On March 10th, 40 Occupiers gathered at Judson Church for the Unorganized Workers Assembly to share experiences and tactics about a wide range of workplace organizing campaigns and projects around the city. The assembly was sponsored by Occupy Your Workplace (OYWP), a working group coming out of OWS. From Hot N Crusty to Golden Farm and Tom Cat Bakery, restaurant workers to carwasheros, Student-Worker solidarity at Columbia University and organizing in the Arts industry, New York is buzzing with initiatives.
Breakout groups discussed both the theory and practice of workplace organizing as well as ways to build solidarity across campaigns. There was also a discussion of an ongoing project of OYWP: a workplace Operations Manual inspired by the Debt Resistors manual, which issued an open call for submissions about workplace experiences of the 99%. The manual aims to locate the strategies and tactics of resistance used by the 99% to gain power and visibility in the workplace. There is also an editorial group open to people willing to work on shaping the manual.
Join the Occupy Your Workplace/Organize the Unorganized Facebook group and learn more about the OYWP mailing list, find details about any of their projects, or to get information about upcoming Unorganized Workers Assemblies.
-- from the ‘Your Inbox: Occupied’ team
Occupy in The News
Tidal #4: Block by Block is ready for download. Articles include meditations on Debt and the Commons, reflections on Occupy Sandy and the connections between Occupy and the Civil Rights Movement.
Occupywallstreet.net reports on the third day of demonstrations spurred on by the death of sixteen-year-old Kimani Gray, with on-the-scene coverage from Occupy activist Austin Guest.
On the blog, Waging Nonviolence, Yotam Marom compares his feelings about Kimani Gray to those he had in 2011 when Georgia executed Troy Davis, “I remember the rally held at Union Square, and the feeling that it was one of the most real political moments I’ve ever experienced — with the deepest hurt and the rawest anger mingling together in a beautiful and tragic human knot.”
Alexis Goldstein, former VP at Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch and now OWS activist, reports back on a recent visit to the Rachel Maddow Show where she talked about the Senate hearing on JPMorganChase’s so-called ‘whale’ trades--the risky derivative trades that ended up costing the company six billion dollars in losses. After a nine month investigation, the bank was found to have “ignor[ed] risks, deceiv[ed] investors, [and fought] with regulators.” According to Goldstein, “the great abuse of the London Whale trade is that it was done with “excess deposits,” which is depositor money (your checking account, my savings account) that is not loaned out. JPMorgan gambled customer money, and then lied about it.”
Strike Debt’s coming action--abolishing over one million dollars in medical debt for randomly chosen people in Indiana and Kentucky--can’t help but garner attention. CNN Money and The Daily News reported on Strike Debt’s work and helped to spread the word about the national week of action taking place right now.
In the spirit of mutual-aid, the Occupy Sandy Grants/Projects Group brings you this web-based resource of projects coming out of OS and OWS, and tips on structuring and funding them.
Submissions welcome, contact Kristian at knammack AT gmail.com.
#LifeOrDebt Week of Action
Thursday, March 21st, 4:00pm
Kick off the Strike Debt week of action with a rally and creative actions against the private insurance companies!
Saturday, March 23rd, 9:30am-7:00pm
Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South and Washington Square Park
Join us on March 23 for a day of free healthcare, radical education and a march to highlight community hospital closings. @Washington Square Park 9:30am – all day: Free education, legal advice, performances and music 2pm – March to highlight community hospital closings
@Judson Church 9:30am – 1:30pm: A health fair with FREE HEALTHCARE! 5:30pm – 7pm: Continuation of health fair. We also plan to have practitioners on call to answer medical questions live on the internet all day!
Saturday, March 23rd, 9:30am-7:00pm
Washington Square Park
Occupy Town Square has joined Strike Debt in a day of free healthcare, radical education and a march to highlight community hospital closings. If you are interested in tabling, doing a teach-in, or have other ideas for how you would like to participate, drop us a line!
We also plan to have practitioners on call to answer medical questions live on the internet all day! It wouldn't be an Occupy Town Square without the OWS Screen Printers! Bring your blank T-shirts, totes and other clothing for the brilliant screeners to customize.
Sunday, March 24th, 1:00pm
Former Site of St. John’s Hospital Queens, 90-02 Queens Blvd.
St. John’s Hospital Queens has been closed for about 4 years now. At the time of its closing, St. John’s and its sister hospital had debts and losses in excess of $110 million. Our debt-ridden healthcare system drives hospitals into closure. Join us to demand that healthcare, hospital, and medical debt be absolved, so that healthcare stops driving community hospitals — and people — into bankruptcy.
Occupy these Actions & Events
March 22nd - March 24th
United Federation of Teachers building, 52 Broadway
A “Force Multiplier” is an approach or tool that dramatically increases effectiveness or impact.
For the new generation of political changemakers, mastering the tools of organizing is that force multiplier. That’s the thinking behind Sunday’s Rootscamp, a day long unconference that is part of a three day Organizing New York training event.
Master advanced social media techniques, grassroots fundraising, tips on messaging for the media, or learn about new tools and strategies you haven’t even heard of yet. Have questions? Please email ONY@organizing20.org. (Your Inbox: Occupied has endorsed this event).
Saturday, March 23rd, noon-2pm
Union Square, 14th Street
Join Occupy the Pipeline, 350.org and Sane Energy Project as we call out TD Bank for Greenwashing their Image! We are Calling for All Concerned Citizens to Stop Providing Tar Dollars for Total Destruction! If you have money in TD Bank we think it’s time to MOVE YOUR MONEY. You don’t have to live in NYC to join in this Action! Learn more
Sunday, March 24rd, noon-3pm
James A. Farley Post Office, 421 8th Ave
Congress has manufactured a crisis in the Post Office by requiring it to pre-fund its employee benefits for 75 years. Their ‘solution’ is to cut Saturday Delivery service, following the standard prescription of cutting public services before privatizing them. Tell Congress to stop dismantling the Postal Service so it can keep Delivering for America at this rally.
Monday, March 25th, 7:30pm
Everybody now! Direct Action Singing Group
Judson Memorial Church
To be a part of Everybody Now!, all you have to do is start to sing (or whistle, or hum). We amplify the voice of direct action, not just in loudness, but in beauty and in power. New to Everybody Now? Our mission statement lives here: http://everybodynow.net/about/
7:30-8: Skill Share, 8-9:30: Singing Together, 9:30-10: Discussion + Snacks
Do you have ideas for songs that you would like to share? Or an event/rally/action/march that you think we should collaborate with? Let us know!
Wednesday March 27 - 7pm
Building an Alternative to the Two Parties of Wall St.
CUNY Graduate Center Room 5414 (365 5th Ave, Manhattan, btw 34th & 35th)
Join Occupier Kshema Sawant, Lucas Sanchez from NY Communities for Change and Eljeer Hawkins for a discussion how we can continue to build a left alternative to the two parties of Wall Street. Last Fall, Kshama Sawant ran against the Washington state’s Democratic Speaker of the House to demonstrate that it is, in fact, possible to challenge the two parties of big business. She won a historic 29% of the vote as a Socialist Alternative candidate even though her campaign refused corporate donations and was largely ignored by the corporate media!
Friday, March 29th, 6:30-9:00pm
60 Wall Street
In this special assembly to honor and commemorate Women’s History Month, we will discuss the issues surrounding women and the importance of organizing around Feminism and Womanism and their connection and effectiveness in combating the issues that People of Color, the Working Class, Women, Poor People and all of the 99% face today.
Saturday, March 30th, 10am-8:00pm
Building the Commons - Making Worlds
The Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue
“Making Worlds: a Commons Coalition” was formed during the occupation of Zuccotti Park in order to bring projects working to reclaim the commons to the fore of the Occupy movement. Last year’s Forum on the Commons sought to conceptualize and explore different areas for commoning – natural resources, arts and education, care and reproduction, alternative economies. This year, we would like to open up space for a horizontal conversation with a strong focus on the concrete processes of commoning that are taking place or could take place in New York City now. To register and for a detailed schedule please visit makingworlds.org
From the Anti-Defamation League:
Join ADL in our Centennial Year as we Imagine a World Without Hate™, one where the hate crimes against Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, Matthew Shepard and others did not take place.
You've probably seen at least one version of the "Harlem Shake" making the rounds online. In the video above you can watch Tunisia's version, which is quickly becoming a new form of political protest.
The New York Times Latitude Blog writes:
"The Arab revolutions are going through a rough patch, from political uncertainty in North Africa to daily massacres in Syria. Egypt appears, at times, on the brink of either economic collapse or a military coup. Tunisia is still reeling from a political assassination and may face prolonged instability, as negotiations for the formation of a new government unfold with little chance of a consensus emerging. Many ordinary citizens in both countries are depressed and disoriented.
But at least they haven’t lost their sense of humor.
The latest meme to take over both Egyptian and Tunisian social media involves filming a silly dance to the Harlem Shake, an electronic tune by the American D.J. Baauer, and uploading the result to YouTube. The trend started in Australia, but it has spread to the Middle East, with a twist: It is getting people arrested or in trouble, turning it into a new genre of political protest.
Maybe a Global Harlem Shake Day...you in?
Ten years after the 2003 U.S. invasion in Iraq, medical professionals are witnessing an abnormally high number of cases of cancer and birth defects. Scientists suspect the rise is tied to the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus in military assaults.
On the war's ten-year anniversary, Democracy Now! spoke with Dahr Jamail, an Al Jazeera reporter who recently returned from Iraq. Jamail recounts meeting Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatrician in the city of Fallujah who is the only person registering birth defects.
"She said it's common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye -- really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects."
Jamail says that the current rate of birth defects for the city of Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear attacks at the end of World War II.
A full transcript of the discussion is available here.
On Wednesday, March 20th, the 44th anniversary of her marriage to John Lennon, Yoko Ono tweeted this powerful photo of her late husband’s blood-splattered glasses, the ones he wore the night he was murdered.
"31,537 people are killed by guns in the USA every year. We are turning this beautiful country into a war zone."
"Together, let’s bring back America, the green land of peace."
"The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 33 years our son Sean and I still miss him.”
Yoko Ono Lennon
We miss him, too. Open thread below...
Well, they did it again, passing yet another radical budget plan from Rep. Paul Ryan, this one cutting $4.6 trillion over the next ten years, turns Medicare into a voucher system and repeals Obamacare. Every Democrat, along with 10 Republicans, voted no in a 221-207 vote.
The bill is not expected to pass the Senate, where Thursday’s vote comes just as they're kicking off their own budget debate, which will culminate in an unlimited amendment process called votearama.
They sat in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard and waited for the police to throw them in jail. But the over 100 strong members of the Culinary 226 and Bartenders 165 union were not quiet in their waiting, blocking traffic for an hour and chanting a message for the decision-makers of the Cosmopolitan resort, where union employees have been working without a contract for two years.
"Cosmopolitan, look around, Las Vegas is a union town!" they chanted. “... No justice, no peace! ...”
Culinary Union spokeswoman Yvanna Cancela says the planned Wednesday evening protest will be the first time in two decades that workers have engaged in civil disobedience outside a unionized casino.
Workers have been in contract talks with Cosmopolitan Las Vegas owner Deutsche Bank for two years.
According to watch commander Lt. Bruce Miyama there were about 1,000 demonstrators at the protest. At 5:40 p.m. some started blocking the roadways. 104 people were arrested, cited and released. No physical arrests were made.
The demonstrators were out of the roadway by 6:05 p.m. and traffic was reopened at 6:30 p.m.
More than 80 Metro officers were on scene.
Union members described it as an act of civil disobedience and stressed the action was non-violent and included clergy members.
The protesters blame Deutsche Bank for their lack of a contract for not allowing fair wages and benefits:
"You always hate to do something like this, but sometimes this is what happens and it's necessary – fighting for justice. I am prepared to be arrested," one protestor said.
In a press release, the Cosmopolitan stated
"As we've said before, the Cosmopolitan management is in ongoing negotiations with the union to find a fair agreement. We are hopeful that progress can continue in a positive direction and for continued clarity, the negotiations are being conducted solely between The Cosmopolitan management and the union."
"Our highest priority will continue to be on the safety and hospitality of our guests and CoStars. We will work with the authorities to ensure that access to the resort is maintained."
Cover of the New York Daily News.
Good morning, today is Thursday, March 21, 2013. Happy Birthday Eddie Money!
Your morning open thread begins below.
This is your Moment of Clarity #216: Is the invisible hand of the free market slowly erasing our national and regional identities? What happens when profit defeats all else?