Take Back The Capitol — Right Message, Right Time

Last week’s Take Back the Capitol action brought two or three thousand unemployed people to the capitol. These representatives of the 99% went to the offices of 99 Senators and Representatives who now represent the 1%, where they were ignored and doors were closed on them. Some members were filmed fleeing down stairwells or hiding in copy rooms. So the next day the representatives of the 99% went to the people who really make the decisions. They marched on K Street, the symbolic center of the lobbying industry. They went to political fundraisers, and even to the Chamber of Commerce.
Here is a collection of videos of legislators fleeing their constituents who were there to represent the 99%, asking for JOBS and for extensions of unemployment benefits:

Just The Right Time
Take Back the Capitol seemed to happen at just the right time. “Occupy” camps across the country are being cleared, and newspapers were starting to talk about the movement as if it was over. Then this mass action descended in the nation’s capitol making noise and drawing attention.
The powers-that-be might have thought they had suppressed this movement, but the movement seems to be stronger than ever. As Lee Camp said, “Pepper spraying #occupiers is like throwing water on gremlins, you just get 10 times as many.”

Human Red Carpet
One of the best creative actions was a protest at the Chamber of Commerce, where the Take Back the Capitol people formed a “human red carpet” so the 1% could literally walk on the 99% as they entered the Chamber’s holiday party.

Several dozen Occupy DC protesters rolled out the human red carpet for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s holiday party at their Washington, DC headquarters this evening. The Chamber is the nation’s largest corporate lobby group. As guests entered, protesters shouted, “You walk on our rights, now walk on us!” encouraging attendees to trample on the activists laying underneath the red carpet painted with “99%.” No one did, sadly, at least while ThinkProgress was in attendance.

Press Reports
Here is a sampling of the press reports:
Washington Post: As Occupy faces setbacks around the country, focus shifts to D.C.,

In Washington, hundreds of people, either from Occupy D.C. or bused in from around the country, participated in a “Day of Action: Occupiers Unite” to target K Street NW, where many of the capital’s lobbyists are based.
The protesters succeeded in crippling downtown traffic for much of the afternoon, blocking intersections as they chanted and formed human chains. More than 70 people were arrested, but many Occupiers will tell you that can be a good thing, because it means the world will keep watching.
… The K Street action came on the heels of a similar protest called “Take Back the Capitol,” during which hundreds of demonstrators from around the country parked themselves on the Mall. The group is backed by the powerful Service Employees International Union and the progressive activist group MoveOn.org.

AP: ’99 percent’ drop in on DC power players,

It wasn’t the slick suits, pricey heels and sense of purpose of the congressional staffers that Susan Wilkinson saw this week on Capitol Hill. What stung about crossing paths with them, she said, was this: “They wouldn’t make eye contact with us,” the unemployed Seattle activist recalled Thursday. “When did I get invisible?”
Wilkinson was among hundreds of angry Americans who streamed through Washington and its corridors of power this week to command attention for the 99 percent of Americans that protesters claim are struggling to survive the recession. They were hard to miss.

CNN: Occupiers take K street — photos,

Occupiers from all over the country marked the 3rd day of the ‘Take Back the Capitol week’, in Washington DC, with an event called ‘Make Wall Street Pay’ in which hundreds blocked several intersections on K street. Ultimately the protesters focused on 2 intersections: K street & 13th and 14th st nw, in which they decided to block the traffic flow by staging a sit-down and lying on the ground until arrested.

LA Times: Protesters occupy Newt Gingrich’s fundraiser,

Newt Gingrich witnessed the Occupy movement up close and personal Wednesday night.
Protesters crashed his presidential fundraiser at a restaurant next to the storied Willard InterContinental Hotel in downtown D.C., about a baseball’s throw from the White House.
. . . Gingrich held the $1,000-a-plate fundraiser as his campaign is trying to become a national organization–and pay off all its debts.

Our Reports From Last Week
99% March On K Street To Take Back The Capitol From The 1%
As Unemployed Seize K Street, Time To Amplify Pressure On Congress
Unemployed Confront Congress At Take Back The Capitol
It Keeps Going
People have had enough and are finally realizing they can speak out against the abuses and insults that the 1% are heaping on the rest of us. Last week it was blocking unemployment benefit extensions, so 2 million more of us will lose all income at the end of the year. It was blocking the appointee to head the new consumer financial protection agency, so backs and credit cards and predatory lenders can keep running their scams. What will it be next week?
It was predicted that the cold weather would stop the occupiers. It was predicted that clearing out the camps and using the intimidation that comes from masses of policy in military hardware using pepper spray and batons would suppress the movement. It didn’t. Instead the movement moved on DC and into the offices of the legislators and then down to K Street and the Chamber from where the legislators get their orders and the fundraisers from which they get their corporate cash for use smearing the good people who try to fight them. Where next?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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99% March On K Street To Take Back The Capitol From The 1%

I am in DC covering the Take Back the Capitol “99 in DC” events. On Tuesday I wrote about the efforts of unemployed people and others to get in to talk to their senators and representatives. (Watch some of them tell their stories.) On Wednesday they marched to “K Street” – the symbolic ground zero of the corporate takeover of our democracy. But first…
When I was waiting to get on the plane to come here the jetway was backed up. Now that the airlines are charging $25 just to check a bag, everyone brings their bags on and tries to cram them into the limited on-plane carry-on space. But of course, the airlines aren’t paying the flight attendants more because of the extra work this causes. So this guy come pushing his way down the left side, shouting, “First class, out of the way, first class, let me through,” because he missed boarding first, and he was entitled to already be on the airplane and not have to wait in the line like the rest of us.
The rest of us are supposed to walk past the already-seated, first class passengers, eyeing their large, comfortable seats, while they sip their champagne mimosas, and look important and … rich. We’re supposed to envy them, and hope to eventually be among them. But until then we are supposed to be grateful that they “create jobs” and allow us to serve them. This is America today.

Why Occupy?

Outrages like this been getting worse and worse, and have reached a breaking point, with many of us unemployed — because actually, the rich don’t “create jobs, WE do! So the rest of us – the 99% — have been getting mad about things like this for a long time, and are finally starting to show it, now that things have gotten so bad. Across the country people are “occupying” places and ideas that have been taken over by the 1%. They are letting themselves get angry about the things that have been happening, the change from democracy to plutocracy, the way the big corporations and Wall Street now make the rules while they don’t themselves have to follow the rules.
Not only has our Congress come under the control of the 1%, they have done very little to help the 99% through this crisis that was caused by the 1%. This Congress — the first since the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court — has done nothing to create jobs while doing a lot to kill jobs, and worse, at the end of this year extended unemployment benefits run out and 2 million people will lose their entire income.

Take Back The Capitol

So this week Take Back the Capitol brought unemployed people and others to Washington to confront their members of Congress and the lobbyists on “K Street” that they work for, to demand a change. Today they marched on K Street, the center of lobbying activity. CAF intern Sean McMartin was observing and writes,

On December 7, 2011, a date 70 years after Pearl Harbor, another piece of history was made. Supporters of the American Dream Movement and several other organizations from all over the country marched from the National Mall up to K Street in Washington. They came to protest their outrage with the rich, corporations, and the special interests, many of which have lobbyists with offices on “K Street.” They shouted they were the 99% of the country, who have not fared well over past few years with high unemployment and stagnated wages.
Just before noon the people from the Take Back the Capitol came to the intersection of 16th and K Street, which became the epicenter of the protest. Occupy DC, which happened to be camped only a block away, saw what was happening and came out of their tents to join the protest. Then a group came marching from the west, too, as Occupy DC came from the east. The coordination was something to see in real time and represented several groups coming together from all over the place.
The police had to use their cars to block off a perimeter for the protest that involved 14th Street to 17th Street and I Street to L Street. Even policemen on horses,not seen often in Washington, were used as a show of force. There was no violence from what I could see, but a good old protest where people come together to show their outrage with the status quo.
Pedestrians going to lunch stepped out of their offices to witness history in the making. They took out their cameras and smartphones to record history as it happened and some even shouted their support for the movement.
After 1 pm city workers and police ordered the protestors onto the sidewalks and of the streets. The protestors slowly but surely followed and cleared the streets as were told.

Politico reported:

Wednesday morning, protesters organized by the ADM swarmed the headquarters of major corporations and financial institutions including Verizon, General Electric, Capitol Tax Partners, the American Bankers Association and the financial lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford.
A labor organizer said the protesters targeted corporations and lobbying groups representing companies that have paid more in executive compensation and lobbying in recent years than they’ve paid in taxes, citing a recent study by Public Campaign.
Hundreds of protesters from around the country converged on Verizon’s headquarters, chanting slogans like, “whose street — our street” and “shame on Verizon, pay your fair share.” Verizon employees and building staff looked on from the building lobby as protesters swarmed by.
Protesters also marched around the front of the American Bankers Association, where extra security had been put in place to prevent outsiders from getting into the building.
About 20 protesters were in the lobby of the Capitol Tax Partners’ building for a brief time, according to a source in the building.
Also on Wednesday, activists aligned with the Occupy D.C. movement based in McPherson Square marched to protest the Podesta Group, one of the city’s most powerful lobby shops, which has close ties to the Obama administration.

Here is a collection of photos and videos from the action at K Street (click through for videos)::

Click here to tell House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: Stop sabotaging the economy. Quit obstructing extensions of the payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment insurance.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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