(scroll down for live blog updates)
Earlier today I posted an extensive report with details on the Occupy 17 finally being released from jail after being held for more than thirty-six hours. The seventeen were all people somehow involved in media who were targeted by NYPD and arrested in Brookfield Properties’ Winter Garden during an Occupy Wall Street flash mob action on Monday. So, let’s quickly hit something getting wide attention: Time magazine has named “The Protester” the 2011 “Person of the Year.”
First off, a congratulations is in order. Time managing editor Richard Stengel said in making the announcement: “They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change.” Everyone who engaged in dissent this year should be proud. Even if not really acknowledged in the magazine, all who rose up and expressed dissent in the face of tyranny, in the face of police repression, in the face of possible cyber attacks and/or in the face of smears to discredit and undermine causes worth fighting for, this was your year.
Now, briefly, some reactions: Washington Post‘s Anup Kaphle notes on Twitter: “Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ is the person they did not put on their U.S. edition covers.” Kaphle is referring to the screen grab that went viral showing Time put an Egyptian protester on their December 5 cover of their Europe, Asia and South Pacific editions but did not run the cover on the US edition. Instead, the cover was “Why Anxiety is Good for You.”
Adweek examines the selection and notes, “Time‘s pick wasn’t that out of step with readers, though; The 99 Percent was third most popular with readers, with 61,388 votes—behind soccer star Lionel Messi.
Mediaite gives the designation a favorable treatment:
For a very long time, political protests, no matter how large, seemed like so much wallpaper, ubiquitous and of dubious relevance. Even the Tea Party, which carried the accessories of political protest, was more like a series of pep rallies for a (very effective) political movement than anything resembling unrest. All of that changed this year, though, beginning with the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia, and spread to Egypt and throughout the region.
In the United States, the Occupy Wall Street protests are all anyone can talk about for the past few months, but that movement was foreshadowed at the beginning of the year, when thousands of Wisconsin protesters took over the state’s capitol to oppose Gov. Scott Walker‘s anti-union policy agenda.
Of course, conservatives will be ranting and raving all day. They will be pissed because the Tea Party was not acknowledged as part of this year of “The Protester.” For amusement, a couple right-wing reactions:
… The jury is still out on whether the “Arab Spring” really changed things all that much… or merely installed new management to run the same old dungeons. Hosni Mubarak is going to be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more totalitarian Salafists in Egypt, assuming the military junta is willing to surrender power? Yippee! And you might have noticed the Libyan “protesters,” a group about which we still know very little, didn’t accomplish much until NATO got involved. Why isn’t NATO Person of the Year? Or SEAL Team Six?…
…The sainted Occupy movement hasn’t actually accomplished anything. All illusions to the contrary are deliberate and sustained media fictions. The “national conversation” hasn’t been changed a bit. It has simply been decorated with a rather unsavory crop of new ornaments, used by liberals to liven up the same weary arguments they’ve made all along. Attend an Occupy protest and you’ll hear the same moldy, toxic twaddle the world got more than enough of from Time’s Person of the Year in both 1939 and 1942. If Time actually wanted to celebrate “protesters” who actually made a difference, against the occasionally vicious opposition of the media, they should have done it last year.
Or, to be more concise and reactionary, the blurb on FoxNews.com:
Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” defecates on police cars, throws firebombs, and brutalizes women.
The magazine named “The Protester” as its “Person of the Year” for 2011 citing dissent across the Middle East and the United States – arguing that the protesters are reshaping global politics.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues now.
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WHILE WE WATCH LIVESTREAM – [Currently featuring interviews with Jesse La Greca, OWS Media people, etc.—trailer will play on loop until film screening of new documentary “While We Watch” is over.]
10:19 PM Denver police chief extends invitation to meet with Occupy Denver protesters hours before Denver Public Works hands Occupy Denver eviction notices telling them they need to leave the Civic Center sidewalks.
10:17 PM Mike Myers on Occupy Wall Street – video
8:00 PM Progressive Gift Guide for 2011 – Peter Rothberg has put together this post, which features Firedoglake’s Occupy Supply campaign. (Full disclosure: Just over a year ago, Peter interviewed me for a Nation internship. I was given a position as a web intern and went to work for The Nation. The rest, as they say, is history.)
7:30 PM Big news for Firedoglake: We’ve been given media credentials to attend the Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing that begins on Friday, December 16, at Ft. Meade, Maryland. I have been informed there will be “10 media pool seats inside the courtroom” that “will be rotated daily per media request. The seat designations are as follows: 2 broadcast; 1 radio; 2 national papers; 2 foreign media; 1 blog; and 2 wire.” I assume the 1 blog is what I will be chasing after. Of course, FDL isn’t the only blog trying to cover and surely there are others with outlets like AlterNet or Salon that will want to be in the room too. Plus, what about people with magazines? They are not national papers or wire. So will they be after the “1 blog” seat too?
This is definitely going to be an experience. Anyways, Occupy and WikiLeaks will officially be converging. Occupy Wall Street approved funding for a bus to go to Ft. Meade to rally and march. The bus leaves from Liberty St. at 5 am on December 16.
7:10 PM Three Occupy Tulsa participants chained themselves to the city hall entrance. They threw away the key and expected to be arrested immediately. But, the city says they are on public sidewalk and free to remain there.
7:07 PM Occupy protesters mic check Gingrich at a campaign event in Iowa
7:05 PM Occupy Virginia protests indefinite detention measure moving through Congress in the NDAA. 40 demonstrated in downtown Norfolk and four were arrested when they were “refused entry to the World Trade Center in an attempt to discuss their concerns with a staff member in U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s local office.”
7:03 PM I am looking at all the people I have been following for updates from Occupy groups. The NDAA, which includes indefinite detention powers and basically declares war on the world, will instantly become an Occupy issue when Congress passes and Obama signs the NDAA.
5:30 PM The headline’s good enough to get you to read this: “Occupy Philly Performs Street Theater, Says US Senate Worse than Historical Fascists.”
5:27 PM Firsthand account from journalist John Knefel on his arrest and imprisonment by NYPD for 37 hours. He writes, “It is important for occupiers to see the inside of the prison-industrial complex.”
The story of Occupy Wall Street is impossible to tell removed from the story of the prison industrial complex. What makes OWS necessary is a story of a failing educational system. It’s a story of privatized prisons. It’s a story of predatory lenders, lack of affordable housing, and a complete absence of jobs in the most marginalized communities, who are often black or brown. It’s a story of a so-called drug war meant to imprison black and brown youth as a means of generating profits for the 1 percent. The NYPD have shown they will arrest accredited and unaccredited journalists alike. Official credentials don’t work as a protection.
That said, journalists – like activists – shouldn’t be afraid of going to jail. If and when we do get arrested it is not an inconvenience, or something that we shouldn’t be subjected to. It’s a chance to refocus our outrage, a chance to tell the most important stories, a chance to bear witness to the horrors of our criminal justice system. I don’t think the NYPD will ever offer me official credentials, but I won’t be asking them for any. Our right to observe and document police misconduct is not contingent on the approval of the authorities. And if the police think that intimidation is going to stop this movement, they should know better by now.
5:23 PM Another judge comes through for Occupy: A Texas judge rules there is not enough “probable cause to hold seven Occupy Houston protesters on felony charges of using a criminal instrument during a demonstration at the Port of Houston on Monday.”
5:20 PM Stanley Aronowitz for The Indypendent on the “confines of contract unionism,” which he argues had something to do with ILWU not fully supporting Occupy’s planned port shutdown actions. He specifically examines the no-strike clause in contracts.
5:15 PM Occupy Wall Street demonstrators arrested on the bridge have begun to come before a court in New York. Reuters on the legal situation surrounding the 700 arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge and others will be brought before the court.
5:11 PM Hey, here’s the guy who was responsible for the Radiohead hoax at Occupy Wall Street months ago.
5:09 PM Occupy Cincinnati and 350.org climate activists hit Speaker John Boehner’s office with a “human oil spill” for including the Keystone XL pipeline in legislation with payroll tax cuts.
1:20 PM New Quinnipiac poll finds New York voters overwhelmingly approve of a living wage bill — 74% of New York voters. And 51% disapprove of Mayor Bloomberg’s handling of the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park. 75% said they understand the views of OWS “very well” or “fairly well.” 52% approve of OWS. NYPD received a 50% approval rating for handling of Occupy Wall Street. Bloomberg’s approval rating remained under 50%, the second poll in a row.
1:07 PM Occupy Santa Rose returns to City Hall — but without camping gear
12:59 PM Judge rules Occupy Columbia can continue to remain around-the-clock outside the State House.
12:50 PM Obama now has a challenger from the left: Rocky Anderson announced his presidential candidacy as a Justice Party candidate on December 12. He has said, “”There is clearly a convergence of interests regarding the concerns we have and the concerns of Occupy Wall Street…There’s little I’ve heard from the Occupy movement that I would disagree with, and I think there’s little we support that they would disagree with.” Now, Anderson has the challenge of getting a team together to get him on the ballot in all 50 states, which will be difficult to do. However, he is not Ralph Nader — a name that is repulsive to the majority of liberals, unfortunately. So, he’s got that going for him, although he will have to answer those who say, “So, you want to help Romney get elected president in 2012?”
12:45 PM Shamus Cooke of The Indypendent examines Occupy’s fear of being hijacked by the Obama campaign. He examines how they are “advocating more radical ideas, methods and strategies” to combat co-option. And he asks, ” Is Occupy a real social movement or one still struggling to be born?”
12:43 PM California lawmakers investigate the pepper spraying of UC Davis students
12:40 PM Ten suggestions for keeping the Occupy movement going from TheNation.com