Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street

Who are the Upper Middle Classes? The most powerful class politically and financially?

The  Upper Middle Class in the USA (UMC), those earning more than $120,000 per year (20% of the population), vote massively in their districts (80% of the time) and barely move out of their district, kind of implanted in their secluded quarters with all the amenities (security, facilities, schools, clean environment…). They are the obstacle for useful society mobility.

No politician in the UMC district will ever attempt to rob them of any privilege, woo other classes, or touch on any of their acquired “rights” since they are virulent, engaged and hold the power of opinion. Yes, they are most active, educated, and write opinion letters to politicians and newspapers.

A third of the mass demonstrators in Occupy Wall Street were from UMC. As soon as the government and financial multinationals agreed to give them a few guarantees on their acquired financial privileges, the massive UMC dis-assembled and left the other marchers prey to the police forces and their dogs.

The right-wing (Tea Party) and kind of left-wing parties are packed with UMC members: They know how to hold and maintain their power.

In fact, the UMC occupy most of the key positions in the public services, universities, media, municipalities, sciences, survey institutions, all kinds of traditional professions… and No Senator or Congressman will ever antagonize the UMC financial privileges and tax bracket. (Any such law is doomed to Not Pass, actually they are born-dead)

And how Donald Trump managed to circumvent the UMC?

Trump managed to flatter the values and “culture” of the working classes against the ascendancy of the UMC in journalism, mass media, bureaucracy, favoritism in public services and private companies.

Yes, the working classes have no grudge against the richest 1% whom they dream to become one of them and because they are never in close contact with them in any of their daily activities in the public sectors (read government)

The working classes have a gut feeling that their children are practically denied to move out of their parents’ status in society because of the tight-niches of the UMC in every sector in the community.

And why the UMC are so reluctant to slightly dent any of their overpowering privileges (economically, financially and politically)?

And why the UMC are Not ready for any tiny sacrifices in their life-style to promote the less fortunate classes for slightly better advancement in society?

Note: The UMC description and characteristics are valid in every country: colonial, imperialist, communist, socialist, in emerging nations (India, China,Brazil, Canada, South Africa) and even in poor countries where the oligarchy set roots for decades.

Alternative economic system? Gar Alperovitz

Our society’s institutions are in crisis — with looming ecological collapse, historic concentration of capital, incarceration rates far beyond those of any other country, the diminishing civil liberties that come along with a permanent “war on terror,” and a political process bought and paid for by the rich and powerful.

The Next System Project, or NSP, hopes to explain how we arrived here, provide competing visions for where we can and should go, and detail specific proposals for how we can begin to go there.

The project, which launched at the start of April, begins with the premise that our long-term political and economic problems require more than policy changes that alleviate symptoms — like those proposed in the newly released liberal agenda, “Rewriting the Rules,” backed by economist Joseph Stiglitz and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — without focusing on root causes.

The NSP will bring together academics and grassroots activists, as well as policy analysts and advocates, to develop and begin to implement genuinely democratic political and economic institutions capable of producing lasting and shared prosperity.

Gar Alperovitz, a political economist and the project’s co-chair, has been focused on developing a new American political economy for a long time. After publishing his early work on the decision to drop the atomic bombs, Alperovitz turned his attention more explicitly to our political economy, believing that our economic and foreign policies are driven by the institutional capitalist requirement for ever-expanding markets and access to raw materials.

Alperovitz has since developed an alternative political-economic model, called the “Pluralist Commonwealth” — different (plural) institutions of democratized (common) wealth — that seeks, rather than growth and expansion, to preserve individual liberty and to sustain communities and the environment. So far, the most successful implementation of the model is the Mondragon Corporation-inspired Evergreen Cooperatives, a network of worker-owned and community-controlled coops that have brought economic development to Cleveland’s impoverished inner city by tapping into the purchasing power of local “anchor institutions,” like hospitals and universities.

I recently had the chance to speak with Alperovitz about the NSP’s inspiration, the types of solutions it plans to promote, and the efforts already underway that it seeks to amplify.

Can you describe the goals of the NSP?

Here’s our starting point: If you don’t like corporate capitalism or state socialism, then what do you want — and how do we get there? Rather than elevating one model or another, we have two broad goals.

First, to begin to raise our conversation beyond projects and elections. Both are important, but we’re trying to say that the problems we face are systemic.

Second, if systemic change is required, which I think it is, then what is the nature of the system that we would actually want to live in that is different from the old state socialist model or the corporate capitalist model. Because if we had that clear vision, it might also inform our strategy for how to get there.

And it has an emphasis on combining research with popular education and grassroots action?

We hope to have a wide range of discourse — conferences, study groups, academic work on pieces of the puzzle that nobody has done yet. This is time to really open the door intellectually and with experiments on the ground that open up new political-economic directions that we can learn something from. And we want to stimulate people to work in this arena.

We want people to realize this is a really important problem and to open this debate far and wide. We were surprised by the broad range of people who were willing to say, yes, we have to deal with the system, not just electing one candidate or another.

What surprised you?

What’s surprising is that more moderates and liberals signed and said it’s time to talk about the systems issue. Well-known liberals like Robert Reich and Jeffery Sachs signed the founding statement, people who would identify as being on the left, but certainly not as radical as Richard Wolff or Noam Chomsky — both of whom also signed. So did Bill McKibben and a broad range of environmentalists. Also, Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower.

It is interesting that you identify liberty as a value the current system is unable to fulfill. Can you elaborate on that?

The anarchists and the genuine conservatives pointed out long, long ago that state socialism would develop a power structure that was going to destroy liberty. And people didn’t listen.

You need to take off your hat to both the anarchists and the conservatives who were really way ahead of the socialists and the liberals on that question. The anarchists have urged different forms of representation that preserve communities and individual activity within them.

How is liberty threatened today?

One aspect is time spent at work. Time could become freedom to do whatever you want to do.

Liberty is also connected with stability and security. If we had a guaranteed job system, or if you had a job as long as you were willing to work, no matter what you did or said politically, it gives you enormous degrees of freedom that you don’t have now.

Thirdly, governments with scale happen to be imperial — like the one that rules this continent. Bringing government close to home — cities, states, regions — is another way to get at liberty denied by big government.

Can you explain why you think we need a new system and new institutions rather than new policies?

The traditional model since the New Deal has been that you have major corporate power and agricultural power; people often leave that out, but the farm groups and lobbies have been much more powerful than the population they represent, which is perhaps 2 percent.

Corporate and business power was on one side with labor on the other — the economist John Kenneth Galbraith used to call the institutional strength of the unions “countervailing power.”

But the American labor movement was never that strong. And it’s getting weaker everywhere.

The basic structure that kept American capitalism somewhat stabilized was this model, which had some capacity to repair the damages that the corporate system was building — some social programs, some welfare programs, some unemployment programs. That whole structure is simply decaying before our eyes.

And what role does ideology play in sustaining the current system? Can you speak to your experience opposing President Carter’s austerity approach to inflation with the consumer advocacy group you helped to create, Consumers Opposed to Inflation in the Necessities, or COIN.

In the 1970s, there was an overwhelming and successful conservative attempt to blame the inflation problem on wages or monetary policy and excess spending, when it was almost self evident that it was largely sectoral — energy, health, food and housing costs were the dominant sources of inflation.

So we attempted to challenge that by putting together COIN. There was a lot of success raising the issue. We tried to get the Carter administration to take a different view, but they were obviously not in a position to do anything serious.

The inflation went on, which paved the way for [Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker’s extreme policy — at one point it raised interest rates to 17 or 18 percent and created massive layoffs and wage cuts.

And why were the lobbying attempts unsuccessful?

Those in the Carter administration had all been brought up on standard traditional economics and did not feel comfortable attacking those interests. They would have had to go after the oil industry and a number of agricultural programs; the housing issue they could have done, but that would have entailed lowering the interest rate, not raising it.

The standard interest groups bolstered the Carter administration’s fear while at the same time the Republicans attacked them ideologically. They were just cornered. Had they been very bold, which they were not, they might have opened up the direction we are talking about.

Aside from the strictly political power questions — which are very real — there are certainly questions about the role of economic ideas and ideology.

You have been writing about alternative political-economic systems for decades. Why launch the NSP now?

It’s been clear to me that we are facing a systemic crisis for a very long time.

The notion that we might have the chance to launch it became evident as we began to see where the trends were going, and the slow build up of the so called New Economy Movement,” which I’ve been involved with as well. What has become evident — and Occupy Wall Street helped crystalize it — is that the pain levels are so high, and the political system is so hijacked that something is about to break open.

The pain levels have been there all along. What was new with Occupy was the articulation — putting the 1 percent and 99 percent on the table — and it also produced political activism around economic issues for the first time in a long time.

How do you think Occupy, and its symbolic importance regarding political activism around economic issues, has contributed to the countless local economic experiments being conducted around the country, like those associated with the New Economy Coalition?

One of the little told stories of the Occupy movement is the following: People say it disappeared.

People prior to the Occupy events, isolated individuals, did not know other individuals who were equally isolated had these feelings and views. People met each other in Occupy events.

If you look at the basis for activism now in many parts of the country in the new economy movement, those people met others with whom they could form organizational and social bonds in order to act in a new way during the Occupy movement. The New Economy Coalition is one organization.

People are doing projects all around the country. If you peel back, a lot of the people got activated and found each other at the time of the Occupy movement.

So projects are something you have supported and pursued, obviously, through your activism. But you are also critical of what you have called “projectism,” which I will translate as the failure to see beyond individual projects or groups of projects to a strategic systemic approach.

Projects are absolutely critical; you can’t move without them. The question is whether we are building a strategy that aims at a systemic change. A lot of activism is framed as projects, and thinking through whether A leads to B and B to C is a very important kind of thinking that needs to be done by activists.

What strikes me is I think most people haven’t thought seriously about really winning. A lot of activism is, rightly, protesting or trying to fix a problem or correct an injustice. A much larger question is: How do we win? And if we won, what do we want? And I think that’s a critical psychological issue.

And the emphasis on clear analysis that can be understood by mainstream audiences?

It’s important that the project begins to give people, beyond just activists on the left, the sense that we can talk about this. We’re not going to move the ball unless we get a much broader group of people talking about this. I always think about whether I could explain it to the people who I grew up with.

You ought to be able to explain it to citizens. Tolstoy put it this way: If you can’t explain it to your fellow peasant, that’s your problem, not his.

Can you explain your belief in community as the foundational unit of a political system that is actually participatory and democratic?

Like I wrote in “Cold War Essays,” one of the most powerful sources of the problems we face internationally is that systems, like American capitalism, must expand.

Capitalism has an inherent necessity of expanding, seeking markets, investment abroad, outlets, and control of other communities in trade policies. If the system doesn’t expand it collapses.

If you want systems that are peaceful and do not inherently produce conflict, you must alter the nature of the expansionary element. That means you have to move away from capitalism — there’s also an ecological imperative to do this. That leads you to systems that are not entirely based on markets.

The starting point for my whole vision is this need to develop systems that both foster community and are not inherently expansionary.

You consistently return to economic planning as necessary for any system seeking stability, for both the entire economy and for communities. Can you explain our current system of backdoor corporate planning?

Every area you look at, either tax or regulation or loans or loan guarantees or combinations of those strategies bolster or don’t bolster certain directions in the economy. So the idea that we have a free market in the economy and that there is open competition is absolutely absurd. If you look at the oil industry, for example, it’s supported by special tax programs that give it a particular direction.

The way it’s organized, lobbyists have found ways to get these programs out of the government. As you know I worked in both houses of Congress at one point. The way in which the lobby system works — this is very well known and most people close to the political process just take it for granted.

What would democratic planning look like?

You are going to have to have national economic planning for the big areas — for example, energy, climate impact, transportation. Right now we let the free market control where the major air transport goes. What that means is a city like Cincinnati loses its transportation, then it loses its business. The same thing is going to happen to Cleveland, which is ridiculously inefficient, as well as inhumane. A planning system needs to begin to coordinate that.

How can we do this?

Partly we need to build up local experience through participatory budgeting and planning. That is a whole area for activists to work on.

We also need a theory of how to do it at the national level. Making it explicit — for example, if we want to deal with climate change, saying here are all of the implications captured in an economic plan. Similarly, if we want to stabilize communities, and so on. And then we should debate it back and forth.

Given our country’s size, the region becomes an important political unit in your work. Can you explain this?

Most people haven’t faced this question or wanted to face it. The country is almost obviously too big for the government to be a genuinely democratic institution — it’s almost 3,000 miles from corner-to-corner with 318 million people.

Now, most states are too small, economically. The most logical solution is something bigger than a state and smaller than a continent — a region.

Most European societies are radically smaller than the United States. You could drop Germany into Montana. Large scale gives control to elites — and to money and media. So, at some point, any serious model that wants to be democratic is going to have to decentralize where decisions are made.

California, New York, Texas could probably do it on their own — they are regional scale units. That’s a whole set of questions that have to be put on the agenda.

In your writing on democratic planning, you often confront the tension between the need for action and its centralizing tendencies, and participatory democracy and the decentralization needed to make it a reality. How can this apparent contradiction be overcome?

First, you have to have inclusive units that include everybody — community models, not just worker-ownership models.

The second piece is using both planning and markets. Using Cleveland and the Evergreen Cooperatives as an example, you’ll see that the big institutions — hospitals and universities — both of which have a lot of public money, buy from worker-owned companies that are embedded in the community structure.

That’s a planning system, using the purchasing power of these institutions, a lot of which is public money — Medicare, Medicaid — to help stabilize companies that are owned by the community and workers. It’s not just a free market system.

How can markets be used?

You want some sort of mix of planning and markets, because you want to challenge the planning systems, which can get rigid. If you take this model to the national level, then the government, using just one example, would support mass transit and high-speed rail as one element of its transportation system. That would mean there are a lot of public contracts to build that. They could purchase the goods from worker and community-owned companies. You could have several of them that are quasi-competitive, so that the planning system can be efficient.

What are the basic types of alternative political-economic models that could achieve this?

Most of the models have an element of worker-ownership in them. It’s not the only thing, but it does change the ownership of capital. I think it’s a mistake to say that’s the only element — I don’t agree with some theorists who think that the system is going to be just adding up worker-owned companies.

Another model is a city-ownership model. For instance, in Boulder, Colorado, they have municipalized a private electricity utility. So that’s a different strategy that emphasizes a community model at the city level. Now, you can put both together — I believe in a pluralist system that will include several different models.

A third model is neighborhoods. It’s particularly important for the United States, where neighborhoods are often organized around race. The work we’ve done in Cleveland is a combination of neighborhood ownership and worker ownership.

And you write about the problems that come with economic entities that achieve scale, even if they are worker-owned.

When you get to the larger scale and economies of scale become available, even worker coops develop power relationships because they have to. If somebody else is in the game who can cut costs by polluting, even good guys in the coop will lose their jobs and their company if the other group is able to undercut them.

Especially, if you invest in new equipment that can lower your cost, if somebody else does that in another company, you must do the same thing, otherwise you will be out of business. They have to grow; they have a growth dynamic, as well as a cost cutting dynamic, built into the model. So when you get to significant scale — and that changes in different industries — worker coops, in a market economy, have very similar forces operating against them that any company in a private economy has.

How can problems of scale be overcome?

First I want to say that worker coops make sense on a smaller scale and are doable.

One way to address scale is to build a culture of community that internalizes externalities, through, for example, community-wide ownership. That is to say, a community-wide ownership system can decide to pollute, but it pollutes itself. So it must make the choice of what to do.

Whereas a company, worker owned or not, may like to not pollute, but if it pollutes, it’s polluting the community, not just itself, and it might do that because of cost competition.

How can some of these different ownership models begin to be implemented right now?

I think we are going to see a lot of this. We’re already seeing activity at the city government level. Several city governments — New York, Madison — are beginning to pick up on supporting worker ownership. Some states — Vermont and Ohio — have supported worker-owned companies. That’s a step forward.

How can local government be used as a resource for this type of change?

It’s not just funding. People don’t realize, a worker-owned coop is a “business.” In the United States, there are enormous subsidies and laws and national government policies in support of business. For progressives and people on the left, the light bulb needs to come on that almost all of this could be used for worker businesses.

For example, with the Cleveland model, once the city officials realized they wanted to help, they could begin to use all of the existing tools for this direction. And the mayor often looks good if he or she does this. People are often in opposition and they don’t realize there are a lot of opportunities in government where politicians would look very good if they helped.

And what about the role for anchor institutions, like with the Cleveland Model?

The other strategy is big institutions that have a lot of money in them and can’t move — like hospitals and universities. Medicare and Medicaid, educational money, etc. They buy a huge amount of goods and services. They can be requested, or pressed, or organized to help support these new directions. That’s what’s going on in Cleveland, of course. In many cities, actually, but Cleveland has done the most dramatic work.

What kind of potential exists for activists to tap into these resources and to use them to attain much-needed economic development for marginalized communities?

One thing they can do is use city government purchasing power. They have to procure from somewhere. They could buy from a worker coop.

Another area is government housing programs that the city government manages. And they could do it in a way that supports, not only low-income housing, but either cooperative housing, or housing structures focused on land trusts that control housing prices. Using community land or housing trusts, you can get people into housing.

The typical situation is that when housing prices go up, people get priced out. The first owner makes a lot of money, but then the affordable housing disappears. In a land trust situation, the owners can recapture the cost that they put in. It’s happening in different places, but it’s very difficult to do. You have to learn about it and get tough in your organizing strategies.

Tax incentives, tax abatements, loan guarantees, loans, special zoning, public-private ventures, and other economic “tools” to encourage business development. We regularly use taxpayer money to achieve economic goals.

Where can you see this project going?

Many other movements began small — the women’s movement, the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era, the early environmental movement, and certainly with civil rights. The conservatives were absolutely nowhere in the 1940s. Radical conservatives were talking to themselves, but then they got serious about building a movement that could reach well beyond their narrow ranks. I think that’s what we’re talking about.

Occupy Wall Street Calls for New Mental Shift: “Protest Is Broken”

 

Attracting millions of people to the streets no longer guarantees the success of a protest, says Micah White, 33, the co-creator of Occupy Wall Street.

“Occupy was a perfect example of a social movement that should have worked according to the dominant theories of protest and activism. And yet, it failed,” says Micah in an interview with Folha de São Paulo, the largest daily newspaper in Brazil.

Giuliana Vallone posted

Micah White argues that the use of violence in protests is effective, but only in the short term.

And he argues that learning to use social networks to benefit social movements is one of the greatest challenges of activism. “The biggest risk is becoming spectators of our own protests,” he says.

Living in a rural community on the Oregon coast, with about 300 inhabitants, Micah, and his wife Chiara Ricciardone, now run Boutique Activist Consultancy, an activism think tank specializing in impossible campaigns.

Micah was in São Paulo, Brazil on May 26 to participate in the launch event of GUME (“Knife Edge”), an engagement agency founded by Regina Augusto.

Folha de São Paulo: How would you analyze Occupy Wall Street today? What went wrong?

Micah White: This is the big question and of course I’ve been thinking about it since the end of Occupy. For me, the Occupy movement was a “constructive failure,” which basically means it was a failure that taught us something about activism.

The real benefit of Occupy Wall Street is that it taught us the contemporary ideas and assumptions we have about protests are false.

Occupy was a perfect example of how social movements should work. It accorded with the dominant theories of protest and activism: it was a historical event, joined millions of people across demographics from around the world around a series of demands, there was little violence.

And yet, the movement failed. So my main conclusion is that activism has been based on a series of false assumptions about what kind of collective behavior creates social change.

F: What are these assumptions?

MW: First, the central idea of contemporary activism: urban protests, with large numbers of people in the streets, primarily secular, and that revolve around a unified demand.

The idea is basically, “Look, if we get a million or ten million or a hundred million people in the streets, finally our demands will be met.”

However, if you look at the last ten, fifteen years, we have had the biggest demonstrations in history. And the protests continue to grow in size and frequency, and yet they have not resulted in political change.

F: Now what?

MW: What we learned from Occupy, and also with the Arab Spring, is that revolutions happen when people lose their fear.

So I think the main trigger for the next revolutionary movement will be a contagious mood that spreads throughout the world and the human community.

For me, the main thing we need to see is activists abandoning a materialistic explanation of revolution – the idea that we need to put people in the streets – and starting to think about how to spread that kind of mood, how to make people see the world in fundamentally different way. That’s about it.

The future of activism is not about pressing our politicians through synchronized public spectacles.

F: It’s not about pressuring politicians?

MW: No. I think the standard forms of protest have become part of the standard pattern. It’s like they are expected.

And the key is to constantly innovate the way we protest because otherwise it is as if protest is part of the script.

It is now expected to have people in the streets, and these crowds will behave in a certain way, and then the police will come and some of the people will be beaten up and arrested.

Then the rest will go home. Our participation in this script is based on the false story that the more people you have in the streets the higher your chances of getting social change.

F: Can you explain better what you’re proposing?

MW: What I am proposing is a type of activism that focuses on creating a mental shift in people. Basically an epiphany.

In concrete terms, I think there is much potential in the creation of hybrid social movement-political parties that require more complex behaviors of people like running for political office, seeking votes, participating in the city administration.

F: The use of social networks is quite controversial among contemporary activists. Some say it is a key tool to increase the reach of the protests, others say it exposes the movement to monitoring by the authorities. What’s your opinion?

MW: This is one of the key challenges. Social media is one of the tools that activists have, and we need to use it in some way.

But in fact, social media has a negative side, which goes beyond police monitoring.

During Occupy, we experienced it: things started to look better on social networks than in real life.

Then people started to focus on social media and to feel more comfortable posting on Twitter and Facebook than going to an Occupy event.

This to me is the biggest risk: to become spectators of our own protests.

F: What do you think of the Black Lives Matter protests that are happening in the United States since last year, the result of racial tension in the country?

MW: Of course I fully support this movement. I am black, I have experienced the discrimination that they are protesting.

But thinking strategically, I believe it is very important never to protest directly against the police. Because the police are actually made to absorb protest – the objective of the police is to dissipate your energy in protesting them so you’ll let alone the most sensitive parts of the repressive regime in which we live: politicians and big corporations. We must protest more deeply.

F: What do you think of the use of violence in protests?

MW: Studies suggest that protesters who use violence are more effective than those that do not.

I think violence is effective, but only in the short term, because you end up developing a kind of organized structure that is easy for police to infiltrate.

In the long run, it is much better to develop nonviolent tactics that allow you to create a stable and lasting social movement.

F: But doesn’t violence exclude the public from the movement?

MW: People become alienated and become frightened when they see the black bloc tactic because they do not understand and can not imagine doing it.

And movements work when they inspire people, when they are positive, affirmative and make people lose their fear.

It’s a difficult balance, because you also do not want to be on the other side and only support forms of activism that are tepid and tedious – you have to find a middle ground that excites people and also leaves them with a little fear. No one really has a remedy to resolve the issue.

F: Your book, The End of Protest, decrees the end of the protest as we know it. Can we reinvent protest?

MW: Protest is reinvented all the time. Every generation experiences its own moments of revolution.

The main thing is that we are now living through a time when tactical innovations are happening much more often because people can see what others are doing around the world and innovate in real time.

I think the future of revolution starts with people promising themselves that they will never protest the same way twice.

This is very difficult for activists because they like to follow patterns. But when we are committed to innovation, we will invent totally new forms of protest.

People did not expect to see something like Occupy when it emerged. And now we do not expect the next big movement…but it will come.

Originally published by Folha de São Paulo

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/protest-broken-co-creator-occupy-wall-street-calls-new-mental-shift#sthash.nRLA07QJ.dpuf

Andrew Bossone shared this link July 18, 2015

His argument: Protests are limited; mental shifts and participation in politics and public administration is needed.

The co-creator of Occupy Wall Street has advice for the next generation of social movements: “Never protest the same way twice.”
occupy.com

10 NYPD Arrests in 80 minutes: How this feat is done?

In this 10 minute video, Paul Henri-Sullivan documents NYPD tactics in crowd control.  He follows an Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest with his camera focused on the police. He sees how the police White Shirts direct arrests as the protest gains momentum in order to weaken the protest.

Understanding NYPD Crowd Control Tactics

The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes.

While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protesters ability to effectively assemble.

OWS police arrest

Video Documenting Police Protest Tactics (From Popular Resistance)

The police consistently tell the crowd to keep moving and get out of the streets, and at the direction of a white shirt, police go into the crowd and arrest people, often at the specific direction of the who to arrest.

They will often throw the person to the ground so that it becomes a spectacle arrest, one that other protesters can see in order to intimidate them, or to draw other protesters out to un-arrest the person so they can also be arrested.

Consistently targeted are men wearing dark clothes and a bandanna.  Sometimes it seems the police commanders have specific people in mind or, perhaps, know specific people due to police infiltration.

Sullivan continues to film until he finds himself under arrest as well.  As often happens, it is a minor charge that gets the protester off the street and then months later the charges are dropped.

10 Arrests in 83 Minutes: A Close Analysis of NYPD Crowd Dispersal Tactics from paul sullivan on Vimeo.

The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

The 1% richest classes in almost all countries are thriving like never before

Are the conditions ripe for the further radicalization of capitalism?

German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk once said:  “if there is a person alive to whom they will build monuments 100 years from now, it is Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporean leader who did more than anyone else to promote and implement the marriage of capitalism and authoritarianism“. This is an arrangement Sloterdijk euphemistically referred to as “Asian values.”

The virus of this authoritarian capitalism is slowly, but surely, spreading around the globe, nowhere more so than in China.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND published on October 13, 2012 in the NYT Sunday Review under “The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent“:

“In the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition.

The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Gianni Dagli Orti/Art Resource

A painting of 17th-century Venice, with a view of the banks of the Grand Canal and the Doge’s Palace, by Leandro Bassano.

“Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition.

In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility.

If you weren’t on Libro d’Oro, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure.

It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but not for the longer term of Venice prosperity.

La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally.

By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink.

The story of Venice’s rise and fall is told by the scholars Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, in their book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty,” as an illustration of their thesis that what separates successful States from failed ones is whether their governing institutions are inclusive or extractive.

Extractive States are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society.

Inclusive States give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness.

The history of the United States can be read as one such virtuous circle. But as the story of Venice shows, virtuous circles can be broken.

Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish.

That was the future predicted by Karl Marx, who wrote that capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction.

And it is the danger America faces today, as the 1% pulls away from everyone else and pursues an economic, political and social agenda that will increase that gap even further — ultimately destroying the open system that made America rich and allowed its 1 percent to thrive in the first place.

You can see America’s creeping Serrata in the growing social and, especially, educational chasm between those at the top and everyone else.

At the bottom and in the middle, American society is fraying, and the children of these struggling families are lagging the rest of the world at school.

Economists point out that the woes of the middle class are in large part a consequence of globalization and technological change.

Culture may also play a role. In his recent book on the white working class, the libertarian writer Charles Murray blames the hollowed-out middle for straying from the traditional family values and old-fashioned work ethic that he says prevail among the rich (whom he castigates, but only for allowing cultural relativism to prevail).

There is some truth in both arguments.

But the 1 percent cannot evade its share of responsibility for the growing gulf in American society. Economic forces may be behind the rising inequality, but as Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s former budget chief, told me, public policy has exacerbated rather than mitigated these trends.

Even as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks.

In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in 2009, 6 paid no federal income tax at all, and 27 paid 10% or less.

None of the 400 richest elites paid more than 35%.

Historically, the United States has enjoyed higher social mobility than Europe, and both left and right have identified this economic openness as an essential source of the nation’s economic vigor. But several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe.

The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls — a phenomenon Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has called the Great Gatsby Curve.

Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding.

This is the new Serrata. An elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, I interviewed Ruth Simmons, then the president of Brown. She was the first African-American to lead an Ivy League university and has served on the board of Goldman Sachs.

Dr. Simmons, a Harvard-trained literature scholar, worked hard to make Brown more accessible to poor students, but when I asked whether it was time to abolish legacy admissions, the Ivy League’s own Book of Gold, she shrugged me off with a laugh: “No, I have a granddaughter. It’s not time yet.”

America’s Serrata also takes a more explicit form: the tilting of the economic rules in favor of those at the top.

The crony capitalism of today’s oligarchs is far subtler than Venice’s. It works in two main ways.

The first is to channel the state’s scarce resources in their own direction.

This is the absurdity of Mitt Romney’s comment about the “47 percent” who are “dependent upon government.”

The reality is that it is those at the top, particularly the tippy-top, of the economic pyramid who have been most effective at capturing government support — and at getting others to pay for it. (Particularly, the top weapon and communication industries…)

Exhibit A is the bipartisan, $700 billion rescue of Wall Street in 2008. Exhibit B is the crony recovery.

The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that 93% of the income gains from the 2009-10 recovery went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The top 0.01 percent captured 37 percent of these additional earnings, gaining an average of $4.2 million per household.

The second manifestation of crony capitalism is more direct: the tax perks, trade protections and government subsidies that companies and sectors secure for themselves. Corporate pork is a truly bipartisan dish: green energy companies and the health insurers have been winners in this administration, as oil and steel companies were under George W. Bush’s.

The impulse of the powerful to make themselves even more so should come as no surprise. Competition and a level playing field are good for us collectively, but they are a hardship for individual businesses.

Warren E. Buffett explained in his 2007  annual letter to investors:  “A truly great business must have an enduring ‘moat’ that protects excellent returns on invested capital. Though capitalism’s ‘creative destruction’ is highly beneficial for society, it precludes investment certainty.”

Microsoft attempted to dig its own moat by simply shutting out its competitors, until it was stopped by the courts.

Even Apple, a huge beneficiary of the open-platform economy, couldn’t resist trying to impose its own inferior map app on buyers of the iPhone 5.

Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”

IN the early 19th century, the United States was one of the most egalitarian societies on the planet. “We have no paupers,” Thomas Jefferson boasted in an 1814 letter. “The great mass of our population is of laborers; our rich, who can live without labor, either manual or professional, being few, and of moderate wealth. Most of the laboring class possess property, cultivate their own lands, have families, and from the demand for their labor are enabled to exact from the rich and the competent such prices as enable them to be fed abundantly, clothed above mere decency, to labor moderately and raise their families.”

For Jefferson, this equality was at the heart of American exceptionalism: “Can any condition of society be more desirable than this?”

That all changed with industrialization.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt argued in a 1932 address to the Commonwealth Club, the industrial revolution was accomplished thanks to “a group of financial titans, whose methods were not scrutinized with too much care, and who were honored in proportion as they produced the results, irrespective of the means they used.” America may have needed its robber barons; Roosevelt said the United States was right to accept “the bitter with the sweet.”

But as these titans amassed wealth and power, and as America ran out of free land on its frontier, the country faced the threat of a Serrata.

As Roosevelt put it, “equality of opportunity as we have known it no longer exists.” Instead, “we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already.”

It is no accident that in America today the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the Gilded Age. Now, as then, the titans are seeking an even greater political voice to match their economic power. Now, as then, the inevitable danger is that they will confuse their own self-interest with the common good.

The irony of the political rise of the plutocrats is that, like Venice’s oligarchs, they threaten the system that created them.

The editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and the author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else,” from which this essay is adapted.

Note 1: I watched on canal ARTE a documentary yesterday that recount how the Danish government instituted the quota law on fishing, a decade ago.  The richest fishermen who purchased and were allocated quotas can now swap quota from one another, as in the stock market, and the little fishermen are vanishing. The little boats are disappearing, the medium fishing boat have been cut by 3, and the bigger boat by 5. The little fishermen have congregated into cooperatives in order to staying afloat. However, the amount of fish exploited has remained the same. Danmark is the highest exploiter of fish, dwindling alarmingly.

Note 2: The European regulations of dumping the smaller fish back to the sea to die (about 50% of the fishing) is preventing the poorer nations to import fish at low prices.  Little fish my ass: You see fish weighting more than 40 kilos thrown back in the sea, on the ground that these fish species have to grow a little more to sustain the exploitation…

Who won the Recession? Argument in Foreign Policy

One might think that a crisis brought on by rapacious, unregulated capitalism would have changed a few minds about the fundamental nature of the global economy.
There is no lack of anti-capitalist sentiment in the world today, particularly as a crisis brought on by the system’s worst excesses continues to ravage the global economy.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK published on November his argument in Foreign Policy under “How the Left lost the argument” of Capitalism

See Stephen Galloway on how Hollywood won the recession. 

“One would be wrong.

If anything, we are witnessing an overload of critiques of the horrors of capitalism: Books, newspaper investigations, and TV reports abound, telling us of companies ruthlessly polluting our environment, corrupted bankers who continue to get fat bonuses while their banks are bailed out by taxpayer money, and sweatshops where children work overtime.

Yet, no matter how grievous the abuse or how indicative of a larger, more systemic failure, there’s a limit to how far these critiques go. The goal is invariably to democratize capitalism in the name of fighting excesses and to extend democratic control of the economy through the pressure of more media scrutiny, parliamentary inquiries, harsher laws, and honest police investigations.

What is never questioned is the bourgeois state of law upon which modern capitalism depends. This remains the sacred cow that even the most radical critics from the likes of Occupy Wall Street and the World Social Forum dare not touch.

It’s no wonder how the optimistic leftist expectations felt:  the ongoing crisis would be a sobering moment — the awakening from a dream — turned out to be dangerously shortsighted.

The year 2011 was indeed one of dreaming dangerously, of the revival of radical emancipatory politics all around the world. A year later, every day brings new proof of how fragile and inconsistent the awakening actually was.

The enthusiasm of the Arab Spring is mired in compromises and religious fundamentalism; Occupy is losing momentum to such an extent that the police cleansing of New York’s Zuccotti Park even seemed like a blessing in disguise.

It’s the same story around the world: Nepal’s Maoists seem outmaneuvered by the reactionary royalist forces; Venezuela’s “Bolivarian” experiment is regressing further and further into caudillo-run populism; and even the most hopeful sign, Greece’s anti-austerity movement, has lost energy after the electoral defeat of the leftist Syriza party.

It now seems that the primary political effect of the economic crisis was not the rise of the radical left, but of racist populism, more wars, more poverty in the poorest Third World countries, and widening divisions between rich and poor.

For all that crises shatter people out of their complacency and make them question the fundamentals of their lives, the first spontaneous reaction is not revolution but panic, which leads to a return to basics: food and shelter. The core premises of the ruling ideology are not put into doubt. They are even more violently asserted.

Could we in fact be seeing the conditions for the further radicalization of capitalism? German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk once told me that, if there is a person alive to whom they will build monuments 100 years from now, it is Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporean leader who did more than anyone else to promote and implement the marriage of capitalism and authoritarianism — an arrangement he euphemistically referred to as “Asian values.” The virus of this authoritarian capitalism is slowly but surely spreading around the globe, nowhere more so than China.

Faced with today’s explosion of capitalism in China, analysts often ask when political democracy as the “natural” political accompaniment of capitalism will enforce itself. But what if the promised democratization never arrives?

What if China’s authoritarian capitalism is not a stop on the road to further democratization, but the end state toward which the rest of the world is headed?

Leon Trotsky once characterized tsarist Russia as “the vicious combination of the Asian knout [whip] and the European stock market,” but the description applies even better to today’s China. In the Chinese iteration, the combination may prove to be a more stable one than the democratic capitalist model we have come to see as natural.

The main victim of the ongoing crisis is thus not capitalism, which appears to be evolving into an even more pervasive and pernicious form, but democracy — not to mention the left, whose inability to offer a viable global alternative has again been rendered visible to all.

It was the left that was effectively caught with its pants down. It is almost as if this crisis were staged to demonstrate that the only solution to a failure of capitalism is more capitalism.

See Daniel Altman on how Nouriel Roubini won the recession. 

Palestinian Intifadas “shaking off civil disobedience movements”: 1936,1987, 2000, and 2011

I still cannot believe how this Palestinian people managed to survive as an entity after a century of continuous pogroms and programs to wipe this tenacious people out from the consciousness of world community, as a people entitled for a State and the dignity of a special community that lived for centuries in the same land of Palestine.

Starting in 1918, and for over 18 years, the British mandated power over Palestine refused to hold any election of any kinds (even local and municipal elections) for the Palestinian people.

France had already executed democratic elections for parliaments in Syria and Lebanon since 1920! Why England failed to emulate democratic processes in its mandated States? The Jews represented one tenth of the population.  The Zionist organization refused to have any sort of democratic elections in Palestine until the immigrant Jews reached a majority of the population.

In 1936, Sheikh Al Qassam was assassinated and the Palestinian civil disobedience lasted three years.

The mandated British power dispatched 100,000 soldiers to quell the uprising, using harsher new military laws, new torture techniques, new terrorist methods

All the modern Torture techniques that Nazi Germany studied and applied…

All the terrorist methods that the Zionist State retained in its laws and legal books, applied and went even further until today…

All of the movement containment methods that Israel transferred to the US domestic security forces after 9/11 attack, on the ground of fighting “terrorists” and are still applied on the protesters of Occupy Wall Street

During the WWII, the British mandate refused to enlist Palestinians in its army, but strongly encouraged the Jews in Palestine to enlist, learn how to fight, do war, learn terror tactics, and amass weapons for the next phase after the war.

In 1948, the State of Israel executed its plans and programs that it worked upon in the late 30’s, with the facilitation of the British in providing all kinds of intelligence pieces and data on the Palestinian towns and villages.

The Palestinians were forced by random violence and genocide tactics to flee, transfer, and evacuate their homes, villages and lands…Over 400,000 Palestinians fled to temporary refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria…

Temporary camps that evolved to be permanent shantytown residence for the next 60 years…

In 1973, the hideous Golda Meir PM, proclaimed: “Palestinians? There is no Palestinian people, period...”

In 1982 and 2003 Ariel Sharon committed two genocides against the Palestinian civilian refugees. In the Sabra and Shatila (Chatila) camps (Beirut), the genocides that lasted three nights and three days: 2,000 were buried hastily in dug up graveyards, less than a meter deep, and another 1,000 were carried away, never to reappear.

Solemn U.S. security guarantees for safeguarding the unarmed Palestinians in the camps were proven untrustworthy, as Ambassador Philip Habib of President Reagan acknowledged.

In 2003, The camp of Jennine in the occupied West Bank, the genocide lasted an entire week.  Over 5,000 civilians were buried in a crater larger and deeper than Ground Zero in New York.  Tanks rolled over live children, women, and elderly people…

Of the many genocides committed on Palestinians, the “advanced” democracies in Europe and the USA didn’t bat an eyelid…

Israel invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982, put siege on West Beirut, cut off water supply, electricity, food supply… for 3 months and bombarded the city by air, sea and land.  Israel entered the Capital Beirut and forced the PLO to vacate Lebanon to Tunisia and Yemen…

Israel  carried out assassinations of the Palestinian leadership in Tunis (October 1985).

In the spring of 1987, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) met in Algeria and a significant unity in the ranks was accomplished and the decision to getting the Palestinians inside the occupied land to rise and confront their occupiers.

As the Arab Summit held in Amman (Jordan) in the fall 1987 virtually ignored the plight of the Palestinian people under occupation, the spirit of the occupied Palestinians rose to the challenge:  This spirit of determination moved on the ground, using civil disobedience, stones, rocks and bare flesh…all that they ever had…

The catalyst for the First Intifada movement started as a protest after 4 Palestinians in Gaza were killed when an Israeli truck collided with two vans carrying Palestinian workers.

On that first day, the Israeli authorities shot and killed a number of Palestinians, including an infant, Fatmeh Alqidri of Gaza City. The protests spread immediately to Nablus on the West Bank the next day, where the Israeli authorities shot and killed more unarmed Palestinians, including eighteen-year-old Ibrahim Ekeik.

Protests broke out in East Jerusalem on December 13, and by the end of the first week, a general strike had paralyzed all of the Occupied Territories. Ensuing clashes spread throughout the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

24 years (x) ago on December 9, 1987, what is referred to today as the first Intifada of the valiant Palestinian people against Zionist Israel and the Occupation erupted. An Intifada is a “Civil Uprising” in Arabic, literally, “shaking off” or “overturning.” The movement initially began as a protest after four Palestinians in Gaza were killed when an Israeli truck collided with two vans carrying Palestinian workers.<br /><br /><br />The protests occurred in the context of increasing violence by heavily armed settlers in the Occupied Territories against the unarmed Palestinian people, growing unemployment and rising national consciousness, and the political mobilization which had taken place in the Diaspora since the 1960s and especially since Israel’s invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982 with the “green light” from the United States, the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilah camps in Beirut, the attempts to assassinate the Palestinian leadership in Tunis (October 1985) and the unyielding resistance of the Lebanese people to occupation. Solemn U.S. security guarantees were proven untrustworthy by the blood of Palestinian women, children, and old men, all dead in the camps around Beirut. The spring 1987 PLO meeting in Algeria brought a notable unity to the ranks and orientation of the liberation movement, raising the spirit of all Palestinians inside and outside. The fall 1987 Arab Summit held in Amman, Jordan, within sight of the West Bank, virtually ignored the plight of the Palestinian people under occupation, thereby strengthening their determination that they must act on their own behalf and on the basis of their own forces.<br /><br /><br />On that first day, the Israeli authorities shot and killed a number of Palestinians, including an infant, Fatmeh Alqidri of Gaza City. The protests spread immediately to Nablus on the West Bank the next day, where the Israeli authorities shot and killed more unarmed Palestinians, including eighteen-year-old Ibrahim Ekeik. Protests broke out in East Jerusalem on December 13, and by the end of the first week, a general strike had paralyzed all of the Occupied Territories. Ensuing clashes spread throughout the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.<br /><br /><br />The Intifada was a popular, national rebellion, carried by the youth (some 60 per cent of the society was under the age of 15) with the active participation of Palestinian workers and all sections of the society. Palestinians resigned from the local police forces and from the civil administration, and Palestinian shopkeepers attempted to set their own hours and prices. As their organized instrument, the Intifada gave rise to popular committees, many of them publishing their own information and news bulletins, exposing the day-to-day reality of life under occupation and carrying the communiqués of the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising — a coalition of the main political parties — with the goal to end the Israeli occupation and establish Palestinian independence.<br /><br /><br />The response of the state of Israel was characteristic of its entire policy from 1948 to date: terrorism, including closing the Palestinian universities and schools, deporting activists, scorching and destroying homes, and firing live ammunition and “rubber” bullets into crowds, especially of youth.<br /><br /><br />By July 1, 1988, the Israeli Central Command declared all the popular committees which had sprung up to be illegal. By 1989 the number of soldiers deployed by Israel to the West Bank was more than three times the number used to conquer it during the Six Day war, when vast numbers of Palestinians were driven from their homes; some four hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced, about half of them displaced for the second time. By the end of the first year of the Intifada the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces was 218. Twenty thousand were wounded, 15,000 arrested, 12,000 jailed and 34 deported under the pretext that they were “committee activists.” Nevertheless by November, 1988 the Palestine National Council adopted its Declaration of Independence and announced the establishment of the state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, something initially recognized by 55 countries.<br /><br /><br />As other revolutionary and national liberation struggles ebbed on the world scale with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the unipolar world with the United States as the dominant superpower, the Intifada continued, a national rebellion posing the major obstacle to Washington’s designs on the Middle Eastern region and the major factor in averting an imperialist peace in the Middle East and the so-called “New Arab Order” of President George Bush I inaugurated by the Gulf War. The Palestinians were inspired by the heroic resistance of the Lebanese people to the attack on and occupation of Lebanon with U.S. backing in 1982 and the Palestinian Intifada in turn inspired the resistance of the Lebanese people to Israel’s illegal occupation of South Lebanon throughout the 1980s and 1990s. These movements frustrated attempts to redraw the geo-political map in the Arab region into an American oasis by toppling various so-called “failed” or “rogue states” which refused to acquiesce to U.S. policies or to keep silent about Israel’s brutal atrocities. Over 1,500 Palestinians died and thousands more were maimed during the first Intifada, brought to an end by the Oslo process.<br /><br /><br />The deceptive Oslo Accords of September 1993 refused to recognize the right of the Palestinians to their own sovereign state and the right of return of five million people in the Diaspora, who had been deported since 1948. Summit after summit in an eternal “peace process” of Peres/Barak and Clinton came and went, a calculated process of “no war, no peace,” aimed at intensifying the Zionist colonization program within the Occupied Territories went unopposed, taking the initiative out of the hands of the Palestinian people, liquidating this uprising and sidetracking the long-term struggle for guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinians. Israel implemented its greatest expansion of colonial settlements into Palestinian territory (doubling between 1983 and 1991) — its policies of “Transfer” and dispersal of the Palestinians.<br /><br /><br />The persistent and steadfast resistance frustrated these strategems as well. This laid bare a crisis of historic proportions for the United States and Israel. Far from surrendering their fate to the hands of such monstrous powers, the Palestinians spontaneously unleashed their second popular Intifada (also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada) in response to the calculated provocations of Ariel Sharon’s “visit” to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on September 28, 2000, with thousands of security forces armed to the teeth deployed in and around the Old City in Jerusalem. Ensuing clashes with protestors armed only with stones left in the first two days alone five Palestinians dead and over 200 injured. Sharon’s brave “visit” was the excuse to launch his terror and repressive policies on the most barbaric level ever seen. The incident sparked a widespread uprising in the Occupied Territories, inside Israel and the Arab World, anger throughout the world and brought the peace process to a halt.<br /><br /><br />From this historic date of the first Intifada on December 9, 1987, the Palestinian people gave political form and content to their more than 100-year-old struggle for self-determination and national independence for Historic Palestine, reflecting new levels of national unity not seen since the Great Revolt of the mid-1930s. The steadfastness and popularity of the resistance movements, especially in the Palestinian street which continues strongly to-date, does not conceal the truth that the second Palestinian Intifada in its fourth year is facing serious and difficult challenges. These lie from within and from without, not the least of which is to strip the initiative from its essential demand, namely full withdrawal from the Arab lands occupied in 1967, the return of Palestinian refugees and establishment of a new sovereign state in Historic Palestine.<br /><br /><br />The Palestinian Intifada and resistance is the one fortress defending the dignity, honour, culture and potential of the Palestinian and Arabic peoples. The Ottoman, the British and the American Empires and their tools all tried to subvert, humiliate and crush this fortress, be it with the olive branch of conciliation or the terror of force in the service of their inhuman interests. Thousands of men, women and children have been martyred. This fortress is part of, benefits and aids the struggle of entire humanity for their rights, their freedoms and their liberation, including the fundamental right to self-determination of the peoples and nations of the world.<br /><br /><br />Palestine , I salute you.

Stones, rocks, bare flesh…against bullets, teargas, helmets

The protests occurred in the context of increasing violence by heavily armed settlers in the Occupied Territories against the unarmed Palestinian people, growing unemployment and rising national consciousness, and the political mobilization which had taken place in the Diaspora since the 1960s, and especially since Israel’s invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, entering Capital Beirut and forcing the PLO to vacate Lebanon to Tunisia and Yemen…

The Intifada was a popular, national rebellion, carried by the youth (some 60 per cent of the society was under the age of 15) with the active participation of Palestinian workers and all sections of the society.

Palestinians resigned from the local police forces and from the civil administration, and Palestinian shopkeepers attempted to set their own hours and prices.

The Intifada organized “people committees“, many of them publishing their own information and news bulletins, exposing the day-to-day reality of life under occupation and spreading the communiques of the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising — a coalition of the main political parties — with the goal to end the Israeli occupation and establish Palestinian independence.

The response of the State of Israel was characteristic of its entire policy since before it was created in 1948:  Random acts of violence, terrorism,  closing the Palestinian universities and schools, deporting activists, scorching and destroying homes, and firing live ammunition and “rubber” bullets into crowds, especially of youth.

By July 1, 1988, the Israeli Central Command declared all the Palestinian popular committees to be illegal.

In 1989, the number of soldiers deployed by Israel to the West Bank was more than 3 times the number used to conquer it during the Six Day war (1967), when vast numbers of Palestinians were driven from their homes; some four hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced, about half of them displaced for the second time.

By the end of the first year of the Intifada the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces was 218, the injured were over 20,000, over 15,000 were arrested, 12,000 jailed and 34 deported under the pretext that they were “committee activists. 

Over 1,500 Palestinians died and thousands more were maimed during the first Intifada, brought to an end by the Oslo process.

In November 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted its Declaration of Independence and announced the establishment of the State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, initially recognized by 55 countries.  The number of States recognizing the Palestinian State has increased to 120 today.

At the end of the first war on Iraq in 1991, the US administration realized that the Palestinian problem must reach a resolution if any kinds of stability is to be sustained in the Middle East.  President George Bush Senior inaugurated  the “New Arab Order”: A conference was held in Madrid.

The Palestinians were inspired by the heroic resistance of the Lebanese people during Lebanon invasion in 1982.  The First Palestinian Intifada in turn inspired the resistance of the Lebanese people to resume resistance against Israel’s illegal occupation of South Lebanon throughout the 1990’s.

The Oslo Accords of September 1993 refused to recognize the right of the Palestinians to their own sovereign State and the right of return of five million people in the Diaspora, who had been deported since 1948.  As Rabin PM was assassinated by one of his Jewish bodyguard, the Oslo Accord faltered and stopped.  Israel implemented its greatest expansion of colonial settlements into Palestinian territory (doubling between 1983 and 1991) — its policies of “Transfer and dispersal of the Palestinians”.

On September 28, 2000, candidate Ariel Sharon visited the Mosque, supported by thousands of security forces armed to the teeth, deployed in and around the Old City in Jerusalem.  The Palestinians spontaneously unleashed their second popular Intifada (also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada), in response to the calculated provocations of Ariel Sharon’s “visit” to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ensuing clashes with protestors, armed only with stones, left in the first two days alone five Palestinians dead and over 200 injured. The incident sparked a widespread uprising in the Occupied Territories, inside Israel and the Arab World, anger throughout the world and brought the peace process to a halt.

The Second Intifada forced Israel to build the Wall of Shame (strongly condemned by the UN) and vacating all Jewish settlements and Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip. In 2011, even the insipid Mahmoud Abbas (President of the Palestinian Authority) gave a speech in the UN demanding the recognition of a Palestinian State.

On the first Intifada on December 9, 1987, the Palestinian people gave political form and content to their more than 100-year-old struggle for self-determination and national independence, reflecting new levels of national unity not seen since the Great Revolt of the mid-1930’s.

Palestinian resisting and steadfast people , I salute you.

Note:  Last week, Gingrich, the Republican Presidential candidate, proclaimed that there is no Palestinian people for any homeland. 

Worse, every Palestinian is necessarily a terrorist…

Is Gingrich running in the US or in Israel? Gingrich has Alzheimer disease?  The Washington Post published a piece claiming that Gingrich is technically Not off the mark!

 Occupy Wall Street: Is Statement Official?
A statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.
It is called “Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street and it says according to Erika Morningstar:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.  As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality that:

First, the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members;

Second, our system must protect our rights.  And upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors;

Third, a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth;

Fourth, no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternative forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. These grievances are not all-inclusive.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!”

Note: you may read my 4-part article “Can Liberal Capitalism be vanquished?”  You may start with this post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/has-the-unemployed-reach-20-then-what/


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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