Occupy Albany, Weekly Update Nov. 25 to Dec. 2

Welcome, everyone, to my first post for KAB. By way of introduction, my name is Robert Magee and I’ve been with Occupy Albany since its inception on October 1, 2011. I’ve been recruited to do a weekly summary of our activities during the past week and let you know what we plan to do in the coming week.

Last Friday, OA put together a flash mob in response to Black Friday. A group of between 30 and 40 occupiers visited Colonie Center and Crossgates Malls to sing parodies of Christmas carols meant to draw attention to the perils of unthinking consumerism and the harmful effect it has on society and culture.

On Saturday OA hosted a teach-in on participatory economics which was presented by Colin Donnaruma and Nick Partyka. There were about fifty people in attendance and though participatory economics is a difficult subject to get through in the time set out for the teach-in (about an hour and a half), it did foster a lot of good discussion about alternatives to the current economic system.

Monday saw the arraignment on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct of fifty occupiers who had been arrested for breaking the curfew at Lafayette Park during the week of Nov. 12-20. Most of those who were arraigned on Monday had been arraigned during a mass arrest which occurred on Saturday Nov. 20. The purpose of the arrests was to reassert the people’s right to occupy public space for the purpose of engaging in political discourse and dissent. Despite receiving a threatening fax during the week, Albany County District Attorney David Soares has stood firm in his commitment not to prosecute non-violent protestors and the charges are expected to be dropped by Albany City Court Judge Keefe after the Occupy Albany Legal Team submits a written application for dismissal on December 12.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, students from Tech Valley High School came down to the occupation in Academy Park to host and conduct a teach-in on the history and economic plight of Haiti. The teach-in had been the brain-child of the students themselves, who arranged for their own bussing to the occupation in order to conduct the teach-in.

On Wednesday Nov. 30, Albany High School students, staged a walk-out, organized by Albany High Student Nesta Litteljohn, at Albany High School to express solidarity with the message of the occupy movement. With support provided by Occupy Albany supporters and former Albany High Principal Bill Washburn, Nesta and approximately a dozen Albany High students, walked out of the last two periods of class in the face of strong threats of punishment and suspension by school leadership. They marched from Albany High to the Capitol where they held a rally in support of their cause.

Also on Wednesday, Tom Burke, one of the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists refusing to testify at U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury in Chicago, including three local activists Jeanne Finley, Marwa Elbially, and Colin Donnaruma hosted a teach-in at the occupation about the Militarization of U.S. Society .

On Thursday, Dec. 1, Ira McKinley, Shelly Nortz, and Roger Markovics hosted a teach-in on the housing crises inside the Capitol Building on the third floor of the Grand Staircase. On Friday, Dec. 2 another teach-in, this one on the subject of Internet Freedom and Security, was held again in the Capitol Building on the third floor of the Grand Staircase.

For updates on what is happening during the week, visit our calendar or send an email to OccupyAlbanyPR@gmail.com to add your email address to our weekly email updates. You can also check out the Occupy Albany Facebook Page which is constantly updated with new events and actions, or follow Occupy Albany or myself or one of the many other active occupiers on twitter.

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