In today's Election Countdown 2012 news: Occupiers project a giant 99 percent "We the People" message over Indepence Hall, police arrest livestreamers, occupiers surround police and chant "Om" to dissipate tension at the National Gathering in Philadelphia, and more.
D - 69 and Counting*
Did you know America's first holiday was the Fourth? -Porky Pine
Also, in the runup for two days of travel starting tomorrow, I didn't cover Occupy. So to make up for that, I'm going to concentrate on the National Gathering (#NatGat) in Philadelphia, and skip the horse race and the state news. First I'll collect the random but not totally unfriendly coverage from the mainstream in date order, and then I'll curate some tweets. I'm guessing "the real story" - as in OccupyWashington - is relationships formed between people, and that's not possible to cover remotely; we will only be able to see the results later. (In depth coverage would also take into account Philly's deep Quaker heritage; I can't do that tonight, but it's something to watch for.)
Just so we're clear: "Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia, PA June 30 - July 4th, 2012! Endorsed by GA's and NOT affiliated with @99Declaration. #NATGAT #j4ophl #ophl" (Here's #NatGat's photostream; and the tent monster; and a ridiculous quantity of highly paid and sweltering policemen.)
June 29. "The event, which starts Saturday and runs through July 4, is expected to bring about 1,500 protesters [sic] for marches, speakers and camping during the city's annual Independence Day festivities... during a week that already brings more than 1 million tourists to town." (Philly's officials seem as focused on the tourist dollar as Montreal's, but while the Montreal protests were city wide, #NatGat centers on Independence Hall, a single neighborhood near Washington Square, and the exact neighborhood that every single one of those tourists wants to visit. Somehow, I don't think the Philly police are going to be beating up any patrons in bars, unlike the Sûreté. We'll see!)
June 30: "Last night, occupiers projected a "99%" We The People message onto Independence Hall, the spot where the U.S. Constitution was drafted hundreds of years ago." Legacy press style guide: "protester." New media: "occupier.")
July 1, Chris Hedges: "Stop asking yourself whether it's practical, it's never practical. Turn off your television, nothing you do in the eyes of the corporate media is ever going to be a success - you're always going to be deemed a failure ... and listen to the people around you and not the pollution pouring out of the airwaves." Occupier who walked from Albuquerque: "Everybody in the USA everywhere, you get the sense that something is horribly wrong." Occupy activist Dustin Slaughter: "We're trusting people's best judgment. This is a smart movement and people really don't want to be violent." We'll see! "Reports are sketchy. There is a youtube video that clearly shows police fencing protesters in by holding their bicycles in front of them. Twitter reports using the #NatGat hashtag report that a number of livefeed people have also been arrested." Streamer: "I had just walked up to the action. And we were streaming it for the live-stream, and they started arresting all the live-streamers, so we really weren't obstructing anything."
"Occupy Philadelphia member Nate Kleinman says the arrests happened about 9 p.m. Sunday. He says a group of people attending the national conference had been on a spontaneous 'solidarity march' to City Hall when they were arrested. He says the march wasn't part of the conference's organized events."
July 2: "Positively, I can report that last night [July 1], after tensions with police had been elevated in a local park, leading to ridiculous and even violent cat-and-mouse games over the course of an hour between the tenters and the police, the palpable tension in the air was slowly dissipated by several dozen Occupiers holding hands, forming a large circle in front of the police, and chanting "Om." (There is more to be said about the willingness of a larger group of diverse people to chant "Om" together for perhaps 15 minutes, but I will save that for another post.)"
"Occupy Philadelphia's National Gathering joined with disgruntled unionized workers from Verizon to protest through Center City streets during rush hour" (picture). Maybe they're not positively gruntled because Verizon's CEO makes about $11 thousand an hour. Bill Perry, "Veterans for Peace": "[A]ll they want to do is express their right to assemble and their right to express grievances against the big banks and complain about unlimited money in politics and why aren't we feeding the homeless and basic questions. We find that these Occupy kids are our natural allies." (Not only kids!)
Networking: "For me, this is a chance to finally meet face-to-face with people who are doing work in other cities and build real relationships," said Jeff Rae, an Occupy activist who had his Twitter records subpoenaed by the New York District Attorney in March. "In a much broader scope, I hope that at the National Gathering, we can have some real dialogue about what's next for Occupy. New tactics and strategies. Imagine if, after nine months of the civil rights movement, we didn't see significant change. Would we have told civil rights leaders to call it quits?"
"I hope we get to know each other, so we can continue working together as a stronger movement through movement tools such as interoccupy," said Tamara Shapiro, a National Gathering organizer. "Occupy has a mix of experienced and brand-new activists, and I hope we can use this experience to share skills and knowledge. I believe we really need to look to the rest of the country to discover the true strength of the movement. The fact that there are activist communities from all over the country, from Wichita, Kansas to Charlotte, North Carolina, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, that didn't exist a year ago is a sign of strength.'"
Water and food: "This morning it was reported by the Occupy National Gathering Twitter feed that the firefighters were going to let the Occupiers have access to their faucets once again. Cottrell and I went to the fire station to confirm this development. The padlock has indeed been removed from the gate, as you can see in these photos." (Firefighters are important!) "Dinner is served to 400+ at Franklin Sqr. Networking of #occupy from all across the country #NatGat @OccupyPhilly" Occupy Philly served 1200 meals/day, many to local houseless people, before the city evicted them from Dilworth to build a skating rink."
And now some tweets. The twitterverse is big, and these are just the tweets that caught my eye. Deb Henry (Occupy Salt Lake City) @heydebhenry: "Person who sells me coffee at a chain keeps asking questions about Occupy. They're so excited we keep stopping by ;) #natgat"
"Correction, dispute between occupiers not what brought the cops. Quaker elder requested that the drums stop cuz its 1am."
"RT @DSAldridge: It's not about breaking the law, it's about getting all the protestors in a database. #natgat #oslc"
@diceytroop (tweeted the minutes live for the OWS GA. Awesome stuff): "@NerkBuckeye @soopermexican I agree, actually. And people need to negotiate more actively than via currency. Politics is hard. Y'all simple." #NatGat: "UBS blows up mountains," anti mountaintop removal activists are here. MTR is tragic & MUST end. #Occupy"
"Next: "Move towards the injustice!" #NatGat #5WordsOnRace"
@OccupyWallSt: "UPDATE on #NatGat: Police decide arresting Veterans on July 2nd would be a bad look, and move out of the park. Things calming down. #OWS"
"I got tired of sitting @ home & screaming @ the TV. I hope 2 make a difference 4 my grandkids" @occupymemphis http://ow.ly/bX4nf #natgat"
"'open mic' session from the milk-crate/soapbox next to the brick wall (near restrooms), in the shade. All are welcome. #natgat #ows" This is location as the tribes understand it: A function of situational awareness - as opposed to GPS which is, when you think about it, a framework for colonization, and not just because your smartphone keeps wanting you to turn on location services...
Oh, and Atrios - one of the great Philly bloggers - really should bestow the coveted Wanker of The Day award on Howard Eskine. It's only fitting.
* 69 days 'til the Democratic National Convention ends with box lunches for all on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Well, er....