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Occupy Legacy: George Martinez on How the Protest Should Move Forward

A conversation about what the #Occupy movement means today, and what it needs to do to survive.

There’s a hint of nostalgia in crisp September air. As the fall leaves show the first signs age, police, who far outnumber a few singing and chanting protesters, form a continuous ring around lower-Manhattan’s Zuccotti park. Today, #S17, is the second anniversary of events that inspired a season of protest across the country.

Today’s gathering at Zuccotti park was a demographic cross-section of previous years. The morning hours included a smattering of college-age protesters, neo-hippies, musicians, gutter-punks, and union organizers marching between various downtown protests. The General Assembly, a semi-regular meeting conducted as a unified chorus of synchronized shouts, was smaller than previous years, but is still a great spectacle and example of organizational ingenuity. The protests were no more rowdy than in the past, and the police I spoke with all agreed that in spite of a few arrests earlier in the week most demonstrators remained peaceful.

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Podcast: The Melodies of #Occupy Wall Street

In this episode Dan and Marc return to #Occupy Wall Street and the scene of their first collaboration: Lower Manhattan’s famous Zuccotti Park (or Liberty Square, depending which side you’re on). Precisely, a year after the first Occupation of Wall St., the cohosts discuss the movement’s achievements and impact in that short time. George Martinez, a hip-hop and OWS electoral candidate shares his views on the movement that is building. One year is a short time, and the show concludes with an attempt to answer some questions. OWS: has it been a success? It is a failure? Will it be around next September? Listen, and find out!

Highlights from this episode:
An interview with the Honorable George Martinez recorded live in Zuccotti Park
A quick audio summary from Dan recorded earlier on the afternoon of #S17
The music, chatter, a thumping drums of #OWS
The daily #OWS organizational General Assembly call-and-response meeting

Learn more at http://americanconversation.us

American Conversation, EP 9 – The Melodies Of Occupy Wall Street

In this episode Dan and Marc return to #Occupy Wall Street and the scene of their first collaboration: Lower Manhattan’s famous Zuccotti Park (or Liberty Square, depending which side you’re on). Precisely a year after the first Occupation of Wall St., the cohosts discuss the movement’s achievements and impact in that short time. George Martinez, a hip-hop and OWS electoral candidate shares his views on the movement that is building. One year is a short time, and the show concludes with an attempt to answer some questions. OWS: has it been a success? It is a failure? Will it be around next September? Listen, and find out!

Highlights from this episode:

Photo snapshots from #OWS

media summaryof last year’s #OWS in NYC

Download Audio: American Conversation, EP 9 – The Melodies Of Occupy Wall Street

Video: Occupy Wall Street Redux

A short video clip recorded on the one-year anniversary of #OWS in NYC’s Zuccotti Park.

From American Conversation‘s Coverage:

Precisely, a year after the first Occupation of Wall St., the cohosts discuss the movement’s achievements and impact in that short time. George Martinez, a hip-hop and OWS electoral candidate shares his views on the movement that is building. One year is a short time, and the show concludes with an attempt to answer some questions. OWS: has it been a success? It is a failure? Will it be around next September?

Free Speech at the DNC

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of American democracy. The strength of the nation flows from it. Even Noam Chomsky, the incisive critic of American excess, notes that “freedom of speech is protected in the United States to an extent that is unique in the world.”

Today, the assembled Democrats are in Charlotte. They eatdrink, mingle, and plan electoral victory in November. The party’s grandees are closer to the people than they normally are, and those that oppose them are keen to take advantage.Two groups with very different agendas have made their voices heard today. A few dozen Occupy protesters walked the streets of Charlotte center city. What did they want? “Free Bradley Manning, Arrest Barack Obama.” How did they feel about about the DNC? “Bush, Obama, Same Old Drama.” The Occupiers spent the afternoon hemmed in on three sides by police, who at all times outnumbered them.Just a few blocks away, a group of religious fundamentalists denounced abortion as murder and homosexual sodomy as an offence to God. They held graphic images of aborted fetuses and their message was amplified by a strong speaker system.

Denouncing homosexual sodomy and abortion.

Surrounding them were a few hundred pink-clad supporters of Planned Parenthood, who did their best to ignore the unpleasant spectacle. One gentlemen peacefully opposed the anti-abortionists by asking passers by to “give a gay boy a hug” and was rewarded with sustained invective. There was no police presence whatsoever. And rightly so. The United States is a democracy, and even hate is protected. What good is freedom of speech if it protects only those who agree with power?

So why then are anti-capitalist protesters intimidated by police wherever they go? In 2011, the city of New York spent an estimated $17 million policing the peaceful protests at Zuccotti Park. Today, the expense of hundreds of police observing the Occupy protest must easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. To what end?

So far this year, two abortion clinics in the United States have been victims of bomb attacks. They will not be the last.

Of the Occupy and the anti-abortion movements, there is one with a peaceful history, and one with a violent history. Yet the free expression of the Occupiers is met with police intimidation, and the same expression by the anti-abortionists is met by a benign indifference. Such is the state of free speech in Charlotte today.