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an open letter to mayor menino, from amanda fucking palmer.

hola comrades.

last night i went to a rally that lasted several hours in roxbury (a neighborhood of boston proper) called “occupy the hood”, just a few blocks from where i live.
roxbury is what local boston folks would refer to as The Ghetto. almost all black. shitloads of gangs, crime, and drugs.
this rally was a unique offshoot (and the first of its kind) of the #occupyboston movement; it was organized by a bunch of local folks who wanted to use the energy from #occupy to mobilize action around their local discontent.

here are some pictures i took….

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here’s the reverend william dickerson, speaking to the crowd.
there was lots of talk of martin luther king, and what’s already been fought for….

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later, pastor Paris Cherry said: ““We are living the dream MLK was talking about, people from the suburbs and inner cities marching together for the betterment of the people.”

here’s a group of girls, all black, aged 7 around to 13, all speaking up about what a bummer it is to not feel safe from violence while walking to school (or to the corner store):

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a couple of kids from the hood held aloft some huge, bad-ass paintings they’d made…and there was a great rallying cry about youth-creativity (and supporting it):

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you readers from the UK and australia may find this shocking, but there are folks (usually young ones) shot in my neighborhood on a monthly, sometimes weekly, basis.
it’s normal news. i hear gunshots at night, and don’t think twice about it.

boston, for all it’s liberalism, is an INCREDIBLY segregated city. i live on a street that acts as an almost shockingly literal black/white divide: pretty much everybody to the north of my street is rich and white, and pretty much everybody to the south is poor…and black or hispanic. it’s no exaggeration. it’s like oil and water…and the saddest part, is that you rarely, if EVER, see the two groups intermingling.
people stick to their sides of the hood, almost exclusively.

last night, watching all the white students (and general members of the white community) trekking down to dudley square, listening to, meeting, and bonding with the black members of roxbury…was incredible. it felt like the building block of true progress – because the general point of #occupy is becoming clearer and clearer: NO change in the system, of ANY SORT, will be made unless the actual day-to-day citizens of america get off their asses, talk, bond, and organize with each other for a better system. WE have to get up, talk, isolate the issues, dialogue, attack, fix. laziness – and expecting other people to make the decisions for us – is what’s gotten us into this jam in the first place. it’s the only way. and it’s happening. slowly, but surely…and with a lot of jaded eye-rolling, but it’s happening. one by one, people are stepping out of their comfort zones and speaking up.
tonight, noam chomsky spoke to a crowd of over 1,000 people at the main site at dewey square:

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via scott eisen on flickr

it was hard to hear him, because the amps weren’t powerful enough to radiate to the number of people who came…
(here’s my picture from where we were standing….noam is in the little white blur…)

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…but the organizers quickly put together a telephone conference number so people in the crowd could PHONE in and listen. it was still hard to hear, but it was hilarious to be in a crowd of people who all had their phones to their heads.

noam warned that this must be “long struggle,” and people with power don’t yield power easily….

and winter is coming.

…………..

and the artists are coming.

we ran into my old friend markus nechay, who was there, painting with his friend scott.
markus’ was painting live portraits of people at #occupy, filling in entire pyramid with the faces of the 99%….

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and then, a few feet away, i stumbled across this sign:

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i found it hard to believe that a mayor of massachusetts would say something so flagrantly un-American, so i got home an googled.
sure enough, mayor menino said it loud and clear in an interview with new england cable news (you can see the interview in its entirety HERE: http://www.necn.com/10/11/11/Mayor-Menino-on-Occupy-Boston-arrests/landing.html?blockID=575486&feedID=8498

I sympathize with their issues, some of those issues we really have to look at in America, but when it comes to civil disobedience, I will not tolerate civil disobedience in the city of Boston.

oh man.

who ARE we? this disturbs me, a lot. here’s my letter to the mayor:

………………………
Dear Mayor Menino,

I was distressed to hear your words during your recent interview with New Englad Cable News.

Here is a quote from our own Massachusetts local hero, Henry David Thoreau, whose essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” was REQUIRED READING WHERE I WENT TO MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL:

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. 

Mr. Mayor….please don’t FIGHT YOUR CONSTITUENTS. LISTEN TO THEM.

Don’t forget what happened in Boston about, oh, 200 years ago. Don’t forget we’d be living in a very different city had it not been for some brazen acts of “civil disobedience.”

In our state, we have a civic holiday on April 19th to celebrate Patriots’ Day, and we picnic and prance and set off fireworks rejoicing the fact that a bunch of Minutemen (who were basically scared, average citizens) in Lexington and Concord boldly engaged in life-or-death acts of civil disobedience that led to the independence of this country, and you have the nerve to say that you won’t “tolerate” peaceful civil disobedience in the city of Boston?

For shame, Mr. Mayor, for shame.
Your constituent,
Amanda Palmer
XXXXXXXXXXX St. Apt 2
Boston, MA 02118
…………………………………….

i doubt he’ll send me a cheesecake or a souvenir of the state house.

but it felt good to write it.

i’m also going to email it to him.

LOVE.
AFP.

p.s. if you want to send your own email to mayor menino: http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/default.aspx?id=55, or mayor@cityofboston.gov

….and if you feel like directly supporting occupy boston, there’s a KICKSTARTER to create a newspaper called the “occupy boston globe” to distribute information amongst those in the city with little or no access to internet. at this moment they’ve crowd-funded a little over $7,000 of a $8,000 goal and have six days left to raise the rest. a little bit will go a long way, go support: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obg/the-occupy-boston-globe?ref=live

if you’re in boston, and want to donate MATERIALS, the occupy guys need fire extinguishers and other materials as the crowds grow. please follow their twitter – @Occupy_Boston – and go to their website to donate: occupyboston.org

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  • http://movementamerica.com Keith X

    Amanda Fucking Palmer Is The Shit. Love you, but not as much as Neil does! Well, almost ; )

    • Henna HighMaintenance

      I started this sunday with emailing the Mayor of Boston. Oh, i can smell my A List future through London’s autumn blight. :) Thank you for the blog, it’s the kick in the head i need when I got to comfortable. xx

  • PolitelyOffend

    Boston is such a strange city.
    I love Boston, but the city and many surrounding suburbs are not only segregated, but also very much divided by class. I grew up in a suburb where I was one of the only Hispanic residents. Also, I’ve been in your neighborhood quite a few times. The divide is actually visible. I first Hung around the neighborhood when i was 15, as the city was the only safe haven other than my house that I had after I came out of the closet. I went to lgbt meetings in that neighborhood where a group of out butcher lesbians, gay men, and drag queens would hang out on the stoop and also events where we would be dressed flamboyantly at night (i would usually end up running around the city with a girl)We were usually on edge a bit, especially since the group had a mix of races. People can’t usually tell I’m gay, and i look like any race. I’m literally a racial rorschach and have been mistaken for almost every race and nationality, so walking through certain neighborhoods is significantly easier for me than it would be for most of my friends. The Italians think I’m Italian, the Hispanics see me as Hispanic (which I am), I’ve been mistaken for being Asian, Mediterranean, white, Native American, and so on. But when i am with a friend in Boston in certain areas, the treatment is very different. I can walk around most of Boston feeling very safe…as long as my race and sexuality remain open to interpretation. I really think that Boston comes off a lot more liberal than they actually are. It’s a Lnglaterra established city with long established neighborhoods that are usually based around race.It’s very set in its ways. Hopefully it can be improved soon, because I love it nonetheless.

    • PrfktTear

      How “liberal” Boston is all depends on what street you’re strolling down…

      I have a friend who is half Canadian and half Iranian, but with his strong facial features, olive skin, and long, flowing black hair, he is commonly mistaken for a Native American. I have another friend whose skin is very dark and she is commonly mistaken for being “African-American” but she is infact half-Indian and half Panamanian!
      You can tell a lot about a person by looking at them, what shoes they are wearing, their body language, etc, but not their race/nationality or sexuality. Maybe at some point people will realize this. We’re getting there, but still not out of the hole yet —

  • http://www.facebook.com/taylerjames.connolly Taylerjames Connolly

    Its great to see you care so deeply about your community and the discordance in it being penetrated so thoroughly into everyone minds as the norm.
    I genuine hope people listen because that’s the most we can ever dream for in this life.

  • Ali

    I wholly agree with your statements – both to do with the segregation of Boston and that charming little soundbite by the Mayor. You’re a very intelligent gal, and this was a joy to read.

  • KatC

    Thank you for writing this!!  A bit of semantics – you said that Noam Chomsky spoke tonight at the “actual” Occupy Boston site – seems to me both sites you mentioned were “actual” Occupy Boston sites – maybe there was a “first” and “second” one, or a “main” and “Roxbury” one, but both are “actual”, yes?  Thank you for being a bridge, Amanda – you connect so many people who might not otherwise find or hear each other!

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      the site in roxbury was just a rally, not an occupation, but i’ll edit to clarify. thanks….

      • Realmk3

        http://socialistparty-usa.org/platform/
         
        Perhaps you folks should actually know what a cause is about before rallying to it. This is absolutely disgusting, what  greedy entitlement whores socialists are.

        We demand the immediate withdrawal of the United States from the North
        American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free
        Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and oppose the creation of a widened Free Trade
        Area of the Americas (FTAA).

        We call for worker and community ownership and control of
        corporations within the framework of a decentralized and democratically
        determined economic plan.

        We call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.

        We call for a full employment policy. We support the provision of a livable guaranteed annual income.

        We call for all financial and insurance institutions to be socially
        owned and operated by a democratically-controlled national banking
        authority, which should include credit unions, mutual insurance
        cooperatives, and cooperative state banks. In the meantime, we call for
        re-regulation of the banking and insurance industries.

        We call for a steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated
        estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum.
        We oppose regressive taxes such as payroll tax, sales tax, and property
        taxes.

        We call for the restoration of the capital gains tax and luxury tax on a progressive, graduated scale.

        We call for compensation to communities– and compensation,
        re-training, and other support service for workers– affected by plant
        and military base closings as stop-gap measures until we reach our goal
        of creating a socialist society totally separate from the global
        capitalist economy.

        We oppose the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the
        World Trade Organization as instruments of capitalist oppression
        throughout the world.

        We demand cancellation of Third World debt.

        We call for a National Pension Authority to hold the assets of
        private pension funds, and a levy against corporate assets for any
        pension fund deficits.

        We call for increased and expanded welfare assistance and increased
        and expanded unemployment compensation at 100% of a worker’s previous
        income or the minimum wage, whichever is higher, for the full period of
        unemployment or re-training, whichever is longer.

        We support a program of massive federal investment in both urban and
        rural areas for infrastructure reconstruction and economic development.

        We support tax benefits for renters equal to those for homeowners.

        We call for the elimination of subsidies and tax breaks that benefit corporations and all other forms of corporate welfare.

        We oppose the court-created precedent of “corporate personhood” that
        illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human
        beings

        We support the right of any number of interested workers in a
        workplace to form a union with no limits on the subjects upon which
        employees and unions may bargain with employers.

        We support the right of public sector workers to strike.

        We call for recognizing a union based on cards signed.

        We call for the democratic control of all unions by their membership, and independent of employer domination and influence.

        We support the right of all workers to engage in collective action and self-representation regardless of union status.

        We support militant, united labor action including hot cargo
        agreements, and boycotts, factory committees, secondary and sympathy
        strikes, sit-down strikes, general strikes, and ultimately the
        expropriation of workplaces.

        We support the right of workers to hold shop meetings on company
        premises, elect their immediate supervisors, and administer health and
        safety programs through the formation of shop councils.

        We call for the repeal of the Hatch Act and the Taft-Hartley Act,
        the “hot cargo” provision of the Landrum-Griffin Act, and all so-called
        “right-to-work” laws.

        We call for the same benefits for part-time workers as for full-time workers.

        We call for increased health and safety regulation of business, and
        for increasing the size and enforcement power of the Occupational Safety
        and Health Administration (OSHA).

        We support the creation of a fund for workers which would pay a
        worker’s full wages and health insurance as well as necessary
        educational and/or retraining costs if that worker loses a job due to
        environmental transition, down-sizing, corporate dismantlement, or
        capital flight.

        We call for a 30 hour work week at no loss of pay, with six weeks annual paid vacation.

        We call for unions to stop using union funds for electing candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties.

        We call for the end of the decades-long exclusion of farm workers and domestic workers from receiving overtime pay

        We support the formation of collectives, arts centers and schools,
        independent media, theaters and festivals to advance such cultural
        endeavors as music, poetry, prose, drama, dance, storytelling, visual
        art, and videography.

        We support guaranteed incomes and grants for artists and performers.

        We support making schools and workplaces available as cultural centers.

        We call for full funding of community and school arts programs for people of all ages.

        We call for full funding to keep libraries, museums, cultural centers, and historic sites open and accessible to all.

        We call for the preservation of literature, art, music, dance, oral
        traditions, and audio and video recordings that have arisen out of
        people’s experiences: young and old, of all nationalities and colors,
        sexual preferences, working, un- and under-employed, and disabled.

        We support the autonomy of artists of color, women artists, and disabled artists in their creative work.

        We support the right of artists to join and form unions to protect their
        labor rights and to form collectives to advance common artistic
        visions.

        • Realmk3

           I especially love the part about living wages and 30 hour work weeks, and turning schools into indoctrination centers, like they aren’t already. Liberalism is such a disease. You folks rallying to this shit ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  I love your music Amanda I truly do but if these are your pollitical views.. God help us.

  • http://naturallydotty.wordpress.com Dragonsally

    We’ve had similar comments from our Lord Major here in Melbourne.  Have you seen what happened here on Friday? Riot squad sent in to evict the occupyMelbourne protest, and in Sydney this morning the same thing happened.

    For once, The Australian newspaper has a brilliant piece about the movement.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/occupy-movement-will-go-on-as-long-as-the-people-are-feeling-aggrieved/story-e6frgd0x-1226173441328.

    Thank you for your post.

  • http://twitter.com/raliel robin stevenson

    from a european point of view, civil disobedience has shaped our history and our lives….the french revolution of 1789 had disturbingly similar reasons for happening as the current global Occupy movements….pointless wars financed by an already financially crippled economy, followed by a tiny percent of the populace openly enjoying horrendous luxury while the main population has not enough to privide the basics AND THE ELITE NOT PAYING ATTENTION….thinking that the masses were not worth listening too and carrying right along stealing from them…….let us hop e that we can have a peaceful revolution this time…..no guns, no swords, no guillotines, no mob rule….just our voices actually being heard….itis not that our demands are confused it is that the message is so big and covers so much of what has gone wrong…. Start listening and start taking it seriously…

  • http://twitter.com/tyler_lake Tyler

    Noam Chomsky’s talk at Occupy Boston:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OqDmXUGDBo
    Great post, AFP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Beatie/100000002360124 Bob Beatie

    Awesome Amanda, I am sharing this to Occupy Seattle

  • http://twitter.com/tyler_lake Tyler

    The best video of Noam Chomsky’s talk at Occupy Boston:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OqDmXUGDBo

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      thanks for posting. i’ll watch it and tweet…..

      • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

        still waiting for more video to come in – this one’s got a really slow start, online eyes will wander away. keep sending links!!!

  • cat

    never commented before but this is a beautiful post, felt obligated

  • BobT

    Thank you for this great post. I am an American living in Australia (met you in Perth several months ago) and the difference between Australia and America sometimes is quite disheartening to me. Here in Australia the minimum wage is over $15 (in Australian dollars, but they’re worth about the same as the US Dollar right now). There is almost nowhere in this city that I wouldn’t go at night, which is a stark difference from pretty much every major city in the US. If you have a full time job here, you can support yourself and have a decent life – have a vacation every year, afford a few luxuries – even if that’s just a job stocking shelves or dishing out burgers and fries. In America the conversation should be about why people in less skilled professions have to work two jobs to make ends meet; instead you’ve got a significant portion of the population blaming teachers and garbagemen for the country’s ills.

    I love my native country and I hope that this movement eventually leads to a better place with more equality, more harmony, less crime and less hate. Keep it up, occupiers.

    P.S. – I still smile to myself when I walk past an Australian Federal Police car, as they all have AFP stamped on the rear bumper in big letters.

  • PrintedB

    I have been long a fan of the idea of civil disobedience, “as one with out fear of consequence of law is one who lives with out fear” has been my personal ideal for years wether it has been my prints/paintings, music or political views I will always voice this idea. I too find it alarming that in areas that would have believed to be blue states or liberal areas would find the idea of civil disobedience alarming as disgraceful. I as a Pittsburgher understand this idea, I live in a city that has been destroyed by corporate industry and left for dead, rebuilt and then convinced to forget it’s own roots. We in my city live in the centre of the rust belt and need to only take a short trip back into our own history to remember the shock of the unions being busted, the workers being raped and the voices silenced, yet the conservative resistance rages with vicious ambitions of blending fiscal conservancy with corporate greed and confusing so-called christian fundamentalism with a social moral compas (a.k.a. doing the next right thing). #occupy is not a rebellion it is revolution, a call for change of guard, a death to a visage currently displaying democracy but only privileged to the few, this is what I truly believe and this is the only reason that I believe the country I chose to serve so many years ago is in my opinion within its own saving grace. 
    ” If once the people become inattentive to public affairs you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, and Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to become law of general nature, in spite of individual expectations.” Thomas Jefferson

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      THOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! rah.

  • PrfktTear

    Look I am one of the 99% and I support the Occupy movement, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this and doing stuff like blocking bridges and roads that could potentially prevent emergency services from getting where they are needed should not be supported. I’ve heard  clips of Menino saying the movement is something that should be looked at more closely, which I thought was a magnanimous, but understanding stance.

  • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

    I’m torn here, Amanda.  Your letter to the Mayor is perfect.  Civil disobedience is a fundamental part of being an American, and I was shocked when I heard the mayor say that.

    But the point of civil disobedience is to break the law you intend to change.  You sit at the lunch counter to protest the fact that they won’t serve you at the lunch counter, and that’s wrong, and by your disobedience you are moving America forward.

    When I was watching the situation unfold on Twitter the night that Occupy Boston tried to expand to the Greenway, which was what prompted his comment, I was so frustrated.  Suddenly this movement that’s about things I care passionately about — the shrinking middle class and the disenfranchisement of all but the wealthiest Americans, and the paralyzation of Congress, valuing the political points they can score on each other over the well-being of the electorate to the point that they deliberately prevent any solutions from being passed because the party whose idea they were will get credit for fixing things — suddenly the thing Occupy Boston cared most passionately about was making it as difficult as possible for the police to remove them from the Greenway.

    The police were tweeting that the place they had moved to was recently landscaped and they wanted to prevent more damage, and Occupy Boston’s tweets in reply were everyone come down!  Link arms!  They can’t make us move!  There was clearly an excitement about having a confrontation with the police.  Their web site announced that the police had assaulted them 2 hours before anything had happened.  They all tweeted to bring cameras and capture evidence of the brutality they all seemed to be hoping for.

    And, why??  Because it is unreasonable to be asked not to occupy a recently landscaped park?  Suddenly THAT became the focus of the movement?  I was really disappointed.  And then I felt guilty about that, like I was being a bad liberal or something.  Then I heard what the Mayor said the next day, and I thought ah geeze, he’s a moron, and I was equally fed up with both sides.

    I want to support the Occupy movements, I really do.  And reading about the rally in Roxbury inspires me to believe something could grow out of it more productive than the burning-man-ization of parks in our major cities.  I really, really, really, really hope so!!!

  • me

    It is incredible that politicians exist or since they want that there are called that they continue thinking about this form, the rebelliousness is a part of the revolution and the revolution is a part of our history, but we would continue living in the epoch of the dinosaurs. 
     Often the power gives impunity to say things like that this man said, but always in any place there will be people with courage, as you, who was revealed.
     One feels that there will be a great change, sooner or later it was happening, which upsets is to see many arrested persons, the fear never has to win.
     Shit, all we are free, let’s not stop to trample on our voice.
    When I read the part in which it counts on where it lives, it made me agree when I rose to an autobus, mike, and all the seats were occupied except one, even there were stopped people, they were two seats, the question was that the person who was next to the empty seat was not a “white” executive with his briefcase, as he said you, a scandalous division: white / black, the first thing that I did was to sit down next to, I remember that tape-worm sat in his knees to his daughter, looks at the girl and smile, it look at him and I saw his look in the window, in my life I me never go to forgetting of these two persons.In end, everything what it put in his blog made me agree to John Lennon, song ” Gimme Some Truth ”

    Kisses from Argentina, and my stamp Pardon for my Englishman (I am thinking to do shirts with this phrase)

  • http://naturallydotty.wordpress.com Dragonsally

    If anyone is interested, here’s a really good account of what happened on Friday in Melbourne, and in the comments Sydney is discussed too.
    http://overland.org.au/2011/10/occupy-melbourne-eviction/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521625964 Mutha Hydra

    Amanda – Winter IS Coming :) ( great to hear you had a fun visit with the ‘rents in Sante Fe ).

    Solidarity from London – we have two camps set up at St. Paul’s and a new one at Finsbury Square, and there is talk of a 3rd and more camps around the city. This movement is growing in many different directions and I celebrate it’s diversity. I sang Creep really loud and raw at bankers arriving for work at the stock exchange the other day ! Some of them looked genuinely confused and I like to think it induced them to come and recieve their free hugs from the Anonymous London Hug Exchange :)

    I will be performing at a Party on 5th November from 7pm GMT which you could look at here – http://the-67.com/index.html – Medieval grotesque burlesque with me Bella LaJosie ( Jo – I sang GRRM is not your bitch to Niel in London  – remember ? ), weapons, fire, random stunts and fake violence and zombie gogo dancing to the noize master Nigel’s head splitting sound.

    Check us out and hug Niel ( and as many occupiers as possible ) from myself and Meg and listen to P – she is, after all, the mother of all things.

    Winter is coming …              … better put your vest on.

    love Jo
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Anna

    Heartbreaking that children feel that way. That made me cry. And so did seeing all those people coming together to effect positive change. Thank you for the awareness. Good luck xxx
    Anna

  • http://www.facebook.com/misadventures.in.modern.music Michael Johnson

    Unfortunately there are parts of London where it’s common to hear gunshots at night…and where things like this: http://www.channel4.com/news/girl-aged-5-gunned-down-in-london-shooting happen too often. London is not the nice, fluffy, Bobbies-on-bicycles-two-by-two city it’s often assumed to be. I don’t think it ever was, really. We just got a good PR agent.

    However, I’m encouraged that the bit of London I live in is probably the most multi-cultural, multi-ethinc, multi-everything area in town, and we all get along just fine. You can walk around the world in length of my local High Street – the shops represent just about every nation and every continent on the planet (except possibly Greenland, and I’m sure someone will open a specialist Greenland deli before too long). Everyone goes to every shop; everyone walks down every street. The invisible barriers of self-imposed segregation just don’t seem to be there.

    My neighbours on the street where I live similarly represent the world – in about 200 yards and about 60 houses. In fact, both my next-door neighbours and the people across the street are mixed-ethnicity families, and nobody thinks twice about it. I suppose I’m in a mixed household itself, since my wife is American….from Boston, as it happens. Nobody regards this as unusual, and my wife never gives the fact that she’s Not From Round Here a second thought.

    I’m quite proud of all this – all the more so because the whole situation has arisen naturally, without any appeals from pressure groups or initiatives by politicians. We just did it, all by ourselves.

    It’s not like my area is completely free of crime or social stress of one sort or another, of course – it’s not a particularly rich area, and it’s been hit hard by the UK’s tanking economy. The inevitable problems that stem from that do exist. We’re still part of not-fluffy London, after all.  But the way we all rub along together without dramatics just shows that it can happen.

    (London people: I haven’t mentioned the name of the area I’m referring to here. See if you can guess!)

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      london is the #1 place in the world, behind new york, where i am amazed (coming from boston) how much more easily people fuse. not to say there’s not a shit-ton of racism to go with it. but the vibe i pick up is that way more progress has been made.

      • http://twitter.com/raliel robin stevenson

        indeed wheras many places “ghettoise” London seems to revel in integration, especially at the poorer ends…..it has always been so… indeed in many ways it resembles Ankh-Morpork more than Ankh-Morpork parodies london….it is only the privileged that try to segregate London into
        cultural or class ghettos..everyone else just gets on with being part of a unique ( but flawed) city… I would rather live in london than almost any other city in the world, simply because it is such a colection of tiny villages that became one, rather than a big city that pretends it is a collection of villages………

  • matthew foley

    very well written afp.  i especially love how you made direct correlations thoreau and menino.  really enjoyed this piece so thank you for chiming in.

  • http://alittlepracticality.blogspot.com/ AmyK

    I can’t believe the mayor said that. Has the government forgotten how this country came to be and what we stand for? Or should? Your letter was spot on.

  • Fausto

    Awesome post, Amanda. I have friends who are part of the Occupy Philly movement.

  • IsabellaisAlive!

    I actually think Mayor Menino’s actions might strengthen the movement.  Many protests that are well organized can degenerate into near riots by joiners who are not on board for the right reasons or do just want to be part of  a big angry mob.  Mayors have little power to control the economic forces that have come to shape the current problems our country and world now face.  They do, however, have a role in ensuring the communities they lead are kept peaceable for all inhabitants, regardless of their perspectives or interests.  It seems like the protestors have been given an area to demonstrate.  It really was a bit unreasonable, I think, for them to move to an area that had been designated as off limits.  The strength of the movement in NYC has been protestors interested in accommodating the restrictions that have been imposed on them so that NYC’ers can maintain their daily routine and voices can still be heard.  I think that for the protest to maintain it’s legitimacy it is imperative that protestors in other communities follow suit.  Many working folks sympathize with the cause but cannot participate because they need to continue to work, make sure their bills are paid and take care of their families.  It is the mayor’s job to ensure that this is not disrupted by any undertaking.  I think that protest leaders should be more active in making sure that protestors do not participate in activities that could be perceived as “civil disobedience.”  That will ensure that the movement maintains it’s legitimacy and that folks will continue to have their voices heard and taken seriously.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      well, as someone on twitter just pointed out, there’s technically no civil “disobedience” with “permission”….

  • Krisioneill

    Did you hear about the shocking police action which ended occupy Melbourne. Im glad your protest was more civil !

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      yes, and it saddened me. & i hope my friends in australia continue to fight the good fight.

  • AR

    On the topic of segregation:

     I live in the UK and last summer when I visited The USA for the first time (New York and Boston), I was more horrified by the segregation I saw than by anything else in my life. It is still the first thing that I think of in association with the US and it still disturbs me. This is certainly mostly due to naivety, I have only lived in Scottish towns and now an international university town in England. But still. I came home and wrote an article on it for my school paper. Everyone read it, everyone said they loved it. But no one understood. No one said “this is awful”. Again, I know it is naivety to think that segregation is something new, something unexpected. But maybe if we all looked at thing a bit more innocently and less jadedly…

  • Johncberg

    Thanks for this great statement – all of it!

  • All Facts Support My Positions

    The mayor is only interested in one thing. Making sure the filthy rich slime buckets he hangs around with can continue to get every opportunity to overfill their bank accounts.

    The nation our founding fathers built from the ground up has failed. Once you reach a certain level in wealth and power, you are beyond prosecution, regardless of how many people you defraud.

    The banksters broke laws. They were not prosecuted. They were not jailed. “Justice for all” my ass mayor.

    And the mayor want to threaten us? For what? Living in our cars, and eating from dumpsters? Causing a ruckus?

    Dear mayor (I am on the side of the rich and the powerful) dirtbag. Are you protesting? If someone lied to you and sold you some worthless loan, or investment, and you lost everything would you be with us?

    Every single American is one slip on the ice from being one of the “needy” and they pretend like Wall Street would never crush them.

    Sick isn’t it…..

  • Ryan_Anas

    If only more of our leaders were able to connect the past to the present with an artist’s eye…

    I loved what you said about how laziness is what has put us in this position. It is important to remember that to feel powerful, to embrace the power we all have inside of us is hard, hard work. It is an acceptance of a great deal of responsibility and requires us to let go of so much pain and conditioning. But, what we have to ask ourselves now is at what point will we stand up for ourselves. How much more can we allow our way of life to erode before all ground to stand up for ourselves is gone. And most importantly, will we do the hard work and accept our power before it’s too late.

    I think we have. I think we are! 

    Thank you for your accounts and your words. 

    Love Ry

  • maiamadness

    Glad to see that, whatever else the actual outcome of all this will be, some good has already come of it. Keep fighting!

  • http://twitter.com/MichellePecor M. Pecor Ciccariello

    Your needs an even wider audience (but fix the Patriot’s Day to say it’s a “state” not “national” holiday, so it won’t be confused with the National “Patriot Day” which fed gov ironically used for 9-11) PLEASE EVERYBODY KEEP RETWEETING IT!

  • http://twitter.com/AidaVonHeideger She said: Oh!

    Awesome! What you are doing in USA with  “the occupy movement” is incredible… I’m from Spain and to see the whole world raising up makes me feel very happy. Keep fighting!

  • http://twitter.com/MichellePecor M. Pecor Ciccariello

    Your letter needs an even wider audience (but fix the Patriot’s Day to say it’s a “state” not “national” holiday, so it won’t be confused with the National “Patriot Day” which fed gov ironically used for 9-11) PLEASE EVERYBODY KEEP RETWEETING IT! Who could ever have predicted such a day would come when we would hear those words out of ANY mayor of Boston?  These are scary times… not the time to go gently…

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      ike!!! i’ll fix that. i’m in a massachusetts bubble.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000483402578 Adam Johnston

    Amanda Palmer you fucking ROCK!

  • http://www.facebook.com/StJadwiga Jadwiga McKay

    Way to stand up for yourself, for Boston, for Occupy Wall Street, and for freedom.  Thank you for your boldness. 

  • http://maartendas.blogspot.com feeblemind

    So, this whole Occupy thing. I need to get my mind sorted. The thing is, I used to be heavily in protest movements some years ago (mainly 2003 – 2007). But that changed  after my renewed embrace of the Christian faith. At first, I wanted to see if Christianity and (in my case) Marxism could co-exist in my life. But I found that this slowly became unbearable. I had to choose. I have no other way to explain. It was not a rational decision – I tried. But the two grew apart. I said goodbye to Marxism, and slowly but surely over the last few years I have been moving ever steadily away from protest rallies and ultimately politics altogether. I cried and cheered when Mubarak was driven away earlier this year but that was about the last sparkle of political activism/consciousness inside me that I felt.

    Now, ever since this whole Occupy thing started, I have felt something that could best be described as “fatigue”. I would never join, no matter how much I share the underlying concerns. I am highly sensitive to the urgency and feelings behind the events of Occupy. And the Christian inside of me is willing to visit some of the sites to see if I could assist in giving activists food or whatever. But standing side by side and actually joining – every fibre of my being says “no”. I can’t explain it. It’s been happening over the course of several years. And it’s the flipside of a much bugger revolution – a revolution of my heart. One way (that of political activism) had to get closed off in order for me to pursue a religious path. I believe this with all my heart.

    In fact, whenever I see or hear about Occupy, my reflex is to pray. To
    turn from the streets and the scenes and to pray. Right now, for me this
    is the only way of dealing with my feelings of being connected to the
    world around me. It starts with prayer and only then can I turn to my
    neighbour. And protest has no place in that.

    And tied in with that is a question and somehow this felt like the place and the time to phrase it. And it’s directed to those involved in or (deeply) sympathizing with Occupy. What I want to ask is: would you blame me, in an historic point of view?

    • Eric Bailey

      One of the heroes and role models for this movement is Martin Luther King Jr, a Christian clergyman.  The Roman Empire certainly considered what Christ was leading to be civil disobedience.

      Also, this isn’t a Marxist movement.  I’m a Capitalist, myself.  What this is about, though, isn’t Capitalism, but Corporatism.  They aren’t one and the same.

      Capitalism is about creating a product or service, selling it, and making money.  Henry Ford worked for safer working conditions, created the 40 hour work week, and paid his employees based on what they’d have to make to be able to afford the products they were making for him.  So, he not only had happy employees, but that many more customers. Considering how wealthy this made him, we can say his way of doing business worked. 

      What the Corporatists label “Capitalism” isn’t.  Their system is to buy politicians, control the media, and wreck their own companies to line their pockets.  What most of today’s corporations fail to realize is people without money or jobs can’t buy their products.  They scratch their heads wondering why people aren’t buying stuff.   

      As a Christian, I think prayer and meditation are the right place to start.  We are all connected to God, and God connects us all.  We all need to feel that connection (whether we beieve in God in some form or not).  From there comes compassion.  I would go so far as to suggest that what we’re seeing around the world, these people standing up and making their voices heard, is a reaction to the Nihilism and cynicism that has ruled our world for so long. 

      Whatever you choose to do, remember this.  Whatever good you do, even if it’s something as simple as a kind and understanding word, makes a difference, however small.  Every bit of good we do helps save the world. 

      • Vlad XXII

        “The Roman Empire certainly considered what Christ was leading to be civil disobedience.”

        And that “certainly” certainly comes from a highly documented research of yours, right ?

        Sorry about the sarcasm but I truly can’t stand liberals trying to make a rebellious hippie out of Jesus Christ.

        • Eric Bailey

          Try reading the Gospels.

          There’s a reason the local authorities, the priesthood, and the Empire reacted the way they did.  They considered Jesus a threat to their estabished order.

          • Vlad XXII

            Start quoting them. Especially where ‘civil  disobedience’ is written.
            Once you’ve noticed it’s not there, try leaving Jesus Christ out of any liberal protest.

            If this childish crowd had anything Christian about it, their asses wouldn’t be sitting on the floor with cardboard signs. They would be moving to charity places, tending to the poor.

  • http://orphicfiddler.deviantart.com/ Tess Grover

    One of the most interesting things to come out of the Occupy movement has definitely been just getting to see how politicians and police respond to large quantities of Americans protesting. And it’s been kind of startling.

    Over in Seattle where I live, they forbade people from even using freaking umbrellas as a form of shelter, since they won’t let protesters have tents. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And the movement is certainly growing in part because people who weren’t as pissed off by the government to start with are now frightened and angered by how the government is responding. Why are politicians so keen to make enemies? It’s a terrible time for them to do so.

  • Realmk3

    That 1% already pays the bulk of taxes in this country to begin with.  http://netrightdaily.com/2011/08/buffetts-billion-dollar-tax-hypocrisy/

    The issue isn’t taxes, it’s the out of control spending both Liberals and middle ground Republicans enjoy so much.  If liberals would stop resorting to class warfare  and playing the race card constantly perhaps some actual changes could be made to improve things and reduce the debt.

    That so many people have such an entitlement attitude these days is sickening. What happened to being responsible and earning the good things in life? Stop expecting the rich to support everyone else, cut the out of control spending and wasteful stimulus packages that don’t work, Bush’s 2 didnt, Obama’s didn’t.  Take some damn personal responsibility and live in reality. No one is entitled to the high life from the womb, hard work, sweat, and sacrifice does far more to ensure success, it also feels a lot better rather than demanding a free ride.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U5JC44ORUAB2P67UWTVEAS7DBM JohnG

      Not as a percentage of their income they don’t.  Earned income is taxed more heavily than income yielded by long term capital gains. If you are poor, and living hand to mouth then long term investments are out of the question.  So in fact the rich have an edge.  When Republicans continue to advocate for flat taxes they only hope to shift the burden further on to the backs of the working class. 

      It seems to me that power goes hand in hand with responsibility.  Noone seeks to tax businesses and the wealthy into submission.  Simply to share a little more of their prosperity to stabilize the base of the pyramid on which they stand.

      Noone likes the idea of deficit spending.  It just rings false when those of your ilk only now take umbrage because the other party has control of the purse strings. The time to go on a diet is not now that we are dying of malnourishment.  It was before when your cronies were binding at the trough.

      The fact is both parties like to spend money.  The Democrats generally spend on programs that benefit the poor and working class.  The Republicans generally spend on no-bid contracts and subsidies for their political patrons.  One is nourishment.  The other is junk food.

      For me this is not class warfare.  It is generational warfare.  You are fighting to enhance your American dream.  Occupy is fighting to ensure you leave something on the table for your children’s.

      • Realmk3

         This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of
        29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes
        and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington
        think tank.

        Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.

        Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households
        making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent
        of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and
        $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

        Again I really don’t get where liberals get the idea that the top earners don’t pay the most in taxes. That is such a false statement to begin with.  I also stated in my original post that it is BOTH Repubs and Dems that like to spend, Democrats just like to do it in a different way, punish those who worked hard to get where they are, and give it to people who generally haven’t and don’t deserve it.  That’s the epitome of class warfare.

        I am not a 1% er by any means, I’m middle class myself and consider myself a fiscal conservative. Fact of the matter is more taxes on the top earners isn’t going to solve anything, they already pay the most. Cutting spending, be it entitlement programs on those who abuse the system, (and there’s plenty of loopholes that allow it to happen)  Pet projects, government bailouts etc etc is what would make more sense and might actually make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U5JC44ORUAB2P67UWTVEAS7DBM JohnG

          You seem to be missing the point.  We have graduated tax rate.  So there is no question that those who earn more pay more on earned income. 

          What is at issue is the HIGHEST earners are often compensated in stocks and investments, which when held for over one year are taxed at 15% (http://bit.ly/5btG8D).

          So for example.  The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz was paid 24.7 million in stock options on top of his 21.7 million in salary (http://usat.ly/fAFGB2).   If he holds the stock options for more than a year he will pay 15% in taxes on that share of his compensation.  That is less than a person whose taxable income is 42K a year (http://1.usa.gov/1hA2g4).

          Do you want to tell me that the guy or girl whose struggles on 42K a year isn’t working hard?  Who know right?  But I think we can all agree that the CEO probably isn’t working 1,100 times harder.  But that is how much more he takes home.  1,100 times more.  Half of which is taxed more favorably than his 42K counterpart.

          • Realmk3

            And? The problem with that is what exactly? Maybe the guy or girl making 42k should get a better position somewhere else, or strive to gain better knowledge to get further ahead in life. Why should it be the responsibility of someone else to worry about them? Personal responsibility is a wonderful satisfying thing.  That’s the issue in the US these days. No one takes responsibility and instead feel they are entitled to other people’s wealth and look towards the government to hold their hands.

            Socialism is a failed ideology.

            Better yet change the progressive tax system to a flat rate of say 18%, that way everyone pays the same. Clearly that would be fair to everyone wouldn’t it? I mean they’d all be paying the same amount. Innovation and working hard to better one’s self and get ahead be damned.

          • CC

            Some people dont HAVE the chance to better themselves. Parents with low income jobs cant send them to school. Loans are difficult to get, and hard to repay and put you further in debt. For some people who dont want to take that risk, the best they can do is try and keep out of the red.

            You are wrong to judge people based on numbers. You have no idea what they’ve gone through and what they’ve lost trying to get someplace better.
            There is a man at occupy seattle. He went to Beverly Hills High school. He was in the 1%. But he lost his money in the stock crash. Nobody needs new highers for journalists. He pushed his education as far as he could, invested his money int othe system the best way he knew how, and lost. He recently lost his home. He is currently occupying Seattle’s City Hall, negotiating with the mayor, and organizing everything there.

            My friend’s mother worked her whole life. Saved money, went to college, had her 401k. She got artheritis in the knee, and got fired because she has problems walking. My friend is now working 35 hour weeks to help get some of the burdens off her mom’s shoulders, while going to college. She is 17. Because of something beyond her mom’s control they are struggling. Her older sister is 30 thousand in debt trying to get through medical school. Her mother is going to classes whenever she can, on unemployment, but is still trying to get loans so she can keep the house they’re living in.

            You have no right to judge someone. How dare you assume anything. You should be ashamed of your judgemental perspective and prejudice remarks.

        • CC

          The upper 1% have deductions avaliable. The upper one percent have businesses. Like Bank Of America. Huge tax return. Why? Their BUSINESS was in the negatives…after paying the priority stock holders (WHICH INCLUDES THEMSELVES) and sending money to low income housing projects. The donation to low income housing got them a return, the negative in money got them not paying a damn thing.
          In addition, the highest tax payments required is currently 35%. That is on an increasing scale. Google it yourself. If you make over $379,150, you have a 35% tax on everything AFTER 379150. But all the money before that is taxed lower, and there is the Social Security cap that still exists. Which ALSO works in their favor, but against those needing the money. The average senior citizen on full SS has about 3-5 thousand dollars gap between living expenses, and how much they receive. If you scrap the cap then you wouldnt have that issue. The problem isn’t just basic income taxes. Its the other government fees that they get out of paying, but still can eventually pull from.

          the point – top earners DONT pay the most. In H&R tax classes, you’re told that people in the 35% bracket hardly EVER pay that full amount. People with that much money have too much room for deductions.
          While the tax system is trying to be fair, it needs a lot of work still. The best immediate plan is to maintain SS deductions, but remove the cap on it.

  • elblooz

    Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” was one of my core texts back when i was opposing the Vietnam War and becoming a conscientious objector. I’m glad you reminded the mayor about it.

  • Anthony Bucci

    Hi Amanda,

    You rock. I share your disdain for Menino’s comments. You might appreciate http://www.flickr.com/photos/59311579@N07/6236000752/in/photostream

    Anthony

  • Fitzcaelte

    A thought struck me today as I was listening to some people argue about this whole thing… Someone said that everyone earning the same wage might be good and while I figure the human ‘race’ is not ready for that this thought hit me… If I knew I’d earn the same amount no matter what job I was doing then I’d be doing something that MAKES ME HAPPY… Wow! Wouldn’t that be different…

  • Bill Green

    “Down with these major corporations” – written on my mac.

  • Vlad XXII

    “boston, for all it’s liberalism, is an INCREDIBLY segregated city.”

    I love it when liberals’ brains just shut down at the threshold of discovering an everlasting truth.
    Only teenagers – and liberals, yes, but they all attend the same kindergarten eventually – can think that liberalism is all about being good and gentle… and spooning.

    At some point, we should devote a part of your brain to name all the famous liberals who spend a lot of time talking and talking and talking about the poor and the underprivileged. From Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Noam Chomsky to Sean Penn, Al Gore or Barack Obama, it is always the same clique.
    You would then have THE mind-blowing revelation : NONE OF ‘EM LIVE IN DA HOOD.

    They sure all have big mouths and are always eager to speak in the name of the poor and the oppressed. But never expect them to stick around. Because, you see, they’ve got important shit to do like making music and movies, writing dumb books (insert Chomsky here) and parading on TV and partying with other like-minded artists who – what a surprise ! – also happen to share this craving for unfortunate masses who don’t live the lives of John “I just love my villa” Kerry.

    Anyway, enough with the hypocrisy/naivety.
    Please.

  • http://www.wholesaleinsurance.net/ Life of Roger

    The photo with the sign about civil disobedience was inspiring. Probably the best shot you took. Keep it up Amanda!

  • Mandy Oliveiro

    “sure enough, mayor menino said it loud and clear”

    since when has mumbles said ANYTHING loud and clear?

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