Before the Fall: Possible Futures for Anti-Austerity Movements

By Amanda Armstrong

We’re passing through a low phase in Northern California – a lull that partially parallels those facing organizers from Madison to New York. The rebellious energies so evident recently seem scattered these days, dormant. The universities are quiet. And the forces that had gathered in city parks and squares, most massively at Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza, are largely absent. The encampments are broken up, the assemblies dissolved.

It’s hard to know whether this is simply a period of incubation, from which another, similar wave of class struggle will soon emerge, or if this moment of relative inactivity is allowing for the recomposition of our forces, our alliances, the ways we take action together. If the terrain of struggle we now encounter has been remade by the past year of action – by our effective acts of opposition, by new forms of state repression and co-optation, and by our own missteps – how can we most effectively intervene in the shifting political force fields we’re coming to inhabit?

Sending Goldman Sachs a Message: If You Continue To Rip Off Oakland, We Will Stop Doing Business With You

By Beth Kean, ACCE, and Felipe Cuevas, SEIU 1021 Public Works Employee, City of Oakland

Wall Street banks caused an economic crisis that has wreaked havoc on our communities and brought our city and state budgets to the brink. Now even as Oakland communities are reeling from devastating cuts to neighborhood services, banks continue to rip off Oakland taxpayers for millions through a toxic financial deal.  This week, we stood up for Oakland communities and stood up to Goldman Sachs.

How Activists Score Wins Taking On The Banks

By Isaiah J. Poole

There is some good news in the fight for homeowners and against the big banks. Homeowners who are facing foreclosures because of unfair and often illegal practices by the major financial Goliaths are learning how to organize, how to shame bank executives and how to get local media attention.

But a panel of activists at Netroots Nation also expressed disappointment that there has not yet been any prosecutions of banking industry executives for any of the wrongdoing that led to the financial crisis and the millions of home foreclosures that followed.

That disappointment will greet Eric Schneiderman, the New York state attorney general who is also the head of an investigative task force on the financial crisis commissioned by President Obama, when he speaks tonight at a Netroots Nation plenary session.

Occupy Must Expand Beyond Activist Hotbeds

By Randy Shaw
Beyond Chron

While Occupy May Day events occurred throughout the nation, the larger and most publicized events were in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle. These traditional activist strongholds routinely have thousands marching in the streets, which is why the national media did not give the May 1 events anywhere near the coverage it gave to immigrant rights marches in the Spring 2006.

Occupy, The 99% Spring, And The New Age of Direct Action

By Mark Engler
Foreign Policy In Focus

Over the past several weeks, a broad coalition of progressive organizations—including National People's Action (NPA), ColorOfChange, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), MoveOn.org, the New Bottom Line, environmental groups like Greenpeace and 350.org, and major unions such as SEIU and the United Auto Workers—has undertaken a far-reaching effort to train tens of thousands of people in nonviolent direct action. They have called the campaign the 99% Spring.

CEO Pay and the 99%

By Tula Connell

The AFL-CIO has launched the 2012 Executive PayWatch site—now called CEO Pay and the 99%—which includes the most comprehensive data accessible on 2011 executive pay. All of the data available is searchable by industry, by state and by the top 100 highest-paid CEOs. Check it and help us share it widely.

CEO Pay and the 99% shows that a CEO of a company in the S&P 500 Index, on average, received $12.9 million in total compensation in 2011. That’s nearly a 14 percent raise over the previous year. And that’s on top of a 23 percent increase in 2010.

In stark contrast, the average wage for workers hovered at $34,000 in 2011. Median household income fell $3,700 over the past decade. And those who are employed received an average 2.8 percent raise—barely keeping up with inflation.

The new site also features data on:

Truthout Interview With Co-Producer of New Documentary Film: "Heist: Who Stole the American Dream"

Check out upcoming showings of the film, including at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater on April 19th and at UC Davis during the week of April 13th- 19th.

Mark Karlin: What role did the book "Global Class War" (2006) play in your formulation of the film?

Donald Goldmacher: Though our initial focus was on undocumented workers, the book gave us a much broader understanding of how big corporations were using low-paid workers, by either outsourcing manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries, or in-sourcing low-paid workers into the United States, to undermine good-paying jobs held by union members. It was also instrumental in helping us to understand that the phenomenon of globalization that began in the 1970s, accelerated during the 1980s by Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior, was also unequivocally embraced by Bill Clinton and his economic team, which included Professor Alan Blinder, Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs and Larry Summers, all of whom believed in free trade and free markets. They revealed their true colors when they pushed through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) agreements, concocted during the Reagan administration, screwing workers in all three countries.

Foreclosure Bulk Sales Program Allows Banks and Hedge Funds to Buy Low After Selling High

By David Dayen

Plenty of economists – and political personnel – are heavily invested in the idea that we’ve turned the corner in housing and are poised for a revitalization. Recent statistics make it more difficult to hold that view. Existing home sales were actually down in February, though up year-over-year.

Occupy Targets Corporate Giant Monsanto in Global Day of Action

By Julia MacKenzie
Occupy Los Angeles

On Friday March 16th Occupy groups from all over the nation joined with Millions Against Monsanto in a global day of action against agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto. The Organic Consumers Association also reported solidarity actions in Spain, Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. In Los Angeles, Occupy Los Angeles affinity group Occupiers for Animal and Earth Liberation staged a protest at Monsanto International Trading Corporation located on Wilshire Blvd.

Culture of Predation: That Goldman Sachs Exposé Barely Scratches the Surface

By Richard Eskow
Campaign for America's Future

People have been buzzing about Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith's high-profile resignation from Goldman and his description of the way that company's ethics and morals have declined over the last decade and more, especially under current CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

But Smith's revelations aren't really news at all, and the moral decline he describes at Goldman has been replicated throughout our corporate culture. Behavior at Wall Street firms like Goldman may have been more overtly criminal, but the shift from respect for the customer to the desire to rip customers off is pervasive and insidious.