Labor in Iran
Yes We Camp
Gabriel matthew Schivone
FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 09-09
WAR & PEACE
Afghan Drug War
WEALTH & HEALTH
Zaps - 09-09
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.
Net Briefs - September 2009
From Joannelandy@igc.org comes news about a "healthcare fiasco unfolding before our very eyes in the name of 'feasibility'." She writes on July 24 that the proposals before Congress:
Will keep millions uninsured; while the "public option" proposed in the House "tri-committee" bill might insure 10 million people, it would leave 16 to 17 million uninsured
- Will be expensive, unaffordable, and unsustainable
- Will not restore the right to choose our own doctor and hospital
- Will burden states with paying for millions of new Medicaid patients (states pay roughly one-third of Medicaid costs)
- Will mean that most people will continue to get their coverage through private insurance companies and will be forced to buy insurance of questionable value
- Will mean that employer-based insurance will continue unchanged, with employers free to change coverage at any time, insurers free to change their physician and hospital networks
- While the uninsured will be mandated by law to purchase health insurance, the Congressional bills place no limit on what the private insurance companies can charge for premiums, or how great their deductibles and co-pays can be
- Will cut Medicare
- May even tax health benefits for those who are decently insured
Landy reports that a single payer system would insure everyone, give people the right to choose their own doctor and hospital, and save $400 billion a year in administrative costs.
On August 10 www.nukewatch.com emailed news of nine activists arrested at the end of a three-day peace walk to Fort McCoy in Tomah, Wisconsin. The activists were protesting U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the continued U.S. possession of nuclear weapons. Five of the nine were ticketed and released after being permanently banned from entering the base. Four of the group were taken to Madison where they face federal trespass charges. The four had previously been banned from the base for earlier protests.
The walk for peace that began August 7, near Camp Williams, Wisconsin was also a commemoration of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima, August 6, and Nagasaki August 9, 1945, and an appeal for a moratorium on the use of armor-piercing shells made from waste uranium-238 known as "depleted uranium" munitions. Ft. McCoy plays a key role in mobilizing Army National Guard and Army Reserve units to the two U.S. military occupations. Several units are undergoing mobilization training this summer at the Fort prior to their deployment. The 32nd Brigade Combat Team is currently deployed to Iraq, the largest combat deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard since WWII.
U.S. Bases in Colombia
The article "US military base plan fuels Latin American tensions" by Bill Van Auken of www.wsws.org was emailed on August 5 from email@example.com. Originally announced as a pact covering four bases, it was revealed that U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy forces would be granted access to a total of seven installations scattered across Colombia for a period of at least ten years. The largest of these facilities is Palenquero Air Base, located north of the Colombian capital of Bogota. It is reportedly suitable for the landing of large troop and equipment carrying planes. Another is the air base in Malambo, near the Caribbean city of Barranquilla, not far from the Venezuelan border. The U.S. Navy is being given access to two bases, one in the Caribbean port city of Cartagena and another in Bahia Malaga on the Pacific Coast. Another of the bases is in the southern city of Florencia, near the border with Ecuador.
The U.S. military already operates in Colombia, with hundreds of U.S. military personnel and military contractors providing aid to the Colombian military, which has fought a protracted war against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla movement that has claimed the lives of some 40,000 people and displaced 2.5 million. Under Plan Colombia, initiated in 2000, Washington has poured approximately $5 billion in military aid into Colombia, making it by far the largest recipient of such assistance in the hemisphere.
On a similar issue, we received an email from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign reporting on the July 18, 2009 edition of the Economist, which asserted that "Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion in Bolivia in 2007." The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Samuel Moncada, responded to the allegation with letter to Michael Reid, the Economist's Latin American editor, demanding "a correction of such fallacy." After further letter writing, in its July 25, 2009 edition, the Economist published "Clarification: Bolivia and Venezuela," stating: "We are happy to clarify that this footage does not prove Venezuelan troops played an active role in quelling the rebellion."
Uprising at Hartmarx
On July 7, firstname.lastname@example.org forwarded an article, "Worker Uprising Against Wells Fargo Spreads After Major Victory To Keep Factories Open" by Mike Elk, Huffington Post, July 1, 2009. Hartmarx, a maker of men's apparel and an employer of nearly 4,000 people, had filed for bankruptcy after Wells Fargo refused to extend them a line of credit. Wells Fargo then pushed for the company to be liquidated and for laying off the 4,000 workers, despite the fact that there were proposals by several groups to purchase the company and keep it running. The workers, members of SEIU, refused to accept the bank's ruling and, inspired by the worker-occupation at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, voted to occupy the plant, drawing national media attention to their story.
As a result, the workers received political and community support. Over 43 members of Congress signed a letter calling on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to investigate Wells Fargo's use of bailout money. Congressperson Phil Hare, a former worker at Hartmarx, promised to be Wells Fargo's "worst nightmare" if they closed the plant. Finally, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias threatened to cut off $8 billion worth of business that the state does with Wells Fargo if they closed the plant. Wells Fargo backed down.
The fight then moved to a plant across town from Hartmarx in Moline, Illinois where Wells Fargo had cut off credit to the Quad City Die Casting factory. Workers at the plant, members of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE), began engaging in direct action against Wells Fargo, which refused to even sit down with the union. Nonetheless, the union has promised to support the Quad City workers and to continue fighting the "banksters" of Wells Fargo, beginning with UE protests in over 20 cities throughout the country.
War Resister Limbo
From truthout.org comes news of war resisters who had gone AWOL being held in limbo at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, detained for months under difficult conditions. Dustin Stevens, who was arrested on January 15, 2009, is one of about 50 soldiers being held, while awaiting likely desertion charges.
In May 2002, after five months in the Army, Stevens refused to stand in formation at his Airborne graduation and declared that he no longer wanted to serve. Seven years later, during a routine traffic stop, Stevens was told that there was a warrant for his arrest and he was whisked off to military custody. "This whole time, I've been living my life. I've been working, paying taxes, had a car and apartment," he says. These months of detention will not count toward his sentence.
The unit is overcrowded and filthy, the command verbally abuses the soldiers, with one officer proclaiming, "We should just shoot you all," according to Stevens. Troops are not receiving the medical and mental health care they need. "People around me are literally going crazy. I hear people threaten suicide on a daily basis," says Stevens. The command offered the soldiers a free pass if they agreed to deploy to Afghanistan. About ten people took up the offer. "Every single person here should not be here.... This place is hell," says Stevens. "And in my mind, I didn't even do anything wrong."
On July 3, 2009, email@example.com forwarded the following: "Brazil's Lula Scolds Rich Nations on Migration" (AFP) in which the Brazilian president issued a law giving tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants legal status and criticized rich nations for taking a tough stance against illegal migrants. Lula also accused European countries of toughening immigration rules, which he deemed "unjust," adding that, "Illegal immigration is a humanitarian question that should not be confused with criminality." The new law allows all undocumented foreigners who entered Brazil before February 2009 to obtain two-year provisional residency permits that can eventually be made permanent. All recipients will be entitled to work and receive public education and health care. Brazil's Justice Department says there are around 60,000 undocumented foreigners in the country, but non-governmental groups believe the number could be as high as 200,000, with most coming from Latin America and China.
Sessions on Race
Chris from southernstudies.org sent (on July 14) an analysis by Sue Sturgis of Senator Sessions's questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Sessions's questions concerned race and impartiality, based on Sotomayor's comment in a 2001 lecture that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
"That's troubling me," Sessions (R-AL) said during the hearings. "That's not impartiality." Responding to Sessions, Sotomayor said she made the remark in the context of "a speech to young Latino students and lawyers that aimed to make them believe their life experiences were valuable."
Sturgis looks at Sessions's racial "impartiality." It seems that his 1986 nomination by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship was killed by the Senate Judiciary Committee over his history of racist actions and comments. A year before Reagan nominated him, Sessions—then serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama—was involved in a controversial and unsuccessful voter fraud prosecution of three civil rights workers, including a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr. Civil rights groups charged that Sessions had been looking for voter fraud in the black community...at least partly to help reelect his friend Senator Denton.
Comments by Sessions that came to light during his nomination hearings for a federal judgeship included:
- Criticism of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union as "un-American" and "communist-inspired" and they "forced civil rights down the throats of people"
- Calling a white civil rights attorney a "disgrace to his race" for litigating voting rights cases
- Saying he used to think Ku Klux Klan members were "OK" until he found out some of them were "pot smokers"
- Calling Thomas Figures—a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama—"boy" to his face and, after hearing Figures criticize a secretary, warned him to "be careful what you say to white folks"
Sessions went on to be elected Alabama attorney general in 1994. Two years later he was elected to the U.S. Senate. On July 14, 2009, five major U.S. newspapers reported on Sessions's opening statement at Sotomayor's confirmation hearing without any mention of his 1986 rejection by the Senate Judiciary Commission for his racially charged comments.
Send net briefs to firstname.lastname@example.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: 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.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; 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.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; 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.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
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.