Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day! Labor Day! Break Free, Break Through the Walls of the Status Quo Criminal Class

Below is a great post that Barb did for May Day 2010. It is totally still right on for Labor Day 2012!


Just watch it

My forebears came in from Poland, Germany and Norway through Ellis Island when there were no immigration quotas. They worked like dogs at the jobs Americans didn't want, like almost all immigrants do. I am the beneficiary of their courage and hard labor. And so is our nation.

I grew up in Chicago, a city built by immigrants of every ethnicity. Most of today's America was built by immigrants, not the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims. We built on what was built for centuries by slaves and indentured servants, not the ancestors of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Immigrants and racial, ethnic and other minorities have always been our strength and our salvation. They work hard and they unite to stand up to the corrupt forces of the status quo. Think unions, think every civil rights and liberation and reform movement that ever emerged in the U.S.

Now the forces of the status quo and their frightened and misguided followers want to stop all this. They always do, whether it's been freed slaves or immigrants from Ireland or Italy or Eastern Europe or the Caribbean or Africa or Mexico or wherever. The very word 'conservative' means to keep things as they are because I am the beneficiary of power, position and wealth by my very bloodline and/or longstanding connections. The irony is that today's right wingers and teabaggers are often victims of the greedy, insular forces of the status quo, yet they defend the very forces that oppress them, convinced that it's immigrants or minorities or liberals or unions or a government that serves the needs of ordinary people that's to blame for their penury.

Today, on May Day, a day for celebrating the labor movement, a day when immigration reform marches are taking place all over the land, I say fuck the forces of White only and English only. Fuck the forces that scapegoat people willing to take risks and work hard to provide for their families. Fuck the forces that use vile propaganda to stir up hatred and reward ignorance.

Fuck the forces that defend the status quo ruling class so huge blobs of money can keep flowing to those who sit on their asses and "invest" in scams and manipulate and steal and deregulate oil drilling so that our entire Gulf coast -- including all its wildlife, its working people, its entire ecosystem and economic infrastructure -- is going to be devastated and entire ways of life destroyed so BP could save the money it would take to employ technologies to help prevent that. Fuck the forces that keep arms flowing all over the world and eternal wars going to feed the war profiteers and enable the usurping of natural resources all over the globe. Fuck the forces that destroy native cultures and whole communities and huge parts of the world so they can keep themselves and their "investors" in the money.

Immigrants, whether documented or not, and minorities of every kind are not the enemy, are not the terrorists. Our real enemies and terrorists are in power either upfront or behind the scenes in connection with -- or bought off by -- every "deregulated" financial and corporate undertaking that is raping our nation and nations around the globe for obscene profits. They kill and maim and torture people. They kill ecosystems. They kill education. They kill health care. They kill children. They bankrupt governments and homeowners. They kill wildlife and plant life. They poison the seas and the groundwater and the very air we breathe. It is they who must be arrested and jailed and convicted and stopped in their tracks, not families fleeing from utter poverty caused by all the "free" trade and monetary policy scams that have made slave labor the preferred option for the corporate and banking interests who call all the shots.

Today, on May Day, let's start pointing the finger in no uncertain terms at our real enemies. Let's work towards uniting all the hated minorities - the black and brown and yellow ones, the gay and bi and trans ones, the people who care about the earth and human dignity and the animals and justice -- and use our union to go after the bloodsuckers who are causing the horrors that are erupting and spreading each and every day. If we don't, we know the dark forces will win. They've got the guns but we've got the numbers -- only if we unite. We all know in our hearts that's what this era will be about. Can the united forces of progress overcome the stultifying forces of greed and privilege? Only time will tell.

September 3, 2012 at 01:00 PM in Barbara Rose Wold, Civil Liberties, Economy, Populism, Human Rights, Immigration, Jobs, Labor | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Community Members Announce Racial Profiling Complaints in San Juan County

From Somos Un Pueblo Unido:

Somos farmington
IMMIGRANT GROUP CALLS ON SAN JUAN COUNTY TO STOP ARIZONA-STYLE LAW ENFORCEMENT POLICIES
Community Members File Racial Profiling Complaints Against City, County, and Federal Agencies. Photo above from Somos

On Wednesday July 11, 2012, residents of San Juan County and members of Somos Un Pueblo Unido (Somos) announced the filing of several racial profiling complaints against local and federal law enforcement agencies. In the complaints made to the City of Farmington and San Juan County, six individuals alleged that the Farmington Police Department and the San Juan County Sheriff's Department changed the scope of investigation based on race, national origin, and language in order to inquire about immigration status-a violation of New Mexico's Prohibition of Bias Based Policing Act of 2009.

"We have lived in this area for many years, contributing to the local economy and paying taxes. Like most families, we want a better future for our children," said Veronica Perez, a spokesperson for Families United for Justice a recently formed group of immigrants and allies in Farmington. "We used to live in peace, but in the last year, many of our families have been victims of racial profiling and discrimination as result of the collaboration between the local law enforcement, jail and immigration officials. We live in constant fear and no longer feel safe calling the police. How is that good for public safety?"

Somos also submitted a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and its Office for Civil Rights claiming that local DWI checkpoints have become de facto immigration checkpoints. The complaint stated "It is our understanding that ICE should not be conducting immigration checkpoints beyond 100 miles from the border and local law enforcement shouldn't be questioning individuals about immigration status at a DWI checkpoint, the purpose of which is to prevent and apprehend drunk drivers."

The complaint also alleged that area ICE agents were disregarding ICE's own policies by placing ICE Detainers an individuals in order to hold them at the San Juan County Detention Center despite these individuals not having been arrested for a criminal violation and at the County's expense.

"We are working with these brave community members in Farmington to stand up for civil rights and public safety," said Rayos Burciaga, Board Member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "Based on eye witness accounts, it seems that ICE agents are colluding with local law enforcement officials and the local jail to racially profile individuals and violate their constitutional rights. New Mexico is better than that."

"My parishioners deserve to live without fear and intimidation," said Father Vigil, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Farmington. "We live in a country where due process rights should be respected. We should be integrating Latino families, not separating children from their parents."

"In the past year, I have witnessed the devastating effects of this country's broken immigration system and the violation of immigrants' civil rights in the Farmington community," said Iris Calderon, an immigration attorney from the Calderon Law Firm based in Albuquerque. "US citizen children are separated from their fathers only for failing to provide evidence of legal status at a DWI checkpoint. DREAMers have been put into deportation proceedings for speeding tickets and other minor traffic violations. When the civil rights of immigrants are violated, the consequences are dire."

Residents also complained that the Farmington, Bloomfield, and Aztec Police Departments, as well as the San Juan County Sheriff's Department, do not have written policies and complaint forms that are updated and compliant with the bias-based policing ban, as is required by the 2009 law.

"These agencies need to take the community's concerns about racial profiling more seriously," added Perez, "It's the only way that trust can be restored."

Somos Un Pueblo Unido: is a statewide civil and immigrants' rights organization that worked along side the NAACP and other groups to pass the Prohibition of Bias-based Profiling Act in 2009 at the State Legislature. Somos is also part of a national campaign called "Restoring Trust" that will host events nationwide on Wednesday to call attention to the public safety hazards of collaboration between local jails and ICE.

July 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM in Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Minority Issues, Racial Minorities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2012

DREAM Act Realized Finally for Some

Lalo dream maleImage to the right is from Lalo Alcaraz; artist, cartoonist, writer.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is an American legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001. To read the history of the DREAM Act please see this wikipedia link.

This new direction will affect nearly 800,000 humans who live with fear of deportation from the US. In 2011 ICE deported 396,906 people and is exceeding that record high this year. While researching how many young immigrants have been deported since 2008 I came across this website; We Dream, We act with this article Undocumented Youth Sit-In at OFA Denver Office. Their demand was finally heard: "We need the strength of an executive order to stop our deportations. Prosecutorial discretion has not stopped them."

Thank God for elections so some of these injustices can be acted on finally. Obama is addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference next week. The hispanic/latino vote is critical to Obama's re-election. For whatever reason the President's administration decided to act on this sensible legislation and pass an executive order, he is to be commended. Just imagine the joy running through so many hearts today that their DREAM now can be realized.

Stop deporting dreamers
Image above from We Dream We Act by J. Valas

Below is the press release from the DHS:

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children,  do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:

1.)    Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2.)    Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3.)    Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education
development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.)    Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.)    Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action.  Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date.  Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis.  DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

June 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM in Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Obama Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

President Obama: "Same Sex Couples Should Be able to get Married"

Marriage equality ribbonExciting news for the gays and lesbians today, May 9, 2012. The President of the United States declared that "same sex couples should be able to get married." President Obama made this statement on ABC. ABC has a great write up about the interview and the timeline of Obama evolving acceptance of same sex marriage.

To go right to the video cut and paste this link into your browser: http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/29242313

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday.

Whitehouse marriage equality

Meanwhile the Republicans remain on the wrong side of history. Republican Romney made this statement today " I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name." Romney made his statement in Colorado. You can see his interview along with video here: http://kdvr.com/2012/05/08/romney-to-speak-on-energy-in-fort-lupton-wednesday/. Also, Huff post has a great article here regarding today's Marriage Equality developments.

After last nights North Carolina vote to write into their constitution that marriage is between a man and woman. This comes as welcome news. Here is a link to another Huff Post article describing the vote which occurred in North Carolina yesterday. It looks like this hateful vote yesterday in NC could have spurred the POTUS on to come out in favor of same sex marriage. So maybe there is a silver lining to this horrible result in North Carolina.

As for me, a lesbian having a committed relationship for 23 years only to have Barb pass away only 4 1/2 short months ago, I feel regret and joy with this historical news. Regret that Barb and I could never marry, regret that we could not share in each others life savings in social security as committed married couples can. Regret that when I picked up my lovers death certificate, it said "Never Married" which is the biggest slap in the face of all, because Barb was the most committed loving protective partner marriage could ever find. Most of all regret Barb is not here to enjoy President Obama's words of acceptance with me.

Barb and me with sign 19yr
Barb and I: 4 years ago at rally on civic plaza abq protesting against CA Prop 8.

Joy for young lovers and old lovers. Joy that we are one step closer to normalization of our relationships. Joy that the children of these couples are one step closer to being accepted. Joy that gay and lesbian couples know that our President Obama sees us and hears us, acknowledges us. We are accepted as part of the committed to another loving human community.

This truely is a "It gets better" day.

May 9, 2012 at 03:29 PM in Civil Liberties, Democratic Party, GLBT Rights, Human Rights, Obama Administration, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (8)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Planed Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate

PHOTO at right: Planned Parenthood of New Mexico CEO
Jenny Black talks prevention with Martin Heinrich, February 10, 2012.

Planned parenthood heinrichThe Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced its endorsement today of Democratic candidate Martin Heinrich in his race for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's leading reproductive health care provider and advocate.

“You have been a strong supporter of women's health and we know you will continue to be a dedicated advocate for our organization,” said President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards in a letter to Heinrich.

“For 95 years Planned Parenthood has provided women and families in New Mexico with vital health care services and education and it is truly an honor to receive their endorsement,” said Heinrich. “New Mexicans can count on me to continue to stand up for women’s health and reproductive rights, and support policies based on commonsense and science, not the demands of the special interests and ideological crusaders.”

Martin Heinrich is a longtime champion of women’s rights. From his earliest days in Congress, Heinrich has stood up for women’s health and equality, including a woman’s right to affordable health care and the right to choose. When Republicans in the House sought to restrict how women with private insurance could spend private dollars through the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the Affordable Health Care Act, Heinrich voted no. When the Republican majority tried to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides essential health services to one in five women at some point in their life, Heinrich fought back.

February 23, 2012 at 03:22 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Human Rights, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Women's Issues, Women's Right to Choose | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, February 13, 2012

"He's Baaack" Rep. "Chucky" David Chavez Re-Introduces HJR-22

In the words of Ellen Degeneres: The Haters are my motivators!

CHUCKY-DOLL-2Our friend Rep. "Chucky" David Chavez is baaack with his hate legislation, HJR-22. He is going to re-introduce the legislation tomorrow.

Please come and defend your LGBT brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and colleagues, our right to love whom we want.

What: House Consumer and Public Affairs committee hearing on HJR 22
When: Tuesday, February 14th at 8:30 am
Where: The Roundhouse, Santa Fe, room 315.

Caving under peer pressure and the hubris of the haters, the accused wife abuser, and divorcee has decided to re-present the bigotry hate anti equality legislation.

Following is the exact language from HJR22: "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. A marriage, civil union or similar relationship entered into by persons of the same sex that is recognized by another state or foreign jurisdiction is void and shall not be recognized for any purpose in this state. In the exercise of the state's police power and recognizing the state's strong interest in governing the relationships between married persons, the provisions of this section shall apply retroactively."

How fitting for Valentine's Day. Are the haters that full of disdain? We are humans. We pay taxes. We pay social security and everything you pay for. The difference is we don't get the spousal benefits. So for example haters let me be clear; when your partner, lover dies as mine did recently,the survivor gets no social security benefits which the loving partner has paid into their whole life. And we at the state level aren't even talking about that one huge benefit that helps the surviving spouse, social security benefits.

To Mr"Chucky" David Chavez you may think you can kill homosexuality, or people of the same sex loving each other dearly and passionately. But you Can't. My partner died 8 weeks ago of toxic cancer. I love her more now than I did then. Together for 23 years and my love has continued to grow. While I took care of her the weeks before she died, helping her into bed, helping her eat and drink, helping her do all things, our love for each other grew. Explain that one to me? Homosexual lesbian love growing even after death. Love grows if you have the capacity to love. Yep you and your haters were successful and never letting Barb and I marry, but our love was so big and strong it could survive without the piece of paper and benefits that go with it and even grow after her passing. Can you imagine that haters? Mr Smothermon what does the Legacy Church say about that strong of love? Are there words for that strong of love between two people who happen to be women?

Watch the following video of a Republican Washington State Legislator.

Tonight, the evening before Valentine's day, I say go pick on some one else. Go clean up your own life of divorce and who knows what else. And to all the intimidators, shaming you back into reviving this hate bill go help some people in need. Spread some love.

We are minding our own business. Living and dying and loving eachother. Leave us alone. You are nothing but a bully and a hater over pure outstanding love.

February 13, 2012 at 07:38 PM in Action Alerts, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Human Rights, NM Legislature 2012 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

02/02: "Protecting New Mexico: Elevating Community Rights Above Corporate Rights

This Thursday, Thomas Linzey, senior legal counsel for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), will be presenting in ABQ at the University of New Mexico on:

"Protecting New Mexico: Elevating Community Rights Above Corporate Rights"

Does Your Community Have the Right to Protect the Future of Your Town, City, or County from WATER DEPLETION & POLLUTION or GMO SEED CONTAMINATION from corporate development sanctioned by the State? If you do not know, come find out how you can!

DATE: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
TIME: 7:00 PM lecture
WHERE: Education Lecture Hall Rm #103, UNM, Albuquerque (250 feet directly north of the Student Union Building on UNM Campus. It is on the first floor (west side) of the Education Bldg which is located just past (and down the steps) from the white/blue water fountain)
A Free-Will Donation

February 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM in Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Environment, Events, Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2011

12/01: Public Lecture - Moving from Science to Policy and Practice: Building Healthier Communities based on Human Rights

Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:00 PM
National Hispanic Cultural Center (Bank of America Auditorium) - 1701 4th Street SW

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy and the UNM Public Health Program presents the 2011 Fall Lecture Series on Health and Human Rights. Dr. Brian Smedley, Vice-President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington DC, will speak on Moving from Science to Policy and Practice: Building Healthier Communities based on Human Rights.

Seating is limited. Please plan to arrive early.

Dr. Smedley served as Study Director for the Institute of Medicine reports, In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce and Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. In 2004 he was honored by the Rainbow/PUSH coalition as a “Health Trailblazer” award winner; in 2002 he was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus “Healthcare Hero” award.

November 18, 2011 at 02:51 PM in Events, Healthcare, Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday, October 1: Occupy Wall Street ... and Albuquerque and Santa Fe and ...

JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Hastily organized "occupations" in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street have now been scheduled for tomorrow, October 1, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Facebook pages). Click for info sheets for Occupy Burque and Occupy Santa Fe in Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street.

Since September 17, a diverse array of "hacktivists," ordinary citizens and celebrities has been participating in an expanding protest -- called "Occupy Wall Street" -- in downtown Manhattan in New York City. The constant and continuing demonstrations were designed to mimic at least some aspects of the Tahrir (Liberation) Square revolt, which entailed 18 days of protests in Cairo. Tahrir Squate led to the downfall of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and morphed into a group of revolts now known collectively as the "Arab Spring."

Only time will tell whether Occupy Wall Street will end up in the history books as a victory for the people or just another fizzle in the long, hard battle against corporatist fascism. And only you can impact the outcome -- by joining the movement or sitting at home whining or cursing.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are targeting the irresponsible and often criminal actions of Wall Street traders, giant financial institutions, international banking concerns and pretty much the entire global economic and financial system. Ordinary people all over the world are sick and tired of being at the mercy of a cut-throat bunch of well-dressed, well-educated (well-bred?) extortionists and hooligans who have increasingly been dominating markets, financial dealings, housing, national debt levels, loans, employment, environmental decisions and more on behalf of the greedy and narrow interests of an oligarchy of plutocrats at the top of the economic food chain.

Defining themselves as being representative of "The 99%" of the population who are being used and abused by the outrageously wealthy elites who are calling the shots -- now known as "The 1%" -- the demonstrators are hell bent on creating a fresh, creative, nonviolent model of ongoing protest and revolt. The aim is to create a wide-ranging, semi-spontaneous, day-to-day movement that expands organically and can be adapted and adopted in cities and towns across America and everywhere else where the filthy 1% are gorging on the labor and resources of the other 99% in order to feed their sick addictions to mega-power and mega-wealth.

Sign-Occupy-Wall-Street.jpg&q=80&MaxW=320

The specific objects and targets of the protests may vary according to geographical location or local issues in play, but the core goal of the actions will be the same all over -- gaining attention and garnering support for stopping the economic bullies in their tracks in order to salvage the remnants of a fair and just culture and have a chance at shaping a new paradigm that's based on truly sustainable and enlightened principles and practices. It's now or never.

Yes, believe it or not, more and more people are finally awaking to the realities of a monstrous class war being perpetrated against ordinary workers and the poor by a bunch of multi-national economic terrorists who view the world as their own private slot machine. Call it what it is -- a class war -- but contrary to the claims of the crony capitalists, the attacks are being launched by a tiny minority of haves against the masses of the have nots, not the other way around. We cannot let this stand and expect to have a chance at any kind of positive future for ourselves, our families and friends, ordinary humans around the world, the planet's ecosystems or anything else we value and care about.

As reported by TPM

The Occupy Wall Street protests, which this week received a boost from pledges of support of local unions, are expanding not only in the number of participants but in geographical scope as well: Demonstrators in Boston, DenverChicagoSanta Fe, Lexington, Kentucky, and now three big California cities, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, have all joined or are preparing to join the movement. A website has been set up calling for Floridians to occupy cities across the state on November 5, “Guy Fawkes Day.” In total, there have been online calls to action in over 77 cities across the United States, most of them slated to occur within the first week of October.

Origins:

Occupy Wall Street, which was first proposed by Canadian countercultural magazine Adbusters in July, initially received traction online thanks to the support of "Anonymous," the loosely-knit “hacktivist” collective. The event began on September 17 with around 3,000 protesters, but the numbers have varied considerably since then, with a core group of around 200 to 300 people maintaining a camp in nearby Zuccotti Park, despite being pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested for frivolous offenses by police.

The #OccupyWallStreet Facebook page describes the new strategy and tactics this way:

The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people — Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain

The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

Images

As Chris Hedges writes in a piece published today on Commondreams and elsewhere:

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

... Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat.

Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs.

Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 

Helpful Website Links:

JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Hastily organized "occupations" in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street have now been scheduled for tomorrow, October 1, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Facebook pages). Click for info sheets (pdf) for Occupy Burque and Occupy Santa Fe in Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street.

September 30, 2011 at 06:37 PM in Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Events, Finance, Investments, Human Rights, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street (Everywhere) | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8/31: Juárez from the Eyes of a Human Rights Worker

From the Southwest Organizing Project:
This speaking event will give insight to the violent struggles in the border city leading to a wave of political asylum seekers to New Mexico. Click for flyer

Cipriana Jurado, of the Juárez, México-based Center for Information and Solidarity with Working Women (CISO), will be speaking at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice on Wednesday, August 31, about her experiences defending the rights of citizens of Juárez, México and the current conditions in that country. Jurado is currently continuing her mission of awareness and activism from Santa Fe, where she and her two children now live.

Jurado was granted political asylum earlier this year due to threats on her life, part of a growing number of Mexican human rights workers, journalists and political leaders who have fled Mexico.

Join us for an evening with this courageous, longtime human rights champion, and learn about the realities on the ground in Juárez. Jurado's mission now is to increase public concern over the levels of violence and terror that grip Juárez and many other Mexican cities and towns by sharing her eyewitness accounts of the grim nature of everyday life and survival in Juarez.

This event will be held at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE, Albuquerque) tonight at 6 PM. The event is free. Food will be served and Spanish to English translation will be provided. For more information call Tracy at 505-247-8832. Sponsored by the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP).

August 31, 2011 at 05:47 AM in Border Issues, Children and Families, Events, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2011

8/27: Preview in Downtown Albuquerque of 'One Million Bones' - Evoking Atrocities Abroad

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Click image for larger b&w version

Genocides in Africa, child soldiers and political torture in Burma. For millions, such violence and turmoil endure, even today. But an ambitious social art project aims to visualize such tragedies for Americans with the goal of provocation.

One Million Bones brings together people of all ages with artists and activists to create clay bones symbolic of our common humanity, each representing one person’s awareness of recent and ongoing human atrocities, and his or her voice calling for action.

“We can only ignore the silent plight of millions if we continue pretending it’s not our problem or we can’t do anything about it,” said founder Naomi Natale. “One Million Bones provides a direct action that replaces ignorance with knowledge and hopelessness with a sense of purpose. It speaks to our common humanity, and our responsibility to each other.

In 2013, the bones collected from participants around the U.S. will be assembled in a ‘mass grave’ on the National Mall in Washington, DC, a collaborative site of conscience demanding decisive U.S. action.

But on August 27, 2011, One Million Bones will present a 50,000 Bones Preview installation at its headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Preview will feature a choreographed performance laying 50,000 clay bones in the streets of Downtown Albuquerque, as well as national speakers. It will take place at 10:00 AM at the intersection of Central and 4th Street in downtown Albuquerque.

Imagine a busy city block bustling with people. From an alley silent, white-clad volunteers appear carrying armfuls of white handmade ceramic bones. They lay the bones in the center of the street and disappear, even as another volunteer appears carrying more bones. Over the course of the day the pile expands outward to fill the entire block. Imagine the sight of 50,000 bones laid bare for the world to see. Imagine the power of that vision.

In Sudan, over the course of their twenty-two year civil war, two million people have been killed and 5.6 million displaced. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there have been 5.4 million deaths since 1996 and 900,000 people displaced since January 2009. Children make up 47 percent of the fatalities. Rape is a weapon of war, and has become commonplace. In Burma, there are currently 2,200 political prisoners who are being tortured using brutal methods. The Burmese army recruits children as young as nine years old for their forces.

“There continues to be so much devastation in Sudan, Congo and Burma, and yet there have been a few hopeful signs,” said Susan McAllister, Project Manager. “Even the smallest glimmer for the possibility of change requires a redoubling of efforts to support activists who address these and other atrocities. One Million Bones brings the voices of thousands to bear in support of this vital work.”

To learn more or get involved, please visit www.onemillionbones.org.

August 26, 2011 at 05:45 PM in Arts, Events, Genocide, Human Rights, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lora Lucero Guest Blog: Gaza is the Largest Open-Air Prison in the World

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Border crossing at Rafah in late afternoon.
There are usually long lines earlier in the day.

This is a guest blog by Lora Lucero, a long-time resident of Albuquerque, NM and an adjunct professor of law at UNM. She first visited Gaza in 2004 and this year was invited by the Islamic University of Gaza to present a lecture on the subject of climate change, which is the focus of her research and writing.

I'm sitting in Cairo, Egypt trying to break into the largest open-air prison in the world -- Gaza, Palestine. I don't exaggerate. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, John Dugard, and former World Bank President, James Woffensohm, and others have called Gaza an open-air prison.

Nearly 1.6 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which is 7 miles wide and 35 miles long. It has one of the highest population densities in the world. More than 80,000 people live in the Beach Refugee camp, which is smaller than one square mile. Compare this to only 25,000 people in a square mile of Manhattan, NY.

80% of Gazans are below the age of 50; 50% are below 15. All of the statistics are bad and growing worse -- unemployment, poverty, dependent on food aid -- the U.N. says 80%.

Gaza has only two border crossings for people to enter and exit: the Erez crossing on the north with Israel and the Rafah crossing on the south with Egypt. Up until former President Mubarak was ousted in February this year, Israel effectively held the key to both crossings. Mubarak did Israel's bidding; and in exchange, Israel offered Mubarak asylum, which he refused. During this transition period in Egypt, many are trying to learn what new rules Egypt might enforce at Rafah. Will Egypt continue to be the ruthless jail keeper or provide some hope for the thousands of Palestinians who want a normal life?

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Camels get a free ride

Many have been turned away from the border crossings -- both foreigners and Palestinians -- for what seem to be very arbitrary reasons. Rumors spread like wildfire. An aid convoy of trucks from Scotland has been parked at the side of the road for weeks now, waiting to get permission to enter Gaza.

I was turned away on my first attempt to cross Rafah, and so I returned to Cairo to see how the US Embassy might help. Although my Congressman sent a request to his contacts in the State Department about my travel plans, the US Embassy in Cairo told me that no one has any influence or authority at the Rafah crossing but Egypt.

The US Embassy refused to call or send any request to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on my behalf, but they did issue a notarized affidavit warning me that I should not travel to Gaza and if I did, I was on my own. The US Embassy made itself perfectly clear -- it would not help me in Gaza. For that souvenir, I paid $50 US.

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The US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Very fortified.

So I headed over to the Egyptian Ministry on my own to meet with Mr. Sharef, who I was told is in charge of Palestinian Affairs. Without an appointment, I was out of luck. One week and nineteen calls later, I struck gold (I think). I was invited to meet with Dina working in the office of Palestinian Affairs.

She informed me that Mr. Sharef had just moved on to another position. She asked me why I want to visit Gaza. "I've been invited by the Islamic University of Gaza," I said, and showed her my letter of invitation. She said the US Embassy must send over a written request, but I explained that I had tried and was not getting any help from the US Embassy.

Dina made a photocopy of my passport, my letter from the university, and my affidavit from the US Embassy, and said she would transmit it all to the Egyptian Intelligence Office for approval. Typically it takes one week, but the clock is ticking before I must return to the US. She said she would try to help.

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The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo.

Whenever I feel frustrated and irritable about this situation, I think about my friends in Gaza who have lived their entire lives without the freedom to move, losing scholarship opportunities to study abroad because Israel refuses to let them leave; or the Gazans with medical emergencies who have died at the border because the guards would not let them through, or the dreams of the young people crushed because the jailer will not allow them to leave.

Israel controls the air space over Gaza, the land routes into Gaza, and the Mediterranean waters next to Gaza. Israeli naval attacks on the Palestinian fishermen intensified shortly after the British Gas Group discovered sizeable natural gas fields in Gaza's territorial waters. A coincidence?

Israel supports its tight grip on Gaza on the basis of security needs, but this is a travesty in which the US is shamefully complicit. I am convinced that Israel and the US are only increasing tensions and insecurities in the Middle East with this horrific occupation.

As Mazin B. Qumsiyeh wrote in the book Sharing the Land of Canaan,

One has to realize that the majority of Germans did not engage in the creation and running of the concentration camps but acquiesced to them. The majority of the Israeli Jews did not participate in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from 1947-1949 but acquiesced to them. The majority of Israelis do not participate in occupying or oppressing Palestinians but acquiesce to it. The majority of Americans did not participate in starving the Iraqi people but acquiesced to it. The majority of Palestinians do not engage in terrorism but acquiesce to it. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I receive permission to enter Gaza soon.

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Sign at the border crossing -- turn around and head back to Arish or proceed to Rafah.

This is a guest blog by Lora Lucero. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

August 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM in Guest Blogger, Human Rights, Middle East | Permalink | Comments (7)