MIC CHECK: Dan Rather's rallying cry
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Meanwhile, in my own words:

I have not been posting much on LJ, whether here or in my own journal. But momentous things are afoot in our world, and things have bounced back and forth between Madison, WI and all the Arab Spring, and now back to the U.S. and beyond.

#occupy wasn't even a dream 24 months ago. We were still dealing with the sensation of tarnished HOPE.

Check out the various youtube videos showing how effective distributed leadership can be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N1g3Xps68g

Two generations ago, progress was halted by assassination.

A generation ago, personal video changed the way that social justice information is shared, forever. Police brutality was exposed to people who'd been able to avoid it until then.

This generation, the ability to distribute information has become even more common. "Social media" is the new samizdat. (I do not downplay the very real difference in risk between anti-Soviet dissident actions and what the average #occupier or #occupy-supporter faces. I note how much harder it is for the dirty work to be done in secret against those who buck the status quo.)

What are you seeing out there, oh readers of wiresandlights? What do you have to share? Those of us in the U.S. have come through 12 years and more of astroturf directed against social justice. What warm glowing moments of clarity and illumination have you seen flitting by your feeds? What e-mail have you gotten? What links have you shared? What are you "liking" and "+1"ing and otherwise sharing at other venues?

Leave it here, even anonymously. Let's have a record of what the best of the best of the crowdsourced information stream looks and sounds like. What should we be passing on to the people who put us on their maddening right-wing e-mail chains?

Can someone make this into an LJ-ready feed, please?
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#OccupyTogether in the age of conspiracy
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[These are Syed Hassan's words, not mine. I am posting here to spread the word. -- Trinker]

Let us speak truthfully about what many of you are about to enter in to -- a crime. You are deciding that your beliefs are more important then the law. And that when laws are unjust, they must be resisted.

Hundreds of people are meeting in Toronto to plan an unpermitted public action. Facebook and Twitter are abuzz. Money is being raised, tents gathered, and food being cooked. There are news stories every day. Activists are asked about a single, simple demand, and they refuse to answer. "Our dreams and hopes are too many to fit in a single soundbite." The police is on high alert. Bill Blair, the Chief of Police, promises to protect the protesters (from who?) but keeps talking about a crackdown against undefined "trouble-makers." Progressives and activists argue about strategy and messaging, and blog post after blog post appears condemning the organizing or cheering them on.

No, this is not #OccupyToronto beginning on Oct 15. This is June 2010. A massive seven-day spectacle of resistance against the G20 is about to begin.

There are many similarities (and differences) between the anti-G20 protests, other anti-austerity actions and the upcoming #OccupyTogether actions. I am going to be writing about them in the days to come.

But first, I want to write about the police, law and our ideas of justice. #Occupy activists, especially #OccupyToronto, this is for you.

Well-known fact: Police forces from across Canada descended on Toronto in a billion-dollar debacle in June 2010, beat up, pepper sprayed, and assaulted hundreds, arresting 1,100 people. Charges against most were withdrawn and no police officer has yet been convicted of these crimes.

Less-known fact: Nearly 3 dozen activists, community organizers, and others were charged with conspiracy. Though many have had their charges withdrawn, 17 are part of one conspiracy trial and a few others on conspiracy trials by themselves.

I am one of the 17. We were initially 20 co-defendants, but two had their conspiracy charges dropped, and one pleaded guilty to a lower charge. As an alleged conspirator, I am not allowed to participate or assisting in organizing public demonstrations. If I could, I would say all this to you in person, but attending a General Assembly has been made criminal for me. So this article is about "you" and not "us."

Conspiracy charges are thought crime. I have lived in a state of limbo, without being able to work, without being able to leave my house alone for most of the last year, not for allegedly carrying out a criminal action but for allegedly thinking about one. Thinking, talking, agreeing to do anything illegal is illegal.

And just to be clear, almost everything is illegal. An unpermitted march and occupation, like #OccupyToronto, is illegal. Sleeping in a public park in Toronto, past 11 p.m., is illegal. Standing on an intersection, interfering with the flow of traffic is illegal. Having open general assemblies, trainings where illegal actions are discussed are illegal. Indigenous people asserting control over their own lands is illegal. And as we learned during the G20, with the secret powers of search and seizure, that existed near the fence and than didn't (the so-called G20 Fence Law), laws can be made and unmade at the whim of the 1 per cent.

In other words, the thousands of people who believe that one should not have to ask permission to protest, and are willing to join online or in real-life planning sessions to make these unpermitted actions possible are engaging in a conspiracy. An open conspiracy, but an illegal action nonetheless.

This is not meant to elicit fear in the seasoned and new activists gathering around the #OccupyToronto movement. It is to speak truthfully about what many of you are about to enter in to -- a crime. You are deciding that your beliefs are more important than the law. And that when laws are unjust, they must be resisted.

You are deciding to break the law because you know that it is these laws that allow and celebrate the power of the 1 per cent over the rest of us. You are deciding to break the law, because so much of what you oppose is legal, so much of what you desire is illegal. You are breaking the law, because these laws were made broken, made to break you.

#Occupy movements, the government and police are not your friends. Laws do not exist to protect you, they exist to control you. The only thing that stops the police from attacking, arresting and locking everyone up is the balance of social forces. If you are organized and prepared to defend yourself, if there are thousands of people with you, and the public opinion to match, you may just stay free(er) for a day longer. If not, expect immense, instant repression.

  • Expect it and prepare for it.

  • Prepare to go to jail.

  • Prepare to support those in jail.

  • Prepare to be unduly criticized in the media.

  • Prepare for the police to name ringleaders, even when you are a horizontal movement.

  • Prepare for the police to divide you. To tell you that some protest is good, and others are bad.

  • Prepare to be infiltrated by sociopaths, by police agents that will pretend to be your friends and lie to you.

  • Prepare to spend time in jail, or under onerous bail conditions for years even before going to trial.

  • Prepare for the police to offer you "deals" -- either live under immense and unbearable bail conditions or plead guilty for a crime you may not have done.

  • Prepare for the immense legal costs that will occur, and know that sometimes you won't fight in court because you are simply too poor.

  • Prepare to face house arrest, hefty fines, to be banned from cities, to be separated from your friends.

Understand that though you may not have been harassed by police or immigration enforcement, many are every day. Understand that, though the one time you called the police, and it worked for you, for many it never does. Understand that though cops are always the good guys on TV and in movies, they almost never are in real life.

Understand that the police and laws are part of a system that is anti-poor, anti-women, anti-people of colour, anti-queer, and anti-people with disabilities. Understand that to truly be free, to truly do what you are trying to do, which is resisting the laws that allow some to be rich and powerful and for the rest to live at their mercy, you must resist racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and disableism. You must resist the very structure every one of these laws is based on -- you must resist colonialism.

Understand that to truly be free, to truly include the entire 99 per cent, you have to say today, and say every day: We will leave no one behind. We will leave no one in jail. We will leave no one in the clutches of immigration enforcement. We will leave no one when they are strong. We will leave no one when they are weak. We will support the decisions people make, to do whatever they feel necessary to survive and to resist. We will support those that fight in the courts, and we will support those that fight in the streets.

Rounding up links
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Traveler's Aid, Occupy Oakland, General Strike and the Oakland PD

OWS and a Harlem Boiler Room; Occupy Oakland and Wells Fargo Bank

Danny Glover at Occupy Oakland (15 Oct 2011)

(No witty commentary from me tonight, I'm too tired, alas. But I can bring this to wider attention.)

Please add any more links of relevance below.

In Solidarity, We Are Strong!
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< tap tap tap >

We've been quiet for a while, but I'm thinking that the Occupy Wall Street movement and associated vigils are an extension of what started earlier in Madison.

I haven't spoken to the other mods yet, but I'd like this to be a clearinghouse for information about various anti-corporate, pro-vox populi movements around the U.S. and the world.

What's the good news, peeps? What ugliness needs more light shed on it? I could use more liberal triumph to get me through my days, and I'm sure you could, too. I want to know what the candles against the darkness are.

Not actually a roundup
Three things make a post, right?

1) Top good news of the day: California's Assembly has passed a bipartisan bill (AB 459) to join the interstate compact for electoral college reform. (Reported here with many links, and here with analysis.)

The compact, which will result in the Presidency going to the winner of the national popular vote, will take effect when the signatories have enough electoral college votes to determine the outcome of an election. This is a big deal because California alone has 20% of those votes. It seems likely that the bill will pass the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Brown, giving a significant boost to the compact.

2) If you care about the right of individuals to control their reproductive lives, watch RHRealityCheck.org. Here's their 4/12 link roundup, which addresses the current widespread attack on liberty via more than 900 anti-choice bills/measures that are being debated in 49 states.

3) Congressional Progressive lawmakers have unveiled their budget proposal, which is based in large part on what the polls show Americans actually want-- though it bears the sadly inflammatory name of People's Budget. Why, oh, why couldn't they have called it a Job Creation Budget?

East Coast and a bit Roundup
balam (fluffy_mun)
This roundup brought to you by: Fair trade dark chocolate and the resultant hyperactivity. Green & Black Maya Gold is a wonderful wonderful thing but wow. I probably did not need that abrupt burst of energy.

This is not a complete list of the politics going on, but it is a place to start. Collective bargaining is the topic at hand; we are also reporting on the People’s Democratic Republic of Free Michigan. Extra bits go at the end. As usual, please feel free to reblog, repost, etc. In fact, please do, we could use the publicity and the help. Letting us know that you’re linking and dropping us a comment as to where would be nice but is not required. Previously, Wisconsin affairs were here as usual or here on DW, previous other-state entries are here on LJ or here on DW.

This roundup was compiled by the Wires and Lights Press Office, and edited by myself. Please, drop us a note and let us know you’re reading, let us know it’s helping. Definitely drop us a note and let us know if there's something we've missed, preferably with a link or a source of some kind. And if there's someone here who can help me cover the East Coast, please let me know. I've got one person taking two states, but I'm filling in the rest by my little bitty lonesome and it's getting awfully heavy. Also, when I'm having to slog through eight states a day, shit gets missed. That's about two hours of work at the very least that, unfortunately, I don't always have to give it the proper attention. I'm doing this around a full-time day job that, thankfully, is slow right now, but that could change any day. Help meeeeee

* Will Scott Walker cost the Republicans the presidential election? Well, dear readers? Will he? My opinion is, at the moment, signs point to yes. But it's still quite a ways away. Source: The Daily Caller
* Brits in solidarity The head of Britain's Trades Union Congress has delivered a letter to the US Embassy in London expressing solidarity with US unions and asking Louis B. Susman to take up the issue with President Obama. Source: Canadian Business

* Lawmakers say walk-out was worth it. Although nearly all the legislation the Democrats objected to is back on the table, some modifications have been made and the Democrats say that the walk-out was worth it. Source: North-West Indiana Times
* Pro-union rally held on anniversary of King assassination Just a brief cover of several planned rallies held yesterday. Source: South Bend Tribune.com

* More murals in Maine madness The Maine Department of Labor has to either put the labor murals back up or pay the US Department of Labor back for the money that was granted to make the murals. Heh. ed. note: I'm making popcorn, anyone want some? Source: Huffington Post

* Michigan Governor faces standoff with teachers over budget Both sides are, not openly, but definitely and defiantly discussing strong measures to advocate and push their point of view. Source: Business Insider
* Bay City teachers to vote on strike Speaking of those defiant and strong measures... Source: Bay City Times via mlive.com
* Flint mayor's budget plan: no safety layoffs, union concessions There are also a fair number of changes involved in the overall budget plan for Flint, one of which involves turning two of the city's four golf courses into parks. Huh. Source: Flint news via mlive.com
* Judge rules teacher retirement health care law unconstitutional Basically, "Judge James Giddings ruled that because current teachers aren't guaranteed health care benefits when they retire, it's "arbitrary and capricious" to make them pay for the benefits now." WHICH IT IS.Source: Detroit Free Press
* Investigation continues into threats against Mackinac Center Hey, psychos, get off our side, you're making us look bad. The Mackinac Center has been receiving death threats and bomb threats for their part in this political war. This kind of behavior is not okay, not from either side. Source: mlive.com
* Don't surrender basic rights Hey, look. Someone else noticed the attempt to create the People's Democratic Republic of Free Michigan. Source: citizensvoice.com

New Jersey
I don't have time to unpack this, you guys. But redistricting means different constituencies for the different representatives, which means a change in the way people vote and who represents them. Which means, you guessed it, potential shift as far as collective bargaining legislation goes. If someone could please unpack this and write a few paragraphs on what it means, for the benefit of comm readership, that would be most helpful.
* Millburn shuffled to 27th District Source: North Jersey.com
* NJ Redistricting commission adopts Democrats' map Source: NJ Today Online
* Despite redistricting, Coyle plans to seek re-election Source: BaskingRidge Patch
* Hey Washington Township, welcome to the 25th district Source: BaskingRidge Patch

* SB5 opponents beginning push for referendum Source: Opponents of Senate Bill 5 collected 3x the number of signatures necessary to get a referendum submitted. The state then has 10 days to validate, and then another petition is circulated for signatures. If enough (~230,000) are collected, the law is put on hold. The article also covers Senate Bill 5 and its implications. The Columbus Dispatch
* Ohio union law savings estimated at $191M for the state Short article explaining the savings, and where they come from in plain language. Source: Canadian Business Online
* Senate Bill 5 signed into law by Gov Kasich A short article describing a few more provisions and amendments to the bill as it was signed, plus a reference to a website launched against Republican propaganda regarding the bill. Source: The News Record
* Ohio Governor flooded with emails following bill passage 84 percent of those emails (around 14,000) opposed the measure. So, yeah. Source: ABC Local

* Compromise for teachers could be better In plain language, describing the author's opinion on how the collective bargaining and education revamping bill could be made better and what the current bill's effects will be. Source: The Tennessean
* Following on that, Teacher morale hits rock bottom The editor is going to editorialize here and say that, when I was growing up and in school and taking standardized tests, half my family was made up of teachers. Two of the three people raising me were teachers. And because they wanted me to do well, I learned how to game the tests. Gaming standardized tests is, in fact, ridiculously easy. So easy that most people know how to do it. Gaming non-bubble standardized tests is only slightly harder. It is easy, stupidly easy, to teach to a test, to teach students to memorize and regurgitate information. It is hard to teach them to learn information and to think about it, to write about it and elaborate clearly and defend a position. And then, when they go to an actual competitive school, they don't have the skills necessary to succeed and they either learn fast or fail. We have seen this over and over again. Handicapping teachers and chaining them to a system that requires them to teach to a test is a DUMB FUCKING IDEA. And that is my rant for the day. Source: The Tennessean
* Senate may alter teachers' union bill Some Senators are modifying the bill to allow more informal talks between teachers and school boards; uncertain as yet whether or not this is meant to be razzle dazzle or whether they are trying to be understanding. Source: Yet again, The Tennessean


State Rep. Carl Gatto has dropped his bill to restrict collective bargaining rights for many public workers.


Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

West Coast and a bit

A new SCOTUS ruling supports the use of taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay tuition at schools which practice religious discrimination. This is for an Arizona case, but could have implications for voucher programs in other states. Apparently, we don't have a right to ask for our tax dollars to be spent in a manner that supports religious tolerance and freedom of belief... unless it's about abortion, because the view that a fetus has more personhood than an adult woman is totally skientific!

SCOTUS ruled that the sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart cannot be pursued as a class action. "According to the 5-4 opinion written by Justice Alito, class action suits for discrimination are not available 'absent a written statement promoting a purely discriminatory hiring policy.' " Here are the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case files @scotusblog.


What getting tough on crime hath wrought: L.A. Progressive (4/2/11) reminds us that youth serving life without parole were often acting under the influence of an adult, who often as not receives a lighter sentence. And other facts as well. Tomorrow, SB 9 (which would allow youth the possibility of parole) will be heard.

Also tomorrow, AB52 will be heard by the Assembly Health Committee, a measure which would help rein in insurance rate hikes. To anyone unclear on the facts: Something has gone terribly wrong in California's healthcare "market", and we're hurting. The linked article illustrates the human impact.


NV legislator's plan to save the economy: repeal helmet law. 3/20/11, Las Vegas Review.


Concerning an attempt to pass AZ-style anti-immigrant legislation, and background info on the Utah Compact.


Brief link, last Monday, an Alaskan legislator introduced a bill similar to the one in WI. He hadn't yet really spoken to the Democratic contingency, and it's not looking as though it'll gain much traction very soon. But it's still there.


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