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Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
Nomore.jpgBoston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Five Unprovoked Arrests

Like many others across the world, on March 20--a global day of action--thousands of Bostonians gathered on the Boston Common to protest the continuing US occupation of Iraq in a rally organized by Boston Mobilization. The crowd size was large enough to make it difficult to estimate, with figures running between two and five thousand. Local activists, veterans of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and those with loved ones in the military spoke out powerfully against the war, mixed with a multicultural cast of musicians. The plan had been to close the rally with direct action, blockading the entrance to a near-by military recruiting station. In response, the military recruiting station simply never opened for the day. Instead, the final speaker, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, urged everyone still at the rally (a couple hundred people--the rally ran far over time) to join an unpermitted march originally planned by a group of young anarchists. The march snaked through the streets of downtown Boston before returning to Boston Common. There, some of the police began unprovoked attacks on activists, shoving people to the ground and arresting five. A stand-off ensued, with the police eventually pulling back. Plans are underway, with the support of Turner and Boston Mobilization, to support those arrested in court. The day’s actions managed to at least temporarily unite members of Boston's progressive community across some of the racial, ideological and generational lines that often divide them.

[UPDATE 3/28/05: Two of the detained activists, were later released without charges. Only the other three were officially arrested.]
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20 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Organizing : Social Welfare
"Bloodbath" at Roslindale Military Recruiting Center
close-kelly-splat.jpgBOSTON – On the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a group of local activists staged a dramatic protest outside the Armed Forces Recruiting Center at 650 American Legion Highway in Roslindale. At noon, the Boston Direct Action Project dumped five gallons of fake blood and then took up positions on the doorstep. The activists portrayed a dead Iraqi woman, her grieving husband, a dead U.S. soldier and his grieving wife.

The action lasted 90 minutes, and there were no arrests. The blood flowed forty feet into the parking lot, attracting scores of local residents. The community was largely supportive, and many onlookers stopped to talk to members of the Project, who handed out informational flyers with suggested alternatives to military service.
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19 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Palestinian Rights Protest at Caterpillar's offices in Milford, Mass.
withcat.jpgOn the second anniversary of the killing of American Human Rights worker Rachel Corrie by an Israeli soldier with a Caterpillar Bulldozer, the BootCat Campaign held a protest at Caterpillar’s Milford MA, offices. A group of about 65 human rights activists, including Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD, www.icahd.org), gathered to protest the company’s sale of bulldozers to the Israeli military despite concerns that the Israeli military is using the equipment in violation of International and American law to destroy Palestinian homes, uproot orchards, and expand Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.
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16 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Letter from Imprisoned Member of the CIPO-RFM
A letter from an imprisoned member of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magon. The CIPO-RFM is a Magonista organization of indigenous and non indigenous people in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Check out the website for more info, and contact the Boston Friends of the CIPO-RFM if you'd like to help them continue their struggle.
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16 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
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 http://www.brattlefilm.org 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
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