“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”—Republican strategist Frank Luntz, speaking to the Republican Governors Association, November 30, 2011
“There’s no other industry where you could get paid so much for doing so little.”—Former Lehman Brothers trader, speaking about Wall Street
Seven Books Tucson Teachers Can No Longer Have in Their Classrooms
Bending to state pressure to end its acclaimed Mexican-American Studies program—lest it lose state funding—the Tucson Unified School District went a step further by listing books that must be boxed up and removed from all classrooms. The books are Occupied America: A History of Chicanos; Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years; Critical Race Theory; Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Message to Aztlan; 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures; and Chicano! The History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement.
Hundreds of students walked out of school and marched in protest the day that the district’s decree went into effect. Sixty percent of Tucson schoolchildren are of Mexican-American descent.
Court Offers $355 Class in Free Speech to Arrested Los Angeles “Occupiers”
Many of the arrested Occupy L.A. protesters were offered a way to avoid going to court: pay $355 to a private legal services company for a lesson in free speech. After the LAPD staged a dramatic late-night eviction of Occupy L.A. in November 2011, 292 occupiers were arrested, [End Page 6] charged with misdemeanors, and had their bail set at $5,000 per person.
The $355 private free speech class was offered to occupiers who had no prior offenses. In the past, according to the Los Angeles Times, arrested protesters with no prior offenses were only put through unofficial hearings and not subject to further trial proceedings. According to Chief Deputy City Attorney William Carter, the class may include lectures from former judges and attorneys, and will instruct arrested protesters that “The First Amendment is not absolute.”
Albuquerque Holds “New Year’s Revolution” March
In an action that brought together labor, anti-war, immigrant rights, and community groups, around two hundred marchers passed through downtown Albuquerque on December 30, 2011. The march held mini-rallies in front of local banks, the offices of Lockheed Martin (because of its connection to the military-industrial complex), and the headquarters of the Albuquerque Police Department, which has received attention in recent years for acts of brutality. The action was initiated by the anti-capitalist working group of (Un)Occupy Albuquerque—renamed so in deference to the state’s Native American history—and received support from members of the City Council and the New Mexico Central Labor Council.
Organic Food Activists, Agribusiness, and Farmers Clash in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder County, Colorado has become the site of heated debate and competing protests, thanks to a policy that bans the cultivation of genetically-modified crops (GMOs) on public land leased to farmers. The ban has been championed by local activists who point out the potential health risks of GMOs, which may promote allergies and insert antibiotic-resistant genes into the food supply.
Agribusiness giants have also developed unprecedented power by patenting GMOs that dramatically increase output, thereby squeezing out or absorbing smaller competitors who must pay for the patented seed to keep up. Even farmers who refuse to plant GMOs have found themselves subject to expensive lawsuits if the patented GMO seeds from a neighboring farm are blown onto their land.
—The ten-year decline in manufacturing labor costs (wages and benefits invested in each unit of production). (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
—The number of employed U.S. workers whose earnings put them under the poverty line. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)
—The portion of low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York who earn less than the minimum wage. (Source: Nik Theodore, University of Illinois-Chicago study, 2009)
The ban has been opposed by a group of local farmers who asked for an exemption to plant genetically-modified sugar beets, which they say produce year-round...