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The uneasy relationship between Occupy Wall Street and electoral politics has always been one of the greatest distinguishing factors for our burgeoning movement.

Likewise, in the leadup to the 2012 elections, Occupy Public Access TV convened a panel with diverse perspectives through a Google Hangout ‘On Air’ to hold a constructive conversation on this complex topic.

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Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy - Cartoon

It has been an emotional rollercoaster for progressives across the board ever since Scott Walker’s billionaire backers successfully bought the state of Wisconsin. The blatant manner in which it has happened has acted as an alarm screeching red alert, as the Wi$con$in model to subvert democracy may be coming to a state near you.

Likewise, it is time for us to redouble our efforts to expose how big money is increasingly turning our elections into auctions. And in anticipation of this July 17th, we will have quite an opportunity to do so.

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The Wisconsin recall elections were a canary in the coal mine to working families across the country, and we were lucky that it happened so close to Netroots Nation so that we could immediately begin collectively reassessing how progressives can, well, progress from here.

Wisconsin Occupied Netroots Nation on the whole, particularly through our Take a Walk, Scott: Post-Mortem of the Wisconsin Recalls panel.

My response in the clip above, where Tea Party blogger Dana Loesch of Breitbart News and CNN postulates why the progressive base has become so “dispirited”, is an encapsulation of my opinion on the direction we need to take.

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Netroots Nation 2012 started just a few days after the Wi$con$in recall elections, and served as an extremely cathartic experience for me.

In particular, I was quite proud to join the panel Take a Walk, Scott: Post Mortem of the Wisconsin recalls that dug deeply into what happened and where we go from here.

Watch live streaming video from fstv1 at livestream.com

Two main points emerged during the discussion: that the power of Wall Street and the 1% to subvert our democracy by buying elections is getting exponentially worse, and that the Democratic party failed to understand the broader occupation-inspired movement growing in response to this dynamic.

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Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 09:33 AM PDT

Occupy Forward From Wisconsin

by HarryWaisbren

Occupy Forward From Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came to office in the spectre of the Arab Spring, and opened America’s 2011 legislative session by declaring class war on working families. He shamelessly put up Wisconsin’s democracy for sale to the Tea Party and their SuperPac billionaire backers -- but Walker did not realize what his hubris would reap.

The resulting uprising captured the imagination of activists across the world. A fearless occupation of the state capitol begot solidarity actions across the country, and we have been watching the 21st century Internet-enabled strategy and tactics borne out from there reverberating and evolving since.

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living liberally logo

This year's Living Liberally celebration is coming up on May 10th, and it has me reflecting on what my favorite Living Liberally moment was from 2012.

Although there are many of them, I have to say that my experiences at the OWS Drinking Liberally chapter at Zuccotti Park easily take the cake. Moreover, I found OWS Drinking Liberally on the whole to be indicative of both what is best about Living Liberally, and Occupy Wall Street itself.

It was a perfect match. OWS is an idea, one whose time has come and which never could be evicted. And this is precisely why OWS is made manifest through so many cultural formats, which are so naturally able to express a central idea like this one.

Living Liberally is a platform to celebrate liberal culture, which finds direct alignment in the Occupy idea. Namely, that our political structures should serve us, the people — all of us.

This is why I am so proud to have been able to contribute to both OWS and LL by hosting a few of those fantastic OWS Drinking Liberally’s.

Zuccotti Park was still first getting off the ground, and we were able to provide as inviting a format as possible for like-minded new-comers to learn about Occupy. This was crucial then, and there remains a need for more of these kind of endeavors today. The Occupy movement is so innovative and different that it can be very difficult to understand and intimidating to approach, which is why being able to experience it in a shared cultural setting like OWS Drinking Liberally was such a perfect way for so many to be introduced.

The OWS Drinking Liberally crew proved to be a perfect part of the solution for this at the most crucial of times last Fall, and I particularly relished being able to take so many amazing and influential liberals across the street and give them their first tour of ‘Liberty Square’.

So if you can make it to New York City on May 10th, come join us in celebrating this and all of the other ways that Living Liberally has touched the core of American society!

The 2012 Living Liberally celebration will not be one to miss, and there couldn’t be a better time to show your support for this increasingly impactful cultural fixture in contemporary America.

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Netroots New York icon

Netroots New York, and the Occupy Wall Street unconference held in cooperation with it, made for one of the most productive and exciting weekends I've ever had.

The timing for it right before the holidays couldn't have been better either. Coming just a month after the eviction of Zuccotti Park, it was an ideal time to assess the 99 percent movement and plan for next steps.

This was why I was so proud to help organize a series of events that looked at both what was going on in Wisconsin as a model for #Occupy, as well as how the activists behind the efforts could better coordinate!

It's been a whirlwind since, with reverberations stemming from the conference in Wisconsin and New York alike. And now, with over 1 million Wisconsinites having taken action to recall 'Governor 1% Walker', I thought it would be especially worthwhile to chronicle some of the lessons learned and connections fostered from the weekend.

To start, below is video of the opening of Netroots New York, including the plenary panels on both Occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin:

Watch live streaming video from letitiapro at livestream.com
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Happy Holidays from Wisconsin Capitol

Photo via Jenna Pope aka @BatmanWI

Yesterday was quite eventful in light of the hundreds of Wisconsin 'Solidarity Singers' flooding the Capitol rotunda to specifically break the unconstitutional restrictions on freedom of speech that Governor Walker is attempting to implement.

John Nichols described it as a "giant success", and unsurprisingly, social media was integral in getting the word out given the absence of mainstream media. This made me that much more proud to help out in the #WIsing action however I could from afar.

Yet this is no time to rest on any laurels, as Scott Walker explicitly hired a Rove protege as a Department of Administration (DOA) spokesperson to help him out of this mess, and we must be equally diligent in the seriousness with which we respond.

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Illegal Singing Monday

Photo via @CityofContempot

Wisconsin protesters have Walker in retreat on his unconstitutional restrictions on freedom of speech in the Capitol, as he does not instruct police to even enforce their newly amended form in the face of a would-be standoff.

We talked about all this in relation to Occupy Wall Street a whole lot at Netroots New York, and by the time I got back, Occupy Madison officially joined the "Solidarity Sing Along" in force, and today were handing out "official permits to protest" citing the US constitution.

The event at large made the Greg Mitchell live blog and Laura Flanders has the earliest report on the results.

This action has been a long time coming, as these new restrictions were only first put in place this past Friday. And with the Solidarity Sing occurring every day from 12-1pm, it's definitely got a lot further to go!

Check out the livestreamed footage from that period today from @annelyttle:

 
 
 
 
 


Video streaming by Ustream

Moreover, after protesters illegally sang past the permitted participant number, decibel level, and time allotment, about 70-100 stayed even longer to make sure that Governor Walker really got the message.

Here's a photo of the scene outside of his office, amidst "Recall Walker" chants (ht @dane101):

#WIsing outside Walker's door

My favorite part though had to have been the chants that "we never left". Indeed, the spirit of the Wisconsin Capitol occupation from last Spring clearly lives on.

If that is any indication, this is all just getting started, and I'm quite psyched to see the scene tomorrow and forward!

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The action is just starting to get going in the Occupy Madison endorsed Solidarity Sing Along standoff in the Wisconsin Capitol.

The hashtag is #WIsing, and @legaleagle is already livetweeting. I'd keep an eye on online organizers @bluecheddar1 @batmanWI and then official accounts @SolidaritySing @OccupyMadison99 too.

And here is a UStream channel that @annelyttle says will begin at 12:00pm CST / 1:00pm EST.

Stay tuned...

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A whole lot of my and the whole Wisconsin contingent's efforts at large during Netroots New York and the Occupy Wall Street unconference this weekend were spent explaining and advocating for the big Solidarity Sing Along standoff coming up tomorrow.

More on that later. For now, happy to get home and see that the Occupy Madison GA has officially endorsed Mass Civil Disobedience for the big Sing Along action!

Momentum is clearly building around this, and Rachel Maddow covered it extensively for MSNBC on Friday:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Netroots New York icon

Netroots New York this weekend will comprise another big step in the relationship between activists in New York and Wisconsin.

There is naturally a strong sense of solidarity between occupiers in the Cheddar and Empire states, but now is the time to further combine forces so that we can better leverage our collective energy and take this movement up a notch.

Our Wisconsin: the Real Story, and Can it Happen Here plenary panel Saturday morning will be fantastic in this vein for laying the foundation.

Then Sunday at 11:15am EST is Occupy Wisconsin & Wall Street: interactive in-person & online discussion, which will be an opportunity to plot out how we can better work together to make it happen.

We have Wisconsinites in town and then others participating online who will be joining the fun from afar, and I'd say that the power of connecting these Wisconsin occupiers to influencers within Occupy Wall Street can not be underestimated.

Look to the #NY2WI hashtag at 11:15am EST Sunday for details as they develop, and to take part in a tweetchat during it to boot!

There will be a variety of ways to take part online in addition to tweeting, as we are working on Skype, livestreaming, Internet radio, and chat options. We did something similar this past Summer that proved to be of great value with our Skype calls from Bloombergville to Walkerville, and then Spain as well.

This discussion couldn’t be more timely, considering that the 500,000+ Walker recall signatures collected comprises over 90% of those needed in under 50% of the time, and that there is a standoff coming at the State Capitol from activists who refuse to abide restrictions on their freedoms.

There is no better example than Wisconsin for how an Internet powered occupation movement effort can be above the electoral, but still impact it. This might be exhibited beyond any shadow of a doubt the very next day actually, as Monday the 19th will be a test of whether Walker really wants to make a mass arrest of peaceful 'Solidarity Singers' right before Christmas based on his unconstitutional farce of an attempt to abridge freedom-of-speech in the Capitol.

So join us Sunday morning in person or via the #NY2WI tag and the options extending from it!

Hope to see you there in person or online.

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