The Occupiers: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement

“Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance”

This year marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and there will be a Roe v. Wade Anniversary Commemoration at the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. Wed, Jan 22nd at 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. A broad coalition of partners, invites you to celebrate the Roe v. Wade ruling with a Film Screening of “Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance,” directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman. The showing of this important film is sponsored by: ACLU, Democratic Women of the Desert, Democrats of the Desert, Equality CA, Occupy Coachella Valley, Palm Springs NOW (National Organization For Women), Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Stonewall Democrats, and Veterans for Peace. If you have an organization that may wish to sponsor, have your board approve it, then notify OCV (we will pass it along to the key organizers) Please use this link to RSVP so they have a sense of how many to plan for.

Sign up for movie: “Motherhood by Choice, not Chance” at:

http://www.ppaction.org/site/Calendar?id=109461&view=Detail.  

See flier roe_v_wade1

Martin Luther King Day Honors Mr. Joseph Beaver

Sunday – January 19, 2014 – 2 pm

Church of St. Paul’s of the Desert-Episcopal

125 W El Alameda-Palm Springs will host A Birthday Celebration (91st) for Joe Beaver, Chairman MLK Commemoration Committee

There will be speakers, music and refreshments and the public is invited!

Mr. Joseph Beaver

TPP Shackles We the People & Democracy

TPP Action3 12-3-13In an action depicting corporate global rule symbolized by a corporate “king” twirling the world around on a string with one hand and dragging behind a jailed “We the People” and “democracy,” followed by a funereal procession of mourners dressed in black singing a TPP dirge and holding tombstones decrying the death of democracy, jobs, clean air, clean water, education, Internet freedom, medicine, and free speech.  Participants in the action spoke to passersby and handed out TPP information fliers in order to educate the public about this serious worldwide threat to the 99% and everything we hold dear.

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 CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS AND INSIST THAT THEY OPPOSE FAST TRACK OF THE TPP, THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY!!

BREAKING NEWS: LEAKED TPP DOCS!

This morning Wikileaks leaked the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership today, which revealed that the secretive  agreement will negatively affect Internet freedom, copyright law, biological patents, access to medicine, and civil liberties.

Please view the documents here: Wikileaks-secret-TPP-treaty-IP-chapter              and spread the word!

Analysis of the TPP intellectual property chapter on access to medicines:
MSF/Doctors Without Borders’ Release and Memo on How the Trans-Pacific FTA Undermines Access to Medicines

Public Citizen’s Memo on Obama Administration Backtracking from Bush Era Access to Medicine Commitments

MSF/Doctors Without Borders’ White Paper “Trading Away Health”

Public Citizen’s Access to Medicine Analyses Comparing TPP Proposals with Existing Laws and Trade Pacts

The Global Treatment Access Group Paper on the TPP and Access to Medicines

For analysis of the updated TPP intellectual property chapter see:
Public Citizen Memo “What’s New in the Wikileaks TPP Text?”

End Corporate Rule & Legalize Democracy!!

OCV Marches with VFP in Gay Pride Parade

Members of Occupy Coachella Valley joined Veterans for Peace in the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Palm Springs, California, carrying signs “Free Chelsea Manning,” rainbow flags and a rainbow Occupy Coachella Valley banner, and chanting “We are the 99%,” “YOU are the 99%,” and “Free Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning” while flashing peace signs to the crowd who occasionally joined in the chanting.

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As Occupiers went by, announcers mentioned that OCV has been working on illegal foreclosure, stopping the TPP, and protesting the Sentinel power plant and announced our website.  Check out the picture of the parade on the Desert Sun at:   Pride Parade 2013

50th Year Anniversary of the March on Washington Rally a Success

OCV joined with other local groups in a rally to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  There were over 60 attendees at Frances Stevens Park at the corner of Alejo and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

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Rally for Peace and Justice

Please join Occupy Palm Springs this Saturday, August 24th, at Frances Stevens Park, by the fountain at Alejo and Palm Canyon, 10:00am-11:00am to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.  We will gather in solidarity with those who will participate in another MARCH ON WASHINGTON, 50 years after the turning point demonstration of the Civil Rights Movement, led by: Martin L. King, III & National Action Network, in partnership w/APRI, NAACP, SCLC, NUL, NCNW, NCBCP, and the King Center and the opening of a four-day Global Freedom Festival.

Dr Martin Luther King believed that human needs, racial equality, and justice would never be attained unless we challenged militarism and its impact on the peoples of the world and in our communities.

Please bring drinking water and wear a hat or bring a parasol.  And don’t forget your SIGNS, based on messages as outlined above or MLK quotes.

For more information on all the activities scheduled to commemorate this historic event, go to:

http://www.thekingcenter.org/news/2013-08-excitement-builds-commemoration-50th-anniversary-march-washington-mlk-s-i-have-dream

Police Brutality Towards Occupy Finally Getting Redress

Occupiers in Oakland received awards of $1,000,000 for brutality towards them by Oakland Police Department for peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.  See the following stories:

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/440-occupy/18245-occupy-oakland-protesters-awarded-1m-over-police-violence-during-arrests

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/occupy-oakland-protesters-1m-police

Bradley Manning Solidarity and Support Rally Saturday

This Saturday, June 8th, join Occupy Palm Springs/Coachella Valley, Veterans For Peace, and the greater Palm Springs area communities, to demand freedom for Bradley Manning, as we support him during his Court Martial that started this week on Monday, June 3, 2013 (after an over three-year confinement period!).  We join Daniel Ellsberg of “Pentagon Papers” fame, Colonel Ann Wright and many, many others in honoring and supporting Private Manning, and salute him for his courage in speaking truth to power and exposing the killing of civilians in Iraq.

In the words of the Green Shadow Cabinet,

“Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who has exposed the policies and practices of the U.S. government’s domination and hegemony. From Tunisia to Yemen, Sweden to Washington, DC, the documents expose the operation of U.S. foreign policy.  The detailed war logs from Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and the State Department’s diplomatic cables provide a glimpse into the daily operations of U.S. foreign policy at a critical time.  The documents have changed the course of history, spurring the Arab Spring and allowing the people of the world to see the truth about their government’s relationship with the United States.”

Though he has been vilified by right-wing ideologues as supposedly having endangered the lives of operatives by exposing secrets, there has not been any evidence of any harm and we at OCV view Bradley Manning as a hero who acted on his conscience and believe that there is far too much being kept secret from the American people about the actions of our government.  As such, we hail Manning and Wikileaks as preservers of free speech and transparency, indispensable cornerstones of democracy and fundamental rights protected by our Constitution.

Please bring yourselves, your friends, signs, your “Free Bradley Manning” t-shirts, banners, noisemakers, literature, your energy, something cool to drink (of course), and a parasol (if you’ve got one) because it promises to be HOT, to the corners of Palm Canyon and Alejo, Saturday June 8th, at 10AM. Join Occupy P.S., Veterans For Peace, and friends as we help fight the distortions that the mainstream news has been putting out about Private Bradley Manning. We demand his freedom, and continue to support him during his formal Court Martial! Look for us near the large fountain with the moving sculpture tubes.

Where: Frances Stevens Park on the corner of Palm Canyon & Alejo, PS

When: Saturday, 6/08/2013, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon

Practical Activism in 2013: One Occupier’s View

Below is a presentation one of OCV’s occupiers gave regarding his view of the current practice of activism and the Occupy Movement at a recent VFP Memorial Day luncheon.

“I am happy to report that, despite non-stop media coverage to the contrary, Occupy is alive and kicking and more effective than ever.  And, despite nationwide coverage of five people in funny hats in front of the IRS building, the Tea Party isn’t.”

“As activists, we must also be pragmatists.  We have to step back and ask ourselves, from time to time:  “Are we being effective?  Is our message being heard?  Are we making the positive changes that we want?  If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is often no.  Times have changed but many us have not.  Many of us are still stuck in the 60s.  We assume that marching and carrying signs is enough.  If we are honest, however, we must admit that we need to go back to the drawing board and update our tactics.”

“A little background.  I am one of those 60s activists.  I helped to organize the first Wall St. demonstration to protest the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The NY Times called it the “Wall St Massacre”.   Was it a successful action?  By 60s standards, maybe so. We broadcast our message through major media. Would it work now?  Probably not.  Bloomberg would have the area in front of Treasury kettled off and protestors would be forced to a “free speech zone”. If they resisted, NYPD would wait until midnight and, then with the coordination of Homeland Security, would arrest the protestors with media denied access to the arrests.  There would be little mention of the arrests on the corporate media and America would tune out to watch reality shows and Dancing with the Stars.” 

“Can’t happen here? It did happen here. These same tactics were used to falsely arrest 7,000 Occupy activists nationwide, with little outrage; ninety five % of the charges were later dropped, but it didn’t matter.  The Constitution had been shredded, the activists demoralized, and the American public remained largely unaware of the erosion of their civil rights. Police response to activism has changed since the 60s.  The Patriot Act and the NDAA have created the possibility of a paramilitarized police presence.” 

“So how do activists respond in 2013?” 

1) “Always accept the precepts of Gene Sharp* (handout) and base all direct action on non-violence. The only sensible behavior against overwhelming force is non-violence.  Your rock is meaningless against an Apache helicopter or a drone and will be used as justification for violence on the part of the State.”

2) “Make sure that your direct actions are meaningful, by targeting a social, political, economic or environmental injustice that has local relevance.”

3)  “Become more of an expert on the subject than the groups causing the injustice.”

4) “Have a practical solution that can be presented to the public in direct action.”

5) “Use local media and the Internet to magnify your message.  Prepare professional press releases, videotape, blog, get creative and dramatize, write/perform songs, post on social media and YouTube, but frame the narrative, have a well-prepared message and spokespeople to give interviews.”

“As illustration of these 5 rules of effective activism, I offer you the Direct Action Committee Report presented at yesterday’s General Assembly:”

             DIRECT ACTION COMMITTEE REPORT 5/26/13

1)   Prior consent: 

a) Co-sponsor David Cobb speech on “Creating Democracy and Challenging Corporate Rule” at Crystal Fantasy 6/12 with Move-to-Amend.

b) Pass out brochures DHS Saturday, ABC, Kmart, Vons & Staters. 

c) Financial support for VFP luncheon.

2)   VFP luncheon. Noon, Monday, May 27

3)   A Better City for DHS.  Brochuring.  (Report Chuck, Bob, Rosie)

4)   Stonewall Democratic meeting (report Tracy)

5)   Occupy Dept. of Justice, D. C. mortgage action (report Deb)

6)   Drones (report Steve F.)

7)   Food not Bombs Monsanto action.  (Report from Carolyn, Tracy?)

8)   DSUSD work action (report Gabrielle)

9)   OurWalmart action.  La Quinta, Thursday 5/30 at 5 pm.

*For Gene Sharp’s precepts on non-violence, click on this link: 198 Methods of Non-Violent Action

For more information on Gene Sharp, see his book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” widely disseminated and used during the Arab Spring, pdf available at this link: From Dictatorship to Democracy  or go to http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations9173.html

Tour de Peace Palm Springs Visit a Success

Cindy Sheehan embodies the Occupy spirit of principle over party and holding power accountable regardless of political affiliation.  As such, she has been equally critical of Obama as she was of George W. Bush as a perpetuator of war and indefinite detention, and how Obama is even worse than Bush in prosecuting (and persecuting) whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning, the “kill list,” and drone warfare.

Like Cindy Sheehan, Occupy demands a peaceful society, a realignment of basic values, and an end to war for profit.  In order to achieve this, more people need to follow her example, reclaim their principles, realize how corrupt the two-party system has become, and demand a level playing field for all political parties, such as the Peace and Freedom Party on whose ticket Cindy ran in 2012 with Roseanne Barr, by insisting that the debates be opened to all third-party and independent candidates, that they be moderated again by a neutral party such as the League of Women Voters, and that all political parties be granted ballot access and proportional representation.

We wish Cindy all success in raising the public’s awareness of the important issues of peace and non-violence vs. war and a shift from a fossil-fuel-based war economy to a peaceful and sustainable green economy, on her bicycle trek across the country to Washington D.C. to speak truth to power!  Next stop 29 Palms!

For more information on this event, see: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130409/LIFESTYLES/304090046/Cindy-Sheehan-brings-Tour-de-Peace-valley

OCV Addresses Rancho Mirage City Council re NDAA and Drones

Steve Finger, with Occupy Coachella Valley (OCV) and representing CV v NDAA, opened Public Comments at the Rancho Mirage City Council on Thursday, April 4th with a presentation on why the council should be aware and wary of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress.

Specifically, he mentioned that the NDAA provisions of arrest without due process and for indefinite detention could both be without charge. In fact, the arrest could be triggered by little more than suspicion that a person’s protest against ‘government’ was equivalent to an act of “terrorism” or based on the vague term of a “belligerent act.” This was counter, he said, to our Bill of Rights, as well as to the rights granted by the California Constitution, even counter to the purpose and intention of the Rancho Mirage City Council.

These concerns are shared by people and legislative bodies all across the nation; the California State Assembly is so concerned about the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA and the harm it might do to its residents, that it has introduced Assembly Bill 351 – the California Liberty Preservation Act. AB 351 not only calls for not complying with the NDAA, it provides for a misdemeanor charge for those who assist in its implementation, as well as stipulating a fine or imprisonment, or both.

Steve made the remarks in order to garner the support of the council for AB 351 and for a city resolution against the NDAA. He also asked that the council keep the NDAA in mind when considering the anti-drone ordinance scheduled later on that day’s agenda. The proposed ordinance currently makes an exception for ‘lawful purpose,’ which he suggested might provide an open door to the draconian NDAA provisions, indicating that he would address how that door might best be shut when the council had the item before them.

For more information on the NDAA and drones, see:

http://www.kmir6.com/news/toprotator/201563271.html

http://www.ranchomirageca.gov/departments/city_clerk/meeting_agendas-minutes.php

http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130404/NEWS01/304040012/Rancho-Mirage-delays-vote-aerial-drones

Cindy Sheehan Comes to Palm Springs in Tour de Peace

 LOCAL RESIDENTS HOPE CINDY’S VISIT WILL NOT SPARK CONTROVERSY AND PROTESTS LIKE HAPPENED IN APRIL 2007

by Tom Swann, VFP

Cindy Sheehan’s bicycle tour known as “Tour de Peace” will stop in Palm  Springs on Tuesday April 9.  The event is free and open to the public.  It will be held at 6:00 PM at Crystal Fantasy 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

I first met Cindy Sheehan in the spring of 2005 when she spoke at the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit in Palm Springs.  This was an exhibit of shoes from deceased Iraqi civilians and combat boots of our deceased soldiers.  Cindy donated her son’s boots (Casey Sheehan) an Army Specialist who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Cindy’s appearance in Palm Springs was a few months before she began the “Camp Casey” protests near the President George W. Bush ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  The bike tour begins on April 4 at Casey Sheehan’s grave at Vacaville, California.

During Easter week in 2006 Tracy Turner of Palm Springs and I went to Camp Casey,Texas in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan.  I spoke onstage with other peace activists like Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg.  Later that year I became the founding Commander of the Casey Sheehan American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 19 in Rancho Mirage.  Many of the state AMVETS officials were unhappy we were naming a post after Cindy Sheehan’s son. I received five obscene and harassing phone calls from people who disagreed with Cindy Sheehan.   Former Palm Springs radio talk show host Marshall Gilbert added to the controversy by calling Sheehan “anti-Semitic.”  Cindy Sheehan’s sister Dede Miller of Los Angeles visited the desert in May 2006 and did a KMIR TV-6 interview about the formation of the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post.  The Desert Sun reported on this controversy.

In 2007 the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post and Veterans For Peace planned to hold two events with Cindy Sheehan.  One event was to be held at the Episcopal Church in Palm Springs. Father Andrew Green approved the event but when the story appeared in the Desert Sun members of the church’s parish council objected to hosting Cindy.  Father Green issued a press release to the Desert Sun indicating the church had changed its mind and would not host the Sheehan speech.

Cathedral City council member Greg Pettis arranged that Cindy would speak in the Cathedral City council chambers.  Mayor Kathy De Rosa and other council members became upset and this was reported in the Desert Sun. A reception to raise funds for an educational scholarship was planned for a private home in Palm Desert. Andy Grow, a Navy Vietnam Veteran who supported the Iraq War felt that Cindy’s anti-war activities were harming the morale of U.S. troops.  Grow organized a pro-war motorcycle veterans club known as “Gathering of Eagles” to park near the private home in protest.  The day before this event Cindy became sick from food poisoning and had to cancel her visit to the Coachella Valley. The reception was held anyway and the motorcycle protesters were present but did not cause a disturbance since Sheriff deputies were at the scene.  The Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post lasted three years but disbanded because of the lack of support from the AMVETS state officers.

Now we are preparing for Cindy Sheehan to come to Palm Springs.  We hope this visit on April 9 will not be as controversial as her planned visit in 2007. Recently I mentioned that Cindy was coming to Palm Springs at a Christian men’s retreat in Palm Desert.  One of the participants remarked that Cindy was “evil.”  I have attended Good Friday and Easter services with Cindy at Camp Casey.  Cindy was a Catholic church youth minister for eight years.  Casey was an altar server at the Palm Sunday Catholic Mass at his Army base on the same day he was killed in an ambush.  I feel Cindy is very spiritual.  Recently she wrote to me about the U.S. drone attacks overseas and asked “Who would Jesus bomb”?

Ten years after the start of the Iraq War we are learning that the Bush administration lied about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Sheehan believes the Iraq War was immoral and illegal.  She has spoken truth to power. In polls the majority of Americans believe the Iraq War was a mistake so Cindy has been vindicated.   I feel Cindy is a very important person that is serving God who is Love.  I agree with Cindy and I invite her supporters to attend our program on April 9.  For more information you can call me at (760) 324-5670 or write to me at tomswann@earthlink.net

Cindy Sheehan explains the “Tour de Peace” in the following article.

Why We’re Bicycling Through Palm Springs on Our Way From Coast to Coast by Cindy Sheehan

We often hear that those who protested abuses of power by President George W. Bush censor such criticisms of Obama.  And with many people that’s true; some of them openly admit as much.

But those who have not compromised their activism, those who oppose wars and civil liberties violations today, just as they did several years ago, do exist even if they don’t always have a microphone.  A cross-country event this spring is aimed at amplifying their voices.

The Tour de Peace is a bicycle ride from the Vacaville, California, grave of Casey Sheehan (killed in Iraq in 2004) to Washington, D.C.  Much of the ride follows the historic Route 66, a road that John Steinbeck called the Mother Road in his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

We’re riding because, while we may have a Nobel peace prize laureate in the White House, we do not have peace.  We have expanded presidential war powers, a new type of war fought with flying robots, and biweekly meetings in the White House to check names off a “kill list.”  We have expanded powers of warrantless spying, imprisonment without trial, and retribution against whistleblowers.

We objected to these practices when George W. Bush was president; why shouldn’t we object now?

The U.S. military presence abroad is expanding into new nations with troops and drones.  Military spending is draining our economy dry, as every dollar spent on it could have produced more jobs if spent more wisely, such as on education, infrastructure, or green energy.  Is $170 billion a year for foreign bases among the priorities of people in Palm Springs and across the country?

We talk about a war in Afghanistan as if it’s ending, while planning to lengthen its duration from 11 years to 13.  Most wars didn’t take 2 years from start to finish.  Our new Secretary of State once asked how you could ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.  We don’t hear enough people asking such questions about Afghanistan.

We’re riding because, while we have a president who admits that climate change exists, we still have a president and a Congress that work to exacerbate rather than to alleviate it.  Fossil fuel corporations are given massive subsidies, and carbon is still not taxed.  We’re riding for serious sustainable policies, and for government accountability to the people.

We hope to meet many new and old friends along the way, to talk to them about their concerns, and to carry those concerns with us to Washington.  “This is the beginning,” Steinbeck wrote, “from ‘I’ to ‘we’. If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I’, and cuts you off forever from the ‘we’.”

That pessimistic analysis looks ever more accurate, as wealth and power grow ever more concentrated.  But we who care about our future together will work to build a broad nonviolent movement among those who do understand the fundamental injustice of a government that does not answer to its people, even while assaulting other people abroad in the name of democracy.

We are extending an open invitation to those who would like to join the Tour de Peace (TourDePeace.org) for all or part of the route.  We plan to arrive at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3rd and to proceed from there to the White House.

Admirable bike rides are often held to oppose terrible diseases.  We believe that war, plutocracy, and environmental destruction are diseases with the potential to turn fatal.  Ride with us, or talk with us when we stop for a breather in Palm Springs.

Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.  In 2005 she began a widely-reported protest at then President Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas.

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19771950

MLK Day Peace Vigil

OCV recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by having a peace vigil for recent victims of gun violence in the Coachella Valley and around the world at the Palm Desert Civic Center in Palm Desert, CA on 21 January 2013.

Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Robert Kennedy, and John Lennon were honored at the event

Richard Finn performed

Lorraine Salas, local teacher, spoke to the assembly

The Palm Springs High School Jazz Quartet also played for the audience Children read the names of the victims aloud

Dr. Debra Savitt led the group in a prayer/meditation

Everyone sang along on John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Luminarias were lit in remembrance of the victims slain by gun violence

News coverage of the event can be found at:

http://www.kmir6.com/news/toprotator/187838991.html