The Portland Occupier

an official, unofficial content channel for Occupy Portland

Quit Drinking, Found a Revolution

by: Angela Horton

[caption id=”attachment_3851” align=”alignright” width=”427” caption=”photo by Kendall”][/caption]What happens when you play by the rules, but still can’t get ahead? Confronting this problem in my own life lead me to an internal revolution.

I went to college when I graduated from high school. By the time I was twenty-one, I had an associates degree and $20,000 of debt. Unable to find work in my chosen field, I tried to start my own business. I didn’t have enough money or assets to qualify for a loan.

So I got a job - several jobs - and for ten years, I worked in the service industry. I had jobs at restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores. None of these jobs paid enough money for me to afford my student loan payments, so I deferred them, each time adding more interest to the balance due.

In many instances, I proved to be an asset to the companies I worked for. I worked at a privately-owned retail store where I was given all the responsibilities of a manager, but paid the same rate of pay since starting the position as a salesperson, for over a year. Upon asking the owner for a one-year review, I was told, ‘we can’t really afford that right now.’ And they couldn’t. Because they were an independently-owned art and gift store that was on the verge of failure because the economy had just tanked.

Imprisonment in the daily grind lead me to feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, failure. I developed a drinking problem. I smoked cigarettes to deal with stress.

I’m thirty now. I always thought I would have children, but I likely won’t because I know I would be unable to financially support them. I gave up drinking. I quit smoking.

Fed up with dead-end jobs, I’ve gone back to college. I study business. I go to school full-time and work part-time. I make the same hourly wage now as when I entered the work force, even though I have ten years of work experience and a college education.

Tired of always feeling like the member of a target market, I quit watching TV. I began watching only media I could find online, for free. I started educating myself about what was going on in the world.

Now comes the revolution part. Ready for it…?

I can’t get ahead because the system is designed that way.

The capitalist system thrives on the enslavement of the working class. As long as we, the people, work long hours for low wages to manufacture and sell products, and then spend our hard-earned money to buy these products, the shareholders in the companies that own rights to these products make money. And not just a little money.

The top 1% of the US population owns more wealth than the bottom 90%.- ‘Lifting the Veil: Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy’, (www.documentarystream.com) “The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from its profits or so dependant on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class.”- member of the Rothschild banking family of London, 1863. The system also serves to misinform the public via the corporate-funded mass media, and to hold us hostage via loans (student, car, mortgages, etc.) paid back at interest. The politicians in the White House do not serve the interest of we, the people. Rather, they serve only the corporate interest. We, the people, are consumers. Commodities. This has to change.

People in our society have been driven to accusing those with my similar mindset as being, ‘lazy’ or ‘socialists’, or ‘just looking for a hand-out’. But let me assure you, I don’t want a hand-out. I just want a fucking chance.

The New Poverty

[caption id=”attachment_3845” align=”aligncenter” width=”576” caption=”cartoon and text by Kip Lyall”][/caption]

Cartoon from the Occupied News Wire, originally published in the Boston Occupier.

By David Glenn Cox

I met a man the other day, pretty regular guy all in all except he was homeless. Just one more, one more of the millions of Americans to whom healthcare is a dream, food is a hope and even shelter is questionable. It is an American story; it is a microcosm of modern American society. And a most amazing facet of this problem is not the new poverty of millions but the invisibility of the problem.

How many of the fourteen-million now unemployed will replace unemployment checks with part-time work? The new poverty is subsidized with food stamps to the multitude which end up in the pockets of merchants. It creates a baseline economy, a brutal Dickensian society with a whiff of paternalism which says, “Feed them but don’t actually attempt to improve their lot,” merely subsidizing their poverty.

“Benefits should always be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Our government goes out of its way to declare an economic all clear when it is obviously not so, conjoined at the hip with a media filled with happy-talk, a media overburdened with sensationalism and infotainment, the Super Bowl, the Grammy awards, and poor Whitney, a media of distraction, by distraction and for distraction. A new Hollywood war picture has been released with real Navy Seals to further blur the line between reality and warfotainment. “Is that you John Wayne?”

Yet the plight of the average American is only barely discussed and even then only in the abstract. This is the nucleus of the movement, a lost generation of college-educated and formally middle-class “new poor.” I knew a biological engineer with a doctorate who unemployed for almost two years. When he landed a job I asked, “better money?” He answered with a shoulder shrug meaning “no,” but there was a look of relief in his face as if he had escaped. An easily recognized reflex of relief, escape from his brush with poverty. A scientist, unemployed. This indeed isn’t your run-of-the-mill recession.

This is a depression, where anemic job and wage growth limit purchasing power which in turn fuels layoffs and low tax revenues for tax coffers. The state of California reported tax revenues a half a billion dollars short of estimates for the month of January. The shortage was primarily caused by income tax revenue falling 13 percent in the fourth quarter. Those with low paying, part time jobs pay little income tax and the unemployed pay no income tax.

“Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays.”
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Despite the knowledge gained from past depressions and even the early lessons of the current depression Federal, state and local governments continue to shed employees at record levels. In 2010, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger began furloughing state employees in response to a budget crisis. The cuts amounted to a 15 percent cut in pay and within just a few months the city of Sacramento went from one of the bright spots of economic activity to one of the worst. Restaurants, furniture stores, car lots and office equipment stores began to close their doors.

The Obama administration and State and Local governments have followed the Schwarzenegger path:

Federal employee job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 17,100
Post Office employee job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 37,000
State government job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 71,000
State government education job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 6,100
Local government job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 161,000
Local government education job cuts - January 2011 to January 2012 – 105,400

Nearly 400,000 less pay checks each week to bolster the economy and on the other end are the same small businesses which the politicians love to praise as job creators. They are left to deal with lower levels of government services. Local businesses have fewer customers and the nation’s children have a poorer education. This year’s cuts come in the wake of over half a million government job cuts in 2010.

Our government is cannibalizing itself to save on groceries:

“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”
– Mark Twain

The jobs once held by teenagers saving for a car or school are now held by adults trying to make the rent or buy the kids school shoes. Teenagers once had the most discretionary income of any age demographic in the country. They tended to buy CD’s and go to the movies and buy mag wheels for their cars, but today?

Job loss leaders - December 2011 to January 2012

Heavy and Civil engineering construction, -1,400
Computer and electronic products, -1,900
Communications equipment, -1,200
Textile product mills, -300
Paper and paper products, -800
Plastics and Rubber products, -1,000
Electronic and Appliance stores, -2,300
Food and beverage stores, -5,300
Gasoline stations, -1,300
Clothing and clothing accessory stores, -13,600
Air Transportation, -1,000
Couriers and messengers, -1,500
Publishing industries, except Internet, - 1,800
Motion picture and sound recording, -7,900
Data processing, hosting and other related services, -1,300
Other information services, -600
Finance and Insurance, -7,500
Credit intermediation and related activities, -5,200
Depositary credit intermediation, -2,700
Commercial banking, -2,000
Securities, commodity contracts, investments, -2,900
Rental and leasing services, -1,600

The job losses run the full spectrum from construction, technical, manufacturing and are led by retail and finance.

Civilian non institutional population - January 2011 to January 2012, up by 3,565,000
Civilian labor force - January 2011 to January 2012, up by 1,145,000
Employed - January 2011 to January 2012, up by 2,307,000
Not in labor force - January 2011 to January 2012 up by 2,420,000
Participation rate January 2011: 64.2 %
Participation rate January 2012: 63.7%
Employment –population ratio January 2011: 58.4%
Employment –population ratio January 2012: 58.5%

“Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself.” - Niccolo Machiavelli

“We want to reduce the size of government in half as a percentage of GNP over the next 25 years. We want to reduce the number of people depending on government so there is more autonomy and more free citizens.”
– Grover Norquist

The pretender Obama mimics Machiavelli and Norquist while he squeaks out left-leaning platitudes in election year shenanigans. The answer is in assisting our people.

The Obama administration has proposed a 9.1 percent cut in funds for homelessness assistance and low income housing assistance beginning in 2013, long after the election is over. The number of families doubling up in a single family homes or apartments has increased by 13 percent during Obama’s tenure. The real income of America’s working poor has increased by less than one percent during Obama’s Presidency and more than half of America’s working families pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.

“For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers—the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.
The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor—these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age—other people’s money—these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.”

- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The answers are that simple, they begin with jobs for our people. Public spending, infrastructure or even harmonica bands if that is what it takes to put our people back to work. We cannot therefore ignore the men and women in the park with any expectation of improvement for ourselves.

“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The number of tax cuts proposed by Barack Obama in three years 22.
The number of tax cuts proposed by Franklin Roosevelt in 12 years 0.
Number of homes and farms rescued from foreclosure by Obama’s HAMP mortgage program in three years, 700,000.
Number of homes and farms saved by FDR’s Homeowner’s loan corporation in one year,1,200,000 with a net cost to the treasury of nothing!

The primary difference in the programs is FDR cut the bankers out of the process and Obama’s plan cuts them in.

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”
– Bob Dylan

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

A Contract is a Contract: Clarifying the ILWU/EGT Outcome in Longview

[caption id=”attachment_3094” align=”aligncenter” width=”640” caption=”photo by Paul”][/caption]

by Chris Lowe

A contract is a contract…

In a previous item in The Occupier, Lester Macgurdy argued that we should not exaggerate the victory achieved by ILWU Local 21 in Longview in their struggle against union-busting and scab labor employed by EGT/Bunge. Nor should we overblow Occupy’s achievement in affecting the outcome, lest we deceive ourselves with happy talk and our own spin.

Macgurdy’s broad point has merit. Unfortunately he got one key issue wrong, that affects the overall meaning of everything else. This piece is an effort to clarify matters.

The key fact: the current status is a settled, 5-year union contract, in which EGT recognizes ILWU Local 21 as the workers’ union and bargaining agent.

Contrary to what Macgurdy says, the contract is not a unilateral and unilaterally revocable EGT “business decision.” He based that perception on out-of-date information.

EGT recognized ILWU as the collective bargaining agent for the facility workers on Feb 2, after a card-check process in which the workers hired under the January 27 “framework agreement” designated the ILWU as their union . On Feb 10, EGT and the ILWU signed a five-year legally enforceable union contract, following ratification by Local 21 members.

The union contract replaces an interim agreement announced ratified by workers January 27. It was the interim agreement that contained the unilateral “business decision” language quoted by Macgurdy.

EGT had insisted on the “business decision” language as a workaround for one of their main legal arguments, that the ILWU’s “working agreement” with the Port of Longview giving Local 21 jurisdiction over most work in the Port violates federal labor labor law that prohibits employers from designating with what union they will bargain.

The legal provision EGT cited generally is aimed at preventing company unions. EGT’s position on it is disingenuous if not mendacious, of course, since by contracting with the scab employer General Construction, they were choosing more tractable union to represent their labor force, as well as seeking to avoid bargaining certain points and to avoid a direct contractual relationship with their workers.

There may still be some concern arising from the workaround. I don’t think, as a legal matter, that the ILWU conceded the correctness of the EGT position regarding the working agreement with the Port. It just avoided immediate conflict over the issue. But possibly at some point in the future, EGT might try to use the agreement to claim an ILWU concession.

But is a contract a contract?

So, what then is the meaning of the union contract? Is it a victory?

To evaluate that, we have to understand the context of the struggle and negotiations. ILWU contracts are complicated. They have a working agreement with the Port of Longview that gives the ILWU jurisdiction over most kinds of work at the Port. They also have separate contracts with shippers who operate out of the Port, both land-side, i.e. trucking and rail companies and storage facilities, and ship-side, i.e. sea transport, the latter negotiated collectively by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

Meanwhile, the Port has its own contracts with the shipping and storage companies, including facility leases, and presumably the shippers have contracts with one another. The ILWU is not party to any of those contracts.

However, the ILWU’s working agreement with the Port limits the Port’s contracting with other parties. Specifically, it says that the Port shall not lease property for the purposes of evading ILWU jurisdiction. (See agreement here, click on A3, C and F links.)

Thus when EGT approached the Port about a lease to create a new storage and transfer facility at the Port, the lease included the ILWU working agreement. The negotiations began in 2006, and the facility has only just finished construction and opened. Its impending launch is why the conflict came to a head this past year.

Initially, EGT acknowledged the lease provision involving the ILWU, and began negotiating with that union. Conflict between the ILWU and EGT emerged in 2010, apparently over two key EGT demands: 12 hour straight time shifts (i.e. no overtime after 8 hours, only after 40 hours total per week), and making a key skilled labor jobs affecting workflow a managerial, rather than labor position. The two sides reached no resolution.

In 2011, EGT upped the ante by hiring General Construction to perform the work at the new facility. GC’s labor force is represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, based in Gladstone, Oregon. Essentially, this was a move to break the ILWU jurisdiction using scab labor, though EGT tried to muddy the waters by hiring a contractor with a union workforce. At the same time, EGT sued the Port, saying that the ILWU jurisdiction part of its lease violated federal labor law.

These moves raised the stakes dramatically, turning a contract negotiation for Local 21 into an existential struggle for the entire ILWU. Since the 1930s, the union’s capacity to shape working conditions for its members’ strenuous and dangerous labor, to limit manipulation and exploitation in what had been a “casual” hiring process, and gain good wages and benefits, has depended on its exclusive jurisdiction. EGT’s breach of its contract with the Port threatened to create a crack in the wall in practice at Longview, while its lawsuit seeking to nullify the ILWU’s contract with the Port threatened to render the ILWU jurisdiction illegal in principle from Alaska to southern California and Hawai’i.

The result was a huge, confrontational struggle mobilizing wide union and community solidarity beginning in the spring of 2011. The details are beyond the scope of this piece, but are well worth learning about. Occupy Portland and Occupy Longview, and other Occupies up and down the coast, began joining in the solidarity efforts soon after the movement emerged here.

So is the new contract a victory?

In the foregoing context, the achievement by Local 21 of a contract with EGT, forcing them to give up hiring General Construction and maintaining ILWU jurisdiction in practice at the Port of Longview, must be considered a substantial victory in my view. EGT tried and failed to replace ILWU workers. EGT gave up its lawsuit against the Port in federal court which had the potential to establish a reactionary interpretation of labor law as principle and precedent for other ports.

However, this victory came at some cost, and clearly the struggles over port unionization are not over.

Regarding the specific local contract, the outcome is not clear. News reports show that workers will be working 12 hour shifts, which is what EGT wanted. It is not clear if they are straight time shifts as EGT wanted, or if the ILWU preserved overtime after 8 hours each shift. The news reports are silent as to whether the skilled job EGT wanted reclassified as a management position remained a union job.

More importantly, the “framework agreement” out of which the union contract emerged has shifted the balance of forces for future negotiations, certainly with EGT and perhaps more broadly.

That “framework agreement” of January 27 involved not only the ILWU, but EGT’s relationship to the Port of Longview. EGT and the Port agreed to end EGT’s lawsuit against the Port on the basis of a renegotiated lease clause stipulating that the Port has nothing to say about union jurisdiction under the lease. The ILWU was not party to that change.

Lester Macgurdy was right to focus on the change in the lease as a serious setback for the union, although it does not exactly end the ILWU’s jurisdiction as he suggests. Rather it changes the legal relationship between the ILWU and the Port going forward.

Before the agreement between the Port and EGT, the Port was trying to enforce its agreement with the ILWU. EGT in turn was suing the Port, and the ILWU was intervening in that suit.

The revised lease agreement settles EGT’s suit on terms EGT likes locally. It appears to mean that the Port of Longview no longer is even ambiguously on the ILWU’s side, legally speaking.

The Port of Longview’s revision of its lease with EGT does not directly involve the ILWU, which is not party to the lease. Instead, it puts two of the Port’s contracts in direct conflict with one another. The Port’s revised lease with EGT is now clearly in conflict with its prior working agreement with the ILWU.

What the changed lease terms do, in the short term, is shift the legal burden. Before, the Port had to defend its agreement with the union against EGT, since that agreement was part of the lease. Now it would be up to the ILWU to sue the Port, if somehow a conflict arose, to try to get the revised lease overturned as a violation of the working agreement. I am not sure if the union has standing to sue just on the basis of the conflict of contracts, or would only gain standing if it could show some kind of substantive harm. I am not sure if the claim can outlast the end date of the working agreement.

The changed lease also shifts the bargaining position of the Port vis a vis the ILWU when the working agreement comes up for negotiation, since the Port now has an interest in removing the conflict of the contracts It retains an interest in overall labor peace at its facilities and those it leases, of course, but a new consideration has entered the picture.

This does look like it makes for a harder struggle to retain jurisdiction, as Lester Macgurdy says. But exclusive jurisdiction hasn’t ended yet. Before all of this, the ILWU already was negotiating both with the Port and with specific Port lessees. That hasn’t changed. The union has regained complete current jurisdiction, and still has an agreement for that with the Port. The local question is whether it can maintain that agreement in the face of the conflict of the Port’s contracts, and other pressures.

The broader question is how these results with play into the ILWU’s overall negotiations on the coast and Hawai’i, with grain transport and storage companies, which come up in about a year, and with the PMA, which come up in two years. Those negotiations and the five-year span of the EGT contract set the broad contours of likely future solidarity struggles.

Meanwhile, there may need to be support for ILWU members still facing charges in connection with union resistance to scab labor and maintaining picket lines last summer.

A Couple of Other Perspectives

Here are a couple of interesting perspectives on recent events that might be a bit out of the way for Occupier readers:

On the agreement and the process leading to it, including the community and Occupy role, from Labor Notes, a publication that has ties to the Association for Union Democracy (a pro-labor union reform group) and to some extent with Solidarity.

And here is an odd one, giving something of the Operating Engineers’ take on the initial “framework agreement,” published by the editor of the NW Labor Press on a website associated with the CPUSA. NW Labor Press is a publication of the Northwest Central Labor Council, which came out harshly against the IUOE’s scab role — which the national AFL-CIO notably did not do, which may be why the CP is willing to publish this viewpoint.

A Contract is a Contract: Clarifying the ILWU/EGT Outcome in Longview

[caption id=”attachment_3094” align=”aligncenter” width=”640” caption=”photo by Paul”][/caption]

by Chris Lowe

A contract is a contract…

In a previous item in The Occupier, Lester Macgurdy argued that we should not exaggerate the victory achieved by ILWU Local 21 in Longview in their struggle against union-busting and scab labor employed by EGT/Bunge. Nor should we overblow Occupy’s achievement in affecting the outcome, lest we deceive ourselves with happy talk and our own spin.

Macgurdy’s broad point has merit. Unfortunately he got one key issue wrong, that affects the overall meaning of everything else. This piece is an effort to clarify matters.

The key fact: the current status is a settled, 5-year union contract, in which EGT recognizes ILWU Local 21 as the workers’ union and bargaining agent.

Contrary to what Macgurdy says, the contract is not a unilateral and unilaterally revocable EGT “business decision.” He based that perception on out-of-date information.

EGT recognized ILWU as the collective bargaining agent for the facility workers on Feb 2, after a card-check process in which the workers hired under the January 27 “framework agreement” designated the ILWU as their union . On Feb 10, EGT and the ILWU signed a five-year legally enforceable union contract, following ratification by Local 21 members.

The union contract replaces an interim agreement announced ratified by workers January 27. It was the interim agreement that contained the unilateral “business decision” language quoted by Macgurdy.

EGT had insisted on the “business decision” language as a workaround for one of their main legal arguments, that the ILWU’s “working agreement” with the Port of Longview giving Local 21 jurisdiction over most work in the Port violates federal labor labor law that prohibits employers from designating with what union they will bargain.

The legal provision EGT cited generally is aimed at preventing company unions. EGT’s position on it is disingenuous if not mendacious, of course, since by contracting with the scab employer General Construction, they were choosing more tractable union to represent their labor force, as well as seeking to avoid bargaining certain points and to avoid a direct contractual relationship with their workers.

There may still be some concern arising from the workaround I don’t think, as a legal matter, that the ILWU conceded the correctness of the EGT position regarding the working agreement with the Port. It just avoided immediate conflict over the issue. But possibly at some point in the future, EGT might try to use the agreement to claim an ILWU concession.

But is a contract a contract??>

So, what then is the meaning of the union contract? Is it a victory?

To evaluate that, we have to understand the context of the struggle and negotiations. ILWU contracts are complicated. They have a working agreement with the Port of Longview that gives the ILWU jurisdiction over most kinds of work at the Port. They also have separate contracts with shippers who operate out of the Port, both land-side, i.e. trucking and rail companies and storage facilities, and ship-side, i.e. sea transport, the latter negotiated collectively by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

Meanwhile, the Port has its own contracts with the shipping and storage companies, including facility leases, and presumably the shippers have contracts with one another. The ILWU is not party to any of those contracts.

However, the ILWU’s working agreement with the Port limits the Port’s contracting with other parties. Specifically, it says that the Port shall not lease property for the purposes of evading ILWU jurisdiction. (See agreement here, click on A3, C and F links.)

Thus when EGT approached the Port about a lease to create a new storage and transfer facility at the Port, the lease included the ILWU working agreement. The negotiations began in 2006, and the facility has only just finished construction and opened. Its impending launch is why the conflict came to a head this past year.

Initially, EGT acknowledged the lease provision involving the ILWU, and began negotiating with that union. Conflict between the ILWU and EGT emerged in 2010, apparently over two key EGT demands: 12 hour straight time shifts (i.e. no overtime after 8 hours, only after 40 hours total per week), and making a key skilled labor jobs affecting workflow a managerial, rather than labor position. The two sides reached no resolution.

In 2011, EGT upped the ante by hiring General Construction to perform the work at the new facility. GC’s labor force is represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, based in Gladstone, Oregon. Essentially, this was a move to break the ILWU jurisdiction using scab labor, though EGT tried to muddy the waters by hiring a contractor with a union workforce. At the same time, EGT sued the Port, saying that the ILWU jurisdiction part of its lease violated federal labor law.

These moves raised the stakes dramatically, turning a contract negotiation for Local 21 into an existential struggle for the entire ILWU. Since the 1930s, the union’s capacity to shape working conditions for its members’ strenuous and dangerous labor, to limit manipulation and exploitation in what had been a “casual” hiring process, and gain good wages and benefits, has depended on its exclusive jurisdiction. EGT’s breach of its contract with the Port threatened to create a crack in the wall in practice at Longview, while its lawsuit seeking to nullify the ILWU’s contract with the Port threatened to render the ILWU jurisdiction illegal in principle from Alaska to southern California and Hawai’i.

The result was a huge, confrontational struggle mobilizing wide union and community solidarity beginning in the spring of 2011. The details are beyond the scope of this piece, but are well worth learning about. Occupy Portland and Occupy Longview, and other Occupies up and down the coast, began joining in the solidarity efforts soon after the movement emerged here.

So is the New Contract a Victory?

In the foregoing context, the achievement by Local 21 of a contract with EGT, forcing them to give up hiring General Construction and maintaining ILWU jurisdiction in practice at the Port of Longview, must be considered a substantial victory in my view. EGT tried and failed to replace ILWU workers. EGT gave up its lawsuit against the Port in federal court which had the potential to establish a reactionary interpretation of labor law as principle and precedent for other ports.

However, this victory came at some cost, and clearly the struggles over port unionization are not over.

Regarding the specific local contract, the outcome is not clear. News reports show that workers will be working 12 hour shifts, which is what EGT wanted. It is not clear if they are straight time shifts as EGT wanted, or if the ILWU preserved overtime after 8 hours each shift. The news reports are silent as to whether the skilled job EGT wanted reclassified as a management position remained a union job.

More importantly, the “framework agreement” out of which the union contract emerged has shifted the balance of forces for future negotiations, certainly with EGT and perhaps more broadly.

That “framework agreement” of January 27 involved not only the ILWU, but EGT’s relationship to the Port of Longview. EGT and the Port agreed to end EGT’s lawsuit against the Port on the basis of a renegotiated lease clause stipulating that the Port has nothing to say about union jurisdiction under the lease. The ILWU was not party to that change.

Lester Macgurdy was right to focus on the change in the lease as a serious setback for the union, although it does not exactly end the ILWU’s jurisdiction as he suggests. Rather it changes the legal relationship between the ILWU and the Port going forward.

Before the agreement between the Port and EGT, the Port was trying to enforce its agreement with the ILWU. EGT in turn was suing the Port, and the ILWU was intervening in that suit.

The revised lease agreement settles EGT’s suit on terms EGT likes locally. It appears to mean that the Port of Longview no longer is even ambiguously on the ILWU’s side, legally speaking.

The Port of Longview’s revision of its lease with EGT does not directly involve the ILWU, which is not party to the lease. Instead, it puts two of the Port’s contracts in direct conflict with one another. The Port’s revised lease with EGT is now clearly in conflict with its prior working agreement with the ILWU.

What the changed lease terms do, in the short term, is shift the legal burden. Before, the Port had to defend its agreement with the union against EGT, since that agreement was part of the lease. Now it would be up to the ILWU to sue the Port, if somehow a conflict arose, to try to get the revised lease overturned as a violation of the working agreement. I am not sure if the union has standing to sue just on the basis of the conflict of contracts, or would only gain standing if it could show some kind of substantive harm. I am not sure if the claim can outlast the end date of the working agreement.

The changed lease also shifts the bargaining position of the Port vis a vis the ILWU when the working agreement comes up for negotiation, since the Port now has an interest in removing the conflict of the contracts It retains an interest in overall labor peace at its facilities and those it leases, of course, but a new consideration has entered the picture.

This does look like it makes for a harder struggle to retain jurisdiction, as Lester Macgurdy says. But exclusive jurisdiction hasn’t ended yet. Before all of this, the ILWU already was negotiating both with the Port and with specific Port lessees. That hasn’t changed. The union has regained complete current jurisdiction, and still has an agreement for that with the Port. The local question is whether it can maintain that agreement in the face of the conflict of the Port’s contracts, and other pressures.

The broader question is how these results with play into the ILWU’s overall negotiations on the coast and Hawai’i, with grain transport and storage companies, which come up in about a year, and with the PMA, which come up in two years. Those negotiations and the five-year span of the EGT contract set the broad contours of likely future solidarity struggles.

Meanwhile, there may need to be support for ILWU members still facing charges in connection with union resistance to scab labor and maintaining picket lines last summer.

A Couple of Other Perspectives

Here are a couple of interesting perspectives on recent events that might be a bit out of the way for Occupier readers:

On the agreement and the process leading to it, including the community and Occupy role, from Labor Notes, a publication that has ties to the Association for Union Democracy (a pro-labor union reform group) and to some extent with Solidarity.

And here is an odd one, giving something of the Operating Engineers’ take on the initial “framework agreement,” published by the editor of the NW Labor Press on a website associated with the CPUSA. NW Labor Press is a publication of the Northwest Central Labor Council, which came out harshly against the IUOE’s scab role — which the national AFL-CIO notably did not do, which may be why the CP is willing to publish this viewpoint.

A Contract is a Contract: Clarifying the ILWU/EGT Outcome in Longview

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by Chris Lowe

A contract is a contract…

In a previous item in The Occupier, Lester Macgurdy argued that we should not exaggerate the victory achieved by ILWU Local 21 in Longview in their struggle against union-busting and scab labor employed by EGT/Bunge. Nor should we overblow Occupy’s achievement in affecting the outcome, lest we deceive ourselves with happy talk and our own spin.

Macgurdy’s broad point has merit. Unfortunately he got one key issue wrong, that affects the overall meaning of everything else. This piece is an effort to clarify matters.

The key fact: the current status is a settled, 5-year union contract, in which EGT recognizes ILWU Local 21 as the workers’ union and bargaining agent.

Contrary to what Macgurdy says, the contract is not a unilateral and unilaterally revocable EGT “business decision.” He based that perception on out-of-date information.

EGT recognized ILWU as the collective bargaining agent for the facility workers on Feb 2, after a card-check process in which the workers hired under the January 27 “framework agreement” designated the ILWU as their union . On Feb 10, EGT and the ILWU signed a five-year legally enforceable union contract, following ratification by Local 21 members.

The union contract replaces an interim agreement announced ratified by workers January 27. It was the interim agreement that contained the unilateral “business decision” language quoted by Macgurdy.

EGT had insisted on the “business decision” language as a workaround for one of their main legal arguments, that the ILWU’s “working agreement” with the Port of Longview giving Local 21 jurisdiction over most work in the Port violates federal labor labor law that prohibits employers from designating with what union they will bargain.

The legal provision EGT cited generally is aimed at preventing company unions. EGT’s position on it is disingenuous if not mendacious, of course, since by contracting with the scab employer General Construction, they were choosing more tractable union to represent their labor force, as well as seeking to avoid bargaining certain points and to avoid a direct contractual relationship with their workers.

There may still be some concern arising from the workaround I don’t think, as a legal matter, that the ILWU conceded the correctness of the EGT position regarding the working agreement with the Port. It just avoided immediate conflict over the issue. But possibly at some point in the future, EGT might try to use the agreement to claim an ILWU concession.

But is a contract a contract??>

So, what then is the meaning of the union contract? Is it a victory?

To evaluate that, we have to understand the context of the struggle and negotiations. ILWU contracts are complicated. They have a working agreement with the Port of Longview that gives the ILWU jurisdiction over most kinds of work at the Port. They also have separate contracts with shippers who operate out of the Port, both land-side, i.e. trucking and rail companies and storage facilities, and ship-side, i.e. sea transport, the latter negotiated collectively by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

Meanwhile, the Port has its own contracts with the shipping and storage companies, including facility leases, and presumably the shippers have contracts with one another. The ILWU is not party to any of those contracts.

However, the ILWU’s working agreement with the Port limits the Port’s contracting with other parties. Specifically, it says that the Port shall not lease property for the purposes of evading ILWU jurisdiction. (See agreement here, click on A3, C and F links.)

Thus when EGT approached the Port about a lease to create a new storage and transfer facility at the Port, the lease included the ILWU working agreement. The negotiations began in 2006, and the facility has only just finished construction and opened. Its impending launch is why the conflict came to a head this past year.

Initially, EGT acknowledged the lease provision involving the ILWU, and began negotiating with that union. Conflict between the ILWU and EGT emerged in 2010, apparently over two key EGT demands: 12 hour straight time shifts (i.e. no overtime after 8 hours, only after 40 hours total per week), and making a key skilled labor jobs affecting workflow a managerial, rather than labor position. The two sides reached no resolution.

In 2011, EGT upped the ante by hiring General Construction to perform the work at the new facility. GC’s labor force is represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, based in Gladstone, Oregon. Essentially, this was a move to break the ILWU jurisdiction using scab labor, though EGT tried to muddy the waters by hiring a contractor with a union workforce. At the same time, EGT sued the Port, saying that the ILWU jurisdiction part of its lease violated federal labor law.

These moves raised the stakes dramatically, turning a contract negotiation for Local 21 into an existential struggle for the entire ILWU. Since the 1930s, the union’s capacity to shape working conditions for its members’ strenuous and dangerous labor, to limit manipulation and exploitation in what had been a “casual” hiring process, and gain good wages and benefits, has depended on its exclusive jurisdiction. EGT’s breach of its contract with the Port threatened to create a crack in the wall in practice at Longview, while its lawsuit seeking to nullify the ILWU’s contract with the Port threatened to render the ILWU jurisdiction illegal in principle from Alaska to southern California and Hawai’i.

The result was a huge, confrontational struggle mobilizing wide union and community solidarity beginning in the spring of 2011. The details are beyond the scope of this piece, but are well worth learning about. Occupy Portland and Occupy Longview, and other Occupies up and down the coast, began joining in the solidarity efforts soon after the movement emerged here.

So is the New Contract a Victory?

In the foregoing context, the achievement by Local 21 of a contract with EGT, forcing them to give up hiring General Construction and maintaining ILWU jurisdiction in practice at the Port of Longview, must be considered a substantial victory in my view. EGT tried and failed to replace ILWU workers. EGT gave up its lawsuit against the Port in federal court which had the potential to establish a reactionary interpretation of labor law as principle and precedent for other ports.

However, this victory came at some cost, and clearly the struggles over port unionization are not over.

Regarding the specific local contract, the outcome is not clear. News reports show that workers will be working 12 hour shifts, which is what EGT wanted. It is not clear if they are straight time shifts as EGT wanted, or if the ILWU preserved overtime after 8 hours each shift. The news reports are silent as to whether the skilled job EGT wanted reclassified as a management position remained a union job.

More importantly, the “framework agreement” out of which the union contract emerged has shifted the balance of forces for future negotiations, certainly with EGT and perhaps more broadly.

That “framework agreement” of January 27 involved not only the ILWU, but EGT’s relationship to the Port of Longview. EGT and the Port agreed to end EGT’s lawsuit against the Port on the basis of a renegotiated lease clause stipulating that the Port has nothing to say about union jurisdiction under the lease. The ILWU was not party to that change.

Lester Macgurdy was right to focus on the change in the lease as a serious setback for the union, although it does not exactly end the ILWU’s jurisdiction as he suggests. Rather it changes the legal relationship between the ILWU and the Port going forward.

Before the agreement between the Port and EGT, the Port was trying to enforce its agreement with the ILWU. EGT in turn was suing the Port, and the ILWU was intervening in that suit.

The revised lease agreement settles EGT’s suit on terms EGT likes locally. It appears to mean that the Port of Longview no longer is even ambiguously on the ILWU’s side, legally speaking.

The Port of Longview’s revision of its lease with EGT does not directly involve the ILWU, which is not party to the lease. Instead, it puts two of the Port’s contracts in direct conflict with one another. The Port’s revised lease with EGT is now clearly in conflict with its prior working agreement with the ILWU.

What the changed lease terms do, in the short term, is shift the legal burden. Before, the Port had to defend its agreement with the union against EGT, since that agreement was part of the lease. Now it would be up to the ILWU to sue the Port, if somehow a conflict arose, to try to get the revised lease overturned as a violation of the working agreement. I am not sure if the union has standing to sue just on the basis of the conflict of contracts, or would only gain standing if it could show some kind of substantive harm. I am not sure if the claim can outlast the end date of the working agreement.

The changed lease also shifts the bargaining position of the Port vis a vis the ILWU when the working agreement comes up for negotiation, since the Port now has an interest in removing the conflict of the contracts It retains an interest in overall labor peace at its facilities and those it leases, of course, but a new consideration has entered the picture.

This does look like it makes for a harder struggle to retain jurisdiction, as Lester Macgurdy says. But exclusive jurisdiction hasn’t ended yet. Before all of this, the ILWU already was negotiating both with the Port and with specific Port lessees. That hasn’t changed. The union has regained complete current jurisdiction, and still has an agreement for that with the Port. The local question is whether it can maintain that agreement in the face of the conflict of the Port’s contracts, and other pressures.

The broader question is how these results with play into the ILWU’s overall negotiations on the coast and Hawai’i, with grain transport and storage companies, which come up in about a year, and with the PMA, which come up in two years. Those negotiations and the five-year span of the EGT contract set the broad contours of likely future solidarity struggles.

Meanwhile, there may need to be support for ILWU members still facing charges in connection with union resistance to scab labor and maintaining picket lines last summer.

A Couple of Other Perspectives

Here are a couple of interesting perspectives on recent events that might be a bit out of the way for Occupier readers:

On the agreement and the process leading to it, including the community and Occupy role, from Labor Notes, a publication that has ties to the Association for Union Democracy (a pro-labor union reform group) and to some extent with Solidarity.

And here is an odd one, giving something of the Operating Engineers’ take on the initial “framework agreement,” published by the editor of the NW Labor Press on a website associated with the CPUSA. NW Labor Press is a publication of the Northwest Central Labor Council, which came out harshly against the IUOE’s scab role — which the national AFL-CIO notably did not do, which may be why the CP is willing to publish this viewpoint.

It’s Not About the Money! (Part 3)

by Rich Cohen

[caption id=”attachment_3837” align=”alignright” width=”426” caption=”photo by Kendall”][/caption]In recent opinion editorials I spoke to the necessity of restoring citizen control over our country with a congressional district electoral strategy that gets us the majority numbers needed to actually govern. I outlined how we ought to do it and our capacity to get it done. Yet the most meaningful and precious moments that are central to our happiness are not found in the political system outside our door, but in a deeper longing for a life of meaning and purpose.

Beyond the harsh reality that We The People do not control the country we own, ours is a nation riddled with fear, loneliness, depression, a growing sense of personal insignificance, and a persistent feeling that few can be counted on or trusted. This growing estrangement from ourselves and one another cannot be recovered by today’s empty political promise that all we need do is acquire more power and possessions.

Each day we wake up to our individual pursuit of happiness. We pursue our need to love and be loved, to know I belong, to feel individually significant, to believe that I matter, and to be able to step out into a welcoming world with people we trust and care about. Beyond our material basics, these meaning needs for love, significance and community are just as important as our narrower material needs. Any Movement that claims to care about people beyond simply putting power and money in their lives, must recognize this deeper dimension of human need and give it equal billing with economic entitlements and political rights. Our lives are not just about the paycheck. Happiness depends on a balance between meaning and money. A real people’s movement that aims for true solidarity, felt individually and collectively, can and should make room for both.

Whether face to face at the door, in our Town Hall meetings or in our community projects, the Occupy Movement should devote our efforts toward elevating our regard for self and others by illuminating what Ralph Waldo Emerson referred to as the “imprisoned splendor” in each of us. There is something more and better that we’ve yet to recognize in ourselves and in one another. Although imperfect, we deserve a second opinion about who we believe we are. Our Movement must affirm in tangible ways, our conviction that ll of us are sacred and irreplaceable and that we need each other.

In the end, a real “We” society is more than just passing “We” legislation. It’s about getting to know who the “We” is. I would encourage the Occupy Movement to create an opportunity for authentic face to face conversation where people can make sense of and appreciate their personal and collective experience. This would be a space to tell our stories, how we grew up and learned about love, success, right and wrong, a safe place to share the pivotal moments in our lives both achievements and setbacks, and where we can safely reveal what we fear and dream about. [Editor’s Note: The Feather Circle, a project of Rumorz Cafe held each Saturday at St. Francis Church, is meant to serve this purpose.] This is real conversation allowing us to feel known and cared for. In this way we can recognize the common thread that runs through all of our lives making room for trust by diminishing our fear of one another. Later we can create extended families where members share joys, concerns, meals and much less isolation. If done well this can become a model for our communities

As we take the necessary political steps to recover and remake our country, let us in the same breath speak to our capacities for love, compassion, generosity, kindness and other durable human goods. We need a politics of meaning that speaks simultaneously to both mind and heart and that regenerates our faith in country and in each other.

Rich Cohen is with the Building Community Forum of Occupy Portland and can be reached at arpdirector1@comcast.net

A Bevy of Dirty Birds, No Stones

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by Robin Ryan

"Obslication."

It’s the quirky bird that braids the words and that particular weave consists of the following trio. My observations oblige me to the Occupation. The history of the meshing is the tale I think I’m to tell and for that, we must return to the drama zone of the ACORN scandal, during my own dawning days as a blogger. As a newbie on a big political internet message board, I became something more than a spectator in the debate between the New York Times and prominent Los Angeles progressive journalist, Brad Friedman of the BradBlog. Brad called the longstanding media giant out for its failure to verify what was and wasn’t factual in a video’s content. The NYT would concede such a year later, but the damage was done and the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now got defunded and ultimately closed its doors. I’ve recalled this a lot lately because it brings us to the second strand of my braid.

The Occupier asked recently for an article about the 10th anniversary issue of the Press Freedom Index. The annual issued by Reporters Without Borders assesses, compares and rates countries against one another for media accuracy and availability of alternate sources. The United States started in the top 20 at #17 that first year, but declines both sharp and steady during those long dark years of the Bush regime, dropping to #53 by 2006. We’ve since climbed back up the ranks near to our original position—until now. The freedom of the US press fell 27 places, sitting now at #47 and if that doesn’t sting enough, know that pain impacted for asking what I did—what about those cradles of democracy our government has us nurturing? Iraq is #152, Afghanistan #150…of 179 countries, double worse ouchy, eh?

I take in all that information and lay it against the back drop of that earlier experience, as the writer in me knows the two tales are entwined, but I want a local block of locks, as a tethering lace. Jobs with Justice took its second bus tour of the city’s most despicable bosses as part of its Portland Rising campaign advocating for workers of all kinds. The campaign launched last April in the Pioneer Courthouse Square declared an economic state of emergency for the massive message that was N17 by marching across the Steel bridge. Last week, a repeat performance of the bus tour from the summer outing of June 30th, and you can bet what’s left of your bippy, I had a ticket to ride on both occasions. This isn’t garden variety touring, but specific in its objective: to call collectively on management of businesses deemed to dodge process in negotiating terms and conditions with their employees. We dropped in on City Hall for parks maintenance workers, delivered a message for carriers at the post office and finished the day at the one place that required a second call, at Dosha Salon. More than half a dozen stops in a busy day extended by Puddletown’s finest who detained two busloads of people for more than half an hour in downtown peak traffic. While heading home I felt certain there’d be news coverage of some kind of the day’s activities.

A week out and waiting still.  As someone with ancient and limited training in the journalist’s realm, it’s pain to reconcile the awareness of principles that are said to apply to the profession with the posers who push propaganda for profit, rather than abide by the charter of public service that’s supposed to be the centerpiece of the calling.

Occupy Bohemian Grove

by Ryan Bartek

Hello Occupy Portland. Many of you may know me, as I’ve been involved since Day One. During the October encampment, I relentlessly distributed flyers for an event dubbed OCCUPY BOHEMIAN GROVE which is set take place this July in Monte Rio, California.

Why July? Because that’s when The Bohemian Club has their encampment. At the moment, Monte Rio is a tiny community of 3,000 people in the redwoods of Northern California – it’s a ghost town right now. But in July, a huge portion of the most powerful men in the world – or shall I say the 1% — will all converge for a two week encampment.

Bohemian Grove is a 2700 acre campground that plays host to what I can only describe as a Burning Man Festival for the Global Elite. The centerpiece is an extremely creepy ritual called the Cremation of Care Ceremony. It’s been infiltrated & filmed on three occasions — twice by the BBC, and once by Alex Jones of InfoWars.com.

The Occupation Movement began as a war cry against the criminal nature of big business. While many directed their anger at the banksters, Wall Street & a thoroughly corrupt Congress, there were many involved such as myself who saw a much different picture.

These “1% Targets” are obviously worthy of the disgust they’ve accumulated – but the reality is they are the worst symptoms of the problem. They are not the problem in and of itself. From “Point A” the general protesting masses saw the obvious you’d expect them to see – at “Point D” (where we now exist) the depths of the conspiratorial abhorrence we’re entrapped by as USA citizens is being revealed at manic pace.

As the masses congregated & the education spiraled, the focus went from Wall Street & the bankers to the inherent fascism of our own society. The focus soon shifted to the Federal Government – and now all eyes are beginning to set themselves on the hidden hands really running the show. People are starting to catch on to “The Real 1%.”

Unlike most of my comrades in Radical Caucuses abroad, I haven’t been detoured by what I feel is the misguided targeting of “anarcho newbies.” I think fresh blood is essential, even if The Occupy Movement was originally a zeitgeist conflagration of folks who probably semi believed in the Democratic Party/Obama or that their votes or lives meant anything to the brokers of power.

To those grumbling anarcho-elitists I say “get over it.” Radicalism was “their thing” & now it’s “trendy.” Well you can sit in your Red & Black cafes & squat houses & forever preach to the same choir. Doesn’t affect anything.

Give me the 19 year old college girl that’s never been tear gassed or slept on the street, that hand-billed block by block for Barack not knowing any better, who never even heard the name Bradley Manning until she walked into an encampment by chance.

Why? Because the general masses are the game-changer. And the way that we win this struggle is not battling over a paltry stretch of park with riot cops but making sure everyone in America knows what BOEHMIAN GROVE is.

If everyone in the USA knew what I’m about to tell you, then it would be game over for the 1% overnight. It’s the dirtiest, most freakish skeleton in their closet. And whether or not it’s some bizarre, sophomoric party or our leaders actually are some satanic cult performing mock human sacrifices, it’s extremely f**king creepy.

So what is Bohemian Grove & who are the Bohemian Club members? Well I’ll roll off a some names for starters – every Republican President since 1888. Reagan, Nixon, both the Bushes. Monsters like McCain, Rumsfeld & Cheney — even Democrats like Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter. Beyond them, fellow Grovers include Newt Gingrich, Warren Buffet, Colin Powell, Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, John Boehner, Alan Greenspan, Karl Rove, Norman Schwarzkopf, Arnold Schwarzenegger & the entire Rockefeller clan. That’s just the tip of the iceburg.

So what do they do? Well, trying to explain this to any sane person is a real feat because it sounds completely ludicrous. As a former political journalist, street crazies & conspiracy types would rant about this to me, and I would always brush it off. But then I looked deeper in, and my life has never been the same. Quite frankly, now I feel like Roddy Piper in They Live….

So here’s the deal. Every year our leaders have a secret meeting at an 1800 acre campground in Northern California called Bohemian Grove. It’s a complex with 118 encampments that vaguely resembles an Ewok Village. On the first Saturday of their 2 week, drug-laced, black magic, male prostitute orgy — our leadership meets at a man-made lake in the middle of Bohemian Grove where a giant statue of a 40 foot stone owl rests at the lake’s shoreline.

The ritual dubbed “Cremation of Care” begins & our leaders wear red druid robes with hoods (just like KKK outfits) carry torches, chant a creepy sermon, and then burn what many eye-witnesses claim is an effigy – or dummy – of a human child inside a coffin (beneath this gigantic 40 foot stone owl). After the human child is set on fire, pyrotechnics explode everywhere in a huge spectacle as the NWO/Illuminati people watch & approve of with thundering applause.

This owl, some claim, represents Moloch — the ancient Babylonian God of war & human sacrifice (although the Grovers claim this is just their mascot & symbolizes knowledge). The ceremony is reportedly served as a catharsis for pent-up high spirits, and “to present symbolically the salvation of the trees by the club…” and “an exorcising of the Demon to ensure the success of the ensuing two weeks.”

Again, I know what this sounds like. And to top it all off, this is the one place where the supposedly Christian, conservative power brokers get to have homosexual orgies. Eyewitnesses claim that most the men are running around naked for two weeks, with male prostitutes shipped in from all over the world & paid off to remain silent. In the Watergate tapes, Richard Nixon was caught describing Bohemain Grove as “the most faggy goddamn thing you could ever imagine,”

The 118 camps where our leaders are sectioned off into quadrants… Owls Nest (U.S. Presidents/Military/Defense Contractors); Cave Man (Think Tanks/Oil Companies/Banking/Defense Contractors/Universities/Media); Lost Angels (Banking/Defense Contractors/Media); Hill Billies (Big Business/Banking/Politics); Mandalay (Big Business/Defense Contractors/U.S. Presidents); Stowaway (Rockefeller Family Members/Oil Companies/); Uplifters (Corporate Executives/Big Business);
Hideaway (Military/Defense Contractors); Isle of Aves (Military/Defense Contractors);
Silverado squatters (Big Business/Defense Contractors); Sempervirens (California-based Corporations); Hillside (Military—Joint Chiefs of Staff); Idlewild (California Corps).

CREMATION OF CARE ritual: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHeP4OGZO0g

CCUPY BOHEMIAN GROVE JULY 2012 MONTE RIO (CA) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Bohemian-Grove/296474810366195

OCCUPY BG TWITTER —http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyBHgrove

BOHEMIAN GROVE Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemian_grove

BG FAQ: http://www.scribd.com/doc/58711902/Bohemian-Grove-Fact-Sheet

Infiltration Article: http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.com/bohos/inside-spymag.html

CONFIRMED list of BOHEMIAN GROVE MEMBERS
http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewcommentary.php?storyid=126

— YOUTUBE VIDEOS —

ANONYMOUS vs. BG 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3_nQdjKVYU

Occupy BG Video (Not Our Promo): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXvtDktlZes

Historical Photos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXswwZY8AIg

Mark Rice, preeminent journalist on the subject
Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCLQMqsu-qk
Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8-AdsAg7tE&feature=related

ABC News Report (1981): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCDs9Vs2iYM
“Invisible Empire” Report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sejg2d4RpZE

Harvard Community Protests Library Cut

This article is from the Occupied Media news wire. It was originally published over at the Boston Occupier.

by Julie Walsh

On the evening of Thursday, February 16, a circle of about forty picketers marched outside Harvard University’s Lamont Library, chanting and waving signs in an intermittent drizzle. The group had gathered to protest the university’s secretive, top-down handling of the restructuring of Harvard’s libraries, including plans to cut a substantial number of its 930 full-time employees.

Rank-and-file members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers were joined in the picket line by students, faculty, alumni, and participants in Occupy Boston. Occupy Harvard, in the midst of a five-day occupation of the Lamont Library, had helped to organize the event and distributed informational flyers to those passing by. Two union members took turns on a loud speaker, rallying the crowd.

Non-unionized employees, including librarians, were largely absent. With their jobs already on the line, they were forced to rely on less vulnerable individuals to make their case.

The picket was catalyzed by the events of the preceding week. On February 10, Harvard Library unveiled its plans for a new organizational structure aimed at eliminating redundancy across the university’s 73 libraries. Many staff members had looked forward to the changes. Anna Aizman, a graduate student in Comparative Literature who works part-time as an assistant librarian, explained that her full-time colleagues were initially “excited that uncatalogued collections would finally be organized and recorded. These are people passionate about knowledge.”

However, on February 13, the university foisted a surprise on its work force. A letter from the Vice President of Human Resources proffered voluntary early retirement to 275 members of the library staff. The buy-out package followed two previous rounds of layoffs, in 2004 and 2008-9. It was also out of synch with librarians’ shared impression that their facilities are currently understaffed.

“You say layoffs, we say back off! You say cut backs, we say fight back!” picketers chanted as they circled. “Harvard HAS the money,” read one protester’s hand-lettered sign. Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung, who is also a student at the Kennedy School of Government, spoke to the crowd. He urged protecting Harvard’s libraries and told protesters that“the city of Cambridge stands with you.”

“Historically, Harvard has needed a push to give fair conditions to its workers,” observed Giuliana, a lecturer in the History and Literature program, who asked to be identified just by her first name. She cited the Harvard Living Wage Campaign as an example. The campaign ran from 1998 to 2001 and culminated in a three-week sit-in at the president’s office, which at last succeeded in catalyzing the renegotiation of contracts for dining hall workers.

Giuliana read aloud to the picketers from a letter written anonymously by a Harvard librarian to the administration. “We feel terrified and threatened with losing our jobs,” the letter read. “This is a devastating time for library staff. Please don’t send us any more upbeat, jargon-filled emails.”

Rossen Djagalov, a lecturer and member of the Student Labor Action Movement, explained the urgency of the day’s protest. “We need to make an intervention now, when nothing has been decided yet” and before layoffs are finalized, he said. “We are trying to act preemptively.” Genevieve, a union member and Harvard employee, explained that the picket was one of many actions organized without encouragement from union leadership. “But the Occupy movement has raised consciousness and brought some support,” she said.

As the picket began to break up around 6:30 p.m. protesters tucked their signs under their arms and stood conversing in small groups. The tone was subdued but determined: everyone seemed to recognize that the day’s rally was one step in what would likely be a long struggle on behalf of Harvard’s library workers.

Capitalism, Censorship, Textbooks and The Conservative Right

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by Lana Buchanan

The idea that our textbooks are censored by omitting some facts and outright changing others to suit the beliefs and ideals of state board of education members is something most people don’t think about when they send their students to class. Like me they naively believe that our textbooks accurately reflect the subjects they set out to teach. This is not true in many cases, however for the purpose of this essay we will focus on the State of Texas and the recent changes it has made to our History and Sociology books, why I believe it was done, and how it will influence textbooks across the country.

In sociology, the State of Texas Board of Education voted this year to strike a reference to sex and gender as social constructs, as discussion of sex and gender would be very inappropriate in a high school setting, removed the terms capitalism and free market because the right wing members of the Board felt they are negative terms, choosing the term free enterprise instead (Texas Feedom Network). They also struck the word democratic from the description of the US Government, terming it a “Constitutional Republic.” They also no longer require that students examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America or that the US Constitution prevents the government from promoting one religion over another (Texas Feedom Network). It should be noted that nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence is Jesus Christ or Christianity mentioned.

In 1983, any mention of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was deleted from History textbooks in Texas because school board members and community members viewed Roosevelt’s administration as socialistic and disagreed with his economic decisions (Lehigh University 2009). In March of 2011, the State of Texas Board of Education removed Thomas Jefferson from the section in history books reserved for the Enlightenment Era, the 18th century period of philosophic thought whose tenants included reason, skepticism, revolution and who inspired political change, replacing him instead with the likes of Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Sir William Blackstone, respectively, a Roman Catholic Priest, a Protestant theologian, and an English Jurist, who wrote that the doctrines of common law are based on God’s Word (Texas Freedom Works)? If you see a prevailing theme here you are not alone. Several of our Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christians, and this I believe is what is driving the wave of censorship that is flooding our textbooks.

According to Wikipedia, “Deism is religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without the need for either faith or organized religion.” Thomas Jefferson strongly believed this and it is well documented that he spoke openly on this to anyone who would listen. Many French and American Revolutionists followed Deism, John Quincy Adams, Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Payne, and George Washington all were Deists. John Quincy Adams took the “Oath of Office” on a “book of laws” instead of the “traditional bible”, in order to preserve the separation of church and state. This goes against the religious right of this country, who believe God and Christianity are written into our government and try to rule with a religious hand, censoring anything that goes against their beliefs and ideals. It should be noted that nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence is Jesus Christ or Christianity mentioned. As the State School Boards gain political power and change history and what we are taught in schools we are in danger of losing the truth about who we are and what our rights are as a nation. For if the school system that buys the most books can decide who is and isn’t, what is and isn’t, and what we should or shouldn’t know about each, what are we really learning?

What we are learning is the true meaning of “Capitialism.” Book publishers will bend over backwards to accommodate the requests of the State Education Boards in both California and Texas. While California is the largest buyer of textbooks, due to its economic situation, they have chosen not to purchase new textbooks until 2014, leaving the door open for Texas, the 2nd largest buyer, to make changes in text and demands on publishers, without the liberal balance that California brings to the table in normal conditions, in textbooks across the country for years to come. Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on Texas’ list to make a profit at the detriment to students and free press (Mariah Blake).

Parents and students need to take responsibility for what we are taught. No longer should we take for granted what we read and are taught in school as absolute, we never should have. We should utilize all the material available to us to do our own research whenever we question what we have read or been taught. If we do not stop the censorship in our textbooks eventually history will be re-written and the true values and ideas that made us the America that wrote the Constitution and The Declaration of Independence will be lost for future generations.

Works Cited

Lehigh University, Web Page, 2009
Texas Freedom Works, Live Blog, March, 11, 2011
Wikipedia>/em> Article, “Deism”
Mariah Blake, Washington Monthly, Jan/Feb 2010