Posts tagged Occupy Wall Street.

The Takeover: Top People of Color Occupations

writinghistorywithoutapen:

Native Takeover of Alcatraz

Contrary to popular belief, occupations are not a new thing. In fact, Black and Brown communites have been in the foreground of taking shit over since the civil war. Here are the highlights.
 
 
 
 
Fort Monroe- Fort Monroe was a Union garrison located in Virgina. Led by General Butler, Fort Monroe was a site of a major occupation when three Africans Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory ran from their plantation to Fort Monroe to escape slavery. General Butler declared the three contraband and shielded them from their master who came to “retrieve his property.” Word spread about the men’s brave escape and within a week over 100 families came to Fort Monroe. There they established “contraband camps.”
 

I Hotel

- The International Hotel was one of the last remnants of San Francisco’s Filipino community. As a hub for working class immigrant families, it was targeted for demolition to expand San Francisco’s business district. Activists from “The Red Guards” ( a Asian group inspired by the Young Lords) and the Asian Community Center fought developers and helped rehab the aging hotel. In 1977 activists barricaded t themselves inside, but after two months of struggle, the city of San Francisco gained the upper hand and evicted the tenants from the I Hotel.

Lincoln Hospital-Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx was known as the “butcher shop.” Hundreds of people died there and staff was largely burnout from an uncaring administration. In 1970, members of the Young Lords, Black Panthers and Health Revolution Union Movement took over the public hospital. Based on a 10 point health program, the organizers set up a TB clinic and later established the first acupuncture  treatment center for heroin addiction (organized and led by Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, Dr. Mutulu Shakur.)


City College- Known as “White Rhodesia” the City College of the City University of New York with close to 95% white despite being located in Harlem. Black and Puerto Rican students led a two week long occupation and   strike at the school.The result was the establishment of Black Studies and open admission, a program guaranteeing  a free college education to any high school graduate in New York City.

Alcatraz- Native American activists occupied the famed prison, once home to Al Capone and abandoned by the federal government. The occupiers demanded the land to establish Native American institutions. During the 19 month occupation, sympathizers sent food and supplies by boat while activists slept in cells. At one point, the leadership offered to sell back Alcatraz to the government for $24, a tongue in cheek reference to Manhattan Island.


Weinstein Hall, NYU- Little know (or recognized) in the Stonewall Rebellion that launched gay liberation, was the role of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Riveria. These two transgender activists were on the leading edge of the rebellion, battling the police, and coining the term “Whose Streets, Our Streets!”.
Johnson and Rivera later lead the takeover of Weinstein Hall at New York University after the campus cancelled gay dancing there. Rivera said ““All we fought for at Weinstein Hall was lost when we left upon the request of the pigs…. You people run if you want to, but we’re tired of running. We intend to fight for our rights until we get them.”

Statue of Liberty- Watch the crown! Puerto Rican activists took over lady liberty, unfurled the national flag and demanded freedom for political prisoners. The action, 1 year after United States bicentennial, renewed focus on the colonial status of Puerto Rico. One year later, Jimmy Carter released five of the main Puerto Rican political prisoners.

Birmingham Bus-Occupation usually means a crowd but on Dec.1 1955, one was all that was needed to set off the civil rights/ Black Power movement. Rosa Parks a tireless organizer refused to give up her seat on a rush hour bus. The action lead to the Birmingham bus boycott and the rest is people’s history…

[image description: a screenshot of a sponsored ad on facebook with the heading “Liberated 99%ers” and the text “Are you in the 99%? Stop slaving away to the corporations “Click Like” to join the 1% who work from home!”. Four people like it.]

This was an ad chosen for me on facebook. How’s that for (very strange) capitalizing off of a movement?

Resources: Making OWS/ONH an anti-racist project

Reblogging myself because I want these links back up for people, as they are extra pertinent after the evictions this morning, and people’s lackluster ways of responding.

readnfight:

This is a note I posted on facebook and shared with some people involved in Occupy New Haven and actions nearby. Hopefully folks here will start doing some critique (or else their shit is bound to implode).

—————————————

I have been holding on to these articles about race dynamics within Occupy Wall Street, especially in the hope that these criticisms can be applied to Occupy New Haven (where they are desperately needed), as well as to building strategic organizing in general.

Anti-racist organizing is not as simple as declaring your work to be so; it requires brutal honesty, self-reflection, and questioning. It requires research of what is going on in other communities, and it is uncomfortable. But, being on the receiving end of racism is far more brutal and uncomfortable; moving toward anti-racism is worth it.

In my experience, organizing cannot work successfully if it refuses to self-reflect and if it refuses to ask questions of people who have done similar work before. No new issues are being raised in Occupy New Haven (and that’s totally okay!), so that means everything being addressed has been addressed in some manner before. Ask questions. Find out what people need and are already doing. Be honest about things you don’t know. Deconstruct what you mean by outreach and inclusion, two words that generally hide empty gestures.

I am giving people the benefit of the doubt when I say there is some potential left for Occupy New Haven to be in some way successful. I want to believe that it can make itself relevant to marginalized communities in New Haven, that it wants to represent people of color in more than just rhetoric and forced unity. We are not all the same; thinking we are because we all “bleed red” ignores the lived realities of people of color. Lives of people of color are not allowed to be color-blind, and so we know that when people claim color-blindness, they are mistaken.

I hope folks find these links helpful; I am using their critiques in my non-“occupation” organizing. As always, I am more than willing to help people find resources or to put people in touch with work already being done in New Haven or elsewhere. But as always, people need to do their homework. There is no longer any excuse to claim ignorance of work being done by people of color, our needs, or our critiques of this movement.

Please feel free to pass this along to other people to whom it may be useful!

By request to be rebloggable:

i totally understand your indignation that privileged white people only care about the violation of constitutional rights now that they feel like theirs are being violated (and in such a profoundly less egregious way than the constitutional rights of people of color and the poor have been violated for decades), but what i don’t quite get is what you THINK their reaction should be - should they just quietly accept it? what do you think?

Anonymous

readnfight says:

I’ll put it this way: I am generally really patient, like really really absurdly patient, because the bulk of my socializing is now done with 15 year old boys who get in trouble a lot at school so that patience has carried over into the rest of my life. But at some point, it runs out. My freshmen have a far better sense of what that point is than most of the white liberals/progressives/anarchists I encounter.

I feel for people who are being attacked by the police; I expect it. The main focus of my organizing for the past year has been around local police brutality cases. So, yeah, it makes me furious that the cops would respond that way, but it doesn’t surprise me.

I can’t tell anyone how to respond to something like that. Being faced with violence is fucked, regardless of who you are, and I will be patient with people who maybe respond to violence in ways that aren’t the best, because that is stressful and your emotions will be raw at that point.

But where my patience has run out is this: people of color have been saying as long as this movement has been going on that this sort of shit is nothing new. I have put way more energy than I should into trying to educate white people, only to be ignored, belittled, and to drop off what little work I was willing to put into what they’re doing. Plenty of other POC, also, have put way way more energy into educating white people right now than they really deserve, and way more than is being appreciated. Our work and knowledge are being taken totally for granted. It is at that point that I no longer want to hear people upset about the sorts of things that happen daily in a lot of our communities. (Gratuitous use of SWAT-gear cops? Happens in drug raids near my house.)

I can’t tell anyone how to respond to something emotional. Respond with empathy and with listening. Respond by seeing if the people who have been trying to teach you about this all along will still support you as you deal—and at this point, not a lot of us will. We only get shit on for so long by people claiming to be our allies, before we go back to actually fixing shit that’s going on for ourselves.

Anonymous asked: i totally understand your indignation that privileged white people only care about the violation of constitutional rights now that they feel like theirs are being violated (and in such a profoundly less egregious way than the constitutional rights of people of color and the poor have been violated for decades), but what i don't quite get is what you THINK their reaction should be - should they just quietly accept it? what do you think?

I’ll put it this way: I am generally really patient, like really really absurdly patient, because the bulk of my socializing is now done with 15 year old boys who get in trouble a lot at school so that patience has carried over into the rest of my life. But at some point, it runs out. My freshmen have a far better sense of what that point is than most of the white liberals/progressives/anarchists I encounter.

I feel for people who are being attacked by the police; I expect it. The main focus of my organizing for the past year has been around local police brutality cases. So, yeah, it makes me furious that the cops would respond that way, but it doesn’t surprise me.

I can’t tell anyone how to respond to something like that. Being faced with violence is fucked, regardless of who you are, and I will be patient with people who maybe respond to violence in ways that aren’t the best, because that is stressful and your emotions will be raw at that point.

But where my patience has run out is this: people of color have been saying as long as this movement has been going on that this sort of shit is nothing new. I have put way more energy than I should into trying to educate white people, only to be ignored, belittled, and to drop off what little work I was willing to put into what they’re doing. Plenty of other POC, also, have put way way more energy into educating white people right now than they really deserve, and way more than is being appreciated. Our work and knowledge are being taken totally for granted. It is at that point that I no longer want to hear people upset about the sorts of things that happen daily in a lot of our communities. (Gratuitous use of SWAT-gear cops? Happens in drug raids near my house.)

I can’t tell anyone how to respond to something emotional. Respond with empathy and with listening. Respond by seeing if the people who have been trying to teach you about this all along will still support you as you deal—and at this point, not a lot of us will. We only get shit on for so long by people claiming to be our allies, before we go back to actually fixing shit that’s going on for ourselves.

note-a-bear:

so-treu:

nezua:

As it turns out…

As it turns out, Roots drummer—and active Twitter expert—Questlove was one of the first people to warn the protesters. Before midnight, the drummer—who lives in downtown New York—tweeted at Occupy Wall Street, “Omg, drivin down south st near #ows. Somethin bout to go down yo, swear I counted 1000 riot gear cops bout to pull sneak attack #carefulyall” He then reiterated, “im the only one talking cause sneak attacks aren’t planned. i drove past a soul train line of riot cops” and persisted by saying, “ok once again. South St in NYC. blocks from #OWS. saw a GANG (like at least 500+ geared up) standing in line gettin ready for somethin.”

Occupy Wall Street’s twitter team seemed to shrug off Questlove’s warnings by writing back, “Shift change as per usual? RT DiceyTroop:mcduh @questlove all quiet at the Park. What did you see questo? Maybe Batman stuff?” Less than an hour later, the park was raided and several protesters and journalists were arrested. Occupy Wall Street has since moved its headquarters to nearby Foley Square nearby Zuccotti Park.

Whoops. 

……..and when you place it into context, i.e. OWS having a really hard time *listening* to POC……….yeah.

You so silly, pretending like POC have experience with police and organizing, or like they have anything to say, period. (/sarcasm)

Yeah, if you get a chance, jalwhite posted a story about the lack of listening/paying attention to POC voices. It’s beyond disgusting how far they’ve gone with the whole not listening.

I mean, to be expected, honestly, but….*sigh* considering how long POC have been organizing like this, you’d think someone would actually step up and like “Hey, we should listen here” instead of pretending like this is the first time anyone has ever thought to protest.

(via modernistwitch-deactivated20120)

I have never experienced a situation violating more constitutional rights than what is happening on Wall Street right now. No media helicopters, no press, no personal video is being allowed. This, if nothing else, should scare you.

liquornspice:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/kym-assets/entries/icons/original/000/000/015/orly.jpg?1229112642

Oh. Let’s try:

  • prisons/private prisons/prison labor
  • immigrant detention centers
  • juvenile detention centers
  • slavery/slave trade
  • the entire placement of the US-Mexico border
  • Patriot Act
  • segregated schools/the continued extralegal segregation of schools
  • sterilization of women of color and immigrant women
  • eugenics
  • George Bush declaring war on an idea
  • COINTELPRO
  • McCarthyism
  • the three-fifths clause
  • the fact that raping a black woman during slavery was trespassing, not sexual assault
  • lack of universal health care
  • stop-and-frisks
  • racial profiling/racial checkpoints/religious profiling
  • the failed Sensenbrenner Bill/Arizona’s SB 1070/banning ethnic studies
  • Japanese-American internment camps
  • Chinese Exclusion Act/Alien & Sedition Acts
  • Brasero Program
  • US’s continued existence occupying indigenous land

but maybe you haven’t experienced those things or their legacies. Trust me, there’s more; that was off the top of my head in five minutes, but now I need to go to work.

This doesn’t scare me. I’ve BEEN scared. I’ve also been angry. This shit has been around my whole life.

(via blackraincloud)

Serious question here?

so-treu:

karnythia:

polerin:

I just got this message:

On Monday November 14th, Occupy Nashville will be holding a “human auction” in front of CCA headquarters in Nashville. Protesters will gather at the Plaza at 2pm, before driving to CCA headquarters located at 10 Burton Hills Blvd. Nashville, TN 37215 (Green Hills Area).

Is this as fucked up as I think it is?  I mean, I get that CCA is pure evil, making millions off of the imprisonment and forced labor of a disproportionately PoC population…  but this puts my “Uh, hold on here…” meter way WAY into the red.

I have so much side eye for this form of protest that there are no words. The comments on their Facebook page aren’t helping either.

wait, whut?


Yup, I just read through the comments, and there are some real gems, including,

  • Politically incorrect? yes. Creative? you bet. We are selling, brown, blacks, jewish and white’s … because when it comes to CCA we are all minorities.” and
  • any cute ones for sale?”

Thankfully some people called them on the fact that, no, we are not all minorities—it seems that prison populations should be one of the clearest ways to see that fact. Like I halfway understand thinking racism doesn’t exist if you’re surrounded by white people and looking at some other aspect of life…but talking about prisons? That myth breaks apart immediately.

I’ll ask my friend in Nashville what’s up with this shit.

emiljafrances:

poopsmoothie:

chapel hill warehouse occupation evicted at gunpoint by a fucking swat team. 9 arrests

http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/11/13/1641362/activists-take-over-vacant-franklin.html

“the cops are just workers too!” my ass.

25 SWAT cops to arrest 8 people on misdemeanor charges. The cops are our friends, my ass.

Zine: Workin on it--People of color experience Occupy Wall Street ›

Haven’t read this yet, but a few of the articles have been floating around the internet and I’ve read/posted them already. This went out on the APOC email lists. I’m sending it to the person that’s been distro’ing zines at Occupy New Haven that me & firesandwords give him.

Understand that the police and laws are part of a system that is anti-poor, anti-women, anti-people of colour, anti-queer, and anti-people with disabilities. Understand that to truly be free, to truly do what you are trying to do, which is resisting the laws that allow some to be rich and powerful and for the rest to live at their mercy, you must resist racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and dis/ableism. You must resist the very structure every one of these laws is based on — you must resist colonialism.

Understand that to truly be free, to truly include the entire 99 per cent, you have to say today, and say every day: We will leave no one behind. We will leave no one in jail. We will leave no one in the clutches of immigration enforcement. We will leave no one when they are strong. We will leave no one when they are weak. We will support the decisions people make, to do whatever they feel necessary to survive and to resist. We will support those that fight in the courts, and we will support those that fight in the streets.

- Syed Hussan in #OccupyTogether in the age of conspiracy | rabble.ca

I like when people say “reoccupation” because it pays attention to the fact that this is all colonized occupied indigenous land, and then you have further police occupations, so yeah, there is a lot of occupying going on.

No Occupation without Decolonization!

(via tuffcharm)

And this obviously means something if it’s going on my blog, because I cannot stand much of anything “Occupy”.

(via jadedfucker)

This matches with how I have long felt about making work really radical. Bring all oppressions into your analysis. Whatever the specific problem is you’re tackling—in this case the role of Wall Street and all that comes along with it—it will affect people in different ways. Make space for this diversity of experiences. Be excited about this diversity of experiences. They won’t divide you, but trying to suppress and ignore them will.

(via youarenotyou-deactivated2012022)

camtastical:

The Sweet Wizard in Remission: I take anarchism very seriously

readnfight:

but not when it requires wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Especially given that Time Warner has a copyright to the image of the mask because of their bastardization of V for Vendetta.

Guy Fawkes tried to kill members of Parliament to replace the British government with a…

Contrary to popular belief, the “Guy Fawkes” mask is not of Guy Fawkes, it is of the Pope. When Catholics eventually received equal rights in England, the government decided they needed to find something a little more politically correct. And now, the day isn’t even known as Guy Fawke’s day. It’s called bonfire night and it’s no longer popular to burn the effigies. The masks have always symbolized the rejection of religion and the promotion of separating church and state. They are a  true symbol of anarchism, and always have been. It just been mis-assumed through history.

And no, Time Warner does not have copyrights to the image of the “Guy Fawkes” mask. Sorry to disappoint you, but you’re wrong.

Maybe I should have been more clear? I really am not interested in commenting on the actual holiday, since I have never been somewhere that celebrates it. I’m not even interested on commenting on the masks themselves or how they were used through history, but it definitely is interesting to be reading about. I didn’t know how the holiday had changed, so thank you for pointing me in that direction.

This topic of the masks themselves definitely isn’t super important to me, it just shows again my frustration with the lack of research and critique going in to stuff that’s currently thought of as radical, right now being the “occupations.” I don’t want to put anyone down for learning about something from a movie instead of books, because I think that’s still totally cool. And if that’s the working knowledge people have of anarchism, then cool, that’s a start. But there’s a silly amount of hypocrisy in wearing something that does symbolize anarchism but not knowing anything about anarchism that wasn’t put together in a Time Warner movie, and especially when it refers back to an attempted act of violence but at the same time you will condemn people around you for what you’ve defined as violence.

Is breaking a window violence? Is self-defense violence? Is property damage in response to racial violence, itself violence? These are open ended questions, and I am interested in how people choose to consciously define violence (I am not, however, interested in people’s regurgitation of what a violent society has told them real violence is).

I don’t even care so much about people having to pick sides (although I feel like that’s what I’m doing, like forcing people to choose violence vs. nonviolence when I know it’s not like that at all); I just want to see work that is being done with a level of critique and self-reflection that it is not so obviously hypocritical. Just because someone breaks a bank window doesn’t make them a bad person, and it’s insulting to assume it makes them an agent provocateur; sometimes people are mad about state violence, and very often banks are agents of violence. Maybe depending on the type of violence we should be asking whose violence was worst, or whose was unprovoked, or who’s gaining what from inflicting violence?

Again, there are no solid answers, but I really hesitate to call work truly radical until it is trying to build working answers to these types of questions, or at least to engage with them to a level beyond the hypocrisy I’m seeing right now.

Here is an open letter by someone involved in Occupy Oakland, trying to ask these very questions about violence, given that people who damaged property are now being condemned as violent and “not what our movement is about” (which makes me curious, then, what the movement is about).

Finally, the link I posted with the claim that Time Warner has a copyright on the image of that mask is here again; it comes from Time magazine, as in Time Warner, so I’m guessing they got this right about their own company. Obviously this wasn’t true until a few years ago; it’s also not the first time a corporation has been allowed to “own” the rights to a popular culture image that they didn’t create but simply made money from co-opting.

I take anarchism very seriously

but not when it requires wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Especially given that Time Warner has a copyright to the image of the mask because of their bastardization of V for Vendetta.

Guy Fawkes tried to kill members of Parliament to replace the British government with a Catholic one. Atheism needn’t be a requirement for anarchism, but theocracy and anarchism don’t really mix.

Also, how are people wearing Guy Fawkes masks but then condemning other people for breaking windows? Kinda hypocritical. People need to make up their minds about what they even think violence is, and then learn about it.

Resources: Making OWS/ONH an anti-racist project

This is a note I posted on facebook and shared with some people involved in Occupy New Haven and actions nearby. Hopefully folks here will start doing some critique (or else their shit is bound to implode).

—————————————

I have been holding on to these articles about race dynamics within Occupy Wall Street, especially in the hope that these criticisms can be applied to Occupy New Haven (where they are desperately needed), as well as to building strategic organizing in general.

Anti-racist organizing is not as simple as declaring your work to be so; it requires brutal honesty, self-reflection, and questioning. It requires research of what is going on in other communities, and it is uncomfortable. But, being on the receiving end of racism is far more brutal and uncomfortable; moving toward anti-racism is worth it.

In my experience, organizing cannot work successfully if it refuses to self-reflect and if it refuses to ask questions of people who have done similar work before. No new issues are being raised in Occupy New Haven (and that’s totally okay!), so that means everything being addressed has been addressed in some manner before. Ask questions. Find out what people need and are already doing. Be honest about things you don’t know. Deconstruct what you mean by outreach and inclusion, two words that generally hide empty gestures.

I am giving people the benefit of the doubt when I say there is some potential left for Occupy New Haven to be in some way successful. I want to believe that it can make itself relevant to marginalized communities in New Haven, that it wants to represent people of color in more than just rhetoric and forced unity. We are not all the same; thinking we are because we all “bleed red” ignores the lived realities of people of color. Lives of people of color are not allowed to be color-blind, and so we know that when people claim color-blindness, they are mistaken.

I hope folks find these links helpful; I am using their critiques in my non-“occupation” organizing. As always, I am more than willing to help people find resources or to put people in touch with work already being done in New Haven or elsewhere. But as always, people need to do their homework. There is no longer any excuse to claim ignorance of work being done by people of color, our needs, or our critiques of this movement.

Please feel free to pass this along to other people to whom it may be useful!

Occupy Nashville

fuzzyscience:

I just posted to the list for Occupy Nashville- similarly to New Haven, the people involved have chosen to camp out in a place usually occupied by homeless people. Someone posted to the list asking if there was adequate bathroom access/availability in the nearby businesses. They specifically asked if homeless people/POC had adequate access and were not getting hassled for trying to use public restrooms (there are a lot of fancy hotels across the street from where they are camped out). In response, three white people emailed back saying “there were no problems” or that “they think everything is great, thanks.” So of course, I posted saying that everything was absolutely *not* great. I stopped going down there to serve for food not bombs because of trans-related harassment when I tried to use the bathroom across the street. Never mind the obvious point that when asked a question about the experiences of POC and homeless people, a bunch of white middle class folks took it upon themselves to speak on their behalf. Never mind the fact by occupying the downtown plaza they are taking resources away from the homeless population that has always lived there while simultaneously attracting an increased police presence before they leave. Once they pack up their tents and signs and go home, the most marginalized people will be left to deal with the consequences, as usual.

There is nothing radical about this at all. It’s the same old bullshit. I pretty much have no excitement or faith in this “movement.”

EDIT: Also, forgot to mention this amazingly condescending exchange emailed to the list, details a conversation between a white dude (narrator) and a black dude occupying the plaza downtown:


Q: How bout I tell you how to set one up (a bathroom) right here?
A: We cant do that. They’d kick us out.
Q: [me, aghast] What? Trying to keep people from pooping in their pool; trying to keep things decent?
A: Look, see that cop over there? Go clear it thru him, if he says its okay, fine.
Q: [me, in momentray disbelief]  Dude, that’s the Barack Obama school of negotiating— work it all out in your head, then concede in advance.
Analysis— This guy had completely accepted the power of the Man over himself and the Occupation, without realizing it. 

spew.