It is already the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Egyptian revolution. After Hosni Mubarak, one of the most hateful dictators of modern times, was forced to step down on Feb. 11, 2011, the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control over the largest, and historically most influential, Arab country.
Headed by the 76-year-old Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF continued Mubarak’s non-democratic, in some cases brutal, practices of cracking down on civil organizations, putting civilians into military trials, attacking peaceful protesters, self-admittedly spreading rumors and maintaining control over an already-notorious state TV.
Hoosiers who value recycling and other services provided by solid waste management districts should tell their Senators to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 210, according to the Monroe County district's Media and Education Director Elisa K. Pokral.
SB 210, introduced by State Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, proposes elimination of the taxing authority of solid waste management districts, Pokral said in a Jan. 27, 2011, news release. Professionals, business owners, council representatives, mayors, town councillors, county commissioners, county councilors are especially needed to call for No votes on the bill.
Occupy protesters from around the nation gathered at the Capitol and congressional office buildings in Washington on Jan. 17 to rally and attempt to speak with lawmakers as they resumed the 2012 legislation session and returned from holiday break recess.
The crowd was diverse and composed of hundreds, according to a Jan. 17 Huffington Post article. Known as Occupy Congress, the event was a day of actions against corrupt political institutions and an effort to inspire activists and ordinary Americans to participate in real democracy, according to Occupy Wall Street's website.
The Green Party's Jill Stein embellished her reputation as the first "Occupy Wall Street candidate" on the American political scene in the days leading up to the Jan. 20 Occupy the Courts demos, as she carried her presidential aspirations to protest gatherings in the D.C. area.
"My hope is to leverage and support and promote the incredible inspiration and power that we're seeing here in this field today," the Lexington, Mass., physician said on Jan. 17 at the Occupy Congress event across from Capitol Hill. "The effort to occupy Congress I think is all about occupying our economy, about taking it back, taking back our democracy, and that includes occupying our elections."
Several Occupy groups around the Midwest have turned to the courts to contest encampment evictions and demand the abolishment of corporate personhood, specifically the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited corporate money to flood the political system and corrupt the democratic process.
“Corporations dominate the political process through political action committees, high-paid lobbyists and multi-million dollar contributions by the wealthy 1 percent," Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, national field organizer for Move to Amend, said in news release. "On the most critical issues that impact our everyday lives, corporate interests are defeating critical policies to protect We the People and the planet.”
Coal Free IU, Sierra Club
Student leaders with Coal Free IU weren’t deterred by frigid temperatures when they delivered stacks of more than 5,000 petitions to IU President Michael McRobbie on Jan. 13. The action is part of the ongoing student-led campaign demanding action to retire the dirty, outdated and polluting coal plant on campus and replace it with cleaner, healthier energy sources.
The university’s Central Heating Plant on campus burns around 68,000 tons of coal each year and is the largest single source of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide pollution in Monroe County. Burning coal also releases other dangerous pollutants including mercury, lead and arsenic and can cause cancer, heart disease and trigger more severe asthma attacks.
“I always knew I wanted to go to school at Indiana University, but I didn’t know that doing so would mean having to deal with a dirty, polluting coal plant right on campus that poses a threat to students’ health,” said IU senior and Coal Free IU President Megan Anderson. "Instead, IU should be investing in innovative, 21st century clean-energy solutions that will mean cleaner air for everyone in Bloomington."
2011 was full of social upheavals against nepotistic dictators, mass demonstrations and occupations against the 1 percent, and the brutalization of thousands of innocent protesters around the world. In the United States, Occupy protests, with no established targets or tactics, have shifted the national discourse to issues rooted in a culture of domination and systematic elite white supremacy over the poor, working classes.
2012 began with noise demonstrations in front of jails as gestures of solidarity with the incarcerated and to object to one of the most repressive means of control in Western society – the prison-industrial complex. Protesters in about 25 cities around the world, including Bloomington, participated in the international call for New Year’s Eve jail solidarity.
Update: Bloomington activists on Jan. 5 released a video of the New Year's Eve arrests, which can be linked to here. The Bloomington Alternative has requested copies of all visual and audial recordings made by police during the confrontation.
If mainstream media reports on a New Year's Eve demonstration in downtown Bloomington are given any credibility, the only crimes committed that evening were perpetrated by a couple protesters, and the city's lightweight mayor may take away Occupy Bloomington's tents for their indiscretions.
But mainstream media reports on social justice issues, especially on the police, have little to no credibility. By institutional design, they are propaganda for the economic elite, managed by law enforcement to shock the masses (and produce profits for media companies). The real news from Bloomington is that the "noise demo" that took place along its streets as the year turned was part of a coordinated, ongoing, global struggle against the corporate police state.
While Occupy protesters nationwide occupy presidential headquarters, take over foreclosed homes and reclaim their encampments, Occupy Chicago has turned to the stage in their efforts to engage citizens in the grassroots’ struggle against corporate elites.
Occupy Chicago organizers produced a show based on a Charles Dickens classic titled Occupy My Heart to celebrate the movement and bring its spirit and message to a broader audience. The premiere was on Dec. 23 outside at the Lincoln Memorial in Grant Park. On Dec. 24, it was broadcast as a radio performance during Marshall Stern’s Awakened America. The play was also performed indoors for free at the Prop Theatre on Dec. 26 and at Studio BE on Dec. 27, according to Occupy Chicago’s website.
“It's a great vehicle to get people interested and to bring more people into the conversation who might not come out to a protest — but who might come to a play," Hannah Friedman, director of “Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol,” said in a Dec. 24 Chicago Tribune article about a staged Christmas Carol-esque protest show put on by the Occupy Chicago activists.
With images of mass demonstrations and police brutality gripping the world, the Occupy Wall Street movement marked its three-month anniversary on Dec. 17. Skeptics have questioned the movement’s momentum since its beginning and have claimed it wouldn’t last long enough to deliver any significant message. But protesters around the nation are feeling stronger and more united than ever, attracting more participants and expanding their confrontations with corporate greed and influence.
“This movement has been built on the need of the working class and the middle class,” New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez told marchers during a daylong protest in Lower Manhattan. “This movement is not going anywhere, is not leaving this city, unless we take particular initiatives to close the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent."