Reclaiming the banks: Activists turn British banks into creches, classrooms and launderettes in protest over public service cuts

From The Daily Mail UK

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 26th February 2011


Activists stormed more than 40 banks across Britain in protest over executive bonuses and public service cuts –  and turned them into a variety of ad hoc walk-in centres.

UK Uncut said demonstrators set up creches, laundries, school classrooms, libraries, homeless shelters, drama clubs, walk-in clinics, youth centres, job centres and leisure centres at branches of RBS, NatWest and Lloyds.

At 10am in Camden, north London, demonstrators invaded a NatWest and set up a creche where children played, practiced musical instruments while parents caught up.

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Wisconsin is making the battle lines clear in America’s hidden class war

From The Guardian UK:

The brazen choices of the Republican governor shows the real ideology behind attacks on unions – in the US and beyond

Gary Younge, Sunday 27 February 2011

You can tell a great deal about a nation’s anxieties and aspirations by the discrepancy between reality and popular perception. Polls last year showed that in the US 61% think the country spends too much on foreign aid. This makes sense once you understand that the average American is under the illusion that 25% of the federal budget goes on foreign aid (the real figure is 1%).

Similarly, a Mori poll in Britain in 2002 revealed that more than a third of the country thought there were too many immigrants. Little wonder. The mean estimate was that immigrants comprise 23% of the country; the actual number was about 4%.

Broadly speaking, these inconsistencies do not reflect malice or wilful ignorance but people’s attempts to make sense of the world they experience through the distorting filters of media representation, popular prejudice and national myths. “The way we see things is affected by what we know and what we believe,” wrote John Berger in Ways of Seeing. “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”

When it comes to class, Americans have long seen themselves as potentially rich and perpetually middling. A Pew survey in 2008 revealed that 91% believe they are either middle class, upper-middle class or lower-middle class. Relatively few claim to be working class or upper class, intimating more of a cultural aspiration than an economic relationship. Meanwhile, a Gallup poll in 2005 showed that while only 2% of Americans described themselves as “rich”, 31% thought it very likely or somewhat likely they would “ever be rich”.

But trends and ongoing events are forcing a reappraisal of that self-image. Social mobility has stalled; wages have been stagnant for a generation. It is in this light that the growing resistance to events in Wisconsin must be understood. The hardline Republican governor, Scott Walker, has pledged to remove collective bargaining rights from public sector unions and cut local government workers’ health benefits and pension entitlements.

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Protesters Are Locked Out of Wisconsin Capitol

The pigs palace guard have installed bolts that prevent the opening of windows so people can neither reinforce those sitting in inside the building nor escape if arrests appear eminent.  This is an old police tactic when the police are about to proceed with mass arrests.

Today, due to ultra right wing laws passed over the last thirty years there is a possibility these brave people, who are standing up to the ultra right wing fascists could face felony charges rather than minor misdemeanor charges.  Thanks to the PATRIOT ACT passed by Herr Bush and the craven cowards in the House and Senate these people could potentially be labeled as terrorists.

From The New York Times:

Published: February 28, 2011

MADISON, Wis. — The administration of Gov. Scott Walker abruptly locked out protesters from the Capitol on Monday morning, the latest gambit in the showdown between the new Republican governor and demonstrators rallying against his plan to strip public employee unions of almost all of their collective bargaining power.

About 60 demonstrators who had slept in the statehouse overnight remained inside as of noon Monday, and they banged drums, sang and danced in the rotunda. They had access to restrooms and, given the dwindling size of the group, appeared to have a decent supply of food. There was no indication that the police were preparing to arrest or eject them, and several said in interviews that they had no intention of leaving.

Protesters won a victory on Sunday when Mr. Walker’s administration reversed a plan to remove demonstrators who had been sleeping in the Capitol overnight for the last two weeks.

Many of the protesters left the building voluntarily on Sunday night, planning to return in the morning. But when they did, they found themselves barred from entering, the first time during the two-week demonstration, they said, that the building was locked during normal business hours. At least a hundred protesters stood outside one entrance, waiting to be let inside.

Protesters said they believed that the Walker administration was trying to slowly shrink the size of the protest inside the building before Tuesday’s scheduled unveiling of the governor’s budget proposal.

“The governor is trying to force a conflict between us and the police,” said one protester still inside, Damon Terrell, a university student. “He wants us to feel caged so we’ll do something stupid, and then he wants the police to react.”

Peter Barca, the leader of the Democrats in the state Assembly, which is the lower house, called the closure “not acceptable.”

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Pay Up, Corporate Tax Dodgers

From Common Dreams:

We’re chumps unless we force Congress to stop tax haven abuse.

by Chuck Collins

Published on Monday, February 28, 2011 by OtherWords

Instead of cutting state and federal budgets, the United States should crack down on the corporate tax dodgers thumbing their noses at us.

Across the nation, states are making deep cuts that will wreck the quality of life for everyone to close budget gaps that total more than $100 billion.

But there’s a more sensible option. Overseas tax havens enable companies to pretend their profits are earned in other countries like the Cayman Islands. Simply making that ruse illegal would bring home an estimated $100 billion a year.

The next time you read a story about some politician bemoaning that “there’s no money” and “we have to make cuts,” just point to artful tax dodgers in our midst.

They include some of the banks that trashed the economy but gladly took our tax dollars to stay alive after the economic meltdown. Bank of America. Wells Fargo. Citigroup.

Goldman Sachs took a $10 billion taxpayer bailout but then gamed its effective tax rate down to one percent through what its shakedown-artist executives call “changes in geographic earnings mix.” Shame on them. Pay up.

See that FedEx delivery van go by on the roads you paid for? Pay up FedEx! Don’t pretend you’re not making billions in the U.S. Don’t lie and tell us you made all those profits on some island with more palm trees than people. We know the demand for coconut delivery isn’t that big.

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US Uncut’s Anti-Austerity Protests Start Small, Strong Against Bank of America

From Truthout:

by: Alissa Bohling, t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday 28 February 2011

Anna Becker looks tired. Becker is leaning against the brick wall beside the entrance to Bank of America’s Pearl District branch in Portland, Oregon, where one of over 50 nationwide protests by US Uncut has been underway for nearly two hours.

But Becker, a retired teacher, is just as energized as the protesters at the front of the crowd of about 60, who spill into the street and draw long, loud honks from the stream of cars driving toward the Willamette River.

“I have been waiting for 20 years for something like this to happen in America,” says Becker. The words she has spoken in private for years are now plastered onto the canary yellow poster board she holds up like a shield: “B of A is al-Qaeda: financial terrorists.”
Bank of America (B of A) is the first corporation to be targeted by US Uncut, the transatlantic offspring of the United Kingdom-based anti-austerity group UK Uncut, which held its first demonstration to protest corporate tax evasion in late 2010.

As a voice at the megaphone of the Portland protest said, “The United States does not have a deficit problem. The United States has a revenue problem.” According to a 2008 report by the Government Accountability Office, 25 percent of the biggest corporations pay no federal income tax. B of A, the recipient of $45 billion in bailout funds, shuttles its would-be tax dollars into 115 offshore tax havens. Meanwhile, budget deficits are cited as justification for pay freezes for public workers and cuts to heating assistance programs, Social Security, and other social safety nets.

“The $3 in my wallet is more than ExxonMobil, GE and Bank of America paid in taxes last year, combined,” said Carl Gibson, founder of the first American Uncut group, US Uncut Mississippi, in a release prior to the February 26 protests.

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Main Stream Media Ignores Major Pro-Planned Parenthood Demonstration In Austin

From Basket of Puppies:

A Feb. 26th rally in Austin, Texas to protect women’s right to healthcare. Rally to help promote a woman’s right to choose and to heath care for women. Also supporting Planned Parenthood. Don’t let those right wing idiots take away your right to choose. Rally lasted for hours as participants marched up and down Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.

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Democrats poised to introduce legislation to repeal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’

From LGBTQ Nation:

LGBTQ Nation

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has announced plans to introduce a bill in the U.S. Congress that would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws.

Feinstein’s announcement comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s announcement last week that at least one part of DOMA will not be able to pass constitutional muster in federal court, and that the Justice Department will not defend that part of the law in two pending cases in the Second Circuit.


On Friday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he will support the bill proposed by Feinstein:


In the House, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), plans to re-introduce the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which would also explicitly repeal DOMA.

The bill was first introduced in September 2009 by Nadler, Rep Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA in two of the four cases where that section of the law is currently under challenge.

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