National Day of Action to ‘Occupy the Courts’ on 2 Year Anniversary of Citizens United Ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2012

Inside and outside of courthouses in 46 states and 130 cities across the country, members of Occupy Wall Street and thousands of other concerned citizens will meet the two year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC with creative protest. The ruling, which further opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on elections and reinforced the fictitious legal concept of “corporate-personhood,” is widely seen as an erosion of our democratic institutions by gifting disproportionate power to unaccountable corporations whose bottom lines are their shareholders, not US stakeholders.

WHEN AND WHERE: January 20, 2012, 5pm Liberty Square (aka Zucotti Park); march at 5:30 pm to Foley Square.

WHAT: After rallying on the lit pavement blocks of Liberty Square, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra will clash and bang the way to City Hall. Performers and speakers at Foley Square include: Reverend Billy Talen and his choir, Chris Hedges, Virginia Rasmussen, Lawrence Lessig and Russell Simmons. Several City Council Members have also been invited to speak on equal ground with OWS participants and within the context of a People’s Mic.

     “We assemble today in defiance of the repression of our right to assemble and the ‘one-dollar, one-vote’ system that has made a farce of our democracy,” says OWS participant Barbara Pressman.  “It should not come as a surprise that four times as much money was spent to influence the 2010 elections as they in 2006, and we can expect a much bigger outpouring of corporate dollars in the 2012 election.”

The following day, Saturday January 21st, a Worst of the Worst Corporate Offenders Walking Tour will embark from Foley Square at noon, following a rally organized by Occupy Faith.

The NY organizers of Occupy the Courts, working in conjunction with the nation-wide coalition led by Move To Amend, were originally denied their right to assemble at the US District Courthouse (Southern District of NY). In suit, Move to Amend, together with the National Lawyers Guild, levied an appeal on behalf of NY organizers, which was denied. A solidarity protest in the state capitol with Occupy Albany will take place on Friday in turn.

Occupy Wall Street is part of an international people powered movement fighting for economic justice in the face of neoliberal economic practices, the crimes of Wall Street, and a government controlled by monied interests. #OWS is the 99% organizing to end the tyranny of the 1%. 
For more info www.occupywallst.org

# # #

OCCUPY HARLEM CALLS DEMONSTRATION AGAINST A PRESIDENT FOR $ALE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 19, 2012

Contact: press@occupywallst.org, (347) 292-1444

President Obama’s January 19th fundraising extravaganza at New York’s famous Apollo theater, (tickets $100 to $5,000) and his $30,000/plate Harlem fundraising dinner in March of 2011, illustrate a profound disconnect between the President and poor and working class Blacks that constitute his core base of support.  A demonstration will be held across the street from the Apollo to call attention to the corruption of money in politics and the President’s allegiance to Wall Street, and not 125th St.

WHEN: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM
WHERE: Across the street from the Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street
(Frederick Douglass Boulevard & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd)

The Central Harlem community with an annual median income of $26,000 wage daily struggles against massive unemployment, rising homelessness and ruthless gentrification decimating the local population. In the midst of this deepening depression, President Obama awarded ownership of Grant Public Housing Complex to Citigroup and pumped $500 million dollars into a charter school on the grounds of another public housing complex, and affordable housing for the poor is now on the chopping block.

Organizations involved: Occupy Harlem, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Wall Street Anti-War, Direct Action, and Trade Justice Working Groups; Harlem FightBack Against War at Home and Abroad, Black is Back Coalition, Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice, TradeJustice New York Metro, Occupy 4 Jobs, Bolivarian Circle Alberto Lovera NYC, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment, Queerocracy, World Can’t Wait and War Criminals Watch, and Nodutol for Korean Community Development

Occupy Wall Street is part of an international people powered movement fighting for economic justice in the face of neoliberal economic practices, the crimes of Wall Street, and a government controlled by monied interests. #OWS is the 99% organizing to end the tyranny of the 1%. 
For more info www.occupywallst.org
# # #

STATEMENT FROM OCCUPY WALL STREET ORGANIZERS OF DEC. 6TH #OCCUPYHOMES ACTION IN EAST NEW YORK

Over the past two months across the country, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) participants have been partnering with families and community organizations to stop foreclosures and evictions, and to help homeless families move into vacant foreclosed properties. As part of this effort, on December 6th, members of OWS supported Alfredo Carrasquillo in his efforts to occupy a home at 702 Vermont St. in East New York, and to repair it to a condition that would be suitable for his family to move in.The property is under foreclosure by Bank of America and had been abandoned, sitting vacant for more than three years. Neighbors complained of repeated break-ins, litter, and criminal activity related to the property during that time.

Efforts were made to find the owner, Wise Ahadzi, in advance of the December 6th occupation, to no avail. From day one, Alfredo and members of Occupy Wall Street and local community organizations said that they would support the owner if he wants to fight for his home and would support him in fighting the banks to relieve his debt. As Occupy Wall Street stated in a December 6th press release: We want Bank of America to make this house available for a not for profit (a community land trust that will ensure long-term affordability) and wipe away all debt that the current owner has if he wants to come back.

On the day after the December 6th occupation of 702 Vermont, Mr. Ahadzi showed up at the property. Since then, Alfredo Carrasquillo, members of Occupy Wall Street, and local community organizations have met with Mr. Ahadzi and his lawyer a number of times. These meetings were positive, and Mr. Ahadzi and his lawyer were supportive of collaborative efforts to demand Bank of America relieve his debt. At no point in this process has Mr. Ahadzi ever requested that Mr. Carrasquillo or the members of Occupy Wall Street assisting with renovations leave the property.

According to statements Mr. Ahadzi made to the New York Post yesterday, he is apparently now interested in reclaiming his home. Given that, Alfredo Carrasquillo and members of Occupy Wall Street will support Mr. Ahadzis efforts, so that neither his family or Alfredos is homeless, and so that the house at 702 Vermont does not sit vacant.

East New York has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, nearly three times greater than that of Brooklyn, and nearly five times greater than that of New York State. This applies to underwater mortgage rates as well.

East New York has been decimated by criminal bank foreclosures using robo-signings as recently as October, forcing families to abandon their homes and communities. The neighborhood is burdened by numerous boarded-up homes left vacant by the banks after families were unable to keep up with extortionate mortgages on properties that are now underwater.

Members of OWS will continue to work with community members in East New York, throughout the city, and across the country to support access to housing for everyone. And we will continue to fight the big banks that, after being bailed out by taxpayers, went on to foreclose on millions of American families.

OCCUPY WALL STREET RECLAIMS THE DREAM: CONTINUING MARTIN LUTHER KING’S FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE

1-13-12

For Immediate Release

OCCUPY WALL STREET RECLAIMS THE DREAM: CONTINUING MARTIN LUTHER KING’S FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE

On the eve of his assassination, Martin Luther King launched a campaign against economic injustice, calling for an encampment on the lawns of Washington D.C. — much like the Occupy encampments across the country today.

On January 16th, Occupy Wall Street continues Martin Luther King’s quest for economic justice through nonviolent action. At 10:00 a.m., Occupy Wall Street embarks on a journey of liberation starting at the African Burial Ground, winding over the streets of the financial district to the Federal Reserve, and heading up to Madison Square Garden in time to catch the Knicks game crowds.

African Burial Ground:

We trace the roots of extreme inequity to Wall Street itself. We begin at the African Burial Ground to make the statement: Wall Street is the exact site of the slave auction block, upon which our prosperity as a nation was built. The very wall that Wall Street is named for was built by enslaved Africans. Just one month before MLK’s birthday this year, Wall Street marked the 300th anniversary of the law establishing New York’s first slave market. Thousands of Africans were sold at this market as Wall Street pocketed the profits. While slavery has been abolished, racism and systematic profiteering of the working class has not.

The Occupy Movement is exposing the corporate takeover of our public spaces and, more recently, private homes – especially in the communities of color which have been hardest hit by predatory lending practices. Banks like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs have preyed on vulnerable communities of color. Almost twice as many African-American homeowners have lost their properties to foreclosures as Whites. In turn, the black community is three times more likely to have negative or zero “net worth” than Whites.

Madison Square Garden:

We end our day in honor MLK by supporting U.S. workers exploited by Wall Street to turn a quick profit. “Wall Street profiteers who once made a killing off the products of slave labor here in the United States” says Rebecca Manski of Occupy Wall Street, “today make their profits from outsourced sweatshop labor, prison labor and slave-wage conditions in the U.S. All of this at the expense of U.S. workers and their right to make a fair, living wage.”

“At Madison Square Garden,” explains Michelle Crentsil, of the Communications Workers of America and Occupy Wall Street, “we will meet African American and Latino Cablevision workers as they confront Cablevision CEO and Knicks owner James Dolan – a member of the 1% who makes more than all of the workers in Cablevision combined and is blocking their right to organize.”

King’s Vision and the Occupy Movement:

“As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars,” said King. Days before his murder, he declared that the next phase of the civil rights movement would be a Poor People’s Campaign—an outcry for justice for the millions of Americans in “economic bondage.” He called for a Resurrection City in D.C.—much like the Occupy encampments across the country—where hundreds of thousands of poor people would come to the National Mall, live together and engage in nonviolent action directed at a Congress which did not concern itself with the needs of the 99%. As Congress continues to serve the interests of wealthy donors on Wall Street, the American Dream grows further out of reach, attainable by only a few, well-connected, elite members of society. Occupy Wall Street is here to pick up where King left off. We are here to Reclaim the Dream.

###

 

Occupy Wall Street Honors the Spirit Of Dr. King With Year’s Largest Action Hundreds Gather for Global Candlelight Vigil at Historic Riverside Church

For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2012
Occupy Wall Street Honors the Spirit Of Dr. King With Year’s Largest Action
Hundreds Gather for Global Candlelight Vigil at Historic Riverside Church
New York, NY: Religious leaders, artists, and members of the Occupy movement will unite globally on January 15th, 2012 to honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
At 6:30 p.m. hundreds of Occupy Wall Street activists will assemble on the steps of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue) and at 7:00 p.m. begin a massive candlelight march to nearby Riverside Church (490 Riverside Drive). The group will join additional feeder marches and members of the community at Riverside Church for a candlelight vigil and celebration renewing King’s message of peace, justice, and equality for all, regardless of race or economic class. The action will culminate in an assembly featuring performances and speak-outs from artists, celebrities, religious leaders, and activists. Performances by Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Stephan Said, and Kozza Olantunji, as well as many more, will complement the inspirational words of Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Yoko Ono, Russell Simmons, Reverend Stephen H. Phelps, Daisey Kahn, Norman Siegel, Sumumba Sobukwe and Malik Rhasaan.“Poverty, an issue to which King showed increased focus in the years just before his death, finds its way into the darkest chapters in American History. Dr. King sought to shine a light of justice against those dark chapters of war, repression and racism, our candles symbolize that light,” says Abigail Keegan of Occupy Wall Street.

“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.’” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

Riverside Church has been an intersection of faith and social justice in the greater New York metropolitan area for over 170 years. At Riverside in 1967, Dr. King gave his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech. On King’s birthday and in the spirit of his vision for racial and economic equality, peace, and non-violence, activists will return to Riverside in solidarity with others holding candlelight vigils from California to Cairo; New York to New Orleans; Germany to Nova Scotia, to unite our world in a global movement for systemic change.

This candlelight vigil kicks off more than 24 hours of Occupy Wall Street-organized events and actions including a march on Monday, Jan. 16th at 9am from the African Burial Ground to the Federal Reserve Bank for a rally for economic justice. For more information about the January 15th action visit http://j15global.org

Members of TWU and Occupy Wall Street to March on MTA HQ As Contract Expiration Date Looms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT press@occupywallst.org, 347-292-1444

Members of TWU and Occupy Wall Street to March on MTA HQ
As
Contract Expiration Date LoomsPushback against management demand for outrageous wage and benefit concessions

With a contact deadline looming, a coalition of Transit Workers Union (TWU) rank and file members and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists will rally MTA headquarters, Thursday January 12 and march from there to Goldman Sachs offices in Lower Manhattan. Thursday’s protest will spotlight yet another effort to balance the MTA budget on the backs of working New Yorkers. The current contract between MTA and TWU expires January 15; the protest comes in the middle of tense negotiations.

OWS and TWU members will demand the cancellation of MTA’s debts to Wall Street, reasonable raises for transit workers, preserving existing health benefits, and the prioritization of rider safety by keeping conductors on trains and subway booths open. MTA has publicly called for transit workers to forgo salary raises for three years and to pay a whopping $6,000 more for family health benefits.

WHEN/WHERE
RALLY:  Thursday January 12, 4:00pm  in front of MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway near Bowling Green.
MARCH:  5:30pm from 2 Broadway to Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park) at Broadway and Liberty and then to Goldman Sachs offices at 200 West Street.

MTA’s board is unelected and unaccountable – nearly all members are appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The MTA has hired the notorious Goldman Sachs as its financial adviser.

Cuomo’s MTA asks for outrageous concessions from New York workers, and now Goldman Sachs, demands that workers and transit riders sacrifice to balance the MTA budget. In 2010, the MTA paid over $800 million in tax-free income to owners of MTA bonds, the 1%. These are “revenue bonds” which are paid directly from the train and bus fareboxes to MTA Bond owners. The money collected for these MTA Bonds does not go to transit worker wages or benefits, but instead to capital construction and repair projects. The current 10-year MTA capital plan costing $30 billion, is under-funded by a whopping $9 billion. The three current mega-construction projects, the 2nd avenue subway, the LIRR extension to Grand Central and the Transit Hub are over-budget almost $2 billion.

Occupy Wall Street is part of an international people powered movement fighting for economic justice in the face of neoliberal economic practices, the crimes of Wall Street, and a government controlled by monied interests. #OWS is the 99% organizing to end the tyranny of the 1%. 
For more info www.occupywallst.org
# # #

OCCUPY NH PRIMARY DEMONSTRATION TO CHALLENGE CORPORATE POWER AND MONEY IN ELECTIONS

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release January 9, 2012

OCCUPY NH PRIMARY DEMONSTRATION TO CHALLENGE CORPORATE POWER AND MONEY IN ELECTIONS

What:  Occupy New Hampshire along with other Occupy Movements have staged a die-in at the Obama Campaign Headquarters in Manchester, NH to dramatize how corporate money and the influence of the 1% in the election process is killing American Democracy.

When: NOW

Where: Obama Campaign Headquarters, 228 Maple Street, Manchester, NH 03103

Who: Occupy movement protestors, unemployed people, workers, students, youth and others who are angry about the way corporate money is influencing the election process, with a particular focus on corporate person hood and Wall Street Donations.

Why: Corporate money and donations from the wealthy are corrupting the American political process.  The Supreme Courts recent decision saying corporations are people only increases the power of corporations in the political process.  Occupy protesters from across the North East are coming together to demand that corporate money and large donations are removed from the political process. Corporate money and the corrupt and undue influence of the 1% in the election process is killing American Democracy.

Occupy NH – Occupy Maine – Occupy Boston – Occupy Wall Street’s Politics Work Group

###