Volume 21, Number 11
Battle of St Paul
“FREE GAZA MOVEMENT”
Breaking Gaza's Seige
The Infamous Three G's
Outrageous Gift Offer
Goodbye to Bush Offer
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Quo Vadis Culture Wars?
US Nuke Threat
Bush Seeks Legacy
Globalization v. Democracy
Jeffrey M. Smith
Eleanor J. Bader
Abortion & Life
Eleanor J. Bader
The American War in Pakistan
Bailout & Election
Bush Economic Legacy
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.
Boats Break the Siege on Gaza
When Israel began imposing economic sanctions and withholding payments from the occupied territories of Palestine in response to Hamas's electoral victory over the ruling Fatah party two years ago, a group of human rights activists from around the globe gathered to discuss what they could do to ease the plight of the Palestinian people.
Activists named their group the Free Gaza Movement and set a goal of breaking the siege of Gaza. They would accomplish this by sailing boats from Cyprus to Gaza's port, which no international vessel had freely entered or exited since 1967. After raising more than $250,000 by giving presentations at churches, mosques, synagogues, and reaching out to family, friends, and supporters, they were ready to put their plans into motion last summer.
Renting a boat seemed unlikely, since owners would be discouraged from lending their vessels knowing that a similar venture failed in 1988 when the Israelis bombed the ship before it set sail for Palestine. Instead, the organizers purchased two wooden boats and named them the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, to commemorate the forgotten 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty that left 34 American sailors dead and wounded 170 others.
SS Free Gaza leaving port
Then came the process of assembling a crew. The organizers wanted participants from a range of backgrounds. In the end, they had 46 passengers from 17 countries, representing 5 religions. Among the veteran activists on board were Jeff Halper, Jewish coordinator of Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions; Lauren Booth, a journalist and sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Sister Anne Montgomery, an 81-year-old Catholic nun from the U.S., who had spent considerable time in both Palestine and Iraq as a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams. In addition, six spots were reserved for members of the press.
They also received more than 200 endorsements from NGOs, politicians, journalists, and other acclaimed figures, such as Noam Chomsky and Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Just as significant, however, were the invitations from half a dozen Palestinian organizations to witness their work upon arrival.
As requested by one of these groups, the activists brought 200 hearing aids for children, some of whom had lost their hearing due to the sonic booms produced by overflying Israeli military aircraft. Five thousand balloons—each decorated with the colors of the Palestinian flag, the words "Free Palestine," and a picture of a dove—were also on board to represent the more than 5,000 Palestinians who have been killed by the Israeli military since September 2000.
When the boats arrived in Cyprus to meet the passengers, everyone was engaged in rigorous preparation for the journey. This included first aid training and long discussions about how the group would respond if the boats were stopped or fired on by the Israeli military.
In an effort to be completely transparent, their boats were inspected by the Cypriot authorities and a letter was sent to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni inviting her to join them on their expedition. The response from the Israeli government was mixed, stating: "We assume that your intentions are good but, in fact, the result of your action is that you are supporting the regime of a terrorist organization in Gaza."
Several days later, Aviv Shiron, a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, called the trip a "provocation," and ominously warned that "all options" were being considered to stop the activists. At the same time, the organizers received calls that the boats would be blown up and many of the passengers and their families received anonymous death threats.
On August 22, tired of waiting two weeks for bad weather to clear, they set sail 350-kilometer trek amid rough seas. Peril struck midway through the journey when jamming by an unknown party took out most of the boats' communication and navigation systems. This led some on board to suspect that Israel was somehow involved.
"I wasn't afraid," Sister Montgomery said. "I didn't have a sense that they would hurt us. I don't think they would have dared. But I did think they were going to board us, arrest us, and deport us."
By early afternoon the next day, news arrived that Israel had pulled its ships back and would allow the activists to pass safely into the harbor. As they approached land, Sister Montgomery described looking at what she thought was a rocky sea wall. "But they weren't rocks, they were people. They were jammed all the way around. Thousands of people. Women as well as men. Then the boats came out and before we knew it, they were on top of us. They pulled up right beside us and jumped on board. They were so excited."
"As we got closer," she added, "the Palestinian Coast Guard came out to push the people off the boat. It was really necessary because we were practically sinking."
There was very little down time for the activists once they landed in Gaza City. The Palestinians were eager to show their guests what much of the world has ignored. They visited families who had lost children in attacks, the spot where Rachel Corrie was killed, a trauma hospital, a school for the deaf, a demonstration of mothers who had sons in Israeli detention facilities, and a factory that had been bombed.
Sister Montgomery described the latter as "being almost like what we did during the first Gulf War: deliberate destruction of the infrastructure." Sadly, such an analysis is painfully accurate. According to the Palestinian Federation of Industries, 98 percent of Gaza's factories have closed since the start of the siege, forcing them to buy goods from Israel at exorbitant prices.
Similarly, the Gazan fishing industry had also taken a major hit, losing more than half its annual income over the last decade. This is largely due to the tightening of nautical regulations. Under the Oslo accords, fishing was allowed as far as 20 miles out to sea. In recent years, however, Israeli naval ships have often enforced their own limit of fewer than six miles.
To address this violation of Palestinians' right to fish their own waters, 20 of the activists decided to join some of the fishing boats on one of their expeditions and sail past the six-mile limit. Three Israeli patrol boats, each armed with a machine gun, showed up at around the eight-mile mark, but ultimately left them alone. When the fishing boats returned to shore 12 hours later, the Palestinians said it was the most fish they'd caught in 4 years.
After three days of bearing witness to the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the activists' journey had to come to an end. However, nine members of the group decided to stay behind and continue their human rights work.
In their final act of nonviolent resistance, the group decided to fill these newly opened spots on the boats with Palestinians who had been trapped in Gaza, despite having the passports and visas necessary to leave. One of the Palestinians on board was 10-year-old Saed Mosleh of Beit Hanoun, who lost his leg to an Israeli tank shell.
"I can't believe we're finally able to leave for medical treatment," said Khaled Mosleh, Saed's father. "This is a miracle of God."
While some Palestinians were experiencing relief for the first time in ages, those back in Gaza continued to have their freedoms denied. Just days after the Free Gaza Movement departed, two unarmed fisherpeople were hit by Israeli weapons fire. One suffered from shrapnel wounds, while the other was in critical condition after being hit in the head.
A slew of similar incidents followed, including one where an Israeli gunboat rammed an unarmed Palestinian fishing boat, causing severe damage to the hull and its electrical equipment. Via megaphone, the Israelis reportedly threatened that, "When the internationals leave Gaza, you will all be made to pay."
With events like this still happening, the organizers realized their work was not over. As Sister Montgomery said, the hope is for the Free Gaza Movement to become like a "ferry service."
A return trip in late fall has already been planned and will be delivering mail to the people of Gaza. Currently, all mail sent to Palestinians must go through Israel, but those living under the siege in Gaza have their mail regularly blocked.
Raising the money for these trips is no small feat. Expenses from the first voyage—especially those incurred from the unexpected delays and increased cost of fuel—set the organizers back $550,000, which was far more than anyone had planned. Therefore, with the return voyage looming, the need to raise more is desperate.
"We've proved that the sea link to Gaza is viable, but the humanitarian needs are overwhelming and our two, small boats cannot begin to meet those needs," wrote organizer Paul Larudee in a press release shortly after returning. "We are calling on other members of the international community—governments, non-governmental organizations, and others dedicated to protecting human rights—to join us by providing their own ships, humanitarian goods, and human capital to open wide Gaza's access to the world. This is an opportunity that simply must not be squandered."
Bryan Farrell and Eric Stoner are freelance writers based in New York. More photos and information at www.freegaza.org.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.