7 Places the 99% Will Fight Back Hard in 2012
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2011 was the year of activism, of uprising, of the protester. But the new year is coming, and with it a chance to write a new narrative.
The demands of working people in the US and around the world haven't yet been met, and there's still a need for the same energy and outrage on the issues of jobs, income and wealth inequality, home foreclosures, working people's rights to organize, and of course, Wall Street's crimes.
So, while we hesitate to make predictions for victories and political outcomes, we do have some guesses as to where we'll see some exciting activism in 2012.
In some cases, the plans are already being laid for big spring and summer actions (and even fall, with the presidential election fast approaching). In other realms, we haven't heard anything definitive, but the conditions are certainly ripe for a big move by the 99%.
After all, social movements aren't built in a few months. They take years of planning, new and escalating tactics, and the occasional great leap forward. We saw that leap in 2011—now it's time to take the next step in 2012.
Read on for seven places where working people's fight for justice should erupt over the next year.
1. Iowa Caucuses
The first major political event of 2012 will be the Iowa caucuses, where residents of the chilly rural state will meet to decide which Republican candidate should represent their party in the national election.
But according to Mother Jones' Gavin Aronsen, Occupy Iowa supporters have already held their own People's Caucus. They broke out into groups similar to the preference groups that occur at the real Iowa caucuses—but rather than choosing the candidate they want to win, they chose a candidate most deserving of having their headquarters occupied.
The winner? Barack Obama, with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in close second and third.
So far, the only disruption of the caucus itself is a possible plan for people to vote “no preference” as a protest, but actions like mic-checking candidates (Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann have already been recipients of this action) and peacefully taking over headquarters and events are in the works, and protesters have already been going through direct action trainings. In just a few days, we'll see the results.
Wisconsin union members and their supporters kicked off the U.S.'s year of action last February with an occupation of their capitol building after Gov. Scott Walker pushed a bill taking public workers' right to collective bargaining away. Fourteen State Senate Democrats left the state to avoid voting on the bill, and Wisconsinites slept outdoors in the cold when locked out of the building, and showed up day after day until Walker found a way to force the bill through anyway.
One of the big stories of 2011 then became the recall campaign against the State Senate Republicans who voted for the bill. Though Democrats didn't succeed in taking back the Senate, they did oust two Republicans—and created enough momentum to start a recall campaign against Walker himself, which gathered 507,000 signatures on recall petitions in four weeks. (540,208 are required to move the recall forward).
So recalling Walker seems very likely to be on the agenda this year. In addition, on February 17, the anniversary of the occupation of the capitol, United Students Against Sweatshops is holding a conference in Madison celebrating 15 years of organizing—and planning a big action to celebrate Wisconsinites' fight for workers' rights.
3. University of California