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News :: Media
BAAM # 10 out!
Email: trenchesfullofpoets (nospam) riseup.net
30 Jun 2008
We are proud to release BAAM # 10. PDF downloadable plus plain text, below. This month's articles: -Aramark Workers Strike at Boston’s Convention Centers; -Barack Obama, the lesser evil for undocumented migrant workers... or not; -IU 460 Fights for Fairness; -Chalking Against the BU Biolab Now A Crime: The Story of the Crayola Two.. .
Aramark Workers Strike at Boston’s Convention Centers
On June 21st, hundreds of food service workers initiated a strike against the Philadelphia-based Food Service company, Aramark, walking off the job and picketing at Boston’s two biggest convention centers: the Hynes Convention Center (HCC) and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). 350 food workers at the two convention centers, members of Unite Here Local 26, have been without a contract since October, and the company called off all negotiations in May.
Local 26 held large pickets at both convention centers all day during the three day strike, culminating in a rally of 200 workers and supporters Monday night. According to Brian Lang, vice president of Unite Here Local 26, the action was an “unfair labor practice strike.”
“The big issue is respect,” said Thomas, a Local 26 supporter and member of the Boston union of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists. “These folks were working a long time without a contract, dealing with intimidation from the managers, and not even getting a chance to sit down at the table and negotiate.”
Along with the large number of workers without contracts, lack of respect, benefits and other “bread and butter issues,” Local 26 accuses Aramark of intimidating and threatening those involved in union activity. The company terminated three workers, including Carolyn Donovan and Theresa Kelley, members of Local 26’s bargaining committee, for their support of the union. According to Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, Aramark representatives say Donovan and Kelley “were fired for reasons unrelated to their union advocacy,” but the workers of Local 26 disagree.
Thomas, who attended the rally and pickets said, “There was a lot of solidarity for the workers and boycott. The bus drivers, SEIU, and others came out in support. The teamsters are refusing to deliver to Aramark and the taxi drivers even refused to show up at the Convention Centers. Soon there was a line of people waiting for taxis, and the picketers were shouting: ‘No Justice, No Taxis!’”
According to an anonymous organizer for Unite Here, the battle is far from over. Though the three-day strike has ended, Local 26 will continue to picket and encourage Convention-center patrons to boycott Aramark. “We will have public actions in front of the convention centers,” said the organizer, “and the goal is to cancel as many contracts with Aramark as possible and pressure them back to the negotiating table.” The National Association of Letter Carriers, for one, has already canceled an Aramark food service contract for their meeting in late July at the BCEC.
Even the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which runs the convention centers, has encouraged Aramark to treat their workers fairly, saying “We value the contribution food service workers have made to the success of the convention centers, and we believe they should receive a fair compensation package. We have urged Aramark to work with Local 26 to reach agreement on a new contract as quickly as possible for the benefit of the workers and for the benefit our customers..."
Aramark also employs food workers at most of Boston’s colleges and universities, many of whom are non-union and without decent benefits or wages.
“Food service workers strike at Boston convention centers,”
By Matt Viser, June 21, 2008, The Boston Globe
Unite Here Local 26
Barack Obama, the lesser evil for undocumented migrant workers... or not
By Sergio Reyes (6/8/2008)
To express an opinion about which of the two presidential candidates in the U.S. will be better for the more than 12 million undocumented migrant workers and their families, first we have place the question within the right context. The context is a presidential contest in a country whose democracy is determined by a two-party system destined to preserve, promote and expand capitalism. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are therefore two variations on the same theme. Likewise, the electoral contests are determined not by popular will, but rather by economic interests.
Another interesting context is the precedent of collaboration between republicans and democrats on legislation about what to do with undocumented migrant workers. Let's remember that senators Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and McCain (R-Arizona) co-sponsored a law in 2005 that included a guest-worker program (new braceros) with a strong emphasis on closing down the borders through militarization, high technology surveillance and walls. Let's also take into consideration that the Massachusetts senator represents the most liberal sector of the Democratic Party. The republican opposition and many within the Democratic Party itself labeled this proposed act as an "amnesty for illegal immigrants" and defeated it. Curiously, this act contained most of the elements that President Bush was proposing in reference to migrant workers.
Within an immigrant rights movement that is heavily determined by Democratic Party interests, today we hear voices that promote the concept that Barack Obama is their hope as the better of the two contenders to resolve the problem of undocumented migrant workers. Therefore let's analyze what Obama himself has to say about his position on this matter, taken from his website and campaign materials:
* Obama believes that our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a complete solution that secures our border, enforces our laws and reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants.
* Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, not violate the law, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.
* Barack Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional bureaucracy to balance the needs of American workers and the U.S. economy. He also realizes the need to increase the number of people we allow into the country legally to a level that keeps families together and meets the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.
* Obama will continue to work for a comprehensive bill that fixes our broken immigration system.
* Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry. Obama believes we need additional Customs and Border Protection agents equipped with better technology and real-time intelligence.
* Obama believes that to remove incentives to enter the country illegally, we need to crack down on employers that hire undocumented immigrants. Barack Obama has championed a proposal with Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Max Baucus (D-MT) to create a new employment eligibility verification system so employers can verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
* About 69,300 foreign-born men and women serve in the U.S. armed forces, roughly 5 percent of the total active-duty force. Of those, 43 percent – 29,800 – are not U.S. citizens. The Pentagon says more than 100 immigrant soldiers have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Barack Obama believes that legal immigrants who have fought for us overseas should have expedited procedures towards citizenship.
Up to here we have presented the material distributed by Senator Obama's campaign. The reader can interpret this material according to their own perception. However, what it is clear for the writer of this article is the fact that Senator Obama's position is not too different from those of other democratic or republican politicians, including the republican candidate himself. The truth is that in his position paper, not much is said about what he will do about this matter.
Elvira Arellano has recently written, "But at this moment the only option we have is Barack Obama and his movement of hope because the alternative is the movement of hatred embraced by John McCain. The latter means death through warfare, "free trade," the persecution and (state) terrorism against 12 million undocumented immigrants." Curious, as we have seen here that Obama's position on "immigration" is not fundamentally different from McCain's. How else could we explain the collaboration of Kennedy-McCain on immigration?
The truth is that neither of the two candidates holds any hope for undocumented migrant workers. Furthermore, this problem created by contemporary capitalism is not only a U.S. problem. It covers the entire capitalist world and as such it must be confronted internationally. This approach requires the active participation of all workers of the world, whether they are organized in unions or not.
In the United States, in the context of the electoral circus, it is necessary to continue to carry out large peoples mobilizations demanding immediate amnesty. If Obama is more progressive than McCain he has to propose something significantly better than what the republican senator proposes. I doubt he will. Therefore, we must continue working with the labor unions, both within the U.S. and from the countries that originate undocumented migrant workers. We must confront the contradiction presented by free trade agreements that facilitate the free flow of merchandise from country to country while the same treaty members criminalize the human beings that move from country to country in search of work.
It is also critically important to understand that beyond the search for a solution to this section of the international labor force, it is necessary that we move at the same time toward a comprehensive (let's use this little word in vogue) solution for all the exploited human beings of the world and move toward societies that are collective and for human solidarity. In any case, with Obama or without Obama, our struggle continues.
IU 460 Fights for Fairness
By John Cleary
Since 2005, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has organized ten foodstuff distributors in New York City, all of which were paying workers less than minimum wage, offering no benefits, and forcing laborers to work upwards of 70 hour per week without overtime pay. In the struggle to organize these shops, the IWW prevailed over union busting, bribery, and intimidation. Recently, with the help of the National Labor Relations Board, the IWW Industrial Union 460/640 has had significant legal victories against their employers, reinstating fired workers and winning millions in back wages.
All ten of the organized companies now offer minimum wage or better, time-and-a-half for overtime hours, and vacation and sick days. E-Z Supply(now Sunrise Plus) was ordered to pay $1.068 million to 13 of the workers it fired a year and a half ago. Handyfat reinstated the six workers it fired, and last March, and was ordered to pay them $360,000. Of the 16 workers who were fired from Amersino, 15 have settled. Giant Big Apple has settled with 15 of its workers for $325,000. Top City Produce, Wild Edibles, and Flaum Appetizing are all involved in negotiations and legal proceedings.
IWW locals from all over the country have been lending support to IU 460. Locals from San Francisco, the Twin Cities, Providence, Boston, and New York City have been fundraising. Members have been flyering outside of restaurants who buy from these warehouses to raise awareness and call for boycotts.
Boston IWW local has organized several benefits to provide financial assistance to the struggling 460 workers. Last August, they raised money for the Food and Allied Workers Union to pay for their debt from supporting workers through strikes, marches, and demonstrations. In January, Boston IWW had an event raising money for the five Top City workers who were fired for organizing. And on April 26th, Boston IWW held a benefit backing Deon Furtick. He was fired from Harvest in Jamaica Plain after joining IU 460 and discussing union organizing with co-workers. Call Chris Durkin, Harvest’s Operations Manager, at 617-661-1580 ext. 132 to ask that Deon Furtick be reinstated with back pay.
Chalking Against the BU Biolab Now A Crime: The Story of the Crayola Two
By Leanne and Amos
On Thursday, June 5th, four members of the Radical Arts Troupe (RAT), met at the proposed site of B.U.'s infamous biolab. Their intention was to raise local awareness of what exactly is being built and to connect the reality of this deadly neighborhood addition with the nondescript, unmarked construction site. After no more than ten minutes of drawing outlines of bodies on the sidewalk with chalk, several police officers descended on the troupe. "Are you protesters? Do you have a permit? Show me your ID!" They claimed that using chalk on a sidewalk was graffiti, vandalism, destructing property, disturbing the peace, and that our presence on the sidewalk was obstructing pedestrian traffic, despite no pedestrian traffic actually existing.
At this point, two RAT members opted to leave the area because one could not afford to be arrested at the time, while the other two decided to stay and raise site visibility by distributing flyers to passersby, since the chalk was clearly provoking the police. The officers, annoyed that two people had left, and that the other two still refused to identify themselves, promptly arrested them.
The next morning at the arraignment, the corruption of "Boston's Finest" was revealed yet again when the police report was read. According to the report, the four RAT members had been "throwing what appeared to be dummy bodies into the street" and were "tagging." There were no dummy bodies, and this charge was clearly meant to add legitimacy to the arrest. Further, the accusation of tagging indicates an alarming ignorance, no doubt intentional, of what tagging actually entails: generally, the use of a permanent substance, rather than sidewalk chalk, by its nature non-permanent.
While the "Crayola 2" are now free and on probation, the intensity and swiftness of law enforcement response has shown the community that no dissent against the biolab will be tolerated, and that peaceful sidewalk artists will be considered dangers to the state. While it can be discouraging to experience such blatant evidence of the police state in which we live, we as activists must not shy away from continuing to speak our message: we will not tolerate the construction of this facility in our community!
The Fate of the Fantabulous Four
Remember on April 1st when four people who really hate the unspeakable devastation caused by the mining and burning of coal locked themselves down to one of its primary funders, a Bank of America branch (for more info, see BAAM #8, page 1)? They were charged with trespassing, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. On May 6th the courts threw out our bogus resisting arrest charges and gave us all a year of pre-trial probation. Our lawyer said this was the best possible scenario, given the circumstances. Pre-trial probation isn't like 'real' probation and it's going to be less invasive (no ankle bracelet). The fuckers are making each of us pay $21 a month for this 'privilege' though, which is obnoxious as shit. We're still allowed to travel, but we're not allowed to go near that particular branch of the destruction-hearting bank, nor are we allowed to get arrested again before May 7th 2009 because if we do, we're fucked.
And lest anyone else be confused by the term 'pre-trial probation,' as long as we keep from violating the terms of our probation, there will be no trial.
Meanwhile, much thanks and appreciation to everyone who came to our court dates, bought our lunches, gave us hugs and encouragement and was generally awesome and solid.
And remember, kids: politicians and moneyed entities don't give a shit about human rights or the well-being of the planet and its denizens and they will not be moved unless we take direct action against them. If there's a cause worth fighting for, organize and do it. Hit them where it hurts most: in the wallet.
"Out of the closet, into the streets!: a call to re-radicalize the Dyke March"
By Leeanne and Amos
The Dyke March offers, according to their website, "a non-commercial, fundamentally grassroots alternative to Boston's Pride Celebration." Started in Washington DC in 1993 by The Lesbian Avengers, the Dyke March is inclusive of all "sexualities, genders, races, ages, ethnicities, sizes, economic backgrounds, and physical abilities," and strives to provide visibility for queers who do not fit into mainstream Pride's white, cisgendered (non-transgendered) and monied gay male majority.
This year, though The Lesbian Avengers have long since become inactive, all lost to either normalcy or travels, there was a small but spirited Anarch@-Queer Liberationist contingent participating in the march. With a large black flag sporting a bright pink star, this year's anarchist representatives marched proudly in the midst of several queer (and hardly queer at all) groups formed out of religious affiliations, non-profit organizations and political parties.
Despite the radical history of the Dyke March tradition, little of it is apparent in the marches today that draw hundreds, if not thousands of participants. While it is true that no vendors (other than the Dyke March committee themselves, selling t-shirts and rainbow flags) are permitted to sell their wares at the march, the highly-publicized after-party was sponsored by Corona Light. As a permitted march, too, there was an intense police presence to keep the potentially-rioting queers in line. As it happened, the marchers seemed content to parade (as distinct from 'marching,' a term with a much more political connotation), waving merrily at all passers-by, and receiving mostly positive responses from non-participants along the march route. Attempts by the anarchist contingent to start a loud "out of the closet, into the streets!" chant were initially successful, but died quickly in favor of less confrontational noisemaking.
Pride, as a concept, is obviously positive, encouraging those who do not fit into the hetero- and gender-normative paradigm to assert their existence and their right to freedom. In practice, however, it has become an exercise in acceptability, an attempt by queers to prove ourselves worthy of a place at (or under, as it were) the mainstream table. But what of queers who want more than that? What of queers who wish, not to find 'acceptance' or 'tolerance' in this society, but to smash our repressive society entirely and start something new?
The Dyke March is supposed to be our opportunity to show our faces, to find one another and join hands in struggle. Yet more and more, the inextricably political Dyke March is turning into a sanitized "Lesbian Parade," as we march further and further away from our radical roots. We invite all radical queers, from all backgrounds, to join us next year and help us take the Dyke March back.
The Anarchy Ballet
Ballet is pretty and dancing is fun, but how many of us have avoided ballet lessons, fearing hordes of skinny snobs who have perfect feet, perfect turnout and years of experience? More than you might think! On June 7th, hairy tattooed anarchists descended on 45 Mt. Auburn to plié, elevé, frappé, rond de jambe and pas de chat to indie music and hip-hop. We learned from our facilitators, who have years of formal ballet training, that plié means bend, elevé means rise, frappé means strike, rond de jambe is a circle of the leg and pas de chat is the step of the cat. Having thus de-mystified and de-sacralized the art form traditionally reserved for the wealthy elite, an absurd amount of fun was had and a copious amount of sweat was shed as we stretched, moved and danced around the Democracy Center. We're a little sore today (I'm incredibly sore) but it was totally worth it and it is generally agreed that we should have another such event. We're going to need an additional facilitator, however, as one of them is skipping town soon for six months. We wish her luck, but we'll miss her terribly.
It was asked of me, however, why the Anarchy Ballet? Well, we need to keep our bodies and minds active and healthy if we're to offer any real threat to white supremacist heteropatriarchal ecocidal theoplutocracy. You can kill two cops with one stone if you just get together with your friends and dance!
If you live in the Greater Boston Area and you reeeallllly want to take a dance lesson (or 20) without prohibitive costs or schedule conflicts, try the Dance Complex! Conveniently located in Central Square, they offer a wide array of dance classes at different levels that cost between $8-14 per session. You can pick up a schedule of classes at 536 Mass. Ave., Cambridge or go to www.dancecomplex.org for same. Because for serious? This revolution needs more dancing.
Your Friendly Local Outsiders - A Meeting of the Codman Square Neighborhood Council
by the Dorchester BAAM Collective
It was discovered at May's meeting that there are now four members of BAAM who live in Dorchester, three of them in Codman Square, and that all four are interested in anti-authoritarian community organizing. In order to get a better idea of what was going on in the community, we decided to attend the monthly meetings of the Codman Square Neighborhood Council. Our goal is to work with the other residents, not take over while claiming to represent the people who've been living there their whole lives. Thusly resolved, the four of us attended the June meeting at the Great Hall.
As soon as we walked in, two grave-looking, large cops in full uniform shoved some sheets of paper in our faces that turned out to be the latest crime stats for Codman Square and surrounding areas, detailing addresses where crimes had supposedly been committed in our neighborhood in the past week.
It became immediately apparent that the attendees of this meeting were not representative of the residents of Codman Square, a fact confirmed during the introductions, the process of which revealed that most attendees were there not as concerned residents, but as representatives of god, capital and the state. College kids on church missions, bureaucrats from various arms of the state, and employees of liberal non-profits trying to seek recognition for their organizations filled the seats in the Great Hall. The few actual residents in attendance remained mostly silent. This was a bit discouraging. Our spirits plummeted further when the cops approached the lectern in all their middle-aged, economically privileged, white male glory to sadistically recount in excruciating detail each of the crimes that they found particularly arousing that month. Several stories involved what sounded like illegal searches by officers under their jurisdiction. Straight-faced, one officer told us that if we used our cellular telephones in public, we were "like lambs to the slaughter." Another described a local teen arsonist (who destroyed some plastic gewgaws on his neighbor's backyard grill in what was either a cry for help or a fit of boredom) in lurid terms best reserved for the truly criminal. They freely admitted to having covered the neighborhood with plainclothes officers who were spying on the residents.
A City Year worker informed us that his nonprofit would be "beautifying" (i.e. doing pointless, slapdash paint jobs and planting inedible plants) Codman Square in a day or two and that community involvement was important so people better show up. It is doubtful that anybody from the community had actually been consulted when the date was picked.
Some people from the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation elaborated their plans for turning perilous property into condos. Our radical outrage was barely contained as they lauded the capitalist wet dream of "home-ownership" as the solution to all of life's problems. Our minds trying to process the grave reality of foreclosures in Dorchester with these men's insistence on home-ownership, we were told that, following a fire and the recognition that Codman Square residents cannot afford homes, they now intend to develop the property as 16 co-op units. Predictably, they aren't giving up on the idea of condos. We learned at this point that banks and landlords in the area are now required to maintain any property they own and make public their proprietorship. Of course we were also reminded to report vandals and squatters, who are clearly more dangerous than developers.
A representative of Clean Water Action handed out kits to help people test their water for lead. However, she dumbfounded us by telling attendees that lead turns people into criminals, citing findings that people with lead exposure are more likely to get arrested. The fact that lead exposure and arrest are two symptoms of poverty should not elude someone working for environmental justice.
A man from Somerville told us he was from a non-profit called the New Prosperity Initiative. Their website currently contains no information, but he told us his organization existed to "give people stories," whatever that means. He was very earnest and seemed to think he might be helping someone somehow, but as far as we could tell he'd been drawing a paycheck for months to do nothing at all. The sum total of the program's accomplishments thus far are "giving some stories" to the Dorchester Health
Center to be posted on the Center's website. This is either an amazing con or the guy's a complete idiot. Either way, the grant money his nonprofit is sapping up could probably have gone to something slightly less self-congratulatory, and far more helpful.
Confronted with the vivid reality that the Neighborhood Council functions largely without any neighborhood accountability (apparently the 'core' Council meets separately, behind closed doors, to make actual decisions), and a little scarred from spending an hour and a half in such a repressive atmosphere, the four of us went to Nikisha's Roti Shop on Washington Street for solace. Glutting ourselves on superior Caribbean cuisine, we shared our observations and strategies. Our conclusion? Anti-authoritarian community organizing is no easy task, but someone's got to do it.
The Media's Blunder Theory of Iraq
“AFTER all the blood and blunders, people are right to be skeptical when good news is announced from Iraq.” So began a recent article in the Economist touting the “improvement” in Iraq. The article is mostly unremarkable, merely another of the “Look, we're winning after all!” pieces that tend to appear in the corporate media whenever there is a lull in the storm of violence and misery enveloping Iraq. (Although the Economist does at least renounce their 2003 endorsement of the invasion.)
But those “blunders” are worth examining more closely. The author uses the term in passing, assuming that it should go almost without saying that nobody in charge wanted things to end up this way, that the invasion of Iraq was a noble endeavor carried out with the best of intentions. The reader is expected to take on faith that Iraq is being occupied for its own good, and accept without question that no matter how many Iraqis are exiled, maimed or killed by our “blunders,” they are still better off than if we left and allowed them to manage their own affairs. People like, for example, Dick Cheney are implicitly presented as selfless humanitarians who have the world's best interest at heart and would never even shoot a single person in the face, let alone destroy an entire nation – unless, of course, they blundered.
This blunder theory, widespread in the capitalist press, requires considerable mental gymnastics to accept. Start by wrapping both legs around the Bush administration's claims of “intelligence failure” concerning the phantom WMDs. From this position do a double back flip with a twist to believe we really invaded to bring democracy to Iraq. A triple reverse no-hands cartwheel will convince you that Iraq's oil reserves played no part in the decision. Be careful not to slip on the Downing Street memo and be sure to tuck in your feet as you vault over Seymour Hersh. At this point, if you have followed the instructions correctly, your head should be wedged firmly up your ass and you are now qualified to write for the Economist.
Meanwhile, back in reality, the architects of the war didn't blunder at all. They have been tremendously successful in their true purpose of transferring vast sums of money from the poor to the rich. From the billions stolen from the Iraq Oil Fund to the billions wasted on phony reconstruction to the billions squandered on military contractors to the billions in oil company profits, the war, like all wars before it, has been a windfall for con artists, profiteers and capitalist filth of all descriptions. From their perspective failure is better than success, because it allows them to keep the gravy train rolling under the guise of rectifying our “blunders.” Their lackeys in the media are busy repackaging the war as a tragic miscalculation that the West must now set right, to make sure that the occupation continues until the last cent has been squeezed from the country they devastated.
If the Economist and their ilk really wanted to aid recovery in Iraq they would call on the US to withdraw, apologize and pay massive reparations to the survivors. But this would cost them their jobs as corporate propaganda whores, a blunder they are unlikely to commit.
Further reading (not for the weak of stomach):
Plan Mexico in Action:
The Battle for Chiapas Resumes, Zapatistas Repel 200 Invading Mexican Federal Soldiers
by Jake Carman
On June 4th, according to a statement by the Zapatista Good Government Council, at 9am Zapatista supporters sighted a column of 200 Mexican soldiers consisting of “a military convoy and public safety police, municipal police, and judicial agents...there were 2 big trucks and 3 small trucks of soldiers, 2 public safety trucks, 2 municipal police trucks, an anti-riot tank, and a truckload of judicial agents.” The armed column first entered town of Garrucha, part of the rebellious territories in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. Guided by Ocosingo municipal policeman Feliciano Román Ruiz, the Federal soldiers, heavily armed and faces painted, headed towards the town of Hermenegildo Galeana, intimidating and threatening the townspeople.
Why did a column of 200 Federal Soldiers invade a peaceful indigenous farming village? According to the Zapatista’s statement, it was an assault under the pretenses of a drug bust: “The soldiers said, ‘We came here because we know there’s marijuana here and we’re going on ahead come hell or high water.’ That’s when the people took out their machetes, shovels, rocks, slingshots, ropes and whatever was at hand, and drove them back.” The retreating soldiers, unable to defeat the people united or locate any marijuana fields, resorted to trampling the town’s only food source—the cornfields—as they fled.
The Federal soldiers could not find the marijuana fields because no such fields exist. According to Luis Hernández Navarro’s June 10th article for La Jornada, “The New Government Provocation Against Zapatismo,” the Mexican government has tried since the Zapatistas first rose up in 1994 to pin them with drug trafficking. Navarro writes, “They've never been able to demonstrate such a link, but they try time and time again. Zapatista communities prohibit the cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of drugs. It's not even permitted to drink or sell alcohol there. This isn't a new fact. The rebel commanders have made this law public since the beginning of the armed uprising.”
Though the military action was unannounced, the Zapatistas were not caught off guard. Since autumn, the rebellious people have observed the Government’s escalating assault preparations: bringing in soldiers and upgrading weapons on all 56 permanent military bases in Chiapas. Last December, Subcomandante Marcos, a charismatic spokesperson for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) made his last public speech before withdrawing to prepare for the impending invasion, saying, “The signs of war on the horizon are clear.” The June 4th attack could be the first major battle of that war.
Though the Zapatistas have been struggling since 1994 for “Peace, Justice and Democracy” in Mexico, as their credo states, they have been met only with wave after wave of violence: invasions, massacres and assaults by both State and Federal Government forces as well as the paramilitaries they support. And though no link between the Zapatistas and drug trafficking has even been found, the Mexican Government is now getting additional ammunition for these false accusations—literally.
At the end of May, 2008, the United States Government passed the Merida Initiative, introduced by President Bush and also known as Plan Mexico, with the opposition of 159 Republicans but only 7 democrats in the House of Representatives. While the wording in the Merida Initiative, according to Kristin Bricker’s article, “Plan Mexico,” “specifically targets drug cartels, the initiative's counterpart in Colombia, Plan Colombia, demonstrates that drug war equipment and training will inevitably be used against activists and insurgent organizations.” That is, $1.6 of potential US military aid for use against activists and insurgent organizations, like the Zapatistas.
There is already precedent for the misuse of Drug War money in Mexico, even beyond the years of accusations of Zapatista-drug trafficking and subsequent military action. As Bricker writes, “Following the Zapatista uprising in 1994, the Mexican military strafed Chiapan indigenous communities using helicopters donated by the US to combat drug trafficking and production.”
Though the US Senate has not yet released its specifications for the bill, the version passed by the House will grant in the next two years $116.5 million to the Mexican Military for training and arming, and $210 million to promote US anti-immigration efforts on the Southern side of the border.
Considering the Mexican Government’s long history of false accusations and would-be drug raids on Zapatista territory, coupled with the recent escalation of the Government’s war against the people of Chiapas, Plan Mexico spells certain danger for the future of our southern comrades. While the US Government squanders away millions more of our tax dollars to oppress and exploit the workers and poor resisting in other countries it is up to us, the conscious and revolutionary workers and communities in the States to stand up in solidarity with our sisters and brothers. In that vain, I urge you to heed the call for help issued by the Zapatistas on June 4th: “Comrades of the Other Campaign in Mexico and other countries, we ask you to be on the alert because the soldiers said they’ll be back in two weeks. We don’t want war. We want peace with justice and dignity. But we have no other choice than to defend ourselves, resist them, and eject them when they come looking for a confrontation with us in the towns of the Zapatista support bases.”
The New Government Provocation Against Zapatismo
by Luis Hernández Navarro
La Jornada, June 10, 2008
translation by Kristin Bricker
“TOWARDS A NEW DAWN: RESISTANCE CARACOL, ROAD TO THE FUTURE”
by GOOD GOVERNMENT COUNCIL
JUNE 4, 2008
“Plan Mexico Passed: The military and police aid package will provide US training and equipment to terrorize Mexicans.”
By Kristin Bricker
*Two Wheeled Resistance: The Critical Mass Story*
On the last Friday of every month, in major cities all over the world, a group protest happens. Anywhere from dozens to thousands of cyclists gather to express their disapproval of a roadway system that favors cars and treats bicycles as an afterthought. The protest is called Critical Mass, and it is the world's foremost example of regularly occurring direct action.
Critical Mass began in San Francisco in September 1992, when it was called Commute Clot. The name Critical Mass comes from the movie *Return of the Scorcher*, which shows huge crowds of Beijing bicycle commuters grouping at intersections until their numbers reach a "critical mass" sufficient to let them proceed. In the protest version, bicyclists ride slowly in a group, clogging car traffic, chanting slogans and blocking intersections until the entire ride has passed. The route is sometimes agreed on in advance, but usually riders just make it up as they go along, occasionally stopping at an intersection for a brief conference.
Needless to say, Critical Mass is not appreciated by the police. In many cities the ride is shadowed by nearly as many cops as riders. Tickets and arrests are not uncommon. The August 2007 ride in Minneapolis was attacked by cops without provocation. Riders were beaten, tasered and pepper sprayed. Nineteen were arrested, sixteen of whom were eventually charged. Last month, a jury acquitted one of the arrestees, Gus Ganley, of assaulting an officer, after about five minutes of deliberation. Two others are still facing charges.
In New York City, the city government has been trying to shut down Critical Mass since the Republican National Convention in 2004. Riders have been arrested and jailed for nothing more than traffic violations. An ordinance prohibiting group rides of more than fifty people without a permit was unilaterally imposed by the NYPD. Time's Up!, a New York bicycle advocacy group, has had their office raided during a post-ride Halloween party and been sued by the city.
Here in Boston the cops have largely ignored Critical Mass. The ride leaves on the last Friday of each month from Copley Square, on Boylston Street between Clarendon and Dartmouth, at 5:00 PM. The April and May rides drew an estimated 300 cyclists each.
Open Mic Night at TJ’s Vegan Pizza, 7pm, 487 Cambridge St, Allston/ More info: www.myspace.com/scallywagglesopenmic
Papercut Zine Library meeting, 7:30pm, 45 mt. auburn st
Martial arts classes, 6pm, 45 mt. auburn st.
First Tuesday of Every Month:
BAAM meeting, 7pm, Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston
Second Tuesday of Every Month:
Anarchist Black Cross meeting (defense and prison abolition group), 8pm, 45 mt. auburn st.
Second Sunday of Every Month:
Industrial Workers of the World meeting. 2pm, Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston
Food Not Bombs free community meal, 4-6pm, Boston Common, Park St T Stop
Every First and Third Sunday:
Rising Tide meeting to plan climate justice actions, skillshares and events. 6pm, Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston
Global Day of Action Against Starbucks!
Grand Rapids Starbucks Union and Sevilla, Spain CNT have announced a Global Day of Action against Starbucks July 5th. Day to protest recent firing of CNT member and Starbucks employee in Spain and continuing anti-union discrimination in Grand Rapids
The Union of Commercial and Hotel workers CNT-AIT in Sevilla, Spain along with the Grand Rapids Starbucks Workers Union (IWW) have announced a Global Day of Action scheduled for July 5th. The two groups are asking social organizations, unions, and individuals from around the world to promote and participate in this day of action.
Grand Rapids Starbucks Union blog: http://grsbuxunion.blogspot.com/
Prisoner Support Afternoon: Join the Boston Anarchist Black Cross is ongoing prisoner support, including sending literature, doing research, and writing pen pal letters. 2pm, at
Meeting of the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society. Help plan the Third Annual Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March (see August 23rd) and get a Borglum commemorative monument dedicated to Sacco and Vanzetti in the North End. 6pm, 45 Mnt Auburn St, Cambridge, Ma.
Anarchist feminist reflection on 160 years of struggle, Seneca Falls, NY [more precise location forthcoming, but it'll be outdoors, rain or shine]. 12pm.
On July 19th 1848, the national conversation on 'the condition and rights of women' began in Seneca Falls, NY. Subsequent movements for gender justice have left a mixed legacy in terms of analysis, tactics and impact.
Come for discussions, food, socializing and etc. We hope to produce our own Declaration of Sentiments.
This event is open to those who either identify as women and/or are identified as such by the bloodshot eyes of the male gaze. Allies, we love you and we're glad you exist, but we'll catch up with you later. [allies who wish to support this event are invited to contact littlejohn68 (at) gmail.com]
Travel: Check the Northeast anarchist rideshare board: http://www.neanarchist.net/?q=ed-classified
Direct housing inquiries to littlejohn68 (at) gmail.com. General event inquiries may be sent to cyd.grayson (at) gmail.com
Bikes Not Bombs/Pets in Need Shelter Benefit Concert. $6 suggested admission. 7pm, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Boston.
Anarchist reading group. First gathering of BAAM’s brand-new reading group. The book: 'Instead of Prisons.' You can download it for free online at http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/instead_of_prisons/
or purchase it at the Lucy Parsons Center, where the group will meet at 7pm, 549 Columbus Ave, The South End of Boston.
Thursday, July 17th, 5:30 pm.
Kick off of the New England tour of the Network of Revolutionary Musicians, a project of the Northeast Anarchist Network. At Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave, Chinatown, Boston, Ma. Look for subsequent dates in Western Ma, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island.
July 30th – Aug 3rd:
The Northeast Climate Confluence
*Confluence*: a mixing of different streams or weather patterns that flow
together and become stronger, resulting in a series of storms.
The *Northeast Climate Confluence* is a weeklong coming-together of movements, groups, and individuals to strategize for action, strengthen our relationships, and share ideas and skills. The same system that wages a daily war on our communities is poised to destroy our very lifeblood: the earth, the water, our food, and our culture. The power to stop this destruction already flows through our roots, and by combining our knowledge and energy we will create real solutions and decrease our dependence on the institutions that are attacking the planet and all life.
Climate Change is about more than just carbon in the atmosphere. It directly affects people's lives. The communities hardest hit by climate disasters are already the most impacted by the injustice that causes environmental devastation: indigenous people, women, LGBTQ folk, people of color, youth, elders, people with disabilities, and the working class.
At the Confluence, there will be workshops, performances, trainings and strategy sessions about the issues affecting our communities and our planet from prisons and police brutality to food sovereignty, healthcare, and disaster relief. Together we will plan a day of direct action in coordination with similar gatherings around the world.
At the Epworth Camp & Retreat Center, High Falls, NY *www.climateconfluence.org*
August 16th and 17th:
New England Subregional Meeting of the Northeast Anarchist Network.
Day 1: New people and networking day: come share your projects/groups/aspirations with the assembly while eating free food and meeting other anarchists. 11am- 6pm, followed by entertainment from the Network of Revolutionary Musicians.
Day 2: A more serious day of meetings. Agenda will be announced closer to the date, but you can contribute to it by emailing Jake at Trenchesfullofpoets (at) hotmail.com
Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave, Chinatown, Boston
Third Annual Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March. Rally at Copley Square at 1pm, March to the North End at 3pm. Speakers and bands TBA. SaccoandVanzetti.org
August 24th – 28th:
Disrupt the DNC! Help disrupt the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. More info: dncdisruption08.org.
Sept. 1st – 4th:
Shut Down the RNC! Crash the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. More info: nornc.org.
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