29 October 2011

Local actions against inequality have global, national ties

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The march organized by (Un)Occupy Albuquerque today in defense of civil liberties incorporated elements of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos while stating its solidarity with Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Marine veteran who sustained a serious head injury Tuesday in the Occupy Oakland protests.

The procession from Yale Park on the University of New Mexico campus to Civic Plaza downtown drew more than a hundred persons and was punctuated by moments of silence for Olsen and mock memorial services for the constitutional rights of assembly and free speech, which have been under assault in many U.S. cities, according to local organizers, since the Occupy Wall St protests against economic equality started more than a month ago in New York City. Tuesday evening 22 protesters were arrested in Albuquerque after UNM President David Schmidly denied them any further overnight use of the campus.

Protesters' claims of inequality were supported by a Congressional Budget Office report released earlier this week that showed that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans enjoyed 275% growth in their after-tax incomes from 1979-2007, while the bottom fifth saw 18% real growth and middle-income Americans saw increases of just under 40%.

Meanwhile, half a connected world away, a Taliban suicide car bomb attack today on an armored bus carrying NATO troops in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed 17 persons, including 12 American soldiers and contractors. Three of the civilian fatalities may have been children, according to one report. While public services are being slashed at home, the United States is spending $10 billion per month waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Eisenhower Study Group report published in June.

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