By the way…

Today, November 15, is the anniversary of this.

#M1GS: May Day Events Planned for New York City and Across US

(poster by Hugh D'Andrade; occupywallst.org)

If you are looking for something to do for May Day (yes, Virginia, that’s May 1, 2012), to support the called “General Strike,” to support Occupy Wall Street, or to join with your favorite band of labor brothers and sisters, take a gander at these comprehensive lists:

If you are still wondering why you should get out there, you haven’t been paying attention. Whether you are upset about financial fraud, mortgage fraud, the constricting domestic economy, your constricting civil rights or the folly and carnage of foreign wars (declared or undeclared), there’s a place for you this May Day. There is much to be done, but as I and the New York Times observed last fall, “the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself.”

What, not enough? Remember that May Day is an American holiday, created by and for American workers to demand improved conditions, basic respect, and fairer access to the wealth of a prosperous nation. Times have changed, but a quick google of “Madison, WI,” “Benton Harbor, MI,” “Ohio Recall,” “CAFTA,” KORUS,” or “foreclosure fraud” coupled with practically any community you know will tell you the struggle is far from over.

Need a little more context? Try this quick history of May Day. Need a little more inspiration? Here are one, two rundowns of some of what is set for Tuesday.

And this is important to remember: May 1 is not the beginning of our fight, and it is not the end of our fight. May 1 isn’t the only day we fight, and it is not the only way we fight–it is just one day and one way in which we fight together.

Now go forth. . . and #occupy!

The Party Line – November 18 (uh, 19), 2011: Show a Gun, Gotta Use It

When I heard Jean Quan offhandedly drop that she was on a multi-mayor conference call during a BBC interview, I knew I had heard something of note. The rapid succession of similar crackdowns on Occupy encampments in several US cities seemed like more than a coincidence, and so it was kind of a smoking gun. . . .

Well, not really a smoking gun–there wasn’t quite enough there and it, quite frankly, wasn’t all that surprising. In fact, it was kind of “duh”–not that it wasn’t good to have suspicions confirmed, but the OMG for OWS would probably be to find out that no one was colluding or coordinating to take it out.

But that shouldn’t be the way I feel. I want to be more shocked that a variety of government agencies are working to undermine a needed, peaceful and long-overdue broad-based national movement, but after 9/11, the ramp up of the national security state as good as mandates this level of government intrusion.

I am still looking for more on this (as are many others)–how many calls were there? who was on them? what was said? to what extent were federal agencies involved? did they advise or drive the conversation?–so this was more like a loose thread than a smoking gun. And the more we all pull that thread, I wonder, will it be more of a confirmation or a revelation–and most importantly, what will I mean to the Occupy movement?

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Admits Cities Coordinated Crackdown on Occupy Movement

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (photo: Ella Baker Center)

Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, speaking in an interview with the BBC (excerpted on The Takeaway radio program–audio of Quan starts at the 5:30 mark), casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. “I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . . .”

Mayor Quan then rambles about how she “spoke with protestors in my city” who professed an interest in “separating from anarchists,” implying that her police action was helping this somehow.

Interestingly, Quan then essentially advocates that occupiers move to private spaces, and specifically cites Zuccotti Park as an example:

In New York City, it’s interesting that the Wall Street movement is actually on a private park, so they’re not, again, in the public domain, and they’re not infringing on the public’s right to use a public park.

Many witnesses to the wave of government crackdowns on numerous #occupy encampments have been wondering aloud if the rapid succession was more than a coincidence; Jean Quan’s casual remark seems to clearly imply that it was.

Might it also be more than a coincidence that this succession of police raids started after President Obama left the US for an extended tour of the Pacific Rim?

NYT Editorial Offers Full-Throated Endorsement of Occupy Wall Street

I’m not usually one for “point and click” blogging, but I just read the lead New York Times editorial for Sunday, and I have to share:

As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions. The message — and the solutions — should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening.

The entire editorial is pleasantly pointed and remarkably free of the backhanded compliments and snarky observations about dirty effin’ hippies that have peppered much of the Times’ news-side reportage. It makes the whole piece worth a read, but I especially like the last two paragraphs:

 No wonder then that Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for discontent. There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing.

It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.

It’s a little long to tweet, or even put on a protest sign, but it is a nice set of points to carry into your next argument with a one-percenter (or those who have conned themselves into thinking they someday will join them).