Occupy 2012: Battle for our Freedoms

Date: January 19, 2012

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Inspired by a series of events including the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street took root in early fall 2011 and ignited a movement around the world. Join us for an in-depth discussion on the Occupy movement. We will discuss Occupy's complex identity, what it has meant to people, strengths and weaknesses of this nascent movement, and hopes for its future. We will explore ideas on how to engender real change in a world where millions understand the imperative of a profound course correction in our systems and the need for real hope and vision for our collective futures.

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Watch our previous panels below.

About the Panelists:

Michael Moore

Writer, Filmmaker, Activist

Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries. In September 2008, he released his first free movie on the Internet, Slacker Uprising, which documented his personal crusade to encourage more Americans to vote in presidential elections. He has also written and starred in the TV shows TV Nation and The Awful Truth.

Moore criticizes globalization, large corporations, assault weapon ownership, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Iraq War, the American health care system, and capitalism in his written and cinematic works.

For more information about Michael Moore, visit MichaelMoore.com.

 

Chris Hedges

Journalist

Chris Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies. His most recent book is The World As It Is (2011).

Hedges is the author of the New York Times best sellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and Death of the Liberal Class. He is also known as the best-selling author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years (1990-2005).

In 2002, Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the paper's coverage of global terrorism. He also received in 2002 the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and The University of Toronto. He writes a weekly column on Mondays for Truthdig and authored what the New York Times described as "a call to arms" for the first issue of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, the newspaper giving voice to The Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park, New York City.

 

Kevin Zeese

Co-Director for ItsOurEconomy.us

Kevin Zeese is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. He advocates for democratizing the economy as co-director of It's Our Economy and works to oppose to war and shrink the military budget through Come Home America. Zeese serves on the steering committees of the Bradley Manning Support Network which advocates for alleged whistle-blower, Bradley Manning, and October2011.org which seeks to end corporatism and militarism.

His recent election integrity work has included challenging the activities of the national Chamber of Commerce through StopTheChamber.org, as well as the activities of Karl Rove's Americans Crossroads as part of AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org and seeking to overturn the Citizen's United decision, including filing complaints against Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of ProtectOurElections.org. Zeese has also led the effort to prosecute Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp for hacking into private phones and bribing officials.

He has been active in independent and third party political campaigns including for state legislative offices in Maryland, governor of California and U.S. president, where he served as press secretary and spokesperson for Ralph Nader in 2004. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and was the only person ever nominated by the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Populist Party.

Zeese serves as president of Common Sense for Drug Policy. He is a co-founder of Voters for Peace, Prosperity Agenda, True Vote, the Drug Policy Foundation (now known as Drug Policy Alliance) and an organizer for Occupy Washington, DC (www.OccupyWashingtonDC.org).

 

Margaret Flowers, M.D.

Congressional Fellow, Physicians for a National Health Program

Margaret Flowers is a Maryland pediatrician. After graduation from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1990 and completion of pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Flowers worked first as a hospitalist and then in private practice. She left practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for a single payer health care system at both the state and national levels.

Flowers served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program during the 2009-2010 national health reform process. She organized briefings, lobby days and testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in June, 2009 and before the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in June, 2010. She was co-founder of the Mobilization for Health Care Reform. She is currently a spokesperson for PNHP and is on the board of Healthcare-Now.

Flowers views the struggle for health care as part of a broader social, economic and environmental justice movement. She joined Kevin Zeese in March, 2011 as co-director of ItsOurEconomy.us in order to educate, organize and mobilize around social and economic justice issues. She serves on the steering committee of October2011.org and is an organizer for Occupy Washington, DC (www.OccupyWashingtonDC.org).

 

Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Icelandic Parliamentarian

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is a member of the Icelandic Parliament, elected in April 2009 on behalf of a movement aiming for democratic reform beyond party politics of left and right. Birgitta has been an activist all of her adult life through her work as a poet, writer, artist, editor, publisher, and now government official and internet pioneer. Longstanding champion of human rights and peace, she has also supported many organizations such as WikiLeaks, Saving Iceland and Friends of Tibet, to name but a few. Birgitta was the chief sponsor of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) which was drafted with the help of the core people of WikiLeaks at the time and many others experts from around the world.

On June 16th 2010 the Icelandic Parliament passed IMMI, a parliamentary resolution tasking the government to create a new legislative means to protect and strengthen modern freedom of expression. The proposal was passed by parliament members of all parties. IMMI intends to make the country a haven for freedom of information, speech and expression by providing a supportive jurisdiction for publication of investigative journalism and other threatened online media. The government has begun a process of editing 13 separate laws according to the proposal's specifications. This process is expected to be completed by mid-2012.

"Iceland will become the inverse of a tax haven; by offering journalists and publishers some of the most powerful protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. Tax havens aim is to make everything opaque. Our aim is to make everything transparent." ~ Birgitta Jónsdóttir

For more information about Birgitta, visit her official site.

 

Jimmy Holovat

Professor at CUNY Baruch

Jimmy Holovat was born and raised and currently resides in the Bronx, NY. He is a professor at CUNY Baruch. Courses he has taught include Theories of Personality, The Evolution of Modern Psychology, and The Psychology of Religion. Holovat obtained a MBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the CUNY Baruch Zicklin School of Business. He is currently a Doctoral student in residency at the CUNY Graduate Center for Industrial/Organizational Psychology. His research interests include corporate social responsibility, corporate environmentalism, religiosity in the workforce, environmental justice, environmental racism and non-verbal communication.

A first-generation American, born a year after his parents immigrated from Argentina, he dedicates himself to the struggle against all forms of oppression. Holovat's first name is legally "Jimmy" after then sitting President, Jimmy Carter because his parents knew no other American names. Holovat became involved with OWS out of a sense of helplessness and hopelessness towards the system currently in place. He identifies himself as a member of OWS, but also as member of the Occupy Movement in general.

 

Tangerine Bolen (Host)

Executive Director of RevolutionTruth

Tangerine Bolen is the founder and Executive Director of RevolutionTruth, a small, global organization dedicated to increasing transparency and integrity in our institutions, protecting whistleblowers, and working toward legitimate democracies. She has a background in integrative medicine, and has completed her Master's degree in Public Health and Policy. Prior to her work with RevolutionTruth, she worked for several years to expose the American Medical Association's statutory monopoly on the codes used to describe services in the US health care system. This monopoly has long stifled competition and guaranteed enormous disparities in billing and the actual costs of services, while playing a key role in upholding the status quo of a system based on "sick care" rather than health care.

Tangerine is a staunch advocate of the rule of law. She is dedicated to exposing the hypocrises in the US' dual justice system, and to protecting those who are willing to bring the public hard and imperative truths. She is deeply committed to a global paradigm shift - one that allows room for humanity to re-create systems that are liberating and based in concepts of abundance, rather than oppressive and based in the idea of scarce resources. She believes that "progress" is defined not by economic growth or the size of a nation's GDP, but rather, by how genuinely civilized, peaceful, productive, inclusive, and compassionate a nation and people can be.

For more information about Tangerine, visit RevolutionTruth.org.