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opinion - The Daily Occupation

Keeping you up-to-date with the #Occupy movement.

Posts tagged opinion

[Op-Ed] Norman Lear: Occupy the New Year

Norman Lear, active in both television production and political reform, has written an op-ed calling for further support of OWS:

To those many millions of Americans whose guts tell them the Occupy movement is on to something but aren’t the sort to camp out or protest in the street, I say find another way to let your voice be heard in the new year. Work with others who share your passion for equal opportunity and equal justice for all Americans, and find ways to channel outrage into productive action. …

Call it the American dream, the American promise or the American way. Whatever term you use, it is imperiled, and worth fighting for. It is that basic, deeply patriotic emotion that I believe is finding expression — bottom-up, small-d democratic expression — in the Occupy movement. We can, and I would say must, fully embrace both love of country and outrage at attempts to despoil it. What better cause? What better time?

Read the full opinion piece here.

[Op-Ed] US Marine Tea Partier to Occupy: “Semper Occupare”

First of all, I’m surprised you’re reading this. Thanks to the corrupt media, many of you might be clueless to the fact we share quite a bit of commonground.

Let me clarify: By “Tea Party,” I am in no way referring to the hijacked movement we know and love today. By “Tea Party,” I don’t mean Iran warmongers, bailout lovers, the “extreme right,” and people who think what happens in your bedroom affects them in any way. No, what I mean is the Tea Party as it started in 2007 as opposition to Bush policies.

The media loves to paint a picture of OWS vs. TP, “right” vs. “left,” etc. It’s an old tactic called divide and conquer. If we fight amongst ourselves, no one looks at the true criminals at work in society.

[...]The original Tea Party (not counting the historical Boston Tea Party) was focused on ending the corporatist (fascist?) model ourselves. The original Tea Party was for ending the wars and against policing the world. We are against legislation that invades privacy of citizens here and abroad. Think unPatriot Act and the recently passed NDAA bill. The NDAA gives the military the authority to raid homes without warrants and imprison citizens indefinitely without trial.

Read more at Liberty Spin Network

Thank you, Cpl. Allen! –ed

[Op-Ed] PBS: “Are we becoming a police state?”

Sal Gentile describes five examples of encroaching fascism, including this.

The raids at Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country have earned media attention primarily for their glaring instances of police brutality. But they’ve also tested the boundaries of police authority when it comes to limiting media access to police operations. As many as 30 journalists have been arrested covering Occupy protests, including many who clearly identified themselves as credentialed members of the media. Officials in New York and L.A., for example, have also tried to tightly restrict media access to the Occupy encampments, setting up barricades far away from the actual raids and allowing only hand-picked journalists to go behind police lines.

Civil liberties advocates have decried these tactics as attempts to stifle media coverage of the raids. But the media blackouts are representative of a broader trend in law enforcement in recent years in which the police have been arresting citizens simply for recording official police actions in public places. Twelve states, for example, have adopted “eavesdropping” laws that prohibit people from videotaping police actions without the officers’ consent. And in California, police officials have openly stated that they will arrest people taking photographs without “apparent esthetic value” if those people seem suspicious. Several courts have ruled these policies unconstitutional.

Read more at PBS.org

If PBS, home of Sesame Street, is worried, we should all be worried. Short answer to the question in the headline — yes. –ed

[Op-Ed] Interview with former Chase banker — admits to big banks’ culpability in housing crisis

We’ve all heard that the housing bubble was brought about by greedy prospective home buyers being irresponsible. Wrong, says former Chase banker James Theckston.

If you want to understand why the Occupy movement has found such traction, it helps to listen to a former banker like James Theckston. He fully acknowledges that he and other bankers are mostly responsible for the country’s housing mess.

As a regional vice president for Chase Home Finance in southern Florida, Theckston shoveled money at home borrowers. In 2007, his team wrote $2 billion in mortgages, he says. Sometimes those were “no documentation” mortgages.

[...] One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers — those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English — and nudged them toward subprime loans.

These less savvy borrowers were disproportionately blacks and Latinos, he said, and they ended up paying a higher rate so that they were more likely to lose their homes. Senior executives seemed aware of this racial mismatch, he recalled, and frantically tried to cover it up.

Theckston, who has a shelf full of awards that he won from Chase, such as “sales manager of the year,” showed me his 2006 performance review. It indicates that 60 percent of his evaluation depended on him increasing high-risk loans.

Read more at the New York Times

(“Greedy poors caused the recession” is one of the most pernicious lies in recent memory. Here’s hoping that more people like James Theckston begin to come forward and speak up for the members of the 99% who were cruelly and cynically exploited in this manner. –ed)

[Op-Ed] UC Davis Occupier reminds us of the lessons of the past

Bernie Goldsmith of Occupy UC Davis discusses the history of activist movements and public opinion, and issues a warning.

We look into the past at successful social justice movements and idealize them. Of course the civil rights movement was right. Of course women should have the right to vote. Of course abolitionists would prevail. We take these things for granted; who could ever have disagreed with these sentiments? We forget that these movements had an uphill battle for a reason, that, in their time, their heroes were condemned as radicals, thugs, troublemakers, dirty bums, agitators, and more, just as protesters of today are condemned.

Read more at Davis Patch.

[Op-Ed] Frank Miller’s denunciation of Occupy Wall Street a sign of Hollywood “cryptofascism”

In this opinion piece, Rick Moody suggests that the comic-book auteur’s rant against OWS speaks to a greater malaise in the entertainment industry as a whole.

Frank Miller has done Occupy Wall Street a service by reminding us that our allegedly democratic political system, which increases inequality and decreases class mobility, which is mostly interested in keeping the disenfranchised where they are, requires a mindless, propagandistic (or “cryptofascist”) storytelling medium to distract its citizenry. We should be grateful for the reminder.

Read more at the Guardian UK

[Op-Ed] What it means to Occupy Los Angeles

As we know, Los Angeles City Hall offered Occupiers a deal to get them off the lawn. It turns out that this is a much more complex situation than it appears at first. Major issues of class, economics and politics are facing Occupy Los Angeles as the Occupation considers its next move.

Thus far, the inertia of Occupy LA has left it out of the Occupy Wall Street limelight. That may change in the next few days, as the largest standing encampment determines what course it and the Occupy Wall Street movement will take. Can the Los Angeles occupiers navigate their way and the movement though the seas churned by more experienced politicos, or will they inadvertently crash up against the complexities of realpolitik and real tensions in Los Angeles? The Los Angeles Times is already marshaling public support for the City’s offer.

Read more at Counterpunch.

[Op-Ed] Militarization Of Campus Police from UC Davis Professor

UC Davis Professor Bob Ostertag shares:

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi sent a letter to the university last night. Chancellor Katehi tells us that:

The group was informed in writing… that if they did not dismantle the encampment, it would have to be removed…  However a number of protestors refused our warning, offering us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal.

No other options? The list of options is endless. To begin with, the chancellor could have thanked them for their sense of civic duty. The occupation could have been turned into a teach-in on the role of public education in this country. There could have been a call for professors to hold classes on the quad. The list of “other options” is endless.

The rest of his article can be found at The Huffington Post.

Video of one of the pepper-sprayed protesters’ speech at today’s UC Davis General Assembly can be found here.

[OP-ED] Occupier working with pro-democracy activists in Egypt criticizes President Obama’s deafening silence

The Tahrir Square demonstrations are heating up again and the President of the United States, previously nominally supportive of the Egyptian Revolution, hasn’t had much to say this time. In this opinion piece, an anonymous Occupier demands answers.

President Obama, where are you? Are you not watching the same images that the world is watching of the massacres in Tahrir? Are you too busy preparing for Thanksgiving to take a minute to make a strong statement about what’s happening in a country in which your government has invested so much money and support?

Read the rest at Al Jazeera English

Eyewitness account of police brutality at UC Berkeley from former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass

…The idea of occupying public space was so appealing that people in almost every large city in the country had begun to stake them out, including students at Berkeley, who, on that November night, occupied the public space in front of Sproul Hall, a gray granite Beaux-Arts edifice that houses the registrar’s offices and, in the basement, the campus police department.

It is also the place where students almost 50 years ago touched off the Free Speech Movement, which transformed the life of American universities by guaranteeing students freedom of speech and self-governance. The steps are named for Mario Savio, the eloquent undergraduate student who was the symbolic face of the movement. There is even a Free Speech Movement Cafe on campus where some of Mr. Savio’s words are prominently displayed: “There is a time … when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.”…

Read more at the New York Times

This article includes a brief discussion of the history of activism at Cal as well as a pretty gory description of the police’s actions at the Occupation. –ed

Former Seattle police chief discusses the increasing militarism of police tactics

From The Nation, a veteran of the WTO “Battle for Seattle” issues a plea for responsible community policing.

http://www.thenation.com/article/164501/paramilitary-policing-seattle-occupy-wall-street

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Why Occupy Wall Street needs Michael Bloomberg

In a Special Comment, Keith contextualizes Mayor Bloomberg’s actions against Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park and how they have – unintentionally – vaulted the movement from a local nuisance to a global platform for the disenfranchised.

http://current.com/shows/countdown/videos/keiths-special-comment-why-occupy-wall-street-needs-michael-bloomberg