OccupyForum presents . . . Forum on Forum Potluck (Monday, August 15)

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, August 15th 2016  from 6 – 9 pm at Global Exchange

2017 Mission Street near 16th Street BART

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

Forum on Forum Potluck

Bring your recent activism concerns

and Report-backs!

Welcome back from the summer break! OccupyForum will meet this Monday to report back on our recent activism, and bring our concerns up for discussion with the group. Additionally, some of us are beginning work on developing an Activism 101 Course and we need your ideas.

There has been much talk over the past years about how to bring the Youth into the Movement. A new idea is to bring the Movement to the Youth through developing a program to be taught at community colleges, and other venues. This is in the inception phase, and we are very interested to hear your ideas about what such a course absolutely must include. Some ideas, as of now, relate to process, the movements we must cover and their meetings, the roles within each movement, race and class inside the movement/how to work together or not, etc., various strategies, tactics and their benefits and when to apply them, supporting or mentoring a student.

We will also review upcoming OccupyForum plans and commitments from members to take on a Forum meeting.

Please bring vegetarian potluck if you can, otherwise, just come and enjoy!

Q&A and Announcements will follow. Donations to OccupyForum to cover our costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

“Democracy Is Getting A Reboot On The Blockchain” by Adele Peters (fastcoexist.com)

A startup from Latin America, Democracy Earth, is fighting corruption through Internet voting technology.

In 2013, a group of activists in Buenos Aires attempted an experiment in what they called hacking democracy. Representatives from their new political party would promise to always vote on issues according to the will of citizens online. Using a digital platform, people could tell the legislator what to support, in a hybrid of a direct democracy and representation.

With 1.2% of the vote, the candidate they ran for a seat on the city council didn’t win. But the open-source platform they created for letting citizens vote, called Democracy OS, started getting attention around the world. In Buenos Aires, the government tried using it to get citizen feedback on local issues. Then, when the party attempted to run a candidate a second time, something happened that made them shift course. They were told they’d have to bribe a federal judge to participate.

“When you see that kind of corruption that you think happens in House of Cards—and you suddenly realize that House of Cards is happening all around you—it’s a very shocking thing,” says Santiago Siri, a programmer and one of the founders of the party, called Partido de la Red, or the Net Party. Siri started thinking about how technology could solve the fundamental problem of corruption—and about how democracy should work in the digital age.

The idea morphed into a Y Combinator-backed nonprofit called Democracy Earth Foundation. As the website explains:

The Internet transformed how we share culture, work together—and even fall in love—but governance has remained unchanged for over 200 years. With the rise of open-source software and peer-to-peer networks, political intermediation is no longer necessary. We are building a protocol with smart contracts that allows decentralized governance for any kind of organization.

Their new platform, which the team is working on now as part of the Fast Forward accelerator for tech nonprofits, starts by granting incorruptible identities to each citizen, and then records votes in a similarly incorruptible way.

“If you know anything about democracy, one of the simplest ways of subverting democracy is by faking identity,” says Siri. “This is about opening up the black box that can corrupt the system. In a democracy, that black box is who gets to count the votes, who gets to validate the identities that have the right to vote.”

While some experts argue that Internet voting isn’t secure enough to use yet, Democracy Earth’s new platform uses the blockchain—a decentralized, public ledger that uses encryption. Rather than recording votes in one place, everyone’s votes are recorded across a network of thousands of computers. The system can also validate identities in the same decentralized way.

The platform could be used in a variety of ways. A smaller organization, such the board of directors of a company, might use it for secure voting; the platform can also securely store organizational funds via bitcoin and track a budget. A government might use it for elections or referendums. This fall, Democracy Earth plans to run a pilot when Colombia holds a referendum to approve a historic peace deal between the government and the FARC guerrillas, after 50 years of fighting.

The pilot will record votes from some of the 7 million Colombians who fled the country and can’t easily vote in the referendum, along with those under 18 who can’t yet legally vote. As a pilot, the results won’t be binding for the government, but the platform will give expats and youth a way to share their opinions.

“These two communities are a relevant voice, and we want them to be heard in a process that will be historic to the nation and Latin America as a whole,” says Siri.

After the platform is proven, it can be used officially in elections. It could also enable the kind of direct democracy that new political parties like the Pirate Party, in Iceland, are calling for: letting citizens easily vote directly on issues rather than relying only on politicians.

Democracy Earth is especially interested in helping foster a new kind of governance it calls “liquid democracy,” where people can delegate their votes on particular issues to people they personally know and trust.

“We’re aiming to make the election of representatives a bottom-up process. Rather than electing from a few reality-show candidates that come from top political authorities, we want to engage society to elect among their peers,” says Siri. “Anyone—your friends, colleagues, or a politician, if you want that. This model of liquid democracy is appealing to us because it bridges the best of representative and direct democracy.”

Governments could use the platform now to help fight corruption. But because the platform is a borderless technology, Democracy Earth also imagines that it could eventually lead to a completely different form of governance. If the nation-state is becoming less relevant in a time when we live much of our lives online, perhaps someday we’ll be making decisions together globally as well.

Of course, that will mean that everyone has to have Internet access to participate, but that’s something Siri thinks will soon happen. “Especially in Latin America where we work, you have this digital gap of those who are connected and who are not connected,” he says. “What we know from the statistics is that this digital gap is not socio-economical, but it’s actually generational.” One hundred percent of adults under 30 in Argentina, he says, have Internet access—even in neighborhoods where there isn’t running water.

“In the long term, 10 years from now, 20 years from now—understanding that politics moves at glacial speeds while technology moves at exponential speeds—we see some point in the future where technology is going to be a fundamental right,” he says. “We want to provide the right kind of technology for making decisions online available for everyone.”

Have something to say about this article? You can email us and let us know. If it’s interesting and thoughtful, we may publish your response.

OccupySF Action Council – Announcements (from Adrienne Fong)

 If you know of events or have comments, send items for posting by Tuesday Noon to: pat1936@gmail.com  

OccupySF

~ Action Council ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board:

 http://www.occupysf.net

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

Thursday, August 11

A 11, Thursday, 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Rally, Speak Out Defend the Children and People of Fukushima

San Francisco Japan Consulate
275 Battery St.
SF

Community members and defenders of the people of Fukushima  will speak out at the San Francisco Japanese consulate to demand the evacuation of all children and families from Fukushima, full compensation and the closure of all nuclear plants in Japan/  The Abe government is seeking to reopen the remaining more than 35  nuclear plants despite the great dangers of another Fukushima disaster. Japan is located on the ring of fire and the danger of another major earthquake that could cause a similar disaster is very real.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/09/18789955.php

A 11, Thursday, 6:00pm, Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition: To Live or Die?

SEIU 1021
350 Rhode Island St. (enter on Kansas St.)
SF

Hear about the findings of the Blue Panel Report Investigating SFPD. Anand the Executive Director of the Blue Ribbon Panel will be presenting.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/185796195170090/

Friday, August 12

A 12, Friday, 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Advocates for 100 year old Black San Franciscan Charges Landlord with Elder Abuse

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.
SF

In the name of 100 year old, lifelong Fillmore resident Iris Canada, who has suffered financial, emotional and physical abuse under California elder abuse law from her landlord, who has been continually harassing her with eviction attempts since early March 2016, a group of advocates will be demanding that the District Attorney, George Gascon press charges of elder abuse under penal code 368.

This demand to the DA follows yet another attempt by the landlord to evict in court, BlackAugust 10th when the attorney for landlords Peter Owens, Carolyn Radische and Stephen Owens brought yet another filing,

Friday’s visit to the DA follows a 2014 series of cases brought by disabled, evicted and displaced elders, family and youth leaders.

Sponsor: POOR Magazine, Idriss Stelley Foundation, Bayview Newspaper, Manilatown Heritage Foundation and Others

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/604116713081627/

Saturday, August 13

A 13, Saturday, 2:00pm- 4:00pm  Nuclear Weapons: Can They Be Abolished? Dr. Helen Caldicott

SF Public Library – Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin St. (at Grove St)
SF

FREE EVENT

Dr. Caldicott has spent 45 years educating the world on nuclear perils and organizing against atomic warfare and power. Her mobilizing of doctors in many lands led to the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Though obligated to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.S. is devising net nuclear weapons for a trillion dollars while the Pentagon plans ways to use them

Cosponsors: San Francisco Public Library (BST Dept.) and the new Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament, consisting of various peace groups organized by the War and law League. For details, visit http://warandlaw.org

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/19/18787752.php

Monday, August 15

A 15, Monday, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, US Militarization in Asia: Questioning “The Rise of China”

Veterans War Memorial Building
401 Van Ness Ave., Room 210
SF

Speakers include:

Ann Wright (peace activist & former US Army Colonel)

  1. J. Noh (journalist & policy analyst for KPFA’s Flashpoints) & others.

The “rise of China” is being used to justify the Pacific Pivot and the TPP. How real is this danger? How can we be economically interdependent and also enemies? What does this mean for countries like Vietnam & the Philippines and for Asian American communities?

Flier: file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/My%20Documents/Downloads/PastedGraphic-1.pdf

Free of charge, donations welcome.

Light refreshments.

Hosted by Vets for Peace-SF with Women for Genuine Security, Bay Area Stop the Pacific Pivot Coalition, Comfort Women Justice Coalition, and Ecumenical Peace Institute.

For more info: call 415 312-5583 or e-mail info@genuinesecurity.org

Below are Pat’s message & announcements:

When Occupy started we said we will get out on the street to force change in our government and more specifically, our rotten banking system. We said that we are not political—and that, I think, was an error.

We must push back against capitalist power in every way we can imagine.  The anniversary of our movement is coming up. I think we need to talk about the election coming up and what we can do.

Having just suffered the fraudulent California primary that Bernie won but Hillarywas proclaimed the winner the day before the election, we need to reassess our goals.

There is a gathering planned for Saturday September 17th to celebrate our anniversary and, I hope, to discuss our future.  Talk to your friends and plan to speak on your ideas on changing our political system.  We need ideas on how to get some real democracy in our nation and ending capitalism.  We the people need to take power away from the corporations and their phony legal ‘personhood’.

Friday August 12

7:00 – 11:00 pm     3165 16th St.  San Francisco

DIABLO RISING TIDE HOUSE PARTY

Join us to celebrate the direct action and corporate
shame of Flood Wall St. last September–and
celebrate the blockade at the California Republican
convention in Burlingame that forced Trump to
crawl over a wall to speak at the event.   Hear of
past month’s tour of California talking about direct
action and climate change.

Come and help plan the next round of trouble
making and organizing at Scott’s house.
RSVP sparki@riseup.net
There will be food and beverages but also BYOB.

_________________________________________________________

Monday August 15

1:00 – 2:00 pm     S.F. Mission Police Station

17th St and Valencia, SF

CALL FOR A STATE OF EMERGENCY ON ALL POLICE USE OF FORCE

Press Conference

We are calling for a ninety day moratorium on
the use of any firearms, weaponry, tasers,
AR 15 rifles, UZI’s of our police officers while on
duty. We need to change the focus from what
the police need to what the people need.  We
need a transition from putting funds to police to
neighborhood solutions.

In this 90 day period it is our goal to explore the
option of completely disarming the police force
as well as  considering how this has been done
in other countries whose police force do not
use weaponry at all.

Co-signers of this proposal are Idriss Stelly
Foundation, Poor Magazine, Krip Hop Nation,
Justice for Josiah Foundation, the Anti Police
Terror Project, People’s Commission for Justice,
California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the
Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/652192521606336/

6:00 – 8:00 pm      Alex L. Pitcher Jr. Community room
1800 Oakdale Ave S.F.

SEARCH FOR S.F. CHIEF OF POLICE

The police Commission is seeking public input
on the recruitment of a new police Chief.
There will be a public survey for people to
give their opinions.

Calendar of planned activities for the week (from Patricia Gray)

When Occupy started we said we will get out on the street to force change in our government and more specifically, our rotten banking system. We said that we are not political—and that, I think, was an error.

We must push back against capitalist power in every way we can imagine.  The anniversary of our movement is coming up. I think we need to talk about the election coming up and what we can do. Having just suffered the fraudulent California primary that Bernie won but Hillary was proclaimed the winner the  day before the election, we need to reassess our goals.

There is a gathering planned for Saturday September 17th (at noon at Sue Bierman Park — see http://occupysf.net/index.php/event/occupy-5th-anniversary/?instance_id=5719) to celebrate our 5th anniversary and, I hope, to discuss our future.  Talk to your friends and plan to speak on your ideas on changing our political system.  We need ideas on how to get some real democracy in our nation and ending capitalism.  We the people need to take power away from the corporations and their phony legal ‘personhood’.

___________________________________________________________

Wednesday August 10
9:00 – 3:00 pm           The Governor’s  Mansion in Sacramento.
                                 1526 H St. Sacramento
                                 REPEAL THE POLICE OFFICER’S
                                 BILL OF RIGHTS
                                 This will be a equal justice rally and protest.
                                 Most of the people now being affected by
                                 Police brutality are low income people of color.
                                 You know that all of us are in danger of the
                                 militarized police forces.  We need to have
                                 a police force under the control of the people.
                                 People of all kinds must unite to have a
                                 police that really serve and protect us.  We
                                 all know now of the actions of the police and
                                 we must unite to make change.
_________________________________________________________
Thursday August 11
Noon               San Francisco City Hall, room 400
                       Planning Commission
                       GENTRIFICATION  AT 2600 HARRISON ST.
                       A hearing on the demolition of a warehouse to build a
                       four story apartment house of 19 units and luxury
                       pent houses on top.
_________________________________________________________
Friday August 12
7:00 – 11:00 pm     3165 16th St.  San Francisco
                           DIABLO RISING TIDE HOUSE PARTY
                           Join us to celebrate the direct action and corporate
                           shame of Flood Wall St. last September–and
                           celebrate the blockade at the California Republican
                           convention in Burlingame that forced Trump to
                           crawl over a wall to speak at the event.   Hear of
                           past month’s tour of California talking about direct
                           action and climate change.
                           Come and help plan the next round of trouble
                           making and organizing at Scott’s house.
                           RSVP sparki@riseup.net
                           There will be food and beverages but also BYOB.
_________________________________________________________
Monday August 15
1:00 – 2:00 pm     S.F. Mission Police Station
                          17th St and Valencia
                           CALL FOR A STATE OF EMERGENCY ON 
                           ALL POLICE USE OF FORCE
                           Press Conference
                           We are calling for a ninety day moratorium on
                           the use of any firearms, weaponry, tasers,
                           AR 15 rifles, UZI’s of our police officers while on
                           duty. We need to change the focus from what
                           the police need to what the people need.  We
                           need a transition from putting funds to police to
                           neighborhood solutions.
                           In this 90 day period it is our goal to explore the
                           option of completely disarming the police force
                           as well as  considering how this has been done
                           in other countries whose police force do not
                           use weaponry at all.
                           co signers of this proposal are Idriss Stelly
                           Foundation, Poor Magazine, Krip Hop Nation,
                           Justice for Josiah Foundation, the Anti Police
                           Terror Project, People’s Commission for Justice,
                           California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the
                           Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy.
6:00 – 8:00 pm      Alex L. Pitcher Jr. Community room 
                           1800 Oakdale Ave S.F.
                           SEARCH FOR S.F. CHIEF OF POLICE
                           The police Commission is seeking public input
                            on the recruitment of a new police Chief.
                            There will be a public survey for people to
                            give their opinions.
6:00 – 8:30 pm      Veteran’s War Memorial Building 
                           400 Van Ness Ave. room 210
                           U.S. MILITARISM IN ASIA; QUESTIONING
                           THE “RISE OF CHINA”
                           Speakers – Ann Wright Peace Activist and U.S.
                           retired General and K.J.Noh Journalist and
                           political analyst for KPFA Flash Points program.
                           event is free of charge.
                           Host – S.F. Veterans for Peace
                           info:  415-312-5583

“There’s a remedy for homelessness” by Mike Zint

The homeless-led group, First They Came For The Homeless, protests San Francisco’s notorious “sit/lie”law outside of Macy’s, a big supporter of the law.  PHOTO/PETER MENCHINI

The homeless-led group, First They Came For The Homeless, protests San Francisco’s notorious “sit/lie”law outside of Macy’s, a big supporter of the law.
PHOTO/PETER MENCHINI

PeoplesTribune.org – April 2016

BERKELEY, CA — Throughout history, there have been those that have plenty, and those that have nothing. When those with nothing have suffered enough, they rise up, and take what they need. We are in a time of great need right now. We need a system that puts the people before profit. We need a system based on community. We need a system that represents all people equally. We need a minimum quality of life guarantee.

But these things are not possible. Take just one issue. Homelessness. This is simple to solve. Giving them housing is the obvious solution. Unfortunately “giving” something is bad. There is no profit in that. So, that is not an option. Allowing them tents for shelter will alleviate suffering, and provide storage, security, privacy, personal space, and most importantly, stability to improve their situation. Instead of allowing this, cities attack homeless looking to take care of themselves. They steal the people’s gear, destroy personal possessions, medicines, identification, and tragically, memories. Pictures, family heirlooms, and such. This is done without regard for the law. And the cities get away with it because the homeless cannot fight back in the legal system. To make matters worse, the media uses drugs and mental disabilities to define homeless people. They are “lazy and want everything for free.” If that were true, the torture homeless endure would surely motivate them, right? But there is nothing but more abuses. Torture leads to drug abuse and insanity.  Communities notice what the press says, and miss the homeless grandmother with the backpack blending in. How about the college student doing homework, while wondering whose couch is available. How many abandoned veterans are there?

We are getting poorer. Everyone feels it. Americans are a broken ankle away from homelessness. Next year, there will be more of us out here. And where are city councils on this? Politicians pretend to care, while fence sitting on critical issues that developers or businesses districts don’t like. Not one politician will ever represent the poor. The proof is everywhere, sleeping on cardboard, in front of abandoned buildings.

So, our numbers grow. It’s at 2.5 million now. They are in great need of compassion. They are in great need of respect. And the greatest need of all, the need to survive. And that need will always be filled, or the people will die trying. When a few million more have suffered enough in this country, we will repeat history.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2016 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

“Homeless protest for the right to sleep and survive” by Mike Zint

Two young homeless men are arrested for sleeping (“lodging”) at the Liberty City2 homeless rights protest at Berkeley City Hall. PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

Two young homeless men are arrested for sleeping (“lodging”) at the Liberty City2 homeless rights protest at Berkeley City Hall.
PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

PeoplesTribune.org – August 2016

BERKELEY CA — They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I can only come up with one. And that word is torture. When a life sustaining activity like sleep is not permitted, torture is the result. Suffering is increased. Hopelessness overwhelms. And when we stand against it?

Enter Liberty City 2, weekend vigil for equal rights and protections for the homeless. Starting July 2, ‘First They Came for the Homeless’ called a vigil to seek justice for the participants of Liberty City last November, when the city of Berkeley illegally destroyed four truckloads of gear confiscated from our protest. Instead of allowing this latest vigil, the city spent thousands trying to prevent it.

We show up to a completely fenced-off City Hall. The city’s raid on July 2 confiscated our pop up tent and info table, saying City Hall was private property. We are not allowed to protest. The assistant city manager was on hand supervising this unconstitutional act.

We were informed by police that if we slept we would be arrested. Sleep deprivation is torture. Two of our homeless protesters were arrested at midnight and taken to jail for sleeping [‘lodging’], others given citations.

We continued, sitting on cardboard for the entire time. We still had music and art. We chalked the sidewalks. We had community. We had sharing. And we had fun.

We never had a large group.  Our numbers dwindled after the arrests and citations. But we were not going to quit. By Sunday, we had a small group of homeless coming to talk. They came for food and they came for hope. We had plenty of food. But we could not offer them hope. There is none.

There will be no hope until the people in charge recognize that people in need will not disappear because we are inconvenient. The problem is only getting worse. Cities are doing nothing but giving money to groups who rely on homelessness to stay in business. They will not solve homelessness if they are profiting from it. This is the same as all encampments. Shelter, stability, and storage are the attraction. These are what the homeless are looking for. Some of them use drugs. And drug use and crime are used by the city as an excuse to torture ALL homeless. These encampments form out of desperation. And they will continue to develop in nooks everywhere. The city is wasting money and effort fighting a losing battle. The truth is the homeless in this country are people who can’t go away. They have no place to go.

But it is not over. It will never be over until there are equal rights, justice, and compassion for those in need. By cooperating and taking care of each other, the homeless show the housed what humanity is all about.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2016 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Jill Stein: FULL SPEECH at the Green Party Convention

Dr. Jill Stein’s full acceptance speech from the Green Party Convention in Houston, Texas on August 6, 2016. Dr. Stein accepted the Green Party’s nomination for president, as well as addressed issues such as the prosecution of whistleblowers, campaign finance reform, student loan debt, and more.

For more, subscribe to TYT Politics: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuMo…

Musical “Zuccotti Park” Brings Economic Justice to New York International Fringe Festival (occupy.com)

Writer Catherine Hurd and composer Vatrena King are taking their musical “Zuccotti Park” back to New York City to participate in the 20th anniversary New York International Fringe Festival happening August 12 to 28. The play – called one of the “ten shows that stand out” at FringeNYC – is being directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado, who is currently performing in Broadway’s “On Your Feet,” the musical that follows Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s journey to superstardom.

Salgado won Best Director in the 2014 Thespis Festival Awards, and helped choreograph the Tony Award-winning musical, “In The Heights.” “Zuccotti Park, A Musical About the Human Side of Economics” opens August 17 at the Flamboyán Theater at The Clemente located at 107 Suffolk St., New York City.

“Zuccotti Park” had its premiere at the 2015 Venus Adonis Theater Festival in New York City, where Luis Salgado also directed, and won Best Director. The play was the top rated musical, won Second Place, Best Play, and broke festival box office records.

“My interest in the Occupy Movement coincided with my interest in economics and the banking system,” the writer Hurd told Occupy.com. “I was appalled at the bank bailouts, as were many other people. I was frustrated at the unfairness of it all, and wanted to do something to help educate people. I decided that using my writing skills would be the best way to do that.”

To that end, “Zuccotti Park” is a musical about the human side of economics. Set at its namesake location during the Occupy Wall Street protests of late 2011, the play dramatizes the experiences of a broad cross-section of Americans whose lives have been impacted by injustices in the current economic system.

REIMAGINING A MOVEMENT

In the play, two soldiers, Cooper and Washington, visit New York City on their leave from Afghanistan. Cooper is an Iowa farm boy; Washington is an African-American and New York City native. Cooper has arranged to meet up with Kate, his childhood sweetheart, at Zuccotti Park, but unbeknownst to him the park has become ground zero for the Occupy movement.

He finds Kate just as she is being pepper-sprayed for assisting a friend during a police raid. Cooper challenges the police for what he sees as unnecessary force, is handcuffed for his efforts, and ends up in jail with the protesters. Despite their radically different world views, Cooper finds he is still attracted to grown-up Kate. After Cooper, Kate and the other protesters are bailed out of jail, Cooper accepts Kate’s invitation to spend time with her and her fellow activists.

Throughout the play, Cooper and the audience learn the back-stories of some of the protesters: a homeless veteran, a family buying their first home, and a student who can’t find a job, among others. The opinions of people who have profited from the economic system also make their way into the drama. The story comes to a head when the police raid the Occupy camp at Zuccotti Park, on November 15, 2011, and dismantle it.

“Maya Angelou once said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,'” said Hurd, an award-winning writer who earned a masters degree in Screenwriting from UCLA and holds a BFA in Theater from Florida Atlantic University.

“That stuck with me, and of course [it] is the essence of all good drama: Emotion. So I decided to use stories and songs to dramatize the things I’d learned. Seeing and hearing the pain of those hurt by the economic system would touch the audience in a way that nothing else can.”

Hurd’s efforts paid off, as comments from “Zuccotti Park” audience members showed increased understanding of the Occupy movement and the people involved in it.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Pricilla Hernandez, after seeing the play, said, “I learned more about the reasons this movement came about in 90 minutes than I could have imagined. And, I learned it all through the power and beauty of music, song and dance.”

Audience member Erik wrote, “I really enjoyed Zuccotti Park. I also did understand more in those 90 minutes than all days of the protest.”

Matt, another audience member, said, “ZP is one of those musicals I woke up the next day singing and wanting to see again and again and again… Not one for words, I was nevertheless so moved and so changed by your musical, I am compelled to express thoughts. Occupy happened – “Zuccotti Park” might belong to our national literature.”

An Occupy.com co-founder, David Sauvage, saw the play on opening night and wrote, “Tonight I saw ‘Zuccotti Park’ the Musical. And it was GOOD. True to the spirit of Occupy. And FUN. I recommend it in good conscience to all my fellow Occupiers of yore. It’s worth it.”

Reviewer Bianco Garcia of Stage Buddy praised “Zuccotti Park” in her review of the Venus Adonis Festival finalists: “In the spirit of productions like “Rent” and “Hair,” “Zuccotti Park” is a welcome addition to the musical that cares. As you walk into the theater, you are bombarded with a cornucopia of guitar-wielding and protest sign-lugging beautiful people as they shout, ‘We are the 99 percent!’

“Easily the liveliest of the productions, ‘Zuccotti Park’ follows the Occupy movement in its early inception and the many narratives that echo a ‘People work their ass off and cannot pay the rent’ refrain. Wonderfully crafted with soul stirring numbers, [it] electrified the crowd, resonating with the soul of revolution.”

LONG ROAD SINCE OCCUPY

Hurd admitted that “on the intellectual side, the play seeks to explain the economic system – not an easy task. In fact, ‘Zuccotti Park’ was quite an undertaking, and has taken me years to research, write and have lyrics put to music. Vatrena King is an incredibly talented composer, and we are very lucky to have Luis Salgado as a director, [who] brings such passion and creativity to the project.”

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#OurRevolutionContinues: The Path Forward by John Laurits

thepath


Greetings, brothers, sisters, & others — 
In the few days that have passed since the protests in Philadelphia, I’ve been asked about & have put a lot of thought into where I believe the future of our movement lies. I’ve reflected on my recent experiences as a writer, a journalist, an activist, & a protester, both during the course of the primaries & in the midst of the protests, and now I feel I am ready to give a tentative answer to the question of how we move forward. The short version of it is this —

Because I cannot, in good conscience, support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, I have changed my voter registration to reflect the fact that I shall be casting my vote for Jill Stein in November. However, I do not feel that merely voting is enough — it’s become clear that our elections are rigged & so I will be doing everything in my power, both with my pen & with my actions, to encourage & support non-violent direct-action with the goal of holding our officials accountable for their dishonesty.

That’s the short version — here’s the long one…

Why I cannot in good conscience
vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is a bigot & a fool — without even mentioning anything else, his hateful, racist, & misogynist rhetoric & his denial of climate-change are enough moral reason to rule him out completely. It really is that simple.

The reasons for which I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton are more numerous & complex — 

How can I vote for a liar? Even if she were to make so many concessions that she supported 99% of my own positions, how can I believe her? How will she regulate the banks when she is unable to explain why she is taking money from them? How will she take action against climate change while she advocates fracking & takes money from fossil fuel & oil? How will she help immigrants while she sabotages democracy in Latin American countries & helps to murder people like Berta Caceres? How will she make healthcare affordable for us when her own campaign is funded by the money that pharmaceutical companies extort from us?

How can I vote for a cheater? How can I vote, when a mere 15% decided the choices? How can I vote for a nominee whose donors conceal any evidence that the elections results are accurate? How can you tell me that the nominee is legitimate when statistical evidence suggests otherwise? Why is there no paper trail to prove the legitimacy of the primaries? How can you ask me to vote for the candidate who colluded with the DNC to disadvantage the candidate that I voted for?

I cannot vote for a liar & a cheater — in the words of Cornel West, “I love my brother, Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him about this…” & I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton. 

Why I support #DemExit & the Green Party

The Democratic National Committee has proven to us that it has no interest in holding fair elections (you know, the democratic kind?) & they will continue to pick whoever they please as their nominee (regardless of what the people want) because they believe they can bully everyone into voting for their candidate by using the GOP’s ticket to essentially hold the country hostage. This will only stop working when we stop falling for it. That is why I have changed my registration to the Pacific Green Party. If enough of us do this, it will send the message that enough is indeed enough & they will be forced to respond or destroy themselves.

As for the Green Party & Jill Stein — this has been a somewhat contentious conversation topic among the Berners & I’d like to throw my 2¢ in. I know that a lot of you are feeling something along the lines of “I’ll never love another candidate again!” but I believe that, whether or not you actually plan on voting Green in November, all of us should “support” the Green Party, now. Let me explain —

At the moment, it is the goal of many activists to get Jill Stein polling at15%, which is the Commission on Presidential Debate’s polling thresholdto participate in the upcoming debates. Basically, I think that this would be wonderful because Stein is a very smart lady & she would make the other two candidates look like idiots, by comparison. At the very least, this will be personally satisfying & provide grade-A entertainment but, at the very most, it could expose the greater American public to issues of actual substance, exposing the inane & vacuous character of the usual conversations — I believe that this would draw even more popular support to the progressive cause, giving us greater leverage over basically everything. Which is good. Soon, I shall be devoting an entire article to this topic, so stay tuned!

Why I will be supporting & engaging in non-violent
demonstration & why I believe that you should, too

Now — while I believe that it will be a good thing to place pressure on the Democratic Party by de-registering & supporting the Green party (both at the polls & with donations), I must say that, after all the treachery & dishonesty that I’ve witnessed over the course of the primaries, I am no longer sure if purely electoral means will be enough to transform this broken system. For this reason, I plan on advocating — with my pen & with my person — non-violent, direct action to transform the broken system into one that works.

If you aren’t familiar with the term “direct action,” I suggest you look it up & do some reading (think MLK, Gandhi, & the recent, peaceful Icelandic revolution). In my view, there is simply too much at stake to sit back & hope the system deals fairly with our movement — the earth is being poisoned, black lives are destroyed without accountability, & our global wars are destabilizing the very foundations of civilization. Enough. Is.Enough

It is my hope that groups like Democracy Spring,† Black Lives Matter, & others will be stepping into strong visibility & power during the general election season and I hope to be personally involved in demanding that our society be meaningfully transformed for the better, not just with my vote but with my actions.

I want democracy now! Not later.
I want black lives to matter now! Not later.
I want the greedy few to stop poisoning the earth that sustains us now! Not later.
I want all these things now —
& I hope you do, too.

I will be writing more about all of this, very, very soon — but this cafe in Minnesota is closing soon & we have a long way to drive to get back to Oregon. I must away — in the meantime, keep the faith, my friends! Change is coming…

In solidarity,
John Laurits #NotMeUs

FACING BULLETS AND PRISON, MEXICAN TEACHERS STAND UP TO EDUCATION REFORMS 

by David Bacon
Equal Times, August 2, 2016
http://www.equaltimes.org/facing-bullets-and-prison-mexican#.V6DaBa5hpBt

Teachers from Zimatlan, a town in the central valley region of Oaxaca, march in Mexico City to protest the federal government’s corporate education reform program. The teachers belong to Sección 22, Oaxaca’s teachers union. The march was organised by the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), and brought teachers from all over Mexico to the capital to protest.

On Sunday, 19 June, demonstrators blocked a highway – a common form of protest in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca – after the federal government arrested leaders of the state’s teachers union. Heavily armed police then fired on teachers, students, parents and supporters. Nine people were killed, and many more were wounded.

Nochixtlán, the town where the massacre took place, has since become a symbol of the resistance of Mexican teachers to corporate education reform. In the United States educators quickly responded to support their embattled Mexican colleagues, condemning the attacks and calling for the release of the imprisoned unionists.

These events were set into motion a week earlier, when Rubén Núñez – head of Oaxaca’s Sección 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) and a national leader of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE or Coordinadora, a group within the SNTE organized in the late 1970s) – was arrested as he left a meeting in Mexico City. He was then flown a thousand miles north to Hermosillo, Sonora, to a high-security federal lockup.

Hours earlier the same thing happened to Francisco Villalobos, the union’s second-highest officer. Both joined Aciel Sibaja, Sección 22’s financial secretary, imprisoned in the same penitentiary since 14 April.

The union officers were accused of accepting dues given voluntarily by teachers across Oaxaca. Sección 22 has had to collect dues in cash for the last year, since federal authorities froze not only the union’s bank accounts but also even the personal ones of its officers. The government called dues so collected “funds from illicit sources.”

Five other union leaders have been imprisoned since last October. Luis Hernández Navarro, a former teacher and now opinion editor for the Mexico City daily La Jornada, calls them “hostages”.

“Their detention is simultaneously a warning of what can happen to other teachers who continue to reject the [federal government’s] ‘education reform,’ and a payback to force the movement to demobilise,” he says.

On 19 May, Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño Mayer announced that he was firing 4,100 teachers from the CNTE stronghold states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas and Michoacán for not having worked for the days when they were on strike.

One much-hated provision of the federal government’s education reform requires teachers to take tests to evaluate their qualifications. Those who do not get good enough marks are fired. Thousands of teachers have refused to take the tests.

Earlier on 22 March, Nuño also announced a measure that would spell the end to Mexico’s national system of teacher training schools, called normales. Since the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), the normales have been the vehicle for children from poor families in the countryside, and from the families of teachers themselves, to become trained educators.

Guerrero’s normale school in Ayotzinapa was the target two years ago of an attack that led to the disappearance and possible murder of 43 students, which has since galvanized Mexico.

Oaxaca became a target of repression because Sección 22 proposed its own alternative education reform over six years ago. It concentrates on respecting indigenous culture and forging alliances between teachers, students, parents and their communities.

For several years the union used its political strength to implement its program, rather than that of the federal government. Observers like La Jornada’s Navarro believe that the federal government sees defeating Sección 22 as the key to forcing acceptance of its corporate education reforms instead.

Solidarity protests

After the enormous public outcry following the shootings in Nochixtlán, however, demonstrations against the federal education reform spread across the country. A protest march in Mexico City, organised by the left-wing MORENA party (National Regeneration Movement) headed by former mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, drew over 100,000 participants. Highways were blocked in several states.

Protests were also organised by teachers in the United States, including pickets of the Mexican consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. A statement read by Lita Blanc, president of United Educators of San Francisco, announced a campaign to convince the US Congress to suspend military aid to Mexico “until the Mexican government stops these massive abuses of labor and human rights.”

In Chicago demonstrating members of the Chicago Teachers Union made a video in which they chanted, “We are all Oaxaca!”

Formal protests and calls for freeing the imprisoned teachers also came from Josh Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, and Dr. Lorretta Johnson, secretary treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Pechthalt asked all the union’s local chapters in California to join the demonstrations and write to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“We are all facing the same attacks,” he told them. “The same corporate interests in both of our countries seek to privatise public education, undermine our ability to function as professional and socially-responsible educators, and end our right to unions and collective bargaining and action.”

In Mexico, the Peña Nieto administration was forced into negotiations with the CNTE, but said that changes in its education reform program weren’t up for discussion. Enrique Enríquez Ibarra, head of the Mexico City teachers union, responded that teachers would not back down and would keep developing an alternative democratic education plan. Demonstrations and strikes would continue, he said, until “all our fired colleagues are returned to their jobs, their lost salaries paid, and our bank accounts unfrozen.”

Trains were blocked leading to Michoacán’s main port of Lázaro Cárdenas, and the state’s governor then met with the CNTE. Highways in and out of Chiapas’ capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Guerrero’s capital Chilpancingo, and Tabasco’s capital Villahermosa were blocked as well.

Amanda, a parent in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, told La Jornada that: “One of the main jobs of parents now is to protect the public schools during the teachers’ strike.” Other parents called for abolishing school fees and ending the government’s education reform.

As protests mounted, the Secretariat of Public Education announced on 10 July that it would not proceed further with the firing of thousands of teachers. During a national day of protest on 16 July, secciones 7 and 40 of the SNTE in Chiapas occupied radio and television stations to inform the public of their reasons for opposing the federal education reform, and to condemn the shootings in Nochixtlán. Marches on the same national day of protest took place in Puebla, Jalisco, Hidalgo and Mexico states.

Finally two of the imprisoned teachers were released in mid-July – Aciel Sibaja and Roberto Abel Jiménez.

And as they sat in prison, Rubén Núñez and Francisco Villalobos were reconfirmed as general secretary and organisational secretary respectively of Sección 22 in the union’s monthly state conference. “While recent dialogues between CNTE and the Secretariat of the Interior are promising,” the AFT’s Johnson said in her letter to the Mexican ambassador to the US, “their legitimacy is lessened as long as these leaders remain in prison.”