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Archive for the ‘Occupy’ Category

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

In Occupy on January 19, 2014 at 3:30 am

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Unhappy campers, where have you gone? Illegal foreclosures, bank bailouts, discrimination in the workplace, monopolization and poisoning of the food supply, animal cruelty, worker’s rights, student debt, outsourcing of jobs, corporate personhood, health insurance, privacy, freedom of the press, unsafe products in the name of profit, economic policy, campaign contributions, alternative energy, cost of prescriptions, cover up of environmental degradation, media keeping people misinformed, prison system corruption, colonialism/imperialism, torture and murder of overseas civilians, and military profiteering are many of the problems facing our country and the world today. The above is also the list of issues that appeared in the Declaration of Occupation issued by Occupy Wall Street back in the fall of 2011(1).

January 20th marks the two year anniversary of the eviction of Occupy Syracuse. The 109 day encampment of Perseverance Park in downtown Syracuse ended in the early a.m. hours when police and DPW workers executed the orders of Mayor Stephanie Miner to clear the park of all people and all structures. The official reason given for eviction was a concern of safety regarding the use of propane(2). Seven people refused to leave and were arrested and charged with illegally erecting a structure. The charges were all eventually dropped.

Occupy Syracuse like the hundreds of other encampments around the country(3) was an offshoot of and in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. The plan was to “occupy” public space and under protection of the first amendment, state grievances for governmental redress. What separated this demonstration from others in the past was that it set up and camped out in the shadows of Wall Street and the big national banks, making a clear message that this is where the problem and corruption is stemming from. In Syracuse the park chosen was snug in between Merrill Lynch, now owned by Bank of America and the Chase Bank office building. Bank of America took a $45 billion bank bailout, while JP Morgan Chase received $25 billion(4). J.P Morgan reported net income of $20.53 billion in 2012 compared to $3.7 in 2008(5).

At times risking arrest and injury from police brutality, Occupiers from around the country participated in thousands of direct actions. Each action was focused on one of the above issues and usually caused a good public debate on the issue or institution involved at least at the local level. After ignoring the growing protests for the first week, mainstream media finally started reporting, but never got past reporting about the “unclear message”(6). Rather than discuss issues they chose to discuss demographics of the protesters, bathroom habits, violent tendencies, evictions, and then back to ignoring(7).

Prior to Occupy most participants were already involved in some sort of activism, whether it be politics, anti-war, environmental, worker’s rights, animal rights, prison reform, alternative social systems, etc. etc. Those people have now gone back to doing what they were previously doing. They are now more experienced in organizing and have a much larger network of colleagues and connections. Occupy itself is also still kicking around and making noise in various cities and in various forms as well. Occupy Sandy is one example which was a well coordinated relief effort to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy(8).

Beyond that there is an ever growing population who are becoming aware that the system is not functioning in the best interest of the people and a much better world is possible. I dare to say that the Occupy movement was good evidence to assume that critical mass of people aware enough to go in the streets and demand change has not yet been achieved in the country. It was also a reminder or a wake up call to some of the ability by the establishment to stifle dissent through media, police violence, and intimidation.

With the rise of independent media and ever worsening economic and social conditions in the country, one can only assume that we will again see the people in the streets before too long. To check out what Occupy events are going on and how to get involved check out the websites: http://occupywallst.org/ , https://www.facebook.com/OccupySyracuse. From there you can find a wealth of resources to point you in your area of interest. Syracuse has a lot of local organizations doing great things. Check out the Syracuse Peace Council, the local Move to Amend chapter, the Worker’s Center of CNY, Union Groups, Anti Fracking groups, and that’s just the beginning of the list. Get involved and make a difference.

(1) http://www.nycga.net/resources/documents/declaration/
(2)http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/occupy_syracuse_still_must_lea.html
(3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Occupy_movement_protest_locations_in_the_United_States
(4)http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/200904_CREDITCRISIS/recipients.html
(5) http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/jpm/financials
(6) http://abcnews.go.com/US/occupy-wall-street-protests-spread-country-clear-unified/story?id=14696466
(7) http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/01/30/10268080-occupy-oakland-400-arrested-after-violent-protest?lite
(8) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/where-fema-fell-short-occupy-sandy-was-there.html?pagewanted=all

Contributor: Mike Colatruglio

EDITOR’S NOTE: Indy Media CNY is posting this as a call to action to organize Syracuse Occupiers for an anniversary Occupation, by participating in a 1-Hour General Assembly this coming Saturday night, January 25th, Time To Be Announced.  Check back here and on our Facebook page.