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Thomas Ferguson on Money, Politics, and Occupy Wall Street

Police in Oakland raided that city’s Occupy Wall Street encampment early this morning with 200 officers. Dozens of people were arrested. Even though the Occupy Los Angeles encampment in front of City Hall continues to enjoy good relations with the city police, mass arrests continue to happen in other cities. Over the weekend, 130 Occupy Chicago protesters were arrested. Members of the National Nurses United Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s offices in protest, chanting “Arrest the 1%.” Famed intellectual Cornel West was arrested along with 30 people for blocking the entrance to a police station in Harlem as part of the Occupy Harlem movement. He and others were protesting the NYPD’s so-called “stop-and-frisk policy,” which they says racially profiles black and brown men. In more Occupy news, over the weekend, world-famous linguist and political thinker Noam Chomsky addressed the Occupy Boston demonstration in Dewey Square for 40 minutes, warning that while he was impressed with the movement so far, “[t]here is a long way to go.” Chomsky went on to say that change “requires a lot of work, dedication and popular support.” The Occupy movements have succeeded most strikingly in one aspect – forcing greater and better mainstream media coverage of the vast income inequality in the United States. However, that media coverage has yet to translate into policy changes on Capitol Hill. While President Obama’s already weak jobs bill has stalled, he has revived a home mortgage refinancing program. But the program is so convoluted and conditional that it is unclear who, if anyone, will actually benefit from it. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to tout pro-business legislation and proposals like GOP candidate Herman Cain and his so-called 9-9-9 plan which would lower taxes for the wealthy and increase them for the poor. Meanwhile, in what is sure to be just the beginning of a predictable propaganda wave against Occupy Wall Street, two right wing authors plan to release a book today titled, “Red Army: The Radical Network that must be defeated to save America.” The book claims to “document [that] the Occupy Wall Street movement is well-planned by seasoned extremists and not the spontaneous uprising it claims to be, while alleging the radicals behind the movement maintain White House connections.”

GUEST: Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute, he addressed the Occupy Boston camp yesterday.