15 December 2012, Saturday

Apollo (Occupy Wall Street) reports that an employee of Trinity Wall Street Church went around to the Village Voice newspapers boxes around the church yesterday, and proceeded to gather up all the copies and throw them into the trash bins on Trinity’s grounds.

Now, why would an employee of Trinity Wall Street Church, or for that matter, any institution professing to be a Christian church, engage in such blatant, and useless, censoring of free and public community information and news? Things that make you go hmm.

Perhaps Trinity Church had a problem with the cover art:

Village Voice front cover for the December 12-18, 2012 issue.

Village Voice front cover for the December 12-18, 2012 issue.

Or perhaps it was the article associated with this picture of Trinity Wall Street Church: Lead Us Not Astray, Reverend James Cooper. The article has such statements as this one from a former Vestry member:

“We went from a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year drop-in center for the mentally ill with social services, social workers, transportation for people, a food program, a clothing program to, on Sundays afternoon, members of the congregation pack lunches in brown bags? To equate those to me is so indicative of Cooper’s lack of vision.”

And notes such items as:

The Heuss House wasn’t the only program to fall by the wayside during Cooper’s term as rector. The church no longer runs Frederic Fleming House, a home for the elderly on 22nd Street.

Of course, we’ve been saying all this, and much more, for the last six months. At least a little bit of the situation is beginning to get out into the mainstream — despite the medieval efforts of the Church staff to censor the truth.

Fire Trinity CEO Cooper! Corporate religion is not Christian! Trinity Real Estate Corporation masquerades as a church!

11 December 2012, Tuesday

“Never forget that life can only be nobly inspired and rightly lived if you take it bravely and gallantly, as a splendid adventure in which you are setting out into an unknown country, to face many a danger, to meet many a joy, to find many a comrade, to win and lose many a battle.” — Annie Besant

A new adventure begins!

panorama

Either life occupies you, or you occupy life — over the last few days I made some spontaneous decisions that were a long time in coming. Isn’t that the way things usually are? A long time ruminating over possible options, and then a spate of seemingly spontaneous decisions that change everything. While the decisions were made quickly, a lot of thought and emotion were expended manifesting this possible future.

I asked Stacy (Occupy Wall Street) if I could go with her to Maine for a quick Occupy related trip, and she gladly assented. Driving through Maine was a healing experience. Waves of stress disintegrated with every 100 mile swath of forest put between us and the NYPD-guarded Wall Street. Being involved in a creative project that came to fruition was also good for the soul.

On the way back, Stacy extended an invitation to me to join the Occupy Bus Tour. How could I say no? Leaving Occupy Trinity Wall Street was not an easy decision to make. I still want to be there. But I have to realize that the action will go on without me. Occupy Trinity is an ever-evolving action that has a life of its own. I was there on the first day as a defendant in the court case, and stayed more than 6 months as a medic and as a protester. There were days I spent almost alone, thankful that Angry Jason (Occupy Wall Street), José (Occupy Wall Street) and Nappy (Occupy Milwaukee) were certain to come by late at night to make sure I was OK, and to sleep in solidarity with me on the sidewalk. There was a time when they were the only ones coming by to occupy with me. There were also days where we numbered over 60 Occupiers stretched from the MTA subway end of the front of Trinity to the end of the cemetary by the Subway shop– and had satellite sleepful protests at banks around us.  Of course, there were lots of times inbetween those extremes, and those times were of myriad situations and circumstances. Somewhere in there I became a full-fledged protester instead of just a street medic. The NYPD radicalized me with the callous brutality I saw them inflict upon Occupiers, and I needed to protest their violence in suppressing our rights as citizens of this country and as human beings. I had watched them beat us too many times. I had them put hands on me to stop me from helping the injured too many times. I had been beaten by them for being in the protests too many times. I had been kicked awake by them while sleeping on the sidewalk too many times. I had all my property confiscated by them and lost in bureaucratic paperwork and outright thievery too many times. There came a time when I put my duct-tape red crosses away and carried signs and lost my voice screaming in protest at the injustices of the NYPD and the murders and ecocide of the 1% of Wall Street.

Now, I put away the duct-tape red crosses again to support and reinforce the message of Occupy across the country. Along with Stacy, Danielle & Bishop (Occupy New Haven), and a few others of long-time Occupy notoriety who are meeting us in Florida, we will embark on an Occupy odyssey to many protests of our own making, and to many others in solidarity with the people already there.

The Medic Roadshow bus is in Washington state, and we will eventually get over there to meet up with them — where I might finally join the dream we Occupy Wall Street street medics had last year at this time. As I said, these thoughts have been thinking for a long time. The decisions came quickly, but were not unexpected.

While on the Occupy Bus Tour we will have our own blog at http://occupybustour.wordpress.com/ and also a website home at occupybustour.mayfirst.org . Several of us will be blogging, and we will have lots of photos, film, interviews and more. We will be putting together a documentary of the entire journey, as well. I will continue to post info here about what’s happening at Occupy Trinity until someone takes over for me . . . and until I get back from the bus tour.

Check out this Village Voice article: http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-12-12/news/trinity-church-james-cooper/

Yo. I will be back. Wall Street has not seen the last of me. Give’em hell while I’m gone, so they know what it will be like when I return.

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.” —Pearl S. Buck

“Don’t get old.” — Grandma Colacino, and now me. Don’t get old, yo!

07 December 2012, Friday

The Occupy Trinity Wall Street Branch of the Occupy Wall Street Library is now open . . . again!

While I am still a street medic, I do not have any medical supplies at the moment because they all were stolen by the NYPD, and so working as a full-time, 24/7 medic is not the optimum arrangement for me now. Therefore, in order to be a creative asset to this occupation I am falling back on one of my many other talents — library worker. I accumulated 11 thought-provoking books over the past two days, set up the library this morning, and in the first hour had passers-by take four of the books and chat with me. At this rate I will need more books fast — so this is a call for books! Please, bring books that constructively engage the intellect and emotion — the time for romance novels is past. To quote Jean-Paul Sartre:

“It is not right, my fellow-countrymen, you who know very well all the crimes committed in our name, it’s not at all right that you do not breathe a word about them to anyone, not even to your own soul, for fear of having to stand judgement of yourself. I am willing to believe that at the beginning you did not realize what was happening; later, you doubted whether such things could be true; but now you know, and still you hold your tongues. . . . And your silence is to no avail; today the blinding sun of torture is at its zenith; it lights up the whole country. Under that merciless glare, there is not a laugh that does not ring false, not a face that is not painted to hide fear or anger, not a single action that does not betray our disgust, and our complicity.” — Preface to “The Wretched of the Earth” by Frantz Fanon

Under that merciless glare there is no time for formulaic romance novels for easily appeased escapist sheeple. We need books that investigate, uncover and present the truth of our existence. We need books that open minds and awaken the heart. We need books that lay bare our crimes, and we need books that search for redemption. We have ignored reality for far too long. Read a book, read a good book — and then donate it to the Occupy Trinity Wall Street Branch of the Occupy Wall Street Library. Thank you!

06 December 2012, Thursday

702 Vermont Street, Occupied

702 Vermont Street, Occupied!

One year ago today we held a huge march in East New York, and took control of a house. At the time we were told that we were taking a long-foreclosed house away from a predatory bank, and were going to fix it up and give it to a poor family. Things did not work out so neatly, and in fact we eventually failed, but it was a good idea — one that has been successful for other Occupys and other organizations. I think we should do it again, but this time do it like Occupy Portland and other places did it.

The organizers of our action at 702 Vermont Street are totally to blame for the failure. First, the house was not foreclosed, and the bank did not own it. Second, the poor family was actually one of the organizer families (of Vocal-NY, our partner in this action). Third, when things got tough the organizers split quick with the money, the tools and the contractors — leaving hard-grounder Occupiers with a dream but no support. We tried to evolve the action, but were met at every turn with opposition from OWS organizers. It seemed to us that we needed to be true to our word — to do what we told the community we were going to do. The organizers, however, realized they didn’t do their homework, and were not willing to get their hands dirty or to correct their mistakes. The end result is that the neighborhood turned against us because in their perception we lied to them.

We” did not lie — the organizers lied . . . and ran away with all the stuff.

I spent much of last winter at 702 Vermont Street. I had high hopes for the action, and even when the organizers pulled everything out from under us I still thought we could pull it off. We tried, but we had no money or tools or materials. We scavenged some tools and materials but not nearly enough. Making matters worse was the New York Post and their fictional articles about what was going on at the house. The organizers believed the Post articles (when do we ever believe the Post?), and made sure to use their influence to block every attempt we made to get work done at the house.

Despite all that, some people need to be commended for the support they gave us. Members of the Kitchen, Comfort, Medical, Livestream and Sanitation (yes, we were all still working back then) kept us afloat for the three to four months we were there. One by one the working groups themselves pulled out, but individual members kept supplying us on their own. Hard-grounder Occupiers never give up. We’d have finished the job by now if the police hadn’t raided and boarded the place up again. Maybe we would have finally gotten the neighborhood together with us, and we all would have finished the job on our own. That’s what we were trying to do when it all finally fell apart.

There is an action today to “kick off Year Two” but Occupy Wall Street and New York City are not involved. There will be actions in Atlanta, MinneapolisChicago, St. Louis, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Richmond CA, Lake Worth FL, Greensboro NC, Mendham NJ, and other cities to be announced. I support the actions wholeheartedly. If we here at Occupy Wall Street had the wherewithal to be involved with this project I would be the first to volunteer. Taking homes away from predator banks, fixing them up and giving them to poor families is a good thing. I am always interested in good things. If we ever do try it again, please leave out the organizers this time! We don’t need no stinkin’ bosses!

The march

05 December 2012, Wednesday

“Excuse me, Officer. We would like our dildoes back. We let you play with them overnight, but it’s morning now and we want them back.”

While you’re at it, we’d like our backpacks back . . . and our sleeping bags, blankets, clothes, food, books, medical supplies, tarps, etc., etc., etc..

Yes, the NYPD came by on 03 December and stole all the property of three Occupiers — Dominique (Occupy New Haven), Felix (Occupy Wall Street) and myself), and arrested a fourth, “Chilligan” (Occupy Wall Street).

“Chilligan” was asked by an officer if any of the confiscated property was his, and when he went to point out a piece of paper that was his . . . well, handcuffs got slapped on him immediately. Despite his protests that none of the confiscated property, except the one piece of paper, was his, and despite the fact that Dominique, Felix and I arrived in time to declare our ownership of the property in the process of confiscation, the NYPD decided that all the property should be owned by “Chilligan”. By doing that without telling us until our second visit to the 1st Precinct trying to recover the property, the NYPD effectively stole all the property.

How, you ask?

Dominique, Felix and I tried to recover the property immediately. We were told to come back in the morning because the Property Officer was not on duty that night. So we dutifully came back in the morning, when we were held waiting for over an hour while the property was exited out of the building

“Oh, you know, they took it all across town just a couple of minutes ago. Too bad, eh?”

But then came the kicker — “But you couldn’t have claimed it anyway because it says here on the property inventory that it all belongs to “Chilligan”.”

Y’see . . . the NYPD can’t do anything legal to us, so they have to resort to confiscating our property under a bogus motor vehicle violation (see below), and then preventing us from retrieving our property. Since nobody has oversight on the NYPD they get to do whatever they want with impunity. Oh, they’ll say there’s a Civilian Complaint Review Board . . . hah! Corrupt bastards watching over corrupt bastards . . . where’s the justice? No justice so no peace, fuck the police.

We know the NYPD, Securitas and Downtown Alliance think they have split Occupy Trinity Wall Street, and now control Occupy Trinity Wall Street because they have befriended one of us — but you forgot that we have no leaders. You may have turned one of us, but the rest have minds of their own. Free minds. Whatever deal she makes with you has no weight with us. Sorry, Lollipop Cop — no deal. Return our dildoes. We know you have them. Stop resisting!

16-122. Vehicles and other movable property.

a. Legislative intent.
The need for this legislation is indicated by the ever increasing number of abandoned cars in the city of New York. The purpose of  this  section is  to punish those persons who abandon and/or remove component parts of motor vehicles in public streets. It is not the intent to  prohibit  or preclude any person in lawful possession of a vehicle from making lawful repairs  or  removing  any component part for the purpose of making such lawful repairs to a motor vehicle on a public street.

b. It shall be unlawful for any person, such person's agent or employee to leave, or to suffer or permit to be left, any box, barrel, baleof merchandise or other movable property whether or not owned by such  person, upon any marginal or public street or any public place, or to erect or cause to be erected thereon any shed, building or  other obstruction.

c.  It  shall  be  unlawful  for  any  person, such person's agent or employee to leave, or suffer or permit to be left,  any  motor  vehicle, not  otherwise  lawfully parked, whether or not owned by such person, in any marginal or public street, or any public place. The owner or  driver of  a disabled vehicle shall be allowed a reasonable time, not exceeding three hours, in which to remove said vehicle.

d.  Any  person  convicted  of  a  violation  of  the  provisions  of subdivision  b  or  c of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty  dollars  nor  more  than  two  hundred  fifty  dollars, imprisonment for not more than ten days, or both.

e.  It shall be unlawful for any person, such person's agent or employee, to abandon, or to suffer or permit to be abandoned any motor vehicle, whether or not owned by such person, in any marginal or public street, or any public place.

f. It shall be unlawful for any person to dismantle, or to remove  any component  part of any motor vehicle in any marginal or public street or any public area.

g.  Any  person  convicted  of  a  violation  of  the  provisions of subdivision  e  or  f of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than  one year.

h.  Any  person violating the provisions of subdivision b or c of this section shall be liable and responsible for a civil penalty of not  less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

i. In the instance where the notice of violation, appearance ticket or summons  is issued for breach of the provisions of this section and sets forth thereon civil penalties only, such process shall be returnable  to the  environmental  control  board, which shall have the power to impose the civil penalties  hereinabove  provided  in  subdivision  h  of  this section.

j.  In  the  event  that  a  violator  fails  to answer such notice of violation,  appearance  ticket  or  summons  within  the  time  provided therefor  by  the  rules  and  regulations  of the environmental control board, he or she shall  become  liable  for  additional  penalties.  The additional penalties shall not exceed fifty dollars for each violation.

01 December 2012, Saturday

Everything is quiet at Wall Street and Broadway. I have been reading a lot — huddled up with Heraclitus, Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Wollstonecraft, Husserl, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, Maslow and others trying to stay warm.  A new philosophy is birthing in my mind — an Occupy philosophy as the dialectical philosophy of our time. That is why I haven’t written in a bit — my mind is occupied with trying to fit together ideas and words. I find that language is so inadequate for the expression of ideas that I have to mull things over repeatedly in order to ferret out erroneous connotations.

Anyway . . .

The NYPD seems to have better things to do nowadays besides harassing us. However, it is not lost upon me that several of us have succumbed to the panopticonic control that has been inflicted upon us. The many video cameras watching us from all angles at all times do the job of the prison guard — the NYPD doesn’t have to be physically present in order to watch us, and thereby control our behavior. Some of us have started automatically obeying authority figures. This is, in my estimation, exactly the wrong mindset for an occupy action. Making friends with, and following the directions of, Securitas, Downtown Alliance, NYPD and other authorities will not accomplish the goals of Occupy Wall Street or this specific action at Occupy Trinity Wall Street. We haven’t come this far just to sit quietly and obey. We have chosen to change the world — it cannot be done by obeying authorities, and it cannot be done without fuss.

To be human is to be free. To be free is to choose. This world is created from past choices. Another world is possible. Our choice. No excuses.

24 November 2012, Saturday

Why do we occupy? We occupy to remind people every day that we have made demands, and that we are standing our ground. Demands? Yes.

Our Declaration of the NYC General Assembly lists grievances. There is no sense to listing grievances unless we are demanding the situation be rectified — so that list is a list of demands:

  • They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
  • They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
  • They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
  • They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
  • They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
  • They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
  • They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
  • They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
  • They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
  • They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
  • They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
  • They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
  • They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
  • They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
  • They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
  • They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
  • They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
  • They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
  • They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
  • They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
  • They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
  • They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
  • *These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Here at the Occupy Trinity Wall Street action we have made a demand that Trinity Wall Street Church start acting like a church instead of a corporation and fire CEO/Rector Cooper. The criminal response from Trinity indicates that our demand was a righteous one. So we continue to occupy because we are standing our ground, and we have no intention of backing down. Every day we are there we remind Cooper, Trinity Wall Street Church and Trinity Real Estate Corporation that they have a responsibility to the community that they have not ever fulfilled. After 307 years, or so, it is about time Trinity Wall Street started acting like a church. Their assets and connections used in accordance to how they preach Sunday sermons can change the world for the better, instead of for the worse as it is doing now. Lies and hypocrisy do not belong in a church, nor do they belong in a corporation. Trinity Wall Street Church epitomizes everything that is wrong with Wall Street. The church sits at the geographical and philosophical head of Wall Street. Instead of toadying up to the 1%, Trinity Wall Street Church could be right beside Occupy Wall Street in opposing the greed, criminality and insanity of Wall Street. Trinity Wall Street Church could be a focal point of massive change for good. We need Trinity Wall Street Church to admit their wrongs, accept their own philosophy, and help us find radical solutions to the social injustices that are destroying our ecology, economy and spirituality.

Stop resisting, Trinity. You preach what you need to do. Listen to what you are saying on Sundays . . .  and do it. Just do it.

Then, and only then, will we stop occupying in front of the church.

 

22 November 2012, Thursday

– Russell Means –

“When we met with the Wampanoag people, they told us that in researching the history of Thanksgiving, they had confirmed the oral history passed down through their generations. Most Americans know that Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag, had welcomed the so-called Pilgrim Fathers—and the seldom-mentioned Pilgrim Mothers—to the shores where his people had lived for millennia. The Wampanoag taught the European colonists how to live in our hemisphere by showing them what wild foods they could gather, how, where, and what crops to plant, and how to harvest, dry and preserve them.

The Wampanoag now wanted to remind White America of what had happened after Massasoit’s death. Massasoit was succeeded by his son, Metacomet, whom the colonists called “King” Philip. In 1675-1676, to show “gratitude” for what Massasoit’s people had done for their fathers and grandfathers, the Pilgrims manufactured an incident as a pretext to justify disarming the Wampanoag.

The whites went after the Wampanoag with guns, swords, cannons and torches. Most, including Metacomet, were butchered. His wife and son were sold into slavery in the West Indies. His body was hideously drawn and quartered.

For twenty-five years afterward, Metacomet’s skull was displayed on a pike above the whites’ village. The real legacy of the Pilgrim Fathers is treachery. Most Americans today believe that Thanksgiving celebrates a boar harvest, but that is not so.

By 1970, the Wampanoag had turned up a copy of a Thanksgiving proclamation made by the governor of the colony; the text revealed the ugly truth: After a colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise—in other words, every autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast.

The Wampanoag we met at Plymouth came from everywhere in Massachusetts. Like many other eastern nations, theirs had been all but wiped out. The survivors found refuge in other Indian nations that had not succumbed to European diseases or to violence. The Wampanoag went into hiding, or joined the Six Nations, or found homes among the Delaware Shawnee nations, to name a few. Some also sought refuge in one of the two hundred eastern-seaboard nations that were later exterminated.

Nothing remains of those nations but their names, and even some of those have been lost. Other Wampanoag, who couldn’t reach another Indian nation, survived by intermarriage with Black slaves or freedmen. It is hard to imagine a life terrible enough that people would choose instead, with all their progeny, to become slaves, but that is exactly what some Indians did.”

(The above text was excerpted from Russell Means’ autobiography entitled, “Where White Men Fear To Tread.”)

 – Winona LaDuke on Redemption –

21 November 2012, Wednesday

I am taking a 2-day break from hard-ground occupying at an undisclosed location. While here I have the opportunity to work a bit on this site, and am adding lots of photographs to all the photo pages. I will try to add some videos also. I have already added dozens of pics, and will continue far into the night.

Remember, Thanksgiving is a farce. For many years after that first pilgrim Thanksgiving, feasts of thanks were declared to recognize and celebrate the victory against, and eradication of, the “heathen inhabitants” of the land. In other words, they were giving thanks for the genocide of the Native Americans. It wasn’t until most of the Native Americans were gone from the eastern United States did Thanksgiving return to the story of the first one.

Doublespeak has been with us forever.

This Thanksgiving do something nice for the Native Americans. Make amends. De-colonize your minds and hearts.

19 November 2012, Monday

I went to court today . . . and they had no record of my offense. I asked for a listing of all my court dates and the clerk could only find one (1) outstanding court case — January 11, 2013. Now, I know I have 5 other court cases left — all false arrests. Things that make you go hmm.

Occupiers from all over are coming in to New York City to help out with Occupy Sandy. A lot of them come through Occupy Trinity Wall Street to say “Hi!” and have a meet & greet. Kenya and Pelkey (from Occupy New Haven) ended up staying a couple nights with us here at Trinity after helping out with Occupy Sandy. We are always glad to welcome the Occupy New Haven crowd — they have helped us out all through our occupation here, and previously also, at Union Square, 702 Vermont Street and Zuccotti Park.

Another documentor came through to interview “Lady”, Corey and myself (Occupy Wall St.) yesterday. He is from Germany, and his main interest is why people join political movements, why they stay, and what the struggles are. We all had a good discussion, and in typical Occupier format each of us came from different angles, had different stories to tell, and different experiences to relate but we all zeroed in on the same goal.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was supposed to give a talk for Trinity Wall Street Church yesterday, but cancelled out of it. Thank you, Rev. Al. I have long said that we will never know how many people refused to come to Trinity Wall Street Church for events because we are here. But we do know that people have refused invitations or have cancelled. We also know that presidential candidates and VIPs often have a public show (photo op and PR) of religiosity at the church, and that just isn’t happening this year. In fact, a previous speaker in the series was heard to exclaim after the event that Trinity’s congregation is not open to the message of Christ. No kiddin’, yo!

Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are changing the world. Shit is fucked up and bullshit. Game over. Get ready for the new game.

Occupy public space, assemble freely, create community, enjoy unity, change the world. It is that simple.