Posted 1 year ago on April 27, 2012, 6:13 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
In a move reminiscent of Bush era fear-mongering, the Obama Administration has released to corporate media a vague bulletin warning of possible terrorist attacks on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. While the actual date of bin Laden’s death is May 2nd, many media outlets (including the Huffington Post, Fox News, the New York Post, and Gothamist) have reported the date as May 1st. In reality, President Obama announced the successful mission just before midnight on May 1st EST, but bin Laden was killed on May 2nd Pakistan time. The Associated Press, who were the first to report the bulletin, correctly cite the date as May 2nd.
While both the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security (who released the bulletin), as well as the White House and top NYPD officials, have said there are no “credible” or “specific” threats, New York Congressman Peter King told local media the public “might notice increased security” on May 1st. He went on to say, “Obviously if police or anyone questions you or asks you questions, understand why it’s being done.” The same day, DHS Secretary Napolitano told a Senate hearing that her agency was helping coordinate local policing efforts:
During a Senate hearing Wednesday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said DHS efforts "to get information, tools and resources out of Washington, D.C., and into the hands of state and local officials and first responders" have "led to significant advances" in protecting the homeland.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the Sun Times reports the head of the NATO Host Committee was “blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized ’Red Zone’ in the Loop [downtown Chicago]” weeks before the NATO summit, which is expecting massive protests from a coalition of Occupy, peace, labor, and immigration activists. The paper goes on to say (emphasis added):
The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit. [...]
The Federal Protective Service will deploy additional personnel beginning May 1, bringing in more people from out of town and outfitting them in “battle dress uniform.” They will be carrying “non-lethal” long guns — bean bag weapons — in a show of force that at the same time will allow people to move in and out of the zone freely, federal employees were told.
Just months after Obama signed the NDAA “indefinite detention” legislation into law, federal officials’ intentions to drastically increase security for May 1st conveniently coincide with the May Day General Strike in over 120 cities across the U.S. President Obama has already deported more immigrants than the Bush Administration; failed to close Guantanamo; does not meet the needs of the veteran returning from combat; continues to prosecute whistle-blower Pfc. Manning for taking an ethical stand by exposing horrendous U.S. war crimes; frequently invokes “state secrets” to carry out unaccountable, covert spying on U.S. residents; and continues the widespread use of unilateral drone strikes and targeted political assassinations. In response to the U.S. government’s escalating repression, thinly-veiled Islamophobia, and attempts to militarize our cities and borders while scapegoating immigrants, OccupyWallSt.org hereby issues our own warning: A Solidarity Warning to the 1% and their beneficiaries and bodyguards in government. The 99% will not be intimidated or divided. We will stand together and protect one another. We will not be terrorized. We will not be afraid.
Further, we reject any attempt to co-opt May Day -- an historic, international celebration of labor and immigrants rights -- by the government or media. For over a century, May Day has been a day of militant resistance against economic inequality. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the 1% used the imaginary threat of an immigrant-led Communist conspiracy to ensure May Day (which commemorates events in Chicago) would not become a federally-recognized holiday in the U.S., as it is in over 80 countries. Instead, they attempted to re-brand May 1st variously as Americanization Day, Loyalty Day, and Law Day. We must not let them do it again. Through the Red Scare to the War on Terror, we must honor the true history of May 1st. As we have seen countless times throughout history, we cannot rely on politicians from any political party to sincerely look out for our interests. They serve only the wealthy financial elite. We must stand together as the 99%.
However, we must also recognize that the State’s “anti-terrorism” efforts target particular communities within the 99%. This May Day, organizers are taking precautions to ensure the fullest protection possible for undocumented and/or criminalized communities who wish to exercise their right to free speech safely on May Day. See here for more information on ways everyone can take part in May Day festivities!
And remember: If you notice suspicious people in uniform carrying weapons or plotting to spread fear through well-coordinated violent attacks on civilians on May 1st, alert your local Occupy community. If you see something wrong with racism and vast income inequality defended by a militarized government in this country, say something with us in the streets this May Day!
¨ Fear of immigrants was [sic] widespread in the United States. In this cartoon [titled ¨Where The Blame Lies¨ from 1891], published five years after the Haymarket Square riot and one year before the Homestead Strike, illustrator Grant Hamilton placed a judge scolding Uncle Sam: "If Immigration was properly Restricted you would no longer be troubled with Anarchy, Socialism, the Mafia and such kindred evils!" From New York Harbor behind them comes a horde of arriving immigrants labeled "German socialist," "Russian anarchist," "Polish vagabond," "Italian brigand," "English convict," and "Irish pauper." ¨ - The Library of Congress
Posted 1 year ago on April 27, 2012, 1:34 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Yesterday, a broad coalition of immigrant rights groups, community organizations, labor unions, and Occupy Wall Street activists held a press conference in Union Square to announce plans for the United May Day actions. For those who missed the conference, below is the press release containing information about some of the many exciting, low-risk activities taking place on Tuesday. Stay tuned for a full list of (permitted and un-permitted) events planned for May 1st in NYC!
Rally Organizers Announce Permits Secured, March Route Confirmed, Labor & Immigrant Rights Workshops and Cultural Performances to Take Place Throughout the Day
Tom Morello, Das Racist, Immortal Technique and Dan Deacon to perform on May 1st in Union Square
May 1st Coalition, Labor union representatives, La Fuente, New York Immigration Coalition, New Immigrant Communities Empowered (NICE), El Centro de Inmigrante, National Institute for Latino Policy, Mothers on the Move, National Lawyers Guild, Occupy Wall Street Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group, Occupy Wall Street en Espanol, Occupy Wall Street Latin America, National Lawyers Guild, Community Farmworker Alliance, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Adelante Alliance, Jornaleros Unidos, Families for Freedom, Restaurant Opportunities Center-NY, Domestic Workers United, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Laundry Workers Center United, Brandworkers International, Independent Workers Movement, La Peña del Bronx, Centro Guatemalteco Tecun Uman, Philippine Forum
On Thursday, April 26th, representatives of dozens of immigrant, community and labor organizations, along with organizers from the Occupy Wall Street movement, will gather to unveil plans for a massive and historic May Day rally to take place on Tuesday, May 1st at 4PM in Union Square. After months of careful planning, a diverse and united coalition has finalized plans to gather under the banner of “LEGALIZE, ORGANIZE, UNIONIZE”, demanding an end to the criminalization and exploitation of immigrant workers, and the stranglehold of the 1% on communities across the city, state and country. The program for the day will include community speakers, cultural performances, music, food, and celebratory activities for the entire family, including face-painting for children.
At 5:30PM, a spirited march will depart from Union Square for Wall Street, making stops along the way to target the corporations, banks and government agencies who have profited off of the harassment and deportation of immigrants and the attacks on workers rights. Speakers at the press conference will announce that permits have been secured and that coalition organizations are providing members as “pacers” (marshals) along the route to have a well-organized and safe demonstration.
The May Day march to Wall Street will include several taxis and a truck along the route. Workers from across the immigrant community will be participating in actions targeting employers who exploit immigrant labor, including restaurant workers, domestic workers, laundry workers and bakery employees. Ignacio Villegas, a pantry cook from Mexico who works at Capital Grille restaurant, calls on the immigrant community to join the rally, saying “your participation in May Day as immigrant workers is very important, because we live in the shadows and our working conditions are like slavery. Our presence on May 1st will tell the elected officials, bosses and other people in power that we are also part of the economy. As workers in the richest country in the world, we aren’t getting any of the wealth we create.”
Patricia Francois, a domestic worker who was verbally and physically abused by her former employer, emphasized that “May Day is a very important day because many of us are exploited and verbally abused and we need to organize to put a stop to it. Particularly in the domestic worker industry, where women of color and immigrants are exploited every day we must stand up and be heard. Far too long we’ve been exploited and today it must stop. May Day is our day!”
Marina Diaz, an organizer of Centro Guatemalteco Tecun Uman said “Because of unfair U.S. economic policies our people are forced to migrate to the U.S. and risk their lives crossing the border. Every May Day since 2006 we have gathered at Union Square to demand legalization and justice for all workers.”
“On Int'l Workers Day, we will once again march with millions of workers and immigrants in New York and around the world to collectively fight for our rights, to demand legalization and to fight against and call an end to deportations, trafficking and other forms of abuses and exploitation by the 1%," stated Jonna Baldres, Deputy General Secretary of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
In addition to the 4pm rally, the May 1st Coalition will be providing a fully-permitted space in Union Square from 12pm on for community members, the unemployed, students and those who take off from work to gather and celebrate May Day together. The Occupy Wall Street movement will be sponsoring workshops throughout the day, providing legal referrals, “know your rights” classes and face-painting for children. Legal services will be provided by the National Lawyer’s Guild.
We the faculty of the City University of New York (CUNY) express our solidarity with the May Day General Strike and the efforts to create a Free University in Madison Square Park on May 1, 2012. We further support a CUNY-Wide Day of Action on May 2, 2012 to build further momentum for social equality, show the collective power of CUNY faculty, students, and staff, and demonstrate our ability to transform the City University of New York into a university that is accessible, accountable, democratic, and free for all.
We are proud of CUNY's heritage as the successor to the Free Academy of the City of New York and the historic legacy of CUNY educators committed to building a truly public university free of cost for all New Yorkers. Therefore, we stand against anything that makes CUNY less accessible, less public, less safe, and less affordable.
We oppose the continuously increasing burden of tuitions and fees. We oppose the modeling of CUNY on corporate structures — from excessive executive compensation to the exploitation of contracted and adjunct labor. Increasing tuition costs and the growing debt burden foisted upon students undermine not only CUNY’s institutional goals, but also its legitimacy and the very futures of its students.
We oppose the undermining of local faculty and student governance at CUNY colleges through the imposition of a centralized curriculum. The jettisoning of foreign languages, science lab work, and the devaluation of the creative arts goes against all principles of general liberal arts education. The Pathways program, standardized to the “lowest common denominator” will further devalue the quality of a CUNY education, making it easier for students to transfer within CUNY but harder for their credits to be recognized outside CUNY.
We oppose the intensification of policing inside of CUNY, and protest NYPD and CUNY security surveillance and harassment of student organizations, political activity, and Muslim students.
We condemn police violence and arrests in response to peaceful on-campus protests by dissenting students and faculty, such as those well-documented on November 21st, 2011, and call for all charges to be dropped against those arrested on this date.
We support movements to create alternatives to these inequalities and the austerity and policing measures taken in response to this crisis, such as the Occupy movement, the struggle against securitization and racial profiling, and the movement of CUNY students, educators, and workers.
We support academic freedom and the right to exercise free speech through dissent and peaceful protest.
We support community control and self-determination in our education.
We support meaningful academic employment which allows all faculty, permanent and adjunct, to do good work in our classrooms and provides students with safe, meaningful learning environments.
We support CUNY students and faculty members, both permanent and adjunct, participating in May Day events and the Free University, and we encourage all to contribute.
The May Day General Strike, the Free University in Madison Square Park, and CUNY-Wide Day of Action are public endeavors to make education accessible to all and relevant to the struggles and challenges faced by New York's 99%. As all those who have struggled to make CUNY a truly public university have shown us, we must take deliberate steps to build the university that we want and need.