Thursday, March 22, 2012

2012 - Jubilee Year - 2012

2012 – Jubilee year - 2012

After each dramatic change in governance, new rulers clear the slate, forgive debt, impose new taxes. Today, instead of reining in corporations directly, we can forgive all personal debt by fiat, and let that comprehensive rebalancing lead to system changes and tax code revisions.

I see appeal in these ideas for fundamentalists and liberals and pragmatists and debtors. The Old Testament mandates a sabbath day every seven days, a sabbatical year every seven years, and a Jubilee, every seven seven years, when fields rest and slaves are freed, and indentured and other debt is rebalanced. Thomas Jefferson proposed canceling all debts every 19 years, and David Graeber in Debt's conclusion, suggests forgiveness now as a way out of the global mess we are in.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

action is speech

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech. It follows that for those without money, action must substitute and is speech.

Our country was founded by direct action – what our law now calls trespass and vandalism - dumping the East India company's tea into Boston's harbor.

Entering 75 River St was an action similar to donating money to a campaign, an attempt to put forth an idea, to educate and to win minds. How can that become a felony?

Do not disadvantage those without money, without power, those from whom action must become voice.

True, there's no excuse for damaging the property of another. Just as there's no excuse for damaging the commons. But we are not even slapping the wrists of big banks; instead we are bailing them out.

So it seems unbalanced to press criminal charges on those who chose an unsubtle way to bring these ideas to local attention.

Why do we feel the way we do about these occupiers? Some feel violated, some vindicated, some feel as if they are family, … Regardless, felony charges stray from a just result.

The eyes of many are on Santa Cruz.   We must let mercy shine.

prison terms for social protest

"People first, then money, then things" is the tag line of popular television personality and finance whiz Suze Orman. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's felony charges for entering a long vacant commercial building have reversed this order: first things and property, then money and clean-up costs, and last, people - urging prison terms for social protest.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Focus: 75 River Street

The rave occupation at 75 River St has had consequences. More are aware of local economic disparities. Occupy Santa Cruz has lost some centrist support. District Attorney Bob Lee has selected harsh and costly actions. The Occupy Santa Cruz supporters, law enforcement, and our electeds have seen the consequences of this three day autonomous action. Now we must set an example of moderation and restraint. Now we must not not turn away our hearts.  It's time to absorb what we've learned, dismiss the charges and agree on a settlement, and focus again on the budget shortfalls, unemployment, foreclosures and poverty in Santa Cruz County.

  • Related Facts, Hearsay, and Opinion:

    • Rave: An all-night dance party, especially one where techno, house, or other electronically synthesized music is played.
    • The rave was spontaneous, fluid, leaderless.
    • 75 River St was unused, vacant.
    • Some say 75 River St was not posted against trespass.
    • Felonies have been charged. Only misdemeanors could have been charged. Fines could have been chosen.
    • What are the anticipated aggregate county costs for the 22 felonies and 44 misdemeanor charges, arraignments, prelims, jury trials, incarcerations?
    • Wells Fargo CEO 2011 compensation $19,000,000
    • After Wells Fargo fails to recoup by punishing individuals, the insurer will absorb the clean-up costs.
    • UCSC, in an analogous occupation (Kerr Hall), levied $1000 fines.
    • Over 100 people were inside or beside the property from Nov 30 – Dec 4, 2011.
    • Unused, un-repurposed private property is a trespass on the commons.