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Rally at Cambridge City Hall: Lafayette 8 and more
Around 5 pm on May 24th, 2004, protestors gathered outside Cambridge city hall demanding the dropping of all charges against the Lafayette 8. The Lafayette 8 were arrested on April 14th in Lafayette Square, Cambridge while working on a community cleanup process. The site, a now abandoned Shell station, had been seized by the city through eminent domain. Despites promises to convert it into a public park, the site had been left as a wasteland, replete with broken bottles and scrap-metal. At around 5:45 some of the protestors filed into the Cambridge City Council hall to support a resolution for increased civilian oversight of the police sponsored by Council Member Denise Simmons. The first speaker touched on the use of service revolvers in arresting unarmed minors and the defunct Police Review Advisory Board. Although mandated by the City Council, the city manager, Robert Healy, has yet to staff the board. Following several other speeches, the council moved to postpone the resolution.
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25 May 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Social Welfare
Boston Comes Together; DNC Organizing Part I
bostonsky.jpg“Boston Comes Together” is the first installment of a five part series by the Boston Independent Media Center that will introduce all of the major groups organizing for events surrounding the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Mayor Tom Menino has invited 6,000 of his fellow democrats to Boston to pick a new presidential candidate at the Democratic National Convention in July. 15,000 members of the press will follow them to the hub, and other components of the DNC entourage will bring the total “invasion” force to 35,000 people. If the U.S. electoral system encouraged candidates to bond with their constituents and know the problems they face, Bostonians would rightly be delighted to host such an event. As it is, the electoral system we have requires candidates to find simple, dumbed down, centrist messages that can appeal to large majorities instead of a platform that might have real substance and meaning for anyone. This majoritarian system serves to keep the diversity of voices that are extant in the United States out of the executive and legislative bodies of the government. Instead of party loyalists and dissenters alike enjoying an opportunity to talk to their representatives and candidates, the people of Boston are instead devising clever strategies that will allow them to breach the dividing walls, buffer zones, and police lines that will surround the Fleet Center and the delegates inside. One group, Boston’s DNC Coalition, has come up with a novel way to get their voices heard.

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19 May 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Organizing
Section 8 Housing Voucher Programs In Crisis
house.jpgThe Bush Administration has recently shattered America's 30 year commitment to assist low-income families in keeping a roof over their heads through the HUD funded Section 8 housing voucher programs that assist the disabled, elderly and the poor. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the nation have been informed that reimbursements from HUD for fiscal year 2004 would not be based on actual current voucher costs, and instead the payments would be based on the cost of vouchers under lease on August 1, 2003, adjusted for inflation. Massachusetts housing officials are set to mail termination notices to about 650 tenants due to a shortage of $550,000, and are working with state and federal officials to come up with a solution to avoid the termination of many housing vouchers in their state.
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19 May 2004 | Filed under: News / Social Welfare
Native People Dissed in Greenfield
MetacomWar_Indianflee.jpgOne might think that by the 21st century, 328 years since white men slaughtered unarmed American Indian women and children in Franklin County, their heirs would finally be able to get it right.

In a sordid tale of what appears to be greed and racism, Greenfield's Mayor and pro-development forces in that Franklin County town have sought to discredit and undermine attempts by Native Americans to protect Indian remains that may date back to the massacre at Turners Falls that took place on May 19, 1676. Tomorrow at Unity Park in Turners Falls that tragic event will be marked with a gathering intended to seek reconciliation, but such sentiments do not seem to be on the agenda in Greenfield's town offices, the enclaves of developers, or for that matter, at the offices of the town's paper, The Greenfield Recorder.

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19 May 2004 | Filed under: News / Race
There is Always more to a Story then its Headline
I was thinking about the Boston Herald headline the day after those “contractors” had been butchered in Iraq. That headline read, “Savages: Iraqi mob kills and burns 4 American civilians.” (Boston Herald, April 1, 2004, news.bostonherald.com) My mind raced. There had to be more to the story then what they were telling us in the headline. I mean, could the very people we were there to liberate suddenly become the savages the papers wanted to see massacred? Was there more to this story? Well, indeed there is always more to any story.
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13 May 2004 | Filed under: News / International : Race
The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost – Yet Again
abuse5.jpgRacism being crucial to the killing, torture and humiliation of Iraqis, ostensibly called "abuse", is hardly mentioned in discussions on the subject. So that any attempt to reverse the horrors will remain largely cosmetic. To claim that the savagery wa the work of a few, courtesy digital technology, is to make the equally absurd claim that the brutal beating of Rodney King was a simple aberration and thus racism in American is a thing of the past. Please watch carefully the rhetoric of denial and see through it. Then perhaps, an appreciation of the depth of entrenchment of racism might throw some light as to what awaits Iraqis – the much touted “American moral values".
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12 May 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : International : Race
Seattle WTO Arrestees Win Class Action Suit
wto-protest.jpg         Lawyers and activists in Seattle are putting out the ali-ali all come free call to the 155 activists arrested at first and broad streets on December 1st in the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. A class action lawsuit; Hickey v. City of Seattle has been won on their behalf by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ) and the City of Seattle is paying $250,000 in damages for wrongful arrest. A second class action suit for people arrested inside the allegedly unconstitutional “no-protest zone” is still underway and awaiting the result of an appeal.
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11 May 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Police Shut Down Bl(A)ck Tea Society Meeting at MIT
popo1.jpgOn Wednesday, May 5th 2004, when Bl(A)ck Tea Society members arrived for their scheduled meeting on the MIT campus, they were greeted by two armed and uniformed Cambridge police officers (one of which illegally refused to identify himself), the chief of the MIT campus police, and a plainclothed agent (who also refused to identify himself, but one of the the other officers referred to as Mike). They were guarding and blocking the door to our reserved room, denying us the meeting space we have used for months before.
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07 May 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Organizing
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