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I attended an incredible event at PSU this evening sponsored by the Backbone Campaign. The event featured speakers Antonia Juhasz, author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time," and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus.
But this evenings event wasn't all there is to the Backbone Campaign. The Backbone Campaign will bring its Procession for the Future to Portland for a parade, Tuesday, March 4th at noon. Twelve giant puppets, representing progressive issues such as Universal Health Care, Climate Stabilization, Fair Trade, and others, will assemble at Pioneer Courthouse Square and process a mile through downtown to Portland State University. At the PSU Smith Memorial Student Union Building, the puppets will circle up on the park blocks and transform into a Festival for the Future, an activist theme park and training ground for students and others.
These good folks will need about 100 people just to manage these puppets during the Parade.
These are the images/puppets being brought to Portland:
Judge Hubel scheduled Arrow's trial for May 6th. Arrow is to be held as a flight risk and potential danger pending the trial. Arrow is currently being held in Multnomah County. Because of security concerns it is not yet known where he will be moved to. Tre faces fourteen counts with the charges of arson and conspiracy alone possibly resulting in life sentences.
Greeted by press outside the courthouse after the arraignment, (attorney) Loney stated that Tre felt that the time was right to return to Oregon to set the record. "His spirit is great," said Loney. "We are very happy that U.S. marshals will meet his raw vegan diet. He is a strong, centered and spiritual individual. This is what has carried him through."
Also speaking to press was Tre's sister Shawna Scarpetti. "Over the past four years we've had the time to discuss about how unjust and unfair what he is facing is. He absolutely believes that his attorneys will secure his freedom."
In this new interview, Ramona Africa talks about the upcoming MOVE 9 Parole Hearings that are scheduled for April. MOVE is asking for support. Stay tuned for an online petition and sample letter to send to the Parole Board.
Ramona Africa is the sole adult survivor of the May 13, 1985 massacre of 11 members of the MOVE organization. The FBI and the City of Philadelphia dropped a C4 bomb on MOVE's Osage Avenue home in West Philadelphia. Both 30-year old Ramona and 13-year old Birdie Africa (the only 2 survivors) report that as the MOVE family attempted to escape their burning home, their were met with massive rounds of automatic gunfire, forcing 11 members of the MOVE family to be burnt alive. Ramona dodged gunfire and escaped from the fire with permanent scarring from the burns. Ramona was charged with conspiracy, riot, and multiple counts of simple and aggravated assault. Subsequently Ramona served 7 years in prison. If she had chosen to sever her ties with MOVE and renounce the teachings of John Africa, she could have been released far earlier. In the face of this she held true to her revolutionary beliefs and was uncompromising in the face of state terror.
At Seattle University (feb. 21st, 2008) students and community activists use a variety of tactics in protest to a lecture about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), given by the Sergio Rios (the Mexican Trade Comissioner).
On Thursday Feb 21 over fifty students from Seattle University, the University of Washington and community activists protested against the presence of Sergio Rios, the trade commissioner of Mexico, who spoke on Seattle University's campus about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the year Rios travels throughout the west coasts of Canada and the US and encourages trade with Mexico (which has become increasingly efficient for corporations as a result of NAFTA). SU students were moved to action after having organized a panel discussion on free trade, indigenous rights and migration earlier this year.
On Saturday, February 23, the prohibition of a meeting of the opposition in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon, was followed by bloody repression and confrontations. A private TV channel that had the misfortune to broadcast a report on this subject was immediately banned by the authorities. At the beginning of week the transportation unions (taxis, motorbike-taxis, primarily) called for the strike to protest against the rise in the price of fuel. Very quickly and spontaneously, apart from any instruction from the trade unions or political parties, the strike overflowed from the owner/operators of taxis to be followed by a large part of the poor population. With several thousand people against the high cost of living, the demonstrators and strikers establish barricades with their slogans "We are hungry!", "Lower the price of staple foods", "No to high cost of living and the reducing to beggary of Cameroonians!", as well as anti-government slogans: "Biya must leave!" "Popaul you will be hung along with your constitution", etc. The forces of capitalist disorder responded by shooting at the demonstrators. The port of Douala, which is the economic heart not only of Cameroon, but also of all the countries of the sub-region, was paralyzed. During the riots, shopping centers were attacked and plundered, various public buildings attacked (the Taxation Center and the sub-prefecture of Douala V were burnt), enterprises belonging to the Biya family, symbols of French presence, etc.
Tre Arrow will be given a warm "welcome back" to Portland by his many friends, family and supporters. Tre is a grassroots activist, known foremost for his environmental protection work in the forests of Northern Oregon. Following several years of peaceful activism by Tre, the U.S. Government labeled him an "eco-terrorist" and charged him with multiple counts of arson, conspiracy to commit arson, and possession of destructive devices (i.e. incendiaries). Tre has been a prisoner for four years in Canada fighting extradition to the U.S., fearing that he would not be given a fair trial in light of the "eco-terrorist" label. Tre is awaiting trial in Portland, Oregon, vigorously fighting his criminal charges. Tre states, "As winter holds the land in its grasp, the bare hardwoods stand strong and beckon the spirit of Spring. Likewise, as my life enters a new season, my strength and life force are flowing through my veins and invigorating my body, mind, and spirit for the upcoming challenges. The time has come to prepare for trial in Portland. I am returning from Canada ready to assist my lawyers in this process."
Tre has consistently denied any guilt and always asserted that he is innocent of all charges. Tre states, "I have maintained my innocence from the onset of this ordeal. My legal team presented my plea for asylum in Canada based on the political persecution I am facing. But, it is abundantly clear that the Canadian Government is complicit in the atrocities and injustices perpetrated by the US government. My faith in the Canadian authorities to act with a conscience in a fair and objective manner has not been realized. The time has come to prove my innocence once and for all."
On Tuesday, February 19, Fidel Castro announced he was resigning his position as President of Cuba. This comes 19 months after Castro underwent stomach surgery. In fact he has not been in public since then. The media coverage since Castro announced his retirement has been sickening. No mention of the real social gains of the revolution, but plenty of talk about brutal dictatorship and so on.
Immediately upon hearing of Castro's retirement, George W. Bush announced that this should begin a democratic transition and that, "Eventually this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections. And I mean free and I mean fair." He added that, "The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty." The blessings of liberty indeed! We may ask whether he is referring to the kind of blessings bestowed on the Iraqi or Afghan people.
The hypocrisy of the man has no limits. Everyone knows that irregularities took place when Bush was elected, so he has no authority to give lessons on democracy to anyone. Furthermore, the recent elections in Pakistan witnessed blatant vote rigging, which we can be sure was organised with the help and advice of US "experts".
A crowd of students & community members will gather @ 9:30 Monday morning, in front of the Military Recruitment Center on 13th & Chambers to manifest this community's rejection of the state's war program & use of poverty, race, & other institutions to win new recruits to kill and be killed, oppress & be further oppressed. All are welcome and encouraged to contribute their voice, presence, & protest. Food Not Bombs will serve food and (fair trade) coffee & musicians of all levels are encouraged to bring their instruments. You are encouraged to join the bike parade leaving from the 16th/17th alley between Alder & Hilyard Street (campus neighborhood) or have your own. Let's kick recruiters out of our schools, neighborhoods, and minds. No Bodies, No War
Many of you have already heard of the riot that took place in Olympia on Valentine's Day. If you saw anything inspiring in what happened, if you do not believe the police were justified in any of their actions or if you simply are ready, please listen. The police have issued a threat, printed in the Olympian newspaper, to the people involved in the riot. They intend to begin a witch hunt. They will no doubt use everything in their limited power to terrify a community. If they succeed in terrifying everybody, another period of darkness will descend.
Rather than lapse into despair and inaction, I am asking you all to stand up to them. I do not know, nor have I the capability to say what standing up to them means. But I know it is what we must do. The police expect zero-resistence from their herd of sheep and have grown used to always winning. They always win because they have conditioned everyone to never resist them, just like every good domesticator.
Do not let them get anyone.
That Tuesday, there was no fresh international news. My modest message to the people of Monday, February 18 had no problem being widely circulated. I began to receive news from 11:00 a.m. The previous night I slept like never before. My conscience was at rest and I had promised myself a vacation. The days of tension, with the proximity of February 24, left me exhausted.
Today I shall not say anything about people in Cuba and the world who are close and who expressed their emotions in thousands of different ways. At this point I am dedicating myself to the adversaries. I enjoyed watching the embarrassing position of all the candidates for the United States presidency. One by one they were obliged to announce their immediate demands of Cuba in order not to risk losing a single voter.
Half a century of blockade seemed little enough to the favorites. "Change, change, change!" they cried in unison. I am in agreement, change! but in the United States. Cuba changed a long while ago and will follow its dialectical route. "No return to the past ever!" exclaim our people.
Berkeley, CA February 19, 2008 At 6:15 this morning the University of California campus police initiated yet another raid on the Memorial Oak Grove in Berkeley. This latest aggression against the tree sitters was directed at the traverse lines that link the numerous tree platforms to food, water and the ground support.
UCPD Assistant Chief Celaya, who was available onsite to answer questions regarding the raid, said that the action was in response to ongoing "health and safety " concerns.
Berkeley Citizen has been documenting the oak grove struggle for over a year. Here's his video of what happened yesterday, primarily focusing on the press conference...
Related previous coverage: Feb 22 '07 video of police raid | Dec 2 '07 one year anniversary coverage on indybay | Berkely Grandmothers for the Oaks coverage by Berkeley Students United for Peace | compiled local press releases | Indybay coverage; "Tree-Sit Raids & What You Can Do"
Back in the spring of 2007 there was a news story about Chiquita giving money to FARC, AUC and ELN. A US corporation aiding and abetting groups on the US government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Not only did Chiquita provide money, they also supplied hundreds of assault rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition. I thought, "wow, providing not only millions of dollars but weapons and ammunition to a terrorist organization - they are deep trouble".
Blumenauer says he cares about Peruvian workers and farmers--give him a call at (503) 231-2300 to make sure he knows that people are dying in the streets of Peru!
When Congressman Earl Blumenauer voted for the Peru Free Trade Agreement last year, he said, "I continue to be concerned about the potential impact of this agreement on poor farmers in Peru... I am heartened, however, that the 17-year phase-in for Peru to open its agricultural markets contained in the agreement gives us a prime opportunity to fix the problems..." here's something from some activists in New York:
" 4 FARMERS KILLED PROTESTING PERU FTA! 700 ARRESTED! STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN PERU! THE BLOOD IS ON THE HANDS OF CONGRESS, BUSH, THE PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT, AND MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS! JOIN US TO PLAN A RESPONSE AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! THE PERU FTA MUST BE REPEALED!"
[EMERGENCY} MEETING CALLED BY: NYC People's Referendum on Free Trade.
Denmark. The struggle for a new social centre and youth house in Copenhagen continues. Yesterday was the 3rd nigth of riots in the Dansih capitol.
Since the the eviction of Ungdomshuset http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/03/354943.shtml protests never stopped and turned again into riots with burning cars, blockades etc.
Palm Beach County - Early Monday morning dozens of concerned community members from Palm Beach County and all over the nation put their bodies on the line to halt construction of FPL's West County Energy Center (WCEC), demanding energy efficiency, truly clean, renewable energy and a moratorium on development in south Florida. Everglades Earth First! blocked the main entrance to the WCEC site, a proposed massive 3800 MW gas-fired power plant that would emit 12 million tons of CO2, a leading greenhouse gas, every year. The plant is currently under construction despite ongoing legal challenges to the plant's needed permits and certification, which have been spearheaded by the local Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.
A dozen activists locked themselves together through metal pipes as 200 supporters rallied around them. The blockade stopped work on the construction site for six hours before a total of 27 people were arrested.
I was walking along the docks down by the Columbia river this morning, when I happened upon a disturbing sight. Two boats that I did not recognize were moored down there. And they had great, hideous gill nets dripping from drums, peering over the sides of the boats.
This is a strange thing to see, and you will not see it on any other river in the US. Gill nets, you see, are dirty pool. Particularly on a river, where nothing can get out of their way. They trail out behind fishing boats in great swaths, ensnaring anything in the water. They kill fish, seals, water birds, otter, beaver, and anything else that becomes entangled in their snagging webs. They are so dangerous and so devastating to wildlife, that they are not legal on any other river in this country. Yet for some bizarre reason, here in Cascadia, on a river in which some of the most endangered fish on earth are making their very last stand, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) allow these nets. Even as plans are afoot to begin slaughtering sea lions on the Columbia, to "save" salmon, the gill nets are still dragging the river.
There is only one day left to be heard on this issue, by the way. The deadline for public comments on whether or not sea lions will be killed is tomorrow. You can email them here: firstname.lastname@example.org Or you can call them here: contact Garth Griffin, 503-231-2005.
Earlier today, as I was traveling down Alder Street, something caught my eye. In a sea of billboards competing with each other for my consciousness, I almost missed it. I almost went right by without registering it. But the face staring out from the huge, seemingly commonplace billboard was one that deserved attention, and quietly demanded it.
I had already looked away when it struck me. I had to back up and look again. Sure enough, in a city where every bare surface is covered with the cold face of commerce, where murals are illegal unless they're selling something and Clear Channel serves as gatekeeper of our collective consciousness, I had stumbled upon something different. This jaunty little pig was not selling anything. More revolutionary still, the little rogue was actually imparting an animal rights message! Surely I must be seeing things, I thought. After all, doesn't Clear Channel own every billboard in the city? Clear Channel once refused to sell ad space for a sign promoting vegetarianism, claiming that such a message was "too controversial." (Though, of course, "public service" slots for the forest industry, claiming that logging saves forests from fires, are not considered controversial at all by Clear Channel. Nor are signs advertising for the meat industry, or billboards selling women's bodies along with the cheap products they adorn and are adorned by.) Upon closer examination, I discovered that this was not a billboard at all, but an expertly executed banner.
We are on the threshold of a major class battle in Puerto Rico. Every day new preparations are announced for the coming strike of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR). With 42,000 members, a majority of them women, the FMPR represents almost all of Puerto Rico's teachers and is by far the largest union on the island. The Shock Force of the Puerto Rican Police and National Guard are being readied to go after the strikers. The struggle of the Puerto Rican teachers affects everybody. The working class as a whole, students and parents, teachers and defenders of workers' rights around the world must come out in defense of the FMPR! If there are mass arrests, the response must be massive blockades and spreading the struggle to the point of shutting the island down. In order to win this strike, it is necessary to prepare for a struggle not only of the teachers but within the whole workers movement against the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy that sabotages the workers' struggle. Above all, it is necessary to fight against illusions in and ties with bourgeois parties and politicians. It's high time to begin building a revolutionary internationalist workers party.
Report from a Code Pink supporter who was counter-protesting "Move America Forward" in front of Berkeley City Hall:
I was at the Berkeley recruitment center event on the 11th and 12th. The Berkeley city council had drafted a letter telling the Marine recruiters they weren't welcome in that town and gave Code Pink [ http://codepinkalert.org/ ] a free parking space in front of the center to hold their protests. Code Pink activists are currently gathering signatures to zone the recruitment center out of town.
Of course, plenty of folks aren't happy with this, and right-wing radio tools are rallying their ever-faithful listeners to come to the "defense" of the Marines. Republicans in Washington have drafted a bill, the "Semper Fi" bill [ link to chronicle.com ], to punish Berkeley for this "snub" by the city council, which would take away $2 million of Federal money from the city and give it to the Marines. As if the Marines don't have enough of a budget already (how about this, Congress? Take away *Blackwater's* entire budget and give it to the Marines. That's a measure I'd sup
The proceedings began before the jury was brought in.
US: Yesterday we heard for the first time that Mr. Fox anticipates going into the area that the FBI might have changed or tailored witness testimony if the agents were concerned about the OPR Office of Professional Responsibility or a civil lawsuit.
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