“Festive, Righteous Anger”: Occupy Makes a May Day Comeback With Massive Demonstrations. [AlterNet] – May Day marked the reemergence of the Occupy movement, with events in cities all over America. AlterNet’s reporters were in the field. Here are their dispatches from New York and the Bay Area.
It begins like this:
“We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”
It ends like this:
“If we appear to seek the unattainable, it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable.”
In between, there is a child, observing the grand parade of America, and declaring that the emperor is naked.
The Port Huron Statement was completed on June 15th, 1962. It was principally the work of Tom Hayden, who was Field Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society at the time, and adopted by those in attendance at the SDS convention near Port Huron, Michigan. The SDS had grown out of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society of the early 1900s. During the few short years of its existence (1960 to 1969) the organization represented the intellectual core of an emerging “New Left” in the United States. It was the largest “radical” student organization in U.S. history, and the largest student organization of any kind in the 1960s.
Reading the statement again these many years later, I was struck by how it is, in almost equal measures, a relic of its time and a light to ours.
In These Times features an assessment of the legacy of The Port Huron Statement by 14 activists (including three of the document’s framers) that I found interesting. Bill Ayers had this to say. “Revolution is still possible, but barbarism is possible as well. In this time of peril and possibility, rising expectations and new beginnings, when hope and history once again rhyme, it’s absolutely urgent that we embrace the spirit embodied in the final words of The Port Huron Statement.”
I am encouraged to learn that a new Students for a Democratic Society was organized in 2006, and is active in campaigns for education rights, the protection of civil liberties, peace and anti-globalization.
Seek the “unattainable.” Occupy the future!
Noam Chomsky on America’s Declining Empire, Occupy and the Arab Spring. [AlterNet] – Last year, the Occupy Movement rose up spontaneously in cities and towns across the country, radically shifted the discourse and rattled the economic elite with its defiant populism. It was, according to Noam Chomsky, “the first major public response to thirty years of class war.”
There’s nothing like stepping out back and picking a beautiful, ripe homegrown tomato for a BLT, a salad or simply for slicing and serving with a little seasoned salt. I started planting tomatoes in huge terra cotta pots more than a decade ago when I didn’t have diggable space in a decent, sunny location for a garden, and the habit stuck. I’ve always loved the first tomato of the season. No matter how fresh they are from the farmers’ market, they’re never quite as tasty as the ones you grow yourself.
Colleen Vanderlinden over on Treehugger has a wonderful post about ten tomato varieties that do well in containers. The Black Krims sound particularly tasty.
I first ran across Colleen’s article on the Occupy Monsanto blog. The more I learn, the more I realize that some of the most simple and pleasant everyday things we do – like choosing to grow heirloom tomatoes in pots – can be powerful political acts as well. For me, that makes such things all the more satisfying.
I’m hoping it won’t be too late to plant a few pots after our move next month.
A word of caution to those who want to grow container tomatoes on an upstairs balcony. Be careful where you set them. Remember that Tommy Ewell nearly got killed by Marilyn Monroe’s falling tomato plant in The Seven Year Itch. :)
Battle for the Soul of Occupy. [Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters] – It’s up to you to decide if our movement goes the way of Paris ’68, the dust bin of could-have-been-insurrections, or something more daring, more inspiring, something not yet dreamed.
Wall Street: #Occupied. [OccupyWallSt.org] – In Metropolitan v. Safir, the U.S. District Court covering New York City ruled that “the First Amendment of the United States Constitution does not allow the City to prevent an orderly political protest from using public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression.”
For the first time since our movement against economic inequality and political corruption began, Occupy Wall Street is literally occupying Wall Street. As of 3am eastern time, over 40 Occupiers are sleeping on Wall Street near the corner of Broad across from the New York Stock Exchange. Everyone angry at the greed of the financial system is encouraged to bring a sleeping bag!
Occupy Transit! Transit Workers & the Occupy Movement Team Up. [Bob Simpson | Daily Kos] – Calling mass transit “a genuine civil rights issue,” the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents transit workers across the nation, joined with the Occupy Movement, community organizations and transit riders to demand a revitalization of our transit systems.
”Public transit is a central municipal service, and we don’t put money into a fare box to make some guy rich.”
– Charles Paddock, Secretary of Citizens Taking Action, a CTA riders organization.
Read the full article on Daily Kos.
The Spanish People Strike Against Austerity and Attacks on Labor
Coming Soon to a Country Near You!
Spain Hobbled by General Strike. [NYTimes.com] – Heavy industry and large parts of the transportation network were disrupted on Thursday by Spain’s first general strike since the Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came to power late last year.
The strike was called by Spain’s two main trade unions to protest a recent overhaul of labor rules that makes it less costly for employers to hire and fire workers. It came on the eve of Mr. Rajoy’s presentation of Spain’s 2012 budget, which is expected to contain about €20 billion, or $26 billion, in additional spending cuts and tax increases to help Spain meet deficit targets it agreed to with the European Commission.
Millions Join General Strike in Spain. [WSWS] – Yesterday’s general strike against new labour laws imposed by the right-wing Popular Party government was backed by millions.
The two main union federations, the Socialist Party (PSOE)-aligned General Workers Union (Union General de Trabajadores, UGT), and the Communist Party (PCE)-led Workers Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO) estimated that the stoppages were supported by 77-80 percent of the workforce. Many more people, unemployed, school children, housewives and students used it as a vehicle to protest government cuts and austerity measures.
Mass stoppages took place in industry, transport and services. The walkout hit road, rail and air service with barely any domestic or European flights in operation.
Chris Hedges: The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost. [Chris Hedges’ Columns | Truthdig] – The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.
Graduating into never-ending debt. [SocialistWorker.org] – Overwhelming student debt has become a source of worry and financial distress for many millions of people–and even worse for the one in five people with student loan debt who are classified as delinquent. And the problem will only get worse as a new generation of students and recent graduates, carrying a bigger loan burden than ever before, struggles to find work in an economy that, despite statistics showing job growth, still seems like the Great Recession, especially for young workers.