Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

Idle No More 101

By Guest Contributor Gyasi Ross

Illustration by Steven Paul Judd.

Lately, Native people have taken to the streets malls in demonstrations of Public Indian-ness (“PI”) that surpasses the sheer volume of activism of even Alcatraz and the Longest Walk. There’s a heapum big amount of PI going on right now! Many people, non-Native and Native alike, are wondering what the heck is going with their local Native population and how this so-called #IdleNoMore Movement managed to get the usually muffled Natives restless enough to be Indian in public. I mean, like Chris Rock said, he hasn’t ever even met two Indians at the same time. He’s seen “polar bears riding a tricycle” but he’s “never seen an Indian family just chillin’ out at Red Lobster.”

Now, people can’t seem to get away from us.

And that’s cool, but isn’t that what pow-wows and November is for? People (non-Native and Native alike) can only take so much PI, right? Is that what the Idle No More movement is? An extended Native American Heritage Month, where non-Natives have to act like they’re fascinated by Native culture?

In a word, no. It is much more. Please consider this a fairly exhaustive explanation of the Movement, what it is not and what it is. If for some reason you cannot read the next 1000 or so brilliant words, I can be summed up thusly: Idle No More is not new. Instead, it is the latest incarnation of the sustained Indigenous Resistance to the rape, pillage, and exploitation of this continent and its women that has existed since 1492. It is not the Occupy Movement, although there are some similarities. It is not only about Canada and it is not only about Native people. Finally, and probably most importantly, it (and we) are not going away anytime soon. So get used to it (and us).

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Ashok and Amrit Go to the Movies

By Guest Contributor Ashok Kondabolu, cross-posted from Asian-American Writers’ Workshop

Stereogum executive editor Amrit Singh. Dosa Hunt premiere photos by Laura June Kirsch.

Amrit Singh is the executive editor of music blog Stereogum and the mastermind behind the newly released documentary short Dosa Hunt, which features Singh and his music pals (Ashok Kondabolu and Himanshu Suri of Das Racist, jazz musician Vijay Iyer, Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian, and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer) searching for the best dosa in New York City. (Interview magazine calls it “part No Reservations, part Big Brother, part something smarter.”) Singh was a lawyer who blogged on nights and weekends, until his review of a Sufjan Stevens concert brought him to the attention of Stereogum founder Scott Lapatine. Here, Singh satiates Kondabolu’s curiosity about where he was on 9/11, why he chose to write about the Sikh tragedy on a music blog, and what he has in common with Pharrell (hint: it has to do with tattoos).

Dosa Hunt ends its premiere run tonight at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn.

DOSA HUNT Trailer from amrit singh on Vimeo.

Ashok: Hello, this is Ashok. I’m with Amrit Singh of Stereogum at The Woods on 9/11/12.
Amrit: I’m DJ-ing a wedding this weekend which, yeah, I don’t usually do that.

Whose wedding is it?
It’s a friend. Her name is Jenny Slate. She does a lot of comedy. She just recently moved out to LA.

Ah, Jenny Slate from SNL.
“Marcel the Shell.” Saturday Night LiveBored to Death. She’s great, and she’s getting married up in Boston. You know, you never wanna fuck up a wedding. Because, it’s everyone’s special day.

They’re usually pretty easy to DJ.
Yeah, but also—I imagine for some wedding DJs, it’s always potentially lucrative because they can get more business but, if they fuck up, it can be kind of anonymous. ‘Cause nobody knows who the wedding DJ is. In this case, it’s like a very personal affair so, if I mess up, it comes back to me.

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Excerpt: Politics365 On The Rise Of The ‘Mexican Spring’

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Less than ten years after losing control of the executive branch, and by extension, the country, the PRI won effective control of the lower house of the legislature, a broad swath of the country’s largest cities and five out of six gubernatorial races. The PRI’s electoral success automatically converted their most elected official and party leader, Enrique Peña Nieto, a front-runner in the 2012 presidential campaign. Polls demonstrated voters believed the PRI had not changed.

But they didn’t care. Millions of Mexicans felt nostalgia for the “functionality” of the old, antidemocratic regime, and still do.

As of last week, a Mitofsky poll confirmed that Peña Nieto remains comfortably in the lead. And as such is predicted to win the presidential election, returning the PRI to Los Pinos (Mexico’s White House).

But Mexico’s young people are especially incensed that victory by Enrique Peña Nieto on July 1 is often portrayed as a fait accompli. Thousands of students have poured into the streets of Mexico City for the second time in a week to protest the way the nation’s upcoming presidential election is being run and, more specifically, covered in the Mexican media. The young people taking to the streets come from a wide range of schools—public, private, leftist, rightist, and Catholic. They are decidedly anti-Peña Nieto, an unmistakable, unifying sentiment expressed by the banners and signs they carry. Nevertheless, these manifestations, like the Occupy movement erupting from Zuccotti Park, go beyond partisan politics, and represent a broader questioning of the status quo.

- From “Yo Soy 132 and the Mexican Spring,” by Unai Montes-Irueste

IMAGES: The Million Hoodie March

Compiled by Arturo R. García

Mother Jones’ assertion that Wednesday’s Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin and the Occupy Wall Street movement are “linked” will need to be reassessed in the days ahead. Though Occupation members like @OccupyTheHood were credited by some with helping the two groups find solidarity leading into the event, by Wednesday evening, allegations were made online accusing members of OWS of moving to co-opt it. (A compilation of some of the tweets in the debate can be found here.)

But one more thing should be reevaluated from that video, too: the notion that “hundreds” took part. People on the ground, as well as some online outlets, reported that thousands lined the streets, among them Martin’s parents.
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Open Thread: Jan. 24 State Of The Union Address

By Arturo R. García

From telling Congress, “I intend to fight obstruction with action” to calling for a more “common sense” approach to handling the country’s growing income gap, last night’s State of the Union address seemed to boil down to President Barack Obama telling his would-be opponents this election year, Come at the King, you best not miss.

But rather than quote more pundits, Racializens, we’d like your take on the speech: was it fair of him to call on Congress to deliver “comprehensive immigration reform right now,” while not mentioning the DREAM Act by name? Can Obama’s announcement of a task force to investigate what he called “the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis” and his “common sense” line be called, as The Guardian’s Gary Younge suggests, a response to the Occupy Wall Street movement? Was his take on what he described as partisan obstruction, as Indiana governor Mitch Daniels said in the Republican response, needlessly decisive?

If you missed the speech, the New York Times has a full transcript here. Otherwise, the floor is yours.

 

Why Occupy Wall Street Matters to Me and How It Can Continue to Matter

By Guest Contributor Manissa McCleave Maharawal, cross-posted from in front and center

(In some ways this is a response to Esther Choi’s piece, and in some ways it isn’t…)

I spent yesterday evening as I spend many of my evenings: in the Financial District, at Occupy Wall Street, attending a Direct Action meeting, eating dinner, going to the General Assembly, and going to a POC-DA affinity meeting. As I was standing in the food line, waiting for my portion of beets, greens, cole slaw and bread, the conversation turned to Esther Choi’s article, “Private Danny Chen, and why I will never again reach out to OWS about something that matters to me.” Yesterday when I read this article it nearly made me cry: both because of how right she is, but also because I, somehow, felt personally responsible for the injustices and unjust and oppressive behavior that she had experienced at OWS. As someone who both identifies with the movement and as someone who has worked from the very beginning of my involvement at OWS to confront issues of racism and oppression within OWS, while still standing in solidarity with it, reading Choi’s article I suddenly felt very, very tired, sad, and angry.

To be honest, I was angry at both OWS and at her. I think OWS is strong enough and mainstream enough now to withstand serious critiques, and I think whether weak or strong, every movement should be self-critical. I’m tired of hearing that we can’t take on issues of racism and oppression because it would be “divisive.” I’m tired of hearing people call People of Color (POC) Caucus at OWS divisive because we bring up uncomfortable truths.

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Occupy, Resist, and Grow

By Guest Contributor Yvonne Yen Liu, cross-posted from Mobilizing Ideas

Marshall Ganz calls Occupy a moment, but we have a history and a future.  My generation, in North America, was birthed over 12 years ago, in the streets of Seattle, when trade unionists joined with anarchists to disrupt the workings of global capital, well, in this case, the meeting of a major player, the World Trade Organization.  We refused to accept capitalism as a natural way of ordering our social world; “Another World is Possible” was a popular slogan.  We manifested alternatives in organizing our collective refusal.  Instead of relying on institutions created under capitalism, we created our own clinics, schools, decision-making bodies, and media outlets.  Some of which have formalized into counter-institutions that exist today.  The global network of independent media centers and community health centers, like the Common Ground clinic in New Orleans, started after Hurricane Katrina, are our legacy.

The Millennials may find inspiration when their peer, 26-year old Mohamed Bouazizi, educated yet unable to find a good job, self-immolated himself on the steps of the Tunisian governor’s office, sparking the uprisings of the Arab Spring.  Or, when 24-year old Bradley Manning, in a fit of frustration with military bureaucracy and the war abroad, uploaded confidential documents onto the Wikileaks website.  What is the future of the Occupy movement?  Approximately a half-year in and many camps have been violently evicted from the land on which they pitched their tents.  Many of us spent this late fall awake in an overnight vigil to defend a camp or recovering from being pepper sprayed by cops when trying to setup a new one.  At the time of writing this, only Occupy D.C. remains intact.  But, that is not the end of Occupy.

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Private Danny Chen, and why I will never again reach out to OWS about something that matters to me

By Guest Contributor Esther Choi, cross-posted from Some Thoughts …

I can’t stress enough that the following article only represents my opinions as an individual, and are not to be affiliated with any other person, organization or community.

December 15, 2011

Tonight was the march and vigil for Private Danny Chen, who was killed in the army on October 3, 2011. We don’t know how he died. The army is withholding all evidence, which it owes to the family, that could answer this question. What we do know is that he did not die in combat. We know he was constantly harassed and discriminated against by his fellow soldiers for being Chinese. We know some really twisted, violent hazing was committed against him by his superiors, right before he was found dead. We decided to hold a march and vigil because the army is currently carrying out an investigation, and we have to show them that the public is watching and that they cannot get away with another cover-up.

Just yesterday, board members of OCA-NY along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Council Member Margaret Chin went to the Pentagon to meet with high-ranking army officials, where they made demands that may fundamentally transform the way that hazing and bias crimes are dealt with in the military. We need them to know that the public and the media are watching, and that if they do not meet our demands, we will redirect our campaign to focus on our young men and women who are thinking of enlisting. These young people need to know before they enlist, the Army will not protect them from harm by fellow soldiers.

Before the vigil, we reached out to many organizations to support, and 36 signed onto our cause. We also reached out to Occupy Wall Street because justice and government transparency are in its mission, and we thought we could use the numbers and networks in OWS to bring out more support for our vigil, and we also wanted to show our solidarity with OWS.

So imagine my surprise when protesters from OWS showed up with OWS signs, not to stand with others lining up for the march to Columbus Park in support, but to stand in front of everyone, trying to direct them. These people, who had not, until that very moment, put in one bit of effort into organizing this action, who had no idea what the plan was, who had no idea who we were or who the family was, decided that they were going to make this an OWS event.

Conflict erupted when one of the OWS-affiliated protesters came with a giant Communist Party of China flag. This white man decided that he was entitled to represent us, at this protest for an American soldier, with a flag that has been used by this country to vilify the Chinese American community. When people began asking him not to demonstrate that flag because it was not the purpose of the event and we were in no way representing China or political parties, he began screaming at us about how we were ANTI-COMMUNIST and trying to take away his first amendment rights. We told him that Danny Chen was an American soldier and we wanted to respect the family and their wishes, but he continued screaming violent accusations at us at the top of his lungs and disrupting the event, until one of Danny Chen’s family members, on the verge of tears, finally convinced him to leave. Continue reading