“Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice” by Senka Huskic (Occupy.com)

June 8, 2016

When Occupy Wall Street started, many people made fun of the protestors and what they stood for. Those who felt satisfied with the current system, where so few can live comfortably from their wages, told the general public that OWS protesters were just lazy people who wanted to live off the government. Today, those same people are very surprised at the power of Bernie Sanders movement – a movement that is finally talking about the most important economic and social issues. Bernie gave people their voices back and inspired many to join and raise their voices against the status quo, believing that only united we can move forward toward a more just system for all.

Bernie is a metaphor for the change this country needs to start rebuilding its middle class. His supporters are standing up and talking about the demise of the working class in the United States. Sen. Sanders has already been able to awaken millions of people while reminding them that it’s their right to ask for living wages, for health care, for the closure of offshore tax havens, for a formal and enforced end to financial crimes, for strength and hope to move towards justice and refuse to accept things as they currently stand.

It provides some perspective to recall this article from 2015 when no one in the mainstream took Bernie seriously, when the establishment labeled him as too radical and too crazy to understand their politics. This is because he was never afraid to speak his mind without coloring it to fit the expedient needs of politics, and to please those who want the truth to stay hidden.

Fast forward to mid-2016 and we see that those politicians who sold our democracy to the highest bidder knew nothing about the American people – namely, that we’ve had enough and we were ready to feel the Bern. They didn’t know that this country has been waking up, more every day, with more people joining and realizing what has been done to us and how we can fix it together.

I have written numerous articles for this site about the aftermath of mortgage and foreclosure fraud, and how millions of people lost their homes due to the biggest scam of our generation. Bernie is the only senator (aside from Elizabeth Warren) who has constantly spoken about this crime, never retreating from his position of holding Wall Street accountable for their criminal behavior. He is the one who has called for uncovering and stopping tax havens so that corporations get off our backs and start paying their fair share of taxes – not to mention paying their workers decent wages so that our country doesn’t have to provide food stamps to people working full time.

Most of all, Sen. Sanders is bringing back people’s confidence, reminding Americans of their power when they unite and stand up for justice. His recent voting record includes votes on bills to: make the Federal Reserve more transparent; prohibit liability immunity for corporations that break user agreements; bring jobs back to America; protect women’s health from corporate interference; and establish a new and more equitable minimum wage.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, Bernie Sanders movement, Wall Street fraud, Wall Street crimes, criminal bankers

The American people have been waiting a long time for someone to actually represent them. That means protecting them from the fraud and corruption that is happening in the name of lobbying. Those with money are sending lobbyists to Congress to change existing laws and make new ones; meanwhile, many representatives who were elected to serve the people are leaving their government positions to go into lobbying careers, or working for those they used to regulate and oversee.

Lost in the shuffle, the people are left to wait the next turn, and then the next, and the next, and one day they realize that life has flown by and nothing has changed except that their kids are now in a worse position that they were – with so much student debt after college that it’s hard to start contemplating even more debt when it comes to buying a house or continuing with higher education. What happened, and how did we get here, to this point where our kids’ future is no longer promising, where they’re working low-paid jobs with their college degrees while those on the other side – those who perpetrated some of the biggest financial crimes in history – are getting richer and our politicians are still protecting them?

The time has come to give a chance to someone who has fought for this country and its people all his life, who stood by his words and never labeled Wall Street fraud as mere “shenanigans” the way his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has done. The country needs Bernie Sanders more than ever; we need his honesty and his fearlessness when he calls out the deeds committed by bankers by their real name: crime and fraud.

Young people recognize this and that is why they’re supporting Bernie in huge numbers. Young people are aware that this is their future that is on the line and that this is the moment when they still have the time, energy and belief to make this change come. We must be determined to change the status quo because if we give up now, the status quo will only change for the good of corporations, Wall Street and all those who have enough money to influence our politicians. The people, the working and middle classes, will continue to struggle to keep up with bills, with high health insurance costs, with no health insurance, with helping their kids escape student debt, and doing all this while their retirement comes and they’re left with nothing. Even our social security is in jeopardy of getting privatized and put in the hand of Wall Street gamblers.

It’s hard to bring about major change in any society. It takes years to build a progressive movement and see it in action. Our generation is witnessing history in the making. Now it is up to us to do our part and push forward for a better world. Here is how: We need to start voting for people who do not profit from every war; people who won’t take contributions from foreign governments and then sell them arms; people whose companies and their friends’ companies won’t profit from oil in countries we “liberate”; people who won’t send bankers to work with corrupt politicians in those countries in order to further in-debt their citizens; people who won’t help dictators come to power.

Privilege is to pick Hillary over Bernie, and to say to Bernie supporters that you must “be with her” since she is better than Trump while forgetting that you once had the option to choose the candidate who is for the people and not the banks, the corporations and the status quo. The decision is now.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, Bernie Sanders movement, Wall Street fraud, Wall Street crimes, criminal bankers

Action Council Events . . . June 8 to June 12

Please send notices of events of interest to f political activists in the bay area at least one week in advance to pat1936@gmail.com so that I can list them on the calendar.
–Patricia Gray

Wednesday June 8
6:00 pm                    CCSF Smith Hall Cafeteria 
                                50 Pheland Ave. S.F.
                                SFPD POLICE COMMISSION MEETING
                                Public comments on Use Of Force
7:00 – 8:00 pm           The Green Arcade , 1680 Market St. S.F. 
                                INSPIRING LOW CAR (bon) COMMUNITIES
                                COMING
                                Speakers:  Nicole Foletta – international expert
                                on transit and Jason Henderson, Professor in
                                Geography and Environment at S.F.S.U.
                                will discuss how to reduce carbon emissions
                                amd recognizing  the social benefits of car
                                free and low car(bon) communities
                                free event
_________________________________________________________
Thursday June 9
1:00 pm            S.F. City Hall
                        MONSTOR IN THE MISSION
                        press report  Polk St. Stair
2:00 – 2:30         room 400   Public comment 
__________________________________________________________
Friday June 10
12 noon          California commission on Judicial Performance 
                      455 Golden Gate Ave.  S.F.
                      Deliver 500,000  signatures to request that Judge
                      Persky be removed form office over his decision
                      to send  a person to only six months in jail for a
                      jury conviction for raping an unconscious person.
1:00 pm     2437 Piedmont Ave. Berkeley 
                 STOP BULLY LANDLORDS
                  Come and help keep the driveway open so that the
                  sister of a tenant  may move in as she has a legal
                  right to do.
2:00 – 5:00 pm   25 Van Ness Ave.  room 610  S.F. 
                        COMMUNITY NOT CAGES
                        The No New Jail Coalition meeting to plan ways
                        to solve the problems of arrest and imprisonment
                        of so many people in San Francisco.
                        sponsor: curbprisonspending.org
6:00 – 8:00 pm   3150 16th St.  (at Albion )
                       NEW PROPOSAL FOR 14TH AND STEVENSON
                       Preaplication meeting for merging two parking lots
                       into one and building a 45 unit residential building
                       with ground floor parking.  This is a very large
                       development with no “afordable” housing.  It will
                       have a luxury residnets lounge and theater, an
                       indoor/outdoor fitness center with a 24hr front desk
                       attendant.
____________________________________________________
Saturday June 11
8:00 am      9th St. Park , Benicia CA
                  2016 REFINERY HEALING WALK
                  This walk along the refinery corridor will be led by
                   Native Americans in prayer.  We will walk for clean
                  air, water, soil, safe jobs and a healthy environment
                  for future generations.
                  Check the web site refineryhealingwalk.com for bus service
                  organized by 350.org
3:00 pm      275 Battery St. San Francisco  Japanese Consulate 
                 FUKUSHIMA RELATED CANCER
                 The people of the world need to know the danger of
                 nuclear power plants.  We need to shut them down.
____________________________________________________
Sunday June 12
12 – 3;00 pm    East Side Alliance 1177 International Blvd. Oakland 
                      REPORT BACK FROM PALESTINE
                      In March a delegation of 19 former prisoners,
                      Black Panthers, activists and scholars visited
                     Palestine .  Join us for slides, discussion and
                     reflections.
                    Speakers, Emery Douglas, Black Panther and Professor                           Abdrillhandi  S.F.S.U.
_________________________________________________________

Chelsea Manning contingent in Gay Pride Parade

From: Nancy Mancias [mailto:codepink.nancy@gmail.com]

Thank you for endorsing the Chelsea Manning contingent. As you might know there are number of requirements to fulfill to make it into the parade. If we don’t have enough monitors we could be prohibited from joining.

Do you know if anyone at OccupySF Action Council would be interested in becoming a contingent monitor? or wheels monitor? We need 5 contingent monitors and 1 wheel monitor. There’s short video to watch and survey to fill out and you become a monitor. It takes 10 mins. Super easy!

Let me know if there’s any interest.

Thank you,

Nancy

San Francisco Pride Parade Monitor Training

Monitors are needed for the Chelsea Manning Contingent

Training this year is done on-line! You don’t have to go anywhere. There’s short video to watch and survey to fill out and you become a monitor. It takes 10 mins. Super easy!

Needed are 5 Contingent Monitors and 1 Wheel Monitor

Contact Nancy M. if interested: codepink.nancy@gmail.com

Info for Training

Step 1: Share and Watch the 10-minute video at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDIzSFWYW-U

This video contains pertinent information for ALL contingent members, so please let everyone in your group know that it is available.

Step 2: Have your monitors complete the survey at the link below:

https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/MsituF

This survey gets the name and contingent information from your monitors, and asks them a few questions to verify that they in fact watched the video.

Guerrilla Gardening, Germination and Green Governing


stein-bpod-sign-6-4-16

Jill Stein, candidate for the Green Party nomination for President of the United States, participated in a guerrilla gardening exercise through the fence of the Community Garden after she spoke at the invite of Berkeley Post Office Defenders (BPOD) and the local Green Party on June 3rd, 2016 on the steps of the downtown Berkeley Post Office.

fence-6-3-16In late April Postal officials had installed a metal fence, blocking access to the BPOD and First They Came for the Homelessinitiated Community Garden at the Post Office. Two weeks earlier they had evicted the FTCftH protest occupation from the Allston/Miliva corner, removing the bike rack. That area was also fenced off.

About one hundred people came at 4:30 PM to hear Dr. Stein speak on the state of the economy, the state of our politics, the plight of the Post Office and what she would do about it all if elected.

stein-speaking-6-4-16

Mike Wilson(background, between pillars, below) of BPOD spoke about the importance of the institution of the Post Office in opposition to neo-liberalism and other forces of privatization.

mike-welcome-sign-6-3-16

Shirley Taylor, from the American Postal Workers Union, spoke of the union’s support in the fight to keep the Berkeley Post Office open, and the need for the Postal Service to continue to exist with augmented services, like Postal Banking, for us all.

Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Councilor for the district the Post Office is located in, and candidate for Mayor, spoke of Berkeley’s resolve to keep the Post Office open, and of the Postal Service’s latest attempt to threaten Berkeley by demanding, under threat of lawsuit, that it rescind a zoning ordinance passed two years ago which affects the uses to which the 2000 Allston Way property could be put to should it be sold. He noted that the City Council was still united in its opposition to these tactics and any attempt to sell the building.

stein-guerilla-gardening-6-4-16Mike Zint, of FTCftH, who had maintained the protest occupation for seventeen months before being evicted, spoke of the gross injustice and symbolic affront that putting up the fence around our Commons has created.

Then the guerrilla gardening started, as a few people found their way inside, and others watered the remnants of what had been a flourishing garden through the fence. Seeds balls were tossed over or through the fence, one by the candidate, with thoughts of germination in mind.

—–

Pictures thanks to First They Came for the Homeless. Carol Wolfley (last photo, middle) bottom-lined the event

OccupyForum presents . . . Author/activist Harvey Wasserman (on Monday, June 6)

Monday, June 6th from 6 – 8 pm at Global Exchange

2017 Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

OccupyForum presents…

D I S C U S S I O N:

Will the 2016 election be stolen (again)?

Will voting for Bernie help shut Diablo Canyon?

Author/activist Harvey Wasserman will give us the inside scoop!!!

Harvey Wasserman has co-authored (with Bob Fitrakis) the newly published STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT, which covers the history of racism and stolen elections since our nation’s founding. Will it happen again in 2016? Harvey has also been fighting the Diablo Canyon nukes for more than 30 years. We may be close to shutting them down.

The No Nukes movement has been one of the most successful grassroots uprisings in human history. Right now, the industry is spending millions to keep our biggest state from going totally post-nuclear. This is the critical turning point.  Since the Diablo license is soon up for renewal, and since its operations depend on federal subsidies (most importantly for liability insurance), a Sanders victory inTuesday’s California primary might mark a step toward shutting Diablo. Coming from Vermont, where grassroots action has shut the Yankee nuke, Candidate Sanders’s official position is this:

Begin a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States. Bernie believes that solar, wind, geothermal power and energy efficiency are proven and more cost-effective than nuclear – even without tax incentives – and that the toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit. Especially in light of lessons learned from Japan’s Fukushima meltdown, Bernie has also raised questions about why the federal government invests billions into federal subsidies for the nuclear industry. We can have an affordable carbon-free, nuclear-free energy system and we must work for a safe, healthy future for all Americans.

Harvey Wasserman returns to OccupyForum to lead a discussion on the roots of election fraud and its effect on life and death issues, and how we must fight to stop it.

Time will be allotted for announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

http://calcoastnews.com/2011/04/diablo-nuclear-plant-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Can-Gavin-Newsom-close-California-s-last-6734454.php

http://www.sierraclub.org/nuclear-free-future-campaign

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/11/28/california-nuclear-power-plant-pge-diablo-canyon/

FULL Susan Sarandon Interview On Bernie Sanders and California

Legendary actress Susan Sarandon spoke to TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton (@JordanChariton) on June 2nd, 2016 in Modesto, California before speaking for Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally.

Sarandon touched on the media’s derelection of duty in covering Sanders along with their bias in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Sarandon also had criticism for California Senator Barbara Boxer, who became part of a firestorm in May after Sanders supporters booed her during her speech at the Nevada State Convention.

The relevance of Occupy Wall Street to the Bernie campaign is also discussed.

NUIT DEBOUT REALITY CHECK (via Occupy London)

May 26, 2016

It began in the spring as a protest against new oppressive labour laws imposed by France’s ‘socialist’ government.

Now as this frontline footage shows, Nuit Debout has spread far beyond Paris to France’s four corners. And its supporters are debating a whole raft of other questions about THEIR lives and THEIR country.

Meanwhile, French politicians lecture them about how to think and behave. (Echoes of the Boris and Dave media show!)

In French with English subtitles.  Produced by our mates in Grenoble, France and proudly distributed by WellRedFilms.  Also watch their video of a month ago: vimeo.com/163064272

“Who rules America?” by Allan J. Lichtman (thehill.com)

WilliamHenryVanderbilt“The public be damned!”
— William H. Vanderbilt, railroad magnate, 1882 

August 12, 2014

A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.

This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government.

The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.
The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a “non-significant, near-zero level.” The analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.

The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.

The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences, “the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater” than their findings indicate.

Ultimately, Gilens and Page conclude from their work, “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”

Rich individuals and business interests have the capacity to hire the lobbyists that shadow legislators in Washington and to fill the campaign coffers of political candidates. Ordinary citizens are themselves partly to blame, however, because they do not choose to vote.

America’s turnout rate places us near the bottom of industrialized democracies. More than 90 million eligible Americans did not vote in the presidential election of 2012 and more than 120 million did not vote in the midterm elections of 2010.

Electoral turnout in the United States is highly correlated with economic standing: The more affluent Americans vote in much higher proportion than the less affluent. A study by Ellen Shearer of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern found that 59 percent of 2012 voters earned $50,000 or more per year, compared to 39 percent of non-voters. Only 12 percent of non-voters earned more than $75,000, compared to 31 percent of voters.

Ordinary citizens in recent decades have largely abandoned their participation in grassroots movements. Politicians respond to the mass mobilization of everyday Americans as proven by the civil rights and women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s. But no comparable movements exist today. Without a substantial presence on the ground, people-oriented interest groups cannot compete against their wealthy adversaries.

Average Americans also have failed to deploy the political techniques used by elites. Political Action Committees (PACs) and super-PACs, for example, raise large sums of money to sway the outcome of any election in the United States. Although average Americans cannot match the economic power of the rich, large numbers of modest contributions can still finance PACs and super-PACs that advance our common interests.

If only they vote and organize, ordinary Americans can reclaim American democracy and challenge the politicians who still echo the view of old Vanderbilt that the public should be damned.

Lichtman is distinguished professor of history at American University in Washington.