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Washington State Labor Council Passes First Statewide Anti-War Resolution

02.09.2002 15:25

The anti-war movement gained a significant victory last week when the first statewide labor resolution against the war on terror was overwhelmingly passed at the Washington State Labor Council convention.

The resolution, titled "A Resolution Against the War, Attacks on Civil Liberties and Cuts in Public Services," calls for a campaign to repeal the Patriot Act, applied pressure on local and state law enforcement agencies to end their cooperation with FBI 'anti-terrorist' surveillance measures, and the immediate release of immigrants who are being held in the U.S. without due process and/or legal justification.

The American Federations of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 304 from Seattle introduced the resolution, after being proposed by rank and file members active in the Freedom Socialist Party. Passage of the resolution is the culmination of work by many, including San Francisco's Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, New York City Labor Against the War, and Seattle's Organized Labor Against the War. A similar resolution, co-sponsored by AFSCME Locals 304 and Local 2626 (Los Angeles), garnered about 1,000 votes at the national AFSCME convention in June 2002 and saw the creation of AFSCME Workers Against the War.

Workers Struggle as Labor Day Arrives in U.S. and Canada

02.09.2002 02:03

United Farm Workers Rally in Sacremento on August 25 While Mayday is considered the real day to honor working persons in most of the world, in the U.S. and Canada the holiday is celebrated in September. For the most part, the day's significance is currently lost to retail sales and just another long weekend. As far as the corporate ruling class is concerned, this works to their advantage.

However, the labor movement in the U.S., while diminished, is far from dead. The ongoing critical struggle of the ILWU longshore workers and their supporters is a classic example of corporations and government colluding against workers. Labor disputes loom among janitors', clerical workers' [ 1 | 2 ], and others in the U.S., and of grocery workers, grain workers, and others. A recent farmworkers march across California demonstrates the growing strength of labor in the face of corporate agribusiness.

The line between working families in the U.S. and ruling class corporate interests are more sharply defined than ever. Threats to union organizing are increasing daily, but go unreported by the corporate and 'public' media. The Bush regime has shown its disdain for working citizens through a seemingly endless series of corporate-friendly actions. Despite all his rhetoric the man from Big Oil and his government and corporate handlers are enemies of working people everywhere.

Past Indymedia coverage of labor in North America in recent months has included an August 12 feature on the ILWU contract dispute and union-busting by the U.S. government, an August 7 feature on an IBEW strike in Virginia and North Carolina, a July 31 feature on corporate corruption, a July 27 feature on the passage of 'fast track', a July 4 feature on a municipal worker strike in Toronto, and June 30 feature on organizing on the West Coast.

From Alexandra to Sandton; Apartheid to the IMF

31.08.2002 06:44

UN-corporated After a week of meetings by lower-level governmental officials from 191 countries at the WSSD in the suburb of Sandton, formal UN documents will be agreed upon and signed by heads of state next week, amid the corporate takeover of the United Nations and widespread opinions that the summit is a failure. In surrounding townships, the mass marches planned for August 31 in Johannesburg are taking shape, with two responses to the summit.

The Landless People's Movement and Social Movements Indaba will march together from Alexandra-East Bank to Sandton, protesting the illegitimate WSSD and the capitalist system embodied by the UN, international financial institutions, and African manifestations in the form of NEPAD and GEAR. Meanwhile, the Global Forum, including the ANC-COSATU-SACP alliance, the South African Council of Churches, and the South African National NGO Coalition, will march from Alexandra Stadium to Sandton with a more conciliatory message. Disagreement between these and others critical of the summit has centered around the participation of the ANC, questions about violence, policy prescriptions, and the timidity of large NGOs.

Solidarity actions [ 1 | 2 ], both local and international [ 1 ] over the last week have helped to curtail repression against dissent that has been reminiscent of Apartheid. Unprecedented support for new social movements has led to the release of detained prisoners, the granting of permission for marches outside of the legally approved 'struggle pen' in Sandton, and the growth of the international opposition to corporate globalization.

On September 1, corporations are holding a 'Business Day' at the WSSD to continue their PR offensive portraying themselves as 'responsible' organizations. In response, people across the planet have organizec Global Day of Action on August 31 against the corporate control and privatization, and in solidarity with the marchers in Johannesburg. Actions are planned in Amsterdam [ 1 ], Copenhagen, Timosoara, Perth, Bogota, Ghana, Brighton, London, Tokyo, and elsewhere.

For more information, read a three part report [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] on the WSSD from the LA IMC, and past global coverage [ August 29 | August 28 | August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Spanish Government Outlaws Basque Political Party

30.08.2002 23:59

On August 26, a Spanish judge issued an order to suspend Batasuna, a Basque left separtist party. This ruling was on the basis that it is part of ETA (Basque Fatherland and Freedom). ETA is an armed group fighting for an independent Basque nation, and has been declared a terrorist organization by the Spanish and other governments.

The order closed all official Batasuna offices, and prohibited the party from political organization or activities. It also seeks to shut down the party's website, which could be the first case of an internet site to be closed by the Spanish government. The decision is based on Article 129 in the Spanish penal code, which was designed for private associations, and does not mention political parties. Simultaneously, the Spanish Parliament passed a law (pdf) banning Batasuna if it does not publicly renounce ETA bombings. This measure has been criticized as a breach on fundamental rights in the Spanish constitution. Moreover, the three parties governing the Basque autonomous region have opposed the law.

Batasuna has polled around 10% of the votes representing nearly 48,000 voters in Navarra, and about 143,000 in the Basque Autonomous Region. The party is also present in northern Basque regions under French administration. Polls show a split between Spanish and Basque public opinion, with Spanish public opinion supporting the law by a vast majority while a majority of Basques oppose it.

The same day, police closed offices of the party, triggering violent clashes between Batasuna supporters and both national police and the Basque autonomous police. Other offices belonging to the Basque Prisoners Relatives' Association and the Association Against Torture were shut down as well.

More Indymedia coverage is available from Barcelona [ ... minoria il-legalitza minoria... ], Madrid [ En la lógica de la guerra global: la ilegalización de Batsuna ] , Italy [ Batasuna e' Fuori Legge ], and Uruguay [ Batasuna ilegal en España ].

Paramilitaries Execute Two Zapatistas

30.08.2002 16:24

Funeral in Chiapas Two campesinos from EZLN support bases were assassinated by paramilitary groups in the morning of August 25 in ranchería Amaytik at the independent municipality Olga Isabel. The newspaper La Jornada has reported on the previously announced assassination of two Zapatistas in the Ricardo Flores Magón Autonomous Municipality. The 'official' version, released on August 26 by the State Prosecutor's Office, and widely refuted by residents of the area, is that it was due to an infamous "family" dispute.

These are the second and third deaths of residents of the bases of support of the EZLN in recent days. Every day this seems more and more like a coordinated operation of the diverse paramilitary groupings that operate in the forest and the Northern zone to harass and intimidate the communities in resistance. The murders happenednear an operational base of the Mexican Army, leading many to believe that the government is complicit.

There has been a deployment of Army troops - unprecedented since December of 2000 - into the cañadas of the Selva Lacandona. Yesterday, hundreds of troops moved into the extreme northern parts of the Selva, including tanks and armored vehicles. Autonomous municipalities have reported several other remarkable troop movements in the area over the last 36 hours.

Human rights organizations mobilized at least three brigades of observers from San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Ocosingo and Chilón to head to the scene of the assassinations. The recent movements of the Army towards the interior of the gorges and the north, ostensibly to stem the paramilitary violence, seem rather to have stimulated it. The murders were perpetrated by paramilitaries under the control of the governing party in the region, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Discuss this feature, with more coverage en español is available at the Argentina CMI and the Madrid IMC.

Struggles Silenced at the WSSD

29.08.2002 20:09

Stop Electricity Cut-Offs; No to Privatisation! With two days to go before the march to Sandton, intolerance towards dissent is increasingly apparent. This is occuring not only in the form of police repression, but within the media as well. The corporate media has been working with the intelligence agencies and other government officials in circulating misinformation aimed at demobilizing mass movements rejecting the neoliberal agenda of the WSSD, and at justifying the excessive use of force, unjustified arrests, torture, and a flawed legal system.

Movements refusing to submit have become the targets of this misinformation, mass arrests of members, and general police intimidation. On August 27, the APF office in Johannesburg was visited by the head of the South African National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The same day, the Landless People's Movement was staked out by 19 police 'hippos' (Apartheid-era township tanks) while launching its Landless People's Assembly. However, despite these open attacks on the movements of the poor, they continue their commitment to expose the corporatization of development, and the South African government's cosmetic gesturing at improving the lives of the most marginalized.

Protests are continuing [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] to be held, while solidarity actions have already been held in Toronto [ 1 | 2 ], Buenos Aires [ 1 ], London [ 1 | video ], Lunenburg, Germany [ 1 | 2 ], and elsewhere. These actions are in preparation for the newly-permitted march Social Movements Indaba march from Alexandra to Sandton and the Global Day of Action on August 31.

More information is available at previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 28 | August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

WSF in Argentina: Same Structure, Same Criticism

29.08.2002 03:21

Opening protest at the Argentina Social Forum After four days of discussion, activities, and marches, the first (es) international Social Forum in Argentina was concluded on August 25 [ 1 ]. An estimated 5,000 people convened in the Plaza Houssey to listen to the forum’s opening remarks. The forum attracted numerous participants (es), including members of the CTA (Argentina's central labor union), various NGOs, intellectuals and activists, and community members, setting the theme of "the crises of the neoliberal model and the challenges of the global social justice movement." There were also many forum speakers and attendees from across South America, including Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador. Two of the major topics dicussed and organized against in the forum included the FTAA/ALCA and Plan Colombia.

Criticisms of the meetings largely centered around concerns (es) that radical perspectives were not included within the forum's debate. "Those who are organizing the forum are from intellectual sectors connected to the democratic institutional establishment who are defending the system, and want to change things a little bit but not a lot; reform is the objective," critiqued Marcel, a journalist with a counter-information collective, Argentina Arde.

For more information, read an English language summary about the Forum, listen to audio reports en espanol from the meetings [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 ], and past coverage, including August 12 and August 6 features about anti-FTAA protests in Brasil, and an August 3 feature about the IMF contagion across Latin America.

Orange Farm, ESKOM, and the WSSD

28.08.2002 15:06

Protest at Orange Farm The South African electricity company ESKOM is a major sponsor of the WSSD, and has worked diligently with the ANC government and multilateral business institutions to increase corporate influence in the meetings, while portraying itself as responsible in its growing African business. It is linked to the the recently established South African Business Co-ordination Forum (BCF), a business body that is working closely with the BASD in the preparations for the summit. The company also has an increasingly negative record of abusing poor electricity users across South Africa. Campaigns against these abuses and the proposed privatization of the company have been growing for years.

Most recently, anger and determination to act is growing among the residents of Orange Farm as members of the ANC Youth League and Sanco, subcontracted by ESKOM, continue to spy on their neighbors, seize electricity boxes, and extort bribes from their fellow community members in the case of "illegal" consumption. The population of Orange Farm, a poor community on the outskirts of Johannesburg, recognizes that eight years after the first democratic elections, the government has failed to deliver free basic services as promised.

Rather, living conditions have worsened as water and electricity cut-offs now occur on a regular basis. With an alarming unemployment rate of 75%, households are not in a position to purchase pre-paid electricity cards and many have resorted to bridging electricity boxes. ESKOM's strategy has been implemented under the banner of job creation and one might wonder about the ethical implications of the company's contribution to poverty alleviation.

More information is available at previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Blair's Junket to Rio + 10

28.08.2002 01:37

UK PM Tony Blair Slimmed down from 100 to 70, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's junket to Johannesburg contains a number of his corporate cronies, including Bill Alexander, chief executive of Thames Water, Sir Robert Wilson, executive chairman of mining company Rio Tinto, and Chris Fay, non-executive director of Anglo American, another of the world's mining giants. The three companies known to be on junket have been involved in a number of high-profile and damaging accusations over their environmental record. Criticisms of the delegation that began weeks ago are being confirmed as the summit begins.

Thames Water, the largest water company in the UK with 12 million customers, has been prosecuted by the UK Government's Environment Agency watchdog for pollution on more than 20 occasions since 1996. It has also been fiercely criticised in the past for operating in Indonesia while President Suharto was in power. Rio Tinto, the largest mining conglomerate in the world, has a poor environmental record worldwide,  and is currently pursing a uranium mine at a World Heritage Site in Australia. Mining giant Anglo American has been embroiled concerning planned operations in Peru and pollution in Zambia. The company, once a pillar of apartheid South Africa, has left behind a legacy of billions of dollars of damage to the envrionment and communities around Johannesburg itself, and is only beginning to respond to community pressure demanding AIDS treatment for employees.

A leaked EU report shows why they are going. Privatization of services under GATS is on the table in Sandton, as well as an opportunity for business to cleanse its image. Meanwhile, most South Africans will continue to confront the effects of these policies cutting of water and electricity to millions of persons, as the privatized Earth Summit in Sandton celebrates itself.

More information is available at previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Crisis and Action in Nablus

27.08.2002 13:55

Boxes of food aid to Nablus

As of June 21st, the Israeli army imposed a 24/7 curfew and closure on the approximately 200,000 residents of Nablus, the surrounding villages, and refugee camps. The Israeli army has conducted mass arrests of males and military actions against suspected militants as they attempt to ensure no witnesses are present. For more than two years, the mental and physical consequences to the civilian Palestinian population from Israeli military incursions have been almost completely ignored. However, after more than 60 days of constant closure, curfew, and military actions, tell-tale signs of exasperation have become obvious in the population.

For a few days last month, the citizens of Nablus have taken to the streets en masse. This has not been to protest, but to demonstrate by living everyday life. The army quickly tightened its control, though, children have found a sort of escape by claiming a piece of sky with stylized kites. Furthermore, this past Saturday, August 24, the Israeli group Tayyush joined Palestinians and Internationals attempting to defy the curfew by sending a convoy including hundreds of activists, food, and medicine. Only four activists were allowed into Nablus where they delivered the aid.

Past coverage includes an August 14 feature on Taayush, and an August 13 feature on Nablus.

Social Movements Indaba Marches Against Repression

26.08.2002 22:27

Candlelit March for Freedom on 8/23 Marchers gathered at Wits University on the afternoon of August 24 under the banner of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF). A teach-in at Wits University, organised by the International Forum on Globalisation (IFG), culminated in a march [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]  where APF protesters were joined by conference delegates, including Trevor Ngwane, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Njoki Njehu, Tony Clarke, Vandana Shiva, and Oscar Olivera. The APF and Social Movements Indaba-led demonstration planned to march towards Johannesburg Central Prison (the old John-Vorster-Square, which had been renamed earlier that day to 'Thabo-Mbeki-John-Vorster-Square') to protest against recent apartheid-style arrests by the government. Those arrested include protesters from the Landless People's Movement involved in Wednesday's and Thursday's marches to Premiere Shilowa's office, arrested journalists, the Kensington 87, and members of the Soldiers Forum.

The march comes in the wake of the mobilization of repressive forces in order to diminsh the effect of protest planned for later this week. The peaceful candle-lit procession had not even left the campus when it was met by massive police presence. The response to this peaceful march was the unleashing of repression against which the protesters were rallying. Without warning the police fired smoke and concussion grenades into the center of the march. Three people were injured and a prominent local journalist and media activist, Rehad Desai, was arrested and later released on R1000 bail.

Even though footage and individual reports of the march indicate an unprovoked attack by the police, the South African Minister of Foreign affairs, Nkosazana Zuma disingenuously claimed the police violence was directed at only a portion of the march at a press conference. In anticipation of more and larger marches planned for the 'W$$D', this response by the police to a peaceful march demonstrates a growing intolerance of dissent by the government and summit organizers. Despite this, protestsarrests, and South Africa IMC coverge continues. With Sandton transformed into a no-go area for free speech, and much of the city 'Disneyfied' so as to portray a South African transformation, little is left for the voices of those excluded.

More information is available with an interview with Naomi Klein, and at previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Multinationals Set WSSD Agenda

26.08.2002 12:27

Corporate UN? Amidst cries of "viva Johannesburg", "viva the WSSD" and "viva civil society," president Thabo Mbeki opened the Global Forum of the Civil Society at the WSSD. In a tired and trite crescendo of rhetoric, Mbeki stated the obvious while hiding the most damning implications of the macroeconomic policies of his and other governments. He said that many people are poor, lack access to water, sanitation, health and are daily victims of violence, while concluding that the poor have to challenge governments to deliver "strategies and practical programmes of action."

The WSSD is an opportunity for multinational corporations to rebrand themselves as "responsible." Through devices like the UN Global Compact and Type II partnership agreements, corporations set the agenda for policy initiatives. The concept of "sustainable development" has been developed as propaganda, with interlinked organizations like the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) promoting voluntary self-regulation on the part of corporations and ongoing neo-liberal policies of deregulation and privatization.

This ultimately leads to a co-opting of the UN as an organization subordinate to business, much like the WTO, World Bank, and IMF. The summit is expected to be a series of greenwash and bluewash initiatives, such as the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) program, the VirtualExhibit, or attempts to make the meetings 'carbon-neutral'. In contrast, Friends of the Earth International is pursuing a binding corporate accountability campaign, and Corpwatch has established the 'Green Oscars' at the summit to highlight the more egregious practitioners of green- and bluewash. Winners were announced on August 23.

More information is available with the Greenwash + 10 report, and at previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Two Hundred Fifty Arrests Welcome WSSD

25.08.2002 15:34

Sleeping as Protest for the Joburg 250 On Wednesday, August 21, over 4000 people with the Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) and National Land Committee marched peacefully to the office of the premier of Gauteng province. The marchers wanted Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa to sign a memorandum of commitment to stop forced removals in Thembelihle, and to end the brutal campaign of terror being waged by the notorious "Red Ants" security company and the police against poor and landless people in the province.

More than 100 landless people and land activists were arrested around 6 p.m. in the first signs of the South African government's crackdown on the fundamental Constitutional right to freedom of assembly in order to prevent protests and demonstrations during the WSSD. Among the arrested was NLC coordinator Andile Mngxitama [ audio | video ]. More were arrested on August 22 outside the jail while protesting in solidarity, including LPM media liason and SA IMC member Ann Eveleth who was subsequently ordered deported. Anyone found wearing an LPM T-shirt outside the prison was summarily arrested.

On Friday, August 23, 77 of those arrested were released. One of those arrested, who was two months pregnant, had a miscarriage on Thursday evening after her jailers ignored repeated calls for assistance. This crackdown began in earnest on August 17 when veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle were arrested in Cape Town boarding a train to Joburg. According to Mngxitama, "the agenda of Sandton is the agenda of the multinational corporations, that land must be sold as a commodity, that water and energy must be privatized. They have been losing legitimacy, and now they are trying to get new legitimacy through the United Nations. We are saying no to Nepad, no to the World Bank, no to market-led land reform."

More information about the WSSD can be found at a Special Edition Report (pdf) by Africawoman, in previous coverage of the WSSD [ August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ], and in italiano [ W$$D: la privatizzazione dello sviluppo sostenibile | Movimenti soziali | Rio + 10 = - risore + capitale ].

Dissent Flares Against Bush on the West Coast

24.08.2002 20:01

Crowds of peaceful protesters in Portland about to get attacked by cops with chemicals 'Commander-in-thief' George Bush's visit to the West Coast of the United States this week was met with protests at every stop. In Oregon, Bush's purpose was to spread lies about forest health [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ] and shake down local wealthy to raise money for Senator Gordon Smith. One hundred protesters met Bush in Medford, and briefly blocked a road [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]. In Portland, forest activists kick-started the day of dissent by erecting a tree-sit in a downtown park. Hundreds of people gathered at a Pacific Green Party rally and then joined the main crowd at the tree-sit park for a march downtown, 3000 strong. Hundreds of police, including many in full riot gear, staked out a nine square block area around the Hilton Hotel where Bush was speaking. Protesters had free reign throughout the rest of downtown where they took the streets, blocked intersections, and made a joyful noise.

In the late afternoon, police declared a state of emergency, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse, though these annoucements were heard by very few people. Police then turned violent, shooting people with rubber bullets and pepper-spraying many others [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 ]. Children were among the victims of chemical attacks, including a 10 month old baby [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]. When the sun set people danced in the street and continued to protest. The general feeling among participants was that it had been a great day that offered some lessons for future efforts. Corporate media accounts of the day betrayed an institutional bias against democratic action and in favor of police brutality [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 ]. Friday morning, the chair of the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called for the police chief's resignation, and that afternoon protesters marched on City Hall to demand police accountability.

[ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5] [ 1 | 2 ] [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 ]

On Friday, Bush was given a California welcome with protests inside and outside his first campaign stop for political friends in Stockton [ photos | video ]. Medea Benjamin gained entry to the event and took off her jacket to reveal a "No War On Iraq" tee-shirt. She was hauled off by police immediately, but not before Bush's televised speech was disrupted [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]. Further south that afternoon, 400 people protested Bush's arrival in Santa Ana, and another 250 demonstrated outside a fundraiser in Dana Point, Orange County. In Los Angeles on Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m. wasn't too early for hundreds to come out and express dissent [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], while hundreds of vehicles caravaned to Crawford, TX.

Other recent actions against the Bush regime in the U.S. include protests at a 7/11 Bush visit in Minneapolis [ 1 | 2 ], a 7/18 Bush visit near Detroit, a 7/25 Bush trip to Greensboro, NC, Cheney visits to San Francisco (8/7) [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 ] and Minneapolis (8/12) [ 1 ], and a 8/14 Bush trip to Milwaukee [ 1 | 2 ].

Disobedience for Sustainability - &quot;We Will Take Sandton&quot;

24.08.2002 14:30

Protestor in Johannesburg With delegates arriving for the 'World Summit on Sustainable Destruction', communities and global justice activists and organizations are preparing for unprecedented mass actions. According to representatives of the newly-formed Social Movements Indaba, launched earlier this month, protesters will march on the wealthy Johannesburg suburb of Sandton on the August 31 and September 2. They will demand that the world's elites begin to take seriously the challenges of sustainable development. Besides the official summit, a UN-sponsored NGO 'Civil Society Forum,' the Social Movements Indaba events, and the Landless Peoples' Movement camps have been organized in the city. Issues raised by the various organizations range from water privatization to national repression.

The ANC-led South African government however, is also gearing up for the event and unleashing the full repressive power of the most powerful country on the continent. In anticipation of massive protests during the WSSD, the South African government has turned Sandton into a fortress boasting surveillance planes, 27,000 police from across the nation, and concrete barricades. A "struggle pen," stretching a ridiculous 1.8 km has been created for "legal protests." Last week JOWSCO, the corporation tasked with organizing the summit, released a press statement detailing some of the plans for muzzling dissent. Meanwhile, the corporate media has covered the events with scant attention to the perspectives of South African social movements, while sensationalizing the prospects of protests.

Previous Coverage of the WSSD: August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25

Osasco Camp Threatened with Violent Eviction

23.08.2002 22:57

Osasco Currently, the situation at the landless peoples' camp [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] in Osasco is increasing in tension. A Brazilian judge stipulated that occupants of the camp, which is on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, needed to vacate the land at noon on Wednesday, August 21. More than four thousand families that live there, however, intend (pt) to resist, and have yet to leave. The imminent risk of threat (pt) of a violent ousting of the families by federal police has worried civil rights organizations throughout the nation, who are urging persons to support the camp.

The three entrances to the encampment are blocked with barricades, while constant police patrols and helicopters encircle the area. A 48 hour period of negotiation established on Monday, August 19 jointly by the city of Osasco and state government was broken by Judge Anelise Soares, from an Osasco court. The order allowed (pt) military police to evict persons remaining in the camp with force beginning at 3 a.m. on August 21. By Friday, August 23, however, the camp, which includes more than 8,000 children, has not been evicted.

The camp was established on July 27th (pt) by various groups, including Popular Resistance (pt), the MTST (pt) (Movement of the Workers Without Living Spaces), and the MLP (Movement for a Popular Struggle) in order to build a community for homeless persons from throughout Brasil.

Reporting on the Johannesburg Earth Summit

23.08.2002 18:40

South Africa Indymedia Hundreds of independent reporters and media activists are preparing for a critical coverage of the 'Rio + 10' UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), associated forums, and protests in Johannesburg from August 26 through September 4. Activists from the global North and South have prepared a critical response to the meetings.

Amid global war and environmental crises including pollution in Asia, starvation in Africa, and flooding in Europe, the WSSD comes a decade after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and is ostensibly focused upon promoting environmental protection and economic growth simultaneously following "the decade of globalization." The meetings are being framed as a follow-up to the November 2001 UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, the November 2001 WTO Ministerial in Doha, Qatar and the March 2002 UN Development Summit in Monterey, Mexico. The summit is receiving increasing attention, with issues ranging from increasing corporate influence on the United Nations to the refusal of U.S. President Bush to attend at the bidding of his corporate contributors.

Three video previews are available for online viewing, including From Rio to Joburg, Johannesburg 2002: Visions from the South, and In Search of Climate Change. Past coverage on the WSSD was done on August 19, August 1, and July 25.

The Execution of Sacco &amp; Vanzetti: 75 Years Later

23.08.2002 12:57

Sacco and Vanzetti

When Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were put to death on August 23, 1927, radical America wept. Despite the dedication of people from Emma Goldman to Albert Einstein and demonstrations from Paris to Portugal, the worldwide fight to save the two Italian immigrants had failed.

Accused of a 1920 robbery, the anarchists were tried amidst the xenophobic and anti-leftist sentiments of Palmer-raid United States. They sat before an admittedly biased judge and were convicted contrary to evidence of their innocence. In the years following, the Sacco-Vanzetti trial became the best example of radicals in the U.S. being railroaded for their political beliefs.

New Yorkers will mark the trial with a 5 p.m. memorial in Union Square on Friday. On Thursday, a teach-in a teach-in was also held.

Brazilian Community Radio Station Raided

23.08.2002 02:23

Restinga FM In Porto Alegre, employees of the Brazilian National Agency of Telecommunications (ANATEL) raided (pt) the community radio station Restinga FM on August 15. The station, in the midst of a registration process, was shut down without a judicial order. The equipment was confiscated and the station was closed, which has operated in the Community Center of the Restinga (CECORES) since November 19, 2000. Community members are planning a protest (pt) in front of ANATEL building on August 23.

ANATEL was created to control, regulate and commodify all Brazilian communications systems, from Internet providers and cable television to radio stations. In recent years, pirate, comunity and free radios stations with various radical, popular, and libertarian perspectives have been established and subsequently closed by ANATEL. Restinga FM served one of the major poor neighborhoods of Porto Alegre. During its two years of operation, the station broadcast social and cultural coverage for the community.

U.S. Law Enforcement Acting With Impunity

22.08.2002 15:47

James Ujaama The U.S. government's investigation of the September 11 attacks has been marred by arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and secret arrests, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. Some 1200 non-citizens have been secretly arrested and incarcerated in connection with the September 11 investigation, although the government has not disclosed the exact number. The vast majority are from Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African countries.

Having suffered no repercussions from these abuses against Arabs in America and having seen that it can disappear American citizens like Jose Padilla without interference by the courts, U.S. law enforcement is increasing its targeting of political activists. In Denver, the FBI kidnapped James Ujaama and flew him to Virginia where the government is holding him as "a potential witness in an ongoing grand jury probe of terrorism." Ujaama operates StopAmerica.org, which contains dissenting views about U.S. foreign policy. In Seattle earlier this month, police arrested Kwame Garrett and Merciful Allah, both well-known critics of the Seattle Police. In a phone call from jail, Garrett said that police officers rushed up to them with weapons drawn, shouting, 'jaywalking!' and beat the two with batons and sprayed them with pepper spray.

Attorney General John Ashcroft is preparing for mass detentions of political dissidents. Plans were recently disclosed that the Justice Department is preparing to build concentration camps to house U.S. citizens labeled "enemy combatants." The Bush Administration asserts that the label allows it to deny citizens basic rights including access to the courts, even though the courts have consistently ruled against this.

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