“Occupy will never die: Evict us, we multiply!” Thus went the chant, popular at Occupy Boston in the days immediately before and after an early-morning police raid ended the Dewey Square encampment. The truth of the matter is that Boston’s Occupy movement has been multiplying almost from the beginning of the Dewey encampment on September 30th.
The Dewey camp was not unaware of these developments: members of the Outreach and Interoccupy Communications Working Groups each tried to stay informed of the expanding movement and support new area Occupies as time and resources allowed. Following the eviction from Dewey, these efforts have been redoubled.
On December 10th, just hours after the police raid, Occupy Boston’s Anarchist Alliance (email: [email protected]) announced an initiative to help organize neighborhood-based General Assemblies. “We feel that people will never have more potential than within their own communities,” says Jake Carman, a member of the alliance, “so we should all organize where we live, work, and go to school.” Additionally, a group called Mass Occupy has begun to connect individual Occupy-affiliated groups across the state of Massachusetts, with the aim of convening a state-wide Occupy General Assembly. Mass Occupy’s first in-person meeting will take place January 7th, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Similarly, the Boston Occupier felt that now was a good time to step back and view the Occupy movement’s proliferation beyond Dewey. To this end, we solicited brief profiles from Occupies in the greater Boston area. Each responded in its own way, some emphasizing recent actions, others sharing a recently crafted mission statement. (Profiles marked with an asterisk [*] were written by the Boston Occupier; the contributors of all others may be reached via the contact information provided.)
From the profiles we received, two features of the Occupy movement quickly become apparent. First, the current phase of the movement is not centered around physical encampments. Instead, the name ”Occupy” serves as a statement of affiliation. Secondly, while there are common themes and points of agreement in the profiles collected below, there are also definite differences in perspective, emphasis, and position. Occupies and the individuals that compose them are giving their own expression to the movement. In the profiles we received, one can begin to imagine what a general convention of Boston-area Occupies would sound like.
The Boston Occupier must acknowledge some absences from this collection. We omit Occupy Boston only because it is well represented elsewhere in the pages of this newspaper. For reasons of time and space, we have also omitted all the Occupies and Occupy-affiliated groups at individual colleges and universities. We hope this might be corrected in a future edition of this paper.
There are other absences: Occupy Andover, Cambridge, Plymouth, Quincy and Weymouth are not represented here, to name just a few. If we failed to reach you, we ask you to credit our failure to the magnitude and speed of the Occupy movement’s multiplication. We will gratefully add updates and new profiles to the on-line version of this newspaper. Contact us at [email protected].
Occupy Allston-Brighton was founded shortly after the eviction of the Dewey encampment and held its first General Assembly on Thursday, December 15th, at the Palestine Cultural Center for Peace. About seventy individuals attended to discuss their reasons for coming together and their goals for this group. Among the concerns raised at this first GA were community disconnect, sexual harassment and rape culture, housing and tenants’ rights, gentrification, oppression, and economic injustice. We will hold another General Assembly on January 5th. Between now and then, Occupy Allston-Brighton organizers will undertake community outreach with the aim of making our next General Assembly as representative and inclusive of our neighborhood as possible. Contact: Facebook, Twitter, and by email at [email protected].
OCUPEMOS EL BARRIO
Ocupemos el Barrio Boston has been meeting in East Boston since mid-November, and after weeks of planning we took part in the coordinated plan of action on December 3rd. We gathered Boston area residents, community organizers, immigrants and allies to our cause to protest the actions of ICE and its deportation practices. We started our rally at the ICE offices at the JFK building in Boston and spoke out about the unfairness of the process and how it has impacted our communities negatively. Ocupemos el Barrio is a pro-immigrant grassroots movement, created to fight the injustices, inequalities and oppression caused by prejudice, racism and inadequate immigration laws in the United States. In alignment with the principle of the Occupy Movement we take collective and direct actions in support of civil rights, immigrant rights, workers rights and civic engagement. We aim to build a society that promotes the full participation of all people regardless of national origin, language, religion, color, economic or legal status. We support the work of community groups in East Boston and greater Boston and are looking to unify our efforts for the cause of a more just and dignified nation. Find us on Facebook.
Ocupemos el Barrio se ha estado reuniendo en East Boston desde mediados de noviembre, y después de varias semanas de planeación tomamos parte en el Plan de Acción Coordinada el pasado 3 de diciembre. Reunimos residentes del área de Boston, organizadores de comunidad, inmigrantes y aliados a nuestra causa para protestar las acciones del ICE y los procesos de deportaciones. Empezamos nuestra demostración en las oficinas del ICE en el edificio JFK en Boston y hablamos acerca de la injusticia de esta ley y de la forma en la que esta afectando nuestras comunidades negativamente. Ocupemos el Barrio es un movimiento pro-inmigrante de base creado para luchar contra las injusticias, las inigualdades, y el prejuicio que existe todavía en los Estados Unidos. En linea con los principios organizativos del Movimiento Occupy, tomamos acción colectiva y acciones directas apoyando a los derechos civiles, derechos del inmigrante, derechos del trabajador y participación cívica. Buscamos construir una sociedad que promueve la participación completa de todos los ciudadanos, no importa su nación de origen, idioma, raza o status económico y legal. Apoyamos los grupos de comunidad en East Boston y la área general de Boston y estamos buscando unir nuestros esfuerzos para un país con dignidad y justicia. Busquenos en Facebook.
Occupy Berkshires engages in community discussions, rallies, and nonviolent direct action, with the goal of restoring fairness and equity to our political and economic systems. Recent events have included a 24-hour solidarity encampment and teach-in in Great Barrington; education events on corporate personhood and the monetary system; and a holiday “Occu-Pie” action to educate the public about the enormous piece of the national economic pie controlled by the one percent. Occupy Berkshires holds a weekly General Assembly in Great Barrington. Check the website for details: http://occupyberkshires.com. Additional contact: Facebook, Twitter, and email at [email protected].
OCCUPY THE ‘BURBS
Occupy the ‘Burbs is a loose coalition in suburban MA, communicating and collaborating in support of the Occupy movement’s demands for a just economy and a people-powered democracy. We believe that the long-term power of Occupy depends on the movement’s ability to speak to Main Street and that Main Street values are in fact Occupy’s values too. We recognize that the Occupations/encampments have succeeded in bringing attention to our country’s problems and we believe that it is up to the rest of us to create the policy and political changes to begin to fix these problems. Our goal is to restore our democracy and repair our economy so that it works for 100%. For this, we need all hands on deck and multiple lines of attack. One of our focuses will be grassroots organizing in support of legislation addressing the problems Occupy has highlighted; some of this legislation is now available at the WeCanOccupy.com action center. At present, our coalition is based in the southern Metrowest (Needham, Newton, Natick) but we invite other ‘burbs to join us! Calendar of area events: http://bit.ly/OccupyBurbs_CALENDAR. For other ways to plug in, email: [email protected].
OCCUPY THE HOOD BOSTON*
Occupy The Hood Boston [OTHB] is organized for and by people of color, in recognition that people of color, particularly black people, are disproportionately affected by the issues raised by the Occupy movement. According to event announcements at the group’s website, OTHB focuses on social injustices faced by Black, Latino, Cape Verdean and other people of color in Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, and surrounding areas. OTHB held its first event – a community speak out and rally – on Friday October 21st in Dudley Square. In the weeks since the Dudley square speak-out, OTHB has held a successful town hall meeting and organized a community food drive. OTHB has also sought to address issues of race and race-based oppression in Occupy Boston. OTHB declined to contribute to this feature. For information about OTHB, visit http://blackstonian.com/news/category/occupythehood/ or email [email protected].
Occupy JP is a group from Jamaica Plain and surrounding neighborhoods working on issues of fairness, democracy and social justice. The group has been meeting weekly since mid November, held a march and rally for economic justice on December 11th, and recently crafted a new mission statement. Occupy JP is an offshoot of and works in solidarity with Occupy Boston and Occupy Wall Street. We hope to coordinate efforts with these groups as well as local groups such as City Life/Vida Urbana to form a strong, diverse, progressive force both locally and internationally. Through coordinated action, we’ll struggle for mass employment, immigration rights, ending the wars, as well as environmental sustainably and other improvements for working families and youth. Our aim is to create a democratic society, run for the needs of all, not the profits of the 1% who control the political system. For more information, visit http://occupyjp.org/.
Occupy Natick has over 50 members who have come together to address injustice in its many forms, ranging from the political and economic to the social and environmental. While Natick is often considered a middle class community, we are not immune to the economic downturn: there are foreclosures and layoffs and record increases in use of the local food pantry. Occupy Natick holds weekly protests downtown to increase our visibility and share our message; we do this in conjunction with the local Peace Vigil that has been held regularly here for the past ten years. We have asked an Occupy Boston facilitator to help us hold our own General Assembly in January and have invited the Needham and Newton Occupies to join us. At our meetings, new members often express their excitement that people are finally coming together to “do something.” For information, join us on Facebook or email [email protected].
Occupy Needham was formed in mid October when thirty people joined together out of concern for our fractured democracy and uncertain future. We act in solidarity with Occupy’s central principles: the economy should work for all Americans, and democracy polluted with money is not the democracy we want. Yet we also chart our own path, shaped to the specific needs and interests of our community. By expanding the message of Occupy beyond major cities and into the suburbs, we aim to help build an irresistible mainstreet movement for justice and democracy. Most recently, we held a standout at our Town Common on Saturday, Dec. 17 and a strategy meeting on Dec. 18. We collaborate in solidarity with friends from other towns and are eager see “Occupy Waltham,” “Occupy Walpole”, “Occupy Weston” and more towns start up soon! We join with neighbors under the umbrella “Occupy the ‘Burbs.” Contact and events: Facebook, http://bit.ly/OccupyBurbs_CALENDAR and [email protected].
Occupy Newton is a group of Occupy movement supporters who have been holding a weekly vigil Monday evenings at rush hour, outside the Bank of America branch in Newton Centre. We began doing this shortly after Occupy Boston began and have had up to 30 people at the vigil on any given week. We have recently added a second vigil, on Saturday mornings, outside the BoA branch in Newtonville. Through “Occupy the ‘Burbs”, we are networked with groups in Needham, Natick, and now Lexington. We also have contacts with the Boston College Group. Several of our members have also been directly active with Occupy Boston. Issues of concern to Occupy Newton members include economic inequality, predatory banks, corporate influence on the political process, and this country’s ongoing engagement in seemingly endless wars. Contact: [email protected] and David Oscar Knuttunen at 617-558-5853 .
Occupy Reading has held three meetings, drawing about twenty participants to each. We have come to consensus that the repeal of the Citizens United case, regarding corporate personhood and campaign finance, is our one demand, at least for now. We have been in contact with Greater Boston organizers from movetoamend.org and will rally to Occupy the Federal Courts on January 20th. In the mean time, we are organizing to grow our group and to pass a municipal resolution calling for repeal of Citizens United. We were lucky to have help getting started from a local college student, home for break, who has been at Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy sites from Washington, D.C., to Maine. Our next meeting will be on January 4th at the Reading Senior Center. Contact: [email protected].
Occupy Somerville has brought Save Our Somerville together with participants in Occupy Boston as well as labor, church and other activists groups in our town. After several weeks of planning, we held our inaugural action on Saturday, December 10th. About a hundred people rallied in Davis Square to protest Bank of America and to support five Bank of America account-holders as they entered the bank and successfully closed their accounts. The Somerville Second Line Brass Band came out to provide a energetic soundtrack for the event. On December 14th we held our first General Assembly, at which about fifty people braved the cold to speak out about issues of concern to our community, including housing costs, debt, T fares, and education. In upcoming weeks we will hold more actions and begin forming working groups. UNITE US! For information, join us on Facebook or email [email protected].
The 99% movement has amplified the message of social, environmental, and economic justice in this historically radical city. Occupy Worcester [OW] held its first General Assembly on October 9th, making it one of the first regional Occupies to take shape after Occupy Boston’s inauguration on September 30th. The GA was held on the Worcester Common behind City Hall, the site of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. This was also the site of OW’s first encampment. Since then, OW has experienced a snowstorm, two evictions, multiple displacements, and more than twenty arrests. We have also held and participated in numerous actions, including solidarity actions with other Occupy sites, neighborhood cleanups, a coat/can/school supply drive, a “rock the vote” initiative for November’s municipal elections, and holiday Black Friday actions (to encourage patronage of local businesses). We look forward to participating in anti-foreclosure events, equality gatherings, Worcester Free School classes and workshops, Food Not Bombs events, and anti-NDAA protests. In all these activities, we remain dedicated to each letter of the declaration issued from the bottom of OW’s lively and strong heart. For more information, join OW on Facebok, or visit http://occupyworcester.com/.
STUDENTS OCCUPY BOSTON*
On Thursday, October 6th – day seven of the Dewey Square encampment – a group of 80 students met at Dewey Square for the first Student General Assembly. Four days later, several thousand students attended Occupy Boston’s march on Indigenous People’s Day, said Eli Cohen, a regular participant in the group’s meetings. Following this successful first action, Students Occupy Boston has held weekly General Assemblies at which students from colleges and universities around the Boston area meet to compare notes on their organizing activities at individual campuses and to make decisions about concrete collective actions. Attendance at these General Assemblies ranges between 30 and 80, drawn from between 15 and 20 area institutions. On October 9th, Occupy Harvard pitched tents in Harvard Yard and held its first General Assembly, calling for fair contracts for Harvard janitors and, more broadly, for a “university for the 99%.” Soon afterwards, Tufts Occupiers took up the cause of 60 janitors who have been laid off without proper process at their university. The burden of student debt and the rising cost of education have emerged as key issues of concern among members of Students Occupy Boston. Student debt is likely to be a central focus of the group’s work in upcoming months, said Ryan Clapp, a student at Tufts. The Boston area’s numerous Occupy-affiliated student groups deserve to be documented in a story of their own: consider this an invitation. In the mean time, visit http://collegesoccupyboston.com/.