GOP Could Steal the Election
Still 77 Cents
The Food Ordeal
Syria and Civil War
Edward S. Herman
A Post Arab Spring
Christian Right Star
DO NO HARM
Loretta Capeheart's Battle
YEAR OF THE CO-OP
Are You Feeling Cooperative?
John e. Peck
Role of the Executive
Rio Earth Summit
A Coup Over Land
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Loretta Capeheart's Battle: Campus Dissent Under Fire
Since 9/11, the
Capeheart is a long-time activist for social justice, a leader in her faculty union and serves as an adviser to the NEIU Socialist Club. Her activism quickly attracted the ire of the school’s new administration, headed by president Sharon K. Hahs, an administration apparently bent on stifling dissent on campus.
In April 2006, Capeheart and a group of students were threatened with arrest for handing out anti-war leaflets in front of Army recruiters at a university job fair. The following fall, Capeheart testified about the need for more Latino faculty to a fact-finding delegation from the state legislature’s Latino Caucus, directly contradicting the position advocated by then-Provost Lawrence Frank.
In February 2007, members of a NEIU student anti-war group staged a protest against a CIA recruitment and information session sponsored by the university’s career services office. Two protestors—who were also members of the Socialist Club advised by Capeheart—were arrested. When she learned of the arrests, Capeheart called the campus safety office and attempted to get the students released. “The campus cops said they were going to turn them over to the Chicago Police Department.” Capeheart explained. “I was concerned for their safety.”
In the aftermath of the arrests, Capeheart and other faculty spoke out and wrote against the student arrests. When she showed up at a meeting of the faculty council on student affairs and voiced concerns about the administration’s treatment of the protestors, NEIU vice president Melvin Terrell launched into her, claiming that a student had filed charges of “stalking” against her and that she was being investigated by campus police.
“I was shocked and stunned into silence,” said Capeheart. The slanderous allegations were completely unfounded, but were serious enough that Capeheart became concerned about the damage they could cause to her reputation. Her union local asked the Administration for an explanation of Terrell’s outrageous insinuations.
“Over spring break, Provost Frank called me and said that a student had filed some charges and had misidentified me as one of the people involved,” she said. “I found out that a student aide working in Terrell’s office had made a complaint about some people from the Socialist Club ‘watching’ and ‘following’ her and incorrectly identified me as the person who allegedly tried to chase her down while she was passing out some flyers denouncing the Socialist Club. But her original complaint was not, in fact, a stalking charge. I was told that she withdrew her complaint a couple of days after Terrell’s attack on me.” Despite this, Terrell refused to formally apologize or retract his damaging claims.
The Hahs administration’s recriminations against Capeheart did not stop at slanderous statements in faculty meetings. In the summer following Terrell’s outburst, the chair of the Department of Justice Studies resigned and the department elected Capeheart to the position. Frank then announced that he’d refuse to appoint her. Eventually, the department was placed into receivership and managed from the Provost’s office. At around the same time, Capeheart learned that she had been passed over for an annual merit award despite a record of scholarly achievement surpassing that of many of the faculty who did receive awards.
During the Fall of 2007, Capeheart worked through the university’s established grievance procedure in an effort to get an apology from the Administration for Terrell’s slanderous statements. They refused. By March 2008, she reluctantly filed a defamation lawsuit in federal court. Besides highlighting Terrell’s false and defamatory claims, the suit accused administrators of violating her First Amendment right by retaliating against her for anti-war activism and her criticism of the university’s hiring policies.
NEIU’s lawyers—Franczek Radelet, a notoriously anti-union, Chicago-based law firm—responded by invoking the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos to argue that Capeheart’s political activism on campus was not covered by the First Amendment.
In Garcetti, the Court ruled that expression by public employees “pursuant to official duties” is unprotected by constitutional free speech rights. Even though the original Garcetti decision explicitly exempted professors at public universities, the federal district court for
The implications of the district court’s ruling for the academic freedom of faculty at public institutions of higher education are alarming, to say the least. As the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) commented, “the message of the district court’s ruling is chilling and clear: university administrators need not tolerate outspoken faculty dissent on matters of broad public concern or on the university’s institutional response to those concerns.”
With the backing of a $5,000 grant and a friend of the court brief from the AAUP, Capeheart filed an appeal with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and is currently awaiting a decision in the case. At the same time, Capeheart’s lawyers decided to pursue a state defamation claim in Cook County Court.
Unbelievably, on June 19, 2012, Cook County Judge Randye Kogan granted NEIU and Terrell immunity from Capeheart’s defamation suit under provisions of the Illinois Citizen Participation Act (CPA). The CPA was passed to prevent corrupt government officials and wealthy corporations from using nuisance lawsuits— sometimes called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)—to discourage ordinary citizens from speaking out about abuses of power. Ironically, Kogan’s decision turned the CPA on its head, framing Capeheart as the powerful interest supposedly interfering with Vice President Terrell’s ability to “participate in government” by means of her defamation lawsuit. In the process, yet another dangerous precedent—this one limiting the free speech rights of all
To make matters worse, because the court found that Capeheart’s suit violated the CPA, she is now liable to pay NEIU’s legal expenses, estimated at some $80,000. Since Capeheart has already gone in debt to finance her appeals, having to pay NEIU’s attorney’s fees would be a crippling financial blow. “This is precisely what the Illinois Citizen Participation Act was enacted to prevent,” remarked Héctor Reyes, a professor at
Meanwhile, as Capeheart’s various legal cases have been wending their way through the courts, the political climate at
In the fall of 2008, President Hahs proposed a draconian new policy restricting the right of protest and political speech on campus. The Policy Concerning Demonstrations on Campus, Distribution and Display of Visual Communications and Solicitation of Signatures on Campus—or DDS for short—would have required anyone planning to hold a demonstration, distribute literature, put up posters or gather signatures on a petition, to get permission from the administration at least one week in advance and include copies of all “visual communications” (such as protest signs) they intended to use.
Not only that, but all outdoor demonstrations would have to be over by sunset and the use of an amplification system would be restricted to Tuesday and Thursday between 1:40 PM and 2:55 PM. Fortunately, staunch faculty opposition to DDS forced Hahs to withdraw the proposal.
Then, on June 29, 2012, the NEIU Office of Student Leadership Development (SLD) seized control of the student-run radio station, WZRD, declared the radio club “inactive” and barred both student and nonstudent community staffers from the premises.
The grounds for this summary action—laid out in a memo from the SLD—amounted to vague, unsubstantiated charges of bullying and station mismanagement. The station—which has, for years, been a major Chicago outlet for alternative broadcast news such as “Democracy Now” and “Free Speech Radio News”—is currently being run by a skeleton crew under the direct control of the SLD. This pattern of blatant contempt for democracy and free speech led to a November 2011 faculty vote of no confidence in Hahs and her Administration—some 68 percent of the faculty voted no confidence.
As NEIU Associate Professor of Political Science Russell Benjamin explained in a statement read at a recent press conference on Capeheart’s case, “The Administration is determined to have a campus wherein the students, faculty, and staff are not able to object to anything the campus overlords—and that is how they see themselves—do.”
The Struggle Continues
The stakes involved in Capeheart’s struggle for academic freedom and First Amendment rights could not be higher. Fortunately, an increasing number of faculty and labor activists are rallying to her cause. At
Currently, the Justice for Loretta Capeheart Campaign is circulating a petition protesting the most recent Cook County court ruling and is planning a major push in the fall to expose the huge amounts of money NEIU has spent to silence one of its faculty. Everyone interested in preserving the right to dissent at our universities should get involved in the fight.
Steve Macek is president of the AAUP Chapter at North Central College in Naperville,
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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
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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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
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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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
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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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.