Social Activism

March 31, 2012

Evidence that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has reshaped the discourse in the national financial sector is ample, as working groups continue to organize events to recreate a new kind of banking system.

Most executive directors at major financial services firms say that OWS has made a mark on their businesses, according to a study conducted by a financial services research firm Echo Research and Makovsky.

"Banks and financial services firms have now shifted their focus from liquidity and financial performance to customer satisfaction and their own employees," Makovsky executive Scott Tangney said in a March 27 Huffington Post article. "The Occupy Wall Street Movement has indicated to firms where they need to be focusing."

Four U.S. cities to highlight economic injustice suffered by women
March 26, 2012

Poverty is increasing worldwide, but it doesn't affect everyone with the same intensity: it hits women and children hardest.

In response to dire poverty faced by women around the world, the People's Movement Assembly launched the World Courts of Women on Poverty, to be held this spring in four U.S. cities -- Oakland, Louisville, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Nonviolent activists violently denied their rights at St. Louis gathering

March 17, 2012

St. Louis police authorities attacked and arrested a group of protesters on March 15 during the first day of the Occupy the Midwest regional conference. Police used batons, tasers and pepper spray in an unprovoked attack on the protesters as they were gathering their belongings and leaving the park.

Occupy the Midwest is a conference aiming to connect demonstrators around the country and to elevate the movement to the next level. Planned events include four marches, workshops, a general assembly and a march to the famous Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River, according to the conference’s website.

"Occupy the Midwest is an example of the escalation people are expecting," said protester Mike Hipson, 19, in a March 15 Columbia Daily Tribune article. "These groups are getting bigger and getting better organized."

Author Hoerger discusses plots against Castro, Hampton, Rosenbergs

March 15, 2012

The CIA has made 638 attempts on Fidel Castro's life since the beginning of the Cuban revolution. One entailed poisoning a chocolate milkshake with a cyanide pellet.

The milkshake attempt on the Cuban leader's life is but one of the incidents that author Michael Hoerger reported in a presentation called "Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified U.S. History" at Boxcar Books in Bloomington on March 7. The basis of the presentation is a book by the same name that Hoerger wrote with Mia Partlow (Bloomington, Ind.: Microcosm Press, 2010, 127 pp., $10, ediblesecrets@gmail.com).


March 14, 2012

Bashar of Syria is a dictator; his father was a dictator. He is a war criminal, and so was his father. It does not take a lot of wit, nor investigations, to reach these conclusions. Bashar's crimes are well documented and eyewitnesses are abundant. Even a quick look at a random sample of the flood of digitized information coming from there, be it this testimony before the European Parliment, this interview with Anderson Cooper or this New York Times piece on journalist Anthony Shadid leaves no doubts about it.

With the proliferation of social media and digital technologies, it is almost impossible anymore to hide crimes at a scale and as cruel as that of the unfolding Syrian tragedy. Journalists are being killed in Syria; Marie Colvin was. Photographers are being slaughtered; Remi Ochlik was. They were heroes, as this CNN report on their deaths shows. They were heroes because they wanted to, and they did, expose the crimes of the hateful, bloodthirsty tyrant.

Elected delegates will draft document, deliver to all three government branches
February 25, 2012

A working group of Occupy protesters is planning a conference in Philadelphia during the week of July 4 when elected delegates from across the country will gather to draft and sign a petition for a redress of grievances against Congress.

Michael Pollok, an attorney who advised the Occupy protesters arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last October, co-founded the working group called the 99% Declaration Working Group.

February 20, 2012

A working nonprofit Occupy group, Occupy the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has submitted a 325-page letter to agencies involved in the rulemaking process for the Volcker Rule. Formulated by experts in corporate law and finance, the letter provides public comment on regulations proposed by a subsection of the 2010 financial reform Dodd-Frank Act.

Known collectively as the Volcker Rule, the regulations put limits on financial companies by prohibiting speculative bets with shareholder money that could put the banks and taxpayers at risk. The SEC has proposed methods of implementation for the measure and has requested public comment.

Some could be influential; ballot access will be a key factor
February 19, 2012

Americans' faith in the two-party system of governance may have plummeted to the point where alternative candidates and parties like Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party, former Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and his new Justice Party, renegade Republican Congressman Ron Paul and/or his former Libertarian Party, or the Socialist Party USA just might have a impact.

"The mood of the country is toxic," Daily Beast contributor Douglas Schoen wrote on Feb. 14, 2012, echoing a growing conversation about the roles "third parties" might play in this year's presidential election. The day before, Huffington Post bloggers Sheri and Allan Rivlin posted what they called a "bold" prediction that there will be multiple alternative party surges before votes are finally cast on Nov. 6.

Environmental activist wins national party survey, first primary in Ohio

February 13, 2012

In the days since the U.S. Green Party's (GP) Feb. 1 announcement that two candidates - Dr. Jill Stein and comedian Roseanne Barr - had filed the necessary paperwork to meet party requirements for its presidential ballot, the Massachusetts physician has emerged as the odds-on favorite. Even Barr, who insists her candidacy is serious, accepts Stein as the nominee apparent. On Feb. 2, the National Journal reported a Barr tweet:

"I will run until the convention in July in Baltimore - I fully expect Jill Stein 2b the nominee & I will support her, but til then - I'll serve."


February 6, 2012

More than 400 Occupy Oakland demonstrators and a number of journalists were arrested in a violent confrontation on Jan. 28 when protesters attempted to convert a vacant building into a community center. Several hours later, a group of protesters separated from the crowd and entered City Hall, allegedly vandalizing the inside of the building.

The events were part of a demonstration called "Move-In Day," a plan to use the indoor base of Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center as headquarters for Occupy Oakland protesters to hold General Assemblies and for shelter during the winter, according to occupyoaklandmoveinday.org. The police response to the protesters' efforts entailed using tear gas, bean bag projectiles and flash grenades to disperse the crowd, according to a Jan. 30 Democracy Now! article.

"They are more interested in protecting abandoned private property than they are the people," Occupy Oakland member Maria Lewis said on Democracy Now!

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