Friday, March 9, 2012

“The Occupy Movement and its relation to the 99%”

This is an open invitation to the 99% to stand in solidarity with the Occupy Movement.

Good people of the world,

The corporate financial government is not acting in the best interest of the people and it is time for a new system. In this new system the people participate in real democracy and make decisions together, not at the hands of the rich and powerful. However, the power structure will not collapse without a fight. Everyday people must wake up and realize the extent to which the elite of the world have rolled the dice with their livelihoods and left life or death decisions in the hands of those who would seek profit over the good of humanity. It is the mission and goal of the Occupy Movement, as I understand it, to bring balance to this toppling system. We wish to create a world where the fruits of the earth are given for the people’s good and not held in escrow to the highest bidder. We want a world where every man, woman, and child has access to a good and healthy life. People over profits – that’s what we believe. But we can only accomplish this goal with the help of all of the 99%.

Not everyone can come to a protest in the streets. The vast majority of the 99% are busy working ungodly hours trying to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare for their children. These folks do not have access to the Movement. They are busy with real life. But there is no reason why we cannot support each other. Be assured young mother the protester in the street fights for you. Now can we find a way to work together? I propose a broad spectrum of support from individuals to small business to even sympathetic corporations. Take a stand. Take a small little step. When you are treated unfairly stand us against your oppressor. Demand your dignity. We live in a country that is flouted for its commitment to free speech. Let your voice be heard wherever you are. Speak out against the unfairness that is vested upon you by your enemy. With every stand that is taken against unfairness and oppression we are all one-step closer to a new day.

You see the Global People’s Movement is about self-empowerment and taking back control of our own destinies. For too long we have had our lives dictated to us by the rich and powerful. We have served as indentured servants to a richer class for hundreds of years and finally people all over the world are sick of it. One day we will all wake up and realize the extent to which corporate greed and influence have affected our daily lives. On that day the people will hit the streets. Until then we must stand in solidarity where we are.

Empower yourself. Take control of your lives back from the system. Refuse to pay the banks their unfair interest rates. Take back your houses when they are foreclosed on. Take your money out of the big banks. Refuse to pay your student loans. Stop using credit cards. Buy local produce. Spend time with your children. Ride bicycles. Carpool. Exercise. Create things instead of consuming them. Every step we take away from the corporation and the power structure is one step closer to a true revolution.
Let the worker demand equal pay. Let the mother and father demand time for her family. Let the parent demand their child be fed and medical needs met. Let the soldier refuse to fight an unjust war. Let the teacher be paid and appreciated for their dedication. Let the oil man produce green energy, Let the politician choke on their broken promises. Let every person wherever they are take a stand for fairness and equality.

The Occupy Movement stands in solidarity the worker, the teacher, the student, the unemployed, the hurting, the destitute, and the weak. We are protesting and fighting for your rights and the future of your children We stand is solidarity with you. Now we ask you to stand in solidarity with us.
The fight in the streets must be complimented by broad participation in a paradigm shift. We must begin making decisions to empower ourselves. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. But it will take everyone. The Occupy Movement is calling to the 99%: stand with us.

Yours Truly, Larry Swetman

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anxiety in the US or One More Rodeo with Iran

The current state of anxiety in the US and the Middle East regarding a potential military strike on Iran is well warranted. The Israeli government seems committed to, if not longing for, a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. However, surgical strikes on Iranian facilities are not as easy as attacking other Middle Eastern targets. Iranian nuclear sites are spread across the entire country and most of the facilities are under ground. So even the most precise bombings could not guarantee that the sites would be damaged beyond repair. Even more so damaging their technological capabilities would only at best delay their pursuit of a bomb; not suppress the program. On the contrary, a military strike could signal the beginning of a nuclear arms race in the region, which would only heighten tensions and incentivize Iran to redouble their efforts.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Any military intervention on sovereign soil is assured to prompt an immediate response. Israeli cities will almost certainly be dealt blows from a retaliatory strike from Tehran. While Iran's military capabilities are not as modernized as Israel's, lives will still be lost. Also, a strike also risks increased motivation for radical groups such as Al-Qaeda to step up their efforts in planning attacks on American soil. Israel and the United States are inextricably linked in the Persian government's mind and an attack from one is an attack from both. After all where is the "little Satan" without help from the "great Satan?" If Israel attacks then the US attacks as well – whether we like it or not.

However, American complicity does not necessitate American intervention. President Obama has been correct to use the rhetoric he has been using. As Teddy Roosevelt said, "speak softly but carry a big stick." The President has extended the hand of friendship to Israel in its dealing with Iran's ambitions but he is reticent (thank the heavens) to commit to any military intervention. Instead, he has spent his time urging the international community to step up economic sanctions. While these are temporary measures to a more permanent regime problem, they do offer an alternative to bloodshed.

The cultural and socio-political context of Israeli-Iranian relations offers the biggest indicator of intention from the Israeli perspective. During a recent interview in the White House both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu exhibited less than cordial conversation about the topic. Sure, they exchanged pleasantries and smiled for the cameras but one could not miss the slyly indignant, and somewhat condescending, tone of Mr. Netanyahu toward Pres. Obama when he stressed that Israel had "the right to defend itself." (It is no secret that there is no love lost between the Israeli PM and the President.) Mr. Obama, wisely in this reporter's opinion, has been quick to speak and slow to act. Military force should always be a last resort and Mr. Obama is doing a good job, for appearances sake at the very least, of leaning on sanctions and international pressure. But Iran may yet do it for him.

Iran, in an attempt to institute energy-crippling measures on the west, has already stopped oil delivery to France and Germany. Additionally, they have threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping channel out of the Middle East. Consequently, fear and speculation are already playing a role in the global oil price. Their goal, it would seem, is to threaten the world with oil price inflation. They reason that if they could disrupt the flow of oil in and out of the Middle East then they can cripple the world economy. However, Iran has not thought this one through.

By shutting down oil delivery to certain European countries, Iran is effectively starving their own economy of 60% of its GDP, which comes from oil and gas exports in addition to risking a US-Israeli attack. Iran is simply out of options. While Iran, as a sovereign nation, has the right to pursue whatever course of action it chooses, international socio-economic pressure is going to either squeeze the country so hard they will have no choice but to acquiesce or pursue a radical course of retaliation.

The US policy should be one of passive resistance. Continue pressing Iran with economic sanctions and let them implement their own counters. The west will suffer from an increase in oil prices and heightened tension with Israel but we will also avoid another prolonged conflict which will costs billions of dollars and sacrifice many more lives. Have we not learned out lessons in Iraq? Afghanistan?

War is not the solution. Even if an American-Israeli coalition wiped the Iranian nuclear program off the face of the Earth they would still rebuild. They would still pursue the desires of their hearts. Conflict and violence only exacerbate and prolong these issues. If a real solution is to be reached it will have to come willingly from the people and government of Iran. Outside military intervention will only raise the stakes. Energy yields energy. The American government needs to be very careful where it puts its energy because we will reap what we sow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

PAN invite

Inter-Assembly List and Global Newswire

This is an invitation to join our Inter-Assembly Newswire project. It’s being run by team members from Occupy/15M/PAN in the USA, Spain and London. Please read the following information, and ask your Assembly's external and international communications workgroups (or equivalent) to subscribe and participate.
There are two aspects to this project: (1) the global email list and (2) the decentralised blog-link, or global newswire. We are excited about the newswire which allows you to 'news tag' your local blog posts for people to follow and receive your news at the global level. Both platforms are designed to maintain local assembly autonomy while also establishing clean lines of inter-assembly communication, and are open-source so can be utilised on other sites. You may subscribe to one or both (we recommend both so we can monitor and make improvements).

Participation in the Email List requires only that your local workgroup (i) subscribe and (ii) considers what assembly-endorsed messages to post there [*]. Individuals may also subscribe, but only as observers.

Participation in the Decentralised Blog-link/Global Newswire requires that you (i) set up a new posting category (on your local blog) and (ii) send us the RSS feed. Similar posting guidelines apply to both platforms [*].

Both are therefore simple to set up. More detailed info on the platforms, and how to participate is as follows:

(1) Email List

A strictly moderated Assemblies-Only (ie. noise-free) email list[**], and linked open source newswire. Subscribe individually as an observer or, to obtain posting rights subscribe using your official assembly workgroup email address (be ready to verify this, in the interests of transparency).

Subscribe here: ( please ignore security warning )
[**] Every post will also appear on a dedicated blog-space [location, to be confirmed] as part of the global newswire. Further info on this platform is set out (in ENG/FR/ESP/IT) at:

(2) Global Newswire

Once your local blog is linked in the platform will live stream blog posts designated by your external communications workgroup as of wider national or international interest while also linking global subscribers back to your local assembly blog. Streamed content will be geographically organised at the global level by continent, country and city/region and, if your local group uses news tags appropriately [see (iv) below and recommended!] also by issue / topic.

Linking your blog to the Global Newswire is simple. Here's how:

(i) Create a new, uniquely designated category on your local blog (eg 'PAN', ‘Assemblies’, ‘GA’ 'PA' or as you choose).

(ii) Register (ie send) that designated RSS feed address to us at:
(iii) Start posting under your designated category local assembly content your group deems of wider national or international interest [*] and watch it appear on the global newswire :)

IMPORTANT: Aim to News Tag designated posts by topic wherever possible. The Global Newswire will work without it, but tagging will make it much easier to organise content at the global level, so subscribers wil be able to access the assembly content they are most interested in. General tags like 'actions', 'democracy', 'economics', 'education', 'politics', 'corporations' 'global' and/or others could be used. Tagging works best if similar tags are used worldwide, so you may wish to consult to see if there is a tag that suits before posting.
Once the above is done, whenever you locally post to the designated category (think 'newswire channel') the post will live-feed to the global site (and other sites that choose to access or mirror newswire content) appearing under continent, country, city/region and relevant topic :)

[*] Please note: posts in the designated PAN category (as with the Email list) should be

A - Text/info/projects your local assembly has endorsed

B – Text / info your local, assembly-endorsed communications group wants to broadcast to the wider world (eg communiques, minutes of meeting, call-outs, political statements etc).

More Info / Join the Team!
- We are an open working group made up of an international team of activists working in the Take the Square International, Inter-Occupy, Occupy-Net, London International Commission, People's Assemblies and the Global Square communications platforms.

- The site is being redesigned to facilitate the newswire, and this will go live when we have RSS feeds from sufficient assemblies. Our basic aim is to take the PAN project to support assemblies worldwide by enabling reliable, effective and transparent communication between all local people’s assemblies.

A link to the info in this message, plus details of our next weekly global planning meeting (to which all are invited) is at

Love and Solidarity

Carolina, Larry, Dana, Ternura, Mark and the rest of the team