Party-Crashing for the Climate: On Monday, over 500 protesters gathered outside of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, where a fundraiser for Obama was underway, to demand that the president reject the permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The crowd also expressed their opposition to local natural gas pipelines such as the Spectra and Rockaway pipelines. Representatives from Hurricane Sandy relief organizations, asserting the connection between climate change and disasters like Sandy, and demanding that local and national government commit to a transition to clean energy. The event was sponsored by a broad coalition of local and national environmental and social justice organizations, who have begun turning out large crowds to nearly all of Obama’s public events to demand that the president take a stand against the proposed pipeline.
Bus Ads Promote Palestinian Rights: Public buses throughout Seattle have beenemblazoned this week with messages advocating “Equal Rights For Palestinians: The Way To Peace.” The messages are sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, whose ad campaign stretches back to 2010 and also run in local Seattle print weeklies. The campaign has also taken aim in the past at Israel’s segregated transportation and education systems and denounced American aid to Israeli military occupation, sparking controversy in Washington state and around the country.
Indignados Turn Two: On May 12, thousands gathered in Madrid, Barcelona and 30 other cities throughout Spain to mark the second anniversary of the nation’s ‘indignados’ protest movement. Last month, unemployment hit record levels of near-30% in the debt-scarred country. Protesters carried signs on Sunday insisting “the fight continues” and asserting “together, it’s possible.” The movement, which sparked Occupy and similar protests around the world, continues its resistance in the face of planned austerity measures, including tax hikes and pay cuts for public sector workers.
Stephen Hawking Joins BDS Movement: This week, Professor Stephen Hawking threw his weight behind the academic boycott of Israel pioneered by the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, refusing to attend a June conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. In a letter written to Peres, Hawking announced he had decided not to attend the conference, in the words of a statement published with Hawking’s approval, “based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.” In 2009, Hawking visited Israel and the West Bank and denounced Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, remarking that “the situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue.”
Foreclosing on Wells Fargo: Protesters in downtown Los Angeles briefly shut down the branch of a Wells Fargo bank on Tuesday to draw attention to its foreclosure practices. About 80 activists, some of whom were owners of foreclosed homes, blockaded the bank’s entrance for half an hour in an action organized by Occupy Fights Foreclosures, an Occupy Los Angeles subcommittee. The group, which has been defending a home in East Los Angeles for six months, pressures banks to negotiate with underwater homeowners. In several cases, it has taken dramatic direct actions to keep families in their homes, such as barricading the houses to prevent law enforcement and mortgage companies from entering .
Cooper Union Occupation: On May 8, students at New York’s Cooper Union occupied the President’s office, days after the startling announcement that the historically free school would begin charging tuition to undergraduates. At least 50 students took over President Jamshed Bharucha’s office and signed a statement of no confidence, which has been circulating among students and faculty. The Students For A Free Cooper Union have been waging a war of publicity and direct action against the administration’s fight to erode the full scholarship it awards to every student, which activists claim is a hallmark sign of the neoliberal trend in education.