mellowtigger: (people not profits)
Higher education is mandatory to participate in the workforce. The U.S. Department of Education publicizes (page N-36) the results of a Georgetown study that predicts (page 13) "By 2018, 63 percent of job openings will require workers with at least some college education." An educated population has become a requirement for a functioning American economy. College is no longer an optional path of opportunity; it is a requirement for basic participation.  As such, it becomes as basic a necessity as high school education.  It should be publicly funded.

Both the Washington Post and Alternet are publishing stories today that college debt exceeds credit card debt in America.  That debt in excess of $1 trillion is a huge problem.

First, future income is being siphoned away, lowering all of the earnings of these future workers to invest in other immediate matters.  Eliminating such debt for millions of Americans has become a goal for some of the people in the #OccupyWallStreet movement.

Second, however, is the problem of matching the right skills to the right jobs.  I see no quick and easy solution to the problem of various segments being unable to find fulltime, relevant employment.  My own former boss remains unemployed after nearly a year, and I consider her a talented and effective supervisor for technical support staff.  I don't know her age, but she is older than me.  Like me, she has on-the-job training rather than a college degree.

Media are quick to spin the college debt problem as freeloaders trying to get an easy "out" from payments.  Seen in a larger context, though, I hope it's obvious that there is a fundamental problem with requiring Americans to mortgage their future in order to obtain any employment at all.

Here is video from #occupyMN that addresses the education debt problem.


As a gentle reminder, I hope that you avoid relying on traditional media for news about the Occupation movement.  What I have seen is rarely neutral.  Web search engines are your friend.  Find original sources such as people posting videos or photographs themselves.  Find reliable sources, knowing that some people will deliberately propagate misinformation on the web.  Trust nothing, but investigate everything for yourself.  :)  I know that my link-burdened posts are difficult to read, but I try to point you to original sources to double-check my accuracy.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I Support AnonymousThe Occupation, at its finest, represents a hopeful idealism that desires to change the future, to right the wrongs that simple greed has inflicted upon our institutions, our political process, and our shared morality.

This first video was released by Anonymous shortly after #OccupyWallStreet began on September 17th.

This is a message from Anonymous to the people of New York city, Wall street, and members of the protest. We are crowding your streets, we are filling its veins. This might be painful, but you will not open your eyes so we are being forced to dilate them. This your protest. Welcome your new neighbors for they choose to sleep on the streets for you. They choose to open their mouths when you are too exhausted. They are your brothers. They are here for your benefit. They are young. They are the children of the internet. They are generation zero. They are taking their future back into their hands. They are reviving the country you have long left to rot and whither. Never forget this. Treat them with kindness. Nod your heads in respect to them. Give them water, shake their hands, the smallest gratitude will incite them.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC9Vyt1ZBpQ

After spending many nights sleeping in cold weather without proper shelter (by demand of Minneapolis city and Hennepin county), I think that I have an even better understanding of the ineffectiveness of government to support the long term well-being of its citizens. Not only does it fail to support, but it actively works to inhibit free discussion. The complaint from the Sheriff's office yesterday was that our chalk is damaging the plaza as the chalk dye stains the granite. I've never seen such damage. Can anyone point me to a reliable source that refutes the idea that chalk can permanently color a granite surface?

This second video is a masterpiece. Charlie Chaplin delivered this speech in the 1940 film "The Great Dictator".  It restores my hope after that disappointing meeting with Hennepin County Commissioners that I attended on Tuesday.


I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business - I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.  The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
...
To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair". The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.
...
You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfill their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.
Soldiers - in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

- "The Great Dictator", 1940 film with Charlie Chaplin

I will continue the occupation.  I hope to change the world.  I hope to create a future that is sustainable even though people inhabit the entire surface of the planet, even though mineral resources are depleted without leaving some in the ground as "seed stock" in case of future disaster, even though it's already too late to prevent catastrophic climate change.  I still believe we can create a future that is worthwhile, that allows humans to live in peaceful balance with the rest of nature.

I still believe there's time enough for change.  I still have hope.
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
I've added two new photo albums.

I'm continuing the "Where's Waldo" theme by asking people I know to come out and photograph me as a way of encouraging other people to visit the occupation.  I figure that a known person provides a less threatening environment than a mass of unknown people.

https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5665219532054105969  Terry

Law enforcement (city police? county sheriff?) removed the illegal tents on Sunday morning around 1am without arrests.  There was 1 arrest on the previous Saturday of someone who supposedly had a restraining order to not be on the plaza.  The timing was unfortunate, since it happened while the tents were being placed on the property, so it had people riled without understanding the true situation.  Luckily, calmness prevailed and no further arrests were made necessary.

https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5665219580156761681 tents and removal

Here are some press photos of the same event.
http://fridley.patch.com/articles/at-occupymn-a-try-at-tents#photo-8128480

Here are the links to my current photo albums for #occupyMN, broken out by topics.

https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662632116373772257 chalk
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662639617112391185 rally.march
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662640342305019281 my favorites
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662631108022305969 people
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662631436408075105 posters
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662635743367706657 organization
https://plus.google.com/photos/110454253627715621789/albums/5662643354249972497 police

I do keep uploading new images to these albums as time goes on.
mellowtigger: (hypercube)
Does anyone near #occupyMN know some art folk who could bring in a sample or two of chalkboard? I'm looking for something very specific for use at this Occupation (and other sites, if it turns out to work well).

Traditional paints pose several problems:
1) accidental spills and accidental tracking footprints cause damage to local property that Sanitation committee must clean up,
2) wet paintbrushes roll in the wind and cause damage to local property that Sanitation must clean up,
3) used paint containers and used "paint water" (from cleaning paint brushes in clear water) are difficult for Sanitation to dispose properly without causing harm to the larger environment, and
4) paints will not work well in freezing weather.

Traditional plastic markers are somewhat better but also pose problems:
1) used markers must be disposed and pose a burden to the larger environment, and
2) markers will not work well in freezing weather.

Traditional paper or cardboard signs are okay, but they also pose problems:
1) paper blows in the wind, and Sanitation spends time tracking them down to dispose of them or anchor them, 
2) they are not reusable, so people tend to consume new materials to create their own new message,
3) require reinforcement in wind, so people are tempted to consume even more material to strengthen their poster, and
4) they degrade in rain and require immediate disposal by Sanitation.

I propose using chalk to solve all of these problems, but doing so requires use of some sort of chalk board that I don't know is easy to find.

I want a chalk board or whatever they're using in art school these days:
A) in a traditional poster size,
B) that does not degrade easily in rain, and
C) can be clipped (or rounded) at its corners so it does not pose a danger with points that could accidentally harm young people or pets that frequent the same areas where people are holding signs.


If you know of such material, please bring a sample or two to #occupyMN and leave it with the Sanitation committee.  Let us know where you bought it, so we can encourage other people to donate the same item if this experiment works well for us.

Thanks!

- Terry @ Sanitation committee #occupyMN
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
There's still time for the occupation to truly represent the 99%, although the window of opportunity is closing.

Occupation and Tea PartyOn the political left, The Daily Beast website has published an interesting Venn diagram of how the Occupation and the Tea Party converge in their thinking.  On the political right, a FOX News poll shows that 2/3 of respondents favor the occupation.

Do 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters represent your views about the nation's economic problems?
Maybe. I am not even sure what they want. 2.38% (5,877 votes)
No. They have no idea how jobs are created or how a free-enterprise system works. 30.82% (75,990 votes)
Yes. These folks are right about corporate greed and what's happening to the little guy. 66.03% (162,773 votes)
Other (post a comment). 0.76% (1,881 votes)
Total Votes: 246,521
- http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/07/do-occupy-wall-street-protests-represent-your-views-economy/

Even the Atlantic is noting the differences and the potential for commonality between the Occupation and the Tea Party.

With Occupy Wall Street, those protective of the status quo may be more rattled than they had by the Tea Party, which in its aim to minimize government's role, carried an agenda convenient with Wall Street's current mood. This is because OWS are directing their ire squarely towards the real elites of the country, rather than their bought-and-paid marionettes sitting in Washington.
...
Beyond this, they are likely smarter, and with more idealistic energy, than their Tea Party analogues. Ranging from younger near anarchists to older protesters with almost Eisenhowerian politics (repulsed by income disparities reminiscent of the "robber baron" era) they are a disparate bunch, to be sure.
...
As something of a Burkean, I find it odd that I am sympathetic to these protesters, but they are not looking to trot out the guillotines (notwithstanding a "Behead the Fed" sign!). Instead, they are responding to the rot of a representative democratic system poised by the oligarch-like behavior of elites wholly disconnected from, yes, the 99%. They are acting to secure conservative aims of re-balancing a society that is becoming dangerously unmoored and increasingly bent asunder. They want accountability and dignity and prospects. Their leaders have failed them. So they have taken to the street to lead themselves.
- http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/10/this-aint-no-tea-party-a-conservative-defense-of-occupy-wall-street/246549/

I leave you with this photograph that I took on Friday at OccupyMN in Minneapolis.  Two different people came with signs comparing this movement to the previous Tea Party.  A few of us took photographs when they crossed paths.  The original tea party rebellion was a bunch of felons who destroyed property when it was taxed by people who did not give them representation in government.  That concept translates fairly easy to the current Occupy Wall Street movement, where the plutarchs determine policy by purchasing lobbyists while the rest of us are increasingly drained of wealth without our interests being protected in the laws of our country.

Real Tea Party, but I can't afford your tea.
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
republocrats are the plutocracyRepublocrats serve the plutocracy, not the electorate.  Doubt any commentary from pundits of the left or the right who try to frame the Occupation using the terms of traditional political parties.  I personally think that it's time to end both major parties so that true democratic representation can begin again.

Whatever it was that motivated the beginning of the Tea Party protest, their effort was quickly co-opted as just a new "brand name" of the Republican party similar to the Moral Majority of the 1980s.  I fervently hope that we can keep the Occupation movement from becoming a similar tool for the Democratic party.

Consider the following commentary from a leftist website:

The False Divide

A joke making the rounds on the Internet goes like this:

There's a plate of 12 cookies sittng on a table. The rich take 11 cookies leaving only 1 cookie left on the plate. They then turn to the Tea Party and say ‘Those unions are trying to take your cookie.'

This works about equally well with Republicans vs. Democrats.

It's why Republicans versus Democrats is largely a false divide. The monied interests would rather have us arguing Republican vs. Democrat (50/50 split) than Rich vs. Everyone Else (1/99 split).

- http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/10/1024591/-99:-A-Warning-to-OWS-and-the-Rest-of-Us

So please consider, when reading any commentary, how an opinion could serve the interests of corporations to keep the electorate divided into their current and ineffective Republocrat camps.  The 99% are larger than either political party, and it's time we worked together to solve the problems that undermine our democratic process.

Republocrats do not serve the electorateHere's a sign from #occupyMN that belongs to a small political party in Minnesota.  As it happens, I was one of only a few thousand Minnesotans who voted for them during the last election.  If this ongoing Occupation fails to deliver any change at all except the formation of many, many new political parties, then it still will have served an important role in changing the course of American history and improving our existing political process.

Regardless of your political stripes, please try to find those issues being discussed by Occupiers that you also support.  Add your voice to the chorus asking for change on those issues.  Leaving America to the whims of its politicians (bought by lobbyist money) is what got us into this mess.  Help us demand something new.

worth it

Oct. 10th, 2011 10:01 am
mellowtigger: (Green Lantern)
It's so very worth it.  Plutocracy has harmed so very many people.  Go visit your local occupation.

I work on the Sanitation committee with Jeremy.  He's an Army vet.  He got into a car accident and damaged his spine.  He turned 30 years old on the operating table.  During recovery when he reached the point that he could walk 5 steps (but still groggy from the various pain medications), the doctor told him quite bluntly (as his coherent brother explained to him later):  "You're 30 years old, it's time that you man up and get out.  I have paying customers to help."  That's one of the reasons that he's joining the occupation.

I learned so very many other stories just like this one.

The ideologies represented are quite diverse.  From supporters of Ron Paul (Republican presidential candidate) to Hare Krishnas.  Who knew we had Hare Krishnas in Minnesota?  I was a bit surprised to find them.  I voted for Ken Pentel in the last election.  He made an appearance at the occupation, but I was busy with sanitation and missed meeting him.  *disappointment*  I hope that he visits again, so I get another chance to talk with him.  Jesse Ventura even made an appearance early in the morning of the first day.  Very quickly afterwards, someone was handing out free books, "Always Cheat: The Philosophy of Jesse Ventura", to counter his message.  Yes, the ideologies range all across the map.

A common chant on the marches:
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

It's about time that we restored democracy in place of plutocracy.  More stories later, after I've had a good night's rest finally.  I spent 3 whole days (Friday 9am through Monday 9am) on site, and now I'm back at the house, showered, and enjoying computer access.  I want to download and sort through the many photographs that I took. 

Also, Minnesotans are participating very well in their political process.  The police and sheriff have been very helpful in blocking traffic for marches, and we have given them plenty of notice for any plans to travel away from the plaza.  Has any other occupation gone 3 whole days without arrests?  Yay for us!  :)
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Henry Ford quoteIf an "occupation" seems outside of your comfort zone, then come to visit me instead. I will be there day and night, all weekend long, from Friday morning to Monday morning. You can be sure that you will wander the plaza and find me at some point. I'm on the Sanitation committee, if you need to ask someone for directions. I reassure everyone that this demonstration has government cooperation and will be peaceful and safe space.

Let's play "Where's Waldo". :) Send this post to the locals that you know. Play the game by going to the Hennepin County Government Plaza then taking a photograph of me as proof of your visit. I would love to receive a copy of the file later too. *laugh* It's that easy. I just want to help you step outside of your comfort zone by inviting you to visit a familiar face.

I took Friday off of work (that's only 4 hours for me), and I will bring my sleeping bag so that I can occupy Minneapolis from Friday morning until early Monday morning. Then I will ride the bus back home, take a shower, and then head to work. Afterwards, my occupation schedule depends on my ability to focus. I'll keep returning, for sure.

I will not be posting at all during the occupation unless someone offers to give me some extended time to upload images and type a few paragraphs. I really wish I had a 7" tablet with super-long battery life that I could use to take photographs, take videos, edit simple posts, and upload files via either cellular or local wifi. Tech companies, are you listening? You need to create a cheap tech gadget useful for protesters. There seems to be a worldwide market for such items this year. ;)

I'm excited about the possibility of forcing the national discussion to undo the Federal Reserve's exponential money supply.  It's still important, though, to remind myself of a little more context.  As one protest sign from Austin reads, "Make Solutions, Not Demands".  I like that sentiment.  Hopefully, I can remember it and put it on a poster during the occupation.

still the 1%
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
San Francisco: As I was typing my last message, the police were tearing down tents in San Francisco at 10pm local time. It sounds fishy or downright illegal that they would do something like this so late at night. I watched a repeat loop of the last transmission from the #occupySF video feed before it dropped out.  They were discussing whether to come back in the morning or fight and get arrested.  They concluded with this nice quote:

"If we promise not to stand up when it get's hard, then what are we going to accomplish?"

I'm guessing they decided to resist the police.  :)  Calls for a flashmob are going out to all SF people to swarm the occupation and restore the camp.  I hope they succeed.

Seattle: Supposedly, Seattle is experiencing similar interference from police tonight.  Apparently Obama is coming to town for a visit, and peaceful protesters make them nervous.

New York: Meanwhile, police crackdowns continued in New York on Wednesday.  More people were arrested.  This footage looks more like the resistance videos from the Middle East.  If this embedded video stops working, here is another source.  The photos from tonight show rows upon rows of police vehicles.  It's a serious attempt to break up #occupywallstreet and have some fun busting heads.


Unknown city:
  Someone managed to keep their cell/video: http://qik.com/video/44831373

I think the incumbent powers have decided that this occupation is "for real".  I knew that a while back, which is why I have been blogging about it exclusively for days.
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
capitalism: miss another payment and we take the blanketA homeless man asked me to buy him some food yesterday. On the way to work, I stopped at a Taco Bell to grab a quick meal. I was standing in line when a thin man behind me (in his 40s, like me) told me that he was homeless. He asked me to buy him food, and I did. While waiting for it to arrive, I told him that a group of people were meeting Friday in downtown Minneapolis and intended to have food available. Not just Friday, but every day for a long while to come. Something is very wrong in America, and "business as usual" is not fixing it.

At the occupation's training meeting Wednesday night, I told one guy about my Taco Bell experience from a few hours earlier. He said that he had seen 4 different people digging in trash bins for food in downtown Minneapolis that day. Something is very wrong in Minnesota, and it needs to change.

Now is the time to demand that our government serve its people rather than its corporations. The 99% are increasingly marginalized and desperate. It's time to reclaim our influence.

Hurdle 1: Overnight.
Staying overnight is acceptable! This news is great! There is, however, "no camping". I think that means sleeping bags are acceptable but no tents that can hide people or equipment from police view.

Hurdle 2: Restrooms. Public restrooms are available during business hours but not afterwards (no exceptions), and the county forbids placing port-o-potties on the plaza itself. We are working with the county for permission to setup port-o-potties somewhere. At worst (and I'm not looking forward to this option since I'm on Sanitation committee), during the nights we will try buckets with some privacy, then we take turns hauling away the buckets.

Hurdle 3: Police.
Wow, I learned tonight much more of the "bad side" of life in Minneapolis than I really wanted to know. It's the kind of stuff that you secretly suspect but even more secretly hope is just pessimistic imaginings. No, I listened to the people who actually photograph, film, and report the things done by police. I hope the troublemakers on both sides can keep their urges under control tomorrow. Please, everyone remain calm, then everything will work out fine this weekend.

Just so you know... some hospitals apparently develop a habit of "losing" material or testimony that would help you prosecute the police. If you're ever injured by police, be sure to ask to speak with a hospital chaplain after they send you to a hospital for your injuries. It's a neutral 3rd party whose witness to your story may help document your later court case. Don't trust your doctor to record your testimony that the police injured you. Hospitals apparently earn money from the cases sent to them by the police, so it's in their interest to keep the money flowing.

Yes, it's definitely time to erect a barrier of separation between corporations and government.

Stephen Colbert's Christian nation
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
We aren't terrorists demanding ransom, we're protestors demanding equal representation. So, no, we don't have a convenient list of goals for you to read. People want an opportunity to list their grievances... and there are many. We are in no hurry. We will occupy until we are satisfied. It's not like we have the lure of high-paying jobs and comfortable mansions tempting us away from this process.

Meanwhile, the cleanup of media stories by management continues. I should be taking photographs of media stories rather than just bookmarking them, because they change so substantially over time. First the New York Times changes their tone to be less sympathetic to the protesters, but now I've caught Marketwatch changing their title to be less sympathetic. At least the original url still takes you to the article, and it is a good read.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/occupy-wall-street-is-a-tea-party-with-brains-2011-10-04

One idea gaining agreement is the sense that American democracy is "bought". Politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder, and neither major party can be trusted. Perhaps it is time that we erect a barrier separating business from government for the same reason that we created a barrier separating religion from government: they can't help but corrupt each other and cause suffering among the people that government claims to serve.

And for us people in Europe it is an open secret that the USA are more a Plutocracy then a Democracy. I am not here to discuss political definitions, but please, have you never heard about basic democratic principles in ancient Greece? It is about a system of representatives of many community groups, not about 2 parties of representatives of the richest people in a country. So you have to understand, why we Europeans can only quiet smile about your “Democracy” .
...
We European would like to see Captain America in the same way we are used to. And Captain America isn’t a greedy old man or a GI trooper. He is a dream.

- plus.google.com/u/0/100729828843019249206/posts/F8eTvBy2eYe, a German computer engineer

Yes, there is a lot to talk about. So go join an occupation in your area. Find your voice, and experience democracy firsthand. You will find people just like you. Attend the general assembly. Learn the sign language used by crowds to silently express their opinion. Experience the power of hearing your neighbor's voice through "the people's microphone".

From Egypt, social movements across the globe have learned of the power of camping together in city squares; from Spain the movements have learned to make decisions in large assemblies of thousands of people, by agreeing or disagreeing with specific proposals made by speakers via the use of sign language; from America, the most striking tactic has been the use of the ‘people’s microphone’. After a ban on using megaphones, the people at Occupywallstreet have taken to using this tactic in order to allow everyone in the crowd to hear the speaker. It simply involves the crowd repeating all the words of the speaker in order to collectively magnify his or her voice. It seems like a minor issue to focus on, but the reality is that it unites by getting people to relay information to others while also saying something to themselves, and, in addition, it shows the limitless power of creative civil disobedience.
- http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/09/the-"people's-microphone"/

I've experienced this new language already in Minneapolis. I hope you will too.

domino effect
mellowtigger: (faux news)
Which occupation would you rather attend?

Local newspaper Star Tribune reports this:

Police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty said police action will be determined by the protesters' actions.
In general, it is not illegal to spend the night in public parks or plazas, he said. "It doesn't become a problem until they starting blocking access or start causing a disturbance," McCarty said. "It is something we will deal with at the time."

Local FOX tv station reports this:

Carolyn Marinan, Hennepin County spokesperson: "This is not a campground. This is where people come during the day and do business. You can come here at night, but you can't camp overnight."
The Hennepin County Sheriff's office wouldn't comment on what type of law enforcement presence they will have, but given their experience with the RNC (Republican National Convention) they should be prepared for just about anything."
...
Now you talk about logistics, one of the things that this group has asked the county to do was to bring in some port-o-potties for all of the people that they are expecting, but again the county tells me they are reluctant to do anything that will encourage them to have an extended stay here, especially overnight.

Ugh.  I hope to learn more details at the class tomorrow night.
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
new face of terrorismPeacenik power is producing heroic images on the web.  I especially like this one.

I mentioned on Monday the video of police arresting 700 people on Brooklyn Bridge. The crowd caused a commotion when police arrested a teenage girl. Apparently, she wasn't even part of the occupation. She was just there to take pictures of the march. Like most of them, she had no idea that she was doing something illegal and would be arrested for it.

She became a minor celebrity because of her keen sense of calm and her awesome GIR hat! *laugh*  What's not to like about this opportunity in America?

Go join an occupation in your area. You'll find many thoughtful, peaceful people just like you!
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
peaceful democracyI count 143 occupations across the United States. Wow, has the revolution finally arrived? Thankfully, it comes to us in the hands of people holding signs that read "Power to the Peaceful" and "Stay Positive; The Revolution is Awesome" rather than in the hands of tea partiers who like to show up at demonstrations brandishing weapons.

Locals: plan to join the "Copwatch / Know Your Rights" training. It will be:
Wednesday, 6-9pm
Walker Church
3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Mainstream media continues to dismiss the events as solely the domain of young people with too much spare time on their hands or old hippies in tie-dye shirts. They dismiss people who look (and smell) like they have been living for days on the street sidewalks. They do not search for what drives all these different people to actively live on the streets for a purpose. They need a person-in-charge to interview because reporters are untrained in democracy, which is the distillation of a raucous noise into a common voice. It is inherently untidy.

My Yahoo account was hacked yesterday. I logged in Monday morning at Yahoo, and their website immediately prompted me for a new password. The timing is strangely coincidental with my blogging about #occupywallstreet. I dislike secrets. I can't imagine anyone finding useful information in my emails that isn't already public on my blog.

mosquito in the roomAs I mentioned yesterday, my own impetus to act is my conviction that a money supply based on an exponential function is mathematically required to fail. I want to eliminate money growth to improve our future.

Pick your own cause and join in. If attending an occupation is too far outside of your comfort zone, then donate a few dollars (or phone in a credit card order for pizza delivery) to help out people in your area.

Or write this name on your car window:
OCCUPYTOGETHER.ORG

You can make a difference. It's easy. :)
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
Something is wrong (or right) in New York.
J.P. Morgan Chase has suddenly donated US$4.6 million to the city's police department. The 1% elite has taken notice of the new Occupy movement in America, and they're clearly scared. People are holding signs "Eat The Rich", "Robin Hood Was Right", and "They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back".

class warfareNews has surfaced of 700 people being arrested for crossing Brooklyn Bridge.  The people there (including a reporter) thought that the police were escorting them across the bridge.  The crowd got even noisier as police arrested a teenage girl among the crowd.  The police apparently notified a few people at the front of the crowd and then stood back to let everyone pass unchallenged.  So arrest the people in front.  For half a thousand other protesters, it certainly looks like police entrapment since the police were standing around without taking any opportunity to divert the flow of pedestrian traffic.  Some rumors even say that the vans were specifically brought out that day for planned arrests.

Something is wrong in Minnesota.
I've written previously about theft of copper as people begin cannibalizing the infrastructure in order to eek out a living. Now it seems that food is disappearing too. Not off the grocery shelves... but directly off of the farms.  Can't you feel the squeeze too? Wouldn't it be wise to try diverting this trend by acting to influence the American economic system? I've been preaching about the ills of an inflationary money supply for a long time now. Choose that issue or choose another, but DO SOMETHING to forge a peaceful future, please.

Something else is wrong (or right) in Minnesota.
In case you've never been witness or participant to collective action before, the only thing you should ever expect is disorganization. The new Occupy movement in America has plenty of disorganization. :)

I've been unable to contact by email the people that I met at the planning meeting on Saturday. A coworker's email has bounced back. The committee lead has not yet emailed me. I emailed the event organizer but have not heard back yet (I'm sure he's swamped with emails). We have only 4 days to go, and I wouldn't know if any kind of progress has been made for organizing the occupation.

If you've never seen collective action before, don't worry: everything is right on schedule! *laugh*

#occupyMN begins on October 7 Friday at 9am at the Hennepin County Government Plaza.  It will continue indefinitely... until government clearly moves to protect the interests of the people over of the profits of corporations.
mellowtigger: (changed priorities)
I took photographs of the occupation's plaza this morning. The whole gallery is here. The plaza includes interesting neighbors like US Bank. Only 2 blocks away is a major newspaper headquarters, the Star Tribune.  (If you'd like to donate money to this effort, they are collecting donations at this url, as of 2011 Oct 02: https://www.wepay.com/donate/36134 .)

The north side is mostly paved with lots of lighting and trash bins.

northside panorama leftnorthside panorama right

The south side is mostly grass with many shade trees along the landscaped circumference.

southside panorama leftsouthside panorama right

The plaza includes a sculpture with these interesting quotes (among others):
ability to voice unpopular opinions
including the working poor
voices actually being heard

Someone has already chalked graffiti on a neighbor's sidewalk at the county Public Safety headquarters:
free everyone

sculpturegraffiti: free everyone

There are only a few rules posted around the plaza:
no parking
no cigarettes
no pets without leashes

rules: tobacco and petsrules: parking

Since I'm on the Sanitation committee, I also noted the presence of many trash bins already at the north side of the plaza.  Fewer ones were found on the south side.

northside trash cans

I really hope that we can pull this off without breaking any rules at all.  As someone at yesterday's planning meeting said, however:
I don't know how you get a permit for an indefinite occupation.

True enough.

One particular difficulty here in Minnesota that other occupation sites will not face is the cold Minnesota winter.  Seeing how the sunlight reached the ground this morning, I think the best spot for overnighters will be at the northside plaza in the northwest corner.  Morning light may reach there earlier than any other location considering buildings and trees that cast shadows.  I'm not sure if it will be different later in the year as the sun tracks closer to the horizon.  That location also has the distinction of being immediately visible to both US Bank and the light rail commute line.

Anyway... the adventure begins, I suppose.
mellowtigger: (liberal frustration)
Guess who volunteered for the Sanitation committee. It had the fewest people on it (just 1 guy at the time), so he definitely needed the help. We go from zero to event in 6 days. Yikes!

The only thing that truly disappointed me was the call to prohibit all recordings of the event. I thought everything was supposed to be "above the board". What are we hiding? I heard nothing worth hiding.

I believe that information is always free. This movement relies on public documentation (see the improper police action from Wall Street), so why would it try to keep anything secret? I dislike hypocrisy in any form.

More info tomorrow, after I go out to the site to take photographs.

Why can I not find one of those gifs of the stick figure running around frantically with its head on fire? I would've used that icon for this post.
mellowtigger: (banking)
Minnesotans can join the Occupy Wall Street movement locally.  A group is forming to occupy downtown Minneapolis at the Federal Reserve Bank. A general assembly will occur on Saturday (tomorrow) at 5:15pm (meet-and-greet starts at 4pm) at Stevens Square Park. The #occupyMN event will begin on Friday, October 7th.

http://www.occupymn.org/
https://twitter.com/#!/OccupyMN

Occupy Together overloadOrganization at the national level has finally appeared. Visit here to find other #occupy events in your area.  You may experience webpage slowdowns.

http://www.occupytogether.org/
http://www.occupytogether.org/events/midwest/occupy-minnesota/

Occupy Together integrityThe same group offers a Facebook site (no account required) with a page of suggestions for new groups as they form.  They are trying to maintain data integrity in their new listings, so hopefully you can trust whatever you find listed there.

http://www.facebook.com/OccupyTogether

http://www.facebook.com/notes/occupy-together/a-guide-to-effectively-organizing-the-portland-model/296870893660726

On the world stage, you can also check here for events in your area.
http://givenoground.org/occupy-the-world/

I hope to see lots of people out there.  I plan to attend on Saturday.
mellowtigger: (hypercube)
Someone has finally published a list of 11 demands from the Occupy Wall Street protest. They're not demands in the strict sense of the word. No one represents the Anonymous group that called for the occupation of Wall Street. Their list is more like a Quaker resolution, meant to represent only those people in attendance and only at that one moment in time. Even so, it's good to see that the effort is being documented and gaining momentum.

Their ideas show to me that they didn't have any people there who understand that American dollars are created by debt. That's okay. The majority of American have no understanding of that fact either, so they're in fine company. It's a very important limitation to our existing economy. If I were there to speak with them, I would argue for these points as appropriate concessions before ending the occupation of Wall Street.
  1. Add a new law by Congress which immediately returns to the tax brackets of 1982 (or here for more detail).  If it was good enough for "the gipper" (Reagan), then today's Republicans should just learn to cope with the burden of their own former ideas.  Additional changes can wait until later when we change the whole monetary system.
  2. Add a new law by Congress which taxes financial transactions.
  3. Add a new law by Congress which reimplements the Glass-Steagall act.
  4. Add a new law by Congress which nullifies all existing "golden parachute" clauses and forbids all bonus payments within any corporation that receives any government bailout money until the loaned money is repaid.
  5. Add a new amendment to the constitution which changes campaign finance.
    1. Only persons who can vote are allowed to contribute to any political campaign, thereby removing corporate and other hidden political influence.
    2. Voting rights can be removed from people only when they commit crimes against humanity (even against a single human), unlike now when many Americans are forbidden because of felony drug conviction.
    3. People can contribute a maximum of 1/10 of the previous year's income for the median American worker. As more people become wealthy, then more money can be given to campaigns.
    4. Individuals may self-finance with the limitation that their contribution cannot exceed the total contributions from other people, so no rich people can simply buy their way into office by outspending their opponents on advertising.
  6. Add a new amendment to the constitution which changes war finance.
    1. Wars must be paid without incurring debt.
    2. War debt can be incurred and maintained only as long as conscription (military draft) is enforced. Conscription may end when the debt is paid. You can sacrifice the next generation for your war, if it's really necessary. You can't hide what you're doing, though, so you have to convince everyone that it's worth the heavy cost.
  7. Add a new amendment to the constitution which changes money creation. Money must begin with an assumption of zero growth. Our current debt-creation of money must be entirely abandoned.  A Panoply framework would suffice for immediate change.  We can use gold as the standard if no other suitable non-expanding foundation becomes apparent.
  8. Add a new amendment to the constitution which decriminalizes poverty.  If any government forbids freely providing food, shelter, or healthcare to any person in one jurisdiction, then the government must pay to provide free equivalent food, shelter, or healthcare in another area within the same jurisdiction.  Government must not be allowed to ignore what it wishes to forget.
I have many other changes that I think are important and useful for America to make, but they seem less relevant to the Wall Street environment so they can wait for another social movement to begin. :)

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