May 29, 2012 : Quebec Rocks On, Occupy the PGA, Assange Interviews OWS


Cities :

Occupy Maine returns to the public sphere, doing some “guerrilla gardening” at a currently abandoned public park, Congress Square Plaza, that may be slated for private development. After the yard work, the group holds an open air General Assembly meeting, with passerby stopping to listen and chime in during the discussion. A local hotel wants to build a ballroom on the property. The

Meanwhile, Occupy Albany mobilizes for a higher minimum wage, in the face of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's protests that while he is in support, it is not “politically feasible.” Wall Street Journal

Occupy Denver, accompanied by some of the city's homeless population, today face a new ban designed to discourage the practice of sleeping outdoors. Police are claiming they will “lightly enforce” the ban, only using arrests and citations as a last resort. Occupy protesters say the ban effectively “criminalizes homelessness.” The ban ends a provision that allowed people to legally sleep on the city's sidewalks between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the downtown business center.

Global :

Quebec continues to rock with protests, now taking place at night as thousands clog the streets banging pots and pans in so-called “casseroles” : resistance rallies to the Chretien government's attempted crackdown on public assemblies. For the last three months, Quebec has been having its own version of the Arab Spring centered largely around tuition hikes and resistance to the increasing privatization of education. “Every Street is Wall Street” says Amir Khair, a member of the National Assembly and leader of Quebec Solidaire.

The rallies are taking place through-out Canada, with Occupy Edmonton and other cities rallying in support. Toronto Sun carries analysis, saying the movement was foretold, and is going to be around for awhile.

Julian Assange's talk show – yes, the man under house arrest awaiting extradition has his own talk show - “The World Tomorrow” devotes its seventh episode to an Assange interview with both Occupy London and Occupy OWS. notes that while the interviews are normally held in Assange's secluded location, this one was held in the Old Deutsche bank, which is “controlled by friends of Occupy.”

The One Percenters like their yachts and golf. With this in mind, Rev. Edward Pinkney organizes a protest to Occupy The PGA, urging the land development corp hosting the Senior PGA Championship over the weekend to compensate the Michigan city of Benton Harbor for the “taking and use of public land” at Jean Klock Park land.

The land was taken over by the Harbor Shores Community Development Inc. (HSCD) which built a luxurious golf course and resort on it.

Occupiers conduct a silent march, and carry a black “mock casket” bearing the words "Benton Harbor Residents," to protest various tax breaks the dev corp has received, and for the “breaking of promises.” Claiming they “do nothing for the community' and “all they do is take” Pinkney and his Occupiers issue a list of demands, including 25% revenue sharing of the tournament proceeds. Jeff Noel, President of HSCD, naturally disputes the claims, pointing to jobs created and the group's charitable contributions. He also says the land would have simply stayed unused, since the community couldn't afford to keep it up.

Play proceeded on the course without incident. It's an interesting case of haves vs. have nots that makes one wonder how the land fell into such a state of disrepair, and if it was due to a city's eroding tax base, which enables private developers to come in and “save the day,” frequently to their own benefit.

Whose land is it, one question. And also, the overriding question of how to deal with, and develop vacant land that is site to some occupations.

Municipalities the world over must choose wisely, as the only thing worse than land taken for exclusive private benefit, is publicly-subsidized halted construction projects.

Such is the case across the pond for Occupy Westfield, who want work restarted on a halted shopping mall that has existed for years as a gaping eyesore in the middle of their city, a symbol of what one protester describes as its lost fortunes.

Reuters : “Occupy-style demonstrations” are broken up by Putin's Police, who drag away those who resist, including those wearing white, the color that has become the symbol of the protests. Putin's top human rights adviser Mikhail Fedotov promises to clarify reasons for the round up, saying wearing white, in and of itself, is not a violation of administrative law.

Gather in a lather...over the prospect of “kids being trained in occupy tactics” by accidentally viewing youtube videos of long-time protester and organizer Lisa Fithian training Occupy activists in non-violent civil disobedience. And how to avoid getting arrested by cops. The videos were pointed out by Beck-backed blog theblaze, and appear to more resemble an SNL or Monty Python skit than a threat to YOA (Youth of America).

File under : truer words were never spoken. You would think that a disciple of free-market fanatic Milton Friedman, particularly a Chinese disssident facing government oppression for documenting the crimes of the former Chairman Mao, could accept an award named after the famed economist in peace. But no, leave it to a lone occupier to crash the party at the Washington Hilton waving signs saying (in Chinese) that this Mao, 83 year old economist engineer Mao Yushi, is a “Puppy of USA One Percent.”

A gathering attendee, clad in black-tie, claims the incident “added to the excitement of the evening.”

Finally, the Volvo Ocean Race Update for today May 29 : yachts head North to lighter winds near Lisbon, Groupama is said to move with menace toward new leaders Emirati Abu-Dhabi.