#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines


Written by Jennifer Sacks for The Occupied Wall Street Journal

"For Real, Dude?" A woman stares down a Virginia state policeman during a peaceful International Women's Day demonstration. Photo: Style Weekly/Buzzfeed

This week in Occupy, International Women’s Day was #occupied, the bill for NYPD misbehavior came due, the CEO of B of A was mic-checked and New York City lined up for unemployment on Super Tuesday.

#On March 3, ahead of International Women’s Day, more than a thousand demonstrators gathered at the Virginia State Capitol to protest a new amendment that passed the Virginia House requiring women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. 31 people were arrested by the State Police Tactical Team, which arrived fully armed and brandishing plastic shields at the behest of Governor Bob McDonnell.

#On March 8, CODEPINK protesters wearing superhero costumes rallied outside a Beverly Hills Bank of America branch in support of women and families who have lost their homes due to bank foreclosures. CODEPINK activists in New York, joined by members of the Church of Stop Shopping, protested inside a Bank of America branch near Zuccotti Park.

B of A or Bust: Women from Occupy SF call for the end of corporate banking on International Women's Day. Photo: CODEPINK

#5,000 demonstrators formed a three-mile line stretching from lower Manhattan to Union Square to protest unemployment timed to the Super Tuesday primaries. Here’s a series of photos and video of The Line.

#A group of topless CODEPINK protesters mic-checked Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, while he delivered an address at the Citigroup Financial Conference. They also had a message for Moynihan painted on their chests: “Bust up Bank of America before it busts up America.”

#For the last few months, police officers or detectives have been posted outside buildings where private Occupy Wall Street meetings were taking place, have visited the homes of organizers and have questioned protesters arrested on minor charges. Four are suing the city.

#An internal NYPD investigation confirmed that surreptitious recordings made by a Bed-Stuy police officer correctly represented a department-wide conspiracy in which superiors urged the rank-and-file to manipulate arrest statistics by arresting people who were doing little more than standing on the street while disregarding actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports. For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and was forcibly institutionalized by the NYPD in retaliation. Needless to say, he is suing.

#Mayors and law enforcement across the country fear that the illegal surveillance operations the NYPD has conducted throughout the Northeast have eroded the trust between Muslim communities and law enforcement, making it far less likely that Muslims will report terrorist plots if they do arise.

#Asked about the NYPD spying meant to prevent terrorism, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last year, “We don’t stop to think about the religion.” Turns out that’s not true: Catholics and Jews were specifically left out.

Holding The Line: 5,000 people took a stand against unemployment in NYC. Photo: Stefan Hagen

#The NYPD’s “Syrian Locations of Concern Report,” issued to keep tabs on New York’s Syrian community, misidentified at least five Brooklyn businesses that are not only not Syrian-owned, but not even Muslim-owned.

#Protesters from the Northern Manhattan Restaurant and Lounge Association demonstrated in front of NYPD headquarters demanding action be taken against the Vice Squad for its repeated undercover stings that border on harassment and result in fines. A lawsuit has been filed.

#College faculty across the country signed a letter asking Mayor Bloomberg to fire his police chief and public information commissioner over the NYPD’s racist stop-and-frisk policy.

#Ann Nolan, an attorney in St. Cloud, Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party, told the St. Cloud Times that the Occupy movement inspired her to enter the congressional race. Her opponent: Michele Bachmann. Yes, this Michele Bachmann.

#In a legislative victory for the Occupy movement, a Des Moines jury found an Occupy Iowa protester not guilty of trespassing on Statehouse grounds.

#Three Occupy Oakland protesters face robbery and hate crime—yes, hate crime—charges for an incident at a protest last week. The women and queers of Occupy Oakland are particularly offended at the charges, which they say are categorically false, and an emergency demonstration is planned at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on March 12.

#Members of Occupy New Haven announced in a letter to city officials they will not leave the upper Green as requested by the city because their stay is “not a camping trip,” but a “visual testament to the growing class inequality present in our city, nation and world.”

#One year after Governor Scott Walker pushed a shameful union busting bill through the Wisconsin legislature, 68,000 Wisconsinites demonstrated to show they still stand in solidarity against politicians who strip workers of their rights.

Theresa from Occupy Philly. Photo: 99 Faces, 99 Signs/Tumblr

#Monique White, an embattled North Minneapolis homeowner around whom the Occupy Our Homes movement has rallied to stave off foreclosure and eviction, had her day in court.

#Alma Counts, an 82-year-old resident of northwest Detroit, is drawing on the support of Occupy Detroit and a committed lawyer to help fight off an impending foreclosure on the home she has lived in for 39 years.

#Occupy L.A. protesters #occupied the foreclosed North Hollywood home of undocumented immigrant Blanca Cardenas, who is also being threatened with deportation. They were met by 20 LAPD cops in riot gear.

#On March 5, thousands of Occupy protesters and students from area colleges converged on the state Capitol in Sacramento, California, and staged a Fund our Future rally to protest budget cuts to education. 72 were arrested.

#Riot police used pepper spray and tear gas on Quebec students as they protested rising tuition fees in Montreal.

#Occupy Santa Cruz converged on the Water Street Courthouse and marched to local banks to protest foreclosure fraud. “I don’t understand why we’re kicking people out while the banks and private investment companies and loan investment officers are all making money when we’re creating more homeless people,” said Jacqueline Seydel, one of the protestors.

#Five members of Occupy Cleveland interrupted a sheriff’s sale of foreclosed properties. “Until we have a justice system that holds banks accountable we want people to know that there is a movement, and that it is O.K. to fight back,” said Peter Schanz, an organizer from the occupation’s foreclosure committee.

Suncor Energy gets #occupied. Photo: Climate Connections

#Occupy Denver, joined by several environmental groups, #occupied the site of Suncor Energy’s oil leak on the shore of Sand Creek in Commerce City, Colorado. Acting as private Attorneys General under the authority of the Clean Water Act, water samples were taken to be tested for contaminants during a demonstration that sought to direct public attention to the fact that Suncor Energy’s continued negligence and environmental degradation is killing Colorado communities, water and wildlife.

#The Coalition of Immokalee Workers staged a fast outside the headquarters of Publix Super Markets in Lakeland, Florida, to urge the company to join a program that supports pay increases for tomato pickers and prevents human rights violations against farmworkers.

#On March 6, during Senator Carl Levin’s address to AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—an activist with Occupy Wall Street and CODEPINK unfurled a large “Don’t Bomb Iran” banner.

#A Berkeley economist reported that in 2010, the first full year since the “end” of the Great Recession, virtually all of the income growth in America took place among the country’s very wealthiest people. That year, the top 1 percent of earners took in a full 93 percent of all the income gains, leaving the other 7 percent of gains to be sprinkled among the vast majority of society.

#Meet the 1%: Forbes has released its list of the world’s billionaires.

#The very rich are more apt to lie, cheat and steal than the 99%, a new study revealed, shocking absolutely no one.

#The IRS is finally beginning to crack down on overtly political groups that claim a special tax-exempt status in order to funnel secret money into election-related advertising.

A Majority, Marginalized: Two International Women's Day demonstrators point out the dearth of women lawmakers. Photo: Rae Abileah/CODEPINK

#Wells Fargo, the bank with the most U.S. branches, has ended free checking in six eastern states in an attempt to recover revenue lost under new financial rules.

#Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse are defendants in a U.S. civil case brought by investors—ranging from mutual funds to individual traders to the city of Baltimore—who say they lost profits due to distortion of the London Interbank Offered Rate, a measure of the cost of borrowing between banks that serves as a benchmark for over $350 trillion worth of financial products worldwide.

#While the Obama administration has promised to strengthen protections for whistleblowers, it has also launched an aggressive crackdown on government employees who have leaked national security information to the press, ProPublica reported.

#The original wording of the indefinite detention clause in the the National Defense Authorization Act specifically exempted U.S. citizens.

#In the latest development in the war on voting rights, the Justice Department’s civil rights division has objected to a new photo ID requirement for voters in Texas because many Hispanic voters lack state-issued identification.

#Sabu, the most prominent member of Anonymous—real name Hector Xavier Monsegur—has reportedly been an FBI informant for the last several months, and thanks to his help, authorities rounded up the last members of LulzSec, the notorious defunct hacking group he once led. A donation website has been set up for one of them, Jeremy Hammond, who leaked the Stratfor e-mails.

#A Bank of America in Lakeport, California, refused to accept cash for Rob Somerton’s mortgage payment, citing “bank policy.” In fact, they found his desired method of payment so baffling they called the police.

#A day after Vladimir Putin reclaimed the Russian presidency, an estimated 14,000 protesters gathered, blasting the victory as illegitimate.

#A group of exiled Iranian women posed nude for a new video in a protest against sexual oppression in their native country.

Girls, Interrupted: Peaceful, unarmed protesters were beset upon by police at an International Women's Day demonstration in Virginia.

#A majority of Greek and Spanish workers are now unemployed for the first time in history.

#The carnage in Syria continues, as 45 women and children were summarily executed by government forces in Homs.

#Multimillionaire Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney will be at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a fundraiser on March 14 and a Mr. 1% Rally will be there to greet him. Stop by dressed in your top hats and tails.

#Jamie Dimon turns 56 tomorrow. Surprise him with a mic-check at his home or office.

#Occupy Vacant Lots is reclaiming land in Philadelphia for gardening and growing food, but legal challenges may upend its work.

#KdawG has produced an Occupy Wall Street music video.

#Atlanta Jobs for Justice is camping out at the AT&T Building at 675 W Peachtree St. NE. on March 14 ahead of an anticipated round of layoffs.

Modern-Day Serpico: Adrian Schoolcraft, NYPD whistleblower. Photo: Martin Benjamin

#Around the country, local police are acquiring military-inspired hardware with the help of the federal government—the Department of Homeland Security has handed out $34 billion in grants for equipment since 9/11—leaving local forces that are militarized and aggressive.

#Occupy University is just what it sounds like—a university for everyone, run by the Occupy movement.

#The Occupy movement is fighting BAC against Bank of America with a series of Move Your Money actions and local demonstrations starting on March 15. In that spirit, here’s what it looks like when Occupy forecloses on a local B of A branch.

#Submissions for Occupy Thought, a project to bring together and publish theoretical work on and from the occupations, including writing from both concerned theorists and theoretically-minded activists, will be accepted until March 20.

#Here are six ways you can get involved with the May 1 general strike.

#There have been 6,705 arrests since Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011.

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