Occupy movement plans spring offensive as momentum stalls

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/occupy-movement-winter-what-next

After eight weeks of dramatic growth, organisers consider how to sustain the protest movement through winter

in New York
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 November 2011

Anyone who has walked through Zuccotti Park in recent days will be left in little doubt about the intention of Occupy Wall Street protesters to push on through the winter. Huge military-style canvas tents designed to withstand plunging temperatures have sprung up among dozens of smaller, two and three-person pods. One, marked with a red cross, offers flu shots, while another offers a safe space for women.

But as the diehards in New York and other encampments across the US prepare to dig in, organisers are facing their next big challenge: what next?

In a tacit admission that the protests will be difficult to sustain over the winter, organisers are now focusing their efforts on planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

Details of the campaign will be unveiled later this month, according to the activists who say they will spend the winter consolidating their position, broadening their support base and refining communication between Occupy grounds nationwide, using online tools being developed by their IT team.

Keeping the protests alive at all through the cold months is becoming a challenge for a movement flushed with the dramatic success of its first eight weeks.

The Guardian has learned that Adbusters, the Canadian activist group which helped spark the movement, is even considering calling on occupiers to declare “victory” for phase one and go home for the winter – clear recognition that numbers are likely to dwindle anyway and make it increasingly difficult for the protests to maintain momentum and generate headlines.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/occupy-movement-winter-what-next

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Why Michelle Bachmann is a Total F**king Evil Idiot #7337

Bachmann: We Should Be Less Socialist… Like China

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Protesters arrested as police clear Occupy encampments

From CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/13/us/occupy-movement/

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
updated 4:57 PM EST, Sun November 13, 2011

(CNN) — Numerous arrests took place in several Western cities as police moved in to clear Occupy encampments over the weekend, authorities said.

In Portland, Oregon, unrest continued into Sunday morning as protesters defied a midnight Saturday deadline for the Occupy encampments to close.

Tensions abated later Sunday as police attempted to peacefully close city parks, but flared at one park when protesters refused to leave. Police said on Twitter those refusing to leave Chapman Square were being arrested.

Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson estimated Sunday afternoon that more than a dozen people were arrested. Chapman Square was the last city park where protesters were gathered, as the others had been vacated as of Sunday afternoon, he said.

Video posted on the website of CNN affiliate KGW showed officers in riot gear holding batons facing off with protesters. Simpson said the officers were in the gear as a precaution, and were joined by other assisting agencies. “We needed the manpower because we used up a lot of resources yesterday (Saturday),” he said.

The operation was “pretty methodical,” although a few demonstrators had scuffled with officers, he said.

Video showed authorities dismantling tents at the camp.

Once the parks are cleared, temporary fencing will be erected so repairs can be made, Simpson said. The parks are “pretty beat up,” he added.

Continue reading at:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/13/us/occupy-movement/

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The New Progressive Movement

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/the-new-progressive-movement.html?_r=1

By JEFFREY D. SACHS
Published: November 12, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.

Thirty years ago, a newly elected Ronald Reagan made a fateful judgment: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Taxes for the rich were slashed, as were outlays on public services and investments as a share of national income. Only the military and a few big transfer programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits were exempted from the squeeze.

Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis. He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.

Washington still channels Reaganomics. The federal budget for nonsecurity discretionary outlays — categories like highways and rail, education, job training, research and development, the judiciary, NASA, environmental protection, energy, the I.R.S. and more — was cut from more than 5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 1970s to around half of that today. With the budget caps enacted in the August agreement, domestic discretionary spending would decline to less than 2 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade, according to the White House. Government would die by fiscal asphyxiation.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/the-new-progressive-movement.html?_r=1

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Unemployment Not Just a Problem for Returning Veterans

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/13-1

by Paul F. deLespinasse
Published on Sunday, November 13, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

It is hard to disagree with President Obama when he tells us it is wrong for returning veterans to be unable to find work. Even Senate Republicans went along with his proposal to give tax credits to companies that hire unemployed veterans.

Still, this kind of rhetoric and legislation should make us all very uneasy. Although it sounds good in Veteran’s Day oratory, it smacks too much of telling us that the wrong people are unemployed.

Government should not be in the business of deciding who should be employed and who should not be employed. Nor should anybody else be in that business. In a full-employment economy, veterans, like everyone else, would be able to find jobs.

We often hear laments that older people, young people, and members of racial minorities suffer from higher unemployment than do middle-aged non-minority people, which again takes the existence of unemployment as a given and suggests it should be distributed more equitably.

There is nothing in the structure of the physical or social universes that requires the existence of unemployment. During World War II the United States not only had no unemployment but it actually had a labor shortage. And the amazing results? Women (“Rosie the riveter”) and black people suddenly found themselves hired to do work that had previously been denied them. (The shortage of workers, aggravated because employers were not allowed to raise wages to attracted needed labor, led employers to offer fringe benefits like medical insurance, which the government did not count as wage increases.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/13-1

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If We Don’t Solve the Jobs Crisis We May End Up With Our Streets in Flames and Society Dysfunctional

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153000/if_we_don%27t_solve_the_jobs_crisis_we_may_end_up_with_our_streets_in_flames_and_society_dysfunctional/

Unless our policy makers can make job creation the top priority, the mass riots and burning streets of Europe may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

By Marshall Auerback
November 10, 2011

Employers added fewer jobs than was forecast in October, which has lots of folks scratching their heads over what to do about it.

In response to the latest unemployment figures, our nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, has again begun talking about additional stimulus measures, such as the purchases of mortgage backed securities (MBS) or a bond-buying program known as “QE3”. But neither of these measures worked before, so why should we expect more success this time?

The Fed’s policies are akin to putting a Band-Aid on a massive bleeding wound. Right now, the US economy is crushed by massive private indebtedness and sluggish job growth. What we really need are policies designed to promote job growth, so that people can service their debts and become open to spending again. Admittedly, the Fed isn’t the only problem. Our whole constellation of policy makers – the Fed, Congress, the Treasury and the White House – keep obsessing about the faux “costs” of the growing budget deficit, rather than the real costs of long term unemployment. And if they don’t give up this flawed economic thinking, then the burning streets and mass riots happening in Europe may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you.

The Fed’s Misguided Focus

Let’s start with the Fed. Ben Bernanke is a noted Great Depression scholar who ought to know a thing or two about unemployment crises. But when he looks at Japan’s long-term unemployment problem, for example, he unfortunately learns the wrong lessons. In 1999, Bernanke dubbed Japan’s struggling economy “a case of self-induced paralysis” that could only be solved through cutting government spending and deficit reduction. In reality, too much government spending hasn’t been Japan’s problem, but rather stop-start spending that seesawed the economy between hopeful improvement and harmful austerity measures that took money out of the hands of consumers. The great mistake in Japan has been the failure to jump-start its weak economy by putting people back to work.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/153000/if_we_don%27t_solve_the_jobs_crisis_we_may_end_up_with_our_streets_in_flames_and_society_dysfunctional/

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Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling

Anonymous trolls regularly threaten female writers with rape

and The Observer, Saturday 5 November 2011

Crude insults, aggressive threats and unstinting ridicule: it’s business as usual in the world of website news commentary – at least for the women who regularly contribute to the national debate.

The frequency of the violent online invective – or “trolling” – levelled at female commentators and columnists is now causing some of the best known names in journalism to hesitate before publishing their opinions. As a result, women writers across the political spectrum are joining to call for a stop to the largely anonymous name-calling.

The columnist Laurie Penny, who writes for the Guardian, New Statesman and Independent, has decided to reveal the amount of abuse she receives in an effort to persuade online discussion forums to police threatening comments more effectively.

“I believe the time for silence is over,” Penny wrote on Friday, detailing a series of anonymous attacks on her appearance, her past and her family. The writer sees this new epidemic of misogynist abuse as tapping an old vein in British public life. Irrelevant personal attacks on women writers and thinkers go back at least to the late 18th century, she says. “The implication that a woman must be sexually appealing to be taken seriously as a thinker did not start with the internet: it’s a charge that has been used to shame and dismiss women’s ideas since long before Mary Wollstonecraft was called “a hyena in petticoats”. The net, however, makes it easier for boys in lonely bedrooms to become bullies.”

The cause has been taken up by New Statesman writer Helen Lewis-Hasteley, who invited other women to share their experience. “I wanted to have several writers addressing the issue at the same time because these threats are frightening but they are also embarrassing,” she told the Observer. “I know many people will say that every commentator on the internet gets abuse, but what really came through to me when I was looking at this was the modus operandi of the attackers, which was to use the rape threat.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling

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george carlin describes rush limbaugh

Targeted by Rove, Warren doubles down on ‘Occupy Wall St.’ support

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/11/targeted-by-rove-warren-doubles-down-on-occupy-wall-st-support/

By David Edwards
Friday, November 11, 2011

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren isn’t letting an attack ad by a Karl Rove group dampen her support for Occupy Wall Street.

“At Occupy Wall Street, protesters attack police, do drugs and trash public parks,” the Crossroads GPS ad claims. “They support radical redistribution of wealth and violence, but Warren boasts, ‘I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. … I support what they do.’”

WCVB’s Janet Wu asked Warren Thursday if it was fair for Rove to link her so closely to the Occupy movement.

 “It fair to say that I’ve been protesting Wall Street for years and years,” Warren replied. “I’m am glad to see lots of people start to really push on this issue.”

“Let’s face it. Something’s badly broken in America right now. We’ve got a middle class that has been hammered financially for a generation, and we’ve got a Washington that works only for those that can hire an army of lobbyists and an army of lawyers. And that means it’s not working for the rest of us. So yeah, I protest that. I’ve been worried about that. I’ve been working on that for a very long time.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/11/targeted-by-rove-warren-doubles-down-on-occupy-wall-st-support/

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Steve Keen: Economic Progress one Funeral at a Time?

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The crisis in the eurozone

From Salon: http://www.salon.com/2011/11/10/the_crisis_in_the_eurozone/singleton/

The continent is destroying the weak to protect the strong. But will that be enough?

By James K. Galbraith

 Thursday, Nov 10, 2011

The eurozone crisis is a bank crisis posing as a series of national debt crises and complicated by  reactionary economic ideas, a defective financial architecture and a toxic political environment, especially in Germany, in France, in Italy and in Greece.

Like our own, the European banking crisis is the product of over-lending to weak borrowers, including for housing in Spain, commercial real estate in Ireland and the public sector (partly for infrastructure) in Greece.  The European banks leveraged up to buy toxic American mortgages and when those collapsed they started dumping their weak sovereign bonds to buy strong ones, driving up yields and eventually forcing the whole European periphery into crisis. Greece was merely the first domino in the line.

In all such crises the banks’ first defense is to plead surprise – “no one could have known!” – and to blame their clients for recklessness and cheating.  This is true but it obscures the fact that the bankers pushed the loans very hard while the fees were fat.  The defense works better in Europe than in the U.S. because national boundaries separate creditors from debtors, binding the political leaders in German and France to their bankers and fostering a narrative of national-racism  (“lazy Greeks,” “feckless Italians”) whose equivalent in post-civil rights America has been largely suppressed.

Underpinning banker power in Creditor Europe is a Calvinist sensibility that has turned surpluses into a sign of virtue and deficits into a mark of vice, while fetishizing deregulation, privatization and market-driven adjustment. The North Europeans have forgotten that economic integration always concentrates industry (and even agriculture) in the richer regions.

As this process unfolds the Germans reap the rents and lecture their newly indebted customers to cut wages, sell off assets, and give up their pensions, schools, universities, healthcare  – much of which were second-rate to begin with. Recently the lectures have become orders, delivered by the IMF and ECB, demonstrating to Europe’s new debt peons  that they no longer live in democratic states.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2011/11/10/the_crisis_in_the_eurozone/singleton/

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Protest Planet: How a Neoliberal Shell Game Created an Age of Activism

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/protest-planet-how-neoliberal-shell-game-created-age-activism/1320950783?fb_ref=.TrxaWaAsT7U.like&fb_source=home_oneline

by: Juan Cole, TomDispatch
Thursday 10 November 2011

From Tunis to Tel Aviv, Madrid to Oakland, a new generation of youth activists is challenging the neoliberal state that has dominated the world ever since the Cold War ended.  The massive popular protests that shook the globe this year have much in common, though most of the reporting on them in the mainstream media has obscured the similarities.

Whether in Egypt or the United States, young rebels are reacting to a single stunning worldwide development: the extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting.  They have taken to the streets, parks, plazas, and squares to protest against the resulting corruption, the way politicians can be bought and sold, and the impunity of the white-collar criminals who have run riot in societies everywhere.  They are objecting to high rates of unemployment, reduced social services, blighted futures, and above all the substitution of the market for all other values as the matrix of human ethics and life.

Pasha the Tiger

In the “glorious thirty years” after World War II, North America and Western Europe achieved remarkable rates of economic growth and relatively low levels of inequality for capitalist societies, while instituting a broad range of benefits for workers, students, and retirees.  From roughly 1980 on, however, the neoliberal movement, rooted in the laissez-faire economic theories of Milton Friedman, launched what became a full-scale assault on workers’ power and an attempt, often remarkably successful, to eviscerate the social welfare state.

Neoliberals chanted the mantra that everyone would benefit if the public sector were privatized, businesses deregulated, and market mechanisms allowed to distribute wealth. But as economist David Harvey argues, from the beginning it was a doctrine that primarily benefited the wealthy, its adoption allowing the top 1% in any neoliberal society to capture a disproportionate share of whatever wealth was generated.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/protest-planet-how-neoliberal-shell-game-created-age-activism/1320950783?fb_ref=.TrxaWaAsT7U.like&fb_source=home_oneline

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Plainclothes FDNY Marshal Seizes Another Generator From Occupy Wall Street

From The Gothamist: http://gothamist.com/2011/11/12/fdny_marshal_seizes_another_generat.php

By Christopher Robbins
November 12, 2011

Yet another generator was seized from Zuccotti Park by the FDNY last night, just four days after the department returned the generators that had been confiscated on October 28. According to a video posted by OccupyWallStNYC, a man in plainclothes entered the park around 9 p.m. and said he was “coming for his [exhaust] tube.” He then demanded that a protester unplug the generator, and “tugged it away.” The first of two NYPD officers confirming the action in the video says, “The generator was seized by the Fire Department.”

Complete article at:  http://gothamist.com/2011/11/12/fdny_marshal_seizes_another_generat.php

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Occupy Portland Prepares for Eviction Deadline

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Occupy the Home Front: Why Veterans Are Deploying With the 99 Percent

From The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/blog/164546/occupy-home-front-why-veterans-are-deploying-99-percent

John Nichols
November 11, 2011

This Veterans Day has a certain numerical resonance. World War I ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Today, we recall the end of that horrific conflict, and those that have followed it, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of a new century.

Unfortunately, World War I was not the “war to end all wars.” American soldiers continue to be thrust into unnecessary conflicts, fighting and dying in recent years in the undeclared wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States has not learned much about avoiding unwarranted wars.

And if has not learned much about respecting the veterans of wars.

Just as in the aftermath of World War I veterans were abused when they made reasonable demands for economic justice at home, so veterans are today abused when they make the same sort of demands.

After World War I, veterans seeking bonuses they had been promised were shot in the streets of Washington.

This fall, veterans were who survived the fighting in Iraq were wounded on the streets of Oakland, as they joined protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/164546/occupy-home-front-why-veterans-are-deploying-99-percent

Why Aren’t the Jobless Flocking to Zuccotti Park?

From The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/164495/why-arent-jobless-flocking-zuccotti-park

Louis Uchitelle
November 9, 2011 

Just a week into the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, Gordon Stevenson, an unemployed aircraft pilot, declared that if only there were such a demonstration near his home in Boston, he would join it. “It would give me a way to focus my anger,” he said.

Well, the opportunity came. The protest, which started September 17, soon spread to other cities, including Boston, where demonstrators occupied Dewey Square, an easy commute from Stevenson’s suburban home. But he stayed away. As a registered Democrat, he was sympathetic but also skeptical that the protesters could harness their discontent to a political agenda, particularly one that zeroed in on unemployment as its chief concern. “I would want to know if there is a significant element down there compatible with what upsets me,” Stevenson said.

What upsets him is that he’s been without a job for two and a half years, and that at age 62, if a commercial pilot’s job at the controls of privately owned jets doesn’t materialize soon, he might never fly professionally again—cutting off his career half a decade short of his intended retirement. And yet rather than protest, he remains at home, getting by on his wife’s salary as the director of a music school (she earns 75 percent of the $100,000 he once earned) and settling into a passivity that is widespread among the nation’s unemployed.

“If I am angry at anything,” Stevenson says, suppressing his anger, “I am angry at the people on the right who have been stating, one after another, that if we reduced taxes, employers would hire. Well, look at the economic data; you see that does not happen.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/article/164495/why-arent-jobless-flocking-zuccotti-park

 

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