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Occupy SLC Decries Eviction to SLC Council

by Eric S. Peterson
- Posted // 2011-11-16 -

With the Occupy SLC movement evicted from Pioneer Park, their protest camp of over a month, dozens of members of the anti-Wall Street movement made impassioned pleas to the Salt Lake City Council during a public-comment period of the city’s Redevelopment Association meeting Tuesday night.

The hearing was an unusual concession as comment was generally only reserved for RDA business, but the city allowed the opportunity for the uprooted Occupiers to address the city’s handling of their eviction from Pioneer Park last Saturday, after police discovered a homeless member of the camp had died late Friday morning. The deceased man was believed to have died from a combination of a drug overdose as well as carbon monoxide poisoning from having a propane heater inside his tent. While protesters mourned his death and held a vigil for him that evening, by sunset the next day the occupiers were evicted from the park. Tents and belonging were bulldozed and trashed and 18 occupiers had been arrested. The eviction happened peacefully, and those arrested were released that night and only faced misdemeanor charges.

The public comment was marked by the occasional outburst and exuberant applause for members who spoke before the council. Occupy SLC members also showed their agreement by “twinkling” their support -- by holding hands up and wiggling their fingers -- a form of camp communication developed for the group’s meetings. Occupy SLC organizer Peter Lister challenged the city for using the tragedy of the death of a homeless member of the camp to justify squelching the group’s protest.

“We felt the reasons offered for evicting Occupy SLC out of Pioneer Park from Mayor Becker’s office were a bad-faith pretext,” Lister said, “a pretext happening all over the United States.We had attempted a good-faith dialogue with the city but instead we were scapegoated and dismissed.”

Raphael Cordray, a small-business owner who had camped out in the Park since October 6, decried the city’s eviction and demolition of the camp as bulldozing her right to free speech. Cordray and her partner complained that police had thrown their bicycles into a pile ready to be hauled off. Later, she watched a bulldozer scoop up her uncollected tent and belongings. “When I see my possessions scooped up by a dump truck, it has a chilling effect on my free speech,” Cordray said.

Deb Henry asked the council to respect her wish as a taxpaying resident to allow her to camp in the park. She said the death of the homeless camp member would have gone unnoticed without the presence of the Occupy SLC camp. “I want our camp to be visible because everyone forgets how bad the homeless problem is,” Henry said, citing dozens of homeless deaths over recent years that “never got any press until the Occupy people were around.”

As of yet, the city has not made any signs of budging from the position adopted on Nov. 11, when it reversed its stance on allowing the overnight camping as a form of protest. Citing the public-safety concerns following last week's death, the city outlawed all overnight camping for the Occupy group, including at a second site that recently had made camp close to the downtown financial district in Gallivan Plaza.

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Posted // November 19,2011 at 01:26 The (OCCUPY) Issues can be found in detail at the99percentdeclaration com and include:
1. Elimination of the Corporate State
2. Abrogation of the Citizens United case
3. Elimination of Private Benefits and Perks to Politicians 4. Term Limits
5. A Fair Tax Code
6. Healthcare for All
7. Protection of the Planet
8. Debt Reduction
9. Jobs For All Americans
10. Student Loan Forgiveness
11. Immigration Reform and Border Security
12. Ending of Perpetual War
13. Reforming Public Education
14. End Outsourcing
15. End Currency Manipulation
16. Banking and Securities Reform
17. Foreclosure Moratorium
18. Ending the Fed
19. Abolish the Electoral College
20. Ending the War in Afganistan
21. Repeal of DOMA
V. Independent Political Party if necessary


Posted // November 18,2011 at 23:48 The 99% Declaration WHEREAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT: 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. BE IT RESOLVED THAT: WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia. I. Election of Delegates: The People, consisting of all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect Two Delegates, one male and one female, by direct vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts to represent the People at the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY. The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18. No candidate for Delegate to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY will be permitted to run on a party line or use any party label while serving as a Delegate. Election Committees, elected or appointed by local General Assemblies or the Working Group on the 99% Declaration, shall organize, coordinate and transparently fund this election. The voting process shall be free from the corrupting influence of corporate money and all funds raised shall be used for the purpose of funding the election and providing a venue for the Delegates to meet. II. Meeting of the National General Assembly and Approval of a Petition for a Redress of Grievances: In addition to ensuring a free and fair election of the Delegates to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, the Working Group on the 99% Declaration shall be responsible for raising sufficient funds to secure a venue wherein the 870* Delegates may convene, deliberate, consider, vote and ratify a PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to be presented to all 535 members of Congress, the 9 members of the Supreme Court, the President of the United States and each of the political candidates seeking to be elected to federal public office in November 2012. Subject to the voting procedure for the final vote of ratification of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES as set forth in section III, the Delegates of the National General Assembly shall vote upon and implement their own rules, procedures, agenda, code of conduct, elections or appointments of committee members to efficiently and expeditiously accomplish the People's mandate to present a PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to the government of the United States of America and political candidates before the 2012 election. III. Content of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances: The PETITION OF GRIEVANCES shall be non-partisan and specifically address the critical issues now confronting the People of the United States of America. The Delegates shall deliberate and vote upon proposals for the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES and if necessary adjourn for further consultation with the People of the United States of America as our founding fathers conferred during the first two Continental Congresses and the Committees of Correspondence. The final vote ratifying the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES shall be by simple majority vote by the 870 delegates. A duly elected chairperson of the National General Assembly shall determine the outcome of the final vote on ratification in the event of a tie. IV. Suggested Content of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances: In order to facilitate the timely election of the 870 Delegates to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY by July 4, 2012 and submission of a petition to the government for a redress of grievances before the 2012 election, the Working Group on the 99% Declaration, shall draft a suggested list of grievances to be respectfully submitted to the Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY no later than May 30, 2012. The final version of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES, to be ratified by the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, may or may not include the following issues currently suggested by the Working Group on the 99% Declaration:


Posted // November 18,2011 at 21:31 Rock on Lionel and Raphael!


Posted // November 16,2011 at 15:57 “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (attributed to Gandhi, though it’s hard to verify this online)


Posted // November 19,2011 at 10:55 - RUNNYMEDE-CONCORD-ZUCCOTTI


Posted // November 17,2011 at 14:54 - Sorry, Bill. Didn't mean to insinuate that I'd not continue this discussion with you. I'm happy to discuss anything with you at any time. Even when we don't necessarily agree (a good thing!), you're always thoughtful and approach things with intelligence. Anyway...


Posted // November 17,2011 at 13:07 - Hey, Bill. I was hoping you'd join in.

I've seen the press insert meaning for the movement, too, negative and positive. But that doesn't work for me and I don't think it's working for the majority of us. I want the movement to assert its own meaning because I am truly interested in lasting political change, not just messing things up, not just being pissed off in general - I did that plenty earlier in life and it ensured nothing but pain. I'd love to be a part of something that will foment real change.

But I have no interest in throwing my hat in with what primarily appears to be a bunch of ill-informed lemmings. I can throw myself off a cliff without being part of a group, if I am so inclined.

I know there are smart people involved. Locally, take Jesse Fruworth (sorry about the spelling, Jesse) for example. He's smart and has lots to offer. What I cannot understand is why the smart people, instead of being detrimentally Democratic, have not given the average individual (the herd) something to do, something to go on, something to accomplish. If we're expecting Mr. Average to come up with a good plan, we've got no hope. Mr. Average is a blind idiot.

Do these people seriously think they're being informative with all the chanting and sitting in bank lobbies (their own banks, no less!) and camping out in parks with far too many hangers-on (I could post a separate essay on the parasitic hangers-on)? I do not see it. The average American knows things are not fair and have not been fair for decades. What of it? What has the average American done about it other than get theirs, at the expense of others, while the getting is good. The average American didn't give a shit about anything until the average American's cut was threatened. And beyond their "cut", I still don't think the average American gives a shit.

The fact is that Occupy isn't scaring anybody because they have no game plan. Wall Street is not afraid of these guys. Why would they be? This is a local affliction (a zit on a very big ass) and Wall Street, whether these protesters realize it or not, is an international affair.

Do any of then have any clue what would happen to the world if Wall Street were literally shut down for good? World-wide chaos; riots; civil war; mass starvation; an end to energy production; the literal death of our time. They don't see that, to beat the animal, they must become the animal and beat it on its own turf. Where's all the freshly graduated political theorists, philosophers, corporate and constitutional lawyers? Are they screaming for our own death, too?

Sure, Occupy may be able to get together a unified vote and support some candidate filled with highfalutin promises, but then we just end up with another schmuck like Obama in charge and find that he was full of shit all along and that nothing is going to change. I'll bet well over half of Occupy in general votes for Obama again, expecting a different outcome.

This country was sold for a price in 1913 and it's been going downhill ever since. Corporations own our politicians, Obama included, and direct policy at nearly every turn. This has been true for decades.

And while corporations have been doing this, what has the average American been doing? Demanding cheaper prices for junk they don't need, pushing corporations to provide the masses with what they want by looking to produce products more cheaply by moving factories overseas, utilizing slave labor, utilizing the cheapest possible ingredients and products, thrashing the environment in the process, etc; purchasing $350K dollar homes worth $120K on a $12 dollar-an-hour salary, just because they could, and then blaming the bank that lent them the money when their idiotic, greedy decision kicks them in the head; spending themselves silly on credit, buying worthless garbage, ensuring that they'll live in debt for the remainder of their lives; turning their backs on that debt via bankruptcy, forcing the debt on others, washing their hands of it and then doing the same damn thing all over again. And on and on and this and more is exactly what I am referring to when I demand that these people admit to their contribution to this massive, disgusting mess.

Through our collective greed and ignorance, we've all enriched and built up the very corporations we now decry. I'll never join with people that refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and behavior and, from what I can see, these people are doing no such thing.

Jebus. Can't do this anymore right now. But I will engage with Occupy if it has anything, other than bumper-sticker quotes, to say for itself. Otherwise, life goes on.


Posted // November 17,2011 at 11:51 - Much has been made about a lack of purpose or point to the protests, but I see it boiled-down to three or four points in the press all the time: It's an awareness campaign first; an action campaign next and that action has to be at the polls. They aren't trying to quilt a message blanket and the drum-thing, please, you make people annoyed, not inspired. Sounds like a really irritating drumline half-time show at the local high school.

But the point is they are out, they are making noise about corporate ownership of our country and government and courts and it's nice to see young and old joining to tell the influence peddlers and lobbyists and whores in Congress and Wall Street that we have had it and we aren't going to go away, no matter how many times Fox News hosts pretend they just don't
understand "what these people want?"

Just because you stick a microphone in someone's face and ask them to define a movement or belief system doesn't mean you're going to get a succinct, satisfying answer. How many times did Tea Partiers look stupid and ignorant on camera? They shouted the same words about 'liberty' and 'freedom' and 'small government' and 'no taxes.' But when pressed for details, none of them could ever explain it.

Sometimes in life you have a gut feeling that a situaiton is just wrong and you want to do something about it but you aren't sure how to proceed. So you join a group of like-minded people who are trying to do something about it. It's not perfect and it's not backed by corporations and lobbyists and a conservative television network, like the TP and it has no apparent figurehead like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann. That last little piece really upsets some people. What? No leader to name-call and dig dirt on?

I'm good with it. I hope it spreads and scares the living shit out of every corporate and congressional greed head in the world.

If OWS made Bank of America rethink charging monthly credit card fees recently, it's working.


Posted // November 17,2011 at 09:15 - Thank you for your thoughtful opinion, Justin. I agree with your observations except that I would disagree with one point you made in that Occupy has not identified anything that was not blatantly obvious, for years, beforehand.

Lionel, you are not Gandhi. This is not India. This is not the British Raj.

The fact that you're only capable of coughing up a feeble quote that may or may not be attributed to Gandhi in response to my comments proves that you are woefully ignorant of your own situation.

I've not had one, single, thoughtful response from anybody within the Occupy movement, SLC or otherwise, though I've been fair and respectful with my observations and comments. I can only guess that this is because none of you actually have anything thoughtful to say. And I can only attribute that to the fact that Occupy, as a whole, doesn't seem to be doing much thinking at all.

You can throw out all the quotes from the world's finest leaders that you like. But what do you expect to gain by using the words of other people, most of whom are long gone? Where are YOUR ideas? Where are YOUR words?

You're just quoting bumper stickers. Occupy is a bumper sticker, a protest chant, a placard. Occupy is more noise in a noisy world.


Posted // November 16,2011 at 17:19 - I'm with Duke on this one. I'm not a Conservative in any way. I haven't voted for a single Republican for any office since 1992. I would describe myself as being politically liberal, but before that, I describe myself as rational and pragmatic. These Occupy movements fail to engage me on any kind of intellectual level. It has every appearance of a pseudo-religious movement, consisting of a core of self-righteous True Believers convinced of their own importance and moral superiority.

I think that the Occupy movement has identified many more of the problems that this country faces than the Tea Party thrown out so far. But I'm not looking to join a religious movement, or camp in a park, or paint protest signs, or think up yet one more creative chant while there is real work to get done.

Give me the facts. Talk to me about problems. Tell me how you want me to help you fix them.


Posted // November 16,2011 at 10:03 This is a couragous struggle for a livable future. We stand UP for the 99% of society against the 1% which is running society through tools like mayor Becker. This is the time to stand up! We can win. Join us at the next City Council Meeting --Tuesday November 22nd 7pm . Solidarity!


Posted // November 19,2011 at 07:45 - Economist Jeffrey Sachs states - the Occupy movement is “the start of a new era in America,” where the 99-per-cent utopians would get to “tax the rich, end the wars and restore honest and effective government for all.”


Posted // November 16,2011 at 15:58 - “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (attributed to Gandhi, though it’s hard to verify this online)


Posted // November 16,2011 at 11:26 - Comments like these help turn people away from you and your undefined cause. It has happened to me and I was all for Occupy when I first learned about it.

I'm no huge fan of Becker but I feel he has been fair in allowing the protesters to remain in the park, against city rules, in order to maintain a presence, which is all you guys were doing in the first place. You weren't doing anything other than sitting around. If you were doing something other than that, let's hear about it.

You folks claim that your rights are being violated in that you are not allowed to gather peaceably and protest on public grounds. This is not true. You've been given every opportunity and still have that opportunity but, because it isn't exactly what you want, you refuse to utilize it. That is childish. You're still welcome to maintain a public presence but won't. What does that say about you and your group?

I am pleased with Chief Burbank's performance, noting that his actions have been measured, fair, and balanced. You were given two day's notice to vacate the park after some moron OD'd - while asphyxiating himself - in his tent. When the time to vacate arrived, the police showed in force (of course they did!), but not dressed in riot gear or anything else that would indicate they intended to kick your collective asses (as they have done in other cities). And how do you guys respond to the police doing their job and doing it well? By chanting about police brutality and "this is what a police state looks like." Stupid. You have no clue how bad it can get in a real police state and comparing this event to a police state is an insult to those that suffer under such rule. Had this been a police state, you and everybody else in that park would be in jail (indefinitely) or dead.

If you knew me, you'd know that I am no lover of authority or the police in general. You'd also know that I share your angst (have for years and years and figure it's about time you people woke up, though I have my doubts that most of you are actually awake). You would also know that I am as fair in my views as possible and, even if I were speaking about an enemy, I would nonetheless speak with honesty.

When you guys are ready to actually do something positive, instead of sit in a park and whine all day, let me know, I'll join you. When you're able to look at yourselves and your parents and your grandparents and admit your part (admit to your own greed) in producing this society you hate, let me know. The people in charge could never have done what they've done without the people's participation.

When you organize a useful movement and allow those with the skills to positively and effectively direct the movement (you're badly in need of competent leaders), let me know, I'll join you, I'll apply my skills and will work with you.

This society will only change through legal and political actions and until you guys are ready to accept that fact, you're wasting your time, and you're wasting tax dollars.

You state that, "We Can Win!" What is it you can win, exactly? I've asked this before and received no answer: What in the hell do you want, exactly? Until you can show what it is you want, specifically, I have no interest in listening to you. So far, collectively, you've proven yourselves to be selfish obstructionists and destructive jerks, fully prepared to interrupt the lives of other hard working Americans (you know, the 99%) so that you can have your 15 minutes in a very vague spotlight.