Posts Tagged: Occupy Wall Street

A Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple

On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Spiegel & Grau / Random House

McNally Jackson

Amazon [...]


Places You Can Protest The Devastation Of Capitalism Today! :)

According to the classic rock radio station I was listening to in the car this morning, DON'T DRIVE INTO NEW YORK CITY TODAY, oh yes, OCCUPY WALL STREET WILL BE DESTROYING MANHATTAN. If only!

That being said, Occupy and friends have a nice calendar of events for the day.

• 11 a.m. "Free University" in Cooper Square, outside the sad, sad hulk of Cooper Union, which was recently destroyed by capitalism.

• 1 p.m. "Anti-capitalist march" from Tompkins Square Park (of course).

• 4 p.m. Rally in Union Square. (This event has permits.)

• 7 p.m. A people's assembly in Foley Square.

There's much, much more going [...]


Who Wants to Buy and Forgive Some Cheap Debt? It's the Rolling Jubilee!

"OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT." It's the Rolling Jubilee! There are some tricky issues with this as a program but guess what? TECHNICALLY, it actually works.


Happy May Day and Let's Be Careful Out There

After last night's disgusting "police visits" to activists' homes (and the FBI went door-knocking too!) you can pretty much be sure today's May Day demonstrations are going to be a doozy of police overreaction and unfortunate choices. Above, a screenshot from lower Manhattan. (JK, that's the new Dark Knight trailer from last night. But don't watch it, because you'll be buying something with your eyes on Buy Nothing Day if you do!)

Around New York City, expect Union Square to be full of bicyclists right about now, busy all day and then filled with Das Racist circa 5 p.m.; Williamsburg Bridge will be closed late morning; [...]


Now We Can't Even Pepper-Spray Students in the Mouth :(

The task force gathered to assess the UC Davis pepper-spraying-in-the-mouth incident has reached a verdict, and that verdict is… "objectively unreasonable." Wow, stinging. Also: "should and could have been prevented." (PDF here.) So harsh. Will anyone recover from this blistering report? Just the students who are suing the living daylights out of the officers and the school, I guess. To be fair to the report, it's actually a pretty good account, and really does hang the thing on the Chancellor's office too, which seems right. In 17 or 18 years there'll be a big fat settlement.


Politics And Media

"The Occupy movement was smart in not formulating an explicit program, as I’ve said in other interviews. Once you issue a list of demands in the dominant media-political discourse you then get pigeonholed as an interest group. Then it becomes a question of 'what do the Occupy people want?' And 'will they be satisfied by x?' You saw that even in the media headlines of the Obama birther movement — which was insane — but after the White House released Obama’s long form birth certificate, which in evidentiary ways should close all arguments, the media came back and said, 'Will this satisfy the birthers?' That’s not the question. Who the [...]


So Occupy Wall Street Won

With 5,478 documented arrests in fewer than three months, with New York City voters, in essence, actually liking Occupy Wall Street protestors better than the mayor, with dingbat Time declaring this the year of the protester, it's safe to say the battle for hearts and minds is won. Okay, yay, we won! So… what now?

Well, one good thing to know is that the Tea Party routine is a failure. Getting big money to back candidates to go to D.C. either results in morons being moronic or results in just putting more greedy cats on the greedy gravy train. It doesn't create change; it [...]


Guess Who's Back?

Stand Up to Legalized Corruption – protest the #McCutcheon Supreme Court ruling! @RuleByUs

— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) April 3, 2014

Guess who's back? Like normcore and coconut water, Occupy Wall Street won't go away, picking up speed with a series of events tomorrow.

Feeling ambitious? March on the airports in the morning with organizing airport workers! (Now that we can get behind.)

Feeling rambunctious? 7 p.m. is a people's assembly at, yes, Zuccotti Park, AKA Liberty Plaza. (That'll end with an 11 p.m. "wildcat march" up to Union Square, which, pass.)

And there's much much more, [...]


Investors Unfazed By Sequester Because They Own Private Jets, Private Armies, Etc.

"The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to an all-time record Tuesday on news that China was pledging to plow more money into its economy, returning the markets to highs not seen since before the financial crisis. By 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Dow was up nearly 90 points, or 0.74 percent, to 14,216.70, blowing past a record that was set Oct. 11, 2007, during a time when the economy was just peaking and headed toward disaster. [...] The Dow’s record high confirmed that the ongoing political paralysis in Washington has failed to spook the markets much in the last year." —The very rich don't seem to be bothered by [...]


Let's Occupy Wall Street

I hope that, if you are interested and available, you'll join me and many others at the Occupy Wall Street one-year anniversary demonstrations. They begin tomorrow.

I don't have every goal—or method—in common with other protesters. Heck, I don't even support a "Robin Hood tax" on financial transactions. Also, I am too bourgeois and busy to be arrested for civil disobedience. But I do believe, along with many Occupy folks, that in many ways the institutions of our country unfairly favor the rich, and that many institutions unfairly conspire to keep poor people poor and uneducated—and to make working people ever more disposable and insecure. If I [...]


The Pinkertons Are Ready to Crack Skulls on May Day

Those who cannot something history are doomed to something something! A confab of private security agencies, banks and police officials are ready for your May 1 protests against income equality in New York and beyond. Great news: Pinkerton Government Services, Inc. is on hand, just as they have been since 1850, to preserve the edifices of capital. Fortunately, total information awareness is afoot: "Banks have a history of coordinating security with city authorities. At a 2009 U.S. Senate hearing, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly described a partnership with financial district firms that gives his department 'access to hundreds of private security cameras.'" This is going to be so [...]


It's the Lowest Moment Yet for Michael Bloomberg

Oh, the constant see-sawing of Michael Bloomberg from hero to villain! Remember how we were loving him again just last month when he made that big old matching donation to Planned Parenthood? Well, a lot has changed in a month.

• The hand-holding visit to Goldman Sachs, followed by the trip to Shake Shack with Goldman co-CEO Lloyd Blankfein, in the wake of the resignation-by-op-ed of Greg Smith? That went over quite poorly. Dude: you already held their hand, in the form of tens of millions of dollars in concessions. Also, the City even gave them the address of 200 West Street, which should have been 201 [...]


Occupy Wall Street's Off-Key Response to State of the Union Tonight

Tonight, Occupy Wall Street will be offering a response to the State of the Union address, following any Republican/Tea Party response. (They'll be doing it live from D.C.) Occupy's publicist has embargoed the response speech until after the State of the Union, but it's not really worth printing anyway. (Also: yup, publicist, and yes, embargoed press releases. Hoo boy.) The language of the speech is bombastic yet vague, unspecific and sort of… narcissistic? Lots of rambling about how politics is bought and paid for, yadda yadda. (I mean, yes, that's true! But it's just atmospherics; why not name some names then?) About half of its claims are reminiscent of [...]


A Fresh Movement Against the NYPD's Culture of Misconduct

New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez had arrived on short notice to observe the sudden raid of Zuccotti Park on November 14th. But witnessing the removal of Occupy Wall Street’s original encampment proved impossible. Instead, officers forced Rodriguez to the ground, cutting his face; “a senior NYPD official with whom he has worked in the past was nearby," the Village Voice reported.

At least ten journalists trying to cover that day’s events were arrested. Freelancers and people attempting to shoot video were threatened. Officers in riot gear hit demonstrators with batons, barring anyone from even approaching the park. Later, the New York Times general counsel wrote [...]


"Do What You Love"—Oh, But Not That! On Recognizing Sex Work As Work

Astra Taylor’s forthcoming book The People’s Platform, about who has power and who gets paid in the age of the Internet, mentions the following quote about the virtues of “open-source” (read: unpaid) labor from Internet guru Yochai Benkler:

“Remember, money isn’t always the best motivator. If you leave a fifty-dollar check after dinner with friends, you don’t increase the probability of being invited back. And if dinner doesn’t make it entirely obvious, think of sex.”

That quote, unsurprisingly, is from a TED Talk. The talk's audience chose to reflexively laugh rather than actually think about sex or about work. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in the audience [...]


Assets & Liabilities: Understanding The Rolling Jubilee Project

Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy movement, recently launched a project called the Rolling Jubilee, which has raised over $350K as I write; the money will be used to buy, and then forgive, around $7 million worth of distressed medical debt. That's what a "jubilee" meant, in Old Testament times: a period for cancelling debts, and for the manumission of slaves, that came around every five decades: "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every [...]


The 'Times' And Occupy

Remember how the New York Times was totally in the tank for the Occupy movement? You don't? Here's why.


Your Favorite Internet App Doesn't Come with Privacy Rights

Judge ruled against me on standing, on intervention, and on the subpoena. So uh Twitter is compelled to hand over @destructuremal's tweets

— Malcolm Harris (@BigMeanInternet) April 23, 2012

In the strange case of the Manhattan D.A. subpoenaing Occupy Wall Street arrestees' Twitters, so far we've come to a place where the state can request copies of three months of the things that people have published on the Internet. That seems… reasonable! Not very chilling! (The Internet being the Internet and all!) What is bizarre is to see the D.A. prepare such a labor-intensive assault in the matter of a violation—these charges [...]


A Photo History of Occupy Wall Street

I would very much enjoy this book of photography by always-working photographer Stephanie Keith; it's organized as a chronology of Occupy Wall Street. (To date. Obviously.) It is definitely… art-book priced. (Not cheap!) But that seems reasonable, also, for great documentation of a serious six-month project. Something for Valentine's for the armchair radical in your life?


The Struggle For The Occupy Wall Street Archives

The story of the Occupy Wall Street Archive starts with Jeremy Bold, so we might as well too. When Hollywood decides to cash in and make its OWS movie, central casting could do worse than work off a picture of Bold—he has a dark goatee and black plastic-rimmed glasses. He has a “protest name”—Jez. He's in dark, long-sleeved t-shirts and jeans whenever I see him, hair askew, a well-worn nylon backpack slung over one shoulder and a scarf not infrequently tied around his neck. In other words, he looks like any number of people you might have seen at Zuccotti Park. Jez is 27 and originally from North Dakota. [...]