Bank’s leaked email admits ‘Occupy’ movement ‘could impact our industry’

A national effort to reclaim vacant properties has one of the country’s largest lenders scrambling.

The financial website Zero Hedge has allegedly obtained a memo from Bank of America’s field services operation warning, “We need to make sure we are all prepared.”

Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told that an action known as “Occupy Our Homes” would place foreclosed and homeless families in otherwise-vacant homes. That effort began Tuesday with over 40 events in more than 20 cities.

“On Tuesday December 6th there is a potential nationwide protest planned that could impact our industry,” BofA employee Leonard Pavlov reportedly wrote to BAC Field Services. “We believe the protests will likely take place tomorrow at auction sites, homes that are being foreclosed, homes in the eviction stage and vacant homes.”

Among other things, the memo claims Pavlov called on field services not to engage with protesters, but to ensure that BofA properties are “secured.”

But it will probably take more than a few vigilant bank employees to deter the 99 percent movement.

“When it comes to Wall Street’s control over our economy, our democracy and our lives, there’s few better examples than the housing crisis,” Barry said Tuesday. “Occupy Wall Street is going to continue to support this national Occupy Our Homes campaign, and both defend homeowners who are being threatened with eviction due to foreclosure, and to move families that need homes into vacant buildings that banks are just sitting on.”

Read the entire BofA memo (link).

Bank of America has confirmed the authenticity of the memo.

“As a matter of normal course of business, when we are alerted to activities that may affect our real estate owned properties, we inform our third party contractors,” spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens told Raw Story. “This is standard operating procedure. The safety of our associates and third party contractors is our first priority. It is the bank’s policy to protect and secure our properties for the investors who own them. Bank of America is committed to helping our customers with home retention solutions and other foreclosure avoidance programs. Foreclosure is always our last resort…”

Republished from Rawstory

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London, 30 of November General Strike

EN: One of the largest anti-austerity strikes of the last three decades took place yesterday in Britain, where nearly 2,5 million workers of the public sector participated (along with 200,000 workers in Northern Ireland and 300,000 in Scotland).  The strike affected mainly schools, hospitals, courts airports and transports. It was the largest mobilization since the 1980 when the then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher attempted to impose a broad privatization program.

In England 60% of schools remained closed, in Wales the proportion reached the 80%, in Northern Ireland the 50%, while in Scotland only 33 out of 2,700 schools were operating. Around 6,000 of the 33,000 planned surgeries cancelled 6,000 and tens of thousands of medical appointments.

In City of London there has been a banner drop in Liverpool street station stating «All power to the 99%», accompanied by a band and the Electricians have started picketing their work places. Minor clashes broke out between police and members of the movement «Occupy London» who entered the headquarters of the multinational company Xstrata. The police arrested 21 activists around Trafalgar Square.

So far, more than 34 actions have been recorder only in London (link) while Nationwide more than 438 have been listed. Massive was the demo from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Victoria Embankment Organised by UNISON, UCU, ATL. (Below pictures and videos)

EL: Μια από τις μεγαλύτερες απεργιακές κινητοποιήσεις των τελευταίων τριών δεκαετιών πραγματοποιήθηκε χθες στη Βρετανία, όπου περίπου 2,5 εκατομμύρια εργαζόμενοι του δημόσιου τομέα συμμετείχαν (μαζί με 200.000 εργαζόμενους στη Βόρεια Ιρλανδία και 300.000 στη Σκωτία). Η απεργία επηρέασε κυρίως σχολεία, νοσοκομεία, δικαστήρια, αεροδρόμια και τις μεταφορές. Ήταν η μεγαλύτερη κινητοποίηση από το 1980, όταν η Μάργκαρετ Θάτσερ επιχείρησε να επιβάλει σκληρά προγράμματα ιδιωτικοποιήσεων.

Στην Αγγλία το 60% των σχολείων παρέμειναν κλειστά, στην Ουαλία το ποσοστό αυτό έφθασε το 80% στη Βόρεια Ιρλανδία το 50%, ενώ στη Σκωτία εργαζόταν μόνο 33 από 2.700 σχολεία συμμετείχαν. Περίπου 6.000 από τις 33.000 προγραμματισμένες χειρουργικές επεμβάσεις ακυρώθηκαν μαζί με δεκάδες χιλιάδες ιατρικά ραντεβού.

Στο Λονδίνο, στο σταθμό της Liverpool Street ανέβηκε πανό που έγραφε: «Όλη η εξουσία στα 99%»», συνοδεύόμενο από μια μπάντα. Οι ηλεκτρολόγοι ανέλαβαν δράση στους χώρους εργασίας τους. Βίαια επεισόδια μικρής, βέβαια, έκτασης ξέσπασαν μεταξύ της αστυνομίας και μέλη του κινήματος «Occupy London» που επιχείρησαν να καταλάβουν έδρα της πολυεθνικής εταιρείας Xstrata. Η αστυνομία συνέλαβε 21 ακτιβιστές γύρω από την πλατεία Τραφάλγκαρ.

Μέχρι στιγμής, περισσότερες από 34 δράσεις έχουν καταγραφεί μόνο στο Λονδίνο (link), ενώ πάνω από 438 σε ολόκληρη τη χώρα… Μαζική ήταν η πορεία από το Lincoln’s Inn Fields μέχρι το Embankment, τη διοργάνωση των οποίων ανέλαβαν τα συνδικάτα UNISON, UCU, ATL. (Ακολουθούν εικόνες και βίντεο)

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The Egyptian masses rise up again to complete their revolution!

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian people are fighting all over Egypt, against the repressive apparatus of the military junta. This is a genuine rebellion of the bulk of the oppressed, and not a clash between the Islamists and the army, as portrayed by some mainstream media. managed to talk to an anarchist-communist from Egypt, Yasser Abdullah, member of the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement, who gave us his testimony of the complex struggle ahead, and the potential for a complete revolution of the masses.

Since the fall of Mubarak in February, Egypt has been run by a military junta – the SCAF – which has left the basic structures of the dictatorship untouched. Protests and strikes have been met with extraordinary violence, unions have faced draconian laws to make any action impossible, torture has been widely practised, and there has been selective repression against revolutionary militants in the social movements. 12,000 people have faced military courts during this counter-revolutionary crackdown against the living forces and demands that mobilised the Egyptian people on the 25th January unfinished revolution. All of this is happening while they have been stimulating sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims, in order to divert attention from the real problems of the Egyptian people. On Friday, the masses took over Tahrir again, demanding that the SCAF step down, in the middle of exceptional measures being decreed to reinforce its powers. The whole political spectrum, but significantly the Muslim Brothers (who have been very quiet since they have a number of secret agreements with the SCAF), came out that day because elections are programmed for November 28th, and they fear that whatever the result, the real power will be hijacked by «Field Marshal» Tantawi, head of the SCAF. The SCAF, indeed, has passed a decree, giving the military a veto over the Constitution, to be drafted by the new parliament due to be elected in a week.

This Friday’s protest got all the international media talking about clashes between the Muslim Brothers and the SCAF. But the actual clashes started on Saturday, when a group of 200 diehard Tahrir revolutionaries were brutally attacked by the police. That was the spark that ignited these protests that have seen hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, take over the streets again. These current clashes have nothing to do with political Islam, which again – as on 25th January – has not been a main actor in the protest. This is a protest led by the same people that led the January revolution, who now realize the real counter-revolutionary nature of the army, poorly disguised in a «nationalist» aura.

At this very minute, there is street fighting in all of the major cities of Egypt, particularly in Cairo, Port Said, Alexandria, and Suez. In Southern Egypt there are numerous demonstrations, and clashes with the repressive apparatus of the SCAF have also been reported. Police stations have been attacked, and barricades have been built on most important roads and streets. The repression has been fierce: at least 6 people have died so far, and over 1,000 have been seriously injured by the military and the hated Central Security Forces, the backbone of Mubarak’s repressive forces. Protesters at Tahrir were evicted some hours ago with gruesome force, with the use of armoured vehicles, suffocating gas (kindly provided to the SCAF by Obama), and rounds of rubber bullets and live ammunition – in scenes reminiscent of the Maspero Street massacre in October (link). At this minute (11.30 pm), the protesters have managed to recover Tahrir once again for the people and for the revolution. The rallying cry of the people is «down with the SCAF, down with Tantawi».

At 12pm we had the chance to talk with comrade Yasser Abdullah from the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement, who explained to us what is happening in Cairo. His first-hand testimony of the events in Cairo is living proof that the revolutionary spirit is alive and well, and that the coming days will be crucial for the Arab revolts. All forms of solidarity are needed for our libertarian comrades moving forward with the Egyptian people towards liberation.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D. (20th November 2011)

1. What has been happening in Tahrir Square over the last couple of days? Who is protesting and what is the cause of the struggle?

A few days before Friday (18th November), a number of relatives of victims and martyrs of the Revolution, started a sit-in in Tahrir demanding their rights. For ten months now, since Mubarak stepped down, none of those accused of killing and shooting people during the uprising have been sent to jail. Also, last July, the SCAF (ie., the military junta) created a fund of 200 million Egyptian Pounds (about €25 million), called «the Fund for the Revolution’s Casualties and Martyrs» in order to compensate them and their families, but this was nothing but propaganda: the SCAF and Sharaf’s Government gave some of the victims jobs as garbage collectors, literally speaking, so the victims felt humiliated, that insult had been added to injury, so they started a sit-in for a respectable solution. On Friday, a «Million People» march was also planned, calling for an end to military rule and the interim civil authority before April 2012. After the march, the sit-in continued, and another march broke, called by the Islamist parties – who are against the sit-in and are trying to do their best in order to win the next elections, scheduled for November 28th.

So the sit-in was left alone with just a few dozen people; on Saturday 19th, at 11.00 am the Central Security Forces (CS, civil police) started an attack on the sit-in. There were around 200 protesters, who fought back against the CS. After that, the CS started to use tear gas and drove their armoured car into the protestors, running some over. Then some other protesters joined them to defend Tahrir square, and that’s how it all began. The CS attacked Tahrir, we fought them back, they took Tahrir for only half an hour, then we reclaimed it back and are occupying it – now, November 20th at 12.00 pm, there are ongoing clashes between protesters against both CS forces and Military police disguised as civil police.

2. The Muslim Brothers until recently had been allied with the transition authorities… Why are they now clashing with the police as reported by the international media?

After the referendum for the Constitutional Amendment on March 19th, the Muslim Brotherhood and all other Islamist forces, mainly the Salafis, allied themselves with the SCAF. On March 20th, a Salafi sheikh stated that the ballot box said «yes to Islam»… They did not see the referendum as being merely about amendments, but actually about Islam, whose spirit they saw reflected in people’s opinions as they voted. They claimed that most voters were for them because they represented Islam, and acted as if it were a referendum on them. From March onwards, the Islamists stood against any direct action against the SCAF, as they thought they would get into power at the next elections, so they had to compromise with the military junta… But now they feel that the SCAF has bluffed them, using their influence only to consolidate their own power. Actually, the junta and the Islamists are quarrelling brothers, they can shout in each other’s faces but they will not really fight. The ongoing clashes have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist party, or even any other party whatever its denomination. The majority of parties now are aiming at parliament not at revolution. Only one leftist coalition has announced they’re thinking of boycotting the next elections – all the other parties are putting all of their main attention on the next elections and they have not joined the Tahrir occupation. Only the main revolutionary forces and the unorganised youth who are ready to fight back for their rights are in Tahrir now, in defence of the revolution. The political parties are all looking for compromise with the junta, trying to win the next elections, to take power by an agreement with the SCAF… So to say that the ongoing clashes are by the Muslim Brotherhood or any other organised political force is nothing more than a big lie circulated by the mainstream media.

3. Is there any potential for the popular movement in these protests? Do you think the military will consolidate its power or that there will be a renewed revolutionary wave?

The potential for the popular movement now is very high… On November 19th I felt as if we had been taken back to January 25th. The main chants now are «Down with military rule» and «People demand the removal of the regime». There have also been clashes in Alexandria and Suez. The casualties up to now (12 pm) are 1 dead in Cairo and 2 dead in Alexandria… Today there are plans for a day of action against the SCAF all over Egypt. This action is not being planned by any of the political parties, a positive thing, for after ten months of revolution the people now realize that their power lies in a leaderless, collective movement. They’re realising now that all the political parties are traitors, trying only to gain seats in parliament. I don’t think the junta can consolidate its power… They’re now in big trouble. On the one hand, their allies are demanding that they transfer their authority after the elections, and on the other hand, the protesters are in revolt on the streets, seeking to continue the revolution. I think the next few days will be a witness to all forms of action against the SCAF.


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17N: the global revolutionary wave of 2011 thunders on

by Jérôme E. Roos on November 18, 2011 via Roarmag

Right when the media were declaring the movement to be in decline, a massive global day of action radically reversed the expectations of the skeptics.

Imagine you had been asleep for the past year or so, and you suddenly woke up and tuned into today’s news: clashes in Rome and Milan, mass demonstrations in Athens, an uprising in Damascus, sit-ins in San Francisco, arrests in Madrid, huge protests in Chile, an enormous rally in New York, a worldwide student strike, and so on. Depending on whether you’re a career politician or an unemployed revolutionary, you’d either shit your pants in agony or jump through the roof in joy.

Having been attentively following and covering this movement from the very first day of the Egyptian Revolution — with an article entitled “The Global Revolutionary Wave of 2011?” — we have always hammered on the idea that this whole thing would spread, go global, and keep growing exponentially. But even I, the hopelessly naive romantic — obsessed as I was throughout my youth with 1789, 1848, 1917 and 1968 — had never expected to live through anything like this. Witnessing what 2011 has bloomed into just leaves me speechless.

This movement has had many key dates, all of which acquired special symbolic significance for those who were involved in organizing and rallying around them: January 14, the day the Tunisian Revolution toppled Ben Ali; January 25, the day that marked the beginning of the ongoing Egyptian Revolution; May 15, the start of the indignados movement in Spain; June 21-22, the 48-hour strike and brutal police crackdown on anti-austerity protesters in Athens; July 14, the start of the largest protest movement in Israeli history; August 24-25, the general strike and largest protests in Chile since the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship; September 17, the occupation of Wall Street and global anti-banks day; October 15, a global day of action and the spread of occupations around the world.

To that list, we can now add November 17: the day of the commemoration of the Polytechnic Uprising in Greece; the re-occupation of Wall Street by tens of thousands of protesters; the violent clashes in Rome, Milan and Turin following the installation of a non-democratic government in Italy; the mass student protests and worldwide university strike for International Student Day; and the global day of action in solidarity with the evictions in the US and in celebration of the 2-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. It was a day packed with action. Let’s break it down.

Greece Commemorates Polytechnic Uprising

In Athens, police fired tear gas and over 70 people were detained as tens of thousands marched through the city to commemorate the start of the Polytechnic uprising of November 17, 1973, which eventually toppled the US-backed military junta the year after. Today, 38 years later, many in Greece feel they are once again faced with a form of dictatorship — this time under the aegis of the markets. As Occupied London wrote, “then with tanks, now with banks.”

“We have an economic and political junta,” said Marita, a student at the Polytechnic, referring to last week’s installment of a so-called “technocratic” coalition government composed of Neoliberal economists and self-declared neo-fascists. The coalition, headed by Lucas Papademos, a former Vice-President of the European Central Bank, will be responsible for enacting the most severe budget cuts so far and the largest privatization drive in Western history.

As is custom on 17N, the demonstrators marched on the US Embassy to protest against the dark role played by the United States in supporting and propping up the brutal military dictatorship. At the Embassy, violent clashes broke out with police, leaving at least one person severely injured and with two broken legs after falling down from a ledge while being chased by riot police.

Occupy Wall Street Fights Back!

Thought the Occupy movement was dying out? Think again. Two months after the start of Occupy Wall Street and following the violent eviction of the New York encampment on Tuesday, tens of thousands today re-occupied Zuccotti Park, shut down the Big Apple, and entirely blocked off all entrances to the New York Stock Exchange for a while. Afterwards, they marched on Union Square, Foley Square and Brooklyn Bridge in one of the largest rallies in the US so far.

Once again, the NYPD tried desperately to retain at least the illusion of control over the situation. The New York Times already reports over 200 arrests for today, with one protester seen leaving the scene with blood pouring from his face, and reports of attacks on photographers and peaceful protesters. None of this could stop Lower Manhattan from grinding to a near-complete halt, with protesters blocking off roads and occupying dozens of subway stations throughout the city .

Meanwhile, thousands of students from the occupation at the City University of New York blocked traffic as they marched to the streets on their way to the New School. Police tried to set up barricades but failed to stem the unstoppable flow of popular outrage from flooding into the streets. Labor unions were mobilized, too, and all marches eventually converged on Brooklyn Bridge — right where the NYPD pointlessly arrested 700+ protesters in October.

Students Strikes and Protests Across the World

While the actions in New York were the most headline-grabbing, similar rallies and occupations took place throughout the United States — and, indeed, throughout the world — as people everywhere expressed their solidarity with the evicted Wall Street occupiers and celebrated the 2-month anniversary of the Occupy movement. Rallies took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland, Washington, Denver, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, St Louis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Chicago, Boston, Vancouver, Toronto and countless other cities throughout the US and Canada.

In Spain, students started a one-week general strike and took to the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Palma, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, Murcia, Valencia, Castello, Alicante and Zaragoza. In Italy, clashes broke out in Milan as students tried to occupy Bocconi University, which is headed by Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti, in protest against the bankers’ government he heads. Thousands marched in Rome, Turin and Palermo, followed by more violent clashes with police.

Meanwhile, the epic saga of the Chilean student uprising continued with another day of protests in the city of Valparaiso. Once more, the students were faced with brutal police repression as water cannons and tear gas rained down them as they rallied in front of Congress. Remarkably, the students were joined by an astonishing 2,500 professors who arrived from all over the country in a 55-bus caravan.

In Paris, police broke up the occupation of the Defense business district. In Germany, student strikes, occupations, flash mobs and rallies took place in over a dozen cities, confirming the fact that the movement has even managed to penetrate into the bastion of European capitalism — one of the few eurozone members that has managed to stay on its financial feet throughout this crisis (at the expense of brutal austerity measures imposed on its neighbors).

Just witnessing all of this unfold in its beautifully chaotic cacophony, it is undeniable that something incredibly historic is afoot. Not only has the movement gone global in an unprecedented kind of way, it also appears to be picking up steam right at a time when critics and skeptics were starting to declare its slow demise. Far from fading out, the global revolutionary wave of 2011 just keeps thundering forward — and we’re still riding its crest. In fact, we’re only just getting started!

Added by In Ireland, over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin yesterday against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) but also the Free Education for Everyone was also included. (Find our more on Workers Solidarity Movement)

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Solidarity to Occupy Oakland, from Greece

Below is our solidarity message to Occupy Oakland:

Brothers and sisters in Oakland,

We, from the small country of Greece, would like to express our solidarity to your struggle. We are all in this together, all over the world, for real democracy and dignity, for an egalitarian society!

The way the current political system works, every human value is absorbed by money – the only dominant value that kills our desire for true happiness. Values such as democracy and egalitarianism are fading away day by day, gradually, in a society that produces humans – machines, humans who attempt to disguise their lack of any meaning for their existence by consuming. Even people who live in absolute poverty, identify the probability of (over)consumption, with “success” and personal fulfilment.

Our future is in the hands of an oligarchy. Therefore we demand real democracy, which, to our mind, means equal participation in political power for all citizens. It is time to overcome the inefficient parliamentary institutions, it is time to strengthen our role in society, to understand our power, that together we can find solutions and answers to problems that concern us, rather than a parliamentary group that works for the sake of the elites.

We believe:
• In a society where equality, solidarity and human creativity will be the main objectives of the operation of its institutions.
• In a society where citizens can participate not only in the execution of the decisions, but also in the making and taking of them. We assert, therefore, equality and egalitarianism for all people of this planet, and participation in information and political dialogue.
• In a society without violence and exploitation, without wars and repression, a peaceful society of freedom and creativity.
• This society is not a promise, not a necessity, neither a “sacred duty”. It stems from our desire for a different understanding of things, and the rejection of everyday barbarism that we all experience. We simply do not wish concepts such as democracy and freedom to become forgotten entries in encyclopedic books and dictionaries.

No to restructuring of any debt. Restructuring of our lives above all. It is time to take the squares of the world and win back our freedom.

Nothing is possible without us…
We are ourselves, we are you, we are all …
Together we can!

From Athens, to Oakland and all over the world, unite the fights!

Below is the proposal passed by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, 2011 in reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza. 1607 people voted. 1484 voted in favor of the resolution, 77 abstained and 46 voted against it, passing the proposal at 96.9%. The General Assembly operates on a modified consensus process that passes proposals with 90% in favor and with abstaining votes removed from the final count.

We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

On October 31st, a press conference was held in Latham Square, at the intersection of Telegraph & Broadway, the epicenter of the Oakland General Strike of 1946.

Video of Occupy Oakland’s General Strike Approval by the GA

Michael Moore speak in Occupy Oakland

Some posters from Occupy Oakland

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