Occupy Everywhere & Economic News Round-Up

Demonstrators wearing V-masks sit in front of a Commerzbank branch as they take part in a protest march as part of the 'Occupy Frankfurt' movement in Frankfurt am Main, on October 29, 2011 to protest against the financial system.
Demonstrators wearing V-masks sit in front of a Commerzbank branch as they take part in a protest march as part of the 'Occupy Frankfurt' movement in Frankfurt am Main, on October 29, 2011 to protest against the financial system. Inspired by the US Occupy Wall Street movement and Spain's 'Indignants', the 'Occupy Frankfurt' protesters have erected in October around 50 tents in the city-centre park next to the ECB's Eurotower headquarters. [Getty Images]
Here's some of what I've been reading this morning [trigger warning for sexual violence]...

Yesterday, scatx and I had the following exchange on Twitter about increasing reports of violent misogyny and sexual violence at various Occupy locations, which I'll just reprint here for those who aren't on Twitter:

Me: RT @CathElliott Woah: RT @SW9Red: So for the third time of asking...Will @OccupyLSX apologise for retweeting this misogynist shit. [The link goes to an image of Occupy Finsbury Square's "Carve a Feminist Pumpkin Competition" winner, which is a pumpkin roughly carved to look like it's got a dick in its mouth.]

scatx: @shakestweetz Also, this: [TW] RT @xeni: #occupyGlasgow assault reported to have been a gang rape of a pregnant woman. bit.ly/uLGrSG [The link leads to a blog post which details reports of the event.]

Me: @scatx Oh god. We need to start an Occupy Rape Culture.

scatx: @Shakestweetz Yes, true. It's fucking depressing. I've been meaning to blog about this since Josh Harkinson tweeted a couple weeks ago about a sexual assault at ows in NYC and progs on Twitter were like, "Be quiet or it will hurt the movement!"

Me: @scatx Without a trace of irony. Uh, no: Silencing sexual assault survivors hurts the movement.

Again, I will note my consternation that so many of these "radicals" continue to be held in thrall by the most conservative of kyriarchal prejudices and ancient tactics of oppression. Listen, if your revolution doesn't implicitly and explicitly include a rejection of misogyny and other intersectional marginalizations, then you're not staging a revolution: You're staging a change in management.

* * *

First up in news: The MF Global meltdown, the 7th largest bankruptcy in US history.

Bloomberg/Businessweek—MF Global, Beacon Power, Real Mex, Lehman, PPI, NEC: Bankruptcy: "MF Global Holdings Ltd., a New York- based holding company for commodities and derivatives brokers, filed for Chapter 11 protection yesterday in New York after the New York Federal Reserve suspended the company from doing new business as a primary dealer. Later in the day, the Securities Investor Protection Corp. initiated a liquidation proceeding against the brokerage subsidiary, MF Global Inc. A finance subsidiary named MF Global Finance USA Inc. is also in Chapter 11 alongside the parent."

Reuters Video—MF Global files for bankruptcy.

Reuters—Traders try to limit damage from MF Global collapse.

Henry Blodget at Business InsiderWow, Jon Corzine—Way to Fly Your Company into a Mountain: "Well, this one's right up there with the most spectacular CEO disasters ever. Yesterday, 18 months after Jon Corzine took over the helm of MF Global with the goal of building it into a real investment bank, he flew the company into a mountain. Why? Because part of becoming a real investment bank, apparently, is betting the company. Jon Corzine bellied up to the global market tables, bet MF Global, and lost. Specifically, the former head of Goldman Sachs and governor of New Jersey authorized his traders to scarf up $6 billion in bonds issued by Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and Ireland. The bet, presumably, was that the powers-that-be in Europe would bail out these and other bondholders to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar, because in our global bailout spree, that's what powers-that-be do. Oops."

Atrios comments that the MF bankruptcy is "a reminder that the current International Great Casino is almost entirely about betting on just who will or will not be bailed out by governments and central banks. Betting on what central banks are going to do is always a part of this stuff, but in 'normal times' (remember them? me neither) that's about betting on whether they're going to raise or lower rates by 25 basis points. But now the bets are about just where the free money howitzer is going to be aimed."

And Yves Smith takes a look at the reports that customer accounts were pilfered at MF Global.

Next up: Domestic News!

CNN Money—Home prices heading for triple-dip: "The besieged housing market has even further to fall before home prices really hit rock bottom. According to Fiserv, a financial analytics company, home values are expected to fall another 3.6% by next June, pushing them to a new low of 35% below the peak reached in early 2006 and marking a triple dip in prices. Several factors will be working against the housing market in the upcoming months, including an increase in foreclosure activity and sustained high unemployment, explained David Stiff, Fiserv's chief economist. Should home values meet Fiserv's expectations, it would make it the third (and lowest) trough for home prices since the housing bubble burst."

The HillLarson: More needs to be done on housing: "Echoing a growing number of House Democrats, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) warned Tuesday that the Obama administration's new anti-foreclosure strategy alone won't solve the housing crisis. Larson, who heads the House Democratic Caucus, said the administration's new housing reforms are 'a good step' toward stabilizing the volatile housing market but more needs to be done to help struggling Americans keep their homes. 'Our caucus is pleased to see the president come up with his program,' Larson said during a press briefing in the Capitol, 'Our caucus would like to see more done, as well.'"

AnnArbor—Eric Cantor criticizes 'wealth redistribution' and Occupy protesters during University of Michigan speech: "Inside the University of Michigan League, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, spoke of the opportunity of Americans to move up 'the economic ladder.' Outside, a group of about 70 students and Ann Arbor residents protested a perceived economic inequality that they say makes it too difficult to climb that ladder."

The HillSupercommittee panelists would take hit if they fail to get debt deal: "Three weeks out with no deal in sight, the risk of failure is mounting for members of the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction. ... Washington's political establishment has looked to the panel's Nov. 23 deadline as a pivotal moment in the national debate over federal deficits. It is the culmination of the year's battles in Congress, which almost resulted in a government shutdown in April and a national default in August. To fall short of the $1.2 trillion minimum goal necessary to avoid automatic cuts would come as an overwhelming letdown that would likely roil the stock market as well as the political landscape."

CNN Money—20 biggest CEO pay raises.

Meanwhile, in Europe...

Reuters—UK factory sector contracts at fastest pace in 2 years: "The manufacturing sector contracted at its fastest pace in more than two years in October as new orders plummeted, adding to signs that the country is teetering on the brink of recession, a survey showed on Tuesday. ... The numbers provide grim reading for policymakers and politicians, coming just ahead of data expected to show the economy grew a lacklustre 0.4 percent last quarter having basically flatlined in the previous nine months."

New York TimesMarkets Slide After Surprise Referendum Is Set by Greece: "European markets slid dramatically on Tuesday after Prime Minister George A. Papandreou stunned the continent's leaders with a surprise announcement late Monday that his government would hold a referendum on a new aid package for Greece. The proposed ballot measure would put Greek austerity measures—and potentially membership in the euro zone—to a popular vote for the first time, risking Mr. Papandreou's political future and threatening even greater turmoil both among the countries that share the single currency and further afield. His announcement sent tremors through Europe's see-sawing markets on Tuesday, with bank stocks taking a particular hammering because of their exposure to Greek debt."

And globally...

The GuardianJobs crisis threatens global wave of social unrest, warns ILO: "The International Labour Organisation has warned that a jobs crisis caused by the slowdown in the global economy threatens a wave of widespread social unrest engulfing both rich and poor countries. ... [The organisation's World of Work study] found that only half the 80m jobs needed to return employment to its pre-crisis levels were likely to be created over the next two years, and that the stalling of the global recovery was already leading to an increase in joblessness. ... In a new 'social unrest' index, the ILO said there was growing unhappiness over the lack of jobs and anger over perceptions that the burden of the crisis is not being shared fairly. It noted that in over 45 of the 118 countries examined, the risk of social unrest is rising, with particular signs of tension in the EU, the Arab region and to a lesser extent Asia."

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