Occupied: Voices from 99%

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The 99 percenters sure come from different backgrounds and classes with different mindsets and viewpoints. How has this movement managed to gather such an impressive array of people to champion the call for swift socio-economic reforms? And what is in store for the occupiers down the road? Using experts' interviews, this documentary looks into the origins of the 'Occupy Wall Street Movement' and examines some of its economic and socio-political demands.

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B-Roll:Car interior driving along bridge

OWS Protesters with signs, banners, etc

Liesbeth: I think that people are being inspired by their

own power. And I think they’re realizing it. And I think that we thought

we needed an authority to do things and that’s one of things that frustrated

all of us so much.

B-Roll: NYPD arresting protestor

B-Roll: Elizabeth outside Bank of America talking to police officer

B-Roll: Elizabeth greeting OWS protestors

B-Roll: Kanene as American Justice interacting with public, holding scales of

justice

B-Roll: NYPD standing near protests

Male protestor with We Are The 99% Signage, and other protesters with signs of

the OWS movement

Liesbeth: This movement was alive in me long before it

happened. It was alive in a lot of us. That’s why the movement didn’t

make us, we made it. And even if it all goes away, problems are still

going to be here, people are still going to have their houses foreclosed on,

they’re still going to loose their jobs, and I’m still going to care. And I’m

still going to do something about it.

B-Roll: Liesbeth and protestors outside Bank of America

Liesbeth: They’re bullies. They thrive on intimidation.

But its just epic bullshit. I mean its really stupid. And what I don’t

understand is aren’t they public servants? Isn’t that the basic idea? And

with all these laws that are being passed to criminalize activism, protests,

decent in any capacity, like, I don’t get it. You own the money, you own

the laws, you own the media...what is our recourse to hold you accountable?

B-Roll: OWS crowds

Nathan: In mid-June a group of activists started a threeweek

encampment around city hall called Bloombergville…And they

were protesting the austerity budgets that Mayor Bloomberg was trying to

pass and ultimately did pass. The occupation there didn’t really capture a

lot of attention. It lasted a few weeks, but nobody really seemed to get

excited about it beyond the several dozen people who were participating.

B-Roll: Major Bloomberg and Bloombergville protestors

Piro interview footage

--B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Piro: Essentially it was disappointment, many

disappointments – as I said – that has accumulated over the years,

especially during the Bush administration. So it was a time when people

finally awoke essentially to the reality that big government and big

corporations, had created this triangle that has suffocating civil society.

Gary interview footage

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Gary interview footage

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Gary interview footage

?Gary: So you have the out of work people, the scared

people who took on mortgages that they can’t now service, and then you

have the bail out of the big financial firms. On top of that, we have had

this stunning increase in the income of the very top. Its not just the top

one percent its the top one-tenth of one percent that were really going up to

the stratosphere. So you had very good times for the very rich, difficult times for the

middle class and terrible time for young people trying to find jobs.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Piro: Occupy emerged as a grassroots movement within

this triangle to kind of create almost like a breathing space and revitalize

the concept of citizenship. I think Americans were inspired by a lot of

other similar movements that were going on, especially in the Arab world.

The Arab Spring was critical.

B-Roll: Arab Spring

Nathan: OWS hit the streets on September 17th 2011. That

was the date called for by AD Busters. AD Busters is a art and activism

magazine based in Vancouver. The idea of OCW was really hatched by its

founder and editor Coley… and Michael White, senior editor, who lives in

Berkley, California.

B-Roll: Ad Busters Magazine graphics

Piro: I think Vancouver was key in starting the

conversation or getting attention from people. But I think these movements

had already started to form on a grassroots level throughout the United

States.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Nathan: However, the planning process for OCW really

started in NYC on August 2nd at a meeting at the charging ball down in the

financial district. And that meeting and then the meetings that followed

every week between then and September 17th were really a key period

when the idea that AD Busters have proposed initially was transformed

into the movement that would become Occupy.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters and movement signs

Frances: Occupy has been the great theatrical

breakthrough to create trouble in the institutions that had been stripping

Americans of resources.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters, movement signs, and NYPD

Liesbeth: It’s funny, I don’t have a history of activism

whatsoever in my family. I have a history of people working hard, doing

the right thing acting like good people – and that’s about all you are

supposed to do. From the young age, I was pretty idealistic about the way

the government worked and the way politics worked and I was really

interested in getting involved, seeing how you could be engaged and making

peoples’ lives better. It’s kind of corny but it is true.

B-Roll: OWS, Liesbeth with protestors

Kanene: I am 32 years old and I don't have children and

don't know if I want to bring children into this world. So in the interim, I

am trying to fight for everything, for not just me, but for my children and

children’s children.

Liesbeth: Generally, I have been frustrated by the system

for a long time, I didn’t really realize it and I think I blamed myself a lot

for my inability to really engage in certain things. So I think that when the

occupy movement rolled around I was pretty skeptical. I had been

disengaged for a long time, but there was a nagging voice inside my head. I

thought it was pretty of silly and I didn’t understand the structure. But the voice just kept

saying, “what if it is possible, what if change is possible? What is we can do these things

better and you didn’t do anything. You just kept looking for a job, you just kept looking

for a piece a land you could square off for yourself.” And that’s initially what got me

engaged.

B-Roll: OWS B-Roll of gathered protesters, feeding system

B-Roll: of drive to Zuccotti Park, REAL TIME – all day event

Liesbeth: Anyway, what are we doing today?

Kanene: Today is March 8th.

Liesbeth: What does that make it?

Kanene: Forget you Bank of America day.

Liesbeth: Indeed. So what’s the deal?

Kanene: I’m going to do AJ again.

Liesbeth: AJ?

Kanene: Yeah, you know. AJ aka American Justice.

Liesbeth: We’re going to bust corruption today as

She-ros right?

Kanene: Yes!

Liesbeth: Female heros. Female identified heroes.

Liesbeth: Initially, I met Kanane at PR meeting and I just

remember her being fabulous. Kanene was just unapologetically

amazingly herself.

Kanene: Liesbeth was on the PR team so I told her about

American Justice. Its just perfect, madness. I admire that ability to play

and see the humor and also the hypocrisy and the irony in what it is to be

living in America right now.

B-Roll: Kanene and Liesbeth at Zuccotti Park

B-Roll: Kanene and Liesbeth at Zuccotti Park

Liesbeth: Kanane has a character who’s amazing and her

name is American Justice. An American Justice is a socialite. She is

blonde, she is blind and she is vapid as all. She is totally out of it. She has

these dice that she rolls and they have people’s fate on it.

Kanene: So I though about instead of having dice with

numbers, what if the dice had words. And what if you flip the dice and

chances are, you don’t have a job. Chances are your house has been

foreclosed. Chances are, you don’t have health care. Chances are you’re

surrounded by bad schools. And what if that was called the game. And

what if we had those dice on the scales of justice.

B-Roll: Kanene and Liesbeth at Zuccotti Park with fate game

Piro: The structure of Occupy – I may compare to

Athenian democracy. It is open to everyone. Maybe unlike the Athenian

democracy because only landowners could participating in decision

making there. But it is open to everybody who wants to come in and

express an idea, express themselves as individuals, sometimes as groups.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

AJ: A lot of these people’s first entry into the movement is

through these bigger actions, major, mass mobilizations, big rallies, etc. Or

back when Zuccotti was around, going to society and experiencing it.

These big spectacles which you see and get covered and the police respond

brutally against, these things happen and draw people in, but after that

point the actual day to day meetings are happening behind the scenes.

Occupy has been getting people together that didn’t necessarily know or work together

before.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Nathan: The structure of the movement is always

changing. It is always adapting. Old structures are left behind and new

ones are taken up. Early on the general assembly was really, really

important. It was not only a structure, but an experience. It was a way for

people to come into the movement and to get a glimpse of a kind of direct

democracy – so different from the corrupt democracy we are living in. Over time, that

mechanism has fallen away. Now, people are operating in a number of different groups,

which are really taking the lead in the movement. Groups like direct action, the may day

group and a number of others, groups around the country.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters, meetings and May Day preparation

Piro: And in this sense, I think, Occupy works very much

link – although I hate to compare to previous social movement but just for

the sake of explanations – it works very much like labor movements

worked in the 1960’s and 70’s where certain groups would be delegated

certain issues. And then these groups would take on these issues and then

they would work on them. And this is very important, because in the initial stages there

was not a great degree of follow-up. The initial stages of any social movements means

you focus on the process, you focus on creating a new language, creating a new meaning

for the movement.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Gary: If you asked me who the leaders are, I have no

names in my mind. I have tents in my mind. I think they deliberately don’t

want to have a single leader. They don’t even want to have a small group

of leaders. So who to talk to?

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

Nathan: I think in a certain sense there is an equality in

the movement. There is a sense no one person has a particular office and

has power over someone else because of that office.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protester

Piro: The criticism that it’s leaderless – of course – has its

place in the sense that we are used to having a central core of every

movement that we go to, to decide and then disseminate this information.

So it has its place. And I think there’s even within the movement debate

around this idea of maybe some sort of leadership – at least some kind of

coordinative leadership should emerge from the movement.

B-Roll: OWS protest footage, arrests, etc

AJ: The police have really responded quite brutally and

quite excessively, which has actually helped the movement gain coverage

and support. I remember there was the initial incident of some girls getting pepper

sprayed behind a blockade or netting that really helped instigate the movement and get

more than just a few people gathering but really masses.

B-Roll: Protesters and police

Nathan: Well the NYPD in particular have been about as

unpredictable as the movement in certain ways. The general tendency has

been a really troubling criminalization of protests and the assumption that

somebody who was out in the streets to make their voice heard was a

criminal rather than a person exercising rights. Some actions have been

treated with incredible force. like with the March 17th reoccupation of Liberty Plaza

which hundreds of police officers moved in and beat protestors pretty mercilessly. Then

other times when police officers have really held back.

B-Roll: Protesters and police

David: Well there’ve been a couple of instances of

overreaction by individual officers; that aside when you look at whats

happening in the course of the movement since it started in Zuccotti Park,

police response has been measured. There’s also been problems, in New

York City you have 35,000 police officers, you have a much larger force.

The capability to keep cycling police officers, have them down there they’re fresh

thinking clearly assessing the situation, contrast that with Oakland they’ve got a police

force of roughly 5-6 hundred, they have less resources, they also have a less tolerant

history, if you will, because they’re use to violence, they’re use to riots more than New

York, so their police officers are a little harder. Overall fair assessment has been the way

the police reacted, within the boundaries of equal force. In most cases police applied less

force than what most police do and only used equal force if absolutely necessary.

B-Roll: NYPD Police Force

David interview footage

B-Roll: Protesters and police

David interview footage

B-Roll: Protesters and police

Jason: The first Amendment prevents the government

from abridging citizen’s right to speech, their right to assemble, and the

right to free press. So that means that the government can’t come in and

shut down something that you have to say. And they can’t shut down you

meeting with a group of people.

?The problem with mass arrests is that the are violation of the Fourth Amendment, which

is the protect against unreasonable search and seizer. So if the police arrest one occupier

or a group of protestors without individual suspicion that that person has committed a

crime then its a violation of the Fourth Amendment. All those who have been subject to

fast and loose treatment by the New York Police Department.

B-Roll: OWS mass arrests

B-Roll: Liesbeth in Brooklyn

Liesbeth: Fundamentally why I am involved in OWS and

will be involved in something like this no matter what happens is that I

really believe people have the right to play a role in the decisions that

govern our day to day lives. They have a right and a responsibility to be

engaged.

Kanene: Once people are educated they’ll have the real

power, they’ll have the rationale, the wherewithal, to stand up against all

the other pendulum swings of emotions and yearnings for all these other

things that the system throws at you. If you are week and not educated,

you’re going to get gullible and fall for all of this other foolishness. But if

you are educated, none of that will matter.

B-Roll: OWS gathered protesters

B-Roll: Liesbeth in Brooklyn

Liesbeth: One of the biggest crimes in America today is

that playing by the rules getting people nowhere, nowhere at all. Its not

just unemployment. We only have an 18% unemployment rate. We have

50% of the country realistically living in poverty. That means 32% of the

population is employed but is still in poverty. That’s a huge problem.

B-Roll: OWS signs and protests

Kanene: I think the goal of the occupation is not to

continue to occupy item for item. I think the goal of occupy to be able to

occupy a better world and then that’s what I’d be occupying. I’d be

occupying the better world I’d been fighting for.

B-Roll: OWS signs and protests

Liesbeth interview footage

Liesbeth: The movement didn’t make us. We made it. And

even if it all goes away, problems are still going to be here, people are still

going to have their houses foreclosed on, they’re still going to loose their

jobs, and I’m still going to care. And I’m still going to do something

about it.

B-Roll: OWS signs and protests

Main Title

Occupied: Voices from the 99%

Episode 2

B-Roll: Boston St. Patricks Day

B-Roll: St. Patricks Day enter-title

B-Roll: St. Patricks Day B-Roll

Davon: For me, I plan on staying around Boston for at

least the next couple of weeks. I haven’t been around recently. I just went

on a road trip backpacking down to Florida and needed to get myself incheck,

clear my own head. But now it’s full activism down here. We took

off and everybody was really, really excited to be out in the streets again.

Its something that we haven’t had the chance to do much lately with the breaking up of

camp. There hasn’t been much of a presence in the streets, but we’re getting back out

there in full force and reminding people that we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.

B-Roll: Boston highways, streets and St. Patricks Day parade

B-Roll: Occupy Boston St. Patricks Day parade

Occupy- Boston eviction enter-title

B-Roll: news clip and Occupy Boston eviction

Davon Parade Interview footage and B-Roll

Davon: I am from Occupy Boston, originally from New

Hampshire. I spent about three months at Dewy Square when the

encampment was out. Day in, day out. I helped with safety, keeping the

camp under control. Overall, my involvement has been just getting

people aware.

?I’ve got$160, 000 dollars in student debt over my head because I made a decision to go to

UvM, you now. I was there studying bio-chemistry. This was my senior year so I would

be graduating in May with the class of 2012, but I took the money that I got from my

student refund out of a bank. I left to pursue all these other projects because nobody else

is doing them; nobody else wants to stand up and say: this is how it needs to be done.

Andrew: One of the significant things about occupy is,

although the public’s stereotypical image of occupy is that they are a

very young people, there is extraordinary depth of intergenerational

organizing that goes on within Occupy, or at least under the rubric of

Occupy. That can include several generation of activists and advocates

of all different social causes and certainly military veterans have played some role in

that. In boston particularly, the military veterans played an important role. They perceived

that they could play, literally a front line role in resisting and thereby generated this

appalling, but at the same time instructive image or spectacle for the public.

B-Roll: Occupy Boston protests

Andrew interview footage

B-Roll: Occupy Boston protests

Davon: We’re here today because the Veteran for Peace were

not allowed to march in the official march. They’re not allowed to wave

their white dove flags, so what we do is have an alternative march at the end.

Basically, to show the organizers of this parade they are not going to keep

anybody out based on their viewpoints, based on their values, based on

anything. There is no reason to exclude a group from something like this.

Piro: I think an important element that gets missed in

portraying the Occupy movement, not only by the main stream media but

also by independent and social media, is the human element of the

Occupy movement. Many times it is overly politicized and this gives the

impression that the Occupy movement is a purely political or economic

movement. Or a movement that tries to rectify political or economic unjustness.

B-Roll: New cast clip

Gary: They gave a fair amount of coverage in the early

days, but lately it has dropped away. And I think its dropped away

because of lack of focus. I think the media needs names, spokesmen, and

coherence. So yes, they’re not getting the attention they probably want,

but its also on their part that they don’t have the structure that lends itself

to media attention.

B-Roll: Occupy Boston protests

Gary interview footage

B-Roll: Occupy Boston protests and news coverage

Nathan: There is definitely a culture clash going on here

and I think a lot of people in the media, especially on the right, but really

on both sides too, are trying to fit this movement within certain lenses.

B-Roll: Talk show clip

Davon: Right now we have a system that really feeds a

minority with everything they need to succeed but it leaves behind such a

large group of people, so many minds to contribute to society. Some of the

of the most disenfranchised people have so much to offer and they have

no way to do that.

?Myself, I would like to raise the standards of living for everybody across the world.

That’s what I want to come out of this. I want to take things that we do inefficiently. I

think capitalism got to a certain point and then it kind of shot us in the foot because all

we do is produce now without any questions as to where it’s gonna go, when it’s going to

get there or how much consumption of resources is worth that much production.

?Boston is a very important city as far as all the global revolution is concerned because it

was the hub for the first American revolution. There is still a lot of that sentiment here,

there is still a lot of people who feel the same way that we did 250 years ago – nothing

has really changed. We were explicitly owned by the crown at that point. Now we are

implicitly owned by them through the banking system. Regardless of the status quo,

regardless of capitalism, socialism, racism, they are here for peace. Peace is going to

involve a shift in our mentality on all of those things.

B-Roll: Occupy/Peace Parade

Davon Parade interview footage

B-Roll: Occupy Boston protests

B-Roll: white-house, Pete introduction on radio

B-Roll: Occupy DC eviction

B-Roll: Rooj discussing Occupy Our Homes

Rooj: So we are writing this article about Occupy Our

Homes.

?Mike: We were told that it hasn’t been theorized yet. Nobody has

put theory to taking over these homes or saving these people’s

houses. What does this mean for the bigger picture? Not just the

movement, but how does that relate to capitalism? We’ve got a lot

of feedback about to make it better. We’ll probably end up with

two articles; one as a how-to for activists and one working out

those bigger questions. Hopefully in a way that’s helpful to other

people to.

Rooj: My name is Rooj. I am 24 years old. I grew up in

the area. I’m from Maryland and I’ve been living in DC all my life. The

suburbs of DC, but DC has always been home.

B-Roll: Washington DC

Andrew: Occupy DC has been very significant. The

focus in K street and the focus on the lobbying, the focus on the influence

of the money in the financial sector, on elected officials in Washington

has been very important. So while OWS has been focusing on Wall Street

its been vey important to have Occupy DC focus on the link, the bridge

between Wall Street and Capital Hill.

B-Roll: Washington DC

B-Roll: Occupy DC protests

Pete: Occupy DC began October 1st with just a few

people. And they would sleep out in McPherson Square and would be

shooed away by police at night, forced to sleep on the sidewalk. Pretty

soon the numbers swelled and they were able to establish that they

weren’t going to be pushed away. To see young people taking control

and taking initiative from marches to setting up a feeding system to a whole number of

things, it was exciting and it remained so although its been forcefully evicted from

McPherson Square. People are doing exciting work now with organizations. Its hard to

keep up with everybody because there is no central location but there is some very

interesting stuff happening.

B-Roll: Occupy DC gatherings, feeding system, protests

Pete interview footage

B-Roll: Washington DC camp location

Gary: This was truly a thousand flowers bloom type of

movement. Their success and failure are really two sides of the same

thing. Their success is that you can choose the theme that you think is

most deserving of attention. So it started off with Wall Street but then it

moved on to other things. Down here to Washington of course,

everybody could bring in there own cause. So that led to a lot of people willing to join the

movement and willing to put up tents in various places for protest. On the other hand,

that means there is no coherence in terms of s single message.

Andrew: Well I think occupy had a very divided face and

still does. At the core there is the goal of creating a perfect kind of micro

community. There is also however a periphery around the core and are a

hundred plus working groups that are focused on any number of different

issues. Their goal really is to take a lot of the occupy energy and push it into

every corner of civil society.

Rooj: So ever since the eviction we realized that the

visibility is really important as well. This is called the People’s Library. Its

very well organized. Its based on subject and we have Arabic books,

Spanish books, and then of course English books. This is were the kitchen

use to be and this is also how we had an amazing amount of support. We

had a lot of local restaurant vendors come in and either provide food for the day, lunch

and dinner, and this is where the folks can come to eat and enjoy so that they can

continue organizing and working. You’ll always see two people at the info tent and

you’ll have a big white board with all the information, whether its about a teach in or an

action. We have a big calendar over there with information about daily meetings from

different working groups. So people are not sleeping in McPherson Square anymore,

they’re sleeping in front of bank of America now, which is even more awesome. But the

tents are still here for visibility to show and prove that we’re not moving; We’re still here.

Gary: I think the Occupy movement has a couple of what I

call legitimate grievances. One is the ultra high incomes of the very

wealthy individuals in this country and that objection gave rise to the so

called buffet rule. Now we all realize that if the Buffett Rule is actually put

in place, its not going to actually deal with the US deficit, but it does get at

the very rich so that’s the idea.

B-Roll: Occupy DC protests

David: OWS has had an achievement. Its made Americans

realize that that’s not what they want. The Buffett Rule by even liberal

estimates would raise 4.7 billion dollars a year. We borrow that much daily

from the Chinese. What does it resolve? The 1% versus the 99%, that

debate was already underway with the start of the Tea Party movement in

2009. Crony capitalism was already on the forefront of Americans tongues. They didn’t

advance anything, the Buffett Rule is a joke. Even the Democrats said it wont work.

What is it? Its part of a narrative. That narrative plays to the more progressive base or the

more progressive elements of the democratic party. In the time its taken me to talk how

much money have we borrowed it its 4.7 billion dollars a day? Several hundred million.

B-Roll: OWS protests

David interview footage

B-Roll: Occupy DC protests

David interview footage

B-Roll: OWS

David Interview footage

B-Roll: OWS protest near bank of America

Andrew: Occupy’s goals are not directed toward

legislatures. They certainly have had an impact on the way in which

political elites speak to one another and certainly the way in which they

speak about their constituents. In other words they have moved what we

call the political conversation slightly to the left, but only slightly to the

left. But given how far to the right the political conversation had been pushed in the last

30 years it is a very very small adjustment. But that’s not where the primary energies of

Occupy are aimed at. Not by any means.

Occupy activists organizing

Andrew interview footage

B-Roll: Occupy DC camp

Rooj: I see this as a movement of many movements

honestly, because now you see a lot of different working groups

happening. We have Occupy Our Homes DC which focuses on eviction,

then you also see the Criminal Injustices which focuses on the prison

industrial complex, you also see the Walmart Campaign which focuses

on stopping big corporations from coming into the city. I’ve been focused on Occupy Our

Homes DC which focuses on displacement issues in DC, Maryland and Virginia stopping

evictions in general. We’ve been successful thus far. We’ve stopped two evictions from

happening; one in Maryland and one in DC.

?So we are getting food for our meeting with a woman facing homelessness today. Its been

really emotion. We’ve met with her a couple of times and now its going to be a larger

meeting with folks that are involved with Occupy Our Homes DC and folks that have

been working towards affordable housing in the district. Together we are trying to plan

for direct action to highlight her story and provide secure housing for her and her family.

She has six children, two were taken away and in order for her to get her kids back she

would have to have affordable housing. They’ve just completely denied listening to her

story. So we’re going to do what the state has not provided, provide housing.

B-Roll: Washington DC

Rooj interview footage

B-Roll: Rooj discussing Occupy our homes meeting

Andrew: Most of the major US cities had certainly hosted

occupations. Boston and DC were some of the two stronger and longer

lasting ones. But I think the fact that Washington DC has been a place of

decent because its a seed of government, there is a way of dealing with

protestors in DC that made it easier perhaps. And Boston, perhaps the

revolutionary history had some baring on this. Occupy Boston was fairly resilient for

longer than occupations in other cities.

B-Roll: Occupy DC camp

David: Here in the US they’re going to continue under s

smaller platform. And they’re being used. Flat out being used by those

within the Obama campaign that need to create a boogie man for this

class warfare that we see. In other words lets talk about the 1% versus the

99%, when in fact, its the middle class the represents 53% of Americans

and they are the ones who are the drivers of our economic engines. So OW S doesn’t

speak to anyone. They’re more the 1%. If you take tens of thousands of people out of

more than 300 million, what are they?

Pete: I don’t think the Occupy movement is one

movement. Its individuals who have crossed that threshold to taking

action and it has infused a lot of energy in ways that I think you’re going

to see smaller actions in people’s own communities and that’s the lasting

impact. That can’t be undone.

B-Roll: Occupy DC camp and protests

Occupied: Voices from the 99%

B-Roll: Police response to May Day visual canvising

Lucky: So we’re hear today to talk about OWS and the

occupy movement and this serge of activism which will happen on May

Day. There has been a lot of organizing around this particular day,

reclaiming what it means to be a worker.

B-Roll: May day protest

Round table footage, Ravi speaking

So I think the biggest challenge is that we’re all engaging

in autonomic action. So there is Town Square, and Mutual Aid, and there

is this and that. All of these different actions that are happening all over

the city and coordinating them is a challenge. So it makes it hard to get

the word out about what we are doing.

?Ravi: My name is Ravi. Born and raised New Yorker. I feel like there are

not many of us left in the city. Its full of people from elsewhere, which is okay. But I

think people from New York have a very particular experience and the city means

something very different to us and it really informs why I’m in occupy.

B-Roll: May day protest

Ravi interview footage

Jim: I think one of the interesting things about May Day

in terms of this larger outreach concept is uncoupling the things that

make occupy attractive and compelling to people in terms of getting them

involved from the occupy brand.

B-Roll: May Day protest

Round table footage, Jim talking

B-Roll: May Day protest

Lucky: My parents were refugees. They escaped from

Vietnam after the war and I was born in a refugee camp. Hence why my

name is Lucky. The reason why they left the country was because in that

oppressive environment I would not be afforded any education because

of who I was. My parents were from the south. If we were in society at

the time I would not have been afforded an education so they escaped from the country.

That’s the reason why I occupy right here. I think everyone should be offered

opportunities to education and to be upwardly mobile.

B-Roll: May Day protest signs

Round table footage, Jim’s wife talking

Jim’s wife interview footage

So we are going to Detroit and participating in May Day

there. There is going to be a coalition of organizations there joining to

bring light to that. So when Occupy began, it gave me permission to

dedicate all of the awareness and interest that I previously had and focus it

in a way were I could actually start to make a difference because there

were a lot more people who were interested in making a difference and really making a

difference for real. So it felt great. It’s arrived.

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

Jim’s wife interview footage

Round table footage, Jim talking

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

Jim: So one of the central take aways of this event in

Detroit and OWS is that within the US you find yourself constantly putting

your principles against financial gain or loss. My name is Jim. I’m a

freelance photographer and I’ve lived in New York for about 9 years now.

I’ve always been blissfully removed from political action until I ran into

my wife who comes from a very politically active family. And when OWS happened it

was this amazing convergence of ideas that so appealed to me. At the very least, the

under dog idea that there is this small rag-tag group of people. And this is such an

American narrative and to see it happen in front of my eyes is like “wow”, I have an

opportunity to help the under dog. I identify with those people.

Round table footage

Jim interview footage

Lucky: What happened after the park was evicted here a

lot of people fell out from the movement. So what May Day will

hopefully get through is that people are organizing from a hyper local perspective. This

idea of being an activist and being an occupier is not something for a small group of

people. There is naturalism to it where everyone should be compelled to do that.

Jim’s wife interview footage

In the working group that is outreach I have had numerous

discussions with both Lucky and Ravi because we see the need to be

outward facing. To be able to galvanize people who are not participating to

care, to use the anger that is certainly burning inside them to say “enough”.

Round table-footage, Lucky talking

B-Roll: Illuminator-van

Lucky: The other thing which is real important to this idea

of activism is activism as a performance because that is what we connect

with visually. We have a van with a projector which can project onto any

space in New York City.

Jim: So this concept about the van is fascinating to me

because it, in a very occupy fashion, says if you want to reclaim a space

you just do it. You don’t ask permission of the system that you’re fighting

against or trying to deconstruct in the first place.

Lucky: Its this idea how to move the movement forward.

How can we re-take this sense of public is not only here or out there, but its

up there and everything that we see on the street. So the Illuminator will be

going on a number of canvassing events over the next fe days and

projecting different messages over the next few days leading up to May

Day and bringing in people. There is actually a mobile library inside which is a mobile

occupation in its self.

B-Roll: Illuminator van preparation, projections, and police response

B-Roll: Hey Nina, hey Ivan. So we’re going to hit some high traffic areas,

maybe Williamsburg and where people are out on a Friday night. So what do you have

with graphics at the moment? I love this class wars one, May 1st, general strike. Its the

idea of culture jamming and to project that and get people thinking about how corporate

identity and be transmuted into something beautiful will be really exciting.

?Its Friday night before May Day and we are really excited to do some visual canvassing

using light projections on walls. So Nina and Ivan are putting together slide shows with

really impactful May Day propaganda with 99%stickers and many of the images we use

in the movement. So what we’re going to do is project onto the walls as we move slowly

through traffic areas in Brooklyn to try to attract people on the side walk to think about

what is coming up on Tuesday. Then we are going to go to Williamsburg and park and

project a movie onto a building. We are going to come out and talk to the public and we

are really excited to talk about what actions will be happening on Tuesday. We never

thought we would have something directly projecting our art, the art of the movement

onto buildings. That’s a direct action. Its very powerful and its footprint is very large, but

is non destructive like graffiti, which is destructive. But this makes a more powerful

statement and the disappears afterward.

?We are going to be doing this every day until the general strike without rest. We’ll be in

the parade tomorrow around mid town marching as new paper boys and people will be

everywhere to tell about this wonderful movement and wonderful flash point on May

Day. Its not to be missed.

Lucky: We don’t know if we are going to be arrested or

get a ticket. It’s completely legal to project onto buildings, but they try to

find reasons to stops us because its control of the public space. They want

to restrict us so they are going to try to find things like parking tickets and

other claims to try and stop us from doing something beautiful.

Gupta: Space is the fundamentally important to the

occupy movement because one it is a different form of political activity. It

is not a demonstration where everyone goes down on a bus to Washington

D.C., marches around listen to some leader speak and they can get on the

bus and goes home. That’s what movements in this country have been

doing for decades and it is very easy for politician’s to ignore them. The occupation is

saying we are engaging in a physical presents and open ended take over some sort of

public space.

B-Roll: May Day historical visuals

Gupta interview footage

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

?May Day has to do with a strike in Chicago in 1886 and it was a trike over the eight hour

work day. This was in early May and there were a series of protests, two main protests. In

one of the first protests the workers were attacked by police, one person was killed and a

number of others wounded. And the next day there was another protest, and a bomb, no

one knows who threw it, was tossed into the crowd and seven policemen were killed.

Eight anarchist leaders were then grabbed and convicted in a kangaroo court. There was

zero evidence linking them to the bombing. One committed suicide, four were hung, and

three eventually were eventually pardoned. So they became known as the Haymarket

martyrs and in response to this May Day was chosen as the international workers’ holiday

but also a day to show solidarity among workers resistance, workers’ resistance and

solidarity, and it was a day chosen to show workers’ resistance and solidarity that is still

celebrated throughout much of the world.

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

David : May day is joke ok? May day was made up to

push an agenda that’s all it was they tried to capitalize on it workers of the

world unite and do what? We’re protected by laws in this country, there

are employment laws, I have a friend she’s an employment lawyer she’s

never out of work, if you have a problem with your employer you have the

legal system behind you, you have criminal redress if necessary, civil redress also. So the

unions need to keep relevance, they’re membership has dropped I believe some 6 to 8

percent over all (or 68%). They’re members are now questioning how they apply their

funds as they see their pensions disappear so now the unions need relevance again. This

is a giant shell game politically and culturally.

David interview footage

B Roll: May Day protest and signs

David interview footage

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

David interview footage

B-Roll: May Day guitarists and protests

B-Roll: May Day male activist interview footage

So this is May day. Its international worker’s day in New

York City. Various immigrant rights groups, labor unions and OWS have

come together to make this a historic and unprecedented day. Its a day of

economic non compliance, so we’re withdrawing our consent from a

economic system that creates suffering all over the world. It was a very

difficult winter. The occupation in New York was very strong and it inspired people the

world over and there was a systematic effort from the powers that be to prevent

occupations from being successful because they are so powerful.

B-Roll: May Day protest and signs

B-Roll: May Day female activist interview footage and protest B-roll

May day had a lot of significance historically as an

international day of solidarity and so I think that’s why today was chosen

to make sure that everyone around the world in their struggle for

democracy and self-actualization in the face of corporate power, to know

that we are with them, to know that we care about what is happening in

their community as well as what’s going on in our community. That we believe we are

together in this and none of us should be fighting each other. We need to make sure we

know who the enemy is. Its whoever wants to make our life miserable by not giving us

what our rights deserve.

J B-Roll: Jason at May Day

B-Roll: Jason at May day

B-Roll: Green hats at protests

B-Roll: Jason at May day

Jason: I’m a member of an organization called the

National Lawyers Guild, New York Chapter. One of the things they do is

recruit volunteers to wear green hats as legal observers for the protests.

And that’s how I got involved with the lawyer’s guild. What they do is

they put on a green hat so they can be seen and easily identified not only by the protestors

but also by the police. And they just observe. They are there to collect evidence in case

somebody gets arrested, that way they can have access to that evidence if that defendant

decides to take it to trial. And there are a lot of defendants taking them to trail considering

that a lot if these arrests are arbitrary, they haven;t committed any crimes. Its the green

hat’s job to be able to be where the people are being arrested. We get the names. We

give the names to the guild and that’s where the Mass Defense committee comes in.

They collect the names and information and pass them to community attorneys who

volunteer to represent OWS defendants in court.

B-Roll: Police on duty

Andrew: Well I think everyone knew that the police would

be on their best behavior during the day because city hall would like to spin

this as a show piece for civil liberties in New York city and other cities.

B-Roll: Police and protest footage

B-Roll: Police response, protest drum session

Jason: A lot of people if they think they are going to be

arrested or if they are going to intentionally do something to get arrested,

civil disobedience, then they’ll write the lawyer’s guild number on their

hand so they can call a lawyer after they get arrested.

Andrew: When the sun goes down and when reporters

have filed their stories its a different matter. And that’s the point at which

people expected police to start swinging their batons and making arrests

and indeed thats what happened. Everyone predicted that. So there was

this sense of predictability and the roles being acted out as they had

already been scripted.

Lucky: So here we are on May Day. We are at 55 Walter

street and there is a people’s assembly happening right now so the idea is

that we had a huge solidarity march from Union Square which marched

down Broadway and surprisingly came here. So there is a surprise action

down here where everyone can talk about what a wonderful day the had

and what political actions they had, and people are going to decide what they are going

to do now. Whether they are going to reoccupy this site or re-occupy somewhere else. If

they are going to sleep back in Wall street and what we are going to do for the immediate

Andrew: The military vets knew that they had a role to play

and they played it very successfully in New York City and nobly and stood

as a protective barrier for some of the occupiers who stayed behind after the

general assembly in Walter street. And with very predictable consequences.

The consequences were a whole bunch of arrests and some fairly brutal

behavior from the police of the NYPD. I assume because they were acting under orders

and also because they had been restraining themselves all day.

Jim: the next thing for occupy is transcending occupy.

Really identifying ways in which the tools that we are creating with occupy

challenge former power structures can be extracted from occupy and applied to other

areas in life. Organizing communities, identifying problems and then self actualizing

groups of small people around those problems and attacking them with direct action.

B-Roll: OWS and May Day protest and signs

David: I want OWS to be as visible, maybe not effective

in their goals but effective in showing themselves for who they are, why?

Because the more Americans see it the more the truth is seen. The

strength of America is the risk in showing what’s not popular or what we

don’t agree with and by showing that, we see it. American, left or right,

doesn’t matter, are already fair people, will look at it. They’ve refuted them, that’s what

will happen.

Lucky: Occupy is a very interesting word. It’s a great

name that has sparked the movement, but I see the growth of the

movement really is a natural thing. It’s really just about civic engagement.

So in my opinion there’s no way you can really leave this movement

because if you’re about social progress, you know, more fairness in

society, you can never leave that as a human being.

B-Roll: OWS and May Day protest and signs

   

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