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Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Social Movement that Was and Is
Last night I followed a small group of members from United for Peace with Justice (UFPJ) into the growing crowd of Kerry supporters stationed at Copley Square waiting for the election results. They were nervous about how they would be received and a bit disappointed for the low turnout of protesters. Yet no one in the Kerry crowd seemed to reject their presence, instead taking plenty of “No More Wars” signs with them as if waiting for action if Kerry won.
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03 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Politics
Report: 3% of Black men in Massachusetts disenfranchised
This is the first presidential election since Massachusetts prisoners were stripped of the right to vote. The effected population is disproportionately Black. More than 3% of Black men in Massachusetts are denied the right to vote.
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02 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Race
Beyond Voting Actions Nationwide on November 3rd
blunder.jpgNow that the fight to put the latte-sipping Beacon Hill millionaire (who promises to fight a “more effective war on terror”) into the oval office instead of the phony Born-again neo-con New England brat come cowboy (who takes his killing orders from Jesus) is over, let’s get back to the real business of bringing about a better world.

Anybody But Bush is a thing of the past, win or lose. Kerry voters can now forgive third party voters for voting their conscience, third party voters can now forgive Kerry voters for taking the lesser of two evils, and voters can now forgive non-voters for not supporting a rigged system. We can put these differences aside in the interest of the desire for change we all share. Justice, equality, civil rights, human rights, and an end to the imperial economic policies and irresponsible military aggression of the United States government.

Come demonstrate to the rest of the world that the American people are no longer asleep!

Time: Wednesday, November 3rd, 5pm
Place: Copley Square

Bring music, signs, banners, instruments, props, noisemakers, street theater, and whatever else helps you get your message across!
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02 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Politics
The U.S. Presidential Election: What’s at Stake for American Labor?
election analysis just published in the Swedish magazine, Oreda. . .

Labor unions have been the main expression of working class aspirations in the United States since the 1800s when the American Federation of Labor (AFL) made the fateful decision to construct unions almost purely as organizations of economic power for its members—consciously ceding political power to the capitalist-dominated major political parties, and refusing to form a working-class party or to pursue alternative libertarian political forms. In fact, American unions have often avoided acting in the interests of all working people in favor of literally focusing on gains for its members alone. And for much of American unions’ history, its members have been predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant males.
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01 Nov 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor : Politics
Seymour Hersh Speaks in Boston, Predicts Possible Pre-election Falluja Attack
hersh.jpgSeymour Hersh spoke to an almost capacity crowd Friday night at the Ford Hall Forum in Faniuel Hall promoting his new book, Chain of Command. The book details the connections between Abu Ghraib and Donald Rumsfeld via the Pentagon. But the terrible actions committed at Abu Ghraib served only as a background for a speech peppered with warnings, predictions, and revelations about the current US administration.
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01 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media
Indymedia Strikes Back in the Newton Tab
In an opinion piece published last week by the Newton Tab, Karla Hailer-Fidelman at once spoke in defense of free speech, which is an admirable thing, and trashed a community-based media group, which was an act of supreme ignorance. In a guest commentary also published in the Newton Tab, Indymedia defends itself.
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29 Oct 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Media
EFF, UCIMC Challenge Secret Court Order
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) attorneys filed a motion to unseal a secret US federal court order that led to the seizure of two servers hosting several websites and radio feeds belonging to Indymedia, a global collective of Independent Media Centers (IMCs) and thousands of journalists. The motion seeks to discover which agencies and governments are responsible for the seizure in order to hold them accountable. In their motion, EFF attorneys argue that "the public and the press have a clear and compelling interest in discovering under what authority the government was able unilaterally to prevent Internet publishers from exercising their First Amendment rights." They argue further that secret court orders circumvent due process, undermine confidence in the judicial system, and deny an avenue for redress. "When a secret order results in the unconstitutional silencing of media, the public has a right to know what happened," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF Staff Attorney. "Freedom of the press is an essential part of the First Amendment, and our government must show it had a compelling state interest to order such an extreme intrusion to the rights of the publisher and the public..."
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26 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Media
Less-Than-Lethal?
fn_ll_303_r.gifPepperBall guns, Bean Bag Projectiles and Tasers, seem to be a good idea at first. They have been used to take down knife wielding hostage holders and neutralize would be suicide victims all over the country. They give officers a chance to leave their guns in the holster and defuse dangerous situations without killing.

In these situations the risk to life and limb is very real and there is a compelling logic to their use, even a fairly good record to back it up. A certain number of violent criminals have died as a result of bean-bags, pepper spray, and Tasers, but without less than lethal weapons, a gun would be used, and a death would be more likely.

But according to studies of some police departments, more than half of the people who end up on the business end of non-lethal weapons are not criminals, and over 80% are not threatening officers or the public with weapons of their own. That was definitely the case Thursday when a Boston Police Officer fired a FN Herstall model 303 pepper ball gun into a crowd of celebrating Red Sox fans, killing 21 year old Victoria Snelgrove. The Boston Globe reported only that a bottle was smashed near the police, who were wearing full riot gear at the time.

The police are trained to maintain a code of conduct regardless of the conduct of others. One would expect an officer of the law to exercise restraint when wielding a weapon capable of deadly force. Yet, in the case of "less-than lethal" weapons, such a policy simply isn't there.
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23 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Technology
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