The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Occupying" Thanksgiving

As television presents the Thanksgiving Macy's Parade, and the self-same store plans to open its doors at midnight tonight (!), the Occupy movement of Wall Street fame plans a different kind of event. At < > you can learn about a special Thanksgiving Day feast in Manhattan's Liberty Square. This dinner will combine good food plus "stories and inspiration." People will gather at 2:00 p.m. today for a different kind of Thanksgiving feast, one with an appropriate theme and purpose for the times.

I say, "Thank God for Occupy Wall Street."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fahrenheit 1115

On 11/15, the Police Department of Mayor Michael Mubarak engaged in the destruction of the property of hundreds of people encamped in Liberty Square, a.k.a. Zucotti Park. This park, formerly the property of the people of New York, and recently confiscated by Wall Street interests, had become the focal point of the nation-wide, and world-wide Occupy movement. This movement has sought to oppose government of, by, and for the plutocrats and oligarchs.

Becoming an increasing threat to the power and prerogatives of the super-wealthy, New York Mayor Michael Mubarak, otherwise known as the Mayor from Bloomberg, acceded in the forcible removal of peaceful protestors and their equipment from the Square. Among the many possessions was a library filled with a goodly number of books. As in Ray Bradbury's novel, Fahrenheit 451, officials found cause to confiscate and make useless the books of a society or culture of people.

Today at noon Eastern Time, those interested in this destruction will gather in a press conference to describe this destruction and properly mark the passing from use of these books.

-- via Occupy Wall Street --

What: Press conference to address the destruction of the OWS People's Library by Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 11/15 raid.

Photo Opportunity — All of the recovered, destroyed books will be at the press conference.

Where: 260 Madison Ave, 20th Floor, between 38th and 39th St

When: Wednesday, November 23, at 12:00 noon

Who: Norman Siegel will host and moderate. Speakers: Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild, Hawa Allan a Fellow at Columbia Law School, and Occupy Wall Street Librarians from the People's Library. Law professors from Columbia, members of the American Library Association, various writers and others have been invited.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Success and Meaning of November 17

While I must be brief for now, it is clear the Occupy and workers' movements achieved a major success two days ago in their actions in New York and across America. Far from being intimidated by the forcible eviction from Liberty Square, protestors metastasized and grew stronger than ever. Below is what the protestors themselves wrote.

via --

Tens of thousands took action Thursday, November 17 to demand that our political system serve all of us — not just the wealthy and powerful. The NYPD [New York Police Department] estimated tonight’s crowd at 32,500 people, at the culmination of the day of action. Thousands more also mobilized in at least 30 cities across the United States. Demonstrations were also held in cities around the world.

"Our political system should serve all of us — not just the very rich and powerful. Right now Wall Street owns Washington," said participant Beka Economopoulos. "We are the 99% and we are here to reclaim our democracy."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Extraordinary Day in America

On Monday, I posted here a notice of a Day of Action against the way of doing business represented by Wall Street. I was hopeful there would be a half-way decent turn-out. After the clearing of Liberty Square on Tuesday night, chances for a successful event today seemed slim.

That's not the way things are turning out, as thousands even as I write are marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. Cable TV Shows such as "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," are reporting the largest event yet sponsored by the Occupy movement.

Video from today's New York protest

For those who do not mind amateur work, here is video from today's protest in New York. The people's mic, as it is called, shouts forth news of the effects of our economic downturn as a random voice begins "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Not professional, but appealing in a gritty way. Makes points for truth-telling.

Blogging the Day of Action: CNN Reporting on New York Protests

The Cable News Network is reporting live from New York and Los Angeles on the various occupy protests. They are reporting 170 arrests in New York and 25 in Los Angeles.

The CNN reporting is fair.

Rush Post: Police and Protestors Clash in New York Says Occupy Site

The web site of Occupy Wall Street is reporting clashes between police and protestors today as demonstrators respond to a day of mass resistance in New York City. For recent up-dates click on this post's title above or see < >.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wall Street Occupiers Return After Forcible Eviction

Importantly, the Occupiers of Wall Street have elected to return to Liberty Square and re-establish what we might call their domain. Below is a statement from their web site. The irrepressible energy and might of this movement is wonderful and ever so encouraging. It is the social unrest which many had predicted, but orderly unrest, characterized by non-violent dissent and civil disobedience with the accent on "civil."

Long live the Occupiers of America -- we the people!

via --

From Tuesday evening, November 15, 2011:

Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement Persevere

The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building, and making headway.

Following the 1:00 am eviction of Liberty Square early this morning and a long day of legal wrangling, the park was reoccupied late this afternoon. This evening, just after 7:00 pm, the first General Assembly at the re-occupied park began. Using our 'people's mic', we declared together:

"They showed us their power. And we're showing them ours."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Announces Major Action

The poster almost says it all. The Occupiers are more ambitious and, it seems, better-organized than ever. Occupying the subways seems a daunting task, being the former New Yorker that I am. But the occupation of Foley Square (wherever that is) somehow seems more possible.

No matter the location, the purpose is the same: to call attention to the vast power of corporations, foundations, media, and government all operating in a web of power and financial exploitation of the average American worker. At this time I am reviewing a history of America put out in 1975 by the Reader's Digest Association, which was capable of putting out quite wonderful books. At this point in the history the colonists are rebelling over the attempt of Britain to dominate the American economy. Those who have looked at the current situation in the United States see similarities to late colonial times. The economic royalists as FDR called them are still among us stronger than ever, yet more vulnerable than ever, too. Let us thank the occupiers who have shown remarkable resilience and solidarity in their effort to stand up for an America which is truly a land of economic justice for all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Occupying" Harvard

The statement from one of the latest "occupations," Occupy Harvard, is below. This statement is an interesting recitation of grievances which grows in strength and power as it goes on. It has been clear for some time that institutions of higher education have been more and more adopting corporate models of operation. This group of students and faculty members waves a red flag and demands, Stop.

via Occupy Boston --

Occupy Harvard Joins the Occupy Movement

10 November 2011, Cambridge, MA—At 10:30 pm on Wednesday, November 9, hundreds of Harvard students and affiliates put down tents to begin an occupation of Harvard Yard. Currently, thirty tents occupy the Yard in solidarity with the global Occupy movement. Earlier Wednesday, around 800 Harvard students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered in a rally, general assembly, and march to Occupy Harvard. Harvard is a diverse community that includes both the 1% and the 99%; we occupy here in solidarity with the global Occupy movement and with Occupy Boston.

We are Occupy Harvard. We want a university for the 99%, not a corporation for the 1%.

We are here in solidarity with the Occupy movement to protest the corporatization of higher education, epitomized by Harvard University.

We see injustice in the 180:1 ratio between the compensation of Harvard’s highest-paid employee—the head of internal investments at Harvard Management Company—and the lowest-paid employee, an entry-level custodial worker. We see injustice in Harvard’s adoption of corporate efficiency measures such as job outsourcing. We see injustice in African land grabs that displace local farmers and devastate the environment. We see injustice in Harvard’s investment in private equity firms such as HEI Hotels and Resorts, which profits off the backbreaking labor of a non-union immigrant workforce. We see injustice in Harvard’s lack of financial transparency and its prevention of student and community voice in these investments.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Boston and the other occupations throughout the country. We stand in solidarity with students at other universities who suffer crushing debt burdens and insufficient resources. We stand in solidarity with the students who occupied Massachusetts Hall one decade ago, and we continue their pursuit of justice for workers. We stand in solidarity with all those in Boston and beyond who clamor for equity. We are the 99%.

A university for the 99% must settle a just contract with Harvard’s custodial workers. A university for the 99% must adopt a new transparency policy, including disclosure of Harvard’s current investments as well as a commitment to not reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts or in land-grabbing hedge funds like Emergent Asset Management. Further,

A university for the 99% would offer academic opportunities to assess responses to socioeconomic inequality outside the scope of mainstream economics.
A university for the 99% would implement debt relief for students who suffer from excessive loan burdens.
A university for the 99% would commit to increasing the diversity of Harvard’s graduate school faculty and students.
A university for the 99% would end the privilege enjoyed by legacies in the Harvard admissions process.
A university for the 99% would implement a policy requiring faculty to declare conflicts of interest.

Our statement of principles is subject to change by the Occupy Harvard General Assemblies.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Occupy" the Legislatures?

The Huffington Post rightly points to a new movement building partly in response to the Occupy movement now sweeping the country. People are tired of being shunted into low-paying jobs and dead-end careers. People are tired of hearing of relatives unemployed. People are tired of themselves possibly becoming unemployed.

So it is perfectly understandable that rage is turning into action, and even constructive action. Read more at the article linked below.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Constitution Working Group of Occupy Wall Street

The new Constitution Working Group of Occupy Wall Street has produced a document under the leadership of Bob Schulz, long an active voice on Constitutional issues. Whether the protestors know of his association with certain Libertarian movements, his imprint is upon the statement found at the link below.

Overall, it is a fine document. There is even beauty in its lines. I do wonder what a Constitutional historian and expert would say about the statement that "All Elected Officials are limited by our written Constitutions - If Not Authorized in writing, such acts are UNLAWFUL." That seems overly broad and vague to me. Otherwise, I don't have any questions about the document at this point. Perhaps further scrutiny will give rise to more questions.

It is good to see the Occupy movement developing. Let us hope the original energy and purpose will be maintained. We the people are amazed and grateful it has lasted this long already.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

On the Road

I am currently visiting out of town, enjoying myself, and staying up with the news. America continues in a slow-boil economically, with the pot now sometimes boiling over as in Oakland, California.

When I have more time, I will up-date the news here. In the meantime, the rousing of America continues.

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