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More stories are addressing the issue of how, or if, the Occupy movement will engage in the political process. Local press are covering more of the local Occupy protests. A list of websites, blogs, and social media accounts to follow is included at the bottom of the document.
OWS & POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
A Washington Post story examined the relationship between OWS and the labor movement, citing examples of great support that OWS has lent to labor and vice versa. The story portrays the relationship as constructive, but also cautious, due to concerns by some in OWS that the labor movement might co-opt Occupy protests and direct energy into voting mobilization drives, which some OWS activists feel have been “unsuccessful.”
Other stories have also pointed to this tension within the Occupy movement regarding political involvement. A National Memo story reported that during a General Assembly, Occupy Wall Street tabled an official resolution to refuse support for both the Democratic and Republican parties.
“It's a sign that the consensus-driven mass of protesters in downtown Manhattan are more concerned with keeping their strategic options open than completely severing ties with a political order they see as fundamentally compromised.”
Although in no way indicative of the views of other Occupy protesters, the following unofficial poll posted on the website for Occupy Los Angeles may point to future conversations among Occupy protests regarding political involvement. The poll asked: Do you agree with the suggestion by Anonymous that the movement should become a registered political party? Responders answered: No – 52%, Yes – 30%, Undecided-18%.
Similarly, the following tweet that appeared in the #ows Twitter stream suggests future issues regarding political involvement:
@Maggyw519 There you have it. 55% of the people at #OWS (the one in NYC) aren't even registered to vote. No concept of political clout.
The right-wing is already pushing the meme of protesters as politically ignorant and not savvy.
MEDIA COVERING OWS RELEVANT ISSUES
Media outlets are continuing to shift the conversation towards the jobs crisis and other issues brought into the public discussion by Occupy protests. A Reuters story highlights poverty rates across the country. A Daily Kos story focuses on student debt. Grist is now asking readers how they would like the magazine to cover the Occupy protests.
STATUS OF LOCAL OCCUPY PROTESTS
About 700 people stay at the Occupy Los Angeles tent city each night, and they have plans to expand. The city has incurred $45,000 in costs related to the demonstration, including thousands of dollars in overtime pay for General Services police. Eight Los Angeles Police Department officers have also been deployed full-time to monitor the protest. Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa refused to issue an open-ended invitation to Occupy LA, according to Southern California Public Radio. Last week, the City Council passed a resolution supporting Occupy LA; the Council President said protesters could “stay as long as you need.”
According to a Mercury News story, Occupy Oakland gets an eviction notice from City Hall, which expressed concerns about a wide range of public health and security issues surrounding the 10-day-old camp. So far, no moves have been made by police or other officials to dismantle the camp since the notice went up. There are over 100 tents in Occupy Oakland. Eight Occupy San Jose protesters were arrested last night for violating the city code for being out after 11 p.m. Police cited sanitation concerns and said arrests were no surprise because of warnings given in the last few weeks.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congressman Danny Davis, along with labor and community organizers, held a town hall meeting yesterday with Occupy Chicago, according to a story from ABC local affiliate in Chicago. Occupy Chicago plans another round of protests Friday and will deliver a petition to the mayor's office to allow the group to stay and stop the arrests of protesters.
“Occupy Quad Cities” in Illinois and Iowa will also gather this weekend, as will a group called “New American Spring,” which was started by Roger Farinha, whose goal is to bring workers, musicians, city officials, Tea Partiers, together to share their ideas at a community soapbox.
About two dozen Occupy Cincinnati protesters were arrested overnight at Piatt Park after refusing to leave, according to Cincinnati police. Protesters were charged with trespassing. A city officer said the park is closed this morning because the city wants to clean it.
Occupy Jacksonville (FL) targets Gov. Rick Scott's anti-jobs agenda, according to a Florida Independent story. Protesters also have concerns with a proposed taxpayer-funded project that could bring 250 jobs through J.P. Morgan Chase, but cost the state over $1 million and the city around $250,000. Protesters would rather see the money invested in local businesses to provide jobs, rather than a big bank.
Occupy Las Vegas has 350 members, with another 4,000 volunteers. Occupy Las Vegas organizers met with Clark County commissioners and secured a 30-day permit.
A local Fox-affiliate in Las Vegas covered Thursday’s protest by Occupy Las Vegas in front of Ceasar’s Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. The story highlighted the general enthusiasm by protesters and their emphasis on peaceful protest, as well as the mixed response from passersby.
Five Occupy New Hampshire protesters were arrested in Manchester for criminal trespass. Thirteen other protesters left the park with citations.
According to a Politics PA story, hundreds of people are expected to rally against GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this afternoon when he makes an appearance at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, including members of Occupy Philadelphia, Keystone Progress, Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Center for American Progress, AFSCME, and other groups. Cantor’s speech will focus on the “widening gap between the nation’s rich and poor.” [UPDATE: Eric Cantor abruptly cancelled his scheduled speech].
CREATIVE LOCAL ACTIONS
According to a post on Boston-based Phoenix blog, MassUniting, a community group aligned with Occupy Boston, plans to march to Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s former company, at noon today to blast his jobs record. MassUniting has been behind other direct actions, including a “Funeral for Jobs” targeting the anti-jobs agenda touted by Senator Scott Brown and others in the GOP. Protesters carried coffins with epigraphs such as “RIP American Jobs” and “RIP Mass. Bridges Roads Tunnels,” unemployed Boston-area workers delivered eulogies and a pastor delivered a sermon.
Occupy DC teamed up with Respect DC, a grassroots-based organization that has been organizing against Wal-Mart, for a flash mob at Union Station targeting a fundraiser for Conservation International, in which Wal-Mart Chairman Rob Walton was expected to appear. Watch the video here.
OCCUPY THE HOOD
While there is growing recognition of the need for more racially diverse voices in the Occupy Wall Street, there has been little mainstream media attention placed on issues related to working women and working women of color. A Ms. Magazine story highlighted the need for feminist space to focus on intersecting forms of oppression encountered by women of color. Meanwhile, a Tumblr blog titled “Hot Chicks at Occupy Wall Street” has gained a great deal of attention. Conservative blog Daily Caller has embraced the sexist meme, while many women protesters at part of the Occupy protests have condemned the blog (some have engaged with blog creator on Twitter), as have feminist bloggers and Ms. Magazine.
RELIGIOUS GROUPS & OCCUPY PROTESTS
As the Occupy protests grow, more religious groups are taking part and adding to the discussion. Interfaith Worker Justice offers discussion guides for people to discuss the “We are the 99%” movement within the context of the three faith traditions.
Many stories covered festivities related to Sukkot, a Jewish holiday, at Occupy protests across the country in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago and Los Angeles. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice posted this video that pointed out the parallels between the religious and historical significance of the sukkot, a fragile temporary structure in which Israelites dwelt in during their years of travel after exodus from slavery in Egypt, and the current political situation with protesters trying to maintain their occupied spaces. These positive stories come after the deluge of claims made by right-wing media that Occupy protests were anti-Semitic. Occupy Los Angeles protesters formally denounced the anti-Semitic comments made by a Los Angeles teacher, according to a Daily Breeze story.
Boston Herald reported that Occupy Boston has a “spirituality tent.” A Huffington Post story highlighted the “Protest Chaplains” – a loose group of mostly Christian students, seminarians and laypeople organized through Facebook – that traveled from Boston to join the OWS movement.
According to Capital New York, the Arab American Association of New York plans to hold a traditional Muslim prayer ceremony today alongside Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Progressive organizations have started compiling lists of many of the right-wing memes addressed in past OWS media round-ups. AlterNet posted a “10 craziest things said about OWS,” which listed memes about protestors as anti-Semitic, communist conspiracy cooks, part of a Muslim Brotherhood uprising and benefiters of secret funding. Huffington Post published a similar story that highlighted conservative narratives about OWS as a fringe festival comprised of ignorant Obama-haters who think the government is primarily to blame for the country’s ills.
Below are a few sites you can check to get a sense of the Occupy movement “big picture.” Several of them are Occupy-supported sites that aggregate relevant news and updates. We will update this list periodically.
News updates from progressive organization “Rebuild the Dream”
Quick OWS story update
If you’re just starting to follow the Occupy movement, or just want to brush up on what has happened so far, check out this well-done run-down by Mother Jones. The post also links to longer-form article that includes relevant charts and timeline
For real-time news from Occupy protesters, check out the following Twitter accounts:
@OccupyWallSt, the official OWS account
@owsbot, an account that retweets important OWS media events
@occupyarrests, follows numbers of arrests
You can also see which Twitter accounts are recommended for Twitter’s “Follow Friday” by searching “#ows #ff”
Relevant hashtags: #occupywallstreet, #ows, #occupyarrests
News updates from Occupy protesters’ blogs
Below are blogs created by Occupy protesters. Many Occupy protests across the country also have their own individual sites – you can do a quick internet search by typing “Occupy” and the desired city.
Occupy Wall Street Tumblr blog
Occupy Wall Street’s “official” website featuring press releases, calendar of events
New York City General Assembly
“Occupy Together” tracks country-wide movement and its activities
Reading the posts on the following Tumblr blogs can give you a sense of the issues being raised at Occupy protests as well as the kinds of assumptions being made about protesters and about who should or should not be able to relate to the “We are the 99%” movement.
The “We are the 99%” that started it all
A conservative blog responding to the above
A snarky, witty OWS-supportive blog responding to “We Are The 53”
“i cite” is a blog by Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Theory at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. This academic blog follows OWS media coverage and features the blog author’s own experiences at and reflections on OWS. She responds to articles taken from good range of mainstream publications and also lesser-known blogs and puts OWS in the context of the discussions and critiques of New Left.
END OF THE WEEK FUN