The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

I... [proposed] three distinct grades of education, reaching all classes. 1. Elementary schools for all children generally, rich and poor. 2. Colleges for a middle degree of instruction, calculated for the common purposes of life and such as should be desirable for all who were in easy circumstances. And 3d. an ultimate grade for teaching the sciences generally and in their highest degree... Thomas Jefferson
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In Spite of Elections and "Camping Bans," Revolutionary Wave Grows

“corporate media puts the masses to sleep” banner at early occupy oakland circa october

A look back at Occupy Oakland before it was razed.

In a world devastated by poverty, austerity cuts, and bank foreclosures, community action like Occupy Oakland’s recent attempt to turn a derelict building into a vibrant social center for the needs of the 99% should be applauded. Instead, the agents of the 1%, in this case the Oakland police – already under investigation for excessive force – once again attacked. Using flash bang grenades, projectiles, batons, tear-gas, and other weapons, police arrested over 400, bringing total US Occupy-related arrests to over 6,300. As the Occupy Oakland Media Committee said:

“With all the problems in our city, should preventing activists from putting a vacant building to better use be their highest priority? Was it worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent?”

Earlier this month, we celebrated 2011 and declared 2012 would be even bigger. One month in, we’re keeping our word, but the corporate media increasingly dismiss Occupy Wall Street as a dying movement. Covering events in Oakland (“Police use teargas on Occupy Oakland protesters”), the Guardian described OWS as “largely dormant lately.” The Washington Post stated that the Oakland protest had broken the “lull” in OWS.

But we aren’t dormant; we’re escalating. The only lull has been in the media coverage of our continuing struggle to create a more just world for all. While the corporate media have shifted focus to the U.S. Republican primaries and Presidential election, government agents of the 1% continue their assault on Occupy camps – inventing new PR-friendly excuses like the “no camping” rule used to rip apart Occupy DC – to dismantle not only our rights, but our homes.

The corporate-funded political status quo, including corporate-funded news coverage, benefits the 1% at the expense of the 99%. This is exactly why the corporate media would rather run speeches by Presidential candidates (all millionaires) than stories of members of the 99% taking direct action to create economic justice, like our comrades in Oakland and DC who are peacefully fighting for their beliefs only to be attacked by police. Our movement to create real democracy and and economic fairness is far more newsworthy than the tired rhetoric and false hope of the Republicans or Democrats.

Bank-beholden politicians created this economic crisis. No matter who wins the U.S. Presidential election circus, only direct action – not the same politics-as-usual – can rebuild democracy and justice. And make no mistake: such transformative revolutionary action is continuing to unfold in every corner of the United States, and across the globe, and no amount of “camping bans” can stop us. Let’s take a closer look by examining a few of the major Occupy stories and actions of the past month that the corporate media would rather dismiss than cover by debunking their myths about OWS…

de-occupy honolulu

Occupy protests have reached across the globe. Here is (Un)Occupy Honolulu.

Misinformation #1: “OWS’s numbers are dwindling.”

Last fall, we helped bring the revolutionary wave to the U.S. Tens of thousands came to the streets. But revolutions aren’t just mass demonstration. Our success cannot be counted by the number of people at a rally or park at any given moment.

It’s great to have 30,000 marchers, but that isn’t how we changed the world. We changed the world through the millions of individual lives and minds we’ve reached. Millions who have witnessed or experienced Occupy camps and events, seen self-government and consensus in practice, and been exposed to new ideas and conversations through OWS have been changed forever. We each take those new ways of thinking back to our everyday lives and communities.

And we’re still in the streets, too. Thousands from New Hampshire to Los Angeles Occupied Congress on Jan. 17th. The same day saw over 80 solidarity actions from New Mexico to New Zealand, a funeral for the Bill of Rights in Chicago, and a glitter-march to celebrate our 4-month anniversary in New York City. A few days later, Occupiers shut down parts of the San Francisco financial district (including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America) before taking over an abandoned hotel and declaring it housing for the 99%, while over 130 cities held protests against Citizen’s United.

Occupy Congress

Occupy Congress marches through Washington, DC

After the violent attack on Occupy Oakland by police, Occupations in dozens of cities around the world organized near-immediate responses by getting thousands into the streets the very next day. Police violently arrested more at Oakland solidarity rallies in Tampa, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and beyond. From Boston to Oslo, Occupiers expressed their outrage with state repression of the 99% Movement. Days later when Occupy DC, the largest and longest-standing encampment, was first threatened with eviction, thousands came to support.

Our tactics and rhetoric have proven so useful and effective that they continue to inspire protest movements across the world, who then share their experiences and tactics with us. This year already, we have seen massive uprisings across Nigeria, largely sparked by Occupy Nigeria’s response to the theft of oil subsidies from the people by the government. In Japan, anti-nuclear protesters set up tents in front of the Ministry of Trade, Economy, and Industry and refused eviction notices. In Brazil, after 6,000 were forcibly evicted from their homes by police using teargas and projectile weapons, residents of impoverished Pinheirinho occupied their neighborhood and resisted the violent police action. On the one year anniversary of the start of the Egyptian revolution – which heavily and directly inspired OWS – more people than ever gathered in Tahir Square to finish what they started and oppose military rule; OWS supporters across the US rallied in solidarity. The revolutionary wave is bigger than the U.S. election cycle. And from Bahrain to the streets of Brooklyn, the 99% remain active.

tahir square

Tahir Square on the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution

With this many people braving the winter cold here, just wait until spring! We started as one occupation in NYC and held huge marches in a few cities. Now, OWS-inspired actions, camps, events, and meetings occur in thousands of cities, each networked with similar horizontal, directly democratic uprisings across the world. New camps continue to appear from cities like Frederick, MD and Honolulu, HI, to college campuses like Penn University and the University of Massachusetts, and international trade centers like the Dame Street financial district in Ireland. OWS protesters even dug igloos out of the snow in Davos, Switzerland to Occupy the World Economic Forum, where the transnational capitalist ultra-elite meets each year.

Misinformation #2: “OWS was weakened by the eviction of our camps.”

If anything, the evictions emboldened us and forced us to dig deeper into our communities, building even broader networks of support, mutual aid, and solidarity. The show of militarized force, violent police over-reaction, and totalitarian security measures like the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA invigorated resistance.

The first ever Occupy Town Square on Jan. 29th in Washington Square Park.

The government’s assault on our movement never ended. Already just in the U.S. this year:

  • In Orlando, a protester was arrested for using sidewalk chalk.
  • In Texas, Occupiers from San Diego on their way to DC were kicked off a Greyhound bus for expressing their views.
  • In Chattanooga, the government is suing Occupiers.
  • In San Diego, Occupiers were given felony charges for mic checking a mayor.
  • In Miami, seven people were violently arrested at FSIU during a student demonstration.
  • In Los Angeles, two people were attacked and arrested by police at an Art Walk for apparently walking off the sidewalk:

In the past month, Occupations from U.S. cities like Charlotte, Boise, Miami, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, DC, Austin, Portland Maine, and elsewhere are contending with evictions and “camping bans.” Abroad, cities like Melbourne, Auckland, The Hague, Toronto, and London have been attacked by courts and violent police raids yet again. However, in almost every city that has faced a major eviction, like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Baltimore, Chapel Hill, and Portland, Occupiers continue to hold public events and open meetings.

Meanwhile, without central camps, General Assemblies have become even further entrenched into communities. In larger cities, we’ve seen the proliferation of new neighborhood-based General Assemblies like Occupy the Southside and Occupy Rogers Park in Chicago and across the boroughs in New York. Numerous Occupations have conducted door-to-door outreach and groups like Occupy the Hood and Occupy El Barrio are still growing across the country.

buffalo eviction

Police arrived to evict Occupy Buffalo just days ago.

These actions, begun under Obama and sure to continue even if a Republican were elected, have been carried out by Democrats and by Republicans. An election will not stop the assault on OWS. But the repression itself is another sign we’re winning. The 1%’ers who call the shots behind these government decisions are afraid of us. And – from the Philadelphia March Against Police Terror, to the anti-repression marches in Oakland and Seattle, to Chicago’s protest of Mayor Rahm’s draconian anti-protester ordinances – we aren’t backing down.

chapel hill

Free Speech rally at Occupy Chapel Hill/Carboro, NC

Misinformation #3: “OWS has lost its purpose and focus.”

We began protesting bank bailouts, but we’ve always fought for total social and economic justice – from the right to form unions to the need for accessible education and affordable housing. Our focus has never changed: ending economic inequality, injustice, and oppression in all forms against all marginalized communities. Here are just a few examples from the first month of 2012:

  • Boston: Occupiers are fighting to save public transportation.
  • South Carolina: Occupiers glitter-bombed Presidential candidate Rick Santorum in protest of his anti-LGBTQ agenda.
  • New York: Hundreds of OWS supporters marched at Foley Square with farmers protesting the domination of Monsanto’s corporate control of the food system. On Feb. 1st, high school students walked out of class and confronted the NYPD to decry Mayor Bloomberg’s disastrous budget cuts and closures of their schools.
  • Riverside: Over 800 students came to a protest at the University of California to fight for accessible education and were attacked with pepper-spray by a small army of riot police. They returned again last week to continue their protest.


Students confront riot police at UC-Riverside


Occupy the Hood marches in the Los Angeles MLK, Jr Day Parade

  • Birmingham: Occupiers in Alabama are leading a protest against dirty energy and environmental devastation at a coal mine.
  • Baltimore: Occupiers built a school on the site of proposed juvenile detention center and a rec center in front of City Hall to protest the cities’ use of public funding on jails even as it cuts funds to education and municipal services.

schools not jails Baltimore’s “Schools Not Jails” asks why we’re building prisons instead of investing in education during an economic crisis.

Our primary target is still the corrupt bankers on Wall Street. Occupy San Francisco occupied a Wells Fargo branch in the Mission on Jan. 14th, and a Bank of America on the 20th. OWS supporters in other cities, including Philly, New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit also continue to protest against Bank of America even in the face of arrest for civil disobedience. In Austin, Occupiers held a street theater trial of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase Manhattan.

In Los Angeles, Tampa, and Brooklyn, we have continued the on-going tactic of disrupting foreclosure auctions that began last year. In Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, and Nashville, we continue to help homeless and displaced families remain in homes after being evicted by banks. Unlike politicians, we are taking actual action to rebuild true democracy and provide for people’s immediate needs like housing, food, and education.

Once again, this is but a small sampling of the actions taken by OWS supporters in the past months alone. The common denominator: We take action to improve the lives of the 99% and fight oppression in all forms, wherever it occurs. Sadly, oppression exists in nearly every facet of society, under a seemingly endless number of disguises. Our expanding scope shows we’re growing, maturing, making connections with diverse communities and movements, and broadening our perspectives. We don’t need centralized decisions or “party line” platforms – our diversity of tactics, range of causes, and spectrum of equally-empowered voices are among our most powerful strengths.

Misinformation #4: “The 2012 U.S. elections are eroding OWS’s relevance.”

Every major U.S. presidential candidate and most of Congress are millionaires. The system is stacked against those without money – until we change the system, until corporations no longer buy politicians through campaign finance or high-powered lobbying, elections will never be “free.” We are anti-partisan — we oppose all of them. We’ve mic checked every major Presidential candidate and picketed outside campaign rallies and disrupted caucuses on both sides. Just this week, Occupy Minneapolis glitter-bombed Mitt Romney and Occupy Las Vegas was removed by police while trying to ask him “tough questions” at an event. Change comes from below. The goal of OWS is social change. Political change, including reforms, as a result of this uprising and critique from the least enfranchised.


Occupy Chicago confronts Obama.

This is already happening. This year already, we have seen the cancellation of the Keystone Oil Pipeline; many city governments have passed resolutions against corporate personhood; popular dissent stopped the internet privacy bill SOPA; and millions recalled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for his drastic anti-worker agenda. In Britain, the executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland turned down his bonus after public outcry. In the U.S., commentators from CNN to the Daily Show are referencing OWS slogans like the 99% and openly discussing income inequality in ways that were unheard of before we began Occupying Wall Street. We are influencing U.S. mainstream politics in more subtle ways: President Obama co-opted Occupy’s language in his State of the Union address, and even the Republican candidates attack one another for being “vulture capitalists” in hopes of tapping into popular anger at the 1%.

We are bigger than the U.S. presidential election. We already have the power to solve our problems if we take direct action and occupy together for revolutionary systemic change – just as Occupy Oakland tried to do last month. The government, rather than helping alleviate problems like homelessness and poverty caused by the greed of the 1%, has acted in the interest of the wealthy. First, they cut vital social services for the poor and middle class and used our tax money to bail out the banks. Now, when we take action to solve the crisis the banks created with their predatory lending and greedy money-making schemes, the government intervenes to stop us by using violence.

Politics-as-usual won’t fix our problems. If we lobby against every unsustainable pipeline or unjust eviction, we’ll be stuck begging and waiting forever while our communities continue to suffer. We are fighting for deeper changes than any politician can bring, so that someday there are no more unsustainable pipelines or evictions at all. We support communities trying to improve their present living conditions, no matter how they chose to. But we do not endorse any politician(s) because no candidate will bring change. Only the people, united together with the common goal of building a truly free society, can do that. This is exactly why we are even more relevant during the election season than ever.


Author: OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

1 comment to In Spite of Elections and "Camping Bans," Revolutionary Wave Grows

  • Regardless of the miserable record of politicians to address problems, the OWS should probably look at assisting people to get the IDs required in voter suppression states and should mount an effort to help those who cannot get to the polls in these voter suppression states. In addition, I think the Movement ought to think about holding voter registration drives in the various areas where they are active. These are just a few opinions. Of course nothing will slow the momentum of a Movement that recognizes the need for change and I applaud OWS for it’s bold action in these uncertain times. THE LIMING LIBERAL DIGEST BLOG

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