Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Crises of Capitalism

The Crises of Capitalism animation is, as the Brits would say, "Brilliant!" This brings up a lot of the same critiques we are talking about in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

We would urge that we show this video on the big screen at Kiener, followed by a discussion session led perhaps by two persons, a Marxist (to help elaborate the latter part which needs explanation) and a non-Marxist.

-By: Fred, Greg F, & Kerry

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Build, Baby, Build

(audio starts at 27sec)

"My slogan is not Burn, Baby, Burn.
My slogan is
Build, Baby, Build.
Organize, Baby, Organize.
Learn, Baby, Learn
so that you can
Earn, Baby, Earn.
That's MY slogan."

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This is an incredibly powerful message by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the difference in attitude between destruction and construction. With the recent events of the police crackdown in Oakland, it is crucial that we stay positive and continue to build.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monopoly: Analogy for Capitalism

Monopoly is one of the greatest board games of all time. I originally hated it due to how long it typically took to finish a game. In college, I reversed my stance and became very interested in the strategy underlying Monopoly. What are the best moves to take in order to put yourself in the best position to win? I was pursuing a philosophy degree at that time and was very intrigued by game theory. I played countless games against robotic opponents in Monopoly video games. I developed tactics for winning based on a thorough understanding of its principles. I was all ready to play with friends. When I played against friends, rather than robotic opponents, the games tended to unfold much differently. I will explain how I see the stages of a Monopoly game unfold as the board state changes. I believe this is a very telling metaphor for our current situation.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Protest Songs

Woody Guthrie, ca. 1943. Photo by Eric Schaal.

Being both a folk music fan and an amateur labor historian, it's been interesting charting the frustrations expressed in OccupySTL's protestors' signs, statements and discussions back to older expressions and older movements. The amount of songs that tie right into the problems we're facing is staggering, but hopefully I can effectively highlight a few here.

Woody Guthrie was no stranger to social causes. Bumming and busking across the country on freight trains as a young man, he was able to see firsthand the plight of farmers and workers thrown out of town by the Dust Bowl and poor economic conditions. In his tune "Jolly Banker," he casts a wry and satirical look at the banking practices which robbed many workers of their homes and property.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Addressing Oppression, Racism and Privilege in the Occupy Movement

(Submitted by John Chasnoff of New Left Project. We thank you for your contribution, John.)

Editor's note: This piece by two Americans active in the U.S. occupy movement discusses some of the ways in which racial, sexual, religious, and other oppressions have been replicated and challenged within the occupied space. We publish this piece both as a frank discussion of some of the challenges an occupation must deal with, and as reminder about the importance of considering all existing axis of oppression and striving to work against and allow for them within occupied space. Ahead of today's hugely exciting plans to Occupy London, both points are worth bearing in mind.
The Occupy movement is the first major breakout of reform-minded energy in decades, and the first major event for a new generation of activists. Through its inclusive message (“We are the 99%”) it is working to forge the new alliances and cross-cultural solidarity that Barack Obama campaigned on but failed to achieve. Along the way it brought together the authors of this article, a white male activist “of a certain age” and a young mother and active member of the local Palestinian solidarity movement. Both of us are supporters of Occupy St. Louis, though life obligations have kept us from being on the ground as much as we would like. We came together in a desire to sort through the new paradigms that Occupy is working to create and some of the difficulties they face having created a phenomenon before doing an analysis of race, gender, and other oppressions in America.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Out from the Shadows

Last week, on a visit to Keiner Plaza I had the opportunity to observe one of the first General Assemblies of the OccupyStl movement.  At the onset, there was a brief debate over the location the Assembly would be held.  A lone woman blazed a trail to the center of the plaza near the tents, while a larger contingent lobbied, and was ultimately successful, for a place in the shade.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moving Forward with Solutions

Many have voiced their concern about the solutions that the Occupy movement is requesting. What are the solutions? Which politician do you support? What if the Occupy movement requests solutions that endanger us all?

To their credit, and to their fault, each Occupation has remained in solidarity on their broad critique of our current economic dilemma. There is consensus that the public has lost trust in the relationship between banks, insurance agencies, the stock market, the politicians, and the monetary policy. The Occupy movement strives to start discussion on the problems within that relationship. Let's explore why this broad critique works well for the movement, while at the same time limits it's potency.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why We Are Occupying Kiener Plaza: A Statement from a Member of Occupy St. Louis

Occupy Wall St.
(Image courtesy

There are a large number of injustices in American society that motivate our occupation of Kiener Plaza, as well as the occupation by tens of thousands of concerned citizens of public spaces in cities across America, all inspired by Occupy Wall Street. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On Our Structure

Occupy Wall Street, and by extension OccupySTL, has been derisively called a group lacking principles. We see popular media pundits criticizing us for our lack of focus, and many of them seem to look a bit flustered when they cannot pin the movement down to a specific point on the political spectrum. Some argue that this is precisely our strength. The bottom 99% has been brought together by its collective anger and rebellion against the top 1%; a few supporters say that this unity is enough in itself. In a heavily mediated world which has made every issue into a partisan one, this instance of the left and right coming together to find common ground and a unified voice is an exceedingly rare and noteworthy act, even if their opinions occasionally diverge from one another. Though there is some grain of truth to both approaches in looking at the movement, neither of them touch on a crucially important part of the protest: its structure of organization. Dismissed as anarchic by our detractors, and occasionally appearing senseless even to our supporters, the principles embodied in how we conduct ourselves from day to day are perhaps the most telling and uplifting aspects of the movement.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We propose this as the official response to Mayor Slay

Here is Mayor Slay's response to the OccupyStl movement Thursday, October 6:

Tentative Itinerary for 10/6/11

This info was posted on the forum by JayPhantom42:

6:00am - Regroup
11:00am - General Assembly
5:00pm - Group Caucus
8:00pm - General Assembly

For more updates, check:
OccupySTL-Official website 
Forum-Interact with other participants on the site.
New Facebook Page-Updated throughout the day

Keep your spirits up St. Louis! I am taking the day off to catch up on much needed rest. I encourage small groups to discuss new ideas. Write info down, and try to bring them into fruition. If I can help in any way, I'd be glad to, even if it's pointing you in the right direction.

One issue we are aware of is that we need to communicate more effectively. By utilizing many sources of communication, and trying to make sure everyone is on the same page-I believe we are heading in the right direction.

We are ALL in this together.

Stay strong and keep moving forward!


70 Cops arrive Kiener Plaza shortly after midnight

At the time of this post, there are 10 confirmed arrests. Citations were issued less than 24 hours ago to participants staying past curfew.

This is a bad precedence for our movement. The police are among the 99%. These participants are a beacon that speaks out for the silenced majority. All of our wages have been stagnant for decades at the expense of wall street financial wizards ever-increasing salaries & bonuses. Police pensions were fleeced by recklessness on Wall St as well. Rather than enforcing arbitrary curfew laws, perhaps the police should consider the intent of this movement. We are not your enemies. We intend to lead a peaceful discussion about transcendence from this economic abuse. Men in uniform, join us.


Ash & Bryan taking one for the team. You two have serious courage <3

Police arrive to make arrests late Wednesday night

It's true, we're supporting the police too.

 Protesting outside jail

Leading by Example

If we are to have this movement, and occupy this space, we must create a platform of principled discussion and adhere to higher purpose. I can feel the energy at the OccupySTL Movement. It is fledgling and vulnerable and could greatly benefit by following the examples presented at the Occupy Wall St. Movement. Here's a video for inspiration towards what OccupySTL could become. Enjoy :)

Click link for video:


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Videos from Days 1 & 2

Kyle on Day 1-Thank you for explaining so eloquently why we are here.

This is footage of a General Assembly on Day 2, when we were very young as a group. We are currently in our adolescence stage-we have grown so much and come a long way, but we are still continuing to grow. Our attendees at the time of this video were less than 20 participants. As of 10:30pm Tuesday, after official curfew, our numbers were over 100 participants. The internal organization continues to grow every day. At the time of this video, I hardly knew any of these participants. Because I chose to be present and to participate, I have made many amazing, insightful, and intelligent friends. Join our efforts and help us grow today!

Paul, Ryan, Arthur, Jason, Kyle, Kerry, filmed by Carmalene


Cops Issued Citations

After rumors about cops showing up around 10pm Tuesday night, we stuck it out as a group late into the night. 

The next day, my friend Carmalene reported that 15 cop cars and vans showed up around 5am Wednesday, October 5. Police issued warnings and six citations to the remaining participants and were asked to move to the sidewalks until the park re-opened. At 6am, the group reconvened back inside the plaza.

We want the St. Louis Police Department to know that we are here for them too. We need allies on every level of the system....

Stay positive. There is lots of love and strength in this movement, and I am truly proud of my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why it's important to occupy TONIGHT

Firstly, I want everyone to know that the individuals who are occupying Kiener Plaza are incredibly brave. It takes a lot of guts to stand up for your beliefs, and most people are not willing to do this sort of a thing.

Last night, we were told that the St. Louis Police Department have issued a warning to leave our home base @Kiener Plaza by 10pm tonight. They warned that they will give citations if we don't leave. This is no surprise.

People who are staying after 10pm know what the possible consequences are-but as a collective group we believe that the more people we have tonight-the less likely the police will be involved. We believe in the power of numbers, so if you believe in your heart what we are doing is right-we could really use any support you are willing to give. 

And I leave you with a song of inspiration, "Revolution" by the Beatles:

See you tonight,



Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated supplies to the movement. Your generosity is an incredible inspiration to us. At the moment, we don't need any more perishable goods. If you are interested in making a donation, here are some things I think we could really benefit from:

  1. Tents, blankets, pillows, flashlights, tables (card tables work perfectly)
  2. Office supplies-markers, poster boards, pens, binders, notebooks, and anything to help organize-milk crates or file boxes would be great!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I sincerely love you all.


Updates on the Occupy STL Movement

Hey guys! I want to first give a brief breakdown of what the current situation is in the OccupySTL movement.

Why are we here? We are here to represent the "bottom 99%" who believe the big corporations (the top 1%) have too much control over everything. Essentially, we are establishing our own community & democracy, which is crucial for making change happen. We are all equals here, and EVERYONE'S voice will be heard, unlike in our current accepted government situation. Once these priorities have been met, we will continue to make decisions based on consensus voting. This means that everyone needs to be on the same page before a decision has been made.

Here is a log of the past 3 days:
  • Saturday, October 1st, 2011-Day 1 of the St. Louis Occupy movement. At 11am we gathered downtown and marched to the Federal Reserve. News Channel 4-KMOV was there getting great footage of the hundreds that marched and protested. The group marched to Kiener Plaza, and based on a consensus vote-this would officially become home base. Tents were pitched, more signs were made, and TONS of food and supplies were donated to the cause. This would be the first night of camping overnight, making this an official occupation.
Our future.

Gathering for speeches.

PB&J Committee!

  • Sunday, October 2nd, 2011-Day 2 of the St. Louis Occupy movement. Campers woke up to Kaldi's coffee, and a small group discussed the day's itinerary. The first General Assembly was at 10:30. We decided that getting the word out was essential, so a few delegates took the MetroLink to UMSL to print out a few hundred flyers to hand out. Protesters held signs at 7th & Market Street, and new participants were given warm welcomes. We fed the homeless and they thanked us and helped us. In the early evening during General Assembly, it was decided to form sub-groups and committees to help organize all of the information we were sharing. I joined the Welcoming Team, and I was very impressed with how well our first meeting went.
  • Monday, October 3rd, 2011-Day 3 of OccupySTL! There were group marches, and TONS of new people. Kyle and I didn't arrive until 7pm, where there was a General Assembly discussing contingency plans in case there were police summons or threat of evictions. We had great lawyers show up at 10pm for a General Assembly to inform us of the possible consequences of continuing to occupy. At this assembly, we had 70+ people-which was comparatively larger than any other assembly that happened this late! I was happy to run into an old friend from high school, Nik, and one of my good friends Sara stopped by after her shift ended downtown.
9pm on day 3- still going strong!

Needless to say, it is obvious that our numbers are growing at an accelerated rate-and we're incredibly optimistic. At this point, I know most of the participants by first name, and have a good understanding of what projects each individual is working on. Every single person involved has a voice and a purpose, and they are welcomed with open arms.

Thank you for your support and reading my current thoughts and observations. More to come!

Much love,


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Welcome to the OccupySTL blog. Soon, this blog will have tons of information. Hopefully I will have information by this afternoon regarding progress from the weekend. Check back soon!