Subject: [SocialistWorker.org] Reports from Occupy: 11/7
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News of the Occupy movement
======== REPORTS FROM OCCUPY: 11/7 ===========================================
November 7, 2011
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The Occupy movement has spread from a small protest encampment in the
financial district of Manhattan to a mass movement across the U.S.--and now
the world--with supporters in over 1,000 cities, towns, campuses and more.
Here, SocialistWorker.org is publishing reports we receive from activists
around the country, describing the actions they're organizing and the
discussions they're a part of. If you want to contribute a report, use this
"Contact Us" page .
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-------- BOSTON --------------------------------------------------------------
By Ann Coleman
ON THE evening of November 2, about 500 people marched from Dewey Square
through the streets of downtown Boston in solidarity with the Oakland General
Strike and against the police violence used against nonviolent Occupy
Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen is in serious condition from a fractured skull
received from a projectile during the October 25 police action in Oakland
where officers used tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse crowds. The
Boston solidarity march, which lasted just over two hours, stopped in front
of the Hyatt Hotel, the Massachusetts State House and the Boston Public
Schools headquarters before passing through Quincy Market and returning to
The Boston solidarity march aimed to connect local issues with the Oakland
General Strike by stopping at the downtown Hyatt Hotel to highlight the UNITE
HERE Local 26 boycott in support of fired housekeepers. Speakers talked to
the crowd about how Hyatt fired its longtime housekeeping staff at its three
Boston-area hotels in August 2009. Many of the fired housekeepers worked for
the Hyatt hotels for over 20 years and were required to train their
replacements before being fired. Their replacements are being paid minimum
Once the marchers reached the statehouse, several speakers addressed the
crowd talking about union rights and the need for occupations to stand in
solidarity with one another. It was reported from the crowd that a Boston
Public Schools Committee meeting was being held at Court Street and the march
worked its way toward the public meeting.
The Court Street building was surrounded by police by the time marchers
arrived. Inside, the meeting room was at capacity with more than 300 people,
many of them students, teachers and parents speaking out against the Boston
Public Schools Committee's plan to move existing schools into some of the
schools that were closed over the last year.
While Superintendent Carol Johnson aims to provide more access to top
performing schools, questions were raised in the public meeting about the
competition between public schools rather than access to a quality education
for all public school students.
The Boston Police kept the marchers from entering the building, and the group
fractured at that time with some going into the public school meeting and
others continuing the march through Quincy Market. An Occupy Boston medic
spoke at the end of the march about how a fragmented march puts extra burden
on medics and safety crews to ensure safety of the whole group.
Overall, the mood of the march was ebullient. "There's something in the air
that hasn't been here in the past couple of weeks," one participant said. He
thought that the march had more energy, and more people, than other recent
marches have had.
Another participant, a computer science graduate student at Harvard, said
that he was very excited about the march. "We need to show our strength so
that the police can't shut us down," he said. That day, the newly formed
Occupy Harvard disrupted and walked out of Economics 10--a conservative
economics class of about 1,000 students--and then went down to Dewey Square.
Once the march returned to Dewey Square, there was an impromptu discussion
about the march and the connection between local issues. Colleen from the
Occupy Boston encampment talked about how others characterize this as a
leaderless movement, "I see it as a leader-full revolution that requires us
all to be leaders inside the camp and in our communities."
Alexis Marvel, a student at UMass Boston, spoke about the fractured march.
"The police, Mayor Menino and the government want us to split apart and by
breaking off into different sections. We are just weakening ourselves which
is destructive to the movement. There needs to be a level of respect for each
other even if we don't necessarily agree with everything, there needs to be a
more democratic decision process rather than just going off on our own."
Another attendee read from the Occupy Oakland's October 31 Declaration of
Solidarity with Neighborhood Reclamations:
>Occupy Oakland supports the efforts of people in all Oakland neighborhoods
>to reclaim abandoned properties for use to meet their own immediate needs.
>Such spaces are already being occupied and squatted unofficially by the
>dispossessed, the marginalized, by many of the very people who have joined
>together here in Oscar Grant Plaza to make this a powerful and diverse
The speaker ended by saying, "Our movement has to do more than just march and
protest. The occupation of foreclosed homes is one of those ways to expand
Many attendees ended the night by sharing their experiences and Twitter feeds
from Oakland and other cities hosting solidarity marches. Liz Davis, a
student at Boston University, had attended the student march earlier in the
day, but said the highlight of her day was going to Northeastern University
to stand in solidarity with two students who are facing disciplinary charges
for getting arrested at Occupy Boston on October 11.
After a 300-strong student march, students took over the disciplinary hearing
and talked about the importance of the Occupy movement. The students were let
go with no disciplinary action taken against them. A professor present said,
"This is the most educational thing to happen on this campus in a long time."
Parts of this article previously printed at occupybostonglobe.com .
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-------- ASHEVILLE, N.C. -----------------------------------------------------
By Ben Silverman
IN SOLIDARITY with the call for a general strike by Occupy Oakland, Occupy
Asheville literally took to the streets without permission or permit on
November 2. After over a month of protesting, which has seen several arrests
and the break up by the authorities of the main Occupy Asheville campsite,
this march was large and high energy with as many as 120 people
For the first, time many onlookers and bystanders actively joined the
protesters as they marched through downtown Asheville, N.C., chanting, "banks
got bailed out, we got sold out," "how do you fix the deficit, end the wars,
tax the rich," and "no cuts, no fees, education should be free."
As this was an un-permitted march in the street, the solidarity protesters
were quickly surrounded by Asheville Police Department vehicles (APD), and a
cat-and-mouse game began. The APD blockaded one street, the marchers took a
different street, the APD goes right, and the marchers go left. When past the
federal building it appeared a trap was being set, the Occupy Asheville
marchers promptly made a U-turn, doubled back on the pursuing cop cars and
tied the APD into knots.
The march ended at the Vance Memorial Square, which is at a key intersection
in downtown Asheville next to Merrill Lynch's offices, for a vigil for Scott
Olsen, the Iraq veteran who was wounded by the Oakland police. One of the
most spirited and inspiring People's Mics yet for Occupy Asheville began.
"We are all here to take a stand against the injustice of a human being who
was unnecessarily brutalized by the police who are there to serve and
protect. Maybe they should stop serve and protecting only the wealthy, and
start serve and protecting the people," said Occupy Asheville activist Victor
"I served eight years in the US Navy," said Marie Combs. "For eight years I
was told that I was defending my fellow citizen's rights to protest. That was
bullshit. I see my fellow veterans brutalized by the police. I've never been
prouder of my fellow veterans than I am now."
The Peoples' Mic and soap box went well into the evening, punctuated by the
occasional singing of songs like "We Shall Overcome," "Solidarity Forever"
and "The Internationale." The point of the vigil and protest at this point
was to consciously break the law by staying in the Vance memorial square past
the 10 p.m. curfew.
This arbitrary curfew, for an area which is more of an overblown sidewalk
then a square, has been used as a weapon to frustrate Occupy Asheville
before, and the idea was to expose by civil disobedience the ludicrous
unconstitutionality of this ordinance.
Around 11:30 p.m., nearly 20 APD officers arrived to make the protesters
leave the park, and were forced to negotiate with the People's Mic, with
protesters asking, "Officer, doesn't the constitution override a city curfew
Twenty-four Occupy Asheville protesters were arrested, including a pregnant
woman, a woman in a wheelchair and several activists who had been previously
arrested as part of the Occupy movement.
Elizabeth Goyer, a student at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, who
was arrested, said:
>I have always felt strongly about brining corporate and political corruption
>to the attention of the public. I think the Occupy Movement is really
>beautiful because it unifies different groups who have been fighting against
>oppression and corporate greed. The police brutality in Oakland inspired me
>to risk arrest through civil disobedience.
To quote the press release from the Occupy Asheville media working group:
>The protest movement seeks City park land in order to set up a well
>organized assembly space better suited to express its message and court
>cases in Nashville and Cleveland are laying the groundwork for this to
>occur...Additional challenges to the 10 p.m. park curfew will also be held
>until the city stops trying to enforce an ordinance that is being used to
>expressly restrict constitutionally protected assembly and speech.
The question now for the movement is where to go from here with this newly
reacquired sense of energy and boldness. The answer in part could be seen in
the spontaneous joining-in in the march and vigil by regular bystanders.
During the People's Mic, a man in full business suite regalia of the 1
percent professed his support for the Occupy movement for he feared for the
future of his children.
Everyone in the 99 percent is suffering these days. The question now is how
Occupy Asheville can become a true mass movement of popular participation by
reaching out to people and turning their suffering and fear into concrete
action for real improvements. We know what we're against, now it's time for
us to say proudly what we are for and how to get there.
Occupy Asheville activist Martin Ramsey has this to say:
>How much more of our future do we have to auction off to these parasites.
>There is enough in this world for life to abundant for everyone. We can take
>of us all. But we might just not be able to do it for a profit."
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-------- AUSTIN --------------------------------------------------------------
By Brian Coalson
HUNDREDS TURNED out in Austin for a solidarity action with Occupy Oakland on
Before the march, Fernando from the Workers Defense Project drew the
connection with struggle for immigrant workers' rights:
>On May Day 2006, we held a day without an immigrant across America, we
>stopped buying things, we stopped working, and we showed them that it was
>them who needed us not us who needed them. Just like 2006 the people are
>rising again to remind them of the lesson that they learned. So let's keep
>fighting fearlessly together across America, shoulder to shoulder. It
>doesn't matter if you are an immigrant, your color, race, or class, we are
>going to fight and we are going to win.
Ben Brenneman of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local
>A strike is when we decide we are not going to accept their authority over
>our economic livelihoods. We take away the one thing of value that can stop
>them from making money, and that is our labor. The police stop people from
>drag racing in front of my street, and I appreciate them keeping my family
>I also understand that the police have a role in maintaining the authority
>of the state. We as citizens, when the status quo becomes unacceptable, are
>required to challenge that authority.
Injured Oakland protester and veteran Scott Olsen was on everyone's minds,
including Kyle Wesolowski of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Under the Hood
Café, who said:
>They went to war and did not just confront an enemy, but corporations. We
>call them contractors. Who pays the bills? We do--the 99 percent. Who dies
>for war profiteers? Soldiers do. What do soldiers receive when they come
>back from war? The highest rate of unemployment, homelessness and suicide in
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-------- PROVIDENCE, R.I. ----------------------------------------------------
By Chris Murphy
AFTER TWO weeks of daily planning meetings, Occupy Providence (OP) officially
kicked off on October 15. Close to 2,000 people marched and rallied through
the streets of Providence in the largest demonstration in Hope City Sky since
May Day 2006.
The vibrant march stopped at various locations in the city addressing
immigration, education, war profiteering and workers' rights. Marchers
chanted, "Who are we? Who are we? Occupy PVD" and "Occupy Burnside--all day,
all night." The occupation and encampment began with Occupy Providence
emphasizing that it's a drug-free and violence-free zone while in Burnside
Tents grew from 40 the first night to 100 during the first week. Over 200
people were staying at the People's Park (formerly known as Burnside Park)
overnight until recently when numbers have dipped due to the weather.
The participation in the General Assemblies that occur daily at 6 p.m. hasn't
slowed down, with new people coming to plan actions and discuss the movement.
A strength of OP is its decision-making process. Rather than being true
consensus, OP tries to attain consensus when possible, but if not, a majority
rules voting process takes over.
During the occupation, numerous occupiers have closed Bank of America
accounts, homeless organizations have been supported and push back against
the public transit cuts of RIPTA has begun. The last two weeks has clearly
illustrated for people in OP that protest works. The Public Safety
Commissioner and mayor have both rhetorically stated that the occupiers can't
stay indefinitely, but no action through a physical eviction or court
injunction has taken place. This is because OP is so large and organized that
the city can't stop it.
Another example of how protest works is a press conference OP held at the
People's Park, stating that we would not be leaving the People's Park and
would remain beyond the "imposed deadline of 2 p.m. on October 30."
The mayor was compelled to come down to the press conference at our place of
power--the People's Park--but was not allowed to speak at the rally and was
forced to join the march to his own office where the group presented him with
a letter stating our intent to stay in the park. The dew of Monday morning
appeared, and no eviction by the city occurred.
Finally, there was an excellent immigration action at the Federal Building
where OP marched to the statehouse. The group organized the march to show the
governor their support for his decision to allow undocumented workers to
achieve in-state tuition and to press for him to stop the Secure Communities
program in Rhode Island. Amazingly, the governor felt compelled to come out
of the statehouse to greet the crowd of people rallying in front.
College students have played a key role in Occupy Providence. On November 1,
there was an excellent Teach In at Providence College. A large group of
around 100 people, mostly women, gathered to hear firsthand accounts from
Occupy Providence members as well as presentations from professors around the
economy, media and war.
A group of 30 students met after the meeting to plan a possible Occupy
Providence College and to see how they could work with Occupy Providence. At
Brown University, there was a one-night Occupy College Hill solidarity
action, and students have organized teach-ins at Brown and Rhode Island
Like all groupings of people in society, OP has some issues that need to be
addressed. The questions of racism and sexism that occur at OP need to be
addressed head on so that everyone can feel that there is a safe zone for
them at the occupation, so they can participate in the movement. This is
starting to be addressed through a women's working group that is forming at
In the beginning, the issues of whether to get a permit for the People's Park
and the role of the police in our movement were debated. The group
consistently voted to not attain a permit, and, due to the violent crackdown
by law enforcement on other encampments, the group's view of the role of
police is evolving.
Working groups at OP have been very successful in organizing people for
actions. Anyone willing to get involved at OP is always welcome to stop by
and have their voice heard and start a working group if they like.
OP does not have a solidarity action with Oakland planned for November 2 but
is actively awaiting to see what happens there to see how to plan future
events. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is coming to Providence, and OP
and the Coalition to Defend Public Education will protest the corporate tool
in charge of our schools. Quality public schools for the 99 percent!
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News of the Occupy movement  SocialistWorker.org is regularly rounding up
reports sent to us from around the country, describing the actions of the
Occupy movement and the political discussions activists are having.All
articles in this series  Previous: Reports from Occupy: 11/3  Next:
Reports from Occupy: 11/8 
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