August 10, 2012 : ArtWalk Tempers Cool, Occupy Memphis Achievements

Renewed media attention pays dividends. On the heels of Federica Lorca's letter to LA's “Mayor Tony” it looks like City Hall (for once) gets the message and ArtWalk goes off without hitches, in spite of the heavy cop presence, as “chalking” is allowed this time.

Occupy Oakland attends, via chartered bus. prompting security concerns, but appropriate outreach is done with the community ahead of time and ensures a peaceful night. Head of LA Public Works Board Andrea Alarcon mingles with Occupy, and an alternative protest location for the group is discussed.

Occupiers display signs offering to hug the cops, reminiscent of Chevy Chase's Fletch (video, above). "I would if I were off duty," one officer says. LA Times

Memphis often takes it on the chin. It's frequently identified as one of the worst US Cities in which to live, in spite of its storied musical past and being the home of Graceland. Occupy Memphis set out to change that and notched several achievements, including the formation of a bus riders union, and an alliance with the Police Association Union, which served to avoid police confrontations.

However, at long last, the city shuts down the camp and removes the occupiers, citing health and safety hazards. Hats off to writer Bill Dries who sums up in a sentence what could well serve as the epitaph for physical occupations everywhere, writing “the challenges of relevant tactics in protest today are formidable enough without adding the elements of a protest movement that also decides to become a community.Memphis Daily News

Fall-out continues from the “hanging dummies” display in Nevada's Spaghetti Bowl, apparently done by Occupy Las Vegas or related groups who issued a statement acknowledging the dummies (while not taking credit) and protesting the elevated Clark County suicide rate in the face of ongoing state human services cuts.

With Occupy these days, the action is in the smaller working groups anyway, as large-scale demonstrations and public occupations seem so...2011!

An August night in the Meat-packing district is usually the occasion for non-stop club crawls for late night revelers, however the OWS bat signal for the 99% makes an appearance at a mic-check and anti-fracking protest launched by the Environmental Solidarity Working Group, said to feature OWS, the Church of Life After Shopping and “other overlapping allies.”

Protesters drop to the ground, screeching murder by radon-laden, poisonous gas, which derives from the USGS survey that indicates that the Marcellus shale is seventy times as radioactive as conventional sources of natural gas, which is in question by proponents and the USGS itself.”

Beyond the environment and foreclosures, occupies nation-wide focus on overturning the now infamous Citizens United supreme court decision. Occupy Prescott (AZ) secures a meeting before its city council by presenting over 1,150 signatures urging the council to adopt a resolution to not recognize corporations as people. It's a tactic increasingly meeting with success, as several state legislatures pass amendments calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision.

Robin Hood is all the rage lately. The Maryland Ensemble Theater presents an updated take on the story on Friday in the premiere of its new musical, “Robin Hood: Occupy Sherwood.”

Noam Chomsky has been cited as the most quoted intellectual alive.The professor who subscribes to Gramsci's “pessimist of intellect and optimist of will” ideal continues his activism, at an age where most of his contemporaries are barely active, if alive at all. The US' foremost dissident continues to be cheered by the presence of Occupy, claiming its communities, viewed often as a nuisance, represent one of the movement's crowning achievements.

The occupy movement spontaneously created communities of mutual support, mutual aid. The common kitchen, the libraries..[are]maybe even more important. The US is a very atomized society. People feel helpless and alone. Your worth as a human being depends on the number of commodity you can amass, one of the reasons for the debt crisis, and its just driven into people’s heads from infancy through massive propaganda and public relations.” Chomsky says in a recent interview with counterpunch

The intersection between free speech and security concerns continues to play out as Occupy Easton (PA) stages a protest at Wells Fargo. The protest is joined by David C. Gorczynski, 22, who ends up being charged with the felonies of “attempted bank robbery” and “terroristic threatening” for holding up signs.

The ACLU responds to the charges by calling them “overzealous, given the clear political nature of the statements.”

Finally, the Olympics yachting takes a back seat to the performances of the Women's Soccer team, who take gold led by the forever outspoken Hope Solo huffpost Meanwhile, Manteo Mitchell breaks his left fibula half way through the men's 4 x 400 relay, then not only finishes the race but helps the US qualify for the final.

Long sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee known as the “blade runner,” also qualifies, after a South African protest over a collision that prevents the team from completing the heat is accepted. South Africa will thus compete for the podium and the questions raised by the indomitable Pistorius' shattering of the notion of “disability” will continue. Bleacher report

Aussies end up taking the gold for the 470 race, as anticipated, ensuring they will win more medals than host country GB.

Submitted by M-Bed for UWS Digital News

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