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Chokehold on Hebron: A Letter from Palestine
290012.jpgA letter from Molly Little, Rhode Island peace activist, who is spending her summer as a witness to the Isreali occupation of Palestine.

May 26, 2005- It is midday on the main street of Hebron. Just moments ago we were surrounded by the sounds and smells of the market— coffee and spices, kids on bikes and men pushing carts of produce, people buying groceries. Now, quite suddenly, the place is silent. The stores are boarded up; the streets are deserted. Where once this section, like the rest of Hebron, bustled with the daily life of families, now the only sounds we hear are the footsteps of the six Israeli soldiers who follow us as we walk. Occasionally their rifles click against their belts, but we know better than to turn around, or to appear afraid. It is our Palestinian guide, a small, wizened man whom we met at a hostel in Jerusalem, who ought to be afraid. But he leads the way for us—three Americans who are here to try to understand life under occupation— without looking back.
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09 Jun 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : International
United progressive forces send Phelps' bigots packing
021_19A.JPGThe Massachusetts recruiting tour of the “Rev.” Fred Phelps was soundly defeated by a wide range of progressive forces and community members June 4-6.

Phelps, known for leading a vile anti-gay protest at Matthew Shepard’s funeral, didn’t attend any of the events in Massachusetts; instead his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper led the bigoted tour for the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, the Phelp’s church.

The bigots targeted religious institutions and individual schools in Dracut, Lexington and Bedford but were met with rejection by the majority of students, teachers and community members there.

Phelps said he chose the state for the recruiting tour because of its recent legalization of same-sex marriage and other pro-LGBT laws. The Phelps tour was made easier by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s ongoing denunciations of same-sex marriage and other ongoing attacks on the LGBT community.
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07 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : GLBT/Queer
Holyoke struggles to keep wastewater as a public utility
kelda.jpgKelda may sell Aquarion, US profits fall 21% in 2004.
Holyoke deal falls on even shakier ground.

The UK Independent reports “Kelda mulls the sell-off of its not so profitable US subsidiary” as Aquarion reports a 21% fall in profits in 2004. Residents and DPW workers in Holyoke, Massachusetts, facing a 20-year, $176 million contract with Aquarion Services Company, should be worried. The main selling points of the contract have been the purported savings to ratepayers and the sweetheart deal promised to the current workers, which maintains existing pay and benefits. Workers will already lose civil service protection in the Aquarion deal, and what more will they lose if Aquarion is sold? Can Aquarion really save the city millions if under the gun to show a profit to Kelda shareholders?
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31 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Labor : Social Welfare
"Nationalization or death!" Uprising in Bolivia / "¡Nacionalización o muerte!" gritan los movimientos sociales
bolivia.jpg((i)) La Paz (25/05/2005 11:08)

* After holding an emergency meeting, the FEJUVE (Federación de Juntas Vecinales de El Alto) has descended from the mountains to the Altiplano of Bolivia and the capital city of La Paz to "take over the National Congress.” In addition, they ratified a citywide strike as it entered its third day with no end in sight.

* Meanwhile a group of Army officials disassociated themselves with Carlos Mesa and called to the military to be united with the mobilizations.

* It is uncertain what will happen next. It is clear however that the road blockades at Copacabana, Desaguadero, Achacachi and Oruro with strong concentrations in the localities of Pallcoco, Batallas, Huarina, Warisata y Escoma (towns around La Paz, the capital) will be lasting. The protestors manning the blockades are members of the inidigenous Aymara community that have once again left their towns and villages to make their presence felt and voice heard in front of a deaf state. They are confronting the state’s partiality to the transnational companies and the state’s forgetfulness of the national majorities.

en espanol: http://bolivia.indymedia.org/es/2005/05/17382.shtml
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25 May 2005 | Filed under: News / International
NSTAR Workers (Still) On Strike!!!
DSC00529.jpgCompany decries union ‘scare tactics,’ Solidarity strong among electrical workers despite heavy handed union busting efforts

The first week of Utility Workers Union of America local 369’s strike against NSTAR has been fraught with drama, mainly stemming from the deregulated Eastern Massachusetts electrical service provider’s blatant and ominous strong arm tactics. Since Monday, May 18 at 12:01 when their contract expired and 1,900 of NSTAR's 3,000 workers represented by the union walked off the job, NSTAR has consistently maintained that Union officials are lying about the reasons the union went on strike. And the same day the strike began Local 369 was informed that the workers’ health insurance had been cancelled.

UPDATE, 6/1/05: 87% of the 1,900 striking NStar Utility Workers Local 369 members last night voted to ratify a new contract. The contract came after a hard fought fifteen day strike that saw an outpouring of solidarity from labor and community supporters.
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23 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
zine-library.jpgA new library has opened up right in Harvard Square--The Papercut 'Zine Library. But they don't have any books. Instead, they have 'zines.

'Zines are self-published magazines that address universes of different topics. There are 'zines about being a substitute teacher, how to compost, growing up as an immigrant, animal rights and high school crushes. They're becoming increasingly popular as everyone starts to make their own 'zine.

Now there are 'zine libraries all around the country. This radio piece documents the opening of Boston's new 'zine library.
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22 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Media
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
Graduate student-workers at UMass-Amherst win tentative contract agreement
018_08A.JPGAfter 14 months of battle, the Graduate Employee Organization, UAW Local 2322 reached a tentative contract agreement with the administration at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst May 10. A ratification vote is scheduled for May 19-20.

A heartening and powerful labor-community-student alliance won this stage of the struggle.

“The incredible turn out at the March 31 rally and march, the complete shutdown of the university on April 21 because of the undergraduate boycott and GEO walkout, the teach-ins, grade-ins, carol singing and bombarding of Chancellor Lombardi, and many other contract campaign events have all paid off, and allowed us to reach a tentative agreement with the university today over the terms of a new contract,” declared GEO in an email to its approximately 2, 400 members May 10.
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15 May 2005 Modified: 16 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Labor
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