#OCCUPYWALLSTREET: Occupied. OWS Updates for the Week of July 12

Jay Owen Global Citizen



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DebtFair, an initiative led by Occupy Museums, has just sent a letter to a number of art school deans, asking them to come up with an alternative to debt-funded, high-cost art education. The letter was partially provoked by the recent doubling in interest rates charged on Stafford Loans.


DebtFair proposes a novel way of viewing and exchanging art, juxtaposing the artists’ economic realities alongside images of their work.  DebtFair also plans to host a bailout market where artists will exchange artwork for checks made out to their lending banks.


“The top of the art market is booming, but culture is a fragile ecosystem and the roots are rotting,” adds organizer Noah Fischer. “We know the current model is unsustainable and we need art schools and artists alike to put their influence and resources behind projects that aim for alternatives.”


An artist meetup to join DebtFair is planned in August at the Abrons Art Center, more info TBA. Open meetings every Monday at 7 pm. Go tohttp://www.debtfair.org/ to learn more.


— from the ‘Your Inbox: Occupied’ team


Occupy in the News


On July 4th, Americans across the country, including the People’s Puppets of OWS, celebrated Independence Day by marching in order to raise awareness of unconstitutional surveillance. The marches were organized by Restore the Fourth, a group started in response to the recent Prism revelations, and in one short month they have gone from anonymous strangers engaged in online discussion to “a coordinated nationwide movement.” In this post, they recap that quick transition and begin to formulate a plan for the future.


brasschecktv reports on a chilling story: the F.B.I. sat on the information that OWS activists were being targeted for an assassination attempt in the fall of 2011 and did not warn them about it, though their lives were in danger. “The F.B.I. is really picking and choosing who it categorizes as the type of civilians it wants to protect, and at this point this really shows that that’s, as Occupy might say, the one percent.”


Bank of America is trying to make amends! Salon reports that the bank’s “automated Twitter bot” has been deploying its Help account on Occupiers who discuss the bank in their feeds. Apparently, they’d really like to “help, listen, and learn from [their] customers!”


The Village Voice tells us that the Cooper Union occupiers are considering a deal that would have them end their stand. After close to two months, the occupiers have been offered a deal to vacate in exchange for the formation of a committee who will have until Dec. 1 to scour the Cooper Union books and try to find a solution for keeping the university free.


The Huffington Post reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has accused supporters of Senator Wendy Davis of using “Occupy Wall Street tactics.” Since it went so well for them, we’re assuming he meant that as a complement!


And on occupywallstreet.net, Egyptologist and tourism professional Ahmed Abul Ella offers his reflections and personal account of Egypt’s historic uprising.

It is with great sadness that we report that Matthew Zeno, one of Occupy Sandy’s most dedicated volunteers, died in an electrocution accident in the NYC subway this past weekend. Matthew was quiet, showed up almost every day early, worked late, and was a critical part of the team managing the central supplies depot at St Luke and St Matthew Church in Clinton Hill, one of the hubs of the early-stage Occupy Sandy disaster recovery response.

St Luke and St Matthew’s Church is collecting donations for Zeno’s family, to assist with the costs of the funeral. If you would like to donate, you can do so athttp://stlukeandstmatthew.org/give. Please make sure to note in your donation that it is for Matthew Zeno’s funeral.


Occupy These Actions & Events


Monday, July 15th, 6:30pm

S17 Planning Assembly

SEIU Local 1199, 310 West 43rd Street

S17, Occupy Wall Street’s second anniversary on September 17th, is just around the corner. Bring your ideas for action and help plan the big event. Check out the new http://s17ows.org/ website and @OccupyS17 twitter account as well.


Wednesday, July 10th, 4:30pm

Public Hearing: Let’s Block the Port Ambrose LNG Terminal-Edison N.J.

New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center

Occu-Pipeline co-hosted event to block a port in NJ. Port Ambrose is a new deepwater Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal being proposed off the coasts of Long Beach, Jones Beach, Sandy Hook and other beaches and communities on Long Island and the Jersey Shore. Port Ambrose poses an unacceptable risk to the ecology, economy and puts shore communities in NY and NJ that were recently devastated by Super Storm Sandy in harm’s way.


July 12th-14th

Occupy Data Workshop

365 5th Avenue

Occupy Data will having a 3-day Intensive Data Anywhere Workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center. A non-exhaustive list of people this workshop will interest includes: open data enthusiasts, community and other groups interested in opening their data, developers, and researchers. Please help get the word out.


July 19th-21st

Reroute Conference: Building Power for a New Economy

New York University, Kimmel Center

On July 19-21, the New Economics Institute is hosting a convergence in New York City called reRoute: Building Youth and Student Power for a New Economy. The idea is to bring together a diverse new generation of practitioners and organizers from across the US and Canada to share strategies, tools, and stories about our work creating a solidarity economy from the ground up in our communities and on our campuses. The event is sliding scale and scholarships for housing and travel are available. Space is limited so buy your ticket today!


Ongoing through Summer

Occupy The Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL Pipeline route

This summer, We the people, are walking the length of the Keystone XL Pipeline from the Canadian border in Montana, down to the Gulf of Mexico, in a pilgrimage to defend nature from the Oil Machine. In order to ensure our mobility, we have purchased a school bus that will act as a mobile media center, a mobile seed library, a mobile wellness and apothecary center, and a mobile garden shed. A group of 15+ dedicated core members will travel in and work out of this bus throughout the summer. At current we are in need of donations to support our walk, help us transform the bus, and allow us the ability to film the stories of the communities who are most closely affected by the Keystone XL Pipeline. Follow along at the Pipeline Peace Walk Facebook page for more.


Occupy Gezi – Report Back from Istanbul/Taksim Solidarity


Visiting Istanbul last week, Kristian Nammack, a member of this Newsletter team, offers the following  – “I arrived coincidentally on Gay Pride Day, Sunday June 30th, and joined the parade down the main shopping street, beginning at Taksim Square and going down to Galata Tower. It was amazing and spirited with banners and chants not just about gay rights, but also about the government crackdown on free speech and police violence.


The police were present abundantly but did not provoke or react. Gezi Park had been closed since mid-June and there were no longer any protests there. Thenon Tuesday, a high court in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, ruled that the proposed development of Gezi Park into a shopping mall was illegal, and ordered it to cease. This was a big victory for the protestors, and the park was due to reopen the following Sunday. I went to a small press conference held by the protestors on the steps of Gezi Park, which was still cordoned off, which gathered about 1000 people to celebrate this victory.


Interestingly, this protest movement had started simply against the development of Gezi Park into a shopping mall, but after the brutal treatment of protestors by the police, on the orders of the current government, the protests became about free speech and right of assembly, and exploded in numbers and scope, going national.


Now, there are groups meeting all over the country nightly in parks, peacefully, organizing and making a strategy for this larger agenda. I went to such a meeting at Abbasaga Park – not far from Taksim Square. Alongside the main event – an open mic forum – there were about 5 smaller working groups sitting on blankets working on building solidarity, mission statements, actions of all kinds.


It was peaceful, well-organized, and focused. The key issue that everyone seemed to talk about – there has never been such an amazing solidarity among so many different groups in the history of Turkey – all sorts coming together to protest the creeping authoritarianism of the current political regime.

As for the reopening of Gezi Park
 – protesters were again met with police violenceon Monday night – the saga continues, the protest grows, and these are the seeds of Revolution growing bigger by the day. For further information and to keep informed in English, follow Taksim Solidarity on Twitter.”