Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Monday, October 31, 2011

New York Times Lays Out Statistical Reasons for Supporting the Occupy Movement

Yesterday's Times carried an article full of statistics backing the main argument of the Occupy movement that the top 1% is getting more than its fair share of breaks under our system. Actually, said the Times, the top 1/10 of 1% is even more of a winner in this hyperbolic profit system.

Perhaps the slogan for the Occupy movement should be we are the 99.9%, an even more convincing indictment of our economic model.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupied with the Weather

Bravely, the Occupiers of New York are remaining in Liberty Park, enduring snow and its accompanying cold. These courageous and kind people are suffering in unseasonable conditions and need assistance. I have seen fit to turn their requests for items into a poem. Surely the graceful music of a poem is appropriate for these very real needs. Perhaps a poem can double as an entreaty. Can you help, dear reader?


Insulated gloves, wool hats, scarves;
Long underwear, smart wool thermal socks;
Three hundred hand warmers, three hundred foot warmers;
Thermal heaters.

Disposable shoe covers;
Waterproof boots in all sizes;
Winter coats;
Hot beverages.

All-weather, sub-thermal sleeping bags;
All-weather tents;
Foam padding; insulation for inside of tents.

Wooden pallets to get tents off the ground;
Cots to get people off the ground.*

Dropping Off In Person In New York City

Daily until 9:00 p.m. -- at the OWS storage space at 52 Broadway Ave, ground floor.

After 9:00 p.m. -- at the OWS Comfort Station on the east side of Liberty Square (a.k.a. Zuccotti Park).

Where To Ship

Occupy Wall Street/118a Fulton St/PO Box 205/New York, NY 10038

Please show your support for the stalwart occupiers who are braving the winter storm!

*don't currently have any - could really use these.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Police Actions Solidify Occupy Movement

The Occupy Movement continues to grow. Evidence appears to show the movement growing in spite of recent repressive police actions. The latest actions include the forcible removal of power generators in Liberty Park, New York City.

The resilience of the Occupy Movement at this point is amazing. As I have said here before during the past month, this movement shows the failure of the profit system, that once-vaunted system which robs the poor to pay the rich. This vast inequity is clearer than ever. Protestors from Oakland to New York have bravely shown us all what it means to stand up for justice and stand against deprivation and inequality.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More on the Horror in Oakland

The following quote is from the Occupy Oakland web site. It is clear something went badly wrong in Oakland last evening. In the interest of reporting fairness, Oakland police are claiming projectiles which could cause injury were thrown at police.

via < occupyoakland.org > --

Just before 8pm the police began throwing concussion grenades and tear gas directly into the crowd, injuring several nonviolent protesters. Weapons were aimed and fired at people as they attempted to help the injured and bring them to safety. The crowd reconvened a block away and continued to peacefully occupy the streets outside the plaza. For several hours this scenario was repeated as citizens tried to gain entrance to the plaza while the police held their line using “non-lethal” rifles, tear gas, and barricades.


Headline: Oakland Police Brutalize Peaceful Protestors

Headlines at < OccupywallSt.com > complain of police tactics involving violence to peaceful protestors in Oakland, California, acting under the Constitutional right of peaceful assembly. I have not read the police account of events, but photos and details about police actions in California are cause for grave concern.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Women of Little Rock

As described in yesterday's Washington Post, this book tells the story of two very young women caught in a Civil Rights struggle, who later tried a reconciliation. Although I haven't read the book, I have read the review and found the story compelling and moving, even though the out-come to date is less than what some might consider ideal.

How do these two women feel now? How do they feel so many years after this contentious scene -- the one shouting in anger at the other? The one -- a white student enraged that an African-American simply wanted a good education.

The review of the book is too pessimistic in my view. Certainly, interracial friendships can be a challenge. Perhaps the reviewer is himself of another generation and place -- I don't know.

The review left me wondering just how hard it is to establish a friendship across race lines. Surely it is easier for the young, than for the old, in general. But I think it can be done and can be well worth the effort.

Chicago Occupiers Under Duress

Occupy Chicago has put out a distress call for those willing to stand in solidarity with their cause. It appears that over one hundred protestors were arrested, although most have been released.

The quote below from their web site gives a sense of the kind of support they are attracting. I am most interested in the involvement of the National Nurses United who have been standing with not only nurses but all those suffering now in our country due to a strained and unjust economy. "Where does it hurt?" the nurses have asked. In this case, they are asking the unemployed and the under-employed to voice their hurts and frustrations.

Those who wish to do so, may use the comment button below to tell of their plight for an international audience.

In the meantime, I stand in solidarity with the Occupiers in Chicago. Chicago is my kind of town!

In addition, we are joining National Nurses United to picket the mayor’s office at 10 a.m. Monday (10/24), at City Hall at the LaSalle entrance. Nurse leaders of NNU who set up a nurses’ station to provide basic first aid to Chicago protesters – as NNU has done peacefully in five other cities across the U.S. – were among [some of] those arrested. We appreciate their service to this movement and stand in solidarity for everyone’s right to practice free speech.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

"It Should Be Like This Everywhere"

So said one commrade at Liberty Park in New York where a free economy has developed to support those demonstrating. More about this free economy needs to be written, for it shows what can be in America, which has really only been free for capitalists. Now, something new is coming into being, although in proto-final form. Let us celebrate this new way of sharing and caring for one another.

While it is true that nothing in life is free, the Liberty Plaza demonstrators seem to be saying that if the purpose is right, people will be willing to donate to support persons who are worthy. The verdict is in: this protest is not only right but badly needed.

Hurrah for a more just America!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupying Wall Street as a Moral Act

Writer George Lakoff comments aptly about the true force behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is a moral force more than a political one, says Lakoff. He is surely correct. His comment below epitimizes his view.

It seems to me that the OWS movement is moral in nature, that occupiers want the country to change its moral focus. It is easy to find useful policies; hundreds have been suggested. It is harder to find a moral focus and stick to it. If the movement is to frame itself, it should be on the basis of its moral focus, not a particular agenda or list of policy demands. If the moral focus of America changes, new people will be elected and the policies will follow. Without a change of moral focus, the conservative worldview that has brought us to the present disastrous and dangerous moment will continue to prevail.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupiers Speak

I am excited to be able to offer this report from my Saturday visit to the "occupation" of McPherson Square in Washington, D.C. (See previous post.) On a beautiful early fall late afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking with several individuals in the park about the movement and its concerns.

The first person I spoke with was Ms. Sarah Tatoun at the information desk. Keeping in mind that no one is a designated spokesperson for the movement, the comments of Ms. Tatoun were representative of what I have read on the group's web site. Her comments were in response to questions of mine. Tatoun first learned of Occupy D.C. and the Occupy movement from Spanish participants she was in contact with. They told her about the movement and the fact that a related occupation movement was being planned for the United States.

"Corporations are not people," declared Tatoun, "and we shouldn't have people out of college with $100,000 debt."

"Is there a goal [of Occupy Wall Street]?" I asked. "There is no one goal," was the reply.

Tatoun stated, "I've been blown away with what allows everyone a say, but does come up with a result everyone can agree on." This is the vaunted consensus-based decision-making process in use among the occupiers world-wide.

I also spoke with a trio of attractive young people sitting crossed-legged along one of the east-west sidewalks of the park. One young woman had a "Free Tibet" sign propped against her legs. Another young man had a piece of artwork of a smiling face done in minimalist caricature style and with a vaguely Oriental feel. All three live in the area, they said. This was a good way for them to promote awareness without having to go to Occupy Wall Street, they told me.

I also met and spoke with a Viet Nam veteran with graying long hair who was not shy about showing me the scars of entrance and exit wounds around his knee. His was an anti-war message.

Other details:

The park features several tents with a helpful purpose: a tent for information, one for fresh food, and a medical aid tent. Tents for sleeping were set up along sidewalks.

There was the continous sound of enthusiastic honking as motors showed their solidarity and agreement with the demonstrators.

I have never felt so safe in a big city as friendly police had parked around the square and participants in the event were most hospitable overall, yet with individuals who were watchful. One announcer twice reminded everyone that this was a drug-free park.

I was treated to some newly-made garden soup, tasty French bread, and some water -- enough to fill me up for the rest of the evening.

The remarkable thing about this event and my visit, was seeing eager, intelligent, and loving young people succesfully occupying a public park, making people feel safe and welcome, and advancing the dialog about who should own America. The Occupy Movement is a way of saying the people who live and work in America should own America, both North and South. Being connected person-to-person with occupiers world-wide makes for a powerful, if still small force sure to make its presence known with ever-increasing force over the coming weeks and months.

Power to the 99%!

In-Person Report from Occupy D.C. in McPherson Square, Washington, D.C.

On Saturday I visited the on-going Occupy D.C. event in Washington, D.C. This visit was thrilling and deeply encouraging, as scores of "occupiers" peaceably and joyfully spent their time in discussing and providing for the needs of each other. The occupation is being run like a well-organized encampment. Because it is a public park anyone is free to come onto the park grounds. There was plenty of room for visitors on Saturday and I even saw at least one family with young children.

The web site of Occupy D.C. gives useful information of the event along with recently up-loaded video. I recommend a visit to their web site for a better over-view of what the movement is about.

For now, I can say this visit was a distinct pleasure and honor due to the hospitality of everyone I met and spoke with. As with any young movement, there was not much in the way of organizing in terms of "plugging people in" to specific actions. However, just being on the scene and catching the spirit of the place was enough for now.

In a follow-up post I will tell about a few of the conversations I had with participants at this amazing live-in demonstration.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

World-Wide Protests Called for Saturday

An effort called United for Global Change seeks to unite the people of the world in a series of protests all on the same day. This Saturday, demonstrators are set to express their desire for a just world and their disdain for a world dominated by wealthy financial interests. The web site address can be found on the Occupy Wall Street home page.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Lesson in Hubris

Writer Chris Hedges describes the opening of the Occupy Wall Street movement on September 17:

The lords of finance in the looming towers surrounding the park, who toy with money and lives, who make the political class, the press and the judiciary jump at their demands, who destroy the ecosystem for profit and drain the U.S. Treasury to gamble and speculate, took little notice of Ketchup or any of the other scruffy activists on the street below them. The elites consider everyone outside their sphere marginal or invisible. And what significance could an artist who paid her bills by working as a waitress have for the powerful? What could she and the others in Zuccotti Park do to them? What threat can the weak pose to the strong? Those who worship money believe their buckets of cash, like the $4.6 million JPMorgan Chase gave a few days ago to the New York City Police Foundation, can buy them perpetual power and security. Masters all, kneeling before the idols of the marketplace, blinded by their self-importance, impervious to human suffering, bloated from unchecked greed and privilege, they were about to be taught a lesson in the folly of hubris.

-- from Truthout.org

Up-dating and Expanding October 2011

Over the last several days American viewers and readers have thrilled to reports of protestors filling public squares in almost every part of the country from Boston to New York. From Atlanta to Des Moines and on to L. A. It is a season of moment and foment as people from all walks of life begin to reclaim the public space, one which has been dominated by often shrill and bellicose voices from the right and far right.

As a Columbia University professor said today on Democracy Now, this is the first time since the 1930s America has seen a populist street movement of the political left.

Soon I will have more to say about the protests.

And I will be up-dating the links on this blog to include links to the budding Occupy Together movement.

It is indeed a season of excitement and hope.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Developing Story: Arrests Tonight on Wall Street, Say Witnesses

Keith Olbermann reported tonight on his program Countdown (Current TV), that protestors in the Occupy Wall Street movement decided to move onto the Street itself this evening and were quickly met by a phalanx of policemen who pushed back and shot pepper spray into the air in a random dispersal. Olbermann at first said he was awaiting confirmation, then quickly offered that confirmation from both Alternet and The New York Daily News. A reporter from Alternet who witnessed the action confirmed the basic facts.

There Is a Demand

There is a demand in America now which has been present for ever so long. What is different is that this demand is rising to the surface of every-day life with increasing speed and spread. For instance, one pertinent web site, occupytogether.org , is listing 281 places in America which are in process of being "occupied." Whether the occupation is literal or figurative, it is clear to people in places all over America that there is something terribly unjust in our financial system. And they are moving now to claim something which is theirs -- the money which was used to finance the bank bail-out of three and less years ago. Without tax-payer money numerous financial institutions would not now be in business. Moreover, people realize that the money they gave to the banks has not been re-invested back into their communities. The injustice of this is simply seen. And now, ordinary Americans are willing to speak out in organized fashion on behalf of justice for all. Haven't I heard that phrase ("justice for all") somewhere else?


Monday, October 03, 2011

Occupying America

As the mainstream media begins to print standard-length reports of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the movement itself has spread to other major American cities, including Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

This blog has been reporting regularly since the beginning of the demonstration and occupation seventeen days ago. These reports will continue.

Today, I ask: Why is it that in all these past days of protest the only reports of violence have been about police violence. For sure, the physical violence has been committed by only a few law enforcement officials. Yet, the greater violence is to the public, many members of which have received the message that public protest is dangerous. "You cannot be safe anywhere," is the message received loud and clear.

Yet on they come, the protestors of every stripe and age. Justice is on the march, love is on the wing, and soon hearts will be on the mend.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Hundreds of Peaceful Protestors Arrested in New York City

Reports from several sources say hundreds of peaceful protestors were arrested in New York in connection with the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. It is alleged that New York police may have led Brooklyn Bridge marchers into a trap.

I will have details later.


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