A coalition of dozens of community organizations; unions; and civil rights, environmental, student, and activist groups is organizing the 99% Spring, with a goal of training 100,000 people in direct action the week of April 9-15.
Trainings will be held across the country and are intended to launch “a spring of nonviolent direct action.”
The trainings will:
1 – Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
2 – Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
3 – Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the fight for workers in Madison, Wisconsin, the 99% will rise up this spring. In the span of just one week, from April 9-15, 100,000 people will be trained to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.
We’ll gather for trainings in homes, community centers, places of worship, campuses, and public spaces nationwide to learn how to join together in the work of reclaiming our country through sustained non-violent action.
Will you rise with us and join a 99% Spring action training?
I have important, breaking news to share with you:
In response to the decision by City of Des Moines officials to no longer allow Occupy Des Moines to remain at Stewart Square, we will re-occupy Peoples Park (E 7th and Locust) on Sunday, January 29. We’ll meet at Stewart Square Park (E 14th and Grand) at 2:00 pm and march to Peoples Park. Then we’ll hold a General Assembly at our indoor headquarters on the third floor at 504 E Locust.
If you were among the 500 people at the first Occupy Des Moines General Assembly at Peoples Park on October 9, please come. If you weren’t, please come. To reclaim our country from corporate and political corruption, this movement must grow. There have been disagreements, as there are within any movement for social and political reform. Let’s put those behind us as we march back to where things started and plan the next steps.
The City of Des Moines has been reasonable to work with. I wish all public officials took the Occupy Wall Street movement seriously. Unfortunately, as Governor Branstad demonstrated on October 9, he not only chose to ignore the legitimate grievances we raised, he even denied us our right to air those grievances in a public space. We’re willing to give Governor Branstad a second chance, exactly 15 weeks after 35 of us were arrested at Peoples Park.
As a next possible step in redeploying the “occupation” and maintaining pressure on national banks that have acted both unethically and illegally, Occupy Des Moines members are engaged in ongoing discussions about how best to assist individuals who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. Stay tuned for more on that.
Spread the word! And PLEASE GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE we’ve created to promote this event. Sign up to attend. Share it with others. Let’s speak with one voice that we expect the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement be taken seriously. Thank you.
OccupyDSM invites you to the ‘Greatest Scam on Earth’!
5:00pm until 8:00pm
CORRECTION: NOT at Drake Diner parking lot; Rally has been changed to: post office on 2323 forest avenue
We’ll mobilize at First Christian Church, 2500 University Avenue, at 5pm and then march on the GOP debate as soon as the gathered crowd is ready to rumble.
The GOP Candidates have shown time and again through their clownish behavior that the Wall Street ringmasters are dictating their every move. OcuppyDSM will respond in kind with a protest circus of our own.
When all the candidates are clowns, you should expect a circus!
Wear the circus costume of your choice!
OTHER OCCUPY IOWA WEEKEND EVENTS
(let us know if you know of other Occupy events around Iowa this weekend – add a comment or e-mail us at email@example.com)
Occupy Cedar Rapids
Showing – “Inside Job”, Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary
Occupy Wall Street movement began in response to the “inside Job” done by those on Wall Street, costing Americans over $20 trillion dollars! Join us to watch the film, followed by discussion, Friday, Dec 9, 7:00pm, at CSPS (11th Ave and 3rd St SE)
Occupy Quad Cities
Sunday, 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm
The Direct Action and Occupation Planning Team will be meeting to go over planning and organizing for the up-coming “A Home is a Human Right Awareness Rally” scheduled for December 17th. Bring your ideas, skills and enthusiasm…You are the Leader You have been waiting for…Join Us
It was a rainy afternoon for the first Occupy Iowa regional General Assembly. Around 100 occupiers gathered from various places across Iowa primarily to attend the action planned by Occupy Cedar Rapids protesting Air Cover Integrated Solutions possibly moving into the Cherry Building in Cedar Rapids, IA. The buildings owner welcomed us and our debate initially but seemed concerned with our presence. The confusing thing for everyone seemed to be that we just didn’t think that a building, currently the home to many small artist and craft shops, would be a good place to kick off the militarization of our domestic skies here in Iowa.
While we were speaking with the buildings owner, he mentioned that people couldn’t get through so we parted for the patrons which were coming and going as one might expect, it being an open house after all. We conversed for about 20 minutes with the owner and asked him to please not allow the drone facility to become part of his building.
After the mic check on Air Cover and our brief debate the police announced that we needed to move to the north side of the street which we did. While we were there for the next 35 minutes or so we saw the bus come by and drop some patrons off, some of the people riding the bus gave us the thumbs up.
You might argue with us about OWS methods, the confusion of protesting a building full of artists, or the edginess of the direct action in a normally fairly quiet Iowa town. But what you can’t ague with is that people are now talking about this in Cedar Rapids. In that, I would say the action was wildly successful.
Afterward I spoke with a young couple, occupiers that had come from Cedar Valley. Since they’d travelled far and also love small local businesses and are dedicated to shopping with small mom and pop shops at home, they naturally went over to the Cherry Building once things had settled down. Unfortunately they were not well received and ended up leaving because of the rudeness of one of the shop owners.
Another local business supporter who posted on Facebook said that they had in fact purchased something from the very shop owner who was telling us that we were hurting her business. and that she really liked the item, a hand painted and reclaimed piece of furniture.
My take on it is this:
It might be that the owner of the Cherry Building sees more money in the militarization of our domestic skies than in arts and crafts. I get that. Really. But I just wonder how long before the art shops fail in this jobless recovery and the spaces are taken over one by one by the drone factory until the Cherry Building becomes entirely a facility beholden to the military industrial complex?
Certainly there are benign uses for this technology and for that it could be argued that it should be made available. But before we unleash this potentially total violation of privacy upon ourselves, shouldn’t we at least be asking these harder questions instead of talking only about what good they could do?
I believe that it is a lie that these drones represent good jobs. We should discuss how many emergency responder jobs will be displaced and the centralization of police power this represents and what that might look like going forward. Many of us suspect that it will actually reduce the number of emergency responder jobs (a common effect of centralization) and even reduce a community’s ability to properly scale up to respond to natural disasters and other catastrophic events such as a nuclear facility losing electricity. Drones aren’t going to do the real work. These drones are likely to have a high potential for abuse.
Or maybe we could talk about how hackable these eventually armed domestic spy drones will likely be? Or maybe we could talk about the broader implication of this military technology in the hands of police and whether or not the fear based political model is really what we want in our skies (or anyone else’s for that matter)?
Bottom line? Democracy is a messy process. But we should be happy that it is happening at all rather than wondering what was accomplished. What other way forward is there other than together? On our own? That is a the propaganda of the oligarchs.
Occupy Wall Street uses a decentralized methodology that is similar in pattern to open source development on the Internet and in software. We are as a group able to gain the benefit of the wisdom of people like Frank Cordaro, a Catholic Worker, who is certainly a leader but even he knows he’s just one among many as this is more accurately described as leaderful movement rather than leaderless. This is by far the smartest movement in that regards in human history. It’s radical in the sense that it really is of the roots. We are leaderless because anyone who has ever gotten in high office and was really serious about making lasting and positive change in our world on behalf of most of humanity has been killed. But you can’t arrest an idea as occupiers like to say.
While we were talking after the action, a single police officer stopped by to thank Occupiers for a very civil action on our part.
The perception in the mainstream media that Occupy doesn’t know what it wants or that we’re nothing more than the radical left reconstituted are all narratives of the 1% and of an entrenched neo-liberal approach to “change”. Unfortunately it is obvious to all of us within the Occupy movement that the system (whether it be from the “liberal” or “conservative” perspective) is broken so badly that we can’t continue pretending that acting within its constraints will get anything truly meaningful done. However, how this anti corporatism that resides at the core of the Occupy philosophy gets turned into action is to directly support small businesses rather than spending money at a corporate franchise which extracts wealth from our communities and returns the usual low paying jobs and substandard products.
70% of occupiers are employed. Many of us went over to the Cherry Building and patronized the artists after the action. Some of us even bought some things.
Crossposted at qcmississippimud.com/
Also see Paul Deaton’s Dec. 3rd post Occupy Iowa Statewide General Assembly
Occupy Iowa held its first statewide general assembly (GA) in Cedar Rapids this afternoon. In attendance were delegations from Occupy Iowa groups in Des Moines, Iowa City, Grinnell, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, the Quad Cities and Dubuque. When the GA convened at 12:30 p.m. there were 28 people. By 1 p.m. there were 55. On the agenda was a discussion of the Occupy the Caucus action planned for Dec. 26 through Jan. 3 in Des Moines, a discussion of today’s direct action, brainstorming about potential future Iowa actions, an announcement by Frank Cordaro of an occupy the caucus action Dec. 16 in Des Moines, a series of announcements and then adjournment.
Today’s direct action involved occupying a building where AirCover Integrated Solutions Corp. of Redding, Calif. recently opened an office. The company is developing civilian applications for drone technology to use in emergency response and police applications. Because of the direct action, a number of peace groups from around the state were represented, including Dubuque Peace and Justice, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Workers for Peace Iowa, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Des Moines Catholic Worker, Progressive Action for the Common Good, PEACE Iowa and Veterans for Peace. For those of us working for peace, it was a chance to catch up with friends.
After the GA adjourned, I walked over to the Cherry Building where they were holding an event called a “Very Cherry Holiday.” The Cherry Building was reclaimed after the flood of 2008 when water reached a level of about eight feet inside the building. It has been converted into a studio space for artists and craftspeople and today was their annual open house and show. In the artist trades, the end of year holidays are a time for making a significant portion of the year’s sales. Unfortunately for the small business owners, AirCover Integrated Solutions had located an office here and it was the target of the Occupy Iowa direct action.
Michael Richards, a Cedar Rapids entrepreneur, has been working for years to develop the kind of facility represented by the Cherry Building. Today’s event was the kind where families go to see and hopefully buy artwork. The musicians playing in the hallway were very well dressed, and women were wearing new shoes redolent with the smell of Italian leather. The contrasts between the two parts of the 99 percent present at the direct action couldn’t have been more stark. It is ironic that Richards organized the use of the building for the Occupy Iowa GA.
Des Moines Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro led the leaderless movement through the direct action, engaging the owner of the Cherry Building. Since the owner came out, occupiers did not enter and used the human microphone to relay what was going on at the door. By the time you count the police, media, bloggers and occupiers there were about 100 people there.
The man who ran the stack at the GA engaged an artist who was extremely upset about the disruption of the once a year “Very Cherry Holiday” event. The artist had a sign in the window saying, “I am an artist – you are hurting my business!” Occupy Iowa felt they weren’t disrupting, but the leather clad feet of the patrons began leaving the building halfway through the event when the occupation started.
There is a lot to digest from today’s events. It is not clear who, if anyone, was successful. Only that the illusion that people can enjoy a Saturday of escape from the work-a-day world for a visit to art galleries intersected with the military industrial complex and Occupy Wall Street wanted none of that.
~ Paul Deaton is a regular contributor to Blog for Iowa.
We’re big fans of George Lakoff. Author of several books including The Political Mind and the now classic, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant: Know Your Values And Frame The Debate”; a Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the UC Berkeley; graduate of MIT in Mathematics and Literature; PhD in Linguistics from Indiana Univ., Lakoff understands better than anyone how the right (GOP) uses language and media to dominate the public conversation (he addresses this in the last two paragraphs). Everyone has an opinion about what the occupiers should do next, but this article deserves a look before concluding he’s just trying to co-opt the movement. You can read the entire article at Truthout.org.
The Occupy movement has raised awareness of a great many of America’s real issues and has organized supporters across the country. Next comes electoral power. Wall Street exerts its force through the money that buys elections and elected officials. But ultimately, the outcome of elections depends on people willing to take to the streets – registering voters, knocking on doors, distributing information, speaking in local venues. The way to change the nation is to occupy elections.
Whatever Occupiers may think of the Democrats, they can gain power within the Democratic Party and hence in election contests all over America. All they have to do is join Democratic clubs, stick to their values, speak out very loudly and work in campaigns for candidates at every level who agree with their values. If Occupiers can run tent camps, organize food kitchens and cleanup brigades, run general assemblies and use social media, they can take over and run a significant part of the Democratic Party.
To what end? All the hundreds of the Occupiers’ legitimate complaints and important policy suggestions follow from a simple general moral principle: American democracy is about citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly on that care.
The idea is simple, but a lot follows from it: a government that protects and empowers everyone equally, a government of the Public – public roads and buildings; school and universities; research and innovation; public health and health care; safety nets; access to justice in the courts; enforcement of worker rights and practical necessities like sewers; power grids; clean air and water; public safety including safe food; drugs and other products; public parks and recreational facilities; public oversight of the economy – fiscal and trade policy; banking; the stock market – and especially the preservation of nature in the interest of all.
The Public has been what has made Americans free – and has underwritten American wealth. No one makes it on his or her own. Private success depends on a robust Public.
The rationale for the Occupy movement is that all of this has been under successful attack by the right wing, which has an opposing principle, that democracy is about citizens only taking care of themselves, about personal and not social responsibility. According to right-wing morality, the successful are by definition the moral; the one percent are taken to be the most moral. The country and the world should be ruled by such a “moral” hierarchy. Except for national security, the Public should disappear through lack of funding. The nation and the world should be ruled for private profit alone – and by force.
That idea is what is destroying American democracy and America with it. That idea is what is behind everything the Occupy movement opposes – and everything that is going wrong with America today.
Not only is America divided between two opposing principles, but a great many individuals are of those two minds at once: progressive on some matters, conservative on others – with all sorts of variations. They are called, variously, independents, moderates or the center. They are mostly the population upon which elections depend. They have not one fundamental principle, but are split between two.
What makes one of these ascendant in the individual brain is the language one hears most. That is why the domination of public discourse is so important. It is why advertising in the media is important, why talk radio and TV and social media matter. Elections are what focus attention on public discourse. That is why the next step for the Occupy movement should be to occupy elections.
During a Saturday afternoon discussion with my mother and sister we ran the stack, using the Occupy Wall Street technique for managing the order of speakers. We each agreed tacitly to the process as reflected by the civil tone and lower than usual quantity of interruptions among family members. Now that we know about the technique, the novelty may have worn off, but in that moment, it worked.
We did not use the other hand signs, and my sister, who works at a branch of Wells Fargo in a financially stressed neighborhood, said her company was feeling no pain from the bank withdrawals. Part of her job is opening and closing accounts. When I told her of my plan to pay off our Wells Fargo mortgage after the first of the year, she indicated my action wouldn’t be a blip on their radar screen either. I understood the veracity of what she said.
During a soap box session at Occupy Iowa City, one speaker addressed us as to how he valued the service Wells Fargo provided by being a nationwide bank where he could have his payments direct deposited and then draw on them wherever he was in the country. In the end, people who don’t have much money can find value with the services of large banking institutions, and the Occupy Wall Street movement has failed to gain enough anti-bank support to have the Wall Street gang concerned about the drain of deposits. A telling story from my sister was that her first client to close an account to move money to a credit union, after Occupy Quad Cities began, ended with the question, “If I close my account, can I come back in two weeks?” People in the 99 percent need to keep their options open.
Friday night, I attended a meeting with Occupy Cedar Rapids that included a potluck dinner, a general assembly and a teach-in. I was there to listen and learn about Occupy Cedar Rapids, and to conduct a session on nuclear non-proliferation and how the current discussion about rebuilding our electricity generation and distribution system is an opportunity for a wealth transfer to the one percent. By this I mean that should Berkshire Hathaway choose to invest in a nuclear reactor in Iowa, because it is a regulated utility, return on investment would be set by the Iowa Utilities Board. There is a bill in the Iowa legislature today that would remove legal impediments to collecting a “full rate of return” for investors like Berkshire Hathaway. The deal could be worth billions in interest payments from people who use electricity and Warren Buffet, a member of the one percent, heads up Berkshire Hathaway. Hence, it would be a transfer of wealth from the 99 percent to the one percent through our utility bills.
What I observed during the general assembly was a long discussion about obtaining a “special event” permit for the occupation on a residential lot owned by the City of Cedar Rapids. An official from the city presented a letter to the general assembly that requested an application for the permit by the following Tuesday. Some members of the general assembly felt any decision on a permit application needed to be more inclusive than the members present Friday night, so the idea was “tabled.” The general assembly members apparently didn’t understand what tabling something means. Since people wanted to talk about it, and in a leaderless movement, there is no real authority to stop the discussion, it continued, and from my perspective, it was all good even if no action came from it.
Here is my point. The Occupy Wall Street movement seems more occupied with process than with substance in its early days. There have been demonstrations with substance, like shutting down the Port of Oakland, but not enough of them. It remains an open question whether Occupy Wall Street will create social change, or do much beyond becoming a fungible idea for media fodder and the derision of people Iowa City resident Paul Street recently called “vicious white upper middle-class Republico-fascists.” While many of us have hope for this movement, we are watching with interest to see if it survives the sub-zero temperatures of winter, and whether it can broaden support among a 99 percent who are more engaged in the struggle of living their lives.
~ Paul Deaton is a native Iowan who lives in rural Iowa.
Occupy Grinnell IA Opening Weekend Activities and General Assembly (GA)
Saturday, November 12, 2011:
- meet at the BEAR athletic building, 1201 10th Ave. at 11:45am
- march across campus and through town to Grinnell’s Central Park
- quick meeting when we arrive at the park to regroup and plan
- General Assembly at 5pm (at the Grinnell Central Park gazebo)
Occupy Dubuque Rally, Food & Clothing Drive, Open Forum
Saturday, November 12 · 12:00pm – 6:00pm, Washington Park
This week, we will be collecting food and clothing for donations to the Mission! At 2pm, we will have an open forum for people to speak. Come to voice your opinion, read a poem, sing a song, present anything you want. We will also be having a potluck. Break bread with old friends and new, all are welcome. Feel free to bring food and drinks to share.
Occupy Quad Cities
Saturday, November 26 · 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Eagles Club Davenport 4401 W. Locust St
Scott Olsen Benefit Foundation
Scott Olsen – our good friend – was recently hospitalized down in Oakland California by a police projectile. He suffered a fractured skull, and his family had to fly in from Wisconsin on a moment’s notice. We are raising money for him and his family to help cover these costs.
There will be a poker tournament for him starting at 1pm
The doors for the rest of the fun stuff open at 4
Occupy Cedar Rapids, IA (Official)
Our general assembly is held every night at 6:30pm at the Occupation site (1st Ave NW & M Ave NW). Please feel free to come down and join us. ALL are welcome. Shelter, food, heat, wi-fi, and accessibility is available to all attendees.
Occupy Iowa City
Sunday, November 13th, OIC members will be joining the Scattergood Peace Walk
Walkers will be leaving Scattergood School in West Branch around 9:00am and arriving at Old Brick Church in Iowa City, in the early afternoon. The walkers will be coming into town on Rochester Avenue.
In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, we are peacefully & indefinitely occupying Stewart Square at E 14th and Grand, per our First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution. Join us.
Demonstration in Support of a Proposed End to Corporate Personhood
Saturday, November 12 at 4:00pm
Location: 4th St and Newell, Waterloo
Watch Occupy Quad Cities tour Occupy Iowa City
A radical group called Anonymous, who I know little about, are trying to piggy back Occupy Des Moines and have called for shutting down the caucuses on January 3rd. Occupy Des Moines is emphatically against that. Many plan to attend our caucus, and we will continue to speak out against any effort to interfere with people’s right to vote.
Our call is to demand that the presidential candidates take the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement seriously. If not, we will go to their headquarters on December 28, 29 and 30, reiterate our demand, and occupy their headquarters until they respond favorably or until we are removed. Granted, the latter is more likely to happen.
Given that much of America’s malaise stems from the confluence of corporate and political power, I feel occupying the offices of those seeking the highest office in the land is a legitimate action. And it’s one thing that Occupy Iowa groups are in a unique position to do to contribute to the national movement. –Ed
I watched this and thought about how often the 99% is forced to listen to the right-wing propaganda machine… Enjoy this powerful video of Walker and his rich pals having to endure the message of the 99%. If the 99% have anything to say about it the tables are going to be turned very soon.