Friday, February 17, 2012

PT II: What is Occupy? OWS Visits OccupyBuffalo [Live Audio]

First published in: 

Think Twice Radio [Buffalo, audio] 

“There need be no blood-shed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.”  

– Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Address 1861, prior to The Civil War.

February 2012: Occupy Wall Street NYC visits Occupy Buffalo. The following interviews educate one on “What is Occupy?” from various perspectives of four people continuously active within “Occupy.”  Through their experience, education, and advocacy; Occupy can be seen not only as a “movement”, but as global transformation.

OWS arriving in Buffalo © Brian Pickard 2012

Robert Albini and Logan Noonan discuss: The True Face of Media, Social Order, Stepping Out of Comfort Zones, Lack of Government Representation, Moving Forward as a Species, Steps to a Well Informed Population, and Class Division.

Heron E. Simmonds – Price speaking of What is Occupy? What an Occupation is and why, Direct Action, Advocacy, Global Engagement, and Suitable Time Frame for Social Change.

Linda Abrams speaks of: The School of Everything, Social Disease and Indoctrination, Justice Dialogues, Non Violent Communication, Specialization, The Activist Toolbox, and The Banking Model of the Educational System.


Occupy Together is a grassroots website to aid in self-organization. It began when two designers and artists watched news feeds and information reported on Facebook, Twitter, and live feeds online, wishing to bring greater awareness to events they witnessed. The purpose was to provide people with information. After a website was created, Occupy Together became a tool for people to research  the events, protests and demonstrations across the globe. The birth of Occupy Together began due to citizens taking action against corporate greed and corruption. OT has grown into a valuable tool for all people who desire change. Occupy Together stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.


Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011 as a people-powered initiative in Liberty Square, Manhattan’s [New York City] Financial District. This movement spread to over 100 cities in the U.S and over 1,500 cities globally. Occupy Wall Street speaks against the prolonged destructive powers of banks and corporations through a true democratic process. The need for OWS began due to economic collapse that caused immense recession. This movement aims to take the richest 1% of people and hold them accountable for creating an unjust global economy. The 99% is a symbol for all people affected by an unfair economy. 

OWS is inspired by the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Occupy Wall Street embodies:

 "This is as grassroots as it gets.” – Occupy Wall Street

Saturday, February 4, 2012

OWS: Occupy Buffalo Eviction

First published: 

WeSpeakNews: India 

On February 2, 2012, OccupyBuffalo was forcefully evicted from Niagara Square in Buffalo, New York after peacefully occupying since October of 2011. 

This eviction was a result of a disagreement between OccupyBuffalo and the
City of Buffalo.

Originally, the City offered to extend a prior approved joint agreement from 2011 to occupy until March 8th, 2012. OccupyBuffalo wanted the agreement to run until the end of March in order to find another location and to serve the needs of the community. 

Occupiers had until Wednesday [Feb 2] night as a deadline to leave, after 4 months of peaceful occupation. The occupation wished to further discuss this with the city. OccupyBuffalo denied the sudden and unexplained choice by the city to vacate dependent upon the cities actions to not renew the prior contract until end of March.

The First Amendment of the Constitution provides for 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'"

That is exactly what
OccupyBuffalo did. That is not what occurred.

The permit to stay [that need not be obtained under the First Amendment yet was] in the square expired at midnight. Crews [Buffalo Police Department, bulldozers, dump trucks, and the SWAT team in riot gear] moved in to dismantle all structures in Niagara Square. 

The City and OccupyBuffalo have always worked together. 

This is a model occupation.

The raid occurred around 2:30am Thursday. 10 were arrested. All equipment, save for one or two items, were destroyed.  I watched live on Ustream in abject horror. 

I thought: I cannot believe this is occurring in my city.

This abuse of power was an immense shock as witnessed on Ustream by BootsofSolidarity because it occurred when people were sleeping. Peaceful resistance technique was again taught [on video] by a seasoned community leader when the raid began. It is heard on the stream: "The Buffalo Police Department said they will not destroy anything." 

Occupiers were also educated on possible arrest, meaning if they did not wish to take a chance, then to go across the street and for those that chose to exercise their legal, civil and human rights, then to stay put, peacefully.

There were no misunderstandings within the occupation.

SWAT Team members and Buffalo Police officers moved in on OccupyBuffalo with dump trucks, bulldozers and scooped the tents, equipment and all private and personal property into the dump trucks to be picked up at a "location" and sorted through.

Nearly everything was destroyed. This was not part of the agreement to vacate. Occupiers were simply told they may need to vacate. 

OccupyBuffalo has melded into a community of teach ins, education, free food for the hungry, information on war, diversity of all faith, government, politics and true democracy. 

Before this illegal raid, OccupyBuffalo was and is currently nominated for Top 20 out of 157 nominated occupations for a "community activist" award through FDL Action, coordinated by Jane Hamsher [HuffPost, Alternt, American Prospect, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and producer of Natural Born Killers.]

Mayor Brown told Channel 2 News there was nothing but positive discussions between the two parties and: "As part of their contract there is the potential for renewal, but again we are talking. The talks are going very well. There has been a very positive communication with the City's Law Department, special events division and the occupiers from the very beginning and we feel that this will go forward in a very positive fashion."

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda stated: "We did not anticipate violence but we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best."

When speaking to Channel 2 News, Mayor Brown said the peaceful protest in Buffalo has been a model for other protest movements around the county. He told a reporter "there is a chance the protesters will be allowed to stay."  

In court on Thursday morning [VIDEO HERE] the 10 arrested [that never needed to be] were charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, yet dismissed with restrictions: no occupying in a 3 mile radius to Niagara Square. 

The City has offered an abandoned house, at this point, to the occupation.

Why was the house not offered before the raid and arrests? Before the destruction of private property? Is that any different than what government bodies and police forces blame occupiers for doing?  Destructing governmental and city property by occupying it?

OccupyWallStreet has recognized this violation, as well as the world.

OccupyBuffalo will continue with or without a place to occupy in order to continue to serve the community as they have been.

Gina Panzarella of Buffalo NY states quite clearly:
"We are not Radicals. We are a very creative, intelligent group of diverse individuals who are trying to make better lives for ourselves, our children, our families and our neighbors. We want to expose the corruption that has taken out the middle class while serving as many as we can for our community."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free Henry! "Ethereal Gust" : How to Get the New Studio Release

I will be reviewing this soon, please grab a copy, it is amazing. 

ETHEREAL GUST has arrived!
The New Studio Record

Get yourself a copy of the LIMITED AUTOGRAPHED EDITION of Free Henry!'s new album that has just been released, the critically acclaimed:

"Ethereal Gust"

Digital downloads: Free Henry! in the iTunes Store

Have a great day and enjoy the new record.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Buffalo Infringement Festival: 2012 Applications

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is now accepting applications for 2012.  

This year's festival runs from July 26 to August 5. Submissions are accepted February 1st - May 1st, 2012

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is 11 days of under the radar art. During the festival, the city comes alive with a range of eclectic, independent, experimental, and controversial art of all forms. 

Originating in Allentown, art bursts from every corner of the city, pumping creativity and absurdity along the way. 

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is a non-profit-driven, non-hierarchical endeavor organized by volunteers in our community. 

Infringement continues its three-fold mission of providing exposure to regional artists, building relationships with local venues and creating space for public art. 
Infringement welcomes all musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets, actors, filmmakers, performance artists, and street performers to submit a proposal. 

There are no fees to enter and every application is accepted. 

Registering early keeps you in touch with the monthly events and fundraisers, and links you with an organizer in your genre of art. It also helps organizers plan ahead with volume, as the festival grows larger every year. 

To get on the mailing list, send an email to:

Proposals for the 2012 festival can be made online HERE.

*Provide email, create a password, provide contact info. You can revise your proposal at any time by logging back into the website.  

Infringe Everyday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

“When I’m President” : The 2012 U.S. Elections

First Published:


“When I’m president, meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. No more secrecy.”
- Senator Barack Obama
[ABC 2007]

“God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.”
- Mitt Romney  [The Raw Story 2011]

“I would send troops back into Iraq.”
- Rick Perry [LA Times 2012]

“Palestinians are an “invented people.”
- Newt Gingrich [Al-Jazeera 2012]

August 2011, John Huntsman said: “He would support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in the absence of a reversal by the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade.”  
[International Business Times 2011] 

“Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended,  but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem?’’ – Ron Paul, his book “Freedom Under Siege” 

[On sexual harassment, women’s rights in the workplace, CNN 2011] 

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” 
Rick Santorum [CBS News 2012]

 Ladies and Gentleman, Welcome to the 2012 Presidential Election.

The 2012 United States Presidential election is “Jeopardy Gone Wrong.”  Contestants on Jeopardy, along with the host, Alex Trebek, can and have displayed political knowledge, global awareness. ethics, morals and diverse intellect. Unlike the Governors, Senators, Representatives, and various third party and independent challengers half-heartedly attempting to replace current President of the United States, Barack Obama.

The election of a President is a milestone.  It defines mores, economy, social order of a nation, in turn, affecting other nations.

The Choices:

ONE:  Re-elect Barack Obama: A “Democrat”, along with his cabinet, all partially responsible for national and global madness. Hold hope that in four years the following occur: economy improves, jobs increase, health care is provided, funding cuts for education and art cease, wars end, all troops are sent home, occupations in other nations halted, and that citizens of America [and the world] gain trust in the American government, as well as its citizens.

TWO:  Play “Pin the tail on the donkey regarding the “Republicans” running against Obama. The candidates as of January 8, 2011 at 3:49 am [the players keep changing] include: Speaker of the House: Newt Gingrich / Former Ambassador to China, Former Governor of Utah: John Huntsman / U.S. Representative: Ron Paul [Texas] / Governor of Texas: Rick Perry /  Former Governor of Massachusetts: Mitt Romney / Former Senator of Pennsylvania: Rick Santorum.

THREE:  Do Not Vote. Many citizens may choose this option. Although many died for each amendment, one does have the right.

Regardless, there is still time, hope. Change is ever possible.

It will be the most difficult vote of my life.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts While Sleepwalking: On 2012

A new year. What of the one passing? I cannot help but reflect on our tumultuous 2011. Through the utilization of technology, the world provided the world, quite simply, a view of itself.

In my experience, I were able to meet and speak to utterly brave people who endured grave sacrifice in order to make this world a better place.

I am humbled by such things.

From Tunisia to America, and every nation between, uprisings have been the headlines of every newspaper, broadcast, article and discussion. It is not through any major network I found truth, more so through the mouths of those living in each situation as it occurred.

Five days after the Tunisian Revolt, I met and interviewed a brave young woman, who, for the first time was able to speak freely, no longer ruled beneath the regime of Ben Ali. I met her in New York in 2011.

I watched news feeds from Abbottabad, Pakistan as the death of Osama bin Laden was about to occur before the world knew. Live in front of my eyes, one man told the world what he was seeing and hearing.

In Yemen, sustainable goods such as food, water and basic needs was made possible from reputable organizations wishing to give, not knowing how to connect. Through the tireless work of countless streams of activists that responded to a simple message:  "I have orgs wishing to aid Yemen, please reply" -  aid reached those who needed it.

Bahrain provided me with the honor of translating an essential video, an apology from a mainstream journalist. All I did was respond to the message I had seen: "Need help translating this video." So I did.

Egypt. I sat here and cried watching death occur before my eyes, not being able to do anything but tell others what I were seeing. The courage of people left to themselves to be brutalized twice by police and military caused me to be grateful for all that I have. The words of one of my brothers will stay with me forever:  "Do not worry about me, I would rather die in honor than live a slave."

Palestine. Oh, Palestine. I can write volumes on this. The numerous boats to Gaza, the intifadas online and globally scattered individuals joining hands to support such a heinous abomination of one people was and is downright righteous. The murder of Vittorio Angiolini was absolutely horrendous, beyond evil, and leaves a deep chasm inside of my heart.

America. Occupy Together, Occupy Wall Street. I sat on my porch and thought:  "I need to be a part of this, it began in my state. New York" - just to see that Occupy Buffalo had already begun in my own city. This movement has spread internationally. It is by far the most horrific and tremendous action to occur in America since the Civil Rights Movements in the 1960's.

Pakistan. Far too much has occurred to write of this evening, yet through the people of Pakistan, and I do mean throughout the entire nation; medical aid for dengue and financial aid for those still affected by the 2010 floods [food, water and tents] reached its destinations. Again, through people who cared enough to respond and act. The murder of investigative journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad caused me to write about why he were no longer here. That led me to Afghanistan where I were translated to Dari.

Afghanistan led me to where I am today.

Looking at 2012.

I write this last evening of 2011 not to say:  "I did this" or "They did that" or to not include any nation or its people, rather to give everyone reading this short note a simple reminder:

You do and can make a difference. You do not need to leave your home. You do not need to leave your city or town. You do not have to be rich nor do you have to travel to any nation. You need not win any award, speak at any conference or be a global ambassador to the world.

All you need is a heart, a little bit of courage to be yourself and to believe wholeheartedly in what you are doing.

That to me is success. You see, it begins within and spreads throughout.

Every single one of us have the same tools.

How are you going to utilize yours in 2012?



Sunday, December 18, 2011

A wish from me to you.


© Susan Marie 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Worldwide Pray for Peace between India and Pakistan

From Indian actor Nandita Das in Mumbai, to peace groups and individuals all over India and Pakistan, and in countries as far away as Korea, Australia, Canada and America, thousands are supporting Pray for Peace Between India and Pakistan Day on Sunday, Dec 18, 2011.

Inspired by the idea of the power of collective prayer or meditation, Toronto-based Swati Sharan randomly picked the date several months ago. 

“These prayers can be done from anywhere on the globe by any one, of any nationality… the more people pray for something at a given time, the greater the difference it can make,” she wrote in an initial article in May explaining the idea, published by Aman ki Asha, an ongoing peace campaign launched by the two largest media groups of India and Pakistan, the Times of India and the Jang Group of Pakistan on Jan 1, 2010. 

“India and Pakistan could be like Canada and the US, which share the Niagara Falls as a common border,” she wrote in a follow-up piece.

The articles provided her email address. Among those who responded was Athar Aamir, a volunteer with the Youth Parliament of Pakistan. Together, they created a facebook page and event.

“All we are asking people to do, where ever they are in the world, is to take out thirty seconds of their time that day to Pray for Peace Between India and Pakistan,” says Sharan.

Susan Marie, a journalist and human rights advocate in Buffalo, New York with a special interest in Pakistan (one of her blogs is Pakistan: A 3DPerspective) has volunteered her time and media contacts to project the cause. She has sent the event information to media outlets and peace groups around the world.

“It is important for the world to understand both sides, from Pakistan and India,” she says. “The only ethical way to do that from America is to learn directly from and through those living in and through such experiences.”

Nandita Das: Advocates hopeful and constructive action. Photo by Marjolein

Prominent Indian actor Nandita Das also fully supports the initiative. “Too many lives and resources and too much time has been lost in the mindless perception of animosity between India and Pakistan,” she wrote in an email message from Mumbai. 

“We the people of both countries want peace and calm. For our own well being we need to actively participate in a positive action that is both hopeful and constructive.”

The initiative received support from within India and Pakistan even before the facebook page was activated. In India, the Pentecostal Church in Bihar and Jharkhand, with a membership of 20-30,000 people pledged to participate, as did Youth for People, an NGO against corruption. 

In Pakistan the prestigious Lahore School of Economics is providing a free space for its students and their friends to gather and pray for peace day. 

Pakistan Youth Alliance and Khudi Pakistan, headed by Ali Abbas Zaidi, have fully endorsed the initiative, as have peace groups in Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Jhang, Gojra and Toba Tek Singh, spearheaded by the peace activist and educationist Ashfaq Fateh.

Also on board is Sally Fisher in New York, who co-produced Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. Fisher, who blogs at Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something posted on the facebook event: “It is my privilege to pray with others around the world, our world which is so in need of peace.”

Since the facebook event was created, many other expressions of support have poured in from around the world.

“Hope two neighbours find ultimate peace and love each other… Fight leaves nothing but a tragedy and unforgettable painful memories for longer than two generations. Believe me… I know what I am talking about,” wrote Tony Lee from Korea.

“Will be praying for peace between India and Pakistan. Much love from Australia,” posted Diane Taylor.

“Peace between India and Pakistan would mean more attention towards the real problems of the region, like poverty, ill health, illiteracy, ignorance, and women issues. There is no other way to prosperity,” says Ilmana Fasih, an Indian-born doctor married to a Pakistani.

For thousands of cross-border families and couples like Dr Fasih and her husband, who find it difficult to visit relatives in each other’s countries due to the difficulties obtaining visas, better relations between India and Pakistan would literally mean their prayers being answered.