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IT’s ON–May Day Is A Movement Day: Occupy’s Spring Offensive, Jordan in Turmoil

May 1st, 2012 - by:

RAIN, RAIN. RAIN IN NEW YORK. OWS TEXT SAYS “ITS A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A GENERAL STRIKE.” PROTESTS PLANNED IN 135 CITIES. MAIN NY EVENT: MARCH UNION SQUARE TO WALL STREET AT 5:30 PM

Terror War Unabated

Today is the anniversary of the liquidation of Osama bin Laden. Just had dinner with a very well informed UN official who tells me, off the record, without attribution, that he hears that Al Qaeda is, in fact, growing with Jidhadis fighting in Libya and Syria. Their influence is clear in the insurgencies in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia etc.

There have been recent reports that Al Qaeda which has a reputation for never rushing is still preparing to react to the killing of bin Laden.

• Fluent: ‘Bin Laden worried about al-Qaeda’s image’

• Latest Fear: US officials claim terrorists might attack aircraft with bombs surgically implanted …

Reported by Brian Ross of ABC News … authorities told ABC News today they fear al Qaeda may soon try … Middle East has been substantially stepped up, with a focus on U.S. carriers. …

•US Admits Terror of Its Own: U.S. official acknowledges drone strikes, civilian deaths

Watch: Tensions Threaten Jordan. I join a discussion on PressTV.

Today Is The Day

The text from Occupy Wall Street couldn’t be more explicit: “We will shut this city down.”

The language also couldn’t be more apocalyptic, but the gods may not cooperate. It is raining and 55 degrees here in New York.

The Yes Men say:

“Today, Mayday, the weather is cancelled! All that will matter is getting out in the streets and participating.”

Activists have been in “spring training” for weeks and, no doubt, so has the NYPD.
It’s showdown time. Occupy has to prove it has the muscle to keep the movement moving. The Cops have to prove they will stop them.

Tension mounts here in River City.

•Raw Story: Occupy May Day protesters sense chance to regain autumn momentum

•Joseph Cachia: “This year International Workers Day arrives with more than 220 to 250 million of the world’s workers unemployed. The UN predicts that up to more than 61 million more could be thrown into the streets by year’s end.”

•MAY DAY DECLARATION 2012: Wealth belongs to those who produce it

The World Federation of Trade Unions addresses a
fraternal salutation to all working women and men
around the world. The 1st of May is the day that
reminds us of our irreplaceable social role in the
production of all the wealth in the world.

The impact in the peoples lives is dramatic:

16% of the total population is undernourished.
Unemployment rises continuously. 1 out of 6 people
worldwide do not have access to adequate clean water.
More than 100 million people are homeless. Millions
live in slums. Hundreds of millions of people live on
rent or have to pay unbearable house loans in order to
get their own home. 920 million people remain
illiterate. 8,1 million children died in 2009 before
reaching five years of age. Each year about 2,1 million
people around the world die from vaccine-preventable
diseases. The workers rights in decent basic salary,
social security, free and qualitative public services
(education, healthcare, transport, electricity) are
being undermined and attacked. The freedom of
association and the trade union freedoms in general are
being attacked. Trade unionists are murdered,
imprisoned, fired.


From OWS:May 1 communication

Want to help tell the Occupy story? Visit map.occupy.net for a crowdsourced history of the movement, where you can find and add news, photos and videos as events unfold.

Want a tactical tool to help keep you safe, mobile, and informed? View sukey.org/mayday on your smartphone for a timely overview of what’s happening on the ground. Tweet with #sukeynyc to send us reports, photos or videos – or submit a report to Sukey directly, when you click on the dinosaur head to bring up a menu and then select the reporting tool.

Use Vibe on your iPhone or Android device to post #M1NYC or #MayDay updates with complete anonymity.

Listen to MayDay Radio (maydayradio.occupy.net) live on your smartphone – or FM radio!
Watch Media for the 99 Percent (mediaforthe99percent.com) for nationwide live TV, streaming, and breaking news from a consortium of independent media.
Text “@MayDayAction” to 23559 for day-of text updates on ongoing events.

Yesterday, the OWS website published last minute tips:

What To Bring

(1) An affinity group: An affinity group is a group of people you know and trust. Before going to the demo, bring together a group of 2 or more friends and discuss your plans for the day, the tactics you plan on using, how comfortable you are risking arrest, etc. Everyone should have an affinity group, even if its just casual or informal. Once at the march, stick together and try to leave together. If someone has to leave early, make sure they do it safely. Make sure you have each other’s phone numbers. It might be a good idea to pair together more experienced protesters with newers folks. Most importantly, look out for each other.
(2) Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to run in and won’t give you blisters. If possible, wear water-proof shoes. (There is a chance of showers tomorrow in NYC.) Don’t wear open-toe shoes.
(3) Band-aids: Your comfortable shoes may not be so comfortable after a day of marching, so bring band-aids in case of blisters.
(4) Water: Seriously. Lots and lots of water.
(5) Snacks: Especially nonperishable food like dried fruit, energy bars, nuts, and things that are easy to eat on-the-move.
(6) Backpack: Carry your stuff in a backpack. It´s easier to carry than a purse, especially if you need to run to catch up with a march. Also, pack light. Don´t bring unnecessary or heavy things, especially if you plan on being out all day.
(7) Multiple layers of clothes: Anticipate changes in weather. According to Weather Underground, the high in NYC for tomorrow is 72F and the low is 52F with a chance of showers.
(8) Cell phones and cameras: Cell phones are useful for communicating with others on the ground to get information and stay safe. You can also use video and cameras to document police brutality. You have a legal right to document police behavior and it is usually safe. However, be aware that police (especially the NYPD) have a documented history of targeting grassroots journalists with violence or arrest. (See here for more on your rights as a photographer.) If you do try to document police abuse, make sure you write down or photograph the officer’s badge number. Also be aware that there may be disruptions of service in heavily-clogged, high-traffic areas like lower Manhattan. (On #N17, the largest OWS action in NYC to date, many cell phones mysteriously stopped working.) Also, bring extra batteries and memory!
(9) Maps: Try to be familiar with the area before you go. Bring a map (on your phone or in print) with you and be aware of your surroundings.
(10) Rain gear: It might be a good idea to bring a poncho. Garbage bags also work. Keep in mind some police may perceive umbrellas as a threat. Bring extras of everything, kept dry in your backpack.
(11) Your own sign or banner: If you have a catchy slogan, bust out a sharper and some cardboard and tell the world! Write what makes you indignant; or, write something about the world you’d rather live in. Write why you´re on strike, or why you support #OWS, labor, students, immigrants, etc. Here are some common slogans: ¨Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out,¨ ¨We Are The 99%,¨ ¨Occupy Everywhere.¨
(12) Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day. You can identify them by their orange hats. If you have important information for them (for example, one of your friends just got arrested) let them know. Don´t distract them otherwise. To report arrests on May Day in NYC, call the NLG at 212-679-6018. To help, text OWS-JS to 774-254-4697.
(13) Know how to Mic Check: One easy way to convey information to large groups of people is by using the People’s Mic. One person (or a few people) first yell ¨Mic Check!¨ Everyone who hears them responds by echoing ¨Mic Check!¨ After that, one person says a few words and pauses to let the crowd repeat those words. If you hear someone mic check, let them know by repeating too; that way, the people around you can also listen. However, if you disagree with what someone is saying, you don’t have to repeat it. This is a useful way to make spontaneous, democratic decisions. However, you should also be aware that false or misleading information can sometimes spread quickly this way, so don’t assume something is true just because it was said over the People’s Mic. (Hint: If you hear people chanting ¨Shame!¨ or ¨The whole world is watching!¨ it often means that police brutality and/or arrests are happening nearby. If you’re trying to avoid arrest, go the other way. Or, if you want to help or document, head over!)
(14) Smart phones: If you have one, install free aps like Twitter and Livestream so you can keep up on what´s going on elsewhere. There might be something important happening just a block away, but impossible to see. The best way to get up-to-the-minute information is by following Twitter accounts. Here are a few: @OccupyGenStrk | @StrikeEverywher | @OccupyGenStrike | #M1GS | #GeneralStrike | #MayDay | @OWSMayDay. However, as with Mic Checks, be aware that information on Twitter might not be 100% accurate.
(15) Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here. If you are a transgender or gender non-conforming, check out this helpful document for trans people participating in direct actions. If you are an active duty Service Member, note that your rights are different. (See below for some more helpful information if you are worried about being arrested.)
(16) Drums, whistles, noisemakers, giant puppets: They’re fun!
(17) WHAT NOT TO BRING: Illegal drugs, weapons, your address book, anything that could be potentially incriminating (including pictures on your cell phone).

Progressive Media Plans, Assume Mainstream Media Will Downplay


‘Media for the 99 Percent’ Challenges Corporate Media with Joint Coverage of May Day Protests Nationwide


San Francisco, CA—This year, International and Immigrant Workers’ Day, May Day, will usher in a spring of protests fueled by the rise in anti-immigrant legislation and enforcement, a lopsided economic recovery that favors the few, and a reemergent Occupy movement poised to challenge corporate power. 

If past coverage is any indication, corporate media will not tell the May Day story accurately or with depth or analysis. That’s why more than 25 independent media outlets belonging to The Media Consortium are collaborating to provide coordinated, national coverage of May Day events from around the country.
 
Calling themselves “Media for the 99 Percent”
(www.mediaforthe99percent.com), these diverse outlets will offer a live TV and streaming broadcast, an interactive map, breaking news reporting, and coordinated social media coverage across their sites, reaching a combined audience of more than 50 million Americans.

“With this May Day collaboration, independent media will show that live national coverage can reflect the breadth, diversity, and complexity of the American people,” says Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, executive director of The Media
Television and Live Stream Broadcast: Free Speech TV will broadcast live (and live streamed) news coverage throughout the day, featuring reports from around the U.S., as well as in-studio commentary.

Curated Social Media Coverage: Using the Storify platform, Media for the 99 Percent will offer a curated narrative of breaking news via blog updates, along with photos and social media posts from reporters on the ground.

All three content tools are available for embedding by other news outlets and the public. These tools can be found at: www.mediaforthe99percent.com

Dissector Essay for AlJazeera. I expect the full piece to be on AlJazeera.com on May Day.

The Ideas and Vision Behind Occupy Activism: A New Force Emerges

New York, New York: In the Newsrooms, May Day promises to be a hot story, especially if Occupy Wall Street mounts its anticipated militant protests/strike and the police push back aggressively as they always tend to do.

TV’s ‘action news’ mantra remains: ‘when it leads, it bleeds.’ It was police violence that initially turned a minimized story into a dominant one. Protests that had been ignored—and later ridiculed—were suddenly newsworthy when authorities validated them by cracking down. The press thrives on conflict.

Most American media localizes the conflicts and downplays the global nature of this movement as well.

The problem is that these confrontations can be a sideshow, presenting the movement only in terms of protest, and disruption. So far, most of the media has missed the underlying values and vision driving these new movements for change.

Ironic isn’t it, that the American TV networks that spend so much time and money explaining party politics have such a hard time dealing with political ideas that don’t come with party labels attached to name politicians/personalities?

Their parochialism narrows their reporting.

Occupy’s reluctance to spit out a list of prefabricated demands reflects an understanding that our system is broken, and unable to make even the most modest of reforms. By demanding dysfunctional and unrepresentative bodies to do what they are incapable of doing only provides them with the legitimacy they lack in the public eye.

At the sane time, this belief can justify a nothing, or everything stance, that is invariably short-sighted and all too typical in these movements. It leads to attitudes that aren’t only anti reformist – but literally anti reforms.

Reforms are helpful but more than reforms are, in the eyes of many, essential.

Out of public view, the marches and street-fighting pose of the occupiers is not going away, but, rather, it is being amplified, if not supplanted, by the efforts of more than l00 work groups forming a kind of people’s think tank to consider a wide range of issues, ideas, proposals and alternatives.

These are activists who want to transform the system, not just be co-opted in it. They tend to avoid knee-jerk slogans because their goal is more fundamental institutional change, not superficial reform

This “revolution” has encouraged a serious discourse on issues as desperate as how to holding more democratic elections, or replace too big to fail banks with more publicly accountable financial institutions, ending the Federal Reserve and totally overhauling the regulators at the SEC.

These may be reforms, true, but open the door to deeper change of a Wall Street dominated system that has so far defied even mild financial reforms.

In many ways, these groups have supplanted the General Assemblies whose super democratic structures makes it easy for almost anyone to “block” decisions in interminably long meetings. Consensus may be considered a great goal but is also harder to achieve than many expected, and can lead to homogeneity, not diversity.

Daily Beast: U.S. Cash Went to Iraq Insurgents

According to a new audit, some of the $4 billion authorized to improve relations between the two countries actually went into the pockets of the insurgents the U.S. was trying to fight. The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reports on what happened with Commander’s Emergency Response Program—and why the program was still called a success.

Bragging Rights?

One World Trade Center, the so-called Freedom Tower currently under construction in Lower Manhattan, technically became New York City’s tallest building on Monday, as workers erected steel columns on the 100th floor, 1,271 feet above the street, to make it stand 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building’s observation deck.

The Freedom Tower, which is being built to replace the twin towers that fell during the 9/11 terror attacks, won’t be completed until 2014. When it is, it will be 104 stories and likely declared the tallest building in America—surpassing Chicago’s 1,451-foot Willis Tower at 1,776 feet.

The achievement isn’t without a little controversy. As the Associated Press points out, “those bragging rights will carry an asterisk.” The reason? A “408-foot-tall needle that will sit on the tower’s roof. Count it, and the World Trade Center is back on top. Otherwise, it will have to settle for No. 2.”

News of Note

Raw Story: Ron Paul and Paul Krugman debate economic theory

Reuters: Fed officials, hawk and dove, agree: no more easing

Provocation? CLG Reports:

Envelopes With White Powder Sent to NYC Mayor and 6 Banks –The message led some officials to speculate that the mailings had been orchestrated by [wait for it... it's good...] the Occupy Wall Street movement. 01 May 2012

On the eve of planned May Day protests across the country, envelopes containing white powder were sent to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and six banks in Manhattan, officials said Monday. The envelopes, intended to frighten their recipients but later found to be harmless, caused evacuations and shutdowns of the bank branches and a city building while the Police and Fire Departments investigated. No person or group immediately claimed responsibility for the mailings.

Huff Post: Friends Of Democracy, PAC-Super PAC Hybrid, Launched To Go After Other Super PACs

•Fluent: Ethnic Profiling By TSA? Ethnic Profiling App Made for Complaints’

•Fluent: ‘Anti-Obama ads full of false claims’

•NYT: Barak Says All Israeli Options Remain Open on Iran

Impressive: Photo of the Day From Guardian Eyewitness Ipad App

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