November 18, 2011
Occupy Wall Street updates from far flung corners of the world
Occupy Melbourne’s Indigenous Working Group is leading the call to evict Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle. Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women took part in this angry demonstration linking Aboriginal sovereignty to the rights of the 99% to resist. Members of Aboriginal Nations declared that Doyle has neither the right to evict Occupy from their lands nor the authority to trample on popular protest.
Radical Women passed out a statement by the Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights, connecting Occupy Melbourne's free speech fight with feminists under attack by the Melbourne City Council for exercising their right to defend a Fertility Control Clinic. There was enthusiastic support.
On November 16, 100 police gave protesters 60 minutes to tear down their encampment at Treasury Gardens. In a move to quash the movement, the City Council issued an order that all tents and other “goods” be removed from the gardens but people could stay. Occupy Melbourne organizers are seeking an interim injunction in Federal Court to remain at their present site. This is the second Occupy site to be closed down.
Calling for action on poverty and income disparities, an Occupy Tokyo movement brought many protesters out onto the streets of Tokyo's Roppongi and Hibiya districts October 16th.
The protests, inspired by the occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, came as advocates of the Occupy movement called on people worldwide to participate in an international day of action via the Internet.
Karin Amamiya, a writer familiar with youth poverty issues, received thunderous applause from the protesters when she said, "We must show that poor people can change society if they raise their voice!"
October 27th, a sit-in was launched at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry by women form Fukushima. The militant railway workers’ union, Doro Chiba, arranged student and worker support for the sit-in. The slogan raised by protestors was “Occupy Kasumigaseki.” Kasumigaseki is the government district.
On November 6th 10,000 people took part in a rally and march called by Doro Chiba to protest privatization, nuclear power, unemployment, massive lay- offs and casualization of the workforce. Unions from Brazil, the US, Korea, Germany and Japan took part and there was plenty of talk about the 99%. A contingent from the US included Dan Coffman, president of ILWU Local 21 in Longview, Washington which is in the midst of a huge battle against the Japanese company EGT. Dan thanked FSP for it’s support of the strike in Longview which has been long and difficult.
The fascists came out in force during the march with all their sound trucks. One of them was playing a recording of a machine gun. They seem to have a lot money, judging by their trucks, but their forces were small.
Seattle FSP started off the week with a teach-in at Occupy Seattle (OS) called “Obama’s American Jobs Act: What it is and why it won’t work.” Seattle Radical Women is promoting Sisters Organize for Survival’s (SOS) call to occupy the state capitol beginning Nov. 28 to stop lawmakers from slashing another $2 billion from education, services and jobs in their special legislative session.
The SOS campaign has three messages to convey to the governor and legislators:
NO cuts to jobs, services, and education!
Tax Washington's billionaires, millionaires and corporations giants!
End U.S. wars and redirect trillions in military spending to state budgets!
A working group within Occupy Seattle called “Occupy the Capitol” is holding organizing meetings and hosted it first teach-in this week. An SOS community-organizing meeting on Tuesday (11/15) drew a large group including key people from Occupy Seattle working groups and the newly formed Gender Equality Caucus.
SOS’s work with Occupy Seattle and the Labor Caucus also helped pave the way for the MLK County Labor Council to pass a resolution supporting SOS’s call to action.
The next immediate goal is to build solid support with OS for the resolution, including the demands, and bring it to the General Assembly for discussion within the next couple days. We are working with Occupy Olympia on this.
On November 17, despite a very cold driving rain, the "Jobs Not Cuts" demonstration stepped off with a spirited crowd of about 1000 people. It was sponsored by the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and Working Washington. Union members were prominent, in addition to Washington Community Action Network (WA-CAN), and some students, Occupy Seattle people, parents with kids, and retirees. The march went through the south end of the University District on the street and ended with marching and rallying on the University Bridge. Organizers had permits and there were no confrontations with cops.
Hundreds of the SOS leaflet to “Occupy the Capitol” during the special legislative session were handed out. Other groups were not promoting this-- except FUSE, a Democratic Party umbrella group for unions and NGOs, which had postcards on their information table. People were very receptive and interested despite the cold and the rain. Those from SEIU and WA-CAN knew about the Olympia week of protests, but few others seemed to have a clue, showing that much more outreach needs to be done in the next week. It was important that SOS was there to promote “Occupy the Capitol” with a leaflet that put forward a radical analysis.
Los Angeles, U.S.
Two major actions took place in Los Angeles on November 17. One was sponsored by the L.A. County Federation of Labor demanding “Good Jobs L.A.” The Teamsters and SEIU were in the lead, taking 1000 marchers from Occupy L.A. to a downtown bridge in need of repair and demanding infrastructure improvements for cities across the country. FSP/RW supporters marched in this protest and rallied for several hours. There were 23 arrests in planned civil disobedience; the first person taken by the police was an 81 year-old former nurse. By the end of the day, the number arrested had risen to 70, many of them in the financial district, including some who had erected tents in the middle of a busy downtown thoroughfare. Occupy L.A. protesters have been camped outside City Hall for nearly seven weeks.
The second action was at Cal State Dominguez, where the campus faculty union is on strike and classes were cancelled. Students were passing out Radical Women flyers and picketing with the striking teachers.