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OWS and Labor Movement Work Together
A Los Angeles Times story focused on protesters joining forces with the Los Angeles teachers union to link the nationwide Occupy protests to budget cuts and layoffs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Occupy South Bend protestors joined with union members to call for bridge repairs. The South Bend Tribune story focused on Indiana’s unemployment rate as well was the number of bridges in the state rated as structurally deficient.
Local Government, Police, and Protesters
Several stories highlighted the peacefulness and lawfulness of Occupy groups and the good relationship with local government and police. Other stories examined the tensions amongst the groups.
A Los Angeles Times story reported that the 17-day Occupy Los Angeles movement has not led to any arrests and police said the group has been both “cooperative” and “respectful.”
According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Occupy Charlottesville easily obtained a three-day permit for protests: “Processing the permit was a straightforward affair.” Several councilors expressed support for the protest, but they asked protestors to file for a permit. A Richmond Times-Dispatch story highlighted the “good dialogue” between Richmond police and the protestors, even though the police have reiterated their request that protestors with Occupy Richmond remove their tents from the city park. The ACLU of Virginia issued a statement asking the city to allow demonstrators to camp overnight and express their First Amendment rights.
A meeting between the mayor of Denver and four protesters elected to represent Occupy Denver, “opened the line of communication,” according to a Denver Post story. Nevertheless, the mayor maintained that protesters are welcome to stay on sidewalks outside the park, but may not camp there.
A Cincinnati affiliate of MSNBC focused on Occupy Cincinnati’s plan to march to City Hall today to demand that City Council remove a city law “limiting freedom of speech in public space.” The law requires people to leave parks when they close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. – 241 citations have been issued at the park so far. Protesters have filed a federal lawsuit over park access, and a federal judge has issued a temporary stay on the issuing of citations.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he consulted with Chicago police before police moved in to arrest 175 Occupy demonstrators, according to a Chicago Tribune story.
A Colorado local NBC story focused on security costs of protests, citing that occupy rallies have cost some cities “hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs” and “around $8300 in police overtime in Grand Junction,” Colorado.
OWS and the Tea Party
A Fox affiliate in Chicago highlighted a civil exchange between founder of the Chicago Tea Patriots and a middle-aged union electrician Occupy Wall Street protestor.
GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
There was a GOP presidential debate Tuesday night, and the participants reflected broader Republican ambivalence toward, and possibly fear of, the OWS movement. While Herman Cain was skeptical of OWS (“They might be frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers, but they're directing their anger at the wrong place [. . .] "Wall Street didn't put in failed economic policies. Wall Street didn't spend a trillion dollars that didn't do any good. [. . .] They ought to be over in front of the White House taking out their frustration."), others were either more positive or avoided engaging.
“Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) criticized Cain for blaming the people who have been hurt by the financial crisis through no fault of their own. “I think Mr. Cain has blamed the victims," he said. "There's a lot of people that are victims of this business cycle. We can't blame the victims. But we also have to point -- I'd go to Washington as well as Wall Street, but I'd go over to the Federal Reserve. They create the financial bubbles."
Frontrunner Mitt Romney notably sidestepped reinforcing some of his recent attacks on OWS and instead “said Americans should focus frustration with the economy on President Obama and “talk about what’s happened over the last three years” rather than the circumstances that led to the financial collapse.”
Gingrich was explicitly ambivalent at last week’s debate.
Labor’s Support of Occupy
The conservative Heritage Foundation posted a blog that pointed to AFL-CIO spending money on Google ads to support Occupy protests. The same post also claims that recent polls show that the Occupy protests’ views and goals are “far outside the mainstream of American public opinion,” in the same way that “Big Labor’s political platform” is.
Occupy Protestors are Radical, Not Smart, and Unethical
Right-wing media continues attempts to dismiss OWS protesters as out of line with Mainstream America or ignorant.
Conservative blog Red State posted a profile of organizer Lisa Fithian in an attempt to push back against the “empathetic meme toward the occupiers and their faux agenda” used by mainstream media and its “useful idiot supporters and sympathizers” (links to video of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying that Republicans agree that too few people control too much wealth in America) to show that the “real organizers and supporters” are “certainly not 99% of America.”
A story from conservative blog Daily Caller hones in on a potential “ethics violation” by NPR-host Lisa Simeone who is supposedly acting as a spokesperson for Occupy DC. Conservative blog Daily Caller included a story of the arrest of an Occupy Seattle man who was accused of exposing himself to children at least five times across Seattle
Government versus Wall Street
Conservative media is still trying to push the meme that government is more to blame than Wall Street institutions or corporate greed. A guest post on conservative blog Daily Caller argued that crony capitalism is to blame for the income inequality decried by Occupy protests:
The income inequality decried by the Occupy Wall Street protesters results from this crony capitalist system that allows policymakers to distribute economic favors to special interests in the form of bailouts, preferable tax treatment and favorable regulations. Conversely, capitalists like Steve Jobs who rely on free markets, private financing, American ingenuity and hard work create more prosperity for more people.
That meme was pushed by another post on Daily Caller which looked at private emails they obtained from Occupy Wall Street protestors. The author found that organizers are “luke-warm” at best on Obama and aren’t satisfied with his performance in office.
OP-EDS AND COMMENTARY
“Democrats should be moving boldly…to claim the issue of economic justice as their own,” Eugene Robinson writes in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
On BlackAmericaWeb.com, Stephanie Robinson writes that the message of OWS is “crystal clear”: “people are fed up and things have to change.” She also writes about how the protests are starting to look more like 99% of America with more African America, Latinos, and unions joining in. She highlights the formation of a new group called “Occupy the Hood,” which started after its organizers saw the lack of representation of people of color. Robinson isn’t surprised that the just-formed group already has 7,800 followers on Twitter, given that:
“…inequitable policies on Wall Street and in the banking industry have had an especially tragic impact on communities of color in the form of foreclosures, defaulted loans, joblessness and depressed local economies.”
Moderate Bergen Record Columnist Alfred Doblin argues that we need to “Occupy Main Street,” not Wall Street. He argues that corporate greed isn’t a good enough goal and warns that leaderless movements are eventually co-opted by people with money and power. The focus should be on Main Street and jobs and revitalizing communities.
The Bergen Record also included commentary from Immanual Wallerstein, senior research scholar at Yale University, who argues that the Occupy movement is making a big difference and will leave a lasting legacy just as the 1968 uprising did, even if the protests lose steam.