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Do you know
This is just the beginning?
Do you realize
What has started?
The groans of the people
are getting louder and more numerous.
Even the fact we are struggling through
A winter that is unforgiving
We are still here.
Without struggle how do you expect innovation?
Someone said, in an article I read, that #occupy stands on the shoulders of giants,
referencing the people of the Middle East uprisings,
and I would add
on the shoulders of every other movement that ever came before us.
But we have something that movements throughout history did not. We have the Internet.
This sets us apart.
Our journalists are our own people, many actively participating in the movement as functioning journalists because what they see in the corporate media is government-controlled information. Propaganda. And not just any propaganda, but propaganda harmful to the very foundations of our nation.
Look what they do when we attempt to gather to express our grievances.
Our First Amendment expression is met with police brutality. These civil servants are actively acting against the Constitution.
And it is not their decision to do so.
They are given orders which come from higher levels, coordinated with #DHS and other LEA’s.
The Congressional approval rating is at one of, if not the very, lowest points in history. They know we are angry. They know we are displeased. They know we have valid grievances.
They crack down on us to try to squash our spirit and determination.
Yet they don’t comprehend that all they are doing and have done up to this point is actually a dumping of fuel onto the fires of injustice.
Bitches, please. The Internet is mightier than the bullets, the tear gas, the flash bang grenades. The Internet transcends governments and the Internet transcends national boundaries.
We are the voices of reason in the twisted, corrupt government systems.
We do not forgive. We do not forget. We do not stand idly by when our fellow humans are being beaten, tortured and murdered.
We are legion. And we are not going away. We are only getting stronger. Take heart, spring is just around the corner.
We come from the Internet, and we love. Expect us.
Introducing Occupy Poems, the latest category addition to xo99percent.
These are my poems unless otherwise noted. My poems are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
These are my photographs unless otherwise noted. My photographs are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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I’ll not pretend that this post will make some of those within the Occupy movement like me. But as @kennethlipp always says, and as Ghost reminded me yesterday, “if it can be destroyed by the truth, it should be.” (See original quote by P.C. Hodgell here.)
And as I said yesterday …
It’s a chilly day here in Washington D.C., with wind gusts forecasted up to 35 mph. As I type, a quick Weather Channel check shows it’s 38ºF but feels like 27ºF. Earlier today, I stepped out of Fort Mayhem II (#TOYM DC headquarters) and into the sun. I headed over to CVS on 15th and K streets for a quick warm-up, before heading over to Cosi’s across the street to grab a small coffee (and a much-needed pee break).
Outside CVS this cold January morning sat Antonio. I’ve seen him before, and I’ve passed by him a few times without saying a word, but I’ve flashed him a quick I’m-sorry-I’m-broke-too smile each time.
Antonio sits outside CVS daily, and continually tells passers-by to have a happy new year or speaks blessings to them. He has an easily approachable attitude and is quick to smile. Though I had not stopped to speak with him before — to my own shame — this morning was different.
“I’m sorry I don’t have any money to give you,” I said, as I passed him on my way into the pharmacy.
“That’s all right, you have a blessed day,” he replied, without judgment.
I tooled around the pharmacy for a few minutes while I thought about Antonio and the rant I launched into on Twitter yesterday evening.
For those of you who missed it, I’ll recap it here nearly verbatim in italics and as block quotes, with a few edits for clarity. I’ve also expanded my 140-character thoughts in-between, in regular type and with some additional information.
If you are uncomfortable when the light hits the dirt and exposes the underbelly of the things this movement has ignored — good. You should be uncomfortable. You should be upset. You should take a long, hard look at yourself and at your actions or inactions.
I’ve seen it before — local homeless communities ignored or disdained by occupies. Where is the outreach? Where is your compassion?
Specifically regarding the
#occupydc baby story — most aren’t asking the vital questions. How did he end up homeless in a tent with a baby in the first place — assuming he is homeless and didn’t just choose to occupy?
Ghost and I spoke with K. about this yesterday. K. is another occupier and journalist who was on-scene to record the incident and the action that followed. (The video has not yet been released.) According to K., there was immediate condemnation by an occupier who was present.
“’He has no rights,’” K. said, quoting the occupier who was referring to the man who allegedly left the 13-month-old child in his tent for an undetermined amount of time. (I cannot confirm a specific amount of time as the times stated by all accounts range anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.)
Excuse me? He has no rights? What. The. Fuck? If he has no rights, you have no rights. No one has the right to be judge, jury and executioner.
This snap-judgment alone (and the actions that followed which K. recounted to us, but which I will not describe yet as I have not seen the video and also because of the potential legal ramifications of said actions) is abhorrent. This snap-judgment by an occupier who is at #occupydc 24/7 blows my mind. K. also stated the video will show that said occupier also began to tear down the accused man’s tent.
To that occupier I ask: Did you forget why we are occupying? Did you forget who we are supposedly representing? (That is, we are the 99 percent.) Again I ask, where is your compassion? Also, what the fuck?
To the rest of you, including those on Twitter who are condemning this man as if they are the judge, jury and executioner, I’d like to know why you want to immediately burn this man at the stake.
Why don’t you ask yourselves the following: What is the root of his situation? What is his story? Do you not realize he is human, just like you? Did you forget he is part of the 99 percent, too?
The label “99 percent” is not exclusive to those of us who only occupy 24/7. The 99 percent is not exclusive to those of us who consider ourselves part of the Occupy movement.
Do you not see the failures of our current system which lead to things like this?
Yet people condemn the person rather than condemning the system. And if we are condemning this system to which we are vehemently opposed for all its failures to adequately facilitate equality, do we even have the right to occupy when we ourselves are mimicking a broken system by ignoring those of us who are the most vulnerable?
Open your eyes and realize you hold no right over another human being. You are no better or worse than any other. Unless we stop the in-fighting and bickering and grade-school, petty bullshit, this movement will fail at its loftiest goals.
And unless we stop mimicking the broken system by changing our own actions and attitudes one-by-one, this movement will fail.
Here are some guidelines I tweeted in my anger (in no particular order):
1. Grow the fuck up.
2. Learn how to be respectful and compassionate.
3. Be respectful and compassionate.
4. Realize this isn’t about you. This is about a movement.*
5. Remember actions speak louder than words.
7. Don’t be a cunt.
*And this movement includes the man who was arrested for allegedly leaving a baby alone in his tent at #occupydc/McPherson Square.
We need to come together and patch our broken world, one small community at a time. This is bigger than any singular occupy. If we’re not all in this together — including the most vulnerable — then what is the fucking point?
By ALL I mean ALL. Employed, unemployed, homeless or not, legal or undocumented immigrants, citizens or not, black, white, purple, green, [insert all the additionally irrelevant labels you can imagine here] — it doesn’t fucking matter. We’re all made from the same matter. Have some humanity for fuck’s sake.
This morning I took my own advice. I walked out of CVS and told Antonio I was going to Cosi’s to grab a coffee, and asked if he would like some. He readily accepted.
Antonio, 54, is from New York but has lived in the D.C. area most of his life. He is currently waiting for his disability application to be approved by the government.
“But I don’t sleep outside at night,” he said, and explained he sleeps in a shelter at night.
While I talked with him after getting us coffee, a man stopped as he passed and handed Antonio a five-dollar bill.
“He just gave me good luck,” Antonio exclaimed, and thanked the anonymous, generous man.
We talked for a few more minutes — a little bit about the Occupy movement but mostly about life itself. Before I departed from our conversation, he gave me blessings and also said, “Don’t let your past haunt you. If you find yourself down, pick yourself up and move forward.”
Is even one small act of compassion and generosity contagious? With one simple act of compassion, can you change a person’s day? Life? World? I really hope so.
By the way, Antonio takes his coffee with extra cream and five Splenda.
[Antonio, outside CVS at 15th and K streets. Jan. 13, 2012. Photo by me.
He gave me a hug after I took his portrait.]
We are the 99 percent, and we love.
Thanks to Ghost (together we make up the #gypsycell of #teamoccupyyourmom) for spurring me to rant on Twitter. I’ve taken screenshots of his tweets regarding this topic, as well as tweets from additional people — @OccupyAura, @jeeezelouise and @Kaymee — which I have inserted below as they are important and influenced this post.
If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, be advised you need to scroll down to the bottom of this post and read from the bottom up.
#Occupydc marched down K Street Monday night, Jan. 9, 2012, to the corner of K and 16th streets to protest outside an Obama fundraiser at the Capital Hilton. They chanted and utilized the peoples’ mic to let the 1 percent participants inside know their actions are not going unnoticed.
For additional videos of the #occupydc action, you can visit my Ustream archive at http://ustream.tv/channel/Korgasm
Earlier in the evening, I read on Twitter about a mass of police a couple blocks from McPherson Park, where #occupydc is located. I took a walk and streamed what I saw.
Approximately 50 Metro PD rollers and vans were situated from the corner of K and 15th streets, down to K at 16th Street, and along 16th Street to L and M streets. On M street I overheard an officer tell a curious couple that M street was “completely blocked off.”
Indeed it was completely blocked off to vehicle traffic — but not to foot traffic. I successfully streamed the police presence in the area without being approached by them.
At M and 15th streets was a scooter brigade of approximately 20 scooter cops. More rollers and vans lined 15th, down the corners on 14th Street at both M and L streets.
I asked two cops at the corner 14th and L streets why M Street was blocked off. “An accident,” one replied.
Funny, I saw no accident.
I continued back to McPherson where I warmed up and tried to figure out via Twitter if there was some type of event occurring. Indeed, there was.
After I learned this, I tweeted that #occupydc should mic-check the fundraiser. Curiously enough, they decided to (whether they were spurred by my tweet to do so I don’t know). After about half an hour, #occupydc journeyed back to McPherson.
No other media presence could be seen at the corner of K and 16th streets, except an NBC satellite truck with no reporters present outside. I was the only media present. Why? Perhaps they are too busy basking in the glow of their corporate overlords, who are busy stuffing the pockets of the politicians who continually neglect the American people on the whole. Do as you’re told and no one gets hurt. Right?
According to ABC News, Obama graced his donors’ presence at two different fundraisers that night, raking in over $1.2 million. One event was closed to not only the public but to media (o noes!) as well:
Earlier in the evening, Obama attended an exclusive fundraiser with 25 supporters at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington. Each paid $45,000 to attend, according to a Democratic official. The event, which was closed to all press coverage, was dubbed a “roundtable discussion” by a White House spokesman. — ABC News
Monday night’s fundraiser at the Capital Hilton benefitted the Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee. As OpenSecretsBlog reports, the Victory Fund is a joint-fundraising committee for Obama and the DNC. Top benefactors include the employees of Goldman Sachs, DreamWorks, Comcast and Disney.
Who else volunteers to raise funds for the President (“bundlers”)? Hollywood heavy hitter Harvey Weinstein, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf and Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, among others. The full list released by Obama’s campaign is here.
It’s no wonder we see legislation introduced like SOPA. Pay off a president and it seems he’ll let anything pass.
Remember kids, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Monied interests are more dangerous to our civil liberties than standing armies.”
Protest on, #Occupy.
When Ghost and I returned to our respected home bases from a month on the road, streaming, tweeting and blogging from #occupydc, #occupybham, #occupyNOLA, #occupyaustin, and the #D12 port shutdown action in Houston, we were both spent.
I wasn’t able to blog as much as I wanted to during that month, due to lack of consistent power sources, sketchy wifi and personal writing issues. Now that we are full-time occupying at #occupydc, generally have access to power and wifi, and are in somewhat of a routine, it would be a let down were I not to write.
At a time when many full-time on-site occupiers have burnt out, and rightfully so, I am reminded of something that keeps me going — the generosity and compassion of those that support the occupy movement.
We arrived in D.C. the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. We spent the first two nights occupying the floor of two fellow occupiers who were kind enough to let us occupy their apartment.
Day two, January 4, we went on a shopping excursion to purchase a tent with funds donated from people on Twitter. (The tent has been dubbed Fort Mayhem 2 … #FM2.) We attended the general assembly (GA) that night and Thursday we officially began our #occupydc occupation. (Ghost’s third time here, my second.)
Our new neighbor whom I’ll call B has been most helpful and welcoming. He even got into an epic zipper battle with @unknown_vector yesterday because he wasn’t aware that I was inside FM2, writing. (Ghost had asked him to keep an eye on it.) B is looking out for us and we’ve barely been here three days.
This afternoon I tweeted out a need for pizza, and the plea was answered in deliciousness. Food purchased for the occupation by complete strangers. I had a bit of déjà vú as @unknown_vector and I carried the first batch back to McPherson.
[Today at #occupydc. Donated pizzas. <3]
I’m humbled by my fellow humans’ and occupiers’ generosity. The basic needs of occupiers are met every day by unseen people who work behind the scenes to help provide for occupiers all around the world. Many people can’t afford to help much, but they give what they can and for that I am extremely grateful.
We have even been offered a laptop which is sorely needed for video streaming and editing purposes. We’ve received two webcams with which to stream. We’ve received a loaned mobile power source. All of this just today.
The #gypsycell of #teamoccupyyourmom could not do what we do, were it not for the donations and love of (mostly) complete strangers. We can only do this because of you. Thank you.
Happy Public Easement Day! … @SabzBrach celebrating the day, 11/24/11.
#occupybham is set up on the sidewalk in front of Regions Bank, in the financial district of Birmingham, Al. The steps in front of the bank are a public easement, meaning the bank does not own the stairs and does not have the authority to request we move ourselves from them (even if they think they do). The steps lead to an open plaza/platform which lead up to the doors of the bank. The plaza/platform is technically owned by Regions.
Many of our interactions with the local people have been positive, however, Regions doesn’t take too kindly to the occupiers in front of their building.
Yesterday morning, @SabzBrach and L, another occupier, were doing yoga stretches at the top of the stairs, on the platform. I was also sitting atop the top step, partially on the platform. A security guard came out and stated we had to move off the platform space. We kindly obliged by moving down onto the steps — the public easement — where @SabzBrach and L continued their yoga.
Approximately 10 − 15 minutes later, Birmingham police arrived to ask us to get off the steps. Mind you, the steps in question in front of the bank are public space and we have every right to occupy them as we choose — a BPD officer confirmed to us yesterday that the steps are, in fact, a public easement. However, as it was a holiday and we knew Regions would keep calling BPD as long as we occupied the steps, we obliged yet again and instead made signs and created a new holiday: Public Easement Day.
My question is this — will Regions call BPD every time any random member of the public sits or stands on those public steps? Seriously? Or are they just discriminating against we who occupy? My guess is the latter.
News flash, Regions: The steps are a public easement. I’m pretty sure if you continue to complain to BPD, you’ll get cited for calling them when there is no emergency, and/or for harassment. That’s just a guess. That’s how it should be, in my humble opinion.
The following is a video I took of the tail-end of our interaction with Birmingham Police, who have been epically kind and supportive of #occupybham occupiers thus far. I’m guessing it’s a Southern kindness type of thing. =)
Note that the opinions/hand gestures inserted are entirely of my own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of others at #occupybham. I was sick and tired and cold (still am).
#teamoccupyyourmom citizen journalist @an0nyc was arrested by the NYPD Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on 6th Avenue. He was arrested during the Occupy Wall Street #N17 march from Union Square to Foley Square.
We were marching with thousands of other protesters down the middle of 6th Avenue when @an0nyc, @TheRealGiest and others (I do not know their Twitter handles) became separated from our group, which also included @Ghostpickles, @liamphuckall and others.
CNN reporter Amber Lyon tweeted this morning that she received a phone call confirming his arrest. A follow-up tweet from Ms. Lyon stated the phone call was from @an0nyc’s girlfriend. Those tweets have since been deleted, but I took these two screenshots prior to deletion:
Here is the raw audio from the short interview with @TheRealGiest:
We are currently working on getting more information and will post updates as soon as possible. Information about the legal fund for @an0nyc will be announced when it is set up.
I am a dissident. With dissent comes the weird, right? I’ve been experiencing bizarre things the past few weeks, including the incident referenced here.
I have publicly advocated for the #occupywallstreet movement for months now. I covered#sept17 / #ows from the beginning on Twitter. I recorded this video and uploaded it for people to see the way the NYPD acted on Sept. 20, 2011 at Zuccotti Park. That video has over 300,000 page views.
I am visible and I have a loud mouth. I show you what I see occurring around me because the corporate media will not. The very foundation of my online presence, Korgasm, has taken a backseat to this movement. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are missing out on their weekly dose of fap-fiction. I digress.
I am continuously in public conversation on Twitter with many people. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think the government might take notice of my public conversations with allegedly Anonymous-associated people on Twitter.
I could be paranoid. Or all the weirdness lately could be exactly what I know it to be. To protect the innocent, I will divulge nothing further, and will not go into any further detail (of which there is much), as is my right.
I have something more to say, however.
The government hates Anonymous. They hate you and they hate me. We are all anonymous to them. Why? Because we are a nameless sea of filth to them. Because we want a fair shot at life. Because social programs that take care of society take money out of their pockets. Because ending endless wars would mean an end to the rampant profiteering. Because to let all people enjoy their lives in peaceful societies would threaten their way of life. And their way of life is greed.
Yet they play war with our lives and our livelihoods. They play games with our economy. They kick us out of our homes, to sleep in the cold, on a bench or sidewalk or in a tent, if we’re lucky.
They send our poor, patriotic sons and daughters off to be killed, because their own legacy matters more to them than a lesser human life.
The 21st Century isn’t your parents’ or your grandparents’ century. It is our century – the century which includes and creates global dialogue and ushers in the Internet revolutions.
Don’t listen to corporate media/mainstream media. Find alternate news. Find the truth. The corporate media are owned by the people who oppress us and aim to suppress us and our freedoms.
They are lying to you, which includes not telling the whole truth, so help me guise-of-god.
I digress. The point is that no matter how much the government may fuck with those within the movement, they cannot touch the movement because it is an idea. It is a collection of ideas.
They can arrest us for blocking traffic …
They can pepper-spray us …
And they can beat us with their bats …
And they can arrest us for protecting electronic equipment with a tarp on a rainy day …
but they can’t arrest an idea.
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