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.
Indiana State AFL-CIO
INDIANAPOLIS - A new poll released Dec. 7 shows that Hoosiers - including Republicans - reject partisan "right to work" legislation and believe their elected officials should focus on jobs and the economy instead of divisive attacks on working family's collective bargaining rights.
The poll, commissioned by the AFL-CIO, found that support among Hoosier voters for the controversial union-busting bill is weak, with just 38 percent favoring its passage, while 47 percent stand in opposition. The survey also finds that 67 percent of Hoosiers disagree with Statehouse Republicans' decision to make "right to work" their top priority and wish they would move on to other issues.
Watching the world's youth combat the rapacious oligarchy that has poisoned their futures reminds me of a student who told me in the early 2000s that he was graduating with a $40,000 debt. That young man was born at the dawn of the Reagan Revolution. Those in the streets today were born at the end of its namesake's eight years in office. They are all Ron Reagan's kids. And their futures have been stolen.
They've been biologically contaminated since they were zygotes and psychically assaulted since the first reverberations of corporate media penetrated their developing auditory canals. Their parents ignored the clear and present dangers posed by the totalitarian-capitalist economic system Reaganism spawned and embraced it wholeheartedly. As a consequence, they have now lost, or are at risk of losing, their incomes, homes, retirements and children.
ASHEVILLE – Following up on the White House demonstrations to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, is already hard at work on the next stage of the movement to rein in reliance on fossil fuels.
On a three-state speaking tour, he is calling for a constitutional amendment to undo the damage the Supreme Court did when it declared corporations as persons and campaign contributions as speech. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more money last election cycle than the Democratic and Republican national committees combined – and 97 percent of that went to climate deniers, he told an audience in Asheville on Nov. 30. The climate change movement has to figure out how to break “the corporate power dominating our political lives.”
Odds-on-favorite for Indiana governor Mike Pence has a strained relationship with the truth, according to a Pulitzer Prize-winning Website. Of 13 recent statements made by the six-term Republican congressman that were fact-checked by PolitiFact.com, 10 were either false, mostly false or half true. Only three were rated true.
An accounting of Indiana's Sixth District congressman's campaign contributions by the Center for Responsive Politics, however, show his relations with the economic elite are anything but troubled. Since 2000, Pence has collected $10.3 million, with securities and investment, lawyers/law firms, health professionals, real estate, and miscellaneous manufacturing and distributing the top five industries underwriting his career.
How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from "the outrage phase" to the "hope phase," and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more.
"Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power," a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."
Indiana State AFL-CIO
INDIANAPOLIS - In reaction to the announcement by Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate Pro Tem David Long that they would make passing the called "right to work" bill their top legislative priority in the 2012 legislative session, Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott issued following statement this morning:
"It's laughable that Republican leaders in the Statehouse actually have the gall to cite 'freedom' in their renewed push for the so-called 'right-to-work' law given that it's already the law of the land that no one can be forced to join a union. In reality, this legislation isn't about giving Hoosier workers and employers more freedom, it is about taking away existing freedoms and choices."
The two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement took me back to the summer of 2008, when I had an opportunity to ask author Bill Moyers about civil disobedience in 21st century America. Bloomington was abuzz at the time with an emerging direct-action movement against the greedy, antidemocratic forces driving the I-69/NAFTA Highway through Southwest Indiana. But the PBS journalist wasn't optimistic that "a great rolling movement of civil disobedience," as he described the 1960s, was imminent.
"At this moment, I can't say that civil disobedience has a promising future," he said after a book reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan. "... But you never know when a tipping point is coming." Among the "deteriorating" forces that the winner of more than 30 Emmys and three George Polk Awards said could tip the balance were infrastructure, mortgages, home foreclosures and stagnant wages.
About 75 protesters gathered at IU's Sample Gates on Nov. 17 for a solidarity march on the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. A mix of students and local residents, the demonstrators condemned corporate influence and the social ills it perpetuates.
As they marched down Kirkwood to the Monroe County Courthouse, the protesters chanted, "The people, united, we will never be defeated" and sang, "Everybody pays their tax, everyone but Goldman Sachs!"
The Bloomington rally and march were coordinated with similar events from New York to Berkeley, during which almost 300 protesters were arrested nationwide.
Peter Seybold might have been born and educated in the Northeast, but the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) sociology professor found the Hoosier state's labor movement intriguing from the dawn of his political awakening back in New Jersey.
"When I became interested in politics I didn't know much about Indiana," he said during an interview in late October 2011. "But I thought, 'Wow, this must be an interesting place. Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh as senators – this must be a pretty interesting place.'"