07 August 2009

G20: Protests, Pittsburgh, Principles, and media comissars

This was in response to one of the many articles coming out of the Post-Gazette that paints the protesters as a bunch of crazy violent people with no agenda, no principles, no reasons, and no legitimate purpose - not to mention the almost daily articles on how the police are training to resist us! It is a bit angry and perhaps not my most articulate but it will do for a start. I hope all of you who are considering protests will write to the Post often over the next weeks and months - it is important that they not succeed in driving up jingoist and antidemocratic sentiment that will divide our community. For those of you, and I assume a majority here, who are not protesting, who don't know what the G20 really is and does, who don't understand why anyone would participate in a rejection of the G20's principles, I hope you will not turn to the Post-Gazette for your information. Here is the link to the Post-Gazette article.

Dear Mr Lord:

I was very disappointed by your article in the paper this morning concerning the steps city council is taking to specifically curtail protest which will be taking place in September around the G20. Not only do you libel the protest movement with the same trope US media have been so fond of since Woodrow Wilson's Red Scare, that of the 'dangerous anarchist', but you also don't seem to understand any of the consequences this new legislation will have: by criminalizing our methods the city council is criminalizing us! And why? to prevent the residents of Pittsburgh from challenging the states authority to monopolize and hijack our public spaces? to prevent the residents of Pittsburgh from challenging the owners of the economy from continuing to put forward policy which creates refuges, drug wars, and land wars over resources. These newly considered laws will not stop protesters from having PVC or coming up with other creative ways to resist the police, the violent arm of the people who are the real purveyors of violence around the world: the world leaders descending upon our city. What this new ordnance(s) will do is make illegal the methods that the nonviolent peace and social justice movement use to resist war and economic mercantilism! It will add bodies in our jails and hospitals and will do nothing to discourage the movement from creative nonviolent resistance. You did put in several respectable objections to this unsurprisingly antidemocratic spirit coming from our 'democratic representatives' by council member Patrick Dowd... what you didn't add is that Dowd called for, on behalf of his constituents who've been asking for this, a meeting between the protest community and the police: a meeting which I understand has been largely rejected by council members who seem to be less interested in democracy than Dowd. More importantly, however, you let stand the vacuous and deleterious mantra of media coverage concerning protest: "Look at all the violence; what are we going to do about all this violence."
Perhaps if you weren't such a commissar, dedicated to tired and antidemocratic ideas such as 'good protester, bad protester', you'd have taken the minute or so to look and see what the principle of these "dangerous anarchists", as well as Raging Grannies -notice that we have the same principles- are! We publish them right there on the resistg20.org web page. I'll provide them to you know in the hopes that you will in the future actual be a journalist instead of a spokes person for state power in line with their efforts of red-baiting, violence-baiting, and fear-mongering:

Pittsburgh Principles

* Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in a diversity of tactics and plans of action but are committed to treating each other with respect.
* We realize that debates and honest criticisms are necessary for political clarification and growth in our movements. But we also realize that our detractors will work to divide by inflaming and magnifying our tactical, strategic, personal, and political disagreements. For the purposes of political clarity, and mutual respect we will speak to our own political motivations and tactical choices and allow other groups and individuals to speak on their own behalf. We reject all forms of red-baiting, violence-baiting, and fear-mongering; and efforts to foster unnecessary divisions among our movements.
* As we plan our actions and tactics, we will take care to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics. We will commit to respecting each other’s organizing space and the tone and tactics they wish to utilize in that space.
* We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others. We oppose proposals designed to cage protests into high-restricted "free speech zones."
* We will work to promote a sense of respect for our shared community, our neighbors, and particularly poor and working class people in our community and their personal property.

In solidarity, the undersigned:
Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project
Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee
Students for a Democratic Society
Self-Described Anarchist Collective
Three Rivers Climate Convergence: United for Environmental Justice
Raging Grannies - Pittsburgh
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - Pittsburgh
Iraq Vets Against the War - Pittsburgh
-------


I do not speak today on behalf of any of the above organizations, but as a resident of our city, when I say that your article today was vacuous and contemptible. I hope you will remember, in the future, that we are the ones protesting against violence and war! We are the people working for peace and social justice! We are the men and women who work day in and day out, organizing to create an actually democratic society. A society where it is not acceptable to pass new legislation behind closed doors in order that a specific set of people with a specific set of concerns intent on voicing them publicly will be targeted by our laws with out any intended public debate. We do not accept legislation handed down from on high that criminalizes our methods. I say again, when you criminalize our methods you criminalize us.

With concern over the state of our democracy and the forth estate,
Jonathan LaTourelle
Dangerous Anarchist-Communist, Student, Believer in Radical Nonviolence, pissed off member of the community, and reader of the Post-Gazette

26 June 2009

Iran

The amazing Allison Kilkenny on Grit and a good bit by the real news, both on Iran.



09 June 2009

Peru

Indigenous people being killed for 'free trade' of oil. These people are standing in the way of the corporations that are pillaging their country and our planet. As always, the local government is designed to protect business interests over the interests of the people - shareholders over stakeholders. First up is a good bit I found on TheRealNews Network. And second is the article that Democracy Now did yesterday.



30 May 2009

Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa


Ken Saro-Wiwa was a Nigerian nonviolent activist who spoke out against Shell Nigeria's devastating environmental policies in his countries delta as well as advocating for the rights of indiginous people: notably the Ogonis. Shell is going on trial for complicity in the egregious state murder of Saro-Wiwa and a 7 other activists. Here is the article from the Independent. Here is the site, remember Saro-Wiwa. Here is Shell Guilty (image from them). Below is the most recent article that Democracy Now had produced concerning the trail, Saro-Wiwa, and Shell's policy in the Niger Delta. And below that I've posted the clip from the Canadian Documentary "The Corporation" concerning Shell and Ken Saro-Wiwa. Shell is having its day in court - lets see how the courts handle it shal we.





http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=25828275001

Painting the Roads White Without Fear of Decapitation


Steven Chu, US Energy Secretary, proposed a wide rang of energy saving ideas this Add ImageTuesday, the best of which have to do with repainting roads, roofs, and anything else feasible, lighter colours: "making roofs and pavements white or light-coloured would help to reduce global warming by both conserving energy and reflecting sunlight back into space. It would, he [Chu] said, be the equivalent of taking all the cars in the world off the road for 11 years." The Independent has a good article on Chu's ideas here: (imagine from independent.co.uk.) Reading it, I couldn't help but think of the cards from Alice and Wonderland painting the white roses red - though I'm sure Obama won't send Chu to the chopping block, or even one of his permanent detention centers, (and no doubt there is significantly more merit to this proposal than painting roses) somehow such a sensible policy seems unlikely to be implemented. But I'm all for it.

21 May 2009

Howard Zinn and Just War

Just War theory is rather laughable - if you examine the arguments by it leading proponents (Michael Waltzer, Reinhold Niebuhr, etc), most of what it reduces to is an IV educated someone saying "I feel" or "I think" that this war was just. To call any of these ideas theories seems to abused the term beyond recognition.

That aside, this talk by Howard Zinn at the 100 year anniversary of The Progressive magazine examines what we normal think of as "Just" or "Good" wars: The American Revolution, The Civil War, and World War II. It is always refreshing to hear Howard speak.

19 May 2009

Pirates and Emperors

And in this vane, see Allison Kilkenny's bit in defense of the Somali pirates.