June 26, 2012 : Occupy Goes Down to the Crossroads, Introducing Reverend Billy



In 1927 bluesman Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads and made a deal with the devil for his soul to play the blues. The rest is history. Is Occupy at a similar point? They took to the streets in 2011 with a burst of exuberance and authorities pushed back with arrests, trumped charges, and over the top tactics. So what next? Frustrations boil, particularly during a hot summer. However deathandtaxesmag.com urges restraint and tells Occupy not to be seduced by quick fixes promised by the outliers, if not infiltrators, of the movement. On the heels of the latest release from spooky voice Anonymous documenting the intense British military and security presence at the 2012 Olympic games, beginning July 27th, writer DJ Pangburn urges restraint and non-violent civil disobedience.


Put another way : can Occupy simultaneously broaden its appeal and narrow its tactical focus, while ignoring the media yarn of a dedicated but fading group of activists unable to connect with the population at large?


Several Occupies and Commentators Make News / Suggestions :


Reverend Billy, the self-appointed(?) Spiritual Leader of the Church of Earthalujah, who wants to fight consumerism (see video above) and get beyond labels , says Occupy Wall Street and the 350.org movement need to do an old-fashioned, spiritual and public “embrace,” and get together to deal with the earth's environmental crises, and ultimately save the planet Huffpost



Circumstances change, tactics diversify as local Occupies continue to identify issues and crisis points within their own communities. Occupy Santa Barbara , similar to Occupy Homes, has chosen to center its local efforts around fighting foreclosures on fellow citizens. The group bangs pots and pans, casserole-style, to disrupt the auction of foreclosed properties, saying a moratorium on high-flying banks should be declared, due to the widespread bank/corporate malfeasance that caused the homes to go into default in the first place.


The Aequitas Audit, a recent report published on the San Francisco foreclosure crisis, claims 82 percent of the loans resulting in foreclosures were marred with “suspicious activity” related to dishonest lending practices. Thedailysound.com


Occupy Evanston acts on the same information, taking a slightly different tack, petitioning its aldermen to move city money out of Chase Bank for its role in mortgage foreclosures and the financial crisis.


The city responds by requesting financial institutions wishing to do business with the city to address its new qualifications, such as asking banks “whether they've been fined by banking regulators, the number of mortgage foreclosures on their books and the scope of their banking activities in Evanston,” among other things. Evanstonnow.com


Other occupiers make weekend travel plans to attend the upcoming National Gathering in Philly, scheduled to run Saturday June 30 – Wednesday July 4th. Several conventions, including Continental Congress 2.0, and the Radical Convergence, for whom Occupy is apparently not radical enough, are scheduled to meet at the same time.


Blogger Jake Blumgart reviews what to expect citing Occupy Philly and National Gathering organizer Dustin Slaughter, who says that the gathering will be about "refocusing the movement, prioritizing things. [It won’t be about] a list of demands, but starting to work together on a national scale.”


No one asked him to, but writer Tom Engelhardt has written and prepared his speech to for the – or a - graduating class of 2012, welcoming them to the world of record climate and temperature change, financial meltdowns, incessant state surveillance, and rampant inequality. However, he ends his commencement speech urging them to take heart, and be useful in helping others, in order to find themselves. Huffpost


Oft-cited writer and trend-identifier Malcolm Gladwell talks about the decentralization and Occupy vs. the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in a talk given at, of all places, an HR professionals conference. Gladwell says neither is better, necessarily, but those who do the hiring need to be aware of generational differences regarding preferred organizational structures. Blog.hreonline.com



The Legal Grind :


Occupy Lansing features two last occupiers preserving their symbolic protest to the very end, which may come soon after they receive a visit form police Capt. Mike Yankowski. The protesters have been issued several citations to leave but say they won't go and will maintain a peaceful protest against ongoing injustices in American society. They occupiers want a jury trial for their citations and expect to be acquitted. Lansingcitypulse.com


2 Occupy Charleston members arrested for violating the curfew in the city's Marion Park draw a pass from a local judge on charges of trespassing, however they voice their disappointment, regretting that they do not get to present their case (against the system) to a jury. Myrtlebeachonline.com



Global :


Allison Kilkenny explores the future and fall-out from the Occupation of Tel Aviv that occurred over the weekend, with Amnesty International weighing in on police tactics and expressing concern for protecting the human rights of protesters. Police, naturally, claim protesters threw objects and they had the right to respond the way they did. Occupiers stormed the plaza and confronted police over the recent arrest of organizer Daphni Leef who had organized and led previous housing and in equality protests. Thenation.com


One of the “most anticipated books of the year” is supposedly David Graeber's "'Debt: The Last 5,000 Years" which purports to chronicle the entire human history and phenomenon – of debt. Graeber's book apparently begins with a bang that debt “doesn't need to be repaid” and that it should not supersede “all other moral and human obligations.” A complete review of the work is available at dw.de


Lastly, today's Volvo Ocean Race Update : with final leg competition begins next week as yachts prepare to resume their pursuit of the fabled cup, comes word that the cup itself will drop for the victor from the skies above Galway “during a spectacular parachute display to be staged by the Air Corp's Black Knights parachute team.” Details and a photo of the massive trophy available from afloat.com