ROBERT REICH – The Democratic establishment is viewing American politics through obsolete lenses of left versus right, with Bernie on the extreme left and Trump on the far right. This may have been the correct frame for politics decades ago when America still had a growing middle class, but it’s obsolete today.
ROMAN KRZNARIC – Here’s something that might surprise you: One of the most powerful weapons we can use against far-right authoritarians like President Donald Trump has its roots in ancient philosophy. In particular, we can draw on the idea of carpe diem, or “seize the day,” a maxim penned by the Roman poet Horace. Let me explain.
KAZU HAGA – What if all organizations in Oakland who work for social justice put down their egos and worked to create a COLLECTIVE work-plan for the next 10 years? Not just deciding to work together on 1 campaign for a year. Actually built integrated workplans that allow us to still do what each of us do best, but with a grand strategy of how we’re all contributing to the same change? What if nonprofits stopped their turf wars? What if nonprofits stopped feeding into the capitalist, individualistic mentality of this culture and took the idea of movements and collaborations seriously? What if we told all of our funders that after spending down our current grant, we’re all gonna change directions slightly and start to work together for real? What if . . .
TEX DWORKIN – In a landmark decision on September 4, following intense pressure by indigenous people, trade unions, farmer’s organizations and others, the Guatemalan judiciary ruled to suspend the controversial Plant Variety Protection Law, commonly referred to as the ‘Monsanto Law’ because of the multinational biotech company’s involvement in it.
David Swanson – Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that’s rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu’s to be. That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler’s first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.
LYNN FITZ-HUGH – Hyperbole? You decide if this is how you believe the police should behave when citizens are exercising their constitutional right to free speech. On Monday, December 16, 16 people were arrested at two different locations on Hwy 26 outside John Day, OR. They were there in response to Omega Morgan Company moving a heat condenser from the port of Umatilla to the Tar Sands site of the XL pipeline in Canada.
HELEN JUNG – Fifty people arrested during Occupy Portland protests two years ago are entitled to jury trials even though prosecutors downgraded the misdemeanor charges to violations with no threat of a jail sentence, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
DAVID SWANSON – When the Occupy Movement lost its presence on television and therefore in real spaces that are never quite as real as television, it left a positive lasting impact, difficult as yet to measure fully, but observable in many areas.
INTERVIEW BY TERRY MESSMAN – Erica Chenoweth and her co-author, Maria Stephan, reveal in their book, Why Civil Resistance Works, that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their immediate goals of either regime change or territorial change. They also found that these trends hold even under conditions where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective.
Nonviolent campaigns were effective, for instance, against dictatorships; against highly repressive regimes that are using violent and brutal repression against the movements; and also in places where people would expect a nonviolent campaign to be impossible to even emerge in the first place — such as very closed societies with no civil society organization to speak of prior to the onset of the campaign.
Chenoweth conducted her research because of the skepticism that a lot of people have about the efficacy of nonviolence in these circumstances. In most of the violent insurgencies we look at, people will say the reason they are violent is because nonviolent resistance can’t work in these conditions. This is why it’s particularly striking that even in these types of conflicts, we’re seeing nonviolence resistance outperform so dramatically.
JOHN-PAUL FLINTOFF – In a long life of scholarship and dissent, Gene Sharp has been imprisoned and persecuted, but never silenced. His ideas continue to inspire resistance movements across the world. Gene Sharp is not a typical pacifist. “When I used to lecture, I would always get complaints from the pacifists,” says the academic, who turns 85 this month. “They would say I wasn’t pure…”
DAVE JOHNSON- The highly-profitable company Verizon — the 16th largest corporation in America — is asking its workers for givebacks amounting to as much as $20,000 each, while tripling the compensation of CEO Lowell McAdam from $7.2 million to $23.1 million. The company made $22.5 billion in profits over the past four years while paying its top five executives $283 million over that period. Because of this the company has earned the nickname “Verigreedy.”
WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ – Freedom has become the be-all and the end-all of our political expectation, the full meaning of the American experiment. Justice is gone, and even more conspicuously banished is that term of terms for movements from abolitionism to feminism, for Lincoln and King: equality.
GEORGE GOEHL – We live in an America where more than 46 million Americans live below the poverty level. This is the highest poverty rate since the Census Bureau began publishing such figures.
CHARLES EISENSTEIN – Occupy has awakened a potent energy that had been lying dormant. It has made activists of people of a new generation, and brought renewed hope to veterans of past movements. Unlike earlier protest movements, it has not objected to any specific policy, such as segregation or the Vietnam War. It is a protest against a condition of society, highlighted by the maldistribution of wealth and debt whose symbol is Wall Street, that goes deeper than anything the Occupiers can easily name. As we say, no demand is big enough.
BILL MOYERS – Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five conservative members of the Supreme Court handed for-profit corporations the right to secretly flood political campaigns with tidal waves of cash on the eve of an election, they moved America closer to outright plutocracy, where political power derived from wealth is devoted to the protection of wealth. It is now official: Just as they have adorned our athletic stadiums and multiple places of public assembly with their logos, corporations can officially put their brand on the government of the United States as well as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the fifty states.
BROOKE JARVIS – On December 3, just two days before Occupy L.A. was evicted by police, the General Assembly of the occupation passed a unanimous resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.
CHRIS HEDGES – The Occupy movement is the force that will revitalize traditional Christianity in the United States or signal its moral, social and political irrelevance. The mainstream church, battered by declining numbers and a failure to defiantly condemn the crimes and cruelty of the corporate state, as well as a refusal to vigorously attack the charlatans of the Christian right, whose misuse of the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism, bigotry and imperialism is heretical, has become a marginal force in the life of most Americans, especially the young.
JOSH HEALEY – Over the last two weeks, mayors across the country (apparently coordinated by the FBI) shut down many of the largest Occupy encampments, including in New York, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and more. Police arrested hundreds of peaceful activists, inevitably leaving clouds of pepper spray and millions of dollars in their wake. While I fully condemn the police raids, I also think they offer us an opportunity to move to the next stage: it’s time to Occupy more than just tents.
MICHAEL MOORE – This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
TYGER RICARD – We are told, and have come to accept, that the Occupy movement lacks focus, direction, and purpose. How can a group be successful without a linear plan and a list of demands? How does camping in a park solve the world’s problems? Onlookers often say that in the last two months, Occupy has yet to accomplish anything. As we come to Thanksgiving, however, I want to offer seven reasons to give thanks for the Occupy movement.
TOM CORDARO – The weekend of Oct. 15-16 my daughter Angela and I had the privilege of attending the Pax Christi Metro New York Fall Assembly where I gave the keynote address. As you might expect a lot of the conversation focused on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that started in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street.
CHRIS HEDGES – Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak.
RUSS BAKER – Conventional journalism is increasingly irrelevant in a time of crisis. We find abundant proof in a recent column from the New York Times’ so-called “Public Editor,” who is supposed to somehow magically represent the public interest and rarefied ethical values to the rest of the paper.
PETER BERGEL – The Occupy movement has opened space for a national – even international – dialogue on the kind of world we want to live in. It has empowered many citizens to find the audacity and courage to think outside the box – to consider sweeping solutions that were off the table a few short weeks ago.
RT.COM BLOG – In the 34 years that an ongoing poll has asked Americans for their take on Congress, never in the three-decade span has that number dipped into the single digits. Never, at least, until now. The results of the latest survey from CBS News and The New York Times confirm that Congress’ job approval rating is at an all-time low.