We live in an era in which it is increasingly normal for individuals not only to reject the power of corporations over their lives, but for some to even occupy public space and defy police and established authorities. Ben Manski discusses how this era was inaugurated on November 30th, 1999 in the streets of Seattle.
Because equality and dignity are seldom just given. “We come from all colors, all classes, all races, all time periods. Our role is to link people with each other… [We] have always been at the forefront (although sometimes in the closet) of all liberation struggles in this country; have suffered more injustices and have survived them despite all odds.”- Gloria Anzaldúa
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE NON DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE VOTE in San Antonio!
Your presence and voice is needed at the following events!!
Civil Rights Leaders Speak Back! Press Conference
in support of NDO WED, SEPT 4 12pm NOON @ front steps of City Hall
100 Military Plaza
Rally + Final Citizens to be Heard
WED, SEPT 4
Rally – 5pm @ Main Plaza
– then–Citizens to be Heard – 6pm @ City Council Chambers
online speaker registration info– arrive by 3pm to make sure you can get inside –
“A” Session – - NDO Council Vote – - THURS, SEPT 5 @9:00am @ City Council Chambers, 114 W. Commerce
While it is unfortunate, it is also rather unsurprising. It appears we are plunging into yet another war. We all have our reason, or more likely reasons, to be against military action in Syria. We should not be silent in our opposition.
There is a “No War With Syria” rally Saturday in San Antonio @ 12 noon at the Main Plaza in solidarity with rallies in at least 70 other cities. Students United for Socioeconomic Justice will be there proclaiming why we are against military action in Syria. Please join us if you agree that perpetual war is immoral and damaging to any hope for peace (the only real security).
More information can be found at the Facebook page “No War With Syria San Antonio”
A public committee meeting will be held on SEPTEMBER 3rd 2013 at 7:30 pm at Dora’s on the west-side, concerning the by-laws amendments that Paul and Kat have proposed. Mass participation is encouraged and all opinions will be considered. Please let us know if you will be attending by emailing the group as a whole on the GA email. We need to get to an agreement of some sort by the next meeting so that the vote can actually happen, and so that the party can move on to other projects.
At the close of this year’s local election season, Mi TIA is stronger than ever! 5 dozen Mi TIA volunteers logged over 2000 volunteer hours in the District 5 city council campaigns, with amazing results: WE SUCCESSFULLY UNSEATED AN UNFRIENDLY TWO-TERM INCUMBENT – the first upset of its kind in DECADES. David Medina is out, and Mi TIA advocate Shirley Gonzales is sworn in and ready to help lead the effort to make the Tip Integrity Act the law of the land in San Antonio. With this victory, we now have FIVE SITTING CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO HAVE SIGNED THE MI TIA PLEDGE. Congratulations to all of the River Walk workers and worker allies who made this victory a reality.
With this significant political victory, the will of the people to see tip money go to the workers who earned it is clearer than ever. NOW IS THE TIME FOR MI TIA. We will be having an exciting Mi TIA worker and community meeting August 1, 2013 at 5 p.m. in the Walnut Room of Granada Homes – (311 S. St. Mary’s Street). From this meeting, we will launch our final mobilization to make Mi TIA law.
Si se puede!
For more information, please call or email Rachel Melendes at 210-224-1520 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachell Tucker at 210-542-9278 email@example.com
Editorial apologies–there is a lot going on and we had overlooked Dr Stein’s timely condolences. But it is important those who counsel capitulation get clear where we stand in the spectrum of global concerns.
Dr. Jill Stein, the 2012 Green Party presidential nominee, just now issued the following statement on the death of Hugo Chávez Frías, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:
“I share great sadness with so many people around the world who are mourning President Hugo Chávez Frías’ untimely death. He died too young, and leaves this world too soon. Some have called him the first democratically elected leader of Venezuela, and it is without question that because of the role he played in history, tens of millions of the poorest and most oppressed people of his country are today participants in their own government. Hugo Chávez led a hemispheric struggle for social justice, democracy, peace, and sustainability, and his influence across the Americas will be felt for decades to come. I wish the people of Venezuela continued success in their struggles for self-determination and a more equitable society.”
The last really large Occupy action was ten months ago–the NATO protests in Chicago in May where, among other epiphanies, the Movement evoked historical memory of 1968 & definitively rejected the Democratic Party and all their works.
In August, the OccupyCampuses focus formally merged with the newSDS. Though short of the overwhelming victory won by Québécois students, SDSers were prominent in the Chicago actions. (By virtue of that merger,SUSJ, aka OccupyUTSA, technically acquired the status of an SDS chapter.)
The students, along with Stein-Honkala campaigners, PPEHRC, Workers World & other activist orgs, carried much of the weight through the fall–the convention protests, etc. Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala addressed the Movement in front of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Bowling Green, the site of Occupy Wall Street’s first assembly, on S-17.
S-17 proved much more of a “national gathering” than an over-hyped event in Philly during the summer. By that one-year anniversary had the Occupy-phase of the Movement effectively concluded?
Not quite so simple, of course: in the hubs of NYC, Chicago & Oakland, the occupation remains visibly in the streets–following the “Chicago model”, in a more targeted fashion, in fusion with community-based activism. Significant actions, like “Occupy Sandy”, continue. Even some smaller occupations persist with strike support & a few, like Denver, play an important political role.
If the occupation phase is not wrapped, it has definitely clarified. Occupy was never a 1960s-70s sort of movement. Though styled after the most recent revolutionary experience, Occupy’s fundamentals were always more akin to the 1920s-30s.
Still, the next phase was already gestating in the Tar Sands Blockade–in Houston and the Gulf Coast intimately linked with the occupation. And in a cold November far to the North, at Station 20 West on the South Saskatchewan River, four women declared “We are Idle No More!”
Democrats, through their “environmentalist” camp followers, sought to avoid the failure they’d registered with Occupy and last month attempted a head start on co-optation. But Indigenous Leadership will shrug off those machinations. Ain’t so easy to pull the woolly-woolly on folks who know you remain bent on exterminating them as a people.
That ethic has propagated, as in the immediate actions versus Keystone, Enbridge, Valero et al–where those engaged recognize as secondary which opposition flag flies over a action. The point should now have been made to even the most obtuse–we have come again to an era of Movement with a capital “M“.
History is unequivocal: Movement does not conform to party–party conforms to Movement. Parties who get that may succeed; those who don’t will certainly fail.
– 20-20 hindsight by Paul Pipkin
Jill Stein with SUSJ and Greens at San Pedro Pavilion, Oct 6 (Right front, Antonio Diaz, Texas Indigenous Council–our 2013 candidate for City Council District 2.)
HB 824 should be rejected so let your State representative hear from you
Dear GEAA members and friends,
Heads up on bad bill filed last Friday: H.B. 824 – Callegari would triple the volume of sewage spills that require reporting from the current 500 gallons to 1,500 gallons. It would also exempt from reporting a spill that “does not reach waters of the State”. We read this to mean that many spills occurring in the extremely porous karst of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone would be exempt from reporting. The bill also gives the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) more latitude in determining which spills are considered harmful to public health.
GEAA’s recently released studies on sewage spills within the Hill Country would have painted a completely different picture of the condition of our sewage infrastructure had the reporting requirements proposed by HB 824 been in effect. We can’t let the Legislature just sweep problems with wastewater infrastructure under the rug.
Looking toward the 2013 local elections, discussion of certain general principles is in order. IMO, Green Party efforts detached from the mass movement–from labor & environmental activism in particular–would consign us to petty-bourgeois irrelevance.
Sit at home, let MSM persuade us there is no mass movement, all that’s left is to beg favors from the establishment, seek to “influence” Democrats over corporate cocktails. That, my friends, is a lobby, not a party. Want to play that game, better get ourselves a Super-PAC, hunh?
That is not to say the movement is without confusion & contradictions per political mobilization. Austin Occupier Kit O’Connell reflected on FireDogLake after the Nov election, beginning with a clip from Russia Today who, like the FBI, seem to regard movement electoral activity in Texas as important:
Tuned Out Hippies?
Since the Occupy movement began, many have attempted to position the group in opposition to electoral politics. Occupy in its purest form is nonpartisan, and since the beginning of the movement this has been a source of criticism.
If we want to really make a difference, we were told time and again, we should organize similarly to the Tea Party and begin to field candidates for office. When occupiers protested Mitt Romney or other hyper-conservative politicians, they’d be accused of being in bed with Barack Obama. If the movement protested neo-liberals like Obama, we were accused of being traitors to all that was good in the world because we obviously wanted Romney to win (Carnacing is not limited to blogs). Most of all, occupiers got accused of being disconnected from what their critics perceive to be real politics — we were lazy hippies who didn’t understand how the world works and worst of all we don’t vote.
Occupy and many allied activist groups stand in opposition to the idea that electoral politics should be the focus of American political engagement. It is especially opposed to the idea that just voting out one plutocrat and replacing him with a new one will fix our problems — even if that new plutocrat is a woman, from a racial minority, or practices an alternative religion or sexuality. Its ranks are full of activists who supported Obama with hours of hard work in the run-up to the 2008 election, only to “wake the eff up” over the succeeding years and realize real change doesn’t come from far-away leaders.
It’s my experience that occupiers are far more engaged with mainstream politics than mainstream America, which for the most part unthinkingly abstains from participating at all. While the average American simply does not vote, the question of whether to vote and how was an important concern to OWS. Members of Occupy Chicago spent hours in a heated debate over whether it was ethical to burn voter registration cards as a form of protest. Occupiers created street theater around the election: Occupy Chicago members took coffins to the Obama headquarters and launched Revs4Romney. On election day, Occupy the Stage in New Orleans protested the fact that Louisiana is one of eight states which disallow write-in candidates for President by performing a puppet show about the 2-party system at a polling place then accepting symbolic write-in votes (I voted via Twitter for Vermin Supreme). Occupiers held public debate-watching parties, helped Anonymous trend the hashtag #StopNDAA and livetweeted the elections.
Occupy groups also became closely involved in local issues at multiple elections since last September. Here in Austin, one Occupier made an unsuccessful bid for city council, while others became involved in the successful bid to make the city council itself more accountable. Austin will change from one of the country’s only completely at-large city councils to one where each council member represents part of the city. The Occupy AISD working group fought new in-district charter schools by, in part, helping to unseat charter-supporter Sam Guzman. His replacement, Dr. Rev. Jayme Mathias, will be the first openly gay member of Austin’s school board. One of the Gulf Port 7, Ronnie Garza, is featured in the video at the top of this post. Another, Remington Alessi, ran for sheriff as a Green Party candidate. San Antonio’s Meghan Owen took 1.5% of the vote for the Greens in a bid to unseat NDAA-supporting Democrat Representative Lloyd Doggett.
Of course, many see Elizabeth Warren as a massive win for the goals of Occupy Wall Street.
An Ethical Dilemma At the Voting Booth
The larger struggle over the meaning and effectiveness of our democratic system was reflected in the personal choices of Occupiers I spoke with while writing this story. Many expressed support for Dr. Jill Stein — she won my vote the moment I saw her and running-mate Cheri Honkala in person at Occupy Wall Street on September 17, 2012. Occupier Liberty Herbert voted for Stein but expressed half-serious concern over whether her recent arrest at the Tarsands Blockade was a way of pandering to activists. “It’s great to know I’m finally a demographic,” she told me with a laugh.