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Military Resistance 9J11: "Americn Troops Here Jeered" 10.16.11
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Military Resistance 9J11
"The Aircraft Held Three Sergeants-Major"
"As It Made A U-Turn Over A Nearby Ridge From Where The Local Fighters Often Fire, American Troops Here Jeered"
"They Said That One Of The Haqqani Mortar Crews, Expecting The Aircraft To Land, Might Fire On The Post's Landing Zone, Putting The Soldiers On The Ground In Danger"
"Are You High?" One Of Them Shouted. "You Trying To Blow Me Up?"
"Another Yelled, 'They're Smoking Rock!'"
The New York Times
[Thanks to Don Bacon, Lt Col, US Army (Ret), Vietnam & Smedley Butler Society: http://www.warisaracket.org/ , who sent this in. He writes: "They're smoking rock!" The quote is from near top of page 2. Those brave troops are hanging by a thread.]
October 13, 2011 By C. J. CHIVERS, New York Times [Excerpts]
OBSERVATION POST TWINS, Afghanistan -
Much of what the Pentagon hopes to accomplish in Afghanistan before withdrawing most of its forces by 2014 is visible from this small, sandbagged mountaintop, where the risks and ambitions guiding the latest effort to reshape a foreign nation are equally clear.
The outpost was built about six months ago.
Perched on a ridge near Pakistan and inhabited by side-by-side American and Afghan infantry platoons, it looks down on several villages under the control of the Taliban and the Haqqani insurgent network.
Steep mountains all but close off the basin below, known as the Naka bowl, helping to make it one of the fighters' many havens.
The ruins of a government center and police station, built by the United States and destroyed by those who hold the real sway in Naka, lie abandoned near the base of a facing slope.
Observation Post Twins, in northern Paktika Province, stands about 8,500 feet above sea level.
It was built for a single purpose: to allow American troops to introduce an Afghan security presence in the valley.
During the next few weeks, ahead of the winter freeze, the close-out will begin as American soldiers expect to increase the Afghan force level and decrease their own numbers.
First, said Capt. Craig A. Halstead, the commander of Company B, Second Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, his platoons will turn over several bunkers to Afghan National Army soldiers. Many American soldiers will return to the company's larger outpost in nearby Zerok.
One recent day, while Captain Halstead discussed the transition with Lt. Bismillah, the executive officer of an Afghan infantry company, Shahidullah, the Afghan interpreter assisting the conversation, reprised local history. It was a chronicle of thwarted plans.
"This is the third plan that we are making," he said. "Two times before when the police came to Naka, the Haqqani guys stopped them."
The last time, he said, the station was destroyed before the police arrived.
For now, after a unilateral cease-fire on the part of the insurgents that allowed pine-cone harvesters to work on the mountains, the outpost is often under rocket or mortar fire.
The Naka bowl is considered to be brimming with danger, so much so that American platoons rotate through the post only at night, to avoid ambushes in the ravine they must cross to reach it.
The sense of imminent threat could be seen on a recent day when an American Black Hawk helicopter flew past.
The aircraft held three sergeants-major.
As it made a U-turn over a nearby ridge from where the local fighters often fire,
The aircraft held three sergeants-major.
As it made a U-turn over a nearby ridge from where the local fighters often fire, American troops here jeered.
They said that one of the Haqqani mortar crews, expecting the aircraft to land, might fire on the post's landing zone, putting the soldiers on the ground in danger.
"Are you high?" one of them shouted. "You trying to blow me up?"
Another yelled, "They're smoking rock!"
In this climate, officers speak of "tactical patience" - not pushing out too often or too aggressively, which could set off gunfights near civilians, encourage local men to line trails with bombs, and lose lives in clashes that could be avoided and replaced with more culturally attuned Afghan-on-Afghan efforts.
Observation Post Twins is supplied almost solely by helicopters that carry in water, ammunition, batteries and food.
Overland routes from Orgun, the nearest city, to the larger outpost in Zerok are plagued by roadside bombs and ambushes.
And the last leg, from Zerok to the mountain where the outpost stands, is a three-hour hike on a dirt trail through a winding river bed.
Without helicopters, it is not clear whether Afghan troops can keep themselves fed and equipped, evacuate their wounded or rotate troops.
"I don't think they'll make it through the first winter," said one American noncommissioned officer, who asked that his name be withheld.
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AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Foreign Occupation "Servicemember" Killed Somewhere Or Other In Afghanistan Friday:
Nationality Not Announced
October 14, 2011 Reuters
A foreign servicemember died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today.
Foreign Occupation "Servicemember" Killed Somewhere Or Other In Afghanistan Thursday:
Nationality Not Announced
October 14, 2011 Reuters
A foreign servicemember died during an operation in eastern Afghanistan yesterday.
U.S. Base Attacked In Rakha
The gate of an American base in Panjshir north of Kabul, Afghanistan, attacked Oct. 15, 2011. Militants tried to blast their way into the American base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle packed with explosives. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
October 15, 2011 by NPR Staff and Wires
Militants tried to blast their way into an American base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle packed with explosives.
The attackers failed to breach the gate of the base in Panjshir province's Rakha district, though they did hit a security tower with a rocket-propelled grenade, said provincial Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.
Three of the men attacked on foot, shooting, while a fourth detonated the explosives-laden vehicle outside the gate, Jangalbagh said. All four of the attackers were killed, he said.
Two fuel suppliers were also killed and three guards were wounded.
"There was a complex attack attempted, but it was repelled," Capt. Ebony Calhoun said. She said the guards' wounds were not life-threatening but they had been evacuated to a larger U.S. base for treatment.
The base houses a provincial reconstruction team - a mix of military and international civilians who work to improve provincial governance, services and infrastructure.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to The Associated Press.
WELCOME TO THE LONELY SIDE OF HELL:
ALL HOME NOW!
A US soldier watches the sunset over a hill during a mission in the Turkham Nangarhar region of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan, on October 5. (AFP Photo/Tauseef Mustafa)
NOT ANOTHER DAY
NOT ANOTHER DOLLAR
NOT ANOTHER LIFE
The remains of Army Sgt. Mycal L. Prince of Minco, Okla., at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Sept. 16, 2011. Prince died when his unit was attacked by insurgents with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
POLITICIANS CAN'T BE COUNTED ON TO HALT THE BLOODSHED
THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WARS
"At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
"For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.
"We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."
"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose."
Frederick Douglass, 1852
It is a two class world and the wrong class is running it.
-- Larry Christensen, Soldiers Of Solidarity & United Auto Workers
Leading Wall Street Theoretician Of Capitalism Gets It:
Karl Marx "Was Right In Claiming That Globalization, Unfettered Financial Capitalism, And Redistribution Of Income And Wealth From Labor To Capital Could Lead Capitalism To Self-Destruct"
"The Result Is That Free Markets Don't Generate Enough Final Demand"
The effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth - from labor to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms - have become severe"
2011-10-13 By Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate [Excerpts]
Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book Crisis Economics.
NEW YORK - This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel's middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of "fat cats"; India's movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in New York and across the United States.
While these protests have no unified theme, they express in different ways the serious concerns of the world's working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites.
The causes of their concern are clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for young people and workers to compete in a globalized world; resentment against corruption, including legalized forms like lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.
Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor.
For example, the rise in inequality has many causes: the addition of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians to the global labor force, which is reducing the jobs and wages of unskilled blue-collar and off-shorable white-collar workers in advanced economies; skill-biased technological change; winner-take-all effects; early emergence of income and wealth disparities in rapidly growing, previously low-income economies; and less progressive taxation.
The increase in private- and public-sector leverage and the related asset and credit bubbles are partly the result of inequality.
Mediocre income growth for everyone but the rich in the last few decades opened a gap between incomes and spending aspirations.
Firms in advanced economies are now cutting jobs, owing to inadequate final demand, which has led to excess capacity, and to uncertainty about future demand.
But cutting jobs weakens final demand further, because it reduces labor income and increases inequality. Because a firm's labor costs are someone else's labor income and demand, what is individually rational for one firm is destructive in the aggregate.
The result is that free markets don't generate enough final demand.
In the US, for example, slashing labor costs has sharply reduced the share of labor income in GDP.
With credit exhausted, the effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth - from labor to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms - have become severe, owing to the lower marginal propensity of firms/capital owners/rich households to spend.
The problem is not new.
Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalization, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct.
As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fueled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.
October 16, 1859:
The Second American Revolution Begins;
"The Crimes Of This Guilty Land Will Never Be Purged Away But With Blood"
Mural by John Steuart Curry (1937-1942)
Carl Bunin Peace History October 15-21 & Wikipedia.org [Excerpts]
Abolitionist John Brown led a group of 21 other men, five black and sixteen white, in a raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
They had hoped to set off a slave revolt, throughout the south, with the weapons they had planned to seize. Virtually all his compatriots were killed or captured by Gen. Robert E. Lee's troops; Brown was wounded and arrested, and hanged for treason within two months.
Before hearing his sentence, Brown was allowed make an address to the court.
". . . I believe to have interfered as I have done, . . . in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. "Now, if it be deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done."
"Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), -- had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends -- either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class -- and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment."
Although initially shocked by Brown's exploits, many Northerners began to speak favorably of the militant abolitionist.
"He did not recognize unjust human laws, but resisted them as he was bid. . . .," said Henry David Thoreau in an address to the citizens of Concord, Massachusetts. "No man in America has ever stood up so persistently and effectively for the dignity of human nature. . . ."
John Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859.
On the day of his death he wrote:
"I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood."
John Brown 1856
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STUCK ON STUPID
Consensus Is Dictatorship By The 1%:
"Consensus, By Denying Majority Rule, Offers In Practice Its Opposite--Minority Rule"
"Any Individual Or Group Of Individuals Can Hold Up The Decision-Making Process Indefinitely"
"That Is Rule Of The Minority"
October 10, 2011 By Paul D'Amato, Socialist Worker [Excerpts]
When trying to come to a decision--whether it is a trade union meeting or a group of student activists organizing against sweatshops--participants naturally are happiest when everyone ends up on the same page.
In other words, consensus is always a preferable outcome to a group trying to make a real decision about something than being divided. And often consensus is the result after a thorough discussion, because the group already has some level of basic agreement over goals.
But hoping for general agreement after a thorough discussion is very different from requiring it to move forward.
Consensus with a capital "C" is a method of operation that requires everyone to agree before a decision can be made.
Though its popularity reached its zenith in the 1980s, its use has become widespread among green activists, many anarchist groupings, and some student activist in various campuses.
Though consensus comes from the best motives--a desire that everyone agree--it is inferior in practice as a method of operation to democratic majority rule.
In many cases, consensus is put forward consciously as an alternative to democracy, which is characterized as "the majority wielding power over the minority," to quote one defense of consensus.
What is not usually acknowledged is that consensus, by denying majority rule, offers in practice its opposite--minority rule.
A description of how consensus works will make this clear. To quote the same defense of consensus cited earlier: If individuals "have STRONG objections to a proposal...they can block the proposal...The block gives each individual ultimate power to influence decisions that affect him/her."
Any individual or group of individuals can hold up the decision-making process indefinitely.
That is rule of the minority, sometimes a minority of one.
The other defense of consensus is that with it there are "no leaders, no followers." But all struggles produce leaders--people that others look to because of their experience and ideas to move the struggle forward.
The question is--what kind of leadership will develop?
One that is democratically and publicly accountable, or one that is undemocratic, unaccountable and behind the scenes?
Consensus ensures--by driving out most ordinary people who can't afford to stay in endless meetings, and by refusing to vote for and hold accountable formal leadership--that some kind of informal leadership will make many of the decisions.
Consensus historically has never been the mode of operation in workers' organizations, and the reasons should by now be clear.
Workers depend on their success in fighting for their rights against employers that they wield power as a collective.
If consensus were used to debate whether or not to strike, most strikes would never get off the ground.
And a union certainly could not tolerate a situation where a minority of workers who opposed a strike were permitted to "do their own thing" to defeat it.
Democracy is a superior method of organizing in struggle.
Democracy encourages the fullest debate and discussion, followed by a prompt majority decision and action. The minority is not compelled to change views, but merely to abide by the majority's decision.
Once the decision is implemented, its success or failure can then be opened up for renewed discussion. After such a debate, the majority might decide that the minority was right after all!
By this method of operation, participants in the struggle learn from that struggle and by their own decisions and actions how best to move the struggle forward. By adopting, in most cases, a compromise, consensus prevents such sharp assessments from ever taking place.
Where democracy encourages open and sharp, clarifying debate, consensus tends to minimize debate and differences in order not to upset the possibility of consensus being reached.
That is why in virtually any mass struggle--whether it be the Flint sit-down strikes of 1937 or the French strike wave in 1995--workers have instinctively organized their struggle on a democratic basis.
Once you accept that complete unanimity is the exception rather than the rule, then you must also accept that decisions will be made either by the majority (democracy) or the minority.
Consensus, in permitting a minority even of one to prevent a decision supported by the rest, is based in the final analysis on the rule of a small minority.
Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or email
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DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
CLASS WAR REPORTS
Boss Told Me To Stop Giving Dying Co-Worker CPR, Says Service Rep:
"Get Back On The Phone And Take Care Of Customers"
Oct 14th 2011 By Claire Gordon, AOL Inc
Last month, a Time Warner Cable customer service rep died at her desk.
After any unexpected death, people searched for answers, explanations, someone to blame. But in this case, there may have actually been something foul afoot.
A local news station reports that after a co-worker began giving CPR to 67-year-old Julia Nelson, a supervisor allegedly told her to stop and "get back on the phone and take care of customers."
Nelson slumped at her desk at the Time Warner Call Center in Garfield Heights, Ohio, and wasn't breathing by the time paramedics arrived.
But before that happened, a co-worker rushed over and began administering CPR, the woman told WOIO, only to be asked to stop. Employees at the scene have confirmed this report.
The woman was also told later by another supervisor that she could be "held liable if something goes wrong."
Ohio has a "Good Samaritan" law on the books, however, which protects bystanders who provide emergency aid from being sued for unintentional injury or wrongful death.
Thanks to this legal immunity, many employees have used CPR to save co-workers lives without any risk to themselves.
Last year, two co-workers resuscitated 55-year-old Brenda Halliburton after she collapsed at her desk at American Baptist Churches.
One performed CPR, while the other gave her a jolt with an Automated External Defibrillator. In July, Alex Molina saw his co-worker at Yuma Proving Grounds slumped in his carseat. Thinking he was sleeping, Molina pulled over to give him a joking scare, but ended up giving him CPR until the paramedics arrived.
Unfortunately, Nelson didn't receive similar care.
Time Warner released a statement, denying any wrongdoing: "Time Warner responded appropriately to a medical emergency. Our company has procedures in place to respond to emergencies. We are saddened by the loss of one of our employees who was a co-worker and a friend. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time."
Police are reviewing the incident, according to WOIO.
Occupy Protests Spread Around The World:
"Demonstrators Carried Signs Saying 'Goldman Sucks,' 'Eat Cash,' 'People Should Not Be Afraid Of Their Government, The Government Should Be Afraid Of Their People'"
10.15.11 By Faith Karimi and Joe Sterling CNN
Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia -- and took a particularly violent turn in Rome.
Firefighters battled a blaze at an Interior Ministry [government police] building near Porta San Giovanni in Rome, the main gathering site of the Italian protesters taking part in the Occupy movement Saturday, said eyewitnesses who reported seeing a Molotov cocktail thrown near the building.
A spokesman for Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who condemned the violence, confirmed 70 people were injured, 40 of them police officers. No arrest numbers were available late Saturday.
In London, protester Peter Vaughn, reflecting the mood of many in the crowd there, said people criticized financial institutions that have "gambled away our money."
"We're giving people a real voice against a government that just ignored us," he said.
One protester in Belleville, France, referring to the country's leaders, said government isn't listening to the people and dialogue with them is impossible.
"You are not listening to us, whatever we do, however we vote, however we demonstrate. It does not give any result. Quite the opposite, as poverty and austerity plans continue. So we can't go on like this so we are getting out and showing ourselves," he said.
Europeans turned out amid debt troubles and austerity plans in Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Germany.
More than 10,000 demonstrators of all ages gathered peacefully in Madrid's spacious Plaza de Cibeles on Saturday and than walked uphill to Puerta del Sol.
The "May 15 Movement" started five months ago to the day over austerity measures and high unemployment. Some demonstrators said they felt Spain's protest had gone global and that the world had joined the movement started in their country.
The newspaper El Pais said tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Barcelona.
Around the world, protesters marched, listened to speeches, and displayed banners reading anti-corporate slogans, including the now ubiquitous "we are the 99%," "Banks are cancer" and tax the rich 1%."
In Germany, police used pepper spray on two protesters who crossed beyond police lines.
Still, the demonstrations across the world were peaceful overall, inspired by the protests in the United States. In London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke to demonstrators.
The demonstrations are contained to an area in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. There have also been three arrests, two for assault on police.
"What is happening here today is a culmination of greed that many people all over the world have worked towards from Cairo to London," Assange said.
Tens of thousands demonstrated in German cities, witnesses said.
Protests sprung up in 50 German cities including Berlin, where 6,000 took to the streets, and numbering 1,500 in Cologne, ZDF said.
Peaceful protests with a festive atmosphere blended with a mood of anger toward big business, where demonstrators carried signs saying "Goldman Sucks," "Eat Cash," "People should not be afraid of their government," and "The government should be afraid of their people."
In Zurich, about 200 protesters coalesced on Paradeplatz, playing monopoly and sipping free coffee from a stand. The protests were peaceful.
In South Africa, about 80 people gathered at the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, Talk Radio 702 reported. Protests continued in the face of objection from police that the gathering is illegal. More than 100 people gathered in Cape Town's Company Gardens, close to Parliament, to debate the economic and social challenges faced by South Africa, the radio station reported.
In Taiwan, organizers drew several hundred demonstrators, who mostly sat quietly outside the Taipei World Financial Center, known as Taipei 101.
"They are stealing our rights," one banner read at a demonstration of several thousand people in Madrid.
Canadians turned out in Toronto, with placards jutting up from a crowd saying "Arrest the 1%" and "Stop ignoring the youth, we are your tomorrow." A sign on a dog said "99% against (corporate) fat cats."
Levin Jiang, 22, an English major at Taipei's Fu Jen Catholic University, joined others marching and singing the communist anthem L'Internationale in front of the Hermes watch shop in the mall of what was until last year the world's tallest building.
"I'm angry about the unjust capitalist society," he said. "I'm anti-capitalism."
In Seoul, 600 converged on the city hall after changing the location of protest as police banned the rally today, Yonhap News reported.
They urged clamping down on speculative capital, and demanded lower colleague tuition.
In Hong Kong, about 200 people gathered at the Exchange Square Podium in the city's central shopping and business district, according to Napo Wong, an organizer.
"Hong Kong is heaven for capitalists," said Lee Chun Wing, 29, a community college social sciences lecturer in Hong Kong.
"Wealth is created by workers and so should be shared with the workers as well. Capitalism is not a just system."
Retired businessman Wong Chi Keung, in Hong Kong, said, "We should not let the banks get away with being big bullies."
Debbie Chen works for a group protesting against Apple's treatment of its workers in China.
"As the world's most valuable company they earn the lion's share while the workers on the production line earn only 1% of the selling price of an iPhone.
"We hope there can be more even distribution of profits," she said.
About 200 people marched through Tokyo carrying various signs, including "No More Nukes and "Free Tibet." The crowd included children jumping and skipping behind the adults. Some protesters wore costumes -- including a giant panda.
"I'm here because young Japanese people are suffering for losing their jobs, but not many speak out their issue to the public," said Kesao Murakami. "I really want young people to appeal forcefully to the public saying, 'We are in trouble.' "
Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney joined rallies against "corporate greed" as protesters aligned themselves with the global movement.
In Australia, about 800 people gathered in Sydney's central business district, carrying cardboard banners and chanting "Human need, not corporate greed." Protesters will camp indefinitely "to organize, discuss and build a movement for a different world, not run by the super-rich 1%," according to a statement on the Occupy Sydney website.
"Our protests are to show our solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and also protest various problems -- from indigenous issues in this country to government problems," said Alex Gard, one of the Melbourne organizers. "We know we have it better than the protesters in the States ... but there are still problems in this country."
Organizers urged protesters to bring sleeping bags and other soft items to sleep on.
"I've heard people say they plan to be there for days, even months," Gard said.
Organizers worldwide started social media pages on Facebook and Twitter devoted to "October 15" --- #O15 on Twitter --- urging protesters to join the global call for protests.
The worldwide movement is galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement started last month as a backlash against the economy and what demonstrators say is an out-of-touch corporate, financial and political elite.
Occupy Wall Street organizers say they are inspired by the Arab Spring that led to the toppling of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
The founding movement in the United States has spread to other major cities in the nation.
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Bilious Bloodsucking Billionaire Bloomberg Forced To Abandon Plan To End Occupy Wall Street Encampment:
"New York City Unions Mobilized Their Members To Get Down To Zuccotti Park"
October 14, 2011 By Eric Ruder, Danny Lucia and David Judd, Socialist Worker [Excerpts]
The Call went out yesterday, and from well before dawn on the morning of October 14, people in their thousands gathered at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan to defend the Occupy Wall Street encampment from a threatened eviction by New York City officials.
Then the news came in the early morning hours, and cheers of relief but also something more swept through crowd that had now swelled to some 3,000: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and real estate firm Brookfield Properties were backing down from the threat to clear the square at 7 a.m. in order to "clean" the plaza.
For hours before, tension hung in the air, as police made preparations and protesters braced themselves for what most expected--based on the cops' treatment of protesters in prior weeks--would be a mass arrest carried out with the NYPD's typical brutality.
But the thousands of union members, students and everyday New Yorkers who responded to the call to come to Liberty Plaza--the protesters' new name for Zuccotti Park, a square privately owned by real estate giant Brookfield Properties--clearly compelled Bloomberg to question the wisdom of carrying out an act of mass repression against a peaceful crowd as the whole world watched.
The day before, Bloomberg announced that the square had become a "public health" concern, and that police would move in at 7 a.m. on Friday morning so it could be cleaned.
Officials claimed the protesters could return afterward, but the list of restrictions--against, for example, sleeping bags--made it clear what the city really wanted: to put an end to Occupy Wall Street.
Activists sprung into action.
The occupiers organized a cleaning operation that had Zuccotti Park looking far better than it ever had before, say protesters. And Occupy Wall Street and its supporters called on everyone to defend Liberty Plaza, the symbolic center of a movement that has gained national attention and spread around the country.
Some 300,000 people signed petitions, and callers clogged the city's 311 information line to protest the mayor's announcement.
Crucially, New York City unions mobilized their members to get down to Zuccotti Park.
The first calls asked for people to come by 6 a.m., but as fears grew that police might move in earlier, the messages, official and not, among activists simply said to come down as soon as possible.
Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights had sent a letter to Bloomberg and Brookfield to make "clear that closing down Occupy Wall Street violates the First Amendment and is flatly illegal," Ratner said.
The following morning, Ratner described the "roar of joy" that went up when it was announced that the "cleaning" operation had been called off.
"The health emergency was a pretext to destroy something all Americans should be proudest of," he told a reporter. "You can eat off the ground in this park."
As he told Democracy Now!:
"Apart from the illegality of it, it was just too massive...It would have been a bloodbath. The idea that they were going to come in here when there were thousands of people all over the place--union people everywhere--they could not have successfully closed this park down...It's too big now. This park is becoming a permanent feature of the next generation of protests."
Damon McGee, an organizer for the health care union 1199 SEIU, was one of hundreds of union members who responded to the call to defend the encampment, and he was there when news of the victory came.
"It's exhilarating," said McGee. "We're standing up to the wealth. The wealthy have control of our democracy."
Bloomberg's highly public reversal is a big embarrassment for the authorities, which have alternated between acting tolerant of the protesters and their grievances, and looking for opportunities to attack the Occupy movement, with the NYPD leading the way.
"Bloomberg Is Technically Part Of The 0.0000001 Percent, But That's Hard To Put Into A Chant"
"When This Guy Hangs Out With The One Percent, He's Practically Slumming"
October 13, 2011 By Danny Lucia, Socialist Worker [Excerpts]
The occupy Wall Street movement has put New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (net worth: $19.5 billion) in a bit of a pickle.
Being both the city's mayor and its richest person makes him a poster child for the tyranny of the One Percent. Actually, as the 12th richest person in America, Bloomberg is technically part of the 0.0000001 Percent, but that's hard to put into a chant.
When this guy hangs out with the One Percent, he's practically slumming.
So naturally, the mayor isn't at his best when he tries to go populist, as he did on his radio show last week.
But still, he ought to have been able to come up with something better than claiming, "The protesters are protesting against people who make $40,000, $50,000 year and are struggling to make ends meet."
And to think that there's been so much talk about this movement not having clear demands.
How did we all miss the "No more jobs!" chants and the signs denouncing the $20-an-hour plutocracy?
Bloomberg went on to say that those folks struggle on $40,000 and $50,000 a year "are the people that work on Wall Street and in the finance sector"--although the transcript doesn't note if he waited until completing that sentence before bursting into laughter.
But the mayor isn't the only one having a hard time finding an effective way to slam the protests.
Rush Limbaugh denounced the protests as "99 percent white kids"--which isn't true, but I like the idea that he would be down with the struggle if only there were more brothers in the park.
I think if Occupy Wall Street were 99 percent Black and Brown kids, Rush Limbaugh would be calling for air strikes.
Then there's Herman Cain, the Republican presidential hopeful who has shot up the polls with his plainspoken tough talk.
"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks," he declared. "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!" Can't you just picture the campaign buttons? "Blame Yourself! Cain in 2012"
The ideological defenders of the One Percent are scrambling because they've got nothing (because they have everything.)
The Occupy movement is like a little boy shouting, "The emperor has taken all of our clothes!" And finally, everybody in America is talking openly about it.
For all of its branding savvy, the U.S. ruling class is finding it challenging to counter the simple slogan, "We are the 99 percent!"
(For the record, a while ago, I suggested that an occupation on Wall Street should use the slogan, "Give us our money back, you motherfuckers."
But the One Percent has an old saying: If you can't beat them, beat them up.
Occupiers in Boston are now learning what those in New York have already found out: making friends with police officers does about as much good when they get the order to attack as making friends with their nightsticks.
Thousands of activists across the country are unlearning childhoods spent watching shows featuring tough but good-hearted cops. (Although it should be noted that there's never been a show called Law and Order: Bill of Rights Protection Unit.)
But the American One Percent has long had an ace in the hole when the Ninety-Nine Percent start getting rowdy: The Democratic Party, which, now that the Occupy movement has shown it can survive and grow without anybody's help, is rushing in to offer help.
Nancy Pelosi said she supports Occupy Wall Street's "message to the establishment...that change has to happen."
One would think that as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Pelosi would have already been in good position to deliver that message herself.
Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke got in on the act, telling a congressional committee that "he can't blame" protesters for being mad at banks and the government.
For protesters who have withstood pepper-spraying, mass arrests, media blackouts and ridicule, all this must feel a bit like the end of an action movie when the hero fights off hordes of mercenaries, bursts into the lair of the evil villain and finds him sitting in a chair with two glasses of scotch saying, "Come in, I've been expecting you."
We all know the next scene: the offer to join forces.
To be continued.
"Mounting Pressure From Protesters Against The 32-Year Rule Of President José Eduardo Dos Santos"
"Between 1990 And 2008, $34 Billion Disappeared From Angola's Public Coffers"
"Kickbacks, Asset Stripping And Corruption Must Have Happened"
OCTOBER 15, 2011 By NEANDA SALVATERRA, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts]
Angolan authorities on Friday released 16 demonstrators it detained during antigovernment protests in early September, amid mounting pressure from protesters against the 32-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos.
In an echo of demonstrations that have overthrown established rulers in North Africa, protesters have mounted a handful of small demonstrations since the beginning of the year in the capital, Luanda.
The gatherings reached their largest size late last month when about 400 people rallied in Luanda's Independence Square, demanding the release of the prisoners, who were detained after violent clashes with police on Sept. 3.
Angola-Africa's second-largest crude-oil producer by volume after Nigeria, and sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund-emerged in 2002 from 27 years of civil war that claimed 1.5 million lives and severely damaged its infrastructure.
Protesters charge that Mr. dos Santos's Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola, or MPLA, which has been in power for more than three decades, has mismanaged the country's resources, primarily oil and diamonds. This, they say, has exacerbated poverty and hobbled rebuilding efforts.
Like protesters on the continent and beyond this year, the protesters in Luanda are largely young and well-educated. Several identify themselves as having family members who hold positions in the MPLA.
"I don't want to emphasize that," said Deoneseo Gonçalves Casimiro, a 28-year-old tech worker released Friday. "Despite having education, we are still victims of bad governance."
Rallies have intensified ahead of elections next year.
The government in 2010 passed constitutional changes that protesters fear could entrench the MPLA.
Protesters have also pointed to what they call government corruption. A 2011 report commissioned by the United Nations Development Fund says that between 1990 and 2008, $34 billion disappeared from Angola's public coffers.
The report's author, economist Dev Kar of the international watchdog group Global Financial Integrity, said the report measures the gap between a countries source of funds and its use of funds.
"Kickbacks, asset stripping and corruption must have happened to the balance of payments," said Mr. Kar, saying the underlying numbers come from the International Monetary Fund as self reported by the Angolan government.
Mr. Casimiro, the detainee released Friday, denied the charges against him and the others, which included aggression against police and destruction of property. Angola's Supreme Court annulled the ruling on grounds of improper evidence, and returned it for further police investigation.
Pedro Sozinho Neves, a 30-year-old information-technology engineer who had been detained for three days and released after the Sept. 3 rallies, said organizers would continue to rally Angolans online.
"Nothing has changed. We will take this opportunity to march on parliament" on Tuesday, he said.
Speaking last week from the darkened capital where electricity outages are common, Mr. Neves said the protesters wanted to call attention to the country's poor living conditions.
"Right now anyone who wants to access resources has to show a party member-card just to be helped," he said.
With free primary education, Angola's literacy rates have been climbing. But the country remains ranked No. 146 out of 169 countries in the United Nations' human development index, which measures access to health, education and income.
More than 54 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line of $1.25 per day, the UNDP says.
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