#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines…


Mexico City: #Occupied. Photo: Miguel Angel Guzman

This week in Occupy, there was an outpouring of solidarity for Greece, Ric Santorum got mic-checked in Tacoma and the NYPD continued to rack up lawsuits as a result of its thuggery.

#As Greece faced a second bailout, its citizenry continued to protest the government’s severe austerity measures. Occupiers everywhere took to the streets in solidarity. In Berlin, militants from several groups organized protests in front of the Greek embassy and Occupy Berlin organized protests at the Berlinale International Film Festival.

#Stop-and-frisks performed by the NYPD increased 14 percent in 2011; 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic.

Occupy Tampa

#Anthony Bologna, A.K.A. Tony Baloney, the pepper-spraying New York cop, is being sued by the unarmed women he sprayed during a demonstration in September in an incident that brought Occupy Wall Street to global prominence. Chelsea Elliot and Jeanne Mansfield are suing Bologna and the city for damages for “physical pain and mental suffering.”

#It was revealed that the NYPD, the sixth largest standing army in the world, spied on Muslims all over the northeastern U.S., including students at New York City schools, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, even sending an undercover officer on a whitewater rafting trip.

#Keeping the Oakland Police Department under the watch of a federal monitor for its civil rights violations is costing the very taxpayers whose civil rights it violated six million dollars over nine years, far surpassing the projected budget of $4 million over five years.

#Chicago, which will host the G8 and NATO summits in May, ranks as the most corrupt city in the nation.

#Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer suggested that the court reconsider its controversial 2010 Citizens United decision that allows unlimited corporate spending in elections.

#The third “People’s Bailout,” a series of singing protests staged by Organizing for Occupation that aims to disrupt court foreclosure proceedings, took place at  Queens Supreme Court on February 17. Forty-two people interrupted the auction by standing and singing “Mr. Auctioneer.”

#Occupy protesters mic-checked Rick Santorum as he gave a speech at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. “Instead of standing here unemployed, yelling at somebody,” Santorum told his supporters, the protesters should instead “go out and get a job.” Covering the story for CNN, anchor Kyra Phillips asked an on-air panel, “Has Occupy Wall Street run its course?” (2:50) Each of her three guests answered with a resounding “no,” adding that Occupy has changed the conversation, thus making the movement a success.

A sign displayed at a reading of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology at St. Mark’s Church on February 17.

#Five current and former directors of Lloyd’s Bank had part of their 2010 bonuses “clawed back” as a result of their involvement in a questionable insurance scandal. It’s the first time a British bank has exercised a clawback option.

#Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said he was safer in Lebanon than with Occupy protesters on the day they occupied the sidewalk outside his Manhattan home. “That particular day, I was in Lebanon—Beirut—doing business over there and I was probably safer over there too.” To recap: Mr. Dimon, who lives at 1185 Park Avenue, feels safer next door to a burgeoning civil war than 17 stories above a sidewalk filled with people exercising their First Amendment rights.

#After Occupy Nashville and Change.org publicized the plight of a 78-year-old grandmother who faced eviction after JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on her home, 79,000 people petitioned the banking giant, prompting it to broker a settlement.

#Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Longview, Washington, labor community named the Occupy Movement as key to the settlement reached Thursday between ILWU Local 21 and the Export Grain Terminal.

#Economist Paul Krugman told Playboy magazine that people should be in jail as a result of the financial meltdown: “Something terrible happened and nobody has been held accountable.” Occupy Wall Street, he said, “has done a great service. We didn’t need 10-point proposals. We needed someone to declare that the emperor was naked. The conversation has shifted since the protests began, and that’s good.” Jimmy Carter: also a fan of Occupy.

Occupy Nigeria. Photo: Jelili Atiku

#While introducing his new album to a group of journalists in Paris, Bruce Springsteen credited OWS with inspiring the “angry patriotism” reflected in his new music. “Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous—a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community,” he said.

#Fast Company named the Occupy Movement one of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.

#One day after the Nigerian government eliminated oil subsidies, causing petrol prices to spike and robbing Nigerians of virtually the only benefit of the country’s oil wealth, Occupy Nigeria was born. Occupiers in the capital city of Abuja continue to fight to get the subsidy reinstated.

#Occupy Harvard hosted the Occupy Boston Student Summit, drawing students from 18 nearby college campuses to foster connections between different student Occupy groups.

#Occupy the SEC submitted a 325-page letter to the SEC, FDIC, Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller to comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking for the Volcker Rule. The letter is a point-by-point rebuttal to the arguments offered by finance industry lobbyists who want to water down the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Here’s more about the Volcker Rule.

Occupy Pensacola demonstrates in front of the offices of their representatives while the Department of Homeland Security keeps watch. Photo: Occupy Pensacola

#350 Pensacola and Occupy Pensacola staged a rally, Blow the Whistle on Florida’s Dirty Energy Corruption, held at the office of Senator Marco Rubio on February 17 to protest Rubio’s and Rep. Jeff Miller’s attempts in Congress to revive the Keystone XL pipeline, expand offshore drilling, gut the Clean Air Act and use taxpayer money to subsidize the fossil fuel industry.

#In observance of Valentine’s Day, it was reported that Christine Crowther, 23, and Haywood Carey, 29, met, fell in love and broke up while working the North Carolina Democratic campaign circuit but reunited at Occupy Wall Street. [Insert joke about the Democratic Party establishment here.]

#Elsewhere on Valentine’s Day, Occupy Atlanta, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, the Communication Workers of America and the American Friends Service Committee occupied AT&T Headquarters in Atlanta for a multi-day sit-in to protest its planned layoffs of hundreds. This is why they #occupy.

#After being evicted and re-occupying several times, Occupy Asheville, North Carolina, peacefully vacated their City Hall encampment, vowing to continue demonstrating against wealth disparity and homelessness. “We’re like meerkats that way,” remarked an Occupy protester named Gyspi. “I think we’ve accomplished a lot.”

#Occupy Pittsburgh Now has published its first issue. Welcome to the Occupied Media fold!

#Occupy Portland would like you to join them to Shut Down the Corporations on February 29.

#InterOccupy is holding a conference call on February 22 to share information about Occupy the Hamptons, the playground of the 1%, which will be the site of some rather creative direct action this summer.

Occupy Long Beach cleaned up the coastline on January 19. Photo: Occupy Long Beach

#On the third Sunday of every month, Occupy Long Beach will stage a beach clean-up.

#Video has surfaced of the flash mob Occupy San Francisco unleashed on Wells Fargo in January, where demonstrators reworked Beyonce’s “Telephone” to suit their message: “Sorry I cannot hear you/I’m busy marching.” “We protest Wells Fargo because they are responsible for illegal and fraudulent loans that resulted in foreclosures, they received billions in taxpayer bailouts, they own $5 billion in student debt, and they are also investing billions in for-profit immigrant detention centers,” a woman announced at the end of the action.

#On December 6, Los Angeles became the first major U.S. city to call for an amendment reserving Constitutional rights solely for living human beings and not corporations. Move to Amend has produced a video documenting this local victory.

#Despite shelling by government forces, Syrians continued to flood the streets of Damascus.

#Curious about #how to occupy? HowToOccupy.org provides updated information about occupy movement around the world.