Occupy Boston Updates, III

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Occupy Boston Updates, III

I've pasted the latest OBUD here to help facilitate discussion. A.Three things to talk about in the car:

  • An exception to the frighteningly narrow debate about the Newtown massacre (below) courtesy of http://truth-out.org/

Forward!Save the Date for the next OB Strike Debt Meeting, Jan. 14. Check the OB calendar for details as they become available. The Rolling Jubilee sent out its first debt forgiveness letters this week, talk about your Xmas magic:http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/12/the_rolling_jub.phphttp://www.occupyboston.org/http://strikedebt.org/http://350newengland.org/ is organzing buses from Boston to Portland ME for a Tar Sands Free Northeast demo on 1/23 and 1/26.Occupy Kalamazoo is gearing up to host NAT GAT 13, some time at the end of August.  I had a nice conversation with Kalamazoo Chris yesterday and learned a lot about Kalamazoo, its enormous homeless population (I think he said 7th largest in the U.S.) and the Gandhian techniques that OK uses to diffuse conflict. Look for the Kalamazoo proposal on the NAT GAT facebook page and stay tuned for the appearance of an InterOccupy Hub which will make all the information accessible to FB and non-FB alike. http://www.facebook.com/OccupyNationalGatheringOccupy Kalamazoo’s proposal:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EtlKB69uYI3QmsA2b1q9fFTdE3GUbs3L2N9L6zj7hO8/editBelow, an announcement about a workshop on how to form Resiliency Circles that will take place in PA on 1/5. This network has all the advantages of microlocal with the power of a network. OB General Assembly Schedule Change: Consented to 11/25/12: the General Assembly will meet twice a month starting immediately: the first Tuesday of each month from 7-9:30 and the third Sunday of each month from 4-5:30. (On Sunday the GA will be followed immediately by the Strategic Action Assembly, starting half an hour after its usual 5 p.m. Sunday start time.)Join the Community Forum List Serv! This is the best way to get keep in touch with OB. https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/community_forumA.http://arialittlhous.blogspot.com/
Gun Ownership Is a Hobby, Not a Right
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:20  By Salvatore Babones, Truthout | Op-Ed

  • Sure, some people can use guns safely. Some people can also smoke crack safely, drink and drive safely and handle explosives safely. We don't let them because too many other people can't.

In the wake of every horrific school shooting comes the predictable call for gun control. Just as predictably comes the crazy counter-argument: If only the teachers had been armed, the shooting could have been prevented. Shootout at the OK Elementary School.The simple fact is that guns are not compatible with 21st century civilized life. We should get rid of them. If we can't get rid of them today, we should at least start the process of getting rid of them for the future. The world needs a future without guns.No one should have guns. Not criminals, not responsible citizens, not the police. Guns should be safely locked away for use in a serious emergency and issued to police officers on a limited basis only when necessary. Even most police don't need guns.What about criminals? They have guns. Don't we need guns to fight them with? Sure, maybe for a while. But after a hundred years with no guns, the supply will dry up even for criminals. We should be planning for the future, not arming for the present.What about the Constitution? Gun rights are enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Well, I have news for Constitutional fundamentalists: The US Constitution has been changed 27 times. It can be changed again.Lest we forget, the Second Amendment was itself a change to the Constitution. That's why we call it an "amendment." It wasn't there at first.In fact, the Second Amendment only prevents the federal government from infringing "the right to keep and bear Arms." States could have all the gun control they want if it weren't for the later 14th Amendment that extends rights under the federal Constitution to apply to state actions as well.Even this thin reed of gun rights has only existed since 2010. In the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case, the activist US Supreme Court reversed 142 years of precedent to extend the meaning of the 14th Amendment to prohibit states from prohibiting guns.To read more articles by Salvatore Babones and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.It did so by a 5-4 margin. In other words, the nationwide Constitutional protection for gun ownership only came into existence in 2010 (not 1791) and even then by one single vote. So much for the everlasting, inalienable right to own a gun.No, the fact that there are so many guns in America has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has much more to do with lobbying by gun manufacturers and gun owners. The power of the gun lobby is insane. So is the rhetoric of gun owners, with all this talk about prying things out of cold, dead hands.I understand that not every gun owner is insane. Many people own guns to protect themselves. That's not insane. It's just misguided. Your gun is statistically more likely to be used to hurt people you love than to protect them.Millions of other responsible adults simply like to play with guns, and are able to do so safely. People like to collect them, hunt animals with them, or just go shoot them for the fun of it. If that's sanity, so be it. We all have our hobbies.But not all hobbies are created equal. Some hobbies are inherently dangerous, to ourselves and to others. Sure, some people can use guns safely. Some people can also smoke crack safely, drink and drive safely and handle explosives safely. We don't let them because too many other people can't.Sometimes we have to accept that what's safe fun for us may be just too dangerous for others, and that we have to make sacrifices for the common good. Any parent with children of different ages understands this. The 6-year-old can't have a toy with small parts because the 3-year-old might try to eat one and choke to death.Gun ownership is a great hobby. It was fun while it lasted. But easy access to guns is incompatible with daily life in 21st century society. There are no bandits on the prairie. There are no wolves at the door. It's time to get rid of guns. If that means a 28th change to the Constitution, so be it. It's worth it.2. Join us for a one-day training to start a "Resilience Circle"!Saturday, January 5, 20139am - 3pmPIttsburgh, PACo-sponsored by the New Economy Working Group of the Thomas Merton CenterA Resilience Circle is a small group of 10 – 20 people that works together to increase resilience during these challenging times. Circles have three purposes: learning, mutual aid, and social action. Formerly known as “Common Security Clubs,” these circles promise to move us beyond the good work we’re doing in our own backyards and into effective group actions that help us all navigate the future more successfully.In this one-day session, Resilience Circle trainers will lead us through the basics of creating and supporting a group, the available materials for working with a group, and ideas for moving forward. Attendees will go home with greater confidence in their ability to convene and “hold space” for a small local group to work together on mutual support and resilience-building.Cost is $15 per person for the day but no one is turned away for lack of funds; contact info@localcircles.org if this fee is a hardship.Resilience Circles (also called Common Security Clubs) strengthen communities, allowing neighbors to come together to get to know each another, find inspiration, and have fun while preparing for economic change. Our website is http://localcircles.org/.
Immediate Action via Occupy Sandy Relief
Hurricane Distribution Center being shut down by New York City Housing Authority!

The 57th Street Action Center has been operating as the central emergency distribution hub for the Arverne Queens area at the Ocean Bay Apartment houses since Hurricane Sandy struck the NYC area. The center distributes food, supplies, medical, and legal services to those still living in unhealthy environments. There are still 10,000 people living without power in Rockaway alone and the action center is under the threat of being closed down by its landlord, the New York City Housing Authority.

Action Center Director Aria Doe met with the New York Housing Authority yesterday and was told on December 28th “we have to have everything cleared out of the building so they can do “cleaning”. They won't work around the distribution, and want us out. We were told to stop taking donations, to send all that we have to the Mayors programs, to close the medical and legal clinics and to send our folks to medical units 40 blocks away”

It seems only too obvious that the City is attempting to stop the visual lines that show continued incompetence in dealing with post Sandy recovery. NYCHA will not give a clear timeline for when the cleaning is to be over and when the Action Center volunteers can return. “NYCHA has the opportunity to drag this out as long as they want to, and hinted in the meeting that was what was going to happen. They have been known to take 6 months to change a lock.” said Ms. Doe. “We cannot abandon our people now. It is even more critical that we have a presence in the community with the cold weather, escalating health hazards, and historically, what takes place in the dark to the poor, when no one is standing watch.”

The Action Center still has between 600 and 800 residents coming through their lines on a daily basis. Ms. Doe spent last week surveying the lines of residents coming for help. When residents were questioned with “why do you still come to the line day after day” here were some of their answers:

1. I have no gas without the hot food my family and kids will not eat properly.
2. I need follow-up medical care and I can’t get it.
3. I need bottled water because I am afraid to drink the rusty water in the housing units.
4. I have no heat, the blankets and clothing helps provide it.
5. I am unable to clean my cloths, the kid’s cloths, etc.
6. I constantly need the cleaning products because no one has come to fully clean the apartments.
7. I cannot afford to make a co-pay of $45 dollars at the clinic and have no money for medicine and to see a doctor.
8. I lost my job and have nothing without what you are providing.
9. FEMA denied my claim and I have nothing without what you provide me.
10. Everyone in my support system was effected so those I would go to for help need help themselves.
11. I work but have used all my money for transportation, and to replace what was lost I can’t get what I currently need without you.
12. I am old and can’t walk 40 blocks away to other services.
13. I need help to understand what is going on.
14. You are the only people who will listen and try to help us

The only train (the H) is not working consistently, most residents who had cars lost them, and many are sick with small children, and have to stay close to one another at home. They lack cab fare, and can't transport the needed supplies on buses.

“I just know our voice, presence and real time relief is still needed so we can’t abandon our residents. We need to once again make the impossible possible and show without a doubt we can't be stopped” says Ms. Doe pleading for help from anyone who can offer it.

Ms Doe and her team of volunteers are tirelessly seeing a new home for their distribution center and praying that someone at NYCHA can postpone their imminent shut down.
Full Pagetheactioncenter.leadev.comThe Action Center - Changing Lives in the Rockaway Community