Whether due to familiarity with previous Occupy coverage or the American tendency to trust police, almost every observer fit the altercation at UC Davis into the willful civil disobedience script: students were protesting by breaking the rules, and Lt. Pike used excessive force to respond. But the Reynoso and Kroll reports conclude that we were likely all wrong about that. The students had a right to be on the quad. Neither administrators nor campus police possessed clear, lawful authority to order their departure at 3 pm on a Friday afternoon. It turns out that the Occupy Davis protesters were following the law far more assiduously than the police forcibly dismantling their tents, spraying pepper into their mucous membranes and carting them off in flex handcuffs. And there’s evidence that both administrators and campus police knew it!
Read more. [Video: The Aggie]
If you are looking for something to read today, I highly recommend the “Reynoso Task Force Report,” with its accompanying “Kroll Report” appendix. These are the findings of the panel chaired by Cruz Reynoso, a well-known former Justice of the California Supreme Court, charged with looking into the causes and consequences of the pepper-spraying episode at UC Davis last November. […]
Campus police and others come in for their share of criticism, including specifically the police lieutenant who has become notorious from the picture above. Both he and the UC Davis police chief remain on paid administrative leave. But at face value its findings are also very damaging to the still-serving Chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi. For instance, the Kroll report says about a letter asking the demonstrators to disperse:Read more. [Image: Brian Nguyen/The Aggie]
"Chancellor Katehi told Kroll investigators that Student Affairs wrote the letter and that she did not review it before it went out. The record contradicts both of these statements, as detailed below. Katehi did review the letter, provided an editorial change and approved it. Student Affairs did not write the letter…"
The family of Trayvon Martin joined thousands of demonstrators, who teamed up with Occupy Wall Street, to march across New York City last night to protest the shooting death of the Florida teenager. The “Million Hoodie March,” as it was dubbed, was organized to show support for the Martin family and call for the arrest of the George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin last month, but has not been charged after claiming self-defense. Martin’s parents spoke to crowd to thank them for their support and continue to push for chages to be filed against Zimmerman. Martin’s mother Sabrina Fulton told the gathered protesters that “My son is your son.”
After the formal demonstration ended, the protest — buoyed in part by the Occupy Wall Street supporters angry over recent clashes with the NYPD — evolved into a general anti-police rally. Much of the anger surrounding the Martin case has shifted from the shooter to the Sanford, Florida, police department that seems to have let him off the hook.
The protesters marched from Union Square to Times Square and back, where they encountered a massive police prescence, with lines of NYPD officers and barricades blocking off most of the park. Despite the ominous and aggresives stances from both the police and the protesters, the night ended calmly with no major confrontations.
The stories of Daniel Murphy and Ben Zucker, two participants in Occupy Wall Street who are still looking to define what the movement is all about:
At 23, Zucker has the organizing gene. He’s a fresh graduate of Tulane University, where he studied public health to get a foot in the door of social justice work, and his family lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, just inside the Beltway. He once spent a semester running a health program in Senegal, and upon his return, he got involved with a protest by dining services workers. Zucker, who was hooked after first swinging by McPherson in early October, represents the liberal side of the movement. He wants universal health care and federal takeovers of big banks, and he thinks Occupy Wall Street is a good way to make it all happen.
That’s a sharp contrast with Murphy, a Long Beach native who earned his high school diploma in 2004 but never graduated. At 17, he was sentenced to more than two years in the California Youth Authority for stabbing three people at a coffee shop after his friend was punched.
Walking down the sidewalk these days, it’s not uncommon to hear people ask each other what happened to Occupy Wall Street, in the same way they might ask, “What ever happened to so-and-so from way back? She had so much potential.” The answer is almost always that the person never reached the level others had believed she would — that she’d failed and was now a waitress at the diner in the town she’d never left. That’s not exactly what happened to Occupy Wall Street, but it’s close. The movement didn’t fail, but rather fell short, stalled, and is now battling internal obstacles as preparations for a second phase get underway.
Just as millions of Americans banked on Obama’s “Change You Can Believe In” rhetoric four years ago and thought he could erase eight years of damage overnight, some people thought Occupy Wall Street could create instant change. And now, six months after the movement began, it’s clear that a lack of organization caused it to plateau. Protesters chose to gather before figuring out what they wanted and decided to organize themselves around parks rather than issues. They aimed their anger at unrealistic targets instead of tackling specific issues, amassing simple wins, and building a following based on a track record of success.
Read more. [Image: Andrew Katz]
Of the $737,000 or so Occupy Wall Street reports it has raised in donations since its inception nearly six months ago, it’s managed to spend or earmark more than $700,000 of that, according to its latest finance report. Amid the staples, copies, computers, and materials for its direct actions, it paid for tea, cigarettes, and lots of Metrocards. For the group that occupied Wall Street in the first place, a financial hangover is at hand.
At its peak, Occupy had around $500,000 in the bank as donations poured in thanks to the national exposure of its Zuccotti Park encampment. Now, aside from the $89,029 that remains of its $100,000 bail fund, it has $30,537 to work with, according to last week’s report. So where did all that money go? A sampling of some of some of line items in the Occupy budget:Read more. [Image: AP]
$45,000 on Metrocards The movement moves by New York subway. (Though it’s a little hard to tally because some of those are reported as one of a few bundled expenses, such as $87 for “metrocards and earplugs” for the security detail on Nov. 9).
$9,900 on legal expenses Almost all of that going to bail out activists arrested during Occupy actions.
$6,000 on tea and herbs And do not forget the equipment to prepare them, as documented in expenditures slated for the Tea and Herbal and Herbalist working groups.
$7,196 on laundry People living in the Zuccotti encampment needed clean drawers.
Embracing Occupy Wall Street means embracing the language of the 99 percent—even when you’re filing for a super PAC. Today, an election lawyer tipped us off to a Federal Election Commission filing for a brand new super PAC: The Occupy Wall Street Political Action Committee. It’s the type of document that’s typically stuffy and technical, but less so when the treasurer of the super PAC is an Occupy organizer. Note the mailing address.
It looks like a high school prank but the committee’s treasurer John Paul Thornton promises us it’s anything but. ”We’re utterly serious,” he says. A data technician in Decator, Alabama, Thornton says he’s an active member in his state’s Occupy movement, contacting state representatives and city council-members, participating in weekly general assembly meetings, and saying active in his local branch’s private and public online forums.
Read more. [Image: FEC/Flickr/Vectorportal]
Srdja Popovic is something of an expert on unjust societies, and in particular their rectification and reconstruction by nonviolent means. Just over a decade ago, Popovic was a student activist in Belgrade working to oust Slobodan Milošević. After that odds-defying campaign ended with the Yugoslav president’s one-way trip to The Hague, Popovic spent a few years in electoral politics before founding the Centre for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS, and began training activists interested in copying the Serbian model of bottom-up regime change. CANVAS has worked with people from 46 countries, and graduates of Popovic’s program include organizers of the successful movements in Georgia, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Maldives. The young Iranians rioting against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 downloaded 17,000 copies of Popovic’s guide to nonviolent action. The Syrians currently standing up to Bashar al-Assad are the latest in the long line of advice-seekers. With little fanfare, Popovic, who is 39, has become an architect of global political change. And no one is more surprised about this than Popovic himself. Read more.
[Image: Fabrizio Giraldi/Luzphoto]
— Ai Weiwei on Occupy Wall Street. Read more.
Documentary filmmaker Casey Neistat pairs footage of the scene at Zuccotti Park between 1am and 6am on November 15 with Sinatra’s “New York, New York” for an ironic twist