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Protesters Saturday stood up in the face of raw evil to challenge the latest regime wielding the power of the state as the Commander-in-Thief, pResident Bush visited Portland's areas of economic devastation; areas made so via the policies of his cronies and earlier programs of corporate welfare and greed.
Heavily armored troopers and a military helicopter were present as the only visible sign of terror at the protests, yet the crowd remained undaunted. The highlights of the rallies occurring at Northeast Youth Opportunity Center (YO) and Parkrose High School are given in a detailed account, as called in to Indymedia during the actions.
Many people who were at the day's actions posted their stories to the Open Publishing Newswire:
Neither George W. nor his father are popular in the Portland area, due to their life-long commitments to war, oil, racism, sexism, homophobia, the destruction of the environment and creeping fascism in general. This visit will cost Portland by adding to the city budget problems and increasing the likelihood of taxes being raised to cover the costs of law enforcement.
In a related incident to this event activists from Eugene on the way to the protest were forced off the road in supiscious circumstances.
The Boycott at Daily Grind Continues as negotiations are under way between the owner and workers.
The latest battle over the right to unionize is being waged at the Daily Grind Deli and grocery store on Hawthorne and 42nd. According to a post from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the "Wobblies"), Wes Perkins, the owner of the Daily Grind, shut down the deli on New Year's Eve, days after learning that workers there had filed for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election with overwhelming support. Firing workers for union activity is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.
Workers at the Daily Grind had organized under the Portland branch of the IWW, which has called for the boycott of the grocery store, which was not closed. There was a one day picket line on New Year's day with the goal of getting the workers' jobs reinstated, or attaining a sublease from Perkins so the workers can operate their own collectively-run establishment there.
During his inauguration speech in January 2001, pResident Bush said, "This is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity." By the end of 2001, Bush's vision of "a single nation" threatened to fulfill itself as seemingly everyone was displaying the stars and stripes -- on flags, stickers, signs, and even across the entire surfaces of trucks. The justice and opportunity were mostly absent, though, as bombs fell on Afghanistan, "homeland security" gutted basic civil liberties in the U.S., and -- despite rosy statistical indicators -- rising unemployment and the lack of living wages plagued many.
On Christmas, the Pope followed a personal 23 year tradition and lit a single candle in his bedroom window as part of a silent vigil for peace in the world. Afterwards, at a service in St. Peter's in the Vatican, he urged people to become "witnesses of solidarity and builders of peace."
Christmas was celebrated in the U.S. as it usually is, by chopping down living trees that were raised by mistreated farmworkers and bringing them inside to die, hanging an excessive amount of energy-draining lights, and buying tons of toxic plastic toys that instruct girls to be pretty(?) servants and boys to be violent soldiers.
Striking nurses and their supporters held a large and spirited rally and march on the campus of Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Thursday, December 27. The march began at 9 AM at the ONA (Oregon Nurses Association) Union Hall and traveled to OHSU.
The striking nurses were joined by members of other labor unions, including SEIU503, Laborers, ILWU and many others, as well as nurses from other Oregon hospitals, in a show of strong solidarity in their demand for a fair contract. Estimates put the total at 700-1,000 people. Featured speakers included ONA labor negotiator Kathleen Sheridan, Ann Converso, Vice President of the nation's largest nurses' union, United American Nurses, and Tim Nesbitt, President of Oregon AFL/CIO.
The strike, which began December 17th, has had a significant impact on OHSU. Sources inside the hospital report that the patient census, over 80% last year at this time, was down to 40% as of Christmas Day. ONA labor organizers counted just 55 replacement workers getting off the buses at the beginning of the day shift today. There are 1400 nurses on strike. Photos | Video
64 members of the faculty and staff of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, drafted and signed a statement regarding the current crisis and war.
The resolution, linked below, speaks for itself, but it emphasizes that the signatories believe that they have a need to speak out on this important issue specifically as educators. The resolution condemns the attacks of September 11th, supports the use of international tribunals to bring to justice those who committed the acts, and also encourages the U.S. to break the cycle of violence by ending the war and not extending it further.
It also urges the U.S. to collaborate with other governments around the world to help end conditions that may generate terrorist acts and to prevent immediate starvation in Afghanistan. It further supports less dependence on oil as an energy resource and requests federal spending that benefits the majority of the people, and not primarily the extremely wealthy and corporations. It also urges the repeal of the Patriot Act and military tribunals for noncitizens.
While Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham finally nailed the coffin on the Fast Flux Test Facility at Hanford, there is at least one more proposal to keep the nuclear facility operating. Energy Northwest is looking for investors to finish construction of a reactor to provide for Bush's archaic energy plan though it is clear that continuing operations will exacerbate cleanup.
The history of Hanford reflects end-stage capitalist philosophy. Hanford began as a plutonium production site for the Manhattan Project in 1943 and produced plutonium used for the Nagasaki atom bomb. Throughout its history, it created some of the worst nuclear accidents, and created unwilling test subjects of its employees, local residents, and the environment. It remains one of the most polluted areas on earth.
The site is located approximately 230 miles northeast of Portland. Over 53 million gallons of toxins there pose a terrorist threat. Past practices include the dumping of 450 billion gallons of waste into the soil. The Department of Energy (DOE) is hampering current efforts by the Hanford Advisory Board and the public in ensuring ecologically minded cleanup. The DOE now wants to do away with removing 75% of the liquid waste and to cut corners under the promise that cleanup would happen cheaper and faster.
* The 2002 Hiroshima Interfaith Pilgrimage will be holding a vigil at Hanford on January 30, 2002.
Thousands of citizens took to the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the last few days to protest the tattered economy and what they viewed as inadequate government response to the suffering of the Argentine people. President De la Rua resigned, and a new government is being formed by an opposition party. The U.S. has been among the powers attempting to control the people and resources of Argentina by forcing the country to pay back debts arranged by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, though these debts were incurred by a small wealthy corporate class that simply enriched itself. These international institutions have been trying to force Argentina to privatize its public resources and cut back on health, education and social programs in order to repay the debt. Those who oppose this colonization of the country by foreign corporate interests consider the current upsurge in resistance to be only the first step in gaining true independence for Argentina. Police have been killing protesters, and have left at least 26 dead so far. Corporate media accounts are referring to this popular uprising as a "crisis", which it is indeed for the U.S.-backed forces of greed; if other people around the world rise up against injustice the way Argentinians are, the tyrants of capitalism will soon find themselves on the run.
Indymedia Argentina has been providing up-to-the-minute coverage of these events from the street, and is in dire need of financial help. You can donate to IMC Argentina online through a paypal account.
[ Greetings from Argentina | Appeal from Argentina: A TODO EL MUNDO - TO THE WHOLE WORLD | Indymedia Argentina |paypal account for sending donations to Indymedia Argentina ]
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - Dec 15-18: A few animal rights activists stood in the cold to help raise concert-goer consciousness of the atrocities sponsored by Bank of America mutual fund investment partner Stephens Inc. Besides an initial impotent threat of either detention, arrest, a ticket, or a stern talking-to, for exercising First Amendment rights of Free Speech and Assembly, the December 15-18 informational demos at the Arlene Schnitzer B of A Holiday Pops went well.
For three of the four nights, attendees of the show saw video of beagle puppies being punched in the face and a partially conscious monkey being cut open from groin to sternum. They witnessed the stark contrast between the inhuman, perfunctory cruelty in the lab and the genial public face of Bank of America. In four hours, with about four people, over four days, the activists passed out approximately 1,000 pieces of literature, and exchanged large amounts of unanticipated good dialogue and good will.
While a new government is being installed amidst the chaos and crime of post-Taliban Afghanistan, millions of ordinary Afghans, the supposed benefactors of "Operation Enduring Freedom", are facing starvation in the remote reaches of this mountainous country. The US once again is teaching the world that the military is being used for all the wrong reasons. Although time is running out, transport helicopters, heavy equipment, and guards could still be implemented to flood the country with aid, yet so far the US and Britain have rejected any call to utilize their militaries in the massive humanitarian effort. In spite of a bridge on the Uzbekistan border reopening, this has not been enough to supply all the needs of the far-flung displaced.
A rally in protest
You wouldn't know it from the corporate press or media but there was a major labor victory in Oregon this past weekend. By a 92% vote, Home Care workers voted for union representation. This is a major victory for a workforce that numbers over 12,000, is poorly paid, mostly women and substantially people of color.
In the largest union election victory in Oregon's history, and the largest in the U.S. this year, SEIU Local 503 grew by over 12,000 workers from 25,000 to 37,000 workers represented, making the union one of the biggest in Oregon.
Home Care workers care for senior and disabled clients in the client's own home, saving Oregon literally billions of dollars which would otherwise be spent for nursing home care. Despite these savings, this important but difficult job pays only a little more than minimum wage with no benefits, and no paid holidays, vacations, or days off. Newswire story
Nurses On Strike Since Monday After Voting 72% To Reject The Last Offer From OHSU
PORTLAND, Ore.- A majority of OHSU nurses voted last Saturday to reject OHSU's latest contract offer to its 1500 registered nurses. More than 1,100 nurses cast ballots throughout the day. With the rejection of OHSU's last and final contract offer, the nurses stopped work and walked off the job at 7:30 AM, Monday, December 17th.
The main points of the OHSU nurses are that, due to low pay, it is hard to attract and keep nurses and that positions at OHSU are already 10-12% unfilled. Nurses expressed frustration that this situation has gone on for a long time, is generally getting worse and requires them to work long hard hours under stress. The concern is also that patient care will suffer if the situation is not addressed.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence was overturned by a federal judge in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, marking a victory for Mumia and his supporters. In a 272-page ruling, Judge William Yohn determined that Mumia Abu-Jamal, a celebrated journalist and Black Panther, deserved a new sentence hearing based on the instructions given to the jury. If the state does not call for a new sentencing hearing within 180 days, Mumia will be sentenced to life imprisonment. Mumia's conviction still stands and he can still be sentenced to Death Row. The rest of the 29 challenges brought before the court by Mumia's lawyers were rejected, and he was denied a new trial.
Local corporate media have not admitted why the Portland Police have not cooperated with the FBI and Attorney General Ashcroft's order to "question" "terrorist" "suspects" locally. The mayor, city attorney and the Portland Police were forced to abide by Oregon State Law ORS 181.575 due to the dedicated efforts of many people in the progressive community.
Some years of work culminated in the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) Hearings, in which the city had to state very publically and definitively its support of Oregon State Law ORS 181.575 and its determination not to let it be violated by the FBI or other federal agencies. The efforts of many people and organizations forced the city to make these definitive statements so that now -- a few months later -- the city could not violate Oregon law when the Feds asked the Portland Police to interrogate people. Read the newswire story
While this is a victory to be applauded in the cause of people's democracy, it should be noted that Chief Kroeker -- in an email previously posted to indymedia -- stated that these people were being interviewed anyway by "local federal agents". Since as stated by the city itself, there is ZERO accountability over the JTTF, it could be portland police officers who are federally deputized under the JTTF who are carrying out these interviews.
PAC2002 Police Accountablility Initiative
Sunday, Dec 16th a few hundred people gathered for a rally and march against US imperialism and against the terrorist war of conquest being carried out in Afghanistan and Palestine, and which is spreading to other countries.
Both Craig and Ramona spoke powerfully and in no uncertain terms about the imperialistic, domineering, and destructive nature of the united states, and both made the point that a person cannot look to the government and system to bring a positive change and that it is only people, who take matters and responsibility into their own hands that will effect such change.
Many otherwise thoughtful and concerned citizens have shied away from facing the stark reality of the real U.S. role in the world and at home. Now that the corporate led government is boldly moving to conquer an unknown number of countries, it is more imperative than ever that people stand up and speak out against U.S. imperialism.
Following the rally, a march, carrying dozens of upsidedown us flags, banners and a radical spirit wound through downtown portland, going to the federal courthouse, pioneer square twice, and through the shopping mall. . .in pioneer square on the second pass, the flags were burned. one account of the march | another account of the march | Photos #1 | Photos#2 | Photos#3 | Video
PictSweet, the mushroom plant in Salem, laid off 160 workers in late November. The out-of-state ownership closed the plant rather than talk to workers about their demands for union recognition.
Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon's farmworker union, has helped to organize a holiday season toy drive as a way of supporting these workers and their families. PCUN is collecting new unwrapped toys, books, arts supplies, and sports equipment for children ages 12 and under, as well as wrapping paper and tape. The deadline is December 19th.
If you live in the Portland, Salem, or Eugene areas, PCUN has drop-off sites available.
De facto war criminal and CIA agent Michael Spann was buried Monday with full military honors in Arlington Cemetary. He was killed during the uprising at the fortress Qala-e-Jhangi that eventually led to US-delivered airstrikes and the deaths of 500 prisoners, many who were reported to have died while still bound, who were captured during the Northern Alliance takeover of Kanduz. Before Spann's death he and a fellow agent interrogated the prisoners under the camera of an Afghani news crew that recorded the audible threats that were made towards the prisoners. Under the Geneva conventions those threats are considered a war crime. Details emerging from the dealings with the prisoners, the entry onto the scene of the CIA who were conducting interrogations and the killing of the bound prisoners by US and British directed firepower has prompted Amnesty International to demand a full investigation. The US and UK have so far refused.
"You won't believe how much money we spent in the last two hours."
- A White House official, speaking anonymously shortly before Thursday's vote on renewing presidential trade negotiating authority.
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001 (H.R. 3005), otherwise know as "fast track" legislation, by a one vote margin. pResident Bush pushed hard on the Republican-controlled House to grant him fast track authority. Fast track gives the President the ability to negotiate trade agreements that the U.S. Congress can not modify and must either accept or reject in toto, despite Article 1, Section 8 (3) of the U.S. Constitution, which delineates the responsibility to regulate foreign trade agreements to Congress.
Opponents of fast track fear that it will speed the rate of corporate globalization by making it easier to pass agreements such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which threatens to inflict the disasterous consequences of NAFTA on the entire Western Hemisphere.
Fast track goes next to the U.S. Senate where it could be defeated. Unlike the House, the Senate is currently under Democratic leadership. So pResident Bush may have a harder time getting approval there.
The myth of "objective" media revealed
"Racism" has been defined as the institutionally enforced tyranny of one race over another by, for example, the schools, government or legal system. "Prejudice" -- pre-judging a person on the basis of race -- is a result of this indoctrination. "Discrimination" is prejudice put into action; unequal treatment based on racial difference. In Portland, as elsewhere, racism has proven mostly intractible to efforts to counter it, though many still try.
The White Aryan Resistance [WAR] is one organization that is not fighting racism; rather, it encourages prejudice and discrimination, specifically against people who are not white. Volksfront is planning to bring Tom Metzger, the executive director of WAR, to Oregon on Dec. 21. An Anti-Racist Protest has been announced for that day. Volksfront has denied that it is a racist organization.
Within the anti-racist community, there is not full agreement on what language and tactics should be used. A discussion is taking place on this website about the particular approach of the December 21 anti-racist event.
On December 5, Charlie Kreiner gave an analysis at PSU on the underlying motives of racism and tools on how to eradicate it from our everyday lives. The talk was sponsored by Allies and People to People. Listen to audio: Part 1 & Part 2
Discrimination in the peace movement?
Volunteers will be fanning out across Portland in a city-wide canvas next weekend for a push to get a citizen's police review board on the ballot in next year's elections. Contact Police Accountability Campaign 2002 at 503.287.2255 for information on the gathering times for the door-to-door canvas. Dress warmly and bring an umbrella.
The recent success of the campaign to force Trader Joe's to drop its use of genetically engineered (GE) products has led some to believe that there may be an end in sight on some stores carrying GMO's. However, devestating news on the legacy effects of GMO products has surfaced from Mexico showing that GE plants cannot be geographically contained.
Aside from GE plants and animal cloning, there is also research being done on GE animals. Currently, GE salmon are being researched in Maine with the FDA preparing to release these fish in open waters. The effects of releasing GE animals in the wild are vexing. Purdue researchers say release of the GE salmon will wipe out native salmon within 30 years.
Proponents of GMO's argue that their work is important in finding ways to feed the world and point to "Golden Rice" as a succesful GE experiment. This rice contains a daffodil gene in order to produce beta carotene which helps in preventing blindness. However, it has come to light that a child would have to eat 15 pounds of this rice a day just to meet the minimum daily requirement of vitamin A.
What happens to these food products that are not wanted in the US, such as the GE products at Trader Joes? They are being foisted on other countries.
Chief Kroeker and other law enforcement leaders may not have the protection of civil liberties in mind as they continue not to violate the State law against unwarranted questioning. Some activists suggest that at the very least there is a wish to have Oregon laws, which are far stricter than those of the the federal as regards questioning, overturned or ammended during the next or an emergency congressional session and are trying to force the issue. This theory is borne out in a recent proposal to revise Oregon State Law. The 1981 statute -much hated and already violated by Portland Police Bureau rank and file- forbids law enforcement from collecting or maintaining any information about the political, religious, or social views, associations, or activities of any individual or group unless there is reasonable grounds to believe involvement in criminal conduct.
Update: Meanwhile, an email from Chief Kroeker indicates that the 23 individuals are being questioned by "local federal agents", which could be our portland police officers in the joint terrorism task force. If so, then this is exactly the sort of bypassing of law that many citizens criticized about the JTTF. Since there is no accountability whatsoever for the JTTF, no citizen or city official can investigate if this is what is happening.
Recent history of organized repression in the region: "Community Policing or Community Occupation?"
The Seattle National Lawyers' Guild WTO Legal Group has updated and re-released their substantive report on post-WTO militarization of law enforcement, and the increasing linkage between corporate hegemony and state violence.
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