January 17, in Washington, DC – the #teamoccupyyourmom / xo99percent reunion at Occupy Congress
On Occupy’s four-month anniversary, Occupy Congress will hit the streets of Washington, DC. A grassroots effort, Occupy Congress is planning meetings with Congressional Representatives as well as rallies around the Capitol and a large multi-occupation General Assembly. Many of us will be staying with Occupy K Street in McPherson Square.
This administration has broken the social contract and bond with its citizens. The Occupy Congress Buses are filling up quickly, hopefully bringing thousands of people from across the country to the front steps of Congress.
Because while Occupiers have been busy with evictions, raids and arrests, Congress passed and President Obama signed the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2012 into law, bringing with it the possibility of indefinite detention for American citizens.
Because we currently face two additional threats to our free speech, access to information and free communication, and our ability to even demand our rights – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Enemy Expatriation Act.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a great resource for news on SOPA, on which debate has been postponed until Congress returns from recess. SOPA, sponsored by seemingly every large corporation, would give the government the power to shut down sites that are even suspected of committing copyright infringement. The bill is being sold as an anti-piracy measure, but its reach is so far beyond that. During the massive campaign to stop SOPA, a Phillies blogger detailed the implications the bill would have on fan sites and blogs. For the sake of transparency, please know that the writer is a long-time friend of mine from college. Ryan says, if he were to post a video of the Humpty Dance to the zoowithroy Phillies blog* -
- I’d be guilty of a felony for linking to that video.
- ZWR would be liable because he owns the site on which it was posted and as such be guilty of a felony and the copyright holder would instantly be allowed to shut down the site permanently.
- The company that hosts ZWR’s webservers is guilty of a felony for hosting the site.
- The guy that uploaded it to YouTube would have committed a felony by uploading it.
- YouTube is guilty of a felony for hosting it and/or not preventing it from being uploaded in the first place and, as such, could be shut down permanently.
- If ZWR were tweet the link to this post, Twitter would also be guilty of a felony and could also be shut-down because they (inadvertently) linked to this post.
Furthermore, SOPA may allow for the government to conduct deep-packet inspection, tracking and analyzing user-transmitted data, a filtering technique famously employed by Iran (aided by Nokia Siemens) to track and find activists in the violent aftermath of the 2009 Presidential elections. During the early days of the Arab Spring, it was reportedly used in Syria, Egypt, Libya and possibly Tunisia for the same purpose.
As for the Enemy Expatriation Act, our corporate-owned media has yet to cover it, but the text of the bill is clear enough:
112th Congress: 2011-2012
To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.
Couple this with the NDAA and the Department of Defense considering protests low-level terrorism, and it is clear that we have to continue to speak out while we are able.
Occupy Congress is the next necessary step for the Occupy Movement.
Early backlash against the event tried to paint it as an SEIU-organized-or-sponsored event, suggesting that this was the union’s attempt to co-opt the movement, push for Obama 2012, and dilute Occupy’s message. The underlying implication was that Occupy Congress was a Democratic Party event and conservatives should not attend.
I spoke with Occupy Congress organizers, who assured me, “the SEIU has zero role in organizing this event.” This was corroborated by a long-time Occupy K Street activist I’ve met and consider trustworthy. Finally, an unknown individual or group using the hashtag #TCOT (‘Top Conservatives on Twitter’, a standard tag for conservative-leaning members) along with the Occupy Wall Street #OWS tag, issued this promotional poster in support of the action -
It’s been a long winter…a long 3+ months. It will be rejuvenating to finally meet Occupiers from across the country who we’ve only seen in video and pictures. We are influencing each other and changing the course of this country. I can think of no better way forward than to meet on January 17, chant nonsense, yell ‘SPOON’ at the top of my lungs, and parade around the Capitol. Please join us.
More information on #J17 can be found via Occupy Congress -
- on Twitter as @re_occupy
- and on the Occupy Congress January 17th, 2012 Facebook page
Join the planning on the Occupy Congress Wiki.
*It’s a long season and Phillies bloggers are a strange breed.