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IBEW Strikes Dominion Power in Virginia and North Carolina

07.08.2002 22:28

Picket line striking Dominion Power On Friday, August 2, about 3500 workers from Dominion Power went out on strike for the first time in 38 years. This strike involves workers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 50 from North Carolina and Virginia, and targets Dominion Power, one of the main beneficiaries from the energy deregulation of the 1990s. This strike came one day after the final passage of 'fast track', which was opposed by the IBEW.

The IBEW is walking the picket line in 100-degree heat to defend their retirement and health benefits from the corporate ax. Dominion management provoked the strike last Thursday when they walked away from the table after an insulting final offer, which included upping the workers' health care costs and covering only generic drugs.

The level of support for this strike-both from the workers in the union and passersby-has been terrific, especially since both states affected by the strike are anti-union "right-to-work" states. The company has combated this solidarity by attempting to pull off a full scale scab operation. Moreover, this strike in one of Washington's power corridors has provoked the interest of the Bush administration, which has pressured Dominion to settle the strike.  After a weekend storm, the company announced a return to the bargaining table late on August 5.
 



March Unites Workers from Three Nations

06.08.2002 17:51

Marching workers in Porto Alegre On August 3, a workers' march (pt) was held in the state of Rio Grande do Sul of Brasil to an international bridge in the city of Uruguayana, which separates Brasil from Argentina. About eight thousand persons participated in the event, held in a cold rain. Participating unions included the CUT, the PIT-CNT (Central Uruguayan) and CTA ( Central Argentine), the MTD (Movement of Dismissed Workers), and others. The marchers were barred (pt) by the Argentine Army and Brasilian Federal Police from crossing the Amizade (Friendship) Bridge when arriving in Uruguayana.

The central demand of the march was the rejection(pt) of the ALCA (FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas). It also protested for self-determination, and against unemployment rates in the region, the withdrawl of civil liberties, the delivery (pt) of the Alcantara aerospace center from the U.S., located in the state of Maranhao near the Amazon rainforest.



Fighting Nuclear Testing and Waste in Western U.S.

06.08.2002 01:23

May 2002 Protest at NTS For sixty years, ancestral lands of indigenous peoples have been used for testing nuclear weapons, experimenting with biological and chemical warfare agents, incinerating and burying hazardous wastes, and mining uranium. The Nevada (Nuclear) Test Site (NTS) is part of a continued illegal corporate and military occupation of the Western Shoshone Nation, Newe Sogobia. The Department of Energy has exploded plutonium, called a subcritical test, at NTS 17 times since 1997, leaving radioactive substances in the ground that filters into the largest aquifer in Southern Nevada.

Yucca Mountain and Skull Valley are currently targeted as the only national nuclear waste dumps for nuclear power plants. Plans are in place to begin the shipment of over 77,000 tons of deadly spent nuclear fuel rods and weapons waste to Newe Sogobia. If the recently approved Yucca Mountain dump isn't stopped, nuclear waste will travel through 43 states, increasing risks of radiation exposure to millions.

October marks the tenth anniversary of the U.S. moratorium on full-scale nuclear weapons tests. In honor of the anniversary and in resistance, the Shundahai Network is organizing the Action for Nuclear Abolition in Nevada. The campaign will kick off with the Family Spirit Walk for Mother Earth and conclude with ongoing nonviolent occupations, blockades and other actions.



Anti-GMO Activism Heating Up in England

04.08.2002 21:49

A convoy of people from Devon traveled to London on Wedensday, July 24, joined on route by other concerned citizens from all over the country. Converging at Westminster, they voiced a message of public resistance to the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops. The latest round of GM crop trials, which are almost complete, have been contaminating the environment in England for nearly three years.

More than 150 people held a colourful and peaceful demonstration [ video ] at the DEFRA offices in Smiths Square, London. They left large bags of GM crops from trial sites around Britain at the entrance, and called for no commercial growing of GM crops and an end to GM crop trials.

More than a week later, a GM maize crop field trial was picked and destroyed by twelve local campaigners in the town of Wivenhoe, Colchester. The action began after midnight on the morning of August 1. Two of the pickers were arrested later after delivering crops to the local police station as an indictment of the growers.



Efecto domino - la crisis argentina se expande

03.08.2002 07:13

Map of South America - Read the English translation of this feature.
-Leia a traducao portuguese deste artigo.
- Lesen Sie die deutsche Ubersetzung dieses Beitrags.

America Latina se encuentra convulsionada por una crisis estructural sin antecedentes. Desde diciembre, el supuesto pais modelo del FMI, Argentina, enfrienta una crisis politica y economica que mobiliza la populacion en assebleas, cortes de ruta y protestas. Mirando la fallencia de aquel que una vez fue un de los paises mas ricos del mundo, Peru y Paraguay dicen no a la privatizacion de las empresas estatales en manifestaciones populares fuertemente reprimidas con violencia y suspension de los derechos civiles. En Uruguay el confisco de los ahorros de las bancas Estatales fueron seguidos por saqueos a supermercados y prisiones. La tasa de desempleo llega al 18%, y el presidente Balle busca 1,5 billiones de dollares en un acuerdo de credito con el FMI

Brasil (portugues) mira horrorizado la suba de 50% del dolar en los ultimos seis meses y negocia con el FMI un plan economico para los proximos dos anos aunque haya elleciones presidenciales en octubre. Se intenta acalmar la tension divulgando la llegada de Paul O'Neill secretario del tesoro nortemaricano el domingo a Rio de Janeiro. Despues de la visita al gobierno brasileno, O'Neill sigue para Argentina y Uruguay, pressurando la adaptacion de los paises a los articulos de ALCA. Mientrazs eso desde Ecuador movimientos sociales envian la carta de critica a la globalizacion neoliberal para el 2nd Summit of the Presidents of South America, y en Bolivia Evo Morales surprende la oligarchia del MNR. En Venezuela, Chavez, recuperase del Golpe de Estado de abril con constantes enfrentamientos entre manifestantes y policias.



Hundreds Demonstrate in Montreal Against Deportations

02.08.2002 20:32

Demonstration Against Mandatory Deportations of Algerians in Montreal Hundreds of people took to the streets on July 26th in Montreal [ 1 | 2 | video ] to resist the pending deportation of over 1000 Algerians living in Montreal. On April 5th, Citizenship & Immigration Canada lifted a five-year-old moratorium on Algeria. This change in Canada's immigration policy, puts hundreds of Algerians at the imminent risk of being deported to Algeria. The demonstration highlighted this pending crisis and put forth two clear demands: reinstatement of the moratorium on deportations from Canada to Algeria and regularisation of all non-status people in Canada whatever their country of origin.

The demonstration was organized [ francais ] by le Comite d'action des sans-statut and supported by over 20 other Montreal based groups and organizations [ francais ] was a step forward in a larger campaign to build resistance to the inhuman and racist deportations facing non-status Algerians living in Montreal. The streets were filled with passion in chants like "No Border, No Nation, Stop the Deportations" and larger banners reading "Tear Down the Borders."



When Hunger is the Law, Looting is Legitimized

02.08.2002 14:15

Looting Food in Montevideo, Uruguay More than 13 supermarkets were looted in poor neighborhoods of Montevideo today to the shouts of "we are hungry." Riot police were dispersed throughout the city, shooting rubber bullets at people as they tried to get food. The Minister of the Interior has called for "people to remain peaceful," but to whom does he speak? The families of children who so hungry they eat grass in the schoolyard? Uruguay's crisis exploded this week when the government ordered all banks to remain closed, preventing people from getting whatever money they have saved. Fears of "another Argentina" are sending tremors through Uruguay, as the people prepare to enter another phase of their long battle against neoliberalism.

Covering the collapse of an economy amid active resistance and struggle to create a new society takes resources. The Uruguay IMC is in urgent need of donations of equipment and money.



Ruptures Ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development

01.08.2002 16:43

World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2) Logo Eyesores threatening to mar South Africa's global image as simpering champion of self-denial in sustainable development are being hurriedly and brutally bandaged ahead of the United Nations' descent on Johannesburg. In the Western Cape, poor families have been suffering Apartheid-style relocation to houses better fitting their means, nonchalantly called 'right-sizing'. One pensioner forcibly removed from his home in Mandela Park died as a result of his eviction to a kennel in Thubelitsha, while refugee crises continue throughout Africa.

However, communities are resisting the crackdown on poverty; the Broadlands Park Concerned Residents in Cape Town has rallied to defend the community, and residents of Thembelihle are still fighting off the hated 'Red Ants', the Johannesburg municipality's mercenaries. The Anti-Eviction campaigns are continuing, as well.

Platforms for formal unity are being stitched for a convergence of movements during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Landless People's Movement is building towards an international Landless People's Assembly in a campaign for Land! Food! Jobs! involving other campaigns huddled under the Civil Society Indaba. In a country where an arch-conservative has been selected to review land claims with the South African Human Rights Commission, the campaign stands pitted against the government. A march for land reform and justice in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, July 13 launched another of what will become even more frequent challenges to so-called 'land reform' in South Africa. The Anti-Privatisation Forum, a movement tied to the Indaba but with a focus on urban struggles, is meanwhile continuing to woo municipal workers' support, backing their two-week strike for a living wage.



Corporate Whitewash Continues as Public Anger Mounts

01.08.2002 01:52

Protests of Corporate Corruption on Wall Street George W. Bush signed the so-called /a>Corporate Crime Bill into law in the U.S. on Tuesday, July 30, but does it really go far enough in protecting people from corrupt corporations? Some critics don't think so. The bill does not address critical issues such as stock options, corporate charter revocation, and other forms of oversight and operations.

The issue of corporate charters and their revocation has as long a history as that of the robber barons whose criminal actions brought hardship and ruin to countless families in the past. There is a growing movement to ensure that constitutional rights are applied to human beings before corporations, but few charters have been challenged or revoked as of yet.

The same day, hundreds of union members rallied [ 1 ] on Wall Street to protest the recent corporate scandals. AFL/CIO President John Sweeney compared CEOs to "21st century corporate pirates" as a kick-off initiative to influence the fall elections.



Microsoft Plans &quot;Secure Computing&quot; Initiative

31.07.2002 17:16

Microsoft Corp., the company that is responsible for the vast majority of computer security problems (viruses, easily cracked backdoors, etc.) is preparing a digital "remote control" system called Palladium as a solution to security problems. While this may sound useful, Palladium would be the most invasive, restrictive, and anti-competitive system ever devised.

Under Palladium, files ranging personal internet history to even hard disk contents could be remotely scanned for and deleted. Websites deemed "insecure" would be blockable as well to Palladium-enabled computes. Leaks would become a thing of the past, as government bodies and corporations could use Palladium to make their documents unreadable on other computers.

This system, also known as the "Trusted Computing Platform Alliance" (TCPA), would threaten free and open source software. The Digital Milleniup Copyright Act (DMCA) made reverse engineering systems such as Palladium illegal, which makes the development of a GPL version nearly impossible.



Doctors Without Borders Demand 'Access to Essential Medicine'

31.07.2002 00:43

Doctors Without Borders Truck in Portland Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that works in over 85 countries, tending to the poorest of the poor in places that have been ravaged by war, disease, and environmental disaster. Each year, more than 2,500 medical professionals and support staff join more than 15,000 locally hired staff in delivering emergency medical care. MSF received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

Malaria, tuberculosis, sleeping sickness, and kala azar are some of the treatable diseases that kill millions each year in the developing world. The death toll would be lower if Western pharmaceutical companies invested more research and development funds into drugs and treatments but the profit margin is considered too low. In other cases, the Trade-Related Intellectual Property agreement (TRIPs) in the WTO forbids countries from manufacturing the drugs for themselves. MFS is touring the United States and Europe to highlight this ongoing tragedy. The tour educates people on the work of MSF and is promoting a signature campaign that demands more funds - both public and private - for the drugs and treatments that are desperately needed.

The Expo visited Portland, Oregon from July 25-27, and will be in Seattle, Washington from Aug. 1-4. Over the summer and fall it will travel across the rest of the U.S.



As U.S. Prepares for War on Iraq, a Former UN Official Speaks

30.07.2002 11:48

Protesting War on Iraq in Milwaukee U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has scheduled hearings on war plans for Iraq. They are to be held on Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1, just before the Senate takes summer recess. These hearings will be the first public congressional debate on the Bush administration's plans to attack Iraq. These hearings could be used to further these war preparations by only calling pro-invasion witnesses, or by the asking of superficial questions.

Last week, Mr. Hans von Sponeck, the former UN Humanitatarian Coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest of the sanctions policy, spoke in Madison, Wisconsin about the situation in Iraq [ audio and video ]. Other speakers included Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness, and Free Speech Radio News reporter Jeremy Scahill, both of whom discussed the devastating effects of economic sanctions on the Iraqi people.

Despite his experiences, von Sponeck has not yet been invited to speak at the Senate hearings. For more information, read an overview of the issues, listen to an interview with von Sponeck about the hearings, listen to an interview with Scott Ritter, a former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, and read an article about Scahill's experiences in the city of Basra.



A Small Farming Community Defends Itself

29.07.2002 23:08

The coffin of Jose Enrique Espinoza Juárez, being carried during his funeral this past Wednesday, July 24. Noticias en espanol:
Haga un 'click' aqui.

This past Wednesday, on July 24, Jose Enrique Espinoza Juarez died as a result of injuries that he sustained at the hands of the police during a peaceful caravan that was attacked on July 11 with tear gas, clubs, plastic shields and even live ammunition. Espinoza's death was the first casualty of a community based movement that is trying to save their farmlands from being destroyed by the Mexican government.

The movement is based out of San Salvador Atenco, where for nine months now, campesinos (farmers), ejidatarios (owners of common farming lands) and residents of the pueblos (rural communities)of Atenco, Acuexcomac, Magdalena Panoaya and Tocuila have battled it out with the federal government over its announced plans to destroy the ejidos (commonly owned farmlands) to make way for a new airport to service Mexico City.

The Atenco struggle is often characterized as a vital litmus test of the ability of a community-based movement to be able to stop another neo-liberal project serving the interests of a few, powerful and wealthy businesses. The administration of President Vicente Fox has a plethora of such projects, including the lofty Plan Puebla Panama, a plan to privatize the nationalized energy industry, and support for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

For more information on the Atenco struggle, click here to go to a page with pictures and a table with links to further articles. If you are interested in supporting the struggle, contact the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra. (email)



'Pope Squat' Established in Toronto

29.07.2002 21:50

'Pope Squat' in Toronto On Thursday, July 25th, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and their allies occupied an abandoned building located at 1510 King Street West in the Parkdale area of Toronto. The building was renamed the 'Pope Squat' as a method of connecting the World Youth Day visit of Pope John Paul II in Toronto and the pursuit of social justice. On July 26, there was a brief police raid related to allegations of a firearm on the premises.

Across Ontario, the Tenant Protection Act put in place by the Tory government of former Premier Mike Harris has put affordable housing out of reach for thousands within the province. Through removing rent controls and giving landlords increased powers to evict tenants, rents throughout the province have skyrocketed (20% in Toronto), plunging many, especially women, into poverty. With a current vacancy rate of only 0.6 % and all social housing programs virtually stopped by the Tory government, the numbers of homeless people in Toronto has been steadily increasing. OCAP representatives plan [ audio ] to continue pressuring the Toronto government on the issue.

More information can be found in the 'Pope Squat' Blind Spot Special Edition (pdf), in photos [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], audio reports [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], and video [ 1 | 2 ] about the continuing squat.



Hundreds of Families Occupy Land in Osasco

29.07.2002 01:32

Camp Anita Garibaldi in Brasil Early in the morning of July 27, more than 400 families, some coming from Greater Sao Paulo, occupied a large area of land in the region of Osasco. The fifty hectare (0.5 square km) is in a wealthy area, adjacent to a golf course and luxury condominiums. The space was formerly an informal dump for garbage and abandoned automobiles. Police arrived shortly later attempting to restrain the action, but were blockaded at the two access points to the land.

The MTST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto - Movement of Workers Without Living Spaces), MLP (Movimento de Luta Popular - Movement for a Popular Struggle, and Resistencia Popular helped organize the community. The space is being organized collectively through commissions and relies upon the solidarity of the neighborhood. Approximately 80 inhabitants of the MST Anita Garibaldi camp in the region of Guarulhos helped support the Osasco action. New families continue to arrive at the site, and by July 28, more than 600 families were living there.

Read reports (en Portuguese) about the action [ 1 | 2 ], and view video about the Anita Garibaldi site.



Critical Mass Rides Again in July

28.07.2002 19:19

Critical Mass in NYC Critical Mass cyclists took to the streets of cities around the world Friday, July 26 to reclaim public space and push for alternatives to oil-dependent cars. The growing phenomenon takes place on the last Friday of every month in a ritual that highlights the increasing power of pro-people globalization.

Read reports in English from New York City, Portland (Oregon), Minneapolis, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and in Portuguese from Brazil. Additional reports are available here.



Enron and India's Electricity Infrastructure

28.07.2002 03:48

While the fact that US citizens have recently lost jobs and retirement funds is apparently a story the corporate media cannot ignore, Enron's track record prior to its spectacular collapse is shocking and rarely makes headline news even now, as reported by the Seattle IMC.

Enron helped create thousands of environmental refugees in India, where they pushed through development of the Dabhol power project. India's Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) guaranteed $30 Billion (US) in payment to Enron for building the project. Now, after Enron's collapse, the project is apparently closed, and the people who lost their land are demanding its return.

On January 25, 1999, Human Rights Watch published an 166 page book documenting extensive human rights abuses in connection with the construction of the project. Relocation of villagers and towns affected by the project never occured, and the completed dam projects have only produced 20% of the projected electricity output projected. Despite India's long history of popular resistance to dam projects (Narmada and Koel-Karo among others), plans for more are in the works.

For more background on the rest of the Enron story that the major media is not covering, including George Bush's long history of working to globalize Enron's destructive potential, read Pratap Chatterjee's article, Global Gospel of Gas (Jan. 98).



Fast Track Trade Authority Passed in Dead of Night

27.07.2002 05:08

Marchers Say No to Fast Track

After more than a year of lobbying, a single vote passage in the U.S. House on December 6, 2001, and passage in the Senate this June, House Republicans along with numerous "free trade" House and Senate Democrats pushed through a conference committee version of fast track for a vote on Friday, July 26. Debate opened on H.R. 3009 at 2 am EDT on Saturday, July 27, and the bill was passed at 3:30 am EDT. The final vote tally was 215 to 212, with 25 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.

Corporate oligarchs and their friends in the U.S. government lobbied aggresively for fast track authority in order to move ahead with the next round of WTO negotiations and the FTAA/ALCA. This bill, surrendering Congressional authority to the Bush Administration, was rushed to a final vote while giving House members less than eight hours to study the final bill.

This legislation gives George W. Bush five years of "trade promotion authority" (aka fast track), that endangers workers' rights, threatens environmental protections, and undermines laws against the discrimination of women and the exploitation of children worldwide. Viewed as nothing short of class warfare and consolidation of corporate power by many of its critics, an intense effort was made to defeat the legislation.



Bordercamp Grows Despite Ban on Protests

26.07.2002 20:49

No Borders in Strasbourg All actions and demonstrations relating to the bordercamp in Strasbourg were declared illegal on Wednesday, July 24. That day, a demonstration for freedom of movement was attacked with pepper spray, baton charges and tear gas, with more than ten arrests and multiple injured protestors. The ban of assembly was enforced on July 25 when media activists from the Publix Theatre Caravan and Indymedia were removed from the Strasbourg city center. Demonstrations have continued despite the ban, however, with prison solidarity actions and street theater.

This camp initiated by the NoBorder network, and organized by activists from across Europe. It opened on July 19, and has included demonstrations, workshops, and discussions around the central demand of 'Freedom of Movement and Settlement' for all persons. The camp's goal is to bring together activists, migrants and artists from across Europe in a laboratory of creative resistance and civil disobedience.

Read reports and view photos from the camp - July 22 [ 1 | 2 | photos ] - July 23 [ 1 | 2 ] - July 24 [ 1 | 2 | 3 | photos ] - July 25 [ 1 | 2 | 3 | photos | video ] - July 26 [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]

The camp is producing a radio station, while more streams are availble [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]. More Indymedia coverage on the noborder movement is available from Athens (gr), Barcelona (ct / es), Belgium (nl / fr), Brasil (pt), Finland (fi), Germany (de), Italy (it), Madrid (es), Melbourne (en), Norway (no), Sweden (se), Thessaloniki (gr), and UK Global Features (en).



Argentines Protest Visit of IMF &quot;Notables&quot;

26.07.2002 10:35

Protecting Argentina from the IMF? On Monday, July 22, four current and former bank directors representing the International Monetary Fund (IMF/FMI) began meetings at a hotel in Buenos Aires to discuss the Argentine banking system and economic crisis. The representatives, portrayed as "the commission of notables," perhaps to downplay their connections to the IMF, include Andrew Crockett, director of the standard-setting BIS, Hans Tietmeyer, Luis Angel Rojo and John Crow, former directors of the central banks of Germany, Spain, and Canada, respectively.

The IMF, as well as the Duhalde governement and Argentine banks, are demanding Argentina to freeze the bank savings of millions of persons for conversion into unspecified bonds, as well as other 'austerity' measures including the reversal of judicial orders, in order to release billions of dollars in withheld loans.

More than 10,000 people, including piqueteros, workers, and retirees protested the arrival of the "notables" and their policy demands. They marched [ 1 | 2 ] from the Obelisco to a Sheraton Hotel surrounded by riot police, demanding that the IMF representatives leave the country immediately. One speaker demanded that "the only thing the IMF must take is Duhalde and all the politicians who in the last twenty years operated and sacked the country, in complicity with the multinationals."




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