The election is finally over, so what happens next? Reihan Salam, a conservative blogger at National Review Online’s “The Agenda”, and long-time New York Times columnist Bob Herbert join Bill to assess and debate how the election revealed changes in American social and political culture. They also discuss what Obama’s re-election means for working families and people at the bottom of our economic ladder.
“I think this election really did demonstrate that there’s been a dramatic change particularly with regard to social issues and how folks talk about them,” Salam tells Bill. “I think that that has proven very sobering for a lot of folks on the right.” Salam is the co-author, with Ross Douthat, of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.
Herbert says, “I think the Republican Party is accurately defined as a party that looks out for the interests of the very wealthy. The Democratic Party less so, but I think they look out for the interests of the wealthy, too, before they look out for the interests of working Americans.” Herbert has been traveling the country for the past two years, reporting for his forthcoming book Wounded Colossus. He is now a distinguished fellow at the think tank Demos.
Occupy LA was out in full force this past week to mark their one year anniversary.
The group gathered at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. The square has become the center of the Occupy L.A. movement since protesters were ousted from the City Hall lawn.
Occupiers say they're protesting corporate control and what they call the social, economic and political injustices that continue to affect people's everyday lives.
Los Angeles police forcibly removed the protesters last winter from the City Hall lawn that they dubbed "Solidarity Park." Occupiers say the removal from City Hall did not stop their message. Protesters say it was the Occupy movement that finally brought light to the many injustices facing people in America. They say people who criticize the movement haven't been paying attention to the results.
In fact, occupiers in Los Angeles have stopped several fraudulent foreclosures from occurring, and they've applied pressure to multiple banks to stop charging fees for basic services.
Occupy LA also remains focused on what they call the criminalization of homelessness. They say corporate influences are pushing leaders to force out the city's massive homeless population for the sake of making a profit.
The group expressed concerned that most Americans still seem unwilling to address the real problems facing the U.S.
LAPD officers were on the scene during the entire peaceful demonstration. There were no reports of arrests or altercations.
On July 26, 2012, members of the #YoSoy132 movement and other Mexican social movements held a siege Televisa, Mexico's largest TV broadcaster and media conglomerate. Afterward, the following statement from the Student Assembly was read (translated by OccupyWallSt.org):
Closing remarks from the siege of Televisa
The symbolic and peaceful siege of Televisa is an historic and unprecedented accomplishment, the first action directly resuming our program of struggle, particularly our number one point: the democratization and transformation of the media and dissemination of information, as our letter states: "We fight against media monopolies and oligopolies that concentrate and manipulate information, particularly in the current electoral context where collusion between political parties and media companies is evident." We note that the current model of commercial media, represented by Televisa and TV Azteca, are excluded from society and civil organizations in general. We believe that only the socialization and collective management of the media will allow for a true open media and guarantee the right to information and freedom of expression.
Summoned by shame, indignation, and suffering, we are here today at the gates of the media company which has been tasked to misinform and manipulate the Mexican people.
#YoSoy132 is a nonpartisan, nonviolent, autonomous, anti-neoliberal social, political, and student movement independent of the parties, candidates, and organizations who respond to an electoral program -- a democratic movement where decisions emanate from the local and general assemblies which has transcended the electoral situation and continues to be organized and to fight to profoundly transform Mexico, to act as a counterweight to any decision and policy that violates the rights and interests of our people.
We have taken to the streets and now surrounded the pack of lies which Televisa represents, and we are developing the cohesion and organization of the people by raising awareness and organizing to fight for: The democratization of media, information, and its dissemination; changing the education system, science, and technology; changing the neoliberal economic model, changing the national security model; promoting participatory democracy in connection with social movements; and changing the healthcare model.
Although this demonstration was entirely peaceful, as is the struggle of this movement, there was an unnecessary deployment of police elements that stopped us by surrounding the perimeter of Televisa's installations and extended the fence to the adjoining streets, impacting the roadways and the free movement of residents. After 24 hours of the massive fence, we demonstrated a high degree of organization and unity of effort between the YoSoy132 movement, the People's Front in Defense of the Earth, the EMS, the CNTE, and the other social organizations for successful completion of the first action agreed in the framework of the National Convention against Taxation, held in Atenco. This convention has the clear objective of defending democracy, preventing the imposition [of presumed President-elect Peña Nieto], and seeking profound transformation of the current state of Mexico.
The protest was sparked in large part by the"victory" of Peña Nieto, whom social movements claim was elected via fraud and manipulation, with only the vote of a tiny percentage of Mexico's total population. Peña Nieto is of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico autocratically for 70 years. The National Commission of Human Rights has documented that Peña Nieto was directly responsible for violating the human rights of the people of Atenco in 2006 as they demonstrated for their land rights against neoliberal expansion. The events occured while he was the governor of the state of Mexico and included abuses by his security forces such as torture, illegal detentions, mass rape, and murder.
For background on #YoSoy132, who continue to draw tens of thousands to street demonstrations, see here. To support them locally, come to this event this Tuesday in New York:
Occupy Saks Fifth Avenue (Direct Action Against Carlos Slim)
Telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim is responsible for overcharging Mexico's rural poor over $129 billion. Slim owns TELMEX, a formerly public company that is now his private monopoly thanks to the neoliberal policies of the Mexican government. Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, continues to build his telecommunications empire on the backs of Mexico's poor and crippling the nation's economic development. We will not stand for such abusive practices that exploit people just so that the richest man in the world can get richer.
Join Mexico's Dos Paises Una Voz, Yo Soy 132, labor & Occupy Wall Street activists as we confront Slim at Saks Fifth Avenue, where he owns the largest private stake. We will bum rush the store, and flood it with the 99% on August 7th at 4:30 PM....
August 23rd to 26th, 2012 the Occupy The Midwest Conference will be taking place in Detroit, Michigan, hosted by Occupy Detroit. The summer conference will be the second gathering of Occupiers from around the Midwest, following the widely acclaimed success of the previous conference held during the spring in St. Louis, MO.
Occupiers from around the Midwest region will be meeting in Detroit for organizational meetings aimed at connecting Occupy movements for future projects, innovative "teach-ins" and workshops, fellowship, and entertainment. The theme for the summer conference is “Another World Is Possible”, highlighting a wide range of ideas from the Occupy movement aimed at improving the world through better local communities, while inspiring initiatives from citizens internationally. The failure of our current outdated systems has led to a demand for new and improved methods that meet the needs of all citizens, independent of a corrupt economic and social structure that benefits only a few at the expense of the many.
Regardless of someone's current level of involvement in the Occupy movement or activism in general, anyone concerned with social and economic justice is encouraged to attend the conference to exchange their ideas and visions for a better world. Topics like developing regional and local strategies, launching innovative DIY projects, urban communal living techniques, cooperative community building, and many others will be addressed. This conference will serve as an opportunity for everyone to gain skills that will immediately benefit our communities and promote self-reliance free from the limited corporate owned products and services that exist today.
Detroit was selected for the second Occupy The Midwest Conference because it serves as an unfortunate example of our failed economic system. Detroit was once a proud and iconic American city that represented the effort, pride, and character of the working class, serving as the epicenter of the American auto industry, while also acting as a major force in the entertainment industry. Today Detroit ranks amongst the highest rates in unemployment, empty housing, and crime, following the collapse of the auto industry and subsequent housing market collapse. No city in America better represents the harmful effects of corporate greed and political corruption than Detroit.
Occupy The Midwest is proud to meet in Detroit this August, not only to reinvigorate its citizens and communities, but also occupiers from around the country, providing unique opportunities to collaborate on projects that will have a direct impact in improving the lives of all people, regardless of economic status. While strengthening the relationships established at the spring conference, and building new relationships, Occupy The Midwest's summer conference will mark the beginning of a new phase of the Occupy movement, creating ideas and momentum that will evolve into an unstoppable community involving everyone who is passionate and truly believes that Another World Is Possible.
Click here to register.
Occupy The Midwest is a coalition of Occupy movements from cities around the Midwest region, uniting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy people's movement worldwide.
In the era of Occupy-evicted, the movement has emphasized national reunions to stay connected, such as the anti-NATO protests in Chicago, for which Occupiers were bused in from around the country. This nationalization process culminated in the Occupy National Gathering, held from June 30 to July 4 in Philadelphia. Three Occupy Caravans traveled across the country in the three weeks leading up to "NatGat," bearing activists from San Diego, Tuscon, Wichita, Atlanta, Boston and many other cities. Roughly 1,000 Occupiers attended the gathering's marches, workshops (with speakers like Chris Hedges and organizer Lisa Fithian), and theatrical protest (a 99 Percent vs. Tax Dodgers baseball game). The event concluded with the daylong production of a Vision for a Democratic Future, listing the attributes of a society that those at NatGat wanted to see.
This mini-documentary, "Occupy National Gathering: Perspectives on Police," portrays the internal conflict over police confrontation at the Occupy National Gathering, particularly as it relates to the future of the movement. Interviews include former Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, Un-Occupy Albuquerque activist Amalia Montoya and InterOccupy organizer Tamara Shapiro.
A new report before the "official" report on poverty in the U.S. is released gives a heads-up on what we can expect to be revealed. Yes, poverty is on track to reach levels not since before Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" in 1964.
Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy spells out in this report exactly what's pushing the poverty rate ever higher; globalization, automation, outsourcing, immigration, and less unionization.
The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.
[...] Millions could fall through the cracks as government aid from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes.
"The issues aren't just with public benefits. We have some deep problems in the economy," said Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy.
He pointed to the recent recession but also longer-term changes in the economy such as globalization, automation, outsourcing, immigration, and less unionization that have pushed median household income lower. Even after strong economic growth in the 1990s, poverty never fell below a 1973 low of 11.1 percent. That low point came after President Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty, launched in 1964, that created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs.
One item not mentioned as an issue in the economy is the absolute greed of the wealthy corporations and CEOs. Take for example the Caterpillar Corporation seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.
Then there are the corporate raiders whose greed, and cruelty, know no bounds. Take Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, for example:
I don't think it's my imagination that the wealthier these greedy corporations become, the deeper into poverty the rest of us fall.
As part of a city-wide protest movement against Chicago City Hall's assault on mental health clinics, a major battle erupted in mid-April, 2012 over keeping open the Woodlawn Clinic on the South Side. Here are nighttime scenes of the occupation, subsequent press conference, and interviews detailing why this decision has spelled disaster for humanitarian health assistance to the City's most vulnerable population. These closing also presage broader social costs. Included are Toussaint Losier (Mental Health Movement); Sophia Kortchmar, activist; N'Dana Carter (Mental Health Movement); Rev. Jose Landaverde (Our Lady of Guadalupe Angelican Catholic Church); Ronald Jackson (mental health activist). Included also is a short tribute to Helen Morley, a mental health clinic consumer and activist who predicted to city officials that if they closed her clinic, she would die. Her clinic closed on April 30, 2012, and she died on June 6, 2012.