OPERATION ‘RENDER FREEDOM MEANINGLESS’

UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident
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The intent and effect of such abuse is that it renders those guaranteed freedoms meaningless. If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist. Every time the citizenry watches peaceful protesters getting pepper-sprayed — or hears that an Occupy protester suffered brain damage and almost died after being shot in the skull with a rubber bullet — many become increasingly fearful of participating in this citizen movement, and also become fearful in general of exercising their rights in a way that is bothersome or threatening to those in power. That’s a natural response, and it’s exactly what the climate of fear imposed by all abusive police state actions is intended to achieve: to coerce citizens to “decide” on their own to be passive and compliant — to refrain from exercising their rights — out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.
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The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying

By Glenn Greenwald

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The now-viral video of police officers in their Robocop costumes sadistically pepper-spraying peaceful, sitting protesters at UC-Davis (details here) shows a police state in its pure form.
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It’s easy to be outraged by this incident as though it’s some sort of shocking aberration, but that is exactly what it is not. The Atlantic‘s Garance Franke-Ruta adeptly demonstrates with an assemblage of video how common such excessive police force has been in response to the Occupy protests. Along those lines, there are several points to note about this incident and what it reflects:

(1) Despite all the rights of free speech and assembly flamboyantly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the reality is that punishing the exercise of those rights with police force and state violence has been the reflexive response in America for quite some time. As Franke-Ruta put it, “America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century.” Digby yesterday recounted a similar though even worse incident aimed at environmental protesters.

The intent and effect of such abuse is that it renders those guaranteed freedoms meaningless. If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist. Every time the citizenry watches peaceful protesters getting pepper-sprayed — or hears that an Occupy protester suffered brain damage and almost died after being shot in the skull with a rubber bullet — many become increasingly fearful of participating in this citizen movement, and also become fearful in general of exercising their rights in a way that is bothersome or threatening to those in power. That’s a natural response, and it’s exactly what the climate of fear imposed by all abusive police state actions is intended to achieve: to coerce citizens to “decide” on their own to be passive and compliant — to refrain from exercising their rights — out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.

The genius of this approach is how insidious its effects are: because the rights continue to be offered on paper, the citizenry continues to believe it is free. They believe that they are free to do everything they choose to do, because they have been “persuaded” — through fear and intimidation — to passively accept the status quo. As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” Someone who sits at home and never protests or effectively challenges power factions will not realize that their rights of speech and assembly have been effectively eroded because they never seek to exercise those rights; it’s only when we see steadfast, courageous resistance from the likes of these UC-Davis students is this erosion of rights manifest.

Pervasive police abuses and intimidation tactics applied to peaceful protesters — pepper-spray, assault rifles, tasers, tear gas and the rest — not only harm their victims but also the relationship of the citizenry to the government and the set of core political rights. Implanting fear of authorities in the heart of the citizenry is a far more effective means of tyranny than overtly denying rights. That’s exactly what incidents like this are intended to achieve. Overzealous prosecution of those who engage in peaceful political protest (which we’ve seen more and more of over the last several years) as well as rampant secrecy and the sprawling Surveillance State are the close cousins of excessive police force in both intent and effect: they are all about deterring meaningful challenges to those in power through the exercise of basic rights. Rights are so much more effectively destroyed by bullying a citizenry out of wanting to exercise them than any other means. These two short video clips — regarding the openly abusive treatment of Bradley Manning and the extra-judicial attempt to destroy WikiLeaks — are how I’ve been trying to make this point over the past month in the various speeches I’ve given around the country:

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(2) Although excessive police force has long been a reflexive response to American political protests, two developments in the post-9/11 world have exacerbated this. The first is that the U.S. Government — in the name of Terrorism — has aggressively para-militarized the nation’s domestic police forces by lavishing them with countless military-style weapons and other war-like technologies, training them in war-zone military tactics, and generally imposing a war mentality on them. Arming domestic police forces with para-military weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil; they will simply find other, increasingly permissive uses for those weapons. Responding to peaceful protests and other expressions of growing citizenry unrest with brute force is a direct by-product of what we’ve allowed to be done to America’s domestic police forces in the name of the War on Terror (and, before that, in the name of the War on Drugs).

The second exacerbating development is more subtle but more important: the authoritarian mentality that has been nourished in the name of Terrorism. It’s a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters. It’s an even smaller step to go from supporting the power of the President to imprison or kill anyone he wants (including one’s fellow citizens and even their teenaged children) with no transparency, checks or due process to supporting the power of the police and the authorities who command them to punish with force anyone who commits the “crime” of non-compliance. At the root of all of those views is the classic authoritarian mindset: reflexive support for authority, contempt for those who challenge them, and a blind faith in their unilateral, unchecked decisions regarding who is Bad and deserves state-issued punishment.

It’s anything but surprising that a country that has cheered as its Presidents seize the most limitless powers against allegedly Bad People — all as part of the ultimate instrument of citizen degradation: Endless War — cheer just as loudly when that same mindset is applied at home to domestic trouble-makers. The supreme threat has never been from foreign Terrorists, but rather from what was done by our own public- and private-sector authorities (and the mentality they successfully implanted) in their name.

 

(3) Beyond the light it is shedding on how power is really exercised in the U.S., this UC-Davis episode underscores why I continue to view the Occupy movement as one of the most exciting, inspiring and important political developments in many years. What’s most striking about that UC-Davis video isn’t the depraved casualness of the officer’s dousing the protesters’ faces with a chemical agent; it’s how most of the protesters resolutely sat in place and refused to move even when that happened, while the crowd chanted support (this video, taken from a slightly different vantage point, vividly shows this, beginning at 4:15). We’ve repeatedly seen acts of similar courage spawned by the Occupy movement.

It was the NYPD’s abusive pepper-spraying, followed by Mayor Bloomberg’s lawless destruction of the Zuccotti Park encampment, that prompted far more people than ever to participate in the next march across the Brooklyn Bridge. A tear gas attack on Occupy Oakland was followed by a general strike of 20,000 people. And this truly extraordinary, blunt and piercing open letter demanding the resignation of the heinous UC-Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi was written by a young, untenured Assistant Professor — Nathan Brown — who obviously decided that his principled beliefs outweigh his careerist ambitions.

This is the most important effect of the Occupy movement: acts of defiance, courage and conscience are contagious. Just as the Arab Spring clearly played some significant role in spawning, sustaining and growing the American Occupy movement, so too have the Occupy protesters emboldened one another and their fellow citizens. The protest movement is driving the proliferation of new forms of activism, citizen passion and courage, and — most important of all — a sense of possibility. For the first time in a long time, the use of force and other forms of state intimidation are not achieving their intended outcome of deterring meaningful (i.e., unsanctioned and unwanted) citizen activism, but are, instead, spurring it even more. The state reactions to these protests are both highlighting pervasive abuses of power and generating the antidote: citizen resolve to no longer accept and tolerate it. This is why I hope to see the Occupy movement — even if it adopts specific demands — remain an outsider force rather than reduce itself into garden-variety partisan electioneering: in its current form, it is demanding and re-establishing the indispensable right of dissent, defiance of unjust authority, and sustained protest.

 

UPDATE: Regarding the last point — the uniquely effective, inspiring activism this movement is spawning — here is video of Chancellor Katehi walking to her car while being forced to confront a wall of silent condemnation and shaming. It’s not the accountability she should face (firing), but one can see from this video that it’s quite potent nonetheless; moreover, it really reveals who the actual threats are to public safety — not the protesters but rather those using force against them:

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Source

LATEST HAPPENINGS AT O W S ___ IN PHOTOS

‘You can’t evict an idea whose time has come’
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Commentary by Chippy Dee
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A day of activism was capped last night by a huge demonstration in Foley Sq. that overflowed into neighboring streets.  It was the biggest demonstration in NYC since the protests before the Iraq war about a decade ago.  Numbers of participants are being calculated in the tens of thousands.  The participants included every age, ethnicity and race.  It included unions, students, retirees, community groups, and the unemployed. While the concentration was on serious issues – economic justice, restoring democracy by the people taking control of our government away from corporations, creating jobs, and ending the wars so that the killing would stop and the billions of dollars they are costing could be spent here for the benefit the American people – spirits were very high because of the degree of solidary in the huge crowd.

 

After a rally at Foley Sq., a very large plaza surrounded by courthouses, symbols of the judicial power of the federal, state, and city governments, the mass of people started moving towards the Brooklyn Bridge.  Being thoroughly fenced in like cattle by police barricades for several hours, in an emancipating move they began knocking down the barricades surrounding them as they moved forward.  They then circled City Hall and began entering the walkway across the one mile span of the bridge chanting, “Whose bridge?  Our bridge!”.  The Rude Mechanical Orchestra provided musical accompaniment. The crowd was so large that when the front of the group crossed the bridge and then returned to the Manhattan side, a 2 mile walk, there were still participants leaving Foley Sq. who had not yet reached the bridge to make the crossing.  Meanwhile,someone with a portable projector projected “99%  OCCUPY TOGETHER” on several buildings, including City Hall.

 

While this event was planned in advance to mark the 2 month anniversary of the occupy movement, it is unlikely that it would have been this large if Bloomberg had not destroyed the encampment with such brutality at Zuccotti Park (now named Liberty Park).  It was universally seen as a cruel act by the 1% against the 99%.  This historic demonstration was meant to show that, as some signs said,  ‘You can’t evict an idea whose time has come’.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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EARLY PHOTOS OF THE WALL STREET POGROM

FASCISM CAUGHT ON FILM
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Zuccotti Park was empty and clean on Tuesday morning.
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Some of the evicted protesters reconvened in Foley Square.
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Once inside the park, officers tore down the tents and tarps.
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Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, center, coordinated officers.
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Protest organizers said they planned to “shut down Wall Street.”
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Protesters initially resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!”
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A New York City police officer scuffled with protesters on Tuesday
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The police department said nearly 200 people were arrested.
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Police said the park would be “cleared and restored”
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Police officers scuffled with protesters.
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Protesters embraced after being removed from the park.
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Officers monitored protesters who relocated to Foley Square
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A protester slept at Foley Square on Tuesday.
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See early reports HERE

GAME OVER AT OCCUPY WALL STREET? ~~ (PHOTO ESSAY BELOW)

I DON’T THINK SO!!
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Updates follow lead report …..
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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has struggled with how to respond. He repeatedly made clear that he does not support the demonstrators’ arguments or their tactics, but he has also defended their right to protest and in recent days and weeks has sounded increasingly exasperated, especially in the wake of growing complaints from neighbors about how the protest has disrupted the neighborhood and hurt local businesses.

The mayor met daily with several deputies and commissioners, as more business owners complaining and editorials lampooning him as gutless, the mayor’s patience wore thin.

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I can predict, without doubt, that he (the mayor) hasn’t seen anything yet 😉

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Police Begin Clearing Zuccotti Park of Protesters

By COLIN MOYNIHAN and COREY KILGANNON
Hundreds of New York City police officers began clearing Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday, telling the people there that the nearly two-month-old camp would be “cleared and restored” before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested.

The protesters, about 200 of whom have been staying in the park overnight, resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!” as officers began moving in and tearing down tents. The protesters rallied around an area known as “the kitchen” near the middle of the park and began building barricades with tables and pieces of scrap wood.

The officers, who had gathered between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and then rode in vans along Broadway, moved into the one-square-block park shortly after 1 a.m.

As they did, dozens of protesters linked arms and shouted “No retreat, no surrender,” “This is our home” and “Barricade!” There were no immediate reports of arrests.

The police move came as organizers put out word on their Web site that they planned to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the completion of two months of the beginning of the encampment, which has spurred similar demonstrations across the country.

The move also came hours after a small demonstration at City Hall on Monday by opponents of the protest, including local residents and merchants, some of whom urged the mayor to clear out the park.

Police and mayoral officials did not immediately return calls requesting comments. The mayor’s office sent out a message on Twitter at 1:34 a.m. saying: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the park is cleared.”

Before the police moved in, they set up a battery of klieg lights and aimed them into the park. A police captain, wearing a helmet, walked down Liberty Street and announced: “The city has determined that the continued occupation Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard.”

The captain ordered the protesters to “to immediately remove all private property” and said that if they interfered with the police operation, they would be arrested. Property that was not removed would be sent to a dump, the police said.

Some of the protesters grabbed their possessions. “They’re not getting our tents down,” one man shouted. People milled around, and some headed to the edges of the park.

The action came as other cities’ police forces have begun evacuating similar protest camps.

A handful of protestors first unrolled sleeping bags and blankets in Zuccotti Park on the night of Sept. 17, but in the weeks that followed, the park became densely packed with tents and small tarp villages.

The protest spawned others and attracted celebrities and well-known performers. It became a tourist attraction, inspired more than $500,000 in donations and gained the support of labor unions and elected officials while creating division within City Hall and the Police Department

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has struggled with how to respond. He repeatedly made clear that he does not support the demonstrators’ arguments or their tactics, but he has also defended their right to protest and in recent days and weeks has sounded increasingly exasperated, especially in the wake of growing complaints from neighbors about how the protest has disrupted the neighborhood and hurt local businesses.

The mayor met daily with several deputies and commissioners, as more business owners complaining and editorials lampooning him as gutless, the mayor’s patience wore thin.

Source 

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UPDATES (click on links)
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Meanwhile, in preparation for the long winter ahead, free flu shots were given to the participants of the encampment by volunteer doctors and health care workers….

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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And Jewish Groups stand up for Free Speech at Wall Street… (Bloomberg does not speak for them!)
click on images to enlarge
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THE RAGGED TROUSERED PHILANTHROPISTS OF TODAY

One of the finest books I have ever read was an obscure Irish novel published in 1914, written by Robert Tressell, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists. It spoke then about what is going on right now…
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Tressell embarked on a detailed and scathing analysis of the relationship between working-class people and their employers. The “philanthropists” of the title are the workers who, in Tressell’s view, acquiesce in their own exploitation in the interests of their bosses.
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It was a book that changed the thinking of many people who eventually tried to change the world …. as is being done today by the Occupy Wall Street Movements.
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How Liberty Park’s Ragged Utopia Is Changing the World

By Nicholas Powers
CREATING COMMUNITY: (Above, right) Chris O’Donnell, 24, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, takes a break at the Occupy Wall Street encampment. The kitchen has been serving free meals to as many as 1,000 people a day. (Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales)
CREATING COMMUNITY: (Above, right) Chris O’Donnell, 24, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, takes a break at the Occupy Wall Street encampment. The kitchen has been serving free meals to as many as 1,000 people a day. (Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales)
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“Who is ready to defend our park?” the speaker shouted. It was 6 a.m. and thousands of us filled the Occupy Wall Street camp under a pre-dawn sky. The day before, Mayor Bloomberg threatened to evict us, so we came prepared to lock arms in a human chain. We knew cops could scald our eyes with pepper spray. But we were ready to defend a vision and raised our hands and yelled like a loud crack of thunder.

“We are the 99 percent!”

Bloomberg backed down and utopia, an ideal community or society, an imaginary island, a word that in Greek means “no-place,” continued to flourish just up the street from the New York Stock Exchange. Like a dream vanishing in morning, utopia cannot survive reality. And yet at Liberty Park a flawed but working utopia has appeared. In one square block the left has made a site of transformation that frees people from a commodified life to one of wild defiant joy.

No one is paid but we work. Few can buy food but no one goes hungry. We march with signs that shout for change but have created a miniature example of the world we want. In Liberty Park is a glimpse of life beyond capitalism.

Utopian sites like Liberty Park or Tahrir Square or the Paris Commune are geysers shooting desire into daylight. They transform our consciousness through solidarity. Occupy Wall Street provides the euphoria of fighting a common enemy — the 1 percent whose ill-gotten wealth and power we have come to reclaim. But at the core is an experience of democratic values. Until we speak of that vision we will target Wall Street and not see the new world rising from its ruins.

Chaos at the Center

“I feel like a weight has been lifted from me,” said Danny Valdes a 26-year-old English teacher. Around us tired marchers cuddled in a pile and people lined up for free food. “It wasn’t the ideology that brought me here but the openness. The left was separated like drops of wax and now this heat melts it together.”

We talk of how ideology divides the left but here empathy overflows ideas. Fighting over abstractions seems silly when sleeping on cold concrete. Out of need, we help each other and find meaning no book or leader can offer us.

In these new values a collective vision takes shape. In the donating of sleeping bags is the value of gifting. In the beautiful art, radical self-expression. In the weary nomads laden with backpacks we see radical inclusiveness, in the feeding and healing of each other, we see interdependence and in the general assemblies, direct democracy.

Weeks ago, I spent my first night at Liberty Park and watched protesters snoring in sleeping bags like large caterpillars. It was 3 a.m. A thin cold rain fell.
I met Tony, a young man from upstate New York. “I’ve looked for work for months but there’s nothing,” he said. “Not in the classifieds. Not through word of mouth.” Before coming, he left a note with his parents saying he was joining the occupation. “Mom said, ‘You’re doing the right thing.’ And she’s right. I don’t feel helpless anymore,” he said.

A few hours later, buses and taxis blared their horns in the morning rush. The 99’ers rose, shook puddles out of blue tarp. Their faces were strained from the cold and rain, hunger and fear. But whether it was greeting newcomers, sweeping trash into bags or scooping food on plates; I saw a sense of purpose that illuminated each gesture with glory. I felt that elusive utopia where the spirit moves through the dark corridors of history to a light that answers every question.

Burning Man

The other utopia I have experienced with the same energy as Occupy Wall Street is Burning Man. Each August, thousands of people gather in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to haul tons of metal, tools, fabric and generators and build an ephemeral city. Rising from the bright white desert is the Man, a tall figure of wood and steel. For a week we circle him.

At Burning Man nearly everyone is joyful and open. And it heals. After interviewing refugees in Darfur or victims of flooded New Orleans or broken people in Haiti, it is a place where my soul unfolds into a new shape. You can dance or be spanked, fed, liquored up, massaged or loved and laugh hysterically. You can weep for the dead at the Temple. You can pour nightmares into the desert and walk away whole. Burning Man is a site of transformation with the same values of Occupy Wall Street; in it we experience radical self-expression, gifting, inclusiveness, immediacy, self-reliance, decommodification and civic responsibility. On the last day of the festival, the Man burns in a geyser of flame and crashes, we dance around his ashes to celebrate the sacred euphoria of our self-creation.

Blurry Lines

Every utopia has extreme behavior that is a symptom of its values. Horizontal groups bring in energy but suffer from “blurry lines.” Into Liberty Park have come homeless street youth, drug addicts and alcoholics.

During one sleepover, I saw a jittery circle at the far end of Liberty Plaza. I jogged over and heard an Occupy Wall Street security man yelling at a bleary-eyed vagabond to take his beer away before the cops came in. The next day a spiky-haired youth offered to sell me marijuana and later that night another Occupy Wall Street security man shouted at a thief who “borrowed and lost” an iPhone.

And there are creepers, men who take advantage of the open atmosphere to grope women. Ai Elo, a young activist said, “I was sexually assaulted at Liberty Park. I had to fight this guy’s hands off me the whole night. At first I thought I was alone but other women said the same thing.”

But when she gathered women together, one said, “Please don’t bring this up and divide the movement. I’ve waited 32 years for this to happen.” Elo shook her head, “What kind of movement is this if women have to sacrifice their safety?”

And of course, radical self-expression brings out the crazies. A tall, bearded man just loves to walk around with anti-Semitic signs. One time a group of us surrounded him and sang “Kum Ba Yah. We love Jews, oh Lord, we love Jews.” And then we hugged a gangly Jewish man with a big afro until he was dizzy with touch.

Beyond Wall Street

Thomas More was right to use Greek words “not” and “place” because utopia is “no place.” It is the repressed part of selves that has no place in society and yet, miraculously, it surfaces again and again.

Utopia is real because society is not. Under civilization is the building pressure of discontent and it steams through the cracks of crime and art and radical politics.
Burning Man and Occupy Wall Street are two utopias. The former, isolated in the desert, is reachable only by those with money. It changes lives but not society. The latter is sprouting in the heart of capitalism like a fountain of youth in a dead city, trying to transform the world with justice. Union supporters picket Sotheby’s art auction house on the Upper East Side to protest its attack on workers’ rights while others journey uptown to protest “stop-and-frisk” abuses outside a police station in Harlem. And at Liberty Park we camp on the doorstep of Capitalism.

On the surface, Occupy Wall Street is an oppositional utopia based on a common enemy. But at its core it shares with Burning Man the experience of creating a new world — which means as we march, we must see beyond Wall Street and point to the city flashing in the future and say its name before it vanishes.

Written FOR

THE OCCUPATION OF AMERICA ~~ SOME NEWS AND VIEWS

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Occupy America
by Michael Parenti

Beginning with Occupy Wall Street in September 2011, a protest movement spread across the United States to 70 major cities and hundreds of other communities. Similar actions emerged in scores of other nations.

For the first two weeks, the corporate-owned mainstream media along with NPR did what they usually do with progressive protests: they ignored them. These were the same media that had given the Tea Party supporters saturation coverage for weeks on end, ordaining them “a major political force.”

The most common and effective mode of news repression is omission. By saying nothing or next to nothing about dissenting events, movements, candidates, or incidents, the media consign them to oblivion. When the Occupy movement spread across the country and could no longer be ignored, the media moved to the second manipulative method: trivialization and marginalization.

So we heard that the protestors were unclear about what they were protesting and they were “far removed from the mainstream.” Media cameras focused on the clown who danced on Wall Street in full-blown circus costume, and the youths who pounded bongo drums: “a carnival atmosphere” “youngsters out on a spree,” with “no connection to the millions of middle Americans” who supposedly watched with puzzlement and alarm.

Such coverage, again, was in sharp contrast to the respectful reportage accorded the Tea Party. House Majority Leader, the reactionary Republican Eric Cantor, described the Occupy movement as “growing mobs.” This is the same Cantor who hailed the Tea Party as an unexcelled affirmation of democracy.

The big November 2 demonstration in Oakland that succeeded in closing the port was reported by many media outlets, almost all of whom focused on the violence against property committed by a few small groups. Many of those perpetrators were appearing for the first time at the Oakland site. Some were suspected of being undercover police provocateurs. Their actions seemed timed to overshadow the successful shutdown of the nation’s fourth largest port.

Time and again, the media made the protestors the issue rather than the things they were protesting. The occupiers were falsely described as hippie holdovers and mindless youthful activists. In fact, there was a wide range of ages, socio-ethnic backgrounds, and lifestyles, from homeless to well-paid professionals, along with substantial numbers of labor union members. Far from being a jumble of confused loudmouths prone to violence, they held general assemblies, organized themselves into committees, and systematically took care of encampment questions, food, security, and sanitation.

One unnoticed community protest was Occupy Walnut Creek. For those who don’t know, Walnut Creek is a comfortable conservative suburb in northern California (with no known record of revolutionary insurrections). Only one local TV station gave Occupy Walnut Creek brief attention, noting that about 400 people were participating, average age between 40 and 50, no clowns, no bongos. Participants admitted that they lived fairly prosperous lives but still felt a kinship with the millions of Americans who were enduring an economic battering. Here was a contingent of affluent but rebellious “middle Americans” yet Walnut Creek never got mentioned in the national media, as far as I know.

The Occupy movement has promulgated a variety of messages. With a daring plunge into class realities, the occupiers talk of the 1% who are exploiting the 99%, a brilliant propaganda formula, simple to use, yet saying so much, now widely embraced even by some media commentators. The protestors carried signs condemning the republic’s terrible underemployment and the empire’s endless wars, the environmental abuses perpetrated by giant corporations, the tax loopholes enjoyed by oil companies, the growing inequality of incomes, and the banksters and other gangsters who feed so lavishly from the public trough.

Some occupiers even denounced capitalism as a system and hailed socialism as a humane alternative. In all, the Occupy movement revealed an awareness of systemic politico-economic injustices not usually seen in U.S. protests. Remember, the initial and prime target was Wall Street, finance capital’s home base.

The mainstream news outlets not only control opinions but even more so opinion visibility, which in turn allows them to limit the parameters of public discourse. This makes it all the more imperative for ordinary people to join together in demonstrations, hoping thereby to maximize the visibility and impact of their opinions. The goal is to break through the near monopoly of conservative orthodoxy maintained by the “liberal” media.

So demonstrations are important. They have an energizing effect on would-be protestors, bringing together many who previously had thought themselves alone and voiceless. Demonstrations bring democracy into the streets. They highlight issues that have too long been buried. They mobilize numbers, giving a show of strength, reminding the plutocracy perched at the apex that the pyramid is rumbling.

But demonstrations should evolve into other forms of action. This has already been happening with the Occupy movement. It is more than a demonstration because its protestors did not go home at the end of the day. In substantial numbers they remained downtown, putting their bodies on the line, imposing a discomfort on officialdom just by their numbers and presence.

At a number of Occupy sites there have been civil disobedience actions, followed by arrests. In various cities the police have been unleashed with violent results that sometimes have backfired. In Oakland ex-Marine Scott Olsen was hit by a police teargas canister that busted his skull and left him hospitalized and unable to speak for a week. At best, he faces a long slow recovery. The day after Olsen was hit, hundreds of indignant new protestors joined the Occupy Oakland site. Police brutality incites a public reaction, often bringing more people out, just the opposite of what officials want.

Where does this movement go? What is to be done? The answers are already arising from the actions of the 99%:

  • Discourage military recruitment and support conscientious objectors. Starve the empire of its legions. Organize massive tax resistance in protest of corrupt, wasteful, unlawful, and destructive Pentagon spending
  • Transfer funds from corporate banks to credit unions and community banks. Support programs that assist the unemployed and the dispossessed. It was Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s embattled finance minister who declared: “Salvate il popolo, non le banche” (“Save the people, not the banks”). It would be nice to hear such sentiments emanating from the U.S. Treasury Department or the White House.
  • Coordinate actions with organized labor. Unions still are the 99%’s largest and best financed groups. Consider what was done in Oakland: occupiers joined with longshoremen, truckers, and other workers to close the port. Already there are plans for a general strike in various communities. Such actions improve greatly if organized labor is playing a role.
  • We need new electoral strategies, a viable third party, proportional representation, and even a new Constitution, one that establishes firm rules for an egalitarian democracy and is not a rigmarole designed to protect the moneyed class. The call for a constitutional convention (a perfectly legitimate procedure under the present U.S. Constitution) seems long overdo.
  • Perhaps most of all, we need ideological education regarding the relationship between wealth and power, the nature of capitalism, and the crimes of an unbridled profit-driven financial system. And again the occupiers seem to be moving in that direction: in early November 2011, people nationwide began gathering to join teach-ins on “How the 1% Crashed the Economy.”

We need to explicitly invite the African-American, Latino, and Asian communities into the fight, reminding everyone that the Great Recession victimizes everyone but comes down especially hard on the ethnic poor.

We need to educate ourselves regarding the beneficial realities of publicly owned nonprofit utilities, publicly directed environmental protections, public nonprofit medical services and hospitals, public libraries, schools, colleges, housing, and transportation–all those things that work so well in better known in some quarters as socialism.

There is much to do. Still it is rather impressive how the battle is already being waged on so many fronts. Meanwhile the corporate media ignore the content of our protest while continuing to fulminate about the occupiers’ violent ways and lack of a precise agenda.

Do not for one moment think that the top policymakers and plutocrats don’t care what you think. That is the only thing about you that wins their concern. They don’t care about the quality of the air you breathe or the water you drink, or how happy or unhappy or stressed and unhealthy or poor you might be. But they do want to know your thoughts about public affairs, if only to get a handle on your mind. Every day they launch waves of disinformation to bloat your brains, from the Pentagon to Fox News without stint.

When the people liberate their own minds and take a hard clear look at what the 1% is doing and what the 99% should be doing, then serious stuff begins to happen. It is already happening. It may eventually fade away or it may create a new chapter in our history. Even if it does not achieve its major goals, the Occupy movement has already registered upon our rulers the anger and unhappiness of a populace betrayed.

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David Crosby and Graham Nash on Occupy Wall Street

Musicians David Crosby and Graham Nash discuss their impressions of the Occupy Wall Street movement with Keith. The duo also performs an original song a cappella.

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“Keep Going! Keep Going! Keep Going!”

Graham Nash and David Crosby sing to protesters in Zuccotti Park today, “Teach Your Children Well”

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O W S HITS THE ROAD! ~~ MARCH TO WASHINGTON!!

On November 23rd, the Congressional Deficit Reduction Super-Committee will meet to decide on whether or not to keep Obama’s extension to the Bush tax-cuts – which only benefit the richest 1% of Americans in any kind of significant way. Luckily, a group of OWS’ers are embarking on a two-week march from Liberty Plaza to the Whitehouse to let the committee know what the 99% think about these cuts. Join the march to make sure these tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans are allowed to die!
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IS THE WALL STREET OCCUPATION JUST ANOTHER TEA PARTY?

Definitely not!
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A Left-Wing Tea Party?
By Arun Gupta

(Illustration by GB Martin)
(Illustration by GB Martin)
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One month into the Occupy Wall Street protest, many are asking if this new movement is just a “left-wing Tea Party.”

Definitely not. This is not a party, like the Tea Party, that seeks to directly affect policy and the electoral process. Because it is explicitly leaderless, it is difficult to imagine a Michelle Bachmann or Eric Cantor emerging as a standard-bearer of the OWS movement. Given their reliance on Wall Street money, as well as radical demands from many protesters, the Democrats will find it almost impossible to channel “the 99 percent” into an electoral tidal wave next year the way the Republicans rode the Tea Party to victory in 2010.

But that does not mean comparisons to the Tea Party should be dismissed. There are striking parallels between the two movements when viewed through political, social and historical lenses.

Some similarities are obvious. The Tea Party and OWS alike oppose the bailouts of the banks orchestrated by both parties in Washington. The two movements are thick with people who feel they have little say in the political process. And supporters on each side think the middle-class “American Dream” is nearly extinct.

When the two movements are viewed as a social force, the resemblance deepens. I have interviewed Tea Party members and protesters at Liberty Park who discuss their involvement in comparable terms. They speak of a personal “awakening,” of finding inspiration in a gathering of kindred spirits, and of not having been political before.

In fact, both thrive on bringing new people into politics. As such, they can be considered populist movements and share another commonality – each creates a new notion of “the people.”

The Tea Party’s rallying cries include “we the people” and “take America back.” Its vision of the people is one of self-reliant, industrious and frugal Americans who through moral example and political force would return this country to the greatness pioneered by the Founding Fathers. The Occupy movement is inchoate, but already “the 99 percent” is its version of the people: those whose dreams and aspirations have been squashed by the greedy and power hungry, but who can revive fairness and justice as national ideals.

For both movements, the legitimate people is complemented by the illegitimate other. For the Tea Party, this takes the form of liberals, unions, immigrants, Muslims, welfare recipients and Obama. It is anyone portrayed as unscrupulously profiting, in power or money, off the American system. For the Occupy movement, it is the 1 percent, the catch-all for bankers, corporate executives, the super-rich and their political allies who have an iron grip on the economy and politics.

Another similarity is that the success of the Tea Party and OWS is owed to their vagueness, at least initially. Each has united disparate coalitions under its banner.

For example, the Tea Party’s historic references appeal to people who feel that social and political changes in the last few decades have made their country unrecognizable. It unites those who oppose unions and immigration, favor small government (apart from the sprawling military-security apparatus) and want a return to the gold standard, cuts in social spending, unlimited gun rights and less regulation of business and markets. The common theme is that parasitical and selfish groups have sapped America’s power.

Likewise, the Occupy movement has been criticized for a lack of demands, but when you speak to individuals there is no lack of ideas: better-paying jobs, government-funded jobs, single-payer healthcare, student-debt forgiveness, a moratorium on home foreclosures, cutting military spending, saving Social Security and Medicare, ending the attacks on unions. One secret of its success, analogous to the Tea Party’s obsession with the undeserving, is that it allows many groups and individuals to see their demands as equivalent to everyone else’s because the opponent is the same: Wall Street.

Most Tea Party and Occupy partisans feel something has gone fundamentally wrong in America, and they are united in envisioning a different type of society. It’s a mistake to reduce either movement to politics or policy; each is motivated by values and idealized ways of relating to one another. But this is where the differences become stark.

The Tea Party embraces heroic, rugged individualism where freedom and liberty are best secured through the free market. In reality, the Tea Party ideology is really about a suburban-based nostalgia for white supremacy. Its disdain for government subsidies does not extend to the interest deduction for homeowners and other supports for a suburban lifestyle.

On the other hand, OWS believes in a collective economy and decision-making, as seen in the General Assembly decision-making and free exchange of goods in Liberty Park. Activists think increasing access to public goods, starting with the public squares themselves, is the way to achieve social harmony.

These radically divergent worldviews are matched by distinct demographics. The average member of the Tea Party is in his or her 50s, whereas the typical Wall Street occupier looks to be a recent college graduate. This probably explains why the two also have different relations to history. The Tea Party romanticizes the American Revolution, while OWS is inspired by uprisings and occupations from the Arab Spring to Europe in which youth say they are trying to reclaim the future.

It would be tempting to define the divide as one between those who support an unfettered free market because government has too much power and those who want a robust social welfare state, or even socialism, because corporations have too much power. That is just part of it. The fact that genuinely popular movements could blossom so quickly at both political poles indicates how hollow the center has become.

The OWS and the Tea Party movements may have diametrically opposed visions of society and power relations, but they both appeal to growing ranks of people who believe the system no longer works for them. Whatever their differences, they both present challenges that will not disappear because of some policy reforms or reshuffling of the cast in Washington.

 

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ DAY OF ACTION AT WALL STREET IN SOLIDARITY WITH OAKLAND’S GENERAL STRIKE

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Even the New York Times couldn’t ignore this…. (click on link for full report)
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Oakland’s Port Shuts Down as Protesters March on Waterfront

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters expanded their anti-Wall Street demonstrations on Wednesday, marching through downtown, picketing banks and swarming the port. By early evening, port authorities said maritime operations there were effectively shut down.
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Also see THIS report.
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Other activities of the day…

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THE GREATEST (AMERICAN) STORY EVER TOLD

Occupy Wall Street Spreads Beyond NYC

It’s now been three weeks since the “Occupy Wall Street” protests began in New York City’s Financial District, and the movement has grown, spreading to other cities in the U.S. Protesters have organized marches, rallies, and “occupations” from Boston to Boise, Los Angeles to New Orleans, Seattle to Tampa. Using social media, handmade signs, and their voices, they are voicing anger at financial and social inequality and protesting the influence of corporate money in politics. Seattle police recently arrested 25 protesters camping out in Westlake Park, following on the heels of 700 arrests on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge last week. Collected here are a some of the scenes from these protests across the U.S. over the past week, as the movement moves forward with no signs of slowing. [44 photos]

 

Protestors march through downtown Boise, Idaho, Wednesday October 5, 2011. Activists have been showing solidarity with movement in many cities, including Occupy Boise. More than 100 people withstood an afternoon downpour in Idaho’s capital to protest. (AP Photo, Idaho Statesman/Darin Oswald)

Daniel Todd from Brooklyn, a Wall Street protester, sits in a park in the financial district on his third day at the gathering on September 30, 2011 in New York City. “We are overpopulated as a nation and are killing our planet. We need to use our resources better and to build urban farms to feed city residents. I believe in the American Constitution and communal living” said Todd. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

A large group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement attempt to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, effectively shutting parts of it down on Saturday, October 1, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Rose Bookbinder) #

Police arrest a protester on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge during Saturday’s march by Occupy Wall Street on October 1, 2011. Protesters speaking out against corporate greed and other grievances attempted to walk over the bridge from Manhattan, resulting in the arrest of more than 700 during a tense confrontation with police. The majority of those arrested were given citations for disorderly conduct and were released, police said. (AP Photo/Stephanie Keith) #

Members of labor unions and others join Occupy Wall Street during a march in Lower Manhattan as they arrive near Zuccotti Park, on October 5, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Occupy Wall Street activists and union members stage a protest near Wall Street in New York, on October 5, 2011. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images) #

Union members and Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrate near Wall Street in New York City, on October 5, 2011. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images) #

Occupy Wall Street protesters march towards Zuccotti Park in New York’s Financial District, on October 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) #

A woman carries a sign as members of trade unions join Occupy Wall Street protesters as they march to Foley Square, on October 5, 2011 in New York. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement march against the centralization of power and money in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 6, 2011. About 300 people participated in the march stopping to chant outside banks throughout downtown. (AP Photo/The Deseret News, Laura Seitz,) #

Joshua Whisenhunt, a volunteer facilitator for the first day of Occupy Austin, instructs a crowd outside city hall about communicating with hand signals on Thursday afternoon October 6, 2011 in Austin Texas. (AP Photo/Thomas Allison – Daily Texan) #

Brighton Wallace takes part in an “Occupy Austin” protest at Austin City Hall, on October 6, 2011, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) #

Protesters hold banners while shouting slogans during a late afternoon march through downtown Los Angeles on October 3, 2011 in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images) #

85-year-old Julia Botello and two other protesters chant as they leave a Bank of America just before police begin arresting demonstrators for occupying its lobby on October 6, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The demonstrators are marching to major bank offices to protest the role of Wall Street banks in the federal budget crisis and in solidarity with protesters in New York and other US cities. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A couple kisses during a march in support of the New York Occupy Wall Street protests outside City Hall in Los Angeles, California, on October 3, 2011. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #

A man shouts slogans as protesters occupy a Bank of America branch during a “Make Wall Street Banks Pay” protest march in Los Angeles, California, on October 6, 2011. Los Angeles Police said they arrested eleven people for trespassing at the branch. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #

Protesters chanting “we are the 99%,” march in downtown Tampa, Florida, in support of the Wall Street protest against financial greed and corruption, on October 6, 2011. About 400 protesters gathered singing and waving signs at passing motorists. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) #

Anti-corporate protesters display banners and placards as they take part in “Occupy DC” protest against corporation at the Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on October 6, 2011. Protests against corporate power in the US took root in Washington on Thursday, with several hundred people occupying Freedom Plaza outside city hall to demand progressive reform. The Stop the Machine rally — midway between the Capitol and the White House — echoed the demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York that Thursday drew more than 5,000 people as well as labor-union support. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) #

A protester displays a sign during the “Occupy DC” protest in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on October 6, 2011. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters hold candles during a vigil as a part of the “Occupy DC” protest against corporations at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on October 6, 2011. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) #

About one thousand people gather and form a large “99%” in the middle of Freedom Plaza during an “occupation” of the plaza on October 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

Protesters sit in Freedom Plaza, forming a human “99%” shape during Occupy DC in Washington, on Thursday, October 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) #

Protesters shout slogans during a rally outside Houston’s City Hall Thursday, October 6, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Dallas, Houston and Austin on Thursday as cities around Texas joined the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations demanding an end to corruption in politics and business. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) #

In Las Vegas, Nevada, Nicole Kalkofen (left) holds up a sign while participating in an Occupy Wall Street protest, on, October 6, 2011. Union officials, college students and homeowners facing foreclosure marched down the Las Vegas Strip in support of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

Protesters shout slogans as they participate in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Thursday, October 6, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

A woman who identified herself as Janelle K. holds up a sign during an “Occupy Las Vegas” demonstration on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 6, 2011. (Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus) #

A man holds a protest sign during a march to Foley Square on October 5, 2011 in New York City. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images) #

Commuters walk through Zuccotti Park in the financial district where Occupy Wall Street protesters are encamped in New York, on October 4, 2011. The protests have gathered momentum and gained participants in recent days as news of mass arrests and a coordinated media campaign by the protesters have given rise to similar demonstrations around the country. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) #

Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign march into the courtyard of New York Police Department headquarters in New York September 30, 2011. More than 500 people were gathered ahead of the start of the planned late afternoon march to One Police Plaza, the center of police operations, in downtown Manhattan. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #

A New York City police lieutenant swings his baton as he and other police try to stop protesters who breached a barricade to enter Wall Street after an Occupy Wall Street march on October 5, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement rally before marching through Lower Manhattan on October 5, 2011 in New York City. Thousands of protesters including union members and college students from an organized walkout joined today’s rally and march. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

People with the Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park form a circle and meditate on October 5, 2011 in New York. The Occupy Wall Street protests started Sept. 17 with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, hundreds have set up camp nearby in Zuccotti Park and have become increasingly organized, lining up medical aid and legal help and printing their own newspaper. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Protesters affiliated with “Occupy NJ” chant during a protest outside the Goldman Sachs building at 30 Hudson Street October 6, 2011 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The protesters marched approximately a quarter of a mile along the waterfront chanting and beating drums. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images) #

People march near City Hall Thursday, October 6, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Organizers of what is being called Occupy Philadelphia say Thursday’s demonstration is meant to be a stand against corporate greed. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

Chris Garvey, left, talks to some of the members of the crowd near City Hall Thursday, October 6, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

Dakota Lonewolf flies an upside-down U.S. flag as he takes part in a protest at an “Occupy Seattle” encampment in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park, on October 5, 2011. People protesting the current economic situation and other causes have been camped in the park for several days, mirroring demonstrations in other areas of the country. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #

Police arrest a man who refused to leave a tent pitched at an “Occupy Seattle” protest encampment in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park,on October 5, 2011. On Wednesday afternoon, police moved in and took down all of the tents, and arrested those who refused to leave them. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #

A protester screams as a Seattle Police officer pushes down on his head, on October 5, 2011, as police try to remove a tent pitched in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park during an “Occupy Seattle” protest. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #

People parade down Tulane Ave. during the Occupy NOLA parade in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests on October 6, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The group started at Orleans Parish Court before heading past City Hall and onto Lafayette Square. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Matthew Hinton) #

Occupy Boston protesters gather outside a building in the Financial district in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 5, 2011. The group is part of a nationwide grassroots movement in support of the ongoing Wall Street protests in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) #

Julien Jacque of Miami, left, Matt Laverge, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and his dog Mya, talk outside their tents in the Occupy Boston encampment on the Rose Kennedy Greenway across the street from the Federal Reserve building, in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds) #

Dasha Taraban, 23, takes down signs from the Free Stamp after Occupy Cleveland held a rally on October 6, 2011, in Cleveland, Ohio. The group is one of several across the country mirroring the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) #

In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators show support for the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate power on October 6 2011. Demonstrators marched downtown Thursday afternoon, disrupting traffic and businesses. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl Stevens) #

Demonstrators supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate power protest fill Pioneer Square, in Portland, Oregon, on October 6 2011. Protesters marched downtown on Thursday afternoon, disrupting traffic and businesses. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) #

 

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WALL STREET ~~ THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING AS HUNDREDS ARE ARRESTED + PHOTO ESSAYS

Marchers claimed a roadway on the Brooklyn Bridge.
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The police did not immediately release precise arrest figures.
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Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were arrested.
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Police surrounded protesters with orange nets.
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Many protesters said that they thought they’d been trapped.
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Police secured some protesters’ hands with plastic ties.
(Photo credits in link below)
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Police Arrest More Than 700 Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge

By AL BAKER and COLIN MOYNIHAN
 
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In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The police did not immediately release precise arrest figures, but said it was the choice of those marchers that led to the swift enforcement.

“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walkway were not arrested,” said the head police spokesman, Paul J. Browne. “Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway, and impeded vehicle traffic, were arrested.”

But many protesters said that they thought the police had tricked and trapped them, allowing them onto the bridge and even escorting them across, only to surround them in orange netting after hundreds of them had entered.

“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who was in the march but was not arrested.

A video on the YouTube page of a group called We Are Change shows some of the arrests.

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Things came to a head shortly after 4 p.m., as the 1,500 or so marchers reached the foot of the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the bridge, just east of City Hall.

In their march north from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan — headquarters for the last two weeks of a protest movement against what demonstrators call inequities in the economic system — they had stayed on the sidewalks, forming a long column of humanity penned in by officers on scooters.

Where the entrance to the bridge narrowed their path, some marchers, including organizers, stuck to the generally agreed-upon route and headed up onto the wooden walkway that runs between and about 15 feet above the bridge’s traffic lanes.

But about 20 others headed for the Brooklyn-bound roadway, said Christopher T. Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who accompanied the march. Some of them chanted “take the bridge.” They were met by a handful of high-level police supervisors, who blocked the way and announced repeatedly through bullhorns that the marchers were blocking the roadway and that if they continued to do so, they would be subject to arrest.

There were no physical barriers, though, and at one point, the marchers began walking up the roadway with the police commanders in front of them – seeming, from a distance, as if they were leading the way. The Chief of Department Joseph J. Esposito, and a horde of other white-shirted commanders, were among them.

After allowing the protesters to walk about a third of the way to Brooklyn, the police then cut the marchers off and surrounded them with orange nets on both sides, trapping hundreds of people, said Mr. Dunn. As protesters at times chanted “white shirts, white shirts,” officers began making arrests, at one point plunging briefly into the crowd to grab a man.

The police said that those arrested were taken to several police stations and were being charged with disorderly conduct, at a minimum.

A freelance reporter for The New York Times, Natasha Lennard, was among those arrested. She was later released.

Mr. Dunn said he was concerned that those in the back of the column who might not have heard the warnings “would have had no idea that it was not O.K. to walk on the roadway of the bridge.” Mr. Browne said that people who were in the rear of the crowd that may not have heard the warnings were not arrested and were free to leave.

Earlier in the afternoon, as many as 10 Department of Correction buses, big enough to hold 20 prisoners apiece, had been dispatched from Rikers Island in what one law enforcement official said was “a planned move on the protesters.”

Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”

Mr. Ben-Ami said he left the walkway and joined the crowd on the road. “It seemed completely permitted,” he said. “There wasn’t a single policeman saying ‘don’t do this’.”

He added: “We thought they were escorting us because they wanted us to be safe.” He left the bridge when he saw officers unrolling the nets as they prepared to make arrests. Many others who had been on the roadway were allowed to walk back down to Manhattan.

Mr. Browne said that the police did not trick the protesters into going onto the bridge.

“This was not a trap,” he said. “They were warned not to proceed.”

In related protests elsewhere in the country, 25 people were arrested in Boston for trespassing while protesting Bank of America’s foreclosure practices, according to Eddy Chrispin, a spokesman for the Boston Police Department. The protesters were on the grounds and blocking the entrance to the building, Mr. Chrispin said.

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Our roving photographer captured the following on the march to Police Plaza a day earlier….

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AT WALL STREET

Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Early last night an estimated 5,000 people, the Wall Street occupiers and their allies,  marched  from their site in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street to  the New York Police Department Headquarters at 1 Police Plaza.  At the front of the march was the Granny Peace Brigade, firm supporters of the occupiers, followed by a mixture of labor unions, students, workers, and the occupiers themselves.  The march was organized in response to the police action last Saturday when they brutally and violently attacked Occupy Wall Street marchers without provocation near Union Square.

 

Critics have said that the message these activists have been sending is unclear.  This is not true.  It was obvious to anyone who saw or heard them that they were marching against police brutality, they were marching because Wall Street has hijacked our government which is no longer serving the needs of theAmerican people, they were marching because there are 25 million Americans unemployed and there is no program being put forth to create jobs, they were marching because there are 50 million Americans without health insurance which kills 125 of our fellow citizens every day.   And they were marching because the brutalities of the capitalist system have left the 400 richest people in this country with more money than the 180 million Americans on the bottom of the economic scale meaning that one child out of 5 is living in abject poverty.

 

As they marched they chanted,  ‘Banks got bailed out, we got sold out’, ‘We are the other 99%’, ‘This is what democracy looks like’, Whose streets? Our streets’, and ‘Non-violent people power’.  They spoke to the police officers accompanying the marchers urging them to join the march and promising them that when budget cuts cause them to be fired, or when Wall St. speculators gamble away their pension funds, they will fight for them.

 

During the past week people have come to realize that the Wall Street Occupiers represent the conscience of this nation.  Many have come to join them and they are also getting many celebrity visitors.  At this moment efforts are being made in 77 U.S. and 12 international cities  to organize similar groups. No one knows exactly what will come of this movement but for now the courage, insight, and humanity that this group has shown is a breath of fresh air.

 

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HEY COPS, THAT INCLUDES YOU!

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NO FENCE SITTERS ON WALL STREET // EITHER YOU ARE A REBEL OR A SLAVE

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.
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Which Side Are You On?
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**Demonstrators line the streets of Manhattan's financial district during the Occupy Wall Street protest on Sept. 19, 2011. (photo: Michael Nagle / Getty Images)

Demonstrators line the streets of Manhattan’s financial district during the Occupy Wall Street protest on Sept. 19, 2011. (photo: Michael Nagle / Getty Images)

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Are You a Rebel or a Slave?

By Chris Hedges

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There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher.

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies.

Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant behind those metal barricades. They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children’s children. They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with the rest of us. So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation.

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Written FOR

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To support those involved….

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About OCCUPY TOGETHER 

Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, an unofficial hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. As we have followed the news on facebook, twitter, and the various live feeds across the internet, we felt compelled to build a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the country. We hope to provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.

We will try our best to provide you with the most accurate information possible. However, we are just a few volunteers and errors are bound to occur. Please be patient as we get this site off the ground and populated and please contact us if you have any info on new events, corrections, or suggestions for this site. You can contact us at info[at]occupytogether[dot]org.

We will only grow stronger in our solidarity and we will be heard, not just in New York, but in echoes across this nation.

For more information about us, the movement, and answers to questions, please check out our FAQ.

Nobody Can Predict The Moment Of Revolution ( Occupy Wall Street )

ISLAMOPHOBIA REACHES NEW HEIGHTS AT AMERICAN CAMPUS

University administrators disciplined some of the students involved and suspended the campus Muslim Student Union, whose members participated in the protest, for an academic quarter. The group is still on probation.
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‘Irvine 11’ jury finds all 10 students guilty

La-me-irvine-eleven07

Photo: Muslim students gather with their attorney at the Central Justice Center on Friday after being found guilty of conspiring to disrupt and then disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador at UC Irvine last year. Eight of the 10 students were present for the verdict at the center in Santa Ana. The other two had permission by the court to be out of town. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

More photos HERE

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After more than two days of deliberation, an Orange County jury on Friday found 10 Muslim students guilty of two misdemeanors to conspire and then disrupt a February 2010 speech at UC Irvine last year by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

There was crying as the verdict was read in Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson’s courtroom. The students showed no visible emotion, although they hugged each afterward. Some also stormed out.

In a case that garnered national attention over free-speech rights, the trial centered on conflicting views of who was being censored. Prosecutors argued that Ambassador Michael Oren was “shut down” when his speech was interrupted by students who took turns shouting preplanned phrases in a crowded UC Irvine ballroom.

Six defense attorneys argued that the students, seven from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside, were only following the norm of other college protests and were being singled out.

A guilty verdict, the defense had said during the trial, could chill student activism and the free exchange of ideas at colleges nationwide.

University administrators disciplined some of the students involved and suspended the campus Muslim Student Union, whose members participated in the protest, for an academic quarter. The group is still on probation.

The case also has drawn the attention of a wide range of groups, including Muslim and Jewish organizations and civil libertarians. The trial began Sept. 7.

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s Law School, has said that although freedom of speech is not an absolute right, university sanctions were enough for the students.

But he also added that he believes criminal sanctions go too far.

Chemerinsky told The Times last week that “it makes no sense” to use such resources. “It’s so minor.”

Charges against one defendant were tentatively dismissed pending completion of 40 hours of community service at a local soup kitchen.

But the other 10 went on trial Sept. 11 before packed, at times noisy, crowds in the courtroom.

Source

FINAL COUNTDOWN TO PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD ~~ WHY NOT WAIT ANOTHER YEAR?

 With only 3 days left ….
We are at
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It’s only been 63 years since Palestine was occupied …. why can’t they wait another year before asking the UN to recognise them as a sovereign nation? That’s the logic of the Obama administration as can be seen in THIS AP Report….
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US presents plan for PA to defer UN bid for one year

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Washington aims to salvage Mideast crisis aversion plan, suggests PA be allowed to deliver statehood bid to UN but defer acting on it for 12 months

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Meanwhile, Netanyahu is on his way to thwart Palestine’s’ RIGHT to FREEDOM as can be seen in THIS Report from HaAretz….

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Netanyahu to meet world leaders in bid to thwart Palestinian statehood

Prime minister heads to UN, will meet with U.S. President Obama; says Abbas turned down his repeated requests to meet, ‘road to peace through direct negotiations, not unilateral decisions’.

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Does anyone give a damn what the Palestinians themselves have to say about all this? Here’s two opinions…
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After Sixty Three Years of Occupation Israel still does not understand

By Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad
 
Palestinians wave Palestinian flags at a protest in Ramallah, West Bank, to show solidarity with Egyptian anti-government demonstrators
After sixty-three years of occupation and conflict, Israel still does not understand what is the cost of its daily occupation of the Palestinian lands and continues to go in the wrong way to gain temporary security benefits.

The recent Palestinian efforts to bid for a Full Membership state at the United Nations resulted in a wide International diplomatic movement that most of it is in favor of supporting a Palestinian state declaration. On the other side a different kind of movement is going on; a movement that offered everything possible to prevent the Palestinian leadership from bidding for an International recognition of the Palestinians right of living in a state of their own. This declaration became a nightmare for some politicians and leaders who are acknowledged of the price of their rejection of it. They are dealing with this declaration as if it is a threat on their national security and stability of the region and forgot about the essence of the meaning of democracy, freedom and right of self-expression.

Israel from its side continued to deal with the declaration by asking one question and one question only: Will there be a new Intifada? How will the army deal with the possible demonstrations? Is Israel security forces ready to shut the Palestinians down? What about activating emergency laws that allow the Israeli security forces to imprison Arabs and put them in new isolated areas? These are the questions that the Political and army analysts were trying to find answers for.

Others in the Israeli Media decided to go to Ramallah and report from its streets trying to calm down the Israeli public opinion that the streets are empty and no one cares for the Palestinian leadership Diplomatic battle at New York.
This is what Israel have been doing since sixty three years; making sure that it can control the security situation and can continue in directing the conflict rather than solving it. The only difference is that Prime Minister Netanyahu failed in directing the conflict smartly and this caused a public international exposure of his governments will and desire in settling more and more in the Palestinian occupied lands and erasing the Palestinian legacy in Jerusalem.

Israel does not understand until now that with every improvement it makes in its army, economic and desire to bring more Jews to live inside it, it is also increasing its chances of losing everyone in the area. Israel’s government still does not understand that it lost all of its historical allies in the area and is causing real damage to the picture of the its other allies outside the area. Israel is still convinced that only by maintaining the occupied Palestinian lands and putting its army forces on borders it will continue to enjoy a “guaranteed” security. This kind of security is the one that was broken thousands of times on all the sides of Israel’s borders.

Israel still does not understand the reason that keeps the Palestinians standing everyday despite all the obstacles that they have to face whether while standing in line to pass through a checkpoint that is run by Israeli teenagers soldiers who come to live their instable teen life while oppressing the Palestinians, or while having to live in an economy that is ruled by the will of the occupier and does not assure that the salary will be paid in the end of the month, or while living under-siege as in Gaza with food and life needs coming through tunnels, or by staying apart from the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners, or while having to remember the yearly memorial of those who they lost and scarified their life’s.

The reason that Israel does not understand until this day the secret of the Palestinians determination is either because of the naivety of those who lead it or because of a denial status that Israel is living. To my mind, it is a denial status because in the field everything can be seen. This denial is the reason why Israel shows as if it does not care for the Palestinians’ bid for a state or continue its peaceful people struggle every week in the West Bank.

This denial cannot be a reason to prevent the Palestinians from seeking their freedom. No nation under occupation showed true intentions and readiness to compromise as the Palestinian people gave in the last eighteen years and the only response was more settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a denial of the Palestinian right of return and responsibility of the occupation of expelling thousands of Palestinians who until now live in refugee camps and an Israeli determination to empower its war machines rather than investing in a real peace process.

For this reason, the International community must prove that it is a real authority that can lead in solving the case of an occupied people that has been suffering for sixty three years…For this reason the world must vote in favour of a Palestinian state and act to end an occupation that brought enough trouble for the world and will bring more disasters soon.

After Sixty Three Years of Occupation Israel still does not understand

Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad

A Palestinian-Arab living in East Jerusalem, Ziad graduated from College Des Freres in Jerusalem in 2003. Ziad finished his major in International Relations and English Literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ziad is a former President of the Watan student movement at the university. He is interested in Middle Eastern political issues and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Founder of the Middle East Post and MEL (Middle East Future Leadership Network), he represents Palestinian youth at several international conferences.

Source

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And from our Associate ….

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If Israel acts unilaterally since 63 years, why shouldn’t we  

by Khalid Amayreh

Statehood Must Mean Liquidation of the Israeli Occupation

Palestine statehood UN chair

 

Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, has assured the Palestinian masses that a possible recognition of statehood by the UN won’t be at the expense of other fundamental Palestinian rights, including the paramount right of return for Palestinian refugees, uprooted from their homeland at gunpoint by Jewish invaders from Eastern Europe some 63 years ago.

Speaking during a speech in Ramallah on 17 September, Abass reiterated Palestinian grievances, reminding the international community that the Palestinian people were the only people under the sun still languishing under a foreign military occupation.

“There is not a territory, or an island, or a region that has not gained its freedom and independence, except us. Our freedom, independence and statehood are therefore long overdue.”

Abbas said the occupation was becoming anachronistic and it had to go by whatever means necessary.

The speech, described by PLO officials as land-mark, contained few surprises. Abbas said the PLO would remain the sole and only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people regardless of the formation of statehood. The statement is seen as a necessary assurance to those who are worried that statehood would be at the expense of the right of return for the refugees.

Mr. Abbas also exhorted the Palestinians not to be lured by violence “because this is exactly what the Israelis want.”

If all goes well, and the Abbas leadership does approach the UN, including the Security Council, it will be the first time the Ramallah leadership refuses to budge to American-Israeli pressure. In this case, a certain credit should be given to Abbas.

However, much attention ought to be given to political and diplomatic theatrics and other forms of wheeling and dealing expected to ensue a possible unbinding UN resolution recognizing a state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders.

First of all, the PA must realize that satisfying American demands would effectively mean contenting ourselves with a deformed state on isolated parts of the West Bank, probably with some East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

This should be absolutely unacceptable since liberating the land from the clutches of Zionism is far more important than statehood.

Moreover, the PA leadership should absolutely reject any American efforts, by Congress or the administration, to blackmail the Palestinians by way of financial or political pressure to make them reconsider or deviate from pursuing manifestly legitimate rights.

Congress, as we all know, is always at Israel’s beck and call and would go to any extent to prove its loyalty and cheap subservience to the apartheid regime in occupied Palestine.

More to the point, certain European states, such as Germany, won’t abandon the disgusting idea that the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims of the world must have to pay the price for whatever Adolph Hitler and his thugs did to Jews in the course of the Second World War. We must not succumb to this contemptuous stand on the part of the Merkel government.

It is probably premature to predict the ultimate net-outcome of the Palestinian bid at the United Nation. The Obama administration, always in the grip of the Jewish lobby, will most likely veto any draft resolution at the UN Security Council recognizing a Palestinian state based on the 1967-borders.

Moreover, a Palestinian achievement at the UN, such as gaining membership of the international organization, would have only symbolic importance, especially in the short run.

In the final analysis, a real success will depend on the ability, willingness and determination of the international community to transform diplomatic achievements into tangible facts on the ground in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. This would require more determined and concerted efforts, with the collaboration and coordination of our many allies on the international arena.

This is especially significant since Israel, which controls American politics and policies, can always fly in the face of the international community by seeking to abort and crush Palestinian independence efforts. Such a blunt disregard for international legitimacy would undoubtedly cost Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States, a lot of diplomatic and political capital.

So the question that begs itself is whether Israel would be willing to sacrifice her international standing for the sake of crushing aspirations, even for a temporary period.

Moreover, an extremist Israeli stand is likely to be strongly rejected by regional powers, including Turkey, Egypt and Iran. Even traditionally pro-western regimes such as the regimes in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates would come under internal pressure to display their rejection of Israeli insolence. Jordan in particular could face violent and sustained protests demanding the removal of the Israeli ambassador, the severance of relations with Israel and even the abrogation of the 1994- Wadi Araba Peace treaty between Jordan and the Jewish state.

As to the apartheid Israeli regime, it is quite apparent that the Jewish state will continue to play the role of the victim, mainly in order to blackmail the Palestinians and the international community for maximal concessions.

This is the reason Israel is relating to the Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition as if a Third World war were about to breakout or as if a superpower were threatening Israel with a devastating nuclear attack.Israel is reiterating the same old mendacious mantra that Palestinian “unilateralism” won’t bring peace and that negotiations were the only route that could lead to the materialization of Palestinian statehood.

This argument is, of course, bereft of honesty and truth since the PA-PLO has been negotiating with Israel in vain for close to 20 years, while the Jewish state Israel was exploiting all these years to build more Jewish settlements and obliterating the Arab-Islamic identity of occupied East Jerusalem.

Hence, the argument that only negotiations would lead to peace is a characteristic Israeli lie that is meant to confuse and mislead international public opinion.

Moreover, Israel, which has built hundreds of Jewish-only colonies on occupied Arab land and transferred hundreds of thousands of its fanatical Jewish citizens to live on land that belongs to another people, is the last country on earth that is qualified to complain about unilateralism.

Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, a man notorious for his dishonesty, has also been repeating his many mantras about Hamas, urging the PA to terminate its partnership with the Islamic movement.

Netanyahu comfortably ignores and forgets his own alignment with Judeo Nazi groups such Gush Emunim, Shas and other ultra-fascist Jewish parties which advocate enslavement, expulsion or even outright physical extermination of non-Jews living in occupied Palestine.

This unholy partnership between the Likud and Judeo-Nazi groups explains the virtual silence and shocking inaction of the Netanyahu government towards the latest unprovoked wave of arson, vandalism and rampage carried out by Jewish settler terrorists against Palestinian targets, including mosques, all over the West Bank.

To conclude, there is a zero per cent probability that negotiations with Israel, even if such negotiations lasted for a hundred years, would achieve positive results.

Hence, the remaining alternative is that the Palestinian people must act independently, even unilaterally to achieve their legitimate goals. After all, If Israel acts unilaterally as it has been doing since its misbegotten creation 63 years ago, why shouldn’t we.

Besides, the Arab, regional and international situation appears to be more adequate than ever for pursuing Palestinian statehood even without sacrificing or compromising other legitimate rights, including the right of return, the soul and heart of the Palestinian cause.

PALESTINE’S PRE DECLARATION OF INDEPENENCE

Some 20 political parties and social movements from both sides of the Green Line issued an historic declaration in support of the social protests currently rocking Israel and their necessary linkage to the struggle against Israel’s occupation and colonial policies.
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Historic Declaration by Palestinians, Israelis in Support of Israeli Social Protest, Anti-Colonial Struggle

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Some 20 political parties and social movements from both sides of the Green Line issued an historic declaration in support of the social protests currently rocking Israel and their necessary linkage to the struggle against Israel’s occupation and colonial policies.

Together for putting an end to occupation and racism, in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their national rights and against national and social oppression

Even in light of the encouraging developments in the Middle East, the wave of social protests and the awakening of the peoples’ struggles for freedoms and the right to live in dignity, the Palestinian people still live under the yoke of the Israeli occupation, despite their persistent and ongoing struggle for freedom. The international community, for its part, demonstrates its helplessness and does not lend a hand to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice.

The protest movements and the winds of change blowing in the Arab world have aroused excitement throughout the world amongst freedom seekers, encouraging many to adopt the model of popular struggle. These protest movements have had a deep impact on various groups in Israel, amongst both Jews and Palestinians, and made an important contribution to the rise of the popular protest movement within Israel for social justice.

Moved by our aspiration to attain a just and fair peace in the region, a peace that is truly essential for the peoples of the region and can assist in promoting the struggle for justice and progress for everyone, we – Palestinian and Israeli social and political forces, representatives of women’s associations and young people from both sides of the Green Line – emphasise the need for a joint struggle, with the goal of liberating the peoples of the region from colonialism and hegemony, particularly that of Zionism, halting the occupation and Israeli military aggression and supporting the just struggle of the Palestinian people for fulfillment of its right for self-determination in accordance with the decisions of the international community.

We look forward to the liberation of all the region’s peoples from dictatorship, ruling tyranny and from all forms of national, social and economic oppression. Therefore, we the signatories on this document, emphasise:

1. We support the Palestinian September initiative in the United Nations, the body which carries responsibility for laying the foundations of peace internationally, in order to demand full membership for Palestine in the UN and recognition of a Palestinian state in the borders of 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to strengthen the efforts to end the occupation of the Palestinian people’s lands, with preservation of the right of the Palestinian people to oppose the occupation and the right of return of the refugees in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194. In this context, we emphasise that the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, deriving its legitimacy both from the Palestinian people in the homeland and exile and from the recognition it received from the Arab League and the United Nations.

The UN initiative is a legitimate step. The United Nations must fulfill its responsibility to realize its responsibility to establish peace and justice on the international level. This is a step that strengthens the rights of the Palestinian people and in no way represents a threat to Israel, despite the great efforts of the Israeli government to present this step to the Israeli people as a declaration of war or harming the legitimacy of the existence of Israel.

2. We understand that one of the primary reasons for the social and economic distress of citizens in Israel, in addition to the capitalist economic policies, is the continuation of the occupation and excessive security budgets, which Israel’s government seeks to justify as needed for defending the security of the settlements on the one hand and the state borders on the other. We therefore believe that an end to the occupation and establishment of a fair and just peace are essential for a life of peace and welfare.

We welcome the participation and integration of the Palestinian population in Israel in the social protest. This is an important opportunity to present before various groups within Israeli society the distresses of the Palestinians and the injustices caused to them, so that these groups can take responsibility in the struggle against the marginalizing policies and ongoing discrimination against the Palestinians in Israel, for putting an ending to confiscation of lands and full equality, and an end to the occupation of the Palestinian lands that were occupied in 1967.

We warn again the familiar attempts by the occupation government to evade the crises and its internal crises and the pressure of the protest waves through the politics of fear which point to an external threat: Whether by presenting the Palestinian appeal to the UN as a “danger” or by military actions, as we have witnessed in the past few days in light of the harsh escalation in bloodletting of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

3. We recognize the right of the Palestinian people, living under occupation, to make use of all the legitimate forms of resistance in accordance with international norms for removing of the occupiers from its land and for self determination. In this context, we emphasise the importance of the joint popular struggle of Palestinians and Israelis. A popular joint struggle is one of the central guiding principles in the struggle against the occupation, the settlements, racism, colonialism, against policies of exclusion, weakening, impoverishment, and racist separation within Israel.

September 2011

Signed: Political parties, social organizations and young women and men Palestinian and Israeli activists (in alphabetical order)

Association of Palestinian Democratic Youth (Palestine)

Association of Progressive Students (Palestine)

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Palestine)

Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel)

Democratic Teachers’ Union (Palestine)

Democratic Union of Professionals in Palestine (Palestine)

Democratic Women’s Movement in Israel (Israel)

Israeli Communist Party (Israel)

National Campaign for Return of the Bodies of Arab and Palestinian Martyrs Captured by the Israeli Government (Palestine)

Palestinian People’s Party (Palestine)

Popular Campaign for the Boycott of Israeli Products (Palestine)

Progressive Workers’ Union (Palestine)

Tarabut-Hithabrut – Arab-Jewish Movement for Social and Political Change (Israel)

The Alternative Information Center (Palestine/Israel)

Union of Palestinian Farmers’ Unions (Palestine)

Union of One World for Justice (Palestine)

Union of Palestinian Working Women (Palestine)

Workers’ Unity Bloc (Palestine)

 
 
 
Reported at Uruknet

ARABS NOT SO EQUAL UNDER JEWISH LAW

Once again, the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’ has proven that it’s NOT!
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Israeli courts discriminate against Arab Israelis in conviction and sentences

An Israeli academic study has revealed that Israeli judges are harsher with 1948-Palestinians (Arab Israelis) – during the conviction stages and when sentenced after conviction – in comparison to Jewish Israelis.

The statistical study that was commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association and conducted by three Jewish Israeli researchers, found that Arab Israelis charged with the same crimes as their Jewish Israeli counterparts are more likely to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, for longer sentences.

The study involved 1,500 criminal cases handled in six magistrate courts and three district courts between 1996 and 2005 and proved that while 63.5 per cent of Arab Israelis convicted of violent crimes were sentenced to prison, only 43.7 per cent of Jewish Israelis convicted for the same crimes were.

The study also pointed to the discrepancies regarding probation sentences – 71.2 per cent for Jewish Israelis and 78.7 per cent for Arabs.

Regarding the length of prison sentences given to Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis, the study found that while the average prison sentence for Jews was nine and a half months, Arabs convicted of the same crimes were given 14 months on average.

The study was conducted by Jewish Israeli professors Giora Rahav, Ephraim Yaar and Yoram Rabin. They accused the Israeli criminal justice system of dealing more harshly with Arab Israeli defendants than Jewish Israelis.

 

WHO TOLD YOU ISRAEL WASN’T A DEMOCRACY?

Israel is the ‘Only Democracy In The Middle East’ where a Palestinian can be elected to the Knesset and be silenced by the zionist majority. That’s Democracy, isn’t it?
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Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi will be stripped of her right to address the Knesset and to participate in committee votes until the end of this parliamentary season, the Knesset Ethics Committee ruled on Monday.
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MK Hanin Zuabi. Photo by: Tomer Appelbaum

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Arab MK stripped of further parliamentary privileges for role in Gaza flotilla

Balad MK Hanin Zuabi will no longer be allowed to address Knesset or vote in committee debates; last year, she lost her diplomatic passport, entitlement to aid for legal assistance, and right to visit countries without ties to Israel.

Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi will be stripped of her right to address the Knesset and to participate in committee votes until the end of this parliamentary season, the Knesset Ethics Committee ruled on Monday.

The decision to penalize Zuabi, a lawmaker from the Balad party, comes in the wake of her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla last year. Zuabi, who sailed on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, had already had certain parliamentary rights revoked by Knesset last July.

Zuabi will still be allowed to vote in debates at the Knesset plenum, the ethics committee ruled Monday.

The MK dismissed legitimacy of the committee’s decision, declaring that the question of “whether my actions were legal or not will be determined by the court, and not by a committee comprising a rightist majority”.

In the wake of Zuabi’s participation in the flotilla, the Knesset voted last year to revoke three of her key privileges as Knesset member: her diplomatic passport, entitlement to financial assistance for legal assistance and the right to visit countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

Zuabi in turn petitioned the High Court of Justice in order to have her privileges returned, claiming that the aim of stripping her rights was to limit MKs’ “political activities, especially those of minority representatives.” The petition also accused the Knesset of overstepping their authority.

The Israeli Arab MK was embroiled in another controversy last week when she pushed a Knesset guard who was seeking to remove her from the plenum hall, an incident for which she apologized thereafter.

Zuabi was being ushered out of the parliamentary session after interrupting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech and after being called to order three times by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The parliamentary workers’ committee had threatened to withhold services from Zuabi if she did not apologize. The MK said she had been trying to free herself from the guard and leave the hall on her own.

Watch: MK Hanin Zuabi on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara last May

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Source

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Even the New York Times, known for its endless support of Israel, is questioning the undemocratic nature of new Israeli Laws in THIS Editorial….
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Not Befitting a Democracy

Israel’s reputation as a vibrant democracy has been seriously tarnished by a new law intended to stifle outspoken critics of its occupation of the West Bank.

AN APPEAL TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY IN GREECE AND GAZA

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An Open Letter To The People of Greece…
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It wasn’t that long ago, April,1967 to be exact, when your democratically elected government was overthrown by a gang of fascist generals. Do you remember the outcry and support your people received from almost the entire world demanding the Restoration of Democracy in your country? Many of us worked endlessly for that to happen and rejoiced with you when it did.
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In recent weeks your government has engaged itself in criminal activities contrary to every International Law in the Books and to Democracy itself. It has sold its very soul to the zionist government of Israel and has aided and abetted them in refusing the good people of this world ways and means to end the siege of Gaza, the same way we ended fascism in your country. 
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Next 2 images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Greece is in economic turmoil at the moment, one would think that your government would concern itself with helping the situation of its own citizens, but no, for whatever reason$ they chose to sellout every principle of Greek Democracy and support the most undemocratic state in the Middle East.
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I urge you to watch the following videos, you might not understand the dialogue, but you will understand the images. After you watch them, can you honestly say THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE OF GREECE SUPPORT? I didn’t think so…..
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The first short video called “the Truth” is narrated in English by a Palestinian child, VERY GRAPHIC…
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The second one, ALSO GRAPHIC shows what Israel does to  Palestinian families and children enjoying family picnics at the Gaza beach on a summer day.
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Now, LOOK INTO MY EYES AND TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE ….
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DEMAND THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT STOP SUPPORTING THESE INHUMANE POLICIES.
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THE SIEGE OF GAZA MUST BE ENDED NOW!
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Lyrics to Look Into My Eyes

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Look into my eyes
Tell me what ya see
U don’t see a damn thing
Cuz u can’t relate to me
U blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to u
I’m the persecuted one
U the red, white and blue
Each day u wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thankin’ God He let me rise
Ya worry ’bout your education
And the bills u have to pay
I worry ’bout my vulnerable life
And if I’ll survive another day
Ya biggest fear is getting a ticket
As ya cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that’s just left
Will turn around and come back
Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody nobody nobody knows
Some one tell me
Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters
Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters
See I’ve known terror for quite some times
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It’s the check point on my way to school
Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother
The bulldozers and the tanks
The gasses and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds

You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I’m terrorized in my own land
And I’m the terrorist

Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody nobody nobody knows
Some one tell me

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

American do ya realize
That the taxes that u pay
Feed the forces that traumatize
My every living day

So if I won’t be here tomorrow
It’s written in my fate
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our wait

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

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Meanwhile…. Palestinians in Gaza await the Flotilla’s arrival …. Photos from HaAretz
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A Palestinian boy waves a Greek flag during a rally in Gaza City in support of the international Freedom Flotilla on July 3, 2011.
A Palestinian boy waves a Greek flag during a rally in Gaza City in support of the international Freedom Flotilla on July 3, 2011. AFP
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Palestinian children wave Palestinian flags along with the national flags of activists taking part in the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011.
Palestinian children wave Palestinian flags along with the national flags of activists taking part in the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011.AFP
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Palestinians hold flags during a rally in support of a Gaza-bound flotilla, at the Gaza seaport July 3, 2011.
Palestinians hold flags during a rally in support of a Gaza-bound flotilla, at the Gaza seaport July 3, 2011. Reuters
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Palestinians ride on boats at the port of Gaza City during a rally in support of the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011.  
Palestinians ride on boats at the port of Gaza City during a rally in support of the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011. AFP
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Palestinian children wave Palestinian flags along with the national flags of activists taking part in the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011.
Palestinian children wave Palestinian flags along with the national flags of activists taking part in the Gaza-bound international Freedom Flotilla on July 2, 2011. AFP
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Palestinian children wave Palestinian and Greek flags during a rally in the Gaza Strip in support of the international Freedom Flotilla on July 3, 2011.
Palestinian children wave Palestinian and Greek flags during a rally in the Gaza Strip in support of the international Freedom Flotilla on July 3, 2011.AFP

AN EXERCISE IN DEMOCRACY IN ITS VERY BIRTHPLACE

Greece, the birthplace of Democracy, is in upheaval today as workers begin a 48 hour General Strike throughout the nation.
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Amidst the crisis sit our Gazabound activists who show their support to the Greek people as they themselves prepare to leave on a mission that will hopefully bring change and Democracy to their destination.
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Democracy Now was there as well to cover the events….
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