Naming Our Storms: On Climate and Clarity

Against the Destruction of the World by Greed
by Rebecca Solnit

In ancient China, the arrival of a new dynasty was accompanied by “the rectification of names,” a ceremony in which the sloppiness and erosion of meaning that had taken place under the previous dynasty were cleared up and language and its subjects correlated again. It was like a debt jubilee, only for meaning rather than money.

This was part of what made Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign so electrifying: he seemed like a man who spoke our language and called many if not all things by their true names. Whatever caused that season of clarity, once elected, Obama promptly sank into the stale, muffled, parallel-universe language wielded by most politicians, and has remained there ever since. Meanwhile, the far right has gotten as far as it has by mislabeling just about everything in our world -- a phenomenon which went supernova in this year of “legitimate rape,” “the apology tour,” and “job creators.” Meanwhile, their fantasy version of economics keeps getting more fantastic. (Maybe there should be a rectification of numbers, too.)

Let’s rectify some names ourselves. We often speak as though the source of so many of our problems is complex and even mysterious. I'm not sure it is. You can blame it all on greed: the refusal to do anything about climate change, the attempts by the .01% to destroy our democracy, the constant robbing of the poor, the resultant starving children, the war against most of what is beautiful on this Earth.

Calling lies "lies" and theft "theft" and violence "violence," loudly, clearly, and consistently, until truth becomes more than a bump in the road, is a powerful aspect of political activism. Much of the work around human rights begins with accurately and aggressively reframing the status quo as an outrage, whether it’s misogyny or racism or poisoning the environment. What protects an outrage are disguises, circumlocutions, and euphemisms -- “enhanced interrogation techniques” for torture, “collateral damage” for killing civilians, “the war on terror” for the war against you and me and our Bill of Rights.

Change the language and you’ve begun to change the reality or at least to open the status quo to question. Here is Confucius on the rectification of names:

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

So let’s start calling manifestations of greed by their true name. By greed, I mean the attempt of those who have plenty to get more, not the attempts of the rest of us to survive or lead a decent life. Look at the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame: the four main heirs are among the dozen richest people on the planet, each holding about $24 billion. Their wealth is equivalent to that of the bottom 40% of Americans. The corporation Sam Walton founded now employs 2.2 million workers, two-thirds of them in the U.S., and the great majority are poorly paid, intimidated, often underemployed people who routinely depend on government benefits to survive. You could call that Walton Family welfare -- a taxpayers' subsidy to their system. Strikes launched against Wal-Mart this summer and fall protested working conditions of astonishing barbarity -- warehouses that reach 120 degrees, a woman eight months pregnant forced to work at a brutal pace, commonplace exposure to pollutants, and the intimidation of those who attempted to organize or unionize.

You would think that $24,000,000,000 apiece would be enough, but the Walton family sits atop a machine intent upon brutalizing tens of millions of people -- the suppliers of Wal-Mart notorious for their abysmal working conditions, as well as the employees of the stores -- only to add to piles of wealth already obscenely vast. Of course, what we call corporations are, in fact, perpetual motion machines, set up to endlessly extract wealth (and leave slagheaps of poverty behind) no matter what.

They are generally organized in such a way that the brutality that leads to wealth extraction is committed by subcontractors at a distance or described in euphemisms, so that the stockholders, board members, and senior executives never really have to know what’s being done in their names. And yet it is their job to know -- just as it is each of our jobs to know what systems feed us and exploit or defend us, and the job of writers, historians, and journalists to rectify the names for all these things.

Groton to Moloch

The most terrifying passage in whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s gripping book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers is not about his time in Vietnam, or his life as a fugitive after he released the Pentagon Papers. It’s about a 1969 dinnertime conversation with a co-worker in a swanky house in Pacific Palisades, California. It took place right after Ellsberg and five of his colleagues had written a letter to the New York Times arguing for immediate withdrawal from the unwinnable, brutal war in Vietnam, and Ellsberg’s host said, “If I were willing to give up all this... if I were willing to renege on... my commitment to send my son to Groton... I would have signed the letter.”

In other words, his unnamed co-worker had weighed trying to prevent the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of people against the upper-middle-class perk of having his kid in a fancy prep school, and chosen the latter. The man who opted for Groton was, at least, someone who worked for what he had and who could imagine having painfully less. This is not true of the ultra-rich shaping the future of our planet.

They could send tens of thousands to Groton, buy more Renoirs and ranches, and still not exploit the poor or destroy the environment, but they’re as insatiable as they are ruthless. They are often celebrated in their aesthetic side effects: imposing mansions, cultural patronage, jewels, yachts. But in many, maybe most, cases they got rich through something a lot uglier, and that ugliness is still ongoing. Rectifying the names would mean revealing the ugliness of the sources of their fortunes and the grotesque scale on which they contrive to amass them, rather than the gaudiness of the trinkets they buy with them. It would mean seeing and naming the destruction that is the corollary of most of this wealth creation.

A Storm Surge of Selfishness

Where this matters most is climate change. Why have we done almost nothing over the past 25 years about what was then a terrifying threat and is now a present catastrophe? Because it was bad for quarterly returns and fossil-fuel portfolios. When posterity indicts our era, this will be the feeble answer for why we did so little -- that the rich and powerful with ties to the carbon-emitting industries have done everything in their power to prevent action on, or even recognition of, the problem. In this country in particular, they spent a fortune sowing doubt about the science of climate change and punishing politicians who brought the subject up. In this way have we gone through four “debates” and nearly a full election cycle with climate change unmentioned and unmentionable.

These three decades of refusing to respond have wasted crucial time. It’s as though you were prevented from putting out a fire until it was raging: now the tundra is thawing and Greenland’s ice shield is melting and nearly every natural system is disrupted, from the acidifying oceans to the erratic seasons to droughts, floods, heat waves, and wildfires, and the failure of crops. We can still respond, but the climate is changed; the damage we all spoke of, only a few years ago, as being in the future is here, now.

You can look at the chief executive officers of the oil corporations -- Chevron’s John Watson, for example, who received almost $25 million ($1.57 million in salary and the rest in “compensation”) in 2011 -- or their major shareholders. They can want for nothing. They’re so rich they could quit the game at any moment. When it comes to climate change, some of the wealthiest people in the world have weighed the fate of the Earth and every living thing on it for untold generations to come, the seasons and the harvests, this whole exquisite planet we evolved on, and they have come down on the side of more profit for themselves, the least needy people the world has ever seen.

Take those billionaire energy tycoons Charles and David Koch, who are all over American politics these days. They are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat Obama, partly because he offends their conservative sensibilities, but also because he is less likely to be a completely devoted servant of their profit margins. He might, if we shout loud enough, rectify a few names. Under pressure, he might even listen to the public or environmental groups, while Romney poses no such problem (and under a Romney administration they will probably make more back in tax cuts than they are gambling on his election).

Two years ago, the Koch brothers spent $1 million on California’s Proposition 23, an initiative written and put on the ballot by out-of-state oil companies to overturn our 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. It lost by a landslide, but the Koch brothers have also invested a small fortune in spreading climate-change denial and sponsoring the Tea Party (which they can count on to oppose climate change regulation as big government or interference with free enterprise). This year they’re backing a California initiative to silence unions. They want nothing to stand in the way of corporate power and the exploitation of fossil fuels. Think of it as another kind of war, and consider the early casualties.

As the Irish Times put it in an editorial this summer:

“Across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, hundreds of millions are struggling to adapt to their changing climate. In the last three years, we have seen 10 million people displaced by floods in Pakistan, 13 million face hunger in east Africa, and over 10 million in the Sahel region of Africa face starvation. Even those figures only scrape the surface. According to the Global Humanitarian Forum, headed up by former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan, climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and affects 300 million people annually. By 2030, the annual death toll related to climate change is expected to rise to 500,000 and the economic cost to rocket to $600 billion.”

This coming year may see a dramatic increase in hunger due to rising food prices from crop failures, including this summer’s in the U.S. Midwest after a scorching drought in which the Mississippi River nearly ran dry and crops withered.

We need to talk about climate change as a war against nature, against the poor (especially the poor of Africa), and against the rest of us. There are casualties, there are deaths, and there is destruction, and it’s all mounting. Rectify the name, call it war. While we’re at it, take back the term “pro-life” to talk about those who are trying to save the lives of all the creatures suffering from the collapse of the complex systems on which plant and animal as well as human lives depend. The other side: “pro-death.”

The complex array of effects from climate change and their global distribution, as well as their scale and the science behind them makes it harder to talk about than almost anything else on Earth, but we should talk about it all the more because of that. And yes, the rest of us should do more, but what is the great obstacle those who have already tried to do so much invariably come up against? The oil corporations, the coal companies, the energy industry, its staggering financial clout, its swarms of lobbyists, and the politicians in its clutches. Those who benefit most from the status quo, I learned in studying disasters, are always the least willing to change.

The Doublespeak on Taxes

I’m a Californian so I faced the current version of American greed early. Proposition 13, the initiative that froze property taxes and made it nearly impossible to raise taxes in our state, went into effect in 1978, two years before California’s former governor Ronald Reagan won the presidency, in part by catering to greed. Prop 13, as it came to be known, went into effect when California was still an affluent state with the best educational system in the world, including some of the top universities around, nearly free to in-staters all the way through graduate school. Tax cuts have trashed the state and that education system, and they are now doing the same to our country. The public sphere is to society what the biosphere is to life on earth: the space we live in together, and the attacks on them have parallels.

What are taxes? They are that portion of your income that you contribute to the common good. Most of us are unhappy with how they’re allocated -- though few outside the left talk about the fact that more than half of federal discretionary expenditures go to our gargantuan military, more money than is spent on the next 14 militaries combined. Ever since Reagan, the right has complained unceasingly about fantasy expenditures -- from that president’s “welfare queens” to Mitt Romney’s attack on Big Bird and PBS (which consumes .001% of federal expenditures).

As part of its religion of greed, the right invented a series of myths about where those taxes went, how paying them was the ultimate form of oppression, and what boons tax cuts were to bring us. They then delivered the biggest tax cuts of all to those who already had a superfluity of money and weren’t going to pump the extra they got back into the economy. What they really were saying was that they wanted to hang onto every nickel, no matter how the public sphere was devastated, and that they really served the ultra-rich, over and over again, not the suckers who voted them into office.

Despite decades of cutting to the bone, they continue to promote tax cuts as if they had yet to happen. Their constant refrain is that we are too poor to feed the poor or educate the young or heal the sick, but the poverty isn’t monetary: it’s moral and emotional. Let’s rectify some more language: even at this moment, the United States remains the richest nation the world has ever seen, and California -- with the richest agricultural regions on the planet and a colossal high-tech boom still ongoing in Silicon Valley -- is loaded, too. Whatever its problems, the U.S. is still swimming in abundance, even if that abundance is divided up ever more unequally.

Really, there’s more than enough to feed every child well, to treat every sick person, to educate everyone well without saddling them with hideous debt, to support the arts, to protect the environment -- to produce, in short, a glorious society. The obstacle is greed. We could still make the sorts of changes climate change requires of us and become a very different nation without overwhelming pain. We would then lead somewhat different lives -- richer, not poorer, for most of us (in meaning, community, power, and hope). Because this culture of greed impoverishes all of us, it is, to call it by its true name, destruction.

Occupy the Names

One of the great accomplishments of Occupy Wall Street was this rectification of names. Those who came together under that rubric named the greed, inequality, and injustice in our system; they made the brutality of debt and the subjugation of the debtors visible; they called out Wall Street’s crimes; they labeled the wealthiest among us the “1%,” those who have made a profession out of pumping great sums of our wealth upwards (quite a different kind of tax). It was a label that made instant sense across much of the political spectrum. It was a good beginning. But there’s so much more to do.

Naming is only part of the work, but it’s a crucial first step. A doctor initially diagnoses, then treats; an activist or citizen must begin by describing what is wrong before acting. To do that well is to call things by their true names. Merely calling out these names is a beam of light powerful enough to send the destroyers it shines upon scurrying for cover like roaches. After that, you still need to name your vision, your plan, your hope, your dream of something better.

Names matter; language matters; truth matters. In this era when the mainstream media serve obfuscation and evasion more than anything else (except distraction), alternative media, social media, demonstrations in the streets, and conversations between friends are the refuges of truth, the places where we can begin to rectify the names. So start talking.

© 2012 Rebecca Solnit
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175610/tomgram%3A_rebecca_solnit%2C_clim...

Rebecca Solnit is an activist and the author of many books, including: Wanderlust: A History of Walking, The Battle of The Story of the Battle in Seattle (with her brother David), and Storming The Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. Her most recent book is, A Paradise Built in Hell, is now available. She is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine.

Another World Is Possible: Occupy Sandy's Food, Lights, H2O, etc

Another World Is Possible: Occupy Sandy's Food, Lights, Water, Blankets

by Abby Zimet
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/11/04

With outlying and low-income areas around New York still ravaged and little institutional help forthcoming, Occupy Sandy, an offshoot of OWS, has stepped into the void (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/occupy-leads-relief-in-powerless-re...) with efficient, no-red-tape (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/11/occupy-sandy.html), often vital help. With a tale from Far Rockaway about community at its best. Occupy and the military, together at last. Help here (https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc) or here (http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/).

http://youtu.be/A44z33fSGqE

Occupy Sandy: A Movement Moves to Relief

by Alan Feuer

ON Wednesday night, as a fierce northeaster bore down on the weather-beaten Rockaways, the relief groups with a noticeable presence on the battered Queens peninsula were these: the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police and Sanitation Departments — and Occupy Sandy, a do-it-yourself outfit recently established by Occupy Wall Street.

This stretch of the coast remained apocalyptic, with buildings burned like Dresden and ragged figures shuffling past the trash heaps. There was still no power, and parking lots were awash with ruined cars. On Wednesday morning, as the winds picked up and FEMA closed its office “due to weather,” an enclave of Occupiers was huddled in a storefront amid the devastation, handing out supplies and trying to make sure that those bombarded by last month’s storm stayed safe and warm and dry this time.

“Candles?” asked a dull-eyed woman arriving at the door.

“I’m sorry, but we’re out,” said Sofia Gallisa, a field coordinator who had been there for a week. Ms. Gallisa escorted the woman in, and someone gave her batteries for her flashlight. As she walked away, word arrived that a firehouse nearby was closing for the night; the firefighters there were hurrying their rigs to higher ground.

“It’s crazy,” Ms. Gallisa later said of the official response. “For a long time, we were the only people out here doing relief work.”

After its encampment in Zuccotti Park, which changed the public discourse about economic inequality and introduced the nation to the trope of the 1 percent, the Occupy movement has wandered in a desert of more intellectual, less visible projects, like farming, fighting debt and theorizing on banking. While several nouns have been occupied — from summer camp to health care — it is only with Hurricane Sandy that the times have conspired to deliver an event that fully calls upon the movement’s talents and caters to its strengths.

Maligned for months for its purported ineffectiveness, Occupy Wall Street has managed through its storm-related efforts not only to renew the impromptu passions of Zuccotti, but also to tap into an unfulfilled desire among the residents of the city to assist in the recovery. This altruistic urge was initially unmet by larger, more established charity groups, which seemed slow to deliver aid and turned away potential volunteers in droves during the early days of the disaster.

In the past two weeks, Occupy Sandy has set up distribution sites at a pair of Brooklyn churches where hundreds of New Yorkers muster daily to cook hot meals for the afflicted and to sort through a medieval marketplace of donated blankets, clothes and food. There is an Occupy motor pool of borrowed cars and pickup trucks that ferries volunteers to ravaged areas. An Occupy weatherman sits at his computer and issues regular forecasts. Occupy construction teams and medical committees have been formed.

Managing it all is an ad hoc group of tech-savvy Occupy members who spend their days with laptops on their knees, creating Google documents with action points and flow charts, and posting notes on Facebook that range from the sober (“Adobo Medical Center in Red Hook needs an 8,000 watt generator AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”) to the endearingly hilarious (“We will be treating anyone affected by Sandy, FREE of charge, with ear acupuncture this Monday”). While the local tech team sleeps, a shadow corps in London works off-hours to update the Twitter feed and to maintain the intranet. Some enterprising Occupiers have even set up a wedding registry on Amazon.com, with a wish list of necessities for victims of the storm; so far, items totaling more than $100,000 — water pumps and Sawzall saw kits — have been ordered.

“It’s a laterally organized rapid-response team,” said Ethan Gould, a freelance graphic artist and a first-time member of Occupy. Mr. Gould’s experience illustrates the effort’s grass-roots ethos. He joined up on Nov. 3 and by the following afternoon had already been appointed as a co-coordinator at one of the “distro” (distribution) sites.

OCCUPY SANDY was initially the work of a half-dozen veterans of Zuccotti Park who, on the Tuesday following the storm, made their way to public housing projects in the Rockaways and Red Hook, Brooklyn, delivering flashlights and trays of hot lasagna to residents neglected by the government. They arranged for vans to help some people relocate into shelters. When they returned to civilization, they spent the night with their extra bags of stuff at St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

“They asked if they could crash here,” said Juan-Carlos Ruiz, a community organizer there who knew the Occupiers from their previous endeavors. “Those few bags became this enormous organic operation. It’s evidence that when official channels fail, other parts of society respond.”

When newcomers arrive at St. Jacobi — or at its sister site at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in nearby Clinton Hill — they undergo an orientation course during which the volunteering process is explained and people are quickly introduced to the movement’s guiding spirit. There is sensitivity training (“We’re here to listen and be human”) and door-to-door training for those going into stricken communities.

All participants are asked to write their first names on a piece of masking tape and to place it somewhere prominent on their bodies. The informal atmosphere results in classic Occupy exchanges: “If you have a car, you should cluster up and go see Alexis in the shearling hat.”

Occupy Wall Street is capable of summoning an army with the posting of a tweet, and many of the volunteers last week were self-identifying veterans of the movement, although many more were not. Given the numbers passing through the churches, both fresh-faced amateurs and the Occupy managerial class — a label it would reject — were in evidence.

The St. Luke’s kitchen sits in the basement of the church, beside a well-stocked pantry of donations that on Tuesday morning was overflowing with cans of kidney beans, bottles of chocolate syrup, gallon jugs of corn oil and enormous quantities of organic Arborio rice. The peanut-butter-and-jelly team was busy making sandwiches at a table. On the crew that day, there were a Yale University student, a chef on medical leave from an institutional kitchen, a tourist visiting from Luxembourg, a budding fiction writer and an independent radio producer with her 9-year-old son, Zachary.

“We’ve made everything so far,” Susie Lindenbaum, an actress, said. “Rice and beans. Beef chili. Rosemary noodles. A big bread pudding and vegan collard greens.”

Upstairs, contributions arrived around the clock, coming in by telephone or received in person by runners who hauled the goods from cars parked at the curb to a basement sorting space where everything was organized according to handmade signs (“Shoes Here,” “Drinks & Water Here”). Volunteer drivers shuttled these supplies to more than 20 “field sites” in the hardest-hit locations: Red Hook, the Rockaways and Coney and Staten Islands.

THE Occupiers sometimes say a disconnect exists between the highly functioning distro sites and the more chaotic centers in the field. On election night, for instance, the television network Comedy Central donated 11,000 prepackaged pieces of apple pie, and volunteers who were headed in the morning to Red Hook and beyond were ordered not to leave without an armful. Most of the pies did not make it to their destinations — not that Ms. Gallisa, the field coordinator working in the Rockaways, would have wanted them. By Wednesday afternoon, with the new storm rolling in, she and her outreach team were scurrying among their various storage sites, trying to secure their own supplies.

Bridging the gap between the churches and the field is Andrew Smith, 27, who early last week was holed up in the St. Luke’s organ loft working on a list of crucial chores for the next big project: neighborhood reconstruction. On a giant pad of newsprint, Mr. Smith had jotted down two words: “Guts Logistics” — Occupy Sandy was getting into the renovation business. Under this heading, there were three numbered tasks: “1) Remove damaged materials. 2) Let buildings air out. 3) Mold remediation.”

“The long-term needs are where the real problems are,” said Mr. Smith, an experienced Occupier who two months ago helped to plan the protests marking the first anniversary of the Zuccotti occupation. “Where we’re headed now is into cleanup and rebuilding.” Volunteer brigades were scheduled, he said, to deploy to damaged areas on Saturday and Sunday. A budget for further reconstruction was already being planned.

Indeed, after he finished his to-do list and took the subway south to St. Jacobi, a woman poked her head out from the Staten Island War Room and called to him loudly as he went by, “Andy, we need more construction workers!” Acknowledging her request, Mr. Smith went up to the second-story communications room, where a six-person team was working on the protocols for accepting contributions on the phone.

After listening for a moment, Mr. Smith tendered a suggestion and the man in charge — the name on his masking tape was Peter — sighed in exasperation. “Look,” Peter said, “the amount of self-organizing here, it’s coming a bit too fast. I’m losing track, all right?” One of his colleagues asked him if he had eaten yet that day; Peter replied that he had not. Mr. Smith reached into his backpack and handed him a sandwich.

Then one of the hot-line operators rushed into the room. It seemed the Red Cross was sending them — them! — a tractor-trailer full of fresh wool blankets.

“A tractor-trailer?” Mr. Smith exclaimed.

Utterly exhausted, he laid his forehead on the shoulder of the Occupier beside him.

Copyright 2012 The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/where-fema-fell-short-occupy-...

Occupy Sandy: We Got This

by Abby Zimet
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/11/12

With thousands still without power, water and heat in the New York area, Occupy Sandy's ongoing (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1110/Occupy-Sandy-Wa...) and ever-expanding relief effort (http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/) has been hailed (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/where-fema-fell-short-occupy-...) as Occupy's finest hour and a triumph of doing over talking - one so efficient (http://my.firedoglake.com/cindykouril/2012/11/12/mayor-bloomberg-owes-ow...) they're now training National Guard and city representatives of the same administration that not so long ago was hassling and pepper-spraying them. Evolution is real. So is the notion of mutual aid. Cool video.

Solidarity Through Charity: Occupy Evolves and Lives

by Carl Gibson

I know what it’s like to be hounded by bill collectors. And regardless of how I feel about the Tea Party’s politics, if they spearheaded an initiative to abolish the $6,000 in medical debt I had racked up in Houston, Texas after breaking my elbow with no health insurance, and did the same with thousands of others’ debt out of sheer desire to do good, I would feel radically different about the Tea Party. And if they led a disaster recovery effort that was on the ground in affected communities long before governments and well-funded relief organizations were able to provide help, I might even think about joining them. Occupy Wall Street, the populist economic justice movement the corporate-owned media and corporate-owned political class has been declaring as “dead” for months now, has been doing all of the above.

When the camps were evicted, the media breathlessly reported about the official death of the movement and blamed nonviolent protesters for city governments squandering millions of tax dollars on constant and overwhelming police presence and re-seeding grass in parks (that somehow costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to do). And after more than 30,000 marched through New York City on May Day, the media gleefully announced the death of Occupy Wall Street, since the ragtag populist movement didn’t succeed in 100% of Americans taking off work to participate in the general strike. By the time #S17 came around, the weekend of Occupy Wall Street’s 1-year anniversary, there were tens of thousands of people in the streets of New York, and the NYPD arrested hundreds of nonviolent protesters (including me), yet the media coverage was scant and inconsequential, and garnered just a passing glance.

Yet despite the Occupy funeral dirge that’s been played in dozens of headlines, the movement has flourished in its post-encampment phase. Occupy Sandy has become a full-scale military-style operation that has developed highly-efficient means of training and deploying volunteers, storing and transporting goods, feeding the hungry and putting clothes on the backs who have none. Police who were arresting protesters on #S17 weekend are now handing bags of clothes down assembly lines, side by side with those same protesters.

Occupy’s solidarity through charity has affected people beyond New York as well, as the Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee has raised almost half a million dollars in small donations to erase $8.4 million (and counting) of distressed medical, student loan and mortgage debt less than a week after launching. While speculators trade the debt of poor, sick and injured people on the market like a commodity, purchase it for pennies on the dollar from the banks, and move to collect the full amount for profit, Occupy Wall Street’s Strike Debt project (born on #S17) decided to do the same thing, except upon purchasing the debt, they would abolish it. While I didn’t donate to any political campaign all year, I gladly gave $100 of money I can’t really afford to give to Strike Debt, and slept like a baby that night knowing that my contribution erased $2,000 of someone’s debt.

All through the election, we watched as each major candidate raised and spent over $1 billion on their campaigns. SuperPACs funded by billionaires like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Karl Rove’s funders collectively raised and spent an additional $4 billion. Pro wrestling magnate Linda McMahon has spent approximately $100 million on not one, but two losing US Senate campaigns. Imagine if right-wing billionaires used just 10% of the money they spent on a mostly losing effort, on erasing ordinary folks’ distressed debt alongside Occupy Wall Street.

While police in Spain are taking to the streets by the thousands to protest government austerity and bank bailouts, and that the world’s largest retailer faced over 1,000 protests nationwide and employee strikes in 100 cities on their busiest day, I’d say the only movement that’s dying is capitalism. The banks and corporations’ grip on our society and government is growing weaker by the minute, and the Occupy movement is only growing stronger.

http://usuncut.org/

Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. You can contact Carl at usuncut@gmail.com, and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

Bloomberg Praises ‘Occupy Sandy,’ Sends Police To Shut It Down

by liberal lamp post

After accidentally landing his helicopter near one of Occupy Sandy’s main community assistance hubs on Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked the volunteers for their hard work.

Caught by surprise by members of Occupy Sandy as Bloomberg exited a planned interview, someone caught the following words on video:

"Thank you for everything you’ve done. You guys are great. We really do appreciate it, all kidding aside. You really are making a difference. Goodbye."

The assembled group was desperate to talk to the mayor about their increasingly dire situation post-Sandy, including no power, heat or hot water and a growing mold problem, more than a month after the storm. Bloomberg simply brushed them off and headed into his waiting SUV, leaving many in the group angry.

Events on Friday made Bloomberg’s praise of the Occupy Sandy ring even hollower.

OccupyWallSt.org reported yesterday afternoon that the mayor, who tangled with Occupy protestors last year in Zuccotti Park, has ordered Staten Island police to start an eviction action on the Occupy Sandy hub at 489 Midland Avenue, in the heavily hit Midland Beach area.

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Bloomberg Praises ‘Occupy Sandy,’ Then Sends Police To Shut It Down (VIDEO)
2012/12/01
By Liberal Lamp Post

After accidentally landing his helicopter near one of Occupy Sandy’s main community assistance hubs on Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked the volunteers for their hard work.

Caught by surprise by members of Occupy Sandy as Bloomberg exited a planned interview, someone caught the following words on video:

Thank you for everything you’ve done. You guys are great. We really do appreciate it, all kidding aside. You really are making a difference. Goodbye.

The assembled group was desperate to talk to the mayor about their increasingly dire situation post-Sandy, including no power, heat or hot water and a growing mold problem, more than a month after the storm. Bloomberg simply brushed them off and headed into his waiting SUV, leaving many in the group angry.

Events on Friday made Bloomberg’s praise of the Occupy Sandy ring even hollower.

OccupyWallSt.org reported yesterday afternoon (http://occupywallst.org/article/mayors-office-threatens-imminent-evictio...) that the mayor, who tangled with Occupy protestors last year in Zuccotti Park, has ordered Staten Island police to start an eviction action on the Occupy Sandy hub at 489 Midland Avenue, in the heavily hit Midland Beach area.

Further, Occupy Wall Street says that the mayor’s office is “calling upon local police forces to ‘clear all outdoor sites’ effective immediately.” If this is true, it is being completely ignored by the media, with news of a potential Occupy Sandy eviction popping up only on independent liberal blogs and social media sites until now.

Here is Occupy Wall Street’s appeal for help:

We call on the city, service organizations and police to support these crucial hubs by maintain[ing] location and services to community, [through] offering tents, generators, and storage pods for supplies – or finding free, nearby, and feasible medium to long term spaces where hubs can operate.

ONSITE ACTIONS
—Come to 489 Midland Ave Staten Island, NY 10306 to stand in support
—Volunteers requested to help move the hub to 100% private property

OFFSITE ACTON
—Demand the Mayor’s office end community hub eviction and instead support hubs with space and equipment
—Public Advocate’s office: (212) 669-7250 9am-5pm, EMAIL: GetHelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov

Occupy Sandy is a community-run network of support offering food, supplies, clothing, and human services. Its trademark is helping people the city or federal government has “under-served, neglected, or abandoned.”

Occupy Sandy has raised over $585,000 online, via a WePay account that is fiscally sponsored by the Alliance for Global Justice. You can donate here.
https://www.wepay.com/donations/492531958

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