Archive for the ‘Direct Action’ Category

Urban Jobs Task Force begins Monthly Protests of COR – OCIDA Tax Deal

In Activism, Direct Action, Economics, Jobs, Press Release, Uncategorized on February 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

SYRACUSE – Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12 noon ujtflogoCapture

Urban Jobs Task Force and community members will launch monthly protests of the $44 million tax deal granted by Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to the Inner Harbor developers, COR. On the 3rd Thursday of every month, we will protest this tax deal less we forget how this tax deal hurts vulnerable city residents.

We will protest:

  • the inequity of this tax deal. COR is building the Inner Harbor using more than $70 million of public money, $44 million in tax breaks approved by OCIDA, with no accountable, verifiable community benefits as jobs and contracts for city residents.
  • the undemocratic nature of the largest component of this tax deal, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). The PILOT was never approved by the elected body of Syracuse, the Syracuse Common Council.
  • the emerging practice of OCIDA. OCIDA is signaling developers that it is “OK” to avoid the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency and its scrutiny. This practice is disrespectful and disempowering.

We will urge:

  • negotiations between COR and the City to end the lawsuits by adding verifiable, accountable job and M/WBE goals through a community benefits agreement for city residents on the Inner Harbor project.
  • IDA reform at the state level that creates firm IDA jurisdictional boundaries and project transparency by requiring a workforce profile connected to the jobs created. At a minimum, this profile would describe the workforce by zip code, ethnicity and gender.

We will continue to pressure for Economic Inclusion!

Monthly protests: 3rd Thursday of month, 12 noon to 12:30 pm, Corner of Solar and Court Streets

Contact: Aggie Lane, 315-478-4571,


The Landscape Of Fracking in NY

In Direct Action, Energy, Video Documentation on February 28, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Many are under the impression that New York is safe from fracking now because high-volume horizontal drilling will be banned. But the reality is that industry is on the attack with multiple proposals for pipelines, compressor stations, storage caverns, waste dumping and service facilities. Find out what’s happening near the Syracuse area via an online mapping tool that demonstrates that New York is in fact being fracked in every way except the drilling.  Learn how you can help stop the infrastructure projects that are threatening communities across NY.


Doug Couchon, People for a Healthy Environment about We Are Seneca Lake Salt Cavern Storage;

Suzy Winkler, Concerned Citizens of Burlington about the Dominion New Market Project;

Mary Menapace, GDACC about Northern NY injection wells

Sponsored by (List in formation):
Sane Energy Project, Coalition to Protect New York, Syracuse Peace Council, Frackbusters NY, Mohawk Valley Keeper, We Are Seneca Lake, Shaleshock CNY, People for Animal Rights


TPP Fast Track Daily Actions Calendar: #CNYvsTPP

In Corporations, Direct Action, Government, International on February 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

Indy Media CNY stands on the side of stopping the Fast Tracking of the TPP international free trade agreement in it’s tracks (Public Citizen has a great collection of information and data that explains the concerns about the TPP). As a service, we are compiling a list of daily actions that you can take to participate in this campaign.  Actions include educational opportunities such as curated videos and articles, social media storms, TPP Tuesday call-ins, taking pledges, writing letters, flyering, and more.  Each day we will select an action of merit and importance and share on our public calendar.  Just click on the action to learn all about it and how to participate.  The Fast Track vote is expected sometime in the next 1-2 months, so the time is now to learn, and communicate with each other and your elected officials.


I don’t care about clearing my sidewalks of snow

In Community, Direct Action, Social Media on February 8, 2015 at 9:04 am

Editor’s Note: This site is about creating a community wide photojournalism experiment to share pictures of mostly businesses who never clear their sidewalks of snow.  It’s also about using free social media platforms as a means for public activism and communications.


“Generally, I don’t care if your kids walk in the street to school in heavy traffic, that someone in a wheel chair can’t get around, or that you as an able bodied adult has a hard time getting from point A to point B. Oh, and if you just happen to like being able to walk on cleared sidewalks in the winter for exercise, the esthetically beautiful nature of it, or being able to commute walking to work and back……… ha, too bad!! lol

Oh what, it’s the law?? What are you going to do, tell me to clear my sidewalks……… or what? You’re going to tell me again!?!?!” lol”

From the Organizer Rick Destito: This site is about the people in this city having a place to come together and share pictures of businesses or other people or groups in the city who almost never clear their sidewalks of snow.  The goal: Is to get everyone and every business in the city to clear snow from their sidewalks helping to create a more walkable city for everyone, 365 days per year!

Think of this group site as community wide photojournalism experiment for all of us who care about each other in the City of Syracuse, our kids, our elderly, and those of us who really do just love being able to live in walkable communities!!  Anyone can join.

Post pics with locations of businesses, people, or groups who never seem to clears their sidewalks, snowbanks plowed directly into sidewalks, pics of just after you clearing snow from your sidewalk only to have a city plow go by and fill your sidewalk right back up with snow like you never did it! Pics of kids having to walk in the road to school or up to their knees on a snowy sidewalk and or other dangerous situations.

This is from City of Syracuse website on Sidewalk Maintenance:

“During winter months, please remember that your sidewalks must be kept clear of snow and ice. By ordinance, anyone with a sidewalk parallel to any public street, shall clear and keep cleared any snow or ice which has accumulated on the surface. This clearing of the snow and ice shall be completed by 6 p.m. of the day following the accumulation. No person shall shovel, sweep, throw, plow, or otherwise deposit snow or ice into the street, sidewalk, or park located within the city.”

In the end, the main point of this community photo journal is that we could talk all day, but a picture is worth a thousand words and can’t be argued with.  So, I’m not sure where this site will go, but I’m sure things may change, and always, always, keep it to the goal at hand, not just mindless ranting, we don’t have time for that!”

What Next, Justice Beyond Grief

In Direct Action, Interpretive Editorial, Racial Justice on December 11, 2014 at 10:15 pm

The amount of media, journalism, and blog articles about Ferguson over the last two weeks has been staggering.  There is no conceivable way to keep up with all the new and forthcoming information.  And that’s too bad because much of it is really really good journalism and analysis.

Of all the pieces that I encountered, two stuck with me because they proposed not just an analysis, but specific actions of solidarity.  Each was shared multiple times and even built upon one another.  The first, Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder, published at, presents, in the words of the second article’s authors –

only thinking, reading, contemplating, reframing. While these personal acts are absolutely necessary, they are insufficient. They are not enough, and especially not today. They fall short because they don’t facilitate change, because they don’t hold whiteness accountable, and because they aren’t sufficiently tied into movements of racial justice.”  – 12 Things White People Can Actually Do After the Ferguson Decision – Joseph Osmundson and David J. Leonard

I’ve also seen many many people sharing these articles and making a personal statement or two on Facebook about the Mike Brown killing and the Darren Wilson non-indictment (and now as I write this, the non-indictment in the Eric Garner killing).  In the case of my set of Facebook friends, this generally means solidarity as an ally with non-whites, and enragement at the Grand Jury decisions.

The comments that accompany the posts and articles that most strike me (besides the calls for demilitarization of the police) are the ones that call for jobs, economic development, and citizen engagement from within the ranks of, or from members of, disenfranchised groups.  These things won’t come about solely from facebook clicktivism or protests or marches.  Note: I am not here to diminish these actions.  They are important, and I can’t wait for ensuing marches and rallies that will energize and galvanize.  They allow #GriefFrustrationAndAnger to be expressed, a #GrowingRacialJusticeVoice to be heard, and a chance and a reason for reflection, especially I hope through encouraging #LookingBackAtYourOwnRacistHistory and recognizing how you have been influenced to perhaps look the other way.

I will though offer the following other actions, as a contribution, that you can take to not just deal with the immediate aftermath of the decisions and the resulting emotions, but to bring about necessary “change to laws, to our institutions and how we carry ourselves each and every day” as I riff off of my favorite item from Osmundson and Leonard’s list – “11. Do Something Beyond This Week”.

#ShutItDown may be the new age of civil disobedience, but civil disobedience in itself does not equal change.  Effecting the system, effecting the root causes with root solutions, effecting our own internal revolution and evolution, these are the next steps – Participatory Democracy, Cooperative Economics, Assurance of Basic Needs, Continuing Lifelong Personal Development.

  1. Move your money from a corporate bank to a member-owned community development credit union such as Cooperative Federal.  If you believe that the system is functioning to keep power in the hands of the few who currently have wealth and power, and that police brutality and militarization are facets of the control structures in place too, then divest from those structures, and put your money into the hands of your community and your neighbors.
  2. Become a member owner at Eat-To-Live Food Coop (or Syracuse Real Food Coop).  Similarly to moving your money, move your consumption and your grocery purchases to a member-owned store.  There are currently two choices in Syracuse, the Eat-To-Live Food Coop on South Salina St, and the Syracuse Real Food Cooperative on Kensington St.  Both are run democratically, and revenues stay within the neighborhood, and within the operations of the store itself.
  3. Form your own cooperative business, collective home, or sharing economy project.  Value people over property by putting property and ownership into collective hands.  Examples that currently exist are community gardens, housing coops, and tool shares.  But the possibilities are endless.  Worker cooperatives, in which the individuals who work at a business also own the means of production of the business, are the holy grail of cooperatives. We don’t currently have one worker cooperative in Syracuse, let’s change that.
  4. Know the history of police brutality and corruption locally, and understand what this current racial justice movement is demanding.  I honestly don’t know this history as well as I should, but I hope to keep learning about it until there is no more of it to learn, i.e. we’ve put an end to such violence.  Look to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the United As One Coalition for this information. Read Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States” to understand the roots of white privilege, beginning with the violent colonization of Native Americans by European settlers. Also, read and be familiar with the demands from the Ferguson Action Group for radical change to the nation’s criminal justice system.  These are the endgame goals that we should be discussing and communicating.
  5. Become a digital witness (learn and practice citizen journalism techniques).  If you have a smart-phone, download a live-streaming app and learn how to use it efficiently and in a moment’s notice.  Practice documenting events that the paid media do not show up at, and sharing them with the world.  I currently use Bambuser app on a Galaxy S3 phone, and post via Independent Media CNY.  Ask me how.
  6. Support a political party that supports equality and fairness without qualms.  The Green Party accepts no corporate donations, and puts voluntary caps on individual donations.  This removes special interests from the election and governing processes.  Greens stand with gumption for everyone to have the basic needs to live a dignified life – which would include free education, appropriate housing, health care for all, and public jobs programs for full employment.
  7. Healing and self-care.  We are all human biological and chemical organisms, with limits, and personal struggles and needs, whether they be emotional or physical, outside of the movements and activism we participate in.  Allow yourself time, sleep, creativity, exercise, quiet, poetry – allow rest and peace to enter your heart in stillness and solitude – without guilt.  Build connections through the universal languages of music and art – attend a DFR Tent Revival for Freedom and Democracy performance and jump, dance and sing together.  It takes a village, the weight is not just on your shoulders, nor should it be for a successful revolution to take place, be your brothers keeper, but first be your own.
  8. Share more civic skills, positive value propositions, and alternative consumption models.  Work on voter registration drives and teach about the voting process; conduct a street medic training and create helping roles for people as parts of actions; volunteer with Food Not Bombs to not only feed the hungry but learn how to cook fresh food from scratch; demonstrate a degree of frugality, that demonstrates economic thrift and prudence in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoids waste, lavishness or extravagance.
  9. Engage in intersectionality with the organizations that work to continue the conversation, not “arrest” it. –  Gratitude to the new Syracuse Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for opening the doors to expanded dialogue without ulterior motive.  The public service and non-profit industrial complexes are similar to capitalism in that they need to feed on competition by being “one-up”  to keep them relevant and flush.  Privatization of public utilities, schools, and healthcare prevent true intersectionality due to the holding and control of power by the capital owners. Understand that intersectionality is not just based on issues horizontally (such as with multi-racial groups or the LGBT community), but also vertically.  The military functions on an international level, just as the police do domestically, to maintain control and prevent people from exerting influence over their own affairs.  Recognize that when groups such as the Syracuse Peace Council are fighting against drone warfare at Hancock Air Base here in Syracuse, they are fighting against the same system of oppression.
  10. Contact your elected representatives directly and personally.  After you show up at a march or rally en masse, send an email, make a telephone call, mail a letter to, or knock on the door of those same exact public representatives that you were trying to get the attention of.  Tell them you were outside their office with that crowd of people, and reinforce your demands, wants, needs, and goals as an individual who is part of a movement.

I had put off writing this piece for days and days as I let the realities and the perspectives sink in, and as I watched and learned what was happening around me.  I clapped and chanted as I live-streamed one of the biggest and most successful displays of public power that I have seen in my time in Syracuse – the “I Can’t Breathe” Syracuse March for Justice on Monday December 8th that saw community and campus in unison (thanks to the strong showing of THE General Body coming off of campus).  I was eager to know what was next. I was disappointed by the low turnout (compared to the march and rally) at the following evenings’ community forum on “Syracuse, Ferguson, Gaza: Rebellion is a Right” at New Salem Baptist Church, but optimistic that folks were in their own neighborhoods taking action.  Many of you are likely aware of many of the tasks and actions I outlined above, and are likely even engaging in them.  But many of the people who were out at the march are probably not aware, and I especially dedicate this to harnessing their energy.

Journalist Chris Hedges recently called for professional revolutionists, and claims that civil disobedience is “the only mechanism left that offers hope for systematic legal and judicial reform”.  I would agree, but the rise of a professional revolutionist class will be difficult, especially while putting food on our own tables – because as far as I know right now the job listings for professional revolutionist are few and far between, if at all.  So I would encourage you to harness the thought that “mass acts of civil disobedience” include the actions I have discussed above (as well as others that aren’t included here), and are not just limited to marches and sit-ins and professional revolutionists.   Don’t give up your power, use it via ballot, brawn, or buying power.  Use your power as Everyday Revolutionists for connecting, and for loving, to overcome the current differences that manifest as status and class.

Syracuse March for Justice: We Can’t Breathe!

In Direct Action, Police, Racial Justice, Uncategorized, Video Documentation on December 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

View the archived video of this live-streamed event at:

ICantBreatheMarchCapture1SU and community members stood in solidarity against all forms of oppression andexploitation today during a 530 PM Rally outside of the “Justice Center” (State Street and East Jefferson) in Syracuse.  Speakers demanded justice for local victims of brutality at the hands of the police and jailers (people like Lucinda Batts, Chuniece Patterson, Raul Pinet Jr., Alonzo Grant, Elijah Johnson, and Reverend Dexter).


Punish the Bearer of Bad News

In Direct Action, Drones, Peace on December 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm
Personal reflections of Hancock Drone Resister Jack Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY after being released from Jamesville Correctional Facility on November 28th.
I just spent two months as a prisoner in Jamesville Penitentiary in Jamesville, NY.

I was jailed for my involvement in an April 28, 2013 solemn funeral procession at Hancock Air Force drone base in Syracuse, NY. I joined 30 others to carry the message to “stop the killing”. Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing of the New York State National Guard, flies missiles and drops bombs via satellite from drones thousands of miles from Syracuse. The targets are suspected “terrorists” somewhere in the Middle East.

Stanford University Law School’s International Human Rights Conflict Resolution Clinic and New York University Law School”s Global Justice Clinic, working independently with The Bureau for Independent Journalism, spent years collecting data on United States drone strikes in Pakistan.  The findings are grim.  In their report titled: Living Under Drones, only 2% of the killings have been confirmed ‘suspected terrorists’ by the law schools study. Thousands have been killed, thousands wounded–body parts scattered in cities and countryside by our killer drones. There are no estimates of psychological damage to millions who live under drones 24/7. The killings by American drone missiles may be the best recruitment tool for more Middle East terrorists.

My ‘crime’ was being a nonviolent messenger outside the main gate to Hancock. I was convicted of trespass and obstructing government administration. I was handcuffed and sent to Jamesville Penitentiary in Syracuse. As the oldest prisoner at Jamesville at 79, I was also the only political prisoner- a prisoner of conscience. Before my sentence, I was offered a plea bargain. Plead guilty and have all charges dropped or go to trial and face 1 year and 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary.  As a former High School teacher of Participation in Government, I could not say I was guilty of a crime for practicing my 1st amendment rights of assembly, speech, press and religion.

Thankfully, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, did not support arresting  Wall Street demonstrators during the United Nations Climate Summit in September of this year. “I think the First Amendment is a little more important than traffic,” Mr. de Blasio said when asked about disruptions caused by the Wall Street Demonstration. The NY City Mayor noted: “The right of people to make their voices heard, regardless of their views, is a fundamental American value, and we’ll protect that value.”

It should be noted that those of us arrested did not block traffic at Hancock Drone base on April 28, 2013.

The refusal of the DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse to recognize 1stAmendment rights of assembly is akin to the medieval act of killing the messenger of bad news. The insistence of the DeWitt court to collaborate with the military to stop nonviolent protest near the Hancock Attack Wing  is in violation of the United States Constitution. The DeWitt Court Order of Protection to stay away from the assassination base begs the question: Is there collusion between the DeWitt court and the military to suppress Constitutional Rights?

West Side Walks Begins a New Season of Grassroots Sidewalk Snow Removal

In Community, Direct Action on December 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

As Winter returns to Syracuse, conversation once again turns to the long negligent planning for snow removal from sidewalks (and what will likely be an ever increasing issue with bike paths as well).  A recent Common Council proposal was voted down by 7 of 9 councilors that would have fined property owners $50 for not clearing the sidewalk of snow along “primary removal routes”.

Some folks have taken the role of sidewalk shoveling maven into their own hands, as the Westside Walks program of sidewalk snow removal began again this past Saturday. Volunteers with the Westside Residents Coalition (WRC) set out to clear Grace Street, from Delaware Street to Congress Avenue (the chosen route was due to the three bus stop locations along this two-block length of city street).

Six volunteers (including disabled, with baby in tow, and nearing senior age) took 90 minutes to accomplish the task.  It was a great show of community support, but it won’t accomplish a permanent and wide scale solution to the sidewalk safety problem we experience during Winter months in CNY.

Options seem fairly numerous, from sidewalk heating and sidewalk plowing with mini-plows, to youth job programs.  There could even be a hierarchical approach with levels of engagement – imagine bike lane and sidewalk mechanized plows for major arteries, contracted small business brigades with push snow blowers for secondary arteries, and youth brigades going out with shovels to individual need spots on lesser trafficked streets, with service for the elderly and disabled.

The budget will likely be the last hurdle for any of these ideas, too bad sidewalk snow removal wasn’t included in the recent Syracuse Billion proposal.  So we must continue to hope that the safety of our pedestrians, the quality of our streetscapes and neighborhoods, and the ability to leverage our city’s wonderful reputation as a northern winter wonderland (or at least the potential for that in light of our record as a northern winter snowfall capital) will receive the attention it deserves very very soon.

Until then, go slow, and consider coming out for some urban cross-training with the West Side Walks crew every Saturday.


Cruz pausing for my camera phone, recognizes the importance of safe and walk-able streets as he looks forward to being a local business owner some day.


Robert came in from outside the city to work off some Thanksgiving calories via community service.


Cameraman selfie, in between shoveling, chatting, and breaking up ice.


Unfortunately, plastic shovels, even with metal tipped edges, are not always a match for driveway portions of the sidewalk that are crushed down by vehicles and can become a sheet of ice that would easily force someone into the street. Timely snow removal could help prevent this from happening.


A not-so-friendly stretch of sidewalk in the target area that has basically become an icy sheet due to pedestrian traffic over the snow.


The CENTRO bus stop at the corner of Grace and Delaware overlooks footprints in the snow of people who come in and off the roadway instead of walking on the icy sidewalk.


More good work of the Westside Residents Coalition in the neighborhood. Syringe litter is a problem of concern here as it is in many parts of the city, but concerned and caring citizens are confronting it directly.


Karaline, Susan, and Gary work on the final stretch together before the whole crew heads inside for a community lunch of turkey casserole and vegetarian sweet potato and black bean chili at Brown Memorial on South Geddes St.

Find out more at

DAT Movement Solidarity Rally

In Corporations, Direct Action, Education, Video Documentation on November 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm


View this archived event at:

Video includes footage of the rally chants and testimonials, interviews with passers-by, the occupying students in Crouse-Hinds, and interaction with SU Public Safety.

From the event listing:

“We, THE General Body, a coalition of over 50 student groups on campus are currently sitting in at Crouse-Hinds administrative building. Tonight (Friday), we learned that if any of our members exit the building over the weekend, we may not be granted re-entry.

SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT BY RALLYING OUTSIDE CROUSE-HINDS TOMORROW (Saturday) AT 12PM! We will begin negotiating with the administration at 1pm, and need a big crowd to show them that their restrictions cannot stop the movement. Bring signs, instruments, noisemakers, and friends!
This is what democracy looks like!
(list of demands and grievances can be found on site)


An Update on Negotiations from THE General Body

In Direct Action, Education, Media Advisory on November 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm


On Wednesday night, 80 members of THE General Body coalition student group conducted preliminary negotiations with Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dean Bea González in Crouse-­Hinds lobby. Following the meeting, Syverud, his executive team, and González met to respond to THE General Body’s 46­-page document of grievances and demands, opening up possibilities for next steps.

However, in an e­-mail to the entire University community on Thursday evening, Dean González expressed disappointment that negotiations did not move forward in time for today’s Board of Trustees meeting, and stated that next steps are contingent on THE General Body ending the sit-­in and vacating Crouse-­Hinds Hall.

We share Dean González’s disappointment in this impasse. Although Wednesday’s meeting offered a promising and positive start in negotiations, very few of the grievances and demands were covered in the 90-­minute meeting. THE General Body is disappointed that the University expects students to acquiesce to proposals that have no guarantees or timelines.

We remain committed to improving this University and will continue to show our dedication with our sit-­in at Crouse-­Hinds Hall. Backed by extensive faculty and community support, the sit-­in has facilitated teach-­ins and dialogue about pressing issues affecting all of us. The significance of the physical space of the sit-­in cannot be minimized. This is evident in national coverage from Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, Democracy Now, and local Syracuse news sources including, TWC News, and the Daily Orange.

Neither González’s e-­mail nor the administration’s responses to our demands and grievances adequately address the full scope of the concerns of THE General Body, and fail to adequately respond to urgent student needs. For example, in response to our demand for emergency medical transport for students with mental health disorders, the administration simply restated their existing policy language, ignoring the fact that students are currently suffering from a lack of services despite the existing policies.

In her e-­mail to the student body, Dean Gonzales writes, “In making these many commitments, University leadership asked for only one thing from the student group in return—that they commit to depart Crouse-­Hinds Hall by tomorrow and return the building to normal operating status moving forward.” But in reality University leadership is asking much more of students. As senior Political Science/Public Policy major Ella Mendonsa remarked, “By not giving us a definitive plan of action to our demands, University leadership is asking us to give up our rights to adequate mental health services, to sexual assault advocacy services, to give up our rights to accessibility on campus for students with disabilities. These are services we shouldn’t have to fight for on this campus.”

We call on the upper ­level administration to honor their good faith and respect the negotiation process established during Wednesday’s meeting. We call on the student body, faculty, staff and community members to hold these administrators accountable.

As we stated explicitly in Wednesday’s meeting we want to reiterate that the sit­in will not end without written confirmation that the Chancellor and Dean are willing to commit to a clear timetable for moving forward with each item in our demands document.

Visit for more information about the sit-­in.

For More Information Contact Yanira Rodríguez,315 744 0329;; or Colton Jones,215­688­3237,