Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crackdowns Reach Epicenter of Wall Street Protests - Occupy the Dems? Why Dems, MoveOn, and All the Rest of the Progressive Pretenders Are No Longer Trying To Coopt Occupy Movement

Crackdowns Reach Epicenter of Wall Street Protests

If you don't read Karen Garcia's Sardonicky, you really should.

In self defense, at least. (She's a gifted writer and commenter on the current scene.)

The Democratic Machine vs OWS

I don't think we have to worry too much any more about the Democratic Party co-opting OWS. The elite of the DNC have pretty much shut up about it.  Emails from MoveOn.org, trumpeting solidarity with the movement and trying to fund-raise off its back, no longer appear in my inbox. If you're paying any attention at all to the Democratic leaks out of the SuperCommittee, you're finding out that they're bending over backwards, offering cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- even permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts - in exchange for some loopy closings of corporate tax loopholes. I say loopy, because it's crazy to assume these little proposed wrist-slaps to the one percent will be permanent.  Lobbyists are already champing at the bit in salivating anticipation of ripping those loopholes apart at the seams the minute they're sewn shut with their cheap thread. But cuts in "entitlements" are forever. Poor people don't have a lobby. Yet.

That's the story under the Beltway Bubbledome: willful ignorance of the Occupy movement and the will of the majority, other than from the usual populist diehards like Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich. But at the local level, in the cities, the encampments are under direct siege by..... Democratic mayors. And so, writes Paul Rosenberg in an excellent piece, it's about time we "Occupy the Democratic Party", too. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has been the most egregious in instigating violence against the protesters. But, writes Rosenberg:

"... Oakland is hardly alone when it comes to Democratic mayors ordering mass arrests of Occupiers for exercising their First Amendment rights. In fact, aside from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - a Republican turned independent - most of the mayors involved have been Democrats. Boston's Mayor Tom Menino had 141 people arrested on October 11. Under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, roughly 300 Occupy supporters have been arrested in a series of attempts to set up a stable base camp. In Atlanta, 52 protesters were arrested on October 26 under orders of Mayor Kasim Reed, who said the “last straw” came when a man carrying an AK-47 joined the demonstrators. But the man was rejected by the Occupiers, and what he did was legal under Georgia law. Besides, no Tea Party demonstration was ever shut down because someone there was carrying an assault weapon."
Occupy Oakland Crackdown
Part of the reason for Democratic reactions ranging from indifference to downright hostility, Rosenberg continues, are the dire economic straits most big cities are finding themselves in. Austerity is the rule. Babysitting the Occupy camps costs money . . . money that no longer comes in from property taxes on homes that have been foreclosed, nor from Washington. Another factor is that so many cities have sold or leased themselves to private interests to make ends meet. The parking meters of Chicago, for example, have been rented out to the Kingdom of Dubai under a 75-year lease.

Just last night, Occupy St. Louis was forcibly shut down (by a Democratic mayor named Slay) at the urging of the private elite interests of the one percent.

The Republicans, of course, are simply, desperately off-the-wall, over-the-top nuts when it comes to trashing OWS. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers front group, had a kniption fit when protesters gathered around their hilariously named "Defending the American Dream" summit last weekend.  Tim Phillips, AFP spokesman, breathlessly sent out emails reporting the attacks of the rabble against the besieged One Percent:

"During our "Tribute to Ronald Reagan" dinner on Friday night, the protesters with Occupy Wall Street stormed the convention center trying to take away our 1st Amendment rights!!! . . . .

Their violence, vile language, and disrespect for fellow Americans was outrageous. One of our activists who is wheel-chair bound was denied use of the ramp to depart the center.  A 78 year old grandmother from Michigan was assaulted and knocked down.  The 7 year old child of one of our AFP Foundation activists was cursed and jostled . . . . They (OWS) possess a vehement hatred of free enterprise and capitalism.  They openly call for socialism.  We know that free enterprise has lifted more Americans out of the muck and mire of poverty and despair than any economic system in world history.  They call for violence, break the law, and disrespect fellow Americans.  We respect the law and work to peacefully support sound policy for our nation."
Of course, this isn't true.* As a matter of fact, one of the OWS protesters was hit by a car driven by a convention attendee. The only people paying attention to the Andrew Breitbarts and the right wing any more are the minority die-hard right-wingers themselves. They no longer control the narrative, despite the implicit acquiescence of the conservative Democrats.  OWS is on the ascendant.  The pendulum is swinging back in the right direction - or, should I say, in the left direction.

*Update/Clarification: I found this undoctored video of the event in question. No actual video exists of the elderly woman being pushed down the stairs, only the aftermath.** The usual Breitbart-ish splice and dice versions are, of course, making the rounds in Right Wing Cyberspace. What is not true, by the way, is Tim Phillips's characterization of OWS, as well as the claim that unfettered capitalism has raised Americans "out of the muck and mire of poverty and despair." Quite the opposite: deregulation of the big banks led directly to the crash and the overnight loss of trillions of dollars of household wealth, the greatest income disparity in history, 20 percent defacto unemployment and one in five people "officially" poor.

** Update on update: Reader Ned has found more videos of the pushing incident. See comments.

And one more from Sardonicky:

Friday, November 11, 2011

For Veterans Day and OWS, A New Bonus Army

With unemployment among veterans far above the national average at 12% and fully one third of Iraq and Afghanistan vets saying the wars just weren't worth it, it comes as no surprise that our returning service men and women are being drawn to the various Occupy encampments throughout the country.

Read the whole essay by clicking the link above (and join up!).


Urgent Message to the Rumproast and Blogging Communities Concerning StrangeAppar8us

We have a sad and urgent message about our dear friend and Rumproast blogger StrangeAppar8us: for the past ten days, he has been hospitalized and fighting for his life.  He is stabilized now to some degree, but is on a long, difficult road about which nothing is certain but that it will include disability. We wish we could tell you, our wonderful readers and friends, more, but we are committed to honoring Strange’s privacy, which is also the wish of his family. The day after he was hospitalized, I flew to Pennsylvania, accompanied by his friend and Rumproast founder Kevin K. and his lovely wife. Marindenver is here with him now as well.

We will be doing everything we can for Strange, including setting up fundraisers and putting together his work, but for now we have an immediate need for homes for his three cats, most likely permanent homes, though I hope with all my heart someday he may be reunited with at least one. They are all seven years old, spayed and neutered, and I am hoping he may get one back someday, but we have no idea if that will ever happen.


Anonymous said...

Come on, Suzan. You know we can all count on the Dem Party to side with the 99%.

Suzan said...

Did you read about how the violence is largely coming from the progressive/Dem quarter?

Seems rather clear to me although we have had very good relations in the OccupyGreensboro movement so far.