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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
Northeast Antifascists' 5/8/05 Reportback
About a month and a half ago, Northeast Antifascists noticed an announcement stating that the local “White Revolution” boys and their three friends were planning on coming out to protest an event at the Holocaust memorial in Boston. Unfortunately, seeing this type of thing is not so uncommon. Usually, if they show up at all, it is the same half dozen or so coming to look stupid and pass out a couple flyers. (A couple months ago, some other local fascists tried to meet up in a mall for a rally, and they couldn't even find each other!) We were planning to act accordingly and confront them, but not bother calling for a big turn-out, as the need wasn't there.

However, shortly after we starting recieving notice that this whole thing might be a bigger deal than we'd thought. Billy Roper himself was coming all the way from Arkansas, and we figured he might stand a chance of actually bringing more fascists together, seeing as he's one of the only people who can pass himself off as a "leader" in a movement teeming with people yearning for domineering father figures. A week and a
half before the action, we duly issued a call to action telling everyone to come and let them know how we feel about nazi trash in our city. The response was huge, and within days, other concerned groups were putting out calls as well. We sent observers to the "Stop the Nazis Now Coalition" meetings, to get a sense of what other people's plans were. Antifascism is a big tent, and we made plans to mostly work around, rather than within or against, this coalition.
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16 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Race
Anti-racists block neo-Nazi march
antinazi.jpgHundreds of anti-racist protesters came out here May 8 to protest a planned march and rally by the neo-Nazi organization “White Revolution.” This vile group of bigots, based in Arkansas, had intended to hold a rally at the New England Holocaust Memorial to coincide with the annual Holo caust commemoration.

The anti-Nazi demonstration was organized on short notice by a number of organizations and community leaders, including Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner; the International Action Center; USWA Local 8751, Boston School Bus Drivers; Bromley Heath workers; Women’s Fightback Network; International Socialist Organization and many others.

Chanting “Gay, straight, Black, white—all unite to fight the right” as well as chants against racism, anti-Semitism, Zionism, sexism and LGBT bigotry, the demonstrators held a militant and loud protest in front of Faneuil Hall, adjacent to the memorial. Protesters were Black, Latin@, Asian, Arab, white, young and old. They included a large number of anarchist youth, as well as supporters of the Pales tinian people who made it clear that their opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine has nothing in common with the vicious anti-Semitism of the neo-Nazis.

When a small group of racists tried to enter the protest area, they were quickly surrounded by angry demonstrators and forced to flee in the back seat of a police car.Memorial to coincide with the annual Holo caust commemoration.
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16 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Living in the Shadows: Undocumented Children Strive to Succeed
P905daughter.jpgAs an immigrant, Araceli has a hard time feeling like she belongs. She fled social unrest in Guatemala with her family when she was only five years old, speaks English better than Spanish, but has been forced to live in the fringes of society because she is considered illegal. “I’ve been here for sixteen years. I consider myself an American,” she said.

The first time she found out about her status was when she tried to apply for college and was told the benefit of a higher education did not apply to her. One year after graduating from high school with a 3.5 GPA and unable to work legally in this country, she feels uneasy about her future. “Put your self in my shoes. I want an education and a career,” she said.
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09 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor
William Pitt Responds to Boston Hecklers at Dahr Jamail Event
PittWilliamRivers.jpgDon't let me change my heart,
Keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue.
And I, I don't mind the pain,
Don't mind the driving rain.
I know I will sustain
'Cause I believe in you.

- Bob Dylan, 'I Believe in You'

An interesting thing happened to me last week. I got heckled while giving a speech. Now, don't get me wrong, I've been heckled before. I've given speeches in most of the Red States across the country, and have gotten quite adept at the call-and-raise verbal jousting required when addressing an unfriendly crowd. I've been heckled by irate conservatives in Texas, in Montana, in North Carolina, in Colorado, in Arizona. I've been called a Socialist, a Communist, a Fascist, and a Communist Fascist, my own personal favorite. It's actually fun once you get used to it.

Last week was a different thing, however. I got heckled by people on the Left.
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06 May 2005 Modified: 07:35:53 PM | Filed under: Commentary / International : Organizing : Politics
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