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Happy Anniversary Interoccupy!

By: Jackie Wilson Wednesday October 24, 2012 4:12 pm



The following is some aspects of my Occupy and InterOccupy journey, which I offer as anniversary gift, but hopefully, also as an inspiration for the others like me, who aren’t very able to chip in on the ground:

They Built It At Interoccupy.

Pardon the cliché, but since, oh, maybe a month into Occupy I had had consistent transmissions from James Earl Jones’ voice saying “if you build it, they will come.” This was the head shaking elder in me saying there’s got to be some organization in this leaderful but leaderless horizontal community. I’d never been an activist before Occupy grabbed my heart, but having been the oldest of seven, a secretary, a traveler, a military wife, a mother raising four children under ten while going to school full-time, and now a grandmother, I knew a bit about keeping a schedule. About organizing. But maybe I didn’t in this high tech, smart phone driven movement. Where were people organizing online?

I live in rural WNY, a couple of hours from Occupy Buffalo so only got there twice a month. It took a long time in the encampment days to find some way to contribute besides showing up for bi-monthly General Assemblies, and occasional extra visits for events and marches. There wasn’t much effective online communication among occupiers in our area: fear of infiltrators, the trolls, etc., preferring to talk mostly on the ground. So, like many cyber supporters, I mostly read OWS and Occupy pages and alternative articles, and watched videos, to keep abreast. And livestream! All praise to livestream for really, really making what was going on in faraway places viewed through a machine real. I had seen the InterOccupy site, but had never lingered much – one never knew which sites were “real” early on. The conference calls caught my eye and I thought that sometime, that’d be a cool thing to do, but it was the kind of sometime that happens when elephants fly – I’d been ducking telephones for at least a decade.

On February 5, the OWS, outreach/temp check after the scourge of evictions, Bus rolled into Buffalo. We were all still in states of grieving about our own recent eviction. It seemed all of Occupy was searching for its next steps and so was I. How do we stay connected, and how do I? Being so far away, how do I know what two days a month to tithe the busfare, and come to Buffalo if there’s no GA? On Sunday, the 6th, folks from OWS, Occupy Buffalo and local community activists had a five hour strategy session at the Vault, with two breakouts in the last hour – local and national. I went into the national, hoping I could do more actual work in support of the larger movement from my perch of being far away and isolated, but being connected online. Chris Hedges’ article, the Cancer In Occupy, and the ensuing counter statements had just come out and interested me. I had to ask the pros from NYC about it, and we had an informative discussion about black bloc that left me more able to build a bridge somewhere in between lofty theory and pragmatic consequences.

One of the OWSers suggested InterOccupy as a good site for Occupy activity. John Washington, one of OB’s leaderful, on the ground activists, said IO was great but it was a 24 hour job to keep track of. Ding. Ding. My little Occupy niche was born. I finally had a job! A place to contribute daily. I mostly just copied and pasted InterOccupy event and call announcements on the Occupy Buffalo website forums and facebook page, and brought Occupy Buffalo announcements to InterOccupy, like our nine month long Justice Dialogue Series, which looked at justice in deep philosophical and practical get ‘er done ways.

Soon another fateful thing happened when a Buffalo occupier, who set up an F29 facebook page for Occupy Buffalo organizing, asked if someone could get on the InterOccupy F-29 call that night. Chicken as hell, scared of technology, hard of hearing and hating telephones, I got on the call, and was absolutely amazed at listening to people from all over the US and Canada talking about their actions, their plans, sharing tips and strategies. I was able to bring those ideas back to OB which helped to inform us of the rising interest of this national call to action by Occupy Portland, an action not organized from the top down, but facilitated by the knowledge that we were becoming united in action by a transparent, horizontal, direct democratic process. We were organizing on the ground simultaneously in over 80 cities nationwide and talking about it on conference calls and online venues. We had a small but effective F-29 action in Buffalo directed at Bank of America and, as far as I have been able to confirm, we were the only F-29 action that had no local police presence, but instead three DHS vans and their canine force on hand!

I continued to get on a bunch of calls for M1GS, Occupy Los Angeles’ Mayday call to action, and using this same inward and outward facing process, and with the lion’s share of hard work done by occupiers on the ground, led to an even bigger and more robust Mayday in Buffalo. I got to learn more about outreach and web use when I had the pleasure of being involved in an Occupy Supply Mayday webinar. After a few of the M1GS calls, I was hooked on the long distance voice communication process, and decided to volunteer with InterOccupy, and was involved with Outreach and some admin duties, but like all Occupiers, we all wear many hats pitching in with skills or ideas as needs arise. I learned to use tools: google docs, doodles, spreadsheets and the like. Before Occupy, it was strictly email and news articles for me. Facebook was a scary thing, full of stupidity, that soon became crucial to use. With my new found skills, I was able to help Upstate NY planners put together the Occupy Upstate Regional Conference in June, conceived on facebook, planned statewide on InterOccupy calls, and pulled together, as always, by occupiers on the ground who could attend the crucial strategy and hospitality meetings.


Occupy Upstate Regional Conference

By: Jackie Wilson Wednesday June 13, 2012 2:07 am

Mainstream media has been reporting the death of the Occupy Movement as of late. This as some of you know is a complete fallacy.  We are constantly evolving,  planning, and working to better the world around us.

Ray Lewis at Occupy Wall Street with sign: NYPD, Watch Inside Job Then Join Us

Ray Lewis (Photo: Coco Curranski / Flickr).

This weekend (June 16th and 17th) Occupy Syracuse will be hosting A Better World Is Possible:  Moving Forward Together in Activism, an opportunity for numerous affinity groups from much of New York State, and Occupy to converge in one space to learn, teach, and decide where we can collectively move forward to make a better world a reality. The day begins at 9am and ends at noon on Sunday and will include numerous speakers, teach in’s, roundtable discussions etc.

Saturday will include speakers Ray Lewis (a former Philly police captain of occupy wall street fame), Allen Rosenthal (speaking about the Prison Industrial Complex), Bram Loeb (Fracking) and Vermin Supreme. Music by Melodeego (bike powered band currently on their F@#$ Fossil Fuels tour),  and a few surprises peppered throughout. We hope you are able to join us for what promises to be a great opportunity to learn, grow, and advance.


Occupy Syracuse

Facebook event

* Tune in to Occupied Radio Thurs., June 14 @ 10 PM ET to hear organizers talk about the event.

* Debrief Call Monday June 18 @ 6 PM ET

Continue the learning process of organizing Occupy events. What went right? What could have been better? Next steps.


What’s next for Occupy?

By: Jackie Wilson Sunday May 20, 2012 11:30 pm

What’s next for Occupy?

Interoccupy held a call tonight for updates from the Nato protests in Chicago.  I had some sound problems and missed the early updates, but heard the very interesting last hour discussion about the future of Occupy.

One caller asked what tomorrow’s main message should be: the police state and freedom of speech or anti-nato.

Joan Donovan, OCLA and Interoccupy, reflected on how the people have gotten to see the police state in all its might used against citizens practicing free speech, and how this was something not seen seven months ago. Things are different. The people  see that its different.

Dean Edwards, Occupy Oregon Media, relayed how the Frankfurt police did the protesters job: their over-the-top force of 5000 accomplished just what the protestors sought – they shut down the city.

Alexander of OWS pointed out that the structure of the current corporate system requires war, and the people are not having it. Tasha agreed and said we’re not taking it anymore, and we need to blitz the news and grow through outreach.

Victoria Ross, Occupy Buffalo and WNY Peace Coalition, thought we must keep the anti-war message front and center.

The focus then moved to beyond tomorrow and what’s next for Occupy.

Dean Edwards stressed embracing the larger vision of the 99%, and reports great success, even with non-ALEC Republicans, when you listen to their needs and approach them as one of the 99% community.

Joan agreed with many of the suggestions and said our Next Steps should be All Steps.

Victoria echoed that and gave a great analogy of the effect our united efforts will have to the effect termites have on a building. By the time you even know they’re there, the foundation is crumbling. She cited the tearing down of the Berlin Wall as such a moment for the people.

I recently read something about the early discussions calling for an encampment on Wall Street, and them trying to come up with one demand. What is our One Big Demand? We were taunted for lack of one, and it’s still an off the cuff answer: “I would be involved if they could only figure out what they want.”

This organic thing, this evolving people’s movement, could not come up with a demand because it is impossible.  Because the entire system is broken.  We must remember the larger vision of the 99% community, we must continue to protest, and let the police state assert itself into oblivion.  Hey! We must continue to do just what we have been doing, only now we’ve grown up and are becoming highly organized leaderless leaders.

Next Steps? All Steps!

Joan – you invented a new chant.  I’m with you.


MIC CHECK! Occupy Buffalo Making A Difference

By: Jackie Wilson Sunday April 15, 2012 4:19 pm


Industrial Development Agencies — there’s one near you. While this post is about the phenomenal job Occupy Buffalo has done keeping a watchful eye on the practices of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, there are similar agencies all over the country that impact your community. Occupy your local IDA.

In Buffalo, the ECIDA Board consists of non-elected, appointed members. It is their responsibility to allocate taxpayer dollars to industrial development, as in providing jobs, which sustain families, neighborhoods and outward, keeping a quality of life viable for all. Instead many IDA grants go to the 1% to redo or keep up fancy hotels, keep a factory or warehouse going a few years until the grant runs out, when they move on to the next county who will grant funds. Some grants are for chain restaurants or stores who will supposedly develop more jobs. Yes, more part time or minimum wage jobs with no benefits. The grant money really just fuels the coffers of the ultimate owners, the 1%.

A dedicated core group of Occupy Buffalo has consistently attended every ECIDA meeting since October. There have been mic checks and speak outs; there has been negative press. The group kept on. The project awaiting approval now is to grant $895,000 to Carl Paladino to “redo” the Graystone Bldg., a beautiful old building in Buffalo that has Landmark Status, into luxury apartments. You will remember his name from the New York Governor’s race – the man who wielded a baseball bat and was going to clean up Albany.

Paladino acquired the building in 2002; work was begun and soon halted after a worker fell through the roof in 2003. Paladino was cited and fined twice by the city housing court. No fines have been paid, no work has been done, and there is still a huge gaping hole in the roof of the Graystone – for nearly ten years! Did I mention Paladino is worth $150 million?

Last week, Occupy Buffalo turned up the heat, and 30 occupiers attended the open public meeting to speak. But there was a problem. Only one board member got the e-mail to attend. Say what? The meeting was convened, the recorder passed around, and many occupiers went on record against giving $895K of taxpayers money to Paladino’s project. There was, of course, no vote.

Tomorrow, April 16th at 9 a.m. is the annual board of directors membership meeting. This means they must all attend, and they will be voting on the Graystone project. By Thursday, 4/12, there was an announcement that the meeting was moved to the Erie Country Public Library and that Erie County Sheriff’s Department deputies were asked to be on hand if members of the public become too rowdy. This in light of peaceful, non-violent protest and attendance at meetings. Watch the videos of what occupiers – of all ages and walks of life – have to say. We the people are awake and sick of it.

Mayday 2012/Mayday General Strike (M1GS)/Day for the 99%/Day Without the 99%

By: Jackie Wilson Saturday April 14, 2012 2:56 pm

There’s been a lot of activity and planning for Mayday 2012,  Mayday General Strike (M1GS) and a Day For or Without the 99% across Occupy.

Whatever theme your occupation decides on, it’s all to commemorate and be in Solidarity with the worldwide Mayday labor holiday, International Workers’ Day, which has its roots in the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886. After a bomb went off at a rally of  workers striking for the eight hour day on May 4th, 1886, 176 police shot into the crowd of some 200 workers, socialists and anarchists, killing an untold number (in those days, frightened family members carried the bodies away for safe burial).  Six policemen were killed with what later evidence proved was their own bullets. After nearly 20 more years of struggle, the 8 hour day was won, and workers in Europe began to celebrate the ancient Spring holiday of May Day as their own, a day to commemorate workers’ struggles. Mayday is now officially celebrated in over 80 countries, but not here in our own country where the impetus was born. The 1% and the government feared celebrating Mayday in America would fuel the fires of those revolutionary workers who wanted a fair shake!  Still, labor unions in America have long celebrated May 1 as a day for workers, marching and rallying in cities across the country, and in recent history, it has morphed into a day for immigration rights as well — Los Angeles saw upwards of 1.3 million people on the streets in 2006.  Many of the workers in 1886 were immigrants, just as many of our workers today in the lowest paying, most back breaking jobs are immigrants or migrants.

This year, Occupy Los Angeles, has issued a clarion call for a General Strike that steps this day up to include not just workers, but all the disenfranchised in the 99%:

“On December 19th, 2011, Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly consented upon the following statement:
“Occupy LA supports in principle a General Strike on May 1, 2012, for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights, and calls for the building of a broad coalition to make that a reality.”
Occupations across the world have made similar calls for a General Strike, or day of economic disruption, in direct response to Occupy Los Angeles, or through a synchronicity of thought, a buzzing hive mind that feels the need to express solidarity with movements and people throughout the world who honor May Day and see this years’ expression of that as our next major step.”

To facilitate outreach, OCLA set up a weekly call to discuss M1GS through, who provides outlets for communication between individuals, Working Groups and General Assemblies across Occupy. I have been on these calls since February, encouraged by the amount of planning taking place in the big cities, and the sometimes hard job of getting evicted occupiers back together and organizing in the smaller cities and towns. But it IS being done. As of this writing, there are at least 59 Occupys on board for May1st, and I’m sure many more that have not gotten on a list. Please see one of the listed sites, and ADD YOUR OCCUPATION’S NAME!  (use their Contact Us form). Begin right here on FDL!

At Occupy Buffalo, we are having a block party starting at noon at our Occupy house, followed by a march, rally and speakers at our old encampment site downtown in Niagara Square.  We have been flyering, postering, and have some artistic things planned including yarnbombing, sidewalk chalking at the square, and music. Bob Albini at Occupy Buffalo also created this great promo for us:

Plans are still a work in progress and we all will be adding more as we close in upon this great day of global activist rebirth and Occupy coming back out en masse!


To facilitate occupations still needing ideas, the following are some ideas picked up on the IO M1GS calls:


Mayday is a Tuesday – we need to keep those that have to work in mind with after work events, solidarity buttons, stickers to wear.

Ask small businesses to display signs of Solidarity with the 99% or to close for 10-15 minutes during day in solidarity.

Bikes for floats! Don’t worry if you can’t get a flat bed or vehicle – decorate bikes and join the march. Create a caravan.

Decals that look like boarded up glass – pysche out 1% locations. Speaker didn’t know where they got them (if any reader knows, please contact!)

Feeder marches, DAs along route; convergence.

FOOD. Many having supper at their square/park, etc. after rallies, events.

Much artwork, creativity going into outreach.  Stickers, clothespins, flyers, DVDS – Occupy the Hood, Tacoma working on DVDs and will share.

A media consortium is developing an all day CNN style news show with interviews, live coverage and an interactive map showing all actions.



Someone figured out that amongst all occupations and twitter accounts, they reach one million people – that is a lot of people!

Send tweets often #Mayday, #M1GS

FACE TO FACE – each occupier talk to X number of others, family, friends, co-workers. get to commit. each bring extra people.

Reach out to unions, schools, immigrants, neighborhood groups, foreclosure groups.  Suggestion:  go to meetings, even if an organization cannot be on board (unions are restricted), many do not mind and you can approach individuals. Also, go to workplaces to reach out.

Posters, flyering, etc. (concise wording)  Spanish flyers.

Public access tv, radio (OcSeattle has own station), alternative presses.

Prepare history of radical movements in your city (labor, civil rights, peace).

Prepare a history of Mayday.

Prepare history of the Occupy movement and international protests.

SPRING TRAINING – practice marching together; working together, creative, fun – meet an hour before marches, learn a few moves, new chants.

Nathan Schneider of explained a bit about Spring Training and the +Brigades – more creative actions, imagination on display – form your own plus brigades if you and friends have creative ideas about protesting. Don’t wait for others. ACT.


MayDay Particpant Lists:

Register for next Interoccupy M1GS call 4/23/12:

Occupy Buffalo Event:

History Sources:

Yarnbombing images: