The Villain Occupy Wall Street Has Been Waiting For

From Truth Dig:

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Nov 17, 2011

In the pantheon of billionaires without shame, Michael Bloomberg, the Wall Street banker-turned-business-press-lord-turned-mayor, is now secure at the top. What is so offensive is that someone who abetted Wall Street greed, and benefited as much as anyone from it, has no compunction about ruthlessly repressing those who dare exercise their constitutional “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” that he helped to create.

You would think that a former partner at the investment bank Solomon Brothers, which originated mortgage-backed securities, a man who then partnered with Merrill Lynch in the high-speed computerized trading that has led to so much financial manipulation, would have some sense of his own culpability. Or at least that someone whose Wall Street career left him with a net worth of $19.5 billion would grasp the deep irony of his being the instrument for smashing Occupy Wall Street, the internationally acknowledged symbol of opposition to corporate avarice.

But only in America is the arrogance of the superrich so perfectly concealed by the pretense of democracy that the 12th richest man in the nation can suppress dissent against corporate rapacity and expect his brutal actions to be viewed not as a means of preserving his own class privilege but as bureaucratically necessary to providing sanitary streets.

Even before he ordered the smashing of dissent by citizens peacefully assembled, Bloomberg denigrated their heartfelt message: “It’s fun and it’s cathartic,” he said of those huddled against the cold in a makeshift encampment, “… it’s entertaining to go and blame people. … It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

It is mind-boggling that Bloomberg still hypes the canard that the banks were forced to reap enormous profits from toxic securities. It is an embarrassing, dishonest position when the record of banker fraud in creating the housing bubble is so well documented in Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuits. Is Bloomberg unaware that the major banks have agreed to pay hefty fines in a meager compensation for their schemes? That he blames the victims of the securitization swindles and then orders the arrest of those who dare speak the truth is a tribute to his belief in the enduring power of the big lie.

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Christo-Fascist Dominionist Newt Gingrich Says No Atheists in the White House

Just Say No to Christo-Fascist Dominionist Sharia!

Harry Belafonte on Occupy Wall Street

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San Francisco Police Arrest 100 in Bank of America Protest

From Truth Out:

by: Maura Dolan, The Los Angeles Times
Thursday 17 November 2011

Officers end four-hour standoff after Occupy movement demonstrators, mostly UC students, take over a bank lobby in San Francisco’s financial district.

Reporting from San Francisco—

Protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement seized a Bank of America branch in the city’s financial district Wednesday, a demonstration that forced jittery customers and employees to flee and ended in nearly 100 arrests.

It took about 40 police officers in riot gear nearly four hours to clear the bank, but no one was injured. Police said many of those arrested were UC Santa Cruz students who were protesting fee increases and budget cuts.

Police removed the protesters methodically, placing them in plastic handcuffs, citing them for misdemeanor trespassing and sending them off in police wagons for further processing.

“You’re the 99!” the protesters told them as the arrests began.

They scrawled messages in chalk on the bank walls — “Greed!” and “Give Us Back What You stole!” — and plastered pink phone message slips on desks and computer screens. One man was seen urinating in a corner.

The siege began after several hundred protesters gathered for a rally at noon in a plaza near the waterfront and proceeded to march across town to the Civic Center. The route was designed to take marchers past buildings where members of the UC Board of Regents have offices.

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#OWS calls for nonviolent solidarity on November 17th

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UC Berkeley Mario Savio Memorial

I was a senior in High School the fall of the Berkeley Free speech Movement.

I wasn’t expecting to go to college due to poverty but I was already committed to the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Nuke Movement>

I was captivated by the courage of the students who stood up to the power of the University and the Police that fall of 1964.

That winter I would go on to win a New York State Regents Scholarship.  I was surprised as were my counselors, who frantically rushed to find a school with in the SUNY system that would accept me.

I went to Cortland State, sight unseen.

That spring the war in Vietnam escalated to the point where SDS had led a national demonstration in Washington.

I arrived at Cortland, which was a jock school.  Fortunately it was close to Cornell and I went there for my introduction to the student movement.

Politics and other things took a higher priority in my life at that point than classes.

I deliberately failed out and by late 1967 I was in the Bay Area, the Haight Ashbury.

In 1968 after participating in two Berkeley riots and several SF riots my collective moved to Berkeley.

Berkeley and its radicalism helped shape my life.

From The Daily Cal:

Lost and found: Mario Savio’s reflections

By Robert Cohen | Special To The Daily Cal
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part … and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears … and make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!” These words, from Free Speech Movement leader Mario Savio’s historic speech outside Sproul Hall just before that movement’s culminating sit-in on Dec. 2, 1964, are among the most famous uttered by any campus radical in that decade of student revolt. But while this speech and the mass sit-in it helped inspire at Sproul Hall have been well remembered (and are discussed in many history books), other Savio words from this same critical point in the FSM’s history were lost for decades and have only come to light this September with the discovery of an important Savio letter.
The lost letter was penned by Savio on Dec. 4, 1964, from Santa Rita Prison, where he and hundreds of students had been sent after being arrested for nonviolently sitting-in at Sproul Hall. The letter, which Savio had sent (or intended to send) to his parents, brother and grandmother, was discovered by Barbara Stack as part of a project — funded by FSM veteran Thom Irwin of the Free Speech Movement Archive — to gather and inventory the papers of FSM activists.

Savio’s letter from Santa Rita sheds new light on his mood and thoughts in the wake of the police invasion of the campus, which ended the Sproul sit-in via the largest mass arrest in California history. The letter evokes the special meaning of being jailed for an act of civil disobedience. Unlike conventional arrests, where people are caught committing a crime that that they sought to conceal, the activist arrested for sitting-in courted arrest by defying the law publicly in an act of conscience, seeking to air a political grievance and promote a lofty cause.

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The Best Possible Memorial for Mario Savio

Occupy Cal Makes Occupy History at Berkeley

From The Atlantic:

Tina Dupuy
Nov 16 2011

After their tents were pulled by the university, UC Berkeley students turned the school’s celebration of a ’60s icon into massive Occupy meeting

Mario Savio was a UC Berkeley student in the ’60s and a key member of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. He’s become an activist icon; Mario Savio Youth Activist awards are given out by his memorial fund. By the ’90s, the steps of Sproul Hall on the UC Berkeley campus where he gave his now famous “put your bodies upon the gears” speech were renamed the Mario Savio Steps. It was there last Wednesday that police raided an hours-old Occupy Cal protest and pounded student activists with batons. Yes, the chancellor of the university that celebrates Savio in its brochures, Robert J. Birgeneau, waited mere minutes before setting in motion a response that saw students beaten on the very steps bearing Savio’s name … just for setting up tents.

As the massive Occupy crackdown unfolded nationally, students facing yet another tuition hike — in a UC system that has seen its tuition triple in 10 years — took note and took to organizing.

In less than a week the campus had a general strike. Tuesday most classes were cancelled. And it just so happened to be the day the annual event Mario Savio memorial at Sproul Hall was going to take place. Which in turn led to the largest General Assembly (GA) in the history of the Occupy movement.

An amazing coincidence. One of those historical ironies that should make the school administration cringe indefinitely.

Some 4,000 (if you were to be really conservative) participated in a massive direct democracy meeting, now commonly referred to as the GA. The sea of students was tutored in the now identifiable consensus hand signs used by the movement. The facilitators laid out the ground rules: They were going to vote on whether or not to bring back the tents and set up an Occupation on campus. Yes, it was against the rules. Would they all (80 percent anyway) agree this was the right course of action? The GA attendees broke up into groups of 20 to discuss. That’s right: 4,000 people broke up into groups of 20 with at least three helicopters hovering just above to discuss the merits of the action. And then the facilitators clarified: just because you vote “yes” doesn’t mean you’re obligated to sleep there.

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84 year Old Seattle Pepper Spray Victim, Dorli Rainey – Countdown with Keith Olbermann

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