The 3rd Inter-Occupational Meeting and Protest @ Occupy Lansing

The 3rd Inter-Occupational Meeting and Protest

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

12pm: Direct Action
7pm: Summit Meeting

Occupy Lansing
Reutter Park
Lansing, MI.

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 so we can both come together for the sake of large unified Direct Actions (protests, community events, ect) and for meetings that are being dubbed Inter-Occupational meetings. 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. Then with total state wide solidarity we can go even bigger and convene on a national or international level,………… just saying. Each time the Inter-Occupational meeting will be held at a different camp or location.

This 3rd summit will be held at Occupy Lansing which is located in Reuters park on the 3rd of Dec at 12 noon right by the Capitol building.

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 gunna do it for us, ………………………………………………… it is solely up to us. It is solely up to us to create a new world. 

Advertisements

Occupy Lansing – Saturday Nov. 26 – O4A Trip!

The following is a report from your friendly, neighborhood Occupy For All (O4A):

Five members of O4A arrived at Occupy Lansing, coincidentally just after their General Assembly began. Despite our interruption we were welcomed with open arms into their gathering, and placed on stack in order to introduce ourselves at the end of the GA. There were a dozen or so participants, emanating support for one another, their camp and the movement as a whole.

GA discussion revolved around communications issues through use of Facebook and website development. There were concerns about possible website hackings, non-user friendly interfaces and Facebook’s bizarre habit of dropping posts that don’t receive traffic, but may contain essential information. This is a common problem for many Occupies, and O4A encouraged the use of our calendar of Occupy events on our wordpress site. Anyone is welcome to submit an event and it will be posted up for everyone to see!

There was also discussion about the winterization of the camp. There was talk of moving tents closer together, use of a large all-encompassing tarp, and use of polyurethane insulator foam. We also discussed some of the information and plans Occupy Flint has for winterization. Through mutual support and shared knowledge, we hope to aid in the development and maintenance of winter camps. Members of Occupy Lansing are already working toward developing a functional winter camp, but more support is always welcome.

The serious issue of violence was brought to the table, and we are grateful for Lansing’s openness in discussing the issue with us. Violence within camps is a matter of grave severity, and identifying ways of holding people accountable for their actions is a dialogue each Occupy will ultimately have. Occupy Lansing has a “Good Neighbor Policy” that has allowed them to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, but as was brought up during the discussion, there is a lack of an enforcement policy regarding the GNP.  It was determined that the “Three Strikes” rule used for their General Assemblies would be applied for matters of violations of the GNP, and that the General Assembly would have to consense on the matter of an individual’s removal. The members of the General Assembly demonstrated great wisdom and care when discussing the matter, which underscores the importance of open and respectful assemblies, and facing the realities of communal camp living.

Discussion then moved on toward the Inter-Occupy Summit to be held at Occupy Lansing on Saturday December 3rd. A Direct Action is scheduled for noon, and the Summit Assembly for 7:00PM. A huge art project, a people’s mic march and karaoke are ideas for DA being contemplated by Occupy Lansing. What Lansing ultimately plans for the Summit promises to be a great time!

After the General Assembly concluded we met with Occupiers and got the low-down on the situation of the camp. Recently Lansing’s heaters were taken, their kitchen was shut down due to claimed health-code violations, and the fire marshals implied that use of their generators were not allowed. Despite these disruptions, the Occupiers told us that the police have been very supportive, and check in periodically for the camper’s safety. Crime has decreased in the area since the campers moved into Reutter’s park. We also discussed Mayor Virg Bernero’s next visit to camp. Apparently Mayor Bernero has been receiving a lot of heat regarding the camp – many want to see it shut down. But thus far Mr. Bernero has held firm and has been very supportive of the campers, and Occupy Lansing hopes he will re-visit them in the near future. We didn’t walk through much of the camp, but saw the closed-down kitchen, still filled with supplies and their un-used generator (still used for coffee-making!). Many tents there are empty, or are used by weekend campers, and many will be taken down as winter approaches. Currently the camp is spread out over a wide range, but has consolidated since the first trip up by O4A members a few weeks ago, and as winter approaches, things will probably become closer.

We left camp with many hugs and “see-you-soons!” and went with three OL members to Kelly’s, a near-by bar. While the conversation revolved mainly around Occupy, by the time we left it was realized that yes, even the most passionate Occupy person CAN in fact talk about something other than Occupy. An intense nerdgasm was had over X-Men comics, the Avengers and the Hobbit movies amongst other things patently “geeky” [author’s note: and awesome!]

Occupy Lansing has held strong and firm in the face of conflict both externally as well as internally. The members we met and spoke with were showed incredible dedication to their camp and cause, and we greatly look forward to seeing them again this Saturday for the Inter-Occupy Summit!

November 18 Inter-Occupation Meeting Notes

The capstone to yesterday’s Tribal Summit was the 7pm Inter-Occupation General Assembly. Thanks to Lynne from Flint for taking notes during the meeting and sending them in to us. The next Inter-Occupation event will be Saturday October 3 at Occupy Lansing. There will be a Direct Action to be followed by a meeting. Stay tuned for more info on the event. Please email us at occupyforall@gmail.com if you are interested in adding to or amending these notes.

Attendees came from

Occupy Flint, Occupy Ann Arbor, Occupy Lansing, Occupy Detroit, Fenton, “Wanderer”, Occupy for All (Ann Arbor), Occupy Alpena, “Occupy America”, “Wherever the fuck I am”, “from the hood”

Updates

Occupy Ann Arbor

  • Tonight warming shelters benefit for the homeless
  • Black Friday direct action in a big box store
    • Planning tomorrow at 1pm and Tuesday 6pm
    • Can’t discuss details, but the action will be sick
  • There will be an inter-occupational dance party Dec 10th in Ann Arbor
  • Occupy UM: first GA on 30th: This is a group of UM students

Occupy Lansing

  • Peace makers
  • Good place to use your connections
  • Mayor, police, and fire dept support Occupy Lansing
  • Occupy Lansing is excited to unify tribes so that we can take control of our country from the bottom up
  • Will also doing black Friday event
    • Silent protest in meridian mall
    • Walking around with signs and maintaining silence
      • Communicating with signs
  • Occupy Lansing is a good place for the next Tribal Gathering, as it is closer to occupations on the west side of the state

Occupy Detroit

  • The city wants Occupy Detroit out in time for the Thanksgiving parade
    • Thanksgiving parade coming up
    • Need to be out by Tuesday
    • Occupy Detroit is trying to get another week extension
    • Breaking down camp and looking for places to stay for those who have no where to go
  • Dec 5th connect with Occupy Washington
  • At Detroit general assemblies, people do Occupy Detroit silkscreens on clothing free of charge.
  • Slowly progressing and improving
  • Library, school, and UAA unions, city council, etc. are backing Occupy Detroit
  • Some folks are acquiring an indoor space to be used as regional/national outreach center for visiting occupiers to stay and working groups to gather

Occupy for All

  • Occupy for all is an Interoccupational group based in Ann Arbor
  • The group started up, went live and hit Facebook hard doing outreach
  • O4A is a travelling group and is looking to anywhere it can to help out
  • O4A is working to coordinate resources between occupations, including bringing bodies to events
  • Organizing a statewide action
    • Huge event where all come in force
    • Thinking that this will be in Lansing b/c that’s the capitol (but not definite yet)
  • Occupybulletin.org
    • Nationwide bulletin, where folks can call, text, email in to update re: occupations
  • Brought buttons along, and would like to donate a button maker to Occupy Flint
  • O4A exists for all Occupations
    • Occupations are encouraged to send people to O4A meetings in Ann Arbor
    • Collecting supply lists for the various occupatons in MI
    • Creating Michigan-wide calendar so all occupies know what is going on everywhere
  • Web presence
    • Occupyforall.org (There’s a link to the temp WordPress site there)
    • occupyforall@gmail.com (Send info to this address, including events to add to calendar)
    • PLEASE! Send events to Occupy for All calendar! (Urgent events are in red on the calendar)
    • On social media (Facebook, Twitter)
    • Send “all hands on deck” notification to O4A when bodies are needed for emergency actions (Alerts goes out on Twitter and other social media)

Occupy Alpena

  • Just getting started
    • Support from teachers union
  • First public action was on Nov 11
  • There is a temporary occupation downtown, people stayed Sun-Mon overnight
  • No support from city council, mayor etc. yet
  • Do have support from unions and other orgs in area
  • Can protest on sidewalk, but not within the park
  • No webpage yet
  • Still trying to figure out what to do as a group
    • There is an emphasis on community action
    • Raising awareness downtown is still important; need to maintain presence there
  • Haven’t had first GA yet
  • A lot people want to go out, but some people are too scared
  • Alpena is facing a number of hardships
    • “Smell of Alpena” due to factory on north side of town, which is where people live due to low-cost housing
    • Also Wal-Mart came to town 15 years ago
      • This made local businesses close down. No small business can compete with Wal-Mart

Occupy Flint

  • Occupy Flint thanks everyone coming out and protesting in solidarity with Occupy Flint today
  • The camp has been here for 5 weeks today
  • Originally core group meeting up offsite (Riverbank Park) for planning
  • The group was initially not sure if Occupy Flint was going to be a weekend thing or a real occupation
  • Started at rock-bottom with unstable tents, rain, and WIND
  • Turned into solid occupation with amazing, beautiful people
  • “This is a family that we’ve built here”
    • “Trust, love, and solidarity here”
  • Everything we do we do together with general consensus
  • Solidarity is built through everything from living together to a mutual frustration with the government
  • Awesome donations and nonstop fun
  • Morale is the number one priroity
  • Jason is the tech guy (with headlamp on), he is a freak about solar power
    • “Thank him b/c he’s awesome and will spread the tech to all the occupations so they can get off the grid”
  • Sustainability is incredibly important at Occupy Flint:
    • Solar, winterization, wind power, etc
  • 24 hour security and legal
    • The camp practices open-carry
      • “It’s about freedom”
      • “This is all for your protection”
      • Signs posted about armed security
      • If Occupy Flint went to other camps, they would respect any firearm-free policy
  • Media team
    • Created literature and flyers
    • Would like to build solidarity with other occupations by sharing literature
      • Occupy Flint can give other occupations any literature they want and can even modify materials to suit other occupations
    • Those who videotape this meeting, please send video of it to Kat and she’ll put it on the Occupy Flint Livestream
    • Communication security and privacy
      • The web is monitored and censored, so we can’t trust it
      • Ham Radio
        • Would like to promote the use of ham radios by Michigan Occupations
        • Occupations are all over, we can use ham radio to send messages around the world that won’t be disturbed
        • If interested in setting up ham radio, talk to Jerin or Jason
        • Ham radio can send data across as well (images, docs, etc) that can’t be traced or read
    • Internet and Freedom Towers
      • Occupy Flint would like to set up an alternative internet network
      • A freedom tower is a big tower that sucks in internet and gives it out for free
        • Talk to Dave to learn more
    • Occupy Flint would like to spread awareness about SOPA
      • Intellectual property act
      • It is really about censorship
        • basically same thing that China and Iran have
    • Those willing can give Jake name and number after to stay in touch with each other

Future Inter-Occupy Events

  • Detroit has indoor facilities that would be good for future event
  • Getting people from the west side of the state to come is difficult if we have meetings in Detroit (Lansing is the farthest west people came tonight)
  • Lansing is a good place, as it is in the middle of the state and can attract people from more occupations
    • We could use main tent or library auditorium for summit meetings
  • If money is an issue, Detroit may be able to help pay for gas to next summit
  • The group reached consensus on the following points:
    • That inter-occupy meetings will be biweekly
    • That there will be an Direct Action at each summit
    • That we will vary days when summit is held (alternate between weekdays and weekends)
  • We can use inter-occupation coordination to help build camps and bring lots of bodies to help them
  • For the biweekly events:
    • Host city will play large role in planning, but be in open communication with everyone
    • Occupy for All website can include an interoccupy forum
    • Ham radio can also be a key for this type of communication
      • Cost is about $50 to get started
      • There is interest in ham radio workshop
    • Having indoor would be great for inter-occupy meetings: it’ll be really cold really soon!
    • The idea was put forth that there should be 2 people from every occupation staying in touch with each other. Each occupation can let their own groups know what’s going on so that we don’t have tons of people throwing ideas out
      • Someone noted that this sounds like a spokes council
      • Somone suggestes that if we have delegates, that what the deligate says should be officially approved by the home occupation of the delegate
      • The concern was brought up by someone from Lansing that because Occupy Lansing is a leaderless movement and that appointing delegate is contrary to the spirit of being a leaderless movement
    • After considering the idea of appointing delegates, the group reached consensus that anyone who is interested in attending summit planning meetings may do so.
    • Consensus was reached that next summit will be in Lansing on December 3.
      • There will be a direct action
      • Tentative plan is that folks will arrive at noon for solidarity action
      • There will a 7pm inter-occupational GA
      • Further details will be solidified later. The December 3rd summit will be brought up at next Lansing GA and then relayed to other occupations
    • Detroit, Flint, and Occupy for all can transport people
    • It was suggested that all inter-occupies should be potlucks

Discussion of Upcoming Events and Possible Future Events

  • Occupy Flint is planning a Black Friday action
  • Occupy for All will have an Action Assembly in Ann Arbor this Monday
    • Discuss united black Friday action then
      • Going to need a lot of people
  • Kat from Occupy for All suggest taht people celebrate Marchmas
    • It’s like xmas, but in march
    • It is in the spirit of anti-consumerism
  • There was further discussion about Black Friday events
    • Someone suggested that BF events should have a theatrical element
    • “People don’t need to buy things for children to love them”
    • Someone from Detroit had brought up an idea for an Occupy Wal-Mart direct action
      • The idea is to act as a customer and fill up shopping cart, go through checkout lane, and then leave everything there. This will throw a wrench in the machine.
      • In response to this idea, the concern was brought up that something like this would make life difficult for the employees
        • “The last thing we want is to cause them heartache”
        • “Be positive and speak to people there”
        • “Build a connection instead of making a fuss”
        • “Show employees that you don’t think they’re a robot.”
      • Someone noted that Reverend Billy (who has visited OWS on multiple occasions) goes out with anti-consumerism theater
    • Someone suggested that Black Friday actions should promote shopping local.
      • Concern: “Do we really want to promote even local consumerism?” “Isn’t the very idea of consumerism the problem?”
      • Buy Nothing Day was mentioned, this is an anti-consumerist BF action
        • BND is “about loving one another and caring for one another.”
        • “It’s about coming together.”
      • Someone responded to the concern that promoting shop local promotes consumerism: “We need to take it one step at a time.” Maybe starting with support local business first will help our long-term goal of living in a non-consumerist society.
      • Buy Nothing Day: http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd
        • Bank transfer day had a huge impact
        • BND could have a similar effect
      • Supporting local business doesn’t have to be a big occupy MI thing. We are all empowered to act autonomously.
      • Someone mentioned the 3/50 Project: http://www.the350project.net/keep_the_cheer_home.html
      • “Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t have stop people from buying local on other days”

Petitions to Stop Emergency Financial Manage Law

  • “Once manager comes in, voice of people silenced”
    • Manage can do anything he wants w/o permission from people
    • Can even dissolve city w/o going to voters
    • Can set aside union contracts
  • Make sure you sign the correct county’s petition
  • You can get some to take back to your occupation from Claire
  • Detroit protested at city hall yesterday against EFM
    • “We Have to stand up against it b/c it will happen if we don’t stop it”
  • DO NOT SIGN PETION MORE THAN ONCE
    • Both signatures will be thrown out

Foreclosure Action

  • “Does anyone have experience in regard to occupying, holding down foreclosed properties?”
    • Moratorium-mi.org might be a good place to look
  • Flint has a lot of foreclosures and vacant homes and abandoned properties
  • “Can we use squatter rights to occupy houses legally?”
    • There are some in attendance who are researching that
  • There are precedents for foreclosure related actions:
    • People have done actions to block foreclosure evictions
    • There is the example of Atlanta police officer’s home that is being occupied
    • In Oakland, people tried to occupy an abandoned property, but police took them out very quickly: “Authorities are quick to come down on us when we’re doing something right”

Closing Announcements/Business

  • Occupy for All is talking about having a book drive to restock the Occupy Wall Street people’s Library
  • Lansing is having big Thanksgiving shindig. All welcome.
  • Announcement that after this meeting breaks will be music and open mic following GA
  • Raphael from Lansing read a poem.
  • GA adjourned!

Occupy Lansing: Funeral for Democracy

A couple of us managed to make a visit to Occupy Lansing today in time for their “Funeral for Democracy” event. It was a great chance to visit another one of Michigan’s great occupations and here is our report.

We arrived at approximately 2:15pm and the event was expected to start at 2:30. Almost immediately, we were impressed by the size of the encampment. There appeared to be about 15 or so tents around the area, spread out across a fairly open park. In the central meeting area there was also a “GA Tent”, which was specifically reserved for General Assemblies. As we approached, we saw a little over a dozen or so people milling about, all getting ready for the event. At first, we blended in, meeting a few people, shaking a few hands, but it was obvious that the people who were there were preparing for the event, so we tried not to disturb. Shortly after, Aaron (also known as “Bear”) called everyone to order and the pall bearers took their place and the march began.

The total crowd gathered was a little more than 20 and they appeared to be slightly disappointed with the turn out, as they had publicized the gathering quite a bit. We could tell they had made a great deal of preparation, due to several media presences swarming around taking pictures and shooting video.

Another astounding fact about the encampment was that it was two, maybe three, blocks away from the Capital building! It was just a short walk and there we were, on the steps of the building that supposedly represents the entire state of Michigan. The place where all the “important” decisions are made, including the passing of a ridiculous bullying bill, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Once upon the steps, the casket was lowered and we had a moment of silence, followed by a nice eulogy from Dustin (taken from transcript):

“Democracy was born of a revolution in America as a result of a series of political, intellectual, and social movements sparking a rebellion against a ruling Monarch imposing its will from across the Atlantic. Much the opposite of the creation of our democracy, is its death at the hands of a ruling oligarch perched atop an economic and political system ruling from behind desks made of rare and endangered woods in penthouses within their towers.

Democracy was a reflection of its people. As culture changed and improved, democracy did as well. Because of abolitionists, property rights over human beings were ended. Because of suffragists, women and an imported people of African descent were granted citizenship and voting rights. Because of Labor activists Americans were respected in the workplace and gained comfort in employment age and after. Because of Civil Rights activists all Americans gained the ability to vote, gain education, and to work and provide patronage at local business establishments. American democracy was maintained by the 99%’s participation as firefighters, road workers, teachers, engineers, librarians, manufacturers, secretaries, nurses, home health aides and patient care assistants, attendants and customer service representatives, doctors, builders, police officers, cooks, at the same time as they were active citizens.

Democracy is survived by a 324 year old republican system diseased and co-opted by a corporate elite whose sole motive is greed and profit from war, environmental destruction, corporate taxation of the public, and the exploitation of the global working class, including children. Even making citizens compete with the imprisoned for employment.

We are the change we’ve been waiting for.”

With three sentries remaining behind, the rest of us marched through downtown Lansing, chanting our way back toward the camp. We stopped near a Chase Bank where Dustin informed us that Chase had just been chosen by the Cities of Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Flint to take care of all the income taxes for those cities, as decided by Governor Snyder.

When we returned to the camp, the crowd started to disperse and the sentries returned with the casket. Now we had the opportunity to speak to several individuals, including Dustin, Bear, Cindy, and Pey…

He really liked the button, so we gave it to him and he gave us an “Occupy Lansing” button in exchange. It was nice to get out to another encampment and experience the atmosphere. We left around 4pm and made it back to Ann Arbor by 5pm, beating the rush hour traffic.

Thank you, Occupy Lansing! We really enjoyed the camp and were happy to meet many of you! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help support you in the future and we really hope to see some of you at our upcoming meetings!