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In honor of July 4th, known as Independence Day here in the US, here's an except from historian Ralph Young's on-line article Dissent Is American:
"There are many people in this country, and in this administration, who claim that those who have opposed the invasion of Iraq are unpatriotic (at best) and treasonous (at worst). Indeed, the USA PATRIOT Act, passed unanimously by Congress, stipulates penalties for criticism of the government. Patriotism, to the framers of the act, means supporting the decisions of our political leaders and that dissent is un-American. Protesters at presidential appearances have been routinely herded into "free speech zones" where their signs and slogans are only seen by the encircling cordon of police. This in spite of the fact that there is no mention in the Constitution that free speech is to be confined to a zone. Pretty soon cars will be sporting retro-sixties "America: Love it or Leave it!" bumper stickers. This attitude, however, only calls attention to one of this nation's most conspicuous failings-pervasive historical illiteracy. We need to recognize that dissent is American, that protest is patriotic. It is, in fact, one of the fundamental traits that define us...
The English colonies in North America were founded on dissent, and almost immediately after religious dissenters arrived in Massachusetts Bay voices of protest rose up against the puritan authorities. Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams were banished for their views during the first decade of settlement. Let us also remember the patriots who fought the American Revolution to establish independence from a government that was not responsive to the needs of its colonial subjects, and reflect on the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. None of this was accomplished without a great deal of debate, dissent, protest, argument, resistance. None of it was easy. But somehow we did evolve into a country "of the people, by the people, for the people." Or did we?...
Today the American people are torn by an ill-advised war and occupation led by leaders who, in seeking to stifle the sort of healthy debate a democracy requires, do not seem to understand, indeed, who seem to shun, our own history. Many of those who opposed the war not only wanted to give peace a chance, but also take back the American government which appears to have been hijacked by ultra-rightist hawks. Neoconservatives have taken control of a United States which has historically prided itself in its values of peace, democracy, equality, freedom, and anti-imperialism, and, in the process, they are systematically eroding (if not actually demolishing) those ideals. There is nothing "conservative" about them. And the results of the 2006 mid-term elections seem, at first glance, to indicate that many American conservatives have repudiated the neoconservative ideology.
A democracy depends on an educated, well-informed citizenry. It also depends on educated well-informed leaders who are deeply connected and committed to cherishing, conserving, and nurturing the ideals which we believe set us apart. But those currently in power are not caretakers of the "American Dream." Will they be judged by history, like the despoilers of the pharaohs' tombs, as looters who have drained all meaning from the treasures of American democracy? Has "democracy" indeed become a radical notion?
If we get to the point where not only the international community, but even American citizens view the United States as the major threat to world peace than what hope is there for the world? What hope is there for countries that don't even pretend to love freedom ever to evolve into the kind of society that we espouse? If we don't take back our country the world itself (not just the United States) is doomed. We will look at the rest of the world from our "city upon a hill" and all we'll see is our own haunted reflection staring back at us."
From Save Net Radio:
For an updated list of the participants in this national day of silence, visit Radio And Internet News (RAIN).
Net radio listeners, please excuse the interruption of your normal programming and take action to ensure this silence is not permanent. Call your Congressional Representatives today."
Synopsis of Sicko:
Here's the list of theaters and ticket-buying links.
Join host Lynn Breedlove for a benefit to support the GODSPEED film project. Based on Lynn Breedlove's novel Godspeed (St. Martin's Press, 2002), the GODSPEED film will premiere in late June at Frameline's San Francisco LGBT Film Festival.
The June 9 benefit will feature:
More information and advance tickets
More info on Indybay!
Artists showing are Shawn Barber, Robert Hardgrave, Travis Louie, Brendan Danielsson, Chris Ryniak, Meagan Ridley, Kate Ridley, Dave Chung, Anthony Pontius, Kim Scott, Jeremy Pruitt, Gregory Jacobsen, Chris Mostyn, Matthew Pasquarello, Justin DeGarmo, Joseph Daniel Fiedler, Mark Elliott, Heiko Mueller, Jason Murphy, Johnny Yanok, Colin Johnson, Kristian Olson, John Casey, and Jad Fair.
Today is Memorial Day in the US. Today we recognize the soldiers who have been killed throughout US history in battles and wars around the world. It's a very sobering day.
Obviously the US is embroiled in a few conflicts right now, including Colombia and Afghanistan. For better or for worse though, the war in Iraq is the main one, and that's the one where we unequivocally say Support the Troops, Bring Them Home! In 1971, future Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry asked the Senate, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" That terrible question is the one we must ask ourselves, our neighbors, and our Congress critters, and demand action right now!
Here are some resources for current military members and people who are considering joining the military.
Many more links to counseling, counter-recruitment, and activist groups can be found on the CCCO Links page.
The planned 'star march' is one of the initiatives that is affected by these measures. With the motto, 'taking the protest to Heiligendamm', the star march is intended to end with a closing rally in Heiligendamm. Today, the star march coalition is lodging an urgent appeal against the ruling. A decision is expected at the end of next week. "If necessary, we will have our right to protest confirmed by the federal courts", a speaker for the star march coalition said. The prohibited area stretches from the camp in Reddelich almost all the way to the camp in Wichmannsdorf. A speaker of the BAO "Kavala" has declared that a congregation of 3 people within this area is illegal under the ruling. "This means that we can't even leave the camp in groups of 3 and walk next to one another without the police breaking us up", says a camp participant of the WomenLesbianTransgender Network. The rationale for the ban, according to "Kavala", lies with the foreign policies of the G8 countries. A "latent threat situation" exists for the representatives of the G8 countries because of the wars in "Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine". Even the German Government is perceived as endangered, because of its "increasing engagement in conflict regions". What is meant is the war in Afghanistan.
Hanne Jobst of the Gipfelsoli Infogruppe finds this reasoning absurd: "Protest is forbidden because it would have negative effects for foreign decision-makers. The G8 makes decisions that affect the lives of millions of people every day, without the legitimacy to do so, yet in the opinion of the police, the G8 should not have to be subjected to these people's anger".
Even popstar Herbert Groenemeyer has to admit this: "There is real anger", he explained in the German newspaper 'taz' the day before yesterday. Conicidentally, this week in Scotland, charges against five activists who were arrested and detained on their way to a closing demonstration at the conference hotel in Gleneagles during the 2005 G8 summit, were dropped. "As always during summit protests the police use arbitrary and often illegal measures to prevent protest from reaching those it seeks to criticise", Gerda Achterhuis of the Dutch Dissent network argues. "The move to ban the demonstration does not surprise us. However, we will not let ourselves be intimidated and will continue to mobilise for the star march and all other actions against the G8 meeting."
You can read the Rostock Police Departments justification for banning public protest (this page is in German).
"we are gathered here tonight to pay tribute to our lord and money unto me.
you call yourselves the moral majority
you say, 'god loves you. come and buy the good news'
circus-tent con-men and southern belle bunnies
stodgy ayatollahs in their double-knit ties
blow it out your ass, jerry falwell
you don't want abortions, you want battered children
you're planning for a war with or without iran
blow it out your ass, terry dolan
In April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in protest of
gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. On May 15th 2007, all internet users are to not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places. There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.
For more ways to ditch the fossil fuel habit, perhaps permanently, check out How To Live Well Without Owning A Car, bio-diesel, and car-sharing .
In Berlin at least seven flats and office spaces are being searched, amongst which two offices in Bethanien, a social centre in Kreuzberg, Berlin, and the Fusion shop in the same district. The latter is a space used by an antifascist organization and the Interventionist Left. Moreover, a bookshop in Mehringhof and the office spaces of several alternative media projects in Lausitzer Straße have been searched.
The criminal investigation police was putting special attention on the alternative Internet server so36.net. Many left and alternative projects have their websites, mailing lists and mail adresses hosted there. This way, the communication structue of the anti-G8 movement is hit on a sensitive point.
In Hamburg the repression is aimed against the social centre "Rote Flora" and diverse housing projects. Also in the surrounding of Berlin searches are taking place. And there are first reports about searches in the city of Bremen.
The orders for the searches are based on § 129a: "Formation of a terrorist association with the aim to stop the G8 summit". The random selection out of many left housing and infrastructural projects makes clear that the investigation is used as an excuse in order to weaken the mobilization against the G8. "Probably diverse cases of property damage serve as an excuse for these investigations", so the impression of the Campinski Press Group. One of these cases occured at the Kempinski Hotel, where the G8 summit is going to take place. The hotel was targeted with paint balls some months ago.
The context of a §129a investigation are instrumentalized in order to gather data about the protest movement. Besides, such measures have, most likely intended, intimdating effects. Only 2% of all $129a investigations result in sentencing.
However: "Who invites the G8 summit, also invites the protest against it", explains Hanne Jobst of the Berlin Bethanien office. "All attempts to criminalize this movement will not prevent us from exposing worldwide inequalities during the G8 summit."
The repressive acts of the criminal investigation police are not entirely surprising. The left and radical left resistance against the G8 has reached an uncontrollable level for the police. "So far, the police only tried to split the resistance in the public media through hallucinating about an army of 'anarchists'. Now they will try to sabotage the organizational structures", Jobst explains further.
"It is noteworthy that the searchces are targeted agaist all those parts of the resistance that refuse to direct claims to the G8, because they refuse the G8 in general as an illegitimate institution", explains a spokesperson of the Gipfelsoli Info Group."
More info here, here, and here!
This Expo DIY Workshop will focus on:
When: Thursday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.-ish
"What does taqwacore mean to you?
What is the future for taqwacore?
How her words would fare with Michael Muhammad Knight, author of The Taqwacores and an unwitting idol to the young and restless, is anyone's guess. Knight, who is 29 and lives in New York with his dog Sunny - "not as in Sunni Muslim" - downplays his achievement of single-handedly inspiring this subculture that has produced artists such as the Kominas, Secret Trial Five, Vote Hezbollah, Al-Thawra, 8-Bit and Diacritical.
"There was a scene already," says Knight modestly, whose next novel will be titled Osama Van Halen. "I just gave it a name. There were kids out there, doing their thing. I don't think of it as a movement, though, just a group of friends supporting each other."
Knight wrote the book to deal with his own issues. He converted to Islam as a teenager and admits he "burned out" from being so religious. "I was so intense. I felt Islam was so black and white and there were no grey areas. These Muslim kids, who are punks, they are in these grey areas." The kids he refers to have all devoured Knight's work, some taking it literally.
"One kid," he says, "thought the book was non-fiction and thought that stuff in the book actually happened. He got in touch. He said if it wasn't real, that he would make it real." He sounds worried by the suggestion that his book will be a manifesto for Muslim punks. "If the scene develops, I don't want it to be based on my book."
The words stable, door, horse and bolt spring to mind. Some Muslims are deeming his book to be nothing short of a revelation. "When I read The Taqwacores," says Basim Usmani, frontman of The Kominas, "all my reservations about Islam melted away."...
During their planned tour of around 1300 kilometers the activists will take part in bicycle demonstrations ("critical masses"), theatres, and other political actions. On the route through cities like Antwerpen, Nijmegen, Gronau/Ahaus, Muenster, Hamburg and Gorleben they will deal with subjects related to the upcoming G8 meeting. These are for instance the racist migration politics of Fortress Europe, genetic manipulation and exploitation of the earth, and the involvement of the G8 in wars all over the world, including in Afghanistan & Iraq.
The events and actions are prepared by supporters hosting the caravan at different stations."We want to use our time together for exchange and to build networks with various local groups from different backgrounds" Paula Farin explains. The cyclists do not want to take part in the whole neoliberal circus and the division of people along racist and economic criteria. They consider the caravan as a place for experiments where they can realize their ideas and ideals (even if only temporarily). The aim is to create a non-hierarchical structure during the ride, allowing people to learn and act in a self-organized manner. The caravan wants to make it possible for all people to participate, regardless of money, bicycle, physical condition or papers.