Occupy Supply command post tent at Occupy Rochester

Occupy Supply command post tent at Occupy Rochester

The FDL community has voted to award these five occupations with a command post tent from Occupy Supply for their outstanding community activism:

Occupation Nominated For
Occupy Wall Street (NYC) Occupied homes in foreclosure in East New York
Protested in solidarity with Tahrir protesters at the Egyptian Consulate
Organized Brooklyn Bridge protest on 2 month anniversary
Held solidarity March on Foley Square
Organized Labor Union solidarity march
Occupy Flint Have gone gone “door-to-door” to figure out when foreclosures are taking place and who is responsible.
Sat down with Mayor and educated him about NDAA
The only encampment left in Michigan. Held two large coat drives for homeless veterans and citizens in Flint.
Occupy Fairbanks Still holding down a 24/ tent encampment in -42 weather — and protesting in their underwear.
Occupy Philadelphia Has organized anti-curfew protests
“Foreclosed” on Well Fargo
Has performed various Occupy street theater
Set up “Occupy Vacant Lots” protest
Mic Checked the Philadelphia City Council
Occupy Atlanta Saved Iraq war veteran from being evicted
Stopped eviction of Pittman family
Saved an historic black church from being evicted

Because Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Philadelphia do not have encampments and cannot accept a tent per the terms of the contest, we are working with them to find homes for the tents at other nominated occupations and hope to announce the locations soon.

We are also awarding three media laptops to the top 3 vote recipients that could not accept tents.   Both Occupy Buffalo and Occupy Austin were raided last week.  We consulted closely with both groups and they decided that they needed some time to plan their next steps, and felt at this point they could make better use of the laptops. We didn’t want them to feel like they lost out because of the raids, and let them know that if they did decide to encamp once again, Occupy Supply would provide a tent for them.

The winners of the media laptops are:

Occupation Nominated For
Occupy Buffalo Peaceful Police Appreciation Day — fed carrots to their horses, shook their hands. A week ago a police officer dropped off a stack of the police union’s newsletters and told us they had printed copies of thank you cards from Occupy Buffalo in their paper.
Protested outside the offices of foreclosure mill attorney office, Steven J. Baum. Baum was responsible for over 40% of NY foreclosures. The firm is now closed.
Rallied outside of Bank of America to protest the unwillingness to offer loan re-modifications and their new $5/mo debit card fee. The branch office shut down for over an hour
Put on a free play open to the public, “Occupy Animal Farm,” along with Subversive Theater.
Marched in support of Buffalo firefighters
Marched on the headquarters of Chase Bank
Attended the 1/25 Buffalo School Board meeting to challenge the 30,000 student suspensions in a school district of 36,000 students. we had school children carrying handcuffs & book.
Questioned Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and County Executive Mark Poloncarz about wasteful uses of taxpayer money at the 1/9 Erie County Industrial Development Agency Meeting
Challenged the Erie County Executive about funneling business to a campaign contributor at the 12/19 Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board Meeting
Rallied against Erie County Executive Chris Collins for closing the Library down earlier to hold a library fundraiser (about $80,000… after cutting $4 million) 3 days before an election. Occupy Buffalo did not and does not endorse candidates
Conducted Teach-Ins and Justice Dialogs through the School of Everything
Provided coffee, info and entertainment to thousands who wait in line to sign up for the Home Energy Assistance Program which helps low income household heat their homes in the cold buffalo winter.
Marched in support of Scott Olsen
Occupy Austin Arrested CEOs of BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo and “CP Hood” and put them on trial.
Organized Free the NYE3 Rally
Austin Bank Action moved over $1.5 million from bailed-out banks to credit unions. Urging City of Austin to move their accounts from Bank of America. Staged over 50 protests and demonstrations to date.
Worked with members of Austin’s Eastside community to ensure parents were able to voice their opinions about a for-profit charter school
Escorted away by security from Barton Creek Mall on Black Friday, where they had a children’s band playing and were doing child-friendly events.
Helped community groups plant 600 trees to help reforest a local nature preserve.
Occupy Oakland Organized citywide General Strike
Organized a port blockade/shutdown
Held a “Rise Up” Festival with workshops, music, films, etc.
Participate in Occupy the Courts action

The 12 runners-up will receive a $100 credit for supplies at the Occupy Supply store: Occupy Portland, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Wisconsin, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Pittsburgh, Occupy Davis, Occupy DC (McPherson), Occupy DC (Freedom Plaza), Occupy Rochester, Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Berkeley.

Lt. Dan Choi (r) will deliver tents to winning occupations

Lt. Dan Choi (r) will deliver tents to winning occupations

Lt. Dan Choi will be hitting the road soon to deliver the tents and host tent raising celebrations courtesy of Occupy Supply. Many thanks to everyone who took part in nominating, voting for and promoting these actions. I know that the nearly 250 nominated actions from across the country were inspirational to me as they were to many people, and I hope that they will serve as an ongoing testament to the fact that Occupy is not dead.

There is one observation I did not want to make at the outset of the contest for fear of prejudicing the outcome. But if you look at the list of occupy actions that were nominated, the vast majority of them were taken either by occupations with encampments, or by occupations at a time when they had an encampment.

People often ask what the next iteration of the movement inspired by Occupy Wall Street will be. I don’t have an answer for that. But I think many are too quick to dismiss the importance of actually occupying a physical space, as if it was little more than an early phase that Occupy has outgrown.

There is a reason why so many government agencies are spending more time taking down the occupy encampments than they are breaking up crime rings (banking or otherwise): encampments are what make Occupy unique. They serve as a constant galvanizing symbol for activists of all sorts in the community. When the encampment stops, many occupations continue to do fine work, but nobody hears about it. They lose that constant public symbol of their commitment, and they become just another community organizing group — with all of the same shortcomings that limit the impact of their activism.

When the call comes in that an occupation has been raided, I always encourage them to maintain a 24/7 presence somewhere, no matter how small. Over the weekend I helped connect several of the raided occupations with Occupy Our Homes. These  occupiers are very determined to send a message that they are not going anywhere by putting up tents at properties where the owners are being evicted, at least as an interim measure while they plan their next steps.

The courage and determination of those who continue to maintain occupations after they have been raided is impressive. Occupy Atlanta came back even stronger after the raid on their encampment, and their foreclosure work continues to be a beacon of hope for the entire occupy movement. Every day we see occupy groups popping up in new cities around the world, as the movement works its way into the fabric of our global consciousness in a profound and transformational way.

It is our hope that those who come together to work toward a more just society under the banner of Occupy will be motivated and not discouraged by the ham-fisted authoritarianism on display over the course of the past week. There is a profound need for their moral clarity, their hope and their commitment in this climate of cynicism and economic despair, when so many are struggling to stay afloat and getting no help from the political opportunists who only exploit their suffering for personal gain.

On behalf of Occupy Supply, congratulations to the winners for their outstanding activism achievements. It is an honor to work with all of them, and we hope that this is just the beginning.

Occupy Supply provides support to occupations across the country. To date we have raised over $195,000, and 100% of all donations go to the purchase and distribution of supplies.  You can donate here.  For more information, email “members AT firedoglake DOT com.”