WBEZ | occupy http://www.wbez.org/tags/occupy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Occupy activists try to lift spirits of jailed comrades http://www.wbez.org/news/occupy-activists-try-lift-spirits-jailed-comrades-100080 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/99percentSCALED.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 192px; height: 287px;" title="An Occupy Chicago activist Wednesday heads from the Cook County Criminal Courthouse after a hearing for two NATO protesters facing bomb-related charges. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell) " /></div><p>Sebastian Senakiewicz and Mark Neiweem are getting less public attention than <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-keep-terror-indictments-defendants-100044">three other NATO protesters</a> jailed on bomb-related charges. But Occupy Chicago activists on Wednesday pulled off a defiant display inside a Cook County courtroom to let the two know they are not going it alone.</p><p>The scene was a hearing at which prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted Senakiewicz, 24, and Neiweem, 28, for allegedly talking about building explosives to wreak havoc during the military alliance&rsquo;s summit in Chicago last month. Two or three diligent reporters were on hand but not a single television camera. The media &ldquo;pen&rdquo; &mdash; a cordoned section of the courthouse lobby &mdash; was barren.</p><p>The courtroom, though, was full of Occupy activists willing to buck warnings from a beefy sheriff&rsquo;s officer against creating any sort of spectacle.</p><p>After the hearing, as Senakiewicz and Neiweem were led to the courtroom&rsquo;s side door, their Occupy comrades made their move. There were just a few seconds for the defendants to get a glimpse of the gallery and, when they did, they saw a dozen fists in the air.</p><p>&ldquo;They can waive back to us in solidarity and they can feel that love and support that our whole movement has for them,&rdquo; said Rachael Perrotta, one of the Occupy activists.</p><p>Prosecutors last month charged Senakiewicz with falsely making a terrorist threat and Neiweem with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge set their bonds at, respectively, $750,000 and $500,000 &mdash; amounts their attorneys say will keep them locked up.</p><p>At Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set their next court appearance for July 2.</p><p>The Occupy activists vowed to be there.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/occupy-activists-try-lift-spirits-jailed-comrades-100080 For NATO protesters, a welcome mat http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protesters-welcome-mat-99136 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LorraineChavez4cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 356px; height: 223px;" title="Lorraine Chavez is hosting protesters in her McKinley Park home: ‘If we did not have wars, we could have investments for jobs.’ (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p><em>With Chicago&rsquo;s NATO summit just days away, officials are battening down the hatches for protests that could draw thousands from out of town. But some other Chicagoans are rolling out a welcome mat for those same protesters. They&rsquo;re clearing space in their businesses and churches, allowing tents in their yards, even opening spare bedrooms. We report from our West Side bureau.</em></p><p>Officials are planning to close streets and highways. They&rsquo;re bringing in state police officers and National Guardsmen and preparing for mass arrests. They&rsquo;re ready to roll out a military device that sends ear-piercing tones over long distances. But over in Chicago&rsquo;s McKinley Park neighborhood, there is Lorraine Chavez.</p><p>CHAVEZ: And here is another bedroom if someone has an inflatable mattress. My kids are off to college so I have some empty space.</p><p>Chavez is offering two rooms of her cramped century-old house to some protesters from Florida this weekend.</p><p>MITCHELL: What do you know about these guests?</p><p>CHAVEZ: Not much [laughs] but I requested older guests.</p><p>Chavez says she is taking them in because the protest could bring some attention to joblessness in this country.</p><p>CHAVEZ: I am underemployed myself, despite having a master&rsquo;s, a career path, and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. All of the men in my family who are responsible for college-age kids have all been laid off. If we did not have wars, we could have investments for jobs. This is the moment that these demands are being made and heard and I need to be a part of it.</p><p>Chavez got connected to the Floridians through Occupy Chicago. That group is using its website to collect lodging offers and requests for the NATO protests. A group called CANG8 has a similar site.</p><p>HUNT: If somebody has 20 dogs and someone&rsquo;s allergic to dogs, that would be a bad match.</p><p>Pat Hunt&rsquo;s helping run that system.</p><p>HUNT: If they&rsquo;re providing a warehouse space for 50 to 100 people, they&rsquo;ve asked us to have somebody there just to make sure that [there will be] no drugs, no alcohol, no weapons -- basically that type of thing.</p><p>The anti-NATO groups say they have fielded offers from about 265 potential hosts. They include a homeowner who is installing a wheelchair ramp for a disabled protester. A Latino nonprofit group is taking in guests as long as they don&rsquo;t draw police back to the neighborhood, which is full of undocumented immigrants. A man in DuPage County is letting protesters camp around a house he is losing to foreclosure. An African-American congregation is offering its yard for tents.</p><p>MARSHALL: It was almost a no-brainer for us. It was just a matter of, really, logistics and trying to work out the logistics for it.</p><p>John Marshall serves on the board of that church, Trinity Episcopal. It&rsquo;s just a few blocks from McCormick Place, the site of the NATO summit. He says hosting protesters is not exactly a stand against the military alliance.</p><p>MARSHALL: It&rsquo;s the residue of what happens with war, what happens to refugees, what happens to people who are made poor because of war. Even if they&rsquo;re not within the theater of war, there are lots of people who are poor in the world that we could be helping as opposed to making another B-1 bomber.</p><p>Trinity officials say there hasn&rsquo;t been much fallout for taking that stand but they are hearing from some neighbors. When the church held an educational forum about NATO, some nearby homeowners showed up with questions about the campers.</p><p>NEIGHBOR: How are you going to keep your guests on your property and not coming onto the property of other people who live in the neighborhood?</p><p>MARSHALL: We&rsquo;re going to monitor them. And they&rsquo;re going to be outside at their own Porta-Potties and provide their own stuff.</p><p>Someone peeing in a neighbor&rsquo;s yard isn&rsquo;t the worst thing that could happen. Pat Hunt, the protester who is running one of the housing websites, says what worries her is theft or any sort of attack.</p><p>HUNT: Either one of the guests takes advantage of the host or a host takes advantage of one of the guests. Somebody would get hurt. That&rsquo;s always my fear.</p><p>Hunt says these logistical considerations go beyond this protest against NATO. She says her movement has to start creating the sort of world it&rsquo;s demanding.</p><p>HUNT: If what we&rsquo;re saying is shared resources then we have to model shared resources.</p><p>Hunt thinks this model can work. And, this weekend, we might see if she&rsquo;s right.</p></p> Tue, 15 May 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protesters-welcome-mat-99136 Pittsburgh punk rockers Anti-Flag go on 'General Strike' http://www.wbez.org/story/pittsburgh-punk-rockers-anti-flag-go-general-strike-97301 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/anti-flag_by_tony_mott_01.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pittsburgh punk band <a href="http://www.anti-flag.com/">Anti-Flag</a> is well known for piercing messages against war, imperialism, and human rights. Their new album <em>The General Strike</em> is no exception! Anti-Flag's Pat Thetic joined Jesse Menendez on Vocalo's <a href="http://www.vocalo.org/musicvoxblog">MusicVox</a> to discuss the new album, social activism, and strikes as a tool for political action.</p></p> Wed, 14 Mar 2012 22:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pittsburgh-punk-rockers-anti-flag-go-general-strike-97301 The protest will be organized, digitized and downloadable http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-22/protest-will-be-organized-digitized-and-downloadable-96631 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-22/6269353236_e614717504.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-22/6269353236_e614717504.jpg" title="Australian Occupy protesters don't stray far from their computers. (Flickr/Kate Ausburn)" width="500"></p><p>More and more, social media and technology, and protest organizing go hand-in-hand. The digital world has allowed those involved to become more closely, and regularly connected. Organizing and protests have evolved along with your internet, handheld device and social networking worlds.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to this conversation on <em>Afternoon Shift</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332738888-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Protests.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>The NATO and G8 summits are heading to Chicago this spring, and today we’re looking at how people are using technology and social media to network and organize for the summits. We also look at the sociology behind crowd behavior, and the role technology plays in that.<br> <br> Today on <em>Afternoon Shift</em>, we spoke with Bill Wasik, Senior Editor at <em>Wired US</em>, and the author of the book<em>&nbsp;And Then There's This: How Stories Live And Die In Viral Culture</em>. His article&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/02/features/crowd-control?page=all">"Crowd control: How today's protests, revolts and riots are self-organising"</a>&nbsp;appears in the January issue of&nbsp;<em>Wired&nbsp;</em>Magazine.<br> <br> We were also joined by Andy Thayer, a longtime organizer and activist, and a representative of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cang8.org">Coalition Against NATO/G-8 War &amp; Poverty Agenda</a>.</p></p> Wed, 22 Feb 2012 19:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-22/protest-will-be-organized-digitized-and-downloadable-96631 New York judge rules against Occupy Wall Street encampment http://www.wbez.org/content/new-york-judge-rules-against-occupy-wall-street-encampment <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-15/AP11111518016.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW&nbsp;YORK (AP) — Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New&nbsp;York City in the pre-dawn darkness Tuesday, evicted hundreds of protesters and then demolished the tent city, leaving the future of the demonstration in limbo.</p><p>Later in the day, a New&nbsp;York judge upheld the city's crackdown. Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman said in his ruling that the protesters "have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights ... or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely."</p><p>The plaza, near the financial district ground zero, is open to the public, but is privately owned.</p><p>Lawyers representing the protesters had sought an order that would let them resume camping in the park. They said after the decision that they hadn't decided whether to appeal.</p><p>The police action began around 1 a.m. and lasted several hours as officers with batons and plastic shields pushed the protesters from their base at Zuccotti Park, arresting hundreds who resisted or didn't leave the area.</p><p>Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the goal was to rid the plaza of tents, tables, and other vestiges of a semi-permanent campsite, saying it had become unsanitary and unsafe.</p></p> Tue, 15 Nov 2011 22:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/new-york-judge-rules-against-occupy-wall-street-encampment Oakland police plead with Occupy protesters to leave http://www.wbez.org/story/oakland-police-plead-occupy-protesters-leave-93975 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-11/6327765924_ab5522c992_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>OAKLAND, Calif. — Citing a strain on limited crime-fighting resources, Oakland police officers pleaded with Occupy Oakland protesters Friday to leave their encampment at the City Hall plaza where a man was shot and killed the night before.</p><p>The shooting occurred the same day a 35-year-old military veteran apparently shot himself to death in a tent at a Burlington, Vt., Occupy encampment.</p><hr><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/2011-11-10/occupy-oakland-continues-tensions-grow-93944"><span style="color:#ff0000;">RELATED READ:&nbsp;</span><strong>Achy Obejas:&nbsp;Occupy Oakland continues; tensions grow within</strong></a><br> <span style="font-size:10px;">Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly has voted to continue taking over foreclosed properties, with the idea of turning them into useful community spaces. But the assembly’s refusal to condemn violence has caused a rift in the ranks.</span></p><hr><p>Both incidents raised questions about whether such protests would be allowed to continue.</p><p>"Tonight's incident underscores the reason why the encampment must end," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Thursday. "The risks are too great. We need to return resources to addressing violence throughout the city."</p><p>The Oakland Police Officer's Association, which represents rank-and-file police, issued an open letter to protesters saying the camp is pulling officers away from crime-plagued neighborhoods.</p><p>"With last night's homicide, in broad daylight, in the middle of rush hour, Frank Ogawa Plaza is no longer safe," the letter said. "Please leave peacefully, with your heads held high, so we can get police officers back to work fighting crime in Oakland neighborhoods."</p><p>The Oakland killing has further strained relations between the anti-Wall Street protesters and local officials, many of whom have called on the demonstrators to leave.</p><p>A preliminary investigation into the gunfire that left a man dead suggests it resulted from a fight between two groups of men at or near the encampment, police Chief Howard Jordan said. Investigators do not yet know if the men in the fight were associated with Occupy Oakland, he said.</p><p>Protesters said there was no connection between the shooting and the camp.</p><p>The Alameda County coroner's office said it was using fingerprints to identify the victim and that a positive identification was not likely to be announced before Monday</p><p>Protesters have been girding for another police raid as several City Council members have said the camp needs to go. After police cleared the camp last month, Quan reversed course and allowed protesters to return and restore the camp.</p><p>In Vermont, police said a preliminary investigation shows the man fatally shot himself in the head in a tent in City Hall Park. The name of the Chittenden County man was being withheld because not all of his family has been notified.</p></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2011 19:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/oakland-police-plead-occupy-protesters-leave-93975 Occupy St. Louis to meet with city's leaders http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-st-louis-meet-citys-leaders-93856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/stlouis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ST. LOUIS — City leaders will meet Tuesday with protesters involved in the Occupy St. Louis movement to try to resolve a dispute over the occupation of a downtown park. The mayor's chief of staff, meanwhile, said the city will do everything it can to avoid a violent confrontation if occupiers refuse to leave.</p><p>Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for Mayor Francis Slay, and city Parks Commissioner Dan Skillman were scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with protesters at the Edward Jones Dome. Slay is not scheduled to attend the meeting.</p><p>Slay, Rainford and other city leaders are calling for an end to the occupation of Kiener Plaza. A few dozen protesters have been camping in tents at the park, a few blocks from Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch, for the past several weeks as part of the nationwide Occupy movement.</p><p>"We've given them a wide berth because of their First Amendment rights," Rainford said. "But now we're getting complaints."</p><p>He said the complaints are varied: The area smells bad and the tents are unsightly; the occupiers are taking up park space that should be open to everyone. Some complain simply because they don't like their politics, Rainford said.</p><p>"We're caught in the middle," Rainford said.</p><p>City Hall leaders, police and others have developed a plan for what to do if the protesters refuse to end the encampment "that seeks to minimize the possibility of violence," Rainford said. He did not offer details of the plan.</p><p>Calls to a spokeswoman for Occupy St. Louis, Chrissie Brooks, were not immediately returned.</p><p>In a blog last week, Slay cited the approaching cold weather and the need to clear space for other events. Kiener Plaza is typically decorated for Christmas and is often the location for downtown events ranging from charitable gatherings to pep rallies to performances by school bands or choirs.</p><p>"I know, and the Occupy participants know, that they cannot stay there forever," Slay wrote.</p><p>Rainford said that by camping at the park, occupiers are violating at least two city laws: The 10 p.m. park curfew, and a law prohibiting the placement of structures — in this case, tents — in public parks.</p><p>Occupy St. Louis on Monday responded on its website, accusing the city of caving to "Big Business" and saying the Occupy movement has generated "vast support across the country and around the world."</p><p>"How ironic, then, that Mayor Slay has decided to stop listening to the complaints of the people and instead heed the complaints of the corporate groups that control the city," the statement read.</p><p>The statement also cited what it called false accusations against the protesters. Rainford has said Kiener Plaza "reeks of urine," which the statement called false.</p><p>"The occupiers have done a remarkable job of maintaining a clean and orderly place," the statement said, citing the group's safe space policy that calls for the area to be free of alcohol, drugs, weapons, hate speech and violence.</p><p>A police spokeswoman said there have been no reports of violence at the encampment. The only arrests came in early October, when 10 protesters were cited for curfew violations.</p><p>The statement also discounted Slay's claim that the area needs to be cleared for other events, saying the group has already shared the space with many others. And the group sought to turn the tables on Slay, citing a list of problems during his 11 years in office, ranging from failed or delayed development projects to high infant mortality rates.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-st-louis-meet-citys-leaders-93856 'Oligarchy': History of how the super-rich defend their wealth http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-28/oligarchy-history-how-super-rich-defend-their-wealth-93577 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-28/oligarch 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The "Occupy" protests make a big point about income disparity in this country. They also say the very rich have too much influence on public and economic policy. But not a lot of Americans think of our very rich as oligarchs. They may believe that oligarchy is something that happens in Russia or the Roman Empire. Today, we spend the hour wrestling with the idea of American oligarchs.</p><p><a href="http://www.polisci.northwestern.edu/people/winters.html">Jeffrey Winters</a> is a professor of political economy at Northwestern University. In his new book <a href="http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1048"><em>Oligarchy</em></a>, he makes the case that we do indeed have a class of super-rich that defends its wealth as vigorously as princes in the Middle Ages.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Some highlights from the interview:</strong></p><p>"[In America], wealth is two times as concentrated as imperial Rome, which was a slave and farmer society. That's how huge the gap is." (<em>12:09</em>)</p><p>"There have been no [income] gains for the average American household since 1970." (<em>20:55</em>)</p><p>"The U.S. Senate ... estimates that the losses to the U.S. Treasury each year just from off-shore placement of resources ... [are] roughly $70 billion ..." (<em>27:21</em>)</p><p>"...the wealth gap within the top one percent is actually much bigger than the wealth gap between the one percent and the bottom 99 percent." (<em>9:29</em>)</p><p>"The Bush Administration treated the top 400 tax returns to the IRS as a state secret." (<em>10:07</em>)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Further reading:</strong></p><p>To learn more about the issue of wealth disparity, you can check out Jeffrey's article in <em>The American Interest</em>, <a href="http://www.bcics.northwestern.edu/news/2011/11-Winters-Oligarchy-Democracy.pdf" target="_blank">"Oligarchy and Democracy"</a> and his piece in the <em>Huffington Post</em>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-winters/americas-income-defense-i_b_772723.html" target="_blank">"America's Income Defense Industry."</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>More</strong></p><p>Two weeks after this segment aired, Jeffrey returned to <em>Worldview</em> to answer listeners' questions about American oligarchy and discuss policy solutions. You can listen to that show <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-09/income-disparity-and-us-political-economy-93898" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 17:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-28/oligarchy-history-how-super-rich-defend-their-wealth-93577 Activists from earlier movements weigh in on Occupy http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-earlier-movements-weigh-occupy-95116 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-22/Flickr--abjam77.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Occupy movement started in New York City nearly four months ago, but since then has spread nationally, and beyond. This grassroots campaign has shifted global attention to the subjects of inequality and economic injustice.</p><p>I was sent out by WBEZ to report on Chicago’s occupiers. And I’ve gotten to know a little bit about their backgrounds, and what they want. However, I wanted to know more.</p><p>So, I decided to track down some of Chicago’s well-known veteran activists. I wanted to see if they could help me understand where Occupy fits in&nbsp; the history of movements for change. And also I wondered what advice they might have for these younger protesters.</p><p><img alt="(Flickr/Everett Taasevigen)" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-09/Jesse%20Jackson%E2%80%94Flickr--everett%20taasevigen.jpg" style="width: 340px; height: 226px; float: left; margin: 7px;" title="(Flickr/Everett Taasevigen)">The Rev. Jesse Jackson is 70 now and president of the Rainbow Push Coalition. He came up in the civil rights movement decades ago and was often at the side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.&nbsp; Jackson says this new movement comes out of social and economic frustrations.</p><p>“The conditions are the wealth is going upward by a few, jobs are leaving, drugs and guns are coming, education [is] too expensive, health care less accessible, poverty expanding, in those gaps you see something called Occupy,” says Jackson.</p><p>“Occupy is a new name for an old struggle for justice. Occupy means take space. It does not have a head you can assassinate. It’s a spirit. That’s why you can’t tear gas it away. It’s a spirit that refuses to be denied."</p><p>"I was talking with some business leaders, a few days ago in Washington," Jackson continued. "They were working on a merger, which involved merging two big companies...they had bonuses for the leaders and more job loss for workers, but then they said ‘if we do this, I wonder what Occupy would think about it? What would they do?”</p><p>Jackson says that Occupy has changed the conversation, but now the challenge is for more people who support the group to join the movement.</p><p>“The idea of Occupy at this stage does not require a leader, it requires participation. Leadership is emerging but this a three-month-old stage of a struggle…It takes time… It took us--from the back of the bus to the right to vote, it was a ten-year struggle. So we do not know how long it is going to last but it will until these gaps close and until these walls come down, until there’s more equity and fairness in the land, in terms of jobs and health care, education, and living conditions.”</p><p><strong>Bill Ayers</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-09/Bill%20Ayers-Flickr%E2%80%94Lloyd%20Lee.jpg" style="width: 385px; height: 255px; float: right; margin: 7px;" title="(Flickr/Lloyd Lee)">A push for fairness is also what drives Bill Ayers, who’s 67 and well known in Chicago for his work on behalf of youth and education. However, Ayers is nationally known for the alliances and acts of his youth. He was part of the Weather Underground, an anti-Vietnam War movement, which planned direct actions like bombings to protest the war.</p><p>I’d thought he would have lots of advice for young protesters of today, but Ayers reacted like &nbsp;many of the veteran activists I spoke with: He said it wasn’t his place to give advice. Overall, Ayers is pleased with the progress of today's young Occupy protesters.</p><p>He offers a bit of his own story:</p><p>&nbsp;“I came out of the very privileged, anesthetized experienced of the suburbs and opened my eyes to a world that was pretty much in flames. There was war everywhere, conflict everywhere, a mighty struggle against white supremacy and racism and I wanted to be a part of it. So I threw myself into it and I dived into it head first and that was the experience of the early days of the anti-war movement.”</p><p>“The Occupy movement has been successful beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. It is a very exciting development that opens the public space in a way that nobody could have predicted six months ago, and it has been remarkably successful at changing the public conversation about what’s wrong with this country,” says Ayers.</p><p>"You hear scholars, and journalists, and activists, and writers from <em>The Nation</em>, and writers for <em>In These Times</em>, and people commenting on NPR, who will say things like, “Well they’re pretty good but I wished they’d get organized and have a demand.” Or people who say ‘I like them but I don’t like the drum circle.’ And those kind of criticisms, to me are so inane, so kind of…they’re older people nostalgic for their own youth unable to give up their positioning and say, ‘Look, I’m learning from you, I didn’t do so great in the last four decades trying to make social change. Let me learn from these kids’—which I think is the proper stance for anybody over fifty.</p><p>"You know, the new left, the left that I was a part of as a youth had a slogan, ‘don’t trust anybody over thirty.’ I’ve always ascribed to that. I still think it’s a good idea. Trust the youth and see where they are taking us."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-09/Carlos%20Arango--Flickr--V%C3%ADctor%20M.%20Espinosa.jpg" style="width: 211px; height: 294px; float: left; margin: 7px;" title="(Flickr/Víctor M. Espinosa)"><strong>Carlos Arango</strong></p><p>Well, one of the activists I interviewed did offer some advice for the Occupy movement—or at least a couple things to consider. Carlos Arango is the director of Casa Aztlan in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Arango is now 65. But when he was about 23, he participated in Mexico’s Student Movement. He was in the crowd when Mexican military fired shots and beat protesters on October 10th of 1968.</p><p>Arango says that Occupy needs to understand that politics is the way to make change.</p><p>"The bottom line is Occupy should be at the table with the elected officals...because it’s with political power that you can make changes.... If you don’t have political power, the movement can change, can create the debate but at the end of the day, the decisions are made in Washington.&nbsp;</p><p>And the whole issue in political terms is we have to stop [being]...the victims."<br> <br> Instead, Arango suggests Occupy protesters become protagonists in order to create change.</p><p>"We have to give a different face. A face that we are the change...we are the future. We are the ones who [are] going to take control."</p><p><strong>Kathy Kelly</strong><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-09/AP99072801770.jpg" style="width: 360px; height: 255px; float: right; margin: 7px;" title="Kathy Kelly, left (AP/File)"></p><p>Kathy Kelly describes herself as a peace activist. She’s been in the middle of war zones and has been jailed for her nonviolent protests against war. We spoke on her 59th birthday as she prepared for another trip out of the U.S. She began by sharing one of her mottos. It comes from Voices for Creative Non-violence, an organization she helps lead.</p><p>"One of the things that Voices has felt quite strongly is that where you stand determines what you see... And I’ve admired the Occupy movement because they have connected so clearly, so vigorously with people who are facing foreclosures or who've already been evicted, and so I think that solidarity takes on very concrete forms.</p><p>"I hope there’s a sense all throughout Chicago that this is an unusual opportunity and that especially as Chicago is shaping up as a place that will be the center for so much of the G8 and NATO activity that will have lots of questions being asked, what is G8? What is NATO? Why are they coming together? Why are they holding joint summits?.... It’s not just happening with a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain time. So I hope that all of the days and weeks ahead will be energized and exciting times for people to get together and learn from the Occupy movement."</p><p><strong>Rev. Walter L. Coleman</strong></p><p>Rev. Walter L Coleman also offered an interesting point of view on the Occupy movement. Coleman is 68 and pastor of Chicago's Lincoln United Methodist church and Adalberto United Methodist church. He’s known for pushing for better housing and advocating for immigrants' rights, including those of Elvira Arellano, a Mexican immigrant who sought refuge at one of his ministries. In the 1980s, Coleman was a supporter of the late Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor.&nbsp;</p><p>As a man who has observed many protests and civic movements, he observes a unique characteristic of Occupy.&nbsp;</p><p>"One of the interesting characteristics of this occupy movement is that...it's tactics are not it's objectives. In other words if the media didn’t notice it...it wouldn’t mean anything.</p><p>We used to say…we never should have a press conference that depends on the press. In other words, you have an action that’s going to take place that has it's own importance to it...When Ghandi’s movement refuses to buy salt and a million people refuse to but salt, that has a material effect."</p><p>Because Coleman worries that without some greater impact the Occupy movement will not be successful, I asked him what will success look like for the Occupy movement?</p><p>"For some of the people, [success] will be the election of Barack Obama that is for some of the people involved. For a lot of the young people...that are involved, success is for them to learn what they want to do in this country and what kind of change they really want to make in this country and in the long run that’s probably the most important because when you’re out there especially if you stay out there in the winter, we’ve done that, you really have to think a lot about what you’re doing," replies Coleman.</p><p><strong>Virginia Martinez</strong><br> Virginia Martinez is one of the first two Latina lawyers to practice in Chicago. She was successful in challenging the division of the city's aldermanic wards. She won her case and helped to create more Latino representation. Martinez says the criticism that Occupy has received for not having a leader is not valid. She believes that Occupy can absolutely make a difference without having a leader. "This is not about creating a person or personality. This is about creating change,” she says.</p><p>At the end of our interview Martinez confessed that she hadn't visited Occupy yet, but she says she will.</p><p>"I am one of these people struggling to find a job and everybody says well ‘you know so many people, you know why are you having such a hard time finding a job?’—because no one has any money--nobody that I know. The nonprofit organizations are struggling, and government is struggling but there’s some people, there’s a few people that run these major corporations that aren’t struggling at all. " says Martinez.</p><p>"I need to be out there…because…if I feel this strongly, and I do, about those issues than I need to be physically there too."&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 10 Jan 2011 16:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-earlier-movements-weigh-occupy-95116