Occupying Beyond Divisions: Anarchy, Black Bloc and Protests

Date: February 15, 2012 - 6PM - EST

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Please read RevolutionTruth's Statement regarding this panel discussion.

Chris Hedges' most recent Truthdig column was a searing condemnation of Black Bloc as part of the Occupy movement. This article comes at a time when Occupy is suffering from coordinated and vicious attacks from the outside, weariness, winter (in the Western hemisphere), and rifts on the inside, and a seeming disconnect between the larger public and the movement itself. The responses to Hedges' article have been quite polarized. Some resonated with his obvious frustration and concern; others found the piece to be an offensive conflation of tactics and groups and a misguided attack on anarchists. The piece generated intense debate around the world, opening up discussions that are delving into the heart of the nature of Occupy and the profoundly diverse perspectives embodied in this movement. Join us for a panel with Chris Hedges, Margaret Flowers, Zevin Zeese, Georgia Sagri and two others from Occupy Wall Street to discuss anarchist philosophy, Black Bloc, and Occupy.

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About the Panelists:

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).

 

Lucas Vazquez

Student / Organizer for Occupy the Dept. of Education (New York)

Lucas Vazquez is a 17 year-old public high school student at Walt Whitman High School and political activist. He is part of several groups and organizations such as The Organization for a Free Society, Occupy the Department of Education, Right to Education Coalition, and the broad Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City.

As an activist, he works on general issues and struggles such as education, austerity, and movement building. He was an organizer for the anti-austerity encampment dubbed “Bloombergville,” in late June of 2011, where he and others slept on the sidewalk in front of New York City’s City Hall in protest of the unjust austerity measures Michael Bloomberg presented for the coming year of 2012.

Lately, he has been very involved in the growing student movement. He is an organizer in Occupy the Department of Education, in which he and others are resisting the destructive educational policies that the Department of Education, of New York City, has created.

 

Georgia Sagri

Artist / Member of the Void Network

Georgia Sagri is an artist and non-employed political activist. From early age she has been a member of the Void Network, a cultural, political and philosophical collective in Athens Greece with the aim the radicalization of every day life, the participation to the emancipatory social struggles, the creation of social centers, self-organized autonomous spaces and the construction of situations in Public Space.

 

Cari Machet

Journalist / PR for Occupy Wall Street

Cari Machet has been an artist and activist for many years. Her work with The Indypendent in NYC began her work in activist journalism. She has worked for Democracy Now! and PBS as a media maker. As a mulitmedia producer her work has focused on the Middle East regarding womens' issues, the Iraqi refugee crisis, and artists of the region of Syria. She has also focused on the dynamic of Hezbollah in Lebanon. She now works in the PR working group of Occupy Wall Street in New York City along with Media, Occupy Museums, Direct Democracy, Anti Repression Committee and Mutual Aide among others.

 

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.