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Protesters Outnumber Military Supporters, as Peace Activists Protest Army Recruitment on the Cambridge Common
got kids.jpgOn Tuesday, June 14, 2005, from 10:30 to 1:00 two to three hundred people gathered on the Cambridge Common to protest the army’s celebration of its 230th anniversary there, an event they turned into a blatant recruitment effort. This is part of larger drive by the military to get more people to join, response to the severe drop-offs in new recruits that all branches of the military face as the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan stretch on with no end in sight. Protesters spoke out against the attempts to entice students to join the army, by making it look fun by creating something of a fair on the Common--when those who joined the army would most likely to be sent to kill and possibly be killed in pointless, bloody wars. In contrast to the large number of protesters, there were only about fifty to a hundred civilians there to attend the ceremonies, many of them school children bussed in as a fieldtrip. At times, it appeared that the protesters’ chants could clearly be heard over the official speakers at the ceremony. There were seven arrests, all a result of protesters refusing to remain in the officially designated protest pit.
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14 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : International
Opposition Mounts to "NAFTA Superhighway" I-69
I-69Logo.gifThe U.S. government is currently poised to roll out a new strip of asphalt all the way from Loredo, Texas up to Port Huron, Michigan. Interstate 69, if completed, will stretch over 2000 miles, through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

The main purpose of this interstate is to provide a channel for trading goods between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. It would act as a piece of the life-support system for the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA) and, if enacted, the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Some are calling it the “NAFTA Superhighway”.
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13 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor
Somerville 5 Case: Community Leaders Demand that Charges Against Five African-American Youth be Dropped
somerville5.jpg“Are we going backwards?”

This was the question asked at a June 5 news conference in Dorchester, Mass., held to publicize the demand that five Somerville African American youths be immediately reinstated as students at Somerville High School near Boston and that trumped-up police charges against them be dropped.

The Somerville 5—Calvin Belfon, 17, Cassius Belfon, 15, Earl Guerra, 16, Isiah Anderson, 17, and Marquis Anderson, 16—were victims of racial profiling and a brutal, unprovoked attack by Medford police on April 20. The five have been indefinitely suspended from school. And they face false charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, assault and battery, and disorderly conduct.
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09 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
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
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