Non-Profits: Tethered to the System, Not to the People

Why NonProfits Can’t Lead the 99%

[A seasoned movement elder examines what happens left organizations are led exclusively by college-educated professionals answerable to self-perpetuating boards and philanthropic funders, what happens when union leaderships free themselves from their memberships, and when community organizations become government contractors.  Only membership supported and membership-driven organizations, he suggests, can actually lead the 99%.”]

Why NonProfits Can’t Lead the 99%
by Warren Marr

Warren Mar has written a provocative piece on the role of Community Based Organizations and Worker Centers in the working class movement. He explores controversial issues of the funding and democratic control of these organizations which have filled a vacuum in organizing particularly among immigrant workers.

The author entered community and labor organizing in the late 60’s and early 70’s during the second resurgence of a left alternative to capitalism. Many new left activists entered the labor movement during this time, hoping that American Unions would finally represent the entire working class, and not only those workers under a specific work place contract.

Even at its peak in 1953 the AFL-CIO unions only represented 33% of American workers. This year coincided with continuing legal Jim Crow segregation in the South, excluding African Americans from unions, and years of Asian and Latino exclusion from unions on the West Coast. Therefore the 33% reflected on longingly by union old-timers may have represented a majority of white males concentrated in heavy industry and the skilled construction trades of the Midwest and Northeast. This was the geographic concentration of the majority of union members during the height of the AFL-CIO. Not until the late 60’s and early 70’s when public sector unions were formed and – and public sector civil service jobs were integrated – did large numbers of women and minorities become card-carrying AFL-CIO union members even in the most liberal of northern cities. Continue reading

China: Over 30 years since capitalism seized power, the slow discard of socialist fig-leaf

[While the  use of “reform” language undoubtedly refers to the planned bourgeois “democratic” invigoration of capitalist forces — and to no hope for “democratic” relief for the peasants and workers suffering greater impoverishment (as fruit of their removal from socialist power) — the discarding of Maoist imagery by the billionaire capitalist rulers of “reform” China is unmistakeably clear. — Frontlines ed.]

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Reuters:  “China hints at reform by dropping Mao wording”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

* Removal of wording about Mao Zedong signals push for reform – analyst

* Internal debate about direction of incoming leadership

* Others say it may be too soon to write off Mao’s deep legacy

By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The subtle dropping of references to late Chinese leader Mao Zedong from two policy statements over the last few weeks serves as one of the most intriguing hints yet that the ruling Communist Party is planning to move in the direction of reform.

Mao has always been held up as an ideological great in party communiques, his name mentioned almost by default in homage to his role in founding modern China and leading the Communist Party, whose rule from the 1949 revolution remains unbroken.

Which is why the dropping of the words “Mao Zedong thought” from two recent statements by the party’s elite Politburo ahead of a landmark congress, at which a new generation of leaders will take the top party posts, has attracted so much attention.

Also absent were normally standard references to Marxism-Leninism. Continue reading

Why the First Amendment Won’t Protect Occupiers

The courts have protected free speech for those who own the presses--like Bloomberg--not for the people who oppose the Bloombergs

By Bill Blum, Truthdig, November 16, 2011

From Oakland to Chapel Hill, from Portland to Zuccotti Park, the message to the Occupy movement is clear: It’s time to fold up your tents and retreat from the public square or be carted off to jail.

From coast to coast, protesters have responded to the edicts with largely passive physical resistance and, in some cities, court challenges rooted in the First Amendment and animated by the popular mythology surrounding the amendment’s depth and reach. The movement, we’re told, is shielded by the rights of freedom of speech and assembly and those rights trump whatever interests (whether legitimate or feigned) that municipalities may have in maintaining public health and safety.

It’s impossible at this early stage of the crackdown to predict how each local legal case will play out. Depending upon the precise wording of city ordinances, state statutes and the manner in which police raids are conducted, the Occupiers may score some litigation victories, such as the short-lived temporary restraining order issued by a state court judge after the early morning police attack Tuesday on Zuccotti Park in New York City. But most of the legal challenges are likely to end in defeat, as occurred in New York when another judge ruled after a lengthy hearing that the overnight camping must end even though protesters may return to the park. Continue reading

The “democratic rights” of the growing opposition in the U.S.

[The lofty democratic claims of US imperialism often evoke the language of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  But the common practice of the capitalist state toward oppressed and targeted communities, or when facing growing anti-capitalist movements, is contrary to such stated “rights.” — Frontlines ed.]

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12 Most Absurd Laws Used to Stifle the Occupy Wall St. Movement Around the Country

As protests spring up in cities across the country, authorities are thinking up creative ways to contain this peaceful uprising.

by Rania Khalek, AlterNet
October 14, 2011 — As Occupy Wall Street protests spring up in cities across the country, authorities are thinking up creative ways to contain this peaceful and inspiring uprising. Although laws and municipal ordinances vary from city to city, there is a consistency in the tactics being used to stifle the movement. More importantly, as demonstrated by the protesters at Zuccotti Park who kept strong in the face of a looming eviction that never came to fruition, these maneuvers are not working.

Still, there is no shortage of justifications and rationales behind the constantly evolving schemes being implemented to destroy the spirit of Occupy Wall Street. Here are 12 desperate and unsuccessful measures the authorities are using to discourage, deter and crack down on peaceful protests.

1) No Snoozing In Public

Most cities have an anti-camping ordinance on the books that prohibits camping or sleeping in public spaces, particularly public parks, to minimize the risk of nighttime criminal activity. But the ordinances are frequently used to cleanse cities of the inconvenient and uncomfortable scenery of homeless people; police in San Francisco are known for enforcing the city’s camping ordinance primarily against the homeless. Continue reading