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Category Archives: Occupy America

BLM and the Political Conventions

This article believes that BLM will be the driving counter-force at both conventions. I believe it is wrong…

I believe what we are going to see this election season, particularly at the Republican Convention is the emergence of Hispanics as a powerful demographic, and political voice.

And if Hispanics carry through with that threat, and actually get the sort of turnout that black folks have traditionally had – then the Chumph, and the Republican Party is going to learn just how bad it is to have pissed off both major minority groups in the US. Since Hispanic turnout is traditionally low (around 40%), up until now, using Hispanics as whipping boys for the right really hasn’t cost Republican anything. Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials, projects 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.

The Black Lives Matter Movement’s Political Moment

The party conventions provide an opportunity for protesters to reassert themselves on a national stage.

Political conventions have always attracted political protests, and the history of black organizers protesting at major party conventions stretches back decades. Mass protests led by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, then-Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader and current Representative John Lewis, and activist Fannie Lou Hamer at the 1964 Democratic Convention helped bring the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into existence and hasten the exit of white conservatives from the Democratic Party. The 1968 Democratic Convention was upended by mass protests and riots from a collection of counterculture and civil rights groups, including anti-war demonstrators, black nationalists, and the nonviolent remnants of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. The surveillance, protests, and a political plot at this convention captured the fraught racial climate of the United States in the wake of King’s death and the ensuing riots.

With the 2016 Democratic and Republican conventions approaching, America’s mood is perhaps not quite as tense as it was after the anti-black violence of the 1964 Freedom Summer or the fear and destruction of the 1968 King riots. But it is still characterized in part by anger from black activists. Donald Trump’s campaign has fomented protests from black organizers across the country, and his racist posturing has led to renewed calls for protests against the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Black Lives Matter, a movement that dominated headlines last year in protests against police violence, has always been political, but the conventions provide much more direct avenue to electoral politics. Black activism could be a major force in shaping or disrupting the agendas of both parties.

Will the Democrats’ gathering in Philadelphia look anything like its 1964 or 1968 predecessors? Prominent activist and member of Campaign ZERO DeRay Mckesson stated that he expects organizing in Philadelphia to reflect young black disillusionment over Clinton’s candidacy and the Democratic platform, as well as the precedent set by a recent sit-in in Congress led by Lewis. Philadelphia activists affiliated with Black Lives Matter have confirmed their intent. Erica Mines of the Philadelphia Coalition for REAL Justice—known for challenging Bill Clinton about his crime bill at a rally in April—says her group and other black activists in the area will have a presence at the convention in late July. “We definitely plan on having a protest,” Mines told me…

…But will that same spirit of protest also spur black activists at the Republican Convention in Cleveland? The people planning it certainly think so. Planners in Cleveland have used much of the $50 million event grant from Congress on surveillance of black protesters and have purchased a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) for use in crowd control. The original anti-protest rules for the Cleveland convention were so strict that liberal and conservative grassroots joined forces to defeat them in court. But Cleveland-area groups affiliated with Black Lives Matter would not go on the record about any specific plans.

Their reticence to go on record reflects a fear of surveillance among black organizers. After numerous protests in Cleveland in 2015, FBI officials intimatedthat they were closely surveilling the city’s activists. The Secret Service has also rolled out a muscular intelligence apparatus in Cleveland in advance of the convention. While most of their efforts are dedicated to addressing threats of terrorism, law-enforcement officials are also monitoring the social-media activity of Black Lives Matter activists.

Despite the increased security, black protesters will almost surely show up. Cleveland became a center of black organizing against police brutality after police killed Tamir Rice in 2014. The city has also been the target of a Justice Department probe into police brutality. The first major Black Lives Matter conference was held in Cleveland last year, marred by an incident in which a transit officer pepper-sprayed demonstrators.

Not all black protesters who show up in Cleveland or Philadelphia will be working for the same exact goals. Shanelle Matthews, the director of communications for the Black Lives Matter network, said the organization does not publicize direct action in advance, and the conventions do not have a blanket significance nationally. “Because we’re decentralized and all of the chapters work autonomously, to each of the chapters in their regions [conventions] mean something different,” Matthews said. Some chapters or affiliates that choose to protest might focus on police violence. Others may focus on economic justice. Still others may focus on environmental justice.

This is a critical summer for Black Lives Matter as an organization and a broader movement—as Matthews notes, it is “still in its infancy.” Local activists are seeking to build their advocacy networks and figure out what causes and methods make sense for them. Both conventions will provide opportunities for black activists to make their mark on electoral politics, if they are so inclined. “I think this is a time for us as black and brown people in this country to really understand what it means to be part of the democratic process,” Mines told me. “It is a pivotal time for us especially for the DNC and Philadelphia historically. Understanding this is the birthplace of democracy and this is a once in a lifetime thing, we have to get our issues addressed.”

While these activists will undoubtedly draw from the legacies of 1964 and 1968, the thoroughly decentralized, intersectional Black Lives Matter movement may well add something new to the history of protests and conventions. After months of being overshadowed by the election, black protesters will likely make headlines again in July.

 

 

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Ronald Reagan and Religion Billboard

Seems some clever folks have found a way to push back against the right wing extremist “Religious Freedom” laws being passed by Republican dominated legislatures around the country…

Reminding them of what their Saint Raygun said. One would have hoped many other organizations could have found the money, or cleverness to do the same to battle right wing facsism as will be on full display in the Chumph convention.

Freedom from Religion Foundation billboard (Photo via FFRF)

This Ronald Reagan billboard outside the Republican convention is going to infuriate conservatives

Former President Ronald Reagan’s son and namesake Ron Reagan is literally the poster-person against religion. While the younger Reagan has been doing ads on news channels for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, it will be his father’s words that will hover over the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July.

“We establish no religion in this country… Church and state are, and must remain, separate,” the billboard will read.

The quote is part of a longer statement Reagan made in 1984 to Temple Hillel and Community Leaders in Valley Stream. “We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs,” Reagan said. “And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”
Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said in a statement that this particular message was important at this point in history.

“The RNC needs to be reminded that our nation is predicated on a godless and entirely secular Constitution,” she said. “The fate of our Establishment Clause hangs in the balance of the election. We’re not voting for the next president — we’re voting for the next Supreme Court justice.”

The local chapter director, Marni Huebner-Tiborsky, agreed that the message is an important one for Republican leaders to remember. “This billboard couldn’t be any more timely, and is definitely needed to remind our political leaders and the public that political campaigns should stick to a secular platform, where real change can happen,” she says.

Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump met with religious leaders last week and unveiled his evangelical advisory committee with former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Trump does not have an extensive track record with religion other than to attack others for their beliefs. Though this was enough for evangelical James Dobson to call Trump a “baby Christian.”

 

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Democrats In House Finally Grow Some Cajones

If the Institution refuses to do the peoples work, then it is time to bring the Institution to its knees. Democrats should have been doing this all along. By any means necessary…

Democrats Stage Sit-In On House Floor Over Gun Bills

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis led the charge. “We will be silent no more.”

Democrats literally sat down on the floor of the House chamber on Wednesday — and forced the House into a temporary recess — as part of an effort to compel Republican leadership to vote on gun control legislation.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights icon who led sit-ins all through the 1960s, spearheaded the effort with a fiery, sermon-like denunciation of Congress for its failure to act in the wake of mass shootings.

“For months, even for years, through seven sessions of Congress, I wondered, what would bring this body to take action?” Lewis said while Democrats slowly surrounded him at the microphone. “We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence. Tiny little children. Babies. Students. And teachers. Mother and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Daughters and sons. Friends and neighbors. And what has this body done? Mr. Speaker, not one thing.”

After about 10 minutes of escalating questions — and shouting, “Where is our soul? Where is our courage?” — Lewis said it was time for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to bring up some of the pending gun control bills. In the meantime, he said, he’d just take a seat. Moments later, he sat down on the floor. And so did all the other Democrats with him.

“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We’ve been quiet for too long,” Lewis said. “Now is the time to get in the way. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.”

As another Democrat began to speak, the Republican lawmaker sitting in the chair gaveled the House into a temporary recess until noon. The House cut off the C-SPAN cameras that normally broadcast the floor. Later, when lawmakers reconvened, Democratic members still refused to budge, forming a circle in the well of the floor while chanting. Republicans were forced to gavel into recess once more.

It’s not clear what GOP leaders plan to do now.

“The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

In the absence of cameras, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) broadcast clips on Twitter of members speaking. C-SPAN then broadcast Periscope and Facebook Live streams of the action.

Democratic senators also showed up to stand or sit with their colleagues. Among them were: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Chris Coons (Del.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Al Franken (Minn.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii). Presidential candidate and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)joined late in the afternoon.

Lewis’ effort was a dramatic attempt to force the hand of Republicans before the chamber adjourns later this week for a weeklong recess. But it’s not the only disruption House Democrats are planning. According to multiple aides and lawmakers, Democrats will try to essentially hijack the House floor both Wednesday and Thursday in an effort to get gun control measures a hearing.

The “No Bill, No Break” campaign centers on clever and repeated use of procedural rules. Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) has already tried and failed, twice, to bring up legislation to deny people on the no-fly list the right to purchase a firearm.

But the extent of the party’s plans has been kept largely under wraps out of concern that Republicans would move to undermine the strategy. Several aides have described it as a “disruption” campaign. One Democratic lawmaker said the party was “devising a variety of parliamentary tactics to pressure the GOP in D.C. this week, then in individual districts next week during recess.”

“Watch the floor carefully this week,” the lawmaker added.

The old Lion finally roars.

 
 

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Democracy Spring Protest

Apparently utterly ignored by Cable News, the Democracy Spring Protest went on today with 400 arrests of the protesters. One of my young ones was at this, and I haven’t gotten a call for bail – so I assume they didn’t get busted…

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, Occupy America

 

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The Almighty Dollar…

With the full faith of ISIS!

The Official Currency of ISIS’s Caliphate: the U.S. Dollar

ISIS may threaten violence against the United States and aim to rid the Islamic world of U.S. influence and U.S.-backed regimes, but if you want to do business in the group’s ersatz caliphate, you’d better have money backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government:

Within the last two weeks, the extremist group started accepting only dollars for “tax” payments, water and electric bills, according to the Raqqa activist, who asked to be identified by his nom de guerre Abu Ahmad for his safety. “Everything is paid in dollars,” he said.

Plenty of countries around the world use the dollar either exclusively or accept it in addition to a local currency. Given the other fruits of Western capitalism, from Toyota trucks to Twitter, that ISIS has put to its own uses, perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising that the group relies on the greenback.

Still, it’s a change of heart. In late 2014, ISIS announced plans to mint its own gold, silver, and copper Islamic dinar coins with a design overseen by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, as a way of moving away from the “tyrant’s financial system.” Turkish police arrested six suspected ISIS members for minting ISIS coins in the city of Gaziantep in October 2015.

The currency plan seems to have never gotten off the ground. The AP reports that the new “dollars only” rule come along with another pay cut for ISIS fighters and the elimination of benefits and perks, from bonuses to “free energy drinks and Snickers bars.” The group’s finances have reportedly been battered by its loss of territory, airstrikes against its cash stores and oil fields, as well as the Iraqi government’s decision to stop paying civil servants in areas controlled by the extremists, reducing the money ISIS can collect in taxes. Plummeting global prices have also reduced ISIS’s income from its black market oil.

 
 

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The KKK, Including Cops in St Louis get Exposed!

Whoops!

Anonymous Operation #HoodsOff IDs St. Louis Klan Members — Including Cops

Twitter, Facebook and Google + accounts are being deleted right and left today, as Anonymous Operation #HoodsOff continues in response to a letter from the Klan threatening Ferguson protesters. Guess they don’t understand that everything’s already been screen-grabbed! (That’s Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona in the video.)

They also hacked into the national Klan’s twitter account and used it to out several St. Louis cops as Klan members so far. They’re asking the public to help them identify the rest:

For the Full Exposure – Go Here

Several of these guys are local cops

Taking them …DOWN!

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Occupy America, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Black Church Joins Occupy

No surprise here. The Civil Rights Movement was about Justice, including economic justice.

African American pastors express support for Occupy movement

As the country observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant was outside the District headquarters of the Federal Reserve, protesting.

Instead of lingering at an MLK memorial prayer breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton and other icons of the civil rights movement, the Rev. Delman Coates also made his way to the protest, which included churchgoers, students and people from the Occupy Wall Streetmovement.

And rather than reminiscing about old speeches and discussing King’s legacy, the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler used his airtime on WPFW, a public radio station, to note the similarities between the Occupy movement and those who camped in “Resurrection City,” in the shadows of the Washington Monument, after King was slain.

growing number of African American pastors in the Washington area are embracing the Occupy movement. In December, leaders of Occupy D.C. left their encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza to worship at Empowerment Temple, Bryant’s church in Baltimore. Hagler has held services on Freedom Plaza. Others donate food and clothing to protesters. And Bryant, who ministers to many in the Maryland suburbs, co-founded Occupy the Dream with former NAACP leader Benjamin Chavis Muhammad.

The pastors’ pleas for economic justice sound a lot like King’s.

“This is the continuation of the [civil rights] movement. It was the economic movement that King was killed for,” said Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington.

Coates, pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, echoed Hagler’s sentiments.

“When Dr. King was killed, he was . . .fighting for the rights of sanitation workers,” he said. “It is critically important that we relate our faith to issues of economic justice and systemic inequality.”

Some critics say the focus of the Occupy movement, which by design does not have leaders, is unclear. But Bryant, who observed the movement from a distance before deciding he wanted to be part of it, was adamant that Occupy the Dream has a defined agenda.

“Number one, we are asking for more Pell grants so that our young people might be able to compete and go to colleges and universities,’’ he said. “Number two, we are asking for an immediate freezing on foreclosures.” The group is also seeking billions of dollars “from Wall Street for economic development and for job training.”

Beginning in February, Bryant plans to launch a campaign to urge people to pull their money out of their banks and to move it to a minority-owned financial institution.

Bryant, 40, a former national youth director for the NAACP, said his involvement in Occupy the Dream feels like a “coming home” to his civil rights roots.

“I think the Occupy Wall Street movement has held the legacy of Dr. King and has brought the church back into accountability,” Bryant said. “Dr. King would be here today. He wouldn’t be at a breakfast; he wouldn’t be at a mall. He would be here with us.”

But some pastors hesitate to throw their support behind Occupy.

The Rev. William Bennett, pastor of Good Success Christian Church and Ministries in Northeast and a founding member of the Washington Interfath Network, hasn’t joined. But, he said, “I understand what they are fighting for.”

“We have not had an economic time like this since the Great Depression, and it does call for some actions,” Bennett said. “But what I have observed . . . is that there are not clear goals and objectives. The Occupy movement does seem to be organized with a goal to create chaos. The civil rights movement was organized with a clear list of demands.”

The Rev. Joe Watkins, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, said churches should stick to their primary mission.

“The role of the church is to lead people to Christ and to tell them the good news and to live the good news,” Watkins said. “The young people part of the Occupy movement are just as precious as anybody. But the primary focus of the church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (more)

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Occupy America

 

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