Occupy Boston

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The Occupy Boston demonstration is a part of the Occupy Movement which began on Sept. 17, 2011 with the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City.

Support

DSA Involvement

David Knuttunen (left) with an unidentified DSA member at Occupy Boston

Democratic Socialists of America member David Knuttunen who attended the protest on Oct. 1., wrote the following regarding the protest:[1]

"A couple of Boston DSAers participated, yesterday, in a "Right to the City" rally and march in Boston, which was actually kind of an amazingly solidaristic event. Whoever organized this had done a lot of bridge building. There was labor, grassroots anti-foreclosure groups, an urban mass transit alliance, lots of others. Young/old, black, white, Latino and Asian, gays and straights, liberals, socialists and anarchists. We started with a rally on the Boston Common, then the march snaked through Downtown Crossing, stopping for momentary solidarity with coordinated demonstrations occurring outside Hyatt ("Shame on Hyatt! Shame on Hyatt!") and a Verizon Wireless store ("Shame on Verizon!"), until it arrived and stayed for a long time outside Bank of America's Boston headquarters at 100 Federal St."

Nancy Goldner, another DSA member who attended, made the following comments:[1]

"At the Jamaica Plain Forum in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood within Boston, a panel of speakers from Occupy Boston spoke. I spoke during the Q and A stating first "I am a democratic socialist." I conveyed DSA's support and involvement. I commented that even without specific demands the ongoing presence of the protesters itself sent the message of income inequality and DSA has an analysis of it. Many of the folks who attended took copies of the DSA Fact Sheet on the Jobs Crisis and Towards an Economic Bill of Rights that I had brought with me. I learned that on Monday nights, the Occupy Boston folks meet with community organizations and I gave my contact information so I could start attending for DSA."

DSA Forum "Where is The Occupy Movement Going in MA?"

"After Dewey Sq: Where is The Occupy Movement Going in MA?" , was held Sunday, March 4, 1:30-3:30 PM The Democracy Center 45 Mt Auburn St (Harvard Sq.), Cambridge

Panelists were:

Chris Faraone began his writing career by free-lancing Hip Hop reviews for such publications as Yellow Rat Bastard, The Source, the Weekly Dig and the Boston Herald before becoming a staff reporter for the Boston Phoenix, where his coverage of the Occupy movement on both coasts resulted in his debut book—99 Nights With The 99%. Katie Gradowski is an organizer with Occupy Boston, where she focuses on outreach and anti-foreclosure work as well as the Occupy The T campaign. Her “real job” is in Somerville, where she helps run a kid’s community science workshop and “spends time making things, tinkering, and taking stuff apart”. Betsy Boggia has helped establish Occupy Natick. She also has long experience with grassroots organizations, political campaigns, local non-profits (most recently with Girl’s LEAP Self-Defense), has been a legislative aide for State Senator Cheryl Jacques, and a co-founder of the Greater Boston Chapter of the Million Mom March for sensible gun control.
Free and open to the public. Non-members are welcome. There will be a brief business meeting before the panel discussion during which Boston DSA members will elect a new Executive Board.

Pre-Eviction Occupy Boston Protesters Names in the Media

A number of Occupy Boston protesters were named in various newspaper articles before their eviction later in the month of December. Those named so far and the source are as follows:

Source: WHDH-TV, Boston, Mass., article published at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2816105/posts, "Mountain Problems for Occupy Boston", Dec. 4, 2011.

Eviction

In a Dec. 10, 2011 article published in Liberation, the newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Jennifer Zaldana wrote of the eviction of the demonstrators participating in Occupy Boston. Zaldana stated that she was present at both the Dec. 9 deadline mobilization and the Dec. 10 eviction.[3]

"After 70 days and 71 nights of encampment at Dewey Square, Occupy Boston – the longest-running encampment in the U.S. Occupy Movement – was raided by the police at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 10, leading to the arrest of nearly 50 people, including two legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild...
...In a show of solidarity, dozens of supporters rallied into the night to demand that all those arrested in the raid be released on bail and not held over the weekend. While the arrests were being made, supporters chanted “Who do you protect?!” directed at the police.
The raid came after a Dec. 7 decision by a Boston judge to remove the Temporary Restraining Order won by the National Lawyers Guild, which had previously protected the occupation. The removal of the TRO was followed by an eviction order the next morning from Mayor Thomas Menino.
On Dec. 8, within hours of the order, hundreds had showed up on site for the General Assembly. Hundreds more continued to pour into the square as the night went on, with the crowd growing to well over 1,000. Demonstrators came from all across Massachusetts and the East Coast – from Maine to Washington, D.C. Students, workers, and labor and community activists led a spirited rally, with hundreds defiantly inside the camp ready to risk arrest while hundreds more rallied in solidarity across the street."

"Judge rules the Occupy Movement protesters are common trespassers"

A Massachusetts Superior Court Justice, Frances A. McIntyre, "issued a ruling clearing the way for the eviction of the Occupy Boston protest in Dewey Square", after a review of evidence and legal arguments concerning any action, that the protesters were common trespassers.[4].

Judge McIntyre wrote the following in her decision, saying that the occupation was not a First Amendment right. She wrote:

"To the extent that the act of occupation, as defined, communicates, it speaks of boldnesss, outrage and a willingness to take personal risk. But the plaintiffs' occupation of Dewey Square to the effective exclusion of others is the very antithesis of their message that a more just and egalitarian society is possible. It does not send the message that plaintiffs profess to intend."

The article by Fishman noted that "This is a solid, well-reasoned judicial opinion that may be difficult to overcome on appeal. However, the judge's reasoning on 'occupation' is new and perhaps ground-breaking, so it could be susceptible to a different opinion on appeal. This case will surely make its way up to the Supreme Judicial Court. As the judge found, the First Amendment is not absolute. Yes, the protesters have a right to assembly, but that right must be peaceful and not permanent as to constitute a seizure of public land or present a grave public safety risk. The First Amendment, by its own language, protects speech, not physical occupation of public land. That's called eminent domain."

[[KW: This decision has implications for lawsuits against New York City for evicting OWS campers from the privately-owned Zuccotti Park, as well as efforts in Washington, D.C. to limit the scope of the McPherson Square (and to some degree, the Freedom Plaza) camping protesters. In D.C., a large amount of rats have been reported to have moved into the McPherson Square encampment (which has been partially dismantled for safety reasons).]][5].

The Socialist Caucus

According to Douglas Enaa Greene, at Occupy Boston, the Socialist Caucus has come together to build an anti-capitalist network within the movement. For members of the Socialist Caucus, the key challenge when confronting our society is not corporate person-hood, the Federal Reserve, campaign financing, or political corruption. Their challenge is confronting capitalism, itself.

Caucus member Jay Jubilee explains that capitalism is “a system designed for the endless accumulation of profit, a system that renders all other human and planetary needs external to that one predatory, virus-drive.” As he put it, “This sick system must go.

A common criticism heard on the political left is, “why can’t the different socialist groups work together?” Last October, Boston-area socialists formed the Caucus in order to reverse this long-standing fragmentation and create a forum in which socialists holding different perspectives can hold discussions and coordinate activities with one another. The group’s mission statement was adopted in November, explains that “members of the Occupy Boston Socialist Caucus believe that capitalism is the problem, that revolutionary change is necessary, and that socialism is the solution.”

Members of the Socialist Caucus hold widely differing viewpoints and even strong disagreements on the construction of socialism, revolution, and methods of mass work and organizing. Some members hold positive views on socialist experiments in the Soviet Union while others are more negative. Yet the Caucus is primarily action-oriented. Evan Sarmiento declares, “we’re here to get some work done in Occupy Boston and build some unity.”

And that is just what they did on December 12 by organizing a solidarity march to protest Occupy Boston’s expulsion from Dewey Square (and in solidarity with a general strike on the Westcoast which shut down ports in Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon).

Members have also been involved in many working groups. Socialists in the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series have invited radical academics, such as Noam Chomsky, Fred Magdoff and Bruno Bosteels, to give talks at Occupy Boston. Socialists have also been active in Peace Action and the Ideas Working Group.[6]

External Links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 DSA: DSA Members Participate in Occupy Wall Street (accessed on Nov. 2, 2011)
  2. Talking Union, After Dewey Sq: Where is The Occupy Movement Going in MA?, Posted on March 2, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
  3. Liberation: Occupy Boston raided, Dec. 10, 2011 (accessed on Dec. 19, 2011)
  4. "Judge rules that Occupy Movement protesters are common trespassers", by Rona Fischman, http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/blogs/renown/2011/12/judge_rules_tha.html
  5. "District inspects Occupy camp after rat complaints", Washington Examiner, January 4, 2012, P. 4
  6. Socialist Caucus By Doug Enaa Greene