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Sun Dec 19 12:56:28 MST 2010

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Subject: Digest for sid-l at googlegroups.com - 5 Messages in 5 Topics
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  Today's Topic Summary

Group: http://groups.google.com/group/sid-l/topics

   - Promoting Jewish Victimhood as Guise for Victimizing
Palestinians<#12cfda61c71f153c_group_thread_0>[1 Update]
   - Why aren't Jews outraged by Israeli
occupation?<#12cfda61c71f153c_group_thread_1>[1 Update]
   - The death of universities <#12cfda61c71f153c_group_thread_2> [1 Update]
   - Student Protests and the Emerging Discontent of
Youth<#12cfda61c71f153c_group_thread_3>[1 Update]
   - The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux -- Robert
Reich<#12cfda61c71f153c_group_thread_4>[1 Update]

  Topic: Promoting Jewish Victimhood as Guise for Victimizing

   Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> Dec 18 01:21PM -0800


   December 17th, 2010
   * Promoting Jewish Victimhood as Guise for Victimizing Palestinians *

   by Yves Engler

   Last week the House of Commons unanimously passed a private member’s bill
   establish a national Holocaust monument. While it is a good thing to
   commemorate the suffering of Jews in Europe, it is important to point out
   that uncritical support for Israel is part of the backdrop.

   Edmonton Conservative MP, Tim Uppal, who introduced the private member’s
   bill, explained last year: “After I had decided on [accepting Minister
   Kent’s proposal to put forward An Act to Establish a National Holocaust
   Monument], I ended up going to Israel with the Canada Israel Committee in
   July. Being there, and learning what I did about the Holocaust and
   just made me feel more reassured that this was the right thing to do and
   this bill passed.”

   Speaking in favour of the bill last week, Winnipeg NDP MP Jim Maloway
   connected the planned monument to Israel. “I had the privilege and
   of traveling to Israel. … It was a very inspiring visit … I was amazed to
   see the progress made by Israel in turning deserts into productive lands
   cultivating crops in the middle of the desert.”

   Alongside its ardent support for Israel, Stephen Harper’s Conservative
   government has promoted the commemoration of Nazi crimes and the idea
   anti-Semitism is worse than other forms of oppression. Concurrently,
   repeatedly conflated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

   During a July 2007 meeting of the Organization for Security and
   in Europe (OSCE) Canada supported the appointment of a representative to
   chair to report on anti-Semitism. Despite calls for a change in OSCE
   Ottawa supported recognizing prejudice against Jews as a unique
   not one among many forms of bigotry. The OSCE meeting condemned all forms
   racism, discrimination and “aggressive nationalism” but added:
   its unique and historic character, [we] condemn anti-Semitism without
   reservation, whether expressed in a traditional manner or through new
   and manifestations.”

   In mid-2009 the Conservatives created a National Task Force on Holocaust
   Research, Remembrance and Education. Headed by the fanatically pro-Israel
   group, B’nai Brith, the Conservatives invested $1 million in the project.

   This Task Force was tied to a similar European initiative. In 2007 Ottawa
   applied to join the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust
   Education, Remembrance and Research, an organization that included 24
   European nations and the U.S.. Created in 1998 the group promotes
   of the genocide against European Jewry and “the unprecedented character
   the Holocaust.”

   An outgrowth of the Holocaust Task Force, the first ever
   Coalition to Combat anti-Semitism meeting was held in London in February
   2009. A number of conference participants expressed opposition to the
   growing boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and Canada’s
   representative, Minister Jason Kenney, said “The argument is with those
   whose premise is that Israel itself is an abomination and that the Jews
   alone have no right to a homeland. And in that sense anti-Zionism is

   Last month Ottawa hosted and funded the second meeting of the
   Interparliamentary Coalition to Combat anti-Semitism. Prime Minister
   told those gathered that “as long as I am prime minister, whether it is
   the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand
   support of Israel], whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right
   thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the
   anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the
   existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.”

   He went on to say that this “hateful ideology with global ambitions …
   targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as
   source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the
   language of human rights to do so.”

   Associated with the Interparliamentary Coalition to Combat anti-Semitism
   Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) was
   last year to investigate what it describes as “this oldest and most
   of hatreds.” Yet Canada has changed significantly since Jews fleeing
   were refused entry and elite social clubs restricted their access. There
   little anti-Semitism in Canada today, which even CPCCA architect, Irwin
   Cotler, has acknowledged.

   The CPCCA is not designed to combat racism against Jews, but rather to
   undercut growing public support for the Palestinian cause. Cotler and
   Kenney are trying to intimidate reporters, academics, union leaders and
   other public figures into staying away from criticizing Israel, lest they
   accused of anti-Semitism.

   In “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish
   Suffering”, Norman Finkelstein argues that the American Jewish
   has exploited the memory of the Nazi Holocaust for financial and
   gain and to further the interests of Israel. Finkelstein claims that
   discussion of the Nazi Holocaust grew exponentially after the June 1967
   Day war. Prior to that war, which provided a decisive service to U.S.
   geopolitical aims in the Middle East, the genocide of European Jewry was
   topic largely relegated to private forums and among left wing
   Paralleling the U.S., the Nazi Holocaust was not widely discussed in
   in the two decades after World War II. In fact, the Canadian Jewish
   consciously avoided the subject.

   Numerous other commentators also trace the established Jewish community’s
   interest in Nazi crimes to the Six Day War. “The 1967 war,” explained
   Professor Cyril Leavitt, “alarmed Canadian Jews. Increasingly, the
   was invoked as a reminder of the need to support the Jewish state.”
   President of the Vancouver Jewish Community Center, Sam Rothstein,
   concurred. “The 1967 war … was the one development that led to a
   by community organizations to become more involved in Holocaust
   commemoration. … Stephen Cummings, the founder of the Montreal Holocaust
   Memorial Center, said that ‘consciousness [of the Holocaust] has changed.
   Jews are much more proud, and that’s a post-1967 [phenomenon]. It was the
   event that gave Jews around the world confidence.’”

   Holocaust memorials proliferated after Israel smashed Egyptian-led
   pan-Arabism in six days of fighting. Nearly three decades after World War
   II, in 1972, the Canadian Jewish Congress and its local federations began
   establish standing committees on the Nazi Holocaust. The first Canadian
   Holocaust memorial was established in Montreal in 1977.

   Nazi crimes, particularly Canada’s various ties to these atrocities,
   be widely studied and commemorated.

   The Nazi Holocaust, however, should not be used as ideological cover for
   Israeli crimes. That is an injustice to Palestinians and an insult to
   Hitler’s victims.

   Yves Engler is the author of *Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid* and
   Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy*. For more information visit
   yvesengler.com. Read other articles by

  Topic: Why aren't Jews outraged by Israeli

   Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> Dec 18 01:16PM -0800


   *17.06.09 *
   Why aren't Jews outraged by Israeli occupation?*

   By Antony Loewenstein

   During this year's AIPAC conference in Washington, Executive Director
   Kohr warned the 7,000-plus crowd that the global movement to
   Israel" was gathering steam.

   "These voices are laying the predicate for an abandonment," he said.

   His sentiments were almost apocalyptic: "The stakes in that battle are
   nothing less than the survival of Israel, linked inexorably to the
   relationship between Israel and the United States. In this battle we are
   firewall, the last rampart."

   The age of Barack Obama has unleashed a global wave of Jewish unease over
   Israel's future and the Diaspora's relationship to the self-described
   state. It's a debate that is long overdue.

   Zionist organizations in Australia campaigned loudly in May against the
   allegedly "anti-Semitic" play Seven Jewish Children, a ten-minute
   think-piece written by an English playwright accusing Jews of complicity
   violence against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

   A Jewish columnist for The New York Times, Roger Cohen, argued in June
   the key word among Palestinians now is "humiliation."

   "It's not good for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the Jewish soul," he

   The Jewish Week editor chastised him for such views - for "the anger,
   and one-sidedness of his argument" - and wondered "whose heart has grown

   An upcoming academic conference at York University in Toronto exploring
   "one-state, bi-national solution" to the conflict was slammed last week
   Gerald M. Steinberg, chair of the Department of Political Science at Bar
   Ilan University, for fueling "the vicious warfare and mass terror"
   Israelis and Palestinians.

   The decades-old ability of Zionist groups to manage the public narrative
   Israeli victimhood is breaking down. Damning critics has therefore become
   key method of control.

   But, writes Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, a leading Jewish-American
   "whereas these smear tactics once inspired fear in many people, now they
   just inspire pity. They no longer work."

   He may be overly optimistic, but alternative Jewish voices are rising who
   are less concerned with being accused of "self-hatred" or treachery. They
   see it as their duty to damn what is wrong and not simply support Israeli
   government policies.

   A thinking, more enlightened Judaism is emerging, a necessity in the face
   apartheid realities. The cause is human rights, not Zionist exclusion.

   Obama's recent speech in Cairo reflected the new Jewish consciousness.
   American Jews were certainly an intended audience because if it this
   that must challenge their conservative spokespeople to undo years of
   following Likudnik thinking. As a candidate in 2008, the then Illinois
   senator said that, "there is a strain within the pro-Israel community
   says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that
   anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel."

   Many Jews in the Diaspora have never imagined anything else; it's been an
   imagined Israel in their minds for decades. Lawless behavior in the
   territories is ignored through willful ignorance. Tellingly, the most
   reliable information about these truths in the West is found online,
   blogs and activist Web sites, and not generally in the mainstream media.
   gate-keepers are clinging on to the Exodus myths for dear life.

   Defining a humane Judaism in the 21st century means condemning the brutal
   military occupation in the West Bank and resisting the ongoing siege of
   Gaza. Jewish-American blogger Phil Weiss, who recently returned from the
   Strip, quoted a young Gazan saying in dismay: "We are being experimented

   The Palestinian narrative is routinely ignored or dismissed in the U.S.
   beyond. This must change quickly for any chance of peace to break out in
   Middle East. However, peace without justice is guaranteed to fail.

   After Obama's speech in Cairo, where which he almost acknowledged the
   Palestinian "Nakba" without mentioning it by name, most major
   Jewish-American groups reacted with caution.

   The Anti-Defamation League said it was "disappointed that the President
   found the need to balance the suffering of the Jewish people in a
   to the suffering of the Palestinian people resulting from Arab wars."

   This was code for "Nakba"-denial, as pernicious as Holocaust revisionism.

   But the liberal J Street lobby, still clinging to the delusion of a
   two-state solution and a "democratic, Jewish homeland," praised Obama's
   "active diplomacy" and claimed that the "overwhelming majority of
   Jews" supported an end to the West Bank colonies.

   Consistent polls suggest they are right, but the devil is in the detail.
   there real will to back the necessary steps, namely the removal of
   of thousands of Jewish settlers in the West Bank? Co-Author of The Israel
   Lobby, Stephen Walt, said recently that he couldn't understand why more
   American Jews didn't realize the cliff Israel was running toward. Did
   not see that repression in the occupied territories had defined Israel in
   the eyes of the world? Perhaps apartheid didn't bother them. Out of sight
   and out of mind. Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech at Bar-Ilan
   suggested he wasn't too fussed, either.

   I recently attended the Salute to Israel parade in New York -- picture
   100,000 American Jews marching to celebrate the state, waving flags in
   praise of the IDF. It was a thoroughly depressing affair.

   Palestinians didn't exist; they were invisible. The world's biggest
   display of pro-Israel feeling had no room for 20 percent of the Israeli
   population (let alone the millions in the West Bank and Gaza.)

   These events are actually a sign of desperate projection, not strength.
   Mainstream Zionism wants to completely shield Jews from the uncomfortable
   facts of the Israeli occupation and Palestinian self-determination. Jews
   were a proud people, a clever people and a victimized people. There was
   time to indulge in frivolous Arab trivialities.

   But facts have an uncomfortable way of seeping back into view. Colonel
   Virob, an IDF brigade commander in the West Bank, recently told an
   court that, "a slap, sometimes a punch to the scruff of the neck or the
   chest, sometimes a knee jab or strangulation to calm somebody [a
   Palestinian] down is reasonable."

   Where is the Jewish outrage over this?

   Antony Loewenstein is a New York-based journalist and author of My Israel

  Topic: The death of

   Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> Dec 18 12:56PM -0800


   The Guardian
   17 December 2010

   *The death of universities

   Academia has become a servant of the status quo. Its malaise runs so much
   deeper than tuition fees*

   Terry Eagleton

   Are the humanities about to disappear from our universities? The question
   absurd. It would be like asking whether alcohol is about to disappear
   pubs, or egoism from Hollywood. Just as there cannot be a pub without
   alcohol, so there cannot be a university without the humanities. If
   philosophy and so on vanish from academic life, what they leave in their
   wake may be a technical training facility or corporate research
   But it will not be a university in the classical sense of the term, and
   would be deceptive to call it one.

   Neither, however, can there be a university in the full sense of the word
   when the humanities exist in isolation from other disciplines. The
   way of devaluing these subjects – short of disposing of them altogether –
   to reduce them to an agreeable bonus. Real men study law and engineering,
   while ideas and values are for sissies. The humanities should constitute
   core of any university worth the name. The study of history and
   accompanied by some acquaintance with art and literature, should be for
   lawyers and engineers as well as for those who study in arts faculties.
   the humanities are not under such dire threat in the United States, it
   among other things, because they are seen as being an integral part of
   higher education as such.

   When they first emerged in their present shape around the turn of the
   century, the so-called humane disciplines had a crucial social role. It
   to foster and protect the kind of values for which a philistine social
   had precious little time. The modern humanities and industrial capitalism
   were more or less twinned at birth. To preserve a set of values and ideas
   under siege, you needed among other things institutions known as
   universities set somewhat apart from everyday social life. This
   meant that humane study could be lamentably ineffectual. But it also
   the humanities to launch a critique of conventional wisdom.

   From time to time, as in the late 1960s and in these last few weeks in
   Britain, that critique would take to the streets, confronting how we
   actually live with how we might live.

   What we have witnessed in our own time is the death of universities as
   centres of critique. Since Margaret Thatcher, the role of academia has
   to service the status quo, not challenge it in the name of justice,
   tradition, imagination, human welfare, the free play of the mind or
   alternative visions of the future. We will not change this simply by
   increasing state funding of the humanities as opposed to slashing it to
   nothing. We will change it by insisting that a critical reflection on
   values and principles should be central to everything that goes on in
   universities, not just to the study of Rembrandt or Rimbaud.

   In the end, the humanities can only be defended by stressing how
   indispensable they are; and this means insisting on their vital role in
   whole business of academic learning, rather than protesting that, like
   poor relation, they don't cost much to be housed.

   How can this be achieved in practice? Financially speaking, it can't be.
   Governments are intent on shrinking the humanities, not expanding them.

   Might not too much investment in teaching Shelley mean falling behind our
   economic competitors? But there is no university without humane inquiry,
   which means that universities and advanced capitalism are fundamentally
   incompatible. And the political implications of that run far deeper than
   question of student fees.

  Topic: Student Protests and the Emerging Discontent of

   Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> Dec 18 12:52PM -0800


   <http://www.socialistproject.ca/> *The B u l l e
   <http://www.socialistproject.ca/> *Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 442
   December 18, 2010* *
   Student Protests and the Emerging Discontent of Youth* Oliver Huitson

   The “iPod generation” have long been written off as apathetic, pampered
   wasters; a collection of illiterate Nathan
   Barleys<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Barley>draining their
   parents resources. Yet, from the storming of Tory HQ to
   campus occupations across the country, it is those same youth now leading
   public resistance to the Coalition's cuts. The tripling of tuition fees
   unquestionably serious, but it represents only a small part of the
   facing Britain's young. An increasing awareness of generational
   inflamed by [Chancellor of the Exchequer] George
   austerity measures, could see student protests snowball into a wider
   movement of youth discontent.

   Generational politics is undoubtedly on the rise. This year has already
   the publication of two books on the subject: David Willett's *The
   Pinch...*and the indispensable
   *Jilted Generation* by Ed Howker and Shiv Malik. Though both texts are
   cautious in directing blame, they set out solid and well sourced
   for a nation that has lost touch with generational obligations. From
   and PFi <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_finance_initiative> to
   pensions and education, the picture that emerges is one of rampant asset
   stripping from both past and future. The primary losers, throughout, are
   young people.

   Students and police clash in the streets of London.
   High Cost of Housing

   Nowhere is the divide between young and old more stark than on the issue
   housing. In over 60% of local authority districts, buying a home is
   those on average salary. Fuelled by the opening up of the buy-to-let
   market and the supply of easy credit, average house prices more than
   between 1997 and 2009 (*Jilted Generation*). In terms of generational
   the proportion of homeowners aged 34 or under has declined from 51% in
   to just 29% in 2010. Young people have been effectively priced out of the
   market. Far from this being a cause of concern, ballooning house prices
   endlessly cheered.

   This leaves the majority of the young renting, predominantly in the
   sector where the under 35s now make up over 50% of tenants (*ibid*). In
   contrast to either home ownership or renting from the social sector,
   tenants not only pay considerably more for their home but also suffer the
   insecurity of the modern tenancy agreement. Once a twelve month contract
   expires, you can be moved on with a mere two months notice. From a
   generational perspective, whose mortgages are these tenants funding?

   In the boom years, buy-to-lets could be secured with as little as an 11%
   deposit. Combined with a favourable tax regime, this was the ideal market
   for the asset rich boomers but disastrous for young people. The extensive
   social housing constructed in the post-war years was largely sold off
   Thatcher's ‘right to buy,’ moving the nation's assets from public to
   hands. The failure to replenish the stock of social housing is another
   significant contributor to the current housing shortage. What was
   was not passed on.
   “Flexible” Labour Market

   The move to a “flexible” labour market has also caused particular
   for young people. The term is a generous euphemism for depressed wages
   low job security, facilitated by the globalised flow of labour and
   industry-friendly employment reforms. Consequently, there is little
   incentive to train staff or offer apprenticeships; these costs are
   offloaded onto employees themselves and the taxpayer in general. The
   of apprenticeships available has duly plummeted. Earlier this year, a BT
   scheme received 24,000 applications for just 221

   In this “so called” recession, job losses among young people have risen
   faster than any other age group leaving nearly a million 16-24 year olds
   currently unemployed (BBC). Swelling the bottom end of a labour market is
   undoubtedly good for both business and the well-off, who benefit from
   cheaper costs and prices, but it is the young and the low-waged who are
   hardest. The generational spread of wealth has grown increasingly
   the baby boom generation now own a full half of the country's property
   assets; the under 45s own less than a

   With the tripling of tuition fees, educational costs are now being
   transferred from state to individual almost in their entirety. Having
   inherited a system which recognised higher education as a public good,
   hence paid for *publicly*, what has been passed on is a system in which
   students will repay nearly £40,000, and many poorer students will be
   dissuaded from going entirely. This ‘Cabinet of millionaires’ are now
   forcing others to pay for what they themselves received for free.

   In contrast, the older generation wield substantial electoral power and
   wooed accordingly. They are pursued with free bus-passes, free TV
   and, most prized of all, a ring-fenced NHS budget – the NHS is
   overwhelmingly used by older people. To ice the cake of discontent, many
   NHS hospitals have been built under thirty year PFi contracts; they will
   largely be paid for by the young, at exorbitant prices. Having run out of
   existing assets to sell off, the extensive programme of PFis represents a
   £200bn credit card with repayments stretching to the middle of the
   Add this to the looming pension crisis and the picture becomes serious
   indeed; the scale of liabilities being passed on is breathtaking.

   The recurring theme is that of a failure of reciprocity. What was enjoyed
   one generation should be protected for the next; this debt to posterity
   in many areas been squandered. Generational friction is not an attractive
   prospect, and nor is it fair to tar a whole generation for these emerging
   imbalances. But regardless, there are issues here that need addressing,
   issues that jar against a basic sense of fairness. With widespread youth
   unemployment, crippling national debt and a tightly contracting state,
   tensions could easily heighten. What began with a march on Millbank could
   soon grow into something far more sweeping. •

   Oliver Huitson is a regular contributor to openDemocracy. This article
   published by New Left Project <http://www.newleftproject.org/>.

   Inside the UCL Occupation Edward Lewis, Maeve Mckeown

   Maeve Mckeown is a Political Theory PhD Student at University College
   and has been a participant in UCLOccupation
   <http://www.ucloccupation.com/>since it began over two weeks ago. She
   gave Edward Lewis an insider's
   account of the UCL occupation, increasingly seen as a vital hub of the
   student movement.

   *Edward Lewis (EL):* Why did you decide to occupy? And how did you go
   doing it?

   *Maeve Mckeown (MM):* On 24 November I gathered with the other students
   UCL who opposed the education cuts, in the quad. I expected to join the
   national demo in Trafalgar Square. Instead, we decided to have a march
   around UCL campus. The first room we marched into was the Jeremy Bentham
   Room. Almost spontaneously we decided to stay there and occupy it. We've
   been here for two weeks!

   The occupation was immediately well-organised. A few occupiers that had
   involved with Climate Camp suggested we start up working groups. We
   groups for media, security, kitchen and demands. The groups got to work
   straight away. We fed back that night at our first General Meeting, which
   lasted an achingly long 4 hours. But the process was set in place and
   operated this way ever since.

   *EL:* How many people have been involved in the occupation so far?

   *MM:* It's hard to say because people can come and go. But there are
   200 that are regularly involved.

   *EL:* How has the university management responded to your demands and to
   occupation generally? How have you managed your interaction with the

   *MM:* We have been in negotiations with management from early in the
   occupation. These are ongoing and I can't really comment on the

   *EL:* What has been the reaction of other students and staff at UCL to
   occupation? Is there broad support? Is there any hostility?

   *MM:* The staff have been very supportive. We've had lectures from the
   English, Geography and Architecture departments. We have a staff petition
   with hundreds of signatures (they haven't been totalled up yet!). We've
   also had UCU reps from UCL here everyday. In terms of other students, we
   had an Emergency General Meeting of the students' union on Monday, where
   was voted by an overwhelming majority that the union should support the
   occupation. Many people were turned away, but anecdotally it seemed like
   they were also supportive. There is due to be a referendum of the
   next week and I am confident we will win.

   *EL:* What do you think led to Aaron Porter's eventual support for the
   occupation? How significant is it that the president of the NUS is
   this kind of activity?

   *MM:* There was quite a lot of pressure put on Aaron Porter. The
   occupations around the country started without NUS support and have been
   leading the way in student politics. He had to catch up with us. We
   NUS support but the occupations would have continued about it. Unless
   Porter comes good on his promise of legal support and to help organise
   protests, the NUS endorsement will have largely symbolic value.

   *EL:* More generally, what impact do you think the occupations have had?

   *MM:* I think the occupations have had a huge impact. There seems to be a
   view of students that they are apathetic consumers, with no knowledge of,
   interest in, politics. These occupations have completely dispelled that
   myth. So in terms of perceptions of young people, I think it represents a
   paradigm shift. In terms of politics, it seems that Browne's proposals
   pass in Parliament. Obviously I hope that won’t happen! But if it does it
   proves that the government is still failing to listen to mass protests,
   the Labour government did with Iraq. But because the public sector cuts
   an ongoing and domestic issue, I think dissent will increase and
   The occupations have inspired people and showed them that when you
   it is possible to make your voice heard.

   *EL:* Tell us more about your internal organising practices, and about
   you are coordinating with other student groups and occupations.

   *MM:* We are organised in working groups that work on a specific issue
   then feedback to the General Meetings. Nothing can happen without
   consensus with the whole group. This can lead to some long meetings! We
   in contact with other occupations and groups via social networking on the
   internet. Also, delegates from occupations across the country have come
   and we have sent delegates out. We are in constant contact with the other

   *EL:* Has carrying out the occupation had an effect on the participants?
   it been in some sense a ‘consciousness raising’ experience?

   *MM:* Yes definitely. I was radical before the occupations and now I'm
   more radicalised! I think for students who have been involved and weren’t
   particularly politicised before, it’s been a life changing experience.
   learnt a lot about consensus politics, negotiating with people in
   of power, and promotion of social movements.

   *EL:* What have you found most surprising or unexpected about the

   *MM:* I've been surprised at how many students have been involved. There
   a feeling that UCL students in particular were quite conservative, but
   has been blown out of the water. I was surprised at how tiring and how
   work it would be! The occupation has been intense. I've basically ditched
   life for two weeks – haven't seen any friends, done any work, or anything
   apart from occupation-related activities!

   *EL:* Since the ‘Green revolution’ in Iran there has been a big debate
   how effective social media are to social movements seeking to
   state authority. How has your occupation used Twitter, Facebook, etc.?
   how effective have they been?

   *MM:* One of the first things we did was set up Twitter and Facebook
   accounts and a blog. We have over 3000 followers on twitter and several
   people within the occupation who retweet and pass on information. Social
   networking is how we've got in touch with other students and groups. We
   tweeted from all the protests and it's been the best way of keeping
   informed about what we're doing.

   *EL:* If the government is successful in the vote to raise tuition fees
   Thursday, this will undoubtedly have a demoralising impact on the student
   movement. How can it respond effectively?

   *MM:* We are mentally prepared for that! I realise it will be
   but I think it's just going to make us more angry. There's already
   discussion happening about what we should do in January and beyond.

   *EL:* Occupations have taken place in an impressive number of
   throughout the country. However, it is only a significant minority that
   taken such action, and we have yet to see any occupations of FE colleges
   schools. What advice would you give to other students who are attracted
   the idea of occupying buildings but aren't sure of how to do it or how
   worthwhile it would be?

   *MM:* More occupations are happening everyday. Occupations have just been
   announced in Glasgow, Birkbeck and Exeter. I would say to people just do
   It's incredibly fun! But it has also been effective, and if we can get
   occupations going all over the country in different sectors, it will
   give the government something to get worried about. •

  Topic: The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux -- Robert

   Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> Dec 18 12:47PM -0800


   17 December 2010

   *The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux*

   By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

   ore than thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan came to Washington intent on
   reducing taxes on the wealthy and shrinking every aspect of government
   except defense.

   The new tax deal embodies the essence of Reaganomics.

   It will not stimulate the economy.

   A disproportionate share of the $858 billion deal will go to people in
   top 1 percent who spend only a fraction of what they earn and save the
   Their savings are sent around the world to wherever they will earn the
   highest return.

   The only practical effect of adding $858 billion to the deficit will be
   put more pressure on Democrats to reduce non-defense spending of all
   including Social Security and Medicare, as well as education and

   It is nothing short of Ronald Reagan's (and David Stockman's) notorious
   "starve the beast" strategy.

   In 2012, an election year, when congressional Democrats have less power
   they do now, the pressure to extend the Bush tax cuts further will be

   Worse yet, the deal adds to the underlying structural problem that caused
   the Great Recession in the first place.

   Since Ronald Reagan was president, median hourly wages have barely
   and America's vast working and middle classes have taken home a steadily
   smaller share of the nation's income (adjusted for inflation). The
   male worker today is earning less than the typical male worker thirty

   Yet the richest 1 percent of Americans is now taking home a larger
   percentage of the nation's income than at any time since 1928. And we
   what happened in 1929.

   Unless the vast majority of Americans has enough purchasing power to keep
   the economy going without going ever more deeply into debt, the economy
   eventually go over a cliff.

   That's what happened in 1929 and 2008.

   By the late 1990s the middle and working classes could keep spending -
   thereby keep the economy moving - only by adding debt. This strategy
   when the housing bubble burst in 2007.

   Without their spending, there can be no buoyant recovery.

   Yes, the pending tax bill will give America's middle and working classes
   slightly more cash next year. But only for one year. They won't spend it.
   They'll use it to help pay down their debts.

   Will lower taxes on the rich spur them to create more jobs? Not a chance.
   Since 1980, Reagan's supply-siders have said lower taxes on the rich will
   trickle down to everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth.

   Look at history.

   During the almost three decade spanning 1951 to 1980, when the top rate
   between 70 and 92 percent, the average annual growth in the American
   was 3.7 percent.

   Between 1983 and the start of the Great Recession, when the top rate
   between 35 percent and 39 percent, average growth was 3 percent.

   Supply siders are also fond of claming that Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cuts
   caused the 1980s economic boom. There is no evidence to support this
   In fact, that boom followed Reagan's 1982 tax increase. The 1990s boom
   likewise was not the result of a tax cut; most of it followed Bill
   1993 tax increase.

   Nor did George W. Bush's tax cuts trickle down. Between 2002 and 2007 the
   median wage actually dropped. And Bush's record of job creation was
   relative to Bill Clinton's, when taxes were higher. Under Clinton,
   added 22 million net new jobs. Under Bush, barely 8 million.

   So why are Democrats voting for Reaganomics?

   They say they have no choice - either vote for this or watch taxes rise
   everyone starting January 1.

   That Democrats have allowed themselves to get into this fix is a
   to either their timidity, obtuseness, or dependence on the campaign
   contributions of those at the top.

   *Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of
   at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most
   as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve
   books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet,"
   "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and
   America's Future<
   His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on
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