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American “Insane Asylum” History: Giving Names To Numbered Graves
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A nationwide movement to put names on the numbered gravestones in cemeteries at America's mental hospitals and abandoned "insane asylums" is underway. "It has been said that no families have come forward to claim their relatives (buried here)...WE are their family." In Massacusetts, the Danvers State Memorial Committee (DSMC) was formed in 1997, with the goal of restoring and properly memorializing the two Danvers State Hospital cemeteries. One of the first hurdles they faced was determining who was responsible for cleaning up, and then long term maintenance of, the cemeteries. A decision was made to press the state to be accountable for the cemeteries. But there were still problems, such as the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) had the records for the closed hospital, and a private entity was soon to buy the state hospital property, and then the activists would have to get permission to clear the cemeteries from them, etc. The DSMC also reports there was considerable anger present at early meetings. Many were still very angry at past abuses they had suffered at Danvers State. They were adamant that the truth, not the sanitized version, of the hospital’s past be told. Some members of the DSMC felt the group was not the place for that anger. But the group did not shun those who were angry, and instead were able to harness their anger into a powerful force. Due to these discussions, the DSMC decided to ask for a formal apology as part of the return of dignity to those buried with only numbers on the hospital grounds.
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15 Aug 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : Social Welfare
Cyprus Govt. Admits CIA Campaign Against Indymedia
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The scandal is unfolding in gigantic proportions... and we can hardly keep up with the developments. Responding to a publicity and solidarity campaign by Indymedia, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has been forced to admit that they were acting under orders from the US Government to carry out an intelligence investigation of Cyprus Indymedia and of one of its founding members, Petros Evdokas, in order to assess whether he "constitutes a threat to US interests." Police had interrogated the family of Petros Evdokas a few weeks ago and, during the affair, inadvertently blurted out that the source of this investigation was a directive by the CIA. After a series of denials and cover-ups (chronicled below) the Police Headquarters issued an official statement on Friday admitting to everything that Indymedia had accused them of, namely that directives of the CIA and the US Embassy have priority over their own mission which, believe it or not, is to protect the tiny and independent Republic from foreign intervention. This campaigns to intimidate IndyMedia is part of a global trend, including the nation- wide "pre- emptive" raids and interrogations by the FBI of radicals in Boston and across the US in order to thwart preparations to protest at the two Republocrat party conventions.
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12 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media
The Media and Emotions: A Critique of Mainstream Media Coverage of the Anti-DNC Protests
Every night last week I would come home and watch my comrades (and sometimes myself) march through the streets of Boston, rally across the city, or hold a bazaar on Boston Common. Even when the media did use one of the many interviews they filmed, I still wasn’t satisfied. When protesters were shown, they were not portrayed as intelligent, but rather as insane for wanting to protest the Democrats. Violence seems to be the only story most reporters are looking for. Besides the standpoint that protesters are crazy, there is an inability to capture the emotions of the people. The vigor with which the makeshift drums are beaten is not apparent to the television viewer. The gigantic sense of unity with complete strangers is not done justice on the airwaves. You cannot tell how serious and desperate we are from a video of us chanting. More importantly, none of the reasons we do any of these things is examined, but rather the editing and censoring discredit the fact that we do them.
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03 Aug 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC : Media
100+ Person Rally at Seaboard Corp. Office: Return the Land Now!
laloma.jpg"Here we are with Harry Bresky’s office behind us, and we’re here to say, ‘Give it back, Harry.’ The Ava Guarani and Kolla communities have made an urgent appeal for international solidarity. We have heard the appeal, and today we act upon it." This is one of many lines in an educational skit delivered today on the steps of the office of the Seaboard Corporation’s President and CEO, Harry Bresky, in Brookline, MA. Over one hundred activists gathered to express their disgust about Seaboard Corp’s complicity in the displacement of the Ava Guarani and Kolla communities from Salta, Argentina and allowing brutal repression of those re-occupying their native land.
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31 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : International : Race
An Assessment of DNC Strategy and Organizing
So…… Now that the DNC is over perhaps there can be some assessment of the effectiveness of our strategy and organizing. I want to start with the good. It’s clear that logistics came together amazingly. The problem is the people simply didn’t come to take advantage of all the hard work that went into logistics, and there never was a real vision put forth for action.
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30 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC : Organizing
Boston Incubates Decentralized Resistance
The City of Boston and Federal Agencies transformed Boston into a totalitarian police state in the days leading up to and during the Democratic Convention of 2004. The organs of oppression prepared for the arrests of 2000. During the weeks leading up to the DNC, the FBI and local police officers harassed dissidents and anarchists across the United States. Naturally, these acts of oppression gave pause to some protesters and the numbers that turned out for the DNC were smaller than expected. Despite this, the resistance to the DNC was a success. The city saw many decentralized actions, planned and executed by small groups. This new form of organized (or disorganization) was difficult for the police to infiltrate and many actions took the police by surprise.
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30 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC : Organizing
Fifth Day of Protests, July 29th
head-held-high.jpgTo close the protests against the DNC, the police decided to attack the protesters. Tension mounted all day, starting with the 100-person Critical Mass bike ride at 8:30 am, which was trailed by a dozen bike cops. During the course of the day, there were also a number of independent actions by affinity groups. Throughout the day, activists reported being tailed by undercover police, a helicopter hovered above the Convergence Center, and several activists were temporarily detained and searched by the police. A permitted No Blood for Oil March, of 100-150 people, left Copley Square at 1:00, swelling to 500 as they marched towards the Fleet Center, site of the DNC. Upon arriving at Government Center, near the Fleet Center, a stand off with the police ensued, with the police eventually attacking protesters (on the excuse of a non-existent Molotov cocktail), arresting three people and sending at least one protester to the hospital. The protesters were released after six hours of jail solidarity work. Then final protest of the day was a queer kiss-in at 6:30.
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30 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : GLBT/Queer : Human Rights
Each Protester Owed $10,000 by Homeland Security
Ridge.jpgDear Tom,

We need to do some math. The latest stats put the DNC security tab at $50 million, more than half of the total number spent on the convention. Now that’s a lot of cash to spend on rent-a-cops, K-9 sniffing dogs, and boot wax. So, I have a proposition for you. So far, you have really only outlined two major security threats: (1) Terrorists organizations who have killed thousands of people using airplanes, chemical weapons and other WMD’s; and (2) ‘violent’ protesters whose worst offense seems to be that they ‘throw water balloons filled with urine’. (For the sake of this conversation, we’ll put aside the fact that this oft-repeated urine thing never gets backed up by any hard evidence). In the absence of clear information of how much cash went to which threat, should we just divide it down the middle? Can we assume that $25 million went to protecting us from Al Qaeda, and the other $25 million went to protecting the public from crusty punks peeing into balloons? So what is the proper conclusion from this little math problem? Well, basically, you owe us some serious cash. That’s right. The fact is that the government spent $10,000 on each protester in order to keep us from throwing urine, and we didn’t throw a drop. Therefore, we should be compensated for the full amount.
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30 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC
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