Occupy Boston: Labor on the March



The Older button will step you through  a few pics. bbl

Occupy Boston: City of Boston enjoined, but at what cost.


Occupy Boston was in court this morning seeking a Temporary Restraining Order against action by the City of Boston with respect to removing the tents and effects of Occupy Boston. Judge Francis McIntyre expressed concern about exactly who she could bind if she gave an order. The decision was widely regarded as a victory for Occupy Boston. I am waiting for the results of the General Assembly this evening.  My concern – “Do we really understand how this will change our relationship with the state?” I want to hear from the ideological left and particularly the Anarchist Caucus.

Will we be confined to being a tepid reform movement?

The release from Massachusetts ACLU.

Occupy Wall Street: Raid!!! Restraining Order. Recovery?


Zuccotti Park was cleared early this morning by NYPD. New York Civil Liberties Union filed for a got a Temporary Restraining Order against the city. The City has filed to overturn. The hearing has been held. Judge Stallman    has rendered a decision. Temporary restraining order is denied. No tents.

City Hall claims that protestor possessions including the library were not destroyed, but have been moved to the 57th st sanitation garage.

@nyclu [Twitter] Reported an hour ago that protestors who had gathered in Duarte Park have returned to Zucotti Park and are circling, awaiting the decision. No report yet of how they have responded to the decision.

@Occupy_Boston is due to step off on a solidarity march in a few minutes.

Occupy Boston: The Woman at the Wheel


Not a “fallen woman” at all, but one of our regular and remarkably patient donors. She pulled over next to the Greenway drive near The Vent. The policeman on duty would not let her stand while we retrieved the pots she had lent us the night before. She had to circle. When we reunited her with her pots – huge restaurant size pots – I told her, “Thank you. We can’t make it without you.” She replied, “We can’t make it without you.”

Matt Taibbi has stopped worrying about “the message.”

Occupy Harvard claims the Old Yard


Tent City of Occupy Harvard in front of the John Harvard statue in the Old Yard, November 10, 2011


By second hand accounts, it was a fairly exciting evening in and around Harvard Yard.  I first suspected something was up when a second guard was assigned to Lamont Library on my shift at about 6PM.  Students started mentioning to me that there were a lot of police in the yard. Then the word – lockdown. No one without a Harvard ID was allowed in the Yard. Occupy Harvard had planned to rendezvous at the John Harvard statue. Occupy Cambridge rallied in front of the Holyoke Center outside the Yard. In order to have a General Assembly all could attend they moved to the Law School. There was the now standard Occupy Consensus Process based largely on anarchist tradition1.

Democracy is messy.  – Donald Rumsfeld trying to justify the looting and pillage after the “allies” occupied Baghdad.

Consensus is messier. Rightly so. It is much closer to true direct democracy. – the guy by the door


Occupy Cambridge wanted to Occupy the Common, but Occupy Harvard had their hearts set on the Yard. This won out. With the Harvard Police still controlling access to the Yard. Occupy Harvard proceeded into the Yard, while Occupy Cambridge marched around just outside the wall. There was an attempt from OC to push into the Yard to join OH.   A young woman, got her leg caught in a gate as the Harvard University Police tried to close it. The crowd moved in and pushed back on the police hard enough to free her. One member of Occupy Boston vaulted over the gate, was immediately detained, but then released. Dean of Student Life Suzy Nelson appeared and spoke with about 100 students. She expressed support for them, but asked them to occupy somewhere else. The occupiers started putting up tents. Divinty students created a ring of protection around them.  The police chief paced about. There were no arrests. By the time I arrived on the scene more than 20 tents were erected, the police had retreated to the gates, and all seemed quiet.

1My new friend Will showed my a pamphlet that I believe was from the Wobblies. I can’t find it right now. I will have a great deal more to say about it.  The central point is quite simple.  Consensus seeks to arrive at a decision that everyone owns. It seeks to avoid having to force anyone “go along”.

Stop Harvard land grabs from Africa to AllstonWe want a university for the 99%, not a corporation for the 1%

Occupy Worcester moves to Worcester Common! Live!!!


Withdraw thy savings from ye olde school bank!


There are two parties urging you to do this.

Jerry Stiller

One of the parties is Jerry Stiller:

Jerry Stiller in New York City for a book reading for Festivus

Jerry Stiller in New York City for a book reading for Festivus.
[Photo: Daniel Krieger via Wikimedia Foundation]

I could not navigate the copyright quagmire well enough to show you the actual ad.  But Jerry is a paid spokesman for the 1%.

Capital None

We, the 99%, urge you to move your money  out of any for-profit  bank and deposit it in a not-for-profit credit union.  It is not a radical idea, but is does fall within the scope of direct action broadly understood. I heard it proposed by two time gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross1.  There was one earlier attempt by Occupy_Boston.2  I was told that the banks simply refused to give them their money.  The current effort appears to be nationwide. Like many things associated with Occupy .*3, leadership is “dynamic and evolving.”  The Facebook incarnation lists Kristen Christian from LA as originator and it is called Bank Transfer Day.  Occupy Boston lists  Move Your Money.

The Move Your Money Project describes itself on the bottom of it’s home page as  Another Stadia Studio ProjectIt appears to be a for-profit venture from St. Louis MO. I’ll reserve judgement about whether that is a problem for what I hope will qualify as an anti-capitalist movement. Occupy Wall Street was started by Adbusters Magazine. A reporter from the Wall Street Journal  took that to be proof that we are at heart a capitalist movement. Wikipedia paints a picture of Kalle Lasn at the very least opposed to corporatocracy. And my new friend Liam tells me that Lasn is “the real deal.”

The project has produced a video which has very high productions values.  Footage from “It’s a Wonderful Life” is intercut with footage from CNN and CSPAN from 2008.  It is well done, but I’m concerned that folks will buy into the idea that banks are the only way to aggregate capital but had strayed just a bit in Frank Capra’s time. By 1946, the New Deal and/or World War II had mitigated the worst of the Depression. But in the early days of the Depression a lot of folks were more with Woody Guthrie in The Ballad of Pretty Boy  Floyd:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Despite it’s fairly moderate approach, I do think Move Your Money Day is worth doing for those that have some4. It is a way to support Occupy .* It is not radical, but it may help. And perhaps it will inspire more dramatic efforts.

We, at Dewey Square and others sites around the nation and around the world would not still be in place were it not for the outpouring of community support. Thank you. I hope, fairly soon, to discuss what I have learned about Consensus, Contradiction, and Community.

To add some energy to this movement, some friends from Occupy Boston will leave Dewey Square on a tour of the Financial District Saturday morning Nov. 5 at 10:30 AM.

I will be at Harvard guarding the library.


1Grace ran once on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket. It was the Massachusetts branch of the national Green Party. Green-Rainbow still exists, but is has been demoted to a ‘political designation’ due to low vote count. She ran again as a Democrat.  She gave an excellent talk at Community Church of Boston.

2If you want to appear hipper than you really are, you can follow @Occupy_Boston on Twitter.

3I have used the language of regular expressions in the title of a previous post. I repeat the explanation. Regular expressions are a part of the Chomsky Hierarchy – Class 3 according to Wikipedia. I had used them for thirty years. In all that time, I never heard Chomsky’s name connected with them even though I heard his name at anti-war rallies all the time. The dot is the symbol for any single character in the alphabet of the language. The asterisk indicates “zero or more occurences”. Combined, they match any number of anythings i.e. all possible sentences of the language. Occupy is growing.

4I’m not penniless, but close to it thanks to the recalcitrance of Mr. Leo Godwin of the Quincy office of the United States of Blackwater Revenue Service. Even without Leo, Harvard’s campaign to reduce the standard of living of it’s low wage workers would have me homeless as I am. But what money I do have is in the Harvard University Employees Credit Union.

Solidarity with Oakland


Occupy Oakland was raided by police this morning.

Occupy Boston marched in solidarity.

Occupy Boston marches through the financial district in solidarity with Occupy Oakland

Veterans for Peace Boston - the Smedley Butler Brigade - confer at Downtown crossing during the Occupy Boston march in solidarity with Occupy Oakland

Occupy Boston march down Charles Street next to the Public Garden in solidarity with Occupy Oakland

Being there for Bloomberg News


Tom Moroney from Bloomberg News came to camp yesterday. He didn’t understand why I giggled. Being camped at the Federal Reserve of Boston and Wall Street in NYC,  just maybe the folks have issues with the financial service sector. I think he got it. But then again Bloomberg is news – a bit different. So I regaled him with how Reuters got started. They hired people to row out to incoming sailing ships to get the news before the ships landed.  They understood that this edge in the stock market was worth money.  AkerloffSpence, and Stiglitz refer to it as asymmetic information. I’ve even heard N. Gregory Mankiw acknowledge that it exists.  The ideal classical market assumes perfect information and guarantees maximal efficiency.  Asymmetric information awards “unfair gains” to some at the expense of others. Tom kind of looked away for a bit. After all, I had impeached the character of his entire business. “That doesn’t mean I won’t talk to you.” He rebounded quickly and the interview was on.

I’m on Bloomberg News!!!

After my interview, of which you only see a part, I gave Tom a quick tour of the camp and connected him with two other occupiers Nat Jackson from the Anarchist Caucus and John Niles of Veterans for Peace. And again, you only see a portion of what Tom shot.

Tom and I spoke a bit about history.  I have to assume that his remarks were off the record since I had not identified myself as a “citizen journalist” at the time. I infer from his remarks that he was responding to my use of the word anarchist. I think the conversation would be well served if we make this public and extend it. How ’bout it Tom? I’ll give y’all a hint of what I’m thinking. I was trained as a physicist, I’ve followed the work of many of the “best in the business.” Yet my own thinking leads me back to remarks made by Danny Greenberger at City College years ago. The regularities we think we find in nNature are often more than well worth betting on, but they are never really guaranteed.  We were sure space had three dimensions and time one. If we decide on 10+1 will that be the end of it?

1I want to get Noam into this but I have to get back to camp. I shall return.

Occupy .* : Or does it explode?


My education is almost entirely about creations of African-European-Americans2. Occupy Boston has been almost entirely AEA’s. There have been a handful of African American Population II. I thought I heard Rene say that he is in fact African American Population I, but he didn’t say it that way. He said, “Native American”. There is so much happening that I can only give you vignettes. I may have lost my good camera. I struggle to figure out which of the myriad tasks presented I should do. I remember my days in Harlem and I know. I cannot go to Jason’s alternative media. It will be educated, middle-classish, and white. I have no ‘qualification’ to represent Occupy Boston to anyone, let alone to Roxbury. I have no special insight. I don’t know where the Next Great Wonder Woman will be. But I must go. What happens to a dream deferred?

It took place at 6:00 PM near Dudley Station with feeder marches from Dudley Common and other places around Roxbury and Dorchester. It was well attended.


More in a bit…..

1 I have used the language of regular expressions in the title. Regular expressions are a part of the Chomsky Hierarchy – Class 3 according to Wikipedia. I had used them thirty years. In all that time, I never heard Chomsky’s name connected with them even though I heard his name at anti-war rallies all the time. The dot is the symbol for any single character in the alphabet of the language. The asterisk indicates “zero or more occurences”. Combined, they match any number of anythings i.e. all possible sentences of the language. Occupy is growing.

2I’m still beating the drum about the human genome originating in Africa. AEA’s are more commonly known as ‘white people’. I’m still looking for language that is less cumbersome. Help me out if you care. Help me out if you dare.

Occupy Boston Library open and online.


Occupy Boston Library
Like the society around it, Occupy Boston has problems sharing resources. Like the society around it, Occupy Boston has opened a library to have a domain of shared resources. But in this it is not the largess of a robber baron that made it possible. It is the radical reference librarians. They have a page on the Occupy Boston Wikispace.

This is the first post I’ve been able to make from Occupy Boston. I will discuss the logistics and political economy of OB in a later post. But this post is made possible by the shared resource domain of Occupy Boston Library. I thank the people who made that possible. Like many things at OB this post is more symbolic than anything else. But as Ghandi standing at the entrance to the camp says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And as Captain Picard says, “Make it, so.”

My mother was a librarian. She often took me to work with her. I went to college and graduate school. I’ve guarded Harvard’s libraries for 20 years. I’ve spent too much of my life in the library.

Legal Question


My arm with the number of the Boston office ot the National Lawyer's Guild on it.

To my Union,  my friends,  faculty, students, and fellow workers:

I wanted to take pictures of the police attack on the folks camping at the Fort Channel portion of Rose’s Greenway. So their was the question as to whether I might be arrested as “collateral damage”.  So when the young woman from National Lawyers Guild suggested that she would lend out her marker to put their number on our arms I went right to her.  It seemed more direct for her to write it directly on my arm than to dictate it. It made me feel cared for. There was not a sexual thought in my head at the time. Mostly it was a twinge of fear at what might be about to happen.  But to those of you who assumed I was having sexual thoughts, thank you. I have left the number on, since there was the question of whether the Boston Police Special Operations Unit would be ordered to attack the folks in Dewey Square. The original order said that if the folks in the Fort Point Channel park did not vacate,  both camps would be cleared. They did not vacate, but were forcibly removed. I have heard no official statement about the dispostion of the original camp except that Mayor Menino has declared that “we have overstayed our welcome”. So I have left the number on for tactical reasons. And besides the young woman from NLG made me feel cared for. I’m 64 years old. It was suggested to me that my age would get me a safe conduct pass from BPD-SOU.  But that was proved wrong in the wee hours of October 11, 2011. Members of the Boston Chapter of the Veterans for Peace better known as the Smedley Butler Brigade, some of them older than me, were pushed onto the ground and arrested for holding their flags in Fort Channel Park. I know some of them guys and gals. I’m not a happy camper.

So here’s the thing. I want to leave the number on, but I have to go to work at Harvard’s fabulous Lamont Library.  I certainly have the right under Federal, State, and Municipal law to keep it on. But Jeffrey Feuer of the firm of Feuer and Goldstein has pointed out to me that most of us sign away a lot of our rights when we sign an employment contract.  An example of this is the disciplinary process of the agreement between Harvard University and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers[hereinafter referred to as the Agreement  🙂  ]. Tim Gray of HCL Operations has made allegations against me.  My union rep and I dispute them and ask for the supporting documents on which the allegations are based – i.e. ‘the evidence’.  He agrees to produce it, and but hasn’t. There doesn’t seem to be any requirement to support an allegation nor any discipline on managers who make false allegations against their employees. I think we need to work on that.

So the question for those of you familiar with labor law and The Agreement and sideletters, can I legally be required to remove the number of the National Lawyers Guild from my arm while I stand watch at the Lamont Library. Simple question. I’m sorry. I forgot. Some of you are lawyers.

Afterthought: There are people who work at Harvard who have tattoos.

This is what …


…autocracy looks like:

Transit police blocking egress of Occupy Boston from Rose Kennedy Park while "detainee transport vans' stand by.

Transit police block egress from the south side of  Occupy Boston expansion camp. The main tactical force was on the north side. It was much more intimidating, being Special Operations police in full riot gear. I tried to get pictures, but the north side is much darker.  In planning the operation, they probably had an idea how many cameras would be in the crowd.  Also, they were fairly quick to clear us out of that area.

"Special Ops Cops have just cleared "alternative media" out of the park.

The folks on the sidewalk are, like me, “alternative media”. The Special Ops cops have just pushed us out of the park.  We were all trying to photograph the arrests going on inside. Despite what they say, it is legal to photograph the police in a public place.  Do NOT,  however, make an audio recording with a concealed device. You do not need permission, but you must inform them. The problem is being able to prove that you informed them.

Prisoner tranport vans and garbage trucks used to destroy the camp equipment.

Behind the two prisoner transport vans are two garbage trucks used by the Special Ops cops to make sure the camp equipment was thoroughly destroyed. The total volume was nowhere near enough to require a compacting truck to carry it off.

…democracy looks like:

Linking arms to await the anticipated police raid in the expansion camp at Occupy Boston

The citizens of Occupy Boston Extended await the anticipated police raid.  I could not get the picture I will have in my mind for the rest of my life.  Perhaps that is sad perhaps not. Can silver halide or CMOS be expected to capture communicn of spirit and purpose?

Citizens of Occupy Boston link arms above the sign, "To be radical is in the best and only decent sense of the word, patriotic."

Citzens of Occupy Boston Extended link arms behind a sign of the quote from Michael Harrington, “To be radical is in the best and only decent sense of the word, patriotic.”

Citizens of the original Occupy Boston camp lining the south perimeter in anticipation of a second raid. The original ultimatum said that if the new portion was not evacuated, both portions would be cleared. However, while the Special Ops cops were trying to clear the media from the sidewalks outside the park, they said, "Go to the old camp, you won't be arrested." We were worried about being arrested, but more importantly about photographing arrests.

Citizens of the original Occupy Boston camp lining the south perimeter in anticipation of a second raid. The original ultimatum said that if the new portion was not evacuated, both portions would be cleared. However, while the Special Ops cops were trying to clear the media from the sidewalks outside the park, they said, “Go to the old camp, you won’t be arrested.” We were worried about being arrested, but more importantly about documenting arrests.

Since this blog is hosted on a Berkman Center host and the BC started life as part of the Harvard Law School,  I’d be happy to hear legal scholarship on issues raised here.

The expansion of the camp took place on a day when many Americans honor Christopher Columbus for “discovering America.” This is inaccurate in several ways,  and this is also a significant part of the story, but I’ll have to come back to that.

Many faces of Occupy Boston I


The world holds enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. -Ghandi

Ghandi statue on loan from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn MA. "The world holds enough for everyones NEED, but not enough for everyones GREED.

Ghandi is on loan from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, MA. Thanks folks.

Ghandi is looking out for the workers as well as the occupiers.


There is, as always, a broad range of opinion about just how confrontational to be. There are people for whom nonviolence is a waste of time. Some of those folks wear bandanas much of the time. I can’t show them to you. They don’t want their pictures taken. Of course, the 6 cameras on top of the Greenway headhouse can see them. The two cameras on lamposts in front of the Fed can see them. The three cameras on the Fed can see them. The row of cameras on the north side of Greenway can see them. And the random visitors coming in to camp often get pictures of them. It’s tempting to channel, capitalist Scott McNulty former president of Sun Microsystems, “You have no privacy. Get over it!”

There was an action to the Federal Reserve the first night. 10 o’clock PM. It’s true there were very few police, but I doubt they would have gotten very far inside the Fed. And here’s the thing. Who saw it?  There was no mainstream media. None of the people i.e. none of the cogs of the machine under protest were there. I’m told that somebody shouted into the bullhorn. “Let’s see if anyone is willing to go all the way on the first night!” Followed quickly by, “No.” There was “new media” coverage provided by occupiers. So over time some number of people will see  demonstaters holding siege on an essentially empty building. How much is that worth?

My opinion, “Arrests cost. Make them count, if you can.”

I didn’t see the action when the Northeastern Students arrived. There were no arrests, but had there been, I would call  them ‘worthwhile.’

Northeastern Student demonstrators in Dewey Square. "Our movement is too big to fail."

Photo: Occupy Boston

There is a steady stream of individual and small group efforts.

Occupy Boston demonstrators in Dewey Square. "Our movement is too big to fail."

Representatives of “Occupy Together“, the “too big to fail” movement.

And there is the continuing pursuit of genuine inclusive consensus.


One group came to promote their program, but I don’t know if they will join.

"Acapella singers from the LaRouche PAC"

They are the LaRouche Political Action Committee. The have a two point platform;
1) Reinstate Glass-Steagall
2) Go to mars.
So they’re kind of safely in liberal land and out there at the same time. But boy can they sing!

Come on down!

We’re not old, just not as young as we used to be.


Gary Goldstein and I have been marching our whole adult lives.  Not always at the same time or in the same place, but for the same reason. There’s been a lot of criticism of Occupy Boston for not having a clear, sharp message.  Gary’s Op-Ed included this:

The criticisms that there is not a single guiding message or an identifiable leader are premature and, perhaps, misguided. Successful movements don’t spring up, fully formed out of nowhere. They build gradually, attract more and more attention and gel around central issues. Looking back at popular history can be misleading. Charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela didn’t appear overnight with full−blown movements of thousands. They emerged from long struggles carried forward by hundreds of anonymous supporters of causes and strategies that cohered over time. Workers’ rights, gay rights, women’s rights, social welfare programs, unionism, the ending of the Vietnam War, the reduction of nuclear weapons all resulted from the efforts of thousands of people, now unknown, who were fired up to demand change.

It started in Wall Street. In Boston and Chicago, it’s the Federal Reserve. There may already be a focus.
It has been endorsed by the SEIU 615, H.E.R.E. 26, the Boston Labor Council, and the AFL-CIO. Who knows, we might even hear from HUCTW.

Gary, I’m sorry I missed you. I need a picture not encumbered by copyright.  No rush, we’ll be there for a while.

Occupy Boston: Day 5


Still there!

Had to do some reorg to accomodate the Farmer’s Market. The farmers are part of the 99%.

Some attention from the Commonwealth.  Senator Kenneth Donnelly rests his chin on Paul’s shoulder, while Senator Daniel Wolf shakes hands.

Freedom is on the March


The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear – and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.      – George W. Bush

Absolutely,  but which bunch of fanatics  are the real terrorists? – The guy by the door.

1. Take Back Boston

March and Rally 
Friday, September 30
Boston Common Band Stand
2:00 PM – Music and Gathering – If you’re reading this, you missed the opening strains.
3:00 PM – March & Rally

2. Occupy Boston

It’s Spreading!

Map of US showing cities where Occupy together is active.

I’m sure the Boston dot will be there soon.

Dewey Square in Downtown Boston today Friday,
September 30 at 6 p.m

Local alternative news coverage: Open Media Boston

Disclosure: I am now and have always been a card carrying fan of Jason Pramas and I will be a member of the Special Events Unit of Open Media Boston.


“Occupy Wall Street” comes the Boston


Democracy is Messy –

                                                        Donald Rumsfeld

 On Tuesday Sept. 27, 2011 7:30 PM at the Parkman Bandstand aka the Gazebo, 600 people representing the 99% of the American people excluded from political and economic life met in a General Assembly to discuss how they could express solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.

The First Occupy Boston General Assembly made an initial attempt to work on the principle of consensus. Ian had been to Occupy Wall Street and introduced some very simple logistical techniques. He noted that applause introduces delays in the proceedings. He introduced a visual signal of agreement. You simply put your arms straight up in the air, hands open and rotate your wrists back and forth. It was used somewhat and when it was, it seemed helpful. Ian also introduced a visual parallel to the parliamentary Point of Order. He called it “raising a point of process”. You simply put your hands together in a triangle. I couldn’t tell how much it was used because Ian presented it as something you do in front of your chest which people behind you can’t see. I propose that in future Assemblies  the point of process triangle be made over your head. There was also The People’s Microphone i.e. everybody close enough to hear the speaker repeats what s|he said. It was used enough that I could see it’s value in some situations, but the assembly realized it wasn’t working for a group of our size, so we voted to turn it off.

The assembly also realized the difficulty  of achieving consensus in a group of our size.  Ian proposed modified consensus which was adopted by Occupy Wall Street. If any person objects they can block. A block can be overridden by a specified substantial majority vote. OWS adopted 90% and OB did the same. What Ian did not mention in the proposal, but which he did to very good effect, is to call on the blocker(s) to see what the objection is and more importantly look for a settlement without going to an override vote.

The Assembly broke up in to working groups. I visited three – media, legal, and tactics. They were messy within their own contexts. They also had different assumptions about what the other groups were supposed to do. More mess. When the General Assembly reconvened, I was concerned that the mess was beyond repair. Discussion moved to where and what would be occupied. The where went rather smoothly – Dewey Square next to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The when was more contentious. Some people wanted sooner to strike while the iron is hot. Others wanted to have more time to prepare. The Assembly seemed to move towards sooner. One of the folks from Wall Street pointed out that they had work out a lot of things after they had taken up position. When the first assembly came to an end, because we weren’t ready to break the law just then, there was a significant majority  for sooner, but there were still a few blockers. The assembly decided to reconvene Wednesday night. I could not go, but I learned from Open Media Boston that it took a third General Assembly to reach modified consensus.


Ballerina on the Wall Street Bull: Occupy Wall Street.

[Wikimedia Foundation]

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Ten)

[Wikimedia Foundation]

Connecting the dots.

Socialism Art Nature

NYC IndyMedia


Waiting for SCOTUS: Thomas, Abram, Abel, Billie, and Troy


Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, August 7, 1930
[Wikimedia Foundation]

The execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for 7:00 PM has not occorred. Word has it the Supreme Court of the United States is considering an appeal filed at 6:00 PM this evening.  Clarence Thomas is rumored to have some kind of leadership role, but rumors conflict about how much. One pundit, CNN’s  Jeffrey Toobin thinks that the deliberation is unusually long.  Rumor said SCOTUS would speak by 8:30 PM. It came and went.  Democracy Now! extended it’s live coverage from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Now, at 9:55 PM, they are saying ‘at least 10:30 PM’. I’m sure Amy Goodman would like to stay on the air for as long as it takes, but she doesn’t have deep pocket sponsors. Then again Democracy Now! is the only TV program giving live coverage.

So the question is has anything really changed since Abel Meeropol wrote “Strange Fruit” ? Listen to Billie Holiday while we wait.

SCOTUS has spoken.

UNITE-HERE! Si, Se Puede ! Harvard Labor this month.


Harvard Security Guard members of SEIU local 615 flyer for their negotiations with their employer.

Security guards working under contract for Harvard get top billing because they were out flyering when I got off the T this morning.  They are “indirect” employees of Harvard. That’s HarvMinSpeak for workers whose jobs are at Harvard, but they are technically employees of agencies that contract with Harvard. They are subject to the strongest tool Harvard has in it’s almost fourty year long campaign to drive the Union movement out of Harvard.

Their contract expires this Friday Sept. 23, 2011.

Sign carried by Security Guard members fo SEIU 615 employed at Harvard

Two Crimson articles by Mercer Cook provide good background to recent events on the Labor front.  First we have a small action of “direct” employee custodial workers at Harvard Law School.

The second article describes the successful negotiation of a new contract for UNIT-HERE! i.e. Harvard’s cooks. Normally when anyone connected in any way with Harvard declares a moral victory, I get nervous. But you can take Ed Childs’ word to the Credit Union.* OOPS! Dining Service Worker contract is not a done deal!

In both cases a significant role was played by the Harvard Student Labor Action Movement.

Y’all come back now! hear?

*I’m incurably cute, but there is a point. What should we do about “too big to fail banks.”

Labor Day March & Rally


Monday, September 5th

March: 10 a.m, Cambridge City Hall*

765  Mass Ave. Cambridge

Rally: 11a.m. Cambridge Common

September 5th is more than just another holiday. We march to honor the history of working people and to continue the fight for a just economy for all! We will be marching through Harvard University to highlight the struggles of workers and our communities.
Gather at the end of the march at 11am to support workers and listen to speakers. Enjoy entertainment by the band HUMANWINE, musician Chris Pahud and comedian Jimmy Tingle!
RSVP on Facebook- “Boston Labor Day March and Festival 2011”
*If you are near Harvard Square, you can meet the students of the Student Labor Action Movement at 9:30 AM at Phillips Brooks House.

Bread and Puppet Theater: Cambridge Common 6PM Fri. Sept. 2. Free.


Be there!

Some of you weren’t there! It’s ok. I have pictures. And they’ll be back. In fact, they’ll be in Lawrence MA at 5 PM today! So after the morning-midday rally in Cambridge…?

¡¡¡ Strike !!! IBEW & CWA fight back against Verizon.


Democracy Now has Pamela Galpern, a striking Verizon worker and union activist who says,

“Verizon [has] launched a full-scale attack. Essentially, the company has said despite the fact we’re hugely profitable, we’re going to take advantage of the economic situation in the country right now to try to roll back the wages, benefits, and job security of our workers.”

Meanwhile, here in Boston

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222 and the Communications Workers of America Local 1400 were at the Verizon office in Post Office Square. They were there last night”:IBEW & CWA picketing Verizon in the wee hours.

Through the wee hours:

IBEW and CWA picketing Verizon in the wee hours. [Long shot]

And into today:

Full court press at Verizon

Solid sisters.

The Brotherhood [IBEW] his sisters in its ranks:

Sisters of the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the line. 8/11/11

as do the Communication Workers of America. There is support from Unite-HERE!:

Sister from CWA 1400 w. supporter from Unite!-HERE

the Boston firefighters:

Boston Firefighters in solidarity with strikers.

and Harvard Labor:

Incremental lawlessness: Union busting by inches.


An open letter to Mr. T.J. Gray hired from Security Systems International to orchestrate the replacement of Union labor in the Security subdepartment of the Harvard College Library.  Due to labor activism of a sort, the contract guards are represented by SEIU, but they are still contract workers and can be let go if administration replaces Securitas as a “vendor”.  We could, I suppose, hope that the Wikileaks inspired “Arab Summer” will wash ashore on the Charles. I think it wiser to oppose the multiplicity of incremental attacks on Union labor. Administration has already begun cutting benefits to retirees.


“Are you still beating your wife?”


Hopefully, you will agree that this does not constitute good faith communication and does not deserve an answer. I admit that this question is more hyperbolic than any you or young Mr. Graves has put to me, but it illustrates the point. It is possible to bias a question in a manner which is blatantly unfair. In our case, the questions being put are more subtle, but are still unfair.

“Which of these schedules which blatantly violate your terms of employment do you choose?”

Since the end of the regular session I have received no communication from you or Mr. Graves that included the full hours of my appointment. When I told him that I wanted my full hours and proposed a schedule. He said simply, “I don’t have those hours”. If you hired too many contract workers, that it an issue of your capability as a manager. It does not abrogate your responsibilty to abide by the terms of the Union contract.

Several years ago, when you instituted a timesheet system private to HCL facilities, I had extensive discussions with you and Ms. Diane Cox of HR about the meaning of the “Fixed Schedule”. The resolution was that it represented my hours during the regular term. During intersession I would still get my appointment hours but they would be on a different schedule. You affixed to the timesheets of your own design, the disclaimer that I [or any other employee] would not always work their “fixed schedule”. Ms. Cox represented to me that the “fixed schedule” was in fact an accounting convenience to accomodate the PeopleSoft accounting system.

Now you have unilaterally adopted the policy that union members will work their “fixed schedule”, except when it’s inconvenient for you and the contract workers. The disclaimer has disappeared. Since I do not agree to this unilateral policy and hereby file a past practice grievance, I do not want to sign anything that might jeopardize adjudication on this point.
I point out to all concerned that you have repeatedly instructed me to sign documents with benefit of knowledge or counsel.

Young Mr. Graves has offered me, a schedule for this week of 18.5 hours, 2.75 hours short of my appointment. So it’s unclear whether my forced vacation is over and I can meet with you as requested. However, in the spirit of “jointness”, I will be on campus at 4:00 PM. If you can magically “find” 2.75 hours. Geoff Carens and I will be glad to meet with you. I should advise you however, I find it hard to see, based on my experience of you, that you will make the changes necessary to avoid furtherance in the grievance process.


Philip R. Fenstermacher Ph.D.

Championing Cambridge Climate Change Week


To the Honorable, the City Council of Cambridge in the “New” World,

I come to speak  about Policy Order O17 to publicize Climate Change Week My purpose is threefold.  First, I want to commend you for passing this order.  I know you will. Second, I’d like to point out the heavyness of the governmental machinery that seems to be necessary to get relatively modest changes to the city’s website.  I propose that you empower the City Clerk to include hypertext links in the Policy Order text on the City Council  website –  not as a substitute to the Order but an addition to it.  Cambridge Climate Change Week has a website. Under my proposal, CCCW would already have achieved additional coverage from the City website.  Further, the City webmaster could have a daemon scan the Policy Order list as soon as it is posted.  Mr. Healey’s secretary could print it out and get a decision from him and have the site updated within seconds of passing the order.  Or, he could have it done before the meeting. It would provide him with an opportunity to  appear to take you seriously.  But the idea that hyperlinks on the City website is the sole property of the executive is both needlessly complex and  yet another extension of executive power far beyond the intent of  Plan E.

Finally, I’d like to compare the events included in Cambridge Climate Change Week with the observation of Cambridge Climate Change Conference Of 2009.  “In December 2002, the City Council adopted the Climate Protection Plan. The plan,  …,set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.   … However, as of December 2009,  Cambridge’s greenhouse gas emissions are 27% above 1990 levels. It was observed that the emissions due to City Government operations had remained constant, but they account for only 3% of emissions citywide. The increase is due to institutions like, Harvard, MIT, and Novartis.