In late December, Green Party (GP) Media Coordinator Scott McLarty said he hadn't heard from declared candidate Kent Mesplay in several weeks. Two months earlier, the Boston Globe quoted fellow GP candidate Jill Stein saying his campaign was "not particularly active." Indeed, the San Diego County air quality inspector did not attend the California State Green Party meeting in early December. And he hasn't yet qualified for the 2012 ballot.
But when Mesplay joined Stein for a live-streamed party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 24, he confirmed he is still in the race and called on the party to embrace the youth and their issues, especially student loans.
"Since Washington likes to bail out bankers, we ought to be bailing out students from having to pay their student loans," he said, adding that, at a minimum, they should be relieved of the excessive fees and fines charged by the banks.
Adbusters Magazine, the Vacnouver-based online publication that helped launch the Occupy Wall Street movement, posted a tactical briefing on its website on Jan. 25 calling for 50,000 protesters to participate in a showdown in Chicago at the May NATO and G-8 summits.
Titled “Tactical Briefing #25,” the post was an international rallying cry for radical revolutionaries around the world to participate in a month-long occupation against the backdrop of the international summit. Among those it sought were the "redeemers, rebels and radicals." The briefing encourages peaceful civil disobedience and summons a spirit reminiscent of the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago that resulted in a police riot.
“On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month,” Adbusters.org’s briefing read. “With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.”
Truth be told, I was only half listening to President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address the other night. The once soaring rhetoric rings hollow these days. Not that I wasn’t skeptical of Mr. Hope-y Change-y from the get-go.
Even fervent Obama supporters are disappointed with the president’s inability – make that his unwillingness – to take on the moneyed interests that have colonized our politics and wrecked the economy. And Obama’s paean to militarism that bookended the SOTU makes it clear that the 2009 Noble Peace Prize winner has cast his lot with American Empire.
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.
CWA Local 4730, AFCME Local 832
Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4730, representing 1,650 support staff at Indiana University Bloomington and Northwest, and AFSCME Local 832, representing service maintenance staff at IU-B, is calling on President Michael McRobbie, Chief Financial Officer Neil Theobald and IU board of trustees to do the fair, and right, thing with respect to cost-of-living raises for IU employees in 2012, as well as reinstating equity raises for those employees who have had, and will have, many additional job responsibilities added to their job descriptions due to personnel losses.
In recent years the IU Board of Trustees, President McRobbie, and many well-paid administrators have forced the lowest paid employees to make sacrifices during hard economic times, the same hard economic times that allowed McRobbie to accept a single raise greater than the rate of growth workers had seen in their checks over the last five years, combined.
INDIANAPOLIS – Following Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Republican response to the State of the Union address, Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott issued the following statement:
“The irony surrounding Gov. Daniels’ response to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech is seemingly endless. While the governor seemed unaware of the problems the president addressed in his speech, it almost seemed as if Gov. Daniels was talking about a completely different country, one with a completely different set of economic and social circumstances than the one we all actually live in.
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.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers overwhelmingly support a public referendum on the controversial “right to work” legislation and are unhappy with the Indiana General Assembly’s rush to pass it, a new poll conducted by the Indiana AFL-CIO this weekend found.
Among the survey’s finding were that only one-third of Indiana voters currently favor passage of so called “right to work” law, while 69 percent say that the Indiana General Assembly should slow down the process to allow more debate. The poll also found that an overwhelming 71 percent of respondents want to give voters — not the legislature — the final say on this controversial legislation.