Tag Archives: ows

10 Arrests in 87 Minutes: The Anatomy of the NYPD’s Protest Dispersal Process

[NEW YORK, NY]  On the eve of the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, two video activists, have released a 10 minute short film providing perhaps the most detailed civilian account to date of the NYPD’s process of crowd dispersion during mass mobilizations. The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes. While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protestors ability to effectively assemble.

This video is a powerful resource for activists of all stripes in New York City. Please watch it, share it, carefully examine the NYPD’s process in it, and use it to inoculate yourself from their coordinated attempts to stifle your first amendment protections.

“On the eve of the second anniversary of OWS it bears remembering that the occupations didn’t simply fizzle and dissipate,” says Paul Sullivan, who videotaped the police response, “this video, shot last year on the morning of the first anniversary, not only reminds us of how difficult it is to protest when the NYPD is determined to shut you down, but also how the NYPD continues to supress civil liberties in order to stamp out the movement.”

10 Arrests in 87-minutes’ was shot by Paul-Henri Sullivan and edited by him and his brother, Justin. Each were arrested while filming this video and each have had their charges since dismissed.

Occupier Jelani Mashariki Announces Candidacy for New York City Council-District 35

Occupier Jelani Mashariki Announces Candidacy for New York City Council-District 35

[NEW YORK, NY] Occupy Wall Street activist Jelani Mashariki will announce his candidacy for New York City Council – District 35 at an announcement party at 6pm tonight (9/25/2012) at Brooklyn’s Rustik Tavern [located at 471 Dekalb ave (btwn Kent & Franklin Aves) Brooklyn, NY 11205]

Mashariki is the second candidate to run under the “Bumrush The Vote” banner, the first, congressional candidate George Martinez, made national headlines using Bumrush The Vote’s unique grassroots approach. Mashariki’s candidacy announcement serves as the latest chapter in his life-long story of community organizing and social justice advocacy.

Jalani Mashariki is a Brooklyn native, child of the Crown Heights Youth Collective, a Brooklyn College graduate, an inaugural AmeriCorps volunteer focusing in HIV outreach, an activist with Black Veterans for Social Justice, the Director of Pamoja House Homeless Men’s Shelter, Co-founder of the Global Block Foundation & U.S. Cultural Envoy, an Occupy Wall Street & Occupy the Hood activist, and is currently the Dean of Liberation of the Paul Robeson Freedom School.

The announcement party will feature performances & spoken word from…

George Martinez: The first Occupier Congressional Candidate, Hip-Hop Artist and Co-Founder of Bum Rush The Vote

Job Mashariki: Inaugaral Awardee-NYS Veteran Hall of Fame, Founder of Black Veterans for Social Justice Inc, Lifelong Activist

Jitu Weusi: Lifelong Activist, Educator, Founder of The East

Justin Wedes: Occupy Wall Street activist, Founder and Co-Principal of the Paul Robeson Freedom School

Maisha Morales: Lifelong Activist & 35th District resident

Atchuda Bakr: Lifelong Activist, Union organizer, Owner of Sister’s Community Hardware Store, & 35th District resident

A New Style of Campaign: Teamwork for Change

The Occupy Wall Street camps inspired a global movement of decentralized local assemblies in which people shared stories, resources, and skill sets. As the encampments were met with eviction from authorities the tents and books were scattered but the inertia of the camp’s affinity groups remained. As if one were to whack a hornet nest, the hive was damaged but the collective was sent out into the world with a renewed zeal to challenge systemic injustice. These “Post-Camp” Occupy groups restructured themselves around shared skills or specific issues, and the remainder were a wide spectrum of affinities with varied politics and tactics ranging from groups of advocates on the street who embraced property destruction to parallel movements like Bum Rush The Vote who set their sights on occupying public office as a direct action. Following the organizing template of Zuccotti Park, Bum Rush The Vote relies on a crowd-sourced method of campaigning by pooling the resources of graphic designers, photographers, experts in viral social media campaigns, artist relations, and street teams of D.I.Y. campaigners to move their message to constituents. Moreover,Bum Rush The Vote is a creativity-driven campaign aimed at spending time with constituents and implements this through staging cultural community events such as pop up concerts, neighborhood clean-ups, anti-stop-and-frisk actions, and guerrilla gardening efforts in regions within regions of NYC most plagued by inadequate access to healthy food.

To request a fact sheet, high resolution photos, or to arrange an interview with Jelani Mashariki or a representative of his campaign please contact Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan at cecilymcmillan@gmail.com or via phone at at (404) 468-1034. For more information on Bum Rush the Vote visit http://BumRushTheVote.net for more information on Jelani’s campaign visit http://peopleforjelani.com


CrimethInc vs. Chris Hedges, a Debate on Tactics & Legitimacy in Occupy & Beyond

[NEW YORK, NY] The debate surrounding “diversity of tactics” has indeed become a polarizing one …perhaps we helped (in part) to change that last week as we attempted to bring the fervor of both sides to the CUNY Grad Center for a respectful debate surrounding tactical legitimacy in today’s contemporary social movements.

Chris Hedges made himself a self-described “lightning rod” for this tactical debate in February, 2012 when he published his now infamous “The Cancer in Occupy” article (an indictment of black-bloc tactics) on his syndicated TruthDig column.  The sometimes ugly debate that followed Hedges’ article continued to boil over on internet forums and comments feeds surrounding the Occupy movement.  Since there is little accountability on internet forums and similar venues we thought it would be prudent to bring both sides together for a respectful face-to-face debate.   Short of a handful of passionate outbursts the audience at last week’s debate at the CUNY Grad Center between the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and B. Travern of The Crimethinc. Ex-Workers Collective was perhaps the most disciplined “real-world” assembly surrounding this polarizing argument.Both Travern and Hedges attempted during the debate to define where tactical legitimacy begins and ends.  While each had differing answers to the moderator’s questions, the audience was excited to see the intersections between the two.  Travern conceded that he found himself agreeing with ~80% of what Hedges said about revolution. Interestingly Hedges also conceded when he proclaimed that “he is not a pacifist” and announced during the debate that he too is an advocate for “a diversity of tactics” …yet the two drift apart when defining what “diversity of tactics” personally means to each of them.  Though some awkward gaffs were made, and some questions left unanswered, the event as a whole was an informative and encouraging experience that many could take a great deal away from.  We encourage you to watch the video above, share it with your friends, embed it on your own blogs, continue to build dialogue surrounding the issues therein, and most of all take action for a more just future in the most effective and sensible ways you see fit.

At times it makes sense for Sparrow to mute our “radical” opinions and instead provide substantive facts that mimetically lead the readers/viewers/listeners we engage with to reach their own radical conclusions.  This is why we felt a public debate, in the vacuum of a highly controlled venue, would be the best way to harness the vitriol of 7 months of internet bickering and turn it into something hopeful and constructive.  We hope we did just that…

This event would not have been possible without the help of the CUNY Grad Center, Sujatha Fernandes, Sarah Leonard, Mintwood Media, Jen Angel of Aid & Abet, and the volunteers that helped with everything from filming to de-escalation..


All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets: George Martinez’s Response to Jay-Z

All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets: George Martinez’s Response to Jay-Z

[NEW YORK, NY] George Martinez grabbed national headlines when he became the first Occupier to qualify as a major party primary candidate for the United States House of Representatives, but few know that the fledgling politician also has a seasoned career as a celebrated hip-hop emcee in New York City’s grassroots political hip-hop scene.

Last week when Jay-Z was interviewed for a cover feature in the New York Times Style Magazine he indicted Occupy Wall Street as a directionless cloud of ideas. Local press was buzzing with how Occupy would respond, would they ignore it?, would they protest?, would Jay even care if they did? Hip-Hop media mogul Russell Simmons quickly seized this opportunity to open up a dialogue with Jay-Z surrounding money in politics. Simmon’s political director, Michael Skolnik quickly followed suit with his own thoughtful response, but in order to fully capture Occupy’s & Hip-Hop’s response to Jay-Z’s uninformed comments it would be best to have the response come from an Occupy Hip-Hop artist.

The following is George Martinez’s letter to Jay-Z & Russell Simmons…

First, I want to thank Jay Z for his recent public statements regarding the Occupy movement. I respect his honesty and I welcome this exchange as an end to the “Government For Sale” syndrome corrupting our democratic processes.

Second, I want to thank Russell Simmons for his response to Jay in an attempt to educate and build solidarity. His response was a thorough and thoughtful summation of the macro issues that Occupy has raised over the last year. In particular, Russell helped to illustrate the connections between “the corrosive influence of money in politics and elections” and repressive policies like stop and frisk.

Jay, I would prefer to build with you instead of slam you, and I know that you are already supporting a number issues that make up the cloud of “Occupy,” like… ending the war on drugs, supporting job creation and supporting the president on marriage equality. And let’s also be clear, I know progressives don’t want to plunk tens of thousands of dollars per plate on campaign fundraisers when they know that the money could be going to directly helping people and directly investing in the community. But because some have highjacked our democracy through Super PACs that spend limitless amounts of corporate cash in politics, hope and opportunity get stifled. This process has driven our country towards the brink of economic ruin.

In response to this process a coalition of activists, artists and various segments of the community have taken on the challenge of getting money out of politics and putting the people back in charge of their democracy. To get the money out …and put the voters in!

Our public and political institutions should not be allowed to operate under the same rules the govern regular commercial industries, since our constitution and our republic exist only through a social contract bound by the consent of its’ people. Thus “we the people” vest trust in our public institutions and must raise up when that trust is violated, or when special interests join to undermine the integrity of our public institutions, politicians and their elections. Imagine Jay, some people believe that corporations are people like you and me. They believe that these corporations have the same rights as people. Then, with a Supreme Court decision called, Citizens United v. F.E.C, the “Super PAC” was born allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections because of their individual rights to “free speech” just like you and me. I hope you would agree, that this is wrong. In fact, President Obama, has also said he supports exploring a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the “Citizens United” decision.

For me, “Occupy” can be easily understood from a Hip Hop perspective.

With Hip Hop we bum rushed school yards and sidewalks and transformed them into dance arenas for breakers. We didn’t ask James Brown or anyone if we could sample their records. We “borrowed” electricity from lamp posts to power our amps. We painted subway cars and inspired a global phenomenon that is literally saving lives around the world through the convergence of 5 elements: Dj, Rap, Aerosol Graffiti, B-boy, and Knowledge.

What happened in Zuccotti Park was similar to the spirit of Hip Hop; in that an unauthorized assembly of like-minded and creative people, created a space for community building and organizing to directly address local community concerns. More importantly, “Occupy” took on the overarching barrier to addressing these concerns due to the corrupting power corporate money has on our democratic processes and institutions. Through this organic coalition, a framework was created to mobilize around the reality that “another world Is possible.” By creating this framework, a model was built that embraced a diverse set of strategies to encourage everyday people to find where they could fit into the movement to work towards the overarching goal of reclaiming our democracy and building opportunity.

At the beginning of my involvement with OWS, I also observed that there was a “cloud of issues,” however, I quickly recognized many of them as issues that I and others in the Hip Hop community had been vocalizing and organizing around for years. Through keeping an open mind and participating in the democratic and community-building processes, I learned from others and was able to build support to identify specific strategies and actions to focus the movement on addressing issues that impact my immediate community. This included focusing on strategies to challenge the power of money and its’ corrupting influence on our democracy. We did this by building a grassroots movement and providing tools to empower the hood through a “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY), direct democracy engine that would facilitate community deliberation of important issues, implementation of community solutions and community resource management. Additionally, we inspired people to “Occupy” local political office. My personal “direct action” involved running for Congress by building a “Block by Block, and City by City” electoral direct action movement called Bum Rush The Vote (BRTV). The premise of BRTV is simple, build a people’s machine that can compete against the power of the corporate control over our democracy.

Five months into the Occupy movement, I declared my candidacy, for New York’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional District. This included my home neighborhoods Red Hook and Sunset Park and your home neighborhood of Marcy Houses. Throughout the course of my campaign, I met with thousands of people on their neighborhood blocks, highlighting their stories in order to move the dialogue beyond the macro analysis of the issues to the real-time effects on our neighborhoods. One issue in particular, that Russell also highlighted, involves the relationship between money and the prison industrial complex which has particularly harsh repercussions in the hood. Studies document that there is a dollar for dollar relationship between dollars cut from public education and increased investment in the prison industrial complex. Furthermore, in New York, your home neighborhood of Marcy Houses falls in the police district with one of the highest rates of youth “stops and frisks,” all while local schools and youth programs are either failing or are being shut down.

This is our opportunity to “HEAL” once again. To hold those accountable who have corrupted the political system with corporate interests. The end result includes the reality that communities we come from are further disempowered, underserved and deliberately targeted by the prison industrial complex to the point that there is a dollar for dollar correlation in cuts to education and investment in prisons. KRS ONE, said it so eloquently in his lyrics to HEAL Yourself, “…black and white ain’t the real fight, that’s the only thing the media hypes, the real fight is these major corporations, holding back on real education…

This is why I occupied, this why we are the 99%, and this is why we need the 100% who want to reclaim our democracy and our communities. I believe that the space of transformational hopefulness that is at the core of “Occupy” is available to everyone, and that we all have a part to play in finding solutions. I have committed my non-profit organization, the Global Block Foundation, to developing and distributing Bum Rush The Vote as our official political literacy initiative. I invite you to join us, or, in the spirit of “Occupy,” get in where you fit in. Working Together, Block by Block and City by City, Another World is Possible.

All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets!

George Martinez, is the first OWS organizer to qualify as a major party primary candidate for the US House of Representatives and creator of Bum Rush The Vote. He and his wife are the creators of the #OWS Hip Hop Anthem: Occupation Freedom He is an artist/ activist who believes in the power of Hip Hop culture as a force for positive world change and serves as a Hip Hop Ambassador with the US Dept of State. He is a former Democratic District Leader of the 51st Assembly District in Brooklyn, a professor of Political Science at Pace University and the Founder of the Global Block Foundation. He has appeared on MSNBC, HuffPost Live, Telemundo, TEDx and was the subject of a cover story in the Village Voice. Follow George on twitter at @hongeomartinez Follow Bum Rush The Vote on Twitter at @bumrushthevote

September 17th, #S17 All Roads Lead to Wall Street: A Statement From The Occupy Wall Street PR Team

September 17th, #S17 All Roads Lead to Wall Street: A Statement From The Occupy Wall Street PR Team

[NEW YORK, NY] September 17, 2012 (#S17) marks the beginning of year two of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and four years since Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, helping catapult our global economy into a new phase of disrepair and dragging millions of ordinary people down with it.

No complaints from the rich 1% – they’re still rich. They’re insatiable unless we push back.

On September 15-17, Occupy Wall Street is planning three days of education, celebration and resistance to economic injustice (http://s17nyc.org/schedule/) with convergences and assemblies, concerts, and some of the famous OWS direct action. Much of our organizing happens behind-the-scenes, but you’ll see Occupy pop into view soon; and as we are sure you already know, we are bigger than the sum of our mass demonstrations (they just tend to get the most attention).

If you are planning a piece about OWS, let us know and we’ll connect you to organizers here in NYC and elsewhere. Contact the OWS PR Team at 347-292-1444 or via email at press@occupywallst.org. For more info on the #S17 visit http://www.s17nyc.org