John M. Laforge
Liberals & Dictators
Health Care Bargaining
2010 & Beyond
CFR & Obama
Laurence h. Shoup
Nicolas J.S. Davies
Robinson's Latin America
Zaps - 01-10
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The Great Game in the Graveyard of Empires
Afghanistan is known as the "graveyard of empires." But just why do empires keep sending thousands of their young people to die in Afghanistan? American blood-letting there is generally explained in terms of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but it was U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that led to the emergence of these movements in the first place, not the other way around. Nevertheless, the United States government has used the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to justify foreign invasions and occupations, flagrant war crimes, and its largest military budget since 1945. It has persuaded an influential minority of Americans that their country faces a unique and unprecedented threat that justifies all these measures, not least its savage war in Afghanistan.
A Dutch friend of mine tried to have a rational conversation with an American co-worker about September 11 and the so-called war on terror and was told, "You can't possibly understand. Your country has never been attacked like this." The puzzled Dutch woman had to ask, "Did you never hear anything about the Second World War?" Of course, it is precisely the relative safety of America that makes us so vulnerable to panic and propaganda when faced with such a limited threat.
The response of the U.S. government to the terrorist attacks has been as Bin-Laden and his colleagues must have intended. They did not expect to defeat the United States by knocking down a few buildings, nor were they motivated by some irrational hatred of freedom. Rather the attacks were designed to provoke a reaction that would expose the hypocrisy of the United States and goad the American empire into using its vast arsenal of destructive weapons in ways that would gradually undermine its own economic and military power. Bin-Laden and Al-Zawahiri understood that this would be a war the United States could not win.
While Americans think of the war in terms of September 11 and terrorism, Afghans are not afflicted with such a myopic view. They see the war in the context of a much longer history that is shaped by their country's mountainous geography and strategic location between Iran to the West, Russia to the North, and India and Pakistan to the South and East—and of their own ability to defend it against the world's greatest empires. Or, as noted in the resignation letter of Matthew Hoh, an American diplomat who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan in September: "I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul. The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency."
Fall of the Safavid Empire of Persia, 1722
The first modern empire brought down by the Afghans was the 200-year old Safavid Empire of Persia. Local Pashtun tribespeople rebelled under Mirwais Khan Hotak in 1706 and expelled Persia from Western Afghanistan. Mirwais's son, Mir Mahmud Hotaki, continued the war and sacked the Persian capital of Isfahan in 1722. The Safavid dynasty was already economically weak, as Dutch merchant ships were sailing away with the bulk of regional trade from its formerly lucrative trade routes. But the Afghans delivered the coup de grace.
As the Russian Empire expanded in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the early 19th century, a weakened Persia gradually lost territory. The British came to see Persia as a Russian puppet and adopted a "forward policy," to keep Afghanistan as a buffer between British India and the expanding Russian Empire. This effectively made Herat in Western Afghanistan the new outer frontier of the British Empire that Britain was committed to keeping out of the hands of Russia and Persia.
A Persian army besieged Herat for 280 days in 1837-38. The failure of the siege exposed the weakness of Persia, which continued to disintegrate. But it also highlighted the vulnerability of Afghanistan, which was ruled at the time by different tribal leaders in Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul, following the collapse of the Durrani dynasty. So the British and their Sikh allies from the Punjab marched into Afghanistan to restore the former Amir, Shah Shuja, who had been deposed and exiled in 1809.
This was what is called the first Afghan war. In a parallel with the present crisis, the British plan was to stay only as long as necessary to leave Shah Shuja in firm control of the country, but this proved to be impossible. He effectively ruled only Kabul where he owed his position to the presence of British and Indian troops and officials. The longer the British stayed, the more they alienated the Afghans. British officials brought their families to Kabul and established a small colony, complete with soirees and cricket matches. Their expenditures caused runaway inflation, which alienated the merchant class of Kabul and a riot there in November 1841 soon grew into a full-blown rebellion against British occupation. Mohammed Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammed, the leader the British had deposed in Kabul, came down from the mountains to lead the rebellion.
The Afghans killed the British commander, General MacNaghten, dragged his body through the streets of Kabul, and put it on display. His deputy, General Elphinstone, negotiated with Akbar Khan for safe passage to Jalalabad for occupation officials and their families. On January 6, 1842, 700 British troops, 3,800 Indian troops, and 12,000 civilians set out for Jalalabad, 90 miles away. At every pass through the mountains they were greeted by Afghan tribespeople waiting in ambush. They were all massacred (some froze to death) long before they could reach Jalalabad. The sole survivor, assistant surgeon William Brydon, rode into Jalalabad with a piece of his skull sheared off by a sword after being rescued by an Afghan shepherd. Asked for news of the British army from Kabul, he replied, "I am the army."
The British sent another expedition to rescue some prisoners and take revenge on the people of Kabul, but they abandoned the effort to occupy or control Afghanistan. The Afghans had established their independence and neither Britain, Russia, nor Persia occupied Afghan territory for the next 36 years. Mohammed Akbar Khan died, but Dost Mohammed and his other sons united Afghanistan and established relations with the British. Ironically, a truly independent Afghanistan served as a very effective buffer between the British and Russian Empires, and the British helped the Afghans to repel more Persian attacks on Herat in 1852 and 1856.
British Invasion and the Treaty of Gandamak, 1879
The second Afghan war began after Sher Ali Khan, Dost Mohammed's third son, accepted a Russian diplomatic mission to Kabul in 1878, but then rebuffed a British one. This resurrected the recurring specter of British insecurity over Afghanistan. Britain invaded again and occupied much of the country. Sher Ali died in February 1879 and the British persuaded his son Mohammad Yaqub Khan to sign the Treaty of Gandamak, which ceded Quetta and the Khyber Pass to Britain and gave Britain control over Afghan foreign policy in exchange for financial support. The British army withdrew, but it left behind a diplomatic mission in Kabul. A few months later, the remaining British officials were all killed during a local rebellion. The British invaded again. After ten months of savage fighting, they defeated an Afghan army under Yaqub's brother, Ayub Khan, at Kandahar. The British installed Yaqub and Ayub's cousin Abdur Rahman Khan as Amir and he agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Gandamak. The British finally withdrew—though this time they did not leave a diplomatic mission behind in Kabul to be killed. Afghanistan became fully independent from Britain as a result of the third Afghan war in 1919, which was an Afghan invasion of the North West Frontier province of British India.
Throughout the 20th century, Afghanistan's people confronted the same existential questions as people in other non-Western countries. What aspects of modern Western technology and culture could they adopt without losing what they valued in their own way of life? As elsewhere, different classes within Afghan society answered this question according to their own interests, and the resulting divisions left Afghanistan vulnerable to opportunistic exploitation and intervention by foreign powers, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
Independence and Aid from the USSR, 1919-1978
Amanullah Khan, the king of Afghanistan, who won independence from Britain in 1919, admired the modernist regime of Kemal Ataturk in Turkey. He mandated compulsory elementary education, opened co-educational schools, and formally abolished the burqa for women. But conservative tribal and religious leaders rebelled and forced him to abdicate in 1929. The last king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, ruled for 40 years (1933-73) by pursuing a more gradual approach to modernization. Afghanistan was still in the same position geographically, but the world around it had changed. Instead of being sandwiched between the Russian and British Empires, it was now wedged between the Soviet Union and independent Pakistan. Mohammed Daoud Khan, the king's cousin, was his prime minister from 1953 until 1963. Daoud envisioned a reunification of the Pashtun territories on either side of the British colonial border between Afghanistan and what was now Pakistan. After this initiative was rebuffed by Pakistan, Daoud increasingly turned northward to the USSR for both military and development aid.
In 1973, Daoud seized power from his cousin, but instead of declaring himself king, he abolished the monarchy and became Afghanistan's first president. He began by renewing Afghanistan's relationship with the USSR and used Soviet aid to build up the Afghan army. But he soon broke with his Marxist allies in the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), distanced Afghanistan from the Soviet Union, and began to improve relations with Pakistan, Egypt, and other Western-oriented Muslim countries.
In 1978, a leading PDPA politician was murdered, causing the other PDPA leaders to believe that Daoud was planning to have them all killed. They staged a coup, killed Daoud and his family, and formed the new Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. They launched a radical secular reform program, banning burqas and forced marriages, closing mosques, redistributing land, and abolishing farmers' debts. Anehita Ratebzad, a female member of the Revolutionary Council, wrote in a New Kabul Times editorial, "Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country.... Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention."
The USSR quickly provided $1.2 billion to build roads, schools, hospitals, and wells. The relatively small urban population welcomed the reforms and new development, but the interests of rural landowners and tribal and religious leaders were seriously threatened and they began to fund and support mujahideen to commit terrorism and resist government forces. The U.S., Pakistani, and Saudi governments began to provide funds, training, and weapons to the mujahideen and a new version of the "great game" was under way.
For the Soviets, Afghanistan had lost none of its value since the 19th century. Their empire extended from Europe to Siberia, but nowhere did it reach southward to ports and the sea-routes to South Asia and Africa. The United States now controlled those sea-lanes and had the same interest as Britain in the 19th century in keeping a buffer between the Russians and the ports of Pakistan. The establishment of a Soviet client state in Afghanistan offered the USSR the tantalizing promise of fulfilling historic ambitions. In funding, supplying, supporting, and training the mujahideen, U.S. policy-makers believed they had found a low-cost means to neutralize a serious geostrategic challenge.
Presidents Carter and Brezhnev began this new "great game" as a proxy war to be fought mainly by Afghans against other Afghans. Soviet forces eventually lost 13,000 lives, but killed at least a million Afghans. The United States and its allies have so far lost only 1,500 dead, but have likewise killed tens of thousands of Afghans. Both the United States and the Soviet Union became engaged in Afghanistan because they had important strategic interests at stake, long before the emergence of the Taliban or Al Qaeda.
The U.S. Begins New Great Game, 1946-2010
Since the end of the Cold War, the two main thrusts of U.S. foreign policy have been to impose military control over every part of the world where oil is produced or shipped; and to encircle Russia with a ring of U.S. allies and military bases from Poland to Georgia to Central Asia. Afghanistan's position between Iran, Central Asia, and Pakistan makes it a critical part of the pipeline map, potentially supplying Pakistan and India with oil and gas from Western operations in the Caspian Sea via the projected Unocal (now Chevron) pipeline through Afghanistan. A U.S. ally and bases in strategically-located Afghanistan would add an important link in the military encirclement of Russia, China, and Iran.
On the other hand, if Afghanistan was aligned with Russia, it could equally well serve as a route for a pipeline to transport Russian oil and gas to Pakistan and beyond and place Russian military or intelligence bases on the borders of Pakistan and Iran. The United States' interest in denying the Russians a pipeline route to the Arabian Sea and a client state on the border of Pakistan corresponds closely to Britain's fears of Russian expansion into Afghanistan in the 19th century. Even an independent Afghanistan that was free from U.S. or Russian influence could link Iran to China via yet another pipeline route.
As in the mid-19th century, a genuinely independent Afghanistan could actually be a stable and effective buffer between the great powers. As the Maliki government in Iraq has gradually slipped the American leash, it has awarded oil contracts to Russian, Chinese, and South Korean companies as well as to Western ones. A future Afghan government could ultimately do likewise, playing suitors for pipeline deals against each other in the traditional fashion. In Iraq, Western oil companies have welcomed partnerships with Asian companies that can supply cheaper labor and equipment and are not tainted by a role in the invasion and destruction of the country.
In fact, as commerce of all kinds has begun to flow again in Iraq, the United States has been delivered a powerful message that aggression and military occupation do not pay. Total Iraqi imports grew from $25.7 billion in 2007 to $43.5 billion in 2008. But even as other countries' trade with Iraq has grown, exports from the United States to Iraq have remained flat at a meager $2 billion per year, most of that stemming from existing contracts with the U.S.-backed government.
By contrast, Turkey, which refused to support the U.S. invasion, has become one of Iraq's largest trading partners, with exports of $10 billion to Iraq in 2008. At a recent trade fair in Baghdad, an Iraqi executive explained that his construction company preferred to do business with Turkish firms because costs were lower and the Turks "are not an occupier." Other countries that opposed the invasion, in particular Iran, France, and Brazil, have likewise become major trading partners. On condition of anonymity, a European ambassador to Baghdad told the New York Times that his country's business relations with Iraq improved greatly once it withdrew its troops. "Being considered an occupier handicapped us extremely," he said. "The farther we are away from that the more our companies can be accepted on their own merits." In some of the largest government contracts awarded since the invasion, the Iraqi transportation ministry recently awarded $30 billion to rebuild Iraq's railroads to a combination of British, Italian, and Czech companies. The Russian company RusAir has won an exclusive air cargo contract that has forced FedEx to terminate its operations in Iraq.
As in other parts of the world, the U.S. effort to control events by the (illegal) threat and use of military force is the central obstacle to a peaceful resolution for Afghanistan. The escalation of the war in Afghanistan since 2006 can be directly traced to a massive escalation of U.S. air-strikes that year, even as numbers of U.S. casualties remained flat. Only 98 American troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2006, one less than the 99 killed in 2005. And yet the number of air-strikes exploded from 176 in 2005 to 1,770 in 2006—a ten-fold increase. The flat casualty figures make it clear that this was an escalation initiated by U.S. forces, not by the Afghan resistance (2007 saw a further escalation to 2,926 air-strikes).
The successful response of the Afghan resistance to the American escalation was entirely predictable, but it appears to have surprised U.S. planners. As in Iraq, the U.S. reacted to the failure of its puppet government to establish any legitimacy or control over most of the country with a massive escalation of military force, launching a desperate and bloody campaign to bomb and terrorize the population into submission. This brutal escalation was an abysmal failure, leading directly to the brink of defeat, where U.S. forces now find themselves. The so-called "surge" in Iraq provided cover for a similar escalation of aerial bombardment, from 229 air-strikes in 2006 to 1,119 in 2007, and 110 per month through most of 2008. In Afghanistan as in Iraq (and Vietnam), despite endless lip-service to phrases like "winning hearts and minds" and "clear, hold, and build," U.S. military strategists cling to the core belief that their virtually unlimited capacity for violence can ultimately carry the day if enough legal and political constraints are removed. Instead, the failures of U.S. military force and the success of "Anti-Coalition Forces" everywhere have confirmed Richard Barnet's Vietnam-era judgment that "at the very moment the number one nation has perfected the science of killing, it has become an impractical instrument of political domination."
Gabriel Kolko has been writing for decades about the failure of U.S. foreign policy. Instead of defining and prioritizing its interests like any other country, the United States wreaks havoc in international affairs by clinging to virtually unlimited ambitions that it pursues on an opportunistic basis with no regard for the impact on billions of human beings or the future of the world. This has resulted in unlimited military budgets and a long series of unwinnable wars that it should never have embarked on, even from the amoral "realist" point of view that its deluded strategists aspire to.
Afghans believe that it was they who brought down the Safavids and the Soviets. While the Afghans definitely did their part, the forces that led to the collapse of those empires were really much closer to home in both cases. The real graveyard of the Soviet empire lay in the Kremlin, where absolute power insulated its leaders from the forces at work in the real world beyond its walls. The Afghan war was only one of many causes of discontent and dissolution within the Soviet political and economic system. A quiet underground movement of non-violent popular opposition grew steadily beneath the surface.
Since the 1970s, America's leaders have consolidated their political and economic power into effective monopolies. Most industries are dominated by two or three huge firms and the political system is controlled by a similar duopoly. Research on economic competition has established that such near-monopolies take on many of the characteristics of actual monopolies, stifling innovation and competition, destroying smaller businesses, exploiting employees, building inefficient bureaucracies, and spending more on marketing than on research and development. The U.S. health insurance industry employs 30 times as many administrative staff as it did in 1970. American firms spend $290 billion per year on advertising, almost $1,000 for every person in the country. And corporate control of politics has systematically dismantled every mechanism that could restore effective management or halt the system's relentless drive to devour everything, including itself. Looking for solutions from any of the leaders promoted by such a dysfunctional system is pure folly.
However, by learning from the example of popular movements in other countries throughout history, people in the United States can organize politically to elect very different people to public office and to stimulate mass public opposition to war, militarism, and corporate politics. It is the policy of the United States, not that of Afghanistan, that is filling the graveyards, and the great game that can stop the funerals will not be played out in Afghanistan, but in Washington and in local communities all over the United States as Americans begin to organize for a post-imperial, post-corporate, and more democratic future.
Nicolas J.S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (March 2010, Nimble Books). He is also the local coordinator of Progressive Democrats of America (www. pdamerica.org) in Miami. This article was first published by Consortium News.
Nicolas J.S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (March 2010, Nimble Books). He is also the local coordinator of Progressive Democrats of America (www. pdamerica.org) in Miami. This article was first published by Consortium News.
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.