Dear Human Being,
Perhaps at some time in your life, you've felt the clench of panic upon realizing that your car has been towed or impounded. Maybe your car has even been impounded as you traveled in an unfamiliar city. Perhaps your possessions were in the car, and you were unable to retrieve them. Maybe you even learned that it was going to cost over 2000 dollars to retrieve the vehicle. If you were like 99% of Americans, you probably did not have that much money.
That is the current crisis a group of citizen journalists are facing in Chicago, Illinois.
It is no secret that the mainstream media has minimized the importance of the the Occupy Wall Street movement, the violent responses inflicted upon occupations by local police forces, the national attempt to supress and silence the 99%, just as it has failed to acknowledge the accomplishments of the OWS Movement.
The most iconic footage from the Occupy movement thus far has been shot by protesters and citizen journalists. It is only because of the sustained efforts of these citizen journalists who blog, live tweet and live stream that the whole world has been able to view real time raw footage of protesters being pepper-sprayed as well as the peaceful protests and creative celebrations that have energized this movement.
These citizen journalists refuse to allow mainstream media to control what is reported from the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. There efforts are occasionally noted. On May 16, 2012, AlterNet's Sarah Seltzen reported Occupy's First Real Trial: Acquitted Thanks to Citizen Journalism! However, most of these citizen journalists work selflessly because they believe that a better world is possible and that the people who are not on the streets should be able to see the efforts of those who are.
Among these journalists is a group known as Team Occupy Your Mom. TOYM has traveled the U.S. since the start of Occupy Wall Street on Sept. 17, 2011, in New York.
One of its members who has been consistently committed to covering the Occupy Movement uses the Twitter handle @Korgasm_ (don't forget the underscore at the end).
@Korgasm_ and members of Team Occupy Your Mom came to OccupyNOLA and filmed the eviction that occurred on Dec 6, 2011. Occupy New Orleans did not have a livestreamer at Duncan Plaza that morning. In a strange city in the pre-dawn hours, Korgasm broadcasted to her Ustream channel what would inspire the first female citizen journalist of Occupy NOLA to begin livestreaming herself.
Occupy NOLA has not forgotten their efforts as well as their support of our small and often struggling occupation.
Members of TOYM have supported many occupy groups by visiting them and livestreaming and were present at Occupy Congress and Occupy The Courts in Washington, D.C., as well as at Houston Port Shut Down.
Their blog posts such as Chicago, activists prepare for 2012 NATO summit offer carefully-researched advice for citizen journalists and activists.
When they are not livestreaming and live-tweeting, they live streams and report via Twitter for Atlanta, Denver, Oakland, Portland, Tulsa, Auckland (New Zealand) and other occupies in need of eyes.
This past weekend, they joined activists in Chicago for the 2012 NATO summit.
On Saturday, May 19, 2012, Korgasm's vehicle was impounded by the Chicago Police Department upon her refusal to give consent to have it searched. The belongings of TOYM are in the car.
As of Tuesday, May 22, 2012, the total needed to pay in order to get the car back was $2,190. It is probably more now.
Occupy NOLA would love to see @Korgasm_ and TOYM retrieve this vehicle from impound. You can donate to their WePay account to help cover the costs of this impound.
We are all in this together.
Please spread the word and help TOYM leave Chicago in their vehicle today!
With Love and Solidarity,
~ Magpie Anthony from Occupy New Orleans
An Open Letter to Human Beings - Citizen Journalists from TOYM Need Support Getting Car Out of Impound in Chicago
From June 30th to July 4th, 2012, Occupy The Stage will be joining activists and Occupy supporters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the first Occupy National Gathering. Among many other topics, we are currently discussing what Adbusters identified as the 3 challenges the Occupy movement must overcome.
#1 challenge: Jump over the corporate media
#2 challenge: Block the co-optation of our movement
#3 challenge: Occupy the future
~ from OWS GUT CHECK published on May 3, 2012
Occupy The Stage would love to hear how other Occupy groups are meeting these and other challenges. Contact us!
This essay was originally published on January 21 on the Tumblr blog Love from ONOLA & Occupy The Stage NOLA
Friends in another Occupy worked very hard on this.
Attention Watch Commander:
We encourage any officer who does not wish to be included in any legal consequences and or subpoenas that result from the action to which you have been deployed to stand down and retreat NOW.
We, The People of this assembly hereby address the agencies and officers deployed to remove our assemblage from this public space with a declaration of intent to prosecute excessive use of force and unethical deployment of police in the following statement to their command:
The deployment of police intimidation, riot police and use of force-based practices for the dispersion or arrest of this assemblage of freely associated persons for the purposes of expression of grievances for redress is unlawful in the following manners:
Under Title 28 United States Code Section 1343(a)(3) and USC Title 42 Section 1983; Including such rights as described in the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and or any relevant rights as described under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as ratified by the United States of America and her allies.
1. It is unlawful for a police officer or agency to proceed with escalation of force against passive protesters offering no resistance, no threat to officer safety, no threat to civilians or any other justification for any use of force beyond the simplest arrest procedures.
2. It is unlawful for police agencies or personnel to proceed with such arrest protocols as to prevent members of this assemblage from leaving the area of their own volition to avoid arrest.
3. It is unlawful for police officers or agencies to proceed in such a manner as to force members of this assemblage into a public byway or into any other inherently unlawful place of assembly in order to justify arrest.
4. It is unlawful for any police officer or agency through the use of intimidation, protocols, procedures or escalation of force to endanger, injure, prevent access to emergency medical services, fire and rescue services or otherwise risk the life, limb, property or safety of any member of this assemblage or any peaceful bystander.
5. It is unlawful for any police officer or agency to force the inclusion of any member of this assemblage, member of the press, peaceful bystander or other person not choosing to remain after the declaration of intent to arrest through the use of any previously mentioned tactic, protocol or technique.
6. a. Escalation of force is defined as the clear and present need to overpower an uncooperative, combative or otherwise dangerous suspect through the minimum use of force necessary to safely detain, arrest or subdue.
b. Without the presence of felony assault, assault with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, endangerment of civilians, attempt to flee in a manner which creates any previously mentioned condition or a clear physical superiority on the part of the suspect it is unlawful to use pepper spray, batons, Tasers, physical assault of any kind and or any other "less than lethal" or lethal method which may cause physical harm to the suspect.
7. a. Any unlawful escalation of force described in this statement will be considered a violation of human rights on the part of the officers and or agencies responsible for the acts.
b. Any such actions under color of law resulting in injury, harm or death will be considered felony assault, attempted murder, manslaughter or other applicable felonious charge and are to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
c. The actions, protocols and the procedures deemed directly related under Title 28 United States Code Section 1343(a)(3), Title 42 Section 1983, Including such rights as described in the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and or any relevant rights as described under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as ratified by the United States of America and her allies or any other applicable State or local statute.
8. Any violations of the aforestated or any other human rights or guarantees under any law on the part of this agency or it's affiliates will be recorded, publicized and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Unlawful use of force for the purposes of dispersing, quelling and silencing of The People will no longer be tolerated or go unpunished.
9. You may proceed with your arrests of such members of this assemblage as choose to remain to be arrested in a lawfully decreed manner under the direction and supervision of such judiciary and or representatives as can prove beyond shadow of doubt that we are an illegal assembly.
In Peaceful Solidarity,
The People assembled under the auspice of Occupy.
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For Justin Sipp, Wendell Allen, Trayvon Martin; for all those maimed or murdered by NOPD.
Occupy NOLA will participate in The Mothers March Against Injustice!
The Mother’s March Against Injustice, sponsored by United New Orleans Front, will begin at 12 noon on Saturday, May 12. Along with many others, members of Community United for Change, The United New Orleans Front and supporters of the families of Justin Sipp, Wendell Allen, and Trayvon Martin, we will meet at Congo Square and march to City Hall for a Mother’s Day Rally.
We are Justin Sipp sign from 3/31 Police Brutality Protest New Orleans, LA.
Why is our system so afraid to use it's own criminal justice system to put the shooters on trial in a public court to determine whether they're guilty of a crime or not?
Bring a picture of your loved one! Join our struggle!
The following information was provided by one of the organizers of this march.
The United New Orleans Front (UNOF) Mothers' March is being held to pay homage to great sacrifices and strength of African American women as they anchor our families amidst the perpetual attacks against the Black community, especially black males, in this racist, capitalist society. Far too many individual lives have been cut short by early death at the hands of our racist enemies or at the hands of this racist, capitalist systems created self hatred where young Black men wantonly murder each other at the drop of a hat. America has created a school to prison pipeline where this government refuses to provide a proper education for our youth; thus setting them up for failure and the racist, capitalist trap of incarceration, literally re- enslavement in the US prison system.
The Mother's Day March is also a Memorial Day March recognizing those who have lost their lives in this hellish existence that is forced upon the Black Nation as a whole but especially the Black working class. We will honor our dead brothers and sisters and those unjustly locked behind prison walls. We will cry out for justice – demanding that the US government acknowledge the historical and continuing injustices perpetrated on the oppressed Black Nation. We will also demand that the state of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans atone for both past and present oppression and exploitation.
We the grieving Mothers of New Orleans advance the following demands:
• We want justice for all murder victims
• We want the prison doors swung open for those unjustly incarcerated.
• We want an end to the pipeline to prison
• We want quality education for our children
• We want quality, supervised recreation for our children
• We want safe, decent, affordable housing for our families
• We want living wage, unionized jobs for New Orleans workers
• We want an end to domestic abuse
• We want quality, affordable childcare
• We want universal health care and a hospital in NO East
• We want a return to local control of our schools
• We want an end to police terror
• We want an end to US war in Afghanistan and around the world
• We want the Right to Self-Determination for the Oppressed Black Nation
Come join Occupy NOLA as we support this March and Rally 12 noon Saturday, May 12, 2012!
Meet in Congo Square (Armstrong Park) and march to City Hall. Sponsored by the United New Orleans Front.
"His name was MCA I said howdy he said hi." ~ RIP Adam Yauch 1964-2012
Not only the hip hop world but the activist world has lost a true pioneer of music and peace. A founding member of The Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch aka "MCA" passed away on May 4, 2012 at age 47.
In addition to inspiring a generation to be original while questioning authority, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by the Chinese government.
He remained a dedicated activist his whole life; in his final months he was involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, including the November march across The Brooklyn Bridge.
Beastie Boy songs including "No Sleep til Brooklyn," "Fight for Your Right" and "Sabotage" have been sung by protesters since the OWS Movement began in the fall of 2011.
In honor of Adam Yauch's humanitarian actions, Occupy The Stage will listen to the Beastie Boys and continue to fight for a better world.
May Day 2012 General Strike
We did it! Shock waves rippled through the streets as we meandered, manned to the gills, as pedestrians grappled with the idea of activists dressed as cross-dressers.
We gathered at Lafayette Square to start things off. At first there were only about 3 dozen or so people. However, the number pretty much tripled as the drums began to roll. Banners, flags, flyers, instruments in hand- we took it to the streets!
Many styles of character participated- anarchists, cross-dressing rebels, stilt walkers, media gurus, concerned citizens and even a couple tent monsters attended. Oh, and don’t forget our friendly officers that escorted us. We thank you for your non-aggressive participation during this march.
So how did the people respond, you might ask? With open phones, I mean arms. Ha… it’s true though. I don’t recall being photographed or recorded so many times in such a short span. Thankfully, I was dancing while wearing a colorful, some-what beat up tent monster. Lord knows I didn’t want any attention. Ha
Speaking of tent monsters, Occupy The Stage deserves full credit for the creation of these creative entities. Also, OTS designed and distributed numerous signs. Hours and hours were designated to this important endeavor.
The people cheered as we marched, waved and chanted through the Quarter. It was an extremely successful protest march and we hope to have an even more extravagant action next time around. Thank you to everyone that participated or supports us. To those of you who haven’t yet, you will. We are all the 99%!
Occupy The Stage - From New Orleans to Washington DC From April 16 - April 24, four members of Occupy The Stage from Occupy NOLA went on an Occupy Road Trip to Washington DC. At that national capital, they were reunited with Occupy NOLA members who were had been in DC for several weeks and participated in a sleepful protest at Bank of America.
Tents are not allowed in front of Bank of America, and the protesters could not sleep within 25 feet of the entrance or within 35 feet of ATM. Sleep was difficult; a cleaning crew had an adjustable scaffolding polishing steel around midnight. Meanwhile, a few blocks away, in McPherson, occupiers provided information from an Information Booth.
McPherson Square appears to be an encampment, but tents cannot be used to store belongings. Signs explained that people and pets are not allowed to sleep in any of the tents.
Occupy The Stage had been traveling with SGT Tentmonster and erected him in McPherson.
On April 19, Occupy The Stage joined Occupy DC to protest at a bankers’ meeting in front of The Hyatt.
They also visited the new occupied Bank of America branch is on 11th and Pennsylvania.
On Saturday morning of April 21, Occupy The Stage participated in a protest “Resist The IMF” that began in McPherson and marched to Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street. At 20th Street, police and secret service outnumbered protesters and issued a dispersal order. The protesters, using banners and cords to block the streets, were pushed to 20th street where two women were arrested and one of them was hospitalized.
@small_affair livestreamed the two arrests and her footage can be seen here: http://bambuser.com/v/2574131
After leaving Washington DC, Occupy The Stage met with members of Occupy Charlotte and Occupy Birmingham and slept in front of Regents bank at Birmingham’s sleepful protest.
In the morning they expressed solidarity via Chalkupy (drawing Occupy related messages on sidewalk).
Occupy The Stage returned home to New Orleans in time for the General Assembly on Tuesday.