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Occupy Buffalo Joins CODEPINK Pakistan Peace Delegation

5:39 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

After taking the trip from Philadelphia and the Occupy National Gathering, I and other people from Occupy Buffalo and the Western New York Peace Center have been invited to be a part of the CODEPINK Pakistan Peace Delegation. Western New York has been as active as any area in the fight against drones in the US and abroad. Several members of Occupy Buffalo and WNY Peace Center have been arrested in Syracuse at anti-drone actions at Hancock Air Force Base. Buffalo recently became the first city to hear in front of City Council the Protection of the Public Against the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) which will be addressed after summer recess in September. In recognition of our efforts locally, 3 members of Occupy Buffalo have been given the honor of being part of the group going into the areas most affected by drones. Karen Hopkins, Bonny Mahoney and myself will be going along with CODEPINK organizers and people from all over the country who are dedicated to downing drones and ending the executions.

Pakistan has been one of the countries hardest hit by the unconstitutional attacks on so-called suspects. We will meet with survivors of US drone attacks, lawyers who are representing drone victims, and political figures. As citizen diplomats from the United States, we will join with people from the region affected by U.S. drone attacks and call for an end to the killing. The Delegation hopes to get permission to march to Miranshah, the capitol of Waziristan.

In an effort to raise consciousness about extrajudicial executions carried out by CIA – controlled drone attacks on Pakistan, a Pakistani human rights organization called Foundation for Fundamental Rights is inviting US citizens to visit Pakistan to meet with surviving victims of CIA-controlled drone attacks and to hear their tragic stories.

In the U.S., the effort is being organized by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink.

Please support activists from Upstate New York who will be joining Code Pink’s delegation to Pakistan. Leaving in late September 2012, the group will also participate in a large peace demonstration in the Northwest region of Pakistan — the site of most of the CIA’s drone attacks on Pakistani citizens.

The Western New York Peace Center is using this web page to collect monies that will be dedicated to sending 5 members of the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars to Pakistan as part of Code Pink’s delegation.

The five Upstate New York residents who will travel to Pakistan are:

Judy Bello, Rochester NY
Jordan Eck, Binghamton NY
Karen Hopkins, Buffalo NY
Bonny Mahoney, Buffalo NY
John Washington, Buffalo NY

All monies collected from this web page are dedicated to pay for the Pakistani trip-related expenses of these four dedicated individuals. We estimate the total cost to be about $2,500 per person. Hence, $12,500 will have to raised by mid-September 2012 to make this trip a success.

If you prefer, you may also donate at the: WNY Peace Center’s main website.

The Western New York Peace Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your donation is tax deductible.

If paying by check, put “Pakistan Delegation” in the memo line. Send your check to:

WNY Peace Center, Inc.
1272 Delaware Ave
Buffalo NY 14209
Ph: 716-332-3904

Thank you for your support!

Occupy Buffalo Chasing Chase Out of Buffalo

4:47 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

Since its inception on October 1st, Occupy Buffalo has taken their part in the fight against “Too Big to Fail Banks” holding several actions in Buffalo’s financial district a couple blocks away from the Niagara Square encampment. Though there is only one location in the City of Buffalo, an office in the dubiously named Liberty Building which is occupied by bankers, lawyers and other representatives of the one percent, JPMorgan Chase Bank holds all of the city’s money. Over 400 million dollars of our taxpayer dollars are leveraged against the people of Buffalo every year.

On Wednesday May 30th, City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder announce that 45 million dollars will be withdrawn from JPMorgan Chase Bank and put into First Niagara who has agreed to a lower interest rate “funding will earn 0.30 percent interest, more than the 0.25 percent interest rate it had been getting with JPMorgan” according to Schroeder’s statement.

“Not only will the funds earn more interest with First Niagara, a major local employer headquartered in Buffalo, but it also sends a crystal clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices,”

City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder

As a one of the organizers of the series of actions held against JP Morgan Chase in front of the Main Place Tower, this small victory is proof that activism has an effect. Too often we are disillusioned by the absence of immediate response to our efforts. When this issue was first addressed, members of the Council showed little genuine concern for our objections to City funds being held with an unscrupulous bank, one with no presence in the city of Buffalo. Many on the Council referred to the responsibility of the Federal Government to regulate Big Banks. Supposedly due to its size JPMorgan was the best option because they could provide the best interest rate. We persisted and returned to the Council Chambers to push the issue, and we also went to the JPMorgan Chase office to send a message to the Chase executives in Buffalo.

Our Most recent action was a Wall Street Casino held in front of the Chase Office after reports of their $2 Billion (and counting) loss. During the action, Chase Executives observed with a typically one percent air of superiority refusing to engage in any kind of dialogue except to ask if we had jobs. Occupy Buffalo returned to Common Council on May 22nd to push further as the Council had offered a compromise of a loosely worded Good Banking policy that did little but ask for more information from banks about their practices. Though Council Member LoCourto expressed some concerns, the rest of the Council seemed to view the issue as a nuisance. Demone Smith said simply, “we have been looking in to it…and we have some ideas” About a week later the announcement to withdraw $45 million dollars was made. Persistence is the path to progress and Occupy Buffalo’s efforts are proof that activism can create change, even when it looks like it’s being ineffective.


Through Rain Through Snow Occupy Buffalo

Wednesday’s Skill Share Occupy The Press: Alternative Media

11:23 am in Uncategorized by John Washington


Join Us For Wednesday Nights Occupy Supply Skill Share

Occupy The Press: Alternative Media


“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” — Gil Scott Heron said it best, we cannot rely on so called journalists in the Mainstream Media to share our stories. Fortunately we don’t have to rely on the Media, because blogging and social media have given the individual the power to create his/her own media. Blogging allows for the instant publication of your story according to you, and with social media you can spread that information to millions of people instantaneously.

A lot of Occupations have twitter and Facebook and do some blogging, but the key is understanding how to maximize these resources. Coordinating the written story with video and sharing it in a way that reaches the most people is the goal, and we have a panel that knows how to get you there

Kit O’Connell (Occupy Austin/MyFDL Editor) will give an editor’s perspective on what makes a good blog post and how to frame your message to get the attention of editors. He also manages the Occupy Austin Twitter account and has added over 1,000 followers since he started.  Kit will go over ways to grow your online base and spread information quickly

Dean Edwards (Occupy Oregon Media Team) will go over using blogs to clarify your message from the Occupiers’ perspective and touch on some tips for getting your message out on Facebook.

Harry Fleckenstein (Occupy Philadelphia) will cover how to get and edit video of your actions. Getting a days worth of action into a concise and interesting video to be shared through social media is important in developing interest in your actions

All are welcome to join the presentation and discussion.  You can register below

Can you make it to our Occupy Supply Skill Share Wednesday 5/9 at 8:00PM Eastern?


Tonight’s Occupy Supply Skill Share Occupy Finance: Funraising and Money Management

7:42 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

Occupy Finance Webinar

Our next Occupy Supply Skill Share Webinar is tonight May 2nd, 2012 @ 8pm Eastern.

Tonight’s Occupy Supply Skill Share will feature a discussion on Finance in the Occupy Movement with Edwin M. Walker. Ed is a Notre Dame grad, and got his law degree from Indiana University. He began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. He was an Assistant Attorney General in Tennessee, working on consumer protection and securities cases for several years. He was the securities commissioner of Tennessee for three and a half years, where he focused on criminal prosecutions and abusive tax shelters. He practiced business and bankruptcy law for 25 years. His experience can be a valuable resource for Occupations dealing with current financial issues. Finance is an general complex issue in the life of any individual or organization and the model of direct democracy and financial accountability don’t make it any easier. Occupier have a difficult task in generating, distributing and managing funds. Ideas of resource based economies and other new forms of exchange make it tough to deal with the need for money to sustain the Occupy Movement.

On tonight’s Skill Share Webinar we will go over some of the best practices from different Occupy Finance Working Groups and some simple ideas your Occupation can use to start creating revenue streams to become more self sufficient.

Then Ed Walker will go into the technical side of what kinds of entities Occupations can create to manage their finances, how to do record keeping and responsible money management. At the end we will open the floor up for you to ask questions about the finance Issues in your Occupation. Please join us tonight with any questions or issues you finance working group has been dealing with

Register Here


[VIDEO] Occupy Outreach and Activism with Lee Gaddies Occupy Detroit, Sergio Uzurin NYCC/Occupy Buffalo and Brian Sonenstein

8:54 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

We had another great presentation on our weekly Occupy Supply Webinar title Outreach and Activism:Effective Outreach  Lee Gaddies, Sergio Uzurin and Brian Sonenstein joined us for a discussion about out reach tactics.  Lee started the conversation off with an account of the Occupy Detroit Listening tour and Outreach philosophy.  Members of Occupy Detroit have been attending public meetings and “meeting people where they are at” in order to listen to the concerns of the community. True engagement comes from interaction to often in The Occupy Movements we are unaware of our own privilege and project our ideas with out respect for the people we are trying to help. In Occupy Detroit they address this issue by listening and co-creating solutions

“Objective is to listen learn and foster community relationships in an effort to empower citizens to unite and take action to create solutions to the issues that plague our neighborhoods and communities”

Occupy Detroit Outreach Group

Sergio Uzurin followed up with a more strategic approach to the Outreach issue by going over the practical applications of Chapter 3 of Tools for A Radical Democracy.  Going to large groups and building relationships is a great tactics but what do you in those individual conversations?During his presentation John Washington joined in to do a role play to highlight the application of these principles. Knowing your campaign having some sort of adaptable speech about the campaign. Identify who your target is and where they are and set a goal for your outreach campaign.  Make sure you have a way to collect data and take notes on your interactions so that you can latter use to activate your base later.

Brian Sonenstein finished off with best practices for using and cataloging information to raise funds and activate people for collective actions.  He went over the importance of how you catalog your information getting email and zip code for online campaigns. Brian went through some of the online tools like MailChimp and Nation Builder that you can use to keep track of and contact your people in the future. If you are unable to use one of these sites a simple Google Doc can be effective. Monitoring the activity of the info in you database gives you an idea of how effective you are being. Also responding to feedback can make a huge difference in peoples response to your cause.

The Webinar wrapped up with a informative discussion about Outreach and building your base.  Several Occupations brought up there issues with low numbers and burn out and our panel addressed with specific 1st steps to build a base through the tactics discussed

Our members’ support allows Firedoglake to have the freedom and flexibility to provide programs like Occupy Supply and host exciting, innovative webinars like this one. If you enjoyed the discussion and our work with the Occupy movement, please consider getting more involved as a member for as little as $5/month.

You can also support Occupy Supply by making a donation here. 100% of your contribution to Occupy Supply will be used to purchase and distribute supplies and materials to Occupy movement protests across the country.

You can look forward to a series of Skill Shares about Occupy and the Media in the month of May. Next week we will discuss a contentious issue Occupy Finance

Tonight’s Occupy Supply Webinar: Effective Outreach

10:30 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

Our next Occupy Supply webinar is this tonight, Wednesday April 25, at 8:00 PM Eastern.

My name is John Washington from Occupy Buffalo and I will now be hosting the weekly Occupy Supply Webinars. As an Occupier I can bring a new perspective to the Occupy Supply Webinar. Guided by my experience with Occupy Buffalo I hope these webniars can become an online skill share for organizers around the country.

Tonight’s Occupy Supply Webinar Outreach and Activism: Effective Outreach will discuss engaging people for collective action an important tool in the Occupy Movement and growing numbers as we transition into an active summer. The warm weather will bring activity after a hard fought winter Occupiers around the country will have to grow their base without the advantage of the camp.  Effective Outreach is imperative to getting more people involved in the Occupy Movement and their local issues. Engaging the community involves more than just telling people about your group, it begins with listening and fostering relationships in your community

Click here to register for tonight’s webinar:

Lee Gaddies from Occupy Detroit will start the discussion with a presentation on Occupy Detroit Listening tours and sharing best practices from the Occupy Detroit Outreach team from his experience in Outreach.

Sergio Uzurin, an Organizer For NYCC and part of Occupy Buffalo will follow up with strategic tools to improve outreach efforts and tools to recruit people for collective action

Brian Sonenstein from Firedoglake will let us know how to use the information we collected by implementing tools previously discussed to activate your base for collective action

We also hope to hear from a variety of other occupiers and liaisons about their ideas and experiences with outreach and activism.

The presentation portion of our webinar will be recorded for everyone, but we will not record the Q&A portion so that people may speak freely.

As always, tonight’s discussion is open to the public – occupier, activist or supporter.

Click here to register for tonight’s webinar: