The OB Media Rundown for 3/9/12

A Couple of Suggestions for Students Occupy Boston

As its stands, and I’ve said this ad nauseam, most of the current goals of the Occupy movement are either for things that we’ve had in the past in the US – like fair taxation on corporations and the rich – or for things that lots of other countries have had for a long time – like free public higher education for all.

All great and needed stuff. But the right-wing dominated discourse in this country has made it seem like such things are all far out kooky ultra left fantasies. They’re not. They’re merely the best of the ideas for democratic reforms under capitalism.

Fortunately, broader demands for replacing market capitalism with democracy and some kind of socialism have also been put on the table by the Occupy movement. And that’s why it has been so popular.

Occupy has actually been calling for the transformation of the existing society into a new and better society. And people love that.

International Women’s Day 2012: Labour peace is dead, long live the class war

Now some have remembered what May Day was all about and are calling for a general strike on May 1st..

I know how much work it would take, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Our letters and our lobbies go unheeded; we need something bigger. Let’s keep building alliances with all the communities and well-intentioned people who were lit up and revealed to us in the flare of the Occupy movement, whether they were camping, critiquing or somewhere in between. I think as feminists, we should roll up our sleeves and make it happen. Time to end the labour peace because we are being invaded.

A general strike on May Day. There’s time to plan. As Rosie the Riveter said: We can do it. Now there’s some feel-good womany stuff!

The Occupation of Workplace Democracy: Challenges and solutions for a solidarity economy

In this, the second and concluding part of an email dialogue about the work of SolidarityNYC, Cheyenna Weber discusses the challenge of cooperative self-management in the context of social movements like Occupy Wall Street.

It’s interesting that the barriers to starting a co-op, are not money or expertise but stable and trusting relationships. In your experience so far, what does it look like to build those kind of relationships successfully?

A few years ago a friend did a series of interviews of veteran co-op members in and around the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. When asking why co-ops failed individuals routinely said having a strong process for confronting conflict, and allowing individuals to advocate for their own needs, was the most important component of success in the governance of a co-op.

Coming to a Bankster’s Mansion Driveway Near You: Occupy Our Homes

As one of the more promising offshoots of the Occupy movement, Occupy Our Homes – the grassroots effort to prevent evictions and foreclosures – has continued to organize throughout the winter. With millions of Americans underwater on their home loans or otherwise facing distress about their mortgages, the issue has the power to give the Occupy movement’s concerns concrete resonance for millions of people.

At the same time, organizers must make difficult strategic decisions about how to best take on the foreclosure crisis and how to scale up activism in order to make a national impact.

Protests against psychiatrists, another ‘Occupy’ – due in Philadelphia next spring

The American Psychiatric Association is issuing a new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013. So demonstrators calling themselves Occupy the APA will be holding speeches and events when the psychiatric association meets at the Pennsylvania Convention Center May 5 through 9 for its annual gathering.

What is the DSM-5, you ask? It’s a big book that tells psychiatrists what is officially a mental disorder, and what is not. So it matters quite a bit what gets in there.

“The DSM-5 pushes the mental health industry to medicalize problems that aren’t medical, inevitably leading to over-prescription of psychiatric drugs – including for people experiencing natural human emotions such as grief and shyness,” said David Oaks, founder and director of MindFreedom International, the organizing force behind the protest.

Government spending cuts have held back housing, too

We know that government spending cuts have depressed employment. But austerity has held back the housing recovery as well. Spending on public construction didn’t take the same hit as the private market did during the housing bust. And it got a small boost from the 2009 stimulus package, which included $7.2 billion on government buildings and facilities and $4 billion to repair and modernize public housing.

But budget cuts seems to have taken their toll on public construction spending over the past two years, as spending in the sector has fallen even while private-sector construction has rebounded, as this chart from the St. Louis Federal Reserve makes clear. As a result, total construction spending – and the housing recovery as a whole – isn’t as robust as it could have been without the cuts.

The politics of shit and semen

But what asserts humanity also revolts. And revulsion is precisely the reaction that a few months in a tent are bound to amplify, as the screwed up grimaces of bankers passing through St Paul’s churchyard have indicated. It wasn’t the protest against capitalism per se that offended the conservative mindset; the problem was that the so-called soap dodgers were out of place. They represented a reaction against what the philosopher Thomas Nagel has recently called “a carefully controlled and cleaned up version of ourselves”. “Reminders of the mess that lies beneath,” he continues, “can cause us to shrink away in disgust.”

Having money and power are some of the most effective ways of keeping raw humanity at bay. They work as a prophylactic against the visceral aspects of human life. Basically, you get other people to deal with the shit. Occupy reminded the City that this vanilla version of humanity is a false consciousness. It is a disturbing message that we often desperately avoid. Little wonder the first thing the City of London did after the protesters had been cleared away was to bring in the sanitation unit.

Utah lawmakers pass bill to prevent sex ed classes from teaching about contraception

Utah would become the first state to ban public schools from teaching contraception as a way of preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases under a bill given final legislative approval by state lawmakers.

The measure, which cleared Utah’s Republican-controlled House and Senate mainly along party-line votes, would also bar instruction on homosexuality or other aspects of human sexuality except for materials that encourage abstinence before marriage.

Supporters of the bill, which Utah’s Republican governor was widely expected to sign into law, argued that sex education was best left up to parents.

Floating occupation – Occupy Oswego Lake?

The target: Oswego Lake, which has made headlines during a revival of the long-running, on-again, off-again debate over public vs. private access. Controlled by a corporation of lakefront property owners, the lake is considered private.

But some people outside of the city, along with a few residents, have persisted with questions.

Since Oregon became a state, all land under waterways capable of transporting people and goods has generally been considered state-owned. Regardless of ownership, in 2005, Oregon’s attorney general said the public is allowed to use lakes and rivers so long as the water is deep and wide enough to boat in.

San Leandro [CA] high school girls go on hunger strike to oppose fifth year of school budget cuts

Three San Leandro High School students announced Tuesday night that they are holding a hunger strike to protest the fifth year of budget cuts in the school district.

“Hopefully, I draw to your attention, just like my body cannot function on the bare minimum, neither can the student body,” Veronica Mandujano, 18, a senior, told the San Leandro Unified School District board of trustees.

Kayla Ely and Anai Rosales, 17-year-old seniors, also said they would stop eating the next morning to protest the board’s actions. “If you’re going to let us suffer, then let us suffer, but we will be the ones standing up for the kids’ future,” Mandujano said.

Occupy Long Beach Sets Sights on Signal Hill, Rallies to Save Family From Foreclosure

Rachel New and her family-two young daughters, disabled mother, a disabled aunt, and brothers-are threatened with eviction from her home in Signal Hill despite trying for over a year to negotiate a loan modification with her bank.

Rachel came to this country as an immigrant from the killing fields of Cambodia, where she was beaten and starved and saw people shot. She worked hard, graduated from CSU-LB, where she has worked for over 17 years. By the time her dream home was completed, it was underwater.

Education Secretary-led event interrupted by Occupy Austin

Education Secretary Arne Duncan was just starting an education presentation to an audience at Austin Community College when he was interrupted by three protesters from Occupy Austin who stood up and shouted out a prepared statement.
Duncan and the crowd listened to the protesters, who yelled their opposition to policies that allow public schools to be privatized and other issues.
When they were done, according to Education Department spokesman Justin Hamilton, Duncan started to give his presentation and a protester again interrupted, at which point Duncan said that he had listened to the activists quietly and now would like the activists to listen to him and the other speakers. The crowd applauded, Hamilton said.

Letter to the editor: Occupy Athens [GA] protesters know what they’re talking about

Thompson mocks Occupy Athens’ use of “sideshow theatrics” at Monday’s meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Foundation as being “unworthy of serious consideration.” Yet he fails to mention that if Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson and the EDF board had not previously violated the public trust by making an illegal back-room deal in connection with a proposed mixed-use development in downtown Athens, Occupy would not have needed to resort to such tactics in the first place.

Thompson further blames Occupy Athens for potentially shutting down “reasonable discussion” on the mixed-use development and its likely anchor tenant, a 94,000-square-foot Walmart. However, it’s actually Denson and Selig Enterprises, developer for the mixed-use proposal, who have silenced reasonable discussion by refusing to hold town hall meetings on this issue.

Protesters occupy University of Texas at El Paso, raising concerns about student debt and unemployment

In an effort to voice concerns about student loan debt and unemployment, dozens of students set up camp during Occupy College Month in February at the University of Texas at El Paso

“We are here to raise awareness, promote reform, and motivate action,” Orlando V. Cordova, member of Occupy El Paso, said. He added this is also an effort to promote change away from social, political and economic injustices.

In support of the National Day of Action for Education, members of the Occupy movement organized the event and sold donated books to raise funds.

‘Occupy-inspired’ candidate wants to challenge Bachmann for seat in Congress

Minnesota DFLers have their first announced challenger to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann: former state House candidate Anne Nolan of St. Cloud.

Nolan announced her candidacy in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District this afternoon. She’ll have a public event to launch her campaign at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Cloud Library.

Nolan said the national Occupy movement inspired her to run for Congress.

Dozens Protest Proposed Juvenile Jail In Downtown Baltimore

No more jails. That’s the message of dozens of people protesting the state’s plan to build a new youth detention facility in downtown Baltimore.

Ireland, ‘Occupy’ supporters hold protest over camp removal

About 70 Occupy Dame street campaigners, whose camp outside the Central Bank was dismantled by gardaí in the early hours of the morning, took part in a protest outside Pearse Street Garda station this evening.

There were angry scenes between protesters and gardaí outside the Dublin city-centre station but the protesters disbanded shortly before 9pm.

One woman, who claims to have been pushed by gardaí, was treated by an ambulance crew at the scene while one man appeared to have sustained a cut to the head. A Garda spokesman had no comment on the claims.

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