Monthly Archives: October 2011

Weekend Reading

The weekend is right about to start, which means you’ve got some reading to do.

Some occupation reading:

And for non-occupied news:
Remember when the police raided UC activists occupying Wheeler Hall? Several students have sued the university!

The Canadian crimes plan, from Texas’ perspective.

This is how easy it is for the US Government to read your e-mail.

How important is Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan, anyways?

On white feminists using the n-word.

From Thursday morning, the post-Qaddafi journalism you will read over the next 72 hours.

In a similar vein, headline predictions for the Ohio exotic animal incident.

Working in menial labor is worse for your mental health than being unemployed.

When it comes to central governments, maybe Somalia doesn’t need it.

So I guess students with speech impediments aren’t supposed to talk in class?

We’re already doing it to Earth, let’s mine the fuck out of the moon!

Some men are so baffled by lesbians, they refuse to believe they exist.

A history of Schadenfreude, and other Germanisms.

Anita Hill, twenty years later.

If you’re selling stuff on eBay, does it matter what race you are?

What’s with these black women being all unmarried and stuff? Let’s get them married and fix all our problems!

Looks like Alabama’s unemployed aren’t ready to take the jobs that the undocumented workers were stealing from them.

And this Alabama deli owner was tarred and feathered for defending legal, documented workers. Way to be.

Wrangling university faculty is harder than herding cats, even with num nums.

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Occupying Occupied Land

Four hundred years ago, the Dutch acquired the island of Manhattan for $24 according to some estimates. Over the next several hundred years, colonists from Western Europe would continue to invade the rest of the continent with settlements, lies, and force. As protesters take to the streets and occupy parks around the world, many have pointed to the fact that this land is already occupied, and some say it should be taken back.

In November of 1969, several activists tried to do just that, and in so doing they started a movement. After the prison at Alcatraz Island was closed, many Native Americans in the Bay Area wanted the island returned to natives. There were several attempts to occupy the island, and although two attempts were foiled, the activists were not prosecuted. On November 20, about 80 activists ferried their way to the island in the middle of the night and began their occupation, demanding that a Native American Studies center and museum be built on the island. They offered to pay for the island in order to make it legitimate. They offered the government $24 worth of blankets and beads.

The occupation became a community, with many living in the warden’s house and boats carrying food and supplies running regular routes. They set up a tribal council and school, and quickly began daily broadcasts on the radio. Early in the occupation, members of the American Indian Movement visited the occupation to learn more about the action. Later, AIM would use these tactics in huge actions like the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC.

Despite wide support, the occupation ran into trouble. The fuel, electricity, and telephone lines all broke over time. A fire broke out, destroying the warden house that many called home. And some drug addicts had moved to the island, giving it a bad image. Over the months, the population began to dwindle until government officials evicted the final fifteen activists.

The occupation had lasted 19 months, raising awareness of native rights and the movement for more recognition. It sparked a movement that eventually led to several legislative victories, even if they did not achieve everything they set out to do.

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After the Bonus Army

The political tool of occupation is becoming more and more well-known with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, despite having been a tactic in the U.S. for a very long time. Activists in America have had occupations in their arsenal from the Bonus Army of the Great Depression to the May Day action during Vietnam right up to California student activists over the past couple of years. Today I wanted to highlight one of the more well-known occupations in our history.

After fighting in the Great War, veterans that had suffered through years of the Great Depression decided to take action. In 1924 they had received certificates that would not be redeemable for two decades, and with the Depression hitting them hard many demanded they get paid early. Nearly 20,000 veterans and their families, the so-called Bonus Army, descended upon Washington and occupied the Anacostia Flats. What everybody knows about the Bonus Army is that they were routed by the U.S. Army, led by Douglas MacArthur. When the army attacked the camp to evict the protesters, several veterans were wounded and a baby died, allegedly due to use of tear gas. The incident is often cited as one of several final nails in the coffin of President Hoover’s reelection campaign. But what happened afterwards?

What most text books don’t cover is that the Bonus Army returned when Roosevelt was President. During the campaign, Roosevelt had also criticized the protesters, but as president he did not resort to using force to oust them. Instead, he placated them by erecting a camp in Virginia to provide them with food and shelter. He eventually made room in the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was intended for young, unmarried men, for the veterans to find work. Eventually, Congress would overwhelmingly support an authorization to pay the veterans in 1936, overriding Roosevelt’s veto.

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Weekend Reading

After an inexplicable week off, here are some things for you to read. For starters, lots of Occupy Wall Street (and other place names) links:

OWS: Now with Dozens of Graphs!

Robert Reich on Occupy Wall Street and the Democratic Party.

Paul Krugman on why Wall Street is freaking out.

What Boston and New York say about the movement’s expansion.

What do all of these encampment protests want? “Real democracy now!”

On the General Assembly in Liberty Plaza.

In Boston, who is really threatening the people and the land? Hint: They have riot helmets on.

Occupy Wall Street needs demands about as much as SNCC did.

50 best signs from Wall St.

Photos from Occupy _____________.

A terse little timeline of the OWS movement.

The Onion gets in on the action.

Did you ever think that maybe the anarchists want to stay off the sidewalk and in the street?

Occupy Los Angeles is getting co-opted by pretty much everyone, including the City Council.

The women at Occupy Boston are having trouble at the GA.

Dear Occupy Wall Street, With Solidarity.

On the growth phases of a social movement like OWS.

Occupy Atlanta needs to face the fact that race is a factor – and it always has been.

An open letter to the 53% guy.

America's Leadership in Nobel Sciences

And it’s worth noting that Hitler was a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize – twice.

And how the Nobel Prize for Literature is kind of silly.

If you read one thing from today’s links, read this post on the Reality of Threats and Blogging – do it now.

The truth about Steve Jobs.

With baseball and football occupying separate spaces nowadays, what to do with empty stadiums? Cleveland might have the answer.

The colors of the Apple line.

Arizona has two spots on this list of six places that look weird on Google maps.

The problem with fair trade coffee.

Herman Cain likes the “Chilean Model.” but it looks a little like “

Obamacare” if you ask me.

Does Ron Paul have fake eyebrows?

Four aid workers got kidnapped in Kenya, but the press only reported on the two international aid workers, ignoring the two Kenyans.

The most you’ll ever need to read about camouflage colors.

Reading the Bible frequently could make you liberal.

Iran tries to get into Africa, with a few bumps along the way.

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