Wisconsin Occupied Netroots Nation

Netroots Nation 2012 started just a few days after the Wi$con$in recall elections, and served as an extremely cathartic experience for me.

In particular, I was quite proud to join the panel Take a Walk, Scott: Post Mortem of the Wisconsin Recalls (video at the link) that dug deep into what happened and where we go from here.

Two main points emerged during the discussion: that the power of Wall Street and the 1% to subvert our democracy by buying elections is getting exponentially worse, and that the Democratic party failed to understand the broader occupation-inspired movement growing in response to this dynamic.

One exchange during the panel especially speaks to this, when right wingnut CNN contributor Dana Loesch of Breitbart News asked a question indicative of the pathetic attitudes clouding the overarching issue of money in our politics.

 

 

As I described in the opening of this post, Netroots Nation was cathartic indeed!

And catharsis is needed, since regrettably, far too often these issues become intertwined even for potential partners who we wish would otherwise be on our side. When rhetoric and political action does not reflect the reality that our democracy is for sale, it can act as an alarm bell to the countless Americans suffering from this class war that has been officially declared on working families.

It is in this context that Andy Kroll’s analysis that the popular uprising of Wisconsin was sold out by electoral politics rings so true. This was also articulated during the Netroots Nation ‘Wisconsin caucus’ organized by Dane101, where Cheddarsphere bloggers, activists and Rep. Paul Ryan opponent Rob Zerban collectively attempted to synthesize where we are.



And as we continue to work to pinpoint the problem and search for a solution, let us also take heed of the tangible damage that will continue to be done to the day to day lives of so many Wisconsinites. If only considering that Wi$con$in is already being explicitly cited as a model that will soon be followed across the country.

Likewise, sending any form of solidarity to our Cheesehead-clad brethren would undoubtedly be appreciated, even through an action as simple as tweeting to #SolidarityWI.

And let us recognize that the fight is absolutely not over in Wisconsin, whose state motto -- Forward -- couldn’t ring any truer.

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So It Goes: Walker Is Still Wisconsin's Governor

The #WIrecall elections have come and gone, and the loss is presumably inspiring introspection in us all.

Despite any consternation about what happened, I find that my blog post Occupy Forward From Wisconsin still does a good job of encompassing how I feel, as well as broadly laying out the path I see that brought us to where we are.

This year's Netroots Nation conference also happens to come right after the Walker wins, which provides us with a perfect platform for exactly the sort of discussion and soul searching that we need.

Our regionally-based Netroots New York conference (held in cooperation with an OWS unconference) similarly acted as a platform for a newly-evicted Occupy Wall Street to regroup and re-assess. I couldn't have been prouder of the Wisconsin panels I moderated there, and further found the experience of connecting Cheddarsphere bloggers and organizers with their OWS compatriots to be indicative of the most encouraging elements that remain with us after the recalls.

Namely, that the digital and personal networks created, the web platforms and relationships built, the lessons learned and organizations fostered all are staying with us no matter who would have won.

Wisconsin's state motto is 'Forward', and the recall effort helped us progress in all sorts of ways. And despite any setbacks, with hope and solidarity, we shall keep moving ever onwards.

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#MayDay OWS Style

The Job Party stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street for the May Day "People's Holiday"!

See the latest special edition OWS newsletter (which you can sign up for here) for all the ways you can take part:

May Day poster

 

#MayDay is upon us, and this show of solidarity couldn’t be more important.

Our struggles are one, as we all face a system that only works for the 1%. We strike to support each other, and to collectively cry out “Enough!”

This Tuesday, May 1st, let us stand together to reclaim our jobs, our communities, our lives.

Another world is possible. Join us to begin building it.

Withdraw your consent and strike!


May 1 communication

Want to help tell the Occupy story? Visit map.occupy.net for a crowdsourced history of the movement, where you can find and add news, photos and videos as events unfold.

Want a tactical tool to help keep you safe, mobile, and informed? View sukey.org/mayday on your smartphone for a timely overview of what’s happening on the ground. Tweet with #sukeynyc to send us reports, photos or videos - or submit a report to Sukey directly, when you click on the dinosaur head to bring up a menu and then select the reporting tool.

Use Vibe on your iPhone or Android device to post #M1NYC or #MayDay updates with complete anonymity.

Listen to MayDay Radio (maydayradio.occupy.net) live on your smartphone - or FM radio!

Watch Media for the 99 Percent (mediaforthe99percent.com) for nationwide live TV, streaming, and breaking news from a consortium of independent media.

Text “@MayDayAction” to 23559 for day-of text updates on ongoing events.


#M1NYC schedule

Check maydaynyc.org for the full May Day schedule and any last-minute updates.

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Bryant Park

* Pop-up Occupation(unpermitted)
Bryant Park will be the site of a fun and friendly "Pop-up Occupation" with Mutual Aid, featuring free food, a free market, free services, skill-shares, workshops, teach-ins, speak-outs, meditation, public art, performances, discussions, and trainings.

* 99 Picket Lines and other direct actions
Bryant Park will also be a staging area for 99 Picket Lines (#99PKTS; Facebook; email; map) to expose, disrupt, and shut down the corporations who rule our city, as well as other forms of civil disobedience, creative disruptions, bank blockades, outreach to commuters and tourists, and more!

2 p.m - March to Union Square

* Occupy Guitarmy March from Bryant Park (unpermitted)
March and make music with the Occupy Guitarmy, led by Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine! OWS Music is enlisting 1,000 guitar-playing musicians to join this march (email).

4 p.m - Rally at Union Square

* Unity Rally(permitted)
The May Day Solidarity Coalition has organized an historic convergence of the 99%! Join occupiers, labor unions, the immigrant justice coalition, students, and faith & community groups for a massive rally at Union Square. Musical performances by Das Racist, Dan Deacon, Tom Morello, Immortal Technique, Bobby Sanabria, and other special guests (Facebook).

5:30 p.m. - March to Wall Street

* Solidarity March from Union Square (permitted)
March from Union Square to Wall Street with a coalition of labor, immigrant, OWS, student, and faith organizations (Facebook).

8:00 p.m. - Occupy Wall Street Afterparty

* People’s Assembly and Haymarket Martyrs Memorial Resistance Rager(unpermitted)
Details to be announced. Check the #MayDay and #M1GS hashtags on Twitter up-to-the-moment info.

See below for more #M1NYC events all around the city...

May Day 2012 Banner

* Call2Create: Participatory art, from prayer flags to a May Pole to filmmaking and photography
All day in Bryant Park, Union Square, and throughout NYC
Facebook - opportunities to submit a project or join one - email

* 99 Picket Lines
8am - Chase Building (NYCC) - 270 Park Ave (@48th St)
8am - New York Times Building (UAW) - 620 8th Ave (@41st St)
8am - Sotheby's (Teamsters) - 1334 York Ave (@72nd St)
8am-10am - US Post Office (Community-Labor Alliance) - 421 8th Ave (@W31st St)
8:30am-9am - NYU Bobst Library (NYU for OWS) - 70 Washington Square South (@University Pl)
9am - Paulson & Co (Strong Economy for All) - 1251 6th Ave (@50th St)
10am - Chase Branch (NYCC) - 401 Madison Ave (@48th St)
11am - ABC Studios (NABET-CWA) - 66th Street (@Columbus)
12pm-1:30pm - Investment Banker Stephen Berger (CSEA AFSCME) - 46th St @ Park Ave
12pm-2pm - Immigration Court (NMASS) - 26 Federal Plaza (Worth & Lafeyette)
1:30pm - Capital Grille (ROC-NY) - 155 E 42nd St (@3rd Ave)
2pm - Chase and Citibank (Occupy Sunset Park) - 5th Ave & 54th St (BROOKLYN)
3pm - Strand Bookstore (Strand workers) - 828 Broadway (@12th St)
3pm - Beth Israel Hospital (Workers United) - 10 Union Square East (14th St & Park Ave)
8pm - Washington Square Park Arch (Musicians 802) - Washington Square North @ 5th Ave

* A Brooklyn March for the General Strike(unpermitted)
8am, Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn
Strike Everywhere

* The Free University: Lectures, Workshops, Skill-Shares and Discussions
10am–3pm, Madison Square Park, Manhattan
The Free University

* High School Student Walkout Convergence & BBQ
12pm, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn  
Shout-out from Chuck D to Paul Robeson students

* Wildcat March(unpermitted)
1pm, Sara D. Roosevelt Park (East Houston St. & 2nd Ave.), Manhattan
Strike Everywhere   

* Day Without Workers/Día sin los Trabajadores: May Day March and Speakout
2pm, 5th Ave. at 54th St. in Brooklyn, marching to 36th St & 4th Ave. to take subway at 3:30pm to Union Square rally in Manhattan
Occupy/Ocupemos Sunset Park

* May Day on D-Block: LES public housing residents and tenants take to the streets
2pm, Houston & Avenue D, Manhattan
Occupy Avenue D

* May Day Choir Convergence
5:15pm, Madison Square Park (in front of the fountain), Manhattan
Lyrics, Score and more information

* Occupy the Rent Guidelines Board: A Tenants’ General Assembly
5:30pm, 7 East 7th St. (outside Cooper Union), Manhattan  
Real Rent Reform Campaign


Learn More

The Occupy Wall Street Project List is a monthly periodical that informs people about OWS projects and how to get involved.

For Text Message alerts on your cellphone about daily events, actions, and important information, sign up for the ComHub SMS blasts by texting @owscom to 23559.

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Reflecting before the #LL12 Living Liberally Celebration

living liberally logo

 

This year's Living Liberally celebration is coming up on May 10th, and it has me reflecting on what my favorite Living Liberally moment was from 2012.

Although there are many of them, I have to say that my experiences at the OWS Drinking Liberally chapter at Zuccotti Park easily take the cake. Moreover, I found OWS Drinking Liberally on the whole to be indicative of both what is best about Living Liberally, and Occupy Wall Street itself.

It was a perfect match. OWS is an idea, one whose time has come and which never could be evicted. And this is precisely why OWS is made manifest through so many cultural formats, which are so naturally able to express a central idea like this one.

Living Liberally is a platform to celebrate liberal culture, which finds direct alignment in the Occupy idea. Namely, that our political structures should serve us, the people — all of us.

This is why I am so proud to have been able to contribute to both OWS and LL by hosting a few of those fantastic OWS Drinking Liberally’s.

Zuccotti Park was still first getting off the ground, and we were able to provide as inviting a format as possible for like-minded new-comers to learn about Occupy. This was crucial then, and there remains a need for more of these kind of endeavors today. The Occupy movement is so innovative and different that it can be very difficult to understand and intimidating to approach, which is why being able to experience it in a shared cultural setting like OWS Drinking Liberally was such a perfect way for so many to be introduced.

The OWS Drinking Liberally crew proved to be a perfect part of the solution for this at the most crucial of times last Fall, and I particularly relished being able to take so many amazing and influential liberals across the street and give them their first tour of ‘Liberty Square’.

So if you can make it to New York City on May 10th, come join us in celebrating this and all of the other ways that Living Liberally has touched the core of American society!

The 2012 Living Liberally celebration will not be one to miss, and there couldn’t be a better time to show your support for this increasingly impactful cultural fixture in contemporary America.

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#LetFreedomSpring this Saturday

The Job Party remains steadfast in our solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, and as Winter turns to Spring your support couldn't be more important!

Likewise, we're passing on an invitation to take part in the important festivities this weekend from the NYCGA approved OWS newsletter team (full disclosure: I'm a member), which you can subscribe to here.


______

The 1%’s police proxies have been attempting to suppress our peaceful protests, sparking a response we haven’t seen since last September.



But we need your help! Our best defense is a strong offense, and mass turnout at this time will protect our movement as the action-packed ‘American Spring’ bursts into the streets.



Join us this Saturday at 12pm in Liberty Square and call for NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s resignation.



March with us to our newest location at #OccupyUnionSq in solidarity with the communities across New York City who have long felt the wrath of Mayor Bloomberg’s “private army”.

http://tech.nycga.net/2012/03/22/letfreedomspring-this-saturday/


Spread the word, and let’s occupy together to #LetFreedomSpring!



Forward,

-- The OWS newsletter team

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Occupy & Wisconsin discussions at Netroots New York

Netroots New York, and the Occupy Wall Street unconference held in cooperation with it, made for one of the most productive and exciting weekends I've ever had.

The timing for it right before the holidays couldn't have been better either. Coming just a month after the eviction of Zuccotti Park, it was an ideal time to assess the 99 percent movement and plan for next steps.

This was why I was so proud to help organize a series of events that looked at both what was going on in Wisconsin as a model for #Occupy, as well as how the activists behind the efforts could better coordinate!

It's been a whirlwind since, with reverberations stemming from the conference in Wisconsin and New York alike. And now, with over 1 million Wisconsinites have taken action to recall 'Governor 1% Walker', I thought it would be especially worthwhile to chronicle some of the lessons learned and connections fostered from the weekend.

To start, below is video of the opening of Netroots New York, including the plenary panels on both Occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin:

Watch live streaming video from letitiapro at livestream.com

The day began with an introduction from progressive stalwart New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera. Afterwards, Allison Kilkenny moderated a panel entitled OWS: How it happened, Why it sticks, What's next?, alongside influential Occupy organizers Nelini Stamp, Jesse LaGreca, Jasiri X, and Biola JiJi.

Watching the video again, I found the focus on the transition to Occupy Our Homes to be particularly fascinating. It has proven to be highly prescient in light of the machinations on foreclosure fraud emanating from the State of the Union, amidst Occupy themes coloring the speech throughout.

I moderated the following panel, Wisconsin: The real Story and Can It Happen Here?. The panel consisted of Wisconsin blogger Bluecheddar, Jenni Dye, and John Quinlan, and was deftly introduced by Justin Krebs at about the 38 minute mark.

One of big themes we discussed was about how the spirit of the occupation has lived on through the ‘Solidarity Sing Along’, in which at least 50-100 grassroots activists have met in the Capitol every weekday since last March to take part. Similarly to an occupation, it has provided a continuous presence for dissent, as well as a hub to make plans and coordinate.

These connections were further explored at the OWS unconference. We organized a #NY2WI in person and online interactive discussion session, culminating with a collective desire to try and bring a version of the Solidarity Sing Along to New York! You can check out some of the video we streamed from it below:

Netroots New York-NY to WI workshop from John Quinlan on Vimeo.

Such mass accreditation and national focus on the Sing Along also helped inspire the ‘Solidarity Sing Along Standoff’ that occurred just the day after, in which Wisconsin protesters specifically began flouting the restrictions on protest in the Capitol that Walker initiated to stymie them in particular.

Even more analysis was needed as to what happened and where we go from here, and likewise, panel participants got together in Wisconsin on John Quinlan’s radio show (with myself taking part from afar) to further explore these connections. We were also joined by Wisconsin Occupy activist Jenna Pope, who was able to relay her experience from taking part in New York’s ‘Madison Moment’ when she came to visit as OWS was first getting off the ground.

Social Media and the WI Uprising: Lessons To Share with Resonant Movements. WORT's "A Public Affair," 12-27-11 from John Quinlan on Vimeo.

Much more could be said about all of these videos, as the larger lessons for how to coordinate and further inspire each other couldn’t be more important to synthesize---in both Wisconsin and New York.

As 1% rhetoric is justifiably employed against the corporate-controlled Walker with increasing frequency, it becomes that much more clear how important it was to open this space for discussion as we progressively act hand in hand. In that vein, let’s give another rousing round of props to Charles Lenchner and Elana Levin from Organizing 2.0 for making the weekend happen!

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Solidarity Sing Along Charges Ahead in Fight for Freedom of Speech

Photo via Jenna Pope aka @BatmanWI

Yesterday was quite eventful in light of the hundreds of Wisconsin 'Solidarity Singers' flooding the Capitol rotunda to specifically break the unconstitutional restrictions on freedom of speech that Governor Walker is attempting to implement.

John Nichols described it as a "giant success", and unsurprisingly, social media was integral in getting the word out given the absence of mainstream media. This made me that much more proud to help out in the #WIsing action however I could from afar.

Yet this is no time to rest on any laurels, as Scott Walker explicitly hired a Rove protege as a Department of Administration (DOA) spokesperson to help him out of this mess, and we must be equally diligent in the seriousness with which we respond. 

I'm likewise assuming that Jocelyn Webster could get a story framed however which way she wants on Fox News at the drop of a hat, putting the onus on us to make sure that we keep Walker on the defensive instead of letting the Rovian tactics of attacking an opponents' strengths succeed.

In this vein, I am happy to see that the Solidarity Sing Along appears to be taking this with the upmost seriousness, as seen in the time allotted to strategizing that they have in the schedule they just posted on the Solidarity Sing Along Facebook page:

Tuesday: Sing Along, noon, rotunda


Wednesday: Sing Along, noon, outside
.

Special Meeting (see note below), 1:15-2:15, GAR, 4th Floor North, Capitol


Thursday: Sing Along, noon, rotunda


Afternoon Sing Along, 4:30, rotunda


Friday: Sing Along, noon, outside



As per the 'special meeting' tomorrow, here is the post with details referenced above, where "the main focus of the meeting will be to discuss our current legal standing and possible strategies for moving forward."

This discussion couldn't be more important as such, especially since Rove's inner circle is helping make decisions for Walker.

Moreover, Madison's ABC affiliate is reporting that the requirement for "permits for Capitol protests may never be enforced", citing Webster herself:

DOA Spokesperson Jocelyn Webster reiterated the agency's stance today that no arrests will be made for violating the policy.

Webster said that if someone is holding an event without a permit, they will be given a permit application and strongly encouraged to apply, but that Capitol Police will take no action beyond that.

I'm sure that the Walker administration would like nothing more than to be able to place restrictions on freedom of speech in such a manner in which no arrests would be necessary. Currently, this has led to a situation where a Madison Capitol Police officer described that “We have no enforcement strategy.”

But considering that Occupy Madison has set its sites on holding defiantly against the Governor who pretty much officially declared class war against the 99%, I doubt that the Walker administration and the 1% at large will be so lucky as to be able to just let this stand.

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Occupy Madison GA Endorses Solidarity Sing Along Standoff

A whole lot of my and the whole Wisconsin contingent's efforts at large during Netroots New York and the Occupy Wall Street unconference this weekend were spent explaining and advocating for the big Solidarity Sing Along standoff coming up tomorrow.

More on that later. For now, happy to get home and see that the Occupy Madison GA has officially endorsed Mass Civil Disobedience for the big Sing Along action!

Momentum is clearly building around this, and Rachel Maddow covered it extensively for MSNBC on Friday:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That was the first day that the law went into effect, and the energy behind the action against it couldn't be more apparent. Moreover, we are already winning, as Giles Goat Boy blogged in the Daily Kos, "Walker chickend out." Or at least is trying to.

Emily Mills at Dane101 lays out the 'revisions' in that vein that the Walker administration made to their initial attempt to stifle freedom of speech in the Capitol, and she further reports that Walker hired Rove protege Jocelyn Webster for damage control:

Webster was appointed as the new DOA communications director shortly before the new policies were released. According to joint reporting from PRWatch's Brendan Fischer and Joe Vittie of WisconsinReporters.com, Webster comes to Wisconsin by way of Karl Rove's Office of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration

Yet Wisconsin activists will clearly not be appeased in this manner, as we will be seeing at tomorrow's action.

And considering netroots and Occupy Wall Street folks this weekend were already discussing how great it would be to start a New York iteration of the Solidarity Sing, I dare say things could be just starting to heat up on this one!

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#NY2WI Netroots New York In Person & Online Discussion

Netroots New York this weekend will comprise another big step in the relationship between activists in New York and Wisconsin.

There is naturally a strong sense of solidarity between occupiers in the Cheddar and Empire states, but now is the time to further combine forces so that we can better leverage our collective energy and take this movement up a notch.

Our Wisconsin: the Real Story, and Can it Happen Here plenary panel Saturday morning will be fantastic in this vein for laying the foundation.

Then Sunday at 11:15am EST is Occupy Wisconsin & Wall Street: interactive in-person & online discussion, which will be an opportunity to plot out how we can better work together to make it happen.

We have Wisconsinites in town and then others participating online who will be joining the fun from afar, and I'd say that the power of connecting these Wisconsin occupiers to influencers within Occupy Wall Street can not be underestimated.

Look to the #NY2WI hashtag at 11:15am EST Sunday for details as they develop, and to take part in a tweetchat during it to boot!

There will be a variety of ways to take part online in addition to tweeting, as we are working on Skype, livestreaming, Internet radio, and chat options. We did something similar this past Summer that proved to be of great value with our Skype calls from Bloombergville to Walkerville, and then Spain as well.

This discussion couldn’t be more timely, considering that the 500,000+ Walker recall signatures collected comprises over 90% of those needed in under 50% of the time, and that there is a standoff coming at the State Capitol from activists who refuse to abide restrictions on their freedoms.

There is no better example than Wisconsin for how an Internet powered occupation movement effort can be above the electoral, but still impact it. This might be exhibited beyond any shadow of a doubt the very next day actually, as Monday the 19th will be a test of whether Walker really wants to make a mass arrest of peaceful 'Solidarity Singers' right before Christmas based on his unconstitutional farce of an attempt to abridge freedom-of-speech in the Capitol.

So join us Sunday morning in person or via the #NY2WI tag and the options extending from it!

Hope to see you there in person or online.

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Get Ready: Netroots New York will be talking Wisconsin

The Netroots New York conference is coming up this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited! Likewise, I couldn't encourage you more to register for it.

Things have been developing rapidly on the Netroots Wisconsin to Netroots New York axis especially of late. Indeed, Wisconsin is in ardent solidarity with the effort.

In that vein, I am very happy to report that premier Cheddarsphere blogger Blue cheddar (@bluecheddar1 on twitter) will be joining us! (ht @NatashaChart).

Blue Cheddar is a progressive blogger who is best known for her avid tweeting about Wisconsin's protests in February and March. She is a lifelong Wisconsinite from a tiny dairy town who now lives in Madison. She's been a freelance writer, a library worker, an AFSCME union member, and a regular attendee at Solidarity Sing Alongs at Wisconsin's Capitol building. She really does like Wisconsin cheese and the Green Bay Packers.

The integration between Blue Cheddar’s avid tweeting from within the Capitol during the occupation last spring and the thorough report backs on her blog helped make things click for me in terms of the true power of an Internet-powered occupation.

And I certainly wasn’t the only one, as seen by how the best strategies stemming from Occupy Wall Street and the tactics of the 99 percent movement follow along the same lines she exhibits, ala:

An activist does something inspirational, and an online organizer records it. It spreads through social media, and a blog post synthesizes the story. Mainstream media catches on eventually as it spreads. In the process, all of this inspires untold numbers of would-be activists to take action themselves along the way.

Regrettably, this fantastic news that Blue Cheddar will be joining us comes alongside recent scheduling conflicts that will be preventing Peter Rickman and Xavier Lopez-Ayala from taking part in this plenary panel. Oh well, so it goes.

But on the flipside, we will be incorporating many more Wisconsin folks into the discussion by adding a second Wisconsin uprising and #Occupy effort event to be held Sunday.

This interactive in-person & online discussion will include all sorts of ways to take part even if you can’t be there in person, and is designed to further catalyze the relationship between #Occupy and the interrelated Wisconsin uprising. It also couldn't be more timely considering the standoff coming at the Wisconsin Capitol the very next day!

So stay tuned for more on that and everything else to boot.

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