Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Tensions heat up at Occupy Tucson

Occupy Tucson protester: Are permits required to exercise your right to free speech? (Image Credit: Pamela Powers)

For six weeks– through heavy rain and nightly disruption by the Tucson Police Department (TPD)– Occupy Tucson has maintained a peaceful encampment protest in downtown Tucson. TPD has issued more than 600 curfew citations and, recently, physically arrested protesters for civil disobedience in not signing their citations.

On Saturday night, four peaceful protesters were arrested; on Sunday night, TPD came to the encampment with significantly more force– six cruisers and an SUV– but made no arrests. (See eye witness reports below.)

This show of muscle by TPD is out of step with at least three of the Tucson City Council– Karin Uhlich, Richard Fimbres, and Regina Romero— and former city officials George Miller and Molly McKasson.

As the situation is escalates, one has to ask: Who’s in charge? Is it City Manager (and former police chief) Richard Miranda? If so, someone needs to tell him his tactics of harassment are– at the very least– exacerbating the situation and making the movement stronger in its resolve and– at worst– could escalate the peaceful protest into a violent clash.

Tucsonans are behind the Occupiers– as is evidenced by the food and other donations and this totally unscientific poll, which has been running at 65-70% in favor of the Occupation since it was posted a few days ago.

Where do we go from here? My vote is for letting the Occupiers stay in the park– without police interference, further arrests, or curfew citations. We are the 99%.

November 26 report

From Alex Maldonado, Occupy Tucson Peacekeeper and member of Veterans For Peace…

From 10:40pm, Saturday night to 12:10am, Sunday morning, Tucson Police Department cited and released demonstrators of Occupy Tucson for staying in the park after hours, except for four who were taken into custody.

Michael (Mike) Migliore was taken into custody after chaining himself onto one of the poles at Veinte de Agosto Park in making a stance for his First Amendment right. TPD handcuffed Migliore and then proceeded to cut the chains, and escorted him to a police cruiser, where he was led away.

Mary DeCamp was taken into custody for the second time in three nights as she refused her citation. DeCamp was walked from her tent to a general area, where occupiers were being cited. DeCamp was then taken to another police cruiser where she was handcuffed, seated and then led away.

William (Billy) Lolos, who also refused his citation, was also taken into custody as he was handcuffed before taken to the general area. Lolos was then taken to yet another police cruiser and seated, and led away.

One unidentified male was also handcuffed and taken into custody, and was seated in the same police cruiser as Lolos.

All four were peacefully taken into custody without incident as fellow occupiers and supporters gave encouragement to those taken into custody for the third night in a row.

November 27 report

From Alex Maldonado, Occupy Tucson Peacekeeper and member of Veterans For Peace…

‎10:30pm to 11:30pm, TPD bull-rushed the encampment with six police cruisers and one SUV. Ten occupiers were sitting on the U-Turn curb, as there is a possibility of mid to high-teen numbers in citations. TPD’s mood tonight was not as amiable as previous nights. No one was taken into custody.

For those of you who have forgotten why the Occupiers are out there– or never understood the movement. Here is Occupy Tucson’s Declaration

On Saturday, November 12, 2011, participants of the General Assembly of Occupy Tucson came to consensus and passed the following Declaration of the Occupation of Tucson as a working document. This is a living document and will be updated with new additions as the process continues.

Declaration of the Occupation of Tucson
As we gather in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what has brought us together.As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality that the status quo is unacceptable, and that our political and economic institutions, both corporate and governmental, are failing us; that the corruption of our system has undermined our rights, and it is now up to us, the people, to re-found those rights, and expand upon them. We assert that legitimate institutions derive their power from the people, and, therefore, as the people overwhelmingly reject the monopoly of power exercised by both government and transnational corporations, and in particular large financial corporations and the military-industrial complex, that their power is illegitimate; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by political and economic power, or when the rule of power trumps the rule of law.We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known:

We will not tolerate discrimination in the workplace, or in our governmental institutions, or within our own movement based on age, race, sex, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, developmental ability, physical ability, religious belief, and non-belief.

We condemn and consider illegitimate the acquisition of houses through an illegal foreclosure process by banks and other financial firms.

We condemn and consider illegitimate the massive bailouts that have been passed by Congress on terms unacceptable to the majority of Americans.

We condemn the media’s performance in keeping people misinformed and fearful. We condemn governmental and corporate manipulation of the media for the purpose of spreading disinformation and concealing incriminating or embarrassing information.

We recognize that financial corruption and failure are practiced with impunity under the slogan “Too Big To Fail.” In the midst of their devastating failures, we condemn the rewarding of massive bonuses to financial executives and elites.

We condemn the pressure to limit workers’–including migrant workers’–pay and access to healthcare in order to inflate profits, and overcompensate managers and executives. We demand the recognition of workers’ rights as human rights.

We oppose the systemic orientation of outsourcing more and more jobs, and condemn its use to exert further pressure on workers.

We condemn the scapegoating of the poor, and in particular the scapegoating of immigrants, including those who enter the US, often out of desperation, illegally.

We will not tolerate the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of nonhuman animals, and we condemn those who actively hide these practices.

We condemn the “structural adjustment” policies of the IMF, WTO, World Bank, et al. which have disrupted and degraded developing economies throughout the world. Consequently, we demand the forgiveness of the crushing debts imposed by the above bodies.

We condemn the use of legal teams, lobbyists, and other means to circumvent the spirit of our laws.

We condemn the universal commodification of our culture.

We condemn the practice of blocking generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

We condemn the execution of persons, and oppose the privatization of prisons.

We condemn colonialism in all its forms.

We condemn torture, and we condemn dismissing the killing of civilians as “collateral damage”.

We condemn the creation of weapons of mass destruction, and the profits derived from their creation.

We demand accountability to the people and will not tolerate corruption in government and transnational corporations.

We demand the dissolution of the legal absurdity of corporate personhood.

We demand deeper investment in alternative, renewable forms of energy, and condemn policies that keep us unsustainably dependent on oil and other fossil fuels.

We demand the conversion of the perpetual war economy into an economy that supports peace and sustainability.

We demand accountability of transnational corporations that have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and faulty products—endangering lives and health—in pursuit of profit.

We demand the recognition of a worker’s right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions, and the right to negotiate in association with other workers.

We demand a reevaluation of the food supply—including a reevaluation of agribusiness and federal food policies and subsidies—with an emphasis on correcting negligence and dissolving monopolies.

We demand the end of all privatization of the commons such as water, seeds, genetic materials, et al.

We demand education as a right, and we condemn massive student debts as an abridgment of that right.

We demand publicly-financed campaigns, and condemn the use of money to buy disproportionate and undue influence in government.

We demand the end of the revolving-door lobby system between Congress and corporations.

We demand instant-runoff voting to supplant the winner-take-all system in elections.

We demand transparency in the tabulating of ballot returns.

*This list is not all-inclusive and may be amended at any time by consensus of the General Assembly.

We, the Occupy Tucson General Assembly, are asserting our first amendment rights, as well as our power as citizens. We are peaceably assembled; occupying public space; creating a process to address the problems we face, and generating solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support and resources.

Join us and make your voices heard!

15 comments on “Tensions heat up at Occupy Tucson

  1. Carolyn Classen
    November 28, 2011

    244 Tucsoncitizen.com readers voted in your poll, 67% in favor of the Occupiers. Former Mayoral candidate Mary DeCamp has not been to jail twice, and has received over 30 citations. New Mayor-elect Rothschild (to be sworn in next Monday Dec.5) needs to show some leadership in this continued Occupy Tucson movement.


  2. Carolyn Classen
    November 28, 2011

    oops, typo. I meant “Mary DeCamp has NOW been to jail twice”.  Sorry.


  3. Michael Lewis
    November 28, 2011

    This article asks the question: “Are permits required to exercise your right to free speech?”
    Existing federal campaign laws require citizens, political parties and grassroots organizations to familiarize themselves with terms like: political action committee (PAC), independent vs. in-Kind donations, issue vs. express advocacy, spending limits, reporting intervals and coordination with a candidate’s campaign, before engaging in politics. If they fail to comply it is a felony.
    Only the ‘corporate’ media are exempt from federal campaign laws and enjoy ungregulated freedom of speech and the press:
    2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) The term “expenditure” does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate
    So if corporations are not people then we should muzzle NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Gannett Newspaper Chain etc.
    But first consider history and what the Founding Fathers had to say:
    “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of
    speech.” Benjamin Franklin 1722
    “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” – Thomas Jefferson 1787
    On the other hand:
    A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes. (E.W. Scripps).
    “Section 431(9)(B)(i) makes a distinction where there is no real difference: the media is extremely powerful by any measure, a “special interest” by any definition, and heavily engaged in the “issue advocacy” and “independent expenditure” realms of political persuasion that most editorial boards find so objectionable when anyone other than a media outlet engages in it. To illustrate the absurdity of this special exemption the media enjoys, I frequently cite as an example the fact that if the RNC bought NBC from GE the FEC would regulate the evening news and, under the McCain-Feingold “reform” bill, Tom Brokaw could not mention a candidate 60 days before an election. This is patently absurd.” – Senator McConnell
    Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add… artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. President Andrew Jackson.
    The corporate method of organization is not going to be banned any time soon. People work in corporations. They invest in them or own them (most are small). Interest groups, from the ACLU to the NRA to DownsizeDC.org, are all corporations too. The persons in these groups have interests, and particularly in the non-profit sector, it’s a method for organizing the so-called 99% so they can pool their resources and be sure they are heard.
    The best solution is to restore equal protection under law. The “press exemption”,  2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i), should be modified to read:  “The term expenditure does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed by any candidate, political party, citizen, citizens group, corporation, broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication.”
    UNITED STATES v. ASSOCIATED PRESS – Decided June 18, 1945
    It would be strange indeed however if the grave concern for freedom of the press which prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a command that the government was without power to protect that freedom. That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford non-governmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.


    • Truth in advertising
      November 28, 2011

      Thanks for the short post.


    • usmctrucker
      November 28, 2011

      Shut up.


  4. Truth in advertising
    November 28, 2011

    “As the situation is escalates, one has to ask:”

    Must be a award winning journalist.


  5. julia
    November 28, 2011

    I’m glad to see this supportive coverage.
    We have so little right to Free Speech in this country, and most Americans
    know that.  The Occupy Tucson movement has turned in to a fight for free speech.
    People are tnese and the mood has changed drastically.  At 7:30 P.M. on Thanksgiving, right after the kitchen served a buffet dinner to anyone who wanted to eat, police cars started lining up at different corners of the park.  People ran to the sidewalks, after a while they left but the mood and any holiday ‘goodwill’ was broken.


  6. delsol
    November 28, 2011

    “Right to Free Speech” in the United States is limited to those who can finance it.  It’s the Golden Rule — those with the gold make the rules.  That’s why there’s so many lawyers.  The political process is a victim of this, too – hence all the lobbyists.


  7. roy warden
    November 28, 2011

    On Wednesday October 30, 2011 Tucson Activist Roy Warden will re-convene the Tucson Weekly Public Forum at 2:00 pm, on the sidewalk facing the park,   to allow Tucson citizens and Occupiers alike to voice their concerns regarding  first amendment issues, occupation, the exploitation of America’s and Mexico’s poor, etc.

    The  public will have access to a loudspeaker to make sure their voices are heard.




    • Mike Hawke
      November 28, 2011

      Thank you, Roy. How long will you be there? What is the limit per speaker?


  8. Roy Warden
    November 28, 2011

    Mike, we’ll have to evolve the rules regarding length of speech as we go along. And maybe we can make this a permanent event. 

    My intent is to engage in serious give-and take, so people will become educted on the underlying issues regrding the law protecting free speech and the issue of Rich vs Poor, the origins of which goes back further than Moses and Pharaoh, or Heston and Yul Brenner for the movie savvy. 

    And maybe, just maybe…the media JUST MIGHT be inclined to inform the public on the real underlying issues, and not just make soundbites.

    Did you know, for example, that one of  the underlying factors that resulted in the 2007 Wall Street Meltdown, the 2008 Wall Street Bailout, the foreclosure on millions and millions of homes, etc, can be traced back to Pima County and Tucson City policy?

    Roy Warden 


  9. Wolfgirl
    November 28, 2011

    I guess I must be part of the 1%, even though I am at poverty level, because I cannot understand how you can justify taking a park that is for ALL of us to enjoy without paying what everyone else has paid to use the park on a permit basis.   To me, you look like a bunch of bums in tents and no different that the vagrants that lay around in other parks throughout the day. 


  10. oscar thompson
    November 29, 2011



  11. Rex
    November 29, 2011

    Free speech shall not be abridged. I am in total agreement with that statement from our Constitution.
    If you break laws you will pay the price. This is another statement that has my total agreement. Sadly, this is the price of civilization.
    I see no conflict between these two thoughts. What I DO see is people trying to make the case that they are exempt from any law while exercising their right to free speech. Luckily, we live in a society that sees through this sham. Of course everyone has the right to free speech, but if you are killing someone while exercising your free speech, you should NOT be exempt from the murder charge! The same concept applies to trespassing, which is exactly what the “occupiers” are doing when they are in the parks after closing.
    I have seen no one trying to restrict free speech anywhere, but I HAVE seen trespassers being cited and arrested for that crime. Knock yourselves out with as much free speech as you want, I might even come and listen, if your speech makes sense, but if you are trespassing, you will be justly cited for trespassing.
    Stop whining about trespassing citations taking away your free speech. That is not the case, and all of the press over this dubious “movement” is testament to that fact. Civil disobedience comes at a price, so if you are not committed enough to pay that price, then civil disobedience should not be your method of protest.


  12. gkin31
    November 30, 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyTj4pOfCCY explains occupy wall street 


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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