Imagine a version of It’s A Wonderful Life, but it’s about Rush Limbaugh. Quite a pathetic thought isn’t it? Still, nothing would make me pity him. When Rush Limbaugh finally has a heart attack and keels over and dies, the world will be a better place without him.
Rush Limbaugh has gotten away with so much shit in his career that it’s a real pleasure to see him so thoroughly pissed on by Lawrence O’Donnell in the following clip. It’s about time people stood up to this bully and really let him have it. Repeatedly. What does Rush Limbaugh bring to the party except poison? Good for O’Donnell, he’s a terrific moral compass for this country right now.
I look forward to the next installment of this one!
Delivering a Howard Zinn lecture is a bittersweet experience for me. I regret that he’s not here to take part in and invigorate a movement that would have been the dream of his life. Indeed, he laid a lot of the groundwork for it.
If the bonds and associations being established in these remarkable events can be sustained through a long, hard period ahead, victories don’t come quickly, the Occupy protests could mark a significant moment in American history.
I’ve never seen anything quite like the Occupy movement in scale and character, here and worldwide. The Occupy outposts are trying to create cooperative communities that just might be the basis for the kinds of lasting organizations necessary to overcome the barriers ahead and the backlash that’s already coming.
That the Occupy movement is unprecedented seems appropriate because this is an unprecedented era, not just at this moment but since the 1970s.
The 1970s marked a turning point for the United States. Since the country began, it had been a developing society, not always in very pretty ways, but with general progress toward industrialization and wealth.
Even in dark times, the expectation was that the progress would continue. I’m just old enough to remember the Great Depression. By the mid-1930s, even though the situation was objectively much harsher than today, the spirit was quite different.
A militant labor movement was organizing, the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) and others, and workers were staging sit-down strikes, just one step from taking over the factories and running them themselves.
Under popular pressure, New Deal legislation was passed. The prevailing sense was that we would get out of the hard times.
Now there’s a sense of hopelessness, sometimes despair. This is quite new in our history. During the 1930s, working people could anticipate that the jobs would come back. Today, if you’re a worker in manufacturing, with unemployment practically at Depression levels, you know that those jobs may be gone forever if current policies persist.
That change in the American outlook has evolved since the 1970s. In a reversal, several centuries of industrialization turned to de-industrialization. Of course manufacturing continued, but overseas, very profitable, though harmful to the workforce.
The economy shifted to financialization. Financial institutions expanded enormously. A vicious cycle between finance and politics accelerated. Increasingly, wealth concentrated in the financial sector. Politicians, faced with the rising cost of campaigns, were driven ever deeper into the pockets of wealthy backers.
And the politicians rewarded them with policies favorable to Wall Street: deregulation, tax changes, relaxation of rules of corporate governance, which intensified the vicious cycle. Collapse was inevitable. In 2008, the government once again came to the rescue of Wall Street firms presumably too big to fail, with leaders too big to jail.
Today, for the one-tenth of 1 percent of the population who benefited most from these decades of greed and deceit, everything is fine.
In 2005, Citigroup, which, by the way, has repeatedly been saved by government bailouts, saw the wealthy as a growth opportunity. The bank released a brochure for investors that urged them to put their money into something called the Plutonomy Index, which identified stocks in companies that cater to the luxury market.
“The world is dividing into two blocs, the plutonomy and the rest,” Citigroup summarized. “The U.S., U.K. and Canada are the key plutonomies, economies powered by the wealthy.”
As for the non-rich, they’re sometimes called the precariat, people who live a precarious existence at the periphery of society. The “periphery” however, has become a substantial proportion of the population in the U.S. and elsewhere.
So we have the plutonomy and the precariat: the 1 percent and the 99 percent, as Occupy sees it, not literal numbers, but the right picture.
The historic reversal in people’s confidence about the future is a reflection of tendencies that could become irreversible. The Occupy protests are the first major popular reaction that could change the dynamic.
Continue reading Chomsky’s analysis of the international arena at In These Times
No reason to miss out on the anti-capitalist fun anymore if you don’t live near New York! Here’a a way to combine getting rid of junk mail with political activism, it takes just 5 minutes a day and you don’t have to leave home to do it.
It’s simple: Keep Wall Street occupied by sending all those junk mail credit card and loan offers right back to banks that sent them at their expense! Bankrupt the bankers one piece of junk mail at a time… Here are some tips:
It makes sense that a state as hard hit economically as Michigan has been would have clergy so supportive of the anti-capitalist protests. It’s because they know what post-capitalism looks like in Michigan! The clergy truly cater to the poor there, it’s not a joke to them. The support for Occupy Wall Street is even coming directly from the pulpit as the (appropriate) question is asked:
If Jesus were alive today, would he be at Occupy Wall Street movement?
As senior pastor of the nondenominational Fountain Street Church, [Rev. Fred] Wooden delivered a sermon this month which highlighted the similarities between the Occupy movement’s cry for economic equality and the gospel story of Jesus cleansing the temple by casting out the money changers.
But Wooden didn’t stop at words when it came to expressing solidarity with the Occupy movement. The church has allowed the Occupy Grand Rapids protesters to camp in its parking lot at night and is providing other support measures.
It appears the movement has found an ally in the faith community due to their cry for social and economic justice. On Monday, the Vatican’s call for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions was seen immediately as a measure of support for Occupy Wall Street.
“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” the Vatican’s Justice and Peace document said.
Although some have criticized the movement’s message as muddled and diluted by fringe elements taking rhetorical refuge under the Occupy umbrella, Belief Watch columnist Lisa Miller points out that the Jesus of history would have loved them all.
Jesus gave preferential treatment to society’s outcasts, wrote Miller recently in the Washington Post. “Lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes — all would attain heaven before the ordained elites.” And, she argues, Jesus says in the Gospels that the meek will inherit the Earth.
“There would be no Wall Street if Jesus and Mohammad had their way,” said Ghazala Munir, one of the founders of the Interfaith Dialogue Association in West Michigan, during the Oct. 19 panel discussion at Fountain Street Church.
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and current chair of the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum, recently wrote a new book called “Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy.”
“Don’t expect the Occupy protesters to produce a list of policy demands, Wallis said. That’s not their purpose. Rather, they are creating space for the fundamental questions about social justice that weren’t being asked before this fall.”
Wallis said Washington, D.C., is not a place where change originates, but where change arrives. If nothing else, the movement has been successful in refocusing the media and politicians on the problem of inequality, he said.
“The Bible says you see the truth of a society more clearly from the bottom and the edges than from the top.”
It’s interesting to read this brain-damaged comments thread at NewsBusters for the opposite side of this issue, including who Jesus would hate, using nukes on OWS, etc, etc.
For more of the flipside of things, rightwing radio fuckwit Michael Savage pukes up some bile on the “Would Jesus Occupy Wall Street?” question: “Jesus was not a communist, that I can tell you!” sez Savage. What kind of bitter, mean old white guys would listen to a radio show like this every day? A few minutes of Michael Savage is enough to be mildly upsetting. He’s a humorless, witless creep who makes Rush Limbaugh seem like a master showman by comparison. Enjoy!
Academic, activist, scholar and revolutionary, Angela Davis addressed the Occupy Wall Street “annex” in Washington Square Park yesterday. She asked the bone-cold crowd: “How can we be together in a unity that is complex and emancipatory?”
To the question of the language of “occupation,” Davis counseled protesters to be aware that the U.S. is behind military occupations in other countries that are brutal and oppressive, but argued it was also possible to use the word differently. “We turn occupation into something that is beautiful, that brings community together.”
Many in the audience seemed to want advice from Davis, but she encouraged the movement to find its own answers. “We stand behind calls for…the decommodification of education, healthcare,” she said, and noted that the movement’s language carries with it the implicit promise of more work: “If we say we are the 99%, we have to commit ourselves to organizing the 99%”
Repeatedly, Davis stressed the need for inclusion, urging protesters to insist on inclusiveness, to make space for the most marginalized people in society, to hear their voices. To questions about political process, she got a laugh from the crowd when she said, “I agree with you that capitalism sucks,” but she urged the crowd not to let another Republican become president even as she said that the two-party system was broken and called for growing the movement until even conservatives wanted to join it.
“That seems to me what this movement is about: freedom and the redefinition of freedom,” Davis said. She called for support of the November 2 general strike planned in Oakland, CA.
Angela Davis interviewed in a California prison in 1970 by Barry Callahan. This is a fascinating clip.