November 28, 2011
November 24, 2011
When: Wednesday, December 7th at 7:00 pm
Where: the Anderson Room of the Salem Public Library.
More information: Homepage Forum Facebook
November 23, 2011
For those trying to imagine life without oil, Cuba has proven the solitary example of a country successfully de-industrializing.
Confronted with the collapse of aid from the Soviet Union and ever-tighter U.S. sanctions in the early 1990s, the Castro regime was forced to scupper its centrally-planned, fossil-fuel-driven agriculture and rediscover sustainable and green farming practices.
Read more at: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/554
November 22, 2011
At its 28th biannual convention on Saturday, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO approved a resolution calling on its members to treat Occupy encampments in the District and Baltimore as they would a formal picket line.
The resolution states the AFL-CIO will support any "unionized or non-unionized worker who refuses to break up, raid or confiscate the belongings of protesters."
It also calls "on unions representing public workers and public safety workers to not participate in such activity as to deny the rights of occupiers."
"Protest movements, like strike lines and organizing campaigns do not have curfews and are not 9 to 5 activities," the resolution states. "And in doing so, we recognize and will work to protect the right for occupiers to protest 24 hours a day, on-site, with proper protection, including food, medical supplies, water and tents."
Despite police raids on numerous Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country, protesters in Baltimore and the District have so far been allowed to pitch tents in high-profile locations, including McPherson Square on K Street Downtown. Though local unions have already been supporting the protesters, including offering them jackets and access to showers, the new AFL-CIO resolution could make it more difficult for local elected leaders to push to break up the camps.
Fred Mason, president of the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO, called it is the "height of hypocrisy" for some business and community leaders to complain about sanitation at the camps when they had previously remained quiet about the conditions facing the homeless.
"We see these trends developing across the country," Mason said. "We see what's happening in New York and California, and all of these things don't happen at once.We want to provide every kind of support we can so they can continue."
The AFL-CIO also voted to give $3,000 each to Occupy DC and Occupy Baltimore.
Months of organizing, mobilizing, and telling our stories have paid off. Together, the Caring Across Generations movement is celebrating the news that the so called "Super-Committee" (Joint Deficit Reduction) has failed to put forward a proposal to cut $1.2 trillion from our budget over the next 10 years. Our country is facing a serious budget deficit, and we told Congress that any proposal that does not include raising revenue from the 1% will not lead to a solution.
Grassroots leaders from national networks on the Caring Across Generations Leadership Team, including ADAPT, AFSCME, CCC, JwJ, NCIL, NDWA, PICO, SEIU and many others, worked together to organize literally hundreds of actions. These actions included a Medicaid Matters action on Capital Hill, an inspiring day of action and civil disobedience led by ADAPT, and over 300 coordinated actions across the country on November 17th. Everyday superheros who do the work of caring for our loved ones and communities stood up to tell Congress and the Super Committee that we need jobs, not cuts to our care programs. We believe there is work to be done caring for our communities and loved ones, and together we told the stories of the need to create more Care Jobs.
"We believe that the proposals that were on the table for the Super-Committee to consider were unnecessarily harmful to the vast majority of Americans and did not reflect the priorities and values shared by 99% of the nation," stated Ai-Jen Poo, co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign. "While some will point fingers and call this a failure, we believe that the lack of a bad agreement gives advocates for a more equitable society the time and space to steer the country in the right direction, working for more sustainable and equitable approaches to fixing our economic crisis in ways that benefit all of us, and that allow us to become a society that takes care of each other."
Even as we celebrate together, we are gearing up for more action. A deadlocked super committee means that there will automatic across-the-board cuts, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending while Social Security and Medicaid would be excluded. This deadlock also emphasis that there are many Congressional members committed to reducing the country's debt on the backs of the 99% and giving Wall Street yet another sweet back-room deal. It also means that we’re not any closer to solving this revenue crisis. Our work together continues! Please join us on December 7th in Washington D.C. when Superheros from the 99% will lead a Speak Out for Jobs not Cuts at an action with thousands of people who are going to be camping out in Washington D.C. to demand a fair, caring solution to our revenue crises.
Congratulations! Thank you for your hard work, and for all of the care you give to your loved ones and community.
We are honored to be building this movement with you.
— Sarita, Ai-Jen, Jodeen, Robin, and the rest of the Caring Across Generations Leadership Team
November 21, 2011
November 20, 2011
November 19, 2011
He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”
Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.
... Read the rest at http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate
November 18, 2011
Support this action by contributing to the legal funds of the PCASC activists who were arrested. Click here to donate!
Portland, OR – 9 activists with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC) were arrested today disrupting business as usual at the Wells Fargo Bank inside the Standard Insurance Building. The group targeted Wells Fargo in response to the bank's funding of private prisons and immigrant detention centers, and their connections with right-wing think tanks that push legislation to criminalize immigrants, such as Arizona’s SB1070 law.
The group also staged a street theatre performance outside the bank, which was supported by the N17 “Occupy the Banks” march of around 1,000 people.
Wells Fargo has a large stake in firms, such as Geo Group and Corrections Corporation of America, which are major players in for-profit incarceration. The investments serve to enrich the banks while the 99 percent are the ones who fill prisons, the activists said.
“The profit motive compels Geo Group and others to fill these prisons, which in turn creates lobbying pressure on politicians, which leads to racist drug and immigration laws and the largest prison population in the world,” said Allen Hines, who participated in the action.
Please donate to the legal funds of those who were arrested for taking this action!
Click here and make a contribution.
The number of beds in private detention centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement alone has increased 400% since 1994, according to the North American Congress on Latin America. Meanwhile, people of color continue to make up a much higher proportion of the ballooning prison population than is representative of broader society.
The activists’ demands were:
- Wells Fargo must divest from the prison industry.
- The private prison industry – which creates financial incentives for putting people in jail – must be dismantled.
- Politicians must refuse money from prison lobbyists.
As part of the 99 percent, the group says they have several reasons to be angry with the policies of Wells Fargo. In addition to the bank's funding of prisons, its acquisition of Wachovia, which engaged in money laundering on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, puts Wells Fargo at odds with advocates for peace and freedom.
The people involved in today's action said they want Wells Fargo and its shareholders to better understand the negative consequences of its drive for profits. While the bank may have some work to do to become a people-friendly business, they said, another world is possible.
To support this action and help the activists who were arrested, click here to contribute to their legal funds.
High-res photos available at: http://www.pcasc.net/2011/11/17/occupywellsfargo/
TAKE WALL ST. OUT OF HEALTH CARE
Rally and March
Tomorrow, Saturday, November 19th, 12:00 noon, meet on Waterfront Park at SW Salmon & SW Naito Parkway in Portland.
44,840 unnecessary deaths occur each year in the US due to inability to pay.
HEALTH CARE FOR PEOPLE - NOT FOR PROFIT.
Everybody’s in, nobody’s out, Health care for all!
Occupy Portland is inviting us to continue participating and/or organizing a number of events for this weekend:
Saturday Night: 10PM - 12:01: Vigil at City Hall with Silent March around Parks. One week after the eviction took effect. Bring candles if you wish.
Sunday all day:
- Sunday morning: Occupy Your Block; Resources for this event are available at www.occupytomorrow.org; Meet your neighbors and community, and occupy your own block with a block party
- 12:00 Noon: Host a Community potluck brunch style with your community and neighbors as part of occupying your block.
- 3PM: Rally at Ankeny Plaza, on Naito Parkway underneath the Burnside Bridge. March at 3:45PM. Will be a fun, inclusive, community march focused on the message of inequality and the solidarity of sticking together and with the message of Occupy.
- 5PM: March ends and speakers from Occupy Portland will offer brief updates to the community about recent activities as well as plans for the future.
- 5:30PM-7:00PM: Meet the Occupation. While enjoying live local music, meet members from all of Occupy Portland's committees, working groups, and affinity groups face-to-face, to learn what they do and how the various groups operate. We invite new faces and ideas, and we need you in order to succeed! Come if you want to get involved.
- 7PM: Occupy Your Block. Return to your neighborhood and exchange ideas with your neighbors and community about Occupy Portland.
-For more info contact: Kate McNulty, Occupy Volunteer 503 312 6788-
My immediate take on the endorsement video was that there was no unanimous vote on the International Executive Board (IEB) for the endorsement. Indeed it may have even been a close vote. I felt even more vindicated in my belief on Thursday when it was reported that Mary Kay (kudos) was arrested at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge...with George Gresham, President of SEIU 1199 (SEIU's largest local). In addition the opening page of the International's web page has changed over the last 24 hours. The video is no longer there. In its place is a picture of Obama and numerous articles about Occupy Actions and SEIU involvement. Maybe schizophrenia can be a good thing in this case.
Of course ultimately what matters is not the decision of the IEB or even if the process was contentious or unanimous. It is all about the rank and file. When they are deciding how to spend their time this next year, will it be to enthusiastically hit the pavement to re-elect this President or will it be to join a movement which is taking on the 1% who will be calling the shots regardless of the result in 2012? We know that the "lesser evil" mantra will be everywhere. But will that worn out motivator to get the working class to vote against their interests also work to get them out there to actually spend their precious non working hours working for that candidate when there is an alternative approach at the nearest park or street corner? It will be interesting to watch.
November 16, 2011
Where: Salem Capitol Steps; a march to the Marion Street bridge to follow
Jobs, Not Cuts! Invest in America and the American People!
On Thursday, members of the American Dream Movement will join a nationwide day of action called “We Are the 99%” and rally at the Capitol to demand that the politicians in Washington invest in job creation, and make the corporations and millionaires on Wall Street pay their fair share. The “We Are the 99%” day of action is being organized in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place across the country.
Events are being held at crumbling bridges, understaffed schools, and other sites that show the local symptoms of a failed economy. Protesters are also targeting members of the Congressional Super Committee to increase pressure on the committee to focus on jobs, not cuts. The protests are being held just days before the Congressional Super Committee’s deadline to submit a debt reduction proposal to Congress.
"Politicians in Washington must stand up for us - the 99% - and help save the American Dream," said Bobbie Cade, a local MoveOn member. "Big banks and corporations are controlling the economy, and reaping the benefits for only the 1% while the rest of us struggle more and more. It's past time Congress started representing us, making certain that the economy works for all of us, and not just the millionaire CEOs of large corporations and Wall Street."
The rally will take place on Thursday, November 17th at 4:00PM at the Capitol. A march to Marion Street bridge will follow.
The event is being organized by the new American Dream Movement. The American Dream Movement is a growing movement inspired by protests in Wisconsin and fueled by the brutal right-wing attacks on the middle class and the poor. The American Dream Movement is made up of millions of ordinary Americans, along with dozens of leading grassroots organizations, fighting together for good jobs for all Americans, securing a future for our children and our communities, and finally making corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share in taxes.
More information about the American Dream Movement and the 80+ national organizations who are partners is available at http://rebuildthedream.com/.
November 17 is National day of action, come to one or all:
· 8:00 am at he East side of the Steel bridge
· 10:00 am Occupy the Banks Rally at McCall Waterfront Park
(SW Ankeny and Naito Parkway)
· 11:00 am March on the banks.
Saturday, November 19th, 12:00 noon, we meet on Waterfront Park at SW Salmon & SW Naito Parkway. TAKE WALL ST. OUT OF HEALTH CARE, HEALTH CARE FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR PROFIT. 44,840 unnecessary deaths occur each year in the US due to inability to pay. OCCUPY HEALTH CARE NOW, Everybody’s in, nobody’s out, Health care for all!
November 15, 2011
An Open Letter to Mayor Sam Adams:
We, as members of the Occupy Portland Liaison Team, are officially resigning from our roles as city and police liaisons for the Occupy Portland movement. This is in direct response to the deplorable police actions of this past weekend and your refusal to communicate clearly with us during that time.
We were specifically asked by City Hall to create this Liaison Team, for the purpose of facilitating clear communication between city government, police and the Occupy Portland movement. We worked hard to assemble a capable team of activists to act as a conduit of information as agreed upon by our General Assembly.
Initial meetings were amiable and seemingly productive, as your staff was able to express concerns, some of which we shared, about conditions within the encampment. We facilitated communication and followed up by working closely with city employees and our own volunteers to address issues relevant to camp safety.
Despite our efforts, over the weekend, you decided to cave to pressure from your friends at the Portland Business Alliance, the Police Association and other groups interested in maintaining the status quo of economic injustice and issued us an eviction notice. Instead of allowing us to address conditions within our encampment in a transparent and democratic way you chose to enlist the full apparatus of police repression to destroy our encampment.
There were no efforts made by the Portland Police Bureau to communicate to Occupy Portland Police Liaisons or members of our Liaison Team during the events that transpired over the course of Saturday November 12th through Sunday November 13th. We find this highly disturbing since we were asked by your office to be the conduit of information to and from Occupy Portland.
It seems that when City Hall wants something from us you make every effort to reach out, but when you plan to do something to us, communication is halted and you let the police do the talking with their batons. Our trust in City Hall was apparently misplaced.
Thousands of Portland residents of all ages came out over the weekend to support us and help defend our constitutional right to peaceful assembly. They were greeted by hundreds of militarized riot police armed with tasers, stun batons, beanbag weapons, tear gas, pepper spray and live ammunition. This was shocking to many of us who did not expect you to respond to unarmed, peaceful and joyful protest with potentially deadly force. The next day we observed police officers clubbing our fellow citizens and friends with batons, throwing people to the ground and making many unnecessary arrests in the process of destroying our encampment.
An example of this blatant police brutality is the violent attack on Justin James Bridges, the sign language interpreter for Occupy Portland. After repeatedly communicating to Portland Police officers that he had a broken back, police officers responded by beating him and putting a knee into his back. He was hospitalized and lost feeling and control of movement in one arm and one leg due to the unreasonable and excessive physical aggression inflicted by these police officers. Justin was released from the hospital yesterday after spending the night in the hospital. Justin is now in a wheelchair.
You told us on the first day of our protest that you were sympathetic to the goals of our movement and wanted to help find a solution that works for everybody. The behavior over the weekend of police officers under your command has clearly indicated otherwise. Yours is the latest in a string of aggressive, dangerous crackdowns by city and state governments across the nation attempting to silence the Occupy movement.
You claim to support us and yet you tell your police force to destroy us. Peaceful citizens are being injured in the process.
This is not democratic; it is autocratic. Portland expects more from its City Government.
Signing on to ending corporate personhood and changing campaign finance laws amounts to a conveniently timed attempt to restore your declining reputation among members of the progressive left. While we agree with these goals, offering piecemeal crumbs of liberal reform is not acceptable as an olive branch to our movement.
We have said from day one that our fight is not with you, but rather with banks, irresponsible corporations and a corrupt federal government. By camping outside of City Hall we gave you a choice to decide to stand with us and with working class Americans. Instead you made the choice to protect unjust social and economic policies that are leading our nation into a state of financial ruin and institutionalized oppression. The actions of the Portland Police have made it clear where you stand and no amount of political grandstanding will justify your creation of a police state in downtown Portland.
We at Occupy Portland will continue to make our message heard and to stand firmly in opposition to policies and decisions that perpetuate oppression and injustice.
We are open to working with City Hall on many issues but our trust in you and in the Portland Police Bureau has been severely broken. This trust can be somewhat repaired if you choose to apologize for the actions of those under your command this weekend and hold all officers fully accountable for their use of excessive physical violence against unarmed peaceful protesters. Please address your apology to those injured, to Occupy Portland, the Liaison Team and to the Occupy Movement.
In response to your “offer” of support yesterday, we ask that you make public all raw unedited police footage related to Occupy Portland. We await your apology and delivery of this footage with an open mind because we believe there is potential for collaboration with city government in the future.
Despite acting in the interests of corporate elites, you, Sam Adams, are also part of the 99 percent. There will always be a place for you in our movement, should you honestly choose to join us.
Adriane Ackerman – City Liaison
Alaina Melville – Police Liaison POC
Jim Oliver – City Liaison POC
Kip Silverman – Media Liaison
Micaiah Dutt – Police Liaison
Trip Jennings – Police Liaison
Katherine Sherman POC Kids’ Village
Jay Dragon POC Kid Village
Illona Trogub Media & Communications
William Daniel Showalter
Mike Blue hair POC Occupy Portland Video Collective
Vargus Pike- Citizen of the state
Ivy Seaburg, RN Medic
Tony Zilka Union Liaison
*** Endorsements were received between the few hours that this open letter to Occupy Portland was released and the press conference occurring at 7:14am on Tuesday, November 15th. We welcome all additional endorsements in the comment section. We ask that non-endorsement comments be directed to the forum.***
November 14, 2011
November 12, 2011
Those of us who are more privileged and more comfortable would prefer that these people be less visible. The protesters have tried valiantly to provide services to those in need, but have been overwhelmed.
The salient question is not how do we get rid of Occupy Portland, but how do we address the human need that has been made all too clear? And in a larger sense, how do we address the economic inequity at the root of this nation's suffering?
Dear JwJ Activists,
As you are probably aware, Mayor Adams is threatening to shut down the
Occupy Portland encampment at midnight on Saturday. JwJ has signed on to
the following statement, and encourages everyone to show your support by
heading downtown on Saturday. For the full schedule of the day's events, go
Labor groups will meet at 6:45pm for a Labor and Community Support Rally
at the Labor Tent (SW 3rd and Main). Hope to see you there!
Statement in Support of Occupy Portland
We support the Occupy Wall Street movement in Portland and around the world. It is a commendable and much-needed response to the corporate greed and government corruption that negatively affects so many people in our communities and beyond.
As organizations advocating for economic and social justice, we owe the men, women and youth of this movement a great deal of gratitude for the tremendous shift they have created in the national debate. After years of effort, the nation is finally beginning to consider the root causes of the nation's economic woes rather than seek out scapegoats. This positive momentum must be continued.
Obviously, the movement's successes have made it a target for those who prefer the status quo. We acknowledge that the Occupy Portland encampment is not without problems. That said, it would be wrong to suggest that the homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and violence so often highlighted by the corporate media and certain public officials was created by the encampment. Putting the many hardships associated with poverty on public display should be a step towards addressing them, not an excuse for political repression. Volunteers within Occupy Portland have done an amazing job trying to address these issues and they deserve far more help and credit than has been given them thus far.
We urge the City to reconsider plans to forcibly remove demonstrators from Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, and to instead work with Occupy Portland to address whatever legitimate concerns exist regarding health and public safety. There is no shortage of peaceable and respectful actions the City could take to achieve those goals, while also protecting demonstrators' First Amendment rights.
We put the City on notice that we will not tolerate violence in any form against peaceful protestors.
(if your organization would like to sign on to this, please email
November 11, 2011
November 9, 2011
This is a once in a generation opportunity to take bold action with a critical mass of activists willing and ready to confront corporate greed. Seize the moment. Plan to take the day off work (because banks are open 9-5pm). Spread the word. Gather your friends. Plan your action. Be Creative. Occupy the Banks.
8am support an organized labor civil disobedience with We Are Oregon on the East Side of Steel Bridge.
10am Rally at Waterfront Park @ SW Ankeny
11-1pm we march to visit civil disobedience actions in progress!
Workshops for anyone wanting help planning actions and organizing new affinity groups are happening! Schedule at n17pdx.org/training, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can RSVP on facebook for trainings too!
Thursday 11/10: Security/Blockades @ FIELD WORK, 1101 SW Jefferson 6-9pm
Friday 11/11: Nonviolent Direct Action @ Laughing Horse, 12 NE 10th Ave 6-9pm.
Sunday 11/13: Nonviolent Direct Action @ FIELD WORK, 1101 SW Jefferson 4:30-7:30pm
Sunday 11/13: Legal Observer & Street Medic Training @ Backspace 115 NW 5th Ave 4pm
Monday 11/14: Blockades/Police Liaison Training @ Laughing Horse, 12 NE 10th Ave 6-9pm
Tuesday 11/15: Nonviolent Direct Action@ FIELD WORK, 1101 SW Jefferson 6-9pm
Tuesday 11/15: Street Medic Training for medical professionals Location TBA 6-9pm
Wednesday 11/16: Legal Briefing for action participants @ FIELD WORK 6-9pm 1101 SW Jefferson
To coordinate with other actions or join support teams for them, come to the action Spokescouncil planning meetings. Every other day at 6pm: Thursday 11/10, Saturday 11/12, Monday 11/14, and Wednesday 11/16 at the First Unitarian Church (1011 SW 13th).
Help it go viral! Share this video on your social media sites
Visit www.n17pdx.org for more details
With decentralized-yet-coordinated nonviolent civil disobedience, we will target the big banks, rejecting their direction of the economic system that divides us all. Let’s reclaim our democracy, stop the foreclosures, and recreate the society we want to see. Together, on Thursday November 17, let’s shut the banks down!
There is an old communist saying “We have to raise the bucket from the ground” — meaning that we can’t control where things start from. People enter into radical activity and struggle (as Lenin once said) “with all their prejudices” and then we (together) “raise the bucket” from there. And this is not just a matter of the middle classes and their prejudices. Anyone who doesn’t think the most oppressed enter struggle with very mixed ideas and baggage…. well they don’t know very much about the oppressed in real life.
This means (obviously) that many people in the U.S. come into political life with patriotic misconceptions (about history but also about the current U.S. role in the world). Even the very oppressed often arrive with non-rational, mystical or semi-religious notions about how society works (which helps underscore non-rational conspiracy theories).
They are sometimes only thinking about how to better THEIR personal position (or the position of people like them) — and so we get notions of “buy American” or “energy independence as a security issue” or “maintain U.S. dominance in the world.” Or “speaking as [fill in the section of people]” — as if our struggle is not global and universal, or as if our view of reality can’t be held in common.
People sometimes arrive thinking that things are now terrible and worsening — but still believing that somewhere (in the recent past, or some distant past) “things” were somehow better — and so we get slogans like “take America back” (as if “we” every had it!), and as if there is some previous ideal that we want to return to, or as if the “founding fathers” had the right idea that has since been perverted (and so on).
Read more here.
- “End the Fed” and “Occupy the Federal Reserve” --- both blatantly in favor of Ron Paul's race for president in 2012.
- Various other persons and pages that are blatantly Ron Paul supporters.
- He believes that climate change is no big deal and the Environmental Protection Agency is unnecessary.
- He would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it was a "massive violation of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of a free society."
- He believes that the Americans with Disabilities Act should have never been passed. Paul says, “The treatment of the handicapped should be determined by the free market.”
- He believes that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unconstitutional.
- He holds to the view that America is a Christian, rather than secular, nation. He opposes the concept of the separation of church and state. Instead, he claims that "the notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers." He argued that, "the Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian" nation.
November 7, 2011
The Greatest ‘Occupy’ of Them All
Today, November 7, 2011, is the 94th anniversary of the November 1917 insurrection that gave all power to the workers’ councils in Russia. (The Russian for “council” is soviet.) That was probably the greatest “Occupy movement” of them all—at least to date. Imagine what the U.S. version will look like!
Below, on this anniversary, we reproduce some scenes from what we now can call “Occupy Petrograd.”
And for those who have pointed to the very welcome entry of veterans (and some active-duty troops) into the U.S. Occupy movement, notice the descriptions of the soldiers and sailors in Russia almost a century ago.
The excerpts below are from Max Eastman's translation of History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky. (Our thanks to Labor Standard editorial board member Andy Pollack for sending out these excerpts from
www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/index.htm — and also for his comments, which we have paraphrased. Note that we made some small editorial insertions in Eastman’s translation. ) — George Saunders, co-managing editor, Labor Standard
THE CONGRESS OF THE SOVIET DICTATORSHIP
In Smolny on the 25th of October the most democratic of all parliaments in the world’s history was to meet. Who knows—perhaps also the most important. Having got free of the influence of compromisist intellectuals, the local soviets had sent up for the most part workers and soldiers. The majority of them were people without big names, but who had proved themselves in action and won lasting confidence in their own localities. From the active army it was almost exclusively rank-and-file soldiers who had run the blockade of army committees and headquarters and come here as delegates. A majority of them had begun to live a political life with the revolution [of February-March 1917]. They had been formed by an experience of eight months. They knew little, but knew it well. The outward appearance of the Congress proclaimed its make-up. The officers’ chevrons, the eyeglasses and neckties of intellectuals to be seen at the first Congress had almost completely disappeared.
A gray color prevailed uninterruptedly, in costumes and in faces. All had worn out their clothes during the war. Many of the city workers had provided themselves with soldiers’ coats. The trench delegates were by no means a pretty picture: long since unshaven, in old torn trench-coats, with heavy papakhi [tall fur hats] on their disheveled hair, often with cotton sticking out through a hole, with coarse weather-beaten faces, heavy cracked hands, fingers yellowed with tobacco, buttons torn off, belts hanging loose, and long unoiled boots wrinkled and rusty. The plebeian nation had for the first time sent up an honest representation made in its own image and not retouched…
An influx of confidence had come with the news of the capture of the Winter Palace, and afterward with the coming over of the bicycle men to the insurrection. But both these facts still had to do with the mechanics of insurrection. Only now was its historic meaning becoming clear in action. The victorious insurrection had built under this congress of workers and soldiers an indestructible foundation of power.
The delegates were voting this time not for a resolution, not for a proclamation, but for a governmental act of immeasurable significance [the decree on peace, drafted and submitted by Lenin]. Listen, nations! The revolution offers you peace. It will be accused of violating treaties. But of this it is proud. To break up the leagues of bloody predation is the greatest historic service. The Bolsheviks have dared to do it. They alone have dared. Pride surges up of its own accord. Eyes shine. All are on their feet. No one is smoking now. It seems as though no one breathes. The presidium, the delegates, the guests, the sentries, join in a hymn of insurrection and brotherhood. “Suddenly, by common impulse,” – the story will soon be told by John Reed, observer and participant, chronicler and poet of the insurrection – “we found ourselves on our feet, mumbling together into the smooth lifting unison of the ‘Internationale.’ A grizzled old soldier was sobbing like a child. Alexandra Kollontai rapidly winked the tears back. The immense sound rolled through the hall, burst windows and doors and soared into the quiet sky.”
Did it go altogether into the sky? Did it not go also to the autumn trenches, that hatch-work upon unhappy, crucified Europe, to her devastated cities and villages, to her mothers and wives in mourning? “Arise ye prisoners of starvation! Arise ye wretched of the earth!” The words of the song were freed of all qualifications. They fused with the decree of the government, and hence resounded with the force of a direct act. Everyone felt greater and more important in that hour. The heart of the revolution enlarged to the width of the whole world. “We will achieve emancipation...” [Eastman is translating from the Russian wording of “The Internationale.”—G.S.] The spirit of independence, of initiative, of daring, those joyous feelings of which the oppressed in ordinary conditions are deprived—the revolution had brought them now “…with our own hands!” The omnipotent hands of those millions who had overthrown the monarchy and the bourgeoisie would now strangle the war. The Red Guardsman from the Vyborg district, the gray soldier with his scar, the old revolutionist who had served his years at hard labor, the young black-bearded sailor from the Aurora—all vowed to carry through to the end this ”last and deciding fight.” [In Russian: Eto yest nash poslednii i reshitelny boi.] “We will build our own new world!” We will build! In that word eagerly spoken from the heart was included already the future years of the civil war and the coming five-year plans with all their hard work and privation. “We have been naught. We shall be all!” If the actualities of the past have often been turned into song, why shall not a song be turned into the actuality of the future?
Those trench-coats no longer seemed the costumes of galley-slaves. The papakhi with their holes and torn cotton took on a new aspect above those gleaming eyes. “The race of man shall rise again!” Is it possible to believe that it will not rise from the misery and humiliation, the blood and filth of this war?
The whole presiding body, with Lenin at its head, stood and sang with excited enraptured faces and shining eyes. The last sound of the anthem died away, but the Congress remained standing, a fused human mass enchanted by the greatness of what they had experienced and accomplished.
November 6, 2011
As you know, the Public Employees Benefit Board reached some decisions this summer that significantly impact healthcare benefits for SEIU Local 503 members and their families, including promulgation of a new Health Engagement Model and other plan design changes. At the same time, the Oregon Health Authority began looking into transforming delivery of healthcare through Coordinated Care Organizations as mandated by legislation last spring.
While HEM and CCOs are separate issues, they are clearly linked and must be approached with a unified strategy that addresses three questions:
What is our plan regarding HEM and other changes?
How do we deal with the increasing costs of health care and its impact on our compensation?
How will PEBB relate to the new Coordinated Care Organizations?
We have attempted to address them in a memo, PEBB, HEM, and CCOs: A Strategic Approach, which gives background and a summary of HEM, and outlines our plan to hold PEBB accountable for reforming HEM. It also shares a comprehensive description of the CCOs and potential impacts on PEBB members. Please read it and feel free to share with your coworkers.
I want to draw special attention to our plan to address concerns around PEBB and HEM:
• We will use a Labor-Management Committee regarding the Health Engagement Model, established by Letter of Agreement attached to the 2011-13 Collective Bargaining Agreement, to develop an evaluation process for HEM, and make recommendations for improvements before PEBB adopts a plan for 2013. As with all committees formed via bargaining, the DAS/OUS Bargaining Team is responsible for appointing members of the committee and monitoring its progress. Members of the committee are:
SEIU Local 503
Ideas that don't belong at Occupy
Elizabeth Schulte explains why libertarians are out of place in the Occupy struggle.
October 26, 2011
Ron Paul (Gage Skidmore)Ron Paul (Gage Skidmore)
THE RIGHT wing is responding to the Occupy Wall Street movement as you'd expect--displaying all their contempt for ordinary people.
Tea Party Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia called the Occupy protests an "attack upon freedom." "I see people angry in my district, too, but this attack upon business, attack upon industry, attack upon freedom," he said. "I think that's what this is all about."
Republican presidential candidate and pizza mogul Herman Cain skipped right to the chase and went after the protesters themselves. "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks," the Tea Party favorite told the Wall Street Journal. "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone's fault if they succeeded, it is someone's fault if they failed."
Tea Party politicians who claimed to be populists only recently are showing that when it comes to expressions of what ordinary people really do think, they're on the other side.
Opinion polls show that about twice as many people are sympathetic toward Occupy Wall Street than the Tea Party, whose support has plummeted since it fell out of the media spotlight. According to a Time magazine poll conducted October 9-10, when asked their opinion of the Tea Party, 8 percent of respondents said "very favorable" and 19 percent "somewhat favorable." When asked about Occupy Wall Street, 25 percent said "very favorable" and 29 percent "somewhat favorable."
Despite this, the Occupy protests are still treated in much of the media as a "fringe" movement--and police around the country feel perfectly justified in manhandling any demonstrator they get their hands on. When a right-winger came armed with a loaded handgun to a town hall meeting where Barack Obama was discussing health care reform in 2009, the police gave him a pass, allowing him to circulate through the crowd of protesters.
The actual fringe--the Tea Party--got the rapt attention of the corporate media, while it took weeks for them to report on the Occupy protesters.
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OF COURSE, there are exceptions to the rule. At many Occupy encampments, you'll find some right-wingers with a lot in common with Herman Cain. These are libertarians, particularly supporters of Ron Paul, the Texas congressman and contender for the Republican presidential nomination--and they claim their ideas are part of the Occupy movement.
Some people think Occupy activists should view the libertarian presence as a positive thing--that we should reach across the left-right divide and welcome Ron Paul supporters into our movement.
But does the presence of the libertarian view make our movement stronger or weaker? Does giving their ideas a place in the movement show our ability to embrace all kinds of people? Or does this give credence to an ideology that is the opposite of what Occupy stands for?
It's important to know the facts about Ron Paul. He's considered one of the fathers of the Tea Party movement, and his son Rand Paul won a Kentucky Senate seat last year against the opposition of the Republican establishment thanks to the support of the Tea Party.
Ron Paul's supporters--with their typically obsessive focus on a handful of issues like closing down the Federal Reserve--have become a fixture at some Occupy events, particularly in the South. They claim they're participating because they oppose Wall Street, the same as everyone else. And on the surface, Paul's libertarian views might seem to jibe with those of the majority of the Occupy movement.
Paul opposes the "war on drugs" and even favors legalization. He opposes the war in Iraq and the civil rights-shredding USA PATRIOT Act. But these are stances in keeping with his libertarian philosophy of "getting the government out of people's lives"--a philosophy that, when extended to other issues, translates into the complete opposite of what would help workers and the poor suffering the effects of the economic crisis.
For instance, Paul is in favor of eliminating the federal Department of Education and allowing individual states to decide what kind of education they deem appropriate for children, and how much funding to devote to it. Paul also opposes Social Security, a program that, during the decades it has been in existence, has helped tens of millions of the elderly and disabled avoid falling into poverty. Paul also supports abolishing federal welfare programs, along with the entire Department of Health and Human Services.
Instead, Ron Paul thinks that the poor should go it alone, without any government help. At a Republican candidates' debate in Tampa, Fla., in September, he was asked what should happen to a 30-year-old who decided against paying for insurance, but who goes into coma. This was his heartless answer:
Well, in a society that you accept welfarism, he expects the government to take care of him. But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy.According to Paul's every-man-for-himself philosophy, any regulation mandating a minimum wage or safer working conditions are a part of "big government," and should be eliminated. He's against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination against workers on the basis of sexual identity, and he voted against extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks in October 2008.
So it only follows that Paul is against the organizations that have historically fought for laws to defend workers' living standards and protect their safety on the job: unions. Paul's goal is to "free Americans from the shackles of compulsory unionism" by passing a "National Right to Work Act" in Congress.
As he wrote in his book Liberty Defined:
Minimum wage laws and mandating union contracts (closed shop) are designed to help a small segment of workers gain economic advantage while actually hurting unprotected workers. Long term, even the beneficiaries suffer from the unemployment that excessive wage demands bring about. High wages are great, but if there are no jobs, they become meaningless. In a free society with free markets, workers should always negotiate for the highest wage, while businesses should always strive for maximum profits.Paul and his supporters aren't interested in protecting the rights of workers but rather the rights of corporations to make a profit by exploiting employees free of any legal restrictions.
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MANY OF Paul's policies are just plain racist. One role for "big government" that he supports is increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. Included in his "six-point plan for immigration" is ending "birthright citizenship." Paul explains on his website, "As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong."
Paul is well-known for opposing U.S. wars in the Middle East, but while he argues for withdrawal of U.S. troops, he also wants them to come back to patrol the border. As Paul said at a Republican debate in Ames, Iowa, in August:
I have a strong position on immigration. I don't think that we should give amnesty and they become voters. But I do think we should deal with our borders. One way that I would suggest that we could do it is pay less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan, and bring our troops home and deal with the border. But why do we pay more attention to the borders overseas and less attention to the borders here at home?On the question of bilingual education--as with most questions--Paul says the states should decide. He also thinks that the states should decide whether women should have the legal right to obtain safe, legal abortions. Paul said in an October 1999 speech before Congress:
I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe v. Wade. I do believe in the slippery-slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.Anyone who knows the history of the civil rights movement knows what Paul's talk about "states' rights" really means--allowing racism and segregation to thrive, while pretending that is was a matter of giving states the "democratic" right to choose their own fate.
So it should be of no surprise that Ron Paul was the only member of Congress to vote against a 2004 bill honoring the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul said:
The result [of the Civil Rights Act] was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to envision how Paul's line of thinking would have applied to the debates about the abolition of slavery a century and a half ago.
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ANYONE WHO has been to a protest or General Assembly of the Occupy movement recognizes right away the amazing openness and welcoming atmosphere. These are places where political ideas can be discussed and debated, and where people whose ideas are ordinarily never heard are heard. This, along with its anti-corporate message, is what has attracted so many people to the Occupy movement.
This openness and respect for the right to express ideas is one of the strengths of Occupy. But debates over what kinds of ideas make the movement stronger--and which do not--also have a place. It's not just the case that political campaigns like Ron Paul's have no place in a movement that's independent of the two parties. Some ideas are actually counterproductive--because they are in disagreement with building a movement committed to opposing Wall Street greed.
Ideas like those espoused by Ron Paul and his libertarian supporters, such as opposition to government social programs, are the opposite of what the Occupy movement is about. We need more taxes on the rich and corporations, with the money devoted to helping workers and the poor, by increasing the quality of public schools or providing an effective social safety net.
Likewise, there is no place for ideas that divide us and make our movement weaker by vilifying undocumented immigrants or trade unions. We need political discussion and participation that builds solidarity and unity within the Occupy movement.
November 5, 2011
Action #1 - Continue Unemployment Benefits
Half In Ten, the campaign to cut poverty in half in ten years, has this online action to urge members of Congress to protect jobless benefits. For insight on organizing the unemployed, check out this People's World article: Chicago unemployment activist’s message of hope.
Action #2 - Repair and Modernize America’s Schools
All students are entitled to a safe and healthy learning environment. We need immediate action to turn crumbling schools into healthy, high-performing learning environments for students and educators. Contact the American Federation of Teachers here to sign their petitions.
Action #3 - Support S. 1769, the Rebuild America Jobs Act
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has set up an action to get your senator on board to support S.1769 to put $58 billion dollars of infrastructure spending in areas such as roads, bridges, transit, and aviation.
Action #4 - No Cuts to Social Security or Medicare
Progressives United has an online tool that allows you to tell super committee Democrats to say no to any deal that cuts Social Security or Medicare.
We Are the 99%!
The AFL-CIO has taken another step to embrace the Occupy Movement by creating their own We Are the 99% website. Also, CPUSA Chair Sam Webb has an article on the movement at the People's World: Occupy: embrace the new, build the movement.
Anyone who wants to understand the enduring nature of Occupy Wall Street protests across the country need only look at the first official data on 2010 paychecks, which the U.S. government posted online last month.
Please make sure to visit the People's World online for the best in worker's news!
Labor Chair, CPUSA