“Spain to the Polls: Moving Away from Its Radical Platform, Podemos Has Lost Support” by Steve Rushton (occupy.com)

Podemos

This is the second article in a two-part series looking at the changed political landscape in Spain ahead of Dec. 20 national elections. Read the first article here.

“If I was in the Spanish state I’d probably vote for Podemos,” explains Barcelona resident Isabel Galera, simply because “the other parties are neo-fascists.”

With Spain’s 2015 national elections looming this Sunday, Dec. 20, descriptions of Podemos as the “best of a bad bunch” have become more common – resonating especially loudly with the country’s vibrant citizen movements.

Launched last year, the Podemos party, led by Pablo Iglesias, gained 8% in European Parliamentary elections and drew global attention with its radical political promises. But now, the ideology professed by leaders of Podemos is looking to more Spaniards like hype rather than substance.

Galera, who supports independence for her native Catalonia, says she lost trust with Podemos due to the party constantly changing its position on whether her region should be independent. Podemos first supported a referendum for Catalonia. Then it announced it was against the idea. Later it said the whole of Spain should get to vote on Catalan independence. Finally it returned to supporting the region’s own call for a referendum.

But wider opinion polls also show Podemos is fading for other reasons. Six months ago, the party regularly took a top position, with 30% approval and higher. Today, its popularity is half that, representing disappointment for many who hoped the party would seriously contend with the conservative Popular Party and the more left-leaning Socialist party (PSOE). Instead, another new party, the populist Ciudadanos, has grown in strength this year, challenging Podemos for the third slot.

Podemos has suggested that its direct democracy model could solve today’s economic and political crises. Its leader, Iglesias, writes: “The principal social expression of this regime crisis was the 15-M movement, the vast indignado mobilization which, starting on 15 May 2011, occupied city squares across Spain for weeks on end. Its principal political expression has been Podemos.”

It’s still early to say. But to many, that promise hasn’t yet lived up in practice. And nearly five years after the popular 15M rebellion helped shift Spain’s social and political landscape, the question of “when” is on many people’s minds.

Retracing the 15M Phenomenon

In May of 2011, millions took over Spanish squares with slogans like, “We are not merchandise at the hands of politicians and bankers.” The protest for Democracia Real Ya, or Real Democracy Now, began with an occupation of Puerta del Sol in Madrid on May 15, and heavy police repression catalyzed the movement nationwide.

The numbers involved in protests and occupations over the next two months were massive. An estimated 1.5 million Spaniards were very active, 8.5 million participated, and over 30 million, or 78% of the population, supported the 15M movement’s aims.

The origins of 15M run broad and deep. The Spanish government’s response to the 2004 Madrid train bombing – to blame the Basque separatist movement ETA, though everyone knew the attack was carried out by Jihadists – was one factor. The movement sometimes known as the Indignados (Indignants) was also fueled by outrage at the way Spanish society – and its youth especially – was asked to bear the burden of the banking crisis and EU-enforced austerity. 15M highlighted economic and political corruption by “la casta,” the elite families that still govern the country, and gained traction after the pro-democracy Arab Spring.

Once it left the squares, the 15M movement’s energy, ideals and model for direct democracy inspired many citizen initiatives, such as the debt audit platforms and the anti-eviction movement that led to activist Ada Colau’s being elected as the mayor of Barcelona in June.

The various movements embodied the 15M message in many ways. They used an inclusive political approach, challenged sexism and favored a consensus decision-making model. They open-sourced information and used creative new forms of networking to build support and participation. At their core, the movements were about people reclaiming power – from mobilizing to stop evictions, to developing tools that audited local governments.

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Conclusions of the Paris COP (via Ruthie Sakheim)

​7 Articles from Mark Hertsgaard Covering the Conclusion of the Paris COP​
I had the privilege last week of covering the conclusion of the climate summit in Paris forThe Nation and The Daily Beast.  I filed seven dispatches, appended below in reverse chronological order—the post-summit analyses at the top—and appeared on many radio shows and other outlets.  
 
Bottom line?  The Paris Agreement is a landmark, though flawed, triumph.  It could herald the end of the fossil fuel era, but only if civil society pushes even harder now to make governments and corporations take very rapid, ambitious action.  But climate deniers on Capitol Hill kept the final accord from being stronger, and millions of people in the world’s poor and vulnerable countries will suffer grievously as a result.  As my final Nation piece said in closing,

​”The challenges ahead are staggering, and too many innocents will suffer before it’s over. But Paris, and all that made its imperfect but exhilarating result possible, tells us that this struggle is not in vain. Victory is possible. Victory is necessary. And the path to victory is its own reward.”
The Nation, Dec 14:  “The Fate of the World Change In Paris, But By How Much?”  http://www.thenation.com/article/the-fate-of-the-world-changed-in-paris-but-by-how-much/

Daily Beast, Dec 14:  “The Paris Climate Summit:  Follow the Money,”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/14/is-the-paris-agreement-an-amazing-achievement-or-a-disaster.html/

The Nation, Dec 11:  “Scientists Warn:  Paris Agreement Needs Massive Improvement,” http://www.thenation.com/article/scientists-warn-paris-climate-agreement-needs-massive-improvement/
The Nation, Dec 7:  “With 1.5 C Target, Climate Justice Movement Poised for Surprise Win,” http://www.thenation.com/article/with-1-5-degrees-celsius-target-climate-justice-movement-poised-to-score-surprise-win/
The Nation, Nov 19: “A Lesson For Paris: Follow the Activists,” http://www.thenation.com/article/the-climate-in-paris/
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Action Council Events — December 17 to December 23

OccupySF

~ Action Council ~  

Next Meeting

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2:00pm – 4:00pm

The Action Council is planning to have a general meeting on the first Sunday of each month 

UNITE / HERE – Local 2

215 Golden Gate Ave.

(nr. Civic Center BART)

San Francisco

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board:

 http://www.occupysf.net

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(December 17 – December 23)

Thursday, December 17

D 17, Thursday, 11:00am, Funeral For Mario Woods

Cornerstone Church
3rd and Paul St.
SF

The burial will take place @ Olivet Cemetery

Info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418363851694303/

D 17, Thursday, 5:30pm – 7:00pm – Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning, Free her now! Support all whistleblowers!

Omni Commons Ball Room
4799 Shattuck Ave.
Oakland

Chelsea Manning will be 28 years old on this day, the sixth year she’ll have spent her birthday behind bars for exposing war crimes.

She is a trans woman whistleblower, US soldier, Grand Marshal at San Francisco Pride 2014, who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks exposing the truth about US, UK and other governments’ war crimes and corruption in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Israel & the Palestinian Authority . . . In doing so, she helped save many lives. Chelsea was imprisoned in 2010 and held under torturous conditions; in August 2013 she was sentenced to 35 years.

From prison Chelsea has written against the police killings of young people of colour in the US and in support of immigrant people.

Address to write Chelsea:

CHELSEA E. MANNING 89289
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304

Sponsors: SF Queer Strike and Courage to Resist

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/805237709588355/

D 17, Thursday, 6:00pm, Plaza 16 Community Meeting

Centro Latino De San Francisco

1656 15th Street (@ Julian)
SF

Food & Childcare Provided

Review of 2015, and looking at 2016

Info / RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1635756446678719/

D 17, Thursday, 6:00pm – 10:00pm,  Celebrate the Anniversary of the Return of the Cuban 5

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalist Hall
1924 Cedar (at Bonita)
Berkeley

Suggested donation $5 – $20 (no one turned away)

6:00pm – Potluck
7:00pm – Program

Commemorate the first anniversary of the return of the Cuban 5 and the announcement from both Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama of a new stage of relations between Cuba and the U.S. Also there will be an eyewitness report from the elections in Venezuela.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/12/06/18780710.php

Friday, December 18

D 18, Friday, 2:00pm, STAND with ARABS & MUSLIMS – Rally and Press Conference

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.
SF

In recent weeks, we have witnessed a new wave of racist violence against Arabs, Muslims, and perceived Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Join us in challenging scapegoating and xenophobia, and demonstrating our commitment to upholding the dignity of communities in the Bay Area

2 Articles:    

There Have Been 19 Hate Crimes Against Muslims in the Past Week:

http://usuncut.com/news/there-have-been-23-hate-crimes-against-muslims-in-the-past-6-days/

People are searching ‘kill Muslims’ in the US on Google:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/people-are-searching-kill-muslims-in-the-us-following-terror-attacks-a6771681.html

Sponsor: AROC

Info / RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/327638594026450/

D 18, Friday, 6:00pm, Justice for Mario Woods! Shut it down!

Justin Hermann Plaza
SF

Note: Post seen on Indybay – no info provided on who is sponsoring event or who to contact for info

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/12/12/18780930.php?show_comments=1#comments

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Liberty City update — December 16, 2015

First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless

December 16, 2015

Liberty City Update.

27 days we held city hall. We took a number of questionable arrests. There were several citations and five taken into custody. Anna and Casey each did time. Anna served four days, Casey served 7 days. Why?

We took all the arrests we could. On top of that we all got sick. So, we decided to do a strategic retreat.

So, what’s next? First, we support our friends in Sacramento who occupied their city hall over a week ago. They have bad weather coming.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1483520018617088/

Here in Berkeley, I’m waiting to hear from the attorneys. We want to go back to city hall, but stay away orders are being issued as we get arrested. This is not good. Now, we may have to sue to be allowed to protest. Normally, homeless people would not have the resources for a legal fight. Let’s hope this is not a normal situation.

All our gear remains in police custody. They must hold it for 60 days. We need a place to store it. It needs to be gone through, damage documented, and packed up for our re-occupation.

And finally, we will be running a candidate for mayor. Victory is not the goal. Putting the peoples message out is. Gentrification is the death of Berkeley, and most of the politicians don’t care.

–Mike Zint

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What they’re doing in England . . .

WHAT OCCUPY DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT

DEMAND REAL DEMOCRACY. OCCUPY PARLIAMENT SQUARE.

od_2Occupy Democracy was formed as a working group of Occupy London following a resolution passed at the General Assembly on 1st March 2014. The mandate of the group was (and remains)  to campaign for real democracy by organising a mass action in and around Parliament Square and Westminster.

Our mission is to campaign for a genuine democracy free from corporate influence. Our demand is for real democracy now! Sovereignty must rest with the people and not with Parliament.

In Scotland, 45% of people rejected Westminster rule. They know that a system that takes the power to make local decisions out of their hands is no democracy.

We know that democracy is not just about having a vote every four, now five years. It is about having the power to make your voice heard. We know that a government that answers to profit before people is no democracy.

In the UK today, record numbers of people are homeless, record numbers rely on food banks to feed their families, and record numbers face fuel poverty as energy prices rise eight times faster than wages.

At the same time, inequality is back on the rise, making us one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. The amount we ask businesses to contribute to our social services in tax is set to be the lowest of any of the G20 countries. Tax evasion and avoidance costs the UK £95bn a year, enough to fund the NHS in England.

Nobody voted to be made homeless, hungry or unemployed.  It is clear whose voices are being heard.

RDN-HoPWe need to start a movement for real democracy. The voices of the majority have been ignored for too long. We need to give ourselves the tools to hold our politicians to account, and to end the corporate lobbying power that drowns our voices out.

To do it, we need a movement that cannot be ignored. That is why we will be occupying Parliament Square every month until the general election, to continue a fight for a real democracy (see the original call to action). There, in the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s statue, we will transform the Square into a civic space where we can re-envision what our society could be like, with talks, workshops, community assemblies, music and theatre.

There is one thing that every successful social justice movement has had to overcome: the prevalence of the belief that the status quo is how it has to be. That there is no alternative. All of us can feel weakened and ground down by that belief, but all of us must have the courage to overcome it. To imagine a different future for ourselves. To show each other that there is an alternative. Because the current system relies entirely on our believing that there isn’t.

The austerity measures imposed on us for the sake of economic growth, our continued reliance on dirty coal and oil, our hospitals closing, our transit systems worsening while fares rise, our children attending under-funded schools with exhausted underpaid teachers – we only accept these things because we let ourselves believe there is no other way of doing things.

But please, join us for the Occupation. Try imagining there is another way. Do it with people you love, people you trust, with experts and activists and people to be inspired by. If you’re reading this, you’re invited. Your friends, family, colleagues are invited. Now is the time to produce our vision of a sane, workable, inspiring alternative, together. Come to learn, discuss and participate. Dare to believe that there is an alternative.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!

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Action Council: Two events this week

Wednesday and Thursday, December 16 and 17

HOMEGOING, MARIO WILLS
REST IN POWER…
SOAR IN GLORY, YOUNG BROTHER MARIO

killed by Bayview SFPD, Dec 2, 2015

The visitation is on Wednesday 2-6 @ Duggans 17th & Valencia

The funeral is Thursday @ Cornerstone Church 3rd & Paul @ 11:00 am

The burial will take place @ Olivet Cemetery.

Repass @ southeast College community room, 1800 Oakdale,
TBD in terms of date and time.

Friday, December 18

D 18, Friday, 2:00pm, STAND with ARABS & MUSLIMS – Rally and Press Conference

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.
SF

In recent weeks, we have witnessed a new wave of racist violence against Arabs, Muslims, and perceived Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Join us in challenging scapegoating and xenophobia, and demonstrating our commitment to upholding the dignity of communities in the Bay Area

2 Articles:    

There Have Been 19 Hate Crimes Against Muslims in the Past Week:

    http://usuncut.com/news/there-have-been-23-hate-crimes-against-muslims-in-the-past-6-days/

People are searching ‘kill Muslims’ in the US on Google:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/people-are-searching-kill-muslims-in-the-us-following-terror-attacks-a6771681.html

Sponsor: AROC

Info / RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/327638594026450/

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“Occupy Democracy is not considered newsworthy. It should be” by David Graeber (theguardian.com)

Occupy London demonstration

Officers policing the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square, London. Photograph: Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto/Rex

October 27, 2014

You can tell a lot about the moral quality of a society by what is, and is not, considered news.

From last Tuesday, Parliament Square was wrapped in wire mesh. In one of the more surreal scenes in recent British political history, officers with trained German shepherds stand sentinel each day, at calculated distances across the lawn, surrounded by a giant box of fences, three metres high – all to ensure that no citizen enters to illegally practice democracy. Yet few major news outlets feel this is much of a story.

Occupy Democracy, a new incarnation of Occupy London, has attempted to use the space for an experiment in democratic organising. The idea was to turn Parliament Square back to the purposes to which it was, by most accounts, originally created: a place for public meetings and discussions, with an eye to bringing all the issues ignored by politicians in Westminster back into public debate. Seminars and assemblies were planned, colourful bamboo towers and sound systems put in place, to be followed by a temporary library, kitchen and toilets.

There was no plan to turn this into a permanent tent city, which are now explicitly illegal. True, this law is very selectively enforced; Metropolitan police regularly react with a wink and a smile if citizens camp on the street while queuing overnight for the latest iPhone. But to do it in furtherance of democratic expression is absolutely forbidden. Try it, and you can expect to immediately see your tent torn down and if you try even the most passive resistance you’re likely to be arrested. So organisers settled on a symbolic 24-hour presence, even if it meant sleeping on the grass under cardboard boxes in the autumn rain.

The police response can only be described as hysterical. Tarpaulins used to sit on the grass were said to be illegal, and when activists tried to sit on them they were attacked by scores of officers. Activists say they had limbs twisted and officers stuck thumbs into nerve endings as “pain compliance”. Pizza boxes were declared illegal structures and confiscated and commanders even sent officers to stand over activists at night telling them it was illegal to close their eyes.

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COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris (bbc.com)

December 12, 2015

A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations.

The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.

The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary.

Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.

President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitledParis Agreement outlined in the document.

“Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”

COP21: In summary

As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding.

Link to video of the announcement that was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall:   http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35084902

US President Barack Obama has hailed the agreement as “ambitious” and “historic”, but also warned against complacency.

“Together, we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one,” he said.

And although admitting that the deal was not “perfect”, he said it was “the best chance to save the one planet we have”.

China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua said the deal was not perfect. But he added that “this does not prevent us from marching historical steps forward”.

Nearly 200 countries took part in the negotiations to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being in 2020.

The chairman of the group representing some of the world’s poorest countries called the deal historic, adding: “We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures.

“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”

Key points

The measures in the agreement included:

• To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century

• To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C

• To review progress every five years

• $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Hollande (Image: Reuters)Image copyrightReuters
Image captionUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Hollande join in the celebrations

Analysis: The BBC’s Matt McGrath in Paris

The speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief. The influence of the COP president, Laurent Fabius, cannot be overstated. His long diplomatic career gave him a credibility seldom matched in this arena. He used his power well.

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OccupyForum presents . . . Movie Night: “Where the Spirit Lives” — a film about aboriginal life in Canadian residential schools (on Monday, December 14)

Monday, December 14th from 6 – 9 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…
 
Movie Night: “Where the Spirit Lives” — a film about aboriginal life in Canadian residential schools
Where the Spirit Lives (1989) is a drama about aboriginal children in Canada being taken from their tribes to attend residential schools for assimilation into majority culture. The Aboriginal Residential Schools were a network of “residential” (boarding) schools for Indigenous Canadians (First Nations or “Indians”; Métis and Inuit). Funded by the Canadian government they were administered by Christian churches and operated for most of the 20th Century. The policy was to remove children from the influence of their families and culture, and assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture.[2] Over the course of the system’s existence, about 30% of native children, or roughly 150,000, were placed in residential schools nationally.
A consensus emerged in the early 21st century that residential schools did significant harm to Aboriginal children who attended them by removing them from their families, depriving them of theirancestral languages, through sterilization, and by exposing many of them to physical and sexual abuse by staff members, and other students. Many native and non-native people are calling for reparations to be made by the Canadian government to the survivors of the system.
The lead character of the film is a young girl taken from her reservation to one of the schools but whois particularly resistant to efforts to westernize her.
It may be interesting to discuss the film’s story in light of the election of the new Canadian Prime Minister who has said one of his top priorities will be to honour treaties with aboriginal people and to address long-standing issues such as poverty and racism towards them.
 
                                                  Time will be allotted for Q&A, discussion and announcements.
Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged;
no one turned away!
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