This post is a part of the “What Democracy Looks Like” weekly column, which covers left-wing movements and activism. Formerly known as “The Active Left.”
Fresh off a weekend visit to Iowa, Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel was back in town Monday, November 21.
However, what Emanuel didn’t realize was that Occupy Chicago was still pretty bitter about the passing of his racist, job-killing, anti-poor budget proposal that had less than a week earlier.
Journalist and activist Shaun Harkin explained how Emanuel’s budget will bring job cuts, tax cuts for the rich and union-busting privatization attempts in his article, “Chicago’s Warrior for the 1 Percent.” Some of the most disturbing effects of the budget include that six out of the city’s 12 mental health institutes are to be closed, all seven of the city’s health clinics will be privatized, the severe cuts to the Chicago Public Libraries and the over one hundred lay-offs that will occur by next year.
Mayor One Percent (Emanuel) decided to hold a press conference to display the new Loop Light Show that the city was bringing out for the holidays, which turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Occupy Chicago to air their grievances–about not just his budget, but also the arrest of over 300 occupiers back in October–to his face.
The Occupy Chicago Civil Liberties Committee had planned for a 4pm march to City Hall to deliver a petition to Emanuel in order to drop the charges of every occupier that had been arrested. However, after the movement learned about the planned conference set by Emanuel, an audible was called. After getting around 50 activists together at Occupy Chicago Head Quarters (Corner of Jackson and LaSalle), the demonstrators began to march at 4pm to the Emanuel conference. Although the march was very energetic and contained many of the familiar Occupy Chicago chants, the protesters showed up right on time silently marching, while raising their fists in the air.
Emanuel was booed as soon as he was introduced, and soon after he began speaking, the demonstrators mic-checked him. The activists voiced their displeasure with the passing of Emanuel’s budget through the people’s mic, along with demanding the dropping of all charges for all arrestees. Emanuel nervously reacted to the mic check and cut his presentation short. It appeared as though Occupy Chicago had chased the mayor back to City Hall.
“It is unconscionable for you to stand before us as the mayor who put 328 of us in jail for exercising our First Amendment rights,” Occupy Chicago said over the people’s mic. “it is further unconscionable that you propose to cut mental health facilities, and close over a hundred public schools.”
They closed out the mic check of Emanuel by chanting the popular, “One: We are the people. Two: We are United. Three: The occuptation is not leaving.”
After realizing that Emanuel had left, the protesters marched to City Hall as planned and held a rally outside of Emanuel’s office on the fifth floor. The occupation made themselves heard with chants such as “Hey Rahm Emanuel, take your cuts and go to hell,” and “Hey Rahm, hey-hey, How many job did you cut today?”
While outside his office protected by over a dozen police officers, Occupy called out Emanuel and told to come and accept the a petition signed by thousands. The petition demanded for all charges of the arrestees to be dropped. However, Emanuel declined to come out and instead sent out a representative to grab the petition.
What seemed like a victorious day for the occupiers did not stop there.
The Occupy Chicago neighborhood branching out group, Occupy Rogers Park decided to add Ald. Joe Moore to the list of the mic-checked. Around 30 or so occupiers attended the evening’s Chicago Democratic Meeting of the 49th Ward. With key Democratic figures present such as Congresswoman Jan Shakowski, the group felt it wa the perfect opportunity to let that community know how Moore had turned his back on them by voting for Emanuel’s budget last Wednesday, November 16.
Moore was obviously not the only alderman that voted for the budget as it passed unanimously. However, Moore is considered to be one of the more progressive, liberal voices in Chicago, and had reportedly pledged to oppose the mayor’s budget. Since Moore turned on his word, Occupy Chicago and Occupy Rogers Park decided to let the Democrats knows that, “The occupation is not your ally!”
The two mic checks by Occupy Chicago were significant because they are believed to be the first two performed to Democratic politicians.
The movement’s hope is that politicians all throughout the nation get the message that if they will be held accountable by the people if they are to continuously attack the working-class and the 99 percent.
Full disclousure: I may have participated as an activist in both of these events. Links to both mic-checks are present in the article, and both are must see.
This post is a part of the “What Democracy Looks Like” weekly column, which covers left-wing movements and activism. Formerly known as “The Active Left.”
Occupy Wall Street and the rest of the Occupy Together chapters have been calling for everyone in the 99 percent to come together and have also tried to grow a more diverse movement.
Here in Chicago, two very successful events might have helped out in both those regards.
With Occupy the Hood and now Occupy the South Side being planned, it seemed like building solidarity with the Latino and immigrant community was a crucial next step for the growth of the movement.
On Tuesday, November 8, immigrant rights activists along with members of Occupy Chicago set forth the event “Occupy el Barrio” in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Continue reading
Greek Eurozone Crisis Greece has been at a crossroad for months now. Their debt crisis has put the entire continued existence of the European Union and the Euro currency into doubt.This debt was built by the government and the mandatory austerity measures that go along with the very necessary bailout of Greece will affect predominantly the poor and working classes. Now, with it looking very unlikely that the Grecian people would vote for these austerity measures in a referendum, Greek politicians have decided to not put the measures up for referendum – instead deciding to agree to the proposals amongst themselves without the consent of the people. Pretty nice guys, finding a way to balance the budget on the backs of the poor without even have to pretend to get their consent.
Public Opinion Support End of Iraq War Republicans think that they have found a political victory in Obama’s announcement that all troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by early 2012. Looking beyond the fact that this date was set up by former President Bush in the Status of Forces Agreement that he entered into with the Iraqi government, the real reason that the GOP won’t make political hay on this subject is this – the American people are in favor of the withdrawal. 75% of the public is in favor of the move, as well as 77% believing that Obama made the right decision when it comes to Iraq. Now if we can only get him to withdraw from Afghanistan for political reasons…
Uprising in Oakland: Occupy Occupy Oakland has been a powder keg on the West Coast. After instances of police violence, support for the movement has expanded dramatically. A drastic measure was announced to occur on November 2nd, a General Strike supported by some of the local unions. As a result of these actions, the protesters apparently shut down the Port of Oakland (the 4th largest port in the US). There are many details to report on this story, and I haven’t found a better compilation on the subject than Allison Kilkenny’s story on her Uprising blog from In These Times.
The Real Story About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace The Right has been demonizing the accusers of Herman Cain of sexual harassment, even going back to the media’s reaction to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleged sexual assault, and their main thesis is this – allegations of sexual misconduct are overstated, unnecessary, and usually false. Think Progress has posted about a recent study that the University of Michigan just completed. The study found that nine in ten women have been subject to sexist language or have been told that they could not do their job properly because of their sex. Moreover, one in ten women will at some point be promised promotion or better treatment if they are ‘sexually cooperative’ with a co-worker or supervisor. This is appalling, and as long as these are the trends, I will always initially give female accusers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sexual harassment.
WARNING: The Culture of Christian Child Abuse This was a very disturbing post from Amanda Marcotte. The video that goes along with the post is quite disturbing, and I should warn you before you watch. The video was posted by Hillary Adams, daughter of Judge William Adams from Texas. In it, he whips his daughter with a belt with an enthusiasm that should leave everyone disconcerted. Marcotte’s argument is one that ties fundamentalist Christianity’s love of whipping and ‘discipline’ to their desire to stifle the push for equality and progress.
Thanks for reading and staying informed. Keep reading The Progressive Playbook for wonderful progressive commentary and come back tomorrow for another Daily News Drop.
Sources: Washington Post, The Raw Story, In These Times, Think Progress, Pandagon
Happy Halloween! Hope that all is well, and I hope that you’re in the mood for some news! Today, the 7 Billionth person will be born today, and as the fanfare is going out, Mother Jones has a great piece describing why this isn’t a good thing (obviously). Now, without further ado, here are today’s batch of stories.
Why I hate Herman Cain
A Pair of Scandals for Herman Two scandals have arisen that might finally take down the former CEO of Godfather Pizza. First, documents have surfaced that prove that a dummy corporation, Prosperity USA, was created by Cain’s Chief of Staff Mark Block (the smoking guy from Cain’s latest campaign ad) and Deputy Chief of Staff Linda Hansen that funneled money into Cain’s campaign and acted in Cain’s interest. This would be a violation of campaign finance law (I know, I was shocked to hear that we still had any of those after the Supreme Court butchered it with the Citizens United decision). Second, allegations have been made by two women that Cain sexually harassed them while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. The women were given a financial settlement to leave the association and keep their mouths shut. The combination of these scandals, along with the fact that people are wising up to the fact that his 999 Plan makes no sense at all, might make Herman Cain the latest ‘Not Romney’ candidate to fall by the wayside.
BREAKING: Planned Parenthood’s Committing Genocide According to Herman Cain, anyway. This is the story that inspired my overarching title and hatred. On Face the Nation yesterday, Cain doubled down on his claim that Planned Parenthood’s agenda is one of genocide of the African Americans in this country. He pointed to Planned Parenthood’s history and founder Margaret Sanger as proof of this. Think Progress notes that only one out of ten Planned Parenthood centers are located in predominantly African American neighborhoods, which would mean that their plan isn’t being enacted very well at all… Or maybe Herman Cain doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.
UPDATE: After looking at some of Margaret Sanger’s quotes, there was some evidence of racism and her involvement in the Eugenics movement. It’s important to note that these words were spoken at the turn of the 20th century, and that one person’s racist tendencies shouldn’t damn what their organization has become after a century. I stand by the fact that Cain is completely wrong in his account. I found a very rational analysis of the situation that you can read here
UNESCO admits Palestine as Full Member As it seems more and more likely that Palestine’s bid for UN Statehood is a non-starter (because of the inevitable US veto if it ever came to that), a shocking development has emerged. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization came out and admitted Palestine as a full member in its organization, in spite of threats by the United States of cutting tens of thousands of dollars in annual funding. Israel and the U.S. call this a tragic moment. Are you kidding me? What harm could be done by this except possibly raising the visibility of the fact that continued occupation and further Israeli settling of Palestinian land is an act of aggression in and of itself.
Bank of America Walks Back Monthly Debit Card Fee Bank of America is the latest big bank to start to back off their plans of charging nearly all customers a $5 monthly fee for the privilege of using a debit card. Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase have already backed off on the tactic. With antagonistic practices and the rise of Occupy Wall Street, perhaps more customers will realize that they don’t need these criminal institutions and will move their money to local credit unions and community banks. That’s what Bank of America is terrified of.
Libyan Rebels Reportedly find Ghaddafi’s Nuclear Weapons Libya’s Transitional Council has announced that they have discovered a cache of nuclear weapons that Ghaddafi had. The world community had been assured that no such weapons existed. In fact, Bush had us in a war with Iraq in 2006 that began under the demonstrably false claim that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons at the exact time he was welcoming Mummar Ghaddafi back into the fold as an example of a Middle Eastern leader who had willingly stopped trying to develop WMD. Way to go W. UN Inspectors will be in Libya this week to verify the existence of said weapons.
Occupy Wall Street Update A great piece from Allison Kilkenny at In These Times exposes the NYPD’s apparent system of sending addicts to Zuccotti Park and Occupy Wall Street. Harry Siegel, the former editor of the New York Sun, makes this claim in an op-ed in the New York Daily News today. After witnessing multiple instances of NYPD officers almost reciting a script to addicts and mentally ill individuals in other parks in the city. The phrase always used at the end was ‘take it to Zuccotti.’ On a lighter note, there was a very amusing op-ed on Truthout by Dr. Brian Moench, addressed to Rush Limbaugh from the ‘human debris’ (Limbaugh’s hilarious description of OWS protesters). Plus it’s festive because its thesis revolves around Halloween. Check it out!
Thanks for reading and staying informed! I want to wish all of the Occupy protesters the best and all the luck in the world. You are truly fighting the good fight. Keep reading The Progressive Playbook and come back soon for another Daily News Drop!
Sources: Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo, Politico, Think Progress, Feminists for Choice, Al Jazeera English, Firedoglake, The Raw Story, In These Times, Truthout
Muammar Gaddafi Killed The actual details on the killing is unclear at this point. Some footage has surfaced of Gaddafi being captured alive. More footage was found of Gaddafi’s lifeless body being dragged behind a truck. Regardless of how it happened, what we’re left with is another dead dictator in a Muslim country. Are we safer as a nation because of this? Can we finally leave the Middle East? No. I am glad that it was the Rebels that achieved the final victory in Libya and maybe this means they’ll have some sort of self-determination. But, if Libya’s ideology tilts too much against U.S. imperialism, you can be sure we’ll find new enemies within the country.
Democrats Rev up to Beat Romney A Super PAC that Democratic strategist Paul Begala is running has started their attack on the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, and that attack is on Romney’s unwillingness to support the Buffett Rule (which would slightly raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans). They have branded Romney’s opposition a plan in and of itself – The Romney Rule. Refusing to raise taxes on the rich but more than willing to tax the middle class more. David Sirota had a really interesting post on Salon that delved into the phenomenon of politicians openly pitying billionaires while most of America is struggling to survive and feed themselves. My thoughts on the matter is simple; I’m not surprised that Republicans are bending over backwards to protect the wealthiest. I find it sad that Democrats need a Super PAC and their unlimited money to compete in elections. Until we get the money out of politics, our wishes will never fully be listened to in Washington.
Henry Rollins’ View on Occupy America Henry Rollins is one straightforward dude. As someone who’s followed his career since he began leaving music to become a world traveller, storyteller and social commentator, one thing he doesn’t do is mince words. When I saw that he put out a column stating his view on the Occupy movement, I knew that it would have conviction. Rollins sees Occupy as a boulder whose momentum cannot be stopped. Read the article and get the full force of the argument.
Sessions Trying to Cut Food Stamps Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is attempting to cut the Food Stamp program and make it harder to qualify for it in the first place. Sessions stated that he believed that the program was out of control and much of the increases are because of fraud in applicants – specifically mentioning lottery winners who were still on food stamps (how many lottery winners does Senator Sessions know?). These claims are provably false. Cases of fraud in the program are at a record low, and with one in five Alabamans on food stamps… maybe Sen. Sessions should listen to his constituents in the matter. Another case of the GOP demonizing and punishing the poor while pitying the rich.
FBI Closes in on Expanding Definition of Rape An FBI Panel has given a recommendation for an update and expansion of the definition of rape. Where is the story in this? The current definition only refers to the forcible penetration by a man to a woman against her will. This assumes that if there isn’t any clear physical signs of a struggle (where the victim might be too scared or threatened so there isn’t any fight back), then a rape didn’t occur. Are you kidding me? Also, it assumes that a man cannot be raped and a woman cannot rape another woman. To say that this definition is archaic and antiquated is a bit of an understatement. The language changes will not be instituted until early 2012 at the earliest. Can’t come soon enough.
Thanks for reading and staying informed! Keep reading The Progressive Playbook and come back tomorrow for another Daily News Drop. Also, if you’re interested, I wrote a blog earlier today that made a connection between corporate actions today and Ayn Rand’s crackpot philosophy. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think!
Sources: Al Jazeera English, Talking Points Memo, Salon, LA Weekly, Think Progress, Raw Story
Gov. Cuomo Lines up Against the 99 Percent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in New York last night, accepting the Huffington Post/AOL Gamechanger Award. Cuomo, the Democratic governor, has drawn the ire of a powerful group – Occupy Wall Street. Cuomo has decided not to renew a Millionaire’s Tax, that has helped bridge New York’s budget gap. No matter how much the establishment Democratic Party might be on Cuomo’s side, if his policies continue to be in the interest of the top 1% he will be protested against. Author Naomi Wolf was arrested outside the Huffington Awards where she was protesting with 150 Occupy Wall Street-ers. Video of the event can be found at the link.
Hispanics Disapprove of GOP Rhetoric, and GOP Doesn’t Care As anti-illegal immigrant bills have spread throughout several states – notably Arizona and Alabama – through Republican legislatures, GOP strategists have seemingly decided that their electoral strategy for 2012 will include demonizing illegal immigrants. That kind of talk won’t endear Hispanic American voters to the Republican party. Hopefully, blatant racism won’t be an effective electoral strategy in 2012.
Demographics of OWS There was a really interesting academic paper by a Sociology Professor at CUNY that has attempted to show the demographics of the Occupy Wall Street protest. And, unsurprisingly, it isn’t the hippy commune that the media has made it out to be. 70 percent of the occupiers identify as independent, compared to only 27 percent democrat and 3 percent republican. One in three were over 35, along with one in five being over 45. This information, the first of its kind, is really telling about who is upset at the economic and political system – independent voters decide elections, and if more independents start becoming hostile to Wall Street then maybe we might have some true electoral change.
Who’s Hypocritical Now? President Obama denounced Iran for propping up Syria (who is killing their own people) while their economy is hurting. It was just announced that the U.S. has finalized a $53 million weapons deal with Bahrain (who is also killing their own people). Glenn Greenwald, along with myself, sees something a bit hypocritical about our rhetoric compared to our actions.
Cain’s Regressive 999 Plan Ron Paul did have one coherent point at last night’s debate – Herman Cain’s 999 Plan would be incredibly regressive. This means that the tax burden would be substantially placed on the middle class and the poor in America. Matt Yglesias has a couple shocking graphs that encapsulate this point perfectly. Look at them and share with everyone you know.
Thanks for reading and staying informed. Because of a new job, my time has become more limited. I am committed to putting out these News Drops as often as I can until such time that there is someone there to assist me. If anyone would be interested in sharing this responsibility with me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until tomorrow, Keep reading The Progressive Playbook and keep watching for another Daily News Drop!
Sources: Alternet, Raw Story, The New York Times, Talking Points Memo, Salon, Think Progress