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    The OB Media Rundown for 6/27/12

    National Occupy Gathering a Turning Point for Movement

    Unlike those who support fascism and corporative rule, supporters of the OWS movement and its branches aren’t going to go away any time soon. In fact, it’s safe to say that they’re here to stay indefinitely. Negative reports exaggerating crimes and other nonsensical things only draw away from the point that is being pushed by the protesters — the banks need to stop reaming its customers and the top one percent of the nation need to start paying their fair share. Period.

    Fragmented Unity at Philly’s Upcoming Occupy National Gathering

    The National Gathering will last from June 30 through July 4, and representatives from 92 occupations are expected to be present. Caravans from the south, west and north will converge on the city on Saturday, June 30. The Gathering will be packed with actions, workshops and speakers, including Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, influential New York Occupier Alexis Goldstein, organizer Alexa O’Brien and David Gespass, president of the National Lawyers Guild. Activists from the massive demonstrations in Quebec will be in attendance.

    The fragmentation of the Occupy movement will be on display as well; alongside the National Gathering, there will be two other concurrent events. The Radical Convergence, based in West Philadelphia, is being held by largely local activists who no longer identify with the “Occupy” brand, if they ever did. “It is a space for those who have felt Occupy in its current form demonizes and excludes radical dialogue, strategy, and action,” the website reads. The Radical Convergence, however, will collaborate with the National Gathering on food and actions.

    There will also be an Anarchist Anti-Summit, although it is not clear who is organizing it, where it will be held or what they will be doing. Organizers of the National Gathering and the Radical Convergence, as well as this reporter, have all tried to find out, only to reach cordial, anonymous and uninformative spokespeople.

    How to Save Our Homes

    A Minneapolis family’s fight to save their home has become a national struggle after police arrested 13 protesters, including hip-hop artist Brother Ali. Earlier police raids resulted in dozens more arrests as Occupy Minneapolis and activists in 18 other cities have called on the PNC Bank to renegotiate mortgage terms with the Cruz family and to rescind a foreclosure and eviction order. The family had been current on payments until a bank error caused a payment to be recorded as late, triggering extra fees.

    The Cruz family is just one among millions that has faced uncertainty, eviction, and homelessness since 2008 when the economy began to unravel. The hardships faced by these families is one reason many in Occupy have joined a growing Occupy Our Homes movement.

    But there’s one part of the housing market that’s remained stable, and it may offer a way forward. In community land trusts across the country, you won’t find sheriffs dragging people’s belongings out to the curb and arresting their supporters. No homes sit abandoned. Neighborhoods remain intact.

    Continue reading “The OB Media Rundown for 6/27/12” »

    The OB Media Rundown for 6/26/12

    Occupy Members Protest During President Obama’s Visit to Boston

    Protesters plan on planting themselves outside of Symphony Hall today during the President’s campaign-fundraising visit to Boston.

    At least fifty protesters said on Facebook they intend to rally outside of the music hall, where President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech and meet with supporters.

    Members of Occupy Boston have organized the anti-Obama event along Massachusetts Avenue, and will hold signs voicing their discontent with the Democratic elected official.

    More Revelations of Favorable Stock Trading By Members of Congress

    One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.

    The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010 . . .

    Banned TED Talk video: ‘Job creators’ language chosen to deify capitalists, entrench their status and privilege


    Background on banned TED talk:

    Postal Workers Launch Hunger Strike To ‘Save’ Agency

    A group of U.S. Postal Service employees and supporters launched a hunger strike Monday on Capitol Hill, urging action from lawmakers in order to save an agency they said was imperiled by Congress itself.

    The postal workers and boosters said they were trying to draw attention to a wonky yet crucial element of postal service reform being considered: the repeal of what’s called the “prefunding mandate,” a 2006 requirement from Congress that the USPS prefund the retiree health benefits for its workers 75 years in advance, to the tune of about $5.5 billion per year.

    “Congress created the problem, Congress can fix it,” said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier who worked in Portland, Ore., for 27 years and is taking part in the hunger strike. “We’re just frustrated. We’re indignant, we’re outraged, we’re here to shame Congress into doing the right thing. We’re willing to suffer, to go on a hunger strike in order to show our indignation.”

    Continue reading “The OB Media Rundown for 6/26/12” »

    The OB Media Rundown for 6/24/12

    Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low


    In short, our current system and philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords and 300+ million serfs.

    That’s not what has made America a great country. It’s also not what most people think America is supposed to be about.

    So we might want to rethink that.

    America’s long slope down

    A broad swath of official economic data shows that America and its people are in much worse shape than when we paid higher taxes, higher interest rates and made more of the manufactured goods we use.

    The numbers since the turn of the millennium point to even worse times ahead if we stay the course. Let’s look at the official numbers in today’s dollars and then what can be done to change course.

    Census Bureau Report Shows Shared Households Increased 11.4 Percent from 2007 to 2010

    “Although reasons for household sharing are not discernible from the survey, our analysis suggests that adults and families coped with challenging economic circumstances over the course of the recession by joining households or combining households with other individuals or families,” said Laryssa Mykyta, an analyst in the Census Bureau’s Poverty Statistics Branch and one of the authors of the report.

    The report compares official poverty rates to personal and household poverty rates. Official poverty rates compare total family income with a threshold that varies with family size and composition. Household poverty rates compare household income with the relevant threshold.  Personal poverty rates compare the income of the individual, couple or subfamily with the relevant threshold.

    Continue reading “The OB Media Rundown for 6/24/12” »

    Speak out: What the Occupy Movement Demands of Each of Us

    by Joseph G. Ramsey
    That we work to defeat and to overthrow the rule of the 1% (and the 0.1%) over our lives, our society, and our world;

    That we devote our lives to ending the oppression, domination, and exploitation of people both near and far;

    That we defend what remains of public space and the public sector against neoliberal attempts to privatize or destroy it;

    That we stand up for the freedom of speech and assembly, of dissent and public protest, as rights which no law-maker can revoke;

    That we work for social equality: the radical redistribution of wealth, the transformation and/or abolition of oppressive institutions, the dismantling of unaccountable hierarchies, and the thorough democratization of society;

    That we aspire towards egalitarianism in our own movement and in our own lives, seeking to build others up as equals, not to subordinate them as tools or inferiors;

    That we seek to unite the many against the few, behind an inspiring vision of global human emancipation;

    That we work to expose, to challenge, and to shut down wars abroad and militarism at home, along with the imperial and fascistic apparatus that makes them possible;

    That we devote ourselves to exposing, and to resisting the ravages of a toxic ecocidal  capitalism before it poisons the climate to the point of rendering wide swaths of our planet unlivable;

    That we work to expose, oppose, and defeat racism, homophobia, sexism and other reactionary and oppressive ideologies and practices wherever they rear their ugly heads;

    That we seek to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless across our world;

    That we help to inspire courage, trust, and solidarity amongst those who have been beaten down by the current system, to turn our collective weakness into strength;

    That we work to expose the farcical nature of our 1%-dominated, so-called “democracy,” even as we may utilize what is left of this state apparatus to tactically leverage the needs of our movement;

    That we hold accountable those individuals and institutions that have produced and profited from the current crisis, at the expense of the people.

    That we reject all 1%-er attempts to scapegoat the vulnerable and to blame the victims for their oppression;

    That we approach with suspicion and skepticism those representatives of existing 1% power structures that seek to co-opt our movement, even as we are constantly on the lookout for friends and allies in unexpected places;

    That we put the greater good of the people and the movement ahead of our personal interests, even as we recognize that only through such a movement can our individual talents be fully realized, and vice versa;

    That we keep our commitments and promises to one another;

    That we are honest and accountable in our interactions whenever we are representing the movement;

    That we work each day to help raise consciousness (inside and outside the movement) about the world situation?for this is a global struggle;

    That we inform ourselves about the current dangers and crises facing our society and our planet, and that we seek to understand not only the news and the facts, but the fundamental forces driving the situation forward, and the future trajectories these forces imply;

    That we seek to cultivate a tactical flexibility and creativity that can adapt to the shifting situation;

    That we develop a long-term, nationally coordinated strategy for actually building the movement that we want to create, for actually achieving the changes we want to see;

    That we cultivate an honest and humble self-critical attitude in evaluating the successes and failures, the strengths and weaknesses of our movement, its theories and its practices; that we are willing to alter our theories and practices in light of evidence and reflections we gather;

    That we seek to become citizens of the world, not just of any single city or nation;

    That we sink roots in our local communities, in our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, families, and other institutions, becoming attentive students of others? lives, as well as supportive allies, and where appropriate, leaders of local struggles;

    That we are kind and patient with one another in the movement, working to understand deeply even those with whom we disagree, knowing that those who may be wrong on nine issues may teach us something valuable concerning the tenth;

    That we demonstrate courage as well as wisdom in the face of threats we face;

    That we seek to cultivate the fullest humanity in ourselves and in others alike;

    That we work creatively and tirelessly to bring into being a society that is worthy of human beings;

    That we commit to the long haul, as the fight ahead is sure to be as extended as its outcome remains uncertain.

    That we sustain one another in this great collective endeavor, cherishing each thinking, fighting spirit in these dark times.

    Joseph G. Ramsey is an writer, educator, and activist involved in the Occupy movement, and residing in the Boston area.  He writes for The Boston Occupier,  and editsCultural Logic  a journal of marxist theory and practice.  He can be reached at .

    The OB Media Rundown for 6/23/12

    The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

    This just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.

    The defendants in the case – Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm – worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street – not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more – these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from “virtually every state, district and territory in the United States,” according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being _cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.

    Occupy and – You Come Down Here and Embrace!


    You see from the title of my little sermon, that I am asking the people from two movements, and Occupy Wall Street, to do the same.

    These two groups are difference-makers in the world. In the last year and a half – who has had more impact in our country? OWS and 350 share the view that entrenched power is only stopped by people power. In fact, they both call themselves “movements,” right up front in their introductory remarks, like they’re writing their own history. They both have galvanized thousands of citizens who hadn’t necessarily planned to work so hard, to make so much contact with strangers, to feel such exhilaration.

    But it is time for the two families to “come down here and embrace.” I have frequented both worlds, and communication between 350 and Occupy is spotty at best.

    Occupy vs Eviction: Radicals, Reform, and Dispossession

    In the first part of this post I discuss the anti-eviction work of Occupy Homes. In the second part I discuss some of the demographics of home ownership in the U.S.. In the third part, I discuss political reformism. In the fourth I take up radicals acting in reformist movements, and in the last part I discuss the current push by capitalists and their politicians to impose worse live on many people.

    Continue reading “The OB Media Rundown for 6/23/12” »

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