It’s Time To Reawaken The Spirit Of Occupy For The Starving Millions

Activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement marked the fourth anniversary of their encampment in Zuccotti Park on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Pictured: Occupy protesters march in New York City, on Sept. 17, 2013. Reuters/Joshua Lott

By Adam Parsons for Intrepid Report – The world is now facing an unprecedented emergency of hunger and famine, with a record number of people requiring life-saving food and medical assistance in 2017. Since the start of this year, the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war has continued to unfold, while the international community has failed to take urgent commensurate action. The extent of human suffering is overwhelming: more than 20 million people are on the brink of starvation, including 1.4 million children—a conservative estimate that is rising by the day. Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan, and could soon follow in Somalia, north-east Nigeria and Yemen. In February, the UN launched its biggest ever appeal for humanitarian funding, calling for $4.4 billion by July to avert looming famines in these four conflict-ridden regions. Yet not even $1 billion has been raised so far, leaving little hope that these vital minimum funds will be raised on time. Last week the UN also sought to raise $2.1 billion for the funding shortfall in Yemen alone—described as the single largest hunger crisis in the world, where two thirds of the population are food insecure.

Rise Up America, Rise Up!

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By Mohammed Mesbahi for Sharing.org. There is no doubt that the people of goodwill throughout the United States must rise up in unison together, and peacefully stand in opposition to the government’s policies as it profits from wars and defends corporate interests, instead of helping ordinary people in their time of greatest need. Who is going to help Detroit now that it is bankrupt, for example – will it be the Pentagon or the CIA, who usurp so much of the nation’s income and resources? America has become like a dysfunctional family in which, by analogy, the children are being abused and neglected until they are eventually forced to leave home and look after themselves. In a similar way, the government in Washington is like the parent who is failing to look after all her children – namely the fifty states, many of whom like Detroit may soon fall into crisis as the economy melts. Is it not inevitable that many of these states will ultimately abandon Washington completely?

Newsletter: The Movement Matters Most

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. While some people are calling 2016 the worst year ever, we are optimistic that we are on track for transformational change. Of course there are significant challenges ahead, but there are also important opportunities. We knew all along that no matter who won the elections this year, they would be plutocrats, and we, the people, would have to organize and resist. If we look at the big picture, 2016 was a time of progress in political education, movement building and reaching national consensus. These are all elements that are necessary in successful social movements. If we continue to make progress in the years ahead, then our work collectively will have a greater long-term impact than the incoming administration and Congress.

Newsletter – Five Years Later

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This will be a brief newsletter this week because we are both on the road. Margaret is running for US Senate for Maryland, Green Party, and she is touring the state to spread the word about her and meet voters. Kevin has taken a temporary leave of absence from Popular Resistance to work for the Jill Stein campaign as a senior adviser. Five years ago we organized the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC with a goal of raising awareness that the problems we face in the US are systemic and that we must build a social movement and the culture of resistance if we are to solve them. We didn’t expect to get involved in electoral politics, but the time has come when majorities of people in the US are sick of the corporate parties and are ready for a change. We believe that there needs to be a political party that reflects the values of the movement and so we are working to build it.

New Yorkers Celebrate Occupy Wall Street On Its Fifth Anniversary

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By Corinne Segal and Arlene Lormestoire for PBS Newshour. Becky Wartell was living in Portland, Maine and applying for jobs when she heard the first rumblings of Occupy Wall Street. Her story mirrors many others who gathered in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on Saturday, exactly five years after the protests began, reuniting with old friends and describing how a small encampment spread to cities across the country. In 2011, after staying in Zuccotti Park for several days, Wartell expanded her trip to a week — and for the next five months, continued to commute back and forth from Maine, even when she took a job in Portland. “In the moment, I was like, ‘I have to be there. This is big. This is important,’” she said. Zuccotti Park became a space where activists from a range of different causes could converge to share ideas, as most of them claimed the common cause of protesting corruption on Wall Street. Critics asked why Occupy could not settle on a list of explicit demands and actionable goals for the movement — protesters answered that the purpose of the movement was not to make demands, but empower a range of communities. The encampment ended in November 2011, when police cleared the camp and arrested more than 200 people. But by that time, offshoots had appeared in dozens of other cities.

Thousands Of Spaniards March On Indignado Anniversary

Thousands of Spaniards marched in downtown Madrid to mark the fifth anniversary of a protest movement that led to the creation of Podemos, now Spain's third most-popular political party

By Harold Heckle for the Associated Press. Thousands of Spaniards marched in downtown Madrid to mark the fifth anniversary of a protest movement that led to the creation of Podemos, now Spain’s third most-popular political party. The Democracy Now platform had urged people to “occupy squares in all the world’s cities on Sunday” to protest austerity, corruption, high unemployment and a lack of transparency in government. Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square became the scene of a protest that lasted 28 days in 2011, sparking a movement that spread across Spain and similar “Occupy” sit-ins in cities across the world. The protests by those calling themselves “Indignados,” or people angered by Spain’s existing political parties, led to the emergence of Podemos, which will vie for power in a June 26 election.

David Graeber: The Power Of Finance, History Of Inequality & Legacy Of OWS

SEPTEMBER 17, 2012- Occupy Wall Street protesters gather for the one year anniversary of their movement's beginning. (Photo: Glenn Halog)

By David Graeber for ROAR Magazine. So hundreds of thousands suddenly showed up. I mean, we had what — like 800 occupations at peak? Then of course came the evictions and they realize, “oh, I guess we couldn’t after all.” And after that the repression became extremely brutal and the media coverage also shifted to be just completely one-sided. But all that was really just back to normal. So the question is, why was there any sympathetic media coverage at all in those first few months? Why was there this little bubble of democracy? I think in retrospect it’s easy to see: there was a fraction of the establishment, basically the left of the Democratic Party, that thought that we were going to become their version of the Tea Party. That is, a grassroots movement that would make a lot of anti-establishment noises but ultimately play the game of raising money, running candidates again. They tried to infiltrate the media teams, set up tacit leadership structures… But eventually they figured out we were really serious. If our main complaint was that the US political system had turned into a system of legalized bribery, no, we weren’t going to join the system and try to see if we could raise enough bribes ourselves to run candidates and change that from within. Suddenly the curtain went down.

New Economic Vision: Amish Culture, Occupy & Start-Ups

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By Alexa Clay for Nation of Change. If markets and industrial production have become separated from society and community, the task now seems to be figuring out how to envelop production within community. Localizing production in community might lead to a certain sacrifice of market efficiency, but would also offer greater flexibility and enhanced quality of life, and would strengthen social ties and community resilience. Ultimately, to reimagine production, we have a variety of models to choose from. Culture is no longer contingent on particular ethnographic contexts. Rather, practices from indigenous peoples, protest movements, entrepreneurial startup hubs, intentional communities, and even religious traditions require remixing by emergent forms of community around the world. While this remixing might feel like a consumerist “pick and choose” approach, it’s also one of the quickest pathways I’ve identified for accelerating social change and building more resilient local economies and communities. Designing community around cultural hybridity gives us a much broader diversity from which to organize ourselves and foster a greater sense of belonging for very different types of people.

Newsletter: Labor Day Time To Build Worker Power

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Private-sector workers who are members of a union have fallen from 1 in 3 workers in the 1950s to about 1 in 20 today. Politics is about power and the loss of organized worker power has meant a loss in political power for all workers and a loss of wealth, income and benefits. In recent years, there have been strong signs that labor is getting more organized and militant in fighting for worker rights. They have linked worker issues to other issues, e.g. racial injustice, climate change and creating stronger communities; and are showing signs of resurrection. Recent years have seen aggressive attacks against workers: pension funds are raided, health benefits are cut or ended, the right to collective bargaining is destroyed and social services are cut. This is dramatic and needs to be reversed.

Potential ‘Occupy Debates’ Movement Threatened

Activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement marked the fourth anniversary of their encampment in Zuccotti Park on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Pictured: Occupy protesters march in New York City, on Sept. 17, 2013. Reuters/Joshua Lott

By John Eggerton for Broadcasting & Cable – A former Green Party candidate and Occupy FCC activist is seeking to get third party candidates into the televised presidential debates and has called on the Republican and Democratic candidates to push for inclusion, suggesting there could be an “Occupy Debates” protest targeting media, sponsors and candidates if the criteria for participation are not changed. The first of three presidential debates, organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2016, at Hoffstra University in Hempstead, New York. T

Newsletter: On To The General Election, Surprises Ahead

Hillary has blood on her hands protest DNC from PhillyMag

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The make-up of elections are almost complete with only a few primary races and the Green Party National Convention (August 4-7 in Houston), where Jill Stein’s running mate will be announced, remaining. Otherwise we know the candidates that will be with us for the next three months and the potential presidents who will almost assuredly be the focus of mobilizations for the next four years. While Bernie Sanders is no longer running for office and has shifted his energy to working to elect Hillary Clinton, many in the Bernie or Bust Movement have shifted to Jill or Bust, with the initial goal to get Jill Stein into the highly restrictive (and anti-democratic) debates.

From Occupy Protests To The Platforms

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By Akshat Tewary for Common Dreams – At Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York’s Zuccotti Park back in September 2011, Akshat Tewary noticed that many protesters were calling for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that separated investment and commercial banking. As an administrative lawyer, Tewary knew that financial regulators are required to consider input from the public. To make sure these regulators heard the views of Wall Street critics – not just financial industry boosters — he helped organize a loose group of protestors under the name “Occupy the SEC.”

Newsletter: Brexit Backlash Against EU, A Revolt Against Elites

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The globalized economy is not working for most people of the world. International trade agreements and new government structures like the European Union serve corporate power and put the people and planet aside to ensure profits continue to come first. They undermine democracy and national sovereignty, leaving people feeling more powerless. By pushing austerity and commodification of public services, people are now more economically insecure with less wealth and lower incomes. The response of many is anger. Some protest austerity, others blame people of a different skin color, heritage or ethnicity. The surprise vote in the UK to leave the European Union is the latest, and perhaps the biggest, example of the blowback economic and political elites are getting for their actions. Brexit shows we have our work to do to educate people that this is not about racism and anger at ethnic groups, but is really the battle between the people and the elites. It is a conflict over whether we the people will have the power to decide our futures, whether we can create a fair economy that serves more than the 1% and whether we can act in ways that are consistent with the needs of the environmental crisis we face.

Newsletter: Making Protest Personal; Take It To Their Homes

BXE protest at Norman Bey home by Jimmy Betts

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Protests at homes of public officials and corporate CEOs is a common tactic used widely because it can be very effective. The response of Barrasso shows it is working and should continue. As Saul Alinsky, author or Rules for Radicals, pointed out “any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.” Such protests have to be nonviolent and conducted in a way that does not inconvenience neighbors but educates them about why the protest is occurring. These tactics seek to personalize the issue, to make it less abstract than a federal agency. The campaign should keep their focus on the people responsible, not let up, continue to escalate and make the person isolated and unpopular. The goal is to maintain constant, escalating pressure so the official pays a heavy personal price for their actions.

Where Will The Next Social Movement Come From?

Photo by Ward Reilly taken at Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, a dance party on the night the encampment were threatened was eviction. The large party dissuaded the police.

By Tom Engelhardt for Tom Dispatch. Much of our future is reliably unpredictable, and what more so than the moments when mass movements suddenly break out and sweep across our world? Who expected, for example, that for perhaps the first time in history hundreds of thousands of people would hit the streets of U.S. cities and towns—and millions the global streets from London and Barcelona to Sydney and Jakarta—in early 2003 to protest the coming invasion of Iraq, a war, that is, that hadn’t even begun? Or that such a movement would essentially vanish not long after that war was predictably launched? Who imagined that, in September 2011, a small group of youthful protesters, settling into Zuccotti Park, an obscure square near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, would “occupy” it and so the American imagination in such a way that “the 1%” and “the 99%” became part of our everyday language; Wall Street (as it hadn’t been for decades) a reviled site; and “inequality” part of the national conversation rather than just the national reality? Who imagined in the moment before it happened that such a movement, such a moment, would then sweep the country and the world. . .