Category: Uncategorized

Research by and for Occupy Activists Challenges Received Wisdom about the Movement, Urges Alliance with Poor Peoples Movements

Months after the NYPD eviction from Zuccotti Park, NY Occupy activists conducted over 120 political projects allying hundreds of organizations – even as media coverage of the movement declined.

NY Movement Most Often Sought to Expand Public Communication, But Low and Middle Income Allies More Often Fought For Basic Rights and Subsistence

A new study released today (http://bit.ly/1futsoY) by and for Occupy activists finds the movement built alliances among newly politically active people and hundreds of diverse organizations in the New York area alone in the first half of 2012. The findings challenge common media narratives that Occupy simply ‘faded away’ after the Nov. 2011 raids at ZuccottiPark and that the movement primarily involved affluent whites.

“The movement was more far reaching than previously documented or as suggested by declining levels of press coverage in 2012,” said James Owens, the study author. The study found Occupy organizing in NYC enabled a pluralistic network of alliances connecting over 200 non-profits, emerging grassroots groups, religious organizations, and incorporated businesses with over 120 Occupy groups. Occupy united allies across social divisions based in identity, professional and non-professional status, and racial and economic background. “The NYC Occupy movement connected people taking political action for the first time to a highly diverse network bridging divides reinforced by ruling elites,” said Owens.

The purposes advanced by NYC Occupy projects also contradict common characterizations that the movement was mostly engaged in prefigurative politics, that is, creating alternative systems of government and distribution. The study found 5 times as many projects sought to reform existing systems than to create alternate systems and less than 2% of projects sought to create or revive deliberative assemblies such as the New York City General Assembly.

The most common purpose pursued by Occupy projects in the sample was to create new means for public political communication. About 43% of projects sought to expand public political communication, with most advancing face-to-face rather than print or online interaction. Occupy activists may have given higher priority to public political communication than issue campaigns or even mass protests, the next most common purposes pursued by 36% of projects.

According to the study, competition over movement purposes may have developed along lines of established social privilege/exclusion. According to the report, “Projects seeking to create spaces of communication and wage issue campaigns for healthcare and financial reform tended to emerge from alliances of wealthier, whiter, professional identified partners.” In contrast, partners from communities of color and low-income struggled for human rights, subsistence issues, and against foreclosures. Mass protests, the study reports, may have emerged from alliances of white, mixed, and non-white low and middle income communities but with little participation from upper-income or professional partners.

The study recommends Occupy activists should rally behind poor people’s struggles against the common opponents of the poor and the relatively affluent: banks, corporations, corrupt officials, oppressive police systems, and the 1%. “If recognized through poverty and mass incarceration, the injustice of the ruling order demands more than a fight for improved financial regulation,” said Owens.

The study itself fulfills a long term goal of The NYC Occupy Project List, a publication (and ancestor of OccupyNetwork) that gathered and shared information to help people participate in and shape the actions of the movement in 2012. The NYC Occupy Project List produced the data used in this study and enjoyed the support and authorization of the OWS TechOps and InfoHub working groups.

For more information contact: projects@occupywallstreet.net

Past issues of The NYC Occupy Project List are available here:
Issue 1, Issue 2Issue 3

 

NewsDiffs Reveals NY Times Changes Story of Police Shooting to Favor NYPD

Early in the morning last Thursday in Queens NY, Noel Polanco, an unarmed 22-year-old National Guardsman, was shot and killed in his car by an NYPD detective. Friday morning, The New York Times ran a story about this incident in their NY / Region section with the headline “Grief and Anger After Noel Polanco Is Fatally Shot by Police”. That article however, depicting the shooting, and outrage of Polanco’s family and friends, can no longer be found on the Times’ site since it has been replaced by another article depicting the NYPD officer who killed Noel Polanco as a hero, and providing few details on the community’s reaction to the shooting.

In the past there has been no easy way to track changes to online news, but a new site called NewsDiffs.org (launched in June 2012 at a Knight Mozilla MIT Hackathon) can reveal how a new story can undergo substantial revisions in the hours after first being published. The site was inspired partially by how the NY Times changed its coverage of the mass arrest of Occupy Protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011. The site uses a text-comparison algorithm known as “diffing” to show changes in a story. Most changes are minor edits like spelling and grammar corrections, but occationally a story will be completely rewritten hours after it is initially posted. The Times’ story on the Noel Polanco shooting is an example of the latter.

As the story’s home page on newsdiffs shows, the original article was posted around 10:30 AM on Friday with the headline “Grief and Anger After Noel Polanco Is Fatally Shot by Police”. It opened with a depiction of Polanco’s grieving mother and then a detailed narrative of the circumstances of the shooting.

Standing on a sidewalk in Queens, Cecilia Reyes, struggled to get the words out. She pressed the palm of her hand to her mouth in an attempt to mute her sobs. She used her other hand to wipe her tears.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just lost my son.”

For the relatives and friends who encircled her at 1:30 a.m. on Friday – less than 24 hours after a police detective shot and killed her son, Noel Polanco, during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens – her grief needed no explanation.

The story remained unchanged for the day, save for a minor spelling correction made around 11:30 AM.

Then, NewsDiffs shows that by 8:51 PM that Friday the article was almost completely rewritten. The headline was changed to take the focus off of Noel Polanco and the shooting and instead was made to be about Detective Hassan Hamdy, the “hero” officer who shot Noel Polanco, and now read:
“Portrait of Detective in Fatal Shooting: Hero, but Subject of Suits”. The article now opened with several paragraph’s about Hamdy’s record and his own chronology of events on the night of the shooting. Polanco’s shooting is not mentioned until the 13th paragraph – the 2nd page of the online version of the article. Most of the quotes from Polanco’s mother, Cecilia Reyes, were cut, and quotes from her neighbors and friends about police violence against unarmed civilians and holding the police accountable were completely edited out.

Finally at 10:28 PM on Friday, a final round of edits was made to the article, further supporting the police and downplaying Detective Hamdy’s history of abuse. The phrase “Target of Suits” in the title changed to “Subject of Suits”. A quotation was added from the NYPD claiming that Hamdy’s role in the incidents that led to civil-rights suits being brought against him was “minor” and the suits were not indicative of wrongdoing on his part. A paragraph about his 1992 service in the US Marine Corps was added before the article shifts focus to the family of the man he killed on Friday. Several paragraphs were added towards the end of the article casting aspersions on the witness’ depiction of events:

Edward Mullins, the president of the Seargents Benevolent Association, said he did not believe that road rage played a role in the shooting. “Do you know the level of stress and training that’s involved with this unit?” Mr. Mullins said. “And for officers to lose it over a road-rage incident? That doesn’t make sense. These are not rookie cops. These are experienced, veteran police officers who are used to being under heavy, stressful situations.”

Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the union that represents Detective Hamdy and other detectives, characterized the bartender’s version of events as “absurd.”

“No police officer would shoot a person who has both hands on the steering wheel,” Mr. Palladino said Friday night. “We have gone done this road before so I ask the public to withhold their judgment until the investigation is complete.”

The article has remained unchanged since then, although the article’s URL still contains the original title. Posting the article to Facebook will also reveal the original title and summary, since Facebook stores content in a cache which is rarely updated. Times on NewsDiffs’ may not be the actual time article content was changed since articles are only checked periodically. There may have been other states for this article which were not recorded by NewsDiffs. For example, one of the article’s authors has a Twitter post from 12:43 PM on Friday showing the title “Portrait of Detective in Fatal Shooting of Noel Polanco” which is already substantially different from the original “Grief and Anger” title, but still mentioning Noel Polanco by name and not referring to Detective Hamdy as a “hero”.

Once a story on the web is posted, its URL almost never changes, so checking the URL, such as http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/06/nyregion/grief-and-anger-after-noel-polanco-is-fatally-shot-by-police.html for discrepancies between its content and the title of the story is a good indicator of articles that have been substantially altered since they were first posted.

NewsDiffs.org is not affiliated with Occupy Tech – but we do want to bring attention to this important and under-utilized tool.

Tech Training Tomfoolery!

I want YOU to kick ass. Become a superhero today!

Hello, Occupy Tech Ops Volunteers!

Join us for Occupy Tech Ops Training in WordPress & S17NYC.org

Facebook

Thursday, August 23rd 2012   6PM

Located at 33 Flatbush Ave. in Downtown Brooklyn near Nevins subway stop

If this is your first Occupy event, please introduce yourself by email before
attending the meeting.  (tech@nycga.net)

Also feel free bring food and/or beverages! (snacks, beer, etc.)

Organized by members of Tech Ops, Occupy Wall St.

Facebook

A Freelance Workers Statement of Solidarity

(or, a consultant’s boycott of unethical clients)

Many of us in tech work day jobs as freelancers and those working conditions are toxic and exploitative, and often for clients who do not share our values.
The Freelance Worker’s Statement of Solidarity is a statement that we will no longer stand for the status quo in our industry.  We are not mercenaries and we will not work for unethical clients. We will hold accountable the people who wish to hire us to a higher standard than profit and expediency.

OWS Project List Seeks Research Partners

The OWS Project List is moving forward with research analyzing the relationships our projects build with NYC area communities. Do we often collaborate on projects with allies from low-income or communities of color? Do we often build projects with NGOs or businesses? Which projects are the most helpful for connecting our movements across the New York area?

The OWS Project List can shed light on these questions through analyzing data shared by movement activists. Now we seek activists to participate in analyzing that data. We are looking for folks interested in helping us code data on Occupy partnerships and create social network maps that we will share with the movement.

We especially need folks who can help us code neighborhoods using 2010 census data. Please send me a message for more info. Or email: projects@occupywallstreet.net

The OWS Project List (http://wiki.occupy.net/wiki/Project_List_Project) exists to collect, produce, and share knowledge about Occupy projects in the NYC area. We promote projects, contact information, and partnership information through our monthly periodical: http://tech.nycga.net/files/2012/04/Occupy-Wall-Street-Project-List-Issue-2-FINAL.pdf

We are now engaging participatory analysis of data on those projects. We will share our findings with the movement to help broaden awareness about the network of alliances we are building. We hope this will help us assess what we are doing, make choices, and build a more inclusive — and larger — movement.

 

 

Occupy Wall Street Project List, Issue 2, April-May, PDF online now!

Issue #2 of The Occupy Wall Street Project List, covering April-May, is due to hit the street on Wed. 4/11/2012, but you can access it right here, right now: http://tech.nycga.net/files/2012/04/Occupy-Wall-Street-Project-List-Issue-2-FINAL.pdf

The OWS Project List is fully funded through small contributions. Please show your support for movement based media today!: https://www.wepay.com/donations/91581

OWS Project List Meeting: Brainstorm the shape of issue #2!

OPEN CALL FOR PRODUCTION MEETING:

Let’s have a meeting and brainstorm the shape of issue #2! Let’s set a time through the Doodle link below. The meeting will either be at the Atrium or Union Square park depending on what crazy stuff happens in the next day or two.

We are planning on Friday 4/6 as the date we start distributing issue #2. We’ve got until Monday, 4/2 to get the publication ready to print. Let’s meet up!!!

We have gotten great response and interest from activists and the general public. Looks like Project List is turning into an important map to our activities. We may even do a second run on the first issue for Occupy Town Square!

There are exciting developments afoot and opportunities to co-create the shape of issue #2.  Please come to the meeting and co-create this important communication channel!

Our agenda so far (reply to this thread to add to agenda):

Outreach for submissions — connect with other occupations and working groups

Outreach for fundraising – help connect with bloggers and big twitter users, help shape social media strategy

Edit content – we need folks with writing and proofing skills to make the print edition clear and compelling!

Print Design – a great chance for an artistic designer to add their touch to create a cool new layout to the periodical

Printing and distribution – work with OccuCopy and strategize with canvassers to move 10,000 copies across NYC using guerilla tactics!

Web development – we are using CIVI and Drupal with tech ops folks to create the web version of the list and to finish the new input form.

Here’s the doodle to set the time:

http://www.doodle.com/c8iqzfzwxm4q3dp9

SUBMISSION DEADLINE Occupy Wall Street Project List issue 2: Friday, 3/30 6pm

Please FORWARD

DEADLINE to include your project information in issue #2 of The Occupy Wall Street Project List: Friday, March 30 at 6pm

Submit your project through our online submission form: http://bit.ly/A9pjy5

Make sure you don’t miss out on getting your Project/Group promoted in this periodical!  We are already distributing issue #1 at the new info table in Union Square. Submit your project now and connect with the great people we are meeting through the Union Square action.

We will print and distribute 10,000 copies of issue #2 throughout the NY metro area.

Anyone organizing on a project with OWS allies or Working Groups should please fill out this form:http://bit.ly/A9pjy5

Please only submit projects you are ACTIVELY working on. We cannot accept proposals to start projects.

 If you have questions or need help with the form please contact:

OccupyProjects@gmail.com or call James at 646-481-3038

If you have limited Internet access please call and we will work with you to submit your project over the phone.

Show your support for independent media: Make a contribution! Help us pay our printing costs! Become one of our publishers: <a herf=”https://www.wepay.com/donations/91581″>www.wepay.com/donations/91581</a>

Knowledge is power. Shared knowledge is collective power.