made a decision that it was duly elected representatives who made that decision.

With Berkeley city council members completely unaware of the movement by Berkley police to clear the park, we are forced to wonder if elected officials changed their minds or if someone within the city made a rogue decision? The order handed to protesters was not signed by any particular city department head (2). If the city previously decided to withdraw the permission they gave earlier, what was the process to withdraw that permission. Who, if not elected officials, runs the city of Berkeley?

“No one has permission to lodge in this park.” – From the order handed out by police (2)

Just who was it that took that permission away? What is most shocking about this eviction is that even city council members were surprised to learn police had distributed those walking papers.

“We have not received any official word from the city manager or the [police department] regarding the removal of the encampment. I honestly, at this time, cannot support the removal of the camp because I don’t know the reasons why.” – Berkeley City Council Member Jesse Arreguin (1)

Mr. Silver received the notice from a police officer (4), but that order was not at all clear who had decided to evict the park (2). Upon reading the letter, Mr. Silver asked the officer: “This is our Christmas present?” (4). although delivered by a police officer, it continues to be unclear who in the city ordered the eviction. As the police department had itself donated the Christmas tree seen in the encampment (4), it seems unlikely the order originated with the police.

Jesse Arreguin is not just a member of Berkeley city council; he was elected to that position by the people of district 4 where the city had previously permitted Occupy Berkeley to camp at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. (3) Previous to the eviction, he was working with Occupy Berkeley to improve health and safety issues not only in the encampment but in his community. Those efforts included advocacy for homeless people who had turned to Occupy Berkeley for food and shelter as well as orders to keep repeat trouble makers from the park. It was obvious to most that city council member Arreguin was not only responding to the needs of his district but to ensure that in doing so the message behind Occupy Berkeley would continue. Although Mr. Arreguin had provided his plan to interim City Manager Christine Daniel, he had not received a firm response prior to the eviction.

When Mr. Arreguin attempted to contact city officials after hearing of the decision to evict Occupy Berkeley, nobody was available to speak to him. He had hoped to have questions answered before attending Wednesday’s General Assembly where he would once again speak with protesters.

“I wish that as the elected official I had been informed. Other council members are also in the dark about this issue, even though we had requested at council meetings and in private to be informed prior to any plans to remove the camp.” – City Council member Jesse Arreguin. (1)

We to wish Mr. Arreguin had been informed. But more than that, we believe that as a representative of the people of district 4 his opinion should have been considered. As a representative of the people in the distract where Occupy Berkeley was encamped, his opinion would be important in a ‘representative democracy’. Unfortunately, in whatever form of government that is being practiced in Berkeley, Mr. Arreguin is a representative of the people in title only.

We have to ask, if elected officials are not running the city of Berkley, who is and why do the citizens of Berkeley bother to vote?

 

 

  1. The Daily Californian: Occupy Berkeley Protesters Handed Eviction Orders
  2. Notice and Warning given to Occupy Berkeley Protesters
  3. Jesse Arreguin’s Home Page
  4. East Bay: The Day After the Occupy Eviction

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Occupy Albany Eviction: Day and Night

Posted by troublemaker on December 25, 2011

It’s Christmas day and Dave Lucas would like you to come to Occupy Albany’s Christmas pot luck (1). It’s a reunion of sorts. Occupy Albany was evicted this past Friday, the day before Christmas Eve (2). Details of the eviction are wildly confused. Dave Lucas points out “there are two sides to every story” (3). While it is true that different perspectives on the same event can produce reports which are as different as day and night, the eviction of Albany literally involves a dispute over the timing being during the day or at night.

On one hand, we have the violent night time raid:

“A violent police raid on the Occupy Albany encampment on Thursday night [Dec. 22, 2011] ended with multiple injuries and arrests.” The Raw Story (2)

“After a move by Albany city officials to obtain an eviction order from a New York Supreme Court judge, referred to by occupiers as a “legal ambush,” ended in a melee at Academy Park Thursday night, and a brutal assault by local police.” (4)

Then we have a completely different story:

“The authorities came in daylight [Dec 22, 2011] on the day of the deadline, as they had said they would.” – Dave Lucas (3)

“Following the expiration of its permit Thursday morning, Occupy Albany was evicted from Academy Park that afternoon.” – All Over Albany (5)

Even the photos and video seem to provide a completely different story. At one point during the daylight hours, all tents seem to have been gone. But then there were other photos of protesters surrounding a tent at night and police tugging at that tent to take it down. I was starting to wonder if perhaps New York State had two different cities named Albany. Coffee flew from both nostrils when I discovered the truth behind the day / night eviction of Occupy Albany.

Occupy Albany has secured a permit allowing them to maintain as many as 30 tents in their encampment. That permit expired on the morning of December 22nd, 2011 when police moved in to clear any tent that remained. By afternoon, all the tents had been removed from the park. However, one of those tents was removed intact and erect by the protesters themselves. As a last show of defiance, they paraded that tent through the city of Albany.

“Then things went a bit crazy — Occupiers took their last tent on a tour of the city’s streets before returning to the park. That’s when police grabbed the last tent, the scene became chaotic, there was pepper spray, and a few arrests.” – All Over Albany (5)

From the many photos taken by All Over Albany, we know the press was allowed to document the event. From the story of the tent being paraded through the city, we know that most protesters with Occupy Albany have not only high spirits but a great sense of gonzo style humor. From the blog of someone who is directly involved with the encampment, we know police kept their word, arrived on time, and were mostly civil. Yes, a few people were pepper sprayed by police. Yes, at least one protester acted against a police officer on horseback. But for the most part, both sides seemed to have remained civil. Where some might believe that civility resulted in the crushing of Occupy Albany, I tend to thin it assured the movement’s continuation in Albany New York.

You see Occupy Albany acquired a permit for their encampment. That means the city of Albany; New York “permitted” the encampment. With evictions taking down Occupy encampments across the globe, it has become clear that the initial form of protest to “occupy” public spaces will no longer be “permitted”. Although we do not know the future of Occupy Albany, reports indicate that one of the few people pepper sprayed by police was a city council member. It seems obvious that working with the city during the occupation will go a great distance towards future efforts. Doing so causes officials to wonder if they are not themselves one of the 99%.

Thank you Occupy Albany for reminding us that humor is a wonderful tool in protest and that most police, city council members and even some mayors are themselves part of the 99%. Our hope for the New Year is that more media can report on both sides of the coin, day and night.

 

 

  1. Dave Lucas blogs about Occupy Albany
  2. The Raw Story: Brutal police raid brings Occupy Albany to an end
  3. Dave Lucas blogs about Occupy Albany eviction
  4. http://occupyamerica.crooksandliars.com/diane-sweet/occupy-albany-ends-after-brutal-police
  5. All Over Albany: The Eviction of Occupy Albany

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Occupy Louisville – January 2 Eviction

Posted by troublemaker on December 25, 2011

You don’t hear much about Occupy Louisville because from the beginning Occupy Louisville has played by the rules. Not only did they maintain a relationship with Chief of Police White, they secured necessary permits for their encampment, have worked to keep the site clean and safe, and have been respectful of city officials while attending the Louisville Metro Council meetings.

“It has acquired permits for the encampment, and has been open to meetings with metro works, built a relationship with former LMPD Chief White and even followed the rules when visiting Louisville Metro Council.” – Pam Jean of Louisville.com (1)

Permits in hand, Occupy Louisville has accomplished much more with their encampment than you’ve probably heard. With a full functioning kitchen, staffed first aid center, security tent, and media resource tent; Occupy Louisville has not only become its own community, it has become a valuable resource for the larger community. The Coalition for the Homeless has recently commented Occupy Louisville for providing for the area homeless (2). Seven Counties Services, which is in part funded by the Common Wealth, has visited the encampment and added to the praise provided by the Coalition for the Homeless.

Despite Occupy Louisville’s repeatedly demonstrated willingness to play by the rules, change has come to Louisville, KY and it seems the encampment might not be part of that city’s future. The rules and those who enforce them have changed. Chief White, who nurtured a relationship with Occupy Louisville, has left the Louisville Police Department (see Occupy Denver – We like snacks). Shortly thereafter, the city of Louisville informed protesters that although their permit will be renewed that permit will not allow tents, camping, or any of the other features of an encampment. When the permit allowing the encampment expires on January 1, 2012 Occupy Louisville may well be evicted.

“After meeting with city officials this past Friday, protesters were politely informed that their permit for Founders Square is getting renewed for 2012, but without any sort of structure to keep them warm at night. No reason was given for the city’s sudden change of heart”. – Pam Jean of Louisville.com (3)

Considering the language of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, we should be offended that any municipality would require a permit to peacefully assemble on public property. After all, the First Amendment makes it perfectly clear that such is the right of the people. If a person has a right to do something, permission is not needed. Camping might be another story and that is where the idea of permission (a permit) comes in.  Occupy Louisville recognized that, worked within the rules, and continues to try to work within those rules.

You see things like permits exist to request the right to do something above and beyond what is already guaranteed.  They exist to allow an activity which is not ordinarily allowed.  So when the city of Louisville says it will renew the permit for Occupy Louisville to continue the protest only without tents, what they are really saying is they will not be renewing their permit.

Previously, Occupy Louisville was allowed to set up tents in the city park.  That permit expires on January 1, 2012.  While the city claims it will renew the permit, it plans to specifically forbid tents and camping.  Protesters will be allowed to stay in the park 24 hours a day / 7 days a week but not allowed to take shelter from the cold, curl up in a sleeping bag, or take other steps to make a 24 hour protest possible.

“…protesters will be allowed to stay in the park 24 hours a day, seven days a week as long as no overnight camping takes place.” – Courier Journal (4)

Some Occupy encampments have gone the route of ignoring the permit process, ignoring the rules, and taking over areas for their encampments. Others have gone the route of playing by the rules and working with municipal governments. Evictions of encampments who did not obtain permits have shown us that many municipalities will not tolerate groups who do not secure proper permits.

The message being sent by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer seems to be that encampments willing to work with municipalities will no longer be tolerated either.

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  1. Louisville.com – Occupy Louisville facing potential eviction.  
  2. Louisville Homeless
  3. Louisville.com – Occupy Louisville prepares for eviction.
  4. Courier Journal on permit change.

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Huge retailers now scrambling

Posted by troublemaker on December 23, 2011

The broad message across Occupy Christmas has been to avoid gift shopping at major chain stores and to avoid using credit cards. We at OccupyChristmas.org have asked you to buy local. Other portions of the Occupy Christmas movement have asked you to buy American. North of the U.S. / Canadian border, Adbuster’s magazine has asked that Buy Nothing day be extended into a buy nothing Christmas. Maybe it is just a sluggish economy, but we like to think the occupation has been felt in lower corporate profits this year.

With only a couple days left before Christmas, the New York Times is reporting that in an effort to decrease the damage of an off season, major retailers are slashing prices far below anything expected. You will recall that this year’s Black Friday sales started on Thursday. Well, it seems like this year’s after Christmas sales have started before Christmas. The New York Times has reported Abercrombie & Fitch at 40% off that Ann Taylor is at 50%, the Gap is at a whopping 60%. (1)

“Aggressive last-minute deals in the days before Christmas are good for procrastinators, but they could be an alarm bell for the retail industry.” – New York Times (1)

Discounts across the entire store likely indicate Christmas shopping has been lower than expected. Retailers are willing to lower their prices dramatically prior to the end of the shopping season for two reasons. The first and most obvious is that they do not want to get stuck with unsold merchandise. The second and more obscured reason is consumer confidence which is often directly related to stock prices. When a corporation reports good Christmas sales, consumer confidence is boosted and stock prices tend to go up. Executives of major corporations are often stock holders themselves. If the stock goes up, even when it is not directly related to an increase in profit, the wealth of those executive who hold stock in that company goes up. When considering the sales figures from this Christmas season, it is important to keep an eye on profit rather than volume.

Although Black Friday volume was reportedly larger this season, remember that those huge sales not only started the day before but involved larger discounts than previous years. Despite looking good in the news, profits were driven down by larger discounts and expenses were driven up by the cost of opening earlier than previous years. In the case of retail giant Wal-Mart, it is tempting to claim that starting Black Friday sales on Thursday did not adversely affect profit as they are open 24 hours on a regular basis, that idea is offset by counting Thursdays sales as part of Black Friday reporting.

With large retailers starting their after Christmas sales before Christmas, it stands to reason that part of that effort is not only to eliminate excess inventory but to eliminate that inventory before the Christmas season closes. That way those sales are counted and reported as sales during the Christmas season, something with always finds its way into news media and the minds of potential stock holders.

“Plus, we’ve planned additional incredible values for shoppers visiting our stores on December 23 and 24 with buy one, get one 50%off deals, free gifts with purchase and significant discounts.” – Toys R Us(2)

In addition to offering deep discounts on the two days before Christmas, Toys R Us is offering 24 hour shopping. Macys Inc. has offered 24 hour shopping for the three days before Christmas at fourteen of its stores (3). It seems major retailers noticed the drop in volume shortly after Black Friday..

“A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.” – New York Times (4)

The decline in consumer spending at large retailers has not been limited to any one area. The Irish Times joins the New York Times in reporting a decrease in sales volumes over last year. (5) The Guardian is also reporting poor sales figures in the UK. (6)

“Sales at department stores fell by 5.4 per cent compared with a year earlier, although there was a 0.5 per cent rise compared with October.” – Irish Times (5)

With stock prices and executive bonuses riding on how the Christmas season is presented, there can be little doubt the spin will start soon. If they cannot spin it enough to hide decreased profits, it will likely be blamed on the global economic downturn. We tend to believe it has been a combination of events and circumstances. One of those being the heightening of consumer discontent with huge retail establishments. Many thanks to that Canadian magazine Adbustrs for kicking off the recent interest in consumer consciousness. Now let’s Occupy Christmas into the New Year and beyond.

We enter this brave new world with our eyes open.

 

  1. New York Times: Retailers Are Slashing Prices Ahead of Holiday)    
  2. Toys R Us – Last two days before Christmas
  3. Macys Inc – 24 hour store announcement
  4. New York Times: Super Saturday moved a week back.
  5. Irish Times
  6. The Guardian

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Occupy Dayton: Why I love it.

Posted by troublemaker on December 23, 2011

Our participation in Occupy Christmas does not include a Facebook page because there are so many other efforts on Facebook that reflect a very similar ideology. However, like most folk online all involved here keep in touch with Facebook and other social media. It was there on my personal Facebook page that I first commented on how much I love Occupy Dayton Ohio. Although hundreds of people often participate in their protests and marches, the encampment on their Facebook page seemed to consist of only five very dedicated individuals and a single tent. Why then, I respectfully joked, do they often use their Facebook page to ask for food for “…about six people”? I speculated that one of the protesters is extra special hungry or maybe the other protesters think one in their fold is entirely too thin. I might now have the answer to my question.

Today, while I was skimming newspaper reports on Occupy Dayton, I ran into those two numbers once again: six and five. On December 8, 2011 the Dayton Daily News reported that “5 Occupy Dayton members arrested” (1). The police agree that it was five protesters who were arrested.

“Dayton Police Lt. Kenneth Beall confirmed that the five individuals that were arrested were in the yard of the house and had set up a large tent.” (1)

What makes this particularly funny is that like my good humored jokes on my personal Facebook page, Occupy Dayton protesters informed the Dayton Daily News that the police were wrong. That in fact, there were six Occupy Dayton protesters who were arrested.

“The activists said they never intended to remain at the Seneca Drive location. It was an interim home while other arrangements were being made. The statement also indicated six arrests had been made, not five.” – (1)

Now that we have the police involved, only one answer makes sense. One of the protesters is pregnant. That would certainly explain one of the five protesters eating for two. With so much national debate over the abortion issue, surly their might be a person within Occupy Dayton who believes an unborn child is a person.

In truth, Occupy Dayton’s Facebook photos feature more than five people standing in their encampment. My jokes about there being only five core members who eat like six have been for the sake of humor and humor alone. In fact, I have a great deal of respect for Occupy Dayton campers because it takes a whole lot more fortitude to stand with small numbers than to stand with a large crowd. That is what this article is about; when standing up means standing alone. It is something that only a few people seem to be able to do. That is why the Occupy / 99% movement is so important. Not because of the numbers observed on the evening news, but because of the number of folk watching the evening news.

No matter how many people cram themselves into Zuccotti Park, no matter how many people camp in all of the Occupy encampments across the world, that number is tiny compared to the number of people who are now talking about the Occupy / 99% movement.  So while numbers in your photos might be small, please remember the difference you are making is huge.

Many thanks to Occupy Dayton Ohio and all of the other occupations which remain small in occupation numbers but who are making a big difference.  You are an inspiration for future occupations.

  1. Dayton Daily News: 5 Occupy Dayton members arrested

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The War on Christmas

Posted by troublemaker on December 23, 2011

Mike check. Mike check. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of the Press are each guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and by the laws of every civilized nation on this planet. This does not mean freedom of JUST your religion, freedom of JUST your speech, or freedom of JUST your press.

Evidently Bill O’Reilley is right. There is a “War on Christmas”. Waging that war seems to be one of the things some Occupy protesters, police, city officials, and even the owners of Zuccotti Park agree on. As you probably know, Occupy Wall Street was initially encamped on private property owned by Brookfield Office Properties. The property known as Zuccotti Park is now cleared of tents, camping equipment, tarps, and anything which might impede the general public from making full use of the park. Evidently, this also includes the occasional Christmas tree. The Atlantic Wire has reported that police stopped a Christmas tree from entering the park.

“The cop went and threw it on the curb, next to the street, and they stood it back up, and then another cop came and threw it by the garbage can,” – Tim Pool quoted by The Atlantic Wire (1)

The Atlantic Wire also reports that a Christian based religious group asked for permission to bring in food, beverages, chairs, musical instruments and other materials for a Christmas celebration. Evidently, Brookfield Office Properties and the City of New York does not feel the park should be used for such silly things as marking a national holiday.

Meanwhile, in the gossip pages (literally), we hear that Occupy Wall Street protesters are wildly opposed to such symbols of Christmas as a living nativity scene. Although filmed at Occupy DC, the protesters in the video clip are identified at being members of Occupy Wall Street. That same group whose Christmas tree was denied and who is not permitted to have a religious service on site for Christmas (2). The Blaze gives a much better presentation of what happened in Occupy DC.

According to The Blaze, responses to the living nativity scene were mixed. (3) While there were some protesters who wildly opposed the holiday message, some were completely surprised by those objections.

“I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s right on time. Christ is the reason for Christmas. I don’t know why [the other protester would] be offended.” The Blaze quotes a protester (3)

Although the anger expressed by some of the protesters is likely off putting to the majority of Americans who indeed celebrate the Christmas holiday as the birth of Christ, something more alarming is present in those few comments.

“It goes against what our Founding Fathers created in this country.” (3) – In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America assures not only the Freedom of Speech enjoyed by the person who made this comment, but the Freedom of Speech enjoyed by participants of that living Nativity Scene.

“I wouldn’t get up here and start preaching Islam to people. I wouldn’t because it’s not my place. It’s not your place either.” (3) – That protester might not be preaching Islam to people; with his participation in the Occupy movement he is certainly preaching an ideology.

After one protester asked: “Is that legal?” another protester responded “No check – go check.” (3) – Yes sir it is legal. Mike check. Mike check. Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech are the very foundation of Civil Rights within the United States of America and you are protesting in Washington DC. While the negative comments represent only a portion of the protesters involved in the Occupy / 99% movement, the basic concept of freedom of speech should be understood by all protesters.

 

  1. Atlantic Wire: The War on Occupy Christmas
  2. The Hollywood Gossip
  3. The Blaze

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Sit in and Knit in – Berkeley

Posted by troublemaker on December 20, 2011

Occupy Berkeley welcomes you to their “Sit In n Knit In” every Saturday from noon till 3:00 PM at the Berkeley encampment. If you can not participate in person, they are asking that you send gloves, hats, scarves, and other handmade cold weather wear. They will be sending these in care packages to Occupy Protesters facing a long cold winter. You can help the occupy movement by taken some time to polish your craft. What better way to Occupy Christmas?

For more information, visit: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/20/18703126.php

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