IN IMAGES ~~ NOVEMBER 1917 — ONE NATION SAVED, ANOTHER ONE DESTROYED

November 7, 1917

The political holiday of November 7 was abolished in 1996 and there has been no official commemoration of the revolution since…. except for here on DesertPeace

And November 2, 1917 … A black day in the history of humanity

The Balfour Declaration, a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour. Dated 1917. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Very significant to this very day …

WATCHING SYRIA, REMEMBERING NICARAGUA

U.S. leaders are 100 percent behind the armed FSA/SNC revolt in Syria for the same reason that they opposed the Sandinista revolution and supported the Contras in Nicaragua. They are confident that the victory of the Syrian opposition would be their victory as well, and another step toward full U.S. domination of the Middle East.
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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Watching Syria, remembering Nicaragua

By Richard Becker

Sandinistas enter Managua, July 19, 1979 On July 18, a huge bomb blast killed or critically wounded several top Syrian security officials. While the “Free Syrian Army,” claimed credit, the highly sophisticated July 18 bombing in Damascus has the earmarks not of an operation by a recently organized paramilitary group, but instead of the CIA and/or the Israeli Mossad.

The bombing was greeted by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as showing “real momentum” for the Western-backed opposition in that country. The New York Times, in a July 19 front page article, extolled the opposition bomb makers’ “honing” of their skills. The White House and State Department weighed in with similar, very thinly veiled expressions of approval.

It would be impossible to imagine similar sentiments emanating from Washington and New York policy makers and their corporate media propagandists in regard to a truly progressive or revolutionary movement.

July 19 also marked the 33rd anniversary of the triumph of one such revolution, led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua (FSLN).

Then, there was no praise for the FSLN in either the halls of Congress or in the capitalist media. The Carter administration engaged in a strenuous effort to prevent the FSLN from taking power against the brutal and thoroughly corrupt regime of Anastasio Somoza which had ruled the country for more than four decades. It was only the Sandinistas’ fighting spirit, organization and sacrifice that ended the Somoza dictatorship.

The heroic achievements of the Sandinista fighters against Somoza’s U.S.-created and armed National Guard were never hailed by the mainstream media here. No celebratory articles about how the youthful FSLN combatants were “honing” their skills to such a remarkable degree that they were able, while receiving little outside aid, to defeat the far-better armed Guard.

On the contrary, while there were tactical differences in ruling class circles—reflected in various competing newspapers, radio and TV networks—there was consensus from day one on the aim: destruction of the Sandinista revolution.

A July 10, 1979 New York Times article bluntly characterized the role of the U.S. “as final arbiter of Nicaragua’s political destiny.” It went on to say that the Carter administration, “has indicated that General Somoza’s resignation will become effective only when the U.S. is satisfied with the composition and political program of the successor regime … The U.S. had convinced him [Somoza] to delay his departure until it had, in the words of one U.S. official, ‘neutralized’ the radical elements of the opposition.”

By July 1979, the death toll stood at close to 50,000—mostly civilian victims of the National Guard—in a country of fewer than 2.5 million people. Much of the country lay in ruins. But the Carter administration had no problem prolonging the fighting and adding to the already staggering casualties and destruction in pursuit of its aim: continued domination of Central America.

When the new FSLN government refused to bow to the dictates of Washington, the people of Nicaragua were subjected to a decade of deadly punishment. The U.S. allowed the criminal Somoza to bring the devastated country’s treasury with him when he was granted asylum.

Harsh economic sanctions were imposed on the country, one of the poorest in the Americas. The country’s main port was mined by the U.S. navy, and a total U.S. embargo put in place in 1985.

The CIA created, funded and armed a murderous counter-revolutionary paramilitary known as the Contras. More than 50,000 Nicaraguans died in the war that followed. The Contras’ tactics were murder, rape, torture and destruction. They killed doctors, nurses, teachers; burned health clinics, schools, co-operatives. Their thuggish leaders were wined and dined by Congresspersons and presidents.

Today, the CIA is coordinating the arming and many operations of the “Free Syrian Army, ” vetting which forces should receive weapons. (NY Times, June 21, 2012) U.S. intelligence agencies and their counterparts in the former colonizers of the Middle East, Britain and France, along with Israel’s, are undoubtedly doing much more.

The Syrian National Council, a group mainly made up of long-time and mostly unknown exiles, is treated by the U.S. and its allies as a legitimate government-in-waiting.

U.S. leaders are 100 percent behind the armed FSA/SNC revolt in Syria for the same reason that they opposed the Sandinista revolution and supported the Contras in Nicaragua. They are confident that the victory of the Syrian opposition would be their victory as well, and another step toward full U.S. domination of the Middle East.

 Written FOR

MONTREAL RISING

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Occupons l’éducation – 100e journée de grève étudiante / Occupy Education – 100th Consecutive Day of Student Strikes

This is what happens when the SPVM tell you to move and you don’t move fast enough. On May 22, 2012, Tuesday evening, after 10 pm, riot police formed a line across along Ste. Catherine Street to disperse a crowd eastward, between Metcalfe and McGill College. Midway on the north side of Sainte-Catherine, a man was trying to remove a couple of bicycles locked to a parking meter when he was tackled to the ground and held by at least four riot police officers for not complying with the order to disperse. All he did was to try to tell them he wanted to take his bikes. The man struggled for at least two minutes as the officers tried to handcuff him as he lay on the sidewalk. I don’t what happened afterwards because the police managed to move and block people from continuing to witness the event.

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After almost 10 minutes, the police continued eastward on Sainte Catherine and I returned to the scene of the altercation. I was told to mind my step because of the blood on the sidewalk. I noticed an Urgences Sante EMS vehicle and crossed to the south side of the street. The man was being tended to by two EMS technicians. A SPVM riot police officer was also talking to the man who was in handcuffs.

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About two minutes later, the officer removed the handcuffs and the man was man allowed to leave. He took his two bicycles, one of which had a child seat attached in the rear, and left the scene. The sequence of these 15 photos took place between 10:20 pm to 10:24 pm according to the date/time stamp on the photos.

100th Consectutive Day of Student Strikes May 22, 2012, Montréal, Québec, Canada. ©Copyright John Jantak

100e jour consécutif de grève des étudiants le 22 mai 2012, Montréal, Québec, Canada. © Copyright John Jantak

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Mouvement Historique
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Montreal Rising!
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This is Montreal
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Montreal Spring
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All of the above submitted by VAS
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More photos HERE and HERE

MAY DAY’S MASSIVE COMEBACK ~~ IN PHOTOS

 
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Before you go on to the photo essay, have a look at these mini reports from the various demonstrations held on May Day 2012….
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(click on red)
Occupy Makes a Massive May Day Comeback
By Sarah Jaffe, Anna Lekas Miller, Sarah Seltzer, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Alex Kane, Joshua Holland, AlterNet
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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First, my favourite photo of the day…
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Multi everything …. from people to demands
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And of course the ‘protection’ (of the 1%)
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It should be mentioned that  the Pinkerton Security Agency was employed by Wall St. to work with the NYPD on security for May Day.  The Pinkertons were also on the job in 1886 at Haymarket Sq. at the time of the bombing which was the start of the 1st May Day.
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History both repeating and in the making…
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KILLING FIELDS OF THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION

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How a Tragic Soccer Riot May Have Revived the Egyptian Revolution
Dave Zirin 

There are no words for the horror that took place in Port Said, Egypt last week. A soccer match became a killing field, with at least seventy-four spectators dead, and as many as 1,000 injured. The visiting Al-Ahly team lost to Al-Masri, and what followed will stain the sport forever. Al-Masri fans rushed the field, attacking the Al-Ahly cheering section after Al-Masri’s 3-1 upset victory. People were stabbed and beaten, but the majority of deaths took place because of asphyxiation, as Al-Ahly fans were crushed against locked stadium doors. It was so unspeakably traumatic that beloved Al-Ahly star Mohamed Aboutreika, who famously revealed a “Sympathize with Gaza” shirt during the 2008 Israel bombardment, immediately announced his retirement after the match. A distraught Aboutreika said, “This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no ambulances. I call for the league to be canceled. This is a horrible situation, and today can never be forgotten.”

This carnage, however, has produced profoundly unexpected results. The shock of Port Said hasn’t produced a political coma but instead acted as a defibrillator, bringing a revolutionary impatience back to life. Instead of starting a wave of concern that “lawlessness” was spreading in post-revolutionary Egypt, the anger and sadness seem to be reviving the revolution. The Western media immediately used the shock of the tragedy to call for a crackdown on the hyper-intense fan clubs, the “ultras”. As the New York Times wrote, “The deadliest soccer riot anywhere in more than 15 years, it also illuminated the potential for savagery among the organized groups of die-hard fans known here as ultras who have added a volatile element to the street protests since Mr. Mubarak’s exit.”

Other Western observers, sympathetic to the revolution, feared with good cause that the riots would strengthen the hand of a military dictatorship slow to transfer power to civilian rule. But on the ground, a new reality quickly took shape. This might be news to the Times, but the reaction in Egypt has been rage at the military, fueled by a widespread belief that, either through benign neglect or malignant intent, the authorities let the killings happen.

The witness reports of the Port Said survivors are scandalous. They describe a situation where exits were blocked by military police. The stadium lights were turned off, adding to the sense of panic. Hundreds of riot police can be clearly seen in amateur videos, standing around and doing nothing, as if ordered to remain passive.

Every political sector has spoken out against the military police in Port Said. Abbas Mekhimar, head of the Parliament’s defense committee, said, “This is a complete crime. This is part of the scenario of fueling chaos against Egypt.” Diaa Salah of the Egyptian Football Federation was even more pointed, saying, “The government is getting back at the ultras. They are saying: ‘You protest against us, you want democracy and freedom. Here is a taste of your democracy and freedom.’ ”

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has set itself in opposition to the ultra clubs for much of the year, stated that “the lack of security in the Port Said stadium confirms that there is invisible planning that is behind this unjustified massacre. The authorities have been negligent.”

The Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt were more blunt, saying, “The clumsily hatched plot, which could not conceal the shameless complicity of the police, who stood watching the slaughter and killing for hours did not even attempt to protect the victims, carries only one message to the revolutionaries: the revolution must continue…. The ultras groups that joined the ranks of the revolution early on… are still proving every day that they are an integral part of our revolution. “

(See this blog post for video analysis inside the stadium that argues how authorities are to blame for Port Said.)

Chris Toensing, the Editor of The Middle East Report, said to me, “Indeed, many Egyptians consider the ultras uncouth. And some may also say that the real revolutionaries are demonstrating peacefully in Tahrir Square, rather than throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails. But lots of Egyptian activists argue that in 2011—and maybe today as well—the ultras have been key protectors of the revolution, both physically and structurally, in the sense that they keep intense pressure on the state to listen to popular demands.”

The people also know that the presumed target of the soccer riot—the Al-Ahly ultras—after being a leading street fighting force during the revolution, have become a leading target of the military. The Al-Ahly ultras wear that target proudly, chanting at games, (I’m told this rhymes in Arabic):

Oh you MPs
You turned out to be more rotten than the Police
Raise the prison walls higher and higher
Tomorrow the revolution with lay them to waste
Oh brother, write on the cell wall
Junta rule is shameful and treasonous
Down Down with Junta rule!

Now not only are many Egyptians coming to the defense of the ultras but, remarkably, ultra groups from opposing clubs have pledged to join forces, seeing the attack on Al-Ahly as an attack on all of them. Their unity was sparked when the Al-Ahly ultras themselves released a statement where they didn’t go after Al-Masry but the military, proclaiming, “They want to punish us and execute us for our participation in the revolution against suppression.” The ultras then vowed a “new war in defense of the revolution.”

This proved to be more than just words. On Wednesday, February 1, the military leader Tantawi seemed blasé about the anguish, anger and accusations arising from Port Said, saying, “Egypt is going down the path we planned, We will continue down this path and we will get through this transition.”

On Thursday, protests against military inactivity in the Port Said stadium deaths exploded in Cairo, Suez and Port Said itself. The clashes also marked the one year anniversary of the Battle of the Camels, when Mubarak sent armed thugs riding into Tahrir Square on camels and ultras had their most shining moment, credited with incredible bravery standing in their charging path and forcing them out of the square.

This year, in Cairo, at least 10,000 protesters marched to the Interior Ministry building near Tahrir Square. The battle that followed according to Health Ministry official Adel Adawi, resulted in 388 protesters’ injuries.The flags unfurled were the ultra flags of traditional rivals, Al-Ahly and Zamalek.

But most significant were the thousands of Al-Masry fans who gathered in Port Said, demanding answers from police for their passivity during the stadium violence and why the doors of the stadium were closed.

The reemergence of the ultra clubs as a united force against the military regime should send shivers from Cairo to Washington, DC. Last year, as one Egyptian activist said to me, “Getting the ultras to work together in Tahrir might have been the toughest part about deposing Mubarak. They really hate each other. They would spit when saying the other club’s name.” He spoke to me about the need at times to physically force the ultras to stop squabbling and focus on the task of challenging Mubarak.

But after Port Said, it took no effort. An injury to one group of ultras was seen as an injury to all. As James Dorsey, who writes the indispensable blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, wrote that the aftermath of Port Said has sparked “a reconciliation among once implacable foes while at the same time solidifying emerging fault lines in Egyptian society.”

Throughout the past year, as Dorsey writes, the ultras have fought together on numerous occasions, mostly at anti-military protests, in opposition to the Egyptian Football Association, or against the presence of the Israeli embassy. They bled and even died together even as they became more politically isolated by the military’s promise of an orderly and peaceful transfer of power to an elected parliament. Now the Port Said carnage has broken the ultras out of their isolation and raised the question openly about what it will really talk to see the military finally out of power. The prospect of united ultras, remarkably, challenges the politics of dead-end gradualism and brings to the forefront the prospect of dramatic change.

Zamalek winger Mahmoud Abdel-Razek also known as Shikabala, Egypt’s top player, said, “Despite the cruelty of what happened in Port Said, this disaster played a role in uniting the fans of all clubs. It might be a turning point in ending intolerance and hatred in Egyptian football. I will go to the Ahly club along with my teammates to offer our condolences to the families of Port Said martyrs. The fans of Ahly are my brothers. I hope Ahly and Zamalek fans can sit together in the stands without barriers.”

Al-Ahly midfielder Mohamed Barakat, has also spoken out, refusing to play ever again until there is true“retribution for those that were killed.”

There have been continuous efforts to marginalize the ultras. Now they are, unbelievably, on the center stage of history. The ultras have done nothing less than propel the Egyptian Revolution back into the Egyptian streets.

 

Written FOR

IF THERE WAS A REVOLUTION IN 2011, WE WERE THERE

 The works of our Associate artist Carlos Latuff were part and parcel of every protest that took place in the world this past year as can be seen in this video produced for the Islam Channel.
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He continues non-stop as the protests continue in 2012….
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And let’s not forget how Israel and the USA are dragging the world to fight a war against Iran…
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THE ART OF FASCISM AND MORE …. DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN!

 University of California at Davis campus police, who used pepper spray on protesting students, have inspired Photoshop artists to create pieces from the most famous works of art.
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The results…..
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For more ‘fun’ with pepper spray, check out the following;  More pepper spray fun: Testimonials go wild on Amazon.com from +972mag.com
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The not fun part has spread to Israel, THE ONLY OCCUPATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, …. here you can see Tel Aviv police using pepper spray at a pro Democracy rally…
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and here ….
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No longer ‘Conning the World‘, the fascists are now Pepper Spraying the World …
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Nothing really to laugh about, but we must put on a happy face ….. that bugs the authorities more than anything!
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Don’t let the bastards get you down!

THE 1% WILL NOT OCCUPY OUR MINDS!

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Libraries are where we learn about things that are new to us. Their books broaden our perspectives, change the way we see the world and, at the most basic level, provide us with free and open access to knowledge and information. Over the two months that the People’s Library has been in operation at Zuccotti Park, we librarians have come to see how vital this mission is to the enrichment of our broader society. What’s more, in the course of our day-to-day work there, we had—and are still having—the best time of our lives. The library provides a space of dialogue, creativity, intellectual and cultural exchange and personal growth. When freshmen and sophomores in college ask me, “What should I be reading to understand what this movement is all about?” I see it as an opening for a great conversation. And when they come back to the library to return the books they took, I love to hear about the new horizons that the books helped to open for them.
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The People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street Lives On

William Scott

The People’s Library at Zuccotti Park—a collection of more than 5,000 donated books of every genre and subject, all free for the taking—was created not only to serve the Occupy Wall Street protesters; it was meant to provide knowledge and reading pleasure for the wider public as well, including residents of Lower Manhattan. It was also a library to the world at large, since many visitors to the park stopped by the library to browse our collection, to donate books of their own and to take books for themselves.

At about 2:30 am on November 15, the People’s Library was destroyed by the NYPD, acting on the authority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. With no advance notice, an army of police in riot gear raided the park, seized everything in it and threw it all into garbage trucks and dumpsters. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s Twitter promise that the library was safely stored and could be retrieved, only about 1,100 books were recovered, and some of those are in unreadable condition. Four library laptops were also destroyed, as well as all the bookshelves, storage bins, stamps and cataloging supplies and the large tent that housed the library.

For the past six weeks I have been living and working as a librarian in the People’s Library, camping out on the ground next to it. I’m an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and I’ve chosen to spend my sabbatical at Occupy Wall Street to participate in the movement and to build and maintain the collection of books at the People’s Library. I love books—reading them, writing in them, arranging them, holding them, even smelling them. I also love having access to books for free. I love libraries and everything they represent. To see an entire collection of donated books, including many titles I would have liked to read, thoughtlessly ransacked and destroyed by the forces of law and order was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life. My students in Pittsburgh struggle to afford to buy the books they need for their courses. Our extensive collection of scholarly books and journals alone would have sufficed to provide reading materials for dozens of college classrooms. With public libraries around the country fighting to survive in the face of budget cuts, layoffs and closings, the People’s Library has served as a model of what a public library can be: operated for the people and by the people.

During the raid, Stephen Boyer, a poet, friend and OWS librarian, read poems from the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology (see peopleslibrary.wordpress.com) aloud directly into the faces of riot police. As they pushed us away from the park with shields, fists, billy clubs and tear gas, I stood next to Stephen and watched while he yelled poetry at the top of his lungs into the oncoming army of riot police. Then, something incredible happened. Several of the police leaned in closer to hear the poetry. They lifted their helmet shields slightly to catch the words Stephen was shouting out to them, even while their fellow cops continued to stampede us. The next day, an officer who was guarding the entrance to Zuccotti Park told Stephen how touched he was by the poetry, how moved he was to see that we cared enough about words and books that we would risk violent treatment and arrest just to defend our love of books and the wisdom they contain.

At 6 pm on November 15, a group of writers and supporters of the People’s Library appeared at the reopened park carrying books, and within minutes we received around 200 donations. All night and into the next day folks stopped by to donate to and take from the collection. Because the new rules of the park forbid us from lying down or leaving anything there, Stephen and I stayed up all night to protect the books until other librarians came to take over for us. Frustrated and exhausted, but still exhilarated and eager to maintain the momentum of the movement, we kept the People’s Library open all day in the pouring rain, storing books in Ziploc baggies to keep them dry.

Then at 7:30 pm on November 16, the People’s Library was again raided and thrown in the trash—this time by a combination of police and Brookfield Properties’ sanitation team. The NYPD first barricaded the library by lining up in front of it, forming an impenetrable wall of cops. An officer then announced through a bullhorn that we should come and collect our books, or they would be confiscated and removed. Seconds later, they began dumping books into trash bins that they had wheeled into the park for that purpose. As they were throwing out the books, a fellow OWS librarian asked one of the NYPD patrolmen why they were doing this. His answer: “I don’t know.”

Five minutes after it started, the raid was over and the People’s Library’s collection was once again sitting in a pile of garbage. Yet just as the trash bins were being carted off, a man stepped out of the crowd with a book in his hand to donate to us: Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. We joyously accepted and cataloged it, placing it on display under a new sign for the library that we made right then on a blank sheet of paper. A true people’s library, after all, doesn’t depend on any particular number of books, since it’s ultimately about the way those books are collected and lent out to the public.

We’re still accepting donations and lending books just as we always have, but we’ve reorganized ourselves somewhat. We now have three mobile units staffed by OWS librarians, which we can take anywhere we want. For the November 17 Day of Action, we made sure the People’s Library was there to supply books to anyone who wanted them. All day long, OWS librarians walked among the crowds shouting, “The People’s Library 3.0, mobile and in the streets!” For me, it was easily the most rewarding day in the six weeks I’ve been with the movement. The people we met at our mobile units—Occupiers from New York and other states, friends of the People’s Library, tourists—went out of their way to express their joy that we were still here. They also struggled to articulate their feelings of loss, frustration, anger, disgust and outrage over the seizure and destruction of the library. All we could say in response was, “We’re here to stay! Please take a book! They belong to you!” A group of eight OWS librarians even started a new chant: “Whose books? Your books!” It quickly caught fire with the other marchers.

Libraries are where we learn about things that are new to us. Their books broaden our perspectives, change the way we see the world and, at the most basic level, provide us with free and open access to knowledge and information. Over the two months that the People’s Library has been in operation at Zuccotti Park, we librarians have come to see how vital this mission is to the enrichment of our broader society. What’s more, in the course of our day-to-day work there, we had—and are still having—the best time of our lives. The library provides a space of dialogue, creativity, intellectual and cultural exchange and personal growth. When freshmen and sophomores in college ask me, “What should I be reading to understand what this movement is all about?” I see it as an opening for a great conversation. And when they come back to the library to return the books they took, I love to hear about the new horizons that the books helped to open for them.

Although we often shout, “This is what democracy looks like!” on our marches, it’s also something we can say every day to those who pay a visit to the OWS library. In fact, it’s something that the People’s Library, by its very presence—in any location, in any form, with any number of books—is perfectly capable of saying for itself.

 

Source

WHAT’S NEXT FOR O W S?

America’s elite think they’ve put our movement in its proper place–intimidated by the police powers of the U.S. state and pessimistic that any real change can be achieved.

But they’re wrong. The Occupy movement has already changed the way millions of people think about their lives, the world they live in, and their political beliefs–and that isn’t going away, whatever form the struggle takes now.

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Occupy’s Next Struggle

(Photo: Paul Stein/Socialist Worker)

(Photo: Paul Stein/Socialist Worker)
Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the NYPD’s raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City was merely to ensure security and public health, without limiting the right to free speech–and his words were parroted by mayors and the media around the U.S. to justify other assaults.

But then Police Lt. John Pike showed the world what’s really going on.

A cop at the University of California Davis, Pike carried out the sadistic pepper-spraying of students during a peaceful November 18 sit-in–capturing in an indelible image the vengeful and violent crackdown on the Occupy movement that has been ordered by the wealthy and powerful across the U.S.

The raids, the arrests and the police violence are about trying to silence a movement that is giving voice to the accumulated discontent of the working-class majority in U.S. society. They’re also about showing who’s the boss–the political and business establishment.

As for free speech and democracy, the real attitude of the 1 percent was on full display in a November 21 Wall Street Journal editorial that reeked of contempt for ordinary people and hatred of anyone who dares to take a stand for justice:

In New York City and elsewhere, the occupiers reacted to being cleared out of their aromatic tent-towns this week by breaking the law and disrupting the lives and work of people trying to earn a living.

The logic–perhaps not the right word–of these protests seems to be that by inconveniencing millions of people the protesters will inspire a political revolt of the exploited masses. More likely, they will inspire the masses to be revolted by this vanguard of the college-educated proletariat.

America’s elite think they’ve put our movement in its proper place–intimidated by the police powers of the U.S. state and pessimistic that any real change can be achieved.

But they’re wrong. The Occupy movement has already changed the way millions of people think about their lives, the world they live in, and their political beliefs–and that isn’t going away, whatever form the struggle takes now.

In just two months of existence, the movement has shifted the national debate by casting a spotlight on the question of corporate greed and economic inequality–no small achievement given the stiflingly narrow discussion permitted in the corporate media. Occupiers have shown that it’s possible to win wide support for some powerful left-wing arguments–tax the rich, create jobs, end the wars, hold political leaders accountable.

And the struggle has brought together many thousands of people who want to do something about all this–and do it now. Whether they could maintain permanent encampments or not, local Occupy movements have been a political gathering place for both veterans of labor and grassroots organizing and people completely new to activism to find each other and make common cause.

Many Occupy actions have been about the outrageous attacks on the right to free speech and peaceable assembly–that is, about defending our right to protest at all. But the movement has also been deepened by linking up with working people’s struggles of all kinds, from resisting budget cuts and school closures to supporting strikes and efforts to block evictions from foreclosed homes.

If the movement isn’t yet capable of the kind of mass civil disobedience that can defend the camps everywhere, it has nevertheless created new networks of activists who now have the practical experience of mutual solidarity to put to use in the struggles ahead.

From the general strike call in Oakland, Calif., that shut down the city’s port November 2 to the pickets in support of locked-out workers at Sotheby’s in New York and uncounted anti-eviction protests in many cities in between, Occupy has shown the potential to build a mass, activist left in the U.S. for the first time in decades.

The question for activists in many cities now is whether and how to rebuild encampments that have been wrecked–with their former sites turned into “free speech-free” zones by police and local authorities (almost all of those authorities Democrats, by the way).Some voices on the left are advising the Occupy movement to shrug off the loss of the camps. According to this argument, activists can now change focus from the narrow question of defending their right to occupy public space against the forces of the state to the broader issues that the struggle has connected to in the past few months.

But while these broader issues are certainly very important, those who want to move on are missing some crucial points.

First of all, the national security state, engorged by hundreds of billions in spending since the September 11 attacks, is now being used against those who simply wish to critique a society in which 1 percent of the population controls nearly 40 percent of the wealth–and question a system of laws that says corporations are people and therefore have the right to purchase both political parties, lock, stock and barrel.

That encroachment on basic democratic rights has to be challenged. Activists should keep up the heat on politicians like Michael Bloomberg or Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel–who tailor their interpretation of First Amendment rights to cater to the interests of the 1 percent.

The importance of such struggles over the right to protest and against police violence were clear from the massive rally and General Assembly November 21 at UC Davis in response to the pepper-spraying of demonstrators. Around a quarter of the entire student population–and maybe more–attended, according to estimates.

Second, the encampments at Zuccotti Park and other public spaces were more than symbols of the movement. Occupy camps and the structures that have arisen in conjunction with them provide a space for people to connect to the struggle–where they can raise their own grievances, learn about the issues and hear discussions about what we’re trying to achieve and how.

In cities where the camps have been broken up–as well as those, like Chicago, where a permanent encampment was never established–activists have to consider how to maintain this open interplay.

Another important question for the movement is its attitude toward the mainstream political system. On the one hand, unions such as the Service Employees International Union SEIU and liberal organizations like MoveOn.org, want to use Occupy as a brand for their multimillion-dollar electoral efforts–starting with an “Occupy Congress” tent city in Washington that’s intended to put heat on House Republicans, but not Barack Obama and the Democrats.

One of the great strengths of the movement in its first months has been the willingness to critique the Washington political system as a whole, not just one wing of it. In fact, most of the activists who came to Occupy are looking for ways to build a lasting movement in their own communities, while forging ties with like-minded people in other localities.

For them, it’s important to consider what Occupy has achieved so far. It has validated the feelings of tens of millions of working people who are furious at the way the people who run the banks and big corporations have continued to thrive despite the economic crisis, even as working people keep losing ground–if they’re not forced into desperation through debt and the loss of their homes and jobs.

Keeping that spirit at the center of the struggle is the key to the future.

The sustained offensive against the Occupy movement isn’t just about police repression. There’s an ideological component–and some of most prominent figures carrying out this campaign claim to support the ideals of the struggle.The next time you hear a supposed liberal like the chancellor of the University of California-Berkeley justify a police crackdown by declaring that Occupy tactics of nonviolent direct action have nothing to do with the 1960s civil rights movement, consider these words from Martin Luther King Jr.. They come from a speech in 1967, the last year of King’s life, just before he called for a Poor Peoples Movement to establish—yes, an encampment–in Washington, D.C.:

The movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society.

We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s market place. But one day, we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, “Who owns the oil?” You begin to ask the question, “Who owns the iron ore?” You begin to ask the question, “Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?” These are questions that must be asked.

Those questions have gone unanswered for more than 40 years, even as politicians annually use the holiday in King’s name to assure us of their commitment to equality.

Now, Occupy has raised King’s questions again. Yet while King was focused primarily on the struggles of African Americans and the poor locked out of the American Dream amid a booming economy, today, the entire U.S. working class faces a deep and permanent cut in their living standards through wage cuts, joblessness and sweeping reductions in what remains of the social safety net.

In King’s day, politicians promised African Americans, women and others struggling for change that if they were patient, they’d see results…someday. Today, however, Democratic and Republican politicians are marching in lockstep to impose austerity, austerity and more austerity.

Our future, they tell us, is going to get worse–and we’d better get used to it. The only debate is over how much more to cut, rather than creating jobs and devoting resources to those in urgent need.

Now, the Occupy movement has followed King’s advice and begun “to ask questions about the whole society.” And activists have gotten an answer from authorities–in the form of a near-lethal police tear gas canister fired at the head of Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, pepper spray down the throats of Davis campus protesters, the trashing of the library at Occupy Wall Street and military-style police sweeps of Occupy encampments across the U.S., coordinated in a conference call of double-talking Democratic mayors.

But Occupy isn’t defeated. On the contrary, activists are debating how to take up new challenges–from helping the International Longshore and Warehouse Union activists take on union-busting by the grain giant EGT to preparing for big labor contract showdowns for transit workers in Chicago and New York.

Many other smaller struggles are newly infused with people and energy as activists who stood up to the political lies and police nightsticks join the fight. Occupy, after all, has the support of the working class–and to move forward, it has to involve itself in workers’ struggle wherever possible.

The loss of the encampments is a blow, but not a fatal one. In France, after May 1968, a popular poster put it this way: “Beginning of a prolonged struggle.”

Occupy may not have reached the level of the French events of ‘68, but it’s clear that we’re at the start of something, with bigger battles to come. The time to prepare for those battles is now.

This article was originally published by Socialist Worker

THE OCCUPIERS FIGHT BACK ~~ PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE

HELL NO, WE WON’T GO!
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I saw a young man who I knew was one of the people who had participated in the Freedom Flotilla to break the blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza and asked him what he thought would happen next.  He replied that it would be like the flotillas, we will try again and again until we succeed.
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Chippy Dee was there and sent the following …
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One of the groups of evicted Zuccotti folks were at Canal St. & 6th Ave. this morning.  There were about 300-400 people there, a few still wearing pajamas, occupiers and allies, trying to get into a fenced area while many police looked on and arrested anyone that managed to climb into it  including a woman in a wheelchair.  By then the streets were passable, the Brooklyn Bridge was open again, the subways were stopping in the Zuccotti area, Broadway had reopened, and the helicopters were no longer circling the skies.  Everyone decided to go back to Zuccotti Park.   

The crowd marched  along Canal St.  Cars and trucks beeped their horns in approval and gave them thumbs up.  Once they reached Broadway they spread out into the street.  They chanted, “Whose streets, our streets”, “This is a peaceful demonstration” and “We are the 99% and so are you” as they pointed to on-lookers.

The police didn’t object and held up traffic for them.  However, as they reached City Hall there was a line of police on motorcycles which forced them onto the sidewalk.  Some police went to vans to take out their riot gear and put it on.  There was no visible reason for this.  The occupiers were walking on the sidewalk .  Many were carrying copies of the judge’s order that was issued early this morning banning the police from doing exactly what they had done.  As we walked one person sadly told me how their beautiful library containing 10,000 books, all arranged by subject and donated by friends of the occupation, had been trashed and dumped into garbage compactors. Needless destruction. One person compared it to “Crystalnacht” in Germany just before WWII.  Another commented that the police acted with military precision and she asked if they were now the subject of the War on Terror. 

When we got to Zuccotti the park was empty.  What hours before was teeming with vitality and hope was now devoid of any sign of humanity.  A sad sight. Occupiers, friends, and allies were not allowed in and, in fact, could barely get near it.  It was ringed by layer after layer of police.  The area was very crowded and many found themselves eyeball-to-eyeball with the police.  Some told the police they should be ashamed of themselves. The city had gone to court to appeal the injunction – a decision would be reached by 4 o’clock. Lively discussions were going on.  Everyone said their work would go on but this may have been the ‘end of the beginning’ of the process.  I saw a young man who I knew was one of the people who had participated in the Freedom Flotilla to break the blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza and asked him what he thought would happen next.  He replied that it would be like the flotillas, we will try again and again until we succeed.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Enjoy the sounds of the past …. and the present!

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RELIVING THE GLORIOUS PAST AT WALL STREET

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For those of us that have been around for what seems forever, the Occupation at Wall Street Movement is like a transfusion of hope for a bright future.
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My cousin Bud, our roving photographer, is too young to remember these guys… Crosby and Nash, but they are part of the group that’s been around forever with the likes of Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and so many others that were and still are a part of the People’s Movements then and now.
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Here they are remembering the past and connecting it to the present…
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And finally ….
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Here are 10 Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything
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By David Korten, Sarah van Gelder and Steve Piersanti

Before the Occupy Wall Street movement, there was little discussion of the outsized power of Wall Street and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class.

The media blackout was especially remarkable given that issues like jobs and corporate influence on elections topped the list of concerns for most Americans.

Occupy Wall Street changed that. In fact, it may represent the best hope in years that “we the people” will step up to take on the critical challenges of our time. Here’s how the Occupy movement is already changing everything:

1. It names the source of the crisis.
The problems of the 99% are 
caused by Wall Street greed, corrupt banks, and a corporate take-over of the political system.

2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want.
We can create a world that works for everyone
, not just the wealthiest 1%.

3. It sets a new standard for public debate.
Those advocating policies and proposals must now demonstrate that their ideas will benefit the 99%. Serving only the 1% is no longer sufficient.

4. It presents a new narrative.
The solution is no longer to starve government, but to free society and government from corporate dominance.

5. It creates a big tent.
We, the 99%, are made up of people of all ages, races, occupations, and political beliefs, and we are learning to work together with respect.

6. It offers everyone a chance to create change.
No one is in charge. Anyone can get involved and make things happen.

7. It is a movement, not a list of demands.
The 
call for transformative structural change, not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms, is the movement’s sustaining power.

8. It combines the local and the global.
People are setting their own local agendas, tactics, and aims. But we also share solidarity, communication, and vision at the global level.

9. It offers an ethic and practice of deep democracy and community.
Patient decision-making translates into wisdom and common com-mitment when every voice is heard. Occupy sites are communities where anyone can discuss grievances, hopes, and dreams in an atmosphere of mutual support.

10. We have reclaimed our power.
Instead of looking to politicians and leaders to bring about change, we can see now that 
the power rests with us. Instead of being victims of the forces upending our lives, we are claiming our sovereign right to remake the world.

Like all human endeavors, Occupy Wall Street and its thousands of variations and spin-offs will be imperfect. There have already been setbacks and divisions, hardships and injury. But as our world faces extraordinary challenges—from climate change to soaring inequality—our best hope is the ordinary people, gathered in imperfect democracies, who are finding ways to fix a broken world.

This article is adapted from the book, This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement edited by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES! Magazine and published November 2011 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Sarah van Gelder and David Korten are co-founders of YES! Magazine; Steve Piersanti is publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. This article is available under a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs (CC BY-ND) license, which allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the original publication of this book (photos not included). More on the book and other resources can be found at www.yesmagazine.org/owsbook.

 

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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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SHACKLED FREEDOM AT OCCUPY WALL STREET

Police arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters as they staged a sit-down at Goldman Sachs headquarters on Thursday in New York. (AP / Bebeto Matthews)
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Finding Freedom in Handcuffs
by Chris Hedges

Faces appeared to me moments before the New York City police arrested us Thursday in front of Goldman Sachs. They were not the faces of the smug Goldman Sachs employees, who peered at us through the revolving glass doors and lobby windows, a pathetic collection of middle-aged fraternity and sorority members. They were not the faces of the blue-uniformed police with their dangling cords of white and black plastic handcuffs, or the thuggish Goldman Sachs security personnel, whose buzz cuts and dead eyes reminded me of the East German secret police, the Stasi. They were not the faces of the demonstrators around me, the ones with massive student debts and no jobs, the ones whose broken dreams weigh them down like a cross, the ones whose anger and betrayal triggered the street demonstrations and occupations for justice. They were not the faces of the onlookers—the construction workers, who seemed cheered by the march on Goldman Sachs, or the suited businessmen who did not. They were faraway faces. They were the faces of children dying. They were tiny, confused, bewildered faces I had seen in the southern Sudan, Gaza and the slums of Brazzaville, Nairobi, Cairo and Delhi and the wars I covered. They were faces with large, glassy eyes, above bloated bellies. They were the small faces of children convulsed by the ravages of starvation and disease.

I carry these faces. They do not leave me. I look at my own children and cannot forget them, these other children who never had a chance. War brings with it a host of horrors, including famine, but the worst is always the human detritus that war and famine leave behind, the small, frail bodies whose tangled limbs and vacant eyes condemn us all. The wealthy and the powerful, the ones behind the glass at Goldman Sachs, laughed and snapped pictures of us as if we were a brief and odd lunchtime diversion from commodities trading, from hoarding and profit, from this collective sickness of money worship, as if we were creatures in a cage, which in fact we soon were.

A glass tower filled with people carefully selected for the polish and self-assurance that come with having been formed in institutions of privilege, whose primary attributes are a lack of consciousness, a penchant for deception and an incapacity for empathy or remorse. The curious onlookers behind the windows and we, arms locked in a circle on the concrete outside, did not speak the same language. Profit. Globalization. War. National security. These are the words they use to justify the snuffing out of tiny lives, acts of radical evil. Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Those who trade it have, by buying up and hoarding commodities futures, doubled and tripled the costs of wheat, rice and corn. Hundreds of millions of poor across the globe are going hungry to feed this mania for profit. The technical jargon, learned in business schools and on trading floors, effectively mask the reality of what is happening—murder. These are words designed to make systems operate, even systems of death, with a cold neutrality. Peace, love and all sane affirmative speech in temples like Goldman Sachs are, as W.H. Auden understood, “soiled, profaned, debased to a horrid mechanical screech.”

We seemed to have lost, at least until the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, not only all personal responsibility but all capacity for personal judgment. Corporate culture absolves all of responsibility. This is part of its appeal. It relieves all from moral choice. There is an unequivocal acceptance of ruling principles such as unregulated capitalism and globalization as a kind of natural law. The steady march of corporate capitalism requires a passive acceptance of new laws and demolished regulations, of bailouts in the trillions of dollars and the systematic looting of public funds, of lies and deceit. The corporate culture, epitomized by Goldman Sachs, has seeped into our classrooms, our newsrooms, our entertainment systems and our consciousness. This corporate culture has stripped us of the right to express ourselves outside of the narrowly accepted confines of the established political order. It has turned us into compliant consumers. We are forced to surrender our voice. These corporate machines, like fraternities and sororities, also haze new recruits in company rituals, force them to adopt an unrelenting cheerfulness, a childish optimism and obsequiousness to authority. These corporate rituals, bolstered by retreats and training seminars, by grueling days that sometimes end with initiates curled up under their desks to sleep, ensure that only the most morally supine remain. The strong and independent are weeded out early so only the unquestioning advance upward. Corporate culture serves a faceless system. It is, as Hannah Arendt writes, “the rule of nobody and for this very reason perhaps the least human and most cruel form of rulership.”

Our political class, and its courtiers on the airwaves, insists that if we refuse to comply, if we step outside of the Democratic Party, if we rebel, we will make things worse. This game of accepting the lesser evil enables the steady erosion of justice and corporate plundering. It enables corporations to harvest the nation and finally the global economy, reconfiguring the world into neofeudalism, one of masters and serfs. This game goes on until there is hardly any action carried out by the power elite that is not a crime. It goes on until corporate predators, who long ago decided the nation and the planet were not worth salvaging, seize the last drops of wealth. It goes on until moral acts, such as calling for those inside the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs to be tried, see you jailed, and the crimes of financial fraud and perjury are upheld as lawful and rewarded by the courts, the U.S. Treasury and the Congress. And all this is done so a handful of rapacious, immoral plutocrats like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs who sucks down about $250,000 a day and who lied to the U.S. Congress as well as his investors and the public, can use their dirty money to retreat into their own Forbidden City or Versailles while their underlings, basking in the arrogance of power, snap amusing photos of the rabble outside their gates being hauled away by the police and company goons.

It is vital that the occupation movements direct attention away from their encampments and tent cities, beset with the usual problems of hastily formed open societies where no one is turned away. Attention must be directed through street protests, civil disobedience and occupations toward the institutions that are carrying out the assaults against the 99 percent. Banks, insurance companies, courts where families are being foreclosed from their homes, city offices that put these homes up for auction, schools, libraries and firehouses that are being closed, and corporations such as General Electric that funnel taxpayer dollars into useless weapons systems and do not pay taxes, as well as propaganda outlets such as the New York Post and its evil twin, Fox News, which have unleashed a vicious propaganda war against us, all need to be targeted, shut down and occupied. Goldman Sachs is the poster child of all that is wrong with global capitalism, but there are many other companies whose degradation and destruction of human life are no less egregious.

It is always the respectable classes, the polished Ivy League graduates, the prep school boys and girls who grew up in Greenwich, Conn., or Short Hills, N.J., who are the most susceptible to evil. To be intelligent, as many are at least in a narrow, analytical way, is morally neutral. These respectable citizens are inculcated in their elitist enclaves with “values” and “norms,” including pious acts of charity used to justify their privilege, and a belief in the innate goodness of American power. They are trained to pay deference to systems of authority. They are taught to believe in their own goodness, unable to see or comprehend—and are perhaps indifferent to—the cruelty inflicted on others by the exclusive systems they serve. And as norms mutate and change, as the world is steadily transformed by corporate forces into one of a small cabal of predators and a vast herd of human prey, these elites seamlessly replace one set of “values” with another. These elites obey the rules. They make the system work. And they are rewarded for this. In return, they do not question.

Those who resist—the doubters, outcasts, renegades, skeptics and rebels—rarely come from the elite. They ask different questions. They seek something else—a life of meaning. They have grasped Immanuel Kant’s dictum, “If justice perishes, human life on Earth has lost its meaning.” And in their search they come to the conclusion that, as Socrates said, it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. This conclusion is rational, yet cannot be rationally defended. It makes a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on human life. It acknowledges human life, indeed all life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people when the chips are down are not those who say “this is wrong,” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t.”

There are streaks in my lungs, traces of the tuberculosis that I picked up around hundreds of dying Sudanese during the famine I covered as a foreign correspondent. I was strong and privileged and fought off the disease. They were not and did not. The bodies, most of them children, were dumped into hastily dug mass graves. The scars I carry within me are the whispers of these dead. They are the faint marks of those who never had a chance to become men or women, to fall in love and have children of their own. I carried these scars to the doors of Goldman Sachs. I had returned to living. Those whose last breaths had marked my lungs had not. I placed myself at the feet of these commodity traders to call for justice because the dead, and those who are dying in slums and refugee camps across the planet, could not make this journey. I see their faces. They haunt me in the day and come to me in the dark. They force me to remember. They make me choose sides. As the metal handcuffs were fastened around my wrists I thought of them, as I often think of them, and I said to myself: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty I am free at last.”

Editor’s note: Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, an activist, an author and a member of a reporting team that won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize, wrote this article after he was released from custody following his arrest last Thursday. He and about 15 other participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement were detained as they protested outside the global headquarters of Goldman Sachs in lower Manhattan.

 

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A Photo Essay of the ‘Tribunal’ can be seen HERE

BEST SIGN OF THE MONTH AT OCCUPY WALL STREET

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Reminds me of the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius …
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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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THE WEB OF DECEIT AT WALL STREET ~~ WHY WE OCCUPY

Wall Street’s Web of Deceit

By Nicholas Powers

Occupy Wall Street protesters insist that the financial industry’s power over our lives must end. Here are a few reasons why. 

Predatory Home Finance
During the past decade, Ameriquest, American Freedom Mortgage and other lenders targeted minorities with sub-prime loans with adjustable rates. After a fixed time, those “adjustable” rates skyrocketed, leaving families unable to pay and they lost their homes. Before the whole thing blew up, Wall Street financial firms bought these mortgages and repackaged them as mortgage-backed securities and ratings agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rubber-stamped them triple “A.” These securities were sold like a stack of cards built higher and higher until the homeowners, overburdened by debt, failed to make payments and everything crashed.

Crushing Student Loan Debts

Student loan debt surpassed credit card debt this year, topping over $1 trillion. American students live with a crushing burden and the rate of default is rising. In 2007 it was 6.7 percent and rose to 8.8 percent in 2009. The bulk of these defaults are from private for-profit universities that serve low-income students. At Occupy Wall Street, one protester wrote, “I have about $75 in student loans. I will default soon. My co-signer, my father, will be forced to take my loans. He will default as well. I’ve ruined my family because I tried to rise above my class.”

Credit Card Interest Rates of Nearly 30%
Like to use your credit card? Pay up quick or lose your firstborn child. Since June 25, Bank of America has resumed charging a 29.99 percent penalty fee on accounts that are late on monthly payments. Other big lenders like Citigroup, Chase, Capital One, American Express also have high penalty rates. The financial industry is also teaming up with airlines to take consumers for a ride. For example, American Express Delta SkyMiles has a penalty rate of 27.24 percent. It makes perfect sense. If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, another credit card is exactly what you need.

Manipulation of Food Prices
Following the dot-com bust of 2000, Wall Street speculators, led by Goldman Sachs, moved into the then-recently deregulated commodity futures market. The ensuing food bubble caused food prices to steadily increase around the world, along with the profits of speculators. When panicky investors fled to commodity index funds in 2007 to 2008, world food prices soared, pushing 250 million people into the ranks of the hungry. Haiti and Indonesia, Bangladesh and Mozambique were some of the nations racked by food riots. Other factors at play were reserving soil for bio-fuel crops and the more grain-intensive meat diet favored by the rising middle classes in India and China. But alone they were not enough to cause the crisis.

Fluctuating Gas Prices Put Public Over a Barrel
If Wall Street were a vampire, oil would be blood. In 2007 a barrel of crude oil cost $50 and in 2008 it soared to $150 before plummeting to $35. In 2011 the price of a barrel of oil has slow-climbed back to $102. In a letter to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) cited how oil production is more than enough to meet demand, but the spike and drop and spike again is due to market manipulation. In May 2011, federal commodities regulators filed suit against two traders in Australia and three American and international firms. They bought up oil, hoarded it to inflate prices then dumped it on the market and walked away with a pile of money.

Tearing Up Appalachia
For years Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo financed mountaintop removal. It’s an ugly process of scraping off the summit or summit ridge of mountains to clear the way for extracting the black coal in the rock seams. It poisons the local water, scatters toxins into the air and kills whole forests. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian mountain streams have already been severely damaged by the practice. Years of environmental justice campaigns finally forced four major banks to cut financing of Massey Energy, one of the main culprits in mountaintop removal.

Wrecking Municipal Finances
Remember the old saying, “I’m up Shit’s Creek without a paddle.” Well meet the real life example. Wall Street financial firms like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase trapped the people of Birmingham, Ala. in a $5 billion debt hole. As reported by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, the Jefferson County sewage system was found leaking into the local river and concerned citizens sued for the county to fix it. And fix it they did. What began as a $250 million project swelled to $3 billion as corrupt local officials and their business allies pocketed the money and JPMorgan Chase spread around bribes that helped coax the president of the county commission to accept the banks’ tricky math debt deal. Now the people of Birmingham are watching their city die. Similar stories abound in towns and cities across the country leading Taibbi to conclude of Wall Street’s behavior, “This isn’t capitalism. It’s nomadic thievery.”

Leveraged Buy-Out of the Political System
After President Barack Obama said Occupy Wall Street reflected “broad-based frustration” and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi supported the occupation, Wall Street executives called the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, livid with rage. So now they are pouring their cash into Mitt Romney’s campaign. Even as the tide of donations reverses, the fact remains that both parties rely on Wall Street money. In 2008, Obama got more Wall Street money than McCain. In the second quarter of 2011, Obama raised $86 million — a third of which came from the financial industry. What does it buy? No systemic criminal investigations.

The Real Bailout
The $700 billion bank bailout of 2008 still angers the public. Less understood is that the U.S. government rescued the financial industry with a total of $14.4 trillion in commitments that included direct investments, buying corporate debt and mortgage-backed securities. In a gift from the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks were allowed to borrow money from the Fed at zero percent and then turn around and loan the money back to the government at a profit.

Greed Amidst Mass Misery
Bank of America recently posted a third-quarter profit of $6.23 billion. In 2010, Wall Street executives awarded themselves $20 billion in bonuses. It’s a volcano of money erupting in New York flowing into the pockets of a few men and women. In the background is a nation enduring massive joblessness as the real unemployment rate hovers around 16 percent.

Written FOR

O W S TRANSFORMING THE POLITICS OF THE UNIVERSE

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Angela Davis at Occupy Wall St., NYC

By Laura Flanders

Author, activist, Angela Davis spoke at Occupy Wall St. in Washington Square Park on Sunday October 30. Thanking the OWS movement for transforming politics in the universe, she spoke to the brutal police crack-down on the Occupy encampment in her home town of Oakland and supported the call for a national strike on November 2 in response to that violence. She also spoke to the perils of language, calling on the movement to transform the meaning of the words occupation, democracy and unity.

Speaking through the “people’s mic,” Davis drew particular attention to questions of inclusion and urged the movement to embrace a “complex unity” within the concept of “99 percent.”

Quoting African American lesbian poet Audre Lorde she said: “How can we come together in a unity that is complex and emancipatory? Differences must not be merely tolerated but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which poles creativity can spark like the dialectic.”

Asked about the coming US election, Davis responded: “The two-party system has never worked; it does not worked now, and we clearly need alternatives. Personally I believe we need a powerful, radical, third party. In the meantime, this movement, which is not a party, can accomplish much that political parties are unable to accomplish and so it would seem to me, that the best way to exert pressure on that corrupt two party system is to continue to build this movement and to demonstrate that it reaches not only across the country but across the ocean.”

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Posted AT

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Also see THIS report…

Can Occupiers Pull Off A General Strike?

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RAIN, SNOW, SLEET OR HAIL – OCCUPY WALL STREET WILL PREVAIL!

The Web is chock full of information, and more so misinformation, about the latest challenge the protestors are facing … an early winter.
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What effect will the unexpected snowstorms have on the encampments throughout the Northeast and West?
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Snow didn’t stop America’s first Revolution…. why should it stop this one?
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The best report I found is here
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Will winter weather stop Occupy Wall Street?

By Jeremy Bloom

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Mayor Bloomberg  hopes the onset of winter will finally convince Occupy Wall Street to pack up the tents and tarps and go home. On October 10 he predicted the protests would dissipate with the first sign of frost.

But now, as winter is setting in to the Northeast, he may find himself disappointed by the demonstrators stamina and resourcefulness.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman…

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

In New York, The Daily News reports it was “given a peek inside occupiers’ storage space at 52 Broadway and saw shelves lined with blankets, sub-zero sleeping bags, heavy coats, cough syrup and even an assortment of herbal teas.” And there are 200 to 400 packages with more supplies arriving daily.

In Philadelphia, tents and heaters have been donated to the occupation.

At Occupy Denver, they’re already dealing with snow and freezing cold, but police insist: No tents! They’re sleeping under tarps, and facing hypothermia.

And now CNBC reports from New York City, “Plans are underway to rent an enormous space capable of housing up to 300 people so that Occupy Wall Street can continue through the winter.”

“We’re going to find a place where people can sleep at night, store their stuff. We’ll maintain a continuous presence in the park but you can’t ask people to put their lives in danger. It’s Occupy Wall Street, not Freeze to Death In Zuccotti Park,” [a person closely connected with the core de facto leadership of Occupy Wall Street]  said.

The early metaphors for this movement came out of the 1930s: the Hoovervilles and the Bonus Army Occupation.

But perhaps a better metaphor might be Valley Forge.

STILL ANOTHER ‘FACEBOOK REVOLUTION’

Facebook pages affiliated with Syrian pro-Palestinian groups, called on the masses to “unite and turn June 5 into a day commemorating the fallen and right of return.”

How did the Russians do it? How did the Cubans do it?? We can go even further back in history and ask how the Americans, themselves’ did it…

How did change take place in the world without FaceBook?

Something called PEOPLE POWER…. the very same power that will bring change to Palestine. Don’t wait for FaceBook…. JUST DO IT!

Pro-Palestinian pages on social media websites buzzing with calls to rush to all borders on day marking 44th anniversary of Six Day War

‘Youth of June 5’ Facebook Page

Palestinians gear for Sunday march on Israel’s borders

Fatah representative in Lebanon, Munir Maqdah, said Tuesday that Palestinians residing in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza were planning to march towards their respective borders with Israel on Sunday, the 44th anniversary of the Six Day War.

“We want our lands in Palestine back,” Maqdah said, noting that the processions aim to remain non-violent. He also urged UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon to “ensure the march’s safety.”

The Fatah official’s statement is the last in a myriad of activities calling on pro-Palestinian activists to march on Israel’s borders.

The highest flurry of activities is noted on Facebook, where various pro-Palestinian group have issued a similar call: “Our Palestinian countrymen, as part of our just pursuit of statehood… and in response to Netanyahu’s speech   in Congress and Obama’s hesitant speech, we emphasize that Palestine is our land and the land of our forefathers and that will not accept any division or compromise.

“On this day, June 5, we urge you to take active part in actions meant to empathize with our prisoners,” the “Youth of June 5” page read.

Facebook pages affiliated with Syrian pro-Palestinian groups, called on the masses to “unite and turn June 5 into a day commemorating the fallen and right of return.”

Another group urges masses to “march on Israel’s border this Saturday and free the Golan Heights.”

Still, at this time no concrete plans for any march have been posted on social media websites.

Source

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