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The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has descended upon Madison, Wisconsin. The conference will allow business leaders and U.S. mayors to set the agenda of U.S. cities during an array of high-priced meals and social events closed to the public, but open to corporations. Having been around for 70 years, the USCM has long played a crucial role in setting a corporate-biased agenda for over 3,000 U.S. cities and has a number of tools available for doing just that.
Fortunately, the people of Madison also have tools for expressing their agenda, and have very creatively been doing just that. Members of the Poverty Action Network, a coalition member of Cities For People, braved the rain to greet mayors at Dane County Regional Airport. The activists held up signs stating "Danger: Free Speech Ahead," "Cities for People Not for Profits!", and more. [ Photos ]
During Friday morning rush hour, renegade bipeds honored the auto industry's generous sponorship of the US Conference of Mayors. They hung banners from the bike path bridge over Madison's beltline reading "Vroom, vroom consume," "Your $UV is Killing Me," and "50,000 Die/Year." Ford, General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, the American Petroleum Institute, and the American Trucking Associations are all members of the Mayors Business Council. [ Photos ]
Creative People's Resistance and other activists have organized four days of events to protest the Mayors, including rallies, music and a parade. Perhaps some direct action that does not appear in the calendar will also occur.
Visit Madison Indymedia for up-to-the minute coverage of this important expression of resistance to corporate power.
From the open publishing newswire: "We arrived at Ohio Stadium [at Ohio State University in Columbus] at 6 am. A rally was scheduled at the Jesse Owens memorial site for that time, and the graduates were to be at their places by 6:30 am. Family and friends were permitted to enter at that time as well.
"I didn't get close enough to the 6 am rally, but in my search for an organizer of Turn Your Back On Bush, I did indeed hear the announcement. Graduating students were told that they would be expelled and arrested if they turned their backs. they were alerted that dozens of staff memebers and police officers would be watching the stands, as well as the Secret Service. A few students asked for the definition of expulsion....did it mean removal from the stadium or refusal of their diplomas, or both? One of the persons at the front said 'Both. And what will your parents do when they are paged from the crowd to bail out their son?' I do not know if this person had an official capacity with the Ohio State University or any police department..."
"We went behind the graduates and looked for peace signs on the mortar boards (a sign that was meant to ID the Turn-Your-Backers). It was really difficult to get an accurate count, but there were a LOT of peace signs. I was sure that we weren't the only ones counting peace signs..."
"About 10 minutes later, Shrub was introduced to speak. Before he even got to the stage, we did our about-face." [ Full story ]
On April 26, according to the Campaign for Labor Rights, "the management of the Tainan factory in El Salvador announced -- through an article in local newspapers -- that workers who had been suspended from the factory would NOT be returning to their jobs. The workers in the Tainan factory have been organizing a union, Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria Textiles (STIT) or the Industrial Union of Textile Workers, in the second of the two plants at Tainan for almost two years. STIT obtained legal recognition in July 2001 and had just submitted a request to the Labor Ministry for collective bargaining rights when the management made the announcement that it would close the factory. Tainan then began to dismantle machinery in the factory and initiated the legal process of dissolving the company. The company had been suspending workers since last August claiming lack of orders, though the union has evidence that the factory was receiving work and sending it to other factories. Suspensions escalated sharply at the beginning of April after a meeting between the Labor Ministry, the company, and the union in which the company announced that it would offer full severance benefits to anyone who would voluntarily resign. If workers didn't resign, they would be suspended. Tainan El Salvador produces for many US retail companies -- its primary customer world-wide is the Gap."
According to a newswire post, "In response to the inaction of Tainan Enterprises in the face of the demand to reopen two factories in El Salvador and respect the right of the union there, STIT, to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, STIT [called for] an international day of action against Tainan Enterprises on June 13th (June 12th for Taiwan). Activists in Taiwan protested at Tainan Enterprises headquarters in Taipei. STIT in El Salvador protested at the Embassy of Taiwan and the office of Tainan Enterprises in El Salvador.
"Solidarity campaigners called on US activists to put pressure on Footlocker (formerly Venator, Inc.) because they've received recent shipments from Tainan Enterprises and have refused to respond to campaign organizers repeated phone calls and letters. In Eugene, one lone activist covered the parking lot of VRC with informational flyers about Footlocker's refusal to engage with labor organizers and support the workers' right to unionize as well as presented the history of the El Salvadorans' struggle to unionize. Mall security was hot on her tail, but never caught up with the 'lone flyer.'" [ Story ]
The forests of Peak timber sale are imminently threatened! Roseburg Forest Products/Scott Timber (stUMPQUA BANK) holds a contract to begin logging operations early July!
Join local community members and activists from across the Northwest for a 2 week action camp at the Peak timber sale, Prospect Ranger District, Rogue River National Forest.
Come and learn! Connect with the forests of the upper Rogue basin. Connect with activists working to protect the land. Gain and share skills in tree climbing, wilderness first response, nonviolence, public lands strategy, forest defense, survey and manage, and plant and critter identification.
Peak is one of over a dozen Replacement Volume Program sales threatening old growth across the Northwest. The RVP is a scam crafted by the timber industry to cut the last remaining old growth forests. The RVP is a violation of the public trust and must be cancelled immediately!
The Peak Timber Sale is in the Upper Rogue River Watershed west of Highway 62 and Crater Lake National Park. Logging threatens 660 acres of old-growth forest core fisher habitat. These forests reside at an elevation of 4,000-5,200 feet. The trees are estimated to equal approximately 3,890 thousand board feet(mbf) of lumber.
The Little River Demo timber sale, site of a beautiful forest in the Umpqua National Forest was set to be logged in order to "study the effects of clearcutting on wildlife". In a stroke of sanity, the U$ Forest Service has decided to cancel this sale!! This is a HUGE victory and activists can now concentrate on the remaining dozens of other sales on the chopping block this season.
This sale was yet another "Replacement Volume" timber scam given to Roseburg Forest Products, on top of the fact that it was for "research" purposes. Little River DEMO Timber Sale (7.1 million board feet of old-growth and native forest) is within the Little River drainage on the North Umpqua Ranger District. [ Read More ]
Forest Defenders Invade Lumber Board Meeting - 3 Arrested Hanging A Banner
"Co-founders of the Oregon-based Cascadia Forest Defenders stormed the North American Lumber Association (NAWLA) annual Board of Directors meeting at the swank Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs this morning. With radio and video rolling, the forty-some directors sat stunned and silent while activists exposed their genocidal and eco-cidal profiteering. The activists escaped security by a hair on the stairway just outside the meeting room." [ Read More ]
The FBI loses! As Ashcroft plots the expansion of the American police state, a jury in Oakland has found the FBI at fault for attempting to frame environmental/labor activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. Three senior agents from the FBI's terrorism squad, which worked with the Oakland Police Dept. collecting files on local political and activist groups, as well as three OPD officers were found liable for violating Bari and Cherney's 1st and 4th amendment rights. "This verdict shows that activists are the target of the FBI and that reasonable people can see that, and they've awarded us huge damages because of that," says Earth First!er Alicia Littletree. [ Full details | Press release ]
The 10-person federal jury reached unanimous verdicts against 6 of the 7 defendants, but remains undecided on the claim surrounding Cherney's arrest and found no liability for the conspiracy claims, perhaps because evidence of COINTELPRO-style frameups was withheld by Judge Wilken. "We have more to appeal than they do," says plaintiff's attorney Dennis Cunningham, referring to withheld evidence and the six FBI agents dismissed from the case. Cherney summed it up to the press, "We argued this case with our hands tied and the jury blindfolded and we still won." [ SF Indy Judi Bari Page ]
From an SF newswire comment: "Judi Bari was a labor organizer and an environmentalist who understood the connection between the two movements and did her best to unite both movements. She was also a feminist, fighting for our right to abortion, and a peacenik. A verdict that so clearly demonstrates the strength of all those movements comes from a community, the San Francisco Bay Area, where labor, the environmental movement, the women's liberation movement and the peace movement are all comparatively strong. It is the progressive ambience, created by all of our many demonstrations, workingclass community organizing of all kinds and labor organizing that made this verdict possible."
NW RAGE (Resistance Against Genetic Engineering) activists spread the word to a receptive public at the event on, Saturday, June 8, at Portland's Lloyd Center Safeway. Between 40 and 50 protesters showed up on a beautiful sunny day to give Safeway a taste of public opinion on the matter of Genetically Engineered food.
A giant Frankenstein puppet marched along with families and others holding signs asking for safe, GE-free food, while passers-by stopped to chat with the protesters, or to sign cards and petitions asking Safeway to stop using genetically engineered ingredients. Later on, we were joined by a second monster, a 270-pound genetically engineered abomination who continued with us through the protest.
Again this week, as in previous demonstrations, hundreds of passing cars honked their horns in solidarity with the protesters, smiling, waving and giving thumbs-up signs. From the reaction we received it was apparent that the word had been getting out about the issue, and people wanted something to be done. Many folks stopped and took time to thank us for doing this. [ Read More ]
From the newswire: Forest activists and others in Oregon have been served with subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury now sitting in Portland. An unknown number of individuals began to testify before the grand jury last week after receiving visits by FBI agents at their residences or workplaces.
As one local activist states, "This is not your usual grand jury, where a local district attorney gets indictments handed down."
As attorney Brian Glick explained in the book War at Home:
No Cooperation With Grand Juries
Past Features Related to Grand Juries w/Background
On the newswire, someone asked how it went at the Peace Parade at the Rose Festival, which was announced on this website. Here are quotes from the reply by comment:
"About 50 of us met at the Salmon St. fountain by the waterfront at 3:00. We huddled under trees while waiting for a drum corps member because it was POURING, and many of us, including myself, were totally unprepared. Once we started marching, the sun came out (yay). We marched by the Pepsi Corporate Fun Park (or whatever they called it), led by the rockin' drummers, and chanting away. We were told to be quiet when we passed by these poor little ponies who were attached to one of those rides that goes around and around - our noise scared them. So Chris, the Chant-Meister, led us in some whispered chants til we passed."
"After marching by the park, we split up into 2 groups and went onto both sides of the Morrison Bridge, where we hung 3 banners and held our signs for passing traffic. The banner I was helping to hold read: MAKE ROSE FESTIVAL A MILITARY FREE ZONE. The one next to me said something like: MONEY FOR BOOKS AND FOOD, NOT BOMBS. My sign said: TERROR LIVES IN THE WHITE HOUSE. We got a lot of honks and peace signs from drivers on the bridge." [ Read More ]
From the open publishing newswire: "About 15 people showed up, with several others stopping by. Age range of participants was 5 to 70. Among the signs displayed: 'We Are All the Same--Thou Shalt Not Kill', 'Why Not Peace?', 'One World, One Chance'. As usual, most of the people driving by on the busy road were enthusiastically supportive. Two white men in their 60's to 70's took issue with our presence, however. In separate incidents, each got out of his car and walked over to speak at us. Both may have been inebriated. The first said, 'I'm a veteran of WW2, and I wouldn't spit on you'. For that we thanked him. He walked away. The other man was quite agitated, got very close to us, and yelled that his daughter was in the Army in Afghanistan, that he was very proud of her, and that we were jeopardizing her safety with our messages. He delivered his objections in rather colorful language with a lot of body gesturing." [ Read more... ]
May 25 & June 1 vigils: "Astoria Post Office reclaimed!"
From the open publishing newswire: "For the fourth consecutive Friday, students and community members in Eugene took to the streets to demand investigation into 9.11 and to expose the lies being told by the government and corporate media. This Friday's was the biggest action yet, with twenty people altogether participating... As we marched, students delivered speeches through the bullhorn. Talk about making a joyful noise! The rhetoric was filled with rage, and drove home the importance of finding out the truth. We attracted a lot of attention and handed out a bunch of flyers to people. Like last week, reception was mostly positive." [ Read more ]
"WAR IS PROFITABLE!"
Previous 9.11 Truth Seeking rallies in Eugene: [ May 31: Students in Eugene march to expose '9.11 Lies'; Police cite two for handing out flyers | May 24: Rally in Eugene: "Bush complicit in 9-11 terror" | May 17: Citizens in Eugene rally to demand 9.11 investigation, launch signature campaign ]
Other expressions of dissent:
ODF to increase timber harvesting by 30 million board feet [mbf] a year in the Tillamook Rainforest.
From the open publishing newswire: "Despite hundreds of comments calling for a balanced approach in the Tillamook Rainforest ODF has decided to give into the demands of timber industry and the Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee (FTLAC).
"The Oregon Department of Forestry will add an Eagle Creek size (28.3mbf) timber sale each year for the next ten years. This increase will be incorporated into the soon to be approved 10 year Implementation Plans (IP's). In order to achieve this increase ODF will do away with certain 'operability restraints' to better facilitate the deforestation of Oregon's coastal temperate rainforests.
"To greenwash this attack on our state lands, the Oregon Board of Forestry has joined with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) (which is funded by taxpayers) and will run a series of TV ads assuring everybody that everything us just fine and dandy in Oregon's forests. In the TV spot, State Forester Jim Brown says it is important to balance the things we value that grow out of our forests - like clean water, recreation and a diverse economy - and invites Oregonians to help achieve that."
Forest activists are encouraging people to visit the OFRI site and fill out a survey form to let them know you feel about this issue. [ Full article, with talking points for OFRI ]
Benefit for the Tillamook Rainforest
Visit TillamookRainforest.com for more information on the issues.
The Ark Animal Sanctuary in Tillamook has finally been closed down due to chronic, extreme neglect of its animals. Assistance desperately needed to treat sick animals and find them homes!
"Quoted from the newswire: I was at Ark Animal Sanctuary yesterday and was both shocked and horrified at what I saw. I had heard from all of the reports that the facility was bad, but it was beyond my imagination. Starving animals, sick animals and animals in pain encompassed me. Filth and the accompanying stench was everywhere. There were trashed vehicles all over the place filled with debris...rotting buses, trailers and cars that animals hid in and lived in. Pigs whose home was a camper shell in the ground buried in the mud. The horse barn was the most disgusting place I had ever been in...animal waste and water were at times halfway up my calves. Burros whose hoofs were so bad that they could barely walk. Pregnant cats and cats with litters were at my feet.
"I tell you all of this not to upset anyone, but to let you know that the pain and suffering for these animals is almost over. But we need your help to end their suffering!"
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have announced a series of public forums to be held from June 6-11 to share information and solicit comments about a proposed change in smallpox vaccination policy. Currently, the CDC does not recommend that people recieve smallpox vaccinations unless they are engaged in scientific research that brings them into proximity with the disease. But in the wake of 9.11, with bioterrorism on people's minds, the CDC is considering reversing this recommendation, and has announced that it will have 286 million vaccination doses ready by 2003 -- one for every U.S. citizen.
Support for vaccines is not universal, however. A growing body of research implicates vaccinations with sudden infant death syndrome, immuno-deficiency dysfunction, and other health problems. Some research suggests that they have been ineffective in disease prevention, and that the decline of communicable disease has been due to improved hygeine, i.e., plumbing, sewage disposal, water treatment. Other people are opposed to vaccinations on religious grounds.
But the freedom to say "no" to vaccinations if one wishes could be taken away by the Model Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA), which is currently being introduced to state legislatures everywhere. MEHPA was released after 9.11 and, like the USA PATRIOT Act, curtails basic constitutional rights. The American Civil Liberties Union describes it thus: "The Act lets a governor declare a state of emergency unilaterally and without judicial oversight, fails to provide modern due process procedures for quarantine and other emergency powers, it lacks adequate compensation for seizure of assets, and contains no checks on the power to order forced treatment and vaccination."
What does all this add up to? Some are fearing a new form of social control. [ Full story ]
Report from CDC Hearing on Smallpox Vaccination Policy in SF
From the open publishing newswire: "i decided to walk around downtown Portland yesterday afternoon with a few doctored US flag mini-posters that carried on them the inspirational (threatening?) caption 'United We Stand' and just to unscientifically gauge the reaction of those around me...
"i got the roughly 8'x11'-inch poster from a downtown Kinko's-like establishment. i saw the plentiful stacks of them sitting in the window and i decided to run an experiment. the US national flag motif was underscored by the phrase 'United We Stand.'
"i asked the clerk lady really nicely if i could have a few and she gladly offered them over (yay, free american flags--now if i could find an affordable place to reside or if the govt would let me build w/o all the costs).
"i then procured some white out from a print shop and proceeded to transmute the phrase United We Stand to 'United We S i n'.
"after this, i just stalked the downtown in a slow, methodical fashion while holding the poster so that the flag wash upside down--this is an international symbol of 'distress' as i'm sure more than a few joes and jane q. publics were aware of." [ Read more... ]
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee plans to tackle legislation (S J Res 34) this Wednesday that would overturn Nevada's veto of the use of Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository. Senator Wyden and Senator Smith are on this committee. They have not stated how they plan to vote though Sen. Ron Wyden will likely vote against the project and Sen. Gordon Smith is leaning toward voting for it.
Eugene Peace Works, and others, are urging people to contact Wyden and Smith Tuesday or early Wednesday and say "vote no against the Yucca Mt. proposal in committee".
According to Michael Carrigan of Eugene Peace Works, "Waste from the Trojan nuclear power plant and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington may pass through through Oregon to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that 3,324 truck shipments of highly radioactive waste will travel through Oregon along Interstate 84, or as many as 649 train shipments of the waste will travel alongside Interstates 84 and 5. This cargo may pass through Eugene, Oakridge, Klamath Falls and other cities in Oregon."
"The nuclear industry is spending thousands of dollars on full page color ads in the Register-Guard and other newspapers urging Oregon's Senators to vote yes on Yucca. A broad coalition of Oregon peace, environmental and church groups is waging an active campaign to get Sen. Wyden and Sen. Smith to vote against the Yucca Mountain proposal. It's a classic struggle between big money and the power of the grassroots."
From the open publishing newswire: "Several University of Oregon students in Eugene have begun an aggressive letter writing campaign to show solidarity with the wrongfully-imprisoned Leonard Peltier, whose next parole hearing will be around the end of this month.
"All people are encouraged to write on behalf of Peltier, whose two-consecutive life sentences for crimes he did not commit are a true miscarriage of the (in)justice system. He will be up for parole later this month, around the 25th or so, so any and all letters to the parole board are greatly needed!"
"Eugene activists have taken up the call to action, launching a week long makeshift letter-writing campaign, independent of any organization. The tabling effort consists of solely of 3 or 4 concerned students (one recently evicted and now temporarily homeless). The response has been better than anticipated. Perhaps 100 letters may be sent out as a result of today's effort alone.
"Leonard has been imprisoned for over 26 years for the murder of two FBI agents on Jumping Bull property in the Pine Ridge Reservation - murders he clearly didn't commit. Over 6,000 secret documents have been kept from the courts, documents which could well prove his innocence. Ballistics evidence proves that he did not fire the weapon that killed the agents."
From the open publishing newswire: "Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to Ashland, Oregon, with another portland indymedia volunteer to meet with local activists about indymedia and how easy it is to get involved. What we found was an already established media collective at Southern Oregon University sporting the indymedia ((i)) logo over their door and in their newspaper, Soapbox. Turns out they've been there for going-on two years, as long as portland indymedia has been in existence !!
"The new issue of Soapbox had just come out, and an article entitled 'IMC POD' discussed the idea of regional indymedia 'pods', a concept that was introduced in a portland indymedia newswire post back in April."
"While in Ashland, we taught some of the media collective folks how to upload features to the website. They've already been posting to the newswire, and had been thrilled when these stories became center-column features. We figured it made sense to cut out the 'middle-men'. So these folks are now part of the editorial team and will be working from Ashland."
"portland indymedia volunteers encourage everyone around the state to become more involved with this website. At least a couple of us love to travel, and we'll come to your town, or meet you somewhere between, if you want to talk about establishing a 'pod'. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to start that conversation. In the meantime, post to the open publishing newswire and get your story up here now!"
From the newswire:
"In this time of terrible violence in the mideast many of us feel there is so little we can do. Here is something positive that can be done! The school year is ending now, for high schools and for universities. Make contact with one near you and find out if there are books which are being discontinued that can be donated to this wonderful cause. Do it. Make a difference. It is just that simple!"
From the Book Campaign of the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund:
"We are sponsoring a drive to collect books and software for the children in the refugee camps in both languages English and Arabic. We are collecting books and software in the academic fields of mathematics, science, social studies and other relevant subjects."
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