In the two days since I got back from New York, I realized that I needed to take a step back and really explain my experience and state of mind at the time of my civil disobedience during Occupy Wall Street.
Banks bought & sold each individual mortgage in the United States an average of 7 times before the sub-prime mortgage crisis. These financial institutions made so many bets on the mortgages that they did not have enough assets to cover their potential losses. They would not be able to pay the people that they owed money, which destabilized the entire economy and led to many people losing their jobs and their homes.
These mortgage bets became known as “toxic assets”. Instead of allowing the collapse of these institutions that bought and sold mortgages like Pokémon cards in 1998, the government relieved these corporations of their toxic assets and prevented them from losing their money.
The people who captured this footage were beaten, and one, Marissa, spent 30 hours in custody. I spent 27 hours in custody and was charged with disorderly conduct.
Here is the subsequent right-wing smear campaign:
They called my mother, pretended to be a friend from Facebook, and ambushed her with questions. It is true, my parents are doing a short-sale in an attempt to prevent the forcible repossession of their house by the bank. If the house doesn’t sell, the house will be foreclosed on. My dad has cancer and is disabled, my mother lost her job. They have been under tremendous financial pressure for years now as they try to keep afloat, these recent events of disability and loss of employment were the final straw. Their mortgage became a “toxic asset”, just like the financial industries that traded mortgages that became “toxic assets”. Unfortunately, the financial industry got their toxic assets relieved, while millions of families got homelessness with no relief.
This is a new world that we are creating. At the time of my arrest, I threw down my backpack and my vest into the middle of the street. I was removed and taken to 1st Precinct, and subsequently Central Booking, where I would not be released until 27 hours later. Upon my return to our camp at Liberty Plaza, both my vest and backpack (which had my phone, keys, books, and other valuables) were back at the camp waiting for me.
This story is a testament to the power of our movement. WE ARE THE 99%. We are changing the very manner in which we treat one another. We reject capitalism’s mandate of competition and we replace it with cooperation and compassion as we look to build a new social existence. We are the 99%
The Revolution Will Not Be Actualized (Part 1): Republicans, Smarter Than Your Average Donkey (Again)
This is the first post in a series, The Revolution Will Not Be Actualized (RIP Gil Scott-Heron). This series is an evolving concept where I am discussing austerity policy and the movements against it. In the post What Is Austerity, I state that austerity is an economic policy that limits spending and eliminates public services with the purpose of reducing national budget deficits. The anti-austerity movements in Europe are very strong and have conducted general strikes in order to stop the austerity programs in their countries. These are very exciting times. However, we are not seeing the same kind of unrest in the United States. This series explores why.
The Revolution Will Not Be Actualized (Part 3): ALEC & How Corporations Are Writing Their Own Ticket
The Revolution Will Not Be Actualized is an exploration of the right-wing austerity movement in the United States and the challenges that anti-austerity movements face as they oppose privatization and corporate dominance. Part 1 Part 2
Corporations shape legislation at all levels of the United States government, and now we have proof. The Center for Media and Democracy acquired the model bills written by corporations in order to bend, to their advantage, the legal rules that structure our lives. Some of the targeted areas include worker and consumer rights, education, taxes, health care, immigration, and water/air quality. The organization that creates these corporate-written model bills is the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.
In April 2011, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. met behind closed doors in Cincinnati about their wish lists for changing state laws. This exchange was part of a series of corporate meetings nurtured and fueled by the Koch Industries family fortune and other corporate funding. –Lisa Graves, CMD ALEC Exposed
In Spring 2008, I had a college radio show where I discussed political issues, with a particular emphasis on the presidential election (Shout Out to Brandon, who gave me a break). At the time, I was very critical of candidate Obama, yet I voted for him in the 2007 primary and the 2008 Presidential election.
“Many of the students expressed the belief that Barack Obama is radical. This was something that I thought was particularly interesting (because) to be radical is to affect the fundamental structure of something in a way that is thorough and far-reaching. Barack does not want a far-reaching structural shift in America.”
-My Radio Show Spring 2008
Democracy Now! provides an excellent report on the recent protests in Greece. This video is quality coverage of what is happening on the ground, with interviews from protesters themselves. After numerous protests and clashes with police over the last few months, the people went on a general strike last week. A basic summary is that the people have shut down the nation in protest of the prospective cuts to public services under the austerity policy. This policy serves to protect the financial market (and the Euro currency) by limiting the national government’s spending. I will continue to follow this story and have an in-depth feature in the coming weeks. #Solidarity. Orchestrated Pulse.
As social movements work to create change in different parts of the globe, it is important that the discreet organizations, collectives, and individuals develop narratives that both justify and critique their actions. In profiling different social movement actors, I hope to begin to link abstract theory to the forces operating on the ground. The Turbulence Collective is an organization that connects the dots between movements, narratives about movements, and analysis very well
I met David Harvie, a contributor to Turbulence Magazine, in 2008 while I was on a study abroad program in Bolivia. He was on sabbatical from his job as a finance professor at the University of Leicester, and while in Bolivia, he was a guest lecturer in our class. This was perhaps the single most important class session I ever had. He spoke to us about the roots of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the dangers of derivative markets, as well as anecdotes from his participation in anti-globalization protests (specifically the famed “Battle in Seattle”).