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In late January 2000 the Federal Communications Commission finally did something right. After decades of near exclusive protection of the virtual real estate of America's corporations the FCC gave a little back to the people. By legally allowing the non-commercial and community use of low power FM radio service, communities could get their voices on the airwaves. The handful of pirate radio stations around the nation were testament to the strong need for this forum, and now, with the fear of persecution lifted, America has over 3000 low power FM radio stations in operation, according to the Microradio Implementation Project.
The MIP, located at 633 SW Montgomery Street in Portland, was created to help people learn how to start and run low power stations and to ensure that they know the FCC's regulations. Some of these regulations are necessary so that the bigger stations don't just press out the wavelengths in an area, and include no-conflict-of-interest and minimum-hour-per-week-brodcast clauses. Other regulations force the station to be physically centered in a community area or be not-for-profit. You can watch MIP's video (encoded with RealPlayer) at Low Power FM: The People's Voice.
Of course, some of the big stations pissed and moaned when they had to relenquish frequencies in certain areas. The National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio both put up fights against the growth of small stations.
This is our chance to take back one of the mediums that has been greedily sectored off and misused by corporate America. A quick listen to any large commercial FM station is the best argument for community and human-run radio. Contact the MIP for more info on how to get started up or involved at: 503-226-9036, toll free at 877-468-8884, fax 503-226-9057, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many ways to fight corporate caused disorder have come to light following the World Social Forum In Brazil, after the economic collapse, citizens groups are meeting to solve problems that the current government will not. This weekend Portland held its own forum on alternatives to globalization.
Alternatives to corporatization / globalization:
Is another world possible? Those who were in New York to criticize the World Economic Forum, in Munich to challenge NATO and in Porto Alegre at the World Social Forum believe so. Critics of the so-called "anti-globalization" movement often say to activists, "We know what you are against, BUT WHAT ARE YOU FOR?" To help answer this question Indymedia debuts a permanent and developing feature, "Alternatives to Corporate Globalization." Post your own ideas and suggested links to the Alternatives open publishing newswire, and join us to develop the feature into an exciting and inspiring resource. Look for multilingual versions in the future.
On February 20, 2002 at 6:30pm, the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) will present a reading and signing by Peter Phillips of Project Censored at the Portland State University Smith Center Ballroom. Cost is $5-$10 sliding scale.
The Primary Objective of Project Censored is to explore and publicize the extent of censorship in our society by locating stories about significant issues of which the public should be aware, but is not, for one reason or another. The project hopes to stimulate responsible journalists to provide more mass media coverage of those issues and to encourage the general public to demand mass media coverage of those issues or to seek information from other sources. The Essential Issue raised by the project is the failure of the mass media to provide the people with all the information they need to make informed decisions concerning their own lives. To find out more visit Project censored on the web at http://www.projectcensored.org/
IPRC and IndyMedia representatives will speak, and related informational tables will be set up for browsing.
That same evening at 8:30, Political Songwriter, David Rovics will play at the Red and Black Cafe. For more info See the Newswire
The Swiss-Jewish pressure group Aktion Kinder des Holocaust (Children of the Holocaust) is threatening legal charges against two members of the Swiss IMC for allegedly publishing anti-semitic material.
Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff had posted a series of cartoons called "We are all Palestinians" to promote an International Campaign for the victims of the notorius Lebanese Sabra & Shatila massacres. This series was also published throughout the Global IMC network including the Israeli IMC. AKdH, who are campaigning against Nazi websites, consider the cartoons antisemitic and hold IMC Switzerland responsible for the contents of their open posting newswire.
From a statement by IMC Switzerland : "The filing of a lawsuit is a further step against Indymedia. After the newswire was flooded with postings in December, Indymedia is now attacked via judicial channels. We will maintain our commitment to a public discussion about the content and aims of Indymedia in order to do our bit for a movement against any form of oppression, be it racism, antisemitism,sexism or other."
In what is being called an "historic breakthrough" by PCUN (Pi?eros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), Oregon's farmworker union, the NORPAC growers' cooperative has finally agreed to "establish guidelines for farmworker unionization on the farms of growers who supply products to NORPAC". This is big news. NORPAC has resisted the entreaties of PCUN and its allies for over a decade. In a show of good faith, PCUN has called off the boycott against NORPAC that has been in effect since 1992. [ Read more ]
This victory comes after years of struggle and illustrates that a fight for justice can succeed in time. Churches, labor, students, and activists all contributed to PCUN's campaign to "stop sweatshops in the fields". Last Summer, a coalition of such folks held a seven day Walk for Farmworker Justice to call attention to the misdeeds of NORPAC and the Pictsweet Mushroom factory in Salem. The coalition asked to speak with Rick Jacobson, President of NORPAC, but he refused, calling the boycott "misdirected" and claiming that NORPAC had no authority to negotiate. [ Read more ]
The final straw for NORPAC seems to have come from Sodexho, the largest non-commercial food service provider in the world, which gave NORPAC a deadline of February 15th to "establish a clear, just, collective bargaining process" with PCUN. Sodexho threatened to take their business elsewhere if NORPAC did not meet the deadline. The company provides food service on many campuses and was pressured by students to reconsider their relationship with NORPAC. Bon Appetit and ARAMARK are two other food service companies that ceased business with NORPAC as a result of student activism. PCUN worked with the Campaign for Labor Rights to educate students and school administrators about these issues. [ Read more ]
The list of labor abuses committed by NORPAC growers is long, but includes low pay, no breaks, exposure to carcinogenic pesticides, and child labor. Workers who have attempted to organize have been met with discrimination, firings, evictions from grower-owned housing, and threats of physical violence. That NORPAC is now willing to negotiate is a significantly positive change. [ Read more ]
PCUN has also been working to gain justice for workers at the Pictsweet Mushroom plant in Salem, Oregon, which fired much of its workforce rather than negotiate with the union. That struggle continues, but not, as NORPAC's decision shows, without hope for victory.
In January, a group of people from all over the world began the cross-country Hiroshima Flame Interfaith Pilgrimage in Washington state. They are carrying a flame that was started from the burning embers of Hiroshima, Japan, when that city was destroyed by a U.S. nuclear attack in 1945. The walk will stop at nuclear sites and Native lands across the U.S. and end at the United Nations in NYC in May. [ Read more ]
The Pilgrimage was in Oregon from 2-9 February, and arrived in the Bay Area on the 11th. Walkers reported gunshots outside Junction City, Oregon, but warm welcomes in Portland, Eugene, and San Francisco.
Other indymedia stories: [ Interview with walkers | "Flame Walkers Radiate Passionate Conviction in Eugene" | "Patriotic Correctness: the Hiroshima cover-up" (cartoon) ]
Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the best-known justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, came to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon on February 10th. Social justice and environmental and advocates from across the Northwest -- organizing under the name Rally for Justice -- mobilized a high visibility rally and protest to speak out against "the right-wing extremism Justice Scalia has brought to the Supreme Court" and to express their opposition to the nomination by pResident Bush of future justices with Scalia's positions. Over 400 folks showed up, with drumming, sax and harmonica accompanying the marchers with imaginative signs and banners calling for campaign finance reform, among other things.
Two public hearings this week will give the public an opportunity to voice their opinions about the future of Portland General Electric (PGE). Enron filed bankruptcy 4 days after proposing to sell PGE to NW Natural Gas in November 2001. Now the U.S Bankruptcy Court holds the fate of PGE. The court is required to act on behalf of Enron creditors, mainly New York banks and other financiers. They could ask the court to authorize the sale of PGE's assets to companies not subject to utility regulation here in Oregon. This strategy of using a bankruptcy case to sell regulated assets out from under state regulation is not new; it is now being pursued by PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) in California.
There are two real alternatives to selling off the state's energy assets. These assets can either be transferred into state or local governmental control. This was the intent of Oregon voters in the early 1930's, when they passed a voter initiative to amend the state constitution. This amendment, placed into the Oregon Constitution (Article 11-D) in 1932, gives this state the right to control its own water power. If this month''s special session of the Oregon Legislature would activate the State Power Authority and transfer to it the state's ownership of PGE hydro assets, the Authority could then acquire other PGE assets by eminent domain, without U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.
Failing that, city municipalization of Portland's energy supply is another option ratepayers could pursue. Larry Tuttle, from the Center for Environmental Equity has attempted to put forth an initiative that would put a Public Utility District in place, to control PGE assets, an initiative which was contested in court.
The Pacific Green Party is sponsoring a forum to discuss these two options -- to exert local or state control over energy utility assets -- on Tuesday February 19th at the Multnomah County Library.
Public testimony will be heard by the Oregon Public Utility Commission 7 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday in Salem and Portland.
Hundreds of people attended Peace Festival II in Salem on Saturday. In the afternoon, people marched from Willamette University to the Capitol Building, in solidarity with the anti-WEF protests happening at the same time in NYC, and to demand an end to the "war on terrorism". Puppets, masks, drums and banners proliferated. Workshops at the University included activism, theatre, roots of violence, Peacemaking, Activism on the Internet, and organizing, among other issues.
From the newswire: [ "Salem Peace Festival and march a success!" | "Where was everyone? Peace march in Salem: photos & story" | "The people united will never be divided" | "Photos From the Salem Peace Fair" | "More on the Salem Peace Fest" | "Panorama Photos - Salem Peace Festival" | "yet more photos" ]
Anti-WEF actions in NYC
World Social Forum
Another proposed change to the city's police code would make it unlawful to sit on a public bench if police think it interferes with "the public use or enjoyment" of the bench.
Retail leaders have been lobbying the city to toughen up on street people who sit and lie on sidewalks. But civil rights advocates are attacking the code rewrite, saying that changes would violate constitutional rights and would allow police to selectively enforce laws against the poor.
The city attorney's office began rewriting the code two years ago as a housekeeping measure to eliminate obsolete and confusing language. It gradually evolved, with comments from police and business groups among others, but without formal public discussion.
The city and downtown business have started forcing their ways on street performers, protestors, and the homeless under suspect reasoning. Do these businesses really feel it is good business to dictate their rules onto the public?
In 1999, the USDA ranked Oregon 6th in the nation for food insecurity and WORST in the nation for outright hunger. More than 40% of those receiving food aid in Oregon are children. The problem is serious here, and the situation in Afghanistan is disastrous.
Rally Friday, January 25, to address local famine, at 5 pm Pioneer Square
Local organizers held Peace Words: a marathon benefit for the children of Afghanistan and Oregon last Saturday, January 18th.
Wondering where all the money to help pay for services in times of stress went to? Corporate greed drains local tax base and gives all to executives while hiding profits in hundreds of subsidiary accounts: Enron paid no taxes.
OHSU's budget is coming under reviewFriday, 18th January by Oregon state legislature with a proposed 33 million dollar cut in OHSU's budget. OHSU is lobbying hard to keep its special money, even while spending millions of dollars of wasted money on its primate research center, which has not produced a single cure to a single disease in over forty years of cruelty! A call in campaign and your participitation at a town hall meeting are requested to deal with the issue.OHSU Budget Cuts! Demand Accountability for Your Tax $$!SHAC Continues Protest in Little Rock
On Monday, the entire crew of SHAC protestors met in front of the Stephens, Inc. office in Conway, a small town outside Little Rock that was most definitely not expecting a crowd of people on their doorstep demanding proof of divestment and holding Warren Stephens accountable. One advocate was arrested and is right now awaiting arraignment. SHAC ATTACK 2002, DAY 3
At 3:30pm Sunday, a 50 x 100 foot banner was dropped from the Broadway Bridge facing downtown Little Rock, in full view of the monolithic Stephens, Inc. building. Ironically, also in full view was the Bank of America building, a prime target of the SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) campaign against animal torture. On it was the challenge"STEPHENS, INC. SOLD OFF HLS? PROVE IT TO US! WWW.SHACUSA.NET". It was an awesome sight to see that unfurling over the sparking afternoon water. SHAC ATTACK 2002, Day 2 | Video
Taxpayers and well intended donors fund meaningless animal-based research looking for reasons for corporate caused cancer. Why it is without worth to use animals for barbaric tests and the hidden purpose: This from the NAVS website particularly applies to HLS and Stephens, Inc. as they hide behind claims of "important medical research" when in fact, their sustenance is household product application testing for liability purposes only: 'The manufacturers of cosmetics and household products claim that they perform tests on animals to ensure the safety of their products under customary use or possible abuse when in reality it is to limit the company's liability to its customers in case of a lawsuit.
Some more instances of murder-for-profit schemes tied in useless research: So, Zeneca, the originator of Breast Cancer Awareness month is the manufacturer of carcinogenic petrochemicals, carcinogenic pollutants and a breast cancer drug that causes at least four different types of cancer in women, including breast cancer. Profiting From Breast Cancer
ACTIVISTS CLAIM VICTORY AS LAB'S LARGEST INVESTOR ANNOUNCES DIVESTMENT; Request Identity of New Financier as Proof
In a press release published January 8th, Stephens, Inc. announced that it had divested its interest in Huntingdon Life Sciences, the notorious contract testing laboratories (household products and cosmetics, not medical as they so often state). This announcement came 6 days before SHAC (stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty), an animal advocacy organization, was to pay another visit to Little Rock, and let Warren Stephens, CEO, exactly how they and the rest of the Animal Advocacy world feel about him funding the torture death of 500 animals each day. From the october29.org website: "Warren thought it was over, but he couldn't have been more wrong. Throughout the months of December and January Stephens Inc and their partner, Bank of America, will be visited all over the country by activists. We will end the tour in Little Rock on January 13th and 14th., followed by a national day of action against Stephens Inc. Warren needs to understand- there's no where to run, no where to hide. For more information on the tour, visit www.SHACUSA.net. [ full newswire story ]
Not only is resistance to the ongoing "war on terrorism" alive and lively, it is also being expressed in a variety of forms. On Friday, 11 January, citizens in Portland and Eugene held several public events to seek peace and educate the public on the issues. In Pioneer Square in downtown Portland, Buddhists not Bombs enjoyed their largest turn-out yet for what has become a regular meditation-for-peace event, despite harassment from the Square's private security in recent weeks. Following this action, the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition held a rally to protest the mistreatment and illegal detainment of non-citizens, and marched to the INS office to bring their complaints to their local source.
In Eugene, Students for Peace marched from the University to the Federal Building downtown, where they joined the Justice Not War Coalition's regular peace vigil. The next day, Wellsprings Friends School in Eugene held a very successful Peace and Justice Festival that included a variety of different cultural, spriritual and intellectual activities, and was well-attended by the community.
PSU Community leaders, students, and members of the corporate press attended a press conference at PSU's Smith Center to discuss remarks made to the Oregonian by Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.
PSU President, Daniel Bernstine, opened the meeting with a letter he received from Senator Gordon Smith allegedly containing an apology for the statements. The conference was then opened to speeches by members of the Association of African Students, MEChA, the Rearguard, and the Women's Resource Center.
While Smith apologised for implicating PSU with charges of terrorist fundraising, he did nothing to alleviate fears of "terrorist" activity on campus where he is perpetuating an atmosphere of fear. We wonder what terrorists he is referring to as the list seems wide and open these days.
The Portland Buddhist Action Group has been holding weekly meditation vigils at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The fledgling group is working to bring social justice concerns to the attention of American Buddhists and to engage a Buddhist involvement in social change. The group is currently seeking to become a local chapter of the national Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
Investigations into the harassment of Enji, a founder of the group, during the meditations by Pioneer Courthouse Security has uncovered disturbing revelations on corporate involvement with the public square and downtown businesses' move to regulate human behavior and to privatize freedom of expression in public spaces.
Check out what these people had to say about the meditators and come down to the square at 4:30 today (and on all Fridays) before the PPRC demonstration and sit down on the machine.
In late 2001, pResident Bush vowed -- right there in the corporate media -- that 2002 would be "a war year". The Commander-in-Thief does not speak for everyone, however. As 2002 starts, the peace movement is in full swing around the world, across the country, and here in Oregon.
The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition will continue to hold weekly rallies every Friday at 5:00 p.m. in Pioneer Courthouse Square. This Friday, they are encouraging people to "speak out against the Department of Justice's dragnet" which is targeting "5000-6000 Middle Eastern men that may have overstayed their visas" and in protest to Senator Gordon Smith's ignorant accusations of PSU. From the Square, people will be marching to the INS building at SW Broadway and Hoyt Street. [ Details ]
Also in Pioneer Square, Buddhas Not Bombs have been meditating publicly every Friday at 4:30 p.m., to show their opposition to the "war", despite being hassled by the private security there. How is this meditation tactic being perceived by the public? Read interviews with people who were there last Friday as well as with Enji who has organized the group.
In Eugene, the Justice Not War Coalition will resume Friday rallies at 4:00 p.m. at the Federal Building at Seventh and Pearl. This particular Friday the Students for Peace will have a "Superhero Costume March to Stop the War". People will be meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the EMU Courtyard to march to the Federal Building. Who's a superhero? Organizers say: "this means you!" Next Friday, the 18th, there will be a showing at the University of "The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight it", which is about conscientious objectors during World War II, some of who will be speaking on a panel afterwards. The panel will be followed by a film on Afghanistan from Human Rights Watch. [ Details on all these events ]
Also in Eugene, the Wellspring Friends School will be holding a Peace and Justice festival on Saturday, January 12, from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The event, which is intended "to promote understanding and seek alternatives to violence and war", will feature music, story telling, war-tax resistance infromation, dance, and speakers from the religious and Islamic communities. [ Full details ]
Mark February 2 in your calendar for Peace Festival Two, a statewide peace event being planned by a wide variety of activist, labor, spiritual, ethnic, educational, and environmental groups. Attendance is hoped to be high. You can download a poster for the event here.
Check the portland indymedia calendar for more events, and for updates on these.
Not everyone in Oregon agrees that seeking peace is the best response to war, though. One anarchist view, for example, posits that "to demand peace within the civilized order of the world would be analogous to asking a bird to fly without wings." [ Read more ]
And, last but not least, if you attend any of these events, tell your story here on portland indymedia. Post your stories and pictures to the open publishing newswire for everyone to see! Don't hate the media - become the media!
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.
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.
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