Most Oaklanders have followed the Occupy movement in and out of the tents and onto various other actions, some of them controversial; but do you know that Occupy Oakland has committees working on a broad range of issues? There is an arts committee to advance street art and murals, etc, and the Occupy the Courts/Move to Amend Committee is working hard on an event to be held in conjunction with the Occupy SF/Move to Amend actions on Friday, January 20th.
The twentieth is the 2nd anniversary [actually January 21st] of the Supreme Court ruling described in MovetoAmend.org as “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections [allowing unlimited secret corporate spending on elections based on their free speech rights as persons] and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.”
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street, federal courts around the country will experience a one day “occupation” designed to hasten the end of corporate rule. Both San Francisco and Oakland will stage activities in the morning, but Occupy Oakland is asking East Bay folks to come to the Ronald V Dellums Federal Building on Clay Street from 8 to 11 am and then BART over together to SF for the afternoon activities there. A table will remain at the Oakland Federal building for information on Move to Amend and Occupy the Courts throughout the day.
Phoebe Sorgen of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission has been working on this issue for a decade and said that the Citizens United ruling was the ultimate anti-democratic decision after a century of the courts moving toward establishing corporate personhood. She said, “The only way to overrule the courts is with an amendment to separate corporations from the state.”
The committee has been putting together a program of speakers, skits, and music, among them Aimee Allison, Director of Roots Action, an online organizing network, and former host of the KPFA Morning Show and, Laura Wells, former Green Party candidate for governor. Occupella, a creation of Bay Area singers and cultural workers- Hali Hammer, Betsy Rose, Nancy Schimmel, Bonnie Lockhart and Leslie Hassberg will kick off the day with songs like the Belly Button Test-if it doesn’t have a belly button, it’s not a person. If you’ve been to very many Occupy gatherings, you have heard or sung along with them.
Katy Polony who runs her own business, Espresso Express, got involved through the Local Business Liaison Committee and friend, Geza Polony, suggested that she and some others from that committee set up an Oakland branch of Occupy the Courts. Katy says that more musicians are still signing up to play for the event.
There will be a teach-in and lots of information on how to get involved with MTA [Move to Amend] and fun. To paraphrase Emma Goldman, if I can’t have fun, I don’t want to be part of your revolution. This thoughtful, creative group of East Bay folks invites you to join them on Friday, January 20th, rain or shine (bring umbrellas, still legal at the federal building) to Occupy the Courts. Please see MovetoAmend.org, Occupella.org, or contact info@occupyoaklandcourts for more information.