The OB Media Rundown for 3/18/12

OWS Is Not Over, Expect The American Spring

Occupy has been gathering steam for the American Spring. Just like our counterparts in other countries, we will continue to fight for our rights. We are not afraid to stand up to the corporate bullies and the politicians they’ve purchased. We will continue to demonstrate the power of non-violence in the face of unchecked violence; we will continue to work for healthy, self-sufficient communities; we will take a stand against injustice, inequality, and the oppressive forces that have slowly taken away our rights and stolen our government.

Foreclosing on the commons

Call it feudalism, corporatism or the American way: the rich elite in the US have turned economic exploitation into something of an art. The top one per cent in the United States now control a quarter of the nation’s wealth, double the unhealthy share they held 25 years ago. But while their ability to control legislatures and presidents is impressive, the propertied elite may have let greed get the best of them. In their quest to redistribute wealth from the labouring classes to the idle ones, they have been a bit too successful: the exploited are waking up.

All it took for this stirring from slumber was the criminal collapse of the global economy and, for many in the US, the loss of the very roof over their heads – and the knowledge things weren’t going to be tangibly better anytime soon. Indeed, the foreclosure crisis is still sweeping the United States, with millions of people being thrown out of their homes every year. And yet, presented with a seemingly popular platform to political power – houses for working families, not bailed-out banks – the political class sides with its financiers, to the point that the fraud of electoral politics is now about as obvious as the fraud being perpetrated by the financial industry.

Occupying Democracy: A Moral Revolution for Social Justice

The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy. -Thomas Paine, “First Principles of Government,” 1795.

Thomas Paine’s words, written 217 years ago, capture the core purpose of the Occupy movement.

The movement, at its heart, instructs us to honor one another and to ensure that government policy and our justice system reflect that ethic. It asks us to return to our founding principles.

Restoring the Language of Obligation

Until recently, duty was taken for granted by all but a few people on the fringes of American political life as one of the essential features of self-government. One of the saddest facts of contemporary political discourse is the ignorance of most Americans about the centrality of the concept of obligation in American history.

Of all the damage Ronald Reagan did to the United States, perhaps the most severe was his stupefyingly successful campaign to persuade Americans that the “free market” has always ruled America and that government has always been distrusted and held in check by liberty-loving individualists. Although that idea now reigns on most right-wing talk radio and television shows and even infects the assumptions of so-called centrists, it is a fantasy.

Turnout for Nader reflects need for a civics course

During his visit to campus Monday, Ralph Nader gave his insight on what he thought should be included in higher education: an introductory course in civics.

At UC Merced there’s still a requirement for all students to take a class called CORE, which is a general course that studies various fields, so having a civics course may be a useful tool for student engagement into a larger issue.

His speech, “Grass-roots Activism in the 21st Century,” advocated for mobility from students involved in everything from the Occupy movement to student government. Nader’s message emphasized the importance of action for the “restoration of what the people have already earned and was taken from them” by acknowledging that we already have rights and powers we can use. The civics course part would be to inform young people of these powers and how to use them to bring solutions to problems.

Occupy’s heiress – Leah Hunt-Hendrix, the granddaughter of an oil and gas billionaire, is determined to radicalize America’s wealthy

“For Aristotle,” says Leah Hunt-Hendrix, “ethics is not a question about right and wrong, it’s a question about who you are. It doesn’t come down to a decision in an instant. It comes down to what kind of life you live, and what kind of life you live as a community.”

That question is an essential one to Hunt-Hendrix, 28, the granddaughter of the late billionaire Texas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt. She grew up surrounded by 1 percent privilege – but has spent the last several months neck deep in general assemblies, human microphones and consensus twinkles. She’s made the study of popular protest her life’s work – and Occupy Wall Street has allowed her to roll up her sleeves.

On this February afternoon, Leah’s just finished an Occupy Faith meeting about how to mobilize those communities to participate in an upcoming foreclosure defense action. The action would emulate successful (and soulful) previous attempts to shut down an auction where bank-seized homes are sold by breaking into song. The lyrics go: Mrs. Auctioneer / All the people here / We’re asking you to hold all the sales right now / We’re going to survive / But we don’t know how.

Rick Santorum Momentarily Distracted by Two Men Kissing, crowd chants ‘USA! USA’

A stump speech delivered last night by Rick Santorum to a crowd of about 2,000 at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL., was interrupted 15 minutes in by shouts of “Mic check! Mr. Santorum! Mr. Santorum!” (“mic check” is a familiar Occupy Wall Street battle cry) — followed by the sight of two men kissing passionately in the stands. The crowd responded with loud booing and chants of “USA! USA!” as the kissers, identified by The Palatine Patch as Timothy Tross and Ben Clifford, were ejected from the venue.

Hundreds gather for Atlanta rally against bill on unions

A diverse coalition of groups rallied Saturday at the Capitol to protest Senate Bill 469, which would restrict picketing and union membership.

“This is an extreme attack on our basic democratic rights,” said Ben Speight of Teamsters Local 728, who attended the rally. “It’s also an attempt to bankrupt and destroy our unions.”

The rally started off with songs and chants, and then the crowd estimated by police at several hundred people — including union members and members of Occupy Atlanta — marched around the Capitol three times before regrouping for more speeches.

Arrests as Occupy Wall Street Protesters Observe Six-Month Anniversary

As hundreds of people gathered in the financial district on Saturday to mark the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, protesters embarked upon a winding march and police officers made about a dozen arrests near Zuccotti Park.

At the beginning of the afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September.

Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like “Take back government from corporations,” the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan: “We are the 99 percent.”

In your face, Chase: Occupy Detroit forecloses on popular bank

At the origin of Detroit’s main boulevard, about 200 people gathered below the Spirit of Detroit statue and set off on a two-block procession to deliver a document to JPMorgan Chase Bank – and it wasn’t a birthday card for chairman and chief executive officer Jamie Dimon.

It was something Chase Bank is too familiar with: A foreclosure notice, tied up neatly with police tape. Happy Birthday, Jamie Dimon.

“Notice of default: The people of Michigan, whose taxes contributed to the bailout of the banking system in 2009, and who now compensate banks for billions in losses on federal insured mortgages, hereby give notice that Chase Bank has breached its obligation to cease unjust foreclosures and keep people in their homes.”

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