Monday, October 31, 2011

A Big Political Shift in Pakistan

Political Shift Seen in Rally in Pakistan
Arif Ali/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An estimated 100,000 people rallied in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday against the government and the main opposition party.

Uri Avnery (on the killing of Gaddafi): A view from the villa

Note of Apology:  I was surprised this morning by emails from several list-serves on this list, of something I sent out on October 19th; Bob Scheers article, 'If a Republican were president.'  Whether sabotage, an angry god or mystical cyber error, rest assured, I do not do that, and did not with this.  Good article, though.  Onward,
 From: John Jones []
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 9:48 PM
Subject: Uri Avnery (on the killing of Gaddafi): A view from the villa


A View from the Villa

by Uri Avnery

"Islam is an important part of Arab civilization. Many Arabs are sincere believers. Islamic parties will certainly play an important role in any democratic Arab order, much as Jewish religious parties play – alas – an important role in Israeli politics. Most of these Arab parties are moderate, like the governing Islamic party in Turkey....It is certainly desirable that these parties become a part of the democratic order, rather than turning into its enemy. They must be inside the tent, otherwise the tent may collapse."

The killing of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatasim was not a pretty sight. After seeing it once, I looked away when it was shown again and again on TV – literally ad nauseam.

Commercial TV exists, of course, to make money for the tycoons by appealing to the basest instincts and tastes of the masses. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for gruesome sights.

But in Israel there was another motive for showing these lynch scenes repeatedly, as the commentators made abundantly clear. These scenes proved, to their mind, the primitive, barbaric, murderous nature of the Arab peoples, and, indeed, of Islam as such.

Ehud Barak likes to describe Israel as a “villa in the middle of a jungle”. By now this is accepted by the great majority of our media people. They never miss an opportunity to point out that we live in a “dangerous neighborhood” – making it clear that Israel does not really belong to this neighborhood. We are a civilized Western people, sadly surrounded by these primitive savages.

(As I have mentioned many times, this goes right back to the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, who wrote that the future Zionist state would be a part of “the wall of civilization against Asiatic barbarism”.)

Since this attitude has far-reaching mental and political implications, let’s have a closer look.

I AM against the death penalty, in all its forms. Executions, whether in Texas or in China, disgust me. I would have much preferred Gaddafi to be tried in a proper court.

But my first reaction to the sight was: My God, how much a people must hate its ruler if they treat him like that! Obviously, the decades of abominable terror inflicted on the Libyan people by this half-crazy despot have destroyed any remnants of mercy they may have felt. (His fanatical defenders to the last, members of his tribe, seem to be a tiny minority.)

His clownish appearance and foreign adventures diverted the attention of world opinion from the murderous aspects of his rule. From time to time, on a whim, he let loose waves of horror, torturing and killing anyone who had so much as voiced a hint of criticism, trying them in football stadiums, where the roar of the maddened crowds drowned out the pitiful pleading for mercy of the condemned. On one occasion, his thugs shot all the 1200 inmates of Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.

True, he spent some money on building schools and hospitals, but that was a tiny part of the huge amounts of oil revenue squandered on his bizarre adventures or stolen by his family. This immensely rich country has a poor population, a singe narrow road from Egypt through to Tunisia and a standard of living that is a third of ours.

You did not have to be an Arab barbarian or Muslim arch-terrorist to do what was done to him. Actually, the highly civilized Italians (Libya’s former colonial masters) did exactly the same in 1945. When the partisans caught the fleeing Benito Mussolini, he pleaded piteously for his life, but they killed him on the spot together with his mistress. Their bodies were thrown into the street, kicked and spat upon by the crowd, and then hanged by their feet from meat hooks from the roof of a gas station, where the public threw stones at them for days on end. I don’t remember anybody in civilized Europe protesting.

Contrary to Mussolini and Gaddafi, Adolf Hitler was not caught while ignominiously trying to escape. He chose a much more dignified exit. But during his last weeks Gaddafi rather resembled Hitler, living in a world of crazy delusion, moving nonexistent troops around on the map, sure to the end of the boundless love of his people.

Nicolae Ceausescu, another bloody tyrant, had his day – or hour – in court. It was a charade, as such trials are bound to be. The kangaroo court condemned him to death and he was shot forthwith, together with his wife.

GADDAFI’S DEMISE puts an end to the debate that started months ago.

There can be no doubt any more that the vast majority of the Libyan people detested Gaddafi and welcomed the NATO campaign that helped to remove him. It was an important contribution, but the actual heavy fighting was done by the ragtag people’s army. Libya liberated itself. Even in Tripoli, it was the people who put an end to the tyranny.

I was sharply attacked by some well-meaning European leftists for blessing the awful monster called NATO. Now, in retrospect, it is quite obvious that the overwhelming – if not unanimous – opinion of the Libyans themselves welcomed the intervention.

Where did I differ from these leftists? I think that they have sewn themselves into a kind of ideological straightjacket. During the Vietnam war they arrived at a world view that was appropriate for that particular situation: there were good guys and bad guys. The good guys were the Vietnamese Communists and their allies. The bad guys were the US and its puppets. Since then, they have applied this schema to every situation around the world: South Africa, Yugoslavia, Palestine.

But every situation is different. Vietnam is not Libya, the South African problem was much more simple than ours. Great power politics may remain constant, and very unattractive at that, but there are huge differences between the various situations. I was very much against the US wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and very much in favor of the NATO campaigns in Kosovo and Libya. 

For me, the starting point of every analysis is what the people concerned want and need, and only after that do I wonder how the international schema applies to them. Working from the inside out, so to speak, not from the outside in.

Also, I have never quite understood the dogma which seems to answer all questions: “it’s all about oil”. Gaddafi sold his oil on the world market, and so will his successors, on the same terms. International oil corporations are all the same to me. Is there much of a difference between the Russian Gazprom and the American Esso?

Some former Communists seem to have a kind of inherited attachment to Russia, almost automatically supporting its international positions, from Afghanistan to Serbia to Syria. Why? What is the similarity between Vladimir Putin and the Soviets? Putin does not subscribe to the dictatorship of the proletariat, he is quite satisfied with a dictatorship of himself.

IF GADDAFI’S savage end has reinforced all the Islamophobic obsessions in the West, the elections in Tunisia have made matters worse.

Help! The Islamists have won the elections! The Muslim Brotherhood will win the elections in Egypt! The Arab Spring will turn the whole region into one vast hotbed of Jihad! Israel and The West are in mortal danger!

This is all nonsense. And dangerous nonsense at that, because it may derail any sensible American and European policy towards the Arab world.

Sure, Islam is on the rise. Islamic parties have resisted the Arab dictatorships and were persecuted by them, and therefore are popular in the aftermath of their downfall – much as European Communists were very popular in France and Italy after the defeat of Fascism. From there on, support for these parties declined.

Islam is an important part of Arab civilization. Many Arabs are sincere believers. Islamic parties will certainly play an important role in any democratic Arab order, much as Jewish religious parties play – alas – an important role in Israeli politics. Most of these Arab parties are moderate, like the governing Islamic party in Turkey.

It is certainly desirable that these parties become a part of the democratic order, rather than turning into its enemy. They must be inside the tent, otherwise the tent may collapse. I believe that this is in the best interest of Israel, too. That’s why my friends and I favor Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and advocate direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas, and not only for prisoner exchanges.

Our media are outraged: the interim Prime Minister of Libya has announced that Islamic law – the sharia – will guide the enactment of new laws in his country. It seems our journalists are ignorant of the existence of an Israeli law that says that if there are legal questions for which there are no ready answers, the religious Jewish law – the Halakha - will fill the void. Moreover, there is a new bill before the Knesset that states unequivocally that the Halakha will decide legal disputes.

The outcome of the Tunisian elections was, to my mind, very positive. As expected, the moderate Islamic party won a plurality, but not a majority. It must form a coalition with secular parties and is willing to do so. These parties, totally new and practically unknown, need time to establish their identity and structure.

To add a personal note, Rachel and I went to Tunisia many times to meet Yasser Arafat, and rather liked the people. We were especially taken by the many men we saw in the streets wearing a jasmine flower behind the ear. No wonder that such people could make an almost bloodless “jasmine revolution”.

If elections in other Arab countries follow this pattern, as seems probable, it will be all for the best.

THE OBAMA administration was clever enough to jump on the bandwagon of the Arab revolutions, though at the very last moment. We Israelis did not have this sense. Our Islamophobia has caused us to miss a golden opportunity for a new image among the young Arab revolutionaries.

Instead, we contrast our goodness with the barbarism of the Libyans, who have once again shown the true nature of the jungle surrounding our villa.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mike Davis: No More Bubble Gum

From: Sid Shniad

No More Bubble Gum

Who could have envisioned Occupy Wall Street and its sudden wildflower-like profusion in cities large and small?

John Carpenter could have, and did. Almost a quarter of a century ago (1988), the master of date-night terror (Halloween, The Thing), wrote and directed They Live, depicting the Age of Reagan as a catastrophic alien invasion. In one of the film's brilliant early scenes, a huge third-world shantytown is reflected across the Hollywood Freeway in the sinister mirror-glass of Bunker Hill's corporate skyscrapers.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

November 6, 2011 Angela Davis and Rev James Lawson in an Historic Conversation, A Journey to DC and Wall Street

Hi. I found this journey and the blogs thereof, fantastic.  Dad and 12 yr. old daughter have the experience of a lifetime.  A very personal, unfolding and ever interesting series, of which I've opened just a few, so far.  Try it, you'll be inspired.  ( The attached images belong to the Angela Davis/James Lawson event, just below the jouney) -Ed
From: Mara Schoner []
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2011 9:22 AM
Subject: Re: The Stunning Victory That Occupy Wall Street Has Already Achieved

Hi Ed,
That article makes a good point! When people ask me now what good is the movement and what do "they" want, I'm going to talk about the shift in the conversation.
My partner and our daughter went to Wall St and DC recently and made a video blog (Mark is continuing  upload video as he has time to edit it). You can see their journey and some of the conversation inspired by it at the link below. Scroll to the bottom for the first installment and work your way to the more recent videos… (the videos are no longer than 6 or so mins long each). , or 
Best, Mara

From: Mary Sutton []
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 2:10 PM

Subject: November 6, 2011 Angela Davis and Rev James Lawson in a Historic Conversation

Contacts:        Center for the Study of Political Graphics

Carol A. Wells, Executive Director

Mary Sutton, Program Director  323.653.4662

WHEN:           November 6, 2011

3:00 pm: Reception       4:30 pm:  Program

WHAT:           Celebrating the Art of Resistance: CSPG's 2011 pARTy AuCTION!
Honoring Angela Davis, Reverend James & Dorothy Lawson, and Doug Minkler
Sponsors' Reception, Red-Hot Auction, Music by Marcus L. Miller w/ The Freedom Jazz Movement Awards Program, and Historic Conversation with Angela Davis and Rev. James Lawson.

Sonali Kolhatkar host of KPFK's Uprising, will emcee

WHERE:        Temple Emanuel
300 N. Clark Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

WHO:             Center for the Study of Political Graphics, CSPG
with Community Partner, Critical Resistance

CSPG is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and circulates posters relating to historical and contemporary movements for peace and social justice. Through our diverse programs, CSPG is reclaiming the power of art to educate and inspire people to action.


With more that 80,000 domestic and international posters in its collection, CSPG maintains the largest archive of post World War II political posters in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world.

Angela Davis
Historian of the Lions Award
Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.
–African Proverb.

Angela Davis is an activist, educator, scholar, writer and a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex.

Reverend James& Dorothy Lawson
Culture of Liberation Award

Culture contains the seed of opposition becoming the flower of liberation.
–Amílcar Cabral

Rev. Jim Lawson introduced the principles of Gandhian nonviolence to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many future leaders of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Both Jim and Dorothy Lawson were founding members of the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  They have lived a spirituality of liberation for over five decades, sharing their work, their outrage over injustice and cruelty, and their ability to engage the world with hope.

Doug Minkler
Art is a Hammer Award
Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
–Vladimir Mayakovsky

Doug Minkler is an L.A. born, Berkeley poster maker who uses oil based inks to smear oil based Inc.s. His colorful award winning
work has been collected, respected, sued
and booed.

CSPG's 2011 Community Partner:
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. Through grassroots campaigns, political education, and coalition building, we are building a world where our basic necessities for food, shelter, beauty and freedom are met.

Images Shown Above left – right: Save Our Sister, Rupert García, Peace Press, Offset, 1972
Los Angeles, CA; Art is Not a Mirror, Doug Minkler, Inkworks, Offset, 2007 Berkeley, CA; Derived from photo by Ernest Withers, striking sanitation workers in Memphis, 1968


Mary Sutton, Program Director

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

8124 West Third Street Suite 211

Los Angeles, CA 90048




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Friday, October 28, 2011

Clarification on yesterday's email on Oakland, Why Tunisians Voted for the Islamists

From: []
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: Oakland Mayor Now Supports the Occupy Movement, Orders "Minimal
Police Presence"

Ed, I'm active with PFP in Oakland and have been involved in especially
building Union support for ''Occupy Oakland ''. I was sent your email and i
thought you might find my comments re last night interesting along with what
the cynically dishonest letter ''damage control ''from Quan said in full.
Stan Woods Oakland

PS If you would like to forward my comments feel free to do so .

I was there last night . I did see a lot of huddling on stage with Sharon
Cornu, Quan's Chief of Staff and the Non Leaders Leaders of ''Occupy
Oakland ''. Cornu, former head of the Alameda labor council, was trying to
get them to agree to allow Quan to speak .

If she had been allowed she almost certainly would have been booed down .
Most people would justifiably not consider it to be a '' freedom of speech
'' issue .
Despite her dancing around the issue she was the one that ordered the
attack. To have her speak would be like allowing the a CEO of a struck
corporation to address a Union rallly !
As for the '' Recall Quan ''chant i didn't hear that .

One more thing that letter wasn't re published in full , Quan goes on to
write to demand that '' Occupy Oakland '' not reestablish the camp and that
they allow unfettered access to ''Public safety officers ''.Ie Allowing
cops to walk around , look inside tents etc. at any time .

Along those lines one of the disinfomation lies put out to justify the
attack was that there was an incident where ''Occupy Oakland '' people had
blocked paramedics from removing a sick or injured person from the camp .
Absolute Bullshit . According to numerous eye witnesses People actually
assisted the paramedics by clearing the pathway .

AFTER the person had been removed a few cops tried to exploit the opening
by charging in. At that point people did surround the cops and chanted ''
get out '' etc until they withdrew.
(the stance of the camp has been that No cops were to be allowed . And they
successfully upheld that until the attack .) Stan W.

PS Today should be very busy . Michael Moore is paying a visit and probably
speaking .


Victory for Ennahda -- Why Tunisians Voted for the Islamists

By Mathieu von Rohr


In a major setback for Tunisia's elite, the Islamist Ennahda Party looks set
to lead the country's first democratically elected government. They appealed
to the common people who sought greater credibility in politics. But
concerns the country might soon become a new theocracy are exaggerated,
because Tunisian Islamists are looking to Turkey as their model.

Moderate Islamists with the Ennahda Party emerged this week as the victors
in Tunisia's first-ever free elections. The precise number of votes they
secured hasn't been finalized, but with more than half of all districting
reporting they are projected to win around 40 percent of the seats in a new
constitutional assembly.

Many in the West are confused by the results. They recall images of happy
young people on the streets of Tunis who in January toppled their dictator
and celebrated their newfound freedom. Now the Islamists have won? How could
it be that, given their first chance to vote, the people would cast their
ballots for religious parties? Germany's Bild tabloid newspaper even went so
far as to ask: "Can I still take my beach vacation in Tunisia?"

It would be easy and indeed tempting to link the news of the victory of the
Islamists in Tunisia with news of the reintroduction of polygamy in Libya.
But these countries are worlds apart. For starters, Tunisia's election
result is in no way surprising -- nor is it reason for panic.

First of all, it marks a victory for democracy. Sunday's election took place
without any problems, it was perfectly organized and free and fair, as all
international observers confirmed. More than 50 percent of those eligible to
vote went to the polls. That's very good news in a country in which
democratic elections are taking place for the first time. In addition, a
very large number of people, possibly even the majority, voted for parties
that aren't defined by religion.

Tunisia's Islamists Are Moderates

Nor is it expected that Tunisia will become a theocracy on the model of
Iran. The vast majority of Islamists with the Ennahda Party are moderates.
Rashid al-Ghannushi, their leader, has emphasized repeatedly that his party
supports the gender equality anchored in the old constitution and that they
will not force women to wear a headscarf, either. He has also said his party
has no intention of introducing polygamy or extreme forms of punishment.
Ghannushi likes to compare Ennahda's positions to those of the moderate
Islamists with Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Of course, Ennahda is a very large movement and it also includes factions
that are more conservative than the party's current leadership. But most
voters who supported Ennahda didn't do so because of a yearning for a rigid,
religious regime. They were instead attracted by the party's credibility --
and its perceived proximity to the common people.

Following Tunisia's independence from France in 1956, the country was guided
according to a post-colonial Western model by a francophone elite. The
country's founder, Habib Bourguiba, had no interest in religion, and he
called the headscarf an "odious rag." At Ramadan, he allowed himself to be
shown on television drinking orange juice, despite the fast. But under
Bourguiba, Tunisia was no democracy. Under his successor Zine El Abidine Ben
Ali, it became a dictatorship.

Regime Zealously Persecuted Islamists

For decades, the regime persecuted Islamists, locking up its supporters in
prisons and brutally torturing them. Many were forced to flee abroad --
including their leader, Ghannushi, who lived in London for 20 years and
first returned home in January. The ruling powers wanted Islam to play a
subordinate role in society. And it did. Before the revolution, the sight of
women wearing headscarves was a rarity on the streets of Tunis and working
women, at least in the capital, were plentiful. On the surface, the country
had a Western face, but that was only half the truth.

The cultural and social divide in the country had always been big and it
continued to grow in recent years. On the one side you had the rich Tunisian
elite in Tunis, who were often educated in France and tried to emulate the
French lifestyle -- sometimes even preferring to speak French over Arabic.

On the other, you had the common, mostly conservative population in the
country's interior and the capital city's impoverished suburbs. It wasn't
the elite who started the revolution and toppled Ben Ali, but rather the
young people from the country's poorest regions who were jobless and
desperate. It was this group who fought the police for weeks and from whose
ranks the largest number of casualties came.

Ennahda Promotes Economic Boom

Many of them have now voted for Ennahda. In their eyes, Ennahda embodies
everything the previous rulers did not: They are trustworthy, they aren't
corrupt, they are morally unobjectionable and the party is socially minded.
They were persecuted by Ben Ali, they were outsiders and they didn't profit
from the old system -- something that one couldn't say with confidence about
many other politicians. Ennahda also presented the prospect of an economic
boom built on the Turkish model in its campaign and succeeded in positioning
itself as the party most likely to preserve Tunisia's "Arab-Muslim"

Ennahda's success is also a slap in the face to the Western-oriented
Tunisian elite, whose secular, left-liberal parties achieved mediocre or
even disastrous results in some cases. They were unable to connect with the
simple rural population, whereas Ennahdas enjoyed a massive triumph among
these voters. For one, Ennahda was able to reach out to them because it is
better organized and financially stronger than other parties. The party has
tens of thousands of members around the country, they campaigned
relentlessly and it was the only one that succeeded in sending observers to
all the polls.

More than that, though, whereas the elite party candidates may have had
nothing to do with Ben Ali, they still looked to the voters like
representatives of the old system. That, at least, was the case with Ahmed
Nejib Chebbi, a smoothly shaven man who wears a suit and speaks perfect
French. In recent years, he had positioned himself as an opponent of Ben
Ali, and during the campaign he cast himself as the most critical counter
candidate to Ennahda with his left-liberal centrist Progressive Democratic
Party (PDP). Despite high expectations, his party looks to have won only a
handful of seats.

More Headscarves Visible

It's not just in Europe that people are worried about the Islamists' win.
Proponents of secular politics and women's rights in Tunisia are also
concerned. And by now it is indeed certain that Islam will have considerable
clout in Tunisia in the future. Since the revolution, the sight of the
headscarf or men wearing beards has become much more common. There have also
been reports of imams being driven out of mosques because they are
considered to be too liberal. And one week before the election, a broadcast
of the animated film "Persepolis," which includes an image of Allah in
defiance of Islamic rules prohibiting his depiction, triggered violent

Nevertheless, Tunisia has always been one of the most liberal Muslim
countries. It's populace is mostly conservative, but it is not considered
deeply religious and it is thoroughly influenced by European ideas. It's a
country that is also dependent on tourists and foreign investment and the
Islamists will neither wish to, nor can it afford to, scare them away.

Ennahda won't be able to govern alone. The majority of Tunisians didn't vote
for the party and it will likely have to seek partners from the ranks of the
secular parties in order to form a coalition government. Ennahda leaders
have already begun holding the first talks -- prior even to the announcement
of the final election results. They have named Secretary General Hamadi
Jebali as a candidate for prime minister, but stated they would not name one
for president.

A party spokesman indicated Ennahda will seek to form a national unity
government. That would provide a symbol of conciliation and also guarantee
the stability that is so urgently needed in Tunisia right now. The
politicians must take steps to stimulate the ailing economy and they need to
agree on the language of a constitution.

It will likely be a rocky road. Political views in the country are widely
divergent and it will be difficult to combine the Islamists' wish for a
return to the country's Arab-Muslim roots with the Western values of the
francophone, liberal urban classes. But the fact that the election went so
smoothly is an encouraging sign that Tunisia might be ready for the
democratic back-and-forth that will be necessary.

Under the current plan, the constitutional assembly should complete its work
within one year -- at which time new elections will be held. At that point,
all the other parties will have another chance.

Krugman: The Path Not Taken, Outrage in Oakland

The Path Not Taken
"But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver. "
Paul Krugman
NY Times Op-Ed: October 28, 2011


Financial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened — an acrimonious failure to agree on anything — the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.

But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine — a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.

Some economists weren’t convinced. One caustic critic referred to claims about the expansionary effects of austerity as amounting to belief in the “confidence fairy.” O.K., that was me.

But the doctrine has, nonetheless, been extremely influential. Expansionary austerity, in particular, has been championed both by Republicans in Congress and by the European Central Bank, which last year urged all European governments — not just those in fiscal distress — to engage in “fiscal consolidation.”

And when David Cameron became Britain’s prime minster last year, he immediately embarked on a program of spending cuts in the belief that this would actually boost the economy — a decision that was greeted with fawning praise by many American pundits.

Now, however, the results are in, and the picture isn’t pretty. Greece has been pushed by its austerity measures into an ever-deepening slump — and that slump, not lack of effort on the part of the Greek government, was the reason a classified report to European leaders concluded last week that the existing program there was unworkable. Britain’s economy has stalled under the impact of austerity, and confidence from both businesses and consumers has slumped, not soared.

Maybe the most telling thing is what now passes for a success story. A few months ago various pundits began hailing the achievements of Latvia, which in the aftermath of a terrible recession, nonetheless, managed to reduce its budget deficit and convince markets that it was fiscally sound. That was, indeed, impressive, but it came at the cost of 16 percent unemployment and an economy that, while finally growing, is still 18 percent smaller than it was before the crisis.

So bailing out the banks while punishing workers is not, in fact, a recipe for prosperity. But was there any alternative? Well, that’s why I’m in Iceland, attending a conference about the country that did something different.

If you’ve been reading accounts of the financial crisis, or watching film treatments like the excellent “Inside Job,” you know that Iceland was supposed to be the ultimate economic disaster story: its runaway bankers saddled the country with huge debts and seemed to leave the nation in a hopeless position.

But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.

So how’s it going? Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph.

And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.


Outrage Over Veteran Injured at ‘Occupy’ Protest
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A sign Wednesday in Oakland, Calif., refers to Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran who suffered a fractured skull Tuesday in an Occupy Oakland clash with the police. More Photos »

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oakland Mayor Now Supports the Occupy Movement, Orders "Minimal Police Presence"

Jean Quan's About-Face: Oakland Mayor Now Supports the Occupy Movement, Orders "Minimal Police Presence"

This is rather incredible. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan released a statement late last night saying she now supports the Occupy Oakland protesters and will minimize police presence for the time being. The statement comes less than 48 hours after local police used excessive force against protesters, including rubber bullets, stun grenades, sound cannons, and tear gas. One protester, an Iraq war veteran named Scott Olsen, was shot with a projectile at close range, fracturing his skull and landing him in critical condition. [Update: Olsen's condition has since been upgraded to fair.]

Quan's statement, via the San Francisco Chronicle:

We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.

I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.

We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.

Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.

Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.


By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at October 27, 2011, 8:30 am

FW: NYC Labor Against the War: 10.26 Occupy Wall Street Report: After Oakland


From: Ed Pearl []
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:03 AM
To: Ed Pearl
Subject: NYC Labor Against the War: 10.26 Occupy Wall Street Report: After Oakland

Hi.  I try to send you artcles of focus and brevity; the sort I best digest, myself.  This survey is different. It provides valuable information about today's most important international phenomenon at a turning point; violent police repression of a tidal wave, ordered by those in power.  You're not going to get the breadth of info or p.o.v. of the occupiers from mainstream media - another contradiction.  You might scan down the index of articles before diving in.  So, here's a broad look from the inside of a trunami.  Ed

PS. For an intensive look at Oakland, right now, tune into America's best broadcast, Democracy Now. 

 NYC Labor Against the War
10.26 Occupy Wall Street Report:
After Oakland
[281] <>
Late last night, Scott Olsen, a former Marine, two-time Iraq war
veteran, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sustained a skull
fracture after being shot in the head with a police projectile while
peacefully participating in an Occupy Oakland march.

'The future power struggles are not just going to be about fights
between one race and another. They're mostly going to be about class,
which is a big part about what the whole Occupy movement is about.'
Occupy Oakland and the 'Post-Racial' Repression of Obama Era
-------- <>


EMERGENCY RESPOSE: 9 p.m. Tonight in NYC: #ows Response To Government
Violence in Oakland At #occupyoakland |
Tonight in Manhattan, we will hold a march in solidarity with Occupy
Oakland (9:00pm. Details to be announced.) We will continue to build a
movement to empower the 99% and to hold Wall Street and government


Oakland Spends Millions in Attack on Occupy Protesters, Closes 5 Schools
Next Day - Occupy Oakland
Occupy Oakland will reconvene every day at 6pm at 14th & Broadway until
the camp is reestablished. Join us!\


Intense crackdown on 'Occupy Oakland' protest
Protesters reportedly left the city centre by about midnight, but
Occupy Oakland organisers put an online social networking call for
further protests tomorrow at 6pm for round three. and four. and five.
and six. We will not be moved. As the city's air clears of tear gas,
unless police drastically change their tact, there is reason to expect
at least another heated night in the city of 400,000.'\


Veteran shot in the face by rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland protests
Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen was wounded by a less-lethal
round fired by either San Francisco Sheriffs deputies or Palo Alto
Police on October 25, 2011 at 14th Street and Broadway in Downtown

Press Release: Marine Veteran Critically Injured at Occupy Oakland March
| Iraq Veterans Against the
Late last night, Scott Olsen, a former Marine, two-time Iraq war
veteran, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sustained a skull
fracture after being shot in the head with a police projectile while
peacefully participating in an Occupy Oakland march. The march began at
a downtown library and headed towards City Hall in an effort to reclaim
a site -- recently cleared by police -- that had previously served as
an encampment for members of the 99% movement.\


Occupy Oakland protests - live coverage
I've just spoken to Keith Shannon, roommate of Scott Olsen, the Iraq
veteran who is in hospital after apparently having been hit in the head
by a police projectile. Shannon said doctors told him Olsen has a
"skull fracture and swelling of the brain". A neurosurgeon will assess
Olsen later today to determine whether he needs surgery, Shannon said.\


Police attack Occupy Oakland
The hundreds of people who kept the Occupy Oakland encampment going --
and the many hundreds more who mobilized to defend the camp against
police attack -- are showing what real democracy looks like, and it has
nothing to do the officials running Oakland and ordering its police
force to silence free speech.

Recall Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, CA.
We must not allow Mayor Jean Quan to remain in power any longer. The
brutal response to the Occupy Oakland movements under her
administration is no different than the recent responses of Iran, Egypt,
Libya, Bahrain, and the countless other authoritarian regimes
throughout history. You are Citizens of Oakland, CA, a city in the
United States of America, whose Constitution guarantees a right to
peaceably assemble.\


Occupy Oakland and the 'Post-Racial' Repression of Obama Era
"The future power struggles are not just going to be about fights
between one race and another," said Lau. "They're mostly going to be
about class, which is a big part about what the whole Occupy movement
is about." <>


New York Becoming a Police State? Occupy Wall Street Meets the
NYPD's metal barricades have militarized the peaceable occupation at
Liberty Square and contributed to the creeping homeland security state


Protesting "stop and frisk"
Activists are marching against the New York Police Department's racist
"stop-and-frisk" policies that target Blacks and Latinos.

SJP Conference 2011: A Chronological Photo Tour
A street vendor's food stand reads "From Tahrir Square, Egypt, to
Liberty Park, New York". Students attending the National Students for
Justice (SJP) Conference joined the Occupy Wall Street protests in
Zuccotti Park. <>

NYPD Shadows Muslims Who Change Names: Report
The legal justification for the program is unclear from the documents
obtained by the AP. Because of its history of spying on anti-war
protesters and political activists, the NYPD has long been required to
follow a federal court order when gathering intelligence. That order
allows the department to conduct background checks only when police have
information about possible criminal activity, and only as part of
"prompt and extremely limited" checking of leads.\



Latest developments in the global Occupy protests

ATLANTA: cops remove Occupy Wall Street protesters - Chicago Sun-Times
Police included SWAT teams in riot gear, dozens of officers on
motorcycles and several on horseback.\


BALTIMORE: City officials want Occupy Baltimore to clear out of Inner
City officials want Occupy Baltimore to scale back its presence at a
downtown plaza near the Inner Harbor.\


LOS ANGELES: Officials want Occupy LA protesters off lawn |
"I am going to stand my ground here because there are some changes that
need to be taking place, and we are tired that we're just being giving
the run around."\



GREECE: On the brink of social explosion
As another 48 hour strike begins in Greece Matthaios Tsimitakis
describes a situation where despair and hope coexist in weird
combination and where something seems to be about to change in the


PALESTINE: Truths, facts and facts on the ground
The peace that Israel is proposing for Palestinians in fact evokes
another memory, of how another country dealt with Jewish settlement,
namely the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great and the creation of
the Pale of Settlement in the late eighteenth century for Jews to be
confined to, which they were for the most part till the early part of
the twentieth century.\


PALESTINE: Martha Frintzila Refrains From Performing in Israel Oud Fest
Martha joins other artists who have not only cancelled their booked
performances in Israel, but have also taken the brave stand to issue a
statement. Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox, Gil Scott-Heron,
Faithless, and Massive Attack have all come out in support of justice
for Palestinians.\


PORTUGAL: Breakthrough for the movement
The international call for real democracy that came from Madrid was
answered with protests of over 100,000 in Lisbon, 20,000 in Porto and
thousands more in six other cities across the country.\



Income of Top 1% Shot Up 275% Since 1979: CBO
All told, the top fifth of earners received more of the nation's income
(53%) than the bottom four-fifths combined.\


Wealthy corporations with a trillion dollars stashed offshore lobby for
a 'holiday' from U.S. taxes
73 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed up
as co-sponsors. And cash-rich mega corporations are pushing hard for
the tax break.\


Top candidates happy to take Wall Street's money
While President Obama and some Republican candidates struggle with how
to embrace the pain and anger fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement -
while not endorsing the politically polarizing street protests - the
Oval Office seekers have not been shy about accepting money from the
financial world.\


How the 1 percent rules
We know the 1 percent runs Wall Street and Corporate America, but their
control extends into the supposedly democratic political system as well.


'Occupy' protests: Not Tahrir yet
As we watch the American government continue to intervene politically,
diplomatically and militarily to prop up or tear down regimes based on
their allegiance to the larger neoliberal system, it's clear that in
the same way that events in the Arab world have profoundly influenced
the emerging protest movement in the US, the outcome of the OWS
movement will strongly influence the balance of power in the Arab world
as well.\


Occupy Atlanta VS Kasim Reed, the Black Misleadership Class and the One
Percent | Black Agenda Repor
Neither occupations nor occupiers are perfect. People are coming as they
are, bringing the baggage of racism and classism and sexism, of
divergent political views, of poverty, homelessness and despair. But
they are coming. They are eager to connect with each other, to connect
with whatever movement exists, or to help bring one into being that can
challenge and change the world they live in. They are ready to learn and
do real politics. What could possibly be more subversive, and more

Wall Street Clash
When Bloomberg threatened to evict the occupiers under the pretext of
"cleaning" the square, trade unions issued calls urging their members
to drop by Occupy Wall Street on their way into work to show solidarity
with the protest. That morning saw some 2,000 people blockade the site,
preventing the police from clearing it. But there is an unresolved
tension in this. Should the link-up between occupiers and workers be
one restricted to tactical coordination? Or can it go deeper, taking
the radical energy of Occupy Wall Street and channelling it into
strikes by workers?

Re-energized fight at Verizon
It is hard to imagine a more favorable climate in which to strike.
Occupy Wall Street has exposed how rotten our economy really is for
working people despite the happy talk of recovery and the gross
inequality within the U.S.

How do the 99% compare with mass protests of the past -- and can they
Why not unite everyone we can behind a charter of demands -- a "grand
remonstrance" to the parliament that represents the interests of the
rich -- and march with a million or more to deliver the remonstrance in
person next autumn. <>

Ideas that don't belong at Occupy
The politics espoused by Ron Paul and his libertarian supporters are the
opposite of what the Occupy movement is about.


Fri., 10.27: Labor Outreach Committee Meeting
6:00 p.m., DC 37, 125 Barclay Street, Rm. 11.

Sat., 10.28: Existence is Resistance Kuffeya Day at Occupy Wall Street
In solidarity with the people of Palestine, we are asking that on Oct.
28th everyone come to Liberty Plaza wearing their Kuffeya. EIR will be
on site silk screening shirts for a $2 donation.

Sat., 10.28: Occupy Harlem Mobilization: `We stand in solidarity with
Occupiers of Wall Street'
A call to Blacks, Latinos, and immigrants to occupy their communities
against predatory investors, displacement, privatization and state
repression. Let us assert our Dignity! WE MUST DEFEND OUR COMMUNITIES!



OccupyStream - All Occupy Wall Street Streams and IRC - Live Revolution <>

Occupy Together
Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, an unofficial hub for all of the events
springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. <>

We Are the 99 Percent
Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU

Reports of Occupy everywhere

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY: If you are arrested at an Occupy Event, call
the National Lawyers Guild: New York City: (212) 679-6018
Los Angeles: (323) 696-2299 Washington, DC: (202) 957 2445,
Chicago: (773) 309-1198
San Francisco: (415) 285-1011
New Orleans: (504) 875-0019
Baltimore: (410) 205-2850
Minnesota: (612) 656-9108
Michigan: (313) 963-0843
Portland: (503) 902-5340
Boston: (617) 227-7335
Pennsylvania & Delaware: (267) 702-4654
Idaho: (208) 991-4324  Be very sure to write
the applicable phone number in PERMANENT marker somewhere concealed on
your body, protected from the elements. Do NOT assume you will be able
to retrieve the number from a phone or a notebook. It is very likely
you will be stripped of all your belongings.

What To Do If You're Arrested at an Occupy Protest - Disorderly Conduct

The resistance continues at Liberty Square and Nationwide! <>

Donate Money to #occupywallstreet <>

NYC General Assembly
The Official Website of the GA at #OccupyWallStreet <>

People of Color / #OccupyWallStreet
Created in response to the lack of racial diversity at #OccupyWallStreet
with the purpose of developing critical consciousness within the
movement and extending its reach to include those most affected by the
current crisis. It is open to all who identify as people of color.

Occupy Wall St.: Immediate Needs
Comfort Committee's Current NEEDS: thermal wear (especially smaller
sizes), blankets, toiletries (especially toothpaste), hats & gloves,
towels for showers We do NOT need more ponchos or space blankets. All
donations can be sent to: The UPS Store Re: Occupy Wall Street 118A
Fulton St. #205 New York, NY 10038