An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Occupy Together’

The Future of “Occupy”

Well, it has been almost a year.  After laying low for the winter, the Occupy movement is back.  The protests have been going on anew for some time.  For those outside of this, with a modicum of political savvy, watching this happen, there have been a number of questions on their mind.

The first is – what happens now?  They’ve been out protesting.  This has made a lot of waves.  The financial industry still doesn’t take them seriously.  Believe it or not, there is an actually good reason, but we’ll get to that in a few.  These protests are well and good, but even those like this columnist, who is as far left as it gets are wondering – where does it go?

The reason that the big political movements of the 60’s and 70’s went nowhere is because it never got beyond people protesting and people talking.  People were in the street, and a lot of social upheaval was happening.  But the question came up there as well – what happens now?  Unfortunately for them, nothing did.  There was a chance for real major change across America.  The movement had a lot of people with a lot of ideas.  They just didn’t go with it.  My British Literature professor said that his generation screwed this one.  I have to agree with that.

So, one movement went nowhere, because they didn’t mobilize beyond being in the streets and making noise.  It is a year in to the Occupy movement, and there are still protests.  There is another one planned for July 22nd at Prospect Park.  These movements still get people’s attention, but that’s it.  This is why Wall Street doesn’t see them as a threat.  They get people’s attention while they happen.  The police brutally assault them because the cops are owned by the corporate masters who own this country.  That gets media coverage.  But once all is said and done, we are still there, still asking that same question.

What happens now?

The next thing is that we are wondering what can be done.  Wondering what will happen is one thing, but another important question is – what does this organization have the ability to do?  To answer both, the same thing needs to happen.

This group needs to mobilize.  The benefit of Occupy is that they are a group with a national presence.  What started as a bunch of people on Wall Street has now become a national force.  This helps answer the second question.  When you have something that is cross-country, you know that you have a lot going for you.  That is no small feat.  Some could argue that they actually have a global presence, since Occupy protests have been scheduled all over the globe.  They even go by that name.  But that may be being a little hopeful.  However, one cannot argue that they have a national presence.

To answer the first question, the first part is that they need to mobilize.  But to do what?  Another good question.  If you ask me, what they need to do is to mobilize and instead of focusing on getting politicians into office, which is a waste of time since all the politicians in the Congress are bought and paid for by Wall Street, they need to focus on something smaller.

They need to start a grass-roots movement.  They need to mobilize the public at large.  Get a public campaign going.  Get out to meet people.  Instead of having these giant rallies, have community events.  Reassure the public of who you are and what you are trying to do.  Answer any questions or critical thoughts that they might have.

One of the biggest problems, that I have seen, is that the public at large doesn’t know how to feel about these people.  On the one hand, they represent a point of view a LOT of people have.  They are tired of being treated like Wall Street’s dog.  They are tired of being the ones who pay for Corporate America’s mistakes.  They don’t want to have to live life constantly worrying about their medical bills, their mortgages, their college loans.  This is a group who represents a huge part of the population.  But the population at large doesn’t know that.  They aren’t aware.  They feel that these are just people screaming.

Occupy has to mobilize public support, and through that, they can put real pressure onto political America.  If they have enough of the public in their corner, and can make the politicians understand that if they don’t play ball, they don’t get elected, there is a chance for some real change for the better.

But if they don’t do something soon, they are just going to either fade away, or get consumed by the corporate structure of America, the same way that the Tea Party did.  Once upon a time, they did have a lot of pretty good ideas.  Now, they are the butt of a bad joke which starts with – An Alaskan, a Minnesotan and a Texan walk into a bar.

But that’s just my point of view.

Advertisements

Politically Powerful Films and Society

There is something about a great piece of film that sends a message about all of society.  Finding out about the great parts of history through good film is something that people often overlook.  But it is a great thing to see.  Most of these films are often controversial, but that is one of the reasons that they are so important.

When the film Green Zone came out, a lot of people were screaming about how this film was anti-war, as if that was a bad thing.  The recent attitude that every piece of film about the war in Iraq must show America as the heroes is actually a little distrubing.  Since when has this country been above scrutiny?  Since when has America been so perfect?  The fact is that the lies that got this country into a war need to be talked about.

Part of what made that such an interesting movie was the fact that it was based on a true story.  All of the stories about weapons of mass destruction being in Iraq were lies.  Lies that our government let happen, because, well, the reasons for that will probably never be clear.  It is that way with a lot of our military actions.

Take the film Salvador, which tells the story of a photo journalist in El Salvador.  It is a depressing story about how America is helping dictators stay in power, even though the people tried to free themselves.  At the same time, it showed how easy it is for power over others to corrupt you.  The people tried to take control of their government, but the lies that they were Communists kept the military aid flowing.  It still does to this day.

Another point that Salvador made was the hatred of journalists by the military.  This is an absolute truism.  The fact is that our military and our government hates journalists.  The good ones, anyway.  The corporate media has never been something to fear, because they will never stand firm against the status quo.  Our government has always hated forces that can second-guess them, and show their lies.  Of course, thanks to the corporate media, there is no longer revolt against them.  This is one of the thing that has made the Occupy movement so very cool to observe.  These people are standing tall to fight oppression.  People in this country are oppressed, by a corporate and banking system that answers to nobody.  They are also oppressed by cops who don’t uphold their mandate to protect the people, and instead put them down.

Then there is the fact that politically poignant films tell us the stories about the groups of peole that we don’t want to think about.  Take a look at the film Blood Diamond.  It tells the story of the diamond trade in Africa, and how blood diamonds are driving countries that are hopelessly impoverished, and the people are brutalized by ruthless dictators that nobody seems to care about.  We can talk about spreading freedom all we like about Iraq and Afghanistan, but the fact is that people are being brutalized all over the world, and nobody cares here.  Nobody ever cares about the suffering other places.  We only care when we can blame them for attacking us.

Then there was the film that showed a culture for what it is.  It was called Lord of War.  The monologue toward the end by Nicholas Cage about how the law will fail, because this country is involved in dirt was a very harsh statement about the realities of the world we live in.  America is sending guns to scummy people, and all because we want to remain on good terms with them.

Really, the ultimate statement that is made in these politically-motivated film is that America likes to believe that we are the end of the line, that we tell other nations what’s what.  But the fact is that we don’t.  One of the greatest lines in cinema was delivered in Green Zone.

It is not up to you to decide what happens here.

That’s the truth right there.  America wants to believe that the rest of the world conforms to what we want, but that isn’t the truth.  And until people can wrap their tiny little minds around that very fundamental truth, this nation is going to be the biggest pot of lies, and nobody will care.

Peace out,

Lefty

It is starting to look like the police want a war

Watching the Occupy protests across the country is getting a little harder for a person to do without wondering what exactly the thinking of the leaders of this country is when they have people who are supposed to lead it, and lead it peacefully, are having cops who are given free-reign and told that they will not have any consequences violently putting down peaceful protests.

All of the actions against the Occupy protesters have been for bad reasoning.  The clearing of Zucotti Park was because of some worthless litter laws.  As YouTube vlogger TJ Kincaid put it

I mean, maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m crazy, but I just feel like a local litter ordinance should take a backseat to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The reasoning behind the police and their attack against the Occupy protestors is getting stretched.  But they keep at it.  They keep pepper-spraying crowds.  They keep attacking innocent people.  They keep using “non-lethal” force against people who have done nothing wrong.  It is getting to the point in this country where it looks like the police want these peaceful protests to become violent, so they can just kill all the protesters off.

There was a segment that Rachel Maddow did on her show where she looked at all the new “non-lethal” weapons that the military has invented.  A lot of military-grade weaponry is being used against the protesters!  What is going on here?  If the police are using military weapons, it looks more and more like they want a war.  They want those they are attacking to fight back.

It is a critical flaw that has never been addressed in this country – how we are giving people who have had very little training, and have no real credential or any other significant requirements the power to have power over others and to be accountable to no one.  They are given power over people who have no power, and throughout this nation’s history, this power has been abused.

Perhaps the best example is at UC Davis this last week.  Two cops walk up to eleven students who are sitting on the ground and start macing them.  They have an unprovoked attack against them, and immediately, the other cops jump up and defend them.

It was for the safety of the officers and the arrestees, so they could get out, so we could leave!”

That was a quote from Chief Annette Spicuzza.  That is a lie.  It is an outright lie.  Take a look at the picture to the right.  Does it look like this guy who is mercilessly attacking these students is surrounded?  Does he feel trapped?  No.  That’s an outright lie.  But this is how it always works.  It is how it worked in the case of Anthony Bologna, and it is how it is working here.  The police face no real charges when they abuse their mandate to protect and serve.  They never feel the hammer of the law come down on them.  The fact is the police have demonstrated why they are not the protectors of the people.  They are thugs who are above the law.

And more and more, it is looking like they want a war.  There was a great quote by John F. Kennedy which seems to describe what is looking to happen in this country.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

And that is what it looks like is going to happen now.  Why don’t the leaders of this country understand this?  President Obama has been oddly silent about this peaceful revolution since when he came on and said that we shouldn’t blame all the bankers for what has happened in this country.  Now, he is nowhere to be found.  He once promised that if we weren’t content with the situation and we decided to protest, he would put on a pair of shoes and go out into the streets with them.  But he is nowhere to be found.

This government had better figure things out fast, because if you put down peace for too long, JFK was right, it does turn violent.

Peace out,

Lefty

The Revolution has Begun!

It is happening all over the country.  The massive coordinated strike against people and their First Amendment rights was met with swift and almost universally peaceful retaliation.  It is becoming clear now that these people are not only not going away, they are growing.  Every single day they are growing.  And as people like Mayor Bloomberg in NYC and the police continue to crack down upon them, the protesters don’t get scared, they get active.

Truly, this is an amazing time to be an American.  While there is a massive effort from the Right to make these people out to be villains, the fact is that the Occupy movement is bigger now than it ever was before!  For those who didn’t get to see it in person (as is the case with myself, unfortunately), there was a giant signal that was giving support to the Occupy Wall Street movement on the “Verizon Building” in NYC.  There was an slogan that was displayed on it that needs to be given to everybody.  It is the symbol of the revolution that is growing.

Look around. You are a part of a Global Uprising.
We are a Cry from the Heart of the World!
We are Unstoppable!  Another World Is Possible!
Happy Birthday #Occupy Movement

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.  It is absolute truth.  Another world is not only possible, there are signs that it is growing.  There are signs that the status quo is getting scared.  MSNBC recently ceized a memo from a banking lobbyist group talking about how they are going to be working on a counter-attack against the Occupy movement.  The signs are everywhere that this is making the attention of all America turn to what is happening.

With new data pointing to one in three Americans living just above or below the poverty line, the system needs to change.  What people need to realize is that it can.  Changing it won’t be easy.  It will be an incredibly arduous process.  What is giving so much hope to many is that those who are part of the Occupy movement are showing signs that they are not going to give up.  That the terror that our police force uses against them isn’t going to work.  That the thugs who are in the completely unaccountable police department are not going to force the people to stop.

It is an amazing day today.  The National Day of Action was the response to the corrupt systerm and the thuggery that the cops have employed, none of them standing up and saying that this is wrong.  A retired police captain named Ray Lewis was arrested on the National Day of Action.  Another nice thing that is being pointed out is the lies of the police department.  The clearing of Zucotti Park was a lie.  The police said it was for the safety of those at the park.  That is a completely bogus reason.  It was to get rid of them.  But the very next day, they were back, and stronger than ever before!

Not much more to say, except that the Occupiers must keep on.  The true colors of those in power is being shown.  The fact that the police are nothing more than thugs is being shown.  If I lived where this was happening, or had the money to go there, I would.  Fight on, my fellow warriors of justice!  A better world is possible, and it is starting right now!

Peace out,

Lefty

The Occupy Movement is going to change the world

The protestors in Zucotti park have been kicked out.  Mayor Bloomberg feels no shame for his vaunted championing of Wall Street and the corruption that the banks on it represent.  As he sends the cops to do his dirty work, the protests grow ever bigger.  As Keith Olbermann pointed out in a Special Comment today, Bloomberg is only adding fuel to the fires of change.  Each day, the people are getting more and more aware of the fact that our system is broken, and if it is to be fixed, they have to get involved.

The great movements have been spawned from people like those who began Occupy Wall Street.  The war in Vietnam was ended by the young getting the old to stand up and to say that it was enough.  Walter Cronkite was also a big help, but I won’t stroke the ego of my field of study too much.  The Civil Rights marches were about the young getting the old to stand tall.  And when the system put them down, it has always only made the movement grow.

It would seem reasonable to assume that those in power simply never learn.  One of the basic bits of human psychology is that we will rebel against oppression.  Those who are being tear-gassed in Oakland, and those who are beaten in New York City are drawing more into their fight every day.

The police are not innocent in this.  In fact, their complacent acceptance of the orders they are being given to attack the people who are protesting makes them as much of villains as those who are ruthlessly gutting the middle class, not caring about the lives of the people that they destroy.  They are fighting for the system, ignoring their mandate to protect and serve.  Like Bloomberg and his open servitude of Wall Street, they are criminals who should be standing with the people, not against them.

There was a rather clever poster by one of the Occupiers about the cops – these guys are one pay-cut away from joining us!.  Touche, Occupier!  But what started as an event that was being ignored is being breathed new life into every single day that the cowardly police and the malicious government officials are putting them down.  It is amazing how these people are able to somehow rationalize the actions that they perform.  A vet gets his skull cracked open, it was “necessary.”  Innocent people who have done nothing to harm anybody are being shot by bean bags and rubber bullets, well, it was “within the bounds of authority.”  Well, I must have forgotten the part where attacking the innocent for no reason was a good thing.

But these people shouldn’t be villified, they should be thanked.  Each time they do their villainous deeds, more people are joining the movement.  When Bloomberg makes back-room deals to make sure he can serve three terms as mayor.  When Bloomberg has his people acting like book-burners with the books at the Occupy Wall Street movement.  When Bloomberg is taking away the generator that is giving heat to the protestors, and basically trying to freeze them out.  Whenever Bloomberg, or any of those like him choose to make a stand in defense of a system, using completely unnecessary force to put the people in their place, more come!

So let’s not villify Bloomberg, let’s thank him.  This idiot has made this movement bigger than it ever could have been.  If the media had simply ignored it.  If the media has simply chosen to not pay attention.  If Bloomberg has simply chose to not care, than the fickle and pathetically dim-witted American public would have just forgotten about it by now.

But Bloomberg chose to be stupid.  He chose to do something that was obviously a bad idea, and now, the movement has grown well beyond New York City.  It is going to change the world!  The movement is everywhere.  It is all over America, including here in my home city of Anchorage, Alaska.  It is across the world.  This movement is now so much bigger than the original architects could have possibly imagined.  They couldn’t have comprehended how this movement could have grown so large.

This is exactly what the world needs.  Now, more than ever, things are becoming worse for everybody.  Obama and his cowardice to do any positive change for the better in this country has been bad enough.  His Healthcare Reform bill was a birthday present to the private insurance companies.  Wall Street reform was a birthday present to Wall Street.  Credit Card reform was worth something.  That is the only saving grace of President Obama.  Were it not for the fact that not a single of the front-running candidates of the Republican Party have any credibility whatsoever, he would be in real trouble in 2012.  The fact is that he is a failure, and all of America will reap what he has sown.

In the meantime, this movement, and all the others like it, are what this country needs.  And it is what this world needs.  More and more groups are coming behind it.  Anonymous has pledged their support, and is showing the world the truth about what is happening.  Voices like Keith Olbermann are coming out in support.  The world is changing rapidly.  For good or bad, time will tell.  But one thing is certain, Occupy Wall Street has changed the game, permanently!

Peace out,

Lefty

Occupy Together vs. The Police

There is a rather dark concept that is coming up all over the country.  Here in Alaska, we have had several protests here.  Alas, while unable to make it to the events because of prior engagements, we are paying close attention to the protests here in Anchorage.  There are even protests in our hometown of Wasilla, which is pretty impressive, considering how Wasilla seems to be mostly Tea Party conservatives.  Of course, Alaska hasn’t had the big problems that these movements are having down in the states.

While this movement is becoming the largest global protest that there is, there is one group who are clearly showing where their colors stand – the police.  The law seems to be siding with the corporate elite of this country.  Arrests have been going on ever since the beginning of this endeavor.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York is on a campaign to shut this whole thing down.  It is part of a growing battle between the people who are being oppressed, and their oppressors.

The police clearly are standing with the oppressors.  From the arrests that were made at the beginning, to the fact that the cops who are abusing these people do not suffer any justice.  There was one cop, Anthony Bologna, who pepper sprayed a bunch of protestors.  The video of him doing this went viral, and of course, he is completely innocent.  The punishment that he received was less than a slap on the wrist.  It was a joke.  He loses some vacation days, and some pay.  Well whoop-tee-doo.  He attacks a bunch of defenseless peaceful protestors, along with other cops, and he doesn’t suffer for it.  And he doesn’t feel bad, what’s more.

I did not intend to spray the women…I acted with the best intentions.  I was shell-shocked when the video went viral.  But if I could turn back the clock, I’d do things the same way.”

That is Anthony Bologna in an article he did in The New York Post.  He is guilty as sin of basically macing a bunch of women who were not outside the law, and he doesn’t feel a bit of remorse about it, nor does he feel the hammer of the law.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that the police believe themselves to be above the law.  They believe themselves to be immune from justice.  So far, they seem to be right.  The police are thugs who work for the system, and not only do they work for the system, but they break the law in doing so.

The Fourth Amendment states specifically that people are protected from unlawful searches and seizures.  They are arresting people left and right, often with no charge at all.  There was the man who was approaching the cops, arms in the air, in the universal symbol for coming in peace, and the cops threw him to the ground and arrested him.  Unprovoked, unreasonable, and he suffered for it.

If we don’t have rule of law that curtails arbitrary police power, then our democracy becomes a sham.”

That was from an interview with Dr. Cornel West during an interview on Martin Bashir on MSNBC.  He is absolutely right.  The police more and more are showing that they believe that they can do whatever they want, and they don’t have to suffer for their crimes.

In Utah, there was a group of people who was dancing at a football game.  It was a traditional Maori dance that was done in the postgame.  The police attacked them with pepper spray.  Their reasoning – they were blocking the players for leaving the field.  According to all witnesses to the event, that line of reasoning is false.  These dancers were not a risk, and the cops decided to pepper-spray them, along with several fans in the stands, causing people to run from the place.

And these are just a few examples.  Occupy Wall Street is the example that is getting the most attention right now, but the fact is that the lack of accountability that the police has is something that affects us all.  Eventually, it won’t be just in New York City.  It will be in Anchorage, Wasilla, and other places as well, when the public finally realizes what the right thing is to do.  However, this must continue.

Groups like Anonymous are with Occupy Together, and so are several celebrities.  It is time for us to stand together as a people, and to demand accountability, not just from the financial institution, but also from the people who own them.

Perhaps Anonymous should close this article –

In just a little over a week, Occupy initiatives has sprung up in over 30 cities.  This is now bigger than you and me.  It is a collective 99% that will no longer stand for the corruption, greed, and inequality that is rampant within our governing bodies.”

Peace out,

Lefty

Alaska is Hope. America is Too

There was a brilliant allegory that was recently posted on YouTube.  This may just be the best piece of video footage that has graced the hallowed halls of YouTube’s library in some time.  It was done by a vlogger named TJ Kincaid.  He talks about a couple that we all are intimately familiar with in this country, and I bet people all over the world know this couple as well.  Their names are Wally and Hope.

Hope is an honest and hard working woman.  She busts her rear at a paper recycling plant every day, working as a secretary.  But she comes home to Wally.  He is a very rich man, whose income dwarfs her’s.  And what’s more, Wally takes all of her money too.  He only lets her have just enough to survive.  For years, Hope takes this.  She tries to stand up to him, but when she does, she is beaten, brutally.  For years, it goes on, until one day, she decides to really stand up, to make a stand for herself.  Wally is enraged beyond all reason.  Wally beats her as he has never beaten her before.  After it is done, Hope manages to crawl to the phone and call the police.  They come, but they like Wally, and Wally is their friend, so they take Hope to the hospital, and after that, she goes to jail.  When she gets home, she sees Wally with a smug look on his face, because he knows that she is powerless, and now, the question really becomes –

What can Hope do to survive against a powerful and corrupt beast, that wants nothing more than to subjugate and suppress her?  What can she do?

The big question is that very one.  As one views Alaska, America, and the industrialized world, and really the whole world, it is the question that people need to be asking with more and more skepticism as time goes on.  Hope is a brilliant allegory.  Not only does Hope symbolize us all, it shows the pure hopelessness of the people of this country.

There is an event that is going on today in Anchorage today.  It is the second of their version of Occupy Wall Street.  As one watches what is happening, it is easy to see why those who are following this event are kind of disheartened.  Time and time again, the law has been used as a weapon against the people.  These people who are doing this are trying to appeal to a group of people who, like Wally, have no sense of decency, no conscience to speak of.  They throw away the jobs of thousands, do whatever it takes to save money, and they don’t feel bad.  There is no conscience with these people.  They have proven, time and time again, how it is all about money.

There was an AMA on Reddit.com between TJ Kincaid and a Wall Street trader, and the trader says, flat-out, that he is in it for the money, that all he wants it to have it and power.  It is a tragic thing that shows so much of what our country has become.  Money, it is the golden rule that everybody has to obey.

There was a woman who recently asked, in a personal conversation, that if one was making $5 million dollars a year, would they want to give some of that up?  Would they want to help those who don’t have that money?  Such a heartless question, from an equally heartless person.  She asked believing that giving up money is just the worst thing.

If people want to believe that they are making a difference with these protests, that is good.  But when one examines history, it is hard to understand why people are so gung-ho to believe that peaceful protest is going to get them anything more than a beating in the street, because Wally is absolute, and Hope…well, what can she do?  Violence may be the only solution that Hope has left.

People shouldn’t be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.”

Alan Moore, or V, whichever you want to give that quote to, they had a very good point.

Peace out,

Lefty

Tag Cloud