#F29 Shutdown ALEC Corporations and the Little Engine That Sorta Did
Good morning, everyone. You may already be aware of the national and global action yesterday to ‘shut down the corporations’. The actions were varied, targeted, and creative in so many ways, and a major “Hey, MSM; Occupy never went away; that was just wishful thinking on your part and of the Oligarchs you serve. We mean to change the world to serve its people, and not its Vulture Capitalist class.”
Pasting some of the actions into a diary has some value, but my incentive to put it together was more about ‘The Little Engine’ I’ll tell you about at the end. I hope you’ll agree that it’s pretty cool.
In January, Occupy Portland and the Portland Action Lab called for a day of nonviolent direct action to shut down corporations that are big contributors and players in the massively influential American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC Exposed is here).
“We specifically call on people to target corporations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The biggest corporations in America, like ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart use ALEC to buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves only the interests of corporations and not people. They then duplicate and spread this corporate legislation in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures across the country. The anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona are two recent and destructive examples of what corporations use ALEC to do.”
From the occupywallst.org actions around the world liveblog yesterday:
- 5:40PM EST: via @F29PDX: “Here’s what’s happening now: March in Las Vegas; direct action in Rockland, MA; march in Norfolk, VA; Rally in Gainesville, FL, rally and march in Phoenix, AZ; Rally in Minneapolis, MN; protest against Fletcher-Daniels in Kansas City, MO; and march in Portland! Follow Shut Down the Corporations for more updates tonight.
- 5:10PM EST: Two arrested at huge march in Portland. Occupy Las Vegas shuts down Walmart.
- 4:20PM EST: UC-Davis protesters shut down a U.S. Bank. Heavy police presence in Portland as police on motorcycles and bicycles try to cut off march and force protesters onto sidewalks. Some Occupiers have broken through police lines. Crowd estimated in 1000s. (Portland livestream). Oakland is off to shut down some banks. (Oakland livestream). Occupy DC has returned to Walmart construction site to continue protest.
- 3:50PM EST: General Assembly underway at occupied university in Barcelona. Anti-ALEC demos getting started in more cities and towns across the US. Occupiers in New Hampshire will target Koch brother-funded Americans for Prosperity. Numbers grow in Portland despite rain. Occupy Boston heading to City Hall to demand: “No HIKES! No CUTS! No Layoffs” in public transit at 6pm.
- 3:10PM EST: Police attack retreating Walmart protesters in SoCal, who had already declared victory by shutting down all targets. Some arrested while falling back as police rush forward with pepper guns loaded. Some Occupiers injured and seen limping away from police line. Others being treated by medics for bruises from baton strikes. Crowd dwindling as most protesters leave, some running to their cars.
- 2:50PM EST: Police move in on SoCal protesters with batons drawn, push back and begin kettling protesters. Police seen on livestream cutting off escape routes, using unnecessary force against protesters who are trying to follow dispersal orders, and aiming pepper-ball guns at nonviolent protesters. Crowds also assembling in Portland.
- 2:10PM EST: Standoff continues at Walmart warehouse in SoCal. via Occupy The Hood LA: ? @OTH_LosAngeles Keep in mind Riot Gear police came in while Occupy protesters were having a block party with music and discussion #PoliceState #FTP.
- 2:00PM EST: Occupy Oakland will rally at noon PST ar Snow Park to shut down the banks, and 6pm PST at Oscar Grant Park for a Funeral for Capitalism. OWS NYC continues to occupy Bryant Park in front of BoA tower. Eight arrests were made outside Pfizer R&D facility in Connecticut after multiple CT Occupations protest. Actions have also begun across Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico targeting ALEC’s connection to racist anti-immigrant legislation and for-profit prisons. (Phoenix livestream)
- 1:30PM EST: Peaceful SoCal demo has been declared “unlawful” by riot cops who have kettled protesters and given dispersal orders despite being surrounded on all sides. In NYC, protesters run up to AT&T to decry anti-union policies.
- 1:10PM EST: Banner drop at Grand Central overpass in NYC (photo)
- 1:04PM EST: Protesters put bed in middle of intersection (photo) at 43rd st. and Madison Ave in NYC. Who are you in bed with? (Twitter) (Facebook)
- 1:00PM EST: Riot police have surrounded anti-Wal Mart demo in SoCal, where protesters have been celebrating and listening to music in the intersection after shutting down all targeted warehouses.
- 12:30PM EST: Actions starting in dozens more US cities, including Huntsville, Dayton, New Brunswick, Nashville, Buffalo, Albany, Richmond, Eugene, Louisville, Pensacola, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Charlotte, and more. Reports of arrests at BoA HQ in NYC as police aggressively push back protesters.
- 12:00PM EST: Large crowd in Pittsburgh protesting drastic cuts in public transit system, including potential shut-down of 35% of services, half of all routes, and 500 jobs. (Pittsburgh livestream). Orlando begins march on BoA. (Orlando livestream).
- 11:30AM EST: In Spain, massive protests still underway in Valencia and other cities. (Barcelona livestream). Teach-in underway in Bryant Park in front of Citibank discussing toxic loans, foreclosure, & bank crimes as Wells Fargo gets eviction notices in NYC. Anti-Walmart protesters continue to hold intersections in SoCal.
- 11:20AM EST: Rally in Portland will begin 11:30am PST at SW Naito Pkwy & Ankeny. Currently PDX bike swarm is preparing for actions.
- 11:00AM EST: DC will regroup at Walmart construction site (Georgia & Missouri NW) at 3pm, and at Friendship Heights metro at 7pm. Pfizer HQ in NYC completely surrounded by police barricades, area around shut down by massive police presence and protesters. March now headed back to Bryant Park to prepare for BoA shutdown. SoCal has shutdown a third Walmart distro center, reports “all targeted warehouses closed for the day.” Austin begins “evict Monsanto” rally.
- 10:20AM EST: Reports that 2nd warehouse in SoCal is closed! Atlanta begins protest in front of AT&T. March in NYC arrives at Pfizer (43rd & 3rd), police have set up a kettle. Protesters, joined by doctors for universal health care, are taking the street instead.
- 10:10AM EST: 10 arrests and Monsanto on lock-down in DC. Police seen barricading Bank of America tower in preparation for demo in NYC.
- 9:50AM EST: In NYC, march leaves Bryant Park to shut down Pfizer. (NYC Livestream). In So. Cal, Occupiers report one Walmart warehouse closed for the day, now marching to 2nd warehouse. In Europe, unions and labor groups in every EU state begin actions against austerity in Brussels and elsewhere.
- 9:45AM EST: 400 people from multiple Southern California Occupations including LA, Long Beach, Orange County, and Riverside begin march to shut down Walmart distribution centers in support of non-union warehouse workers. (SoCal Livestream).
- 9:30AM EST: Student protests have erupted across Spain. The University of Valencia is being occupied by students engaged in a weeks-long campaign to stop cuts and austerity. Students in Valencia were violently attacked by police during peaceful protests in recent weeks. Solidarity demonstrations have also spread in Barcelona, Madrid, and many other cities. In the U.S., arrests already reported in Washington, DC as Occupiers block entrances at Monsanto HQ.
I particularly like the ‘Spit on Monsanto’ ones… Willie Nelson, et.al. gave them special mention in the call to Occupy the Food System along with the announcement of 300,000 organic farmers bringing suit against them, yahoo! The judge will rule on March 31 as to whether or not the case can proceed to trial; send Judge Naomi Buckwald some ethical strong-backbone vibes between now and then, if you will.
Here are some great photos from shutdownthecorporations.org.
But my heart went out to this wee band of brave souls in Tucson, in an apparently independent action they called Tucson G4S Lockdown. With duct tape, a few 55-gallon drums, their bodies and incredible dedication, this small group tried to stop the buses from leaving the G4S parking lot. Thanks, y’all; ya knocked my socks with this. From patrickhenrypress.org:
“This morning, local activists are using direct action to shut down the transportation headquarters of G4S in Tucson, Arizona. Responding to Occupy Portland’s call to shut down the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, this action is being taken to halt the profit-driven operations of ALEC member G4S. This massive company operates the buses used to transport those being deported or moved between immigration detention facilities, and contributes to untold strife and devastation for those criminalized by U.S. Immigration policy.
“The second largest multinational corporation after WalMart, G4S, a worldwide private security services provider, profits through the militarization of infrastructure along the U.S. Mexico border, aiding U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in the human rights crisis perpetuated through the daily seizure, detention and criminalization of undocumented people. G4S profits additionally from the private management of prisons, into which thousands of people are streamlined daily by the U.S. prison-industrial complex and its corporate, governmental and military investors,” explained Ben Lorber, a supporter of the action.
Ben Lorber further stated, “Well beyond our borders, G4S bolsters and profits from state-based terror worldwide. In occupied Palestine, to cite one of many examples, the company provides private security technology and personnel for Israeli prisons, where the systematic torture of Palestinian prisoners is regularly documented by human rights organizations, and for West Bank settlements, deemed illegal and in violation of international human rights law by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice.”
And I’d like to offer a big raspberry to The Daily Ticker‘s Aaron Task and Henry Blodget at Business Insider for dissing the actions against ALEC corps as ‘misdirected’.
I’d also like to thank Willie, Neil Young and John Mellencamp for all their hard work for the small farmers of America via Farm Aid over the past twenty-five years, and now for joining the fight to keep our crops and foods from further Zombification by corporate genetic modification. Find out more here and here. And because I love him, and I love small farmers, and because I can: