Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Week on the Curb

It has been another frustrating week. It is the solstice and a holiday for the few remaining Pagans it is also Homeless Memorial Day. A vigil will be held to remember those that die alone in the cold and dark each year. Then everyone will go back to the mall and buy another trinket for venerable Yorgi.

Many of our merry band of malcontents have gone off to refresh in the bosom of their biological families. I do not blame them as the family of occupy has become fragmented and looks upon some of as the crazy uncle that pisses in the punchbowl. It angers me that people are co-opting our dedication and action to start their petition drives and third party politics. They criticize us when the police come and kick our asses. They talk about putting pressure on our elected officials ignoring the fact that we are the pressure. Your Emails are deleted and the commander in deceit raises the threshold for his meaningless web zone signups.

They tell us we look bad with the crazy howling at the moon and they should go. As those folks that I share the benches with remind me when we step over the boundaries of their community, They were there when we came and they have been there for years. This has been their fight since they lost their job or their love or their strength or their mind. We have no right to exclude them as our county wide GA suggests. Are we to treat them as the rest of society already has. Move along, don’t make me look at you and know the fear. Fear is the mind killer and the dead thoughts are replaced with hatred but the anger is misplaced. It is the need for greed that has created this abysmal blight. A man running to be leader of the free world has so many houses that he cannot remember them all while in the real world women are raped on the street where they sleep denied the last of their humanity.

The tools of the war machine come down to our celebration as invited guests. We tried to show them we had no evil intent. They smiled and patted us on the head and said, “Be good little sheep and here are the rules. Oh and another thing you cannot give food to the hungry.” If you feed them they might live and stay and continue to scare us besides Xmas is for shopping silly protestor. Charity is for those that come on their knees begging as supplicants that will work for food and never complain that there are no books in the schools. We have nothing for these idle bums that walk all over town to collect enough cans for breakfast, they must move along and find Jebus in another town.

I think the only useful thing I have done on the courthouse steps is to treat some folks with respect, to listen and talk and share what food I am able. I have no illusion that the world will soon change but all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shots for solidarity

Re-Occupy Day

Today we come together to celebrate the freedoms we have under the constitution of the United States. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and the right to be secure within our persons and papers.

We hold these truth’s to be self evident. All men are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. Be that creator a god as some believe or the combination of chemical processes governed by the laws of physics that over the process of 4 billion years evolved into us makes no difference we have those rights from birth.

But we only retain those rights, they only have meaning when we are free to exercise them. When the police come and steal our political speech in the form of our signs and banners they deprive us of our birthright. When they fence us off the courthouse lawn to deny us our right to assemble there they cut the heart out of those rights and that is why we are here today. I am updating the language a bit and using the word person rather then man as I prefer to include all persons in the umbrella of humanity and all persons are harmed when any of us are denied our basic rights.

A person only has those rights that they can defend. We come here to show the folks in power that we will defend our rights. We will Occupy this space as we are free women and men that have the right to peaceably assemble. We post our signs because as free people we have the right to voice our political concerns. We will not allow the petty tyranny of a local ordinance to deter us. We will not allow armed thugs to disregard those freedoms. We are committed to nonviolence so when the police come they can arrest us but we will return. We will be in the courts suing those officers and officials but most of all we will be here on the steps of the courthouse some of us beaten but none of us bowed and we will prevail.

The consent of the governed. We are the 99% is the credo of our movement. We are the governed and we never consented to this. We reject the crony capitalism and the for sale to the highest bidder government that it has produced. We reject the imperialism that has led to death and destruction around the globe. We reject the prison industrial complex and the torture and dehumanization that it runs on and the destruction it brings to our communities.

5425 occupiers have been arrested while no bankers have been prosecuted. The people that destroyed our way of life got 17 trillion dollars to rebuild and we get jail cells.
We reject the buyer beware capitalism that allows the 1% to steal from the middle class and we reject the criminalization of being poor. The way we do this is to stand together on the steps of the courthouse and demand that the rights of all people be respected.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mission Revision

We are Occupy Eureka and we have decided to stand up to the perverse desire of corporations to wring every penny of profit from every enterprise. They deliberately push beyond the limits of laws and regulations with disastrous consequences to the workers and the environment. When caught they lie, deny and obfuscate.
The privatization of government functions must stop. The militarization of the police must end. Public education must be properly funded and extend beyond K-12.
We must end foreign wars and the systematic oppression of other nations. We must end the war on the poor that criminalizes sleeping and going to the bathroom. We cannot afford to build prisons at the expense of schools and housing.
Unregulated capitalism has destroyed our economy and enriched the 1% beyond any reasonable level. We must revamp our tax system to value honest labor and end speculation. Capital should be taxed at the same rate as labor. Labor must be granted the same freedom of movement that capital is given.
The cost of pollution should be borne by the polluters. Resource extraction must be done in a sustainable manner without destroying the surrounding environment. Subsidies for industries that degrade the environment must be removed. Global warming must be addressed in the form of a sustainable national energy policy. Resource extraction from public lands must be done in a manner that benefits all members of society not just the few.
Our political system is corrupt. Political power is vested in the people and we must remove the concept of political rights for companies. All campaigns must be publicly financed and paid lobbyists abolished. We need to remove impediments in our political structure to true democracy. Our international relations must be revamped to put an end to empire. Trade between nations must be built on universal human rights and environmental protections not a race to the bottom.
We must rebuild our communities based on respect for all. Discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and country of origin must end.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The police State comes to Eureka

I was kidnapped on the street in front of the courthouse today. In broad daylight a man came up to me and without saying a word he grabbed my hands put them in handcuffs and took me away. The man was, in addition to being a criminal, a police officer. Others of his ilk were doing the same thing to folks excising their rights to freedom of assembly and free speech. As a member of the occupy movement I have come to expect contempt for political dissent from the local police but being deprived of my liberty without due process is beyond the pale. I was held for 45 minutes without charge on the courthouse steps photographed and then released without charge or explanation. When the handcuffs were taken off I was told I would have to leave the public space in front of the courthouse. The fact that the officers called me, "sir" does not mitigate the criminality in their conduct. We are entitled to our liberty and cannot be deprived of it without due process. Surreptitiously "Booking" us on the steps of the court is not due process. holding me in shackles against my will while you steal my property and tear down my political signs is the definition of tyranny and should never be tolerated in a free society.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New day dawns

The sun is back and our rally was awesomeness personified. We stared down the tools of fascism in their riot gear and brand new cars. Our schools are closing but the militarizing of the police never seems to get cut from the budget. We have no funds to feed the poor among us but there is no shortage of money to buy the clubs to beat them down when they have the temerity to ask for a toilet.
The folks from Humboldt state and the Arcata Occupation swelled our numbers and added to the festive air. Community renewing the spirit and hot food renewing the flesh.
The idea that a local politician has the right to deny 1st and 4th amendment rights is as laughable as it is repugnant. We are becoming a new entity as the days roll on. Learning to trust and support each other in our disparate little band of travelers on the road to a better way of life.
We are a work in progress, some days our own worst enemies. We are passion untempered by intellect at the wrong times. We are the angels of our better nature at others. We are united in the search for a better way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Boo

It is All Hallows Eve and I am back down on the curb. There is a bite in the breeze off Humboldt bay. It is just strong enough to clear the stench of car exhaust from my chapped nostrils.
The mood of the occupation is such a volatile beast. Friday we had assurances that we would be left to our own devices free from police interaction. As darkness descended on Saturday after an amazing rally rumors of a, “Police Action” began running through the crowd. At the appointed hour a single cruiser parked across the street and turned the eye of big brother upon us recording our reactions.
Now that they have recorded our response are they plotting our eviction? Will they bring the pain or whatever other sports metaphor the ex high school football hero’s care to couch their oppression in.
My guess is they will play a waiting game. We have support in the community and these political types fear waking the pacified masses.
If we can take action and stop literally shitting on the grass I think most in local power would be content to let us freeze on the lawn. This whole farce played out against the backdrop of vibrant speeches delivered with a thoughtful passion on the courthouse steps.
Sunday morning saw the occupiers scattered to the winds, recharging or relaxing I shared the curb with a couple of our weekend supporters and kept the vigil. The darkness of Sunday descended and our diverse group drifted back to occupied territory for a chill night both in mood and temperature.
That chill had turned to bitter frost by morning and the urinating in tents and the anguish of the reality challenged created another shrill standoff. Just another moment in the revolution.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Draft mission statement

This is a draft mission statement for Occupy Eureka
Pleas add any suggestions in the comments or Talk to me at the occupation to get your ideas included. This is the 2nd revision.

We are Occupy Eureka and we have decided to stand up to the perverse desire of corporations to wring every penny of profit from every enterprise. They deliberately push beyond the limits of laws and regulations with disastrous consequences to the workers and the environment. When caught they lie, deny and obfuscate. Corporate America has funded wars and neglected schools. Corporate America has legalized robbery and called it the free market. Corporate America has destroyed our standing in the world by committing torture and other war crimes including aggressive war. The people have lost our fundamental human rights with corporations spying for the government then being granted immunity from prosecution. National security is used as a blanket excuse to prevent persons from receiving redress in the courts. To that end we are requiring fundamental changes to our system.
We demand an end to the privatization of government functions. The system of no bid contracting and crony capitalism that permeates our government must end now. We will not accept banks charging fees on the poor to collect benefits or prisons and jails run as for profit entities.
We will not accept the national debt being settled on the backs of the working class and the elderly. Look to the example of Greek austerity measures and that governments failure to provide for it‘s people. We will not accept cuts to programs for the poorest members of society while continuing to grant tax cuts to billionaires. We will no longer stand by and watch corporations pollute our air and water while they plunder the natural resources of the commons.
We have endured a 30 year assault on working people with wages remaining stagnant while CEO pay skyrockets and we say enough. We demand the end to classifying earnings as capital gains. The income from labor is as valuable to society as that earned by the investor class and shall no longer be taxed at higher rates.
We require an Immediate moratorium on foreclosures of owner occupied dwellings. Too many people are living on our streets and too many people are being thrown out of their homes with fraudulent documents.
End the War in Afghanistan. End the occupation of Iraq. Stop the bombings and drone attacks on the peoples of Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. If we lack the resources to adequately feed and house our own people we can no longer afford to make war on others nations. This is to include the army of mercenaries known as security contractors. We further demand that no new country be attacked without a declaration of war by congress. The tyranny of the unitary executive must end now. The president does not have the right to order indefinite detention of or the execution of the citizenry. We further demand an end to secret prisons and the indefinite detention of political prisoners.
We demand a single payer not for profit healthcare system. Repealing the farce of the Affordable Care Act, a homage to corporate greed and replace it with Medicare for all.
As the federal reserve is loaning money to corporations at an effective zero interest rate from the discount window in secret we require that the same rates be extended to the generation of students buried under a mountain of debt preparing for jobs that those same corporations destroyed.
A financial transaction Tax, A small fee imposed on the buying and selling of equities and securities, should be instituted to reduce the effects of speculators in the market place. If the capitalists are going to rain their “Creative Destruction” down on the 99% we require them to contribute to the rebuilding.
We require that the Glass Steagall act regulations of 1933 be reinstituted to separate speculators from the banking industry.
Corporations are not living breathing entities and are not entitled to human rights. Commercial speech is not political speech and is not entitled to 1st amendment protection. If a corporation lies it is committing fraud and corporate fraud should be prosecuted without exception. Corporate personhood must be abolished.
The hiring of paid lobbyists should be outlawed. Freedom of speech should not be a scalar concept based on monetary value but is a fundamental human right. Overturn the decision of the supreme court in Citizens United granting corporations the right to spend unlimited funds to influence the outcome of elections undermining democracy.
We demand an end to the war on workers rights to organize and the elimination of the fictitiously named right to work.
We demand an end to the war on women’s reproductive health and that the basic human right to health care not be dependent on gender.
We demand that equal protection under the law be enforced for the LGBT community. End separate but equal marriage laws that are patently unconstitutional.
We demand immigration policies that allow workers the same freedom of movement that capital is permitted. We demand an end to so called free trade agreements. We will no longer stand for the lowering of standards for worker safety and environmental protection that these agreements permit. We will not accept trade agreements with nations such as Columbia that openly murder labor activists.
Capitalism unchecked leads to monopoly and that has proven disastrous. We must end too big too fail. We must no longer except giant agro business creating monoculture diets and hormone ridden food.
This list is not intended to be all inclusive and in no way limits further demands to be determined at later dates.

This list is not intended to be all inclusive and in no way limits further demands to be determined at later dates.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Transgressing Transcript

This is the transcript of my remarks at Occupy Eureka Saturday 29 October.

I came down to the courthouse on the 8th of October and have come back every day since because something is wrong with our system. The question I encounter the most out here on the curb is why are we down here? What do we want? The disparate signs give out a confused message. The short answer is we want something different. We want a system that gives the average citizen a say in government equal to the giant corporation. The essence of democracy one person one vote has never been embraced by America and we feel it is past time to do so.
We spend more money on defense than the rest of the world combined. We still spend billions to prepare for war with the Soviet Union that hasn’t existed for over a decade.
Now more than ever the 1% own the Government, the media and the Robert’s court. We allow war criminals to go on book tours and have criminalized sleeping. We allow corporations to openly bribe a justice of the supreme court, we have lobbyists writing our laws.
Let me share a few numbers with you. 46 million, the number of people living in poverty today. The most in our nation’s history. 50 the percentage of people with zero or less net worth.
The wages of the middle class have been under attack for over 30 years and when the latest bubble burst the 1% got bailed out while the rest of us got swamped. We preference idle speculation over honest labor in the tax code. We bailed out the financial institutions and they paid their executives bonuses rather then lend money to small businesses.
We give tax breaks to big box retailers that drive the local merchants that make up the back bone of our community out of business, corporations line up at the discount window at the fed to borrow trillions at effective interest rates of zero while students get buried under a mountain of debt preparing for non existent jobs.
Corporations dump toxic waste in our air and water and call it an externality. Corporate persons that don’t breath or drink or eat control the regulators with bribes or remove the regulations all together.
We have handed these so called “Job Creators” trillions in tax breaks and gotten no jobs in return, only factory closures, off shoring and downsizing. We have set our workers in competition with slave labor abroad and prison labor here at home.
There is a long history in America of taking to the streets stretching back to our founding. The labor movement got us the 40 hour week and the end of child labor. Marching in the streets led to the vote for women, civil rights and improvement for the LGBT community. The Bonus Army led to the New Deal and the most successful anti poverty program for the elderly in the history of humanity.
We require an Immediate moratorium on foreclosures of owner occupied dwellings.
End the Wars and stop the militarization of local police departments.
A financial transaction Tax should be instituted to reduce the effects of speculators in the market place. We require that the Glass Steagall act regulations of 1933 be reinstituted to separate speculators from the banking industry. Above all we demand an end to corporate personhood.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Eureka Talks Back

The county said take down the tents we said NO! this is our response letter.

Occupy Eureka
The corner of 5th and I streets

To the County Administrative Officer for the county of Humboldt in response to your letter of 25 October 2011.
It is the consensus of Occupy Eureka that we are not vacating this space.
We are unable to comply with your requests as outlined. We find them unresponsive to the subject at hand. The removal of our kitchen will impede our feeding of the members of the occupation and prevent us from continuing to feed the homeless members of our community but will do nothing to alleviate the need for people to use the restroom between the hours of 10:30pm and 7:30am. The removal of our tents will prevent the occupiers from sheltering against inclement weather and maintaining core body temperature creating another serious health hazard but again will do nothing to help solve the sanitation problem.
You site the actions taken in Arcata that have opened the city to lawsuits for violation of civil rights law and their law enforcement officers to possible prosecution for intimidation under color of authority. We feel it would be unwise for the city of Eureka or Humboldt county to follow that poorly chosen course of action. As you come from a system that relies on force to control the population we are not surprised that was your first response.
We are a self policing community committed to the Non-violent redress of grievances. The attempt in the late hours of 26 Oct 2011 of the police to intimidate the Occupation is unacceptable and unwarranted. Are we going to be subjected to police militarism of the style that the Oakland Police are now being vilified?
We are free people exercising our right to the freedom of speech; and have the freedom to peaceably assemble and redress of grievances.
Under our system of law city ordinances do not supersede rights granted under the United States Constitution in the 1st and 4th amendments.
Your offer to, “allow” us to remain without portions of our occupation that speak directly to the rights of citizens to freely exercise their rights is in itself an infringement on our first amendment right to free speech and again does nothing to resolve the sanitation issue.
The act of sleeping in the public square is an integral part of our movement and is thus protected speech. The presence of tents has been ruled protected speech by many jurisdictions including Oakland, Orange County and Humboldt State University.
We look forward to continuing dialog on this matter. As always your representatives are welcome to attend our twice daily general assemblies held at 12pm and 6pm to resolve conflict through constructive dialog rather than threats.

The members of Occupy Eureka
This letter may be freely distribute in its entirety

Monday, October 24, 2011

20 days by the road

sorry for the paucity of posts. Have some pics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heard on the Curb

Day 5 of Occupy Eureka left me sun burnt and a little dispirited. There is not much growth to our merry band of occupiers. I think this weekend will make or break us. With some publicity if we cannot generate some interest I will have to rethink my position.
On the positive side we are making progress toward an agenda. I am finding the process very interesting, the desire to conform to a system is very strong in some of us. The homeless folks that have joined us ad a level of volatility to the assemblies.
There is an undercurrent among some of the organizers, primarily the Prison protest woman concerning police confrontation. During our assembly she pushed for demanding things in writing from city government when all we were discussing was sending a letter to the council, board of supervisors, Police and Sheriff announcing our intention to peacefully protest. I think it is an error in judgement to force public officials into taking positions before the dialog takes place. We will see.
There is a weekend March in the planning stages from the F street pier to the courthouse and some speakers on behalf of the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay will be there Thursday.
"I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one" Was my favorite overheard quip and I was the witness for a young couple that got married. They will have an interesting story to tell about their marriage in the future, I hope. And as usual the government was out helping some one in our little town.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Curbside Day 2

Day 2 brought out some very committed folks of the organizer type and some first time folks both old and young. I was able to handle 4 hours a day but when I dot home both nights I was shot. There is much to like about this movement and the folks that it has drawn out. I am not of the come together in a circle to sing "Kumbaya" or something drew me to this kind of guy and there is that aspect to dislike.

I do believe that people demonstrating in the streets has had positive effects on the life of the middle class. As evidence I site the union movement in creating the 40 hour week and the right to a workplace that was safe. The civil rights struggle, Women's suffrage, The "Bonus Army", AIM, the list goes on. There is of course the flip side to that argument, The Klan and the John Birchers put people in the streets as well. Judging by the level of racial hatred I listened to from a man that was outraged that some one would take issue with navy blowing out the hearing of whales their effect lingers as well.

Eureka is a pretty even blend of left and right and they are used to seeing the Left on the courthouse lawn so the horn honks and thumbs up are punctuated with middle fingers but most people are civil. The declaration of grievances seems legitimate even if many will call it vague. I suspect that as the assemblies meet there will emerge something a bit more polished. I am still extremely pessimistic but at the moment it is at least a chance to make a little noise for my side.
The movement is based on a true democracy model. This is some video from the first general assembly for Occupy Eureka

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupational Hazard

I lent some time and energy to the Occupy movement today, Occupy Eureka to be precise. As I expected it was a mixed bag. Jack, one of the regulars at these events was there but some of the crowd was different. The Ladies in Black were there, they hold a weekly vigil to end the wars. The young woman in the video was passionate about the plight of the victims of the prison industrial complex and was vehemently anti capitalist.

I was glad to see that a few young people were there as well. They are very earnest and expect to succeed. I tend to be skeptical based on the history. One young woman told me she had been waiting all her life for people to wake up and that this was it. I fear she will be disappointed. I was one of the odder looking folks so naturally I was photographed by one local paper and interviewed by another.
Zack from the North Coast Journal was doing a very thorough job of interviewing the crowd but as he confided that his editor had instructed him to ask everyone about a comparison to the, “Tea Party” I think their coverage will miss the mark.
I do not know if this movement will accomplish much but I will give it what time and support I can.