Friday, September 30, 2011

Arrest the New York City Police!

1202 Roundhill Road
Baltimore, MD 21218


Letters to the Editor

THE SUN

Talkback@baltimoresun.com


Dear friend:

As a nonviolent activist, over the years I have had considerable conntact with the police on the front lines of various protests.  Most police officers have treated me with respect, but on occasion some brute reveals his macho side.

And unfortunately, the New York City Police Department has an awful reputation based on its recurrent mistreatment of protesters.  So it was great to read the headline “Wall Street protesters to target N.Y. police.” [The Baltimore Sun, September 30, 2011].  Today, since most everyone has a camera, one would expect the police to be on best behavior.  Sadly, though, they still get out-of-control, presumably because they do not fear any punishment from their superior officers.

I am unable to be in New York City, but the protesters have my unmitigated support.  And yes, it is necessary to demand that the police treat the Wall Street protesters with respect.  It  is abominable and cowardly to attack defenseless protesters.  And such behavior brings opprobrium on all members of the New York City Police Department.  Ideally, other officers would chastise the miscreants; but it is my understanding that such behavior won’t be cleaned out in house.

One obvious irony is that the protesters who are demanding accountability from the banksters and the forces of greed who drove the economy off the cliff are victims of police brutality.  What are the chances the police will ever arrest the real criminals—the heads of the Wall Street firms?

In peace,

Max Obuszewski

a member of the Baltimore Green Party

410-366-1637

 

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

 

No donation to Obama/The Men We Trusted to Lead Us

Friends,

 

I received an email from Barack Obama asking for a campaign donation.  This was my response:

Mr. President,

I could never support you as you are following the Cheney-Bush administration policies on two fronts: extra-judicial killings without any pretense of bringing the accused to court and the use of the same Wall Street Gang which destroyed our economy.  It has been disastrous for me to see that you are beholden to the Pentagon and Wall Street.  I could never vote for you, let alone give you a donation.  There is blood on your hands.

Kagiso,

Max

The Men We Trusted to Lead Us

By Robert Scheer

Now he tells us. On Wednesday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke referred to the nation’s unemployment rate as a “national crisis,” an obvious if depressing fact of life to the 25 million Americans who have been unsuccessfully attempting to find full-time employment.

But to finally hear those words from the man George W. Bush and Barack Obama both appointed to lead us out of the great recession is a bracing reminder of how markedly the policies of both those presidents have failed: “We’ve had close to 10 percent unemployment now for a number of years, and of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more,” Bernanke said. “This is unheard of.”

But why is Bernanke just now discovering this after having overseen the Fed’s purchase of trillions in toxic mortgage-backed securities from the too-big-to-fail banks that sacrificed people’s homes in a giant Ponzi scheme? Why did he throw all of that money at the banks without getting anything back in the way of relief for the people the bankers swindled? 

The housing meltdown, which has robbed Americans of a considerable portion of their net worth, has led to the continued depressed consumer confidence that is the prime cause of crisis-level unemployment. In another of his too-late-to-matter moments, Bernanke acknowledged that “strong housing policies to help the market recover” would “clearly be very useful,” but he failed to suggest any. 

Bernanke, along with then-New York Fed President Timothy Geithner, helped implement the Bush strategy of saving the banks in the hope that their rising tide would lift our little boats. That remained the strategy when President Obama rewarded Geithner for having saved AIG and Citigroup by naming him treasury secretary in the incoming government. 

With the Geithner appointment, and the even more disturbing selection of Lawrence Summers to be his top economic adviser, Obama sealed his own fate as president. By turning to those disciples of Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a prime enabler of Wall Street greed, the new president fatally betrayed his promise of hope.

If you still need confirmation of just how decisive a betrayal those appointments were, check out Ron Suskind’s new book, “Confidence Men,” a devastating insider account of the Obama White House that clearly identifies as the source of this president’s failure “Rubin’s B-Team,” Summers and Geithner, “two men whose actions had contributed to the very financial disaster they were hired to solve.” Suskind quotes then-Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., one of the few who dared stand up to the Wall Street lobbyists, as telling Obama, “I don’t understand how you could do this; you’ve picked the wrong people!” 

Of course the Democrats from the Clinton era don’t bear all of the responsibility for the radical deregulation of the financial industry that ended the sensible restraints on greed installed by Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Indeed, the inspiration came from Republicans led by Phil Gramm, the then-senator from Texas who as head of the Banking Committee authored the legislation that Wall Street lobbyists had long pushed unsuccessfully.

The mayhem they wrought and the subsequent big-money rewards to Rubin and Gramm do not seem to have shocked this president or the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. Rubin became chairman of Citigroup and was rewarded with $120 million while he guided the bank to the edge of bankruptcy. Gramm went to a leading position at the Swiss-based UBS, the continually troubled institution now in the midst of its latest scandal, involving fraudulent trading. In addition to a $45 billion direct TARP bailout, Citigroup got $99.5 billion, and Gramm’s UBS $77.2 billion from a $1.2 trillion secret Fed loan fund.

Gramm and Rubin were partners in what should be considered the crime of the century, speaking in moral and not legal terms since, as regards the financial world, the bad guys get to write the laws. Thanks to their efforts, which allowed the creation of the “too-big-to-fail banks” and a totally unregulated derivatives market in toxic home mortgage securities, we entered the Great Recession, but neither of its authors has ever been held seriously accountable for the enormous suffering he caused.

On the contrary, Gramm and Rubin’s “just free Wall Street to do its thing” ideology still dominates the economic policies of both major political parties. Rubin’s acolytes have controlled the Obama administration’s economic strategy of saving Wall Street by betraying Main Street, and Gramm, who recently endorsed his former student at Texas A&M, Rick Perry, for president, remains the free-market-mayhem guru for Republicans. On Election Day, whoever wins, we lose.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/men-we-trusted-lead-us-1317393866. All rights are reserved.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

 

Bahrain Court Hands Down Harsh Sentences to Doctors and Protesters

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/world/middleeast/bahrain-court-hands-down-harsh-sentences-to-doctors-and-protesters.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha22

 

September 29, 2011

Bahrain Court Hands Down Harsh Sentences to Doctors and Protesters

By J. DAVID GOODMAN

A court in Bahrain sentenced a protester to death on Thursday for killing a police officer in March, and it issued harsh prison terms to medical workers who treated protesters wounded during the months of unrest there this spring, according to the official Bahrain News Agency. The punishments drew strong criticism from rights groups.

The agency reported that eight people it identified as doctors who worked at a central hospital in the capital, Manama, received 15-year sentences. Other medical personnel at the hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain’s largest public hospital, were given terms of between 5 and 15 years.

The sentences were the latest sign that the country’s Sunni monarchy would continue to deal severely with those involved in widespread protests this year, mostly held by members of its repressed Shiite majority. Much of that effort has been focused on the doctors and nurses who treated demonstrators.

At the height of the protests, security forces commandeered the Salmaniya hospital and arrested dozens of doctors and nurses. Rights activists have since accused the government of having made systematic efforts to deny medical services to wounded protesters. The international relief organization Doctors Without Borders stopped working in Bahrain last month after its offices were raided.

Reacting to the verdicts and punishments announced Thursday, Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group in Cambridge, Mass., called on the government of Bahrain to set them aside. “These are medical professionals who were treating patients during a period of civil unrest, as their ethical duty requires them to do,” the group’s chief policy officer, Hans Hogrefe, said in a statement on the group’s Web site. “To imprison them as part of a political struggle is unconscionable.”

The Bahrain News Agency, in describing the sentences handed down by a security court on Thursday, said the medical workers had taken over the hospital and used it as a base for antigovernment activity. They were convicted of possessing fuel bombs and light weapons, confiscating medical equipment, and “fabricating stories and lies.”

The medical professionals have said it was their duty to treat anyone who arrived at the hospital and have rejected accusations that treating protesters was akin to supporting their cause.

In the case of the officer’s death, the court said the convicted man, identified as Ali Yusuf Abdulwahab al-Taweel, had run down the officer with his car during antigovernment protests in Sitra, an oil hub just south of the capital, and was guilty of an act of terror. Another man, driving a second car, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement.

Sitra, known for its activist Shiite population, was a stronghold of antigovernment activists at the height of the demonstrations.

The government of Bahrain, with help from Saudi Arabia, violently quashed the country’s peaceful protest movement in March. Despite the crackdown, demonstrations still occur regularly, especially in places like Sitra, where youths battle security forces after sundown. Graffiti clutters almost every wall there. “We will only kneel before God,” one slogan reads.

“The government has turned to using the law for repression,” said Mohammed al-Maskati, the head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

On Wednesday, the security court upheld life sentences for eight prominent political leaders, The Associated Press reported. Earlier in the week, the court sentenced 32 people, including at least two members of the Bahrain national handball team, to 15 years in prison for protesting illegally.

“They are sending a very negative message to the international community that Bahrain is not moving in the right direction in terms of respecting human rights,” Mr. Maskati said.

Human rights groups say that since the unrest began in the Persian Gulf kingdom of only about 525,000 citizens, 34 people have been killed, more than 1,400 have been arrested and as many as 3,600 people have been fired from their jobs. Four people also died in custody after torture, the rights groups say.

Anthony Shadid contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

© 2011 The New York Times Company

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Human Rights Groups Urge Bush Torture Prosecution

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2011
11:23 AM

CONTACT: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

press@ccrjustice.org

 

Human Rights Groups Urge Bush Torture Prosecution

Groups Follow Former U.S. President George W. Bush’s Path to Canada; Press Canadian Government to Prosecute Him for Torture

VANCOUVER - September 29 - Today, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) lodged a detailed and lengthy indictment setting forth the case against former U.S. president George W. Bush with the Attorney General of Canada, urging him to open a criminal investigation against Bush for his role in authorizing and overseeing his administration’s well-documented torture program. Bush will visit Surrey, British Columbia on October 20th, as a paid speaker at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit at the invitation of Surrey Mayor Diane Watts.

Earlier this year, CCR, supported by CCIJ and more than 60 international human rights organizations, called on Swiss authorities to prosecute Bush for torture based on his own admission that he authorized torture and the plethora of evidence in the public domain setting out his role in the U.S. torture program. However, Bush canceled his February trip to Switzerland at the last minute, a move that many speculated was motivated by fear of arrest.

“George Bush has openly admitted that he approved the use of torture against men held in U.S. custody,” said Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at CCR. “Despite this admission, no country has been willing to investigate and prosecute Bush’s criminal acts, leaving the victims of his torture policies without any justice or accountability. Canada is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, and has an obligation to investigate Bush for his leadership role in the U.S. torture program. Torturers – even if they are former presidents of the United States – must be held to account and prosecuted. We urge Canada to put an end to impunity for Bush.”

Canada has a strong legal framework and there is absolutely no ambiguity in our criminal code when it comes to committing or allowing torture,” said Matt Eisenbrandt, Legal Director of CCIJ. “There is grave evidence that former President Bush sanctioned and authorized acts of torture, not only in violation of Canadian laws, but also of international treaties that Canada has ratified. It is therefore clear that our government has both the jurisdiction and the obligation to prosecute Bush should he set foot again on Canadian territory.”

According to the indictment submitted to the Attorney General for his action, former President Bush bears individual and command responsibility for the acts of his subordinates, which he ordered, authorized, condoned, or otherwise aided and abetted, as well as for violations committed by his subordinates, which he failed to prevent or punish. In particular, Bush is alleged to have authorized or overseen enforced disappearance and secret detention, exposure to extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation, punching, kicking, isolation in “coffin” cells for prolonged periods, threats of bad treatment, solitary confinement, and forced nudity.

One hundred and forty-seven countries, including Canada and the United States, are party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), meaning that those countries have committed to promptly investigate, prosecute, and punish torturers. While the U.S. has thus far failed to comply with its obligations under the CAT, all other signatories are similarly obligated to prosecute or extradite for prosecution anyone present in their territory who they reasonably believe has committed torture. If the evidence warrants, as the Bush indictment contends it does, and if the U.S. fails to request that Bush be extradited to face charges of torture, Canada must, under law, prosecute him for torture.

The indictment prepared by CCR and CCIJ, along with more than 4,000 pages of supporting materials, are available at: http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/bush-torture-indictment.
 

###

The Canadian Centre for International Justice works with survivors of genocide, torture and other atrocities to seek redress and bring perpetrators to justice. The CCIJ seeks to ensure that individuals present in Canada who are accused of responsibility for serious human rights violations are held accountable and their victims recognized, supported and compensated. For more information visit www.ccij.ca

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Links:

Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/09/29-0

 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

 

Kenyan Activist Faced Double Jeopardy as Woman, Environmentalist

http://amazonwatch.org/work/belo-monte-dam

 

The Brazilian government is planning to build the world's third largest dam, one which will directly, permanently, and devastatingly affect indigenous tribes living there. See the URL above for more information.

 

If you want to sign a petition against the dam, see the URL below.  Support the indigenous people of Brazil, and the dam will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.

 

http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam

 

 

http://www.truth-out.org/wangari-maathai-and-green-belt-movement-planting-seeds-peace/1317218288

 

Kenyan Activist Faced Double Jeopardy as Woman, Environmentalist

by: Rob Nixon, CounterPunch | Op-Ed

The Kenyan activist, Wangari Maathai, is dead at 71. With her passing we have lost one of our era’s great environmental visionaries. Maathai came from an impoverished, rural background; it was her belief in the environmentalism of the poor that propelled her life’s work, as founder and exemplar of the Green Belt Movement.

The Green Belt Movement had modest beginnings. On Earth Day in 1977, Maathai and a small cohort of the likeminded women planted seven trees to commemorate Kenyan women who had been environmental activists. By the time Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, the movement had created 6,000 local tree nurseries, employed 100,000 women, and planted some thirty million trees in Keny and beyond. The movement’s achievements have been material–providing employment while helping anchor soil, generate shade and firewood, and replenish watersheds. But their achievements have also been richly symbolic, by inspiring other reforestation movements across the globe.  Under Maathai’s leadership, the Green Belt Movement embodied the conviction that environmentalism from below can become a powerful engine for alleviating poverty in the global South.

Maathai alighted on the idea of tree planting as the movement’s core activity, one that over time would achieve a brilliant symbolic economy, becoming an iconic act of civil disobedience as the women’s struggle against desertification segued into a struggle against illicit deforestation perpetrated by President arap Moi’s draconian regime. Neither desertification nor deforestation posed a sudden threat, but both were persistently and pervasively injurious to Kenya’s long-term human and environmental prospects. The symbolic focus of mass tree plantings helped foster a broad alliance around issues of sustainable security.

From the perspective of rural Kenyan women whose livelihood is threatened by desertification’s slow march what does it mean to be secure long term? As Maathai noted:

during the rainy season, thousands of tons of topsoil are eroded from Kenya’s countryside by rivers and washed into the ocean and lakes. Additionally, soil is lost through wind erosion in areas where the land is devoid of vegetative cover. Losing topsoil should be considered analogous to losing territory to an invading enemy. And indeed, if any country were so threatened, it would mobilize all available resources, including a heavily armed military, to protect the priceless land. Unfortunately, the loss of soil through these elements has yet to be perceived with such urgency.

What is productive about Maathai’s wording here is her insistence that threats to national territorial integrity–that most deep-seated rationale for war—be expanded to include threats to the nation’s integrity from environmental assaults.

The choice of tree planting as the Green Belt Movement’s defining act proved politically astute. Here was a simple, pragmatic, yet powerfully figurative act that connected with many women’s quotidian lives as tillers of the soil. Desertification and deforestation are corrosive, compound threats that damage vital watersheds, exacerbate the silting and dessication of rivers, erode topsoil, engender firewood and food shortages, and ultimately contribute to malnutrition. Maathai and her allies succeeded in using these compound threats to forge a compound alliance among authoritarianism’s discounted casualties, especially marginalized women, citizens whose environmental concerns were indissociable from their concerns over food security and political accountability.

At political flashpoints during the 1980s and 1990s, these convergent concerns made the Green Belt Movement a powerful player in a broad-based civil rights coalition that gave thousands of Kenyans a revived sense of civic agency and national possibility. The movement created fissures within the state’s authoritarian structures, as a coalition of the marginalized pushed back against Arap Moi’s neo-liberal culture of impunity.

The theatre of the tree afforded the Green Belt Movement a rich symbolic vocabulary that helped extend its civic reach. Maathai recast the simple gesture of digging a hole and putting a sapling in it as a way of “planting the seeds of peace.” To plant trees was metaphorically to cultivate democratic change; with a slight vegetative tweak, the gesture breathed new life into the dead metaphor of grass roots democracy. Within the campaign against one-party rule, activists established a ready symbolic connection between environmental erosion and the erosion of civil rights. At the heart of this symbolic nexus was a contest over definitions of growth: each tree planted by the Green Belt Movement stood as a tangible, biological image of steady, sustainable growth, a dramatic counter-image to the ruling elite’s kleptocratic image of “growth,” a euphemism for their high-speed piratical plunder of the nation’s coffers and finite natural resources.

Relevant here is William Finnegan’s observation that “even economic growth, which is regarded nearly universally as an overall social good, is not necessarily so. There is growth so unequal that it heightens social conflict and increases repression. There is growth so environmentally destructive that it detracts, in sum, from a community’s quality of life.” Certainly, there is something perverse about an economic order in which the unsustainable, ill-managed plunder of resources is calculated as productive growth rather than a loss of GNP.

To plant trees is to work toward cultivating change, in the fullest sense of that phrase. In an era of widening social inequity and unshared growth, the replenished forest can offer an egalitarian, participatory image of growth–growth as sustainable over the long haul. The Moi regime vilified Maathai as an enemy of growth, development, and progress, all languages the ruling cabal had used to mask its high speed plunder. Saplings in hand, the Green Belt Movement returned the blighted trope of growth to its vital, biological roots.

To plant a tree is an act of intergenerational optimism, a selfless act at once practical and utopian, an investment in a communal future the planter will not see; to plant a tree is to offer shade to unborn strangers. To act in this manner is to secede ethically from Kenya’s top down culture of ruthless short-term self-interest. (Kenyan intellectuals used to quip that under arap Moi “L’etat c’est Moi.”). A social movement devoted to tree planting, in addition to regenerating embattled forests, thus also helped regenerate an endangered vision of civic time. Against the backdrop of Kenya’s winner-takes-all-and-takes-it-now kleptocracy, the movement affirmed a radically subversive ethic—an ethic of selflessness—allied to an equally subversive time frame, the long duree of patient growth for sustainable collective gain.

Kenya’s Green Belt Movement protested deforestation in ways that deviated from the environmental civil disobedience strategies typical of the global North (sit ins, tree hugging, or chaining one’s self to a tree). For the Kenyan protestors, active reforestation became the primary symbolic vehicle for their civil disobedience. Under an undemocratic dispensation, the threatened forest can be converted into a particularly dramatic theatre for reviving civic agency because it throws into relief incompatible visions of public land. To Kenya’s authoritarian president, the forest was state-owned, and because he and his cronies treated the nation as identical to the state, he felt at license to fell national forests and sell off the nation’s public land. To the activists, by contrast, the forest was not a private presidential fiefdom, but commonage, the indivisible property of the people. The regime’s contemptuous looting of Karura Forest—a vital green lung outside Nairobi—was thus read as symptomatic of a wider contempt for the rights of the poor.

Maathai made many enemies: she was vilified, beaten, and imprisoned for her convictions. She became the first woman in East or Central Africa to receive a doctorate in any scientific field—and was treated by the Kenyan elite as an overreacher who needed to be brought down. One Kenyan cabinet minister railed against Maathai as “an ignorant and ill-tempered puppet of foreign masters.” Another criticized her for “not being enough of an African woman,” of being “a white woman in black skin.” A third portrayed her as a “madwoman” and threatened to “circumcise” her if she ever set foot in his district.

As a highly educated female scientist, an advocate of women’s rights, and a proponent of environmentalism for the poor, Maathai was vulnerable on multiple fronts. President Moi (who imprisoned Maathai several times) chastised her for being “disobedient”; if she were “a proper woman in the African tradition–[she] should respect men and be quiet.” But she had no intention of being silenced and ultimately the broad-based movement that she led contributed to Moi’s downfall.

If Maathai’s Kenyan opponents sought to discredit her as an enemy of national development, she also faced, when awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, a different style of criticism from abroad. Carl I. Hagen, leader of Norway’s Progress Party, typified this line of aggressive disbelief: “It’s odd,” Hagen observed “that the [Nobel] committee has completely overlooked the unrest that the world is living with daily, and given the prize to an environmental activist.” The implications of Hagen’s position were clear: that amidst the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the wider “war on terror,” to honor an environmentalist for planting trees was to trivialize conflict resolution and to turn one’s back on the most urgent issues of the hour.

However, Maathai repeatedly recast the question of urgency in a different time frame, one that challenged the dominant associations of two of the early twenty-first century’s most explosive words: “preemptive” and “terror.” The Green Belt Movement focused not on conventional ex post facto conflict resolution but on conflict preemption through nonmilitary means. As Maathai insisted, “many wars are fought over natural resources. In managing our resources and in sustainable development we plant the seeds of peace.”

This approach has rhetorical, strategic, and legislative ramifications for the “global war on terror.” For most of our planet’s people there are more immediate terrors than a terrorist attack: creeping deserts that reduce farms to sand; the incremental assaults of climate change compounded by deforestation; not knowing where tonight’s meal will come from; unsafe drinking water; having to walk five or ten miles to collect firewood to keep one’s children warm and fed. Such quotidian terrors haunt the lives of millions immiserated, abandoned, and humiliated by authoritarian rule and by a neoliberal world order. Under such circumstances, slow violence (often coupled with direct repression) can ignite tensions, creating flashpoints of desperation and explosive rage.

Perhaps to Hagen and others like him, tree planting is conflict resolution lite. But Maathai, by insisting that resource bottlenecks impact sustainable security at local, national, and global levels, and by insisting that the environmentalism of the poor is inseparable from distributive justice, did more than forge a broad political alliance against Kenyan authoritarian rule. Through her testimony and her movement’s collective example, she sought to reframe conflict resolution for an age when instant cinematic catastrophe has tended to overshadow violence that is calamitous in more insidious ways. This, then, was Wangari Maathai’s contribution to the ‘“war on terror”: building a movement committed, in her words, to “reintroducing a sense of security among ordinary people so they do not feel so marginalized and so terrorized by the state.”

Rob Nixon is the Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His most recent book is Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press, 2011).

Baltimore Activist Alert - Part 1

Baltimore Activist Alert Sept. 29 – Oct. 4, 2011

 

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours.

The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to www.baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com.  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.

 

Tune into the Maryland Progressive Blog at http://mdprogblog.org.

   

1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation

3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists  

4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLA  

5] Bikes Not Bombs Tour – through Oct. 6

6] Middle Passage Mural – through Oct. 24

7] Film DIARIES – Sept. 29

8] Film TAKING ROOT – Sept. 29

9] A Ride to the End at Red Emma's – Sept. 29

10] Sherman Alexie gives book talk – Sept. 29

11] Hug a Vegetarian Day! – Sept. 30

12] Film LA TOMA – Sept. 30

13] White House vigil – Sept. 30

14] WIB Inner Harbor vigil – Sept. 30

15] WIB Roland Park vigil – Sept. 30

16] Justice for Palestine/Israel vigil – Sept. 30

17] Vigil to End Wars – Sept. 30

18] Silent vigil – Sept. 30

19] ANERA Fundraiser -- Sept. 30

20] Art of Social Media/Freedom Theatre - Sept. 30

21] Walter Reed Vigil Finale - Sept. 30

22] Film SANKOFA – Sept. 30

23] Ballroom dancing – Sept. 30

24] Farmers Market – Oct. 1

25] Gutierrez Memorial Walk – Oct. 1

26] Olney peace vigil – Oct. 1

27] West Chester, PA demo – Oct. 1

28] Remember Troy Davis – Oct. 1

29] Silent vigil at Capitol – Oct. 1

30] Leaflet for Bill Barry -- Oct. 1

31] Play CHURCH FOLKS – Oct. 1

32] Michael Moore in Frederick -- Oct. 1

33] Visit the Ethical Society – Oct. 2

34] Get on Bridge for Peace – Oct. 2

35] Progressive Working Group meeting -- Oct. 2

36] Philadelphia Peace Vigil – Oct. 2

37] Palestinian Gandhis – Oct. 2

------

1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  "God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions" stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

                           

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.


3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq.

 

To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to donmuller@msn.com.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

 

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe.  It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing.  To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to ncnrnotices-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You will get a confirmation message once subscribed.  If you have problems, please write to the list manager at ncnrnotices-admin@lists.riseup.net.

 

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA CafĂ© Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale.  For more details and to download the order form, go to http://friendsoflatinamerica.typepad.com/hocofola/2010/02/hocofola-cafe-quetzal-order-form-2010.html. The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

 

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month.  Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered.  Send it to Adela Hirsch, 5358 Eliots Oak Rd., Columbia, MD 21044.  Be sure you indicate ground (G) or bean (B) for each type of coffee ordered. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up.  Contact Adela at 410-997-5662 or via e-mail at adela4peace@verizon.net.

 

5] – There is a Bikes Not Bombs Tour starting on Sun., Sept. 11 from New York City with an arrival in Washington, D.C. on Thurs., Oct. 6. Go to http://www.operationawareness.org/

 

6] – See Joe Norman's Middle Passage Mural in the Main Gallery at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD 21224,

an epic tale of 10 million souls from Africa to the Americas between the 15th and 19th centuries. The exhibit will be there through Sat., Oct 29.  Call 410-276-1651; go to www.creativealliance.org; or email info@creativealliance.org.

7] – DIARIES by May Odeh will be shown twice. The first will be on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 2:30 PM at the Johnson Center Cinema, George Mason Univ., 4400 University Dr, Fairfax VA 22030. See the film for free.  Then it will be shown again on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 7 PM at the Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, WDC. Tickets are $10, but only $7 for students/seniors.

The film is a 53-minute 2010 documentary about three women living in Gaza who face a double siege. One is the Israeli occupation and another one is the quasi- religious authority that controls the torn city. Through their daily life, the three girls will share their fears, memories, thoughts and hope for a better life wide enough to fit their dreams. The film will take us on a journey into their own Gaza, the Gaza that no one really knows.

8] –  Beyond the Classroom Living & Learning Program is showing the documentary TAKING ROOT:The Vision of Wangari Maathai on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 4 PM at 1102 South Campus Commons, Building 1, Seminar Room, Univ. of MD--College Park.  The film tells the dramatic story of the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Wangari Maathai, whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights and defend democracy. She died of cancer on Sun., Sept. 25, but her visionary work continues with the Green Belt Movement that has planted over 30 million trees and has helped over 900,000 women!

 

9] –  A Ride Till The End, the traveling collective of veterans and artists who cycle around the United States in an effort to raise awareness about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, makes a pit stop in Baltimore as it enters the last leg of the Bikes Not Bombs tour. The journey began on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 at the site of the World Trade Center and will wrap up at the White House in time for the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. ARTTE invites the public to join the tour and the quest to collect 250 bicycles (one for every mile of the ride). Some of the amassed bikes will be sent to Afghanistan to promote reconciliation, while others will remain on American soil in a bid to get more veterans on the road. ARTTE's visit to Red Emma's, 800 St. Paul St., on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 7 PM will involve a talk and video conferences with peace groups in Afghanistan, as well as experience and art sharing, and is sponsored by the Civilian Soldiers Alliance. Call 410-230-0450 or go to http://www.redemmas.org.

 

10] – Sherman Alexie will discuss his book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 4 PM at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Reisterstown Road Branch, 6310 Reisterstown Road.  Call 410-887-1165 or go to http://www.bcpl.info/branches/branch_re.html.

 

11] – Hug a Vegetarian Day is Fri., Sept. 30.  That's right—a whole day dedicated to hugging animal lovers!

 

12] – A screening of "La Toma" can be seen on Fri., Sept. 30 at noon at the  Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), 1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400, WDC.  Enjoy a brown-bag lunch and viewing of the documentary, followed up with a discussion with acclaimed director, Paola Mendoza. The film documents the struggle of an Afro-Colombian gold-mining community in southwestern Colombia to remain on its territory. The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) poses a threat to the people of La Toma and other communities undergoing similar experiences. According to Colombian and international law, Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples have the right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent (FPIC) for any development project or public policy that will affect them; the FTA was not consulted with Afro-Colombian or indigenous peoples. Increased investment in controversial industries as a result of the FTA will undermine Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination and to the land. RSVP to Anthony Dest at adest@wola.org.

 

13] – A peace vigil takes place every Friday from noon to 1 PM at Lafayette Park facing the White House.  Join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and friends. Contact Art Laffin: artlaffin@hotmail.com.   

14] – Every Friday from noon to 1 PM, Women in Black, Baltimore, host a vigil at Pratt and Light Sts. in the Inner Harbor. Peace signs will be available. See http://www.peacepath911.com/ or write wibbaltimore@hotmail.com or call 410-467-9114.

15] – There is also a noon vigil on Sept. 30 at Roland Park Place at 830 W. 40th St.  Call 410-467-9114.

16] – A vigil for Justice in Palestine/Israel (now in its 8th year) takes place every Friday from noon to 1 PM at 19th & JFK Blvd., Philadelphia (across from Israeli Consulate.  It is sponsored by Bubbies & Zaydes (Grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East. Email cswartz@pil.net. Go to http://phillyjewishpeace.org/.

17] – On the last Friday of the month, join a vigil, Sept. 30, from 5 to 6 PM at Broad & Arch Sts., Philadelphia. It is a Vigil to End the Wars, with a Gold Star Mother for Peace, Celeste Zappala.  Email czappala1@yahoo.com.

 

18] – There is a silent vigil on Fri., Sept. 30 from 5 to 6 PM outside of Homewood Friends Meeting, 3107 N. Charles St., in opposition to war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Placards say: "War Is Not the Answer." The silent vigil is sponsored by AFSC, Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings. 

 

 

19] – American Near East Refugee Aid's Annual Dinner & Fundraiser is on Fri., Sept. 30, starting with a reception at 6 PM, and dinner at 7 PM, at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW.  It will feature comedian Aron Kader. For every dollar you give, over $125 worth of medicines, health care supplies, school books, educational materials and playground equipment are shipped to refugee camps and communities in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. Tickets will not be issued, but a reservation is required. This is a business attire affair.  Write to dinner@anera.org or call 202-266-9713 or go to www.anera.org.

 

20] – The Art of Social Media: FouseyTube will feature Yousef Erakat, and Freedom Theatre, Mustafa Staiti on Fri., Sept. 30 at 6:30 PM at Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St. NW. Tickets are $10, but $7 for students/seniors.  FouseyTube is a YouTube channel that was created by Yousef Erakat, a young Palestinian American living in the Bay area. His channel became an overnight sensation with his first viral video Middle Eastern Parents and Yousef has since kept audiences around the world entertained with his often comedic but always captivating work.

 

The Freedom Theatre – a theatre and cultural centre in Jenin Refugee Camp – is developing the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia in the north of the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the organization continues to grow, develop and expand, enabling the young generation in the area to develop new and important skills which will allow them to build a better future for themselves and for their society.

 

21] – The Walter Reed Vigil Finale takes place on Fri., Sept. 30 from 7 to 9 PM.  The vigil has been happening weekly since March of 2003. It began in response to opposition to the late-night drop offs of wounded soldiers on the lawn of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Seven years later, as Walter Reed prepares to shut its doors, the vigilers are planning their last event there, 7150 Georgia Ave., NW at Horseshoe, between Dahlia and Elder.

Afterwards, there will be a gathering at Ras Hall. 

 

22] – See the film SANKOFA (1993, 124 min), part of an ongoing series Middle Passage: Reflecting on the Legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224, on Fri., Sept. 30 at 7:30 PM.  Haile Gerima's seminal and singularly powerful film portrays a self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa, who is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies. A Q&A will follow with Dr. Leslie King-Hammond with MICA's Center for Race and Culture. Tickets are $10, and $5 for members.  Call 410-276-1651 or go to www.creativealliance.org.

 

23] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at 8 PM.  Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St.  Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be Sept. 30.  Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

24] – Go to the West Baltimore Farmer's Market for fresh fruits, vegetables, breads and other treats every Saturday from 8 to noon.  CPHA has worked with the West Baltimore Marc TOD and Transit Inc. (WBMTTI) to establish a Farmer's Market at the West Baltimore Marc Train stop at Smallwood Road at Franklin and Mulberry Sts.  Since opening in June, over 300 people buy fresh groceries there every Saturday morning. WBMTTI will continue to include the community in the transit-oriented developments on the west side and continue to improve the area around "the highway to nowhere" until it becomes the highway to somewhere. Go to www.cphabaltimore.org.

 

25] – The 2nd Annual Gutierrez Memorial Walk will take on Sat., Oct. 1 through Druid Hill Park in memory of John K. Gutierrez. Enjoy live music, food by Woodberry Kitchen, and beverages by Grand Cru. The proceeds benefit the Gutierrez Memorial Fund, dedicated to supporting the arts in our community. At 10 AM, the fire pit at the Clipper Mill, 2010 Clipper Park Road, will act as the start line for the walk to raise funds to construct the fireplace that John Gutierrez dreamed up before his untimely death in February 2010. Participants will embark on their choice of a two- or five-mile route through Druid Hill Park and will finish back at the pit with a complimentary celebratory lunch, refreshments, and live music around the fire that burns in memory of this beloved local. The requested donation is $35.  Call 410-889-5341 or go to http://www.gutierrezmemorialfund.com.

 

26] Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. in Olney, MD.  The next vigil is Oct. 1. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167. 

 

27] –  Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to www.ccpeace.org. Email ccpeacemovement@aol.com.

 

28] – There is a Day of Remembrance for Troy Davis on Sat., Oct. 1 from 11 AM to 3 PM starting at Tivoli Square, 14th St. and Park ST. NW, WDC.  At noon march to St. Stephens Church, 1525 Newton St. NW.  At 2 PM, march to the White House, carrying a symbolic coffin. Participants will include activists and citizens opposed to the execution of Troy Davis, opposed to the death penalty and opposed to the racist criminal INjustice system, who are grieving, angry and prepared to fight back. Speakers will include, among others, Olympian and activist John Carlos and Dr. Jared Ball.  Email dctroydor@gmail.com.

 

29] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sept. 24. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It.--Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to http://www.quaker.org/langleyhill/seekpeace.htm or email seekpeacevigil@yahoo.com.

 

30] –  Marilyn Corbeille volunteered to head up the Bill Barry for city Council leafleting at The Lauraville Fair on Sat., Oct. 1 from noon to 6 PM.  To help out with the leafleting, be at the corner of Harford Road and Argonne Drive.

 

31] – St. Luke's United Methodist Church presents a production of Church Folks, a send-up of church life, on Sun., Oct. 1 at 8 PM to raise money to install restrooms in its 150-year-old church building. The production features more than 20 cast members from the Baltimore area, dancers and singers put through their paces by director Sherrie Webb. If you've seen Church Folks, you get the gist-all the characters are there. But this script has been altered by producer Raleigh Gillyard for more comedy. The production is at Reisterstown United Methodist Church, 246 Main St. A silent auction takes place at 6 PM, buffet-style dinner at 6:30 PM.  The ticket prices are as follows: $35, ages 13-17 $20, and children ages 5-12 $10.

 

32] – "Here Comes Trouble: An Evening with Michael Moore" in support of the release of his latest book, "Here Comes Trouble: Stories of My Life," Michael Moore will visit and discuss his life and career at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick on Sun., Oct. 1 at 7 PM.  Ticket prices are $10, but students get in for $8.  Call 301-600-2828.  Go to http://www.weinbergcenter.org/.

 

33] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore, MD 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  Call 410-581-2322 or visit the website to be sure at www.baltimoreethicalsociety.org.

 

34] – Maryland Bridges for Peace welcomes you to stand for peace Sundays from noon (or thereabouts) to 1 PM on the Spa Creek Bridge in Annapolis.  Contact Lucy at 410-263-7271 or mdbridgesforpeace@toadmail.com. Signs are not allowed to be on a stick or pole.   If there is interest, people will be standing on the Stoney Creek Bridge on Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena [410-437-5379 or magicalgodmom@aol.com]. Go to http://BridgePeace.blogspot.com/

 

35] – The Progressive Working Group Invites Your Organization to attend a Strategy Session to help develop legislation for 2012.  The strategy session takes place on Sun., Oct. 2, 1:30 to 3:30 PM, at the Wheaton Regional Library, 11701 Georgia Ave., Wheaton 20902.  RSVP to Norm Oslik at noslik@verizon.net.

 

36] – Every Sunday, 4 to 5 PM, there is a Quaker Peace Vigil at Independence Mall, N. side of Market between 5th and 6th Sts., Philadelphia. Call 215-421-5811.

 

37] –SEARCHING FOR PALESTINIAN GANDHIS: PAST & PRESENT will feature MUBARAK AWAD and GANDHIS FROM GAZA on Sun., Oct. 2 from 5 to 7 PM at Busboys & Poets, 5th & K Sts. The event is sponsored by the: Palestinian Gandhi Project.  Dr. Awad is the founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem. He was deported by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1988 after being jailed for organizing activities involving nonviolent civil disobedience. Dr. Awad has since formed Nonviolence International, which works with various movements and organizations across the globe.

 

To be continued.

 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs