"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 31, 2011

Democracy Breaking Out in Land of the Oligarchs

Note: The article below reprinted from FireDogLake by David Dayen recounts the events of Sunday's protest against the Koch brothers in Rancho Mirage, CA. The demonstration signals a series of promising developments for progressive groups and activists. Notably, the event was marked by an impressive coalition effort by the participating organizations, positive energy and activism by the attendants, and the wide-held understanding that it is the Koch's ill-gotten, obscene wealth that has made the Tea Party and hundreds of right-wing abuses of our democratic system possible. Author Jim Hightower said it well in the kick-off event  in a packed large movie theater before the protest; the problem the Kochs represent is what the 19th century populists used to call "the money power," and our right to speak out against it is rooted in our "democratic authority" as citizens concerned with the general welfare of the country.

Twenty-five protesters were arrested in Rancho Mirage, California on Sunday, at a protest in front of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, site of the “Billionaire’s Caucus,” an annual meeting put on by the Koch Brothers and other corporate entities and conservative movement operators.

Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO, MoveOn.org, 350.org, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing. She would not guarantee that all 25 who were arrested were part of that coordinated operation. The police, who wore riot gear, batons and helmets, did put the arrested into plastic handcuffs. Nieburger described them as “passive restraints.” They were being processed at press time, and Nieburger would not say whether they would be released or would spend the night at the jail in Indio. . . .

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