From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/ows-n17-occupy-wall-street
OWS protestors hope to make Thursday the biggest day of action yet. Are they ready?
—By Josh Harkinson
November 16, 2011
At 7 a.m. tomorrow Occupy Wall Street will attempt to live up to its name. Hundreds of activists will converge upon the Street’s most famous address—the New York Stock Exchange—in a coordinated attempt to shut it down. The blockade will be the first protest in a long day of carefully-planned demonstrations to mark what would have been the two-month anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park.
“Most of the focus has been to figure out how to take this pretty radical action and figure out how it can help us build our movement and make OWS more accessible,” says Logan Price, a protest organizer. In particular, organizers want to make sure that lingering outrage over the eviction of the occupiers doesn’t lead to violent confrontations with police. “If we aren’t careful those actions can undermine the 99 percent thing.”
To keep that from happening, experts in nonviolent protest techniques held trainings this evening in a nurses union office a few blocks from the park. Lisa Fithian, who helped organize the 1999 WTO protests, kicked things off with a series of role playing games. People pretending to be NYSE workers, police, and members of the media offered challenges. The group practiced ways to block off streets and gracefully get arrested.
“Does somebody want to be a cop and come get me?” asked Fithian, who wore a black t-shirt and sneakers. A young woman with curly red hair chased her around the room. Then she demonstrated another approach: As big guy in dreadlocks rushed her, she slowly backed up and said, “Officer, I’m cooperating!” What was demonstrated by running away?, she asked. “Guilt. We are doing something wrong.”
If everything goes according to plan tomorrow, the protesters will sit down, lock arms, and keep enough people out of the NYSE to stop the morning bell. Of course, mass arrests are all but inevitatable. Fithian and a representative of the National Lawyers Guild went through how to deal with tear gas, what not to say to police, and how to dress for jail. (Layers. “It could be hot or it could be cold,” she said.)
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/ows-n17-occupy-wall-street
When the Occupy Wall Street movement erupted on 17 September 2011, I happened to be reflecting on my remarks for the upcoming International Herbert Marcuse Society conference. By the time the conference convened on 27 October at the University of Pennsylvania, the encampment in Zuccotti Park was well-established and similar encampments had emerged in hundreds of communities around the country. On the opening day of the Marcuse conference, there were over 300 tents in the plaza outside Philadelphia city hall.
The organising theme of the conference – “Critical Refusals” – was originally designed to encourage us to reflect on the various ways Marcuse’s philosophical theories push us in the direction of a critical political practice located outside the proper realm of philosophy, but nevertheless as anchored in philosophy as it is in a will to transform society.
So, while we were certainly prepared to ponder the connection between Marcuse’s philosophical ideas and his association with the movements of the sixties, we were struck by the serendipitous affinity of the theme with the emergent Occupy movement. As presenters arrived in Philadelphia, we repeatedly expressed our enthusiasm about the confluence of the Wall Street and Philadelphia occupations and the conference theme, which seemed to us to emphatically enact the 21st-century relevance of Herbert Marcuse’s work.
I don’t know whether any of us could not have predicted that on the second day of the conference, the plenary audience of more than 1,000 would be so riveted by this historical conjuncture that almost all of us spontaneously joined a night march, which wended its way through the streets of Philadelphia toward the tents outside city hall. At the site, I reflected aloud – with the assistance of the human microphone – on the differences between the social movements with which we have become familiar over the last decades and this newly-grown community of resistance.
In the past, most movements have appealed to specific communities – workers, students, black people, Latinas/Latinos, women, LGBT communities, indigenous people – or they have crystallised around specific issues like war, the environment, food, water, Palestine, the prison industrial complex. In order to bring together people associated with those communities and movements, we have had to engage in difficult coalition-building processes, negotiating the recognition for which communities and issues inevitably strive.
By David Edwards
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Authorities in Schaumburg, Illinois have charged a teacher at a Christian school for repeatedly masturbating in class over a period of 10 years.
Schaumburg Christian School fired math teacher Paul A. LaDuke, 75, on Friday after a student reported that she saw him masturbating, according to NBC Chicago.
After conducting an internal investigation, school officials contacted Schaumburg police Monday. On Tuesday, LaDuke was charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
Several students reportedly told police that they were present in the classroom when LaDuke unzipped and lower his pants and then masturbated.
“Through the course of our investigation, our detectives have come to believe that this has happened several times per year for 10 years or more, possibly,” Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebel told the CBS affiliate in Chicago.
Notes on a Global Discussion of Goals of the Occupy Wall Street Movement
By Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)
Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) is a multi-generational organization and organizing project growing from the experiences of the 1960’s New Left, especially Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). It was originally conceived by SDS as a framework for continuing, life-long activism after student days. When SDS reestablished itself in 2006, MDS also resumed, inviting memberships and contributing to movement discussions, campaigns and actions.
We are in full solidarity with the Occupy Movement, beginning at Occupy Wall Street. Like “back in the day” only better, the movement has spread, like prairie fire, amplifying the people’s voice in almost 2,000 cities worldwide. MDS members participate wherever we are. We offer the following suggestions to join the on-going process of defining objectives and deliberating actions.
The focus in our name is “democracy,” as a means and as a social goal, essential for justice and freedom.
Our one demand is for a new world society based upon direct participatory democracy and the protection and expansion of human rights, being good stewards of our environments, ending wars, freeing ourselves from elite power, sharing the commons, etc.Other demands and reforms are rooted in and a way to this one central objective. Modern communications and computing technology now make such a society truly possible.
We first demand that modern communications and computing technology be accessible to all people. When the “communication commons” is freely available and communication made democratic, then the people will begin to be able to listen to each other and hear and speak, and power will begin to coalesce from the bottom up.
Occupy the Media is a next step from Wall Street! Breaking the stranglehold of corporate media is essential to achieving democracy. To press the “transition,” allowing the people’s voices to be heard, we urge movement activists to spread the demand that all television and radio stations, broadcast and cable, allocate a substantial prime time schedule for uncensored, and live broadcast of open town meetings, forums and teach-ins (like 3 hours a day.)
As we know, power concedes nothing without demand. To force elites to concede to demands, they have to see the power of the people in more than symbolic ways. We need new rank and file, worldwide coordinations of strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, nonviolent civil resistance and the use of a diversity of tactics. Where direct action is made officially “illegal,” it is time for stepped up tactics the movements have learned over the years. The movement must be “ungovernable” and must resist co-optation.
Big Considerations and Big Ideas
The process whereby small entrepreneur capitalist enterprises, evolve, over time, into global monopolist, predatory corporations and financial manipulators, hand in glove with imperial militarized governments, is part of the normal operation of capitalism. The economic crises we face have their root causes in the very nature of the system as it has evolved. We cannot end the “corporate rule” of our world, without transcending the age and culture of capitalism, to create a new economy whose logic is meeting human needs, instead of profit above all.
Any movement for justice and equality in the United States must expose the original and on-going crimes and atrocities of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations in the U.S. and world wide. We urge movement activists to integrate, into our philosophies, values that respect the rights of indigenous peoples, and integrate indigenous models in environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political designs.
More than a fair and progressive tax system for the future, we need a real accounting, a settling and setting to right the past era of bad practices, deregulations and rip-offs. A sort of global “Jubilee” is what the world needs, cancellation of impoverishing debts and re-calibration of the monetary system.
Given the massive changes in income distribution that have taken place in the U.S. since the 1970s, the proportion, and not merely the dollar amount of income going to the top 1% has nearly tripled from around 9% to about one quarter of the total, and is generally rising rapidly. These wealthy were perfectly well off in 1979 — but now their share of total income has increased by multiple trillions of dollars annually. This obscene change has been largely ignored by both major political parties in the U.S., even as cutbacks in public education and other essential services have spread like a cancer in both the U.S. and the European Union. As a modest measure, we insist that at least a trillion dollars a year in extra taxation be directed at the top 1% in the U.S., including subjecting their income above $500,000 to both Medicare and Social Security payments, together with a sharp increase (and not merely a few per cent, as is debated in the mainstream) in federal income tax rates on this high income level. A “Security Transaction Exchange Tax (STET)” could raise many more billions and discourage idle speculation; further taxes aimed at the top 1% should include a return of full force inheritance taxes on estates over several million dollars, and an annual wealth tax on concentrations of wealth above $10 million per person. Finally, income in the form of capital gains made over less than one year or over the rate of inflation at high levels should be subject to high rates comparable to ordinary income. With such taxation, single-payer healthcare, Medicare, public education, eco-industrialization, adequate housing, infrastructure repair and much more could all be easily funded, with beneficial effects on the economy and employment. These revenues could be used for a “bailout of main street”, something voters for Obama in 2008 had a right to expect.
These sharp changes in the tax system, which should parallel those in other nations, are not the kind of fundamental restructuring of the economy needed for a truly just and thoroughly democratic society. However, together with cuts in military spending and the growing prison-industrial complex, such changes could help reverse the current disempowering and impoverishing fiscal trends throughout the advanced capitalist world.
Another urgent priority is the global environment, repeatedly referenced during the last U.S. presidential election as a ‘planet in peril’. This concern must be more than the lip service, accompanied by half-hearted measures, that it has, at best, been in the U.S. today. The world’s leading climatologists on global warming are being joined by a rising tide of popular recognition that current atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are already too high — and that’s atmospheric levels and not just emissions.. The next phase of industrial development needs to be “eco-industrialization”, not only shifting to solar, wind, and hydrogen for energy, but restructuring what is produced and consumed and how. This could be furthered by taxes on pollution and scarce resources, and necessitates a massive public investment in a new technological foundation for modern society.
Corporations can be democratized. Governing bodies of corporations can be constituted with 60 percent control by their workers (for instance) and 40 percent control by the general community. Stockholders as community members need not have any privileged legal power in the governance of corporations.
Corporations through public charters can be redefined as public economic agencies of the people. As public agencies, corporations will respect fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of association (such as unions) and freedom of assembly and due process rights of the corporations’ workers. A corporation is not a person. No law should say otherwise.
The world movement to restore and reclaim the commons can be a shared reference point for political action. Establish use rights to replace private property enclosure rights in land. End foreclosures and evictions. Recognize safe shelter as a human right.
Free public education for all with lifelong learning. Abolish the student loan system and cancel all student loan debt. Give living stipends for full and part time study.
Healthcare is a universal human right. As such, the people of the world are entitled to free, universal public healthcare based on world citizenry, not based on income or geopolitics.
Put solar panels on every building. Shift investments and incentives from fossil fuels and nuclear to clean renewable sources.
Convene into extended session a citizen-initiated World Peace Meeting, seeking to bring to just conclusions the many wars still hot in the world, to address global disarmament and mutual security agreements, and to mark a world shift from the time of the war system of domination, hierarchy, patriarchy, impunity, violence, coercion, etc., to a new time and new social contract of the “peace system” emphasizing partnership, cooperation, generosity, caring, sharing, nonviolence and healing from the time of war.
Extend jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and amplify application of the Nuremberg Principles to all United Nations members. Bring Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama and others to the Court for trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. End impunity. Begin accountability. Figure out terms of “truth and reconciliation,” and moral equivalents of revenge, so there can be “revolutions without executions.”
Transfer all nuclear weapons to the jurisdiction of the Security Council and International atomic energy agency for dismantling as part of the complete and total abolition of nuclear weapons and control of fissile material, worldwide.
De-militarize our world. Close or convert all military institutions. Give universal unconditional amnesty for war resisters. Halt U.S. imperialism and hegemony policies around the world and shift our global society to a peacetime economy, creating new jobs and right livelihood for previous war workers and veterans.
The United Nations Organization needs to be transformed to become more democratic, better representing the peoples of the world. Permanent member veto power in the Security Council should be abolished. A “People’s House,” paralleling General Assembly representation, can be based on direct election (with recall rights) by the populations. Numbers of representatives of each community can be proportional to the size of its population. We seek neither continuation of the era of the nation-states nor an era of a world state. Instead, we aim to achieve a world of freely associated communities.
Dare to Imagine, Together
We ourselves, in MDS, are struggling with how best to express what this system change is about. We hope everyone in this new movement will discuss, debate and share thinking about big ideas we all dare imagine. We want to engage this process.
We are recognizing the approaching 50th anniversary of the drafting of the Port Huron Statement in 1962. Then, we were one generation looking uncomfortably to the future we would inherit.
Now we are 3 or 4 generations, alive, active, conscious, able together better to understand the “sins of the fathers” that have passed down on us and, increasingly, what to do to fix it. We also have the beneficence of many generations of the struggle to strengthen us for a human revolution.
We invite all into a collective writing and meeting endeavor that we are calling “Port Huron plus 50.” This statement is the first public mention of the event. We are planning this event to happen in the spring of 2012.
What would be a “manifesto for now”? We call for the thinking and papers of the occupy movement to be collected and included in this project and those interested in working on this to be in touch.
We welcome feedback and response.
Solidarity and revolutionary love!!!
Post Office Box 7213, Ann Arbor MI 48107
From Metro Weekly: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=6772
by Chris Geidner
Published on November 15, 2011,
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan became the first sitting cabinet secretary to announce support for marriage equality, saying on Nov. 15 that he ”absolutely” supports marriage equality in an exclusive interview with Metro Weekly.
Following his keynote speech at the eighth annual National Center for Transgender Equality Awards Ceremony, Donovan made his marriage comments at the Mayflower Hotel at the end of interview focused on the agency’s advancements towards ending anti-LGBT discrimination in housing.
Asked about this summer’s passage of marriage equality in New York, Donovan says, ”I was enormously proud to be a New Yorker on the day that it passed. I actually worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was Housing Secretary. I worked for Mike Bloomberg who has been a constant supporter of the law – what is now law.”
He talked about how the law’s passage had affected those around him, saying, ”So many friends that I know were able to achieve a dream the day that law passed. And so many neighbors.
”It made me proud to be a New Yorker – not enough to get me to move back. We’ve got more work to do in the Obama administration in a second term.”
Continue reading at: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=6772
From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2011/11/15/standing-up-for-occupy
November 15, 2011
NEW YORK City police destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in an early-morning surprise attack on November 15. Hundreds of people who were sleeping at the park found themselves surrounded by police with no warning, and then subject to arrest or the violence of the NYPD.
Many hundreds more responded when an emergency alert went out about the police attack. When they got to Lower Manhattan, they found the park ringed with cops equipped in riot gear, while other police rampaged through the camp, destroying whatever was left behind when the occupiers were evicted.
This was an outrageous and unprovoked attack on a peaceful protest–an attempt to squelch dissent because the 1 percent and those who serve them are threatened by the message of the Occupy movement against greed and corporate power. Now Occupy activists and all the people who have supported it need to use every means to mobilize–and stand up for our right to protest and demand a better life for the 99 percent.
CITY OFFICIALS used the same excuse this time as they did when they tried to evict the Occupy camp one month ago, in mid-October: cleaning. Occupy protesters showed the absurdity of that charge with their own cleanup that turned the renamed Freedom Plaza into probably the cleanest park in New York City.
But more important was the several thousand people, led by members of the city’s biggest unions, who mobilized overnight when the announcement was made that police would move in the next morning. The cops found a park teeming with people determined to keep the Occupy protest going. The city was forced to retreat.
Continue reading at: http://socialistworker.org/2011/11/15/standing-up-for-occupy
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/lessons-from-iceland-people-power
The Dutch minister of internal affairs said at a speech during free press day this year: “Law-making is like a sausage, no one really wants to know what is put in it.” He was referring to how expensive the Freedom of Information Act is, and was suggesting that journalists shouldn’t really be asking for so much governmental information. His words exposed one of the core problems in our democracies: too many people don’t care what goes into the sausage, not even the so-called law-makers, the parliamentarians.
If the 99% want to reclaim our power, our societies, we have to start somewhere. An important first step is to sever the ties between the corporations and the state by making the process of lawmaking more transparent and accessible for everyone who cares to know or contribute. We have to know what is in that law sausage; the monopoly of the corporate lobbyist has to end – especially when it comes to laws regulating banking and the internet.
The Icelandic nation only consists 311,000 souls, so we have a relatively small bureaucratic body and can move quicker then in most countries. Many have seen Iceland as the ideal country for experimentation for new solutions in an era of transformation. I agree.
We had the first revolution after the financial troubles in 2008. Due to a lack of transparency, corruption and nepotism, Iceland had the third largest financial meltdown in human history, and it shook us profoundly. The Icelandic people realised that everything we had put our trust in had failed us. One of the demands during the protests that followed – and that resulted in getting rid of the government, the central bank manager and the head of the financial authority – was that we would get to rewrite our constitution. “We” meaning the 99%, not the politicians who had failed us. Another demand was that we should have real democratic tools, such as being able to call directly for a national referendum and dissolve parliament.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/15-0
It happened, as we guessed it would, at midnight when the TV crews had gone home and the weary activists would put up the least resistance. In retrospect, it seems inevitable. Even before the eviction last night, it was getting cold, folks were falling sick, squabbling, over turf, stuff was being stolen, nerves were fraying. The mood in the Wall Street camp was coming to seem less like Eden before the fall and more like the trenches of the Somme.
That was the bad news. The good news is that the Occupy Wall Street is not going anywhere. It is here to stay. The demonstrators have returned home now to their central heating. And that is probably a good thing. What New York’s mayor Bloomberg will have a harder time evicting, however, is the spirit of the place, which is the spirit of resistance to business as usual.
The sleepover in Zuccotti Park is over for the time being, but the genie is not going to be stuffed back into the lamp any time soon. The thing about genies, however, is that their capacity for mischief is as great as their power for doing good. Moreover, genies typically limit their beneficiaries to only three wishes. Aladdin knew exactly what he wanted. Does Occupy Wall Street?
Critics of the ragtag activists call them anarchic and unfocused. They bemoan their failure to spell out concrete political goals, and to implement a strategy to achieve them. What I suspect really gets under the skin of the chattering class, however, is not that the Occupiers have no goals, but that they refuse to limit their to-do-list to the three wishes typically allotted by the genies of politics-as-usual. It’s as if some runt were to go up to the Santa Claus at FAO Schwarz, and, when Saint Nick asked him what he wanted for Christmas, instead of asking for a Lego set or the latest video game, he were to demand the whole store lock, stock and barrel.
Limiting your agenda to a few modest and “achievable” objectives is what pragmatic politics is all about. What the critics have missed, however, is that OWS is not a political movement, or rather it is a lot more than just a political movement. It is a cry of anguish and a wake up call for a nation asleep. When is the last time your alarm clock limited itself to a few polite and measured chimes?
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/15-0
From Right Wing Watch: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/matthew-hagee-rails-against-homosexual-agenda-schools
by Brian Tashman
November 15, 2011
Like father, like son: in a new video, Matthew Hagee, the son and heir apparent of televangelist John Hagee, derides the supposed “homosexual agenda” that he claims has infiltrated public schools in America. In a sermon titled “The Coming Generational Storm,” which was posted online last week, Hagee says the Church is failing to counteract and defeat the “homosexual agenda” and argues that gays and lesbians “will act relentlessly” until “their will is pressed upon the majority.” Hagee concludes, “You need to know the Church was not put on this planet to whine, we were placed here to win.”
From Russia Today: https://rt.com/news/euro-zone-debt-crisis-349/
15 November, 2011
The eurozone could be falling apart at the seams. At what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called its “toughest hour since World War Two,” the UK and Germany offer competing visions of the European Union’s future as the debt crisis continues to deepen.
Doubts that new leaders in Greece and Italy will have the political will to push through tough reforms continue to plague the eurozone.
While incoming Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said Greece has no choice but to remain within the single currency, conservatives balked at the notion of more austerity measures, which they argue have already deepened the country’s recession.
Papademos faces a confidence vote Wednesday as he prepares to meet with eurozone finance ministers in Brussels the following day.
Meanwhile, Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti is faced with the daunting task of sweeping business, labor market, and pension reforms. Beyond placating its wary citizenry, Rome also needs to calm nervous investors as they seek to refinance 200 billion euros of bonds by the end of April. It’s a daunting task, considering it just sold three billion euros of five-year eurobonds at a staggering 6.29 per cent yield that many analysts doubt it’ll be able to repay down the line.
And while Italy, whose debt comes out to 120 per cent of gross domestic product, struggles to avoid a Greek-style bailout that Europe can scantly afford, Greece teeters on the brink of a default which could eject it from the economic and monetary union and send the entire eurozone into meltdown.
Complete article at: https://rt.com/news/euro-zone-debt-crisis-349/