Yesterday’s Guardian ran an article on a growing controversy among the ranks of OWSers. Apparently, a working group in New York has been established to put forth a set of demands.
On Tuesday night they will hold what could be one of the most controversial mass meetings at Zuccotti Park so far when the general assembly discusses whether the movement should officially call for a massive public works programme with government employment, paid for by ending all of America’s overseas military operations.
The substance of the demand is not the subject of the controversy. Rather, it is the principle of adopting a demand, and the process for doing so, that have opened a rift between “purists”, who favour consensus-building, and those now arguing for majority rule on some decisions.
The underlying force of the movement and its ultimate goals (inasmuch as “social revolution” is a goal) come from a collective understanding that radical social upheaval (revolution) is necessary to guarantee long-term sustainability and security. But this is a long process.
Can or will OWS achieve something? Yes and no.
On many levels, it already has. It has brought attention to the discontentment of and economic inequality facing thousands, and probably millions, of Americans. It has presented an alternative to the current options: The System and the Tea Party. It has created an outlet in which we can express our anger. It has brought some unity of thought and action to a hugely diverse group of people.
My trip to Cairo last week confirmed that my idealistic optimism during the Egyptian Revolution was slightly premature. Rather than a shining beacon o
f freedom and democracy, I found Egypt not much altered from the country I had seen in January, pre-Revolution. Continue reading
Israel’s heavy-handed response today to a peaceful protest of activists attempting to fly to Israel is another manifestation of the deeply-entrenched fear that so often prevents progress. The government, as per usual, claims the “Flytilla” a
ctivists are trying to “delegitimize” Israel. But, by refusing human rights activists entry to the country to advocate peacefully for Palestinian freedom, they (who are supposedly so committed to a two-state solution) are the ones denying legitimacy to a nation. Right now at least 65 of the activists are in Israeli prison, awaiting deportation.
Israel Losing the PR War
Flotilla#1 last spring marked a significant turning-point in the fight for global public opinion. For the first time, the tide was overwhelmingly against Israel’s actions: specifically the disproportionate force used by the Israeli military that killed 9 activists. Today, Israel again showed its true colors. Continue reading
There is somewhere I want to be this week: on board a flight to Tel Aviv, prepared to announce my intentions – no lying – to visit the Territories, to visit the Negev, and to speak out on behalf of the more than 20% of Israel’s citizens who face daily discrimination.
I believe it is a duty and a right to speak out when there is a wrong, to bring light to injustice, to show solidarity to the downtrodden. It is not to attack, but to defend. Continue reading
Somewhere between revolutions in more media-enticing oil-producing states, Sudan got lost in the shuffle. Remember Sudan? Yeah, Darfur, that Sudan.
On whose behalf is the Palestinian Authority planning to submit this much-anticipated bid for member status to the UN (or, at worst, the hope is for observer status)? The UN bid encompasses a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. Currently, though, the West Bank is controlled by Fatah, and Gaza by Hamas. They recently signed a reconciliation agreement to form some sort of unity authority, but most of it has yet to be implemented. [See Linda’s post.]
Israel is feeling a bit bipolar: the opposition isn’t happy but they should be, and most Israelis consider Netanyahu’s visit to Washington an “overwhelming success.” So, uh, either most Israelis are not in the opposition (unlikely, frankly, when you vote in lists, at least I’d like to think) or no one knows what to think and people are just making things up. Then again, the 47% figure cited does not instill much faith in the “most”-ness of this opinion. But I guess when half of Congress stands up to cheer your (misguided?) PM, that’s a success.
In other non-news, televangelist preaches aid to Israel. In this post-Apocalyptic world, should we really be worrying about whether “God’s hand stays with America”?