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Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
A report from the first day of the Fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Imagine a large, urban university, but set up for only a six day period. Instead of becoming trained to take their places in the elites of a world defined by institutions of hierarchy and control, the students, participants really, are training each other to bring about change. Instead of ivy-covered brick or concrete buildings, classrooms are in tents of varying sizes. And instead of departments like biology, philosophy, or literature, the “university” has eleven “thematic spaces” with names such as “Peace, demilitarization, and the struggle against war, free trade, and debt,” or “Human rights and dignity for a just and egalitarian world.” Welcome to the fifth World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.

Arnie Alpert is the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator.
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01 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Organizing
Right-wing campus network increasing
As the 2005 spring semester begins, students across the United States will confront an increasingly sophisticated multi-million dollar right-wing campus network bankrolled by some of the largest conservative philanthropies, think-tanks and corporations. Like the right-wing lie of the so-called ‘liberal’ media, the same is true of the so-called ‘liberal’ university. The three largest conservative campus organizations are the innocuous-sounding Young America’s Foundation (YAF), Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and the Leadership Institute which spent approximately $25 million on various campus outreach programs in 2004.
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26 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Politics
Protestors find few holes in Bush’s Inaugural security
good-shot.jpgCompiled from reports from Dave Reckoning, Petrina Vegan, and Cory from Boston Indymedia, as well as DC Indymedia’s Newswire.

Thousands of protestors converged on the inaugural parade route today, mixing in with the lines of other Americans who were able pass the homeland security screening and pay the $60 entry fee to get parade-side. At a dawn rally in Malcolm X Park, South West of the parade route, police estimated 10,000 people. Estimates during the day were more difficult due to the wide perimeter around the parade route.
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21 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Politics
Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
DCP_0001.JPGOn Thursday, January 20, the day President Bush was inaugurated for his second term and thousands marched in opposition in Washington DC, about thirty hardy souls braved the bitter cold to stand from 5:30 to 6:30 in Copley Square, protesting here in Boston. Although the protest was organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main local anti-war coalition, the signs people bore showed that they had a variety of concerns--not just ending the occupation of Iraq, but also domestic issues such as the attacks on civil liberties and reproductive rights and the destruction of the welfare system. Organizers with UJP that I spoke with expressed not only their opposition to the Bush administration’s policies, but their fears that the Bush administration is making a concerted, purposeful assault on what’s left of democracy in this country.
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21 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : Human Rights : International : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Springfield unions fight back against control board attacks
Members of Springfield’s Finance Control Board, under the guise of achieving fiscal solvency, are stepping up their attacks on workers and their communities here. Special targets are vital city services and public-sector union workers like the teachers who are entering their fourth year of a wage freeze. On Dec. 21, Philip Puccia, the Financial Board’s executive director sent a letter to the Springfield Education Association informing the 2,500 teachers and 3,000 retirees in the teachers' union that the board was going to vote at its next meeting to increase deductibles and co-payments for all services except office visits and prescription drugs effective April 1.
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19 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Labor : Politics
WWMLKD: What would Martin Luther King Do?
luther.jpgLast year around this time, as throngs of protesters chanted and booed on the streets nearby, President Bush placed a wreath on Dr. King¹s grave in Atlanta. The President had said of King earlier that day that he wanted to "honor his life and what he stood for."

Now, as we usher in the President for a second term in office, it¹s time to ask whether he has lived up to Dr. King¹s legacy. On his watch working people and poor people, disproportionately people of color, lost ground.

"Every American deserves to be an owner of the American dream," said President Bush, but a great racial divide remains. If Bush wants to make this a nation where we can all be owners, he should be asking "WWMLKD?"
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14 Jan 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Globalization : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Memorial Equality: Should a Man Who Led in the Struggle Against Racial Inequality be as Equally Celebrated as a Man Who Led in Europe’s Genocidal Conquest of the “Americas”?
mlkcolum.jpgIf I were to sum up Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Christopher Columbus in a simple George W-style sentence, I'd use the word “good” to describe the former and “evil” to describe the latter. Despite the exhaustive historical record that exposes the real Columbus as a brutal slave-driving mercenary, he receives pretty much the same amount of federal recognition and commemoration as Dr. King, the slain civil rights icon whose oratory skills backed by a deep commitment to peacefully overcoming injustice made him a powerful figure for change. The fact that there are even holidays for both Columbus and Dr. King is a perfect example of the inane and contradictory message the United States sends about it’s national identity.
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13 Jan 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Race
Schoolbus drivers fight back against attacks
mass_aflcio_060704.jpgBoston's unionized school-bus drivers and monitors are fighting back in the face of a series of vicious racist and anti-union attacks by the mayor, the City Council majority and Boston's leading tabloid. These unionists, members of United Steel workers of America Local 8751, are working with Black leaders, the community and the Boston labor movement in a fightback campaign. The struggle focuses on the issue of installing Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on the buses. But behind the attacks are efforts to undermine school desegregation and break up this multinational union, which has been in the forefront of anti-racist and other progressive struggles in the city.
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06 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor
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