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Protesters halt operations at some western ports December 13, 2011


December 13, 2011

by legitgov

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Protesters halt operations at some western ports 13 Dec 2011 After their successful attempts to block trucks and curb business at busy ports up and down the West Coast, some Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to continue their blockades and keep staging similar protests. Thousands of demonstrators forced shipping terminals in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., to halt parts of their operations Monday and some intend to keep their blockade attempts ramped up overnight. The movement, which sprang up this fall against what it sees as corporate greed and economic inequality, focused on the ports as the “economic engines for the elite.”

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Michael Bloomberg’s brave new world | Amy Goodman November 17, 2011



Democracy Now! coverage of the OWS eviction from Zuccotti Park and its aftermath, 15 November 2011. Video: DemocracyNow!

We got word just after 1am Tuesday that New York City Police were raiding the Occupy Wall Street encampment. I raced down with the “Democracy Now!” news team to Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square. Hundreds of riot police had already surrounded the area. As they ripped down the tents, city sanitation workers were throwing the protesters’ belongings into dump trucks. Beyond the barricades, back in the heart of the park, 200-300 people locked arms, refusing to cede the space they had occupied for almost two months. They were being handcuffed and arrested, one by one.

The few of us members of the press who managed to get through all the police lines were sent to a designated area across the street from Zuccotti Park. As our cameras started rolling, they placed two police buses in front of us, blocking our view. My colleagues and I managed to slip between them and into the park, climbing over the trashed mounds of tents, tarps and sleeping bags.

The police had almost succeeded in enforcing a complete media blackout of the destruction.

We saw a broken bookcase in one pile. Deeper in the park, I spotted a single book on the ground. It was marked “OWSL”, for Occupy Wall Street Library, also known as the People’s Library, one of the key institutions that had sprung up in the organic democracy of the movement. By the latest count, it had accumulated 5,000 donated books. The one I found, amidst the debris of democracy that was being hauled off to the dump, was Brave New World Revisited, by Aldous Huxley.

As the night progressed, the irony of finding Huxley’s book grew. He wrote it in 1958, almost 30 years after his famous dystopian novel, Brave New World. The original work described society in the future where people had been stratified into haves and have-nots. The Brave New World denizens were plied with pleasure, distraction, advertisement and intoxicating drugs to lull them into complacency, a world of perfect consumerism, with lower classes doing all the work for an elite.

Brave New World Revisited was Huxley’s nonfiction response to the speed with which he saw modern society careening to that bleak future. It seemed relevant, as the encampment, motivated in large part by the opposition to the supremacy of commerce and globalisation, was being destroyed. Huxley wrote in the book:

“Big Business, made possible by advancing technology and the consequent ruin of Little Business, is controlled by the State – that is to say, by a small group of party leaders and the soldiers, policemen and civil servants who carry out their orders. In a capitalist democracy, such as the United States, it is controlled by what Professor C Wright Mills has called the Power Elite.”

Huxley goes on to write:

“This Power Elite directly employs several millions of the country’s working force in its factories, offices and stores, controls many millions more by lending them the money to buy its products, and, through its ownership of the media of mass communication, influences the thoughts, the feelings and the actions of virtually everybody.”

One of the People’s Library volunteers, Stephen Boyer, was there as the park was raided. After avoiding arrest and helping others with first aid, he wrote:

“Everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone. Our collection of 5,000 books is gone. Our tent that was donated is gone. All the work we’ve put into making it is gone.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s office later released a photo of a table with some books stacked on it, claiming the books had been preserved. As the People’s Library tweeted: “We’re glad to see some books are OK. Now, where are the rest of the books and our shelter and our boxes?” The shelter, by the way, was donated to the library by National Book Award winner Patti Smith, the rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Many other Occupy protest sites have been raided recently. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted to the BBC that she had been on a conference call with 18 cities, discussing the situation. Another report noted that the FBI and Homeland Security have been advising the cities.

A New York state judge ruled late Tuesday that the eviction will stand, and that protesters cannot return to Zuccotti Park with sleeping bags or tents. After the ruling, a constitutional attorney sent me a text message: “Just remember: the movement is in the streets. Courts are always last resorts.” Or, as Patti Smith famously sings, “People have the power.”

• Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column

© 2011 Amy Goodman; distributed by King Features Syndicate

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Explosion at Ammunition Depot Kills 17 in Iran November 13, 2011

Iranian officials say a massive explosion at an ammunition depot west of Tehran has killed at least 17 members of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

State media reports say a senior guard commander died in the incident.  At least 16 other people were injured in the blast with some in critical condition.

Ramazan Sharif, a spokesman for the elite military unit said an initial investigation indicated the explosion occurred as military forces were moving ammunition at the facility.  Investigators say they do not suspect foul play.

The powerful blast damaged nearby buildings and could be felt 40 kilometers away in the capital.

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