Monday, 24 October 2011

#Occupy National Update For 10/24/11

The #Occupy movement is still going strong both nationally and internationally. The protests have now lasted much, much longer than I assumed they would, and weird wrinkles have begun to emerge in the usually sadly predictable fabric of protester-police relations.

For example: in Albany, city police and New York State Troopers refused to comply with Governor Cuomo's request for mass arrests:

In a tense battle of wills, state troopers and Albany police held off making arrests of dozens of protesters near the Capitol over the weekend even as Albany's mayor, under pressure from Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration, had urged his police chief to enforce a city curfew. 

Since New York has proven itself the #Occupy innovator so far, I can only express my fondest hopes that this development spreads nationwide.

Meanwhile, in a less heartening development, #OccupyMaine in Portland was attacked by wingnuts with a chemical weapon:

Portland police Sgt. Glen McGary said the bomb was thrown into the camp's kitchen, a tarped area where food is cooked and served. Protest organizers said the explosion lifted a large table about a foot off the ground.

"There was no fire...we had a good 20 feet of thick smoke rolling out from under the table," [Stephanie] Wilburn said ... she and a friend who ran over to look at it breathed in fumes that smelled like ammonia, she said. Witnesses said a silver car had been circling before the attack, its occupants shouting things like "get a job" and "You communist." They believe someone from that car threw the device, according to a statement from Occupy Maine.
Here's hoping that this other trend does not spread to other #Occupy camps.

Meanwhile, WBEZ in Chicago has an excellent piece about the history of Chicago activism and the weird coordination with police that might be going on there.Many of Chicago's nurses have joined the protest after some of their fellow workers, who were arrested while at the camp to provide medical services (something going on at #OccupySLC as well) were mistreated after being arrested and briefly imprisoned by the police.

In my opinion building links with unions is an important strategic step forward for #OWS; National Nurses United has officially (if in a temporary and geographically limited fashion) thrown its support behind the protests in Chicago. It's a natural alliance, as in my experience it's caregivers on the front lines of tending to our elderly and infirm who are among those squeezed most severely by the sour economy and round after round of horrible state budget cuts.

Building awareness around issues like poor compensation and falling real wages is a logical second step for the #OccupyChicago / National Nurses United partnership. Let's see where it goes.

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