2011 – A Year of Global Uprisings

Occupy Wall Street

Happy New Year, Everyone

I was listening to Democracy Now! earlier this week as they looked back at all of the uprisings around the world during 2011. From Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to Spain, England, Syria, Bahrain, Chile and more, including the US. Time Magazine called them Protesters – and recognized them as the People of the Year. But protester isn’t the right word. Revolutionaries might be better.

It was a fascinating reminder of how many protests there were around the world last year. And also a reminder of the way the power elites used their police and armies to crack down on these uprisings. Read more ›

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Barack Obama Imitates Robert Reich

Robert Reich - Mario Savio Memorial LectureWhen President Obama gave his speech in Osawatomie, Kansas on December 6, many people applauded his hard hitting rhetoric about the things that led to the economic downturn, the way the GOP have obstructed ideas to help relieve the recession and his take on how economic inequality is hurting the country.

I applauded him also, but wondered why it took him so long to make these connections? Robert Reich – former Labor Secretary for President Clinton – has been making these connections for years.You can find a link to his blog in the right-hand column.

In fact, as I read the President’s speech, I had to wonder if Professor Reich had helped write it. Read more ›

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Please help my friend Sam

Sam Mayfield

I met Sam Mayfield (real name Shirley Ann Mayfield – no relation to Sandra) – that’s her holding the video  camera – when she worked at the Center for Media & Democracy in Burlington helping non-profits get their message out to the public. She is also an independent filmmaker who has traveled around the world.

This winter, she found herself in Madison, WI documenting the occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol and the rallies against Governor Walker’s Union-busting bill. At one point she got arrested for disorderly conduct in the Capitol building, which she related to Democracy Now!

Now she is creating a documentary of the uprising and is raising money to be able to finish the project.

If you are not in the Burlington area, but would like to help you can contact Sam at Shirleymayfield@gmail.com or follow her blog Sam Land.

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Occupy Wall Street – Occupy Everywhere

“Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg after police and sanitation workers cleared Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning

“Want to move on up? Move to Denmark.” *

Teaser for Time magazine article on income inequality

The bad news for Mayor Bloomberg, is the the Occupy Wall Street Movement’s arguments are occupying the streets, the media and the conversation.

Maybe the Mayor should read what his employees are writing. From Bloomberg Businessweek Read more ›

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Bank Transfer Day

DSC_0038_1150 by pbriggsiam
DSC_0038_1150, a photo by pbriggsiam on Flickr.
Tomorrow is Bank Transfer Day. If you have an account at one of the Too Big to Fail banks, move it to a Credit Union or local bank. Many have already. Read more ›
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Everything Occupy

Occupy Burlington

I was at the Occupation of City Hall Park in Burlington this evening, on the seventh day of the occupation. I was talking to one of the coordinators who was saying that he didn’t realize how much work went into doing this. All of the logistics, getting people to follow standards, keeping people fed and getting rid of recycling. But spirits were high.

The First Amendment is Our Permit

The First Amendment is Our Permit

For those of you who don’t understand why these permanent occupations are important, let me explain why I think they are. In 2002 and 2003, we made numerous trips from Atlanta to DC or New York for anti-war rallies to try to stop the invasion of Iraq. The trip to New York for the February 15, 2003 world-wide rally was incredible. We were part of more than 200,000 people who jammed the streets. But then we got in our cars or buses and went home, and a month later the invasion began – and we all know how well that turned out.

So, the point of the occupations is to let the powers that be know that we’re not going anywhere. We’re not just here for one day – usually on a weekend, so as not to disrupt much – and then we’ll go home. That you’re going to have to walk past us or see us everyday when you’re on your way to work. We tried it the other way, and it didn’t really make a difference.

Read more ›

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Instagram photo by farrish - FarrishCarter.com

As this movement has continued to grow, the establishment and their police forces have started to move in on the Occupiers. Oakland looked like a war zone yesterday. The Mayor of Atlanta decided that enough was enough and had the police move the Occupiers out of Woodruff Park. He went to the offices of Sun-Trust Bank overlooking the park to watch the action. Who said irony is dead?

I have read and watched many things about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and would like to share two of the most powerful that I have seen.

Chris Hedges, who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years, spoke here in VT around the anniversary of 9/11. He was not very optimistic about the future of our country. He spoke in Washington, DC at the October 2011 Occupation in Freedom Plaza. Here are some excerpts – you can read all of it at Truthdig

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

This video is very powerful because it shows the hypocrisy of our leaders in wanting freedom and police protections for the protesters in the Middle East while police are pepper-spraying the Occupiers of Wall Street.

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