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Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people's student loan debt - Sep. 17, 2014
After forgiving millions of dollars in medical debt, Occupy Wall Street is tackling a new beast: student loans.
Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group's Strike Debt initiative announced Wednesday it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it.
In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt.
This debt Occupy bought belonged to 2,700 people who had taken out private student loans to attend Everest College, which is run by Corinthian Colleges.
Occupy_Wall_Street  forgiveness  student  debt 
september 2017 by Quercki
Algorithms Aren’t Biased, But the People Who Write Them May Be - WSJ
Oct. 14, 2016

A provocative new book called “Weapons of Math Destruction” has inspired some charged headlines. “Math Is Racist,” one asserts. “ Math Is Biased Against Women and the Poor,” declares another.

But author Cathy O’Neil’s message is more subtle: Math isn’t biased. People are biased.

Dr. O’Neil, who received her Ph.D in mathematics from Harvard, is a former Wall Street quant who quit after the housing crash, joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and now publishes the mathbabe blog.
algorithms  mathematics  biases  books  Cathy_O’Neil  Wall_Street  PhDs  quants  Occupy_Wall_Street  Harvard  value_judgements 
october 2016 by jerryking
Murray Bookchin’s New Life | Jacobin
"Murray Bookchin spent fifty years articulating a new emancipatory project, one that would place ecology and the creative human subject at the center of a new vision of socialism.

Here is a thinker, who in the early sixties, declared climate change as one of the defining problems of the age. Bookchin saw the environmental crisis as capitalism’s gravedigger.

But he also insisted we must be continually alert to the postcapitalist potentialities that may surface within capitalism. “Liberatory technologies” from renewables to developments in 'minituration' and automation combined with broader forms of social and political reorganization, could open up unprecedented possibilities for self-management and sustainable abundance."

"confederated participatory democracies"

thirty years ago: "argued we must acknowledge how much social history and natural history have become profoundly intertwined"

but, "the widespread tendency to blame a generic 'anthros' for an environmental crisis generated by capitalism was completely misleading"

"creative stewards"

"popular assembly"

"desire to avoid class reductionism"
"desire to avoid vulgar workerism ... labor disappears from his social ecology"

"Critical questions remain regarding how much a neighborhood-assembly-focused strategy alone can accomplish and how such forms are going to relate to other sites and tiers of political activity."

"Peer-to-peer production, open-source software, digital fabrication, proposals for platform co-operatives, circular economies, industrial ecologies and so on, could all contribute to a vision of an alternative sustainable techno-culture of the future. However, many of these very same technologies that are heralded to increase autonomy and self-organizing possibilities at one spatial scale, may well be dependent on centralized infrastructures, research institutions, forms of expertise, and a complex division of labor at other spatial scales."

"The broader liberatory scales of our future urbanscapes and ruralscapes are going to be messy, complicated, and poorly captured by the 'decentralization = good,' 'centralization = bad' binary."

"one of the first radical voices to insist that the Left must mobilize around climate change"

Institute for Social Ecology

“The Problems of Chemicals in Food" (1952)
Our Synthetic Environment (1962)
Crisis in Our Cities (1965)
“Ecology and Revolutionary Thought” (1964)
“Towards a Liberatory Technology” (1965)

2015 biography: Ecology Or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin, Janet Biehl
murray_bookchin  anarchism  socialism  ecology  politics  occupy_wall_street 
july 2016 by rorys
John Oliver buys and forgives $15m worth of medical debt | World news | The Guardian
“Thanks to this 5 June airing of the HBO comedy series, Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver, there are a lot more of us now privy to this collection industry practice and the debt treadmill it creates,” said Craig Antico, co-founder of RIP Medical Debt. “In a painfully hilarious (debt as funny? Somehow, yes) piece, John Oliver triumphantly out-Oprah’s Oprah in giving away valuable gifts.”

As Antico points out this type of debt-buying for charity was pioneered by Rolling Jubilee, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In 2013, Rolling Jubilee spent $400,000 to purchase $14,734,569.87 worth of personal debt – about $13.5m of it was medical debt – before abolishing it.

Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans' personal debt
Read more
“No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” Laura Hanna, an organizer with the group, said at the time.

A year later, in September 2014, Rolling Jubilee announced that it had bought another $3.8m worth of student debt belonging to more than 2,700 Everest College students. The debt had cost the activists about $100,000.

“The Rolling Jubilee doesn’t actually solve the problem. The Rolling Jubilee is a tactic and a valuable one because it exposes how debt operates,” Thomas Gokey, one of the organizers, said. “It punches a hole through the morality of debt, through this idea that you owe X amount of dollars that the 1% says you owe. In reality, that debt is worth significantly less. The 1% is selling it to each other at bargain-based prices. You don’t actually owe that.”
Occupy_Wall_Street  debt  John_Oliver  solutions 
june 2016 by Quercki
Who’s Afraid of Occupy? The John Oliver Show Erases Debt Resistance
We canceled this debt (without any compensation) to get people to think critically about indebtedness: if creditors often value debts at a fraction of the amount they tell debtors they owe and if many of these debts were taken out to fund basic needs, are people really morally obligated repay them?

Wilson told us Last Week Tonight was interested in reproducing our feat. Because LWT has previously done a good job of highlighting the outrageousness and injustice of various issues, we were under the impression they were interested in highlighting the mechanisms of oppression used by the creditor class as well as our ongoing organizing work to challenge these unjust arrangements. We spent hours on the phone and email with them explaining how we did our work and connecting them to other experts and resources.

At the last minute Wilson told us LWT did not want to associate themselves with the work of the Rolling Jubilee due to its roots in Occupy Wall Street. Instead John Oliver framed the debt buy as his idea: a giveaway to compete with Oprah. The lead researcher who worked on this segment invoked the cover of journalism to justify distancing themselves from our project.
Occupy_Wall_Street  John_Oliver  debt  activism 
june 2016 by Quercki
We pay a high economic price for a society of exclusion - The Globe and Mail
Apr. 08, 2016 |The Globe and Mail | TODD HIRSCH.

If citizens are excluded from meaningful involvement in their economic systems, policy solutions (e.g. A tax cut here, an infrastructure program there) none of it matters.....Donald Trump has tapped into a vein of discontent that isn’t going away, whether he wins the White House or not. Those disenfranchised from mainstream politics are connecting with Mr. Trump’s childish messages.....The common thread in protest movements like Occupy Wall Street and Idle No More is that people who are excluded from the mainstream economic and political systems that run a country are disconnected and their disconnection erodes the social and political stability-- the basic building blocks on which successful economies are built. ... If people lose faith in governments, if they become so hopeless about finding a way to achieve and succeed in the system, the system itself will start to collapse.

And following that will be an outflow of capital investment, entrepreneurial energy and intellectual might. Money, businesses and educated people – if they start pouring out, the economy doesn’t stand a chance.
aboriginals  capital_flows  civil_disobedience  covenants  disenfranchisement  disadvantages  Donald_Trump  economists  exclusion  policy  social_fabric  Idle_No_More  marginalization  social_cohesion  social_collaboration  patriotism  instability  Occupy_Wall_Street  talent_flows  hopelessness  protest_movements  social_integration  Todd_Hirsch 
april 2016 by jerryking
Elizabeth Warren Challenges Clinton, Sanders to Prosecute Corporate Crime Better Than Obama
Both Clinton and Sanders have called for stiffer penalties and more aggressive Justice Department enforcement on financial crimes. The Warren report suggests how far we have to go, and how intensely she will be watching developments as they unfold.

The report is the first in a promised annual series from Sen. Warren, where she will highlight the most egregious cases of unprosecuted corporate crime from the previous year.

In virtually all the cases she cites — from Standard & Poor’s delivering inflated credit ratings to defraud investors during the financial crisis, to Novartis giving kickbacks to pharmacists to steer customers to their products, to an explosion at a Bayer CropScience pesticide plant that killed two employees — the Department of Justice declined to prosecute individual executives or the corporations themselves, resorting to settlements with minuscule fines that barely disrupt the corporations’ business models.
Elizabeth_Warren  finance  Occupy_Wall_Street  1%  Citizens_United 
january 2016 by Quercki
The Nobel Peace Prize 2015 - Press Release
The Arab Spring originated in Tunisia in 2010-2011, but quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for respect for basic human rights.

An essential factor for the culmination of the revolution in Tunisia in peaceful, democratic elections last autumn was the effort made by the Quartet to support the work of the constituent assembly and to secure approval of the constitutional process among the Tunisian population at large. The Quartet paved the way for a peaceful dialogue between the citizens, the political parties and the authorities and helped to find consensus-based solutions to a wide range of challenges across political and religious divides. The broad-based national dialogue that the Quartet succeeded in establishing countered the spread of violence in Tunisia and its function is therefore comparable to that of the peace congresses to which Alfred Nobel refers in his will.

The course that events have taken in Tunisia since the fall of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in January 2011 is unique and remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, it shows that Islamist and secular political movements can work together to achieve significant results in the country's best interests. The example of Tunisia thus underscores the value of dialogue and a sense of national belonging in a region marked by conflict. Secondly, the transition in Tunisia shows that civil society institutions and organizations can play a crucial role in a country’s democratization, and that such a process, even under difficult circumstances, can lead to free elections and the peaceful transfer of power. The National Dialogue Quartet must be given much of the credit for this achievement and for ensuring that the benefits of the Jasmine Revolution have not been lost.
Tunisia  Arab_Spring  Nobel  peace  Occupy_Wall_Street 
october 2015 by Quercki
Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free | The Guardian
The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Mississippi "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Mississippi, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Occupy_Wall_Street  Homeland_Security  FBI 
september 2015 by Quercki
Naomi Wolf: The crackdown on Occupy controversy: a rebuttal | World news | The Guardian
I cited evidence that DHS was on the 18-member conference call of mayors, which Oakland Mayor Jean Quan alluded to in an interview with the BBC on 15 November, and my source was Wonkette on 15 November. Holland argues that his assertion to contrary has been qualified, and I am happy to adjust the citation accordingly.

But Holland is seriously mistaken in reaching his premature conclusion that there is no evidence of DHS or federal participation in the crackdown, and for attacking me for having asserted the connection: "Mayors in a handful of cities," he concludes, "responding to local political pressures, decided to break up their local occupations – decisions that were announced to the press well in advance – and were advised as to how best to do so."

He is wrong on many counts. My evidence for federal coordination with local police exceeds the Wonkette citation, which was not, in fact, the basis of my confidence in writing about this coordination in the crackdown. I relied, rather, on many other sources of evidence. Among them, I was relying on what NYPD told me itself. I am certain that NYPD coordinates with federal authorities in OWS-related arrests because an NYPD official informed me that they did so through the bars of my cell, as part of his formal warning to me before my release, apparently to deter me from activities that might result in my rearrest.
Occupy_Wall_Street  Occupy_Oakland  Homeland_Security  Fascism 
september 2015 by Quercki
The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free | The Guardian
I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create fake derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.
Occupy_Wall_Street  Homeland_Security  Citizens_United  Fascism 
september 2015 by Quercki

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