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The Boston Occupier - April/May 2012 - Issue 7

The Boston Occupier - April/May 2012 - Issue 7

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Published by Daniel Schneider
Issue 7 of The Boston Occupier, an independent, volunteer-run newspaper and website - bostonoccupier.com - dedicated to covering modern grassroots activism, radical politics and the Occupy movement.
Issue 7 of The Boston Occupier, an independent, volunteer-run newspaper and website - bostonoccupier.com - dedicated to covering modern grassroots activism, radical politics and the Occupy movement.

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Published by: Daniel Schneider on Apr 26, 2012
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 www.bostonoccupier.comIssue No. 7 April/May 2012
T Fare Hikes SpurNew Occupation
On the afternoon of April 4, followinga four-hour rally for public transpor-tation, several members of Occupy MBTA unfurled a banner in front of the StateHouse and announced a new occupation.The banner read “Camp Charlie.” Forthe next ten days, Occupy activists wouldmaintain a round-the-clock presence onthe steps of the State House, advocating forpublic transit.The new declaration of occupation was just one component of OccupBoston’s “Day of Action for PublicTransportation.” Over 300 people hadgathered at the State House to demandthat state authorities neither raise MBTA fares nor cut services. They wereaccom-panied by a live band and a giant puppetof “Charlie,” the character made famousin the Kingston Trio’s 1959 tune “Charlieon the MTA.” Charlie’s original purpose,more than half a century earlier, hadbeen to protest high fares on the Bostonsubway, and his appearance this day wasno different.Stepping up to the “people’s mic,” NoahMcKenna of Occupy MBTA said “We havecome together to demand public transpor-tation for the 99%.”
“You’re still not listening!”
Earlier in the day, a public forum onthe MBTA budget crisis took place at theMassachusetts Transportation Building indowntown Boston.In the months leading up to April 4’sfinal hearing, thousands of aggrieved Triders had come forward to protest plansto raise fares and cut services. At 30public forums held by the MBTA, 6000Bostonians came forward to demand thatofficials and legislators find alternativesmethods of addressing the deficit.The hearing on April 4 was similar tothose before it, except that time had runout. Today was decision day. In the hour
An Interview withNoam Chomsky
Working or Revolutionary Peace
In early March,
Boston Occupier 
staffer D.J.Buschini interviewed Noam Chomsky,M.I.T. linguistics professor and acclaimed leftintellectual. The full interview can be found atbostonoccupier.com.
D.J. Buschini:
 A good deal of committed orga-nization helped lay the groundwork for the U.S.Civil Rights Movement. And for years, activists inthe Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE),and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) drew inspiration from Gandhian prac-tices and Christian pacifism. What’s your take onOccupy and the nonviolent philosophy? 
Noam Chomsky:
It’s certainly what oneshould prefer. Some prefer it to the extent of never being willing to do anything else. So, forexample, Martin Luther King wanted to justkeep to it strictly––nothing else, not even inself-defense. Others have a less rigid view. Andthere are also more complex conceptions of nonviolence.One of the leading figures in 20th century  American nonviolent movements, and kind of a mentor of King and others, was A. J. Muste, who is not too well known, but he should be.He was a nonviolent pacifist, a pacifist during WWII. But he advocated what he calledRevolutionary Pacifism. He said that pacifismin the face of injustice is not enough. Sounless you confront the structural violence of ordinary life, then it is hypocritical and mean-ingless to object to the fringe of violence by more marginal groups who are also strugglingagainst injustice. We should object to what they’re doing, but we can’t take ourselves seriously unless we’reconfronting the whole system of violenceunder which most people try to survivesomehow. That includes violent repression,but also just what’s sometimes called structuralviolence: the system of exploitation, repressionand subordination. So that is Revolutionary Pacifism. And it can be a very effective force.Take, say, the Civil Rights Movement––its record is instructive. As you said, it goesback decades. It really began to become anational movement in 1960 with sit-insat lunch counters by black students, [who were] arrested. It returned in larger numbers,freedom buses with young people mostly riding through the South trying to organizevoters. SNCC, as you say, was kind of at theforefront of it, and they were joined to someextent by young activists from the North. It was pretty violent.Finally it got to the stage where there wasenough popular support nationwide so that itdid impel the government to pass significantlegislation. Which extended beyond the rightsof the black minorities. It was the begin-nings of legislation which kind of broke theframework of repression of women. All these things started to collapse. It sort of interacted with the activist movements that were developing at the time. And it was part of the whole kind of revolution of consciousnessthat took place through the ‘60s.But Martin Luther King was committed toRevolutionary Pacifism. If you listen to thespeeches we hear on Martin Luther KingDay, they usually end with the March on Washington in 1963––“I have a Dream,” andso on. But he had a much broader dream. Andright after that he began to expand the activitiesof the Civil Rights Movement to the North.That didn’t get very far. First to Chicago, foran anti-slum movement, housing, jobs, and so
Boston Activists DemandJustice for Trayvon Martin
By Ian Cornelius
On a rainy day in April 1965, the Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ascended thesteps of the Boston Common bandstandto deliver a speech. His topic was schooldesegregation. An estimated 22,000 peoplebraved the spring showers to hear the civilrights leader.On another wet April day nearly fifty years after King’s visit, the Boston Commonbandstand was again host to the fight forcivil rights in the United States. Over 150people gathered Thursday, April 12, at arally to demand justice for Trayvon Martin,a black high-school student shot and killedin Sanford, FL on February 26. The rally  was organized by the Boston branch of theNAACP and featured a dozen speakers, allleaders in their communities and in struggles for civil rights andsocial justice in the Boston area.This was the latest in a series of actions in Boston responding toMartin’s murder. On Saturday, April 7, an estimated 500 peoplemarched from Ruggles station to Dudley Square. Along the way,they chanted “Being Black is not a crime” and carried signs stating“No to Racial Profiling” and “We are all Trayvon Martin.”The day before the Ruggles-to-Dudley march, about a hundredpeople attended a town hall forum in Dudley Square, featuring ateach-in about violence against black men and boys in the UnitedStates. The forum was organized by the
, a community news service for peoples of color in the Boston area.“We call this an attack on black men and boys because it’s areality,” explained Jamahrl Crawford. “If you are a black man or aboy, or you love one, you probably already know this.” In a detailedmultimedia presentation, Crawford reviewed over fifty individualincidents, dating between 1997 and 2012, in which a black man orboy was murdered by police, vigilantes, or whites supremacists in
Continued on Page 3
Continued on page 3
Continued on page 4
Also Inside:
p.2 What Future for Pensions?p.6 All Out For May Dap.7 Debate: The Need for Demands
Help support
The Boston Occupier 
 during our spring fundraising drive!See the bottom of page 5
A giant ‘99% Charlie’ puppet, constructed by a member of Occupy Boston for the April 4 day of action for public transportation. (Photo: Chase Carter)A young girl looks on at a speaker during a rally for Trayvon Martin on March 22, 2012.(Photo: Paul Weiskel)
p.5 Who Runs Egypt?
By Dan Schneider
Page 2
 April/May 2012bostonoccupier.com | The Boston Occupier - Free Press
 All Out forMay Day 
Group plans for a Day Without the99%
by Al Johnston
In late December 2011, the General Assembly (GA) of Occupy Los Angeles issued a call for a national and interna-tional general strike. The strike, planned for May 1, 2012, would demand immigrant rights, environmental sustain-ability, a moratorium on foreclosures, the end of current wars,and jobs for all. Occupy LA issued the call in the aftermath of stirring and largely successful West Coast actions in the monthsbefore, including the Oakland General Strike on November 2and the West Coast Port Shut-down on December 12.May Day is an international workers’ holiday, celebratinglabor movements and progressive causes. At present it is anofficial national holiday in more than eighty countries. Its firstcelebration was in 1890, commemorating the “HaymarketMartyrs,” killed when Chicago police opened fire on workers who were striking for an eight-hour work day. More recently,in the United States, May Day has been the occasion forimmigrant communities to join together in the fight againstdeportations and other discriminatory governmental policies.Occupy LA’s call for a general strike found ready listenersin Boston. Shortly after the new year, a new working grouptook shape, General Strike Occupy Boston (GSOB), whichbegan planning Boston-area May Day actions. On January 8the group brought a resolution before the Occupy Boston GA,and the resolution was approved: Occupy Boston was ready to strike.Traditionally, a general strike refers to the halting of work in a multitude of workplaces for a certain period of time.General strikes are usually called by unions for a combinationof political and economic ends. GSOB is also inspired by the West Coast general strikes of late 2011, which were char-acterized by community pickets of specific industrial targets,by massive urban street actions, and by scattered individualand collective acts of solidarity, like student support strikes andsick-outs. Additionally, small businesses were asked to closeshop, and many did so in solidarity.However, GSOB did not want to adopt recent West Coaststrike methods wholesale and unchanged. Instead, activistssought to build a day of protest-actions responsive to the localpolitical and social contexts of Boston.To accomplish this, one of GSOB’s first steps was toreach out to the already-existing Boston May Day Coalition(BMDC). In recent years BMDC has spearheaded the annualmarches and rallies taking place in local immigrant commu-nities. Starting with the nation-wide actions in 2006, immi-grant communities in and around Boston have been celebratingMay Day as a day of action addressing the urgent problems of immigrant life, as well as the holiday’s traditional significancefor working-class solidarity. As a result of these discussions, GSOB has developed a fullprogram of actions for Boston this May First.The day’s events will start early: a Financial District Block Party is scheduled to start at 7 am on the corner of FederalStreet & Franklin Street in downtown Boston. At noon, BMDC and GSOB will hold a permit-approvedMay Day rally at Boston City Hall Plaza. Following the rally participants are encouraged to head to East Boston to marchin solidarity with immigrant communities. These marches areplanned to start at approximately 2 pm and move from EastBoston, Chelsea, and Revere to Everett for a rally at 4 pm.Later in the evening, there will be a “Funeral March” for thebanks, departing at 8 pm from Copley Square and proceedingthrough the downtown area.Taking its cue from the developing “Occupy May Day”movement, GSOB has adopted the theme “Occupy May First - A Day Without the 99%.” This May Day, GSOB urgesthe 99% to strike, skip work, walk out of school, and refrainfrom shopping, banking and business. If GSOB’s plans aresuccessful, then, for one day, a significant portion of the 99% will disappear from the capitalist economic machine.
To find out more about upcoming May Day actions check out the Facebook event page- http://www.facebook.com/Occupy. May1.Boston.
 What Future for Pensions?
by Pan Angelopoulos
Compared to its Northern European counterparts, theU.S. welfare state has always been considered inadequate. After decades of “reforms” pushed through continuously sinceReagan, it now rests on a fragile base. What remains is thelegacy of a New Deal that did not go far enough. This is notsolely an American phenomenon; on both sides of the Atlantic, welfare retrenchment gains pace as neoliberalism advances. What has taken decades of struggle to achieve is clawed back. Workers’ livelihoods are increasingly subject to the vicissitudesof the market as “popular capitalism” replaces the welfare state.Today, in the midst of the Great Recession, the logic of re-commodification is reaching new extremes, while capitalseeks to force workers to pay for its crisis through cutbacks tosocial welfare. Against all odds though, the backbone of the U.S. welfare state has survived. The widespread support enjoyedby Social Security (its entitlement saves half the U.S. seniorpopulation from destitution) means that it has not yet sufferedthe re-privatization that would paralyze it. As alarmism overthe debt grows, Social Security will be targeted for deep cutsthat will undermine both its legitimacy and what should bethe right to a decent retirement. Old-age poverty rates, already high, will go through the roof. Deficit hawks assert that SocialSecurity is a drain on public finances, and that privatizing it will reduce costs and improve pensions. As Robin Blackburnshows in
 Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us 
(2011) though,these arguments just don’t hold water. The record of privatepension provision, which has grown tremendously since theearly 1980s to supplement the subsistence stipend that SocialSecurity offers, is dismal.Private provision comes in two forms: defined benefit(DB), which guarantees a specific pension entitlementcalculated in terms of salary and years of contribution, anddefined contribution (DC), which offers only whateverpension can be purchased in the money markets for the sumin the pension pot at retirement. Up until the 1980s, mostcorporate and public plans were DB, which offered guar-anteed pensions and health care benefits. Since then therehas been a shift to DC plans, together with growing pension wealth inequality and income erosion in retirement. Theseplans no longer guarantee pensions, and the market risk isentirely borne by the contributor-worker. In the case of amarket collapse, the results can be catastrophic: in the threeyears after the dot-com crash, US fund values dropped by nearly half. Moreover, with DC plans employers’ contribu-tions plummet, while costs for workers are higher because of heavy administrative, marketing, and customization charges.Meanwhile, the DB schemes that survive are threatened by ‘vulture capitalism’ – corporate bankruptcies carried through with the aim of dumping pension liabilities.The privatization of public pensions is thus an ill-suitedoption; the result would only be to reduce retirement incomesand to increase inequality and insecurity. In an aging society though, ensuring a future for decent pensions at around 70-75percent of average income (allowing for the dignity of financialindependence) poses a real challenge. By 2035 retirementincomes will need 15 percent of GDP, but there will be ashortfall of around 4 percent, with the revenue deficiencies of private schemes accounting for two-thirds of this. As Blackburnargues, the phenomenon of an aging society is better seen ascommon shock, not an individually (and privately) insurablerisk. Addressing it requires more than protecting SocialSecurity; there will need to be more collective insurance, addi-tional sources of revenue, and a new development of welfareprinciples. Public systems must be at the center of the effort toremake pension provision. They are efficient and cost effective,and simply need good benefit formulae and adequate revenuesources for good results.The innovatory solution to pension woes, to prevent thereturn of pauperized old age, requires a basic state pension(Social Security), providing a guaranteed basic income, supple-mented by a universal, pre-funded secondary pension financedby a tax on capital. Credits for care work and child-rearing would help remedy the problem of lower pensions for womenin the current system. How would the revenue be raised? SocialSecurity will not experience any significant revenue shortfallin the future, and raising the contribution rate by 1 percentand increasing the annual income threshold above which nofurther Social Security contributions are payable (it is currently $90,000) would generate substantially more revenue.The novel aspect of this plan is the universal secondary pension. The idea comes from the economist Rudolf Meidner, who helped design Sweden’s social democratic economy. In the1970s, Meidner, anticipating the new social expenditures that would be entailed by an aging and learning society, proposedthe creation of strategic social funds – ‘wage-earner funds’ – tobe financed by a levy on shares.Today, all listed corporations employing more thantwenty people or with a turnover of over $10 million wouldbe required to issue new shares equivalent to 10-20 percentof its profits to a network of social funds. This would raiseemployers’ contributions and make tax avoidance moredifficult, while the levy would not subtract from corporatecash-flow nor threaten investment and employment. It wouldfall entirely on the corporation’s owners, who own most shares(the wealthiest 1 percent of U.S. households owns two-thirdsof all assets and receives one half of all dividends and capitalgains). As conventional tax sources would not be drawn upon,there would be more funding for education, health care, andsocial infrastructure.The public social fund network would hold the shares itreceived for the long term, and use the dividend income they generate to pay pensions. Organized on non-commerciallines, the funds would not only bring pension provisionback into the public sphere, but also lead to a degree of realpopular control over the economic process, as companies would gradually become worker-owned in a collective sense.Essentially, the network of social funds would gradually accu-mulate claims to the future social surplus at the expense of capitalists and rentiers. Altogether, the Meidner plan wouldentail a radical reconceptualization of terms like ‘national-ization’ and ‘worker control.’The plan outlined above (Blackburn has shown with metic-ulous detail that it is financially viable) would, by providing twostrong public pensions, help solve pension woes and achievesolidarity between generations by keeping constant the ratioof average income to pensioner income. By taxing the wealthy it would reduce inequality and increase the living standards of the lower classes. The plan would also gradually socialize partsof the economy in a novel way. Of course, this would be afirst step , success depends upon the broader balance of classforces and the outcome of fundamental political battles. Tobe sustainable, this system would be only one element of abroader public utility finance system, with publicly owned andaccountable banks, a national investment bank, and a differentkind of central bank its core. More broadly, there would haveto be public provision and de-commodification of major areasof social welfare, to ensure free access to decent health care andeducation for working people and pensioners. These are lofty goals, but vital to achieve if we are to begin creating a new,different society.
Morning dew at Dewey Sign says “The lawn is resting”Time to wake it up!
—Anna Clayton
The Boston Occupier 
1st Annual Haiku Contest
Thanks to everyone who submitted to our first annual haiku contest!Here are the top picks of 
The Boston Occupier 
’s editorial staff:
#1: What a Swell Idea 
Record ridershipplus climate catastrophe?Let’s cut mass transit!
 Spring is new bloominggrowth tender and delicatetents mandatory 
—Buddy Luce 
Page 3
 April/May 2012bostonoccupier.com | The Boston Occupier - Free Press
the United States. The point, Crawford emphasized, is thatMartin’s killing “is not an isolated incident.” Among the cases was that of Patrick Dorismond, a26-year-old Haitian man who was shot and killed by anundercover narcotics officer in New York City in 2000. Theofficer had petitioned Dorismond for drugs. An altercationensued. “For defending himself against the stereotype thatthe undercover officer was projecting onto him, this manended up dead,” Crawford summarized. At the NAACP rally, Crawford reiterated the message of his teach-in: “From eight to eighty, whether you have ona suit or something like this”—Crawford pointed towardshis hoodie—“it matters not. If you are a black man or a boy you are seen as ‘suspicious.’” All three events drew connections between the TrayvonMartin case and legislation currently under considerationin Massachusetts, referred to as a “Stand your ground” law.Similar laws have already been adopted by two dozen states.In Florida, law enforcement agencies cited that state’s“Stand your ground” law as their reason for declining toarrest Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman. AlthoughZimmerman acknowledged that he left his vehicle expressly to pursue Martin, state authorities construed his subse-quent shooting of Martin at point-blank range as an actionprotected by state law. (On April 11
, more than a monthafter the killing, a Florida special prosecutor announcedthat Zimmerman would be charged with second-degreemurder.)Since 2007, Massachusetts State Senator Stephen Brewer(D) has sponsored three versions of a bill that closely corre-sponds to this Florida statute. At the NAACP rally, Larry Ellison, President of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, spoke firmly againstboth the proposed bill and the name the bill’s supportershave claimed for it. “This is not about ‘Standing yourground,’” Ellison stated, “A more accurate name would be‘The last man standing tells his version.’ This law will nothelp [police officers] do our jobs.” Another theme at these events has been Zimmerman’s widely reported identification as Hispanic. Alejandra St.Guillen, executive director of ¿Oíste?, called on attendeesThursday to consider the “role of skin color in how weview one another even in our own minority communities.”Similarly, Brandi Artez, one of the organizers of Saturday’smarch, spoke for solidarity between African-Americans andHispanics: “I am a black Latina,” she said, “When peoplesee me, they see a black. Don’t let anyone tell you thatLatinos are not standing up for Trayvon Martin. We standtogether.” At the NAACP rally, Councillor Yancey reminded thegathering of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on the samesite in April 1965. Reflections on the history of the civilrights movement were balanced by expectations for itsfuture, as Boston University law student Chelsea Lewisnoted the presence of many young people at rally. Attendees then walked across the Common to theStatehouse. There they participated in a lobbying campaignagainst the so-called “Stand your ground” law. The billis scheduled for a vote by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on April 27.
Think you know everything about the Trayvon Martinshooting? Here are some key facts you may be unaware of:Evidentiary Irregularities
There was no collection of forensics from the scene of the shooting.
Police ran a background check on Martin, the victim,but not Zimmerman, the shooter.
Zimmerman was allowed to leave the police station, with his gun and ammunition, before the police hadeven begun interviewing witnesses.
Investigative Irregularities
Despite the lead homicide detective recommendingcharges of manslaughter, the DA didn’t press charges.
The police logged Martin into the morgue as a JohnDoe, despite having his cell phone (which was ignored,even while his father was calling him numerous times),and didn’t contact his family for three days after theshooting.
 According to several witnesses, police officers collectingstatements “corrected” witnesses when they said thatthey heard Martin scream.
Perceived Misconduct 
The lack of police action in response to a dead black child has caused a significant reaction by the black community, with many seeing this incident as part of apattern of disinterest in solving crimes where the victimis black.
Zimmerman’s father was a judge and his mother alegal secretary, leading many to see the lack of arrest inthis case to be caused by preferential treatment.
—Josh Sager 
allotted for public comments, speakers from Occupy MBTA, Mass Senior Action Council, the T RidersUnion
and a number of private citizens stood up to ask the MBTA Board of Directors to “just vote no” to theproposed budget plan. “Just vote no” became a chant,rising from the crowd and interrupting the proceedingshalf a dozen times. Jonathan Gale, of Cross Disability Action Group,addressed the Board of Directors with candid frustration.“There were a lot of legitimate proposals from the peoplebehind me. Not one of them appears in your recommen-dations. Not one,” Gale said. “You’re still not listening!”Despite the concerns raised by the public, the MBTA Board of Directors voted, 4-1, to adopt the plan of limitedservice reductions and fare hikes, including a 20% increasein fares for bus service and a 100% increase in the cost of THE RIDE, a service for disabled riders.MassDOT Director Ferdinand Alvaro cast the only vote against this plan. “I cannot in good consciencesupport a budget that covers the gap and burdens the mostvulnerable people in our population with covering thegap,” stated Alvaro, “It is time for the Legislature to cometo the table.”Following the MBTA board’s decision, hundredsof people spilled into the streets to hold a ‘People’s Assembly’ in front of the State House. 400 protesters were present at the height of the day’s actions, anumber somewhat short of organizers’ expectations. April 4th had been planned as a “National Day of Actionfor Public Transportation.” The call to action had origi-nated with Occupy Boston and was answered with similarprotests in at least 18 cities, including Chicago, Portland,Seattle, and Detroit.In Pittsburgh, for instance, about 125 people - includingmembers of Occupy Pittsburgh and the AmalgamatedTransit Union (ATU) rallied against a set of severe antici-pated cuts to the Pittsburgh Port Authority. The
quoted ATU international president Larry Hanley saying “Service cuts, transit worker layoffs andhigher passenger fares...are really just another kind of tax,levied on those who can least afford it.”Detroit’s protest was small but resonant. A few dozenheld candles in a vigil for public transit and in memory of Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 44 yearsago that day on April 4, 1968. King was a strong advocatefor increased access to public transportation, declaringin 1968
that “Urban transit systems […] have become agenuine civil rights issue.”
The Second Occupation
 With the ruling of the MBTA Board of Directors,protesters’ focus shifted to the State Legislature.Lawmakers, controlling the state’s purse-strings, hadgreater power to close the budget gap than did the MBTA itself.The ten-day occupation of the State House steps was part of a strategy to focus public attention on theLegislature’s ability to alleviate the MBTA’s budget woes. Ariel Oshinsky, a Northeastern student and organizerfor Occupy MBTA, confirmed, “Our focus, now, is noton the board, but the State House. It’s [House SpeakerRobert] DeLeo, [Senate President Therese] Murray, and[Governor Deval] Patrick.”“We’re on the doorstep of those we’re trying to affect,”she added. As for the encampment itself --it may not have hadthe dense network of tents that came to be iconic of theOccupy movement last fall, but “Camp Charlie” still hadall of the familiar trappings of a protest encampment.The sprawl of sleeping bags, pads, umbrellas, tarps,tables, signs and rugs on the state government’s frontporch might look familiar to those who had seen Occupy Boston’s original encampment on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. An “Info Table” was stocked with freepamphlets, and a “Food Table” was restocked regularly foranyone who wanted a sandwich or, on occasion, a hot,fresh meal.Many of the day-to-day activities of the Dewey Squareencampment were also retained. Several experts came tospeak on the history of the MBTA’s budget problems, andRutgers professor Barbara Foley gave a speech on main-taining a radical perspective in a climate of ideologicalmoderation. General Assemblies took place on batteredrugs unrolled in front of the steps.Even in its short duration the camp was the scene of asolemn ceremony honoring Andy, a fellow occupier andmember of Occupy Boston’s Logistics team, who passedaway in early April. Like Dewey Square, the encampmentserved simultaneously as an ongoing protest action and asa gathering place for those who supported the group. At one point, the encampment was briefly forced todisband. The Massachusetts State Police ordered occu-piers to disassemble their encampment, reportedly atthe behest of the Secret Service, in preparation for thearrival of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the StateHouse. Without the people-power necessary to hold theirground, the group chose to transport their gear out of sight for the night. The occupation resumed the followingafternoon.“We all understood that occupation is a powerfultactic,” said Oshinsky. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a way of making a commitment for sustained pressure.”
Changing Up the Game
Compared to Dewey Square, “Camp Charlie” wasa relatively small encampment, hosting between ten totwenty dwellers per night. Without tents and with greatervisibility and personal accountability, a safe environment was easier to maintain.It was also innovative in the specificity of its focus. Itbrought attention to a single issue - public transportation– and issued a set of distinct demands - ‘no service cuts,no fare hikes, no layoffs’. The use of such finite, precisionencampments may well become the norm for the Occupy movement, which finds itself in need of adapted andrevised tactics this spring.One of the strategies used in the course of theencampment was a first for the Boston occupiers: they made a direct appeal to the government for action. Onthe morning of April 9, occupier Katie Gradowski madea presentation to the Joint Committee on Transportationon behalf of Occupy MBTA.“Let us be clear,” Gradowski said, “The current messthat the MBTA finds itself in, burdened by more debtthan any agency in the country, […] is the direct resultof inadequate funding by this Committee and the entireMassachusetts legislature.” When Camp Charlie was disassembled on April 14as planned, the state legislature had not taken the stepsnecessary to maintain our public transportation system. While next fiscal years’ service cuts and fare hikes will notbe as severe as the MBTA initially announced, the MBTA still faces a long-term budget deficit that will have to berevisited this time next year.Occupy MBTA and its collaborating organizations didnot succeed in winning their demands. However, a broaderassessment of Occupy’s three-and-a-half month campaign– inclusive of the April4 Day of Action and Camp Charlie– is a more complicated task, one that participants are justnow beginning.
Camp Charlie
(continued rom page 1)
Justice or Trayvon Martin
(continued rom page 1)
Taking a break from protest, Camp Charlieholds a vigil in memory of Andy, of Occupy Boston’s Logistics team. (Photo: Liam Leehan)

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