Some on the left are finally getting around to picking over the corpse of the Occupy movement and asking what went wrong.
Last night, Bill Maher chastised OWS to stop camping and start participating in the political process.
Mediaite picks up on Maher’s comment and asks, ”Whatever happened to Occupy Wall Street? It was a big thing last year, it was going to be the left’s answer to the Tea Party, now no one really knows where it’s going.”
Maher mocked the movement for its many grandiose ideas and lack of realism, and while he admitted he enjoyed going out to Occupy DC last year, “having a sleepover in the park for four months didn’t cause Wall Street to crumble.” He acknowledged Occupy has “the right message,” but its execution and public awareness campaign are not exactly the sort to make substantive change.
Occupy’s big event this summer is on July 4th, and according to Maher, their goal is “to facilitate a visioning process designed to allow all voices to be heard while allowing repeat visions to organically rise to the top.” And while “visioning process” makes me think of kaleidoscopes, it’s apparently what they’re planning on doing next month. And the next day, Occupy is hosting a “guitarmy.” Yes, a “guitarmy.”
Maher grudgingly compliments the Tea Party- recognizing that they moblized, they got involved in the political process and now have candidates in Congress to follow up on their agenda. He said, “We need Occupy to be our Tea Party-an unwavering block that will force things to the left as relentlessly as a new pair of jeans with a tight inseam”.
Maher, Mediaite and others, of course, miss the point when they express their desire to turn Occupy into the Tea Party. They’ve been taking this tack since Occupy appeared.
But Occupy doesn’t want to be the Tea Party of the left. It doesn’t want to be a part of the political process. It wants to bring that process down. Maher mocks the Occupy motto, “The only solution is world revolution”, but that is what they desire.
Additionally, any numbers that Occupy may have had have precipitously declined exactly because of that intractable stance. So there isn’t much of an “army” left.
So Maher ends up talking to the wind.
Back in November, Nkrumah Tinsley, 29, got arrested for threatening to burn NYC to the ground in the first minute of this youtube:
He says “on the 17th, we’re going to burn New York City to the motherf*#king ground”. Shortly thereafter he goes on to say “No more talking. They’ve got guns, we’ve got bottles. They’ve got bricks, we’ve got rocks…in a few days you’re going to see what a Molotov cocktail can do to Macy’s.”
Ed Needham, a spokesman for Occupy, said “We wouldn’t have anything to do with this guy. Certainly everything we do is centered around us being a peaceful and nonviolent movment”. But despite this statement, OWS coughed up $7,500 for his bail. He was out a week later, right back to protesting. Needham said there was no way to ban him from the protests.
This seemed a rather odd statement as OWS has in fact banned people from meetings, people who they claimed were disruptive, but happened to be raising questions about OWS finances.
Now Tinsley is in the news again for missing a scheduled court appearance yesterday. A Manhattan judge issued an arrest warrant for him but he showed up after court closed for the day.
According to his lawyer, he didn’t show up on time because he was late coming home on a bus from Chicago where he had been for the NATO protest.
The judge ordered a psych evaluation for the defendant, warned him about being late but didn’t put him back in jail or raise his bail. His attorney apologized to the court on his behalf.
Tinsley is charged with felony terroristic threat, and with a prior OWS felony for allegedly socking a cop.
According to the NY Post, both sides are working out a plea deal with a possible mental health counselling component for the defendant.
Guess who is pimping Critical Race Theory now? Our friends at Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Wall St NYC twitter account tweeted out the following, which was thereafter retweeted by the main OccupyWallSt twitter account:
Of course, to tailor the thought specifically to Occupy, it’s “an anarchist introduction” to the subject.
Within the attached pamphlet, one can find the following:
Another concern of the Crits[Critical Race Theorists]—appropriate for an understanding of the composition of social change—is the concept of interest convergence. This is the thesis that judicial progress only occurs when it suits the interest of dominant forces in society. Racial justice in the United States can be seen then as contingent on the generosity and magnanimity of white (or majoritarian) society. Derrick Bell makes this argument most pointedly in his review of Brown vs. Board of Education, making the claim that segregated schools served a malignant purpose for American foreign policy during the Cold War so that changing segregation was therefore an acceptable reform for dominant society.
What that translates to is that any thought of advancement that may have occurred in terms of civil rights occurred because the all powerful “dominant forces” whoever they are, allowed it to happen. That is the author’s interpretation of Derrick Bell and other “Crits”.
So Martin Luther King’s efforts and the efforts of the many thousands that worked for civil rights really didn’t do anything. Those that continue to strive now to improve things mean nothing. It is a complete attack on the efforts of the many who have suffered for real change. It was just because the all evil “they” decided it was more advantageous to “change” that things changed, or that things will change.
Another fascinating paragraph, the definition of what qualifies as “racial fraud and box checking”:
Racial fraud & box checking:
Action on the part of a non-minority
person, or one with a very slight
connection with a minority group, to
gain the benefit of minority status, as
with affirmative action
Paging Elizabeth Warren to the courtesy phone…
Former Occupier Justin Samuels is talking. Some in OWS may not like what he has to say. But others would agree and Justin’s story may explain why OWS numbers and support have plummeted.
Justin joined Occupy in October 2011, not long after it started in September. Pro labor, Justin was interested in improving conditions for working people. A New York screenwriter, Justin wrote of the excitement of seeing people from all walks of life meeting together and interacting in the park in October.
But his excitement soon soured when rapes began to occur in the park and he was not happy with the Occupy response to the problem. “Obviously a number of people became concerned for their safety,” Justin said.
According to Justin, ”people who call themselves “anarchists”" thought this should be handled internally. ”That women raped should not call the police and this should be handled by Occupy. That police are the enemy and anyone who wants to talk to them is bad”.
As a result, many women left Occupy.
Rise of the Anarchists
As time went on, Justin recalled, the anarchist elements in Occupy seemed to drive anyone else out. Despite the fact that OWS received reportedly up to $750, 000, Justin noted that they refused to buy or rent apartments/ housing in which core occupiers could stay, primarily because their financial sponsor, Alliance for Global Justice, was opposed to it. However, they then paid a lot of money to churches to house the occupiers. Occupiers could stay overnight but then had to get out at 7 am and stay out all day, even in the winter. The reason for all this convolution may have been an attempt to get around the tax prohibition of not using donations for personal use, but it ended up being used for personal use anyway, seemingly in violation of tax prohibitions.
Justin noted in fact “the anarchist elements were even against homeless occupiers with medical or psychiatric problems applying for state resources like medicaid (and other forms of public assistance)”. He came to believe that they didn’t want people to get jobs or help, because if they did, they might leave the movement.
When suggestions that the poor find work came up in occupy, the anarchists referred to all jobs and all work as wage slavery. Never mind some of these young anarchists who wanted to prevent homeless people from getting jobs or access to social service resources are living at home being supported by their parents. Never mind that other anarchists used money from the general fund to support themselves. Their activism was basically an attempt to avoid having to work.
Questions have been raised about the money coming into OWS almost since it began. Money came in multiple ways, including through walk up donations at the park to contributions online by credit card. Over time, as was noted, a substantial amount was raised.
But concerns were never allayed and continue to this day, even with the money virtually expended. Despite demands by OWS that banks be transparent, it seems Occupy’s financial house was itself never quite in order, with Occupiers themselves continually asking for answers and feeling unhappy with the responses.
Various Occupiers in multiple meetings have alleged problems, lack of receipts, lack of transparency. Also the regular general assembly (GA) meetings at which such matters would normally be discussed have been discontinued so it is even harder to ask and get answers. Before going moribund, the GA put a freeze on new expenditures.
In one dust up exchange on the NYCGA (New York General Assembly) website about a week ago, Sean McKeown, offered the following defense of why there isn’t the desired “transparency”:
“There is a very simple reason we don’t have financial transparency – actions we were supplying with physical materials were not, 100% of the time, LEGAL. Receipts for canvas and paint three days before a banner drop could credibly be used in court against someone, so all along (without so much as a formal proposal, for those of us who come from outside of anarchistic culture and came after Day 1) the accounting plan of action has been to prevent information from seeing distributed posting unless it is absolutely necessary because people could go to jail.”
McKeown called it “security culture” accounting as opposed to “radical transparency” accounting. He then talks of Finance/accounting becoming an “affinity group”, which means the finance group would no longer be a working group and thus could theoretically operate independently not bound by the dictates of the GA.
Sean spoke of “trusted people” handling the action currently as opposed to the input from all that the GA represented:
while the group as a whole continues on with its work using highly distributed networks of individuals – essentially “trusted friend networks” – to assist with decision-making and mutual aid, distributed action and distributed decision-making still leading to forward progress even without a centralized decision-making body.
Justin said that finance actually blocked a number of proposals that had to do with activism but passed items that in his opinion made Occupiers dependent.
Finance had no problem with programs like church housing, free food, metro cards, clothes, medic, but they opposed attempts to start co ops. Co operative business might have led to formal employment for occupiers, and this was opposed by the anarchists who control finance.
That dependency came to be cult like, Justin recalled. Everything had to be done by consensus. “There was an almost religious devotion to arcane anarchist principles, regardless of whether they made sense”, he noted. Isolation from the rest of the world was encouraged by camping in parks and abandoned buildings so that members would have just each other, leaving aside any outsiders. Since many came from out of town, this further added to their dependence and connection to the group.
Some came with some mental or physical issue that was not attended to and which got worse while they were at Occupy. People were encouraged to go to “medics” that were voluteering with the group but who often had no real medical background, Justin said, as opposed to going to real doctors.
Media, discussions and tweets by Occupiers buttress Justin’s assessment. It is “us against the world” mentality, an almost holy cause, only we are the awakened ones who must awake others, this sense of holy quest bonding people together and giving them affirmation and meaning. They internalized the ethos that much of the world was out to do you wrong-media not to recognize you, banks and the evil 1% who just want your money. Police worst of all want to oppress you and brutalize you on behalf of the evil 1%. All in a conspiracy to control us. We must rise up in the streets to overthrow the control.
In the infamous Tom Cruise video about Scientology he talked about how as a Scientologist, one could “create new and better realities”. In Occupy’s reality, we live in a police state tied to the wheel of wage slavery, with the pittance allowed by our masters. It is the classic cult technique of redefining the world and what words mean, something of which L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology was fond. Police are violent and brutal if they wear riot gear. Occupiers who smash things aren’t violent. Violence can only be against a person but not against property. Thus they can say this is a non-violent protest, and mean it in their parlance, because smashing what they view as the power of the state is not violent.
All the issues finally caused Justin to leave in March. He and others are calling for a full vetting of all the finances. He also encouraged further investigation into the rapes and urged those who haven’t done so yet to come forward.
Occupiers were given till 10 am today to get out or risk arrest.
See details here.
At 9 am this morning, after meeting, they agreed to take down their tents and leave, thereby meeting the University’s deadline and avoiding criminal charges.
The University had agreed to give them a seat at the table of a meeting discussing the future of the tract of land if they agreed to leave.
While Occupiers agreed to leave, they said they would not be taking part in the meeting.
“We are saying we don’t need the encampment, but we are also saying that we don’t need the UC” said “Christof,” who spoke to KTVU on behalf of the Occupy the Farm protesters Saturday morning.
Updated: Gopal Dayaneni, Occupy spokesperson, released the following statement which makes it appear that they are not in fact leaving-that they are simply removing the tents, but they are still trying to farm there and control the site- “We are not ceding control or supervision”:
We are removing the encampments. We don’t need the encampment to assert the right and responsibility to tend the crops. We don’t need to camp here …. We’re leaving all the things that are appropriate to farming.
We’ve been discussing it over the last day or so. We made that decision this morning. We’re now executing it.
We’re still doing our events today. We’re creating access points. We’re building a slide for kids to get in(emphasis added). We continue to assert the fact that we did on Day One: that the fence is not the issue.
People have invested, and they have the right to continue to farm here. We feel like we have a lot of support for the farm. The camp was a tactic to serve the farm. At this time we don’t think we need it. So we’re moving it. If we decide we need it in the future, we will bring it back.
The most important thing is that people have access to the crops, and that people can come and go.
We’re not ceding control or supervision. We’re continuing to farm the farm. We’re continuing to ask everyone to come and join us. We’ve committed to the researchers that we can coexist…. We created the space necessary for researchers to farm their crops.
The university is really the barrier here. They should keep the gates open and let people come and go.
So long as we’re under threat by lawsuit and arrest, we’re not willing to trust them with our crops.
Updated: 5/12 5:10 pm While the occupiers staying on the property appear to have jumped the fence to leave, they claim they will continue to breach the property to care for their crops. They have set up ladders to be able to access the property. Because they have vowed to continue to trespass, the University says they will not drop the lawsuit against them.
In NY, the majority of the Occupy May Day actions were calm and orderly, including marching on banks and businesses that they felt were somehow offensive. These ranged from protests around Bank of America and Chipotle, to people marching behind Tom Morello with guitars as a “guitar army”. According to CNBC Net Net:
Whereas the OWS crowd proclaimed “we are the 99 Percent” and “banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” a band of construction workers delivered chants of their own.
“Get-a-job! Get-a-job!” several workers atop a work site repeatedly hollered.
“Get a job! Stop wasting the cops’ time!” yelled another, referring to the large detail of officers clad in riot gear that accompanied the Occupy procession.
“Occupy my b—-!” another offered.
The march grew to perhaps several thousand at its height, when the May 1 immigrants coalition and unions with people getting out of work joined later in the day. But as Net Net noted: “had trouble living up to advanced billing”.
The idea was to shut down the city and have people stay home from work and school, not shop or bank, “a shutdown the likes of which NYC has never seen”. But NYC, with all its typical ability to deal with the odd and strange, continued on in its normal fashion. All bridges and tunnels remained open. Most people went on as before, and somehow, capitalism survived.
While most of the protest was fairly orderly, and no where near as crazed as its brethren on the West Coast, there was one action titled a “wildcat march” for the “adventurous”. Some of occupiers were “bloc-ed up” in all black and raced down the streets, throwing down garbage cans, pulling things into the streets, and causing random damage. Perhaps the most interesting tweet on the violence came from the people who often have to defend those accused of such actions, an NYCLU tweet stream, which noted that “trash cans were thrown, barricades were flung, arrests were made”
But the NYCLU tweeter was concerned, stating the march “was manic and violent, admittedly it was scary, taru[police video unit] was right to film”
Video of the action can be found here
Some pictures of the day:
Use of children:
Trying to “de-arrest” someone:
May 1st Coalition marchers:
Further update on the pre May Day violence in San Francisco. There have been calls, typically, that this was “out of towners” or “agent provocateurs”.
Here was the call to a “ruckus street party” ad sent out by and to Occupiers, was on Reddit and other sites:
April 30: The Strike Starts Early Street Party
We call on our comrades from every corner of the Bay to descend upon Dolores Park, 8pm April 30th, for a ruckus street party to counter gentrification, capitalism, and the policing of our communities.
Everyday should be strike day.
They’ve stolen our lives. They’ve stolen our health. They’re taking over every inch of our cities and pushing us nowhere. If there is anything we have learned from the last six months it is this: May 1st isn’t the only day for striking, and isn’t only a day for workers. April 30th kicks off a string of actions in the Bay Area against all who would take our lives from us.
San Francisco, once a stronghold of the dispossessed, has become a playground for the rich and a living hell for those of us who can’t keep up or have no interest in capitalist relations. Homelessness, gentrification, racist police murders, the displacement of all that is queer, outrageous rent prices, our list is endless: it is time to reclaim our playground.
We call on our comrades from every corner of the Bay to descend upon Dolores Park, 8pm April 30th, for a ruckus street party to counter gentrification, capitalism, and the policing of our communities.
Everyday should be strike day.
Dolores Park 8pm April 30, 2012
As we noted in our earlier account, Occupy twitter accounts were at Dolores Park and following in the march. We have video below recording that fact. You can hear things smashing, and see very clearly the art gallery being smashed at 8:50
Some Occupiers tried to stop others who were causing damage. But others continued. As we noted, Occupy media, Sparrow Media Project, had no problem with the damage to the Mission District Police Station, celebrating the “glorious destruction”.
The problem with a march where there are no leaders and no hierachy, no one can say who is and isn’t “an Occupier”. The march becomes whatever the “hivemind” of the moment wants it to be. There may have been out of towners from what I can tell. But I believe the suprise was in that it just didn’t stick to “acceptable targets” like the police, but extended to, well, “normal people”. That 99% they keep talking about.
That workman that got hit with the crowbar outside of the Four Barrels coffee store didn’t appreciate it. Mom and pop stores smashed. Kids screaming at the projectile thrown through their window. The faded brown minivan owner whose car was destroyed. 500 calls into the police.
But that’s kind of what happens when you invite people to a “ruckus party”. Things tend to get out of hand. And unfortunately, too often and in too many places, things have gotten out of hand.
Via ONN – The Cleveland office of the FBI held a Tuesday morning news conference to detail arrests and charges filed relating to a national security issue.
Steven Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland FBI office,provided details about the local connection to this national security case.
A Justice Department official said that the five men are self-described anarchists and are not tied to international terrorism.
The department said that the five men were taken into custody as part of an undercover operation by law enforcement authorities.
Federal agents said that the alleged suspects were conspiring to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland.
The FBI’s Cleveland office is displaying a photo of the apparent bridge in question.
It’s the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad bridge in Brecksville.
All five were reportedly associated with Occupy at some point.
In all the hullabaloo over May Day, we cannot leave out this story.
Excerpted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
A 28-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with third-degree sexual assault of a woman, who was participating in the Occupy protest movement on Peavey Plaza during Friday’s early hours.
Seth Matthew Mitchell, 28, is accused of assaulting the woman while she was lying on the plaza in a sleeping bag.
She said she was asleep when the man, who was a stranger, woke her up and sexually assaulted her. Police were called and the man was pointed out to them by the woman as he was walking away, according to a court document.
Sgt. Steve McCarty, a police spokesman, said it was not clear whether the suspect was part of the Occupy movement.
The Occupy demonstrations, which have focused on income inequality and home foreclosures, were centered on Hennepin Government Center plaza last fall.
But they shifted to Peavey Plaza this spring. Police prohibited protesters from sleeping on the plaza last month.
As the violence began in San Francisco tonight pre MayDay, some Occupy members professed suprise, others shock, some disgust, others disavowed the actions, calling them by “provocateurs”.
After hearing it many times at Occupy associated events, the denial when the criminal actions happen becomes a bit doubtful, although I do believe many were in fact suprised at the level of violence unleashed, because it was not restricted to “state approved” targets. Problem is once you let the genie out of the bottle it has a hard time getting back in. You can’t say to some people, only mess up area A and not Area B.
The Sparrow Media Project, a major part of Occupy Media, the producer of the OWS media pamphlet “Declaration Of Occupation of NYC” among other media efforts, seemed to drop its media face just a bit in a moment of uncharacteristic honesty, noting “Gorgeous Photo of Mission Police Station destruction” at the paint bombed and damaged building:
Sparrow Media has been known for telling people to delete tweets that might be legally harmful to Occupy, as was noted by Foolish Reporter. As Foolish Reporter also noted, Sparrow Media is known for its head, Andrew Stepanian, convicted felon activist.
Early reports on May Day action so far:
White powder was sent to seven locations in Manhattan, including Wells Fargo branches and reportedly the Mayor. Threatening notes were attached:
“This is a reminder that you are not in control,” said a message that arrived with the envelopes. “Just in case you needed some incentive to stop working we have a little surprise for you. Think fast you have seconds.
All the powder was tested and turned out to be non toxic, according to police. It caused evacuations of the banks, but there were no injuries.
The police believed San Francisco-based Wells Fargo might have been targeted for white powder mailings because about half of a key dozen Occupy Wall Street members have backgrounds in Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley, and similar incidents occurred in California earlier this week, police sources said.
In the New York cases, the envelopes mainly appear to have reached low-level workers at the bank branches.
“Apparently, the message was aimed at the mail room workers among the ’99 percent,’” New York police spokesman Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.
The envelopes, believed intended for May Day delivery, evidently arrived at the banks early, according to police.
“They underestimated the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service,” one official said.
Occupy members denied responsibility for the action
In the Mission District in San Francisco:
Reports are that between 50 and 60 black bloc members rampaged through the area around Dolores Park (where Occupy SF was having a early “Occupy Party” for May Day) smashing “mom and pop” businesses and cars along the street.
Protesters damaged windows and doors of businesses including restaurants Monday evening following an early May Day protest that started at Dolores Park. The Mission Police Station building and Locanda restaurant were also paint-bombed.
Police said that they have received 500 calls with reports of damage and officers are patrolling the streets after dispersing the crowd at 14th and Mission streets.
See more here
There were also two reported car accidents involving police vehicles responding to the violence. It is not known what injuries may have resulted at this time.
Some Occupy twitter accounts denied occupy involvement, while others professed shock at the violence.
We will be updating information throughout the day as we hear it.
Update: Video taken surreptiously which is why it is unclear in spots. Also why I am mirroring it. A live streamer had been threatened already. Guide to video: ACAB= All Cops are Bastards. A in circle is Anarchy symbol. You can hear things being smashed throughout the video but at 8:50 or so you can see an art gallery being smashed.
Update: ABC TV video of some of destruction here
In December, OWS seized a house in Brooklyn claiming they were taking back a foreclosed home from Bank of America to give it to a homeless family. There was great fanfare, including speeches by Charles Barron, NYC City council member.
Except it was all a lie.
The home had not been foreclosed yet, and was still owned by Wise Ahadzi, a single dad with two daughters. OWS was fully aware that he still owned the property, as was Charles Barron, according to Mr. Ahadzi.
The “homeless family” never moved in; instead it became another squat for OWS members, who destroyed the property.
According to the NY Post, it’s finally unoccupied. Police arrested six OWS members:
Mohammed Olivo, 22, of The Bronx, was charged with resisting arrest and burglary. Also charged with burglary were: Carlos Goodall, 18, of Valhalla, NY; Mitchell Hundt, 20, of Chicago; Sean Gregg, 18, of Philadelphia; Terrence Hubbard, 23, of Ohio; and East Village resident Decorrus Jones, 25, who has been arrested 31 times for crimes like trespass and petit larceny. “He steals a lot,” cops said of Jones.
Wise Ahadzi, the property’s owner, was thrilled that cops collared the people who were preventing him and two daughters from getting back into their home.
“I’ve been angry since Day One,” Ahadzi said. “I told them that I didn’t want anybody there.”
The bill to fix the damage is at least $12,000, a source said.
“We’re exploring the possibility of assisting him with repairs to the property,” said Bank of America spokesman T.J. Crawford.
“I’m gonna strike till you replace ma kitteh litter!”
Via My Political Intervention and the Wall Street Journal comes the story of Occupy Wall Street being evicted yesterday from a Lower Manhattan loft space that had served as a headquarters and a squat for several of its members.
The property at 40 Exchange Place had been rented by George Weathers for his business, Artists Seminar Plus, which offered training for actors. However, Mr. Weathers stopped paying his $6,200 rent back in August 2011, and began renting the space, called “Magic Mountain”, out for meetings and events. Building management began sending him letters, but in NYC, eviction process can take months.
In October, Mr. Weathers invited Occupy Wall Street members to use the space. Occupy was never on any lease for the property and apparently no notification of their involvement was given to the building management. Since their arrival in October, Mr Weathers has managed to hold off the eviction three times. OWS members actually appeared with him at one court appearance, apparently identifying themselves as part of his business, Artists Seminar Plus.
Now OWS is claiming they shouldn’t be kicked out because each member staying there has not been served with an eviction notice; that only George Weathers had been served.
According to the WSJ:
Philip Katz, an attorney for the management at 40 Exchange Place, said he was surprised to hear members of Occupy Wall Street were living in the space. The eviction was motivated not just by the nonpayment of rent but by complaints from other tenants of raucous parties and unsavory behavior, he said.
“We could not permit these parties. Underage people were actually physically attacked,” he said. “No papers submitted to the court indicated that Occupy Wall Street was staying there. I’m very surprised to hear that.”
Lisabeth Rapp, 27, an OWS member who had been staying in the loft, claimed the eviction was illegal, claiming they had been “denied due process”. They intend to go back to court on Thursday to argue they were not properly served.
40 Exchange Place appears to be commercial real estate which in NYC, which would militate against allowing residential use of the space. Commercial space is treated differently than residential property, not to the benefit of squatters.
Earlier today, the OWS Arts and Labor working group sent out a press release claiming the Whitney Museum was closing in support of OWS efforts to have a general strike on “May Day”, May 1.
The release claimed the Whitney was a ”wholly changed institution”, and that they had decided to break with their main corporate sponsors, Sotheby’s and Deutsche Bank. It also stated that the Whitney was going to “begin vetting each of its sponsors as part of an ongoing restructuring to respond to the needs of the public it serves instead of the private interests of a small minority who possess a vast majority of the nation’s wealth.”
See a full copy of the fake press release here:
The fake release didn’t fool many, as the Whitney is closed on Tuesdays, so it could not be open on May 1, in any event.
This is not the first ‘fake press release” or fake action precipitated by OWS. They have previously set up a fake Bank of America website, and also claimed that they had successfully lobbied a company to quit ALEC “the American Legislative Executive Council” (when it turned out the company had never belonged to ALEC).
OWS previous actions against museums and art institutions have included a violent confrontation with guards at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and a protest of Sotheby’s in support of a workers’ union lobbying against the company. The protest against Sotheby’s even extended to actually invading a Danny Meyer restaurant in NYC, because Meyer was on the Board of Sotheby’s. According to OWS, Occupy Museums is “an ongoing protest that calls out corruption and injustice in institutions of art and culture” They claim that museums and art institutions are a ‘weapon of the 1%” and they reject using ‘art as a “financial instrument”. They plan on holding their own art fair outside the Frieze Art Fair in May, where “we will not use money but rather search for a value system that empowers everyone”.
It is rather ironic that OWS chastises the Whitney for having Deutsche Bank as a sponsor. Since their removal from Zuccotti Park in November of last year, OWS has held the majority of its meetings in the atrium lobby at 60 Wall Street-the Deutsche Bank building. So, in a very real sense, they indeed are “sponsored” by the Deutsche Bank.
Picture of Occupier at “sleepful” protest on Wall Street (about 25 people voluntarily sleeping on the street in anti-capitalist protest).
There are many things that go through my mind when reading this sign in context. But guilty is not one of them.
No really, Occupy Wall Street finds a bat and discusses what to do with it.
Seriously, bats in NY are likely full of disease.
For the third night, Occupy beds down on the street at Broad and Wall Street.
Having been evicted and prevented from sleeping in the various parks, OWS has taken to sleeping on the sidewalk. Numbers have varied between 15 and 30 people.
The first night, they slept on cardboard. Tonight they have moved in furniture, including chairs and a futon.
One might wonder, why they are allowed to sleep on the street?
While there is case law, most notably Metro Council vs. Safir, which allows sleeping as part of an organized, limited protest, if said protest is disorganized, not limited in space, or likely to cause disruption to the public or public sidewalk, it may not fall within a legally permissible range.
There appeared very little “protest”, apart from some signs on sidewalk, but a lot of disorganization and fair amount of items strewn over a significant part of the sidewalk.
Last Sunday, Occupy San Francisco seized a building owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, declaring it their new “commune”.
They sprayed anti corporate and anti police slogans all over the property, and caused thousands of dollars of damage. Police were forced to go in to remove them, arresting 75, and charging 74 with misdemeanor trespass.
A pro Occupy article at http://truth-out.org/news/item/8294-occupy-sf-commune notes:
”At least 22 school chairs were used to reinforce a barricade holding police out of the lot behind 888 Turk. Nearby, scrawled on a door:
‘When the cities burn down, we’ll all be warm.’
Occupiers were arrested room by room. According to police, ‘trespassers retreated into rooms, many of which were barricaded from the inside, while others closed doors to an interior stair well and retreated to the second floor.’ One person jumped off the roof and was arrested.
Occupiers claimed while not a bank, the Catholic Church was part of the “1%”, therefore seemingly, justifying seizing their property. An Archdiocese spokesperson said the building had been vacant for about 18 months and was slated to serve low income children as a high school.
According to the Occupy article, many of the Occupiers were not even from San Francisco. There is a sharing of personel from other areas of California (indicating the absence of numbers to sufficiently cover the various areas).
H/T to John Sexton at Breitbart for the following video of the event: