US: “The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats”

Counterpunch, Weekend Edition March 15-17, 2013

Paid to Lose

by JOHN STAUBER

A major concentration of the "Progressive Movement" -- the makeover of imperialism from Bush to Obama

A major concentration of the “Progressive Movement” — the makeover of imperialism from Bush to Obama

There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

Does this information concern you?  If not, you need to get out of the propaganda bubble of your Progressive Movement echo chamber and think.  Think hard.  Think about fundamental, radical, democratic, social and economic change, who might bring it about and how.  Ask yourself if the the rich elite, the 1%, are going to fund that.   Leave The Nation and Mother Jones on the shelf;  turn off Ed Schultz, Rachel Madow and Chris Hayes;  don’t open that barrage of email missives from Alternet, Media Matters, MoveOn, and the other think tanks;  and get your head out of the liberal blogosphere for a couple days.  Clear your mind and consider this:

The self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.

The Progressive Movement that exists today is their success story.  The Democratic elite created  a mirror image of the type of astroturf front groups and think tanks long ago invented, funded and promoted by the Reaganites and the Koch brothers.  The liberal elite own the Progressive Movement.  Organizing for Action, the “non-partisan” slush fund to train the new leaders of the Progressive Movement is just the latest big money ploy to consolidate their control and keep the feed flowing into the trough.

The professional Progressive Movement that we see reflected in the pages of The Nation magazine, in the online marketing and campaigning of MoveOn and in the speeches of Van Jones, is primarily a political public relations creation of America’s richest corporate elite, the so-called 1%, who happen to bleed Blue because they have some degree of social and environmental consciousness, and don’t bleed Red.  But they are just as committed as the right to the overall corporate status quo, the maintenance of the American Empire, and the monopoly of the rich over the political process that serves their economic interests. Continue reading

Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

, guardian.co.uk, Saturday 29 December 2012
Occupy Oakland clashes

[Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP]

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens. Continue reading

“Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street”

Law school clinics criticize NYPD response to Occupy protests

7/25/2012

NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) – New York police officers have used excessive force, made unjustified arrests and engaged in pervasive surveillance in violation of the rights of Occupy Wall Street protesters, according to a report released by two law school clinics Wednesday.

The report documents 130 separate incidents of alleged abuse by law enforcement authorities and calls for the creation of an independent inspector general to monitor the New York City Police Department.

Some critics of the department’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, have also called for an inspector general. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that such a position is unnecessary.

“Many of the reported allegations individually indicate clear violations of the government’s obligation to uphold assembly and expression rights,” says the 132-page report, which was produced after eight months of research.

The report, “Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street,” was authored by members of the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. It was delivered Wednesday to the NYPD, the Department of Justice and the United Nations. Continue reading

Wells Fargo Bank — reformist shareholders are locked out of the Annual Meeting

The Occupy Movement is building a protest campaign against Wells Fargo Bank's profiting from predatory lending, immigrant detention centers, and private prisons

Wells Fargo Denies Access to Shareholders at Annual Meeting
by Maurice Weeks‚ Beyond Chron, Apr. 25‚ 2012

Unprecedented move denies legal right of hundreds of shareholders to attend meeting, suggests Wells Fargo executives unwilling to deal with face-to-face criticism; Protests part of new wave of 99% activism holding big corporations accountable over CEO pay, tax dodging

SAN FRANCISCO — In an unprecedented move today, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf denied entry to hundreds of community shareholders. Having been waiting for hours to attend the corporation’s annual shareholder meeting, the community shareholders were denied entry by Wells Fargo in an attempt to avoid answering questions from community members that had planned to attend the meeting to hold the corporation accountable for its destructive business practices that profit from communities’ losses.

Wells Fargo restricted entry to the community shareholders with barricades, claiming they were filled to capacity while they continued to let in shareholders that were not part of the protest through a side door. Wells Fargo also packed the room with its own employees so as to allow no room for additional shareholders to access the meeting, making inaccurate claims about the meeting room’s capacity.

Outside the meeting, thousands of people gathered in downtown San Francisco, to confront Wells Fargo executives at the financial institution’s annual shareholder meeting, demanding that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and other executives address the concerns of the 99%. “Wells Fargo’s actions today demonstrate what communities across this country have been experiencing for years: Wells Fargo is indifferent to the havoc they are wreaking in our communities and they do not want to be held accountable,” said Wallace Hill, whose home was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo in Oakland. Continue reading

“Million Hoodie and Hijab contingent” on May Day

ROOTS (formerly Occupy the Hood), People’s Community Medics, and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement invite you to

Join the Million Hoodie & Hijab contingent on May Day!

as part of the Dignity and Resistance march in Fruitvale & the International May Day mobilizations for workers & im/migrants

Tuesday, May 1

Meet at 3:00pm at Fruitvale BART plaza.
After the rally, we’ll join the march to San Antonio Park and on to Downtown Oakland.

Uniting our struggles against racist profiling and oppression
In honor of: Trayvon Martin (Sanford, FL), Sergio Huereca (El Paso), Shaima Alawadi (San Diego), Oscar Grant (Oakland), Ramarley Graham (Bronx), Rekia Boyd (Chicago), Danny Chen (U.S. Army), Kenneth Chamberlain (NY), Agnes Torres (Puebla) and all people attacked, detained, brutalized, and killed by racist violence.

We will wear our hoodies, our hijabs, our rebosos, in solidarity with each other for:

* An end to police brutality and vigilante murders *
* An end to splitting up and deporting our families *
* An end to the oppression of all immigrant communities *
* An end to all forms of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia *
* An end to evictions, foreclosures, and gentrification *
* An end to school closures and funneling our children into private prisons *

We call for Black, Brown, & Arab Unity against institutional racism
We want: Schools not jails. Homes not banks. People not profits. Immigrant rights. Civil Rights. HUMAN rights for all! Continue reading

Dept. of “Homeland Security” Documents Show Role in Occupy Crackdown

Occupy protesters and police clash outside Zuccotti park in New York, 11/17/11. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

By Justice Online, The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

25 March 2012

trove of documents released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a FOIA request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee reveal that federal law enforcement agencies began their coordinated intelligence gathering and operations on the Occupy movement even before the first tent went up in Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.On September 17, 2011, a Secret Service intelligence entry in its Prism Demonstrations Abstract file records the opening of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The demonstration location that the Secret Service was protecting? The “Wall Street Bull.” The name of the Protectee? The “U.S. Government.”

American taxpayers might find it odd to learn that the Secret Service was on duty to protect the Wall Street Bull in the name of protecting the U.S. Government. But there it is.

The DHS’s Game of Three Card Monte to Deflect Disclosure of Law Enforement Operations

These documents, many of which are redacted, show that the highest officials in the Department of Homeland Security were preoccupied with the Occupy movement and have gone out of their way to project the appearance of an absence of federal involvement in the monitoring of and crackdown on Occupy.

On the street it would be called “Three Card Monte,” a swindler’s game to hide the ball – a game of misdirection. The House always wins.

The DHS, as revealed in the newly released documents, has engaged in what appears to be a effort to avoid looking for Occupy related materials where it is likely to be found, including in Fusion Centers and DHS sub-divisions such as the Operations Coordination & Planning sub-division which is responsible for DHS coordination with local and federal law enforcement partners. Continue reading

The police violence that many have always known, and others now discover

[New artwork from Rachel Marie Crane-Williams, on the USprisonculture.com blog.  We look forward to more of her cartoon art of exposure and reality. — Frontlines ed.]