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Posts tagged occupy wall street

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Dennis Kucinich- The Fed gave $7.77 Trillion in secret, non-congressionally approved loans to big banks that made them an estimated $13 *Billion. They’ve used tax payer money to get rich, then insist we need to cut social services that they won’t use. In Mr. Kucinich’s words, “Now do you understand Occupy Wall Street?”

*13 Billion, not Trillion as originally wrote (thanks carlbgood for the correction).

Filed under occupy Wall Street fed federal reserve dennis kucinich

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Remembering FDR’s Engagement with Another Occupation

The violence that broke out in Oakland earlier this week and the wounding of Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran, recalls a similar “occupy movement” involving veterans that took place in Washington at the onset of the Great Depression.

In 1932, thousands of unemployed World War I veterans, desperate from lack of work, converged on Washington, mostly by riding the rails, in support of a bill that would have allowed them to receive immediate cash payment of the war service “bonus” they were due in 1945. The veterans called themselves the “Bonus Army” or “Bonus Expeditionary Force.” By the end of May of that year, more than 20,000 had occupied a series of abandoned buildings near the Washington Mall and a sprawling shantytown they built on the Anacostia Flats not far from the Capitol. On June 15, 1932, the House of Representatives passed a bill in favor of the veteran payments, but as both President Hoover and a majority in the Senate opposed it, the “Bonus bill” went down to defeat two days later.

In the wake of this defeat, roughly 15,000 members of the Bonus Army decided that they would continue their occupation as a protest against the government’s decision. By late July, President Hoover decided it was time to clear the city of the protesters, using four troops of cavalry under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Late in the afternoon of July 28, General MacArthur’s troops — with sabers drawn — cleared the buildings near the Mall. They then fired tear gas among the men, women, and children encamped in Anacostia (many veterans were accompanied by their families); stormed the area on horseback, driving them out; and intentionally burned the shantytown to the ground in the process. More than 1,000 people were injured in the incident and two veterans and one child died.

In attacking the shantytown, MacArthur had exceeded his orders, which were simply to clear the buildings and surround the camp so as to contain it. But this meant little to the public, who were outraged at the treatment the veterans had received at the hands of the government and furious at Hoover for ordering the operation. Hoover, nevertheless, remained publically [sic] unrepentant and refused to apologize to the veterans — moves that contributed greatly to his massive loss to Franklin Roosevelt a few months later.

FDR, for his part, was disgusted by the whole affair. When a smaller group of about 3,000 Bonus Marchers converged on Washington with the same demand a year later, FDR took quite a different approach. Where Hoover had refused to meet with the protesters, FDR invited a delegation to come to the White House. He also provided the marchers housing in an unused army fort, made sure that they were given three meals a day plus medical attention, and sent Eleanor Roosevelt to engage them in further discussions and check on their condition. Not wanting to single out any group for special treatment, in the end he refused to support their demand for the early payment of their pensions. But the men were offered work in the newly formed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which 90 percent accepted. Shortly thereafter the Bonus Marchers voted to disperse, and those that opted to return home rather than join the CCC were given free rail passage.

Perhaps the municipal authorities in Oakland, New York, and elsewhere might learn something from FDR. They could use a lesson on the value of dialogue and the benefits a government that is responsive to the needs — if not the demands — of its citizens.

It seems clear to me that when some bureaucrat decides to ‘clear out’ demonstrations, it inevitably results in violence. Why spend so  much money on fighting the demonstrators when an alternative approach not only costs less but results in massive popularity.

Filed under FDR Hoover Occupy Wall Street Bonus Army

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Police do their job in Albany, NY

In a tense battle of wills, state troopers and Albany police held off making arrests of dozens of protesters near the Capitol over the weekend even as Albany’s mayor, under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, had urged his police chief to enforce a city curfew...

"We were ready to make arrests if needed, but these people complied with our orders," a State Police official said. However, he added that State Police supported the defiant posture of Albany police leaders to hold off making arrests for the low-level offense of trespassing, in part because of concern it could incite a riot or draw thousands of protesters in a backlash that could endanger police and the public.

We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble,” the official said. “The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor.”

A city police source said his department also was reluctant to damage what he considers to be good community relations that have taken years to rebuild. In addition, the crowd included elderly people and many others who brought their children with them.

"There was a lot of discussion about how it would look if we started pulling people away from their kids and arresting them … and then what do we do with the children?” one officer said.

Nowadays, I’m more surprised when the police do their jobs than when they don’t. Still, I have to give credit to the Albany Police Department. This is probably the most mature and least costly approach to a group of peaceful demonstrators.

Filed under occupy wall street occupy albany police protecting serving

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Forget the 99 percent. We are the 99.95 percent of people who have never maxed out in a Congressional election campaign by giving the maximum amount. It is .05 percent of America who have given $2500 in the last election to a Congressional candidate, .05 percent, and Congress listens to them.

Lawrence Lessig: Occupy Wall Street Hits K Street

You know, yearly that’s $625. Not too bad to get a legislator’s ear.

Filed under Lawrence Lessig K street Wall Street Occupy Wall Street Lobbyists

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Obama "Sides" with Occupy Wall Street While Pulling in HUGE Wall Street Donations


Democratic President Barack Obama is blowing away his Republican challengers when it comes to soliciting donations on Wall Street, fundraising figures show.

Come on people who are occupying Wall Street!! LOOK AT WHAT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! I read the numbers saying something like 48% of OWSers would vote to reelect Obama. OBAMA IS WALL STREET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(via this-is-silas-deactivated201410)

Filed under Obama is wallstreet occupy Wall Street obama

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Occupy Foreclosures?

As people think a bit more critically about what it means to “occupy” contested spaces that blur the public and the private and the boundaries between the 99% and the 1%, and as they also think through what Occupy Wall Street might do next, I would humbly suggest they check out the activism model of Project: No One Leaves. It exists in many places, especially in Massachusetts — check out this Springfield version of it — and grows out of activism pioneered by City Life Vida Urbana. It is similar to activism done by the group New Bottom Line and other foreclosure fighters. Here is PBS NewsHour’s coverage of the movement.

The major goal of Project: No One Leaves is to mobilize as many resources as possible to protect those going through foreclosure and keep them in their homes as long as possible in order to give them maximum bargaining power against the banks. For those focused on “weapons of the weak,” this moment — with banks and creditors using state power to conduct massive amounts of foreclosures, thus impoverishing poor neighborhoods through a financialized rationality — is a crucial opportunity for resistance. From the webpage:

Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense. We mobilize tenants and former homeowners living in recently or about to be foreclosed homes (bank tenants) to stop evictions, protect Springfield’s housing and communities, and mobilize bank tenants to fight back against major lending institutions and banks that are tearing our communities apart.

Their model, a two-step process known as the Sword and the Shield, works:

“The Sword”. Encouraging residents to stay in their homes, and to make their stories public, we organize blockades, vigils and other public actions to exert public pressure on the banks. The sword works together with:

“The Shield”:We inform bank tenants of their rights and work with legal services & progressive lawyers, to use aggressive post-foreclosure eviction defense to get eviction cases dismissed, win large move-out settlements (if it makes sense for that family/person), and force the banks to reconsider foreclosure evictions.

They use public action through blockades, protests, and marches, along with smart legal advice on how to maximize legal resistance to forced removal. Beyond the fact that this is a major space for resistance, it is also a great way to mobilize people. And as JW Mason notes, there is power in having a clear opponent as well as a special type of bargaining power people might not realize they have:

Homeowners who still have title have a lot to lose and are understandably anxious to meet whatever conditions the lender or servicer sets. But once the foreclosure has happened, the homeowner, paradoxically, is in a stronger negotiating position; if they’re going to have to leave anyway, they have nothing to lose by dragging the process out, while for the bank, delay and bad publicity can be costly. So the idea is to help people in this situation organize to put pressure — both in court and through protest or civil disobedience — on the banks to agree to let them stay on as tenants more or less permanently, at a market rent.

But there’s another important thing about No One Leaves: They’re angry. The focus isn’t just on the legal rights of people facing foreclosure, or their real chance to stay in their homes if they organize and stick together, it’s on fighting the banks. There’s a very clear sense that this is not just a problem to be solved, but that the banks are the enemy. I was especially struck by one middle-aged guy who’d lost the home he’d lived in for some 20 years to foreclosure. “At this point, I don’t even care if I get to stay,” he said. “Look, I know I’m probably going to have to leave eventually. I just want to make this as slow, and expensive, and painful, for Bank of America as I can.” Everyone in the room cheered.

This will make the banks extremely angry, prevent them from further profiting from the declining middle class, and will stall homelessness for some. It will also help bolster “house prices, residential investment, and durable consumption" by a significant margin. Still, it addresses a problem’s effects, not its cause.

Filed under occupy Wall Street foreclosures banks economy

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Federal judge tells police not to ticket Occupy protesters

A federal judge on Tuesday told police temporarily to stop issuing tickets to Occupy Cincinnati demonstrators camping out in a city park, while the protesters’ lawyers and city leaders try to hammer out an agreement on issues in the protesters’ federal lawsuit against the city…

On Monday, the group filed for a court order blocking the city from enforcing rules that ban people from the park after it closes at 10 p.m. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott issued an order calling for a “standstill” on enforcing that rule in the park. The 28-hour stay expires at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Citations may then resume unless an out-of-court settlement is reached.

Protesters say the park rules violate their free speech rights, but the city’s lawyers say the rules are constitutional and that police should have the ability to regulate after-hours activities in the park, either through citations or, possibly, arrests. Since Oct. 9, city police have issued 239 citations to 91 people for violating park rules, racking up roughly $25,000 in fines. One protester was arrested Monday, Miller said, after refusing to sign his citation.

The first amednement reads; “Congress shall make no law… abridging the… right of the people peaceably to assemble”. It’s clear that if these demonstrations were not political in nature, the response would be entirely different and would not involve the militarization of our police force.

Filed under occupy Wall Street rights law rule of law ruling

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CBC reporter Kevin O’Leary calls Chris Hedges a “Left Wing Nutbar,” Chris Hedges proceeds to make O’Leary look like even more of a complete idiot.

“O’Leary: Repoter: So, what exactly is everybody complaining about? And also, give me a sense of how much momentum this movement has, because it looks pretty nothing-burger so far. Just a few guys, guitars, nobody knows that they want, they can’t even name the names of the firm’s that they’re protesting against. Very weak. Low budget.

Hedges: They know precisely what they want. They want to reverse the corporate coup that’s taken place in the United States and render the citizenry impotent and they won’t stop until that happens. And frankly, if we don’t break the back of corporations, we’re all finished anyway since they’re rapidly trashing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for survival. This is literally a fight for life. It’s that grave, it’s that serious. Corporations, unfettered capitalism, as Karl Marx understood, is a revolutionary force. It commodifies everything; human beings, the natural world, which it exploits for profit until exhaustion or collapse. And the bottom line is we don’t have much time left.

God, I love Chris Hedges. I think it was a bit of a mistake for him to say he’d never come on the show again, though. Appearing on shows with individuals of opposing viewpoints is a great opportunity to completely dismantle their arguments and get one’s message out, as Chris did so eloquently here.

I am glad he pointed out how inappropriate that anchor’s comment was and that he would not be joining CBC again- I understand the need to respond to misinformation, but no one should feel obliged to tolerate insults from know-nothings who are only going to ignore his words.

Filed under hedges occupy Wall Street cbc news liberal media