FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 05/11
Caustic Political Speech
STOP THE DAM
8 Years of Occupation
Hezbollah in Lebanon
The Master's Plan
Kristen L. Buras
30th Years of FNB
War, Prisons, Torture
Angola 3 News
What Happened in Wisconsin
A Serious Fight
The Libya Intervention Debate
Stop Bombing Libya
On Libya & Crises
Stephen Shalom and Michael Albert
A Q&A on Libya
Stephen Shalom and Michael Albert
Civil Wars U.S. Labor
Guide to Green Politics
Toward Climate Justice
Zaps - 05/11
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.
What Next: Mobilizing or Organizing?
It's clear that most everyone in Wisconsin is opposed to Governor Scott Walker's bill. What is not clear is what exactly are we for? I mean this in a larger scale outside the context of the specific bill. What exactly will bring hundreds of thousands of people together again? Will it be to protect free lunch or will it be to protect reduced lunch? Will it be to save food share or will it be to save BadgerCare—health insurance to low income families with children under age 19? Will it be a social justice movement "to save the middle class?" Let's be clear, there is nothing radical about saving the middle class. So are we building a social justice/popular movement? Or a movement at all? In this sense, there's a lack of unity.
It's very clear that we are collectively shouting "Kill the Bill." But what is not clear is what is the alternative. Is the vision to simply go back to the way things were a year ago? Or is the vision something greater?
Kwame Ture, also known as Stokely Carmichael, brings up an interesting point in thinking about building movements. He says there's a significant difference between mobilizing and organizing. Mobilizing is when a group of people are against the same things. Organizing is when a group of people are for the same things. While we've been proud of the work we've been doing in Madison, in fact, it's a huge mobilization effort and not so much a big organization effort.
Union protest, February 27—photo by Greg Tarnoff
Mass demonstration, March 12—photo by Mackenzie Holmes
I think we need to spend more time figuring this out. If we're all trying to build a vision or to figure out what it is we're for, we know our work has to go beyond the sectors in which we participate. What's happening in Wisconsin can no longer be talked about as just what's affecting public sector workers. It can no longer be talked about as just a movement of unions. It can no longer be talked about as groups of people—firefighters or cops or teachers. We have to understand the response to what is happening in Wisconsin as part of a larger movement that strives for racial and gender justice, queer liberation, as well as dismantling ableism and other larger forms of oppression.
My experience doing the work in Wisconsin is that it has been incredibly inspiring to be part of a large group of people who are out mobilizing to achieve something. But, at the same time, it has also been troubling. The harsh truth of the matter is that a lot of the workers who are out there mobilizing against Governor Walker are the people who put him in office to begin with. It's important to understand this because it's going to determine how to build a solid base in order to build a movement. A lot of people who voted for Walker initially did so because they believed the all-too-common narrative of "lazy workers"—thinking it was just a targeted attack on people of color and immigrants, when, in actuality, he was talking about all of us. Surprise.
While we are supporting worker rights, people of color, immigrants, and fighting in solidarity, we have to ask the critical question: "Will the same group of people be with us on our issues?" For example, in the bill there is a piece of legislation that says health care providers will no longer be required to pay for contraceptives for women, but they would still pay for viagra. Instead of thinking of this as just some small piece of legislation or something peripheral to the larger fight around collective bargaining, we must view this as a fundamental attack on women's reproductive health rights.
What's central in movements is that people have an identity around something and it cannot just be a mobilization. It cannot be that we all just agree on this—that's a coalition. If we're talking about a movement, we all have to collectively strive for something and be able to identify with each other on some sort of level. So the question is, "Who is the we of Wisconsin?" Is the we just the workers or just the middle-class public sector or is it also the undocumented workers who make up a significant part of the dairy industry? Is it the chronically unemployed, underemployed, and those who never get the chance at a meaningful job due to structural racism, classism, and cisgenderism?
Also, is the playing field leveled for all to be able to participate in this movement? For example, what does the leadership and decisionmaking look like? Frankly, I've been in too many places where all the people look the same. If we are building a movement of people and for the people, where the hell are all the people?
I think what's unique about this opportunity is now we are forcing an alliance of folks who are not traditional allies. This could be something incredibly good, but we have to be able to do the hard work of ensuring that it's something incredibly good and not give Walker, Republicans, and Tea Partiers the opportunity to play divide and conquer antics.
Also, in that spirit, we've been doing a lot of assuming around us having a common enemy, therefore necessitating that to mean that we are friends. I think we see on many different levels that's not necessarily true. So, how deep is the alliance? Is it really solidarity? For instance, what happens if we win collective bargaining? What happens if Walker says, "Dammit, I'm tired, you've won"? What if he says he'll leave the rights of collective bargaining alone? Do we all go home? Or do we say, "No, we're going to knock this Capitol down if you don't give us back BadgerCare."
In thinking about identities of folks, we also have to translate that into what kind of strategies we take up to further the movement. As I mentioned, not all of us have the same indentities, so all of us can't equally participate in the same strategies. For example, I ask you, do you honestly think that 150,000 black people can occupy the Capitol for 16 days? We have the ability to mobilize that many, but will we be there in solidarity with the police? Absolutely not. So this means we have to think about building inclusive strategies. I also think it took an incredible amount of privilege to be there. I was there for a few days, but I also had the privilege to be able to be there because I didn't have children. Folks I knew who had children who wanted to be there could not do so. Like all these other things, if we're talking about building a movement for the people, we have to create entry points so that all people can participate in all of the work that we are doing.
In that same spirit, we have to do the hard work of base building, but coming from a place of solidarity, which means we need ongoing political education around not just what it means to be a Republican or what it means to be a Democrat or how the mayor's office runs, but around what have been the struggles of folks of color in this country. How is 100 years of oppression tied to current policies?
In addition to political education, we need to get back to grassroots training. I think it's very attractive and very easy in ways to engage in some of this academic and high policy work, but what about the everyday ability to knock on doors and get people out who have no idea that this is going on?
Also, I think we need to begin to escalate strategies, which we are beginning to see more of. So we need to be training folks around direct action organizing. Not only are we going to peacefully protest—we're still going to be non-violent—but we're going to turn up the fire. Yes, we're going to shut down M&I Bank, but we're going to do more things. It's very clear that the right—Walker and others—has a very escalating strategy. Not only do we need to match it, we need to be able to defeat it, which requires us to develop our own escalating strategy.
We also need to be able to develop strategies that feel relevant for people in their everyday lives. Marches and protests feel very attractive, but we need to use people's skills and put them in more relevant areas. For example, if teachers want to strike, by all means strike. But I also think teachers are in a unique position to be able to mobilize an entire youth body by using their teaching skills to educate and politicize the youth. We know all social movements need young folks and there are more schools than just UW-Madison. We also need to think about the way that people live their daily lives and how that can be politicized and connected to a larger movement. There's a lot of wisdom in the resistance that folks carry every day, so I really want to connect that to a larger structure/struggle.
Lastly, we need to start to build alternatives. I question any structure, any government that is able to take away so many rights so quickly. How does that happen? We cannot support such a structure. My rights should not be determined by whether or not this person in office is hopefully a good person. We should also begin to invest in grassroots structures, in folks building alternative societies who have been doing it all along. As written on the BadgerCare card, as the state motto goes, as the movement demands it: "Forward."
Monica Adams is a community organizer working in the black, Southeast Asian, and queer people of color communities. Her work strives to build an alternative society as the means to end our oppression. This is a transcript of her talk at the Left Forum 2011. DVDs of both talks on Wisconsin will soon be available at the Z Store.
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.