Occupy Wall Street is continuing their protest while the Mass Media sleeps or focuses on the obsession du jour. As some of you may have noticed if you’ve been reading regularly, I haven’t been limiting these stories to ones from OWS, nor do I feel that I should. There are many other grass roots organizations with a common cause fighting for the best interest of the public and I have recently found a web page that seems to be well above par as far as I can see, this is “the Black Agenda” and I think they’re worth a closer look so I included several of their stories.
This is part of a semi-regular update of some of the latest stories from the Occupy Wall Street web page for additional details see previous post’s introduction to series.
Here are some of the stories from both OWS and TBA that don’t fit the agenda of the Mass Media:
The People's Summit: Alternatives to War & Poverty
NATO war makers are preparing to meet in Chicago on May 20-21 following the meeting of the G8 heads of state behind the fortified walls of Camp David.
By contrast, the People's Summit invites community groups, labor unions, anti-racist organizers, Occupy activists, environmentalists, faith leaders, immigrant rights activists and anyone else committed to social justice to a grassroots, bottom-up forum of, by and for the 99 percent.
There will be large plenary sessions as well as more than 40 workshops that will provide everyone the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the many pressing issues facing our world today. Full article
The political establishment doesn’t seem to think any problems can be solved unless it involves either making an enormous profit for the most well connected people in society or killing people that disagree, with them with the appropriate propaganda to justify it of course. This may be an obvious exaggeration but it isn’t nearly as much of an exaggeration as most of us would wish. Many people have tried to provide an enormous amount of better ideas to many of our problems; however whenever they contradict the fiscal ideology of those in power they’re routinely relegated to the fringes or the academic world without many if any opportunities to get their message across to the majority of the public. I’m not the only one that has attempted to address these problems, however I cite my own blogs, many of which are now listed on the left of the screen, since they’re the ones I’m most familiar with and they do include many other sources with better credentials than me.
Occupy Wall Street's anarchist roots
Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:
"How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realize all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honourable place. After all, since the financial crash of 2007, there have been dozens of attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of the United States' financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. It was only on August 2, when a small group of anarchists and other anti-authoritarians showed up at a meeting called by one such group and effectively wooed everyone away from the planned march and rally to create a genuine democratic assembly, on basically anarchist principles, that the stage was set for a movement that Americans from Portland to Tuscaloosa were willing to embrace. Full article
This is a common problem thanks to the enormous amount of propaganda that has been drilled into the heads of the public for many years and it doesn’t just apply to the misrepresentation of Anarchy. The current establishment uses the same tactics to define many other ideologies including their own. Most if not all ideologies are quite complex when you get into the details of them and they often require some degree of flexibility if people are going to avoid turning it into a cult ideology that is controlled by the leaders and contradictory beliefs are handed out to the followers depending on the circumstances. When it comes to the beliefs that they present for themselves they of course focus on the best aspects even if they don’t stand up to scrutiny; and of course when it comes to the beliefs of their opposition they focus on the worst and often distort them. When checking with the source I have often found that the people of any given belief system out of power don’t actually adopt the version as defined by the establishment. Anarchism is no exception; I first encountered several statements from Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky and later found some material the Anarchist themselves who write at Anarchist Writers and found that they were nothing like their portrayed. In fact while checking this site as I write I find they have an article near the top of their front page about The Age of Empathy; this isn’t unusual and at many other times they have been involved in non-violent protest against war while the so-called civilized establishment has been promoting war and down playing “collateral damage,” with lame justification.
Furthermore when it comes to gathering a list of demands from all the people and speaking for common beliefs, this is no easy task. It takes a lot of effort to enable people to speak for themselves and it is also necessary to make the appropriate education and information available to them so that they have the resources to develop rational beliefs. This takes time and effort. The representatives of the establishment routinely claim to speak for the people but they skip this step and routinely misrepresent the will of the people.
As I have been saying in several posts I don’t think that we should limit our choices for political office to those that the corporate media present to us. There are many candidates at the local level that could and should deserve a closer look in many areas and I advise you to check your own area to see if some are running and take a close look or when it comes to the presidential election Project Vote Smart has a full list of candidates that receive little or no attention from the Mass Media. I still haven’t had a chance to look at them all but when I took a closer look at Jill Stein it was clear that she is much better than either of the two candidates that the corporate media have presented to the public based on the fact that they collected the appropriate volume of bribes thinly disguised as campaign contributions to make them “viable.” At least a couple of the authors at the Black Agenda have come to the same conclusion and if enough people follow through with this belief then the corporate media will no longer have veto power over who we can consider for president.
Not Voting for Obama: We're Not Even Buying a Voting Ticket to the Show
by Ezili Dantò
The author supported Obama in 2008, for the sake of Haiti, the U.S. and the world. But no more. “Under the Obama tenure, indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens is lawful in the land of the free and the brave and Haitians are saddled with George Bush and Bill Clinton.” When a duopoly rules, voting is a sham. “Susan Rice takes over the role Colin Powell played for the Bushes while Cheryl Mills is out there pushing the Duvalierist agenda in Haiti previously championed by Bill Clinton's commerce secretary, the late Ron Brown.”
We supported a vote for Obama in 2008 for both pragmatic and idealistic reasons. But more so because eight-years of Bush and the application of the Wall Street de-regulation excesses left under from Bill Clinton and others had reached a crescendo point that was shockingly, brutally horrible and demoralizing for the entire world. But we also campaigned and urged a vote for Obama, despite his apparent selection by one-percenter forces, because the symbolic victory and metaphoric narrative of "The Whitehouse: From Sally Heming to Michel Obama" was a powerful and compelling vision we wished to participate in and bring to reality for the human race. (That sentiment was expressed in this essay: I Don't Know this America...But I'm Most Happy to Meet It.) Full article
Does the Black Political Class Actually Protect or Defend Black People? If Not, What Do They Do?
By Bruce Dixon
Do the black political class, our preachers, leading business people, and thousands of appointed and elected officials actually do us much good? Do they protect or defend us? Do they carry our wishes and will to the seats of power. Or do they just “represent” us by merely being there doing the bidding of corporate funders?
Let's take a trip to an imaginary black America, a place in which black leaders regularly stood on their hind legs to safeguard and protect the interest of their constituents against greedy banksters and institutional racism in the job, credit and housing markets. It's a pretend world where African American politicians are busily engaged in building and expanding opportunity for all, and leading the fight for peace, jobs, justice, and quality education and participatory democracy. It's a mythical place where prominent blacks in the business world too, work to create good jobs and stable communities and provide key support to the civic organizations engaged in this work as well. Full article
Ezili Dantò may be skeptical about the chances we have to beat an entrenched system but with the enormous amount of protest that have been going on there may be a lot of people that are waking up and if the join forces behind one candidate then they may have a chance. In the long run we should develop Instant Run-Off Elections but if there is any chance that we can get a sincere president like Jill Stein in office it is worth a try and it would be better than throwing away votes for candidates that have already indicated that they intend to sell everyone out.
If enough people are not dumb enough to fall for it anymore then it won’t work anymore!!
We have more stories for you but first a word from our sponsor; who happens to be more than ninety days past due on their payments but their reputable so I’m sure they’re good for it.
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Charters Have Nothing to do With Community Control of Schools
by Glen Ford
Charter school advocates are among the biggest scam artists in politics. They use the language of community control to transfer public assets into private hands. “Promoters of 'trigger laws' have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector.” Have mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel, both bullies for charter schools, ever supported community control?
The so-called “parent trigger” law is the newest weapon in the arsenal of the school privatizers and their billionaire backers. The law was passed in California in 2010, and versions of it have been enacted in several other states. The California law allows a majority of parents to pull the “trigger” on their local school and take it out of control of the school district. It’s only been used against two elementary schools: first in Compton, then in the town of Adelanto. In both cases, the process dissolved in acrimony and bitterness, with many parents claiming they had been bulldozed into signing petitions. Full article
The core principles for Charter Schools should raise some doubts; these are private organizations that are interested in making a profit which isn’t involved in public schools and they do little if anything to raise additional money for schools unless it comes at an enormous cost that often falls on those least able to pay. There has been no sincere explanation as to how they can improve the quality of education by adding the profit expense which provides an incentive for those running the schools to cut expenses which could reduce the quality of education; furthermore they have already demonstrated that they’ve been using this as a method to promote corporate ideology. Another couple of articles article by Jitu Brown, Eric (Rico) Gutstein, and Pauline Lipman and Andy Kroll “Arne Duncan and the Chicago Success Story: Myth or Reality?” and “The Corporatization of Public Education” reinforce the one by Glen Ford and I have done by own review of Roy Fox’s book “Harvesting Minds” about Channel One which explains how much damage advertising has been doing to schools and the fact that they’re enabling corporations to influence the “educational” material given to kids that often avoids criticism of corporations.
Private Prison Corporations Are Slave Traders
by Glen Ford
Crime has been going down for nearly a generation, and the states have finally put the brakes on prison growth in response to the fiscal crunch. But Wall Street prison profiteers see the crisis as an opportunity. The Corrections Corporation of America has offered to buy nearly all the nation’s state prisons. “To ensure their profitability, the corporation insists that it be guaranteed that the prisons be kept at least 90 percent full.”
The nation’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, is on a buying spree. With a war chest of $250 million, the corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, this month sent letters to 48 states, offering to buy their prisons outright. To ensure their profitability, the corporation insists that it be guaranteed that the prisons be kept at least 90 percent full. Plus, the corporate jailers demand a 20-year management contract, on top of the profits they expect to extract by spending less money per prisoner. Full article
The privatization of prisons should raise some major questions about the incentive to actually do a good job rehabilitating prisoners. Private industries are motivated by maximizing profit and they generally want their businesses to grow; which means that they have a disincentive to actually do a good job rehabilitating inmates! We already have a big enough problem with those running public prisons ignoring the best academic research to indicate what the most effective ways to rehabilitate people are; this is primarily due to the get tough policies of the politicians that appoint the people that run the prisons and it is virtually guaranteed that the privatization of them will only make it worse.
If Private Prisons are allowed to continue to expand they’re guaranteed to backfire; they’re among the most blatant examples of crime profiteering there is. In order for them to maximize their profits they need to ensure that the problems with crime aren’t solved!
On another not about the Black Agenda, which shouldn’t need to be addressed at all, as far as I can see they’re not promoting “radical” ideas that would threaten us nor do they appear to be promoting violence or revolution. However the reason I mention this is that it is virtually guaranteed that the right wing will attempt to stereo type them if they think they can get away with it; this ahs been the way they’ve operated on many other occasion. If more people take a close look at them I suspect they’ll find this isn’t the case at all; quite the contrary they seem to have much more rational views than those in power from what I’ve seen from them so far and they deserve a closer look.
And a final note on a campaign event with grass roots support that isn’t considered worthy by the corporations but if the rest of us want an alternative we might not want to let them screen our choices
Chicago: Join Dr. Stein's Green Surge!
This is your call to action: The leaders of most of the world's most powerful nations are meeting in Chicago. Their vision is of a world dependent on fossil fuels, a global labor market based on low wages and high unemployment, and a global political system that uses war to maintain order. additional information
For some of my favorite blogs plus a summation see my one year best blog review or a complete table of context of my blogs