On January 17th, Occupy Wall Street goes to Washington. The 4th-month anniversary of the movement just happens to coincide with the day Congress comes back, and OWS wants a million tents there to set the tone for the session.
That’s ambitious, and it wouldn’t be out of line to question if it can be done. Just how big is the movement today? Nobody has more of a finger on the pulse than Firedoglake, and they put the number of active encampments at 61 this week. This number is in constant flux and may not reflect some smaller groups.
But the strength of the movement is measured in the many fronts on which news is happening and things are getting done. That’s why you read Occupy Fringe. Let’s see where things are, and have a little fun. Day 100 of The Occupation was celebrated on Christmas day. Here’s what was happening this week in Occupied America:
“We Are The 99%” has been chosen as the year’s top quote by a guy who chooses the year’s top quote.
The 99% celebrated Christmas in public spaces all over the country. In Zuccotti Park, now fenced off and tightly guarded, at huge cost to the city, demonstrators came together for a holiday celebration of companionship, singing, food, dancing, and police harassment. For some reason the NYPD can’t even explain, the cops decided to outlaw holiday snacks and cookies. New Yorkers, your tax dollars, are protecting you against cookies being served in the streets.
Down the street, protestors had a very special Christmas message for the New York Stock Exchange. Oh my!
That’s not in the spirit, you say? Salon says Christmas was traditionally about rebellingagainst authority.
You know you wanted one of these Lego Occupy Wall Street sets for Christmas.
The Occupy effort to save foreclosed homes is at a crossroads, but isn’t everything Occupy does always at the edge of what’s legal and possible? That’s the nature of a movement that tries to go where no one else is going. Here’s a snapshot of where the Occupy Homes Movement is.
Going into the second 100 days, Occupy is also an Education Justice campaign.
Here’s another front we’re fighting – Food Justice.
Of course feeding people has been a preoccupation of Occupiers since the beginning, and they’ve given out countless free meals to protestors, those without homes or food, and anyone else who wanted something. So Vancouver had a brilliant idea. All over America, cities are trying to turn people against the movement by publicizing the costs of policing. Vancouver has given out thousands of meals, along with medical care and sleeping accommodations for those the city would have had to serve, and in response to the city listing their (questionable) expenses, Occupy Vancouver is itemizing itemizing their services to the community and presenting the report to the public. I’d love to see Occupy groups all over the country fight back against this police cost propaganda by publicly establishing the dollar value of services they are providing the cities.
That, and 1st Amendment lawsuits. In many of those cities where arrests were made, cities are now having to defend themselves in court over free speech disputes. The cities will probably try to say these court cases are part of the cost too. Anyone who was paying attention saw this coming.
Financial reform, elections, homes, education, and food are all good ideas and important spaces. How does the movement stay a movement as it begins to diversify?
Here’s an example of how you’re going to see Occupy’s big footprint in the coming year(s), especially this year, election year. The SEC has a ridiculous system of mediating abuses by banks. They negotiate settlements with transgressive banks, allowing them to pay a fine that is a fraction of the money they pocketed. The banks go back to their business, admitting no guilt. Imagine you were to steal $1000, then a court secretly allowed you to pay a $50 fine with nothing on your record. Imagine you knew that was all that would happen to you when you committed the crime a 2nd time. Our legal system would fall apart.
Now, questions are being raised, and Spencer Bachus is pushing to have the Financial Services Committee look into this practice. Bachus is the third biggest recipient of Wall Street money in Congress, a Wall Street lap poodle of the highest order, and he is leading the charge. Don’t be fooled. The minute Wall Street feels there is no pressure, their trained dog will back off. Would this have even happened last year?
Expect more of these kinds of stories throughout the election year, but only if we keep the heat up. That’s why we Occupy.
Speaking of, this is a good example of how Republicans, the party most obviously in bed with Wall Street, can capture the high road and Congressional seats in November, 2012. The GOP is comfortable with anger. Democrats like to sit back and see which way the winds blow. The hurricane is already on us, and Democrats are in danger of letting Republicans claim this populist rage, leaving Obama and the Dems looking like they were the ones holding water for Wall Street. I’ve tried to let the President know my concerns, but I keep getting his answering service.
It may very well be we are seeing a huge shift in politics, away from right vs. left and toward people vs. corporatism. After generations as the obvious party of big business, all Republicans need is one year and one election to change history and position Democrats on the wrong side of it for decades if they position themselves as the party of the people in 2012. Democrats have so sold themselves out to Wall Street, they deserve the fall. But in the end it might not be their support of the 1% so much as their constant testing of the water that dooms them, as Republicans rush in, unafraid, and make a big show of pushing a few reforms.
Don’t believe me? In Iowa, an Occupy group is persuading Dem voters to give their vote to “Uncommitted” instead of to President Obama.
I’m sure the president reads this column and he’ll be calling me this week for advice.
I’ve been saving some of my favorite Occupy poster images as web graphics or printed a few of those considered in the public domain, so I know OWS has produced a vast collection of beautifully designed material and important informational material. I’d been wondering if anyone was archiving it. The New York Historical Society is working on it, and next month the Museum Of The City of New York has an exhibition planned. They’re not the only ones who know there is value in archiving this material.
If 86% of Americans think Wall Street has too much control over American life and politics, why are so many hesitating to back Occupy Wall Street. It’s a good question.
Seems like everyone has their own drone spy helicopter these days.
Occupiers came into the streets believing they can change the world. They also believed Radiohead was going to play a free concert just for them. It’s not that far of a reach. The band was on tour and they have been supportive of the movement. Here’s how the prankster who fooled the 99% did it.
Finally, it’s always interesting to see how the other side views Occupy. But I don’t know what to make of this. The author seems to believe the band Pfish, who he compares to Chinese Communists and masturbation enthusiasts, in their series of shows in New York this week are secretly colluding with Occupy Wall Street to stage an orgy of “a dangerous mix of sexual indulgence, marijuana crime and anti-American lyrical messages pumped out to audiences at ear-splitting levels.”
I can’t really tell if this article is real or a figment of my imagination, but if it really is happening, I need tickets.