Published: Sunday 15 January 2012
Representative Darrell Issa has been pestering the feds for over a month to clear out the Occupy encampments, cheekily citing alleged damage to recent park improvements that were funded by the 2009 stimulus package.

The Occupy encampments in the nation’s capital—there are actually two, one at Freedom Plaza and one at McPherson Square—have so far enjoyed a really smooth ride, compared to the violent police action and evictions visited upon encampments from New York City to Oakland.

But that may be changing soon: a spate of bad press has led Washington’s mayor, Vincent Gray, to ask the federal Park Service to evict the encampment at McPherson Square. There has been an increasing problem with rats at that camp, which are apparently attracted by the food there, and burrowing in the ground or in the bales of hay some Occupiers are using to pad sleeping stations.

The encampment voluntarily shut down the kitchen there after a visit from the DC health department, and (correctly) argues that rats have always been a problem in downtown DC, but the mayor is not satisfied. There was also an incident last week in which a 13-month-old was left alone in a tent, with temperatures in the 40s, which created a minor public outcry in local news outlets.

Grey is, no doubt, a liberal who is also familiar with civil disobedience—he was arrested last year at the US Capitol in a protest over the federal budget cuts, which prevented the district from spending its money on abortion services for low-income women. He said such measures “violated the rights of district residents to autonomy and self-determination.”

But the Park Service is also feeling pressure from the right—Representative Darrell Issa has been 

Published: Thursday 8 December 2011
Some complain that they don’t know why the occupiers are upset. In this declaration, adopted by consensus, Occupy D.C. clears up the mystery.

What does the Occupy movement want, anyway?

Critics like to say that the movement is made up of whiners without clear demands. This declaration from Occupy D.C. shows that the grievances are many, but the focus is clear: The 1% are laying claim to the wealth and power of our world, and the 99% will no longer stand for the destruction of our society and our Earth.

The following was approved by consensus by the General Assembly of Occupy D.C. on November 30, 2011.

* * *

We have been captives of corrupt economic and political systems for far too long. The concentration of wealth and the purchase of political power stifle the voices of the increasingly disenfranchised 99 percent. Corporate dominance subverts democracy, intentionally sows division, destroys the environment, obstructs the just and equitable pursuit of happiness, and violates the rights and dignity of all life.

Occupy D.C. is an open community of diverse individuals, facing different forms of oppression and impacted by economic exploitation to differing degrees, but united by a shared vision of equality for the common good. The harsh economic conditions that have plagued the poor, working class, and communities of color for generations have begun to affect the previously financially secure. This acute awareness of our common fate has united us in our struggle for a better future. We recognize that inequality and injustice systemically affect every aspect of our society: our communities, homes, and hearts. To build the world we envision, we commit ourselves to overcoming our personal biases so we can successfully challenge systems of oppression in solidarity.

We are peaceably assembled at McPherson Square, practicing direct democracy on the doorstep of ...

Published: Saturday 29 October 2011
“The demonstrators, who had planned to voice their grievances in the lobby of the building, began chanting “if we had money, they’d let us in!””

Yesterday afternoon, a group of about seventy-five students mobilized at the OccupyDC camp at McPherson Square to raise the issue of crushing student debt. The average student, facing grim job prospects in the current economy, is graduating with at least $24,000 of debt.

The students and recent graduates then marched several blocks through DC to the lobbying headquarters of student loan giant Sallie Mae. As students posted letters and stories about their own debt on the walls of the building, a phalanx of police officers and security guards blocked anyone from entering the building.

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Published: Sunday 9 October 2011
“Why is this protest spreading when others have fizzled?”

Young people locking arms, facing arrest on a cold, wet Seattle street—it could have been the WTO protests that rocked the city more than ten years ago. Only this time, Seattle is just one of dozens of places where the movement for the 99 percent is taking hold.

And, unlike the WTO protests—whose motivation was unclear to many Americans—the demonstrations now spreading virally from Wall Street immediately strike a chord: we all know that neither our economy nor our government is working for the benefit of the 99 percent.

Whatever issue you care to name, from childhood obesity (linked to agribusiness subsidies) to war (linked to the power of the military-industrial complex), from a watered-down health care bill (linked big Pharma and health insurance corporations), to a failing economy (which Wall Street and corporations have depleted in favor of global speculation), the power of the one percent is at the root of the problem. And the power of the 99 percent is key to the solution.

We’ve watched as urgent matters, like climate change, go unaddressed—in large part because powerfulcorporations fund think tanks, lobbyists, and Astroturf campaigns that spread confusion about the science and threaten the political fortunes of those who take leadership.

The #OccupyWallStreet movement is powerful because it is naming the source of the crisis—something that the political establishment had been unwilling to do.

The protests are ...

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