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Smashing the State, Chuck Turner Style
chuck.jpgThe angry anarchists tore through Boston’s business district, their banners flying high, their rambunctious chants demanding that the people take to the streets in protest of two years of war in Iraq. O­n the front lines, linked arm in arm with the anarchists, was good old Chuck - Boston’s notorious city councilor. With a bald head, stylish white goatee, and leather jacket, the African-American politician has represented Boston’s District Seven, encompassing much of Boston’s minority community, since 1999. “I’m still impressed by […] Chuck Turner MARCHING with the unpermitted march, then standing up in between cops and the youth they sought to beat or arrest, and going over to the jail, and staying there until 10:30 PM or so,” said Amatul in an o­nline discussion of the March 20th protest posted o­n the website of the Boston Independent Media Center (Indymedia), a local anti-authoritarian news agency. “I really liked his vibe.”
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20 May 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 2
brocktonkids.jpgSunday, May 1st BOSTON- Felix Arroyo, Maria Elena Letona of Centro Presente, and many others spoke in front of a damp but festive crowd of more than 500 representing immigrant communities from all over Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts this Sunday in Copley Square. For this one day a year and, as one young speaker expressed, hopefully for the other 364, widely disparate immigrant communities joined together to address and rally around the issues that affect them all.

Counter protestors did show up, but were largely ignored at their spot far to one side of the rally, save for the corporate press who can’t resist portraying every political story as a perfectly evenly balanced battle of wits. Sorry, not this time.

What I saw was a building of community. People who, usually divided by neighborhood, disparate needs, cultures, or languages, came together to address some issues common to all.
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03 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Race : Social Welfare
Anti-Vivisection Activists Had A Busy Month
P4150039withbanner.jpgOn Saturday, April 16 and Saturday, April 30 members of animal rights groups such as The Animal Defense League of Boston (ADL), The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) marched, rallied, chanted and otherwise expressed their disdain for the animal experimentation that happens with help from their tax dollars in their own home state.

viv·i·sec·tion - n. -The act or practice of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals, especially for the purpose of scientific research. [from dictionary.com]

Harvard Medical School's "New England Regional Primate Research Center" or NERPRC was the focus of these protests although many universities and private companies in Massachusetts experiment on animals, including M.I.T., Tufts University, and Charles River Laboratories.
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02 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
May Day and the Haymarket martyrs
3martyrs_photos.gifMay Day - the real labor day

"The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you are throttling today."
- August Spies from the gallows.

May 1st, International Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States and Canada. This despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day.

In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal, since legislative methods had already failed. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. By April 1886, 250,000 workers were involved in the May Day movement.
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30 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / International : Labor : Organizing : Race : Social Welfare
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
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
The Cavernous Divide: More Billionaires, More Poverty
Two magazine covers stood out in poignant contrast on newsstands last week. Forbes magazine released its 29th annual listing of the world’s billionaires. Time Magazine’s cover story wondered “How to End Poverty.”

It was a good year for the global billionaires’ club. Their ranks grew to 691, up 17 percent from the previous year. Collectively, the wealth of the world’s billionaires reached $2.2 trillion, up more than 57 percent over the last two years.

Poverty is growing as well. Time reports that nearly half of the world’s 6 billion residents are poor. Over one billion of them subsist on less than $1 a day. In the United States, according to the US Census Bureau, the number of impoverished Americans rose 3.7 percent in 2003. The number of children living in poverty rose 6.6 percent.
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18 Mar 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor : Social Welfare
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