July 31, 2012

VOGUE MAGAZINE: FASHION AND THE ARAB SPRING

The writer of a controversial Vogue profile of Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad says she urged the influential fashion magazine not to run the piece as the Arab Spring took hold.

Writing in this week's Newsweek magazine, Joan Juliet Buck said she submitted her upbeat 3,200-word story on January 14, 2011, the day Tunisia's leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled his country in the face of an uprising.

"'The Arab Spring is spreading,' I told Vogue on January 21," Buck recalled. "'You might want to hold the piece' [but] they didn't think the Arab Spring was going anywhere and the piece was needed for the March 'Power Issue'."

When Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was overthrown on February 11, 2011, and protests flared in Libya, Buck – editor of French Vogue in the 1990s – asked to meet Vogue's managing editor "to discuss how to handle the Assad piece."

"A meeting was held without me. I was asked not to speak to the press," she said, and the article appeared on Vogue's website on February 25 headlined "A Rose in the Desert."

The piece came under fire almost immediately, with two editors at the Wall Street Journal sniping that "apparently Vogue missed the trend: dictators are out this season." It was pulled from Vogue.com earlier this year.

Buck also revealed that during her trip to Syria in December 2010 to meet the Assads – arranged by PR firm Brown Lloyd James as Washington was restoring full diplomatic ties with Damascus – her laptop was hacked in her hotel room.

On why she accepted the assignment, Buck wrote: "I was curious. That's why I'd become a writer. Vogue wanted a description of the good-looking first lady of a questionable country. I wanted to see the cradle of civilization."

She added: "I didn't know I was going to meet a murderer."

No longer with Vogue, Buck made no mention of what role Vogue editor Anna Wintour or Conde Nast, the Newhouse family company that privately owns the magazine, played in commissioning and running the article.

Support fair trade

As trade negotiators rush to complete the massive new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, we need your help encouraging our elected officials to stand up and declare an end to business-as-usual trade policy.

Senator Jeff Merkley has always been a leading trade justice champion.  Please email Senator Merkley now and urge him to cosponsor critical fair trade legislation called The 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act to ensure we aren't saddled with a new "NAFTA of the Pacific."

As you may know, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is poised to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history.  Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been granted access to the TPP negotiating texts, while you and I have been barred from even reviewing what U.S. negotiators have been proposing in our names.

First introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, The 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act reasserts Congressional and public oversight over the TPP and future trade policies.  It sets a range of binding negotiating requirements regarding labor rights, the environment, food safety and other provisions that are needed to ensure that the TPP and other pacts actually improve life for ordinary working people in Oregon and throughout the world.

The bill also establishes commonsense compliance reporting mechanisms and export promotion activities in order to maximize the job creation potential of U.S. trade agreements — transforming "job creation" and "human rights" in U.S. trade policy from cynical hype into reality.

Senator Merkley and other U.S. Senators need to hear from you.  Please email Senator Merkley now and urge him to cosponsor this important trade reform legislation.

In solidarity,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
OREGON FAIR TRADE CAMPAIGN

July 30, 2012

Stop Grand Jury Repression in the Northwest: Take action

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is circulating a statement from the Portland-based Committee Against Political Repression on how you can help the political activists who have been subpoenaed to appear before a Seattle Grand Jury August 2. If your group has not yet signed the solidarity statement, reprinted below, please do so. We know that repression us growing in this country. It is vital that all progressive people unite and defeat this attack on the people’s movement.



From the Committee to Stop Political Repression:
What You Can Do This Week to Support Grand Jury Resistance!

Thank you to all the individuals who have reached out to us and the organizations who have signed our solidarity statement. More than 160 organizations have signed on to the statement. This has been an important first step in supporting those facing political repression in the Pacific Northwest. We have a long and rough journey ahead of us, but we are inspired by the outpouring of support that we have already received. Many people have asked what else they can do to contribute to this struggle so we have come up with a short list of options. Those resisting the grand jury will be making a statement later this week.
 

Call In Day- Wednesday, August 1st

We are asking for people to call the US Attorney for Washington, Jenny A Durkan on Wednesday, August 1st to demand an end to political persecution and that the grand jury and investigation be stopped. When you call the U.S Attorney’s office, please let them know that you are speaking for yourself and not the individuals resisting the grand jury subpoenas. Be aware of how the things you say will impact the people you are trying to help. Feel free to use our example to help you figure out what to say. If you make a call, please email us (nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com) and let us know how what kind of response you got from the Attorney’s office.

An example of what you might say:

“Hi. I am Doug Brown. I am calling about the grand jury being impaneled in Seattle, Washington this Thursday, August 2nd. I am disgusted that the FBI and government are persecuting political dissent in our country. This group of people is being harassed and intimated for their political beliefs. I demand that the grand jury and investigation be ended immediately and that the governments repression of social movements stop. Thank you for taking my comments.”

Call
US Attorney Jenny A Durkan

Telephone: (206) 553-7970 or toll free at: (800) 797-6722
Fax Line : (206) 553-0882
ISDN: (206) 264-2765

Thursday, August 2. Come to Seattle

to stand against the Grand Jury witch hunt! There will be a demonstration in solidarity with those affected by the raids and subpoenas starting at 7:30am and throughout the day.
The demonstration will be at the
federal court house
700 Stuart St., in Seattle.


Can’t make it to Seattle?

Plan another event or demonstration in solidarity!

Please email us at nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com to tell us about your event.

Please donate!

There is a “Donate” tab on our website - http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/
We are trying to raise legal fees for all of those affected. We also are trying to provide material support for those that are resisting the grand jury.

Please spread this information far and wide!


Have your group

Sign the Solidarity Statement

If you have questions, email us at nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com. We are still taking signatures from organizations so email us if your organization would like to sign on. Keep checking this website for updates in the coming days. Please keep checking our website for updates: http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/.

Here is the solidarity statement.

To add your group’s name to the solidarity statement, please email:
nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com.


Solidarity Statement against the raids and grand jury

On Wednesday July 25th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.

Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.


This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.


We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or chose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free, and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.


No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.

Events: Portland Central America Solidarity Committee

From:
2249 E. Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97214
 WED, Aug 1st
Next PCASC meeting
Workers who were fired unjustly from a General Motors plant in Colombia will begin a hunger strike on this day, marking the one-year anniversary of their struggle for workers' rights. Learn more and become involved with urgent solidarity opportunities. Also help our delegates bring PCASC's voice to the national Wells Fargo campaign planning meeting in Denver. And more.
7pm @2249 E. Burnside

SUN, Aug 3rd
Dump the prison stock protest

PCASC is keeping the pressure on Wells Fargo to dump its investments in the private prison industry, through which the bank profits from the detention of immigrants. Our campaign has ruffled some feathers in typical PCASC fashion, and we see signs that we're having an effect. Join in. 
4pm @ 5730 NE MLK Blvd
 
SAT, Aug 11th
Wage theft, workers' rights and deportations delegation

The Oregon New Sanctuary Movement will host an immigration immersion delegation in Portland examining the impacts of wage theft, worker exploitation and deportations of immigrants in our community. Details and registration at 
http://www.oregonsanctuary.org/?p=571

FRI, Sep 8th & 9th
PCASC planning retreat

It's almost time to come together to plan our next six months of rabble-rousing social justice work and evaluate where we are as a group.

July 29, 2012

World Peace Council Meets in Nepal stress solidarity with Syria & Iran


WPC Assembly resolution on Syria

After considering the developments of the situation in Syria, the WPC Assembly convened in Kathmandu/ Nepal 20 – 22 July 2012, reaffirms its strong solidarity with the Syrian people in confronting the harsh imperialist attack that is aiming at changing the geostrategic map of the region in order to speed its hegemony on it.

We express our support to the just and genuine demands of the Syrian people in enhancing democracy and social and economic changes in a way that serve their interests within the framework of its territorial integrity and sovereignty. At the same time, the WPC Assembly condemns in the strongest terms this imperialist interference taking place in all forms and by all means, and calls upon all anti-imperialist, progressive and peace loving forces to work on:
  • Confronting and disclosing the continuous misleading media campaign which is being organized by the imperialist media empires to distort and reverse the facts in Syria.
  • Escalating the pressure on the EU and US imperialist governments and their allies from the reactionary regimes in the region in order to stop weapon supplying, financial funding of their proxy the so called ´´Free Syrian Army´´ and other mercenary groups which are carrying out terrorist acts in Syria.
  • Working on lifting and abolishing all kinds of unjust economic sanctions imposed by the imperialist states and reactionary Arab and Turkish regimes against the Syrian people.
  • Increase the struggle in order to confront the political imperialist pressures that are exerted on Syria inside the international institutions and organizations, and work on supporting the comprehensive national dialogue among Syrians themselves to come out of this crisis and become the masters of their future.
Kathmandu/ Nepal 22/07/2012
Resolution on solidarity with the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam
Katmandu, Nepal, July 22,  2012

Considering
the Resolution passed in on October 24, 2009 by the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council, declaring the 10th August as the day of solidarity with the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and calling upon all World Peace Council members and the entire world peace movement to undertake initiatives in support of their struggle for justice;

Recalling
the strong appeal and commitment of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange held in Hanoi on August 8-9,/2012, and signed by the World Peace Council President, to build greater solidarity and intensify international efforts to support victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam;

Recognizing
that the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam are still subject to injustice as a result of the actions of those perpetrators who still remain outside the law and still have taken very little action to fulfill their responsibility to their victims;

Feeling
great urgency to act immediately because many Agent Orange victims suffer daily torment and pain and their lifetimes are coming to an end;

Emphasizing that international public opinion for the rights of victims of Agent Orange to life and peace, especially that of the various human rights organizations and of the United Nations, has yet to be fully and effectively realized;

Now, therefore, the World Peace Council Congress hereby declares:

1.That
all of humanity, all governments, organizations and individuals, whatever their social or political position, should take immediate, resolute and concrete action to support all victims of Agent Orange, particularly Vietnamese Agent Orange victims. In every country and region, those who believe in peace and justice should organize and develop specific programs for mobilizing material resources to help the victims and raise their voices in every way possible in support of the struggle of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims for justice.
2. That the responsibility of the United States government and chemical companies in solving the Agent Orange problem in Vietnam remains unfulfilled and that all of humanity must call upon those responsible for the suffering of the victims of Agent Orange to take responsibility and compensate their victims.
3. That we pledge to organize and activate members of the World Peace Council to implement the 2009 resolution of the Executive Committee in making August 10th a united and annual focus for concerted and ongoing activity to support the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, working together with all organizations and individuals to build a strong international movement which can finally, 51 years after the first use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, win justice for those who have suffered so much!

WPC Assembly resolution of solidarity with the Socialist Cuba

The Assembly of the World Peace Council,held in Kathmandu/Nepal reaffirms its profound solidarity with the Socialist Cuba,its people and revolution.

The delegates of the Assembly condemn the criminal economical blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba which is aming on the punishment of the Cuban people for defending its achievements and their right to decide sovereignly about their future.

The WPC expresses its support and demands the release of the five Cuban political prisoners from the US jails, in which they are being held unjustly. We denounce likewise the "Common Position" of the European Union which is aiming in the interference in the domestic affairs of Cuba.

The Assembly of the WPC denounces once more the USA for ther military base of Guantanamo on Cuban soil and demands the closure of the concentartion camp and the removal of the entire basis.
The Assembly of the WPC 22 July 2012 Kathmandu

Resolution of the WPC Assembly on Iran

The WPC expresses its categorical rejection to the imperialist plans of USA,EU and NATO to attack Iran under any pretext and in particular with the one of the Nuclear program of the country.

The people of Iran are the sole to decide upon their future and leadership of the country without any political and military interference.

The WPC expresses its solidarity with all progressive and peace loving forces in Iran which are committeed to the struggle for peace and are resisting imperialism. The Assembly expresses its militant solidarity with the working people of Iran in their complex struggle for peace, social progress and decent life expressing also its support to their democratic and people's rights.

We call upon the peoples of the world to be vigilant for the war plans of imperialism in the coming period.
22nd July  2012 the Assembly of WPC Kathmandu/Nepal

On-going resistance in Bil’in

In the second Friday of Ramadan, dozen cases of suffocation in Bil’in’s weekly demonstration

Despite hot weather and the fasting of the holy month of Ramadan, dozen cases of asphyxiation from tear gas observed in the march organized by the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in Bil'in.

The march began from the center of the village towards the liberated land adjacent to the apartheid wall. People from Bil’in, dozens of Israeli and foreigner peace activists participated the march.

Participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans calling for the demolition of the wall, ending the occupation and liberation of prisoners.

Upon the arrival to Abu laimon area, the occupation soldiers who situated behind the wall shot tear gas, stun grenades towards demonstrators and also they sprayed skunk water, which led to the suffering of dozens from inhaling the gas all of them were treated on the field. On other hand some of youths threw stones at the soldiers.


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Iyad-Burnat/422250117819624?ref=hl

FBI RAIDS IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON---SOLIDARITY NEEDED

Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)


Please sign the Solidarity Statement

Speak out against FBI raids & Grand Jury repression in Oregon and Washington

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is circulating the following statement on FBI raids and grand jury repression in Portland, Oregon and in Olympia & Seattle in Washington.

We urge all progressive organizations to sign on to this statement. To add your group’s name to the solidarity statement, please send an email to: nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com.

Current signers are at the bottom of this email.


Thank you,
CSFR



Solidarity Statement against the raids and grand jury

On Wednesday July 25th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.

Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.

This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.

We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or chose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free, and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.

No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.

Signed:
Committee Against Political Repression
Freedom Archives
Sacramento Prisoner Support
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
We Are Oregon
Portland Jobs with Justice
Rose City Cop Watch
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
Red Spark (Kasama)
Repeal Coalition
1st of May Anarchist Alliance
Connect the Dots
Oregon Jericho
Parasol Climate Collective
Portland Anarchist Black Cross
Right to Survive
Right to Dream 2
Rosehips Medic Collective
Communities United Against Police Brutality
The Radical Anti-Capitalist Caucus, of Occupy Portland
Students on Strike Organizing Committee
Autonomous Workers’ Group
Occupy Oakland Anti Repression Committee
Oakland Occupy Patriarchy
Oakland Occupy Legal
East Bay Solidarity Network
Portland Animal Defense League
Cascadians Against War
PDX Bike Swarm
Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society
Solano Peace and Justice Coalition
Solano Peace and Freedom Party
Northbay Uprising Radio Collective
MN Anti-War Committee
Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community
Redwood Curtain CopWatch
Occupy Eureka
Arizona Prison Watch
All Power to the Positive podcast
Justice for Palestinians, San Jose, CA
OccupyLV
Culture of Resistance
Family & Friends of Daniel McGowan
Blazing Arrow Organization
Portland International Socialist Organization
Anti-Racist Action-LA/People Against Racist Terror
The Portland World Citizens’ United Front
The Wild Poppies Collective
Everglades Earth First!
The Center For A Stateless Society

To add your group’s name to the solidarity statement, please email: nopoliticalrepression@gmail.com.

Another Tax Break For The Rich In Oregon?

From Tax Fairness Oregon:

He's done it.
After spending almost $480,000, serial ballot measure exploiter Kevin Mannix got enough valid signatures. The Secretary of State's office just announced that his estate tax repeal will be on the Nov. ballot.

If his measure gets a majority vote, it could provide two new tax breaks for the rich.
The estate tax part would take $100 million out of the state budget for basic needs, such as a week of school for the state's 560,000 K-12 kids. It would keep that money right in the wallets of only the 730 richest Oregon families, out of the 32,000 that experience a family death each year. This is what Mannix must mean by “family values.”

It gets worse: not only does Mannix intend to end the 109 year old estate tax that has served Oregonians so well. He also inserted obscure language that may give a huge second tax break: no taxes at all on property transferred among any living relatives. This Mannix calls a “safe haven”-for the yachts of his rich patrons, no doubt. Who knows how much this trick would cost state revenue after the courts spent years figuring it out.

In this time of huge income inequality,
do we really want Mannix's double-barreled tax break for the richest 2%?
Oregonians may not realize that so very few decedents are blessed with more than a million in taxable assets. But even for those who do owe taxes, the burden is small.

Suppose one's Mom dies (and she's no typical Mom). After transfers to her spouse, gifts to charity and deductions for all debts of the estate including mortgages, medical and legal bills, there is an estate of $2 million left. After the estate tax, the kids will still inherit nearly $1,900,000-enough to give a pretty good boost to their own estates. Later, they'll inherit whatever Dad leaves them, with another $1,000,000 tax free.

And heirs to farms, forestlands, and fisheries can inherit up to $7.5 million without paying any estate taxes on those assets-if they actually decide to continue with the business.

Let's remember a few of the good things the estate tax does for Oregonians:
  • It helps, of course, to pay for our vital state services-education, public health, state police, and more. 120 million dollars a year is an enormous contribution.
  • It strengthens Oregon's pioneer spirit of equal opportunity-it slows down the amassing of great wealth that squeezes out our small family farms and businesses-and the rest of us.
  • It encourages the rich to make charitable contributions that enhance the arts and sciences of our state in so many ways.
  • It helps our economy: the US Chamber of Commerce says Oregon was second among all states in economic growth rate in 2011.
The estate tax fight is on-and we need your help.

We need: tax lawyers, farmers, and business people willing to speak publically in defense of the estate tax. We need to identify community groups we can speak to. And we need help with fundraising.

>>>Please click here to tell us how you can help.

The Corporate Kicker for K-12 initiative has officially made the November ballot!

From Our Oregon on Friday:

This afternoon, the Secretary of State’s office announced our Corporate Kicker for K-12 initiative has officially made the November ballot. Woohoo!

We’d like to send a big thank you out to all of the volunteers and supporters who helped us gather signatures and start laying the groundwork for a big win in November. Stay tuned, because the fun’s just starting.


More than 200,000 Oregonians signed their name to the measure to qualify it for the ballot. We look forward to working with Oregonians around the state to pass this measure in November!

By voting yes to reform the Corporate Kicker, we can begin the process of finally reinvesting in our K12 classrooms, rather than sending kicker refunds to large, out-of-state corporations. As much as 80% of the corporate kicker dollars go to corporations headquartered out of state. This measure will put those funds back into our classrooms—where they’re needed most.

Also today, we received word that Kevin Mannix’s Estate Tax Break for Millionaires has also qualified for the ballot. This massive tax break for the wealthy few will force hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to our schools, health care, and public safety services.

With both of these measures appearing on the ballot, Oregon voters this fall will have an opportunity to make a clear decisions about our values and priorities.

At a time when we’re cramming K-12 students into overcrowded classrooms, closing schools around the state, and cutting basic care to seniors and people with disabilities, the last thing we should do is give away more in tax breaks to large corporations and the rich.

Voting Yes on Corporate Kicker for K-12 and No on the Estate Tax Break will be the first step in a much bigger conversation about protecting the things that make Oregon great: Our schools, our communities, and our unique way of life.
Sincerely,

Patrick Green
Executive Director
Our Oregon

Portland: Colombia, Metro Workers And Social Security Need Our Help!

Your support is important next week, come to one or all if you can!!!


1.    Witness for Peace Report back:

"Challenging the Status Quo in Colombia: Women's Empowerment, Worker's Rights, and Trade Justice".

When: Monday, July 30th, at 7:00pm
Where: at the Red and Black Cafe (400 SE 12th Ave)

We've all heard the slogan, "Free trade isn't free." But it's hard to understand just how true those 4 words are until you've been to a country that bears the brunt of our neoliberal policies. The US/Colombia FTA has just been implemented, so what does that look like on the ground? How does that impact the Colombians who work for General Motors? What is life like for women in Colombia under this new agreement? 

Come hear the answers to these questions and more. Panelists include Witness for Peace delegates to Colombia, Amy Price and Paige Shell-Spurling, as well as Elizabeth Swager, (Oregon Fair Trade Campaign), and Sarah Mitts (Northwest Fair Trade Coalition). This panel will also include presentation of the Portland Fair Trade Directory and discussion around how it can be used as a tool for change. There will be fair trade handmade goods for sale from Awaz to support Red and Black Cafe, a worker-owned cooperative which needs our support.

Contact info: Amy Truax, WFP Northwest Field Organizer at 206.787.0657   amy@witnessforpeace.org


We will be holding a small. There will be a short program and then we will be delivering the approximately 100 plus community letters to Oregon Metro.


2.    Also, the same day, Lunchtime rally and celebration:

Rally and letter delivery for Union recognition
of Seasonal workers at Metro

When: Monday, July 30, 12-12:30pm
Where: Metro, 600 NE Grand Ave, Portland Oregon


On June 19th, Oregon Metro was asked by Laborers 483 to voluntarily recognize the seasonal maintenance workers as Union members.  This request was backed up by the majority of seasonals declaring their support for joining the Union by way of signing representation cards. 
Metro informed the Union that they cannot make a decision on this matter till the end of July.  It is likely that without community support Metro will say no.  All these workers need is a mere sentence of recognition from Metro Council President Tom Hughes and Chief Operating Officer Martha Bennett. You can also support the Seasonal workers of Metro by sending a letter demanding Union recognition for these workers.  Click here to send Oregon Metro a letter demanding Union recognition.  We will be having a short presentation before we deliver the letters to Oregon Metro.

3.    Entertainment, Fun and Action Come help celebrate the:

47th anniversary of Medicare and the 77th anniversary of Social Security
Support and Protect our Social Safety Net”

When: on August 4th, 12pm - 4pm
Where: We will gather in Creston Park (SE 44th & Powell. It’s easiest to turn on 43rd to get to our picnic spot. Tri-met line # 9)

What:  To mark the 47th anniversary of Medicare and the 77th anniversary of Social Security, area activists with Jobs with Justice Healthcare Committee, Alliance for Retired Americans and Elders in Action are teaming up to celebrate and we hope you can join us as well!!. Creston Park is easily accessible by all ages and there will be plenty of seating. This is a family fun event! Bring the kids and check out the pool. We aim to be noticed by elected officials and publicize this event so that everyone has a chance to show their support for what many believe is the foundation of the American dream. Let’s gather to “Support and Protect our Social Safety Net from the always nearing threat of cuts and diminish-able benefits. Don't privatize! Expand!”

Bring your own food and beverages! Birthday cake will be provided. Come sign the Birthday Card!. Multiple petitions to sign including the “healthcare is a human right” petition.

Why: The retired don't want to be the last generation to retire and the not-yet retired don't want our retirees to struggle! Let our elected officials know that we don't want see cuts to life-saving programs!

For more info contact:
-Alliance For Retired Americans: Scott Blau at 503 675-7764 or scblau@comcast.net
-Alders In Action: Tara Krugel at 503 595-7530 or tara@eldersinaction.org
-JWJ: Chris at 503 236-5573 or chris@jwjpdx.org

NOW AVAILABLE as streaming audio >> Divestment and the Presbyterian Church

From Will Seaman:

You can listen to the program here: http://kboo.fm/node/37475

This week on One Land, Many Voices, Wael and Will welcome Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe and Ms. Cecilie Surasky for a discussion of the recent Presbyterian Church General Assembly vote on divestment.

Cecilie Surasky is deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization engaged with the divestment efforts that sent representatives to the General Assembly. She is also the editor of Muzzlewatch, JVP's widely read blog documenting the use of attacks and intimidation aimed at silencing open discussion of Israel-Palestine policy, like the law suit aimed at organizers of the Olympia Coop boycott of Israeli goods.

Reverend DeYoe is a Presbyterian minister in Ft. Myers, Florida, serving the Presbyterian Church in the US for 31 years. He is the Advocacy Chairperson for the Presbyterian Church Israel Palestine Mission Network, and for the past two years has served on the National Presbyterian Middle East Monitoring Group.

Tune in the fourth Friday of each month at 9AM for the latest edition of ONE LAND, MANY VOICES. KBOO is on your dial in Corvallis at 100.7 FM, in Hood River at 91.9 FM and in Portland at 90.7 FM. You can also listen online at www.kboo.fm ... Tune in and join the conversation!

Well There Is No Reason to Read The Nation Anymore…

From Z.Z.'s blog

Alexander Cockburn has died. Nearly thirty years ago, I began borrowing copies of The Nation magazine from a friend in order to read Cockburn’s weekly column. In a publication then notable for its determination not to completely surrender to Cold War hysteria, Cockburn stood out as a stubborn and fearless champion of reason and fidelity to leftist values—not the values that pass as leftist today, but genuine values of internationalism and advocacy for those on the bottom.
Later I learned of Cockburn’s familial roots: his father was the estimable Claud Cockburn who wrote for the UK Daily Worker, was a partisan reporter on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, and served as a thorn in the side of the puffed-up English upper classes for most of his life.
Claud authored the novel that served as the basis for the obscure, but delightful John Huston movie, Beat the Devil, a cinematic parody that relentlessly poked fun at nearly every stereotype and prejudice.
Alexander’s writing carried the same level of disdain for self-satisfaction and smugness. Cockburn, the elder,  famously remarked that one should “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” Alexander Cockburn’s writing reflected even broader truths: Never believe anything uttered by your nation’s public officials or their media hand maidens. And always regard with a measure of respect the claims of their opponents. This motto would serve the journalism profession far better than the usual hypocritical nonsense about fairness and objectivity. It would also well serve a public that readily identifies the media lies when it is itself the specific target, but exhibits a blind, groundless, and sheep-like trust of the media on other matters (think of Syria!).
In that spirit, Alexander Cockburn’s column pierced the inflated egos of wind bags, charlatans, and courtiers from Henry Kissinger through the financiers Jamie Dimon and Robert Diamond, the subjects of his final column.
I don’t know that Alexander considered himself a Marxist, though he acknowledged that his father flirted with and perhaps embraced the views of the old Moor. Certainly Alexander came closer than any other contemporary writer in English, despite his occasional eccentricities, to the acerbity and intolerance for hum-buggery of our beloved KM.
As The Nation moved away from its legacy of popular front progressivism and anti-anti-Communism and towards drawing-room liberalism, Cockburn became more of an internal critic. He began to take shots at Nation writers and columnists who were more comfortable reporting conversations at dinner parties than in reporting on Appalachia or big city ghettos. He rightly called out writers whose views seemed to unerringly march in lock step with the Democratic Party leadership.
Though The Nation editors would deny it, his punishment was to see his popular column reduced from every issue to every other issue.
Nonetheless his column persisted despite the magazine’s further ideological acceptance of the tighter and tighter Democratic Party leash. In recent years, the taming of The Nation forced me to discontinue my twenty-five-year subscription when I concluded that even Cockburn could not hold me.
But a ten-dollar desperate renewal offer (the way of all print magazines starving for support) brought me back recently, a happy move since it delivered me Alexander Cockburn’s last column. But o how far The Nation has sunk! The funeral issue contained three tortured and embarrassingly pandering defenses of Obama’s grossly misnamed Affordable Care Act (four if you count Katha Pollit’s lame cheer-leading in her column: “Obamacare(s) for Women”), all a transparent call to vote for Obama in the fall election. Poor Alexander Cockburn’s last column was sandwiched between these crude political ads.
The rest of the issue included a bizarre “vindication” of right-wing scumbag David Frum (his mother was a feminist!), a pathetically and needlessly “scholarly” critique of Charles Murray’s scurrilous attack on working class white males, and a Princeton professor’s paean to Jurgen Habermas’ vapid pontifications on the meaning and future of the European Union.
Pity poor Eric Foner, who joins Cockburn with an article in such dreary company.
Needless to say, I will not be renewing my Nation subscription (unless the price comes down even further!). I’ve had enough and, with Cockburn gone, I can catch the occasional significant article from friends on the ‘net.
I will miss Alexander Cockburn—more than a little. I regret that I never followed him closely on Counterpunch, but I trust that its archives are full of his sterling and stirring writing. I’m sure collections of his essays and articles will soon appear. I look forward to reading them. I hope others will as well.
Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com

July 27, 2012

Eduardo Galeano, interviewed

by Paula Vilella
Montevideo

From his usual table at Café Brasilero downtown, leaving the cold weather of southern winter outside its large window, Eduardo Galeano insists that "the grandeur of humanity lies in small things, quotidian things, done every day, what's done by the nameless without knowing that they are doing it."  

So, his answers mingle with episodes from his latest book Los hijos de los días, whose 366 true stories, one for each day of the year, contain more truth than risk premiums.

The European crisis is being managed by political leaders using the rhetoric of the people's sacrifice.

It's the same as the rhetoric of officials ordering army recruits to die, with less smell of gunpowder, but no less violent.

This is a systematic plan on a global level to cast two centuries of workers' conquests into a dustbin, to make humanity go backward in the name of national recovery.

This is a world organized to specialize in the extermination of fellow human beings.

And then they proceed to condemn the violence of the poor, the violence of those dying of hunger.  The opposite violence is applauded and awarded medals.

Is "austerity" being presented as the only solution?

For whom?  The bankers who had caused this disaster were and remain the chief bank robbers, rewarded with millions of euros in compensation. . .

This is a very false and violent world.  Austerity is an old rhetoric in Latin America.  We are watching a stage play that premiered here and that we know already.

We know it all: the formulas, the magic recipes, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank. . .

Do you consider the impoverishing of people to be greater violence?

If there were a true war on terrorism, rather than one used as a pretext for other goals, we would plaster wanted posters all over the world: "Wanted: Kidnappers of Countries, Exterminators of Wage Workers, Killers of Jobs, Traffickers in Fear."  They are the most dangerous for they condemn you to paralysis.

This is a world that domesticates you so that you won't trust your neighbor, so that you'll see threat and never promise.

There's someone out there who will harm you, so you have to protect yourself.

That's how the military industry is justified, to use a poetic name given to the criminal industry.
That's a clearest example of violence.

Now, turning to Latin American politics: Mexicans are still protesting in the streets against the official results of the elections. . . .

The difference in votes wasn't so great and perhaps it may be difficult to demonstrate that there was fraud.
Nevertheless, there was another fraud, a deeper and subtler fraud, which does the greatest damage to democracy: the fraud committed by the politicians who during the campaigns promise the complete opposite of what they will do once in power.  That's how they undermine the new generations' faith in democracy.

Regarding the ousting of Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, is it possible to speak of a coup d'état if it was based on the laws of the country?

Of course, what happened in Paraguay is a coup d'état, plain and simple.

They struck a coup against the government of the "progressive priest" not for what he had done but for what he might do.

He hadn't done anything big; but he had proposed an agrarian reform in a country whose degree of concentration of power of land ownership is the highest in all Latin America, and consequently whose inequality is the most unjust; and he had also taken some stances, demonstrating national dignity, against some all-powerful transnational corporations like Monsanto and prohibited the entry of some transgenic seeds. . .

It was a preventive coup d'état, done just in case, not because of what he is but because of what he may do one day.

Do you find it astonishing that these situations continue to happen?

The world today is quite astonishing.

Most European countries, which seemed as if they had been vaccinated against coups d'état, are now governed by technocrats, handpicked by Goldman Sachs and other big financial corporations, for whom no one has voted.

Even language reflects that: countries, which are supposed to be sovereign and independent, have to do their homework as if they were children prone to misbehavior, and technocrats are the teachers who come to pull your ears.

Eduardo Galeano is a writer.  The original interview "Eduardo Galeano: 'A la basura dos siglos de conquistas'" was published by BBC Mundo on 23 July 2012.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

$93 million give-away in Oregon


African Americans for Justice in the Middle East & North Africa: Solidarity statement

Below is a statement by fifty-five black activists and scholars insisting that the time has arrived for an African American voice on US policy towards the regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

(SEE http://pambazuka.org)

INTRODUCTION

For far too long African Americans have been compelled, by mainstream USA, to remain either silent on international affairs or only speak out on matters relative to Sub-Saharan Africa. With this statement by "African Americans for Justice in the Middle East & North Africa" a process unfolds of breaking the silence. In breaking the silence the signatories are stepping forward as advocates for peace, justice and sovereignty in these regions, and as such we are speaking out very directly, whether in opposition to the Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara; in support of the democratic uprisings that began in Tunisia and spread to much of the Arab World; in solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle for national self-determination; or against the various forms in which the US militarily--covertly and openly--intervenes in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. This statement also represents a recognition that the unique experience of African Americans in the USA can play a significant role by lending a hand to support the dynamic change sweeping the region and meaningfully contribute to bridging the cultural divides between the USA and the Middle East and North African regions at large.

This statement is an opening salvo. The signatories of this statement are committed to being outspoken and active in the cause of peace, justice and sovereignty in North Africa and the Middle East. African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa, then is a process rather than an organization. We invite further signatories. We also invite questions and principled, constructive dialogue. And we look forward to building bonds of solidarity.

We can be reached at aajmena@gmail.com

In solidarity,

Felicia Eaves, Co-chair of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Bill Fletcher, Jr., writer/activist

Mark Harrison, Director, Peace with Justice Program, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

Reverend D.A. Lams


******

AFRICAN AMERICANS FOR JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA — UNITY STATEMENT

"African Americans for Justice in the Middle East & North Africa” is an initiative that has been created in order to build solidarity, in a true Pan-African and Black Internationalist tradition, with the peoples and progressive social movements in North Africa and the Middle East that have been engaged in struggles for democracy, justice and national liberation. We come together from different organizations, institutions and movements, and some as simply individuals of conscience, who have concluded that silence in the face of injustice and oppression is unacceptable. We believe that African Americans in the United States of America have a special role in speaking out against enemies of peace, justice and democracy, both foreign and domestic.

The entire expanse of the African American experience in the USA has been one that has involved our fight for freedom and justice on the national and international planes. In addition to opposing slavery and the slave trade, African Americans in the 19th century expressed solidarity with the Irish struggle for freedom from Britain and Haiti’s continuous struggles for sovereignty. In the 20th century African Americans were not only central to the creation of a global Pan-Africanist movement, but also situated ourselves in struggles around Irish liberation, opposition to the US occupation of Haiti, opposition to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, supporting (and serving in) the anti-fascist struggle in the Spanish civil war, supporting the independence struggle of the Indian subcontinent and those of African former colonies in the aftermath of World War II, solidarity with the Cuban people, opposition to US involvement in Indochina, the struggle against South African apartheid and the list could go on to delineate numerous other struggles and efforts.

Despite white supremacist attempts—liberal and explicitly right-wing—to restrict the African American voice to matters of domestic race and African American issues, African Americans have regularly broken free of the mold. Though this has often come at some cost, such as when Dr. Martin Luther King spoke out against US aggression in Vietnam in 1967, it has largely been inconceivable for African Americans to remain silent in the face of global injustice.

With this as background, African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa has emerged as another voice for global peace and freedom that is united by the following:

We support all genuine, progressive struggles for national liberation, national sovereignty, justice and democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Arab democratic uprising—often referenced as the “Arab Spring”—has been a global altering process that has unleashed forces in struggle against neo-liberalism, neo-colonialism, and despotism, It has served as an inspiration for resistance movements in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Europe (against neo-liberal/austerity economics), and here in the USA with the Madison, Wisconsin demonstrations in early 2011 and more recently the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together movement.

Central to the struggles in the Middle East and North Africa has been the struggle of the Palestinian people, a struggle for national liberation, the right of return, equality and justice. AAJMENA is deeply committed to this struggle and wish to more fully integrate this into the lives and struggles of the African American people.

We recognize that the USA has historically played an unhelpful and, indeed, backward role in the Middle East and North Africa. This has included supporting despots, the crushing of nationalist, progressive and left-wing movements and governments, providing near unconditional support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people, covert operations that infringe on national sovereignty, and direct military provocations and invasions. The USA must be called upon to repair the damage that it has done in this region by first doing no harm, and must instead recognize and respect the aspirations of the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa for sovereignty, justice and democracy.

We see the struggles in the Middle East and North Africa as struggles that have much in common with those conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the African Diaspora. As such we are duty bound to address them and integrate them into the larger fight for global justice and peace.

We are, therefore, committing ourselves to:

Promoting education and discussion within Black America regarding the issues and struggles facing the people of the Middle East and North Africa.
Building solidarity with genuine, popular democratic struggles in the Middle East and North Africa for justice, democracy and national liberation and national sovereignty.

Organizing a vocal constituency of African Americans to take up this banner.

Promoting a clear demand for justice for the Palestinian people as central to peace and stability in the Middle East. In doing so we join together with non-African Americans, people of different faiths, including but not limited to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, animists and others, who are committed to justice for the Palestinian people. We believe that there is a special significance to working with progressive Jews in the USA and Israel who share our abhorrence to the system of oppression experienced by the Palestinian people.

Advancing the demand for a democratic foreign policy on the part of the USA that is based on mutual respect, non-intervention in the affairs of other nation-states, recognition of national self-determination and repairing the damage that it has created through its imperial foreign actions

Building links with progressive social movements in the Middle East and North Africa.


NOTE: To see signatories to this statement,  please see this site:  http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/83905

ONASCH: IS LABOR TOO SMALL TO MATTER?


The following is by Bill Onasch a Kansas City Activist and editor of http://www.kclabor.org
In an editorial entitled What Choice In 2012?, Against the Current concludes,
"At this point, the campaigns of the Green Party and other potential alternatives to the capitalist parties haven't yet crystallized. We will follow these with interest as they develop. In any case, with all due recognition of the Occupy movement's uncertainties and difficulties as it emerges from the winter cold into the election blizzard of 2012, we proclaim with no hesitation: `Occupy Is Our Party.'"
Labor Notes director Mark Brenner arrives at a similar stance in his article, Are We at a Tipping Point?
"Despite 16 million members and $10 billion plus in dues revenue, labor's reach is dwindling. In most industries�even bastions like auto and construction�we don't control enough of the market to win decent contracts, so we're not attractive to new members. Are we at a tipping point, where unions are no longer able to play their historical role of creating a shared working-class common sense? Can we still influence conditions for all?"
After reviewing the fiasco of the Wisconsin recall elections Brenner goes on to say,
"We have far to go to return to the days when the labor movement defined the world view of the working class."
One of the founders of the Labor Notes project, and a long-time activist in the UAW until his recent retirement and relocation to California, Mike Parker was even more blunt in his recent piece, Politics Done Differently. One of the main thrusts of Labor Notes from its founding was fighting for rank-and-file control of our unions. Parker and numerous others played honorable roles in such struggles in the UAW as well as developing useful educational materials for those in other unions. But is sounds like these fighters are beginning to lose confidence in such struggles today. He writes,
"Tragically, despite the educational value of advocating a labor party to carry out this working-class politics, organized labor is now too small for such a project. Its leaders are turned in another direction and isolated from their members."
Parker acknowledges, "Bitter though we may be, labor can't turn its back on political action." What does he envision as a substitute for the "too small" union movement? He too is an avid fan of Occupy.
"What we need is a political movement that unabashedly challenges corporate control over our daily lives. The Occupy movement brought this perspective out from the fringes of American politics."
Except when following marching orders from Jobs with Justice and/or MoveOn, Occupy in my home town is today hardly visible even on the fringes. A recent attempt at a representative national gathering in Philadelphia of local Occupy groups was much smaller than the Labor Notes Conference in May, and was marked with heated dissension and splits.
The New York City anchor Occupy Wall Street, which does still engage in consistent activity, describes itself,
"Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."
The Cairo Occupy that inspired OWS was saved from being crushed by repressive forces by the intervention of a "small," semi-legal trade union movement. But the failure of either the Freedom Square occupiers or the unions in Egypt to build a mass party corresponding to their strength in the streets and workplace eventually led to a Hobson's choice of the military or Muslim Brotherhood in the first election. But that's another story.
In addition to Occupy, Parker says,
"national and local political efforts should feed off each other. Unfortunately, we are pretty much starting from scratch in both cases. Educational efforts, independent efforts like the Green Party, and struggles within the Democratic Party may all contribute to a national political movement down the road. The other place to start is in local coalitions of labor and community. A workshop at the recent Labor Notes Conference examined some efforts, including the New Lynn project in Massachusetts, the Working Families Party, and an attempt to remake a local Democratic Party in New Jersey."
And Parker is particularly enthusiastic about a project in which he is now engaged-- "the Richmond Progressive Alliance in California, where a community-labor alliance has reshaped local politics." A check of the RPA website indicates the main issues currently pushed are keeping WalMart out of Richmond and supporting a tax on sugary beverages which would be dedicated to new athletic fields.
These views are not those of confused political neophytes. I've long had great respect for the authors of the three articles cited. That's what is so disappointing.
Perhaps Parker is restarting from scratch but the Greens have been around for a while and have already had their fifteen minutes of fame with Ralph Nader in 2000. Groups such as the RPA have been a backdrop of California politics since the Sixties. Bogus labor parties like the Working Families Party have been wheeling and dealing under various names in New York since the Thirties. And the broad tent of the Democrats has been sheltering a graveyard for class and social struggles at least since William Jennings Bryan lured the Populists inside.
These authors do make some unassailable points about the downward spiral of union membership, density, and subsequent retreats in bargaining. But these trends have been at work for some time�and were already manifest at the founding of Labor Notes in 1979. I have often made the same points in this column and elsewhere. Like Global Warming, if this decline is not soon reversed we will pass a tipping point from beyond which we will not recover. That is a bitter reality which can be neither ignored or refuted.
But as with Climate Change, the labor movement is not yet beyond the point of no return. It is still possible, in my opinion, for a mobilized rank-and-file to pressure and/or replace their leadership and revive our unions as advocates for the working class as a whole.
We saw a fleeting glimpse of what's possible with last year's struggle in Madison before the diversion in to recall disaster. In Ohio a union movement of typical size and density won over the broader working class in a ballot measure that overturned antiunion legislation. The We Are One events of April, 2010 attracted not only participation by hundreds of thousands of union members but many thousands of unorganized sympathizers in the communities. We watched the ILWU battle in Port Longview win wide solidarity from not only unions but other workers cheering them on. We even witnessed union contingents from the ATU and TWU joining climate change activists in mass demonstrations and civil disobedience at the White House against extension of the Keystone Pipeline.
No, our unions are not yet dead or dying. Density may be down but sixteen million members and ten billion dollars is nothing to sneeze at. As I wrote in an articlea few months ago, these are the only mass organizations we have. They are essential not only on the job where we still have contracts but are indispensable as well in creating working class politics--and giving clout and guidance to community-based movements such as Occupy, antiwar, civil rights, women's rights, and around climate change.
I sincerely hope that those who are discouraged after battling decades in the trenches will soon get their mojo back. We need them.