The Black Church Joins Occupy

No surprise here. The Civil Rights Movement was about Justice, including economic justice.

African American pastors express support for Occupy movement

As the country observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant was outside the District headquarters of the Federal Reserve, protesting.

Instead of lingering at an MLK memorial prayer breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton and other icons of the civil rights movement, the Rev. Delman Coates also made his way to the protest, which included churchgoers, students and people from the Occupy Wall Streetmovement.

And rather than reminiscing about old speeches and discussing King’s legacy, the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler used his airtime on WPFW, a public radio station, to note the similarities between the Occupy movement and those who camped in “Resurrection City,” in the shadows of the Washington Monument, after King was slain.

growing number of African American pastors in the Washington area are embracing the Occupy movement. In December, leaders of Occupy D.C. left their encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza to worship at Empowerment Temple, Bryant’s church in Baltimore. Hagler has held services on Freedom Plaza. Others donate food and clothing to protesters. And Bryant, who ministers to many in the Maryland suburbs, co-founded Occupy the Dream with former NAACP leader Benjamin Chavis Muhammad.

The pastors’ pleas for economic justice sound a lot like King’s.

“This is the continuation of the [civil rights] movement. It was the economic movement that King was killed for,” said Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington.

Coates, pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, echoed Hagler’s sentiments.

“When Dr. King was killed, he was . . .fighting for the rights of sanitation workers,” he said. “It is critically important that we relate our faith to issues of economic justice and systemic inequality.”

Some critics say the focus of the Occupy movement, which by design does not have leaders, is unclear. But Bryant, who observed the movement from a distance before deciding he wanted to be part of it, was adamant that Occupy the Dream has a defined agenda.

“Number one, we are asking for more Pell grants so that our young people might be able to compete and go to colleges and universities,’’ he said. “Number two, we are asking for an immediate freezing on foreclosures.” The group is also seeking billions of dollars “from Wall Street for economic development and for job training.”

Beginning in February, Bryant plans to launch a campaign to urge people to pull their money out of their banks and to move it to a minority-owned financial institution.

Bryant, 40, a former national youth director for the NAACP, said his involvement in Occupy the Dream feels like a “coming home” to his civil rights roots.

“I think the Occupy Wall Street movement has held the legacy of Dr. King and has brought the church back into accountability,” Bryant said. “Dr. King would be here today. He wouldn’t be at a breakfast; he wouldn’t be at a mall. He would be here with us.”

But some pastors hesitate to throw their support behind Occupy.

The Rev. William Bennett, pastor of Good Success Christian Church and Ministries in Northeast and a founding member of the Washington Interfath Network, hasn’t joined. But, he said, “I understand what they are fighting for.”

“We have not had an economic time like this since the Great Depression, and it does call for some actions,” Bennett said. “But what I have observed . . . is that there are not clear goals and objectives. The Occupy movement does seem to be organized with a goal to create chaos. The civil rights movement was organized with a clear list of demands.”

The Rev. Joe Watkins, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, said churches should stick to their primary mission.

“The role of the church is to lead people to Christ and to tell them the good news and to live the good news,” Watkins said. “The young people part of the Occupy movement are just as precious as anybody. But the primary focus of the church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (more)

Second Iraq Vet Seriously Injured By Oakland Police

There has always been a disconnect between the Oakland Police and the rest of the city. In a multicultural, progressive city, the police department remains as the oddity. So the violence in Oakland is a natural outgrowth of the schism between the police and the community.

Occupy Oakland: second Iraq war veteran injured after police clashes

A second Iraq war veteran has suffered serious injuries after clashes between police and Occupy movement protesters in Oakland.

Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen. He says he was beaten by police close to the Occupy Oakland camp, but despite suffering agonising pain, did not reach hospital until 18 hours later.

Sabehgi, 32, is the second Iraq war veteran to be hospitalised following involvement in Oakland protests. Another protester, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull on 25 October.

On Wednesday night, police used teargas and non-lethal projectiles to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland.

Sabehgi told the Guardian from hospital he was walking alone along 14th Street in central Oakland – away from the main area of clashes – when he was injured.

“There was a group of police in front of me,” he told the Guardian from his hospital bed. “They told me to move, but I was like: ‘Move to where?’ There was nowhere to move.

“Then they lined up in front of me. I was talking to one of them, saying ‘Why are you doing this?’ when one moved forward and hit me in my arm and legs and back with his baton. Then three or four cops tackled me and arrested me.”

Sabeghi, who left the army in 2007 and now part-owns a small bar-restaurant in El Cerrito, about 10 miles north of Oakland, said he was handcuffed and placed in a police van for three hours before being taken to jail. By the time he got there he was in “unbelievable pain”.

He said: “My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn’t stand up.

“I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help.”

A nurse was called and recommended Sabehgi take a suppository, but he said he “didn’t want to take it”.

He was allowed to “crawl” to another cell to use the toilet, but said it was clogged.

“I was vomiting and had diarrhoea,” Sabehgi said. “I just lay there in pain for hours.”

Sabehgi’s bail was posted in the mid-afternoon, but he said he was unable to leave his cell because of the pain. The cell door was closed, and he remained on the floor until 6pm, when an ambulance was called.

He was taken to Highland hospital – the same hospital where Olsen was originally taken after being hit in the head by a projectile apparently fired by police.

Sabehgi was due to undergo surgery on Friday afternoon to repair his spleen, which would involve using a clot or patch to prevent internal bleeding.

The MSM BTW is reporting 10,000 demonstrators. This is raw video footage from a helicopter of the march to the port…

10k? Really? Looks more like 100,000 to me.

Unemployed “Occupy” Mitch McConnell’s Senate Office

They need to Occupy “C” Street where these Rethug scumbags live…Give them no lace to hide.

Jobless Protesters Occupy Mitch McConnell’s Office As Congress Dithers On Jobs

Members of OurDC call senators and DC residents on their cell phones to ask for support on the 'Rebuild America Act' as they stage a sit-in at Mitch McConnell's office.

Protesters Sit in Waiting Room

Roughly 30 jobless protesters from D.C. neighborhoods occupied Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Russell Senate Office Building Thursday, saying they wanted to talk to him about jobs.

But McConnell was busy at the Capitol Building, where he led Republicans in blocking a $60 billion infrastructure bill. The protesters said they supported the measure.

McConnell’s legislative director offered to sit down with the group, but they declined, saying they’d rather wait for the senator himself. So they sat in his office, taking up every chair and lots of floor space while McConnell’s staff went about its business. A Capitol Police officer scoped the situation and said her heart went out to them for losing their jobs.

The protesters, most of whom said they lived in the poorest part of Southeast D.C., had no affiliation with the Occupy Wall Street movement. They’d been organized by a community group called OurDC, which has been hectoring Congress about jobs since it launched with SEIU seed money earlier this year. The protesters remained in the office as of Thursday afternoon as of 3 p.m. and said they wouldn’t leave before meeting the senator.

“Hopefully we can all get together with the senator today before time is up,” said Ted Black, a 58-year-old resident of Southeast D.C. Black said he is a Vietnam-era veteran and that he lost his job as a radiologist tech three months ago. He supports President Obama’s jobs package, he said, including the blocked infrastructure bill.

“I’m here supporting the cause for veterans and also for teachers and children and schools and residents who are unemployed or underemployed or homeless,” Black said.

McConnell’s office declined to comment on the protesters.

 

Occupy Baltimore Gets Support of Police and Firefighters Unions

One of the things being challenged by Occupy Baltimore is the failure of the Education System…

The Occupy Movement evening meetings appear to be the only place democracy is actually working in America anymore. There certainly isn’t any democracy left in the big marble buildings just 30 miles down Interstate 95 from Baltimore.

Egyptians March in Support of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement has truly gone worldwide. Yesterday, pro-Democracy Egyptians in Cairo marched in solidarity with Americans in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The brutal assault on the Occupy Oakland protest has gone worldwide.

As they vowed earlier this week to do, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir square to the U.S. Embassy today to march in support of Occupy Oakland—and against police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Tuesday night, and commonly experienced in Egypt.

Yet another battle is brewing in Louisville, where Police were ordered by Tennessee’s Republican Governor to arrest protesters for the second time this week. Once again, a Judge has thrown out the arrests as illegal.

The arrests and harassment of Occupy protesters is beginning to resemble that endured by Civil Rights protesters in the 60′s. It’s not nearly as violent (yet)… But if some of the local authorities don’t get a grip – it may be. As evidenced by the protests in Egypt, people worldwide are disgusted with the assault upon the First Amendment rights of the protesters in the supposed bastion of Democracy.

Occupy Nashville protesters arrested again

State troopers for the second straight night arrested anti-Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime curfew imposed by the Republican governor, in an effort to disband an encampment near the state Capitol in Nashville.

And also, for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the arrest warrants.

The Tennessean newspaper reported early Saturday morning that Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza.”

Occupy Nashville protesters – including many of the 29 arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Friday – returned to the Legislative Plaza that evening and remained through the 10 p.m. curfew…

Occupy the Hood!

One of the criticisms levelled at th Occupy protests across the country by conservatives is the “lack of black participation”. Of course, it’s your typical right wing lie, in defense of Tea Party racism. The Lawn Jockey squad of black conservatives brad and butter is dysfunction in the urban black community. Pretending that no one in those communities is doing anything  but “living on the plantation”.

Occupy Boston’ Meets ‘Occupy the Hood’

In Roxbury, as Christians stood with Muslims and as white college students stood with a black woman who recently lost two nephews to gun violence, the voice of the Occupy Boston movement sounded more diverse than ever in the three weeks since protesters set up tents in the Financial District.

“We’re one family,’’ said True-See Allah of the Nation of Islam, addressing a crowd of more than 500 in Dudley Square during a rally for Occupy the Hood, a movement in Roxbury allied to Occupy Boston and other Occupy movements around the country.

“It’s not about black and white; it’s about who’s wrong and who’s right,’’ he continued. “The Nation of Islam stands with you 1,000 percent. This is a beautiful sight, and we want to take this moment, and we want to build from it and continue to grow and grow.’’

While the occupation in Dewey Square has been diverse, whites have been the majority. Yesterday’s Occupy the Hood Rally was nearly evenly divided between whites and non-whites, as students and Occupy Boston regulars joined local residents.

“The message of this movement, when you boil it down, is that we are the 99 percent,’’ said Brian Kwoba, 28, of Cambridge, one of the Occupy the Hood organizers. “There’s the top 1 percent, and the rest of us are denied a voice. But people of color are disproportionately denied a voice. Therefore, in order for us to unite all of the 99 percent, we need all of us to unite together, communities of color and other communities.’’ Continue reading

“I Don’t Think They Know What They Dealing With!” Dick Gregory

 

NC Voters Evict Tea Party Bigot School Board

Another district who has found out that Tea Bagger elected officials are toxic, and that the “throw the bums out” elections in 2009 and 2010 resulted all to often in letting the scumbags in.

This could be a bell weather of the 2012 elections, with voters expressing severe “buyers regret” over Tea Party candidates  whose often radical hidden agendas weren’t exposed until after their election.

NC voters reject Pope-backed candidates in local school board battle over resegregation

Voters in Wake County, N.C. headed to the polls yesterday in high numbers to reject a slate of conservative Republican Board of Education candidates who opposed a longstanding diversity policy aimed at avoiding high-poverty and racially-isolated schools.

The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.

With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts. Continue reading

Son of Bo Diddley Arrested for Occupy Protest… In Bo Diddley Park

Wow…Getting busted in a park named after your Dad! Actually, unlike the New York Police, the Gainsville Police were pretty civilized about things…

Occupy is spreading all over the country.

Bo Diddley’s Son Arrested for Occupy Protest in Park Named After His Father

Not many people plan on getting arrested on purpose, but such was the case with Elias Anthony McDaniel, the 56-year-old son of rhythm and blues legend Bo Diddley who was cuffed for trespassing in a plaza named after his father, according to the Independent Florida Alligator.

McDaniel, who was taking part in the Occupy Gainesville movement, was accompanied by at least four other protesters when he was picked up by the police on Friday morning for being in the park after hours. The protesters claimed they had decided to get arrested in order to prove a point.

“This is my father’s park,” said McDaniel, who resides in Gainesville. “For them to arrest me in that plaza is ludicrous … I’m an American. This is freedom of assembly.”

The members of Occupy Gainesville had procured a permit which allowed them to gather in the park for Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but it did not extend past regular public hours on Thursday night. That’s when the protesters decided to occupy the space for as long as it took for them to be arrested.

Those who were arrested were handcuffed but released several minutes later with a notice to appear. “We’re just enforcing a law,” Cpl. Angelina Valuri said. “We have a job to do.”

Despite being released, McDaniel is still incensed. “There’s a symbolic stone in front of me that says freedom of speech,” he said, referring to a gray stone inscribed with the Bill of Rights. “I feel like a number of my rights have been violated.”

Guy Fawkes Day in America – Moving Money

So what happens if 100,000 people move their money to small banks?

The fees charged by the big banks have gotten progressively ridiculous, and several of the major banks like Bank of America purposefully manipulated customer accounts to maximize overdraft fees to the tune of $2o billion a year…

Bank executives continue to get massive multi-million dollar bonuses… despite the fact it was American taxpayer money that bailed those very same banks out of a crisis created by the banks themselves.

Wall Street Protests Get Specific: Could ‘Bank Transfer Day’ Pit Americans Against Their Big Banks?

The growing anger directed at U.S. banks (especially the big ones that took federal bailout funds) over recent fee increases coalesced this weekend into a Facebook-driven campaign urging Americans to close their accounts at large banks and move their money to credit unions by Nov. 5.

Though not initiated by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York and other cities around the country, the effort has been embraced by the protesters, and their “We are the 99%” mantra is all over the “Bank Transfer Day” Facebook page — making this the first specific action by a political movement that has been criticized as unfocused and incoherent.

Bank Transfer Day was started by a 27-year-old Los Angeles art-gallery owner, Kristen Christian. She says she’s not affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protesters but that many organizers of those demonstrations had reached out to her to express support.

Christian chose Nov. 5 because of its association with 17th century British folk hero Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the House of Lords but was captured on that date in 1605. In an interview with the Village Voice, however, Christian and Occupy Wall Street leaders who discussed the effort to get Americans to move their money from large banks to small institutions emphasized that they weren’t trying to create a collapse of the financial system. ”I’ve been very careful to state that this is not … anarchy,” Christian told the Voice. “It’s shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of. It’s like, if you don’t like Walmart’s practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead.”

Occupy America – Has Lightning Escaped the Bottle?

 

It’s beginning to feel like 1967…

All over again.

The “Occupy” protests are popping up all over America, as thousands, perhaps soon –  millions take to the streets.

Like the Tea Party, the “Occupy” demonstrators are folks deeply concerned that things have seriously gone off the rails in America.

Unlike the Tea Party – there are no corporate sponsors. there is no Faux News complete with air-headed effervescent blonde bimbos spouting breathlessly over the movement’s significance (indeed the MSM seems determined to ignore the whole movement)…

And there are no Koch Brothers sitting behind the scenes pumping in money, and buying influence from corrupt politicians and Supreme Court Justices.

The other thing is, Occupy is largely apolitical. I think the most prevalent feeling about the American Political Parties – is “a pox on both their houses”.  There has been a growing belief that neither political party is capable, or willing to operate in the best interests of anyone, except their financial benefactors for a long time.

Not being bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers or any of the other conservative “7 Sisters” who fund the conservative “movement” in America, though – is a scary thing for conservatives. As such, it’s no surprise the conservative media “long knives” have come out over the last week or so, with House Whip Eric Cantor calling them a “mob“, Mitt Romney (“It’s dangerous, this class warfare”), Herman Cain (“If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”) or in French Revolution speak “Let them eat cake”, and this piece by Deneen Borelli essentially calling the Occupy protesters peasant trash (where’s a damn Guillotine when you need it?)… And if you wonder just how much of a joke and conservative shill the Wall Street Journal has become there’s this hit piece written in the prosaic style of your average 12 year old. When the leading financial paper in the country blogs articles written in all the style and content of a Marvel Comic Book…

No wonder we are in trouble.

So… Despite humble beginnings, the Occupy movement is headed left, if in no other place than fecund conservative imaginations.

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