You can tell a lot about the moral quality of a society by what is, and is not, considered news. From last Tuesday, Parliament Square was wrapped in wire mesh. In one of the more surreal scenes in recent British political history, officers with trained German shepherds stand sentinel each day, at calculated distances across the lawn, surrounded by a giant box of fences, three metres high all to ensure that no citizen enters to illegally practice democracy. Yet few major news outlets feel this is much of a story.
Beijing on Friday swiftly hit back at Washington s annual report on China s human rights, saying in a report that the US government s crackdown on protesters in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration is the real illustration of American democracy. In the report, Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011, the State Council Information Office demanded the US stop its double standards.
I spoke with some academics who question whether a general strike, or a bridge shutdown , make much sense for the movement at this stage. "Tactics don't remain effective - and especially when you are dealing with a huge issue like they are," says Michael Kazin, a Georgetown University professor who studies social movements In Kazin's view, the closest historical precedent to Occupy is the anti-monopoly movement of the late 19th century, when socialists, anarchists, and populist reformers united to bust the trusts. Much as Occupy has embraced social media and live-streaming, the anti-monopolists published hundreds of independent newspapers. But, Kazin adds, they also worked to elect sympathetic politicians. "I think history teaches that when people to the left of liberals are able to advance is when you have people who at least talk about reform in power," he says.
This week kicks off an effort known as "The 99 Percent Spring" by an impressive coalition of groups with solid lefty credentials (labor, Van Jones, MoveOn.org, etc.). The goal is to hold a series of "teach-ins" that will train 100,000 people (half in person, half online) in nonviolent protest techniques.
When it comes to civil disobedience, there's often a right and wrong way to break the law, and one of Fithian's jobs is to teach the right way to hundreds of newly minted Occupy activists. Call her Professor Occupy. With somewhere between 80 and 100 arrests under her belt (she's lost count) over nearly four decades of rabble-rousing, Fithian may be the nation's best-known protest consultant. Unions and activist groups pay her $300 a day to run demonstrations and teach their members tactics for taking over the streets.
When it comes to political process, Occupy has never taken the easy route. In eschewing representative politics, the movement is partly characterized by its commitment to consensus-based horizontal decision-making models. It s arduous - meetings last for hours, tempers are frayed - you learn to extend the limits of your patience. So why, then, when it comes to funding, would Occupy opt for the easy way?
With all the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the intrepid supporters of the Tea Party movement have been relatively quiescent. Some Tea Partiers are out to make sure that they define themselves and their movement as they see it, not through the lens of the mainstream media.
Naomi Wolf suggests that there are valuable lessons to be learned from a series of powerful documentaries, recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival, about protest movements of the recent past. Her conclusion is that for Occupy to keep its momentum now, it can no longer afford to be such an amorphous, anarchic movement. In effect, it needs to get organised, in more conventional campaigning ways.
One thing we do know: Obama s decision to tap Schneiderman publicly, and dump Geithner, and whisper about a millionaire s tax, signals a shift in its public attitude toward the Wall Street corruption issue. The administration is clearly listening to the Occupy movement. Whether it s now acting on their complaints, or just trying to look like it s doing something, is another question. It s way too early to tell. But it s certainly very interesting.
President Obama also made a striking announcement, one that could have been written by the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly: I m asking my attorney general to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
Iowa and New Hampshire were disasters for Newt Gingrich, relegated to also-ran status. At that moment, he made a decision: It was what it looks like it was - a full denunciation of Mitt Romney's business record. It was a populist call to arms by someone claiming to represent the 99 percent, against the 1 percent.
As president of the Pacific Exchange in the late 1990s, Warren Langley oversaw the West Coast's biggest financial center, a trading floor where some 17 million shares of stock changed hands daily. Though he served at the pleasure of traders and investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, he is no longer interested in pleasing them. Yesterday, he stood on a hillside in San Francisco's Financial District in front Morgan Stanley's and Goldman Sachs' regional headquarters to declare his support for Occupy Wall Street West, a coalition of 50 groups planning a slew of anti-bank protests Friday.
Too many people taking the streets as part of the Occupy movement have come to think, if they're thinking at all, that their strength is in their rage. But it isn't. Their strength has always been in their courage the courage to think big, to take public spaces, and to create the glimpse of a better world within them. Rage has always been a weakness. Those in the movement who perpetuate the repertoire of fits and tantrums implicate everyone else in it too, as those at the feminist Direct Action bloc well know. King would stand in solidarity with such anger, as he did even with rioters, knowing that it comes from an honest sense of injustice. But every day that those setting the mood for these marches refuse to learn discipline, and even love, they take that shared cup of solidarity and spike it with poison.
Ray Lewis, the retired Philadelphia police captain who made headlines in November when he was arrested in uniform as police broke up Occupy Wall Street, was briefly searched by Capitol Police at Tuesday's Occupy Congress protest. Lewis said officers searched him to make sure he wasn't carrying a gun and that he'd called police beforehand to make sure that he would be allowed to protest in uniform.
I was compelled to start this project in the beginning weeks of the Occupy Wall Street movement because I wanted to counter the negative perception perpetrated by mainstream media that the protesters were only a bunch of crazy hippies.
Noam Chomsky has advice for the Occupy movement, whose encampments all over the country are being swept away by police. The occupations were a "brilliant" idea, he says, but now it's time to move on to the next stage in tactics. He suggests political organizing in the neighborhoods. -- The Occupy movement's repression, which Chomsky decried, has a saving grace, he said: the opportunity for it to expand more into the 99 percent by engaging people face to face.
For all of the flack the Occupy protests got as just another hippy gathering, the movement did show some potential in its latter stages as showdowns with police became more frequent. To keep the momentum going despite having to vacate the public spaces they temporarily called home, some protestors are building an international social network, dubbed "Global Square," closed off to non-activists.
While campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul praised the Occupy Wall Street movement, comparing it to the Tea Party movement. "In many ways, I identify with both groups," Paul said. Both groups are fed up with problems in Washington and "the two-party-system," Paul said while speaking at an insurance company in Des Moines.
Conservatives were quick to accuse President Obama of embracing class warfare in his speech last week in Osawatomie, Kan. And liberal Democrats were thrilled to see a hint of the populist president they had hoped they were voting for in 2008. The polarized reactions suggest that Obama's speech succeeded in one of its goals: to frame the 2012 election as a clear choice between two philosophies, a contest he might be able to win, instead of a referendum on his own unhappy economic record.
One talked, the other snickered. The talker wore a red Harley-Davidson jacket and a salt-and-pepper poof of hair and drooping mustache. He was haranguing the snickerer, Jon Howard, a marginally employed stagehand, about whether the Boise occupation was legal, and Jon said it was. The talker wanted to know whether they were paying for the electricity they were using on the grounds of the old Ada County Courthouse, and Jon said they were. A moment earlier I had sensed the tension and bounded over, looking for a reason to escape the wild-eyed "home-church" Christian pastor I had made the mistake of engaging.
Democracy clearly has its flaws, but OWS shows not the defects of democracy but its advantages. That protestors do not "go missing" [as they have this year in China] is thanks to the benefits of democracy, and the lack of violent conflict or loss of social order is an example of its accomplishments. The US government has not condemned nor suppressed, but rather sympathised* with the movement, nor have the crowds challenged the legitimacy of the government or the democratic system itself. Rather, OWS is happening precisely within that democratic framework.
Conventional politics in the United States focuses on elections, while leftist activists typically argue that political change comes not from electing better politicians but building movements strong enough to force politicians to accept progressive change. Norman Solomon has concluded it isn't an either/or choice. A prominent writer and leader in leftist movements for decades, Solomon is running for Congress in the hopes of being practical and remaining principled.
Kalle Lasn, the longtime editor of the anticonsumerist magazine Adbusters, did not invent the anger that has been feeding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the United States. But he did brand it.
Ron Paul has again distanced himself from the mainstream right wing echo chamber and its lock step messaging attacking and defaming Occupy Wall Street. At a recent event, Paul was subjected to the "human mike," where people start by saying "mike check," then repeat words. "we will be heard." When they were done, Paul asked, "Do you feel better?" which brought cheers and standing ovations.
Over the last two weeks, mayors across the country (apparently coordinated by the FBI) shut down many of the largest Occupy encampments, including in New York, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and more. Police arrested hundreds of peaceful activists, inevitably leaving clouds of pepper spray and millions of dollars in their wake. While I fully condemn the police raids, I also think they offer us an opportunity to move to the next stage: it s time to Occupy more than just tents.
The best ground view of Occupy Wall Street comes from a former skateboard videographer and a one-time Realtor, aka Tim Pool and Henry Ferry of The Other 99. With little more than mobile phones they've offered a perspective that the mainstream media can't match. Here's how.
Police sweeps of Occupy Wall Street urban encampments have sent protesters across the country looking for new digs. In a growing number of cities, including New York, Detroit, Oakland, and Los Angeles, that means packing up the sleeping bags and moving indoors to set up ad hoc organizing spaces in places like school auditoriums, unused government buildings, churches, and foreclosed properties.
Humberto Montes de Oca, an union leader from the Mexican electrical workers union, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME), knows a few things about long-term public occupations to protest injustice. He recently shared some of his knowledge with the activists of Occupy D.C., now nearing the two-month mark at McPherson Square Park in the nation s capital.
To the cowards in masks who just want to break shit, you aren't helping at all, in fact, you are making things worse for EVERYONE. I have no idea what you have to offer anyone, you basically have nothing positive to add to the conversation we'd like to have.
The nation's elite universities have historically nurtured both the social movements that challenge the status quo and the upper crust that maintains it, and the Occupy movement is the latest to highlight that contradiction.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations "as American as apple pie," though he expressed concern about the violence that has emerged in parts of the movement.
I am very disappointed to see how the demonstrators in New York City and around the country are being characterized as misfits, kooks and troublemakers. The criticism of the national media and governmental leaders diminishes the sincere intent of a wide spectrum of U.S. citizens who are heroic enough to rebel and speak out against the outrages being conducted against the American people.
I'm a police officer. I'm part of the 99 percent. In the '60s when people would protest, would gather in order to bring about change, right? Those protests were nonviolent they were peaceful assemblies. They were broken up with dogs, hoses, sticks. It looks like there was a square, and police shot tear gas. That could be the photograph or the video for our generation. That s our Birmingham. So, twenty years from now this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point, right. It s about time your generation stood up for something. It's about time young people are in the streets. Ya'll don't need to throw gas canisters into a group of people occupying an intersection.
A new infographic posted on the Dangerous Minds blog shows some striking differences between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party. The movement is younger, more politically independent, less wealthy and, unfortunately for all of the folks crying laziness, MORE EMPLOYED.
Here is a brief historical legal reminder to us all of our federally protected First Amendment rights. (from WIKI) 'The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.'
The posters provided on this page were graciously donated by graphic designers and are free for you to download, print, and hang up within your community, not only to promote local efforts, but the solidarity of all occupiers around the country.
Ed Miliband says the protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral present a stark warning to the political classes and reflect a wider national crisis in confidence about the values of those in business and politics
A Philadelphia Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College poll finds strong support for Occupy Wall Street among Pennsylvanians. Perhaps most surprisingly, the poll asked respondents if they would support a candidate who aligned themselves with the protesters. Fifty-seven percent said they would and 33 percent were opposed; 10 percent were unsure.
On the same day that the right-wing Weekly Standard produced yet another post intimating that the whole of the 99 Percent movement is anti-Semitic, a group of Jewish-American leaders denounced smears against the movement.
It's been dumping snow here in NYC all day, high winds and 3 inches of slush on the ground. With the NYPD and FDNY confiscating six generators on Friday and this unprecedented October snow, those occupying Liberty Plaza in downtown NYC are in need of emergency supplies crucial for cold weather survival (and occupation).
A trenchant critic of the influence of corporations on political life around the world, Assange has been enthusiastic in his support of the Occupy movement, recently observing that ''the politicisation of the youth connected to internet is the most significant thing that happened in the world since the 1960s. This is something new, a real revolution.''
Vlad Teichberg occupied Wall Street for years, working as a derivatives trader up until 2008. These days, however, the 39-year-old spends his time assisting the Occupy Wall Street movement currently rallying against his former employers.
Forty-three percent of Americans agree with the views of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll that found a widespread belief that money and wealth should be distributed more evenly in America.
Journalists have been advising the protesters emails have been found. Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC and some guy named Matt Taibbi Dylan Ratigan and Matt Taibbi are sending emails back and forth with organizers , telling them how to position their demands, how they can improve their coverage.
Americans are more than twice as likely to blame the federal government in Washington (64%) for the economic problems facing the United States as they are the financial institutions on Wall Street (30%).
Students are a big contingent at Zucotti Park and other occupations. But a new study shows that online support crosses age, income and political boundaries. Look out for the rich, nonpartisan mobs.
It s become an article of faith among some conservative and even neutral commentators: If Obama and Dems embrace Occupy Wall Street, they risk driving away blue collar white voters in swing states that tend to be culturally alienated by such protests.
I was amazed to wake up this morning and find that various right-wing sites had used private email exchanges to build a story about a conspiracy of left-wing journalists. This whole episode to me underscores an unpleasant development for OWS. There is going to be a fusillade of attempts from many different corners to force these demonstrations into the liberal-conservative blue-red narrative.
A senior political adviser to President Barack Obama is charging that the Republicans seeking the presidency don't understand the American public's pent-up anger over corporate excesses.
Madison Avenue is likely to try to exploit Occupy Wall Street s success in gaining attention for the movement, which started small in New York City and has rapidly and dramatically now gone global.
Top rated Guardian Columnist Polly Toynbee debates Jonathan Isaby of the Taxpayers alliance. Jonathan. Isaby ordered the protesters back to work, while Polly Toynbee points out many of the young ones have no jobs to go back to.
IT S fascinating that many Americans intuitively understood the outrage and frustration that drove Egyptians to protest at Tahrir Square, but don't comprehend similar resentments that drive disgruntled fellow citizens to "occupy Wall Street."
Top MoveOn leaders / executives are all over national television speaking for the movement. fully appreciate the help and support of MoveOn, but the MSM is clearly using them as the spokespeople for OWS. This is an blatant attempt to fracture the 99% into a Democratic Party organization. The leadership of MoveON are Democratic Party operatives. they are divide and conquer pawns. For years they ignored Wall Street protests to keep complete focus on the Republicans, in favor of Goldman s Obama and Wall Street s Democratic leadership.
I've even met a number of Libertarians and Tea Party conservatives at these protests. So the critics are right, the Occupy Wall Street movement isn t the Tea Party. Occupy Wall Street is much, much broader.
Former Vice President Al Gore on Wednesday offered his support for the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place in New York City and around the country. In a blog post, Gore wrote that he has been following news of the protests for several weeks "with both interest and admiration."
One of the original founders of the Tea Party movement has told RT.com that he believes Occupy Wall Street is not only comparable to the earliest states of the movement he helped launch but can learn from its mistakes.
Despite nonstop GOP and conservative disparagement of the Wall Street protests, the most detailed polling yet on Occupy Wall Street suggests that the public holds a broadly favorable view of the movement - and, crucially, the positions it holds.
So why no Obama? To an extent, it reflects Occupy Wall Street's DNA. The uprising has no president-nor, for that matter, does it have an official spokesperson, a board of directors, or any defined hierarchy. "Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement," the group's pamphlets explain.
Occupy Wall Street is a genuine, organic, knowledge-driven democratic uprising. ---- The hard-right targets both democracy and unions because these are a means by which an aroused citizenry may shield itself from corporate tyranny.
Leading Democratic figures, including party fund-raisers and a top ally of President Obama, are embracing the spread of the anti-Wall Street protests in a clear sign that members of the Democratic establishment see the movement as a way to align disenchanted Americans with their party.
The Occupy Wall Street movement calls itself "leaderless," but a small cadre of dedicated activists has stepped up to manage the increasingly complex demonstrations as they move into their fourth week.
As Occupy Wall Street continues to inspire demonstrations and student walkouts nationwide, protesters are speaking their minds through posters to make an impact and illustrate their mounting frustration towards the government and corporations.
"Look," said Biden, talking over the "ooohs" and murmurs, "that's a really fair question. Let's be honest with one another. What is the core of that protest? The core is: The bargain has been breached. The core is, the American people do not think the system is fair, or on the level. That is the core is what you're seeing with Wall Street. Look, there's a lot in common with the Tea Party. The Tea Party started, why? TARP. They thought it was unfair."
Unions lent their muscle to the long-running protest against Wall Street and economic inequality Wednesday, fueling speculation about how long the camp-out in lower Manhattan - and related demonstrations around the country - will continue.
On the 18th day of Occupy Wall Street, the protest against corporate greed that began as a small group of grassroots activists and spread to dozens of cities across the U.S. and abroad, several big names joined the shouting masses in Liberty Square.
The Occupy Wall Street movement s political breakthrough came Wednesday, as leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus joined Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, in endorsing the burgeoning national challenge to corporate greed and corrupt politics.
Top House Democratic lawmakers are starting to jump aboard the Occupy Wall Street movement - a growing protest that some activists hope turns into a liberal version of the tea party.
Unions lent their muscle to the long-running protest against Wall Street and economic inequality Wednesday, with their members joining thousands of protesters in a lower Manhattan march as smaller demonstrations flourished across the country.
Last night's "Countdown," guest-hosted by David Shuster, had plenty of great interviews and information on the Occupy Wall Street protests. Shuster spoke with the city's Transport Workers Union president John Samuelsen about why his fellow workers are coming out in the thousands in support of these grassroots protests. The answer: because they are are singing the same song and fighting the same battle." It's the first video below.
The Occupy Wall Street grievances that are motivating people to take action are based on the facts of growing inequality in the United States over the last 30 years. And contrary to sociologist Nina Eliasoph's contention that there's an "emptiness of the message itself so far," all of the protesters complaints point to an overarching set of demands that fall under the themes of greater democracy in our plutocratic and oligarchic political system and greater equality and opportunity in the economy for the "99 percent" of Americans.
Adbusters, the nonprofit, anti-consumerist organization, made the first call for an occupation of Wall Street back in July when they posted an article on their website titled "#OCCUPYWALLSTREET." The rallying cry proposed a massive occupation of Wall Street - some 20,000 individuals - a "fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain." The group declared: "It's time for democracy not corporatocracy."