Tuesday, December 4, 2012


 The Hobo Dispatch video component, known as Videos Sin Fronteras, was busy in November making two short videos. The first was made in Ciudad Juárez, site of some of Mexico's worst drug war related violence over the past five years, but also having a rich history and many interesting places to visit. One place I've frequented for the past twenty years is a restaurant called La Nueva Central which is now slated to be demolished for an urban redevelopment project. A large section of the city's historic district has already been demolished but a campaign is underway to save La Nueva Central and other sites. The video displays Juárez's rich culture, music, aztec dancing,  and the warmth of Mexico's people.

The Last Cup of Coffee? The Struggle To Save La Nueva Central and Juárez's Historic District.

The second video was made on Black Friday (Walmart actually opened on Thanksgiving eve for the first time this year), one of the biggest sales day of the year for corporate America, but also a day of protests and walkouts by the community and Walmart workers. This video was made in Tucson, AZ where an action was held in solidarity with Walmart workers. The action was organized by the Tucson chapter of Jobs With Justice and Occupy Tucson.

                                   Black Friday at a Tucson Walmart

Thank you to all of our allies and supporters who stood with workers to make the Black Friday Walmart strike a huge success!

      Overall Black Friday was a successful day of action against the world's largest private employer with over 2 million employees in 15 countries.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

SCOOP! A US Tourist Braves Mexico; Drones To Bomb Mexico; Endorsement: Mary MacEwan/Amy Goodman for President

 Mary and Amy!

The Hobo Dispatch endorses the Mary MacEwan/Amy Goodman ticket for president. So write in your vote on the November ballot so drones will only be used in the future to drop lollipops and pencils for the world's children. Cuban dentists are already on the ground in most countries to compensate for increased cavities.

Listen to our exclusive interview with Mary MacEwan in Tucson, AZ.  Mary doesn't mention running for president but she did speak about what often happens to presidents who fight for the poor in history--they get assassinated or imprisoned. Mary has long been involved with the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and she discusses her ideas for achieving world peace and inspiration from Nelson Mandela and Buddha. Mary had a tray of coffee and cookies waiting for us. We look forward to interviewing her on a regular basis!

Other Insights on the Upcoming Election

Recently writer Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple) was interviewed by Amy Goodman (link to full interview at end). During the interview, Walker read her poem "Democratic Womanism".

AMY GOODMAN: What are your thoughts about President Obama today?

ALICE WALKER: Well, you know, I continue to care for President Obama and his family. I think that in many ways they are very courageous people, and I honor that, because I know what it means to live as a black person in a racist America. But I cannot feel good about drone strikes. I cannot feel good about bombing people. I don't--I just don't believe in war. I think it's stupid.  And I think that he is so smart that it's a waste of his intelligence to pursue peace by making more war. It does not make any sense.


The Dispatch has learned that US policy-makers have designed a campaign based on a  remarkable 2008 film "Sleep Dealer" (a sort of Blade Runner on the US-Mexico border) which depicts drones bombing targets in Mexico. As portrayed in the movie this campaign will be filmed and aired as a live reality show on television. There will even be opportunities for civilians to pilot the drones after training on special video games. Watch the "Sleep Dealer" trailer below to see the chilling future waiting around the corner:

Drone Bombing 101 from the Comfort of Home Sweet Home

Tucson, AZ is one of the bases for  drones currently bombing Pakistan and patrolling the US-Mexico border. Drone pilots can bomb a Pakistani village in the morning and play a round of golf at Ventana Canyon Resort in the afternoon. Recently the Hobo Dispatch visited a protest outside the gates of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and interviewed these anti-drone activists.

Dalton McClelland is a retired physician who grew up in India. In the interview he also discusses a letter his father sent to Mahatma Gandhi who wrote him back with his thoughts on immigration and treatment of immigrants.

Jack Cohen-Joppa is one of the founders of the Nuclear Resister publication (nukeresister.org) which provides information about and support for imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists. Here Jack shares his thoughts on the use of drones in the Middle East and Mexico.

The Mounting Toll on the Border

José Antonio Rodríguez after
being shot by US Border Patrol. Reports

stated he was hit by between 5-8 bullets and
the medical office behind him was riddled with 
bullets (photographer unknown)

Hundreds of migrants die every year trying to cross the border. Others are dying a violent death in encounters with law enforcement. In early October one Border Patrol agent shot and killed another agent while patrolling the Arizona desert. The photo on the left shows a 16-year old boy who was gunned down by US Border Patrol on Oct. 10 after he was allegedly throwing rocks at agents from the Mexican side of the border in downtown Nogales, Sonora.

Tucson-based groups Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths have long denounced the climate of terror and human rights abuses due to the militarization of the border. Links are included at the end to  their press releases and reports.


Finally a hopeful sign. While visiting and filming the annual October fiestas in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico, the Hobo Dispatch actually encountered a US tourist who dared travel there despite warnings from the US government and the barrage of bad publicity about the violence in Mexico.

  A little video about the Magdalena Fiestas which includes pilgrims walking to the town on spiritual journeys and samples of the music and culture.



A recent press release from the Derechos Humanos Coalition in Tucson, AZ.
Border Patrol's Deadly Force Terrorizes Border Communities

A report about Border Patrol abuse of detained migrants from the No More Deaths
coalition in Tucson.

Some other tragic recent news:
Border Agent Kills Mother of 5; Family Demands Answers

Mexican beaten to death by Border Agents (Democracy Now)

The wonderful Alice Walker with her words of wisdom:
Alice Walker reading "Democratic Womanism" on Democracy Now

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo Essay: A Brief Journey Through the Wild and Native Southwest: Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness and The Navajo Nation

The Continental Divide Trail in Colorado
(all photos by the author unless noted)

In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world-the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.

John Muir

Navajos in Inter-Tribal Parade, Gallup, NM

Photos are from an early August backpacking trip in Colorado's Weminuche wilderness, east of Durango, and visits to Gallup, N.M. and the Navajo reservation (AZ and NM).

Inventory--The Glorious Beginning
 of a Backpacking Trip.  Cumbres Pass, N.M.-
(the site where an 1848 "encounter" occurred
between Ute/Apaches  and the U.S.
military--37 Indians died and 2 soldiers)

The Window and Rio Grande Pyramid
Weminuche Wilderness
The Needle Mountains,  Weminuche Wilderness
The Rio Grande Pyramid (elevation 13,827 ft.)
Weminuche Wilderness
Rio Grande Pyramid in winter
(photographer unknown)

Hoary Marmots in the Weminuche Wilderness
I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.


Spruce beetle damage in the Weminuche wilderness. The majority of trees I saw were dead. Global warming has exacerbated the damage from these cyclical infestations.

Shiprock, NM on the Navajo Reservation
 (notice six-sided traditional hogan in foreground)

Shiprock High School

Years ago I saw a wonderful documentary "Rocks With Wings" about the Shiprock Chieftans girls basketball team and their African-American coach, Jerry Richardson.
Richardson led the team to several state championships in the 1990s and later died in an auto accident after taking a college coaching job in Florida. An annual tournament is now held in his name in Shiprock. 

Part of the "Rocks With Wings" can be seen on youtube (see link at end).

My friend Austin Sam outside the Querino Trading Post near his home in Burntwater on the Navajo Reservation.  Austin was a friend of the late Tony Hillerman who wrote many novels set on the Navajo Reservation. Austin has been a prolific writer himself keeping a lifelong journal about his experiences growing up on the reservation, his time in the military, etc.

Link at end to see interview with
Austin Sam

Navajo Hoop Dancers

Zuni women in the parade

Apache Dancers
“One of our people in the Native community said the difference between white people and Indians is that Indian people know they are oppressed but don’t feel powerless. White people don’t feel oppressed, but feel powerless. Deconstruct that disempowerment. Part of the mythology that they’ve been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.” 
 Winona LaDuke

Chickasaw Dancers from Oklahoma

An improvised fair ride at the Gallup flea market.
Frybread anyone?

Compassion in Nature?
A Remarkable Pair of Saguaros In West Tucson. 

Link to see clips from   Rocks With Wings, and info how to order rest.
Rocks With Wings website 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Occupy New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2011
A Ship Drifting At Sea With No Rudder?
Or The Real Deal--A Camp of the Bottom 1%

All photos and video by the author.

New Orlean's Ninth Ward, Dec. 2012

Occupy New Orleans (NOLA) felt a little like walking onto the set of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." A lot of shouting in the background, and groups of people spread out as if trying to avoid each other. The welcome station long abandoned, I had trouble finding someone to tell me what was going on. Then I saw the torn sign stating "This asylum...."

 In a couple months the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street's glorious uprising will arrive--Sept. 17, 2011.  The Wall Street Journal may say it's all over, but a better read is the analysis of the Occupied Wall Street Journal co-founder Arun Gupta (link at end). Occupy doesn't operate on a five year strategic plan, so it is hard to predict what will happen. Recently students have risen up in big protest movements in Canada and Mexico, and the indignados of Spain are in the streets again. On July 12, an Occupy march returned to Zucotti Park in New York City and occupied the park again but police moved in and made several arrests including a 56 year-old Occupy grandmother who was knitting in a lawn chair (not permitted!)

Dec. 3, 2011--
New Orleans, LA.

Can this really be the United States of America? Seven years have past since Hurricane Katrina and the ruins are still vast, the devastation still painfully evident. Makeup has been applied where the tourist dwells, but venture a few blocks beyond and a city in crisis is apparent, or is it a country in crisis that crys out. The newspaper tells of the final trial of police officers who gunned down unarmed civilians during the madness of Katrina. But don't worry about these unplesantries; the playoff bound Saints are playing at home. Times are good.

This Asylum is under the.....?
Occupy NOLA
The Rabbit Hole Cinema at Occupy NOLA
The political documentaries went unwatched.
I pull up to Occupy NOLA's  downtown encampment in front of city hall. Trash and tarps are blowing in the wind among loose clusters of tents spread around the huge park. I hesitate before walking into the less than welcoming scene.  I try to interview one woman but she is wary, another man declines to talk--I abandon that approach and decide to be a fly on the wall. An eviction order is in effect--this is the last night the camp can remain. Many vestiges of the Occupy movement are there, but Occupy NOLA is unlike any other site I have visited.

 I learn that weeks ago the police evicted a large homeless camp beneath a bridge and they moved into Occupy.
After months in the plaza, the rough edges present in most Occupy encampments seem to have overrun the capacity of those who initially established the camp. No meals are  served from the community kitchen. People are mostly fending for themselves. 

In the evening a general assembly (GA) is held, but it is attended mostly by folks who are not staying in the encampment. Bill Quigley, a well known human rights lawyer, gives a legal briefing about the upcoming eviction (when the eviction happened two days later there was only one arrest--the rest just moved back into other dark corners of New Orleans.) During the GA a fistfight breaks out in the former community kitchen and the remnants of the security team rushes into action.

An altar in the park at Occupy NOLA

A local organization holds a workshop on foreclosures at Occupy NOLA. A few days later they disrupted the regular foreclosed homes sales conducted by the Sheriffs office.

The video on the right gives a little grand tour of Occupy NOLA, a couple of days before the eviction (A judge ordered that the camp be allowed to return for another week since the police acted before the court hearing was held).
One of the many creative signs of the Occupy movement
Camp Jesus At Occupy NOLA
ANARCHIST SQUARE DANCE VIDEO--The night I passed at Occupy NOLA featured an unexpected surprise. A group of musicians showed up and organized a square dance attended by Occupy supporters.  All afternoon fans going and coming from the Saints football game had passed the encampment, many in their quaterbacks #9 jersery, and would occasionally shout insults at the camp. But one couple coming from the game, the woman wearing the #9 jersery, joined the square dance!  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ After New Orleans I visited Dauphin Island, Alabama where two police "pulled me over" (actually I was sitting on the side of the road to safely make a cell phone call). They informed me there was a report of suspicious activity and then ran my license as part of their fishing expedition.  I asked them politely to inform me of the suspicious activity I was engaged in order to avoid it in the future--the response-"just checking to make sure you're ok."  In Nov. and Dec.  2011 Alabama police arrested a German Mercedes-Benz executive and subsequently a Japanese Honda executive for not carrying proper i.d. under the state's new draconian anti-immigrant law (even worse than Arizona). Ironically the police officer who made sure I wasn't an "illegal" informed me he was from Arizona after seeing my Arizona license plate.
Occupy Memphis located downtown by City Hall is now one of the longest lasting
Occupy encampments in the country, having passed nine months.  A July 2
AP article (knoxnews.com) stated that about " eight of the camp's 20 regulars
are homeless" and that the camp once fed 70 to 120 a day, though those numbers
have dropped over time.  According to an occupier Memphis mayor A.C. Wharton Jr.
"developed a commendable live-and-let-live attitude." Shelby County commissioner
Steve Mulroy even spent a night in the camp in November, stating "It's a source of
pride for me." (photo taken during Jan. 2012 visit)

Memphis's Longest Occupier. Jacqueline Smith has camped outside the Lorraine Motel (site of
Martin Luther King's assassination) for nearly 25 years. She previously lived and worked at the Lorraine until she was evicted by Sheriffs deputies. Here she is on a cold day (highs in the
20s) in Jan. 2012. She states Dr. King would have been opposed to the gentrification of the
area and that he would have wanted the money spent on the museum to have served the poor.
Last fall Occupy Memphis marched to the site and honored Ms. Smith for her sacrifice.
The sacred balcony outside room 306
THE OTHER MEMPHIS, only blocks from the National
Civil Rights Museum housed at the Lorriane Motel.
Occupy Nashville in Leglislative Plaza, Jan. 2012, outside the
 state capitol. Eviction occurred in March 2012.
Another Nashville occupation from over a half-century ago,
 two blocks from where Occupy Nashville stood. Photo was taken
 in the Nashville library, former site of Woolworth. 

After the lunch counter was cleared and the youth
 were hauled off to jail, another group would move in to
take their place.
The Occupy movement has had over 7,000 arrests.
Also in the Memphis Public Library I noticed this
quote and realized where the sign I had seen
at so many Occupy encampments had originated from.
Would Thomas Jefferson have supported Occupy Wall Street?
This quote of his leaves no doubt.
Occupy Nashville
 Fifty years later John Lewis's legacy at Occupy NOLA,  2011
Final Thoughts---------- Of the ten Occupy encampments I visited in the U.S. only two survive, Occupy Memphis and Occupy Tampa (which is located on private land).  While there is no question about the value of the encampments as the catalyst for the movement, they also presented enormous challenges. They were inherently transitory, but became magnificent magnets of solidarity, publicity, etc., but also attracting people who were problematic which led to huge discussions and energy spent on resolving internal issues, which itself would drive people away. The Occupy encampments which openly defied authority and occupied public spaces were certainly the ones to make the biggest splash. In the excellent video "History of an Occupation" linked in Occupy Boot Camp part 1, a veteran Occupy Wall Street Organizer stated that the challenge was always how you could keep people in the camp, but that once you could keep people in the camp they began to leave.  In other words once the pressure eased up the thrill was gone for many. The encampments were a huge manifestation of civil disobedience, inspiring many to abandon their former lives and pitch their tent as a form of resistance, until forces lined up to drive them out.  Some camps, like Occupy New Orleans initially, were allowed to set up by city government, which only later turned against them. The larger "illegal" camps were the ones that certainly caught the nation's attention, and were the ones to face the severest repression. But the fact that hundreds of camps sprung up around the country in communities of all sizes was key.  The encampments certainly fostered a remarkable sense of community among many, and so far there has been no substitute to drive the movement like the camps did. But the encampments were never a means to an end, and whether they return or not the movement for economic justice will survive and one day return with another unexpected big splash. In the meantime the struggle continues out of the spotlight, but it continues all the same. *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** LINKS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A good read by one of the founders of the Occupied Wall Street Journal "What Happened To The Occupy Movement?" by Arun Gupta ************************************************************************************************************************************************* A fascinating video about the American Indian Movement (AIM) led occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969.  Incredibly inspiring, but also showing the difficulties and challenges of sustaining a long-term occupation, challenges which many Occupy encampments have faced. Alcatraz Is Not An Island
************************************************************************************************************************************************************ A remarkable film about the freedom rides of the early 1960s, in which John Lewis and other university students and youth challenged racial segregation laws at bus stations in the Deep South. "Freedom Riders" 2010 documentary on PBS

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Photographer and place unknown--unless 
noted all photos and video taken by the author
Occupy Nashville
Mid-Oct., 2011
1 a.m. in San Jacinto Plaza, downtown El Paso, TX-Three sleepless hours gone by since I crawled into the tent; in for a very long night.  Every few minutes someone on a skate board roars near my head. Few sleeping; most enjoying themselves and a guitar being passed around. Occasional insults shouted from passing cars.
2 a.m-The friend who I agreed to share my tent with just crawled in. After chatting a few minutes he says he needs to take a leak, but the porta-john didn't arrive. I pass him an empty plastic water bottle.
7 a.m.--Crawl out of the tent into the morning chill  and head for a nearby coffee shop.
6 p.m.--Return to camp for a community meal and  the evening GA (general assembly).
10 p.m.--Crash on a friend's couch for a full eight hours of sleep.

Occupy Congress, Jan. 17, 2012
 Comfort is a powerful force in life. As I've gotten older, the allure of comfort has grown even stronger.   While I had failed my first test as an occupier it had at least become   crystal clear what was required: one must rebel against comfort, against human nature, against oneself.

From October to January I was able to visit, and occasionally stay overnight in, ten Occupy encampments in the U.S. and two sites in Mexico. It has been a marvelous education, a graduate course on urban revolutionaries occupying public spaces, practicing the same model of direct democracy, and always under siege from external forces, not to mention the strain of internal conflict. Occupy has brought people out of isolation and into community. It is a community with inherent rough edges. This is not a movement of professional activists with salaries and operating budgets; absent are directors and foundation grants. Instead the movement's greatest strengths come from its horizontal structure and lack of funding. Anyone can instantly have an equal voice and there is a near total dependence on solidarity from the community at large.  I have seen plenty of conflict and failure within Occupy, not to mention my own shortcomings, but I have also been fortunate to witness many magical moments involving remarkable generosity, camaraderie, compassion, and triumphs on many levels. While most of the original encampments have disappeared, the lessons learned from their existence have  been invaluable, and the struggle continues in new ways.


Lee Roy,  Occupy El Paso 
I heard a debate take place early on at Occupy El Paso which I later heard at other encampments on whether everyone, usually meaning the homeless, could be fed from the community kitchen. The decision was always that no one could be refused, other than perhaps a belligerent drunk. From the beginning the homeless were part of the encampments, some just hanging out, but others an integral part. I crawled out of my warm sleeping bag one cold morning to find a homeless man sleeping by the door of my tent wrapped only in a thin blanket. The homeless man in the photo on the right, Lee Roy (first name), was part of a group of seven occupiers who got arrested in El Paso after staying past the permitted time in the plaza. All of the arrestees' mug shots were posted on a facebook page called "Busted in El Paso", prompting dozens of unflattering comments.

Aporia, Occupy El Paso

The young woman to the right was an active participant with Occupy El Paso and was arrested with Lee Roy. Between the litany of insults directed towards him, she posted this comment:  "Lee Roy is awesome! Our occupiers and community helped bail him out. He's been occupying with us since we were released. I gotta say, he's far smarter than any of you shit talkers could ever hope to be." Her mug shot was fabulous, brilliantly capturing the moment: the arrests were not something to be ashamed of but to be celebrated; done in solidarity with the masses--the 99%.

                              TIME MAGAZINE PERSON OF THE YEAR,
                                               DEC. 26. 2011


A Person of the Year at Occupy Nashville
At the IT Tent. This young Latino stated he was appalled by Arizona's elimination of  Mexican-American Studies in Tucson City Schools when I brought up Occupy Tucson.

I quit reading Time magazine a long time ago but what a remarkable issue this was (link at end and there's even more info on-line).  (Don't get hopes up that Time has suddenly become a progressive publication--1st runner up was the Admiral who led the Osama Bin Laden raid, other runner-ups included Congressman Paul Ryan and Kate Middleton.) The issue described the whole history of the current wave of international protest for economic justice and real democracy, from the Arab Spring to Wisconsin to Spain's indignados (the outraged) to Greece, Burma, Russia, China, Tibet, Chile, United Kingdom, Mexico, New York, and more. There are many full page photos: my favorite is of Cairo dentist, Ahmed Hahara, who lost sight in both eyes (in separate incidents) after being hit by rubber bullets in Tahrir Square. Hahara's quote, "As they say in America, power of the people will change everything."

(photographer unknown) 
The "Time" article did include a photo of Javier Sicilia, the Mexican poet who started a national  caravan against drug war violence after his son was killed. Here are the indignados of Ciudad Juárez, El Paso's neighbor.  Twenty-nine of them were arrested in Nov. 2011 while putting up 9,000 crosses around the city (the approximate number of deaths in Juárez from the drug war.) International solidarity helped gain their speedy release. 

Occupy Tucson, Nov. 2011


 If it weren't for the tents so prominently displayed in public spaces the movement wouldn't have made anywhere near the splash it has. Along with the Guy Fawkes mask the tent has become of the most visible symbols of the movement. Tawakkul  Karman, 32, a female journalist and political activist from Yemen, was one of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients for 2011. Her home for much of 2011 was a blue tent in a protest camp.

Another Person Of the Year, facing life in prison, for revealing the shameful truth.
Occupy D.C. (Freedom Plaza)
(Occupy Congress)

Here's a short video providing a little taste of an Occupy encampment, Occupy DC in Freedom Plaza on a cold Jan. day. The bicycle is powering a small electric generator which is providing electricity for a boom box playing a familiar tune (the technical flaws of the video have been intentionally left in).
(click on this link to watch on youtube): OCCUPY DC, JAN. 2012 

Occupy Congress

You'll need a tent, sleeping bag or blanket, foam pad or cardboard, and other necessary items.

--It will be noisy (traffic, sirens, people talking, snoring, and yelling)
--You will eat when food is available and you can't be picky.
--You will be living in close quarters with people you might normally avoid:  hippies, radicals, anarchists, homeless, mentally ill fending for themselves on the streets, people who haven't had a bath for a long time (just like you may end up), etc. I asked a friend in Tucson who supports Occupy why he didn't hang out at the encampment and he responded, "They drive me crazy."
--Many people smoke in Occupy camps, even in meetings, so there is often a lot of second-hand smoke.
(At one encampment smoking was banned during general assemblies but discipline broke down so even the facilitators ended up smoking.)
--You may be subject to arrest if an encampment is subject to eviction proceedings
--Your bathroom will be portajohns, public restrooms, or facilities at nearby businesses. Men have the luxury of using plastic bottles for urination in the privacy of their tent (do not pour contents out on camp grounds as the stench will become unbearable). There are also products available for this specific purpose. A friend just sent me this photo on the right of a product that was being marketed to the U.S. Border Patrol at a border security fair in Phoenix.

Occupy Congress

Here are some of the pros of
living in an encampment

--You will become part of an exciting international movement that is working to make the world and local communities a better place.
Occupy El Paso: A Farm Workers Union and Aztec
Dance Group Visit the Encampment
 -- You will meet many selfless, hard-working, and inspiring people and will mix with an incredible diversity of folks you may not normally mix with including those of different races, class, sexual orientation, physical disabilities,  homeless, mentally ill. You will learn an enormous amount about living in community, including how to deal with the rough edges.
--Communal property is emphasized over private property in the encampments, including generators, large tents, and other infrastructure that serves the community at large.
--There is usually is a communal kitchen stocked with food donated by community supporters, a library, a first-aid tent, and technology tent with wi-fi access.
--You will get to take part in the GAs with the model of direct democracy, and everyone is encouraged to contribute volunteer labor and take part in one of the numerous committees.

This brief video shows the "language" of Occupy, the "human-mic", here being utilized during Occupy Congress.

After visiting McPherson Square Park in Washington DC, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy wonderfully captured the spirit of an Occupy encampment:
"Occupy D.C. has a plan; to Stay in the Public's Face" (Jan. 17, 2012)

McPherson Square

"The young protesters had vowed not to go quietly from the park-just as they would not be going without fuss into the nightmarish future that was being forced upon them. Global warming deniers, people callous to the consequences of poverty. Wars waged based on lies, millions of innocents killed. Deficits as far as the eye can see, due in large part to tax schemes favoring the rich. Long after those responsible were dead and gone, chickens would be coming home to roost."

Comfort Station
...."We're trying to create a community where love is valued more than money," one of the demonstrators said. "We're not sure how, but we're trying."...Mostly through serendipity and bursts of spontaneity, a community of sorts had emerged. Over the weekend, 70 or so protesters looked after the camp, which included a Comfort Station tent that distributed winter clothes, an Occu-Tea tent that dispersed water and teas, and a Radical Space tent for teach-ins about economics, politics and training in conflict resolution....As has been pointed out often, the movement has no leaders or spokesmen. Everyone is free to do his or her own thing, although that thing turns out to be pretty much the same."

"One evening not long ago, after a teach-in on homelessness, someone got an idea to erect a two story barnlike structure in the park. They built it within hours. It was an impressive piece of work, too, sturdy enough to pass a safety inspection in some places. Although the Park Service took it down, the point had been made. 'If we can build a house that fast, why are homeless people living in tents in the woods?' the Occupier at the information tent asked."


Occupy Holiday Inn
In Jan. 2012 I spent a day and night with the fine folks of Occupy Little Rock, which you can't miss since the encampment sits right beside Interstate 30. They have a homemade geodesic dome with a wood stove, solar panel array, windmill, and meditation tent. I started driving to Texas after supper but nasty weather and high winds forced me to turn around and head back to camp. When I got there the camp had been evacuated due to a tornado alert. The friendly manager at the adjacent Holiday Inn put everyone up for free!

A couple of tornados did touch down south of Little Rock so the winds in camp were still really strong. One of the porta-johns at Occupy Little Rock tried to lift off during the storm and make it to Kansas. Fortunately Dorothy, Toto, and the Wizard weren't on board at the time.

The Nine Lives of Occupy Tucson--I go through Tucson, AZ a lot so get to
visit Occupy Tucson.  Their persistence and endurance is truly remarkable. They have been

evicted from three different encampments where the police issued occupiers over 700 citations and arrests. I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day feast at one of their encampments. Here they are sleeping on the sidewalk after a recent eviction, but police even arrest them there. They continue protests at the big banks, against foreclosures, and several were arrested blocking a Border Patrol bus that hauls deported immigrants back to Mexico.
Occupy Tampa Finds A Home; While visiting family in Florida I was able to
hang out with the folks at Occupy Tampa. Here they are on Christmas Day, 2011
at their former home on the sidewalk in downtown Tampa. They were doing great work
from there, but after months of sleeping on the sidewalk without tents and enduring
dozens of arrests, the offer of a privately owned public park in West Tampa for their encampment was to good to resist. They are preparing for the Republican National Convention

which will be held in Tampa in August.

THE REVOLUTION WILL HAVE CHICKEN: This wonderful video taken by Occupy Tampa media team shows members of the West Tampa community paying a visit to Occupy Tampa and leads to one of those magical moments I have often witnessed at Occupy encampments.

To end here's 19 seconds of people power outside the U.S. 
Supreme Court filmed during Occupy Congress


Time Person of The Year: The Protester    (even more information than the print version)

Fault Lines: History of An Occupation   (Al Jazeera documentary on the history of the movement)


In memory of Ramon Arroyos