Watching Newsweek's Eleanor Clift confront the question "Are most political reporters simply insiders?" is a discomfiting experience. Her struggle to defend the indefensible unavoidably inspires compassion for her uneasy predicament. But the case she makes so proves the point that any sympathy engendered morphs quickly into cynicism.
The political reporter appeared on a Dec. 29, 2011, panel discussion on Al Jazeera, subtitled the question du jour. Joining her were Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, of whose candidacy Clift knew nothing. Al Jazeera devoted a third of the half-hour program's opinions to the former Salt Lake City mayor. Clift apparently had never heard of him.
"I think Rocky Anderson is running probably to get his issues out there, more than from an expectation that he might necessarily win," she awkwardly speculated aloud, unsure about the Justice Party's name, no less.
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.
In a must-read report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Jan. 3, arguments made by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council, National Right to Work Committee and other out-of-state and corporate special interest groups pushing for a so-called "right to work" (RTW) law here in Indiana are taken to the woodshed.
These groups have been playing fast and loose with the facts in an attempt to hide the political motivations behind "right to work" and distract our elected officials from working to create good jobs for Hoosier families. According to the EPI's independent review, statements and materials distributed by interest groups to the Indiana General Assembly have supplied lawmakers with blatantly incomplete, outdated and twisted information.
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.
Seven weeks before Jill Stein declared her candidacy for president, the Lexington, Mass., physician outlined her priorities in a plan she called the "Green New Deal" – jobs, climate change, universal health care and peace. When she announced her bid for the Green Party nomination on Oct. 24, 2011, the Chicago native presented herself as an alternative to the two "Wall Street parties.”
“They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment and driving us towards the calamity of climate change,” she said in a news release accompanying her announcement. "… We need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.”
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."
Americans who feel betrayed by timid, capitulatory leadership from Democrats like President Barack Obama and Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly now have a candidate to consider at the presidential level. On Dec. 12, 2011, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced his candidacy on the Justice Party ticket and the next day laid out a cogent progressive agenda on Democracy Now!
"Although hailing from a solidly red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years," host Amy Goodman said in her introduction to the report. "During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War."
Millworkers Local 8093
OOLITIC - Millworkers’ Local Union 8093, which is currently on strike at Indiana Limestone Company, will be holding a community protest/rally this Saturday at the Lawrence County Courthouse. The protests purpose is to call upon County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward to do her job and investigate the violent “Assault with a Motor Vehicle” on Union members who were peacefully protesting at the Indiana Limestone Company.
Protesters around the country are diversifying their efforts to highlight major economic issues facing the nation, such as the home foreclosure crisis. After several weeks of authorities dismantling major Occupy encampments throughout the nation, grassroots organizations, such as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), are standing in solidarity with struggling homeowners.
"Officials from the Obama Administration need to hear from homeowners in crisis and realize that their failure to control the big banks is having devastating consequences for everyday people," Chris Neubert, an organizer with ICCI, said on Dec. 6 in the Huffington Post.