Occupy No Longer in Headlines But Activism Continues Nationwide

Occupy No Longer in Headlines But Activism Continues Nationwide

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. You might hear some rain in the background.
We’re in our temporary studio, as we’re rebuilding or renovating a building in Baltimore, where
we will have new studios, and they will be soundproof. For now, if you hear the crack
of thunder, it’s not anyone coming to get us. It’s just a big storm. Talking of storms, a lot of people have been
suggesting the Occupy Wall Street storm is over. Well, now joining us to discuss protest
actions across the country and remind us that in fact this movement is not over is David
Swanson. David’s an author whose books include War Is a Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org
and WarIsACrime.org. He also works as a campaign coordinator for online activist organization
RootsAction. And he hosts Talk Nation Radio. Thanks for joining us again, David. DAVID SWANSON: Great to be here, Paul. JAY: So the media’s filled with this. Occupy’s
fizzled out, Occupy didn’t go anywhere, and they’re kind of back to just covering two-party
politics. But you have a different story to tell. SWANSON: Well, to some extent that’s true,
and to some extent it’s self-fulfilling, as the media created it as a national movement
and then killed it off. But it didn’t die. It’s still there. And when I travel around
the country and participate in events, people are still organized as Occupy. There’s Occupy
Dallas and Occupy every city you go to as a way that people are still connected and
organizing to do the same sorts of actions and new kinds of actions. And activism, whether
it’s part of Occupy or not, is very much alive and well in this country, little though it
may be noted in the corporate media. JAY: So what’s some examples of what’s going
on? SWANSON: Well, you know, the issue of drones
has been a huge focus. Earlier this year a group of organizations and individuals got
together and planned a month of activities through the month of April. That was by many
measures a huge success. That saw massive demonstrations and protests and many people
going to jail and making news and passing resolutions. We passed a resolution against
drones here in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was just up in Syracuse, New York, where
there was a big conference about the issue and then a protest that saw another over 30
individuals going to jail, some of them risking serious jail time because there was a protective
order against them, protecting a commander of an Air Force base from nonviolent peace
activists, if you can understand that. But in fact they’ve been there so many times that
they’re getting through to the judge and educating the judge and the public in the process. And you’ve seen the polls on U.S. support
for drone use domestically and abroad and to kill non-Americans, about whom supposedly
we don’t care at all, plummeting–still a majority, but now a small majority of Americans
who are okay with killing foreigners with drones. And that’s in large part the work
of activists. JAY: When you say that Charlottesville passed
a resolution, you’re talking about the city? SWANSON: Yes. The city of Charlottesville,
where I live, passed a resolution that has now inspired many other towns and cities and
counties to take it up, very few of which have thus far passed, but many of which are
imminently pending, as well as states. The majority of U.S. state legislatures have now
taken up legislation to ban or to restrict or regulate drone use, weaponized drones and
surveillance drones. The state of Virginia is in the process of figuring out exactly
the details on what will be a two-year moratorium on drone use, which I think is a very wise
approach. You know, we’re told that drones will bring
us coffee and drones will fight fires and drones will do all these wonderful, good things.
Well, let’s take a breath and figure out a way to do that that is compatible with the
First and the Fourth and the Fifth Amendment. And if we can’t, well, then, you know, we
survived this many millennia without getting our coffee delivered by drone; I think we
can survive it going forward. But the city of Charlottesville made a great
deal of news, and city council members got more attention from the U.S. and world media
than they ever had before in the rest of their lives put together because Charlottesville
went first and passed a resolution against drones in our skies. JAY: What are some other examples of activism
that you’ve been either involved with or observing? SWANSON: Well, of course, I was down in Dallas
for the big protest of the Bush lie-bury opening, and it was very encouraging to see such a
showing. But it was, you know, sadly, something of a reunion of people who have not been together
as much since Obama’s been in the White House. And so it’s very encouraging to see movements
growing while Obama is in the White House, including the drone movement. I was just down in Asheville, North Carolina,
for a gathering of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. These are people who
have figured out ways to not pay their war taxes as a means of resisting militarism and
the funding of war and whose experience–in some cases these are people who’ve been doing
this for half a century. Their experiences, I think, can be quite valuable to movements
that are now growing against home foreclosures, against repaying student loans. These are
types of resistance that are growing, not as dramatically as I might like, but significantly
are on the rise. JAY: David, let’s go back to what you were
saying about the Bush library event, that there were forces that came out that you hadn’t
seen for a while. So, I mean, when you’re protesting the Bush library, you’re back to
protesting Republicans. You’re sort of suggesting that the drone activity is starting to get
more people back involved that were involved in the antiwar movement when there was a Republican
president, but they don’t necessarily want to come out when it’s a Democrat. I mean,
is that changing? SWANSON: It’s changing very, very slowly.
It’s–you know, there are big efforts planned for fasts in this country and around the world
in solidarity with the prisoners of Guantanamo, who are now thought of as Obama’s prisoners,
no longer Bush’s. It’s been too long. There are huge demonstrations planned, as I’m sure
you know, in Maryland at Fort Meade on June 1, two days before Bradley Manning’s court
martial begins, Bradley Manning being a victim of what is now beginning to be widely understood
as an attack on whistleblowers by the Obama administration. But when we were in Dallas, you know, there
were people there protesting who have been protesting throughout the Obama years. But
there were also people I just haven’t seen in five years. So it was very much a reunion.
And you did hear chants against Republicans and so forth. And, in fact, when everybody came out of the
ceremony with the five former presidents there at the Bush lie-bury, a woman came up and
yelled at me as a protester and said, why don’t you people protest Obama? And I was
wearing my Arrest Bush and Obama shirt, so I said, ma’am, can you read? But then she
sort of–eventually she switched and started saying, well, if Obama does it, why don’t
you like it? You know, because this is the mindset that everybody’s got. Either you’re
with Obama or you’re with Bush. You’re not against murder. You’re not for peace. And
slowly people are beginning to grasp that that can be a position, that you don’t have
to be with one side or the other. Of course, we’re sort of right in the middle
between presidential election seasons at the moment, so this is the closest chance we have
for nonpartisan breathing space. But it is beginning to grow, and it’s beginning to grow
in large part because of the dramatically increased awareness of the drone kill program,
that when it was on the front page of The New York Times before the election, with the
cooperation of the White House, nobody who disapproved of it noticed it. You know, they
just remained oblivious. And now people are beginning to understand that there is a massive
program of murder, including of U.S. citizens, but primarily of non-U.S. citizens, and people
are beginning to get upset about that. JAY: And has the legal justification for this
been provided yet? I’m sorry I have not followed this story as closely as I probably should,
but last I picked up on it, there was going to be a legal rationale given to the Senate
Intelligence Committee. And did that ever actually happen? SWANSON: Well, some committees have been privately
shown some of the memos that the public has not seen and that they are not permitted to
tell the public about and so forth. But there have been a number of hearings, unofficial
hearings and official committee and subcommittee hearings. Just a few weeks ago, there was a hearing,
and the Obama administration sent no witnesses, has never sent any to any of these hearings.
But there was a young man from Yemen scheduled to speak. And because the hearing was delayed,
it so happened that his village in Yemen was struck by a drone the week before he testified.
And his testimony, a young man named [[email protected][email protected]’limi], was absolutely stunning. It was as if somebody
had brought the dead bodies of the children we’re killing and put them on the committee
table in front of these senators who didn’t want to see it. But I think, you know, what really struck
me in that hearing was how concisely one of the law professors–I think her name was Rosa
Brooks–summed up the attitude of the legal community. And she said, if these drone strikes
are part of a war, they are perfectly acceptable. If they are not part of a war, then they are
murder. And she used that word, the word I think everyone should be using. And how can
we know, she continued, whether they are part of a war or not? Well, we can’t, because the
memos are secret. So what distinguishes a war from a nonwar?
Nothing substantive. Something you can write on a piece of paper and stick in a drawer
in the White House and hide. And if it’s a war, well, then murder has become acceptable.
And if it’s not, well, then it’s murder. This is the absurd approach that has been reached
not just by the neocons but by the human rights organizations, by anyone who sort of accepts
war and then tries to figure out what’s legal within it and what’s legal in peacetime and
how do these two sets of laws work. But, in fact, under the Kellogg-Briand Pact
and under the UN Charter and under the U.S. Constitution, war itself is illegal. And so
you cannot legalize murder by maintaining that it’s part of a war. In fact, there was
a law professor who had been scheduled to speak, who I’m told would have testified to
that effect and was uninvited. So this is the consensus in Washington at this point. JAY: Well, in theory, war’s supposed to be
declared by Congress, but Congress seems to have signed over that power with this broad
definition of war on terrorism. And as long as that label is dragged out, just about anything
seems to be permissible, according to Congress. SWANSON: Yes. I mean, this is why Congresswoman
Barbara Lee’s bill that would repeal the so-called authorization to use military force is exactly
right and should be passed and should be signed into law. It’s outrageous to have this notion
that a president can make war without limit in time or space. But this is the understanding
of the witnesses and the senators and congress members in these hearings. There is no limit
in time or space. And, of course, you have this retroactive
identification of victims as enemies if they are male and fighting age. And, of course,
the victims are almost entirely Muslim. And so you have this message being sent to the
world that we are at war with Muslim men, there is no limit in time or space, and it
is everywhere. And so, I mean, that attitude that blows up
a peaceful village in Yemen is not altogether different from the attitude that puts bombs
at marathons and sporting events. I mean, killing has been declared righteous and legal
and without limit in time or space. It’s a global war. And so we have to undo that idea. But even with that authorization on the books,
there’s the question of how it should be interpreted. And many never dreamed of interpreting it
the way it has been interpreted since about 2006, when they started shooting missiles
into places like Yemen that were not officially war zones. And there remain a handful of law
professors in this country who will tell you, yes, Afghanistan, it’s fine; you can kill
anybody you like. But go to Yemen, go to some other country, go to Somalia, and you’re now
outside the realm of legality. And so I would agree with them as far as they go and further. JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, David. SWANSON: Oh, thank you, Paul. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.


53 thoughts on “Occupy No Longer in Headlines But Activism Continues Nationwide”

  • Just how long can interest last in a group of people screaming at buildings last? Especially when upon interviewing these people you learn that they don't even understand what the hell they're screaming about.

  • As a member of the US military, Manning was not charged with "whistle blowing", but with treason, and admitted his guilt in many of the charges. More to come.

  • Marniespeaks says:

    how much bank is this guy making off this movement? I want to see who all their donors are

    what they should do is call in every favors from every journalist and declare a week long general strike – then they should take over a state and start secession proceedures.

  • Dino Di Lucido says:

    Why did they 'occupy' Wall Street when they should have occupied Washington DC? Isn't that where you go when you want to raise awareness & effect change?

  • Larkinchance says:

    I would seem logical, but Wall street is where the orders come from. It is right to call out Goldman Sachs

  • Is it really treason when you speak out against criminals? He spoke out of a loyalty and caring for humanity. Self sacrifice of the highest order trumps murder of civilians.

  • It is treason when a member of the armed forces steals information and imparts that information to the public in direct violation of his oath as a soldier. If Manning were a civilian then it would not have been treason.

  • Byron Stewart says:

    Wall Street pulls the pentagon's strings. It was a symbolic "occupation". But really demonstrating at both locations sends the same message.

  • Byron Stewart says:

    that's mostly true in the current state of things. but of course these powers shift around the game board, and this dynamic could change. But for now Wall St. does essentially pull Washington's strings.

  • Byron Stewart says:

    It's right to call out the whole economic system, including all of the major banks and mega corporations.

  • There are times a human has to answer to a higher calling. He did! This oath to a killing machine is insanity.

  • This dystopian/Orwellian nightmare of a reality that has/is being forged needs a countervailing force, equally organized, equally dedicated to it's eradication as are those on the opposing side who are hell bent in seeing it's creation. 9/11 WAS A JOINT U.S./ISRAELI OPERATION, IT WAS STAGED, AS WAS SANDY HOAX. Question is why do they want you disarmed all the while having procured/procuring massive armaments?

  • And presumably he did and based on his decision to impart information that made little to no difference in the matter, he will now stupidly spend many years in prison calling out for relief from beatings followed by forced sodomy, to no point, or satisfactory outcome whatsoever. Brilliant, huh?

  • Land of the free!!! Yeah right pfff and they still want to dictate how the so called "uncivilized" countries have to treat their citizens, hypocrites.

  • That whole conspiracy stuff (OMG the govt did 9-11!!!) is garbage and irrelevant.

    Occupy is real, because it's actually concentrating on REAL LIFE issues, like people wages, police abuse, foreclosures on poor people who got scammed by banks, fighting the private business interests who work day and night to make sure you remain poor and powerless while they run wild, fighting Obama and his atrocities overseas, fighting racism, fighting for real democracy etc.

  • The politicians don't run the show. Private business does, and in particular the financial industry has gained huge power in the last 30 years.

    Occupy is about trying to get the population to direct their attention to the real people in charge…..the filthy rich. Most of the U.S. population don't even realize how the filthy rich run the society. Occupy is trying to change that, and it's trying to create real democracy (something that the rich have always feared throughout history).

  • It was a hugh step in the awakening process the human race is undergoing. A big step to truth which is slowly but surely growing. Any one who watched COLLATERAL MURDER will never forget it. Not many believe in hero's anymore or believe a darn thing that comes from our leaders mouths. Little by little we are knowing we have lived in lies and been used by a system that gets rich on our backs. Soldiers give their bodies for corporations. Come home to poverty and suicide and see people don't care.

  • Dino Di Lucido says:

    Ok, so how effective has "Occupy' been in achieving its objectives? And if Occupy is trying to create real Democracy, why does it have no leaders? Wouldn't they have exercised this real Democracy and elected those to speak for the movement instead of a group-therapy type of representation? Seems the whole of the Occupy movement was blunted & diffused before it even got off the ground.

  • Leaders aren't a good thing. Having leaders is a very anti-democratic thing. In any legit democratic society, everyone should be a "leader", not one person or a small group of people. That whole "we must have leaders" mentality is not too different from Leninism.

    This is one reason Occupy doesn't (and shouldn't) start playing the "lets get new leaders in power with better agendas" game. Occupy instead wishes to organize the population to build a democratic society. It's hard work and not easy.

  • Dino Di Lucido says:

    If leaders aren't a good thing rule by consensus is even worse. Like the Spanish indignados who's movement was also rule by consensus & produced no real change, it will be the same fate for Occupy. In fact it already has.

  • Rule by consensus (assuming that such a consensus came from within organized communities who haven't been subject to hierarchy or exploitation) is something humanity should strive for. In other words, real democracy is something humanity should strive for and I think most communities thrive for it rather than being ruled by someone (or some group or some leader). Movements for centuries have thrived off that concept, and they've made great changes to society.

    Occupy was only the beginning.

  • Only children believe in heroes and the suppositions that children suffer are not the products of reality, but of over protection by their parents and the failure to understand reality in the first place. What Manning did caused barely a ripple in Washington and ruined his life forever, it was a embarrassment for the intelligence community and nothing more.

  • Revolutionary Socialist Media says:

    Occupy needs a socialist program to build itself. That is why a workers party is needed. But win out a clear socialist alternative, Occupy will die. We see it in major revolutions. Take the 1989 revolutions that destroyed stalinism. Unfortunate because socialism was discredit by the ruling parasites of the USSR, the right-wing democrats were able to win the elections in the former Stalinist states!

    The alternative to capitalism is socialism. The only alternative in my point of view!

  • Leninism and Stalinism (same thing) was destructive for socialism because they gave it a bad name, and they hijacked and destroyed any remnants of actual socialism around the world.

    I see the end of the Soviet Union as a victory for socialism.

    But you're just advocating Leninism, which is a tyranny. Thankfully Occupy isn't Leninist, and it will never be.

    Occupy is about REAL democracy. (hint hint: it's kind of anarchist…..hehehe) 😉

  • –Protestor, "Help spread the word, protest the corporate greed machine that is killing our country!!"
    –Me, "Interesting, when/what are you guys doing?"
    –Protestor, "Just be here tuesday at noon!"
    –Me, "Tuesday at noon? Uhh I have a job, I have to be at work"
    –Protestor, "Ah just another "well-connected and privileged" product of the system!"

    Here's a novel idea, you set aside so much time to protest, why don't you set aside some time to get some work ethic and find a job.

  • Brass 'n Barrels Firearms Channel says:

    gotta love how deluded this moron is "Massive occupy turnout"..you mean like the Occupy NRA turnout…that had 42 people? Or the "Anti-drone protest" that had less than 100 people? Your communist movement never left the ground, it was a joke from day one

  • Wasn't ot occupy that set up camp in a city park and threw their garbage on the ground rather than use trash cans and used the children's playground as a toilet? I mean come on, crapping in a child's sand box is absolutely filthy. They didn't even cover it up let alone provide themselves with porta potties. PIGS

  • HolyCity2012 says:

    Is Paul J joking about the rain? Thunderstorms don't phase Paul J, The News Man's News Man! I have watched Paul J conduct a broadcast in the middle of an earthquake and the dude barely even raised an eyebrow.

  • What would you have my provide reference for? Your request lacks context. I am not presenting any information or declaration, therefore there is nothing to source.

    I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

  • They don't care, when it's legal they will do business anyway. When you go to Washington and try this, you have a bigger chance of laws changing and that causes Wallstreet to change/collapse/reinvent itself as a result. It's really like a McDonalds! You're not happy about the burger? Well you can go to the employee (Wallstreet) who has the right and it is it's job to make burgers (regulate the economy and stocks), or to the manager (DC), who can change the rules about the burger being made.

  • as apposed to listening to a muslim who is required to lie to an infidel in order to conquer them. no thanks, I would believe Obama over a muslim.

  • Skibum Willy says:

    In “Occupying Chairlifts” a simple rule tweak on inheritance ends up changing the direction and purpose of modern human life! Here’s a fair way to transition forward to where we’re rewarded for cooperating and creating instead of competing and conquering.
    It's something specific we can demand. If this isnt the best answer, at least we’re thinking about what might be. Are we really just this close to having it work right?
    Oh yeah, it's a Ski movie! “Occupying Chairlifts” on Youtube!

  • our governements have double agenda´s, they serve coorporations and banks more than they serve us. resulting in the collapse of social fundings that keep so many of us a flote, economical crisis,unemployment,poverty,evictions, unjust imprisonment, violation of international human rights such as childlabour, slavery,destruction of our inviroment,war, there is not enough space to name everything,
    thats why we GOTTA put our differences a side, and UNITE, so we can make this world wurth living in.

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