Government orders YouTube to censor protest videos
In a frightening example of how the state is tightening its grip around the free Internet, it has emerged that You Tube is complying with thousands of requests from governments to censor and remove videos that show protests and other examples of citizens simply asserting their rights, while also deleting search terms by government mandate. Read more
Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: Day Seventeen, The Occupation is the Message #OWS #OurWallStreet #TakeWallStreet
(photo: hunter.gatherer )
Dustin M. Slaughter of the David and Goliath Project has been with Occupy Wall Street since the first week. He has posted a reflection on his time with the occupation that is very similar to a conclusion that I and others are making: the occupation is the message. It doesn’t need a set of demands. The movement only needs to continue to build and grow itself.
The occupation at Liberty Plaza may outwardly appear to be just a large encampment of hundreds of tired, exuberant, unwashed people. But it’s an incredibly subversive idea. What the occupation has managed to do thus far is set up a center for agitation on Wall Street’s doorstep, while simultaneously stand up to the most militarized police force in America. In that brave act of defiance, they’ve begun the process of recapturing public space to assemble and foment resistance against a corrupt system, a public space lost to us after 9/11 (with the introduction of “free speech zones”) and just as importantly, begin to remedy the fear and cynicism so many Americans have been feeling for well over a decade now under the hand of a police state and a domestic intelligence apparatus unparalleled in American history. The Founders clearly understood that the right to assemble was of key importance to those who wanted to correct wrongs done by their government. If they could not assemble, they could not achieve their goals. Liberty Plaza is a long-overdue civics lesson.
Slaughter writes eloquently of the movement that has sprouted. Angus Johnson, who runs StudentActivism.net, also eloquently explains why the movement need not issue a set of demands:
What’s going to change the dynamic in Washington DC, if anything will, is the continued growth of this movement. If you want to see Occupy Wall Street lead to a transaction tax, you want the movement to grow. If you want it to compel the demise of the legal concept of corporate personhood, you want the movement to grow. If you want it to overthrow global capitalism, you want the movement to grow…
…The crucial task for Occupy Wall Street right now isn’t coherence, any more than it’s the articulation of specific demands. It’s resonance as an idea, as a movement.
You don’t win by making demands. You win by taking power or by forcing power to bend. Either way your stated demands are peripheral to the outcome — what you demand has only the vaguest relationship to what you win.
The two pieces nicely complement my post at The Dissenter this morning, which is titled, “Occupy Wall Street Doesn’t Need to Make Any Demands (Yet).” The post gets into the important conversation that must be had about what to do with endorsements from big unions and well-known liberal advocacy organizations. It attempts to tackle what to do with any support on display at the “Take Back the American Dream” conference in Washington, DC.
The organizers of Occupy Wall Street should not be afraid of liberal organizations or big unions that endorse the occupation but they should be wary of the fact that individuals with these organizations or unions may become the face of the occupation. Media and politicians may ask to speak to the organizations or unions instead of speaking to the occupiers themselves. The identity of Occupy Wall Street could shift and then the momentum could be channeled into a fairly conventional reform campaign that aims to deflate the movement. The occupation will have to decide how to handle the diversion of their movement because the Democratic Party’s history includes a rich history of corralling movements into dead-end politics that do not shake the foundation of society too much (e.g. the Wisconsin uprising being directed into recall elections).
FDL’s premier live blog on Occupy Wall Street continues. Here’s the Twitter list of people to follow.
LIVE STREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
5:26 PM LUCKYMW at myFDL has a diary, “You Can’t Judge a Revolution by Its Cover“:
What the rest of the country has been seeing in 2 dimensions on television or reading about from an extremely snarky print media can’t possibly transmit the level of intelligence, energy, commitment and humanity being produced by this assembly. This is an amazingly diverse crowd, I had a long talk with an economist from Bakersfield California, a blogger from Philadelphia, a teacher from Albany, as well as a collection of old school radicals who’ve been waiting almost 40 years for something like this to reappear.
The first thing you notice is just how incredibly nice everyone is. From the outside, one might think this is just a bunch of scraggly slackers who have found a new venue for their drum circles, dancing, guitar playing, and some who may just be there for the free food and the general hang. But walking around the park the political dimension is infectious. At any given moment, in any corner or on any bench, a spontaneous dialogue will break out about the current state of affairs we find ourselves in as Americans and citizens of the planet.
5:09 PM Report on part of the press conference at NY City Hall -
Aton Edwards of the International Preparedness Network talks about how he is going to be helping occupiers take measures to deal with the weather changes. He says someone yesterday almost got hypothermia and this is something they have to prevent from happening because the police can say the occupiers are a threat to their own safety. They can then use that to justify forcing the occupation out of the park. So, in the coming months, Edwards will help teach occupiers how to survive and they will get creative. They will try to get people to donate vehicles so they can have “warming stations.” Or, they will see if local colleges or universities will let occupiers come in and get warm.
International lawyer Alexander Penley says until two Saturdays ago the police had pretty fair to the occupiers. Then they decided to go crazy on the protesters. There were a number of false arrests but he told the occupiers not to worry because this can be dealt with in a lawsuit. He says the protesters have behaved very well and showed a lot of control, as they could have physically responded to Officer Bologna when he pepper-sprayed protesters. They didn’t. He says he hopes the police union stands up and mentions a report that one hundred NYPD refused to show up for duty after police went crazy (that may or may not be true). He specifically highlights the $4.6 million payoff to the NYPD from the JP Morgan Chase, which is clearly designed to buy protection. It should be illegal for a corporation to give money to a police agency, he concludes.
4:32 PM In case you missed it: TWU President John Samuelson, according New York Daily News, called the city’s use of MTA to bus arrestees on Saturday “a blatant act of political retaliation.”
“TWU Local 100 supports the protesters on Wall Street and takes great offense that the mayor and NYPD have ordered operators to transport citizens who were exercising their constitutional right to protest – and shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place,” Samuelsen said Sunday night.
At least five empty buses were commandeered from terminal points on both sides of the bridge, Samuelsen said.
TWU plans to take the NYPD to court.
4:29 PM Economic journalist William Greider gets why people are occupying Wall Street. He writes:
The wisdom of those young people (and old people) who planted their flag in Wall Street is in recognizing that the first step is not drafting policy manifestos for government (government is itself brain-dead, by the way). The essential first step is liberating the minds of people themselves—people everywhere who have been intimidated and abused by the Central Ministry of Official Propaganda. Giddy celebration of self-respect—that is what they are selling at Liberty Park. And it truly is subversive. If the word spreads, if there are 500 or 1,000 liberated public spaces around the country, then we can start to talk about politics or issues. The first lesson they are teaching us is that democracy should be fun.
4:20 PM A zombie stock trader gets ready to march (via @courtneycgross)
2:49 PM Lisa Derrick at FDL’s La Figa on Day 2 of Occupy LA:
A mini-tent city which now holds about 300 people most in their 20s and 30s, though there some in their 40s and upwards, and an array of Anonymous. Drum circles, a massage table, dogs and a crystal healing area make it a mini-fest, while the bacon wrapped hotdogs lend a truly Angeleno flavor (they are a revolution in food!).
2:47 PM CNN talking heads on Occupy Wall Street, from earlier today:
SUSANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And Alison, I understand this is a group that’s kind of a bit disorganized, to say the least. It’s not clear who is actually participating.
But tell us who is behind these protests. And really, what are they protesting? What’s the main point here, if there is one?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That’s a really good question. You know, they’re protesting just a whole list of things. It’s pretty much you name it — you know, corruption. They think that our political and economic systems are broken.
You know, there really isn’t one clear leader with Occupy Wall Street. What you’re seeing is a lot of people coming even from across the country to come right here to New York to protest, and just protest their frustrations.
So, day after day, they’re standing out there holding signs, hoping that someone will listen. But no, there is no cohesive message this point. But, you name it, corporate greed, everything in between, they even want a four-day work week, but they’re pretty much blaming Wall Street for all of the ills facing the U.S. at this point — Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Well, all of us would love a four-day work week. But it’s fascinating what is taking place down there.
More on the above video from Raw Story.
2:09 PM TIME magazine on occupiers dressing up as “zombies”:
Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for the group, says Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are being urged to dress in business wear with white faces and blood, and will march while eating monopoly money. He says financial workers should see them “reflecting the metaphor of their actions.”
An idea proposed on September 27 during the General Assembly:
Participatory democracy in action.
2:03 PM Plutocracy Files puts together a list of unions and community groups that support the occupation.
1:54 PM Occupy Houston has a list of the do’s and don’ts of occupations
1:44 PM The Nation‘sAllison Kilkenny reports on “The Ever-Changing Narrative of Occupy Wall Street Mass Arrests“:
When the arrests began, they “seemed random and aggressive.” Indeed, when the Times first reported on the mass arrests, the blame for the chaos was heaped upon the shoulders of the NYPD.
“After allowing them onto the bridge, the police cut off and arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators,” the lead paragraph of the initial report by Colin Moynihan reads.
Twenty minutes later, the lead paragraph was updated to, “In a tense showdown over the East River, police arrested hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators after they marched onto the bridge’s Brooklyn-bound roadway.” Now, the blame belongs to the protesters.
We are Watching…
Also, if you turn your attention to how much fun the cop in the corner is having, I can tell you that this seemed to be the majority feeling amongst the boys in blue(whom I have an often sited hatred against) with one motorcycle cop mentioning that he was “For this” and that he had recently been foreclosed himself…
Soon the “suits” wont have any supporters….
The movement is spreading… Amazing how quickly! Non-violent protests and demonstrations against government and corporate corruption. The people are FED UP! SOLIDARITY! Here’s just a few of the new groups arising:
#OccupySLC- Salt Lake City, Utah: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-SLC/197192707016780
#OccupyPGH- Pittsburgh, PA: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyPGH
#OccupyPhilly- Philadelphia, PA: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyPhiladelphia
#OccupyLexington- Lexington, KY: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=288315967862062
#OccupyColumbus- Columbus, GA: https://twitter.com/#!/occupycolumbus
#OccupyAsheville- Asheville, NC: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=227178064002578
#OccupyCharlotte- Charlotte, NC: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Charlotte/152227828203470
#OccupyVermont- Burlington, VT: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Vermont-Burlington/241564049229609
So many more. Check out OccupyTogether’s Events Page. (I’m currently having some trouble loading the different pages. If you see your city listed in the pull-down menu but can’t access the page, just google “OccupyYourCity”.)
IN SOLIDARITY WITH #OCCUPYWALLSTREET. WE ARE THE 99%.
F*CK WALL STREET (by TheAmazingAtheist) #OWS #takewallstreet #RISE
Another great article on Salon, by Glenn Greenwald (select quotes, full article here):
A siginificant aspect of this progressive disdain is grounded in the belief that the only valid form of political activism is support for Democratic Party candidates, and a corresponding desire to undermine anything that distracts from that goal. Indeed, the loyalists of both parties have an interest in marginalizing anything that might serve as a vehicle for activism outside of fealty to one of the two parties…
The very idea that one can effectively battle Wall Street’s corruption and control by working for the Democratic Party is absurd on its face: Wall Street’s favorite candidate in 2008 was Barack Obama, whose administration — led by a Wall Street White House Chief of Staff and Wall-Street-subservient Treasury Secretary and filled to the brim with Goldman Sachs officials — is now working hard to protect bankers from meaningful accountability (and though he’s behind Wall Street’s own Mitt Romney in the Wall Street cash sweepstakes this year, Obama is still doing well); one of Wall Street’s most faithful servants is Chuck Schumer, the money man of the Democratic Party; and the second-ranking Senate Democrat acknowledged — when Democrats controlled the Congress — that the owners of Congress are bankers. There are individuals who impressively rail against the crony capitalism and corporatism that sustains Wall Street’s power, but they’re no match for the party apparatus that remains fully owned and controlled by it.
But much of this progressive criticism consists of relatively (ostensibly) well-intentioned tactical and organizational critiques of the protests: there wasn’t a clear unified message; it lacked a coherent media strategy; the neo-hippie participants were too off-putting to Middle America; the resulting police brutality overwhelmed the message, etc. etc. That’s the high-minded form which most progressive scorn for the protests took: it’s just not professionally organized or effective.
Some of these critiques are ludicrous. Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else?
…Most importantly, very few protest movements enjoy perfect clarity about tactics or command widespread support when they begin; they’re designed to spark conversation, raise awareness, attract others to the cause, and build those structural planks as they grow and develop… those who are actually interested in helping it develop will work toward improving those deficiencies, not harp on them in order to belittle its worth…
There’s a vast and growing apparatus of intimidation designed to deter and control citizen protests. The most that’s allowed is to assemble with the permission of state authorities and remain roped off in sequestered, out-of-the-way areas: the Orwellian-named free speech zones. Anything that is even remotely disruptive or threatening is going to be met with aggressive force: pepper spray, mass arrests by highly militarized urban police forces, and aggressive prosecutions…
In sum, there is a sprawling apparatus of federal and local militarized police forces and private corporate security designed to send this message: if you participate in protests or other forms of dissent outside of harmless approved channels, you’re going to be harmed in numerous ways. As Yves Smith put it this week:This is all designed to deter any meaningful challenges to the government and corporate institutions which are suffocating them, to bully those who consider such challenges into accepting its futility. And it works. In an excellent essay on the Wall Street protests, Dennis Perrin writes:
I’m beginning to wonder whether the right to assemble is effectively dead in the US. No one who is a wage slave (which is the overwhelming majority of the population) can afford to have an arrest record, even a misdemeanor, in this age of short job tenures and rising use of background checks.
The dissident children were easily, roughly swept aside. Their hearts are in a good place. Their bodies a minor nuisance. They’ll stream back to prove their resolve. And they’ll get pepper sprayed and beaten down again. And again.
I admire these kids. They’re off their asses. Agitating. Arguing. Providing a living example. There’s passion and feeling in their dissent. They’re willing to be punished. It’s easy to mock them, but how many of you would take their place? … .
So, yes, the people willing to engage in protests like these at the start may lack (or reject the need for) media strategies, organizational hierarchies, and messaging theories. But they’re among the very few people trying to channel widespread anger into activism rather than resignation, and thus deserve support and encouragement — and help — from anyone claiming to be sympathetic to their underlying message…
But for those who believe that protests are only worthwhile if they translate into quantifiable impact: the lack of organizational sophistication or messaging efficacy on the part of the Wall Street protest is a reason to support it and get involved in it, not turn one’s nose up at it and join in the media demonization. That’s what one actually sympathetic to its messaging (rather than pretending to be in order more effectively to discredit it) would do. Anyone who looks at mostly young citizens marching in the street protesting the corruption of Wall Street and the harm it spawns, and decides that what is warranted is mockery and scorn rather than support, is either not seeing things clearly or is motivated by objectives other than the ones being presented.
(Sorry for the long read, and that wasn’t even the whole article, but I think a lot of great points were made!)
#OWS: Some News Is So Big It Needs It’s Own Page
HuffingtonPost creates a page dedicated to news on #OccupyWallStreet.
Awesome! Not only are videos of police brutality currently at the top of the page, it even includes videos by Anonymous.
Noam Chomsky speaks out in support of #OCCUPYWALLSTREET anti-bank actions to RT
Today we received unconfirmed reports that over one hundred blue collar police refused to come into work in solidarity with our movement. These numbers will grow. We are the 99 percent. You will not silence us.
Note from 99anon: Fucking fantastic! Note that several MSNBC members are standing behind this movement as well. WE ARE LEGION. WE ARE THE 99%. EXPECT US.
Edit: Any further confirmation of this? Some saying it’s a rumor…