Tag Archives: OWS

Occupy Your Liberal Tendencies


“OCCUPY YOUR LIBERAL TENDENCIES”. Yeah, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Dems love the slogan because they read it as “embrace liberalism”. Iliterate radicals fall for the same misconception. Occupy activists know the concept means to DISRUPT or BLOCK you liberal inclination. This slogan separates those who understood the Occupy Wall Street encampment from hipsters who always look for excuses not to participate when a movement is catching on.

To “occupy” a space meant more than inhabiting it, or conquering it. Occupy Wall Street introduced a new definition which meant to inhibit the satus quo’s regular function. Interrupt it. We still see “occupy” conjugated as an attachment: “Occupy Homes” or Occupy Sandy Relief, for example. Hopefully the reborn “Occupy Democrats” means to be a thorn in electoral politics, not just a herding mechanism.

About the megaphone, I decided to retire it. Confiscated and returned multiple times, it still bore a zip-tie from its last PD property tag, but it only barely survived the last arrest. I considered keeping this bullhorn, or “blowhorn” as Caryn called it- as a momento, but it was more valuable as a trade-in. What good are warrantees when we usually lose bullhorns to the police before they have a chance break? Maybe we’re using them wrong. No doubt we’re using them short of their full potential.

Happy birthday to Occupy Wall Street. 4yrs old & still drawing party crashers (who took everything but the cake).


DENVER, COLORADO- Our #S17 bash for the fourth anniversary of #OWS was interrupted by an eviction, actually the second sweep of the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza that day, where Denver police and SWAT took everything, our inverter, sewing machine, banners, posters, flags, fliers, file cabinet (administration tower #1), even our kitchen sink. Everything but our CAKE!

On its 4th anniversary, Occupy Denver is beating up the Urban Camping Ban. #OWS #S17


DENVER, COLORADO- At 1am last night, the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza Occupiers defended against their twelfth police raid in 30 days, this one a sweep of violations of the city’s “Urban Camping Ban”. After forcing individual sleepers to stand and feign gathering their things, the police officers left without confiscations, citations, or arrests. The supervising officer admitted that DPD orders are to disrupt the protest camp every night.

During the day, police enforce a statute 49-246 allowing the director of public works to designate “encumbrances” on the public right-of-way. Occupy is of course, by definition, an encumbrance. Officers make protesters fold up chairs and umbrellas and threaten to arrest anyone who puts them back up.

At night the DPD enforce an ordinance against sleeping in public. The officers make their presence felt, then take off. Meant to make the camping spot less hospitable, homeless participants see through the ruse and swiftly resume their slumber. With who-knows how many HALO cameras focused on us, the plaza is the safest bed in town.

The unintended consequence of the nightly raids is that campers oversleep. When the courthouse opens, the public streaming in gets a shocking view of what otherwise goes unseen: homeless sleepers on the concrete.

The frequently cited St Paul Principles had their time and place: ST PAUL


In my circle they’re called “Saint Paul’s Principles” because my colleagues think the edicts are Catholic I guess. The St Paul Principles came from St Paul Minnesota, circa 2008, and were formally adopted by the varied groups organizing to disrupt the Republican National Convention of 2008. They’ve lived on as guiding principles for activists of all ilk. In 2011 many Occupy encampments ratified the StPP as their own code of conduct, indifferent to whether they were applicable or even beneficial. Let’s examine the well intended dogma. Do they apply universally? Are they constructive? And how did they work out for St Paul? The last one is easy. As you may remember, disruption of the 2008 RNC failed spectacularly.

The St. Paul Principles

1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.

2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.

3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

It’s hard to argue against this elegant expression of solidarity. With the SPPs, the protest organizers aimed at preempting COINTELPRO style disruption from generating conflict within the movement. The implicit condemnation of violence was of state sponsored violence, not authentic barricade defense. And no snitching. The SPPs addressed the problems which were already scuttling Denver’s 2008 DNC protests. In Denver, “Recreate ’68” planners let the press infer they meant to revive the Chicago riots of 1968, prompting almost every traditional social justice group to circulate a contract which everyone was expected to sign. It was a vow of nonviolence. Organizations who refused to sign were ostracized and could expect the violent police clobbering they invited.

Essentially the SPPs aimed to unite the nonviolent and non-nonviolent activists, to ensure neither denounced the other, and that physically neither wound up caught in each other’s fights or sit-ins. Probably the chief concession was being asked of the nonviolent crowd: Please, as long as we promise not to shroud your family atmosphere and your baby strollers in tear gas, please let the Black Blocs do their thing without your repudiation. Please. We share the same goals.

Can you begin to see where such a strategy might fail to lead?

But the St Paul organizers did share the same goals. Their aim was to disrupt the RNC via a strategy they called “3S” actions. SWARM, SEIZE. STAY. It’s easy to see why three years later Occupy Wall Street was attracted to these directives. “3S” defines Occupy and another three years on, OWS activist followed the 2014 Climate March with an action called “Flood Wall Street” the instructions for which rephrased 3S aquatically.

The “movement” to which the SPPs refer shared a goal, to disrupt the RNC, by means of swarming, seizing, and staying, by whatever tactic each member group wanted. They shared a further agreement, that the city of St Paul was to be partitioned in sectors allowing groups to conduct their actions in isolation, united in time, but separated geographically so that red zone, yellow zone and green zone participants needn’t mix and find themselves out of their respective confort zones.

The groups organizing against the 2008 RNC shared one more thing in common, bound as they were to the St Paul Principles, they were all signatories to the principles.

Do the St Paul Principles apply universally?
It’s easy to see that the 2011 OWS occupations in major cities across the country shared a similar goal. It was, if perhaps more vague than to prevent a party convention, to disrupt the wheels of commerce by means of encampments; the “3S” tactic now reduced to a single verb “Occupy”. Allies such as unions and antiwar organizations, while sympathetic, cannot be said to have shared the same determinaton to disrupt. Even MoveOn with their “99% Spring”, FireDogLake with their merchandizing, and Adbusters had to relent with the revolutionary rhetoric. Eventually OWS spinoffs like Occupy Sandy Relief began to serve functions diametrically opposed to disruption. Did they expand the “movement”? Of course. But did the more inclusive “movement” outgrown the capacity for St Paul Principles to maintain its unity? Are activists bent on disruption expected to respect and support activists determined to prevent disruption?

I know it’s lovely to imagine every social justice effort as anti-authoritarian, and whether nonviolent or indulgent, each comprises a unique wing of a broad anti-government movement. If you are prepared to pretend that everyone’s aims are progressive, we share similar enough goals and we are reformists. But if some aims are revolutionary, explicitely anti-Capitalist for example like Occupy Wall Street, then reformists are counterrevolutionary. If you think reformists aren’t Capitalism’s first line of defense, even as they consider themselves activists, then you don’t know your adversaries from your allies. To imagine that activists shouldn’t address such chasms of understanding in favor of upholding popular delusion is going to get a movement nowhere.

At last year’s Climate March in NYC, the prevailing sentiment was against Capitalism. The organizers didn’t want to mouth it, but a vast number of marchers began to grasp instinctively that Capitalism has no solution for Climate Change. The anti-Capitalist movement can become “the movement” but reformists will have to understand they are obstructionists before they as individuals can be said to share the common goal.

The St Paul RNC Welcoming Committee aimed to disrupt the Republican National Convention for a WEEK. Can activist groups as they grow and transform over years and compete for membership and community resources expect that they shouldn’t be critical of one another’s missteps or aggressions even as their goals diverge?

How scalable are the St Paul Principles? Do they apply to no matter who considers themselves part of a greater “movement”. Do they apply to signatories and non-signatories alike?

Are the St Paul Principles constructive?
I would argue: Hardly. While it seems safer to segregate the Black Bloc from the civil disobedients from the family picnic crowd, you’re not going to reach critical mass with each on its own. With public dischord still in its infancy and while we have nowhere near the numbers to defend against or deter violent repression, perhaps it is only reasonable to program our street protests according to color zones, as if marches were amusement rides for protest tourism.

If you’re satisfied to lead combatants to jail and probation for mere symbolic shows of defiance, and you’re prepared to let nonviolent activists subject themselves to brutality which even when filmed will not awaken the conscience of the sociopathic oligarchs, and you’re resigned to let the masses burn themselves out with boredom given nothing to challenge their apathy, then the St Paul Principles are for you.

Get a job you dirty hippie! Unhelpful advice which activists take personally.

Occupy Wall Street composed a chant to rebut the ageless heckle hurled at protesters: GET A JOB YOU DIRTY HIPPIE! After Zuccotti Park was razed and Occupiers regrouped, they offerd this rejoinder. Remember it?
    “Got a JOB. Took a SHOWER.
    We’re still occupying, speaking truth to power!”

Of course it wasn’t true, or at least whether we did or not was as irrelevant as the original misconception. But street activists come up against misguided advice much more pernicious than the crudely insulting. Consider the constructive advice from journeymen activists who’ve been at this for a long time and know how it’s done. You know the ones, who preach nonviolence or you’ll never get anywhere, as if they have a record of success or fount of experience more illustrative than the old grindstone. False history has even robbed them of the authentic lessons to glean from Gandhi and MLK. Yet even the best-intentioned of our peers caution that movements will never take hold without blablabla. This sacred cow, for instance: community outreach.

A colleague of mine recently asked about my ideas to better reach out to the African American community vis-a-vis the protests which Occupy Denver has been spearheading to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter uprisings in Baltimore and Ferguson. At face value it’s a reasonable question as Occupy franchizes across the country have been predominantly white. At base however, the distinction is academic and the implication insulting.

In Denver, as probably in many multicultural urban centers since Ferguson, authorities have succeeded in working with community leaders to redirect street protest into the usual back channels. In Denver the spiritual leaders have kept their flocks locked in their churches. When Denver high schoolers began to stage walk-outs, school administrators put the schools on lockdown. Traditional social justice groups fell victim to academics and their identity politics diatribes. White priviledge must “make space”, in effect, step back, whether or not alternative leaders were knocking. In Denver the most significant protest entity impervious to scholatisc impotence or the wiles of religious submission was Occupy Denver. Since 2011 this ad hoc collection of protest-hardened activists could mobilize at the flick of a switch, usually through social media. By definition, Occupy refused to bind themselves to everybody else’s longstanding arrangements of detente.

Of course this persistence is not static and there are ceaseless internal pressures to conform and play for crumbs. Table scraps are sustenance after all, and all mature decisions are compromises. Adults choose lesser evils, safety nets, the bird in the hand, wisdom over altruism. Can dreamers even be sure the burning stove isn’t an adage meant to waylay us from our childish intuition about freedom? From the frying pan into the fire is more probably the forbidden roadmap to revolution.

You want to know the sage advice that burns me up the most? Comrades telling me the struggle will be a long haul. A marathon. Are you kidding me? Revolution is a sprint! We’ve got to light a fire under your ass!

In any case. Community outreach. What’s the problem? My first thought was of the criticism protesters still face everyday: “GET A JOB!” Everyone seems to have their own idea about what other activists are supposed to be doing.

On the subject of Occupy and “outreach” I offer six points:

1. Did Occupy Wall Street reach out to the community of brokers and bankers on Wall Street? It did not. Occupy was about disruption, gathering on the street and uniting activists. Community organizing was another sort of activism. Occupy was not voting, or going around trying to get out the vote, or lobbying legislators, or gathering petition signatures, or fundraising, or taking in cats, or walking in people’s shoes. All of these are perfectly constructive things, but they’re fundamental to what Occupy was not. I know it sounds mature to talk about building community and helping out and being less disruptive but those are tasks that keep conventional social justice groups too busy to occupy.

2. I am reminded of a lesson learned as occupiers coordinated their efforts. If you feel there is a task going undone, you probably should step up to do it. Others have their hands full with what they are doing. If you feel there is a deficiency and it’s important to you, fill it.

3. That said, there is an imperative not to dillute the fundamental mission. If tangential efforts drain the human resources needed for the goal that brought everyone together, then somebody is winning and it’s not Occupy.

4. Denver’s African American community already has their leaders, most of them undisposed to street activism. Occupy Denver’s community is with activists of all colors. We reach them through the message, our actions, and our unending persistance. None of these are based on color lines.

5. Occupy has many black activist allies. On the street we support them EVERY TIME regardless of whether they support us. Even if it’s “their” issue. If they are not able to rally as frequently as we can, it’s not their fault. (That is White middle class privilege.)

6. If you think the African American community is central to addressing the probem of racism, that’s a problem. It should be up to the WHITE AMERICAN COMMUNITY to shout “BLACK LIVES MATTER” the loudest of all.

NYPD loses pissing-in-the-wind contest with FloodWallStreet pepper spray op


NEW YORK, NEW YORK- Alright, just for laughs, here are two photos of the pepper spray escalation at Flood Wall Street, taken Sept 22. Both are cropped for emphasis but below you can see the full images which show the poor NYPD faces wincing after being hit by their own pepper spray. We’ve all heard about IQ-caps in the popo recruiting process, evidently these cops pass/failed the pissing-in-the-wind test. Hong Kong Occupiers are wielding umbrellas against chemical attacks, if pro-democracy pNGOs really want to help, send them leaf blowers.


This image actually preceded the other: the moment the pepper spray was discharged, aimed with the precision of Fabreze.


This photograph shows how many NYPD officers were struck, some yet too stoic to react, while Officer Pepper Spray threatens the crowd with MORE OF THE SAME!

Pepper spraying of U. Cal. Davis students, SOME outraged?

According to DumFOX Noose 21, only SOME? The video is going viral on youtube right now. The Poli Torture Freak Pigs went down a line of students who were kneeling spraying them from an industrial-sized canister.
And DumFOX downplays it. There needs to be a new obscene insult invented for something that stupid and arrogant. Seems like the Morons are out in force, or more aptly, pausing their uber-violent video games to go to YouTube and make comments in support of the PIG actions. Stupid shit like the students, on their knees with their arms locked together behind their backs, were somehow committing acts of Violence against the Cops. Or the Cops were somehow feeling threatened by the demonstrators.

News 5 Report: “cost to taxpayers of Occupy CS”

What extreme fucking gall. Their station, and their Pathetic Used-Snot-Rag of a Newspaper partner The Gazette are owned by a failed Corporation called Freedom Corp. That means for the past two years while they’ve been BANKRUPT they’ve been getting enormous tax breaks and even TAX REBATES to keep flooding our airwaves and “news” stands with their Extremist Right-Wing Garbage. The ultimate example of a Corporate “person” which cannot feed itself depending on Corporate Welfare to do it for… damn what pronoun should I use? “it’ would be singular, rather than the suppurated oozing scab on the ass of humanity made up of thousands of parasites. He or She, same problem plus, the cesspool contains both, and quite a few of the parasites are neither.
And what does this festering gaping open wound on our collective arse say is the cost to the taxpayers?
The cost of the police constantly harrassing us.
That’s right(wing), they’re making a statement that would be like the Gestapo sending a bill to the Jewish people for the cost of the Holocaust. Like the Sons of Confederate Veterans sending a bill to black people for their cost in trying to preserve slavery.
The Arrogant sons of perdition have actually expressed that level of pure chutzpah.
Did they ever challenge the escalating cost of invading Iraq and lynching Saddam? Hell to the No they didn’t. They CHEERED when the CSPD beat up demonstrators in ’03 and again in 07, for daring to question their “god” George Bush and his explanation for why he and his Oil Corporation frien errr comrades errr Accomplices started the war based on lies

Nor did they question the financing scheme that’s as of this year costing us TWICE what it would have if he had simply raised taxes at the start of the war.

“no new taxes” said he, just like his equally LYING father had said before. They left out the remainder of the sentence “…until the bonds come due in ten, 20 and thirty years with an interest rate of 10% annually” Yep, set the first payments of a ballooning debt come in an administration they can blame for the original debt.

And there’s enough right wing retards who will allow them to get away with it because they’re successfully indoctrinated by FOX and by “Freedom” Corp.

Denver Daze

Occupy Colorado Springs is and has been a relatively staid affair. Our biggest marches have drawn maybe 200 participants, and the street corner has been generally host to small crowds and mostly friendly or indifferent passers by. Visits from police have been just that–visits, rather than assaults, even when the HOTT Team came to arrest me early in the morning on 18 October, and the intrepid Camping Jack on two more recent occasions. We had to take steps to force them to make my arrest. Many of the core participants at Acacia Park have never been involved in any sort of political processes at all, let alone public protestations. So when several of our number traveled to Denver last Saturday to join a boisterous crowd of around 3,000 souls emotions were high, mixed, and complex.

There can be no denying the nervous air among one van load during the trip to Civic Center Park, directly in front of the State Capitol building, on the western side. Shana expressed open fear, bless her heart, and i suspect she wasn’t the only of our number of like mind. Fear was generally dispelled by the excitement of the much larger Denver crowd, though, and as we marched around downtown under clear blue unseasonably warm Colorado skies, past the Mint, the Federal Reserve Building, down the 16th St. Mall where city employees took an unscheduled break to let us pass and bewildered shoppers either stared aghast or waved and grinned in support, up 17th St. past all the towering bank centers, and finally mounting the steps at the Capitol Building in defiance of specific instruction from city and police. Throughout the march, spirits were exuberant as cooperative bullhorn operators traded various, sometimes conflicting perspectives while our horde danced and prated along the sidewalks and streets, and we arrived at the Capitol in high, expectant spirits.

There had been quite a lot of friendly cops along for the march, but shortly after our arrival at the Capitol the armored legion showed up and began tactical operations to expel the somewhat rowdy crowd from its perch. I was there with my 15 year old son, so we pulled back from the danger zone when the announcement was made waving off the “unarrestable.” Adin and i observed the obscure scuffling, complete with clouds of gas, from the Park as we waited for the valiant crew of absurdly comical drag queens “manning” the field kitchen to finish the “pimp-ass risotto” we later had for lunch, flavored by tear gas. The cops cleared the Capitol steps and formed a double-lined phalanx at the eastern face of the Park, at the street edge of the sidewalk directly across from the kitchen and the hastily erected camps. The kitchen crew struggled to put a specifically verboten makeshift canopy over their operation, so the police could be sure and find them.

The police blocked Broadway for several blocks and pushed protesters off the street into the Park and stayed in a threatening stance for some 6 hours or so, waiting for the appointed hour of 7:00p when they razed the camps, apparently according to specific orders. The clearing of the street was punctuated by violence , at least some of which was beyond the pale. Photographer and protest participant Andrew Cleres was ruthlessly shot down from his tree-stand while obviously not a threat. Frankie Roper of our OCS group was transported to a local hospital after taking a “non-lethal” round to the chest, though he was not arrested and refused treatment so he could rush back to the proceedings. Cops pulled back to the street after their initial assault and held a line for several hours while listening to protesters preaching various words ranging between, “We love you; you are US,” to “Fuck off and die, Pigs!” while awaiting word to move on the camps, which they did at the appointed hour, throwing tents, food, and kitchen equipment into a city trash truck.

The police surrounded the empty camping areas afterward, and maintained their line at the street for some time, continuing to endure some very angry expressions by riled protesters. Around 8:00p they abruptly and rather anticlimactically just left, allowing protesters to claim a victory, of sorts.

Though my observations to follow may well clash somewhat with some attitudes expressed during much subsequent conversation, much of what i witnessed at as close a range as could be was very encouraging indeed. Protesters were extraordinarily courageous in the face of a volatile situation. At odds with some other observers, i suggest cops exercised pretty fair restraint. Frankie and Andrew were both rather overworked in the incidents linked above. Frankie’s foot had been rolled over by the motorcycle he then knocked to the ground when the cops jumped him, and police had no way to know that when they got him. He was not arrested. Throughout the day, during which there were only 20 arrests reported, i witnessed numerous instances of very angry protesters attempting to engage police violently. These incidents were mostly handled by the crowd by their moving in to separate the overwrought form the line of cops, and the few moments where things escalated to actual physical levels were marked by a lack of brutality by police, and an apparently strong reluctance to arrest anyone. And again, after executing announced plans to raze the camps the cops simply left the scene.

Among the most exceptionally poignant vignettes of the day was the scene at the kitchen between the clearing of the Capitol steps and its ultimate destruction. The queer high antics persisted in good humor through the entirety of the very tense day, and the line of grateful hungry continued steadily within shoulder-brushing distance of the armored squads; life, joy, and loving community on display under duress. Many protesters repeated the suggestion to police that they are fully welcome to lay down armor and join us for a sandwich and a bowl of soup, and some cops actually did so, braving the incredulous stares of their fellows before rejoining the line. All day, though more so during the march while still in a conversational mood, police expressed support for us protesters, and reluctance to be antagonistic on their own. When they returned at the close of Park hours in much smaller numbers to match the dwindling of our own, remaining protesters knew to clear to the sidewalk and no further incidents took place. By then, new supplies had been delivered by random donors, and a new kitchen was already turning out coffee and chili dogs from an adjusted position at the park’s edge.

There remains aroused spirits from many of the variously positioned players in this conflict of Ideas. Many U.S. armed forces veterans are very angry indeed at police seen as traitorous after the incident with Scott Olsen in Oakland, (don’t forget to continue to hold Scott in your prayers, if you do that sort of thing); however I, for one, am encouraged by the dramatic differences between what i saw in Denver Saturday and the stuff from my childhood where police would just wade through crowds swinging nightsticks with brutal efficiency at whomever was within range. Further encouragement came from the shift in mood the following day when much of the tension between holders of opposing opinion among our OCS core appeared to simply diffuse on its own in the face of the sheer size and intensity of the action in D-town.

My take: I am immensely proud of all the Occupiers that participated, (including perhaps most especially my son Adin, who chose to stay right up in the thick of things with us all day long), and steadfastly protected those of our own motivated beyond restraint from overstepping propriety. We are ALL one. The human race makes up a group of 100%, even if some of us need to catch up with the notion. We have a long way to go, but we’re learning. This thing will continue to be lumpy and chaotic, but we’re getting there. Because we have to, no matter what.

Colorado Springs issues permit to sleep on sidewalk but without tents. Let Them Eat Concrete

COLO. SPRINGS- I’m not crazy about OCCUPY organizers negotiating with city representatives for a tentative permit to occupy Acacia Park. You don’t need permits for free speech, nor does activism gain by the advice of cops. That said, allowing a protest encampment, even without tents, may grow participation more effectively than outrage over oppressive responses to civil disobedience. So what’s come of this strategy today is the same permission that has been granted to the Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Plaza, sleeping bags but no tents. Doesn’t that seem shamelessly punitive? Shelter is a human right, deprivation of which is a violation of the 14th Amendment. It’s likely the city could be held liable for endangering the health and lives of these activists.

So permits or not? No American citizen needs permission to express himself, and whatever means you have to conspire to shut down Wall Street are not going to be allowed. So should an occupation seek a permit? The physics of military occupation are Might Makes Right, not Simon Says. But military intelligence and diplomats play invaluable roles. Might makes right, but guile and craft save the occupiers manpower and lives. Maybe permits create the beachhead with which the American people get their size 99 shoe in the door.

Holding regular meetups with the police is another dilemma. I know I’m not shrewd enough to go head to head with a police department, its vast intelligence resources, and well practiced dissent-quashing strategies. For me a most significant element of the public demonstration is law enforcement’s incapability of predicting unregulated behavior.

The 14th Amendment forbids the state to “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” So we might well pause to consider another news story which emerged today, that the US citizen assassinated by CIA drones in Yemen, wasn’t riding in a convoy as previously claimed, but at a dinner party with a 16-year-old relative and his friends, all of them killed without trial or even legal charges. At its simplest the 14th Amendment says you can’t punish someone before properly found guilty. Forcing inhumane conditions upon a citizen exercising his rights is punitive, cruel and unusual.

In Denver today a similar delegation met with the mayor, who give his permission for protests to continue, as it was his to give, for his subjects to exercise their 1st Amendment Rights, but abridged to exclude at night, in the cold, or in city park. Specifically the Denver mayor said he’d allow them to sleep on sidewalks provided they’re exposed to the elements. No tents. Let them eat concrete.

The Colorado Springs city attorney gave instruction to formalize the handicap with a permit. They can sleep on sidewalks but no shelter allowed. Want a cold or flu? Have at it.

A provocative thought, however sad: will today’s protesters submitting their bodies to rain, cold and snow, submitting their health and spirits to debilitating hardship, streamed live on the internet, will it have a similar effect as images of water hoses on civil rights marchers?