June 13, 2012 : Russia Rally, Occupy SEC Urges Senate Committee on Dimon
When tens of thousands demonstrate against the system in the United States, it occasions media hand-wringing over the demise of a movement, and commentary over how the demonstrators have failed to achieve anything.
Not so when the same rally takes place in Russia.
Upwards of 50,000 clog the streets of Moscow to demand reforms from/to Putin's strongman government, undeterred by threats of enormous fines for participation, and in spite of having speakers brought before an “investigative board.”
Clearly the US is not Russia. Still, do these descriptions sound familiar :
“The police tightly penned in the march and rally site, a roughly mile-and-a-half stretch using barricades, trucks and other heavy equipment”
“in many ways the huge, peaceful rally left more questions than answers.” npr.org
“the huge crowd of antigovernment protesters represented a panoramic range of political views “
Former Police officer Roman Habarov addresses the Moscow rally, telling the crowd “Police officers are ready to defend the law but not the crooks who are currently dictating how it should be carried out.”
Anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny uses the opportunity of his appearance before the investigative board to tweet updates to followers, providing detailed updates on the questions he's being asked by authorities. NY Times
Protesters are not the only ones with access to video cameras and youtube. In a curious irony, the police are taking to posting online videos to rebut protester claims of police violence and brutality, shooting (no pun intended) their own content to show that they follow proper police procedure at rallies and in other policing situations.
One Department posts a video, incredibly, of an officer punching a hand-cuffed woman in the face in the back of a squad car, in order to “demonstrate transparency.” The officer is later fired for the misconduct, according to spokesperson Anne Schwartz, who says her office acts almost like a small news operation. Businessweek.com
This space earlier noted the candidacy for state rep of Brooklyn occupier George Martinez. Now it appears Martinez is being excluded from debates for the congressional seat, hosted by NY1. Invitations apparently depend upon evidence of fund-raising, according to debate hosts NY1, and the Martinez camp has not provided any. But Martinez, the so-called “hip-hop diplomat,” claims he is organizing in other ways and deserves to be present, releasing a statement that says he's“been approved by the Board of Elections, and submitted all required Federal Elections Committee (FEC) paperwork leaving open the tantalizing prospect of Martinez rapping his way through the debate. (video above) New York Magazine
Encampments are down in the US, but action continues. Fogcityjournal.com provides a detailed overview of where the movement is at, and why the mainstream media want it gone.
The following cities check in :
Occupy Our Homes Baltimore holds meetings in low-income neighborhoods, connecting residents threatened with foreclosure with attorneys and housing activists
Occupy Our Homes Minneapolis stages similar actions and rallies. About 50 show up to rally in support of resident Monica White, facing foreclosure and eviction. Their presence results in a renegotiation of the loan with the bank which includes “reduction of principle.”
Occupy Nashville, Occupy Detroit, achieve similar housing victories, showing residents are not powerless when they band together to face banks. Occupy Atlanta comes to the rescue of the the Higher Ground Empowerment Center, a 108 year old Church that could not repay a loan it had taken to deal with tornado damage. Baltimore Sun
In DC, Occupy DC clears out of MacPherson Square, with a good-bye party scheduled for this weekend. The group is now operating out of offices at 16th and L streets. Washington Post
Occupy the SEC confronts JP Morgan Chase honcho Jamie Dimon as the banker prepares to testify before the Senate Banking Committee today. The group releases a 7 page list of questions and concerns that it urges the congressional committee to take up with Dimon. One key question : would the Volcker Rule, which Dimon opposes for business reasons, have stopped his firm's insane trades? Presstv.com
Continental Congress 2.0 takes place in Philadelphia from July 1 – July 7, organizers have now elected 787 delegates to attend the convention. The Occupy National Gathering plans to meet there as well over the Fourth of July weekend, with their meeting culminating in a 99 mile march to Wall Street. Raising the question of whether the two groups will get together, since both presumably want the same thing. Myfoxphilly.com
As mentioned, the Occupy Caravan has left from points West (Seattle, LA, San Francisco) with plans to reach the convention that very same weekend. The caravan's Deep South contingent gets in on the act with Occupy Mississippi holding a rally for the travelers on June 19th, organizing meeting to be hosted tonight.
The group is billing the national tour as a “traveling democratic road show that educates as it entertains.” Clarionledger.com
Occupy London travels a different route, setting up a new encampment at Hampstead Heath. The activists want to confront the City of London Corporation's management of the heath. Nearby residents and the City are, typically, less sanguine about the new occupation hamhigh.co.uk
Finally, today's Volvo Ocean Race Update : Telfonica, Groupama, and PUMA Scrap for the lead as the fleet pass Sao Miguel in the Azores on their way into the eye of a North Atlantic storm Telgraph.co.uk