Posts Tagged ‘Direct Action’

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines


Members of the Cruz family and Occupy Homes MN hold up petitions of support signed by 175,000 people. Photo: Occupy Homes MN

This week in Occupy, the Cruz family was rebuffed by PNC Bank, Rio + 20 was mic-checked and #occupied, Egyptians took to the streets to demand an election and occupiers nationwide saw convictions and dismissals stemming from last Fall’s raids and evictions.

#On June 21, members of the Cruz family caravaned to PNC Bank headquarters in Pittsburgh to try and meet with bank executives to rectify the glitch that put the Cruzes on the path to foreclosure. After a rally staged by Occupy Pittsburgh, the bank informed the family there was nothing they could do, blaming the problem on poor communication by Freddie Mac. The Cruzes returned the next day, only to be threatened by security. “We’re just another number for a bank,” Alejandra Cruz said. “They don’t really care about people.”

A sign is floated above the Cruz family home in South Minneapolis. Photo: Occupy Homes MN

#Back at the Cruz home in South Minneapolis, a rally in protest of the bank’s inaction resulted in the arrest of 13, including local rapper Brother Ali. In Atlanta, about 30 people from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta entered a Buckhead branch of a PNC Bank to protest the bank’s treatment of the Cruzes. Solidarity rallies were planned in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Gainesville, Greensboro, Milwaukee, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

#Nine days after the dissolution of the Egyptian Parliament – after which hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into Tahrir Square demanding that generals cede power to elected civilians at the end of the month as they had promised – Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was officially recognized as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election.

#Two members of the Occupy Movement disrupted the final press briefing of the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development, denouncing the final document as not representative of the voices in struggle against the degradation of the environment, a conclusion also arrived at by several NGOs. Occupiers then held a Peoples’ Assembly on the UN summit grounds for three hours, during which activists, including Bill McKibben, concluded the summit was a failure. There were no arrests.

Supporters gather at the Hartford Community Court in support of an Occupy Hartford member arrested for recording the police.

#Seven Occupy Wall Street protesters – including Episcopal bishop George Packardwere convicted for trespassing on property allegedly owned by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal church and powerful Lower Manhattan landlord, during an action on December 17. An eighth defendant, Mark Adams, was convicted of trespassing, attempted criminal mischief and attempted possession of burglary tools, making him Occupy Wall Street’s first activist convicted and sentenced to jail time in a group trial.

#Eleven Occupy DC members have been convicted of disobeying police after they attempted to build a wooden structure, dubbed the “Occubarn,” in McPherson Square in December.

#Charges have been dropped against the final Occupy Phoenix protesters accused of trespassing and loitering at Margaret T. Hance Park in mid-October.

#The city of Houston has dismissed the misdemeanor charges against six of the eight Occupy Houston protesters arrested in Tranquility Park in November.

Photo: MicCheckz

#The U.C. Board of Regents has dropped its lawsuit against 15 members of Occupy the Farm arrested during the May 9 raid of the Gill Tract, an #occupied parcel of land owned by U.C. Berkeley. “We are not at all surprised that U.C. has walked away from what amounts to a frivolous lawsuit against a group of community activists committed to promoting sustainable urban agriculture on public lands,” Stefanie Rawlings, one of the lawsuit defendants, said in a statement.

#Occupy Wall Street made a surprise appearance at the annual Mermaid Parade on Coney Island, a summer staple that pays homage to the Coney Island Mardi Gras parades of the early 20th century.

#The California Nurses Association launched their statewide Medicare For All Tour in San Diego on June 19. The traveling clinic, which will offer health screenings, wraps up in West Covina on July 12.

Egypt, June 22. Photo: Asmaa Waguih

#George Martinez, a Brooklyn Congressional candidate running on an Occupy platform, caught his opponent in a lie during a televised debate. Despite her claim to the contrary, she did, in fact, vote to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

#After Occupy Riverdale spent the month of June fighting to save 37 families from homelessness, the Riverdale Mobile Home Village in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, was demolished to make way for a pumping station to withdraw up to three million gallons of water a day to natural gas companies that use fracking.

#Seventeen members of Occupy New Hampshire appeared in court to face curfew violations stemming from the eviction of their Veteran’s Park encampment in October. As a defense, they used the Right of Revolution, as set forth in New Hampshire’s constitution.

#Cameron Whitten, a former Occupy candidate for mayor of Portland, Oregon, has been on a hunger strike for nearly a month in an attempt to highlight housing issues.

#A month and a half after police swept away the last of Occupy Lincoln, Nebraska, a 3-foot-tall marijuana plant has cropped up in its place.

OccuPride #occupied the San Francisco Pride Parade. Photo: Liz Highleyman

#A hundred members of OccuPride, the Occupy movement for Gay Pride, temporarily blocked the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and staged their own demonstration.

#Members of the national Occupy Movement joined Occupy Birmingham to protest in front of Alabama Power in an attempt to persuade the utility to stop lobbying against the Clean Air Act.

#On June 19, Occupy LA, Veterans for Peace, Arlington West and Code Pink staged a protest against the U.S. war economy in front of weapons manufacturers in El Segundo.

#The Occupy Upstate Conference was hosted in the aptly named Perseverance Park in Syracuse on June 16. Among the attendees was former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis.

#Occupy Chicago is working to help employees of a staffing agency that abruptly closed, leaving employees without jobs and owed wages.

Two women protest male lawmakers' juvenile censorship of their female counterparts. Occupy Dallas

#Parents protesting the closure of five Oakland elementary schools that predominantly serve under-represented minority groups have built an encampment at Lakeview Elementary, which they have #occupied for the past ten days despite being ordered to disperse by the school district police force. On June 23, nearly 200 protestors showed up for a 1.7 mile protest march.

#On July 4, #MicCheckWallSt, a Seattle-based think tank, will be throwing thousands of dollar bills into the streets of Seattle printed with messages urging a ban on corporate money in elections. A #MicCheckWallSt casserole march on June 20 ended with police brutality.

#The Occupy-spearheaded rise of alternative education continues, as the Occupy Los Angeles Freedom School in California and the Paul Robeson Freedom School in New York open their doors.

#Owen Deutsch and Caroline Gray, two 14-year-old Chicago high school students, made a documentary about Occupy Chicago.

#Two 14-year-old twins won a CNN iReport award for their video dispatch, “Occupy Wall Street, Day 23.”

#Playbill has responded to a call by the OWS Arts & Labor working group to end the theater listing service’s practice of posting classified ads for unpaid internships at for-profit companies by revising its terms of service.

Attendees of the Occupy Upstate Conference gather in Syracuse on June 16. Photo: John Washington

#Demonstrators who have been staging nightly flash occupations at the CCA lobbying group in downtown Los Angeles for nearly a month are regularly raided and arrested. Clients of the CCA, or Central City Association, include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Boeing, Target, US Bank, Verizon, Chevron, Walmart and AT&T, and their money buys them the ear of the City Council and the mayor, making them the shockingly overt bridge between money and politics.

#A group of demonstrators populated by members of Occupy Little Rock and the Occupy Caravan protested at a Bank of America and marched through downtown Little Rock on June 18.

#Members of Occupy Raleigh held a rally outside the executive mansion on June 18 to encourage Gov. Beverly Perdue to veto a bill that allows fracking in the state.

#The Occupied Chicago Tribune has completed its response to the Chicago Tribune: “This is a case about the fundamental human right of political speech,” the editors argue.

#The Vermont Federal Credit Union, Vermont’s fourth largest credit union, now has an Occupy Burlington participant on its board.

The California Nurses Association kicks off their Medicare For All Tour 2012.

#A dozen members of Occupy Frederick, Maryland, are staging a hunger strike to protest cuts to the Postal Service, arguing that government mandates have caused drastic financial issues for the already deprived agency. Some of the protesters include retired postal carriers, who plan on speaking with legislators.

#The three men arrested before the Occupy NATO protests now have at least a half-dozen new charges in their indictments.

#A coalition of community and religious groups, health-care unions and members of Occupy Chicago, who have been on a hunger strike for the last two weeks demanding organ transplants for the undocumented, has convinced University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center to give Mexican immigrant Lorenzo Arroyo, 36, a kidney transplant.

#Fifty activists claiming links to Occupy London #occupied an empty building affiliated with the artist Anish Kapoor, who accepted the commission to create a landmark sculpture for London’s Olympic Park. The purpose of the protest was to expose the Olympics as a “grand spectacle being used by the government and corporations to take our minds off austerity measures, the global economic crisis and the commodification of everything, even art.”

#Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador staged a protest before the House of Assembly against Bill 29, which places tighter constraints on what documents can be released to the public.

A sign in New York decrying the conviction of peaceful protesters. Photo: Stacy Lanyon

#A group of Spanish activists has raised a large private fund to pay for a civil action against Rodrigo Rato, the disgraced former chairman of Bankia, one of the banks at the heart of the Spanish financial crisis.

#On June 24, 20,000 people gathered in Tokyo to protest the Japanese government’s unilateral decision to restart two nuclear reactors.

#The Berlin Biennale partially adopted Occupy Wall Street‘s horizontal power structure.

#After a forced government land acquisition in Singur in West Bengal, an Indian lawmaker said he wants to organize an Occupy Singur movement on the lines of Occupy Wall Street for the benefit of victimized rural farmers.

#In a protest staged by Occupy Balok-Gebeng, hundreds of Malaysian demonstrators took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur with funeral banners and signs demanding the government revoke a decision earlier this week to allow a rare-earths mine to go forward.

#A new report from Global Witness reports that in the past decade, 711 environmental activists have been killed while defending land and forest rights. The number has almost doubled over the past three years.

#Hackney has become the latest London borough to be #occupied as protesters erected tents in Shoreditch Park after Islington Council removed the large protest camp from Finsbury Square.

The indigenous Kayapo people of Brazil protest the Belo Monte Dam at Rio+20.

#Police in Bolivia have committed mutiny over low pay and almost nonexistent pensions.

#6,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest police brutality, and many received a hefty dose of it: 85 were arrested.

#Grandparents wearing reflective vests and carrying signs decrying the Spanish bailouts took to the streets of Barcelona – and then to the German consulate – to protest against Germany’s position in the Euro crisis.

#The Occupy Movement has spurred police to wear body cameras with which to record protesters.

#Federal officials have yet to respond to two United Nations human rights envoys who formally requested that the U.S. government protect Occupy protesters against excessive force by law enforcement officials.

#The U.S. media has been writing obituaries for Occupy, but Truthout reports that Occupy is in fact active all over the country – it’s just being ignored by the corporate media. Its soul, however, is up for grabs, Rolling Stone reports. And Stonewall was organized much better, The New Yorker opines.

#A Design Miami/Basel exhibition called “Occupy Chairs,” comprised of replicas of signs used during the Wall Street protests, was marketed to the richest of the art festival’s attendees for $3,500 apiece.

These Occupy Wall Street replica protest signs sell for $3,500 apiece. Photo: Cristina Grajales Gallery

#Congress has a matter of days to work out a compromise or interest rates on some federal student loans will double.

#Oregon Senator Ron Wyden stepped in to stop the renewal of the NSA wiretap program because the government refuses to say how often the spy powers are being used.

#In this must-read Op-Ed, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer explained how Citizens United nullified his state’s 110-year-old ban on corporate campaign donations.

#Bill Moyers focused his lens on dark money in politics.

#130 members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis found.

#Some Wall Street tactics were gleaned from the Mafia, Matt Taibbi reports, and banksters have no problem employing them.

#The Republican National Convention is coming to Tampa in August, but it seems that most of the protesters will not be sticking to Tampa’s guidelines concerning protests.

#A group of Tampa residents is collecting signatures to toss Occupy Tampa off the private lot they’ve been occupying since December.

An illustration of contemporary capitalist society on a building in Lisbon.

#Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan could be forced to personally pay fines if Oakland again misses deadlines to complete Oakland PD’s internal affairs investigations.

#New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler said he “never got a satisfactory response” from the Justice Department regarding a potential probe into the NYPD’s handling of the Occupy Wall Street eviction.

#For the third year in a row, New York has declined to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between participating states to effectively supersede the electoral college by awarding their electoral votes to the whichever candidate wins the most votes nationwide.

#Liberals are urging Obama to go after Wall Street with gusto.

#The Canada Border Services Agency will soon monitor travelers with high-definition cameras and use microphones to listen in on their conversations.

#The U.S. government spends more on corporate subsidies than social welfare programs.

#Following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit, federal authorities were forced to reveal that there are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S.

#Governments, banks and households struggling with too much debt are dragging down the world’s economy and more needs to be done to make the banking system safer, a global organization of central banks has warned.

Occupy NH defendants and supporters outside Manchester Courthouse on June 22.

#A proposal by Corrections Corporation of America to house more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants in South Florida suburbia has pitted two towns against one another and prompted a federal lawsuit.

#The economist Joseph Stiglitz explains how bad policy has contributed to the great economic divide.

#Dell became the 24th group to drop out of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

#Berkeley, California, became the 15th city to reject the NDAA. Track NDAA repeal efforts across the country.

#The Berkeley Police Department and City Council have stated that they will no longer honor an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold illegal immigrants for minor offenses.

#ALEC is not the only conservative lobbying organization writing model legislation – Truthout has exposed a network of “stealth lobbyists.”

#Corporate profits just hit an all-time high while wages hit an all-time low.

#Since 2000, the number of people living in “extreme” poverty — incomes totaling less than half of the federal poverty line — has climbed by 50 percent.

#The Department of Justice can’t seem to prosecute the major players, banks and investment shops responsible for the financial fraud that nearly toppled the world economy and is still choking the U.S. economy, but it can fly FBI agents back and forth across the country to try to prove that a baseball player took hormones.

Image: Amadon DellErba

#Surprise, surprise: The eviction of the homeless in Los Angeles’s famed Skid Row is being driven by the business lobby.

#The Occupy National Gathering is almost here – just in time for a heat wave. Here’s how to keep cool.

#Visit the OWS Info Tent for information about occupations worldwide.

#Care to glimpse what America could have been? Here’s FDR reading his Second Bill of Rights, which he died before he could implement.

#“American Autumn: an Occudoc” will premiere June 26 in Brooklyn.

#Occupy Iowa plans to protest the World Food Prize in Des Moines this October.

#Join a march against Wal-Mart in Los Angeles on June 30.

#According to Occupy Arrests, 7,308 people have been arrested protesting corporate greed since September 17.

Want to report news about your occupation or meetup? Email me at

This week’s roundup was brought to you in conjunction with Occupy ALL the Updates, curated by citizen journalist SIUKittyPie, and Occupier and journalist Kelli Daley.

How To Organize A Protest

Photo by Friends of The Earth International

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post submitted to us by Alyssa Vincent. As Occupy Together is rebuilding to help people plug into the movement and give them the tools and resources they need to become engaged, we thought this would be a great guest feature to highlight.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is back in force now that warmer weather is here. The movement’s critics say Occupy demonstrations are still unorganized, begging the question, “How do you arrange a protest?”

I asked Mike Mann, founder and author of, how he coordinates protests for his organization. He had this valuable advice:

Step 1: Set a Goal and Identify Your Audience
It’s important to identify what you want to accomplish with your protest. Are you trying to raise awareness? Are you trying to change a policy or law?  Once you identify the goal, you then must identify your audience. If you’re trying to raise awareness, then the general public may be your target audience. However, if you’re trying to change a policy or law, your target audience will be much different.

Step 2:  Determine the Forum and Tone of your Protest
It’s important to determine a medium for your protest, and how the demonstration will proceed. Maybe the Internet would be the best forum for your demonstration. It worked well for those protesting the SOPA legislation. Perhaps your protest is better suited in a park or on a street corner. It depends on your goal.
Also determine the tone of your protest. Are you going to have a silent sit-in, or will your protest be loud and in your face? The tone will vary depending on what you are protesting and your goal.

Step 3: Set the Location, Date and Time of the Protest
Sometimes the location for your protest will be obvious, other times it won’t. If you are protesting a law, a government building where the law is being drafted would be an ideal location. But if you are protesting a business with many locations, pick the busiest spot. Check with city officials if you are expecting a large crowd.

The date and time will largely depend on your goal. If you are trying to raise awareness among the general public, then the weekend when people are out and about would be the best time. If you are targeting business executives, weekdays would perhaps be most beneficial.

Step 4: Prepare Content for the Protest
Once you have the location, date and time nailed down, it’s time to start creating content for the demonstration. Make picket signs and pamphlets to let people know what you are protesting. If your protest is online, create images and videos with embed codes so they can be easily shared. Finally, refer people to a website before, during and after the event, and put the Web address on all protest materials.

Step 5: Promote the Protest
Depending on your budget, there are many ways to promote a demonstration. From billboards to passing out fliers, there is something for everyone. Some low-cost things you can do to promote your protest include writing a press release, contacting the local media, utilizing social media and asking like-minded groups to use their resources to help spread the word.

Step 6: Stay Positive
Don’t get discouraged if you’re the only one who shows up — ride out the protest solo. You may have hecklers, but it’s important not to get caught up in arguing, hate or negativity. Other people observe your behavior, and you want to be respectful to everyone. The biggest mistake you could make is getting discouraged and feeling like what you’re doing isn’t making a difference. Stick with it. You might not change anyone’s mind during the protest, but understand you’re planting a seed that could grow.

Whether you’re planning a small local protest, or something more large scale, these basic steps will get you started. Don’t let a lack of knowledge stand in the way of voicing your opinion, it’s your First Amendment right to protest, don’t be afraid to exercise it.

Direct Action Highlight: Summer Disobedience School

I pledge disobedience
to the power of Wall Street
and the government of the 1 %
one No,
many Yeses
Another World is Possible
With Liberty and Justice for all!

Summer Disobedience School kicked off in NYC on May 26 and classes will be in session until Graduation Day—also known as Black Monday—September 17, the anniversary of the Liberty Square occupation.

Summer Disobedience School (SDS) is part training, part team building, and part skill share. It’s aim: to empower individuals to spearhead successful actions. Not to mention weekly infiltrations, interruptions, slowdowns, and blockades to remind to Wall Street we’re still hot at their heels.

From Summer Disobedience School:

A key priority in the OWSDS curriculum is the empowerment of new people to step up in planning and executing actions; to this end, OWSDS will involve a mentoring system in which those with more experience can “buddy up” with less experienced individuals to lend moral support and technical guidance. This “training of trainers” process can in turn be replicated and innovated by increasing numbers of people across time and space. Students will be encouraged to develop personal escalation calendars to track their own progress over the course of Summer School in advance of Graduation Day: September 17th, the one-year anniversary of OWS.

Think your town could use some disobedience lessons? OWS Direct Action is holding a Summer Disobedience School info session and Q&A on InterOccupy for anyone who is interested in learning more about SDS or wanting to organize SDS in their area.

Here’s the info:

Summer Disobedience School Info Session/Q&A
June 20, 2012 @ 5:30ET/2:30PT
Register via maestro

The call will take place directly before the Black Monday InterOccupy call so stay on the line if you’d like to learn about the national convergence of occupations in New York city on Black Monday.

For more info, download the OWS Direct Action Summer Disobedience School Workbook!

Direct Action Highlight: Occupy National Gathering

The Occupy National Gathering is a nationally coordinated event which will take place from June 30th to July 4th in Philadelphia. The Occupy movement will convene the Occupy National Gathering in the vicinity of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall for a week of direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future. The National Gathering will kick off with a massive march with Healthcare-Now! and will conclude on July 5th when attendees will join the Guitarmy for a 99 mile march from Philadelphia to Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

Perhaps the highlight of the gathering will be the crafting of a Vision of a Democratic Future. On July 4th the National Gathering (#natgat) will facilitate a visioning process designed to allow all voices to be heard while allowing repeat visions to organically rise to the top.  Together, by all those who choose to participate, a Vision of a Democratic Future will be conceived. Learn more about this and more here.

Want to get involved? Here’s how:

For the past couple of months Occupiers from all over the country have gathered via InterOccupy conference call to conceive of, and implement a strategy for, the Occupy National Gathering. This is the group that hase submitted the “Occupy National Gathering Proposal” to assemblies around the country. You can join them in organizing the final details as the National Gathering is gearing up. The planning calls happen weekly via the InterOccupy system on Tuesdays at 9PM EST. To join the call please register.

Spread the Word
Share the National Gathering on Facebook and Twitter (@OccupyNG) with your friends to raise awareness and bolster the National Gathering’s attendance.

Go to the National Gathering

RSVP to the Facebook Event Page and invite your friends to join you.

Need to find out how to get to Philly? Occupy Caravan is organizing travel from all over the country. To find out more visit or join Occupy Caravan’s weekly InterOccupy call by registering here.

Occupy Philly March. Originally posted at

What YOU Can Do on May Day

May Day is an international day of celebration to honor the labor movement. This year the Occupy movement has made a call for mass action—the May First General Strike (#M1GS): a day without the 99%. Over 115 US cities have organized in solidarity with this call to action.

A general strike is a way to build and demonstrate the power of the people. It’s a way to show this is a system that only exists because we allow it to. If we can withdraw from the system for one day we can use that day to build community and mutual aid. We can find inspiration and faith—not in any leaders or bosses but in each other and in ourselves.

If you are inspired by the day of action but don’t live near any organized events you can still take part. If you can’t strike, take the first step. We can work to shift the balance of power back into the hands of the people little by little in our everyday lives.

Here are some examples to get you thinking:

  1. Move Your Money: If you haven’t already, May Day is as good as any to move your money out of a national, corporate bank into a local bank or credit union. Support your local community and break up the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks that threaten our economic system. Learn more about moving your money here:
  2. Have a Potluck: Share a meal with others and and talk about subsidized agriculture and factory farming or make a meal with friends to serve to local homeless people a la Food Not Bombs.
  3. Start a Personal/Community Garden: On May Day, start or pledge to start a personal or community garden. Growing our own food means independence from corporate farms. This is one more way to take your self out of a system bent on keeping us complacent.
  4. Have a Free Store/FairGet together and share your unwanted items with others. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You could be helping someone who was about to go out and buy a (fill in your item here) anyway.
  5. Ride your bike to work/carpool with friends: Ride your bike or arrange a carpool to work. When you do this you are lessening our country’s dependency on outdated, unclean energies.
  6. Screen a Movie: Invite your friends or neighbors over to watch a documentary. After, have a discussion about how it relates to your values or the ideas of Occupy. You can watch political documentaries online at the following links for free:
  7. Have a Skill Share: Give a free class to share your skills and knowledge. This could be as simple as giving a knitting demonstration or as complex as teaching someone a new language.

We have the power in our hands to change the course of our day to day realities if we are willing to participate and reach out to our neighbors and communities. In the words of Steven Biko, ”the greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Big business should not be in control of us, we are the many and they are the few.

We’d love to hear how you are planning to take part on this day of action. Please email your stories and pictures to so we can share them!