Noam Chomsky To The Occupy Movement

December 29, 2011 in Media

via Portland Phoenix

Noam Chomsky has advice for the Occupy movement, whose encampments all over the country are being swept away by police. The occupations were a “brilliant” idea, he says, but now it’s time to “move on to the next stage” in tactics. He suggests political organizing in the neighborhoods.

The Occupy camps have shown people how “to break out of this conception that we’re isolated.” But “just occupying” has “lived its life,” says the man who is the most revered radical critic of American politics and capitalist economics.

Chomsky gave his counsel answering questions in a small group after a speech Monday evening, December 12, in the 1000-seat Westbrook Middle School auditorium (a/k/a Westbrook Performing Arts Center), which was filled to capacity. The speech was sponsored by the University of New England’s Center for Global Humanities.

#OCCUPY: Complete coverage of #Occupy in New England and beyond

The Occupy movement’s repression, which Chomsky decried, has a saving grace, he said: the opportunity for it to expand more into “the 99 percent” by engaging people “face to face.”

“Don’t be obsessed with tactics but with purpose,” he suggested. “Tactics have a half life.”

Much is at stake. An angry and frustrated population, as exists now in this country, provides “a combustible mix,” he said, adding: “Look at Weimar Germany” — the economically and politically turbulent time in Germany in the early 20th century that led to the rule of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Chomsky’s speech was entitled “Arab Spring, American Winter.” In it, he presented the Occupy movement as the first popular reaction to a “vicious class war” waged against working people for over 30 years in the United States, just as the Arab Spring uprisings this year in the Middle East and North Africa were reactions to decades or centuries of repression by wealthy elites supported by the United States and other Western powers.

Greeted with a standing ovation, on top of his game at 83, he stood, in jeans and sweater, talking and answering questions for two hours in his always-even voice.

Riffing from one topic to another, Chomsky — who, an emeritus professor at MIT, also is known as the father of modern linguistics — demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of American foreign policy and history, citing stunningly revealing official documents chronicling our country’s economic and military predations abroad.

He compared the rule of international elites over Middle Eastern, African, Latin American, and Asian countries to the rule of the rich 1 percent — it is often the rule of one-tenth of one percent, he suggested — in the United States.

Quoting Adam Smith, the 18th-century father of capitalist theory, Chomsky delved into the roots of the neoliberal soak-the-poor philosophy dominant worldwide. “We’re essentially living in a nightmare” that the classical economists predicted, he said.

This nightmare’s concentration of wealth “accelerates” political-campaign-money competition, he said, driving politicians into the arms of wealthy interests. One result: “The Democrats are now what used to be called moderate Republicans.”

(Recently this reporter asked a prominent Augusta figure if he thought the Occupy movement would make Maine Democrats less like Republicans. He replied that the occupiers “don’t finance the campaigns.”)

Palma Ryan, 59, who is staying at the Occupy camp in Portland’s Lincoln Park, said about 40 occupiers were at the speech. Her reaction to hearing Chomsky: “He is so validating. You leave saying ‘yes, yes, yes!’”

Despite what counts in the Portland area as an enormous crowd, the daily press barely covered the event — commonly the case for Chomsky.

Read more: http://portland.thephoenix.com/news/131298-chomsky-to-occupy-move-to-the-next-stage/#ixzz1hy8mPci9

Boots Riley On The Mainstream Media’s Relationship With Social Movements

December 29, 2011 in Media

Every progressive movement in U.S. history was portrayed negatively by mainstream media at the time it was happening.

It is no surprise that they portray the Occupy Wall Street movement in the same light.

During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, mainstream media interviewed Black folks that were against it, and talked about how the boycott was misguided and hurts the local economy.

During the rest of the civil rights movement, protesters who were fire-hosed and otherwise brutalized were called “violent protesters” in the mainstream media- again with interviews from people saying that the protests were wrongheaded.

During the Anti-Vietnam War movement, the mainstream media, who was extremely supportive of the war, portrayed protesters as out of touch, violent, and dirty. There was a picture in the Chronicle of a guy who was throwing back a tear gas canister which had been shot at the peaceful crowd. This was shown as proof of protesters being wild, out of touch, and violent.

When the Black Panther Party had free breakfast programs- every mainstream media outlet that covered it, covered it negatively- along with claims that they didn’t really connect with the Black community.

There has never been ANY strike, work stoppage, or union action that was supported by the mainstream media at the time that it was happening. All of union history is filled with mainstream press hit pieces.

The mainstream press spoke negatively of the port truckers in 2004, when they shut down the Port Of Oakland themselves for a whole week- around the same issues we brought up on with the West Coast Port Shutdown.

The mainstream press didn’t support the Anti-Apartheid movement, they don’t support the BDS movement for Palestine.

The mainstream press is always on the wrong side of history because they are always on the side of the status quo, which is capitalist exploitation and oppression. Exploitation and oppression are portrayed as the natural and comfortable norm and movements trying to vary from that norm are portrayed as being against the majority’s will.

To do this, the articles don’t have to make sense, they just have to touch on that theme.

For instance:
Every article about the port shutdown featured a trucker saying they were against the shutdown. However, the OWS movement received and circulated a letter from an organization representing hundreds of port truckers which thanked us all for this action in support of their struggle. None of those folks were interviewed by media. As well, the shutdown in LA was called for and enacted by port truckers- no media interviewed them. As we marched, many truckers honked their horns and gave the clenched fist. In the morning, 6 of them parked their trucks and joined our picket line- even though I pointed them out to mainstream reporters, none of them were interviewed. Again, the truckers at the Port Of Oakland shut the port down for a whole week a few years ago- these are all the same drivers, it wasn’t hard to find supportive truckers.

Another example:
In any movement we will make in the US that is multi-racial, there will be real problems around race to fix inside our movement. These are good problems, because they come from the fact that a lot of different groups of people who normally wouldn’t work together are doing so now. We need to make some concrete changes to fix those problems. But the article in the Chronicle that supposedly showed that Occupy Oakland doesn’t connect with Black folks was poor an unethical journalism. In the whole city of Oakland, they quoted only 2 Black folks. One of them feels the answer is to tell other Black folks to “Stop The Violence”. Ok. They didn’t interview any of the folks in the neighborhood around Gayla Newsome who was put back into her foreclosed home. They didn’t interview the neighborhood around 10th and Mandela, where the Tactical Action Committee has made a foreclosed Fannie Mae home into a community center with workshops for the community. They didn’t interview anyone involved with Occupy Oakland’s November 19th march, which was 2000 strong and focused on school closures. They didn’t interview any of the many Black union members who have worked with us. They didn’t interview anyone in the People Of Color Caucus, or anyone else who is Black that works with Occupy Oakland. They falsely claimed that the money spent on police had to do with vandalism, although it actually was spent on the unnecessary eviction of Occupy Oakland.

Some have said that the negative media portrayal is related to vandalism on November 2nd that some associate with OO. But, that doesn’t explain mainstream media’s negative portrayal of all the progressive movements of the past. That also doesn’t explain the mainstream media’s negative portrayal of other OWS encampments, who don’t have vandalism charges. That doesn’t explain the media’s positive portrayal of gun carrying teapartiers, or their positive portrayal of police violence- now, and throughout history.

Don’t be surprised at the media’s negative portrayal of our movement. It is happening because we are growing, we are effective, and we are right.

Ben Meyer Discussing Latest Occupy Denver Raid on Keith Olberman

December 23, 2011 in Media

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Ben Meyer from 24-7 committee discussing the latest eviction.

Occupy Denver Wins Westword’s #WebAward

November 17, 2011 in Media, Press, Uncategorized

Thank you, Westword, for bestowing a #WebAward for Best Social or Political Campaign unto Occupy Denver. We most graciously and humbly accept this recognition.

Occupy Denver is Denver’s Best Social or Political Campaign.

With no tents or structures allowed and regular run-ins with the police, it would be understandable if Occupy Denver struggled to keep the world updated on the movement. But that’s hardly the case: The group has occupied Twitter, Facebook and its own easy-to-use website since the beginning of its reign downtown, and all three provide a functional, readily comprehensible approach to a city that the Daily Beast recently voted the angriest in America.

Call for solidarity & bail $ support for #OCCUPYDENVER Protestors

November 13, 2011 in Media, Uncategorized

3:00 GA will be held at Civic Center Park, barring Civic Center Park because of police presence, GA will be held outside of the Drenver Public Library Central Branch. The GA will go on one way or another.

via our comrades at Denver Anarchist Black Cross:
http://denverabc.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/this-is-war-dabc-call-for-support-against-state-repression/

It’s 11:07 on a Sunday morning, and yet again the 27 Social Centre in Northwest Denver is full of people. Folks are talking to imprisoned comrades on the phone, coordinating with court observers who just left a long bond hearing for 20 arrestees, entering yet more names and case numbers into online databases, and trying to feed each other and take care of our kids.
Police have been rolling by slowly and regularly, in increasing regularity on the streets surrounding our building. We tend to get a lot of roll by cop traffic, but today definitely feels different. They drive really slow, eyeballing everyone and anyone coming or going, and their numbers only seem to be increasing.
Last night, 21 more folks from Occupy Denver were arrested. Crowds were pepper sprayed, shot with pepper balls and rubber “less-lethal” rounds, and beaten with batons and fists. Street medics treated many injuries (yet again) and our legal observers reported many gross attacks on individuals, some not even affiliated with the demonstrations.
When we sent members of our organization to start bonding our prisoners out of jail, they were told they could not bond anyone out. Their bond amounts had been set, we had the money, but we were not allowed to post the money to free our comrades. First, the jail was locked down, with actual chain and padlocks barring entry to the lobby. After the lockdown, our team was told to return in an hour and they could start the bonding processes. However, when they returned, they were told that they would not be accepting bonds, and that the computer system that they used for processing background checks was conveniently broken. We were told to call back and check. In an act that didn’t surprise us at all, repeated phone calls throughout the night and early morning went unanswered.
Today, at the bond hearings that happened at 8am, every single prisoner’s bond was increased. Some prisoners saw their bonds increased by 3 to 5 times the amounts that they were at just hours ago. Felony assault charges were added to several of the arrestees, the ones (again, in an unsurprising move) who were the most injured or brutalized during their arrests.
Before the hearing, in an unprecedented move for bond hearings we have attended, our courtroom observers were barred from bringing pens or any writing implement to even record what was happening inside the hearing. Typically, phones must be turned off and hats removed before entering the courtroom. These items were banned wholesale from even entering the hearing room. This move seems calculated to make it even harder to support our comrades. When your trying to record new bond amounts for over 20 arrestees, pens are invaluable. Today, our observers scratched onto pieces of paper with their fingernails. This is just another battle in this much larger war.
We are working now to raise all the money necessary to bond out our comrades. Over the course of 6 weeks, we’ve been able to raise thousands of dollars to bond out dozens of people in need of bonding. We are now supporting over 90 arrestees from the last 6 weeks. If funds and resources were stretched to near breaking just two weeks ago, things now are beyond breaking. Our volunteer legal crew is tapped out. Out of energy. Out of time. Out of money. Out of resources. But yet, even in this overwhelming environment, they have not tapped out our will to fight.
On Friday night, Denver ABC hosted our 3rd annual Martyr’s Ball fundraiser. It was the most successful to date. The support and resources we raised went a long way to keeping up our will to fight.
This is a war. And our side is being hammered by an overwhelming police state hellbent on destroying social movements fighting for popular power and direct control over our lives. But, we’re fighting like hell. And we’re gaining ground. That’s why the state is fighting back as hard as they can. They have to crush us. Because we are a threat to everything they’re struggling to maintain their control over.
So, yet again, DABC and Occupy Denver need your support!
1) Donate to the bond fund:
By mail: Checks made out to David Strano, sent to P&L Printing, 2727 W 27th Ave Unit D Denver, CO 80211
By email/internet: Paypal money to plpress@riseup.net
In person: Bring money or donations to the 27 Social Centre at 2727 W. 27th Ave
2) Volunteer!
We’ve been saying this a lot, and we’ve been bad about following up, but really, the best way to volunteer to help is to show up at the 27 Social Centre. Especially today. We’re trying to raise kids, do laundry, and do the normal things folks do, even in times of protracted social conflict…. all while raising bond money, meeting with lawyers and bondspeople, picking folks up from jail, and fielding phone calls from prisoners, family members, friends, media, and others.
3) Drop off food and other resources
We could use snack foods, dinner items, sandwich materials, etc… to feed the legal volunteers, as well as folks getting out of jail.
4) Contact us with creative ideas of how to help!
denverabc@rocketmail.com
In love and solidarity!
DABC CREW
11/13/11

Slavoj Zizek at Occupy Wall Street

November 8, 2011 in Media

Video: Slavoj Zizek at Occupy Wall Street

Transcript via impose

 

They are saying we are all losers, but the true losers are down there on Wall Street. They were bailed out by billions of our money. We are called socialists, but here there is always socialism for the rich. They say we don’t respect private property, but in the 2008 financial crash-down more hard-earned private property was destroyed than if all of us here were to be destroying it night and day for weeks. They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are the awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare.

We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself. We all know the classic scene from cartoons. The cat reaches a precipice but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is nothing beneath this ground. Only when it looks down and notices it, it falls down. This is what we are doing here. We are telling the guys there on Wall Street, “Hey, look down!”

In mid-April 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV, films, and novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel. This is a good sign for China. These people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dreaming. Here, we don’t need a prohibition because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.

So what are we doing here? Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theatres show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.

There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like “Oh. we were young and it was beautiful.” Remember that our basic message is “We are allowed to think about alternatives.” If the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want? What social organization can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want?

Remember. The problem is not corruption or greed. The problem is the system. It forces you to be corrupt. Beware not only of the enemies, but also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process. In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without fat, they will try to make this into a harmless, moral protest. A decaffienated protest. But the reason we are here is that we have had enough of a world where, to recycle Coke cans, to give a couple of dollars for charity, or to buy a Starbucks cappuccino where 1% goes to third world starving children is enough to make us feel good. After outsourcing work and torture, after marriage agencies are now outsourcing our love life, we can see that for a long time, we allow our political engagement also to be outsourced. We want it back.

We are not Communists if Communism means a system which collapsed in 1990. Remember that today those Communists are the most efficient, ruthless Capitalists. In China today, we have Capitalism which is even more dynamic than your American Capitalism, but doesn’t need democracy. Which means when you criticize Capitalism, don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed that you are against democracy. The marriage between democracy and Capitalism is over. The change is possible.

What do we perceive today as possible? Just follow the media. On the one hand, in technology and sexuality, everything seems to be possible. You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you can have sex with animals or whatever, but look at the field of society and economy. There, almost everything is considered impossible. You want to raise taxes by little bit for the rich. They tell you it’s impossible. We lose competitivity. You want more money for health care, they tell you, “Impossible, this means totalitarian state.” There’s something wrong in the world, where you are promised to be immortal but cannot spend a little bit more for healthcare. Maybe we need to set our priorities straight here. We don’t want higher standard of living. We want a better standard of living. The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons. The commons of nature. The commons of privatized by intellectual property. The commons of biogenetics. For this, and only for this, we should fight.

Communism failed absolutely, but the problems of the commons are here. They are telling you we are not American here. But the conservatives fundamentalists who claim they really are American have to be reminded of something: What is Christianity? It’s the holy spirit. What is the holy spirit? It’s an egalitarian community of believers who are linked by love for each other, and who only have their own freedom and responsibility to do it. In this sense, the holy spirit is here now. And down there on Wall Street, there are pagans who are worshipping blasphemous idols. So all we need is patience. The only thing I’m afraid of is that we will someday just go home and then we will meet once a year, drinking beer, and nostaligically remembering “What a nice time we had here.” Promise yourselves that this will not be the case. We know that people often desire something but do not really want it. Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire. Thank you very much.

Michael Moore Occupies Occupy Denver

November 2, 2011 in Media, Uncategorized

Michael Moore is visiting Occupy Denver in Civic Center Park
Thursday, November 3 at 4 p.m.

Here Comes Trouble is  the title of Moore’s new book of stories about his life and we can certainly identify here at Occupy Denver.

Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning filmmaker and best-selling author. His films ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ ‘Capitalism: A Love Story,’ ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and ‘SiCKO’ are among the all-time top ten grossing documentaries.

Michael has been heavily involved in the Occupy movement from day one. Here is what he had to say to Occupy Wall Street.


If you can’t make it to Michael Moore’s appearance at Occupy Denver, he is visiting the Community College of Denver, Auraria Campus at 2:30 p.m. and Tattered Cover, Uptown at 6:30 p.m.

More details about those events can be found at http://www.michaelmoore.com/.

Occupy Denver Member on Countdown with Keith Olbermann Discussing Police Response to Occupy Denver

October 31, 2011 in Media, Uncategorized

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Occupy Denver Members Interviewed on RT America Regarding Saturday’s Police Response

October 31, 2011 in Media, Uncategorized

Sunrise Rally With Peter Boyle of AM 630 KHOW 5-9 AM – 10-14-11

October 12, 2011 in Event, Media, Press, Uncategorized

Occupy Denver - Sunrise Rally with Peter Boyle & AM 630 KHOW - 5-9 AM - 10-14-11  - Click here to download & print PDF flier

Occupy Denver - Sunrise Rally with Peter Boyle & AM 630 KHOW - 5-9 AM - 10-14-11 - Click here to download & print PDF flier

Ocupa Denver - Amanecer protesta con Peter Boyle de AM 630 KHOW - 5-9 AM - 14/10/11 - Haga clic aquí para descargar e imprimir PDF

Ocupa Denver - Amanecer protesta con Peter Boyle de AM 630 KHOW - 5-9 AM - 14/10/11 - Haga clic aquí para descargar e imprimir PDF