Occupy Wall Street

Minnesota Drug Recognition Expert / Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) lawsuit depositions released; unscientific & abusive program used to punish people in court

After many months under the radar a lot of lawsuit testimony from police has been published in Minnesota's surprising DRE police training abuse scandal.

The relevant Drug Recognition Evaluator police officers got grilled under cross examination and said all kinds of things which undermine the basic scientific integrity which everyone assumes is behind programs like this. I am hoping this spurs more media attention. I haven't had much time to review these but I think they will reward your attention with any number of insane facts.

Occupy Minnesota participant Michael Bounds describes the experience late on the original video:

dre-michael-bounds.png

There go two subjects:

dre-chisago.png

The new depos and funny word indexes are here: http://www.hansenlawoffice.com/DRE%20Depositions/Our%20depositions/ as PDFs.

Previously: MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza - YouTube ( May 2 2012 )

Orig Writeup: MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza | HongPong.com ( May 2 2012 )

BCA internal files primary reporting: MK Occupy Minnesota: The Drug Recognition Evaluator BCA Investigation files | HongPong.com (Nov 12 2012 )

A few more elements on the semi-suspended MN Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program | HongPong.com (Nov 26 2012)

2012 BCA internal report first published here: http://hongpong.com/files/dre/DRE-investigation-BCA.pdf (78MB)

Here is attorney Nathan Hansen's latest post on the matter:

Depositions of Drug Recognition Evaluator defendants, drugs used for testing taken from teenagers in a park, homeless targeted, scientific method not understood by certified DRE, official reports falsified - March 25 2015

I have posted before on the blog about the civil lawsuit in which I represent Plaintiffs who were picked up by Minnesota law enforcement, driven near the airport, and given street drugs and told to use them. Subsequently, various clinical tests were run on these Plaintiffs by law enforcement to provide training so these officers could become "Drug Recognition Evaluators." Each officer needed to have 15 test subjects, and credit could be given for being a recorder for another officer doing the tests. Myself and co-counsel Alan Milstein took the depositions of several of these defendants wherein they testified under oath. I have now posted these depositions on my file server for anyone to review, in the public interest.

As an attorney who has done a lot of criminal defense work, in addition to bankruptcy and civil litigation, I have long maintained that the DRE program is nothing but preposterous unscientific charlatanism. Please understand the opinion of one of these officers can get you arrested and jailed sight on scene. However, do not take my word for it, here is testimony from one of the Drug Recognition Evaluators wandering the streets and arresting people presently, Deputy Bryce Schuenke, formerly of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office and now with the Prior Lake Police Department, who holds a "Master of Science in Public Safety" from St.Cloud State University, from page 17 of his deposition:

Q (by me): "Did you rely on, like, any learned treatises or scientific textbooks during the classroom portion of your training?"

A (Schuenke): "I didn't use scientific textbooks, no."

Q (by me): "There's no scientific textbooks used in the DRE training?"

A (Schuenke): "We had manuals, but I don't know if they came from a scientific source or not."

Q (by me): "What is an Institutional Review Board?"

A (Schuenke): "I don't---I don't know."

Q (by me): "What is a controlled experiment?"

A (Schuenke): "I am familiar with the term, but wouldn't be able to explain it."

Q (by me): "What is the scientific method?"

A (Schuenke): "Again, same"

Q (by me): "You don't know?"

A (Schuenke): "I don't know."

I reiterate that this is a person who Minnesota Courts qualify to testify in Court about whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs. His clinical opinion can land someone in jail very quickly and his testimony used to prove someone's intoxication.

These depositions are filled with wonderful information about the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program. There are many stories in these depositions that are very newsworthy. One of the overarching themes of this program is that test subjects were given fake names, presumably to make sure their actual participation in this program could be concealed at a later date. Official DRE logs are replete with fake names and falsified police reports (fascinating how Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman forgot about Minnesota Statute 609.505, falsely reporting crime, in his charging decision relating to the DRE program). Officers testified under oath at these depositions that they put false names and false events in their official reports.

Another issue that the Plaintiffs were wondering about was the source of the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects for these police experiments. For such a scientific program that trains officers to put people in jail by waving their hands around and looking at them, one would think there would be very careful controls and dosages for the drugs (I am setting aside for the moment that it is a farce to administer drugs to people and then test to conclude that they are under the influence of drugs). However, consistent with the entire Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program, the method the drugs were obtained is entirely unscientific, and there is no knowledge about what the drugs administered actually contain. In his deposition testimony, while questioned by my co-counsel, Alan Milstein, Hutchinson Officer explained how the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects were obtained:

From page 15 of deposition of Karl Willers:

Q (by Milstein): "And there was at least one instance where you gave one of the people you evaluated Marijuana, correct"

A (Karl Willers): "Yes"

Q (by Milstein): "Was it only one instance?"

A (Karl Willers): "No."

Q (by Milstein): "How many instances were there?"

A (Karl Willers): "Four or five."

Q (by Milstein): "And where did you get Marijuana?"

There is a set of questioning from Karl Willers' deposition on pages 16 to 19 that his classmates, Mark Hanneman and Peter Zajac, had obtained the marijuana by taking it from teenagers who were smoking it in a park around Farmington. Herein lies more of the rigorous science and testing behind the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator program.

Here are the depositions I have posted, which are all of them:

Karl Willers, Hutchinson Police Department

Bryce Schuenke, Dakota County Sheriff's Office, now with Prior Lake Police Department

Daniel Lewis, Kanabec County Sheriff's Office

Kenneth Willers, DRE with Minnesota State Patrol

Michael Hadland, Fillmore County Sheriff's Office

Nicholas Jacobson, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office

Steve Schultz, Kanabec County Sheriff

Riccardo Munoz, Minnesota State Patrol

These depositions and their contents speak for themselves. A reading of all of them together leads any reasonable mind to the conclusion that the DRE program is unscientific hocus pocus and its training methods constitute violations of civil rights. Further, the intentional targeting of Occupy Minnesota, the homeless, and other vulnerable populations is made clear in the testimony in these depositions.

I can be contacted at nathan.hansen@gmail.com

Unfortunately the program shifted to California where "transients" get coerced and abused some more, as recently reported: March 22 2015: CHP rounds up transients for police drug training | UTSanDiego.com: "They typically aren’t motorists – but people who are walking or sometimes riding bicycles who are arrested on suspicion of using illegal drugs, a misdemeanor. They are then brought to meet with trainees at certification sites, where interviews can last an hour or longer."

This disgusting story is another example of why it is essential to shut down this abusive war on drugs, wherein clearly young law enforcement officers are trained to fabricate information in reports -- which is unlawful, County Attorney Freeman -- and manipulate rather than aid the vulnerable with empathy. I hope that other activist orgs can see the light on this matter and work on this important goal in all haste, across the spectrum.

Disclosure: I worked professionally w Nathan on some web and design material previously. In the DRE matter I have not been compensated by him or any other media outlet, except by the shared gratification of defeating another abusive political program in my home state.

Doing my best "WTF" Palpatine style in drizzle..

DRE-palpatine.png

Also thanks to https://twitter.com/c1tyofFl1nt for noting there is even a trade association, http://datia.org , the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association. Let the measurements begin, one can only imagine the breathalyzers they break out at those conferences.

Money Warz: Emperor Pipeline, Darth Banker, Luke Whistleblower & Chomsky wan Kenobi & The Trans-Pacific Partnership Death Star need yr help!

Here is a fun art project against the evil Trans Pacific Partnership treaty of Doom! Please pass the word or a couple bucks for Money Warz, a street art performance getting the Occupy Wall Street band back together on the 2nd anniversary, Sept 17 2013 - the goal is $1000 or moar... If they can get up to say $4K things could really get epic.

See earlier: July 22nd: Trans Pacific Partnership discussion & community QA with Keith Ellison, IATP & MN Fair Trade Coalition. Malaysia Round starts July 15 | HongPong.com. [I have suggested including to Ellison to post a simple bill that would ban the US trade representative from having secret files - hopefully others can pick up on the idea!]

Fortunately, much of the gear for this project including the Nosferatu mask & around 100 money trooper masks have already been created, but can be creatively extended and remixed for great lulz. Some of the puppets have already been used for great success in Albany and elsewhere - the money troopers of the Didactic Empire were the honor guard for a marriage between a corporation and a politician, which defined corporatism in widely carried stories on corporatism and campaign finance in May 2013.

Here's a blurb:

Hello,

The one percent have a dream - a global corporate coup called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a secret trade deal to be fast tracked into law in October, no debate or amendment. And neither the public nor the media have been permitted to see this NAFTA on steroids - just the 600 corporations that are quietly writing it behind closed doors! This is what plutocracy looks like.

Please support our kickstarter to fund a huge theatrical spectacle in Times Square on the 2nd anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, to force attention and build awareness - while we still can.

Money Warz, a Star Wars parody, presents:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tedword/money-warz-tpp-death-star-ca...

Thank you!

Elliot and Ted

elliotcrown@earthlink.net

http://moneywarz.org

moneywarz-site.png

Check out a few pics of these epic puppets designed and built earlier by Elliot, showing the general visual style of these amusing political icons. They remind me of Heart of the Beast & MayDay in Minneapolis.

fossil.jpg gmo.jpg

This Statue of Liberty is great - I'm near the original plaster cast for it right now!

liberty.jpg

The money troopers guarded Mitt Romney, Obama and the Monopoly Man in Times Square on Election Night 2012.

TS.jpg

I approve the Fossil Fool!

testing-the-gear.jpg

By the way, related predecessor project. Here is the video of the Pyramids at Another End of the World Part One:

And some other related material like the Tax Dodgers which made it into the Cooperstown NY National Baseball Hall of Fame...

tax post o good.jpg tax duo good.jpg bull on a stick uptown.jpg

And see earlier - the thumbnail AP, even Capt. Ray Lewis was there: Anti-fracking groups rally in Albany, urge ban. Anyhow I think the TPP project is definitely worth supporting and would be a good way to reach lots of people through humor.

MK Occupy Minnesota: The Drug Recognition Evaluator BCA Investigation files

By Dan Feidt -- hongpong.com -- MINNEAPOLIS -- NOV 12 2012 -- Law enforcement officers under a state training program called Drug Recognition Evaluators encouraged people in downtown Minneapolis, including Occupy Minnesota protesters at Peavey Plaza and other vulnerable and houseless people to participate in alcohol and drug intoxication evaluations. After a 35-minute video "MK Occupy Minnesota" [produced by Occupy Minneapolis, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Rogue Media & Twin Cities Indymedia] was released documenting claims of several DRE participants they'd been given drugs and encouraged to take drugs, an officer from Hutchinson, MN, stepped forward to corroborate part of that story.

UPDATE Nov 28: For a DRE training manual & a few other docs see the update. Thanks to CityPages for doing a whole series of posts including an interview.

Mn Bureau of Criminal Apprehension under the Department of Public Safety, generated a 513-page investigative report described in Minnesota Public Radio & Star Tribune stories, but not available publicly in full until now, adding another chunk to this incomplete story from one of the many gray areas in the war on drugs & the suppression of Occupy protesters.

New BCA Report URL: http://hongpong.com/files/dre/DRE-investigation-BCA.pdf (78MB)

May 3: http://www.hongpong.com/archives/2012/05/03/mk-occupy-minnesota-drugs-dre-program-peavey-plaza


Original video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTgN17FZGKE MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza - May 2 2012 - 155,777 views @ Nov 12 2012

SCRIBD URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/112922193/DRE-Investigation-BCA

DRE Investigation BCA

This BCA report, a compilation of interviews, correspondence & law enforcement & their lawyers refusing to answer the BCA's questions about DRE, raises many questions. Besides the claims of the Occupy protesters, many unethical practices including cash for participation, discussing gaining "leverage" over "volunteers" by threatening to arrest them (pg 76), not having an ambulance near where people were encouraged to take drugs at the gravel pit in Richfield near the MnDOT garage, no waivers, the explicit suspending of state drug laws for a privately organized certification program (pg 91, 99), etc.

Many of the officers discuss a general sense of unease across their entire class, of trespassing certain obvious moral or ethical boundaries ('your morals are gone', pg 428). As Minneapolis considers dissolving the Civilian Review Authority oversight board, many connections to the Minneapolis Police Department including the 5th Precinct have not been reviewed.

Other items include: a BCA AT&T phone subpoena to trace phone/SMS activity by one of the officers involved, and more on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) role in the program (pg 223, 231) -- as an officer discusses, they're called "evaluators" rather than "experts" because the courts don't really recognize it (pg 202). IACP receives large donations from major defense contractors to promote local police policies expanding biometrics & surveillance, war-on-terror tech deployed at home, mass incarceration and intensifying the war on drugs. The IACP has managed to impose this pseudo-legal yet scientifically unproven framework, the DRE, with its morally abhorrent training program, on many states besides Minnesota.

In the end of this phase, the Hennepin County Attorney's office ruled out filing charges after so many officers stonewalled (pg 54-57) [as the Strib noted, some of the same same legal operations used by the disgraced Metro Gang Strike Force officers]. Pages significant to documenting the way illegal government operations in Minnesota get papered over, the 'coverup machine' network of lawyered up law enforcement, listed below ('get everyone quiet', pg 367)-- and really, Hennepin concluded, unless an officer handed out a generous 42 grams in one sitting, it wouldn't be a felony crime.

While everything in this strange report should be taken critically, disturbing themes of emerge of relatively young rural police officers being sent around Minneapolis to find the chemically dependent & mentally ill, turn them loose again after they're intoxicated, without any help like medical or social support, and connections to further gray areas like developing informants in the drug world(pg 381), and a methamphetamine-addicted informant handled into performing an evaluation by a Ramsey County deputy.

Another key subject is the Donald Steven Turner interview (pg 485-492) wherein he describes not only his certainty that Occupiers were lying, he seemingly brags about giving a Minneapolis police officer he knows one person's name and then scaring them into jumping a train out of town, talking up his ability to develop 'profiles' on OccupyMN members, etc. While the authorities describe Turner as a credible OccupyMN member, he had a reputation for scuffling with people and being tossed from Occupy meetings, taking at least one bike, and other serious issues stretching back long before Occupy started in New York. This are some of the most jaded & disturbing statements I've ever seen documented, seemingly bragging about informing to spread fear. More interviews with others he affected are really needed to tell this particular story. Whether or not his statements have any validity, the damage to privacy of third parties he named has already been done in his statement to law enforcement -- unfortunately, redacting the first names Don put out there would do no good.

Voters showed last week they're becoming increasingly weary of the war on drugs, which has generated huge profits for lawyers, corporations, banks and Wall Street through laundered money. All this shadiness isn't a bug, it's a feature. Will Minnesota recognize the failure of the war on drugs and cancel abusive, unscientific programs like the DRE? Can Minnesota shift from punishment, coercion & incarceration to harm-reduction chemical dependency policies that treat everyone humanely?

[birthday/phone/contact info of people targeted by DRE was removed with black rectangles. This document did not arrive via government/data practices channels, and some other details, likely police personal details like cell phone & home addresses were apparently removed with marker probably by the BCA.]

For more information & work on similar issues please see the websites of groups involved in producing the initial MK Occupy Minnesota video:

Communities United Against Police Brutality - CUAPB.org - @CUAPB

roguemedia.org @roguemedia_org

OccupyMinneapolis.mn - @occupyMN

tc.indymedia.org @TCIMC

hongpong.com @hongpong

globalrevolution.tv @globalrevlive

---- This story and the original video MK Occupy Minnesota are licensed Creative Commons with Attribution --

--------

Here is shorthand for some interesting pages to check out further. Particular interesting pages marked with asterisks:

22 coverup

36 Hutchinson drug kit?

90 Munoz

42 coverup

49 Holiday parking lot lol

54-57 coverup

66 LDF coverup

76 using statutes for leverage to gain 'volunteers'

79 coverup

83 * "I just gave them marijuana it's not like I hurt anybody"

91 WTF instruction on illegal drugs?

99 WTF little to no instruction on street subjects

102 incentives "could offer them money"

105 "wink wink nod nod"

106 - why blank?

109 "I just gave them marijuana"

112 warnings about occupy minnesota / Munoz instruction after video

116 WTF

125 Telephone subpoena

129 Don Turner says occupiers lied about DRE

136 possible missing marijuana from Nobles Co evidence room?

140 Hennepin County Attorney CASE CLOSED summary

141 Hutchinson starts inquiry

142 Roster of police participants

148 players in International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)

152-153 *** the case - interview

154 **** disposing of the case

157 no independent medical personnel or ambulance nearby (even though drugs are being taken in area)

162 phone subpoena

163 drugs with volunteers

190-191 coverup

198 getting leverage on volunteers- threaten to arrest

202 definitions of 'expert' vs 'evaluator' - they aren't real 'experts' but IACP labels it

206 Munoz instructs not to hand out drugs after video is posted

208 Michelle Ness: "we kinda looked over to Peavey and we're like whoa concentration of potential clients"

217 Hutchinson PD evidence sheet

223-224 IACP control log & material

226 instructors watch all evaluations?

227-228 training schedule

231 IACP

232 "kidnapping" & volunteers

233 probation & volunteers, illegal/warrant issues

235 sketchiness 'it was odd'

239 offering cheeseburgers

241 occupy & video questions

244 national players in IACP / DRE

245 coverup lawyer

249 5th Precinct MPD connection

259 seizure

261 MPD 5th Pct

268 MPD 5th Pct

273 MPD & incentives advice

275 coverup lawyer

278 * Certificates & IACP

279 uneasy feeling for all students

286 Otterson - no instruction

287 "shitty areas"

288 occupy video day we took final exam / weed

289 call to MPD about beat-up guy

291 * direct supervisor for years

295 no independent medical presence or ambulance at MnDOT

297 IACP

305 specs for program change from 12 to 15 evals

309 MPD 5th Pct

310 No waivers for drug participants

311 Munoz says don't provide drugs after occupy video

315 "target area"

323 story about prostitute

325 MPD

335 blackmail "volunteers" via Minneapolis statutes: " get us copies of Minneapolis codes, um in case we saw people you know breaking any city ordinances and kinda use that as a way to get them to see that, you know you can come with us or you know Minneapolis"

340 certification goes via the IACP DRE national website (NOT 'real' state authority)

343 coverup

347 *** Willers narrative - confusion over brothers

348 MPD

354 MPD

357 fear of being recorded at Peavey Plaza

360 ok to buy cigarettes, cash, overlook state drug law etc

361 giving $$$

367-8 *** coverup Legal Defense Fund "get everyone quiet"

381 developing informants "a lot of times we never charged 'em. We said you know give us some info on who your source is"

385-386 Pete's box getting low

387-88 ** informants high on meth

389 smoking in the gravel pit

390 letting off warrant suspect, more suspension of law

391 officer had weed "a bag the officer had the marijuana in" ??

402 incentives

405 MPD

406 coercion of "volunteers"

412-413 woman who was "nuts" = no mental health support

414 using traffic stops & $ for "volunteers"

415 giving out beer

421 snitching: "We did a UA and ah they actually um they apparently he was gonna snitch out some people for drugs and guns"

426 getting desperate, offering a buffet

427 threat of jail

428 ** "your morals are gone"

429 "you can either go to jail for possession of the drugs or if you want to cooperate with us we'll give you a pass."

434 morals/instruction

439 giving out shooter glasses

443-445 getting high

447 odd redaction may be house address?

460 crimes at discretion

468-469 crack, pimp, Popeye's

470 a pimp / the jacket incident

471"it is weird. It is a weird class to go out and try to find someone high"

479 AT&T cell phone subpoena

485-492 *** Don Steven Turner interview

487-492 *** Don talks to MPD Mercil (Sp?) a lot

495 it's like a joint task force re expanded geographic arrest powers

496-497 smoking in Richfield

499 goodie bag MJ

501-513 final Hennepin County report

--
To reach the publisher of this file contact Dan Feidt at hongpong@hongpong.com or at twitter.com/hongpong.

Occupy gets rolling in Sandy disaster relief; Far Rockaway & Staten Island in a messy situation; #hurricanehackers Sandy Crisis Camps this weekend

Via Occupy Sandy Relief NYC 4 hrs ago: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc?fref=ts

379035_381284791951728_2047353211_n.png

>>> #NOT ANOTHER KATRINA <<<
Contrary to what might be inferred by a media and government blackout - Rockaway IS. NOT. RECOVERING.

We can't stress this enough. It looks like parts of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Residents are being told they will receive NO assistance, no food, no medicine, NOTHING if they remain in Rockaway

As of a few hours ago Occupy Sandy Relief has a community hub up and running at Beach 113th Street and Rockaway Blvd. We are distributing lights, clothing, blankets and warm food.
DO NOT ARRIVE AT NIGHT! We will be open and ready for more volunteers and supplies tomorrow morning.
- More photos, need lists and stories to come

The whole situation in the east coast is really rough right now. I'm going to post copies of these pads right now in the hopes of circulating some material. This should prove once and for all that "preppers" have an important role to play in avoiding total disaster -- but of course in these circumstances it takes all of us working together. Where the various levels of government are totally messed up, people are making things happen in a horizontal way, covering emergency basic needs and anchoring anxious communities.

Hope it helps, there are a lot of places to plug in & postal addresses accepting supplies if nothing else....

People looking for something to do might want to check out #HurricaneHackers. Sandy CrisisCamp | CrisisCommons. Also Ushahidi is being used for crowd mapping services . Recovers.org is also being used - subdomains for locales. Tune in @globalrevlive as well for updates. At this time, a hub for distribution of aid in Rockaway has already been set up. Staten Island is definitely out of gas and things are hard to find out there but hopefully more will be known Thursday.

The main hubs going on right now: OccupySandy hub: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/, also email: OccupySandy@interoccupy.net or occupysandy@gmail.com - includes drop off locations for donation items . Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc- users are posting some crazy stuff on here.

//// Obligatory Bonus Paranoia Notes: I'm not feeling the FreakOut Vibe right now -- let's relax and get things done, ok?! -- but some things on the margins ought to be noted anyway. if the US military becomes more activated under semi-federalized powers, expect NORTHCOM CONPLAN 3501 generally, and CONPLAN 3502 to be activated - see my Nov 2010 story for more. At this time seems unlikely - but the double-bonus Word From the Weird Cats is that HAARP-type energy distortions are indicated charging for California quakes (FB) & there are a bunch farther up the Pacific fault in Canada going lately. I don't have a strong opinion about Tactical Weather Modification being the explanation for this kind of thing routinely, however also no one really wants to mention all the weather control tech that is routinely used, and not logged. Who can work out the insurance consequences of, say artificial snowfall in Colorado & downwind drought effects? Let alone the interesting troposphere electromagnetic tech systems - the HAARP patents! .... Once things settle down, we need to really demand inventory and activity logs of all this fancy stuff - reasonable enough?? /////

Here's a copy of the InterOccupy page right now: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

@OccupySandy
Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net. The task of rebuilding communities is a marathon and not a sprint. We thank you for your donations and your support. The hubs we have set up so far are listed below and photos and volunteer updates are available on our facebook: www.facebook.com/occupysandyreliefnyc. To contact us with information that should be included on this hub, please email OccupySandy@interoccupy.net

To get regular updates by text message please text "occupysandy" to 23559.

Enter your email in the form on the left to receive news and updates about how you can help!

Financial Donations can be made to:
https://www.wepay.com/donations/occupy-sandy-cleanup-volunteers


Volunteer to Help Out the Relief Effort:
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/volunteer/


To locate an Emergency Shelter:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html


For anyone who needs assistance with food:

Citymeals www.citymeals.org is delivering shelf-stable meals to seniors. If you come across any senior housing, please contact Citymeals and make them aware. Email Rachel@citymeals.org.

Emergency food stamps: Call 718-557-1339. Many people may qualify for the Disaster-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

To donate goods, here is a list of needs and where you can drop them off:

GENERAL NEEDS - ALL LOCATIONS NEED THESE ITEMS

blankets
candles
flashlights
batteries
water
food
socks
towels
printer paper
baby items: diapers etc.
pet food

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS


Astoria
36-10 Crescent St. 2nd floor.
Contact Pam: 718-208-7205

Chinatown (open Nov 1, 10am-5pm)
CAAAV
46 Hester St Frnt A
(212) 473-6485
justice@caaav.org - email provided, but best to just show up to help or bring supplies!

Specific Requests in Chinatown:
Water bottles
C, D, AA, AAA batteries (and one 9 volt battery)
Food (hot at lunch, non-perishable/bread/cookies)
Some bottles of Ensure (Glucerna shake) for the elderly, vitamins for the elderly
Generator (for shelter at 350 Grand St, Seward Park High School)


Rockaway and Far Rockaway
Location 1:
Firehouse on 59th street
across from the train station.
contact person: Jean Dupont 9179755623

Location 2:
Veggie Island
96th Street and Rockaway Blvd.

Location 3:
Store Front Community Center
B113 and Rockaway Beach Blvd

Specific Requests in Rockaway and Far Rockaway (starred ones are most urgent):
* Propane grille or camping style oven
* Plates, cups, forks, bowls, spoons, etc
* blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, anything to keep folks warm
* cleaning supplies - buckets, squeegies, mops, bleach
* masks, gloves for cleaning
* socks
* water
* tarps
* garbage bags
boots
electric stove
gas stove
satellite phones
big paper, tape, markers
pens, paper, notepads
generators
pumps
camping tables
gasoline
gasoline containers
percolator
fire extinguishers
walkie talkies
i9 tablets
projector/illuminator


Fort Green/Clinton Hill
45 Waverly Avenue
just off of Park Ave in Fort Green/Clinton Hill
(Hours for Nov 1: 10am-6pm)

Park Slope
Park Slope Armory
361 15th St, Brooklyn

Sunset Park
St. Jacobi Church
5406 4th Ave
Contact: Ronnie 646-353-5194

Specific Requests in Sunset Park:
steamtable foil pans full or half size w lids
blankets
cleaning supplies
tin foil
saran wrap


Williamsburg (starting Nov 1, 10am)
Residence
306 Leonard St, apt J1 (btwn Conselyea and Metropolitan)
Contact: Jennifer (917) 586-4153

Bedstuy
Residence
136 Jefferson Ave, apt 2 11216

East Billyburg (Beginning Thursday Nov 1 at 12 noon)
House of Yes
342 Maujer st
Contact: Kae Burke (525)217-7209

Harlem
Location 1:
Residence
47 saint nicholas avenue #4d
btw 112 and 113

Location 2:
Residence
938 st Nicholas ave # 25 at corner of 157th and st Nicholas ave.

Lower East Side
The Bowery Mission
45-51 Ave D
212-777-3424
contact: Claude Nelson or any "operations manager" on duty. they're open 24/7 and in need of prepared foods, a generator and anything else you can offer.

Specific Requests at Lower East Side:
Generator
Prepared Foods


RECOVERS.ORG PAGES


Occupy Wall Street & 350.org have teamed up with Recovers.org - a people-powered disaster relief platform - to help coordinate response to Hurricane Sandy in NYC. At Recovers.org we are launching support pages where people can GIVE help or post a NEED. Here is more information about this coalition.

We have started with the following Recovery pages, and more will be coming soon:

https://lowereastside.recovers.org/ - (646) 580-7473
https://astoria.recovers.org/ - (347) 669-4394
https://redhook.recovers.org - (347) 464-9269
https://statenisland.recovers.org/ - (347) 934-9927 - statenislandrecovers@gmail.com - @SIrecovers

TWITTER HASHTAGS


The following hashtags are being used for tweets related to Sandy:
#sandy
#hurricanesandy
#sandyrecovery
#sandyaid
#sandyvolunteer

| occupysandy@interoccupy.net



*************

#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

************

This is the main Occupy volunteer pad: SandyVolunteer | Etherpad Lite

Welcome to OCCUPY SANDY's Volunteer Network:
  1. POST AN OFFER or NEED to your fellow occupier directly through this document (cross off as needs are met!) or
  1. VOLUNTEER through the many resources provided below
Read Me:
  • Logistics!
  • Welcome! :-) Sign in + choose a name & color in the top right-hand corner, and Chat in the bottom right-hand corner.   
  • Post your OFFER or your NEED of help below, along with location atnd a way for people to contact you! Cross off needs as they are met!
  • Warnings!
  • Don't retweet requests for donations to Occupy Sandy--that is just some dude' s attempt to make money off this.
  • Emergency #s!
  • 911: for emergencies only! / 311 or text to 311692 for non-emergencies; FDNY will be able to charge life essential equiptment every 6 hrs if your area is accessible

OFFERS "I can help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • OFFER @Neiki2u: Upper West Side
  • @joallen17 EMT Certified, available to assist. Located on UpperWestSideNYC.
  • Here in East Harlem (122nd and Lex) but can help. 785.423-5280. Email: debra.whoopdeedoo@gmail.com
  • I am @jhazard I am on Upper Westside of Manhattan. I am a journalist and Web product manager. I can't code, but I want to help any projects trying to coordinate communications and information.
  • @ericaswallow here. On 96th and 2nd. I am a journalist and director of community @contently. Can't code, but able bodied and can help with coordinating communications. @jhazard above is my coworker. :)
  • I am @iamceci located in spanish harlem E 104 & 2nd Ave. Fluent in spanish, able bodied. 508-685-6923; cecilia.d.pineda@gmail.com. #sandyvolunteer let me know how i can help!
  • I am @Ayo_ARo on the Upper West Side. Able bodied, proficient in Spanish, great with people esp. kids, K-12 tutor (all subjects), resume writing and editing. Can walk to wherever I'm needed.
  • I am @shmuta- on the Upper East Side with many young people. Lots of hands! Trying to find a way to help. Have signed up but havent heard anything from anyone!
  • I am @A. I am located in Midtown but can come downtown if you require help in canvassing needs/delivering food and water.
  • BROOKLYN
  • In Central Brooklyn and can help anywhere I can walk to from Eastern Parkway and Franklin. Hit me on Twitter: @mickeysteiner
  • I'm in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights and can help anywhere I can walk to from Nostrand Ave and Prospect Place. Can carry up to 40 lbs, available Wednesday and Thursday. Find me on Twitter: @syntactics
  • I'm in Williamsburg Brooklyn, ready to help however possible! Can carry loads up to 50 lbs, available all day and night Tuesday, Halloween night, and Saturday. Gracegclarke@gmail.com, (314)757-0602
  • Also in Williamsburg. Can help. @scottmbarrett
  • I'm in Crown Heights, Brooklam I am fluent in English and Spanish and am ready to help angiewoody@gmail.com
  • I'm in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, ready to volunteer! I have a car, I'm fluent in English and Spanish, and can help however I'm needed! emmayorra@gmail.com 802 522 8215
  • I am @alexfiorillo and am in Downtown Brooklyn/Gowanus/Park Slope. Can help with whatever and am ready to volunteer!
  • I am @ngawesome in Brooklyn and will find a way to get anywhere, please email nglisko1@aol.com if you are looking for volunteers!
  • I am in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, I am able bodied, and willing to go anywhere, i speak conversational spanish and I've had a lot of experience working with children, please email katiajohnstone@gmail.com
  • I am @itsmefi and in Prospect Heights. Can help however possible and ready.
  • I am @osin located in Bushwick, BK. Willing to go anywhere and help with anything necessary.
  • I am @highlyfe87 located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn can volunteer in Downtown BK, Gowanus, Park slope, Red hook. Can help pretty much anywhere within 2-3 miles. email bkcachaco07@gmail.com
  • In Flatbush, can walk up to 4 miles to help. @kmgrimm or kmgrimm@gmail.com.
  • In downtown Brooklyn, ready and willing to help. I speak English & Russian, call me at (347)-834-6805.
  • I've got a car, bunch of carpentry tools/skills, bike mantainence skills, willing to make/transport food, manual labor, build stuff, tear stuff down, dig stuff out. My wife is registered nurse. live in Clinton Hill BK (patrickfbrosnan@gmail.com)
  • I'm @alyanumbers and am in Crown Heights. I have a bike and can deliver small-ish packages around Brooklyn (or even up to Manhattan). I speak French and Arabic (and some Spanish).
  • @precursor and I have a car, HAM radio equipment (and license of course) and a basic set of tools. Skills involve communications and construction.
  • QUEENS
  • @chuuuckDEE here, based in Jamaica, Qns. able-bodied and down to assist w/ the effort..
  • I'm available to lend a hand in Astoria Queens near Astoria Blvd stop. @helenamusic send me a DM
  • I can also lend a hand in Astoria Queens. pointslou@gmail.com
  • I'm available to help in the East Elmhurst/Astoria area. Ready, willing and able to work at whatever. DM me at @AgentArmando pls with details
  • Hi, Jake here in Woodside, Queens. I'm a carpenter / handyman with tools - ready to offer my labor or just help out in general. Contact me on Twitter: @jm4277k
  • Hi, I'm @misaqui, living in Sunnyside-11104. Count on me to help in the Area.
  • I live in Flushing, have minimal hours and no car, but am nevertheless eager to help. Skills in childcare, senior aid, animal care, and writing @chicathlete424, scfrager@gmail.com
  • Also able-bodied, looking to help. Astoria Ditmars, no car, but if transportation can be arranged, will travel. hairlessOrphan@gmail.com
  • BRONX
  • Need ride to shelter in Bronx? send DM to me @corinne565
  • I have a bag of clothes for woman size L and Men XXL - pants, shirts, shoes....willing to travel to the city tomorrow or rent a zipcar to drive to other affected areas. Can also lift 50+ lbs, donate canned goods, organize and assist. Email Jrrose29@aol.com
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • In Northern NJ and can also be available to travel to shore points above GSP exit 100. Good with elderly and children, shelters, food distro., etc. @joanschulhafer
  • LONG ISLAND
  • Able bodied man in Lindenhurst willing to help in person with efforts on LI. s end me a direct message @greenguy808
  • CONNECTICUT
  • @girmann in Hartford county - willing to help.
  • TRANSLATOR/INTERPRETER OF SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE AVAILABE TO VOLUNTEER-ASSIST IN NEW HAVEN CT and surrounding areas WWW.BALDWINLINGUAS.COM 203-759-8352 << thx!
  • UPSTATE NY
  • If you need help in Albany, NY I'm here! @lego606
  • I am @RixeyBrowning located in the Poughkeepsie area, I am an EMT-B and can speak Spanish, my partner is a street medic. Heading down to NYC today to see what we can do.
  • MISC
  • Anything else I can do from here let me know! @maddiesully
  • Will be stateside in 12 days approx. Hard hit areas with little relief I'll come to with clean water, blankets, canned food. Let me know areas needing assistance @davidlasher or davidlasher.us/contact

NEEDS "I need help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • @CheshireAndrea We need someone in lower Manhattan to take a home bound paraplegic some distilled water & 2 car batteries.
  • BROOKLYN
  • Park slope food coop has 3 boxes of apples to go to red hook initiative. traffic is terrible - anyone with a bike that could carry a box there? @jhollar
  • QUEENS
  • The Rockaways need hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  
  • BRONX
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • 911 is swamped, want people to know that Grant City in Staten Island is completely flooded. I am trapped at 220 Adams Ave on the 2nd floor with about 10 people including elderly and children. The first floor is flooded and all cars are underwater. We are calm, but boats and any kind of help would be good. Power is also out. URENT, POSTING FOR A FRIEND, CAN ANYONE HELP THESE PEOPLE PLEASE << can you give some contact info so I can help? -@justinwedes << this looks tto be same NEED as  https://twitter.com/jopoduimom/status/263120618294226944, going to investigate now <<HAS THIS NEED BEEN MET? Please confirm
  • Urgent per residents interviewed on CNN: emergency shelters are running out of food; dead body count at 14 so far but expected to be higher as many, many homes are collapsed and have not been explored yet.
MISC
  • Manhattan Beach needs hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  

Other Volunteer Opportunities:
  • NATIONAL
  • NEW YORK CITY (General)
  • Shelter volunteers, volunteer 4 hours of your time: Jahmila Joseph, of Public Advocate's officer, seeking volunteers in city shelters. Fill out this form: http://bit.ly/volunteer-sandy or email jjoseph@pubadvocate.nyc.gov
  • MANHATTAN
  • BROOKLYN
  • Brooklyn Bridge Cleanup (Wed October 31, 9am-12pm + 2pm-5pm), rvsp: sward@brooklynbridgepark.org
  • John Jay High School (evac shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • Park Slope Armory (medical/frail shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • QUEENS
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • LONG ISLAND
  • UPSTATE / HUDSON VALLEY
  • (Other cities, Nov 3rd meetings via CrisisCommons)
  • BOSTON
  • DC
  • PORTLAND, OR
  • AUCKLAND ZEALAND
  • GALAWAY, IRELAND
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SEATTLE

Other Places to Seek Assistance:

Donations:

Helpful apps!:

Animal Rescue:

Other Resources:
  • includes drop off locations for donation items
  • Facebook page:
  • Twitter:
  • @OccupySandy
  • @Occuweather << live tweets from a recovery boat near Chelsea Pier
  • @TrickorAid
  • @HC_Sandy (run by allies of @OccupyPolice)
  • @OccupyWallStNYC
  • @350
  • @NYCMayorsOffice
  • @globalrevlive
  • @SIrecovers (Staten Island recovery hashtag)
  • Storify:
  • Maps
  • Maps of incidents / help needed:
  • Map of shelters:

#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

Neighborhood.recovers.org sites (also mentioned above):

*****************
This is the HurricaneHackers link list

Front Page Hurricane Hackers. Github code base HurricaneHackers.

****************

The EFF is fighting for open internets - this is exactly why: the Net access right now is fucked up and bullshit.

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement - OpenWireless.org

EFF believes open networks are crucial in hurricane-affected areas

Update: In response to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, Comcast is opening its XFINITY WiFi hotspots to non-Comcast subscribers in PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, MA, NH and ME until Nov. 7. Users should search for the network "xfinitywifi" and click on "Not a Comcast subscriber?" at the bottom of the sign-in page. Users should select the "Complimentary Trial Session" option from the drop down list. TheOpen Wireless Movement thanks Comcast for helping out!

In troubled times, it's important to help each other out. Right now, we're witnessing an unprecedented hurricane hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and the ensuing damage and power outages are crippling rescue efforts, businesses large and small, and personal communications.

Communication is critical in time of crisis, and the Internet allows for the most effective way of getting information in and out. With readily available networks, government officials could use tools like Twitter to quickly spread information, citizen reports could help focus assistance where it is needed most, and social media updates could help reassure friends and loved ones—keeping mobile phone lines open for emergencies.

To take advantage of the Internet, people should not have to attempt to skirt restrictive Terms of Service to attempt to tether their smartphones. And tethering would not be necessary if there were ubiquitous open wireless, so that anyone with a connection and power can share their network with the neigborhood.

Last year, we wrote a post titled "Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement." Today, EFF is proud to announce the launch of the Open Wireless Movement—located at openwireless.org—a coalition effort put forth in conjunction with nine other organizations: Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.

**********

Here is the big ol index from HurricaneHackers: Linklist - Google Drive

   

#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC


HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

*

#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC

HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System

Wind

Water

Evacuation

Official Data

Forecasts

Models

Images

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap

Streams

Amateur Radio

Images

Social Media

Aggregators

News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs

Important Articles / Posts

Twitter

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination

#HurricaneHackers key links:


Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System


Wind




Water


Evacuation



Power

Needs/Supplies:

  • Red Hook Initiative – Texting Needed Supplies to Collaborative Map (@jrbaldwinn):
    • TEXT Hurricane Needs to: (347)778-0570
    • Format by: Need @ Location i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn"
    • Auto populates map data here for responders: https://rhiwifi.co/hurricane/

Official Data

Forecasts

  • NOAA/NWS Seven Day forecast including hourly output and current watchocation. link
  • WUnderground state-by-state breakdown: http://goo.gl/hDD1N

Models

Images

http://tinyurl.com/hurricaneSandyNRL2


Storm Briefings
NWS Office Philly

Transitioning from hurricane to Post-Tropical Storm
Topics : How, When, Why weather advisories will come from as the storm goes through Frankenstorm mode
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTransition.pdf

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap



Streams

Amateur Radio


  • hurricane Watch Net: 14.325.00 MHz; 7.268 MHz; 3.950 Mhz

Images


Social Media


Aggregators



News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs


Important Articles / Posts


Twitter


  • #Sandy, #ZoneA, #Frankenstorm, any other hashtags popular?
    • Boston: #BoSandy
    • New York: #NYSandy, #NYCSandy
    • New Jersey: #NJSandy
    • Virginia: #VASandy
    • Pennsylvania: #PASandy
    • New Hampshire: #NHSandy
    • Maine: #MESandy
    • Richmond: #SandyRVA
    • Maryland: #SandyMD
    • DC: #SandyDC
  • Matt Noyes, NECN meterologist : https://twitter.com/MattNoyesNECN ; has technical livestreams here: http://goo.gl/0oTf7
  • FEMA Administrator: https://twitter.com/craigatfema
  • NY Scanner: https://twitter.com/NYScanner

Transportation

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination


#HurricaneHackers key links:

  1. Index: http://bit.ly/hh-index
  2. Linklist: http://bit.ly/hh-linklist
  3. Projects: http://bit.ly/hh-projects-read
  4. Lulz: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/sandylulz
  5. Chat: IRC, Freenode, #hurricanehackers: http://irc.lc/freenode/hurricanehackers

***********

Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery - Google Drive

DRAFT - Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery

Drafting led by Steven Clift, E-Democracy.org
Join our Neighbors Online Webinar on Nov. 14

What can you do with social media and online tools for your neighbors who make up your local community?

As we move from emergency response to long-term recovery, here are some collective tips from the “locals online” community (join your peers for tips and advice).

  1. People matter more than tools. Don’t spend hours searching for the perfect tool, if you are willing to step up for your building, your block, your broader neighborhood or community, etc. it is your leadership that matters. Combining your willingness to digitally organize your neighbors with the best social media tools for you - be it compiling a cc: e-mail group of forty households or creating online groups using the latest social media tool for thousands - what matters most is your energy and dedication to reach out to your neighbors in every way possible. Be an e-leader for your community. You won’t regret it.
  2. Tools do matter. Pick your social media tools carefully and think about what your neighbors will actually use. Even if you are the right person with good communication skills and the ability to quickly establish trust among those neighbors you gather online, picking the wrong tool or relying on a single tool may not work. Just because a tool has great visual design or all the fancy features does not mean it will work with people stuck on smart phones for example who just prefer to use e-mail, Facebook, etc.
  3. Gather email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and other contact information first. Having email addresses and mobile phones numbers in your possession allow you to actively reach people. The ability to “broadcast” to your nearest neighbors with full control over when, who, etc. matters particularly if you want to reach older residents who do not “live on Facebook.” With complete control over the distribution of important information, this allows you to use different tools and approaches without being locked in by a single website. Here is a paper sign-up template you can adapt.
  4. Connect people horizontally by creating an online group for your local building/block/neighborhood/community. Name it by your place generally so it can last over the long-term as a space for neighbor connecting so you are better prepared for the next disaster. Invite people to join - often in-person, on paper flyers, etc. as well as online. Remember that the technology is the easy part. Be as inclusive as possible and don’t forget renters and lower income residents. Here are some tools to review (someone please draft and a add link). Note: Some neighborhoods still have thriving YahooGroups from a decade ago, a local “place blog” with an active web forum, etc. - join forces with them rather than recreating the wheel. Do a quick search (links to come). Some tools:
    • Facebook Groups: If you want to use Facebook, create a Facebook Group not a Facebook Page. Facebook Pages are a terrible tool for sustained group communication. Note that at about 150 members in a group, Facebook switches the default email notification setting to only send you notices when your friends posts. This is a negative, but Facebook is still a good way to quickly gather people online. You can always add the use of other tools later. Facebook Groups are better for smaller areas, but don’t scale well “community participation” wise because of the hidden notification issue. Two more concerns - the public officials you want to respond to your exchanges are often blocked from social media at work and by choosing Facebook at the core you’ve eliminated half the Internet users over 50. If you have older folks on your block that you want to include, this means you need to reach then another way. Therefore do not underestimate the simple power of an effective email list to break through computer firewalls.
    • E-mail lists: YahooGroups, Google Groups, and more. Note that you need to use tools like Mailman or others IF you want to be able to use paper sign-up sheets as the big online hosts no longer allow you to “add” people. Now you may only invite them which means lots will not click on the confirmation link. For a “social media maven,” paper sign-up sheets for e-mail lists may seem old fashioned but this is exactly what the Presidential campaigns do - collect e-mail and Zipcode everywhere and then communication build from there. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. E-Democracy goes door to door with the neighbors online efforts in St. Paul. It works to reach lots of people who aren’t already among the most wired or most socially connected.

    • NextDoor, .St, Others
  5. Pick your scale and openness. You need to decide if you want to organize 30 households or connect an area with hundreds or thousands of residents. At the building or block level you probably want private online spaces while covering full neighborhoods you want to be far more open and inclusive. You want your public exchanges to be easy to find and open to local community organizations, places of worship, local businesses and government. You are all in this together and private resident-only spaces covering population areas over ~1000 residents will absolutely limit your success and potentially lead to greater community conflict. If you are are focusing on your nearest neighbors ovef a few streets or in your building, here is a rough Google Doc template you can copy and adapt or view as a sample form.

  1. Twitter can be useful for spontaneous networking and quick dissolution of group connections. On Twitter use hyper-local hashtags using #place or #placeXX at a level that isn’t too local so you can reach a critical mass and not so large that it is not useful for exchange.

  1. Specialty Tools for Response/Recovery: Recovers.org, Ushahidi

  1. Interaction matters. The government and media will feed you lots of one-way information, but when it comes to very local information your neighbors are both the producers and consumers. No matter the tool, the key is email notification where participants can at least be told about what's new and better yet publish via e-mail as well to the community. If you are going to be that local e-leader, the most important thing to do once you choose your tool is to organize people and spread the word in-person.
  2. Add you own, re-order, etc.



This article is informed by E-Democracy.org 18 years of experience with local online community building including our failed experience with support local “neighbours forums” in Christchurch, New Zealand after there big earthquake. In short, supporting two regional volunteers we skipped our “you must have a local volunteer forum leader and 100 initial members in place to open” requirement. The desperate need for communication to assist community recovery did not generate local volunteers even with 1000 participants recruited but spread out over 25 forums. So, in short the real world lesson is that no block, building, neighborhood or community will successfully connect in a trusted community building manner without at least one person in that area stepping up an an authentically local leader.

*****************

Anyway hope this helps!! Good luck folks.

Security culture danger as closed Occupy Homes sessions proceed without 2/3rds internal support in MN; two networks for price of one?

Troublesome assumptions about security culture arrangements for closed Occupy Homes national gathering sessions starting tomorrow at the Neighborhoods Organizing for Change MN (NOC Office) around noon put participants at risk. I feel everyone involved means well, but a bunch of particularly 'toxic' situations have materialized. Since these developments reflect larger trends, they need to be fixed if possible, and certainly discussed. [See August 4th story on conflict around meeting closure at NOC Office 911 Broadway Ave on Tuesday] At issue: the desire of the organizers of the Occupy Homes national convening to close the gathering.

The Occupy Homes MN last Saturday, which ran around four hours, reached a vote of 22 in favor of the closure of sessions at the national Occupy Homes convening, 18 against, and 8 standasides. 22/18/8 fails to reach a 2/3rds level of consensus (even ignoring standasides, only 55%). Unfortunately a kind of reverse fait accompli has evidently been imposed on the consensus-based group -- the inability to prevent the meeting closure decision from having been taken earlier by the two delegates means that now the group is [purportedly] imposed upon with a 55% decision. [I have not been able to get comment about when this closure happened exactly]

//// UPDATE Aug 7th: Getting complaints not for attribution from one of the people that arranged the lockout. They say they had a vote of 23, not 22, to proceed with the session lockout. Two initial reports said 22, but even if it is 23, that fails to meet 2/3rds consensus. Let's show exactly how this works, using 23 as the affirmative number lacking 66% consensus. The third chart & data set shows the consensus actually required.

occupy homes vote chartoccupy homes pie chart

If this doesn't make it obvious there's no 66% support, I don't know what will - no matter whether you factor in the stand-asides.END UPDATE ////

For coverage on what happens [if/when] the gesture of locking out the conference is made by its supporters Tuesday, I will try to post summaries on twitter at http://twitter.com/hongpong and possibly live video will be available at http://bambuser.com/channel/hongpong .

@TshirtToby sent along the following writeup of the Saturday meeting. Thanks Toby - follow him!

/// This is a report about the Occupy Homes MN meeting held on Saturday April 4th.

Once other business was able to be taken care of, the meeting moved on to the contentious issue over the openness of the upcoming conference. The people involved with organizing the conference admitted that they made mistakes and move forward from here.

It was proposed that the conference should be open to everyone. Arguments for and against were made. For openness arguments were made for transparency, spirit of the Occupy movement, worries over the groups involved and their influence. Against, it was brought up with the people outside of Minnesota organizing it on a conference call and it didn't pass a vote among them; didn't want media/informants/undercover government agents at meeting; Talking about sensitive tactics and people personal homes and financials. A vote was taken and it didn't pass.

It had been agreed that it 6 "Participants" and 5 "Observers" to the various panels. This was decided fairly quickly and somewhat sloppily due to time crunch and tensions. This meeting had the second highest tensions I have ever felt during an Occupy meeting.

In my opinion the meeting went as well as it could considering the lack of time to solve an emotional debate. The problem I see is that some of the people invited to this meeting are not from Occupy affiliated groups. These groups don't abide by Occupy traditions of openness and transparency. This could hurt Occupy Homes reputation.

It is my hope that this group will be able to recover from this incident and continue to do its good work. ///

Veteran activists in Minneapolis know full well after many incidents in recent years (see 2008 Republican National Convention, 2009 Grand Jury & beyond), any large gathering can easily be surveilled, yet security culture assertions by those who have promulgated the plan to lock the sessions are simply faulty. It is totally implausible that closing the meeting sessions will spare it the effects of informants or government operatives. This is extremely dangerous -- the faith that security culture can 'work' with this many people around -- and needs to be set aside immediately.

[Protip: In the future, the dangerous power of delegation has to be carefully bounded for nonhierarchical groups, such as instructing delegates under no circumstances may they agree to close meetings to their members. You'd think it was an assumption of everyone, but unfortunately it's not.]

The Movement Resource Group, (Movementresourcegroup.org started by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerrys, and others) provided a large grant to support this Occupy Homes gathering, grant info attached below. Simply put, if MRG provides more grants sponsoring closed "Occupy" meetings, the critical network topology of openness upon which the entire idea depends will be killed off, sprayed into oblivion by the Roundup of good intentions expressed through grants.

Additionally, as Anthony Newby discussed on the video taken last Wednesday, members from several of the groups flying in to Minneapolis have had their airfare paid by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), although Newby said he wasn't sure if it was the local or national organization.

Alongside the partially closed Occupy Homes series of events, a second specific effort is taking place, and one source said that this affair is at least partially put on by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy (MFE), an organization set up for electoral purposes by the Fight for a Fair Economy network.

According to: http://occupybernal.org/wordpress/?p=1976 : [bold added]

/// Occupy Bernal Participates in National Home Defenders LeaguePosted on July 30, 2012 by

At our Saturday, July 28, 2012 joint general assembly, Occupy Bernal/SF ACCE/Occupy Noe agreed to generate support for Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) foreclosure fighter Steve Boudreaux of Atlanta, GA.

He is in foreclosure, and fighting, with the support of his community, to keep his home.

Two of us are attending the first convening of the new National Home Defenders League in Minneapolis, MN on August 7-8, 2012. Our fellow organizations from around the country are all fighting foreclosures. Let’s show them that our organizations believe in solidarity. Hopefully, after that national meeting, we will have a nationwide organization capable or fighting the banks county-wide.

Here’s where to sign the petition, and Steve’s story, Steve’s story continued and more info on Steve’s campaign. ///

One source stated that members of at least five of the groups involved in the Occupy Homes summit are also attending the MFE-supported event. It seems likely, though unconfirmed, that the MFE-supported event is the National Home Defenders League convening.

Several of the staffers involved with Home Defenders League [HDL] (also those in MN involved with MFE & SEIU in recent years) share a pretty common background: they were ACORN network staffers & relatively tight-knit. More recently, within the last few weeks, HDL has been staffing up, and HDL opened at the same address as ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), which itself opened less than two weeks after California's ACORN chapter dissolved, at that same address, with much of the same ACORN staff.

HDL was announced as early as 2010 as a descendant org of ACCE:

/// October 8, 2010 Friday - Home Edition - HOUSING; Freeze sought on U.S. home seizures;

As questions mount about how banks have handled foreclosures, consumer and civil rights groups call for a national moratorium. By Alejandro Lazo and E. Scott Reckard

SECTION: BUSINESS; Business Desk; Part B; Pg. 1

Two advocacy groups -- the Los Angeles-based Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the Greenlining Institute of Berkeley -- this week called for a foreclosure moratorium. The L.A. group said it was forming a separate organization, the Home Defenders League, to help homeowners fight foreclosures. Both groups called on Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to support a moratorium. ///

This summer has seen an expanded relaunch of HDL in different states. June 6 2012 NY Daily News:

/// About a dozen New York Communities for Change volunteers canvassed Jamaica recently, talking to homeowners facing foreclosure and looking for abandoned homes that have become neighborhood eyesores. Members of the Queens chapter of the grassroots advocacy group knocked on about 300 doors on Saturday to mark the launch of the Home Defenders League. ///

It's really no problem for representatives of HDL-friendly & ACORN network related chapter organizations to join an Occupy Homes meeting like they will tomorrow. With large parts of the gathering put off limits to general participation (there aren't open 'political' events, only socially-oriented gatherings), that presents a major issue with power flows and openness in an ostensibly "Occupy" related gathering.

When many of those orgs are also apparently having a parallel unadvertised gathering supported by an electoral organization [though I do not have further evidence on paper of the arrangement], that looks like two networks tangled in one situation. It's much better in the long run for all of us to openly work on untangling this issue.

******

Having known quite a few staff working in the milieu of paid political organizations including ACORN, MFE & SEIU, by and large these are good people who have good intentions. Occupy has always supported unions, but is wary of co-option by managerial union leadership.

Many of the homeowners involved in these campaigns are gritty, very well-intentioned union members. This doesn't mean they necessarily support this kind of organizing - with quite a few I've talked to, this sort of thing strikes them as a bad move.

The troubling thing is that quite frequently, people in the paid milieu don't realize their tactical approaches are harmful to the very forces they're trying to bolster. The gradients of structural politics, grants, co-option, working in cooperation and trying to build bridges to turn large projects into movements are certainly not pretty, and makes people uneasy.

This is why the open nature of Occupy as a network has been such a sturdy foundation - it works not as a closed door cabal but rather an open network. Security culture, properly applied, involved small temporary affinity groups working on individual projects, far away from any venues with dozens of people. No more ambitious OPSEC (operational security) approach is really plausible. The closing of information and lines of contact damages the ability of the networks to maintain a 'common operating picture' and the broad, heterogeneous 'weak tie networks' needed to keep projects thriving over the long run.

Occupy Homes MN has most effectively functioned not as one organization, but as another network performing direct actions, in which activists who primarily identify with other organizations kept the projects alive.

The overall principle of openness, not informationally constricted, leaky boxes of withheld information & pseudo 'security culture', is essentially what brings these types of movements oxygen, preventing rot, political ossification, and hierarchical decision-making.

******

One individual reported to be an attendee at this week's meeting, Jonathan Matthew Smucker, advocated Occupy embracing "Co-Optation". I think this line of analysis runs pretty deeply with the people pushing in this direction.

It's worthy of debate, but debate in open meetings, whether this approach sacrifices goals of more radical, deeper social change for much smaller tactical victories, working with electorally oriented organizations. Without open meetings, the pros & cons of this approach will never get worked out properly.

Memorably describing OWS as a "harvest moment": Occupy The Progressive Movement: Why Occupy Should Embrace "Co-Optation" | Alternet (April 26 2012)

/// ..... But angst about an over-generalized sense of co-option may be an even bigger problem. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing broad-based institutions. OWS should actively and strategically forge relationships with many of these institutions, while preserving the role of OWS as an "outsider" force.

.........The worst thing we could do right now is make Occupy Wall Street into a small "radicals only" space. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing large membership institutions, including labor unions, national advocacy organizations, community organizations, and faith communities. Radicals never have and never will have sufficient numbers to go it alone. We have to muster the courage and smarts to be able to help forge and maintain alliances that we can influence but cannot fully control. That's the nature of a broad populist alignment.

Social movement theorists have a term for the sort of co-option that Occupy Wall Street should prize: infrastructure co-option. Nascent movements become mass movements not by building their own infrastructure entirely from scratch or recruiting new volunteers one at a time, but by "co-opting" existing institutions and social infrastructure into the service of the movement and its goals. The Civil Rights movement went big when existing institutions—especially black churches and schools—came to identify strongly as part of the movement. Organizers provided opportunities for members of those pre-existing institutions to make this new identification actionable and visible. This was cultivated to such an extent that, eventually, to be a member of certain institutions implied active involvement in the Civil Rights movement. When this happens with enough institutions, the movement gets a huge boost in capacity. And capacity means power.

Over the past few months many organizations and constituencies have been watching Occupy Wall Street, trying to figure out whether and how to relate to it. These organizations—including faith communities, the NAACP, MoveOn.org, labor unions, community organizations, and many other groups—understand how they and their members are affected by the crises that Occupy Wall Street has named and confronted. Some of them are already engaging in important ways, explicitly as part of—or in support of—Occupy Wall Street. And many more have long been engaged in work that clearly aligns with the movement's core values—and probably even deserve some credit for helping to lay the long-term organizing groundwork that helped create OWS.

But there are still significant barriers standing in the way of broader constituencies conceptualizing themselves as part of a 99% movement and getting actively involved. The first and most obvious barrier is that many groups haven't really been asked to get involved. During the first couple months of OWS, if a group wanted to get involved, it was typically a matter of them taking the initiative to approach us and ask what kind of support they might provide. Usually the answer was some variety of "Come down to Zuccotti Park" or "Stand up against Bloomberg for our right to occupy the park." Often the groups that wanted to support OWS simply showed up. While this kind of involvement made perfect sense when we held the park, it's clear that we now have to come up with other ways for more people and groups to take action as part of the 99% movement.

This is a critical transition for Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement. Remember that Occupy Wall Street kicked off with a well timed call-to-action, a ripe target, some planning, and a lot of crazy luck. As a result, OWS has understandably had more of a culture of mobilizing than of organizing. It's been a little like a group of folks who don't know anything about farming who arrive at a farm at harvest time. There's delicious food everywhere, and all they have to do is pick, pluck, and gather it. And eat it! "Wow," one of them exclaims, "farming is awesome! Why would we waste our time cultivating the soil? This food is delicious! I want to eat it all the time! This is working very well. We should just keep doing this — all the time!"

Occupy Wall Street has been something of a harvest moment. It pulled thousands of people out of the woodwork who'd been waiting for something just like this to come along, and who were in a place where we could carve out time from our lives to engage it. But movements need hundreds of thousands if not millions of active participants to become mass movements. It's difficult if not impossible to activate those kinds of numbers by just taking public action with the hope that other like-minded individuals will decide to join you. We need more on-ramps and more ways to be involved — for folks who might not yet feel comfortable camping out at a public park.

.....And this is why it is now critical that we meet with folks who are movers and shakers in other social networks and institutions. That's how the 99% movement can grow at the rate we all know it needs to; byactivating whole swaths of society at a time.....

.....All of the above gets so much more complicated in an election year. Occupy Wall Street is an outsider force. It should remain an outsider force this year. If it were to endorse candidates or a particular political party, it would immediately lose all of its value and leverage. Our job is to push from the outside.

But that's not at all to say that we shouldn't have a strategy for engaging with the energy and media attention of the election season. We should. And how we do it will seriously affect our ability to continue to grow this movement, to be seen as relevant, to cultivate alliances, and to leverage power to effect real change......

.......Once someone starts running on your rhetoric, you then have more leverage over them. You are better positioned to expose them if they're just giving lip service to your ideas without any intention of delivering. And for all the horrendous limits of the two-party system, still a slate of candidates who get elected pledging to take on the big banks gives us a lot more to work with—as an outsider social movement—than a slate of candidates elected on a pledge to cut social spending. And more importantly, it keeps the momentum on our side.

Another important question has to do with how we engage allies who do endorse candidates. Many labor unions, for example, are likely at some point to endorse President Obama's reelection bid. Some already have. And some will surely endorse specific state and local candidates. We're an outsider force. We should never endorse candidates. But is it possible to ally around specific actions with organizations that also endorse candidates?

It has to be. We join up with others where we can, and we depart where we depart. If we call for an end to corporate personhood, for example, we should welcome as many co-endorsers as possible, including organizations that endorse politicians — and even politicians themselves. Welcoming politicians' endorsements of our goals doesn't mean endorsing those politicians. This is an important detail, and it requires a precise threading of the needle. As an outside force, we have to take all politicians to task, regardless of party. But the details of how we do this matter. We need to pressure politicians and candidates, and the best way to do this is to ask them hard questions and provide pressure that pulls them in our direction (or put them on the defensive). If we ask good questions that resonate with the people who hear them, then we're doing our job well. If, on the other hand, we make general statements like, "It doesn't matter who you vote for, they're all the same," then we're being needlessly belligerent to our allies and potential allies (without even putting politicians on the defensive). An organization focused primarily on reproductive rights, for example, will understandably be very concerned about whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney occupies the White House. We can take candidates from both parties to task on an array of other issues without spurning their reasons for deciding to endorse a candidate. ........

........Someone who had felt constrained within her institution before the shake-up may now see and seize openings to move the institution in a bolder direction. And this is more likely to happen if organizers from Occupy Wall Street—the visible catalyst of the earthquake—approach longstanding institutions to strategize together about how they might engage with this moment.

An earthquake moment is a time to invite people to engage. It's not a moment to keep people in boxes, or to draw rigid lines. It's a moment to hammer Wall Street, the big banks, and the political system that has been fixed to serve only the very wealthy and powerful. Our task now is to activate as many people as possible into action. And this has to include people we wouldn't necessarily choose to have as our best friends. ///

Unfortunately at the sessions Smucker is participating in in Minneapolis this week, such an open debate is not an option because of restricted access. The big question: Does that mean that the position and debate frames adopted as "Occupy approved" will shift in a less radical, more institutionalized direction?

Located from deeper areas of the internet, Home Defenders League PR structure in a press release:

/// EVENT: CONFERENCE CALL BRIEFING - THE HOME DEFENDERS LEAGUE;

LOCATION: None given -- May 31, 2012 As seen in text

SECTION: GENERAL NEWS EVENTS - LENGTH: 98 words

SUBJECT: The Home Defenders League holds a conference call briefing, beginning at noon, with an overview of the Home Defenders League campaign, a "new alliance of homeowners and renters across the country who are joining together to make their voices heard in the 2012 election and beyond."

CONTACT: Moria Herbst, 646-452-5637, 917-743-6350, moira@berlinrosen.com [Note: Media should RSVP to Moira Herbst at moira@berlinrosen.com or 646-452-5637. Call-in, 800-434-1335; password, 995583#. A Q&A follows the news conference. Information on the launch of the alliance is embargoed until 9 a.m. May 31.] ///

Located near Wall Street at 15 Maiden Lane, Suite 1600, New York, NY, Berlin Rosen is interesting, reminiscent of other liberal communications consultancies. See http://www.berlinrosen.com/section/our-team/ for some familiar names.

In conclusion, I hope that broad networks can evolve, especially on all housing issues including fraud, homelessness, financialization, fractional reserve, and foreclosures, but that will not work out when narrow networks with bowtie chokepoints, rather than broad, open and loose networks evolve.

DISCLAIMER: I have performed videography services for MFE in the last year, contributed to videos & trained supporters in mobile video software (ustream/bambuser). Also, Movement Resource Group or one of its founders, Ben Cohen, (not sure which) provided funding for GlobalRevolution.tv (which I am a member) to supply Occupy and related movements with media gear, via GlobalRev's fiscal sponsor . We need to have good spirited disclosure of paid political organizing, in the long run this is essential. As so many people are well-intentioned, to avoid conflicts and jumbles, clear, plain information is the best goal we should share.

Previous stories on mainstream politics & the Occupy movement on HongPong.com : Feb 19 2012: BuStEd: I sense Astroturfing in the Occupy! UAW social media plan posted for "99% Spring" electioneering schema // Aug 4 2012: Plans for closed door Occupy Homes national meeting spurs opposition [VIDEO]

CREATIVE COMMONS WITH ATTRIBUTION - hongpong.com - hongpong@hongpong.com

Plans for closed door Occupy Homes national meeting spurs opposition [VIDEO]

///// 1AM August 7th update: http://hongpong.com/archives/2012/08/07/security-culture-danger-closed-o... /////

///// 1:40PM Sat August 4 update and correction below /////

Many Twin Cities activists working with the Occupy Homes MN group were surprised to hear that a national gathering committee, with two representatives from their group, had decided to restrict open access to most (but not all) of the sessions of that national gathering, scheduled around August 7th-9th so in Minneapolis. (As far as I can tell it's not exactly clear when one of those delegates got delegated - and as seen on the long video, there is disagreement among Occupy Homes MN members about whether the ability to choose to lock the gathering was actually delegated.)

This unusual setup comes in contrast to other decidedly open Occupy related gatherings like the #natgat in Philadelphia, and the Occupy Midwest gathering recently in St. Louis and later in August in Detroit.

While unfortunately these documents lack proper dates, I think: the schedule came first, then the letter of criticism signed by some advocates for openness, then the counter-response and FAQ by the gathering committee.

These are all 'intended as public', not internal emails, and were the main basis for a large & long meeting of the Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting last Wednesday at 4200 Cedar Ave.

AUG 4 CORRECTION: It was not accurate to say that "Everything not marked OPEN is... closed". More correctly, the default state of each session is assumed closed, and one open event, a mixer at Monique White's house, is specified as open. The 'welcome brunch/mixer' is supposed to be open. The 'block/house party' is supposed to be open, and there is another panel over in St Paul at the Wellstone Center on the last day which is supposed to be open.

AUG 4 UPDATE from an open Occupy Minneapolis informal mailing list:

Occupy Homes General Meeting is Sat. 8/4 2-4pm, at the NOC office where the National Convening happens Wed. and Thurs.
Location: New NOC office, 911W Broadway, between Dupont and Bryant. #14 buses stop on Dupont and Broadway, walk east less than a block.
There will be a discussion about whether the National Convening is closed to all but a few from MN. Video of the discussion of this at the All Committees Meeting Wed:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256067647796440/permalink/366724770064060/
A slate of 6 MN participants and some alternates were chosen Fri. night at a meeting of 12 people.

I was able to get a copy of the FAQ (DOC available here) and a digital version of the same letter as below (DOC here), but not able to get a response to this post on the record. I am adding the FAQ text to the article.

Last night I asked the following set of questions to get answer on the record, as on background I was told by one of the people who locked out the gathering that there will be accommodations for five observers per session, and anyone is welcome to request to be one of the five observers. However the process for this culling of observers has not been specified, or at least I do not have that info available.

Sent via my crude cell phone pickings:

if I'm not on the slate you guys end up sending, is there a open process to let everyone in who is not on the slate? what is that process? is it exhaustively the content of that faq?

i agree with you there are open events that are not marked as such, i will correct that. however the default implies restricted access, aka closed sessions. some open sessions are marked, but none of the closed ones are. i'll clarify that's the default, but I was incorrect initially.

do you think closed access and restricted access are different semantically? the definitions we may disagree on i suspect. i think its either open or closed access, are those true binaries in your view? is it open access?

i doing [typo: don't] understand how anyone is supposed to attend, aka open access, where is any info on this? there is a filter besides open access and what is the replacement process?

how is that process deduced for the observer class of restricted participants? thanks. how is the observer class defined and when was that decision reached?

the various forms of logic are not clear in the restriction operations performed at both the occupyhomes mn level, the creation of restriction process within occupy homes mn & the process of the rationalizing of exclusion on the event committee. (in so many words)

i need to know the lineage of decision by which people, like me, those facing charges from occupy homes mn direct actions etc, get excluded from the sessions as well as your new proposed slate of participants and alternates.

are the alternates the same as observers? i assume not, but when was the decision taken? thanks much! sorry for the lack of caps on cell text,

No response yet to these questions.
//// END AUGUST 4 UPDATE ////


VIDEOS:

1/2 - 46 minutes. Will be uploaded & available Creative Commons at http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/al; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpafGFkVczM

Letter of criticism:

occupyhomes2.jpg

Proposed slate selection rules:

occupyhomes1.jpg

Counter-response by committee:

occupyhomes3.jpg

Proposed gathering schedule/agenda: [see correction above]

occupyhomes4.jpg occupyhomes5.jpg occupyhomes6.jpg

FAQ from committee - dang I failed to photograph but can get it later - maybe someone else has it... UPDATE AUG 4, I was provided a copy of FAQ from one of the people who locked out the sessions. It is added in full text below (with doc-via-textedit hyperlink cruft).

FAQ: The Occupy Homes National Network Convening

What is the Occupy Homes National Network Convening?
The Occupy Homes National Network Convening is bringing organizers from across the US for a 2-day meeting in Minneapolis to build a more cohesive movement to confront the housing crisis, and shape a movement for systemic economic change. Occupy Homes has sharpened the movement’s message and broadened its reach, yet national coordination has been ad hoc and under-nourished. We hope to start a process towards build a network that is vastly more than the sum of its parts.

Who is involved in the National Convening?
The convening is being hosted by the Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee, with local support from Occupy Homes MN. The convening committee is an ad hoc group including individuals from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Homes MN, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Organizing for Occupation, Home Defenders League, and OccupyOurHomes.org.

Gathering in Minneapolis will be groups that are engaging in home occupations and eviction defense style tactics from around the country. Many are groups that organize under the Occupy Homes banner, but also include community-based organizations who have been engaged in housing justice work prior to the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

How big is the Convening?
The convening will have approximately 40 participants from around the country. 

What was the selection process for participants?
The convening committee reached out to groups who are engaging in home occupations in a similar fashion to what has been done in Minneapolis with people like HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"MoniqueHYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/" HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"White. We also reached out to groups who have organized on housing justice issues within their local occupy group, or explicitly use occupy-style direct action tactics such as occupying foreclosure auctions. We asked the groups to decide internally who they would like to send; the convening committee had no input on how these groups chose their representatives.

The committee also sought to achieve geographic, economic, racial, and political/philosophical diversity to ensure the meeting reflected a range of opinions and groundings in different experiences. The primary benchmark was participation in multiple home occupations, liberations, or eviction defenses.

Why is the number of attendees limited?
The universe of people who we think are leaders in the Occupy Homes movement—and housing justice movement more broadly—extends far beyond the participants of this convening. We wish we could have more people participate, but are limited by a number of primary concerns.

First, we want to create a space where productive conversations produce concrete ideas to move this work forward to larger scale nationally. Based on the large number of relevant topics and short duration of the meeting itself, the convening committee made the decision that more than 40 people would make this outcome unlikely.

Second, we have limited resources to bring people from around the country. For example, while there are many organizers across California who are doing inspiring work for housing justice, we can only afford to fly a couple of them to Minnesota.

Third, we don't want any one city or organization to have a disproportionate voice in this conversation. We are concerned that privileging the participation of some groups over others due to geographical proximity or greater financial resources could overpower the diversity of perspectives that we hope to illuminate.

How is the Convening funded?
The convening committee applied for and received a grant from the Movement Resource Group (you can see the proposal here: HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"httpHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"://HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"movementresourcegroupHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320".HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"orgHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"/?HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"pageHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"_HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"idHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"=320). The primary costs of the convening are air travel for participants, as well as food and ground transportation. Occupy Homes MN supporters are lodging most of the participants in private homes and apartments.

July 2012
Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee

Question board from Wednesday evening Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting (shorthand, not literal)


occupyhomes14.jpg occupyhomes15.jpg

Grant proposal re Movement Resource Group:


occupyhomes7.jpg occupyhomes8.jpg occupyhomes9.jpg occupyhomes10.jpg occupyhomes11.jpg occupyhomes12.jpg occupyhomes13.jpg

******

Many of those in Minneapolis favoring restricting the Minnesota presence to a 'slate' have moved quickly to lock the notion of that slate into reality via a meeting, and a great deal of internal discussion is going on.

At this time, the plan is that no one from Minneapolis except that slate would be able to get in and observe most of the gathering, which will be closed. UPDATE Aug 4: this is disputed by one of the people who locked out the sessions - they say that anyone can apply for 5 limited observer slots but the process is unknown to me at this time.

Political duality of the week: Electoral politics crushes anti-establishment networks of Ron Paul & Wisconsin uprising reframed as #WIrecall. What now, lolcats?

Government is the Entertainment Division of the military-industrial complex.
-- attributed to Frank Zappa

The ugly realities of modern electoral politics in America hit home this week with two body blows to self-styled anti-authoritarian political networks: The Ron Paul movement finally hit the brick wall as Rand Paul (R-KY Coal Mines) endorsed Mitt Romney (R-Rich Mormon Mafia) -- utterly shocking & depressing tons of semi-libertarian Republicans along with the entire conservative side of the "Truther" and/or "Liberty" movements.

Days earlier, the Wisconsin recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (R-Petulance) turned in uglier-than-expected numbers as likely thousands of Wisconsinites were stripped of their Constitutional right to vote through ridiculous new regulations -- and of course a bunch of shady electronic voting machines run from a company in a suburban St. Cloud strip mall. Fox News flacks and nasty Gloria Borger/Sarah Palin types cackled that the unruly, rebellious hordes had been licked for good. Now, the Paulistas and the rebellious Cheesehead hordes must ask: what's next?!

Perhaps these movements never had too much in common, though you could find some overlapping supporters. Probably the biggest difference is the Liberty types are pretty darn hostile to mainstream unions while the #OccupyCapitol (which the Dems transmuted into #WIrecall) clearly ended up with unions as its main hub. But they shared a hostility to the party hierarchies, business as usual, and to some extent the elite financial/War Machine domestic & international complexes, which has triggered the financial/austerity crisis by sucking out trillions of dollars.

The anarchist strain in Wisconsin, buttressed mainly by the IWW, complemented the non-interventionist libertarian one that's been rolling since about 2007 -- it showed that the new politics that people are actively hunting for is certainly not statist or socialist in the traditional sense.

UPDATE 5:30PM June 10: I got a response of sorts to the piece sent over twitter by @superbranch which is helpful for illustrating a number of details especially Democratic Party machinations: http://pastebin.com/vKh3tfh6 - Thanks!! I only had a view from a distance for most of this affair, so it's good stuff.

UPDATE 6:10PM June 10: Someone suggested that all anarchists are by definition socialists, though I think of socialism as a statist set of philosophies. In older times some labeled this "state socialism" vs. "libertarian socialism." See an Anarchist FAQ, example Kropotkin: "[s]o long as Socialism was understood in its wide, generic, and true sense -- as an effort to abolish the exploitation of Labour by Capital -- the Anarchists were marching hand-in-hands with the Socialists of that time", etc. & also see Black Flame blog. Also Article IV of the General Bylaws of the IWW Constitution specifically forbids "Political Alliances." "To the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organisation, the IWW refuses all alliances, direct or indirect, with any political parties or anti-political sects, and disclaims responsibility for any individual opinion or act which may be at variance with the purposes herein expressed." Thus while I would say they are still anarcho-syndicalist, they are not formally set up as 'anarchist' per se. I feel I over-generalized in how I characterized the IWW, so sorry about that! (see also The League of Peace and Freedom for an org from that era)

UPDATE June 11: I mentioned prominent libertarian Lew Rockwell & forgot about his purported role in that whole Ron Paul "racist newsletter" narrative -- Rockwell is seen by many as the main ghostwriter in the 1980s newsletters. That stuff was creepy. More info here, here, here, here, here, etc. His newsletter compadre Murray Rothbard wrote "Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature" in 1973 which I think illustrates the not-cool-at-all aspect of these guys that led to the ugly views in those newsletters.

******

On the Wisconsin Side: Turning A Broad Popular Uprising Into An AFSCME Bargaining Rights Boxing Match

I've never seen such a staggering level of oppositional political energy squandered in this country like I did at the Capitol rally one clear day last spring. That night, as laborites fumed at the Labor Temple meeting hosted by the IWW and drifted downstairs to commence drinking, I collected Wobbly swag and later driving around Madison speculated with friends what could happen if people occupied dozens of sites like they had the Capitol. Or maybe an image of the future arrived early in my mind. Either way, real-world radicalism receded yet again once more into dull, conventional latency. [cartoon by Toles]

toles-wisconsin-recall.jpeg

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Republicans (which the Dems of course walked right into) was to narrow down and reframe the scope of the opposition from broad, radical revulsion at burning down virtually all aspects of governance in Wisconsin to a small, deeply mainstream, sore-loser election shitfit over government union bargaining rights.

As a party, the Dems just didn't want -- and probably couldn't understand -- an independent network pushing back, outside their control, a decentralized resistance to the Shock Doctrine. There was a real broad and sturdy community commencing in opposition, and the Dems demanded ideological buy-in, then splintered it into a thousand pieces and cast it to the wind. They couldn't recognize the dignity of people that didn't like either party -- people for whom a Recall and Milwaukee's Mayor Barrett didn't answer their questions.

The Democrats & the motivated Wisconsinites couldn't solve the problem of the pointless election industry. in order to fix anything at all, electoral politics needs to be a consequence of organizing for a better society, not the ultimate goal of organizing in perpetual 2-year cycles. In today's system, we have all our available cash thrown at short-lived election industry organizations that produce almost nothing of lasting value -- but they do make broadcasters richer.

How much more vast and worthy a fight it seemed last year. I was there on "Go Home Day," the day the state Democrats basically told everyone to go home and organize to recall the governor. While successful recalls of some GOP state senators did save the north country from a really bad mining project that would have destroyed an Indian tribe and much else besides, (the deciding GOP senator flipped) - and apparently the Wisconsin Senate did flip to Dem control in another recall around Racine as well, the national media, and the Star Tribune, are quite happy to buy the simple GOP narrative.

While Walker's goose still looked pretty well-and-cooked by early 2012, the Democratic Party of course knew how to biff an opportunity better than anyone. At the infamous Go Home Day, those rally-goers would have done damn near anything. If the senators had called for them to do cool actions around the state every two weeks - not just rallies but actual badass shit - everyone would have gone for it. Instead, the solution was conventional election industry operations and endless, destructive primaries.

It's fitting at least the Senate flipped after all the efforts, since the shockingly illegal abuses of power really came through that body, including violating the state's open meeting law to rail through their union-busting bill. It was classic political overreach that came with Shock Doctrine, slashing corporate taxes, trying to privatize the entire U of Wi system into the "Badger Partnership," (since of course it's one of the few old Germanic-style institutions not entirely oriented to corporatism today), Voter ID to block students and minorities from voting, etc. These sudden, broader conflicts added up to an incredibly attractive, unprecedentedly broad & open class war-type super-conflict across the state, which managed to radicalize thousands of heretofore-discreet firefighters and even police officers to protest in the streets & sleep in the Capitol!

The Democratic Party masters in Washington DC must have been appalled by this uprising. It conflicted horribly with their usual approach of throwing a couple bones to organized labor while screwing over them, the students and rank-and-file Dem activist types as much as possible, as they have year after year, to the benefit of the national security and financial industries.

tumblr_lhwry1Jbe51qduy0jo1_r1_1280.png

Chris Cillizza put it in the Fix, probably with great accuracy, that the national Dems did not want to see a recall election: "There was considerable internal discussion and disagreement between Washington and Wisconsin Democrats (and organized labor) about whether to push for a recall election this summer or wait until 2014 for a chance to unseat Walker. (Washington Democrats broadly favored the latter option, Wisconsin Democrats and labor the former)."

More to the point they did not want to see an independent populism rising in this country without Dem political hacks steering it away from their big contributors, such as the Wall Street criminals that have been fleecing the rest of the party base for years. This same dynamic played out again when the federal government through Homeland Security and the FBI, and Democratic mayors coordinated to dismantle the Occupy encampments in late 2011, then the Feds turned to setting up informant based-stings into 2012 in order to psyop the media away from the message that our institutions and politicians have grossly failed us. These stings were synthesized for Mayday and the Chicago NATO Summit, it was no accident.

Now, at least, the problem of post-Citizens United elections financed mainly by the likes of the Koch brothers, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and corporate treasuries have been laid bare. At the bottom of the tens of millions of dollars pumped into the state by many anonymous entities, Wisconsinites were paid $50 a pop to post yard signs, $20 to attend events, etc., and now at least the people know this is the core truth of modern electoral politics. According to one person I talked to, even Walker campaign workers were depressed by the massive constant cash flow. They knew it was an arrival at a new low. He who has the gold, rules. But who will carry the truth out of cheese country?

And as always, national and local media walk away from shady election practices -- irregularities are nothing but sour grapes and jags in the already agreed-upon narrative everyone's sticking with, kid. Only weirdos like BradBlog care about the hundreds of complaints -- of citizens being stripped of the one available gesture which underpins the entire legitimacy of the system. Maybe those people, lacking a voice in their own governance, will take things to a more direct level. At this point, why shouldn't they rebel against the apparatus? Freedom's just another word for no votes left to lose....

The Dems have a decent shot at keeping the state politically divided, even with the GOP's advantageous redistricting, which for example will add conservative exurban Chicagoans to the Racine district that flipped D last week. The national GOP and the state press probably won't admit it, but the enthusiasm for scorched-earth politics has long worn off and glorious gridlock will return.

I saw on Twitter speculation about a General Strike for Milwaukee -- and a lot of activists apparently haven't enjoyed their tenure working in electoral politics with the Democrats. We could see more direct action - and with a relatively militant street protest in Milwaukee along with an Quebec sympathy march by Occupy Chicago getting beaten down by CPD last week, more radical politics along Lake Michigan is probably in the cards. People signed those recalls for a reason and they're going to want to do something different, to keep organizing against the tidal force of big money.

******

Et Tu, Rand Paul! Truthers & Liberty Movements lose their vanguard & screech to a halt?

A decidedly different arc of the spectrum finally got the letdown they've been staving off for months this week, and now they too need to put their pieces back together and move along. Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo had Rand pegged way back in September 2010: he was playing footsie with the neocons but the Paul network people didn't want to believe it. (and mapped the wind-down in February) Today they're reeling -- it seals what they've avoided facing for a couple months, that the GOP nomination is finally out of reach. Here's the man enthusiastically endorsing Mittens:

Seriously, he looks more depressed than anyone I've ever seen touting Republicans on Fox News. But I think the back conversation is also illustrative: Rand Paul has always been clear that Kentucky coal mines are awesome and SOPA was evil & worth opposing. This is the awesome package you get with the Liberty movement.

Via Mike Adams: Linguistic analysis of Rand Paul's endorsement of Romney contradicts his words: Rand Paul is disgusted with him! I kind of had to sigh at this whole piece, which is too bad because usually Adams is peppy and kind of fun in how he sticks it to the FDA deathfood industrial complex:

It is the system itself that is broken, corrupt and defunct. This is the very point of Lew Rockwell, who explained in a recent interview with RT that the government itself is always the problem, and that no government can rescue the People from the problems of government: http://www.prisonplanet.com/lew-rockwell-ron-paul-and-rand-paul-are-d...
[.....]
Personally, I completely agree with Alex in saying there is no compromise allowed. No doing deals with the devil. If we support liberty, we must deny our support for those who oppose it. We must never allow ourselves to become part of the very system that is destroying our economy, our liberties and our future. It is widely acknowledged now -- even on the political left -- that Obama is a traitor to America, but there is no indication that Romney wouldn't be even worse. He's practically a white version of Obama, with much the same platform: Government-run socialized medicine, high taxes, War on Drugs, secret military prisons, banker bailouts, gun confiscation and so on. Having Romney runs things in Washington will produce no better results than we've already seen over the last four years. It may even be worse, if you can imagine that.

[.....] I am not yet denouncing Sen. Rand Paul, as I still hope there is a double agent aspect to his actions and that somehow he will emerge as a defender of liberty. In my view, his track record has at least earned our patience in observing this situation a little longer. However, if Rand Paul continues down this path without explanation, it is all but clear he will destroy his political career and lose virtually his entire support base -- the very people who put him in the U.S. Senate in the first place.



As with all lovers of liberty, my patience is running out, and I'm beginning to think Lew Rockwell was right all along:All government is inherently evil and destructive, and that we are all foolish to think government can ever be changed through elections.

[bold emphasis his] I'm not exactly an enthusiastic statist, but this isn't really the nation's most productive perspective. Lew Rockwell is probably best described as a hard-core Libertarian, maybe even a Voluntaryist and/or "Market Anarchist" (see the Center for a Stateless Society) which is a set of views most Anarchists vehemently disagree with. Capitalism without the collection of memes and buildings we call a government would really suck even more than it does now. If we can envision a way to somehow finally move out of capitalism and leave capitalism's main organizer, the government, behind with it, that would be a little more balanced.

But this perspective isn't coming out of left field altogether - there's in a reason that Voluntaryist type thinking is more attractive than ever on the American Right and capital-A Anarchism is way more popular than a year ago, mostly thanks to the Occupy Wall Street project that blew up way beyond anyone's expectations.

While there's an escapist quality to libertarianism and anarchism, everyone wants to escape for a reason. There's a tangible sense - backed up with countless examples - that these structures held over us through violence, coercion and endless ranks of nasty little helpers - are utterly indifferent if not outright hostile to our chances of survival, let alone defending our dwindling freedoms. Shocked anyone would feel that way? Without much effort, we can feel a prison state closing in around us, seemingly poisoning everything from our pores to our skies to our souls.

Embitterment with the corporatist two-party system and its agenda of perpetual resource wars under loathsome, almost occult, entities like the IMF and NATO, along with a collapse in the standard of living for tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans, has brought plenty of anger towards government institutions that seem to exist solely to protect corrupt corporate cartels at the expense of smaller players (see the Gibson guitar drama, or FDA's love affair with big pharma), along with running protection for a rapacious and insane financial industry which has defrauded the American people of countless trillions of dollars in assets & hard-won dollars.

But the people feeling most burned this week outside of Wisconsin might be the Truthers who believed in Ron Paul. No one's done more to tie the people who refused to buy the government narrative on the Sept 11 2011 terrorist attacks to the Ron Paul network than Texas radio host Alex Jones.

While I certainly don't agree with plenty of Jones' views -- and I told him a month ago when I had the chance that it was important for all of us to avoid being conveyor belts for fear -- many people who criticize him are partly doing so simply because the national scene of Terror Narrative skeptics aka "Truthers" is so weak and divided that he's by default That Main Guy, so it must be his fault the available views are so politically narrow & funneled into a certain electoral machine that has now failed to Deliver the Goods.

It's not Ron Paul's fault or Alex Jones' fault that the rest of DC is basically composed of feckless war chickenhawks who are totally hostile to resisting false flags, the war on drugs and other scams of the military-industrial-intelligence-congressional complex. We all know modern COINTELPRO keeps the political discussion locked in a certain box. But was Alex Jones "duped" by Ron Paul? Check this out...

Here's just a classic recent moment worth watching between Jones and the closest thing he has to a mainstream left counterpart, the bookish conspiracy wonk Webster Tarpley. In this video, Alex Jones' years-long campaign to advocate Ron Paul's election shop finally comes to a sputtering end as Tarpley points out a lot of deliciously salient yet in retrospect quite obvious political points from the campaign. For great lulz he says Paul & Romney represent the amiable merger of southern Scottish Rite Freemasonry (a la Secret Sun) and the crypto-Freemasonic beliefs of Mormonism.

Tarpley, who has a quasi-FDR style political outlook has done a lot of nice pieces and books [Synthetic Terror PDF] over the years, and as a former associate of Lyndon LaRouche (also FDR-like in a weird way) he never saw a Anglo-Dutch conspiracy he didn't like to flush out.

Tarpley points out that Ron Paul declined to really attack Romney at all in the GOP debates, generally firing on Romney's leading opponents and also deflecting their anger. With Romney's cousin Huntsman as the opposite left/centrist flank, the good doctor was able to absorb basically all the anti-establishment votes against Romney. When Jones is holding the mic, you can just hear Tarpley saying that Paul ran interference for Romney and Jones ran interference for Paul. OUCH.

Obviously I felt it was beneficial to the country to have Paul challenging the warmongers and exposing their bloodthirsty insanity, the disturbingly unvarnished Id in some of those crowds, and it would have been better to have a Paul vs Obama campaign to force the war & big brother state issues to the fore. But this was never really in the cards, even if Paul would have been a better general election candidate for the GOP than Romney (which he probably would have been).

This, after all, is American electoral politics. Frank Zappa characterized it as the entertainment wing of the military-industrial complex and of course he was right. The intelligence structures are never going to let anyone advance into office who would undo the National Security Act of 1947 and the cultish secret state it initiated to be undone.

They are perfectly happy to keep everything managed under two-party dialectics with tons of corporate money swaying all the big issues. Since we don't have a parliamentary system anywhere in this country, with party lists that would permit minority viewpoints a legislative voice, every interesting electoral project, from Howard Dean or Ralph Nader to Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, become exercises in futility, white knights to rally the less-brainwashed masses & follow off to electoral oblivion with great fanfare. And if things get too close, a few Nixonian dirty tricks and buffer overflows in the voting machines can clean it up in no time.

Hell, if Lyndon Johnson wouldn't even expose Richard Nixon's treasonous blocking of the Paris peace conference on Vietnam, what chance does this more lame and greasy generation of politicians have?

In the GOP process this year, the anti-Paul people made sure to lock out & dirty-trick as many Paulistas as they could, leading to memorably weird chaos at normally-staid GOP conventions across America. The Romney 'network' is about an inch deep (apart from Bain operatives making trouble China & stuff), while seemingly endless weird networks of lolcats affiliated with the Ron Paul campaign.

In the 2008 cycle, it was insightfully put that the Paul campaign was very deliberately a narrative void or a cipher, so that the Truther groups could happily write themselves into the narrative and identify with it, along with IT nerds, the post-Perot types, and at the darker end, much more creepy prejudiced nativist types & etc. (and this varied heavily state-to-state, with Michigan less creepy than Arizona, etc.).

Unfortunately, because the Truther movement just didn't have a good broad nature in the political spectrum (well it does, but it doesn't operate that way), working with the anti-militarist Paul campaign to recruit and hang onto all those rebelliously-minded people effectively diverted them from possibly amplifying other efforts. He'd talk about false flags and ideals of liberty, but did Paul ever make it clear people needed to get out of their political comfort zone to take on adversaries we all share?

The ideological buy-in needed to become a true believer in electoral politics made rivals of people that could have and should have been allies -- in their own best interests. For example, it drove a wedge between Ron Paul fans who became Rand Paul fans, who liked his deregulatory push on coal mines, against the mountaintop removal activists. That wedge is perhaps the tragedy -- could it be undone?

What if everyone had instead agitated -- in a non-partisan style -- at their state legislatures against the corrupt operations of the federal government, the false flags, the constant stings and setups targeting both left and right, not to mention Muslims? What if they'd done direct actions together in the field against minions of the police state? There was a real biffed opportunity to build a good, multi-level resistance network outside of the traps and pitfalls of electoral politics.

Hopefully the remainders of the 2012 Paul network can pick themselves up and pivot more to more broad social issues, as well as the Big Brother system which is rapidly expanding -- if they can get a handle on how the Federal Reserve, while a keystone, is in many ways just the trade association or front-plate for the politically engaged big banks (with an infinite money printer).

The Big Brother system isn't exclusively government-based either, despite what Lew Rockwell and Mike Adams believe. It's really getting implemented by less than 25 military-industrial contractors with about 300 below that, and another several hundred below them. I can only expect these people to redouble their scrutiny and fierce public resistance, sending many would-be technocratic control freaks running for cover. The gains they made in the formal GOP system will add more wrinkles to what looked like an easy rollout for the prison state.

The Big Brother complex is capitalist, not in the sense of a 'free market' but in the sense it's commidifying everything about human freedom. It arrives through statism, but with dollar signs. It's the tender mercies of the GEO Group letting 'juvies' get sexually assaulted in hellish Mississippi private prisons. It's having foot locators on everyone. Ex by Matt Stoller: Profit-Driven Surveillance and the Spectrum of Freedom: “We will offer electronic monitoring services in every state.”

******

So now, between Wisconsin and the Truthers and the Ron Paul cats, here we sit, at the long dark teatime of the soul, as Douglas Adams put it. All our shared problems mount and continue to deteriorate -- the usual foibles of humanity, greed, idolatry, the search for white knights to preserve that which never existed in the first place, the hunt for strange new threats from within and without -- all of these are still with us. Ancient Greek historians would chuckle that twenty-some centuries later, we fall for the same damn tricks every time.

Perhaps as they say there is nothing new in the universe, but I've seen a lot of synchronicity. I've seen a lot more pieces fall into place and weirdly line up than I think my traditional atheist mundane-universe perspective could explain. After all, today's militant Dawkins type atheists can't explain too well why evil -- and its handmaiden, war -- impose such a powerful force of their own. Nor can they explain what summons people to such resistance, or on occasion such luck and grace.

Even when dealt those staggering blows -- even when your political projects seemingly turn to dust overnight yet again -- besides the fond memories of fighting the good fight with your comrades, you made new friends, you built new skills, you showed the novices a thing or two. You didn't live on your knees, you threatened the despicable & illegitimate flows of authority. From time to time, you really wigged them out. And yes, you won a victory, two, or three, and inspired a few more.

The challenge, of course, is for all these people to reach outside their comfort zone, to abandon the elections-first perspective and turn to the more difficult project of politics in real time, not the deferred imaginary future image produced by the operatives of election industry, the illusionary catharsis they pitch as tomorrow's ballot box.

For reference: A convoluted BlackBloc debate - Summarizing dickering on the Adbusters Mayday post

This post is a spinoff of a larger, incomplete project. Hopefully, it can be completed! :D

Having more time on my hands than I expected lately, I've been scouring the interwebs for everything I can find about the ongoing debates around militant direct action, protest tactics, the nebulous fate and hodgepodgy status of the Occupy Wall Street movement across North America -- along with related movements such as the Quebec uprising.

My whole inquiry really got rolling after reading a relatively ridiculous writeup on the ugly interval at the Chicago NATO summit by some guy from US Uncut, Carl Gibson: Cut It Out: An Open Letter to Black Bloc Anarchists, who made some generalizations based upon "According to those who were there... By starting confrontations with riot police during the ceremony.... All you did was attract more riot police to an otherwise peaceful event, leading to kettlings, beatings and arrests. Way to go. [....] Nobody asked you to be the self-appointed 'Defenders of Dissent' at our actions. Nobody asked you to give us lessons in how to be 'real activists.' If you want to join the movement, join the movement."

It certainly appeared from my remote vantage point that the event was kettled on three sides from the get-go and the Chicago PD started beating the shit out of people with batons without any substantial aggressive acts on the part of the bloc types.

Obviously Carl's reasoning justifies the ol' state violence beat-down without actually proving his point at all -- free form demonization. And the usual boundary-patrolling of who gets to "join the movement" is an eye-roller considering that OWS was at its core obviously a wild-eyed project mostly launched by capital-A Anarchists in the first place.

And of course, Carl buys into the silly notion the opportunistic Chris Hedges maliciously dumped into the mix in January, which is that the black bloc is some discrete sub-group like Blue Dog Democrats or the Congressional Black Caucus, not an anonymized mode of protest utilized by rank-and-file Occupy regulars & others, with a history stretching back at least as far as that iconic colonial Tea Party incident.

Having myself been loosely around the scene which gave rise to the 2008 Republican National Convention St. Paul Principles that then gave OWS that complex three-word phrase "diversity of tactics," I feel like the whole thing is almost old news. It's all quite a bit bigger than black bloc, after all. The late great Walker Church, the RNC8 Defense Committee, the whole debate which once seemed bounded by the Twin Cities barged out into North America to wig out perhaps thousands of people!

I don't feel like laying out all the major points floating around right now, but in the process of pulling links I started pulling the more relevant points and counter-points from the Adbusters piece on MayDay, which had, let's say a number of issues.

It seems like Adbusters wasn't accurate about how things in NYC went down that day (though I wasn't there myself). It also fails to really inform readers about more aggressive & violent tactics from the state, and there are plenty of important elements to share with readers who might not be familiar with that kind of madness. (Not to justify it like Carl avidly does, but it's important to at least inform readers about police & intelligence tactics when discussing militant protest tactics!)

The rightwing anti-Occupy leeches -- less fun now they've lost their main man Breitbart -- only have drab pieces such as this WorldNetDaily: Anarchist tactics ‘future’ of Occupy movement, which was a riff upon #7 Battle for the Soul of Occupy | Adbusters, touting the various MayDay black bloc actions...

Anyway I wanted to put up this condensed collection of comments for reference because I think it caught much of the anarchist/marxist/capitalist/mainstream/reactionary/confused/trolling spectrum of the debate. If you want a sample of the juncture of the issue, I think this is a useful skim.

Along with a few historical, zine, video & PDF links for variety, here is a condensed view of those comments from Adbusters for yr political reference.

~~ TO BE CONTINUED WITH WAY MORE AWESOME LINX LATER ~~

A moment of police state zen: White House-approved Homeland Security talking points deny federal coordination of Occupy crackdown, in middle of fed email spool coordinating Occupy crackdown

A bunch of new documents have been FOIA'd out showing the various layers of Occupy crackdown. We certainly watched it all happen pretty rapidly from the ol GlobalRev catbird seat. One week, everything seemed weirdly quiet on the eviction front -- then seemingly overnight the police squads rushed in across the country and crushed the camps.

It was an interesting time... wasn't it? As the documents trickle out, we'll start to really see the whole darn thing in a new light -- certainly Occupy enticed so many bad actors & ugly authoritarian meme-systems to head into the blazing scene, intervening in so many ways.

White House (WH) approved talking points from: Partnership for Civil Justice Fund - DHS Releases More Documents on Occupy to PCJF:

Screen shot 2012-05-15 at 4.03.15 AM.png

Some hub of shenanigans known as the Homeland Security National Operations Center (or NOC) was evidently the front desk for a lot of this, but PCJF suspects, that looked pretty bad so they redirected put it through local police backchannels as well.

A classic little highlight here from five days before the White House approved talking points, thanks to PCJF:

Screen shot 2012-05-15 at 4.09.43 AM.png

Moar notes: White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown | This Can't Be Happening &etc...

MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza

UPDATE NOV 12 2012: Bureau of Criminal Apprehension files released show questioned law enforcement stonewalling

Video documentation by local activists and independent media shows that police officers and county deputies from across Minnesota have been picking up young people near Peavey Plaza for a training program to recognize drug-impaired drivers. Multiple participants say officers gave them illicit drugs and provided other incentives to take the drugs. The Occupy movement, present at Peavey Plaza since April 7th, appears to be targeted as impaired people are dropped off at the Plaza, and others say they've been rewarded for offering to snitch on the movement.

Local independent media activists and members of Communities United Against Police Brutality began investigating police conduct around the Plaza after witnessing police dropping off impaired people at the plaza and hearing rumors that they were offering people drugs. We videotaped police conduct and interviewed participants, learning some very disturbing information about the DRE program.

Officers stated on record the DRE program, run by the Minnesota State Patrol, has no Institutional Review Board or independent oversight. They agreed no ambulances or EMTs were on site at the Richfield MnDOT facility near the airport where most subjects were taken. Multiple times, participants left Peavey Plaza sober, returned intoxicated, and said they'd been given free drugs by law enforcement. We documented on more than one occasion, someone being told they were sober by one officer, and then picked up by a different officer, and returning intoxicated.

Given the dangers of impaired driving, there is value in training law enforcement officers to distinguish between the effects of various drugs and several common medical conditions. However, we have captured video footage of instances in which DRE trainees recruited subjects who are not already impaired, and those participants say they were given drugs by the officers.

Although program documents indicate that participants must sign a waiver, https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/msp/forms-reports/Documents/SFSTSponsorResp...
there was no indication from any of the participants interviewed that a waiver was offered or obtained. Further, video footage seems to validate the recollections of participants that no medical personnel or ambulance were on site during the observation and testing in Richfield. A DRE officer told one of our investigators that no Institutional Review Board assessment of the program has been made, a requirement of all experiments involving human subjects. Since it's unethical to encourage people to take drugs--whether by giving them drugs directly or enticing them with food, cigarettes, or other rewards (which participants say they were given)--it is unlikely such a program would pass IRB review as it endangers the test subjects.

According to the WCCO article from May 2011, officer trainees in the past have worked with various non-profit organizations to recruit drug users. It would appear now that they are no longer relying solely on this tactic, instead recruiting users directly and, participants say, providing them with drugs. After the sessions, these individuals are then dropped off in public areas without supportive care, creating a public safety hazard. In an example at Peavey Plaza caught on film, an individual who said he's been smoking courtesy of the police for an hour, crossed a line of Minneapolis police barricades, climbed to the top of a large sign and sat 15 feet above the sidewalk swinging his arms and legs in front of a police camera.

Our investigation points to particular efforts to target and recruit youth. Further, law enforcement officers have been taped recruiting people from the Peavey Plaza area of Nicollet Mall and have dropped off a number of impaired individuals at Peavey Plaza. In some instances, Minneapolis police squad cars were present while DRE trainees recruited people at Peavey Plaza. After receiving drugs, some subjects were asked to snitch on the Occupy movement or asked about various people and activities of Occupy, they said. Given efforts by the Minneapolis city council to pass an ordinance designed to restrict access to Peavey Plaza by the Occupy movement, the conduct of DRE trainees points to the possibility that they are working hand-in-glove with Minneapolis police to discredit and disrupt the Occupy movement.

"I think most people would be very surprised to have our tax dollars used to get people high," states Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality. "These activities call into question the methods and motives of this DRE training."

- more updates - http://facebook.com/occupymn - http://twitter.com/occupymn
*******

Note by Dan Feidt (hongpong) -- in this particular case I ended up questioning the deputy, other sources, as well as helping wrangle the story together over about 5-6 days, then editing & subtitles, etc., to make the material legible. However this was a large project with many contributors and videographers who took on a risky story and put it on the line to get the truth.-
- contact info - hongpong@hongpong.com - http://twitter.com/hongpong

Syndicate content