New York City police arrest scores at anti-Wall Street protest

From World Socialist Web Site:

By Sandy English
26 September 2011

On Saturday afternoon, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested over 80 peaceful protesters at an anti-Wall Street protest near Union Square in lower Manhattan.

This marks a major escalation of police violence against the protesters who have occupied Zuccotti Plaza across the street from Wall Street since September 17. The protesters have renamed it Liberty Plaza after Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Over a thousand people marched north from the plaza to Union Square where police kettled them with orange nets and arrested over 85 people, the majority without provocation, and including some who were simply watching the protest. The police used unnecessary force and pepper-sprayed several demonstrators.

According to the organizers of the protest, some 60 people were herded into waiting buses and charged with disorderly conduct. Another 15 or so were crowded into a paddy wagon. The police denied protesters’ requests for medical attention. The World Socialist Web Site observed numerous high-ranking police officials, including New York’s police commissioner, Ray Kelly, near Union Square as the arrests were being made.

Later Saturday evening, hundreds of police and over 40 police vans surrounded Liberty Plaza, although no arrests ensued, and the encampment remains as of this writing.

Police harassment has been a feature of the protest since it began. Dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers have surrounded the relatively small number of protesters who have been sleeping in the camp. Police vehicles frequently drive up with flashing lights.

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Let’s explore the history of ‘class warfare’

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Whatever you call it, it is a natural response to the concentration of wealth.

September 24, 2011

Recently, Warren Buffett remarked that America was engaged in “class warfare.” Conservative reaction was immediate, indignant, and anticipated. When President Obama followed up this week with his “Buffett Tax,” conservatives again were aghast.

Words like “class warfare” are not commonly used anymore — they were considered anachronisms from the days of “commies and socialists.” Nevertheless, they are appropriate — and Americans should not be horrified by them.

The fact is, “class warfare” has been an essential part of American history for more than a century. As the industrial revolution gained traction, and as America became less of an agrarian society, wealth and capital began to be accumulated and concentrated on a severely uneven basis. Between 1870 and 1900, the share of national wealth held by the richest 1 percent of households peaked at around 45 percent. The results were violent strikes, the rise of unions and the beginnings of the socialist movement in the United States. In short, “class warfare.”

In the early 1900s, Republican Teddy Roosevelt arrived on the political scene to fight the excesses of the infamous “robber barons” whose greed had undermined economic fairness in America. He clashed with the superwealthy, like J.P. Morgan, and ordered the Justice Department to take antitrust action against monopolists. He introduced railroad regulation, and food and drug safety. He pushed for the adoption of an income tax, and a federal estate tax on the inheritances of wealthy families. He set precedents in federal regulation of manufacturing and commerce. He launched the federal government on an ambitious program of environmental protection and conservation. He was truly engaging in “class warfare.”

Later, another Roosevelt, FDR, would engage in similar “class warfare” with the New Deal. His election in 1932 and his subsequent presidential terms marked a historic political realignment, creating a new Democratic majority of liberals, workers, immigrants, African-Americans and women, and laid the foundations of a limited American version of the welfare state. During World War II, he raised the top tax rate to 92 percent.

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Junk Food for the Mind

From Common Dreams:

by Thomas S. Harrington
Published on Sunday, September 25, 2011 by

A small but growing number of Americans have finally realized that much of what the agro-business industry sells them at large food stores is not only not nutritious but, in many cases, a threat to their health. Hence, they have begun to seek out new sources of nutrition.

How long will it take for these same health-conscious Americans to realize that the agro-business assault on their bodies has a very clear correlate in the information diet offered up by the mainstream media in this country?

A few nights ago, I stayed up long enough to see who Charlie Rose, headliner of the purportedly “liberal” PBS network, would have on his program on the eve of the Palestinian petition for statehood at the UN.

I think it can reasonably be assumed that key purposes of the country’s one non-commercial network should be to provide the public with the information “nourishment” it needs for making informed decisions about the world. And this being the case, one would think that Charlie and his staff would take full advantage of their location in NY during the annual meetings of the UN General Assembly to seek out the widest possible array of opinions on this absolutely crucial area of policy.

After all, as anyone who has lived outside the US, or who regularly reads non-US newspapers, can tell you, we Americans are –to use a discreet understatement—“sadly underserved” when it comes to being able to obtain the information needed to generate a more or less reality-based vision of the Middle East. In this context, any opportunity to broaden the spectrum of opinion on this matter should not be passed up.

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Working Class Europeans Hit the Streets

From Truth Out:

by: Kanya D’Almeida, Inter Press Service
Sunday 25 September 2011

Washington – Headlines this week have been saturated with protests against unaffordable food, unfair taxes and unsustainable austerity measures, with one distinct difference setting these stories apart from countless others in recent history.

The people demanding reform are no longer marginalised Asians, Africans and Latin Americans, but poor, working class Europeans.

As citizens of Western Europe – particularly in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, or PIGS – flood the streets of their once-stable countries demanding an end to cuts in public education, health care, youth programmes and housing subsidies, the big question at the annual fall convergence of the Bretton Woods Institutions is, “Who will solve the impending crisis in Europe?” Rana Foroohar wrote in Time Magazine last month, “While the crisis appears to be Europe’s problem, if it results in a break-up of the euro zone or a growth-dampening series of costly bailouts, it will reverberate from Beijing to Boston and back.”

“Europe is the largest trading partner of… China. If they stop buying our stuff, everyone suffers. Meanwhile, a dissolution of the union would make nations from Asia to Latin America that hold the Euro as a reserve currency much weaker,” she added.

Small wonder then the world’s leading emerging markets– Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or BRICS – took centre-stage at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington this week, discussing everything from possible investment in troubled euro zone sovereign bonds to domestic job creation.

The BRICS possess a combined 4.3 trillion dollars in hard cash reserves, with China holding three-quarters of the kitty, much of it in Euros.

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