The OB Media Rundown for 6/22/12

How the 99 percent are cannon fodder for America’s wars

They are the One Percent who have the best weapons, the best training, and the lion’s share of victories. But when the war is over, One Percent Warriors return home. Once decommissioned, they are no longer triumphant.

They face free-fall into the group where one out of six people cannot find a full-time job, where mortgages turn to dust along with the houses they had secured, and all the good jobs require the education they do not have. Without their weapons, they control nothing. When the One Percent Warriors arrive home, do they realize that they have spent their tours of duty killing those who mirror themselves: the 99 Percent who Occupy the world? Our enemies have endured lives of vast inequity, where the wealthy control power, corruption assures power, and the military enforces power. Now they are restless, refusing to defer to the One-Percent. Could it happen here?

Occupy effect on the rich

When world events show us brewing meltdown (Spain), total meltdown (Greece),  and full blown revolution (Arab Spring), the super wealthy in the U.S. might have imagined a life locked in their Beverly Hills mansions  – afraid to go out into the street and enjoy the culture of Los Angeles. Perhaps they imagined being afraid to even let the servants in to maintain their mansion.

Also, the harsh realities of Greece’s situation and ensuing austerity measures must have stuck a chord with wealthy investors in this country who realize that if things really fall apart in the U.S. their fortune will take a huge hit.

So even though it’s for their own well being, which might not seem like the “right reason,” it’s nice to know that the ‘powers that be’ are more open to policy that can assuage the situation that the struggling poverty level citizenry is faced with.

How Austerity Is Hurting State Economies

The effect of austerity in Europe has been decidedly detrimental, stifling growth and needlessly prolonging economic pain for the continent’s residents. And in America, many states are doing the exact same thing, slashing spending and laying off workers in an attempt to cope with collapsed revenue.

As Center for American Progress economist Adam Hersh found, such austerity has been counterproductive for states as well. In fact, the states that have cut spending during the recession have higher rates of unemployment, lower rates of growth, and ultimately fewer private sector jobs. In the median “spending cut” state:

Occupy Homes Wins Crucial Victories for Struggling Homeowners Against Big Banks

While there are no guarantees for the Cruzes or anyone else fighting foreclosure, we’ve seen time and again that when people fight back-and communities stand with them in solidarity-they can win.

How do I know? A few months ago, I traveled to Minneapolis and to Atlanta, two places among scores across the country where occupy groups have turned to housing justice and organizing in direct support of people on the front lines of the housing crisis, the result of greed and recklessness and straight-up fraud by Wall Street and the banks that created the housing bubble. I’ve been working withOccupy Our Homes, an organizing project that aims to strengthen the #OccupyHomes movement by sharing training, ‘best practices,’ resources, and support of various kinds across a burgeoning national network.

Effective and disorganized: a new thing upon this earth

The tendency of technology to increase the power of the powerful is at the heart of stories like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four – take a totalitarian state, add technology and you get hyper-totalitarian state, something capable of reaching into every corner of human existence, to know each person’s every move down to the fleeting thoughts that show themselves on their faces.

But technology lowers transaction costs for everyone, not just the well-organised. The past 20 years has seen radical shifts to the job of activists, which formerly meant spending most of one’s time addressing and stuffing envelopes (or distributing handbills, or putting up posters), and using a few stolen moments around the edges to figure out what the posters, letters and handbills should say.

Now we get the dissemination for free – thanks to technologies such as Twitter, mailing lists and social networks – and the major role of activists has shifted to figuring out why and where to mobilise, not on mobilisation itself.

Occupy is Alive; So is History

Political leadership in the West has calcified atop a set of existing facts and trajectory that assure rebellion in one form or another until they are reconciled. In addition to the economic divides between wealth and poverty, employment and unemployment, opportunity and the lack of opportunity, there is a generational divide that has left youth around the world on the outside of economic life.

Left out of the economic statistics is that today’s youth face a fundamentally different circumstance than that of recent generations. The young bear a disproportionate burden in higher rates of unemployment, higher levels of debt and fewer opportunities. In a system where economic power equates with political power, economic exclusion leaves youth and much of the rest of the broader population outside of existing political processes.

Within the prevailing political economy the internal logic is to build systems of political and economic repression rather than to create political, economic and social justice. This can be seen in the level of debt students are expected bear, in increasingly intrusive surveillance, in the militarization of the police, in the unresponsive politics of the mainstream political parties and in the absence of any sustained effort to create jobs for youth and other unemployed.

What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn From Gay Pride

With Occupy Wall Street and Gay Pride set to intermingle this weekend, Linda Hirshman at The New Yorker takes some time to compare and contrast the two movements.

She writes that Occupy Wall Street, with its flash mobs and loose central message, could learn a thing or two about the Stonewall Rebellion, an event she notes was just one of many “gay-bar pushbacks.”

What made Stonewall so special is the fact that activists from the relatively  timid Mattachine Society hadn’t reorganized themselves into the more radical Gay Liberation Front and made a conscious effort to construct a solid message and action.

Occupy gays to protest at San Francisco Pride Parade this weekend

During the Pride Parade Sunday, June 24 [Oakland mayor Jean] Quan is expected to come face-to-face with Occupy members along the route up Market Street. A coalition of radical and progressive queer groups has come together to plan a number of demonstrations throughout San Francisco’s Pride weekend.

Under the umbrella moniker of Bay Area OccuPride, the group is planning a series of direct actions targeted at corporate sponsors of the Pride Parade and a number of elected officials who have parade contingents.

Nationwide action to support foreclosed Minneapolis family

The Cruz family of Minneapolis would like to live under their own roof again. This morning, Occupy Minnesota Homes activists tried to live on their roof in hopes of making that dream a reality. Their stay was short.

The family’s home has been a battleground between activists and police acting on behalf of the banks as the Cruz family fights a foreclosure and eviction which they say was triggered by an error from PNC Bank.

Activists deployed a large balloon banner reading “Evictions Stop Here” above the home and locked themselves to the roof. Firefighters and police removed the activists from the roof about an hour after the protest began. Power tools were used to unlock the activists. Two were arrested. 15 others left the roof without arrest.
. . .

The action kicks off a national day of action in 18 cities demanding PNC Bank negotiate with the family to allow them to return to their home. PNC services the mortgage, but the loan is owned by Freddie Mac which went to court to evict the family.

Hip hop for social justice in Tacoma

The New Century Justice Network is a local, newly formed social justice organization, formed after the murder of Trayvon Martin.  It is a group of concerned citizens of Tacoma who came together to fight for change in the community by educating, connecting, and working together. Working with the NCJN is Tacoma’s local chapter of the national Occupy the Hood movement. “Occupy the Hood Tacoma” and The NCJN are planning a community event on Aug 4th with noted speakers, education, and community discussion about issues that affect African Americans in Tacoma.

Stockton councilman, homeless seek common ground as protest continues

City Councilman Dale Fritchen opened up a dialogue with several unsheltered homeless and Occupy Stockton activists in a downtown plaza Thursday, offering to help find a solution to the city’s homeless problem and accepting an invitation to spend a night in a shelter.

A day earlier, Stockton police and public works crews efficiently evicted several dozen homeless individuals who had established a tent campground on the sidewalks in front of the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless, St. Mary’s Dining Room and a recycling center at Sonora and South Harrison streets.

Occupy protester, former mayor candidate on Day 20 of hunger strike

Three weeks without food would leave most of us sick, grumpy or desperate. Maybe all three.

But Cameron Whitten looks remarkably well for a man on a hunger strike. He laughs often, maintains a firm handshake and has a ready quip when passers-by inevitably ask about his health: “I feel like a million bonbons.”

Whitten, a prominent figure in last fall’s Occupy Portland movement, started the strike to highlight housing issues just weeks after losing last month’s election to become Portland mayor. Thursday marked his 20th day without food – he drinks water and juice – as he conducts a 24-hour-a-day demonstration on the sidewalk outside City Hall.

Sit-in continues at Lakeview School [CA]

Despite the chilly temperature, the Lakeview sit-in continued into its seventh day Thursday. About 20 parents and Occupy protesters have remained at the school despite an eviction notice and campus inspections by the Oakland Unified School District campus police earlier in the week.

They are also continuing the “People’s School,” summer courses unsanctioned by the district, with 14 children in attendance.

The sit-in began on June 15, the last day of classes at the elementary closed by the district. Lakeview was one of five schools closed to save the district $2 million, according to Superintendent Tony Smith.

Statewide CA Occupy chapters to converge on Sacramento to protest bank home foreclosures

Joking aside, [Bill] Maher obviously was unaware that Sacramento County saw two Occupy candidates run for supervisor this past election cycle-one of them raking in nearly 30 percent of the vote in his race.

It’s also worth noting that movement does not boast such wealthy benefactors as the Koch Brothers, whose financiering of the tea party during its nascent days was instrumental in establishing its political grassroots infrastructure.

Yet Occupy is far from flat-lining. Witness this Monday, June 25, when organizers say more than 1,000 statewide occupiers will converge on the Capitol grounds to demand a moratorium on home foreclosures in California. The event, called Rally for Homes begins at 10 a.m., ends at 3 p.m. and will include a protest march, plus teach-ins. And even lobbying efforts.

Occupy Aptos? Many Angry About Proposed New Safeway Complex [CA]

More than 300 people showed up to hear Safeway representatives talk about the plan for a revamped two-story grocery store that would double the current 31,000 square feet, a nine-pump gas station and new shops in the Aptos Rancho del Mar Shopping Center.

However, many in the audience said they chose to live in Aptos because it wasn’t modern and cookie cutter sterile. They said they feared the new center would bring in chain stores and would look like the newest Santa Cruz Safeway on Mission Street.

At times the meeting, which was held in the empty store that used to house the video rental store Video USA, grew as cantankerous and rude as an Occupy Santa Cruz session at City Hall. The the biggest concerns included the loss of the local, family-owned businesses that now populate the outdoor plaza. Others worried about more traffic along Soquel Drive, as it tails out at its southern-most point.

Occupy Carson petitions endeavor to overturn Citizens United ruling

The Occupy Carson City movement Wednesday presented petitions signed by more than 1,000 area voters asking officials to back a constitutional amendment that would bar big corporations and the rich from pumping unlimited money into political campaigns.

Occupy Iowa speaks out against World Food Prize

Members of the Occupy Iowa movement are turning their attention to the Iowa-based World Food Prize.

Occupy’s Frank Cordaro spoke at a statehouse news conference today about the group’s opposition to the annual Food Prize festivities held in Des Moines. “The World Food Prize is a sham,” Cordaro said. This October, the $250,000 World Food Prize will be awarded to Daniel Hillel, a scientist from Israel who developed new ways to irrigate crops in some of the driest regions of the planet.

The Occupy group isn’t taking issue with all of the people who’ve been awarded the World Food Prize, but rather what Cordaro calls the “corporate ownership” of the prize.

“The very same corporate financial elites that run Wall Street are the same corporate financial elites that own the World Food Prize and control the world food supply system,” Cordaro said. He cited several companies that back the event including Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred and Syngenta.

Occupy Caravan stops in Mobile, AL

The movement fueled by rage against Wall Street greed stopped by here today, but it was less an occupation than a drive by.

The Occupy Caravan stopped at Spanish Plaza downtown and mingled with a handful of folks from local Occupy groups before heading north to stops in other Alabama cities. The group plans to make it to Philadelphia for national Occupy get-together June 30.

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