Below are details relating to two rallies held in New Orleans, LA on July 26th and August 9th. Both rallies were held at the Hale Boggs Federal Building.
On August 9, 2013 a member of Occupy the Stage and a member of Occupy Austin met with one of Senator Landrieu's staff members at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans. The staff member had reached out to them at the July 26th rally (see below), and two of them were able to present their concerns about PRISM and open a dialogue.
Upon arriving at the Federal Building an hour before the rally was supposed to start, they noted the lack of DHS presence, which was quite different than the surveillance and security they had been met with on July 26th.
After discussing the fact that the NSA PRISM program is unconstitutional for about twenty minutes, they left the building to attend the rally. They had not told anyone except one member of Occupy The Stage and one member of Occupy Austin that they had gone early. While leaving, Tara Jill asked a staff member at the Federal Building which office she should file a FOIA request with to learn why there had been such a heavy DHS presence on July 26th. She was informed that someone participating in the rally on the 26th had emailed the staff of the Federal Building to alert them of the demonstration in advance, and the surveillance and heavy police and DHS presence had been a response to the email sent. The email she was shown had been sent by Michael DiBari.
This information was, of course, alarming, as the individual who chose to alert the staff of the rally put activists at risk. His presence at the August 9th Rally was even more disturbing. He arrived at the time posted on the flyer, 11am, and began making commotion to attract security.
"Are you just going to do what you did two weeks ago?" a security officer asked the group when he approached.
Here are the two responses given simultaneously:
Tara Jill: You mean exercise our First Amendment right to assemble by demonstrating?
Michael DiBari: I'm [note: this writer believes the man used the first person singular pronoun, but at no point did he choose to distinguish himself from the organizers of the rally] here to go inside and arrest the senator.
Tara Jill then explained that she had already been in the building and was aware that the senator was not there and had not tried to arrest anyone and had no intention of going back in. Security acknowledge that they were aware of this.
What followed was a rally to spread information about the 4th Amendment. The fact that copies of Info Wars were sold by Michael DiBari was beyond the control of the organizers.
Occupy The Stage would like to make it very clear that anyone who is threatening security culture by informing authorities of protests in advance and/or threatening to take risky action that the organizers of a rally have not agreed upon is not welcome at events we organize. From this point forward, we will act as a small group and we will not be sharing our plans with the general public until issues involving provocateurs have been resolved.
The rally itself was interesting, as some in attendance attempted to conduct outreach by engaging those passing in conversation about the NSA and PRISM. A few people attended with wonderful signs displayed below. Unfortunately, many who passed by the rally were unconcerned that the NSA is spying on them, despite the information we distributed. Several people were receptive to the outreach and asked for more information about the NSA, and the organizers referred them to stopprism.org and restorethefourth.net. At no time did Occupy The Stage distribute flyers with the web address for Info Wars or try to sell T-Shirts to people walking by. We are very grateful to Ronny from Occupy Austin for helping us organize this and bringing so much energy to the event.
Here is the info published in advance of the August 9th Rally. It was sent to a list-serve and obviously forwarded to someone who attended the rally and informed security that his intention was to arrest the senator. He did this without reaching out to the organizers first.
STOP SPYING ON US! RALLY TO HALT NSA SURVEILLANCE FRIDAY AUGUST 9 @ 11AM
500 POYDRAS Hale Boggs Federal Building, New Orleans
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
— George Orwell, 1984
print a flyer here
WE THE PEOPLE will ask Senator Landrieu to:
- Restore The Fourth Amendment
- Support legislation to revoke the NSA’s authorization to conduct mass surveillance of US and foreign citizens.
- Support The Amash-Conyers Amendment that limits NSA surveillance.
- Halt NSA Surveillance! – Defund the NSA
- Demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.
- As a member of The Senate Appropriations Committee, Mary Landrieu must refuse to support the sanctions that committee proposed imposing on countries that support Snowden.
Bring water, umbrellas, whistles, signs, banners, cameras, instruments, flyers about the NSA, copies of the fourth amendment! Follow this hashtag for live updates: #StopSpyingNOLA #RestoreThe4thNOLA
This rally is a join effort of many different groups who are standing in solidarity to Stop NSA Surveillance. Occupy NOLA hopes that those attending will be eager focus on NSA Surveillance at the rally itself. It will be helpful to bring copies of the 4th Amendment or other informative materials relating to NSA surveillance to give to people walking by and to take photographs.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details! There is a Facebook event
you can RSVP to if you’d like to make sure the NSA knows you support this action!
Demand the dismantling of the U.S. led international spy network. Demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs. In August, Our Fight Against Unconstitutional Surveillance Follows Congress Home
PRISM MATTERS: Privacy Is Security
Materials we brought and encouraged people to print and bring:
Letter delivered to Senator Landrieu on August 9
August 9, 2013
Dear Senator Landrieu,
We have gathered from New Orleans and across the United States to denounce the unconstitutional (via the 4th Amendment) surveillance methods employed by the National Security Agency in its leaked PRISM program. As a member of The Senate, you have a direct impact on the laws that affect us all. The majority of your constituents and the American people do not condone the secret, invasive, and unconstitutional activities of the NSA. Therefore, we would like for you to take action to...
1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
4. Support H.R. 2818: To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and for other purposes.
5. As a member of The Senate Appropriations Committee, you can refuse to support the sanctions that committee proposed imposing on countries that support Edward Snowden.
6. Introduce the Amash Amendment to the Senate and support it.
7. Reform HR 347 and stop the war on activists. NOTE: This was added while speaking with the Senator's staff member.
Please show your constituents your understanding and willingness to hear their concerns. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you so much for your time.
Email sent to Senator Landrieu's Office after July 26 Rally.
Thank you so much for taking the time talk with me and my friend on Friday, July 26 when we were demonstrating in New Orleans regarding the NSA. I appreciate your willingness to listen to our concerns and relay our requests to Senator Landrieu.
My friend and I would love the opportunity to follow up with you about meeting Senator Landrieu regarding her position on Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance.
I understand that the list of demands you received included some information about causes that were not related to Snowden, causes that Senator Landrieu may not be in a position to address. I’d like to continue our discussion and focus on NSA surveillance and Senator Landrieu’s stance on Edward Snowden. It is the hope of many that he be considered a whistle-blower and allowed asylum and that countries that support his asylum do not have sanctions imposed upon them.
It is also our hope that Senator Landrieu will support the Amash amendment to defund the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.
I would appreciate an opportunity to schedule an appointment with Senator Landrieu (or with one of her staff members). Could you let me know the steps I need to take to schedule such an appointment?
I sincerely appreciate your time.
July 26th Rally and Surveillance State
NOTE: This rally was organized by one of our members who chose to work with Elizabeth Cook, who made a Facebook event in her name and included her phone number and email address on related flyers. The individual did this autonomously because some members of Occupy The Stage were unwilling to work with Elizabeth Cook. After reviewing her choices to invite Michael DiBari, call the senator's staff member a "traitor," not even bring a sign to the rally and also refuse to go into the building herself after she had suggested going into the building and posted this intention on Facebook, all members of Occupy The Stage have agreed to not organize with this member of the Ecosocialists.
On July 26, 2013, we knew we were being spied on by a man photographing us with a telephoto lens across the street from the Whistle-blower Support Rally in New Orleans.
On noon Friday, July 26th, Occupy the Stage members participated in a rally in solidarity with Edward Snowden and whistle-blowers. We were delighted that someone from Occupy Austin joined us.
Occupy The Stage members gave out copies of the fourth amendment while dressed as spies. “Hi, I’m the NSA and I stole your fourth amendment. Do you want it back?” one demonstrator asked repeatedly.
Occupy the Stage also created stencils, banners, flyers, flags, and signs for this rally but are in no way responsible for the propaganda cart that advertises Info Wars.
We are happy to share ourTeam Edward Stencil
with anyone who would like to use it.
A member of Senator Landrieu’s staff came down to talk to the demonstrators and explained that the Senator was not in the building but that she would deliver the demands. Some demonstrators agreed to schedule a meeting about this. See the 24:00 minute mark in the footage below!
Two individuals chose to follow up where the staff member, which resulted in the second rally held on August 9th.
small affair's response
The attendance at the rally was troubling. I was less troubled by the lack of people who showed up than I was by the behavior of some who did show up. There is a difference between a focused protest and "movement building." A protest about whistle-blowers could benefit from talking points about whistle-blowers and related topics; however, there are some who attend protests about the new "hot topic" and then focus on an in issue they cannot get many people to rally behind - often an issue unrelated to the protest. This makes it hard for those organizing the protest, hard for those attending, and hard for those who might actually be interested in the message behind the protest. Attending a protest and spending almost the entire time distributing flyers about a political group you belong to and urging people to come to your meetings is distracting and insulting to people who have come prepared to protest and need people to help give out copies of the 4th Amendment or educational materials related at the rally.
Anyone who knows me should by this point know that I care very much about whistle-blowers and have had to choose a few areas of activism to focus on lately. The past year and a half I’ve spent with Occupy has really exhausted me, and I am no longer able to bottom-line every protest under the sun someone contacts me about having. However, I have made it clear that there are a few issues/causes I will bottom-line demonstrations about. One of these is whistle-blowers. I was contacted about having a whistle-blower support rally and agreed, but then the demands of the rally were stretched to include issues so far removed from whistle-blowing that people attending the rally were confused. When I mentioned this, I was lectured about the importance of "movement building." What disturbs me is that I know the movement the distracting people are trying to build. They are trying to build an Ecosocialist Movement, and I have made it clear in the past that I have no interest in using protests to build a socialist voting block.
If someone wants to have an action about something I care about and approaches me asking me to help, I expect the following:
1. the person to come to the action and bring at least one sign or banner or something.
2. the person to stick to the original purpose of the protest we agreed upon.
3. the person to use common sense when creating a Facebook event and if the person insists upon creating a Facebook event (which I do not think is wise) include reasonable information but not all information related to direct
action. The person should also invite her friends to the event if she went to the trouble of creating it.
4. The protest should not be a clusterfuck with a list of demands that include everything under the sun.
A small group attended the Snowden Support Demonstration at the Federal Building on Friday. I was not surprised that we were met by DHS because the woman who made the Facebook event posted on Facebook that the protest would go into the building.
I was dressed as a spy and gave out copies of the 4th Amendment and did my very best to raise awareness about the need to DEFUND THE NSA.
Meanwhile, other people including the person who contacted me about initially planning this event yelled at people, and some of the other people who attended stood around and didn’t bother doing outreach to engage people walking by on their lunch break. Thankfully, someone from Occupy Austin was there and actually volunteered to go into the building after the woman, who decided the action would go into the building, refused. DHS would not him in to deliver the demands because we were "part of a demonstration" (we later learned this was because the staff at the federal building had been emailed about the protest in advance by someone in attendance).
Senator Landrieu’s aid did come down to talk to us and said she is willing to arrange a meeting with those in attendance who did not scream at her. Thanks to the man from Occupy Austin, there was someone willing to go in the building and deliver the demands and talk to the senator’s aid. I’ve been accused of being “friendly” and thinking the senator is our friend because I’m willing to have a discussion with her that doesn’t include screaming “TRAITOR” in her face. I don’t see the harm in being civil. I don’t see the harm in asking questions. I don’t see the harm in this.
Melodramatic subject lines in emails about being spied on for being at a protest you announced on Facebook don’t impress me. I and the resources of Occupy the Stage are NOT YOUR PERSONAL ARMY.
Occupy the Stage does not exist so that people can contact us and ask us to bottom-line protests and make banners and signs about specific causes so they can then come to demonstrations and give out flyers about causes completely unrelated.
Others involved in the rally had different reactions, and they have been included below.
The first reaction includes the dramatic subject line: “I was threatened with surveillance yesterday.” [Editor's note: First of all, this was an NSA protest that the person who wrote this email created a Facebook event for. Um, of course you were spied on.]
During our support Snowden event yesterday in front of the Federal building in New Orleans, an aid to Senator Mary Landrieu appeared, allegedly to hear our issues, etc. We were denied access to her office, in the federal building, as, according to this aid, the office was closed. When I attempted to bring up the right of all residents to access public buildings and the offices of elected representatives, that when things got ugly. That’s when this “friendly” aid to Landrieu showed her true colors. First of all, because I was strong in my speech and uncompromising, I earned the dis-invitation to their public office. Let me point out here that she or no one has no right to block access to the offices of politicians inhabiting office. I have never been violent or even suggested violence.
Then she proceeded to denigrate my views. I suggested that she works for us, and so does Landrieu, so by right of democratic representation, all are welcome to their “public” offices.
She offered to refund my contribution to her salary, as though her “pennies”, as she suggested, would settle the matter. Then she was sure to invite those who were “friendly” to her make sure I knew that because I expressed my disenchantment with denial of public access, I was not included in this invitation. I had already phoned Landrieu’s office two weeks ago to schedule an appointment to meet with Landrieu or an aid, but was brushed off by one of the aids. Obstacles to actually scheduling a meeting were put in front of me. Granted, this staff and Landrieu know me, as I have been kicked out of her federal office for disagreeing, strongly, with the viewpoint of the aids for Senator Landrieu. In truth, I never expected much, but i did expect we would be allowed to deliver our meessage. This right was denied to us by the at least 20 Homeland Security and Federal Security police that were awaiting the rally. We had 8 people show. No matter. However, during the course of my disagreement with Landrieu’s aid, she was not obtuse in stating she would report me to Landrieu, in a way that was, well. menacing. Oh well. I’m already being tapped for my opposition to expansion of offshore drilling in the Gulf. I can tell by how my phone has been operating. Most of us are being tapped anyway; it’s just that they select “targets of interest” to focus on. Senators and representatives, and their aids, are not our “friends”. Sure, they toss a few crumbs now and then. The real direction must come from the people as to how to create a true democracy, but I fear our future because so many still believe there is a way of reforming our current political system.
~ Elizabeth Cook
Editor's NOTE: It is unclear why Kawana Jasper is included her as she is not in jail for being a whistle-blower. The "trumped up charges" involve throwing bleach in a minor's face. Nobody from the Jasper support network will discuss the case with us except Michael Howells, who has said the harsh sentencing Jasper received for throwing bleach in a teenager's face was politically motivated. It is troubling that there is little transparency about this case from those who claim to be involved in its support network.
On noon Friday, July 26th, a small group of freedom fighters gathered in front of the Hale Boggs Federal Building to demand that the U.S. government to cease and desist from its campaign of psychological and political terror directed at NSA leaker Edwar Snowden. The participants also demanded the immediate release of longtime New Orleans housing activist and all around freedom Kawana Jasper. Kawana is currently serving a four year sentence in a hellhole, north Louisiana prison after being convicted on trumped up battery charges in the kangaroo court presided over by the Dishonorable Julian Parker. That the fate of Edward Snowden is a matter of the first importance to those who cherish the Bill of Rights in general, and the Fourth Amendment in particular is clearly understood by many, many people in this country and many others around the world. The modest turnout for the Snowden Support Action in New Orleans does not change this fact one iota.
The security apparatuses of the U.S. and New Orleans governments took the potential of the Snowden Support Action to put a spotlight on the rapid and criminal expansion of the U.S. Surveillance State very seriously. About twenty local cops and federal police converged on the scene even before the event began. Just thirty feet or so from the protest sat an NOPD SUV with “Homeland Security” marked on it. Across the street a plain clothes security agent photographed the Snowden Support Action from beginning to end. About a dozen uniformed police and federal security agents stood literally feet from the protest. Those who drove by the protest on Camp Street could not help but notice that Big Brother was definitely watching the Snowden protesters!
While the governmental security apparatus saw the Snowden Support Action as worthy of extensive attention the corporate controlled media did not. Local television stations and newspapers were invited by organizers to cover the protest. Apparently the big shots in charge of these outfits decided that covering a local event addressing one of the most pressing civil liberties developments of our day is somehow not worthy local news coverage. If this isn’t a profile in corporate media cowardice, then I don’t know what is.
That fewer than a dozen supporters of Edward Snowden turned up for this event is disappointing, but probably not surprising. To speak up for Edward Snowden today means to take a position in opposition that of the White House, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Homeland Security, the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, and the military/criminal industrial complex in general. Without the support of a truly mass movement to openly confront the coercive apparatus of the U.S. government many opponents of the post 9/11 Surveillance State, and they are the majority of the people in this country, are fearful of confronting it front and center. Still, Friday’s Support Edward Snowden Action sends the message that organized opposition to the Surveillance State is a reality on the streets of New Orleans.
We are indeed living in a surveillance state, and the United States government has disregarded the Fourth Amendment. Outreach is needed in order to inform the public about the dangerous PRISM program. In order to ever form a united front, social justice advocates must engage with one another respectfully and honestly. Occupy The Stage finds it completely inappropriate that someone would contact the staff at a building where a protest will be taking place and not tell those organizing and attending the protest. There is a difference between "freedom of speech" and violating someone's trust and putting them at risk, and unfortunately, the decision to alert the staff regarding the July 26th rally falls under the latter.
We ask that when attending a rally, protest, or demonstration one of our members is organizing, you do not inform the authorities of the protest ahead of time and do not tell them you plan to take risky action while in attendance. We will continue to publish security breaches like the one mentioned above because we care about other activists who may be unknowingly risking arrest by interacting with certain individuals.
Before you accuse us paranoia, consider that we are not the first Occupy group to distance itself from provocateurs.
Please read the statement below, which was issued by Occupy Lego Land, and which we will adhere to.
You're invited! Calling all musicians, buskers, artists, circus clowns, flag corps, mimes, puppeteers, regular folks, irregular folks, cats, dogs, baboons, dancers, lovers of music, Every-Damned-Body!Sunday, May 5th at 6pm, we will show our support for all the good folks that make New Orleans great!
The Free The Music parade will bring free music to the streets of the Jazz Fest neighborhood to raise awareness about the city's ridiculous crackdown on live music venues and musicians.
You don't need to buy a ticket.
You don't need a corporate sponsor.
Just come out Sunday, May 5, 6pm and be ready to play music and dance in the streets.
The Bywater Rising Protest/ Second Line in support of live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, DJs was great. We decided we wouldn't stop there.
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
NOTE: This has nothing to do with Jon Bon Jovi.
The second week of Justice Fest will last from Thursday, May 2 - Sunday, May 5.
2013 Celebrate justice and music at the location formerly known as the Sacred Shrine of Jon Bon Jovi.
Justice is not dead. Lady Justice has merely been taken hostage. And when there is no justice, there will be no peace.
We do not support the fact that Shell Oil is a corporate sponsor of Jazz Fest. We love NOLA music and culture but not Shell Oil.
We do not support Mayor Landrieu’s crackdown on live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, and performers. We will resist the ridiculous citations residents living near Jazz Fest have received for having Yard Sales or "transient vending."
We do not forget Guadalupe.
And we hate Clean Zones!
We welcome you to bring info related to Social Justice Issues to this location during Jazz Fest.
In addition to Free Aqua Net Hairspray, the shrine will offer information about different Social Justice issues in New Orleans.
Please feel free to stop by during festival hours and be ready for some creative demonstrations.
Justice Fest Events - You can RSVP on the individual Facebook event pages if you like!
We might add more events or have spontaneous events. Some activities are ongoing, so stop by any time during Jazz Fest.
Friday May 3 DIY Stencil Party 2:00pm until 8:00pm https://www.facebook.com/events/374830725968708/
Let's stencil! We have some great stencils and spray paint and will stencil anything you bring! Or, bring your own stencils and we can swap designs.
Want to learn how to make stencils? Have stencil skills to share? The more the merrier! We have spray paint! If you can, bring your own exacto blade!
Saturday May 4 9:00 to 11 pm
Let’s send 100 postcards to political prisoners - Mail to the Jail https://www.facebook.com/events/158326777669320/
Let's get 100 postcards to send to political prisoners. Bring an original handmade postcard (handmade is ideal, but if you want to bring one you didn't make, that's okay), or come and make a postcard at Justice Fest.
We'd love to get a photo gallery of all the postcards and then mail them to political prisoners.
We'll have addresses and info on political prisoners so you can learn about their different circumstances, but check out Op Pen Pal http://oppenpal.wordpress.com/mailing-list/
and Mail to the Jail if you have a specific political prisoner you know you'd like to write to. http://mailtothejail.org/
We'll also have fun prizes for original hand made postcards!
You can just drop off your postcard on the way to Jazz Fest, or spend some time making postcards and learning about different political prisoners!
We'll be showing short films about various prisoners on the porch!
May 4 - May 5 Chalk Party https://www.facebook.com/events/543195785731834/
Let's make the sidewalks and streets around the Jazz Fest area beautiful before Sunday's Free The Music Parade!
Feel free to stop by Justice Fest for chalk ideas and some chalk, or just get out there and CHALK THE WORLD!
May 5 Sunday - Face Painting Party 2pm - 5:30pm https://www.facebook.com/events/118444485020416/
Come get your face painted in time to march in the Free The Music Parade! HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
We have face paint, and if you have your own face painting kit and skills, feel free to come by, set up, and accept donations.
Free The Music Parade 6- 8pm May 5 https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
Calling all musicians, buskers, artists, circus clowns, flag corps, dancers, lovers of music!
Free The Music parade will bring free music to the streets of the Jazz Fest neighborhood.
You don't need to buy a ticket.
You don't need a corporate sponsor.
Just come out Sunday, May 5, 6pm and be ready to play music and dance in the streets.
The Bywater Rising Protest/ Second Line in support of live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, DJs was great. We decided we wouldn't stop there. DISCLAIMER
NOTE: These events are not sponsored by Shell Oil or Jon Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi, or in any way connected to them except some of them will be taking place at a location that holds the remnants of a Shrine devoted to Jon Bon Jovi that small affair made years ago.
Gulf Restoration Network: United for a healthy Gulf of Mexico
is holding a BP Disaster 3 year Memorial Demonstration on April 20 at 1pm.
Come on out to the Amphitheater at Washington Artillery Park across from Jackson Square!
On April 20, 2010, 11 people lost their lives and the biggest environmental disaster in our nation's history began. Three years later, BP's oil is still here, and it continues to impact the people, places, and wildlife of the Gulf.
Please join us on April 20, 2013, to mark 3 years of BP's ongoing disaster, memorialize all that has been lost, and join the call for justice for the Gulf.
The event will include simple visual demonstrations, using our people power, of the ongoing disaster and its impacts on the Gulf, which will be made into a short video and distributed on the internet to raise awareness about the urgent need for restoration and to hold BP accountable for the damages incurred.
Please wear black. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free t-shirt designed for the event, which you can wear during the filming.
What: 3 year memorial of the BP disaster, visual demonstration
When: Saturday, April 20th at 1pm
Where: Amphitheater at Washington Artillery Park (across from Jackson Square in the French Quarter)
***Please wear black***
Contact Amanda at 504-273-4838 or Moorea@nwf.org with any questions. It will likely be hot! Bring a water bottle, we'll have cool water available for refills
Supported by National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Gulf Restoration Network, NRDC, National Wildlife Federation, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, LEAN, Build a Better Planet, Epoca Verde, Green Living, Thomas Strategies & Waltzer Wiygul & Garside Law Firm
Legalize Louisiana Picnic and Rally 4pm till dusk!
Members of Occupy NOLA
and Occupy The Stage support Bywater residents who would like to see Markey Park
remain dog-friendly, despite the city's latest development plan that excludes dogs and community input.
New Orleans residents have been reaching out to Occupy NOLA using Facebook and Twitter.
A Bywater resident posted the following on the Occupy NOLA Facebook Page on Wednesday, February 20:
"Just a heads up to the Occupy community: On Monday, February 25, [The New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation
] NORD is going to close down Markey Park in the Bywater. There were a series of lively, well-attended meetings about how to redevelop the park with a grant from the Trust for Public Land. Overwhelmingly the neighborhood wants part of the park to remain an off-leash dog park. The design firm observed the daily use of the park for a week, remarked how highly-used it is, then came up with three plans, all of which divided the space in thirds, for a playground, a dog park, and a free space. The meetings were a testament to civic involvement, cooperation and democracy. Then, Vic Richards, the head of NORD, surreptitiously commissioned his own plan, without dogs and rammed it through. This park is an integral community meeting place and it is about to go from being highly used to a drive-by "show park" for developers. The community is angry that we were told we'd have a say, and then clearly did not. P.S. The proposed "dog run" at the Riverfront Park will be much smaller, on-leash, and is, at this point, is not constructed."
Meanwhile, community members have been organizing to bring their dogs to protest the closing of this community space. The following Op-Ed appeared in NOLA Defender on Friday, February 22: BYWATER RESIDENTS LEFT OUT OF MARKEY PARK PLANS
"The Trust for Public Land
(TPL) had several public meetings to get input on the redesign of Mickey Markey Park. The first meeting had a very large turnout, and the facilitator, a professor of social work at Tulane, declared it a great public meeting. At the second meeting, TPL’s landscape architects presented three great designs that included space for off-leash dogs. The process ended there. The final, approved design (Editor's Note: Design plans are available here http://www.thebywater.org/dbNewsletters/022013.pdf
) was rammed through the system. It has no space for dogs, and there was no chance for dog owners, parents or anyone else to give public input into this last design." ~ Randi Kaufman.
The Bywater Neighborhood Association
posted the following updates on its Facebook page
on February 21 and 22 in response to queries regarding closing the dog park on February 25 ( while this seems rather unofficial, it is the only communication we've found from them so far).
To quote one community member who responded on the Bywater Neighborhood Association 's Facebook page, "This reeks of gentrification and developer influence."
The Bywater Neighborhood Association's February minutes
include the plans for Markey Park and are worth studying.
NOLA Defender's article RIVER FRONT Park Plans, Process Raise Ire of Marigny-Bywater Residents outlines the plans for the River Front dog park.
An immediate concern is the proposed dog park at the River Front’s lack of compliance with federal handicap accessibility laws, which could certainly pose a problem for people with service dogs.
The greater concern is that the democratic process was subverted in a discussion of public space. This will not be the first time democracy has been held hostage by the City of New Orleans
Moreover, CEO Victor N. Richard III's position appears questionable according to an article published in Louisiana Weekly in January of 2012. Matt Davis explained: "The recruitment process is unfolding as members of the recreation commission have fought to counter suggestions that the Landrieu administration is pulling the commission’s strings. WDSU-TV reported in May about the administration’s efforts to script the meetings, providing lines for each of the board members." The fact that the River Front Park was supposed to be finished in time for Super Bowl XXVII can only make one wonder if Mayor Landrieu is attempting to create a more permanent Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard.
See the community members' Facebook Event SAVE Markey Park
for details.As more of this story unfolds, advocates of democracy can write to Councilwoman Kristin Giselson Palmer and Victor N. Richard, CEO of NORD to express their displeasure.
Councilwoman Kristin Giselson Palmer
504-658-4900Victor N. Richard III email@example.com (NOTE: email link was not working on NORD website and may not be correct)NORD CEO800 Race St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
The Trust for Public Land has a Louisiana State Office
1137 Baronne Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113
On a side note, we are delighted to see a NOLA resident using the hashtag #OccupyMarkeyPark on Twitter, but that should not be taken as any indication that we intend to start an encampment in the Bywater at this time.
As much as we love cats, Occupy The Stage will stand with dogs, humans, and advocates of democracy and public space.
It's been a busy Mardi Gras season at Occupy The Stage.
On January 19, Occupy The Stage rolled in krewedelusion - the parade that follows Krewe du Vieux, which kicks of Mardi Gras.
Our Krewe "Guise of Fawkes" made a "You can't jail an idea" float to show solidarity with imprisoned hactivists and Free Anons.
We were thrilled to receive donations of flags and stickers from Hammond Support Network
to use as throws during the parade. Along with our own handmade throws (voodoo dolls, chalk with Chalkupy instructions, and buttons we made with our button machine), these stickers made our parade great, and we hope to have raised awareness about Jeremy Hammond's unfair bail denial and the prison sentence he is facing.
Check out our full write-up
and the photo set below!
Guise of Fawkes "Go Fawkes Yourself" in krewedelusion 2013
Full text from slide show is available here
Interview with Local Artist
Interview with NOLA Cab Driver unable to get inspected despite fact that he upgraded to meet city standards.
The Super Bowl Should Not Be NOLA's Cross to Bear
Occupy The Stage met at 3pm in Jackson Square on Super Bowl Sunday and held a creative procession to celebrate our First Amendment right to free speech show solidarity with local artists, vendors, and workers. A female Jesus led a procession of monks who chanted while holding wooden hand-painted signs bearing slogans that included "Thou Shalt Not Create a Police State" and "Honor The Small Businesses." Our slideshow and video are below.
Mardi Gras and #OpValentine
Occupy The Stage's Mardi Gras Krewe - Guise of Fawkes - rolled with the Society of Saint Anne
on Mardi Gras Day (February 12).
Our Free Anons float included paper hearts people could use to write Valentines to mail to political prisoners as part of #OpValentine
! We've collected and addressed the Valentines and will be sending Mardi Gras love to political prisoners.
See our Mardi Gras Day slideshow below!
It's been a busy few weeks, and we are really grateful to all of our online and on ground supporters.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Money is not more important than constitutional rights, despite what The City of New Orleans and NFL's Super Bowl Clean Zone would indicate.
Occupy The Stage has made a stencil for anyone to use.
"This Shirt Is Illegal" Instructions:
1. Download pdf and print. 2. Use sharp blade to carefully cut stencil letters. 3. Tape to shirt and apply paint (we use spray paint). Make sure to get the edges so it looks like a SIGN.
4. Wear shirt in "Clean Zone" during Super Bowl week
Or, make your own Clean Zone art (see Clean Zone rules page 6) and come to the Clean Zone in NOLA!
If you're upset about NFL Clean Zone rules, Occupy The Stage would love to hear from you! Contact us!
~ Occupy The Stage
Flyer for Nov. 26 Meeting in Jackson Square - 6pm
New Orleans City Council: Stop the "Jackson Square Pedestrian Mall" Ordinance proposed by K. PalmerLEARN MORE! WED MEETING
at Kermit's Speakeasy
_____________________________________________ The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans is having a meeting on Wednesday, November 28th at Noon, at Kermit’s Tremé Speakeasy, 1535 Basin St. At this meeting MaCCNO will be having a teach-in and will be updating the group on the outcome of our meeting with Councilwoman Palmer’s office and presenting a proposed plan of action. -----------------------------------------------------Sunday Dec 2 meet in Jackson Square on Chartres Street just across from the St. Louis Cathedral
Help NOLA Citizens Keep Jackson Square Open 24/7Opponents of Mayor Landrieu's push to close the Jackson Square Pedestrian Mall from 1am to 5am have been meeting at 6pm on Mondays in Jackson Square on Chartres Street just across from the St. Louis Cathedral. Since its creation in 1975 the Jackson Pedestrian Mall has been open 24 hours a day. The Mayor is seeking an ordinance that would make it illegal for people to sit, stand, or hang out in the Jackson Square Pedestrian Mall from 1am to 5am. The Monday meetings have focused on building resistance to this attempt to criminalize "hanging out" on Jackson Square.
You can help! Join NOLA citizens and attend public City Council meeting. City Council’s Government Affairs Committee will be voting on the ordinances on Mon. Dec. 3rd at 10.
WHEN: Mon, December 3, 9:30am – 11:30am
WHERE: City Hall 1300 Perdido Street, Second Floor West New Orleans, LA 70112
WHAT: Meet at 9:30 am in front of City Hall and bring signs that say 24/7 to display at 10am meeting. City Council Meetings are PUBLIC. Council Information (504) 658-1000 Clerk of Council (504) 658-1085 All who support public access to the Pedestrian Mall are encouraged to participate. This is a struggle that can be won. Still, we must struggle to win.
What the Occupy NOLA GA agreed to do based on GA Notes:
- Assist with flyering asking people to call mayor and City Council and members of Government Affairs Committee (contact info below)
- Solidarity with Intervention on day of Dec 3 hearing. City Council’s Government Affairs Committee will be voting on the ordinances on Mon. Dec. 3rd New Orleans City Council 1300 Perdido Street, Second Floor West New Orleans, LA 70112. City Council Meetings are PUBLIC. Council Information (504) 658-1000 Clerk of Council (504) 658-1085 http://www.nolacitycouncil.com/content/calendar/default.asp?YYMM=1212&id=15
- Attending the General Assembly at Jackson Square meeting 6pm Monday, Nov 26.
- Rallying support, mobilizing people using personal in the streets outreach and digital media resources
City of New Orleans and tell them to keep Jackson Square open 24/7.Mayor Mitch Landrieu- City of New Orleans
Phone +1 504-658-4900
Website http://www.nola.gov Twitter: @MayorLandrieuhttp://www.facebook.com/mayorlandrieu Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer
(District C) - She is the one who actually drafted the ordinances. These ordinances have been drafted with the support of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.
Phone: (504) 658-1030
Fax: (504) 658-1037 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.facebook.com/kristin.gislesonpalmer
Twitter @kgislesonpalmer Mary Cunningham, Director, Constituent Services***
***MaCCNO has this last person below listed as someone who I guess answers the phone for Palmer and they ask that if you do contact Councilwoman Palmer’s office, please remember to also thank the councilwoman for supporting Siberia in securing their permit for live music and ask her to continue supporting live music.
99% Voting Booth and Occupy Puppet Theater - Nov 6
Why? Because our two party political system can not produce candidates who represent the people!
Where? On the neutral ground on Orleans Avenue between N. Alexander and N. Murat.
This is near the polling location at Dilbert Elementary School
but is 600 feet away (see RS 18:1462 and 600 feet law regarding polling locations here
All people who live in Louisiana are welcome to vote at the 99% Election Booth including:
• those under the age of 18
• those serving felony sentences
• those judicially declared mentally incompetent
• people who do not have the required mailing address (i.e. homeless people)
Unlike the State of Louisiana, The 99% Voting Booth welcomes write-in candidates
Occupy NOLA is delighted that so many people attended the First People’s Convention in New Orleans on Saturday, October 27. Groups and individuals from across the Gulf Coast met and formed a network of activists to focus on our united grievances and the many issues our Gulf Coast faces.
The Gulf Coast People’s Convention tentatively approved the following motions with no objections from those in attendance:
1. To change the name of this group to The Gulf Coast People’s Convention.
2. Acceptance of the all the below stated reports, objectives, meetings and actions of all the listed groups
3. To sponsor and organize action in protest of the budget austerity measures slated for 2013 in December- December 15 Fiscal Cliff Austerity Protest (Jan 2 is when they are meeting).
4. Gulf Coast People’s Conventions to take place quarterly (that means the next one will be in February, which is when Mardi Gras (Feb 12) and the Superbowl (Feb 3) are in New Orleans, so that could be an issue).
Here is the link to the livestream recording of the Convention. We heard from a few speakers about the following immediate concerns:
- Mike Howells discussed the Budget Act of 2011 and the Fiscal Cliff.
- Mental Healthcare Activist Shana Sears discussed crisis regarding the lack of Mental Health resources in New Orleans She can be reached at 504-344-4010
- Speaker discussed Tar Sands Blockade and educational teach-in scheduled for Nov. 11 at The Fairgrinds Coffee shop in New Orleans
We then broke into working groups focusing on the following issues:
- Convention organizer spoke about the need for volunteers to work together on any digital media (email lists, newsletters, announcements from groups, websites, social-networking sites, updating of contact information and actions) needs that arise after the October 27 Convention in New Orleans. Occupy NOLA digital media has not volunteered for this.
- Student Debt
- Corexit toxic dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico
- Military Industrial Complex
- Political Reform
- Workers’ Rights
- Tar Sands Event
See the schedule
for details about how this was arranged.
Groups each filled out two copies of a worksheet with the group’s theme, the potential group rep, member contact info, future meeting times and locations, objectives and demands, and potential dates for a protest.
Not all possible groups had a leader to chair the group. Here are the groups and their chairs from The October 27 First People’s Convention (FPC) in NOLA.
Political Reform Working Group
Rep: Andy Washington
Objectives/Demands: Reform of voting law(s) and others To Be Announced
Meetings : 1st and 3rd Mondays of month at 2735 c Toulouse New Orleans, LA 70119 Actions : setting aside January 2013 for an action
Housing Working Group Rep:
1.Stop demolition of Iberville Housing Development
2.Government(HUD) must use section 8 to place people in housing
3.Government (HUD) must provide section 8 vouchers to everyone currently on section 8 waiting list
4.HUD replace public housing (unit for unit) demolished since Hurricane Katrina by constructing an equal number of public housing units in the same areas.
5.No cuts, fiscal cliff or otherwise, to the current HUD budget. Instead we demand that Congress raise the HUD budget HUD by 50% over the current one (2011-2012). Meetings:
Third Thursday of every month at 7pm. St Jude Center, New Orleans Actions: Nov. 30th – Action planned! Press conference and protest at office of David Gilmore, 4100 Touro St. NOLA
BP Disaster Aftermath Concerns Working Group Group Rep:
1. True longintudal studies on chemicals to detect toxins.
2. No use of dispersants if they are toxic
3. Transparent communication about what is being used
4. Cease spraying of toxic dispersants (TDs)
5. Cleaning up oil/tarballs/tarmats (that now contain high levels of Vibrio
TBA (in January) Actions:
Planning another summit to stop TDs to take place in January in Mississippi
PAST flyering public places on threat of touching tarballs
CURRENT promoting (signing petition) HR 3562 moratorium on use COREXIT Student Debt Working Group Reps:
Tara Jill and Mark (since group members live along the coast there is a AL rep. and a LA rep). Objectives/Demands:
1. Student Debt Forgiveness
2. Free well-funded quality “emancipatory” public education
3. Repeal bankruptcy law which prevents those with student loans from declaring legal bankruptcy Meetings:
TBA – group will join InterOcc and International Student Movement debt conference calls Actions:
TBA after conference call meetings show the best strategies to take but also to likely coincide with global action days. Since there are members from Alabama and Louisiana in this group, there could be actions with state-specific demands Tar Sands Event Working Group Objectives/Demands:
In seeking to shut down the KXL pipeline to work with other groups against it (i.e. Sierra Club, etc.) and promote alternative energy and energy saving devices. Meeting:
Teach-in Nov. 11th 5 pm Fair Grinds Coffee shop Actions:
to take part in demonstrations such as are occurring in Texas. Health Care Working Group Rep:
He is allied with Committee to Save Southeast Louisiana Hospital http://www.saveselh.org
and Advocates for Louisiana Public Health Care Objectives/Demands:
1.Single Payer health care
2.restore recent health care funding cuts
3.address defunding of public health care
5.support special legislative session to reverse budget Meetings:
Post-Election round table; Gillespie Breakfast 2nd Sat. of Nov. 10-12 noon Actions :
Demonstration Nov. 1st at South East LA hospital in Mandeville 4:30 Workers’ Rights Working Group Rep - Needs a rep! (Mike Chenier has agreed to be a rep).
Could not agree to objectives and which actions to sponsor/take part in. Our table comprised two people from Socialist Alternative, one person promoting workers’ cooperatives, an unaffiliated restaurant worker looking for work, an unemployed worker still retaining his Teamster membership and myself a civil servant also a member of SEIU. The varying narratives each brought to the table needed more time for each to put it out on the table in order to craft a broader point of departure for the Convention and thus we could find little consensus in order to choose actions. Mike has declined to chair this group out of the People’s Convention as he already is obliged to work with the Socialist Alternative group. This group still needs a rep. Objectives/demands:
(We had to start with a declarative statement):
1. All gains for workers have come/come through struggle and the struggle must be organized
2.Organization must occur independent of the current establishments (i. e. established unions, employers, etc.)
3.The Workers Rights group of the People’s Convention respects the initiative(s) and integrity of all workers
Military Industrial Complex Working Group Rep: Ben Gordon
Pax Christi New Orleans meets monthly. Details at http://www.paxchristino.org/
Phone: Pax Christi 504-522-3757
2.End wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan with ongoing peace vigil in NOLA
3. Avoid war in Iran
Current Action already planned: Close SOA (School of the Americas) protest Fort Benning, Columbus GA Nov. 16th – 18th
Meetings: Usually monthly but will not be held in Nov due to SOA protest.
Next meeting is December 13 6:30 pm 7750 Walmsley NOLA
Actions: TBD post SOA protest We are excited to unite over so many issues and support one another in solidarity.
Finally, if you and your group would like to host one of the quarterly conventions, please let us all know! Occupy NOLA would be happy to travel to future conventions!
If you would like to contact any of the group reps or convention organizers, please get in touch with us a email@example.com or contact Mike Howells at firstname.lastname@example.org 504-587-0800 OR Justin and Occupy The Stage at email@example.com 504-400-2284
Thank you so much!
~ Occupy NOLA and Occupy The Stage
Occupy The Stage Supports Legalize Louisiana Statewide Rally October 25, 2012
For the health and justice of all Louisiana Citizens.
Actions will commence statewide at 3pm, until we are finished. This is to accommodate the regular business hours of our government offices, and any individual with scheduling conflicts. Special efforts should be made to notify all university students about this opportunity to make peace in our communities.
NEW ORLEANS Legalize Louisiana Rally: Meet at Lafayette square just off Poydras Street between St. Charles Avenue and Camp Street, 3PM, sharp. RSVP to Facebook Event!
Download PDF Flyer HERE
PRESS RELEASE from Legalize Louisiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Legalize Louisiana Rallies Statewide for Cannabis Reform
New Orleans – October 11, 2012 – Citizens across the state will gather for cannabis policy reform Thursday, October 25, starting at 3PM. Legalize Louisiana is an unincorporated grassroots education and lobbying effort dedicating to ending the peculiar institution of cannabis prohibition in Louisiana. In New Orleans, those who recognize our inalienable rights to bona-fide medical, religious, industrial, and recreational cannabis use will convene at Lafayette Square.
Similar actions are also scheduled for Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Alexandria. Residents of Baton Rouge are encouraged to visit their employees in the Capitol on this official business. Statewide, the group will also circulate a petition to be sent to the Louisiana legislature, which will include scientific, legal, and other findings and will call immediately for the necessary revisions to Louisiana code. The petition will also demand manifestation of rules and licensing requirements from the Louisiana Boards of Health and Pharmacy, respectively, regarding access to medical marijuana for Louisiana patients, a statutory requirement under LA RS:40.
Organizers are asking all university students and their professors to take full advantage of this critical, teachable moment-in-time. They are also calling all area professionals to best practices, only. The groups statewide will hold their assemblies for several hours and are asking every community to join in the creation of health and justice for all Louisianians.
Sunni Joy Womack
###"We scheduled the October 25, 3PM rally when we did, so as to EMPTY THE UNIVERSITIES for this supremely teachable, pre-election occasion. There is NO EXCUSE for sitting idly by in a classroom while the real work of health and justice calls. If you live near a university, tech school, law school, med school, ETC: Help us deliver the very best ideas from those hallway prisons, into the daily practice of those community members who can best benefit from and utilize them." ~ Legalize Louisiana
Occupy This Flyer!