This issue of Green Politics is dedicated to the women and men fighting for economic
justice in this country and throughout the world by means of occupations, demonstrations,
sit-ins and all forms of resistance.
Let us know what is happening in your area, through pictures or comments on what has been
called "the American Autumn."
You can reach us at http://www.
The Print Collective
Phil Ardery, Jr
Musings on Occupations
By Elizabeth Fattah
“Stop the Machine” in Washington DC was planned to kick off a sustained occupation and
nonviolent civil resistance to corporatism and militarism. This had been building for
months with many in the progressive community wondering if it could be sustained. It has
been maintained and became one of the initiators for the many occupations that are
occurring now. Happenings in the Arab world and Europe, especially Greece and Spain, along
with past actions in the US -- vigils, demonstrations, and sit-ins, combined with the
movement in Wisconsin where people occupied the capitol in Madison – all have led to this
"We the Corporations…"
"Occupy" marchers in D.C., parading with a pseudo-parchment banner. It depicts the US
Constitution as interpreted by the 1% to ensure their privileges now challenged by the
99%. Photo by Elizabeth Fattah.
In visiting the occupation sites, one is struck by the constant discussion groups
organized in advance or spontaneously as people mingle forming a group solidarity to just
being there. Numerous young people are discussing alternatives to our present system and
lamenting how unjust and corrupt the political system has become. In places where the
occupations encamp, the homeless are there too as an indictment of the present economic
The Wall Street occupiers gained a reprieve from a recent crackdown on their site. What
stopped Mayor Bloomberg from evicting them was solidarity from the unions and big-name
entertainers petitioning him along with thousands of others. Unfortunately, some cities
don’t have the cachet of New York City. Occupy sites have been shut down and the
occupiers harassed. As this is being written, Oakland and San Francisco have been
threatened with closure.
To the complaint of the mainstream press that the occupiers are unable to articulate what
they want, here is part of a statement from Occupy Wall Street. The following is taken
from the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City that was adopted on 30 September.
“…As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race
requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon
corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and
those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the
people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the
Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic
power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people,
self-interest over justice and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have
peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known…”
The Declaration goes on to indict corporations for joblessness, homelessness,
environmental destruction and imperialism. The declaration describes the damage done by
the capitalist system here and in the rest of the world.
Regardless of when or if these occupations end, this is a historic moment that all of us
need to embrace.
Targeting Monsanto on World Food Day
Several dozen activists fighting Monsanto's corporate program to force GMOs (genetically
modified organisms) on everyone who eats food, as well as the corporation's attempt to
destroy small farmers in the US and across the globe, rallied at Monsanto's St. Louis
world headquarters on the afternoon of October 16. Soon they were joined by a couple of
carloads from Occupy St. Louis.
Corporations' Control of Human Food Puts Future Generations at Risk
The October 16 demonstrators in St. Louis and elsewhere have signaled popular opposition
to the corporations, enabled by Washington, who intend to control human food. Monsanto,
along with ADM, Cargill, Dow, etc., threaten the future for humans and for life on earth
Organic Consumers Association
links to a thorough report, researched and
written by Gar Smith for
Agribusiness Action Initiatives,
explaining the role these corporations play in fueling climate change. For more on
Harvest of Heat," click here.
The might of government, especially the U.S. government, forces the introduction of
genetically engineered (GE) foods to ever-increasing numbers of people worldwide. The
Center for Food Safety collaborated in a report documenting the toxicity of GE foods and
exposing government and corporate hypocrisy when it comes to GE safety and patent
protection: "When industry wants to avoid risk assessment and issues of liability, the
argument used is that the genetically engineered organism is ‘substantially equivalent’ to
the non-engineered parent. However, when industry wants property rights, the same GMO
becomes ‘novel’ or substantially inequivalent to the parent organism."
Read "The GMO
Emperor Has No Clothes".
In contrast to their counterparts in Washington, national governments in several European
Union countries have outlawed the introduction of GE crops on a case-by-case basis.
Monsanto is fighting thpse bans in EU courts, and in September won a verdict overturning a
French ban on Monsanto's GE maize.
For a news account, click here.
Midwest Rising Convergence
Activists took to St. Louis streets many weeks prior to October 16's World Food Day
demonstrations. The occasion was the four-day Midwest Rising Convergence, a follow-on to
2010's U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.
Midwest Rising demonstrators march to and protest at the corporate headquarters of
Peabody Energy in St. Louis. Peabody Energy is self-described as "the world's largest
private-sector coal company." Photos by Barbara Chicherio and Don Fitz.
Writing for Counterpunch, Linda Greene reported that the Convergence "wasn't an ordinary
conference." The participants' multiple direct actions during their four days together
highlighted the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social justice issues.
Read Greene's report here.
Ride Till the End
By Elizabeth Fattah
As the anniversary of 10 years in Afghanistan approached, a group of Afghan veterans along
with their supporters began a bicycle tour of the US, carrying a message of non-violence
and ending wars. Their group “Ride Till the End” also is collecting bicycles to send as a
peace offering to the people of Afghanistan.
I recently met the group in Wayne, Pennsylvania where they played blue grass music and
discussed their tour. I talked with Jacob George, who has been instrumental in forming the
According to Jacob, he grew up on the side of a mountain in the Ouachita National Forest
in Arkansas. He is from a family of farmers raising mainly chickens. He did not have the
financial resources to go to college. After high school, since the only jobs in the
nearest town were in poultry processing factories, the military looked like an attractive
option. He became a paratrooper in Afghanistan and had 3 tours of duty.
Coming back to civilian life is a surreal experience for most veterans, and Jacob George
was no exception. At the beginning, he suppressed his Afghan war experiences. It wasn’t
until he took a cultural anthropology course that his professor encouraged him to write
down his experiences, which he did in the form of poetry.
After re-evaluating his Afghanistan experiences, he persuaded his brother not to go. His
brother went AWOL, and, according to Jacob, his family “freaked out” about this.
Eventually, his brother received a general discharge. The army did not want the anti-war
publicity surrounding the case to escalate. Jacob’s family finally came around to his way
of thinking, but it did put a strain on their relationship.
Jacob has biked throughout the south with his anti-war message along with the idea of
collecting bikes for Afghans. I asked him how he was received. He said, “People agreed
with our message and we need to bring that message to the South. That is how change is
Jacob has reconnected to Afghanistan not through war but in a positive way through the
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. He is hoping that what his is doing now in his bicycle
sojourn will inspire other Afghan vets and non-vets to join the tour.
To connect with the tour go to www.operationawareness.org.
Europe's Imperial Takeover in Libya
The NATO assault on Libya that forced Muammar Qaddafi out of Tripoli corrupted the legacy
of 2011's Arab Spring. Here are two articles on Europe's imperialist oil grab, which
would have failed without the armaments and logistical support of the United States.
Jeff Mackler, writing for Socialist Action, provides the in-depth reporting never
delivered by U.S. mainstream media during or after the months-long assault on Libya.
Mackler notes sadly, "In contrast to the massive mobilizations during the Arab Spring in
North Africa that forced the ouster of hated dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan
people are saddled with an even greater evil—direct neo-colonial intervention into their
Mackler's entire article here.
Yoichi Shimatsu sheds light on the role of racism in the ouster and eventual mob
execution of Qaddafi, who sought union for Libya with black Africa, opposing an annexation
and exploitation by white Europe under the guise of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's
proposed super-regional "Mediterranean Union."
Shimatsu's article for New America Media here.
A Music Video
When was the last time you heard a peace song on the radio? People like Pete Seeger and
Joan Baez would never be heard today because the radio stations are mostly owned by
corporations like Clear Channel and the peace songs of today never make it onto the play
Pat Scanlon has written a peace song, and Pat has told Green Politics, "It is up to each
and every one of us to distribute this music video far and wide. … The song is totally
financed by Veterans For Peace chapters, individuals, national and local peace groups."
So…here's the video.
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Blocking the Keystone Pipeline
James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was one of more than 500
demonstrators arrested at the late summer action at the White House calling on President
Barack Obama to withhold approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would cross six US
states to deliver the product of Canadian tar sands to US refineries near the Gulf of
Before his arrest, Hansen told fellow protestors, "If Obama chooses the dirty needle it
will confirm that the President was just green-washing all along, like the other
well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction."
Opposition to Keystone has become a rallying point in several of the "Occupy" assemblies.
To read about the summer White House protests and Hansen's arrest, click here.