Volume 20, Number 12
Winter Soldier Campaign
Iraq veterans against the war -- Ivaw
Eighty and Still Protesting
Nut House Econ
Behind Burma's Repression
Nukes Are Back
Eleanor J. Bader
2 Book Reviews
U.S. & Eygpt
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Battle for the Block
Right to the City
In East Harlem, they have organized building by building to reclaim El Barrio from those who would “develop” them out of it. In Chinatown they’ve rolled out a rent strike to win the repairs needed for tenants suffering from landlord neglect on Delancey Street. In the West Village, they’ve mobilized LGBT young people of color to stand up for their right to gather on the Christopher Street Pier. On the Lower East Side, they’ve built a tenants’ union to defend “what is most beautiful about New York, the city that welcomed everyone…[that’s now] welcoming only money.”
These are some of the activists at the front lines of a city-wide battle for the block. On Sunday, October 21, they came together in East Harlem to “share words of struggle, support, and solidarity” at the first ever NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Gentrification.
The Encuentro was convened by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB), an immigrant community- based organization, internationally allied with the Zapatistas’ “Other Campaign.” Since 2004, MJB has fought “for social justice and humanity” and against the displacement of their people from their neighborhoods. They are writing a new chapter in a long history of resistance in El Barrio, the home of low-income immigrant families (the average annual income of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. is $10,000).
Community members from a block away and activists from as far as Providence and Philadelphia filled the basement of a community center on 116th Street. They sat around the speakers who were accompanied by a Zapatista puppet and a green gentrification piñata representing neo-liberalism. Colorful banners hung from the walls, one of them depicting an eagle ripping up chains of gentrification from city blocks, proclaiming “dignified housing, justice, freedom” in Spanish.
Grassroots organizers took turns talking about “who we are, conditions we face, our forms of struggle, and our dreams.” The speaking was punctuated by frequent bursts of applause and chants of “¡Si se puede!” (“Yes we can!”).
Organizers Bin Liang and Helena Wong of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and its Chinatown Justice Project, with more than 20 years of community defense under their collective belt (and now part of a new national alliance called Right to the City), commented: “We are fighting against landlords who have no heart and also a government that has no heart…. The connections are very close between the oppression we face at home and what the U.S. is doing all over the world.”
Desiree, X, and Jay of FIERCE! (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment), who were struggling for youth space and services as the city laid out its plans for a “Vegas on the Hudson” playground for the rich, spoke about how “our community isn’t being listened to because we’re young, because we’re gay, and because we’re of color.”
Rob Hollander of UNYTE (Union of New York Tenants) had been organizing to keep luxury developers from rezoning and bulldozing the community around the Bowery. “The city that I remember was a city of immigrants…. The city as I know it is disappearing. Immigrants are being pushed out by people with money and the money is changing the color of the neighborhoods.”
Matt Wade of the West Side SRO Law Project, a group that supplies free legal and housing aid to those who can only afford single room occupancy (SRO), said after the Encuentro that he had found “so many folks who are busy working on ways to build their communities, to stop this real estate machine from devouring our local histories and community investments, and to fashion dreams for our future.”
The members and organizers of MJB, who hosted and facilitated the Encuentro, spoke of their struggles and common dreams. Oscar Dominguez described how MJB had won victories in 23 buildings, using everything from building committees (which made their own decisions) to lawsuits against landlords to direct action. “Together,” declared Juan Haro, an MJB organizer, “we fight back against the actions of landlords and multinational corporations…. We know that…we do not stand alone in our resistance. We know that there are humble and simple people like ourselves in many parts of the city fighting back to keep their homes and save their communities.”
MJB has long been part of the local-global justice movement through its alliance with the Zapatistas and now they’re taking on the UK-based investment bank Dawnay Day (which recently bought up piece of Harlem costing millions).
Like the Zapatistas, MJB refuses to bow to politicians and the system they serve. This fall, member Victor Caletre was approached by two people from the office of East Harlem Councilperson Melissa Mark- Viverito, who offered him $350 a week to quit MJB and start working with their office. Caletre refused, telling the Encuentro: “I have dignity and my dignity doesn’t have a price.”
MJB member Sonia Lopez told the gathering how “we dream of a world in which many worlds fit. We dream of a world in which there is equality, in which we can raise our children…. We all share the same earth, breathe the same air. We are together, we can do it.” (“¡Si se puede!”)
Michael Gould-Wartofsky is a member of SDS and a freelance writer.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.