US Press Freedom Rating Plummets

Reporters Without Borders released the Press Freedom Index this week.

Regarding the United State’s drop to #47 on their list, the report states that the US “owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”

Which puts us behind my homeland the Czech Republic (#14), Niger (#29), Papua New Guinea (#35), and El Salvador (#37), among others. Hey, at least we beat Haiti, Timor, and Iran!


I Am the 51%

From the Atlantic:

Occupiers all viscerally sense the problem: extreme economic inequality. They all cite a lack of fairness — a lack of opportunity. They also agree that the status quo is failing.

But when it comes to women, Occupy is really a microcosm of the greater culture at large. This should … greatly embarrass those in the movement who see themselves as revolutionaries.

Just as when misogynists claimed the women accusing Julian Assange of rape were in fact part of a CIA-planned “honey trap”, there are misogynists calling the acknowledgment of gender inequality in the “Occupations” a plot by the powers-that-be to delegitimize the movement.  Little do they know that any participant’s disregard for the concerns of women in the movement, and their lack of willingness to acknowledge that women face sexism in society, will do plenty more to delegitimize Occupy than anything these alleged powers-that-be could do with their sudden, uncharacteristic feminism.  (Society’s power networks have never been known for being particularly woman-friendly, so claims that this is a government or corporate plot seem specious.)

How about this: to pre-empt these nefarious powers attempting to delegitimize the Occupy movement by pointing out how it reproduces society’s inequalities, why doesn’t Occupy instead model what an equal society should look like by being actively feminist, anti-racist, and welcoming to all other marginalized identities?

The argument that we must ignore all inequality except for class inequality is a surefire way to create an all white male movement that benefits white males.  The American Socialist Party in the early 20th century did the same thing, and we can see how powerful they are now. Quote:

[The Socialist Party’s] female members were not encouraged to join other women’s organizations in the fight for women’s rights ans suffrage. The class struggle was to have priority over matters of gender equality.

Not only does an equal class, unequal gender vision of the future serve to benefit men and turn off women, but it is impossible. How is it possible for unequal people to maintain equal wealth or wages or standards of living?

No one is a single identity.  Each of us is a whole person with many different identities around race, ethnicity, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, religion, age, etc.  An individual’s class is heavily affected by their other identities.  Black and brown people have considerably less wealth than white people, women still earn less than men for equivalent work, trans people are more likely to be homeless than cisgendered people, etc.  If you can’t bring that into your class analysis, you are doing some shitty class analysis.

To call women, or people of color, or other marginalized groups abettors of the oppressors for raising their particular concerns is to be willfully blind to the real way class works, and to silence those who experience the preponderance of its negative effects… i.e. the best and most motivated potential activists.

Here is some information about wealth disparities for the skeptical.

New Euphemism: “Drawing Contact” from a Cop

What does this look like to you? “Drawing contact from a police officer” or “getting beat down by a cop with a weapon”?

Police beat OWS protestor

The caption on this photo accompanying a Reuters article:

An Occupy Wall Street protestor draws contact from a police officer near Zuccotti Park after being ordered to leave the longtime encampment in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in New York, after police ordered demonstrators to leave their encampment in Zuccotti Park. At about 1 a.m. Tuesday, police handed out notices from the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying that the park had to be cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous. Protesters were told they could return, but without sleeping bags, tarps or tents. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Note how whoever wrote this takes the agency away from the cop (making him the object of the sentence instead of the subject) and insinuates, without explanation, the protester did something to deserve the beating. Why do you think Reuters is afraid to accurately describe what is happening in this picture?

Egyptian Connects the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street

Interesting thoughts from an Egyptian man who attended the Billionaire’s March yesterday. The Billionaire’s March was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and included visits to five billionaires’ homes: Rupert Murdoch, David Koch, Howard Milstein, Jamie Dimon, and John Paulson.

Mustafa Ibrahim, 23, an engineer marched on the “Billionaire’s Tour” during a visit to New York from Cairo, where he said he was arrested during a popular uprising this year which toppled Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“It’s pretty much the same thing as Egypt,” Ibrahim said. “The problem is the rich keep getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.”

Alternet describes the Billionaire’s March as “getting enthusiastic responses from onlookers–in particular the doormen at the buildings en route.”

Look out billionaires, your own servants openly root for your comeuppance!

Occupy Police Headquarters!

I was there!

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Rally Against “Excessive Force”

Their fight over corporate greed isn’t over yet, but protesters who’ve been camped out in Lower Manhattan for two weeks are now taking on a new issue.

Demonstrators marched from their main gathering point in Zuccotti Park to police headquarters Friday to shine light on what they say is excessive force used by the department.

Several people were maced and about 80 people arrested for disorderly conduct last weekend.

In other news, Mayor Bloomberg claims ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters are targeting bankers who ‘are struggling to make ends meet’. Oh yes he did.

In awesome critique news, South Bronx’s Rebel Diaz Arts Collective posted some reflections on race and culture dynamics at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

[T]he gut feeling was that there is a serious disconnect down there. We left with mad questions! Where was the hood? Where was the poorest congressional district in the USA, from The South Bronx at? Like we say in Hip Hop, where Brooklyn at? Could it be that perhaps the working class couldnt afford to just leave work and the responsibility of bills and family survival to camp out in a city park? Did folks from our communities not know about this? If people of color were occupying Wall St would we have lasted this long?

In non-news, 95% of MSM coverage of the protest has been absolutely vomitous. Like the insipid New York Times articles, for example. It’s as though their reporters are insulted at being asked to condescend to write about the concerns of common people.

Stand with the 100 arrested OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTERS

A report on the Occupation of Wall Street by the Bail Out the People Movement:

In the wake of the outrageous murder of Troy Davis, on Saturday the NYPD violently attacked the Occupy Wall Street protesters for doing nothing but taking to the streets against racism, unemployment and bank bailouts. The
latest word is they will not be released until tomorrow.

With the police arresting over a hundred people, the anti-Wall Street demonstration ended a week where it was made crystal clear that the so-called justice system exists for oppressing, intimidating and silencing the people – killing us if need be – while the real criminals go free.

Carrying signs that said, “Justice For Troy Davis,” and “Jobs and Justice, not War and Racism,” the Occupy Wall Street protesters held a dynamic protest that started at Zucotti Park, went to the stock exchange, then
charged up Broadway to Union Square.

No sooner did protesters start up Broadway than the NYPD began picking off people to arrest, one by one. Many were tackled as they were simply walking in the march.

After the demostration started back south from Union Square, the police moved violently to shut the protest down: bloodying people’s heads, macing people in the face and using gigantic orange nets to seal off 12th Street between University Street and Fifth Avenue and arresting people en masse.

As the cops loaded people into an MTA bus – commandeered by the NYPD for the sole purpose of mass arrests – protesters chanted, “Let them go,” and “Cops serve the billionaires!”

The suffering caused by Wall Street and the for-profit system – whether through unemployment, foreclosure or the racist prison-industrial complex – has forced people onto the streets this week in cities all over the country.

This is what the start of a peoples’ movement looks like. But it is in its infancy. The police, media and courts will continue to harass and attack us while the balance of forces – i.e., how many people we have on our side and what they have on theirs – is in their favor.

Come to Zucotti Park at Broadway and Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan! We need forces! The more who join this dynamic campaign against the banks and billionaires, the more we will be able to defend this growing movement.

Call your friends, get whatever group you belong to involved, and stay tuned to the Occupy Wall Street Facebook page for updates on how to pack the court and support those who were arrested.

-Bail Out the People Movement

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

The Facebook ’cause’. (As opposed to ‘page’.)

Watch #occupywallst on Twitter or follow @OccupyWallSt.