12:00 PM Red meat for conservatives: Protesters affiliated with Occupy Charlotte burns an American flag. Protester defends his action. Those burning the flag were arrested, though not for burning the flag because that isn’t illegal. They were charged with “careless use of a fire because they didn’t use a fire pit.”
11:50 AM Portraits from Occupy New Haven
2:00 AM Fourteen protesters were arrested at Occupy Oakland on Friday. Ten of the protesters were arrested in a “scuffle” between police and protesters near Frank Ogawa Plaza. Video of a few of the arrests can be watched here.
5:32 PM Occupiers will march with a giant octopus float at the tail end of the Rose Parade. The float is made out of recycled plastic bags.
2:00 PM A gunman enters Occupy New Haven earlier this morning.
1:10 PM From the Village Voice: Occupy Wall Street is establishing a $100,000 bail fund
12:36 PM Democracy Now!‘s final broadcast of the year features twenty-six minute interview with Scott Olsen on Occupy Oakland, recovering from being hit in the head by a tear gas canister, the wider Occupy movement, Iraq and Pfc. Bradley Manning.
This is what he said about Manning:
Bradley Manning, I didn’t know him until he hit the news. And as soon as I heard about him, as soon as I saw the documents that he leaked, or allegedly leaked, I could see myself almost in his shoes, because I—you know, I, when I was in the Marine Corps, I had access to many of the same types of files. And, you know, if I wanted to, I could have gone up and got them, and—but I didn’t see any that, you know, were particularly—pointed to any particular crimes. But he came across a lot. And what he did is—that’s true heroism. I mean, he faced up against a real enemy. And I think that those documents also tie in with what we are seeing today with this global awakening, with all this information, has been another pile on top of the tinder that’s sparked Occupy, that’s sparked the Arab Spring. It’s played into that, as well.
12:22 PM Did you know there was such a thing as Plastics News? Anyways, they report plastic sporks are now banned at Occupy Seattle.
12:20 PM Occupy Bellingham plans to sue the city after being evicted.
11:30 AM Murfreesboro police issue citations to occupiers who continue to remain in Civic Plaza in tents.
11:10 AM Occupy Sheffield in London has taken over a Salvation Army building
11:08 AM Albany police claim officer that pepper-sprayed Occupy Albany protesters is receiving “family threats.”
11:03 AM City officials now claim Occupy Honolulu is on property that is part of a city park, which is supposed to close at 10 pm every night.
10:58 AM Occupy Little Rock organizes an Occupy Arkansas state convention.
10:48 AM A fourteen year-old, Frankie Hughes, is one of the people arrested protesting Obama at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters. She said, “I was here to try to get a message out to Obama that he’s not been listening to us, and we have demands that need to be met.” She was specifically protesting his failure to confront the issue of hungry children.
For over one hundred days, the nation has watched the Occupy movement, sparked by Occupy Wall Street, grow and flourish. Over the span of a few months it grew into a top story of the year not just in the United States but the world. As 2011 comes to a close, it still has quite a bit of momentum with around sixty encampments still going.
Occupy the Iowa Caucus has been ramping up activity all week. The politicians and special interests, who benefit from this ritual affair, are so afraid of the possible actions planned that the GOP has moved vote tabulation for the Iowa Caucus to a “secret” location. The press has forced Occupy participants in Iowa to say whether they plan to disrupt the caucus or not. Of course, they do not. The website indicates they want voters to vote “uncommitted.” These votes, however, according to those running the caucus, will not be counted, even though “uncommitted” has a history of being a choice in the Caucus and even won the Democratic caucus in 1972 and 1976.
Foreclosed properties continue to be occupied (though just yesterday a group was arrested in a raid of once-vacant property, which Occupy Oakland helped someone move into earlier this month). The moving of homeless into vacant bank-owned properties will continue to develop into a hallmark of the Occupy movement.
And the camps will persist. This tactic is not stale yet. Parts of the movement may advance into new phases but the reality is having a physical presence somewhere—a home base of operations—will continue to be necessary. It is why groups will periodically try to “re-occupy” or occupy new spaces in cities or towns across the country.
To have a successful Occupy group requires actually going somewhere power doesn’t want people to be. It requires showing up without a permit and forcing city authorities to make what should be an unpopular decision—the decision to crack down upon freedom of speech and peaceable assembly by US citizens. It requires making it clear that the issues of economic inequality and injustice, created and perpetuated by groups and organizations from Wall Street to Washington, provide the justification for taking a stand and not leaving the streets until actual meaningful change is initiated. And, it requires an understanding that this is not just about sending a message or putting any person, agency or corporation “on notice.” It is bigger than that. It is about sticking around to make sure that message is acted upon in ways that merit approval and even, in some cases, gratitude from citizens.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues. This will be the live blog post for today and New Year’s Eve. All times are EST. Send any news tips, questions or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, I will have a few year-end posts that I will be putting up here at The Dissenter, one a reflection on some of the year’s biggest stories like Occupy Wall Street, the Arab awakening, etc. I have also in past years posted two top ten lists – top films and top music albums of the year, which have been well-received before.