July 2, 2012 : Occupy NG Underway, Yachts Race to Finish in Galway

While the United States from Eastern Seaboard points West swelters - amidst power outages and an increasingly shaky grid - the first ever Occupy National Gathering (Occupy NG) gets underway in Philly. In the soaring temperatures : speakers, workshops, art/performances and the omni-present “clashes” between protesters and cops, who seem as intent on discouraging assembly as the protesters are in hurling insults and taunts; non-violently, of course. As seen in the video above, the extreme heat works wonders for the temperament.


Meanwhile, over the weekend, caravans and occupiers arrive en mass, listening to Chris Hedges and former Wall Street trader Alexis Goldstein talk about Wall Street's ongoing venality, while a dedicated several hundred pow-wow and attempt to devise solutions.


Alison Kilkenny previews and provides updates on the week long events including 28 demonstrators being kettled and arrested by Philly cops. thenation.com


Mainstream media - no doubt stunned by Anderson Cooper's “gay shocker” - remain distant and perplexed as to how to sandwich coverage of Occupy NG between 30 second ad spots.


The movement's growth prospectus hinges on its ability to develop alternatives and solutions to the system they rail against, which so many are simultaneously invested in. By alternative, we mean : something beyond camping and shouting. In short, does what come out of this national gathering represent and appeal to the 99%


Organizers expect up to 1500 attendees (many attendees are themselves are organizers). Protests against specific financial institutions are planned, however, organizers choose to play it close to the vest, strategically keeping details scant.


Day 2 events on Sunday include arrests, solidarity vigils with Quebec students, and the first-ever Occupy General Assembly.


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Monday's Day 3 highlight may well be the “march for corporate accountability” which features tweeted images of Communications Workers of America joining Occupy NG as it moves through Center City. Demands for CEO Lowell McAdam, who earns $23.1M per year in varied compensation to come to agreement with Verizon's workers. Occupiers move into Comcast Center to surprise of restaurant guests. Slide show available via the Occupy NG hashtag.


Ironically, Occupy NG (national gathering) will find itself in super-close proximity to the true 99% – those who endure long rides and stifling temperatures lugging the kids to Philly's independence hall for summer vacations and history lessons. As many as 600,000 tourists are expected to join the independence hall festivities on July 4th. All are welcome, according to Mayor Michael Nutter who says “Follow the laws, have a good time and everything will be okay.” Nbcphiladelphia.com


When it comes to citizen assembly however, “laws” are subject to interpretation. The Mayor's last words are more to the point : “No one has the right to act like an idiot.” online.wsj.com


Tom Beaudoin provides some early perceptions of Occupy NG, pointing out the futility of “cat and mouse” games that ensue with police, who he says can be over the top. He asks “Is Occupy Dying to Make Way for What Comes Next?” americamagazine.com



Another consequence of police confrontations : as Occupy's numbers dwindle, with each confrontation, Occupy appears increasingly isolated, and the police reserved, at least on video which we know is unforgiving.


Ted Morgan goes deeper into the occupy vs. itchy police dynamics, explaining why it is critical that Occupy transcend the temptation of going for “quick fix visuals,” easily digestible to mainstream media, and instead use selective, non-violent civil disobedience to achieve broader appeal and demonstrate its grasp of the power and history of the United States civil rights movement. Opednews.com


Cities :


Memphis is one of America's highest crime cities and is regularly featured on lists of the worst US cities. This hasn't stopped Occupy Memphis, now entering their 9 month in existence. Perhaps the cops have other things to worry about, or that an “occupation” best succeeds, tactically, when things reach a certain deterioration. Either way, Alisha Rumbarger says she joined Occupy Memphis because, “I got tired of sitting at home and screaming at the TV.” The group peacefully co-exists with local business and uses restrooms at the city's visitor center.



The Legal Grind :


A Manhattan criminal court judge rules that the tweets of OWS protesters Malcolm Harris, who had been arrested during a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last October, must be turned over by Twitter. In a case with both privacy and first amendment implications, Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr says that analysis of Harris' twitter account could show that he was “aware of the laws he is accused of disregarding.” nbcnewyork.com



Global :


Yachts finally return to action for the last leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Lorient, France to the finish line in Galway, scheduled for midnight tonight. While they were evicted to make way for the race and its attendant festitivities and corporate sponsorships, Occupy Galway is determined to have some sort of presence, telling UWS Digital News that they will host a series of talks this week at the contemporary arts exhibition 'Apposite Extravaganza: Cheating Progress', at Exchange House, Fairgreen Road (next to the Radisson Hotel). They ask supporters to find them “by the tent on the second floor,” and to” bring some chalk if you have a message to share.”


Other topics include dealing with the Galway rent cap reversal to ensure affordable housing for the city's residents, as well as a re-written talk from philosopher and NUIG lecturer Miles Kennedy, who on Thursday will lecture on “What is Your Occupation : Politics and the work of art.”