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Book Review: “The Freedom” by Christian Parenti
The Freedom.jpgChristian Parenti went to Iraq and brought back a vivid description of what war in the 21st Century looks like without makeup. He calls it “The Freedom.”

Essentially, this is the story of occupied Iraq from a layperson’s perspective. The language is easy to read, casually littered with expletives. Brutal honesty provides a sense of how bizarre and surreal a war zone must be. Iraqis constantly explain to Parenti how grateful they are for their new “freedoms,” such as the freedom to languish for hours in 120-degree heat at US military checkpoints, the freedom to live in a country now covered with depleted uranium and people with cancer, and the freedom to be without work, electricity or water most of the time.

Journeying into the heart of hell with a forged Canadian press pass, Parenti parties with NGO staffers while bombs fall and embeds with both the US military and the Iraqi resistance. Refreshingly, he neglects any pretension of objectivity. His opposition to the occupation comes across freely. This book is thrilling to read and important as a documentary history of the war; but it offers a rather simple version of both the US government’s objectives for creating war in Iraq and the consequences this will have.
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11 Mar 2005 | Filed under: Review / International
The Future of the World Social Forum Process: Modest Reforms Needed
esktop_POA03_wsf2003_400_320.jpgPorto Alegre—With the fifth edition of the World Social Forum, a certain maturation and even “graying” has occurred. For some, the Forum is now passé, awaiting its demise before an ascendant and inevitable new “new.” For others, the Forum has become an annual reunion, a time to swap stories and reconnect with old friends. Over time, however, a serious, multifold critique has developed and needs to be addressed if the forum process is to remain useful. This is particularly urgent because the problems identified as compromising the WSF’s moral authority and political efficacy continue to grow.
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13 Feb 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / International : Organizing
Interview: Naomi Klein and her new Movie "The Take"
argentineLuddites.jpgNaomi Klein and Indymedia go way back to our beginnings in Seattle, where she was covering the nascent globalization movement as a columnist for the Toronto Star. Both Klein and Indymedia have grown since then, and maybe the tireless Klein has paced us. She has followed her book “No Logo” in 2000 with “Fences and Windows” in 2002, all the while writing hundreds of articles in publications like The Nation, The Guardian UK, Harper’s, The Toronto Globe and Mail and many others.

Now she and her husband, Avi Lewis, have produced “The Take,” a documentary about the occupied factory movement in Argentina. The film has graduated from the film festival circuit into the theatres, and it will be playing at the Brattle all this week (see for times). In her spare time (what little is left) she has been working on a new book about the Washington consensus and it’s effects on countries that are in transition to democracy.

In between writing her new book and promoting her new film at the Brattle’s opening night, she found a good chunk of time for an old media comrade, the amorphous Indymedia network.
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06 Feb 2005 | Filed under: Interview / Globalization : International : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race
Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
A report from the first day of the Fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Imagine a large, urban university, but set up for only a six day period. Instead of becoming trained to take their places in the elites of a world defined by institutions of hierarchy and control, the students, participants really, are training each other to bring about change. Instead of ivy-covered brick or concrete buildings, classrooms are in tents of varying sizes. And instead of departments like biology, philosophy, or literature, the “university” has eleven “thematic spaces” with names such as “Peace, demilitarization, and the struggle against war, free trade, and debt,” or “Human rights and dignity for a just and egalitarian world.” Welcome to the fifth World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.

Arnie Alpert is the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator.
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01 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Organizing
Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
DCP_0001.JPGOn Thursday, January 20, the day President Bush was inaugurated for his second term and thousands marched in opposition in Washington DC, about thirty hardy souls braved the bitter cold to stand from 5:30 to 6:30 in Copley Square, protesting here in Boston. Although the protest was organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main local anti-war coalition, the signs people bore showed that they had a variety of concerns--not just ending the occupation of Iraq, but also domestic issues such as the attacks on civil liberties and reproductive rights and the destruction of the welfare system. Organizers with UJP that I spoke with expressed not only their opposition to the Bush administration’s policies, but their fears that the Bush administration is making a concerted, purposeful assault on what’s left of democracy in this country.
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21 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : Human Rights : International : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Local CEO exposed at his home for human rights abuses
bannersmall.JPGBanner hung on Bresky's home this morning
Friday, December 16, 2004

CEO and President of Seaboard Corporation, H. Harry Bresky, is being complicit in a genocide of indigenous peoples in South America. Activists left him the above banner hanging on his home at 144 Evelyn Road, Newton, MA this morning to remind him of his urgent responsibility to return the land to and stop repressing the indigenous inhabitants in Salta, Argentina.
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18 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : International : Race
Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
IMG_0930.jpgUp and coming youth activists may be just the thing to breathe fresh life into Boston’s anti-war movement. Protesters at December 4th’s rally, which started at the Boston Commons bandstand and included a march down Newbury Street, exhibited an enthusiasm not seen at earlier demonstrations this year. More than 15 persons spoke and led the crowd in chanting various slogans, such as “Drop Bush Not Bombs!!!” and “Money for Schools Not War!!!” The day was peaceful for the most part, although after the march a group of about 50 persons decided to challenge the police and “take to the streets,” blocking traffic. Pushing matches and harsh words ensued but no arrests or serious injuries have been reported.
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06 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Education : International : Organizing
Why I Support the Somerville Divestment Initiative: An Israeli's View
As an Israeli immigrant living in Somerville, I strongly support the Somerville Responsible Investment Resolution, which urges all investors in the city to divest from companies involved with Israel's human rights violations and from Israel Bonds. I am sad to see my country of origin hurling itself down a path of self-destruction and I feel a responsibility to stop it. The Israeli people are good people, you just have to shake them up and awaken them to the fact that they are heading in the wrong direction. And this is what this divestment initiative will do.

[Update: The Somerville Divestment Initiative failed to pass a vote by the city's Board of Alderman.]
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02 Dec 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : International : Politics
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