Posted 2 months ago on March 15, 2013, 4:36 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
stop and frisk,
16-year-old Kimani Gray was shot seven times – four times in the front of his body, and three times in the back – last Saturday. And for a third straight day demonstrators gathered in his neighborhood, East Flatbush, to protest New York Police Department brutality. After 100 people attended a candlelight vigil near Brooklyn's 67th Precinct, as many as 50 people were arrested as a demonstration spread throughout the neighborhood. Thereafter, according to a range of bloggers and social media activists, East Flatbush became a "frozen area," with media barred.
RT reports, "Brooklynites were heard shouting "murderers!" at the massive police presence Wednesday as officers prohibited people from even stepping onto the street in one of New York's poorer neighborhoods while police helicopters circled overhead." Ray Kelly himself, the Police Commissioner, did not characterize the demonstration as a riot, as some local newspapers did, but he did describe the assembly as disorderly.
Police mistrust runs deep in a neighborhood disproportionately targeted by the NYPD's deeply unpopular Stop and Frisk policy, widely regarded as a racist practice.
Franclot Graham told AP: "I'm not going to tell people don't be angry because we're all angry...It's OK to vent but you have to respect the family's wishes and be peaceful." Graham's teenage son, Ramarley Graham, was shot and killed after police chased him into his Bronx home last year. A New York police officer has since been charged with manslaughter in the death.
Gray's family maintains he wasn't armed. According to AP, a cousin of Kiki, Ray Charles, was still having trouble accepting the NYPD's official version of events: "My cousin was scared of guns...I honestly just want justice. They didn't need to shoot him like that...The real issue in Brooklyn is cops have been harassing us for a long time," he said. "It needs to stop."
ON-THE-SCENE REPORTING FROM OCCUPY WALL STREET
One Occupy activist on the scene, Austin Guest, observed:
At the invitation of a comrade from Flatbush, I went down for the second straight night tonight to the protests surrounding Kimani Gray's murder at 55th & Church. Out of a sea of over three hundred people, I was one of maybe a dozen white faces, most of them journalists. For the the first time in over a year spent organizing non-stop demonstrations on Wall Street, I was at a protest, but I was just along for the ride – firmly and gladly ensconced in the back seat. From that back-seat position, I witnessed one the most mind-blowing protests I have ever been to. I felt humbled and at times scared – in the presence of a deep, intense force surging up, demanding to be heard.
A few moments that stick in my head:
- A crowd of protesters being pushed aggressively out of the street in front of the 67th precinct by riot cops, turning on a dime, sprinting in the opposite direction, finding and surrounding a cop car, shoving it and hitting its windows, dispersed only by a barrage of pepper spray to their faces from the terrified cop inside the car
- A teenage girl staring down a line of riot cops and yelling "MURDERERS!" fearlessly at the top of her lungs into their stone cold faces
- The look of panic on the driver of a police van's face after the rear window of his van was smashed, seemingly from nowhere
- A crowd being pushed down a side street by scooter cops, followed minutes later by a shower of glass bottles flying from apartment buildings onto the heads of the scooter cops
- A car by Kimani's memorial blasting Bob Marley's "War" and a mass of quiet, somber people pulsing and bobbing their heads in slowly growing rage."
Tensions were high, but according to Yoni Brombacher Miller, "I wasn't worried about getting arrested myself; it was clear they (the NYPD) weren't interested in the non-people of color, or adults. They were clearly going after the youth."
Brombacher Miller added, "How can we best amplify and strengthen their militant struggle for justice? Some, like Councilman Jumaane Williams argued that the 'youth should be controlled', and while he argues that they're right to be angry, he is also stifling their rage instead of agitating with them. The NYPD cannot and will not be part of the restorative process. The only steps that must be taken, are a demilitarized, reduced NYPD with expansion of social programs and services, which currently the NYPD is actively a part in preventing.
"I was roughly thrown over barricade by cops, but I'll be back tomorrow, and the night after and after, because this is truly historical, and Brooklyn's moment. The youth today were brave, and many more shall be inspired to join up."
To show solidarity with those arrested, call 311 and demand that everyone arrested at the Kimani Gray vigil be released from the NYPD 71st + 69th precincts in Brooklyn. Or call the precinct directly: 71st precinct (718) 735-0511, 69th precinct (718) 257-6211
Posted 2 months ago on March 12, 2013, 8:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
At the end of last year, on Black Friday, Walmart workers bravely went out on strike. The workers and their supporters held protests at over 1,000 stores across the country, shortly following an initial set of strikes by workers in Walmart’s warehouses. The actions were broadly hailed as historic, given Walmart’s long-time practice of crushing the rights of workers at home and across the globe.
Walmart, predictably, wasted no time denying the importance of the strikes and protests. On Black Friday, Walmart downplayed the strikes, falsely claiming that “…fewer than five workers walked off the job” and "less than fifty," in other sources.
The massive Walmart PR team continued with the spin to hide the truth of unrest bubbling from our neighborhoods. Even though the strikers had never called for a boycott, Walmart immediately released sales numbers in a nervous attempt to demonstrate that the workers hadn’t impacted its bottom line. In fact, it further added that despite the strikes and protests, the company had its best Black Friday ever.
Interestingly, recently leaked emails from Walmart executives tell another story about Walmart’s holiday season and sales following Black Friday. In the leaked emails, one executive asks, “Where are all the customers?” A look at Walmart’s fourth quarter sales reveals “anemic growth” in the market of the United States.
As result of these sales numbers, Walmart’s tune suddenly changed. “We didn’t finish quite as strong as we would have liked, primarily due to a little slower holiday season than we would have planned,” Walmart’s CFO told the New York Times. Of course, Walmart was prepared to blame the downturn on payroll taxes, but its self-reported Black Friday numbers appear more dubious than ever.
The Black Friday Walmart strikes mattered a great deal, because Walmart is the corporate goliath in the room. Walmart represents everything about modern life that is sustainable only to the cause of siphoning resources out of our neighborhoods and into the pockets of the Directors of the company. These strikes are yet another sign that people have grown weary of the inequality that plagues us.
If the wealth of the Walton family were invested in the workers (or nationalized), every worker at Walmart could have a full health plan, education, sick days, and a living wage.
Remember WalMart during your MayDay planning, and remember Walmart when you need a glaring example of everything that is wrong with our modern economy.
Posted 2 months ago on March 7, 2013, 3:59 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Posted 2 months ago on Feb. 26, 2013, 3:37 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
As part of our recent series on Occupy and consensus, we are posting this timely piece by David Graeber, originally published at OccupyWallStreet.net
There has been a flurry of discussion around process in OWS of late. This can only be a good thing. Atrophy and complacency are the death of movements. Any viable experiment in freedom is pretty much going to have to constantly re-examine itself, see what's working and what isn't—partly because situations keep changing, partly because we're trying to invent a culture of democracy in a society where almost no one really has any experience in democratic decision-making, and most have been told for most of their lives that it would be impossible, and partly just because it's all an experiment, and it's in the nature of experiments that sometimes they don't work.
A lot of this debate has centered around the role of consensus. This is healthy too, because there seem to be a lot of misconceptions floating around about what consensus is and is supposed to be about. Some of these misconceptions are so basic, though, I must admit I find them a bit startling.
Just one telling example. Justine Tunney recently wrote a piece called "Occupiers: Stop Using Consensus!" that begins by describing it as "the idea that a group must strictly adhere to a protocol where all decisions are unanimous"—and then goes on to claim that OWS used such a process, with disastrous results. This is bizarre. OWS never used absolute consensus. On the very first meeting on August 2, 2011 we established we'd use a form of modified consensus with a fallback to a two-thirds vote. Anyway, the description is wrong even if we had been using absolute consensus (an approach nowadays rarely used in groups of over 20 or 30 people), since consensus is not a system of unanimous voting, it's a system where any participant has the right to veto a proposal which they consider either to violate some fundamental principle, or which they object to so fundamentally that proceeding would cause them to quit the group. If we can have people who have been involved with OWS from the very beginning who still don't know that much, but think consensus is some kind of "strict" unanimous voting system, we've got a major problem. How could anyone have worked with OWS that long and still remained apparently completely unaware of the basic principles under which we were supposed to be operating?
Granted, this seems to be an extreme case. But it reflects a more general confusion. And it exists on both sides of the argument: both some of the consensus' greatest supporters, and its greatest detractors, seem to think "consensus" is a formal set of rules, analogous to Roberts' Rules of Order, which must be strictly observed, or thrown away. This certainly was not what people who first developed formal process thought that they were doing! They saw consensus as a set of principles, a commitment to making decisions in a spirit of problem-solving, mutual respect, and above all, a refusal of coercion. It was an attempt to create processes that could work in a truly free society. None of them, even the most legalistic, were so presumptuous to claim those were the only procedures that could ever work in a free society. That would have been ridiculous.
Posted 2 months ago on Feb. 26, 2013, 2:10 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
via Save Wįyąbi Project
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on their version of the Violence Against Women Act, which excludes protections for Native American women. Native women are more likely to be victims of violence than any other ethnic group in the United States. This is unacceptable.
We will be marching and round dancing in front of the House of Representatives to demand justice and safety for our sisters. 10AM on Thursday February 28, 2013, starting at the Capitol South metro station. Please join us.
Please use #VAWA #1BillionRising #SaveWiyabiProject for twitter hashtag support and spread the word!