Baroccupy Obama: A Call to Action

This Friday, President Obama will speak about higher education at the University of Michigan Al Glick Field House. As citizens concerned about ensuring that education is accessible to all, Occupy Ann Arbor calls on the people of Ann Arbor, as well as on the UM community to stand in solidarity against the corporatization and control of public education by the 1%.

People will gather 8:30am Friday in front of the Blue Front store at State St. and Packard. Folks from Occupy Ann Arbor will be passing out flyers, then all will march together as close as we can get to the Field House for Obama’s 9:30 speech.

Bring chants, signs, noise makers, and good cheer as we stand up for accessible education!

Check out the Facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/events/286303971423199/

The Occupy Ann Arbor Direct Action working group has released the following call to action.

This Friday, January 27, President Obama will speak at the University of Michigan Al Glick Field House. Obama’s visit could not be more timely. As tuition costs rise, University President Mary Sue Coleman is becoming a vocal champion of market-driven “solutions” to decreased state funding. Last month, Coleman wrote an open letter to Obama in which she called on university presidents, business leaders, and wealthy individuals to tackle the rising costs of higher education.

It is becoming increasingly evident that leaders such as Obama and Coleman see education, less as a public good necessary for the health of our democracy, and more as an “investment” in stregthening US competitiveness in the global marketplace. At a time when the global economy is in crisis, Coleman’s aim to employ educational institutions in service of revitalizing the US economy may seem noble, but her market-centric language betrays her real priorities. When Coleman states that American business “has a vested interest in the talent and research embodied in higher education,” it becomes clear that she and her allies on Wall Street and in the US Chamber of Commerce want an educational system that serves the interests of the 1% over the rest of us.

Obama’s visit comes as Coleman calls for heightened collaboration between University and business leaders. UM is re-purposing ex-Pfizer properties to house researchers conducting corporate-friendly research and faculty “entrepreneurs” engaged in University-sponsored startup ventures. Coleman calls on wealthy alumni and “philanthropists” to contribute to University endowments, which in turn are invested on Wall Street and used to fund business ventures. These initiatives represent the same failed policies of corporate and political elites to drain public resources and impose austerity, all the while benefiting the 1%, whom our leaders have been quick to praise as “job creators.”

We call on the people of Ann Arbor, as well as on the UM community to stand in solidarity against the corporatization and control of public education by the 1%. We call on everyone to see President Coleman’s promotion of “entrepreneurship,” capital investment, and “philanthropy” in the face of neoliberal austerity as intimately connected to the myriad policies that have unjustly concentrated wealth in the hands of a small elite. We call on various groups to organize actions around the University’s crackdown on organized labor and to actively resist the pro-corporate policies of the Coleman administration. We are the 99% and we stand for education that serves everyone, not simply those with the deepest pockets.

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The 6th Inter-Occupational Summit @ Occupy Flint! (January 19th, 2012)

The 6th Inter-Occupational Meeting and Protest

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

12pm: Flyer Canvassing Action
7pm: Summit Assembly

Occupy Flint Camp
Corner of 2nd Avenue and Martin Luther King
Flint, MI.

This 6th Inter-Occupational Summit Assembly will be held at 7pm with a canvassing action taking place at noon. All events will take place at the Occupy Flint camp on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Martin Luther King in Flint. Even if you arrive after 12pm, you can still participate in the action as there will be someone at the camp with flyers and instructions. The camp will also be having before the Summit Assembly, so please bring something to share if you are able!

Michigan Inter-Occupational Summit

Statement of Purpose

– What is the purpose of a summit?
o To create a sense of community for Occupy across the region.
o To increase inter-occupational communication.
o A chance for a larger group to be more participatory in Occupy statewide.
o A way of mobilizing more people within the movement.
o A way for occupations to share information and experience for the purposes of collaboration as well as autonomous action.
o An opportunity to use observations of the hosting occupation to strengthen their home occupation.

Guidelines

– It is suggested that the Hosting Occupation arrange an event or action during the day prior to the Summit Assembly; this allows the Hosting Occupation to take advantage of the increased numbers that the Summit brings. Examples include:
o Canvassing
o Teach-ins
o Protests
o Potlucks
– The Hosting Occupation is:
o Not required to have a camp.
o By volunteer only.
o Not required to provide food.
o Asked to facilitate the Summit Assembly, but may request assistance from outside of their Occupation, if so desired.
– The Summit Assembly is an Inter-Occupational gathering at 7pm.
o All represented Occupations will have the opportunity to give a report-back from their Occupation.
o This is independent from the Hosting Occupation’s usual General Assembly.
– There will be a Summit scheduled approximately every two weeks.
o Decided by consensus at the 2nd Inter-Occupational Summit at Occupy Flint on November 18th, 2011.
o The Summits will alternate between weekdays and weekends.
– The location of the Summit will be hosted by a different Occupation each time, as:
o an attempt to show solidarity throughout all of Michigan.
o a chance to be exposed to locations outside of Home Occupations.
– Summit locations and dates will always be planned two meetings in advance. This will:
o give notice to all Occupiers wishing to attend and need to make arrangements.
o give the Hosting Occupation notice to make arrangements for the Summit.

This is about the coming together of the Occupants from the different cities around Michigan so that we can Occupy Michigan. The point is to for us to join forces and interconnect. This is happening at meetings that are being dubbed Inter-Occupational Summits. Imagine large gatherings made up of those from all the Occupations in the region, imagine occupying Michigan, imagine coming together as a family. It starts locally then goes from there. There’s no reason that each state can’t get all the Occupations together to Occupy that state every so often. With total state wide solidarity we can go even bigger and convene on a national or international level. Each time the Inter-Occupational meeting will be held at a different camp or location.

Remember our strength is in awareness (understanding), empathy, perseverance and the unity of the masses. We must awaken the sleeping who are ultimately strewn all through out the system and just are not yet aware of the fact that they are also (as much as anyone else) a part of the 99%. We must come together as a family, not just as another cold political organization. We must keep the warmth, the purity, the humility, the leaderlessness, the openness of heart and mind, as well as the resolve and a relentless will. Come together, we must be the change we wanna see in the world cuz guess what, the gov, the media, the universities, the institutions, the police, the military, the “authorities”, the corporations, or anything else we are used to trusting or relying upon are not gonna do it for us, it is solely up to us. It is solely up to us to create a new world.

http://www.facebook.com/events/271716426224421/

Occupy Michigan’s State of the State

Occupy Michigan’s State of the State

Wednesday, January 19th, 2012

6:30pm-10:30pm

Michigan State Capitol Building
Capitol Avenue at Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48906

Dear friends,

Members of Occupy Lansing have been going door-to-door spreading the word that Michigan is in a dire state, and we need honesty and real leadership to get us out of this mess we’re in.

Our neighbors are just as outraged as you are to discover that there have been 55 kindergartners crammed into a single classroom and even more shocking – 72 high schoolers in a classroom under the new Emergency Manager law.  What has most people alarmed is more cities and school districts are on the governor’s Emergency Manager watch list – including the Lansing School District.

Nearly all of us have been left scratching our heads wondering if any of our elected officials have considered what the future holds on this path of political fast-talking with no real solutions.  That is why so many of you have expressed interest in joining us at the State Capitol this Wednesday, January 18, at 7:30 pm, with our very own State of Your State.  Feel free to come early at 6:30 to help us set up.  Visit our event page for more details.

Show our governor and elected officials that the people who are closest to the problems we face have the best solutions to our challenges!  If you can’t make it down for the State of Your State, don’t forget to check out our websitefor more information about the challenges our state faces.  You can also find details about other events and our General Assembly meeting schedule on our website.

We look forward to seeing you there Wednesday!

-Occupy Lansing Outreach
www.occupylansing.net

http://www.facebook.com/events/110837689033577/

Occupy UM Rally at Regents Meeting Today

Participants in Occupy UM will hold Rally for an Open University today at 2:30pm at the Cube on the University of Michigan campus. Here is a statement released in conjunction with this event.

In June the Regents of UM voted to raise tuition for UM students for the 14th straight year. Tuition at UM has now increased 233% since 1990. You Regents are elected officials. You are accountable to the needs and demands of the public you are privileged to serve. Well the public is here. We are here to tell you that you have failed in this service. In raising tuition to such outrageous heights, you have ensured that education is no longer a service for the public good.

There was once affordable public education. Today there is only an expensive commodity. You sell this commodity to wealthy students. To the rest of us you offer a more ominous exchange: an education for a lifetime of student debt.

How have we arrived at this nightmare? You tell us State de-funding creates difficult challenges. We agree.  So we ask you Regents: how have you responded to this challenge?  By fighting back – and fighting for our right to affordable education? Or have you seized the opportunity to strip benefits from workers; raise tuition; and decrease tenure-track positions? You say cut back: we say fight back!

You say these are difficult financial times. We agree. So we ask you: how can we afford 2.5 billion dollars in construction projects? According to your math the pay of 20 senior administrators equals the tuition of 860 students. With math like this you can give no rational answers. So let us be clear: our question about construction is rhetorical. It is rhetorical because you have no valid answers.  We therefore demand: instruction, not construction!

There are two visions for the university. In your vision we must undertake this construction and make these administrators rich. We must build million dollar dorms and luxury boxes in football stadiums. We must have B-School buildings equipped with private gyms. Only then will we attract the best and brightest (to be direct: the richest and whitest) students and faculty. We have another vision. Job security, benefits, and intellectual freedom for faculty and staff; a student body with no student debt; and a community that shatters race and class divisions instead of reproducing them. This university claims to be an institution of inclusion and equality.  Our vision works for the future when this may be true. Your vision ensures its repression forever.

So we are here to reject your vision!  We reject the notion that education is for sale. We reject your participation in and reliance on the student debt industry. You actions imply that we are simply consumers of a product. But we make the university run. We, the students, the staff and the faculty. We teach and participate in class; We clean the dormitories; we fix the buildings; we contribute to public knowledge. We undertake the mundane and exhilarating tasks which animate this institution. So how can you sell to us what is already ours?

The spaces and actions of this university are not yours to privatize or profit from. They are the creation, the resource, and the right of the public. To treat them as if they are not is an obscenity. It is an obscenity not to be tolerated. We will no longer tolerate it!

You tell us that the University – like the State, the Nation and the World – faces economic challenges. You tell us that sacrifices must be made. But from what causes do these economic challenges spring forth? And which lives will be asked to bear the sacrifice? Let us consider these questions carefully. Let us consider them with the responsibility beholden to those whose decisions affect the well-being of a community. Let us consider them with care equal in measure to your acquiescence, your incompetence, and your cowardice in the face of an assault on a public right.

The situation is clear. The University is devolving and degenerating. Rather than generating a confident and conversant public proud of its erudition and equality, it is degenerating into a cloistered corporation whose motor is profit and false prestige.

You have demonstrated your disregard for this monstrous transformation. So we are demonstrating too. We are demonstrating our contempt for your cowardice; our solidarity over your divisiveness; our public right over your private interests.

But Regents do not think yourselves unfairly isolated. We know you are not alone. We know that your failure is shared. The State Legislature shares it; the student loan sharks share it; the Governor shares it; the U.S. Congress shares it. The President shares it. This is why when we address you, we address them too. We address you as representatives of a bankrupt system.

We, the true motor of the university, have two options: either continue to be passive consumers of a product that should not, cannot, must not be for sale; or, reclaim the university as a public space whose true owners are the students, the faculty, the staff, and the community members who make it run. In solidarity with our peers across the country, we opt for the latter vision. We will not stop until we realize it. We are Occupy U of M and we are the 99%!