Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
John e. Peck
Poetry & Performance
Victor Tan chen
There are no articles.
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.
The Mad Cows Finally Come Home
O n December 23, 2003, the first official U.S. case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)—better known as mad cow disease—was reported by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) at the Sunny Dene Ranch near Mabton, Washington. While Wall Street investors scrambled to monitor their McDonald’s stocks, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan hastened to assure everyone that President Bush was still enjoying beef. USDA secretary Ann Veneman also publicly pledged to serve beef to her family as part of their yuletide feast. The world’s response to the arrival of mad cow in the U.S. was basically a replay of what happened earlier in Canada when BSE was reported there in May. A total of 43 countries have now imposed bans on U.S. beef imports, including Japan, which purchased $854 million worth in 2002. Of the top four beef buyers (Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and Canada account for 92 percent of U.S. exports) only Canada does not have a full ban (Canada will accept boneless beef from U.S. cattle under 30 months old). The final economic impact on the $40 billion U.S. beef industry won’t be known for a while. Wisconsin alone exported live animals and meat worth $194 million last year, much of it to Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, those U.S. farmers who had already switched to low-input, organic, grass-fed systems reported unprecedented demand for their BSE-free meat. Similar booms in natural grass-fed beef prices are being reported in Brazil and Australia.
Mad cow is but one member of an extended disease family known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). These TSEs are caused by eating bits of renegade protein known as prions. Since these abnormal prions cannot be digested, they accumulate in toxic clumps eventually producing holes in brain tissue. In deer and elk, this lethal neurological condition is known as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), in sheep it is called Scrappie, while in humans it is known as Kuru (endemic among certain human societies that practice ritualistic cannibalism), though there is growing medical evidence that pathogenic prions also trigger variant Creuzveldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), as well as some forms of Alzheimers. Being smaller and more resilient than viruses or bacteria, prions are not destroyed by freezing, cooking, sterilization, or irradiation. Worse yet, pathogenic prions can jump the species barrier.
Sinclair was one of the first to describe “downer” dairy
cows—too sick to walk—being dragged to slaughter in his
1906 novel about the Chicago stockyards,
Many would argue that the situation in the factory farm/slaughterhouse
meat industry complex is worse today than when Sinclair lived. Reading
books such as Gail Eisnitz’s
Fast Food Nation
, it is tempting to look
at the calendar to remind oneself of the century. Today, over 200,000
known “downers” are sent to U.S. meatpackers each year
(though many others go undetected) and they remain primary mad cow
suspects. Some of the first scientific evidence of the deadly presence
of TSEs in the U.S. came from mink studies by Professor Richard
Marsh of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Veterinarian Department
in the 1980s. His finding that deadly factory mink farm epidemics
were likely caused by high protein feed derived from “downer”
dairy cows was downplayed by academic superiors, government officials,
and industry spokespeople. Marsh was hounded and eventually ostracized
for daring to expose the dirty laundry of the meat industry. Like
Rachel Carson, his groundbreaking investigation is only now being
vindicated after his death.
Across the Atlantic the existence of mad cow was confirmed in the UK in 1985, and the outbreak soon spread across the rest of Europe, ultimately leading to the slaughter of 3.7 million animals. In one of the more bizarre public relations attempts to boost consumer morale, British agriculture secretary, John Gummer, fed a hamburger to his four-year-old daughter before television cameras in 1990. Three months later British health minister, Stephen Dorrell, was before Parliament telling the world that mad cow could also sicken humans. Six years later, the first victims emerged. Over 140 people have now died in Europe—mostly in Britain—from variant CJD and, given the long incubation period, the final human toll will be much higher. This horrific experience led to the adoption of much tougher food safety standards worldwide. Europe adopted a full ban on animal byproducts in livestock feed and now requires BSE testing of all animals over 30 months old—one out of every four animals. Belgium alone tests 20 times as many animals each year for mad cow as the U.S.—Japan tests every animal killed, regardless of age.
While some farm/food activists in the U.S. were diligently following the mad cow nightmare in Britain with alarm, millions of TV viewers became unwittingly exposed to the specter thanks to Oprah. On April 16, 1996 Oprah’s guest was Howard Lyman, a Montana rancher turned vegan activist, and mad cow was one of the topics. Lyman revealed that U.S. cows were literally eating themselves (with human help) and this revelation led Oprah to exclaim that it had “just stopped me cold from eating another hamburger.” Within hours of the show’s airing, cattle futures dropped by 20 percent on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Texas Cattleman’s Association pulled $600,000 in advertising from Oprah’s network, while filing suit under a new corporate-friendly Texas “food disparagement” law. Their attempt to stifle public criticism proved unsuccessful, and Oprah won her free speech case after spending millions on defense attorneys.
In 1997, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of Madison, Wisconsin-based PR Watch released M ad C ow U.S.A, another warning that was quickly pooh-poohed as hysterical and alarmist by public officials and industry spin doctors alike. (Their book is available online at www.prwatch.org/books/madcow.) Howard Lyman followed in 1998 with his own scathing expose of the meat industry, M ad C ow boy. Lyman minces no words, letting consumers know that everything from roadkill animals to euthanized pets go to rendering plants and ultimately into livestock rations and onto butcher blocks. Those with a big stake in the status quo howled for damage control. With the results of a three-year, taxpayer-subsidized, computer-driven study in hand, the deputy director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, George Gray, soothingly reported: “We are firmly confident that BSE will not become an animal or public health problem in America. The United States is very resistant to BSE. As far as we know, it’s not here now, but if it does get in, it can’t become established. Basically with the measures that are already in place, even with imperfect compliance, the disease in the cattle herd dies out, and the potential for people to be exposed to infected cattle parts is tiny” ( Agriview , 12/20/2001). Rural realities have since proven the statistical models wrong.
The White House knew as early as 1991 that a moratorium on feeding livestock back to livestock was necessary in the U.S. to avoid its own mad cow outbreak. A federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) report from that year, obtained by PR Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) clearly states: “The advantage of this option is that it minimizes the risk of BSE. The disadvantage is that the cost to the livestock and rendering industries would be substantial.” However, it was not until 1997 that the FDA issued a ruling that all livestock feed containing meat and bone meal from ruminants must be labeled “do not feed to ruminants.” Contrary to the rhetoric of government officials and corporate apologists, there is no “firewall.” The White House never banned the practice of livestock cannibalism, nor has the government ever offered proof of its claim that there is 99 percent industry compliance with the labeling rule. In fact, an FDA inspection of rendering plants and feed mills in 2000 revealed that up to half lacked the proper warning labels and up to a quarter had no way to even detect or prevent mix-ups in their use of risky animal byproducts ( Wisconsin State Journal , 1/12/2001).
In January 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) also issued a report that found the FDA “has not acted promptly to compel firms to keep prohibited proteins out of cattle feed and to label animal feed that cannot be fed to cattle.” According to the GAO, noncompliant firms had not been re-inspected in two years, firms with multiple infractions evaded any penalty, and the FDA’s inspection data were “severely flawed.” As recently as July 2003, the FDA was still issuing consent decrees against feed mills for non-compliance. The GAO report concluded, the “FDA does not know the full extent of industry compliance.” A Friends of the Earth (FOE) review of FDA records found over a dozen feed mills in Washington State had violated federal labeling requirements between 1998 and 2002 ( Seattle Post Intelligencer , 12/27/03). In Wisconsin alone there are over 500 feed mills supposedly subject to some form of government regulation.
The consumer watchdog Public Citizen has issued countless warnings about lethargic food safety enforcement over the last few years. Whereas close to 35 million head of cattle are slaughtered annually in the U.S., only 57,000 animals have been tested for BSE since 1990. Public Citizen has shown that there is little testing consistency across states, virtually no public transparency of the process, and too much industry discretion about which animals are tested (www.citizen.org/documents/madcowreport.pdf). For example, in Wisconsin last year 1.5 million cattle were slaughtered, yet only 2,900 were checked for BSE. Ongoing White House efforts to “privatize” regulatory functions, as well as federal and state budget cutting exercises have meant dwindling food safety inspections, more cursory and flimsy testing, and a general eroding of public oversight of the meat industry. Big Beef has been larding politicians with campaign contributions over the years—$22 million since 1990, mostly to Republicans—towards this end.
One thing that has been consistent over time is the concerted effort by the agribusiness establishment and government bureaucracy to squash concern about BSE in the U.S. The revolving door between Big Beef and the White House is notorious. Lisa Harrison, former public relations director for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association—who sent out press releases with titles like “Mad Cow Disease Not a Problem in the U.S.” following the Oprah show—is now the USDA’s BSE spokesperson. Veneman’s current chief of staff, Dale Moore, is a former lobbyist for the meat industry. Recently appointed to the federal mad cow committee is William Heuston, another meat industry shill who was an expert witness against Oprah Winfrey and Howard Lyman in their libel suit. Such paralyzing and corrupting conflicts of interest in the wake of the mad cow epidemic forced the UK to create a separate Food Safety Agency independent from the Ministry of Agriculture. The USDA, though, is treating mad cow as more of a public relations problem for meatpackers than as a real safety concern for consumers. Helping with this effort are right-wing “junk science” pundits, such as Steve Milloy of the Cato Institute, now hitting the mass media with stories disputing that prions even cause disease.
The fact that mad cow found its way to the U.S. was almost an inevitable consequence of corporate globalization and industrial agribusiness. The cow that tested positive for BSE in Washington State was most likely imported from Canada with 80 others in 2001. So far only a handful of those other animals have been located and their adopted herds quarantined. Government regulation of cross border livestock shipment is minimal at best, and transshipment has skyrocketed with the expansion of global free trade regimes like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 2003 Mexico shipped over 1 million cows to the U.S., while Canada exported 1.7 million cows. The lack of government oversight goes even further as revealed by a story in the Yakima Herald Tribune. Because there is no mandated domestic tracking system, an entire herd of 449 bull calves in Washington state had to be killed because USDA officials had no way to identify the single offspring from the BSE infected cow among them.
Factory farming only increases the likelihood for BSE contamination. The infected cow was part of a mega-dairy operation involving 2,600 milking cows and 1,300 dry and replacement cows in 2 locations—Mabton and Grandview. Standard procedure on such factory farms entails recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) injections, as well as feeding of a total mixed ration (TMR) containing “high protein” animal byproducts. These cows are prone to elevated levels of mastitis (udder infection) and other health problems, prompting farmers to use more (often illegal) antibiotics and other dubious supplements. Cramped cows on drugs also “burn out” quickly—lasting only three to four years, half the productive lifespan of a dairy cow out on pasture—and this high attrition rate means more “downer” cows in the food stream. Treating animals like machines also means that factory farms cannot sustain themselves—cows are culled too fast to produce enough young to even replace themselves—so they must rely on constant infusions of fresh heifers from either better managed (but still going bankrupt) family farm dairy herds or imported livestock herds.
Further up the food chain, the chance to spread BSE continues. Disassembly line speeds in U.S. slaughterhouses run at rates three times that legally allowed in Europe, triggering more worker injuries and aggravating meat contamination. Cost-saving “innovations” like air compressed stunning, bolt guns, carcass splitting, mechanical deboning, and advanced meat recovery (AMR) translate into more “non-meat” waste in the food supply. Finding a chunk of spinal column still attached to a T-bone steak at the store is no longer that uncommon. Even if an animal were to test positive for a health problem in the U.S., its meat has long since been processed and dispersed throughout the nation’s food supply—executives and shareholders simply can’t stomach the prospect of profit being held up due to frivolous health regulations. Thanks to increasing corporate consolidation of the meat industry, a single hamburger patty can contain up to 100 different animals, and one sick animal can contaminate up to 32,000 pounds of ground beef. As happened in this case, meat from the BSE infected downer cow slaughtered on December 9 in Moses Lake, Washington quickly found its way to eight states (Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Hawaii), as well as the U.S. territory of Guam. According to the USDA, its subsequent recall of 10,410 pounds of hamburger and meat cuts was taken out of “an abundance of caution,” not because of any imminent threat of BSE contamination. Still in a state of denial, the agency has not provided any BSE/CJD health advisory to those who may have consumed the suspect meat either.
Researchers have shown that blood can also harbor pathogenic prions. In fact, U.S. residents who spent extensive time in Europe during the mad cow epidemic are not allowed to donate blood here and surgeons in the UK still rely on imported blood for operations there precisely because of this risk. Yet, under the current USDA regulations there is no labeling or restriction placed on feeding cattle blood back to calves in the form of milk replacer, calf starter, and other supplements. In Wisconsin numerous companies promote these milk replacers with “spray dried animal blood cells” to dairy farmers. Bovine serum is also used by corporations like Monsanto to “feed” the genetically engineered e. coli bacteria which produce its brand name rBGH—Posilac—yet any potential connection between this and BSE has not been addressed by the USDA.
Another legal loophole for possible spread of mad cow involves gelatin, tallow, and “plate waste”—i.e., cooked meat that has been offered to humans and then salvaged by the meat industry for feeding back to livestock. Worse yet, USDA rules still permit the use of ruminant byproducts to feed non-ruminants—such as swine, horses, pets, and poultry—which are then in turn fed back to cattle or people. This vicious cycle of livestock cannibalism only magnifies the spread of BSE within the animal and human food supply.
immediate USDA response to mad cow in the U.S. was to ban use of
downer cows for any human meat use, to hold all products from BSE
tested animals until the results are actually in, expand overall
BSE testing, ban use of Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) technology
on animals over 30 months old and phase out air injection stunning,
establish a national livestock tracking system, and require tougher
labeling of animal food products that contain more than just meat
(i.e., spinal cord, brain, nerve tissue, intestine). For farm/food
critics, these are long overdue steps that don’t go far enough.
The USDA plan does not keep downer cows out of rendering plants
to become “fresh” livestock feed, does nothing about ending
the practice of livestock cannibalism, does not insure that livestock
are free of BSE, or that human food is safe from non-meat materials
that might contain pathogenic prions.
Stopping Mad Cow
- Demand Immediate Congressional Investigation of the Meat Industry. There should be national public hearings on the mad cow issue and more general food safety concerns with the meat industry. Furthermore, Congress should call on the GAO for a comprehensive review of USDA and FDA meat industry oversight and enforcement activity, as well as consideration of alternatives—such as a more transparent accountable federal agency exclusively responsible for food safety. The contributing role of the land grant colleges also needs to be addressed since for decades public researchers and extension agents have been developing and promoting questionable technologies such as rBGH, AMR, and TMR, which help spread BSE.
- Approve and Implement Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Consumers and farmers have the right to know exactly where their food and feed come from—and this includes meat products, dietary supplements, milk replacers, and the like. Many farmer and consumer groups fought hard to include COOL in the last Farm Bill, but it has now been stalled due to agribusiness lobbying with the support of the Bush administration. COOL should be passed by Congress and enacted immediately.
- Ban the Feeding of Animal Byproducts to Livestock. Livestock cannibalism is not natural and is dangerous. Herbivores should not be consuming ground-up carcasses of other animals as part of a “high protein” total mixed ration (TMR), or a separate nutritional supplement, no matter what extension agents or agribusiness salesmen say. The same goes for poultry manure, cooked human “plate waste,” gelatin, tallow, blood/bone meal, or other animal-derived byproducts used as livestock “feed,” which could serve as sources of BSE infection and contamination.
- Ban the Use of Bovine Blood in Milk Replacer and Other Calf Supplements. U.S. citizens who have been to Europe and possibly exposed to BSE are prohibited from donating blood, yet U.S. agribusiness corporations are allowed to extract blood from slaughtered livestock and then sell such to farmers as a “high protein” ingredient in milk replacer, calf starter, and other growth supplements. The World Health Organization has warned against this vampiric practice for over a decade and it should be prohibited. The role of livestock blood in the manufacture of other livestock products—such as rBGH—also needs to be federally investigated for its potential BSE contamination role.
- Ban the Use of “Downer” Cows for Human Food. Dairy cows that can’t even walk into a slaughterhouse have obvious health problems, such as BSE, and are not fit for human consumption. Meat from downer cows has supposedly been banned from use in the USDA School Lunch Program for years, yet it has been deemed by the FDA as safe to eat by adults and children outside of school. No downer cow meat or other byproducts should be allowed in the human food supply. The fact that irradiation does not destroy prions, should also make the USDA think twice about its decision to allow irradiation as an effective and safe form of “pasteurization.”
- Ban Advance Meat Recovery (AMR) and Other Risky Slaughter Practices. Mechanical deboning and advanced meat recovery (AMR) are just money grubbing efforts to extract every last ounce of tissue from a carcass in order to make “more” product—hamburger, pepperoni, hotdogs, bologna, tacos, sausage. The use of air injection stunners and bolt guns to kill livestock should also be banned since this guarantees the splatter of brain tissue over the rest of the animal carcass. Such sloppy practices almost guarantee BSE contamination. People should not be misled into eating brain, cartilage, gristle, tendons, nerves, and other basically indigestible material they think is “meat” and thereby exposing themselves to pathogenic prions. AMR and these other risky meat industry practices belong in the technological trashbin.
- Regulate High Risk Animal Byproducts in Dietary Supplements and Cosmetics. Livestock tissues that could contain pathogenic prions such as brain, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia are also used as ingredients in many human dietary supplements. The federal government should require reporting from manufacturers, mandate risk warnings for consumers and comprehensive product registration, as well as explicit identification of the livestock ingredients and country of origin labeling (COOL). The same federal scrutiny is deserved for cosmetics that contain beef tallow.
- Severely Restrict and Monitor the Importation of Live Animals. The reckless transshipment of disease-carrying species across borders has been one of the worst consequences of free trade—and the spread of BSE across North America is but the latest example. Just because factory farms are so unsustainable that they burnout their cows prematurely and can’t produce enough calves to maintain their herd levels does not mean they should be allowed to import animals from Canada or Argentina at will. The USDA must conduct strict border checks for diseases like BSE and implement a national livestock tracking system, like the one already in place in Brazil (now the largest beef exporter in the world).
- Expand BSE testing to All Slaughtered Livestock . Comprehensivs BSE testing of all livestock is already mandated in Japan, and can be done in but a few hours with new BSE tests that the U.S. has not yet adopted. In fact, one of these quick BSE tests, widely used in Europe, was developed by 1997 Nobel Prize winning scientist and prion expert, Prof. Stanley Prusiner at the University of California, San Francisco. The U.S. needs to upgrade its scientific procedures, learn from other countries, and get more serious about routine livestock disease testing. Ignorance is not bliss.
TSE Research and Begin CJD Monitoring in Humans.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) should begin proactive education
of medical professionals about TSEs and initiate nationwide monitoring
of CJD. Casual surveys of death certificates are not adequate.
The National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Case
Western Reserve University, created by the CDC in 1997, needs
more funding and publicity of its vital work. While the National
Institute of Health has allocated $27 million towards TSE related
research, this work needs to get beyond theoretical issues to
work on preventative solutions.
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.