November 8, 2013
(((___((___(_ Occupy Queens Jackson Heights _)__))___)))
oqContact [at] googlegroups.com
February 14, 2014
(((___((__(_ via occupywallstreet.net _)__))___)))
image credit : foodtank
The Occupied Wall Street Journal ceased publishing in May 2012, and used its remaining resources to help launch additional publications; including Tidal Magazine, the spanish-language Indignacion, and Metroccupied, with a final (significant) grant to The Indypendent.
Because the Occupied Wall Street Journal was itself a participation in a participatory movement. It wasn’t “founded” to represent that movement, but build it. If it had become personal property, it would have defeated the purpose.
Thousands of contributors made it possible for an autonomous media to reach literally millions of people. But it didn’t make those of us producing it into the spokespeople of this movement or the political leaders of it by virtue of our good timing (and hard work).
Occupy as a basic concept is about engaging the world, not making claims on it. Especially not property or other entitlement claims to the work of other people. As Cornel West put it: “Occupy is leaderless and leaderful.”
Occupy Wall Street didn’t have “founders.”
OCCUPY REJECTED SELF-APPOINTED BROKERS, WHO SOUGHT TO MAKE THEMSELVES NECESSARY WHEN THEY REALLY WEREN’T.
No doubt some people engaged in all sorts of self-promotion, and may even believe their own claims.
With all thanks for a call, it was the people who gave OWS and Occupy Oakland and the dozens of other encampments a life of their own. The magic of a global political event is not the special claim of any political mafia. Not that some didn’t try. It just didn’t work. Making such claims after-the-fact is weird, historically incorrect and a sordid playpen for opportunists and narcissists — and the lazy journalists who fall for it.
OWS-RELATED MEDIA PROPERTIES AREN’T ANYONE’S PERSONAL PROPERTY. AND IF THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE, THEY HAVE THE WRONG NAME AND SHOULD CLOSE.
It’s okay to close. And make something new.
The best part is: anyone claiming to be a leader is pretty much only trying to make a career for themselves. And if they are leaders: they should make a call and see who answers. Self-promotion might work for opportunists — but it has pretty much nothing to do with political leadership.
The above was originally posted by The Occupied Wall Street Journal on a prominent social networking site.
February 14, 2014
Every other day brings us fresh headlines about malfeasance, fraud and continued predatory behavior on the part of the finance industry. Morally speaking, bankers are the most depraved and derelict actors in our society. And yet they continue to rely upon heavy-duty moralism to enforce debtors’ obligations. What is an appropriate response? Here are nine arguments to justify repudiating debts as an act of economic disobedience. Appealing to basic moral principles, they are fleshed out in much more detail in Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal. The list is far from exhaustive, but it is a start, and I invite you to add others. The goal? To determine which of our debts should be honored, and which should not.
1. Loans which either benefit the creditor only, or inflict social and environmental damage on individuals, families, and communities, should be renegotiated to compensate for harms.
2. Lending to borrowers who cannot repay is unscrupulous, and so the collection of such debts should not be honored. Making loans that clearly can never be repaid in full is a more delinquent act than being unable to pay.
3. The banks, and their beneficiaries, awash in bonuses, profits, and dividends, have done very well; they have been paid enough already, and do not need to be additionally reimbursed. Since the creditor class produces phony wealth, fake growth, and thus no lasting prosperity to society as a whole, it deserves nothing from us in return.
4. The credit was not theirs to begin with–most of it was obtained through the dubious power of money creation, thanks to fractional reserve banking and the “magic” of derivatives. The right to claim unearned income from debts created so easily should not be recognized as binding.
5. Even if household debts were not intentionally imposed as political constraints, they unavoidably stifle our capacity to think freely, act conscientiously, and fulfill our democratic responsibilities. Economic disobedience is justified as a protective deed on behalf of democracy. Indeed, asserting the moral right to repudiate debt may be the only way of rebuilding popular democracy.
6. Extracting long-term profits from our short-term need to access subsistence resources or vital common goods like education, healthcare, and public infrastructure is usurious, anti-social conduct, to be condemned (or outlawed) and not indemnified.
7. Each act of debt service should be regarded as a nonproductive addition to the banks’ balance sheets and a subtraction from the “real” economy which creates jobs, adequately funds social spending, and sustains the well-being of communities.
8. Obliging debtors to forfeit future income is a form of wage theft, and, if the debts were incurred simply to prepare ourselves, in mind and body, for employment, they should be resisted. This applies especially to education debt.
9. Given the fraud and deceit practiced by bankers, and the likelihood that they will not refrain from such anti-social conduct in the future, it would be morally hazardous of us to reward them any further. The finance industry relies on moralism to enforce repayment, but who is the real “delinquent”? It is more moral to deny them than to pay them back.
By Andrew Ross
(((___((__(_ via strikedebt.org. _)__))___)))
February 14, 2014
New York– Cecily McMillan was brutally arrested at an event marking the 6 month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on March 17, 2012. In the course of her arrest she sustained a violent police beating resulting in bruised ribs and a seizure. Cecily was hospitalized for those injuries. The egregious incident received extensive media coverage.
Cecily was later charged with felony assault of a police officer, Assault 2nd degree, a Class D felony in NY, which carries that sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
“The main issue here,” says Martin R. Stolar, McMillan’s attorney, “is the heavy-handed, over-policing by the NYPD during the Occupy Wall Street protests, which lead to crimes where none existed. It was a normal reaction for a woman to react, to be startled after having her right breast grabbed.” Rebecca Heinegg will be co-counsel with Stolar at trial.
According to the National Lawyers Guild, this is also one of the last OWS-related court cases left on the docket.
(((__((__(_ via interoccupy.net _)__))___)))
Occupier Cecily McMillan’s attorney speaks on eve of trial for felony assault from her brutal arrest. #Justice4Cecily
You can also text @cecilystrial to 23559 to join our celly loop, visit our website at http://JusticeforCecily.com/, and follow the conversation on Twitter by following #justice4cecily. News articles that have been written on Cecily’s case are posted to our Media Attention section of the website and we will continue to post developing stories as they are made available to us. A compilation of videos documenting her seizure and arrest have been uploaded to the Justice for Cecily YouTube channel, but please be advised that these films contain graphic material and strong language that might not be suitable for a younger or sensitive audience.
(((__((__(_ via justiceforcecily.com _)__))___)))
February 13, 2014
The Roosevelt Avenue BID: Winners and Losers
The proposed extension of the 82nd Street Business Improvement District (BID), otherwise known as the Jackson Heights – Corona Business Improvement District, will fundamentally transform the Roosevelt Avenue commercial corridor and the immigrant neighborhoods of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights of northwestern Queens.
Local elected officials and real estate interests claim that the BID will upgrade and improve the Roosevelt Avenue corridor, generate economic growth and development, while improving the quality-of-life and economic circumstances of local residents. Such bold economic development claims, in a borough with growing levels of inequality, should be transparently discussed and critically evaluated. And in assessing the BID proposal it makes good public policy sense to ask a simple, yet obvious question: Will the BID provide the greatest good for the greatest number?
Queens is a borough of immigrants. According to the NYC Department of City Planning, 48.5 percent of Queens County residents are foreign-born. The demographic data for the Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights neighborhoods is even more dramatic. Corona’s foreign-born population is 64.2%, Elmhurst’s is 71.0%, and Jackson Heights’ is 62.0. In short, the three neighborhoods have a total of 208,954 residents that were born abroad and will be directly affected by the establishment of the BID.
According to Seth Taylor, the executive director of the 82nd Street BID, landlords and owners of small business firms have similar economic interests. This is simply not the case. BIDs are economic entities specifically organized as a landlord dominated association. BIDs are designed to represent real estate interests by increasing land values and commercial rents. Property owners capture the added value associated with real estate driven growth while small firms will pay higher rents. Conclusion: Higher rents benefit landlords while hurting small business owners and local residents.
Recent changes in Corona’s zoning regulations – as well as the proposed rezoning of the southern portion of Roosevelt Avenue – favor real estate interests. Changes in zoning allow for higher levels of commercial density and will increase land values and commercial rents. This change in land use creates market conditions that open the door to the influx of cash-rich national chain stores and franchises that can outbid small cash-poor immigrant firms for upgraded commercial lots. Capital intensive economic growth and rising real estate costs will displace small family-based businesses, increase housing rents, and displace working class residents and seniors on fixed incomes. Conclusion: Rezoning and higher land values benefit landlords and large-scale firms while hurting small business owners and local residents.
The increase in capital intensive firms and decrease in small firms will diminish the total amount of capital circulating within the local economy. National chains will transfer profits to their corporate headquarters and shareholders. These standard corporate practices drain the community of scarce capital and limit local investments and economic activity. The outflow of locally generated capital restricts the demand and supply for basic goods and services, lowers the profitability of small firms, and place family operated enterprises at risk for bankruptcy. Conclusion: Capital outflows benefit corporate shareholders while hurting small business owners and local residents.
Clearly the economic costs and benefits associated with real estate driven growth are not evenly shared. There are specific winners and losers. This form of economic growth, in the aggregate, will standardize commercial activity and transform the demographic profile of Roosevelt Avenue and the adjacent neighborhoods. This will decrease ethnic and class diversity while increasing gentrification, economic inequality, and social dislocations.
image credit: QueensLatino
New York BIDs and other forms of trickle-down economics have been closely analyzed. Sharon Zukin’s text: Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Spaces, provides a critical analysis of real estate-driven growth and gentrification. While Tarry Hum’s, soon to be published book: Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, documents the tensions generated by economic growth and restructuring in an iconic immigrant neighborhood. Tom Angotti’s New York for Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate recounts how communities and progressive planners resisted corporate incursions into neighborhoods. And Jason Hackworth, in his well-known study: The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology, and Development in American Urbanism, addresses the structural inequalities associated with market-based real estate growth in Queens County.
The case against the continued expansion of BIDs in New York City has been made. It is there for all to see in the displacement of working class African Americans that resulted from the establishment of the Harlem BID, community-based resistance against the establishment of the Chinatown BID, and growing concerns that the establishment of an East Harlem BID will accelerate residential displacement, increase gentrification, and obliterate this historical Latino barrio.
It is now western Queens’ turn to resist the corporate incursions that threaten the borough’s diverse immigrant neighborhoods. Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, during the past forty-years, emerged as economically vibrant immigrant communities that add value to the larger economy. The explosion of small family-based immigrant businesses ushered the growth of an emerging entrepreneurial middle-class, generated a wide range of service-based jobs, and created the informal organizational structures that fosters a deep sense of community and place. These hard won economic and social breakthroughs must be preserved.
The BID real estate driven growth strategy was aggressively supported by the Bloomberg administration. This regressive public policy deepened and accelerated the social inequalities associated with the Tale of Two Cities. And in light of mayor de Blasio’s progressive agenda, which calls for the crafting of a more socially just city, his administration should revisit and reevaluate the generic BID strategy. Public policy should support: local economic development; neighborhood stability; and ethnic, racial, and class diversity. This will ensure that neighborhoods and communities are not sacrificed on the altar of corporate economic growth and will foster the conditions for achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.
Arturo Ignacio Sánchez, Ph.D. is chairperson of the Newest New Yorkers Committee of Community Board 3, Queens. He has taught contemporary immigration, entrepreneurship, and urban planning at Barnard College, City University of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, and Pratt Institute.
Originally Published in QueensLatino February 12 2014
February 12, 2014
In the wake of her historic victory for Seattle City Council last November, Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant, and a growing number of workers, union members and activists have come together to create the 15Now campaign (www.15now.org). 15Now aims to create a nationwide movement to force the issue of a $15 an hour minimum wage onto the agenda.
The CEO of McDonald’s made $27,741,408 in 2012. That breaks down to more than $9,000 an hour. The CEO of Starbuck’s hauled in $28,909,773, which works out to almost $10,000 an hour. In 1965, average CEO pay was about 18 times that of the average worker. By 2012 it was 200 times that. In addition to huge paychecks, the nation’s biggest corporate heads often receive special treatment and perks that cost their companies enormous sums and arguably cross the line of fair compensation.
Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not been increased since July 2009. New York State’s minimum wage is currently $8 an hour and scheduled to rise to $9 by December 31, 2015. President Obama and congressional Democrats have proposed to raise the federal minimum to $10.10, in increments, over a period of three years. However, according to various estimates, if gains in worker productivity over the past 30 years were taken into account, the minimum wage would be anywhere from $17 to $21 an hour.
Low-wage workers themselves have recognized that none of this is acceptable. That’s why they have been fighting with one-day strikes and demonstrations for $15 an hour and the right to a union for several years now. The lion’s share of CEO pay goes for luxuries, while every penny of low wage worker’s check in New York City goes towards exorbitant costs for necessities like food, shelter and transportation. If big corporations can afford massive CEO salaries and expensive perks, they can afford to pay their workers a decent, livable wage. It’s that simple.
With most new jobs being created paying low wages and continued economic instability, threats of mass layoffs etc., this is an issue that should be of concern to almost everyone.
It is in this spirit that we invite you to attend an initial planning meeting for the Fight for 15 in Queens and Brooklyn.
Event details HERE
February 12, 2014
(((__((__(_ via interoccupy.net _)__))___)))
On Friday, February 7, 2014, the jury in the NATO 3 trial returned its verdicts against Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church. These three had been held in Cook County Jail in Chicago since they were arrested on May 16, 2012. They faced trumped up, politically motivated terrorism, conspiracy, and arson charges because of their perceived politics and political activities (mostly through the Occupy movement).
The cops and prosecutors had demonized them from the beginning as violent anarchists and domestic terrorists who needed to be locked away for decades because of their nefarious intents to terrorize the city of Chicago. We knew all along that they had been targeted as part of a broad campaign of state repression against activists, particularly anarchists. We knew all along that they had been singled out to send a message to us all that any dissent will be severely punished, that any step outside of the bounds of the mainstream power structures will be met with fierce consequences.
The jury did not buy the state’s lies about our comrades being terrorists. They acquitted the NATO 3 of all the terrorism charges: conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism, possession of an incendiary device with the intent to commit terrorism, possession of an incendiary device with the knowledge that someone else intended to commit terrorism. They also acquitted them of the solicitation to commit arson charge.
Yet the jury played its role in the criminal legal system by finding them all guilty of possession of an incendiary device with the intent to commit arson and possession of an incendiary device with the knowledge that another intended to commit arson. They also found them all guilty of mob action, a lower-level crime that was offered to the jury as an alternative to the conspiracy to commit terrorism and material support for terrorism charges. The possession charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
We can celebrate the victory over the state’s worst lies and their defeat on their own battlefield, but we must not forget that these three individuals are still being made to pay the price for our resistance. We do not know how long they will continue to be held captive by our enemies, but we do know that we will continue to stand in solidarity with them and fight for their freedom until each of them walk out of the prison gate.
Free the NATO 3!
Free all political prisoners and prisoners of war!
Destroy all prisons!
Smash the state!
The NATO 3 will be sentenced on Friday, February 28 at 2pm. We will send word in the near future about ways you can show your solidarity for them, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we are asking for donations for their support needs in case they will be kept from us for many years to come. https://www.wepay.com/donations/freethenato3. They also need to hear from comrades around the world that they are not alone!
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608
(((__((__(_ via interoccupy.net _)__))___)))
February 4, 2014
At a rally on [31JAN] Friday, at Rep. Joe Crowley’s Queens district office, more than 125 protesters called on the Queens and Bronx Congressman to announce opposition to Fast Tracking the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12 nation NAFTA-style free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the governments of 12 nations.
TPP faces fierce opposition from labor unions; faith groups; and environmental, anti-poverty, AIDS, internet freedom, banking reform, animal rights, economic justice, and food safety advocates. The rally, co-sponsored by more than 60 organizations featured:
“TPP could spell disaster for communities seeking to protect themselves from public health and environmental dangers like fracking,” said Corinne Rosen, a senior organizer with Food & Water Watch, a consumer protection group . “This monstrous trade deal is a boon for multinational corporations that seek to profit at the expense of American jobs and American health and safety standards.”
More Media of Rally here.
PDF of advisory here.
January 4, 2014
This Historic Moment
Using the Movement Action Plan as a guide, we see that we are closer to success than one might think. The Occupy Movement was Stage Four of Eight. Moyer describes it:
“New social movements surprise and shock everyone when they burst into the public spotlight on the evening TV news and in newspaper headlines. Overnight, a previously unrecognized social problem becomes a social issue that everyone is talking about. It starts with a highly publicized, shocking incident, a ‘trigger event’, followed by a nonviolent action campaign that includes large rallies and dramatic civil disobedience. Soon these are repeated in local communities around the country.”
Stage 4 is the “Social Movement Take-Off.” During Occupy, it seemed that suddenly the unfair wealth divide, the corruption of Wall Street and the dysfunction of government came into people’s consciousness. These issues were discussed in the media and politicians started using language to show they understood there was a problem. Prior to this, these issues were largely ignored taboo topics that were not on the political radar.
December 13, 2013
Good old Trade Fair – up to their dirty tricks!
Good turn out guys, with plenty of press coverage,union members and reps,
all standing in solidarity with the Trade Fair workers. And let’s not forget the big Rat, alias Tade Fair owner
Latest 13DEC2013 on story here
November 8, 2013
artCommons changes the way we experience art by
changing the way it is shared in our communities.
How does it work? Art is added to a local ‘artCommons’, the community is then free to borrow the art in the artCommons. The artCommons is collectively managed by all participants in the community. From this collective effort new relationships are made within the community on an individual and collective level.
artCommons will grow naturally, as soon as 8-10 people sign up to a specific neighborhood we will organize a workshop in that area. Currently with 38 membersJackson Heights is organizing the first artCommons in Queens. Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org
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