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Occupy Is Not Dead, Occupy Continues To Work For Justice

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

22 June, 2012

The U.S. media has been writing an obituary for Occupy, but in fact Occupy is active all over the country and is just being ignored by the corporate media.  This weekly installment of Occupy news highlights families occupying schools in Oakland to prevent their closure, Occupiers across the country working to prevent evictions and foreclosures, Occupiers confronting Jamie Dimon about JPMorgan Chase's foreclosure policies and Occupy SEC asking Dimon some tough questions. 

One big news story this week was the United States being called out by the international community for its inhumane behavior.  Two United Nations envoys have asked the US to respect the rights of Occupy protesters  and to protect them. In their four page letter to Secretary of State Clinton, they describe specific examples of abusive police behavior. The US, which often admonishes countries like Russia, China, Iran and Egypt for the way they treat protesters (while selling them tear gas and other weapons) has not responded.  So far, rather than protecting our rights,  federal officials secretly coordinated with law enforcement  in the occupy crackdowns.

In fact, it also appears that  law enforcement in the US has been preying upon vulnerable people in the Occupy Movement and entrapping them . The Cleveland 5 are potentially facing multiple life sentences.   A website has been created to support them. Some of the Cleveland 5 are members of Food Not Bombs, a group that will continue to be vital as the Senate voted this week NOT to restore $4.5 billion for food stamps. We will  follow the cases  in Cleveland and Chicago on  October2011.org.

The Occupy Movement will continue despite these challenges. We know that facing the power of concentrated wealth, or the ‘Looting Class” as we call them, will not be easy but it is necessary. Recently the corporate media have been claiming that the Occupy Movement is dead.  Chris Hedges explains why this obituary is premature and how the Occupy Movement can succeed .

In truth, the Occupy Movement is growing.  Occupy Our Homes  is  saving families from eviction  across the country. Even more than that, they are bringing communities together and empowering them to fight for their needs. This week, Deborah Harris, who describes herself as usually being timid, found her voice and used it to  confront Jamie Dimon , CEO of JP Morgan, when he attended a hearing with the Senate Banking Committee.  In addition to the visible confrontation at the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Occupy SEC sent a letter to the committee to have the ask Dimon some tough questions.   Listen to  this week's show on Clearing the FOG  to hear interviews with Deborah Harris of DC Occupy Our Homes as well as Jessica Lewis of Baltimore Occupy Our Homes and a reporter explain the corruption that led to the Senate Banking Committee failed to ask Dimon tough questions.

Jamie Dimon was confronted again yesterday by the coalition calling for a Financial Transactions Tax, known as the  Robin Hood Tax . Creative confrontations of this type are powerful tools used by nonviolent movements to expose the truth and ostracize those who are responsible for oppression.

Occupy members, students and their families are  occupying a public school in Oakland, CA  to try and prevent the closure of five schools. Education is key to building a strong movement and taking action to shift power. OWS is holding a  Summer Disobedience School . And Freedom Plaza occupant, Roya Brown, took the initiative to create an  ongoing Social Forum in her home, Occupy Denver .

In New York, Occupy recently  marched to end ‘Stop and Frisk' . The ACLU released a  new cell phone app  that can be used to report Stop and Frisk police activity. Also in New York, those who were arrested for trying to occupy First Trinity Church property after Zuccotti Park was shut down went to court recently. Most of those who were arrested received sentences of community service, but  Mark Adams is serving 45 days in jail . You can show support for him through this  Tumblr site.  If you are interested in posting something on the site, contact  poetjo@gmail.com .

In Washington, DC, we are  preparing for the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the health care law , the Affordable Care Act [sic]. At stake are the individual mandate, the Medicaid expansion and possibly the fate of the entire ACA. No matter what happens, we know that the ACA leaves tens of millions of people without coverage and tens of millions more with inadequate coverage while still causing health care costs to skyrocket.  The majority of people in the US favor national Medicare for all . When the decision is announced we will head to the Supreme Court steps and will call for a simple solution: drop 2 words – “over 65” - from the existing Medicare law and immediately expand de-privatized Medicare to every person. This would provide a real foundation for a health system that can be improved upon. We ask you to join us by holding a solidarity action in your community.

And we ask you to  speak out for Julian Assange . You are probably aware that he lost his appeal in the UK and is facing extradition to Sweden where he will likely be jailed, although he hasn't been charged with a crime there, and then sent to the US to face serious charges. Tuesday he went to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to seek asylum. The London Police say that this means he has broken his bail terms, but  Assange had little choice  as his own nation, Australia, refuses to protect his rights. Call the Ecuadorian Embassy and thank them for taking Assange in. Urge them to grant asylum. The number is  202-465-8120 . Please call now as a decision may be imminent.

Upcoming events
June 26: Premiere of “The American Autumn” produced by Dennis Trainor, Jr. at 7 pm in New York. Details are on  this Facebook page .
June 30 – July 4: The  Occupy National Gathering  in Philadelphia.

Last week we asked you to support OccuCards. They raised $2,000 and so will produce ten new cards.  OccuCards  are a great tool for educating about issues. Let them know if you have a subject they can address. We are urging them to create cards that educate about solutions too.

To join the online community click here.

Kevin Zeese and  Margaret Flowers are co-directors of Its Out Economy and were organizers for the October2011.org movement which organized Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza.


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