The OB Media Rundown for 4/20/12

Yet Another Obama Big Lie: Mortgage Fraud Investigation Not Even Staffed

The Administration has managed the impressive task of operating in a more cynical fashion than even its worst critics predicted.

We had assumed that the Administration would engage in a Potemkin version of an investigation, bringing a few cases close to the election to generate deceptive and useful “tough on crime” headlines. But having succeeded in protecting the banks, it looks like they can’t even be bothered to go through the motions:

Making our arrests count

From occupying Liberty Square and marching in the streets without permits, to carrying out targeted acts of direct action against the banks that crashed the economy or the courts that auction off people’s homes, winding up in places like this has been an integral part of the Occupy Wall Street’s life since its birth. Yet we’re only at the very beginning of understanding our civil disobedience – the ways in which it grows but also shrinks the movement, the positive and negative impacts it has on the movement’s internal culture, and the challenging but ultimately vital role it plays in the struggle for liberation.

The American Left, Liberalism, and Equality

While some historians dismiss the very notion of an American left, Eli Zaretsky argues that it has made a profound impact on American political life. He examines three historical “lefts”: the abolitionists, the left that coalesced around the New Deal, and the New Left of the ’60s and ’70s. In each case, the left addressed an issue already being debated-slavery, economic depression, civil rights-but transformed equality into the core goal of each movement. In this sense, each left resulted in a “refounding” of America, “a transformation of its identity and of its conception of legitimate order, one that placed equality at its center.”

May Day: A Radical Strike into the Belly of the Beast

May 1st is recognized worldwide as International Workers’ Day, a holiday originating in response to the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where workers fought for the establishment of worker protection measures, namely the eight hour workday. However, while the rest of the world marks May Day as a celebration of the working class, the United States is left with Labor Day-a banker’s holiday hurriedly passed through Congress by Grover Cleveland in an attempt to appease the outrage generated by the murder of railway workers at the hands of United States Army troops during the Pullman Strike.

May Day, along with notions of radical worker action, has largely been ignored in the United States in recent years. But the time for complacency has passed.

America’s Crooked Tax System

Hundreds of Tax Day protesters took to the streets in New York City Tuesday afternoon to demand the “1 percent” and some of the largest corporations in the United States pay their fair share of federal and state taxes.

The event was organized by a broad coalition of progressive groups, including New York Communities for Change, the Working Families Party, UnitedNY and Students For Occupy Wall Street.

Movements on both sides of the Atlantic try to turn bank-owned houses into homes

Today’s housing movement has yet to approach the pace of its predecessors – historians Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais estimate that in 1932, unemployed workers’ councils moved 77,000 evicted families back into their homes in New York City alone. But buoyed by the support of the Occupy movement, housing rights groups have stepped up their efforts.

With more than 1 billion people worldwide now living in informal settlements, journalist Robert Neuwirth argues that squatters’ communities are among the primary creators of housing in the developing world. Now, in the context of a global foreclosure crisis, a squatters’ movement is emerging across the developed world to claim otherwise vacant buildings as homes.

Spring Revival: Occupy Wall Street Seeks to Rejuvenate Movement


Slate writer on poll: ‘Public thinks Occupy’s over, Tea Party’s still (barely) useful’

We don’t get a partisan breakdown, but my educated guess is that Democrats and independents don’t feel the same affinity for a movement that their politicians and media figures stopped endorsing at some point in late December.

D’Marie Mulattieri, Former Irvine Occupier, Running for Congress [CA]

One of the chief organizers of the Irvine Occupation, D’Marie Mulattieri, told the Weekly today she’ll be running for the United States Congress. Campaigning as an independent candidate she’ll run against against the current officeholder, Republican Ed Royce.

Mulattieri was instrumental in the formation of the Occupy movement here in Orange County, which enacted a long-term protest on the lawn of Irvine City Hall last fall.

El Camino College ‘Occupy’ student group demands administrators to take pay cuts in same percentage amounts as program cuts

A couple dozen students who make up “Occupy El Camino” are working to cut administrator salaries at their community college.

At a Monday night meeting of the El Camino Community College District Board of Trustees, fourth-year student Robert Dewitz presented the following handout to the trustees and requested they consider a “reasonable” 20 percent cut that would match the type of cuts made to course sections and other school services.

Protesters choose tax day to send message to rich, corporations

Dozens of protesters converged Tuesday — the day taxes are due this year — in downtown Baltimore to call on corporate America to shoulder a greater tax burden.

The demonstrators said they believe the richest corporations are getting unfair tax breaks at the expense of the other 99 percent of Americans.

Chanting “I am the 99 percent,” nearly 100 protesters chose tax day to declare their outrage at America’s richest citizens and largest corporations.

Yes Lab claims credit for fake Bank of America website

The Yes Lab, a group that helps create and organize creative protests, is taking credit for a fake Bank of America website and press release launched on Wednesday.

The site,, targets the Charlotte-based bank with claims that the company will soon be taken over by taxpayers and is now accepting ideas for how it should be run. The site includes a fake letter attributed to BofA CEO Brian Moynihan, in which he appears to apologize for the bank’s policies.

Occupy the Pennsylvania Primary?

Occupy Erie has endorsed a plan to use the upcoming Primary election to build the strength of the Movement and to send a message to both political parties. “The Occupy movement is deliberately non-partisan. That means we don’t endorse particular candidates for office, and vice-versa. But the only way to change public policy is to engage in the political process. So this is one way for us to put the politicians on notice — we pay attention, we care what happens, and we vote” OE member Rick Albertson.

Occupy Erie is asking everyone to at the minimum write in OCCUPY for all the uncontested races.

Students demand that Georgetown University terminate contract with Adidas

Yesterday, members of Georgetown Solidarity Committee and Georgetown Occupy gathered in Red Square to protest Adidas’s refusal to pay its workers severance at the PT Kizone apparel factory in Indonesia. The students claim the unpaid severance is in violation of both the University’s code of conduct for its licensees and Indonesian law. After demonstrating in Red Square, the crowd marched to President John DeGioia’s office to officially deliver a letter requesting that the University exert more influence on Adidas to pay $1.8 million in severance for the 2,800 workers.

University of Texas Students Arrested For Sweatshop Protest Yesterday

A peaceful protest at the University Tower resulted in the arrest of a group of students yesterday afternoon after 5pm. From Occupy UT’s website: “After a 3-year campaign to ensure that UT apparel is made in factories that respect the rights of their workers, and after three years of having our student and faculty voices ignored by the UT administration, we have made the difficult decision to engage in an act of civil disobedience. As you read this 18 students are peacefully occupying the tower, demanding that President Powers live up to the core values of this university and support human rights by affiliating with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).”

O.W.S. wants to ‘chase’ Bank of America off the NYU campus

N.Y.U. 4 Occupy Wall Street members protested outside Bobst Library last Thursday, calling for N.Y.U. to cut financial ties with JP Morgan Chase and evict its Chase bank branch from its property. The group delivered a letter to John Sexton two weeks earlier asking him to sever N.Y.U.’s relationship with the company. The school president didn’t respond by their April 12 deadline, so they responded with a street-theater skit in which they delivered an eviction letter to a fake Sexton – with white paper

Protesters and Advocacy Groups Demand Information On NYPD’s Handling Of Occupy Wall Street

A coalition of Occupy Wall Street protesters and attorneys for civil rights organizations filed a Freedom of Information Law requesttoday asking the NYPD to reveal “all information concerning the policies guiding the law enforcement response to Occupy demonstrations since last September.” The FOIL request is part of efforts to investigate the government response to the protests.

“Assembly and speech rights are core to our democracy. We have been investigating the police treatment of OWS for months, and the policing of OWS has been abusive and unpredictable,” Emi MacLean, an attorney with the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, said in a statement announcing the request. “Mayor Bloomberg has described the NYPD as his army. It is, of course, not an army but a civilian police force. And even armies require some measure of transparency and accountability.”

No War on Iran: Occupy AIPAC [OR]

A coalition of peace, human rights, and Palestine solidarity organizations announced today that they would hold a demonstration outside the annual Oregon fund-raising dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday, April 29. The demonstration will protest AIPAC’s role in promoting a military attack on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities.

Borough gives Occupy Fairbanks protesters marching orders

The Fairbanks North Star Borough gave Occupy Fairbanks protesters written notice Thursday that they need to remove tents and other camping gear from Veterans Memorial Park by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The letter sites two borough park rules adopted by the borough assembly last Thursday. It threatens “further actions” to “compel the removal,” if the tents and other camping material are not removed.

Asked what further action might entail, borough spokeswoman Sally Stuvek said she did not know, but that it would likely involve “some kind of legal action.”

Occupy Dataran: Lessons from Wall Street [Malaysia]

No one is just sitting around doing nothing even if they are not participating in these activities simply because it’s impossible to spend hours outside one’s comfort zone without at least reflecting on the motivation for doing so.

And that motivation is to hold on to that space so they can have a voice again. It is the same reason Occupy Wall Street’s protesters clung to Zuccotti Park despite the threat of midnight raids and returned to it even after New York City police officers cleared the area.

Rally Against Austerity Measures Held in Ljubljana [Slovenia]

Some 150 protesters gathered at a rally organised by the 15o group, Slovenia’s Occupy movement, to protest against austerity measures and the “crisis dictatorship”. Meeting in a park in Ljubljana’s city centre on Thursday, they stressed the measures were unfair because they were aimed at those who were not responsible for the crisis.

Quebec student movement challenges economic austerity

The student movement in Quebec is an incredibly important development, with implications that reach well beyond provincial borders. The movement emerged in response to a 75 per cent increase in tuition fees to be implemented over the next five years, but it has quickly evolved into something far more significant. “People are starting to realize that the real problem behind the rising tuition fees and the commodification of education is something related to a socioeconomic system that is behind it all,” said Frank Lévesque-Nicol, a spokesperson for a protest that was held on February 2, 2012. The student movement has rekindled the political imagination to a degree not seen since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. This is the most troubling and dynamic period in recent Quebec history, and the possibility that this energy will foster fundamental social change is very real.

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