[COMM-ORG] Occupy organizing news

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Dec 8 10:14:40 CST 2011

[ed: see the updates on the Occupy movement further down]

From: Peter Dreier <dreier at oxy.edu>

Friends and Colleagues:

The battle of ideas and politics is heating up. The conservatives’
three-decades domination of the political agenda – ie, government is the
problem, deregulation and lower taxes are the answer -- is eroding.
Polls show that the Tea Party is losing support, as Kate Zernike
reported in her article, “Support for Tea Party Falls in Strongholds,
Polls Show” (NY Times, Nov. 29, 2011)

And the Republican Party candidates keep fumbling and mumbling. The fact
that Newt Gingrich is a serious candidate for the GOP nomination is a
sign of the party’s desperation. Gingrich – whose “family values” make
John Edwards look like a saint – is a money-grubbing huckster of his
many ghost-written books with fifth-rate ideas, a lobbyist who shills
for his corporate clients, as the NY Times reported yesterday.

We now know that Herman Cain has a long track record of mistreating
women, but why is he harassing Margaret Sanger who has been dead for 45
years? It is part of the Republicans’ misguided attack on Planned
Parenthood. (Sanger, who coined the term “birth control,” was is
founder). I discuss this in my article, “ The GOP’s Attacks on Margaret
Sanger and Planned Parenthood,” on DISSENT magazine’s website:

Give corporate America and their Republican allies credit, though. They
are relentless in their efforts to destroy workers’ rights and unions,
the major bulwark against widening inequality and injustice. As Donald
Cohen and I report in our article for Huffington Post, the Chamber of
Commerce and other business groups are even suing the National Labor
Relations Board for requiring employers to put up a poster summarizing
workers’ basic rights.

Meanwhile, the ideas espoused by Occupy Wall Street – the concern over
widening inequality and the corruption of politics by corporate America
and the super-rich-- have been resonating with Americans.

As cities have been shutting down the various Occupy encampments, the
Occupiers’ slogan that “you can’t evict an idea” rings partly true. See
the cartoon…

. cid:part1.07000704.01020504 at louisville.edu The Occupy Wall Street
movement helped change the nation’s conversation, but whether it helps
change our politics depends on what we do to mobilize people around both
direct action and the upcoming elections. The turnout and voting trends
earlier this month – in Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, and elsewhere – were
good signs that the tide is turning, but it will take a lot more
resources, energy, and focus to turn the country around.

This week, as Los Angeles cops evicted the Occupy LAers from the park
outside City Hall, the Occupy LA leaders indicated that they would
regroup and mobilize supporters to engage in direct action and civil
disobedience at bank buildings and at houses where banks and sheriffs
are threatening to evict homes from their homes. They’ve called for a
moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. This is something that the
Refund California coalition has been working on for several months;
hopefully the Occupy movement will bring addition energy to this strategy.

One important battleground in the struggle over the nation’s future is
the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts. Polls show that Elizabeth Warren,
the brilliant and progressive fighter for financial reform, has pulled
ahead of Senator Scott Brown.
One next step that Occupy activists can take is to mobilize support for
Warren’s campaign.

Here are some articles from diverse sources that provide
food-for-thought about what’s needed in the next year, leading up to the
2012 elections.

· Stephen Lerner, “A New Insurgency Can Only Arise Outside the
Progressive and Labor Establishment” (New Labor Forum, Fall 2011)


· Mark Engler, “Measuring the Impact of Mass Movements” (Dissent,
November 28, 2011) http://dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=625

· Michael Moore, “Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here?” (Nov. 22,


· Jake Blumgart, “Five Things Frances Fox Piven Says Occupiers Need to
Do” (Campus Progress, Nov. 9, 2011)

· Frances Fox Piven, “The War Against the Poor” (The Nation, Nov. 7,
2011) http://www.thenation.com/article/164434/war-against-poor

· Gloria Goodale, “Occupy Wall Street: Time to become more overtly
political?” (Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 16, 2011)

· Jane Mayer, “Taking it to the Streets” (New Yorker, Nov. 28, 2011) –
an interesting article comparing Occupy Wall Street and the
environmentalists battle against the Keystone pipeline.

· Kate Zernike, “Wall St. Protest Isn’t Like Ours, Tea Party Says” (NY
Times, Oct. 21, 2011)

· Rinku Sen, “Forget Diversity, It’s About Occupying Racial Inequity.
(The Nation. November 1, 2011)


· Peter Dreier, “Victory! Transforming Occupy Wall Street from a Moment
to a Movement” (Huffington Post, October 7, 2011)

· Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, "The Path to 270: Demographics versus
Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election"

· As always, one of the most interesting sites in the new blog, The
Frying Pan: Hot Ideas for a Cold Economy (http://fryingpannews.org). Its
articles on politics, economics, culture, and other topics are provocative.

· The Flying Pan is sponsored by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New
Economy, one of the most innovative organizing, advocacy, and policy
groups in the country. One of its current campaigns, Don’t Waste LA – a
remarkable coalition of community, environmental, faith and labor
organizations – is a plan that will create clean air, green jobs and
recycling for all Angelenos through region-wide standards and
accountability in the commercial and multifamily waste and recycling
system. Read about it here: http://www.dontwastela.org/#

· Always on the look-out for corporate lies about the impact of
government regulations, the Cry Wolf Project (http://crywolfproject.org)
is part of the effort to remind folks that when big business and their
political friends warn that higher taxes, stronger protections for
workers, consumers and the environment, and labor unions will “kill
jobs,” they are lying. The Cry Wolf Project website is full of reports,
quotes, and analyses on a wide variety of issues. Take a look.

Matt Davies


Peter Dreier
Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: (323) 259-2913
FAX: (323) 259-2734
Website: http://employees.oxy.edu/dreier

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great
moral crises maintain their neutrality" - Dante

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