Category Archives: Southern Strategy
Before the General Assembly of Occupy Dallas,
Whereas the General Assembly of Occupy Dallas stands in support of Occupy Wall Street which started September 17, 2011 at Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District. The movement has now spread across the country and is influencing the world. Occupy Dallas is a horizontally organized resistance movement to counteract the unprecedented consolidation of wealth and power in the world today. The Occupy movement does not have a hierarchy or a formalized structure. The Occupy movement represents those that feel disenfranchised from the current socioeconomic system because of policy passed by our political institutions and the actions of those in control of the unprecedented consolidation of wealth;
Whereas by consensus we view that for the first time in American history, current generations will not be as prosperous as preceding generations. This denial of the American Dream is at the heart of Occupy Movement.
Whereas by consensus we view that the social system has become tilted against us by:
1. Unfair treatment and discrimination against individuals based on Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Race, National Origin, Physical Ability or any other factor that minimizes any person’s individual worth
2. The commoditization of individual privacy
3. Profit driven news sources with individual agendas
4. Narrow definitions of what constitutes a family;
Whereas by consensus we view that the Political system has become tilted against us by:
1. Widespread deregulation that has eliminated common sense regulations that have insured long term prosperity and protection from predatory business practices
2. A Tax code that is cumbersome and rife with loopholes and language that favors an economic minority at the expense of the majority of wage earners
3. A Supreme Court decision that has put into place the unprecedented concept of extending first amendment protections to political donations
4. Jeopardizing the future of social security through investiture and privatization schemes
5. By reducing funding to our education system our future generations are provided a lesser education that previous generations received because of increased class size and reduced resources
6. Because of decreasing funding individuals are saddled with higher student loan debt
7. A political system where even the most perfunctory tasks of government are partisan battles;
Whereas by consensus we view that the Economic system has become tilted against us by:
1. A general degradation of the employer and employee relationship namely
a. the practice referred to as “dead peasants” insurance policies where by companies profit from the death of individuals.
b. the elimination of traditional pension and retirement arrangements in favor of 401 (k) investment vehicles.
c. outsourcing of jobs
d. failing or eliminating paid sick leave
e. failing or eliminating paid maternity leave
f. relying on part-time workers rather than investing in full time employees
g. scheduling work hours to insure that employees cannot obtain offered benefits
h. failing to provide a livable wage
i. reducing and eliminating employer based health care coverage
2. Incredible income disparity between management and employees.
3. Active discouragement and intimidation of unionization of the workforce
4. Instituting illogical accounting practices
5. Engaging in unethical business practices that jeopardize the long term financial stability of the country
6. Viewing financial profit as more important than the individual worth of a people.
Then let it them be resolved by the General Assembly of Occupy Dallas through consensus on Date (___________________) that we call upon all people to engage in a General Strike on November 30th, 2011. We implore all people to:
1. Refrain from Buying or Selling any goods or services including but not limited to, any petroleum products, consumer goods or bank transactions; starting at 12:01 am to 11:59pm on November 30th, 2011.
2. Refrain from working for a wage starting at 12:01 am to 11:59pm on November 30th, 2011 excluding those individuals that provide emergency and necessary functions including but not limited to Police, Fire and Medical personnel.
3. Join or form local groups to peacefully protest against the above stated elements.
Please join us in solidarity to make known our grievances and demand substantive change to insure our future.
Visit http://www.occupytogether.com for information on your local “Occupy” event
From a New York Times article
The once-booming South, which entered the recession with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, is now struggling with some of the highest rates, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.
Several Southern states — including South Carolina, whose 11.1 percent unemployment rate is the fourth highest in the nation — have higher unemployment rates than they did a year ago. Unemployment in the South is now higher than it is in the Northeast and the Midwest, which include Rust Belt states that were struggling even before the recession.
For decades, the nation’s economic landscape consisted of a prospering Sun Belt and a struggling Rust Belt. Since the recession hit, though, that is no longer the case. Unemployment remains high across much of the country — the national rate is 9.1 percent — but the regions have recovered at different speeds.
Now, though, of the states with the 10 highest unemployment rates, six are in the South. The region, which relied heavily on manufacturing and construction, was hit hard by the downturn.
Economists offer a variety of explanations for the South’s performance. “For a long time we tended to outpace the national average with regard to economic performance, and a lot of that was driven by, for lack of a better word, development and in-migration,” said Michael Chriszt, an assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s research department. “That came to an abrupt halt, and it has not picked up.”
The recent execution of Troy Davis has caused many to again discuss the merits of the death penalty in the United States. (It also sparked a mass march in New York City that was met with a heavy handed police response). According to the Daily Beast, the South has the highest execution rate in the country, as well as the highest murder rate. On top of that, the incarceration capital of the world is a southern city: New Orleans.
These renewed debates not only bring into question broad topics like the death penalty itself, but they should also let us contextualize them in a regional sense. We should begin asking why is the South the home to so many problems still (to throw yet another one in there: the South is “bearing the brunt” of the US’s raising poverty rate). There are plenty of answers to the question of why the South faces these problems. But one thing should be quite clear, it is something often repeated on this site: the South remains an important part of the country to organize progressive forces.
Amongst the many lessons we learned from the Troy Davis incident (to steal the ANSWER coalition’s article title), we should also add the lesson that the world pays attention to the South, not only to the injustices that happen there but to the folks that organize against those injustices.
[From a recent Guardian article]
In Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, new laws have been signed that represent the toughest crackdown on illegal immigrants – the vast majority of whom are Hispanics – in America. They give the police sweeping new powers and require them, and employers, to check people’s immigration status. In Alabama, they even make helping illegal immigrants, by giving them a lift in a car or shelter in a home, into a serious crime. For many, the laws echo the deep south’s painful history of segregation, sending out a message to people of a different colour: you are not wanted here.
“That is exactly right,” said Andrew Turner, a lawyer with the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre. “We view it within the context of the history of the deep south. It is using the law to push out and marginalise an ethnic minority.”
The new laws’ defenders deny that. They are merely enforcing the law, they say. Their problem is not with immigrants, but with those who came to America illegally. They say the laws are colour-blind and aimed at making sure everyone obeys the same rules and does not cheat the system.
Yet illegal immigrants have become a fundamental part of the American system. Huge swaths of the economy rely on the cheap labour they provide.
The article points out an important part of “illegal” immigration that is often referred to in the overall narrative. That is that undocumented workers have “become a part” of the American system overall. The mainstream accounts of this often even point to the drive for cheep labor by capital as the source of the “problem” here, yet they continue to allow reactionary rhetoric dominate the discourse and put the blame on those coming here to find exploitative conditions of work.
The only way to fight this framework and empower undocumented workers is to build a movement that fights back. And this movement is currently underway in much of the South.
Tampa has recently joined with Orlando in cracking down on groups that feed the homeless on public property. According to an article published today on tbo.com, Tampa police have shut down an operation of church group volunteers that have been feeding the homeless in downtown Tampa for 6 years. This comes after Orlando police have been arresting activists with Food Not Bombs for feeding the homeless in Orlando. Why is it that the “Sunshine State” has been cracking down on folks who are literally just trying to feed the homeless? There has been some speculation that in the case of Tampa’s recent actives, it has to do with the upcoming Republican National Convention and an effort by the city to “clean up” before the convention is underway. While the city denies it is related to the GOP convention, the effort to “clean up” the streets is certainly cited by officials.
There has been a recent upsurge in the population of those without homes, that has come at a time of continued economic crisis. Florida is home to one of the hardest hit housing markets in the wake of the Great Recession. It has also ceased to be one of the fastest growing states in the US, which has lead many in power facing an image problem (along with recent attacks on unions and immigrant workers by the state legislature).
There is certainly a problem with painting efforts to arrest and harass those feeding the homeless as “cleaning up” the streets of a given city. It assumes that homeless populations are themselves a “problem” that need to be “taken care of,” and instead of addressing the real roots of that problem, they assault those who are the victims of economic circumstances. Similar rhetoric has been used against the communities that recently were hit by major riots in the United Kingdom.
This crackdown on those feeding the homeless comes after years of non-enforcement of these ordinances that as the TBO.com article points out: are difficult to demonstrate laws were broken. It really comes down to the class nature of law enforcement in places like Florida, where property is considered a “right” (see: the advice by the city to move the feedings to private property) and where human rights and dignity are pushed to the wayside.