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Occupy protesters blocking gates at West Coast ports, halt operations at some
AP, Washington Post
OAKLAND, Calif. — Hundreds of Wall Street protesters blocked gates at some of the West Coast’s busiest ports on Monday, causing the partial shutdown of several in a day of demonstrations they hope will cut into the profits of the corporations that run the docks.
The closures affected some of the terminals at the ports in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., though it was not immediately clear the how much the shutdowns would affect operations and what the economic loss would be.
From California to as far away as Vancouver, British Columbia, protesters picketed gates at the ports, causing longer wait times for trucks.
(12 December 2011)
Ongoing coverage from the UK Guardian.
More ongoing coverage at Greg Mitchell’s blog at The Nation (Dec 12).
Launching a New Online Library that Can’t Be Destroyed
This is an emergency response to the destruction of the library at Occupy Wall Street, a clear attempt to destroy the education of passionate people who are tired of living in a deeply flawed system.
Razing libraries and burning books has historically failed every time; thiis will be the most colossal failure to repress education in history, because this time, the education will not be centralized.
Just as the library was a collection of donated books, OccupyEducated.org is a place where you can have your say as to what books are important reading for understanding the occupation.
(4 December 2011)
Suggested by EB contributor Piyush, who points out that Heinberg’s “End of Growth” book figures in the video. -BA
(Re)learning the Value of Place and Occupying a Sustainable Future
Tina Lynn Evans, New Clear Vision
I Ain’t Got No Home
Can we truly be at home in the marketplace? What kind of place is the marketplace, anyway, and how is it related to places like our communities, our homes, and the places we love in the natural world? Has the marketplace effectively replaced these physical/mental places by becoming the great provider of all that we need? And what about virtual place? Many of us spend so much time in online “environments” that place has taken on entirely new meanings unheard of prior to the Internet age. In a time when we can be both virtually and physically present in two different places at once, does it matter how we think about place, or can we just make of it what we will — make how we see and use place fit our chosen lifestyles?
The Occupy Movement, fueled by the indignation of vast numbers of people who are increasingly disenfranchised and displaced by the modern marketplace economy, recognizes the primacy of place in social change that moves us toward a just and sustainable future. This aspect of the movement is articulated by the physical occupation of public spaces, and more recently of homes that have been foreclosed with their occupants evicted by a corrupt banking system.
The primacy of place in the movement reminds us that when people are denied access to the primary productivity of the land and the seas, they are relegated to a status of enforced dependency on an abstract marketplace primarily constructed to serve the interests of the rich and the powerful. The Movement’s emphasis on space also reminds us that we cannot live entirely within the realm of the abstract idea of the marketplace. We need real food, non-virtual water, wearable clothing, and shelter — all made available to us through the natural processes of the earth, captured and molded by human effort.
In what is perhaps a first step in (re)connecting with place in a world where the fantasy of an endlessly growing and satisfying marketplace is crumbling, the Occupy Movement articulates vital needs for human dignity: the need for efficacy — to be heard and to have one’s welfare and voice taken seriously within collective processes of decision making and action — and the need for dignified and adequate means to obtain physical sustenance to satisfy one’s basic needs. Both of these needs converge in the concept and construct of place.
Reviving place as a focal point of human life and community is essential to social justice and sustainability.
Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth in a series by Tina Lynn Evans titled “Living and Learning Sustainability.” Other articles from this series are available on New Clear Vision:
Part 1: “Living and Learning Sustainability”
Part 2: “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide: Enforced Dependency Is Everywhere”
Part 3: “Gimme Shelter: Framing the Social Architecture of Sustainability”
Part 4: “Running on Empty: As Oil Declines, Can We Fill Our Lives with Creative Energy Instead?”
Tina Lynn Evans, Ph.D., teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on energy systems and socio-ecological sustainability at Prescott College and Fort Lewis College, and is a Contributing Author for New Clear Vision. She earned her doctorate in Sustainability Education at Prescott College, and currently resides with her husband and cat in the town of Durango, Colorado, where she grows and gathers a good deal of her own food and teaches and writes on sustainability issues and ideas.
(12 December 2011)
The Fracturing of Occupy Wall Street
J.A. Myerson, The Nation
… But every meeting I’ve recently attended—and from what I gather, every recent meeting I have not—has been brought to a grinding halt, the basic ability to debate and consent to proposals crippled by a determined few who will not to let things proceed until their issues are addressed. This is the reason for the backed-up business. The people shouting about their needs over the debate.
It’s clear that the primary issue afflicting Occupy right now is the lack of an occupation. In the month since the New York Police Department violently forced the occupiers out of Zuccotti, the people whose residence was Liberty Plaza Park have nowhere to go. Some of them had previously been homeless. Others left their homes to join the movement. But deprived of the food station, the medical tent, the things that once fulfilled their needs for basic survival, they have rapidly lost faith in Occupy Wall Street’s much-vaunted democratic process to provide the supportive community that once existed here.
The Occupy activists have tried to help find shelter for those left homeless by the eviction, sending out urgent bulletins almost nightly to arrange accommodations. Some have been sleeping at a shelter in Far Rockaway, some in churches in Harlem and on the Upper West Side. As with national numbers on the homeless, it is difficult to tell exactly how many occupiers need housing, but it is surely in the hundreds. These include not just experienced urban survivalists like Ghengis Khalid Muhammed, or GKM, who works with the support organization Picture the Homeless, which helps people find food stamps and soup kitchens, but also people who have no idea how to live on the streets and who are freezing, starving and unable to get MetroCards to travel to places where shelter may or may not be available. Lauren, of Occupy’s Housing Committee, tells me that two pregnant women have so far been turned away from churches.
The activist core of the occupation—the people who met over the summer in Tompkins Square Park, who set up and continue to participate in working groups and who spend their days in meetings—sees this as an Empire Strikes Back moment, taking the opportunity to plan actions and events for the winter. In the atrium at 60 Wall Street and in the Occupied Office at 50 Broadway, they are planning important things, chiefly the continuation of the Occupy Our Homes foreclosure resistance project that kicked off last week. They have their eye on the Jedi’s return.
There is nobility in responding to ones own homelessness by working hard that everyone else might have a home. But elsewhere the current lack of clarity—about what to do right now—is causing tensions to bubble over.
(9 December 2011)