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The Boston Occupier - Issue 3

The Boston Occupier - Issue 3

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Published by Daniel Schneider
Issue 3 of Occupy Boston's newspaper, the Boston Occupier. This is a special edition, printed in Black and White on 4 pages.
Issue 3 of Occupy Boston's newspaper, the Boston Occupier. This is a special edition, printed in Black and White on 4 pages.

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Published by: Daniel Schneider on Dec 22, 2011
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Occupy Boston Lives on After Dewey 
Te Right to the City:
City Life/Vida Urbana and Occupy Boston eam Up Against Foreclosures
by Stephen Squibb
Beore the start o the Occupy movement, Steve Meacham participated in a conerencecall with representatives rom twenty dierent cities. Te topic o discussion was occu-pation—housing occupation. Meacham is an organizer with City Lie/Vida Urbana, a38-year-old organization devoted to deending housing rights in Boston, with a history o success that others hope to emulate.Indeed, i one were looking or immediate inspirations or the Occupy movement,City Lie/Vida Urbana would stand out both or its steadast commitment to economic justice and or the undeniable power o its methods. So, when Occupy Boston and CL/VU announced an alliance in mid-December, it elt less like a risky new investment andmore like coming home or the holidays.
Eviction Crisis
Tere are two large maps on the walls o the City Lie’s Jamaica Plain oce: one chartingthe oreclosures in Greater Boston and the other charting violent crimes in Boston.Dorchester and East Boston stand out like deep wells o red ink on a white canvas. Temessage is clear: the social costs o eviction are huge. “City Lie works with people to stay in their homes,” says Cynthia Peters, who has been involved with the organization sincethe 1980s.Peters outlined City Lie’s process: “When a homeowner is acing eviction, we pressurethe bank to reduce the principal o the loan, which is oten much higher than the currentmarket value o the property. With the help o volunteer lawyers, we try to convince a judge to intervene on the homeowner’s behal.”But what happens when the bank and the justice system deny homeowners a renegoti-ation o their loan? “I these steps ail,” Peters said, “we perorm an eviction blockade.” An“eviction blockade” is when “City Lie sta and members link arms or chain (themselves)to railings. We let the banks know that we aren’t leaving except under arrest.”Peters points out that it isn’t just homeowners who are acing unlawul eviction. Rentersalso lose their homes when the property they are living in is oreclosed on. In these cases,the tenant has done nothing wrong. Tey are up to date on their rent and willing tocontinue paying rent, but oten the bank won’t accept it. “We ask the bank: ‘Why shouldyou evict these amilies? Why not just accept their rent?’” Te choice to evict may makeshort-term sense rom the point o view o large nancial organizations, but, as the mapsat CL/VU make clear, the social cost o eviction is the destruction o communities and anattack on what many are calling “the right to the city.”
Te Right to the City 
Over the past orty years, there has been a growing consensus that the city cannotbe treated simply like another space, but that it actually maintains a special position inthe larger economy. As French philosopher Henri Leebvre wrote, “Te urban centercan no longer consider itsel outside the means o production, their property and theirmanagement.” In other words, because the value o urban property is created by thecollective desire o the community to live there, that same property cannot be simply sold o.Te community has a role in producing the value o a house or an apartment building,and so they have a right to help decide the ate o that property. In late 2010 several banks,including Bank o America, briefy halted oreclosures nationwide, ollowing revelationo widespread legal violations in the oreclosure process. Although oreclosures resumedsoon aterwards, ongoing evidence o unlawul and deceptive conduct in the oreclosureprocess -- including alse and raudulent documentation—has recently led Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to le a lawsuit against ve o the nation’s largest
 
It was the end o the beginning. At about 2am onDecember 10th, roughly three hours beore the policeraid on Occupy Boston, dozens o protesters could be seengathered in a circle at the edge o Dewey Square.Te mood was quiet but hopeul, as they took turnsdiscussing the uture o the movement, the bonds they’dcreated, and what they were thankul or. Many refectedthat they were grateul or their time in Dewey, butknew that the movement would continue on and gainstrength because o the bonds and riendships that hadbeen created at the encampment. Kat Cancio, a student atNortheastern, recalls, “As much as we all kept reassuringourselves that the physical encampment was signicantbut not dening o our movement, I think there was amutual understanding that we were not ready to leave.”Others, however, elt ready and eager to move on to thenext phase.Since Wednesday evening, when Judge Frances A.McIntyre lited the temporary restraining order thatOccupy Boston held against the city o Boston, thelooming threat o an imminent police raid had kept many occupiers on their toes. Rain had kept the police away on Wednesday – with ocer saety cited as the reason – anda turnout o over 1000 people on Tursday night deterredany police action.However, at 4:45am on Saturday, December 10th,hundreds o police ocers nally moved in on Occupy Boston’s encampment at Dewey Square, ending the group’s70 day occupation o the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Outo the roughly 150 people present to deend the camp, 46 were arrested.Troughout the ollowing day, protests sprouted upacross the city: outside o Mayor Menino’s press conerenceregarding the raid at police headquarters, in ront o policestations in the South End and South Boston where thearrested were being detained, and even on the , whereOccupy Boston participants conducted “mic checks” toinorm riders o the morning’s events. One question wason everyone’s mind, leading up to the night’s GA: whathappens next?Te 1000-person strong meeting proved to be anythingbut an exercise in wound-licking. Many people mournedthe destruction o the camp which had served so power-ully to bring the Occupy Boston together as a community,but it was clear that people wanted to get back to work,to plan new actions and initiatives. A lot o ideas wereswirling at the rst post-Dewey GA, but one thing wasclear: even without a physical occupation, Occupy Boston was ready to ace the challenges lying beore it. A number o these challenges have been logistical. Although its location in the heart o Boston’s nancialdistrict was itsel part o the movement’s message, thecamp also served as an organizing hub and, or many, acommunal residence. It was the point o departure andreturn or numerous marches and rallies. Everyone knew  where to nd Occupy Boston and occupiers knew whereto nd one another. With the loss o Dewey, Occupy Boston’s numerous working groups have had to sharpentheir attention to communication and coordination, as well as nd alternate modes o operating.Te Inormation Working Group, or instance, origi-nally concentrated on stang the Inormation ent inDewey Square, so that there was always someone whomvisitors could ask about Occupy Boston and the largerOccupy movement. Kevin Maley, a 27-year-old sustain-ability associate rom South Boston, has participated inthe Inormation working group since early October. Hesays that the group now plans to set up a “mobile inotent” outside General Assemblies and other Occupy Boston events. “We can talk to people who pass by or wander over rom o the street and just want to simply ask, ‘What’s this?’ – just like we did beore.”Other groups have also taken seriously the concept o staying adaptable and mobile. One occupier, Jay, who hadpreviously staed the “Signs” tent at Dewey Square, now bikes to Occupy Boston events with a red Radio Flyer wagon ull o protest signs.Te rst Monday ater the eviction, members o Occupy Boston’s Socialist Caucus put together an “open mic” rally and march that drew more than a hundred people to City Hall Plaza. Joe Ramsey, who helped to organize the event,said the main goals were to “protest the city’s decision toevict Occupy Boston and publicly demonstrate that we’renot going away, that you can’t evict an idea.” Ramsey said that the the rally allowed an array o voices to speak out, some expressing “personal anger and sadness about what happened at Dewey,” and others “giving moredeveloped ideas about what our movement should donext.” Suggestions ranged rom bringing Occupy into the workplace to “champion[ing] the cause o deending thoseacing eviction themselves. At a General Assembly on December 15, Occupy Bostonapproved by consensus a statement o solidarity with City Lie/Vida Urbana. Bryan MacCormack, an occupier whohas ocused on movement-building between Occupy,labor unions, and community groups, said that he was“very excited about this work. It shows that community organizations and the Occupy movement can do someempowering and mutually benecial work with the peopleo the 99% who have been disproportionately aected by the nancial crisis.”In a gesture o solidarity ollowing a press conerenceon December 16, Occupy Boston helped decorate City Lie’s “justice tree” with tiny tents made o cut-up Bank o America debit cards. MacCormack says that Occupy is “looking orward to assisting with and learning romuture eviction blockades and occupations o oreclosedhomes,” as organized by City Lie.Occupy Boston isn’t only ocused on supporting therights o those recently aected by oreclosure and eviction.Te group has also sought to nd housing or those at theDewey encampment who had no other home, with thesupport o the houseless themselves. Matthew Shochat, a27-year-old occupier rom Cambridge, said the Houselessand Allies Working Group has foated several ideas o how Occupy Boston might address the displacement, including“utiliz[ing] the homeless resources that are available, tobuy a house and make it a work as a living space.” Whether students, who have played a big role in Occupy Boston since the beginning, will stay involved during andater winter break remains a question. With tens o thou-sands o Boston students traveling home or the holidays,some are asking whether the movement will have lost amajor source o energy by the time the Spring semesterstarts up in January. Emma Macdonald, an EmersonCollege student and requent participant in StudentsOccupy Boston, expressed measured optimism, sayingthat students’ commitments will depend, in large part,on what happens to the Occupy movement itsel in thecoming weeks. However, “everyone will just be excited tocome back [in January]”, and eorts will likely continue.News coverage o Occupy-related actions has dwindledater Dewey. A satirical “Pro-Corporate” march throughthe Prudential Center on a busy Saturday aternoon wentunreported by mainstream outlets, as has been the caseor a score o other marches, rallies and gatherings hostedunder the “Occupy” banner. While it is true that many initiatives are still only in the planning stages o whatsome have reerred to as “phase two” o Occupy Boston, just as many groups (including the Boston Occupier) arecontinuing on with business as usual. Although some believed that Occupy Boston wouldend with the destruction o the encampment in Dewey Square, it appears that the movement is instead evolvingand adapting. Only time will tell how, ater the cold winter months, it grows and develops in the spring.
Occupy BostonLives on AterDewey 
By Dan Schneider and Katie Soldau
Occupy Boston, Dewey Square the evening beore the raid. (Photo: Tess Schefan / Activestills.org)
(Continued on Page 2)
 www.bostonoccupier.com
 
Issue No. 3 December 21st, 2011
FREE PRESS
bostonoccupier.com
 
bostonoccupier.com | Te Boston Occupier - Free Press
Page 2
Dec. 21st, 2011
banks.“People are being oreclosed on without theproper paperwork,” City Lie member AntonioEnnis told the crowd at a rally o Occupy theHood, which is organizing in black neighborhoodsin Boston, earlier this year. “Families are being putout on the street. Te only thing that is going tostop it is people power.” “People power” createdthe value the banks now seek to seize, and this same“people power” is now the only thing preventingthe wholesale destruction o the community.
Reorm vs. Systematic Change
 James Teckston, a ormer banker orChase, told New York imes columnistNicholas Kristo that his bank pushedsubprime loans on minority borrowers, even when they qualied or a prime loan. Kristo explained: “[Teckston] says that someaccount executives earned a commissionseven times higher rom subprime loans,rather than prime mortgages. So they looked or less savvy borrowers—those withless education, without previous mortgageexperience, or without fuent English—andnudged them toward subprime loans. Teseless savvy borrowers were disproportionately black and Latino, and they ended up payinga higher rate so that they were more likely tolose their homes. Senior executives seemedaware o this racial mismatch and rantically tried to cover it up.”Tis kind o systemic ailure shows thediculty community organizations like CL/VU ace. How can they hope to work withinthe system when the laws that exist, such asthose prohibiting discrimination in mortgagelending based on race or ethnicity, aren’tenorced? “We identiy as radicals,” Peterssays, “in that we look to attack the root o theproblem. While we work or reorm, we areconstantly asking ourselves, ‘How can we alsobe addressing systematic change?’ Much o our work is trying to stop evictions, but how do we also take aim at the banking industry or capitalism?”One o the results o this interest in radicalchange has been City Lie’s participation inthe Radical Organizing Conerence, held incollaboration with other grassroots organi-zations in Boston. Tere have been six suchconerences in the last eight years. Here, workshops on dierent styles o organizingmix with orums or sharing ideas on how tomove orward. “Te question,” Peters says, “ishow do we create a larger let out o all thedierent activist organizations doing great work in really specic, ocused ways?”
Occupy ogether
Te alliance between Occupy Boston andCL / VU is in keeping with national devel-opments in the Occupy movement. OnDecember 6th, activists in more than twenty cities took part in a national day o actioncalled Occupy Homes. In Brooklyn, Occupy  Wall Street rallied to support a homelessamily as they re-occupied a vacant oreclosedhome as part o the Occupy Homes initiative.In Boston, the publicly announced alliancebetween CL / VU and Occupy Boston wasthe result o a learning process that dates back to the establishment o the Dewey camp onSeptember 30th. In the rst weeks o Occupy,relations between the two groups couldbe rocky, as each learned how to work  with the other. “Community-building istough,” says Katie Gradowski, a membero Occupy Boston’s Outreach WorkingGroup and liaison to CL/VU. “Occupy Boston comes in as kind o blank slate—it’s this big, crazy, unwieldy, beautiulproject, with a lot o heart and a slightly incoherent message. We have a lot to learnrom community organizations, and alot to bring to the conversation. Ater amonth or so o working to develop theserelationships, we’re in a better place toactually get out beyond Dewey Square andstart doing stu.”Investment in relationship-building hasproduced stronger and smarter “peoplepower.” In recent weeks, participantsin Occupy Boston have increased theirparticipation in CL/VU events, accordingto occupier Bryan MacCormack, whosays that members o Occupy Bostonnow “consistently attend meetings in JPand East Boston, and auction protests.”Protesters have attended recent anti-eviction actions in Dorchester andCambridge and several even traveled toSpringeld to attend a regional action withCL/VU and several aliated organizations.Tose at Occupy Boston who participate inCL/VU actions oten speak o their work asan apprenticeship in community organizing.
Continued from Page 1:Te Right to the City 
Te Raid of Occupy Boston
By Matt Cloyd and Aliza Howitt 
It was shortly ater 4:45 am, late enough thatmany protesters had concluded there would not bea police raid, when two people ran into the midsto the Dewey Square encampment, breathless. Oneyelled “Mic check! Tey’re here!” as dozens o whitepolice vans surged around the Federal Reserve,lining Atlantic Ave and quickly blocking o all clearviews o the camp.In a rush o activity, several protesters crossed thestreet together, moving to the plaza in ront o theFederal Reserve. Others gathered in the center o the camp, awaiting arrest.In ront o the Federal Reserve, police ormeda moving wall to orce protesters and onlookersto move across the intersection to South Station,urther away rom the camp. Police did not respondto onlookers’ inquiries as to why they weren’t beingallowed to stand across the street. Arrests happened quickly. Within one hour o arrival, more than orty occupiers were arrested,according to Jason Pramas o Open Media Boston.Five men sat in ront o a ront-end loader, whichthey suspected would be used to clear the park. Tecommanding ocer on the scene, ater attemptingto negotiate with them, told them they would becharged with resisting arrest and inormed themthey would not be able to be released on bail. (Teoccupiers were correct: the ront-end loader beganto demolish the camp at 6:50 am.)During these arrests, three Boston Police ocers with bright LED fashlights approached the Occupy Boston Livestream and other videographers who were standing on the sidewalk. Te ocers shinedthe fashlights into the camera lenses, creatinglens fares in an attempt to prevent the camerasrom capturing the arrests. Te ocers kept theirfashlights to their chests, obscuring their badgenumbers.Troughout the early morning, groups o protesters entered the street and sat down, armslinked, as a show o solidarity with those who hadbeen arrested in the encampment. One group o protesters, reusing easy arrests by sticking theirground or going limp, were hauled into police wagons. A Public Works truck was attempting toleave Atlantic Ave when an older woman, standingby hersel, blocked it. She was also arrested.Four women who locked arms and entered thestreet shortly ater sunrise and were promptly arrested, but rocked the police wagon rom inside,much to the amusement o the onlooking occupiers.Most o the protesters who had been herded inront o South Station remained there throughthe morning, joining together in chants and songsexpressing solidarity with those who had beenarrested and condemning the destruction o theencampment.Te thirty arrested occupiers whom the policeidentied as male were taken to the District D-4South End station, while the thirteen identied asemale (including one legal observer) were taken tothe District C-6 station in South Boston. As the protesters in ront o South Station grew louder, the police presence at the corner o Atlanticand Summer went rom three ocers to approxi-mately twenty. Protesters openly vented their disap-proval o the many arrests, chanting and yellingangrily. Apparently moved by their words, Robin Jacks noted that one ocer temporarily retreatedin tears multiple times, to the consternation o hersuperiors.One ocer was heard laughing derisively atprotesters and joking about using hand grenades onthem.Despite claims rom only a day earlier that noraid was imminent, the Boston Police demonstratedclear strategic planning by evicting the occupiersat 5 am on a Saturday morning. Just beore theeviction, there were at most 200 people in Dewey Square, compared to over 1000 the night beore.Since it was Saturday, trac was at a minimum,and the eviction would not be highly visible to thepublic.Unlike many evictions around the country,the Boston Police Department evicted occupiers without resorting to pepper spray or beatings.However, police were prepared to use violenceagainst the peaceul protesters. A pickup carryingan LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), alsoknown as a “sound cannon” or its potential to causepermanent hearing damage, was parked on SummerSt. In addition, several ocers were equipped withunidentied canisters on their backs, and the whitevans were purportedly ull o riot gear. At 8:05 am, a truck labeled “Grati Busters”began demolishing the mural o signs and artwork on the north wall o Dewey Square, even asGreenway ocials are considering a permanentstructure honoring the occupation and its contri-bution to the city’s now-amous parcel o land.occupying the square. And at 5 am on a Saturday morning, visibility and trac were small issues. At 8:05 am ollowing the eviction, a truck labeled“Grati Busters” began demolishing the mural o signs on the north wall o Dewey Square, even asGreenway ocials are considering a permanentstructure honoring the occupation and its signi-cance to the history o the Greenway’s now-amousparcel o land.
 Walking Out OnMainstream Economics
By Pan Angelopoulos
 A little over a month ago, in early November,more than seventy students in Proessor N.Gregory Mankiw’s introductory economicscourse at Harvard University stood up and walkedout o the lecture. Tey organized this walk-outto protest the course’s neoliberal predispositions,the corporatization o higher education, and thegrowing burden o student debt. Te studentsexplained that their action was in solidarity withOccupy Wall Street, and went on to join a marchin downtown Boston.In organizing this action, the students drew attention to a problem that has its roots in themainstream neoclassical theory that dominatestoday’s economics departments. According tosuch theory, the discipline is a positive sciencethat can be used to reach empirical judgmentsree o bias and ideology. Tis way o thinkingabout economics has generated elegant math-ematical models, but these cannot compensateor its incorrect assumptions. Te Harvardstudent protest, and the Occupy movement morebroadly, prompt reconsideration o what it mightmean to walk out on mainstream economics.Te primary problem with neoclassicaleconomics is that its conceptual apparatus issupposed to transcend social and class relations.In act, however, this supposed transcendenceconceals capitalism’s natural inequality. Focusedonly on the way economic relations look super-cially (i.e. like relations between things), neoclas-sical economics is not able to analyze the exploit-ative and alienating relations that underlie theprocess o exchange, relations that are becomingclearer and clearer to masses o discontented anddispossessed workers as a result o the currentcrisis.Te act that the majority o academic econo-mists rarely address these concerns is certainly not a matter o intelligence, but rather one o ideology and class allegiance. As Marx and Engels wrote in Te German Ideology: “Te ideas o theruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas:i.e., the class which is the ruling material orce o society, is at the same time its ruling intellectualorce.” In his Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramscideveloped this analysis urther, drawing attentionto the role o intellectuals in capitalist society:“Te intellectuals are the dominant group’sdeputies exercising the subaltern unctions o social hegemony and political government. Tesecomprise… Te ‘spontaneous’ consent given by the great masses o the population to the generaldirection imposed on social lie by the dominantundamental group.”It is because o the above reasons that orthodoxeconomics is normative and apologetic. It ismore interested in deending the interests o thecapitalist class and its hangers-on (the 1%) thanin critical inquiry. Neoclassical economics is, inshort, the economics o capital.Te urgent need now is or a political economy o the working class, one which includes the‘old’ proletariat o the actories and the ‘new’precariat o part-time work, exhausting ‘fexible’hours, intensive exploitation, and, in general,o precarious employment circumstances. Suchan economics would provide a theoretical oun-dation or the liberation o humanity; that is,or a society where the ree development o eachindividual is a condition or the ree developmento all. Although radical political economists do inte-grate capitalist class relations into their theories,or orthodox economists to join their heterodoxcolleagues would require nothing less than arevolution in their way o thinking. It wouldinvolve understanding capital not as a thing, butas the independent social power o capitalistsover workers, o the primacy o prots overhuman needs and rights. Politically, it wouldentail abandoning the principles o neoliberalism,resisting the commodication o the commons,and ghting or an economy geared towards thesatisaction o human needs and built upon theoundations o dignity, justice, equality, decen-tralized planning, and workplace democracy.Economics is thus both a social science and acontested battleground - one that the Occupy movement needs to ght or. Te most enduringcritiques o established economic dogmas –Marxist critiques, Keynesian, and others – werebacked by popular movements that demandedradical social and political change. People oughtor new economies, and social and politicalchange, in their workplaces and in the streets.oday, ater years o political and ideologicaldeeats at the hands o the 1%, we can andmust draw conclusions dierent rom those o economic orthodoxy. It is imperative to show that working people do not have to pay or capital-ism’s crises through cuts to social services, unem-ployment, lower living standards, poverty, anddepression. Furthermore, as part o this struggle,it is necessary to emphasize the unity o the 99%:those engaging in both manual and intellectuallabour, unionized and non-unionized, legal and‘illegal’ workers, regardless o skin color or sex.In order to conront the prevailing economicthought, however, it is necessary to make clearthat economics is not pure mathematics andeconomic thinking is not t only or technocrats.Te disciplines o political science, sociology,economics, history, and philosophy are deeply interconnected. Teir connection refects o thereal interactions between the market economy,the state, the political sphere, social and class rela-tions, and ideology. o argue that economics isan objective science divorced rom these spheresis precisely to misunderstand it. It is to view capi-talism’s crises as natural disasters rather than asproducts o the system’s contradictions. Against such a perspective, we must approachsocial science with the courage, as Marx urged,to undertake “ruthless criticism o everythingexisting,” not araid o its own conclusions orconficts with the powers that be. o take a stepin this direction means deciding between realdemocracy and cannibalistic capitalism. It is totake sides on the burning question that conrontshumanity in our time: socialism or barbarism.
Te BostonOccupier’s Staf/Contributors:
Gar AlperowitzPan Angelopoulos Angie BrandtHeidi V. ButtersworthMatt CloydIan CorneliusDoug Enaa GreeneEthan HarrisonOmer Hecht Aliza HowittLando Julie OrlemanskiMarlie Pesek  Joshua SagerDan Schneideress SchefanKatie SoldauChris SturrStephen Squibb
A “Home or the Holidays” speak-out in Dorchester with CL/VU, the Bank Tenants Association and Occupy Boston onDecember 16, 2011.(Photo: Tess Schefan / Activestills.org)
 
bostonoccupier.com | Te Boston Occupier - Free Press
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Dec. 21st, 2011
Occupy La Migra 
Te ollowing is a shortened version o the speech givenby Lando, o Ocupemos el Barrio, on December 3, 2011. Lando spoke at a rally outside the Boston ofces o Immigration and Customs Enorcement.
My riends, the immigration policy in this country is morally bankrupt. At the present time our justicesystem commits gross injustices against its citizens,its legal residents, and those who have been segre-gated and marginalized by labeling them ‘illegalaliens’.Te current deportation practices o theImmigration and Customs Enorcement agency (ICE) are inecient, discriminatory, and cruel. TeICE rounds up people o color in actories, in theirhomes, and in the streets. It proles them becauseo their appearance and then subjects them to asham o a legal process, an “expedited deportation”system in which up to ty people at a time are givenless than one minute to plead their innocence. Youdon’t have a lawyer to advocate or you? oo bad. You don’t speak English? oo bad. American citizensare routinely denied due process, incarcerated, andnally, months later, dumped on the other side o the border. Alarmingly, the ICE outsources incarcerationto private businesses, such as the CorrectionsCorporation o America. For this reason alone, theentire ICE bureaucracy should be shut down! Since when is it appropriate to hand over the jailing anddeportation human beings to or-prot companies?Or to receive a nancial incentive or every persondeported? Such practices are representative o thenearious deals the government has made withprivate companies. Because these gross injusticesaect minorities almost exclusively, ew people learno them and ewer complain.Tose in the 1% would have you believe that mostpeople being deported have broken the law. But Iask you: What law is being broken by a person who works to put ood on the table or his or heramily? Te answer is: an unair law. In the sel-righteous question, “What part o illegal don’t youunderstand?” – we can hear the echo o those whoasked our Arican-American brothers and sisters,“What part o ‘the back o the bus’ don’t you under-stand?” or “What part o ‘we serve whites only’ don’tyou understand?” We have unair laws with unairpunishments, and the law must be changed now.Moreover, let’s not orget what causes masses o people to migrate to the United States. Te Americanimperialist project, with its military-industrialcomplex, seeks to control entire continents. Itpursues its goals by destabilizing governments,dominating economies, and exploiting naturalresources. Te juggernaut o corporate multina-tionals displaces small businesses, lowers the wages o  workers on oreign shores, and denies them the rightto organize unions by means o so-called “ree-tradeagreements.” Who suers the consequences o suchsystematic greed? Te armers, the workers, the pooro other nations, who nally have almost no otheroption than to risk reedom and lie itsel to seek dignied livelihood in the United States. And eventhat is being taken away. Almost no American citizen accepts employmentin sweatshops like those operating right now in EastBoston or in Worcester. Almost no American citizenlives in a house with thirty other migrant workers,sometimes ten in a small room, to sustain him- orhersel on pitiul wages. Te reason they don’t do sois because this is exploitation. However, such condi-tions are exactly what the current immigration lawsimpose: human-rights abuses on a massive scale andan underground economy rie with the mistreatmento workers. Tose in the 1% want minorities andimmigrant communities to settle or this.Contrary to some claims, undocumented immi-grants do pay taxes, and they do build and supporttheir communities. Nonetheless, they are denied theruits o their contributions. We are denied healthcare, education, job opportunities, bank accounts,and even a driver’s license to travel to and rom work. Over 4 million people have been deportedsince January 2009 when Barack Obama took oce,more deportations than under George W Bush.During this year alone, over 45,000 amilies havebeen torn apart because the head o the household was deported. We say to President Obama: Wake up!No human being is illegal! We demand our humanrights! Stop all deportations now!In closing, I want to invoke the words o MohandasGandhi: “non-cooperation with evil is as much aduty as cooperation with good.” Tese words wereechoed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. many times,most amously when he wrote that “One has notonly a legal but a moral responsibility to obey justlaws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility todisobey unjust laws.”
Democratizing theEconomy 
by Gar Alperovitz 
Te “occupations” in Boston and around the country area justied response to the outrages o our current political-economic system. Tis is a system that looks the other way asthe top 1% runs o with almost a th o the nation’s incomeand more than a third o its total wealth. Wall Street and thebanks are both appropriate targets or protest.However, the deeper reality is that our economic system –corporate capitalism held (weakly) in check by labor – is adingbeore our eyes. It was labor’s political power that in large partgave liberalism the ability to enact modest reorms, includingregulations to keep the bankers partially in line. Tose reormshave decayed too: the elimination o Glass-Steagall in 1999and the slow undermining o Dodd-Frank regulations are only the most glaring examples. Moreover, globalization continuesto undermine traditional communities and labor’s politicalclout.Tere may be no viable way orward. I there is, however, itis all but certain to be very dierent rom the ormer economicmodel. One development that holds possibilities or a dierent utureis the ongoing creation o community-based economic institutions.One o the most advanced o these institutions is the major eortunderway in Cleveland, which involves an integrated complex o  worker-owned cooperative enterprises. Tese enterprises include a weatherization and solar installation co-op, an industrially scaled (andecologically advanced) laundry, and a commercial greenhouse. Te“Cleveland Model” seeks to secure the considerable purchasing powero large scale “anchor institutions,” such as hospitals and universities.In addition, the model includes a revolving und, so that prots madeby these businesses help in establishing new ventures as time goes on.Te new model has also become the basis or new national legis-lation soon to be introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown, which seeksto provide ederal support to test this model in other cities. Already,exploratory eorts are under way in Atlanta; Pittsburgh, WashingtonD.C., and several other communities.Experiments such as these have the power to change what isdiscussed in debates about the economy, particularly regarding whoshould own “the means o production.” In this way, community-basedeconomic institutions challenge the dominant, hegemonic ideology in unorthodox and pragmatic ways – we might say, in very American ways. Eorts to develop these institutions, thereore, are examples o the historical creation o political knowledge. Tey introduce new ideas into common culture and shit what can be explored in politicaldiscourse.Tey also suggest the outlines o a new power constellation thatslowly displaces corporate infuence. Tis approach may one day takeits place alongside more traditional “countervailing power” strategies, which aim to regulate, tax, and ‘incentivize’ corporate power. Worker co-ops are one practical alternative to today’sliterally medieval patterns o ownership in which a mere400 individuals have more income than the entire bottom60 percent o society put together. However, co-ops arenot the only way. Numerous other eorts also suggest waysto “democratize ownership,” or move ownership out o thecorporate system and into community-serving institutions.“Social enterprises” engaging in business to support speciccommunity missions now make up what is sometimes calleda “ourth sector” o the economy. Tere are roughly 4,500not-or-prot community development corporations inoperation. More than 11,000 businesses are owned in wholeor part by their employees, and six million more individualsare involved in these enterprises than are members o private-sector unions. Another 130 million Americans are memberso various urban, agricultural, and credit union cooperatives.In many cities, important new “land trust” developmentsare underway using an institutional orm o nonprot ormunicipal ownership that develops and maintains low- andmoderate-income housing. At this stage, the central strategic questions are how to rene and expand these various models and how tolegitimate the idea o democratized ownership. Ultimately such strategies must converge with (and provide new content or)political mobilizations. Movement-building and electoral eorts needto take us beyond liberal and populist categories o change to includelarger economic institutions. A ar reaching transormation o thiskind might one day be achieved i activists build on current devel-opments to create even more advanced democratizing models and i constituencies come to understand why these new economic modelsare important to a democratic uture.Gar Alperovitz is the author o AMERICA BEYONDCAPIALISM: RECLAIMING OUR WEALH, OUR LIBERY  AND OUR DEMOCRACY. He is Co-Founder o the Democracy Collaborative and Lionel R. Bauman Proessor o Political Economy at the University o Maryland.
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Political Speech vs. Consumer Camping?
By Josh Sager
Urban camping is not an unusual occurrence, but with the rise o the Occupy Movement, it has become the topic o heated debate inmany cities. Shown to the right are two photographs o recent urbanencampments, one that cropped up beore the premier o the movie“wilight: Breaking Dawn” (Right-op: Photo Credit: Underactive,via Flickr) and the other that occupied Dewey Sq. as the physicalhome o Occupy Boston (Right-Bottom Photo Credit: Josh Sager ). As one can see rom the photos, both camps are similar in terms o location, structure, and spacing. Both camps are located in the middleo the city, staged in a fat area next to large, commercial buildings.ents and makeshit structures are arranged in a largely empty publicspace, enabling a small group o campers to wait in relative comortuntil their goals are met. Te primary dierences between the twocamps lie in their purposes and in the reactions they provoke. While the two camps are physically similar, one dierence betweenthe two camps is the permanence o the camps. Te “Occupy” campsare set up or long term occupation and in most cases have no set enddate. Te consumer camps usually have a set end date: Te release o a product, the premiere o a movie, or the staging o a perormance.However, I don’t consider this actor relevant, because situationso re saety, criminal activity and sanitation are not signicantly aected by the time period o an occupation.One complaint raised in past months about Occupy encamp-ments is that protesters inhabit public spaces needed or “casualuse” or “passive enjoyment.” While it is certainly correct that the“Occupy” encampments use public space to the exclusion o othersand without paying or it, the same is true o consumer camps; likethe one pictured above or those which appeared outside shoppingplazas on the evening o Tanksgiving (or “Black Friday Eve”). Whenoccupiers, associated with the movement, occupy a plot o land, they don’t totally exclude others rom using it; they oer ood, activitiesand shelter to virtually everybody who asks, making the “occupy”camps actually less exclusive than consumer camps.Occupy encampments across the country have encountered inter-erence rom local governments, zoning boards, and police orces, justied with reerence to health concerns. Police in cities across America, including Oakland, New York, and Denver, have raidedOccupy sites under the pretense o “health and saety” issues. WhenOccupy Boston campers brought the city to court in an attempt tostop an eviction, the entirety o the city’s case was based around resaety. Te city claimed (accurately in many cases) that the tents o theencampment posed a severe re hazard, thus the entire camp must beshut down. However, while any urban camping site poses analogouschallenges o sanitation/re saety, I have yet to nd any ocialcomplaints or raids on other urban camps, such as movie premieresor sale lines outside o stores.Finally, at protest occupations and urban camps, cold weather bringsthe need or insulated tents, bedrolls, and jackets. At several Occupy locations, including Occupy Boston, the police have preventedcampers rom bringing in cold-weather gear, citing re saety andzoning concerns. How is it sae or campers in movie premiere lines tohave winter gear, but unsae or “Occupy” campers to have the samegear in a similar situation? Fire does not discriminate between protestand consumer camps. In act, the occupation o Boston was ar saerthan any consumer camp in terms o re saety. Te Occupiers placednumerous re extinguishers around the camp as well as re alarmsin virtually every tent, precautions not common in any other urbanencampment.Te physical and practical similarities between consumer campingand Occupy protest encampments oreground the inconsistency inthe police responses and the hypocrisy inherent in the divergent reac-tions to the camps. I the occupations have identical hygienic situ-ations and superior re saety precautions to the consumer camps,then clearly it is not a matter o straightorward acts that gives rise tocities’ erce rejection o the protest occupations.I the dierence between the reactions to the occupations andthe other “urban campsites” is not in the physical presence, thenit must be in another characteristic o the camps. Te “Occupy”camps are intended to promote a political message and protest socialand economic issues, while the other camps are based around theincreased consumption o goods. Te constitution o the USA guar-antees the “right o the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitionthe Government or a redress o grievances”, while it mentionsnothing about the right to wait outside o a business in order toreceive a service or a product aster. I am not saying that the shoppersdon’t have a right to wait in line or days rather than risk receivingtheir goods a little later, but unlike the occupiers, their actions arenot constitutionally protected. While some may not agree that theoccupations are maniestations o ree speech, the argument that they are using to deride the occupations is simply based upon the lack o saety in the camps, not the right o the occupiers to assemble.I it is truly unsae or protesters to camp on the streets, then surely it is unsae or those who are camping to receive commercial goods.Unless the police are willing to argue that commerce and quick consumption are more important than a constitutionally protectedpolitical protest, they must either stop all urban camping or ceasebreaking up the occupations.

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