The spring and fall are usually my busiest work-travel seasons. I’ve just returned from such far flung places as Portland, OR and Paris. While on the road I’ve watched the explosion of “occupations” inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement (occupywallst.org, @occupywallst, facebook.com/occupywallst, #occupywallst, #OWS).
In our last newsletter I wrote about the rising tide of new applications we’ve been receiving at the RFC this year. I noted that this was not surprising given a number of factors, including the growing number of those arrested at protests in each year since Obama took office. I wrote:
I woke up at 4:00am one morning this week thinking about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. It was less than 24 hours after I learned that the New York City police had evicted all those camped in Zuccotti Park. OWS has been full of surprises, but why was I not shocked by the wave of evictions sweeping the country, and why had the initial spark of the September protest in that park set off a nationwide firestorm?
Last week I concluded a blog I wrote about the Occupy Wall Street movement with a modest proposal. I wrote:
2011 ushered in a new era of activism; although from the mainstream media’s perspective the wave of global protest didn’t crash upon our nation’s shores until the fall. Perhaps at the RFC we should have been aware of its impending arrival, because we noted an uptick in new applications starting at the beginning of the year. We weren’t swamped with requests from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement in 2011 because it was still in its infancy when our fall application deadline passed in early October.
This morning I read that an ardent member of the Occupy Los Angeles movement has been arrested and charged with lynching. You might think the protester, Sergio Ballesteros, attacked and hanged someone. After all, California’s anti-lynching law was designed to protect minority defendants in police custody from vigilante lynch-mobs.
Sometimes catch phrases become so commonplace that we lose sight of their meaning. Lincoln’s 203rd birthday a couple of days ago left me thinking about one of them. He concluded his Gettysburg address with the oft-repeated words that those who died fighting for the Union during that great battle fought so “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Watching the media coverage of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) just published book, The Evolving Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance – Options for Action, may teach us more about how the mainstream media operates than about this rapidly developing public health menace.
Tuesday’s online reporting services and television news, and Wednesday’s papers, were filled with reports of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and May Day demonstrations across the country and around the world. I am sure many of us are heartened by the continuing upsurge of resistance to the small minority of humanity whose greed and thirst for power is impoverishing the majority and despoiling our planet. But, of course, the 1% will do everything they can to retain their power and lifestyle.
In November 2011, shortly after the violent government crackdown on the two-month old Occupy Wall Street movement, I blogged here, “It is not surprising that OWS became intolerable to the authorities the movement refused to recognize. Such public naming of capitalism as Public Enemy Number One could not be countenanced. Beatings, tear-gassing, property destruction and thousands of arrests were inevitable, despite the protesters’ heroic non-violence.”
We’re in the midst of our spring granting cycle this month at the RFC. We’ve made our first of two sets of awards. Already, three families and one targeted activist youth have joined our community as new grant recipients. These new grantees include: