Friday, December 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and the Liberation Theology Debate


Liberation theology is a Christian movement in political theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as "an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor", and by detractors as Christianized Marxism.

Support and Opposition
Liberation theology spread by virtue of the inner dynamism with which it codified Christian faith as it applies to the pastoral needs of the poor. Meetings, congresses, theological cal reviews, and the support of prophetic bishops -- Hélder Câmara, Luis Proaño, Samuel Ruiz, Sergio Méndez Arceo, and Cardinals Paulo Evaristo Arns and D. A. Lorscheider, among many others -- have helped to give it weight and credibility.

A series of events has been instrumental in spreading this theology and ensuring its "reception" among theologians the world over:

- The congress at El Escorial, Spain, in July 1972 on the subject of "Christian faith and the transformation of society in Latin America."
- The first congress of Latin American theologians, held in Mexico City in August 1975.
- The first formal contacts between liberation theologians and advocates of U.S. black liberation and other liberation movements-feminist, Amerindian, and the like.
- The creation of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) in 1976 and the congresses it has held: Dar es Salaam in 1976, Accra in 1977, Wennappuwa, Sri Lanka, in 1979, Situ Paulo in 1980, Geneva in 1983, Oaxtepec, Mexico, in 1986. All these produced Final Conclusions with their particular characteristics, but all within the framework of liberation theology.
- Finally, the international theological review Concilium (published in seven languages) devoted a complete issue (vol. 6, no. 10, June 1974) to the subject of liberation theology, with all the articles coming from Latin American liberation theologians.
A number of important reviews in Latin America have become regular vehicles for the publication of articles and discussions by liberation theologians: in Mexico, Christus, Servir, and Contacto; in Venezuela, SIC; in Chile, Pastoral Popular, in Brazil, Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira (REB), Grande Sinal, Puebla, and Perspectiva Teológica; in El Salvador, Estudios Centroamericanos (ECA) and Revista Latinoamericana de Teología; in Panama, Diólogico Social.

Most countries in Latin America also have centers for theological and pastoral studies: CEAS (Centro de Estudos e Ação, Salvador), CEP (Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones, Lima), ITER (Instituto de Teologia do Recife), DEI (Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones, San José, Costa Rica), CAV (Centre Antonio Valdivieso, Managua), and many more. They have been important for training students imbued with a liberation approach.

While all these developments were taking place, reservations and opposition began to be expressed by some who feared the faith was becoming overpoliticized, and by others who mistrusted any use of Marxist categories in analyzing social structures. Also many were unable to accept the deep changes in the structure of capitalist society postulated by this theology. This negative reaction crystalized around three figures in particular: Alfonso López Trujillo, formerly secretary and later president of CELAM, Roger Vekemans of CEDIAL (Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo e Integración de América Latina, Bogota) and the review Tierra Nueva, and Bonaventura Kloppenburg, formerly director of the Medellin Pastoral Institute, later auxiliary bishop of Salvador, Brazil, and author of Christian Salvation and Human Temporal Progress (1979).


Obama ex-pastor offers sanctuary for Occupy protesters. Calls on churches nationwide to open ‘basements and halls’
A recent member of President Obama’s White House faith council has offered his parish as sanctuary to Occupy protesters, calling on churches nationwide to similarly open their doors.

“It’s time to invite the Occupy Movement to church!” wrote Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a ministry professing a devotion to the pursuit of “social justice.”

Wallis penned an article in his church’s magazine, also entitled Sojourners, calling for a “church sanctuary for the Occupy movement.”

[ ... ]

“As we provide that safe sanctuary for a new generation of protesters who dream of a better world, let us also engage them in the spirituality of the change they seek.”

Continued Wallis: “Concentrations of wealth and power, unfairness in our political process, the loss of opportunity — especially for the next generation — and the alarming rise of poverty in the world’s richest nation are all fundamental concerns for people of faith.”

[ ... ]

Wallis recommended churches provide Turkey dinner to the Occupiers, remarking the protesters are likely sick of pizza.

Occupy Wall Street: Origins & Prospects
Today’s global protests represent the rebellion of reasonable minds, with the overall message that the economies should serve the people, not the super-rich top 1%. In his landmark “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” speech, exactly a year before he was assassinated, on April 4, 1967, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., put it this way: “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” At the time, King was talking about integration as “shared power and radical redistribution.” Unfortunately, since King’s death there has been a radical redistribution of wealth and power, but in the opposite direction, towards the top 1%. But King’s critique here of the entwined evils of militarism and materialism and the related need for a revolution of values, have been echoed recently, most notably by Cornell West, in the context of the new monument to King and the civil rights movement on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

King’s words also echoed that of other religiously inspired activists, before and after. For example, Peter Maurin, one of the founders of Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker movement, in his “A Case for Utopia,” noted: The world would be better off if people tried to become better and people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off. For when everyone tries to become better off nobody is better off. But when everyone tries to become better everybody is better off. Everyone would be rich if nobody tried to become richer and nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.”

Father Ignacio Ellacuria, then rector of the University of Central America in El Salvador, put it this way in Europe, speaking to the West, just a few days before he was assassinated by US-trained government forces in San Salvador in November of 1989: “[You] have organized your lives around inhuman values…inhuman because they cannot be universalized. The system rests on a few using the majority of the resources, while the majority can’t even cover their basic necessities. It is crucial to define a system of values and a norm of living that takes into account every human being.” Perhaps today, the world is finally heeding these eloquent messages about the purposes of wealth and the need to subordinate the economy to the needs of society - as Karl Polanyi argued in his Great Transformation - most especially the vast majority, and above all the global poor, with its echoes too in liberation theology. That is the great hope and clarion call of this new global movement.

Does God take Sides?
I believe in the mystery and wonder of love and justice that is available to everyone, no exceptions. God is God of the rich and the poor, the just and the unjust. However, that spirit of God calls us, as human beings, to take sides. We are called to take the side of the poor, the powerless and the oppressed. We are called to orient our lives and our living to human liberation. Justice is what love looks like in action. Liberation is what God looks like alive in the world. In that sense, you could make the argument that God takes sides or least has a preferred option for the poor, the powerless, and the oppressed.

The Occupy Wall Street protests yesterday caused me to re-examine the original work of liberation theology – Gustavo Gutierrez’s A Theology of Liberation. I am on the side of the unions, the Occupy Wall Street protestors, the jobs bill, universal health care coverage, GLBT rights, planned parenthood, local farmers, and a host of other people and causes that are poor, powerless and oppressed in the face of Wall Street, Corporate Interests, Agribusiness, and other powerful oppressors. Why? My existence is bound up in the existence of others in what Martin Luther King called a “an inescapable network of mutuality” and my salvation is bound up in the salvation of human systems. As Gutierrez says:
“Salvation is not something otherworldly, in regard to which the present life is merely a test. Salvation – the communion of human beings with God and among themselves – is something which embraces all human reality, transforms it and leads it to its fullness in Christ.”

A Clarification on the Occupy Wall Street Movement: A Response To W. Travis McMaken
But I in the end I think Travis picked the wrong exemplar for the Christian conservative movement. I said what I did about Capitalism because I meant it; I didn’t just write that as a throw away so I could cover my bases and get to what I really wanted to talk about. Yes, I really did want to talk about an element that has largely provided shape for the OWS movement (Marxism, in general; Liberation Theology, in general; etc.); but it is a hasty generalization to assume because that was the kernel of my post that that is all I am about, that that is all I have to say about this. It is not! When I said that I see myself as a prophet (which I said in the last post), come into the far country of this world; that is my position, as a Christian. To stand in God’s presence, through participation with his Word; and proclaim his Word as Witness over and against any and all ‘world’ systems that seek to dethrone the Kingdom of God of its King, with the king of this world system; the anti-Christ. I don’t think that this means in order for me to do this that I have to identify with any political system. I can join in with particular political systems when I believe, along with the church, that they are standing for God’s right and not the devil’s wrong. But I don’t think I ought or need to then also self-identify as a Socialist, Republican, Democrat, Marxist, or anything else. I am a Christian, isn’t that enough?!

Global Health and Liberation Theology

October 24, 2011 Ford Family Program's Discussions on Development series with Paul Farmer and Gustavo Gutierrez

A European Revival of Liberation Theology by Ulrich Duchrow
What should Christianity be saying about global capitalism? The World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation have begun a significant exploration of that question.


Rev. Joan R. Harrell interviews Dr. James Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary

#OccupyWallStreet: We Make the Road by Walking
#OccupyWallStreet is in a liminal space between Empire and the future that is being shaped now. General Assemblies, working groups, direct action and civil disobedience, awareness of privilege, structures addressing histories of oppression, alternative narratives: this is the normativity of the future. In the shadow of Empire – in the spaces of Empire like Zuccotti Park and Lasalle and Jackson in Chicago’s Loop – the counter-project to Empire is taking shape in a way that cannot be crushed. Yes, the occupation is physical, but at its core this revolution is transforming the way people interact, understand, relate, consent, and – most importantly – dissent to power.

Saving the Banks?
It has become a commonplace in these times of economic turmoil an insistence on the need to “save” the banks. What does that mean? What does “salvation” mean in this context? Is there a correlation between “saving the banks” and “saving,” say, “the world?”

As some would argue, free-market capitalism is, in many ways, a theological endeavor so it should not surprise us to see concepts like “salvation” being employed in neo-liberal circles. Financial institutions have gained a spiritual dimension and, as Franz Hinkelammert would argue, predicting the fluctuations (or the “moods”) of the market is a task for the wisest of the prophets. Allegiance to these prophets is indeed a matter of the utmost importance as they hold the keys to the Promised Land, the control over the “mood” of the gods.

I believe the time has come for theologians to engage in a systematic resistance to the theology of Wall Street. Can we push their soteriological metaphors a little bit and start making some reference to the sin of the banks? Or to the sacrifice demanded by its gods?

Warren Zevon, Liberation Theology, and Occupy Wall Street
[academic writing, in Professor John Shook's class on social ethics and the philosophy of religion, Union Institute and University, fall 2011]

Gentle rain falls on me
and all life folds back into the sea
we contemplate eternity
beneath the vast indifference of heaven
They say “everything’s all right”
they say “better days are near”
they tell us “these are the good times”
but they don’t live around here…
-- Warren Zevon, “The Vast Indifference of Heaven”
Through De La Torre’s anthology regarding liberation across world religions, what “core” values exist, and to what extent do these values reflect a common interpersonal ethics? I have followed Ryan’s keen lead in initiating a discussion of commonality and liberation with Warren (“Werewolves of London”) Zevon lyrics, as few popular singer-songwriters were as successful in providing creative and new musical statements about individuals’ liberation: amidst “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” the aforementioned werewolves, and a Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School (an album title), Zevon’s conceptualization of spiritual liberation held at its core a search and expectation of unrevealed wisdom at work and at present, always and already.
De La Torre’s anthology is fascinating, providing glimpses of major world religions as current foils to the ever-springing Occupy movement, and other acts of social, political, and economic liberation: believing not that the Occupiers are a diametric galvanization to the Tea Party, but that both entities in the public sphere may sum to mean that more of us than ever are on the Outside Looking In, at something we’re not sure we can trust (my apologies for my potentially-offensive, inclusive pronouns). Which of these two social, political, and economic movements contains as useful a statement as a Warren Zevon lyric may be a useful rhetorical analysis; world religions’ consistency in ethical and ‘merge-able’ principles, as described in De La Torre’s anthology, is the rock n’ roll of this brief discussion.

[ ... ]

Among the religions discussed in this essay, Protestantism appears least likely to accept Zevon’s lyrics that describe an Other misnaming the quality of our time: “they tell us “these are the good times”/they don’t live around here” (Zevon) rings least with Rieger’s notions of spirituality as a means for individual’s liberation (“the point of departure of [Protestant, Christian] liberation theology is not primarily social ethics […] or general political or economic assumptions about the common good; the point of departure and the very heart of the enterprise is a new vision of God” (p. 40)). Should we be revealed some glimpse of the ‘vast indifference of heaven,’ and gain a liberatory new conceptualization of our existence, to what extent will we acknowledge and entreat our attention to the poor, the disadvantaged, the downtrodden? Or, to what extent shall we proceed on, as stoic individuals, whose spiritual liberation extends not to our bank accounts or holdings? In my digestion of De La Torre’s anthology, I have gained new appreciation for the Occupy movement, as individuals critiquing a “matrix of values,” seeking liberation from an oppressive system.
Time marches on
Time stands still
Time on my hands
Time to kill
blood on my hands
my hands in the till
down at the Seven Eleven…
-- Warren Zevon, “Vast Indifference of Heaven”

Pope said it 80 years before Occupy Movement
Pope Pius XI in 1931
"It is obvious that not only is wealth concentrated in our times but an immense power and despotic economic dictatorship is consolidated in the hands of a few, who often are not owners but only the trustees and managing directors of invested funds which they administer according to their own arbitrary will and pleasure.

"This dictatorship is being most forcibly exercised by those who, since they hold the money and completely control it, control credit also and rule the lending of money. Hence they regulate the flow, so to speak, of the life-blood whereby the entire economic system lives, and have so firmly in their grasp the soul, as it were, of economic life that no one can breathe against their will." (Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, §§105–6)


It is rumored that this pope was poisoned just a few years later.

Re: Pope said it 80 years before Occupy Movement
This is from a modern day Catholic outlaw.

Bishop Williamson on the Economy:
"...if fractional reserve banking enables banks to disconnect money from reality and fabricate it at will, and if they can charge even slight compound interest on their funny money, then logically they can – and do ! – suck all real value out of an economy, reducing most depositors to borrowers and most borrowers to hopeless debt-slaves, or mortgage-slaves., taking care only not to kill off completely the goose laying the golden eggs for their benefit. The divinely inspired wisdom of the law-giver Moses was to put brakes on all lenders' power by cancelling all debts every seven years (Deut. XV,1-2), and by restoring all property to its original owners every 50 years (Levit. XV, 10) ! And why did Moses, a great man of God and therefore a man of deep 'spirituality,' concern himself with such materialistic questions ? Because as bad economics can turn men to despair, towards Hell, away from God – look around you, today and above all tomorrow – so good economics make possible a wise prosperity which in no way worships Mammon, but makes it rather easier to trust in the goodness of God and to worship and love him. Man is soul and body."

RELIGION: Liberation theology label a good one
Re: “Religion: Glenn Beck did do his homework” (letter, 9-7).
The writer states that “Beck and anyone familiar with liberation theology know that the dominant principle involved is Marxism.”
No. Its message is a sound embrace of the teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament prophets, briefly summed up as “God’s preferential option for the poor.”

Occupy Wall Street: Abundance v Scarcity
As of 2007, the top ten percent of the American population held 73.1% of the wealth nationally, while the bottom sixty percent of the population held a mere 4.2% (SCSPI, 2011). The SCSPI also found that in 2000, the average CEO was making one thousand thirty-nine times the average worker pay, thus we can hypothesize this has only gotten worse.

These unsettling figures give credence to the Occupy Wall Street movement. From a global view, Occupy Denmark says they want more money spent on the bottom 99% of the population with a redistribution of wealth and less spent on wars. If we use Christian biblical theology as our historical lens, we know that before any wealth redistribution is considered death, wars, and philosophical warfare will ensue in order to maintain power, legitimacy and control by those holding this scarcity view.

As human beings we inhabit a beautiful planet, full of life and abundance; yet the masses of people, including Christians, have been socialized into a mindset of fear that has developed into a philosophy of scarcity. Many Americans are in a state of constant fear believing that there is not enough for them, let alone everyone. While the top one percent is flourishing economically, we find that 21.9% of American children are living in poverty and in 2007 alone 8,100,000 children under the age of eighteen went without insurance (SCSPI, 2011).

A Time to ‘Occupy’?
More ominously, the vigorous extraparliamentary movement from the left and the right is a populist indictment of our legislative branch — an indicator that many citizens are incensed about the inefficient impasse of lawmaking in Washington. I found it striking to witness a group of people bearing the elements night and day to make a political point. Occupy Wall Street, to be sure, is an act of political theater, but it is also a display of asceticism in the service of communicating a point of view.

Regardless of our socioeconomic views, Occupy Wall Street invites us to express our convictions more consistently, and when deemed appropriate to do so sacrificially. Very little mention of sacrifice and struggle occurs in our churches. In the words of Martin Luther, many of our pulpits have exchanged a theology of the cross for a theology of glory, a strange pattern of speech that rarely mentions disease, death, and despair.

When is the last time your church spoke about something penultimate that mattered? Churches can and should speak of ultimate matters — life and death, sin, and salvation, creation and consummation. But what of penultimate things? Shouldn’t churches offer words of wisdom and love here as well — “on earth as in heaven”?

Andy Stanley, the pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta who preached a series on greed and the Great Recession, argues that churches should converse about issues that grip the nation. Occupy Wall Street meets that standard.

The life of the church may not end when we are silent about things that matter, but it is certainly impoverished. There is, of course, a time to be silent. But, as even the most casual Bible reader knows, there is also a time to speak.


The Theology of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Movement
I think this is a very apt observation for the day in which we live. Revolution sounds noble to many the young ear, but what, in our case, does the ‘Occupy’ movement hope to replace the current ‘Global system’ with? I despise the greed and money-mongering of the Capitalist elite as much asthe next activist (to be honest); but I also despise the alternative that seems to be fueling most of the activists continued drive to thwart the powers that be. In other words, I repudiate Marxist, Liberation Theology and its ideals (metaphysically and ethically); I repudiate the Social Democratism that perpetuates much of the labor movement element that helps to spawn the ‘Occupy’ movement in its global effort. I think both and all systems are equally malevolent and deleterious to the soul of humanity. The history of Marxism, whether in its socialist/communist or fascist forms, illustrates the repressive and oppressive policies that they would foist upon humanity. There is no utopia without Christ!

One could push back at me with; ’Well, isn’t, at least, Marxist communist ideology situated upon better ideals and premises? The principle of alleviating the oppression of the poor and down trodden; the strangle hold that the rich elite in the world have on the 99%?’ And my reply to this is that there is, in principle, no gradation of right and wrong before a Holy God. There is either right, or there is wrong; there is no political or social theory that is more or less proximate to God’s ways in Christ. We cannot collapse God’s system into the political ideology of humanity. That is not to say that God has not broken into our systems and humanity through Christ. But instead it is to recognize that at a systemic level, humanity continues to follow the broad way that leads to destruction; they do this because they love the darkness rather than the light. So even if their ’intentions’ appear to be good; we know (Deus absconditus) that appearances aren’t always what they seem, one way or the other. We know that humanity is still homo incurvatus in se (turned in on their selves), and that movements without Christ as their shepherd only lead to destruction in the end.

Glenn Beck Interviews Jesus

Glenn Beck explains to Jesus that social justice isn't in the gospel. Beck admits on air that he chose his religion based on getting laid and then talks to Jesus about how the Occupy Wall Street crowd are skanks.

Liberation Theology

Beware of false doctrines like "Liberation Theology" and "Social Justice;" antichrist teachings.

What is "liberation theology" that I keep hearing about? Is it wrong or right?
"Liberation theology" represents a movement, largely in Latin America and among Roman Catholics, that focuses on liberation from social oppression and injustice. A vital theology, its adherents claim, must speak to how this liberation can be brought about. All other theological matters should be subservient to a social concern for the poor and oppressed. See, for example, G. Gutiérrez's A Theology of Liberation.

To reply: However much there is need for such concern, and its proper place in a vital theology, the deeper spiritual need is little recognized. Jesus declared that He came "to preach the gospel to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives…to set free those who are downtrodden" (Luke 4:18). This was, and is, a gospel not primarily of societal alteration but of relief from inner oppression and bondage. "Liberation theology," while concerned about the social plight of the poor and oppressed, falls short in relating to the far profounder spiritual plight of all people.

Liberation Theology by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
The following is to a "private" document which preceded the Instruction of Fall 1984.

Preliminary Notes

1. Liberation theology is a phenomenon with an extraordinary number of layers. There is a whole spectrum from radically marxist positions, on the one hand, to the efforts which are being made within the framework of a correct and ecclesial theology, on the other hand, a theology which stresses the responsibility which Christians necessarily hear for the poor and oppressed, such as we see in the documents of the Latin American Bishops' Conference (CELAM) from Medellin to Puebla. In what follows, the concept of liberation theology will be understood in a narrower sense: it will refer only to those theologies which, in one way or another, have embraced the marxist fundamental option. Here too there are many individual differences, which cannot be dealt with in a general discussion of this kind. All I can do is attempt to illuminate certain trends which, notwithstanding the different nuances they exhibit, are widespread and exert a certain influence even where liberation theology in this more restricted sense does not exist.

2. An analysis of the phenomenon of liberation theology reveals that it constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church. At the same time it must be borne in mind that no error could persist unless it contained a grain of truth. Indeed, an error is all the more dangerous, the greater that grain of truth is, for then the temptation it exerts is all the greater.

Furthermore, the error concerned would not have been able to wrench that piece of the truth to its own use if that truth had been adequately lived and witnessed to in its proper place (in the faith of the Church). So, in denouncing error and pointing to dangers in liberation theology, we must always be ready to ask what truth is latent in the error and how it can be given its rightful place, how it can be released from error's monopoly.

[ ... ]

In trying to arrive at an overall evaluation it must be said that, if one accepts the fundamental assumptions which underlie liberation theology, it cannot be denied that the whole edifice has an almost irresistible logic. By adopting the position of biblical criticism and of a hermeneutics that grows through experience, on the one hand, and of the marxist analysis of history, on the other, liberation theologians have succeeded in creating a total picture of the Christian reality, and this total view seems to respond fully both to the claims of science and to the moral challenges of our time, urging people to make Christianity an instrument of concrete world transformation; it seems to have united Christianity, in this way, with all the "progressive forces" of our era. One can understand, therefore, that this new interpretation of Christianity should have exercised an increasing fascination over theologians, priests and religious, particularly against the background of Third World problems. To say "no" to it must seem to them to be a flight from reality as well as a denial of reason and morality. On the other hand, if one considers how radical this reinterpretation of Christianity is, it is all the more pressing to find the right answer to the challenge which it presents. We shall only survive this crisis if we succeed in making the logic of faith visible in an equally compelling manner and in presenting it as a logic of reality, i.e., manifesting the concrete force of a better answer attested in lived experience.

The lonely liberation theology of Benedict XVI
Add it up, and what you get is this: Benedict XVI is genuinely scandalized by poverty and injustice, and he wants the church to be a change agent. In terms of how the church promotes transformation, however, it’s not by lobbying or electoral strategy, but by inviting people into relationship with Christ – the Christ whose “preferential love for the poor” Benedict has repeatedly confirmed.

Nurture love for Christ in the hearts of women and men, the pope believes, and the revolution will come. Trying to start with the revolution first, he believes, is a recipe for heartache, which the tragic history of the 20th century eloquently illustrates.

That’s the liberation theology of Benedict XVI. It is, in some ways, a fairly lonely position, satisfying neither the zeal for concrete political advocacy of the Catholic left nor the laissez-faire instincts of at least part of the Catholic right.

Liberation theology began as a movement within the Roman Catholic church in Latin America in the 1950s–1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement's most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Liberation Theology was the perfect blueprint for the Sandinistas.
It incorporated the very aim of Marxist-Leninism. It presumed the classic Marxist "struggle of the masses" to be free from all capitalist domination. And above all, the Marxist baby was at last wrapped in the very swaddling clothes of ancient Catholic terminology. Words and phrases laden with meaning for the people were co-opted and turned upside down.

Immortal Technique - Sign of the Times Ft. Cetan Wanbli, Lockjaw Nakai and Cornel West

[Intro: Native American chants]

[Verse 1: Immortal Technique]

Imagine the Word of God without religious groupies
Imagine a savior born in a Mexican hooptie
Persecuted single mother in a modern manger
You'd crucify him again like a fucking stranger
Tears of the anger are worth more than diamonds or rubies
Imagine being locked up since juvie
Imagine changing your life and still going out like Tookie
Imagine niggas talking shit when they never knew me
Imagine a movie that depicted the pain in your life
Like them kids in Afghanistan chasing a kite
For most of the world that's what it's like
Imagine if the woman you suppose to love for the rest of your life
Is set to marry someone else at the end of the night
They say you fight the greatest jihad in your heart and your mind
And fight the hardest when you start from behind
So I dreamed the impossible all the time
Fuck a Masonic design—Americas future is mine
Repeat that to yourself cause if culture's a crime
Them numbers tatted on your arm aren't too far behind
They can only conquer you after they've murdered your mind
So rise up motherfucker like the sign of the times
I feel my body weakening but my spirit is fine
Ready to go to war with devils at the drop of a dime
And fight with my rebel army until the stars are aligned

[Verse 2: Immortal Technique]

Nostradamus was a white man's prophet
Who predicated European supremacist logic
Because the pilgrims and Conquistador columns
Killed more innocent people than Hitler and Stalin
I guess the fortune-tellers skipped an antichrist or two
Brother, give this to the OG's doing life with you
And pray for the problems with the Pope psychology
So the Vatican will offer an apology
For destroying the people's liberation theology
Snatching the spirit of Jesus from people in poverty
Business decisions like keeping people in prisons
But had the opposite effect: incarcerating religion
That type of crooked politics imposed on a populous
Is obvious if you read the Northwoods documents
Forget the compliments for what I recorded
And live for revolution instead of always dying for it
Remember a bullet can never stop me
My legions are led by the spirit Haile Selassie, watch me
Even if I'm shot in the chakra I will prosper
Doppler effect bumping music out a helicopter
Telling the Persians, "Dig up Zoroaster"
And tell them I came back as the son of the Ahura Mazda
Fish out the Philistine Dagon from the shores of Gaza
And call Quetzalcoatl flying over La Raza
This is my message to the older gods
I'll sacrifice you all to the Revolution like the Romanovs
Lost in the desert like the Hebrews of Israel
The blood clot system tried to kill me like sickle-cell
But I survived and I'm alive to fight another day
Cocooned in a coma, I can still hear my mother pray
Sister crying out to god, "Please let my brother stay!"
Walking towards the light but something's pulling me the other way

[Outro: Cornel West]

Immortal Technique
Rise up young brother
It is not your time to die...

Occupy India?

First, a couple of completely unrelated items:

Occupy India! Maharaja Riches at the Asian Art Museum

It's difficult not to contemplate the grotesque disparity of wealth that made the stunning objects in Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Courts possible. On view through April 8, 2012, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the exhibition explores the privileged lives of India's kings, from the early 18th century, when the disintegration of the Mughal Empire led to the rise of smaller kingdoms throughout the subcontinent, to the mid-20th century, when India's maharajas, now pampered pets of their corpulent British overlords, mugged for Man Ray's camera in Cannes and went on shopping sprees at Cartier.

Unfair allusions to the Occupy Wall Street movement aside (the complaints of OWS, however accurate, look positively bourgeois when contrasted with the abject poverty of a place like India), the exhibition is a well-paced, crisply presented affair. Organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the show fills three of the AAM's ground-floor galleries, although never to overflowing. As a result, there's plenty of room to contemplate each of the points the curators are trying to make via the almost 200 objects at their disposal.

Now, to the matter at hand. India's Occupy Movement fizzled before it started.

Bankers to Occupy India’s Wall Street

Last month we wondered if there would ever be an “Occupy Dalal Street” movement modeled on the “Occupy Wall Street” one. The anti-Wall Street protests started in September in the U.S. and rapidly spread to other countries – but didn’t really seem to catch on in India.

Though a little behind schedule, it looks like someone has finally decided to occupy Dalal Street. But it isn’t quite the crowd we were expecting: on Friday, a group of bankers plans to occupy Mumbai’s Wall Street equivalent. The protest has been called by members of the Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, a group affiliated with one of India’s main bank employee associations. They plan to gather on Dalal Street, which houses the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Organizers see no contradiction between their professional background and the cause Occupy Wall Street stands for – to protest against bankers and corporate executives who thrived while average citizens bore the brunt of the economic crisis. “In our view, the policies represented by Dalal Street are identical to those followed at Wall Street,” Vishwas Utagi, the general secretary of the bank employees group, told India Real Time.

It turns out their demands are not quite the same, however. The group of Mumbai bankers are targeting their private sector American counterparts. But their interests are more protectionist: one of the central items on their agenda is to oppose plans to liberalize the sector.

Occupy Dalal Street movement fizzles out on day one

The 'Occupy' movement, which has taken the West by storm with hundreds of people camping in open areas against greedy capitalism, reached the nation's financial capital today, but fizzled out within an hour with the Left-leaning activists - counting just 27 - being arrested.

India, into the third decade of economic liberalization that has put the economy into a high growth trajectory and home to a very large middle class, becomes the 83rd country and Mumbai the 1,501st city to witness the protests.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started in the private park Zuccotti in New York's downtown Manhattan area in mid September caught the attention of the rest of the world, particularly in the West which is reeling under an extended period of financial turbulences.

A handful organisations like the Communist Party of India, its student wing, the All India Bank Employees Association and even a body sympathising with the Telangana cause started assembling at the high-security Dalal Street that houses the Bombay Stock Exchange building to begin the India-leg of the global movement titled 'Occupy Dalal Street' in the late hours of trading today.

The protest kicked off with demonstrations by banner-holding bank employees, but enterprising attempts by others to reach the iconic BSE tower or its periphery were thwarted by the waiting policemen.

"We have arrested 27 persons, including a woman, for breach of prohibitory orders and assembling unlawfully," senior inspector of the local MRA Marg Police Station Padmakar Juikar told PTI.

The protest, which was planned by the CPI ten days ago, also saw the trickling in of some impassionate individuals, including Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of the Mahatma.

"Such protests are required to shake up the complacency of the government which gauges economic progress with the stock market," Gandhi said.

India’s ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Barely Fills Corner

For those who were excited about the prospect of the “Occupy” protests finally coming to India, a spoiler alert: Even before India’s “Occupy Dalal Street” could get going in Mumbai Friday, it fizzled in the face of a dismal turnout and police action.

Members of the Maharashtra State Bank Employee Federation, a trade group, and Prakash Reddy, a local official of the Communist Party of India, had announced their plans to stage protests at Dalal Street, India’s Wall Street. They hoped to ape the success of the movement in the U.S.

But it wasn’t to be. If, in the U.S., the movement is characterized by large crowds and days or weeks-long protests, the scenes in Mumbai were very different. The protest comprised of fewer than 50 people, bored police, and an audience clueless as to what it was all about. It lasted all of an hour before representatives of the trade group declared the protest over. Some bank employees even took the chance to leave early ahead of a long weekend.

The only action came when party workers from the Communist Party of India, with red flags bearing the party symbol of a hammer and sickle and placards with anti-capitalist slogans, marched toward the site. The police promptly pushed them inside a police vehicle and took them away. Police officials declined to say why the protesters were removed.

As this was happening, a small group of middle-aged men and women stood at a corner of the street with posters articulating their demands. They represented the bank employees and they shouted slogans against the policies of the Indian government. Among their many demands, they voiced opposition to licenses being given to companies to open banks and they urged the government to enact strong recovery laws to tackle the problem of willful loan defaulters.

Mr. Reddy, on the other hand, expressed his anger at the police crackdown — before he, too, was taken away by the police. “Instead of stopping us from protesting, the police should crackdown against the frauds who have occupied Mumbai,” he said.

However, a recent poll suggests all hope is not lost for the movement to grow...

India may also witness 'Occupy' movement: Poll

Even as a bitter political debate rages on the controversial FDI in retail issue and an overwhelming number of urban middle class can't wait for a Walmart or an Ikea in their neighbourhood, an overwhelming 55% of the respondents in the Hindustan Times-CNN-IBN survey think that disenchantment with global corporations may spill over to the streets in India the way it has with the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US and similar movements elsewhere.

Conducted as part of the build-up to the HT Leadership Summit, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Dec 2 and 3, the survey on 'A New Economic Order' in India threw up some revealing facts. While almost 43% of the respondents think the UPA government has not done enough in the past year to protect the Indian economy. An ever-rising inflation in the prices of essential commodities, food and fuel has added to the public anger. However, an impressive 32% think otherwise and think the government has done enough to protect the economy from the global crisis.

It's not like India doesn't have deep humanitarian issues it needs to address...

India: Karnataka, ritual that forces Dalits to roll in Brahmin leftovers ends

Practiced to prevent skin diseases, "made snas" is over 400 years old. Unnecessary protests of activists to abolish the ritual, considered inhumane by many and a way to feed the caste discrimination.

World won't end in 2012, says Mayan expert

The end is not near.

At least that's according to a German expert who says his decoding of a Mayan tablet with a reference to a 2012 date denotes a transition to a new era and not a possible end of the world as others have read it.

The interpretation of the hieroglyphs by Sven Gronemeyer of La Trobe University in Australia was presented for the first time Wednesday at the archeological site of Palenque in southern Mexico.

His comments came less than a week after Mexico's archeology institute acknowledged there was a second reference to the 2012 date in Mayan inscriptions, touching of another round of talk about whether it predicts the end of the world.

Gronemeyer has been studying the stone tablet found years ago at the archeological site of Tortuguero in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

He said the inscription describes the return of mysterious Mayan god Bolon Yokte at the end of a 13th period of 400 years, known as Baktuns, on the equivalent of Dec. 21, 2012. Mayans considered 13 a sacred number. There's nothing apocalyptic in the date, he said.

The text was carved about 1,300 years ago. The stone has cracked, which has made the end of the passage almost illegible.

Gronemeyer said the inscription refers to the end of a cycle of 5,125 years since the beginning of the Mayan Long Count calendar in 3113 B.C.


Scenes from Zuccotti Park

Marching Ineluctably Towards an Pre-emptive Nuclear War? - By William Engdahl

Most in the civilized world are blissfully unaware that we are marching ineluctably towards an increasingly likely pre-emptive nuclear war. No, it’s not at all about Iran and Israel. It’s about the decision of Washington and the Pentagon to push Moscow up against the wall with what is euphemistically called Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD).

On November 23, a normally low-keyed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the world in clear terms that Russia was prepared to deploy its missiles on the border to the EU between Poland and Lithuania, and possibly in the south near Georgia and NATO member Turkey to counter the advanced construction process of the US ballistic missile defense shield: “The Russian Federation will deploy in the west and the south of the country modern weapons systems that could be used to destroy the European component of the US missile defense,” he announced on Russian television. “One of these steps could be the deployment of the Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad.” [i] Those would be theatre ballistic missile systems. The latest version of Iskander, the Iskander-K, whose details remain top secret, reportedly has a range up to 2000 km and carries cruise missiles and a target accuracy to 7 meters or less.

Medvedev declared he has ordered the Russian defense ministry to “immediately” put radar systems in Kaliningrad that warn of incoming missile attacks on a state of combat readiness. He called for extending the targeting range of Russia’s strategic nuclear missile forces and re-equipping Russia’s nuclear arsenal with new warheads capable of piercing the US/NATO defense shield due to become operational in six years, by 2018. Medvedev also threatened to pull Russia out of the New START missile reduction treaty if the United States moves as announced.

Medvedev then correctly pointed to the inevitable link between “defensive” missiles and “offensive” missiles: “Given the intrinsic link between strategic offensive and defensive arms, conditions for our withdrawal from the New Start treaty could also arise,” he said. [ii]

The Russian President didn’t mince words: “I have ordered the armed forces to develop measures to ensure, if necessary, that we can destroy the command and control systems” of the US shield, Medvedev said. “These measures are appropriate, effective and low-cost.” Russia has repeatedly warned that the US BMD global shield is designed to destabilize the nuclear balance and risks provoking a new arms race. The Russian President said that rather than take the Russian concerns seriously, Washington has instead been “accelerating” its BMD development.[iii]

It was not the first time Medvedev threatened to take countermeasures to the increasing Pentagon military encirclement pressure on Russia. Back in November 2008 as the US BMD threat was first made known to the world, Medvedev made a televised address to the Russian people in which he declared, “I would add something about what we have had to face in recent years: what is it? It is the construction of a global missile defense system, the installation of military bases around Russia, the unbridled expansion of NATO and other similar ‘presents’ for Russia ­ we therefore have every reason to believe that they are simply testing our strength.” [iv] That threat was dropped some months later when the Obama Administration offered the now-clearly deceptive olive branch of reversing the BMD decision to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic.


Occupy Economics

On November 13th 2011, economists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst drafted an open statement to the Occupy Wall Street movement pledging their support. Since then, more than 250 economists from around the world have added their names. Read more at

Occupy Economics from Softbox on Vimeo.


Martyrs of the Egyptian Revolution

A video showing the sacrifice of Egypt's martyrs for their revolution. The fight from January through to the present moment, against Mubarak, his police state, the army, and SCAF. Full list of the names of the fallen at the
end of the film. Please share widely, and in solidarity.

Contains graphic material.

Egypt: Food for a revolution

Anger over food prices helped contribute to the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak. Through the story of one migrant family, we explore how displaced farmers, angry about agricultural policies that favor "crony capitalists," now struggle to put food on the table.

See also: The Real Cause of Revolution in the Middle East? Food Subsidies can no longer Provide Cheap Bread

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: A Region’s Distraction from Revolution

Earlier today an article appeared in the Jordan Times (the Kingdom’s official English language newspaper) about how the soccer craze that is “El Clasico” is sweeping Amman’s streets.

According to the paper, shopkeepers and cafe owners reported that the unique four-matches-in-three-weeks scheduling anomaly between arch-rival Spanish soccer mega clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid, has boosted local business. Desperate for a respite from the revolutions sweeping the region, the Clasico has allowed Jordanians to turn their attention away from home. Curious as to whether there was the same interest in Egypt, I headed out on a tour of Cairo’s downtown hours before the third game of this series – Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Similar to the scene described in Amman, Cairo’s streets were buzzing with an excitement one could easily confuse for a World Cup match. Vendors on nearly every corner were selling shirts, jerseys, flags, towels, and trinkets mainly supporting Barcelona and star goal scorer Lionel Messi.

In fact on one side-street lined with cafes, the overwhelming displays of Barcelona blue and red made me feel as if I had just wandered onto La Ramblas. I even found one guy who offered red and blue face paint.


It's Pentagon/NATO versus the BRICS

For Russia, a Western intervention in Syria is an absolute no-no. Russia's one and only naval base in the Eastern Mediterranean is in the (Syrian) port of Tartus.

Not by accident, Russia has installed its S-300 air defence system - one of the best all-altitude surface-to-air missile systems in the world, comparable to the American Patriot - in Tartus. The update to the even more sophisticated S-400 system is imminent.

Moreover, at least 20 per cent of the Russian industrial-military complex would be in deep crisis if those assiduous Syrian clients were lost.

Essentially, NATO - not to mention Israel - would be suicidal to try to attack Syria by the sea. Russian intelligence is working with the hypothesis of an attack via Saudi Arabia.

Other countries, too, are very much aware of NATO's "Libya remix" strategy.

Take last week's meeting, in Moscow, of the deputy foreign ministers of the emerging BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The BRICS couldn't be more explicit: Forget about foreign intervention in Syria, as in "any external interference in Syria's affairs, not in accordance with the UN Charter, should be excluded".

The BRICS also condemn the extra sanctions on Iran ("counterproductive") and any possibility of a strike. The only solution - for both Syria and Iran - is dialogue and negotiations. Forget about an Arab League vote leading to a new R2P ("responsibility to protect") resolution approved at the UN Security Council.

This is a geopolitical earthquake. Russian diplomacy has coordinated with the other BRICS members a major pounding on the table; we will fight new US interventions - "humanitarian" or otherwise - in the Middle East. Now it's Pentagon/NATO versus the BRICS.

Brazil, India and China are following as closely as Russia on how France - under the neo-Napoleonic Liberator of Libya Nicolas Sarkozy - and Turkey, both NATO members, are invested, no holds barred, into smuggling weapons and betting on a civil war in Syria, while at the same time thwarting any possibility of a dialogue between the Assad regime and the fragmented opposition.

Chokepoint alert

It's also no secret of the BRICS that the Pentagon "repositioning" strategy implies an undisguised attempt to force, in the long run, "denial of access" to Chinese shipping and an expanding Chinese blue-water navy.

The repositioning now on across Africa and Asia especially concerns chokepoints. No wonder three of the world's crucial chokepoints are matters of national security for China, in terms of its supply of oil.


Is it time to occupy the highways?

Now that billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has evicted protesters from their encampment in Liberty Plaza, some are wondering what the future might hold for the “Occupy” movement. Without their strategic base near Wall Street, activists might find it more difficult to coordinate demonstrations in the vicinity. On the other hand, if Bloomberg and the financial elite hoped that the NYPD’s preemptive move on Occupy would eviscerate political protest, then they will probably be disappointed. If anything, the authorities have merely succeeded in dispersing demonstrations which could wind up proving even more difficult to contain.

As Occupy now moves to “phase two” in its evolution, protesters might want to weigh the various advantages and disadvantages of street demonstrations and even roadblocks. It is here where the case of South America might prove instructive. For years, indigenous peoples in the Andes have employed road blocks as an innovative tactical weapon in pressing for popular demands. One thing’s for sure: Roadblocks get you noticed. As traffic piles up, trucks can’t move and companies are unable to get supplies in. That in turn pinches agribusiness, which can’t move its grain. Before long, the day of reckoning approaches for the financial elite, whose profits get squeezed.

From Argentina to OWS

In no other country have activists perfected the concept of the strategic roadblock more effectively than in Argentina. There, virtual armies of unemployed called “piqueteros” have been able to disrupt commerce and thereby exert significant political pressure on the central government. With their calls for everything from food parcels, state-funded jobs, living wages, unemployment benefits and public investments in water, electricity, paved roads and health facilities, in addition to the release of incarcerated militants and withdrawal of police, the piqueteros have succeeded in shifting the political discussion in Argentina.

Even before Bloomberg evicted protesters from Liberty Plaza, demonstrators seemed to be taking an increasingly Argentine tack. Recently, a small group of occupiers left New York en route to Washington, DC so as to draw attention to a meeting of the so-called Congressional Supercommittee charged with settling the rancorous debate over US debt. The occupiers wished to send a succinct message to Congress: Eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the rich in order to help balance the budget and save severely needed social programmes.

It would be a stretch to say that "occupy the highway" approaches the same level of radical tactics as the Argentine roadblocks, yet perhaps this walk is a harbinger of things to come. A kind of experiment in mini-democracy, the march featured so-called “General Assemblies” held in local towns along the route. The activists, who were funded by the original encampment at Liberty Plaza to the tune of $3,000, made the arduous 300-mile trek to DC on foot, no less, passing through the New Jersey town of New Brunswick along the way. There, activists met up with Rutgers University students, and the two groups took over a roadway alongside a local bridge. As downtown traffic was brought to a standstill, pedestrians curiously looked on.


Meanwhile, check out

The Last Photographs of Occupy Los Angeles

Top GOP Strategist Admits He’s ‘Scared’ Of Occupy Wall Street Because It’s ‘Having An Impact’

The Republican Governor’s Association met in Florida this week and featured pollster Frank Luntz, who offered a coaching session for attendees about how they should communicate to the public. Yahoo! News’ Chris Moody was there, and captured some of Luntz’s comments on Occupy Wall Street.

Luntz told attendees that he’s “scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death.” The pollster warned that the movement is “having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.” So the pollster offered some advice for them about how to fight back.


Inside the Corporate Plan to Occupy the Pentagon

With time fast running out for the so-called deficit supercommittee, the mammoth amount of government money spent on the military has become a prime target in Washington. But the main focus isn't on big-ticket weapons projects or expensive wars—it's on retirement benefits for the roughly 17 percent of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen who have served 20 years or more in uniform. Currently the total cost of their benefits is about $50 billion a year.

Cuts to military pensions are "the kind of thing you have to consider," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in September. When President Obama unveiled his $3 trillion debt reduction plan the same month, it called GIs' benefits "out of line" with private employee retirement plans, saying the system was "designed for a different era of work." When Congress held a hearing on military retirements in October, Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) promoted a cheaper 401(k)-style plan that would slash existing benefits for many troops. "I see nothing wrong with them being able to choose a different retirement plan," he said.

These ideas may sound like a bold new approach in an urgent moment—but in fact, the push for pension cuts and other corporate "reforms" at the Pentagon originates from an obscure advisory panel that has existed for a decade: the Defense Business Board. Its 21 members know little about military affairs, but they are rich in Wall Street experience, including with some of the biggest companies implicated in the 2008 financial meltdown. They are investment bank CEOs and CFOs, outsourcing experts, and layoff specialists who promote a corporate agenda of "behavior change" and "business solutions" in the military bureaucracy. The board proposes not only to slash and privatize military pensions, but also to have the Pentagon invest in oil futures, boost pay for its executives and political appointees, and make it easier for them to fire rank-and-file employees while scaling back those workers' collective-bargaining rights.


Modern Greeks Return To Ancient System Of Barter

Volos is also one of several Greek towns with a more formal type of barter network, which uses a currency called Local Alternative Unit, or TEM in Greek. One TEM is equal in value to one euro.

People sign up for free on the barter network's website, where they can post ads on what they can offer or what they want. Members exchange goods and services — for example, English and computer lessons, baby-sitting and plumbing repairs, medical visits and car-pooling — amassing TEM credit into an online account.

Some shops also accept TEMs, in the form of vouchers that function like checks.

Optician Klita Dimitriadis explains how it works. On a pair of 100-euro glasses, she'll take 30 percent in the alternative currency. She needs the 70 euros, she explains, in order to pay her employees, taxes and rent.

Dimitriadis then spends her TEMs at a monthly open-air farmers market, or in exchange for other services.

Over the past year, TEM members in Volos have grown from a few dozen to more than 500, and the movement has attracted Athens' attention. In September, parliament passed a law giving barter networks nonprofit status.


USA Will Attack Pakistan & Starting of WW3

China Threatens World War Three If Anyone Attacks Iran

A professor from the Chinese National Defense University says that China should not hesitate to protect Iran, even if it means launching world war three, as more US warships are dispatched to the region amidst heightening tensions.

According to NDTV, a Chinese news station based outside the country, in regard to recent speculation that Iran would be the target of a US-Israeli military assault, Major General Zhang Zhaozhong commented that, "China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war," remarks described as "puzzling to some".

The news report also quotes Professor Xia Ming as paraphrasing Zhaozhong's quote that, "not hesitating to fight a third world war would be entirely for domestic political needs."

China has vehemently reaffirmed its alliance with Iran in recent weeks, most notably yesterday when it refused to criticize Iran for a raid on the British Embassy in Tehran launched by Iranian students earlier this week.

Both China and Russia have made it clear that they will veto any UN authorization of military action against Iran in the aftermath of claims that Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon.

"China has noted the tough reactions made by the relevant countries over this event and is concerned over the development of the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters today.

"We hope relevant countries will keep calm and exercise restraint and avoid taking emotional actions that may rachet up the confrontation."

Meanwhile, in a related development, three more US warships have been dispatched to join the USS John C. Stennis in the 5th fleet region.

With the Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, already stationed just outside Iranian territorial waters, the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has just been deployed from its home port to join the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.

"In addition to the USS Carl Vinson's departure, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and guided-missile destroyer left in the morning, and the USS Halsey will depart at 2 p.m," reports NBC SanDiego, adding that the ships are headed for the Middle East.

Fears of an imminent military assault on Syria were sparked when the USS George H.W. Bush left its usual theater of operations to position itself just off the Syrian coast, but the warship has now completed its mission and is sailing back to its home port in Norfolk Virginia. View the latest naval update map: Source: Paul Joseph Watson:

Rice: U.S. Should Do Everything Possible to Bring Down Iran's Government

US sources: Israel ministers who opposed Iran strike are now for it

U.S. military official: We are concerned Israel will not warn us before Iran attack

Pieczenik: Obama and Israel to Attack Iran Under Cover of Bogus Terror Threat:

FBI Insider: Obama Administration Likely Manufactured Dubious Terror Plot:

Hundreds remain jailed after Occupy LA raid

About 240 people remained in jail Thursday night after an LAPD operation to clear the Occupy L.A. encampment around City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, police said. On Thursday, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against 19 people arrested. Their bail was set at between $5,000 and $20,000 depending on the charges, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

LAPD's raid the Occupy L.A. encampment early Wednesday resulted in the arrest of 292 people, primarily for failing to disperse from the area around 1st and Broadway once police declared the gathering an “unlawful assembly.”

One of those arraigned, Tyson Header, 35, of Valencia, allegedly spit on an officer and resisted arrest, and was charged Thursday with three counts: battery on a peace officer, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest. Another person was arrested for interfering with police operations, said Officer Karen Rayner, a spokeswoman for the LAPD.

So far about 50 people have been released from custody after being arraigned, posting $5,000 bail, or for medical reasons, Rayner said.

Men are being held in the Downtown Metropolitan Detention Center. Women are detained in the Valley Jail Section in Van Nuys, Rayner said.

“Tomorrow will be the big day, because most of them have to be released, arraigned or bailed out,” she said. A person must be arraigned within 48 hours of their arrest or otherwise released.

As of Thursday evening, the City Attorney’s Office had received 150 arrest reports for filing review from the LAPD, said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office.

Mike Prysner, 28, got out of jail Wednesday night after posting a $5,000 bail and spending 22 hours in a two-person cell at the downtown jail. Prysner, an activist who works for ANSWER Coalition, is also an Iraq war veteran who served in the U.S. Army for about four years and was honorably discharged in 2005.

He has been a part of the Occupy movement since the early planning stages for the L.A. encampment and has traveled to, and helped organize, encampments in Washington D.C. and Chicago.

“There’s only one narrative out in the press right now,” Prysner said. “That narrative is from the mayor, the LAPD, and the city, which is nothing but self-congratulatory, patting themselves on the back, saying the LAPD is reformed and this is a great example of how well they are treating people…but people who were inside, people who experienced it will tell a very different story.”

Prysner said he witnessed many people being beaten by police batons during the raid on their encampment. He said everyone was taken into custody and put in zip ties with their hands behind their backs and loaded into buses to go to the jail. It was about seven hours before his hands were freed, he said.

“Once we got booked, we found out we were all slapped with a $5,000 bail,” Prysner said. “This is preposterous, because under California law misdemeanors are always released on their own recognizance, which means no bail. It’s near impossible for most of these people to pay.”


"We're Number 37" - Paul Hipp

Here is a little song celebrating the U.S.'s position at #37 in the world in healthcare.

Experience the Terror of the Philadelphia Police

Experience the terror the Occupy Philly protestors faced when being charged by police horses. Filmed by indy media journalist, Vanessa Maria, in the midst of being trampled and injured by police horses.

Reverend Jesse Jackson Visits Occupy Phoenix 12/01/2011

Evoking the ghost of general strikes past


Each threat of a one-day strike is now accompanied by dark allusions to the General Strike of 1926 and/or the Winter of Discontent of 1978-1979. And each time it becomes more ridiculous to try to make such historical claims and comparisons. The historical reasons why it’s not 1926 or 1979 all over again were examined at some length in an article I wrote on spiked at the time of the June walk-outs (see British trade unions: General Shrug now!), and there is no wish here to do a Dave Prentis by simply repeating myself this time around.

Suffice to say that this week’s token and half-hearted one-day strike bears no comparison to the nine-day General Strike of 1926, which came at the end of an era of revolution in Europe and class warfare in Britain and saw workers across many industries strike in support of the miners, in a battle against a Tory government that deployed emergency powers, troops and an army of middle-class scabs, whilst waging a fierce propaganda war (led by Winston Churchill) against the ‘Red Menace to the Nation’.

Nor does it help to compare the current action to the Winter of Discontent, when the public-sector unions went on strike against the Labour government’s policies of pay restraint. In 1979, 29million working days were lost due to industrial action. Last year, the estimated figure was 365,000 days - not much more than one per cent of the 1979 record. Indeed, there have been fewer strike days in the past 20 years added together than in 1979 alone. So, claiming ‘the biggest strike in decades’ does not take much – and means even less.

However, there is really no need to harp on these points. Because behind the headlines, the leaders on both sides of this dispute know that the historical allusions are part of a phoney war, and that they are engaged in a bit of PR sparring rather than a class struggle.

In the past, some of us might have caused outrage in trade-union circles by arguing that such a one-day strike, however large, was little more than a gesture. Now, however, trade union officials themselves admit the same thing. Their explanations for this week’s action talk about how it allows their members to ‘express their anger’ at the proposed changes to public-sector pensions or, in the words of Trades Union Congress (TUC) chief Brendan Barber, to show ‘the power of the sense of grievance that people feel’.


General strike brings Greece to a surprisingly calm halt

A crippling general strike and street protests by hundreds of thousands of Greeks marked the second anniversary of the eurozone debt crisis on Thursday.

For the prime minister, Lucas Papademos, who is facing his first test since his interim administration assumed power less than a month ago, the mass demonstrations were unusually peaceful and, therefore, a huge success: in a nation used to street violence, not a single shot was fired as riot police refrained from lobbing tear gas into the crowds and stone-throwing anarchists stayed away.

But beneath the apparent calm the anger was still palpable. Trade unionists representing civil servants and private-sector workers said that Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB), should expect "sustained battle" against cutbacks that are widely seen as unfair. Hit by a barrage of tax increases and salary cuts, poorer Greeks have seen their purchasing power slashed by up to 70% since the crisis erupted.


See also:

Transparency International: Greece & Italy Most Corrupt among EZ countries

Greece: Anatomy of a Financial Crisis - A Conversation with Richard Parker

Martial Law declared in United States

Although the American people are not hearing the term martial law, the right to habeas corpus (1) has been indefinitely suspended. Habeas corpus literally means “you may have the body”. It is one of the most basic rights of law which essentially demands a person be brought before a judge. Without the right to habeas corpus, a person may be arrested on suspicion alone, whisked off to a secret prison, and held indefinitely. Although defenders of the National Defense Authorization Act (2) claim it is necessary to detain subversives, one must wonder exactly what a subversive is considered these days. Speaking against the National Defense Authorization Act, Rand Paul claimed that currently a US citizen who owns firearms or maintains more than seven days of food in his or her home can be considered a terrorist suspect. (3)

Although this might sound reasonable to an urban dweller, here in the foot hills of Kentucky you would be hard pressed to find a person without a few guns or seven days of food in their home. This time of the year, there is a coyote gun over the back door, the garden is put up in the root cellar, and I imagine most of my neighbors have also prepared for winter. Just the other year, we had an ice storm which took out our electricity and left us on our own for about two weeks. Evidently, being prepared for winter is now reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity.

“That’s right the military will now have the power to lock up anyone, even American citizens without due process and without being convicted of a crime.” (3)

Making matters scarier, the Army Times (4) reported that the ACLU has expressed concerns over US troop training and deployment. That report, written in 2008, details troop development and deployment within the United States for activation in late 2011. Their purpose is clearly for use against US citizens, crowd and riot control. The ACLU has demanded further information from the US Federal Government. (5)

So while the press might not be telling you we are now living under martial law, the military has been deployed to the United States for crowd control and your constitutional rights have suspended. If not the definition martial law (6), what is it? As the president of the United States is himself the commander in chief of the US armed forces, one might also use the term dictatorship. Time will tell how this plays out, but things are not looking good for the freedom and liberty that US citizens value so much.

  1. Habeas Corpus at Wikipedia
  2. National Defense Act
  3. Rand Paul speaks up.
  4. Army Times
  5. ACLU Demand
  6. Wikipedia on Martial Law


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