Tag Archives: occupy

Shocking rules for ‘whites’ at Mike Brown vigil: Support blacks, shut up and …

toronto-vigilIn a continuation of a practice that was prevalent during the short-lived Occupy Wall Street protests, white people attending a vigil in Toronto for Michael Brown were asked to abide by separate rules than people of color.

The event organizers posted a set of “guidelines” on Facebook for “White/Non Black Allies,” telling them to “refrain from taking up space in all ways possible.”

Presumably, white people were allowed to breath the air, but were otherwise told “never be at the centre of anything,” and to “refrain from speaking to the media.”

And the breathing privilege had limits, as white people were instructed to “stand behind black folks or between us and the police.” A rule that makes one think of human shields.

The rules also stated: “If you see a cop harassing a black person, come in and engage (chances are they are least likely to arrest you).”

Organizers created a Facebook event titled “Black Lives Matter: Toronto,” that included the guidelines, as seen here:

toronto

The racially-driven guidelines prompted some to criticize organizers for being racist while putting together an event to criticize racism. An event where white attendees seem to matter less than attendees of color.

“Wow, is this an anti-racist rally or a pro-segregation one?” one social media user asked, according to the Daily Mail. It appears that critical comments have since been scrubbed.

During the Occupy Wall Street fiasco, white males were regularly expected to position themselves at the end of the line and be the last to speak during open-mic sessions where folks were given the floor to voice whatever discontent they may harbor.

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Protests Over Decision in Ferguson, Mo., Challenge NYPD

Commissioner William Bratton, center, was spattered with fake blood thrown by a protester Monday night.
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New York City’s police commissioner on Tuesday called the violence in Ferguson, Mo., “very disturbing” and said he would work with protesters to avoid similar unrest when a Staten Island grand jury returns a decision in a police-involved death.

Commissioner William Bratton, speaking a day after a grand jury declined to indict a Missouri police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, said he had sent detectives to Ferguson to “bring back lessons that might be learned from their experience to our city.”

“I think what’s happened in the streets of Ferguson is certainly very disturbing,” Mr. Bratton said. “It should not have happened, but it did.”

Mr. Bratton’s New York Police Department will face its own test when a Staten Island grand jury decides whether to indict a police officer in the July death of Eric Garner, who authorities said was put in an apparent chokehold while he was resisting arrest.

The NYPD under Mr. Bratton has had a few dry runs at mass protests, including Ferguson-focused protests on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, the protests shut down several large Manhattan streets and three bridge crossings, but resulted in no major violence and only two arrests.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of marchers zigzagged across Manhattan, snarling traffic on busy roads as police mostly just looked on.

In one of the few confrontations, officers ordered a crowd in Times Square several times to stop blocking Seventh Avenue. The protesters ignored the directive, and police made several arrests.

One of the arrests Monday was for an alleged assault on Mr. Bratton, who was spattered with red paint while overseeing the protests in Times Square.

The NYPD also avoided large numbers of arrests and violence when thousands of demonstrators marched to highlight Mr. Garner’s death last August in Staten Island.

The commissioner said the police had long-term relationships with civil-rights and community leaders.

“One of the reasons that [the Staten Island] march went off so well two months back was the relationships that we had,” said Mr. Bratton who added that he and newly appointed Chief of Department James O’Neill have been talking with elected officials and community organizers.

Protesters in Times Square Monday night.
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The NYPD’s response to the Ferguson protests drew mixed reviews.

Some marchers said not much has changed from the days of Occupy Wall Street, when hundreds of protesters were arrested when they tried to shut down the Brooklyn Bridge.

“I think they handled it like they always do. It was a military formation,” said Imani Henry, one of the organizers of a protest in Manhattan on Monday. “We’re not under the illusion that they’re there to protect us.”

Asked about any incidents in particular, he described a confrontation in which he said a police officer on a motor scooter sped up in a crowd and rammed protesters.

“They don’t care about our safety,” said Mr. Henry.

Mayor


Bill de Blasio

—he criticized how Occupy Wall Street protesters were treated in 2011—praised the NYPD’s response, saying the police respected the right to protest.

“We allow protests to happen the right way and generally speaking in a way that really fosters nonviolence and people participating in their society in the right manner,” he said.

One police critic, defense attorney Ron Kuby, said he saw differences in how the police handle protests now versus under former Commissioner

Raymond Kelly.

“Under the Kelly regime, the police model was to use any pretext possible to sweep up as many protesters as you could get and then process them through the system so they spend at least 24 hours behind bars,” Mr. Kuby said. “When the cops make it clear they aren’t looking for a reason to arrest you but are just trying to keep everyone safe, there’s a different vibe.”

Mr. Kelly didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Bratton said his strategy was to “give a little breathing room” to protesters—up to a point.

“Then we make it clear that ‘It’s time to go,’ if you will,” Mr. Bratton said. “And we are adapting to some of their changing strategies and tactics. As long as they remain nonviolent, as long as they don’t engage in issues that cause fear or create vandalism, we will work with them to allow them to demonstrate.”

—Michael Howard Saul,
Adam Janos
and Thomas MacMillan
contributed to this article.

Ferguson Protesters Aim for Bigger Movement Against Police Brutality

Many of the young people who have taken to the streets around the U.S. in Ferguson-related protests vow to turn the rallies against police brutality into a movement that will last long beyond this week.

But whether the protests will endure or fade as public attention wanes is unclear. Experts on social movements say protest leaders, many of whom are new to organizing, will eventually need to connect with more seasoned groups if they…

Ex-senator Jim Webb may be ready to challenge Hillary

Jim Webb has been on both sides of the aisle, both sides of a notebook and both ends of the chain of command: a Republican and a Democrat, a politician and a journalist, a combat Marine and a Pentagon official.

Now the former Virginia senator has launched a presidential bid — he formed an exploratory committee Wednesday with a video announcement — and will focus on another divide: economic inequality.

Webb, 68, is a decorated Vietnam veteran, lawyer, novelist, historian and journalist. He served as secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration as a Republican. In 2006, he was elected to the Senate from Virginia as a Democrat.

He’s not yet an official candidate but he is already officially an underdog, to Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce whether she will run again sometime next year.

A few days before he made his announcement, Webb talked to longtime friend Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska senator and onetime Democratic presidential candidate himself. “I’m telling him what he already knows, which is, this is a very steep climb,” Kerrey said in an interview. “Hillary is very popular and very well-liked, deservedly so. She is as strong a candidate as I’ve ever seen.”

Webb will have to raise millions just to consider competing in early primaries, “before you ever get to the problem of trying to improve your name identification,” Kerrey says. “It’s all about money in today’s politics. If you can’t raise money you can’t put a campaign together.”

Webb’s admirers say he has the authenticity that voters crave in political candidates.

“He’s not reading cards handed to him by staff. He speaks from the heart and the mind and he’s got considerable voltage in both areas,” Kerrey says.

“Don’t underestimate him, that’s the first thing,” says Mark Rozell, public policy professor at Virginia’s George Mason University. That’s what happened when Webb ran for the Senate as a political newcomer: long before Occupy Wall Street coined the term “the 99%,” Webb had “a very effective populist message in that campaign that appealed to Democratic voters concerned about economic inequality,” Rozell said.

Once elected, Webb quickly gained notice: At a White House reception he snubbed President George W. Bush’s inquiry about how his son, a Marine serving in Iraq, was faring. “That’s between me and my boy,” Webb said. Two months later, Webb gave the Democratic rebuttal to Bush’s 2007 State of the Union speech. The freshman senator told Bush to end the war in Iraq and ripped the “economic imbalance” between middle class and wealthy Americans.

Webb, who was mentioned as a possible running mate for Barack Obama in 2008, “is well enough known by the political junkies who participate in caucuses,” says Iowa State University political expert Steffen Schmidt. “But he will need to come and tell a story about why Webb and not Clinton.”

Iowans will be listening, though, Schmidt says. Iowa Democrats “are dying for choice in 2016. …The ‘coronation’ of Hillary Clinton is very unpopular. Clearly Webb represents an interesting and eclectic possibility.”

Webb’s candidacy comes at a moment when Democrats are castigating themselves for not having a powerful economic message in the midterm elections.

“There’s a real sense that they blew it,” Rozell says. “The timing of Jim Webb’s potential candidacy makes perfect sense. Hit that sweet spot when people are looking to the party to assert itself, defend its own principles — and here comes a guy who’s been talking about this all along.”

Top Occupy organizer trained Ferguson protesters

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Lisa Fithian

Lisa Fithian

In a development that may portend extended disruptions, veteran street organizer Lisa Fithian, previously dubbed “Professor Occupy,” recently trained Ferguson protesters how to “simulate chaos.”

Fithian is a legendary organizer who once announced she seeks to “create crisis, because crisis is that edge where change is possible.”

She was one of the luminaries of the Occupy Wall Street movement and was a lead organizer in the infamous 1999 Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization that descended into violence.

The 1999 WTO event in Seattle devolved into widespread rioting in which more than 40,000 protesters, some using violent tactics, descended on the city, prompting police to use tear gas and rubber bullets. The clash became known as “The Battle of Seattle.”

According to Discover the Networks, Fithian specializes in aggressive “direct action” tactics.

Prior to the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting case, Fithian was interviewed Nov. 14 on NPR.

NPR host Emanuele Berry stated Fithian was “leading a training session for demonstrators, instructing a hundred people to shuffle through a small lime green room in the back of a nonprofit office, simulating chaos.”

Foreshadowing chaos that she herself may have helped to provoke with the training, Fithian warned, “Now does anybody think that when this non-decision comes down that it might be a little crazy like that out there?”

Discover the Networks, meanwhile, notes Fithian previously provided training and support for the controversial ACORN group, National People’s Action, the new version of the Students for a Democratic Society, among other radical organizations.

With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.

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Bolivian demonstrator who splattered fake blood on NYPD’s top cop has long …

A former Occupy Wall Street protester was arrested Monday night after throwing fake blood on New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton and other cops during a demonstration that erupted following the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Diego Ibañez, 26, is expected to appear in court on charges of assault on a police officer, obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, harassment and criminal mischief.

Photos of Bratton and other police officers splattered with blood were splashed across the pages of New York’s tabloids, but the NYPD’s top cop shrugged of the incident with a joke and a smile when questioned by the New York Daily News.

“My wife’s been complaining about my grey hairs, been asking me to darken up a little bit,” Bratton said. “But bright red is not what I’m looking at.”

Bratton, however, was less kind when it came to his thoughts on Ibañez, who will face nine counts of assault — one for each member of the NYPD struck by the fake blood concoction that is typically used in movies or plays. He brought the faux blood to the rally in a jar.

He is “a professional agitator,” Bratton said of Ibañez. “And I hope he’ll be a professional resident of Rikers Island if we have a successful prosecution.”

Ibañez was born in Bolivia and was active in immigration rights movements in Utah, Alabama and Arizona, before moving to New York City to work with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has also had several prior arrests and is known to have gone on a two-week hunger strike in October 2011.

The protester’s Facebook and Twitter pages are a mix of left-wing memes and statements about topic like the 43 missing Mexican college students and links to YouTube music videos from Kendrick Lamar and Gogol Bordello.

Ibañez’s writing has appeared in the activist newspaper the Indypendent and he was also interviewed by the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs about his time during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“The race issue was something that I was very aware about,” Ibañez said. “So I have come to realize that if the process and if the actual structure that we have limited ourselves to is not working for people of color and immigrants, then I see a separate call, something that is not within an Occupy Wall Street working group, something that’s in solidarity but that’s a parallel call.”

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Wi-Fi Plan Draws Critics

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to bring public Internet access to the five boroughs is raising concerns among cybersecurity experts and elected officials.

Announced last week, Mr. de Blasio’s initiative would build one of the world’s largest municipal Wi-Fi networks—an experiment that could backfire, analysts said, if hackers access massive troves…

Ferguson protester busted for tossing fake blood on Bratton

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJames Keivom/New York Daily News Diego Ibanez (center) will appear in court Tuesday after the Times Square incident.

The last laugh went to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The morning after a protester at Times Square splashed the city’s top cop with fake blood, Bratton cracked jokes while his accused attacker cooled his heels behind bars.

“My wife has been complaining about my gray hairs, been asking me to darken up a little bit,” Bratton joked Tuesday. “But bright red is not what I’m looking at.”

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiKen Murray/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton walks through a crowd in Times Square after Monday night’s Ferguson grandy jury decision and is hit with red paint.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJames Keivom/New York Daily News
The protester was tackled by police in Times Square after the attack.
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Bratton, along with several cops flanking him, was splashed with the blood-red mixture Monday night during a protest at Times Square over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who killed Michael Brown.

The suspect, Diego Ibanez, a veteran of the Occupy Wall Street movement, carried the faux blood in a jar, according to police. He proved to be an accurate fake-blood tosser, hitting Bratton in his right cheek and chin and splattering his business suit.


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View Gallery Grand jury decision sparks violent outrage in Ferguson

Ibanez was quickly taken into custody. He was arraigned Tuesday night and ordered held on $30,000 bond. Bratton said he dropped his stained suit at the cleaners Tuesday morning.

“I’m picking up three new ones tomorrow, so I’ll be ahead of the game in any event,” he added.

Diego Ibanez is escorted into an NYPD police van after he was busted in attack on Police Commissioner Bratton.Mariela Lombard for New York Daily News Diego Ibanez is escorted into an NYPD police van after he was busted in attack on Police Commissioner Bratton.

Ibanez, 26, originally from Bolivia, has five prior arrests. A friend described him as an activist with a history of civil disobedience. Bratton wasn’t so kind. He said the suspect is “a professional agitator, and I hope he’ll be a professional resident of Rikers Island if we have a successful prosecution.”

Ibanez was arrested on nine counts of assault on a police officer — one for each cop splashed by the bogus blood — and other charges.

rparascandola@nydailynews.com

On a mobile device? Click here to watch video of the paint attack.

Click here to watch video of Ferguson unrest.

Occupy-Style Protests Hit California Universities … Sort Of

Students irate about a planned tuition hike at the University of California are deploying tactics reminiscent of 2011′s Occupy movement to express their displeasure, occupying buildings and walking out of class.

However, with the Thanksgiving holiday looming, the protesters biggest enemy appears to be apathy rather than autocratic administrators.

On Monday afternoon, over a thousand students at UC campuses across the state walked out of class to march in protest against the UC board of regents’ decision to hike tuition by about 28 percent over the next five years. The hike, if implemented in full, will take the combined cost of attendance at the University of California over $30,000 for the first time.

The walkout is a continuation of a nascent protest movement that has resurrected tactics reminiscent of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement. At UC Berkeley, the state’s flagship campus and a longtime center for left-wing activism, a handful of students have launched a new group they have dubbed “The Open UC.” Over 200 of them have taken part in an occupation of the school’s Wheeler Hall, while other building takeovers have occurred at UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.

However, at the college which gave rise to the 60s Free Speech Movement, activists are finding it harder to keep students outraged long-term. Ultimately, their greatest enemy may not be The Man in the form of the University of California regents, but rather their fellow students’ inclination to prioritize their academics and personal lives over radical action.

At Berkeley, the commitment to occupying Wheeler Hall at Berkeley is looking shaky, as students fear the occupation could collapse during the Thanksgiving holiday. Having no students in the hall at all would be better than a pathetic showing, one movement leader told The Daily Californian.

“For the strength of the movement, I don’t want it to peter out,” said sophomore Jake Soiffer. “I would probably lean toward pausing and then coming back with a bang on Monday. I really want to come back with a bang.”

Another issue hindering protesters is a flaw similar to the one that helped doom the Occupy movement three years ago: The lack of a clear mission. The Occupy movement famously began without any demands in particular and largely flared out without ever moving beyond generic anger at “the one percent.”

While it seems the tuition increase should provide an easy target for protesters, movement organizers have diluted it with a host of other stated goals. According to the Californian, Wheeler Hall’s occupiers have disseminated statements trying to expand the protest to include issues like transgender rights and racism, while Open UC’s own website has emphasized its opposition to the “privatization” of the University. Soiffer said he fears the promotion of niche causes could drive away potential supporters, but thus far that hasn’t stopped it from happening.

The expectation that the protests will simply “peter out” likely explains why university administrators and police have taken almost no action against protesters, even though behavior like occupying buildings is against school rules.

In contrast to a 2009 occupation of Wheeler Hall that led to dozens of arrests, or the occasional use of force against 2011 Occupiers, administrators and police at Berkeley and other campuses have taken essentially no action against protesters, depriving them of the friction and conflict that helps to inspire further radical action. Their laissez-faire attitude is so strong, in fact, that some protesters have complained about not being taken seriously.

“We’re here trying to stand for something,” Berkeley junior Madaly Alcala told the Daily Californian. “So it would be nice to be taken as serious students and adults in this movement.”

Ultimately, the best hope for protesters is not likely to lie with the UC administration, but rather with political action from Gov. Jerry Brown or the California legislature, both of which have expressed hostility to the tuition increase.

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