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Peter Rothberg | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Occupy Wall Street Comes to Brooklyn

As a lifelong Brookynite, I was especially pleased to see the Brooklyn Borough President break with many of his mainline Democratic Party brethren in greeting this Saturday's borough debut of the Occupy Wall Street movement with open arms.

The voluble Marty Markowitz isn't sure whether he'll be showing up at the 11:00am rally on Saturday at Grand Army Plaza but he told the Brooklyn Paper that "It was only a matter of time before the … rallies made their way to Brooklyn. There is no doubt that Americans — those in the '99 percent’ — are hurting, and we can all agree that some of the issues being raised by these protests are concerns we can all rally around."

Six weeks ago, on September 17, the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting economic injustice began, with little attention and derisive media coverage. Now, in its fourth week, Occupy Wall Street has spread well beyond New York City's financial district to more than 400 cities and towns in the US and dozens of solidarity movements around the globe.

On Saturday, October 15, the movement will reach Brooklyn, America's fourth largest city, with a morning event at historic Grand Army Plaza. OccupyBrooklyn has a Twitter feed, a blog, and a Facebook page for info. Details on what to expect are slowly coming together but this event looks to be less an actual occupation, as in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, and more of a solidarity action. Organizers are holding an open meeting, TONIGHT Thursday night, October 13, at 7:00pm at the Commons Brooklyn to discuss, among other things, whether the movement should attempt to take up indefinite residence in the borough.

Any nominees for Brooklyn's Zuccotti Park?

Occupy Colleges Announces Second Day of Action

Last week, a campus walkout in support of Occupy Wall Street, initially called for just New York City high schools and colleges, spread in a matter of days to dozens of schools coast to coast. (Thank you Facebook and Twitter!)

As reported by the Student Activism blog, the actions on October 5 drew numbers ranging from hundreds to, on at least five campuses, individual students, starting from scratch and organizing on their own. In total, students from at least 100 college campuses around the country walked out of class in a show of solidarity and support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Students are angry about the debt that many of them must obtain to go to college and the fact that they are graduating into the worst job market since the Great Depression. And it's no wonder: outstanding student loan debt exceeded credit card debt for the first time in 2010 and student loan debt is up 25 percent since 2008.

This week will see the second national student action in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. This time around, the number of participants is sure to be significantly larger reflecting the increased, and increasingly respectful, attention the growing movement has received in the past seven days.

After a frenzy of discussion and several straw polls on Facebook, the organizers behind Occupy Colleges have announced this Thursday, October 13, as their next day of action. They’re presenting this as a day of protest rather than a walkout, and they already have fifty-six campuses on board.

Find an event here and check back regularly; updates are being made many times each day. Can't find an event near you? Check out this terrific guide to staging your own Occupy action and mount your own protest against economic inequality.

Sign Language from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.

Malalai Joya's Message on the 10th Anniversary of the Afghanistan War

Former Afghan MP, human rights activist and author Malalai Joya has a message worth spreading on today's tenth anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan, now the longest military conflict in the history of the United States.

Joya served as a Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 until early 2007, after being dismissed for publicly denouncing the presence of what she considered to be warlords and war criminals in the Afghan parliament. An outspoken critic of the Karzai administration and its Western supporters, Joya's perspective is not one you find often in the US media.

 

Michael Moore at #OccupyWallStreet

Last night, Michael Moore made his fifth visit to #OccupyWallStreet and delivered an exuberant, celebratory, inspiring sermon via the "human mic” from the steps on the east side of Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park).

The burgeoning movement against economic injustice is spreading like wildfire. If you're not in or around New York City, there are Occupy solidarity actions taking place in more than 200 other locales in the United States. Chris Bowers at Daily Kos has the most comprehensive and credible list I’ve seen. Find an action near you, use the comments field to let us know about new initiatives, and check out a brief guide on how to support the new movement.

Occupy Your City

Updated at 4:00pm

Updated at 2:56pm

The #OccupyWallStreet movement against economic injustice is spreading like wildfire with big labor and established advocacy groups joining a major march today in what is expected to be the largest action of the campaign to date.

If you're not in or around New York City, there are Occupy actions taking place in Allentown, Ann Arbor, Athens, Birmingham, Boise, Chicago, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Hartford, Houston, IndianapolisIthaca, Jersey CityLondon, Los Angeles, Madison, Miami, Michigan, New Orleans, Pensacola, Philadelphia, Rochester, Sarasota, San Francisco, Santa CruzSeattle, Tampa, Toronto and Youngstown. Please use the comments field below to alert us to other actions. I'll keep updating as more information comes in.

Occupy Your City

Don't Be in the Dark About What You Eat

Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in the European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries around the world. But in America, the industrial food industry is still allowed to keep consumers in the dark about the food they purchase.

Join me in signing a petition from the Institute for Responsible Technology calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

Top Ten Songs About Class

Since every great protest movement needs its culture, here's my stab at a list of the ten best songs ever written about class and poverty in tribute to #OccupyWallStreet. The condition of being dead-broke is a perennially popular theme in music, so, regardless, of your taste in genre, there's a song to accompany your protests against the avarice of the fat cats. Please use the comments field to let me know what I've missed and check out a brief guide on how to support the burgeoning movement against economic inequality.

 

Top Ten Songs About Class

Spearhead, Crime to be Broke in America

Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors

Harry Chapin, The Day They Closed the Factory Down

Bruce Springsteen, Factory

Grandmaster Flash, The Message

Tom Waits, Brother Can You Spare a Dime

Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner's Daughter

Tracy Chapman, Fast Car

Bob Marley, Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)

The Clash, Career Opportunities

How to Support #OccupyWallStreet

Elsewhere at thenation.com Nathan Schneider provides a terrific primer on the Occupy Wall Street protests and the many strands of people and organizations involved in the increasingly visible movement against economic inequality.

Here are a few ways to support the burgeoning movement.

First and foremost, get to Liberty Plaza to join those that Occupy Wall St. if you can. This is the heart of the movement and the inspiration for what is happening across the country. Carpools coast to coast are being arranged va this Facebook group.

If you have the means to monetarily donate, visit Occupy Wall Street’s webpage and consider donating through its website.

Get informed and let your friends and family know what is happening down on Wall Street, what the movement is about, and why you care.

Print, post and forward these fliers.

Attend one of many regional events.

Join Moveon.org's Virtual March in support of the occupation on Wednesday, October 5.

Send donated non-perishable food, books, magazines, coffee, tea bags, aspirin, blankets and socks to the UPS Store, c/o Occupy Wall Street, 118A Fulton St, #205, NY, NY 10038.

Send pizza to the protestors at Liberty Plaza. Majestic Pizza Corp in the financial district is very good and will deliver. You can call 212-349-4046 and pay with a credit card.

Like and share this Facebook page.

Follow and RT @occupywallstnyc

Remembering Green Belt Movement Founder Wangari Maathai

Professor Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan who became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with her female compatriots to demand and obtain greater access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a steadfast advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and social justice.

In presenting her with the Peace Prize, the Nobel committee hailed her for taking “a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular” and serving “as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights.” A summary of her  astounding life and work can be read here.

The best way to remember Maathai is to support the Green Belt Movement, which she founded and in which she invested her life hopes.

Organizing in Troy Davis's Name

It’s hard not to mourn, but when you’re ready to start organizing, here are four groups redoubling their efforts to abolish capital punishment in the US in Troy Davis’s name. Each organization was deeply involved in the fight to save Davis, and each group requires volunteers and financial support to survive.

Amnesty International is asking people to sign on to its Not in My Name pledge demanding that the United States join the rest of the civilized world in barring capital punishment.

The NAACP, America’s most venerable civil rights organization, was in the forefront of the fight to save Davis. The group’s formal mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination, but, under the leadership of Ben Jealous, the NAACP has also thrown itself into the thick of the fight to abolish the death penalty.

The Innocence Project is a highly effective litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted through both DNA testing and through reform of the criminal justice system. With the generous support of individuals like you, the Innocence Project has been able to free scores of innocent people by offering free representation to indigent inmates.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) is a national grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment. With active chapters in cities and campuses across the United States—including California, Texas, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC—the CEDP functions as a national clearinghouse, and organizer, for death penalty activism.

As Davis eloquently said in his astonishing final statement to supporters: “The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace.”

In Tribute: I Am Troy Davis (T.R.O.Y.)

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