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Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
May-Day.jpgAccording to the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition, international immigration to the Commonwealth is responsible for both the population growth and the net labor force growth experienced here in the 1990s. An ever growing coalition of immigrant, labor, religious and community organizations that organizes the perennial ‘MayDay Rally for Immigrants Rights’ has had their finger on the pulse of the demographic shift in the state.

Since the mid-nineties Bostonians have intermittently celebrated May 1st, which since the late 1800s has been an international workers holiday, with an immigrants rights rally. In 2001 the annual rally received a boost thanks in part to a call out from the AFL-CIO for labor to highlight the connection between labor and immigrant rights. Since then the annual rally has just about become a staple of spring in our fair city. It is rumored that Mayor Menino might even make an appearance this year.

Regarding the mayor, Jason Pramas of Massachusetts Global Action, one of the key groups organizing the event, said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with his politics, ”It is extremely important for a mayor of a major urban center, especially one who has not been as strong on immigrants rights as he could be, to stand up and commit himself to meeting the needs of immigrant populations in Boston.”
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28 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race
Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this.
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27 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Politics
Your Risk, Their Gain: Wall Street CEOs Lobby for Social Security Privatization
Would you be upset if someone spent millions of dollars to put your future retirement funds into a casino, while taking no risks with their own future?

Say hello to the Wall Street CEOs whose companies are aggressively lobbying for Social Security privatization. Because of their bloated compensation packages, these CEOs pay Social Security taxes only a few days a year.
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13 Apr 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Politics : Social Welfare
Where Boston's bikers go to retire
bikepath.jpgChris Grealish’s first thoughts of leaving Boston were inspired by bone-crushing accidents. In his three years riding as a courier he received a broken collar bone, a demobilizing blow to the hip, stitches on a gruesomely torn upper lip, lost skin on his hands, legs and arms, and a knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. Instead of vacations, Grealish was often forced to take unpaid downtime to heal his wounds. He claims he averaged one accident or serious altercation with a cabdriver every three months.

Yet he loved the job.

“I had no formal education. I found something that I wanted to do and I was really good at it. Having that taken away was pretty alarming,” says Grealish 42, “It became very apparent that my shelf life was limited.”
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30 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Politics : Social Welfare : Technology
Soft-drink Giant Benefits from Contributions to the Bush Administration
dasani.jpgContributions from Coca-Cola and its enterprises to federal candidates and parties rose as much as 31% between 1998 and 2004, with the greatest concentration of funds during the 2000 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Seventy-one percent of those contributions, or $2,483,283, went to the Republican Party and GOP candidates. Relationships between the soft-drink giant and Bush’s chums have indeed gone sweeter since many issues affecting Coca-Cola’s assets are at stake: soda consumption in schools, environmental standards, bottled water labeling, and human rights concerns overseas.
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25 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Environment : International : Politics
Population Density Poses Challenge to Construction of BU Bioterror Lab
ebola.jpgThe New Year has brought some new bumps in Boston University Medical Center’s plan to construct their new security level 4 bio-containment safety laboratory (BSL4) on the bustling border where the South End and Roxbury meet. BU is planning to begin construction on the lab, which would enable researchers to investigate weaponized strains of the most deadly biological agents known to man, this summer.

And until recently, the year and a half of debate over the hotly contested plan certainly seemed to be balancing in BU’s favor. Backed by key players in Commonwealth politics, the project coasted through city and state permit and approval processes. Rose Arruda of the Roxbury community organization Safety Net told the Boston Globe on February 5 that since the group had begun their opposition to the lab, “People just ignored us. They’d say, ‘You are just a bunch of crazy activists.’”

But then everything went to hell at the BUMC press office in late January when the Boston Globe revealed that researchers had been doing everything short of seasoning the lunch meat in the cafeterias at their BSL2 labs with an infectious strain of the deadly disease tularemia. According to an article that ran in the Boston Globe on January 20th, the University had, on the previous day, “confirmed that on October 28 test results showed that researchers who had thought they were working with a harmless variety of the bacteria tularemia instead had been working with material that appeared to be contaminated and might have caused illnesses in three researchers.” The article stated that Massachusetts State law required BU to report their suspicions that infections had occurred within 24 hours.

It took the university 11 days.
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02 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Organizing : Politics : Technology
While in Worcester, Kerry argues for an Expansion of the Military
video screencapture.jpgJohn Kerry just gave a major policy speech in Worcester, MA tonight (Feb.14th). Kerry announced that he will be proposing legislation to INCREASE the military by 40K troops and creating a "Military Family Bill of Rights". Kerry estimates his legislation would cost b/n $6.5 and $8 Billion. (about $4.5-5bil for expansion)

Copies of remarks and press releases included. Press releases actually provide very good media documentation of problems.

52 second video
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17 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Politics
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
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