#Occupied: Reports from the Front Lines


Written by Jennifer Sacks for The Occupied Wall Street Journal

Occupy Homes MN fights to keep Frank and Kristina Clark from foreclosure. Photo: Occupy Homes MN

This week in Occupy, AT&T employees declared victory in Atlanta, more media got #occupied, an abandoned building in San Francisco was annexed for use as a homeless service center and SB 469, Georgia’s anti-protest bill, was defeated.

#Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Communications Workers of America Local 3204 and Occupy Atlanta announced a historic victory in preventing over 255 layoffs at AT&T, closing a 42-day-long tent occupation.

#On April 1, Occupy SF activists took over an unoccupied building owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco with plans to establish a permanent occupation that will serve as shelter and a homeless services center.

Occupy SF successfully #occupied a vacant building to establish a homeless services center. Photo: Occupy SF

#Also on that day, Occupy Wall Street protesters marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to commemorate the six month anniversary of their first protest on the Bridge, which resulted in over 700 arrests.

#Occupy Boston has disbanded. NOT! April Fools: #occupied.

#After a day of demonstration by organized labor, Occupy Atlanta, faith-based communities, social justice organizations and Georgia’s immigrant community, SB 469 – a bill sponsored by four members of ALEC which would have prohibited mass picketing by organized labor – was effectively killed.

#A recall election has been ordered by the Government Accountability Board for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who rescinded collective bargaining rights for public employees last year, triggering a wave of activism and occupation. Fun fact: the Democrat he narrowly defeated in 2010 announced he was jumping into the race. Rematch!

#On March 31, thousands of people marched to the steps of the Sanford Police Department and demanded justice for Trayvon Martin.

#On March 29, 5,500 people donned hoodies in Minneapolis and marched for Trayvon, whose killer remains free.

Activists and Alpacas, Oh My!: Occupy the EPA and NOW DC takes 14th Street NW in Washington, D.C. on March 31. Photo: Occupy the EPA

#Occupy Maine held a raucous event outside the Portland Museum of Art on March 30 where President Obama was holding a $5,000 fundraiser. Occupiers passed out free soup while calling attention to corporate greed, economic inequality and the influence of money in politics.

#Occupy Atlanta is occupying the home of 62-year-old Christine Frazer, who is set to be evicted after 18 years of home ownership.

#South Carolina’s House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill directly targeted at Occupy Columbia that would ban camping and sleeping in and around the state capitol and other buildings on the grounds.

#Occupy Chicago protesters traveled to Houston to mic-check Craig Donohue, the CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, to criticize him for the massive tax breaks the company received from the state after making “empty threats” to move out of the state. In January, protesters gifted a golden toilet to CME Group chairman Terrence Duffy.

#Demonstrators were waiting for leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as he arrived for a private fundraising event in Redwood Shores, California, on March 26.

#On March 30, former Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn expressed support for Occupy Wall Street during a visit to Union Square. The sublime later gave way to the ridiculous as the park was shut down at midnight and protesters challenged the police to a rap battle.

Give Class War a Chance: Priscilla Grim and Chris, editors of the We Are the 99 Percent tumblr, accepting their Shorty Award on March 27.

#In the latest example of how Chicago and Milwaukee are teaming up against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 100 people protested Emanuel in Milwaukee on April 1 as he spoke at a $400 dollar-a-plate fundraiser for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s run for governor. Here’s some video.

#Occupy Toronto has erected a blockade in front of the courthouse 52 Division and have issued four demands, including the unconditional release of three occupiers still being held in Toronto jails and a public inquiry into Toronto police violence.

#Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are seeking an alternative commencement because New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is slated to deliver the commencement address. “In hosting this ceremony we stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement and with all movements for social, economic, and environmental justice,” Alanna Davis of Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro said.

#On April 1, a toy protest was held in front of FAO Schwarz, the Lego store and Toys R Us in midtown Manhattan, an homage to the tongue-in-cheek toy protests of Russia.

#On March 24, when thousands took to the New York City streets to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, a small group of environmentalists from the Occupy Wall Street affinity group Disrupt Dirty Power donned business suits and demonstrated in front of the United Nations. Five were arrested, including OWSJ editor Michael Levitin.

#After anti-war protesters who plan to descend on Chicago for the NATO conference in May were denied their preferred route through the Loop, they gave city officials an ultimatum: Give us an alternate route we like, or we’ll take you to court.

#Occupy New Haven, the last remaining New England outpost of the Occupy Wall Street movement, faces imminent removal by the city after the mayor granted them a two-week court ordered delay from their expulsion order. The order and threatened expulsion occurred during Yale University’s spring break, which was likely the driving force behind this act.

A Journalist, Jailed: Michael Levitin of the OWSJ arrested for peacefully protesting in front of the UN. Photo: Alex Fradkin

#Kristina and Frank Clark, who are working with Occupy Minnesota to try and persuade Bank of America to renegotiate their mortgage so they can remain in the home, hosted a “Foreclosure Free Barbeque” at their Coon Rapids home March 17.

#Ten-term Congressman Bobby Rush was kicked off the House floor for donning a hoodie and sunglasses in honor of Trayvon Martin as he recited scripture. “As the the chair must remind members that clause 5 of rule 17 prohibits the wearing of hats in the chamber when the house is in session,” presiding officer Gregg Harper (R – Miss.) intoned humorlessly as he tossed Rush out.

#Several well-known journalists and activists, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and Naomi Wolf, have filed suit in Manhattan challenging the NDAA, saying that they reasonably fear that their First Amendment rights may be denied. Some have gone so far to say they are afraid to interview activists and occupiers for fear they may be labeled terrorists as well. During the hearing, Wolf reported, President Obama’s lawyers repeatedly refused to assure the judge that the NDAA could not be used to sweep up journalists doing journalism and peaceful protesters engaged in peaceful protest.

#Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who was convicted a year ago on two felony accounts for placing bids and disrupting an auction for pristine Utah wilderness sites that would have been opened to gas and oil exploration, is languishing mysteriously in isolation at the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit in California.

#The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the right to strip-search inmates no matter how minor the offense, as long as they are destined for the general prison population.

The Toys Are All Right: A toy protest tours midtown Manhattan. Photo: Erik McGregor

#The National Lawyers Guild, along with several other groups, is releasing documents that they say show that the Department of Homeland Security had a strong hand in the coordinated crackdown on Occupy groups nationwide.

#The NSA is building a ginormous $2 billion spy center deep in a Utah valley that will intercept, decipher, analyze and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.

#British lawmakers and rights activists are fiercely protesting plans by the government to give the intelligence and security services the ability to monitor the phone calls, e-mails, text messages and Internet use of every person in the country.

#These corporations don’t even pretend to pay taxes. The worst offender? Goldman Sachs.

#Goldman Sachs was one of the financiers of Backpage.com, notorious for its role in the perpetuation of sex trafficking – until Nicholas Kristof of the Times exposed them and they were forced to divest.

#Creative direct action at its finest: The owner of a Maryland abortion clinic was sick of getting creepy, harassing phone calls at his home, so he founded Voice of Choice, which gives it back to the stalkerish right-to-lifers by calling them at home.

"You Can't Evict a Living Tent": Occupy Worcester members have joined Occupy Boston in Dewey Square. Photo: Occupy Worcester

#Widespread availability of The Pill has played a major role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

#The war on women is losing steam, thanks to protests and angry phone calls, HuffPo reports.

#Fox Nation has been airing anti-Occupy videos created by a provocateur and passing them off as real news, Occupy Riverwest reports.

#Two Occupy Wall Street media platforms won Shorty Awards, which honor the best content producers on social media: the We Are the 99 Percent tumblr and Justin Wedes for the @OccupyWallStNYC Twitter account. “It’s been four years since the worst economic fraud perpetrated in history and 7,000 whistleblowers arrested. #OccupyWallStreet,” Wedes said upon accepting his ward. Uncomfortably, brutality-happy Mayor Michael Bloomberg also won an honor, for Foursquare Mayor of the Year in #NYC.

#Welcome to the Occupied Media fold: Occupy the Midwest Press, #Occupy Observations, Occupied Stories, the Occupy.net newswire, The Occupy Wall Street Press and Occupy.com.

#On March 26, students walked out of their classes at Mount Zion High School in Jonesboro, Georgia, to protest the racial profiling that led to the stalking and murder of Trayvon Martin. Facing suspension, Aspen Evans, the senior class secretary, penned a letter to the administration.

#As of the fourth quarter of 2011, the mortgages on more than 11.1 million U.S. homes, or 22.8% of the nation’s 48.7 million mortgaged homes, were underwater. Completely submerged are Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Michigan.

Victory Lap: Marchers take the Brooklyn Bridge to mark six months since an earlier attempt at crossing resulted in the arrests of 700. Photo: Associated Press

#Foreclosures and evictions are perilous to your mental health, which is why we must #occupy them.

#The ranks of working poor in Europe are growing, with many taking up residence in shantytowns.

#Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo has ruled that the University of California can release a report on the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators by UC Davis police last November – but must first remove the names of most officers.

#New York City has a Trayvon Martin: his name is Ramarley Graham and he was killed by a NYPD officer on February 2.

#On March 31, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous march for Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Photo: Bay 9 News

#The people of Spain are fighting aggressive austerity measures amidst a deepening crisis that’s seen retirement, unemployment and severance benefits slashed.

#Occupy London has joined forces with several environmental and public groups to prevent the construction of an Olympics training center on the Leyton Marshes. Townspeople and demonstrators visit daily in support.

#The Asian Human Rights Commission has released appeals concerning human rights issues in South Korea, among them two people who participated in demonstrations and have had their rights suppressed by the government. Read their stories and send them support here.

#A photography exhibition at Station Museum in Houston is featuring August Bradley’s photographic series 99 Faces of Occupy Wall Street.

#Learn how to get money out of politics here.

Waiting For Mitt: Protesters greet Mitt Romney in Northern California on March 26. Photo: Dan Honda

#Occupy University Open Forums on “Studying May Day and the General Strike” will be conducted in Union Square in New York from noon to 2 p.m. on April 15, 22 and 29.

#Occupy Worcester will be joining in a national day of protest and action in regards to public transportation on April 4. At 3 p.m., occupiers will gather outside of Union Station with signs and flyers to protest the mishandling of public transportation in America, particularly the underfunding of the WRTA and the proposed budget cuts and fare increases for the MBTA.

#Help print the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology.

#According to Occupy Arrests, 6,846 whistleblowers have been arrested since the second American Revolution began on September 17, 2011. All day, all week.

This week’s roundup was brought to you in conjunction with Occupy ALL the Updates, curated by citizen journalist and Occupy News Expert SIUKittyPie.

Want to report news about your occupation or meetup? Email us at occupymedia@gmail.com.