March 19, 2012 : 6 month Occupy Anniversary Marked by Actions, Arrests, Reflections
Summer (weather) is here (in March) and the time is apparently right for “fighting in the streets” as over 70 are arrested over the weekend as Occupy Wall Street returned to Union Square in NYC as well as Zucotti Park to celebrate the 6th month anniversary of the movement.
The anniversary prompts reflection on the movement's direction and predictions by activists and politicos alike.
Some foresee the movement gaining momentum...for example see Amy Goodman's interview with City University of New York (CUNY) Professor and author Frances Fox Piven and SEIU Organizer /Labor Activist Stephen Lerner who weigh in with a thoughtful discussion as well as Guardian UK Correspondent Ryan Devereaux. democracynow.org (at 12:07, right after headlines)
Occupy Wall Street retook to the streets and the squares over the weekend, leading to confrontations with police who said the protesters violated the "no tents and tarps rule." Predictably, accounts differ, those on the Occupy side, including several city councilors who are holding a press conference on the matter today, stated the cops used excessive force to break up the demonstrations.
6 month anniversary events at Occupy Oakland were considerably more subdued, with a neighborhood “BBQ and Speak-out” that drew about 200. Occupy organizers said the goal was to celebrate the local community as well as identify specific concerns that Occupy may address locally.
At Occupy SXSW, sometimes rocker and activist Tom Morello played an acoustic set inside one of the venues that was re-broadcast to an officially-sponsored Occupy Austin crowd outside. Urging audience members to “follow him outside” Morello then joined with Detroit rocker Wayne Kramer to play Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land. (More details, photos at rollingstone.com)
Yale Daily News has a comprehensive summary and description of the status of the stand-ff between Occupy New Haven and City Hall, as Yalies hit the exits for Spring break.
Occupy Midwest wrapped up over the weekend, urging attendees to take the message of occupying the NATO Summit in May in Chicago.
For its part the St. Louis conference was reported to occur in mostly smaller working groups, where education centering on Occupy initiatives, in particular the upcoming Occupy Chicago summit. Chicago Trib
Also from St. Louis, accounts continue to come in about the alleged violent police break-up of the rally on Thursday night at Compton Heights Reservoir Park. The cops say the protesters were blocking public space. Courthouse News Service
The eyes have it...Village Voice reports that bail amounts vary in NYC for those arrested depending upon their willingness to submit to “iris scans” where they can be placed in an NYPD database. The scans are now said to be mandatory, and lawyers are protesting the un-constitutionality of the use of scans in setting bail amounts.
Shoreline Patch carries an interview with one of the “Chase Five” Occupy Protesters who was acquitted of charges of criminal trespass in a highly-publicized case.
Finally, OWS plans to launch its own online newspaper “occupy.com” Saying “corporate journalism has failed us” founder Michael Levitin wants to use online journalism “to tell our own stories.” According to huffpost, “the lead story on the launch edition will tell the story of a recent court victory in West Virginia where retirees of Century Aluminum won a $40 million suit against the company for cutting their benefits. “