November 2011

99 Tents

Shelter For Occupiers In Minnesota

I'm going to tell you something you already know. A tiny handful of vastly powerful corporations acting in the narrow interests of the world's richest people have corrupted our democracy and usurped power for themselves while simultaneously wrecking the world's economy and leaving the far majority of human beings worse off than they have ever been before. The only hope for restoring democracy and economic justice is to break the power of the corporations and the wealthy people that control them, and to hold them accountable for their crimes.

The People's Rights Amendment

And Jim McGovern

To the Democratic Party as an institution, I have no loyalty. To the many, many Democratic activists who have struggled for years to serve as the conscience of their party, I extend my hand in solidarity. To Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, I give my thanks, because he has heard the voices of Occupiers all over this nation and he has actually listened.

The Paris Commune

Worker's Uprising, 1871

The Paris Commune of 1871 was a rare and brief example of a worker-based revolutionary uprising that successfully governed a large population without becoming a centralized totalitarian regime. The origin of the Paris Commune was in Napoleon III's catastrophic war with the Prussian empire. When the Prussians defeated his forces, the only military organization capable of defending Paris was a militia known as the National Guard.

Anarcho-Syndicalism

An Archaic Term For The Libertarian Left

“Anarcho-syndicalism” is an archaic term for (or an archaic version of) the political philosophy now generally referred to as left-libertarianism or social anarchism. In its original 19th-century form, anarcho-syndicalism was a revolutionary movement based on trade-unionism. The idea was that the growing trade union movement would replace both capitalism and national governments from within, as more and more people joined trade unions and other institutions became irrelevant.

 

The premise of anarcho-syndicalism depended on the trade unions to not only go from strength to strength, but to evolve along participatory and democratic lines, so that companies came to be governed from within by their own workers without hierarchical structures.

Social Ecology

And Green Libertarianism

Social ecology and green libertarianism are related concepts, based on the idea that the environmental devastation of the modern world is not an isolated phenomenon or an inevitable consequence of modern life, but an aspect of the hierarchical, competition-based form of social organization.

Death Penalty Moratorium Declared in Oregon

"The old arguments against the death penalty just don’t work anymore."

There is some good news to be had out of Oregon today: Not only is Governor John Kitzhaber blocking next month’s execution in the state; he is also blocking any and all executions to follow as long as he is in office! He had some inspiring words to say about the decision, too, mentioning that he no longer wanted to be part of a system that is so inequitable and compromised. I have never heard anything else of Kitzhaber, but knowing that he’s made this statement and that he’s not letting more blood be spilled during his time in office makes me feel like we need more leaders like him.

Social Anarchism

Order Generated From Below

Social anarchism is another term for a family of political philosophies also known as libertarian socialism or left-libertarianism. “Anarchism” is usually misunderstood as a synonym for (or an attempt to create) chaos or “anarchy.” If you think of social anarchism in those terms, you'll be way off the mark.

Left Libertarianism

Political Philosophy And The Occupy Movement

People say the Occupy movement doesn't have a clearly defined message, but they're wrong. In everything from the way the movement is organized to the goals its members hope to achieve, the Occupy movement operates within a tradition of political philosophy known by several different names: left-libertarianism, libertarian socialism, social anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism.

A New, Legal Form of Segregation?

how many parents are taking advantage of public schools' "open enrollment" policies for the wrong reasons?

First there was segregation.  After the courts and reasonable citizens acknowledged that separate was, in no shape or form, equal, many school districts took on the practice of busing.  Decades on down the line, a newer practice--  which was not intended to be for racial reasons--  has turned segregating school children into a "personal choice."  

Two Stories of Energy Investment

"Bill Gates recently invested in a small energy startup called Liquid Metal Battery."

Story one: As mentioned previously in the blog, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invested $528 million through loan guarantees to a solar energy company called Solyndra. Solyndra subsequently went under and all the invested tax payer money disappeared. In a congressional testimony Energy Secretary Steven Chu claimed that the DOE has a large portfolio of investments and that the occasional loss is inevitable. While that is the nature of portfolios, the huge loss on the investment can't be shrugged off. Is there a better way to invest in new energy ideas? On to next story. 

Leaked Memo Shows Plans For Targeted Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street

A lobby firm associated with John Boehner asks American Banking Association for $850,000 to develop "negative narrative" on OWS.

Your first clue that a popular movement is being successful (other than reactionary rants from political opponents) is that lobbying firms and corporate interest groups start factoring it into their strategic plans. If this is the yardstick by which we measure effectiveness, Occupy Wall Street has been an effective movement. The lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford (CLGC) released a memo that was leaked to Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s Up w/ Chris Hayes, proposing a marriage between CGLC and the American Banker’s Association in order to take down Occupy Wall Street and sympathizing Democrats running for re-election in 2012.

Carcinogen Report: Benzene

Benzene is a flammable liquid that is formed naturally in forest fires and volcanoes, but also in many manmade applications.  In fact, it is one of the 20 most used chemicals in the United States.  In addition, benzene occurs naturally in gas, cigarette smoke and crude oil.  Benzene is proven to cause cancer by both the high rate of cancers in people with benzene exposure and in lab trials with animals.

Data Trends Show Accelerating Economic Growth

Jobs, housing construction, even American employees quitting; all signs point to sustained growth.

There are some signs of accelerating growth in the U.S., which has employers looking at ramping up hiring and investors gaining confidence. The reason? New claims for jobless benefits is at a seven-month low, and will likely get better as seasonal hiring for the holidays improves. Furthermore, new housing construction permits rebounded significantly in October. Finally, new data reported on in TIME shows that U.S. employees walking off the job has increased significantly in 2011 over 2009, indicating higher public confidence in job availability. Whether this reflects an accelerating economy, or is simply a good period in a protracted lull, is up for debate.

Electric Cars Are On Upswing (Again)

Even as petroleum companies increase prices they're further pushing American consumers toward EV's, and their own downfall.

EV’s, or electric vehicles, have been nearly a decade in the development both technologically, and commercially. Now, it seems, despite an economic slowdown and lame recovery, EV’s are seeing their brand beginning to trend, if not outright balloon in sales. American car-makers, after the incredible resuscitation by the Federal government, have jumped into the EV market with a vengeance right when it seems to be really taking off.  The Chevy Volt, and the Nissan Leaf, though not nearly as ubiquitous as the Toyota Prius, are still seeing increasing sales. What EV’s need now to take off is cities that are supporting them with infrastructure and cultural appeal.

Democrats and Republicans Fail to Reach an Agreement on Deficit Reduction

No big surprise.

 

Ever since I can remember, the most common term associated with the United States congress is gridlock. Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to get it together on anything. And, while the gridlock has been crippling in the past, it’s even worse now that the United States has to agree on a deficit reduction package. The bi-partisan panel led by Senator Patty Murray from Washington State couldn’t agree on a deal. And, like a married couple, both parties are fighting over who was responsible for the breakdown of the original deal. 

 

The Democrats are in favor of more taxes for the wealthiest Americans, but neither party seems to have a specific plan for re-structuring the tax codes for the United States' largest corporations. 

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