The Occupy Caravan will be coming to Occupy Newark (Photo: Tobias F / Firedoglake).
Occupiers are traveling caravan-style from the 4 corners of the United States to converge in Philly for a national gathering from June 30 to July 4, picking up riders and vehicles along the way. The Northeast caravan will stop in Newark, New Jersey overnight on 6/29.
In Newark, Caravanners will be welcomed at a greeting hub and receive information about actions taking place where they can join in solidarity with local residents. They will also receive directions to the homes, churches and organizations hosting them for the night.
You are welcome to join the actions, festivities and share the evening’s potluck meal. Bring your signs! Bring your instruments! Bring your voices!!!
Join this event to receive information as it becomes available. This is a rough outline of the day as it looks now (may change, so check back). Read the rest of this entry →
“All too often, in day-to-day living, there is little mentioned of the human connection that has brought us this far.”
–Jihadah Sharif (Community Organizer)
The internet has caused our world to become that much smaller. It has allowed us to be nowhere and everywhere. And the Occupy Movement has given so many people purpose. What started out as a national grievance about financial inequality and social injustice has quickly become a subculture with its own language, such as the use of hand signals, and social network.
It was James Baldwin that said, “The paradox of education is precisely this: that as one begins to become conscious, one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” A blanket of awareness is coming over this planet, and more and more people are awakening to possibilities never imagined by the average person. And I’m so thrilled to be witnessing this moment in history. In this country we’ve gone from the Atlantic slave trade, to segregation, to integration, and now we’re heading towards world unification.
I would like to share an email with you. It was sent from an occupier in Sidney, Australia. We had been corresponding since October 30, 2011. We connected through the Occupy Wall Street social network. And even though we have never exchanged pictures, it was not until this email did I get to hear the sound of her voice….
Tobias A. Fox
Sent On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 12:36
AM, Bernice Azyh <email@example.com> wrote:
I wanted to share this with you and send love from Sydney, Australia. Thank you so much for all the work you are doing **HUGS**
xx bern Messages of Support for Occupy Sydney & Occupy’s Everywhere Read the rest of this entry →
“It’s going to take a redesign of our society and a change of our values with the caring capacity of our planet.” —Jacque Fresco, The Venus Project
People around the world are pushing for alternative energy as a means of becoming a more sustainable human society and we plan to show people how to do this at a minimal cost.
Under the guidance of electrical engineer Damian de Caires, people joining this working group will not only become more informed about alternative energy, but will also become technicians and assist with getting as many people off the grid as humanly possible.
The date and time hasn’t been arranged, but our first demonstration will be spearheaded by electrical engineer Damian de Caires. This will be an outdoor presentation showing how a laptop, cell phone, coffee pot, heating pad with sleeping bag, and mini-frig can be powered through the use of solar energy. This demonstration will also prove that this method of alternative energy is reliable, flexible, and efficient.
According to Caires, “Try to understand that it is very difficult and complex to derive heat from the sun when there is low sunlight as it is in the winter, and to do so in a manner that is affordable and portable. For my demo tent the direct drive heating system is going to be quite impressive because it will weigh less than 20 pounds and can fold into a backpack.”
Inspired by the works of architect Michael Reynolds (www.earthship.org), we will be developing our solar technology through the means of repurposed waste products, such as reused lumber, plastic bottles, and soda cans.
We Need Your Help
To help push this project and others forward, we are asking you to help us collect the following items:
uncrushed soda cans
20 55-gallon plastic barrels
10 aquarium air pumps
2 deep cycle battery (found at forklift suppliers or rental stores maybe)
1 advanced ultra-efficient mini fridge
1 solar cooker
sodium acetate hand warmers (as many as possible)
1 Peddle Power Energy Bike as used during the encampment at Liberty Square Park Read the rest of this entry →
Note: This report was originally sent on Thursday, February 2, 2012.
On January 4, 2012 the NYC GA reached consensus on a $10,000 proposal written by myself (Tobias) and Ibraheem within the Town Planning Working Group. This proposal was created to help make our encampment more sustainable. Having 8 years experience as an editor and publisher (nHouse Publishing, LLC), writing has become one of my strengths. So my involvement with writing the proposal consisted of answering all of the questions with the exception of WHAT IS THE BUDGET? Detailed description of costs.
A lot of the language used came from our Declaration and an article that I had written titled “Why Do We Occupy?”I realized that $10,000 was way more than what we needed and suggested that we (Town Planning) revise our budget with the other working groups in mind and take a more realistic look at our encampment needs. This initiated a series of meetings with the attempts of encouraging various working groups (Town Planning, Media, Comfort, Kitchen) to create realistic budgets to be submitted to Town Planning so that we could create one report to be presented at our GA. The revised budget would determine how the $10,000 would be disbursed. However, this attempt of collaboration and cooperation would become an ongoing struggle.
I would even send out emails that read: There will be a Town Planning Working Group meeting Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 6pm. We will meet at Military Park then head over to Essex County College. The purpose of this meeting is to carefully review the budget presented to OWS, discuss issues of sustainability at the encampment such as intake/comfort, security, kitchen (food), transportation, sanitation, communication, media, and medical.
It wasn’t until Saturday, January 14, 2012, did we receive this monetary donation from OWS Finance. Being that Ibraheem had become the designated point person, he was granted the authority to pick up the check. Yes, check. It was understood that Ibraheem would be picking up a check and that I would accompany him because the check would be in his name and I would hold on to the check to ensure that it wouldn’t be cashed, but deposited into a bank the following Tuesday since the weekend fell on a holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday.
Ibraheem agreed to meet me at Military Park at 2:30pm because I teach youth theatre on Saturdays from 12noon to 2:00pm. However, we’d been getting some extremely cold weather during the beginning of January and many occupiers had begun occupying the residence of other occupiers.
When I arrived at Military Park I was informed that Ibraheem had already ventured off to OWS Finance to pick up the monetary donation. I was told to go over there to meet up with him. I dug into my pocket and pulled out $8. I looked over at a fellow occupier and asked him to be my travel buddy. We took the Path over to lower Manhattan, piece of cake.
When we arrived at the building where OWS Finance is located we were told that due to recent issues only one point person per working group/occupation was allowed upstairs. So I used the cell phone of a person standing close by to call up to the office and informed them, in a friendly voice, that members of Occupy Newark were in the lobby waiting for Ibraheem to come down. I was informed that he would be down shortly.
After some time had passed, Ibraheem came down smiling, but I still couldn’t read his body language. I didn’t know if that look of his was good or bad news. I just knew it was news. We started off down the street and I asked impatiently what happened. I leaned in close, squinted, and focused on his lips because I could barely hear what he was saying. Then I heard something about $2,000 emergency cash and a check for $8,000. I asked for clarification and then he stated that he asked for emergency cash. I didn’t think much of it until he stated that they gave him $10,000 cash!
I had to ask a few more times to make sure I heard him correctly and to make sure he wasn’t playing. He wasn’t. I couldn’t believe it. We had no bank account. Newark had been rank as the 3rd worst maanged city in the nation, murders were occurring by the day, and they hand over $10,000 cash. I was speechless. We decided to take our quiet celebration into McDonald’s; the first floor didn’t provide enough privacy so we went upstairs.
The three of us sat. We were still trying to digest the most recent “not so public”announcement. I didn’t feel comfortable sitting upfront near the steps and moved more to the back of the restaurant. After settling down I decided to write and blast this email. I even had Ibraheem and the other occupier read it before sending it out: Town Planning needs all budgets submitted by midnight Monday, January 16, 2012. Town Planning will be submitting an encampment proposal with all working groups’ budgets as discussed at previous GAs to the General Assembly on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. If you do not submit a budget to Town Planning by midnight Monday, January 16, 2012 your working group risks not being included in the revised proposal/budget submitted to OWS.
After sending the email out Ibraheem suggested that we divided the money in half, I hold $5,000 and he hold $5,000. To make sure we were both given an equal share, our fellow occupier counted the money out. I repeatedly ask Ibraheem if he was sure that he wanted to hold on to $5,000. After all, he was actually living at our encampment and I didn’t think sleeping in a public park downtown Newark in a camping tent with $5,000 was the safest thing to do. However, Ibraheem insisted that he’d be okay. Well, I wanted to make sure no one suspected him of carrying $5,000 and suggested that we tell everyone that OWS Finance gave us a $10,000 check until the following Tuesday, when we would be able to put the money into a bank. Also, I wanted to encourage everyone to work together and create budgets for their working groups.
The Working Groups in question are as follows — Intake & Comfort, Kitchen, Media, Finance (transportation), Town Planning (tents and all related material/supplies for outdoor living).
Well, everyone agreed to this story: Tobias has the $10,000 check.
We departed, Ibraheem went in one direction and me and our fellow occupier went in another. We headed back to our encampment in Newark $5,000 richer. When I reached Military Park people ran up to me informing me about their needs, especially the need to finish setting up the military tent because there were people who were staying at churches in New York who wanted and needed a place to encamp.
Half-truths became a whole lot of lies.
I responded by stating that we received a check and will be depositing the check into the bank on Tuesday, whereas, it would take about nine business days before the check clears. In the meantime, working groups will be meeting to work on their budgets so we can revise the Town Planning budget and handle things in a more organized and professional manner. This made sense to everyone, especially since there was no “money.”
Well, you don’t know you’re doing wrong until you try to do right. The next day, Sunday, I appeared on the scene at the (Peoples Organization for Pogress (P.O.P.) MLK Jr. rally and the fellow occupier informed me that Ibraheem had informed others that he had given me $2,000 emergency cash and an $8,000 check.
A frown came across my face.
I couldn’t understand why he would tell people this after we agreed to tell everyone we had a check until the money was in the bank. The fellow occupier then stated that he didn’t want to have any parts of it. I understood and stated that I’d carry the burden. I just didn’t want to come out and tell people that Ibraheem was walking around and sleeping in the park with $5,000.
Well, what a day that was. I nearly got into about three fights, and argued with nearly everyone about why I lied about not having money. The grievances went on nonstop. I even lost it a few times, yelling and screaming, becoming a madman. I felt like people were ganging up on me and my defenses went up and stayed on high alert. People were proposing that I take half the money and split it with everyone. I just couldn’t see the reasoning in that. There were some good ideas expressed but people have very little respect for the process. People don’t want to write a proposal, submit it on our website 24-hours in advance, so that it could be discussed properly at a GA. They were expecting me to just hand over money.We simply don’t have enough organizers/professionals.
At some point, well after the sun went down, I decided to part ways from the occupiers. I called Ibraheem, asking why did he tell people that I had $2,000, but because he was with the occupiers whom I was in the confrontation with he couldn’t entertain my grievance so I emailed him. He then replied, what you expect. This weak response infuriated me. I then stated that people are asking me for all kinds of money and he replied that I shouldn’t give them any money.
Easy for him to say. I managed to get about two hours of sleep that night.
I later learned there was a private meeting going on to vote me out of finance for lying. I had to laugh because half the money was sitting amongst them. Also, I never officially was a part of the Finance Working Group. I was simply trying to help facilitate the organization of the working group and ended up with half the donation. The attached document shows this. However, I wasn’t about to let others simply spend the money on nonrelated matters because the proposal for the donation was created in Town Planning and a large part of the donation would go to Town Planning for the purchasing of materials and supplies.
And that’s exactly what I decided to do. The next day I began purchasing supplies and material for the encampment. I wanted to spend as much of the portion I had on the encampment. That’s what the money was for in the first place. I even informed one of the older occupiers what had happened and asked if he could take me and another to various stores to purchase heaters, sleeping bags, etc.
The more I think about it, it should’ve been Ibraheem wanting to spend his portion quickly being that he was carrying part of the burden on him daily. It doesn’t matter now, does it? I went from being well respected to being labeled a thief, liar, and other things I’m sure. But I don’t blame them. You just can’t afford to trust anyone in a monetary system. But I continued to hold on to my lie because I didn’t want anyone to know that Ibraheem was carrying $5,000.
Then when Tuesday came, Ibraheem and the other occupier who were designated to open the bank account wasn’t able to do so for whatever reasons so it was put off until everyone returned from Occupy Congress. Now the end of the week comes and Ibraheem and the other designated bank signee, me, and another occupier heads down to City National Bank to open the account but Ibraheem doesn’t have all required documents to open the account. This was becoming more and more of a headache. And people were becoming more and more determined to use the money for things other than what was specified in the original proposal or revised proposals. From my perspective, it seemed that people had become more concerned about money and less concerned about the movement. It seemed that money was the sole purpose, the sole motivation, for some. This is why I advocate for a resource based society, because in a resource based society human and environmental needs are a priority, money is irrelevant.
We would continue to meet to discuss how the money should be spent and our meetings would turn into heated debates, at times nearly physical. Ibraheem took the initiative to revise the Town Planning budget. We also managed to develop a budget for the kitchen, but Media still hadn’t submitted a budget nor did it look like they were going to. Me and Ibraheem then became more determined to spend the money on encampment material and supplies. We approached Occupier Barbara about purchasing the needed items through her credit card but she wanted to see the check from OWS. That was a problem because there never was a check. So we decided to go another route.
After about spending two days trying to find ways to spend the money we then tried putting the money on two reloadable visa cards that belongs to Ibraheem and that seemed to work. Why didn’t we do that from day one?
This experience has been a lesson well learned. I do apologize to those who I’ve offended and to those who feel that I’ve let them down. But we do what we feel and believe is the right thing to do. I feel like I’ve failed at helping to bring balance and structure to the Finance Working Group, but every failed attempt brings us one step closer towards success. I’ve also decided that as of Monday, February 6, 2012, to remove myself from the Town Planning Working Group, and focus more on the overall human and environmental needs at the encampment, which means I’m willing to assist in any way I can. Also, all of my receipts were turned over to Ibraheem and Barbara. I would also like to help develop our Media Working Group because without media I fear that our journey will not be respectfully documented. By the way, I have a set of keys to the donation box that seems to have become a piece of art. I’d like to turn the keys over to someone. Instead of monetary donation boxes we should set up wish lists and encourage people to support us with love and not treat us as a monetary payoff or a charity case.
Please do not mistake this report as a means to build up a hate campaign against Ibraheem or any other occupier(s). Ibraheem did what he believed to be the right thing, and so did I. If anyone wants to point an incriminating finger please continue to do so at me. This experience should be documented and reviewed as how to better handle this type of situation.
Also, nor should Ibraheem be voted out of the Finance Working Group for believing he was upholding the integrity of Occupy Newark and honoring the relationship of OWS. Instead, Ibraheem needs to be sat down and told about the danger I was placed in because of his and my actions. He also needs to hear from the occupiers who strongly feel that he ignored their immediate needs. Lastly, we all need some serious training on how to better express ourselves and work with one another. Because we don’t know how to effectively communicate with one another it’s nearly impossible to understand each other’s points of view.
If my report brings harm to any occupier or damage to his/her property the perpetrator(s) should be removed from Military Park. I would definitely advocate for this. Violence at any encampment should not be tolerated.
Andrew Lo, Professor and Director for MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering, stated in the award winning documentary Inside Job directed by Charles Ferguson that “recently, neuroscientists have done experiments where they’ve taken individuals and put them into an MRI machine. And they have them play a game where the prize is money. And they noticed that when these subjects earn money, the part of the brain that gets stimulated is the same part that cocaine stimulates.” We are living in a sick society.
Town Planning Working Group Contact(s):Ibraheem Awadallah (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tobias A. Fox (email@example.com)
$1,500 for food budget for two months ($750 January; $750 February)
$500 (encampment shopping spree of boots, sweaters, hats; “OccuFly” one occupier calls it)
17-passenger van to Occupy Congress ($350)
$500 for 1 Porta potty for two month ($250 February; $250 March)
Supplies needed for military tent ($240)
11 four-man sport tents (with shipping expense $510)
27 0-degree weather sleeping bags ($1,100)
Info tent/People’s Library and Storage tent – ($860)
Solar Power Generator –(Pending)
1 large commercial canopy to house tents to be protected from inclement weather ($720)
3 chargeable lanterns ($90)
4 heaters ($80)
Miscellaneous (tarps, utensils, supplies, food items outside of the food budget, etc – $300)
Community Donation of $1,250– Proposal submitted on 1/18/2012 and passed on 1/24/2012
Pain and suffering endured during the spending of all of this (Pending)
Other miscellaneous (cigarettes, booze, weed, women, men, political payoffs) classified Just kidding, we never paid men or women for anything
Balance on February 1, 2012: $1,770 Porta Potty expense for March — $250 Food budget balance for February — $375 Balance: $1,145 (this balance was used for the purchasing of additional equipment)
As of February 15, 2012, the encampment at Military Park has been officially evacuated. It just doesn’t look the same without tents. At least the monuments, symbolizing the park’s history, still remains.Sometime yesterday, a sanitation worker gave the few remaining occupiers at Military Park heads up that they (Dept. of Sanitation) were preparing to come to clean out the encampment with a police escort at 11:30pm. It was a final attempt at reclaiming the park, but wanting to do so in a peaceful manner. Me and others received word and decided to go down to Military Park to confirm what was floating around on twitter and Facebook, but to also show standing support to those who refused to leave.
Close to midnight, a cop on the payroll of Miles Berger, CEO of the Berger Organization, LLC, pulled up with a smile on his face asking if we planned to leave. The Berger Organization is a privately owned real estate company based in Newark. It is involved in the development and management of residential, commercial, and hospitality properties throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City. There have been about three confrontations with employees of the Robert Treat Hotel, a Berger Organization property. Berger himself had sent the city council a letter asking that we be evicted from Military Park and had been on a campaign with Mayor Cory Booker to push this eviction.
Well, last night, shortly after midnight, 12:15am to be exact, just as we were giving up on the warning of a police raid, we piled up into an occupier’s vehicle and just as she put her vehicle in drive, creeping up on the side of us were fire vehicles, police wagons, sanitation vehicles, the works.
A wave of fear and then an adrenaline rush came through my body. We all exited the vehicle and some occupiers came out of their tents to face the authorities. I truly have to give it to the remaining few. They showed no fear and held their ground to the very end. One occupier even demanded to law enforcement to not touch his tent and they complied, but stated that if he didn’t take his tent down they would have to follow their orders. There were about 3 fire vehicles, 3 police wagons, a special task force unit, about 7 unmarked cars, 13 firemen, a team of sanitation workers with 2 dumpsters, and a police force of about 40 or more.
A New York Times journalist and a group of camera phones were documenting the event. We were expecting batons, mace, tear gas, the works, but instead we got a pretty peaceful group of enforcers. Not sure if there’s such a thing. Even occupiers originally from OWS stated that they felt they were in a Twilight zone. They just couldn’t understand why the cops didn’t come with aggression and why the majority of the occupiers that was once there quietly left. I guess every encampment has its own culture. Read the rest of this entry →
The group has occupied Military Park since mid-November. The city clerk’s office sent the group a letter on Tuesday telling them they would have to leave by 9 p.m. Thursday. Newark City Clerk Kenneth Louis says the eviction deadline has been extended until Saturday at 9 p.m.
The council adopted an ordinance in December giving the group permission to stay in the park.
Mayor Cory Booker this week said he hoped the Occupy protesters would respect the deadline.
“The city council has done something rare, changed laws to accommodate them,” he said. “So now the question is will the Occupy Newark people respect the residents of this city, because I do not want to be put in a position where I have to draw down police resources, sanitation resources and the like to remove the tents and the people who might be in violation of the curfew.”
Occupy Newark Footage from 2/9/2012; some reactions to the eviction news and a tour.
“The world is my country and my religion is to do good.” –Thomas Paine
Mission Statement: Taking the approach of social entrepreneurship, the Science and Sustainability Working Group, an international working group interested in assisting occupations throughout the country, will explore the utilization of free, abundant, renewable energy through teach-ins and hands-on training. We will also promote and assist with the creation of greenhouses/hydroponic gardens to ensure that the fruits and vegetables grown are fresh and organic.
Even with green technology, such as solar construction techniques as they are being implemented in zero energy construction, demand more natural resources and typically cost 150% more than traditional constructions, which fuels the perpetual debt and the mortgage system that has greatly bankrupted the nation.
It’s time we moved the campaign forward and start to implement some sane energy solutions and get rid of these foolish, antiquated, fossil fuel technologies. Even green technology can be as corrupted as current methods. This winter, we’re working to create our new Renewable Energy Discussion and Panel Series led by engineer Damian de Caires.
If 70% of the materials for a construction project are made from repurposed waste products, such as reused lumber, plastic bottles, and soda cans, then a project that would cost 150% can be built for only 70% of traditional cost. This would save more than half of the funds to do the same work. Caires will provide expertise and in depth insight as to how to create equipment to store renewable energy on a limited budget. This would be done by repurposing the budget, not going over the original allocation, and provide power to the people.
“I support Occupy Newark and demand Mayor Booker to back down from his attempts to disperse them by cutting the power.”
Since November 18, 2011, a small group of concerned residents have gotten together under the name Occupy Newark as a means to address the economic, social, political, and environmental issues affecting the quality of life in Newark, New Jersey.
In December, the City Council granted approval to occupy Military Park, located in the downtown district, as a 24-hour encampment. However, on January 6, 2012, Mayor Cory
Booker visited this encampment and stated that residents of the community were displeased that electricity was being pulled from lamp posts for light and heaters. The argument was that residents were paying for Occupy Newark’s electrical use, which meant that the occupiers were not paying an electric bill like everyone else, causing a burden on the residents.
This argument ignores the fact that many occupiers are residents of Newark. Therefore, to Mayor Booker, money is far more important than the survival of the occupants and the work they are trying to do.
Mayor Booker has chosen to concern himself with electricity being used in a public park. At the same, he ignores the demand from the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, that the violence in Newark be declared a national public health issue, and he ignores the Peoples Organization for Progress campaign for a “Jobs at a Living Wage”.
An article released by MSN Money on January 5, 2012, titled “Best and Worst Cities Run in America” ranked Newark as the third most mismanaged city for the following reasons:
• Violent crime per 1,000 people: 10.29 (21st-highest)
• Poverty rate: 30.2% (10th-highest)
• Adult population graduating from high school: 69.2% (6th-lowest)
• Credit rating: A3 (negative outlook)
• Population: 277,232
The mayor’s visit to Military Park was recorded and uploaded on YouTube: Occupy Newark Exposes Mayor Booker’s Priorities. Tell the mayor to stop trying to break up the encampment at Military Park with foolish complaints while he ignores the more serious problems Newark has.
What I’ve learned about the occupation movement is that there are three groups of people:
One group is solely interested in occupying public space and making that public space a community within a community, regardless how organized or chaotic that community may appear to others. This is all they want to do: occupy public space. Occupying public space is critical because it’s a place where we can establish the commons and create a true democracy, and setup all the social systems needed to support a fully human society.
However, I’d say that we are operating on limited information. The people who are well informed about how to properly setup encampments aren’t helping us. They are leaving us to our own creativity and ignorance, which could be nonproductive. For the most part, we act and react on limited information.
Just imagine if technicians and social engineers came to our encampment at Military Park located in Newark, New Jersey (Occupy Newark) and taught us and participated with setting up a fully sustainable encampment with today’s knowledge. This would create a totally different environment. Then people who are well informed in social psychology and social management would teach us how environment shapes behavior and how to manage our resources. This too would create a different environment. If all of this would happen attitudes and this movement would change drastically. We would be able to evolve into a resource-based society where money isn’t needed for survival. Read the rest of this entry →
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