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    • We Are Going To Go Thru Hell, So What Now?
      I was born in 1968, the year Wallerstein calls one of “world revolution”. It was a revolution that both failed and succeeded: women and minorities got more rights, often a lot more, but the end result was an oligarchy, where most people were equal in their lack of power, and where every year saw ordinary people becoming poorer, no matter what the official st […]
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Friday: Your Hell doesn’t scare me

Jon Stewart declared war on Christmas the other night.  Bill O’Reilly said he was going to hell.  Jon’s not scared.

Check it out here.

Come to think of it, none of the right wing haka should scare you.  Or left wing haka, for that matter.  We’re not children.  They can try to use fear to get us to fall in line but if it doesn’t make sense from a personal values point of view, then we shouldn’t give in to fear or intimidated into silence.

I’ve heard that the Occupy Movement is over and was a failure.  I disagree.  I think the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with local police, have used overwhelming force in order to scare people into shutting up and becoming invisible again, like that’s going to work.  The parties have been complicit in painting occupiers as dirty, lazy and criminal, but we have the pictures that prove otherwise.

Zuccotti Park Occupation, October 2011

And just because the camps are gone, that doesn’t mean the movement is gone.  The movement is not tied to a specific locale.  The movement is us and anyone who regards economic and social injustice as unacceptable for America and the world.

As far as I know, 2 + 2 still equals 4.

For those of you who weren’t with us in 2008, let me bring you up to speed.  The parties and minions of the 1% are going to try very hard to instill in us a sense of “learned helplessness”.  That’s what the overwhelming use of force was all about when the police evicted the Occupy camps.  The evictions were coordinated and we can assume that Obama was onboard with them.  They *want* the 99% to  helpless and overwhelmed.  They also want the 99% to feel like the acquisition of obscene gobs of money is the only measure of success and without it, you’re nothing.  You’re lazy, stupid and immoral.  And some of these people, like David Brooks, are not only getting paid to talk to us like the Mouths of Sauron, they actually believe that their success is the result of some kind of special personal virtue.

They believe that the person who makes money by playing with money is of more worth to society than someone who teaches kids how to read.  Can we give it up for the reading teachers here, whether they are professionals or parents?  I can’t imagine a more valuable individual in society today than a reading teacher.  You can’t go anywhere without that skill.

Or how about garbage collectors.  Are you kidding me?  You can live without a stock broker for days.  Try to live through a week of no trash pickups.  Those of us who recently lived through Irene can tell you what that’s like.

Or welders.  A good welder is invaluable.  And mechanics.  Who doesn’t appreciate the person who can get your only car running and back on the road so you can get to work?

Or drug designers and biologists and chemists.  WE make the substances that get you through an infection or help you live with cancer and AIDS.

Today, find someone who did a good job for you and sincerely thank them for doing it.

Is someone like David Brooks or Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck (they’re all versions of the same thing), going to tell the rest of us that we’re bad people and worthless and lazy because we don’t have a duplex on the upper east side or a second home at the shore or even a job?  That we’re going to go to hell if we don’t kiss the asses of the fanatically religious, mean spiritied Fox viewer with Acquired Stupidity Syndrome?

Am I going to let some Democratic party asshole blame me for his party’s losses next year because I refuse to accept the tepid surrender of his party to learned helplessness, especially when there is plenty of time for his party to avoid a catastrophe?  No, I am not.

It’s rough out there.  Some of us are living through that roughness.  And we may be materially poorer but we don’t have to be poor in spirit.  We can still be defiant and demanding and not give in.  We’ve done nothing wrong and we have as much right to respect and justice as any arrogant rich jerk whining about how we blame him for everything he does.

This is not about envy.  This is about dignity.  I won’t be cowed into thinking I’m going to some earthly or non-existent religious hell just because I won’t be a good peasant and defer to my betters.  There aren’t any betters.  This is not an aristocracy.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, said Eleanor Roosevelt.  And no one can tell you to give up on your ideal of justice and prosperity for everyone.  Be careful of people on TV and newspaper columns and in blogs and comment threads who tell you all is lost or pronounce a movement over.  They don’t have the power to declare any such thing.   We must never give into despair because finishing the task is the most important thing we will ever do and if we don’t find a way, no one will.

29 Responses

  1. I’m trapped in a knitting factory but, escaped just long enough to read and appreciate this post.

    Am I going to let some Democratic party asshole blame me for his party’s losses next year because I refuse to accept the tepid surrender of his party to learned helplessness, especially when there is plenty of time for his party to avoid a catastrophe? No, I am not.

    Here, here!!!

  2. Occupy the media.

    Boycott advertisers on any print or broadcast media outlet that lies about OWS or any political candidate in an attempt to sway the outcome of an election.

    Learn how to sign the word “liar” in case you end up in the background when a news team is covering a story. Hand written signs are OK as long as they don’t contain foul language or incendiary remarks.

    Write LTE’s and comment on network web sites, call them out on their lies, again use common sense, no language you wouldn’t use in front of your kids. Shame them into telling the truth.

    Think how much better off we would be if the media hadn’t gamed the last three presidential elections.

    • Just cancelled my satellite account. It’s just too expensive and I wasn’t watching it most of the time anyway. But it’s just as well because the news is a giant waste and cesspool of misdirection and conditioning. I won’t miss it.

      • Since they have sports packages and first run movie packages, why can’t they have news channel packages?

        That way we could have cable or satellite without the talking heads. Think about it, opt out of news services and starve a fat blabbermouth.

  3. And just because the camps are gone, that doesn’t mean the movement is gone.  The movement is not tied to a specific locale.  The movement is us and anyone who regards economic and social injustice as unacceptable for America and the world.…
    Lucky Day: Wherever there is injustice, you will find us.
    Ned Nederlander: Wherever there is suffering, we’ll be there.
    Dusty Bottoms: Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find…
    Lucky Day/Ned Nederlander/Dusty Bottoms: The Three Amigos!
    Late 1885/Early 1886

    Chicago was the center of the movement. Workers there had been agitating for an eight hour day for months, and on the eve of May 1, 50,000 workers were already on strike. 30,000 more swelled their ranks the next day, bringing most of Chicago manufacturing to a standstill. Fears of violent class conflict gripped the city. No violence occurred on May 1 — a Saturday — or May 2. But on Monday, May 3, a fight involving hundreds broke out at McCormick Reaper between locked-out unionists and the non-unionist workers McCormick hired to replace them. The Chicago police, swollen in number and heavily armed, quickly moved in with clubs and guns to restore order. They left four unionists dead and many others wounded.

    Angered by the deadly force of the police, a group of anarchists, led by August Spies and Albert Parsons, called on workers to arm themselves and participate in a massive protest demonstration in Haymarket Square on Tuesday evening, May 4. The demonstration appeared to be a complete bust, with only 3,000 assembling. But near the end of the evening, an individual, whose identity is still in dispute, threw a bomb that killed seven policemen and injured 67 others. Hysterical city and state government officials rounded up eight anarchists, tried them for murder, and sentenced them to death.

    On 11 November 1887, four of them, including Parsons and Spies, were executed. All of the executed advocated armed struggle and violence as revolutionary methods, but their prosecutors found no evidence that any had actually thrown the Haymarket bomb. They died for their words, not their deeds. A quarter of a million people lined Chicago’s street during Parson’s funeral procession to express their outrage at this gross mis-carriage of justice.

    For radicals and trade unionists everywhere, Haymarket became a symbol of the stark inequality and injustice of capitalist society. The May 1886 Chicago events figured prominently in the decision of the founding congress of the Second International (Paris, 1889) to make May 1, 1890 a demonstration of the solidarity and power of the international working class movement. May Day has been a celebration of international socialism and (after 1917) international communism ever since.

    The Bayview Massacre also took place at this time, where seven people, including one child, were killed by state militia. On 1 May1886 about 2,000 Polish workers walked off their jobs and gathered at Saint Stanislaus Church in Milwaukee, angrily denouncing the ten hour workday. They then marched through the city, calling on other workers to join them; as a result, all but one factory was closed down as sixteen thousand protesters gathered at Rolling Mills, prompting Wisconsin Govorner Jeremiah Rusk to call the state militia. The militia camped out at the mill while workers slept in nearby fields, and on the morning of May 5th, as protesters chanted for the eight hour workday, General Treaumer ordered his men to shoot into the crowd, some of whom were carrying sticks, bricks, and scythes, leaving seven dead at the scene. The Milwaukee Journal reported that eight more would die within twenty four hours, and without hesitation added that Governor Rusk was to be commended for his quick action in the matter.

    http://www.lutins.org/labor.html

  4. I’m an OWS supporter, for the most part, but their “great victory” in shutting down filming on a Law and Order: SVU episode that had incorporated an OWS encampment into their storyline was a questionable use of limited resources, imo.

    • Um, actually, it was the NYPD that shut it down. They didn’t have a permit to film. It makes a good narrative though doesn’t it? Dirty fucking hippy ingrates piss off hardworking and beloved Law and Order show. They’re pissed off because the law was applied to them. NYC has some strict rules about using the city as a backdrop. Up til now, they might have gotten away with it. They just picked a bad time to do it.

      • Actually, RD…the OWS folks *were* a real problem and one of the “Law and Order: SVU” executive producers tweeted about it.

        So Susan’s expressing disappointment about a questionable use of limited resources is legitimate.

        • Actually, Kay, the law and order people didn’t have a permit to shoot at Foley Square. They are angry with OWS because they drew unwanted police attention to them.
          You can’t just film stuff willy-nilly in NYC. They make you pay substantial fees for a license to do that. The new fees went into effect several years ago after numerous film and TV crews used NYC as their movie set background and the government there decided it was a good way to bring in some extra revenue. Now, if you have more than three people working together on a entertainment media project, you need to purchase a license to film there. It doesn’t matter if you are in Foley square or Central Park. The production crew of Law and Order probably knew that but thought that they could get away with it. So many times, the cops looked the other way. Except THIS time, the subject was OWS and the OWS protestors had a legitimate right to be annoyed. They were evicted from Zuccotti park, a place, I might add, where they were unable to use voice amplification. Yes, voice amplification was forbidden without a permit. That’s why they used the people’s mic. The permit to use a megaphone, just a megaphone, was extraordinarily expensive. So expensive that a grassroots group could not afford it. So, if you had a message that you wanted to talk about to a group of people in a public space in NYC, you would have to either shout yourself raw or use a people’s mic.
          So, yeah, the OWS people were POd that Law and Order got to make an episode about them, without consulting them on content, and do it in a public square without any police harrassment. And the creators of the series directly ripped off all of the things about OWS that made it unique. AND we’re talking about a crime show, which is not necessarily the forum where you want your message to be heard, nevermind that the actual victim might have been a protestor.
          But all of that doesn’t matter because the crew didn’t have a permit to film.
          That’s it. The production crew is annoyed that they got caught up in the same type of permit crap that brought down OWS even though they’ve presumably gotten away with it for years.
          Busted.

  5. Also, they can declare OWS dead all they want – I go to a new event every day – along with thousands of others. Here’s the one for tomorrow where we’ll go the whole family
    http://www.parentsforoccupywallst.com/ (on FB http://on.fb.me/taC6i1)
    Do you think Cops are big meanies? Think Bloomberg and the 1% need to learn to share and stop bullying people? The children and parents who support Occupy Wall Street agree! Join us this Saturday, 11am, Union Square for the Children’s Anti-Bullying/Police Brutality March (including a Children’s GA). Whose Toys! Our Toys!

    • Occupy Boston is still up, thanks to tons of people supporting them. Meanwhile Occupy Austin won a court victory and can now legally expand to the State Capital 24/7. They have the Capital site running and the original at City Hall with plans for actions through January at least.

      Lots of occupiers are still occupying but, because Zuccotti Park was cleared, people now seem to think it’s all over. I guess if it doesn’t happen in NYC or LA, on their TV, it doesn’t happen?

  6. Right on, RD! Good pep talk. *slinks off again to write paper*

  7. Occupy Boston is still up.that is good news. 🙂

  8. OT: I still can’t comment over at TCH.

    I must have really gotten under Teh Klown’s skin when I renamed it “The Agnew Hole”. *chortles evilly* 😈

    • I just looked over there and the latest post is about the “Sole” of the republican party. Good thing they don’t care about it’s “Soul”. 🙂

      Literacy, it’s good for you.

  9. Spammy’s knickers are twisted again. 🙄

  10. Joseph Cannon alerts us to this troubling development: OWS will shut the port of Oakland without coordination with unions.

    From Salon.com:

    In a recent meeting, the Alameda County labor council not only refused to endorse the port shutdown, but actually considered a public rejection of the action
    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/09/occupy_vs_big_labor/singleton/

    Some in the movement are trumpeting this “Victory Over Big Labor”

    The ILWU is the enemy? My head is spinning.

    • OWS *does* need to coordinate with unions. There’s got to be a good reason why labor is resisting this because from what I have witnessed, they’ve been enthusiastic supporters up to this point.

      • I’m not familiar on how the ILWU contract is written but in some other shops that move cargo the lowest seniority workers are on call. You only get hours when they need you and if you turn them down you can lose your job. As you accrue seniority you get hired on as a permanent worker. Even then it’s not smooth sailing as attendance policies are usually strict. Accumulate too many unexcused absences and it’s out the door for you. Nobody wants to be out on the street when unemployment is running over 10% and you got a mortgage and three kids in college.

        • Or, it could have something to do with Christmas season and not wanting to hurt main street. Or there could be a million other reasons. But if OWS and labor are having a disagreement, I think it’s temporary. They work so well together. That’s their strength and as we all know, the right wing is very good at attacking its opposition’s strengths.

      • hopefully those in OWS with clearer more mature heads will win the day.
        “Victory over big labor” when labor is one of the few entities still working for the rights of the 99 percent. Yes there is corruption and yes they can be disappointing when they stupidly support Obama, like SEIU did. Do these people really want to take on labor too? These are the kinds of things that make me scratch my head and wonder if this is a game to some of them. For sure it was to the woman that took the job on wall street.

      • What I’ve read (in some reliable source now forgotten) is that in some union contracts, if they endorse the protests then they’re legally ‘on strike’ and in a worse legal position with their employers.

  11. I am heartbroken that so much time and effort has been and continues to be spent on fighting for the “right” to camp illegally. Because that’s really pretty much all it is right now.

    No! It is *NOT* about “the right of the people to peaceably assemble”. Believe it or not, the Constitution does not give you the right to peaceably assemble in my back yard…and it doesn’t give me the right to do it in *your* back yard, either.

    Oh, and before you argue “But these are public spaces”…well, so are the Interstates…but the Constitution doesn’t give you the right to set up campsites in the middle of the Interstate, either.

    In my community, our OWS protesters also got caught up in the “camping” issue initially. Fortunately they had the common sense to realize that doing so simply distracted them…and the people they were trying to appeal to…from the real issues. From the important issues that *should* define OWS. (And, yes, they realized the site was becoming less safe…as have folks realized at all Occupy sites.)

    The good thing, though, is that our local Occupy folks are working on developing specific goals and practical plans to achieve each one of them. Gee. What a concept.

    As an old veteran of the civil rights and antiwar movements, I just shake my head. The “Tea Party” turned their protests…promoting nonsense…into political power that has seriously and negatively affected our country lately. And they did it very quickly.

    But OWS? They’re still fighting to protect their frickin’ tents. And that breaks my heart.

    Like it or not, OWS has done absolutely nothing to change anything so far. Worse…it apparently has no plans to change anything in the future, either.

    Indeed, OWS simply sues to keep its campsites. Good grief!!! How can so many folks who profess to want change be so clueless???

    As I said…I’m heartbroken that a movement that *could* have accomplished so much has, basically, given up on fighting for anything except for the “right” to camp illegally. What a waste. What an utter waste.

    • Wow, you have completely missed the point of OWS. Completely and utterly.
      Here’s the point:
      1.) The people in charge gave gobs and gobs of YOUR money to the jerks who got us into this mess.
      2.) Time and time again, those gobs and gobs of YOUR money has been used to buy lawmakers.
      3.) No matter who you elect, they seem not to be beholden to YOU. So, you get mad and you try voting for a new crew. They don’t listen to you either.
      4.) You have legitimate grievances and the government continues to ignore you.
      5.) The First Amendment does give you the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government about your grievances.
      except
      6.) You’re not allowed to peaceably assemble anywhere. The writers of the constitution surely knew that for a protest to be effective, it had to be visible, otherwise, it’s not a protest. it’s just a bunch of bloggers that no one reads.
      For a protest to be successful and for your petitioning of grievances to be annoying enough to be taken seriously, it has to have a *place* to happen, ie, a place where you can assemble.
      Where is that place, Kay? In city after city, the mayors have said that YOU don’t have a place to protest. I guess you’re supposed to confine your protests to signing pointless online petitions.
      Let’s say you have a grievance that you consider important enough that you think the government should do something about it. Let’s say you think women should keep their legs together and if they get pregnant, they should be miserable for the rest of their lives caring for children they don’t love or want because that’s the way God wants it. So, you and your posse of obnoxious and fanatical crazy religious “christians” get together and decide to occupy the place where abortions happen. And time after time, the court gives you the right to get up to a woman’s face and scream at her and tell her she’s going to hell and be a general nuisance and invade the privacy of citizens whose business is none of yours. That’s a protest and the government apparently has no problem with it.
      BUT, if you want to occupy a public space and stay there until your grievances about economic injustice are at least recognized, never mind addressed, you can’t do it. The guys on Wall Street have no problem with you harrassing abortion clinics and blowing them up and shooting doctors. You’re still allowed to do it. But if you challenge their authority to take whatever they want from the public treasury and screw you and take your house without a good faith attempt at mortgage modification, well, then they will call up their army that they let you the taxpayer pay for and they will suppress you in as brutal a fashion as they can get away with. And they will have their paid mouthpieces go on TV and manipulate the minds of people who watch cable news and make them believe that these average Americans are somehow the most filthy miscreants on the face of the earth. Those miscreants are YOU. You don’t have to be there. This is just a message to YOU about what will happen to YOU if you get mad enough to get in their grill. The police and the mayors and homeland security will come down on you. And these protestors are non-violent. They will do nothing to stop you from carting them away to jail, over and over and over again. All they want is for their grievances to be heard.
      I’ve been there, Kay and I am not a dirty, lice-ridden anarchist. I’m a capitalist and I have worked for corporations. In fact, I rather like working for corporations because of the nature of my work. All I want is for capitalism to work for ALL of us and for corporations to play fair so that we return to some semblence of economic justice and prosperity for everyone.
      It’s hard to see how that message is so threatening that it must be brutally suppressed.
      This is the way Jesus did it, Kay. He went to Jerusalem and he went to the Temple and expressed his grievances in a way that was a direct threat to the Romans and the state. And the results were roughly the same.
      And let’s make this clear, there have been no riots. Oakland was an exception but Oakland has home grown problems that are independent of the occupation. In fact, the city of Oakland should be grateful to the occupy movement since the people who have been impoverished for decades had a place to go where the protestors were very insistent on non-violent methods. They didn’t like violent protestors any more than Oakland’s mayor did. There’s a good chance that really nasty riots will follow once the occupiers are gone.
      So, Kay, I don’t agree with you at all. Not one little bit. I’m a middle class person previously employed in a high tech field who joined the ranks of the unemployed in my industry through no fault of my own. And I *will* petition the government over our grievances. That is my right. And your right. And if someone tries to force us into obscurity so that we can’t effectively assemble and protest, it is those persons who are violating the constitution and not us.
      That is the point, Kay. We are on the verge of losing our rights and all you think about is how those meddling kids won’t get off of your public lawn. When you start thinking like that, the bad guys have won. The next time something pisses YOU off enough that you would be willing to take to the street in protest, you won’t be able to. You should be grateful the occupiers are out there.

    • You forget a major difference between OWS and the Tea Party. OWS is not a damn front group for the Koch brothers! It’s easy to have some political influence when you have billions of dollars buying it for you.

      • Yep, having access to someone elses checkbook to rent venues and pay off media certainly helps.

    • What RD said… and since you are so heart broken, what is your suggestion? They are protesting for you and I. I have doubt about some of their methods and I state them. But I also have some opinions about what I think they should do. I know they are fighting for me and you should realize they are fighting for you.

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