Progressive Calendar 09.29.11 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 04:24:18 -0700 (PDT)
P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R  09.20.11

1. Eagan peace vigil   9.29 4:30pm
2. Northtown vigil        9.29 5pm
3. Eastside vigil         9.29 5pm
4. Free activist dinner 9.29 5:30pm
5. Kathy Kelly            9.29 7pm
6. Bread for the world  9.29 7pm
7. Howard/CityCouncil 9.29 7pm

8. Arun Gupta - The Revolution Begins at Home: Join the Wall Street
9. Lisa Romero - What the Media Aren't Telling You About American Protests

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From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.29 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.

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From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 9.29 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

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Carla Riehle stpaul49 [at]
Eastside vigil 9.29 5pm

Eastside Neighbors for Peace to continue weekly vigils
St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace will hold weekly vigils each Thursday
in September opposing ongoing U.S. wars. The vigils have also been endorsed
by St. Paul's Sacred Heart Church Peace and Justice Committee.
Vigils were held each Thursday in August, with enthusiastic responses from
motorists driving by. They will continue each Thursday, September 1, 8, 15,
22 and 29, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm at the corner of East 6th Street and Mounds
Boulevard (I-94, exit 243). Signs will be available or participants can
bring their own. Everyone is welcome.

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 luce guillen-givins luce [at]
Free activist dinner 9.29 5:30pm

come enjoy delicious chili and show your support for local activists
being targeted by the fbi for their anti-war and international
solidarity work.
when: thursday, sept 29, 5:30-7pm
where: walker church, 31st st and 16th ave s, mpls
and if you can't make it tomorrow, don't despair! we do this dinner
every month, so mark your calendar for october 27th and we'll see you then!
for more info on the case, see: http://mnstopfbi.wordpress.coma

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Kathy Kelly 9.29 7pm

Presentation by Kathy Kelly: Prophet People Forum
Thursday, September 29, 7:00 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian, 3121 Groveland School Road (near the intersection of
Highway 101 and Minnetonka Boulevard), Minnetonka.

Kathy Kelly, peace activist and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, will
speak at a community forum. The event, one in a series of Prophet Speaker
events, is free and open to the public. Kelly is a U.S. peace activist,
author, and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She has
been described as “probably the most respected leader in the American peace
movement.” As a participant in peace team work in several countries, she has
traveled to Iraq 26 times and to Afghanistan four times. Her presentation
“Courage for Peace in Afghanistan . . . Following the Children,” will
reflect her recent experiences working with Afghanistan citizens and
youngsters to help them overcome their fears of living in a war-torn
country. Sponsored by: St. Luke Presbyterian Church Peace and Justice Focus
Group. FFI: Call 952-473-7378.

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Bread for the world 9.29 7pm

Subject: Bread for the World "Primer on the Economy" evening
Do you want more (better?) information on the United States economy?
Do you want to know how the economy affects the hungry and the needy - -
beyond knowing that, of course it does?

Come to an evening presentation by Bread for the World, Thursday September
29 at 7:00 p.m.
This event will be at Corpus Christi Church, Roseville, on the corner of
Fairview and County Road B.  Follow Highway 36 to Fairview, turn south to
County Road B -- the church will be on your right on the corner.

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Amber Garlan
Howard/CityCouncil 9.29 7pm

Please join me for a meet and greet fundraiser to support Johnny
Howard's campaign for the St. Paul Ward One City Council seat. It's
set for 7-9 pm, Thursday, Sept. 29, at Fabulous Fern's, 400 Selby Ave.
in St. Paul.

I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Johnny's campaign, and I believe you
will be too after you get a chance to meet him and learn more about
his experience and concerns. He got his start fighting for
neighborhood improvements in Frogtown as founder of the Thomas Dale
Block Clubs. He was a key figure for almost two decades in a
well-known Ward One football/youth development program. He's a great
listener and a powerful advocate who will serve Ward One well. You can
learn much more about Johnny at his website, .
I hope you can join us on Sept. 29. This is a great opportunity to
start making Ward One a better place to live, work and do business.

Peace,Amber Garlan

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The Revolution Begins at Home: An Open Letter to Join the Wall Street
by Arun Gupta
Published on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 by The Indypendent

What is occurring on Wall Street right now is truly remarkable. For over 10
days, in the sanctum of the great cathedral of global capitalism, the
dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their
police army.

They have created a unique opportunity to shift the tides of history in the
tradition of other great peaceful occupations from the sit-down strikes of
the 1930s to the lunch-counter sit-ins of the 1960s to the democratic
uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today.

While the Wall Street occupation is growing, it needs an all-out commitment
from everyone who cheered the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, said “We are all
Wisconsin,” and stood in solidarity with the Greeks and Spaniards. This is a
movement for anyone who lacks a job, housing or healthcare, or thinks they
have no future.

Our system is broken at every level. More than 25 million Americans are
unemployed. More than 50 million live without health insurance. And perhaps
100 million Americans are mired in poverty, using realistic measures. Yet
the fat cats continue to get tax breaks and reap billions while politicians
compete to turn the austerity screws on all of us.

At some point the number of people occupying Wall Street – whether that’s
five thousand, ten thousand or fifty thousand – will force the powers that
be to offer concessions. No one can say how many people it will take or even
how things will change exactly, but there is a real potential for bypassing
a corrupt political process and to begin realizing a society based on human
needs not hedge fund profits.

After all, who would have imagined a year ago that Tunisians and Egyptians
would oust their dictators?

At Liberty Park, the nerve center of the occupation, more than a thousand
people gather every day to debate, discuss and organize what to do about our
failed system that has allowed the 400 richest Americans at the top to amass
more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom.

It’s astonishing that this self-organized festival of democracy has sprouted
on the turf of the masters of the universe, the men who play the tune that
both political parties and the media dance to. The New York Police
Department, which has deployed hundreds of officers at a time to surround
and intimidate protesters, is capable of arresting everyone and clearing
Liberty Plaza in minutes. But they haven’t, which is also astonishing.

That’s because assaulting peaceful crowds in a public square demanding real
democracy – economic and not just political – would remind the world of the
brittle autocrats who brutalized their people demanding justice before they
were swept away by the Arab Spring. And the state violence has already
backfired. After police attacked a Saturday afternoon march that started
from Liberty Park the crowds only got bigger and media interest grew.

The Wall Street occupation has already succeeded in revealing the bankruptcy
of the dominant powers – the economic, the political, media and security
forces. They have nothing positive to offer humanity, not that they ever did
for the Global South, but now their quest for endless profits means
deepening the misery with a thousand austerity cuts.

Even their solutions are cruel jokes. They tell us that the “Buffett Rule”
would spread the pain by asking the penthouse set to sacrifice a tin of
caviar, which is what the proposed tax increase would amount to. Meanwhile,
the rest of us will have to sacrifice healthcare, food, education, housing,
jobs and perhaps our lives to sate the ferocious appetite of capital.

That’s why more and more people are joining the Wall Street occupation. They
can tell you about their homes being foreclosed upon, months of grinding
unemployment or minimum-wage dead-end jobs, staggering student debt loads,
or trying to live without decent healthcare. It’s a whole generation of
Americans with no prospects, but who are told to believe in a system that
can only offer them Dancing With The Stars and pepper spray to the face.

Yet against every description of a generation derided as narcissistic,
apathetic and hopeless they are staking a claim to a better future for all
of us.

That’s why we all need to join in. Not just by liking it on Facebook,
signing a petition at or retweeting protest photos, but by going
down to the occupation itself.

There is great potential here. Sure, it’s a far cry from Tahrir Square or
even Wisconsin. But there is the nucleus of a revolt that could shake
America’s power structure as much as the Arab world has been upended.

Instead of one to two thousand people a day joining in the occupation there
needs to be tens of thousands of people protesting the fat cats driving
Bentleys and drinking thousand-dollar bottles of champagne with money they
looted from the financial crisis and then from the bailouts while Americans
literally die on the streets.

To be fair, the scene in Liberty Plaza seems messy and chaotic. But it’s
also a laboratory of possibility, and that’s the beauty of democracy. As
opposed to our monoculture world, where political life is flipping a lever
every four years, social life is being a consumer and economic life is being
a timid cog, the Wall Street occupation is creating a polyculture of ideas,
expression and art.

Yet while many people support the occupation, they hesitate to fully join in
and are quick to offer criticism. It’s clear that the biggest obstacles to
building a powerful movement are not the police or capital – it’s our own
cynicism and despair.

Perhaps their views were colored by the New York Times article deriding
protestors for wishing to “pantomime progressivism” and “Gunning for Wall
Street with faulty aim.” Many of the criticisms boil down to “a lack of
clear messaging.”

But what’s wrong with that? A fully formed movement is not going to spring
from the ground. It has to be created. And who can say what exactly needs to
be done? We are not talking about ousting a dictator; though some say we
want to oust the dictatorship of capital.

There are plenty of sophisticated ideas out there: end corporate personhood;
institute a “Tobin Tax” on stock purchases and currency trading; nationalize
banks; socialize medicine; fully fund government jobs and genuine Keynesian
stimulus; lift restrictions on labor organizing; allow cities to turn
foreclosed homes into public housing; build a green energy infrastructure.

But how can we get broad agreement on any of these? If the protesters came
into the square with a pre-determined set of demands it would have only
limited their potential. They would have either been dismissed as pie in the
sky – such as socialized medicine or nationalize banks – or if they went for
weak demands such as the Buffett Rule their efforts would immediately be
absorbed by a failed political system, thus undermining the movement.

That’s why the building of the movement has to go hand in hand with common
struggle, debate and radical democracy. It’s how we will create genuine
solutions that have legitimacy. And that is what is occurring down at Wall

Now, there are endless objections one can make. But if we focus on the
possibilities, and shed our despair, our hesitancy and our cynicism, and
collectively come to Wall Street with critical thinking, ideas and
solidarity we can change the world.

How many times in your life do you get a chance to watch history unfold, to
actively participate in building a better society, to come together with
thousands of people where genuine democracy is the reality and not a

For too long our minds have been chained by fear, by division, by impotence.
The one thing the elite fear most is a great awakening. That day is here.
Together we can seize it.

© 2011 The Indypendent

A founding editor of The Indypendent, Arun Gupta writes about energy, the
economy, the media, U.S. foreign policy, the politics of food and other
subjects for The Indypendent, Z Magazine, Left Turn and Alternet. Gupta is a
regular commentator on Democracy Now! and GritTV with Laura Flanders. He’s
writing a book on the decline of American Empire to be published by
Haymarket Books. From 1989 to 1992 he was an international news editor at
the Guardian Newsweekly.

--------x of x--------

What the Media Aren't Telling You About American Protests
by Lisa Romero
Published on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 by

I am lately reminded of an assignment when my metro editor sent me to cover
a “gentle protest” over the Gulf War of the 1990s in Jackson, Mich. (Don’t
remember that war – or what it was about? That’s OK – because it was
probably “security” and “oil,” and George W. ultimately righted his dad’s
failure to see that war action through to its completion: killing Saddam
Hussein, or at least dismantling his government. But I digress.)

It was an after-hours event, likely on a weekend (as that was my beat). And
when I arrived at the designated time, well after sundown, I found one lone
woman walking the length of a wall at an armory or similar government-type
outpost with, not a flashlight, but a real, flickering candle. Back and
forth, in the dark, trudging in the snow.

No one else had shown up – except me, that is. The place was deserted and,
as I recall, not on a busy road. I actually had to drive by twice before I
even saw her candle and a small chair she set up for herself when she got
tired. It occurred to me that, if I walked away, it would have been the same
as if she’d never been there at all. Yet, incontrovertibly, there she was:
protesting a war that, at the time, no one was particularly riled up about.
It wasn’t a story, really.

But I decided to speak with her anyway. I walked with her for about an hour
and asked questions. Apart from understanding that my editors expected my
story for the next day’s edition, I also sensed that there could be a story
to tell – and that, if I didn’t, no one might ever consider an opposing view
that, while solitary, might be worth listening to.

I’d have to dig through years of clips to find that story now. (I’m sure it
resides in the Jackson Citizen Patriot morgue). But it’s not the story
that’s important to me now.

It’s that I covered it at all – and that my editors were grateful I did. And
that readers seemed to value the fact we were there to capture a moment in
their community they would otherwise not have known about.

More than a week ago, a small band of peaceful protesters descended on
Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Park) in New York City, not far from Wall
Street. They dubbed their little movement “Occupy Wall Street.” And, on the
first weekend, starting Sept. 17, they had quite a number of people join
them in marches and speeches that essentially claimed the 99% of Americans
who aren’t the 1% of uber-rich are disenfranchised – and have critical needs
related to unemployment, cost of living, and a range of other social issues
that are either being ignored outright or largely swept under the rug by our
finance-focused government.

These young people, accompanied by like-minded Xers and a few Boomers,
didn’t get much coverage to start. (I doubt any authentic movement, at the
outset, ever does.) The media that did arrive briefly aired the same
complaint: “They are a loosely organized group of disaffected youth who are
more like hippies and have no real goal,” they yawned. “Nothing to see here,
but we’ve done our job by ‘covering’ it in our blogs,” they seemed to say to
New Yorkers and anyone outside the Big Apple paying attention. “This too
shall pass.”

The only problem is, it hasn’t. And I suspect after this weekend, it isn’t
going to.

Now in its 10th day, protestors are very much entrenched at Zuccotti Park
(with people across the United States and around the world watching their
activities via live-streaming video, as well as sending them supplies and
money, even pizza via local vendors). This past Saturday afternoon, there
was a large march to Union Park, through Washington Square (and, at times,
through moving traffic – which was pretty incredible to watch in real time)
– and all seemed to be going well with chants and songs as the trek was
covered by Occupy Wall Street’s new media team, such as the young woman Net
followers dubbed “50/50 Anchor Lady,” with hair that was half blonde, half

As I say, all was well – that is, until a phalanx of NYC police moved in and
started making mass arrests. Twitter was the only way most of us knew it
actually happened; the media team, scarily, was picked off shortly after the
march gained momentum near Washington Park.

It’s not like no one was aware the police were coming. I myself could hear
what was going down on the police scanner, which I alternately monitored
while toggling back and forth between live-streaming and searching for news
updates on Google.

The tension was building - you could feel it while watching from hundreds of
miles away as the protestors kept dodging orange fencing and an increasingly
ominous presence of officers. The marchers were peaceful - but resolute in
their efforts to keep marching.

Then, right in the thick of things, the live-streaming ended just before the
mass arrests and some disturbing instances of outright police brutality
(documented and later distributed via cellphone photos). But, I should note,
not before the world had already witnessed some of those protestor/cop
encounters. It was shocking, actually, to watch people pushed with real
force or slammed to the ground when, to my eye, they hadn't provoked
anything remotely requiring that kind of police-state response.

I had been one of the hundreds, then thousands, to witness the march from
nearly beginning to end – and that was not how I’d expected things to turn
out. But, almost on cue (as if to underscore the government's fear this
would spread), things escalated quickly and publicly in the glaring view of
the Twitterverse, very likely to the chagrin of the NYPD, Michael Bloomberg
and anyone on Wall Street who didn’t want this little movement to earn
attention or gain credibility.

Within a matter of minutes, thousands of people were logging into the
live-streaming site or retweeting the police presence. Yet, the media still
weren’t covering the event, except as an aside, almost. I recall the Village
Voice reported on several key tweets from Occupy Wall Street – laudable in
providing “real time” updates, but I never could tell if they sent an actual
reporter to the site at the time. (Back in the day, my own editors would
have pushed me out the door. And sent back-up reporters.)

Not to be flip, but if 60-80 people were arrested for dog-fighting, or for
wrangling outside a tony nightclub, or protesting at the United Nations,
that might have gotten coverage. I’m pretty sure that would have received
some attention. But this: In my humble opinion, it got very little. Some,
finally - but people had to be hurt, and the police department's reputation
tarnished, when neither was necessary if the media were operating as it

Since then, media coverage has been defensive. (Said one reporter, and I’m
paraphrasing here: “It’s not fair to say Occupy Wall Street hasn’t been
covered.” And then a short list of stories was included to prove the point.)
And the coverage has been light: I was impressed Keith Olbermann, Rachel
Maddow and even Stephen Colbert have noted this is more than dismissive
hippy-ism; but no major news organization has (to the best of my knowledge)
paid more than the barest attention thus far.


Perhaps it’s because no one wants a popular movement or peaceful rebellion
to spread at a time when many Americans are fed up with their dysfunctional
government leaders. We have enough problems, the leaders and media friends
might be thinking: Why stir the pot?

Perhaps it’s because they sense, as does Bloomberg, that once a train like
this gets going, it can be hijacked by the wrong people and cause real
damage. (That, alone, is worthy of another story altogether.) But is that a
reason to quell coverage, really?

In the end, though, a large-scale failure to acknowledge and cover this
“small” group of protestors – now growing in numbers, thanks to outrage at
the rough-housing NYPD, and quickly propagating similar groups in other
cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., etc. –  is akin to a
media blindness.

The media’s job is not to turn a blind eye. The media’s job is to report.
Period. Which is yet another reason why Americans are not trusting the
modern media. And I have to say, given what I’ve witnessed in recent days in
and around Zuccotti Park, that I clearly understand why my profession is
much maligned these days.

If people are there, and they have something worthwhile to say – regardless
of whether it is popular or potentially alarming or against the political
status quo – it is news. Good reporters should be covering it, regardless of
their personal political preferences – and let Americans come to their own

Is it a media blackout?

Sure seems that way to me. If I can cover one voice about a Gulf War, and
contribute to society’s understanding of our greater human experience, then
the media can certainly begin paying attention to thousands of marchers -
and what appears to be the beginnings of an American movement.

I would call upon our news organizations to acknowledge their collective
mistake in ignoring this story, remember that their calling is higher than
the profit motive, and begin covering news that engages our thinking skills.

America needs the media now more than ever. To find it absent, while the
entire world is watching this unfolding and increasingly important story
(and they are) is a travesty and a statement about how far we have fallen as
a nation built on freedom of speech and thought.

These are voices worth hearing at this time of trouble and strife. Hundreds
of those voices are gathering in New York and other cities right now,
representing diverse people and backgrounds and views - and trying to send a
message that change, Real Change, must happen.

I want to hear what they have to say. As an American, I need to hear. As a
media consumer, I demand to hear. Don't you?

© 2011

Lisa Romero is a journalist and writes a blog at OpenSalon


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