The OB Media Rundown for 4/26/12

At Brown University, a challenge to the student body to come out and support May Day protests [RI]

For the most part, the Brown community does a terrific job of making us aware of our privilege in society. But I want to challenge us to think about our privilege a little differently. Most of the time, we acknowledge our privilege only in order to qualify our opinions and contextualize our point of view. When I reflect on how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to study here and to be of a privileged race, gender and economic status, I often feel undeserving – why is my life and my education more valuable than the billions of other people in the world?

I hope that we can move beyond feeling guilty and helpless. You will all remember that great line from Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Used virtuously, our privilege can inspire and generate hope. I say we celebrate and embrace our responsibility to make the world a better place.

Maybe camping outside in public spaces isn’t your scene – you can still support the essential revolutionary spirit. I challenge the Brown community – if you think the Occupy movement is inept and ill-equipped, when can we try out your solutions?

http://tinyurl.com/73zcj38

Rove’s Tufts visit draws protest

Right-wing lightning rod Karl Rove is expected to speak at Tufts University tonight after he was invited to the Medford campus by the school’s Republican group.

Rove, a prominent Republican strategist who served under President George W. Bush, is also expected to draw protesters, with one group calling him a “torture apologist.”
. . .

Occupy Boston is also promoting a “Karl Rove Un-Welcoming Committee” protest on its website.

http://tinyurl.com/72obr2t

Sugar Daddies – The old, white, rich men who are buying this election

Whatever else happens in 2012, it will go down as the Year of the Sugar Daddy. Inflamed by Obama-hatred, awash in self-pity, and empowered by myriad indulgent court and Federal Election Commission rulings, an outsize posse of superrich white men will spend whatever it takes to have its way with the body politic and, if victorious, with the country itself. Given the advanced age of most of this cohort, 2012 may be seen as the election in which the geezer empire struck back.
. . .

Like corporate donors, sugar daddies tend to seek favors to serve their particular special interests (notably the golden oldies of oil and finance) and dedicate themselves to fighting and avoiding taxes. But their ethos departs from the corporate model. Precisely because they are lone wolves responsible to no one but themselves-not independent shareholders, let alone the communities they plunder-they can be “more ruthless than Wall Street,” as the Newt Gingrich super-PAC put it in its ad attacking Romney’s Bain career. Vulture capitalists are throwbacks not so much to the relatively modern bankers and industrialists whom FDR set out to police in the Great Depression as to the more primitive titans and robber barons of the Gilded Age that Teddy Roosevelt took on a generation earlier.

http://tinyurl.com/737by2r


Occupy Targets Student Debt As National Student Loan Debt Hits $1 Trillion

Among the couple hundred protesters who gathered in Union Square Wednesday then marched down Broadway, beating drums and holding signs, one wore a black graduation robe with the number 40,000 printed on the back.

That’s how many dollars protester Sue Meaney, owes the government and private lenders in student loans. Her daughter graduated from a state school in Pennsylvania in August and Meaney helped foot the bill for her education. She doesn’t expect her daughter to be able to pay back lenders anytime soon. “She’s doing the job she did without a college degree, which is being a waitress,” she said.

http://tinyurl.com/7g43dha

Occupy Maine protesters set sights on student loans

A small group gathered on Monument Square Wednesday evening under the Occupy banner to protest what they said was a student loan system gone out of control.

About 20 activists wearing screen-printed patches reading “Hello, my debt is …” began their protest with a call-and-repeat chant outlining the event’s purpose and timeline.

“Tuition has collateral. How are you going to collect on that?” protesters shouted before declaring that the protest would end with “debtimonials.”

http://tinyurl.com/7lcw42o

‘Occupy The Farm’ demonstration allowed to continue

The University of California appears to be willing to let Occupy protesters stay on agricultural land they took over on Sunday, at least for the time being.

Tuesday night, the dean of natural resources paid a second visit to the Albany lot where protesters have set up tents and began cultivating vegetables. The group has planted over 15,000 seedlings on land used for agricultural research.

The protesters say the university has not given them an ultimatum to leave.

http://tinyurl.com/6qtvqyf

UC Threatens Gill Tract Occupiers With Arrest, Fines

UC Berkeley police on Tuesday told activists occupying the the UC-owned Gill Tract in Albany that they are trespassing and face arrest or fines if they don’t leave.

Using a megaphone and accompanied by three other officers, UC police Sgt. Andrew Tucker entered the field where the protestors have been camped and planting an urban farm since Sunday and issued the warning shortly after 5 p.m.

http://tinyurl.com/77efp9p

Occupy the Farm photo essay

http://tinyurl.com/86bwzfc

Cascadia Forest Defenders and Occupy the Trees establish tree sit [OR]

On Sunday April 22, in celebration of “Earth Defense Day” and in solidarity with Occupy the Trees, Cascadia Forest Defenders installed a tree sit in the Goose Project timber sale known as “Golden”.

We are occupying the Golden Goose in advance of the scheduled auction on Tuesday April 24th to draw attention to the Forest Service’s lack of transparency and reckless commitment to timber quotas. In response to a large community outcry, we are calling for the immediate withdrawal of the proposed sale and a moratorium on all logging operations on public forest in the McKenzie Bridge.

“We cannot continue letting the Forest Service exploit our watershed for the profit of the timber barons,” says Daniel Bowman of Cascadia Forest Defenders.

http://tinyurl.com/7k6q5fn

Occupy Earth: Securing future environmental victories’

Occupy Wall Street has given environmentalists a new platform for fighting the green battles of the 21st century. In mobilizing people to fight back against corporate forces, Occupy Wall Street teaches the American public-and indeed, citizens of the world-that corporations are not the rightful owners of our land, water and air-that Big Business is not the righteous custodian of the earth that it claims to be. Winning environmental battles in the coming years necessitates taking to the streets; it necessitates targeting both greedy corporations and an antagonistic government; and, perhaps most importantly, it necessitates standing in the way of those whose only intention is to reap profits in order to keep them from decimating the earth. We must lug our complaints to the front door of industry and bureaucracy alike-in a word, occupation.

http://tinyurl.com/88r3lmd

May Day: Occupy Wall Street Gears Up For Nationwide Strike

There were many who assumed that the Winter months would put the Occupy Wall Street movement on ice…permanently. But it appears that the thousands who rose up to protest America’s economic inequality and political corruption were only hibernating.

On May 1st, Occupy Wall Street will launch its first major action of 2012: the first truly nationwide general strike in U.S. history.

http://tinyurl.com/7qy49g7

Workers in NYC Plan “99 Picket Lines” In Preparation For May Day

Workers across New York City are organizing “99 Picket Lines” building up to (and through) May 1st (May Day, International Workers Day). On May 1st New Yorkers will join a broad coalition of unions, immigrants rights groups, community- and faith-based organizations, worker centers, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in a mass mobilization against the economic, social, and political injustice wrought by the one percent.

http://tinyurl.com/835edn4

Occupy plans May Day demonstration [Me]

Historically, May 1 has been a day of unity for the working class. This year, the anti-corporate group OccupyMaine plans to bring that meaning back with a May Day demonstration.

“It’s about solidarity,” said Kara Oster, who is coordinating the May Day event.

On International Workers Day, Oster said, OccupyMaine has events planned across the state that will be run in concert with other national and international Occupy events.

http://tinyurl.com/7a73bn9

Lessons from Occupy Homes

Occupy Wall Street changed the conversation. Now the challenge is to change the system (or at least win tangible reforms). So, as spring brings with it a fresh round of Occupy-inspired protests and campaigns, the central question facing the movement is how to transform mass support into mass action.

A large majority of the public – 77%, according to a December Pew Poll – agrees with the basic premise of Occupy Wall Street that big corporations and the 1% have too much power. But across the country, most Occupy events remain small and Occupy groups have failed to sink roots into working-class communities most impacted by Wall Street’s class war policies.

One of the exceptions to this trend is Occupy Homes Minnesota, a growing community campaign against foreclosures that is increasingly looked to as a national model. In a few short months, the campaign met with impressive success.

http://tinyurl.com/7hvkrvy

Slavoj Zizek: The Problem Is Capitalism

The problem facing humanity today-especially those taking to the streets in protest-is an economic system that encourages and rewards greed, says the Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. And leaders who tell us to look elsewhere are merely creating distractions.

In keeping with his trademark style, Zizek uses an obscure, Soviet-era joke to make his point below: Capitalism amplifies and drives greed to the point of consuming everything it touches, including itself. Capitalism is the true enemy of Occupy Wall Street, he says, though most Occupiers already seem to know that.

http://tinyurl.com/co48kdl

As the weather heats up, so does the class struggle

With spring protests planned from Boston to the Bay Area, Occupy remains an unwieldy and unpredictable animal. Though there’s more and more connectivity between organizers nationwide, activists in different cities are pursuing local actions that are only tied to the larger effort in spirit, while hoping that small wins add up to a big kick in the one-percent’s pants.

And they’re joined by a newly invigorated core of allies. A conglomerate of established labor groups and non-profits – banded together as the “99% Spring” – has converged in many places with Occupy.

The various factions don’t always play well together. Some Occupy hands have been hostile to older-school progressive outfits, and suspicious of their ties to the Democratic party. Taken together, though, they have a whole lot of commotion on deck for the spring and summer:

http://tinyurl.com/85zq553

Occupy Uprising – Activist Groups Rally Together Through The Spring

It’s a record-breaking heat on a recent Sunday, and Liberty Park is mobbed by picnicking families, drum circles and extreme Frisbee teams. But not everyone is here for play. In one corner, a motley crew of activists from various groups, including Peaceful Uprising and Occupy Salt Lake City, train on how to politely get arrested. They get a crash course on their rights to silence and against unreasonable search and seizure, and how to tell the difference between being detained and being arrested.

One participant, who had been arrested before, advises his cohorts not to have their cell phones confiscated by police and to prepare for their one call from jail by writing their lawyer’s number upside-down on their stomachs with a permanent marker. It’s just one tip of many from an all-day training session that also includes role playing, with activists pretending to be pompous legislators and businessmen trying to agitate the activists, while activists practice keeping their cool and staying on message.

While the message of sticking it to the corporate man may not be new for these groups, what is new are the strong bonds being formed by progressive activists.

http://tinyurl.com/855hfvl

ACT UP Protesters Arrested In Demonstration Demanding Tax On Wall Street To End AIDS

To commemorate the organization’s 25th anniversary, members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) chained themselves together across Broadway at Wall Street this morning. Activists demanded a Financial Speculation Tax (FST) on Wall Street affecting all transactions and speculative trades in order to raise the money to end the global AIDS epidemic and provide universal healthcare in the Unites States. Police arrived with chain cutters and nine protesters were promptly arrested for obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct-to the sounds of jeering New York Stock Exchange workers. Later, approximately 1,500 demonstrators from organizations like Occupy Wall Street, Housing Works, Vocal NY, and National Nurses United marched from City Hall to the Department of Social Services at 180 Water Street before finally gathering again in front of Trinity Church on Broadway, chanting “Act up! Fight back! Fight AIDS!”

http://tinyurl.com/6nhfcdg

2nd Occupy conference planned in Philadelphia

A group of Occupy protesters is planning a national conference in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July.

Nathan Kleinman, a member of Occupy Philadelphia, says the conference is planned for June 30-July 4 and that it’s endorsed by groups nationwide, including Occupy Wall Street and groups in Texas, Indiana, California, Oklahoma, among others.

Kleinman says the group is preparing for anywhere between 1,000 and more than 5,000 people.

The organizers said Wednesday the conference is not related to a similar one announced for the same time.

http://tinyurl.com/7q9s7qv

Contract Battle Sets Up Possible ‘Occupy’ Shutdown Attempt On Golden Gate Bridge

A difficult contract negotiation sets up the potential for the full shutdown and occupation of the Golden Gate Bridge next week.

Bridge managers are currently at the bargaining table with 25 different unions whose members have been without contracts since June.

Now, the unions are calling for a mass rally and action next Tuesday, the same day as the mass actions being called by local Occupy movement organizers.

http://tinyurl.com/7su23jd

Oklahoma city dumps Bank of America to go with local bank after Occupy protests

The Norman City Council worked into the night Tuesday to complete a lengthy agenda.

Last on the agenda was a proposed change in the city banking contract. Council members approved a contract to place city financial services with Bank of Oklahoma.

The change has been applauded by members of the local Occupy movement who had asked that city funds be placed with a local bank. Previously, Norman’s contracted bank was Bank of America.

http://tinyurl.com/7yjs474

Charges Against Four Occupy Bank Takeover Protesters Thrown Out by Judge [CA]

A Santa Cruz judge Wednesday threw out charges against four Occupy protestors accused of trespassing and vandalizing the vacant Coast Commercial Bank at 75 River St. last November.

Judge Paul P. Burdick said there was no evidence linking the four to the crime of trespass or to a conspiracy to commit felony vandalism at the bank that reported $20,000-$22-000 of expenses cleaning up electrical fixtures, wiring, grafitti and damaged furniture by protesters who held the building for three days.

Burdick also said that the testimony of Santa Cruz Police officer David Gunter who was the lead investigator on the case “was not credible.” The judge said the officer testified in one hearing that he was present in the bank on Dec. 2, but in another hearing said he wasn’t.

http://tinyurl.com/6wscm8q

Letter to the editor: Nonexistent job market [CA]

I sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, many of whom haven’t been as fortunate as me to receive an excellent education. So, when Bill O’Reilly tells the protesters to “go to college, take a shower and then they can get a job,” I wonder what planet he’s living on! It pains me to hear his disregard for the unemployed, especially considering I have worked hard at both school and getting a job, yet remain unemployed.

http://tinyurl.com/7kjoj58

Occupy Delaware participates in Banksleep Protest photo essay

http://tinyurl.com/7blslpl

Austerity accomplishments in the UK

When David Cameron became PM, and announced his austerity plans – buying completely into both the confidence fairy and the invisible bond vigilantes – many were the hosannas, from both sides of the Atlantic. Pundits here urged Obama to “do a Cameron”; Cameron and Osborne were the toast of Very Serious People everywhere.

Now Britain is officially in double-dip recession, and has achieved the remarkable feat of doing worse this time around than it did in the 1930s.

Britain is also unique in having chosen the Big Wrong freely, facing neither pressure from bond markets nor conditions imposed by Berlin and Frankfurt.

http://tinyurl.com/7ad57hb

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