Saturday, October 01, 2011
Photos/Videos: Occupy Albuquerque in Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street
Today more than 400 members of The 99% of us who aren't on the plutocratic gravy train were arrested crossing Brooklyn Bridge in connection with the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York City. A number of marchers and observers claim those arrested essentially were lured onto the bridge roadway by police specifically so they could be trapped between lengths of orange plastic fencing and arrested for trespassing.
I guess Mayor Bloomberg is beginning to tire of the Occupy Wall Street folks as 14 days of their diverse, nonviolent and sometimes exotic presence in Zuccotti Park and elsewhere in the city begins to fray the nerves of the 1% of city dwellers who like the worker bee classes to be seen and not heard as they go about waiting on their masters. Just yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg felt compelled to chastise the protestors for picking on bankers and stock brokers who are "struggling to make ends meet." I'm not kidding. He insisted people are focusing too much on the causes of the financial crisis and that we need to be nicer to the banking industry so that it starts lending again. He concluded by saying that we are “blaming the wrong people” by “blaming the banks” for the recession.
Chanters. Driving past some protesters.
Energized Crowd in Albuquerque
Meanwhile about 500 more of The 99% assembled and walked between two locations -- near the US Bank building on Central Avenue SE as well as the Bank of the West -- as the Occupy Albuquerque protest kicked off in solidarity with the action in New York City. Just check out the signs in the photos and videos to understand what prompted folks to turn out on a beautiful Saturday morning during Balloon Fiesta to make a stand. The time has finally come today when more and more people are ready to proclaim, "We just won't take it anymore!"
Similar occupations were in progress or being planned for cities and towns (including Santa Fe) across the nation -- and the world -- as momentum continues to grow for the people's movement. More and more are inspired and excited about confronting the forces that are hard at work undermining our freedoms to benefit the 1% of plutocrats who think they now own the nation -- and who intend to operate it as a nasty, greedy oligarchy at the beck and call of Wall Street, and global banking, financial and corporate interests.
City Councilor Rey Garduno comments on demonstration
"Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?"
Nobody knows quite yet, but it's clear that many abused and ripped off residents of the Planet Earth are finally awakening from their slumbers, their denial and/or their paralyzing cynicism to admit what's really going on with the corporate takeover of our governments and resources, and gathering to brainstorm about a situation that gets worse every day for the 99% of the population whose labors, resources and talents are essentially being stolen to support the consumerist addictions of the other 1%.
As Cornell West told Amy Goodman yesterday:
Well, I think we’ve got to keep the momentum going because it’s impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We’re talking about a democratic awakening. We’re talking about raising political consciousness, so it spills over; all parts of the country so people can begin to see what’s going on through a different set of lens.
And then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be, because in the end we’re really talking about what Martin King would call a revolution; a transfer of power from oligarchs to every day people of all colors, and that is a step-by-step process. It’s a democratic process, it’s a non-violent process, but it is a revolution, because these oligarchs have been transferring wealth from poor and working people at a very intense rate in the last 30 years, and getting away with it, and then still smiling in our faces and telling us it’s our fault. That’s a lie, and this beautiful group is a testimony to that being a lie.
When you get the makings of a U.S. autumn responding to the Arab Spring, and is growing and growing -- I hope it spills over to San Francisco and Chicago and Miami and Phoenix, Arizona, with our brown brothers and sisters, hits our poor white brothers and sisters in Appalachia -- so. it begins to coalesce. And I tell you, it is sublime to see all the different colors, all the different genders, all the different sexual orientations and different cultures, all together here in Liberty Plaza; there’s no doubt about it.
Cisco Padilla comments. Greedy pig diorama!
Goals and Principles
So what are the preliminary goals of the occupations? It's up to each of the participants to join what is being called a "general assembly" in order to come up with proposed principles, goals and strategies and come to a consensus. These can vary widely depending on the makeup and interests of the occupation group, and can be as abstract or specific as the group desires. The main goal of the occupations at this point is to get people talking with one another about what's really going on with our economy of late, as well as interacting and connecting so that there's a good chance they'll continue to participate with one another in the future and perhaps even reach out to new people.
Exactly what that future of these occupations will be isn't known yet, but the hope is that momentum for taking on the damaging status quo will continue to grow, and that the goals and actions of the groups will develop organically from the ground up instead of from some leader on down. More will be revealed in the coming days and weeks as a new kind of protest movement takes shape and refines its targets.
In the meantime, the group October2011.org, which is organizing an occupation of Freedom Plaza in DC that starts on October 6, has come up with these principles. They're a good start:
- Tax the rich and corporations
- End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
- Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all
- End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
- Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
- Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
- Get money out of politics.
Photos and videos on this post by M.E. Broderick. Additional photos and videos of Occupy Albuquerque can be found here. If you've got some, please put a link to them in the comments thread of this post.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, October 1: Occupy Wall Street ... and Albuquerque and Santa Fe and ...
JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Hastily organized "occupations" in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street have now been scheduled for tomorrow, October 1, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Facebook pages). Click for info sheets for Occupy Burque and Occupy Santa Fe in Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street.
Since September 17, a diverse array of "hacktivists," ordinary citizens and celebrities has been participating in an expanding protest -- called "Occupy Wall Street" -- in downtown Manhattan in New York City. The constant and continuing demonstrations were designed to mimic at least some aspects of the Tahrir (Liberation) Square revolt, which entailed 18 days of protests in Cairo. Tahrir Squate led to the downfall of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and morphed into a group of revolts now known collectively as the "Arab Spring."
Only time will tell whether Occupy Wall Street will end up in the history books as a victory for the people or just another fizzle in the long, hard battle against corporatist fascism. And only you can impact the outcome -- by joining the movement or sitting at home whining or cursing.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are targeting the irresponsible and often criminal actions of Wall Street traders, giant financial institutions, international banking concerns and pretty much the entire global economic and financial system. Ordinary people all over the world are sick and tired of being at the mercy of a cut-throat bunch of well-dressed, well-educated (well-bred?) extortionists and hooligans who have increasingly been dominating markets, financial dealings, housing, national debt levels, loans, employment, environmental decisions and more on behalf of the greedy and narrow interests of an oligarchy of plutocrats at the top of the economic food chain.
Defining themselves as being representative of "The 99%" of the population who are being used and abused by the outrageously wealthy elites who are calling the shots -- now known as "The 1%" -- the demonstrators are hell bent on creating a fresh, creative, nonviolent model of ongoing protest and revolt. The aim is to create a wide-ranging, semi-spontaneous, day-to-day movement that expands organically and can be adapted and adopted in cities and towns across America and everywhere else where the filthy 1% are gorging on the labor and resources of the other 99% in order to feed their sick addictions to mega-power and mega-wealth.
The specific objects and targets of the protests may vary according to geographical location or local issues in play, but the core goal of the actions will be the same all over -- gaining attention and garnering support for stopping the economic bullies in their tracks in order to salvage the remnants of a fair and just culture and have a chance at shaping a new paradigm that's based on truly sustainable and enlightened principles and practices. It's now or never.
Yes, believe it or not, more and more people are finally awaking to the realities of a monstrous class war being perpetrated against ordinary workers and the poor by a bunch of multi-national economic terrorists who view the world as their own private slot machine. Call it what it is -- a class war -- but contrary to the claims of the crony capitalists, the attacks are being launched by a tiny minority of haves against the masses of the have nots, not the other way around. We cannot let this stand and expect to have a chance at any kind of positive future for ourselves, our families and friends, ordinary humans around the world, the planet's ecosystems or anything else we value and care about.
As reported by TPM,
The Occupy Wall Street protests, which this week received a boost from pledges of support of local unions, are expanding not only in the number of participants but in geographical scope as well: Demonstrators in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Santa Fe, Lexington, Kentucky, and now three big California cities, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, have all joined or are preparing to join the movement. A website has been set up calling for Floridians to occupy cities across the state on November 5, “Guy Fawkes Day.” In total, there have been online calls to action in over 77 cities across the United States, most of them slated to occur within the first week of October.
Occupy Wall Street, which was first proposed by Canadian countercultural magazine Adbusters in July, initially received traction online thanks to the support of "Anonymous," the loosely-knit “hacktivist” collective. The event began on September 17 with around 3,000 protesters, but the numbers have varied considerably since then, with a core group of around 200 to 300 people maintaining a camp in nearby Zuccotti Park, despite being pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested for frivolous offenses by police.
The #OccupyWallStreet Facebook page describes the new strategy and tactics this way:
The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people — Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.
As Chris Hedges writes in a piece published today on Commondreams and elsewhere:
There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.
... Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat.
Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.
The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs.
Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies.
Helpful Website Links:
JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Hastily organized "occupations" in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street have now been scheduled for tomorrow, October 1, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Facebook pages). Click for info sheets (pdf) for Occupy Burque and Occupy Santa Fe in Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street.