Category Archives: Occupy Portand Maine

Occupy Maine Moving Forward

On December 7, 2011, the Portland, Maine City Council will hold an open hearing on the future of the camp at Lincoln Park. The City deserves praise for not resorting to violence and threats in dealing with the people who have been camping in the park for two months. It seems that the city and the Portland police have respected the right of protestors to exercise free speech and have exercised understanding and patience while much of the rest of the country has resorted to violence and brutality on innocent citizens.

However, I believe the city has legitimate concerns about health and safety issues at the camp such as the danger of fire. Smoking and the use of propane heaters in proximity to  bails of hay and straw surrounding tents is a tragedy waiting to happen. Concerns about cleanliness in the preparation of food is also another legitimate public health concern.

Serious discussion about the future of the encampment has been ongoing for two weeks and many of the occupiers are resigned to being evicted. Before it comes to that, it would be best if the occupiers would leave on their own and seek a compromise with the city to allow the dome, library, and an information tent in Lincoln Park as a focal point for the protest and a visible symbol of the movement.

Unfortunately, all of the attention by the media has been on the camps and violence while the core messages of corporate greed, political corruption, and the crimes committed by Wall St. and the banks have been ignored.

The fact that occupiers of the camp are mostly homeless people says more about the city’s homeless policy than it does about the Occupy movement. Most of the 99% live at home; we work, raise families and pay our bills. The park should be available as a focal point for the exercise of freedom of speech and public discourse on the state of the union.

Not everyone is talking about the camp. Here’s what some of Maine’s 99% had to say on Sunday in a strategy sessions looking to the future of the movement.

Flash of Genius – One Man’s Fight Against The Corporation

Last night, we watched a wonderful  docudrama based on the true story of a man who fought one of the world’s largest corporations….and won.  Flash of Genius tells the story of inventor Robert Kearns, who developed the modern intermittent windshield wiper. Kearns submitted the invention to each of the big three auto companies, each of which stole his invention. Kearns spent several decades fighting the Ford Motor Company and eventually was awarded over 30 million dollars in damages. (Actually the court scene in the movie portrayed Ford, but in reality he defended himself against Chrysler and won. The Ford trial was conducted by his attorneys and ended with a big settlement, but no verdict that Ford willfully stole his patent. Check out Wikipedia for the facts. A little artistic/Hollywood license)

Flash of Genius shows how large corporations will stop at nothing to make a profit and how one man who stood fast on his principles and beliefs brought Ford and Chrysler to their knees. This true story should inspire those of us who believe that we can change the corporate, political and financial systems that have forced our economy to the brink.

Occupy is a global movement against corporate greed and corrupt financial and political systems which support and protect them at the expense of the common good. We, the 99%, can and will win this battle because we now are controlling the conversation and we have more votes than the 1%. Democracy is coming to the USA!

Check out Wikipedia for the facts and details of the case and the life of Robert Kearns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kearns

The Wall Street Protest’s Channel

This compilation is an good example of what really creative people can do. It is awesome. Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, brutal police crackdowns on our own people, an angry white student and an angry African American lending their voices in protest to what is wrong in this country.

Calling All Churches, Synagogues and Mosques

In yesterday’s blog about violence being a good thing, I expressed my surprise that the churches of America have been conspicuously absent from the Occupy Movement.

Today, I am calling on all churches, synagogues and mosques to file out of their pews and into the streets armed with their holy scriptures and join the Occupy Movement against social injustice, economic inequality, and the violation of our Constitutional Rights.

It is time to take their sermons into our public places now or risk becoming irrelevant in the greatest conservation this country has had in a generation. This goes way beyond gay rights, contraception, divorce and remarriage, Catholic vs Protestant vs Jew vs Muslim. Occupy is a fundamental expression of everything all Americans hold sacred: true democracy, freedom of expression, the freedom to peaceable assembly, the freedom to place our common grievances before the Government.

Church leaders have been condemning the violent persecution and oppression of peoples in far-off lands at the hands of brutal dictators. But, where are they when our own children attending universities are brutally attacked, beaten and sprayed with chemicals? Where are they when senior citizens are dragged off and arrested? Where are they when members of their own denominations are beaten on the streets of NY, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland, and Chicago?

Where is the outrage coming from the pulpits of America at the crimes of Wall Street and the banks that have forced their own into poverty, foreclosures, and unemployment? Where is the outrage at a government that has become the pawns  of corporate American?

Today, I call on every church, synagogue and mosque, not to open their doors to those camping out, but to get out there in the streets and public places and join in the demand for a better country, for social justice, for economic equality, and for a government that represents all of the people.

Police Attacks on Demonstrators is Actually a Good Thing!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&w=640&h=360]

This video shot at UC Davis during a peacefull Occupy Movement protest, captures a campus policeman  mercilessly pepper-spraying seated, non-threatening UC Davis students who were … protesting police brutality.

How is this, and dozens of other examples of police beating and spraying peaceful demonstrators a good thing some might ask? Well, contrary to what the “authorities” and the police might think, this only adds fuel to the fire and is the best recruiting tool we have.

As Americans we are outraged at a corrupt political and economic system that serves the interests of the few and not the common good. But until now, until Occupy Wall St., we were without a voice. We are outraged to see riot police and anti-terrorist units from NYC to Seattle mercilessly beating and spraying peaceful Americans who are exercising their Constitutional Right to peaceable assembly, the exercise of free speech, and the right to express our grievances to the Government. (The Bill of Rights)

As Americans we have to wonder about the hypocrisy when our President and Secretary of State condemn the very same acts of brutality and violence we have witnessed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya,  and Syria to name just a few, at the hands of oppressive dictatorships. So, I ask, why have President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton remained silent when our own mayors and governors are unleashing such brutality on our own people?

Police brutality and violence on our own people is a good thing because this will only cause students from Maine to California to stand in solidarity with each other and all of us who are protesting injustice and inequality in America. Just yesterday,  students at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine formed an Occupy support group and published a Facebook page. This will hopefully encourage other high schools to form their own groups.

And maybe churches of all denominations will realize that they need to be involved in this movement. I find it ironic that  churches which have traditionally been at the center of social justice and human rights issues have been mysteriously silent and invisible. It is time for them to convert their holy book messages and sermons into action and take to the streets. The churches in America have the infrastructure to educate, lead, and mobilize millions of Americans who have been standing on the sidelines.

When our churches and educational campuses show up en masse, this movement, which has been spreading like wildfire, will explode in every corner of America from border to border and from sea to shinning sea!

Dr. Martin Luther King showed us that non-violent protests can and will overcome injustice and inequality, and the willingness to be beaten and to die for a just cause can inspire a nation and change the order of the world.

(To see more videos of police brutality on Occupy demonstrators, go to Youtube.com and type Police Brutality into the search bar.)

Occupy: We are not Hippies, Drunks, Vagrants, Homeless, or Lazy

Hateful and bigoted comments appearing in the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News comments following articles about the Occupy movement are shameful and have no place in the America I believe in.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media continually focus on the camps and the people in them who fit certain stereotypes, and they are constantly on the lookout for bad behavior by a few, arrests, and police brutality.

I have been documenting the movement in Maine since the beginning with a focus, almost exclusively, on those of us who do not camp out in public places, but come from all walks of life. Most are well-educated, working people who love the country but don’t like the scene. This movement is far bigger than the encampments. In NYC, for example, there are only a few hundred people camping out, but tens of thousands taking to the streets to demonstrate against a political and financial system that has run amok.

It is amazing how those same people who hurl vicious slurs against the people who make up the Occupy movement and are exercising their Constitutional Rights (Article I of the Bill of Rights) to peaceable assembly, freedom of speech, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,

  • don’t like the partisan gridlock in Washington and the fact that our representatives are all bought and paid for by corporations and lobbies and do not represent us (Congress’ approval rating is at 9%);
  • agree that our political system is dysfunctional and broken
  • agree that Wall St. has forced the economy to the brink of disaster;
  • they are outraged that the bailout money was used to reward their executives with million dollar bonuses;
  • they agree that hedge funds, junk bonds, derivatives, Ponzi schemes, and other financial gimmicks have cheated them out of their 501Ks and pensions;
  • they agree that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have added billions to the national debt;
  • and they are concerned that unemployment is hovering just below 10% nationally

These are the main reasons why this movement will not go away until these crimes against the American people are eliminated. On the contrary, it continues to grow exponentially every day. In fact, this movement has grown faster and spread wider than the Civil Rights Movement and the protests against the war in Vietnam. This movement will not go away until We The People take back our country and restore it based on the Constitution which guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. The Constitution is based on the belief that true democracy is concerned for the common good and not the interests of any one person or group of persons.

Occupy Liberty Square Response

This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Huge General Assembly in Progress at Liberty Square

Posted 30 minutes ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 8:40 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement Persevere

The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building, and making headway.

Following the 1am eviction of Liberty Square early this morning and a long day of legal wrangling, the park was reoccupied late this afternoon. This evening, just after 7pm, the first General Assembly at the reoccupied park began. Using our ‘people’s mic’, we declared together:

“They showed us their power. And we’re showing them ours.”

We are here because we believe a better world is possible. We are willing to endure mistreatment, if by doing so we can help re-enfranchise the 99% and reclaim our democracy from the stranglehold of Wall Street and the top one percent.

We will push back against billionaire Michael Bloomberg and any politician who wantonly tramples on proud American freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition for change.

We will overcome the obstacles placed before us. We will not be deterred. We will persevere. Our message is resonating across America, and our cause is shared by millions around the world. We are the 99%, and we want to live in a world that is for all of us — not just for those who have amassed great wealth and power.

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.