Wednesday, November 30, 2011

War Times analyzes Occupy Movement


Occupy has changed the country.  People are fighting back.  And the developments are happening faster than anyone could have guessed even a few months ago. The Occupy movement has gone from a few dozen in Zuccotti park in New York to thousands of participants in hundreds of cities.  Across the country occupations have become pitched battles between the people’s movement and municipal police forces. 

The speed with which this unfolded, the degree of brutality leveled against the occupiers, and the resilience of the Occupy movement are all remarkable.  In times like this the movement outstrips the best expectations of organizers and organizations.  And while these developments defy simple explanation, their impact is undeniable.  People are no longer talking about deficits and budget cuts, but about Wall Street and the one percent. 
So it is with Occupy.  It has bypassed traditional forms of political mobilization, leaving more established organizations trying to play catch up. And the movement has changed form, from public occupations, to marches and rallies, civil disobedience and city-wide strikes – all faster than anyone would have expected. 

But the forces opposed to Occupy are moving fast too. Occupiers have faced serious police repression around the country, with pepper spray attacks in Seattle and Davis, California, life-threatening injuries in Oakland, and in Seattle a miscarriage caused by police violence.
Meanwhile, Wall Street’s agenda of austerity for the poor and attacks on the public sector has not yet been derailed. In Europe, the bankers and bondholders are remaking governments and economies in Greece and Italy. But gutting the public sector and democratic governments may not satisfy the IMF and German bankers, nor avoid collapse. The euro zone’s whole single-currency project is approaching a systemic meltdown that threatens to contaminate U.S. banks and to bring on a rerun of the 2008 crash, perhaps worse this time. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Congress is close to destroying the internet (no hyperbole)

Congress is close to destroying the internet (no hyperbole)

Judge rules taking money from First 5 illegal

A Fresno judge ruled last week that California's attempt to take $1 billion from First 5 commissions was illegal.
Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers initially relied on the money in March to help balance a then-$26 billion shortfall. Two months later, state leaders backed away from the budget solution because First 5 commissions filed suit to block it. But Brown continued to defend the move in court.
Fresno Superior Court judge Debra J. Kazanjian determined in her ruling that the First 5 take was illegal because it required voter approval under the initial 1998 ballot measure, Proposition 10.
First 5 programs are funded by a voter-approved tobacco tax to provide early childhood development services. State leaders instead dedicated that money toward ongoing Medi-Cal costs for children 0 to 5 years old.
The governor argued that the move was legal because it was consistent with Proposition 10's goal of supporting children in their first five years of life. His defense essentially was that the budget crisis would have otherwise left those children without Medi-Cal services.
Kazanjian disputed that interpretation: "But that argument is disingenuous in that it was the legislature that 'chose' to cut funding to existing services instead of taking what might be the unpopular step of raising revenue."
She also said elsewhere, "To claim that transferring decision-making from local communities to the state legislature is 'consistent with' Prop 10 is like asking the court to find that black means white."
Kevin Yamamura. The Sacramento Bee
Comment:   The judges argument applies to many of the dubious reductions in the budget.  That is, the legislature can't just argue- we don't have the money.  Of course they have the money, they decline to raise the money due to political pressure. Duane Campbell

Thursday, November 24, 2011

UC General Strike

Board of Regents Declared Illegitimate by General Assembly

On Monday, November 21, 99.5% of the 1,729 participants attending the Occupy UC Davis General Assembly--the basic organizing unit of the Occupy Movement--voted for a nonviolent campus-wide general strike, to take place on Monday, November 28. The strike is to coincide with a statewide meeting of the Regents, which the Assembly maintained “has repeatedly shown itself unfit to represent the interests of the students, faculty, and workers who constitute the University of California.”

Undergraduate student fees have tripled over the past ten years, resulting in an unprecedented explosion in student debt. At the same time, departmental budgets have shrunk, which has led to diminishing benefits, swelling workloads, and non-existent job security for academic and non-academic workers alike. Following two successive years of sharp tuition increases, accompanied by millions in department and resource cuts, layoffs, and furloughs, the board has now proposed a new 81% fee increase and drastic budget reductions.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Huge Crowd at Occupy UC Davis Rally Today, Nov. 21

Pepper spraying cop

Cop from U.C. Davis.
graphic by

Occupy Colleges Now: Students as the New Public Intellectuals | Truthout

Occupy Colleges Now: Students as the New Public Intellectuals | Truthout

UC Davis Rally at the Quad - Monday, Nov. 21, Noon

UC Davis Occupy the Quad 11/21/2011

UC Davis Protecting the Shit Out of You flyer

Rally in solidarity with the students at UC Davis. On Friday afternoon, Chancellor Katehi ordered the UC Davis police to attack students protesting peacefully on the UC Davis quad. Her actions have been met with international shock, outrage, and condemnation. Occupy Sacramento will join them in their rally.  RSVP on facebook.

Voters Overwhelmingly Reject GOP Agenda

Occupy lawyer asks Gov. Brown to arrest police for pepper spray incident

"Physical attacks on persons violate California Penal Code 242 (Battery) and such violence perpetrated by those in uniform is a criminal violation of Federal civil rights law 18 USC 242,” said Jeff Kravitz, a constitutional rights attorney.
Photo of Occupy lawyers Jeff Kravitz (left), Josh Kaizuka (middle) and Mark Merin (right and speaking) at a press conference in Cesar Chavez Park on October 24. Photo by Dan Bacher. 
Occupy lawyer asks Brown to arrest police for pepper spray incident
by Dan Bacher,

The officers involved in the shocking pepper-spray attacks on UC Davis students Friday should be immediately arrested because they’ve violated federal and state laws, said one of the lawyers from Occupy Sacramento in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and other law enforcement officials.
“Physical attacks on persons violate California Penal Code 242 (Battery) and such violence perpetrated by those in uniform is a criminal violation of Federal civil rights law 18 USC 242,” said Jeff Kravitz, a constitutional rights attorney. 
Kravitz suggested the state, through AG Harris, as well as Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig and US Attorney Benjamin Wagner should make the arrests of the UC Davis officers immediately. “It is imperative that proper action be taken by County, State and Federal authorities… initiating criminal proceedings including the arrest of those who committed the acts of violence or bringing the issues before a grand jury. Leaving he matter solely in the hands of the University is not a reasonable option,” said Kravitz.

He added that the University of California’s promised investigation is “clearly self-serving and bears resemblance to the investigation conducted by Penn State into the allegations of sex crimes by Jerry Sandusky…an investigation used to protect the university and not the victims.”

For a copy of the letter contact Jeff Kravitz, 916-553-4072 or 916-996-9170. Occupy Sacramento said it will send its occupiers to UC Davis today, November 21, to support the Occupy UC Davis students brutally pepper-sprayed and violently assaulted Friday by UC police. A caravan will leave from Cesar Chavez Park shortly after 11 a.m. for a NOON rally at UC Davis. “We feel it is a necessity to support and assist our friends at UC Davis in their time of need,” said Cres Vellucci, an ACLU board member in Sacramento, and Legal Team coordinator for Occupy Sacramento. “This kind of brutality as seen by the citizen videos circulating the world needs to stop. When someone next asks ‘why’ is there an Occupy, we only need to point to this example of the 1 percent ordering their public servants to punish – without trial – peaceful, non-violent demonstrators.” “The Occupy movement will not stand for it,” said Vellucci.

There have been 84 arrests at Occupy Sacramento since Oct. 6; Last week, 31 cases were dismissed “in the interest of justice” by the City of Sacramento, which is pursuing charges against 25 others. The District Attorney refused to prosecute the nonviolent occupiers, forcing the City to proceed. Occupy Sacramento and members of SEIU and other unions marched on Governor Jerry Brown’s loft home Saturday to call for an end to the epidemic of violence by law enforcement agencies against the Occupy movement, as exemplified in the shocking video of police brutally pepper spraying peaceful UC Davis students at a protest.
 ( The video of the November 18 protest ( has gone viral throughout the world, highlighting the routine violence that has been used by police agencies in California to suppress any dissent to rule by Wall Street and the 1 percent. For more information, contact: Cres Vellucci, 916-996-9170,,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Please Sign Petition Urging UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to Resign!

  1. UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Police Pepper-Spray Peaceful UC Davis Students: Ask Chancellor Katehi to Resign!
Why This Is Important
Join University of California at Davis, Assistant Professor Nathan Brown in calling for the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Kathei for her failure to protect UC Davis student's First Amendment right to assemble, or even their physical safety.

Nathan Brown's Open Letter To The Chancellor is below:

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Linda P.B. Katehi,

I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.

You are not.

I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:

1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today

2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality

3) to demand your immediate resignation

Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.

A Disgraceful Display of Police Brutality at UC Davis

Published on Saturday, November 19, 2011 by MSNBC

Video Spreads of UC Davis Cops Pepper Spraying Occupy Students

Demonstrators were protesting dismantling of encampment

University of California, Davis, student Mike Fetterman, receives a treatment for pepper spray by UC Davis firefighter Nate Potter, after campus police dismantled an Occupy Wall Street encampment on the campus quad in Davis, Calif., Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. UC Davis officials say eight men and two women were taken into custody. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)DAVIS, California -- A video of police in riot gear pepper spraying demonstrators is spreading after 10 Occupy protesters were arrested on the University of California, Davis campus Friday, Sacramento NBC station KCRA reported.
The demonstrators were protesting the dismantling of the "Occupy UC Davis" encampment that was set up in the school's quad area.
"Police came and brutalized them and tore their tents down and all that stuff. It was really scary. It felt like there was anarchy everywhere," said student Hisham Alihbob.
Police told Sacramento's KTXL TV stationthat the students were given until 3 p.m. Friday to remove their tents from the campus. When students refused, police arrived at the given time. Students sat down cross-legged and locked arms when cops showed up and the pepper spraying began.
UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said it would not be safe or sustainable for demonstrators to camp in the quad.
"It's not safe for multiple reasons," Spicuzza said.
At least one woman left by ambulance for treatment of chemical burns.
"We just successfully booted the police off campus in a non-violent way," Chris Wong, a student protester who said he was speaking for himself, not the Occupy group, told the Sacramento Bee.
Wong said he was one of the students sprayed, but he looked down and didn't get a full dose. He said students then circled the police and tried to hold their ground. The police eventually left.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mario Savio Memorial Lecture: Robert Reich on Class Warfare in America

The 15th annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture & Young Activist Award will present Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, speaking on Class Warfare in America

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CSU Trustees vote to raise fees 9 %

CSU Trustees vote for 9 % fee hike amid protests.  Student fees will increase by $500.  The 9-to-6 vote was taken behind closed doors and out of public view after police removed chanting, whistle-blowing protesters from the meeting room. Several protesters were taken into custody after a group tried to storm the meeting room.

The vote comes as students, faculty and labor groups have intensified pressure on University of California and Cal State leaders to oppose further fee hikes and education cuts.
Students and members of the group ReFund California tried to storm the front door and police released tear gas to push them back. Several protesters were handcuffed and arrested.

Monday, November 14, 2011

CSU proposes tuition hike- again

California State University trustees will vote Wednesday on raising fees by $498, or about 9 percent, for fall 2012. That would bring annual tuition for undergrads at CSU's 23 campuses to $5,970, not including books, room or board. Most campuses charge an additional $1,000 in local fees.
The tuition increase is part of the university's larger plan for its 2012-13 budget. Trustees are also voting Wednesday on a proposal to ask the state for $2.4 billion in funding next year, an increase of $330 million over this year. If all of it comes through, CSU will not implement the tuition hike.
"We won't have to increase tuition for the fall if the state provides adequate funding in next year's budget," Chancellor Charles Reed said this morning in a phone call with reporters.
Universities make budget requests to the state every year but it's been many years since they received anything close to what they requested. For the current year, the state cut both CSU and University of California by $650 million. The state will cut the two systems by another $100 million each next month if mid-year budget projections are not met. A $750 million cut would translate to a 27 percent drop in funding for CSU compared with last year, Reed said.

Read more:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Taibbi: How I stopped worrying and learned to love OWS

..And here's one more thing I was wrong about: I originally was very uncomfortable with the way the protesters were focusing on the NYPD as symbols of the system. After all, I thought, these are just working-class guys from the Bronx and Staten Island who have never seen the inside of a Wall Street investment firm, much less had anything to do with the corruption of our financial system.
But I was wrong. The police in their own way are symbols of the problem. All over the country, thousands of armed cops have been deployed to stand around and surveil and even assault the polite crowds of Occupy protesters. This deployment of law-enforcement resources already dwarfs the amount of money and manpower that the government "committed" to fighting crime and corruption during the financial crisis. One OWS protester steps in the wrong place, and she immediately has police roping her off like wayward cattle. But in the skyscrapers above the protests, anything goes.
This is a profound statement about who law enforcement works for in this country. What happened on Wall Street over the past decade was an unparalleled crime wave. Yet at most, maybe 1,500 federal agents were policing that beat – and that little group of financial cops barely made any cases at all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Democratic Socialists support Occupy Wall Street

   Democratic Socialists Hold Convention in Washington:  Responding to the Economic Crisis: Beyond the Washington Consensus. DSA is a member of the Progressive Alliance.

“Occupy Wall Street and the Struggle for a Democratic Society-“

A plenary session at 1:30 PM  on Friday  will kick off  national convention of DSA, the Democratic Socialists of America to be held from  Nov. 11 through Nov. 13 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner located at 8661 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA.

DSA, the U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, is the largest socialist political organization in the country with over 7000 members and active locals in more 40 U.S. cities and college campuses. DSA members reside in all 50 states. 

A public outreach event “Equality and Jobs for the 99%: Economic Justice for All” featuring speakers  labor leader and immigration reform activist Eliseo Medina, author John Nichols, and  local activists  occurs at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the St. Stephen and Incarnation Church at 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nov. 8, 2011: Ohio Voters Repeal Anti-Worker Law

Unions win critical battle in Ohio.

I'm in Ohio right now, where working families just won an incredible victory.

Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5--Gov. John Kasich's attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Economic Crisis- Presentation on Saturday

The Economic Crisis- What is it Costing Your Students? Presentation (with slides) on the continuing economic crisis, the looting of the economy, causes, effects, and alternatives.
Presented  as a part of the  annual conference of The Bilingual Multicultural Education Department (BMED)  Sat . Nov. 5, 2011.  11;30  Am. In the University Union, at  Sacramento State. The Mountain Room.  Free. Open to the Public.

While the Great Recession officially  ended in 2009,  a CNN/Opinion Research  poll, shows that   over 74 % of U.S. citizens  believe the economy continues in recession. ( Sept.26, 2011)  The unemployed and the under employed face the toughest job market in decades.  
  “ It’s now impossible to deny the obvious, which is that we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery. “ Paul Krugman.  NY. Times.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

General Strike in Oakland Today

A General Strike in Oakland

The details are familiar to many by now.Occupy Wall Street protesters yell towards police in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Darryl Bush)

On October 10, hundreds of members of Occupy Oakland descended on downtown to take over Frank Ogawa Plaza. Twelve days later, occupiers marched through the city in their first action. Then, in the pre-dawn hours of October 25, Oakland police—aided by officers from seventeen other agencies—raided the camp, employing tear gas and flash-bang grenades. That afternoon a protest rally and march was held, leading to a violent nighttime confrontation with the police in which Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, was hit in the head with a projectile and suffered a skull fracture. The following night an overflow crowd filled the plaza, with nearly 1,500 voting to hold a general strike on November 2. In the words of a widely circulated flyer, “All banks and corporations must close down for the day or we will march on them."
To review: in less than two weeks, Occupy Oakland went from its first public action to calling for a city-wide general strike. That’s one hell of an escalation. In my previous life as a community organizer, our campaigns were launched with the understanding that they would be long, drawn-out affairs—weeks of door-knocking, the initial meeting, our first collective action—with the butcher paper taped to the walls measuring the progression in months.
So what accounts for the breathtaking speed of the events in Oakland? The sketchy record of the Oakland Police certainly deserves some credit, especially with the injured Olsen and the video footage showing an officer tossing a flash-bang grenade into a crowd of people trying to help him. And then there’s Mayor Jean Quan, who has also been a key if unwitting ally. Absent during the raid, she has attempted to explain her shifting positions with remarkable incoherence, and was recently booed when attempting to speak at a general assembly. At meetings of Occupy Oakland, many of the people I spoke with watched the unfolding occupation with sympathy—but just watched. It took the raid, the images of tear gas clouds and a bloodied Scott Olsen to get them into the streets. As Saul Alinsky wrote, all action is in the reaction. A former organizer, Quan will not soon forget that axiom.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Four of Six Generals Tied to the 2009 Honduran Coup Were Trained at the SOA

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011
Written by SOA Watch

The Honduran Supreme Court voted 12-3 to reject abuse of authority charges against now-retired Generals Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Luis Prince Suazo, Venancio Cervantes, Miguel Garcia, Juan Pablo Rodriguez and Carlos Cuellar. The charges stem from the 2009 coup in which the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown and flown to Costa Rica.

As a result of the case, SOA Watch has been able to determine that of these six generals officially linked to the orchestration of the coup, 4 were trained at the notorious School of the Americas. These are Generals Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Luis Prince Suazo, Miguel Angel García and Carlos Cuellar.

The ruling comes from the same Honduran Supreme Court (considered the "most corrupt institution in Latin America" by Larry Birns of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs) that reinstated General Vásquez Velásquez to his post as Commander of the Honduran Armed Forces shortly before the June 28th coup.

General Vásquez Velásquez is currently the head of Hondutel, the Honduran telephone company. He recently announced that we will seek the presidency of Honduras in the 2013 elections1. (In Guatemala, another SOA graduate implicated in the genocide of that country's indigenous people, Otto Perez Molina, is slated to win in the run-off for the presidency on November 4. His campaign slogan is Mano Dura, "iron fist").

Interview with School of Americas Watch Founder Father Roy Bourgeois

In a few weeks thousands of people of conscience will travel to the gates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia to protest the continued existence of this taxpayer supported death squad/terrorist training center. Below is a short interview with the founder of the movement to close the SOA, Father Roy Bourgeois.

Occupy Sacramento lawyers file federal lawsuit against city for park crackdown


Lisa Smith closes a tent Monday in Sacramento's Cesar Chavez Plaza as the Occupy Sacramento protest continues. All but one of the 75 protesters arrested have been charged with violating state law and city code for staying in the park after curfew.


Attorneys working on behalf of Occupy Sacramento protesters have filed a federal lawsuit contending the First Amendment free assembly rights of participants are being violated by the 11 p.m. curfew for Cesar Chavez Park.
To date, 79 arrests have been made of people attempting to occupy the park past the posted time limit. The Occupy Sacramento protest is modeled after the Occupy Wall Street protests that have spread worldwide. Sacramento is one of a handful of city that has never allowed protesters to maintain their occupation overnight.
Attorney Mark Merin argued last week that while the government can limit free speech and free assembly, the city's rational does not meet the "reasonable" test.
The city has maintained that clearing the park in the evening is within its legal rights.
The federal lawsuit will hinge on whether the protesters can prove they're being discriminated against, said two prominent First Amendment scholars.
Jesse H. Choper, a law professor at Berkeley's Boalt Hall cited a similar case in which protesters were not allowed to stay in Washington D.C.'s Lafayette Square
"The critical issue was the reason for putting them out," Choper said. "Was it to suppress the speech or" for other legitimate reasons.
Added Carlton Larson, professor at UC Davis School of Law: "If they could show that lots of other people are violating the curfew and they were being singled out because the people don't like what they have to say then they have a good case."