Twitter feed, Voice Post Roundup, and Arachnid Update

Follow @spiderine or #occupyboston on Twitter for up-to-the-moment updates from Tent City on Dewey Square!

6:42 PM Welcome to Tent City!

8:01 PM This is what democracy sounds like…

9:12 PM Now that you can hear me…

1:11 PM Neck Deep in the Big Muddy…

5:08 PM Soaked!

7:04 PM Breaking News!

On another note, I’ve decided that I can’t vid for crap, so I’m returning the vidcam and giving the refund to the #occupyboston Legal Defense Bail Fund. If you’d rather I not do that, please let me know and I’ll send your money back to you. It’s your money, and I want to use it as you see fit.

I spent the entire day yesterday talking to privileged arseholes. I came home soaked to the skin and my knees sound like rice krispies. I overslept my alarm and woke up at noon.

The revolution will have to get along without me today, even though I really wanted to be there. It’s National Student Solidarity Walk out and there were hundreds of students joining us from Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, Tufts, Brandeis and others including Harvard, MIT, UMass Boston, Berklee, Simmons, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, plus the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United has endorsed us and is sending 300 nurses. I SO VERY WANTED TO BE THERE.

I have more than 200 emails to catch up on and the Occupy database to work on. I need coffee more than blood right now. What happened while I was gone?

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Arania Webb teaches her fellow “occupods” all about the Bill of Rights.

“You either use it or lose it,” she says, sitting with two other students. “I am teaching people their First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.”


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Second General Assembly



First off, I want to thank y’all for the generous and humbling contributions to the support of your local public nuisance. I will do all I can to be worthy of your trust. Because you were so kind, in addition to bolstering my transport and communications, I was able to purchase a cheapo ($39.99) vidcam on clearance (it’s a Flip, and they’re out of business). I know your contributions were for minutes and bus fare, but this will allow me to improve my coverage with uploaded video and a YouTube channel. So again, thank you, and I hope you don’t mind the slight deviation from the original intent.

The second General Assembly took place last night on the Common. It started relatively small and quiet (by “small” I mean more than a hundred people) because we were there to work; people who came looking for a show quickly became bored and moved on. We started by splitting into our working groups (subcommittees) so reports could be presented at the general assembly.

I’ve decided not to work with the media group unless they need more people. They’re concerned with coordinating the outgoing media presence so we present a united message. That’s cool, but since I’m blogging my personal experience and expressing my own opinions and impressions, I think it’s best that my work remains unassociated with the “official” media outreach.

So back to legal it is, because seriously, they need someone to act as secretary. Look at it this way: you’re putting half a dozen lawyers in a group and expecting them to come to a consensus? About ANYTHING? Um…. yeah, that’ll work. *rolls eyes* So I took notes and whenever they started arguing around in circles about some infinitesimal point I piped up with “Let me read this back to you. This is what we have so far.” Ultimately we were able to hammer out specific points to present to the assembly.

By the time everyone gathered for the general meeting, there were several hundred people in attendance.

(photo courtesy @RWwatchMA)

After a reminder on how to manage a non-hierarchical assembly of a group this size (people’s mike so everyone can hear, hand signals instead of shouting out at random), the working groups reported. My note-taking skills are still rusty so I wasn’t able to get as much detail as I will going forward, but here are the pertinent points.

Food group: Will provide one meal a day at 3pm. After a general straw poll couldn’t produce a majority in favor of either lunch or dinner, the consensus was to split the difference. Water will be provided 24/7. Please bring your own reusable food kit – dishes, utensils and water bottle. Please pick up after yourself and clean your own dishes. Donations of coffee are greatly appreciated! (*general applause*)

Community outreach: has subgroups by location who will post and distribute flyers. It is also important to maintain tables on all the campuses in the area. If your location isn’t listed, contact outreach to start a group. (I couldn’t get the list of location groups because the representative talked too fast; if you’re interested, comment and I’ll get the information.)

Arts and culture: Split into internal and external, although there is much overlap. People in the movement will get bored just sitting around, and passersby need to be drawn in, so there are several projects planned: musical performances, puppet shows, a drag show (WHEE!). There will be supplies provided for people to make posters, signs and art. There will be public theatricals and effigies to beat with sticks! The arts group will coordinate with other working group such as tactical and media. There will be childcare and a preschool. The “Occupation University” will offer skills workshops, classes on the history of labor and civil rights movements, as well as other classes on subjects of general and specific interests.

Medical: First aid, emotional care and hygiene are the of the greatest immediate import for everyone to learn. “Better movements than ours have been brought down by food poisoning!” Skilled EMTs and medical professionals are encouraged to join the group. There will be a presentation on basic protest first aid today one half-hour before the general assembly.

Legal: The National Lawyers Guild will provide legal observers to document the occupation, and workshops on legal aspects of protest, including what to do when you get arrested. These will have to be formal workshops at the NLG because of Boston Bar Association regulations. The ACLU will also provide information regarding your rights. Please go to this document (pdf) for a basic overview of legal guidelines regarding demonstrations and protests. Bail and jail support systems are being developed.

Message group: developing talking points, NOT specific demands, which will develop through consensus. Coordinating with tactical and media.

Tactical: has been arranged into three subgroups: logistical, security, and research/targeting. The tactical group as a whole will coordinate with other working groups. Logistics will work to develop provisions for basic needs such as trash disposal, cleaning and toilets. Security will provide security (duh) both for internal interpersonal mediation and against external problems from the public.

Media: Technology subgroup provides the infrastructure of things like wifi, computers, camera and sound equipment. Public relations provides a hub for communications with the public and the media. If the media asks to speak with you, please feel free to do so but don’t neglect to mention that you’re speaking for yourself; general info questions should be directed to public relations. People with experience in PR, video/audio production and editing are encouraged to contact the group.

More than two dozen people wanted to speak to the genral assembly on the subject of getting a city permit for the occupation, pro and con. Personally, I agree with the guy who said, “If we get a permit, that’s not an occupation. That’s called ‘camping’.” One of the speakers was an obvious undercover agitator who urged us to get a permit so that “if one or two people decide to act illegally the rest of us won’t be arrested.” He was greeted with laughter, calls of “Solidarity!”, and was hand-signal-booed off the stage.

Legal spoke regarding the difficulty, time involved and unlikelihood of obtaining a permit, as well as the consequences of doing such, including but not limited to the fact that a permit would allow the police and the city to have power over us because the city would determine where and for how long we could protest, and could revoke that permit at any time. In addition, we pointed out that the police were going to do whatever they wanted whether or not we had a permit.

After many many people who obviously just wanted to hear themselves speak made many repetitious statements in favor of not getting a permit, consensus was reached. No permit.

That, dear readers, is what I did last night. Tonight, I’ll be at Encuentro.

Bella ciao!

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First General Assembly


Last night I went to the first General Assembly to plan #occupyboston. There were about 200 to 250 people there. It was supposed to be a process meeting, but you know how that goes when you try to run something that large on a non-hierarchical consensus basis. Especially since a lot of the crowd had never done anything like this before, and many of those who have were more interested in making speeches regarding their own preferred causes. But finally things settled down and we were able to break up into working groups — medical, legal, tactical, logistical, all that stuff. Tactics was the biggest group; everyone wants to be an agitator. LOL

I looked at the legal group and it was very small, so I sighed and went on over and it was exactly as I knew it would be. A few law students, a few attorneys, including a woman from the ACLU and 2 from the National Lawyers Guild, and a couple of people who just want to help. I told them I’ve been a legal secretary for 20 years, I can run databases, manage mailings, do research, e-file for state and federal courts, format briefs, etc etc. Oh, and type 75 wpm. Yeah, I’m in. Heh.

Then I went over to the media group, which was HUGE naturally. But they were split into subgroups: liaisons with mainstream media, people who were organizing the official news coming out of the occupation, a bunch of random bloggers and so forth. I really don’t want to be yet another random blogger, although I hope to blog my personal experiences. But there was a group of people who were organizing the live streams, audio and video feeds, “new media” blah blah. Mostly students, of course. I started listening and then one of the people from the livestream asked if anyone had any professional interviewing and reporting experience. I raised a tentative hand “er, yeah?” Only one or two other people did, surprisingly. I talked to them about some of the stuff I’ve done and signed up on the email list, and I may end up with a microphone in my hand yet. At least then I won’t have to worry about my phone batteries dying! LOL

I will be on Dewey Square on Friday September 30, 2011 to give my voice to the cause. What about you?

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The time has come to #occupyboston


The first General Assembly of the people of Boston took place on the Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand yesterday (Tues. 9/27/11) at 7:30 p.m. We gathered in solidarity with the occupation of Wall Street in a peaceful, non-violent and persistent presence near Boston centers of power.

Many people have asked “what is your one demand?” This is a well-known tactic to split a populist movement into factions and frame the protest as a bunch of hippies and kids playing camp-out. They want us to have one leader and one demand. To which we say, “Leader? LOLZ! We’re an anarchist collective!” (*grin*)

The demand is To Be Heard. We will no longer be shat upon by the one percent of the population who control 40% of the wealth in this country simply so they can accumulate more wealth and power. THEY made sure we have the anger, the numbers, the reason and the time to protest. Hey, it ain’t like we’re losing time or wages from OUR NONEXISTENT JOBS, right?

That doesn’t mean we don’t have a purpose. Like any non-violent protest, our purpose is to occupy a public place that belongs to the people; it’s called a COMMON for a reason! Our purpose is to become a public presence and constant reminder in the vicinity of a center of government and financial power. We will force ourselves to be seen and heard. We will gather more people and more attention and grow to more cities until the will of the people can no longer be ignored. As a wise man* once said, “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

* Alan Moore, in V for Vendetta. Yeah, it’s from a graphic novel. So what? It’s still relevant Have you seen what Anonymous has accomplished with the help of a Guy Fawkes mask?

Have you seen what happens to people who protest while masked?



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