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VIDEO: Austerity Is Crap: A Brief History of the #USMfuture Movement

2:01 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr


Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Written and produced by Asher Platts

Since the peak of the Great Society, on the first official Earth Day, captains of industry have engaged in a conspiracy to destroy the gains made for working people over the last century. These plans were laid out in the Powell Memo, which in addition to naming Ralph Nader as the most dangerous man in America, declared that a 30 year plan should be set in motion that seeks to place corporations and the wealthy elite that head them, firmly into positions of power within government, to remove the ability of the people to use government as an independent arbiter of law that would protect them against the abuses of the wealthy elite, and to stem the tide of citizen power that had grown throughout the 50′s and 60′s.

The strategy laid out in this memo is coming to its final fruition now. In feudal times, the nobility were educated in music, science, arts, and affairs of the state, and the peasants were simply there to toil in the fields and provide bounty for the nobility through their labor, and education of the working class outside of their particular field of labor was not valued by the nobility.

Today, we see everything that prevents us from backsliding into some sort of feudalistic society is currently under a very calculated attack under the manufactured crisis of Austerity.

Here in Maine, at my Alma Matter, the University of Southern Maine, the Austerity agenda has long been shoved down the throats of students, faculty, and staff alike. While I was a student from 2001 through 2010, I was a first-hand witness to the same conditions happening now.

To set the scene: USM, like most public universities in the United States, was seeing annual tuition hikes, while simultaneously cutting faculty and staff, fighting back against staff unionization.

Post 9-11, Democrats were obsessed with being the party of “fiscal responsibility” in order to win some sort of imaginary political messaging game against the Republicans, despite the Democrats holding control over all three branches of Government in Maine. Our “fiscally responsible” Democrats oversaw the giving away of tax dollars to business, under the pretext of jobs and growth. This lost revenue, with the addition of accounting errors in the Department of Health and Human Services led to a budget shortfall, which rather than addressing this budget shortfall through minor restructuring of Maine’s basically flat income tax brackets, Democrats instead led the charge to use the University of Maine System fund as their personal piggy-bank, which caused a budget shortfall in the U Maine system, which trickled down to the University of Southern Maine in the form of department consolidation, laid off faculty, and reduced staff.

When the USM Student Senate became concerned about how tuition was steadily rising, while faculty and departments were being cut, we used Student Activity Fee money, which was normally used to for planning 80s night dances and buying pizza, to pay for an independent audit of the University System. That’s when we discovered that while tuition was rising, so were the salaries of Administrators, creeping ever closer to the realm of the 1%. We learned that despite the growing ratio of students to professors in the classroom, there were fewer than four faculty for every one administrator.

We discovered that half of the tuition dollars that we paid to USM went to the “flagship” campus that had nearly half the enrollment numbers that USM had. We learned that members of administration at this flagship campus earned salaries similar to those working for Goldman Sachs, north of 300k a year.

We learned that one of the biggest cost for the university was paying for the healthcare benefits of its faculty and staff- Single Payer Healthcare would eliminate this entire line item from the Universities balance sheet.

We tried to mobilize the students, and only to discover that they did not care. They were here to get a diploma, and get into the workforce, and many assumed that they would be gone in four years, or that since cuts weren’t happening to their particular major, it didn’t affect them.

Cuts moved forwards, without much organized or vocal opposition from students, or faculty.

Post 2011, Occupy Wall Street had happened. Faculty and Students alike were present in Zuccotti Park, and even made trips on the MegaBus between Portland Maine and New York City. Professors from USM collaborated with ows activists in writing the Debt Resistors Handbook, and provided broader contextual illumination to system issues in several working groups.

After Zuccotti had been cleared by police, those connections remained in Occupy USM, which continued on through 2012. A concerted effort was made by student activists to build solidarity between students and faculty, to illustrate shared struggle. The University of Southern Maine was now facing deeper cuts as part of a “restructuring” program set forth by a corporate hatchet-woman, who had previously worked in the private sector doing the same sort of thing as Mitt Romney did at Bain Capital, and had recently taken the helm as President of the University.

For this round of cuts and consolidations, a solidarity between students and faculty had been well established, and grew and flourished under the recognition that we had shared goals in preserving the University of Maine System, not only for their jobs, or for our quality of education, but for the broader benefit of society that a liberal arts education provides, in allowing all working class people to lift themselves up into an intellectual realm that had until only recently in human history been reserved for priests and nobility.

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VIDEO: Maine Begins Process To Amend U.S. Constitution

5:20 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally Posted at AcronymTV

A group called We the People Maine went to the State House on Wednesday to deliver a formal request for the Legislature to apply for a Constitutional Convention of States to overturn Citizens United and establish that “corporations are not people and money is not speech.”Asher Platts was there, and files a report.

Drones in Yemen, Hunger Games In America, and Corporate Espionage

5:28 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally posted at AcronymTV

On this episode of The Resistance Report:

1. Dennis Trainor, Jr. talks about the 15 innocent people in Yemen who were killed Thursday by a U.S. Drone attack. The 15 homicide victims will be called collateral damage, and yet we are not at war with Yemen. It is a country that, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia pose no threat to us and certainly have not declared war on us and yet, who contain within their borders members of an organization- Al-Qaeda- whose ranks will surely swell with each innocent victim whose bodies are pulverized at the click of a button from an Air Force pilot half a world away. 

2. We hear the haunting yet absurd steps taken by the NSA to monitor citizens. Unfortunately for activists, revolutionaries, and other agents of social change, that’s only the “state” prong of surveillance. The corporate arm is much more damning. Joel Northam reports. 

3. Donald Sutherland, who stars in the Hunger Games Franchise, wants to see a revolution that brings about the end of the American Empire, and he wants the Hunger Games movies to be a spark for that flame. Speaking to Rory Carroll of the Guardian UK, Sutherlandsays: “You know the young people of this society have not moved in the last 30 years.” With the exception of Occupy, a minority movement, passivity reigns.” Whether Sutherland is engaging in a very clever marketing ploy or he sincerely wants to see a revolution is a question for another day. For now, Carl Gibson gives us this report that shows just how close we are to the dystopian futuristic landscape of the Hunger games. 

4. A group called We the People Maine went to the State House on Wednesday to deliver a formal request for the Legislature to apply for a Constitutional Convention of States to overturn Citizens United and establish that “corporations are not people and money is not speech.” Asher Platts was there, and files a report. 

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To Honor Nelson Mandela’s Legacy, we must … (?) | Resistance Report #14

2:20 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

This content is viewer supported, Support Acronym TV today | The Resistance Report is produced in conjunction with Popular Resistance.org

Reflecting on the death of Nelson Mandela, Jerome Ross, writing at Roar magazine states: “The only appropriate way to honor the legacy of the iconic freedom fighter is not to beatify the man but to take his struggle to its logical conclusion.”

The finality of death, combined with the human need for a neat linear narrative, will work against placing Mandela’s impact on a continuum. For, while it may be true that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice – that bending is still not happening for too many in South Africa, and the world over.

Additional Stories covered in Resistance Report #14

Does A Globally Renowned Activist Have Ties To Global Intel Firm STRATFOR?

An interview with Carl Gibson, the co-founder of US UNCUT and co-author of the recently published story on Occupy.com that claims that a globally renowned activist whose claim to fame includes being one of the architects of the movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic has been collaborating with the intelligence firm Stratfor. Gibson and co-author Steve Horn’s conclusions are not without their critics. Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men authored a scathing rebuttal that labeled Horn and Gibson Yellow Journalists.

The Fight For 15
Fast Food workers walked off their jobs in over 100 cities on Thursday, demanding a living wage. The actions were part of a movement to seeking the right to form a union without retaliation and for a $15 an hour wage. Chanting “We can’t survive on $7.25” workers and their allies took to the streets.

What is Up With Iran?
Joel Northam examines the western power’s next formidable boogeyman, Iran. You’ve no doubt heard much about the Islamic State recently in the bourgeois media, as news of the historic P5 + 1 deal regarding Tehran’s nuclear program has made its way through the airwaves, being as it wasn’t that long ago that the west and Iran wouldn’t even share the same breathing space.

Fighting Tar Sands In New England | Asher Platts | Resistance Report Segment

7:09 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally posted at AcronymTV

ExxonMobil plans to build a toxin-spewing export terminal on the shores of Casco Bay in Maine.

According to 350.org:
“Such a terminal would allow the flow of millions of gallons of Canadian tar sands to be transported through the region, putting our planet, our local waterways, and community health at unacceptable risk.
All evidence indicates that ExxonMobil – the majority owner of the PMPL – wants to pump toxic tar sands oil through New England and South Portland is now a crucial battle line in the fight to stop them.
In addition to the climate change risks of tar sands oil production, additional local impacts – with or without with a spill or rupture – would be devastating.

As the CCSP says firmly, “The threats that tar sands pose to our environment, health, water supply and air quality are simply unacceptable.” “

Asher Platts files this report, which includes an interview with Bob Klotz of 350Maine.org.

The Grassroots Effort To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use In Portland, Maine | Asher Platts

3:28 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally Posted at AcronymTV

Asher Platts, known to many of you through his work as the Punk Patriot, joins the Resistance Report team to give us the story behind the story of how grassroots – no pun- organizing helped bring legalized Marijuana to Maine.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the Portland Green Independent Party Committee, and the Maine Green Independent Party, Portland Maine became the first city on the east coast to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It is now legal, in the city of Portland, for adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use.

Fukushima: The Beginning of The End Of Nuclear Power | Resistance Report #12

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally Posted at AcronymTV

The hear no evil see no evil attitude of mainstream media outlets here in the United States about the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan does not obscure the fact that, in the attempt to mitigate future catastrophic damage, the global community is faced with challenges unique in the history of humankind. Members of the Green Shadow Cabinet traveled to the UN on Thursday to deliver a petition signed by 150,000 citizens of the world demanding that the government of Japan transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to an international engineering firm overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts. Additionally, the petition demanded that the global media be permitted around-the-clock access to accurate information throughout the entire process of removal of the spent fuel rods so that the international community can be informed of any risks to its health.

Also covered in this week’s episode of the Resistance Report:

Abortion Providers Are Heroes (segment starts at 8:01) – An Interview with Sunsara Taylor of StopPatriarchy.org, who just returned from Jackson, Mississippi where the last abortion clinic in that state was under siege from the anti-choice group Operation Save America, described by StopPatriarchy.org as an “extreme, violence inciting, women-hating Christian fascist organization.”

Lessons From Occupying Hurricane Sandy (segment starts at 17:05) Pamela Brown’s report on those who had spent time occupying Zuccotti park as part of the Occupy Wall Street and then turned their energy towards providing mutual aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

A Grassroots Effort to Make Grass Legal in Maine (segment starts at 23:05) Asher Platts, known to many of you through his work as the Punk Patriot, joins the Resistance Report team to give us the story behind the story of how grassroots – no pun – organizing helped bring legalized Marijuana to Maine.

What Is The Main Obstacle To Change? (segment starts at 26:19) Lee Camp, inspired by Tarak Kauff, breaks down what is perhaps the largest obstacle to systemic change.

Lessons from Occupying Hurricane Sandy | Pamela Brown

3:57 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally posted at AcroynmTV

In this Resistance Report segment, Pamela Brown examines the lessons learned from Occupy Sandy in the context of the long history of race-based housing policies that have led to class based economic opportunities and asks, can these issues be addressed by localized organizing alone?

Israel Is A Racist State | Joel Northam

3:27 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally Posted at AcroynmTV

In this report, Joel Northam explores the question: What happens when you condense 500 years of conquest and colonial expansion into 65 years, possess the latest high tech weaponry, sprinkle a little bit of imperialist patronage of the United States to the tune of 30 billion dollars a year in military aid, possess a vast nuclear arsenal, and gift wrap it all in a nationalist ideology that would make every fascist dictatorial regime in history proud?