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

Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?

Coordination of government information and strategy often takes place in the “White House Situation Room.” Could this be where the repression of the Occupy Wall Street movement was planned? A White House press statement in May 2011 said of the Situation Room, “Providing the latest information and alerts, it’s the nerve center for the U.S. government, the place where we come together to make policy and respond to crises from wars abroad to floods at home.”

May 14, 2012, Counterpunch
Documents Show How White House and Democrats Worked to Protect the Banks Against Protests

by DAVE LINDORFF
A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

The new documents, which PCJF National Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard insists “are likely only a subset of responsive materials,” in the possession of federal law enforcement agencies, only “scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.” 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

Oakland’s Dirty War: Coercive Attrition and the Occupy Movement

January 09, 2012
by GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER, Counterpunch

As winter sets in, the Occupy Movement nationwide confronts a new series of challenges. Conspiring with the weather, however, is the threat of a shifting policing model currently being tested out in Oakland.

Coercive Attrition

The Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci spoke of a distinction between “war of position” and “war of maneuver,” between those gradual and occasionally imperceptible political struggles that occur every day and the frontal attack on power toward which they eventually build. While this distinction is necessary, it should not be overstated, and nor can we associate the war of position too directly with ideological struggle and war of maneuver with direct military attacks on and by the coercive apparatus of the state. Recent events in Oakland and the strategy of coercive attrition directed against the Occupy Movement make perfectly clear just how insufficient such a correlation would be.

Recent weeks have seen the Occupy Movement confronted with a war of attrition nationwide: as cold weather sets in, many cities have opted to wait out the movement, allowing excitement to fade and the movement to devour itself in the petty squabbles of disempowerment. Often, though, this strategy of passive attrition operates alongside a more aggressive approach. In Philadelphia, for example, a hands-off approach to the now-decamped Occupy Philly operates in tandem with ferocity toward those who step out of line in a transparent attempt to bully radicals into submission (as with the case of two housing activists currently facing multiple felonies).

But it is in Oakland more than anywhere else that friendly weather and sustained militancy have given rise to a different approach, one similarly premised on chipping away at the movement through attrition and fatigue but doing so in a far more repressive manner. One key ingredient to this peculiar constellation of forces is the empty vessel perched atop the city government: Mayor Jean Quan. Quan was discredited long ago and from all sides, hated by the left for unleashing the near fatal attacks on Occupy Oakland in October, and by the right (represented by OPD and the City Council) for not taking a harder line. Now, having opted to vacillate rather than stand on the side of history, she will simply be hoping to serve out her term and avoid an embarrassing recall campaign.

This vacillation has been nowhere clearer than on the question of the epic Port Shutdowns on November 2nd and December 12th, the first of which catapulted Occupy Oakland to the forefront of the national movement, and the second of which demonstrated a capacity for coordinated militancy not seen in this country for decades at least. Since it was Quan who took the heat for the unrestrained actions of police in October, one could hardly blame the Mayor for hesitating to unleash OPD and other forces against those blocking the port. But when Quan suggested that the city might not be able to prevent future shutdowns of the port, her critics in City Council found powerful echo in Governor Jerry Brown. But for now at least, OPD’s hands are at least partially tied, and the full-on assaults of many an officer’s dream go unfulfilled for now.

Blocked from engaging in a brutal war of maneuver, OPD’s strategy has been a different one, and what remains of Occupy Oakland’s presence in Oscar Grant Plaza has seen small raids with a handful of arrests several times a week. While some interpret this half-heartedness by the forces of order as a sign of impotence, the frequency, the timing, and the serious charges incurred in the raids speak to a more sinister strategy. Continue reading

New York Times: “A Village in Revolt Could Be a Harbinger for China”

[As the US imperialists and China (capitalist, emerging-imperialists) continued their mutual criticism and competitive challenges, the New York Times explores the rebellion in Wukan as a symbol of China’s political instability–and thereby raise some larger questions, parallel in some ways to the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements sparking off, with domino-effect, many such protests and revolts. — Frontlines ed.]

By , New York Times, December 25, 2011

BEIJING — China’s state-run media have had a field day this autumn with Occupy Wall Street, spinning an almost daily morality play about capitalism gone amok and an American government unable or unwilling to aid the victims of a rapacious elite.

Residents of Wukan rallied to demand the government take action over illegal land grabs and the death of a local leader on December 15.

Occupy Wukan is another matter entirely. The state press has been all but mute on why 13,000 Chinese citizens, furious over repeated rip-offs by their village elite, sent their leaders fleeing to safety and repulsed efforts by the police to retake Wukan. But the village takeover can be ignored only at Beijing’s peril: There are at least 625,000 potential Wukans across China, all small, locally run villages that frequently suffer the sorts of injustices that prompted the outburst this month in Wukan.

“What happened in Wukan is nothing new. It’s all across the country,” said Liu Yawei, an expert on local administration who is the director of the China program at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

A second analyst, Li Fan, estimated, in an interview, that 50 percent to 60 percent of Chinese villages suffered governance and accountability problems of the sort that apparently beset Wukan, albeit not so severe. Mr. Li leads the World and China Institute, a private nonprofit research center based in Beijing that has extensively studied local election and governance issues.

On paper, the Wukan protests never should have happened: China’s village committees should be the most responsive bodies in the nation because they are elected by the villagers themselves. Moreover, the government has built safeguards into the village administration process to ensure that money is properly spent.

"Wukan abuts a natural harbor that is ideal for development."

Village self-administration, as the central government calls it, is seen by many foreigners as China’s democratic laboratory — and while elections can be rigged and otherwise swayed, many political scientists say they are, on balance, a good development.

Actually running the villages, however, is another matter. Village committees must provide many of the services offered by governments, such as sanitation and social welfare, but they cannot tax their residents or collect many fees. Any efforts to raise additional money, for things like economic development, usually need approval from the Communist Party-controlled township or county seats above them.

In practice, the combination of the villages’ need for cash and their dependence on higher-ups has bred back-scratching and corruption between village officials and their overseers. China’s boom in land prices has only broadened the opportunity for siphoning off money from village accounts.

And the checks and balances — a village legislature to sign off on major decisions, a citizens’ accounting committee to watch over the village books — have turned out to be easily manipulated by those who really hold the power.

“Land sales are where the big money is,” Edward Friedman, a political science professor and a China scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a telephone interview. “Every level can see how much better the level above it is doing. And each one wants to live at least that well. The system has within it a dynamic which makes people feel it’s only fair that they get their share of the wealth.”

The opportunities to get that share are vast, apparently. In 2003, a candidate for village committee chairman in Laojiaotou village, in Shanxi Province, spent two million renminbi — then about $245,000 — to campaign for an office that paid 347 renminbi a month, the Chinese journal Legal News reported at the time.

In interviews this month, leaders of the Wukan protest said it was common knowledge that local government and Communist Party officials had spent millions of renminbi to buy potentially lucrative posts. They maintained that Wukan’s village committee stayed in power in part by threatening any challenges to its continued rule. Continue reading

December 12: Occupy Protesters Target Ports – a Special Report

Protests targeting West Coast ports on Monday stopped work shifts and shipments for hours with major disruptions at the ports of Long Beach and Oakland.

Hundreds of people gathered at ports in the early morning hours from San Diego all the way up to Vancouver, Canada. Protesters targeted in particular, terminals owned by a company named SSA Marine because it is co-owned by the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, and grain exporter EGT for anti-union activity.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, thousands of whose workers are employed by SSA Marine, did not sanction the action but respected the Occupiers’ picket lines. While some workers complained to press about a day’s worth of lost wages, an open letter by four port truckers decrying their working conditions, and in support of the spirit of the port shutdown, has received broad attention. In it, they say “we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12.”

Protestors significantly disrupted business at the Longview, Washington port, where companies sent workers home citing health and safety concerns. In Seattle, Washington hundreds of protestors shut down at least one port terminal and police turned out with flash bang percussion grenades to disperse the demonstrators. Here in Southern California, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles saw hundreds of Occupy activists gather near Harry Bridges park and block shift changes for several hours. Police then pushed protesters out of the area, and arrested a small number of people. The longest port occupation appears to be Oakland’s, where protestors disrupted traffic into the port until 4am December 13.

Uprising correspondent Lydia Breen was at the Occupy the Ports action at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles yesterday and filed this special report.

Lydia Breen is with The Trailer Trash Project online at http://www.trailertrashproject.com.

Article printed from uprisingradio.org: http://uprisingradio.org/home

 

URL to article: http://uprisingradio.org/home/2011/12/13/occupy-protesters-target-ports-a-special-report/

 

 

‘Occupy’ protesters reclaiming foreclosed homes in 20 cities

By David Edwards, rawstory.com, December 6, 2011

Occupy Our Homes protest (Vocal New York)

The 99 percent movement, which has been evicted from many of their encampments across the country, is finding common cause with thousands of homeowners who are also being evicted from their homes.

Even though the movement has often been criticized for a lack of defined goals, Tuesday’s “Occupy Our Homes” action in at least 20 cities makes it clear that they are standing up to banks to reverse foreclosures.

“We’re in the neighborhood in New York City that had the highest number of foreclosure filings in 2010 to send a message that the economy is failing the 99 percent,” Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told Raw Story from a Brooklyn neighborhood as about 200 protesters chanted in the background.

“We’re here because [there are] a lot of empty buildings owned by Wall Street banks and we’re going to liberate them.”

Tasha Glasgow, the single mother of a 9-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, was expected to be one of the first occupants of a reclaimed home. Barry said that Glasgow, who had been in and out of the shelter system in New York City, had been slated to get a Section 8 voucher before budget cuts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg put an end to that promise.

“We’ve gained access to the home, and we’ve got the support of the neighbors,” Barry explained. “They’re going to start occupying it. … And then, there’s going to be 24/7 eviction defense by Occupy Wall Street.”

There were over 40 events planned in more than 20 cities Tuesday, but that is just the beginning.

“When it comes to Wall Street’s control over our economy, our democracy and our lives, there’s few better examples than the housing crisis,” Barry noted. “Occupy Wall Street is going to continue to support this national Occupy Our Homes campaign, and both defend homeowners who are being threatened with eviction due to foreclosure, and to move families that need homes into vacant buildings that banks are just sitting on.”

Solidarity with Occupy LA against threatened eviction

US Human Rights Network, November 26, 2011                       
 

STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH OCCUPY LOS ANGELES

 The following statement is in response to the threatened closure of Occupy Los Angeles by city officials at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011

 Atlanta, GA – The United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) stands in full solidarity with Occupy Los Angeles and the Occupy Movement. Occupy LA and the Occupy movement have issued a clarion call to the exploiters and the exploited, sending a clear message that the violation of the fundamental economic, social and cultural rights of the 99% will no longer be tolerated.
 

We stand opposed to the initiatives of the authorities on all levels of government to destroy the Los Angeles Commune. And we pledge to do everything within our power to fully expose the schemes of the FBI and mercenary forces like the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to undermine and destroy the Occupy Communes throughout the country, simply because they don’t adhere to the political program of the Democrats or the Republicans.

These violations of the civil and political rights of the 99% will not be tolerated. We will resist and we will win.

Solidarity Forever!

Kali Akuno, Acting Co-Director

US Human Rights Network

 

– –

The primary goal of the United States Human Rights Network, an Atlanta-based coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the country, is to increase the visibility of the US human rights movement and link U.S.-based human rights activists with the global human rights movement.  Its National Conference and Members Meeting will be held Dec. 9 – 11, 2011, at the Radisson LAX Hotel. The Network’s biannual conference comes to the city during a time of unprecedented discontent with the nation’s Depression Era-level joblessness and growing economic inequality.  Due to the Network’s firm belief that economic rights are also human rights, the USHRN stood in full support of the Occupy Movement in Los Angeles and other cities since their inception, protesting the collusion of government and economic elites.  www.ushrnetwork.org

 
         

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Occupy UC Davis students, peacefully demonstrating, vs. Police State, pepper spray

Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis

terrydatiger on Nov 18, 2011

During peacefully Occupy Movement, police came in to tear down tents and proceeded to arrest students who stood in their way. Once students peacefully demanded the release of the arrested, a police officer unnecessarily pepper sprays the students to open a path for the rest of the officers

Human Rights, the Occupy Movement, and Lessons from the Ella Baker Model of Organizing

by the US Human Rights Network

The financial and economic collapse that began in 2007-2008 became the essential catalyst, domestically and internationally, for the rebellion against neoliberalism that we are witnessing today. Neoliberalism, in its very essence is a violation of human rights. According to Elizabeth Martinez of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), the components of neoliberalism include: the rule of the market; cutting public expenditures for social services; deregulation; privatization; and eliminating the concept of the public good and replacing it with individual responsibility.” To implement these repressive policies governments around the world have invested in the construction of massive repressive agencies and criminalized and/or otherwise alienated millions in order to protect the interests of the ruling elites.

The current, national Occupy Wall Street movement received its inspiration from the wave of rebellions that swept North Africa beginning in December 2010 and spread from there to the Middle East and Europe. Here in the U.S., we have been inspired by the actions of tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers and youth who descended on the grounds of the state Capitol in February of this year to oppose a budget proposal that would strip government unions of most bargaining rights. Deeper still, these actions are part and parcel of an escalating wave of resistance to neoliberalism that commenced with the onset of the global financial and economic crisis. This resistance has included acts of civil disobedience to escalating food prices in numerous countries throughout the world, worker occupations of factories in Europe and Asia, housing occupations in the US and Europe, massive student strikes in Latin America (including Puerto Rico) and Europe, and massive demonstrations against the corporate takeover of the world’s water, oil, and other natural resources. Without question, the inequities of the global capitalist system and the harsh excesses of its accompanying neoliberal ideology have become the target of the anger of the vast majority of the peoples’ of the world.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) first took shape in New York City in September and the Occupy Movement has since spread to 70 major cities and 600 communities. Using the slogan “We are the 99%!,” the corruption, speculation, and exploitation of the corporations and banks and their domination of the political system has been the central theme. There have been numerous demonstrations, actions, and arrests which have occurred across the country. On November 2, for example, the Port of Oakland was shut down by demonstrators that included support from Oakland’s largest union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, along with the Oakland Education Association (OEA), International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Many organizations in the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) believe this is an excellent opportunity to introduce the human rights framework into the discussion about the long-term vision of this movement and where it should be headed next. A sampling of some of the engagement of Network members clearly illustrates this point. Continue reading

Occupy Toronto faces the globalisation of the US’ repression of “occupy” movement

Occupy Toronto Eviction Notice

Occupy Toronto eviction notice

November 15, 2011 –Protesters Ordered to Vacate Park as from 12:00 midnight to 5:30 AM. Rally at 11 PM

by Megan Kinch – Reposted from toronto.mediacoop.ca

Occupy Toronto has been given an eviction notice as of 12:00 midnight tonight, and are forbidden from using the park between 12:01 AM and 5:30 A.M.  There will be an all-out rally to save the occupation at 11 PM tonight (November 15th) at St. James Park at King and Church streets.

The City says “The City recognizes the rights of Canadians to gather and protest. However, the City has determined that it cannot allow the current us of St. James Park to continue. In particular, the City can no longer permit the appropriation of St. James Park by a relatively small group of people to the exclusion of all others wishing to use the park and to the detriment of of those in the vicinity of the park. In addition, the current use of the park by Occupy Toronto and others occupying St. James Park is causing damage to the park and interfering with necessary winter maintenance of the park.”

There is a second page to the notice serving official notification of trespass.

Occupiers have been receiving support from thousands of Torontonians, as well as many local residents and local businesses, and have offered to co-operate fully with city staff in winter maintenance. In the minds of protesters and many in the city, this eviction is political. Continue reading

Makana, Hawaiian singer/activist, took Occupy song “We Are the Many” to Obama

We Are The Many

Lyrics and Music by Makana
Makana Music LLC © 2011

We Are The Many

Ye come here, gather ’round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who’ve trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage

From underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won’t withdraw

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can’t divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can’t buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few

——————————————————————

Makana sings Occupy protests songs to President Obama and APEC leaders

By , Washington Post Lifestyle ArtsPost, 11/14/2011

President Barack Obama is busy in his home state of Hawaii meeting with Pacific Rim leaders on matters of global security and world economy. Even though Obama decided to skip the practice of goofy costumes at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the leaders are still getting a healthy sampling of the Hawaiian culture. One such display, though, may not be exactly what the White House had in mind.
Makana, a popular Hawaiian troubador, was enlisted to sing and play his guitar in the background at a dinner Obama and other leaders attended Saturday night. His song of choice: a 45-minute montage of protest songs, all while wearing a shirt that read “Occupy with Aloha.” Continue reading

Arundhati Roy on Occupy Wall Street, Empire, Obama, and Walking with the Comrades

Democracy Now, November 15, 2011

AMY GOODMAN: We return now to the renowned Indian writer, global justice activist, Arundhati Roy. She has written many books, including The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize. Her journalism and essays have been collected in books including An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. Arundhati Roy’s latest book, just out, is called Walking with the Comrades, a chronicle of her time in the forests of India alongside rebel guerrillas who are resisting a military campaign by the Indian government.

Last week, I sat down with Arundhati Roy when she came to New York—she had just visited Occupy Wall Street on her first day in New York—to talk about the significance of this, but also we spoke about the Arab Spring. We talk about her walk with the Maoists in India. Tomorrow, she will be speaking at Washington Square Park, part of a national day of action. First, Arundhati discusses Occupy Wall Street.

ARUNDHATI ROY: You know, what they are doing becomes so important because it is in the heart of empire, or what used to be empire, and to criticize and to protest against the model that the rest of the world is aspiring to is a very important and a very serious business. So I think that it makes me—it makes me very, very hopeful that after a long time you’re seeing some nascent political, real political anger here.

It does—I mean, it does need a lot of thinking through, but I would say that, to me, fundamentally, you know, people have to begin to formulate some kind of a vision, you know, and that vision has to be the dismantling of this particular model, in which a few people can be allowed to have an unlimited amount of wealth, of power, both political as well as corporate. You know, that has to be dismantled. And that has to be the aim of this movement. And that has to then move down into countries like mine, where people look at the U.S. as some great, aspirational model. Continue reading