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BAAM # 12: Our Birthday Issue
Email: trenchesfullofpoets (nospam) riseup.net
27 Aug 2008
We are proud to release our 12th issue, which is also our 1 year birthday issue! As always you can download the PDF, but we are also now offering a mail subscription. We have changed a lot since our first, four-page paper, produced especially for last year’s Sacco and Vanzetti Parade, and are excited to launch our mail-subscriptions program. Check "Our birthday " article on page 2 for info on subscriptions. Text version also below
Sacco And Vanzetti Remembered; ICE Strikes Mass.; Our Birthday Issue! Pg 2
Hacking the T pg 3
Verizon Workers Win Contract; A Preview of the DNC, Pg 5
Abortion in Ireland Pg 6
War in Georgia, Pg 8
Remember Sacco and Vanzetti
by Jake Carman
wanted a roof for every family, bread for every mouth, education for every heart, light for every intellect. I am convinced that the human history has not yet begun--that we find ourselves in the last period of the prehistoric. I see with the eyes of my soul how the sky is diffused with rays of the new millennium.” - Bartolomeo Vanzetti
81 years ago today, two Italian immigrants, workers and anarchists, Niccola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were electrocuted by the state of Massachusetts for the robbery of a payroll and murder of a paymaster and guard at a Braintree shoe-factory. The seven-year trial preceding the execution proved their innocence to everyone besides the Massachusetts judicial system, anti-immigrant racists and anti-radical reactionaries. The trial is still known as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in history. Millions of people protested for Sacco and Vanzetti’s freedom, and then mourned their deaths on almost every continent, and their funeral procession from the North End of Boston to the site of their cremation in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, was the largest procession of any kind in Boston until the Patriots won the Superbowl in 2002. In 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis even signed a proclamation saying, “Any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti... We are here to say that the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti.”
Sacco and Vanzetti were not executed for killing a paymaster or robbing a payroll. They were the victims of the Government in a period marked by widespread fear of immigrants and especially ones who held radical ideas. Sacco and Vanzetti were both deeply involved in a very active local Italian anarchist movement. It was for their heritage, their belief in and work toward a revolution for the emancipation of all oppressed people that they were imprisoned and then murdered. As Judge Webster Thayer, the presiding judge from a prominent military family said to a friend after denying Sacco and Vanzetti’s appeal, “Did you see what I did to those anarchist bastards? That ought to hold them for a while.”
The arrests of Sacco and Vanzetti came at the beginning of the Palmer Raids, and their execution ushered in the Red Scare, the combination of which amounted to a period of anti-radical, anti-worker repression that killed the hopes of a new American Revolution and spelt doom for those who fought for a better life. We still live in this period. The same anti-immigrant racism and anti-radical repression by the government is very much alive today; and though our movements for freedom and justice are growing, the State hits us with their forces wherever we dare stand up. Take a look at the recent raids against migrant workers in Massachusetts (pg 1), the anti-anarchist propaganda the Government is using to target protesters during the Democratic and Republican National Convention (pg 5), or the brutal attacks of the police on the Industrial Workers of the World last year ( pg 7). If we are to continue our work towards a future of liberation, we will need to remember the lessons learned and the struggles fought by those who have passed before us. The road to freedom is long and treacherous, but with strong hearts, stubborn wills and thoughtful minds, together we can prevail.
ICE Strikes Mass Immigrant Families
by Alysha S.
undreds of immigrants of varying statuses have been picked up in raids all over the State of Massachusetts this month as part of Operation: Community Shield, a recent attack on the immigrant and refugee communities. According to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the purpose of Operation Community Shield is to round up violent criminals and gang members. In reality, the only thing the hundreds of immigrants and refugees being detained and deported all have in common is that they are immigrants and refugees who have had prior encounters with law enforcement. Most are productive members of the community, who have only been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. People of varying immigration statuses are being targeted, including green card holders.
In an interview, Dimple Rana, local organizer for Deported Diaspora, stated that ICE is using Operation Community Shield to detain and deport people who, although they have had prior scrapes with the law, have been supporting and providing for their families (who are often US citizens) for several years, thereby not only punishing immigrants, but also punishing their families. According the Rana, those who have not yet been served final orders of removal have been taken to a detention center in New Mexico, where they are forced to sign deportation papers and thereafter often return to countries they fled as refugees. Folks reporting back from New Mexico say they endured a long bus ride with only two stops from Massachusetts to New Mexico, that they weren’t given food for the entire bus ride, and that once they arrived at the detention center in New Mexico, the food had beetles and flies in it.
A spokesperson for Deported Diaspora has said that they want immigration judges to review cases, not just stamp orders.
If you or any of your family members is an immigrant of any status who has had a prior encounter with law enforcement and you do not yet have a lawyer, get one. An e-mail sent out by the Brazilian Women’s Group urges everyone to stay calm, but be aware of your rights. Information about immigrant rights is available in Portuguese at www.verdeamarelo.org.
Information about who has been detained, including name, date of birth, country of origin, where the person is being held, and alien registration number, can be sent to Ellen Gallagher or Sarang Sekhavat of the MIRA Coalition.
City of Boston. City Council, Official Resolution
Offered By Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner
Whereas: On August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed after being found guilty for the murder of Alessandro Berardelli and Frederic Parmenter by a clearly prejudiced and biased judge of the Commonwealth; and
Whereas: Sacco and Vanzetti were outspoken critics of the federal government - self-professed anarchists - and many historians and others have contended that the Sacco and Vanzetti prosecution, trial, and death sentence displayed a lack of respect for political civil liberties and the right to dissent; and
Whereas: Some critics have alleged that the conviction and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, who were first-generation Italian immigrants, were at least partially influenced by racism, anti-Italian prejudice, and discrimination against immigrants in the United States; and
Whereas: On August 23, 1977, Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation
acknowledging the fiftieth anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti and asking everyone to "resolve to prevent the forces of intolerance, fear, and hatred from ever again uniting to overcome the rationality, wisdom and fairness to which our legal system aspires”; and
Whereas: These historical events are an integral part of the history of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and constitute a nefarious precedent that we must strive not to repeat; and
Whereas: On August 23, 2008, the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society is holding a gathering at Copley Square, and a march to the North End ending with a rally there;
Therefore be it Resolved
That the Boston City Council does hereby extend its admiration and congratulations to the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, and in honor of its many contributions, does hereby declare August 23, 2008 Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Day in the City of Boston; that this Resolution be signed by the President of the City Council and attested to and a copy thereof transmitted by the Clerk of the City of Boston.
BAAM Newsletter 1st Anniversary
Though BAAM has existed for around 8 years, our Newsletter celebrates its first birthday today, August 23rd. We have changed a lot since our first, four-page paper, produced especially for last year’s Sacco and Vanzetti Parade, and are excited to launch our mail-subscriptions program. For 12 to 15 dollars, you can have the BAAM Newsletter mailed to your door every month, keeping you updated on local anarchist news and views, and your donation will help insure the future of our publication. Please send well-concealed cash or checks, payable to Jeff Reinhardt, to BAAM Newsletter C/O Boston ABC, PO Box 230182, Boston, Ma 02123.
Thank you so much to our readers and comrades. Keep struggling!
By the Way, McCain is a Bonehead, Too
McCain; Just Plain Evil
Here at the BAAM newsletter, after roasting Obama’s stances in two consecutive issues, we felt it would be prudent to explain the obvious; we oppose his “opposition“ as well. This incredibly easy task of explaining why McCain is pure evil fell to me.
McCain supports gender-based pay discrimination, tells rape jokes, called his wife a cunt in front of reporters, repeatedly votes against funding for measures that would prevent unintended pregnancy and publicly announces his support for overturning the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to an abortion. He has vocally opposed first amendment rights and has expressed more than once his ignorance on economic issues. Other goodies from his voting record: he loves oil, AIDS, corporate fraud, and government corruption. He hates Katrina victims, affirmative action, education, the environment and children with disabilities.
He is on record, and on camera, saying to 60 Minutes, “I disagree with what the majority of the American people want.“ He loves Bush, often expresses admiration for Bush policies and is on record, and on camera, saying the War On Iraq should continue for another 10,000 years. He is similarly on the record and on camera singing, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,“ to the tune of “Barbara Ann.“ McCain once demanded that Representative LeBoutillier drop his pants to prove that he wasn’t wearing a wire.
Maverick McCain, that pragmatic centrist, is ideologically opposed to contraception (yes, that includes condoms) and medically accurate sex education, despite his life-long open enthusiasm for sleaze and smut.
But doesn’t that reinforce our need to support Obama, the structural optimist will ask. Well Obama’s views on abortion are extremely patronizing, he joked around with Bernie Mac about how women are hoes, he routinely addresses and dismisses reporters and random women as “sweetie.“ Despite Obama’s lip service to gender pay equity, the men in his staff outrank and outnumber their female counterparts, who also receive less pay. In 2001 he expressed willingness to compromise racial and reproductive justice to confirm Supreme Court nominees who were anti-affirmative action and pro-coerced pregnancy. His voting record is alarming by how many important, contentious issues he declined to vote on. As has already been covered in previous editions of the BAAM newsletter, Obama hates immigrants while hearting NAFTA and Zionist occupations. Like every other politician on the planet, Obama is bought and paid for by powerful lobbies, but unlike other candidates, Obama accepts their donations through third parties like the Democratic National Committee and law offices so it doesn’t actually look like he’s accepting lobby money. The presumptive Democratic nominee is generally a right wing tool masquerading as a means whereby meaningful change can occur.
Which all brings us back to why we are anarchists to begin with. These bloodthirsty imperialists are the two viable candidates for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world. These politicians are both terrifying and we should be running and fighting for our lives rather than trying to decide which of the two is less evil and more fit for the office. While these dangerous lunatics are off drinking the blood of workers out of champagne glasses, I’m thinking we should be organizing de-centralized models of anti-oppressive sustainability and autonomous, horizontal decision-making structures and cooperative uses of resources. You know, anarchy.
Hacking the T
A PDF file that recently appeared on the web site of MIT's student newspaper is titled Anatomy of a Subway Hack. No, it's not about a bad golfer who works at a sandwich shop. It’s a presentation by MIT computer science students on the poor security of the MBTA. The students, R.J. Ryan, Zack Anderson and Alessandro Chiesa, had planned to give the presentation at the DEFCON 16 hacker convention in Las Vegas. Their slide show illuminates numerous security breakdowns throughout the MBTA’s fare collection system. Unlocked doors, wide-open turnstiles and unsecured turnstile control boxes abound. Access keys and employee passes are left lying in the open. The video feeds from security cameras often go unwatched by anyone. The presentation includes a color-coded station-by-station map of security holes.
Yet the MBTA’s physical security problems pale in comparison to the vulnerabilities of the CharlieTicket electronic tickets. Fare information, instead of being secured in a central database, is stored directly on the card, leaving it vulnerable to anyone with a $400 magnetic strip reader/writer. CharlieTickets can be cloned and/or have their value increased to a maximum amount of $655.36.
The security of the T’s CharlieCard passes is almost as pathetic. These cards use the notoriously weak Mifare Classic RFID chips, about which noted cryptographer Bruce Schneier has commented that “Anyone with any security experience would be embarrassed to put his name to the design.” A hacker with an RFID reader could remotely copy the CharlieCard in a subway rider’s wallet and clone it onto his own card using easily obtained equipment. The Mifare chips are used in public transportation systems all over the world and have been known to be vulnerable since last December.
When informed of these vulnerabilities, MBTA officials reacted in classic authoritarian fashion by blaming the messenger. They obtained a temporary injunction banning the students from presenting their findings at DEFCON on the grounds that the presentation would "cause irreparable harm" to the MBTA. In granting the injunction, federal judge Douglas Woodlock completely ignored the fact that the harm to our public transit had already been done by the MBTA's own negligence and that the MIT students were just reporting it (not to mention that the T's old token-based system could be "hacked" by anybody with access to a machine shop).
Unfortunately for the T, their legal team was as incompetent as their engineers. They didn't file for the injunction until after several hundred CDs of the presentation had already been mailed to
DEFCON attendees. Worse, they included a separate vulnerability assessment report received from MIT in their filing, thereby making it a public document. That report contains additional details not included in the presentation.
As is usual in Internet censorship cases, the attempt to suppress embarrassing information only generated more publicity, alerting far more people to the MBTA's security problems than ever would have heard of them otherwise. Copies of the presentation and the vulnerability assessment have been scattered far and wide on the Internet for any moderately ambitious criminal to peruse. But anybody considering electronically scamming free bus trips might do well to remember the machines of Douglas Adams' Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, and not “be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.” In other words, a free subway ride might not be worth what you paid for it. With that in mind I'll probably keep riding my bike until someone hacks the T to make the buses run on time, or at least smell better.
Trouble on the Tracks
By Jeff Reinhardt
As gas prices continue to rise and the general cost of living skyrockets, if there was any good that was going to come from this summer's energy crisis, it should be bettering urban public transit systems. After all, using them costs significantly less and takes money out of the hands of the oil giants with a more earth-friendly alternative.
In Boston, however, we have seen much the opposite happen. Starting in 2010, we might have to start paying for it (and Exxon did report its highest quarterly profit margin ever, although short of what investors hoped for).
Despite ridership increasing this year by 6.1%, MBTA general manager Daniel A. Grabauskas told the Globe on Tuesday, August 5 that in order to rescue the transit agency from an ever-worsening fiscal crisis, there would have to be a "hefty" fare increase in 2010.
The MBTA is now going to be $8.2 billion dollars in debt. Sure, that is only an imaginary figure that exists on paper, but it means that the public might be paying fares of up to $2.50 per subway trip and up to $1.90 for local bus service after next year. Last January was the when the last fare increase occurred, raising the fare for the subway from $1.25 to $1.70 with a Charlie Card, $2.00 with cash or paper ticket. The bus fare increased from $.90 to $1.25. In 2001 a similar increase took place.
The trouble started back in 1999, when the MBTA's revenue system was restructured. Prior to the year 2000, the MBTA's debt was handled by the state, which would support the agency when necessary to keep it running. Now, the MBTA is funded only from the state sales tax, from which it receives 20% to supply its revenue. The problem with this is that the sales tax has not been supporting the T, and with the drastic increase in energy costs, it does little to cover the cost of operating a mass transit system.
So now there are two options that the MBTA can choose—raising fares in 2010, or cutting service—neither which is going to make the public happy, or put even a small dent in the debt. Both will inevitably decrease ridership, which is exactly the opposite of what should be happening.
"The MBTA has their hands tied down right now," said Rene Mardones, spokesperson for the T Riders Union (TRU). Rather than accepting the state of the T's affairs, TRU has been working steadily over the last two years to pass a bill in the state house to alleviate the T's debt and improving their overall finances. The bill (HR 3694) was drafted around the time of the last fare increase in 2007, but has yet to pass.
TRU, which is part of Alternatives for the Community and Environment (ACE), a nonprofit environmental justice group in Dudley Square, has been one of the only organizations meeting the MBTA's problems head on. They have been proactive in an area where many see no hope.
TRU also works closely with the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee, which is an organization that tries to affect transit policy through legislative means. The group recently wrote a letter to Governor Deval Patrick, urging him to take action and alleviate debt. But, as of now, the governor has not responded.
Both groups see the MBTA's debt not just as an isolated problem, but one that affects people differently depending on their socio-economic class. TRU regularly surveys riders in working class areas like Dorchester, Roxbury, and Chelsea. The residents in these neighborhoods depend on the bus as the primary form of transportation. The buses they take are consistently the slowest and least reliable. Also, these people are hit hardest by fare increases.
"Most of the people who use buses are low income," said Mardones, speaking about the last fare increase in January 2007. "So it [fare increases] really impacts them. We are putting in effort to try and reach them." TRU has done this through legislative actions as well as street protests and organizing the people to attend the MBTA board's monthly hearings.
TRU fought the last fare increase, and although they did not stop it, they plan on fighting a new fare increase in 2010. In the past, they helped fight for more environmentally friendly fuel, in the form of compressed natural gas, which has been implemented. They also successfully stopped buses in Dudley from idling in between trips, to cut down on air pollution.
Ultimately, TRU is fighting to keep the MBTA afloat, and for it to provide fair service to those who need it most. It has the ability to benefit all public transit users in Boston though. "If we have a really reliable system," said Mardones. "Then people will use the system more and it will improve."
We are certainly looking at an uphill battle, but rather than just complaining, there are steps citizens can take to improve our transit system. The MBTA board of directors meets the first Thursday of every month at 1pm on the third floor of the Transportation Building. Go tell them your story about the T, and help them improve service for everyone.
For more information about the T Riders' Union and ways to get involved call Rene Mardones at 617-442-3313 x239 or email him at rene (at) ace-ej.org
A Preview of the DNC
Much has been made by many a liberal Democrat about the supposed "different-ness" of their political party, one that they claim has miraculously found a way to take billions of dollars of money every year from racist, sexist, land-raping capitalists and simultaneously support the liberation of women from patriarchy, people of color from white supremacy, workers from bosses, and the earth from destructive abuse. Anarchists reject these easily apparent lies every day, and they plan to do so again at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver Colorado.
The Democratic National Convention in 2008 is going to be a 100 million dollar party for out-of-towners in a city where some people are starving. Official rules state that companies who give the Democratic Party a quarter of a million dollars are allowed to host talks with politicians on issues affecting their industries, that individuals or companies who give 52 thousand are allowed multiple advertising opportunities at the convention, and that individuals or companies who donate a million are guaranteed a meeting with the local mayor, senator and state representative.
What these policies mean is that the convention is being funded by mining companies who destroy our planet, by weapon-makers, by Coke, by banks that send people out of their homes in winter so that the houses may sit empty, by tobacco companies, by insurance companies, and by many others who have reason to be afraid of real democracy. These companies have been attracted to the convention by promises that they will be able to sway those in power, and they are being granted access and influence that most voters cannot fathom. What these policies mean is that Target has a voice while our voices are silenced.
In fact, a security budget of 50 million dollars has been put in place to make sure that nobody like me can interrupt Target while its shills are trying to speak. The Secret Service is officially in charge of security, with local cops doing most of the brutal enforcement. Police forces from other cities are also coming into Denver for the duration of the convention, despite the well-documented fact that this tactic increases civil rights abuses on the part of the imported police officers.
However, activists at Unconventional Denver have already offered the violence-prone and violence-seeking law enforcement a way out. They've declared in a statement to the city of Denver, the Democratic party, and the nation that they will not protest the convention at all if the ludicrous sum of 50 million dollars is re-routed to programs which help the people of Denver and the local communities.
The offer made by Unconventional Denver is worth quoting. "It is true," they say, "that there is a group mobilizing forces from across the country and amassing exotic weapons that they refuse to disclose to the public. They have a record of inflicting violence on unarmed civilians and illegally spying on citizens working toward positive change. They even dress in black- they are the Denver police and the various local, state and federal forces that will be transforming Denver into a miniature version of the occupation of Iraq when the DNC comes to town."
The protesters pointed out in their statement that the 50 million dollars would help to re-open the six schools Denver shut down last year or begin to insure the 160 thousand children in the Denver area with no health insurance coverage. They suggested using the money to help provide renewable energy to the city.
It is obvious from the statement prepared by Unconventional Denver that DNC 2008 protesters are not the terrorists for which the Democratic National Committee claims they are preparing. In fact, they really do come off as far more anti-violence than the thugs in uniform who would descend on the city in order to wreak havoc. Instead of new surveillance cameras, Unconventional Denver wants new hospitals and new schools. Instead of violent confrontation, anarchists want to help Denver's residents access the services that all people need to survive. If the city, Democratic Party, and federal government say no, then it is because the city, the Democratic Party, and the federal government value violence over the feeding and schooling of their own citizens.
Verizon Workers Avoid Strike, Win Contract
On Friday, August 8th, Verizon reached a tentative agreement with the two unions representing its employees, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA). Verizon workers had remained on the job without a contract after their August 3rd strike deadline passed, allowing negotiations to continue. As one Verizon Union Installation Repair Technician working in Boston said in an August 6th interview, “Sometimes its more advantageous for the union to not strike. The company has to get their scabs in hotels and be ready to go, and they’re paying us to work.” He added, “It worked for the union last time, I’m hoping it works this time as well.”
It did work. Along with a 3% plus wage increases for the next 3 years, the workers won on the issue they considered most pressing: health and retiree benefits. Verizon wanted to get rid of their supplemental insurance plan for retirees, which would have affected thousands of people, including those who worked at the original, government-owner phone-company, Ma Bell, as well as New England Telephone, Ninex, Bell Atlantic, and other Verizon predecessors.
“We made out the best on the contract,” said the Union Technician, who asked to remain anonymous. “The problem is the people who get hired after this is settled will, instead of benefits, basically get $430 for each year of service once they retire, which is hardly anything.” He added that the current and former workers are largely satisfied with the new contract, saying, “It will definitely get ratified by the Locals. It’s a good contract.”
Verizon, a New York-based telecommunications company, has about 65,000 union employees nationwide, 15% represented by IBEW, and the rest by CWA. The unions and the management had been at bargaining table in New York since May 27th, negotiating the new contract. “Both sides were entering with open minds with the goal of arriving at a fair contract," said Phil Santoro, Verizon's regional Media Relations Manager in an interview with the Lowell Sun. But while both Verizon and the Unions were optimistic about the outcome, the workers’ big victory can be attributed to an issue of leverage. “It really has to do with competition,” said the technician. “More now than ever, it is such a huge issue for the company.” Verizon’s newest product, FIOS, which means Fiber-Optic Technology, was previously only for Government use, and now that they are doing home installations the company has an opportunity to stand out against its competitors. Without their workers, trained as they are in the new technology. however, Verizon could have lost major profits. “If we went on strike, there were no people who they could hired who could set it up the right way,” said the anonymous technician. “They basically realized that they had to settle or risk loosing a whole lot more on their FIOS investment.”
Though the Verizon unions won this battle, many have a bleak outlook for the future of unions. The national numbers of unionized jobs is embarrassing, but workers like the technician we interviewed are standing up to defend “a dieing breed of American jobs that pays a living wage, pays benefit, that actually takes care of its employees.” Unions in Boston still actively and successfully employ strike tactics, and picket lines are generally recognized. For Boston workers, said the anonymous Verizon employee, “Crossing the picket-line is like punching your mother, you can’t undo once its done.” One last word of advice from the victorious workers at Verizon: “We’ve got to fight with every ounce we have in us to keep what’s left, cause when you give up stuff they never give it back. If we were to give and inch on retiree benefits, they will never get that back, and next contract, the company’s going to ask for 2 inches.”
See the proposed contract PDF; www.IBEW2222.org
Abortion in Ireland
By Clara Hendricks
ast month Irish anarchist Aileen O’Carroll spoke at LPC about her experience in the struggle for abortion rights. Ireland, mostly due to the role of the Catholic church in society, has been very resistant to any sort of family planning. For example, contraception was completely illegal (including condoms!) until 1979, when it became legal for married people to obtain it through their general practitioner. The book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” was not permitted in public libraries. And abortion? Not only is it still completely illegal in the country, but restrictions were passed in the 1980s making it illegal to travel to get the procedure and to provide information about the procedure itself or about traveling.
In resistance, student unions at universities, of which O’Carroll was a part, sold condoms illegally, also serving as a fundraiser for their groups. The Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM), an Irish anarchist organization, was instrumental in the struggle, calling for free abortion on demand, and nothing less. They held pickets, and continued to organize throughout the pro-life backlash of the 1980s.
Yet the attacks on the reproductive rights of women continued. Eileen Flynn, a secondary school teacher, was fired in 1982 for being pregnant out of wedlock. In 1984, the Garda (Irish Police) found a baby stabbed to death in the town where Joanne Hayes was pregnant and unmarried. After being held in custody and assaulted, Hayes and her family admitted to the murder. Later, they withdrew their confessions and said that she had indeed given birth, but the baby was dead and they buried it on the family farm, which was confirmed by finding the body. However, the Garda insisted that these two babies must have been twins, and even when they found out that they had different blood types, insisted that she must have gotten pregnant by two men simultaneously. Although the murder charges were eventually dropped, a tribunal the following year cleared the Garda of obtaining the confessions by intimidation and branded Hayes and her family as liars.
Then in 1992 came a turning point: the X Case. This case involved a 14-year old girl who had been raped and was traveling to England with her family to get an abortion. When an injunction was served against them, the 14 year old girl stated that she would commit suicide if she wasn’t allowed to get an abortion, which led to a Supreme Court deciding that a woman had the “right” to an abortion when her life was in danger, expanding the definition of life to include the possibility of suicide.
The X Case was a turning point, according to O’Carroll, because people decided they had had enough. Between ten and fifteen thousand people marched on the streets of Dublin. The attitude had changed; what were once sparsely-attended pickets became large protests every day. Then the nation held a referendum on three questions. The WSM urged voters to vote YES on the right for a woman to travel to another country, YES on the right for a woman to obtain information about abortion and how to travel to another country, and NO to allowing abortion “where there is a real and substantial risk to the life as to opposed to the health of the mother, excluding self termination.” On this point, the anarchists found themselves on the same side as the militant pro-lifers, but clearly for different reasons. This new wording would eliminate the chance for a woman like X to have an abortion. All three of these referendum questions were decided in the favor of the WSM and their pro-choice allies.
The X case was a starting point for several other major decisions. Since 1992, contraception, divorce, and homosexuality have been legalized. However, the struggle for abortion still continues. While the government will help women like X get to other countries for their procedures, and travel within Europe is relatively inexpensive, abortion is still not truly accessible in Ireland. Anarchists in the struggle for abortion rights have refused to settle for “abortion for suicidal 14-year old rape victims only,” as O’Carroll describes other groups as pushing. As the main actors in the pro-choice movement, unlike in the US where anarchists often see the reproductive justice movement as a “middle-class liberal” cause, they continue to demand full access for all women.
As I listened to and was inspired by O’Carroll’s talk, I wondered, why aren’t anarchists in the United States doing this? I could think of several reasons.
Assumption One: There is full access to abortion in the United States. The struggle for abortion ended in 1973 with Roe v. Wade.
In reality, there are many barriers preventing women from getting abortions. Along with the diminishing number of providers and the lack of education that many women receive, money is a huge issue. Currently the unmet need (amount of money that would be needed in order for all women who want an abortion in the United States to get one) is about 20 million dollars. Procedures can cost thousands of dollars, and many women end up having children they do not want, because of their inability to come up with this money in such a short period of time.
Assumption Two: Any work that involves working with legislation or “reform” is ineffective and un-anarchist. Anarchists should never vote and should not encourage others to do so.
Yes, anarchists definitely need to look beyond the legal and political systems. We all know this. But we all do things that don’t fall in line with our belief system, including driving cars, paying rent, etc., none of which are supporting anything but Capitalism. So if there is legislation pending that will actually help women get access to procedures that they want, why would we not support it? Additionally, coalition-building with ally groups that are not explicitly anarchist is an essential part of building popular movements for change. We cannot change anything by just interacting with people who think exactly like us. As O’Carroll said, we must take advantage of these turning points, and use them to make the kind of change we want to see. This is our struggle, too, so let’s start acting like it.
To help women access abortion in the here and now or to find out more information about abortion access in the US please visit:
For more on the Irish Anarchist Struggle for Abortion: http//:Struggle.ws/wsm/abortion.html
Prov. IWW Rallies on Anniversary
of Police Attack
By John Cleary
ough she was Armed with nothing more than a pair of drum sticks and a drum, the cop arresting Alex Svoboda kicked out her left leg, then knelt down on her after she collapsed. Alex suffered a broken tibia, severely torn ACL and PCL, torn muscles, and nerve damage. This is the sort of injury that would occur from the impact of your knee hitting the dashboard of a car during a collision. Though the officer required no medical attention and filed no injury report, she was charged with assulting an officer, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest.
It’s been one year since Alex Svoboda was brutally maimed by the North Providence police during a protest against the inhumane labor practices of HWH/Dragonland. In that time, Alex has endured surgeries, spent hours in physical therapy, and appeared in court several times to defend herself against the unsubstantiated charges the cops leveled at her. However, these experiences have done nothing to sour her personality or weaken her resolve to fight when her rights or the rights of others are threatened. And the August 10, 2008 rally in Providence, RI proved that support for Alex has not abated in the least.
More than 70 people came out to Donigian Park in Providence to rally against police brutality and promote fair labor practices. Speakers talked about the gravity of police brutality, and gave updates on victories in organizing. John Holland and Jake and the Infernal Machine further bolstered spirits with folk music performances. The Providence branch of Food Not Bombs provided free catering. Representatives from the Providence and Boston IWW, Western Ma Cop Watch, Anarchist Black Cross, and BAAM all came with literature and an eagerness to discuss their ideas. The marching band What Cheer? Brigade closed out the rally with a rousing performance. After the rally, most of the crowd reconvened for a benefit show on the other side of the city.
The force that officer used against Alex was, without a doubt, excessive, and that officer has not suffered so much as an admonishment. The injustice of that violent action cannot be fully rectified, but similar actions should not be unchecked by our legal system, or otherwise. Organizations such as Cop Watch were started to help hold police accountable for disregarding citizens’ rights. Educate yourself, because it’s important to know what rights you still have and can assert when dealing with law enforcement.
In the past year, there have been numerous benefits around the country to give Alex financial support and raise police brutality awareness, but Alex’s injury left her with large medical bills and unfortunately, tenacity isn’t legal tender. Both Alex and Jason Friedmutter also still have legal expenses to pay, and Alex has a pre-trial on August 28th. On September 13th, there will be a benefit show to help raise money for Alex’s medical and legal expenses at 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge. Or if you can’t make it and would like to support Alex, please visit http://supportalexsvoboda.blogspot.com/. Also, the Providence branch of IWW is organizing a letter writing campaign to put pressure on the city of North Providence to drop the charges against her and Jason Friedmutter. Both of them have trials this fall. A form letter and addresses to the mayor, chief of police, and attorney general of Rhode Island can be found on the support Alex webpage. Address each letter to the appropriate office, but please send the letters to Providence GMB, PO box 5795 Providence, RI 02903.
A Really, Really Free Market
A Really Really Free Market took place at Ringer Park on Saturday June 28th from 10AM to 4PM. The Really Really Free Market [henceforth RRFM] was a collaborative effort between the Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Assembly, The Parents and Community Build Group, Inc., and the Ringer Park Partnership Group. I agreed to volunteer, but alas a sudden family visit kept me from participating as fully as I had intended. In between bouts of cleaning my apartment, I took two breaks to check out the RRFM. An hour in, I showed up and talked with friends and acquaintances while eyeing the items on the table and the ground that had been brought by participants. There was clothing of all sizes and colors, books of all types, kids' toys and games, knick-knacks and free food! I observed passersby milling around the RRFM and watched kids pick up games and toys as the adults picked up clothes, books, knick-knacks and free food to munch on. My brother took my advice and took my daughter to Ringer Park whilst I was vacuuming the carpets.
When I was done I decided to swing by Ringer Park to see Josh and Esperanza. Though I missed them by a few minutes, Josh was clearly amazed that he got a few shirts and a sweater all free and in good condition. He described how Esperanza picked out her large, white teddy bear at the RRFM.
There was a selection of clean stuffed animals lying on a blanket, but Esperanza made a beeline for the large, white teddy bear, possibly because it was the biggest stuffed animal there. Josh told me that Esperanza hugged the bear, remarked on its softness and called it her baby. All in all it seemed like a good day was had for the community, the RRFM, and the people who got some neat and nifty stuff. Let's hope to see some more RRFMs, not only to get some free stuff in a time of economic recession, but as a way of fostering and strengthening a sense of community and neighborhood.
US/Russia Proxy War in Georgia
hile the world’s eyes were set on the 2008 Summer Olympic games, a conflict eerily reminiscent of the Cold War broke out in the State of Georgia, home to a large number of US military bases. Many have said the Georgian army is made up mostly of US soldiers and weapons. Within Georgia is South Ossetia, an autonomous province recognized only by Russia, who vowed military aid in case of an attack by the State of Georgia. Finally, according to the Russian section of the Anarcho-Syndicalist International of Workers’ Associations (IWA), Georgia “borders Iran as well as Russia, and vast oil pipelines cross it.” Georgia is of high strategic importance to a US war on Iran, and Russian dominance of the region.
On August 8th, Georgia began bombing the South Ossetian capital. Russia made good on their promises, occupied South Ossetia then pushed into Georgia. A cease-fire was reached on August 13th, but according to the UK Independent, the next day violence continued with “killings, burning and looting by irregular militias coming in behind Russian military columns thrusting from...South Ossetia deep into the country.” Thousands have died, many more have been displaced, and both sides have been accused of massacres, rapes and other human rights violations in this war for strategic poise over the region. We again quote the Russian anarchists and adopt their stance: “We refuse to take sides in wars between states and extend support and solidarity only to the ordinary people who suffer.”
Calendar: Get Involved
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., Cambridge
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., Cambridge
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
Last Friday of Every Month:
Critical Mass Bike Ride. meet in Copley Square, on Boylston between Clarendon and Dartmouth, 5pm.
Third Annual Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March. Rally at Copley Square at 1pm, march to the North End at 3pm.
At 7pm: Benefit for the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society’s quest to get a Sacco and Vanzetti monument installed in the North End. Music by Jake and the Infernal Machine and Sergio Reyes, dramatic readings by David Rothauser. At the Lucy Pasons Center, 549 Columbus Ave. www.SaccoandVanzetti.org.
August 24th – 28th
Disrupt the DNC! Help disrupt the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado More info: dncdisruption08.org.
Not in Denver? Protest the electoral process at home! 2-week campaign against the Two Party System. Week 1: target the democrats.
Anarchist Black Cross’s Prisoner Support Night. Help send
literature and letters to prisoners. 7pm @ Papercut Zine Library, 45 Mt. Auburn st. in Harvard Square.
Showing of a Sacco and Vanzetti documentary at 7pm in Malden at the Unitarian Universalist church at 2 Elm Street.
The August Critical Mass. Bike riders will meet around 5pm at Copley Place, on Boylston between Clarendon and Dartmouth and take the streets of Boston together.
Anti-Two Party System Day. *Street Theater*. Mock wedding between an Elephant and a Donkey, as performed by the Boston Radical Arts Troupe at 12 noon at Copley Square.
2pm: “Beyond Elections: Democracy Without Politicians” panel, featuring Ashanti Alston, ex Black Panther and BLA prisoner, and anarchist author/speaker; Cindy Milstein, an anarchist activist and educator, organizer of the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference and board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies; James Herod, long-time anarchist, and author of Getting Free: Creating an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods and Bill from NEFAC NYC. 2pm at the Community Church of Boston, Copley Square, Boston, MA.
Black August with Jericho Boston, featuring Askia Toure, and Riders Against the Storm. 5-9pm, location TBA. JerichoBoston.org
Sept. 1st – 4th
Shut Down the RNC! Crash the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. More info: nornc.org..
Not in the Twin Cities? ot in the Twin Cities? Protest the electoral system at home. Week 2: Target the Republicans.
Pub Crawl against the Two Party System. Come to the bars of Boston with the Radical Arts Troupe, an elephant and a donkey. Bring your best politician costumes. We will dance, drink, and agitate! Meet after the BAAM meeting, 9pm, Lucy Parsons Center.
Pub Crawl against the Two Party System. This time meet at 8pm in Fanueil Hall.
Anarchist Black Cross’s Prisoner Support Night. Help send literature and letters to prisoners. 2pm at the Papercut Zine Library, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Square.
Planning meeting for the October 11 anti-war march. Meeting at 3pm, at Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave. Chinatown. stopthewars.org.
Benefit show for IWW Alex Svoboda’s defense fund. Music includes Neck Tie Party, Yoni Gordon, Ben Weiser, Space Train, and headliner TBA. 7pm @ Papercut Zine Library, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Square.
Running Down the Walls, 5K run for political prisoners, hosted by Boston Jericho. 9am, Jamaica Pond.
oston Zinefair, exhibition of over 40 independent publications plus workshops, including: Zines and Resistance, Anarchist Publishing, Binding Techniques and Zines as an Educational Tool for Kids. At the Art Institute of Boston, 10am-6pm both days.
Jericho 1010, NYC- march to free all political prisoners!!!
October 11th - Rally against the war on Boston Common, followed by a march. Starting time and march route TBA.
Northeast Anarchist Network General Assembly! Syracuse, NY. Details TBA: www.NeAnarchist.net
ABC Halloween bash - the halloween party to be at! location and time tba!!!
Contributors to this month’s issue:
What is Anarchism?
Anarchism is the theory and practice of a human society organizing without hierarchy, authority and oppression. This means that all people have equal access to the decision-making process and to the products of their collective labor. Anarchy can be described as true, direct democracy. It is horizontal: i.e. workers working together without bosses, neighbors organizing housing and neighborhoods without landlords, and people making decisions without politicians. There are many different ideas on how to get there and what exactly it will look like. We can talk all we want, but only a truly free and revolutionary people will be able to decide what their revolution will look like. So comrades, let’s get to work!
This work is in the public domain.