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Nati at Occupy Wellington.
[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more activist reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.]
By Grant Brookes
October 20, 2011 -- UNITYblog
“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” -- Naomi Klein
With comments like this, campaigning journalist Naomi Klein has captured the essence of the mushrooming movement against corporate greed which began on Wall Street. The movement is expressing the feelings of a global majority denied a voice in the media and in the corridors of power.
It spread to Aotearoa on October 15, when occupations began in Auckland, Wellington, Christchuch, Dunedin, New Plymouth and elsewhere.
Photos by Don Fitz and Barbara Chicherio
October 17, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It ain’t easy organising anti-Monsanto pickets in St. Louis, where it seems that every other person has a relative, neighbour or friend who works for the corporate demon and is worried about its retaliation. Nevertheless, the Gateway Green Alliance and Safe Food Action St. Louis planned a demonstration as part of the October 16, 2011, World Food Day and Millions Against Monsanto nationwide events put together by the Organic Consumers Association.
Several dozen activists fighting the company’s efforts to force GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on everyone who eats food, as well as its attempt to destroy small farmers in the US and across the globe, met at the Monsanto's world headquarters on the afternoon of October 16. Soon we were joined by a couple of carloads from Occupy St. Louis and had a lively group of 50.
A big problem with picketing Monsanto’s headquarters is that Olive Boulavard traffic whizzes by at 40–50 miles per hour, meaning that drivers can’t read a sign with small or thin letters. But several of us remembered the old Burma Shave signs on two-lane highways.These are photos of the picket.
(Updated Oct. 19) Occupy Wall Street inspires global protests against the '1%' (activist reports, videos, pics)
Occupy Sydney, October 15, 2011. Photos by Kate Ausburn.
October 16 , 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- According to http://15october.net, protests and actions -- inspired by the Occupy Wall Street mass movement across the United States -- were to take place in more than 950 cities in more than 80 countries on October 15. Actions had already begun in some parts of the world before that.
Below are a number of statements issued by left organisations in the United States.
It is five minutes to dawn and the wind smells like freedom
By Mike Ely, Kasama Project
October 14, 2011 -- Click here for PDF version of this statement -- It is no longer five minutes to midnight. After Arab Spring leaps to Spain, and Greece, and on to New York’s Wall Street, it suddenly feels like five minutes to dawn.
We no longer need assume that there is no time to stop the world going to shit. There is an opening and we are flooding into it.
We are suddenly in a moment that is not marked by exhausted routine protests that speak for no one and speak to no one.
(Updated Oct. 18) From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy America: A mass movement emerges; Reports from around the USA
[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more on Occupy Wall Street, click HERE.]
By Dan La Botz
October 12, 2011 -- SolidaritéS (Switzerland) via International Viewpoint -- A handful of young people started Occupy Wall Street in mid-September, as a protest against the banks and corporations that have grown rich while most have grown poorer. Within weeks they had attracted hundreds and then thousands to marches and demonstrations in New York City — one of them leading to the arrest of hundreds on the Brooklyn Bridge. The movement's chant “We are the 99%" rang out not only in the Wall Street canyon but also across the country. Now there are scores of Occupy groups across the United States [and soon across the world] camping out in public places, marching and rallying in cities and towns against corporate greed.
October 8, 2011 -- Occupy Wall Street Media -- Occupy Wall Street (#OccupyWallStreet) is the beginning of a whole new kind of democracy: a bottom-up people's democracy led by the 99%. It is a bold vision for the future that is beginning to inspire the nation. However, to pull it off, we're going to need a robust people's media unbeholden to corporate money. If we want people's democracy then we've got to build a people's media -- the two are inseparable.
Occupy Wall Street. Photo from Solidarity.
This article first appeared at the Kasama Project website under the title, "Occupy critiques: How did I get here? By know-it-all subtraction?". It is a response to sections of the US left on the Occupy Wall Street movement that has sprung up across the United States, and is inspiring similar initiatives in other parts of the world. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Mike Ely's permission in the interests of discussion. Comments are welcome.
* * *
By Mike Ely
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house,
with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself,
Well…How did I get here?!
October 4, 2011 -- Occupy Wall Street Media -- Occupy Wall Street (#OccupyWallStreet) is the beginning of a whole new kind of democracy: a bottom-up people's democracy led by the 99%. It is a bold vision for the future that is beginning to inspire the nation. However, to pull it off, we're going to need a robust people's media unbeholden to corporate money. If we want people's democracy then we've got to build a people's media -- the two are inseparable.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/AdrianKinloch.
By Pham Binh, New York City
October 5, 2011 – First appeared at the Indypendent, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly with the author's permission -- The entrapment and arrest of 700 peaceful Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists on the Brooklyn Bridge has created a huge wave of support for their movement. The number of daytime occupants in Liberty Plaza doubled or tripled from 100 the week prior to 200-300 this past Monday and Tuesday (October 3 and 4).
These people are the core who maintain the occupation of the plaza, making it possible for several hundreds and sometimes thousands to hold rallies in the late afternoon and participate in the open-mic speakouts and general assembly meetings in the evening.
Declaration by Occupy Wall Street protesters: 'All people wronged by the corporate forces of the world, we are your allies'
This declaration was unanimously passed by all members of Occupy Wall Street on September 29, 2011. It is the first official document for release. Receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing email@example.com.
By Martin Hart-Landsberg
September 15, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The US Census Bureau just published new data revealing trends in living standards as of 2010. The trends are troubling to say the least.
Median household income (adjusted for inflation) fell to US$49,445 (see below). That means that the median household in the United States now earns less than it did a decade ago.This marks the first decade since the Great Depression without an increase in real median income. According to Lawrence Katz, a labour expert and Harvard economist,
This is truly a lost decade.We think of America as a place where every generation is dong better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.
Lucy Parsons, 1930: "I have seen many movements come and go. I belonged to all of those movements. I was a delegate that organized the Industrial Workers of the World. I carried a card in the old Socialist Party. And now I am today connected with the Communists."
By Keith Rosenthal
Malcolm’s political evolution was influenced by his own experiences and his discussions with Fidel Castro and Che ..., with Nasser in Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, as well as with discussions with North American ex-patriates in Africa.
By Malik Miah
"Now imagine if we had a state that engaged in transparent planning and was committed to using our significant public resources to reshape our economy in the public interest. ... state planning and intervention in economic activity already goes on. Unfortunately, it happens behind closed doors and for the benefit of a small minority. It doesn’t have to be that way."
By Martin Hart-Landsberg
August 25, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The US media likes to talk about markets as if they were just a force of nature. In fact, markets and their outcomes are largely shaped by political power. In a capitalist system like ours, that power is largely used to advance the interests of those who own and run our dominant corporations.
By Sam Williams
August 21, 2011 -- This article first appeared at Critique of Crisis Theory, and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. Thanks to Mike Treen for recommending it -- Since World War I, the maximum debt that the U.S. government could carry has been determined by law. Every so often as the maximum debt limit was approached, Congress routinely voted to raise the debt limit. But this year the Republican-controlled House balked. The Republican majority threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless the Obama administration agreed not to raise taxes on the rich and corporations or even close tax loopholes that have often enabled the rich and corporations to pay no taxes at all.
The U.S. Treasury warned that if the debt limit was not raised by August 2, it would not have enough cash on hand to pay all its bills coming due, forcing it to default. The crisis was purely a legal and political one, since the U.S. government has been having no trouble recently selling its notes and bonds. Indeed, the federal government was able to sell them at prices that yielded some of the lowest interest rates it has ever had to pay. This would hardly be the case if there was a real threat of a federal default.
By Martin Hart-Landsberg
August 15, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg's permission -- The US economy is in trouble and that means trouble for the world economy. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Trade and Development Report, 2010, “Buoyant consumer demand in the United States was the main driver of global economic growth for many years in the run-up to the current global economic crisis.”
Before the crisis, US household consumption accounted for approximately 16 per cent of total global output, with imports comprising a significant share and playing a critical role in supporting growth in other countries. In fact, “as a result of global production sharing, United States consumer spending increas[ed] global economic activities in many indirect ways as well (e.g. business investments in countries such as Germany and Japan to produce machinery for export to China and its use there for the manufacture of exports to the United States)”.
By Martin Hart-Landsberg
August 2, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg's permission -- The US Congress has finally agreed on a deficit reduction plan that President Barack Obama supports. As a result, the debt ceiling is being lifted, which means that the Treasury can once again borrow to meet its financial obligations.
Avoiding a debt default is a good thing. However, the agreement is bad and even more importantly the debate itself has reinforced understandings of the US economy that are destructive of majority interests.
Source: “Graphic: Who pays the taxes?" What Went Wrong: The Betrayal of the American Dream. February 7, 2011.
By Paul Kellogg
July 27, 2011 -- PolEconAnalysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- As July came to an end, the United States central government had come up
against its congressionally mandated debt ceiling. Without an agreement
to raise that debt ceiling – last set at US$14.3 trillion – the US
central government will be unable to borrow money to pay its bills. The
consequences could be extremely serious – soaring interest rates, a
collapse of the US dollar, not to speak of social security stipends,
pensions and salaries going unpaid.
Anyone familiar with the socialist movement in the industrialized countries today must be struck by the huge gap between what’s needed — mass socialist parties with deep roots in the working class — and the reality — small groups of socialists with little influence. The following exchange contains a searching discussion of these issues between the noted Marxist scholar Paul Le Blanc and John Riddell.
The exchange opens with an article by Le Blanc and continues with an exchange between Riddell and Le Blanc. The discussion was first published in Socialist Voice in June 2008 and later appeared on John Riddell's website (with more comments).
About the authors
Paul Le Blanc, a former member of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party, has been a long-time anti-war, anti-racist, activist in Pittsburgh. He teaches History at La Roche College. He is author of Marx, Lenin, and the Revolutionary Experience (Routledge 2006).