Attendance encouraged by all Occupiers and interested parties. Occupy Kalamazoo will be hosting the second round of Occupy National conferences, August 21-25, 2013, following the wildly successful Occupy National Gathering that took place in Philadelphia, PA, July 2012.
We, the National Gathering Working Group 2013 (NGWG2013), propose a National Gathering of the Occupy Movement, and peoples’ movements worldwide, in Kalamazoo Michigan, to collectively assemble and embrace our different ideologies and perspectives; to find our common visions; to share our strategies and actions; and to leave this gathering with steps we can all take in both agreement and diversity; for ourselves, our communities, our nations, and for all of us all over the world.
We further propose that our convergence begin on Aug. 21 and continue for five days of Community and Movement building exercises including speakers, teach-ins, and free-flowing open discussion at a location to be determined by the Occupy Kalamazoo General Assembly (UpJohn Park is being negotiated). We believe it’s time the people of the world spoke to each other about how to make a better world. We ask you to converge with us, to bring your ideas, your struggles, and your voice and come to Kalamazoo! There will be a special focus on indigenous peoples, race, gender and class throughout the convergences.
Occupy National Gathering working group (NGWG2013) is a coalition of Occupy movements from cities around the world, uniting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and with Occupy and peoples’ movements worldwide.
Detroit Occupiers left Grand Circus Park nearly a year ago in the week preceding the city's Thanksgiving Day parade.
A new "mini-documentary" released on YouTube recently provides a glimpse of what it was like during those chilly days when the Detroit Occupy movement took root in October until the group left the park encampment in November 2011. "Occupy Detroit" depicts life in the encampment, from the medical tent to food preparation and the rallies it held in the streets of Detroit.
Although Occupy Detroit protestors are no longer visible on a daily basis in the public square, the movement continues to make its presence known. Members have taken an active role in supporting homeowners during bank foreclosures, occupied a school for the deaf and support other numerous causes, such as a women's rights march scheduled in Lansing later this week.
August 23rd to 26th, 2012 the Occupy The Midwest Conference will be taking place in Detroit, Michigan, hosted by Occupy Detroit. The summer conference will be the second gathering of Occupiers from around the Midwest, following the widely acclaimed success of the previous conference held during the spring in St. Louis, MO.
Occupiers from around the Midwest region will be meeting in Detroit for organizational meetings aimed at connecting Occupy movements for future projects, innovative "teach-ins" and workshops, fellowship, and entertainment. The theme for the summer conference is “Another World Is Possible”, highlighting a wide range of ideas from the Occupy movement aimed at improving the world through better local communities, while inspiring initiatives from citizens internationally. The failure of our current outdated systems has led to a demand for new and improved methods that meet the needs of all citizens, independent of a corrupt economic and social structure that benefits only a few at the expense of the many.
Regardless of someone's current level of involvement in the Occupy movement or activism in general, anyone concerned with social and economic justice is encouraged to attend the conference to exchange their ideas and visions for a better world. Topics like developing regional and local strategies, launching innovative DIY projects, urban communal living techniques, cooperative community building, and many others will be addressed. This conference will serve as an opportunity for everyone to gain skills that will immediately benefit our communities and promote self-reliance free from the limited corporate owned products and services that exist today.
Detroit was selected for the second Occupy The Midwest Conference because it serves as an unfortunate example of our failed economic system. Detroit was once a proud and iconic American city that represented the effort, pride, and character of the working class, serving as the epicenter of the American auto industry, while also acting as a major force in the entertainment industry. Today Detroit ranks amongst the highest rates in unemployment, empty housing, and crime, following the collapse of the auto industry and subsequent housing market collapse. No city in America better represents the harmful effects of corporate greed and political corruption than Detroit.
Occupy The Midwest is proud to meet in Detroit this August, not only to reinvigorate its citizens and communities, but also occupiers from around the country, providing unique opportunities to collaborate on projects that will have a direct impact in improving the lives of all people, regardless of economic status. While strengthening the relationships established at the spring conference, and building new relationships, Occupy The Midwest's summer conference will mark the beginning of a new phase of the Occupy movement, creating ideas and momentum that will evolve into an unstoppable community involving everyone who is passionate and truly believes that Another World Is Possible.
Click here to register.
Occupy The Midwest is a coalition of Occupy movements from cities around the Midwest region, uniting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy people's movement worldwide.
Jennifer Britt of Detroit’s Rosedale Park is like thousands of homeowners pushed to foreclosure by economic disaster and personal loss. Financial difficulties occurred about 6 years ago when Jennifer's husband was killed by a drunk driver as he was crossing the street near his home. Jennifer assumed the moragage payments but the bank, Flagstar Bank, refused to negotiate the debt since the morgage was only in her husband's name. Jennifer exhausted her life savings and paid Flagstar more than $45,000 to keep her home after the death of her husband and the loss of her job, but Flagstar refused to modify the mortgage and foreclosed. Jennifer is working again, but Flagstar has sold the mortgage to Fannie Mae, with taxpayers footing the bill. Eviction is imminent.
Occupy will distribute flyers reminding festival goers that Flagstar is not a “community bank,” but is owned and controlled by Matlin Patterson of New York, a “Vulture Investor,” as Forbes Magazine describes it. Flagstar has confessed to mortgage fraud and has not paid back the taxpayer bailout it was gifted in 2009. It should take back the mortgage and modify the loan to keep Jennifer and her family in their home.
Evictions play a crucial role in the devastating visual landscape of Detroit's inner city. Vacant, crumbling structures destroy neighborhoods, property values plummet, neighboring homes are put at risk by the threat of arson and other criminal activity. Jennifer's story is not unique. Unfortunately, there are many Detroit residents facing home foreclosure and eviction.
With its comfy sofas, kitchen and sunlit windows, the brick building at 5900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit that opened this year could pass for a spacious café.
But a banner high on the wall that reads "We are the 99%" signifies this is a different type of place, one that's become the center for activists in metro Detroit. After leaving their encampment in Grand Circus Park in November, Occupy Detroit has found a new home in the heart of southwest Detroit.
Across the street from a grocery store, the two-floor 12,000-square-foot building with a tall ceiling was refurbished by activists and is a striking symbol of the movement's attempts to establish a solid base in the region for its activities. "OCCUPY," it reads on the windowpanes outside.
Which federal program took in more than it spent last year, added $95 billion to its surplus and lifted 20 million Americans of all ages out of poverty? Why, Social Security, of course...
Tom Morello, Worldwide Rebel Tour, performing "Night Watchman."
Tom Morello has done it again. Always looking to support the Occupy Movement in one way or another, he has now released a free 30-minute documentary , (did I mention it's free?) in celebration of May Day. Directed by Bobby Roth and filmed at Henson Studios in Los Angeles last August, the film features interviews with Morello juxtaposed with live performances of “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine,” “Save The Hammer For The Man,” “It Begins Tonight,” and “World Wide Rebel Songs.” The film is sure to inspire fans both in and out of the Occupy Movement.
The Rage Against The Machine star has been one of the most fervent supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York last year (11), and has traveled across the U.S. and Canada, and even to London to perform for demonstrators calling for an end to corporate greed.
He also led hundreds of protesters in a musical march through the streets of the Big Apple on May Day (01May12) for the so-called Occupy Guitarmy event, and his campaign work earned him special recognition for public service at the 2012 Hillman Prizes ceremony.
Morello was presented with the award by singer and fellow civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, Jr. at the prizegiving in New York on Tuesday night (01May12), but the rocker admitted he didn't think he'd make it to the event when Occupy demonstrators clashed with police earlier that day.
From ThinkProgress: Wall Street CEOs Personally Lobby Federal Reserve To Weaken New Financial Regulations.
[Caution: Videos in this post may contain language not suitable for work.]
Police teargas Oakland protesters at May Day general strike
Around 400 protesters have been confronted by police who used tear gas, causing hundreds to scatter on May 1. Some activists blocked streets throughout the day and vandalized two banks, a news van and police vehicle. Nine people were taken into custody in Oakland, California, after hundreds of people took to the streets. Police reportedly used Taser against at least one of them. Officers ordered protesters out of the street after firing the tear gas and "flash-bang" grenades. RT's correspondent Madina Kochenova has the latest from Los Angeles.
Occupy Oakland May 1st 2012
Flash grenades, riot police and a smashed channel 5 news van.
Anarchists Storm Bank of the West in Oakland 5-1-2012
A group of Black Bloc anarchists go on a rampage inside a branch office of a Bank of the West. Aside from the bad publicity this gives to the Occupy movement, the anarchists run off and blend in with the large crowds outside and innocent peaceful activists could be mistaken for one of them and be not only arrested, but possibly injured by violent police actions. Yet somehow, they continue to believe this sort of vandalism is "okay."
Snatch and Grab, Arrests, and Tear Gas at Occupy Oakland 5-1-2012
In the beginning of the video, police are seen pulling an individual off of her bike onto the ground, and arresting her.
Occupy Detroit Marches for May Day
Occupy Detroit protesters march to recognize the international holiday that originated in the US called May Day. They began the hike at Patton Park and ended at Grand Circus Park with brief rallies a locations on the way including the abandoned Michigan Central Train Depot. As it's Detroit, there was dancing and rap music, naturally.
The Guardian: Occupy Wall Street: the story behind seven months of protest:
In September last year, anti-corporate activists descended on a small park in lower Manhattan and Occupy Wall Street was born. As protesters ready for a spring resurgence, film-maker Kat Keene Hogue looks back at more than six months of Occupy, a movement that spread from Zuccotti Park to over 100 cities around the world
Statistics are the smoke and fog in the war on women. Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struck out against Mitt Romney’s repeated claims that women made up more than 92 percent of jobs lost under President Obama’s watch. “It’s just a political moment,” Geithner said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, arguing that there was more job loss among men at the beginning of the recession and that Obama inherited economic decline that began under the previous White House. Romney’s campaign isn’t budging, though. “The President should stop making excuses for his failures,” spokesperson Andrea Saul said in an email to reporters. “He is entitled to his own spin but not his own facts.” Too bad Geithner didn't have any facts to back up his idiotic running off at the mouth.
Via Think Progress: Bank of America Forecloses On Homeowner With Disabled Daughter After Offering Her A Modification:
Rodriguez took out a loan to retrofit her house for her special-needs daughter. After she fell behind on her payments, the Bank of America lowered her monthly obligation, but then sold the house at a foreclosure auction last September. The new owner, a house flipper from El Segundo called West Ridge Rentals, moved to evict the family. [...]
Yet still nearly 7,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested to day. Bankers arrested? Zero.
There were only around 40 protesters last night who chose to unfurl their sleeping bags and ground pads on the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street in "sleepful protest" last night. But unlike the vibrant, if somewhat insulated atmosphere of Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's newest encampment is positioned at the nexus of a neighborhood, and residents and passersby seemed eager to engage the demonstrators on the well-lit corner a few yards away from the New York Stock Exchange.
An impeccably dressed, if somewhat intoxicated man began speaking with protesters and eventually sat down, legs crossed, deep in dialogue. His expensive watch peeked out of the cuff of his starched shirt as he made motions with his hands. His wife had left him and he stressed that he had problems, too.
Another man wearing a blue Oxford and carrying his dinner—a frozen chicken dish from Duane Reade—began speaking to a group after he asked one protester, "Tell me again why you're here?" What followed was a conversation that lasted over an hour, ranging from cutting the cost of higher education ("We gotta stop subsidizing four-year colleges,") to the tax rate on capital gains, to solutions to house the homeless.
Also from Think Progress, if Mitt Romney could relate at all to the general population, wouldn't he support paid sick days for workers?
Forty percent of private sector workers and 80 percent of low-wage workers do not have a single, paid sick day to recover from a short-term illness or to provide care for their loved ones. This leads to impossible choices for moms in the sandwich generation who are often working while serving as the main caregiver for an aging parent or school-age children. Missing just three days of work to care for a kid with chicken pox would mean losing the entire month’s healthcare budget for the average two worker, two child family without access to paid sick days.
Paid sick days legislation would enable workers to accrue paid sick leave and provide for provisions to help employers manage. It also makes economic sense as it costs businesses more in lost worker productivity to have sick employees come in, than it would cost to offer paid time off in the first place.
President Obama has come out in favor of such legislation. Mitt Romney, who claims to understand the plight of working people, has been silent.
See how much more effective actual facts are, Mr. Geithner?
Occupy Ninjas, coming to a bank near you soon.
Occupy Detroit is celebrating their 6 month anniversary all weekend:
A general assembly will be held at noon at Eastern Market. The group also will hold an open house from 4-10 p.m. Saturday at its new home at 5900 Michigan Ave. Events will include an ox roast and musical jam session around a bonfire.
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
As TeacherKen notes, there is so much more work that needs to be done before military suicide can be effectively prevented.
Buffet Rule Vote on Monday
On Monday, April 16, the U.S. Senate will debate and vote on the "Buffett Rule," which guarantees that millionaires will no longer pay a lower share of taxes than working people.
Join SEIU and Daily Kos by sending an email (super easy, just click the link) to your senators, telling them to vote in favor of the Buffett Rule. No matter whether your senators are Democrats or Republicans, they all need to know there is big support for making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Worldwide, May 1st is traditionally a ‘Workers’ day – a day of Labor Solidarity, and a public holiday. It’s a day to celebrate and march in support of im/migrant rights. In protest against the corruption of the worldwide marketplace, which has led to illegal foreclosures, mass unemployment, low wages, high taxes and a penalization of all those who do not own the ‘99%’ of the world’s resources, and in solidarity with the im/migrant movements of May 1st, we decided to declare May 1st, 2012 a People’s General Strike. Instead of calling upon unionized Labor to make a specific demand (illegal under Taft-Hartley), we are calling upon the people of the world to take this day away from school and the workplace, so that their absence makes their displeasure with this corrupt system be known.
On December 19th, 2011, Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly consented upon the following statement:
“Occupy LA supports in principle a General Strike on May 1, 2012, for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights, and calls for the building of a broad coalition to make that a reality.”
Occupations across the world have made similar calls for a General Strike, or day of economic disruption, in direct response to Occupy Los Angeles, or through a synchronicity of thought, a buzzing hive mind that feels the need to express solidarity with movements and people throughout the world who honor May Day and see this years expression of that as our next major step.
How can I participate?
If you are part of unionized labor, and your contract is up for negotiation, you can officially strike on May 1st. If you are not – call in sick. Take a holiday. Don’t show up to school. March with us, or join in one of the many events that will be taking place on May 1st, either in the day or in the evening. Block parties, rallies, protests, marches, family BBQ’s – this is a day when we take a stand against the way the system has enslaved us and burdened us with unmanageable debt, incredibly long working weeks, unfeasibly expensive healthcare — by taking a day for ourselves, being human again, spending time with our families and friends. Our bosses dictate everything to us — but not our holiday. The holiday of the working class, the 99%.
If you can’t participate on #M1GS, you can contribute in other ways. Spread the word. Poster your neighborhood. Help form Strike Committees in the workplace. Agitate. Tweet. Like. Donate here (Occupy Los Angeles) to help us get the word out, for logistics — and for TENTS.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE and LABOR RIGHTS
PEACE WITH JUSTICE
CIVIL LIBERTIES — END THE POLICE STATE
HOUSING, EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE AS HUMAN RIGHTS