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Picket in Front of Parsons Corporation as Part of International Day of Action Against War Profiteering in Iraq
DCP_0001.JPGOn Tuesday, February 24, 2004, from noon to 1:00, about twenty-five of us picketed at Parsons Corporation’s offices at 100 Summers Street in Boston’s Financial District. This was part of a international day of action against war profiteering in Iraq, Parsons being targeted because of the contract it was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers to help rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure. The focus of the protest, organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), Massachusetts Peace Action and other groups, was the corrupt manner in which contracts had been given out by the Bush administration, primarily to those corporations with close ties to members of the administration. Much of the reconstruction work has been done in an incompetent manner, without the in-put of the Iraqis most affected by this process--and, to top it all off, it is being paid for with revenue from Iraq’s oil sales. The critique of those protesters I talked to was far wider than just corrupt contracting though--as one might imagine, they were critical of the Bush administration’s war-mongering, but also its neoliberalism (“free” trade policies) and the lack of democratic accountability on the part of the government and corporations, both in Iraq and in the US itself. People in the peace movement are definitely making an effort to tie the issue of ending the US occupation of Iraq to a larger attempt to change our social system.
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25 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Labor
Consulta Reportback From Austin Activist
An Austin activist provides a reportback to the DNC resistance consulta, held in Boston Feb 13-16.

The Democratic National Convention Resistance Consulta, called by an anti-authoritarian coalition known as the Bl(A)ck Tea Society, was held in Boston on the weekend of February 13-16. Participants traveled from all over the country, either with or on behalf of larger affinity groups. Written proposals came in from as far away as Washington state. The purpose of the consulta was to collectively discuss and educate one another about the upcoming actions surrounding the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Boston on July 26-29. Participants came to hear what was already being planned, both by the Bl(A)ck Tea Society and the State, as well as to offer discussion and proposals about possible action scenarios.
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25 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Organizing
Nader Ups the Ante
Why does Nader say he’s running again? “To take our democracy back from the corporate interests that dominate both parties,” same reason he always ran. So why are so many people on his case?
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23 Feb 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Politics
BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER THREATENS UNIONS
regarding Feb 26, 12-1pm, BioDefense Lab Forum
It is CLEAR from Mr. Gorman's chilling letter threatening the Boston Medical Center unions, that free discussion of this issue without intimidation is not something BMC administration wants to see happen. Gorman's letter seems to indicate that free discussion by employees at BMC on this issue is something certain Boston Medical Center administrators are willing to stiffle by any means necessary .
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20 Feb 2004 | Filed under: Announcement / Labor : Social Welfare : Technology
The DNC: To Protest or not to Protest.


Pete Stid Boston, 2004

A number of local and national groups are organizing large demonstrations against the Democratic National Convention, yet many people are asking why. “Shouldn’t we be supporting anyone who can replace Bush?” they ask. Anti-authoritarians feel that protesting the DNC would effectively be a demand for better candidates, thus going against their message that any leader is illegitamate. Others seem to answer any political activism call with, “What the hell difference will it make?” In the same way that all of these statements show a divided and unorganized movement for change, they also show the potential for a unified movement, and a singular goal. An ideal “teaching moment” for a new direction towards direct democracy is presented to us all this July at the DNC. The message should be “change the system” not “regime change”. It is time to begin dismantling the centralization of power in the hands of the Republicans and the Democrats.

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17 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Organizing
Stop & Shop Contract Negotiations: General Strike for Health Care?
The United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union (UFCW) contract with Stop & Shop Supermarket Company expires on February 14th, 2004 at midnight. Negotiations about the contract began in July of last year, when Stop & Shop proposed outrageous changes to their renewal contract with the UFCW. There are 120 Stop & Shop grocery stores in the State of Massachusetts alone, and Stop & Shop is the #1 grocery retailer in New England. The UFCW local Union 1459 will be voting on the contract proposal on Sunday February 15th, 2004 in West Springfield, MA. The New England, New York and New Jersey UFCW labor movement has agreed to take whatever means necissary to "protect the livelihood of their members and families." If an agreement is not negotiated, a general stike and picket line are the only alternative to preserving their workplace rights.

Update: Nearly 600 Local 1459 grocery store workers voted unaminously to approve a new three year contract with their employer, Stop & Shop. Leadership from Local 1459, along with the four other unions that represent 42,000 Stop & Shop workers, ironed out their differences with Stop & Shop management and negotiated a last minute agreement into the wee hours of Febrary 15th, 2004.
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14 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / Labor
The Massachusetts Constitution Has Not Been Amended to Ban Gay Marriage--For Now
The Constitutional Convention is now in recess until Thursday, March 11. Following two days of wrangling over multiple amendments and fillibustering by opponents of any amendment (the supporters of gay marriage), no amendment has been voted out of the ConCon to amend the Constitution--yet. On the first day of the ConCon, the crowds on the street were huge--competing sides shouting, holding signs, arguing past each other, and the like. On the second day, the people who were there--about 500 at its peak--were overwhelmingly people who supported the rights of same-sex couples to marry. I don't think I saw a group of same-sex marriage opponents larger than 5 people all day Thursday. The fight isn't over. The ConCon will resume on March 11. My experience in legislative work, indeed in any form of queer work, says we're going to lose. I still think that some kind of amendment restricting marriage to only opposite-sex couples will pass. I'm also fairly confident, though, that when (if) this amendment goes to the citizens of MA, they will reject it. The polling data I've seen so far has shown support for same-sex marriage itself as slightly ahead of not allowing it. Opposition to amending the Constitution is at around 60%.
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13 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / GLBT/Queer
Separate but Equal isn't Equal: MA Constitutional Amendment?
On Tuesday November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that equal protection provisions of the Massachusetts State Constitution require that same-sex couples be permitted to marry. In short, gay marriage was found legal under Massachusetts Constitutional law. The immediate response to this historic decision included celebration and enthusiasm by civil liberties advocates, as well as dismayed reactionism from conservatives. On Wednesday, February 11th, an anti-"Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment" will be voted on by a joint session of the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives. Basic human rights and equality are at stake, and this historic decision may spell the future for gay rights in Massachusetts...
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09 Feb 2004 | Filed under: News / GLBT/Queer
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