Friday, February 26, 2010

Saturday Night Fun: Solidarity with Earth Defenders Concert at WOW Hall

In conjunction with the Environmental Law Conference the WOW Hall is hosting a benefit for the Civil Liberties Defense Center. The CLCD is a nonprofit organization focused on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, legal support and assistance.

We hope to see you there.

February 27
Samba Ja
Blackbird Raum Los Mex Pistols Del Norte
Special Guests:
Jeff "free" Luers and Ramona Africa

doors open at 6:30 pm
8th and Lincoln, Eugene, Oregon
$10 advance, $12 door

Sorry for the excessive hyperlinks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The EZLN, Chiapas and solidarity

Speaker on Mexican solidarity and Social Justice gives talk in LLC

Working towards defending and restoring Territory, Justice and building Peace. Victor Hugo Lopez has been working in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, came to the University of Oregon on Tuesday 2/23/10,to give a talk about his experience living and working in Chiapas after the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation).

“Since the start of 2010, there have been threats against 5 distinct indigenous groups, as well as arrests of lawyers and human rights workers” said Lopez. The primary motivation of these attacks are reprisals, in his talk, Lopez identified the source of these attacks as state theft of natural resources. “We need to see the bigger idea, [Chiapas] is wealthiest in terms of natural resources and the poorest and highest poverty… for average Mexicans, we know this.”

The problems of Chiapas are complicated, by government corruption, NAFTA and the drug trade. Government corruption, the land is opened to NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), which says resources can be moved across border with little cost. So a large corporation comes in, takes all the resources, pays little and resells it for retail to earn huge profits. This model effects Chiapas, since the resources are on indigenous land. “acting with destructive control, they [the government] comes in saying its ‘federal territory’, its important to remember who has lived on these lands for centuries.”  The government comes in, steals the land displaces the people and sells the resources, and keeps all the money. “Its low intensity warfare. They come in with helicopters, take everyone, move them to urban areas and abandon them. The most recent was two months ago. They clear lands of indigenous people, steal land, take resources all part of plan Pueblo Panama, NAFTA. 62 mining companies given exploration and exploitation rights, in official government agreements lasting until 2057. In promoting these, they say protecting national areas, but it’s in conjunction with militarization. The cost of which has been 10,000 civilian deaths”

The drug trade, shipping stocks through Mexico, pay ex-federal military members to join private militias. So the army ends up working for the cartels, because its on of the few jobs that pay and it gives the cartels a brutal tool and powerful connections. “When they announced a war on drug trafficking, we wondered if they would take out their own government officials contributing.” When the drug cartels commit crimes, they get off, because of their connections. So the people get killed and the government walks away. There was a massacre and the murders appealed to the Supreme Court and were set free.”

“We saw the government as illegitimate in the late 1990s. By 2000 the government was becoming regressive and now voting is pointless. They said there was 40% turnout and 15% support the current president and those are the official numbers; we know they are much lower… We have seen civil rights overturned, against labor laws. Abandoning the people in terms of economic, security, political and social structure. The basic needs are not met and the government says it does not have resources to fix problems.” The people are disenfranchised and were disempowered. “This is the state abandoning social responsibility, [primarily in] Health, Education and Energy”.

Between the government, the cartels and NAFTA exploitation the suffering seemed to feel complete, “Building our community means involved participation. We are building autonomous communities.”  This work is making a difference, communities empowering communities “Working with the EZLN social branch…we see communities reaching out to support displaced communities and defend one another… We went to [the Mexican state of] Oaxaca in the 2006 uprising and we are collaborating with the disempowered and indigenous struggles elsewhere.” Lopez made clear the communities are open for all sexual orientation and gender communities, allying will all struggles and types of oppression, relying on age-old matriarchal systems.

Lopez is on a West coast tour, talking about conditions in Chiapas.


The EZLN or ‘Zapatistas’ for short, began an uprising against the government of Mexico in 1994. While armed revolution has died down “Zapatistas are not turning in arms, due to circumstances.” Mr. Lopez gave an hour and a half lecture featuring video from a human rights organization he works with, the lecture was narrated in English for Lopez, by his friend Tony. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Middle East stuff?

Thoughts on Israel/Palestine, thoughts?

Some Promising New Views on Israel/Palestine

Jack Dresser, Ph.D.


The Israeli/Palestinian “peace process” has been going through its motions for some two decades now, nudged and attended by anything-but-disinterested U.S. meddle-men, in ostensible pursuit of Palestinian self-government and an ever-elusive “two-state solution.”  University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle, who advised the Palestinian delegation to Oslo , reported in his book, Palestine , Palestinians and International Law that the Israelis never negotiated in good faith.  Their strategy has been to stall as long as possible while gobbling up more and more Palestinian land.  Then Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon in 1998 encouraged settlers to “move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours... Everything we don't grab will go to them.”  The grabbing is now focused on East Jerusalem while the stalemate drags on.


The only “negotiated” proposal they have come up with is the Geneva Accord that evolved into the Geneva Initiative through Israeli collaboration with carefully selected quisling Palestinians who represent neither the 20% Palestinian population within Israel who live under a draconian Jim Crow system of legal discrimination, nor the Palestinian refugees and diaspora - over 4 million dispossessed people with the right of return to their lost properties under international law which is largely denied by the Initiative - nor the Gazan Palestinians under their democratically elected Hamas leadership who have been subjected to a sadistic 3-year economic strangulation and blockade in flagrant and continuous violation of the 4 th Geneva Convention. 


This blockade was judged a war crime and crime against humanity by a UN fact-finding commission and was likened to the Warsaw ghetto by Jewish-American Richard Falk, Emeritus Professor of International Law from Princeton University and UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories .  Falk’s judgement was made even before the 2008-09 Israeli assault and massacre in Gaza resulting in the Goldstone Commission report of massive and multiple war crimes.  It is likely that these unconscionable, violent and illegal actions were taken to stampede the Palestinians into premature acceptance of an unacceptable agreement.


This proposed “solution” - widely heralded by the new Israeli lobby, J Street - would create a demilitarized bantustan for Palestinians on less than 20% of the land that was originally 94% Arab owned in 1947, without control of their own borders, and subject to continuing Israeli troops on their land and IAF overflights above it.  The refugees could return to this little bantustan rather than their homes of origin as required under Articles 13 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Resolution 194 of December 1948.  This would also permit Israel to “transfer” its unwanted 20% Arab minority to their “new state” following the South African segregation model, thus completing the ethnic cleansing Zionist terror groups began in 1948.


But a 2009 survey of Palestinians in both devastated Gaza and the sliced, diced, wall-imprisoned and economically crushed West Bank - the populations with the most to gain from any agreement that might stop the bleeding - found 87% stating that full “right of return AND compensation” would be absolute conditions for any peace settlement.  These are tough, resolute, resilient people who practice non-violent resistance daily in the face of overwhelming and often lethal force and intend to keep doing so.  Israel is left with two choices: either kill them all or respect their human rights and international law.


Fresh perspectives are obviously needed.  The UO Arab Student Union and the Al-Nakba Awareness Project have arranged two speaking engagements to address that need.  On Thursday, February 25 Rebecca Tumposky of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) appeared at 7 pm in the Knight Library Browsing Room with Monadel Herzallah of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network to discuss “One year after Gaza - What happened? What’s next? What can we do now?”  The IJAN is a recently established, rapidly growing network to provide an organizational voice to the many Jews who reject Zionism and do not identify with Israel - some half of Jewish-Americans under 35 according to a 2007 survey reported in the Jerusalem Post.  This movement instead bases its collective identity upon the Jewish tradition of social justice and repudiates the racist ideology and practices of Israel ).  Indeed, a just resolution in compliance with international law is prevented only by the Zionist insistence on a “Jewish” state which privileges Jews and equates loss of its Jewish majority through honoring the right of return for displaced Palestinians as “the destruction of Israel .”


True, returning Palestinians would soon threaten the majority status, political domination, and Zionist dream of Jewish Israelis.  But with a constitution guaranteeing equality for all citizens irrespective of religion or ethnicity, so what?  The Jewish population of the U.S. is only 2% but very few American Jews have chosen emigration to Israel , apparently feeling safe and comfortable here.  Israel promised such a constitution in its founding document but has never fulfilled this pledge. If Israel can simply give up Zionism like any other bad habit, they can become a normal, multi-ethnic state accepted by the world community rather than the ethnocratic pariah state they are today, the object of over 100 UN resolutions of censure, condemnation and directives to desist from numerous and repeated internationally prohibited actions. 


A model for such a state is presented by the second speaking event sponsored by the UO Arab Student Union and the Al-Nakba Awareness Project.  Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada website ( ) and author of One Country - A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse will appear [or appeared] on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm in Lawrence Hall, Room 115. Abunimah is the most prominent voice among many recognized writers, scholars, historians and human rights proponents to advocate creation of a single, integrated, democratic state as the only solution that would meet the requirements of international law and simultaneously bring freedom, justice and equality to the long-embattled Holy Land .  One such scholar is Palestinian Mazin Qumsiyeh who has suggested reviving the earlier multi-ethnicity of this land, when once again integrated, with its ancient name, Canaan . If you miss[ed] Abunimah’s presentation, don’t miss reading his book.


Jack Dresser, Ph.D.