Occupy Wall Street Sabotaged
October 7, 2011
Alliance for Global Justice
On the eve of a major anti-war protest and in the midst of its support for Occupy Wall Street, the Alliance for Justice's Internet and phone connections were sabotaged and Authorize.net, the firm that handles online donations, announced it would no longer process OWS donations and was seizing $60,000 in contributions. Authorize.net is a division of CyberSource Corp., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa -- a New York Stock Exchange traded company.
Occupy Wall Street Sabotaged
Alliance for Global Justice
See Important Update Below
Some $60,000 or more in donations to Occupy Wall Street are currently being held back by the credit card processing company e-onlinedata . This company is a sub-contractor to Authorize.net which, in turn, is a division of CyberSource Corporation which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa--a New York Stock Exchange traded company. The Alliance for Global Justice is acting as fiscal sponsors for Occupy Wall Street, and e-onlinedata handles authorization of contributions made through us.
Citing the unprecedented large number of contributions that Occupy Wall Street has been receiving, e-onlinedata has suspended AfGJ's account and is holding up tens of thousands of dollars donated in good faith to support the Occupy Wall Street protestors. This is an outrage and yet one more attempt by those alligned with the wealthy one percent in their attacks against this movement and against people's movements everywhere.
For more in depth information about these and other attacks, see the following AfGJ press release:
WALL STREET, NY (October 6, 2011) -- It's happened again! On the eve of a major anti-war protest and in the midst of its support for the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Alliance for Justice (AfGJ) has endured sabotage on its Internet and phone connections, as well as its system to receive donations. AfGJ is the fiscal sponsor for the Occupy Wall Street movement and is also fiscal sponsor and co-sponsor of the October 2011 anti-war encampment and People's Assembly that begins today at Liberty Plaza across from the White House.
"This is too much of a coincidence to believe it is not intentional," said Chuck Kaufman, AfGJ National Coordinator. Kaufman added, "My feeling is that there are people in power who are very worried about Occupy Wall Street and the protests here in DC. They see that these movements are catching on and spreading across the country and they're playing dirty."
According to Kaufman, "On Monday morning I was at the office working on the computer and about 10:30 we lost our Internet connection. I tried to reset the modem, but nothing worked. I went to the land,line to call our provider, Verizon, and discovered there was no dial tone." Kaufman says that a repairman came to the office at 1pm on Tuesday and had them back on line by 2pm. When Kaufman asked what the problem was, the repairman said that the wire providing service to the AfGJ office had been physically disconnected at the junction box (the external control box that serves various homes and businesses in the neighborhood).
The repairman speculated that perhaps the wire had been sticking out further than other wires and that when someone removed the panel, it caught and was pulled out--in other words, an accident. However, Kaufman said, "That just doesn't add up.
First, we've had that service for over 20 years--so it is unlikely the wire would be more exposed than newer lines.
Second, when the Internet went out of service that morning, I called Verizon and they told me they didn't have anybody out there in the whole area who could come by to fix our outage." Yet someone had accessed that box that very morning in order for the wire to be pulled loose. People were in the office using the computers, so the access had to happen shortly before the problem was discovered.
Asked if anything like this had happened in the past, Kaufman responded that "
"We've had problems like this going back into the 1980s when we were just the Nicaragua Network (AfGJ's predecessor) and would be the sponsors of major demonstrations about to take place. It's nothing that hasn't happened before, it's just that this time there's more evidence."
The interruption of the Internet and phone service was a precursor for a more significant effort to undermine not only the AfGJ but, more specifically, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. On September 28, organizers from OWS, who did not have a way to process the many donations they were receiving, contacted AfGJ to take advantage of the fiscal sponsorship service it offers many progressive organizations.
One week later, to the day, AfGJ's accountant, Robert Moses, received a phone call from Authorize.net complaining that they were processing more contributions for AfGJ than it had ever received before (a testament to the movement's popularity!). Moses responded, "Yes, we have a project that has captured people's imagination and is spreading like wildfire."
The Authorize.net agent then threatened to close our account and sequester the money they were holding which, indeed, they did. Authorize.net is a division of CyberSource Corporation which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa--a New York Stock Exchange traded company.
Kaufman explains that, "They sit between the person that uses the credit card and the providers, Master Card and Visa. They are the ones who authorize the charges to customer's cards." Kaufman says that Authorize.net is currently holding up as much as $60,000 or more in donations.
Kathy Hoyt, National Coordinator for the Nicaragua Network, which is part of AfGJ and its founding member, also spoke with a representative from Authorize.net. According to Hoyt, "They said they were going to close the account, which apparently they did. It's unusual for them not to want our money. I can't help but believe that politics must be involved somewhere."
Meanwhile, AfGJ has rectified the situation and is currently processing donations via Paypal and is once again able to receive credit card donations for Occupy Wall Street as well as AfGJ itself and other fiscal sponsorships. Credit card donations can be made by going to www.afgj.org and clicking on the "Support Occupy Wall Street"button. Alternatively, contributors may also send checks and money orders to the AfGJ main office at 1247 E Street SE, Washington DC, 20003. These should be made out to the "Alliance for Global Justice" with "Occupy Wall Street" written in the Memo line.
99%: Now That’s Strength in Diversity
Jamie Way / Alliance for Global Justice
(October 6, 2011) -- It might be too early to declare the start of an “American Autumn,” but I have not been this optimistic about politics in a long time. Granted, some horrific things had to take place before the country was finally jolted from its slumber, but today it is clear that not only are Americans awake, but that they are actively reclaiming the public domain across the country. For the first time since I became politically conscious, my peers -- those of us in our twenties -- are taking a prominent role in the struggle!
Occupy Wall Street (which is fiscally sponsored by Alliance for Global Justice) is inspiring the country (if not the media) and bringing people on to the streets nation wide. Although the protest was initially written-off by the mainstream, endorsements from labor, public intellectuals and stars and some press sympathetic of the police brutality suffered by the protesters has ignited additional actions.
Occupy Wall Street is not the only mass action in the works. Independent solidarity protests are being held around the country. As the movement gains momentum, larger organizations like MoveOn.org have started to take on the role of organizing additional virtual and solidarity protests with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. They called for events on October 5th and appear to be planning more involvement. Other solidarity protests, even in smaller towns, are in the works as I write.
But Occupy Wall Street isn’t the only notable action taking place. Before the Occupy Wall Street protest even began, a group consisting largely of anti-war organizers had planned a similarly styled occupation of Freedom Plaza in D.C. The group, called October 2011, converges on the city today (October 6th) to oppose US military presence abroad as well as to challenge corporate greed over human needs. (Alliance for Global Justice also fiscally sponsors October 2011 and will have staff at the event, but we are not the organizers.)
In August, more than 1,200 people were arrested in D.C. as they voiced their opposition to the tar sands pipeline that President Obama could single-handedly halt. Currently, there are plans to install a 1,700-mile pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and carry 700,000 barrels a day to the gulf.
If the White House does not act to stop this project, environmentalists claim that this would essentially be “game-over” as far as the climate debates are concerned. That is, the amount of oil that this pipeline would commit us to burning and using (all obtained through the incredibly devastating process of tar sand oil extraction) would effectively nullify all other climate change efforts.
Environmental groups are planning another convergence at the White House, this time with no planned arrests, for November 6th.
All of these actions have a common link. The US progressive movement has learned from other innovative movements around the world that if we are to be heard or even acknowledged, our consistent presence is a must. At home, Workers in Wisconsin and May Day immigrants’ rights protests showed even before this most recent surge of energy, that true democracy was in fact still very possible and worth while in the US.
These actions and the current protests are demonstrating what organizers and academics have known for a long time: if we don’t have clear leaders, if we don’t have one physical location or hub, we are much more difficult to defeat.
Alliance for Global Justice has seen just how true this lesson is for activism in the last week. While reporters often claim that the protests host too many disparate views and are not organized or coherent enough in their demands, they fail to recognize that diversity of views, of people and of location is one of the central strengths of our movement. Recently, our fiscal sponsorship of the Occupy Wall Street movement has proven this to be true.
On Monday, the Internet and phones at our office suddenly went out. On Tuesday, our repairman explained that our line had been “physically disconnected” at the box down the street. Yesterday, we got word that our credit processor seems to be refusing to process more donations and is holding a large sum of our money.
Be it coincidence or malice, the fact that we are in no way a leader of (or even organizer of) Occupy Wall Street, but just one more supporter has been a huge advantage. No one action can shut down the protests. Additionally, in our own work, our staff is spread out regionally. That means that cutting a few phone lines won’t even slow us down. What the media needs to understand is that our diversity is our strength. We are the multitude; we are the 99%.
Occupy Wall Street Donations Release in Process of Resolution
The Alliance for Global Justice earlier today asked supporters to call E-Onlinedata to demand release of tens of thousands of dollars donated for Occupy Wall Street, a fiscal project of AfGJ.
Following extensive conversations with the company today, we are confident that the situation is on its way to a rapid resolution. Please stop making calls to E-Onlinedata and please forward this alert to any listserves to which you may have forwarded our original alert.
E-Onlinedata strongly assured us that there was no political motive in freezing our account and holding the funds. The company stated that, in fact, the fault lies with AfGJ for a number of reasons but particularly because donations for our Occupy Wall Street project reached a volume that was orders of magnitude greater than any activity on our account in previous years, exposing E-Onlinedata to a level of liability not covered in our merchant contract with them.
We believe that this is a reasonable explanation and we have no evidence that E-Onlinedata is anything other than a reputable company servicing merchants and the banking industry. While we are strongly critical of the policies and practices of the banking industry as a whole, E-Onlinedata does not deserve to be held responsible for the sins of the entire industry. We apologize to E-Onlinedata for any actions on our part that may have been construed as reflecting negatively on their company.
We thank our supporters for their quick response to our alert earlier today. Your actions helped bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion. We urge you to continue to speak out in support of issues that are important to us all and the future of our country and our world.