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.

Occupy Atlanta saves Vet’s Home

Posted by troublemaker on December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas to Brigitte Walker from Occupy Atlanta. Although we cannot speak for Occupy Atlanta, we imagine that is what Brigitte Walker, her partner, and children are feeling now that their home was saved from JP Morgan – Chase’s eviction date of January 3, 2012. Thanks in large part to Occupy Atlanta; the gloom of an early January eviction will allow this Iraq war veteran to occupy Christmas in her own home.

Earlier we told you how JP Morgan – Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup have been accused of illegally foreclosing on homes belonging to US service members. In the case of JP Morgan – Chase, they admitted to their illegal conduct (see Illegal Foreclosures against U.S. Troops). That admission came only after a Congressional investigation and some very, very, damning statements made by Congressman Bob Filner of California.

“I would call it homicide…” – Congressman Bob Filner of California speaking of service member’s suicide after illegal foreclosure (1)

In the case of Brigitte Walker, JP Morgan – Chase broke no laws but their complete and utter contempt for civility should shock you. Brigitte Walker was medically retired against her wishes from the military after her spine was crushed in combat. Her income was cut in half (3). Although the same U.S. government that bailed out the big banks has demanded that banks explore refinancing when possible, no such miracle was in sight for Brigitte Walker. Believing full well she was about to be forced from her home, she had not so much as decorated for Christmas.

It would seem the corporate soul of JP Morgan – Chase has had a change of heart or at least a change of heart in cases where their Scrooge like conduct gets the attention of the public. When Occupy Atlanta began their occupation of Brigitte Walkers home on December 6, 2011 the eviction date was less than a month away. After only one week of public attention brought on by the occupation, JP Morgan – Chase began discussing loan modification. As of December 19, 2011 the loan modification has been accepted and the monthly payments have been reduced to an amount Brigitte Walker can afford. Within 13 days of the initial occupation, a veteran’s home was saved. (2) But how did Occupy Atlanta save Walker’s home?

“After two press conferences on her lawn, a national call in day, and direct action on Chase Bank, Occupy Atlanta did what Brigitte Walker couldn’t do in years, get a loan modification” – Occupy our Homes (3)

As Congress pointed out, JP Morgan –Chase and other banks do not care about their customers. In many cited cases, they do not care about laws created to protect their customers. As Occupy and other protests have pointed out, the banks do care about profit. We believe JP Morgan – Chase is responding to a clear message that their customers will no longer tolerate the abuse of their neighbors. In this instance, it was Occupy Atlanta which brought attention to the evil doings of the mortgage holder, but across the United States and in many other countries big banks are getting the message. So while we do give Occupy Atlanta much credit for saving Walker’s home, we feel it was the Occupy movement as a whole which has the banking community concerned about the repercussion of their Scrooge-like behavior.

“I strongly believe Occupy Atlanta accelerated the process and helped save my home,” – Brigitte Walker (2)

Recent victories like this mark a clear turning point in the Occupy and 99% movement. In just a few months, the voices of the Occupy Wall Street and 99% movement have started to turn the tables on the big banks and their Scrooge-like conduct. Banks are starting to realize that the consumers are in charge. They have started to recognize that we the people will respond to their immoral conduct by taking our business elsewhere. We believe banks have become afraid and we like that.

“Banks have been found, over and over again, to be breaking laws while they take our homes. We’ve got a new kind of bank robber – banks robbing our homes. Americans across the country are standing up. We’re defending our homes. We’ve decided to stand up and fight for what’s ours.” – Occupy Our Homes (3)

Please consider letting Retired Staff Sergeant Walker know you are thankful that her service allowed you to occupy your home and grateful that Occupy Atlanta’s service helped her to occupy her home. We strongly encourage Christmas Cards and well wishes be sent to:

Staff Sergeant Brigitte Walker

2607 South Hills Dr.

Riverdale, GA

Are you threatened by foreclosure?

Do not go quietly into the night.

Occupy our Homes is making real world efforts to bring the ideology of the Occupy and 99% movement to bare on the banks and mortgage companies. If nothing else, they can help share your store and reach out to a community of people who want to help. We encourage you to visit http://OccupyOurHomes.org and make contact with the folk there to see if they can help. If your home is not threatened by foreclosure, a visit to their site will help to explain why other homes in your community are. What is a community for if not for helping its members?

,

  1. Military News (Military.com) on Troop Suicide due to Foreclosure
  2. Huffington Post: Occupy Atlanta helps save Iraq war veteran’s home from foreclosure
  3. Occupy our Homes: VICTORY: Occupy Atlanta “Occupy Our Homes” Turning Point

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Occupy Denver – We like snacks.

Posted by troublemaker on December 20, 2011

Speaking about the Occupy Denver eviction now requires a version number. On November 12, 2011 they were evicted from Civic Center Park. They reoccupied.  The city re-evicted.  The latest reoccupation received another eviction notice, of sorts, on December 14, 2011. That notice demanded that all “encumbrances”  be removed from sidewalks and city right of ways by December 15, 2011. Today, right before midnight on December 19, 2011 Occupy Denver was evicted just in time for Christmas. Although official statements have not been made by the Denver Police Department, the Denver Post has reported no injuries to either protesters or police (1).

Earlier on Monday, Occupiers met with Denver’s new Chief of Police Robert White. Mr. White was sworn in as Denver’s Chief of Police just seven days earlier on December 12, 2011(2). Chief White replaced Gerald Whitman who was the Chief of Police during the first Occupy Denver eviction.

“Robert White was sworn in as Denver’s police chief today, vowing to improve the department and regain the community’s trust after a string of high-profile police brutality cases.” Denver Post (2)

During that meeting, the protesters refused to remove their tents and the Chief of Police refused to allow those tents to remain. The meeting ended unproductively and the occupiers asked if they could take with them the snack trays that the city had provided for the meeting. Of course they did. These are the folk who sent a rather clear message by electing a dog as their leader in response to the Mayor’s insistence that they provide a spokesperson. Of course a second message could be seen in the snack tray request; we like to snack.

“The protesters left the meeting disgusted, calling it “incredibly unproductive.” and asking if they could take the crackers, fruits and veggie trays.” – (1)

What police Chief Robert White and the City of Denver does not seem to understand is Occupy Denver has learned what my seven year old daughter seems to know innately. Neither the Denver Police Department, nor the City of Denver, nor in the case of my daughter her parents; are allowed to inflict any serious harm. Sure, the authority figure can take their toys away. But when all is said and done, the cogs of logic have already turned in the minds of Occupy Denver. Spreading their message is worth the momentary inconveniences that the City of Denver and its police department may inflict.

According to the order to remove “encumbrances” that was circulated on December 14, 2011; protesters can face a fine of up to $999.00 and / or spend a year in prison (3). While I speculate that many protesters believe it is well worth a year in prison to participate in such a historic event, I cannot imagine the City of Denver wanting to fund the appeals that such a sentence would undoubtedly meet. Although it is written into the laws of Denver, such a punishment seems certainly to be ‘unusual’. Well, unless homeless people huddling under a cardboard box are routinely thrown into prison for a year.

It is this type of realization which makes the entire Occupy and 99% movement possible. It is the discovery that authority is always conditional. No matter what the threat of authority is, if a person is willing to risk the consequences s/he may always refuse the orders of authority. You can elect a dog; you can ask the Chief of Police for snacks, you can Occupy Denver. While authority might lash at a few tactics, they cannot silence people who have realized authority is conditional.  Occupy Denver has figured that out.  Now why is it the city seems to have such a hard time understanding.

“If we are evicted, this will be the fifth time the DPD has forcibly removed the Occupation – a tactic which clearly has not been an effective resolution in the past.” – From OccupyDenver.org (4)

 

  1. Denver Post reports Occupy Denver eviction of 12/19/2011
  2. Denver Post reports Chief of Police Robert White sworn in.
  3. Photograph of notice to remove encumbrances
  4. Occupy Denver: Statement on Occupy Denver’s Meeting with Chief White

Posted in Action / Protest Updates | 2 Comments »

Occupy Denver – Eviction II

Posted by troublemaker on December 15, 2011

On December 14, Occupy Denver participants received notice that the Department of Public Works will begin removing “encumbrances” from the sidewalks on December 15th at 10 AM. That notice warns that a person can be put in jail for up to a year and fined up to $999.00 for placing anything on the sidewalk, park, or other city property.(1) In response, Occupy Denver is asking for tools and lumber with which they say they will further fortify their encampment and refuse to leave. (2) Presumably, this request is coming from their stated leader, Shelby T Dog. Previously, Occupy Denver was evicted on November 12 when seventeen protesters were arrested as police emptied the encampment at Civic Center Park. The eviction took place after several discussions with Denver’s mayor in which no resolution was had. This is perhaps because the stated leader of Occupy Denver, Shelby T. Dog, cannot speak English.

“CDN is seeking information on Occupy Denver’s next steps, but Shelby T. Dog, the canine elected-leader of the Occupy Denver movement has not immediately been made available for comment.” – CDN reports

Occupy Denver, more than other branches of the Occupy / 99% movement has relied heavily on good humored shenanigans. Being a landlocked city, when the call came out to block the West Coast Ports, Occupy Denver responded in solidarity by blocking a Wal-Mart distribution center. (4) They have affirmed and reaffirmed their dedication to non-violence on several occasions. Police report that the great majority of the protesters have conducted themselves civilly. And yet there is a noticeable level of fear in the minds of police. During the previous eviction, a photograph documents that at least one police officer leveled his or her gun at a photographer as if to warn not to document the eviction (5).

I sincerely hope Occupy Denver continues its dedication to non-violence, but I do worry that police might over react to a fortified encampment

 

 

 

  1. http://occupydenver.org/occupy-denver-just-recieved-another-eviction-notice/
  2. http://occupydenver.org/occupy-denver-to-be-evicted-again-stand-with-us/
  3. http://conservativedailynews.com/2011/11/live-stream-denver-pd-in-riot-gear-to-remove-occupy-denver/
  4. http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/12/12/occupy-protesters-target-walmart-distribution-center-in-loveland/
  5. http://occupychristmas.org/2011/10/police-raise-guns-occupy-denver/

Posted in Action / Protest Updates | 1 Comment »

West Coast Ports shut down 12/12

Posted by troublemaker on December 12, 2011

You might recall that on the day of the first Occupy inspired General Strike (November 2, 2011), the Port of Oakland was effectively shut down. It is likely that Port Oakland will again be shut down on December 12, 2012 as part of an Occupy inspired blockade of all west coast ports. In contrast to the shutting down of a single port on November 2, today’s blockade is not part of a larger action like a general strike. Although the general message of the Occupy movement sings loud and clear in today’s blockade, there seems to be only one specific demand. That demand being that the blockade is allowed to take place.

“In the event of police repression of any of the mobilizations, shutdown actions may be extended to multiple days.” – (1)

As the language at the http://westcoastportshutdown.org is rather clear that the intent of this blockade (99%) is to cause harm to the rich (1%), the reality of what is taking place may remain unknown until historians address the times in which we live. While a short sited view of this blockade might seem like the poor lashing out at the rich, events such as these are what led to the American Revolution itself. Interfering with consumer goods entering the colonies was the very intent of the now infamous Boston Tea Party.

Although opposition might well claim such an action will seriously damage the already troubled U.S. economy, in the grand scope of international trade entering and leaving the U.S. West Coast ports, a single day of shut down is little more than a hiccup when it comes to moving goods. However, the message behind the action is earth trembling. That message is that it is entirely possible to accomplish a port shut down. The message is that government and Corporate America should fear its people.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson (2)

Where protesters are flexing their muscles in blockading the West Coast Ports, we continue to ask that our readers flex their muscles as consumers. We continue to ask you to Occupy Christmas. Although it might not seem on the surface as if consumer choice is equivalent to blockading all the West Coast ports, remember that in Corporate America it is all about the money.

When consumers fear their Corporations, there is poverty; when the corporations fear its consumers, there is prosperity – Occupy Christmas

More information as the blockade continues. Please consider following today’s ongoing commenting and calls to action: Click here.

 

 

  1. http://westcoastportshutdown.org/content/call-action
  2.  

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Cleveland, Ohio votes in support for Occupy

Posted by troublemaker on December 12, 2011

Chances are you have heard that the Occupy Movement is a collective of dirty hippies who do not want to go out and get a job. Why then would Cleveland, Ohio officially endorse the underline message of not only Occupy Cleveland but the whole of the Occupy movement? The following resolution was adopted by City Council and promptly forwarded to the President of the United States as well as each and every member of Congress. It began as protesters demanding change. It has grown into entire cities demanding change.

Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland’s Resolution No. 1720-11

Council Members Cummins, Westbrook,Zone, Cimperman, Cleveland, Mitchell,J. Johnson, Brancatelli, Brady, Polensek, Pruitt, Conwell, K. Johnson, Dow. FOR ADOPTION December 5, 2012

AN EMERGENCY RESOLUTION

Recognizing and supporting the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal,state and local levels; committing to work with the Jackson administration to take steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City of Cleveland; and requesting our County, State and U.S. elected leaders generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.

WHEREAS, Cleveland community members, like others across the United States, are frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual, family, small local business and City finances, and our community’s quality of life, and are participating in Occupy protests to make their voices heard; and

WHEREAS, the economic roots of these protests are varied, including sustained unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, and unjust tax systems, that all contribute to ongoing wealth disparities; and

WHEREAS, the political roots of these protests are also varied, including the growing political power of corporations, influence of money on elections and public policy and inability of average citizens to have their voices heard and needs met through formal political forums,thus contributing to citizens pursuing alternative political arenas; and

WHEREAS, this prolonged economic downturn has hurt nearly all Americans, in the areas of wealth loss, unemployment, and housing access, it has taken an even greater toll on people of color and women. Women are 29% more likely to be poor than men. The poverty rate for single mother families has increased to 40.7%. Economic gains made by people of color since the Civil Rights Movement have been substantially reduced by the Great Recession; and Caucasian Americans experienced a net wealth loss of 16 percent from 2005 to 2009. African Americans lost about half of their wealth and Latinos lost two-thirds of their wealth in this same period [Ref: Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010]

WHEREAS, more than 25 million Americans are unemployed and seeking work; more than 50 million Americans are living without health insurance; and, more than one in five American children are growing up in households living in poverty without sufficient resources tomeet basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter

[Ref: unemployed defined as unemployed,marginally attached to the labor force, or working only part-time for economic reasons, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-15.Alternative measures of labor underutilization];

and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in its report, a “CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report – United States, 2011″ documents that income inequality in the United States is the highest among advanced industrialized nations, with wide-spread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race, and gender; and

WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to the top1% of Americans, who now control 43% of the total net wealth, and to the next 19% on the top that control 50% of the wealth in the United States (top 20% controls 93% of wealth with the bottom 80% controlling only 7%) due in part to public policies that can be changed

[Ref:Wealth Income and Power , by G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz, 2011]

; and

WHEREAS, one of the largest problems distressing our economy is the prolonged foreclosure crisis, with many owners struggling to obtain loan adjustments and too many banks continuing the use of flawed review procedures which end up flooding the housing market with foreclosures and result in blighted and de-valued housing stock due to the high number of properties being left vacant and abandoned and poorly maintained; and

WHEREAS, the Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria metropolitan area has been particularly hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, ranking 27th of 366 metropolitan statistical areas in the rate of foreclosures (8.2%) according to a March, 2011 ranking compiled by an analysis of LPS Applied Analytics Data by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); and

WHEREAS, the Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria metropolitan areas ranked eighth amongst the nation’s 25 largest metro areas in its percentage of underwater mortgages (41.5%) according to third quarter 2011 data provided by Zillow Real Estate Market reports; and

WHEREAS, local governments are straining under the increasing weight of responsibility to provide for basic support services at a time of declining tax revenues and as a result of budget reductions by the state and federal government; and

WHEREAS, the structural causes of the economic crisis facing our society require decisive and sustained action at the national and state levels. Cities are harmed by the crisis and must play an important role in the development of public policy to address it; and

WHEREAS, this Council commits to working with the Jackson administration to continue taking steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City by:

1. following the City’s Community Reinvestment Act practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that demonstrate strong support for our community. The Council may also consider future legislation to promote responsible banking and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our City, particularly with regard to stabilizing the housing market and supporting the creation of new businesses. This review should include evaluating City policies on responsible depositing and management of City funds;

2. examining the number of home foreclosures in Cleveland, the geographic neighborhoods in which the foreclosures are occurring, and lender information on homes involved in the foreclosure process, including real estate owned homes; working with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, the City of Cleveland Housing Court, and Case Western Reserve University’s NEOCanDo to gather qualitative data on the circumstances and causes of foreclosures and the foreclosure methods and practices of lenders, including reviewing apparent inequities many people in Cleveland face when lender foreclosure proceedings occur;

3. consulting with advocates of tax reform and experts on equitable taxation and review past tax reform efforts in order to work effectively with the County and State Legislature towarda more equitable tax structure;

4. as federal and state assistance dwindles, continuing to use available resources to provide assistance for the most vulnerable people in Cleveland; and

5. because reforms in education and career preparation are essential for building a viable future and disparities in these areas begin very early in life and often continue through adulthood,seeking maximum possible funding for Early Learning and Basic Education in the State Legislative Agenda; and recognizing the critical importance of supporting community colleges,technical colleges, and state universities as they provide access to retraining and workforce development opportunities; and

WHEREAS, Congress must generate solutions for economically distressed Americans by:

1. Supporting job creation, making substantial investments in the nation’s critical physical and technological infrastructure, and reducing the deficit by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation and by allowing the 2010 extension of President Bush’s tax cuts to expire in 2012 as the law currently requires;

2. Tightening regulation of the banking and financial sector, including adoption of new rules and vigorous investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporations that violate the fraud, theft, and securities laws; and

3. Retaining or increasing community-building block grants for local schools and social services and protect public education from devastating cuts and prevent tuition levels that block fair access to higher education; and

WHEREAS, this Council does not condone actions that infringe upon the lawful rights of others, obstruct or interfere with the efforts of law enforcement officers to protect such rights, or cause personal injury or property destruction; and

WHEREAS, Americans can and must resolve the divisive economic and social realitiesfacing our nation in a peaceful way that honors our commitment to democracy, equality and justice; and

WHEREAS, this resolution constitutes an emergency measure for the immediate preservation of public peace, property, health, or safety, now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:

Section 1. That this Council recognizes and supports the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels.

Section 2. That this Council commits to working with the Jackson administration to continue taking steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City of Cleveland.

Section 3.

That this Council requests our Congressional leaders generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.

Section 4.

That the Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to President Barack Obama and all members of the U.S. Congress.

Section 5.

That this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its adoption and approval by the Mayor; otherwise, it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

BC:rns12/5/11

SLF ®12/5/2011 6:17 PM

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Students Occupy Christmas

Posted by troublemaker on December 9, 2011

Reader Action Requested: If, after reading this article and the article at the Benicia Herald,  you agree with Tori Compton, that Christmas and other holiday decorations should be allowed in public schools to promote cultural awareness, please add supporting comments of support to the article at the Benicia Herald.

When you think about Occupy protesters, does your mind picture clean cut students protesting to return Christmas ornaments to their high school? Meet Senior Tori Compton who was moved to protest after her high school removed all signs of the Christmas season from Benicia High School. What is a socially aware girl to do but “Occupy Christmas”? That is exactly what Tori Compton did. In the spirit of peaceful protest, Tori sat down next to her miniature Christmas tree with a homemade sign. That sign included respects to not only the cultural holiday of Christmas, but religious holidays which occupy the same season, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Words denoting Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and others are enshrined on that sigh with words like peace and love. What better message for the Christmas season?

Her message was that there is nothing wrong with Christmas. She’s right. Although my family does celebrate Christmas by marking the birth of Christ, there is nothing Christian about Santa Clause, reindeer, or Christmas trees. In fact, all three of these Christmas inclusions have rather clear roots in the pagan religions of the Germanic tribes. I believe kissing under mistletoe came from the pre-Christian Celtic tribes. Like German chocolate cake, today’s Christmas is rooted in the traditions of many entirely separate religions. If you do not believe me, take a trip to Germany and find a coconut tree.

In the United States, Christmas was designated a national holiday by Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870. This was possible in a country where “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” because it was respected as a cultural holiday rather than a religious holiday.

Tori Compton was quickly joined by more than a dozen other students of Benicia High School. Their message is simple; marking the holidays of one group does not detract from another group. Reading her story, I was reminded of a Christmas when I was in grade school. My Roman Catholic mother volunteered to help decorate the school for the holidays. Her friend, who was my best friend’s mother, commented on the lack of decorations denoting Hanukkah. My childhood was interesting. My best friend was Jewish, my neighbors were Hindu, and my neighbor’s daughter was rebelling against traditional Hindu teachings by embracing the Krishna consciousness movement. Did I mention our neighbor’s daughter was also my baby sitter? I believe I remember attending a makeshift funeral for James Douglas Morrison. That is what the season is about, neighbors embracing each other’s differences in the spirit of what can currently best be described as Christmas.

Where some might argue that the school should not promote a holiday which so many view as being anything but secular, it is important to point out the decorations were arranged by a ‘student leadership group’ (3).

According to Keri Luiz, Assistant Editor the Benicia Herald, the school took down the decorations after complaints about “cultural insensitivity” (4) In a country often described as a melting pot, one has to wonder how removing Christmas decorations would be considered the culturally sensitive thing to do. Unless, of course, the sensitive thing to do is to denigrate a cultural holiday. Instead, it would seem the “culturally sensitive” thing to do would be to embrace the true message of the season. That message being brotherly love. Instead of casting out the Christmas decorations, invite students to participate in the recognition of other cultural and religious holidays. After all, school exists for the purpose of educating students not only about their own culture but about others.

Instead of asking our schools to teach tolerance for cultural religious and religious holidays belonging to cultures and religions that students do not, I suggest schools “occupy” those holidays as a form of education and a furtherance of our cultures goal of living in peace and harmony with one another.

Fortunately for the holiday spirits at Benicia High School, the protest worked.  It drew attention to the issue, a vote was held, and the decorations were returned. (3)  However, one has to wonder what is taking place in public schools across the nation.  Maybe our schools have found a potential leader in that area.  Maybe students at other schools can should follow Tori Compton’s lead and Occupy Christmas.

A commenter at Benicia Patch opened with: “Hey kids, welcome to the “adult” world…”.  As if evolution is not taught in public school, the commenter went on to talking about having an “evolution tree”. (5)  I think I’d open with: “Hey adults, look what these kids are doing.  Think maybe we can be more like them?”

Thank you Tori Compton and fellow protesters of Benicia High School for not only occupying Christmas but for reminding me that in the sea of angry protests, that there are those sweet voices with really beckon a person to truly occupy Christmas. Thank you Keri Luiz and the Benicia Herald for causing us to find the story where other news media might have overlooked it. Hopefully that will change soon.

 

Look for an update to this story – Although I would like very much to interview this young lady and those who have joined her, I was raised Catholic and continue to mark the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th. I will be asking one of our participants who is a Buddhist to see if she can arrange an interview and look forward to what comes of it. Somehow I do not think a Buddhist will be horribly offended.

 

 

  1. Wikipedia on US Federal Holidays
  2. Wikipedia on the First Amendment
  3. Yahoo News on Benicia High School Occupy Christmas Protest
  4. Benicia Herald: Students Occupy Christmas
  5. Benicia Patch

Posted in Action / Protest Updates | 1 Comment »

Scrooge, Grinch, Adbuster, and Serenity

Posted by troublemaker on December 9, 2011

Many thanks to Lauren Bercovitch, the production manager at Adbusters Media Foundation, for not only joining the “Occupy Christmas” movement but for indicating publicly that Adbusters and #OccupyXmas is moving away from the “Grinch” that Michael Mulvey, University of Ottawa marketing professor, warns of. Although she continues to refer to the movement Adbuster’s titled ‘Buy Nothing Christmas”, she is now clearly expressing the ideology spoken about here and elsewhere within the Occupy Christmas movement.

“I think there are many different things that people can do on many different levels—it’s a personal thing,” stated Bercovitch. “[It could be] something as simple as buying locally—going out and putting money into your local economy—or making your Christmas presents.” – Bercovitch quoted by Keeton Wilcock at The Fulcrum (1)

Ebenezer Scrooge decided to Occupy Christmas

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of John Leech

Previously, Adbusters Magazine promoted a “Buy Nothing Christmas”. Remnants of that feeling can still be found in the title of the Buy Nothing Day Campaign, it is present in the links to the page and in the page title. The page ends with a call for shenanigans beginning on Black Friday after a call for “Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams!”. (2) With respect, I don’t even understand most of these terms.

While Keeton Wilcock’s contribution to The Fulcrum (1) gave a fair voice to Adbusters, a previous article by Kyle Hansford also on the Fulcrum blasted Adbusters and the Occupy movement for the author seems to feel was a very Grinch / Scrooge like stance (3).  We feel the change of tone in which The Fulcrum addressed Adbuster’s was in response to Adbusters apparent new tone about Christmas.  Let’s face it, most people in North America are willing to defend Christmas.  That now includes Lauren Bercovitch.

Reading Lauren Bercovitch say she is involved in “Occupy Christmas” and encouraging local shopping was kin to watching the scene in A Christmas Carol when Ebenezer Scrooge shows up at the Cratchett’s home with gifts and a huge turkey. It was like watching the Grinch hear the Whos continue to sing about the joys of Christmas despite having no presents under their trees.

While we would love to take credit for Lauren’s apparent change of heart, no one site or person is Occupy Christmas. Although only our truly geeky readers will understand this, Occupy Christmas is a signal and as my all-time favorite Serenity quote says: “You can’t Stop the Signal.”

Merry Christmas! Occupy Christmas! I got my gift early! Thank you Lauren Bercovitch!

P.S. If Lauren Bercovitch and Adbusters Magazine would really like to put a present under my Christmas tree, they will remove the words “Buy Nothing Christmas” from their campaign page and promote local economy, independent business, artists, crafts, and performers by encouraging their patronage this holiday season and beyond.

  1. The Folcrum on An Occupied Christmas
  2. Adbusters ‘Buy Nothing Christmas’
  3. The Folcrum on Buy Nothing, Fight the Power

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Occupy X-Mas changes tone

Posted by troublemaker on December 6, 2011

Before beginning the body of this post, we have to be absolutely clear that when we reference Occupy Christmas we are not speaking about any one person, web site, or collective. Likewise, when we use the term Occupy X-Mas we are not making reference to a specific person, web site, or collective. Instead, we are observing that as the movements have grown there has been a distinct difference between the approaches used by folk who have used the two differing titles.

Occupy Christmas – Most efforts which have used the term Occupy Christmas have been focused on the message of Charles Dickens found in A Christmas Carol. We would like people to continue to celebrate the holiday but focus more on family and neighbors. Instead of purchasing gifts from huge incorporations, we encourage shopping local businesses, artists, and crafts folk. Instead of taking the family to the latest block buster movies, we encourage participation in local productions and holiday events. There was no central point at which a person can say Occupy Christmas began. Instead, the many people and collectives which choose to use the term “Occupy Christmas” spread a message which is at least as old as works such as A Christmas Carol.

Occupy Xmas – Occupy Xmas has a more formal beginning with Adbusters as #OccupyXmas. For about twenty years, Adbusters magazine promoted Buy Nothing Day. This year, Adbusters expanded that protest from what had become a Black Friday protest into; “Buy nothing Christmas” and asking for “Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams!” (1) As the term “Occupy Xmas” started to be used by folk other than Adbusters, it initially denoted the idea that Christmas gift buying should be boycotted entirely and replaced with the those “Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams!” (1) They’d called for and promised.

As Christmas approaches, Occupy Xmas approach seem to be changing. Not so much with the origin of that school of thought. Adbusters continues to call for a “Buy Nothing Christmas”, but among the many people who use the term Occupy Xmas, the tone of folk who use the term Occupy X-mas has changed substantially. In reply to an article referencing one of the expressions of Occupy Christmas at Facebook(2), someone claiming to be with http://OccupyXmas.net made the following statement:

“Redirecting economic resources into small businesses is what http://occupyxmas.net is all about.” – Comment by OccupyXmas.net

Bravo Occupy X-mas! Although the term continues to be used primarily to denote something kin to the original ‘Buy nothing Christmas’ message of #OccupyXmas, this portion of the Occupy Christmas movement is happy to have you aboard.

 

 

  1. Adbuster’s #OccupyXmas / Buy Nothing Christmas
  2. Occupy Christmas expression on Facebook
  3. Article on Occupy Christmas at Garner News

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32,500 in New York City Protest

Posted by troublemaker on November 21, 2011

November 17, 2011 was indeed a “day of action”. In New York City, the crowd peeked at 32,500 (1) That estimation was made by the New York Police Department. The mass demonstration blocked bridges and key access points, sending a clear message to authorities. That message is that the city of New York simply cannot put down the will of its people. Protests across the country and across the world are sending the same message. Occupy and the 99% movement is just two months old and its opposition can do little if anything to impede its growth.

“We are the 99% and we are here to reclaim our democracy.”

Where the opposition claims the movement is a communist plot, protesters demand “We are the 99% and we are here to reclaim our democracy.” (1) Where the opposition claims the movement is violent, protesters sit peacefully even when assaulted with pepper spray by police to illustrate that although there are trouble makers in every crowd, the movement itself is overwhelmingly peaceful. So what can the money traders do? For now, they may do whatever they like. Although a demonstration of 32,000 people is impressive, it does nothing to take power away from those who corrupt our democracy. Although the protests are a tremendous vehicle by which the message can be delivered, without action that message is just words.

While some might observe that the protests are getting the attention of politicians, there is a much faster avenue to facilitate change. Do petition your government. Do vote in democratic elections. But also vote with each and every dollar you spend. You see that is where the real power base is. Take away the money and you take away the fiscal powers exert on our leaders. In short, spend less and spend wisely.

Thank you Occupy Wall Street for sending the message. Now it is time for those of us who have listened to get to work. Occupy Christmas and send a clear message.

 

 

  1. Occupy Wall Street

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New York Mayor Ignores Court Order

Posted by troublemaker on November 15, 2011

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, on orders from Mayor Bloomberg, Zuccotti Park was cleared by police dressed in riot gear.  The air space was made free of news helicopters and the press was kept from photographing, video taping, or otherwise recording the event from within the park or surrounding area.(1) Hundreds of arrests were made, including the arrest of Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez who was present at Zuccotti Park at the time of the raid(2).  Obviously, there are members of New York government who were strongly opposed to the mayors decision.

After the clean up, the park was reopened to the public.  Protesters were welcome back in but they were not allowed to bring tents, tarps, or other camping equipment.  But not for long.

6:30 AM – Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings signs court order which makes it clear that not only will protesters be allowed back into the park, but they may bring their “tents and other property” (2)  However, in what seems to be a response to the court order Mayor Bloomberg ordered Zuccotti Park again closed.  Protesters are expected to obey the orders of police but police and the mayor refuse to comply with a court order issued by a Supreme Court Justice?

Mayor Bloomberg has been clear.  Although ignoring the Constitutional guarantee that the people may peacefully assemble might be a problem with interpretation, the order issued by a supreme court justice was very, very clear.  As police have a duty to enforce court orders, one wonders if Mayor Bloomberg will be the next to be arrested.

 

1)  Occupy Christmas

2) New York Daily News

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