Archive for we are the 99%

The success of the #Occupy movement: "Invisible suffering was made visible" #OWS


ows 99 percent

Rebecca Solnit wrote an inspiring op-ed in today's L.A. Times, one I've been waiting for someone to write. If you need a morale boost, please read it in full. Solnit is an author who spent time at Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street in 2011. A longer version of the op-ed can be found at

In her piece, she traces movements, activist groups, a unique person here and there, and identifies their transformative moments. She identifies milestones and special people who have made a meaningful difference and changed the world because they galvanized others with their mission.

Real change may at first be incremental, halting, and sometimes frustratingly imperceptible to those who aren't really paying attention, but eventually, it takes hold in ways unimagined.

In other words, the efforts can result in achievements that have lasting impact. And that impact can be on the whole wide world, a country, a legislative body, or on the very participants of a movement. And then those participants pay it forward.

[T]he moment that counts is the one where civil society is its own rule, improvising the terms of an ideal society for a day, a month, a season [...]

Almost as soon as Occupy Wall Street appeared in the fall of 2011, the national conversation changed and the brutality and obscenity of Wall Street were suddenly being openly discussed. The suffering of ordinary people crushed by the burden of medical, housing or college debt came out of the shadows.

California passed a homeowner's bill of rights to curtail the viciousness of the banks, and in late 2012, Strike Debt emerged as an Occupy offshoot to address indebtedness in creative and subversive ways. Student debt suddenly became (and remains) a topic of national discussion, and proposals for student loan reform began to gain traction.

Invisible suffering was made visible. And, though Occupy was never primarily about electoral politics, it was nonetheless a significant part of the conversation that got Elizabeth Warren elected senator and prompted a few other politicians to do good things in the cesspit of the capital.

Change often happens when the brutality of the status quo is made visible and therefore intolerable. [...]

Occupy Wall Street allowed those silenced by shame, invisibility or lack of interest from the media to speak up. ... [T]he media and politicians had to change their language to adjust to a series of previously ignored realities.

Part of what gave Occupy its particular beauty was the way the movement defined "we" as the 99%. That phrase (along with that contagious meme "the 1%") entered our language, offering a far more inclusive way of imagining the world.

Occupy is still working behind the scenes. I know this because I communicate regularly with those who are deeply involved, and I see reports of their impressive accomplishments. The tents are now gone, the drums stopped beating... but Occupy's heart didn't.



VIDEO: "The polling is with the president on this." So what does $2,000 mean to you?


Of course, Republicans are shocked– SHOCKED!– at the years-old White House proposals.

But “Can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?”

And per the New York Times, despite what GOP talking points tell us, Americans aren't exactly "paying ever more to finance the expansion of government" considering the tax burden for most Americans is lower than it was in the 1980s:

[I]n fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980. [...]

Tax rates at most income levels were lower in 2010 than at any point during the 1980s.

Who was president from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989 again? Oh that's right. Ronald Reagan.


Share Your Story: http://OFA.BO/AGsY8R

For more than 19 months, President Obama campaigned on the idea that if we're going to be successful, every American has to do their part and pay their fair share.

A centerpiece of his platform, and the campaign you built, was that income taxes should not go up on the middle class -- that the responsible way to pay down the deficit, while investing in education, job training, research and science, is to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more.

Right now, President Obama is asking you to think about what $2,000 a year means to you and your family.


VIDEO-- Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale. "Can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?"


Gather 'round, kiddies...

"Question: Is there no alternative, or can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?"

Of particular interest: The segment at about 3:00.

And doesn't the politician receiving all those donations at about 5:30 remind you just a wee bit of... Scott Walker?


Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale, is narrated by Ed Asner, with animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don't want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren't so sure. This land bears a startling resemblance to our land. For more info,

I believe...I believe... it's silly, but I believe...

H/t: @KingsburyQc


Dear news media: Where were your headlines about Occupy May Day protests being mostly peaceful?


I noticed something in yesterday's news coverage of the Occupy protests yesterday (May Day): Most of it was about violence, anarchists, destruction, protesters smashing windows, police making arrests... in other words, a slew of negative stories.

I follow a whole lot of news outlets and journalists on Twitter, and nearly every one of them tweeted headlines like those. Several of us were tweeting back, asking where the positive reports about the Occupiers were, because, after all, the M.O. of the original Occupy Wall Street movement was non-violent, even thoughtful and creative, demonstrations against social and economic inequality, corporate influence on government, greed, and the wealth gap between the richest 1% of Americans and 99% of the population who are struggling to make ends meet.

The only news I saw that reflected the mostly peaceful day of protest were from fellow bloggers and activists, and one from the L.A. Times.

When I opened my morning L.A. Times today, in fact, the headlines I saw were "5 in Cleveland charged with planning to blow up bridge on May Day" and Seattle May Day protest marked by vandalism, arrests.

Buried in the Cleveland story was this:

The suspect, identified as Doug Wright, 26, described himself as an anarchist and complained about Occupy's unwillingness to take violent action.

When one of the demonstration's organizers said the Occupiers wanted no more than peaceful civil disobedience, one member of the [anarchist] group near Wright walked away in disgust, cursing.

So, news media, where were your headlines informing readers that Occupy is a peaceful movement that is so "unwilling to take violent action" that a disgusted anarchist felt compelled to curse?