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Rolling Jubilee Peoples Bailout Buys 1.2 Million in Medical Debt

By: John Washington Monday March 18, 2013 3:14 pm

On March 14th Strike Debt proudly announced the second in a series of Medical Debt Bailouts. Over 1 million Dollars in Medical Debt was purchased and abolished providing relief to over 1,000 people with an average of $900 per person. This is a testament to the Strike Debt’s dedication to details on this project maximizing its effectiveness by evaluating the best options to provide the greatest good. The majority of the portfolio will absolve the emergency room debts of people in Kentucky and Indiana mitigating the circumstance create by our nations for profit healthcare system. 62% of bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical debt and 75% of those people had health insurance when then incurred the debt. Heath care is a human right and the Rolling Jubilee has brought some humanity to the Midwest.

The Rolling Jubilee has been Rolling since November 15th and shows no signs of stopping so far over $570,000 has been raised and close to 12 Million has been forgiven. That is about a 20 to 1 ratio as a former debt collector I find it inspiring to see the effort and effectiveness that has been placed into this project. Strike Debt is following this announcement up with a series of actions on March 21st in Bryant Park there will be a rally and protest against Private Insurance Companies at 4pm. Then on the 23rd at Judson Church there will be a Free Health Fair and March to highlight hospital closings with  on call to answer questions online all day at StrikeDebt.org/lifeordebt/

 

For More information on the Rolling Jubilee visit RollingJubilee.org


Ban Fracking Now: 11 Days to Ban Fracking in New York State

By: John Washington Tuesday January 1, 2013 4:59 pm

After the shutdown of the UB Shale Institute and recent releases of films like Josh Fox’s The Sky is Pink and New Yorkers against Fracking documentary Dear Governor Cuomo, it seemed as if progress was being made.

Then on November 28th, the Department of Environmental Conservation issued proposed regulations for fracking in the state of New York. A shock to those in the Anti-Fracking movement after the Governor clearly stated that a environmental analysis called the SGEIS would serve as the basis for these regulations.

Even if completed, the health study only comprised of a total of three days of outside contractors’ time to catalog all of the possible health impacts of this dangerous practice. It would not have produced sufficient information for the state to evaluate the health effects of fracking.

In a unconscionably irresponsible move, Cuomo made the completely inadequate health study irrelevant by giving New Yorkers only 30 days to demonstrate that fracking is too dangerous to be regulated. Now with only two weeks left to go to submit comments, New Yorkers across the state are doing everything they can to ban fracking.

New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of groups dedicated to a statewide ban on fracking, is now frantically organizing to flood the DEC with hundreds of thousands of comments. Last year the New Yorkers forced a reevaluation of the original SGEIS with a record 60,000 comments. This round, Fractivists across the state are challenged with getting as many comments in as humanly possible. Internationally acclaimed biologist and Sandra Steingraber started the website 30 Days of Fracking Regs to help facilitate those who need more info to send to the DEC. Identifying one issue for every day available, she has taken an advent calendar approach to the effort to ban fracking in New York State.

The roup recently released the film Dear Governor Cuomo which beautifully illustrates the unflappable force behind New Yorkers Against Fracking, the coalition of dozens of groups dedicated to a Ban on Fracking. Now there are only 11 days left to submit comments. There is no question that the statewide Anti-Fracking movement has the power to pump thousands of comments into the fractured DEC all proving without a shadow of a doubt that this practices is irrefutably unsafe. The question is base on the blatantly disingenuous and undemocratic process that has taken place over the past few weeks. Does it matter?

If you wish to submit comments check out these websites:

http://nyagainstfracking.org/

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/

Rolling Jubilee Tonight: People’s Bailout Variety Show and Telethon, #StrikeDebt

By: John Washington Thursday November 15, 2012 11:43 am

 
Tonight, Strike Debt will officially launch the Rolling Jubilee with the People’s Bailout Variety Show And Telethon from Le Poison Rouge in New York City.

The event is a new take on the classic telethon, intended to raise money for the Rolling Jubilee. This project is designed to relieve the 99% of unnecessary and oppressive debt by fund raising to purchase debt around the country and abolishing it. The event features Janeane Garafalo, Lizz Winstead, Hari Kondabolu, David Rees, John Cameron Mitchell, Jeff Mangum, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Kool AD and Dapwell of Das Racist and many more. So far the Rolling Jubilee has raised $198,428 and counting which will abolish $3,973,386 of debt. This evening hopes to push that number even higher. The sold out event begins at 8pm tonight and will be livestreamed at RollingJubilee.org.

The project is a product of Strike Debt and came out of a series of assemblies in New York this year geared toward addressing the issue. Already, the work of this offshoot of Occupy Walls Street is simply amazing. The Debt Resistors Operations Manual (.pdf link) was released just ahead of the September 17th Anniversary and has people all over the country getting educated to defend themselves against a culture of debt-based oppression. Strike Debt has followed up with this direct and effective action:  in liberating “debtors” and engaging people in collective resistance.

Debt has become a commodity that can be purchased for pennies on the dollar after it has been charged-off by the original creditor. In most cases, tax write offs have mitigated the loss for the company. This highlights the absurdity of collecting money from people that has already been paid for the benefit of the few. Strike Debt intends to spark a movement of collective noncooperation and resistance by showing people debt’s true form. To get involved, go to RollingJubilee.org and enjoy the show tonite.

You can read the Debt Resistors Operations Manual (.pdf link) at StrikeDebt.org.

Check out our #OccupySupply Skill Share: Occupy 2.0 Strike Debt  with Astra Taylor, Thomas Gokey and Melissa Fleschman

Here’s Democracy Now! on the Jubilee:

More about Strike Debt on Firedoglake:

#OccupySupply Skill Share: Occupy 2.0 Strike Debt

By: John Washington Tuesday October 9, 2012 6:22 am

Occupy Supply logo

Our Next #OccupySupply Skill Share is Wednesday October 10th, 2012 at 8pm EST

The next stage in the Occupy movement is striking back against debt. Action in the streets draws attention to the issue, but to be effective long term, educating the people who are most oppressed by Wall Street is paramount. Debt is the common denominator of the 99%. In September, several groups began distributing The Debt Resistors Operations Manual. This handbook explains how the average person can strike back against the debt. On Wednesday we will be joined by an amazing panel of people who worked on this document to discuss how striking back against debt can unify the movement and empower people all over the country to become debt resistors.

Astra Taylor has directed the documentary films Zizek! and Examined Life, has written for Adbusters, The Nation, Salon and is Co-Editor of the book Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America.

Melissa Flashman is a literary agent in New York City. She has worked with authors of various books on economics and debt including Maxed Out by James Scurlock, Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber and Econned by Yves Smith of nakedcapitalism.com

Thomas Gokey is a visual artist and an adjunct professor of art at Syracuse University. Recent projects involve turning his tuition debt from art school into a work of art as a way of paying for school and the LibraryFarm, a collective farm on public land at the Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, NY.

This meeting is open to anyone – activist, occupier, or otherwise -who wants to join this discussion and share their opinions on the debt & the Occupy movement.

Click Here to Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/205913702


The Debt Resistors Operations Manual

[VIDEO] #OccupySupply Skill Share: Infiltration and The Occupy Movement

By: John Washington Friday September 28, 2012 10:23 am

Infiltrators in the Occupy Movement from firedoglake on Vimeo.

 

On last nights #OccupySupply Skill Share we were joined by a  sensational panel of presenters to discuss the existence of Infiltration within the Occupy Movement. Kit O’Connell of Occupy Austin and Matthew McLoughlin of Occupy Chicago took the opportunity in last nights discussion to shed light on this highly charged topic by covering a the full scope of the use of police infiltration within Occupy  and other movements of the past. Our discussion takes an in depth look at the use of infiltration historically and fuses that with personal and recent examples of how this tool is used by law enforcement agencies presently within the Occupy Movement, and offers information as to how participants can protect themselves from becoming the  target of a infiltrator provocateur.

We begin the discussion with Kit O’Connell who both reports on and works within the Occupy Movement as an active member of Occupy Austin and the Editor of MyFDL. Referring back to such movements as the Black Panthers he uses examples of how the police have used organizations and undercover operations  such as co-intelpro to penetrate and villainize movements. Pulling these ideas into modern context  he offers insight on how this type of activity can be avoided and deflected by present day activists. Expanding on this subject he shares ideas for safeguarding against police infiltration tactics, siting the fact that the strength of Occupy is complete transparency. Kit finishes off his segment by sharing his personal experiences as a witness to police infiltration of Occupy Austin and how it led to complications of the D12 Gulf Port Action in Houston Texas last December. The backlash of these complications led to the arrests of 7 people including an activist named Eric Marquez who remains in jail to this day.

Matthew McLoughlin of Occupy Chicago continues the discussion by sharing his experiences with undercover police infiltration of Occupy Chicago leading up to the Nato Summit which was held on May 20th 2012. He explains how two undercover police officers infiltrated the group and coerced and entrapped members of Occupy Chicago in a “two fold attempt” to both discredit and close off Occupy Chicago’s non-violent social movement and justify a budget spent to the tune of $55 million to “protect” the McCormick Place during the Nato Summit. He explains that of the 11 people arrested  two were police infiltrators, nine were released and two additional arrests were made just days later. As a result of the infiltration there are five men who remain in jail awaiting trial, these men are often referred to as the “Nato 5″. They continue to hold these concerned citizens under trumped up charges with no physical evidence other than statements made by the two infiltrators involved. If you are  interested in lending moral or financial support the those targeted as the “Nato 5″  you may visit the link www.nato5.occupychi.org Matthew then closes his portion of the discussion by supporting the ideas that Kit mentions earlier in the webcast. He asserts that as the Occupy Movement continues to resonate in the minds of the American public it is important for those involved in the Occupy movement to remain vigilant and take precautions such as setting personal boundaries and choosing words and actions carefully to protect themselves.

The discussion comes to a close as both presenters reiterate the importance of taking precautions such as remaining transparent at all times and standing together under the tenants of non-violence in thought word and deed. It is important in creating an atmosphere of trust and openness. Also the placing firm personal boundaries with people can be a great safeguard against infiltrators and provocateurs.  It is important that groups are  careful not to alienate members of the group or making them more vulnerable by “Blue Jacketing” or “Snitch Jacketing”.  In the end a provocateur is a provocateur and if they work for the police is not as important as keeping the group united  and acting in a manner as though they are being watched by staying transparent.

 

 

 

 

#OccupySupply Skill Share: Infiltration in Occupy

By: John Washington Tuesday September 25, 2012 4:55 am

Ronnie Garza and others in fake lockboxes

Ronnie Garza (center) of the Gulf Port 7 interviewed by media (Photo: Kit O'Connell)

Our Next #OccupySupply Skill Share is Wednesday September 26th at 8pm EST.

Infiltration has been effectively used to undermine many social moments and Occupy is no different. FOIA requests show that the alphabet soup of organizations that make up the modern police state in America have been watching Occupiers around the country. In Cleveland, Chicago and other cities we have seen informants working undercover to entrap Occupiers and paint them as terrorists.

Seven Occupiers are charged with felonies for using lockboxes (a.k.a. sleeping dragons) to block a road leading into the Port of Houston; during the trial it was revealed that Austin Police Department infiltrators provided material support by building the lockboxes that became the basis for felony charges. On Wednesday, we will be joined by Occupy Austin Activists Kit O’Connell and Ronnie Garza to discuss Infiltration in the Occupy Movement.

Kit O’Connell, MyFDL Editor and Occupy Austin Media Team were present for the December 12 Port Shutdown that lead to the felony charges against Ronnie and others in #OATX. He joins us to discuss his experience with the infiltration of Occupy Austin and the resulting court case. Occupy Austin Protestor Ronnie Garza is one of the activists charged with Unlawful Use of a Criminal Instrument; without the actions of local police undercover agents this charge would have been a misdemeanor. He will take us through what happened on #D12 all the way up to what is happening in court now and the implications that these events have on the rest of the movement.

This meeting is open to anyone – activist, occupier, or otherwise -who wants to join this discussion and share there opinions on the Infiltration & The Occupy Movement.

Click Here to register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/430568230

Occupy Supply logo
 

[VIDEO] #OccupySupply Skill Share:The History of #OWS

By: John Washington Thursday September 13, 2012 9:42 pm

History of Occupy Wall Street from firedoglake on Vimeo.

On last nights’ Occupy Supply Skill Share we discussed the early history of Occupy Wall Street and the events that lead to the movement beginning on September 17th, 2011. We where joined by Drew Hornbein of OWS who gave us a personal account of the period before Zucotti Park was Occupied on #S17 last year. Before the movement started, Drew was a mild mannered web consultant; now he is a grass roots organizer who uses his skills for good as a leader in the “TechOps” working group.  Marissa Holmes also joined in to add her insights and experience as part of the movements inception.

On July 13, 2011 adbusters published a blog post called #OccupyWallStreet which was followed by an email newsletter and spread in issue #97 of Adbusters. From that point forward the idea was created. As the concept developed in the minds of the people who heard about it, an assembly was called at the infamous charging bull in Bowling Green Park and the New York General Assembly was born. This was followed up with a second assembly at the Potato Famine Memorial on August 9th where working groups emerged. Soon after, regular assemblies were held in Tompkins Square Park with between 50 and 200 people. Drew highlighted the open transparent nature of the planning and assemblies (though many people did not want to be filmed). This radical transparency has been instrumental in the movement spreading around the world.

The movement has always been a unique balance between the real world and online organizing. Inspired by organizing in the parks, individuals and groups like Anonymous began supporting the movement by spreading the idea online. The open source model of freedom and transparency helped people all over the country to create their own local Occupations.  As September 17th drew near, the plan was set for around one hundred campers to sleep on the hard ground of Zuccotti Park.  The police expected a riot, protestors expected repression, and the result was organically peaceful. The repression did eventually come, and when it did so did the attention — videos of protesters being beaten in the streets went viral and brought more people out.

By putting our bodies on the line the “source code” of Occupy was able to go viral. Soon it was everywhere.

Occupy spread to over a thousand cities across the globe. A few thousand online supporters, a hundred activists, a handful of organizers and $400 worth of peanut butter started a world wide movement.  Drew wrapped up the presentation by highlighting the remarkable success of what was meant to be a short lived direct action which got sustained international attention and created a global network of activism determined by those that participated. After the presentation Drew, Marissa and the rest of the attendees discussed a wide range of topics related to the origins of the movement from what  they would have done differently to going over important moments. We thank them for joining us and hope they return for on the next Occupy Supply Skill Share

#OccupySupply Skill Share: The History of OWS

By: John Washington Monday September 10, 2012 6:54 pm

Our Next Occupy Supply Skill Share is on Wednesday September 12th 8pm EST

On September 17th people around the world will commemorate the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. On our last Skill Share we went over whats going to happen around the country and the world on #S17.A lot has happened over the passed year since the early days of OWS and a lot has changed . On this weeks Occupy Supply Skill Share we are joined by Drew Hornbain of Occupy Wall Street who as been instrumental in the movement since organizing for Occupy began in summer 2011.

Drew was a mild mannered web consultant became a grassroots organizer when he saw an image of a ballerina standing on top of a bull that inspire him get involved in the early organizing. Since then Drew has worked tirelessly as leader with the “Tech Ops” working group that created the NYCGA.net website and developed tools for Occupy.net. He will take us back to the roots of Occupy Wall Street in New York and what went into the action that developed into a movement. Discussing how Occupy was started and how it has transitioned from a Direct Action to a movement. Join us as he takes us through the history of Occupy Wall Street, take a look at where we have come since and where we can go. Join the discussion on Wednesday September 12 at 8pm EST

For more information on #S17 and solidarity actions around the country you can check out S17NYC.org

This meeting is open to anyone – liaison, occupier, or otherwise -who wants to join this discussion and talk about Streaming and the Occupy Movement.