The use of the law to keep people from protesting and assembling did not start with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. In fact, for hundreds of years, since the birth of the United States, there has been a slow but steady effort to keep people from being able to lawfully protest and organize. During the occupy movement there were extensive discussions about democracy, freedom, economics, and our future. Somewhere behind it all, there was the issue of laws and what protesters can and cannot do. In the end it was the police armed with tear gas and legal ordinances who were able to clear people out of the public squares they had peacefully occupied. In this podcast we speak with attorney Joshua Dratel, the first civilian defense lawyer to have worked with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. His recent article “The Evaporation of American Political Dissent” talks about the long running degredation of the right to protest and assemble in the United States.
Madge Weinstein is an internet celebrity, a culinary pioneer, and an extremely irritable elderly lesbian. Beyond all that, she is an inspiration to several generations of children around the world. After surviving many tragedies, including 3 Bush presidential terms and the current socio-political disaster that has gripped the United States, this podcasting diva has moved her life to Paris where she is sharing her talents with the people of France who already hate her.
Occupy Amsterdam has just entered into its 3rd week. 3 weeks of building a community where people have come together and occupied a public space, where debates are an almost 24 hour phenomenon and cooperation is currency.
Over the first 7 days of occupyamsterdam I was there checking in with people and observing how things developed. During those days I observed meetings of the General Assembly, as well as work groups that are dedicated to different aspects of the movement. I observed teach-ins or education lectures. At the weekend I listened to and even participated in speeches and musical performances. By the beginning of week two it had become a fully functional camp where some people could live and anyone can and did stop by to participate or look around.
The following 4 interviews are taken from week 1, they were carried out with people I saw regularly participating and attending events. My goal in these conversations was not to do what the mainstream media does: asking people why they are here as if I don’t understand. Instead, my goal was to hear about the details of how the movement functions and how it deals with a dysfunctional press that is unlikely to communicate their message with much accuracy. Of course during these interviews opinions, experiences, and statements lead to a number of topics popping up beyond how occupyamsterdam functions. We also get into the feeling or spirit of occupy, the outside perception and challenge the group faces when it comes to being understood and heard, and of course the lesser known facts about how the banking system has impacted the very core of how nations function and how people live.
Lastly you’ll hear from legendary musician and activist Michael Franti.. as he walked right by me and climbed on stage to give a surprise performance and words of support for the occupy movement.
Occupy Amsterdam is officially one week old. Occupy Wall Street is now over a month old. Around the world masses of people occupy their public spaces to discuss and demand big changes in how governments and business have been conducting themselves for the last few…