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Homeland Security Prepares for Civil War August 28, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, Revolution.
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Roger’s note: I have no idea how reliable is the author of this article.  If the facts are correct, then we have good reason to fear massive repression of civil unrest.  The article suggests that it is more likely to come from the right (tea party) than the left.  In either case the notion of economic disaster leading to civilian rioting being confronted by agencies armed with lethal weapons is truly frightening.

(about the author)

opednews.com

Its Clear Our Military Is No Longer The Nation’s Only Standing Army When It Comes To Killing Power
 
Over the past 2 weeks, everyone from the mainstream media to bloggers and conspiracy theorists have questioned the government’s mass purchasing of ammunition for federal agencies like the National Weather Service and even the Social Security Administration. Combined, both agencies ordered over 210,000 rounds. This ammunition is mostly made up of “hollow point” bullets, which are designed strictly for maximum damage to the human body and have been outlawed for use in warfare since 1969.
 
On the surface, these purchases alone are scary enough and raise questions as to why these unlikely agencies need any amounts of ammo, especially bullets that have been outlawed. The National Weather Service claims they have 63 officers who “enforce the nation’s ocean and fishing laws to ensure a level playing field for fishermen and to protect marine species like whales, dolphins and turtles.” If you divide 46,000 rounds by the 63 agents they employ, that’s 730 bullets per agent, or, in other words, 63 crack shots and a lot of dead fisherman.
 
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has given no specific response to questions regarding their purchase of 174,00 rounds. They said their “agents’ need them. But, keep this in mind: the SSA only deals with US Citizens in America. The SSA has never been involved with anything outside of this country for any reason. And what do they need with armed agents? All SSA offices employ private contracted security for their offices.
 
One Billion + Hollow Point Bullets
 
Digging deeper into the government’s recent procurements for ammo, you learn just how aggressively they are buying up ridiculous amounts of ammo and riot related equipment. The feds have actually ordered over 1 billion rounds of ammo in 2012 alone. They received 750,000,000 in March and are awaiting another 450,000,000 arriving soon. All in conjunction with large-scale orders for riot gear, bulletproof checkpoint outposts with red and green stoplights, human shaped paper practice targets, and other crowd control and containment equipment.
 
There is no conspiracy theory here. The federal government is expecting either a catastrophic financial collapse that could provoke nationwide food riots and all out civil unrest, another civil war, or even Armageddon. All in the very near future. Some theorize that the mass purchase of ammunition is an attempt to hoard as much as possible from the American public whom the feds believe may be in preparation for civil war right now.
 
The Warnings Are There
 
Activist, radio talk show and journalist, Madison Ruppert, recently detailed on his “End The Lie Radio Show” how our Department of Homeland Security has an apparent obsession with buying up all the ammunition on earth. He noted that even if this ammo were purchased strictly for training purposes, as the Feds claim, we simply do not have the money in the federal budget to buy hundreds of millions of rounds of high dollar ammunition for domestic agents’ target practice.
 
Another recent story by Ruppert entitled, “We Are Preparing For Massive Civil War…Says DHS Informant” outlines investigator Doug Haggman’s interview with reportedly, high-level, reliable sources inside Homeland Security, who claim the agency is preparing for a massive civil war in America. The DHS source states that the federal government foresees and prepares for a massive civil revolt. “Every time you hear about troop movements, military equipment, the militarization of the police, and the buying of the ammunition in the US, all of this is orchestrated by the DHS who are reportedly preparing for a massive uprising.”
 
Hagmann goes on to say that his sources tell him the concerns of the DHS stem from their belief in an impending collapse of the U.S. dollar as the the world’s primary reserve currency, and their fear that a significant portion of the population is already armed and will rise up over the crash of our monetary system. Hagmann’s sources confirmed the ongoing fear of a U.S. dollar collapse at the hands of the Chinese and possibly the Russians in retaliation for aggressive U.S. foreign policy initiatives against Chinese and Russian strategic allies like Iran and Syria.
 
“The one source that we have, I’ve known since 1979,” says Hagmann. “He started out as a patrol officer and currently he is now working for a federal agency under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. He’s in a position to know what policies are being initiated and what policies are being planned at this point.” And, “he’s telling us right now that what you’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“We are preparing, we, meaning the government, we are preparing for a massive civil war in this country.”
 
Then there is Trends Research Institutes’ Founder Gerald Celente’s forecast of last year where he believes and expects a collapse of the U.S. dollar and riots in America some time this year. Since Celente’s “Civil War’ prediction of last year, President Obama signed executive orders known as the National Defense Resources Preparedness, which are politically damaging actions taken by a sitting president. Of course, he also signed the National Defense Authorization Act, abolishing habeas corpus and the Bill or Rights, and permitting indefinite detention without charge or trial of American citizens at home and abroad. He further claims the power to murder American citizens without indictment, trial or conviction upon his finding that they support or substantially assist an enemy of the United States or one of its allies. Let the firing squads begin.
 
And most recently, additional requests made by the DHS for another procurement of 750 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition only fuels speculation of an upcoming tragic event expected on American soil. These major events, as shocking to the American people as they are, will be taking place during an election year.
 
Governments Strategy To Crush Any Tea Party Insurgency (Warfare)
 
How seriously does the government consider a Tea Party rebellion? Kevin Benson, a retired U.S. Army colonel, who now teaches modern warfare to soldiers at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has co-written an article with Civil War expert, Jennifer Weber, detailing how to crush a Tea Party insurgency. That report, by itself, has ignited a firestorm among those increasingly concerned about what they feel is a distinct anti-civilian tone that has infected much of the military and Homeland Security personnel since 2009.
Benson and Weber co-wrote the article for Small Wars Journal on a 2010 Army report entitled, “U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 – 2028.”
 
The report describes the Army’s response to threats “at home and abroad” in the coming two decades, and, in doing so, made clear that a monumental cultural shift recently occurred in the thinking of those at the top levels of military command. This shift has some governmental watchdogs worried, particularly given that Benson is using the platform provided at Fort Leavenworth to indoctrinate soldiers in his vision of the nature of modern warfare in America.
 
Benson and Webber actually created a fictitious training scenario, including a military response, as a teaching tool for the future insurrection of tea party activists. As the scenario goes, the tea party stages a takeover of the town of Darlington, S.C.. They profess that the Declaration of Independence has been re-imposed, and the local government declared null and void. According to the vision articulated by Benson, the enemy will be average citizens whose values resonate with those articulated by the tea party.
 
The scenario admits to the public that the government fears that the Tea Party can alter or abolish an existing government and replace it with another. In the words of Benson’s report, a takeover by the Tea Party will have an effect on the general population insomuch as it “shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
 
Also, there is a 2008 report produced by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute that warns the United States might experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises, which it termed “strategic shock.” It goes on to say, “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reprioritize itself to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The report, authored by Retired Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, adds that the military may be needed to squash “purposeful domestic resistance.”
 
Even though Freir’s warning does not directly cite the Tea Party as the cause of the mass civil unrest, the inference is there. With the publication of the reports by Frier, Benson and Weber, it is clear that DHS and the U.S. Army considers it a valid proposition to assume that a future civil war will be sparked not by extremist Islamists with dirty bombs or left wing insurrectionists, but by the tea party and the conservatives who participate in it.
 
Just three years ago the Department of Homeland Security generated the notorious Home Grown Terrorist Assessment Memorandum detailing the the vision the DHS held of the primary threats to U.S. domestic security in the near future. The memo was distributed to local law enforcement across the nation with details about the Tea Party being the object of the government’s fears. The fears included combat hardened returning veterans to a nation without jobs for them, weapons and ammunition shortages that could be blamed upon the federal government, citizens who believe there is an effort to build an international government, extremist internet chatters who perceive a loss of U.S. manufacturing and construction jobs to overseas markets and blame governmental policies for that exodus and resultant home foreclosures, libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, people who talk a lot about their constitutional rights, people with copies of the constitution or Bill or Rights, etc., are all suspected domestic terrorists according to the memo.
 
Why Hollow Point Bullets?
 
After being bombarded with questions wanting to know why the feds are procuring stockpiles of ammo, their half-hearted excuses came down to needing this ammo for training and qualification purposes. That answer only raises more questions. Like, why does anyone need to practice or qualify with expensive “hollow point’ rounds. Manufacturers make “practice’ rounds that are considerably cheaper.
 
According to an article published by war decorated Army Major General Jerry Curry (Ret), the feds explanation about the bullets fails to pass the smell test. “Hollow point bullets are so lethal that the Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war.” Hollow point bullets don’t just stop or hurt people, they penetrate the body, spread out, fragment and cause maximum damage to the body’s organs. Death often follows. “Notice that all of these purchases are for the deadly hollow nose bullets. These bullets are not being purchased and stored for squirrel or coyote hunting.
 
“This is serious ammunition manufactured to be used for serious purposes.”
 
He goes on to write that” “In the war in Iraq, our military forces expended approximately 70 million rounds per year. In March DHS ordered 750 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. It then turned around and ordered an additional 750 million rounds of miscellaneous bullets including some that are capable of penetrating walls.”
 
His final claim is food for thought “This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen.”
 
General Curry raises 3 additional good points.
 
1. We have enough military forces to maintain law and order in the U.S. even during times of civil unrest. We have local police, backed up by each state’s National Guard, backed up by the Department of Defense.
 
2. In addition to all these forces, why does DHS need its own private army?
 
3. Why do the SSA, NOAA and other government agencies need to create their own civilian security forces armed with hollow nose bullets?
 
In Closing
 
This is not a “conspiracy theory” or guessing that our government is actively stockpiling enormous amounts of lethal ammunition, riot equipment and other related control devices designed solely for civil unrest. This purchase is a fact, and there is plenty of documentation from the feds themselves on how they are procuring these items. It is readily available on the Internet. It is also evident that within the last few years, several military strategists have produced in depth reports outlining the probability for a massive Civil War in America in the near future.
 
The DHS and other federal agencies are aggressively acting on those reports and recommendations by launching their own preparedness plans in order to both conduct a pre-emptive strike first and or combat any uprising by civilians that may occur first.
 
These ammo purchases by the feds do not include any mention of “non-lethal” tactics such as rubber bullets, water hoses, bean bags (fired from a shotgun to knock a person down) or tear gas, etc., which are used instead of deadly force to control civil unrest. It appears on the surface that they are gearing up for all out warfare on the American public. It also appears that the entity behind this plan is the Department of Homeland Security, not the military or local city, county, state or federal law enforcement.
 
The below analogy will likely anger some of the people reading it. It is only being used to point out how agencies akin to Homeland Security can get out of hand and allow self-appointed power and authority to become grossly abused, thus losing sight of their intent and objective.
 
In our own fears from 911, our government created Homeland Security, an agency that has become so powerful and relentless in believing they are protecting America that they have evolved into nothing more than what the German Waffen -”SS’ officers became over time. Out of control. The “SS’ were first formed in 1934 only as a supplementary army alongside the main German army. But, in just a few years, they were able to appoint themselves into the core of Germany’s terror apparatus and by about 1936 assumed control of the entire terror machine.
 
End Of Story
 
Jack Swint-Publisher
West Virginia News
Website: http://WVNewsOnline.com
Blog: http://WestVirginiaNews.blogspot.com
Twitter: @WVNewsOnline
LinkedIn: Jack Swint

Orwell’s 1984 Solution to Criminalize War: “If There was Hope, it must Lie in the Proles” August 28, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Revolution, War.
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Roger’s note: It is no dramatic discovery that the vast majority of Americans (and people everywhere around the globe) hate and oppose not only warfare, but the legalized theft of human rights and human labor and the destruction of the biosphere that is perpetuated by every government of every capitalist state and largely bolstered by the mass media and the political culture.  Change (the accomplished dissimulator Obama notwithstanding) will not come via electing leaders in contests where the option for peace and justice are never represented.  From the Paris Commune to the Russian Revolution to the successful overturning of oligarchic capital rule in places like Cuba and Nicaragua, it was the common people who took things into their own hands.  Although in each of the cases the humanistic revolutionary goals were corrupted by a combination of internal and external pressures, nevertheless, our guide for future humanistic revolution lies with these historic victories.  Today’s Arab Spring and the Occupation movement are the heirs of the previous popular uprisings.

by Prof. James F. Tracy
Global Research, August 26, 2012
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance-it is the illusion of knowledge.”-Daniel Boorstin

In George Orwell’s 1984 the Outer Party comprised a mere thirteen percent of the population and was subject to the ideological filters in play at the Ministry of Truth and the broader bureaucratic structure. A specific language and way of thinking were closely adhered to. Given their political import, Outer Party members were the most heavily indoctrinated and controlled inhabitants of Oceania. The majority Proles who constituted the remainder of the population was of little consequence so long as their political awareness remained underdeveloped.
While its members withstood more austere conditions, 1984‘s Outer Party is roughly tantamount to those who in our society are the well-informed, college-educated professionals; those whose duty it is to adhere to the ready-made opinion available in the major agenda setting journalistic outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio, where news is carefully selected, crafted, and presented. Such information is then disseminated to the masses via actors in summary capsule form on cable and broadcast television platforms.


 

Mystified by its own credentials, surrounded by peers who conceive of reality along similar lines, and underscored by the corporate media’s overwhelming tide of disinformation, much of today’s professional class is impervious to “rumors” and “conspiracy theories” that all too often captivate the sordid masses—from unreasonable suspicion over mysterious terrorist attacks to the poorly-informed questions surrounding their leader’s hidden background. Much like the expert officials and agenda setting outlets they look to for prepared interpretations of the world, the opinion leading class’ constituents understand themselves as above all well informed, similarly disinterested and unmoved by groundless passion.
In fact, the programming necessary to attain such a degree of self-assuredness often tends to distance one from reality. For example, revulsion towards war in the United States has historically tended to run strongest among those who have escaped the heavy indoctrination of the professional class—those members of the non-or semi-skilled, working class majority. As historian Howard Zinn observes,
“[I]n surveys of public opinion during the [Vietnam War], it was inevitably shown that people with the highest education—college graduates—were the most supportive of the war. People who had not graduated from high school were the ones most against the war. This is a surprising figure because most people thought the anti-war movement consisted of intellectuals and students and college professors. While those people were most visible in the anti-war movement, public opinion against the war was concentrated in the least educated classes.”
Recent public opinion indicators point to the enduring nature of antiwar sentiment. For example, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press shows that on March 19, 2011, one week before President Obama announced the NATO bombing of Libya, 77% of the US public opposed the destruction of the country’s air defenses. Polling one year later revealed a 62% majority against NATO “bombing Syrian military forces to protect anti-government groups in Syria,” even though almost the same percentage (64%) admitted to having heard “little” or “nothing at all” on “recent political violence in Syria.”
May we thus safely conclude that a majority of the population despite ceaseless propaganda still recognizes how war remains the supreme crime and the greatest demarcation between master and slave? “If there was hope, it must lie in the Proles,” Orwell wrote, “because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated.”

James Tracy is Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He blogs at memorygap.org.

 
James F. Tracy is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by James F. Tracy

Egypt, women and permanent revolution July 19, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Egypt, Revolution, Women.
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NEWS & LETTERS, July – August 2012

www.newsandletters.org

 

by Terry Moon

Mona Eltahawy, an American-Egyptian journalist, wrote an eloquent essay published in the May/June edition of Foreign Policy titled “Why Do They Hate Us? The real war on women is in the Middle East.” The myriad negative responses to it reveal serious examples of counter-revolution from within the revolution in the wake of Arab Spring.

ARAB SPRING FACES COUNTER-REVOLUTION

Eltahawy takes up “the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East.” It is crucial that her essay is about the need for the revolutions of Arab Spring to continue and deepen. So important is this to her that she begins and ends with that point. On the first page she declares:

“An entire political and economic system–one that treats half of humanity like animals–must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.”

And on the last page she writes:

“The Arab uprisings may have been sparked by an Arab man–Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in desperation–but they will be finished by Arab women…. Our political revolutions will not succeed unless they are accompanied by revolutions of thought–social, sexual, and cultural revolutions that topple the Mubaraks in our minds as well as our bedrooms.”

Not one of the critiques I read mentions that this is what her essay is about. Rather than speaking to her essay’s content–the unbearable sexism that women experience in the Middle East–they try to discredit her. Where she talks of how “more than 90% of ever-married women in Egypt–including my mother and all but one of her six sisters–have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty,” she is chided for using the “wrong” word, genital mutilation instead of circumcision. Another critic attacks her by reminding the reader that genital mutilation of women did not originate with Islam or in the Middle East. But none speak to the actuality of genital mutilation, under whatever name.

FORM ATTACKED, CONTENT IGNORED

She was also widely criticized for publishing the essay in Foreign Policy, as if that somehow silenced other Arab women’s voices, even though Foreign Policy invited four responses from Arab women. Or, critics say, it was wrong to publish in Foreign Policy because her audience was presumed to be Americans, but no publications or websites the critiques were in would have printed her essay, and it is crystal clear from the responses that her essay was widely read by an Arab audience.

Then there was this age-old shibboleth, used whenever someone wants to shut up a woman who dares to bring up the fact that we live–all of us–in a deeply misogynist world: Eltahaway “blames and hates all men.”

Any who doubt the importance of what Eltahawy raises need only remember the Iranian women who, in the midst of revolution in 1979, came out by the thousands against Khomeini’s order to wear the chador. They cried out: “At the dawn of freedom we have no freedom.” They were calling for the Iranian revolution to continue. Had their demands been taken seriously by the Left, Iran might be in a very different place today.

NEED FOR PERMANENT REVOLUTION

In an interview given several weeks after her essay was published, Eltahawy reiterated that she is talking about deepening revolution:

“So what my essay is trying to do, is to say that the women…now have two revolutions that need to be completed: The revolution against the regime, which oppresses all of us; but also a second revolution against a society that oppresses us as women.”

While Eltahawy is not talking directly of Marx’s concept of revolution in permanence, that is what she is calling for. As Arab Spring faces counter-revolution from within and without–and is now facing an election where both candidates may well worsen women’s oppression–we call for the greatest possible solidarity with what Eltahawy is raising.

a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had November 21, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, India, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Revolution.
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opednews.com

 

Tuesday morning, the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for justice. Justice, not just for the people of the US, but for everybody.

What you have achieved since September 17th, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies, mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment.

As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. And I cannot thank you enough.

Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy. Just recently, under President Obama, the US made a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia – moderate Muslims, right? It hopes to sell thousands of bunker busters to the UAE. It has sold $5 billion-worth of military aircraft to my country, India, which has more poor people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. All these wars, from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, have claimed millions of lives — all of them fought to secure the “American way of life”.

Today, we know that the “American way of life” — the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire towards — has resulted in 400 people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States. It has meant thousands of people being turned out of their homes and their jobs while the US government bailed out banks and corporations — American International Group (AIG) alone was given $182 billion.

The Indian government worships US economic policy. As a result of 20 years of the free market economy, today, 100 of India’s richest people own assets worth one-quarter of the country’s GDP while more than 80% of the people live on less than 50 cents a day. Two hundred and fifty thousand farmers, driven into a spiral of debt death, have committed suicide. We call this progress, and now think of ourselves as a superpower. Like you, we are well-qualified. We have nuclear bombs and obscene inequality.

The good news is that people have had enough and are not going to take it any more. The Occupy movement has joined thousands of other resistance movements all over the world in which the poorest of people are standing up and stopping the richest corporations in their tracks. Few of us dreamed that we would see you, the people of the United States on our side, trying to do this in the heart of Empire. I don’t know how to communicate the enormity of what this means.

They, the one percent, say that we don’t have demands” perhaps they don’t know, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things — a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had — for us to think about together:

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality. We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations. As “cap-ists” and “lid-ites”, we demand:

One, an end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example, weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health funds.

Two, natural resources and essential infrastructure — water supply, electricity, health, and education — cannot be privatized.

Three, everybody must have the right to shelter, education and healthcare

Four, the children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth.

This struggle has re-awakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just “human rights”, and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to just tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

Salaam and Zindabad.

Shaking the System: A Greek Gift to Occupy USA November 2, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis, Greece, Revolution.
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Published on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by Black Agenda Report

 

 

The Greek government, after months of demonstrations by a citizenry that rejects impoverishment for the sake of the bankers, has promised to submit the bailout plan to a referendum. This should be a lesson to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the U.S. public in general: force the issue, or the issue will be forced upon you. “Americans think that backing two political parties who are both eager to work in the interests of banksters is a solution to averting a disaster despite the fact that the disaster never ends.”

The European debt crisis is but one symptom of the crisis in which the capitalist system finds itself. The years of accumulated “fictitious” capital, followed by a succession of ruptured market bubbles, were all signs that the system is like Humpty Dumpty, unlikely to be put back together again.

Greece is the current focus of attention, with American markets rising or falling based on the status of negotiations among the Eurozone leadership. Greece’s “partners” agreed to bail out that nation only on the condition that it impoverish its citizens. Yet because of sustained protest against the austerity measures, the prime minister has promised his people a referendum on the plan, which has thrown domestic politics and international finance into a state of turmoil.

“If only American politicians had to fear their people as much as their European counterparts do.”

The turmoil cannot be confined to Europe either. Former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine is in the news because the commodities firm that he heads, MF Global, was caught up in the European crisis and has now filed for bankruptcy. Corzine is a former Goldman Sachs executive who self-financed his own political campaigns for senator and governor. If there were a poster child for the unholy alliance between money and politics, Corzine should be it.

The fortunes of American firms and European politicians are not looking very promising these days, and that is a good thing. Greek Prime Minister Papandreou can’t close the rotten deal because his people won’t stand for it. As a result of popular actions such as strikes and demonstrations, he must offer a referendum which puts the entire system on notice and across the ocean MF Global and the American markets go in the tank.

“Greece’s ‘partners’ agreed to bail out that nation only on the condition that it impoverish its citizens.”

It is an important lesson for Americans. Greeks and other people around the world aren’t taken in by predictions of doom from the high and mighty. They have declared loudly and clearly that they will not pay a price because of corruption committed without their knowledge and consent.

The Occupy Wall Street movement should sit up and take notice. Their consensus organizational structure and national assemblies upon which it is based began in Europe. The OWS organizers would do well to repeat European actions taken against the 1% and the members of political class who are eager to do their bidding.

It is well and good to say that the OWS movement is finding its way, but if it doesn’t notice what happens when people take mass action, then they aren’t ready for the big leagues. Three years ago the American people were told that they would suffer if Wall Street was not bailed out with their money. The TARP deal went forward with the collusion of both Republicans and the then Democratic nominee, Barack Obama and the rest of his party.

The results of that capitulation have been calamitous. TARP was a band aid solution to a structural crisis and Americans are suffering despite the fact that their resources continue to be sucked into the bottomless pit of the federal reserve. Unemployment numbers are not improving, the housing market remains stagnant, and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

“Even Social Security, the erstwhile “third rail” of politics, is on the table ready to be butchered by the party that used to at least pretend to defend it.”

If only American politicians had to fear their people as much as their European counterparts do. Instead of cowering in fear when the Wall Street chieftains shout, “Your money or your life,” we might have something to show three years after the big heist. Instead, Americans think that backing two political parties who are both eager to work in the interests of banksters is a solution to averting a disaster despite the fact that the disaster never ends.

The Greeks are bearing a good gift to the people of the United States but only if Americans have the awareness to see it. It would be wonderful to witness Barack Obama and the Democrats having to undo their dirty work with the Republicans because of popular action. Instead, even Social Security, the erstwhile “third rail” of politics, is on the table ready to be butchered by the party that used to at least pretend to defend it.

Prime Minister Papandreou has risked the wrath of European leadership because the people of his country won’t stand for anything else. There is no reason to fear turmoil in the markets and firms going belly up. We ought to let American political leaders know that we too have had enough of the back room deals which never serve our interests.

If democracy wasn’t born in ancient Greece, it is certainly exemplified by the actions of its people today. Their actions have rattled cages in many parts of the globe, and not only should these events not be feared, they should be celebrated.

© 2011 Black Agenda Report

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Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport

Why the Elites Are in Trouble October 10, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis, Revolution.
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Published on Monday, October 10, 2011 by TruthDig.com

  by  Chris Hedges

Ketchup, a petite 22-year-old from Chicago with wavy red hair and glasses with bright red frames, arrived in Zuccotti Park in New York on Sept. 17. She had a tent, a rolling suitcase, 40 dollars’ worth of food, the graphic version of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and a sleeping bag. She had no return ticket, no idea what she was undertaking, and no acquaintances among the stragglers who joined her that afternoon to begin the Wall Street occupation. She decided to go to New York after reading the Canadian magazine Adbusters, which called for the occupation, although she noted that when she got to the park Adbusters had no discernable presence.

The lords of finance in the looming towers surrounding the park, who toy with money and lives, who make the political class, the press and the judiciary jump at their demands, who destroy the ecosystem for profit and drain the U.S. Treasury to gamble and speculate, took little notice of Ketchup or any of the other scruffy activists on the street below them. The elites consider everyone outside their sphere marginal or invisible. And what significance could an artist who paid her bills by working as a waitress have for the powerful? What could she and the others in Zuccotti Park do to them? What threat can the weak pose to the strong? Those who worship money believe their buckets of cash, like the $4.6 million JPMorgan Chase gave a few days ago to the New York City Police Foundation, can buy them perpetual power and security. Masters all, kneeling before the idols of the marketplace, blinded by their self-importance, impervious to human suffering, bloated from unchecked greed and privilege, they were about to be taught a lesson in the folly of hubris.

Even now, three weeks later, elites, and their mouthpieces in the press, continue to puzzle over what people like Ketchup want. Where is the list of demands? Why don’t they present us with specific goals? Why can’t they articulate an agenda?

The goal to people like Ketchup is very, very clear. It can be articulated in one word—REBELLION. These protesters have not come to work within the system. They are not pleading with Congress for electoral reform. They know electoral politics is a farce and have found another way to be heard and exercise power. They have no faith, nor should they, in the political system or the two major political parties. They know the press will not amplify their voices, and so they created a press of their own. They know the economy serves the oligarchs, so they formed their own communal system. This movement is an effort to take our country back.

This is a goal the power elite cannot comprehend. They cannot envision a day when they will not be in charge of our lives. The elites believe, and seek to make us believe, that globalization and unfettered capitalism are natural law, some kind of permanent and eternal dynamic that can never be altered. What the elites fail to realize is that rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished. It will not stop until there is an end to the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our imperial wars and tortured in our black sites. It will not stop until foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops, and our relationships with each other and the planet are radically reconfigured. And that is why the elites, and the rotted and degenerate system of corporate power they sustain, are in trouble. That is why they keep asking what the demands are. They don’t understand what is happening. They are deaf, dumb and blind.

 (photo: hunter.gatherer)

“The world can’t continue on its current path and survive,” Ketchup told me. “That idea is selfish and blind. It’s not sustainable. People all over the globe are suffering needlessly at our hands.”

The occupation of Wall Street has formed an alternative community that defies the profit-driven hierarchical structures of corporate capitalism. If the police shut down the encampment in New York tonight, the power elite will still lose, for this vision and structure have been imprinted into the thousands of people who have passed through park, renamed Liberty Plaza by the protesters. The greatest gift the occupation has given us is a blueprint for how to fight back. And this blueprint is being transferred to cities and parks across the country.

“We get to the park,” Ketchup says of the first day. “There’s madness for a little while. There were a lot of people. They were using megaphones at first. Nobody could hear. Then someone says we should get into circles and talk about what needed to happen, what we thought we could accomplish. And so that’s what we did. There was a note-taker in each circle. I don’t know what happened with those notes, probably nothing, but it was a good start. One person at a time, airing your ideas. There was one person saying that he wasn’t very hopeful about what we could accomplish here, that he wasn’t very optimistic. And then my response was that, well, we have to be optimistic, because if anybody’s going to get anything done, it’s going be us here. People said different things about what our priorities should be. People were talking about the one-demand idea. Someone called for AIG executives to be prosecuted. There was someone who had come from Spain to be there, saying that she was here to help us avoid the mistakes that were made in Spain. It was a wide spectrum. Some had come because of their own personal suffering or what they saw in the world.”

“After the circles broke I felt disheartened because it was sort of chaotic,” she said. “I didn’t have anybody there, so it was a little depressing. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

“Over the past few months, people had been meeting in New York City general assembly,” she said. “One of them is named Brooke. She’s a professor of social ecology. She did my facilitation training. There’s her and a lot of other people, students, school teachers, different people who were involved with that … so they organized a general assembly.”

“It’s funny that the cops won’t let us use megaphones, because it’s to make our lives harder, but we actually end up making a much louder sound [with the “people’s mic”] and I imagine it’s much more annoying to the people around us,” she said. “I had been in the back, unable to hear. I walked to different parts of the circle. I saw this man talking in short phrases and people were repeating them. I don’t know whose idea it was, but that started on the first night. The first general assembly was a little chaotic because people had no idea … a general assembly, what is this for? At first it was kind of grandstanding about what were our demands. Ending corporate personhood is one that has come up again and again as a favorite and. … What ended up happening was, they said, OK, we’re going to break into work groups.

“People were worried we were going to get kicked out of the park at 10 p.m. This was a major concern. There were tons of cops. I’ve heard that it’s costing the city a ton of money to have constant surveillance on a bunch of peaceful protesters who aren’t hurting anyone. With the people’s mic, everything we do is completely transparent. We know there are undercover cops in the crowd. I think I was talking to one last night, but it’s like, what are you trying to accomplish? We don’t have any secrets.”

“The undercover cops are the only ones who ask, ‘Who’s the leader?’ ” she said. “Presumably, if they know who our leaders are they can take them out. The fact is we have no leader. There’s no leader, so there’s nothing they can do.

“There was a woman [in the medics unit]. This guy was pretending to be a reporter. The first question he asks is, ‘Who’s the leader?’  She goes, ‘I’m the leader.’ And he says, ‘Oh yeah, what are you in charge of?’ She says, ‘I’m in a charge of everything.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah?  What’s your title?’ She says ‘God.’ ”

“So it’s 9:30 p.m. and people are worried that they’re going to try and rush us out of the camp,” she said, referring back to the first day. “At 9:30 they break into work groups. I joined the group on contingency plans. The job of the bedding group was to find cardboard for people to sleep on. The contingency group had to decide what to do if they kick us out. The big decision we made was to announce to the group that if we were dispersed we were going to meet back at 10 a.m. the next day in the park. Another group was arts and culture. What was really cool was that we assumed we were going to be there more than one night. There was a food group. They were going dumpster diving. The direct action committee plans for direct, visible action like marches. There was a security team. It’s security against the cops. The cops are the only people we think that might hurt us. The security team keeps people awake in shifts. They always have people awake.”

The work groups make logistical decisions, and the general assembly makes large policy decisions.

“Work groups make their own decisions,” Ketchup said. “For example, someone donated a laptop. And because I’ve been taking minutes I keep running around and asking, ‘Does someone have a laptop I could borrow?’ The media team, upon receiving that laptop, designated it to me for my use on behalf of the Internet committee. The computer isn’t mine. When I go back to Chicago, I’m not going to take it. Right now I don’t even know where it is. Someone else is using it. But so, after hearing this, people thought it had been gifted to me personally. People were upset by that. So a member of the Internet work group went in front of the group and said, ‘This is a need of the committee. It’s been put into Ketchup’s care.’ They explained that to the group, but didn’t ask for consensus on it, because the committees are empowered. Some people might still think that choice was inappropriate. In the future, it might be handled differently.”

Working groups blossomed in the following days. The media working group was joined by a welcome working group for new arrivals, a sanitation working group (some members of which go around the park on skateboards as they carry brooms), a legal working group with lawyers, an events working group, an education working group, medics, a facilitation working group (which trains new facilitators for the general assembly meetings), a public relations working group, and an outreach working group for like-minded communities as well as the general public. There is an Internet working group and an open source technology working group. The nearby McDonald’s is the principal bathroom for the park after Burger King banned protesters from its facilities.

Caucuses also grew up in the encampment, including a “Speak Easy caucus.” “That’s a caucus I started,” Ketchup said. “It is for a broad spectrum of individuals from female-bodied people who identify as women to male-bodied people who are not traditionally masculine. That’s called the ‘Speak Easy’ caucus. I was just talking to a woman named Sharon who’s interested in starting a caucus for people of color.

“A caucus gives people a safe space to talk to each other without people from the culture of their oppressors present. It gives them greater power together, so that if the larger group is taking an action that the caucus felt was specifically against their interests, then the caucus can block that action. Consensus can potentially still be reached after a caucus blocks something, but a block, or a ‘paramount objection,’ is really serious. You’re saying that you are willing to walk out.”

“We’ve done a couple of things so far,” she said. “So, you know the live stream? The comments are moderated on the live stream. There are moderators who remove racist comments, comments that say ‘I hate cops’ or ‘Kill cops.’ They remove irrelevant comments that have nothing to do with the movement. There is this woman who is incredibly hardworking and intelligent. She has been the driving force of the finance committee. Her hair is half-blond and half-black. People were referring to her as “blond-black hottie.”  These comments weren’t moderated, and at one point whoever was running the camera took the camera off her face and did a body scan. So, that was one of the first things the caucus talked about. We decided as a caucus that I would go to the moderators and tell them this is a serious problem. If you’re moderating other offensive comments then you need to moderate these kinds of offensive comments.”

The heart of the protest is the two daily meetings, held in the morning and the evening. The assemblies, which usually last about two hours, start with a review of process, which is open to change and improvement, so people are clear about how the assembly works. Those who would like to speak raise their hand and get on “stack.”

“There’s a stack keeper,” Ketchup said. “The stack keeper writes down your name or some signifier for you. A lot of white men are the people raising their hands. So, anyone who is not apparently a white man gets to jump stack. The stack keeper will make note of the fact that the person who put their hand up was not a white man and will arrange the list so that it’s not dominated by white men. People don’t get called up in the same order as they raise their hand.”

While someone is speaking, their words amplified by the people’s mic, the crowd responds through hand signals.

“Putting your fingers up like this,” she said, holding her hands up and wiggling her fingers, “means you like what you’re hearing, or you’re in agreement. Like this,” she said, holding her hands level and wiggling her fingers, “means you don’t like it so much. Fingers down, you don’t like it at all; you’re not in agreement. Then there’s this triangle you make with your hand that says ‘point of process.’  So, if you think that something is not being respected within the process that we’ve agreed to follow then you can bring that up.”

“You wait till you’re called,” she said. “These rules get abused all the time, but they are important. We start with agenda items, which are proposals or group discussions. Then working group report-backs, so you know what every working group is doing. Then we have general announcements. The agenda items have been brought to the facilitators by the working groups because you need the whole group to pay attention. Like last night, Legal brought up a discussion on bail: ‘Can we agree that the money from the general funds can be allotted if someone needs bail?’ And the group had to come to consensus on that. [It decided yes.] There’s two co-facilitators, a stack keeper, a timekeeper, a vibes-person making sure that people are feeling OK, that people’s voices aren’t getting stomped on, and then if someone’s being really disruptive, the vibes-person deals with them. There’s a note-taker—I end up doing that a lot because I type very, very quickly. We try to keep the facilitation team one man, one woman, or one female-bodied person, one male-bodied person. When you facilitate multiple times it’s rough on your brain. You end up having a lot of criticism thrown your way. You need to keep the facilitators rotating as much as possible. It needs to be a huge, huge priority to have a strong facilitation group.”

“People have been yelled out of the park,” she said. “Someone had a sign the other day that said ‘Kill the Jew Bankers.’ They got screamed out of the park. Someone else had a sign with the N-word on it. That person’s sign was ripped up, but that person is apparently still in the park.

“We’re trying to make this a space that everyone can join. This is something the caucuses are trying to really work on. We are having workshops to get people to understand their privilege.”

But perhaps the most important rule adopted by the protesters is nonviolence and nonaggression against the police, no matter how brutal the police become.

“The cops, I think, maced those women in the face and expected the men and women around them to start a riot,” Ketchup said. “They want a riot. They can deal with a riot. They cannot deal with nonviolent protesters with cameras.”

I tell Ketchup I will bring her my winter sleeping bag. It is getting cold. She will need it. I leave her in a light drizzle and walk down Broadway. I pass the barricades, uniformed officers on motorcycles, the rows of paddy wagons and lines of patrol cars that block the streets into the financial district and surround the park. These bankers, I think, have no idea what they are up against.

Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C.

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Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

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Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now October 7, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis, Revolution.
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Published on Friday, October 7, 2011 by The Occupied Wall Street Journal

 

  by  Naomi Klein

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

That slogan began in Italy in 2008. It ricocheted to Greece and France and Ireland and finally it has made its way to the square mile where the crisis began.

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” “We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.” And most of all: “Welcome.”

Many people have drawn parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the so-called anti-globalization protests that came to world attention in Seattle in 1999. That was the last time a global, youth-led, decentralized movement took direct aim at corporate power. And I am proud to have been part of what we called “the movement of movements.”

But there are important differences too. For instance, we chose summits as our targets: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the G8. Summits are transient by their nature, they only last a week. That made us transient too. We’d appear, grab world headlines, then disappear. And in the frenzy of hyper patriotism and militarism that followed the 9/11 attacks, it was easy to sweep us away completely, at least in North America.

Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, has chosen a fixed target. And you have put no end date on your presence here. This is wise. Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It’s because they don’t have roots. And they don’t have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away.

Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful. But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen.

Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately. And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom.

But the biggest difference a decade makes is that in 1999, we were taking on capitalism at the peak of a frenzied economic boom. Unemployment was low, stock portfolios were bulging. The media was drunk on easy money. Back then it was all about start-ups, not shutdowns.

We pointed out that the deregulation behind the frenzy came at a price. It was damaging to labor standards. It was damaging to environmental standards. Corporations were becoming more powerful than governments and that was damaging to our democracies. But to be honest with you, while the good times rolled, taking on an economic system based on greed was a tough sell, at least in rich countries.

Ten years later, it seems as if there aren’t any more rich countries. Just a whole lot of rich people. People who got rich looting the public wealth and exhausting natural resources around the world.

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite—fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful—the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society—while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.

I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says, “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

A few final thoughts. In this great struggle, here are some things that don’t matter.

§ What we wear.

§ Whether we shake our fists or make peace signs.

§ Whether we can fit our dreams for a better world into a media soundbite.

And here are a few things that do matter.

§ Our courage.

§ Our moral compass.

§ How we treat each other.

We have picked a fight with the most powerful economic and political forces on the planet. That’s frightening. And as this movement grows from strength to strength, it will get more frightening. Always be aware that there will be a temptation to shift to smaller targets—like, say, the person sitting next to you at this meeting. After all, that is a battle that’s easier to win.

Don’t give in to the temptation. I’m not saying don’t call each other on shit. But this time, let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before will demand nothing less.

Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.

Copyright © 2011 Naomi Klein

 

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. Her earlier books include the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (which has just been re-published in a special 10th Anniversary Edition); and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

#OccupyTogether: The Best Among Us October 1, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, Revolution.
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Published on Friday, September 30, 2011 by TruthDig.com

  by  Chris Hedges

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.

Protesters march past Federal Hall on Wall Street on Monday. The Occupy Wall Street protest is in its second week in New York City as demonstrators speak out against corporate greed and social inequality. (AP / Louis Lanzano)

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.

Click here to access OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St.

© 2011 TruthDig.com

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Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Occupy Wall Street Protest Enters Second Week; 80 Arrested at Peaceful March September 26, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis, Revolution.
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www.democracynow.org, September 26, 2011

 

It is day 10 of the “Occupy Wall Street” campaign. On Saturday, more than 80 protesters were arrested as hundreds took part in yet another march to Wall Street. Many of them were committing civil disobedience by walking in the street, but some say they were on the sidewalk when officers with the New York City Police Department used nets and physical force to break up the crowd. Videos uploaded to YouTube show officers pepper-spraying protesters in the face from close range, punching demonstrators and dragging people through the street. Since Sept. 17, thousands have gathered near in New York City’s financial district near Wall Street to decry corporate greed. Many have said they have been inspired by other popular uprisings from Spain to the Arab Spring. On Sunday, protesters issued a communiqué calling for the resignation of the NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and for a dialogue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Thanks to Democracy Now!’s Ryan Devereaux and Jon Gerberg for this report.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, it’s day 10 of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. On Saturday, more than 80 protesters were arrested as hundreds took part in yet another march to Wall Street. The New York Police Department used nets and physical force to break up the crowds. Videos uploaded to YouTube show officers pepper-spraying protesters in the face from close range, punching demonstrators and dragging people through the street.

Since Saturday, September 17th, thousands, inspired by popular uprisings from Spain to the Arab Spring, gathered near Wall Street to decry corporate greed. On Sunday, protesters issued a communiqué calling for the resignation of the New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, and a dialogue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ryan Devereaux and Jon Gerberg of Democracy Now! were in the streets talking to people about what took place.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: There were some arrests down in the Wall Street area, including someone from the media team, around Fifth Avenue and 12th Street. There was a mass arrest. As many as a hundred, perhaps around a hundred, were taken in, in police vans, in city buses. And then those who remained came down. There were reports of pepper spray being used, people being dragged around on the ground by their hair. The witness reports are still coming in.

YELL: My name is Yell. This one police officer had whipped out his mace and sprayed it about a foot away from me and around my area, where there were other people. The mace at that point was so close to me that it was dripping down my face, down my chest, all over me. It was ridiculous. I was about maybe 45 to an hour—I was blind for about 45 minutes to an hour. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere. They need to do a lot more to move me.

CHRISTINA GONZALEZ: My name is Christina Gonzales. I’m from Far Rockaway, Queens. Today I was involved in the protest. I was actually arrested. The guy told me to stop filming. I told him I wasn’t, and I heard him say, “Get her!” The next thing you know, they all came up behind me. They grabbed me by my wrist. They took their feet and swept it under my feet to try to take my feet from under me. They put the cuffs on really tight. I could not feel my hands. And all I kept doing was screaming, “Please get these cuffs off of me! Get these cuffs off of me! I cannot breathe! I’m suffocating! My hands!”

We sat inside one of these police vans, 16 of us, for two-and-a-half hours with the doors closed. We couldn’t breath in there, and there was a man in there who needed medical attention. He had a big, huge laceration on his eyebrow. There were a couple other brothers who had scrapes on their leg, big cuts into their leg. And everybody was just laughing at us. The cops kept circling around. We asked for water. No water. We had our phones. We were sending pictures; we were making phone calls. We even called 911, and 911 said, “You’re with the cops, they’re there to protect you,” and she hung up the phone on me.

There’s a lot of—there’s a lot of causes out here, but I think the main thing that we’re looking for is that we’re human beings, and human beings should come before money. Human beings should come before profit. There’s a lot of greed out here, and a lot of people don’t have things, and there’s a few small people who do have it, and they’re keeping it from us. And they’ve got the cops out here to protect them, and they should be out here protecting us, you know? That’s why we’re out here, because there’s injustice going on. And everybody wants to know, what’s our cause, what’s our cause? Listen, this is not just a protest. This is a struggle. It’s a fight. It’s a war going on. And we’re fighting a peaceful war.

WYLIE STECKLOW: I believe, as a constitutional lawyer, that the actual act of being here, of doing two general assemblies a day, of doing two marches a day, and of trying to have this peaceful assembly, putting out cardboard signs that other individuals will come around and see, this whole act is expressive speech. This is the First Amendment. It’s a living, breathing moment of the First Amendment in action and something that I don’t recall really seeing quite like this before.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: What they’re doing here is the assembly. The core demand, I think, right now, seems to be the right to organize, to have a political conversation in a public space, to show Wall Street, so to speak, what democracy looks like.

AMY GOODMAN That was Nathan Schneider, editor of the website wagingnonviolence.org. He talked about the protest over the last 10 days.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: This protest began on Saturday with a rally down near Bowling Green and then a march up to a surprise location, which turned out to be Liberty Plaza. Since then, people began spending the night, that first night. Every day since, there have been interactions with the police, generally including arrests. There’s been a lot of frustration about media coverage. But what matters more is that this group is learning the skills that are necessary in order to build that kind of coverage and build that kind of presence in the media.

HENRY JAMES FERRY: My name is Henry James Ferry. The media center is a—it’s a varied group. It’s made up of people who are live streaming through a handle of “Global Revolution.” It’s made up of people like me, who are tweeting from “The Other 99.” That’s my handle, “The Other 99.” I also have a Facebook account that’s putting up the list of our media events at “We are the Other 99.” And we want to be a primary source of information. This is day eight of the occupation. We want to create a narrative that the media can use to tell this story. Right now, this is a very messy, disconjointed story, and I don’t think the media knows how to cover it. We’re trying to create that narrative so that they have primary information, sourced with pictures, with video, with sources that they can trust, so they can go out and tell the message to the whole country and the whole world.

AMY GOODMAN For more on Occupy Wall Street, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. And organizers in Los Angeles have now just announced an Occupy Los Angeles campaign.

UK Unions Plot a Winter of Discontent as They Ballot More Than a Million Workers for Biggest General Strike Since 1926 September 14, 2011

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Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by the Daily Mail/UK

 

Millions of workers including police, firefighters, health workers, teachers and prison officers could strike over bitter pension row Unions describe potential walk-out as ‘unprecedented’ in scale and ‘the biggest fight of our lives’ Unison says they will be ‘vilified’ for striking but urges members to ‘stay strong’

by Anna Edwards

A ‘winter of discontent’ looks imminent as Unison, the country’s biggest public sector workers’ union, gave formal notice today that its 1.1 million members will be balloted for industrial action in the bitter row over pensions.

A crowd of protesters made their feelings clear in London as marches take place across the country, sparked by a proposed increase in the retirement age for public sector workers and paying more into their pensions The Government face the threat of the biggest outbreak of industrial action since the 1926 General Strike after unions served notice of ballots over the row which will see workers pay an extra 3.2 per cent in pension contributions.

Unison’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, said 9,000 separate employer groups would be involved in the action, describing the ballot as ‘unprecedented’ in scale.

He blamed the Government for the ballot decision, which could see workers in school, hospitals, police and voluntary sectors, join the move.

He said: ‘A ballot unprecedented in scale will cover over a million workers in health, local government, schools, further education, police, the voluntary sector and the environment and private sector.

‘It’s a decision we don’t take lightly and the stakes are high, higher than ever before, but now is the time to make our stand.

‘It will be hard, we’ll be vilified, attacked, set against each other, but we must stay strong and united.’

The union was joined by Unite and the Fire Brigades Union, who all gave notice of ballots in the worsening row over pensions and launched angry attacks against the Government.

Mr Prentis announced to the TUC Congress in London that unions were involved in the ‘fight of our lives’ over the Government’s controversial reforms of pensions, which will see workers pay an extra 3.2 per cent in contributions.

He said Unison would work with the GMB and Unite, which could mean the country grinding to a halt if millions of the members decide to strike together.

His announcement was met with a standing ovation as delegates applauded the move, which brings the prospect of a winter of strikes closer.

Mr Prentis accused the Government of an ‘unprecedented’ attack on workers with its ‘audacious and devious’ pension reforms.

Mr Prentis said that exhaustive talks had not worked for the unions: ‘We’ve been patient, we’ve co-operated, but there comes a time when we say enough is enough because, if we don’t, they’ll be back for more.

Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of Unite, told the conference: ‘When the coalition came to power we knew we faced the fight of our lives, we knew they would seek to weaken and divide us.

‘While we will never walk away from talks, neither can we sit on our hands. We will support days of action and tactical selective action.’

The Fire Brigades Union’s ballot of its 43,000 members raises the threat of a walkout without ‘Green Goddess’ military cover.

Firefighters last took national strike action in 2003, when Green Goddesses were used as emergency cover, but the ageing military vehicles have since been taken out of service.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, which has already announced fresh industrial action in November, said today’s moves showed that opposition was growing to the Government’s ‘raid’ on public sector pensions.

‘Following the hugely successful strike by civil servants, teachers and lecturers in June, there is a clear momentum behind our campaign that ministers cannot ignore, and they must now enter into serious and open negotiations.

‘We will now join our colleagues from across the public sector to discuss the nuts and bolts of this fightback, which we fully expect will mean industrial action on a scale not seen for many years.’

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, which is not allowed to take industrial action, warned that his members would defy the law if no deal was reached on pensions.

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB, announced that his union’s 250,000 public sector members will also be balloted for strikes, warning that industrial action could last for months.

‘We are not talking about a day – we are talking about something that is long and hard and dirty, running through the winter, into next year and following the legislative programme right into the summer.’

The dispute will involve hospital and ambulance workers, meals-on-wheels staff, refuse collectors and cemetery workers, he said.

Mr Strutton said recent talks over pension reform had been held between Government ministers and local authority leaders, with unions ‘not even in the room’.

Public sector unions will meet later today to discuss co-ordinated action ahead of more talks with the Government planned for next week.

Joining them, workers at four British Sugar plants are to be balloted on industrial action in a dispute over pay and the ‘soaring cost of living’.

Unite said 250 members based in the East of England will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of strikes after rejecting a 3.5 per cent pay offer.

The union said it was seeking a pay deal equal to RPI inflation, currently running at 5.2 per cent, plus 0.5 per cent for the year to next April.

Regional officer Mick Doherty said: ‘Our members are being hit very hard by the soaring cost of living.

‘British Sugar is a very profitable company and despite its complaints that the sugar beet crop was hit by last winter’s bad weather, it is well able to afford a decent pay rise.’

The Government hit back at the ‘disappointing’ strikes, saying they had tried to reach a negotiation with unions.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman described the calls for strike ballots as ‘disappointing’, and slammed the industrial action would be irresponsible at a time of economic difficulty.

‘Our view is that the best way forward is to continue with talks and we have always been very clear that we should try to have a constructive dialogue with the unions,’ said the spokesman.

‘Clearly, it is disappointing that there have been calls for industrial action, particularly as the talks are still ongoing.

‘On pensions, we have been very clear about the need for reform, but we have also been making the point that even after these reforms come through, public sector pensions will still be amongst the very best available.’

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, answering questions after a speech in London, said: ‘It is very regrettable that they are rushing to announce days of strikes when the discussions are still ongoing.

‘It would lovely to wave a magic wand and say we have discovered pots of gold, and the ageing population is not ageing, and, hallelujah, pension funds are entirely sustainable.

‘We entered into these discussions in good faith and we will continue to do so.”

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is leading negotiations for the Government, told BBC News: ‘I think the public will be really fed up if they see industrial action damaging the economy, damaging their ability to get to work and earn their own living when (they) may be paying more towards public sector pensions than they are towards their own.

‘We want this to be a proper settlement so that we know that public sector workers are going to be able to enjoy these good pensions – better pension schemes than are available almost anywhere else – but that’s on a sustainable basis.

‘I don’t want governments to be coming back in five or 10 years’ time and saying ‘We need to have another go at this because it wasn’t sorted out properly in 2011′.

‘I think the unions need to think about the effect on the public and the effect on the economy and on their own members.

‘Their own members want to be going to work, they don’t want to be giving up a day’s pay, or more than that, at a time when we are all of us working under major constraints.’

Increasingly militant transport union leaders joined in with the walkout threats, warning they were planning the ‘biggest campaign’ of civil disobedience in Britain’s history.

They plan to disrupt public services and block motorways as well as declaring they are ready to ‘go to prison’ in protest at proposed changes to pensions.

In a bid to persuade them to stop striking and wrecking the Games, transport bosses have offered hefty bonuses to railway workers amid fears the militant RMT union could wreck the Games with strikes.

Train drivers will pocket up to £1,800 simply for turning up for work during the London Olympics next summer.

Last night, MPs condemned the payments as a ‘bribe’ and accused the unions of holding the public to ransom.

Astonishingly, the Daily Mail understands that the £1,800 bonus deal with Tube drivers does not even include a no-strike clause.

The glaring omission leaves them free to pocket the cash and still cause mass disruption with industrial action.

A senior source connected with the talks said: ‘The drivers could have demanded fur coats for the wives or football season tickets for the men if they wanted.

‘It’s an amazing deal but one which the Tube had to do. There was no alternative.’

Union sources revealed a battle plan has been devised, mapping out ‘blocks’ of strikes running in ‘target areas’ for two to three days at a time.

One union leader said to expect scenes reminiscent of the 1978 ‘winter of discontent’ when rubbish filled the streets.

Another, unnamed, told the BBC: ‘In some areas there will be two or three days. In other areas it will be continuous. In other areas it will be a rolling programme.’

 

© 2011 Associated Newspapers Ltd
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