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Vanessa Ortiz
Published: Monday 21 November 2011
“Anyone can go on the internet each morning and within five minutes, with a global network of interesting and active Facebook friends, get authentic news from around the world rarely offered by mainstream journalists.”

5 Things to Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

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This Thursday, the United States and its citizens around the world will celebrate our day of thanks, known as Thanksgiving. The tradition’s origins are often disputed. Some say it was a European harvest cycle tradition that immigrated to the “New World” with the explorers. Others dispute whether the tradition began in Plymouth, Massachusetts or in Florida or Virginia. Of course, the image of Native Americans sitting together with European colonists – actually, occupiers – is disputed as well.

Fast forward to today, and most dictionaries describe Thanksgiving as:

1) the act of giving thanks

2) a prayer expressing gratitude

3) a public acknowledgement of celebration of divine goodness

I am aware that the way we Thanksgiving is celebrated today runs contrary to the historic origins of the New World. There are so many Thanksgiving myths, and any actual story or history has been white washed. To make the holiday even more discouraging, the focus of Thanksgiving for so many Americans is on Black Friday, football, and holiday shopping. None of the dictionary definitions of Thanksgiving fit with contemporary consumerist and indulgent activities.

This Thanksgiving, I gratefully acknowledge the people who risk their lives and stand steadfast in their demands for dignity, justice and economic equality. And for all the authentic journalists who tenaciously follow them and report on their work, and the tools that help them achieve their goals.  I am grateful that an interesting combination of forces and human ingenuity is showing the world what democracy looks like.

1) Leaderless nonviolent movements: The Arab Spring, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, students’ calls for educational reform in Puerto Rico and Chile, the miners protests in BoliviaTar Sands action, and Occupy Wall Street offer fantastic examples of a breaking of a persistent stereotype that people can only come together with one voice and vision if they have a charismatic public leader (who is usually male). This has been an amazing year for civil resistance. As a student, writer and educator of nonviolent social movements, I have felt like a lone voice declaring the potential of people power. And after January, all that changed.

2) Arab women front and center: One of the most inspiring features of the Arab Spring was the exposure of the strength of Arab women. Their participation, leadership, reporting, video documentation, and public representation in each country undergoing political reformation was an education for their countrymen and for the world.  In Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, women are actively involved in their countries’ struggling amidst deeply patriarchal societies. From Asmaa Mahfouz of Egypt to Tawakul Karman of Tunisia, women have acted with boldness and determination, and they have been organizing and participating long before their faces became known to the Western world.

3) People-powered news: Anyone can go on the internet each morning and within five minutes, with a global network of interesting and active Facebook friends, get authentic news from around the world rarely offered by mainstream journalists. This is due in large part to the blogger activists taking risks to expose injustices and frame stories honestly, without marketing gimmicks or commercial influences. This site, for example, has been a key source for on the ground news related to the Tar Sands Action and Occupy Wall Street.  Many bloggers are activists who, in stark difference to mainstream news journalists, work not for profit or a salary, but out of concern, passion and a desire for truth telling on issues simply not covered in nightly cable television newscasts.

4) Technology tools: The forces I mention above are continually benefiting from easy-to-use tools like smart phones, SMS, You Tube and Twitter.  Many of these basic tools are being integrated with more sophisticated human rights tracking/reporting and crowd sourcing tools like UshahidiMartusFrontline SMS, and Mobile Accord.  The combination of technology, authentic voices, nonviolent education and exchanges of information among activists, and social sharing platforms like Facebook have served as a kind of catalyst for social movements this year. Technology tools must be harnessed for public good rather than only for profit, consumerism or nefarious causes.

5) Al Jazeera English: One of the great things about living in Washington, DC is having access to Al Jazeera English news service on television. For the rest of the U.S. and the world, Al Jazeera English makes most if not all broadcasts available on the web. I remember many days in January when I could not pull myself away from the television as Al Jazeera covered events in Tunisia, Egypt, and later in Bahrain and Yemen. While U.S. and perhaps European commercial news outlets must cater to its citizens’ apathy and attention deficit disorder, Al Jazeera was steadfast in its coverage of Middle East events. For example, months before Takawal Karman of Tunisia women the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Jazeera was featuring her in its People and Power program, episode Yemen: A Tale of Two Protests.  To learn more about Al Jazeera, the documentary film, Control Room (2003), investigates the ethics of media-managed wars and offers insight into Al Jazeera reporting and vision.



WHAT IS THIS?!! 1936



OWS and the 99% have the Power! “BUYING POWER.” It’s about time we used it. WE CAN INSTANTLY STOP THE FLOW OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
Here’s how.



Companies want our money, but they don’t want to help America get back on its feet?
We are being starved, now let’s starve those greedy corporations who took our money.
We want companies to hire us, politicians to vote for us, and this is how to force it.
We have an incredible mobile army of millions and millions and millions of people!
Let’s combine the power that we all have. VOTE, by NOT spending.

Stop buying as much as you can. Stop buying from ALL of the big corporations, retailers and banks; Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger, Costco, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, Sears, Lowe’s, Supervalu, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Georgia Pacific, RJR, Brown & Williamson, Kraft Global, Sara Lee, Tyson, BP, Shell Oil, Exxon Mobile, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Sprint, Dell, Microsoft, Dow Chemical, Chevron, Kimberly-Clark, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Capital One, Ford, Chrysler, GM, Disney, Macy’s, Kohl’s, The Gap, Penny’s, Colgate, Nike, Staples, Office Depot, Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Avon, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Kellogg’s, Dean Foods, General Mills, eBay, etc., All of them!
Add your own companies to our list and pass it on.

Don’t use global banks. Move your money from a big bank to a neighborhood bank.
Don’t use your credit cards or ATM’s…at all.
Don’t shop any retail chain stores. Shop local, or mom and pop shops.
Don’t buy gasoline. Walk, take a bus, car pool, or ride a bike.
Don’t buy any extras like music, movies, electronics, or toys…nothing.


Greedy global companies will be shocked and not know what to do.
Wall Street, the oil barons, corporate fat cats, stockholders, executives, marketers, retailers, politicians, and President Obama, will be asking us, the 99%, what we want!


We have already started.

It seems that Change for

It seems that Change for Changes sake is your passion. Do you ever ask yourself " is this change a good thing or not".
Example: You give Thanks for the Ladies help in the Arab Revolutions. Just to bring you up to date the ruling council in Libya announced that the Country will be Governed by Sharia Law . Not what most people consider a Woman Friendly System.
Perhaps I would say to you " Look Before You Leap"

Vanessa, you are right, we

Vanessa, you are right, we should be thankful for each of these.

And we should also try to promote and protect each of these: if online tools are useful for organizing the righteous, then the unrighteous will try to unplug or subvert them.

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