All posts by A Blue Scholar

Mic Check!! Occupying Community and Fostering Freedom of Expression

Occupy Corvallis along with the Majestic Theater put on an open mic night. Through events like Mic Check!! Occupy Corvallis is working to strengthen community ties and encouraging community members to find their voice. This event was a resounding success. Food, drink, discussion, music, poetry, comedy, books, and ideas were exchanged in a positive and constructive night of gold old fashioned fun and appreciation for all. Our community is talented and powerful, especially when we enjoin together for positive change. Click here to view some of the photos from the night’s festivities. The Corvallis community also expressed their generosity and commitment to fostering community through donations to the Majestic Theater and Occupy Corvallis. Thank you to all who worked to make this happen, thank you to our talented performers, and thank you to the Majestic Theater for opening its doors!

#F29 #OccupyCorvallis Shuts Down Wells Fargo Shut them down!

On #F29 we shut down Wells Fargo. In the trial of the century, the 99% and #OccupyCorvallis convicted Wells Fargo on all counts of fraudulent foreclosures, working closely with ALEC to corrupt OUR government, promoting the for-profit prison industry, predatory lending against minorities, refusing to pay their fair share of taxes, and enriching its CEOs while receiving Bail Out funds. #F29 received great publicity and got out the message of ALEC and Moving Our Money out of Wells Fargo!


Video:
99% v Wells Fargo (Part 1)
99% v Wells Fargo (Part 2)

Move Our Money Corvallis!

Sign the petition! Moving our money to smaller and more local and ethical financial institutions is a means to stimulate and strengthen local economic ties within the community, which will ultimately improve the local economy and foster community cohesion. The City of Corvallis should move their money out of to-big-to-fail Wall Street Banks like Wells Fargo. You can also email your Council Member directly

Freedom of Speech

Protect Freedom of Speech Online: Sign the Petition to Stop Oregon SB 1534

Oregon State Senate Bill 1534 is an attack on the people’s rights to communicate and organizing online. Like S.O.P.A or P.I.P.A., this is a veiled attempt to strike at the heart of free speech and freedom of assembly online. This bill turns a misdemeanor into a Felony, if the act was organized via electronic communication. For example, something as harmless as a “Flash Mob” could be a felony. This bill will not only limit people’s ability to communicate online, it could also limit internet user’s use of Youtube for uploads. Bills like S.O.P.A. have already been rejected by the American People. Please withdraw your support from this bill and urge those of your colleagues who do not understand the popular nature of the internet to refrain from interfering with it.

Wither the Occupations and Holiday Tyranny

The past week I personally witnessed the demolition and eviction of the Occupy Berkeley encampment. While I have previously observed several Occupy evictions on livestream (livestream.com/globalrevolution), being there for an eviction in person provides an entirely different and much needed perspective. When attending an eviction you gain the perspective of experiencing the camaraderie of fellow Occupiers, in addition to the fear engendered by elements of the local police force as well as the futility of attempting to non-violently hold an encampment. Those with the weapons (i.e. the Police) inevitably win the battle, usually by attrition and state sanctioned violence against peaceful protestors.

My first over-night stay at the Occupy Berkeley camp was at times exhilarating and at other times frightening. Police officials had given the camp a notice of eviction, which prompted a call for Occupy supporters to defend the camp from eviction — a scenario which has played out repeatedly all across the country.

At around midnight the Berkeley PD stealthily entered the camp from behind, drove over potentially occupied tents with a large white truck, another squad car drove over another tent. Berkeley PD quickly scrambled to steal the tents and throw personal items into the truck while around 100 Occupy protesters rushed the police to defend the camp. After a tense and awkward standoff between about 8 policemen and 100 occupiers the police eventually retreated back to the precinct across the street. Five minutes later an unguarded city truck, loaded up with campers’ tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, parked in front of the police department. Occupiers stood arm in arm in front of the city truck to halt it’s progress and subsequently hopped into the back of the truck to liberate the stolen items Video of Reclaiming Tents. After retrieving a couple tents and stuffed animals the police rushed out of the precinct with billy clubs and tear gas guns. As protesters scurried away in fear I witnessed a 6’4″ muscle-bound officer (badge number 80) bull-doze over a young woman from Occupy Portland in the middle of the street (she later required medical attention from the Occupy Oakland medical team)Video of police brutality. As protesters chanted down the police for the brutality, a few officers responded with violence — shoving down two members of the Occupy Oakland press team and then hitting an Occupy Oakland medical team member with a billy club as she attempted to provide treatment to an injured protester. Absolutely none of the violence this night emanated from the protesters. All of the violence was perpetrated by unruly riot police.

By the second night the Occupy numbers had dwindled and we had resigned to the fact that the encampment could no longer be defended. Throughout the day light of December 22nd Berkeley PD removed unoccupied tents until the last remaining tents were dismantled by 10PM (the time the park was officially “closed”). The most iconic moment of the second night was the removal of the final Occupy protester — an old homeless man who was very sick. The scene of watching this old, sick, homeless man have to move all of his stuff (we did help him with this process) across the street and have to sleep without a tent was disturbing. Even a few of the police officers were visibly moved by this scene, one officer held his head down in shame and another tried to offer words of encouragement. Protesters were none to pleased.

At 10PM the Berkeley PD promptly ordered protesters off the park premises and onto the sidewalk. The police guarded the camp with about 30 officers. The protester numbers hovered in the teens the rest of the night. At around midnight the police arrested an old homeless man (who had nothing to do with the protest) for trying get a drink of water from the water fountain near the entrance of the park. Police also arrested an Occupy Oakland medical volunteer, who was standing right next to me at the time, because she put her hand on the officer’s baton as he shoved her into the street (apparently defending yourself from unlawful police brutality is a crime). When pressed by Occupiers regarding her arrest, the head officer claimed she was arrested for “placing her hand on the baton”. After the arrests we reconvened and decided to march to another park. Apparently the Berkeley PD were monitoring the livestream so they knew our next destination, as was made evident by the ten police squad cars following us as we walked along the sidewalks of downtown Berkeley (yes that’s 10 squad cars for about 8 protesters). We eventually split up to throw off the police, sent out conflicting information about our destination on livestream and twitter and eventually threw the police off our trail. The night ended at the Berkeley campus where those who had no home to go to found refuge in a quiet unassuming corner of the Berkeley campus.

Arrest of Occupy Oakland Medical Team Member

So that’s what happened. Excessive police force and excessive expenditure of public funds to disperse peaceful protesters, which is the model we’ve seen on display all throughout the Occupy movement. The two nights were harrowing yet reminded me of the stiff resistance we face when attempting to protest against the injustices created by the 1%. Unfortunately the police will continue to guard the rights of the 1% at the expense of the 99%, until we reach some sort of tipping point. It’s unclear when that tipping point will arise, but what is clear is that things will get worse before they get better. The economy will continue to tank, the Occupy movement will continue to strike at the heart of economic inequality, and the vanguard of the 1% will continue to prop up these injustices. Despite this I feel we have in a sense already won. The whole world is watching now, and it is only a matter of time and great effort until our labor will bear the fruits of justice we are seeking.

Yours from the front lines,
Eric Coker