Saturday, January 22, 2011

Natural Mining in City Limits Debating: Bufflao, NY

"The Buffalo Common Council Chamber was the scene of a spirited discussion Tuesday, January 18,2011 as those on both sides of the hydraulic fracturing issue clashed. The Common Council will decide on a moratorium for the controversial method of drilling for natural gas will be allowed in the city limits of Buffalo. This decision is mostly symbolic considering there are few places in the city suitable for such drilling. However, the common council’s decision will be seen as setting precedent for the future of fracking.

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing is a technique used in drilling for natural gas. At the end of a conventional vertical well, the drilling turns horizontal for hundreds of yards. Then high pressure water treated with toxic chemicals is injected into the shaft, breaking up the surrounding rock so natural gas can more easily be collected. This happens at depths around 5,000 feet and uses millions of gallons of water, and produces large amounts of toxic waste water.

The potential for contaminating community water systems and the water table can not be denied. This risk combined with the impact of the construction of new roads, pipelines and the fleets of trucks required on communities brings to the question, is this the best approach for economic and energy development?

On the opposite side is the promise of the creation of hundreds of desperately needed jobs and millions of dollars of profits and tax revenue for cash strapped local and state coffers.

Before leaving office, Governor Patterson vetoed a bill suspending horizontal hydraulic fracturing until July, deftly passing the buck to the Cuomo administration. The new governor has yet to make a comment. Sheldon Silver condemned it at the State of the State speech. Cuomo ignored it.

Legislative Committee Chairman Joseph Golombek Jr., along with members Majority Leader Richard Fontana, Michael J. LoCurto and David A. Rivera considered those wishing to speak, encouraging them to approach any open microphone and make their individual points.

The supporters of the ban included Rita Yelda and Albert Brown of Frack Action Buffalo. They expressed their concern for the environment, and the impact that fracking could have on the watershed. Lovejoy councilman Richard Fontana, stated his position by declaring that the Great Lakes were our greatest asset, and must be protected. Other opponents pointed out that drilling can destroy property values.

Ellicott district councilman Darius Pridgen asked John Holko president of Lenape Resources in Batavia and secretary of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York if this technique will destroy human lives. Economic considerations were not his concern. John Holko, answered it was risk cost benefit like driving a car was risky. Of course, Mr. Pridgen countered by saying getting behind the wheel is voluntary, drinking contaminated water is not.

Williamsville businessman Gary Marchiori stated that hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades, in New York State and was regulated by the DEC, as well as federal agencies. He stated that the gas industry provided jobs and tax revenue. He warned that the United States is depending too much on coal, which is environmentally less than desirable. He added that natural gas is a far cleaner source of energy than coal and is the future energy for United States energy independence.

Those opposed to the moratorium also presented the natural gas industries facts, figures and guarantees of safety. Many of the industries facts on toxic waste water collection and reuse as well as the degree of ground water contamination in community water systems and were challenged by supporters of the moratorium.

The common council is taking an admitted skeptical view of hydraulic fracturing. But they listened carefully to both sides and asked pointed and sober questions. There were more seeming ordinary citizens in the room who favored fracking than anticipated.

As noted above, the council and everyone seem to acknowledge was the fact that the vote will be symbolic. But it will be taken seriously by those on both sides.

But regardless of the outcome, the battle with continue".-By Grady Hawkins

This is a terrifying example of how greed can destroy areas, the threat of water contamination and soil toxicification. Natural Gases are still fossil fuels and the US does not need more fossil fuels, it needs to get off them! The fact that drilling within city limits speaks to the fact that oil companies are getting desperate. This proposal would have never had traction even ten years ago, so the fact that this is even a debate at all in inherently problematic and symbolic of a trend that the US is running out of fossil fuels and becoming increasingly desperate.

thanks to:
http://indymedia.us/en/index.shtml

&

http://buffalo.indymedia.org/content/fracking-debate-heats-common-council

Solve habitat overlap by killing wild animals: USDA Poisons Birds

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture has publicly admitted it is responsible for the mass poisoning of tens of millions of birds over the last several years.
It's all part of the USDA's program called "Bye Bye Blackbird," and we even have the USDA's spreadsheet where they document how many millions of birds (and other animals) they've poisoned to death."-NN

While this does not explain the mass die off in Arkansas and Texas however, it seems a strange practice- that the response to Human and Wild species habitat overlap is death. Since the zoning and land regulation helped create the problem by not allowing the birds enough space to exist on their own, this seems to be a harsh response, solve problems by killing wildlife.

This is not a hoax. It's a sick story of government use of taxpayer funds to kill the wildlife:
http://www.naturalnews.com/031076_USDA_bird_deaths.html

Here I document the number of animals the USDA is actually killing, based on their own reports:
http://www.naturalnews.com/031084_bird_deaths_holocaust.html

There's even a video that explains the USDA's involvement in a recent mass bird die-off near the border of Nebraska:

http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=191572F79E8B2C64705B4AB182AF54F9

thanks to www.naturalnews.com

Friday, January 21, 2011

University Women's Center Celebrates Roe V. Wade!

The University of Oregon Women's Center knows how to commemorate the anniversary of the landmark US Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion.

They hosted a concert to celebrate! This celebration is of Women's rights, the ability to protect one's body and the larger issues of consent and safe sex.

This memorial is significant, given the heated opposition to abortion (willing to murder a physician while in church), the celebration is an important one. The practice of abortion, if it must be done, it must be done safely and the Woman's ability to choose is as critical as a vote and inclusion into society.

The contention only exists because some (mostly extremely religious) communities embrace the idea that a child is 'alive' at the moment of conception. This is absurd, both medically, since the fetus takes weeks to form and even after several months, once developed, the fetus still lacks any mental capacity, any mental stimulus or the necessary ability for consent of personhood. The woman and her doctor will make a personal decision about abortion decided on a person by person basis, with the advantage of medical history and knowledge.

This has been made a contentious issue, but cells are not sacred, or any time you scratched your skin, and scraped off any live cells, you would be committing murder. This whole argument is absurd, because it is between a woman and her doctor. If we take away a safe medical surgery, abortions will not cease and the alternatives will be far worse.

Citation for abortion doctor who was murdered in his church:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/us/01tiller.html



What follows is a theological defense of abortion:



"It would have been better for that man if he had not been born" (matthew 26:24b)

'A Reluctant Defense of Abortion'
By Rev.PhD. M.E.Gillespie

Jesus' most terrible word concerning Judas was that it would have been better for him if he had not been born. This word has sent shudders down the spines of most of us. It causes us to cast about in our wondering of how many in our day Jesus might make the same judgement. We despair at how to deal with those whose inclination is to wanton violence. These wonderings lead us to speculate about possible causes of criminal mentality. Perhaps some of these causes are even prenatal.

In a recent (1982) article on bonding between mother-to-be and fetus in utero, Dr. Thomas Verny and John Kelly (authors of The Secret Life of The Unborn Child, summit books) report an intriguing case. Dr.Peter Fedor-Freybergh, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden reports birth of a robust and healthy baby. But surprisingly this baby refused her mother's breast. Bonding babies invariably move toward the maternal breast, but "Kristina" turned her head away. Dr.Fedor-Freybergh experimented by placing "Kristina" with another woman. "Instead of spurning the woman's breast as she had her mother's. Kristina grasped it and began sucking for all she was worth". The doctor then told "Kristina's" mother about the experiment and asked her wether she could think of anything to account for her daughter's strained behavior. The mother told him there there were no particular problems of illness during the pregnancy. Then the doctor asked wether she had wanted to get pregnant. She said "No I didn't, I wanted an abortion. My husband wanted the child. That's why I had her".

Dr.Verny believes that "Kristina" was aware of her mother's rejection long before birth. He says, "She refused to bond with her mother after birth because her mother refused to bond with her before it. Kristina has been shut out emotionally in the womb and now, though barely four days old, she was determined to protect herself from the mother in any way she could".

We may not be as sure as Dr.Verny is that the child in utero "knows" wether it is wanted or unwanted. but we can readily believe that the new born begins learning quickly whether the world is a friendly place and loving place. If they ingest love with their first swallows of milk, they will later have little difficulty in believing that God is love. And they will not hesitate when the Son of God invites them to discipleship.

Similarly, the young who learns so quickly that they are unwanted may never be able to know a loving God. Like their father Judas, they may be attracted to Jesus if they believe that's where things are happening. But we must not be too surprised if they are constitutionally incapable of responding to Jesus' love. They may not be able to respond to love if they were cheated out of their birthright. The birthright of every child is the right to be a wanted child.

Society may be wrong to compel women to bear unwanted children. The prospect of abortion is not very happy, but the prospect of inflicting unwanted people upon themselves and upon society is far more dreadful. Abortion must be available, along with other means of birth control and counseling, in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted births.

There will always be some, but we should hope to keep to a minimum the number of whom Jesus will say, "It would have been better for that man if he had not been born".

UO Women of Color Conference!

A message form a the WOmen of Color COnference, a traditional under-represented and marginalized community- who is making an educational stand today and tomorrow. Check out the lineup below. Should be great!

For Full schedule at the web address below:




https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=12da98558e03f251&mt=application/pdf&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui%3D2%26ik%3Da194e87a0c%26view%3Datt%26th%3D12da98558e03f251%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dattd%26zw&sig=AHIEtbSiTw5kCvt4qzf01VRbSYTZDEpfjg




highlights:

http://www.yellowrage.com/
http://www.favianna.com/
http://www.speakoutnow.org/userdata_display.php?modin=50|+|amp|+|uid=46

Hello everyone,

I would like to officially welcome everyone to the 8th Annual Women of
Color Conference. This year's theme is "Our New Year's Resolution:
Ending Oppression Through Expression!" and we are very excited to have a
variety of wonderful speakers and workshops. The University of Oregon
and the community have been incredibly supportive throughout the
planning and preparation, and I recognize all the hard work the Women's
Center staff has put into this event. Finally, a warm recognition for
the absolutely AMAZING Andrea Valderrama for her vision and for making
this conference a reality. It has been 5 years since we have hosted a
conference of this caliber and we are ready to celebrate!

As you can see from the attached program, we have over 24 workshops;
from meditation to collage making to discussions exploring the politics
of oppression and liberation. On Friday, participants will enjoy
performances by the UO Gospel Choir and Yellow Rage
(http://www.yellowrage.com/ [1]). Saturday will include additional
workshops, a lunch hour dance performance by Phenomenon Dance Company, a
community engagement mural with Favianna (http://www.favianna.com/ [2])
that will be permanently housed in the City of Eugene's Peterson Barn
and our closing keynote with Dr. Angela Davis
(http://www.speakoutnow.org/userdata_display.php?modin=50&uid=46 [3]).
We will eat spectacular meals provided by Plaza Latina and Evergreen
Indian Cuisine.

In the past month over 300 people have registered for the conference! UO
MEChA is bringing people from all over the Northwest, we have people
coming from nearby Corvallis, distant New York, and many places in
between. Students from the 4J and Bethel districts will be joining us,
community members, Women's Center graduates, Lane Community College
students, board members from the Red Lodge Prison transitions program
and Oak Creek correctional facility alike.

In order to make this conference possible, we have over 40 staff and
volunteers working around the clock on details ranging from room and
tech logistics to visual design graphics and public relations to
assembling conference packets.
So! Please help us make the next two days a huge success by joining us
this Friday and Saturday, January 21-22, 2011 for the 8th annual Women
of Color Conference!
--

Sincerely,

Brandy Ota
Director, ASUO Women's Center

Wyden finds more KORUS FTA resistance in Southern Oregon

Free trade means only the flow of money and goods, this does nothing for the people and national industries choked by the policy. When workers cannot follow the jobs, labor is left to suffer, families will have no work and who is answerable to this, the great fair trade economists? If we seriously want free trade then every nation must open its borders completely! Thus free trade only works between neighbors and within a country or continent where the parties are already on good terms. Free trade here will only cause harm, owing to the large body of water dividing the nations. It is already difficult to trust the leaders of one nation from going to war, why open trade borders, for power and economic sway? This system of free trade was renounced by its own creator as a failed economic strategy- Milton Friedman, don't use a failed plan. Also Korea is struggling with its own food safety, as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has caused the country to call out its national guard!

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden met more resistance to the Korean Free Trade Agreement when he held his Town Hall in Medford, Oregon on 1/19/11. Unionists Ivend Holen (IBEW steward, retired) and Ralph Browning (AFSCME President Medford employees) asked pointed questions at Wydens's Medford Town Hall.

Wyden got his facts wrong when he stated that longshoremen favor the KORUS Free Trade Agreement, in fact the Longshoremen sent this letter to (former speaker) Nanci Pelosi:
"ILWU Opposes Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement"

"I went to the town hall on friday night. I was lucky to even get to ask a question, but I did get to ask one and made some good points on Free Trade. I hope Sen. Wyden will consider the mood of this crowd when he formulates his position on the Korean Free Trade proposal....he said he is undecided on the subject. I logged some thoughts on the evening......"--Bruce Dennis

Multnomah County Town Hall
Ron Wydens Open Forum Jan 14, 2011

Senator Wyden, you are elected from among us, stop endangering the workers in your constituency!

sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/01/21/south.korea.foot.mouth/index.html

http://indymedia.us/en/index.shtml

http://rogueimc.org/en/2011/01/16866.shtml

http://www.longshoreshippingnews.com/2010/12/ilwu-opposes-korea-united-states-free-trade-agreement/
__________________________________________


In a discussion about this issue Read the below letters:
***IVEND HOLEN***
Senator Wyden:
Our valley lost two new and rising manufacturing facilities this past year, both green enterprises engaged in building electric vehicles. In late October, the owner of Ashland-based Barefoot Motors, a manufacturer of electric powered ATVs marketed mainly to the nursery industry, announced the company's closure. The owner said she was unable to acquire the necessary components to continue production, forcing the closure. We have learned recently that the facility is resuming production under a different name, but this time in Brazil, where components, unlike Oregon, are (apparently) readily available.
The other company, Brammo Motorcycles, announced the previous month, just last September, that they were moving their manufacturing facilities from Ashland to Asia, in partnership with the Singapore-based conglomerate, Flextronics, Inc. The press release announcing the move stated that the long-term goal was to manufacture the motorcycles in Asia, Europe, and North America. Flextronics, the second largest electronics manufacturer in the world, has its sole North American industrial manufacturing park, currently turning out flat-screen televisions for Wal-Mart, located across the border in Juarez, Mexico, also known as the murder capital of North America.
These are but two local examples where free trade pacts like NAFTA and those within the World Trade Organization (WTO) have cost Oregonians all across the state good manufacturing jobs, and across a wide range of industries. The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign documents that Oregonians making circuit boards in Dallas, bike trailers in Eugene and rock climbing gear in Bend have all been affected. So have technical writers in Beaverton, call center representatives in Roseburg and computer programmers in Lake Oswego. The number of lost jobs just in Oregon, directly attributable to NAFTA, and documented on their website, http://www.citizenstrade.org, is 74,500.


IVEND HOLEN ON SENATOR WYDEN'S RESPONSE

Wyden's response was extensive, to say the least, a much longer reply than even the question !! But it began by him explaining the reference to the shepherding of the process through the Senate by announcing that he is chair of a Senate sub-Committee on Trade. The meat of his reply had mainly to do with what he described as the complexity of the Korean Free Trade issue, the benefits of the agreement to Oregon agriculture, and an emphasis on the potential advantage of the Agreement to the orchard (pear, in particular) industry. He also said that he was a bit uncertain about some of the things mentioned, in that I had made reference to a couple of businesses that had relocated to Brazil and Europe, with whom the US has no free-trade agreements.

He did say that the reference to the plant in Mexico was pertinent to the issue of NAFTA, and that he did recognize the issue between the kinds of jobs that were being lost due to past trade agreements, which were mainly professional, and the kinds of jobs that were gained, which included good nursery jobs and other high-paying professional jobs associated with the export business. He said that President Obama had renegotiated the draft Korean FTA to provide better conditions for Oregon agriculture, which would really benefit, and also had managed to get much better conditions for the US auto industry.

Senator Wyden said he was strongly in favor of legislation which would remove existing tax incentives which tend to drive US businesses out of the US. He said we should not reward companies who move their headquarters out of the US in order to avoid paying US taxes, and that he and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio were joint sponsors of the "Enforce Act", which seeks to prevent foreign companies from evading US trade laws by strengthening enforcement powers of the Commerce Department. He finished up by saying that the issue of the Korean Free Trade Act was a very complicated matter that needed careful consideration, and the details of the Agreement needed close attention, and he appreciated input on the details. I said I had a copy of details printed out for him, and his staff person with the microphone picked them up from me.

Ralph Browning's subsequent questioning was powerful, hammering in on the same issue of the KFTA, and I noted Wyden's complexion reddening as Ralph continued his verbal challenge. His response was, again, long-winded, and referred again to his support of legislation to reduce the tax incentives for companies to remove their headquarters from the US. He challenged Ralph on his assertion that orchard workers were certainly not highly-paid professional jobs, saying that there is more to orchards than simply picking the fruit - that packers and truckers and Longshoremen were also needed to export the product. He said that he understood that US auto workers were very pleased with the draft KFTA. He also said that the Longshoremen were strongly in favor of it, and, in fact, favored every kind of Free Trade Agreement ever made. He said that trade agreements has benefited US exports, and resulted in a 100 percent increase the the value of exported goods between 2003 and 2008, and finished, again, saying that the issue needed careful consideration.

His response to Mike Duffy's question about his support of unions in general, and the Postal Union in particular, was that the best results came about when all parties, including unions, come to the bargaining table equally and fairly, and that he was a sponsor of legislation to encourage states across the country to go to a "Vote by Mail" system like Oregon's, and this was evidence of his strong support of the post office...

Ivend Holen

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Showing of 'Flow' at UofO

Flow is a movie on water rights in the US.

Campus Recycling is hosting a free movie showing of FLOW! Flow will be
shown in the 'Common Grounds' Cafe in the Hamilton Dorm complex.
Interactive tabling will start at 6PM with the film starting at 7pm on
Thursday, January 27th with a discussion following the film!

Flow is the definitave examination of water rights in the US! Looking at
bottled water, water ownership, public/private control maintenance and
oversight of "Our most precious resource".

"Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the
people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water
crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming
blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround."- FLOW

So Come check out Campus Recycling and FLOW, in Common Grounds,
Thursday the 27th from 7-9pm.

University of Oregon LGBTQ hosts Burlesque show.

The University of Oregon LGBTQ is hosting a Burlesque and Drag show. This event has promoted sex-positivity (as opposed to ignoring, awkwardly pretending it dosen't exist or actively being against sexual activity). This event also promotes an awareness and understanding of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual communities. Also, it's generally a good time.

January 29th, 8-11pm, EMU Ballroom

After Party, 11-1, EMU Fir Room

Tickets:
Students $2
Community $3

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Starbucks Workers Union (Industrial Workers of the World)

NEW YORK, NY –On this the 25th anniversary of Dr. King’s holiday, baristas at the Astor Place Starbucks in Manhattan declared their membership in the 105 year old union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a staunch and outspoken defender of workers’ rights including the right to a living wage and the right to join a labor union.

The baristas represent the latest group of workers at the coffee giant to join the ongoing struggle for a living wage, more consistent scheduling, more affordable health insurance, and to be treated with basic respect and dignity by management. “I am proud to join the growing ranks of retail workers organizing together in the largest and least organized sector of our economy and at a company that has created thousands of low-wage jobs,” expressed Astor Place barista Zelig Stern. In the last year, baristas in Omaha, Nebraska and Ft. Worth, Texas have also joined the IWW Starbucks Workers Union (SWU), showing that workers’ concerns with the company are far-reaching.

“We would just like to be treated like human beings and not machines,” said union barista and Astor Place employee Cason Bolton, Jr. in reference to Starbucks’ latest initiative toward mimicking the factory assembly-line, the “Beverage Repeatable Routine.”

Today the workers delivered a collectively written demand letter (see below) to the management of the Astor Place Starbucks. Their demands included a one dollar per an hour raise across the board for all store employees. While the company’s total net revenue for FY 2010 increased by 9.5% to $10.7 billion, according to the company’s Financial Report for Nov. 4, 2010, many of the retail location employees aren’t able to make ends meet with their low Starbucks wages and are forced to live below the poverty line, many requiring public assistance.

Ex-Manager turned Union Organizer, Claudio Anzalone has seen the company move further and further from its employees-first mantra from when he started his career at Starbucks over ten years ago. “I feel great regret that Starbucks partners now need a union to protect their job and human dignity, but we do,” said Mr. Anzalone.

Another demand from the workers is the immediate reinstatement of wrongfully fired union barista Catherine Arredondo, who the union feels was targeted by the company once they found out she had attended a union meeting. Ms. Arredondo assured her co-workers that she's sticking with the Union, saying, “I’m going to stay and fight because I want my coworkers to know that organizing a union is the right thing to do.”

Workplace democracy is a large focus for the workers. Union workers at Astor Place feel strongly that each worker should have a voice in decisions regarding the day to day operations of the store, since they are the people most directly affected by these decisions. “We’re all humans and we should be treated as such, above everything else,” said Kayla Halstead, another union barista that works at the Astor Place Starbucks location. Union worker, Princess McLawrence, sites a very personal connection to organizing when she said, “I joined the IWW Starbucks Union in an attempt to regain, by force, the part of myself that I have lost since I first started at Slavebux.”

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots organization composed entirely of current and former Starbucks employees who have fought for respect, security, affordable health care and a living wage since 2004. Working together, SWU members have improved working conditions for Starbucks employees and won legal victories against unfair labor practices.

For More Information Contact: Zelig Stern, 508-524-2118; Cason Bolton, Jr, 702-490-1732

Story from www.iww.org

The Insurgent stands in Solidarity with the working people of all countries for empowerment and resistance to oppression. Solidarity Forever!!!

All Power to the Peoples Court: The Struggle for Community Control of the Police in West Philly

A Great example of community exercising it's control over a local police force. When a group has the authority to violate their own rules, to whom do they answer? The question of police is one that is examined after a tragedy. That a local man was assaulted by police, the local people made a witness for peace by surrounding the violent officers and recording their crime. The central message that this powerful story articulates is that every people must unite, to "stand together and protect one another, for direct control of what happens in their community"

"The black working class is currently leading the way in the development of new forms of revolutionary organization in Philadelphia. This is reflected in the community based People’s Courts that formed in response to the near death beating of Askia Sabur in West Philadelphia on September 3rd, 2010. Askia had not complied with police orders to leave a street corner as he was waiting for his food at a Chinese store in his community, on 55th and Lansdowne.

Several people recorded with their cell phones and camcorders the brutal gang of cops as they proceeded to viciously attack Askia. The video clearly shows how his skull was cracked and his arm broken by the blows of the steel baton delivered by officer Jimmy Leocal. As the cops assaulted Askia people in the community steadily surrounded the police, loudly demanding that they stop. This intervention of the community in the unlawful arrest of Askia so threatened the official legitimacy of police violence that one officer felt compelled to reinforce it by hysterically pointing and waving his gun at the growing crowd. Immediately after the cop puts his gun down a person can be heard asking him “yo did you just brandish a fire arm?!” while the officer then resumes to bash Askia over the head with the baton. Someone else in the video can be heard saying, “he’s got one more time to point that gun at me” and “your gona fuck around and kill him.”[1]

One wonders what the police would have gotten away with if the people weren’t there. After the camera cuts out, several observers were ruffed up while Askia was arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest, and attempted robbery (for grabbing the cop's baton). This incident is of course a regular occurrence for the mostly black working class of Philadelphia. City programs such as “stop-and-frisk,” under the leadership of Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Ramsey, have given free rein to police harassment and intimidation and have sparked an ACLU lawsuit. With this routine violence faced by poor people the police are fulfilling their duty to discipline the working class, especially its most revolutionary segments. But the people responded, without any one telling them to, by encircling the police and documenting their crimes.

The story quickly circulated the internet and the grapevine, grabbing the attention of the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation, which called for a mass community build on September 11th at the scene of the crime. These local organizers set up a microphone, an amp, and emceed while person after person stepped up and testified about their experiences with the police. Groups such as the Nation of Islam, the New Black Panthers, the Uhurus and other more established organizers were present, even a couple white folks, but most crucial were the everyday people from the community who came out. Of course, the undercover cops were wandering about the scene asking people about Askia, trying to collect information. Naima Wilson, Askia’s sister, addressed the gathering, warning people that the under-covers were trying to incriminate Askia. As the assembly grew to around fifty people they began to take up the entire street, obstructing the passing trolleys, forcing the cops to cordon off the block.

Everyone shared their frustration with the criminal Philadelphia Police Department, most notably Askia’s father and sister Naimah. More importantly, they encouraged people to stand together and protect one another, for direct control of what happens in their community. One young woman in her early teens expressed this spirit:

“I’m not gone go look for no cops if something bad happen to me. If I have to run to somebody else, I want it to be one of y’all. I do not want it to be no cop. I don’t even think they would do anything. I don’t feel safe around these cops patrolling these streets. Stuff happens every day around here and they really don’t care. It’s like, what are they here for? Ain’t nobody protecting us, we protect ourselves.”[2]

In next two days more People’s Courts were held at the same corner, attended by twice as many people. All the gatherings remained peaceful although those in the crowds and speakers made it very clear to the police that they would defend themselves if necessary. The police knew better than to try anything. Again, the streets where taken over and the people, especially the family, aired their grievances, which were compiled by the growing number of organizers and activists that were forming into the Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality. They put together a “People’s Subpoena” that was given to the local 19th Police District on September 17th at the conclusion of a 300-person march through West Philly.

Unlike the insular protests we are all too familiar with, this energetic mass of people was joined by children and elders coming off their porches, by the lumpen-proletariats from the corner, by people in the few local shops along the way. They chanted “Who runs these streets? Not the police!” and “No Justice, No Peace!” as they marched along the fenced off streets to the 19th District. The demonstrators arrived, some speeches were made, and the family and representatives entered the heavily guarded building and served the police with their list of demands. They called for the police to immediately release Askia, to drop the false charges against him, and to charge the culpable officers with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, inciting a riot, kidnapping, etc. Many people emphasized that these demands would be carried out regardless of whether the police fulfilled them or not. They were so ready that some organizers felt the need to order them to stop threatening and taunting the police and to back away from them, reflecting diverging interests between the rank and file and the official leadership.

The state has responded to this large outpouring of direct action against it by trying to establish its legitimacy. The large manifestations of discontent with the police state, tied with the video, which had received thousands of views and was seen all across the country by that time, sparked a series of 22 community-police meetings across the city on September 29th. These efforts are a desperate attempt to pacify the popular anti-police sentiment of the people. At a police-community meeting at the 19th District over a dozen people testified to the oppression they had experienced from the cops, which was countered with the hope of a more polite police force. After a woman expressed how she was sexually harassed by the police, one cop from the panel offered her his personal phone number.[3] This man’s patronizing gesture crystallizes the ongoing attempt by the cops to present themselves as “problem-solvers.”

Some radical leaders themselves envision a friendly neighborhood police state. Will Mega, the official family representative, for example, argued at the same police-community meeting that “it’s unfair to lay the premise that suggests the people need to learn how to interact with the police, not that the police need to learn the constitution and learn to interact with the people.” [4] Similarly, at the rally on September 17th, some speakers urged the police to “take time out to get to know our community.”[5] Rather than the people directly holding the police accountable and taking matters into their own hands, the focus shifts to pressuring the police to learn how to respectfully interact with the people. But the official leadership, which acts as a mediating force, does not exactly reflect the consciousness of the working-class. Although a split in the ranks of the police has certainly taken place, relying on the police to keep themselves in line is not only ineffective, but also exactly what the state wants. The people know this and for this reason are not calling for a more sensitive, better-trained police force.

Kristian Williams shows in Our Enemies in Blue how the expansion of police militarization has gone hand in hand with community-policing. Violent repression like “Cointelpro” is used in reaction to full-on revolutionary movements, while community based policing allows the police to legitimatize themselves when the movement is still small and isolated. Since the revolutionary period of the 1960’s this has been in fact a deliberate counterinsurgency initiative. By working with local residents to address their concerns, by reinventing themselves as more than a uniform and badge, the biggest gang in the city is currently trying to gain the community’s trust and prevent independent action. [6] This battle for legitimacy is critical for a police department with such a tarnished image as Philadelphia’s to prevent in the long-run any kind of revolutionary movement against it and the system it represents.

Attempts to offer the possibility of a more liberal police state function as soft form of repression—to snip the rebellion in the bud. The state doesn’t have to respond with outright violence since this movement has yet to develop its political power. At this stage the state is attempting to cut off popular support for the demand for direct community control of the police by offering solutions that are acceptable. Fortunately, the role being played by “respectable” leaders in offering solutions that perpetuate the police-state has not reached the level experienced in Oakland, where many non-profit organizers have directly opposed the popular rage of the Justice for Oscar Grant movement. Brother Tommy of the Poor Righteous Party described the struggle against this kind of opportunism as a “class struggle within the leadership.” A multi-ethnic alliance of working class militants of various tendencies have identified the model of the People’s Court—where the community literally takes over the streets, documents and observes the police, opens up the space to address grievances against them and makes plans to hold them accountable—as a viable alternative. This form of restorative justice is derived from the self-activity of the working class and operates beyond the confines of the state. The development and reproduction of neighborhood rooted People’s Courts, in connection with other struggles, is a strategy that can lead to a mass revolutionary movement.

The impossibility of reconciliation was underlined on October 26th when cops from the 19th District broke into the home of Tanya Yates, Askia’s cousin, attacking her and Askia’s 80 year old grandfather without legal justification. The Philadelphia police continue to get away with stealing money and drugs from those they arrest and keeping it for themselves, with robbing corner stores, and with raping and murdering people at record highs. Despite the attempts of some police leaders to cooperate with the FBI and reinforce internal affairs, the corruption and lack of accountability goes on unabated. While officer Jimmy Leocal is under investigation and Askia’s charges of assaulting him were dropped on December 1st, [7] this not due to the benevolence of some in the Philadelphia Police Department or the moderate positions of the official leadership, it is the direct result of the state fearing a mass uprising of the everyday people.[8]

-Iladelph Liberation



[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQXh-v3IZ4c

[2] This quote can be found in Dave Onion’s article, http://defenestrator.org/west_philly_uprising (live footage of the speaker can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oesa-w9PRE).

[3] http://defenestrator.org/west_philly_uprising

[4] ibid

[5]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utcRaLkFzQo&feature=related

[6] see chapter 9, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Police State.”

[7]http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/pa/20100910_Philadelphia_police_investigating_alleged_beating_of_suspect_in_arrest.html

[8]http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20101202_In_1_of_2_cases__assault_charges_dropped_against_defendant_whose_video_arrest_brought_complaints_of_police_brutality.html"

From: http://phillyimc.org/en/all-power-peoples-court-struggle-community-control-police-west-philly

and

http://indymedia.us/en/index.shtml

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

THIS JUST IN...

The Following is a press release announcing a lawsuit filed by two
environmental organizations in Eugene to stop the Trapper timber sale.
Cascadia Forest Defenders applaud the efforts of other organizations
in the Eugene community to stop the logging of ancient forests in our
watershed. Cascadia will be free!:

*Conservation Organizations Challenge Decade-Old Logging Plan Above
Renowned McKenzie River*

EUGENE - Working to halt an outdated timber sale originally proposed
over ten years ago, two conservation organizations filed a lawsuit
today in federal district court. The legal challenge by Cascadia
Wildlands and Oregon Wild takes aim at the Willamette National
Forest's Trapper timber sale above the McKenzie River, which proposes
to log 157 acres of mature and old-growth forest.

The U.S. Forest Service first proposed the timber sale in 1998 and has
failed to address significant new information that has arisen since
the agency issued a decision on the project in 2003.

"The McKenzie is Eugene's backyard recreation paradise," says Kate
Ritley, Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands. "The McKenzie's
forests filter our drinking water and shelter all kinds of wildlife.
We need to protect these precious forests for future generations, not
destroy them for short-term profits."

In the ten years since the project was planned a pair of threatened
northern spotted owls has taken up residence in the vicinity of the
timber sale. According to new research data, the species continues a
downward population trend both range-wide and in a large study area
that encompasses the logging project. Additionally, the Forest Service
logging plan fails to protect dozens of red tree vole nests located in
the project area. The red tree vole is a small mammal that lives in
older conifer forests and is required protection when its nests are
located. The vole is also a major food source for the northern spotted
owl. Because of these factors and other threats to the species, the
conservation organizations believe protections from harmful timber
sales are more warranted than ever.

The Trapper timber sale has been the subject of controversy before. On
two past occasions, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild successfully
challenged the species impacts opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS). USFWS is the federal agency in charge of
recovering endangered species and had illegally issued opinions that
would have allowed the Trapper timber sale to proceed despite negative
effects to threatened wildlife.

"It is past time the Forest Service retire this reckless project for
good," says Doug Heiken, Conservation and Restoration Coordinator with
Oregon Wild. "The agency has a choice between logging mature and
old-growth forests on public lands above our treasured McKenzie River
or identifying common-sense projects that benefit wildlife, protect
the forest, and create jobs. It should be an easy choice."

The groups believe the Forest Service should be spending limited
taxpayer dollars on projects that restore degraded landscapes, like
restoration thinning in tree plantations formed by past clearcutting,
decommissioning harmful roads, and enhancing fish and wildlife
habitat. The groups have offered to work with the Forest Service and
the purchaser of the Trapper timber sale, Seneca Sawmill, to find
replacement timber volume from less controversial areas. The purchaser
has not expressed interest in this option. The Willamette National
Forest has provided replacement volume to timber companies in the past
when timber sales were mired in public controversy. The organizations
are being represented by attorneys at Western
Environmental Law Center and Cascadia Wildlands.

Josh Laughlin
Campaign Director
Cascadia Wildlands - we like it wild.
www.CascWild.org - PO Box 10455 Eugene, OR 97440 - 541.434.1463

We educate, agitate, and inspire a movement to protect and restore
Cascadia's wild ecosystems. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers
full of salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant
communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia
Bioregion.


also check out
http://forestdefensenow.org/

The wild lands are not our home, nor our house, they are our creator. Without the wild lands we lose our roots and like a tree we will die with out them.

Two Olympia Radicals Charged With Perjury Due to Participation in Anti-Police March

We are asking for your support of two Olympia activists, Matt (Matthew Duran) and Maggi (Margaret Belknap), who have been charged with perjury in connection with their participation in an anti-police demonstration in Olympia, WA on April 8th. The demonstration occurred in reaction to recent police murders in Olympia, Portland, Tacoma, and the Bay Area and the unaccountability that surrounds them.

The march had attendance and support we haven't seen in years. During a mass arrest, 29 people went to jail (The State Street 29) of the original approximately 50 participants , most of which were not charged. Several people were beaten or pepper balled, sat on the ground for hours in the cold waiting to be escorted off one by one, without being told what they were charged with, without being fed, without being allowed to call attorneys... you know the story. Like many experiences people have in jail, their treatment wasn't the best - they were singled out for harsher treatment based on their political views.

Three individuals were initially charged. Paul French was charged with felony assault of an officer, Jami Williams with misdemeanor assault and malicious mischief, and Maggi with felony assault of an officer. We believe the evidence the police presented was fabricated and/or insufficient for conviction. Paul pled no contest and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He served two months on good behaviour. Maggi was sentenced to 30 days, serving 16 on good behaviour. Like in many instances before, assault of an officer was a mockery of the situation; it was closer to assault by an officer. Maggi was beaten by the police and pepperballed while she sat next to Matt, who received a pepperball to the head.

We were all excited when we thought this ordeal was over, but now they are facing new charges. When Maggi was initially charged with two counts of assault of an officer, she testified in her own defense. Matt, who was a witness to her arrest, also testified. Both testified that Maggi did not assault the officer, instead suggesting that perhaps it was the officer who assaulted her. Two officers testified against her. One of whom, their prime witness, admitted that he couldn't say for sure whether or not she assaulted the officer. She was convicted of one count and acquitted of the other.

Matt and Maggi have now both been charged with one count of first degree felony perjury class B under state law. This is a serious felony and something nobody in Olympia has been charged with before in this context. It's common in court cases to have witnesses which give completely contradicting testimony where nobody is charged with perjury. The prosecutor is making this charge on the basis that she was convicted. If one were to follow this logic, the officers who testified to the assault should also be charged with perjury as she was acquitted of one charge (and therefore their testimony must have been falsified as well). On the day of trial, the prosecution tried to bring in a witness they had not previously notified the defense about: an officer who had for over a month not realized he witnessed the whole event, now claiming he had seen the alleged assault! He was not allowed to testify, but it is likely he will testify in this case. This officer (Bryan Houser) also unjustly attacked a member of the Olympia community named Pony shortly after Officer Houser attempted to testify during Maggi's initial assault case.

We need to raise a serious amount of money to bring political pressure, hire attorneys, and do outreach and we need to raise it in a matter of months. We have to raise $5,000 to pay the retainer for Matt's lawyer and that amount will likely triple if this goes to trial. We all know how crucial yet costly these battles are. If the police can use this tactic successfully, perjury charges will occur much more frequently against those who take the risk of challenging government accountability in a public way. While the visible and public presence of the anti-police brutality movement in Olympia was damaged by the loss the State Street ordeal has put on us, the convictions of Maggi and Matt could very well be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. In September, police across Washington State killed six individuals and no officers have been charged for those killings. Most of them haven't had any public investigation whatsoever.

Both Maggi and Matt have been active members of our community and movement for years. Recently Matt had begun organizing copwatches downtown in response to certain events, such as Artswalk, where "street sweeps" are conducted to harass the houseless and "clean up" the city. Matt regularly volunteers at the Olympia Food Co-Op and helped set up a public computer lab at our local social and activist resource center, Media Island. Maggi was a founding member of Olympia SDS, Port Militarization Resistance, and the Olympia Street Medics. She has also been extensively involved in EGYHOP (Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Program), a street outreach organization. Maggi also volunteers at Media Island. While we do not find it unusual or unexpected that they have been targeted in this way, it is worth mentioning the greater context that these charges fit into.

To emphasize the seriousness of these charges, under suggested sentencing guidelines Matt faces 3-6 months in jail and Maggi faces 6-12 (due to her previous assault conviction). Given the political targeting that is already going on, we expect them to push for maximum sentences. Other crimes in the 6-12 month category include: child molestation, extortion, kidnapping, rape, and possessing a stolen firearm. These charges are a big deal and we need big support to fight them.

The support committee that has taken on this task is a small group of dedicated people and we'll make sure every dollar donated goes directly to fighting these charges and supporting Maggi and Matt in jail, should it come to that.

Checks, money orders, or well-concealed cash (to avoid theft) should be sent to Alex Bryan, PO BOX 1806, Olympia, WA 98507. Checks should be made out to the "State Street 29 Support Committee" and money orders should be made out to Alex Bryan.

We need folks across the country to throw fundraisers, events, etc. to help raise money and support. See http://mattandmaggi.tumblr.com/post/1541229871/how-to-help-the-support-committee for more information on how to support us!

Website: http://mattandmaggi.tumblr.com
Paypal/Email: mattandmaggi@hotmail.com
Twitter: mattandmaggi (text “follow mattandmaggi” without quotes to 40404 for text updates)
We also have a facebook, just search for it!

Note: The above statements do not necessarily reflect the views of Matt or Maggi but rather the views of the support committee.

see also:
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2011/jan/breaking-fbi-informant-infiltrates-minnesota-anti-war-and-international-solidarity-organiza

The Insurgent stands in solidarity with political prisoners.

Police spies in environmental movements

In a retrospective piece by Kate Anderson, of the Guardian. The fact is now apparent, that the government does not trust it people. Nonviolent movements, which simply ask questions are becoming questioned themselves- by police. Groups which pose no threat, no danger and no risk, except offering options to ease the fears of climate change and a national conscience. Such scrutiny is shameful, why devote efforts to such groups, who seek nothing but self and national improvement? In a long line of government subversion, this is fairly harmless, except that it betrays the trust of the community and proves only the necessity to remove the ineffective and detrimental police departments from every country, state, province and municipality.

The other striking feature of this article is that it marks a trend of extended under-cover operations. This means that theoretically any 'friend' may be an enemy, any source of trust may lead to betrayal. This message is contrary to the human necessity of community, companionship and solidarity. The options are simple, we can either disband police and be prepared to step up and respond to our neighbors, we can choose non-violence as a tactic and deal with police sabotage as it comes.

"Planting police spies among green activists was an attempt to derail a growing social movement – and it has failed I knew Officer A well – or rather, I thought I knew her well – and I had met Mark Kennedy on many occasions. On a personal level I feel real sadness about the loss of someone I considered a friend. On a political level this raises some questions of real concern to everyone.

In a combined 11 years of undercover operations, the evidence gathered by these officers led to not one arrest or conviction. In fact, the operation had the opposite effect, causing the collapse of one trial relating to the activist protest at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in October 2009. Undercover operations are normally aimed at securing evidence for trial and arrest, but these operations were not so much about the transgression of laws but more an attempt to disrupt and demoralise a nascent and growing social movement.

The other justification for the use of undercover officers is to protect the public. The police often use the politics of fear to justify their behaviour and no doubt protect budgets. Hugh Orde was in full fear mode on Newsnight, pushing the idea that the Ratcliffe action would have shut down the national grid and deprived hospitals of electricity. He must know that the grid can deal with big outages and that even if it failed all hospitals have back up systems. It is Eon that would have suffered, not the public. Climate camp actions, such as the Drax train blockade, were typically aimed at highly profitable corporations, and tried to avoid confrontation with the public. It's fair to say, then, that this is a move beyond political policing. We are now seeing a publicly funded police force used as a national private security service for large corporations.

The effectiveness of these officers is also questionable. Not only did they fail to secure any convictions, they failed to significantly undermine the movement. A commitment to decentralisation and challenging hierarchy has made the grassroots climate movement resistant to infiltration. A decapitation strategy doesn't really work on a movement that's all heads. In addition, a politics that sought to engage people in mass open actions meant secrets couldn't be exposed because often there were none."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2011/jan/14/police-climate-spies-climate-movement

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tunisia: a story of revolution

After decades in uncontested reign, a dictator has been removed. The natural urge to overthrow tyranny has one out over the forces of militarism- at least for a day. It is sad at first that lives are lost and there is no measure of the value of life. The rising of people however, in a period of uncertainty, can create the conditions to move beyond oppression and into a world marked by a sense of shared responsibility and equality.

"Tunisian President Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali has been overthrown by a people's power uprising that has built momentum over the last 4 weeks, culminating in a large rally and protest on January 14 that was attacked by riot police. Ben Ali attempted major concessions, but they were too little and too late. After 23 years in power, Ben Ali and family fled the country to Saudi Arabia, joining former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin who was also given refuge in this middle eastern state."-IndyMedia

The old slogan from South Africa is a truth for the whole world over: "Peaceful student protest. Police riot."

"Tunisia's constitutional council has now declared elections should be held within 60 days under section 57 of the Tunisian constitution, with the chairman of parliament as acting President. The Tunisian Revolution can inspire the world as people power toppled the dictator but the ruling RCD party remains in power for the moment."-Indy Media

The people have risen and will rise again, until their freedoms and liberty have been fulfilled and they have the opportunity to be who they are.


Special thanks to Indy-media, http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml

Reflection on Mc David

A Comunique from the Eric McDavid support network.
McDavid is serving a 20 year sentence, for entrapment.

"Dear friends, Yesterday marked the 5th year of Eric's arrest and imprisonment. Every year, at this time, we are forced to reflect on all that has happened. It is never an easy process, but this year feels different. This year we know that Eric will be in prison for the duration of his sentence. All of his appeals have been exhausted. 5 years is a long time - but we aren't even halfway there...
We have watched in horror these last few years as more and more of these kinds of cases have appeared across the country. It is hard not to think of this as a time of mourning. So maybe instead of a day of mourning, today can be a day of defiance. Today can be a celebration of thought crime. Won't you celebrate with us?

Please remember that other folks are sitting in prison for very similar reasons as Eric! They deserve your support. Marie Mason and Sadie (Joyanna Zacher) both have birthdays this month. Please consider sending them a note of support. Finally, we recently set up a wishlist on Microcosm for Eric. If you would like to send him something, please visit: microcosmpublishing.com

supporteric.org"

http://supporteric.org/pdfs/PreventTragedyZine2.pdf

Free All Political Prisoners!